- Current Events Lessons
- Democracy and Corporate Power
- Democracy and Media
- Swine Flu
- Identifying Countries (World-Geography-Games.com)
Provides quizzes to identify countries, states, and other geography through simple maps.
- Countries - Search Engines by Country (Search Engine Colossus)
Provides search engines from within many countries in both the language of the country and English. 3-00
- Globalization Issues (Awesome Library)
Provides sources that discuss the pros and cons of globalization and "Americanization." 8-02
- Leaders by Country (Peoplespot.com)
Provides six sources of information on of leaders by country. leaders, rulers, Presidents, and Prime Ministers 9-00
- -Editorials: Commentary on World Political Issues (CNN News)
"Fareed Zakaria GPS is an hour-long program that takes a comprehensive look at foreign affairs and the policies shaping our world. Every week we bring you an in-depth interview with a world leader, as well as a panel of international analysts who examine the major global developments of the week. As always, Fareed's emphasis is on new ideas and innovative approaches to solving the world's toughest problems." 11-08
- Happy People Dancing Across the Earth (NASA.gov)
"Many humans on Earth exhibit periods of happiness, and one method of displaying happiness is dancing. Happiness and dancing transcend political boundaries and occur in practically every human society. Above, Matt Harding traveled through many nations on Earth, started dancing, and filmed the result. The video is perhaps a dramatic example that humans from all over planet Earth feel a common bond as part of a single species. Happiness is frequently contagious -- few people are able to watch the above video without smiling." 07-08
- -001 Nelson Mandela Has Died (Awesome Library.org)
Nelson Mandela, one of the most inspirational figures of the 20th century, has died. 12-13
- -01 Iran's President and President Obama Discuss Nuclear Deal (CBS News)
"President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone Friday, the first conversation between American and Iranian presidents in more than 30 years. The exchange could reflect a major step in resolving global concerns over Iran's nuclear program."
- -01 Milestone Agreement Reached on Iran's Nuclear Development (Time.com)
"Top diplomats from Iran and six major world powers said early Sunday that an agreement has been reached in Geneva to temporarily freeze the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for a relief in sanctions which have crippled its economy."
"The agreement between the Islamic Republic, United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain marks the first time in more than a decade that Iran has agreed to curtail elements of its nuclear program." 11-13
- -01 Most Greenhouse Gas Energy Goes into the Oceans (ClimateCentral.org)
"For every 10 joules of energy that our greenhouse gas pollution traps here on Earth, about 9 of them end up in an ocean. There, the effects of global warming bite into fisheries, ecosystems and ice. But those effects are largely imperceptible to humans — as invisible to a landlubber as an albatross chomping on a baited hook at the end of a long line."
" 'We continue to be stunned at how rapidly the ocean is warming,' Sarah Gille, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor, said when we spoke with her earlier this year. 'Extra heat means extra sea level rise, since warmer water is less dense, so a warmer ocean expands.' " 01-15
- -01 We Are the Last Generation Able to Stop Climate Change (PBS.org)
"We are the first generations that have truly had the opportunity to end poverty, and we are the last generations to be able to stop climate change." 12-15
- -01 Why 2 Degrees Are So Important (CBS News)
"As the United Nations conference on climate change gets underway Monday in Paris, one temperature that will be on everyone's minds is 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Although it might not sound like a big number, climatologists predict that if the planet warms a total of 2 degrees more than its average temperature before the Industrial Revolution -- when humans started burning fossil fuels -- the results could be catastrophic." 12-15
- -01-04-14 Al Qaeda-Linked Militants Control Key Iraqi Region (World.Time.com)
"Iraqi tribes have joined government forces in battling al Qaeda militants, who seized control of much of the western cities Fallujah and Ramadi Friday."
"The sectarian violence between the Shiite-led government and minority Sunnis is the worst Iraq has suffered since American troops left the country in 2011. 'The situation is very bad,' said a former governor of the Anbar region, and also confirmed that al Qaeda had taken control." 01-14
- -01-06-14 United Nations: Wake Up Before It's Too Late (DailyKos.com)
"The report links global security and escalating conflicts with the urgent need to transform agriculture toward what it calls 'ecological intensification.' The report concludes, 'This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers.' ”
"The report is especially harsh in stating that global trade rules should be reformed in order to work toward these ends, which is the opposite of what mega-trade deals like the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are seeking to accomplish."
"The Institute noted that these pending deals are 'primarily designed to strengthen the hold of multinational corporate and financial firms on the global economy …' rather than reflect the urgent need for a shift in agriculture described in the new report." 01-14
- -01-31-14 Carbon-Negative Biochar and the Tipping Point (e360.Yale.edu)
"As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climbs to 400 parts per million and beyond, and the impacts of climate change become more unmistakable and destructive — rapid melting of Arctic Ocean ice, a rising incidence of extreme weather events — the case for extracting carbon from the atmosphere becomes increasingly compelling. Reducing the world’s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases — the focus of virtually all public discussion and government policy on climate at the moment — remains vital, but as a practical matter that effort only affects how quickly the 400 ppm figure will increase. Turning biomass into biochar and burying it underground effectively withdraws CO2 from the atmosphere; if done at sufficient scale and in combination with aggressive reductions in annual greenhouse gas emissions, biochar thus could help reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2."
"Johannes Lehmann, a professor of agricultural science at Cornell University and one of the world’s top experts on biochar, has calculated that if biochar were added to 10 percent of global cropland, the effect would be to sequester 29 billion tons of CO2 equivalent — roughly equal to humanity’s annual greenhouse gas emissions." 01-14
- -02-03-14 Corporations Betting on Climate Change (Time.com)
"In Australia’s climate-stressed bread belt, the Murray-Darling basin, and its analog in the American West, the Colorado River basin, hedge funds have bought up millions of gallons worth of water rights. Other funds, convinced that commodity prices can only keep rising, are part of a new scramble for Africa in which as many as 100,000 square miles of farmland—an area larger than the United Kingdom—have been leased or purchased by foreign investors. Meanwhile, at least two of Manhattan’s most storied investment banks have played farmer in Ukraine, where milder temperatures heighten the appeal of some of the richest soil in the world." 02-14
- -02-19-14 Study: Switch from Coal to Natural Gas Questioned (ScienceMag.org)
"Natural gas (NG) is a potential “bridge fuel” during transition to a decarbonized energy system: It emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than other fossil fuels and can be used in many industries. However, because of the high global warming potential of methane (CH4, the major component of NG), climate benefits from NG use depend on system leakage rates. Some recent estimates of leakage have challenged the benefits of switching from coal to NG, a large near-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction opportunity (1–3). Also, global atmospheric CH4 concentrations are on the rise, with the causes still poorly understood (4)." 02-14
- -02-23-14 Ukrainians Install Interim President (Time.com)
"Ukraine’s parliament moved quickly to choose a new interim president and establish a working government on Sunday, just a day after the deposed President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev in the face of mass violence and unrest." 02-14
- -02-24-14 Ukrainians Solidify Government (New York Times)
"Ukrainian lawmakers moved swiftly on Sunday to assert control over the government, racing to restore calm after a week of upheaval and bloodshed that ended in President Viktor F. Yanukovych’s flight and ouster on Saturday, and in sudden fears that the country might fall into civil war." 02-14
- -05-07-17 Macron Becomes France's Youngest Leader (Time)
"Emmanuel Macron's astonishing rise from provincial straight-A student to Rothschild banker, to civil servant, to Sunday's victory as President of the sixth-biggest economy in the world seems like one of the mythic tales of success familiar to all French children, in which a gallant young hero overcomes impossible odds to achieve giant success." 05-17
- -06-08-15 Turkey Votes (Time.com)
"In a stunning rebuke of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions to expand his powers, Turkish voters stripped his party of its simple majority in parliament, preliminary election results showed Sunday." 06-15
- -07-01-14 ISIS Declares a Muslim Caliphate (Christian Science Monitor)
"One of the clearest things about the current situation is how little US political leaders have learned about Iraq over the past decade, with a goldfish-like institutional memory exposed by the awkward fumbling for solutions." 06-14
- -07-01-15 Greeks Default (Huffington Post)
"On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras broke off negotiations and urged the European Central Bank to increase the country's emergency credit until Greeks could vote on the troika's bailout proposal in a July 5 referendum. The ECB refused, prompting capital controls and a mandatory closure of banks and the stock exchange." 07-15
- -07-05-15 Greece Votes "No" On Europe's Bailout Offer (CBS News)
"Voters in Greece sent shockwaves through Europe on Sunday by resoundingly rejecting creditors' demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans. The vote backs Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted a 'no' in a referendum on the offered bailout terms would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal." 07-15
- -07-14-15 Iran Nuclear Agreement Completed (CBS News)
"The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers is the result of more than a decade of diplomacy designed to ensure the Islamic Republic cannot develop nuclear weapons." 07-15
- -07-17-15 Editorial: Iran Nuclear Agreement Better Than War (MSNBC News)
"The legislative branch, authorized by President Obama to approve the Iran deal, now has great power and responsibility: They can either reject the accord, potentially killing diplomacy and putting the United States on a path to war, or allow the president to implement the deal and solidify American goals of blocking all of Iran’s paths to building a nuclear weapon and making the U.S., its allies, and the Middle East more secure."
"Some lawmakers claim that the U.S. can get a 'better deal.' But experts say there is no such thing."
"Why? A better deal would require more pressure on Iran in the form of more sanctions, which have only worked when the entire international community participates. If the U.S. backs out of the deal, our partners aren’t likely to join us in the re-imposition of sanctions after they all just agreed to the deal on the table." 07-15
- -08-02-13 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Leaves as President of Iraq (World.Time.com)
"The June election was won in a single round by the candidate who most emphasized the need to end Iran’s isolation, and on Saturday, Ahmadinejad will attend the inauguration of Hassan Rouhani, a man who is everything the departing incumbent is not: a cleric, worldly, educated abroad, fluent in English, and long a fixture of Iran’s ruling elite." 08-13
- -08-22-13 International Climate Panel Gives Warning (NBC News)
"A draft of the UN’s upcoming climate report states what scientists have been warning about for several years: that the main cause of long-term global warming is carbon dioxide emissions." Another finding is that, even if we stop burning fossil fuels now, climate change will continue for hundreds of years because of past human activity. 08-13
- -09-09-13 Relationship Between Extreme Storms and Climate Change Revised (Time. com)
"The truth is that scientists aren’t really sure why there hasn’t been a hurricane yet this season, nor do they know why an intense hurricane — Category 3, 4, 5 — hasn’t made landfall in the U.S. since Wilma all the way back in 2005. (Sandy, for all the damage it did, was barely a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall along the East Coast.) And as Andrew Revkin reported in the New York Times, leaked drafts of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seem to reflect a reduced scientific certainty that global warming will make storms stronger and more frequent. In the 2007 report, the IPCC said that it was more likely than not — a greater than 50% certainty in the panel’s terminology — that human activity was contributing to an observed intensification of hurricane activity in some parts of the world. Now the IPCC — or at least the draft — says it has “low confidence” of that relationship, which means it believes that there is only a 2-out-of-10 chance of being correct. The estimated probability that the 21st century will see more intense hurricane activity has fallen as well." 09-13
- -10-18-14 Can Indonesia's Jokowi Meet Expectations? (BBC News)
Jokowi Widodo has been elected president of Indonesia. 10-14
- -11-03-13 U.S. Drone Strike Angers Pakistani Leadership (Time.com)
"Pakistan’s government has lashed out at the U.S. after a Nov. 1 drone reportedly killed the leader of the Pakistan Taliban hours before peace talks between the government and militant group were to get underway. At a Nov. 2 press conference, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called the strike a direct attack on the peace process, and said Islamabad would be reviewing its rocky relationship with Washington." 11-13
- -11-04-13 Nuclear Waste Stolen in Mexico (CBS News)
"Mexico's nuclear safety agency has appealed to the public for help locating a truck stolen near the capital while transporting potentially dangerous radioactive medical waste." 12-13
- -11-12-14 Probe Lands on Comet (New York Times)
"On Wednesday, at 4:05 a.m. Eastern time, the 220-pound lander, named Philae, detached from the Rosetta spacecraft and was pulled downward by the gravity of the comet, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Signals from Rosetta will take nearly 30 minutes to travel more than 300 million miles to mission control in Darmstadt, Germany." 11-14
- -12-12-13 North Korean Leader Has Second in Command Executed (NBC News)
"Jang Song Thaek was ousted as chairman of the National Defense Commission earlier this month, after playing an important role in the early part of Kim Jong Un’s regime. Many considered him something of a puppet master to Kim Jong Il’s young heir, and Jang even made a high-profile trip to China earlier this year without Kim Jong Un. Some experts speculated that purging Jang reflected Kim Jong Un’s rising confidence as a ruler." 12-13
- -12-15-13 China Lands Probe on the Moon (Wall Street Journal)
"China on Saturday successfully landed its first unmanned lunar probe on the moon, in the latest milestone for the budding superpower's space ambitions."
"The official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday that the Chang'e-3 lunar probe landed on the surface of the moon shortly after 9 p.m. Beijing time. The probe includes the lander and a lunar rover called Yutu, or 'Jade Rabbit' in English." 12-13
- -12-16-13 Ikea Offers Temporary Housing for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (Time.com)
"As every new homeowner knows, Ikea’s flat-pack furniture fills the niche for cheap, trendy and ultimately disposable housewares. So it only made sense that Ikea’s philanthropic wing would team up with the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, to develop a similarly of-the-moment solution to the vexing problem of temporary refugee housing, which hasn’t substantially evolved beyond the tent since the Israelites fled Egypt. The only problem is that the flat-pack Ikea Refugee Housing Unit, with its roomy interior, solar lights and insulated wall panels — all designed to last three years compared to a tent’s six months — isn’t temporary enough for some. Nowhere is that more evident than in Lebanon, where government authorities had, until last week, prohibited their use for the mass influx of Syrians fleeing the war, worried that the upgraded housing may just incite refugees to stay." 12-13
- -12-18-13 President Obama and Climate Change (RollingStone.com)
"The president has said the right things about climate change – and has taken some positive steps. But we're drilling for more oil and digging up more carbon than ever."
"When the world looks back at the Obama years half a century from now, one doubts they'll remember the health care website; one imagines they'll study how the most powerful government on Earth reacted to the sudden, clear onset of climate change."
In Cushing, Oklahoma last year (2012), President Obama said: " 'Over the last three years, I've directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We're opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We've quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth, and then some. In fact, the problem is that we're actually producing so much oil and gas that we don't have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it where it needs to go.' " 12-13
- -12-21-13 President Obama Admits NSA Spying Needs to Change (MSNBC News)
"Under pressure from Congress, the judiciary, and even his own advisory panel, President Barack Obama acknowledged that the National Security Agency’s telephone metadata program may need to change." 12-13
- -12-27-13 Where We Are Now on Climate Change (Truth-out.org)
"Climate measurements continue to become both more precise and more reliable - and thus, more terrifying. A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which combines the work of 2,000 scientists from 154 countries, drawing from millions of observations from more than 9,000 scientific publications, confirms and strengthens previous predictions and adds one new and very important observation. Even 100 percent emissions reductions will no longer keep our climate from changing dangerously."
"The brave new proclamation in the new IPCC report was saved as the next to the last statement of fact in the SPM : 'A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period.' A large 'net' removal . . . this means greater than 100 percent annual emissions reductions . . . In other words, we have to take more out than we are putting in every year. We must begin to remove some of the long-lived carbon pollution that we have already placed in our skies. (SPM, E.8, Page 20)"
"Over the past six or eight hundred thousand years, our climate has almost always changed in radical jumps from one mode to another. In the last 110,000 years, Greenland ice cores show 23 of these events where the average global temperature jumped 9 to 14 degrees globally in time frames of as little as a few decades to as short as a few years." 12-13
- -13-04-13 Kim Jong Un Purges No. 2 Man (CBS News)
"In what appears to be a sign of a turbulent power struggle among North Korea's elite, South Korea's intelligence agency said Tuesday the No. 2 man in the isolated North appeared to have been purged from power." 12-13
- -Current Events (Wikipedia.org)
Provides world news each day in a variety of topics, especially politics.
- -World Watch News (CBS News)
Reports on breaking news throughout the world.
- European Union News (Awesome Library)
Provides news about the European Union.
- News Sources (Awesome Library)
Provides sources of national and world news, by subject or country.
- North Korea (Awesome Library)
Provides news and current events related to North Korea's relationship with the USA and the international community. Also provides background information on North Korea, such as history, economy, government, and more.
- "Climate Change Is All About the Oceans" (Time.com)
Tony Knap, director of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), states that "just as carbon levels have been rising in the atmosphere, thanks largely to man-made greenhouse-gas emissions, CO2 levels are on the rise in the ocean as it warms as well. Ocean data matters — the oceans hold far more energy than the atmosphere. 'This will tell us how the ocean is changing over time,' says Knap. 'Climate change is all about the oceans, not the atmosphere.' " Editor's Note: Also try Threatened Oceans. 07-11
- -01 Massive Reserve of Fresh Water Found Below Oceans (Science.Time.com)
"Scientists have discovered a massive reserve of freshwater trapped beneath the seabed that could provide water to the world’s coastal cities and mitigate the impact of a looming global water crisis, according to a new study."
"The undersea reserves have the potential to alleviate the impacts of freshwater scarcity on the planet, Post said, but the resource should be treated with care. Offshore oil and gas exploration or carbon sequestration activities could contaminate the aquifers, which are themselves a limited resource." 12-13
- -03-08-14 Russia Prepares to Annex Crimea (New York Times)
"Russia signaled for the first time on Friday that it was prepared to annex the Crimea region of Ukraine, significantly intensifying its confrontation with the West over the political crisis in Ukraine and threatening to undermine a system of respect for national boundaries that has helped keep the peace in Europe and elsewhere for decades." 03-14
- -05-10-12 Time's Most Influential People of 2012 (Time.com)
"They are the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world. Meet the breakouts, pioneers, moguls, leaders and icons who make up this year's TIME 100." 05-12
- -A New Framework for Describing How the World Is Getting Warmer (Christian Science Monitor)
"Trying to get beyond the standard scientific disclaimer that no single weather event can be pinned on global warming, government scientists on Tuesday unveiled a new framework: what are the odds of a specific event being impacted by warming?"
"They tested it on several extreme events in 2011 -- a strong La Nina year -- and, in the case of the record Texas drought, concluded that such severe dry spells are 20 more times likely during a La Nina year today than a La Nina in the 1960s, before greenhouse gas emissions jumped. "
"The 43 indicators tracked in 2011 -- ranging from thinning Arctic sea ice to more acidic oceans -- continued to show a warming trend, according to the State of the Climate report."
" 'Those indicators,' said Thomas Karl, head of the National Climatic Data Center, 'show what we expect to see in a warmer world.' " 07-12
- -Austerity in Greece Making It Harder, Not Easier, for Self-Reliance (New York Times)
"The budget gap is widening as the so-called troika of lenders — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission — withholds 1 billion euros in bailout money earmarked for government financing while it waits to see whether new leaders elected June 17 will honor Greece’s commitments."
"Even if the troika delivers that money, Greece will struggle to cover its obligations. It underscored a harsh reality that is playing out in other troubled euro zone economies. Prolonged austerity is making it harder, not easier, for governments like Greece to become self-reliant again." 06-12
- -Brazil, the World's Hottest Market (Newsweek.com)
"The specter of rising food and fuel prices now threatens to destroy an era of unprecedented global prosperity, with two notable exceptions: Brazil and Canada. Both countries produce and export enough food and fuel not just to offset the worst of global inflationary pressures but even to turn the price spike from a menace to a boon. They are the only two major economies where prices have not burst the upper limit of the central bank's inflation target." 07-08
- -China Controls 95 Percent of World's Rare Earth Minerals (CBS News)
"China produces 95 percent of the world’s rare earths, essential for a wide range of high-tech industries."
"No more than a few thousand metric tons remain to be shipped under this year’s quota, out of 30,300 metric tons of authorized shipments. World demand for Chinese rare earths approaches 50,000 tons a year, according to industry estimates."
"The value of the remaining quotas has soared to the point that the right to export a single ton of rare earths from China now sells for about $40,000, including special Chinese taxes."
"That is a sizable additional cost for buyers of neodymium, a rare earth used to make lightweight, powerful magnets essential to everything from large wind turbines to gasoline-electric cars to Apple iPhones. 10-10
- -Editorial: The "Strange Doings on Earth" (Truth-Out.org)
"The IEA [International Energy Agency] estimated that if the world continues on its present course, the 'carbon budget' will be exhausted by 2017. The budget is the quantity of emissions that can keep global warming at the 2 degrees Celsius level considered the limit of safety."
"Also last month, the U.S. Department of Energy reported the emissions figures for 2010. Emissions 'jumped by the biggest amount on record,' The Associated Press reported, meaning that 'levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario' anticipated by the International Panel on Climate Change in 2007." 12-11
- -Editorial: A Blueprint for Preventing Nuclear Terrorism (Time.com)
"Today’s terrorists have global reach, so that mission rightly requires a broad international effort. But the United States and Russia possess 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons and most of the world’s weapons-usable nuclear material, and so bear a special responsibility for preventing nuclear terrorism." 03-12
- -Editorial: Europe Needs an Energy Supergrid (New York Times)
"Some cross-border power connections exist, but many European countries still produce and supply most of their own electricity or have links to just one other country. Experts say a richer cross-border network will reduce power prices for consumers and make supplies more secure by promoting competition and distributing surplus production more efficiently." 01-12
- -Editorial: How China Is Capitalizing on the Economic Crisis (Time.com)
"Once shy of making major foreign investments, Beijing has gone on the prowl for resources and underpriced assets across the globe. Cash-rich Chinese companies, backed by soft loans from state banks and re-energized by lower labor costs as jobs dry up, are descending on Central Asia, Africa and even Western Europe to snap up assets." 04-09
- -Editorial: Innovation and Education Needed to Head Off Water War (WorldPress.org)
"For 2ie's dean, Paul Ginies, Africa's water shortage needs money to be thrown at it. But Africa also needs trained people to manage that influx of cash, he says. 'The main problem here is the lack of capacity of governance and the under-capacity of companies to respond,' he said."
"Ginies estimated one trained engineer should be in place to manage every $1 million invested in a country's infrastructure. In Burkina Faso, because of austerity measures imposed on the civil service, if there is not a major new recruitment drive natural attrition will mean there are no trained engineers in the Ministry of Agriculture and Water within 10 years, according to 2ie's calculations." 09-07
- -Editorial: Is the Press Misreporting the Environment Story? (Time.com)
"Rather than a stenographer, Pooley would prefer to see the media adopt the position of an "honest referee — keeping score, throwing flags when a team plays fast and loose with the facts, explaining to the audience what's happening on the field and why." In an issue as complex as climate change, the country badly needs smart, fair umpires, and the media can play that role. But the wave of cutbacks and closings that have hit the American media could make that all but impossible. Referees need to know the game cold, and climate change demands day-in, day-out experience from dedicated reporters. But a dwindling few media outlets are willing to pay for that kind of coverage at a time when the economy is crashing — Time's corporate cousin CNN has eliminated its entire full-time science section." 03-09
- -Editorial: It's Too Late for "Later" (New York Times)
"There was a chilling essay in The Jakarta Post last week by Andrio Adiwibowo, a lecturer in environmental management at the University of Indonesia. It was about how a smart plan to protect the mangrove forests around coastal Jakarta was never carried out, leading to widespread tidal flooding last month."
"This line jumped out at me: 'The plan was not implemented. Instead of providing a buffer zone, development encroached into the core zone, which was covered over by concrete.' "
"You could read that story in a hundred different developing countries today. But the fact that you read it here is one of the most important reasons that later has become extinct. Indonesia is second only to Brazil in terrestrial biodiversity and is No. 1 in the world in marine biodiversity. Just one and a half acres in Borneo contains more different tree species than all of North America — not to mention animals that don’t exist anywhere else on earth. If we lose them, there will be no later for some of the rarest plants and animals on the planet."
"Indonesia is now losing tropical forests the size of Maryland every year, and the carbon released by the cutting and clearing — much of it from illegal logging — has made Indonesia the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, after the United States and China. Deforestation actually accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world, an issue the Bali conference finally addressed." 12-07
- -Editorial: What Can We Really Do to Limit Climate Change? (New York Times)
"American companies can trade emission rights. By setting overall caps at levels designed to ensure that China sells us a substantial number of permits, we would in effect be paying China to cut its emissions. Since the evidence suggests that the cost of cutting emissions would be lower in China than in the United States, this could be a good deal for everyone."
"But what if the Chinese (or the Indians or the Brazilians, etc.) do not want to participate in such a system? Then you need sticks as well as carrots. In particular, you need carbon tariffs."
"A carbon tariff would be a tax levied on imported goods proportional to the carbon emitted in the manufacture of those goods. Suppose that China refuses to reduce emissions, while the United States adopts policies that set a price of $100 per ton of carbon emissions. If the United States were to impose such a carbon tariff, any shipment to America of Chinese goods whose production involved emitting a ton of carbon would result in a $100 tax over and above any other duties. Such tariffs, if levied by major players — probably the United States and the European Union — would give noncooperating countries a strong incentive to reconsider their positions." 04-10
- -Exceptional Ecosystem Found Under Arctic Ice (New York Times)
"The quantities of plankton are 'truly exceptional,' says Walker Smith, a marine biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., who was not part of the team conducting the research."
"If these blooms are widespread under the ice along continental shelves, the primary productivity in these regions could be up to 10 times greater than open-water productivity, the team estimates."
"In addition, researchers have noted that the Arctic ocean is becoming an enormous sink for atmospheric CO2 as the waters open up in the summer. Yet the open waters in the Chukchi Sea don't show the levels of dissolved CO2 they should if that's the case. Now, it looks as though the answer lies with the under-ice phytoplankton blooms, because they consume the CO2 via photosynthesis, just as land plants do." 06-12
- -Experts: Sanitation Is a Life-Saver Worldwide (MSNBC News)
"The world is neglecting a crisis over poor sanitation even as it makes progress in providing clean water, which means that diarrhea and related illnesses such as malnutrition will continue to kill at an alarming rate, experts said Friday."
"About 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation, according to the United Nations. But the World Water Council, organizer of a forum in Turkey this week, said investment in sanitation rarely amounts to more than 0.3 percent of global GDP, even though latrines and sewers are relatively cheap and play a key role in preventing disease." 03-09
- -Fresh Water from Icebergs (NOAA.gov)
"Already 40% of the world’s population lives in areas subject to severe water shortages."
"Nearly 70% of all fresh water is locked in the polar ice caps. Just the new icebergs that form every year around Antarctica hold enough water to meet the needs of every person on Earth for several months. Longstanding proposals to tow icebergs to lower latitudes where their valuable water can be harvested have been met with both skepticism and interest. To date, no successful attempts have been made."
Describes challenges to moving icebergs to shores where fresh water is needed. Also notes that it is now practical to do so.
"In this activity, you will investigate some of the logistical problems involved in moving enormous chunks of ice long distances through often turbulent seas."
- -Millennium Development Goals to Reduce Human Suffering (United Nations)
The first goal is to "Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day" and to "Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger."
Editor's Note: The 191 UN member states agreeing to support the goals estimate that between 2000 and 2015 it would cost $40 billion dollars to achieve all of the goals to reduce suffering. Meanwhile, world spending on military was $956 billion last year alone. 5-05
- -NATO Concerned that Russia Struck Syrian Rebels (Huffington Post)
"Russia launched air strikes in Syria on Wednesday in the Kremlin's biggest Middle East intervention in decades, but Moscow's assertion that it had hit Islamic State militants was disputed by the United States and Western-backed rebels on the ground."
"While Russia says its raids targeted Islamic State, locals in the targeted area of Homs say the jihadist group has no presence in the region, echoing the assessment of a U.S. official and British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights." 09-15
- -New Discovery: Water "Everywhere" on Mars (Time.com)
"What jumps out of the analysis right away is that the soil—mostly sandy grains dug from a mound in a spot known as Rocknest, inside of Gale Crater —is the presence of water, which adds up to about two percent of the soil, by weight. 'If you took a cubic foot of this material and heated it,” says Leshin, 'You’d about get two pints of water. I think that’s pretty amazing.' "
"The amazing part isn’t so much that there’s water on Mars: scientists have known for years that the life-giving liquid flowed freely and abundantly across the Martian surface billions of years ago, and that water in the form of ice still exists in reasonable quantities at the planet’s poles. But these sandy particles were blown here from all over Mars before settling to the ground. This one sample, therefore, tells us that the water Leshin’s team found is spread pretty much everywhere on the planet. No matter where astronauts eventually land, they’ll be able to cook their water supplies right out of the dirt."
- -No Compelling Evidence for Prevention or Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease (New York Times)
"The scene was a kind of science court. On trial was the question 'Can anything — running on a treadmill, eating more spinach, learning Arabic — prevent Alzheimer’s disease or delay its progression?' "
"To try to answer that question, the National Institutes of Health sponsored the court, appointing a jury of 15 medical scientists with no vested interests in Alzheimer’s research. They would hear the evidence and reach a judgment on what the data showed."
" 'Currently,' the panel wrote, 'no evidence of even moderate scientific quality exists to support the association of any modifiable factor (such as nutritional supplements, herbal preparations, dietary factors, prescription or nonprescription drugs, social or economic factors, medical conditions, toxins or environmental exposures) with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.' "
"To its great surprise, the Duke group discovered a vast amount of literature on Alzheimer’s prevention. Instead of coming up empty on many topics, Dr. Williams said, 'We came up empty on very few.' ”
"The problem, the group wrote, was that 'the quality of the evidence was typically low.' ”
"Low confidence did not necessarily mean the measures did not work — it meant the evidence was so faulty that there was no way of deciding." 08-10
- -North Korea May Have Mid-Range Nuclear Capability (CNN News)
"South Korea believes its neighbor to the north may be able to mount a nuclear warhead onto a medium-range missile." 04-16
- -Report: Climate Change "Catastrophic" (CNN News)
"More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns."
"The report's startling numbers are based on calculations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the Earth's atmosphere warmed by 0.74 degrees Celsius (1.33 degrees Fahrenheit) from 1906 to 2005, with much of that increase coming in recent decades. The panel predicts that by 2100 temperatures will have increased a minimum of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels regardless of what's agreed in Copenhagen." 05-09
- -Research: Amazon Forest Crisis Can Create "Incalculable Consequences" for Earth (The Independent)
"The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year."
"Scientists say that this would spread drought into the northern hemisphere, including Britain, and could massively accelerate global warming with incalculable consequences, spinning out of control, a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable." 07-06
- -Scary New Math on Climate Change (Time.com)
"In the paper, which Time.com confirmed has been peer-reviewed, the authors show that extreme outliers of more than three standard deviations above the mean temperature covered between six and thirteen percent of the globe during the years 2003 to 2008. If they were normally distributed and similar to the climactic record, that should have been just a 0.1-to-0.2 percent frequency of an extreme heat event. (That’s about exactly as often as a perfect bell curve predicts they would occur.) Hansen dubs this difference a “three-sigma anomaly,” for the Greek-letter symbol for standard deviation. And in the world of statistics, these anomalies represent a stunning 10-fold increase in extreme weather events." 05-12
- -Simulation Results: Temperature Rise Caused a Mass Extinction (BBC News)
"A computer simulation of the Earth's climate 250 million years ago suggests that global warming triggered the so-called 'great dying'."
"A dramatic rise in carbon dioxide caused temperatures to soar to 10 to 30 degrees Celsius higher than today, say US researchers."
"Some 95% of lifeforms in the oceans became extinct, along with about three-quarters of land species." 8-05
- -Study Ranks Countries on Nuclear Security (New York Times)
"Now, for the first time publicly, experts have surveyed the precautions each country has in place and ranked the nations from best to worst. The study is full of surprises and potential embarrassments: for instance, Australia takes first place in nuclear security and Japan comes in at No. 23, behind nations like Kazakhstan and South Africa."
"The United States? It tied for 13th place with Belgium. Last place goes to North Korea, a police state that the report finds to be seriously deficient on issues of atomic security." 01-12
- -Study: Climate Problem the Top Concern Worldwide (USA Today)
"Pollution and other environmental problems increasingly are seen as the leading threat the world faces, according to a massive survey of global public opinion released Wednesday. The United States is given much of the blame for those problems and the responsibility to respond to them."
"In 34 countries, the proportion of those who said they had 'a lot of confidence' in Bush to 'do the right thing' was in single digits." 07-07
- -Study: Global Warming Is Irreversible (TruthOut.org)
"As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, the world will experience more and more long-term environmental disruption. The damage will persist even when, and if, emissions are brought under control, says study author Susan Solomon, who is among the world's top climate scientists." 01-09
- -Study: Over Half of Indians Cannot Afford a Decent Living (World.Time.com)
"By McKinsey’s count, that group numbers a whopping 680 million. MGI arrived at that figure by a new measure it has dubbed 'the Empowerment Line.' Researchers measured how much it costs an individual to meet a set of basic needs — food, energy, housing, drinking water, sanitation, health care, education and social security — and achieve 'a minimal acceptable standard of living.' Based on that cost, the firm concluded that 56% of Indians can’t afford to meet those needs, which is more than double the number of people the government identifies as living below the poverty line. MGI also concludes some 46% of Indians lack access to basic services from the government, like subsidized food, health care and early education." 02-14
- -Super-Rich Hiding $21 Trillion in Tax Havens? (BBC News)
"A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study."
"The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined."
"The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network."
"Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments." 07-12
- -The Difference Between Global Warming of 1.5 and 2.0 Degrees (e360.Yale.edu)
"By some estimates, curbing warming at 1.5 degrees could be sufficient to prevent the formation of an ice-free Arctic in summer, to save the Amazon rainforest, and to prevent the Siberian tundra from melting and releasing planet-warming methane from its frozen depths. It could also save many coastal regions and islands from permanent inundation by rising sea levels, particularly in the longer run." 07-16
- -The Global Water Crisis (Christian Science Monitor)
"The global water crisis – caused by drought, flood, and climate change – is less about supply than it is about recognizing water's true value, using it efficiently, and planning for a different future, say experts."
"If renewable water supplies – rainfall in lakes, streams, and rivers – are like an annually replenished checking account, then ground water and deep aquifers are the savings. A few thousand years ago, when civilizations first branched out from rivers, they populated areas where they could draw from that savings in the form of ground water 20 to 30 feet below the surface. Globally, this was the norm until the 1950s, when fossil fuel energy became widely available to allow pumping water from ever-deeper depths. Ever since, humanity has increasingly lived beyond the margins of its renewable water supply."
"In ancient fossil aquifers – in the Great Plains of the United States, the North China Plain, or Saudi Arabia – water levels are not recharged by rainfall. Elsewhere, as in northern India, ground water is used faster than it can be replenished. According to the United Nations, ground-water extraction globally has tripled in the past 50 years, during which time India and China's ground-water use has risen 10-fold." 12-12
- -The Golden Age of Gas: Changing Global Politics (CNN News)
"It's becoming increasingly clear that the shale gas revolution is a game-changer not just for the energy industry, not just for the U.S. — but for geopolitics."
"And in a short time, its success has led to the drilling of 20,000 wells in America, the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and a guaranteed supply of gas for perhaps 100 years. The International Energy Agency says global gas production will rise 50% by the year 2035; two-thirds of that growth will come from unconventional sources like shale — a market the U.S. completely dominates." 06-12
- -U.N.: $24 billion could slash infant deaths (MSNBC News)
"Maternal deaths in developing countries could be slashed by 70 percent and newborn deaths cut by nearly half if investment in family planning and pregnancy care was doubled, the United Nations said Thursday." 12-09
- -UN Calls Water Top Priority (Time.com)
"U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world on Thursday to put the looming crisis over water shortages at the top of the global agenda this year and take action to prevent conflicts over scarce supplies." 01-08
- -Why Europe Needs Russian Oil (Time.com)
"Moscow sent a chilly reminder, over the New Year, of the urgency behind Europe's quest to wean itself off a dependence on Russian natural gas. Millions of Germans, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Moldovans and Italians were left without heat for a week in sub-zero temperatures, as a result of a commercial dispute between Russia and Ukraine — Moscow had turned off the gas supply piped across the vast former Soviet Republic, hoping to turn up the heat on the Western-aligned government in Kiev by turning off the heat in Europe. Restarting the flow required urgent diplomatic shuttling by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders. But as much as the episode highlighted the problem of depending on energy supplies from an increasingly churlish Russia, finding alternative supply sources will be far from simple." 01-09
- Africa's Future: Four Essentials (WorldPress.org)
"As the Group of 8 nations prepare for the annual July 2005 Summit in Scotland, the dire development needs of Africa will again come into sharp focus. A recent report on development issues worldwide by the United Nations concludes that Africa is neither on course to meet goals of halving poverty rates by 2015 nor moving significantly to improve access to portable water and basic sanitation."
"However, to provide assistance to more than 300 million Africans who live on extreme poverty, surviving on less than one dollar a day, Group of 8 nations at the July 2005 Summit have an urgent obligation to provide immediate, 100 percent debt relief for the poorest nations in Africa. Poor African nations should not have to choose between debt servicing and saving the lives of its citizens." 7-05
- Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud - President of Iran (ABC News)
"Until a few months ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Tehran. This son of a blacksmith was elected president of the country by promising to give poor people a share of Iran's oil wealth."
"From his first days in office, he began to express a fervent belief in the Shiite prophecy that the 12th imam, or the messiah, would return to save the believers and kill the infidels. What really got many people's attention was that the new president said it would happen in the next two years." 01-06
- Amazing Pictures of the Week (Time.com)
Provides pictures. 08-10
- Brazil Reacts to High Food Prices (New York Times)
"Luciano Alves planted beans, corn and grain on about 7,500 acres of his farm in southern Brazil last year. This year, he is planting 8,600 acres. And he credits Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with the increase."
" 'The government is helping us finance the purchase of new machinery,' said Mr. Alves. 'They reduced the interest rates we pay and have given us more time to pay off the loans. It’s vital.' " 08-08
- Bush Administration Blocks Plans to Reduce Global Warming (Guardian Unlimited)
"While the aid-for-Africa element of the G8 discussions has progressed to the point where pledges of billions of dollars have been made, the greater issue of saving the planet is bogged in petty negotiation, largely because America's delegates still refuse to admit, in public, that global warming is caused by human activity." 6-05
- China and Others Running Out of Water (New York Times)
"The North China Plain undoubtedly needs any water it can get. An economic powerhouse with more than 200 million residents, the region has limited rainfall and depends on groundwater for 60 percent of its water supply. Other countries have aquifers that are being drained to dangerously low levels, like Yemen, India, Mexico and the United States. But scientists say the aquifers below the North China Plain may be drained within 30 years."
"'There’s no uncertainty,' said Richard Evans, a hydrologist who has worked in China for two decades and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and China’s Ministry of Water Resources. 'The rate of decline is very clear, very well documented. They will run out of groundwater if the current rate continues.' " 09-07
- Climatologist: 450, the CO2 Red Line? (ForeignPolicy.com)
"Twenty years ago, when global warming first came to public consciousness, no one knew precisely how much carbon dioxide was too much. The early computer climate models made a number of predictions about what would happen if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to 550 parts per million. But, in recent years, as the science has gotten more robust, scientists have tended to put the red line right around 450 parts per million. That’s where NASA’s James Hansen, America’s foremost climatologist, has said we need to stop if we want to avoid a temperature rise greater than two degrees Celsius. Why would two degrees be a magic number? Because as best we can tell, it’s where the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets would become rapid and irrevocable. The ice above Greenland alone contains about 23 feet of sea-level rise, which is more than enough to alter the Earth almost beyond recognition." 01-09
- EU Nations Make Ocean "Land Grab" (Guardian Unlimited)
"A vast tract of the Atlantic seabed more than 200 miles off shore is being claimed by a coalition of four European countries eager to expand their oil and gas prospecting rights."
"No country may claim any part of the seabed more than 350 miles from its shore. Once rights are established, states may extract the minerals and natural gas or oil discovered in the annexed seabed." 06-06
- Editorial: "No Government Can Justify Torture" (Bloomberg.com)
"Iraq security forces are torturing detainees and the abuses are becoming 'routine and commonplace,' the Human Rights Watch said."
" 'The Iraqi security forces obviously face tremendous challenges, including an insurgency that has targeted civilians,' Whitson said in the report published on the Human Rights Watch Web site. 'We unequivocally condemn the insurgents' brutality. But international law is unambiguous on this point: no government can justify torture of detainees in the name of security.' ''1-05
- Editorial: Are Aid Agencies What Africa Really Needs? (Guardian Unlimited)
"Ending poverty appears to have little to do with overseas aid or the activities of NGOs. It has to do with pragmatic governments that create a business-friendly environment and place a heavy emphasis on education."
"By contrast, Africa has suffered from rulers who are parasites on their people, where the elites loot resources to line their own pockets and create an environment where investors fear to tread." 01-06
- Editorial: Death of a Fighter for Truth (TimesOnline.co.uk)
"As one of Iraq’s most gifted journalists, Atwar Bahjat covered many funerals, capturing the grief, indignation and fury of countless mourners struggling to comprehend their country’s descent into sectarian conflict."
"Yesterday her own funeral made news when the procession through Baghdad was attacked, first by a gunman and then by a bomber." 02-06
- Editorial: Indian News Adherence to Cardinal Principles (WorldPress.org)
"From the above, it seems that these news channels perhaps lack a definite focus and may have diverged from the cardinal principles of broadcasting to which they should be adhering." 03-07
- Editorial: Iraq Must Deliver Oil to Sunnis in the Constitution (Christian Science Monitor)
"Rather, the key to Iraq's near-term stability is quite simply the rights and prerogatives of the 20 percent of Iraqis who are Sunni Arabs."
"It is this group that provides perhaps 90 percent of the insurgency's active fighters and most of its new recruits. It is this group amid which the insurgency lives, hides its arms, plots its attacks, finds its safe houses. And it is this group that is on the verge of being fundamentally marginalized, in political power as well as economics, by what is happening in the constitution-writing right now."
"The Kurds want not only the land back for the Kurdish families who once owned it - a reasonable enough proposition - but virtually all the rights and revenue to the oil produced in its vicinity." 8-05
- Editorial: Is Democracy Empowering Islamists? (Christian Science Monitor)
"The Palestinian vote was a win for democracy - but also for a radical group the US rejects."
"The 'irony,' Mr. Gerges adds, is that the Bush administration's championing of the Middle East's democratization has allowed the radical Islamists to 'flex their political muscle' - from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to Lebanon and Iraq." 'We're seeing that, for now, the only alternative to secular regimes in the Middle East are the Islamists,' says [Haim] Malka [a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington]. 'They're the only ones who have legitimacy among the people.' " 01-06
- Famous Muslim Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Terrorism (CNN News)
"Sheikh Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri: At a news conference in London, England, on Tuesday, the renowned Islamic scholar issued a fatwa -- a religious ruling -- condemning suicide bombers as destined for hell, removing extremists' certainty of earning paradise after death."
"The 600-page fatwa is arguably the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism to date. Qadri said his aim was to set an important precedent that might allow other scholars to similarly condemn the ideas behind terrorism." 03-10
- From Dictatorship to Democracy (AEinstein.org)
"Out of these concerns and experiences grew a determined hope that prevention of tyranny might be possible, that successful struggles against dictatorships could be waged without mass mutual slaughters, that dictatorships could be destroyed and new ones prevented from rising out of the ashes."
"I have tried to think carefully about the most effective ways in which dictatorships could be successfully disintegrated with the least possible cost in suffering and lives. In this I have drawn on my studies over many years of dictatorships, resistance movements, revolutions, political thought, governmental systems, and especially realistic nonviolent struggle."
"This publication is the result." 02-11
- Germany Switching From Nuclear Power to Solar and Wind (Truth-Out.org)
"Germany, the world’s most aggressive adopter of renewable energy, is taking a bold leap toward a future free from nuclear energy. In March, the German government announced a program to invest 200 billion euros, or approximately $270 billion, in renewables. That’s 8 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the DIW Economic Institute in Berlin." 06-12
- Guide to Toppling Autocrats (New York Times)
"Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably 'From Dictatorship to Democracy,' a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and now Tunisia and Egypt."
- How Young Is too Young to Be a Fighter? (ABC News)
"As young girls and boys wildly kick and punch each other in rural rings across Thailand, spectators (farmers, trainers, families, friends) place their bets. Each child stands to change his or her family's fortune with a winning blow." 10-07
- Htin Kyaw Takes Over as Burma's President (CBS News)
"Htin Kyaw, a trusted friend of Nobel laureate Aung San Kyi, took over as Burma’s president Wednesday, taking a momentous step in the country’s long-drawn transition toward democracy after more than a half-century of direct and indirect military rule." 03-16
- Illiteracy Increasing in China (MSNBC News)
"Illiteracy is increasing in China, despite a 50-year-old campaign to stamp it out and a declaration by the government in 2000 that it had been nearly eradicated. The reasons are complex, from the cost of a rural education to the growing appeal of migrant work that draws Chinese away from classrooms and toward far-off cities." 04-07
- Iran Ultra-Conservative Becomes President (BBC News)
"Iran's new ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been confirmed in office, following his surprise election victory in July." 8-05
- Iran's Current Nuclear Capability (Time.com)
"Ahmadinejad was shown on national TV attending the installation of a domestically-produced fuel plate of uranium enriched to 20% into a Tehran research reactor that produces medical isotopes." 02-12
- Iranian Reactor Comes Online with Russian Fuel (Time.com)
"Despite the media hysteria over a supposed drumbeat for war with Iran, the White House is not unduly worried by the news that Russia will, on Saturday, begin loading enriched uranium into Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. "
"Instead of prompting confrontation, the move to bring Bushehr online will be used by the Administration to argue that it demonstrates Western readiness to accept a Iranian nuclear energy program without uranium enrichment. The uranium that will power the Bushehr reactor is imported from Russia, while the reactor's spent fuel — from which Iran could hypothetically extract plutonium if it had the technology to do so, and if it weren't under the scrutiny of IAEA inspectors — will be removed from Iran by the Russians. And the fact that Bushehr will produce electricity with Russian-supplied uranium, says White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, "underscores that Iran does not need its own enrichment capability if its intentions, as it states, are for a peaceful nuclear program." 08-10
- Is Western-Style Democracy Good for Everyone? (BBC News)
Asks readers to answer the question, "Is western-style democracy good for the world or is it just another example of cultural imperialism?" Provides samples of responses to the question. 11-03
- Japanese Workers Urged to Go Home Early (CNN News)
"In a country where 12-hour workdays are common, the electronics giant has taken to letting its employees leave early twice a week for a rather unusual reason: to encourage them to have more babies."
"Japan in the midst of an unprecedented recession, so corporations are being asked to work toward fixing another major problem: the country's low birthrate."
"At 1.34, the birthrate is well below the 2.0 needed to maintain Japan's population, according to the country's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare."
"Analysts say the world's second-largest economy faces its greatest threat from its own social problems, rather than outside forces. And the country desperately needs to make some fixes to its current social and work structures, sociologists say." 01-09
- Lifestyles of Women in Iran (Time Magazine)
"These girls came of age in the same culture as my friend's little girl, into a society whose middle-class value system was being transformed, where laws forced religious observance, and the lines between an individual's private values, the force of habit, and social background blurred. But rather than turning out uniformly devout or predictably rebellious, they are more independent than any generation before them, negotiating their way through society, and around hejab, with great competence." 02-07
- Limits to Debt Relief to Poorest Nations (BBC News)
"The deal to relieve 100% of poor country debts is historic - but it only sets the scene for a much bigger battle at Gleneagles over trade and aid." 6-05
- Narrowing World Health Disparities (Time.com)
"On average, a black man living in Washington, D.C., does not live as long as a man in India, and he certainly doesn't live as long as a white man in his hometown. The reasons — just like the reasons that the Japanese and Swedes live longer than the Ukrainians, and why aborigines in Australia on average die 17 years earlier than non-aborigines — are almost entirely social, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) released today." 08-08
- News and Articles Related to Current Events (Council on Foreign Relations)
CFR provides news and articles 05-07
- Nuclear Risks Grow (Independent - Popham)
"At least as damaging as North Korea's departure [from the non-proliferation ban] have been successive moves by Washington to distance itself from nuclear disarmament."
"In the run-up to the Iraq war, the US President, George Bush, signed National Security Presidential Directive 17, which said: 'The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force – including potentially nuclear weapons....' "
"This assertion, analysts say, undermined...the so-called 'negative security assurances'...not to use nuclear weapons against the non-nuclear weapon states."
"The assurances were considered vital in discouraging states from developing their own nuclear weapons.""More and more states are likely to buy the argument that the only way to be secure in a unipolar world is to go down the nuclear road – 'to pre-empt pre-emption', one analyst said." 4-03
- Peace and War (Waging Peace)
Provides articles and news stories regarding peace and war. 5-02
- Project to Gain Fresh Water from Icebergs (Time.com)
"Mougin hopes to launch the pilot test next year and advance to a full-scale trial a year or two later. He's also confident of the gambit's commercial potential and has formed a company called WPI (Water and Power from Icebergs) to exploit it. After nearly 40 years of effort, Mougin anticipates serving frozen drinks en masse soon." 05-11
- Red Crystal Now Available to Protect Medics (USA Today)
"The 'Red Crystal' debuts Sunday as an emblem that can be used to protect its relief workers, part of an agreement for Israel's admission to the Red Cross movement after more than half a century of exclusion." 01-07
- Report: Global Warming Cause and Effects (CBS News)
"The study traces global temperatures and so-called greenhouse gases going back thousands of years. It shows a gradual variation until the Industrial Revolution begins, when fossil fuel use skyrockets, as do temperatures, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports." 01-07
- Report: Scientists Offer Plan to Combat Global Warming (RedOrbit.com)
"To head off the worst of climate change, governments must pour tens of billions of dollars more than they are into clean-energy research and enforce sharp rollbacks in fossil-fuel emissions, an expert scientific panel reported to the United Nations on Tuesday." 02-07
- Report: USA, China, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia Are the Worst Offenders (CBS News)
"Sweden, Britain and Denmark are doing the most to protect against climate change, but their efforts are not nearly enough, according to a report released Monday by environmental groups."
"The United States — the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — ranked at 53, with only China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia doing worse." 11-06
- Report: We Are Threatened (BBC News)
"The most comprehensive survey ever into the state of the planet concludes that human activities threaten the Earth's ability to sustain future generations."
"Two services - fisheries and fresh water - are said now to be well beyond levels that can sustain current, much less future, demands."7-05
- Soil for Life (Aljazeera.com)
"Soil is becoming endangered, and this reality needs to be part of our collective awareness in order to feed nine billion people by 2050, say experts meeting in Reykjavík."
" 'Keeping and putting carbon in its rightful place,' needs to be the mantra for humanity if we want to continue to eat, drink and combat global warming, concluded 200 researchers from more than 30 countries."
"In the past 40 years, 30 percent of the planet's arable (food-producing) land has become unproductive due to erosion. Unless this trend is reversed soon, feeding the world's growing population will be impossible." 06-13
- Study: Lifespan Depends on Where You Live (MSNBC News)
"Major inequalities in health and life expectancy persist worldwide, according to an independent World Health Organization commission which on Thursday called for all countries to offer universal health care."
" 'Between countries we have life expectancy differences of more than 40 years. A woman in Botswana can expect to live 43 years, in Japan 86 years.' " 08-08
- Study: New Estimates on Deaths from Wars (ABC News)
"The researchers estimate that 5.4 million people died from 1955 to 2002 as a result of wars in 13 countries. These deaths range from 7,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 3.8 million in Vietnam."
"According to Obermeyer, the estimates are three times higher than those of previous reports. Data from this new study also suggests that 378,000 people worldwide died a violent death in war each year between 1985 and 1994, compared with 137,000 estimated at the time." 06-08
- Study: World Is More Unequal Today (BBC News)
"A UN report has found that the world is more unequal today than it was 10 years ago, despite considerable economic growth in many regions."
"The report recommends expanding opportunities for productive employment, bringing marginalized groups into society and working to distribute the benefits of what it called the increasingly open world economy." 8-05
- Toxic Cottonseed Becomes Food (Christian Science Monitor)
"Dr. Rathore and his colleagues have figured out how to make poisonous cottonseeds fit for human consumption. The new, nontoxic seeds could give 500 million people an additional source of high-quality protein, the team estimates, if the genetically engineered plant is approved for cultivation." 11-06
- U.N. Resolves to Protect Children from War (BBC News)
"The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution aimed at protecting children in armed conflict."
"The council agreed to monitor more than 50 governments and rebel groups accused of violating children's rights and punish those who did not stop."
"Abuses include killing or maiming children, using child soldiers and sexual violence against children." 7-05
- U.N.: World Can End Poverty by 2025 (MSNBC News)
"Global poverty can be cut in half by 2015 and eliminated by 2025 if the world’s richest countries including the United States, Japan and Germany more than double aid to the poorest countries, hundreds of development experts concluded in a report Monday."
"At stake is life or death for tens of millions of impoverished people, it said." 1-05
- U.S. and China Announce New Goals for Carbon Emissions (NBC News)
"The U.S. and China, which together account for more than a third of all of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have negotiated a sweeping agreement to cut emissions drastically by 2030, a deal that President Barack Obama called a 'major milestone' Wednesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing."
"The White House said the U.S. would seek by 2025 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below a baseline level from 2005. At the same time, China said it intended to begin reversing the rise of its carbon emissions by 2030 and to increase the share of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission power to 20 percent of all of its energy consumption by that year."
Editor's Note: Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. The two countries are proposing to slow down the rate of increasing carbon in the air. They are not proposing to reduce carbon in the air to pre-climate change levels or safe levels. 11-14
- United Nations Climate Change Conference (CBS News)
The United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Copenhagen on December 7 - 18, 2009. 03-09
- Where Abusing Women Is Normal (International Herald Tribune)
"In few places on earth is violence against women more entrenched, and accepted, than in sub-Saharan Africa. One in three Nigerian women reported having been physically abused by a male partner, according to the latest study, conducted in 1993." 8-05
- Wolff: Global Food System Can't Survive (CNN News)
"As the nation marks World Hunger Relief Week, more people are asking: Why are so many people starving and what, if anything, can be done to eradicate hunger?"
"Wolff thinks hunger can be conquered. Her group produces 'Medika Mamba,' energy dense, peanut butter food that's designed to ensure Haitian children survive childhood. Medika Mamba is easy to make, store, preserve and distribute, she says."
"Patel says '2008 was a record year in terms of harvest. There's more food per person in 2008 than there's ever been in history. The problem is not food, but how we distribute it.' " 11-08
- World Military Spending Tops $1 Trillion (USA Today)
"Global military spending in 2004 broke the $1 trillion barrier for the first time since the Cold War, boosted by the U.S. war against terror and the growing defense budgets of India and China, a European think tank said Tuesday."
"Led by the United States, which accounted for almost half of all military expenditure, the world spent $1.035 trillion on defense, equal to 2.6% of global gross domestic product, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said." 6-05
- World's Growing Food-Price Crisis (Time.com)
"With relief agencies struggling to feed the hungry and the shelves in Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Senegal and many other countries in the developing world stocked with food many locals can no longer afford, the prospects for chaos are steadily growing." 2-08
- World's Priciest Cities (Time Magazine)
"The survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting ranked 143 cities around the world, measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 areas such as housing, transportation and food. The findings are designed to help multinational employers determine compensation for their expatriate workers." 06-07