Friday, January 29, 2010

AstraZeneca adds 8,000 to job-cuts toll

By Tracy Staton

Want the bad news first? AstraZeneca is restructuring again, cutting more than 10,000 jobs around the world. That's in addition to the 12,600 it has already trimmed, including 8,000 in newly announced trimmings and 2,400 previously announced. The cuts are expected to save the drugmaker £1.1 billion, or $1.9 billion, each year by year's end 2013; they're stemming both from an expansion of the previously announced restructuring and from the new plan announced today, the company says in a statement.

Layoffs will hit almost every area of the business--from sales, marketing and admin, where 4,450 jobs will see the axe, to supply chain ops, which will shed 2,240 jobs. The company may shutter some research sites completely as it slices away 3,500 R&D jobs, but by transferring and relocating people, the net cut to research is expected to be around 1,800 positions, the company says in a statement. The research cuts will cost the company $1 billion, with total restructuring charges going forward expected to be $2 billion-plus.

Why the cuts? Although AstraZeneca turned in a 23 percent increase in annual pretax profits for 2009--that's the good news, by the way--it's looking at a tough 2010. Revenues are expected to suffer as generic rivals for Arimidex (breast cancer, $1.9 billion in 2009) and Pulmicrot Respules (asthma, $1.3 billion) hit the market. This year's sales are expected to come in below 2009 numbers, by a "single digits" percentage.

- get the AstraZeneca release
- find the slideshow AZ presented to analysts
- read the Financial Times piece
- see the news from Crain's Manchester
- check out Bloomberg's take

Related Articles:
AZ outlines pricey licensing strategy
AZ touts new drug approval plans
AstraZeneca - Top 10 Layoffs of 2009
AstraZeneca - Top 5 layoffs of 2008
AstraZeneca - Top 5 layoffs of 2007

Read more about: pharma earnings, pharmaceutical layoffs, AstraZeneca

Ellsberg on Zinn

Ellsberg (My hero) on Zinn
A Memory of Howard

Posted on Jan 27, 2010

By Daniel Ellsberg

I just learned that my friend Howard Zinn died today. Earlier this morning, I was being interviewed by the Boston Phoenix, in connection with the February release of a documentary in which he is featured prominently. The interviewer asked me who my own heroes were, and I had no hesitation in answering, first, “Howard Zinn.”

Just weeks ago, after watching the film, I woke up thinking that I had never told him how much he meant to me. For once in my life, I acted on that thought in a timely way. I sent him an e-mail in which I said, among other things, what I had often told others: that he was, “in my opinion, the best human being I’ve ever known. The best example of what a human can be, and can do with their life.”

Our first meeting was at Faneuil Hall in Boston in early 1971, where we both spoke against the indictments of Eqbal Ahmad and Phil Berrigan for “conspiring to kidnap Henry Kissinger.” We marched with the rest of the crowd to make citizens’ arrests at the Boston office of the FBI. Later that spring, we went with our affinity group (including Noam Chomsky, Cindy Fredericks, Marilyn Young, Mark Ptashne, Zelda Gamson, Fred Branfman and Mitch Goodman), to the May Day actions blocking traffic in Washington (“If they won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government”). Howard tells that story in the film, and I tell it at greater length in my memoir, “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.” But for reasons of space, I had to cut out the next section in which Howard—who had been arrested in D.C. after most of the rest of us had gone elsewhere—came back to Boston for a rally and a blockade of the Federal Building. I’ve never published that story, so here it is, an outtake from my manuscript:

A day later, Howard Zinn was the last speaker at a large rally in Boston Common. I was at the back of a huge crowd, listening to him over loudspeakers. Twenty-seven years later, I can remember some of what he said. “On May Day in Washington, thousands of us were arrested for disturbing the peace. But there is no peace. We were really arrested because we were disturbing the war.”

He said, “If Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton had been walking the streets of Georgetown yesterday, they would have been arrested. Arrested for being young.”


At the end of his comments, he said: “I want to speak now to some of the members of this audience, the plainclothes policemen among us, the military intelligence agents who are assigned to do surveillance. You are taking the part of secret police, spying on your fellow Americans. You should not be doing what you are doing. You should rethink it, and stop. You do not have to carry out orders that go against the grain of what it means to be an American.”

Those last weren’t his exact words, but that was the spirit of them. He was to pay for that comment the next day, when we were sitting side by side in a blockade of the Federal Building in Boston. We had a circle of people all the way around the building, shoulder to shoulder, so no one could get in or out except by stepping over us. Behind us were crowds of people with posters who were supporting us but who hadn’t chosen to risk arrest. In front of us, keeping us from getting any closer to the main entrance to the building, was a line of policemen, with a large formation of police behind them. All the police had large plastic masks tilted back on their heads and they were carrying long black clubs, about four feet long, like large baseball bats. Later the lawyers told us that city police regulations outlawed the use of batons that long.

But at first the relations with the police were almost friendly. We sat down impudently at the very feet of the policemen who were guarding the entrance, filling in the line that disappeared around the sides until someone came from the rear of the building and announced over a bullhorn, “The blockade is complete. We’ve surrounded the building!” There was a cheer from the crowd behind us, and more people joined us in sitting until the circle was two or three deep.

We expected them to start arresting us, but for a while the police did nothing. They could have manhandled a passage through the line and kept it open for employees to go in or out, but for some reason they didn’t. We thought maybe they really sympathized with our protest, and this was their way of joining in. As the morning wore on, people took apples and crackers and bottles of water out of their pockets and packs and shared them around, and they always offered some to the police standing in front of us. The police always refused, but they seemed to appreciate the offer.

Then one of the officers came over to Howard and said, “You’re Professor Zinn, aren’t you?” Howard said yes, and the officer reached down and shook his hand enthusiastically. He said, “I heard you lecture at the Police Academy. A lot of us here did. That was a wonderful lecture.” Howard had been asked to speak to them about the role of dissent and civil disobedience in American history. Several other policemen came over to pay their respects to Howard and thank him for his lecture. The mood seemed quite a bit different from Washington.

Click on title above for full story;

Thursday, January 28, 2010

US DOC Security Breach / Data

1. Commerce Department breached

By Judi Hasson Comment | Forward

Pick an agency, any agency, and you may find a data breach or one waiting to happen.

That's the case at the Commerce Department, the latest federal agency to disclose that personal data--including Social Security numbers--had been released on the Internet through an employee's error.

The bigger problem for Commerce is one of disclosure. A Washington Post article reveals that Commerce dragged its feet on notifying employees of the breach. Although agency heads knew about it since early December, employees just received letters mailed to their homes this past Monday.

The letters read as follows:

"A Department of Commerce employee inadvertently transmitted over the Internet a file containing the PII of Commerce employees to other Department employees. Although the Department employees were authorized to send and receive the PII, the transmission of the PII over the Internet in unencrypted form may have compromised your name and SSN."

Commerce took action within hours of this discovery to protect the information. The letter urged workers to contact credit reporting agencies in an attempt to prevent the opening of fraudulent accounts in their names. There was no reason the agency waited so long to send the letter.

It sounds like this is too little, too late. Every time this happens, we call for better training for employees and more safeguards. And then it happens again. The time is ripe for action, not inaction. And government agencies are only making their security headaches worse if nothing is done.

For more on this Commerce breach:
- see this Washington Post article

Related Articles:
Cost of data breaches gets higher
The 10 most terrifying IT debacles of 2009
Another breach: Military laptop stolen
Fed CIO outlines security holes

Read more about: Government Agencies, Department of Commerce, Data Breach

The Right Testicle of Hell: Hati Holocast

Blackwater before drinking water

by Greg Palast for The Huffington Post
Sunday 17 January 2010

1. Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, "The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days." "In a few days," Mr. Obama?

2. There's no such thing as a 'natural' disaster. 200,000 Haitians have been slaughtered by slum housing and IMF "austerity" plans.

3. A friend of mine called. Do I know a journalist who could get medicine to her father? And she added, trying to hold her voice together, "My sister, she's under the rubble. Is anyone going who can help, anyone?" Should I tell her, "Obama will have Marines there in 'a few days'"?

4. China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there.

5. Obama's Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has." We know Gates doesn't know.

6. From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It's all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, "I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people." Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.

7. Send in the Marines. That's America's response. That's what we're good at. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson finally showed up after three days. With what? It was dramatically deployed — without any emergency relief supplies. It has sidewinder missiles and 19 helicopters.

8. But don't worry, the International Search and Rescue Team, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days in the field, deployed immediately with ten metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They're from Iceland.

9. Gates wouldn't send in food and water because, he said, there was no "structure ... to provide security." For Gates, appointed by Bush and allowed to hang around by Obama, it's security first. That was his lesson from Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater before drinking water.

10. Previous US presidents have acted far more swiftly in getting troops on the ground on that island. Haiti is the right half of the island of Hispaniola. It's treated like the right testicle of Hell. The Dominican Republic the left. In 1965, when Dominicans demanded the return of Juan Bosch, their elected President, deposed by a junta, Lyndon Johnson reacted to this crisis rapidly, landing 45,000 US Marines on the beaches to prevent the return of the elected president.

11. How did Haiti end up so economically weakened, with infrastructure, from hospitals to water systems, busted or non-existent - there are two fire stations in the entire nation - and infrastructure so frail that the nation was simply waiting for "nature" to finish it off?

Don't blame Mother Nature for all this death and destruction. That dishonor goes to Papa Doc and Baby Doc, the Duvalier dictatorship, which looted the nation for 28 years. Papa and his Baby put an estimated 80% of world aid into their own pockets - with the complicity of the US government happy to have the Duvaliers and their voodoo militia, Tonton Macoutes, as allies in the Cold War. (The war was easily won: the Duvaliers' death squads murdered as many as 60,000 opponents of the regime.)

12. What Papa and Baby didn't run off with, the IMF finished off through its "austerity" plans. An austerity plan is a form of voodoo orchestrated by economists zomby-fied by an irrational belief that cutting government services will somehow help a nation prosper.

13. In 1991, five years after the murderous Baby fled, Haitians elected a priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who resisted the IMF's austerity diktats. Within months, the military, to the applause of Papa George HW Bush, deposed him. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. The farce was George W. Bush. In 2004, after the priest Aristide was re-elected President, he was kidnapped and removed again, to the applause of Baby Bush.

14. Haiti was once a wealthy nation, the wealthiest in the hemisphere, worth more, wrote Voltaire in the 18th century, than that rocky, cold colony known as New England. Haiti's wealth was in black gold: slaves. But then the slaves rebelled - and have been paying for it ever since.

From 1825 to 1947, France forced Haiti to pay an annual fee to reimburse the profits lost by French slaveholders caused by their slaves' successful uprising. Rather than enslave individual Haitians, France thought it more efficient to simply enslave the entire nation.

15. Secretary Gates tells us, "There are just some certain facts of life that affect how quickly you can do some of these things." The Navy's hospital boat will be there in, oh, a week or so. Heckuva job, Brownie!

16. Note just received from my friend. Her sister was found, dead; and her other sister had to bury her. Her father needs his anti-seizure medicines. That's a fact of life too, Mr. President.

Through our journalism network, we are trying to get my friend's medicines to her father. If any reader does have someone getting into or near Port-au-Prince, please contact Haiti@GregPalast.com immediately.
Urgently recommended reading - The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, the history of the successful slave uprising in Hispaniola by the brilliant CLR James.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Signs of Gov't Waste

Vanity signs, no less, said to cost up to $3,000 each! One state alone paid over 1 Mil for theirs.






Wednesday, January 20, 2010

France, Germany, Warn of Danger Using IE

Click on title above for full story

Friday, January 1, 2010

US Security Ignored Bomber-Dads Warnings

Counterterror agency never tried to follow up on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab clues before Flight 253
BY James Gordon Meek

Thursday, December 31st 2009, 4:00 AM

Anti-Terror watchdogs at teh National Counter-Terrorism Center (below) in Tysons Corner, Va., failed to heed red flags about underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down Flight 253.

WASHINGTON - Counterterror officials were told the accused Christmas bomber had possible ties to "Yemen-based extremists" a month before he tried to blow up a jetliner, the Daily News has learned.

The nations's terror watchdogs have been assailed as incompetent in the wake of the near-massacre of almost 300 people by the young Nigerian jihadist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The failure to follow up on the extremist warning is one more blunder in the series of errors.

Instead of reviewing his active U.S. visa, scouring intelligence databases for more dirt on him or checking to see if he bought any plane tickets to America, the name was simply filed away at the National Counter-terrorism Center (NCTC), red-faced officials said yesterday.

Because no one took a closer look, the sum total of intelligence in his file appeared to be what Abdulmutallab's prominent banker father Umaru told State Department diplomats and CIA officers in Nigeria.

"Information at post suggests subject may be involved with Yemen-based extremists," the cable from the diplomats in Abuja to Washington said. "Abdulmutallab has traveled previously to UK [United Kingdom], Rome, Togo and Dubai, UAE [United Arab Emirates]," continued the cable, The News learned.

Yet officials insist analysts in Washington didn't have any legal cause to scrutinize Abdulmutallab.

Though the Nigerian was linked to extremists in Yemen, an Al Qaeda hotbed, "his father never said he was a jihadist," explained one U.S. intelligence official. "Sometimes there is no smoking gun."

But there were plenty of clues: Intelligence that Al Qaeda was plotting a Christmastime spectacular and that an unnamed Nigerian figured in evildoers' plans are among those also unearthed in recent days.

The screwups allowed Abdulmutallab, 23, to get on a plane to Detroit with a powder-liquid explosive stitched into his underwear by an Al Qaeda bomb maker in Yemen. He could not successfully set off the bomb, but he has turned PresidentoObama's government upside down.

The Department of Homeland Security, the Directorate of National Intelligence and the NCTC - all created after 9/11 to prevent future attacks - are in a finger-pointing fight with the State Department and CIA over who failed to connect the dots this time.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair agreed with Obama that the answer is all of them.

The post-9/11 security buildup has made America safer, but "it is clear that gaps remain and they must be fixed," Blair said in a statement.

The latest flap involves a "finished" CIA report from its Nigeria station. It wasn't shared with the terror center as quickly as the embassy's version, which reached the analysts Nov. 20, one day after the father met with U.S. officials.

Had the terror center obtained the report, they might have forced a review of Abdulmutallab's visa or put him on the no-fly list, said a second intelligence official, fuming at the CIA.

"NCTC can only act on information they are actually given," the official said. "CIA sat on its cable for five weeks."

But the first U.S. official shot back that terror center analysts could have searched a computer file that had the raw CIA report and contained the same account from the elder Abdulmutallab as the State Department version.

"Nothing in it talks about terrorist planning," the official said.

An NCTC spokesman did not return several calls for comment.

Both cables listed Abdulmutallab's name, birth date and passport number and the fear he had hooked up with extremists - but not the fact he had an active U.S. visa allowing him to come and go as he pleased.

Related TopicsNigeria
Espionage and Intelligence
United States
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Central Intelligence Agency
War and Conflict
U.S. Department of State
Al Qaeda
Political Policy
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RECENT COMMENTS FROM DAILY NEWS READERS39 comments | See All Comments » To comment, Register or Log In
[Discussion guidelines]
11:08:28 AM
Dec 31, 2009
VeeBee: See, you libs just aren't paying attention to your own spew. If you want to blame this on Bush, then 9/11 must be the fault of Clinton, correct? Same circumstances. However, the world is a much different place after 9/11, therefore, Obama should be putting more focus on terrorism, but that isn't happeneing.

Report Offensive Post
11:08:54 AM
Dec 31, 2009
RIPLEY reference your 8:32 & 52 AM posts pointing out needlessly again that "Bush did nothing," declares you as a Monday Morning Quarterback and Master of Hindsight. It is dangerous to be looking so far backwards while walking toward a brick wall or a cliff in this Obamanation. I don't blame Obama, bug-eyed helluva job Napo for ***** ups by Nigerians or Holland air travel agencies. Obama's State Department, CIA and others here sure dropped the ball, and Obama has an awful hard time taking meaningful action against his appointed nitwits. Napolitano has had more than enough strikes to be out and on her way back to AZ retirement from the public trough..

Report Offensive Post
12:28:29 PM
Dec 31, 2009
The blame should go no higher than the brain-dead ticket agent who sold this luggage-less mook a $2K+ ticket for CASH & did not alert security! All the intelligence in the world cannot make up for stupidity at the point of contact!

Report Offensive Post
2:40:33 PM
Dec 31, 2009
The National Counter-Terrorism Center, FEMA, the DMV . . . why do you think all these government agencies are nothing more than a bureaucratic check-collecting scam? Quota hires, political favor appointments, jobs they can't get fired from . . . just more of the same. I'm sure the slacker that filed Farooq Bin Shabozz Bunglicki's name had to take a two-week vacation after such a hard task. There's our tax dollars hard at work, and meanwhile, real ordinary people had to stop this pile of gorilla biscuits from blowing up a plane, not the so-called terror experts collecting a big payday for doing nothing.

Report Offensive Post
3:26:51 PM
Dec 31, 2009
topshelfdude ... you obviously surf the web as well as you spell ... not very well. There

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2009/12/31/2009-12-31_failure_to_communicate_bumbling_counterterror_agency_never_tried_to_follow_up_on.html#ixzz0bMLbuGQY