Bird Deaths | Mars | China | Rendition | Falkland Islands/Malvinas | Sharks
•READ: Hundreds of birds dead in western Kentucky: [link is dead] [05 Jan 2011] State wildlife officials say “several hundred” dead birds were found near the Murray State University campus last week. They say grackles, red wing blackbirds, robins and starlings were among the dead animals. New Year’s Eve fireworks have been blamed for causing the deaths of thousands of blackbirds in central Arkansas last week.
•READ: China to explore Mars with Russia this year: [2 Jan 2011] China’s first Mars probe is expected to be launched in October this year in a joint operation with Russia after a two-year delay, state media reported Sunday. The probe, Yinghuo-1, was due to blast off in October 2009 with Russia’s “Phobos Explorer” from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan but the launch was postponed, the official Xinhua news agency said. Quoting an unnamed expert at the China Academy of Space Technology, the report said the blast-off had been pushed back to October this year. It added that China planned to launch a Mars probe on its own in 2013.
•READ: China reveals new stealth jet: [4 Jan 2011] China has revealed pictures of its first stealth fighter jet on a Chinese non-governmental Web site of a prototype of the Chengdu J-20 fighter being built for the Chinese air force. Chinese aviation experts say they have been snapping pictures of the aircraft since it took to taxi tests ahead of its first flight test in the coming weeks. But is the sighting for real? Some experts claim the photos are fake or simply Photoshopped fighters created on computer screens. Questions also arise over the unusually large Chinese red star painted on the tail. “The red star insignias are normally smaller with parallel adjacent red bands,” Defense News reported. Other experts, though, say they believe the jet is genuine and long overdue.
•READ: Wikileaks Reveals That The US Won’t Comply With Treaty Obligations Concerning Investigations Into CIA Rendition: [3 Jan 2011] This is hardly a surprise, but it’s increasingly being confirmed by the various State Department cable leaks that the US Justice Department is failing to comply with its treaty obligations with other countries in their investigations into US (mainly CIA) “rendition” operations, where they take people captured elsewhere and find some place to torture them. Related to this, of course, is that US diplomats worked overtime to suppress any investigations, and put strong diplomatic pressure on countries not to investigate. And yet, some still did, and the US simply refused to cooperate, despite requirements under various treaties. This is, of course, nothing new. The US has a history of ignoring treaties when it doesn’t like what they say. This is seriously going to come back to haunt the US. It’s amazing how upset the US gets when others ignore treaty provisions, but it does the same all too often.
•READ: U.K. actions void accords, says Argentina: [4 Jan 2011] British-banked oil exploration and military buildup on and near the Falkland Islands flouts bilateral agreements, which are now useless and void, Argentina said in the latest escalation of war of words over the South Atlantic territories. Argentina issued the statement to mark what it called the anniversary of British reoccupation of the Falklands — called Malvinas in Argentine official documents. Buenos Aires also embarked on a program to refurbish its armed forces to replace weapons systems — seen as an answer to Britain’s increased military presence on the Falklands. Argentina has explored military purchases from Russia, China and several European suppliers but is hamstrung by a cash crunch. Last year it announced resumption of its nuclear power program.
•READ: Celebrity Chef Gordan Ramsay Assaulted While Investigating Shark Fin Trade: [3 Jan 2011] Being a muckraking celebrity chef can be dangerous to your health. Just ask Brit Gordon Ramsay, who was showered with gasoline and held at gunpoint after he confronted a gang trafficking in illegal shark fins in Costa Rica. The segment was intended for his new program Big Fish Fight, but ended with Ramsay begin told by local authorities to flee the country for his own safety. [Britain's Daily Mail]