New Internationalist

Briefly…

Issue 194

new internationalist
issue 194 - April 1989

BRIEFLY...

NUCLEAR TESTING

[image, unknown] Under the guillotine
A 'Stamp out Nuclear testing' postcard campaign has been launched by The South Pacific Peoples Foundation of Canada and Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The illustration on the postcard is shown above. The text reads:

Since 1966, France has exploded over 145 nuclear devices in 'French' Polynesia at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls (41 in the atmosphere and 104 underground). Moruroa atoll is known to be sinking. Strong evidence links an increase in fish poisoning to the French testing program, and cancer statistics are withheld by France. Every Pacific island government, the Pacific Conference of Churches, and Pacific people have asked France to stop the tests. They ask, if it is safe, why not test in France?' Your help is needed. Write to the French Embassy in your country.

In Canada: French Embassy, 42 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ont. KIM 2C9

In UK: French Consulate General, 24 Rutland Gate, London 5W7

In Australia: French Embassy, 6 Perth Avenue, Yaralmla., Canberra, ACT.

In Aotearoa (NZ): French Embassy, 1-3 Willeston Street, Wellington.

To order cards: SPPF 409-620 View St., Victoria, B.C. Canada VSW 1J6.

Sets of 50 cards only Can $7.50 postage paid

THE OZONE LAYER

Heat trap
Friends of the Earth (FOE) has just published a lengthy report, 'The Heat Trap - the threats posed by rising levels of greenhouse gases'. It was commissioned from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. The main points include:

Rise in greenhouse gases
Since the industrial revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 25 per cent; since 1950 levels have increased by 10 per cent; the current growth is 0.5 per cent per year. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) levels are rising by five per cent per year. Nitrous oxide levels by 0.4 per cent a year.

Temperature levels
Since 1900 the world has warmed by 0.5 degrees centigrade. The record for the warmest year in surface air temperatures has been broken four times this decade - in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1987. 1988 will have been the hottest yet. Models of the climatic system suggest that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lead to future global warming of up to five degrees centigrade. At current rates of all greenhouse gas emissions, this will occur between 2030 and 2050. It represents a climatic change greater than any experienced for 10,000 years.

Ecological impact
Changes in temperature may result in a global sea level rise of 0.20-1.65 metres. Records show that the sea level has risen by 0.10-0.15 metres this century. Food supplies would be affected, as extreme weather events like droughts and floods become more frequent and depress yields. Flooding in low-lying coastal areas is likely. The worst effects are expected to be in the densely populated and largely unprotected Nile and Ganges deltas.

Copies available from Friends of the Earth, 26-28 Underwood street. London N1 7JQ, UK

TRANSPORT

Head-on crash
Unfamiliarity with a brand-new railway signalling system in central Bangladesh may have caused the country's worst-ever train accident. At least 73 passengers were killed and another 1,000 injured on January 15th when a crowded passenger train collided head-on with a mail train near Tongi, an industrial town north of Dhaka. The Norwegian-designed signalling system had been installed a week earlier at a cost of $30 million; eventually it will control all trains in Bangladesh. The Government has ordered an investigation.

From Asiaweek. January 27, 1989

SIERRA LEONE

Piracy in port
Sierra Leone is close to collapse, with the State reduced to something close to piracy to raise funds. Official Government sources openly admit that the recent 'arrest' of ships in the harbour was to blackmail the owners into paying demands for supposedly damaged or missing cargo. The amounts vary from $100,000 to $500,000 - the latter being paid by the East Germans for the release of one of their freighters.

In one case, the captain of a freighter unloading bags of cement was presented, two days before completion, with a claim alleging that 40 per cent of the cargo was missing or damaged. Copies of the stevedores' damage certificates confirm only a very slight loss, of 3.5 per cent of cargo. Payment of more than $100,000 was demanded - and paid - before the ship was released.

From Africa Analysis, No.63 1989

JUNK FOOD

Selling bones as meat
Bernard Matthews, a well-known British food manufacturer, has been taken to court by Shropshire trading standards officers for including mechanically recovered meat (MRM) in the company's products without declaring it on the label.

MRM comes from carcasses stripped of all meat and then put through high pressure massaging' rollers to extract the shreds of tissue that cling to them. The resulting mixture of tendon ends, gristle, connective tissue and bone fragments is pulverised into a slurry and used to bulk out meat products. Manufacturers of meat products still believe this can be called 'meat'. The Matthews company has lost its case in the courts but is going to appeal.

In the US, some meat products - like hot dogs - can contain up to 20 per cent MRM, but the labels must own up to this. US companies are campaigning to have the MRM declaration removed, aware that this can depress sales.

Franz The Food Magazine Issue 4, Vat. 1. 1989

'Everybody wants to live longer, but nobody wants to grow older.'

Benjamin Franklin

'To walk in money through the night crowd, protected by money, lulled by money, dulled by money, the crowd itself a money, the breath money, no least single object anywhere that is not money, money, money everywhere and still not enough, and then no money or a little money or less money or more money, but money always money, and if you have money or you don't have money it is the money that counts and money makes money, but what makes money makes money?'

Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

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