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Oct 25, 2013

Since taking office, US President Barack Obama has appeared determined to reduce the salience and centrality of nuclear weapons in US defence posture, at least in part to help facilitate the achievement of a nuclear weapons-free world. A central component of the Obama administration’s plan (but often overlooked in wider discussions about the pros and cons of nuclear disarmament) is the gradual shift to a far greater reliance upon advanced conventional weaponry in US defence policy, specifically through a larger role for ballistic missile defences (BMD), advanced conventional strike weapons, such as the Prompt Global Strike (PG programme, and sophisticated command, control, and monitoring capabilities. The imperative behind this move is that the administration hopes to foster the domestic conditions favorable for further US nuclear reductions – thereby reigniting the push towards nuclear abolition internationally – while at the same time placating domestic critics concerned about a weakening of US security and of the US’ global role. From the point of view of the Obama administration, an increased role for advanced conventional weapons will allow it to reduce its own nuclear stockpile, signaling to other nuclear powers its intent to eventually disarm.

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Posted: Oct 25, 2013 8:18pm
Apr 11, 2013

The Office of International Affairs, housed within ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, enhances national security by conducting and coordinating investigations involving transnational criminal organizations and serving as the agency's liaison to counterparts in local government and law enforcement. The office protects America's borders and enhances national security and public safety by investigating, disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal organizations that engage in all types of smuggling. This includes narcotics, money, weapons, sensitive technologies, as well as the smuggling and trafficking of human beings. The Office of International Affairs also investigates the criminal threats that transnational criminal organizations pose to 
America's legitimate commercial trade, travel and financial systems through trade fraud and intellectual property theft; the diversion of military weapons, munitions and sensitive technologies; international money laundering and financial fraud; immigration fraud; forced child labor; and child sex tourism and the sexual exploitation of children.

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Posted: Apr 11, 2013 2:03am
Mar 28, 2013

As the realities of global climate change become ever more alarming, advocates of technological approaches to "geoengineer" the planet's climate are gaining a following.

But the technologies that are promoted -- from spraying sulphate particles into the stratosphere, to dumping iron particles into the ocean, to stimulate carbon absorbing plankton, to burning millions of trees and burying the char in soils -- are all fraught with clear and obvious risks, and are most likely only going to make matters worse.

The connection between the tar sands industry and geoengineering advocates is perhaps not immediately obvious, but it makes perfect, ugly sense. Tar sands investors and their allies have long realized that geoengineering could provide them an extended lease on life -- and a convenient means to avoid the shuttering of their industry, which many consider the single most destructive and climat -- damaging form of energy extraction.

Hence, it isn't surprising that tar sands magnate Murray Edwards, director of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, actually fact funds a geoengineering company that works on techniques for capturing CO2 from the air called Carbon Engineering.

Carbon Engineering's president, David Keith, is one of the most vocal and best funded advocates of geoengineering. Carbon Dioxide air capture is often viewed as benign or "soft" geoengineering. After all, what could possibly be wrong with removing carbon dioxide from the overloaded atmosphere?

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Posted: Mar 28, 2013 10:56pm
Mar 22, 2013

Recent  Belmont Goes Green endeavors:
University partnered with Metro Transit Authority (MTA) for students, faculty and staff to use public transportation to and from Belmont for free
The Higher Education Sustainability Conference held at Belmont Spring 2007
Recycling program started almost a decade ago and will expand campus wide Summer 2008 and be sustained by campus systems
Environmental Studies program implemented with service-learning and internship components available
Environmental club for students activated (Our Natural Environment student organization)
Retrofitted light fixtures to produce energy star upgrades
Numerous academic lectures/convocations held each year on environmental initiatives
Move-in day recycling events annually contribute more than a ton of recyclable cardboard through partnership with Metro Public Works
New building proposals include efforts for greater sustainability
Environmental awareness promoted to faculty, staff and students through campus postcards and posters
The Graduation Pledge Alliance (GPA) invites students to consider the social and environmental consequences of any future employment
Belmont honored with the 1998 Tennessee Higher Education Environmental Stewardship Award from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Earth Day celebrations held since 2003 
Belmont Environmental Initiative (BEI) council established in May 2006

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Posted: Mar 22, 2013 12:16am
Feb 21, 2013

Ramadhan Pohan, the deputy chairman of House Commission I that oversees defense issues, 

questioned the validity of results from a recent survey conducted by watchdog Transparency 

International UK. 

In the survey, whose results were announced earlier this week, Indonesia was given an E, one 

step above the lowest score, in the Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index. The score 

meant that Indonesia is considered to be at “very high risk” of corruption. 

Ramadhan said that the results of the survey were baseless. “Who does it involve, where is the 

evidence? If one accuses without providing the evidence, that is tyrannical,” said Ramadhan, 

a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party. 

He said that if there were any violation, he would not hinder any legal process. But he added 

that law enforcement could not be based on opinion and perception. 

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Posted: Feb 21, 2013 6:04pm
Feb 19, 2013

In the world of alternative fuels and transport, there are two types of technologies 

that are highly controversial:

1. Specifically to biofuels, fuels made (exclusively) from feedstocks that are also 

used for food production.

2. In every alt transport sector, infrastructure-incompatible fuels or engine 


While fuel or vehicle cost impact is a huge factor in adoption, much of the squabble 

over the US Renewable Fuel Standard, for example, has to do with how ethanol 

matches up with the existing vehicle fleet and fuel transport infrastructure.

The fact that Brazil solved a lot of those challenges, years ago, is one of the reasons 

why major petroleum producers like BP, Shell and Petrobras are diving into Brazilian 

ethanol while refiners in the US have been, by and large, tepid in their support.

Meanwhile, in the US producers have reached the distribution wall imposed by E10 

blend limits; E15 blending is early-stage and controversial; for higher blends, there’s 

an acute shortage of pumps, and E85 prices aren’t tempting many customers.

But the controversy over infrastructure extends well beyond ethanol. Biodiesel 

producers have worked hard to move accepted blend ratios beyond B5 towards B20 

and eventually B100. For compressed natural gas (CNG), there are only around 500 

pumps in the country; for liquified natural gas (LNG), there are only around 40, and 

most of those in one state (California). Battery-electric vehicles struggle with recharge 

facility availabilities and charge-time.

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Posted: Feb 19, 2013 7:53pm


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