Tuesday :: Jan 22, 2008

Random News

by Turkana

  • Guardian:

    The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists.

    Calling for root-and-branch reform of Nato and a new pact drawing the US, Nato and the European Union together in a "grand strategy" to tackle the challenges of an increasingly brutal world, the former armed forces chiefs from the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands insist that a "first strike" nuclear option remains an "indispensable instrument" since there is "simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world".

    Bush made it U.S.policy, now there's a call to make it NATO policy. And you have to love the logic: the world's a bad place, so we must be just as bad.

  • Science Daily:

    A team of physicists and astronomers from the University of Sussex and Imperial College London have uncovered hints that there may be cosmic strings - lines of pure mass-energy - stretching across the entire Universe.

    Cosmic strings are predicted by high energy physics theories, including superstring theory. This is based on the idea that particles are not just little points, but tiny vibrating bits of string Cosmic strings are predicted to have extraordinary amounts of mass - perhaps as much as the mass of the Sun - packed into each metre of a tube whose width is less a billion billionth of the size of an atom.

    Lead researcher Dr Mark Hindmarsh, Reader in Physics at the University of Sussex, said: “This is an exciting result for physicists. Cosmic strings are relics of the very early Universe and signposts that would help construct a theory of all forces and particles.”

  • Spiegel Online:

    Hesse Governor Roland Koch had pinned his re-election hopes on running what some observers have called a xenophobic campaign. And Germany is indeed talking about him -- but his poll numbers are falling.

    There have been many reports, in the past few years, about rising xenophobia and racism in the poorer parts of eastern Germany. It's nice to know it's not working in this part of the central west.

  • Observer:

    Controversial plans to make cars greener by using fuel made from crops and animal fat will be thrown into doubt this week when MPs are expected to question whether they will do more harm than good.

    Biofuels have been hailed as a green alternative to oil by some, but in the US, where there are massive plants converting maize (corn), it has been criticised for making food more expensive and being environmentally unfriendly.

    From April, petrol and diesel sold in the UK must have 2.5 per cent biofuels, drawn from sources such as tallow, rapeseed and sugar beet, rising to 5 per cent in two years' time. The EU wants to increase this to 10 per cent by 2020.

    But the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee is likely to call tomorrow for the schemes to be delayed because of fears that biofuels can have negative consequences. Criticisms include claims that producing some biofuels emits more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and that habitats such as tropical rainforests are being destroyed to plant the new crops. The report, 'Are Biofuels Sustainable?', is also thought to predict that rising food prices pushed up by competition for land could restrict growth in the industry.

  • Associated Press:

    Some 45,000 people die each month in Congo as the world's deadliest humanitarian crisis has failed to improve despite five years of relative peace in the Central African nation, according to a report released Tuesday.

    An estimated 5.4 million Congolese died between 1998 and April 2007 because of conflict, most from the rampant disease and food shortages stemming from fighting, the report said.

    The study found that life is still alarmingly precarious for Congolese despite the end of the 1998-2002 conflict that pulled in armies from half a dozen surrounding countries, and the country's first free and fair elections in more than four decades in 2006.

    "When war ended in Congo there was the same level of dysfunction without the violence," said Les Roberts, a Columbia University professor who helped conduct the first surveys in Congo with the International Rescue Committee.

  • Turkana :: 5:28 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!