Over Easy

(Picture courtesy of mhaithaca at flickr.com.)

The Thursday edition will once more be pointed at foreign media, as late host Southern Dragon brought to us in the past.

Banks in the U.S. are under a barrage of attacks in the cybersphere, which has not absolutely been tracked to its source but is seen as coming from Iran by those defending them.

“There is no doubt within the US government that Iran is behind these attacks,” James Lewis, a former official in the state and commerce departments and now a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the New York Times.

While the identities of those behind the online onslaught officially remains a mystery, it was clear they were using a potent new weapon for slamming bank websites with overwhelming numbers or requests for information.

The attackers infected datacenters used to host services in the Internet “cloud” and commandeered massive computing power to back distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, according to security experts.

The potential appointment of John Brennan as CIA Director prompted criticism for former testimony he gave about civilian deaths resulting from drone attacks.  Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian was especially vituperative.

It is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for Bush’s most radical policies is not only Obama’s choice for the same position now, but will encounter very little resistance. Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus. Then again, given how the CIA operates, one could fairly argue that Brennan’s eagerness to deceive and his long record of supporting radical and unaccountable powers make him the perfect person to run that agency.

Personally, I am astonished to hear charges that drone attacks are counter-productive  go without comment that our entire war in the Middle East is exactly that, too.

Brennan’s statements on the current drone program also have attracted controversy. In a June 2011 speech at Johns Hopkins university, he said that in the prior year “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop”.

Three Kurdish women,  including Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of the militant dissident group in Turkey, PKK, were murdered in Paris.

Members of the Kurdish community demonstrated outside the information centre as Mr Valls arrived.

The three women had “undoubtedly” been executed, Mr Valls said, adding that the French authorities were determined to “shed light on this act”.

Help was being sent by Canadian government Fisheries and Oceans department, for killer whales trapped in the ice in a remote area.

Several killer whales are trapped and at times panicking in the sea ice of Hudson Bay, and a local mayor is calling on the Canadian government to send an icebreaker to save them. The whales are taking turns breathing through a hole in the ice about the size of a pickup truck in the frigid waters near the remote Inuit community of Inukjuak, Quebec. “They are trapped,” the community’s mayor, Peter Inukpuk, told CBC radio on Wednesday.

Upcoming elections in March are being foreshadowed in Kenya by violence as natural resources combine with ethnic division conflicts.

The 2013 elections are for the presidency and parliament, as well as for regional gubernatorial posts and local councils, under a new constitution designed to devolve power from the centre to Kenya’s marginalised regions.

But while the devolutionary reforms of the 2010 constitution have been widely welcomed, it has also unleashed historical grievances over land and resources…Kenya has a track record of politicians inciting violence around election season. Four prominent Kenyans – including Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and lawmaker William Ruto – have been charged with inciting the 2007-2008 post-electoral violence by the International Criminal Court.

Flames resulting from unparalleled high temperatures in Australia continued to threaten homes and countryside, as well as a former weapons site in the Tianjara plateau.

Were the flames to reach the plateau, located in the Morton National Park, it could complicate firefighting efforts, with the unexploded bombs making water-drops impossible.

As much as half of the world’s food is being wasted, a report from Britain’s the Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimated.

The report said that between 30% and 50% of the four billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year went to waste.

It suggested that half the food bought in Europe and the US was thrown away.

Dr Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today.

“It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.

“The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers.”

Much food is left in the field, the report noted, as it isn’t physically attractive and therefore unsaleable.

As we continue to remind ourselves, Never.give.up.