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new internationalist
issue 163 - September 1986



Nuclear plant fizzles out
After ten years of controversy over costs and safety, President Corazon Aquino's Government is likely to scrap the country's first nuclear power station, built by Westinghouse and completed last year. The Bataan plant, built on an earthquake fault line, will be mothballed while a prominent critic leads a committee to consider the plant's future and decide how to handle the dispute with Westinghouse over costs and safety. The witches' brew has been given added spice by a US investigation into new allegations of corruption in the contract dealings involving former President Marcos.

From South. No.68, 1986


Boycott Shell
Since January 1986 a US campaign against Shell has been in progress, launched by the American anti-apartheid organisation (Free South Africa Movement) and the labour movement (AFL-CIO). The AFL-CIO Shell boycott came in a response to a request by the International Federation of Free Trade Unions. More and more American and international trade union organisations have endorsed the campaign to force Shell out of South Africa. As the leaders of automotive and home products, every man and woman in the US can strike a blow against the increasing oppression in South Africa. By targeting Shell we are sending a message to all foreign corporations investing in South Africa: You can no longer reap the benefits of apartheid without feeling repercussions from consumers here at home.'

From Newsletter on rite Oil Embargo against South Africa, No.4 1986. Published quarterly by Shipping Research Bureau. P0 Box 11898, 1001 GW, Amsterdam. Holland


Generating filth
Britain faces criticism across Europe over the opening of the Drax B coal-fired power station without desulphurization equipment. The new station, which came on stream in May, is such an embarrassment that plans for the Queen to officially open the station were aborted.

Drax B is the last in a huge complex of power stations in the Aire valley in Yorkshire. Whilst providing 20 per cent of the nation's electricity, the complex will produce more sulphur dioxide than the combined outputs of Portugal, Norway, Switzerland and Eire. Although the new buildings have been constructed with space for the desulphurization equipment, the Central Electricity Generating Board will not fit the £150 million ($225 million) equipment unless the Government insists. It doesn't.

Local residents don't have to worry about the pollution. Tall chimneys ensure that the sulphuric emissions are carried away, to fall as acid rain on Scotland and Norway.

From Peace News. No.22 70. 1986


Throwaway world
Fuji, the Japanese film giant, has developed a disposable camera - basically a roll of film with a built-in shutter and lens. It is designed to appeal to first-time users and those who find they have left the real thing at home. Is there no limit to such innovative genius.

Information but not comment from Marketing. June 1986


Champion head-bangers
How do African women manage to carry such huge loads on their heads? No one quite knows how. A study undertaken at the University of Nairobi, reported in The New York Times found Kenyan women able to carry loads more efficiently than male army recruits. The women managed 20 per cent of their body weight, with no perceptible increase in oxygen - that is, they didn't pant. The soldiers managed only 13 per cent. When it came to carrying 70 per cent of their body weight, the tough ladies needed 50 per cent increase in oxygen, while the men needed nearly 100 per cent. The scientists speculate that the women have found a way to minimize the pounding vertical movement of their loads as they walk.

From World Development Forum, Vol. 4 No. 8, 1986


Zanzibari spoil-sports
The Muslim island of Zanzibar, though constitutionally part of Tanzania, can pass laws just for the islanders. It has just prohibited sex involving any unmarried woman under 25, or any male or female student. The penalty for a man making an under-age woman pregnant is five years imprisonment, the woman gets away with two years. Many young people predictably enough see this as too harsh, believing it will promote back-street abortions.

From Center for Population Communications, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017. USA


Black humour
Through the flames and the tear gas, the deaths and detentions, black people can still laugh. Here are some of the jokes from the townships. Sowetans have complained regularly about the shortage of police on the beat in the crime-infested township. Now they tell you things are improving, 'the cops are only a stone's throw away'. A riddle going the rounds asks: 'Why won't P W Botha scrap apartheid?'. Answer 'Because he's in a Catch Tutu situation.'

'Now you have touched the women you have struck a rock.
You have dislodged a boulder, You will be crushed.'

Womens Anti-Pass Campaign Song. South Africa. 1956


The surest way to corrupt a young man is to teach him to
esteem more highly than those who think differently

Friedrich Nietzche, German philosopher, 1844-1900

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