Friday, March 09, 2007

News Bites of the Day

Our asses are being handed to us on a plate:
European Union leaders have agreed to adopt a binding target on the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, officials say.
The downside is the 10% biofuels target; yes, lower greenhouse gases, but even at current rates of biofuel conversion, we've seen an international rise in the price of cereal grains, making them less affordable for the poor around the world. Also, a lot of oil palms are being planted to be used for biofuels. And that process is neither environmentally sensitive nor carbon neutral. In a related bit of news, Bush is touring Latin America this week. His first stop is Brazil, which is the poster child for alternative fuels--specifically ethanol. But according to the Guardian, there is a bit of a dark side to this particular revolution.

Europe's food watchdog is to assess whether meat and dairy products from cloned animals are safe to eat.
Of course, the FDA in the US has already concluded that it is, but considering that the FDA is now run by Cargill, Monsanto and other food manufacturing concerns, they really don't have a lot of credibility, do they?
It is likely--or at least possible--that the EU will use the results of this study to restrict imports of EU produced meats (much as they have done with GMO cereals and oilseeds), but I certainly can't say that's a wrong thing. Carbon neutrality demands the reduction of food imports and a rise in local production for local consumption. Andrew Nikiforuk's new book Pandemodium details many of the biological costs of our international trade--particularly in food, animals, and plants.

An internal justice department investigation has documented multiple abuses by the FBI in obtaining the private records of U.S. residents.
I guess that it's not really news when a department dedicated to control of a population and the maintenance of the current order goes beyond what is legal. But it is still disturbing to me, which is why I think CSIS and the RCMP both need strict non-political civilian oversight.

It's nice to know that Bush still has God on his side. Hate to think what would happen if it was the Great Liar whispering in his ear.

Microsoft said it will not issue its scheduled monthly software security fixes in March after a report said its security suite ranked last of 17 tested. Man, ain''t that a kick in the slats? An Austrian project found that Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare security suite didn't meet the minimum standards to even be included in the testing regime. Wonder why the majority of software on my machines is open source? Look no further....

The cost of justice is beyond the reach of many middle-class Canadians, the chief justice of the Supreme Court said Thursday. That would be chief justice Beverley McLachlin. She makes a number of points about the current status of the justice system in Canada. Who can use it, who gets screwed, and who shouldn't be involved in the first place. A short but interesting report on her talk.

With the increased number of women serving in the US military, something else is on the rise too: rape and sexual assault by their male comrades. I'm really not suprised. There's something wrong with the way we train and treat our soldiers. I'm not sure what it is, but I keep looking at the Dutch military and admiring them for at least trying to change things.

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