US Justice Department to withdraw Stevens charges

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The United Stated Department of Justice has asked for corruption charges against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens to be dropped because evidence was withheld from the defense team by the original prosecutors. The Justice Department has stated that they will not retry Stevens.

In a statement, US Attorney General Eric Holder said, “After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.”

Stevens was convicted in October on seven felony counts of lying on senate disclosure forms about gifts, largely in the form of free renovations to his home, received from an oil service company; his conviction is thought to have been a large factor in his November electoral defeat to former Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, the current junior Senator from Alaska. Stevens immediately appealed his conviction and has maintained his innocence.

The prosecution case has met with a number of procedural difficulties, with US District Court judge Emmet G. Sullivan holding the prosecution in contempt in March for failing to turn over documents concerning an FBI whistleblower’s reports of mishandling of the case. The Justice Department has since replaced the case’s prosecutors, and the allegations of misconduct have held up sentencing from the original convictions.

The filed papers indicate that notes were never turned over from an interview that has the oil contractor estimated the house renovation for far less then he specified at trial.

The original trial team was removed, but in the end Attorney General Eric Holder thought it would be best if the case was dropped. NPR’s source indicate that Holder wish to forcefully transmit that prosecutorial misconduct will not be tolerated. The trying prosecutors are under investigation by the Justice Department for their conduct in the matter.

Stevens, now 85, served as Alaska’s Senator from 1968 to 2009.

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Scientists find key human language gene

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Researchers have found a crucial genetic difference between humans and chimps that could help explain our language and speech abilities. The difference lies in a gene called FOXP2 which encodes for a protein of the same name. This acts as a transcription factor, controlling the activity of other genes.

The human and chimp versions of the protein differ in only two of their 740 amino acid components, but when researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, replaced the human gene with the chimp version in neurons grown in the laboratory, they found it affected the expression of at least 116 other genes.

The results are detailed in a paper published on Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.

Author of the study Dr. Daniel Geschwind, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said the gene had a “major role” in differences between chimps and humans. “We showed that the human and chimp versions of FOXP2 not only look different but function differently too.”

We believe FOXP2 is not only important for the higher order cognitive aspect of language but also for the motor aspect of speech and language

Some of the affected genes control the formation of connections in the brain, whilst others relate to facial movements. Several have already been found to be involved in language disorders. Mutations in FOXP2 itself were also known to affect speech and language; the gene was first identified in members of a family suffering from language problems who were found to share a genetic mutation.

Frances Vargha-Khadem at University College London has studied patients with FOXP2 mutations, and agrees with the new research. As well as language problems, some of her subjects have changes in the shape of their jaws, mouths and tongues. She thinks that chimps may also have these differences.

“We believe FOXP2 is not only important for the higher order cognitive aspect of language but also for the motor aspect of speech and language,” said Genevieve Konopka, one of the authors of the paper at UCLA.

Previous research indicates that the changes in FOXP2 occurred around 200,000 years ago with the rise of modern humans. Geschwind also suggests that several of the related genes may have evolved together. Preliminary studies have shown signs that they too emerged relatively recently.

Scientists are now keen to further study FOXP2 and the genes that it affects. Geschwind believes this could eventually lead to breakthroughs in treatment for disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, which affect language skills.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the A.P. Giannini Foundation and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

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4 Reasons Why Most Diets Fail}

Submitted by: Aziz ID MANSOUR

Wondering why you just cannot see success with your diet plan? Do you feel like every diet you go on, you eventually fall off somewhere along the line?

Are you ready to toss in the towel on fat loss for good?

Dont be. If you stop and take a minute to look at the four reasons why most diets fail, and then find yourself a diet plan that overcomes these reasons, you will soon find yourself on track to optimal success.

Lets look at the four key factors that you need to know.

Unrealistic Calorie Intakes

The first big reason why most diets fail is because they simply have you striving to take in an unrealistic number of calories each day. In other words, they put you into starvation mode. They are causing you to consume so little food that your body literally starts shutting down to conserve fuel.

When it does this, you know that you are on a one-way path to a fat loss plateau. Yes, you do need to lower your calorie intake to see fat loss results, but you need to do so wisely in a way that you can maintain your metabolic engine, so to speak.

Lack Of Satiety-Boosting Nutrients

Next, another big issue with most conventional diets is they arent providing you enough of the two most satisfying nutrients: protein and fiber. You need protein to function optimally. Its also the nutrient thats the slowest to break down and digest in the body, so it will provide immediate satiety.

Couple that with dietary fiber, which is found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and itll slow digestion even further.

Many crash diet plans are very low in protein, and while they do have you eating lots of vegetables, many discourage the consumption of fruit.

By making these two nutrients a focus of your plan instead, you can see results that much faster and enjoy being on the diet while you do.

Time Consuming Meal Prep

Who has an hour each and every day to meal prep? Not me and definitely not you. Yet, many diet plans are so complex that they require this. If thats the diet youre on, its no wonder youre failing.

Instead, you want to find an approach that gives you some basic and easy-to-implement guidelines that will help you realize true success with your program.

This plan should not take hours to follow each week, and should work with your lifestyle. When you find such a plan, itll be easier than ever to stick with.

Long-Term Approach

Now, chances are youve heard that any diet you follow should encourage a long-term approach and I agree. When you make diet changes, you should be focusing on maintaining healthy eating in the long term.

But, if your diet plan is designed to go on for months, this can kill your motivation in its tracks.

Find a diet with a definite deadline. Three weeks is optimal here as that is the amount of time it takes to build good habits habits that stick. Also, three weeks is a long enough period of time that you can see good results, but not so long that its hard to stay motivated.

Anyone should be able to do three weeks if they put their mind to it. This is precisely what The 3 Week Diet is built upon. By doing this diet, you can see remarkable changes in as little as three short weeks and once you see how easy it is to melt the fat, youll want to stick with the plan much longer than that.

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Daughter of Yuko Ikeda kidnapped to ransom in Tokyo; freed 13 hours later

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ikeda Kanako, a 21-year-old senior student of the Meiji Gakuin University and the first daughter of celebrity surgeon Yuko Ikeda, was kidnapped at about 1225 (UTC+9), June 26, 2006, in Shibuya, Tokyo.

A bullet was fired and one officer slightly cut when police stormed a Kawasaki apartment to rescue the girl.

Kanako was dressed in a white light half-sleeved cardigan, blue jeans with a bistre belt made of leather, a spring green camisole and carried a bag of Vuitton when she was abducted at a bus stop.

She was found unharmed 13 hours later by Japanese police at a condominium located in Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa. The young woman’s make-up was not disordered; Kanako’s long brown fringe was not disheveled at all and she was wearing what she had been when she was kidnapped.

The kidnapping of Kanako was a big story in Japanese media in June, 2006. The story appeared in many newspapers as the front-page news on June 27, 2006.

Kanako and her kidnappers had been in touch with her mother using Kanako’s mobile phone. The effort to free her was helped greatly by a woman who witnessed the moment Kanako was taken; she wrote down the license plate of the van and other details.

Police traced mobile phone calls and were able to locate the van in Kawasaki where they detained two of the kidnappers as they went shopping.

One conspirator Li Yong, 29, from China, led the policemen to the apartment and tricked Kaneo Ito, 49, from Japan, to open the door. Ito managed to discharge one bullet before being restrained by an assistant police inspector, the first man in the room.

The other man involved in the kidnap of Kanako was Choi Gi Ho, 54, from South Korea. Kanato was freed unharmed.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested three men on suspicion of conspiring to kidnap a woman and hold her to a reported 300 million yen ransom.

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U.S. study of gay sheep may shed light on sexuality

Monday, August 15, 2005

Oregon State University (OSU) animal researchers in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) Dubois, Idaho-based Sheep Experiment Station released a report on an OSU-USDA study which was initiated in 1995 after breeders asked the government to determine why some rams bought as breeding studs showed no interest in females. The researchers are working under a $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in hopes of developing a test which can determine the likelihood of a ram being female-oriented before it is sold as a stud.

By studying difference in the animal’s brains after slaughter, the study also showed what could be a biological determiner for what makes a ram male-oriented instead of female-oriented sexually. The scientists’ results showed that the anterior preoptic area of the rams’ hypothalamus was 50 percent smaller in male-oriented rams as opposed to female oriented rams. A 1991 study of human brains of AIDS victims showed a similar hypothalamus size difference between gay and heterosexual men.

The sheep researchers postulate that low levels of aromatase hormones in the brain of a developing male sheep fetus may have kept the brain from fully masculinizing, leading to sexually male-oriented rams.

“This lends further support to the idea that homosexuality has biological underpinnings,” Charles Roselli, a professor of physiology and pharmacology, said in an interview with the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Professor Stormshak believes that “understanding sexual drives and the continuum of sexual behavior could possibly help explain the scientific basis of sexual assault [and] put an end to assertions that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.”

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US Senate Panel approves bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A United States Senate committee has passed landmark legislation aimed at combating global warming by limiting carbon dioxide emissions. The vote was timed to coincide with the U.N. conference on climate change taking place in Bali, Indonesia.

The bill would set caps on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from electric utility, transportation and manufacturing industries beginning in 2012 with the goal of cutting emissions 60 percent by 2050. It would create an incentive system that would give credits to industries that cut pollution. Industries that failed to reduce emissions would be forced to buy credits from others.

The Democratic-led Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted eleven to eight, largely along party lines, to send the measure to the full Senate for what supporters hope will be action early next year.

“We are facing a crisis that will hit our children and our grandchildren the hardest if we do not act now. Not to act would be wrong, cowardly, and irresponsible,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, a Californian Democrat, chairwoman of the committee.

Senator Boxer, who is expected to travel to Bali as part of a U.S. congressional delegation next week, said committee approval of the bill sends a signal to the rest of the world that the United States is serious about reducing global warming.

But many Republicans oppose the legislation, saying it would increase energy costs and lead to job losses. They argue the measure does not ensure that other nations, particularly China and India, will cut emissions.

“China’s emission will continue to accelerate as it builds coal plants and imports jobs from the United States. This will be enormously expensive to households within seven years as electricity prices skyrocket by 35 to 65 percent,” said Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the committee.

But co-sponsor Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, who broke with many in his party to support the measure, offered a different view: “If we do not act, China and India will hide behind America’s skirts of inaction and take no steps of their own. Therefore we simply have to lead,” he said.

The House of Representatives has yet to draft its own version of the legislation.

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What Is A Membrane Roof?

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A membrane roofing system is a popular choice for a commercial roof; it is designed to reduce the possibility of pooling and to reduce the incidence of leaks which are often associated with other roofing systems. This type of roof is rapidly becoming the favorite type of commercial roof, replacing the old traditional roofs that were used in the past. Membranes roofs are used on flat roofs or roofs which are only slightly sloped. The roofing system is available in three types; thermo-set, thermoplastic and modified bitumen.

A thermo-set roof consists of rubber sheets which are laid on the roof surface, the rubber sheets overlap at the edges. The overlapped seams are heated which causes the rubber to melt, resulting in the series of sheets to become one large continuous membrane. The rubber that is used in manufacturing the sheets is designed to form a chemical bond when heated; the seal becomes as strong as the sheet.

A commercial roof using a thermoplastic membrane is quite similar to a thermo-set roofing system but the material is PVC rather than rubber. The sheets of PVC do not form a chemical bond but they do form a tight seal when heated but the seal is effective on keeping out water. A thermoplastic membrane roof is somewhat less expensive than a thermo-set roof but it will need a little more maintenance.

Of the three systems, modified bitumen is the least expensive and the most common. The bitumen comprises rubber compounds and certain modifiers which are added to normal asphalt roofing compound. The modified bitumen is heated so that when it installed on the roof it forms a tight seal. There are new variation’s of this material; the new material does not need heat for application, it is produced in sheets in the factory; the sheets are lapped and held in place by self-adhesive strips, the seams, which overlap form a watertight seal.

A classic membrane roof system is prone to leaks because of the way it is constructed; this is not the case when a membrane is used as the commercial roof. In the case of traditional membrane roofs the seams are not sealed tightly, this is not the case with modern membrane roofs. Another advantage is that there is no need to place a gravel overlay which is normally the case with an asphalt roof. Because membrane roofing sheets are fastened directly to the roof, there is no need for gravel to hold them in place.

A flat or low slope commercial roof is constructed using one of the three different membrane roofing systems. For complete details on membrane roofs you are invited to contact StormForce of Jacksonville.

US adds 173,000 jobs in August; unemployment rate drops to seven year low

Monday, September 7, 2015

The US economy added 173,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. The unemployment rate fell from 5.3 to 5.1 percent, the lowest since April 2008.

Although August job gains were lower than most economists forecast, job growth numbers for June and July were revised upwards by a combined 44,000. Average job gains over the past three months stand at 221,000, compared to March-May’s 189,000 monthly average. Over the past twelve months, job growth has averaged 247,000 per month.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent, or 8 cents, marking the largest increase in earnings in seven months. Hourly earnings had risen by 6 cents in July. Wages have risen by 2.2 percent over the past year.

Job growth in August was primarily concentrated in the health care and social assistance, financial activities, and professional and business services sectors. Those three areas of the economy added a combined 108,000 jobs. Food service and drinking places employment increased by 26,000 over the month, and other economic sectors saw employment hold steady. Manufacturing, on the other hand, saw employment decline by 17,000 in August. A stronger dollar and worldwide economic weakness make US exports less desirable, leading to a flattening in manufacturing employment so far this year after steadily rising in the early years of the US economic recovery.

The solid overall job gains led analysts to slightly raise expectations for a decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month. Investors raised the likelihood of a September rate increase from 26 percent before the jobs report to 30 percent, and stocks dropped by over one percent on Friday. “The payrolls data is certainly good enough to allow for a Fed rate hike in September,” said Deutsche Bank’s head of currency strategy, Alan Ruskin. “The big question is still whether financial market volatility will scupper the plans.”

“This is the first time the market has looked at a Fed meeting and really has no idea what the Fed is going to do,” said Mark Kepner, a New Jersey equity trader with Themis Trading. “Right now you’re looking at the overall uncertainty and that’s what’s hanging on the market. I don’t think this number in and of itself changes how somebody’s going to vote.”

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Nine thousand Romanian miners to be laid off in 2006

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Approximately 9,000 Romanian miners will be made redundant in 2006, slightly more than the 7,000 which are expected to be laid off this year. This comes as part of a government program for 2005-2008 which seeks to maximise efficiency in Romania’s mining industry, as well as reduce the number of mines and quarries in the country, while progressively bringing down the number of workers in this industry. As agreed with the European Union as part of accession negotiations, Romania must cease to provide major state aid to mining companies after 2007, when the country will become a member of the EU. Until then, it must gradually reduce subsidies to state-owned mining companies, in order to comply with European Union competition law.

Romania’s mining industry currently employs 47,000 people, quite significantly less than the 175,000 it employed in 1997, before restructuring took place. A major reform in the industry took place between 1997-2000. This time around, from 2004 onwards, restructuring is expected to be more gradual. Out of the workers who have been laid off from 1997 onwards, around 100,000 have accepted voluntary redundancy, while 8,000 have retired and 12,000 have found other jobs in the private sector. By 2010, the government expects that more than 340 mining units will be closed throughout the country.

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Science Equipment For A Molecular Biology Laboratory

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Submitted by: mike carter

To start with, when you begin equipping a molecular biology lab, you need the usual test tubes, beakers, desiccators, pipettes with fillers, and flasks, together with all the necessary clamps, stoppers, frames and supports.

The basic furniture will need to consist of sufficient worktop space, computer station/s, chemical and biological storage cabinets, possibly a filtered, controlled environment (heating & cooling, and humidity control). In some cases access control, a gray room and clean room conditions may even be necessary.

Since this branch of science deals with organic materials from living cell tissues, it stands to reason that temperatures are critical. Most laboratories use refrigerators and freezers, and sometimes surface mounted refrigeration units. Some procedures may require temperatures to be reduced to as low as 86A deg. C.

Centrifuges and microcentrifuges may need to stand on refrigerated and unrefrigerated tabletops for different purposes.

The heating devices may include a microwave, Bunsen burners, and/or hot plates.

There are a number of calibrated and measurement devices, apart from the glassware, that will be needed in a laboratory, such as certain plastic ware, micro balances and scales, pH meters, moisture meters and thermometers.

Microscopes or electron microscopes appropriate to the research being done, together with camera port and link to computer. These are a part of every laboratory.

There is a large number of apparatus and equipment generally considered essential for a molecular biology laboratory. Tissue processing for DNA identification is often an important part of molecular biology and many processes require the equipment for this, depending on the extent of DNA study and genomics. Here is some of the general apparatus likely to be needed:

* CO2 incubator for cell cultures.

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* Vacuum pumps.

* Liquid nitrogen tank.

* Water bath.

* Magnetic stirrer.

* Spectrophotometer.

* Chromatograph.

* Vortex rotators and platform shakers.

* Autoclaves and sterilizers.

* Electrophoresis chamber and gel casting and documentation chamber.

* UV Transilluminator.

* Gradient and standard thermocycler to amplify segments of DNA.

Then we come to the question of safety and protection of the environment and of the people who work in the laboratory; and most of the following will normally be necessary:

Clothing such as :

* Aprons and lab coats.

* Coveralls.

* Footwear, such as shoe covers.

* Head covers, bouffant caps and face covers, masks.

Gloves:

* Heavy weight latex gloves.

* Thin, disposable latex gloves.

* Nitrile gloves.

* Cotton gloves.

* Vinyl gloves.

For eye protection there is a great variety of safety glasses, clear and tinted for lazer and UV work, as well as masks and face shields with and without respirators for protection against splashing, fumes and gasses and flying objects. It is important in a laboratory to install an eyewash station for emergencies.

Last but not least is all the equipment needed for cleaning and sterilizing the glassware, apparatus and even the clothing and furniture used in the laboratory. The cleaning of these items is not always straight forward, and some special procedures need to be followed. You need to have specially designed scrubbers and brushes as well as suitable cleaning fluids and preparations, among other things.

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