Archive for the ‘Conflict’ Category

Satellites Unlock Secret to Northern India’s Vanishing Water

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

– If this isn’t concerning enough, then reflect back on the piece I published back on July 1st about the water shortages coming to India and Pakistan because of the melting glaciers.

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WASHINGTON — Using NASA satellite data, scientists have found that groundwater levels in northern India have been declining by as much as one foot per year over the past decade. Researchers concluded the loss is almost entirely due to human activity.

More than 26 cubic miles of groundwater disappeared from aquifers in areas of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and the nation’s capitol territory of Delhi, between 2002 and 2008. This is enough water to fill Lake Mead, the largest manmade reservoir in the United States, three times.

A team of hydrologists led by Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., found that northern India’s underground water supply is being pumped and consumed by human activities, such as irrigating cropland, and is draining aquifers faster than natural processes can replenish them. The results of this research were published today in Nature.


The dissolution of European cultures

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

immigration– I’ve discussed Immigration and Assimilation before.   The idea basically being that if countries want to preserve their current cultures, that they cannot allow immigration of peoples from other cultures at too fast a rate.  When new people come in at too fast a rate, they do not assimilate into the receiving culture.  Rather, they establish new cultural enclaves within the receiving culture and once enough of them have gathered, the country’s cultural identity is fractured and either a new hybrid emerges or culture wars ensue.

– The report, below, from Belgian TV, shows that this is already happening in Europe.  The same thing, I believe, is going on in Britain, France, the Netherlands and Germany among others.

– Perhaps the deepest irony here is that the very countries that most of these Muslim immigrants hail from have no reciprocal intention to accept large numbers of immigrants from other cultures.

– Can you imagine large numbers of European immigrants setting up ‘Little Europe’ neighborhoods in any Mulslim country, building Christian churches and demanding that they be allowed to practice their European cultural and religious practices freely alongside the Muslim  locals?

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Click the following link to see the video: 

– research thanks to Mike D.

– Additional reading: , and

US condemns North Korean threat

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

– See here for previous pieces on the North Korean problem:

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North Korea’s threat to “weaponise” its plutonium stocks is “provocative” and “deeply regrettable”, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.

She said the move had been denounced around the world and would isolate North Korea’s government further.

The North said it would start enriching uranium and use the plutonium for nuclear weapons hours after a UN vote for tough new sanctions against it.

The US would vigorously enforce the new sanctions, Mrs Clinton said.

Speaking during a visit to Canada, she said that the latest UN moves provided the tools needed for “to take appropriate action” against North Korea.

The North says it will view any US-led attempts to “blockade” it as an “act of war”.

The warning from North Korea’s foreign ministry was carried by Pyongyang’s official news agency on Saturday.


Recession fails to dampen world’s appetite for arms

Friday, June 12th, 2009

– Nice to know that some parts of the world’s economy are doing OK.

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STOCKHOLM – World governments spent a record US$1.46 trillion ($2.35 trillion) on upgrading their armed forces last year despite the economic downturn, with China climbing to second place behind top military spender the United States, a Swedish research group said.

Global military spending was 4 per cent higher than in 2007 and up 45 per cent from a decade ago, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said in its annual report.

“So far the global arms industry, booming from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and from spending increases by many developing countries, has shown few signs of suffering from the crisis,” SIPRI said.

However, the report added arms companies may face reduced demand if governments cut future military spending in response to rising budget deficits.

It also noted that US arms purchases – by far the highest in the world – were expected to rise less rapidly under President Barack Obama after sharp growth during the Bush Administration.


Global Warming Will Wreck Your Business Plan

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Climate change will increase water scarcity, alter food production and dramatically change energy supply and migration patterns, according to a new report released by Lloyd’s, the world’s leading specialist insurance market.

Climate change and security: risks and opportunities for business, launched in conjunction with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), highlights that these changes will bring threats – and opportunities – for businesses.

Lloyd’s Chief Executive, Dr Richard Ward, said:

“Climate change will change the way we live and work, and will lead to greater competition for scarce resources, such as food and water. This is likely to result in increased economic nationalism and greater global insecurity, which will in turn add to the complexity and cost of doing business.”

Wow…this guy has some balls. To mention that shortages “such as food and water” will “add to the complexity and cost of doing business…” I mean who cares about all the death and destruction that will cause…can’t have the cost of business get higher.

He goes on to say:

“Every organization needs to have a clear understanding of its particular vulnerabilities and have in place a range of mitigation strategies. Their ability to understand what the impacts of climate change are going to be could not only protect them from threats but could also open up new business opportunities.”

Yea so you know, take a look at the world falling to pieces and see where you can get in there and make a buck.

IISS Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risks, Nigel Inkster, said:

“Climate change has the potential to act as an accelerator of global instability and has been recognized in both the USA and Europe as an issue affecting national security. Climate change could lead to increased competition between states for ever more scare resources and could in the worst case lead to inter-state conflict.”


– Hat tip to The Naib at The Sietch Blog for this

North Korea would use nuclear weapons in a ‘merciless offensive’

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

– Ever wondered why the world lets North Korea boast and swagger like they do?

– They starve their own people and worship their ‘great leaders’ like they are gods.    They test fire missiles right over Japan and they develop nuclear weapons right in front of us with an ‘in your face‘ attitude.

– The why has to do with the size of their standing army (700,000 within 90 miles of the South Korean border) … and with the physical location of Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

The layout of the Koreas

The layout of the Koreas

Check the map:

– Seoul is within the range of vast arrays of North Korean artillery and it is far too close to the border to save it if the North Koreans swarmed across en masse.

– In short, for those who oppose North Korea’s insanity, the cards are very badly dealt.   Yes, we could do a full body slam on them and take them down once and for all, but it would inevitably cost us the capital city of a major ally.   NOT a good choice.

– So, we talk to the North Koreans and try to reason with them and we hope that their semi-insane leadership will simply die of stupidity or something soon so saner minds can take over.   We dicker with Russia and China, who love to play the ‘people’s devil’s advocates‘ in such situations – so long as their bacon’s not in the fire.

– And then, China has an additional problem with North Korea that we don’t hear much about here in the west.   And that is unwanted immigration.   The North Korean / Chinese border isn’t much more effective than the U.S. / Mexico border.   And North Korea has a lot of desperate starving people who want to get to the ever so much more affluent China  and the Chinese have a lot on their hand now just dealing with those coming across.   Without the cooperation and good-will of the North Korean authorities, they’d have a lot bigger problem – and they don’t need that.

– So, we cannot act against North Korea without hurting ourselves badly and yet they just cannot be allowed to go on like they are.   It’s that fatal embrace business again.

– If you doubt what I’m saying here, then just read the following article:

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North Korea today said it would use nuclear weapons in a “merciless offensive” if provoked — its latest bellicose rhetoric apparently aimed at deterring any international punishment for its recent atomic test blast.

The tensions emanating from Pyongyang are beginning to hit nascent business ties with the South: a Seoul-based fur manufacturer became the first South Korean company to announce Monday it was pulling out of an industrial complex in the North’s border town of Kaesong.

The complex, which opened in 2004, is a key symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas but the goodwill is evaporating quickly in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test on May 25 and subsequent missile tests.

Pyongyang raised tensions a notch by reviving its rhetoric in a commentary in the state-run Minju Joson newspaper today.

“Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means…as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country’s dignity and sovereignty even a bit,” said the commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

It appeared to be the first time that North Korea referred to its nuclear arsenal as “offensive” in nature. Pyongyang has long claimed that its nuclear weapons program is a deterrent and only for self-defense against what it calls US attempts to invade it.


– Research thanks to Charles P.

China’s rare earth monopoly threatens global suppliers, rival producers claim

Friday, June 5th, 2009

– I’ve said it before; as resources get scarce, it is going to get to be like a vicious game of musical chairs and each time the music stops for something essential, someone is going to find them self without.

– You’d have to be living under a rock to not have realized that this sort of thing is already going on with respect to oil, land to grow food and water.   And the games for these have only just begun.

– There are other lesser know commodities that are going to become very scarce and thus very expensive.   I’ve been following Helium and Lithium for the last year or more in this respect. Perhaps I’ll write something on each of these soon.

– Now we hear that China has quietly been cornering most of the world’s supply of rare earth ore.

– The world is going to get to be a pretty small and tough place before too very many years go by.

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The Chinese acquisition of stakes in Australian rare earth miners Lynas Corporation and Arafura Resources has “caught the rest of the world sleeping,” said Rod McIllree, managing director at Australian-based Greenland Minerals & Energy (GME).

Following two acquisitions in the past six months for an aggregate USD 163m, Korean, Japanese and Western players may find themselves locked out of the sector, McIllree told mergermarket. Speculation is rife as to what this may mean for the high tech and green industries that rely on rare earth metal resources. With over 90% of the global rare earth resource held by Chinese companies, the country’s monopoly looks unchallenged. The recent Australian acquisitions have brought China control of the majority of the rare earth deposits outside China.

Rare Earth metals are a collection of 17 different metals that occur within the same ore deposits. While China currently produces 95% of the worlds rare earth supply, the metals are also found in the US, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. Rare earth metals are needed for the manufacturing of wind turbines, plasma televisions, mobile phones, hybrid car batteries meaning the Chinese monopoly could shift the high-tech manufacturing industry bases from Japan and Korea to China.

Acquisitions of Australian rare earth miners are strongly backed by the Chinese Government, a China-based industrial banker said. Since 2004, or even earlier, the Chinese government has treated rare earth resources as strategic. In order to protect the resources available to China, the government employs a three-pronged strategy; rare earth exports are restricted, imports encouraged, and outbound rare earth acquisitions actively encouraged.


– Hat tip to Cryptogon for making me aware of this story.

U.S. Chief of Staff: Iran within 3 years of nuclear weapon

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Iran could be within one to three years from developing a nuclear weapon and time is running out for diplomacy to defuse the problem, the top U.S. military officer said on Sunday.

The assessment from Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, matched that of some independent analysts but appeared to go further than recent official statements from the U.S. government.

“Most of us believe that it’s one to three years, depending on assumptions about where they are right now. But they are moving closer, clearly, and they continue to do that,” Mullen said on ABC’s “This Week.”


Russia to build floating Arctic nuclear stations

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

– I’ve written about this looming problem of competition for resources in the Arctic before: , , , , , and .

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Environmentalists fear pollution risk as firms try to exploit ocean’s untapped oil and gas reserves

Russia is planning a fleet of floating and submersible nuclear power stations to exploit Arctic oil and gas reserves, causing widespread alarm among environmentalists.

A prototype floating nuclear power station being constructed at the SevMash shipyard in Severodvinsk is due to be completed next year. Agreement to build a further four was reached between the Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, and the northern Siberian republic of Yakutiya in February.

The 70-megawatt plants, each of which would consist of two reactors on board giant steel platforms, would provide power to Gazprom, the oil firm which is also Russia’s biggest company. It would allow Gazprom to power drills needed to exploit some of the remotest oil and gas fields in the world in the Barents and Kara seas. The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years.

In addition, designers are known to have developed submarine nuclear-powered drilling rigs that could allow eight wells to be drilled at a time.

Bellona, a leading Scandinavian environmental watchdog group, yesterday condemned the idea of using nuclear power to open the Arctic to oil, gas and mineral production.

“It is highly risky. The risk of a nuclear accident on a floating power plant is increased. The plants’ potential impact on the fragile Arctic environment through emissions of radioactivity and heat remains a major concern. If there is an accident, it would be impossible to handle,” said Igor Kudrik, a spokesman.

Environmentalists also fear that if additional radioactive waste is produced, it will be dumped into the sea. Russia has a long record of polluting the Arctic with radioactive waste. Countries including Britain have had to offer Russia billions of dollars to decommission more than 160 nuclear submarines, but at least 12 nuclear reactors are known to have been dumped, along with more than 5,000 containers of solid and liquid nuclear waste, on the northern coast and on the island of Novaya Zemlya.


– Hat tip to Cryptogon for this story