World Events

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  Blair Speaks Out on Climate ChangeOctober 30, 2006 10:44 Tony Blair today appealed to world leaders to unite to tackle the threat of climate change as the Government set out its blueprint for a new global framework to cut damaging greenhouse gas emissions.

The long-awaited review of the economic impact of rising world temperatures by former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern warned that time was running out for effective action.

While the Prime Minister acknowledged that Britain needed to be "bolder" in the measures it adopted, he stressed the problem could only be tackled through coordinated international action.

"What is not in doubt is that the scientific evidence of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions is now overwhelming," he said at the report's launch at the Royal Society in London.

"It is not in doubt that if the science is right, the consequences for our planet are literally disastrous."

"This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime.
  China Struggles To Treat Floating Debris At Three GorgesOctober 22, 2006 23:25 China is struggling to find a solution on how to treat the huge amount of floating debris which is clogging up the Three Gorges Reservoir.

Cao Guangjing, deputy general manager of the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation, said, "We are trying to find an efficient method to develop and use this floating flotsam, but so far we have made little progress."

According to Zhang Weige, director of the department responsible for monitoring debris in the reservoir, about 1,000 tons of floating debris had been collected since Sept. 20 when the water level began to rise to 156 meters from 135 meters.

The floating debris consists of plant roots, straw, rotten leaves, branches and both household and industrial refuse. Currently, most of it is being salvaged and dumped on land higher than 175 meters - the final height of the dam - where it is either burned or buried. But this is not a viable long-term solution.
  Iceland Breaks Whale Hunting BanOctober 22, 2006 16:36 Iceland has resumed whale hunting putting an end to a two-decade long ban. The fin whale - a large specimen measuring some 20 metres - was harpooned off the west coast on Saturday.

Iceland becomes the second country after Norway to break the moratorium imposed by the International Whaling Commission in 1985.

Fisheries Minister Einar Kristinn Gufinnsson:

"I think it's a very important day, of course it's only a beginning, but we hope it will continue, this is a resumption of whaling after a very long time, of course all the scientific arguments are on our side."

Iceland, which has harpooned minke whales since 2003 for scientific research, argues hunting is necessary to prevent the whale population from growing too large and threatening other species.

But conservationists have slammed the move saying some species have been threatened with extinction, adding that the practice is cruel.
  Hippos Killed Off By Hungry MilitiamenOctober 22, 2006 10:51 The last remaining hippos in eastern Congo are facing extinction and could be wiped out by Christmas in many parts of a significant national park if heavy poaching by hungry militiamen continues.
In the first two weeks of this month, more than 400 hippos were slaughtered in Virunga National Park, a lawless area that was once home to one of Central Africa's greatest hippopotamus concentrations, the Zoological Society of London said in a statement.

A recent survey sponsored by the society showed there were fewer than 900 hippos left in the park - "a dramatic decline from the 22,000 recorded there in 1988", the group said. "If the killing continues at its current rate, ZSL field workers fear there will be no hippos left in many parts of the national park by Christmas."

The Mai-Mai militia, a ragtag group of impoverished Congolese fighters with varying loyalties who operate across huge swaths of eastern Congo, set up a base in the park earlier this month, the society said.
  US Population Tops 300 MillionOctober 17, 2006 09:03 Shakespeare might have called it, "Little Ado About Much."

The "much" is the nation's population, which reached 300 million at 7:46 am Tuesday, according the Census Bureau's population clock. The "little," is the relatively low profile afforded the occasion by many top government officials.

According to an AP report, getting to 300 million isn't just about numbers. Its about the politics of illegal immigration, and the tricky work of calculating when and how the nation's population grows.

Howard Hogan, the Census Bureau's associate director for demographic programs, told the AP before the milestone was reached that he did not "think anybody believes it will be the precise moment when the population hits 300 million. Still, he was "confident that we're somewhat close."

Whenever the milestone is, or was, reached, the 300 millionth American is likely a Hispanic. Census figures show that Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the nation's population.
  North Korea Says It Conducts Nuke TestOctober 09, 2006 10:07 North Korea faced united global condemnation and calls for harsh sanctions Monday after it announced it had detonated an atomic weapon in an underground test that thrust the secretive communist state into the elite club of nuclear-armed nations.

The explosion prompted worldwide concern it could seriously destabilize the region, and even Pyongyang's ally China said it strongly opposed the move. South Korea's spy chief said there were possible indications the North was moving to conduct more tests.

The U.N. Security Council planned a meeting Monday morning on the test, and the U.S. and Japan were expected to press for more sanctions on the impoverished North.

There were conflicting reports on the size of the blast in northeast North Korea. South Korea said it was relatively small, while Russia said it had been perhaps as powerful as the nuclear bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan during World War II.