There is little doubt about the connection between certain pesticides and the calamitous bee die-off.
"Industry stakeholders and some scientists reject the connection between neonicotinoids and bee deaths, arguing that these chemicals are safe. Yet most scientists believe that while multiple factors account for the die-offs, including loss of habitat and viruses, the connection to neonicotinoids is indisputable.
Beyond affecting bees, the report says, neonicotinoids disrupt the ability of earthworms to tunnel and aerate soil, and harm a wide variety of insects including freshwater snails, butterflies, mosquitoes and the dragonflies that eat them. Nothing less than the world’s ability to produce food, the report warns, is at risk from these chemicals."
"BAGHDAD — Wielding the threat of sectarian slaughter, Sunni Islamist militants claimed on Sunday that they had massacred hundreds of captive Shiite members of Iraq’s security forces, posting grisly pictures of a mass execution in Tikrit as evidence and warning of more killing to come. • Even as anecdotal reports of extrajudicial killings around the country seemed to bear out the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s intent to kill Shiites wherever it could, Iraqi officials and some human rights groups cautioned that the militants’ claim to have killed 1,700 soldiers in Tikrit could not be immediately verified."
"I and my colleague, The Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, sat down with President Abbas in his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Saturday afternoon to probe his thinking on this issue. He returned — with greater enthusiasm than ever — to an idea whose time may have come: Summon NATO to provide the cement.
After Israelis and Palestinians agree on the contours of a Palestinian state, said Abbas, let Israeli troops remain in the West Bank for a five-year transitional period to work with Palestinian and Jordanian security forces and reassure the Israeli public that it is not going to get hit with the flurry of rockets it got hit with after Israel quit the Gaza Strip. And then have the Israeli forces replaced indefinitely by an American-led NATO force, with troops throughout the territory, at every crossing and within Arab East Jerusalem — along with, of course, Palestinian police and security units. Abbas was clearly going out of his way to show that he is prepared to go a long way to address Israel’s security concerns, but in a way that is consistent with his own sovereignty concerns.
Let NATO forces stay, said Abbas, “for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders but also on the western borders, everywhere ... For a long time, for the time they wish. NATO can be everywhere, why not?”
The secretary of state is daring to test a question about the Israelis and Palestinians that everyone has wanted to avoid.
"TEL AVIV — It is pretty clear now that Secretary of State John Kerry will either be Israel’s diplomatic salvation or the most dangerous diplomatic fanatic Israel has ever encountered. But there isn’t much room anymore for anything in between. This is one of those rare pay-per-view foreign policy moments. Pull up a chair. You don’t see this every day.
In essence what Kerry is daring to test is a question everyone has wanted to avoid: Is the situation between Israelis and Palestinians at five minutes to midnight or five minutesafter midnight, or even 1 a.m. (beyond diplomacy)?
That is, has Israel become so much more powerful than its neighbors that a symmetrical negotiation is impossible, especially when the Palestinians do not seem willing or able to mount another intifada that might force Israel to withdraw? Has the neighborhood around Israel become so much more unstable that any Israeli withdrawal from anywhere is unthinkable? Has the number of Israeli Jews now living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank become so much larger — more than 540,000 — that they are immovable? And has the Palestinian rhetoric on the right of return become so deeply embedded in Palestinian politics? So when you add them all up, it becomes a fantasy to expect any Israeli or Palestinian leader to have the strength to make the huge concessions needed for a two-state solution?"
Pursuing his pledge to make Louisville a more caring city, Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution committing to a multi-year Compassionate Louisville campaign on Friday, November 11, 2011. Fischer's action means that Louisville is recognized as an international compassionate city, the largest city in America with that distinction.
Left to right— Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville Co-Chair Tom Williams, Interfaith Paths to Peace Executive Director Terry Taylor, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (with the Compassionate City proclamation), CAN International Institute Co-Director Ari Cowan, and Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville Co-Chair Sadiqa Reynolds. (Photoillustration from a photo provided by the Louisville Office of the Mayor)
The Compassionate Louisville resolution was approved Thursday, November 10, 2011 by the Louisville Metro Council and signed the following day by Fischer at a ceremony held next to the Abraham Lincoln memorial in Waterfront Park.
"Being a compassionate city is both the right thing and the necessary thing to do to ensure that we take care of all of our citizens," Fischer said. "There's a role for all of us in making sure no one is left behind or goes wanting."
"The planet's current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point. • In a new review of scientific literature and analysis of data published in Science, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet's sixth mass biological extinction event. • Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life."
"Patients with infectious tuberculosis, caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs, need medication regularly administered over many months. Local public health workers provide the medication and observe that it is taken by the patient, requiring as many as five visits each week. If treatment is interrupted, or if the drugs are not working, patients have a much higher chance of developing (and spreading) drug-resistant tuberculosis. At the same time, health workers must track down and test anyone who had come in close contact with patients before the disease was diagnosed, to be certain no one else has been infected." • "Besides the logistical problems, there are issues with funding on the local level. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis requires 18 to 24 months of treatment and can cost more than $500,000. A local health department’s entire budget can be depleted with just one case."
Treasury secretaries dating to the Nixon years backed a new report predicting a heavy loss of coastal properties, a shift of farming northward, and dangerous outdoor conditions because of climate change.
"The Sunni extremist group, while renowned for the mayhem it has inflicted, has set clear goals for carving out and governing a caliphate, an Islamic religious state, that spans Sunni-dominated sections of Iraq and Syria. It has published voluminously, even issuing annual reports, to document its progress in achieving its goals. • Under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who spent time in an American detention facility, the group has shown itself to be unrelentingly violent and purist in pursuing its religious objectives, but coldly pragmatic in forming alliances and gaining and ceding territory. In discussing its strategy, Mr. Fishman has described the group as “a governmental amoeba, constantly shifting its zone of control across Iraq’s western expanses” as its forces redeploy. • In 2007 the group published a pamphlet laying out its vision for Iraq. It cited trends in globalization as well as the Quran in challenging modern notions of statehood as having absolute control over territory. Mr. Fishman referred to the document as the “Federalist Papers” for what is now ISIS."
"What makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all," Time said in its cover story.
"In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church — the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world — above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors."
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis was not seeking fame.
"It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions by the international media has been given to a person who proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks out forcefully in favor of peace and greater justice," Lombardi said in a statement.
"If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope is happy. If this choice of 'Person of the Year' means that many have understood this message, even implicitly, he is certainly glad."