New Internationalist

Briefly

Issue 116

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[image, unknown] BRIEFLY...

[image, unknown] NUCLEAR POWER[image, unknown]

The old school mushroom cloud

How does living and working in the world’s largest atomic complex affect its inhabitants? The answers given in Paul Loeb’s study, Nuclear Culture, are Frightening: he portrays a community of cynical indifference.

Near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State. streets are blithely named Proton, Argon and Nuclear Lanes. Banks are decorated with nuclear symbols. The local high school’s athletic team, named ‘The Bombers’, proudly display their school’s emblem: an exploding mushroom cloud.

Hanford’s first accomplishment: to fuel the Nagasaki bomb.

From WISE News Communique No. 147.

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[image, unknown] SRI LANKA[image, unknown]

Tea and little sympathy

Women tea-pluckers in Sri Lanka pick about 12 kilos of leaves a day for 11 rupecs aborn6O cents. It’s skilled work, as only leaves of the right colour and maturity in a special combination (two leaves and a bud) can be picked.

Yet a plantation owner, lamenting the lack of profit in tea, complained that the wages had been raised too much. What brought a smile to his face was the prospect of switching to coffee — which needs a quarter of the labour force.

From Spur, June 1982.

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[image, unknown] MICRONESIA[image, unknown]

Tinian: hour rescue?

Tinian is a 40-square mile island in Micronesia, part of the UN’s Trust Territory. But since 1973. the US has been planning to convert Tinian into an, Air Force base.

Although these plans would disrupt Tinian’s agricultural economy and tightly-knit community, the Pentagon proposes a $300 million air base, complete with ammunition storage and 5,000 military personnel. Tinian has already suffered the dubious distinction of being the launch site for the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

If the US Congress doesn’t appropriate funds for the base during 1982, the US loses its option on the land which will revert to agricultural use. The Micronesia Support Committee urges international organisations to publicise the issue and to cable US Congress persons urging them to vote against taking Tinian over.

Contact point: Micronesia Support Committee, 1212 University Avenue, Honolu]u, Hawaii, 92826, USA.

From Wise July 1. 1982.

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[image, unknown] POLLUTION[image, unknown]

Cacophony in Copacabana

Rio de Janeiro was labelled the world’s noisiest city by the 10th International Acoustics Conference. The chic Copacabana area has a noise level of over 85 decibels — the range associated with irreversible damage. including deafness and tachycardia( rapid heart action).

From Development Forum, July-August 1982.

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[image, unknown] REFUGEES[image, unknown]

Hate poetry

The troubles of the Vietnamese boat-people don’t end when they find themselves into a host country. These sick verses are taken from a poem circulated in Canberra, Australia, as part of an anti-Vietnamese ‘Hate Campaign’.

I come for a visit — am treated regal,
So I stay who cares illegal?
I come to Australia, poor and broke,
Get on bus — see Manpower bloke.
Kind man treat me really well there,
Send me down to see the Welfare.
Welfare say: ‘Come down no more,
We send cash out to your door.’
We have hobby — call it breeding,
Baby bonus keeps us feeding.
Two years later big bank roll.
Still go Manpower, still draw dole.
Kids need dentists, wife needs pills,
We get free, we got no bills.
White man good, he pay all year
To keep welfare running here.

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[image, unknown] APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY[image, unknown]

One cow and a mud jar

The conventional biogas plant running on animal waste requires dung from at least five head of cattle. But millions of poor farmers have only one cow. The Centre of Science for Villages in Wardha, India, has developed the world’s cheapest and probably the smallest biogas plant a mudjar that can be made by any village potter.

To prex’ent the methane gas from seeping out of the porous jars. the Centre is experimenting with an indigenous paste made from lime and the sap of local trees. The centre is a nonprofit non-governmental research organisation that wants to increase public awareness of the role of science in national development

From Soft Energy Notes Vol.5, No. 2.

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[image, unknown] ARMS[image, unknown]

Rewarding arms dealers

Of the 91 companies receiving the Queen’s Award for export achievement in the UK this year. 26 were in the defence industry. And so were seven out of the 19 firms receiving the award for technological achievement.

From Campaign Against Arms Trade Newsletter 54.

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[image, unknown] ABORIGIES[image, unknown]

Festive spirit

The Festival of the Fisheries is the annual highlight on the social calendar of the far Wesiern NSW town of Brewarrina The festive is aboriginal in origin, but ihe Aborigines claim that in recent times they have not been consulted about the festivities.

As a sign of the unrest some 300 Aborigines raking part in the parade sat down in the middle of the main Street and disrupted the procession.

The local ambulance, which was leading the grand parade, backed towards the disobedient squatters and almost ran over one flag-carrying youth, who had the impertinence to bang on the side of the vehicle to warn it to stop.

He was instantly arrested by a police officer and charged with causing serious affront and alarm’. He was fined S250, and now faces jail because he has failed to pay.

From the National Times, Australia, July 4—10 1982.

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[image, unknown] SOUTH AFRICA[image, unknown]

Discouraging the brave

Nelson Mandela (63) has been secretly transferred from the notorious Robben Island prison, where he has been held since 1964, to Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town together with three friends. There has been speculation that the four were moved to lessen their influence among other prisoners; they had been organising an educational scheme.

Another — and particularly gruesome method of disheartening the brave: South African police have been displaying the corpses of Namibian guerillas so as to make the war more real’, as a police source put it.

A British Council of Churches delegation visiting Namibia late last year found security forces dragging the bodies of young men killed in combat through the villages, exhibiting them to their parents and to young children in school.

From focus No. 41, IDAF.

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Endquote

‘There are powerful forces in this world that still trust the old Roman recipe if you want peace, prepare for war. In the atomic age, this is rubbish! It is a dangerous misconception to believe that one can increase one’s security by enhancing the total insecurity.’

Lord Mounrbatten


‘High-level recognition of the obvious is a very expensive thing.’

Tarzie Iiuochi
Execuive Director for External Affairs, UNICEF

‘When two elephants fight, it's the grass that gets squashed.’

Ghanian proverb


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