PHILIP BUMP – Coal companies are in a bit of a bind. Well, a few binds, really, but letâ€™s just focus on one at a time, shall we? Demand for their product domestically has dropped significantly of late, as prices of natural gas have remained low. But demand remains high overseas: In Europe, certainly, but particularly in Asia. So if you are running a coal company (which, if you are: Hello!), thereâ€™s an obvious solution. Take all that coal and ship it to China and India. Or maybe itâ€™s not that easy.
MARIO LEDWITH – The hi-tech Reaper drones are primarily used to gather intelligence on enemy activity on the ground, but they also carry 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles for precision strikes on insurgents. But the state-of-the-art American-built aircraft have sparked controversy, with human rights campaigners claiming they kill and injure large numbers of civilians and breach international law.
VETERANS FOR PEACE – Once again nonviolent protesters of U.S. drone wars have been arrested at the gates of Hancock Air Field in New York State. Thursday morning, 19 people blocked the three gates to the base for a period of hours beginning at 8 a.m. Eventually, the front gate was opened after 11 people were arrested.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – On October 9, 2012, the legislature of Albany County, New York approved a proclamation calling upon Congress to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, cut the U.S. military budget, and use the savings to fund vital public programs at home.
DUFF WILSON and ADAM KERLIN – As the world’s foremost health agency, the World Health Organization bills itself as an impartial advocate working on behalf of 194 member nations. Its mission as the public health arm of the United Nations ranges from stanching communicable diseases such as malaria and AIDS to battling what the U.N. considers the latest “global epidemic”: chronic ailments such as diabetes and heart disease caused primarily by unhealthy diets.
WINSLOW MYERS – Albert Einstein, the full measure of whose prophetic stature still has not been taken, wrote in a telegram to President Roosevelt in 1946: â€œThe unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.â€
ERIN NIEMELA – â€œI will break your f**king arm off right now,â€ a New York police officer shouts. â€œYou want me to smack you?â€ warns another. The exclusive audio is shocking and the first of its kind. It is the only known audio evidence of a NYPD stop-and-frisk in progress, released Tuesday in the documentary â€œThe Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPDâ€™s Stop-and-Frisk Policy.â€ The audio captures the experience of Alvin, a Harlem teen, who the police claim is being stopped for â€œbeing a f**king mutt.â€
ALLISON BARRIE – Lurking (and leaking) beneath the world’s oceans are an estimated 200 million pounds of unexploded and potentially dangerous explosives — from bombs to missiles to mustard gas. Texas A&M oceanographers William Bryant and Niall Slowey documented two such dumpsites in the Gulf of Mexico recently. They conservatively guess that at least 31 million pounds of bombs can be found not just in the Gulf, but also off the coasts of at least 16 states, from New Jersey to Hawaii.
LISA SULLIVAN – My inbox began to fill up with similar inquiries, many from people who I had met when leading delegations here to Venezuela, my home of 27 years. They were confused, wondering why Chavez was going to lose, die, or steal the elections, or all of the above. Those were, after all, the only stories to be found, countered by that of the great white hope in the form of a young, skinny opponent (the adjectives repeated ad nausea by the media describe opposition candidate Capriles).
DAVID ROBERTS – I know lots of websites (including Grist!) allow â€œguest bloggersâ€ to repost stuff. But I think of The Christian Science Monitor as something of an institution. Itâ€™s disappointing to find misleading dreck on its site. Do I have to squint at the small print before I can trust an article on CSM now? Is there no editing? You kids get off my lawn!
DAVID SWANSON – Almost 10,000 Americans have sent messages to the Italian Embassy in Washington thanking Italy’s high court for upholding the conviction of 23 Americans (22 CIA officers and one military official) for the offense of kidnapping a man off the street in Milan on February 17, 2003, and shipping him to Egypt to be brutally tortured.
DANIEL MEEK and LINDA WILLIAMS – The Plaintiffs and Chief Petitioners on Measure 47 are disappointed that the Oregon Supreme Court declined to rule on the Constitutionality of the campaign finance reform ballot measure enacted by Oregon voters in 2006.As Justice Robert Durham’s dissent points out: 1. The majority never reaches the substance of the Constitutional arguments; 2. The majority’s rejection of the Hazell Plaintiffs’ primary argument is based upon a perceived deficiency in the pleadings (although the State did not argue the existence of such a deficiency); and 3. The pleadings can be corrected, or the case refiled by other parties, thus presenting the Constitutional issues to the Court again.
BBC NEWS – Hundreds of problems have been found at European nuclear plants that would cost 25bn euros (Â£20bn) to fix, says a leaked draft report. The report, commissioned after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, aimed to see how Europe’s nuclear power stations would cope during extreme emergencies. The final report was to be published last Thursday. The draft says nearly all the EU’s 143 nuclear plants need improving.
DAVID MCCANN – At a time when news of banking scandals is uncomfortably frequent, a new report says that last year only 17% of global banking organizations â€œclawed backâ€ compensation payments previously made to employees. The survey of financial-services institutions by the consulting firm Mercer was not expansive, with only 42 banks participating (in addition to 18 insurance companies and three other types of firms). Still, the results may suggest that regulators are not achieving the objectives of their persistent calls for banks to implement clawback policies.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and employment of U.S. military power around the world, the American publicâ€™s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation.
FIONA HARVEY – Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP, according to a new study. The impacts are being felt most keenly in developing countries, according to the research, where damage to agricultural production from extreme weather linked to climate change is contributing to deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases.