EJToday: Top Headlines
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Coltan ore is valuable as a source of niobium and tantalum, metals key to many kinds of electronics. Coltan mining has helped finance war in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now new illegal coltan mining activity has sprung up in the remote Amazon jungles on the border between Venezuela and Columbia. It is controlled largely by armed militias and drug smugglers.
"Bird flu experts meeting in Geneva ruled that controversial research on a mutant form of the virus potentially capable of being spread among humans should be made public."
"In an almost unheard-of move, scientists who study the deadly H5N1 bird flu announced a 60-day voluntary moratorium on studying the virus to allow time 'to clearly explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks.'"
"STOCKTON, Utah — Gary McCloskey may have destroyed more chemical weapons than any man alive, but he barely reacted when the final weapons from the world’s largest stockpile of warfare agents came out of an incinerator.
"Federal officials have asked a biosecurity scientist panel to broadly review bird flu transmission research for public health concerns."
Despite Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, some global oil prices fell. It turns out Iran's influence on the international oil market may be weak, and its threats more an effort to head off international sanctions that will harm its own weakened petroleum economy. Shipping lanes are just one of many major strategic factors affecting the global oil market. Iran has, however, offered spurious ammunition to U.S. politicians crowing for US acts of war against it. Right now, the news media are taking Iran's threats more seriously than the oil market is.
"MONTREAL -- Weapons-grade uranium is quietly being transported within Canada, and into the United States, in shipments the country's nuclear watchdog wants to keep cloaked in secrecy."
"Two teams of researchers who have engineered deadly and pathogenic flu viruses have reluctantly agreed to withhold vital details of their work for national-security reasons -- the first time any scientific team has been asked to do so."
"Honeywell and fertilizer maker J.R. Simplot have agreed to build the first commercial facility for Sulf-N 26, a granular fertilizer that is comparable to ammonium nitrate but would be ineffective as a bomb material. Ammonium nitrate combined with fuel oil was used in the bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995."
"Department of Agriculture researchers are working with rare plant pathogens that have the power to wipe out food crops that feed billions of people, or if harnessed and applied precisely, could control noxious weeds that have infested millions of acres of land."
Despite misleading and poorly sourced reports, it now appears that a successful and damaging cyberattack on a Springfield, Ill., water utility may have used a variant of the Stutznet worm. Reports have raised the question of whether the U.S. government, along with Israel, was involved in developing it.
"Up to three million people in Afghanistan are facing hunger, malnutrition and disease after a severe drought wiped out their crops and extreme winter weather risks cutting off their access to vital food aid, a group of aid agencies warned Friday."
"United Nations weapons inspectors have amassed a trove of new evidence that they say makes a 'credible' case that 'Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,' and that the project may still be under way."
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that four members of a fringe militia used a book written by Fox News 'expert' Mike Vanderboegh as a basis for a plot to commit domestic terrorism. Federal law enforcement authorities on Tuesday arrested four Georgia senior citizens for allegedly plotting to kill government officials and spread terror with guns, explosives and the toxin ricin."
"Dozens of chemical companies and other industrial firms worldwide were hit this summer by highly focused cyberattacks controlled by Chinese hackers, according to a new report."