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вторник, 9 июля 2013 г.


Script source Reuters

Conservationists in South Sudan are using satellite technology to monitor and protect the region's threatened
elephant populations. They say South Sudan's elephants are in danger of being wiped out in five years, if the
current rate of ivory poaching is not curbed. Ben Gruber has more.
Wildlife conservationists in South Sudan are on a mission…to save the local elephant population from extinction.
They're hoping satellite tracking technology will succeed where other methods to keep the animals safe from
ivory poachers, have failed.
According to Paul Elkan of the Wildlife Conversation society, this area was home to more than 130,000 elephants
just 25 years ago. Now, he says that number has dropped to fewer than 5000.
"We're trying to put collars on each major group of elephants in South Sudan so that we can watch after them, we
can monitor their movements daily, we can watch them from the aircraft to detect whether poachers are coming
near them or not. Then if there's incidents of poaching we quickly orient the wildlife forces to come and intervene
and make arrests."
The collaring operation is a joint effort between Elkan's group and the Sudanese government.But while monitoring the elephants' movements in real time may give the team an edge, they know it is unlikely to
curb the appetite of poachers. Demand for ivory from newly affluent Asia has driven prices to record levels,
although, according to Wildlife Minister Gabriel Changson Chang, the threat against elephants also comes from
the country's own armed forces.
"The SPLA are poaching our wildlife, maybe for bush meat, and then also the other armed organised forces and
sometimes including the wildlife rangers themselves."
And while some of the ivory is captured, most gets past authorities, bound for markets in Asia.
One third of the elephants collared in the last three years have been killed.
Elkan says that if the trend continues, the elephant of South Sudan will be gone in just five years.

понедельник, 27 мая 2013 г.


Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield had already become an Internet sensation by giving his fellow
earthlings a glimpse of life on the International Space Station months ago. Now he's topping that by
saying goodbye with a cover version of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity.'
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has built up hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter by
posting videos of himself doing everyday things - making a sandwich or getting a haircut aboard the
International Space Station.
Now, Hadfield, who is headed home after his five-month mission, said goodbye to life in space by
making a cover version of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity.'
The music video could prove to be his most popular contribution yet.
The video shows Hadfield playing an acoustic guitar and singing Bowie's classic 'Space Oddity' coupled
with spectacular footage of the ISS in orbit above the earth.
The astronaut wrote on Twitter: "With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here's Space Oddity,
recorded on Station… a last glimpse of the World."
Bowie replied: "Hallo, Spaceboy."
Before going into orbit, Hadfield said playing music was important in taking care of the "psychological
side" of living in space.
The veteran astronaut blasted into space on December 19th, 2012 in the Soyuz spacecraft from
Baikonur, Kazakhstan and arrived at the ISS on December 21st.
Since his arrival, Hadfield has provided his several hundred-thousand followers on Twitter and 'likes' on
Facebook with spectacular views of Earth.
"People always ask, 'what it is like in space' and 'what's your favorite thing?'. The favorite thing is
looking out the window and that's not just because it's pretty, it's because it's fundamental to your soul
to see the world this way. When I was waiting for this to start, you can't help but go to the window and
look and think about where we are. My fundamental goal is to get people, as best as I can, to be able to
see the world that way. To see it as one small place, one bubble of air that keeps us all alive, that we are
responsible for, and just how close we are to each other. It's a perspective that is healthy for us as a
species and it's one that we are very privileged to see, and I'm doing my very best to see that as clearly
as I can."
The 53-year-old, a veteran of two Shuttle missions, is the first Canadian to assume command of the ISS.

вторник, 14 мая 2013 г.


Source Reuters
Fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett join bee campaigners in London
to urge Britain to support a European Union (EU) ban on pesticides which harm bees.
Top British fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett joined bee
campaigners on Parliament Square in London to urge the government to support a proposed
European Union ban on pesticides which harm bees.
Britain is currently blocking attempts to introduce a Europe-wide ban on the world's most widely
used insecticides, arguing their impact on bees is unclear.
Both Britain and Germany were in the minority in abstaining from a vote earlier this year.
Hamnett questioned whether this is because two major pesticide companies, Germany's Bayer
and Swiss company Syngenta, which has operations in the UK, are lobbying against the ban.
"If there's any chance that they're killing the bees as a precautionary measure they need to be
banned. And the British government is committing political suicide I think by not supporting this
ban, I mean we've even got Bulgaria supporting this for Christ’s sake.” So what's wrong with
them you know? Are they in bed with Syngenta or Bayer or are they just stupid?"
The fashion duo handed in a petition to Downing Street which urges the government to put
environmental concerns ahead of pressure from the agribusiness lobby.
"We're being told how we're all going to die, how we're going to have starvation, killing each
other, total chaos, floods and nobody will be able to help anybody because we'll all be in this
terrible state. And why don't we try and stop it? That is what I want to know. “And why is
government supporting big business because it doesn't help people at all, what is good for the
planet is good for the economy, not what is good for big business is good for the economy and
this is what our problem is."
Bees are currently suffering a sharp decline and colony collapse, due to a variety of reasons.
Bees are crucial for the planet as they perform a vital role in pollinating crops. Campaigners say
if bees disappear there will be catastrophic effects on the world.


Dutch company Mars One launches a search for volunteer astronauts to fly and
live on Mars. Volunteers will not be able to return to Earth.
Mars One began its search for volunteers to fly and live on the red planet.
At a press conference in New York City, the company's CEO Bas Lansdorp
announced an open call for anyone to apply for the flight, knowing that they will
never be able to return home.
The mission will be one-way only, since there is currently no technology that
would enable a return trip from Mars to Earth.
"Today, the Mars One foundation starts the search for Mars inhabitants. The
search for people from all nations who want to settle on Mars. Mars One is a
nonprofit organization that is working on landing the first crew on Mars in 2023
and another crew every two years after that."
The plan, Lansdorp explained, is to send four astronauts to Mars in 2023 with the
goal of establishing a permanent human colony.
Take off, landing and various parts of the mission will be streamed on the Internet,
and viewed by four billion people, according to Lansdorp’s estimate.
Whether or not video transmission will be live or edited has yet to be determined.
Anyone can apply for the mission, but there is an application fee of USD $38 that
will go toward the estimated USD $6 billion required to fund the mission.
Applicants must be between 18-40 years of age and in good physical condition.
However, there are no other pre-requisites.
Mars One plans to train the team for seven years before the flight.
The flight will take seven months to reach the red planet.Asked if he thinks it is ethical to send people on a one way journey to Mars,
Lansdorp called the mission "idealistic" and "something that can truly change the
"Any big step that you take will always mean that there is risk. This mission will
not be different. When you send humans to Mars there will be risks. But we will
select the people and we will tell those people the risks and they will have to weigh
the risks. Do I want to take these risks to make my dream come true or do I not?
It's up to the people that are going to determine if it's worth it for them."

суббота, 4 мая 2013 г.

Scientists in Scotland are using the country's favourite tipple to create next-generation biofuels which
could have economic and environmental benefits. EPTV investigates.
Putting crops into cars was the idea behind the first generation of biofuels aimed at reducing CO2
However, this led to a global food crisis with land being cleared for fuel rather than food.
The EU is now working to reverse this trend.
“The idea is to move over to biofuels of the second and third generation, which use either waste or a
non-food part of plants. I think that's a very interesting economic development model which could allow
research and development to discover real prospects and to develop the European industry.”
In Scotland they're developing a way of getting from A to B on whisky.
Think of Scotland, and whisky instantly springs to mind.
This iconic industry is worth 4.6 billion euros to the economy.
But it comes at a huge cost to the environment.
It is one of the most energy-intensive industries.
No figures exist for its carbon footprint, but now they're trying to cover their tracks.
Here at Tullibardine Distillery only 3% of all products that go through the whisky distillery process end
up in the bottle that you buy. The remaining 97% ends up as waste.
It has to be discarded at a cost of 293,000 euros per year.
So it makes economic and environmental sense to turn their whisky green.
The malt whisky process has changed little in over 200 years.
It involves just three ingredients: water, barley and yeast.
“What that stuff is is pot ale, which is basically water with a lot of dead yeast in it.
That's another waste product.
Then it goes out into tanks outside.
And a road tanker comes along and takes that away.The draff up there goes to a local dairy farmer who feeds his cows with the draff.
This stuff gets sprayed back on to the fields with other chemicals added to it.”
The whisky industry traditionally recycles its waste for fertiliser and animal feed.
But this man had another idea for meeting renewable energy targets.
“I'd love to say, I had a eureka moment in the bath, and a lovely story to tell about drinking a dram of
whisky and having inspiration. But it was a matter of looking to see where was the biggest source of raw
material we could tap into and derive value where there was no value.”
The Biofuel Research Centre in Edinburgh took a 100-year-old scientific process to produce biobutanol, a
next-generation biofuel, and adapted it for whisky.
“When you've malted the barley, you're left with this material.
When you distil off the alcohol, you have the distillate from the copper stills.
So we developed a process where we combine this liquid material with this solid material and make a
new raw material that we re-ferment with different organisms that produce high-value chemicals,
including this, which is butanol. So we aim to produce something like this, which is a fermentation
vessel. This will be done at much larger scale in industry than we have done in the lab.”
Biobutanol can be put directly into cars and has 25% more energy per unit volume than bioethanol,
which was the favoured biofuel until recently.
Advanced biofuels could meet up to 4.3% of the UK's 10% renewable transport fuel target by 2020, and
save 3.2 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
It's the equivalent of taking nearly a million cars off the road.
Celtic Renewables is the company that hopes to capitalise on the lab's research.
“The business model is to take two very low-value commodities or residues and convert them into five
or six much-needed high-value commodities that the UK is currently importing. So there's as much
acetone imported into the UK as there is whisky exported. Biobutanol is an advanced-generation biofuel
that the country needs to meet its biofuel targets.”
Scaling the five-litre lab model up to a 10,000-litre working plant incurs costs into the millions.
Celtic Renewables are in talks with Tullibardine Distillery and larger companies such as Diageo to take
their project to the next level.
Here in Leith beside the old whisky bond storehouses, the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland
explained why whisky makers are cleaning up their act.
“There's a whole range of factors. European regulation is part of it. Probably water regulation was the
first one to make them think, 'We'd better take this environment stuff seriously.'
But also the high cost of fuels and some consumer pressure, because people are looking in a premium
product for the green credentials.”
Whisky is a serious business in Scotland.Customers are always looking out for the latest trend.
“I am a whisky drinker, and I guess any kind of...
As a whisky drinker, you're interested in many different aspects about whisky.
With whisky, any kind of story behind any distillery is a good story to tell to the customer if they want to
ask about whiskies.”
Celtic Renewables hopes to have plants operational by the end of this year. So soon whisky drinkers can
enjoy their favourite tipple with a clearer conscience.

среда, 1 мая 2013 г.


source Reuters
India, the world's biggest processor of diamonds, plans to develop a trading hub for rough diamonds to
replace dependence on existing centres like Dubai and Antwerp for raw material sourcing.
India, the world's biggest processor of diamonds, plans to develop a trading hub for rough diamonds, as
it seeks to reduce dependence on existing centres like Dubai and Antwerp for raw material sourcing.
India has been trying to boost exports, of which gems and jewellery account for 15 percent of the total.
Asia's third largest economy is expected to present its export import policy later in April.
India, which cuts and polishes 11 out of every 12 diamonds traded globally, sources $24 billion worth of
roughs from Dubai from Rio Tinto, De Beers and Russia-based Alrosa among others.
"Over eighty percent of the world's rough diamond production comes to India. Not directly, but either
through Dubai or through Antwerp. So it's just necessary that most of the primary producers of rough -
that means the people who own the mines - they should have the offices here and sell the rough
directly in India, so that the smaller - the medium and smaller firms can take advantage of it."
India's exports of cut and polished diamonds in the fiscal year to March 2014 are expected to be 25
percent higher than current estimates of $16 billion, equivalent to 66 percent of total gems and
jewellery exports.
Exports of gems and jewellery - which include diamonds - constitute 14 percent of India's total trade,
and employ 3.4 million workers, with the Middle East taking most of India's gems and jewellery
Demand from the euro zone could be depressed because of the region's debt crisis, though there can be
a revival in demand from the United States, while China is also catching up fast.


Source Reuters
Brazilian mask maker produces Pope Francis mask ahead of the Church's World Day of Youth in July as
tribute to the first ever Latin American pope.
Pope Francis's celebrity status may be secure after a Brazilian mask maker recently began a production
run of latex masks based on his likeness.
The decision was made in anticipation of the Pope's visit to Rio de Janeiro for the Church's World Day of
Youth in July.
The event, a gathering of Catholic young people that takes place in a different city every two years, and
the presence of Pope seemingly dedicated to rejuvenating a Church, could help Catholicism recapture
some of its lost numbers.
Albert Paris, commercial director for mask maker, responsible for creating masks of icons as diverse as
Michael Jackson to Albert Einstein, hopes to capitalize on this.
"He's a very charismatic pope, very humble. He's a lot closer to the people, a person well adapted to the
current world and society. That was the main reason we decided to make the mask, and also Pope
Francis' visit to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. We believe that the mask will be well accepted by the people
the arrival of Pope Francis will bring together.”
Since his election on the thirteenth of March, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina
has broken with the more esoteric and, some would say, ostentatious style of his predecessor Benedict,
saying he wants to move the Church closer to the poor and suffering.
July's trip will be Pope Francis' first to Brazil since being elected to the head of the Catholic Church.