- Palin filed lawsuit against federal government to stop listing of polar bears as threatened because polar bears are healthy now, and we have plenty of polar bears but Alaska needs the oil. Palin wrote that there is "insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future" and "no evidence that polar bears are being mismanaged."
- As Palin speaks, polar bears keep dying off her coast: Nine polar bears at risk of drowning in global warming meltdown after their ice floe melted.
The bears were spotted in open ocean off the northwest coast of Alaska, miles from their normal hunting area by US government oil survey scientists flying over the Chukchi sea.
Although land was initially only 60 miles away from the bears' former home, they were driven north by their homing instinct towards the edge of the Arctic ice shelf.
Polar bears are renowned as strong swimmers but the 'lost' bears now face an epic 400-mile swim back to shore.
- Industry groups file lawsuit over polar bear rule - They say Alaska shouldn't face greenhouse gas limits due to species issues.
Five industry groups have sued the Interior Department over a rule to protect the polar bear that they say unfairly singles out business operations in Alaska for their contribution to global warming.
Groups representing the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries asked a federal judge Wednesday to ensure that laws designed to protect the bear, which was recently designated a threatened species, are not used to block projects that release heat-trapping gases in the state.
- Palin says drill, drill, drill in ANWR.
- Palin questioned whether global warming is melting Arctic ice: Palin "favors drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, questioned the science behind predictions of sea ice loss linked to global warming and opposed a state initiative that would have banned metal mines from discharging pollution into salmon streams."
- Top US Military Analyst Warns of Coming 'Climate Wars' Unless Global Warming is Reversed.
But according to one of America's top military analysts, governments in the US and UK are already being briefed by their own military strategists about how to prepare for a world of mass famine, floods of refugees and even nuclear conflicts over resources.
- Unexpected Large Monkey Population Discovered In Cambodia: Tens Of Thousands Of Threatened Primates.
The report counted 42,000 black-shanked douc langurs along with 2,500 yellow-cheeked crested gibbons in Cambodia's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, an estimate that represents the largest known populations for both species in the world.
- Biofuels 200 times more expensive than forest conservation for global warming mitigation: New report states subsidies for biofuels should be used to slow destruction of rainforests and tropical peatlands as "cheapest and most effective ways of reducing" GHG emissions.
- Arctic ice 'is at tipping point'.
"We could very well be in that quick slide downwards in terms of passing a tipping point," said Mark Serreze, a senior scientist at the Colorado-based NSIDC.
"It's tipping now. We're seeing it happen now."
- Alaska: Climate-change frontier - Melting glaciers, drier wetlands, warmer winters in Alaska, where global warming is felt most keenly.
But the glacier’s retreat is part of a greater trend. Ice fields throughout the region are thinning. The pattern is apparent in other parts of the world as well. With few exceptions, mountain glaciers in Patagonia, the Himalayas, the Alps, the Rockies, and the Andes – are shrinking. As Doug Causey, vice provost for research and graduate studies at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, says, "We have a pretty good idea of what causes ice to melt."
- Wind energy bumps into power grid's limits.
That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.
The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.
The grid today, according to experts, is a system conceived 100 years ago to let utilities prop each other up, reducing blackouts and sharing power in small regions. It resembles a network of streets, avenues and country roads.
- As McTwin advocates off-shore drilling, knowing climate change will cause more frequent and more intense storms and hurricanes: Katrina and Rita provide glimpse of what could happen to offshore drilling if Gustav hits Gulf: "When Katrina and Rita struck, gas prices soared as a result of damage to oil facilities."
- Reports that sludge from sewage plants is routinely used to fertilise edible crops have caused outrage. After EPA official testified about health issues, he was fired:
Robert Swank, a senior Environmental Protection Agency official, testified to the US Senate in 2000 that US regulations "don't pass scientific muster". In 2002, a senior EPA microbiologist called Dr David Lewis led a University of Georgia study that analysed 53 incidents where health issues had been reported near sludge sites, and found a puzzlingly high incidence of staph infections. Lewis thought chemical irritants in sludge may be causing lesions that allowed staph easy access to the bloodstream. He told reporters: "In my opinion, the land-spreading of sludge is a serious problem. We have mixed together pathogens with a wide variety of chemicals that are known to enhance the infection process. It makes people more susceptible to infections." Taking excrement from hundreds of thousands of people, mixing it and spreading it on land is simply "not a good idea". Not long afterwards, he was fired.
- Elephants Murdered in Congo Park; China Demand Blamed.
Since the beginning of this year, armed groups, soldiers, and poachers have killed 10 percent of the elephants in Congo's troubled Virunga National Park—allegedly driven by rising Chinese demand for ivory—park officials say.
The announcement raises fears that elephants could disappear forever from Africa's oldest and largest national park, which has recently made headlines for its gorilla murders.
- 'Spokesman-Review', one of growing number of newspapers dropping AP service, challenges AP's rule of 2-year notice to cancel service. Other newspapers dropping service include The Star Tribune of Minneapolis; The Post Register of Idaho Falls; The Bakersfield Californian; and The Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World, both of Washington.
- Bush now has privatized collection of intelligence to suit his needs: Contractors account for a quarter of U.S. spy operations.
Contractors carry out missions including collecting intelligence in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as operating classified computer networks for the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.
- Bush Quietly Seeks to Affirm U.S. War on Terror.
The language, part of a proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, goes beyond political symbolism. Echoing a measure that Congress passed just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, legal and political analysts say.
Some lawmakers are concerned that the administration’s effort to declare anew a war footing is an 11th-hour maneuver to re-establish its broad interpretation of the president’s wartime powers, even in the face of challenges from the Supreme Court and Congress.
- Putin: US orchestrated Georgia conflict, suggests motive was to affect US president election in McTwin's favor.
Putin appeared to link claims of an American presence amid the combat with a potential domestic U.S. political motive.
"If my guesses are confirmed, then that raises the suspicion that somebody in the United States purposefully created this conflict with the aim of aggravating the situation and creating an advantage ... for one of the candidates in the battle for the post of U.S. president."
Putin did not name a party or candidate. Some pro-Kremlin Russian politicians have claimed U.S. Republicans hoped the war would help keep Democrat Barack Obama out of the White House by fomenting concern among voters over security, which some of the Russians consider to be a strong-suit of Republican candidate John McCain, a strong Kremlin critic.
- Only a Two-Page 'Note' Governs U.S. Military in Afghanistan.
For the past six years, military relations between the United States and Afghanistan have been governed by a two-page "diplomatic note" giving U.S. forces virtual carte blanche to conduct operations as they see fit.
Although President Bush pledged in a 2005 declaration signed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to "develop appropriate arrangements and agreements" formally spelling out the terms of the U.S. troop presence and other bilateral ties, no such agreements were drawn up.
- Russia tests out new lethal nuke: "RUSSIA last night provoked fresh fears of a Cold War by boasting it has tested a new long-range nuclear missile."
- 80 Katrina Victims Finally Entombed in Memorial, 3 Years After, thanks to funeral home owners who felt city and coroner's office were too slow.
- Air Canada's Jazz Airline Removes Life Vests to Save Weight and Cut Gas Costs.
Safety cards in the seat pockets of Jazz aircraft now direct passengers to use the seat cushions as floatation devices.
- Court: US can block meat packer from testing its cattle for mad cow disease.
The Bush administration can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease, a federal appeals court said Friday.
The dispute pits the Agriculture Department, which tests about 1 percent of cows for the potentially deadly disease, against a Kansas meat packer that wants to test all its animals.
Larger meat packers opposed such testing. If Creekstone Farms Premium Beef began advertising that its cows have all been tested, other companies fear they too will have to conduct the expensive tests.
Human Rights News
- Defense contractor accused of human trafficking in recruiting of Nepali workers killed in Iraq: Lawsuit alleges 12 Nepali men were shipped to Iraq against their will and then killed in an insurgent attack in plan perpetrated by Halliburton and its Jordanian contractor.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday by an attack survivor and family members of victims claims subcontractor Daoud & Partners recruited the men in Nepal to work in hotels and restaurants in Jordan.
The company allegedly seized their passports when they arrived in Jordan in 2004 and had them sent to Iraq to work on a U.S. air base.
- Afghan President pardons men convicted of bayonet gang rape.
Dilawar said his wife publicly harangued the commander twice about their missing son. After the second time, he said, they came for her. "The commander and three of his fighters came and took my wife out of our home and took her to their house about 200 metres away and, in front of these witnesses, raped her."
Dilawar has a sheaf of legal papers, including a doctors’ report, which said she had a 17mm wound in her private parts cut with a bayonet. Sara was left to stumble home, bleeding and without her trousers.
- Global Poverty Figures Revised Upward.
Despite significant levels of economic achievements made in the past 25 years, well over 1 billion people in the developing world remain as poor as ever, according to the study entitled: "The developing world is poorer than we thought but no less successful in the fight against poverty."
Revisions of estimates of poverty since 1981 revealed that 1.4 billion people (one in four) in the developing world were living on less than $1.25 a day in 2005, down from 1.9 billion (one in two) in 1981, said the study's authors Martin Ravallion and Shaohua Chen.
- McCain’s VP Choice Is Under Ethics Investigation For Abuse Of Power In Alaska.
But Palin’s reformer image took a hit last month when she was accused of attempting to get a state trooper fired. That state trooper was her former brother-in-law who had gone through "a messy divorce" with her sister. After the trooper’s boss wouldn’t act on the governor’s request, she fired him. Though Palin says she doesn’t "have anything to hide" and she "didn’t do anything wrong there," an investigation has found that one of her aides pushed the firing.
- Faux News: Palin knows about foreign policy because Alaska is ‘right next door to Russia’.