Monday, April 21, 2008

United Nations warns of food crisis

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) - The U.N. chief warned Sunday that the world must urgently increase food production to ease skyrocketing prices and pledged to set up a task force on a crisis threatening to destabilize developing nations.

The cost of food has increased by around 40 percent since mid-2007 worldwide, and the strain has caused riots and protests in countries like Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Haiti and Egypt.

"We must make no mistake, the problem is big. If we offer the right aid, the solutions will come," Ban said at the opening of a a five-day U.N. conference on trade and development in Ghana's capital, Accra.

"One thing is certain, the world has consumed more than it has produced" over the last three years, he said.

Ban blamed a host of causes for the soaring cost of food, including rising oil prices, the fall of the U.S. dollar and natural disasters.

He said he would put together a special task force to help deal with the problem and called on the international community to help. He said the U.N. World Food Program plans to raise $750 million per year to help feed 73 million people in 80 countries.

"We need a real world and not the world of economic theories," Ban said. "I will work on this right now with a sense of urgency."

Ban said the Millennium Development Goals—adopted at a U.N. summit in 2000 to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015—were not being met.

"We risk going back to square one, and we need to redouble efforts or betray the promises that we made to our people," Ban said.

In Haiti, food riots this month cost Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis his job and setback international efforts to stabilize the country. Hundreds of Haitians have stood in long times to receive U.N. and regional food aid rushed to the country.

UN chief warns world must urgently increase food production

International Monetary Fund warms of food riots

Worst may still be to come in food rioting, IMF head says (Roundup)

Apr 18, 2008, 9:00 GMT

Paris - The worst of the instability and rioting caused by the skyrocketing cost of staple foods may yet come, International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a French radio station on Friday.

'The worst of the crisis may be before us,' Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, told Europe 1 radio. 'Hundreds of millions of people will be affected.'

The IMF head also said that democratically elected governments may be toppled because of the crisis, even though they enacted correct policies.

Strauss-Kahn also invoked the possibility of regional warfare provoked by the rising cost of foods such as maize, rice and wheat.

'History is full of wars that began because of events like this,' he warned.

High staple-food prices recently sparked violence in several countries, including Egypt and Haiti.

Addressing the issue, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that Paris would double its food aid to poor nations, 'bringing it to 60 million euros (95 million dollars) for 2008.'

'It is urgent to act in order to reinforce food security,' Sarkozy said at an international conference on the environment and energy in Paris. 'The food crisis calls for immediate responses, as well as an ambitious strategy to aid agriculture.'

Worst may still be to come in food rioting, IMF head says (Roundup) - Business

Israel Prepares for War against Lebanon and Syria

By the start of 2007, reports about major upgrades to the Syrian military, including advances in missile technology, with Iranian help were widespread in Israel. [1] The impression of an imminent war existed across much of the Middle East. Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran were reported in Israel to be preparing for a war to spark in the Levant. [2]

It was also claimed in Israel that Damascus had sent secret messages to Tel Aviv that should Israel continue to reject Syria’s peace overtures, a war would breakout in the Golan Heights and that Syrian reservists were forbidden from leaving Syria because of the possibility of combat. [3]

In June, 2007, an inner circle of the Israeli government that would form a “war cabinet” in a Middle Eastern war scenario was categorically informed that a war with Syria would absolutely involve Iranian military intervention. [4]

It is now 2008 and the spectre of war has remerged in the Middle East. Syrian President Basher Al-Assad revealed that his country is uneasy and prepared for the worst once again. Despite Tehran’s position that the U.S. would not dare launch a war against Iran, the Iranian military is on standby. The Lebanese military and Hezbollah have also been placed on alert.

“While war is not a preferable option, if Israel declares war on Syria and Lebanon or if America declares war on Iran, Syria would be prepared,” the Syrian President told a gathering of Arab intellectuals according to Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese newspaper, on April 16, 2008. [5] “We should analyze the situation from the perspective of American interests, because the last war in Lebanon has shown that at some point Israel wanted to stop the fighting, but was forced by the [Bush Jr. Administration] to pursue it further,” Basher Al-Assad continued. [6] Thus the threat of war lives on in the Middle East in 2008…

“Miscalculations” in the Levant: Setting the Stage for War?

Hereto, Tel Aviv has been deliberately promoting tensions with Syria and Lebanon. In 2007, Major-General Moshe Kaplinsky, the former deputy chief of staff for the Israeli military, stated during a press briefing that war between Syria and Israel was unlikely as an answer to growing rumours of war that started since late-2006 and the commencement of 2007. The Israeli flag officer however did not rule out an eventual Israeli-Syrian conflict. Major-General Kaplinsky along with many other Israeli commanders and officials repeatedly stressed that a “miscalculation on the border” could spark a conflict between Syria and Israel sometime in the future. [7]

Not long after the 2006 Israeli defeat in Lebanon, Tel Aviv started crafting the “justifications” for more wars in its surrounding neighbourhood, the Levant. [8] The Israeli definitions of “miscalculation” have been extremely vague and ominous.

Tel Aviv has been involved in the process of creating a military carte blanche, allowing for “flexibility” in its regional approach towards Lebanon and Syria.

“Miscalculations” in the eyes of Tel Aviv range from the domestic affairs of the Lebanese and the events in the occupied Palestinian Territories to the most audacious and bellicose of definitions, such as the reaction of the Syrians to Israeli hostilities.

The secretive air assault, later revealed by the codename Operation Orchard, made by the 69th Squadron of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) against an unheard of facility in Deir ez-Zoir Governorate of Syria on September 6, 2007 could have become a “miscalculation” on the part of Syria had it responded to Israeli provocations.

The Israeli definition of a “miscalculation” also means any arbitrary fire into Israel. The Jerusalem Post defined a “miscalculation” that could spark a war with Syria as an incident “along the border, in the form of a terrorist attack that escalates into a larger conflict.” [9] Such an incident could easily be sparked through conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

A false flag operation could also bring such an incident about. On July 18, 2007 there was rocket fire from South Lebanon into Israel by an unknown group, something that could have been used as a pretext for war. In Syria, Lebanon, and the Arab World the incident was believed to be the work of the Israelis and their allies in an effort to justify a future war.

excellent full article here:
The March to War: Israel Prepares for War against Lebanon and Syria

Electromagetic fields and brain cancer clinical trial

We have reported for many years that low voltage EM fields will cause cancer cells to self-destruct through apoptosis. There is now a clinical trial on brain cancer patients using continuously applied external electromagetic fields of low voltage and relatively low frequencies (150-200khz). Preliminary results are quite good.

NovoCure - Pivotal (Phase III) Clincal Trial

Cancer Cells

Cancer cells divide and multiply rapidly in the brain. These cancer cells carry special types of electrically charged elements that play a role during the cell division process. Other healthy cells in the brain multiply at a much slower rate, if at all, and thus rarely include the same electric properties as the dividing cancer cells.

Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields)

The NovoTTF-100A device used in this trial delivers very low intensity, alternating electric fields to the tumor site through the scalp. These fields are known as Tumor Treating Fields or TTFields. Due to the unique shape of cancer cells when they are multiplying, TTFields cause the building blocks of these cells to pile up in such a way that the cells physically break apart. In addition, cancer cells also contain miniature building blocks that move essential parts of the cells from place to place during division. TTFields cause these building blocks to fall apart since they have a special type of electric charge. As a result of these two effects, preliminary study data indicate that cancer tumor growth is slowed and may even reverse after continuous exposure to TTFields. Preliminary data also indicate that the TTFields affect the healthy brain cells much less than cancer cells since healthy brain cells multiply at a much slower rate, if at all.

Published online on June 5, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0702916104

Medical Sciences
Alternating electric fields arrest cell proliferation in animal tumor models and human brain tumors
( cancer | glioblastoma | tumor treating fields )
Eilon D. Kirson et. al.

Communicated by Joseph Schlessinger, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, April 5, 2007 (received for review January 15, 2007)

We have recently shown that low intensity, intermediate frequency, electric fields inhibit by an anti-microtubule mechanism of action, cancerous cell growth in vitro. Using implanted electrodes, these fields were also shown to inhibit the growth of dermal tumors in mice. The present study extends these findings to additional cell lines [human breast carcinoma; MDA-MB-231, and human non-small-cell lung carcinoma (H1299)] and to animal tumor models (intradermal B16F1 melanoma and intracranial F-98 glioma) using external insulated electrodes. These findings led to the initiation of a pilot clinical trial of the effects of TTFields in 10 patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). Median time to disease progression in these patients was 26.1 weeks and median overall survival was 62.2 weeks. These time to disease progression and OS values are more than double the reported medians of historical control patients. No device-related serious adverse events were seen after >70 months of cumulative treatment in all of the patients. The only device-related side effect seen was a mild to moderate contact dermatitis beneath the field delivering electrodes. We conclude that TTFields are a safe and effective new treatment modality which effectively slows down tumor growth in vitro, in vivo and, as demonstrated here, in human cancer patients.

Dr. Jeff Sutherland's Electronic Medicine: Electromagetic fields and brain cancer clinical trial

Pre Market Trading Indications

Futures indicate a modestly lower open for the mkt following weaker than expected Q1 results from Bank of America (BAC). Bank of America missed by $0.18, saying provision expense increased by $4.78 bln from a year ago to $6.01 bln due to rising credit costs -- particularly in the home equity, small business and homebuilder portfolios -- including a $3.30 bln increase to the reserve. But shares of BAC, as well as futures, touched their lows immediately following the release and have regained most of their losses. Other than those results, it has been a slow news morning, and things are not expected to pick up much with no economic data on today's agenda and no potentially market-moving earnings releases today after the close.

futures are currently -14; Nasdaq futures are currently -4.0; S&P futures are currently -2.1.

Following a large sell-off last week, the Bond mkt managed a late-session rally Friday to close flat on the day. This morning, however, treasuries are trading lower once again as Bank of America's miss has done little to alter the sour mood. The 10-yr is currently -10/32 to 3.745%. Looking ahead on the Fed calendar, Chicago President Evans speaks twice today at a conference, first at 9:30ET and then at 14:30ET, while Governor Kroszner speaks on community development at 13:30ET... In

, May crude oil ($116.90 +0.21) modestly extended its all-time high to $117.60 this morning after Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) declared a Force Majeure following an attack on its Nigeria pipeline, saying 169K bpd have been shut...

In Europe, mkts started the week lower as earnings took center stage, while banks were volatile after the BoE gave details of the liquidity plan it first announced last week. FTSE is currently -0.4%; DAX is currently -1.0%; CAC is currently -1.2%.

In Asia, mkts rallied, tracking the gain on Wall Street Friday night, after results from cos like Citigroup and Google raised investor hopes earnings will remain strong despite slower global growth. Nikkei closed +1.6%; Hang Seng closed +2.2%; Shanghai Composite closed +0.7%... Notable pre-market Calls include Upgrades: SLB at Morgan Stanley; Downgrades: AVR and PEIX at Morgan Stanley, BCS at Merrill Lynch, CAT at Credit Suisse and Wachovia, WFC at Oppenheimer; Miscellaneous: Citi raises its Q1 EPS ests on AAPL, Lehman cuts its Q1, 2008 and 2009 EPS ests on PBR, Oppenheimer lowers ests on C... On the

Earnings calendar
, 38 cos are confirmed to report today after the close, though none are expected to be market-moving releases... Today's Economic calendar is empty.

Gapping up in reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: HAS +4.6%, ACI +4.5%, NVS +3.9%, DGX +3.0%, MRK +1.3%, LEE +1.0%...

M&A news
: PKTR +13.8% (to be acquired by BCSI for $7.10 a share)...

Select coal names ticking higher on light volume following ACI's earnings report
: ICO +3.4%, MEE +2.9%, BTU +2.7%...

Other news: TIBX +5.3% (announces $300 mln stock buyback program), JASO +3.7% (signs long-term wafer supply agreement with GCL Silicon Technology), ICO +3.4% (still checking), SNP +3.3% (China Petroleum and PetroChina jump on government subsidy - Reuters), STO +3.0% (gains 1/7% in Norwegian trading, the most in 4 months as crude oil rose over $117 a barrel in New York after OPEC said it would maintain production), QGEN +2.4% (still checking), PTR +2.3% (China Petroleum and PetroChina jump on government subsidy - Reuters), TS +2.0% (still checking), GSK +1.1% (up in sympathy with MRK), IRBT +1.0% (announces funding agreement with US Army valued at $6 mln)...

Analyst upgrades
: HCSG +3.3% (upgraded to Outperform at Morgan Keegan), PPC +2.4% (upgraded to Outperform at Credit Suisse), SLB +1.1% (upgraded to Overweight at Morgan Stanley), POZN +1.1% (upgraded to Neutral at Broadpoint).

Gap up and downs

Gapping up:

MRK +4.4%, NVS +3.9%, GSX +3.4%, QGEN +2.4%, SGP +2.2%, CNB +1.8%, UBS +1.3%, BAC +1.1%...

Gapping down:

TMA -9.2%, ING -3.4%, MF -3.2%, SHLD -2.6%, RBS -2.1%, CAT -1.7%, WM -1.6%.

NYSE Arca Morning Update

NYSE Arca Morning Update for Monday, Apr 21, 2008 :

10 Most Active stocks on NYSE Arca as of 08:30:00 ET

Based on Dollar Volume: Based on Share Volume:
Dollar Volume
Share Volume

no stocks gapping over 15 percent, oil hit record high again and traded over 117/barrel

NYSE Arca Morning Update

Pre Market Calls

  • Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) Cut to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
  • Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ: CRUS) Cut to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.
  • Embarq (NYSE: EQ) Raised to Outperform at Wachovia.
  • Heritage-Crystal Clean (NASDAQ: HCCI) started as Buy at Piper Jaffray.
  • Marriott (NYSE: MAR) Cut to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.
  • MGIC Investment Corp (NYSE: MTG) Raised to Outperform from Peer Perform at Bear Stearns.
  • Pilgrims Pride (NYSE: PPC) Raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
  • Ryder System (NYSE: R) Cut to Neutral from Outperform at Baird.
  • Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) Raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
  • Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) cut to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer.

24/7 Wall St.

Pre-Market Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Advanced

Active Share Volume Declined


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


Packeteer, Inc.
$6.18 $6.85 10.84% 3,100

ShengdaTech, Inc.
$8.86 $9.23 4.18% 9,695

NGAS Resources, Inc.
$6.50 $6.60 1.54% 3,000

TXCO Resources Inc.
$13.80 $14 1.45% 3,000

Crocs, Inc.
$10.22 $10.35 1.27% 3,900

Microsoft Corporation
$30 $30.36 1.20% 39,796

Apple Inc.
$161.04 $162.78 1.08% 45,506

E*TRADE Financial Corporation
$3.97 $4 0.76% 4,100

Yahoo! Inc.
$28.43 $28.63 0.70% 6,010, Inc.
$341 $342.50 0.44% 6,865

As of 4/21/2008 8:03:00 AM

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Declined

Active Share Volume Advanced


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


Dell Inc.
$19.47 $19.39 0.41% 5,510

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1
$46.71 $46.65 0.13% 488,309

eBay Inc.
$31.71 $31.68 0.09% 4,300

As of 4/21/2008 8:03:52 AM

Pre-Market Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

Pre-Market: Stock Trading Before the Markets Open from CNNMoney

FTSE 100-19.10-0.32%6,037.40
CAC 40-51.31-1.03%4,910.38
HANG SENG+523.89+2.17%24,721.67
NIKKEI 225+220.10+1.63%13,696.55

U.S. Dollar vs Euro+0.0093+0.59%1.5904

U.S. Dollar vs Yen-0.5200-0.50%0.0097

U.S. Dollar vs UK £-0.01-0.63%1.99
Open Closed
Pre-Market: Stock Trading Before the Markets Open from CNNMoney

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