Archive for July 1, 2009


Same strain of influenza was released by accident three decades ago

Source: By Steve Connor| Science Editor |The Independent

It has swept across the world killing at least 300 people and infecting thousands more. Yet the swine flu pandemic might not have happened had it not been for the accidental release of the same strain of influenza virus from a research laboratory in the late 1970s, according to a new study.

Scientists investigating the genetic make-up of flu viruses have concluded there is a high probability that the H1N1 strain of influenza “A” behind the current pandemic might never have been re-introduced into the human population were it not for an accidental leak from a laboratory working on the same strain in 1977.

Yesterday, the Department of Health announced a further surge in the number of cases in Britain with another 1,604 confirmed over the weekend, and the death of a girl in Birmingham with underlying medical complications; the third death in Britain from swine flu-related problems.

Almost 6,000 Britons have now been infected with the influenza “A” (H1N1) strain of swine flu. But two medical researchers believe that this strain of the virus had been extinct in the human population for more than 20 years until it was unwittingly reintroduced by scientists working in a research lab somewhere in the world, leading to a pandemic in 1977 that began in Russia and China.

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Madoff's Mugshot

Madoff's Mugshot

On Monday, June 29th 2009, US District Court Judge Denny Chin handed the perpetrator who facilitated “the largest, longest and most widespread Ponzi scheme in history” a 150 years behind bars, but what is next or should I say who is next? If you take Madoff’s statement to the court, his ludicrous explanation for his “error in judgement” verbatim. He would have you believe he committed  “the largest, longest and most widespread Ponzi scheme in history” by himself, no co-conspirator’s he acted alone.

Your Honor, I cannot offer you an excuse for my behavior. How do you excuse betraying thousands of investors who entrusted me with their life savings? How do you excuse deceiving 200 employees who have spent most of their working life working for me? How do you excuse lying to your brother and two sons who spent their whole adult life helping to build a successful and respectful business? How do you excuse lying and deceiving a wife who stood by you for 50 years, and still stands by you? And how do you excuse deceiving an industry that you spent a better part of your life trying to improve?

Madoff’s admitted solitary in this labyrinth of financial deception, is as unbelievable as the number of victims enveloped in the precedent setting scheme, now reportedly 8000.  Bernard Madoff Investment Securities, LLC (BMIS) wasn’t your run of the mill securities firm. BMIS did not have to seek out investors, instead  referrals were pouring in, word of mouth, friends referring friends, business partners referring contacts, you get the picture.  Who could blame them, who wouldn’t be lured by a promised 8-12% annual return on their investment? In reality though, Madoff never made any investments, instead he used  the money received from new investors to pay returns to existing clients and as revealed in his trial, to finance his and his family’s lavish lifestyle.

So exactly how did Madoff’s ponsi scheme stay below the radar for so long? Harry Markopolosa, a former investment manager tried to warn federal regulators about Madoff  not once but repeatedly since 2000, his warnings were ignored. In March, Markopolosa  testified for the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Markopolosa’ testimony was explosive, he told house members the SEC was in fact enabling Madoff and he “would turn over new evidence to the agency showing the alleged Ponzi scheme mastermind had not acted alone”. 

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Mary please! Have you fallen and bumped your previously taxpayer funded head? At a time when the NC state budget office is slashing everything except the state bird, you assert you were somehow treated unfairly because your quid pro quo position at NCSU was eliminated?  

Former first lady Mary Easley’s hiring left a trail of dethroned N.C. State officials, but she has notified the university that she doesn’t plan to join them.

Easley indicated in a letter delivered to the university Monday that she will appeal her firing earlier this month. Her attorney, Marvin Schiller, declined to comment further.

In the letter, he wrote that Easley plans to file a formal grievance through NCSU related both to her termination and “with respect to any severance, notice or hearing which she may be due under NCSU’s policies, regulations and rules.”

NCSU did not offer Easley a severance package.

Insert “whine”. Mrs. Easley clearly you have intestinal fortitude but the taxpayers of NC are not interested in whatever distasteful occupational objectives control your day. In fact most never were. Maybe it’s time you and your (under federal investigation) husband should contemplate a move. I hear South Carolina may be in need of a governor.

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