Russia recently said it would support Iran’s bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an emerging economic and political alliance led by China. This Shanghai Bloc was originally formed in 1996 before it was rebranded in 2001. Its membership includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Last year, India and Pakistan also signed the memorandum of obligations and are expected to become full members sometime this year. The bloc has expanded into a military organization over the last few years and has run joint military exercises in the past.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Iran now fully fits the criteria for membership and that discussions on its bid to join will take place this summer.
– Putin Signs Secret Pact To Crush NATO (Casey Research, Nov 6, 2014):
Back on September 11 and 12, there was a summit meeting in a city that involved an organization that most Americans have never heard of. Mainstream media coverage was all but nonexistent.
The place was Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a country few Westerners could correctly place on a map.
But you can bet your last ruble that Vladimir Putin knows exactly where Tajikistan is. Because the group that met there is the Russian president’s baby. It’s the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of six member states: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
– Snow and cold endanger harvest in Kyrgyzstan and Mid-Ural (Ice Age Now, Oct 7, 2014):
Storm warning – Rain expected to change to snow in Kyrgyzstan on October 8 and 9 in the Chu and Talas valleys, and foothill and mountainous areas, it is reported by Kyrgyzhydromet.
Meanwhile, freezing is forecast for the nights of October 9-10 in Chui, Talas, Kemin valley, in the agriculture areas of Issyk-Kul and Naryn oblasts.
In the foothills of Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken regions, frosts are expected down to -1 to -3 degrees.
“Such freezings are dangerous for unharvested fruit and vegetable crops, and for dug up and uncovered potatoes and sugar beets.”
“These weather conditions complicate the most agricultural activities, including grazing on pastures, work vehicles, energy and utilities.”
– Kyrgyzstan Bans All GMO Products and GM Crops (Sustainable Pulse, June 11, 2014):
Kyrgyzstan has Wednesday become one of the first countries in the World to ban the cultivation of GM Crops alongside the import and sale of all GMO products, the news agency 24.kg has announced.
The Kyrgyz Members of Parliament approved the third reading of the bill ‘On the prohibition of cultivation, production, import and sale in Kyrgyzstan of products containing GMOs’.
– 10 Most Radioactive Places on Earth (brainz):
While the 2011 earthquake and worries surrounding Fukushima have brought the threat of radioactivity back into the public consciousness, many people still don’t realize that radioactive contamination is a worldwide danger. Radionuclides are in the top six toxic threats as listed in the 2010 report by The Blacksmith Institute, an NGO dedicated to tackling pollution. You might be surprised by the locations of some of the world’s most radioactive places — and thus the number of people living in fear of the effects radiation could have on them and their children.
10. Hanford, USA
The Hanford Site, in Washington, was an integral part of the US atomic bomb project, manufacturing plutonium for the first nuclear bomb and “Fat Man,” used at Nagasaki. As the Cold War waged on, it ramped up production, supplying plutonium for most of America’s 60,000 nuclear weapons. Although decommissioned, it still holds two thirds of the volume of the country’s high-level radioactive waste — about 53 million gallons of liquid waste, 25 million cubic feet of solid waste and 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater underneath the area, making it the most contaminated site in the US. The environmental devastation of this area makes it clear that the threat of radioactivity is not simply something that will arrive in a missile attack, but could be lurking in the heart of your own country.
The Pentagon has awarded an Afghanistan fuel supply contract worth a potential $630m (£388 million) to Mina Corp, a highly secretive company which refuses to disclose its ownership and whose role is under investigation by the US Congress.
The award of the contract to supply the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, goes directly against the requests of the country’s President, Roza Otunbayeva, making it an enormous diplomatic gamble for the US.
Derek Mitchell, principal deputy assistant secretary of defence, said that the Pentagon’s main concern was ensuring supplies for the war in Afghanistan.
“It is a priority of the United States to ensure a secure, reliable and uninterrupted supply of fuel to the transit centre to enable us to sustain our critical operations in Afghanistan,” he said.
Mina Corp and Red Star, which share personnel and operations, have won more than $3bn worth of contracts to supply Manas and the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan since 2003, but have never revealed their ownership.
The award has been made even more controversial by the revelation in the Washington Post over the weekend that Erkin Bekbolotov, one of Mina Corp’s partners, met with Atai Sadybakasov, Mrs Otunbayeva’s son, in Istanbul in July. Two revolutions in the country in the past five years have been caused in part by public suspicions that the families of the then Presidents were benefiting from the contracts.
– Kyrgyzstan requested US military aid and rubber bullets but was turned down (Foreign Policy)
– Tens of thousands flee ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan (BBC News)
– Kyrgyzstan increases troops, authorizes killing rioters; death toll climbs to 100 (Los Angeles Times)
Kyrgyzstan begs Russia’s help to quell ethnic violence
(AFP) — Kyrgyzstan imposed a state of emergency in a second southern city as its interim leader warned ethnic violence is spiralling “out of control” and asked Russia to send in troops.
Interim President Roza Otunbayeva appealed to Moscow to intervene militarily after at least 75 people were killed and 977 wounded, according to the health ministry, in nearly three days of unrest.
“Since yesterday the situation has got out of control. We need outside military forces to halt the situation. For this reason we have appealed to Russia for help,” said Otunbayeva in a nationally televised address.
But while Moscow said it was rushing humanitarian aid to the former Soviet Central Asian republic, a spokeswoman for President Dmitry Medvedev said it would not yet send troops.
More than 23 people have died and 340 been injured in ethnic fighting which broke out last night in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.
Several buildings across Osh, the country’s second-largest city, were ablaze Friday morning, after witnesses reported hearing sustained gunfire beginning late Thursday. Gangs of young men armed with metal bars and stones attacked shops and set cars alight in the city.
Gunfire continued Friday, although it was not clear who was shooting, residents said.
The country’s provisional government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, has struggled to keep order in the volatile Central Asian state since seizing control during riots that ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev earlier this year. The central Asian country’s interim government declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, and sent in more than seven armoured cars to try to end the fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the city.
– New Violence in Kyrgyzstan Leads to Troop Deployment (New York Times)
– In pictures: Kyrgyzstan unrest (BBC News)
– 23 Killed, 300 Wounded in Kyrgyz Riots (Voice of America)
Azimbek Beknazarov, the deputy Kyrgyz leader, said that apart from a few clashes, the situation now seemed under control.
“Everything began yesterday at about 11 pm, and, unfortunately, despite the curfew established, at present skirmishing is going on in the city,” he said.
More than 1000 young men came out onto the streets last night, many of them carrying guns or iron bars, and began to smash the windows of cafes and restaurants, and set fire to cars and buildings throughout the city.
MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – The collective rapid-reaction force to be created by a post-Soviet regional security bloc will be just as good as comparable NATO forces, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) agreed on Wednesday at a summit in Moscow to set up the new force, to be based in Russia.
Medvedev said the force, to be comprised of a “sufficient” number of units, would be “well trained and well equipped.”
“Russia is ready to contribute a division and a brigade,” he said. “This gives you an idea of the scale.”
The Russian president also said the CSTO was open for cooperation with the United States in the fight against terrorism in Central Asia.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a security grouping comprising the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
The President of Kyrgyzstan has announced that the US military will have to leave the Manas Air Base near Bishkek. The facility is central to NATO operations in Afghanistan.
Added: 4. Februar 2009
Scrap metal is processed at the Jewometaal Stainless Processing B.V. in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. Photographer: Roger Cremers/Bloomberg News
Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) — French authorities made headlines last month when they said as many as 500 sets of radioactive buttons had been installed in elevators around the country. It wasn’t an isolated case.
Improper disposal of industrial equipment and medical scanners containing radioactive materials is letting nuclear waste trickle into scrap smelters, contaminating consumer goods, threatening the $140 billion trade in recycled metal and spurring the United Nations to call for increased screening.
Last year, U.S. Customs rejected 64 shipments of radioactive goods at the nation’s ports, including purses, cutlery, sinks and hand tools, according to data released by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. India was the largest source, followed by China.
“The world is waking up very late to this,” said Paul de Bruin, radiation safety chief for Jewometaal Stainless Processing BV in Rotterdam, the world’s biggest stainless-steel scrap yard. “There will be more of this because a lot of the scrap coming to us right now is from the 1970s and 1980s, when there were a lot of uncontrolled radioactive sources distributed to industry.”
On Oct. 21, the French nuclear regulator said elevator buttons assembled by Mafelec, a Chimilin, France-based company, contained radioactive metal shipped from India. Employees who handled the buttons received three times the safe dose of radiation for non-nuclear workers, according to the agency.
Operations at the factory are now back to normal and the company has cut ties with the “source” of the radiation, Mafelec said in a statement. “In the worst-case scenario the exposure would have been under that of a medical scan,” Chief Executive Officer Gilles Heinrich said.
1 Million Missing Sources
Many atomic devices weren’t licensed when they were first widely used by industry in the 1970s. While most countries have since tightened regulations, it is still difficult to track first-generation equipment that is now coming to the end of its useful life.
Abandoned medical scanners, food processing devices and mining equipment containing radioactive metals such as cesium-137 and cobalt-60 are often picked up by scrap collectors and sold to recyclers, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear arm. De Bruin said he sometimes finds such items hidden inside beer kegs and lead pipes to prevent detection.
There may be more than 1 million missing radioactive sources worldwide, the Vienna-based IAEA estimates.
MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Belarusian ambassador to Moscow said Thursday that Belarus would in the next day or two recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“We are allies and this says it all,” Vasily Dolgolev said of Minsk’s relations with Moscow. He added that the relevant announcement would be made by President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday or Friday.
Russia recognized the two separatist Georgian republics’ sovereignty Tuesday, but despite President Dmitry Medvedev’s call for other countries to follow suit, none has.
The U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan has found itself embroiled in scandal after the country’s interior ministry announced that a hoard of U.S.-made weapons has been found in a house in Bishkek rented by U.S. citizens. The embassy hurriedly stated that the weapons were intended for antiterrorism exercises, but Kyrgyz enforcement agencies have not confirmed that. The news is the talk of Kyrgyzstan. The prosecutor general has begun an investigation.
BEIJING, March 25 (AP) – (Kyodo)-China welcomes Iran’s wish to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which groups China, Russia and Central Asian nations, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.But Tehran’s wish to be upgraded from observer status still requires discussion by the group, Qin Gang said at a regular press conference.