Archive for December, 2005

CIA Operatives Wanted in Italian Kidnapping Case

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

ROME, December 23 – Today an Italian Prosecutor announced that arrest warrants for 22 CIA operatives have been issued on the 20th of December. The CIA agents are wanted for their part in an alleged kidnapping case in February 2003.

An Italian judge issued the warrants on Tuesday which allow all the nations of the European Union to arrest these CIA agents legally. The case revolves around the muslim cleric Osama Nasr Mostafa Hassan also known as Abu Omar. This man was under investigation by the Italian authorities in 2003 for alleged links with terrorist operations when a team of CIA agents abducted the man in the streets of Milan and transported him to Egypt where he was allegedly tortured.

Earlier this year Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi demanded an explanation from the U.S. ambassador on this case, no information about that meeting was publicized. Italian prosecutors are now asking the Justice Minister Roberto Castelli to demand the extradition of the CIA agents by the U.S.

Sources within the CIA meanwhile claims that the Italian military secret service approved the operation and that the Italian counterpart of the CIA was informed about this operation. The Italian government is denying any such claims and insist that this abduction was illegal.

Bird Flu Develops Resistance Against Tamiflu

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

GENEVA, December 22 – In a very alarming development recent research shows that the dreaded H5N1 virus is developing into a Tamiflu-resistant form. This could mean that the stockpile most nations are accumulating might be useless in the battle against the avian influenza.

The incident happened in Vietnam where four out of eight hospitalized patients died after receiving Tamiflu treatment. Further research established that two of the victims were treated to late but the other two were treated correctly and the treatment did not work. Research shows that the specific strain was resistant to the Tamiflu drug normally used to cure victims.

Health experts agree that more research has to be done to establish the most efficient dosage and treatment period. Using too small dosage or to short of a treatment might even benefit the resistance of the H5N1 virus against Tamiflu. The WHO meanwhile warned that nobody should be alarmed by this development, yet there is no reason not too. Of course we need more research but the fact that a resistance has been developed against our best defense for the bird flu is a very worrying message.

Judge Resigns as Protest to Bush’s Secret Spy Program

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

WASHINGTON, December 21 – The new chapter in this drama of covert spying missions approved by the President takes a dramatic turn. In light of the recent report by the New York Times and Bush’s confirmation of the report Judge James Robertson felt compelled to resign from his position as judge on a special court to regulate government surveillance.

The aide to Judge Robertson would not comment on the situation and the White House of course refused comments as well but the informed spectators all agree that this is a resignation out of protest. Bush made it clear that he has no intention to stop the secret intelligence gathering that started in the 9/11 aftermath and obviously Judge Robertson had questions towards the legal justification of his program.

It is rather interesting to see how this develops, if Bush stumbles onto more resistance he might be forced to temporarily stop the program. Seeing as the Senate refused to renew the Patriot Act many people object to Bush’s sense of dictatorship, this on top of the criticism on the war in Iraq might form a huge problem for Bush, who saw his popularity fall and fall and fall.

Smoking Among Teenagers Slowed Down as Painkillers Gain Popularity

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

MICHIGAN, December 20 – It seems as though the big guns are gaining popularity among teens. In a recent survey held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan.

The survey showed that the decline of smoking, which progressed quickly every year, has come to a stop. Probable causes for this is the decrease of government and state funds for prevention of smoking and a big increase, record breaking even, among cigarette manufacturers. Still the 23% of high school seniors smoking is considerably less than the 40% rate of 1976. In comparison with last year there was almost no difference among teenagers.

Strangely enough, and very alerting, the use of prescription painkillers increased rapidly. Painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin are popular among teenagers and given the addictive nature of these drugs that’s an extremely worrying development.

Illegal drugs, with marijuana as frontrunner, have been declining also, with just a very modest decline in the upper grades. All in all about every form of drug use either decline or leveled out except for prescription painkillers.