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International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2011

Two great documentaries:

Aftermath: The Remnants of War reveals the unspoken truth about war - it never really ends. Watch it.

Bomb Harvest the award winning documentary. Watch it.

Lots of great groups:

Actiongroupe Landmine.de

English Information on the Earthquake & Nuclear Disaster in Japan

FYI at

YUMI KIKUCHI’S BLOG AND PODCAST

Yumi is a committed worker for peace & justice and translated the book ADDICTED TO WAR into Japanese.

Petition to HELP JAPAN Shut Down Hamaoka & Tokai Nuclear Power

Dear Friends,

Yumi Kikuchi & Gen Morita are our good friends who live in Japan. They are anti-war & anti-nuclear activists who have done so much good work, both in Japan & internationally on these issues. Yumi & Gen translated "ADDICTED To WAR" into Japanese and were responsible for over 70,000 copies being sold in Japan. They also put Japanese subtitles on my film “What I’ve Learned About U. S. Foreign Policy” and screened it at the first ever Tokyo Peace Film Festival, which they organized. I could go on & on listing many of the things they have done to promote Peace in the world. Below is what they are asking us to do to help them now.

Frank Dorrel
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 007 Los Angles, CA
-----------
The petition can be accessed through Yumi Kikuchi's blog below or contact her at yumik@fine.ocn.ne.jp

You Can Help Japan : STOP HAMAOKA and TOKAI Nuclear Power Plants Now

MORATORIUM: Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe

Physicians for Social Responsibility Calls for a US Moratorium on New Nuclear Reactors, Citing Medical Risks

Warns Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe

Washington, DC - March 19, 2011 – Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) today called for a nationwide
moratorium on new nuclear reactors in the United States and a suspension of operations at the nuclear reactors with a similar design as those involved in the disaster in Japan, as well as those on fault lines. PSR cited the medical risks associated with any level of radiation exposure regardless of how small. Lower doses result in less chance of harm than higher doses, but any dose level can put an individual at risk.

We don’t need no stinkin’ elections

Does one vote really cost $33? Or, should the full price in blood and lives be added? Without elections, is there democracy? And, just what does it mean to be a Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal in America today? A discussion among poll workers in Springfield, Missouri spills into the press and signals there are problems with the electoral system beyond vote caging and rigging.

This letter is in response to the issue of the cost of the recent Springfield City Council primary. I emphatically disagree that it was a waste of money. Any chance I get to make my voice heard in an election is worth a lot to me. Mark Heins estimates that $33 per vote is too much. What should the price be? I value my vote at more than that. If we begin to assess cost per vote, what other elections will be postponed or canceled? I think the answer is to seek more active voters and better public awareness of election issues.

As a resident and taxpayer in Springfield, I would gladly support efforts to increase voter participation in all elections. Democracy isn't always easy, and it certainly isn't cheap. But, it is worth it to me.

Joseph Fearn Springfield

No elections and no protests allowed

Saudi Arabia says won't tolerate protests

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia warned potential protesters on Saturday that a ban on marches would be enforced, signaling the small protests by the Shi'ite minority in the oil-producing east would no longer be tolerated.

"The kingdom's regulations totally ban all sorts of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins," the interior ministry said in a statement, adding security forces would stop all attempts to disrupt public order.

Inspired by protests in other Arab countries there have been Shi'ite marches in the past few days in the east and unconfirmed activist reports of a small protest at a mosque in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Friday.

The U.S. ally has not faced protests of the scale that hit Egypt and Tunisia that toppled veteran leaders, but dissent has built up as unrest has spread in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya and Oman.

More militarization

U.S. military's mini space shuttle lifts off

* Information on orbital mission, cargo is classified

* Mini-shuttle is solar-powered, does not carry people

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 5 (Reuters) - A prototype miniature space shuttle blasted off aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday for a demonstration run that could last as long as nine months.

The experimental vehicle, known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, lifted off at 5:46 p.m. EST (2246 GMT). It is the second ship to be put in space under the U.S. military's X-37B program.

The vehicles are smaller versions of NASA's space shuttle orbiters -- 29 feet (8.8 metres) long, 14 feet (4.3 metres) across. The one-third scale spaceships are solar powered, unlike the space shuttles, and are not designed to carry people.

U.S. files 22 new charges against WikiLeaks soldier

(Reuters) - The U.S. military said it has brought 22 new charges against a soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive U.S. government documents that were later published by the website WikiLeaks.

Bradley Manning, a former intelligence analyst suspected of obtaining the documents while serving in Iraq, is being held at a Marine base in Virginia as U.S. officials investigate last year's publication of State Department cables and military documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. Army's new charges against Manning, the result of a seven-month probe, include 'aiding the enemy' and 'wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet,' the military said in a statement.

Manning, 23, had previously faced a host of charges including downloading and transmitting to an unauthorized person a classified video of a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters employees.

Largest crowds since Vietnam War march in Wisconsin

(Reuters) - A crowd estimated at more than 70,000 people on Saturday waved American flags, sang the national anthem and called for the defeat of a Wisconsin plan to curb public sector unions that has galvanized opposition from the American labor movement.

In one of the biggest rallies at the state Capitol since the Vietnam War, union members and their supporters braved frigid temperatures and a light snowfall to show their displeasure.

Civic planning for Civil protests

EXHIBIT: Urban Design & Civil Protest

ARTICLE: Designing a City for Safe Protests

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2011) — Civil protests, from peaceful sit-ins at the Pentagon to violent riots in Cairo, nonetheless share some common characteristics. To study how protests evolve in public spaces, Dr. Tali Hatuka, an architect and head of Tel Aviv University's Laboratory of Contemporary Urban Design, has dissected some of the world's most publicized protests -- those in Washington, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Beijing, and Leipzig.

Firms Throw Up New Hurdle: Unemployed Need Not Apply

Tony Pugh | Wednesday 16 February 2011

Washington - As if finding work weren't hard enough already, a federal agency warns that some employers are excluding jobless workers from consideration for openings.

The practice has surfaced in electronic and print postings with language such as "unemployed applicants will not be considered" or "must be currently employed." Some ads use time thresholds to exclude applicants who've been unemployed longer than six months or a year.

Guantanamo prisoner dies while exercising: military

By Jane Sutton | MIAMI | Thu Feb 3, 2011 1:35pm EST

(Reuters) - An Afghan prisoner collapsed and died at the Guantanamo detention center after working out on an exercise machine, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

Awal Malim Gul, who was accused of being a Taliban commander and al Qaeda associate, died at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base on Tuesday evening, the military's Southern Command said.

Gul, 48, had been using an elliptical trainer, a stationary exercise machine used to simulate stair-climbing or running. A legal source said he collapsed while exercising but the military said he collapsed in the shower afterward.

"Other detainees in his cell block then assisted Gul to the guard station for medical attention," the military said in a news release. "The guards immediately alerted medical personnel, who upon arriving at the cell block found him unresponsive."

"use of cameras in interrogation rooms is a good thing"

Good Cop Beats Bad Cop, Research Shows; Study Explores Why Dialogue Yields Better Results Than Coercion

ScienceDaily (Feb. 2, 2011) — Even the most horrible criminals feel guilt, and according to new research from the University of Montreal, playing on that sentiment might be a good way to extract a confession. In order to gain a better understanding of why and how criminals admit to their crimes, Michel St-Yves, a forensic psychologist and lecturer, and lead author Nadine Deslauriers-Varin, both of the university's School of Criminology, worked with 221 prisoners from a federal penitentiary, analyzing the conditions under which they did or didn't confess.

Bartenders May Have Role in Assisting Troubled War Veterans

ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2011) — For troubled war veterans, a friendly bartender can be the source of more than just drinks and a sympathetic ear.

A pilot study suggests that some bartenders may be in a good position to identify veterans in need of mental health services and help connect them to the appropriate agency.

Researchers at Ohio State University surveyed 71 bartenders employed at Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Ohio.

The results showed that bartenders felt very close to their customers and that these customers shared their problems freely with them, said Keith Anderson, lead author of the study and assistant professor of social work at Ohio State.

Minnesota Statute 609.713 Terroristic Threats

My blog entry for 26 November 2006 was entitled Hate Mail, Vandalism and Other Matches and advised readers to complain loudly and officially if they became the victims of hate mail, vandalism and threats. I’m not sure how convincing I was. The recent shootings in Tucson, the Pentagon, the Holocaust Museum, in Wichita, Knoxville, Pittsburgh, Brockton, and Okaloosa County, Florida show an escalation in the seriousness and magnitude of the problems.

One remedy might be recourse to the Law. In Minnesota making a Terroristic Threat is a misdemeanor and is punishable by ”imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.” Similar laws may exist in other states. Offenses to civil discourse may have to be taken up in the criminal courts as well as in civil courts. The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to have success using lawsuits against hate groups of all sorts.

Just a suggestion. Here are some links that cover the statute and how it is used.

Reelect Bush/Cheney!

Power and Corruption May Be Good for Society

ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2010) — They are familiar scenes: politicians bemoaning the death of family values only for extramarital affairs to be unveiled or politicians preaching financial sacrifice while their expense accounts fatten up. Moral corruption and power asymmetries are pervasive in human societies, but as it turns out, that may not be such a bad thing.

Francisco Úbeda, an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Edgar Duéñez of Harvard University found that power and corruption may play a role in maintaining overall societal cooperation.

A report of their research is published in the journal Evolution.

Security Zones: the new civic space

Post-9/11 Security Zones Blight Landscape, Create 'Architecture of Fear'

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) — A decade after the 9/11 attacks, significant parts of America's most prominent downtowns remain largely sealed off as `security zones,' but a newly published study by University of Colorado Denver professor Jeremy Németh says this has led to blighted landscapes, limited public access and a need for a new approach to urban planning.

Yet more surveillance technology

Engineers Test Underground Border Security System Between US and Mexico

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) — A unique underground surveillance system tested by UA researchers could be used to watch the entire US‐Mexico border continuously.

The border-monitoring system, known as Helios, consists of laser pulses transmitted through fiber-optic cables buried in the ground that respond to movements on the surface above. A detector at one or both ends of the cable analyzes these responses.

Helios is sensitive enough to detect a dog and can discriminate between people, horses and trucks. The system can be set to avoid being triggered by small animals, and can also tell if people are running or walking, or digging, and in which direction.

Forget Wikileaks--What about NASAleaks? Is NASA a terrorist organization, too?

NASA sold computers with sensitive data, report says

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA failed to delete sensitive data on computers and hard drives before selling the equipment as part of its plan to end the Space Shuttle program, an audit released on Tuesday shows.

NASA is getting rid of thousands of surplus items as it prepares to end the space shuttle program next year.

The Office of Inspector General found what it termed "serious" security breaches at NASA centers in Florida, Texas, California and Virginia.

America's present villainy awaits future world's obloquy

Russian parliament condemns Stalin for Katyn massacre

Russia's lower house of parliament has condemned Joseph Stalin by name for the mass execution of Poles at Katyn during World War II.

All People Named Patrick Will Be Stopped

Racial Profiling to Limit Terror Attacks Is Fundamentally Flawed, Expert Says

ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2010) — Stop using racial profiling, says Professor William Press from the University of Texas at Austin. He claims that as well as being politically and ethically questionable, racial profiling does no better in helping law enforcement officials in their task of catching terrorists than standard uniform random sampling techniques.

This is the topic of a paper publishing in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Love of cars + love of deregulation = Collision

US Falls Behind Other Nations in Reducing Traffic Fatalities and Injuries

ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2010) — The United States is missing significant opportunities to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries, and could save lives by implementing a more rigorous, comprehensive program that adopts successful safety practices from other countries, says a new report by the National Research Council.

The committee that wrote the report reviewed traffic safety practices and strategies in high-income countries around the world and compared them with those in the United States. From 1995 to 2009, fatalities dropped 52 percent in France, 38 percent in the United Kingdom, 25 percent in Australia, and 50 percent in 15 high-income countries for which long-term fatality and traffic data are available, but they dropped only 19 percent in the United States.

Another reason why torture, etc. is counterproductive

Care for Prisoners Will Improve Public Health, Researchers Say

ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2010) — In a comprehensive global survey, researchers in Texas and England have concluded that improving the mental and physical health of inmates will improve public health.

In their article, "The health of prisoners," Seena Fazel of the University of Oxford and Jacques Baillargeon of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, write that caring for the mental and physical health of prisoners has a direct and important impact on public health that should be recognized. Their findings, to be published Online First in the British medical journal The Lancet on Nov. 19, are based on a survey of available literature on prisoner health across the world (with most data from high-income countries*).

"Prisoners act as reservoirs of infection and chronic disease, increasing the public health burden of poor communities," they write. "Most prisoners return to their communities with their physical and psychiatric morbidity occasionally untreated and sometimes worsened."

DHSnafu

Risks of Proposed Kansas Biocontainment Lab

ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2010) — A new National Research Council report requested by Congress finds "several major shortcomings" in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security assessment of risks associated with operating the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kan. The laboratory would study dangerous foreign animal diseases -- including the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which affects cattle, pigs, deer, and other cloven-hoofed animals -- and diseases deadly to humans that can be transmitted between animals and people.

Emotional Effects of Heavy Combat Can Be Lifelong for Veterans

ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2010) — The trauma from hard combat can devastate veterans until old age, even as it influences others to be wiser, gentler and more accepting in their twilight years, a new University of Florida study finds.

The findings are ominous with the exposure of today's men and women to heavy combat in the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars on terror at a rate that probably exceeds the length of time for U.S. veterans during World War II, said UF sociologist Monika Ardelt.

"The study shows that we really need to take care of our veterans when they arrive home, because if we don't, they may have problems for the rest of their lives," she said. "Yet veterans report they are facing long waiting lines at mental health clinics and struggling to get the services they need."

50%

How Revenge Perpetuates Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2010) — Revenge cuts both ways in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Scientists of the University of Zurich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv and Quinnipiaq Universities show that attacks by either side lead to violent retaliation from the other. Both Israelis and Palestinians may underestimate their own role in perpetuating the conflict.

A team of scientists from the University of Zurich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv and Quinnipiaq Universities have found that attacks by both Israel and Palestinians lead to violent retaliation from the other side. This finding challenges claims by both Israelis and Palestinians that they confronted with a fundamentally hostile and implacable foe, suggesting instead that part of the violence of each side is a direct reaction to previous attacks by the other party.

The team analyzed a large dataset of killings and rocket attacks in the Second Intifada between Israel and Palestine, spanning the years 2000-2008, using a statistical method called Vector Autoregression. "This technique allows us to study the effect of a single additional attack from one side on future attacks by the other side," says lead author Johannes Haushofer, a neurobiologist and economist at the University of Zurich. "We find that when one side attacks the other, they directly inflict a certain additional number of fatalities or rocket attacks on their own people, because they can be nearly certain that the other side will retaliate. For example, when Israeli forces kill 5 Palestinians, they automatically increase the probability that Israelis will die from Palestinian attacks on the following day by 50%."

iSPY

Researchers Find Phone Apps Sending Data Without Notification; TaintDroid Tool IDs Untrustworthy Apps

ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2010) — Flicking through a wallpaper app with backgrounds of Mickey Mouse and a tropical waterfall, Peter Gilbert gets a plain, black and white text notification on his smartphone.

A third of the way down the screen it says, "Taint: Phone Number, IMEI, ICCID (sim card identifier)." The message alerts Gilbert that the wallpaper app has sent his phone's number and other identifying information to imnet.us. Checking online, it appears the address is a website in Shenzhen, China.

The notification came from TaintDroid, a prototype extension to the Android mobile-phone platform designed to identify apps that transmit private data. The phone-based tool monitors how applications access and use privacy sensitive data, such as location, microphone, camera and phone numbers, and provides feedback within seconds of using a newly installed app.

Homeland Security - Inherently Fallible?

Biometric ID Technologies 'Inherently Fallible,' New Report Finds

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2010) — Biometric systems -- designed to automatically recognize individuals based on biological and behavioral traits such as fingerprints, palm prints, or voice or face recognition -- are "inherently fallible," says a new report by the National Research Council, and no single trait has been identified that is stable and distinctive across all groups. To strengthen the science and improve system effectiveness, additional research is needed at virtually all levels of design and operation.

Why Some Americans Believe Obama Is a Muslim

ScienceDaily (Aug. 31, 2010) — There's something beyond plain old ignorance that motivates Americans to believe President Obama is a Muslim, according to a first-of-its-kind study of smear campaigns led by a Michigan State University psychologist.

The research by Spee Kosloff and colleagues suggests people are most likely to accept such falsehoods, both consciously and unconsciously, when subtle clues remind them of ways in which Obama is different from them, whether because of race, social class or other ideological differences.

These judgments, Kosloff argues, are irrational. He also suggests they are fueled by an "irresponsible" media culture that allows political pundits and "talking heads" to perpetuate the lies.