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POLITICS:
U.S.IntelligenceFound Iran Nuke Document Was Forged
Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, 28 Dec (IPS) - U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official.

Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counterterrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told IPS that intelligence sources say that the United States had nothing to do with forging the document, and that Israel is the primary suspect. The sources do not rule out a British role in the fabrication, however.

The Times of London story published Dec. 14 did not identify the source of the document. But it quoted "an Asian intelligence source" - a term some news media have used for Israeli intelligence officials - as confirming that his government believes Iran was working on a neutron initiator as recently as 2007.

The story of the purported Iranian document prompted a new round of expressions of U.S. and European support for tougher sanctions against Iran and reminders of Israel's threats to attack Iranian nuclear programme targets if diplomacy fails.

U.S. news media reporting has left the impression that U.S. intelligence analysts have not made up their mind about the document's authenticity, although it has been widely reported that they have now had a full year to assess the issue.

Giraldi's intelligence sources did not reveal all the reasons that led analysts to conclude that the purported Iran document had been fabricated by a foreign intelligence agency. But their suspicions of fraud were prompted in part by the source of the story, according to Giraldi.

"The Rupert Murdoch chain has been used extensively to publish false intelligence from the Israelis and occasionally from the British government," Giraldi said.

The Times is part of a Murdoch publishing empire that includes the Sunday Times, Fox News and the New York Post. All Murdoch-owned news media report on Iran with an aggressively pro-Israeli slant.

The document itself also had a number of red flags suggesting possible or likely fraud.

The subject of the two-page document which the Times published in English translation would be highly classified under any state's security system. Yet there is no confidentiality marking on the document, as can be seen from the photograph of the Farsi-language original published by the Times.

The absence of security markings has been cited by the Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, as evidence that the "alleged studies" documents, which were supposedly purloined from an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons-related programme early in this decade, are forgeries.

The document also lacks any information identifying either the issuing office or the intended recipients. The document refers cryptically to "the Centre", "the Institute", "the Committee", and the "neutron group".

The document's extreme vagueness about the institutions does not appear to match the concreteness of the plans, which call for hiring eight individuals for different tasks for very specific numbers of hours for a four-year time frame.

Including security markings and such identifying information in a document increases the likelihood of errors that would give the fraud away.

The absence of any date on the document also conflicts with the specificity of much of the information. The Times reported that unidentified "foreign intelligence agencies" had dated the document to early 2007, but gave no reason for that judgment.

An obvious motive for suggesting the early 2007 date is that it would discredit the U.S. intelligence community's November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran had discontinued unidentified work on nuclear weapons and had not resumed it as of the time of the estimate.

Discrediting the NIE has been a major objective of the Israeli government for the past two years, and the British and French governments have supported the Israeli effort.

The biggest reason for suspecting that the document is a fraud is its obvious effort to suggest past Iranian experiments related to a neutron initiator. After proposing experiments on detecting pulsed neutrons, the document refers to "locations where such experiments used to be conducted".

That reference plays to the widespread assumption, which has been embraced by the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran had carried out experiments with Polonium-210 in the late 1980s, indicating an interest in neutron initiators. The IAEA referred in reports from 2004 through 2007 to its belief that the experiment with Polonium-210 had potential relevance to making "a neutron initiator in some designs of nuclear weapons".

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political arm of the terrorist organisation Mujahedeen-e Khalq, claimed in February 2005 that Iran's research with Polonium-210 was continuing and that it was now close to producing a neutron initiator for a nuclear weapon.

Sanger and Broad were so convinced that the Polonium-210 experiments proved Iran's interest in a neutron initiator that they referred in their story on the leaked document to both the IAEA reports on the experiments in the late 1980s and the claim by NCRI of continuing Iranian work on such a nuclear trigger.

What Sanger and Broad failed to report, however, is that the IAEA has acknowledged that it was mistaken in its earlier assessment that the Polonium-210 experiments were related to a neutron initiator.

After seeing the complete documentation on the original project, including complete copies of the reactor logbook for the entire period, the IAEA concluded in its Feb. 22, 2008 report that Iran's explanations that the Polonium-210 project was fundamental research with the eventual aim of possible application to radio isotope batteries was "consistent with the Agency's findings and with other information available to it".

The IAEA report said the issue of Polonium-210 – and thus the earlier suspicion of an Iranian interest in using it as a neutron initiator for a nuclear weapon - was now considered "no longer outstanding".

New York Times reporters David Sanger and William J. Broad reported U.S. intelligence officials as saying the intelligence analysts "have yet to authenticate the document". Sanger and Broad explained the failure to do so, however, as a result of excessive caution left over from the CIA's having failed to brand as a fabrication the document purporting to show an Iraqi effort to buy uranium in Niger.

The Washington Post's Joby Warrick dismissed the possibility that the document might be found to be fraudulent. "There is no way to establish the authenticity or original source of the document...," wrote Warrick.

But the line that the intelligence community had authenticated it evidently reflected the Barack Obama administration's desire to avoid undercutting a story that supports its efforts to get Russian and Chinese support for tougher sanctions against Iran.

This is not the first time that Giraldi has been tipped off by his intelligence sources on forged documents. Giraldi identified the individual or office responsible for creating the two most notorious forged documents in recent U.S. intelligence history.

In 2005, Giraldi identified Michael Ledeen, the extreme right-wing former consultant to the National Security Council and the Pentagon, as an author of the fabricated letter purporting to show Iraqi interest in purchasing uranium from Niger. That letter was used by the George W. Bush administration to bolster its false case that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons programme.

Giraldi also identified officials in the "Office of Special Plans" who worked under Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith as having forged a letter purportedly written by Hussein's intelligence director, Tahir Jalail Habbush al-Tikriti, to Hussein himself referring to an Iraqi intelligence operation to arrange for an unidentified shipment from Niger.

*Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.


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 HIV/AIDS cure getting little publicity


FOLEY, Ala. — A Foley physician said what appears to be the first case of HIV/AIDS cure in the world is getting little mention in the media.


Dr. Awadhesh K. Gupta, medical director at Foley Walk-In Med Care, said he first heard of the medical breakthrough in April when he attended the Annual Conference of the American College of Physicians in Internal Medicine in Philadelphia.

It’s a conference Gupta tries to attend every year.

“This is the most prestigious organization of physicians in Internal Medicine and is responsible for certifying post graduate training in Internal Medicine. It is also one of the oldest,” he said.

According to Gupta, who has been practicing medicine in the South Baldwin area since 1997, the cure was first reported in early 2008 by a group of physicians from Germany at the annual conference on “Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections” in Boston. The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, finally published the report in its Feb. 12, 2009, issue, Gupta said.

So why has the news of the first case of HIV/AIDS cure received so little attention where the public is concerned?

“I can’t be sure as to why so little publicity,” Gupta said recently.

“My guess is that most scientific researchers are somewhat stunned that a clinician — not a research scientist — has been able to come up with the cure. Most of the big research money and big name American institutions are somewhat embarrassed to acknowledge that the very first case of HIV cure is not coming from their institutions.”

The cure, instead, is coming from Charity University Hospital in Berlin, Germany, and the doctor is Gero Huetter, who works in the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Transfusion Medicine at the same hospital.

Asked about the reaction of attendees at the medical conference in Philadelphia as regarded the news of an HIV/AIDS cure, Gupta said, “Unfortunately, because of the hectic schedule, I did not try to engage too many physicians. However, the doctor presenting this information seemed extremely excited about it.”

AN AMERICAN

WORKING IN BERLIN

As Gupta explains the case and cure in question, a 40-year-old American working in Berlin had been HIV-positive for 10 years. The patient’s HIV infection had been under control for four years with “conventional HAART treatment regimen” (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy).

When the patient developed leukemia, however, a bone marrow transplant of stem cells was done using standard protocol, which Gupta said includes radiation therapy and chemotherapy prior to the transplant.

“Remember, once you stop HIV drugs, the HIV viral count rises very rapidly, usually within a few days to a week,” Gupta said.

According to Gupta, Huetter, the German physician treating the American, deliberately chose a stem cell donor who had a gene mutation known as “CCR-5 Delta- 32,” rather than using the best matched donor.

Gupta said Huetter remembered research first observed in 1996 - research Gupta said is well known in the scientific community. That research found that certain gay men in the San Francisco area remained uninfected with HIV in spite of engaging in risky sexual activities. As it was later discovered, those men had the CCR-5 Delta-32 gene mutation.

As it turned out, the patient’s stem cell transplant was a success, Gupta said, even though the patient had to have a second stem cell transplant (from the same donor) when his leukemia relapsed.

“This patient has been off all his HIV drugs for two years now,” Gupta said. “He continues to show no detectable signs of HIV in all the known places HIV is detected — no signs of HIV in his blood, bone marrow, lymph nodes, intestines or brain.” Also, the patient’s T-cell count remains normal.

Thus, according to Gupta, within the limits of scientists’ ability to detect HIV, it appears this patient’s HIV has been “eradicated.”

CCR-5 DELTA-32

The gene mutation CCR-5 Delta-32 is found mostly in white European populations, especially northern Europeans and Scandanavians, according to Gupta, who is on the staff of South Baldwin Regional Medical Center and served as chief of medicine in 2008.

“Those who have this gene mutation from both parents are completely resistant to most common forms of HIV infection. You can get tested for it if you wish,” he said.

“It is believed that this genetic mutation may have happened during long periods of small pox, plague and other pandemics that devastated European populations.”

While the “American living in Berlin” case is in Gupta’s words the “first case of confirmed cure of HIV in the world,” he cites a 1989 case that is similar. Dr. John Rossi, currently at City of Hope Cancer Center in Durate, Calif., had a 41-year-old patient with AIDS and lymphoma. The patient underwent radiation and drug therapy in removing his bone marrow and receiving new cells from a donor.

Whether the donor had the CCR-5 Delta-32 gene mutation or not is not known, Gupta said, but when the patient died of his cancer at age 47 autopsy tests from eight organs and the tumor revealed no HIV.

“I have no doubts that present day high tech stem cell transplantation from CCR-5 Delta-32 donors can cure HIV,” Gupta said, noting, at the same time, that the procedure is expensive at present and has significant risks of complications and a high mortality related to the procedure itself.


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 North Magnetic Pole Moving Due to Core Flux


Richard A. Lovett in San Francisco

for National Geographic News

December 24, 2009

Earth's north magnetic pole is racing toward Russia at almost 40 miles (64 kilometers) a year due to magnetic changes in the planet's core, new research says.

The core is too deep for scientists to directly detect its magnetic field. But researchers can infer the field's movements by tracking how Earth's magnetic field has been changing at the surface and in space.

Now, newly analyzed data suggest that there's a region of rapidly changing magnetism on the core's surface, possibly being created by a mysterious "plume" of magnetism arising from deeper in the core.

And it's this region that could be pulling the magnetic pole away from its long-time location in northern Canada, said Arnaud Chulliat, a geophysicist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France.

Finding North

Magnetic north, which is the place where compass needles actually point, is near but not exactly in the same place as the geographic North Pole. Right now, magnetic north is close to Canada's Ellesmere Island.

Navigators have used magnetic north for centuries to orient themselves when they're far from recognizable landmarks.

Although global positioning systems have largely replaced such traditional techniques, many people still find compasses useful for getting around underwater and underground where GPS satellites can't communicate.

The magnetic north pole had moved little from the time scientists first located it in 1831. Then in 1904, the pole began shifting northeastward at a steady pace of about 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year.

In 1989 it sped up again, and in 2007 scientists confirmed that the pole is now galloping toward Siberia at 34 to 37 miles (55 to 60 kilometers) a year.

A rapidly shifting magnetic pole means that magnetic-field maps need to be updated more often to allow compass users to make the crucial adjustment from magnetic north to true North.

Wandering Pole

Geologists think Earth has a magnetic field because the core is made up of a solid iron center surrounded by rapidly spinning liquid metal. This creates a "dynamo" that drives our magnetic field.

(Get more facts about Earth's insides.)

Scientists had long suspected that, since the molten core is constantly moving, changes in its magnetism might be affecting the surface location of magnetic north.

Although the new research seems to back up this idea, Chulliat is not ready to say whether magnetic north will eventually cross into Russia.

"It's too difficult to forecast," Chulliat said.

Also, nobody knows when another change in the core might pop up elsewhere, sending magnetic north wandering in a new direction.

Chulliat presented his work this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

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 CURE FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

 An Italian doctor has been getting dramatic results with a new type of treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, which affects up to 2.5 million people worldwide. In an initial study, Dr. Paolo Zamboni took 65 patients with relapsing-remitting MS, performed a simple operation to unblock restricted bloodflow out of the brain - and two years after the surgery, 73% of the patients had no symptoms. Dr. Zamboni's thinking could turn the current understanding of MS on its head, and offer many sufferers a complete cure.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, has long been regarded as a life sentence of debilitating nerve degeneration. More common in females, the disease affects an estimated 2.5 million people around the world, causing physical and mental disabilities that can gradually destroy a patient's quality of life.

It's generally accepted that there's no cure for MS, only treatments that mitigate the symptoms - but a new way of looking at the disease has opened the door to a simple treatment that is causing radical improvements in a small sample of sufferers.

Italian Dr. Paolo Zamboni has put forward the idea that many types of MS are actually caused by a blockage of the pathways that remove excess iron from the brain - and by simply clearing out a couple of major veins to reopen the blood flow, the root cause of the disease can be eliminated.

Dr. Zamboni's revelations came as part of a very personal mission - to cure his wife as she began a downward spiral after diagnosis. Reading everything he could on the subject, Dr. Zamboni found a number of century-old sources citing excess iron as a possible cause of MS. It happened to dovetail with some research he had been doing previously on how a buildup of iron can damage blood vessels in the legs - could it be that a buildup of iron was somehow damaging blood vessels in the brain?

He immediately took to the ultrasound machine to see if the idea had any merit - and made a staggering discovery. More than 90% of people with MS have some sort of malformation or blockage in the veins that drain blood from the brain. Including, as it turned out, his wife.

He formed a hypothesis on how this could lead to MS: iron builds up in the brain, blocking and damaging these crucial blood vessels. As the vessels rupture, they allow both the iron itself, and immune cells from the bloodstream, to cross the blood-brain barrier into the cerebro-spinal fluid. Once the immune cells have direct access to the immune system, they begin to attack the myelin sheathing of the cerebral nerves - Multiple Sclerosis develops.

He named the problem Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency, or CCSVI.

Zamboni immediately scheduled his wife for a simple operation to unblock the veins - a catheter was threaded up through blood vessels in the groin area, all the way up to the effected area, and then a small balloon was inflated to clear out the blockage. It's a standard and relatively risk-free operation - and the results were immediate. In the three years since the surgery, Dr. Zamboni's wife has not had an attack.

Widening out his study, Dr. Zamboni then tried the same operation on a group of 65 MS-sufferers, identifying blood drainage blockages in the brain and unblocking them - and more than 73% of the patients are completely free of the symptoms of MS, two years after the operation.

In some cases, a balloon is not enough to fully open the vein channel, which collapses either as soon as the balloon is removed, or sometime later. In these cases, a metal stent can easily be used, which remains in place holding the vein open permanently.

Dr. Zamboni's lucky find is yet to be accepted by the medical community, which is traditionally slow to accept revolutionary ideas. Still, most agree that while further study needs to be undertaken before this is looked upon as a cure for MS, the results thus far have been very positive.

Naturally, support groups for MS sufferers are buzzing with the news that a simple operation could free patients from what they have always been told would be a lifelong affliction, and further studies are being undertaken by researchers around the world hoping to confirm the link between CCSVI and MS, and open the door for the treatment to become available for sufferers worldwide.

It's certainly a very exciting find for MS sufferers, as it represents a possible complete cure, as opposed to an ongoing treatment of symptoms. We wish Dr. Zamboni and the various teams looking further into this issue the best of luck.


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 Tamiflu anti-viral drug revealed as complete hoax; Roche studies based on scientific fraud



(NaturalNews) When it comes to selling chemicals that claim to treat H1N1 swine flu, the pharmaceutical industry's options are limited to two: Vaccines and anti-virals. The most popular anti-viral, by far, is Tamiflu, a drug that's actually derived from a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb called star anise.

But Tamiflu is no herb. It's a potentially fatal concentration of isolated chemical components that have essentially been bio-pirated from Chinese medicine. And when you isolate and concentrate specific chemicals in these herbs, you lose the value (and safety) of full-spectrum herbal medicine.

That didn't stop Tamiflu's maker, Roche, from trying to find a multi-billion-dollar market for its drug. In order to tap into that market, however, Roche needed to drum up some evidence that Tamiflu was both safe and effective.

Roche engages in science fraud

Roche claims there are ten studies providing Tamiflu is both safe and effective. According to the company, Tamiflu has all sorts of benefits, including a 61% reduction in hospital admissions by people who catch the flu and then get put on Tamiflu.

The problem with these claims is that they aren't true. They were simply invented by Roche.

A groundbreaking article recently published in the British Medical Journal accuses Roche of misleading governments and physicians over the benefits of Tamiflu. Out of the ten studies cited by Roche, it turns out, only two were ever published in science journals. And where is the original data from those two studies? Lost.

The data has disappeared. Files were discarded. The researcher of one study says he never even saw the data. Roche took care of all that, he explains.

So the Cochrane Collaboration, tasked with reviewing the data behind Tamiflu, decided to investigate. After repeated requests to Roche for the original study data, they remained stonewalled. The only complete data set they received was from an unpublished study of 1,447 adults which showed that Tamiflu was no better than placebo. Data from the studies that claimed Tamiflu was effective was apparently lost forever.

As The Atlantic reports, that's when former employees of Adis International (essentially a Big Pharma P.R. company) shocked the medical world by announcing they had been hired to ghost-write the studies for Roche.

It gets even better: These researchers were told what to write by Roche!

As one of these ghostwriters told the British Medical Journal:

"The Tamiflu accounts had a list of key messages that you had to get in. It was run by the [Roche] marketing department and you were answerable to them. In the introduction ...I had to say what a big problem influenza is. I'd also have to come to the conclusion that Tamiflu was the answer."

In other words, the Roche marketing department ran the science and told researchers what conclusions to draw from the clinical trials. Researchers hired to conduct the science were controlled by the marketing puppeteers. No matter what they found in the science, they had already been directed to reach to conclusion that "Tamiflu was the answer."

THE DRUG DONT WORK AND CAUSES ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR

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 Mammograms cause breast cancer, groundbreaking new research declares



(NaturalNews) Ever since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force took a look, finally, at the scientific evidence and announced new recommendations earlier this month for routine mammograms -- specifically that women under 50 should avoid them and women over 50 should only get them every other year -- the reactions from many women, doctors and the mainstream media have reached the point of near hysteria (http://www.naturalnews.com/027558_m...). Not getting annual mammograms, some say, means countless women will receive a virtual death sentence because their breast tumors won't be discovered. But what is rarely discussed about mammograms is this: the tests could actually be causing many cases of breast cancer.

In fact, a new study just presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), concludes the low-dose radiation from annual mammography screening significantly increases breast cancer risk in women with a genetic or familial predisposition to breast cancer. This is particularly worrisome because women who are at high risk for breast cancer are regularly pushed to start mammograms at a younger age -- as early as 25 -- and that means they are exposed to more radiation from mammography earlier and for more years than women who don't have breast cancer in their family trees.

"For women at high risk for breast cancer, screening is very important, but a careful approach should be taken when considering mammography for screening young women, particularly under age 30," Marijke C. Jansen-van der Weide, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Radiology at University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, said in a statement to the media. "Further, repeated exposure to low-dose radiation should be avoided."

Dr. Jansen-van der Weide and colleagues analyzed peer-reviewed, published medical research to investigate whether low-dose radiation exposure affects breast cancer risk among high-risk women. Out of the six studies included in this analysis, four looked at the effect of exposure to low-dose radiation among breast cancer gene mutation carriers. The other two studies traced the impact of radiation on women with a family history of breast cancer. The researchers took the combined data from all these research projects and then calculated odds ratios to estimate the risk of breast cancer caused by radiation.

The results? All the high-risk women in the study who were exposed to low-dose mammography type radiation had an increased risk of breast cancer that was 1.5 times greater than that of high-risk women who had not been exposed to low-dose radiation. What's more, women at high risk for breast cancer who had been exposed to low-dose radiation before the age of 20 or who had five or more exposures to low-dose radiation were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than high-risk women not exposed to low-dose radiation.

Bottom line: any supposed benefit of early tumor detection using mammograms in young women with familial or genetic predisposition to breast cancer is offset by the potential risk of radiation-induced cancer. "Our findings suggest that low-dose radiation increases breast cancer risk among these young high-risk women, and a careful approach is warranted," Dr. Jansen-van der Weide said in the press statement.

The mammogram scam exposed

Incredibly, although it is rarely reported in the mainstream media, the new study follows on the heels of several others that have already sounded the warning that mammograms may cause breast cancer. For example, NaturalNews covered a Johns Hopkins study published earlier this year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.naturalnews.com/025560_c...) that warned radiation exposure from annual mammograms could trigger breast malignancies in women with a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancers who have altered genes (identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2).

And it may not be only women with a familial risk for breast cancer who are at extra risk from mammography radiation. As NaturalNews covered last year, a report published in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine found breast cancer rates increased significantly in four Norwegian counties after women there began getting mammograms every two years. In fact, the start of screening mammography programs throughout Europe has been linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/024901.html).

Comments by the Health Ranger, Editor of NaturalNews.com

Mammogram pushers now have nothing left to stand on. The complete and utter hoax of mammography has now been wholly discredited through a flurry of groundbreaking studies performed by conventional medicine researchers! Yes, even the industry's own former advocates now admit mammography harms far more women than it helps.

Why? Because mammography causes the very disease it claims to "detect". It's much like a clever sleight-of-hand magician's trick where they reach for your ear and suddenly produce a coin that was presumably hidden there. But as everybody knows, they put it there themselves! Mammograms offer a similar kind of sleight-of-hand trick (or sleight-of-breast, as the case may be) by actually generating the very disease they claim to find. If so many women hadn't already been harmed by mammography, the whole thing would be quite hysterical.

"Early detection saves lives," they say. Except they stupidly forget to tell women the other side of the story: "Mammograms cause cancer." And if you're gullible enough to actually irradiate your breasts every year, don't be surprised -- shocked! -- if they someday find tumors in them.

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 Russia in secret plan to save Earth from asteroid: official


Russian scientists will soon meet in secret to work on a plan for saving Earth from a possible catastrophic collision with a giant asteroid in 26 years, the head of Russia's space agency said Wednesday.

"We will soon hold a closed meeting of our collegium, the science-technical council to look at what can be done" to prevent the asteroid Apophis from slamming into the planet in 2036, Anatoly Perminov told Voice of Russia radio.

"We are talking about people's lives," Perminov was quoted by news agencies as telling the radio station.

"Better to spend a few hundred million dollars to create a system for preventing a collision than to wait until it happens and hundreds of thousands of people are killed," he said.

The Apophis asteroid measures approximately 350 metres (1,150 feet) in diameter and RIA Novosti news agency said that if it were to hit Earth when it passes nearby in 2036 it would create a new desert the size of France.

Perminov said a serious plan to prevent such a catastrophe would probably be an international project involving Russian, European, US and Chinese space experts.

Interfax quoted him as saying that one option would be to build a new "space apparatus" designed solely for the purpose of diverting Apophis from a collision course with Earth safely.

"There won't be any nuclear explosions," Perminov said. "Everything will be done according to the laws of physics. We will examine all of this."

In a statement dated from October and posted on its website, the US space agency NASA said new calculations on the path of Apophis indicated "a significantly reduced likelihood of a hazardous encounter with Earth in 2036."

"Updated computational techniques and newly available data indicate the probability of an Earth encounter on April 13, 2036, for Apophis has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a-million," NASA said.

RIA Novosti said the asteroid was expected to pass within 30,000 kilometres (18,600 miles) of Earth in 2029 -- closer than some geo-stationary satellites -- and could shift course to hit Earth seven years years after that.