Friday, February 20, 2009

News of Interest 2/20/09

Experts say Mexico ripe for insurrection

The Mexican government is not aware of an armed movement that presents a threat to Mexico's security, but officials are monitoring whether the self-styled Movimiento Armado del Norte (Northern Armed Movement) resorts to more than online rhetoric in the future.

Experts said Mexico's instability, due to widespread killings and economic woes, could give rise to a new insurrection, at least in parts of the country.

The alleged organization issued two communiqués this year, the second with a Chihuahua state dateline. It claims to exert influence in the states of Chihuahua, Baja California, Sonora, Coahuila and part of Durango.

-El Paso Times

Trees Absorb a Fifth of Carbon Emissions Pumped out by Humans

Dr Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Leeds and author of the paper, said: "We are receiving a free subsidy from nature. "Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18 per cent of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of climate change."

Dr Lewis said the trees could be mopping up even mor

e carbon dioxide than before because CO2 already in the atmosphere is acting like a fertiliser, but man could not rely on them forever.

"Even if we preserve all remaining tropical forest, these trees will not continue getting bigger indefinitely," he added.


Starting at home, Iran's women fight for rights

In a year of marriage, Razieh Qassemi, 19, says she was beaten repeatedly by her husband and his father. Her husband, she says, is addicted to methamphetamine and has threatened to marry another woman to "torture" her.

Rather than endure the abuse, Qassemi took a step that might never have occurred to an earlier generation of Iranian women: she filed for divorce.

Women's rights advocates say Iranian women are displaying a growing determination to achieve equal status in this conservative Muslim theocracy, where male supremacy is still enscribed in the legal code. One in five marriages now end in divorce, according to government data, a fourfold increase in the past 15 years.

-International Herald Tribune

The collapse of manufacturing

$0.00, not counting fuel and handling: that is the cheapest quote right now if you want to ship a container from southern China to Europe. Back in the summer of 2007 the shipper would have charged $1,400. Half-empty freighters are just one sign of a worldwide collapse in manufacturing. In Germany December’s machine-tool orders were 40% lower than a year earlier. Half of China’s 9,000 or so toy exporters have gone bust. Taiwan’s shipments of notebook computers fell by a third in the month of January. The number of cars being assembled in America was 60% below January 2008.

The destructive global power of the financial crisis became clear last year. The immensity of the manufacturing crisis is still sinking in, largely because it is seen in national terms—indeed, often nationalistic ones. In fact manufacturing is also caught up in a global whirlwind.

-The Economist

Obama’s War on Terror May Resemble Bush’s in Some Areas

Even as it pulls back from harsh interrogations and other sharply debated aspects of George W. Bush’s “war on terrorism,” the Obama administration is quietly signaling continued support for other major elements of its predecessor’s approach to fighting Al Qaeda.

In little-noticed confirmation testimony recently, Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone.

The administration has also embraced the Bush legal team’s arguments that a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees should be shut down based on the “state secrets” doctrine. It has also left the door open to resuming military commission trials.

-New York Times


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