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It seems the global warming scare was exaggerated, although, the long mild spell in Northern Canada and Alaska continues. Most credible research shows that, while bitterly cold Arctic air masses are a bit milder, the rest of the planet is actually slightly cooler. Apparently, for now, Arctic animals are happy: populations of polar bears and certain whale species are booming after decades of decline. Among others, the original scientist behind the hysteria, James Hansen, has admitted his earlier predictions were way off.
Despite record gasoline prices, the sales of gas-guzzling SUVs and minivans continue to soar. A strong global economy continues to increase the demand for oil. Meanwhile, countries that export most of the world’s oil (OPEC) together limit oil production to deliberately keep prices and profits high. Further raising prices for consumers, governments in Western nations put massive taxes on the price of gasoline. For now, the theory that higher gas prices result in fuel-efficient cars and less pollution is clearly not working.
Will these guys ever stop fighting? Arab Palestinians, eager for their own country, are frustrated to be part of Israel, a country designed to be a homeland for Jews. The uprising by Palestinians continues, featuring maniacal suicide bombers and rock throwing teenagers. The Israelis have responded with a well-equiped army and F-16 aircraft bombing strikes. Needless to say, many more Palestinians have lost their lives in the conflict than Israelis. This latest year of conflict will make peaceful negotiations next to impossible.
The Taliban, a fanatical Islamic rebel group that now controls most of Afghanistan, continues its futile attempt to create a stone-age ultra-religious state. To international outrage they have banned the education of women, demolished priceless ancient monuments, outlawed music and television, and have forced Hindus living there to wear yellow to show they are not Muslim. This is exactly what Hitler tried to do to Jews at the outset of the Holocaust in Germany.
President Bush’s Republican party suffered a shock when its Senator from Vermont changed parties, becoming a member of the opposition Democrats, shifting voting control of the U.S. Senate. The big question is: If people vote for you, believing you represent their favorite political party, should you be able to change parties once you’re in power? What if fifty Senators suddenly change sides to give the U.S. Nazi Party control? Should voters get a chance to revote? For now, they don’t!
Medical science (most recently in Japan) seems close to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is associated with growing old, causing memory loss, disorientation and personality changes. Some links have been made to television-viewing and low activity lifestyles. While it may be too late for some sufferers, the possibility of stopping the disease in less advanced victims and preventing future cases is looking good. Hopefully, by the time we’re retiring this sad and debilitating disease will have be eradicated.
In a horrific development in this Himalayan country of 22 million, the Crown Prince (meaning he was next in line to be king) went on a wild shooting spree murdering his entire family, his father, King Birendra (a much-loved leader of 29 years), the Queen, his only brother and sister and others before turning the gun on himself. An uncle, whose wife was also shot in the incident will take over as King. Nepal is the world’s only officially Hindu nation.
Please don’t eat the chimpanzees! Conservationist groups worldwide are raising awareness for the growing “bushmeat” trade in Western Africa. Many Africans have acquired a taste for the local wildlife: everything from gorillas to parrots to elephants. This is a recent horror: as logging companies destroy virgin forests the loggers are shooting everything they see and are profiting by taking millions of slaughtered animals to village markets. The same slaughter is taking place to a lesser degree in Asia and South America.