Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα USA. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα USA. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Πέμπτη, 7 Αυγούστου 2014

WTO Appellate Body rules against Chinese restrictions on access to rare earths and other raw materials (E.C.)

European Commission, Press release, Brussels, 7 August 2014:

The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today ruled in the EU’s favour. It confirmed the findings made by a Panel in March 2014 that China’s export restrictions on rare earth, as well as tungsten and molybdenum, are in breach of WTO rules. Backing the claims of the EU and its co-complainants, the US and Japan, the WTO found that China’s export duties and quotas were not justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht qualified the ruling as “another milestone in the EU’s efforts to ensure fair access to much-needed raw materials for its industries”. “This ruling sends a clear signal that export restrictions cannot be used to protect or promote domestic industries at the expense of foreign competitors. I now look forward to China swiftly bringing its export regime in line with international rules, as it did with other raw materials under the previous WTO ruling,” Commissioner said. 

In 2012, China lost another WTO case, brought jointly by the EU, US and Mexico, on export restrictions on raw materials. It subsequently lifted those restrictions. However, it did not lift similar measures, export quotas and duties, applying to other raw materials, such as tungsten, molybdenum and rare earths. The EU and its co-complainants were therefore left with no option but to use the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism again. 

China has argued that its export restrictions on rare earths are part of its conservation policy. But the WTO’s position today is clear: export restrictions cannot be imposed to conserve exhaustible natural resources if the domestic production or consumption of the same raw materials is not restricted at the same time for the same purpose.
Neither the complainants nor the panel contest China’s right to put in place conservation policies. However, as the WTO clarified, the sovereign right of a country over its natural resources does not allow it to control international markets or the global distribution of raw materials. A WTO Member may decide on the level or pace at which it uses its resources but once raw materials have been extracted, they are subject to WTO trade rules. The extracting country cannot impose restrictions only on foreign users. 

Background
The raw materials involved in this case are several rare earths, as well as tungsten and molybdenum. They have a wide range of uses in hi-tech and green goods, automotive and machinery manufacturing, chemicals, steel and non-ferrous metal industries.
Chinese export restrictions have been mainly export duties or export quotas, as well as additional requirements and procedures for exporters. They create serious disadvantages for foreign industries by artificially increasing China’s export prices and driving up world prices. Such restrictions also artificially lower China’s domestic prices for raw materials. As they increase domestic supplies. This gives China’s local industries a competitive advantage and puts pressure on foreign producers to move their operations and technologies to China.
The EU, together with the US and Japan, launched a WTO dispute settlement case in March 2012. Initial consultations with China did not bring an amicable solution. As a result, the WTO set up a panel in June 2012. The Panel report was issued on 26 March 2014 and was full victory for the EU and its co-complainants. China appealed the report on 25 April 2014. The reports will be adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body within 30 days and China will have to comply with the ruling immediately or within a reasonable period of time that it can request for implementation..................http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-912_en.htm?locale=en
7/8/14
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Τετάρτη, 23 Ιουλίου 2014

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said on Tuesday that all activities related to the South Stream gas pipeline project should be put on hold until it was brought in line with European legislation.

The statement followed reports about the Bulgarian Energy Holding to prepare the decision on a contract with Russia’s Gazprom for a loan to finance Bulgaria’s participation in the project.
The president expressed surprise and indignation at the continuing project work by the government contrary to its public obligations assumed on June 8 to temporarily suspend the project, the presidential press service said.
Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said earlier this month that Bulgaria would be able to convince the European Commission that its actions with regard to the South Stream gas pipeline project were justified and founded.

“South Stream will be. It’s not a Bulgarian project and I can only speak about what depends on us, not about the project as a whole, geopolitically,” he said.
The prime minister said Bulgaria had received the European Commission’s suggestions and had ordered all work on the project to be halted, primarily the signing of new contracts and agreements, until the two sides were sure that these suggestions were reasonable.
“We will try to convince the European Commission that we were acting correctly. We have enough arguments for that. But if we can’t do that, we will correct the actions the European Commission disapproved of. If we do not work out these issues now, we may face serious legal problems in the future,” he said.
Bulgaria is hoping to reap maximum benefits from the South Stream gas pipeline project, Minister of Economy and Energy Dragomir Stoynev said earlier.
“We should make maximum use of the South Stream project which is important for both Bulgaria and Europe and for which our country will not pay a single lev but we will create jobs, draw a profit and repay the loans for its construction through dividends,” the minister said.
Stoynev said South Stream “needs political support” and was the only project that could guarantee stable gas supplies. “Northern countries get gas from Nord Stream, and we should also have guaranteed supplies for southern countries from South Stream,” Stoynev said.
All participating countries have authorised the European Commission to conduct negotiations on the gas pipeline with Russia. “This is a strategic project for Europe and its construction should begin this year,” the minister said.
In his opinion, the best solution for Bulgaria would be having direct access to the gas supplier.
The contract to build the South Stream gas pipeline in Bulgaria is fully in line with European legislation, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy said.
“The position of the ministry has been stated many times - the implementation of the South Stream project is important for Bulgaria both for diversifying gas supplies and from the economic point of view,” the ministry said.
“This is why during the talks with Russia in October 2013 Bulgaria, as an EU member state, could reach an agreement between the Bulgarian Energy Holding and Gazprom, under which the South Stream design company will make the gas pipeline capacity available for use by a third party as required by the Third Energy Package. This clearly shows compliance with our commitment to abide by European legislation,” the ministry said.
Stoynev said “the project will be implemented by European rules and will not violate European legislation” and stressed that “the work will be as transparent as possible”.
South Stream will be built across the Black Sea to South and Central European countries to diversify gas supplies to Europe and reduce the dependence on transit countries.
To build the onshore sections of the pipeline, Gazprom has signed agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria...............................http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/741865
22/7/14
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Παρασκευή, 11 Ιουλίου 2014

Fracking: Major Scientific Document Shows Why NY Fracking Moratorium Is Imperative

Less than two weeks ago, local communities triumphed over the fracking industry in a precedent-setting case decided by the New York Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders.

While the court decision is a victory for the two towns, many New Yorkers continue to rally and push for a statewide fracking moratorium. In this vein, Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) today released a major resource to the public, including public officials, researchers and journalists—the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking................................http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/10/major-scientific-document-ny-fracking-moratorium-imperative/

10/7/14

Τρίτη, 8 Ιουλίου 2014

Russia wants South Stream built as scheduled

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sofia on Monday said the South Stream gas pipeline should be built as scheduled, and urged the European Commission to implement a reasonable approach.

He made the statement at a joint press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Kristian Vigenin, after talks for the expansion of bilateral cooperation and the construction of a Bulgarian section of South Stream gas pipeline.


"From our part, we stressed the need for its construction in the planned timeframe and confirmed our willingness to continue for this purpose the constructive dialogue with all interested parties -- as the project participants, as well as the European Commission, " Lavrov said.

He said his country respected the Third Energy Package and the right of the EU and its members to impose any rules for cooperation in their territory in all areas, but in accordance with the general rules of international law, these rules can not be applied retrospectively.

In turn, Vigenin expressed the hope that the active dialogue with the European Commission will soon allow resumption the construction of South Stream on Bulgarian territory, which was suspended in early June at the insistence of Brussels.

Lavrov said the situation in Ukraine was also discussed, and it is impossible to have any excuses for delaying an immediate ceasefire.

Before the press conference, the two ministers attended the signing ceremony of a bilateral agreement in the field of healthcare and medical science, and validated a postage stamp dedicated to the 135th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Earlier on Monday, Lavrov also met with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski.

Sources: Xinhua -  globaltimes.cn
8/7/14
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Κυριακή, 8 Ιουνίου 2014

Bulgaria suspends works on South Stream project. - Plamen Oresharrski said on Sunday after a meeting with American Senators.

“We have received a request from the European Commission, after which I ordered to suspend the works," - Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharrski said...

Bulgaria suspends works on the South Stream project over the European Commission’s infringement proceedings, Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharrski said on Sunday after a meeting with American Senators.  


“We have received a request from the European Commission, after which I ordered to suspend the works. Further actions will be clear after additional consultations with Brussels,” he said.
Russia has not yet received any official notifications from Bulgaria about the suspension of the South Stream project, the Russian energy ministry told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

The issue however can be raised at the three-party gas meeting between representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union due to be held on Monday in Brussels, a ministry spokesman said.

The South Stream project

The South Stream pipeline was designed to carry Russian gas to the EU bypassing Ukraine.
Gas will be pumped to the Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Varna before extending overland through Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia to supply gas to the Western Europe via Italy and Austria.
The pipeline’s capacity amounts to 63 billion cubic meters.
[SOFIA, June 08 /ITAR-TASS]
8/6/14
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Σάββατο, 15 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

U.S.-China Joint Statement on Climate Change. -Office of the Spokesperson U.S. State Department

Washington, DC .In light of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its worsening impacts, and the related issue of air pollution from burning fossil fuels, the United States and China recognize the urgent need for action to meet these twin challenges. Both sides reaffirm their commitment to contribute significantly to successful 2015 global efforts to meet this challenge. 

Accordingly, China and the United States will work together, within the vehicle of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) launched last year, to collaborate through enhanced policy dialogue, including the sharing of information regarding their respective post-2020 plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions. 


Regarding practical cooperative actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants, the two sides have reached agreement on the implementation plans on the five initiatives launched under the CCWG, including Emission Reductions from Heavy Duty and Other Vehicles, Smart Grids, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage, Collecting and Managing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data, and Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Industry, and commit to devote significant effort and resources to secure concrete results by the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in 2014.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/02/221686.htm
15/2/14
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Δευτέρα, 27 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Russia, US Plan to Jointly Fight Space Threats

MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian and US experts are planning to join efforts in protecting our planet against thousands of potentially hazardous near-Earth space bodies, Russia’s emergencies minister said.

“The collision with the Chelyabinsk meteorite last year showed that space threats could be real and as destructive as huge fires or natural disasters on Earth,” Vladimir Puchkov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta to be published on Tuesday.
The minister said a joint working group would be set up in the near future to develop solutions to counter space threats.


A meteorite entered the Earth’s atmosphere undetected by existing space-monitoring systems and slammed into Russia’s Ural Mountain region last February, accompanied by a massive sonic boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings around the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring over 1,500.

NASA estimated the meteorite was roughly 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter when it entered the atmosphere, traveling many times faster than the speed of sound, and exploded into a fireball brighter than the sun.

A team of researchers has recently studied two decades’ worth of data gathered by US government-run infrasound sensors positioned around the planet and discovered that 60 asteroids up to 20 meters (65 feet) in size had crashed into the planet’s atmosphere over the period – far more than had been previously thought.

The scientists suggested in a report published in Nature magazine that asteroids like the Chelyabinsk one could strike the planet every 20 or even 10 years, compared with an earlier estimate of once a century.

Despite the growing concern about the asteroid threat, no anti-asteroid defense programs have been developed in practice so far, with only several theoretical concepts being studied.
 http://en.ria.ru/russia/20140127/186966575/Russia-US-Plan-to-Jointly-Fight-Space-Threats.html
27/1/14
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Κυριακή, 5 Ιανουαρίου 2014

U.S.icebreaker Polar Star to help vessels trapped in Antarctica: AMSA

SYDNEY, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has requested the U.S. Coast Guard's icebreaker Polar Star to assist the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon)which are stuck by ice in Antarctica.

AMSA has identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the trapped vessels.

The U.S. Coast Guard accepted this request on Saturday and will make Polar Star available for the rescue operation, AMSA said in the latest statement.


The Polar Star will leave Sydney on Sunday after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.

It is anticipated it will take about seven days for the Polar Star to reach the scene, dependent on weather and ice conditions.

The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since the end of last year, weeks before the MV Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in Commonwealth Bay.

The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation's Scientific Research Station.

Resupply ships would use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue operation is completed, AMSA said. 

english.cntv.cn
5/1/14
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Σάββατο, 23 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Energieexperte Yergin: "Europa unterschätzt Schiefergas".

US-Ökonom in Wien: Massive Förderung sei enormer Anschub für die industrielle Wettbewerbsfähigkeit...

Die massive Förderung von Schiefergas in den USA ist nicht nur die größte Innovation in der Energiewirtschaft der vergangenen Jahrzehnte, sondern auch ein riesiger Anschub für die US-Wirtschaft.“ Daniel Yergin, US-Ökonom, Buchautor und Energieexperte, ließ bei seinem Vortrag an der WU Wien im Rahmen des OMV-Business Talk keinen Zweifel darin, für wie wichtig er Schiefergas hält.
In den USA seien dadurch zwei Millionen Jobs entstanden, die Staatseinnahmen gestiegen und die Gaspreise gefallen. Der Chemiekonzern Dow wolle nun fünf Milliarden Dollar (3,7 Milliarden Euro) in den USA investiert. „Hätten wir den Konzern vor fünf Jahren gefragt, ob er das machen würde, hätte er wohl gefragt, ob man verrückt sei“, meinte Yergin.

"Aus Europa aber findet ein Exodus der produzierenden Industrie statt"

114 Milliarden Dollar seien seit 2011 in den USA allein wegen der billigeren Energie investiert worden. „Aus Europa aber findet ein Exodus der produzierenden Industrie statt“, sagt Yergin.
Für die OMV ist Schiefergas wegen des Widerstands von Politik und Bevölkerung kein Thema, wohl aber Erdgas. „Der Anteil des Gases aus eigener Förderung soll deutlich erhöht werden“, kündigte OMV-Chef Gerhard Roiss an. 2013 sei ein entscheidendes Jahr im Strategiewechsel der OMV gewesen. Der Konzern wandle sich zu einem Öl- und Gasproduzenten und verringere das Tankstellengeschäft.
Der 2,65 Milliarden Dollar schwere Zukauf von Ölfeldern in Norwegen sei ein wesentlicher Schritt im Konzernumbau gewesen. Drei Viertel der Investitionen würden in nächster Zeit ausschließlich in Öl- und Gasförderung fließen.
kurier.at
22/11/13
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Δευτέρα, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Fast-moving storm, tornadoes threaten US Midwest.

CHICAGO: A fast-moving storm system that produced at least one tornado in Illinois threatened some 53 million people across 10 Midwestern states on Sunday, US weather officials said.

"A confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado" was spotted near Washington, Illinois, located about 145 miles (233 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, the National Weather Service said.

Photos taken at the scene showed structures were reduced to rubble and houses ripped open in Washington, Illinois.



"There is a lot of debris," Sara Sparkman, a spokeswoman for the health department of Tazewell County, Illinois, where Washington is located, told The Weather Channel. "We do know that shelters are being set up in some of the communities because people are being displaced out of their homes because of the storms that hit."

Sparkman added that the storm had caused damage in Washington and Pekin, south of Peoria.

It came out of a fast-moving storm system that was headed toward Chicago and threatened a large swath of the Midwest with dangerous winds, thunderstorms and hail, U.S. weather officials said.

The weather service warned residents of areas threatened by the storm "you are in a life-threatening situation .... take cover now."

At Chicago's Soldier Field, where the NFL's Bears were playing the Baltimore Ravens, officials halted play and told fans to seek shelter due to hazardous weather conditions.

"It does appear that the hardest hit part of the state was down south," Mike Masters, head of homeland security in Cook County, which includes Chicago, told Chicago's ABC-7 TV, cautioning that it was still "very, very early."

The Chicago Department of Aviation, which manages O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, said that as of 1:15 p.m. Central Time (1915 GMT) both facilities were at a ground stop, meaning flights were neither arriving nor departing.

"We obviously have a very dangerous situation on our hands and it's just getting started," Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service, told reporters on a conference call.

Tornado warnings were in effect for parts of Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri. Weather officials urged residents of areas with tornado warnings in place to take cover in interior, low-floor rooms of study buildings.

The NWS's Storm Prediction Center said the storm was moving dangerously fast, tracking eastward at 60 miles an hour (97 kph), meaning that just looking out at the storm will not be enough to let people know when to take cover.

"These storms will be moving very fast, approximately 60 miles an hour," said Russell Schneider of the Storm Prediction Center. "They will be at your location and on to the next location in a matter of minutes. As a result, people cannot wait for visual confirmation of the threat."

This storm system has some similarities to the fast-moving derecho that knocked out power to more than 4.2 million people and killed 22 in June 2012, according to Bill Bunting, forecast branch chief at the Storm Prediction Center.

"The line of storms today, we believe, when it's fully mature, will actually be larger than the areas that were affected by the derecho in June of 2012," Bunting said. "However, this will also be accompanied by a worse tornado threat in the areas that we've highlighted and large hail in Illinois and Wisconsin." 

timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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Photos:
 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/midwest-storm-shocking-pictures-show-2802903
18/11/13
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Τετάρτη, 26 Ιουνίου 2013

Norway overtakes Russia as Europe’s biggest gas supplier

Russia lost its position as the main supplier of gas to EU last year as Gazprom exports fell by 10% knocked down by coal and high prices.
High gas prices in the EU coupled with cheap coal from the US, have made coal a more attractive fuel for power stations, according a new energy report from BP. On average, generating power in Europe is 45% cheaper with coal than with gas, BP chief economist Christof  Rühl explains in the report. That’s why Europe did not compete for liquid natural gas (LNG) and its imports to Europe fell by 25%. EU imports from Gazprom also dropped by 10%, as Russia’s gas prices are tied to oil prices and therefore remained high, BP’s economist said.  Norway’s gas pricing is not pegged to oil and are therefore lower. Imports from Norway rose 12%, and 2012 became the first year when Norway sold more gas to the EU than Russia, Rühl said.


Gazprom CEO Aleksandr Medvedev circulated an email on June 24 in which he reacts to a Financial Times article which claims that the Russian gas monopoly is in decline and that it is losing its hold in the EU market.
“Recently, Gazprom Export set a new record in daily gas deliveries. We pumped 466 million cubic metres of gas to Europe in a single day, pushing existing pipeline capacities to their limits. And Gazprom posted a whopping $38bn profit in 2012. In challenging economic times this is hardly a sign of weakness,” euractiv.com quotes Medvedev.
Although Russia remains a key supplier to Europe, the country is also seeking to diversify export markets for its gas to the booming Asia Pacific Region betting on growing demand in emerging economies.
Just 7 percent of Russia's gas exports were sold to Asian consumers last year, all in the form of LNG, from the Sakhalin II project, the Moscow Times reports.  But Russia's gas exports to Asia will expand dramatically if the construction of two new LNG terminals goes ahead: Gazprom's Vladivostok and Novatek's Yamal projects. Rosneft also plans to build a terminal in Sakhalin. If these three projects are realized by 2020, Russia's LNG capacity would increase from 10 million tons per year to about 45 million tons, equal to 18 percent of global LNG exports in 2012, according to the Moscow Times.
Globally gas consumption rose 2.2% faster in 2012 compared to a year earlier, but below the long-term average, according to BP’s energy report.  The growth is largely US-driven, as gas consumption in the world’s largest economy has increased more than in any other region of the world. At the same time, the EU and the former Soviet states have registered the largest regional declines in gas consumption, according to the report. 
http://rt.com
26/6/13
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Δευτέρα, 20 Μαΐου 2013

ΗΠΑ: Έρχεται επιδρομή τζιτζικιών στα ανατολικά

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Οι προειδοποιήσεις άρχισαν τις προηγούμενες εβδομάδες. Τώρα, όμως, γίνονται πραγματικότητα, καθώς χιλιάδες τζίτζικες που για χρόνια βρίσκονταν κρυμμένοι στο υπέδαφος έρχονται στην επιφάνεια, στις ανατολικές ακτές των ΗΠΑ. Μέσα στις επόμενες εβδομάδες και κατά τους θερινούς μήνες αναμένεται επιδρομή δισεκατομμυρίων εντόμων. Η όλη ιστορία θυμίζει σενάριο αμερικανικού b-movie των '90s.


Η επιστημονική κοινότητα «βάφτισε» την επικείμενη επέλαση «Brood II», δηλαδή «Γένος 2», καθώς τα τζιτζίκια, τα οποία ανήκουν σε ένα είδος που απαντά μόνο στις ΗΠΑ, θα βγουν στην επιφάνεια έχοντας περάσει τα τελευταία 17 χρόνια σε βάθος λίγων μέτρων κάτω από το έδαφος τρώγοντας ρίζες δέντρων και ωριμάζοντας.

Παρά τα κόκκινα μάτια τους και τα πολυάριθμα δημοσιεύματα που δημιουργούσαν κλίμα τρόμου τις τελευταίες ημέρες, άπαντες επισημαίνουν ότι τα έντομα είναι ακίνδυνα για τους ανθρώπους. «Οι ορδές των τζιτζικιών δεν θα μας ρουφήξουν το αίμα ούτε θα μετατρέψουν τους ανθρώπους σε ζόμπι» έλεγε χαριτολογώντας στο LiveScience η εντομολόγος στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Ιλινόι, Μέι Μπέρενμπαουμ.


Το μόνο για το οποίο οι τζίτζικες έχουν μεγάλη όρεξη είναι... το σεξ. Στόχος τους είναι να σκαρφαλώσουν στα δέντρα και να περάσουν τις επόμενες εβδομάδες ζευγαρώνοντας. Καθώς αυτά θα πεθαίνουν, οι απόγονοί τους θα πάρουν τη θέση τους στο υπέδαφος, για να επιστρέψουν ύστερα από άλλα 17 χρόνια, δηλαδή το 2030.

Το ζευγάρωμα γίνεται με ιδιαίτερα θορυβώδη τρόπο. Πριν από μερικά χρόνια, ο εντομολόγος Τζιν Κρίτσκι μέτρησε τη στάθμη της έντασης στα 94 ντεσιμπέλ, λέγοντας ότι ο ήχος είναι τόσο δυνατός, που «δεν ακούς τα αεροπλάνα που περνούν από πάνω».

Τα τζιτζίκια αποτελούν πρώτης τάξεως έδεσμα για τα πτηνά. Είναι όμως τόσα πολλά, που ορισμένοι επιστήμονες προτείνουν την κατανάλωσή τους ακόμη και από τους ανθρώπους, χαρακτηρίζοντάς τα ως... «γαρίδες της γης». «Είναι αρθρόποδα, κάτι που σημαίνει ότι έχουν εξωσκελετό» λέει στο NBC η Άιζα Μπέτανκουρτ από την Ακαδημία Φυσικών Επιστημών. «Τρώμε συχνά τα αρθρόποδα της θάλασσας, όπως είναι οι γαρίδες, οι αστακοί και οι κάβουρες. Άρα, γιατί να μη δοκιμάσουμε και αρθρόποδα της στεριάς;» διερωτάται.

Η ίδια υποστηρίζει ότι τα τζιτζίκια έχουν υψηλή περιεκτικότητα σε πρωτεΐνη, χαμηλά λιπαρά και είναι ακόμη πιο νόστιμα - βραστά ή και ωμά - εάν πιαστούν το πρωί, την ώρα που βγαίνουν από το έδαφος. Δεν πρόκειται για ανέκδοτο. Το «National Geographic» παρέχει στους αναγνώστες του ακόμη και συνταγές για... καραμελωμένους τζίτζικες αλλά και για κοκτέιλ με έντομα.


Μάριος Μπουμπής
 .zougla.gr
20/5/13
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Πέμπτη, 9 Μαΐου 2013

Εισβολή από τρισεκατομμύρια τζιτζίκια απειλεί τις ΗΠΑ / Billions of cicadas to invade US east coast

Η Ανατολική Ακτή των ΗΠΑ τις επόμενες εβδομάδες θα πρέπει να επιβιώσει από μία μοναδική σε μέγεθος εισβολή τζιτζικιών.

Αυτό το σπάνιο φαινόμενο επαναλαμβάνεται κατά τους μήνες Μάιο και Ιούνιο κάθε 17 χρόνια. 


Οι επιστήμονες αναμένουν ότι ο αριθμός τους στην Ανατολική Ακτή θα είναι τουλάχιστον 600 φορές μεγαλύτερος από τον αριθμό των ανθρώπων που ζουν εκεί. 


Σύμφωνα με διάφορες εκτιμήσεις, ο «στρατός» των εντόμων θα αποτελείται από 30 δισ. έως 1 τρισ. άτομα.
9/5/13
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  • Billions of cicadas to invade US east coast after 17 years underground

Insects emerge only when ground temperature reaches precisely 64F – and they're looking for just one thing: sex
 
Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the US east coast. They will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600 to one. Maybe more.
But ominous as that sounds — along with scientists' horror-movie name for the infestation, Brood II — they're harmless. These insects won't hurt you or other animals. At worst, they might damage a few saplings or young shrubs. Mostly they will blanket certain pockets of the region, though lots of people won't ever see them.
"It's not like these hordes of cicadas suck blood or zombify people," says May Berenbaum, a University of Illinois entomologist.
They're looking for just one thing: sex. And they've been waiting quite a long time.
Since 1996, this group of one-inch bugs, in wingless nymph form, has been a few feet underground, sucking on tree roots and biding their time. They will emerge only when the ground temperature reaches precisely 64F. After a few weeks up in the trees, they will die and their offspring will go underground, not to return until 2030.
"It's just an amazing accomplishment," Berenbaum says. "How can anyone not be impressed?"
And they will make a big racket, too. The noise all the male cicadas make when they sing for sex can drown out your own thoughts, and maybe even rival a rock concert. In 2004, Gene Kritsky, an entomologist at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, measured cicadas at 94 decibels, saying it was so loud "you don't hear planes flying overhead."
There are ordinary cicadas that come out every year around the world, but these are different. They're called magicicadas — as in magic — and are red-eyed. And these magicicadas are seen only in the eastern half of the United States, nowhere else in the world.
There are 15 US broods that emerge every 13 or 17 years, so that nearly every year, some place is overrun. Last year it was a small area, mostly around the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. Next year, two places get hit: Iowa into Illinois and Missouri; and Louisiana and Mississippi. And it's possible to live in these locations and actually never see them.
This year's invasion, Brood II, is one of the bigger ones. Several experts say that they really don't have a handle on how many cicadas are lurking underground but that 30 billion seems like a good estimate. At the Smithsonian Institution, researcher Gary Hevel thinks it may be more like 1 trillion.
Even if it's merely 30 billion, if they were lined up head to tail, they'd reach the moon and back.
"There will be some places where it's wall-to-wall cicadas," says University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp.
Strength in numbers is the key to cicada survival: There are so many of them that the birds can't possibly eat them all, and those that are left over are free to multiply, Raupp says.
But why only every 13 or 17 years? Some scientists think they come out in these odd cycles so that predators can't match the timing and be waiting for them in huge numbers. Another theory is that the unusual cycles ensure that different broods don't compete with each other much.
And there's the mystery of just how these bugs know it's been 17 years and time to come out, not 15 or 16 years.
"These guys have evolved several mathematically clever tricks," Raupp says. "These guys are geniuses with little tiny brains."
Past cicada invasions have seen as many as 1.5 million bugs per acre. Of course, most places along the East Coast won't be so swamped, and some places, especially in cities, may see zero, says Chris Simon of the University of Connecticut. For example, Staten Island gets this brood of cicadas, but the rest of New York City and Long Island don't, she says. The cicadas also live beneath the metro areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.
Scientists and ordinary people with a bug fetish travel to see them. Thomas Jefferson once wrote about an invasion of this very brood at Monticello, his home in Virginia.
While they stay underground, the bugs aren't asleep. They go through different growth stages and molt four times before ever getting to the surface. They are some of the world's longest-lived insects. They drink up a low-protein tree fluid called xylum, which isn't essential to the tree. Then they go aboveground, where they molt, leaving behind a crusty brown shell, and grow a half-inch bigger.
The timing of when they first come out depends purely on ground temperature. That means early May for southern areas and late May or even June for northern areas.
The males come out first — think of it as getting to the singles bar early, Raupp says. They come out first as nymphs, which are essentially wingless and silent juveniles, climb on to tree branches and molt one last time, becoming adult winged cicadas. They perch on tree branches and sing, individually or in a chorus. Then when a female comes close, the males change their song, they do a dance and mate, he explained.
The males keep mating ("That's what puts the 'cad' in 'cicada,'" Raupp jokes) and eventually the female lays 600 or so eggs on the tip of a branch. The offspring then dive-bomb out of the trees, bounce off the ground and eventually burrow into the earth, he says.
"It's a treacherous, precarious life," Raupp says. "But somehow they make it work."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/06/cicadas-return-17-years-underground
6/5/13
 
 

Πέμπτη, 2 Μαΐου 2013

Companies line up to drill after survey shows Dakota oil, gas fields far bigger than believed




Energy companies are lining up for their shot to drill in the Dakotas and Montana after a new government report revealed that a massive geological formation stretching across the states contains twice the oil and three times the amount of natural gas than was originally believed.
While the new estimate is drawing smaller companies to the game, the larger players like Schlumberger, Halliburton and Continental Resources are pushing forward with ambitious multi-year plans to stake their claim in the industry.
Continental recently announced a five-year plan to triple its production by 2017. The company’s growth is based on success in North Dakota and Montana as well as in parts of Oklahoma.
The dash to drill follows news from the government on how much more oil and natural gas there is to tap.
“These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” newly confirmed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday in a statement.
The new U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations in the Williston Basin Province of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Since 2008, close to 450 million barrels of oil have been produced in the area and if the government estimates are correct, that leaves billions of barrels of oil and trillions more cubic feet of natural gas left for the taking.
That’s good news for North Dakota -- a state that’s already reaped big benefits from the oil boom and has one of the strongest state economies in the country coupled with an exceptionally low unemployment rate. Tax revenues from natural gas and oil hit $1 billion last year in North Dakota and the state is on track to double that number next year.
Republican Sen. John Hoeven believes numbers from the new USGS survey will draw even more developers to the area.
“This will mean a lot of jobs,” he told FoxNews.com. “Financially we are already very strong, we have no debt, but this will mean a lot more. Stores, restaurants, movie theaters – we’ll have to build and we’ll have to hire workers.”
The competition to court employees is already on at the McDonalds in Dickinson, N.D. where prospective hires are being lured in with $300 signing bonuses, Hoeven said.
Calls to McDonalds Corp. for comment were not immediately returned.
Some environmental experts like John Harju, associate director for research with the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota, believe the possibilities are even greater than what the government forecasts.
“Like any of these USGS estimates, think of them as a milemarker that’s well behind you in the rearview mirror,” he told the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota.
Still, not everyone is as gung-ho as Hoeven about drilling for natural gas, and the controversial process known as fracking used to access it.
The government hopes to calm some opposition to natural gas by releasing a set of draft rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process involves injecting a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep into rock formations to release trapped oil and gas.
Supporters say the drilling method should continue and is credited for the country’s domestic energy boom. They say fracking gives the country a chance to cut its dependence on foreign oil.
Environmental groups have long objected to the practice and say it pollutes the groundwater and kills crops and livestock. They also argue that fracking releases heat-trapping methane gas into the air.
But in mid-April, the Environmental Protection Agency dramatically lowered its estimate of how much methane leaks during natural gas production. The agency said that tighter pollution controls put in place by the industry from 1990 to 2010 cut the country’s average of methane emissions by more than 850 million metric tons overall, or about 41.6 million metric tons annually. That’s a 20 percent decrease from previous EPA estimates – a decrease that took place as natural gas production in the country grew by nearly 40 percent in the past two decades.
  • It is not clear exactly when the government will release its fracking regulations, but it is expected in the next few weeks.
2/5/13
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Σάββατο, 27 Απριλίου 2013

Turkey’s “new Bosporus”: risks and benefits / Ο νέος Βόσπορος ως κλειδί για την κυριαρχία των ΗΠΑ στη Μ.Θάλασσα

The Istanbul/Constantinople canal project
Turkey’s government has given the go-ahead to the Canal Istanbul project linking the Black and Marmara Seas and allowing ships to bypass the crowded Bosphorus Strait. Its construction may seem economically controversial, but may appear geopolitically beneficial, experts say.
The idea was first voiced by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his election campaign back in 2011. The project aims to relieve the congested Bosphorus Strait as well as to improve the Strait’s ecology and navigation safety by shifting tanker traffic to the new canal.
The project looks perfect at first site, but experts believe it’s an absolute utopia. The minimum costs are estimated at 20 bln dollars while the Canal is expected to go into operation by 2023. Therefore, the payback period of the project is now almost impossible to estimate.
The project is expected to be mainly funded by the government while private investors are to contribute one third of the needed sum.

Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, analyst from the Russian-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations, shared his view on the idea.
"The new canal will increase the shipping capacity but it will be a toll route while now international obligations don’t allow Turkey levy passage fees through its natural straits (though it manages to find certain loopholes). The Istanbul Canal will certainly be a major step forward for Turkey but I have doubts about the return of the project."
Transit tolls to pass through the new canal will be higher, thus pushing other Black Sea countries to switch to alternative and cheaper shipping routes.
However, political benefits of the new project seem to be more evident.
  • The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits gives freedom of passage through the Turkish Straits only to merchant vessels while military vessels and subs are subject to some restrictions. The maximum aggregate tonnage which non-riparian States may have in the Black Sea is 45,000 tons.
The new canal will see no such restrictions which shifts regional military and political focus in the region to Turkey and its NATO allies, says Viktor Nadein-Raevsky.
Let’s be frank – the new canal is needed by the US to boost its influence in the region and Russia will not be pleased with the
fact. As for Turkey, it is also unlikely to benefit the new balance of power - while its regional status will rise tactically, strategically the country will be involved in a rather controversial affair with unpredictable results.
This could put Turkey’s reputation of an independent geopolitical entity under threat– so the question is whether Ankara is ready to trade its reputation for geopolitical benefits or not.

26/4/13
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  • Ο νέος Βόσπορος ως κλειδί για την κυριαρχία των ΗΠΑ στη Μ.Θάλασσα
 
Η Τουρκία θα κατασκευάσει ένα νέο Βόσπορο. Οι ειδικοί αμφιβάλλουν για τη γρήγορη απόσβεση του έργου, αλλά υπογραμμίζουν δεόντως το γεωπολιτικό πλεονέκτημα, που θα αποκτήσει η Άγκυρα και οι σύμμαχοί της στο ΝΑΤΟ, εάν παρ’ όλ’ αυτά το έργο υλοποιηθεί.
 
Το νέο σχέδιο ονομάζεται Διώρυγα της Κωνσταντινούπολης. Πριν από δύο χρόνια, κατά τη διάρκεια της προεκλογικής εκστρατείας, το ανακοίνωσε ο πρωθυπουργός της Τουρκίας Ρετζέπ Ταγίπ Ερντογάν. Και να που προ ημερών το σχέδιο εγκρίθηκε από την κυβέρνηση της χώρας.
Ως ένα από τα επιχειρήματα οι Τούρκοι προβάλουν το γεγονός ότι τα Στενά του Βοσπόρου έχουν γίνει ρηχότερα, ότι έχουν μολυνθεί σημαντικά από πετρελαϊκά απόβλητα, γι’ αυτό είναι ουσιαστικά αδύνατο να αυξηθεί η κυκλοφορία των δεξαμενοπλοίων. Επιπλέον η Άγκυρα θέλει να μειώσει την περιβαλλοντική επιβάρυνση στη λεκάνη των Στενών, να κατοχυρώσει την ασφάλεια της ναυσιπλοΐας και να συγκεντρώσει κεφάλαια για την εξάλειψη τυχόν ατυχημάτων με πετρελαιοφόρα πλοία.
Από την πρώτη ματιά το έργο του δεύτερου Βοσπόρου φαίνεται υπέροχο. Ωστόσο, οι
ειδικοί το χαρακτηρίζουν παρ’ όλ’ αυτά μια από τις μεγαλύτερες οικονομικές αυταπάτες της εποχής μας. Το ελάχιστο κόστος για την κατασκευή είναι 20 δισεκατομμύρια δολάρια, ενώ η κατά προσέγγιση ημερομηνία παράδοσής του προς εκμετάλλευση είναι το 2023. Προκαταρκτικά έχει σχεδιαστεί ότι περίπου το ένα τρίτο των κεφαλαίων του πρέπει να προέλθει από τον κρατικό προϋπολογισμό, ενώ το υπόλοιπο από ιδιώτες επενδυτές μέσω συμπράξεων δημόσιου-ιδιωτικού τομέα. Η περίοδος απόσβεσης του έργου είναι τρομακτικό ακόμη και να τη φανταστεί κανείς.
Σε γενικές γραμμές, η οικονομική αιτιολόγηση της κατασκευής ενός εναλλακτικού Βοσπόρου μπορεί να αμφισβητηθεί. Κάτι που δεν μπορεί να γίνει για την πολιτική θεμελίωσή του.
Σύμφωνα με τη Συνθήκη του Μοντρέ στις χώρες εκτός Μαύρης Θάλασσας επιτρέπεται η διέλευση μέσω Βοσπόρου στον Εύξεινο Πόντο μόνο ελαφρά πολεμικά πλοία επιφανείας και βοηθητικά σκάφη, όχι όμως αεροπλανοφόρα και υποβρύχια. Η συνολική χωρητικότητα της μοίρας των πολεμικών πλοίων χωρών εκτός Μαύρης Θάλασσας, που βρίσκεται στα νερά της δεν θα πρέπει να υπερβαίνει τις 45.000 τόνους. Ωστόσο οι περιορισμοί αυτοί δεν θα ισχύουν για τον ανθρωπογενές αδελφάκι του Βοσπόρου, πράγμα, που μετακινεί την περιφερειακή στρατιωτική-πολιτική ισορροπία υπέρ της Τουρκίας και των συμμάχων της. Μιλά ο αναλυτής του ρωσικού Ινστιτούτου Παγκόσμιας Οικονομίας και Διεθνών Σχέσεων Βίκτορ Ναντένι-Ραγέφσκι:
Μια ανθρωπογενής διώρυγα είναι απίθανο ότι θα υπόκειται στους όρους της Συνθήκες του Μοντρέ. Ουσιαστικά η διέλευση των στρατιωτικών φορτίων και η διέλευση των πολεμικών πλοίων θα είναι δυνατή. Θα πρέπει πολλά πιθανώς να διευκρινιστούν ως προς το διεθνές νομικό πλαίσιο. Ακόμη και σε καιρό πολέμου οι Τούρκοι (δεδομένου ότι θα είναι δική τους διώρυγα και όχι διεθνή στενά) θα έχουν το δικαίωμα να επιτρέπουν τη διέλευση κάποιων πλοίων. Αυτό θα ενισχύσει τις θέσεις της Τουρκίας.
Εάν πούμε τα πράγματα με το όνομά τους, τότε ο δεύτερος Βόσπορος χρειάζεται στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες για να ενισχύσουν την επιρροή τους στην περιοχή. Είναι σαφές ότι στη Ρωσία αυτό δεν μπορεί να αρέσει. Αλλά και η Τουρκία είναι απίθανο ότι θα ωφεληθεί από μια τέτοια διαμόρφωση των δυνάμεων. Φυσικά από τακτική άποψη το περιφερειακό της καθεστώς θα αυξηθεί. Αλλά από στρατηγική άποψη θα βρεθεί να έχει εμπλακεί σε έναν πολύ αμφίβολο τυχοδιωκτισμό με ασαφή κατάληξη. Και η φήμη της ως ανεξάρτητου γεωπολιτικού παίκτη θα τεθεί υπό συζήτηση.
27/4/13
 
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Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

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