Obama’s budget and hypocrisy on nukes

thehill – Earlier this month, President Obama released a budget proposal for 2017, which includes billions of dollars for controversial modernization programs for each leg of the nuclear triad — land-based, sea-based and aircraft missiles — and cuts to nuclear nonproliferation programs. This is troubling for a number of reasons, never mind the irony that this spending spree comes from the same man who delivered a 2009 speech in Prague pledging “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Of top concern are requests to allocate $95.6 million for the research and development of a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile, replacing the current air-launched cruise missile whose mission has long-since faded into irrelevance. The plan would also nearly double our cruise missile collection to around 1,000 missiles. These additions have been denounced by a chorus of military experts and former national security advisors, including the father of the nuclear-armed cruise missile, former Secretary of Defense William Perry.

Other nuclear modernization programs in the budget request include:

  • $25.7 million for a nuclear capability for the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
  • $113.9 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, a replacement for the current Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system.
  • $137.9 million for a new guided tail-kit for the B61 tactical nuclear weapon life-extension program.
  • $1.36 billion for the Long-Range Strike Bomber, which is planned to replace the current B-52 and B-2 bomber aircraft.

Tiếp tục đọc “Obama’s budget and hypocrisy on nukes”

UN warns of nuclear material falling into terrorist hands

Associated Press

VIENNA (AP) — The head of the U.N. nuclear agency warned Monday of the dangers of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists and urged world nations to apply an agreement meant to minimize such dangers.

Two-thirds of the 89 countries agreeing with the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material must ratify it for it to enter into force. Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency says ratification by 11 more nations is needed.

Its application would “reduce the likelihood of terrorists being able to detonate a …’dirty bomb,'” which can spread radioactivity over a wide area and also reduce the risk of an attack on a nuclear power plant, said Amano.

 He noted that nearly 2,800 incidents of radioactive material going missing have been reported to his agency since 1995.
 Some are of serious concern. Moldovan police working with the FBI last year stopped four attempts by smugglers to sell nuclear material to extremists in the Middle East over the past five years. In one instance a year ago, undercover agents were offered a large amount of radioactive cesium.

In the most recent reported case, the agency said last week that it had been informed by Iraq of the theft of an industrial radiography device in the city of al-Zubair in November.

Experts say the amount of the substance is too small to pose a terrorist threat. But if mismanaged, it could be fatal on exposure over several days, or in some cases as little as a few hours.

Địa chủ hiện đại, tại sao không?

Lê Anh Tuấn – Chủ Nhật,  21/2/2016, 14:21 (GMT+7)

Có lẽ, đã đến lúc nên nhìn nhận người địa chủ như một thành phần sản xuất trong xã hội, tương tự như giới doanh nhân, chủ đầu tư, nhà tư bản, chủ tịch tập đoàn… Ảnh: Lê Hoàng Vũ

(TBKTSG) – Hơn nửa thế kỷ qua, tên gọi giới địa chủ, mặc nhiên được xem như một giai cấp gắn liền với bóc lột tá điền, cường hào ác bá, ăn chơi hưởng thụ, dốt nát hợm hĩnh, cấu kết với các thế lực thực dân phong kiến cầm quyền, chống phá cách mạng…

Ngày nay, tình thế kinh tế – xã hội trong và ngoài nước đã có nhiều thay đổi, nhưng quan niệm về địa chủ dường như vẫn chưa thay đổi kịp. Có lẽ, đã đến lúc nên nhìn nhận người địa chủ như một thành phần sản xuất trong xã hội, tương tự như giới doanh nhân, chủ đầu tư, nhà tư bản, chủ tịch tập đoàn… Tiếp tục đọc “Địa chủ hiện đại, tại sao không?”

Four billion people affected by severe water scarcity

Date:February 15, 2016

Source:University of Twente
Summary: There are four billion people worldwide who are affected by severe water scarcity for at least one month a year. That is the conclusion after many years’ extensive research. This alarming figure is much higher than was previously thought.


Sciencedaily – There are four billion people worldwide who are affected by severe water scarcity for at least one month a year. That is the conclusion of University of Twente Professor of Water Management, Arjen Hoekstra, after many years’ extensive research. This alarming figure is much higher than was previously thought. His ground-breaking research was published in Science Advances.

Professor Hoekstra’s team is the first research group in the world to identify people’s water footprint from month to month and to compare it to the monthly availability of water. “Up to now, this type of research concentrated solely on the scarcity of water on an annual basis, and had only been carried out in the largest river basins,” says Hoekstra.

He defines severe water scarcity as the depletion of water in a certain area. “Groundwater levels are falling, lakes are drying up, less water is flowing in rivers, and water supplies for industry and farmers are threatened. In this research, we established the maximum sustainable ‘water footprint’ for every location on earth, and then looked at actual water consumption. If the latter is much greater than what is sustainable, then there can be said to be severe water scarcity.”

More than previously thought

Until now, it had always been assumed in the scientific community that 2 to 3 billion people were affected by severe water scarcity. “Previous research looked at the availability of water on an annual basis, but that paints a more rosy and misleading picture, because water scarcity occurs during the dry period of the year,” explains Hoekstra. In his research, he describes for each place the number of months in a year that people are affected by severe water scarcity. That varies from zero to twelve months per year. Tiếp tục đọc “Four billion people affected by severe water scarcity”

Businesses to feel the heat from slavery scrutiny in 2016

Author: Alex Whiting

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Tue, 16 Feb 2016 00:01 GMT
Field labourers stand in line at a gym turned shelter in Saltillo, Mexico, August 21, 2015. Some 200 people stayed at the gym after they were rescued, along with 63 minors, in an operation headed by the state attorney, from the farms of a livestock company where they were working under conditions of semi-slavery, according to local media. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

LONDON, Feb 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Businesses are coming under increased public scrutiny over the use of slavery in their supply chains, making forced labour one of the greatest risks to their brands’ reputation this year, a research firm said on Tuesday. Tiếp tục đọc “Businesses to feel the heat from slavery scrutiny in 2016”

Mobilising finance for a renewable and sustainable future

eco-business – Global momentum is building towards greater investment in renewables. Renewable energy is no longer seen as an indulgence that needs to be tolerated. Prospects are looking bright for the renewable energy industry as a growing number of countries, including the United States are realizing that the rapidly increasing use of renewable energy has become a beacon for optimism.

In fact, renewable energy sources are becoming affordable thanks to enhanced infrastructure and policies. Over the next decades, huge investments will be flowing into the energy sector. It is critical to seek ways to green those investments. According to UNEP’s 9th “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015,” renewables are growing rapidly in both developed and developing countries, with China leading the way. Tiếp tục đọc “Mobilising finance for a renewable and sustainable future”