Iran produces more than 300 tons of uranium hexaflouride gas

Iran continues to process uranium; gas is placed into centrifuges,
becomes enriched uranium used for either producing electricity or
manufacturing nuclear weapons depending on level of enrichment. New UN
sanctions expected
An Iranian official said Sunday that the Islamic republic has increased
its production to more than 300 tons of a gas used for uranium
enrichment, a semiofficial news agency reported.  
The announcement comes as the UN Security Council is deciding whether
to impose new economic sanctions against Iran for refusing to roll back
its nuclear activities.   
Defense minister tells Washington Post Israel suspects Iran 'much
beyond level of Manhattan Project'    
“The Isfahan uranium conversion facility is active, and it has produced
more than 300 tons of UF6,” otherwise known as uranium hexaflouride
gas, the Fars news agency quoted Javad Vaidi, deputy of Iran's Supreme
National Security Council, as saying in meeting to members of the
Revolutionary Guards. The Fars news agency is considered close to the
elite branch of Iran's military.
The central Iranian cities of Isfahan and Natanz house the heart of the
Iran's nuclear program. In Isfahan, a conversion facility reprocesses
raw uranium, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The
gas is then …

Report: North Korea to sell minisubs to Iran

North Korea is preparing to sell minisubmarines to Iran, according to
Japan’s Sankei Shimbun. The minisubs wouldlikely be deployed in the
strategic Straits of Hormuz through which much of the world's oil
The newspaper reported Jan. 18 that North Korea is negotiating to sell
the submarines in exchange for debts incurred by Pyongyang, quoting a
source familiar with North Korea affairs.
The report said Iran is urging North Korea to upgrade existing North
Korean small submarines as a way for Iran to bolster its naval power.  
“Perhaps, Iran needs to improve the performance of the submarines for
the purpose of tightening security,” following growing tensions in
Strait of Hormuz, the source said.
Negotiations between the two nations were held in February and July of
last year.
The report said North Korea is believed to have some 50 small
Iran has several Russian-made Kilo-class submarines.
U.S. intelligence officials said Iran purchased gunboats from North
Korea in 2002.
A U.S. official confirmed that North Korea is continuing to sell
weapons to Iran but did not specify what type.

Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision

Microchips Everywhere: Boon for Retailers, Bane for Privacy Advocates
Here's a vision of the not-so-distant future:
–Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you
buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to
track consumer items — and, by extension, consumers — wherever they
go, from a distance.
–A seamless, global network of electronic “sniffers” will scan radio
tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes
instantly so that customized ads, “live spam,” may be beamed at them.
–In “Smart Homes,” sensors built into walls, floors and appliances
will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine
cabinets — all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager
for a peek into the occupants' private lives.Science fiction?
In truth, much of the radio frequency identification technology that
enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already
exists — and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being
patented, perfected and deployed.
Some of the world's largest corporations are vested in the success of
RFID technology, which couples highly miniaturized computers with radio
antennas to broadcast information about sales and buyers to company
Already, microchips are turning up in some computer printers, …

Three Little Pigs 'too offensive'

By Sean Coughlan  
Three Digital Pigs  
A story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale has been turned down
by a government agency's awards panel as the subject matter could
offend Muslims.
The digital book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges
who warned that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.
Becta, the government's educational technology agency, is a leading
partner in the annual Bett Award for schools.
The judges also attacked Three Little Cowboy Builders for offending
The book's creative director, Anne Curtis, said the idea that including
pigs in a story could be interpreted as racism was “like a slap in the
'Cultural issues'
The CD-Rom digital version of the traditional story of the three little
pigs, called Three Little Cowboy Builders, is aimed at primary school
But judges at this year's Bett Award said that they had “concerns about
the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.
The Three Little Cowboy Builders has already been a prize winner at the
recent Education Resource Award – but its Newcastle-based publishers,
Shoo-fly, were turned down by the Bett Award panel.
The feedback from the judges explaining why they …

Darker Days Ahead?

Robert Reich warns a recession, or worse, could be coming.
Think the last few days have been bad for Wall Street and the rest of
the world's markets? Hang on, things are probably going to get worse,
says Robert Reich, President Clinton's former secretary of Labor and
author of the recent book “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of
Business, Democracy and Everyday Life.” According to Reich, who
currently teaches public policy at the University of California,
Berkeley, the United States might even be headed toward a depression.
NEWSWEEK's Arlyn Tobias Gajilan talked to Reich about the Fed's
surprise rate cut Wednesday, the “D word,” the growing criticism of
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and whether a stimulus package
will include $500 check for each American. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: Many investors had hoped for an interest-rate cut, but this
cut's size and timing took people by surprise. Were you taken aback by
the Fed's three-quarter basis-point cut, the largest single-day
reduction in the Fed's history? And do you think it's necessary?
Robert Reich: Yes and yes. The Fed is clearly becoming aware of the
serious potential of an economic meltdown. The size of the cut is
larger than anyone expected because the Fed usually …

Forget crop circles – now we've got a mysterious SHEEP circle

There were strange goings on at the farm today when a flock of sheep
made their own version of a crop circle.
About 100 of the woolly creatures formed an orderly ring – baffling the
farmer and passers-by.
But after hearing the roar of the boss's tractor the animals scattered
like a group of naughty schoolboys.
Ewe must be joking: Sheep form a perfect ring in Herefordshire in a bid
to copy crop circle
Photographer Russell Bird, who captured the amazing scene, said:”I was
quite taken aback. I couldn't believe what I was seeing,” he said.
I did see a dog worrying sheep nearby beforehand and the dog ran off
round the hedge in a different field, so I don't know if they were
discussing that.”
Baa-rmy: A sheep yesterday enjoys some grass
Bizarrely, he then spotted another circle three fields away, but was
unable to take a picture with both “formations” lasting around 10
minutes before dispersing.
Estate agent Mr Bird added of the scene in Kington, Herefordshire:
“They moved around inside and were almost filling the gaps in.
“The only reason this circle came to an end was that the farmer came in
with a tractor and some …