Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Best and the Brightest

In a mid-year budget review, Australia’s treasurer announces that his drought-stricken country’s economy will thrive next year, as long as it rains:

The new spending included $300 million for projects which Mr Costello refused to reveal, and more than $1 billion for drought relief. He warned that this figure would balloon if the drought continued.
Canada’s public safety minister has been instructed to remove comments from his website that made fun of the science behind global warming:
The controversy coincides with new signals from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the government plans to boost its environmental policies and overall plan to fight climate change and air pollution. Harper has spent the past few days insisting in a series of interviews he believes it's time to act to stop global warming because of mounting evidence that the climate is changing.
Meanwhile, two of India’s islands seem to be missing:
Official records list 102 islands in Indian Territory, but scientists examining satellite imagery now say two have disappeared and a dozen more could go under. The Sunderbans are a natural buffer shielding millions from storms and tidal waves whipped up in the Bay of Bengal.
In the South Pacific, the Carteret Islands are facing the same fate:
“We have no cars and no factories and no aeroplanes,” says Bernard Tubin, a leader on the island of Piul. “We are the victims of this greenhouse-gas emission and we are totally innocent. America sends someone to the Moon, wars are being fought and millions are being spent on warheads and ammunition. So why is it that Russia and the US and Japan and Australia cannot do anything to help us?”
In China, officials have been colluding with mine bosses to overlook safety violations:
Investigations of the deadliest mine accidents last year found that many were due to the failure of officials to enforce safety standards, Li said. He said some took bribes or illegally owned shares in mines they were supposed to regulate.
And in South Korea, official have been colluding with developers to falsify water-safety reports:
Water quality test labs and underground water developers stand accused of conspiring to fake test results and providing polluted water to 1,410 nurseries and schools nationwide.
In India, children’s toys are manufactured with scrap plastic containing high levels of lead and cadmium:
India does not have any enforceable standards for lead, cadmium and other toxic materials in toys and hitherto soft PVC toys have not been investigated as one of the possible sources of these metals’ exposure to children. These soft toys, the study says, account for 35 per cent of the total production of India’s toys.
U.S. policies ostensibly intended to help family farms are helping to destroy them:
[O]wners of large farms receive the largest share of government subsidies. They often use the money to acquire more land, pushing aside small and medium-size farms as well as young farmers starting out.
Furthermore, the FDA intends to close laboratories charged with protecting the public against intentional and accidental food contamination:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to close as many as half of its laboratories across the country, despite pending appropriation increases to expand this lab network to fight bio-terrorist attacks on our food supplies, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
In other news, shocking new photos indicate another Miss USA contestant may be a drunken whore. The question now raging is whether America can stand the strain of ongoing suggestive behavior among its sexually commodified young women.

Also, President Bush would like you to go shopping more.

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