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UK hospital accused of selling body parts for booze

RT -

The calls to investigate Christies NHS foundation trust came after the accusation was made by an anonymous whistleblower, prompting British MP Rosie Cooper to contact the watchdog, the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), the Manchester Evening News reports.

British MP Rosie Cooper has also written to the government’s health secretary Jeremy Hunt, describing the whistleblowers’ claims as “serious and grave”.

“The allegation tissue samples were sold without patients’ permission if proven will bring shame on the NHS. The idea that individuals have allegedly profited from these sales, again if proven, would be abhorrent,” the daily cited her as saying.

"It is important that no stone is left unturned in this investigation and for no allegation to be ignored”.

The Manchester based hospital and fiercely denied the allegations, stating that there is no evidence to suggest it made profits out of patients’ personal information.

"We have been open and transparent since these concerns were first raised and we believe there is absolutely no truth in these allegations at The Christie" a spokesperson said.

This is not the first allegation of misconduct directed at the hospital, which is also the largest cancer centre in Europe, treating around 40,000 patients per year.

Complaints made by whistleblowers include accusations of financial mismanagement made by senior managers, such as a former chief executive using hospital funds to pay for a trip to Ibiza, and compensation paid to a member of staff who accused their bosses of ‘false imprisonment’.

Monitor, along with the Care Quality Commission watchdog have met with the whistleblowers, and are to visit The Christie in the coming weeks.

Earlier this year whistleblower Sandra Haynes Kirkbright risked losing her job after raising fears that the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital were manipulating its death figures.

The incident prompted the health secretary to call for greater protection for NHS whistleblowers.

NASA's JPL Develops Multi-Metal 3D Printing Process

Slashdot -

yyzmcleod (1534129) writes The technology to 3D print a single part from multiple materials has been around for years, but only for polymer-based additive manufacturing processes. For metals, jobs are typically confined to a single powdered base metal or alloy per object. However, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say they have developed a 3D printing technique that allows for print jobs to transition from one metal to another in a single object. From the article: In JPL’s technique, the build material’s composition is gradually transitioned as the print progresses. For example, the powdered build material might contain 97 percent titanium alloy and 3 percent stainless steel at the beginning of the transition. Then, in 1 percent increments between layers, the gradient progresses to 97 percent stainless steel and 3 percent Ti alloy by some defined point in the overall 3D printing process.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitter account resumes posting UK politicians’ Wikipedia edits

RT -

Politicians and Whitehall staff are known to frequently make adjustments to articles posted on the crowd-sourced encyclopedia via parliamentary network computers. A total of 5,500 edits have been made from within the Houses of Parliament since 2003.

While the majority of edits are innocuous grammar edits, the open-source project, Parliament WikiEdits, offers a glimpse of attempts by MPs and staff to polish their online image, tarnish the reputations of opponents or adjust the tone of sensitive entries.

This coup for online transparency was almost lost, however, when parliament changed its IP addresses and then refused a Freedom of Information request to reveal the new ones.

The request was refused on the basis that “releasing the information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime,” despite the fact that similar information has previously been released in response to parliamentary questions.

The FoI request for Parliament's IP addresses has been refused on "national security" grounds. https://t.co/VylXLgBdCl Deciding what to do.

— Parliament WikiEdits (@parliamentedits) July 29, 2014

Fortunately for the developers, the project is able to continue without the government’s help. The general IP bloc assigned to parliament is public knowledge, and even in the absence of specific data, people within parliament were found to be editing content from many publicly-known IPs.

The creation of @ParliamentEdits by the journalist and developer Tom Scott followed a series of embarrassing news stories about elected officials and government employees modifying Wikipedia content, including offensive alterations made to an article about the Hillsborough disaster.

A civil servant was sacked earlier this year after adding offensive remarks to the article about the crush at the Sheffield ground on 15 April, 1989, in which 96 Liverpool football fans died.

The project has inspired similar bots tracking other legislatures. A Russian version, @RuGovEdits, flagged edits being made to content on the MH17 crash. Another in the US, @congressedits, led to Congress being banned from Wikipedia for 10 days following abusive edits.

Wikipedia's conflict of interest policies discourage people from directly editing entries on friends, family members and employers, with registered users encouraged to declare potential conflicts up front.

Such transparency is impossible for those who prefer to do their editing anonymously, which is why such edits are also regularly double-checked by human Wikipedia editors, who can undo changes deemed out of order if necessary.

WikiLeaks early investments in bitcoin helped organization remain active

Bitcoin feeds -

Last month, WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange revealed in a Reddit Ask Me Anything event that he brought up bitcoin to the technology industry\'s elite, including search engine juggernaut Google. He joked that if Google\'s Eric Schmidt took his advice then the technology behemoth would “own the planet by now.” “[Bitcoin] is very important, actually. It […]

The post WikiLeaks early investments in bitcoin helped organization remain active appeared first on CoinBuzz.

What are better alternatives to basic command line utilities

LXer -

The command line can be scary especially at the beginning. You might even experience some command-line-induced nightmare. Over time, however, we all realize that the command line is actually not that scary, but extremely useful. In fact, the lack of shell is what gives me an ulcer every time I have to use Windows. The […]Continue reading...The post What are better alternatives to basic command line utilities appeared first on Xmodulo.No related FAQ.

India voting for Palestine at UNHRC: Human consideration over material realism

RT -

In the meantime, India is in uproar over voting for a UN Human Rights Council resolution to begin an investigation into Israel’s offensive on Gaza, with 29 countries (including BRICS) favoring the resolution in the 47-member council, with 17 nations, including European ones abstaining, and only the US voting against.

Opponents ask if Israel is India’s strategic partner with a lot of economic and defense strings attached – what’s the logic? What about pragmatic foreign policy?

Indeed pragmatism, national “interest” is integral to a country’s foreign policy, but India’s is also driven by another value, called human consideration; that’s where the support for Palestine over a strategically important Israel comes from.
There is interesting research on the drivers of India’s foreign policy by Kadira Pethiyagoda of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC), which says cultural values driven strongly by non-violence, tolerance and pluralism are equally resilient drivers of India’s approach towards any international conflict as strategic interests; sometimes even more!

Pethiyagoda cites the example of how India’s opposition to intervention during Kosovo, Iraq 2003, Libya and Syria wars came at the cost of important strategic interests with the West.

And even when it did intervene it was only after seeking the domestic government’s invitation. As is the case with Sri Lanka where India obtained an invite before intervening, and even conceded to withdraw at the host country’s request. “This indicates more than purely strategic interests at play,” writes Pethiyagoda.

India’s unwavering principle of the perpetuation of the state sovereignty of a nation often puts it at odds with its long aspired position of increased engagement at the UNSC. Observers feel Westerners perceive this as anti-Western dogma or culturally rooted intransigence.

Contrary the expansionistic drives of some of its neighbors, India’s foreign policy in its surroundings have been more altruistic be it intervention in the 1971 Bangladesh War, or aids for its smaller neighbors like Bhutan and Nepal.

India – with its own domestic problems to deal with - is increasingly gaining prominence as a donor alongside other BRICS counterparts with a 10.8 percent annual growth between 2005 and 2010 in foreign aid. A good example is India’s Development Partnership Administration (DPA) that seeks to oversee its foreign aid program envisioned to reconstruct war ridden neighbors like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Not about Israel, but about civilian deaths

The possible antagonizing of a strategic partner within an alliance in key areas like security, defense, intelligence and counter-terrorism has been slammed as too ‘ideological’. When there was an option to “abstain” what was the need to spell out protests so explicitly when Israel votes for India on the Kashmir issue? After all India and Israel converge ideologically in many crucial areas – democracy, and war against terrorism especially in Kashmir.

First of all abstaining was not a viable option given the growing stature of India in global politics. Taking a stand only secures its position as an alternative way of dealing with a crisis through what it endorses – non-violence and civilian safety. In its statement India mentions its deep concerns “at the steep escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine, particularly heavy airstrikes in Gaza and disproportionate use of force on ground, resulting in tragic loss of civilian lives, especially women and children and heavy damage to property.''

The statement categorically mentions its unease at civilian deaths both in Israel and Palestine. “The Council …condemns in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Council condemns all violence against civilians wherever it occurs, including the killing of Israeli civilians as a result of rocket fire; calls for an end to attacks against all civilians, including Israeli civilians; demands that Israel, the occupying power, immediately and fully end its illegal closure of the occupied Gaza Strip.”

Democratic practices in India also differ from Israel. A pluralist and liberal democracy that India is doesn’t render exclusive or “special” status to any one religion. Many call BJP a Hindu nationalist party, but the fact that the same BJP today has decided to side with Palestine is a good enough counter argument.

Even in the case of Kashmir, what sort of parallels can be drawn especially when it is not India which is the occupying party in Kashmir whereas in the case of Israel it is in occupation of Palestinian land?

Materials and morals

Building a relationship with Israel has been a well thought out process for India, which developed very gradually over a period. India has always been a staunch supporter of Palestine and refused to ally with Israel unless the Palestinian cause is espoused. A large Muslim population and a hope of reaping a Middle East endorsement for the Kashmir issue have been the key drivers for a pro-Palestinian foreign policy.

However things have changed since the Madrid Peace Process of 1991, after the Palestinians agreed to initiate talks with Israel. India now did not have to make Palestine a precondition for its relations with Israel. Moreover, Palestinian support did not do much for India in terms of Middle East backing on Kashmir.

It was only after 1992 that ties between the countries started developing and Israel began emerging as a key source of weapons and intelligence, scientific expertise in agriculture, water management, healthcare and cybersecurity.

In the 1999 Kargil War Israel supplied India with sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles, arms for the Bofors field guns and night vision equipment – all of which contributed to the success of the Kargil defense. As of today, Israel is India’s second-largest arms supplier, after Russia, with the defense trade being pegged at $10 billion.

However despite the growing ties India continues to maintain a distinction between the two sets of its foreign policy – one driven by humanitarian values with Palestine, the other by strategic business interests with Tel Aviv.

During the time when New Delhi was increasing trade with Tel Aviv, aid to Palestine continued in the form of unconditioned budgetary support and training of Palestinian diplomats, security and technical personnel. India is a consistent donor to the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees across Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Palestine has had a firm supporter in New Delhi in its effort for UN membership. India backed passing of the UN Security Council Resolution of December 1992 which condemned Israel for the expulsion of more than 400 Palestinians from the occupied territories. India voted for “the Right of Palestinians to Self-Determination” resolution at the 53rd session of the UN General Assembly.

In its quest for a “key global ground”, observers say, India will need support from stronger powers. Indeed! But the strategy will certainly be different. A believer in a multipolar world, India will not side or depend on any particular block, its multidimensional foreign policy will drive it to balanced relations with multiple players which will include the BRICS as well as the US and even Israel.

At least for the sake of economics, Israel too cannot sulk at India’s stand on Gaza. With Asia poised to take on the US as Israel’s export market at 21 percent is already almost on a par with the US, India is a destination which Israel sees throwing more opportunities than even China in areas of infrastructure, health and education. Quite understandably then Tel Aviv announced that ‘strong’ ties with India will continue despite the UNHRC stand.

India has sent a clear message that values are larger than “friendship”. The Gaza crack down for now may succeed to hush up insurgency, but in the long run it will give rise to an alienated cohort which will make fighting terror a bigger challenge like never before.

Weapons of mass production: US Army making warheads with 3D printing

RT -

While 3D printers have made more headlines for their ability to make homemade firearms, and for more benevolent uses like the development of prosthetic arms or facial reconstruction surgery, the Army is planning to use them to print sophisticated warhead components on the cheap, according to Army Technology magazine.

“3D printing of warheads will allow us to have better design control and utilize geometries and patterns that previously could not be produced or manufactured,” James Zunino, a researcher at the Armament Research, Engineering and Design Center, told Motherboard.

Traditional manufacturing methods are no match for what 3D printers can offer such weapons of mass destruction. 3D-processed components could allow for superior design such as the ability to “pack in additional payloads, sensors, and safety mechanisms,” Motherboard wrote.

Weaponry made by 3D printers will also allow the military to engineer more precise specifications on warheads, such as blast radiuses.

“Warheads could be designed to meet specific mission requirements whether it is to improve safety to meet an Insensitive Munitions requirement, or it could have tailorable effects, better control, and be scalable to achieve desired lethality,” Zunino said.

And while the US Army is attracted to 3D printing’s ability to offer more efficient mechanisms for killing, the cost-effectiveness at a time of budgetary cutbacks is enticing as well.

“3D printing also allows for integrating components together to add capabilities at reduced total life cycle costs,” Zunino said. “It is expected that 3D printing will reduce life-cycle costs of certain items and make munitions more affordable in the long run through implementation of design for manufacturability, and capitalizing on the add capabilities that 3D printing and additive manufacturing can bring to munitions and warheads.”

Zunino added that the Army is not likely to stop at mere component manufacturing.

“Maybe someday an entire warhead or rocket could be produced as the technology further matures,” Zunino said.

Printing weaponry in 3D doesn’t stop with the Pentagon. Defense giant BAE Systems announced in January that the British Royal Air Force’s Tornado fighter jets have performed their first flights with some onboard metal parts manufactured using 3D-printing technology.

BAE has also claimed in recent months that by 2040, aircraft will be able to use 3D printers to self-heal or produce mini-drones during missions using what they called 'Transformer' technology.

Fears of global spread of Ebola virus as death toll hits 729

RT -

A total of 729 people have died since the beginning of the year, and 1,200 all in all were infected in the country, the World Health Organization says.

The president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, said in a televised address to the nation that the virus is a high-hazard issue for the country.

"Extraordinary challenges require extraordinary measures. The Ebola virus disease poses an extraordinary challenge to our nation," Koroma said. "Consequently... I hereby proclaim a state of public emergency to enable us to take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak."

Security forces and the army will ensure quarantine in all areas where the disease has occurred, and will provide support to health officers and NGOs following attacks on health workers by local communities, the president said.

Scale of ongoing #Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecendented, w/ approx 1323 confirmed & suspected cases reported incl 729 deaths

— WHO (@WHO) July 31, 2014

House-to-house searches are set to be carried out to trace people with Ebola, while homes with the victims will be quarantined, he said.

Meanwhile, 340 US Peace Corps volunteers are set to leave Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea after two of them were in contact with a person who later died of the virus.

It comes amid concerns of the global spread of the virus were voiced following a US man who was working in West Africa started to have symptoms of the contagious disease already on his way to Nigeria, where he died Friday.

Fears now are that others on the flight have contracted the deadly Ebola virus.

Nigerian health officials have since screened 59 people who were in contact with the American man of Liberian descent, Patrick Sawyer. However, the airline refused to release the names of people on the flight, so the exact number or citizenship of passengers isn’t known, The Daily Mail reported.

And there is no treatment in sight, as Glenn Marsh from CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory told ABC.

"It's unlikely that any vaccine that's developed now would come quickly enough for this current outbreak," Marsh said.
Australian researchers use ferrets to have an idea about the cause of the latest strain Zaire Ebola making people sick, with a 90 percent fatality rate.

At the beginning, there are flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches and sore throat. Then, external and internal bleeding starts.

Customs and border security in Australia have been told to look out for sickened Ebola sufferers in the country’s airports, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

New Zealand virologist Sue Huang said there was “a theoretical risk” of the disease spreading to the country, and there was nowhere safe enough in New Zealand to the test the bodily samples and isolate the deadly virus.

The country’s director of public health, Darren Hunt, said that it was very unlikely that the disease has spread to New Zealand.

In the UK, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Mark Walport, told The Daily Telegraph that such diseases are a "potential major threat to Britain."

“We are living in a completely interconnected world where disruptions in countries far away will have major impacts,” he said. “We have to do the best horizon scanning. We have to think about risk and managing risk appropriately.”

Over 700 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the current Ebola outbreak, which originated in Guinea in February.

Runtastic Orbit is a $120 fitness tracker and running watch

Liliputing -

Runtastic makes a popular mobile app for runners that lets you track your distance traveled, view maps of your past runs, get feedback through a voice coach, and much more. The company also offers a line of hardware including a GPS watch, heart rate monitor, and digital scale. Now Runtastic is launching its answer to […]

Runtastic Orbit is a $120 fitness tracker and running watch is a post from: Liliputing

"BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes with s snippet from Ars Technica that should make you (even more) skeptical about plugging in random USB drives, or allowing to persons unknown physical access to you computer's USB ports : When creators of the state-sponsored Stuxnet worm used a USB stick to infect air-gapped computers inside Iran's heavily fortified Natanz nuclear facility, trust in the ubiquitous storage medium suffered a devastating blow. Now, white-hat hackers have devised a feat even more seminal—an exploit that transforms keyboards, Web cams, and other types of USB-connected devices into highly programmable attack platforms that can't be detected by today's defenses. Dubbed BadUSB, the hack reprograms embedded firmware to give USB devices new, covert capabilities. In a demonstration scheduled at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a USB drive, for instance, will take on the ability to act as a keyboard that surreptitiously types malicious commands into attached computers. A different drive will similarly be reprogrammed to act as a network card that causes connected computers to connect to malicious sites impersonating Google, Facebook or other trusted destinations. The presenters will demonstrate similar hacks that work against Android phones when attached to targeted computers. They say their technique will work on Web cams, keyboards, and most other types of USB-enabled devices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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