• GAO: TSA lax on U.S. security of commercial trucking, buses

    Billions of dollars have been invested in improving air travel security; critics charge that ground transportation security has been treated as an after thought; there are more than a million U.S. companies which help transport 65 percent of the daily freight across the United States; busing companies carry 775 million passengers a year, more than the airline industry; GAO says both trucks and buses operate virtually free of security restrictions

  • Chemical company wants to limit disclosure on plant explosion

    An explosion in a chemical plant in West Virginia plant killed two employees and raised fears about the safety of chemical plants located near residential areas; the plant owner, citing a terrorism-related federal law, is trying to limit what the federal chemical safety agency can disclose to the public

  • Administration urged to end exclusion of foreign scholars

    A coalition of academic groups says the federal government’s practice of denying visas to foreign scholars critical of U.S. foreign policy harms the national interest

  • Some in U.K. government wanted compulsory DNA cards

    In 2003 and 2004, some civil servants considered — and wrote detailed reports about — including DNA or iris biometrics as well as digital photographs in the ID card scheme and the police wanted carrying the cards to be compulsory

  • GAO: TSA may not meet deadline for cargo checks

    Passenger planes carry about 7.6 billion pounds of cargo a year; all suitcases have been screened since 2002, but cargo has been subject to much looser inspection requirements, raising concerns that terrorists could slip a bomb into a package; TSA was given an August 2010 deadline or guarantee that all cargo carried on passenger planes is being screened

  • European Commission calls for single EU patent

    EC says that the absence of a single Europe-wide patent law is hindering the growth of technology companies in the European Union

  • Inventors: Reforming U.S. patent bill will have a chilling effect on innovation

    There are those who argue that the current U.S. patent and copyright laws have a chilling effect on innovation and creativity; then there are those who argue that effort to reform these laws and limit damages U.S. inventors can claim from infringing companies will stifle innovation and creativity; the debate continues

  • Obama to bolster food safety

    Each year, about 76 million people in the United States are sickened by contaminated food, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and about 5,000 die; thirty-five years ago, the FDA. did annual inspections of about half of the nation’s food-processing facilities; last year, the agency inspected just 7,000 of the nearly 150,000 domestic food facilities; its oversight of foreign plants was even spottier

  • Project allowing Mexican long-haul trucks into U.S. ends

    Two years ago the Department of Transportation launched a pilot project allowing Mexican long-haul trucks to carry their cargo from the Mexican origin all the way to the U.S. destination, without transferring the cargo to an American carrier; Congress removed funding for the project from the omnibus spending bill

  • EC court: Airlines must publicize banned-items list

    The EC Court of Justice ruled that airlines cannot remove items from passengers’ baggage unless these items have been included in a publicly available banned-items list; rule comes as a result of a passenger suing an Austrian airline for removing his tennis rackets from his baggage

  • Regulate armed robots before it's too late

    Unmanned machines now carry out more and more military and police missions; soon these robots will be allowed to make autonomous life-and-death decisions: when to shoot — and at whom; a philosopher argues that we should be more mindful of the ethical implications of this trend

  • Economists: Markets outperform patents in promoting intellectual discovery

    Researchers say that the problem with patents is that they give the prize to the winner only; whoever comes in second or third walks away empty-handed; allowing people to benefit even if they only tackle a part of a problem might well lead to more collaboration, and to the faster development of an ultimate solution to the whole problem

  • Economists: copyright and patent laws killing innovation, hurting economy

    Two Washington University researchers argue that innovation is key to reviving the economy; trouble is, the current patent/copyright system discourages and prevents inventions from entering the marketplace

  • Food safety is in farm worker's hands -- literally

    Food safety experts says that the health and hygienic habits of migrant farms workers are an often-overlooked source of food borne illness

  • Regulators cannot cope with food counterfeiting, contamination

    New worry: Between the extremes of accidentally contaminated food and terrorism via intentional contamination, lies the counterfeiter, seeking not to harm but to hide the act for profit