In those first minutes, they’ll be stunned. Eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare, nerve endings numbed. Today’s issue of Le Monde carries a story on nuclear conflict in the Middle East. “They’ll just stand there. Soon, you’ll notice that they are holding their arms out at a 45-degree angle. Your eyes will be drawn to their hands and you’ll think you mind is playing tricks. But it won’t be. Their fingers will start to resemble stalactites, seeming to melt toward the ground. And it won’t be long until the screaming begins. Shrieking. Moaning. Tens of thousands of victims at once. They’ll be standing amid a sea of shattered concrete and glass, a wasteland punctuated by the shells of buildings, orphaned walls, stairways leading nowhere.
“This could be Tehran, or what’s left of it, just after an Israeli nuclear strike.
“Iranian cities — owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities — are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, “Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region. Continue reading “The Middle East nuclear option”
Iraq executed almost twice as many people last year compared to the year before, while India and Pakistan resumed executions after abandoning the practice for years, global human rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday
In a story appearing in today’s Al Jazeera, “Amnesty said China still led the top five countries carrying out executions, followed by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Despite setbacks in several countries, the group said it was encouraged by overall signs of progress in the global trend toward ending the death penalty.
In the US, nine states carried out executions in 2012, compared to 13 in the previous year. Continue reading “Death penalty diminishing worldwide”
Last week Worlding.org brought you the story of the Iranian monkey reportedly launched into outer space. Now we are worried about the little guy.
“The United States expressed doubt on Monday about Iran’s claim that it safely returned a monkey from space, saying it is questionable that the monkey survived — or if the flight happened at all,” reports today’s Salon.com.
“State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said a lot of questions remained ‘about whether the monkey that they reportedly sent up into space and reportedly came down was actually the same monkey, whether he survived.’
“’The Iranians said they sent a monkey, but the monkey that they showed later seemed to have different facial features,’Nuland told reporters. ‘He was missing a little wart.’ Tehran blames the confusion on Iranian media for initially using a photo of a backup monkey. It says the monkey orbited and returned safely, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad added Monday that he would consider being Iran’s first astronaut in space.Nuland described Ahmadinejad’s proclamation as an “interesting choice,” but was more diplomatic than Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who joked about Ahmadinejad’s ruminations earlier Monday. Continue reading “Worries about Iran’s space monkey”
Iran claimed Monday to have sent a monkey into space. The country previously launched smaller animals into the final frontier, including a rat, worms, and two turtles. “What do space programs look for in animal astronauts?” asks an essay in Slate.com
“Portability, experience in the lab, and coolness under pressure. For more than 60 years, space programs have sent animals into space for the same reason coal miners sent canaries into the coal mine: to test for dangerous conditions. To select which species to send, scientists have long looked for a few key traits. First, the animal astronauts should be small, to fit in a spacecraft’s necessarily compact
quarters. Second, they should be light, to avoid burdening the rocket.Third, scientists choose animals that they’re already used to studying. For example, scientists used Continue reading “Here come the space monkeys”
Israel tops the list of the world’s most militarized nations, according to the latest Global Militarisation Index released by the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC). This information is detailed a story in today’s Asia Times entitled “Israel ranked as most militarized,” with brief excerpts below:
“Singapore ranks second, followed by Syria, Russia, Jordan, and Cyprus, according to the Index, which is based on a number of weighted variables, such as the comparison of a country’s military
“Israel’s main regional rival, Iran is far behind at number 34.
Six of the top 10 states, including Israel (1), Syria (4), Jordan (5), Kuwait (7), Bahrain (9), and Saudi Arabia (10) are located in the Middle East, while yet another of Iran’s neighbors, Azerbaijan, made its first entry into the militarized elite at number 8.”
Economic sanctions like those now in place for Iran are intended to put pressure on a national government by making things tough for businesses. The sanctions now in place by the U.S. and European Union restrict sales to Iran of just about everything, except medical items and food, which are permitted though a case-by-case basis permitting process. Unfortunately, the permitting process is so slow that as many as 6-million Iranians now are not receiving needed medicines. Many of those affected are cancer patients. As reported in Al Jazeera, The New York Times, and elsewhere, efforts are now underway to correct what has recently been recognized as a public health crisis in Iran, largely resulting from U.S. actions. The news of Iranian suffering is further escalating anti-American sentiment.
In “Iran Sanctions Take Unexpected Toll on Medical Imports,” Thomas Erdbrink writes, “Sitting on one of the Continue reading “Iran sanctions deny medicine to 6-million”