Oil Spill Calculations Stir Debate on Damage
By JUSTIN GILLIS and LESLIE KAUFMAN
Published: August 4, 2010
The Obama administration’s latest report on the Gulf of Mexico disaster set off a war of words Wednesday among scientists, Gulf Coast residents and political pundits about what to make of the Deepwater Horizon spill and its aftermath.
The report, the subject of an extended White House briefing, claimed that most of the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that have leaked into the gulf could be accounted for, that much of it was effectively gone already, and that most of the remaining oil was in a highly diluted form. The implication of the report was that future damage from the oil might be less than had been feared.
Can malaria be beaten?
The killer disease is back in the news. But the real story is how close we can come to eliminating its menace entirely, writes Jeremy Laurance
Thursday, 5 August 2010
When I see a packet of malaria pills I think of that famous Clint Eastwood line from Dirty Harry, delivered as he pointed his .44 magnum at a bank robber and neither of them could remember how many shots he had fired, or whether there was still one left in the chamber. “The question you have got to ask yourself is: do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
Actually, I do. Lucky enough not to have to take the nasty, expensive little things on my periodic visits to Africa and other malarial parts of the world. Now I find myself being asked to reconsider after X Factor star Cheryl Cole’s unpleasant encounter with a mosquito in Tanzania. Such is the power of celebrity.
Google and Verizon in Talks on Web Priority
By EDWARD WYATT
Published: August 4, 2010
WASHINGTON – Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.
The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users.
‘Static kill’ of oil well deemed a success; gulf waters begin clearing
By Joel Achenbach and Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 5, 2010
On the 107th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Macondo well became an apparently harmless hole in the seafloor, clogged with 13-pound-per-gallon gunk, and barely more of a threat to spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico than to start gushing lemonade.
The “static kill” had worked.
The well that tormented the nation has flatlined. Federal officials green-lighted the cementing of the well, already jammed with mud, late Wednesday.
Russian wildfires: ‘Even the road seemed to be on fire. It was like descending into hell’
The hottest summer in living memory has sparked devastating blazes across Russia
By Shaun Walker in Mokhovoye Thursday, 5 August 2010
“All around us, everything was on fire,” says Vladimir Anuryev. “Houses, trees, the ground itself – it was all in flames. Even the asphalt on the road seemed to be on fire. It was like descending into hell.”
The 73-year-old has lived in Mokhovoye, a village of around 400 people about 100 miles from Moscow, since 1947. But last Thursday, almost everything in the village burnt down in one of the many tragedies across European Russia in the past week, as an unprecedented heatwave caused the worst outbreak of forest fires for decades.
Cloned beef in food chain spreads alarm in Britain
Bull from cloned cow was slaughtered, eaten
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER
LONDON – News that meat and milk from the offspring of cloned cattle – illegal to sell in without proper authorization – may have made their way into the U.K. food chain has set hands wringing in Britain, a country still sensitive from its experience with mad cow disease.
And while scientists made the rounds of breakfast TV shows to assure consumers that the products were safe, the flap illustrates what industry-watchers say are the pressures and regulatory loopholes pushing meat taken from the progeny of clones and genetically engineered foods into the European market, whether citizens like it or not – or even know about it.
Obama drops pledge on Iraq
By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON – Seventeen months after President Barack Obama pledged to withdraw all combat brigades from Iraq by September 1, 2010, he quietly abandoned that pledge on Monday, admitting implicitly that such combat brigades would remain until the end of 2011.
Obama declared in a speech to disabled US veterans in Atlanta that “America’s combat mission in Iraq” would end by the end of August, to be replaced by a mission of “supporting and training Iraqi security forces”.
Children found starving in rural Australia
By Kathy Marks in Sydney Thursday, 5 August 2010
Aboriginal disadvantage has not rated a mention during the Australian election campaign – there are few votes in it. But as the party leaders criss-crossed the country this week, shocking evidence emerged at a government inquiry: children in remote indigenous communities are starving.
The claims were made by child protection workers, who said the situation was so dire that an international aid-style programme was needed – an extraordinary state of affairs in one of the world’s most affluent nations. The workers called for essential food to be delivered by an organisation such as Oxfam or the Red Cross to ensure that children got enough to eat.
Asif Ali Zardari ‘has let down Pakistan more than David Cameron’s terrorism remarks’
Pakistan’s main opposition leader has said the country has been let down by President Asif Ali Zardari more than David Cameron’s remarks linking the country with terrorism
Published: 7:30AM BST 05 Aug 2010
Nawaz Sharif, head of PML-N, demanded that Mr Zardari cut short his visit to Britain in protest against Mr Cameron’s remarks which he made in India last week and to deal with the worst floods in the country in eight decades.
“We have been let down very badly by President Zardari. We have been let down more by him than the statement by David Cameron,” Mr Sharif said, speaking from Charsadda, one of the areas in Khyber-Pkhtunkhwa province worst hit by the floods that have killed 1,500 people and affected 3.2 million more.
Naomi Campbell to give war crimes testimony
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor’s ‘blood diamond’ trial will see supermodel Naomi Campbell take stand
Lizzy Davies The Hague
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 August 2010 07.23 BST
The war crimes trial of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor will be bathed in the glow of celebrity today as Naomi Campbell takes the stand as a witness for the prosecution.
The Streatham-born supermodel is alleged to have received a “blood diamond” from the then recently elected leader while staying at Nelson Mandela’s home in September 1997. Taylor, the first former African leader to be tried in an international war crimes court, is accused of arming rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone in return for the gems. He denies the allegations.
Kenya referendum monitored by SMS and Twitter
The Kenya referendum came off well despite some irregularities and tension. One reason: a new system that uses SMS and Twitter to allow every Kenyan to be an election monitor.
By Mike Pflanz, Correspondent / August 4, 2010
A little less than an hour after voting started, an alert Kenyan waiting outside a polling station noticed something wrong.
Agents of the local legislator arrived – in a government vehicle – and actively began campaigning for the queuing voters to say ‘No’ to the country’s new constitution in the Kenya referendum.
Because balloting had already started in Wednesday’s nationwide referendum, that was illegal.
The voter grabbed his cellphone, tapped out the text message “mp agents going round poll stations influencing people 2 vote no,” and sent it to a group of volunteers monitoring the election.
Colombia offers clues for solution to Mexico drug war
The Mexico drug war is pushing officials to take heed of Colombia, which made progress with social welfare programs and acknowledgment that force alone doesn’t work.
By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer / August 4, 2010
MedellÍn, Colombia; and Mexico City
Medellín, once nearly synonymous with cocaine trafficking, used to be the epicenter of Colombia’s decades-long drug war – and one of the most dangerous places in the world.
But with increased military pressure on drug traffickers, urban planning heavily focused on social welfare, and an acknowledgment from Colombia and its major aid donor, the United States, that force alone does not work, Colombian cities such as Medellín have turned around dramatically.