UK to test RFID-tagged license plates
LONDON – Tracking of vehicles with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on licenses is about to be tested in Great Britain, and the U.S. government and businesses are watching closely as they consider the idea, Wired magazine reported last week. The high-tech license plates will contain microchips capable of transmitting unique vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers more than 300 feet away.
"We definitely have an interest in testing an RFID-tagged license plate," said Jerry Dike, chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and director of the Vehicle Titles and Registration Division of the Texas Department of Transportation.
The U.K. Department for Transport gave the official go-ahead last week, and the trial is expected to begin later this year. But the government has been tight-lipped about the details.
So-called "active" RFID tags have built-in batteries, allowing them to broadcast data much farther than the small, passive tags used to track inventory at retail stores. The tags are already in limited use on
The technology is also used in
Proponents argue that making RFID tags mandatory is not only a logical move to guard against terrorists using the roadways, but also will help to catch insurance and registration scofflaws. However, since RFID plates can cost 10 times more than ordinary plates, the idea will need strong support from governors and state legislatures.
Privacy advocates like Jim Harper, director of information studies at libertarian Cato Institute and a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee, warn that, "It’s too easy for (RFID license plates) to become a back-door surveillance tool."
Civil libertarians don’t oppose an RFID automatic toll-collection system that guarantees anonymity, but doubt that the government will accept privacy protection measures. From a law enforcement perspective, "there is no reason to have privacy for anything," said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
IMF and EU blamed for
Johanne Sekkenes, who leads the efforts of Doctors Without Borders in
The IMF and EU pressed
Thomas C. Dawson, the IMF’s director of external relations, strongly objected to that characterization. In a letter to The Independent, he said ,”The IMF has never supported or encouraged the abolition of government grain reserves. In fact, the grain reserve is in place and has been used, to the best of our knowledge, to relieve the current food shortage.”
International agencies say the price of basic foodstuffs has risen between 75 and 89 percent over the past five years. During the same period, the sale price of livestock, the main income source for nomadic herders, has fallen by about 25 percent. Although the food emergency has been building since last autumn, when rains ended early and several towns of were hit by locust invasions that devoured crops, significant aid shipments began only in August.
“Rock concerts are all very well,” said former French health minister Bernard Kouchner, who recently visited the disaster area. “But while the bands were playing people were dying in
Last autumn, a first call for funds for
According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, the Iranian newspaper’s editorial described oil as “the most potent economic weapon for settling scores,” and suggested an embargo on oil sales to the
In an interview with an Israeli TV station from his Texas ranch, Pres. Bush expressed doubts that the European Union’s diplomatic initiative to defuse the crisis over Iran’s nuclear activities would succeed, and refused to rule out the use of force. "All options are on the table," he said.
The IAEA’s resolution expressed "serious concern" at
Alvarez noted that, despite of the
Pentagon’s 9/11 walk gets media push
"No common person will see this as not taking sides in this war," Adam Eidinger, a promoter of Operation Ceasefire, an anti-war concert planned for September, told the Post. "This is clearly support for the war because it’s being organized by the
The Pentagon has held previous 9/11 events, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Communications Allison Barber told he paper. "It’s to commemorate the victims of 9/11. It’s to honor our veterans past and present," she said.
In an article on the dispute, titled "Antiwar Activists Decry Media’s Role in Promoting Pentagon Event," the Post explained in its self-coverage that the media organizations drew a distinction between supporting the troops and supporting the war policy. They also reported that the sponsorships emanated from the corporate sides of the companies, not the newsroom.
"Our interest in the event is consistent with our past support of causes related to the victims of Sept. 11 and the veterans of wars past and present," said Eric Grant, spokesman for the Post. "The event was never presented to the Post as a rally to support the war. We would be disappointed if it took that approach."
Walk participants will have to register with the Pentagon via the department’s website. Barber said that requirement is only to give planners an idea of the crowd size for logistics and security.
Democrats get tough on defense
Even Democrats associated with liberal positions are calling for a larger military, proposing that threats of force be used to stop nuclear weapons programs in
Despite pressure from some liberal groups for a quick exit from
“Having the strongest military in the world is the first step, but we also have to have a strong commitment to using our military in smart ways that further peace, stability, and security around the world," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, argued last month at the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in Columbus, OH. Clinton, a possible 2008 presidential contender, has called for adding 80,000 troops to the armed services.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden, D-DE, also a potential presidential candidate, has laid out a doctrine of rebuilding alliances while making clear that “force will be used – without asking anyone’s permission – when circumstances warrant.”
The new message has grown out of a series of party caucuses, conferences on national security, and polling by Democratic think tanks. “If you’re not credible on security, it doesn’t matter if you have better ideas on health care and education and everything else," explained Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank.
Liberal groups such as MoveOn.org are urging an immediate withdrawal from
The top Democrats in the House and Senate issued a report in July that criticized Bush administration efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The report called for the
At the DLC convention Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from
Study: Lies can aid weight loss
According to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists led by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus of the
If perfected, the method could induce people to eat less of what they shouldn’t eat and more of what they should, Loftus said. Good memories about fruits and vegetables could be implanted, along with bad ones about low-nutrient, high-calorie foods.
Weight control experts are expressing interest, but Stephen Behnke, director of the ethics office of the American Psychological Association, says that addressing the unhealthful aspects of the
Loftus acknowledged the ethical issues, but noted, "People kind of cringe at the idea that anyone would suggest that they lie to their children, but they do it all the time when they tell them Santa Claus exists."
Detroit crowned most liberal city
"As the most conservative city in
The second most liberal city was
Anti-war activists to protest air show
Among the special guests at the counter-event will be Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness and Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in
Navy planes from NASB routinely fly surveillance and reconnaissance missions over
Co-sponsors of the statewide mobilization include Pax Christi Maine,
Explaining the purpose of the march, Veterans for Peace said, “As we face massive social spending cuts in our state and nation, the time has come for the public to say that we must convert our huge military industrial complex to peaceful and sustainable production. Over 50 percent of every tax dollar now goes to fight ‘endless war.'”
Cable critics call for cap
Last year, the public-interest law firm helped defeat then FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s effort to relax broadcast ownership rules. Now it is focusing on establishing a cap before the Comcast-Adelphia merger. The website Multichannel News reports that MAP attorney Harold Feld recommends preemptive action because he doesn’t expect the FCC to call for retroactive enforcement. “Given the commission’s reluctance to order divestitures, we don’t think divestitures are likely,” he said.
After a long struggle, the U.S. Congress told the FCC in 1992 to limit the size of cable companies. The law required the agency to set “reasonable limits” on the number of subscribers served by a single cable company, and called for a cap on the number of channels an operator may fill with its own programming. Due to court challenges and bureaucratic delays, however, the rules have rarely been implemented and the government has declined to block cable operator mergers.
Former FCC chairman Michael Powell didn’t challenge the status quo, but his successor, Kevin Martin, who took office in March, announced in May that the agency will attempt to put new rules on the books and defend them in court.
According to Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America and Free Press, those rules should assign greater value to urban than to rural subscribers. Their objective is to break up markets and regions dominated by a single cable company.
“Setting a meaningful horizontal limit on the national reach of cable operators based on an advertising market weighted measure of subscribers would be a major step in the right direction,” noted the consumer groups, adding that their formula would require Comcast to sell 4 million subscribers and back away from the Adelphia deal.