Why failure of climate summit would herald global catastrophe: 3.5°
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor Tuesday, 31 August 2010
The world is heading for the next major climate change conference in Cancun later this year on course for global warming of up to 3.5C in the coming century, a series of scientific analyses suggest. The failure of last December’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen means that cuts in carbon emissions pledged by the international community will not be enough to keep the anticipated warming within safe limits.
Two analyses of the Copenhagen Accord and its pledges, by Dr Sivan Kartha of the Stockholm Environment Institute, and by the Climate Action Tracker website, suggest that, with the cuts that are currently promised under Copenhagen, the world will still warm by 3.5C by 2100.
Advances Offer Path to Shrink Computer Chip
By JOHN MARKOFF
Published: August 30, 2010
Scientists at Rice University and Hewlett-Packard are reporting this week that they can overcome a fundamental barrier to the continued rapid miniaturization of computer memory that has been the basis for the consumer electronics revolution.
In recent years the limits of physics and finance faced by chip makers had loomed so large that experts feared a slowdown in the pace of miniaturization that would act like a brake on the ability to pack ever more power into ever smaller devices like laptops, smartphones and digital cameras.
Obama speech on Iraq has risks
By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 30, 2010; 11:25 PM
President Obama is promoting the decision to end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq on Tuesday as a fulfillment of his campaign promise to draw the war to a close. But some of the president’s detractors are using the same moment to question the wisdom of doing so – noting that Iraq is still afflicted with violence and has yet to form a government.
Obama will mark the occasion by flying to Fort Bliss, Tex., to meet with veterans. He will also deliver a prime-time Oval Office speech – only his second since taking office.
Filthy conditions found at egg producers
Federal investigators report seeing chickens and rodents crawling up massive manure piles and flies and maggots ‘too numerous to count’ at two Iowa poultry farms that have recalled 550 million eggs.
By Andrew Zajac and P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
August 31, 2010
Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles –
Federal officials investigating conditions at the two Iowa mega-farms whose products have been at the center of the biggest egg recall in U.S. history found filthy conditions, including chickens and rodents crawling up massive manure piles and flies and maggots “too numerous to count.”
Water used to wash eggs at one of the producers tested positive for a strain of salmonella that appears to match the variety identified in eggs that have sickened at least 1,500 people, according to preliminary Food and Drug Administration reports of inspections at facilities operated by Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms of Iowa Inc.
Libyan leader’s unique brand of diplomacy has Italy spellbound
By Peter Popham in Milan Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Could Colonel Gaddafi, who is now 68, be planning to retire to Italy? The visit by the Libyan tyrant, which climaxed yesterday in a meeting – in his sleeping tent – with Silvio Berlusconi, and a demonstration by the 27 Berber horses he brought with him, was his fourth to the former colonial master in a little over a year.
And although he continues to look and behave like a walk-on character in an opera buffa, there are sneaking hints that he enjoys hanging out in Rome quite as much as any other tourist. On Sunday he threw his entourage into confusion when he decided on a whim to visit Campo de’ Fiori for a cappuccino.
The man who first saw Belsen
Capt John Webster is still trying to make sense of what he saw at the camp, he tells James Gillespie .
By James Gillespie
Published: 7:00AM BST 31 Aug 2010
As Captain John Webster’s Jeep approached a small German town in 1945, he ordered his driver to turn down an unmade track. The officer had glimpsed some white buildings which, he recalls, “just didn’t look right”.
Capt Webster, senior liaison officer with Lowland Brigade HQ of the 15th Scottish Division, had been sent to find an armoured column that had failed to make contact with his unit in the British advance into north Germany in April 1945.
He told his driver to proceed cautiously – he didn’t want to blunder into Germany in April 1945.
Iraqis want American to stay
Six years ago, Sheikh Mohammed Naji led his tribe in Iraq’s greatest battle against the Americans. Now they are leaving, and he would much prefer that they were not.
By Richard Spencer, Fallujah
“I fought the Americans, and I consider that a matter of dignity,” he said.
“They orphaned our children and turned our women into widows.
That is the paradox of Fallujah, the city that saw the bitterest fighting of America’s seven years in Iraq. Its inhabitants regard the Americans with hatred, but say they represent their only insurance against the enemies by whom they are surrounded: al-Qaeda, the Iraqi government, and Iranian agents.
Other areas, by contrast, loyal to government, have the opposite problem.
Fayyad: State organs within a year
Palestinian Authority PM pledges to create viable institutions for a state by 2011.
Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, has vowed to finish creating the institutions of a Palestinian state “within one year”.
Fayyad made the comments at a news conference in Ramallah on Monday, two days before Israeli and Palestinian officials are scheduled to meet in Washington for their first direct talks in more than 18 months.
The prime minister spoke little about the talks, focusing instead on his year-old state-building programme, which has been credited with helping to improve security and the economy in the West Bank.
“We urge our people to start working extra hard to achieve this vision in the second year of our government programme,” Fayyad said.
“The programme we have set seeks to transform Palestine from the idea of the establishment of a state to a reality on the ground that cannot be ignored.”
Attack on China whistleblower shows risk of unveiling corruption, fraud
China whistleblower Fang Zhouzi was mugged after his criticism of a Chinese hospital. ‘I’ve had threatening phone calls and e-mails before, but this was the first time I have been attacked,’ he says.
By Peter Ford, Staff writer / August 30, 2010
A bungled attack on a whistleblower famous for his exposés of fraud and pseudoscience has drawn fresh attention to the vexed issues of academic dishonesty and popular gullibility in China.
Fang Zhouzi, a popular science writer and blogger, was assaulted by two men as he walked to his Beijing home Sunday evening; one sprayed a chemical in his face, the other beat him with a hammer. He was only slightly injured and was released from hospital later Sunday night.
“I’ve had threatening phone calls and e-mails before, but this was the first time I have been attacked,” Mr. Fang said in a telephone interview.
Occupation politics stymie Afghanistan
By Sreeram Chaulia
Fresh revelations from unnamed quarters of the United States government that Mohammad Zia Salehi, an allegedly corruption-tainted aide of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, is a recipient of payments from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have turned the spotlight on the gap between the rhetoric and the realities of foreign military occupation.
While Washington has made “good governance” in Afghanistan a pillar of its revamped war strategy, it is evident that the needs of prosecuting a highly unpopular war are defeating this objective.
According to a report in the New York Times, Salehi – the administrative head of Afghanistan’s National Security Council who is said to have leveraged connections to the president and escaped anti-corruption proceedings – has been on the CIA payroll “for many years”.
How Nigeria’s plan to privatize its electricity company could light up Africa
Privatization isn’t easy, however. Nigerians need look no further than neighboring Cameroon. While an American company brought cash and expertise, they were initially stymied by the endemic corruption in the electricity network.
By G. Pascal Zachary, Guest blogger / August 30, 2010
OK, Nigeria isn’t for sale, not all of it at least, only the national electric power company.
In a country where most people lack reliable electricity to their homes and workplaces, the government’s declaration of an intention to sell of its pathetic state-owned electricity company is cause for celebration – and also reflection on what private-ownership will bring if the government manages to sell even a controlling stake to outsiders.
The government said Aug. 26 it wants foreign investors to put $10 billion into its ailing electricity company, Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
Southern Sudan to purge child soldiers from army
U.N. Children’s Fund estimates that about 900 children serve as soldiers
By MAGGIE FICK
JUBA, Sudan – The government of Southern Sudan said Monday it will purge child soldiers from the ranks of its former rebel army by year’s end, a policy change that could see thousands of young troops pushed out of the military.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army launched a new “Child Protection Department” intended to help the army fulfill an agreement it signed with the United Nations in November. The agreement commits the army to release all children in its ranks by the end of the year and to end the use of child soldiers across Southern Sudan.dan.
Chilean miners await rescue as drilling begins
31-tonne drill bores 50 feet into rock as rescue mission to save 33 trapped miners begins
Jonathan Franklin in Santiago
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 31 August 2010 07.20 BST
Drilling began on Monday to rescue the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground, as it emerged that they have spoken for the first time to family members waiting for them on the surface.
A 31-tonne drill bored 50 feet into the rock, the first step in the week-long drilling of a “pilot hole” to guide the way for the rescue. Later, the drill will be fitted with larger bits to widen the bore and eventually pull the men through, a process that could take three to four months.