Tuesday, February 25, 2014

GATTACA NOW: The Dawn Of The Designer Babies - FDA Weighs Risks Of 3-Person Embryo Fertilization And Dad May Join Two Moms For Disease-Free Designer Babies!

February 25, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Federal health regulators will consider this week whether to green light a provocative new fertilization technique that could eventually create babies from the DNA of three people, with the goal of preventing mothers from passing on debilitating genetic diseases to their children.

FDA Weighs Risks Of 3-Person Embryo Fertilization


The Food and Drug Administration has framed its two-day meeting as a "scientific, technologic and clinical" discussion about how to test the approach in humans. But the technique itself raises a number of ethical questions, including whether the government should sanction the creation of genetically modified humans.

The FDA panel will hear from several prominent critics who oppose any human testing of the approach, arguing that it could be a slippery slope toward "designer babies," - in which parents customize traits like eye color, height and intelligence.

But the field's leading U.S. researcher will be on hand to explain and defend his work, which he describes as "gene correction," rather than "gene modification."

"We want to replace these mutated genes, which by nature have become pathogenic to humans," says Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, who will present on Tuesday. "We're reversing them back to normal, so I don't understand why you would be opposing that."


WATCH:  Gattaca - Official Trailer.

 


The FDA meeting was prompted by Mitalipov's research at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where he and his staff have produced five healthy monkeys using the DNA-replacement technique. He is seeking FDA approval to begin testing in a handful of women who carry defective genes that can lead to devastating diseases in children, including blindness, organ failure and epilepsy.

An estimated 1 in 5,000 U.S. children inherit such conditions because of defective DNA in their mitochondria, small energy-producing organs found in the cell. Unlike most DNA - located in the nucleus of the cell - mitochondrial DNA is passed along only by the mother, not the father.

The experimental technique, if approved for use, would allow a woman to give birth to a baby who inherits her normal nucleus DNA but not her defective mitochondrial DNA.

To accomplish this, researchers would remove the nucleus DNA from a healthy female donor's eggs and replace it with the nucleus DNA of the prospective mother. After fertilization, the resulting child would inherit the mother's nucleus DNA - which contains most inherited traits like eye color and height - but the donor's healthy mitochondrial DNA.

The technique initially made headlines as a way to create babies with three parents, but scientists say that's an overstatement, since the child would have only trace bits of DNA from the donor.

No matter how it's described, the technique faces opposition from a broad spectrum of critics who say it presents serious medical, ethical and societal dilemmas.

Chief among these concerns is that the genetic changes created using the technique would be passed down to future generations, potentially spreading unintended health consequences throughout the population.

In a letter to the FDA, the Center for Genetics and Society points out that more than 40 countries - including Germany and France - have laws banning human gene modification that is passed on to future offspring.

The group's director says mitochondrial replacement would help only a tiny fraction of patients affected by such disorders, and they have other options like egg donation to create healthy children.

"It does initially look like something you would want to support," said Marcy Darnovsky. "But the safety concerns and the social and ethical concerns are really overriding."

Still, many experts expect the FDA to eventually sign off on testing the technique. They note that regulators in the U.K. found broad public support for the research there, with no evidence that it would endanger mothers or their children. The U.K. has significantly more regulations surrounding in vitro fertilization than the U.S., where fertilization clinics are essentially a self-regulated industry.

And before the FDA considers the philosophical implications of genetically modified children, its first concern is the safety of any patients enrolled in experiments. In documents posted ahead of this week's meeting, the agency said it will seek public input on how to monitor the safety of women who undergo the fertilization process. The agency also wants to hear proposals for long-term follow-up of any children produced via the process.

Stanford University Professor Hank Greely says the FDA is taking the right approach by focusing on the immediate safety concerns, rather than speculating on whether this could lead to a "Brave New World" scenario of biologically engineered humans.

"We constantly live on slippery slopes and it's our job as moral humans to hold a good position on the slope," said Greely, a law professor who studies medical ethics. "If you're worried about genetically engineered monsters or superheroes then you try to stop that, you don't try to stop medically useful interventions because you're worried that 17 steps down the line it will turn into something we don't like." - MyFoxNy.


Dad May Join Two Moms For Disease-Free Designer Babies


A new technology aimed at eliminating genetic disease in newborns would combine the DNA of three people, instead of just two, to create a child, potentially redrawing ethical lines for designer babies.

The process works by replacing potentially variant DNA in the unfertilized eggs of a hopeful mother with disease-free genes from a donor. U.S. regulators today will begin weighing whether the procedure, used only in monkeys so far, is safe enough to be tested in humans.

Because the process would change only a small, specific part of genetic code, scientists say a baby would largely retain the physical characteristics of the parents. Still, DNA from all three -- mother, father and donor -- would remain with the child throughout a lifetime, opening questions about long-term effects for this generation, and potentially the next. Ethicists worry that allowing pre-birth gene manipulation may one day lead to build-to-order designer babies.

“Once you make this change, if a female arises from the process and goes on to have children, that change is passed on, so it’s forever,” Phil Yeske, chief science officer of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, said by telephone. “That’s uncharted territory; we just don’t know what it means. Permanent change of the human germline has never been done before, and we don’t know what will happen in future generations.”

FDA Hearing

The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled today and tomorrow to explore the issue at a meeting, with doctors and researchers scheduled to talk. The FDA will then decide whether to allow scientists at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, who engineered the approach, to move their testing program from macaque monkeys to woman.

Potentially, the procedure may cut off mitochondrial diseases that are passed down through females and occur in about 1 in 4,000 people. One example is Melas syndrome, which causes a person to have continuing small strokes that damage their brains, leading to vision loss, problems with movement, dementia and death, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“What the FDA needs to think about is that this isn’t a procedure to repair mitochondrial disease,” said Vamsi Mootha, a professor of systems biology and medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston who studies mitochondrial disorders. “It’s designed to prevent disease. It’s designed to offer a woman who’s a carrier for disease more options.”

Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the researcher heading the Oregon team’s work, declined to comment before the FDA meeting.

Monkey Research

In early research, four macaque monkeys were born from the procedure, according to a 2009 report by the Oregon researchers in the journal Nature. They were reported as healthy at age 3.

In October 2012, Nature published reports that the technique had also been used in human egg cells. The resulting embryos were allowed to develop to the blastocyst stage, which usually occurs about five days after fertilization.

About half of the egg cells displayed normal development, the scientists found. Though the procedure is legal in the laboratory, the embryos that result from it can’t be implanted in women without the FDA’s consent, leading to today’s session.

There are two types of DNA: nuclear, which is handed down by both parents, and mitochondria, which only comes from the mother. The technology replaces a donor’s nuclear DNA, which determines things like hair color and intelligence, with the same material from the prospective mother, leaving the healthy mitochondria from the donor in place.

The new lab-made egg is then fertilized with the father’s sperm in vitro and implanted in the mother’s womb.
This isn’t the first time that scientists have attempted to disrupt the actions of mitochondria DNA to help fight disease, or the first time the FDA has considered the issue.

Earlier Method

From 1997 to 2003, about 30 children worldwide were born using a method that injected donor mitochondria DNA into eggs after they were fertilized. The first baby born with this technique was reported in 1997. In 2003, though, the FDA told fertility clinics that genetically manipulated embryos were considered a biological product, and subject to regulation, essentially halting the technique in humans.

The lives of those children should be thoroughly investigated before the new procedure is cleared for use in a human trial, said Sheldon Krimsky, a professor of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning at Tufts University in Boston.

Ethical Issues

In the 1982 position paper, “Splicing Life,” the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research made a distinction between gene therapy that takes place after someone is born compared with manipulation that occurs before, altering the body’s genome.

There was broad consensus that the latter, called germ-line engineering, shouldn’t be pursued, said Krimsky, who was one of the consultants for the paper. That changed “starting in the late 1990s, when people started whittling away at that distinction,” he said in a telephone interview.

“You’re altering the genome of an unborn child, someone who can’t make a judgment about whether they want to be genetically modified,” Krimsky said by telephone. “What will be next, once you allow this?”

Scientists also are concerned that the procedure may not be safe, according to a paper in September 2013 in the journal Science, whose lead author was evolutionary biologist Klaus Reinhardt at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

Reinhardt’s paper noted that male mice bred from this technique sometimes had altered breathing, as well as reduced learning and exploring capabilities, according to earlier research. Female mice weren’t tested.
The research in mice suggests that the replacement technique may destroy some lines of communication between mitochondria and the cell’s transplanted nucleus, Reinhardt’s editorial said. Though the macaque monkeys don’t show the same problems, there may be long-term issues from the DNA replacement, he wrote. - Bloomberg.



ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - No End To Winter In Sight, Chicago Could Get More Record-Breaking Cold!

February 25, 2014 - CHICAGO, UNITED STATES - It seems to be a little late in the season to be talking about this, but potentially record-breaking cold air is set to move into the area Wednesday and Thursday.


We're looking at potentially record-breaking cold weather for this time of year.

Temperatures Tuesday will shoot toward 20 degrees with single-digit wind chills before colder air descends upon the Chicago area in the first of two cold fronts. Overnight lows into Wednesday will range from 0 degrees in the city to -10 degrees in the Fox Valley by dawn.

The standing record low for Feb. 26 is -1 degrees, set in 1963. Forecast models show that record could be threatened.

Wind chill is the other part of the story. The National Weather Service has posted a Wind Chill Advisory from midnight through noon Wednesday with values predicted between -20 degrees and -30 degrees.

There's little recovery from those overnight low temperatures, as temperatures struggle into the single digits to low teens for Wednesday's high. That puts the date's record low maximum temperature of 10 degrees, set in 1888, in jeopardy of being broken.

The wind chill remains a factor, with values of -10 degrees to -20 degrees predicted for Wednesday afternoon.

A second cold front passes late Wednesday with a reinforcing shot of polar air pushing the mercury to lows between zero and -10 degrees with a wind chill factor between -20 and -30 degrees.

Thursday remains brutally cold with bitter wind chillls in the morning hours. That should ease a bit by after afternoon as the winds let up, but the high temperature will still be in the single digits to low teens.

The record low maximum for Feb. 27 is 10 degrees, again set in 1888. Thursday's air threatens that.

Thursday night could be the coldest night of all, but models indicate more clouds arriving in advance of our next weather system that should bring more southerly, warmer winds.


WATCH:
The standing record low for Feb. 26 is -1 degrees, set in 1963. Forecast models show that record could be threatened.




The record overnight low for Feb. 28 is zero degrees, set in 1884. The record low maximum is 14 degrees, set in 1891.

We have a shot at breaking both of those, too.

If long-range forecasts hold, the brutal cold will gradually ease into the weekend, but temperatures will still only be in the 20s by Sunday.

In case you’re wondering, there are fewer than 25 days until spring officially arrives. The average high this time of year is about 40 degrees. The National Weather Service says the tally of below zero lows in Chicago so far stands at 22, tied with the 1981-1982 season for the fourth-most subzero lows in a season. The season of 1884-1885 holds the record for the most subzero lows in Chicago with 25. - NBC Chicago.



GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Another Another “Successful Banker” Found Dead?!

February 25, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - The dismal trail of dead bankers continues. As The Journal Star reports, a successful Lincoln businessman and member of a prominent local family died last week.

Former National Bank of Commerce CEO James Stuart Jr. was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say what caused the death. This brings the total of banker deaths in recent weeks to 9 as Stuart is sadly survived by three sons and four daughters.

Image: James Stuart.
Mr Stuart’s background (via The Journal Star),
Stuart was a native of Lincoln and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Business Administration.

In 1969, Stuart joined Citibank in New York City and served as a loan officer until 1973, when he joined First Commerce Bancshares (then NBC Co.) as executive vice president.

He was named president in 1976, chairman and CEO in 1978, and also became chairman and CEO of National Bank of Commerce in 1985.
 Stuart spent his life building the organization into an important business voice in Lincoln, friend and colleague Brad Korell said.

“He was a very successful banker,” said Korell, who worked with Stuart for more than 30 years. “I always felt that he was a visionary. He really did build one of the most successful and admired banking organizations in the Midwest.”

Stuart spent much of his career with First Commerce Bancshares, a $3 billion multi-bank holding company headquartered in Lincoln. First Commerce was sold to Wells Fargo in 2000.

He is a former member of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and was appointed by Gov. Dave Heineman to the board of the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 2008. Stuart was also involved with natural resources-related groups such as Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited and U.S. National Forest Foundation.

He served on the international board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the boards of the University of Nebraska Foundation and Nebraska Wesleyan University.

According to Korell, Stuart was living in Scottsdale, overlooking his family’s financial investments, as well as golfing and fishing.
Which brings the total number of recent banker deaths to 9 (via Intellihub):

1 – William Broeksmit, 58-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London, on January 26th.

2- Karl Slym,
 51 year old Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27th.

3 – Gabriel Magee
, a 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London on January 27th.

4 – Mike Dueker
, 50-year-old chief economist of a US investment bank was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.

5 – Richard Talley,
 the 57 year old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.

6 -Tim Dickenson
, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, however the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.

7 – Ryan Henry Crane
, a 37 year old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago.  No details have been released about his death aside from this small obituary announcement at the Stamford Daily Voice.

8 – Li Junjie
, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ in Hong Kong this week.

- Zero Hedge.



THE PRIEST CLASS OF THE MAGI: Precursors To The Fall Of The Vatican, Immoral Christian Dominionism And Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm - The International Tribunal Into Crimes Of Church and State (ITCCS) Issues STAND DOWN ORDER To Officers Of The Papacy And The Crown!

February 25, 2014 - THE PAPACY & THE CROWN - A STAND DOWN ORDER IS ISSUED TO OFFICERS OF THE PAPACY AND THE CROWN:

“Your oaths of allegiance are nullified and you are freed and obligated to serve God, the common law and the people”





TODAY, ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE CRIMINAL CONVICTION OF POPE BENEDICT AND QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THEIR CORPORATIONS, a public notice of treason and order to comply was issued to all of the agents and officers of these felons by the Common Law Court responsible for their conviction.

The legal order was issued by The Presiding Magistrates of the Criminal Trial Division of the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels.

One year after an historic common law court verdict convicted thirty officials of church and state for Crimes against Humanity, the Court issued a “stand down” nullification order to all of the agents of those bodies, including the Vatican, the Crown of England and the government of Canada.


WARNINGS FROM THE ANCESTORS AND MOTHER NATURE: Lightning strikes St. Peter’s Basilica the
day Pope Benedict XVI resigns on February 11, 2013.  Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

This order completes the legal disestablishment of the guilty institutions by releasing the police, judiciary, clergy, soldiers and all employees of these convicted bodies from their oaths of allegiance to the former head of state of the Commonwealth, Elizabeth Windsor, and to the Pope and the papacy in Rome.

The order negates the authority and jurisdiction of all of these officials. It notifies them that their continued allegiance to the convicted heads of state and church will constitute collusion with wanted criminals, and thereby an act of Treason against the people and the law, and may result in their arrest and imprisonment.


WARNINGS FROM THE ANCESTORS AND MOTHER NATURE: The iconic statue of Christ overlooking
Rio de Janeiro was struck by lightning, chipping the right thumb on January 17, 2014.  Photo: GETTY/EPA

The Order will be delivered in person and through the media to these officials by the community at large and by sheriffs authorized by the Court’s Presiding Magistrates.

Simultaneously, the Court has authorized the establishment of new Common Law police officers to enforce the Court’s verdict and replace the disestablished authorities.

“Quite simply, this is a revolution” explained Kevin Annett, Field Secretary for the International Tribunal that sponsored the Court, at a press conference today on sovereign territory formerly part of Canada and now under Common Law jurisdiction.


WARNINGS FROM THE ANCESTORS AND MOTHER NATURE: Pope Francis' white doves of "peace" are
attacked by black birds on January 26, 2014 at St. Peter's Square.  Photo: Gregorio Borgia / AP

“To nullify the authority of the judges, the police and the politicians who are the agents of criminal institutions is the inevitable and lawful consequence of the Court’s indictment of those bodies for crimes against humanity. This is being done legally and in the open. Under the law, there no longer exists what we knew as the Vatican, the Crown of England or the governments of Great Britain and Canada. Those populations are now under the sole jurisdiction of the common law and the covenants that they, the people, establish among themselves and with their Creator.

“It is now up to every one of us to enforce this Order, and we are all equally empowered to do so. The old authorities and their laws can and must be actively ignored. And the standing citizen arrest warrants against Joseph Ratzinger, Elizabeth Windsor and others will be enforced.”


WARNINGS FROM THE ANCESTORS AND MOTHER NATURE:  A gust of wind blows Pope Francis's mantle
during his general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican on February 19, 2014. Photo: REUTERS

This most recent Order from the International Common Law Court of Justice precedes the upcoming commencement of its second case, involving global child trafficking, on March 31, 2014. Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio, will be summoned as the chief defendant in this case, which will convene at an open hearing in Brussels.

To pursue this and other convictions, Common Law courts have been organized by citizens and ITCCS affiliates in Canada, the United States, England, Ireland, Holland, Spain and Italy.


 WATCH:  Papacy and Crown ordered to stand down.

 


For more information and updates see www.itccs.org and www.iclcj.com .

Issued by ITCCS Central and the International Common Law Court of Justice, Brussels
24-25/02/2014. - ITCCS.



FIRE IN THE SKY: Record-Breaking Meteorite Crash On The Moon - Sparks The Brightest Lunar Explosion EVER; Impact Energy Equivalent To 15 TONS Of TNT; At Least THREE TIMES More Powerful Than Largest Previously Observed Event!

February 25, 2014 - SPACE - The high-speed impact of a wayward space rock on the surface of the moon last year triggered the brightest lunar explosion ever seen, scientists say.


The impact of a large meteorite on the lunar surface on Sept. 11, 2013, resulted in a bright flash, observed
by scientists at the MIDAS observatory in Spain. (J. Madiedo / MIDAS)

Video footage of the record-breaking meteorite strike on the moon, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2013 and was unveiled today, shows a long flash that was almost as bright as the North Star Polaris.

That means the boulder-sized meteorite's lunar crash could have been visible to anyone on Earth who happened to be staring up at the moon at 8:07 p.m. GMT, weather permitting.

"At that moment I realized that I had seen a very rare and extraordinary event," Jose Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, said in a statement. Madiedo witnessed the collision using two moon-watching telescopes in the south of Spain that are part of the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, or MIDAS observatory.

The space rock hit at a staggering speed of 37,900 mph, gouging out a new crater roughly 131 feet wide in an ancient lava-filled lunar basin known as Mare Nubium, Madiedo and colleagues said. The scientists think the boulder behind the crash was about 880 lbs. and measured between 2 and 4.5 feet in diameter.

If a space rock this size hit the Earth, it might create some spectacular fireball meteors, but it likely would not pose a threat to people on the ground, researchers explained. But the moon lacks an atmosphere like the one enshrouding our planet, making it quite vulnerable to incoming asteroids.

The energy released by the September 2013 impact was comparable to an explosion of roughly 15 tons of TNT. It was at least three times more powerful than the largest previously observed event — a powerful lunar explosion spotted by NASA scientists on March 17, 2013. During that crash, a space rock hit at an estimated 56,000 mph, carving a new crater 65 feet wide.


WATCH: Lunar blast - September 11, 2013.

 


Typically, the flashes from these impacts last only a fraction of a second, but the bright spot seen by Madiedo glowed for eight seconds, making it the longest observed impact flash. Since 2005, NASA's moon impact-monitoring program has observed more than 300 meteorite strikes on the lunar surface.

"Our telescopes will continue observing the moon as our meteor cameras monitor the Earth's atmosphere," Madiedo said in a statement. "In this way we expect to identify clusters of rocks that could give rise to common impact events on both planetary bodies. We also want to find out where the impacting bodies come from."

The research on the September 2014 lunar impact was unveiled Sunday in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. - FOX News.



GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Another Mysteriously Sudden Death Of A JP Morgan Worker, 34-Year Old Jason Alan Salais?!

February 25, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - On the evening of Sunday, December 15 of last year, six weeks before the onset of the latest rash of tragic deaths of young men in their 30s employed at JPMorgan, the Pearland, Texas police received a call of a person in distress outside a Walgreens pharmacy at 6122 Broadway in Pearland. The individual in distress was Jason Alan Salais, a 34-year old Information Technology specialist who had worked at JPMorgan Chase since May 2008.




A family member confirmed to Wall Street On Parade that Salais died of a heart attack on the same evening the report of distress went in to the police. The incidence of heart attack or myocardial infarction among men aged 20 to 39 is one half of one percent of the population, according to the National Center for Health Statistics and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, based on 2007 to 2010 data, marking this as another unusual death at JPMorgan.

A person identifying himself as Dave Steiner wrote the following about Salais in the online condolence book provided by the funeral home: “My condolences to your entire family at the sudden passing of Jason. When I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason to be a part of the team at J.P. Morgan back in 2008, it was clear to me within just a few short minutes that he was a man of character, intelligence, work ethic, kindness and integrity. In the years that followed, and until the sad news of this week, I was witness to his hard work, the friendships he built, stories of his beloved family and of course baseball…”

According to the LinkedIn profile for Salais, he was engaged in Client Technology Service “L3 Operate Support” and previously “FXO Operate L2 Support” at JPMorgan. Prior to joining JPMorgan in 2008, Salais had worked as a Client Software Technician at SunGard and a UNIX Systems Analyst at Logix Communications.

Six weeks after the sudden death of Salais, Gabriel Magee, a 39-year old Vice President who was also engaged in Information Technology at JPMorgan, this time in London, died under extremely suspicious circumstances. A Coroner’s Inquest into the matter will be held on May 15 in London.

Family and friends report that Magee was a happy, healthy, vibrant young man who emailed his girlfriend on the evening of January 27 to say he was finishing up at work and would be home shortly. When he did not arrive, his girlfriend notified police and called local hospitals. According to the Metropolitan Police in London, at around 8:02 a.m. the next morning, workers looking out their windows saw Magee’s body lying on a 9th level rooftop that jutted out from the 33-story JPMorgan building in the Canary Wharf section of London.

London newspapers immediately called the death a suicide, initially suggesting that thousands of commuters had seen Magee jump from the 33rd level rooftop. When Wall Street On Parade pressed the Metropolitan Police on the issue of actual eyewitnesses who had seen Magee jump, the Police backed away from the suggestion that the fall had actually been observed by eyewitnesses.

Magee worked in the European headquarters for JPMorgan at 25 Bank Street in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Drawings and plans submitted by JPMorgan to the borough after it purchased the building for £495 million in 2010, show that the 9th floor roof is accessible “via the stair from level 8 within the existing Level 9 plant enclosure…”




According to Magee’s LinkedIn profile, his specific area of specialty at JPMorgan was “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives.”

Two young employees engaged in computer technology dying in such a short span of time might seem bizarre at a bank. But JPMorgan is not just any bank when it comes to computer technology. According to Anish Bhimani, the Chief Information Risk Officer at JPMorgan Chase, in an interview published at the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon, JPMorgan has “more software developers than Google, and more technologists than Microsoft…we get to build things at scale that have never been done before.”

Let that sink in for a moment: a bank that has “more software developers than Google.” The growing concern in Congress is that America’s biggest bank by assets is now so complex in terms of derivative risks on and off its books and software programs that are incomprehensible to its regulators, that it could pose systemic risk to the U.S. economy in a replay of the Citigroup debacle of 2008.

Six days after the death of Magee, Ryan Crane, an Executive Director involved in trading at JPMorgan’s New York office, was found dead in his home in Stamford, Connecticut on February 3. No cause of death or circumstances surrounding the death has been released to the public. The Chief Medical Examiner’s office will only say that the cause of death is “pending” and final results will not be announced for several more weeks. Wall Street On Parade called the Stamford Police last week to ask for the police incident report. Under Connecticut sunshine laws that report should be available to the press. We were informed that if we were able to obtain the incident report, most information would likely be redacted.

Crane’s death on February 3 was not reported by any major media until February 13, ten days later, when Bloomberg News ran a brief story.

On February 18 of last week, again reports emerged of many witnesses having seen a 33-year old JPMorgan employee jump from the rooftop of a 30-story office building, Chater House, in Hong Kong where JPMorgan leases space. No eyewitnesses have been identified by name.

The decedent’s age and the fact he was employed by JPMorgan is all that the media can agree on. The South China Morning Post, an English language newspaper in Hong Kong, has published four articles calling the deceased an “investment banker” and warning that stress in this job may lead to suicide. The South China Morning Post’s competitor in Hong Kong, The Standard, also an English language newspaper, reports that the employee is an accountant working in the finance department at JPMorgan – about as far removed from an investment banker as one could get.

The man’s name has been reported by various media in all of the following incarnations: Dennis Li, Li Junjie, Dennis Li Jun Jie, and Dennis Lee.

Despite four emails to Joe Evangelisti, a Managing Director and spokesperson for JPMorgan, Evangelisti would not provide the name and job title for the deceased employee, saying only that “Our HK team communicated with reporters late last week on this. Here’s the Bloomberg story.” The Bloomberg story provided by Evangelisti was seven sentences long and does not appear on the U.S. web site of Bloomberg News. The earlier story by Bloomberg News, circulated further at the San Francisco Chronicle, depicted the employee as a “foreign exchange trader” citing the (wait for it) South China Morning Post.

When Wall Street On Parade pointed out via email to Evangelisti that under Fair Disclosure rules (Reg FD) a publicly traded company in the U.S. has an obligation to issue its press releases to everyone at the same time and that we would like a direct statement from him on the employee’s name and job title (not another media outlet’s interpretation of JPMorgan’s statement), Wall Street On Parade heard no further from Evangelisti, despite openly copying the media relations folks at the Securities and Exchange Commission on the entire email thread.

The New York Post pointed out in its reporting that there is “no other known link between any of the deaths” outside of the individuals working for the same company. In fact, there are numerous links: all of the men are in their 30s, while according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the expected longevity in 2011 for a U.S. male is 76.3 years. All of the men are believed to have been covered by a life insurance policy which pays JPMorgan upon the death of its employees. (Insurance experts say that larger death benefits can be obtained on younger, highly skilled workers because the death benefit is a function of the number of years of lost earnings.)




But perhaps the most important link is this: three weeks before the death of Salais and within a little more than a month of the other deaths, JPMorgan had been put under a form of probation by the U.S. Justice Department. In exchange for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that ran for two years and $1.7 billion in fines to avoid the criminal indictment of individuals and the firm for facilitating the largest financial fraud in U.S. history, Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, JPMorgan was forced to agree to “secure the attendance and truthful statements or testimony of any past or current officers, agents, or employees at any meeting or interview or before the grand jury…provide in a responsive and prompt fashion, and upon request, on an expedited schedule, all documents, records, information and other evidence in JPMorgan’s possession, custody or control as may be requested by the Office, the FBI, or designated governmental agency…bring to the Office’s attention all criminal conduct by JPMorgan or any of its employees…commit no crimes under the federal laws of the United States subsequent to the execution of this Agreement.”

When a rash of sudden deaths occur among a most unlikely cohort of 30-year olds at a bank that has just settled felony charges and been put on notice that it will be indicted if it commits any further felonies; when it is currently under investigation on multiple continents for potentially committing criminal acts in the realm of interest rate and/or foreign exchange rigging — for the press to cavalierly call these deaths “non suspicious” before inquests have been conducted and findings released by medical examiners shows an unseemly indifference to a worker’s life and an alarming insensitivity to the grief stricken families still searching for answers. - Wall Street On Parade.



MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: NASA Satellite Detects Massive Landslide In Southeastern Alaska - Involved The Displacement Of 68 MILLION METRON TONS Of Material; The Largest Known Landslide On Earth Since 2010!

February 25, 2014 - ALASKA - Using imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite, scientists have confirmed that a large landslide occurred in southeastern Alaska on February 16, 2014. Preliminary estimates suggest the landslide on the flanks of Mount La Perouse involved 68 million metric tons (75 million short tons) of material, which would make it the largest known landslide on Earth since 2010.




The Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 acquired this image on February 23, 2014. The avalanche debris appears light brown compared to the snow-covered surroundings. The sediment slid in a southeasterly direction, stretching across 4.8 kilometers (2.9 miles) and mixing with ice and snow in the process. The slide was triggered by the collapse of a near-vertical mountain face at an elevation of 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), according to David Petley, a geologist at Durham University.

Columbia University scientists Göran Ekström and Colin Stark realized that a landslide may have occurred when they saw evidence in data collected by a global earthquake monitoring network. The earthquake sensors detect seismic waves—vibrations that radiate through Earth’s crust because of sudden movements of rock, ice, magma, or debris.




While earthquake sensors are tuned to detect intense, “short-period” seismic waves produced by sudden slips along faults, Ekström and Stark found evidence of the slide by analyzing “long-period” waves produced by landslides. However, Ekström and Stark could not pinpoint the exact location of the slide based on the seismic data alone; they could only say that it had occurred within a 25 square-kilometer (10 square-mile) area.

To pinpoint the location, the scientists needed observations from either aircraft or a satellite. In this case, the first confirmation of the slide came on February 22, 2014, when helicopter pilot Drake Olson flew over and photographed landslide debris at 58.542 degrees North and 137.01 West. - Earth Observatory.



SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "It's A Very Unusual, Unexpected Configuration,... Pointing Toward Something Profound,..." - Astronomers Make A Surprising Discovery About Star Movements In Andromeda's Dwarf-Galaxies?!

February 25, 2014 - SPACE - Andromeda, the massive sister spiral galaxy to the Milky Way, is orbited by a swarm of small galaxies – astronomers so far have counted more than 20. They have names like Andromeda I, II, III, IV...etc. Researchers from the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, have analysed measurements of the stars in the dwarf galaxy Andromeda II and made a surprising discovery.




"Stars in a dwarf galaxy often move around at random, but this is not exactly the case for Andromeda II. In particular we could see that a stream of stars is moving around differently than the rest in a very coherent way. These stars are situated in an almost complete ring and are rotating around the centre of the galaxy," explains astrophysicist Nicola C. Amorisco, Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

The dwarf galaxy Andromeda II is very small – less than one percent of the Milky Way. The rotating stream of stars in the galaxy is entirely made up of old stars and from their properties, researchers can draw conclusions about this dramatic cosmic event.

"What we are seeing is the remains of a collision between two dwarf galaxies, which had a dramatic effect on the dynamics of the remnant," says Nicola C. Amorisco. He explains that mergers between such small galaxies are expected during the galaxy formation process, but are rare at present times and had hitherto not been seen. Andromeda II is the least massive known example of merging of galaxies so far and illustrates the scale-free character og the formation og galaxies down to the lowest galactic mass scales.





The dwarf galaxies orbiting the Andromeda galaxy suggests that conventional ideas regarding the formation of galaxies like our own Milky Way are missing something fundamental. The string of dwarf galaxies in orbit around Andromeda are spread across a flat plane more than one million light years wide and only 30,000 light years thick, moving in synchronicity with one another, according to recent research by University of Victoria astronomer Julio Navarro, one of the co-authors of an article on the phenomenon in the latest edition of the journal Nature. The dwarfs are spread across a distance so vast that they have yet to complete a single orbit.

The behavior of Andromeda's dwarfs is so extreme from the usual chaotic orbits of galaxies around each other that the the researchers believe they have revealed a huge hole in science’s understanding of galaxy formation. Computer models show that the dwarf galaxies should orbit independently, almost randomly. But the structure of the synchronous galaxies orbiting Andromeda is much more like a mature solar system.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, an international team of astronomers described the discovery that almost half of the 30 dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda do so in an enormous plane more than a million light years in diameter, but only 30,000 light years thick. The findings defied scientists’ expectation—based on two decades of computer modeling—that satellite galaxies would orbit in independent, seemingly random patterns. Instead, many of these dwarf galaxies seem to share a common orbit, an observation that currently has no explanation.

“It’s a very unusual, unexpected configuration,” says University of Victoria astrophysicist Julio Navarro. “It’s so unexpected that we don’t know yet what it’s telling us. The fact that it is there at all is pointing us toward something profound. Somehow, they have a plane-like structure similar to a solar system, but with a completely different origin and we don’t know what that origin is,” Navarro said. Understanding how and why the dwarf galaxies form the ring around Andromeda is expected to offer new information on the formation of all galaxies.

Twelve of the 13 dwarf galaxies — they range in size from 10 million to 100 million stars — are on one side of the orbital plane, as if they are held by a string being swung from Andromeda.

“This looks like they are all moving together and they all know where to go, like some pre-existing structure has been sucked in by Andromeda,” Navarro said.

The paper is based on data collected for a project led by UVic professor Alan McConnachie of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Saanich. - Daily Galaxy.



DELUGE: Floods, Landslides Kill 11 In Eastern Indonesia - 55 Houses Damaged, Mass Evacuations!

February 25, 2014 - INDONESIA -  At least 11 people have been killed and two others are missing after torrential rain triggered landslides in Indonesia's remote eastern Papua province.


Search and rescue teams evacuate people from their flooded houses in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 19, 2014.

The national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says the landslides hit parts of Jayapura, the capital of the province, after heavy rains on Saturday night.

They engulfed buildings in the city, leaving 15 houses badly damaged and 40 houses lightly damaged.

Deadly landslides and flooding are common during the vast archipelago's six-month rainy season.

Widespread flooding in the capital Jakarta in January left five people dead and more than 60,000 displaced. - ABC Australia.


At least 11 people have been killed in floods and landslides in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua, the country’s disaster agency says.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the agency, said on Monday that two people also went missing in the Saturday night flooding, which had been triggered by torrential rains.

Nugroho added that the landslides and floods hit three locations in the provincial capital of Jayapura and caused damage to more than 50 houses.

He said that rescue efforts were underway to find the missing people and to open access to the affected areas.

During Indonesia’s annual rainy season, which peaks between December and February, the country is prone to flooding, exacerbated by clogged rivers and sewers.

In January, at least 23 people lost their lives in days of flash floods and landslides in the Southeast Asian country.

Officials say an average of 541 people have died every year from floods and landslides in Indonesia over the past decade. - Press TV.