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World News

Discussion in 'Balboa Park' started by PowderLove, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
    I post it in the general news section, so it doesn't bug people who don't want to see it.
  2. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

    Oct 3, 2006

    It's really thankful to inform people what's happening
  3. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Mafia suspects arrested in Italy
    Police in southern Italy have arrested more than 30 suspected members of rival Mafia gangs which are linked to the killing of six Italian men in Germany.

    Hundreds of police raided the small town of San Luca, the focal point of a bitter feud between rival clans among the Calabrian Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta.
    The town has been blighted by vendetta killings for more than a decade.
    Police said brothers of two of the men killed outside a Duisberg pizza parlour on 15 August were among those arrested.
    "The families that are fighting in Calabria are the same ones who fought in Germany," senior police officer Antonio Fiano told the Reuters news agency.
    Secret bunker
    Reports said the camouflaged and armed police moved into San Luca, a hilltop town on the toe of Italy, before dawn, after prosecutors issued 40 arrest warrants late on Wednesday.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->Presumably there was going to be a reaction, given that these two clans hate each other so much
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Police official <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    Three men were found hiding in an underground bunker hidden under a house, which was only penetrated when a special police unit used pneumatic drills to smash their way inside, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.
    Other raids uncovered sophisticated security and surveillance systems, Reuters reported.
    Five women were among those arrested.
    But the suspected killers were not arrested, with police saying the multiple arrests were necessary to prevent an outbreak of revenge slayings.
    At least eight suspects remain on the run, police say.
    "Presumably there was going to be a reaction, given that these two clans hate each other so much," a senior police official told the Associated Press news agency.
    Egg feud The murders in Duisburg took place after a birthday party celebration.

    The 'Ndrangheta, which is notorious for vendettas, is believed by police to control cocaine trafficking in many parts of Europe.
    Membership of the 'Ndrangheta - which means "Honoured Society" - is believed to number in the tens of thousands.
    The clan feud in San Luca, a town of about 4,500 at the southern tip of Italy, dates back to an egg-throwing incident in 1991. A fight broke out which left two young men dead and another two injured.
  4. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Iran accepts fresh nuclear plan
    The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has agreed to a plan aimed at clearing up questions about its controversial nuclear activities.

    The IAEA says the development is "significant", but adds that for the plan to work, it is essential to get full and active co-operation from Iran.
    It also says Iran is continuing its enrichment programme, but at a slower pace than before, despite UN sanctions.
    Western powers fear Iran could try to make nuclear arms, which Tehran denies.
    They have warned Iran is playing for time and should halt its programme immediately to avoid further UN sanctions.
    The UN Security Council has already imposed two rounds of sanctions against Iran over the nuclear row.
    Plan condemned
    In a confidential report, a copy of which was obtained by the BBC, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the work plan it had agreed with Iran to clear up key questions about its past nuclear activities was a "significant step forward".

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--So-->

    But it added: "Once Iran's past nuclear programme has been clarified, Iran would need to continue to build confidence about the scope and nature of its present and future nuclear programme."
    It said it was essential for Iran to stick to the agreed timeline.
    The report said some issues such as Iran's plutonium experiments had been resolved and that it was hoping to have answers to other questions in the next few months.
    The IAEA's work plan with Iran has been sharply criticised by a number of Western diplomats, says the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna, where the agency is based.
    They accuse Iran of playing for time, delaying the imposition of further UN sanctions while increasing its nuclear capabilities. And they have expressed concern that Iran is still enriching uranium in defiance of the Security Council.
  5. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    World facing 'arsenic timebomb'
    <!--Smvb--><TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=bottom><!--Smvb-->By Richard Black
    Environment correspondent, BBC News website <!--Emvb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    About 140 million people, mainly in developing countries, are being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water, researchers believe.

    Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) annual meeting in London, scientists said this will lead to higher rates of cancer in the future.
    South and East Asia account for more than half of the known cases globally.
    Eating large amounts of rice grown in affected areas could also be a health risk, scientists said.
    "It's a global problem, present in 70 countries, probably more," said Peter Ravenscroft, a research associate in geography with Cambridge University.
    "If you work on drinking water standards used in Europe and North America, then you see that about 140 million people around the world are above those levels and at risk."
    Testing time
    Arsenic consumption leads to higher rates of some cancers, including tumours of the lung, bladder and skin, and other lung conditions. Some of these effects show up decades after the first exposure.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->I don't know of one government agency which has given this the priority it deserves
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Allan Smith <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    "In the long term, one in every 10 people with high concentrations of arsenic in their water will die from it," observed Allan Smith from the University of California at Berkeley.
    "This is the highest known increase in mortality from any environmental exposure."
    The international response, he said, is not what the scale of the problem merits.
    "I don't know of one government agency which has given this the priority it deserves," he commented.
    The first signs that arsenic-contaminated water might be a major health issue emerged in the 1980s, with the documentation of poisoned communities in Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.

    In order to avoid drinking surface water, which can be contaminated with bacteria causing diarrhoea and other diseases, aid agencies had been promoting the digging of wells, not suspecting that well water would emerge with elevated levels of arsenic.
    The metal is present naturally in soil, and leaches into groundwater, with bacteria thought to play a role.
    Since then, large-scale contamination has been found in other Asian countries such as China, Cambodia and Vietnam, in South America and Africa.
    It is less of a problem in North America and Europe where most water is provided by utilities. However, some private wells in the UK may not be tested and could present a problem, Mr Ravenscroft said.
    Problems abroad
    Once the threat has been identified, there are remedies, such as as digging deeper wells, purification, and identifying safe surface water supplies.
    As a matter of priority, scientists at the RGS meeting said, governments should test all wells in order to assess the threat to communities.
    "Africa, for example, is probably affected less than other continents, but so little is known that we would recommend widespread testing," said Peter Ravenscroft.
    His Cambridge team has developed computer models aimed at predicting which regions might have the highest risks, taking into account factors such as geology and climate.

    "We have assessments of the Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins, for example, and then we look for similar basins elsewhere.
    "There are similar areas in Indonesia and the Philippines, and very little evidence of tests; yet where there has been some testing, in (the Indonesian province of) Aceh for example, signs of arsenic turned up."
    Asian countries use water for agriculture as well as drinking, and this too can be a source of arsenic poisoning.
    Rice is usually grown in paddy fields, often flooded with water from the same wells. Arsenic is drawn up into the grains which are used for food.
    Andrew Meharg from Aberdeen University has shown that arsenic transfers from soil to rice about 10 times more efficiently than to other grain crops.
    This is clearly a problem in countries such as Bangladesh where rice is the staple food, and Professor Meharg believes it could be an issue even in the UK among communities which eat rice frequently.
    "The average (British) person eats about 10g to 16g of rice per day, but members of the UK Bangladeshi community for example might eat 300g per day," he said.
    The UK's Food Standards Agency is currently assessing whether this level of consumption carries any risk. Richard.Black-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk
  6. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Japan and China in defence talks
    Japanese and Chinese defence chiefs agreed steps to ease military tensions at their first talks in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, for almost 10 years.

    They agreed to set up a study group for a military hotline and to arrange a naval exchange, officials said.
    The Japanese Defence Minister, Masahiko Komura, also raised the issue of China's rising military spending with his counterpart, Cao Gangchuan.
    He urged China to fully explain the reasons for the rise, officials said.
    Mr Cao is spending five days in Japan.
    His visit is being seen as a sign of improving Sino-Japanese ties, which were strained under Japan's former prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi.
    China had objected to Mr Koizumi's repeated visits to a controversial war-linked shrine, and high-level summits were suspended over the issue.
    Military fears
    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has worked to improve the relationship since he took office in September 2006.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact>KEY ISSUES
    <!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->History: Japan's neighbours think it has not done enough to atone for wartime atrocities
    Trade: Bilateral trade is growing strongly
    North Korea: Japan often takes a tougher stance than China over the nuclear issue
    East China Sea: Beijing and Tokyo disagree over the boundary between their exclusive economic zones
    Security: Japan wants to revise its pacifist constitution, which concerns China. China's military expansion concerns Japan.

    "By inviting China's defence chief, we hope that we will further enhance relations between Japan and China," Mr Komura told journalists as the talks began.
    Both sides agreed they wanted a military hotline established as soon as possible, a Japanese official said.
    Such a line would avert crises such as the one in November 2004 when Japan said a Chinese submarine had entered its territorial waters.
    The two sides also agreed on reciprocal port calls by naval vessels. A Chinese ship will visit Japan later this year, officials said.
    Mr Komura urged China to clarify its defence spending and the goals of its military expansion, officials said. Mr Cao reportedly responded that the rise in spending was in line with global trends.
    In recent months, both Japan and China have been expressing concern over each other's military intentions.
    Japan is worried about what it calls a lack of transparency in China's defence budget. It feels the real figure for military expenditure is far higher than Beijing admits. The US has expressed similar concerns. China, meanwhile, has expressed concern about Japan's plans for closer military co-operation with India, the United States and Australia.

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