Saturday, October 22, 2005

More worrying news about our Environment!

Scientists from Brazil and the US say new research suggests deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has been underestimated by at least 60%. The team has completed a study using a more advanced technique of satellite imagery that can pick up more types of logging activity. These include selective logging, where loggers pick out trees of value but leave the surrounding forest intact. Brazil's government welcomed the report but said the figures were exaggerated. NASA's help: Deforestation in the Amazon is on such a massive scale that the only way of measuring it is by using satellites. The trouble has been that while traditional aerial images can show areas that have been completely destroyed, they do not reveal selective logging of valuable trees such as mahogany. With input from the Nasa space agency, the joint US and Brazilian team used an ultra-high-resolution technique to examine just how much selective logging was going on. The report was published in the US journal Science. The researchers concluded that the area of rainforest destroyed between 1999 and 2002 was thousands of square kilometres bigger than previously thought. They also found that about 25% more carbon had been released into the atmosphere than estimated - possibly enough to affect climate change. Brazilian officials praised the scientists for highlighting the issue of selective logging, but said the new figures were hard to believe. The businessmen involved in the practice claim picking out individual trees is more environmentally friendly than the blanket clearance of huge areas. But environmental campaigners say that to reach the prized trees, roads have to be built and heavy equipment brought in. This, they say, can be of no benefit to the Amazon. Story from BBC NEWS: 2005/10/21 01:24:49 GMT

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


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Today, in some papers and on some TV screens we have seen justice - as handed out by the Czech police and TV Nova.
A few weeks ago, (see below) a young family man was gunned down in the centre of Prague, just because he was a caring citizen and had gone to the assistance of a young woman who was being harassed by a man. For this act of courage he was mercilessly murdered in cold blood. A crime that sent shivers down the spines of all normal citizens of this land. However, recently, thanks to the police and TV Nova, we have been treated to the spectacle of the alleged murderer being forcibly restrained by police and in full camera/photo shot of the journalists of TV Nova - the same TV Company where the murdered man worked….there was even a microphone thrust under the suspect’s nose – perhaps ready for a public confession? I have to ask the following questions of both the police and TV Nova:. Since when did the Prague police and TV Nova have the right to determine that this particular individual was the guilty party? Even if the alleged murderer confessed to the crime, isn't he innocent until proven guilty by a court of law? Surely it’s a judge and not a policeman or a journalist who determine guilt? Are there different rules of due process of law at work in the Czech Republic? Isn't it something of a coincidence that it was TV Nova and not CT1/2 or TV Prima, who were there to capture it all on camera. The murdered man was an editor with TV Nova. How did TV Nova know that he was being arrested and taken to a detention centre? In most places in Europe the arrested individual is presumed innocent until a court of law determine otherwise and a blanket would be placed over his head - to ensure anonymity. Just to put the record straight – if this man is found guilty by due process of law – I personally hope the courts jail him and throw away the keys for what he has done….but to be honest, I would hope that we are all innocent until the evidence in court proves otherwise. Frankly I put more trust in the judicial system here than I do in either the Czech police or the media.