A growing Asian middle class now has access to shark-fin soup, a dish once reserved for royalty. Cities like Shanghai have multistory shopping centers dedicated to fish and animal sales, which include bin after bin of shark fins.
Local Asian markets in the United States and Europe supply shark fins to eager customers. And shark fins are increasingly found in other products such as energy drinks, pet supplies, makeup, vitamins and homeopathic medicines.
Consequently, many species of shark may already be on the way to extinction, which could be bad news for the entire ocean ecosystem. According to the National Shark Research Consortium, “Sharks are involved in several steps of this web including feeding on the sick and dying, and feeding on
larger animals such as whales, seals and tuna, which have few predators.”
The FBI improperly opened investigations into Greenpeace and other animal rights and anti-war groups after the September 11 attacks of 2001, the US government has admitted.
The head of the Vatican bank has formally been placed under investigation in an inquiry into a suspected violation of Italy’s money-laundering laws, judicial sources said today.
At the same time, a judge in Rome ordered a freeze on €23m (£19.5m) held in an account opened by the Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), at another financial institution in the Italian capital. It was thought to be the first time such action had been authorised against the IOR in Italy.
Since last September, the Bank of Italy has classified the Vatican bank as a non-EU institution whose dealings with other banks are thus subject to especially close scrutiny.
Looking for ideas for your next technothriller? This list of Master’s thesis titles from the past two years’ graduates of the DHS-sponsored Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security is a gold-mine. Seriously, though: if you want a 50,000-foot view of the directions in which the US security apparat is headed, look no further.
If you ever wondered how much difference just one letter can make when it comes to a message, ask the thousands of people who drove by a digital billboard near the intersection of Ironwood and State Road 23 between Thursday and Monday morning.
These days, however, tax-cutters are hardly even trying to make the trickle-down case. Yes, Republicans are pushing the line that raising taxes at the top would hurt small businesses, but their hearts don’t really seem in it. Instead, it has become common to hear vehement denials that people making $400,000 or $500,000 a year are rich. I mean, look at the expenses of people in that income class — the property taxes they have to pay on their expensive houses, the cost of sending their kids to elite private schools, and so on. Why, they can barely make ends meet.
And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago.
The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.
You see, the rich are different from you and me: they have more influence. It’s partly a matter of campaign contributions, but it’s also a matter of social pressure, since politicians spend a lot of time hanging out with the wealthy. So when the rich face the prospect of paying an extra 3 or 4 percent of their income in taxes, politicians feel their pain — feel it much more acutely, it’s clear, than they feel the pain of families who are losing their jobs, their houses, and their hopes.
New FEC filings show that American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-backed group that is pouring money into attack ads targeting Democrats around the country, continues to be funded virtually entirely by billionaires.
In August, American Crossroads raised $2,639,052. Fully $2.4 million of that — or 91 percent – came in the form of gifts from just three billionaires.
Let’s look at this woman (Dr. Ann De Wees Allen), who trademarks her name (Dr. Ann De Wees Allen), so that anyone who uses it (Dr. Ann De Wees Allen) will be sued by her (Dr. Ann De Wees Allen) for infringement (on “Dr. Ann De Wees Allen.”)
A resolution of the European Parliament calling for more repression of file sharing will be voted upon on Wednesday. European conservatives, led by a pro-sarkozy rapporteur and helped by a diversion from the liberal group, are pushing for the adoption of the Gallo report. If they succeed, blind repression and private copyright police of the Net will become the official position of the European Parliament. Our fundamental freedoms are at stake. In just 5 minutes, you can help rejecting it.
Lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would let the Justice Department seek U.S. court orders against piracy websites anywhere in the world, and shut them down through the sites’ domain registration.
The bipartisan legislation, dubbed the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, (.pdf) amounts to the Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement. The recording industry and movie studios have been clamoring for such a capability since the George W. Bush administration. If passed, the Justice Department could ask a federal court for an injunction that would order a U.S. domain registrar or registry to stop resolving an infringing site’s domain name, so that visitors to PirateBay.org, for example, would an error.