Thursday, June 30, 2011

414. How the U.S. Shelters and Subsidizes the Banking Industry

Wall Street
By Jesse Eisinger, ProPublic, June 29, 2011

The most pronounced development in banking today is that executives have become bolder as their business has gotten worse.
The economy is clearly weaker than expected, and housing prices are falling throughout the land, eroding bank asset values. Yet regulators are on their heels in Washington as bankers and their lobbyists push back against the postcrisis regulations, even publicly condemning the new rules.
In a well-covered exchange, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase's chief executive, challenged Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, about the costs and benefits of the Dodd-Frank rules. More attention has been paid to the banker's audacity, but the response of the world's most powerful banking regulator was more troubling. Mr. Bernanke scraped and bowed in apology without mentioning the staggering costs of the crisis the banks led us into.
So this is a good occasion to step way back to understand just how good the banks have it today.
The federal government, in ways explicit and implicit, profoundly subsidizes and shelters the banking industry. True since the 1930s, it is much more so today. And that makes Mr. Dimon no capitalist colossus astride the Isle of Manhattan, but one of the great welfare queens in America.
The protection is so well established that we barely notice it anymore. The government supervises bank activities and guarantees deposits. When people walk into a bank, they assume it is as safe as their local supermarket.
Banks are also the mechanism through which we express economic policy, especially as fiscal stimulus has been eliminated as an option. The result is that the government pays a "vig" to banks in order to reach its policy goals.
When the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates to help buoy the economy during a slowdown, banks are the first beneficiaries. As the Fed lowers short-term rates, banks borrow cheaply and lend out for a lot more, making any new lending highly profitable (assuming the banks make good loans). This is classic monetary policy, and supported nearly universally. But let's not pretend that it isn't a boon to banks.
Some think bolstering banks' fortunes is a major goal, not a side effect.
"The Fed not only wants to stimulate the economy but also to recapitalize the banks, and this is a stealth technique to do it," said Herbert M. Allison Jr., a former investment banker who has turned banking apostate in a new white paper called "The Megabanks Mess," published as a Kindle Single. The reason "banks aren't doing more lending is that they still hold a lot of troubled assets that tie up equity."
Then there are the more subtle subsidies and protections. Take regulatory forbearance. In 2009, regulators gave banks a gift on their commercial real estate loans. They allowed banks to look primarily at whether the loans were current, rather than at whether the underlying value of the property had declined. Of course, given the commercial real estate collapse, this had the effect of protecting banks from write-downs.
Banks and regulators say this is justified because an underwater borrower isn't necessarily going to default. True, but it's hard to see how those borrowers -- and therefore the banks -- are better off for the crash in their collateral.
Commercial real estate is the least of it. The government is profoundly subsidizing the housing market, too. Hardly a loan gets made today by a bank that isn't guaranteed by either Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration. There is no subprime mortgage business outside of the F.H.A. When banks make mortgages and sell the credit risk to the government, they make a quick, safe profit.
The first effect of these policies, for better or worse, is to keep a floor under the housing market. But it also helps banks that own trillions in real estate assets that the government is propping up.
Another way taxpayers coddle the biggest banks is by implicitly guaranteeing their derivatives business. JPMorgan, widely viewed as safe and well managed, is a huge beneficiary here. It had $79 billion worth of derivatives on its books in the first quarter. Even if it's hedged, prudent and has thin margins, it's still going to throw off a nice chunk of profits.
Institutions on the other side of these trades wouldn't enter contracts without believing that they have some underlying protection — protection that comes from the government.
"No sensible person would put a nickel on deposit in the normal course given the enormity and opacity of the derivatives portfolios," said Amar Bhidé, a former trader and business professor at the Fletcher School. "It's entirely a function of deposit insurance and the implicit guarantee that the JPMorgan counterparties have."
The government's actions in the financial crisis only cemented that certainty. Counterparties and investors that were previously not guaranteed, like holders of money market funds, were protected at every turn.
This bailout never ended. "In effect, we nationalized the biggest banks years ago," Mr. Allison said. "We implicitly guaranteed them. The taxpayers are still the ultimate owners of the risk in those banks -- they just don't get equity returns for that ownership."
So when taxpayers hear a bank chief, like Jamie Dimon, complaining, it's worth keeping in mind that his 10-figure paycheck is largely coming courtesy of us.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

413. Surgeons Who Tested Medtronic's Infuse Failed To Report Problems

Medtronic Infuse
By John Carreyrou and Tom McGinty, The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2011

Surgeons who conducted clinical trials to test a Medtronic Inc. (MDT) bone- growth protein widely used in spine surgery didn't report serious complications that arose in those trials in their research papers, a new study says.
Over the past decade, 15 of those surgeons have collectively received at least $62 million from the medical-device company for unrelated work, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Medtronic documents and of recent disclosures made on the company's website.
Last week, the Senate Finance Committee began investigating whether Medtronic's large payments to the surgeons played a role in the fact they didn't report the complications, after seeing an advance copy of the study. The product, called Infuse Bone Graft, has already been the subject of a series of inquiries by the Senate committee, as well as an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department into its use beyond its official Food and Drug Administration indication. Infuse represents about $700 million in annual sales for Medtronic.
The new study, published in the Spine Journal, reveals that serious complications, including cancer, sterility, infections, bone dissolution and worsened back and leg pain occurred in 10% to 50% of patients who were administered Infuse or a sister product in 13 clinical trials funded by Medtronic and conducted by the surgeons between 2000 and 2010. Yet these complications weren't reported in the research papers the surgeons wrote on those trials, even though the papers were peer reviewed. Some of the complications are mentioned on the product's label.
Eugene Carragee, the study's lead author and a professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, says that in retrospect, the medical journals that published the Infuse papers should have been more suspicious of their claims. "You wouldn't be able to do a clinical trial of aspirin without having some side effects," he says.
Six of the 13 papers were published in Spine, a publication that bears no relation to the Spine Journal, which is publishing the new study. The other seven papers were published in the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. The Spine Journal itself published one of the papers.
Christopher Shaffrey, an editorial board member of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, said the complications "should have been reported" in the papers. "This is an important article that calls attention to the need for full disclosure and full reporting" by study authors, he added. The other journals didn't immediately comment.
In a written statement, Medtronic's new chief executive, Omar Ishrak, conceded that Carragee's study raised "questions about researchers' conclusions in their published peer-reviewed literature," but added that it didn't tarnish the credibility of the clinical-trial data Medtronic submitted to the FDA. For his study, Carragee went back and examined that data and found some of the unreported complications in it.
Ishrak, who took the company's helm just two weeks ago, added that Medtronic would "investigate questions surrounding researchers' potential conflicts of interest, refine our policies as warranted, and strive to lead the industry in ethical and transparent business practices." In a phone interview, Richard Kuntz, Medtronic's chief scientific officer, said Ishrak asked him to put together a team of internal and external researchers to review all the issues raised by Carragee's study and report back to him within 90 days.
Infuse, which for some patients dispensed with the need to harvest bone from the hip to help vertebrae fuse, was approved by the FDA in 2002 for use in one particular type of spinal fusion surgery. But it became widely used off-label-- or for uses not officially approved by the FDA-- in other types of spinal surgeries that were the subject of some of the papers Carragee reviewed. Research indicates that at least 85% of Infuse use is now off-label. Doctors are free to use drugs beyond their official indications.
"Medtronic paid millions to doctors and those same doctors, oddly enough, published the 'science' Medtronic needed to sell a product," says Paul Thacker, a former aide to Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) who was involved in the Senate Finance Committee's past investigations of Medtronic and now works for the watchdog group Project On Government Oversight.
One of the off-label uses that the papers contributed to popularizing was in fusions of the cervical spine. The Justice Department launched its investigation into Infuse in late 2008 following reports of serious adverse events associated with that usage, including some patient deaths. In its annual 10K filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medtronic said it was "fully cooperating" with the investigation.
In one of the study's findings, Carragee and his co-authors found that a research paper published two years ago in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery about Medtronic's sister Infuse product called Amplify failed to discuss what they calculated was a 90% to 95% probability that there was a link between Amplify and cancer.
The cancer link took up 15 pages of a 68-page FDA summary discussing Amplify when it was up for approval earlier this year, but received no mention in the 2009 Medtronic-sponsored paper. The FDA declined to approve Amplify in March because of the cancer concerns, but Medtronic is appealing the decision and still hopes to get the product to market. Medtronic's Kuntz says the company remains unconvinced of the cancer link.
Three of the spine surgeons involved in the Amplify trial, John Dimar, Steven Glassman, and Kenneth Burkus, have together received at least $10 million in royalty and consulting payments from Medtronic since 2001, the Medtronic documents and its website disclosures show. In an email, Glassman said he recently published an article on bone grafting in the Spine Journal that he said was "clearly adverse" to Infuse, "which seems to contradict the theme of" Carragee's study. Burkus didn't respond to calls seeking comments. Dimar couldn't be reached. Glassman and Dimar were featured in a page-one Wall Street Journal story last December about payments Medtronic made to spine surgeons for their participation in the development of company products.
Burkus, a spine surgeon in Columbus, Ga., was the lead author on four of the 13 Infuse papers examined by Carragee. In three of those four papers, he disclosed no financial ties to Medtronic. Burkus has received more than $4 million from Medtronic since 2001.
Email correspondence obtained independently by The Wall Street Journal between Burkus and Medtronic shows he sought company input into his research results. In an email dated July 3, 2004 to which he attached a draft of one Infuse paper he was lead-writing, Burkus wrote his co-authors and Medtronic executives: "Come in off the porch and put down the sparklers, bottle rockets and M-80s. This manuscript will start the real fireworks." He then solicited from them " additions/criticisms/changes" and "deletions."
"This seriously undermines the stated claim of the authors that they were completely neutral observers and reporters of that clinical trial," Carragee says of the email. But Kuntz says there's nothing wrong per se with Burkus's email. "It's very common practice for researchers to solicit a wide range of input, as long as they maintain final editorial control," he says.
The medical journal that published two of the four papers on which Burkus was lead author, the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques, was edited by Thomas Zdeblick, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health who has received more than $24 million from Medtronic since 2001. Zdeblick was a co-author on both papers, but disclosed no financial relationship with Medtronic in the papers. He didn't respond to calls seeking comment.
In a forthcoming letter to the editor he recently sent to The Spine Journal, Zdeblick said that none of the payments he received from Medtronic were directly related to Infuse but that he receives royalties for a cage that Infuse is placed in when it's inserted in the spine. Kuntz says Medtronic now prohibits researchers who receive royalties from it to conduct clinical trials aimed at obtaining FDA approval for Medtronic products.
The issues raised by the Spine Journal study present Ishrak, the new Medtronic CEO, with his first public-relations challenge. He joined the company on June 13 from General Electric Co. (GE), where he headed GE's $12 billion-a-year health- care business. Ishrak's predecessor, Bill Hawkins, announced plans to retire last December after a challenging four-year tenure that included the recall of defective heart defibrillator leads. Medtronic has struggled to increase its revenues and has seen its stock price stagnate. Medtronic shares rose 43 cents to $39.01 in 4 p.m. EDT composite trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

412. Quest for Petroleum and Profit Threatens the Caribou

By Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times, June 27, 2011

Humans are a much bigger problem than wolves for a caribou herd in the oil sands area of Alberta, Canada, scientists reported last week in Frontiers in Ecology.

Studies of scat of moose, caribou and wolves in the area showed that caribou accounted for only 10 percent of the animals consumed by wolves. Eighty percent of the wolves’ diet was deer, with moose making up the remainder. Wolves’ preference for deer, the researchers conclude, draws them away from the areas where caribou thrive.

But the oil sands contain the second largest reserve of petroleum in the world, and so they face a heavy human presence as they are developed. And by looking at hormone levels in caribou scat, the scientists found that when humans were most active in an area, caribou nutrition was poorest and psychological stress highest. When oil crews left, the animals relaxed and nutrition improved.
The scientists reported that removing wolves, favored by government and industry, could do serious damage to the ecosystem, and fails to help preserve the caribou. (The study was paid for by Statoil Canada, an energy company with oil leases in the area.)
The scientists said if development trends continue, within 30 years the caribou herd on the east side of the Athabasca River will be no more.
The Alberta Caribou Committee, a government and industry group, views removing wolves as the most effective way to protect caribou. And killing wolves has already started in the range of one herd.
The researchers used dogs to find the scat of caribou, moose and wolves in the oil sands area, then analyzed the material to determine the animals’ range and habits. The weather during the three winter collection periods in 2006, 2007 and 2009 was extremely cold, perfect for instantly freezing the scat and preserving it for laboratory analysis. And dogs are very good at finding scat. According to Samuel K. Wasser, a professor of biology at the University of Washington, the lead author, they are able to detect it in deep snow as far as a quarter mile away. The group collected more than 3,400 samples.
Caribou, the scientists found, graze on lichen, their chief winter food, in flat wetlands, partly because the open landscape makes it easy for them to see and hear predators, including humans.
Researchers found the caribou population larger than recent estimates, and moose, wolf and caribou populations were steady during the study period. They emphasize that this does not mean that these caribou are free from risk. But they say management of human activity, not wolf control, is the still best way to minimize it.
Some experts still believe that killing wolves is essential. Stan Boutin, a professor of biology at the University of Alberta, believes that three steps are required if the caribou are to survive: protection of areas where there is little or no human activity; restoration of areas humans have altered; and culling the wolf population, which has exploded in recent years with changes in vegetation and the resulting proliferation of deer. “People don’t enter into predator control lightly,” Dr. Boutin said. “It has huge implications. But without actually shooting wolves, the only other way is vegetation control. That takes a long time to work.”
Still, the authors of the study believe that adjustments in the ways oil exploration is done can allow the work to go on without harming the caribou, and that killing wolves is neither necessary nor desirable. Dr. Wasser said that the primary problem is the presence of high-use roads in flat open areas.
“It would be better to move the roads to more complex terrain,” he said, “areas that go up and down in elevation where you can’t see far. That will create a buffer so that the caribou can eat without being disturbed. Everything we’ve done suggests that wolf removal is not the best approach to this problem.”

411. Ocean Currents Speed Melting of Antarctic Ice

Upwelling seawater along parts of Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf
has carved out caves in the ice and drawn wildlife like this whale.

By The Earth Institute, June 26, 2011
Stronger ocean currents beneath West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf are eroding the ice from below, speeding the melting of the glacier as a whole, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience. A growing cavity beneath the ice shelf has allowed more warm water to melt the ice, the researchers say—a process that feeds back into the ongoing rise in global sea levels. The glacier is currently sliding into the sea at a clip of four kilometers (2.5 miles) a year, while its ice shelf is melting at about 80 cubic kilometers a year - 50 percent faster than it was in the early 1990s - the paper estimates.
"More warm water from the deep ocean is entering the cavity beneath the ice shelf, and it is warmest where the ice is thickest," said study's lead author, Stan Jacobs, an oceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
In 2009, Jacobs and an international team of scientists sailed to the Amundsen Sea aboard the icebreaking ship Nathaniel B. Palmer to study the region's thinning ice shelves—floating tongues of ice where landbound glaciers meet the sea. One goal was to study oceanic changes near the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, which they had visited in an earlier expedition, in 1994. The researchers found that in 15 years, melting beneath the ice shelf had risen by about 50 percent. Although regional ocean temperatures had also warmed slightly, by 0.2 degrees C or so, that was not enough to account for the jump.
The local geology offered one explanation. On the same cruise, a group led by Adrian Jenkins, a researcher at British Antarctic Survey and study co-author, sent a robot submarine beneath the ice shelf, revealing an underwater ridge. The researchers surmised that the ridge had once slowed the glacier like a giant retaining wall. When the receding glacier detached from the ridge, sometime before the 1970s, the warm deep water gained access to deeper parts of the glacier. Over time, the inner cavity grew, more warm deep water flowed in, more melt water flowed out, and the ice thinned. With less friction between the ice shelf and seafloor, the landbound glacier behind it accelerated its slide into the sea. Other glaciers in the Amundsen region have also thinned or widened, including Thwaites Glacier and the much larger Getz Ice Shelf.
One day, near the southern edge of Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, the researchers directly observed the strength of the melting process as they watched frigid, seawater appear to boil on the surface like a kettle on the stove. To Jacobs, it suggested that deep water, buoyed by added fresh glacial melt, was rising to the surface in a process called upwelling. Jacobs had never witnessed upwelling first hand, but colleagues had described something similar in the fjords of Greenland, where summer runoff and melting glacier fronts can also drive buoyant plumes to the sea surface.
In recent decades, researchers have found evidence that Antarctica is getting windier, and this may also help explain the changes in ocean circulation. Stronger circumpolar winds would tend to push sea ice and surface water north, says Jacobs. That in turn, would allow more warm water from the deep ocean to upwell onto the Amundsen Sea's continental shelf and into its ice shelf cavities.
Pine Island Glacier, among other ice streams in Antarctica, is being closely watched for its potential to redraw coastlines worldwide. Global sea levels are currently rising at about 3 millimeters (.12 inches) a year. By one estimate, the total collapse of Pine Island Glacier and its tributaries could raise sea level by 24 centimeters (9 inches).
The paper adds important and timely insights about oceanic changes in the region, says Eric Rignot, a professor at University of California at Irvine and a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The main reason the glaciers are thinning in this region, we think, is the presence of warm waters," he said. "Warm waters did not get there because the ocean warmed up, but because of subtle changes in ocean circulation. Ocean circulation is key. This study reinforces this concept."
The study received funding from the US National Science Foundation and the UK National Environment Research Council.
Copies of the paper "Stronger ocean circulation and increased melting under Pine Island Glacier ice shelf" are available from the authors or the journal Nature Geoscience,

Monday, June 27, 2011

410. Some Captive Chimpanzees Show Signs of Compromised Mental Health, Research Shows

Captive chimpanzee. (Credit: © Lucy Birkett)

ScienceDaily, June 24, 2011 

New research from the University of Kent has shown that serious behavioral abnormalities, some of which could be compared to mental illness in humans, are endemic among captive chimpanzees.

These include self-mutilation, repetitive rocking, as well as the eating of feces and drinking of urine.

The research, which was conducted by Dr Nicholas Newton-Fisher and Lucy Birkett from the University's School of Anthropology and Conservation and is published by the online journal PLoS ONE, was conducted among 40 socially-housed zoo-living chimpanzees from six collections in the USA and UK. After determining the prevalence, diversity, frequency, and duration of abnormal behavior from 1200 hours of continuous behavioral data, the researchers concluded that, while most behavior of zoo-living chimpanzees is 'normal' in that it is typical of their wild counterparts, abnormal behavior is endemic in this population despite enrichment efforts such as social housing.

Such abnormal behavior has been attributed to the fact that many zoo-living chimpanzees have little opportunity to adjust association patterns, occupy restricted and barren spaces compared to the natural habitat, and have large parts of their lives substantially managed by humans. Controlled diets and provisioned feeding contrast radically with the ever-changing foraging and decision-making processes of daily life in the wild.

To date, published literature on abnormal behavior in wild chimpanzees is sparse and rates of abnormality comparable to those described in the study have never been reported.

Dr Newton-Fisher, a primate behavioral ecologist and expert in wild chimpanzee behavior, said: 'The best zoo environments, which include all zoos in this study, try hard to enrich the lives of the chimpanzees in their care. Their efforts include providing unpredictable feeding schedules and extractive foraging opportunities, and opportunities for normal social interactions by housing chimpanzees in social groups. There are limits to what zoos can provide, however; the apes are still in captivity.

'What we found in this study is that some abnormal behaviors persist despite interventions to 'naturalize' the captive conditions. The pervasive nature of abnormal behavior, and its persistence in the face of environmental enrichment and social group housing, raises the concern that at least some examples of such behavior are indicative of possible mental health problems.

'We suggest that captivity itself may be fundamental as a causal factor in the presence of persistent, low-level, abnormal behavior -- and potentially more extreme levels in some individuals. Therefore, it is critical for us to learn more about how the chimpanzee mind copes with captivity, an issue with both scientific and welfare implications that will impact potential discussions concerning whether chimpanzees and similar species should be kept in captivity at all.'

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Kent.

Journal Reference:
  1. Lucy P. Birkett, Nicholas E. Newton-Fisher. How Abnormal Is the Behaviour of Captive, Zoo-Living Chimpanzees? PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (6): e20101 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0020101

409. Modern Fish Communities Live Fast and Die Young

 Fishing pressures have greatly reduced the percentage
of longer-lived, slower growing species such as
the lined surgeonfish.
Credit: T. McClanahan/Wildlife Conservation Society)
ScienceDaily, June 25, 2011

Fish communities in the 21st century live fast and die young. That's the main finding of a recent study by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society who compared fish recently caught in coastal Kenya with the bones of fish contained in ancient Swahili refuse heaps in order to understand how to rebuild the current fisheries.

Of course, modern fish communities are not victims of reckless living, but of overfishing which has caused an ecosystem-level transition that may not be easily reversible, according to the study. Over the centuries, human fishing has greatly reduced or eliminated larger and longer-lived species that were more commonly caught in the Middle Ages. The remaining fish communities today contain more species with shorter life spans, faster growth rates, smaller average sizes, and fewer top predators.

The study -- which utilized more than 5,475 samples of ancient fish remains dating between 1250 and 600 years before the present (approximately AD 750 -- 1400) -- appears in the current online edition of the journal Conservation Biology. The authors are Tim R. McClanahan and Johnstone O. Omukoto of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"The ancient Swahili middens represent a time capsule of data, containing information on the composition of the region's fish assemblages and how human communities influenced the marine environment," said McClanahan, WCS Senior Conservationist and head of the WCS's coral reef research and conservation program. "The historical data suggest that fishing removes the slower-growing, longer-lived species over time and that marine protected areas are only partially successful in recovering the fish communities of the past."
Seeking to examine how fish populations are impacted by increasing fishing pressure over time, McClanahan and Omukoto compared data on the life histories of modern fish communities (gathered from fish caught in both heavily fished sites and protected closures on the Kenyan coast) with data gathered from fish remains excavated from an ancient Swahili settlement located in Shanga, Kenya. Spanning some 650 years, the refuse heaps provided the researchers with valuable insights into how fish assemblages and fishing pressures changed during that time span.

The researchers discovered that the life histories of fish caught by modern fisheries and the remains of ancient fish assemblages were significantly different. Whereas ancient fish communities had a high percentage of top predators -- species that prey on fish and large invertebrates such as snails, sea urchins, and clams -- modern fish communities contain more species that feed on plants, small invertebrates like sea lice, generally smaller species that feed lower on the food chain. Modern fish assemblages also contain more species that are smaller in size with higher growth and mortality rates.

The researchers also found that the number of fish bones in the middens peaked between AD 1000-1100 (approximately 1000-900 BP) before declining, while the bones of sheep and goats become more prevalent in the higher levels of substrate, suggesting a shift in human diet to domesticated animals.

"The archeological evidence demonstrates the incredible longevity of humanity's utilization of coastal fisheries, while emphasizing the critical need to actively manage slower growing, longer-lived species within an ecosystem approach," said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of WCS's Marine Program. "The evidence from Kenya aligns with findings from around the world that for millennia humanity has relied on the world's oceans for our basic needs -- but has more recently failed to do so in a manner that also will sufficiently sustain that resource."
From Fiji to Kenya to Glover's Reef, Dr. McClanahan's research has been examining the ecology, fisheries, climate change effects, and management of coral reefs at key sites throughout the world. This work has been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:
  1. Timothy R. McClanahan, Johnstone O. Omukoto.Comparison of Modern and Historical Fish Catches (AD 750-1400) to Inform Goals for Marine Protected Areas and Sustainable FisheriesConservation Biology, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01694.x

408. Call for International Protests on the NATO Makers, May 15 and 22, 2012

UNAC April anti-war demonstration in New York City
Call For International Protests on the NATO War Makers, 
Chicago, May 15 and 22, 2012

Dear friends,
An alliance of Chicago area peace and justice organizations, together with the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC), are jointly calling for a united mass mobilization to protest the NATO and G8 Summits to be held in Chicago May 15 to 22. Permit applications were submitted for:
                Tuesday, May 15 – a national assembly to put the warmakers on trial.
                Saturday, May 19 – a major international demonstration to express broad outrage at the gathering of war makers wasting trillions of dollars on war and devastation during a time of enormous economic hardship and crisis for millions.
Several Chicago area groups have co-sponsored this call. The initial list is below. To add your group to the list of endorsers, email
NATO is the US-commanded and financed 28-nation military alliance. There will also be a summit of the G-8 world powers. The meetings are expected to draw heads of state, generals, and countless others.
At a day-long meeting in New York City on Saturday, June 18, the United National Antiwar Committee’s national coordinating committee of 69 participants, representing 47 organizations, unanimously passed a resolution to call for action at the NATO meeting.
UNAC will mount a massive united outpouring in Chicago during the NATO gathering to put forth demands opposing endless wars and calling for billions spent on war and destruction be spent instead on people’s needs for jobs, health care, housing and education.
Initial List of Chicago Area Endorsers
                Hatem Abudayyeh, *US Palestinian Community Network, Chicago
                Bill Chambers, Committee Against Political Repression
                Sarah Chambers, Executive Board Member, Chicago Teachers Union
                Mark Clements, Campaign to End the Death Penalty
                Vince Emmanuelle, *Iraq Veterans Against the War
                Randy Evans, Global Reach, Inc.
                Chris Geovanis, Hammerhard Media Works
                Pat Hunt, Chicago Area Code Pink, Chicago Area Peace Action
                Joe Iosbaker, Committee to Stop FBI Repression
                Dennis Kosuth, *National Nurses United, union steward
                Kait McIntyre, Students for a Democratic Society, University of Illinois – Chicago
                Jorge Mujica, March 10th Immigrant Rights Activist
                Eric Ruder, *Chicago Network to Send US Boat to Gaza
                Newland Smith, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship
                Sarah Smith, Committee to Stop FBI Repression
                Students for Justice in Palestine at School of the Art Institute of Chicago
                Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, *Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign
                Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network and Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism
*for identification purposes only
Whereas, the U.S. is the major and pre-eminent military, economic and political power behind NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and
Whereas, the U.S. will be hosting a major NATO gathering in the spring of 2012, and
Whereas, U.S. and NATO-allied forces are actively engaged in the monstrous wars, occupations and military attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, the Middle East and elsewhere,
Be it resolved that:
1.              UNAC, in conjunction with a broad range of groups and organizations that share general agreement with the major demands adopted at our 2010 Albany, NY national conference, initiate a mass demonstration at the site of the NATO gathering, and
2.             UNAC welcomes and encourages the participation of all groups interested in mobilizing against war and for social justice in planning a broad range of other NATO meeting protests including teach-ins, alternative conferences and activities organized on the basis of direct action/civil resistance, and
3.             UNAC will seek to make the NATO conference the occasion for internationally coordinated protests, and
4.             UNAC will convene a meeting of all of the above forces to discuss and prepare initial plans to begin work on this spring action.
Passed unanimously by the National Coordinating Committee of UNAC on June 18, 2011
The following groups were at the UNAC meeting that endorsed this resolution:
                Action for a Progressive Pakistan
                Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition – NY
                Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace
                Bail Out the People Movement
                Black Agenda Report
                Black is Back
                Boston Stop the Wars
                Code Pink
                Committee to Stop FBI Repression
                Ct. United for Peace
                Fellowship of Reconciliation
                Freedom Road Socialist Organization
                Green Party
                Haiti Liberte'
                Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine
                Honduras Resistencia - USA
                International Action Center
                International Support Haiti Network
                International League of People’s Struggle
                International Socialist Organization
                Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan NY
                Jersey City Peace Movement
                May 1st Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition
                Mobilization Against War and Occupation – Canada
                Metro West Peace Action
                Middle East Crisis Committee
                Muslim Peace Coalition
                New England United
                Nodutdol Korean Community Development
                Pakistan Solidarity Network
                Philly Against War
                Project Salam
                Rhode Island Mobilization Committee
                Rochester Against War
                SI – Solidarity with Iran
                Socialist Action
                Socialist Party USA
                Thomas Merton Center Pittsburgh
                United for Justice and Peace
                Veterans for Peace
                Voices for Creative Nonviolence
                West Hartford Citizens for Peace
                Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
                Workers World
                World Can’t Wait
For more information:
Joe Lombardo, 518-281-1968, Joe Iosbaker, 773-301-0109,