Sunday, January 23, 2011

Opium as the only way to survive in Afghanistan

In a far flung corner of northern Afghanistan, Aziza reaches into the dark wooden cupboard, rummages around, and pulls out a small lump of something wrapped in plastic.

She unwraps it, breaking off a small chunk as if it were chocolate, and feeds it to four-year-old son, Omaidullah. It's his breakfast -- a lump of pure opium.

"If I don't give him opium he doesn't sleep," she says. "And he doesn't let me work."

Aziza comes from a poor family of carpet weavers in Balkh province. She has no education, no idea of the health risks involved or that opium is addictive.

"We give the children opium whenever they get sick as well," she says, crouching over her loom.

With no real medical care in these parts and the high cost of medicine, all the families out here know is opium.

It's a cycle of addiction passed on through generations.

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America's Dying Cities

From 2000 to 2010 the U.S. population increased by the smallest rate than at any time since the Great Depression, rising 9.7% to approximately 308 million people, according to new census data. It’s yet another sign of the tough times that many Americans faced during the second half of the 2000s due to an ailing economy, but it only begins to paint a picture of the country’s money woes.

In several dozen cities nationwide, the population actually declined significantly as residents presumably began to flee the region’s toxic financial atmosphere, or perhaps in some cases, even held off on having kids due to a lack of resources.

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January Mexico UFO Sighting - Balloon? Morphing Object?



Some questions to ask:

1) If it's a balloon, why is it hovering perfectly in place?
2) Why does it show no flexibility as large balloons almost always do?
3) Is the object organic, changing shape?

If you have any information about this object or others, please let us know!

Illionois state to raise taxes by 67% to fend off bankruptcy - but it won't be enough

These have not been easy times for Illinois bean counters and those who depend on them. An already weakened state balance sheet, like the pocketbooks of its already stretched citizens, was hard-hit by the recession. Ever since, the state has been caught in a cycle of rising costs, unpaid bills, public protests, and political gridlock.

That's why the Illinois Senate rocked the political world when it voted to raise the state's personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent early Wednesday morning.

The tax plan amounts to a 67 percent increase in individual income taxes, far more than the 33 percent increase Governor Pat Quinn proposed - and campaigned on - during much of 2010.

All told, the tax increase deal is expected to raise an estimated $6 billion in additional revenues for the state - an enormous windfall for state coffers and a big help to its operating budget.

But a closer look at the Illinois' fiscal condition suggests that these new tax revenues won't be enough to solve Illinois' mounting fiscal woes.

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California Declares Fiscal Emergency, State Near Economic Collapse?

Jerry Brown, California’s governor, declared a state of fiscal emergency on Thursday for the government of the most populous US state to press lawmakers to tackle its $25.4 billion budget gap.

Democrat Brown’s declaration follows a similar one made last month by his predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor.

Democrats who control the legislature declined to act on Schwarzenegger’s declaration, saying they would instead wait to work on budget matters with Brown, who served two terms as California’s governor in the 1970s and 1980s.

Brown was sworn in to his third term early this month and has presented lawmakers with a plan to balance the state’s books with $12.5 billion in spending cuts and revenue from tax extensions that voters must first approve.

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OPEN LETTER TO EXPERTS AND JOURNALISTS (mass animal deaths)

It has been pretty hard not to notice the ongoing mass deaths since the start of January 2011, starting with 5000 blackbirds falling to their death with no explanation to 2 million fish washing up on the Brazilian coast. One thing that I noticed was that plenty experts where quick to jump forward and proclaim this to be normal. The journalists seem to lap up excuse after excuse, even when inconsistencies appeared in their own work, begging the question, “Do you not investigate your own articles?”. I dread to think how many cases are not being reported.

Let's just look at the main excuse that has been put forward by these experts:

Lakes, rivers, seas are being labelled as too cold or frozen, which has killed the fish, crabs, seals, octopuses and 2 ducks.

Let's examine the truth:

Q: The Lake/River/Pond has frozen do all the fish die?

A: Only the top layer of the lake or river freezes. Underneath the frozen upper layer, the water remains in its liquid form and does not freeze. Also, oxygen is trapped beneath the layer of ice. As a result, fish and other aquatic animals find it possible to live comfortably in the frozen lakes and ponds.

Q: Will the whole lake/pond/river be below freezing point?

A: During winter months in colder countries the outside or atmospheric temperature is very low - it drops to below freezing - and the upper layers of water in the lakes and ponds start cooling. When the temperature of the surface layers falls to 4 °C, the water body acquires maximum density and sinks down. The water that sinks down displaces water below, and the lower layers of water simultaneously rise up. This also gets cooled to 4 °C and again sinks down.

When the temperature of the water body finally goes below 4 °C, the density or heaviness of water decreases and as a result water does not sink down. The surface water finally freezes at 0 °C while the lower part still remains at 4 °C. The light frozen layer of ice floats on top.

Q: Will the fish freeze like ice cubes?

A: The body fluid of an ordinary fish can solidify if the temperature of the surrounding water drops below -5 °C. So Arctic and Antarctic fish have adjusted to their surroundings in an interesting manner.

Certain species of cod, flatfish and polar fish have a reduced metabolic rate and produce antifreeze molecules called glycoprotein to reduce the freezing point of their body fluids. One could look at it as the fishy version of bears hibernating, a survival tactic that has seen these finned friends outlive many other creatures on Earth.

So lets recap - Fish and marine life do not die due to cold, water does not lose its oxygen when a lake/pond or river freezes and fish do not turn into ice cubes.

So my question to the experts: What is killing our Fish and sea-life??

And to the journalists: When did you stop asking questions?

Don't worry, I haven’t forgotten the other animals and the excuses provided for their demise. To be continued.........

Dead zones in ocean threaten fish

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- With the New Year comes new challenges to fish in our world's oceans and one of the major concerns is the expansion of hypoxic zones. That's the scientific name but more recreational anglers are becoming aware of them as "dead zones."

They are areas in the oceans with low or non-existent oxygen levels which, according to a recently released research study by scientists and fish management experts, are increasing in size while decreasing the habitats of billfish and tuna. In scientific circles this phenomena is called "habitat compression."Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation (TBF) said scientists outfitted 79 sailfish and blue marlin in two strategic areas of the Atlantic with pop-off archival satellite tags which monitored their horizontal and vertical movement patterns. Read More..

Thousands of fish killed in frozen Washington lake

THOUSANDS of fish have died after suffocating in a frozen lake.The fish are thought to have been starved of oxygen after ice up to 18 inches thick formed at Mount Pleasant Lake, Fatfield, Washington, during the extreme cold spell over Christmas and New Year.

The Washington and Harraton Angling Club, which leases the site from Sunderland City Council, only recently made the shocking discovery after the slow thaw.

Dead carp, roach and eels have been spotted under the ice.

Wheatley Smith, club chairman, said: “It looks as if there are thousands of dead fish down there. Read More..

Mr Smith, who lives nearby and has looked after the lake for more than 30 years, said he had never witnessed such a scene at the site.