After Oil Spills, Hidden Damage Can Last for Years
By JUSTIN GILLIS and LESLIE KAUFMAN
Published: July 17, 2010
On the rocky beaches of Alaska, scientists plunged shovels and picks into the ground and dug 6,775 holes, repeatedly striking oil – still pungent and dangerous a dozen years after the Exxon Valdez infamously spilled its cargo.
More than an ocean away, on the Breton coast of France, scientists surveying the damage after another huge oil spill found that disturbances in the food chain persisted for more than a decade.
And on the southern gulf coast in Mexico, an American researcher peering into a mangrove swamp spotted lingering damage 30 years after that shore was struck by an enormous spill.
Queen’s executioner beetle wins species naming competition
New identity for Megapenthes lugens reflects location, character and appearance, say judges of competition to give common names to 10 rare UK species
It began with a stark fact – the rapid extinction of animals and plants in England – and has ended with an outpouring of interest, ingenuity, some poetry and even a touch of magic.
The Guardian competition to name some lesser-known and threatened insects, lichens and sea-creatures from around the country received more than 3,000 entries, transforming the Philorhizus quadrisignatus into the intriguing Mab’s lantern beetle, Peltigera venosa into the otherworldly pixie gowns lichen, and Haliclystus auricula into colourful kaleidoscope jellyfish.
These were just some of 10 winners in the contest to give common names to species that – until now – were known only by their official Latin titles.
Military reckons with the mental wounds of war
COMBAT GENERATION: BLOODLESS TRAUMA
Story by Greg Jaffe | Videos by Whitney Shefte
The Washington Post
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The 300-pound bomb blasted Marine Staff Sgt. James Ownbey’s mine-resistant truck so high that it snapped power lines before it slammed to the dusty ground in western Iraq.
Ownbey, knocked briefly unconscious by the blast, awoke to suffocating black smoke and a swirling cloud of dirt. He felt for the vehicle’s door, then stumbled into the sunlight where he was joined by the rest of his woozy, three-man crew. Their bodies were sore, but they looked fine.
A Marine general visiting from Washington heard about the blast and came to see the survivors. As Gen. James F. Amos laid a hand on Ownbey’s neck, his aide snapped a picture, proof of the new vehicle’s efficacy against insurgent bombs.
Arrests shed light on border kidnappings
Immigrants trying to cross into the U.S. walk into traps set up by gangs with far-reaching networks, authorities learn.
By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times
July 18, 2010
Reporting from Tecate, Mexico – The bedraggled immigrants were picking their way through the boulders and scrub when a group of heavily armed men descended on them just short of the California- Mexico border. They corralled them in a cave and pointed their guns on the 10 men and one woman.
These lawless badlands in the hills east of Tijuana have long teemed with bandits and rapists, but these criminals demanded only phone numbers. They started calling the immigrants’ loved ones in Pomona, San Diego and Bakersfield: Send us money or we’ll shoot, they said.
Italian police raids reveal how an 80-year-old gangster held sway over the feared Calabrian mafia
Videos portray the boss of bosses of the mysterious ‘Ndrangheta as a paunchy old man holding court in a plastic garden chair
Tom Kington, Rome
The Observer, Sunday 18 July 2010
Any Italians who were still in the dark about the mysterious mafia known as the ‘Ndrangheta got a rude awakening on 13 July when 3,000 police officers hauled in 300 suspected members of the mob hailing from Calabria.
Just as shocking as the assets seized and the arrests made were the police surveillance videos that revealed how the mob’s drugs and extortion empire – worth €44bn (£37bn) and equal to 2.9% of Italy’s GDP – was controlled by a group of cheaply dressed, paunchy old men who held summits at a remote religious shrine in the Calabrian mountains.
Gays defy Polish traditionalists for EuroPride march
15,000 turn out in Warsaw for the first staging of the premier event east of former Iron Curtain
By Gulliver Cragg in Warsaw Sunday, 18 July 2010
To anyone who pictures Warsaw as a cold, grey, conservative city, yesterday offered an antidote: a 15,000-strong, all-singing, all-dancing gay pride parade partied its way through the Polish capital. As if to underscore the reversal of stereotypes, they did so in blazing sunshine and 34C heat. The parade was the culmination of EuroPride, a two-week festival of parties, films and debates – Europe’s largest gay rights event. First held in 1992, in London, this was the first time it had taken place east of the former Iron Curtain.
Jaffa’s Arab haven of coexistence resists influx of Israeli hardliners
An Israeli religious group plans to build flats in a historic area, threatening to overturn an uneasy balance with local Arabs and reviving memories of past traumas
Harriet Sherwood, Jaffa
The Observer, Sunday 18 July 2010
Almost anywhere else, it would be exactly what it seems: an empty plot of land behind a wire fence where weeds sprout and rubbish blows about while it awaits the concrete mixers.
But here every stone and blade of grass comes with a bitter and contested history. This unremarkable plot on Jaffa’s Etrog Road is at the centre of a struggle that touches on social, religious, nationalist, economic and legal questions and which – whatever the outcome – will inevitably result in further strife.
Iranians mourn 27 killed in suicide attacks
By the CNN Wire Staff July 18, 2010
The bodies of 27 people killed in a pair of suicide bombings in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan were laid to rest Saturday, Iran’s official news agency reported.
Tens of thousands of mourners descended on Zahedan to grieve, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
An Iranian extremist group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s bombings that killed at least 27 people and wounded dozens more. The announcement Friday was made on the official website of Jundallah, also known as the People’s Resistance Movement of Iran.
The face of South Korea’s boogeyman
‘I came down to cut Park Chung-hee’s throat,’ the captured would-be North Korean assassin told the nation 40 years ago. Now he finds solace in his faith and hopes to help the South put that image to rest.
By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
July 18, 2010
Reporting from Namyangju, South Korea – He looks more like a graying clergyman than the boogeyman of thousands of South Korean childhoods.
But Kim Shin-jo is both.
The 69-year-old may preside over a Protestant church in this picturesque community where the Han River bends among mountain peaks. But he is also the reluctant grandfather of North Korean spies, a reminder of a cloak-and-dagger world that refuses to be dispatched to the history books on this divided peninsula.
Unlikely Tutor Giving Military Afghan Advice
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: July 17, 2010
WASHINGTON – In the frantic last hours of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s command in Afghanistan, when the world wondered what was racing through the general’s mind, he reached out to an unlikely corner of his life: the author of the book “Three Cups of Tea,” Greg Mortenson.
“Will move through this and if I’m not involved in the years ahead, will take tremendous comfort in knowing people like you are helping Afghans build a future,” General McChrystal wrote to Mr. Mortenson in an e-mail message, as he traveled from Kabul to Washington. The note landed in Mr. Mortenson’s inbox shortly after 1 a.m. Eastern time on June 23. Nine hours later, the general walked into the Oval Office to be fired by President Obama.
‘At your service, Osama’ – the African Bin Laden behind the Uganda bombings
As Somalia’s al Shebab militants claim responsibility for bombings in Kampala, the Telegraph profiles their spiritual leader, accountant-turned-jihadi Ahmed Abdi Godane.
By Colin Freeman and Mike Pflanz in Nairobi
As befits a man who fears he has a US missile with his name on it, Ahmed Abdi Godane knows the importance of keeping a low profile.
The leader of Somalia’s al-Shebab militant movement, he prefers to be heard rather than seen, ranting away in radio broadcasts from his group’s strongholds in northern Mogadishu. Thanks to his fatwahs against pop music, foreign films and even televised football, he already has a captive audience – as of last week, though, he made the rest of the world take notice too.
World celebrates Mandela Day
SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2010
The world is marking the first Nelson Mandela International Day to commemorate the birthday of South Africa’s first black president, who turns 92 on Sunday.
The United Nations had last year agreed to commemorate Mandela’s birthday every year to recognise the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s contribution to resolving conflicts and promoting race relations, human rights and reconciliation.
Ninety-two children aged from six to 12 from southern South Africa were flown courtesy of the national carrier to visit the ailing icon at his Johannesburg home on the eve of his birthday. They sang him a birthday song.
In a statement, Mandela’s office quotes him as saying, “I like being with young children”.
Mexican drug cartels’ newest weapon: Cold War-era grenades made in U.S.
By Nick Miroff and William Booth
MEXICO CITY — Grenades made in the United States and sent to Central America during the Cold War have resurfaced as terrifying new weapons in almost weekly attacks by Mexican drug cartels.
Sent a generation ago to battle communist revolutionaries in the jungles of Central America, U.S. grenades are being diverted from dusty old armories and sold to criminal mafias, who are using them to destabilize the Mexican government and terrorize civilians, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.
The redeployment of U.S.-made grenades by Mexican drug lords underscores the increasingly intertwined nature of the conflict, as President Felipe Calderón sends his soldiers out to confront gangs armed with a deadly combination of brand-new military-style assault rifles purchased in the United States and munitions left over from the Cold War.