HARD-033 Animal Protection What have countries or groups of people done to protect animals in recent years? All new laws passed in 1999 to protect animals, and all efforts made by the government or by people to protect animals are on topic. All personal reasons behind the protection of animals (like elections), that contributed to set new animal's protection's laws are off-topic. But reasons behind a law that a govenment put to protect animals are on topic. people, animal protection, new laws, legislation, SPCA item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: How did humans help protect animals in 1999? item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Sentence item=familiarity, value=Unknown During 1999 and 2000 - after Humane USA launched its operations - the Congress passed 10 new laws to protect animals, including laws to protect great apes, to establish chimpanzee sanctuaries, to ban the sale of dog and cat fur, to validate non-animal tests, and to halt barbaric practices such as "animal crush" videos and shark finning. It was no accident that Congress passed so many laws after Humane USA began its work. A solid investment in candidates yields tangible benefits for animals. As you know, a law is only useful when enforced and due to the serious nature of animal cruelty, egregious crimes against animals became chargeable as fourth degree felonies in our state in July 1999. The link between animal cruelty and human violence, including family violence, is well documented and 32 states now have felony animal cruelty laws. WILD FRIENDS MEMORIAL 45TH LEGISLATURE - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - FIRST SESSION, 1999 INTRODUCED BY RAYMOND SANCHEZ A MEMORIAL TO Request that the New Mexico legislature examine education programs about, and laws against, wildlife and other animal cruelty to recommend improvements for the effective prevention of violent acts toward wildlife that result from malicious, ignorant or evil behavior and have no legitimate purpose and recognizing that there is a correlation between cruelty to animals and cruelty to people.. WHEREAS New Mexico citizens, including the Wild Friends, are concerned about violence to wildlife resulting from malicious, ignorant or evil behavior; WHEREAS, threats to wildlife include violent and harmful acts with no legitimate purpose (legitimate purposes include protection of humans and domestic animals, lawful hunting and fishing activities and other acts allowed by law); WHEREAS, violence that occurs towards wild and other animals, especially to birds, fish, reptiles and small mammals, includes such cruel actions as burning animals alive, using animals for target practice, killing with firecrackers or other explosives, poisoning, beating, breaking bones or cutting off body parts, decapitation, electrocution, etc. WHEREAS, youth who do violence to all kinds of animals often consider it just play or do it from bravado; without education they may not know that what they are doing is wrong or even illegal; WHEREAS, people who habitually abuse wild and other animals also may abuse people; WHEREAS, the Wild Friends of New Mexico want to bring illegitimate and illegal violence to wildlife to public awareness; WHEREAS, many people are unaware of the seriousness of the problem of violence to wild and other animals and need to be informed through such methods as public service announcements, brochures, posters and school or public lectures by guest speakers; WHEREAS, young people should be provided with positive activities after school and receive training and counseling for problems such as anger management and violence; WHEREAS, laws are created to make wrongful acts illegal, such as poaching, and to establish consequences for those acts, and certain state programs are created to prevent certain problems from occurring, such as violent behavior, and to help educate people; WHEREAS, both wild and other animals should be respected, cared for and appreciated for what they provide to humans; WHEREAS, the New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish should be recognized for its hunter education program which has grown from a firearms safety program to a comprehensive program of wildlife identification, ethics, proper shot placement and care of game; WHEREAS, wild animals that are sick or injured should be rescued and rehabilitated or euthanized at a public facility, and wildlife rehabilitation organizations should be recognized and supported for their efforts; WHEREAS, people should be encouraged to report an illegal act of violence to wild and other animals when they witness it; WHEREAS, the people of New Mexico want to stop the illegal killing of wild and endangered animals, in part because orphaned young animals are left to suffer and die which is a crime against the future of the species; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the New Mexico legislative council be requested to direct the appropriate interim committee to examine laws against cruelty to wildlife and other animals cruelty to recommend improvements for the effective prevention of violent acts that result from malicious, ignorant or evil behavior and have no legitimate purpose; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Mexico Legislature examine the implications of the link between habitual violence towards wild and other animals and violence towards humans, and consider requiring counseling and education for offenders. HARD-036 International Year of Older Persons (IYOP) What was the International Year of Older Persons and why was it made? The reasons behind the IYOP, what it was all about, and how successful it was are all on topic. international year, older persons item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=Unknown The General Assembly (Resolution 47/5) decided to observe the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP). The Year was celebrated by all sectors of society, in all corners of the globe. View highlights of the year's many activities in the international community of Member States, United Nations system, Intergovernmental Organizations, NGO's, as well as the private sector. The year was celebrated in recognition of humanity's demographic coming of age and the promise it holds for maturing attitudes and capabilities in social, economic, cultural and spiritual undertakings, not least for global peace and development in the next century. http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/iyop/iyopluse.htm Guidelines for use of the logo for the International Year of Older Persons, 1999 The United Nations General Assembly designated the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP) in its Proclamation on Ageing of 1992. A logo or emblem for the Year has been prepared by the United Nations Department of Public Information in consultation with the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. 1. The logo design The core design comprises a swirl of concentric lines, topped with the year "1999", and resting on a bed of laurel leaves. The swirl's continuity and movement symbolize the continuing development and diversity of older persons, the continuity of life stages, the interdependence of generations, and the promise of humanity's progression towards an age-integrated society -- "towards a society for all ages", the theme of the Year. The design is accompanied by the following text: towards a society for all ages International Year of Older Persons 1999 The text is available in the six official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish. 2. The Year The logo is intended to promote awareness and activities pertaining to the International Year of Older Persons, 1999. In brief, the Year's main features include: Theme: "Towards a society for all ages" Overall objective: Promoting the United Nations Principles for Older Persons Conceptual Framework: Situation of older persons Lifelong individual development Relationship between generations Relationship between ageing and development Operational Framework Raising awareness Looking beyond 1999 Reaching out to non-traditional actors Networking and research 3. National variations of logo design A National Committee or nationally appointed Focal Point may choose to make a national variation of the logo design, as outlined below, in line with the General Assembly decision that "activities for the Year should be initiated primarily at the national level" (resolution A/52/80). A national variation of the logo should maintain the core design (the spiral ending with "1999" resting on laurel leaves), but may add, to top or bottom, the name of their country (or a city or locality within that country). A sample variation: [design variation to be added] "Canada, a society for all ages". 4. Uses of the logo: information, fund-raising, commercial The logo is intended for three kinds of promotional use: information, fund-raising and commercial, as outlined below. a. Information uses of the logo Information uses of the logo are those which are: primarily illustrative not intended to raise funds and not carried out by a commercial for-profit entity. Permission to use the logo for national information purposes is given by the National Committee or Focal Point in each country. Where no National Committee or Focal Point has been designated, contact the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. Permission to use the logo for international informational purposes is given by the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. When requesting permission, please provide: a short statement of identity (membership, objectives, etc.) explanation of how and where the logo will be used Before the logo is used for information purposes, a waiver of liability in accordance with section 5 below must be signed by the entity that is requesting to use the logo. National Committees/Focal Points are requested to send a copy of the waivers to the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. b. Fund-raising uses of the logo Fund-raising uses of the logo are those intended to raise resources to cover costs of voluntary activities for IYOP. They may only be undertaken by non-commercial not-for-profit entities. Permission to use the logo for national fund-raising purposes is given by the National Committee or Focal Point in each country. Where no National Committee or Focal Point has been designated, contact the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. Permission to use the logo for international fund-raising purposes is given by the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. When requesting permission, please provide: a short statement of identity (membership, objectives, etc.) explanation of how and where the logo will be used explanation of the fund-raising purposes Before the logo is used for fund-raising purposes, a waiver of liability in accordance with section 5 below must be signed by the entity that is requesting to use the logo. National Committees/Focal Points are requested to send a copy of the waivers to the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. c. Commercial uses of logo Commercial uses of the logo are all those undertaken by or involving commercial for-profit entities, as well as any use intended to lead to commercial or personal profit. Permission to use the logo commercially at the national level (including the core design or national variation as explained in section 3 above) can only be given by the National Committee or Focal Point in each country. Where no National Committee or Focal Point has been designated, contact the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. Permission to use the logo for international commercial purposes is given by the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. When requesting permission, please explain: the nature of your company or enterprise proposed uses of the logo names of countries/territories where logo will be used nature of products/services you produce/sell in those areas how your products relate to IYOP what profits you expect to make from use of the logo a summary budget, giving your expenses and any proposed royalties or contributions you expect to make to local, national or international activities for the Year Before the logo is used commercially, a contract must be signed with the National Committee/Focal Point or the United Nations IYOP Secretariat (as relevant). In particular, such contracts must conform to section 5 below. National Committees/Focal Points are requested to send a copy of signed contracts to the United Nations IYOP Secretariat. 5. Liability All entities authorized to use the logo, whether for information, fund-raising or commercial purposes, must acknowledge that: the entity is responsible for ensuring that the activities are carried out in accordance with the applicable law and for ensuring that appropriate insurance is maintained to cover the risks arising out of such activities; the United Nations does not assume any responsibility for the activities of such entity; and the entity shall hold harmless and defend the United Nations and its officials against any action that may be brought against the United Nations or its officials as a result of the use of the logo. When the logo is used for commercial purposes, the foregoing language must be incorporated into the contract to be signed with the entity. When the logo is used for information and fund-raising purposes, the language must be incorporated into a waiver of liability that is signed by the entity. The attached Waiver of liability may be used. National Committees/Focal Points and the UN IYOP Secretariat shall ensure that contracts and waivers containing such language are obtained before the proposed activities are carried out. Additionally, contracts signed by the United Nations IYOP Secretariat should also contain the United Nations General Conditions for contracts. 6. How to obtain the logo The logo design and accompanying text, as well as media information on IYOP, can be obtained in hard copy from the Department of Public Information, or downloaded from its web site: Address: Development and Human Rights Section United Nations Department of Public Information New York, NY 10017 USA FAX: (212) 963 1186 E-Mail: VASIC@UN.ORG web site: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/iyop/iyoplogo.htm 7. For further information The United Nations IYOP Secretariat can provide, in hard copy or from its web site, background information on IYOP, including a list of National Committees or Focal Points. The IYOP Secretariat will also provide permission to use the IYOP logo internationally -- or nationally in countries where no National Committee or Focal Point has been designated (as explained in sections 4 and 5 above). According to the United Nations projections, by the year 2025, 14.4 per cent of the region's total population will be 60 years or older, and the region will be home to 56 per cent of the world?s older persons. This rapid ageing of societies in Asia and the Pacific has triggered concern for the well-being of older persons. The International Plan of Action on Ageing (IPAA), adopted by the United Nations in 1982 in resolution 37/51, was the first international consensus document on the subject of ageing. It recommended that international action focus on a wide range of areas concerning ageing. On the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the IPAA, in 1992, the United Nations adopted the Proclamation on Ageing and decided to observe the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons with the theme "Towards a Society for All Ages". At the regional level, governments in the Asian and Pacific region adopted the Macau Plan of Action on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific on 1 October 1998. The Macau Plan has been the first and thus far the only regional plan of action on ageing, making Asia and the Pacific a pioneer in this area. The Macau Plan covers major areas of concern and recommends action for the betterment of the lives of older persons. HARD-044 Amusement Park Safety Why was the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act enacted? All reasons behind this act, and the sections of the bill are on topic. Information about the ways theme parks had to change as a result of this act are on-topic. amusement parks, theme park, legislation item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=Unknown SUMMARY OF THE NATIONAL AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE SAFETY ACT H.R. 3032 October 12, 1999 The National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act of 1999 was introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) on October 6, 1999, with 10 original cosponsors: Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), William Lipinski (D-IL), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Rosa DeLauro (D-NY), Richard Neal (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA.) Purpose The purpose of this legislation is to close a consumer protection loophole created in 1981. Section 2 of the bill eliminates the restriction on CPSC safety jurisdiction adopted in 1981 - the so-called "roller coaster loophole". Eliminating this restriction would allow the CPSC the same scope of authority to protect against unreasonable risks of harm on "fixed-site" rides that it currently retains for carnival rides that are moved from site to site ("mobile rides.) This would include the authority to investigate accidents, to develop and enforce action plans to correct defects, to require reports to the CPSC whenever a substantial hazard is identified, and to act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data. Section 3 of the bill would authorize appropriations of $500 thousand annually to enable the CPSC to carry out the purposes of the Act. Background The Consumer Product Safety Act provided the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with the same consumer protections authority it has for other consumer products. However, in 1981, following a series of legal challenges by several owners of large theme parks, Congress stepped in and limited CPSC authority only to those rides "not permanently fixed to a site." Thus, the CPSC currently is prohibited from investigating accidents or developing or enforcing safety plans, and manufacturers, owners and operators of rides are not required to disclose to the CPSC defects which would create a substantial hazard of consumer injury. Since it cannot gather the information, the CPSC is also effectively prevented from sharing the information with others so that accidents in one state can be prevented in another. Rising Risk of Serious Injury The CPSC estimates the number of serious injuries on fixed and mobile amusement park rides using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). This data includes only injuries severe enough to have led the injured party to go to an emergency room. According to its July 1999 summary, emergency-room injuries on fixed rides increased from 2400 in 1994 to 4500 in 1998. During the same period, emergency-room injuries on mobile rides have held relatively steady, with 2000 in 1994 and 2100 in 1998. State-by-State Regulation CPSC regulation supplements state regulation where states have adopted inspections programs, and provides some measure of protection in states that have none. Currently the following states have no inspection program: Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Vermont. Moreover, Florida exempts theme parks with more than 1000 employees, Virginia relies on private inspections, and New York exempts New York City (which includes Coney Island.) States with inspection programs are very uneven depending on which agency has the responsibility and whether its expertise is design, operator training, manufacturing, etc. No state, and no industry organization, provides the national clearinghouse function that the CPSC currently provides for mobile rides and could provide for fixed-site rides. Recent Fatalities Although the overall risk of death on an amusement park ride is very small, it is not zero. In the course of the last week of August 1999, 4 deaths occurred on roller coasters in just one week, which U.S. News & World Report termed "one of the most calamitous weeks in the history of America's amusement parks": August 22 -- a 12-year-old boy fell to his death after slipping through a harness on the Drop Zone ride at Paramount's Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California; August 23 -- a 20-year-old man died on the Shockwave roller coaster at Paramount King's Dominion theme park near Richmond, Virginia; August 28 -- a 39-year-old woman and her 8-year-old daughter were killed when their car slid backward down a 30-foot ascent and crashed into another car, injuring two others on the Wild Wonder roller coaster at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey. Each of these tragedies is an opportunity for the CPSC to search for causes and share its insights with the operators of other similar rides. Unless the law is changed, however, it cannot perform this role. Amusement Park Personal Injury Claims arising from injuries sustained as a result of a trip to an amusement park. Such as rides, foods, and or any other amusement park injury. If you are a victim of a Amusement Park Personal Injury to yourself or a loved one you should know you have certain legal rights and must be very selective of the Lawyer or Law Firm you chose to represent you. Our service has had experience in the personal injury law field for the last 12 years. We Specialize in the following personal injury type claims. The National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act of 1999 was introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) on October 6, 1999, with 10 original cosponsors: Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), William Lipinski (D-IL), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Rosa DeLauro (D-NY), Richard Neal (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA.) Purpose The purpose of this legislation is to close a consumer protection loophole created in 1981. Section 2 of the bill eliminates the restriction on CPSC safety jurisdiction adopted in 1981 - the so-called "roller coaster loophole". Eliminating this restriction would allow the CPSC the same scope of authority to protect against unreasonable risks of harm on "fixed-site" rides that it currently retains for carnival rides that are moved from site to site ("mobile rides.) This would include the authority to investigate accidents, to develop and enforce action plans to correct defects, to require reports to the CPSC whenever a substantial hazard is identified, and to act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data. Section 3 of the bill would authorize appropriations of $500 thousand annually to enable the CPSC to carry out the purposes of the Act. Background The Consumer Product Safety Act provided the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with the same consumer protections authority it has for other consumer products. However, in 1981, following a series of legal challenges by several owners of large theme parks, Congress stepped in and limited CPSC authority only to those rides "not permanently fixed to a site." Thus, the CPSC currently is prohibited from investigating accidents or developing or enforcing safety plans, and manufacturers, owners and operators of rides are not required to disclose to the CPSC defects which would create a substantial hazard of consumer injury. Since it cannot gather the information, the CPSC is also effectively prevented from sharing the information with others so that accidents in one state can be prevented in another. Rising Risk of Serious Injury The CPSC estimates the number of serious injuries on fixed and mobile amusement park rides using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). This data includes only injuries severe enough to have led the injured party to go to an emergency room. According to its July 1999 summary, emergency-room injuries on fixed rides increased from 2400 in 1994 to 4500 in 1998. During the same period, emergency-room injuries on mobile rides have held relatively steady, with 2000 in 1994 and 2100 in 1998. State-by-State Regulation CPSC regulation supplements state regulation where states have adopted inspections programs, and provides some measure of protection in states that have none. Currently the following states have no inspection program: Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Vermont. Moreover, Florida exempts theme parks with more than 1000 employees, Virginia relies on private inspections, and New York exempts New York City (which includes Coney Island.) States with inspection programs are very uneven depending on which agency has the responsibility and whether its expertise is design, operator training, manufacturing, etc. No state, and no industry organization, provides the national clearinghouse function that the CPSC currently provides for mobile rides and could provide for fixed-site rides. Recent Fatalities Although the overall risk of death on an amusement park ride is very small, it is not zero. In the course of the last week of August 1999, 4 deaths occurred on roller coasters in just one week, which U.S. News & World Report termed "one of the most calamitous weeks in the history of America's amusement parks": August 22 -- a 12-year-old boy fell to his death after slipping through a harness on the Drop Zone ride at Paramount's Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California; August 23 -- a 20-year-old man died on the Shockwave roller coaster at Paramount King's Dominion theme park near Richmond, Virginia; August 28 -- a 39-year-old woman and her 8-year-old daughter were killed when their car slid backward down a 30-foot ascent and crashed into another car, injuring two others on the Wild Wonder roller coaster at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey. Each of these tragedies is an opportunity for the CPSC to search for causes and share its insights with the operators of other similar rides. Unless the law is changed, however, it cannot perform this role. HARD-048 Y2K crisis What led up to the Y2K crisis and what were its consequences? All information about the Y2K problem, its danger, its consequences (influence on people) that happened in 1999 only, what caused it, how people dealt with it, and why people feared it on topic. Computer program failures on specific dates, or personal problems are not on topic. Y2K, problem item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=3 There was not a single 2K problem. There were many: Thousands of computer programs failed on 2000-JAN-1, but the effect was minor: Almost all of the software failures and disruptions materialized in aged accounting software used by countless small businesses. Very few major failures were reported: A programming bug was reported in Britain near the end of 1999-DEC. Bank computers started to reject credit card purchases. Their program not only checked that the credit card was valid; it checked whether the card would also be valid a few days in the future. When this day fell in the year 2000, a Y2K bug sprang to life and rejected cards in large numbers. The "Criticall" system in Toronto, ON, Canada, failed on New Year's day. This monitors hospitals and directs patients in ambulances to emergency rooms that are not hopelessly overloaded. It was quickly repaired. In the meantime, a backup system was used. There were minor failures in monitoring systems at seven nuclear generating stations in the U.S. None represented a safety problem or caused interruptions of power. There were a few control problems at some airports which were fixed quickly. Data from a U.S. defense department satellite was unusable for a few hours in the morning of JAN-1; a backup system took over until the system could be reprogrammed. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church, some minor problems were reported in parts of Russia's telephone system. A computer system in South Korea issued court summonses to 170 people to appear for trial on 1900-JAN-4...or else! A TV weather map in France showed the year as 19100. A control system at a power plant in the U.S. Midwest jumped ahead 35 days. However, the electrical supply was not affected. Failures occurred for one of two reasons: In the early days of business computing, many programmers did not see too far into the future, and took shortcuts: In those days, disk and memory space were costly, and so many programmers used only 2 digits to record the year. For example, they used 72 represented 1972. The problem is for 2000-JAN-01 and later dates, many of these programs would have decoded the new year as 1900. Other programmers used the year 00 or 99 to indicate an error condition. They did not expect their programs to last until 1999 or 2000 Other programs stored the year unambiguously, but then interpreted the year as if it occurred in the 20th century. So, 1972 was stored properly, but only the 72 was interpreted by the program, which added a 19 prefix. In the year 2000, such programs might have continue to add the prefix, resulting in the year 1900. Still other programs will produce unpredictable results. 2,3 All of these deficiencies would have caused major chaos. However most programs were either fixed or replaced before a Y2K bug surfaced. As a convenience for persons entering dates form a keyboard, programs were frequently written to accept only two digits for the year. The program then added "19" as a prefix to the entered date to generate a full 4 digit year. When these programs are run during the year 2000, the operators will enter "00" for the year and the program will add the "19" prefix to produce the year "1900". One example is Windows 98. The Date tab in "Regional Settings Properties (accessible from Start, Settings, Control Panel) gives two dates, typically 1930 and 2029. When a 2 digit number (e.g. 99) is entered, the system interprets the date as being between these years -- i.e. 1999. Unless these settings are changed, a "30" year which may be intended to represent 2030 will be interpreted as 1930. The American National Standards manual states: "2.3: Year shall be represented as four digits with the option of omitting the two high order digits (commonly referred to as century) as required in applications where century is to be implied." Unfortunately, too many computer programmers felt that it was safe to imply "19" as the century. They expected their programs to be long gone by 2000. Many of these legacy programs are still functioning on computers around the world. Many companies neatly sidestepped the problem by upgrading their accounting and process control software to entirely new standard programs that are free of the Y2K bug. "Cynics claim the millennium bug scare is being spread by certain computer supply firms which will earn huge sums by selling pricey equipment they maintain is necessary to alleviate the problem." 4 Others have mounted massive projects to have programmers scan their software - some of it decades old - and correct any problems. Date notations will cause confusion: Traditionally, people have used two digits to represent years. Three all-numerical methods are now in common use. February 15, 1999 in various countries, is shown as: mm/dd/yy (2/15/99) This is a common notation in the U.S. dd/mm/yy (15/2/99) This is a common notation in Canada. yy/mm/dd (99/2/15) This is common internationally. We play it safe on this website by defining dates like 2000-FEB-15. No ambiguity is possible. However, it is not very efficient either. For years, there has been a confusion between the first two notations. People are unsure whether the first number refers to the month or the day. In the year 2000, there should be no more confusion than normal, because the year will be clearly identified as "00". Unfortunately, starting in 2001, years will be shown as 01 for 2001, 02 for 2002, etc. Much confusion will be created. For example, consider 01 02 03. Does it mean January 02, 2003 or 01 February, 2003 or 2001 February 03? This problem will continue, in diminished form, until the year 2032. This is one of the reasons why this web site always uses the unusual convention of a 4 digit year, three letter month and two number day. (e.g. 1999-JAN-15) . This format, and the similar all numeric version (e.g. 1999-02-15), are clear and unambiguous. They are commonly used outside of North America. The latter, all numeric, format is ideal for computers, because it can be followed with the time of day, and facilitate chronological sorting, as in: 2001-01-15 12:34:56.78 HCFA offers tips to tackle Y2K problem The Health Care Financing Administration has named the Y2K bug as its top priority, working to ensure computer systems will keep processing claims for 70 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Y2K refers to the impending problem of some computers mistaking the year 2000 for 1900 because they only read the last two digits. If the problem isn't addressed, health care providers could experience delayed payments or disruptions in receiving data. HCFA encourages physicians to develop a Y2K readiness plan. One suggested plan includes five steps: (1) Become aware of how the year 2000 can affect your system. Identify entities that you depend on and that depend on you, inventory both hardware and software programs, and identify items you can't live without. (2) Assess the readiness of everything on your list by contacting vendors or checking appropriate web sites. (3) Update or replace systems and software programs that you decide are important for your office to function. (4) Test your existing and newly purchased systems and software; don't assume they're Y2K-ready. (5) Develop business continuity plans to take effect if problems arise. HARD-051 Hate Crimes Prevention Why was the Hate Crimes Prevention Act enacted and how has it improved the protection of an individual's civil rights? The reasons behind the creation of this act and its effect on society and the legal system are on-topic. Documents restricted to hate crimes, with no mention of the Act, are off-topic. crime prevention, hate crimes, legislation item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=Unknown HRC APPLAUDS SENATE PASSAGE OF HATE CRIMES PREVENTION ACT Hate Crimes Prevention Act Amendment and Hatch Substitute Amendment Added to Commerce, State, Justice Appropriations Bill FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, July 23, 1999 WASHINGTON - The Senate has taken a strong stand against the rising tide of hate violence in America by adding the Hate Crimes Prevention Act to the Commerce, Justice and State appropriations bill, the Human Rights Campaign asserted today. "The Senate took a dramatic step forward in making this nation a safer place for all Americans," HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch said a day after the Senate added hate crimes language to the appropriations measure. "We applaud this responsible effort to stem the growing trend of hate crimes in our country." The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a top legislative priority of the Human Rights Campaign and passage of the amendment culminates months of work. The measure would extend current federal hate crimes protection to cover gender, sexual orientation and disability. A bipartisan group of senators led the successful move to pass the hate crimes measure in that chamber. They include Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., Gordon Smith, R-Ore.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; James Jeffords, R-Vt.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. In a July 20 "Dear Colleague" letter, the senators said: "Hate crimes are uniquely destructive and divisive. They injure not only the victim, but the entire community and sometimes the entire country." The Senate also passed much narrower hate crimes legislation, offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that does not include sexual orientation, gender and disability. The two measures are not mutually exclusive and details will be worked out after the House passes its version of the bill and lawmakers negotiate differences in a conference committee. "With strong administration backing and bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, we expect to be in a strong position in the conference committee to ensure final passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act," Winnie Stachelberg, HRC's political director, said today. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act has strong support from President Clinton and the administration has made passage a priority. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., has scheduled a hearing on the measure in the House Judiciary Committee on Aug. 4. HCPA currently has more than 180 House cosponsors from both parties. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community. . INTRODUCTION The American Civil Liberties Union respectfully submits this statement to urge the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to respond by legislation to the continuing problem of an inadequate state and local response to criminal civil rights violations, but also to request that the Committee amend S. 622, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999, to limit its potential chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech. The ACLU believes that the Congress can and should expand federal jurisdiction to prosecute criminal civil rights violations when state and local governments are unwilling or unable to prosecute, while also precluding evidence of mere abstract beliefs or mere membership in an organization from becoming a basis for such prosecutions. The ACLU has a long record of support for stronger protection of both free speech and civil rights. Those positions are not inconsistent. In fact, vigilant protection of free speech rights historically has opened the doors to effective advocacy for expanded civil rights protections. Six years ago, the ACLU submitted a brief to the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold a Wisconsin hate crime enhancement statute as constitutional. However, the ACLU also asked the Court "to set forth a clear set of rules governing the use of such statutes in the future." The ACLU warned the Court that "if the state is not able to prove that a defendant's speech is linked to specific criminal behavior, the chances increase that the state's hate crime prosecution is politically inspired." The draft amendment described in this statement will help avoid that harm. This statement explains the need for legislation to expand federal authority to prosecute federal civil rights violations, and the reason for adding an evidentiary restriction to section 245 of the federal criminal code. The ACLU will strongly support passage of S. 622 if the Committee adds the evidentiary restriction and avoids any changes to S. 622's substantive provisions. II. THE PERSISTENT PROBLEM OF CRIMINAL CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS The ACLU supports providing remedies against invidious discrimination and urges that discrimination by private organizations be made illegal when it excludes persons from access to fundamental rights or from the opportunity to participate in the political or social life of the community. The serious problem of crime directed at members of society because of their race, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability merits legislative action. Such action is particularly timely as a response to the rising tide of violence directed at people because of such characteristics. Those crimes convey a constitutionally unprotected threat against the peaceable enjoyment of public places to members of the targeted group. Pursuant to the Hate Crime Statistics Act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation annually collects and reports statistics on the number of bias-related criminal incidents reported by local and state law enforcement officials. In 1996, based on reports from law enforcement agencies covering 84% of the nation's population, the FBI reported 8,759 incidents covered by the Act. 5,396 of those incidents were related to race, 1,401 to religion, 1,016 to sexual orientation, 940 to ethnicity or national origin, and six to multiple categories. Existing federal law does not provide any separate offense for violent acts based on race, color, national origin, or religion, unless the defendant intended to interfere with the victim's participation in certain enumerated activities. 18 U.S.C.A. 245(b)(2). During hearings last year in the Senate and House of Representatives, advocates for racial, ethnic, and religious minorities presented substantial evidence of the problems resulting from the inability of the federal government to prosecute crimes based on race, color, national origin, or religion without any tie to an enumerated activity. Those cases include violent crimes based on a protected class, which state or local officials either inadequately investigated or declined to prosecute. In addition, existing federal law does not provide any separate offense whatsoever for violent acts based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability. The exclusion of sexual orientation, gender, and disability from section 245 of the criminal code can have bizarre results. For example, in an appeal by a person convicted of killing an African-American gay man, the defendant argued that "the evidence established, if anything, that he beat [the victim] because he believed him to be a homosexual and not because he was black." United States v. Bledsoe, 728 F.2d 1094, 1098 (8th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 838 (1984). Among the evidence that the court cited in affirming the conviction because of violence based on race, was testimony that the defendant killed the black gay victim, but allowed a white gay man to escape. Id. at 1095, 1098. Striking or killing a person solely because of that person's sexual orientation would not have resulted in a conviction under that statute. In addition to the recent accounts of the deaths of Matthew Shepard and Billy Jack Gaither, other reports of violence because of a person's sexual orientation include: An account by the Human Rights Campaign of "[a] lesbian security guard, 22, [who] was assigned to work a holiday shift with a guard from a temporary employment service. He propositioned her repeatedly. Finally, she told him she was a lesbian. Issuing anti-lesbian slurs, he raped her." A report by Mark Weinress, during an American Psychological Association briefing on hate crimes, of his beating by two men who yelled "we kill faggots" and "die faggots" at the victim and his partner from the defendants' truck, chased the victims on foot while shouting "death to faggots," and beat the victims with a billy club while responding "we kill faggots" when a bystander asked what the defendants were doing. A report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force of a letter from a person who wrote that she "was gang-raped for being a lesbian. Four men beat me, spat on me, urinated on me, and raped me . . . . When I reported the incident to Fresno police, they were sympathetic until they learned I was homosexual. They closed their book, and said, 'Well, you were asking for it.'" An article in the November 22, 1997 issue of The Washington Post about five Marines who left the Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill to throw a tear gas canister into a nearby gay bar. Several persons were treated for nausea and other gas-related symptoms. The problem of crimes based on gender is also persistent. For example, two women cadets at the Citadel, a military school that had only recently opened its doors to female students, were singled out and "hazed" by male cadets who did not believe that women had a right to be at the school. Male cadets allegedly sprayed the two women with nail polish remover and then set their clothes ablaze, not once, but three times within a two month period. One male cadet also threatened one of the two women by saying that he would cut her "heart out" if he ever saw her alone off campus. Federal legislation addressing such criminal civil rights violations is necessary because state and local law enforcement officers are sometimes unwilling or unable to prosecute those crimes because of either inadequate resources or their own bias against the victim. The prospect of such failure to provide equal protection of the laws justifies federal jurisdiction. For example, state and local law enforcement officials have often been hostile to the needs of gay men and lesbians. The fear of state and local police -- which many gay men and lesbians share with members of other minorities -- is not unwarranted. For example, until recently, the Maryland state police department refused to employ gay men or lesbians as state police officers. In addition, only last year, a District of Columbia police lieutenant who headed the police unit that investigates extortion cases was arrested by the FBI for attempting to extort $10,000 from a married man seen leaving a gay bar. Police officers referred to the practice as "fairy shaking." The problem is widespread. In fact, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports several hundred anti-gay incidents allegedly committed by state and local law enforcement officers annually. The federal government clearly has an enforcement role when state and local governments fail to provide equal protection of the laws. III. IMPORTANCE OF ADDING A NEW EVIDENTIARY RESTRICTION Despite the need to amend the principal federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. 245, to expand federal jurisdiction to address the problem of an inadequate state and local response to criminal civil rights violations, the ACLU cannot support S. 622 unless the Committee amends the legislation to limit its potential chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech. Specifically, the ACLU strongly urges the Committee to amend S. 622 by adding the following evidentiary provision: In any prosecution under this section, (i) evidence proving the defendant's mere abstract beliefs or (ii) evidence of the defendant's mere membership in an organization, shall not be admissible to establish any element of an offense under this section. This provision will reduce or eliminate the possibility that the federal government could obtain a criminal conviction on the basis of evidence of speech that had no role in the chain of events that led to any alleged violent act proscribed by the statute. On its face, S. 622 punishes only the conduct of intentionally selecting another person for violence because of that person's race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. The prosecution must prove the conduct of intentional selection of the victim. Thus, S. 622, like the present section 245, punishes discrimination (an act), not bigotry (a belief). The federal government usually proves the intentional selection element of section 245 prosecutions by properly introducing ample evidence related to the chain of events. For example, as discussed above, in a recent section 245 prosecution based on race, a federal court of appeals found that the prosecution met its burden of proving that the defendant attacked the victim because of his race by introducing admissions that the defendant stated that "he had once killed a nigger queen," that he attacked the victim "[b]ecause he was a black fag," and by introducing evidence that the defendant allowed a white gay man to escape further attack, but relentlessly pursued the black gay victim. Although the Justice Department maintains that it usually avoids attempting to introduce evidence proving nothing more than that a person holds racist or other bigoted views, it has at least occasionally introduced such evidence. In at least one decision, a federal court of appeals expressly found admissible such evidence that was wholly unrelated to the chain of events that resulted in the violent act. United States v. Dunnaway, 88 F.3d 617 (8th Cir. 1996). The court upheld the admissibility of a tattoo of a skinhead group on the inside lip of the defendant because "[t]he crime in this [section 245] case involved elements of racial hatred." Id. at 618. The tattoo was admissible even in the absence of any evidence in the decision linking the skinhead group to the violent act. The decision admitting that evidence of a tattoo confirmed our concerns expressed in the ACLU's brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of the Wisconsin hate crimes penalty enhancement statute. In asking for guidance from the Court on the applicability of such statutes, the ACLU stated its concern that evidence of speech should not be relevant unless "the government proves that [the evidence] is directly related to the underlying crime and probative of the defendant's discriminatory intent." The ACLU brief urged that, "[a]t a minimum, any speech or association that is not contemporaneous with the crime must be part of the chain of events that led to the crime. Generalized evidence concerning the defendant's racial views is not sufficient to meet this test." The ACLU's concern with S. 622 is that we will see even more such evidence admitted in section 245 prosecutions if S. 622 is enacted without an evidentiary restriction. Many of the arguments made in favor of expanding section 245 are very different than the arguments made in favor of enacting section 245 nearly 31 years ago. At that time, the focus was on giving the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute numerous murders of African-Americans, including civil rights workers, which had gone unpunished by state and local prosecutors. The intent was to have a federal backstop to state and local law enforcement. Although S. 622 will also serve that important purpose in creating federal jurisdiction, its proponents are focusing on "combating hate," fighting "hate groups," and identifying alleged perpetrators by their membership in such groups--even in the absence of any link between membership in the group and the violent act. The arguments are even applied retroactively. During hearings before the Committee last year, the Justice Department referenced section 245, which passed as an important part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as "the federal hate crimes statute." The danger is that--after a debate focused on combating "hate"--courts, litigants, and jurors applying an expanded and more powerful section 245 may be more likely to believe that speech-related evidence is a proper basis for proving the intentional selection element of the offense, even when it was unrelated to the chain of events leading to a violent act. The focus may be on proving the selection element by showing "guilt by association" with groups whose bigoted views we may all find repugnant, but which may have had no role in committing the violent act. We should add that evidence of association could also just as easily focus on many groups representing the very persons that S. 622 was drafted to protect.1 Our suggested amendment will preclude all such evidence from becoming the basis for prosecution, unless it was part of the chain of events leading to the violent act. However, the proposed evidentiary amendment is not overly expansive. By inserting "mere" before "abstract beliefs" and "membership in an organization," the provision will bar only evidence that had no direct relationship to the underlying violent offense. It will have no effect on the admissibility of evidence of membership or belief that bears such a direct relationship to the underlying crime. Thus, the proposal will not bar all evidence of membership or belief. Finally, we recognize that statutory restrictions on the admissibility of evidence in criminal matters are not common. However, such restrictions are not without precedent. In fact, the basic structure for the new paragraph is from 18 U.S.C.A. 2101(b), which defines admissible evidence for an element of the federal riot statute. We believe that the potential for misuse of an expanded section 245 is significant enough to warrant a statutory restriction on the admissibility of certain evidence. IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the ACLU urges the Committee to amend S. 622 to limit its potential chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech, but also to use the legislation to expand federal jurisdiction to address the problem of an inadequate state and local response to criminal civil rights violations. The ACLU appreciates this opportunity to present our concerns. HARD-053 Oscars How has the Academy Awards ceremony changed over the years? Articles about the winners of the Oscars 1999 awards, the preparations for the Oscars, and the comparison between Oscars 1999 and others are all on-topic. Predictions about the winners of the awards of the Oscars 1999 are off-topic. Oscars, Academy awards, acting, Hollywood item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.eonline.com/Features/Awards/Oscars99/Bestworst/index2.html And the Christine Lahti Award goes to: Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn had a tough time finding their seats after a midshow whizz pass, but Whoopi improvised a wee bit o' business to smooth over the moment. And Technical Go Awards the To: The Technical Awards were so marred by technical screwups that Anne Heche had to do her spiel twice. Now, Let's Just Hope He Doesn't Start Shaving His Head: Tom Hanks, Roy Rogers' old horse Trigger and Whoopi all had Spielberg-ian facial hair for the big event Oops, Looks Like Someone's Already Beat Him to It: Peter Gabriel. What, No Thin Red Line Break Dance? Debbie Allen's choreography was, believe it or not, wiggier than ever, as a group of dancers hoofed their way through Life Is Beautiful flamenco, Saving Private Ryan tap dancing and Elizabeth with a Celtic twist. "I'm behaving like Roberto Benigni underneath." --A straight-faced Tom Stoppard, after winning for Best Original Screenplay We Love Whoopi, Part 1: "Wet Dreams May Come--they told me to be careful of the pronunciation." We Love Whoopi, Part 2: "The quintessential movie about colored people--Pleasantville." We Love Whoopi, Part 3: "A Bug's Life--wasn't that the Linda Tripp story?" We Love Whoopi, Part 4: "I thought the blacklist was me and Hattie McDaniel." We Love Whoopi, Part 5: "Last year, a producer got so drunk he went home with a woman his own age" Best One-Liner: Steve Martin, presenting the award for Best Screenplay Adaptation, said, "And the losers aren't..." Eat Your Heart Out, Cuba Gooding Jr.: Roberto Benigni, after winning his first Oscar (for Best Foreign Film), went crazy, standing on the back of chairs in the hall and hopping up the stairs to the podium--where the gymnastics got verbal. He thanked the Academy for its "Hailstorm of kindness" and thanked his parents, "who gave me the greatest gift: poverty." Eat Your Heart Out, Samuel Goldwyn: Roberto Benigni after winning his Oscar for Best Actor: "I would like to be Jupiter and kidnap everybody and take them to the firmament and make love to everybody." "Am I allowed to say that I really wanted this?" --Best Director winner Steven Spielberg Hollywood's annual fashion show Stars arrive at the Oscars decked out in expensive jewellery From feminine frills to foxy frocks, Hollywood's annual Academy Awards are often more about fashion that film - and this year is no exception. Stars use the occasion to showcase creations from top designers using an army of personal stylists to get them ready. One of the first to arrive at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was Gwyneth Paltrow who has been nominated for a best actress award. She showed up unfashionably early in a fantastic full length sugar-pink princess dress as legions of anonymous attendees jostled with her for position on the red carpet. Britain's Brenda Blethyn has had a dress especially made for the occasion too. Before the ceremony she said: "It's as much a celebration of fashion as it is a celebration of film and performance. "Every camera crew one stops and talks to on your way up the red carpet wants to know what you're wearing, who made your shoes, who made the dress, who did your hair, who did your make-up. I mean it's bizarre." Emily Watson wore a lace-bodied grey Valentino dress with straight skirt as attended the event for a second time to hear whether she had won the Best Actress title for Hilary And Jackie. She was last at the event two years ago when she had been nominated for her part in Breaking The Waves. "I feel less nervous this time, but it seems more chaotic this time," she said as she arrived, adding that she was excited. Lynn Redgrave, in the running for her role in Gods And Monsters, arrived in a baby blue silk dress with a matching shawl over her arms. Canada's top singer Celine Dion arrived at the venue wearing a peculiar white backless dress with matching white hat - trilby style - at a jaunty coquettish angle. Kathy Bates, nominated for best supporting actress, arrived on the red carpet in a flattering grey number and said she was thrilled just to be there. Male attendees traditionally wear more sober dinner jackets. An elegant Sir Ian McKellen said he was jittery about the evening as he arrived at the event. "Of course, I'm nervous - but excited," said the star, nominated for his performance in Gods And Monsters. Asked if he had any message for the fans watching at home, he said: "Go to bed, for goodness' sake." HARD-059 Alexandria's New Library What is the value of Alexandria's new library? Information about Alexandria's old library is not on topic. Information about contributions in rebuilding the library, and its value are on topic. Alexandria, library item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=2 Alexandria's New Library Ancient Concept, Modern Context The site in Alexandria, Egypt, of the most celebrated library in classical antiquity is seeing a worthy replacement rise in splendid contemporary form. Mamdouh Hamza, P.E., and Mashhour Ghoneim, P.E. Photographs by James Willis Founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., the city of Alexandria was the capital of Egypt for more than 1,000 years, and the vast library there was for several centuries the cultural center of the Western world. The library was built by the descendants of Alexander the Great about 2,000 years ago and housed the largest collection of books in the ancient world-more than 700,000 volumes, including the works of Homer and the library of Aristotle. Euclid and Archimedes studied there, as did Eratosthenes, the first to calculate the diameter of the earth. The library burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances, and while historians disagree about who was responsible for its destruction, most blame Julius Caesar, who sent fire ships in 48 B.C. to destroy shipping in the nearby harbor. It is believed these ships also accidentally set fire to the city's royal quarter. With the intent of reviving the most famous library in antiquity and housing and preserving some 8 million books, the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina is being constructed on almost the same site as its predecessor. The idea of reviving the library was first proposed in 1974 but was quickly shelved. The proposal was revived in the late 1980s, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued an international appeal for contributions. Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, set up the General Organization of the Alexandria Library (GOAL), and an international design competition was organized. The $60,000 first prize was awarded to the architecture firm Snohetta, of Oslo, Norway, in September 1987. GOAL proposed six consulting engineers as candidates to form a consortium with Snohetta to develop the design, but the architect rejected all of them, preferring instead to nominate the consulting engineer Hamza Associates, of Giza, Egypt. The design of the new library incorporates four basement levels and six floors under the highest point of a dramatic sloping circular roof (see figure 1[a]). The inspiration for this unusual shape was Snohetta's. And while the building has been designed to have an estimated life span of 200 years, there is little doubt that the most immediate threat to its longevity comes, as before, from its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, only 40 m away. The library's orientation is dictated by the crucial importance of keeping the amount of direct sunlight entering the building to a minimum. The library building is supported on a reinforced-concrete raft supported on piles. A planetarium and a science museum adjacent to the library building were constructed and supported on a raft without the need for piles. The library is 10 stories high and is contained in an elliptical envelope with a major axis of 160 m. The four basement levels are below the water table. The geometry of the building follows the functional arrangement of bookshelves and reading desks in identical structural bays measuring 14.4 by 9.6 m (see figure 2). Under the 16-degree slope of the roof, the bays rise by a series of 4.2 m high stories. However, because the cylinder is tilted at an angle of about 8 degrees to the vertical, the floor plate and the roof form true circles in the horizontal floor plate and the roof plane. Like London's British Library, the bulk of the building is sunk underground to protect its precious contents from the external environment. The dominant element of the Alexandria library is an enormous open-plan reading room incorporating 2,500 reading sections that cascade down seven terraces. For easy access, books are stored below the terraces. The groundwater level-0.8 m above sea level-is 11 m above the basement slab level. The designer, Hamza Associates, briefly considered constructing the basement within a circular sheet pile cofferdam, but the sheer size-at least 160 m diameter-ruled out internal propping and Egyptian law would have banned the use of ground anchors beneath the existing buildings in close proximity. So a bold decision was made. A diaphragm wall, believed to be the largest ever attempted, was constructed to a total depth of 35 m. The wall was continuously reinforced, a technique that has never before been tried outside of the Far East. The library superstructure consists of a reinforced-concrete frame comprising a flat floor of 400 mm deep waffle (ribbed or hollow-block) slabs, with ribs at 1,000 mm centers. The ribs span to central hidden beams that are 400 mm deep, which in turn span to columns and walls at 7.2 and 9.6 m centers. At the lower floor levels, where heavy live loads are applicable, the floor construction relies on 600 mm deep waffle slabs with corresponding 600 mm deep hidden beams. Reinforced-concrete walls were incorporated into the construction to account for the lateral loading associated with wind and earthquakes. There are two additional reinforced-concrete walls on the interior of the diaphragm wall. One of these two walls stops at the ground level and is separated from the diaphragm wall by a continuously drained waterproof membrane; this is called the outer wall (see figure 3). It carries vertical loading from the basement floors and is capable of resisting water pressure should the diaphragm wall leak at any stage during the structure's 200-year life expectancy. In some areas the outer wall is restrained from lateral movement by the floor construction, whereas in others, counterfort cross walls link it to the second, or internal, wall. The internal wall is a partially sunken cylinder that creates a circular plan shape and supports etched granite cladding panels. The roof structure is composed of precast girders of reinforced concrete weighing up to 18 Mg and a diagonal secondary steel system to support the roof glazing and cladding. The girders are simply supported on column capitals in the form of a 14.4 by 9.6 m grid. They are fixed to the column capitals by single anchors, which permits rotation at the supports and eliminates temperature effects. Because of the critical ground conditions, the complex has required extensive foundation and ground engineering work, including excavation, dewatering, bored piles, and jet grouting improvements (see figure 1[b]). All of the geotechnical work was performed from the working platform at 2 m above sea level. The groundwater table is about 1 m below the working platform and is influenced by the sea tide. Fig. 1 Longitudinal Sections The earth and water retention required for the deep basements has been accounted for by the diaphragm wall construction. The diaphragm wall extends to the sandstone at a depth of 35 m. In conventional diaphragm wall design, the reinforcement of panels is effected through discrete vertical cages with no connections between the reinforcement of the adjacent panels. When the soil inside an unsupported, unanchored wall is excavated, the wall acts, in effect, like a series of individual cantilevers. But unless these concrete cantilevers are very thick and very heavily reinforced, water leakage can occur. Hence, the innovative idea of constructing a circular wall that would have continuity in its horizontal reinforcement looked very promising. This wall will act like a homogeneous cylinder, resisting earth pressure through the development of hoop stress. The wall will be a much more efficient structure and will significantly reduce the weight of the reinforcement. Unfortunately, the building is not a complete circle in plan. In the straight part of the wall, vertical prestressing was used to guarantee watertightness and reduce the amount of vertical reinforcement to values that ensure the quality of the concrete work. At the junction between the circular and straight sections, the large hoop forces required box-type wall segments to safely transmit straining actions between the two parts. In addition, the segments of the circular part near the junctions needed to be stiffened by a web. Because of the asymmetrical design of the internal superstructure, variations occur in the intensity of loading to the piled raft. Large dead loads occur to the south of the site, placing the piles in compression. At the north section of the site tension piles are necessary to account for the uplift created by the water pressure as a result of minimal dead loads. In the central area of the site, the piles are in tension or compression, depending on loading conditions. There are 131 piles 1,500 mm in diameter with a single underream, or bell-shaped bottom, that are mainly under compression; 325 piles 1,200 mm in diameter with two underreams that are mainly under tension; and 143 piles 1,000 mm in diameter with two underreams that can be under compression or tension. The compression and compression/tension piles were arranged in a grid of 4.8 by 7.2 m. The tension piles were arranged in a grid of 4.8 by 4.8 m. All the piles were reinforced along their full length. In the compression piles, however, the amount of steel was reduced in the lower half of the pile. Piling was carried out to very tight limits. Steel castings were driven down to limestone before boring commenced. An innovative feature of the piling operations was the underreaming tool used, perhaps the first ever to feature hydraulic operation and an in-cab readout of depth and diameter. The single or double underreams it produced were checked for shape by an ultrasonic profiler developed in Japan by the firm Koden. This assessment also gave a quick readout of the alignment and cross section of the main shaft before the reinforcement cage was lowered. Sonic integrity testing was carried out after the concrete was placed by means of steel pipes cast into the piles. Where any defects were discovered, holes were drilled through the pile to the level of the defect and the resultant void was grouted. The pile was then retested. The complex grouting operation began within a few hours of the concrete placement. The aim of the grouting was to improve the base bearing and the shaft bond capacity. French style tubes manchette were used. Each pile had four plastic tubes cast into the concrete cover zone, and each tube was drilled with four circumferential holes every 500 mm along its length. These holes were sealed with rubber collars, and the tubes were connected in pairs to form flat U shapes at the bottom of the piles. Pumped water broke the collars and cracked the concrete cover. Grout then flowed between the pile and the surrounding shaft. The grout also filled any fissures in the sandstone and limestone and ensured contact between the concrete shaft and the surrounding concrete. The bases of compression piles were grouted by connecting the grout tubes to the base. The thickness of the raft supported on the compression or the compression/tension piles is 1,275 mm. The raft was connected to the fourth basement slab by a system of vertical webs and short columns. The space between the top of the raft and the bottom of the fourth basement slab has been left open for future inspection. To reduce the amount of tension in the tension piles, additional dead load has been incorporated into the structure by increasing the thickness of the raft from 1,275 to 2,400 mm in the area where the raft is supported on tension piles (see figure 3[a]). The increased raft thickness also increases the flexural capacity of the raft in case any damage occurs to the tension piles in the future. To minimize the bending moments in the raft, all of the supporting columns are lined up nearly vertically with the piles in a one-column/one-pile concept. The shear walls and cores, however, transmit their loads indirectly to the supporting piles through the bending action of the raft. The reinforced-concrete raft was cast on top of a 200 mm thick raft of plain concrete on which a waterproofing membrane had been placed. The raft is structurally separated from the diaphragm wall. To ensure full insulation for the library building, the edges of the raft are connected to the outer wall. The outer wall is connected to the diaphragm wall by a very stiff capping beam to ensure that the diaphragm wall works together with the other elements of the building in resisting any actions caused by earthquakes (see figure 3). The inner face of the diaphragm wall is covered by high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sheets. The fact that about one-third of the total number of piles will be permanently subjected to tension created a challenge, especially when a life span of 200 years was considered. Part of the solution involved limiting the widths of potential cracks in the tension piles by limiting the stresses in the steel reinforcement. Special care has been taken to ensure that the connections between the tension piles and the raft foundation are watertight. All steel rebars in the top 1.2 m of the piles were placed inside HDPE sleeves with cementitious, nonshrinking grout in the space between the bar and the sleeve. Despite the fact that the library building has floors with very large spans and walls that have a perimeter of about 570 m, no expansion/contraction joints were provided. This required the designers to conduct a sophisticated thermal analysis, one that regarded the entire building as a single unit under the effect of uniform as well as nonuniform changes in temperature. A three-dimensional finite-element computer model was developed to idealize the library building, the raft foundation, and the piles. Three-dimensional shell elements were used to model the raft, the floor slabs, and the walls. The columns were modeled using three-dimensional frame elements. The piles were modeled using one-dimensional spring elements. The stiffness of the piles varied depending on the diameter of the pile and on whether it was subjected to tension or compression. Because of the necessity of providing large spaces that are free of columns, the spans of the library floors are relatively large and the dimensions of the concrete columns are relatively small-1,000 mm in diameter. Waffle slabs were used to cover the large spans. The small dimensions of the columns have been compensated for by increasing the amount of vertical reinforcement and using relatively high strength concrete. Shear walls and cores were designed to provide the required lateral load resistance. It is only from the inside of the library that the scale of the project becomes apparent. Its tall, slender columns and high roof create a cathedral-like atmosphere. The elimination of columns in some floors required the use of hangers with which the floors above are supported. A sophisticated structural analysis was required to examine the stability of the structure supported on reinforced-concrete hangers under various load cases. The concept of having alternative load paths was also adopted in such cases. Should the hangers fail, the hanging floor will still be stable, but it will suffer some serviceability problems, such as deflections or cracks. These problems, however, will be correctable. The columns supporting the roof of the library are spaced on a grid of 14.4 by 9.6 m. These columns, including capitals, are up to 16 m in height and 70 cm in diameter. They are rigidly connected to their lower ends and restrained from lateral movement by the roof girders at the top ends. Column capitals are precast on the ground, lifted to their specified position on top of the cast columns, and rigidly connected to the columns by welding around the steel base and sole plates. The exterior of the new library presents a monochromatic expanse in the form of the cylinder's perimeter wall (the inner wall) as it rises above pavement level. Far from being a smooth, metallic, high-tech skin, this is a curving cliff face of roughly cleft gray granite quarried in southern Egypt in Aswan. The only interruptions in the granite face are the large letters that have been carved into its surface. To symbolize world literature, the letters have been taken from as many alphabets as could be found. The design of the adjacent planetarium seeks to suggest a planet in space. The structure was therefore designed as a complete sphere, 18 m in diameter, suspended in air. The upper two-thirds of the sphere is projected above the ground level, while the lower third is hidden inside a 24 by 24 m pit with the bottom slab 13 m below the center of the sphere. The sphere hangs from two orthogonal through-type bridges used for visitor access to the facility. The bridges are supported on top of the reinforced-concrete walls of the pit. The access and stage floors of the planetarium are located at the levels of the bottom and top chords of the bridges, respectively. The sphere cladding is constructed of black-striped lightweight precast glass-reinforced cement plates, while the bridges are clad with silver aluminum. The structure of the sphere is built up from steel tube members connected to one another by patented ball joints. Each of the two bridges spans 24 m, with their two girders 3.1 m in height and spaced 2.4 m apart. Each girder is a combined truss/Vierendeel system, with the diagonal members inside the sphere eliminated to make the space in the access floor usable. Each girder has one restrained and one movable neoprene bearing. The members of the main girders have closed box cross sections. The two girders of each bridge are connected horizontally by bracing members in the planes of their top and bottom chords. The transfer of loads from the sphere to the bridges is through two horizontal, circular ring beams provided at the levels of the top and bottom chords. The upper part of the sphere rests on the top ring beam while the tower part is hung from the bottom ring beam. The two ring beams are interconnected by tubular members to complete the sphere and to form a circular steel deck. The deck is supported on traditional secondary beams carried by the bridge chord members and the ring beams. The complete steel structure-including the members of the geodesic sphere, the two horizontal circular ring beams, and the four truss/Vierendeel girders-was analyzed by the finite-element method. Static and dynamic analyses were carried out. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina has been a long time in the making. An archaeological investigation was begun in 1992, but no identifiable traces of the original library were uncovered. Construction of the main diaphragm wall for the library together with piles started in May 1995, and casting of the piled raft started in July 1996. The superstructure of the library was completed in February 1999, and the building will be occupied in July of this year. Most of the project funding has come from the Egyptian government. UNESCO is also supporting the project in technical matters relating to the running of the library and the acquisition of books. The foundation works were carried out by a joint venture of the Rodio Group, of Lodi, Italy; TRAVI Foundation Specialists, of Cesena, Italy; and Arab Contractors, of Cairo. The completion of this unique and imposing building will be carried out by a joint venture of Arab Contractors and the London-based contractor Balfour Beatty Plc. Although it took 12 years to develop, the new Alexandria library was built in strict accordance with the design that won the international competition. The new Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a testament to modern architectural and engineering design, and it could, given the texts and publications from all over the world that it will contain, become a major attraction for cultural and intellectual pursuits to rival its predecessor. Mamdouh Hamza, P.E., is a professor of soil mechanics and foundation engineering in Egypt at the Suez Canal University and is the chairman and founder of the consulting firm Hamza Associates, of Giza, Egypt. Mashhour Ghoneim, PE, is an associate professor of structural engineering at Cairo University and a senior associate of Hamza Associates. HARD-065 Mad Cow disease How did the world face the Mad Cow disease in 1999? All articles about the consequences of that disease, its side effects and how people reacted to them (new research, drugs...) are on topic. Articles that contain short definitions of the disease accompanied with any of the above are also on topic. Long definitions, things that did not happen in 1999, or personal experiences are not on topic. Mad cow disease, meat item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=3,+mad+cow+disease+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Confirmed: Mad cow disease kills humans Tuesday, 21 December 1999 A new study has British authorities worried that the full extent of the British 'mad cow' disaster may not be clear for many years to come. The research, by Michael Scott and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, and Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, is published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and comes towards the end of a British inquiry into the cause of the outbreak. According to the BBC, the chairman of the two-year-long inquiry, Lord Phillips, has warned that the human deaths recorded so far as being due to 'mad cow' disease may be only "the tip of the iceberg". Many experts believe that the appearance of a new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans in 1996 - which causes sponge-like holes in the brain - is linked to 'mad cow disease' (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE), via infectious proteins called prions. However the study in PNAS is, according to the journal, the first compelling data to indicate that the particular strain of prion implicated in mad cow disease is the same strain that causes the variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. By transfering genes from cows into mice, the researchers created a genetically altered line of mice that produced the same prion proteins naturally found in cows. They discovered there was no "species barrier" protecting members of one species from prions from a different species. Approximately 250 days after being inoculated with prions from diseased cows, the transgenic mice developed the disease. A second group of mice inoculated with prions from the first group of diseased mice also became sick after a virtually identical period of time. Most significantly, inoculation of the transgenic mice with prions from human cases of the new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease produced the same incubation period and pattern of brain damage as had inoculation with prions from diseased cows. Additionally, inoculation of transgenic mice with prions from sheep with scrapie -- another prion-related disease causing neurological damage -- produced prions with dramatically different biological properties.,+mad+cow+disease+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Alice Trinkl, News Director Source: Jennifer O'Brien Email: jobrien@pubaff.ucsf.edu for immediate release 12/20/99 DATA ESTABLISHES LINK BETWEEN "MAD COW" DISEASE, HUMAN BRAIN DISORDER Researchers are reporting what they say is the most compelling evidence, to date, that the infectious proteins called prions that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow" disease, have infected humans, causing fatal brain degeneration. Recent studies have suggested that the outbreak of mad cow disease in the late 1980s in Great Britain was responsible for the emergence of a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal brain-degenerative disease in humans also caused by prions. However, the link has been inconclusive. The current study establishes that the particular strain of prions, responsible for mad cow disease, is, in fact, the same strain that causes new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The finding, reported in the December 20 issue of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, is particularly unsettling because it undermines the comforting presumption that a "species barrier" dramatically lessened the likelihood that people exposed to "mad cow" disease through meats, cosmetics, and medicinal supplies would be infected. The species barrier refers to the relative lack of susceptibility of one species to prions derived from another species. While Great Britain took the necessary measures in the late 1980s to limit spread of the disease, the disease is believed to incubate for at least 10 years, making it impossible to predict, the researchers said, how many people have been infected.1 More than 175,000 cattle, primarily dairy cows have died of BSE during the past decade. More than 50 teenagers and young adults have died of new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) since 1995. Nine new deaths from CJD were reported in the last quarter of 1998. While the origins of BSE remain obscure, one possibility is that the cattle developed the disease by being fed meat and bone meal contaminated with prions from the sheep with the disease, scrapie. No cattle in the United States were contaminated with "mad cow" disease, and no cases of new-variant CJD, have been reported in this country, according to public health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. To protect public health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of most mammalian protein in the production of animal feeds for cows, sheep and goats in 1997. The study was conducted by researchers in the UC San Francisco Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, using brain tissue from human cases supplied by researchers at the National CJD Survelliance Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland. The Director of the UC San Francisco Institute, Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, UCSF professor of neurology, biochemistry and biophysics, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for discovering that the neurodegenerative diseases known as spongiform encephalopathies were caused by prions.2 Prusiner and Stephen A. DeArmond, MD, PhD, UCSF professor of pathology and chief of the Division of Neuropathology, were the senior authors of the study. The current finding builds on recent epidemiological studies, along with studies of the prion protein and transmissions to inbred mice and primates, that suggest a link between the cow and human forms of prion disease. The researchers conducted their study by first creating a line of transgenic mice genetically engineered to contain genes for the bovine prion protein. (Prion proteins are not, in themselves, lethal. They exist in all mammals and birds that have been examined, including humans, and become destructive only when their shape is altered, a change that occurs either through infection by an already infectious protein or through a genetic mutation.) The line of mice was known as Tg(BOPrP). The researchers then inoculated the mice with prions from diseased cows. And approximately 250 days after being inoculated, all of the transgenic mice developed the neurologic disease. Next, another group of mice was inoculated with prions from the diseased mice, and this group became sick after a virtually identical period of time, confirming that the transgenic mice transmit mad cow disease prions with no detectable change of strain or species-specific properties attributable to the mice, themselves. Finally, and most important, transgenic mice inoculated with prions from human cases of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease produced the same incubation period and pattern of brain damage as had inoculation with prions from diseased cows. To test their findings, the researchers inoculated transgenic mice with prions from sheep with scrapie, another prion disease causing neurological damage, and determined that these prions have dramatically different biological properties. "BSE and new variant CJD produce the identical disease pattern of disease in Tg(BOPrP) mice, and those characteristics were those different than that found with inocula from other CJD cases or scrapie from sheep. These findings argue unequivocally that BSE and new variant CJD are the same strain of prion," said senior author DeArmond. "The fact that the human new-variant CJD prions so precisely duplicate the properties of native bovine BSE prions in their behavior on transmission to the transgenic mice creates a compelling argument for a persuasive link between BSE and nvCJD," said Michael R. Scott, PhD, UCSF associate adjunct professor in the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and the lead author of the study. Given the enormity of the affected cattle population in Great Britain, a means of assessing risk to the human population is paramount, and more sensitive methods for detection of prions are urgently needed, the researchers said. The newly developed mouse model, Tg (BoPrP), should provide a sensitive test for detecting BSE prions, they said. Co-authors of the paper were Hoang-Oanh B. Nguyen, BS, UCSF staff research associate, and Patrick Tremblay, PhD, UCSF assistant adjunct professor, both of the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Departments of Neurology; and Robert Will, MD, and James Ironside, MD, of National CJD Survelliance Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation. -- end -- 1 To protect public health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of most mammalian protein in the production of animal feeds for cows, sheep and goats in 1997. And companies that produce drugs from animal tissues are required to conduct a purification process intended to destroy prions. These moves followed the 1989 regulation in Great Britain banning the use of offal in cattle feed. But the FDA ban excludes processed products produced from blood, collagen and gelatin for human consumption. And the UCSF scientists are concerned that these materials might harbor prions under some unusual circumstances. Moreover, they are worried that the technique being used to screen cattle products is not sensitive enough. Prior to development of transgenic mice harboring bovine prion protein genes, the only sure-proof way to determine if a live cow has bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is to wait out its lengthy incubation period--a minimum of four years. To circumvent this delay, scientists inject cattle tissue into "wild-type," or normal, mice to see if they develop the disease. But non-transgenic, normal mice have severe limitations: the animals take nearly a year to develop signs of the disease, they develop it only sporadically, and acquire it only when exposed to high levels of prions. 2 Prusiner won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for discovering that the neurodegenerative diseases known as spongiform encephalopathies, which include "mad cow disease," are caused by an infectious form of a protein that exists in all mammals and birds examined, including humans. He proposed that the protein becomes infectious and destructive only when its shape is altered, and that this change occurs either through infection by an already infectious protein or through a genetic mutation. The protein is believed to be the principal, if not sole, component of an infectious particle that Prusiner named "prion" (PREE-on), for proteinaceous infectious particle. The normal protein is referred to as PrPc. HARD-069 Environmental protection What measures did governments take to protect the environment and reduce pollution in the last year? Articles about new laws passed or efforts made in 1999 to protect the environment are on-topic. Articles mentioning statistics of the level of pollution in the world in 1999 without mentioning how to save the environment from this pollution are off-topic. environment, protection item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Administrative item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2 79/01 31 July 2001 EXPENDITURE BY INDUSTRY ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Companies are now spending more on integrating environmental protection into the process rather than waiting to clean up at 'end-of-pipe'. This is one of the findings in a research report on Environmental Protection Expenditure by Industry 1999, published today by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The report includes estimates for the UK of gross and net environmental protection expenditure, by type of expenditure and broken down by industry classification and company size. Key Results UK industry spent an estimated 4.1 billion ( 800 million at 95% confidence intervals) on environmental protection during 1999, representing approximately per cent of total turnover. The primary spending industries were food production, beverages and tobacco products, chemicals and metals. The majority of spending was for the protection of air and water and for the treatment and disposal of solid waste. The proportion of capital expenditure spent on 'integrated' processes compared to 'end-of-pipe' pollution control has increased, nearly one-half in 1999 compared to under 30 per cent in a 1997 survey. This reflects changes to the environmental regulatory process, where the emphasis is shifting from applying methods to clean up emissions and wastes to introducing production facilities that have been designed so that environmental protection is an 'integrated' part of the proces,+fy+1999,+Environmental+protection&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 FY 1999 Environmental Protection Agency Appropriations Testimony The EPA's scientific research and development programs are of interest to many of ASM's members who work in the fields of applied and environmental microbiology. Research on environmental microbiology is essential for maintaining air, water, and soil quality; for assuring the safety of potable water supplies; and for providing safe means for waste disposal. Support of applied research in the field of environmental microbiology can lead to enhanced environmental quality and help protect human health. The ASM believes that sound public policy for environmental protection depends on adequately funded programs of intramural and extramural research based on a system of peer review to assure that support is awarded to research programs having both quality and relevance. The EPA, which has partnered with the NSF in recent years for peer review of some extramural research programs, now is undertaking its own peer review system based upon the NSF model. Critical peer review of both the intramural and extramural research programs of the EPA are necessary for ensuring the quality and scientific validity of studies that are funded. Science to Achieve Results Program The EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program is an important extramural research initiative. This program is targeted to receive $99 million for FY 1999, a $12 million increase over last year's budget of about $87 million. This program funds important environmental research proposals from scientists outside the federal government and is a valuable resource for the EPA in finding solutions to many of the complex environmental problems we face today. Grants made under the STAR program last from two to three years and provide about $150,000 of scientific support per grant year. The STAR program funds projects in specific focal areas including, bioremediation, drinking water, ecology of harmful algal blooms, water and watersheds, ecosystem indicators, pollution prevention, and ecological assessment, which have significant microbiological components. The ASM urges the Congress to fully fund the STAR program at the requested level of $99 million. Drinking Water Research In past years, the EPA has funded a disproportionate number of projects in chemistry as opposed to microbiology in research areas such as drinking water. Given the risks posed by waterborne pathogens, as evidenced by disease outbreaks such as Cryptosporidium in Milwaukee and economic losses such as the estimated $43 million loss due to Pfiesteria in the Chesapeake Bay, the ASM believes that more emphasis needs to be placed on microbiology. The ASM believes it is imperative to provide sound reliable science to support the EPA in its effort to promulgate responsible regulations to protect human health from the risks associated with such contaminants. For example, much research needs to be conducted to control the outbreaks of human exposure to the protozoan Cryptosporidium in our drinking water as well as to other pathogens. To date, hundreds of people have died and many thousands have become ill as a result of exposure to microbial pathogens in potable water. In 1993, 400,000 people became infected with Cryptosporidium from Milwaukee's water supply. The EPA must develop advance-warning systems that increase protection of public health and enable the nation to avoid future incidents such as the devastating Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee that was disseminated via the municipal potable water supply. The protection of the American people from the potential health risks of exposure to microbial contaminants in their drinking water is reason enough to require the EPA to support research related to the microbial quality of water. This research should be coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), particularly with respect to emerging waterborne pathogens. Graduate Environmental Fellowship Program The ASM urges Congress to fund the EPA's Graduate Fellowship Program at a $15 million level for FY 1999, a $5 million increase over the President's request and last year's funding level of $10 million. The EPA's Graduate Environmental Fellowship Program is one of the many initiatives the federal government must fully support to ensure that the nation is prepared to answer the complex scientific questions of the future. Both the public and private sectors will need a steady stream of well trained environmental specialists. The fellowship program encourages promising environmental graduate students to pursue careers in environmentally related fields. With environmental challenges facing the nation including cleaning up toxic waste, ensuring cleaner air and water, and providing safe drinking water, there is a clear need for highly skilled, well trained environmental experts to find solutions to these pressing issues. However, it is essential that once the EPA receives funding for this important program, the agency support fellowships in areas related to the microbial risks in the environment including water quality and bioremediative techniques to clean up toxic waste. Targeting Research to Regulation The ASM urges Congress to require the EPA to examine its basic research programs to ensure their adequacy for providing the information necessary for sound rule making. The ASM is concerned that the basic research that underpins environmental policy and rule making in specific areas is inadequate. We note for example that the 1999 proposed STAR program, highlighted above, has not identified animal wastes and contamination of water as an area for basic research funding even though the EPA has made this a critical issue for its regulatory oversight. Regulations must be based on sound science. The ASM is supportive of an independent study by an expert scientific panel to review the coordination of intramural and extramural activities aimed at ensuring that basic research is performed in areas where they are needed to formulate environmental policy and to allow scientifically valid regulatory oversight. To address this issue, the ASM urges the Committee to insert the following report language: It is the opinion of the Committee that Americans should be protected from the threat of pathogenic microorganisms in their drinking waters and recreational waters through scientifically risk-based regulation. The Committee therefore requests the Agency to take steps to ensure that research and fellowships related to improving the microbial quality of water are supported through the STAR program and the Environmental Graduate Fellowship Program as well as other EPA research efforts. This should include the commissioning of an independent study by an expert scientific panel to review the coordination of EPA intramural and extramural activities aimed at ensuring that basic research is performed in areas where they are needed to formulate environmental policy and to allow scientifically valid regulatory oversight. HARD-070 Red Cross activities What has been the Red Cross' international role in the last year? Articles concerning the Red Cross's activities around the globe are on topic. Has the RC's role changed? Information restricted to international relief efforts that do not include the RC are off-topic. Red cross, activities item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Sentence item=familiarity, value=2 31-08-2000 Annual Report 1999 Dakar, regional delegation (covering Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal),+red+cross%27s,+activities+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 President ousted in Guinea-Bissau On 31 January fighting broke out in Guinea-Bissau for the third time since 1998 7 between troops loyal to the President and those of the military junta. Some 70,000 people fled, approximately 100 were killed and 400 wounded. The President met the head of the military junta in Bissau on 20 February and announced the creation of a government of national unity. With the withdrawal of foreign troops from Senegal and Guinea by mid-March, most of the displaced people returned home. The truce was short-lived, however. A further bout of fighting in May prompted yet another exodus from the capital. After two days of clashes in which 80 people died and more than 200 were injured, the government forces were defeated and the military junta's soldiers marched into Bissau. As calm returned to the capital, displaced people began to flock back. ECOMOG peacekeeping forces, which had refrained from taking part in the fighting, ended their mission in Guinea-Bissau in May. Presidential elections were held on 28 November in a generally quiet and orderly manner, with the two leading candidates going forward to a second round scheduled for January 2000. Emergency response during the fighting At the height of the fighting, the ICRC publicly appealed to the parties to comply with the rules of humanitarian law. The violence of the exchanges of artillery fire in Bissau in January made it difficult for ICRC delegates to move about the capital freely, but as soon as it was safe to do so they delivered emergency medical supplies to the Simao Mendes Central Hospital, where five surgeons were operating round the clock on the war-wounded, while National Society staff evacuated the wounded and dead. When displaced people returned to the capital following the truce, the ICRC and the National Society distributed emergency assistance to those whose homes had been destroyed in the fighting. In May, an ICRC team worked alongside the National Society, administering first aid, evacuating the wounded to hospital and transporting corpses to the morgue. Visits to detainees proceed Visits continued to prisoners held by the military junta. In January, for the first time since the onset of hostilities, delegates were also able to visit people detained by the government in connection with the conflict. Following the junta's victory in May, the ICRC approached the new authorities and ECOMOG in order to obtain access to more than 700 newly arrested people, including members of the old regime. Although many were rapidly released, more than 100 detainees falling under the ICRC's mandate were still being held at the end of the year, awaiting the next step in the legal process. Following the end of hostilities and the return of displaced people to their homes, the ICRC scaled down its Red Cross message service and relief activities. Four field trips carried out by the ICRC throughout the country to assess the situation revealed that farmers were able to harvest and sell their cashew nuts, enabling them to purchase enough rice to see the population through to the next rice harvest. Glimmer of hope in Casamance A meeting between the Senegalese President and the MFDC* leader on 22 January hinted at the possibility of peace for Senegal's conflict-torn Casamance region. A further positive sign was the release in February of 117 people held in connection with the unrest. Clashes were nonetheless regularly reported between the separatist movement and the armed forces, especially in areas close to the border with Guinea-Bissau, where the MFDC continued to maintain bases. The fighting claimed DAKAR civilian lives and led to fresh population displacements. Peace talks got under way in Banjul on 26 December, the third attempt by the two parties since 1991 to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict. On the last day of the year, 41 detainees held in connection with Casamance events were released after receiving a presidential pardon. Vegetable gardens to improve detainees' health The ICRC continued to visit detainees held in connection with the strife in Casamance. It launched its third vegetable garden project, this time at the Bignona prison, where the annual production of roughly 85 tonnes of vegetables was intended to help improve the nutritional intake of detainees at the Bignona and Ziguinchor prisons. The Kolda vegetable garden project, which had yielded 45 tonnes of vegetables in its initial one-year period, continued to run successfully and greatly helped to balance and enhance the quality and quantity of food distributed to the detainees. Troubles persist in northern Mali Municipal elections in Mali in June concluded the election process (legislative, presidential and municipal) initiated in 1997. Although the elections were relatively unperturbed in most parts of the country, there were upheavals in the Gao and Kidal regions. Inter-ethnic clashes occurred in July and August in the north, claiming some 30 victims. Additional troops were deployed in the northern part of the country to help ease tensions. The situation in the north, compounded by the activities of armed bandits, seriously restricted the ICRC's movements in the area. Programmes completed in northern Mali In 1999 the ICRC completed two major projects for the population in northern Mali begun in the early 1990s in the aftermath of the rebellion and designed to help counter the region's recurrent instability and chronic underdevelopment. The first, conducted over a period of three years, involved constructing or rehabilitating and equipping 19 community health centres - ten around Timbuktu by an ICRC team, and nine around Bourem in Gao as part of a project delegated to the Belgian Red Cross. ICRC and Belgian Red Cross teams conducted missions to the field to offer people in remote areas health services similar to those provided in the health centres, such as vaccination, and to raise awareness of basic health standards. By the end of the year, the ICRC and the Belgian Red Cross were in a position to hand over responsibility for all the health centres to local associations representing the communities. The ICRC also completed its water and sanitation project, begun in 1997. Over three years it sank or rehabilitated some 150 wells or water holes serving health centres and remote rural communities without access to clean water. Seminar on light weapons With the financial and technical support of the Norwegian Red Cross, PCASED* and the ICRC, the Mali Red Cross Society organized a seminar in Bamako on 5 and 6 October on the theme of "humanitarian challenges in the face of the proliferation of light weapons", attended by representatives of the National Societies of nine ECOWAS member States (Mali, Senegal, Cte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Togo and Benin). An official ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions was held alongside the seminar, with the participation of the former Malian head of State, Amadou Toumani Tour. Coup d'tat in Niger On 9 April a coup d'tat which led to the assassination of the President, who himself came to power in a coup in 1996, caused worldwide indignation and the immediate suspension of international aid to Niger. The junta regime that followed the coup set up a Niger Reconciliation Council, a body of 14 members acting as the supreme executive power. Six months after the coup, on 17 October, presidential and legislative elections were held and the military rulers prepared to hand over power to a civilian government, but not before securing an amnesty for themselves and those who had taken part in the 1996 coup. Protests in Burkina Faso Violent demonstrations in Burkina Faso following the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo in December 1998 gave way to generally peaceful student, trade union and human rights group protests against the reign of impunity. Riots erupted again at the end of November in Ouagadougou, opposing the security forces and students demanding the release of 22 of their colleagues arrested during earlier protests. Assistance to Burkinab returnees Some 10,000 people of Burkinab nationality, violently expelled from Cte d'Ivoire in November [8], returned to Burkina Faso. Many had had to leave everything behind. With ICRC support, the Burkinab Red Cross mounted an assistance operation for the returnees in several towns along the border. Gambia: detainees allowed to communicate with families In July the ICRC was given permission to exchange Red Cross messages on behalf of detainees held in Mile 2 prison in Banjul, Gambia, for their part in the 1994 coup attempt. They had been kept incommunicado for more than four years. On 26 November, a working meeting was held between the Interministerial Committee on Humanitarian Law and the ICRC to examine the status of implementation of humanitarian law in Senegal. Following the coup in Niger, the ICRC established contact with the new authorities during a mission to Niamey in June in order to secure guarantees from the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and Higher Education that humanitarian law programmes would continue. Another mission to Niamey in October was undertaken by the representative of the ICRC's Advisory Service based in Abidjan and a delegate from Bamako at the request of Niger's Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to assist the authorities in revising the penal code to take into account grave breaches of humanitarian law. Humanitarian law implementation In Burkina Faso, a seminar on the implementation of humanitarian law in May, attended by some 50 key figures from various ministries and by representatives of the National Society, and a follow-up meeting in July, resulted in the creation of a provisional national committee with a view to incorporating humanitarian law into national legislation. An assessment of the current state of implementation of humanitarian law in Gambia was finalized by a Gambian lawyer and, on the ICRC's recommendation, the government created an interministerial committee on humanitarian law on 12 August. This was followed on 30 November and 1 December by Gambia's first seminar on the implementation of humanitarian law, organized jointly by the ICRC, the Gambia Red Cross Society and the Gambian Department of State for Justice. Humanitarian law and military training The Mali armed forces Chief-of-Staff and close advisors met with a view to incorporating a compulsory humanitarian law programme into the curricula of military education centres as of 2000. On 12 August, the ICRC held a meeting with some 30 senior officers to emphasize the importance of disseminating humanitarian law to the Malian armed forces and of including it in military training. The Chief-of-Staff and Joint Chiefs-of-Staff attended the presentation, as did the directors of the military academies. A meeting was also held in May with the Minister of Defence and his key advisor in Ouagadougou to discuss the dissemination of humanitarian law to the Burkinab armed forces and its teaching in military academies. Following the authorization received in May from the Army Commander, dissemination sessions began for members of the Gambian armed forces. The first and second phases of the programme went ahead in military barracks in Banjul and the interior in July and October respectively. On these occasions, copies of the "Soldier's Manual", specially printed by the delegation in the national colours, were distributed to the troops. HARD-077 Insect-borne illnesses How have Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and the West Nile virus changed the way Americans interact with nature and/or the suburban landscape? Articles related to West Nile virus, RMSF and Lyme disease warnings are on-topic. Information about how people live during the summer months (barbecue, etc) and how this has changed due to fear of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases are on-topic. Stories about similar diseases outside of the US are off-topic. insects, Lyme Disease, ticks, West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), mosquitos item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=1,+insects+cause+diseases,+africa&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Common Insect-Borne Diseases source: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Bugs (insects) spread many infectious diseases around the world. In the United States, ticks have long been associated with illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mosquitoes spread West Nile disease and other encephalitis viruses, and fleas continue to transmit the occasional case of bubonic plague.These insects are called "vectors" or organisms that transmit a pathogen to another living organism. Vectors therefore serve as an intermediate host between one organism to the next. Often, important life cycle stages are completed within a given intermediate host. Tick-Borne Diseases Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is caused by tiny bacteria called rickettsiae that live inside the cells of infected individuals. It has been reported throughout the United States, but is most prevalent in the South Atlantic and South-Central states. In 1999, 579 cases were reported to the CDC.1 The bacterial species responsible for RMSF, Rickettsia ricketsii, is passed to humans through the bite of a tick. Once in the bloodstream, the microbes enter the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, and there they reproduce. As the bacteria divide, they spread throughout the circulatory system and invade more endothelial cells. Sites of infection can swell, and red blood cells can leak out of the vessels into surrounding tissues. RMSF symptoms include fever, headache, rash, and muscle aches. The characteristic rash is an important indicator of infection. The disease can usually be cured with antibiotics, especially when given early. No vaccine is available. Lyme Disease > view our feature on Lyme Disease Lyme disease was first reported in 1975 after researchers investigated why unusually large numbers of children were being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme, Connecticut, and two neighboring towns. Scientists soon discovered the disease was caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi passed to humans through the bite of a tick. The bacterium is carried by the deer tick in the eastern and central United States and by the Western black-legged tick on the Pacific coast. In 1999, 16,273 cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1 In the United States more than 90 percent of all reported cases occur in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and the upper Midwest. Few cases have been reported in northern California and remaining states. The first sign of Lyme disease is often a circular or bullseye-like rash appearing at the site of a tick bite within a few weeks of the bite. Sometimes the rash is the first sign a person has been bitten. As the rash progresses it can appear on other sites of the body. The disease is easily cured at this stage with antibiotics, so careful attention to the symptoms is critical for proper care. If left untreated, many people develop pain and swelling in the joints, which may progress to chronic arthritis. In some cases, neurological symptoms also appear. To reduce the risk of infection, a Lyme disease vaccine (LYMErix) is available for use by people who live in endemic areas and are at high risk for developing the disease Ehrlichiosis Ehrlichiosis describes several tick-borne bacterial infections originally known to only affect dogs and livestock in the United States, although human disease has been reported in the Far East since the 1950s. Since the mid-1980s, however, bacteria of the genus Ehrlichia have increasingly infected humans in the United States. In June 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began listing ehrlichiosis as a reportable disease; 302 cases were reported in 1999. Ehrlichia bacteria live inside the cells of infected individuals and cause two major diseases in the U.S. human population. Human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) occurs when the bacteria infect granulocytes, specific cells involved in immune responses and allergies. Human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME) occurs when a different Ehrlichia species infects macrophages, another type of immune cell. HGE and HME differ, but their symptoms overlap. Both often cause fever, headaches, and aches and pains, but a rash is not as common as with Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease. HGE and HME can be treated with antibiotics if the infection is detected early. No vaccine is available. Babesiosis > view our feature on Babesiosis Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by malaria-like parasites of the genus Babesia. These single-celled organisms invade red blood cells and may cause fatigue, aches, fever, chills, sweating, dark urine, enlarged spleen, or anemia. Infections can range from no serious symptoms to fatal disease. Tracking Babesia infections is difficult due to the number of asymptomatic infections. First reported as "Texas cattle fever" around the turn of the century, babesiosis has come under increasing concern because the parasite can be transmitted to humans by the same tick that transmits the Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis bacteria. Studies have shown that a single tick can simultaneously carry all three microbes, creating the potential for passing multiple infections to people. Babesiosis can also be transmitted by blood transfusion. Babesiosis can be treated with antiparasitic drugs; transfusions are sometimes used to treat severe cases. No vaccine is available. Flea-Borne Diseases Plague > view our feature on Plague Bubonic plague was a scourge of Europe in the Middle Ages, when it is estimated to have killed one-fourth to one-third of that continent's population. The disease is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is transmitted to people mainly through the bite of a flea. People with lung plague can also spread the bacterium directly to others. The microbe normally infects rodents, which serve as the primary carriers for the disease. Today plague continues to affect up to 3,000 people each year worldwide. In the United States the bacterium primarily infects prairie dogs and other rodents of the southwest, with few human cases occurring each year. In 1999, nine cases of plague in people were reported to the CDC. After an infective flea bites a person, the bacteria migrate to the nearest lymph nodes, where they can cause a painful swelling or bubo, from which bubonic plague takes its name. The bacteria quickly spread throughout the body and can cause death within 2 to 4 days of the onset symptoms. In some cases, the bacteria infect the lungs and cause pneumonic plague, a deadly and highly contagious form of the disease. Under most circumstances, plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics. No vaccine is available. Mosquito-Borne Diseases West Nile Virus West Nile virus was first isolated in Uganda in 1937. Today it is most often found in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and West Asia. In 1999, the virus appeared in North America for the first time, and the following year the virus was reported in 12 states along the East coast. In the two years since West Nile virus was first reported in the United States, it has killed eight people and sickened 80 others. West Nile virus is a member of the flavivirus group, viruses spread by insects and known to cause disease in humans and animals. In the United States, birds appear to be the major carrier of the disease. When certain mosquito species feed on the blood of infected birds, the insects ingest the virus. When these mosquitoes bite people, they can pass the virus into humans. Most people infected with West Nile virus have only mild illness. In the worst cases, however, the virus causes encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. No specific medication exists to treat West Nile virus infection, and no vaccine is available to prevent it. St. Louis and La Crosse Encephalitis > view our feature on Encephalitis St. Louis encephalitis and LaCrosse encephalitis are caused by viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. More than 100 cases of St. Louis encephalitis occur each year in the United States, and a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine (2001;34:801-07) points to LaCrosse encephalitis as an increasingly common infection, particularly among infants and children. Malaria > view our feature on malaria Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease caused by a parasite. There are four kinds of malaria that can infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax (VI-vacks), P. ovale, and P. malariae. Humans get malaria from the bite of a malaria-infected mosquito. When a mosquito bites an infected person, it ingests microscopic Plasmodium found in the person?s blood. Malaria occurs in over 100 countries and territories. More than 40% of the people in the world are at risk. Large areas of Central and South America, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania are considered malaria-risk areas (an area of the world that has malaria). The World Health Organization estimates that yearly 300-500 million cases of malaria occur and more than 1 million people die of malaria. About 1,200 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. Most cases in the United States are in immigrants and travelers returning from malaria-risk areas, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.,+insects+cause+diseases,+africa&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 In Latin America, up to 18 million people are infected with Chagas disease, a deadly parasitic disease transmitted by blood-sucking insects. The disease can also be transmitted through blood transfusions and from mother to baby. The chronic stage of the disease can last for years as parasites invade the internal organs - causing irreversible damage to the heart and intestines. The disease is very difficult to treat with existing drugs. In some parts of Latin America it is the leading cause of cardiac death in young adults. One hundred million people are at risk. In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, over 50% of the blood in blood banks was infected with the parasites. HARD-084 Earthquakes How did powerful earthquakes of 1999 affect the economies of nations struck with these disasters and how did governments try to rebuild their state? Articles that address the severity of major earthquakes on a local economic level are on-topic. Documents that detail the economic drain on the countries that suffered earthquakes are on-topic. Articles restricted to the humanitarian aid proffered by other countries after earthquakes are off-topic, while aid and administrative plans from the local government are on-topic. Earthquakes, natural disaster relief plans, government aid item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2,earthquakes,+japan&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 1999: the year that seismic shifts killed 20,000 across the world By David Harrison Report Courtesy of: The Telegraph FROM Colombia to India, Turkey to Taiwan, Mexico, and now California, 1999 has been the year of the earthquake. More than 20,000 people have died in six serious earthquakes this year, with many thousands more left injured and homeless. The worst was in north-western Turkey two months ago, when more than 16,000 died in the densely populated area around Izmit. Seismologists said yesterday's quake in California's sparsely populated Mojave desert would have been "devastating" if the epicentre had been 100 miles to the west in Los Angeles. Geologists know where earthquakes are likely to occur: the difficulty is predicting when. A spokesman for the California Institute of Technology said: "It's almost impossible to know when they will come. All we can do is take as many precautions as we can." Yet despite the doom-mongers who blame the approach of the Millennium for the recent rash of earthquakes, they are no more likely now than in the last Millennium, according to seismologists. The difference is that more people are at risk from earthquakes today because there are more people on the planet: six billion, as the United Nations said this week, and growing by 90 million a year.(1) Rich countries have helped to cut the potential death toll in earthquake-prone areas by developing anti-earthquake technology and constructing "flexible" buildings that sway during tremors, but remain standing. But this has not happened in poorer countries, where low-quality buildings, combined with fast-growing populations, has made them vulnerable to a heavy death toll when an earthquake strikes. The Turkish earthquake was much worse than it should have been because the government ignored warnings from experts that its industrial heartland and tens of thousands of homes were being built on the highest-risk earthquake zones. Prof Erdogan Yuzer, president of the Turkish committee of the International Association of Engineering Geology, said: "People don't believe it's going to happen. They don't believe in science." The number of potential victims has also been increased by large-scale migration from rural areas to towns and cities - many in coastal areas around the Pacific Rim, including the Americas, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Coasts are vulnerable to earthquakes because they were formed by the movement of tectonic plates and remain on fault lines. Earthquakes are most likely to occur where a continental tectonic plate meets an oceanic plate, such as in the Pacific Rim, or where a continental plate meets another continental plate, such as in Turkey. But some people in California are convinced that the state has been more vulnerable to earthquakes as a result of American nuclear tests carried out in the Mojave desert. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey, said the Mojave quake was a fresh tremor and not a long-delayed aftershock to the powerful Landers quake, 7.2 on the Richter scale, that rocked the area in 1992. The earth is hit by up to 10,000 quakes every day, according to geologists. Most do no damage at all and cause no loss of life, but around 400 a year are serious, measuring more than 5.5 on the Richter scale. Britain is not immune to earthquakes. There have been 25 earthquakes measuring 4.5 or more on the Richter scale this century, but all in remote areas. In 1580, two people in Britain were killed by earthquakes in the Dover Strait. The cost of repairing the physical damage caused by quakes is enormous. Insurers estimate that last year was the most expensive since records began, with losses totalling $93 billion from all natural disasters. This year's figure could be higher.,earthquakes,+japan,happened&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Comparison of Earthquakes in Taiwan, Turkey and Japan Large earthquakes occurred throughout the world in 1999, taking many lives and doing tremendous damage to buildings and other structures. Shimizu sent investigators to earthquake sites in Turkey and Taiwan to gather information. In this section, we focus on the earthquake that occurred in Taiwan. The Jiji Earthquake in Taiwan (1999) Earthquake Overview Date and time : September 21, 1999, at 01:47. Epicenter : Northern Taiwan Latitude: 23.85 N Longitude: 120.78 E Magnitude : 7.7 (Ms, USGS) Depth : 1.0km Damage Overview Deaths : Approximately 2,300 Injuries : Approximately 10,000 Totally collapsed buildings : Approximately 9,900 Damage to Buildings (1) Damage to pilotis-style buildings. Damage to mid- and high-rise reinforced concrete buildings. Damage from ground deformation. (2) Damage to bridges and dams from the shifting fault and from ground deformation. Large-scale landslides and liquefaction. Various Examples of Earthquake Damage in Taiwan * Some of these examples were provided by the Japanese Geotechnical Society The Kocaeli Earthquake in Turkey (1999) Earthquake Overview Collapse of first floor (Adapazari) Date and time : August 17, 1999, at 03:01 Epicenter : Northwestern Turkey Latitude: 29.99 N Longitude: 40.70 E Magnitude : 7.4 (Ms, USGS) Depth : 17km Damage Overview Deaths : Approximately 15,000 Injuries : Approximately 24,000 (as of September 13) Collapsed/ destroyed buildings : Approximately 187,700 (as of September 12) Damage to Buildings (1) Collapse of mid-rise reinforced-concrete housing *Collapse of the first floor or total collapse of all floors *Falling of non-structural walls (perforated brick) (2) Minor damage to masonry structures (3) Damage directly above fault, damage caused by ground deformation Building tipped over (Adapazari) Perforated brick The Great Hanshin Earthquake in Japan (1995) Earthquake Overview Distribution of Magnitude-7 Earthquakes (Onsite surveys by the Japan Meteorological Agency) Date and time : January 17, 1995, at 05:46 Epicenter : Northern Awaji Island Latitude: 34.60 N Longitude: 135.04 E Magnitude : 7.2 (Japan Meteorological Agency) Depth : 14.3km Damage Overview Deaths : 6,430 Injuries : more than 40,000 Totally collapsed building : more than 106,000 Damage to Buildings (1) Collapse of middle floors (2) Collapse of wooden structures (3) Breakage of steel pillars (4) Collapse of highway bridges (5) Collapse of subway stations (6) Damage to lifelines (7) Large-scale fires Collapse of middle floors Damage to steel pillars of high-rise housing Collapse of homes Fire in Nagata Ward From "Slide Collection of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995" compiled by the Architectural Institute of Japan and the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. Comparison of the Jiji and Great Hanshin Earthquakes Damage in Taiwan was about one-tenth that in Japan Damage in Taiwan centered on Nantou and Taichung counties, where more than 2,300 people died, more than 10,000 buildings collapsed, and damage totaled approximately \960 billion (one-tenth the amount of damage done by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Japan). More than one-third of the fatalities were older people aged 60 or more (similar to what happened in Japan). In some areas, the earthquake also paralyzed important disaster-prevention facilities. Many reinforced-concrete (RC) buildings collapsed Many of the buildings that collapsed were made of concrete reinforced with steel bars, ranging from low-rise, old buildings through new, modern high-rises. Many buildings with weak ground floors in particular were found tilting or fallen over. Many relatively new RC apartment buildings with ten floors or more also suffered extensive damage. Causes for the damage included design problems associated with the use of pilotis-style construction, the strength of pillars in the axial direction, shear strength, inadequate deformation capabilities, inappropriate steel beam couplings, and other construction problems. However, the periodicity of the ground and buildings also had an effect. Liquefaction also occurred in some places. Buildings located directly over the fault collapsed when the fault shifted Buildings and bridges were damaged when the underlying fault shifted. The Ishioka Dam was damaged directly by a fault shift. Differences in degree of shaking The Jiji Earthquake features large undulations going east-west that lasted more than 30 seconds. In contrast, the main tremors of the Great Hanshin Earthquake lasted only about 10 seconds, a much shorter time. However, the tremors contained periodicities close to those of buildings (0.3-2.0 seconds), which amplified the damage. The effects of an active fault The Jiji Earthquake was generated by the movement of a known, active fault located near the center of the island. Many active faults also exist in Japan. Strong tremors generated by any of these faults can cause extensive damage (as was seen in the case of the Great Hanshin Earthquake). Concern about marine earthquakes Japan cannot ignore the possibility of major earthquakes occurring at sea (through plate subsidence). If such an earthquake were to occur, the fault area that collapsed would be extremely large, making devastating extensive damage probable. A large-scale marine earthquake would also generate a tsunami which, as has been demonstrated in the past, can result in many casualties and tremendous property damage. HARD-087 Egyptian cotton How did Egyptian cotton influence Egypt and the world in 1999? Documents about the role of cotton in Egypt's economy, state control of the cotton industry and international competition in the cotton trade are on topic. cotton industry, Egypt, economy item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2,+cotton+egypt&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 III. STATE CONTROL AND LIBERALIZATION OF COTTON PRODUCTION Although it has lost ground in recent years, Egyptian cotton still commands over one-third of the world market for long-staple and extra-long staple cotton, and is Egypt's most lucrative export commodity after oil.2 The value of Egyptian cotton lies in its strength and elasticity, which allows it to be woven much more tightly than other strains. It is also the most time consuming and labor intensive cotton strain to cultivate, requiring seven to eight months to grow and manual harvesting.3 Egypt's cotton crop is overwhelmingly the product of small farms. A 1997 government study found that nearly 70 percent of farmers cultivated an area of less than one acre each and just over 20 percent cultivated between one and three acres.4 Until the mid-1990s, however, the Egyptian state played a formidable role in cotton production: it determined the amount of land that would be allocated for cotton farming, monopolized the supply of seeds, pesticides, and other inputs, fixed the prices farmers were paid for their crop as well as its export price, and had exclusive control over the marketing of cotton. This authority was exercised at the local level through agricultural cooperatives, village-level institutions that were established through the First Agrarian Reform of 1952 and which continue to play a significant, albeit reduced, role in cotton production.5 Formally participatory institutions, in which membership is mandatory for most farmers, the cooperatives are in effect local arms of the agriculture ministry. The ministry designates the director of each cooperative, and assigns one or more agricultural engineers to the cooperative council.6 Market reforms have removed the cooperatives' former monopoly over the provision of most inputs and the marketing of major crops. However, the cooperatives continue to provide machinery services to farmers and remain the channel through which subsidized inputs are sold, giving them a substantial advantage over private traders. The cooperatives also implement, under the direction of the agricultural engineer, the ministry's pest management program for cotton. Although liberalization has returned control over key elements of cotton production to farmers, it has also removed certain incentives for production and thereby accelerated the erosion of Egypt's share of the world market for long-staple and extra long-staple cotton. There are several commonly-cited reasons for that decline. Advances in technology have allowed textile mills to produce fabric of nearly comparable quality from U.S. pima cotton, which in 1989 cost less than half of what the Egyptian government was charging for certain varieties.7 To boost the competitiveness of Egyptian cotton, the government in 1999 reduced the export prices of its cotton varieties by as much as thirty-two percent.8 And in an effort to avoid the massive losses incurred in 1997, when the amount paid to farmers exceeded the international market price, it began tying purchase prices to export prices. The procurement price of certain varieties fell dramatically-in the case of Giza 45, an extra-long staple variety, from E781 (US$211.65) per 100 pounds in 1998 to E532 (US$144.17) in 1999.9 The withdrawal of floor prices, coupled with the rising cost of inputs and land rents, has led many farmers-particularly tenants-to conclude that cotton is either unprofitable or even loss-incurring.10 As farmers have turned to other cash crops, the amount of land allocated to cotton has declined from 923,208 acres in 1997 to 520,000 acres in 2000.11 2 World-trade in long staple and extra-long staple cotton during the 1999-2000 season stood at about one million bales, of which Egyptian exports accounted for an estimated 370,000. Terry Townsend, Executive Director, International Cotton Advisory Committee, "World Extra-Fine Cotton Outlook," paper presented to the Fourth U.S. Pima Industry Seminar, February 24-25, 2000, San Diego, California, (19 January 2001), p. 3. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/991221/1999122167.html 35% decrease in Egyptian cotton exports Egypt, Business, 12/21/1999 Exports of the Egyptian cotton resumed their decrease during the eighth week of the 1999/2000 season as the decrease percentage reached 35% in comparison to the same period of last year. This was stated by an official source in the union of cotton exporters affiliated to the Egyptian Ministry or Economy, telling ArabicNews.com that the total quantity exported nearly reached 62,040 tons in comparison to 96,018 tons during the same period of last year. The source related this decrease to international competition and the Egyptian companies' slowness in implementing their commitments. HARD-099 Globalization and democracy In what manner has globalization affected democracies around the world? On-topic documents might address the following issues: 1.role of democratic institutions 2. global communications system 3. role of civil society groups 4. human rights violations 5. political stability post globalisation 6. corruption levels 7. compliance with international agreements demoratic institutions, role of NGO's, corruption levels, global communication systems item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=3 http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/bwi-wto/wto99/demcrcy.htm Globalization and Democracy By Hector Rogelio Torres Journal of Commerce January 25, 1999 An international organization's birthday would not normally attract much attention. However, since the WTO is commonly regarded as the main temple of globalization, the occasion was seized upon by a wide and colorful range of Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, as an opportunity to show their discontent and mistrust for the party's host. They had little impact but made two things evident: the obscurity of their criticisms and their lack of understanding of the benefits of globalization. Uneasiness and distrust for this global process of enlarging markets can be witnessed all over the planet. Globalization is frequently perceived as serving exclusively to open national markets to foreign competition. However, beneficial political consequences flow from its dynamic. For instance, globalization requires the enforcement of individual rights and liberties. Globalization also promotes the spontaneous gathering of people with common interests. The amazing expansion of NGOs that defend interests other than free trade (such as protection of human rights, environment, social standards) has undoubtedly benefited. Globalization is also seen as a threat to employment. Yet the fact that globalization is no better regarded in countries from which capital "emigrates" than in those countries to which it flows suggests that it cannot be viewed solely through the prism of unemployment. Consider a hypothetical example. If government "A'' announces it will give priority to public expenditure in education, health, and social security, all good news for citizens, markets will probably give a chilly if not openly negative response. Conversely, if government "B'' announces it will trim public expenditure in social security, raise taxes that impinge on consumption, and lower fiscal pressure on profits, the markets will surely be enthusiastic while citizens will see grim times ahead. Clearly, markets and citizens differ in their assessments of the governmental announcements. But more important, they do not express themselves in the same way, nor with the same tools. It is quite probable that a political party would make an announcement of kind "A'' in the run-up to elections but would be forced to implement announcement "B'' once running a government. Notwithstanding the obvious ethical consequences that this pattern of political conduct might have on democratic credibility, it is important to notice that this contradiction is rooted in the differences in the decision- making processes from which the two policies stem. Democracies are based on the equality of rights of their citizens. Announcement "A'' is in line with the democratic paradigm, namely that all citizens are equal under the law and, in any election, one citizen is one vote. Announcement "B'' adheres to a different paradigm. In markets, each citizen participates according to his purchasing capacity. We do not all have the same weight, and accordingly our "voting'' rights are far away from even. Markets institute a sort of qualified democracy in which one dollar is one vote. Therefore, if the global society we are currently shaping is to be based on the democratic paradigm, the starting point should be to accept that contradictions inevitably arise between formal power ("one citizen is one vote'') and real economic power ("one dollar is one vote''). These contradictions should neither be ignored nor wiped off. They should be articulated in transparency. The end of the cold war and the virtually global expansion of capitalism have facilitated astonishing political and economic changes. Today we have more free elections and also more free markets. But while democracies have expanded horizontally, free markets have so done in every possible direction. Markets have not grown just geographically but also qualitatively. They have increasingly crept into aspects of our social life that had been sheltered from the rationale of "maximizing benefits.'' The global market needs a set of global minimum standards in order to promote investor confidence and establish the ground rules concerning the ways states are allowed to compete in attracting capital. The search for these common standards has given rise to complex negotiations in the WTO. The executive branches of governments are responsible for these negotiations. The results are subsequently sent to parliaments, but since the results normally are packages of linked concessions, legislators have very little chance of disentangling them. This virtual migration of legislative power to the international arena has evident consequences for the equilibrium of powers on which democracies rely. Furthermore, following the practice of the old GATT, negotiations are not transparent to civil society. This was once justified because negotiations mainly concerned tariffs and actual trade obstacles, but the situation today is quite different. Matters related to intellectual property rights, investment, sanitary standards, environment and competition policies are now being considered in the WTO. Articulation of frictions between free markets and democracies is not aided by conceiving of globalization as a planetary scenario in which countries are markets and the scope of national policies is limited to decisions that do not hurt the competitiveness of local producers. On the contrary, it just extrapolates the market paradigm to the political and social realm. This induces a dramatic error: identification of democracy with the social inequalities stemming from markets out of control. No wonder reactions against ""free markets'' can take totalitarian trends and the criticism of globalization borrows nationalistic and protectionist slogans. Summing up, globalization is an unstoppable process, but we ought to make it work for democracy. It could help to unify people, and this should be good news for those who believe in the existence of common values for the human being. Our task should be preventing globalization from working for the exclusive sake of market forces that have virtually succeeded in getting rid of governments. It is now utterly necessary to avoid trivializing democracy as market's political expression. The social realm should be preserved for the paradigm of human equality and we should find an expression for democracy in the WTO. HARD-102 Microsoft monopoly In what ways does Microsoft hold a monopoly power on computer systems? Information about the antitrust case brought against Miscrosoft and the results of the trial are on topic. Articles that specify how much Microsoft actually controls in terms of computer systems, are on topic. Other anti-trust cases are off-topic. Microsoft, monopoly, anti-trust, computers item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2,1999&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Nov. 5, 1999 - U.S. District Court judge finds that Microsoft holds monopoly power in the market for PC operating systems, and the company's actions harmed consumers. Nov. 19, 1999 - District Court judge appoints federal appeals judge, Richard Posner, to serve as a mediator to handle the negotiations between Microsoft and the government.,1999&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Judge calls Microsoft a "monopoly" By Joe Wilcox Staff Writer, CNET News.com November 5, 1999, 5:35 PM PT update WASHINGTON--A federal judge has determined that Microsoft holds a monopoly in computer operating systems, strongly criticizing the company in a decisive statement that could signal the outcome of the landmark antitrust case. Although the lengthy statement--called a "finding of fact"--was not a verdict, the widely anticipated comments indicated that U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is leaning heavily in favor of the Justice Department (DOJ) and state prosecutors arguing against the software giant. "Microsoft enjoys so much power in the market for Intel-compatible PC operating systems that if it wished to exercise this power solely in terms of price, it could charge a price for Windows substantially above that which could be charged in a competitive market," Jackson wrote. "Moreover, it could do so for a significant period of time without losing an unacceptable amount of business to competitors," he added. "In other words, Microsoft enjoys monopoly power in the relevant market." The antitrust trial has been one of the most closely followed corporate cases in recent history, raising complicated legal, political, and philosophical arguments on topics from capitalism to the Constitution. Because of Microsoft's sheer size and technology's important role in driving the global economy, the impact of the case will be felt well beyond the company's headquarters outside Seattle. Microsoft's stock slid in after-hours trading into the high 80s after closing down 0.19 points at 91.45 during the day. Ramifications could spread to all markets, however, because of its enormous influence as a longtime bellwether and a historic addition to the Dow Jones Industrial Average just last week. Even though the case is still awaiting an official verdict, the Justice Department wasted no time in claiming victory. "This is a tremendous victory for American consumers," said Joel Klein, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division of the Justice Department. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a news conference that Jackson's finding affirms the position of 19 states in the case: "One, that Microsoft indeed does have a monopoly, two, that Microsoft has abused that monopoly, and third, that consumers have been harmed by that." Gates's response Microsoft founder and chief executive Bill Gates emphatically rejected those conclusions. "If you want to look at what's great for consumers you have to look at our work and the work of our partners over the last 20 years," Gates said in response to Klein's declaration of victory for consumers. "The law couldn't be more black and white...The kind of innovation we do is absolutely encouraged." Bill Neukom, the company's general counsel, cited current law in supporting Gates. "It's important to remember that antitrust laws are very clear on the point that companies are supposed to compete vigorously against each other--that is how better products come to market quicker and with lower prices," he said. "The Sherman Antitrust Act is designed to protect consumers, not competitors." Neukom predicted that the lawsuit could stretch into 2001, but Microsoft appeared willing to negotiate a settlement. "We will continue to look for ways to resolve these issues in a fair and responsible manner," a company spokesman said in a statement. "We believe any resolution must protect Microsoft's ability to innovate and improve its products for consumers." Jackson's comments were based on a review of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows software, which powers the vast majority of the world's personal computers. Prosecutors have argued that Microsoft unfairly leverages this market dominance to force acceptance of other products, most notably its Internet Explorer Web browser. Prosecutors pointed to a portion of the statement devoted to that issue, calling it the "pivotal point" of the entire statement: "No consumer benefit can be ascribed...to Microsoft's refusal to offer a version of Windows 95 or Windows 98 without Internet Explorer or to Microsoft's refusal to provide a method for uninstalling Internet Explorer from Windows 98," Jackson wrote. Many of the judge's harshest comments were reserved for the end of his statement, which was 207 pages long. "Most harmful of all is the message that Microsoft's actions have conveyed to every enterprise with the potential to innovate in the computer industry," Jackson said. "Through its conduct toward Netscape, IBM, Compaq, Intel, and others, Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products." Jackson also took Microsoft to task in describing its past business practices. The empire has been infamous throughout the high-tech industry for its strong-arm tactics, though the company has steadfastly maintained that it has never violated any laws. "Microsoft's past success in hurting such companies and stifling innovation deters investment in technologies and businesses that exhibit the potential to threaten Microsoft," the judge wrote. "The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's self-interest." The findings of fact are essentially the judge's distillation of the points of view presented by both sides into what he believes to be true. Depending on how definitive they are, the findings can be tantamount to a jury's decision, legal experts say. What's in store Given the particularly strong wording of Jackson's statement, both sides have a far clearer picture about where the case is headed and what conclusions of law--the legal consequences of the findings--Jackson might reach. Either side could choose to file a motion for reconsideration if it disputes any portion of the judge's findings, no matter how small. That is not unusual in an antitrust trial, say antitrust experts, who noted the motions could be filed as early as next week. The next step for both sides is to present their conclusions of law, tentatively scheduled to take place in about 30 days. But Jackson is expected to put that off until after the holidays. Typically the briefings are staggered rather than presented simultaneously, which is likely to stretch out the next stage until late February. Most antitrust attorneys do not expect the judge's conclusions of law until late spring. And the case is not likely to end there. Unless the two sides settle, Jackson's ruling will likely spark a string of appeals that many antitrust experts expect will reach the Supreme Court. Some have expressed concern that the case could have a lasting negative effect on the economy if Microsoft is found guilty. The current boom has largely been attributed to the high-tech industry, which in turn has been relatively free of government regulation. "I'm troubled that Judge Jackson's decision may signal that the high-tech industry is open to regulation from the courts," said Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Virginia), chairman of the House Commerce Committee. "The high-tech industry is responsible for producing 30 percent of our economic growth [and] should not be burdened by excessive government regulations. That would be a disaster..." But California Attorney General Bill Lockyer contends that the opposite was true. "Silicon Valley is cautiously cheering," he said, because a blow to Microsoft would free the potential to increase innovation. Legal experts have said that the Justice Department must prove consumer harm to win its case. Jackson determined that Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows did just that. "To the detriment of consumers," the judge wrote, Microsoft engaged "in a series of actions designed to protect the application's barrier to entry, and hence its monopoly power." Jackson further concluded that Microsoft made it difficult for PC manufacturers to offer Netscape Communications' rival Navigator browser preinstalled on PCs as they left the factory. "Many of the tactics Microsoft employed have also harmed consumers indirectly by unjustifiably distorting competition," Jackson found. Consumers were prevented from having more choices and innovation, he concluded. "The campaign against Navigator has retarded widespread acceptance of Sun's Java implementation," Jackson wrote. Disputes over Java technology, which Microsoft has viewed as a significant threat, were the subject of another lawsuit filed by Sun. As expected, that company too had an opinion on today's events. Jackson's "determination that Microsoft has monopoly power in the market for PC operating systems is supported by a wealth of evidence," Sun said in a statement. "Further, the court appears to have found that Microsoft has abused its power in very significant ways." HARD-105 Healthy tea In what ways do certain kinds of tea protect people from illness? Information about the kinds of tea that can prevent or stave off illness (and which kinds of illness) are on topic. Articles about various cultural traditions associated with tea due to its curative powers are on-topic. tea, cancer, protection, diseases item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2,+tea,+++++Tea%27s+anti-cancer+secret+found+1999&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Tea's anti-cancer secret found Thursday, 1 April 1999 Drinking green tea is thought to reduce your risk of cancer. Now researchers think they know why. A chemical in the tea prevents the growth of blood vessels critical to tumour growth. Drinking tea has been associated with a lower incidence of cancer in humans and it has also been shown to inhibit the growth of some tumours in animals. But exactly how it works its effects has been a mystery. Now researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have shown that one of the components of green tea - epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG - prevents the growth of new blood vessels in animals. Their work is published in today's Nature. Since blood vessel growth is critical if tumours are to grow and spread, the finding might explain the drink's cancer-inhibiting effects. The work also suggests tea might help prevent other diseases dependent on new blood vessel growth, such as the degradation of the retina that can accompany diabetes, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.,+tea,+++++Tea%27s+anti-cancer+secret+found+1999&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Study shows tea reduces heart attack risk Monday, 12 July 1999 Australian researchers are welcoming a new US study which finds the chance of a heart attack can be slashed by drinking tea. Harvard University researchers have found people who drink tea made from black tea leaves have a 44 per cent less chance of having a heart attack. Chemicals called flavonoids open the blood vessels reducing the chance of clots which can lead to heart attacks. The US study builds on earlier work, but Melbourne University researcher, Dr David Woodman, says how flavonoids work is not known. "I think it's very early days in terms of understanding their basic mechanism of action," he said. "I think we've very much only touched the surface. We don't know enough yet about how the different flavonoids might differ in their basic biological actions. "That's the sort of thing we're looking at now." HARD-115 Virtual defense How do armies, specifically the US Army, use virtual reality to train soldiers or to design new gear? Articles about the use of virtual reality in the army in 1999 are on topic. Articles mentioning virtual reality in general, without clearly mentioning its use in the army, are not on topic. Virtual reality, army, defense item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=3,virtual+reality,+army&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 USC to put `virtual reality' into Army training by Paul Boyce WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 23, 1999) -- Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera signed a $45 million contract last week with the University of Southern California to establish an institute to develop state-of-the art modeling and simulation technologies. The Army wants to leverage advances in modeling and simulation technologies to improve the realism and quality of its training simulations, officials said. The Army also wants to use this same technology to improve leader-development exercises. And officials said they want to apply the modeling to test prototypes in future weapons acquisition programs. The contract with USC was signed Aug. 18 during a ceremony in Los Angeles announcing birth of the "Institute for Creative Technologies." "We found a high-tech solution with this USC partnership to deliver those improvements in education and military training for the next century," Caldera said. "The USC Institute for Creative Technologies will be a joint effort of the Army, the entertainment industry and academia -- an innovative team to advance dazzling new media and ultimately benefit training and education for everyone in America. This research has high-value applications to the Army, as well as the entertainment, multimedia, video game, destination theme park, and information-technology industries." Caldera said the new technologies will help the Army make a "quantum leap forward" in preparing soldiers for diverse missions in the world of tomorrow. "This will revolutionize the way the Army trains its soldiers and how it rehearses for missions," he said. "It will enhance the realism and, thus, the value of the individual, crew-served and networked training simulators that we use to train our soldiers. It will permit our soldiers to do en-route mission rehearsals immersed in high-fidelity images of the actual terrain to which they are about to deploy with very real story and character content to prepare them to accomplish the mission." Steven B. Sample, president of USC, said the ICT will develop the technologies for synthetic experiences so compelling that people will react as though they were real -- a virtual reality of sensations and sights. "The key word is 'verisimilitude' - the quality or state of appearing to be true," he explained. "Verisimilitude will apply to simulation technology in the same way that the term 'high fidelity' has applied to audio." Also attending the Los Angeles announcement were Lon S. Hatamiya, secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency; City of Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Rockard Delgadillo; Jack Valenti, chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America; and Richard E. Belluzzo, chairman and chief executive officer of SGI, formerly Silicon Graphics, Inc. California Governor Gray Davis spoke at the event by satellite broadcast from Sacramento. "As a Vietnam veteran myself, I know that when it comes to accomplishing the mission two things matter: the quality of a soldier's training and the quality of his or her weapons. The new virtual technologies established by this project will prepare America's soldiers for the diverse and unique military operations of the future." Researchers from the USC School of Cinema-Television, the USC School of Engineering and USC's Annenberg School for Communication will collaborate with creative talents from the entertainment industry in the interdisciplinary research program. They will work to combine concepts of story and character with a rapidly increasing degree of immersion in virtual reality technologies. The Army will employ these improved simulation technologies to rehearse for missions, for strategic planning through interactive battle scenarios, and for combat training, recruitment and equipment acquisition, officials said. The institute will pursue a combination of basic and applied research. Basic research will cover six areas: simulated "immersion" by users in the technological experience; networking and databases; story; characters; setup; and direction. Applied research will be organized around a small number of long-term themes - such as simulating futuristic "Army After Next" forces. While the Army and the entertainment industry share an interest in advancing simulation capabilities for specific purposes, these technologies offer clear potential to dramatically change training and education for all people, officials said. "In these advanced synthetic environments that we will create, participants will be fully immersed - physically, intellectually and emotionally - in engrossing stories stocked with engaging characters who may either be simulated or manned," said Cornelius Sullivan, USC vice provost for research, who will oversee the program. The ICT contract will be administered by the Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command, known as STRICOM, headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and commanded by Brig. Gen. William Bond. The Army and USC will each appoint people to executive boards that will jointly control the ICT.,virtual+reality,+army+training&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Virtual reality gives soldiers design input October 6, 1999 Web posted at: 10:04 a.m. EDT (1404 GMT) by Bob Brewin From... (IDG) -- Visit soldiers at any Army infantry division outside Washington, D.C., and they will relate a universal complaint: The people who designed their gear and computer systems typically do not build equipment that can survive the rough terrain, choking dust and thundering vibrations of the battlefield. The Army wants to change that. Next week, the Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, which designs and buys vehicles ranging from Humvees to main battle tanks, and the National Automotive Center (NAC), TACOM's research conduit to industry, plan to demonstrate how virtual reality can give soldiers input into designing new equipment that works better under the harsh realities of the battlefield. TACOM and NAC plan to demonstrate the virtual reality design project, called Simulation Throughout the Life Cycle (SimTLC), at the Association of the United States Army annual convention in Washington, D.C., next week. Key to the project is the Virtual Distributed Collaborative Environment, which ties soldiers and engineers together to improve how the Army buys equipment. "We're going to showcase a whole new acquisition process [that] applies high-end visualization tools to new product design...in a distributed, collaborative environment," said Grace Bochenek, senior research engineer at NAC. Bochenek said soldiers collaborate in the acquisition process by connecting to an advanced simulator called the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE). Soldiers in the 10-foot walled simulator use sight, sound and touch to respond to stimuli produced by the simulator's virtual reality equipment. CAVE -- whose name originates from Plato's Republic, in which the philosopher uses a cave as a metaphor to explore ideas about perception, reality and illusion -- will enable soldiers to test the designs of a tank or jeep before the vehicles are built. CAVE was developed at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Through the use of audio and high-resolution 3-D video systems powered by a Silicon Graphics Inc. processor, soldiers at the Army's Mounted Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Knox, Ky., can, for example, remotely participate in the design of a tank turret with engineers at NAC's offices in Warren, Mich. Jan Drabczuk, director for simulation and logistics in the Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s government industry group, said Army soldiers and engineers can use the simulations to test "different designs and concepts before any metal is cut." Drabczuk believes that developing major Army equipment such as tanks in a virtual environment that includes input from soldiers "will save hundreds of millions of dollars" by helping the service translate digital design data into final products. The two-year, $11.4 million virtual collaborative system is a joint venture between the Army and a seven-member industry team led by EDS. The Army and EDS share the costs through a dual-use (military and commercial) application program. TACOM plans to develop multiple CAVEs to build a distributed simulation network, and using the Transportation Department's driving simulator at the University of Iowa and advanced motion simulators, the experience will "add fidelity to the [design] process," Bochenek said. Soldiers nationwide can interact with one another in cyberspace, Bochenek said, thanks to the virtual reality network, "with the driver located in Iowa and the gunner located in Michigan." Bob Heinlein, the EDS virtual collaborative program manager, described the simulated environment as much more advanced than the networked training simulators the Army now uses. The virtual collaborative system converts computer-aided design data into data soldiers can see in a virtual environment. "This is an environment you can immerse yourself in and walk around in as you do in real life," Heinlein said. Once soldiers and engineers agree on a design, Heinlein said the team can take an "electronic snapshot" of CAD data and then export it into an integrated data environment that enables multiple users to share the data. To test the use of the virtual collaborative technologies, the NAC-backed project also is working on preproduction evaluation of the Army's new Grizzly tracked mine-clearing vehicle and working with soldiers in a redesign of the cab of the Army's battlefield tactical truck. Bochenek said the virtual collaborative system and SimTLC will lead to a breakthrough in how the Army designs weapons and systems with soldier input. HARD-116 Genetic Modification technology Does GM technology provide a solution to world hunger? Examples of on-topic documents may address the following: 1. organic farming vs GM technology 2. yields per hectare from GM technology 3. GM crops and environment 4. World agricultural production 5. transgenics in agriculture 6. farming lobbies and interest groups 7. sustainable farming practices agricultural productivity, sustainable farming, transgenics, farming lobbies, Monsanto item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/sci_tech/highlights/010322_seed.shtml GM Crops: Food For Thought The first stage of the genetic revolution is well underway in global agriculture. Last year farmers around the world planted an area twice the size of the UK with genetically modified crops. Whether you believe them to be the golden grains or the seeds of Satan, not since nuclear power, has a technology come upon the scene to stir up so many environmental and civil society groups. In Seeds Of Contention, Andrew Luck-Baker explores the issues at the heart of what has arguably become the most controversial technology of our time. He talks to the proponents, opponents and those in the middle of the battleground, the farmers and the consumers. From North America to Argentina, from South Africa to China, farmers are embracing new kinds of plants: for example, soya bean plants engineered to survive chemical weed-killer, and maize and potatoes that secrete a pesticide in their leaves and stems. Many farmers are happy with their increased profits so too are the companies such as Monsanto who have created the GM crops. The next generation of transgenic crops are approaching the fields, such as vegetables and fruits that stay fresher for longer and crops enriched with nutrients, such as Vitamin A and iron, which are lacking in many diets. Not so happy are many consumers who are uneasy about the safety of GM food. Environmental organisations are irate at the sight of expanding areas of farmland planted with crops that they claim threaten to pollute wild plants with 'alien' genes, and to disrupt the ecological balance of the natural environment. Many development organisations are also deeply sceptical of claims that transgenic crops are vital to boosting food security and improving nutrition for the poorest people in the less developed parts of the world. Feed The World It might be true that genetically engineered crops are perhaps unnecessary for a wealthy and well fed country such as the UK, but does the same apply to all other parts of the world? Proponents argue that GM crops have the potential to be of enormous benefit to farmers and consumers in less developed nations increasing the quantity and nutritional quality, of food where hunger and malnutrition are huge problems. This case is yet to be proven and whilst few genetic engineers would argue that GM crops are the sole means to solve world hunger and counteract all the myriad causes of social and economic inequity, there are those who believe that it's premature to discount the contribution the new crops might make. Susan McCouch Professor of Plant Breeding in International Agriculture at Cornell University in the US explains: 'We do not have well distributed resources at this time, given the inequalities that exist, I think it is in fact nave to pretend that we shouldn't look at all possible solutions.' Mexican Transgenic Maize Someone, who would agree with Professor McCouch's sentiment, is Luis Herrera, a Mexican plant engineer who has developed transgenic maize, specifically for the poorest subsistence farmers in his country. These farmers are marginalized to the poorest lands, where the soils are acidic in nature. This soil chemistry results in the maize crop being deprived of nutrients and stunted in growth and yield. But by transferring several genes from bacteria into maize plants, the crops overcome the chemical handicap they face and produce 30% more grain than they otherwise would. The intention is to make the maize freely available to farmers. Herrera argues that opportunities will be lost by focussing only on issues such as land rights and indebtedness: 'One very important issue is that we need to increase food production and food production has to increase locally. Nowadays we have enough food in the world to feed everybody, but food does not reach the hands of the people who need it the most, so what we need to do is to make sure that technology reaches the small farmer, so that they can increase their own production.' So here we have a crop, designed to overcome a specific and serious impediment to many of the poorest farmers not just in Mexico, but also in many other parts of tropical Latin America, Africa and Asia, where millions have no choice but to grow their maize in unyielding, acidic soils. The work has been funded by the charitable Rockefeller Foundation and the varieties to be engineered are the traditional range grown and exchanged in the centuries old traditions. Agro-ecology On the surface little would seem to be wrong with this view, but according to Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agricultural Ecology at the University of California, Berkley, the whole approach is too narrow-minded: 'Unfortunately today the whole emphasis is on varietiesThe emphasis is on how do we suit the seed to the environment? Then how do we optimise the whole farming system so that it performs? Here's where agro-ecology comes in which builds upon traditional knowledge. Farmers in my generation, especially throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia have been farming for centuries, so their input and their traditional knowledge is very important.' Agro-ecology is the organic approach to farming - no GM, no man-made fertilisers, and no man-made pesticides. Instead the techniques include mixing traditional, pre Green revolution crop varieties that promote the growth and health of each other, and bio control dealing with crop pests by encouraging their animal or plant enemies and so on. For those who have witnessed the use of traditional farming methods and who have seen their families die of hunger, it is perhaps unsurprising that many remain sceptical of the benefits of agro-ecology. The disproportionate amount of money spent on biotech and agro-ecological research however may make their negativity unfair. After all, companies and publicly funded institutes pour millions into transgenic research and development every year. Social Consequences For some anti-GM campaigners the fear is that transgenic crops will lead to the world's farmers becoming slaves bio serfs - for a small band of multinational companies controlling the entire planet's food production. But for those at grass roots level, agro-ecology also has social consequences as Mexican biochemist Luis Herrera explains: '[It has] very negative social consequences. For instance I know of many children who do not attend school because they have to stay at home to help their parents, to take wheat by hand. What we need to do is to make more technology to be available to them, to be able to produce more.' http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/geneticsmyth.htm 'Are GMOs essential for effective sustainable agriculture in a hungry world?' Dismantling the myth of genetics as the principal constraint on responsible global agricultural production Mark Griffiths BSc FRICS FAAV Two days before the last Christmas of the second millennium the London Times, as if firing a final parting salvo from the rapidly retreating values of the 20th Century, reported on the indignant retirement of Professor John Beringer as chairman of the government committee overseeing the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment in the UK [1]. Clearly angry at the poor public reception that genetically modified crops have received in the UK Professor Beringer was reported as saying that those who oppose their use in agriculture were consigning billions of people to a future of hunger and starvation. John Beringer is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Dean of Science in the School of Biological Sciences at Bristol University. Unlike some of his colleagues in the scientific community [2] he has so far come under little fire from critics of genetic engineering for making false claims about the 'benefits' and risks of the technology. The Times quotes Professor Beringer as saying that organic agriculture and "spreading around a bit of manure" were not going save the planet, feed the hungry or conserve wildlife. According to Professor Beringer: "In a real, hungry world, there are no solutions other than technological ones." The implication arising from this bold assertion is that the main or only solution to such problems is 'improved' genetics. Beringer was of course making two important assumptions. The first is that the principal problem with global food provision is one of low yields, rather than issues of distribution, poverty, social conflict and waste. The second assumption is that genetic 'improvement', primarily the use of genetic modification, is essential if we are to increase usable crop yields and to farm more sustainably. At a time when 78 percent of all malnourished children under the age five in the developing world live in countries with food surpluses, much has already been written about the weaknesses of the first assumption [3]. Less investigation has been made into the second. Just how bad are our existing crop genetics and is their further improvement the only way forward? To solve these vital human and environmental problems should we be exclusively focusing on Professor Beringer's specialism of molecular genetics? Or should we be looking at factors affecting productive output from a wider scientific perspective? Are inadequate genetics really the limiting factor here? Or do they just simply seem so only from the specialised outlook of molecular geneticists dedicated to their own discipline, but not necessarily working as a practising agriculturists? In an article printed in the UK's Farming News in the spring of 1999 [4] Yorkshire agronomist Ian Chalmers highlighted the existing gap between the genetic yield potential of many existing non-transgenic wheat varieties - more than 21t/ha in some cases - and the actual UK average wheat yield of around 7t/ha. Highlighting better crop establishment as a key factor, he pointed to one of his own clients in Lincolnshire who had achieved 18t/ha using an early sowing regime. Under the headline "Agronomist casts doubt on growers' intelligence" Mr Chalmers expressed his long term belief that the limiting factor for improved production was not the genetic merit of the crops concerned, but rather the average grower's mental ability to understand the physiological traits of the particular varieties being grown. In other words the source of the problem was not technical but human. It would seem farmers needed to have a better understanding of plant husbandry, not access to better genetics. Whilst most of Mr Chalmers' advice related to seedbed preparation and time of sowing a subsequent article in the UK's 'Arable Farming' in the autumn of 1999 [5] expanded the debate about the productive capacity of UK agriculture into even wider management horizons. Crucially it began to explore the issue of microbial soil management, rather than plant genetics, as the principal limiting factor in farm production. It might be said that if any farming publication in the UK was interested in the technological approach to 'solving' agricultural production problems as advocated by Professor Beringer, 'Arable Farming' is that publication. But this article by another farm adviser Bill Butterworth was refreshingly different in raising matters that the 'miracle' of post-war agriculture has so far largely overlooked. Bill Butterworth's article focused on the need to address soil management issues as a powerful tool to improve output, reduce inputs and prevent plant disease. In an approach parts of which would be recognised by many organic farmers Mr Butterworth was quietly pointing out that soil health is crucial to the performance of crop plants and ultimately to low-input high-output agriculture. Whilst dismissive of the notion of 'going organic' (perhaps not entirely surprising given the nature of the readership he was addressing) he nonetheless focused on matters which also reside at the heart of organic farming: "When I was a student at Reading in the early '60's, there was a 'standard' textbook called 'Soil Conditions and Plant Growth' by E.W Russell. I still have it. It is a weighty volume. Maybe this is what we have glossed over for 25 years; the right soil conditions to unlock the genetic potential of the plant." Much, though not all, of Bill Butterworth's successful experimentation with soil management has come from the use of biosolids (sewage sludge) on clients' farms. The use of biosolids in agriculture is often a source of much heated debate, particularly because of the potential for the unwelcome inclusion of industrial contaminants such as heavy metals - although the controversy is as much about the inadequacies of the way our sewage systems are managed as it is about the principle of returning human waste to the fields from which it originated as food [6]. Nonetheless Bill Butterworth's experience in this area is exposing some important principles for farmers which are likely to have relevance in a much wider context. He identifies the nurturing and development of soil mycorrhiza, the small fungi which surround plant roots, as the principal trigger for improved plant health and output: " These mycorrhiza are bound up with plant nutrition and diseases..... The soil is like an enormous rumen, it is similarly complex and it is the plant's 'stomach'. The connection between this soil rumen and the plant is all the soil micro-organisms and it appears to be substantially the soil mycorrhiza which are the last link in the chain. You can grow plants without them but it is much easier and more secure with them." Butterworth also quotes Wellingborough crop consultant Peter Wright: "It is this biological activity which, if encouraged by good husbandry, will allow the full potential of growing crops to be expressed, year after year, resulting in more profit for the grower." This, of course, is to say nothing of the implications of this type of approach for the production of more food for and by the world's hungry. Genetically modified crops have been presented by molecular biologists such as Professor Beringer as the way to reduce industrial agriculture's chemical inputs and produce higher yields. In practice, however, the hoped for reduction in inputs from many such crops are proving temporary at best, and non-existent at worst [7, 8]. Even more disappointing, yields from GM crops are frequently lower than from conventional varieties [8]. So given their unfavourable risk-benefit profile [7-11, 30] why are scientists like Beringer advocating the prevalent use of transgenics in agriculture rather than the more holistic approach gradually being discovered by practical mainstream advisers like Butterworth? Probably the reason is that scientists will always inevitably tend to draw from the 'knowledge' of their own specialisms when trying to develop solutions to problems, rather than from a wider spectrum derived from parallel branches of knowledge. This is simply because theirs is the area they know and understand best (or as in the case of genetic engineering the one that they claim they do!). Inevitably specialists are often ignorant of potential solutions to problems from other branches of knowledge. Not surprisingly in this context, therefore, genetic engineering in agriculture has sometimes been described by its critics as 'a solution in search of a problem.' An equally apt description might also be: 'a problem in search of a solution'. Nonetheless could it be that alternatives to the genetic modification 'panacea', such as those uncovered by Bill Butterworth, are effective only in favourable growing conditions such as those found in the UK, without a realistic chance of success in more demanding circumstances? Well, not if the work of Professor Jules Pretty, Director of the Centre for Environment and Society at the John Tabor Laboratories at the University of Essex, is anything is to go by. Pretty has demonstrated that placing soil management at the core of farming techniques using little or no artificial inputs is producing consistent and frequently massive increases in output on millions of hectares in parts of the world as diverse as Africa, Asia and Latin America [12]. These truly transforming results go largely unreported. This is because they are not being achieved through rapid turnover 'one-size-fits-all' technology promoted by high profile corporations utilising questionable business methods [13,14]. They are being achieved by individual farmers benefiting from self-reliance based regenerative projects which encourage thoughtful approaches to long term management. When it comes to counting the social costs can genetic engineering really compete with such a 'dependency-free' approach to agriculture? It might still be argued that only the hi-tech approach of genetic engineering can have any hope of offering the necessary agronomic robustness required for crops to function productively in some of the world's more extreme growing conditions. A couple of recent research studies raise some interesting questions about the validity of such assumptions. 'New Scientist' reported in November 1999 [15] that far from increasing output Monsanto's genetically modified soya beans were prone to stunted growth and excessive stem splitting in high temperature field conditions. This was apparently due to unintended changes in plant physiology caused by the addition of genes making the beans resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide marketed as 'Roundup' by Monsanto. It resulted in up to 40% yield losses compared to traditional soya beans grown in the same conditions. Research results released at more or less the same time have also demonstrated that organic soya crops grown in high-stress drought conditions in the United States were in fact dramatically more productive than 'conventional' high-input crops. Their yield was almost double [16] thanks to less compacted and more water retentive soil characteristics arising from their higher organic matter content. As if to make matters worse for the advocates of 'technology-only' solutions to world food production problems, additional research [17-25] (the most recent of which was published in December 1999) suggests that certain types of GM plants may in fact have damaging effects on those very soil micro-organisms which Bill Butterworth identifies as being the key to unlocking the genetic potential of existing varieties. Under conditions of global warming ironically this suite of findings would place organic production at the top of the list in terms of solutions for global hunger, genetic engineering at the bottom, and 'conventional' techniques somewhere in the middle. Certainly it is recognised that the addition of organic matter to poor soils can improve many of their properties including reduced susceptibility to erosion [26]. Soil erosion is a critical issue of immense proportions influencing the future of food production in many parts of the world, and one which is often exacerbated by short-termist agricultural policy-making and practice. Given the large gap that has opened up between what was promised from transgenic crops and what is actually delivered in practice, is more intelligent soil-biology management a better and more reliable alternative to genetic modification when trying to develop a sustainable strategy for unlocking latent productivity in global agriculture? Certainly the results Bill Butterworth's farmer clients in the UK have been getting seem to overwhelmingly outshine anything that America's blindly unscientific [27] adoption of GM crops has been able to deliver. Butterworth claims up to 80% reductions in fertiliser costs, yield increases of 45 -70%, and simultaneous falls in crop disease. This latter factor is especially interesting because with 'conventional' high-input agriculture top yields have typically gone hand-in-hand with increased risks of plant disease and higher applications of remedial fungicides, insecticides and growth regulators. Bill Butterworth concludes his article in 'Arable Farming' with the following words: "Those who pay more attention to soil biology get higher yields and lower costs consistently. It does seem clear that not only can we sometimes get close to double the national average yield in a variety of crops, we may be able to do it consistently, across the farm and under a wide range of farming types. The pieces of the jigsaw are beginning to fit into place and it is the balanced management of the soil rumen which is going to deliver." The truth here is that for decades the industrialised approach to agriculture has principally focused at most on only half the picture - what goes on above the surface of the soil, rather than beneath it. The key to unlocking the power of this additional realm of nature's bounty is of course intelligent holistic management, not the genetic modification of plants. By contrast in many parts of the world there has been a relentless mental 'dumbing-down' of modern farming for nearly half a century based substantially on the deployment of chemical and related 'technologies' which in practice move management intelligence off the farm and into the factory laboratory. With the attention of advisers like Messrs Chalmers, Butterworth, and Wright, now turning to redress the on-farm biological and human balance have we finally reached a truly progressive and defining point in farmland management as we leave the 20th century and its urbanised reductionist models of agricultural production behind us? Perhaps as some suggest [28-30] the time has come to welcome back the special intelligence of the farmer's own consciousness to its rightful place at the centre of global agricultural practice. If so, the time would seem ripe to rediscover its unique connection [31] to the vast organising power of the natural processes which sustain both it and the soil from which our own physical existence is constantly re-created. Whether or not to chose this farmer-empowering route, or whether to settle for corporate dependency engineered through the industrial intellectual property rights that attach themselves to the Beringer model of farming's future, is the most critical issue facing global agriculture at the dawn of the third millennium. In the final analysis it may not be such a difficult choice to make. Mark Griffiths BSc FRICS FAAV Environment Spokesman Natural Law Party (UK) 12 January 2000 HARD-117 US Civil Unrest How was civil unrest in the US tackled by local authorities and police in the last year? Documents related to the measures taken by the police to handle the civil unrest (curfews, etc.), especially in Seattle at the WTO talks, extent of damage due to the riots, news articles on the arrests of those involved, slow progress of the WTO talks in the wake of the riots are on-topic documents. Additionally, any information about other incidents of civil unrest/disobedience are on-topic, if they specifically address the way authorities tried to control the situations. Articles concerning similar incidents outside of the US are not on-topic. Protest, Seattle, World Trade Organization Talks, WTO, civil unrest, riots item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=3 HARD-124 Cell phone health hazard How has research about the health risks of cell phones impacted the cell phone market? Information concerning research findings about the effects of cell phones on a person's health is on-topic. Also, reports about the effect of health warnings on cell phone demand are on-topic. New cell phone technology, unless it addresses the health issue, is off-topic. cell phone, technology, health, neurology, lymphoma item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.nycosh.org/Weissman_on_Carlo.html Cell phone nightmare By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman From the November 4, 1999 issue of "Focus on the Corporation," a weekly e-mail report by Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, and Robert Weissman, editor of Multinational Monitor. Used with permission. For information about other issues of "Focus on the Corporation," see the bottom of the page. Ready for a real scary Halloween story? Remember the Larry King Live show in 1993 on cell phones? David Reynard was the guest. He had filed a lawsuit against NEC, a cell phone operator, and other companies, alleging that his late wife's brain tumor was caused in part by her use of a cell phone. The Reynard's lawsuit was dismissed in 1995, but Reynard's appearance on the show created nationwide concern. At the time, there were 15 million Americans using cell phones. The day after the Larry King Live show, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) went on the offensive. Industry executives said that there were thousands of studies that proved that wireless phones were safe. In fact, there were no such studies about cell phone safety. But CTIA understood the basic reality of the situation, and so it decided to spend $27 million over the next six years on health studies. They hired George Carlo, figuring he would be a perfect fit. Carlo is a public health scientist, who had a good track record as an industry researcher. Most of his clients over the years have been industry clients, and few have been disappointed with his work. In 1994, Carlo began conducting studies to determine whether cell phones pose a health risk to consumers. Four times a year, Carlo would trudge over from his Dupont Circle office in Washington, D.C. to the offices of CTIA to debrief the CEOs of the major telephone and electronics firms that make up the $40 billion a year mobile phone industry. And things went well, until 1995. In 1995, Carlo found that digital phones were interfering with cardiac pacemakers. "We then conducted about $2.5 million worth of research to quantify that problem, and as a result, I had somewhat of a falling out with the industry," Carlo told us this week. "They didn't like that finding." The industry cut off Carlo's funding. But through a process of negotiation, Carlo got back in. The industry would again fund his studies, but only if he agreed not to research the questions of defibrillators and digital phones, and of cell phones and automobile safety, and he could no longer work on a very extensive program to standardize the methodology for testing whether or not cell phones met industry-defined standards. Carlo said that it took him two months to decide that he needed to continue the work, even under CTIA's conditions, and so he did. What he found may prove to be the cell phone industry's worst nightmare. He found that the risk of acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the auditory nerve that is well in range of the radiation coming from a phone's antennae, was 50 percent higher in people who reported using cell phones for six years or more. Moreover, that relationship between the amount of cell phone use and this tumor appeared to follow a dose-response curve. He found that the risk of rare neuro epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain was more than doubled, a statistically significant increase, in cell phone users as compared to people who did not use cell phones. He found that there appeared to be some correlation between brain tumors occurring on the right side of the head and use of the phone on the right side of the head. And, most troubling, he found that laboratory studies looking at the ability of radiation from a phone's antenna to cause functional genetic damage were definitely positive, and were following a dose-response curve. Carlo said that he has repeatedly recommended that the industry take a pro-active, public health approach on the issue, and inform consumers of his findings. He says that he uses a cell phone, but only with a headset. "Alarmingly, indications are that some segments of the industry have ignored the scientific findings suggesting potential health effects, have repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers, including children, and have created an illusion of responsible follow up by calling for and supporting more research," Carlo wrote in a letter to top industry CEOs this month. "The most important measures of consumer protection are missing: complete and honest factual information to allow informed judgment by consumers about assumption of risk, the direct tracking and monitoring of what happens to consumers who use wireless phones, and the monitoring of changes in the technology that could impact health." Carlo is also troubled by a recent agreement between Elizabeth Jacobson, the person in charge of cell phone regulation at the Food and Drug Administration, and Thomas Wheeler, executive director of the CTIA. Under the agreement, CTIA will fund the FDA to do additional safety studies. Carlo says that in 1994, Jacobson refused such a cooperative research agreement, because she didn't think she could both collaborate with the industry and regulate it. (Jacobson, through a spokesperson, denies taking this position.) "This arrangement is wrong, plain and simple," Carlo told us. "The FDA's behavior is appalling to me. The FDA seems to be more than willing to jump in bed with the industry. It is a blatantly arrogant attempt to join in a relationship that is a conflict of interest on its face. The reason it has not been criticized is that people don't know about it. Consumers are being left out to dry." The FDA's Russell Owen says that the FDA has not regulated cell phones because "we don't have sufficient evidence to determine that there might be adverse health effects from cell phones." Sorry Mr. Owen, but in this instance, we agree with the industry's guy. (That's a scary thought.) http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ats/Jul16/ HSPH Researcher Says Cell Phone Technology = Safe Technology Sixty-one million Americans use cell phones. Their calls are transmitted via some of the 52,000 antennas erected over the last decade. Around the country--and the world--many people wonder if they should be worried about harmful health effects from the radio waves emitted by these phones and antennas. "There are no established health effects from cellular phone radio waves or transmitters that operate within FCC or state guidelines," says HSPH researcher Peter Valberg, adjunct faculty member in the Department of Environmental Health. Peter Valberg, adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Health, measures levels of radio waves on a Cambridge street with a radio frequency survey meter. Valberg, who served as a full-time HSPH faculty member for 14 years, now splits his time between teaching and research for HSPH and consulting with Cambridge Environmental, Inc. He serves on the Peer Review Group on Cellular Technology for the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis; he has consulted for the cities of Newton, MA and Pembroke, NH on the safety of cellular phone and high-definition television transmitters; and he speaks to concerned citizens about radio-wave health concerns at public meetings. He knows the literature: "Over the past decades, there have been thousands of experiments examining the effects of radio waves. People have looked at the differences between exposed and control groups of animals; others have performed epidemiologic research, and others have looked at isolated cell systems. "Two things have become apparent," he says. "One, intense radio waves do produce an effect on biological organisms. These effects arise from changing the temperature of the cells." These findings led to the formulation of existing federal and state standards, which reduced the allowable level of exposure by a factor of 10 for occupational exposures and by a level of 50 for public exposure. These and similar international standards have been endorsed by scientific panels from the American National Standards Institute, the World Health Organization, the National Radiation Protection Board of Great Britain, and the Royal Society of Canada. The other thing that research has brought to light: nothing. More precisely, a handful of studies have reported biological effects, but these effects were not reproducible by other researchers. "It's the nature of science," explains Valberg. "When you're examining something close to the limit of detectability, a lot of times you're going to get a result that's an aberration. The validity of that result depends upon other scientists being able to reproduce the result. So far, low-level radio waves have failed to produce a biological effect that can be duplicated by other researchers." Valberg uses an analogy of being hit by a baseball bat and by a feather to illustrate the difficulty of finding an effect from the low levels of radiation used in cell-phone technology. The baseball bat represents intense radio waves, and the feather stands in for low-level radio waves from cell phones: "When I'm hit by the bat, there's an obvious effectit hurts. But if I'm hit by a feather, is there an effect? Is it a meaningful effect? What if I'm hit by a feather a million times? I can't feel a harmful effect, but I can't say with a hundred percent certainty that there hasn't been one." Questions about the safety of cell phones come down to levels of certainty and risk assessment. "Despite evidence that there isn't any danger, cell-phone radio waves get a lot of attention because it's a relatively new technology that scares people. But with so many pressing problems in public health--air and water pollution, lead in the environment, violence, cancer, disease, and inadequate health care--things which we know are killing people, it gets a little frustrating that people get worked up over something that's never been proven to harm anyone." And people do get worked up over radio waves. Just two years ago, a Concord-based activist circulated a petition to block cellular phone company Sprint from activating a cellular phone network. Signatories on that petition included 40 researchers from HSPH and from Boston University School of Public Health. The Boston Globe reported this as if the schools had issued a proclamation against cell phone networks. "I get hit by this in a lot of public meetings," says Valberg. "People say 'hasn't Harvard issued a statement against radio waves?'" The answer is no, HSPH doesn't issue official statements of this type. What did happen is that individual researchers and faculty members signed a petition that called for further research--not a surprising response from people in a research institution. Similarly, Valberg, and virtually every other scientist who has studied radio waves and their effect on humans, says more research is necessary. "It's impossible to prove absolute safety. This widespread exposure to radio waves from cell phones, and soon from high-definition television, represents a new technology. As scientists, it's our obligation to examine technology and be as certain as possible that it's safe." Valberg doesn't use a cell phone himself because, he says, "I don't want to be that accessible." However, he has no fear of the devices. He also points out that radio waves are found in other sources that haven't been worrying people: "I have two kids. My son is fifteen and uses a walkie-talkie. My daughter, who is younger, has a remote control car. I've measured the radio waves from both of these toys and found them to be at higher levels than those found from cell phones. If I had any qualms about the safety of these levels of radio-wave exposure, I certainly wouldn't let my children play with these toys." HARD-146 NATO/UN Tension over Balkans Crisis What has been the extent and nature of tensions within and between international organizations as a result of the ongoing crisis in the Balkans? Documents dealing with specific bombing campaigns and their aftermath would be considered off-topic. Documents treating the environmental and civilian impact of NATO bombings should also be excluded. I would prefer sources dealing with diplomatic power struggles within and between international bodies (NATO/UN) that occur as a result of the situation in the Balkans. G-8 Agreement, Balkans, Yugoslavia, International Law, Kosovo, UN, Yugoslavia, NATO item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: Has the Balkans crisis jeopardized the stability of international organizations and relations? item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/sbear.htm http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/speag.htm http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/sroche.htm http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/skofi.htm http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/sorder.htm HARD-147 Regional Economic Integration What factors have facilitated increasing regional economic integration not only in Europe, but also in Southeast Asia, the Americas, the Arab world, and Africa? Documents pertaining to specific events (i.e. the introduction of the Euro as the currency of trade in the EU) should be avoided. I would prefer information that treats the topic of regional economic integration more broadly and in light of its root causes. Economic Integration, Currency Integration, Regional Trade Agreements, Regional Economies item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2000/082500.htm http://www.wto.org/ http://www.economist.com/ http://europa.eu.int/publications/en/e02.htm http://europa.eu.int/comm/public_opinion/archives_en.htm http://www.counciloftheamericas.org/coa/committees/montana.pdf HARD-154 Instant messaging How have instant messaging services caused vocabulary and spelling to shift or change in users worldwide? Information about educational strategies to combat a growing change in spelling and vocabulary usage due to IM services are on-topic. Articles concerning this aspect of spoken and written language worldwide are on-topic. Documents restricted to new trends in technology are off-topic. IMS, instant messaging, Internet, vocabulary, slang, spelling item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=3 http://www.usca.edu/medtech/courses/et780/may03/grouprojects/cmc-im.html What effect does Computer-Mediated Communication, specifically Instant Messaging, have on 8th grade writing competencies? Research Team: Allison Brown-Owens, Michelle Eason, Art Lader Abstract As the use of instant messaging and chat becomes ubiquitous, questions arise about the impact that this new medium is having on the language habits of our children. Instant Messaging (IM) Slang, the stripped down, phonetic representation of the written word, has evolved to lend the element of real-time speed to this form of Computer-Mediated Communication, bringing back into fashion the art of written communication-unique as it may be. However, as IM slang finds its way into formal school work and class projects, some American educators have complained that the disconnect between what is acceptable that standard English and what is casual "chit-chat" amongst friends is widening to an unacceptable degree, insisting that language standards are fundamental to common understanding among a culture. Others say that IM Slang is merely one more way that young people have found to set themselves apart from adults and that students with formal educations should have no problem differentiating between casual and formal environments. Some further argue that a Standard American English language does not exist at all and that IM Slang is simply a new form of literacy that has become part of our culture. Is Instant Messaging inhibiting students' mastery of correct English? In this study, we will study the effects of Instant Messaging on middle school student grammar. HARD-155 Capital Punishment As a growing number of nations around the world abolish capital punishment, how has the pressure on the US to follow suit increased or changed? Information about the effect of other nations' capital punishment policies on the US, and whether or not there should be an effect, are on topic. Documents restricted to statistics concerning international execution/abolishment of capital punishment rates are off-topic. capital punishment, international, abolishment, United States, death penalty item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: As a growing number of nations around the world abolish capital punishment, how has the pressure on the US to do the same, increased or changed? item=genre, value=I-Reaction item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=3 http://www.ncsc.dni.us/KMO/Projects/Trends/99-00/articles/cappunishment.htm Capital Punishment: Challenges and State Court Obligations By Penny White International Reactions Another area of disagreement among Supreme Court Justices is the role that international opinion and law should play in our courts' decision-making on death penalty issues. With the U.S. ranking third in the number of executions annually, behind only China and the Congo, pressure arising from treaty provisions and human rights issues abound. In the state courts, foreign nationals who were denied treaty rights upon arrest raise the issue as a means to void confessions or convictions. While that issue generates most of the international complaints,[xiii] recently, the Supreme Court denied certiorari to an inmate who argued that his execution would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights' prohibition against the execution of those who committed capital crimes while juveniles.[xiv] One consequence of the international spotlight on capital punishment in the U.S. will be the advent of new and perhaps more difficult issues by the defense bar. Amnesty International, for example, is encouraging defense counsel to make increasing use of international standards in capital representation. Justice Breyer has cited international treaties to augment his argument that the Court should consider the delay challenge,[xv] but the Court's few decisions regarding treaty issues have had limited applicability. Thus, state court judges, many of whom have no international law resources, will, nonetheless, be the initial decision makers on these difficult and controversial issues. In addition to encouraging the use of treaty provisions in courts, international opponents of the death penalty continue to pressure U.S. officials. In April 1998, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution signed by sixty-three nations urging a world-wide moratorium. Most countries, but not the U.S., have also signed other treaties such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the American Convention on Human Rights, barring the execution of those sentenced to death as juveniles. HARD-157 Public Transit Funding What legislation has Congress passed concerning the allocation of funds for both local and national public transit systems? Documents dealing with issues that concern public transit but do not relate to its funding and/or organizational structure are considered off-topic. On-topic documents would include transit appropriations and restructuring bills in the House of Representatives. Congressional Record, Public Transit Funding, Amtrak Funding, Transit Legislation item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: How has Congress dealt with issues surrounding public transit and the funds required for transit operation? item=genre, value=Administrative item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=3 http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_bills&docid=f:h1257ih.txt http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_bills&docid=f:h2784ih.txt http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_bills&docid=f:h3398ih.txt HARD-171 Global population What are the problems the world encounters with the increase of its population, and what are some solutions to these problems? Articles about the world's population in 1999, the increase in the significant number of people to be 6 billion, and the statistics of the population of 1999 are on-topic. Articles mentioning the population of specific countries without mentioning the world's population are off-topic. population, world item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=3,The+world%27s+population+has+doubled+since+1960+and+will%0Areach+6+billion+in+1999.+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 World population will top 6 billion on Oct 12 - UN Mail this story to a friend | Printer friendly version USA: September 23, 1999 WASHINGTON - Before Y2K, there will be D6B - the day the world's population exceeds 6 billion. U.N. numbers-crunchers say this will happen on or about October 12. The six billionth person will probably be born in Africa or India, destined to be poor, illiterate and ill-housed, with a life expectancy of perhaps 55 years, according to Tim Wirth, president of the U.N. Foundation, who offered commentary on a new report pegged to D6B. The good news, Wirth said, is that overall population growth has slowed in the last five years, from about 100 million a year to about 78 million a year - still enough to add a bit less than the population of Germany annually. "The down side is that in some parts of the world, there's desperate population growth and it is increasing poverty greatly, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent," Wirth said in a telephone interview to promote Wednesday's release of the report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The U.N. report said world population had doubled since 1960, with the last billion added in the last 12 years. Over 95 percent of population growth has been in poor countries while growth has slowed or stopped in Europe, North America and Japan. The U.S. population is still projected to rise, though, mostly due to immigration, according to the report. The report project that world population will reach 8.9 billion by 2050. The parts of the world with the highest birth rates are not only poor, they are young, with 40 percent of the population in 62 countries under the age of 15. Worldwide, over a billion people are between ages 15 and 24, just entering or in the midst of their prime reproductive years. Wirth discounted claims that the world can comfortably support such an expanding population. "The aspiration to an unfettered Western lifestyle ... is going to destroy the globe," he said. "It just can't continue the way it is. You can't have six billion people living the way people live in Manhattan or Los Angeles." Still, there has been measurable progress since 1960, according to Stirling Scruggs of the UNFPA. The average number of children per family has declined from about six to a little less than three, he said, and most of the world's countries have passed laws to move toward giving women the same rights as men, which is seen as a key goal in cutting population growth. However, there are money problems. A global conference on population in Cairo in 1994 judged that $17 billion a year would be needed by the year 2000 to pay for such activities as global family planning; by 1997, the total had reached less than $10 billion. International donors, including the United States, were supposed to contribute a total of $5 billion annually, but in 1997, they offered less than $2 billion. Washington, while still the leading donor for population activities, has significantly reduced its level of support, the report found. Story by Deborah Zabarenko,The+world%27s+population+has+doubled+since+1960+and+will%0Areach+6+billion+in+1999.+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 October 12: The Day Of 6 Billion October 12, 1999, has been designated by the United Nations as the Day of 6 Billion, a symbolic observation of this historic population milestone. According to United Nations projections, the Earth's population could be 7 billion, 9 billion or 11 billion in 50 years, depending upon the decisions made by today's young people about bearing children. The number 6 billion does not mean much, especially if people are unaware of concepts like "population momentum." They are usually surprised to learn that it took hundreds of thousands of years to reach 1 billion in 1804; and that the 3 billion milestone came in 1960, and global population has doubled since then, to 6 billion in 1999. Meeting the Needs of 6 Billion People The number of people on earth is not the real story. The real story is improving the quality of life of every one of the 6 billion. The Day of 6 Billion is a time of reflection and action to ensure a healthy and safe future for our children and grandchildren. At 1.07 billion, this is the history's largest generation of young people between 15 and 24. The reproductive choices these young people make will likely determine the planet's future. As they move into adulthood, these young people need access to family planning and reproductive health services, education, jobs and a healthy environment. More than half the world's population is female (equal to the world's entire population in 1960). But too many women and girls in too many countries lack the right to decide their own futures and are denied opportunities for education, employment and health care. Around the world and here in the United States, the more education a girl receives, the more likely she is to postpone pregnancy, the safer her pregnancies will be and the fewer and healthier children she will have. Our global environment is stressed by wasteful consumption, the pressures of rapid population growth and over-development. We may not have solutions to concerns of global warming, acid rain, environmental health or air and water pollution, but we do know what works to produce successful family planning and reproductive health programs. Putting People First In an historic consensus, governments of the world came together at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. They agreed on a Programme of Action that puts people first and slows rapid population growth at the same time. The goals are to: Improve and expand family planning and reproductive health care for all who want and need it. Increase self-determination, education and economic opportunities to improve the status of women and girls. End practices such as female genital mutilation and other forms of violence against women. Invest $17 billion per year in global population and development programs - two-thirds from developing nations, one third from the developed world. Fulfilling the Promise As the third most populated country on earth, the United States needs to affirm its status as a world leader and meet its financial responsibilities. The needs of 6 billion people cannot be met unless U.S. policymakers fulfill their promise made at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 to help provide population and development funding in countries that cannot afford it themselves. Most of the money for international family planning programs - two-thirds of it - is already coming from the developing countries that need it most. Financial and technical help is needed from richer countries. The United States should continue its financial commitment to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and increase other international humanitarian assistance through USAID programs. Note: The Day of 6 Billion was originally anticipated in July 1999. In October 1998, the U.N. Population Division released the 1998 Revised Population Estimates. These revised figures showed that the global population growth rate had been reduced primarily as a result of successful family planning programs, as well as an increased death rate in Africa due to AIDS. Based on these new figures, the U.N. estimated that global population would reach 6 billion in mid-October 1999. HARD-176 Geo-Politics of War How has war in the past decade helped shape geo-political boundaries of conflicting nations? Articles about war or military conflict between countries are on-topic as long as they include the resulting geo-polital boundary of each involved party. Articles that show statistics of war are not on-topic. Articles about countries threatening others of waging wars against them are off-topic. War, geo-political boundaries item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/war/1999/07/990730-afghan1.htm DATE=7/30/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=AFGHAN FIGHTING (L UPDATE) NUMBER=2-252339 BYLINE=SARAH HORNER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Fighting in Afghanistan has continued for the third day as Taleban forces try to oust the last remaining opposition force in the country. As Sarah Horner reports from Islamabad, a Pakistan-based news agency says the opposition has retreated from a vital air-base. TEXT: The Afghan Islamic Press (A-I-P) says forces loyal to opposition commander Ahmad Shah Massood have pulled back from Bagram air-base in Kapisa province, 50-kilometers north of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. The agency says Commander Massood's fighters have taken positions north and west of the air-base. A-I-P says Taleban fighters are also attacking Mahmud- i-Raqi, the provincial capital of Kapisa, just east of Bagram. A-I-P quotes a Taleban spokesman who says more than 100 injured Taleban soldiers have been taken to hospitals in Kabul. The agency quotes other sources who say both sides are suffering heavy casualties. Since capturing Kabul three years ago, the Taleban have tried to take the areas just north of the capital on several occasions. Each time, Commander Massood has conceded some ground but has then fought back and pushed the Taleban out. For the past two years, the front-lines north of Kabul have changed little. The Taleban concentrated its energies on capturing most of northern and central Afghanistan and now has 90- percent of the country under its control. Commander Massood and remnants of the opposition Northern Alliance have hung on to the rest and managed to defeat Taleban attempts to take all Afghanistan. The Taleban's current offensive, launched earlier this week, is a concerted effort to finally achieve its aim. Commander Massood, meanwhile, will be fighting hard to hold onto one of his last areas of control. The United Nations Security Council and the human rights group Amnesty International have appealed to both sides to stop fighting. U-N sponsored peace talks held between the Taleban and the Northern Alliance last week ended with little result. (SIGNED) NEB/SLH/KL 30-Jul-1999 12:09 PM LOC (30-Jul-1999 1609 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America HARD-177 Rewriting Indian history Is there an attempt to rewrite Indian history? Examples of on-topic stories may address the following: 1. Textbook changes (from the National Curriculum Framework for School Education) 2. Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) statements 3. Marxist views on Indian history 4. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government press statements 5. Ancient historical texts and manuscripts 6. Views of Indian historians Indian history, ancient texts, BJP, RSS, VHP, Romila Thapar item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value= http://www.india-seminar.com/2003/521/521%20romila%20thapar.htm In defence of history ROMILA THAPAR TO comprehend the present and move towards the future requires an understanding of the past: an understanding that is sensitive, analytical and open to critical enquiry. This was attempted by many Indian historians writing in the last 50 years. Their studies were not only fine examples of historical enquiry but were also pointers to new ways of extending historical methods. They widened and sharpened the intellectual foundations of the discipline of history and enriched the understanding of the Indian nation. These are the studies that have now come under attack, either directly or indirectly, by the agencies of the central government who are busy making a mockery of history. It is because of this assault on history that some of us have to speak in defence of the discipline of history. Indian history in the 1960s and 70s moved from being largely a body of information on dynasties and a recital of glorious deeds to a broad based study of social forms. In this there was a focus on religious movements, on patterns of the economy and on cultural articulations. The multiple cultures of India were explored in terms of how they contributed to the making of Indian civilisation. Therefore, many aspects of this multiplicity and its varying cultures from that of forest dwellers, jhum cultivators, pastoralists, peasants, artisans, to that of merchants, aristocracies and specialists of ritual and belief all found a place in the mosaic that was gradually being constructed. Identities were not singular but plural and the most meaningful studies were of situations where identities overlapped. Ten years ago Indian history was moving towards what some scholars have described as almost a historical renaissance. The writing of Indian historians, ranging over many opinions and interpretations, were read and studied in the world of historical scholarship, not only in India but wherever there was an interest in comparative history. Historical interpretations at this time and in many parts of the world used methods of historical analyses that were derived from a range of theories that attempted to explain and interpret the past. These included Marxism of various kinds, schools of interdisciplinary research such as the French Annales School, varieties of structuralism and others. Lively debates on the Marxist interpretation of history, for example, led to the rejection of the Asiatic Mode of Production as proposed by Marx, and instead focused on other aspects of Marxist history. There was no uniform reading among Marxists, leading to many stimulating discussions on social and economic history. The ideas of historians other than Marxists, such as Marc Bloch, Fernand Braudel and Henri Pirenne, were included in these discussions. The intention was not to apply theories without questioning them, but to use comparative history to ask searching questions. If those who are currently busy attacking every serious historical interpretation took the trouble to read historiography the history of historical writing they might begin to understand what history is all about. Some of the more obvious examples of these debates relate to varying themes of historical interest. The changing history of caste in Indian society was being studied in detail to ascertain social change and explain social disparities. It was also being viewed in a comparative sense with other systems of social organisation such as those dominated by masters and slaves as in the Greco-Roman world, or feudal lords and serfs of the medieval world or the more easily recognisable class oriented societies of recent centuries. Historians were asking the same questions that the Buddha had asked when told about Greek society: why do some societies have caste and others have a two-fold division of master and slave. These were questions that were not concerned primarily with making value judgements about caste but with trying to comprehend it as a system of organising society. The debate on whether or not there was feudalism in India has caught the attention not only of Indian historians but also of many medieval historians in other countries. The categories of feudalism are no longer restricted to a single definition of a feudal mode of production, for many permutations and combinations are recognised and these give new forms to the concept of feudalism. The historical investigation of the range of ideas that went into shaping Indian nationalism became a testing ground for assessing forms of nationalism in societies other than the Indian. The ideology of nationalism was enquired into and the enquiries ranged from its role in intellectual history to its impact on lesser-known local and popular movements. New themes came under the purview of historical investigation. Gender history focused on women, not merely as additional players but as primary players and their role in the genesis of some social forms began to be studied. Systems of knowledge came to be examined in terms of their influence on society and their function rather than restricting their history to merely repeating the obvious that these were great advances in knowledge. The formation and definition of a range of Indian cultures came to include the formulations of culture from communities other than elite groups and this widened the base of social history. It also influenced the extensive study of new religious movements, their beliefs and rituals and their audiences. An interest in the history of the environment suggested fresh hypotheses about the rise and decline of urban centres or the impact of hydraulic changes or deforestation on settlements of various kinds. This intellectual efflorescence was suddenly sought to be terminated. A blight began ten years ago, culminating in the last two years in an enforced attempt to clamp down on the process of exploring ideas. This has reached the point where the attempt is to denigrate the independent intellectual and to undermine a historical understanding of our society and its past. It has taken a variety of forms. Sometimes it has taken the form of political actions, later it resorted to intervening in and closing institutions connected to academic research, and most recently it has taken to censoring books and textbooks. Each action is orchestrated to a single aim. The political action that initiated this blight was the tearing down of the Babri Masjid in 1992. This was an attempt to insist that a single culture and a single identity a Hindu identity, defined not by Hindus in general but by those indulging in the destruction of the Masjid defines Indian culture. It was a violent, aggressive act of destruction claiming to glorify Hinduism but was a far cry from representing civilised Hindu values. Implicit in this act of destruction was the theory that it drew its legitimacy from history, that it was avenging the destruction of the temple at Somanatha by Mahmud of Ghazni, and thereby setting right a wrong of history. This fallacious idea that the past can be changed through destroying the surviving heritage from the past was of course a blatant attack on history: for the axiom of history is that the past cannot be changed, but that if we intelligently understand the past, then the present and the future can be changed. The destruction of the heritage of a society, as also happened in the case of the Taliban destroying the images of the Buddha at Bamiyan, is the subordination of past history to present politics. The claim that the past can be annulled is actually a crass attempt to redefine people, their culture and their history. The effort was and is to create a nation moulded not by all-inclusive national aspirations as of the earlier anti-colonial kind, but instead by a narrow nationalism identified with a particular version of a single religion. This makes it easier to impose an ideology of the sort that facilitates political mobilisation and access to power. History is being made a handmaiden to this process. Once the process comes into being it encourages an appeal to what is projected as a collective memory. Collective memories are not innate and are constructed. As we all know from parallel political movements that have used history in this fashion, such as in Europe in the 1930s, the notion of a collective memory encourages simplistic explanations, single agendas even for explanations of happenings in the past, and preferably a replacing of historical fact with mythology. Collective memory can be a-historical or even anti-historical and is therefore a convenient tool for spreading fallacies. The Hindutva approach to history ignores all other histories and schools of interpretation. They are all dismissed as Marxist or equivalent. They are then replaced with a reconstruction of the past, based on dubious evidence and arguments, and which differs from the accepted mainstream history. Hindutva history derives its legitimacy from 19th century colonial history. The periodisation of Indian history maintained by James Mill divides Indian history into the Hindu, Muslim and British periods. Mills argument and that of many other colonial historians was that the Hindus and Muslims formed two distinct communities and that they were perpetually in conflict. This has been taken over by the Hindutva ideology in which the enmity of Hindu and Muslim is foundational. It is argued that Hindu civilisation suffered because of Muslim rulers who oppressed the Hindus. This view is propagated despite the fact that some of the most creative forms of Hinduism such as bhakti the religion of devotional worship, and now the most widely practiced form of Hinduism evolved in South India but became prevalent in North India during the period of Muslim rule. That Mill has been challenged by Indian historians writing in the last 50 years makes not the slightest difference to the Hindutva insistence on supporting the two nation theory. A major contention is that Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. This view is based on the claims of the court chroniclers of various sultanates. Some may well have been conversions under pressure. Others such as well-placed families, as for instance of some Rajputs, more frequently converted for reasons of social and political expediency. But the majority of conversions were by caste jati and these would have been voluntary and in the expectation that Islam held out a better deal of social equality than Hinduism. There was of course no guarantee that the expectation would be met and less so where a caste hierarchy was not terminated with conversion. But what is of interest is that where a caste converted, it generally retained its rules of marriage, custom and some rituals and continued to have professional relationships with Hindu castes. When weavers in some North Indian towns converted to Islam, they continued their earlier relationship with Hindu textile merchants. Prior to their conversion they were anyway regarded as low caste and the traders maintained a social distance, and this distance remained. The issue of conversion that was once a matter of historical debate is now being used politically to threaten Muslims and Christians. Historians have shown repeatedly that conversions did not create a monolithic, uniform community. Those that called themselves Islamic had immense variations not only between the Arabs and the Turks or between the Sunni and Shiah, but also between Khojas, Bohras, Navayats and Mappilas. These variations enriched the culture of each community and endowed them with varying identities of language, region and custom, identities that frequently intersected with those of other groups in the area. In trying to understand the history of communities, whether Hindu, Muslim or any other, there are many distinctive forms that give multiple identities to such groups. These have evolved from a long process of social negotiation, some of it contentious and some of it convivial. These identities cannot be negated as in the Hindutva interpretations that sweep them all into a single communal entity. Another aspect of the relations between Hindus and Muslims in the ideology of Hindutva focuses on the Muslim destruction of temples in the past. This is not denied by historians but attempts are made to try and place such actions in historical perspective. This was not the only activity of Muslim rulers and temple destruction has to be juxtaposed with other undertakings that were not destructive. This is also related to the question of what we chose to recall from the past and reiterate, and what we chose to forget. Destroying a temple was a demonstration of power on the part of invaders, irrespective of whether they were Muslim or Hindu. We chose to forget that there were Hindu kings who destroyed temples, either wilfuly as did Harshadeva of Kashmir to acquire the wealth of the temples, or as part of a campaign as in the case of the victorious Paramara raja destroying temples built by the defeated Chaulukya. My purpose in drawing attention to this is not to add up the scores, but to argue that temple destruction was not merely an act of religious hostility. Temples were certainly places of ritual space and had a religious identity. But royal temples were also statements of power and were surrogate political institutions representing royalty. They were depositories of wealth and centres of finance, they maintained social demarcations through allowing some castes to enter the temple but excluding others, and they were the cultural nucleus of at least the elite groups of a region. Temple destruction and its aftermath, therefore calls for historical explanations of a wide-ranging kind. It cannot be made the justification for destroying or threatening to destroy, mosques and churches in the present day. In order to assert the superiority and antiquity of the Hindu community as the indigenous and earliest inhabitants of India, the theory of Aryan identity is being revived but in a curious way. Max Mueller had argued in the 19th century that the Aryans were the foundation of Indian civilisation and that they came from Central Asia. The first part of Max Muellers argument has been adopted by Hindutva ideologues and the second part has been stood on its head. The Aryans are said to be the foundation of Indian civilisation but at the same time they are said to be indigenous. They are now being equated with the authors of the Indus civilisation, even though the Indus civilisation was pre-Aryan. It was a mercantile culture focusing on many cities and artisanal production and trade, whereas the Vedic corpus depicts a cattle-keeping society unfamiliar with urban culture. The Vedic corpus is rich in its depiction of an agro-pastoral culture, but this is in no way the same as the urban sophistication of the Indus cities. The British Theosophist, Col. Olcott, associated with Mde. Blavatsky, was the first to argue in the 19th century, as do the Hindutva ideologues now, that the Aryans of India were not only indigenous but were the fountainhead of world civilisation, and that all the achievements of human society had their origins in India and travelled out from India. Vedic Sanskrit was the mother language of all languages and this reverses the argument of Sanskrit being descended from Indo-European. The thesis of indigenous Aryans also dismisses the argument of Jyotiba Phule and the Dalits that the Aryans were alien upper castes who oppressed the lower castes of Indian society. Caste Hindus according to the Hindutva theory have a lineal descent from the Aryans. This descent is also sought to be established by arguing that the authors of the Rigveda were the builders of the Harappan cities. Further that only the Hindus can legitimately call themselves indigenous for Muslims and Christians are foreigners. The intention of Hindutva history is to support the vision of its founding fathers Savarkar and Golwalkar and to project the beginnings of Indian history as authored by indigenous Aryans. This contradicts the archaeological and the linguistic evidence of the Indo-Aryan speakers but then who cares for evidence when a political message becomes the function of history. This theory ignores all the other societies, some of which were speaking Dravidian and Munda, of which there are traces in Vedic Sanskrit. It ignores the widely accepted argument among historians today that the concept of Aryan is not an exclusive, racial identity, but the social evolution of a group incorporating linguistic, cultural and ritual features, brought in by migrants from across the Indo-Iranian borderlands. Desperate attempts are being made to prove that the Vedic people and the Harappans were identical. The linguistic evidence is ignored, particularly the presence of Dravidian and Munda, and only Sanskrit receives attention. The reading of archaeological evidence is forced to the point of supporting the equation of Harappan with Vedic, even if Harappan onagers have to be identified as the horses of the Vedic ashvamedha. Contrary to the evidence so far excavated, there is an insistence that the origins of the Indus civilisation be located on the banks of what some identify as the Sarasvati river. This would allow it to be called the Sarasvati civilisation, further evoking a Vedic source. A history having been invented, the next question is how it is to be implemented? It is being implemented at two levels. One is the level of projecting this kind of history through research institutions and the other is through the school curriculum. It has taken on the dimensions of a campaign with the full involvement of the agencies of the Human Resource Development Ministry. Research centres have now been staffed with those who have an ideological commitment to Hindutva history. The Council and supervisory positions in the Indian Council for Historical Research in Delhi and their research projects are also oriented to the same kind of history. Among the new members they tried to appoint an engineer in the guise of a historian to replace an established historian of early India who was critical of their changes. The public outcry against this appointment where doubts were raised about his academic credentials and his bigoted writing against Christians and Muslims, led to his being dropped. Such an appointment gives no credibility to the Council. Whereas earlier the ICHR used to finance a variety of historical organisations, attempts are now being made to exclude those that support secular history which is dismissed by the ICHR as being left-wing history. The IIAS in Shimla now has research projects that focus on ancient Hindu civilisation and more particularly Vedic culture, other aspects of history receiving far less attention. These interventions by the ministry have been politicised by statements to the effect that earlier these institutions were under the control of left-wing academics so now it is the turn of the right-wing academics. If the debate is formulated in terms of leftist and rightist historians then each time the party in power changes, the curriculum and the syllabus will also have to change. History is not a shuttlecock that can be thrown back and forth in accordance with the views of governments. It also means that since procedures are not being observed, not only the curriculum but also the research programmes will change. And this is precisely what has happened. Excuse after excuse is made to prevent the publication of certain volumes of documents already in the press, as part of the project entitled, Towards Freedom. It was first said that they had not been properly edited, then that there were no indexes, and now they have to be cleared by yet another committee although they have already been cleared. A source quoted from the ICHR states that the real reason was to prevent the publication of documents which make it apparent that the Hindu Mahasabha was collaborating with the British. Procedures of functioning as they have been laid down and followed earlier, should continue to be followed. There is also a need for respecting the professional training in a discipline and ensuring that professionally trained people are appointed to the agencies that determine education. Is it just a coincidence that in educational institutions including the NCERT, recent appointments are said to be of RSS party cadres? The other action relating to institutions is of course even more high-handed. It takes the form of arbitrarily shutting down institutions of research as and when the government wishes to do so. An example of this is the sudden closing of the Kerala Council of Historical Research six months after it was founded. This is particularly unacceptable given the fact that there has been a growing interest in regional history and the historians working on Kerala have been active in developing research activities. [This decision was reversed through a judgment of the court.] Recently the BJP in Madhya Pradesh has attacked the scientific programmes of Eklavya, an educational NGO that produces school level books on the sciences and social sciences, and it is to be closed. For all its claims to endorsing secularism, the Congress Party in practice, seems to be sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar. If these closures become a pattern it will be disastrous for research and for a secular investment in Indian society. Shutting down an institution is a sign of extreme insecurity on the part of those who do so. By way of contrast, even though the ICHR is now manned by those who are sympathetic to Hindutva history, the rest of us as historians are not demanding the closing of the Council but are trying to point out that it should include historians reflecting a wider range of views. Given that there are attempts to substitute mainstream history with propaganda, it is all the more necessary to have independent bodies to counteract the hegemony of the propaganda. To argue that Marxist historians when placed in charge of institutions bring about a hijacking of history to left-wing ideology, is a view resulting from an unfamiliarity with Indian historical research of the last 50 years. The most wide-ranging debate on pre-modern Indian history has been the debate on whether or not there had been feudalism in India. D.D. Kosambis understanding of feudalism deviated from the model of the strictly Marxist feudal mode of production. Many of us were inspired by Kosambis work, yet the histories we have written dont necessarily follow only his line of thought. The major critiques of the feudal mode were initiated by Marxist historians and were later added to by non-Marxists. What resulted from this debate has been the exploration of many areas of Indian history in terms of the nature of the state, polity, economy and religion that have given us immense insights into our past. Some of the universities and research institutions in Bengal funded by the Left Front government have worked on Marxist analyses of history, but have also published equally thought provoking critiques. The confrontation among historians today is not between leftist and rightist historians, nor over establishing a Marxist view of history, as is crudely stated by some, but over the right to debate interpretations of history. There cannot be a single, definitive, official history. Such a definition of history is restricted to those for whom being a historian is merely an end to getting a government job. If some of us feel that Hindutva history is less history and more mythology we should have the right to say so, without being called intellectual terrorists and being threatened with arrest and being put down. In the final analysis, history is an intellectual enterprise and does have an intellectual dimension in its understanding of the past, however much Hindutva ideology may try and prevent that. Basic to changing the Hindutva interpretation of history is the attempt to give a single definition to Indian culture the roots of which are said to lie in Vedic foundations. This annuls the notion of a multicultural society. It destroys the sensitive and variant relations that have existed throughout Indian history between dominant cultures and regional cultures. This sensitivity is particularly important today in forging cultural identities that are subcontinental but at the same time incorporate the articulations of the region. These are the demands of a federal or near federal polity. Let me illustrate this. If the new school curriculum is to consist of what has been recommended by the ministry, children are now going to be taught Vedic Maths, Sanskrit, the glories of Vedic culture, Yoga and consciousness and a mish-mash of subjects under the rubric of Social Studies. This may be well motivated although I doubt that but it is inadequate for any exploration of knowledge or of coping with the complexities of our times and our aspirations. Where would a young person go looking for good jobs if all that he or she knows anything about is Vedic culture. Vedic culture is fine in its own place, but it is not a substitute for modern knowledge of various kinds. These changes have not been subjected to the normal rules of the ministry, hitherto observed by other governments. So the Central Advisory Board of Education, which is required to meet to discuss and pass any modifications of the curriculum, has not been called, and has therefore not passed the new curriculum framework. Thus the changes take on the character of being illegitimate if the rules of the ministry are still tenable. Nevertheless the ministry and its agencies are going ahead and paying no attention to procedures. Perhaps this is their definition of an effective government. The Supreme Court passed a stay order since the changes have not been approved by the CABE [since vacated]. Lets look at this curriculum in the context of literacy and education. The highest literacy percentages today are in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram all sustaining very different societies. To what extent should the difference be taken into consideration when drawing up a syllabus? Growing up in Kerala or in Himachal Pradesh have different requirements and some of these have to be conceded. Kerala has a culture of wet rice cultivation with lineally organised homesteads, of horticulture in the production of pepper and spices, fisheries and maritime trade. Himachal has none of these. Its villages are nucleated, pastoralism is common and the crops and their cultivation are different. Himachal has religious sects largely drawing on Puranic Hinduism and to a smaller extent populations of Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims. Kerala has a variant on these and has large populations of Muslims and Christians going back to early times. The language of Kerala, Malayalam, is entirely different from the Punjabi, Dogri and Tibetan of Himachal. Some basic educational demands therefore will also be different and such differences have to be woven into the curriculum. But what they do have in common are the aspirations that result from education. Schooling and curriculum would need to have some relationship with the local context and ethos and some regional concerns. The question would be how best these can be introduced without denying the importance of national concerns. Educational curriculum has to be such that regional concerns are recognised as an intrinsic part of those that are of national interest. This would ultimately be more viable than forcing everyone to conform to a top-down pattern. If we agree that we are a society of many cultures then the presence of the many should be registered. This can only be done through centres of research with a regional orientation. This does not mean only the histories of the current dominant communities or castes in a region but a discussion of the interface of the cultures of a region. The danger today is that in an effort to restrict history to that of the upper caste Hindu as seems to be the game plan of the central government the richness of the many other cultures will be eliminated. This makes it necessary to have state councils of historical research where the regional variation can be articulated and at the same time can interface with the national. It also makes it necessary for the curriculum in the states to be worked out in association with the State Councils of Education, Research and Training. In replacing history with Social Studies we thought that perhaps some of these ideas reflecting the presence of varying cultures would find a place in the syllabus. But the syllabus has no sensitivity to the varying requirements of different parts of the country. The new Social Studies syllabus is a package consisting of some history, economics, civics and geography. For all its modern-sounding jargon, the history syllabus derives from a 19th century, colonially oriented outline of history. It is a body of information rather than a method of critical enquiry about the past. It is substantially a listing of dynastic history and moves away from the kind of history that has in the last 50 years advanced our understanding of the past. There is no evidence that any academic discussion on history or on the pedagogy of writing textbooks, preceded the drawing up of the syllabus or the writing of the new textbooks. And it is all being done clandestinely in a cloak and dagger fashion. There is a refusal to reveal the names of the authors of the new textbooks nor of any historians that may have been consulted perhaps no historians were consulted. This is a contrast to the complete transparency that was observed when the previous NCERT textbooks were being drafted and a number of known historians were involved in discussing their content and there were consultations with teachers teaching history in schools. The minister has stated that the heads of various religious organisations would vet the history textbooks, although we are not told who they are. This predicts the kind of narratives we can expect in the textbooks and again challenges the discipline of history. There is a constant repetition of the aim being to equip students to face challenges with confidence but no mention of familiarising students with systems of knowledge and enquiry. The syllabus remains a heavily North Indian centred one with bits added on indiscriminately from a few other areas. The original syllabus had 15 units on ancient India and three on medieval India. This met with considerable criticism, so virtually overnight the three were increased to 22. Those of us who have worked on syllabuses are amazed that such massive changes can be introduced so quickly, and one wonders whether the exercise is being taken at all seriously. The Director of the NCERT referred to this massive change as a slight modification. There are now weekly changes being announced and it still remains unclear as to what exactly the final syllabus will be. Yet we are told that the new books will be ready to be prescribed in the coming school session starting in April. This kind of activity suggests a playing around with school education, and this may damage the education of an entire generation of Indian children. The content of the new syllabus for school History is predictable. The orientation is to focus on the history and values of upper caste Hindus. A few comments on the portions dealing with ancient history will illustrate this. A connection is made between the Harappan civilisation and the Vedic corpus and doubtless in the textbook it will be stated that the authors of the Harappan civilisation and of the Vedas were identical. Vedic culture is taken back to the third millennium BC, a good 1500 years earlier than the generally accepted date. South India in the Shangam age and the prehistory of North-East India are bundled together in the same unit and one is mystified as to what the connection might be. Another unit is concerned with the germination of Upanishadic thought and would date to 600 BC. The claim that this was the contribution of India to world philosophy at that time is pure invention. The chronology jumps back and forth through the syllabus and will obviously confuse the student. The Gupta dynasty is described as attempting to unite India, even though it made little impact on the history of the peninsula. The period after Harsha in the 7th century AD is said to be a period of small kingdoms. This is particularly laughable when one thinks of the size of kingdoms at this time and this notion of course echoes the views of British administrator historians of a hundred years ago, such as Vincent Smith. Some months back a great hue and cry was raised to prepare the ground for replacing the existing NCERT textbooks with new ones. The NCERT, the CBSE and the Ministry of HRD, behaved in a fashion that can only be described as unbefitting to government organisations. It was claimed that a number of statements made in the various existing NCERT textbooks had offended the sentiments of various religious groups. Therefore orders were issued that these passages were to be deleted from the books and further, that their subject matter was not even to be discussed in class with students. Thus for example, references to the eating of beef by Vedic Aryans or expressing doubt about the historicity of Rama were offensive to the Hindus; a reference to an English source stating that Guru Tegh Bahadur indulged in plunder was offensive to the Sikhs; not dating Mahavira to remote antiquity was offensive to the Jainas; and that the Jats carried out raids in the countryside of Haryana and Rajasthan was offensive to the Jats. Most interesting was the order to delete reference to the caste system and the statement that the varna scheme was the creation of the brahmans. There is now a ban on discussing the origins and history of caste in schools using the NCERT books. This sounds preposterous, but there it is. There is no intention of discussing the eating of beef in Vedic times or why it is important to provide this information in a book on ancient history. The government decrees what the history is to be, and so it shall be. This deletion of passages from the books and the ban on discussion raises a number of issues of various kinds pertaining to the rights of individuals and the ethics of government institutions. It is clearly stated in a distinct clause of the contract signed between the authors of the textbooks and the NCERT that no changes can be made without the permission of the author. The contract therefore has been violated by the NCERT. At a wider level this is also an infringement of copyright. But the government could not care less about having dishonoured a contract and therefore behaved in an unethical fashion. As for the CBSE decision that these subjects are not to be discussed in class, this undermines the very foundation of an educational system. The purpose of education is to enable a child to explore knowledge and this means giving priority to critical enquiry. Knowledge does not consist of a body of information to be memorised and passed on. That is the concept of education in the sishu mandirs and madrassas and such like. A modern education demands questioning, skepticism and an ability to think independently and to link information. What then should we think of as the process of ensuring a transition of knowledge that is independent and draws on critical enquiry. It would seem that no dialogue is possible with government agencies. We have therefore to think of alternate strategies. At one level one would have to work towards establishing councils of historical research in the various states so that regional histories can be treated in a seriously professional manner and not be reduced to being dependent on the patronage of those in power. Historical records are no longer limited to files in state archives. Over the last century the sources of history have been extended to include a vast range of material that tells us about our past. The range, apart from official documents, includes archaeology, linguistics, inscriptions, coins, monuments, documents of professional groups and of private families, and the oral tradition. This range means that statements about the past have to draw from a multiplicity of records and if they contradict each other this may be the source of a new illumination about authorship and audience. All these records have to be preserved not just the state archives and gazetteers. This can only be done by state councils, properly organised and financed and carrying out research into and preserving historical material. And it should be the function of these councils to act in dialogue with those responsible for drawing up the history syllabus and curriculum for schools. At another level it would be required of independent historians to be more involved in the teaching of history in schools at least in terms of drawing up an alternate and viable syllabus to that of the NCERT, based on both professional expertise and pedagogy. This would not be an innovation as there are groups that have been doing just this and in some cases their textbooks have been used very effectively in state schools as well as private schools. The example of the Eklavya group comes to mind. Their work will have to be revived and continued despite the assault on them. Civil society will now have to take the initiative in planning educational centres. The availability of more than a single textbook would provide a challenge to those that are anxious to restrict the writing of textbooks to a single source and thereby control knowledge. If such textbooks, different from those produced by NCERT are reliable, friendly to young readers and cheaply available, such an alternative system might be an excellent outcome of the present crisis. Given the high return on textbook publishing, there might even be a competition among publishers to acquire rights to publishing such books. In some ways the most serious challenge is the closing down of discussion since it is an attempt to close the mind. This is not a matter that concerns history alone, as it is equally important to all human sciences be it the humanities, the social sciences or other sciences. This is a frontal attack on knowledge and as professionals engaged in the furtherance of knowledge, it seems to me that we have no choice but to oppose it. The world has moved on since the colonialism of the 19th century and we have come to value independent thinking. There are enough historians in this country that will continue to write independently. There will be enough historical concerns growing out of the multiple cultural aspects of our society, to ensure that the Indian mind is never closed. HARD-180 Euro Introduced How did the introduction of the Euro currency affect the world's financial scenario? On January 1, 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the Euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of 11 member countries. News articles which outline the introduction of the currency, methods undertaken for its establishment around Europe, after-effects and reactions from organizations, publications and governments are on-topic. Euro, currency, finance item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=4 HARD-182 School development Which nations have developed schools in the last year, and how do their development methods compare? Articles about efforts to develop schools around the world are on-topic. The efforts do not have to be only in developing the education: they can also be in developing the school buildings, the medical department, or anything related to the school. Information about cultural differences that affect the development of schools are on topic. Articles that give statistics and do not explain how they will develop schools are off-topic. schools, development item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=2,+school+development&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 Project Title: NEW: Democratic School Development and Management Training in Tolerance and Confidence Building. A training course for multipliers in Bosnia-Hercegovina" (BiH, 98/99) / 313 Description: The project aims at training 20 - 25 mulitipliers (head-teachers and teachers of pilot schools, experts from pedagogical institutes), who will act as experts in starting and accompaning processes of democratic school development and management; at setting up school-networks throughout Bosnia-Hercegovina and at supporting school and community projects with their know-how, organisational and managerial expertise. The project aims especially at ethnically mixed schools, where intercultural and interethnic sensitivity is a precondition for establishing and assuring school quality and inter-ethnic understanding. Great care has been be taken to select the particpants in view of an ethnically mixed group.Their interest, committment and enthusiasm will facilitate the creation of innovative ideas and facilitate the implementation of project oriented work into the social system "school". Where school projects are concerned, a focus will be placed on democracy and intercultural learning, tolerance and mutual respect . In this context, the experts involved in the project will base the training especially on European experiences of intercultural and integrative approaches. The grant requested of ATS 2.9 million from the Austrian Federal Chancellery would be spent on training of 25 multipliers, a study trip to Austria, financial support for school projects and documentation of the didactics and methodology used during the seminars. Co-financing will be necessary (OBNOVA, PHARE, World Bank) in order to ensure long term international support for this important area of democratic development. HARD-186 Restricting the Internet How do the several stringent government restrictions on internet use in China affect net surfers and corporations? An array of rules were enforced in China in January, 1999, to restrict online news content, control public offerings of Web companies, and oversee the use of encryption technology. News stories related to the enforcement of these rules, statements by government officials, reactions from the public and corporations and international dialogue condemning China on the issue are on-topic. internet, China, restrictions, online, Web item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=3 HARD-187 National Leadership Transitions Which nations experienced transfers of power from one head of state to another and by which methods did these transfers occur? Articles dealing with military coups, elections and resignations leading to the installment of new leadership in individual nations are considered acceptable. I would prefer documents that make mention of the causes underlying the various shifts in power, but sources treating elections not at the head-of-state level would be considered off-topic. international elections, military coups, political power shifts item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: I seek an overview of the various ways in which power changes hands in various nations and for what reasons. item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june99/israel_index.html http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/december99/yeltsin_12-31.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/06/99/scottish_parliament_opening/382490.stm http://www.gambianews.com/news/gambiadaily/10-05-99.htm http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/africa/july-dec99/nigeria_10-29.html HARD-190 Climate Change What kinds of information have come to light with regards to global climate change? Articles that primarily focus on proposed solutions to climate change are off-topic. Documents dealing with the relationship between climate change legislation and business should also be excluded. Sources should contain scientific information on global warming rather than information regarding the political implications thereof. climate change, global warming, climate study item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.climateark.org/articles/1999/arcefftu.htm http://www.climateark.org/articles/1999/eartwa10.htm http://www.climateark.org/articles/1999/usemleve.htm http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/1999/10/102899/iceage_6775.asp http://www.pewclimate.org/media/pr_water.cfm HARD-194 Suburban Sprawl What types of legislation have been enacted to combat suburban sprawl and at which levels of government did the legislation originate? Documents pertaining to specific legislation (including executive orders) either debated or enacted by governments would be considered on-topic. Sources should not simply outline the problem of sprawl but should focus directly on action taken by governments to deal with the problem. suburban sprawl, urban sprawl legislation, land use planning, land use legislation item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: I am seeking this information in order to see whether politicians have taken any serious steps to stop the destruction of open space and the decline of our inner cities. item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=4 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/1999/hb0288.html http://www.kfoi.org/kfoi_index.html http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/es/science/landuse/smart_growth/ http://www.farmlandinfo.org/fic/states/il/ilolt1999.html http://sites.state.pa.us/oa/Executive_Orders/1999-1.pdf http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/about/legislative/pdf/July26.pdf http://www.landusecoalition.org/legislation.5.99.htm http://www.me3.org/projects/sprawl/ http://www.stateaction.org/issues/sprawl/index.cfm http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/sess1999/hres99/hjr1033.htm HARD-196 IPO Activity What types of companies and in which geographical areas made Initial Public Offerings of their stock? Articles documenting specific IPO's as well as sources treating the reasons for any increases or decreases in the number and nature of IPO's are fair game. Initial Public Offerings, NASDAQ, dot com companies item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.redherring.com/insider/2000/0107/inv-ipyrad.html http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/BUSI/bbg26.html http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/1999/06/21/daily3.html http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/1999/05/31/daily12.html http://www.swx.com/issuers/ipo99_en.html http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/1999/06/21/daily23.html HARD-198 Wartime Propaganda How do people use propaganda to their advantage during times of war? Articles about the manipulation of the reality for war reasons in 1999, and the effect of this propaganda on people are on-topic. Articles about the use of propaganda for reasons other than war are off-topic. War, propaganda item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=3,+propaganda,+media,war+serbia&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 MON, 12 APR 1999 09:29:56 GMT Bombing and the Media War AIM Podgorica, 10 April, 1999 On Good Saturday, on the eve of the great religious holiday, Easter, Belgraders have given up on singing and dancing in the squares, but not on gathering. Known and unknown stars of "turbo-folk" music were replaced by actors, church choirs and chanters. It is hard to believe that in the country with 50 years of socialism and regime blasphemy of God and the church people know for sure why on this holy day they should not recjoice and dance. They were simply told not to do it and they quietly standing at the Square of the Republic. A few days ago Serb Patriarch Paul appealed that it was no time for singing and dancing, but it did not meet with understanding. The order in the form of a recommendation arrived to the citizens from those who have certainly never cared much for Good Saturday and Easter festivities. That people should not sing and dance not because of bombs but because of Good Saturday was declared by all the electronic media in Serbia. The error to dance and sing may occur only in the parts of the Republic where reception of the program of state television is either made difficult or impossible because of destroyed transmitters. Last night, on 9 April, Belgrade was spared by NATO bombs, at least the downtown and its outskirts. As state television reported, surroundings of Valjevo were bombed, and targets in Kosovo, including the railway station in Kosovo polje near Pristina - what else, it will become known here later on. News about the number of human victims are slow in reaching the public, except through friends and acquaintances of those who have lost their dearest ones or those who are announcing the death of their relatives, children or friends in the obituaries. The tragedy of the small and poor Serbian town of Aleksinac mostly populated by miners on whose civilian houses several days ago bombs fell still dominate the feelings of the people who at least occasionally become aware that bombs of world power wielders can sometimes miss their targets. Those that fell on Aleksinac tore 16 houses down to the ground, and made another 400 unfit for living. The exact number of victims has not been stated. Bombing of Crvena zastava factory in Kragujevac caused no less emotions. Pictures of complete destroyed Pristina have reached Belgraders with a few-day delay. And that is the only thing from Kosovo that can be seen in the media in Serbia. There is a lack of TV pictures even from the demolished outskirts of Belgrade. War laws are in force in Belgrade and Serbia, people are concerned how to save their heads, they are getting paler and more nervous every day and literally with no unnecessary questions accept information served to them by state media and newspapers 24 hours a day. Serbia is nowadays completely homogenised, insulted, humiliated and devastated. Every expression of support coming from the world is run on all television stations for days, and hatred agaisnt NATO member countries, especially America, has reached its climax. All the eyes are turned towards Russia which is attributed enormous power and force and it is the only hope for salvation. As of yesterday (9 April) a decree of the president of Serbia broadened the power of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP). According to the decree, MUP can limit movement or detain for longer than 24 hours a person who is disturbing public order and peace or profiteering with food. A person who is believed by MUP to be dangerous for security of the Republic can be sent to a certain place. For reasons of security, MUP can search apartments, open letters and other... Since the very first days of the bombardments, by a special decree newspapers and other media were made obey certain rules of propaganda. In the third week of the war, an open media war has started between the world and the Serbian media. It was marked by the moment when a NATO officer threatened that due to "lies for propaganda purposes, the building of state television will be bombed if it does not agree to broadcast program of foreign stations" or perhaps NATO itself... Therefore, a country which is attacked and almost destroyed is expected to publish what those who are bombing it are broadcasting. The information did not pass without reactions here, primarily of state television which reacted with sharp commentaries. Even the sharpest critics of the regime who are mostly the ones who excpress a wish to hear information from the world, were shocked with the arrogance of those who are bombing. During all these days of the war, those who are watching satellite programs, and who are just a small part of the population in Serbia, were appalled with the propaganda and semi-truth on bombing and developments in Yugoslavia. The few foreign reporters discreetly complained to colleague journalists about censorship on information from Belgrade. While watching CNN, some journalists in Serbia established that state TV was a pure amateur in comparison with the mentioned American TV company. What is western propaganda exactly reproached for? From Serbia, only singing and dancing is shown to the world as opposed to the pictures of Kosovo Albanian refugees and banished persons. Ethnic cleansing and banishments are attributed solely to Milosevic's regime, and bombing of Kosovo as a reason of the terrible exodus of the Albanians is not even mentioned in western propaganda, nor the departure of verifiers from Kosovo as the only bulwark to mutual killing of the Serbs and the Albanians. Certain commentators even concluded that the bombs were agreeable for the Serbs, since they were not moving or fleeing. If they had just bothered to look into bus and railway stations in Belgrade they would have seen people leaving, seeking refuge in neighburing countries or in villages. Nobody even bothered to recall to mind that the Serbs had nowhere to go. They need a visa for every country but Hungary where there are already about twenty thousand registered refugees. Many families are moving to Subotica as a "safer" place. Men cannot cross the border, and according to the new decree of the government, even children over 14 are required to have identity cards. There is no answer to the question why the multi-ethnic Voivodina, especially Novi Sad, is destroyed to such an extent. Why are the bridges in this city torn down, and why is this province paying so dearly for waht the other province is experiencing. Caught in the midst of two propagandist machineries, with state TV affecting majority of the population as opium, the completely frantic, disoriented and bewildered people are living a double life every day. During the day they must go to work although there is mostly nothing to do there, and at night they go to the basements. There is no explanation for bombs which fall immediately next to maternity hospital or downtown Belgrade, on civilians inside Serbia. When that happens, all the "merits" of the regime in the case of Serbia go up in smoke. To expect from an attacked country to defend those who are throwing bombs at it is indeed unprecedented cynism. To expect condemnation of the exodus of the Albanian population from those who have not even seen the horrible sights of refugees, except for a few satellite program spectators is also pure nonsense. Organised singing in the squares and slogans which can be seen and which are dominated by obscene presentation of western leaders and outcries in which territory is more important than lives are nothing but a propagandist picture of Serbia and gathering energy for another night under bombs. At twilight already Belgrade becomes a ghost city. There is heroism, boasting and patriotism only on television then. Until the next rally at the Square of the Republic. The only evident effect of propaganda is homogenisation of the people, the feeling of injustice done by the world to the Serbs. Everything else, including everything that had been happening in Serbia and former Yugoslavia for years has been forgotten. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/3757/serbia/articles/media_demonization.html THE MEDIA AND THE DEMONIZATION OF THE SERBS by Marjaleena Repo The Yugoslavian government has just expelled some journalists from NATO countries from its territory. This is deplored by the media as "censorship," but in some of us it has created a strange sense of relief: perhaps now there will be a ceasefire in the 10-year disinformation campaign about the Yugoslavian conflict in general and the Serbs in particular. Or at least the "journalists" (few actually deserve the name) have to declare that what they are talking about is unverified rumour and hearsay since they are nowhere near the scene. Up to this point they have been able to create the false impression that they have witnessed the events they report on. The Western media's relentless demonization of the Serbs of Yugoslavia has, however, produced a very predictable (and no doubt, wished-for) result: a truly genocidal assault on the Serbian people by Western military might, Canada to its eternal shame participating, breaking every relevant international covenant and treaty. The pack-journalism over the last ten years has also succeeded in hoodwinking many Canadians into thinking that what is at stake is the good-riddance of a Serbian Hitler who has attempted a "final solution" of sorts on assorted ethnic groups in Yugoslavia. A lot of well-intentioned people are cheering the bombing of yet another pariah nation into the Stone Age. With the accumulated effects of media rumour-mongering and willful disinformation, who can blame these folks for their barely controlled blood thirst? After all, because Hitler wasn't stopped in time, millions perished in concentration camps, goes the heart-felt argument. Yet the labelling of Yugoslavia's Serb leaders as Hitlers - and the Serbs themselves as brutal, subhuman monsters - is a familiar trick from recent history. It has been perpetuated by the various hired hands, PR firms, who have worked overtime for the various ethnic groups pushing for secession which would utterly destroy the once well-functioning, multi-ethnic Yugoslavian federation and replace it with small nation-states which ethnically cleansed themselves (Croatia, for instance, expelled between 500,000 and a million Serbs from its territory.) The media has merely carried the message of these "hidden hands" of the Balkan conflict. The world was shocked to find out that a PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, had manufactured the "incubator babies" incident in Kuwait which precipitated the Gulf War: Iraqi soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies out of incubators in a genocidal fashion. Phony eywitnesses to this atrocity tearfully testified in front of U.S. politicians and the media, adding to public support for the subsequent bombing of Iraq and contributing hugely to the demonization of the Iraqis, leaders and citizens alike. Even Amnesty International was taken in by the falsehood, which was later exposed as such, but only after the military damage was done. Yet the shock of being duped soon wore off and gullibility returned. In no time another American PR firm, Ruder Finn, working for the Croatian and Bosnian separatists, publicly bragged that it had been able to turn world opinion against the Serbs. In April 1993 on French television, James Harff, the director of Ruder Finn, described his proudest public relations effort as having "managed to put Jewish opinion on our [Croatian and Bosnian] side." This was a "sensitive matter," he added, as "the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by real and cruel anti-semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps..." Our challenge was to reverse this attitude and we succeeded masterfully. At the beginning of July 1992, New York Newsday came out with the article on Serb camps. We jumped at the opportunity immediately. We outwitted three big Jewish organizations.... That was a tremendous coup. When the Jewish organizations entered the game on the side of the [Muslim] Bosnians we could promptly equate the Serbs with the Nazis in the public mind. Nobody understood what was happening in Yugoslavia.... By a single move, we were able to present a simple story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play itself. We won by targeting the Jewish audience. Almost immediately there was a clear change of language in the press, with the use of words with high emotional content such as ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, etc. which evoke images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz. " The PR firm was piling hoax upon hoax. The famous story of Serb concentration camps was built on a photo of a gaunt man surrounded by others, staring at the viewer from behind barbed wire; surely an image to chill one to the bones. It took years before a German journalist Thomas Deichman, in an article titled "The picture that fooled the world," described how the famous photo was staged by its takers, British journalists, who were photographing the inhabitants from inside barbed wire which was protecting agricultural products and machinery from theft in a refugee and transit camp; the men stood outside of it; and at no time was there a barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp. But by that time the image had done its deed, terminally slamming the Serbs as genocidal mass murderers. There are countless other stories, all deliberately maligning the Serbs to further the ends of military intervention. These stories and photos of "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" (a la Hitler) in a civil war, in which Serbs are guilty as sin and others are their innocent victims, are repeated ad nausea by western reporters without the slightest evidence, and have provided the ground for the public's (hopefully only temporary) acceptance of the illegal and brutal war against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia. They continue after NATO's bombing began, unabated, with new absurdities such as the suggestion that the Serbs are really bombing themselves! Perhaps in the war crimes court there will soon be a place for journalists and PR firms who with their inflammatory reporting and fraudulent actions cause wars to begin. HARD-203 Prostitution What effect does prostitution (legal or otherwise) have on national economies and societies? On-topic documents might address some of the following issues: 1. Sexually transmitted diseases 2. Sexual abuse / coercion 3. Tippel Zone, Holland 4. Sex education 5. Women's education STD, sexual coercion, legislation, education item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 DAILY TELEGRAPH Sunday, December 24, 2000. Issue 2039 David Bamber Home Affairs Correspondent Brothels should be legalised, says Home Office Prostitution in brothels and massage parlours should be regulated by local councils and the police, a Government report recommends. Ministers are considering the report, from the Home Office's Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, which effectively calls for the legalisation of such establishments. It says that, in many areas, the police already tacitly recognise brothels, even though they are illegal, because it is thought preferable for women to work inside rather than plying their trade on the streets. The report, For Love or Money: Pimps and the Management of Sex, says: "Officers worked with parlours and working flats, offering advice and support. The police monitored the parlours to ensure the unwritten rules were being observed." The authors add: "We support this type of pragmatism. Ensuring that sex markets take the least unacceptable form is a more realistic policy goal than eradicating them." Their report goes further and recommends that the effective legalisation and tighter regulation of brothels would safeguard the women who work there and help local residents deal with problems. "Recently there has been a steady rise in the number of off-street sex-market establishments," it says, adding: "Many of these are ignored by the police unless a complaint is received, and are therefore largely unregulated. There are likely to be clear benefits in tighter control and regulation. Not the least of these is that if these markets are well-managed, enforcement efforts can be focused on street sex markets and protecting vulnerable individuals who become sex workers." Several cities, including Birmingham and Sheffield, have experimented with "toleration zones", where police turned a blind eye to prostitution. The zones were aimed at getting prostitutes out of residential areas, rather than meeting any wish to legalise the trade. London and Manchester already effectively allow brothels to operate as massage parlours or saunas. As long as local people raise no objections, officers do not halt the vice trade there and even make regular visits to police the premises. Advertisements for the establishments are accepted by local newspapers and the brothel-owners pay taxes. Support is also growing in Parliament for the legalisation of prostitution. Last month, Jane Griffiths, Labour MP for Reading East, called for brothels to be legalised. She said the move would allow the police "to crack down on unlicensed operators and combat the street sex trade, frequently run by pimps who have criminal records". Last week, ministers announced 11 pilot projects each backed by 100,000 of funding aimed at getting prostitutes off the streets. http://www.walnet.org/csis/news/world_2000/telegraph-001224.html HARD-215 Laws about hijackers What are international legal policies regarding the prosecution and punishment of hijackers? In 1999 two suspected hijackers were arrested and held in preparation for a trial in the Netherlands. Additionally, Indian Airlines jetliner was hijacked, and the culprits were allowed to go free. More about protocol and laws concerning the arrest and prosecution of international hijackers are on-topic. hijackers, Pan Am 103, Indian Airlines, Kandahar, legislation, world court item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=2 HARD-217 Iraq disarmament How has the formation of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) intensified the Iraq disarmament crisis? Articles that address the following issue are on-topic. On December 17, 1999, UNSCOM was replaced by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and ordered Iraq to allow inspections teams immediate and unconditional access to any weapons sites and facilities, which Iraq rejected. Additionally, information about the disarmament crisis itself and the ways UNMOVIC has caused the situation to change are on-topic, as are articles about why UNSCOM was replaced by UNMOVIC. Documents restricted to UNSCOM, however, are off-topic. UNMOVIC, Iraq, UNSCOM, disarmament item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=3 HARD-220 Future of Mid-East Peace How have elections and other events affected the future of Mid-East peace politics? On May 17, 1999, Ehud Barak was elected Prime Minister of Israel. Stories related to the election, commentaries on the future of Israel and Mid-East peace, and statements by Ehud and other statesman about the future of peace in the Mid-East, are on-topic. Documents dealing simply with acts of violence in the region, with no mention of how it affects the peace situation, are off-topic. Ehud Barak, Israel, Palestine, Mid-East, peace process item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=I-Reaction item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=4 HARD-222 Corporate Mergers What have been the leading causes of corporate mergers and what has been the reaction of labor unions and the general public to industry consolidation? Documents that focus on the types of companies that merged as well as the reasons for those mergers are on-topic. Sources detailing the reaction of organized labor and of the general populace to mergers are also on-topic, as are documents that describe the economic processes that lead to consolidation. However, documents that report on legislation created to combat monopoly companies should not be included. Mergers, industry consolidation, corporate integration item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2 http://workers.labor.net.au/3/b_tradeunion_banks.html http://www.dresdner-bank.lu/stat/en/corporate/presse_19990701.html http://admin.vssp.com/FSL5CS/antitrust%20newsletter/antitrust%20newsletter314.asp http://www.fipp.com/637 http://workers.labor.net.au/6/news4_fsu.html http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/1999/12/06/daily33.html http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/corp_str/corpcomb.html HARD-223 Sports Scandals To what extent have scandals in professional and amateur athletics tarnished the images of the various athletes and organizations involved in them? Stories dealing with individual sporting scandals as well as articles outlining general trends in and fallout from sports scandals are on-topic. sports scandals, athlete scandals, sports gambling, athletes, drugs item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: Have the various scandals caused irreparable damage to the image of the sporting organizations they've affected? item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.ncaa.org/gambling/19990324_testimony.html http://www.time.com/time/magazine/intl/article/0,9171,1107990830-30694,00.html http://web.outsideonline.com/magazine/1299/199912disp7.html http://www.ausport.gov.au/fulltext/1999/sportsf/sf990917.htm http://www.bishops.ntc.nf.ca/TeenIssues/C.%20Little/PED.htm HARD-226 Efficiency of computer operating systems How does efficiency compare among current computer operating systems? On-topics include only current personal computer operating systems. Prefered documents include statistics on system crashes, bug reports, user reviews, and consumer reports. Documents dealing with the financial status of leading computer companies and engineers are off-topic, as are operating systems for embedded devices, and OSes still in development phases. Search should return information concerning how completed OSes compare/contrast each other. Efficiency, Computer operating systems, Windows, Linux, Unix item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: How does efficiency compare among modern computer operating systems? item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Any item=familiarity, value=3 HARD-228 Child's play Does gender affect how children interact with one another during group play activities? Articles relating to children playing with each other with a focus on gender dynamics are on-topic such as male/female roles perceived in adolescants. Documents regarding general group behavior are off-topic, as are ones dealing specifically with different play activities by children. Search should focus on the gender aspect of children's interactions with one another and not their surrounding environment. Documents from academic studies on children are acceptable, while general observations are not. gender studies, group behavior, group dynamics, children, play, interaction item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=3 HARD-229 The history of nanotechnology How advanced has nanotechnology become in the last ten years? Articles relating to the latest advances in nanotechnology, recent discoveries that have helped the evolution of nanotechnology, and predictions concerning the future of nanotechnology are on-topic. nanotechnology, history, break-through, advances item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 HARD-231 Parental advisory music How has the implementation of parental advisory warnings affected music record sales? Articles should compare record sales resulting before to after the implementation of parental advisory labels. parental advisory, explicit lyrics, record sales item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: Has record sales declined since the implementation of parental advisory warnings? item=genre, value=Reaction item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=3 HARD-233 Human rights In what ways do international advocacy groups demonstrate their concern over human rights in China? Examples of on-topic documents may include the following: 1. Amnesty International (human rights groups) 2. Human rights in China(US based group) 3. Comments of Chris Patten 4. China's role in Tibet 5. political dissidents 6. Summary executions, torture and arbitrary arrests 7. Women's rights groups Amnesty International, political dissidents, women rights groups, China, human rights item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/252556.stm Tuesday, January 12, 1999 Published at 00:44 GMT World: Asia-Pacific US presses China on human rights crackdown China's clampdown sparked international protest American and Chinese officials have begun two days of talks in Washington on human rights issues. Director, Human Rights in China, Xiao Quing: This is the harshest crackdown since Tiananmen It is the first such meeting since China broke off the dialogue in 1995 and comes amid what human rights groups are describing as a renewed crackdown on political activists in China. Several dissidents received lengthy jail sentences last month - three of them for their roles in founding the China Democracy Party. The trials sparked worldwide condemnation with the US calling the sentences deplorable. Several US congressmen called for the meeting to be postponed describing the decision to resume the talks as inappropriate and fruitless, given the current situation in China. More arrests Crackdown said to be the worst since Tiananmen More activists have since been arrested and President Jiang Zemin has warned subversive activities will be "nipped in the bud". He has China's programme of reforms will not be allowed to challenge the political monopoly held by the Chinese Communist Party. Human rights organisations have sent a letter to the US Government urging it to suspend the human rights talks in protest at the arrests. Xiao Quing, director of Human Rights in China, said the new campaign against activists was the most serious since the violent crackdown following the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. 'Disturbing development' BBC Correspondent Paul Royall: The recent imprisonment of dissenters makes a mockery of this human rights dialogue A US State Department spokesman said he hoped the meeting would provide an opportunity to discuss what he called the recent disturbing developments in the Chinese Government's treatment of the democracy movement. The State Department says it will urge Beijing to ratify the United Nations convenant on civil and political rights, which China signed last year. State Department Spokesman James Rubin: Decision does not mean we regard China's record as satisfactory A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said he expected an exchange of views in a frank, serious and constructive manner. Mr Xiao said the US and European governments should consider introducing a resolution at the United Nations to condemn China's recent action. Freedom of speech The crackdown comes just months after China signed the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees freedom of speech. But President Jiang has dismissed international criticisim as foreign interference. Shortly after last month's controversial trials, the Chinese authorities targeted the arts and entertainment industries, mandating harsh punishments for those found guilty of "inciting to subvert state power". The new rules cover writing, music, movies, television, video recordings and computer software, outlawing material that "endangers social order". Advanced options | Search tips Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | © Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia Relevant Stories 03 Jan 99 | Asia-Pacific Crackdown continues on Chinese dissidents 01 Jan 99 | Asia-Pacific Chinese workers party 'launched' 27 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific Analysis: Testing times ahead 27 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific Fourth Chinese dissident jailed 05 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific China signs key human rights treaty 06 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific China: human rights and wrongs Internet Links Human Rights in China Amnesty International: China's disregard for human rights Human Rights Watch: Beijing spring turns to winter The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. In this section Indonesia rules out Aceh independence DiCaprio film trial begins Millennium sect heads for the hills Uzbekistan voices security concerns From Business Chinese imports boost US trade gap ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers Malaysian candidates named North Korea expels US 'spy' Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia China warns US over Falun Gong Thais hand back Cambodian antiques HARD-234 Global Wage Remittance What is the role of multinational companies in facilitating remittances, or money sent from migrants in one country to their families back home? On-topic documents include those about the economic and social implications of global wage remittances, especially the role of companies like Western Union in facilitating wage remittances. Policies regarding wage remittances and general discussions of their impact are also on topic. wage remittance technology, Western Union item=purpose, value=Details item=genre, value=Any item=granularity, value=Sentence item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.time.com/time/globalbusiness/article/0,9171,1101030623-458779,00.html Mention Western Union to an American, and chances are he or she will think of telegrams and maybe that '60s frat-rock song of the same name. But in the rest of the world, Western Union means money. Having converted its wire traffic from text messages to cash, Western Union increasingly serves as a rough-and-ready bank for millions of migrant workers who send part of their pay to loved ones back home, whether from an Arizona broccoli field to a Mexican village or from a Saudi oil field to Bombay. As the pace of global migration quickens, so does the business of Western Union, which this year will add 20,000 cash-dispensing outlets to the 159,000 it operates in 195 countries and territories nearly four times as many locations as McDonald's, Starbucks and Wal-Mart combined. Quietly, Western Union has become one of the world's most pervasive and profitable financial institutions. Over the past decade, remittances of wages from migrant workers to their native countries have risen 44%, to an estimated $138 billion last year, and they are projected to grow an additional 28% over the next three years. According to the Nilson Report, which tracks payment services, Western Union controls nearly 80% of the electronic money-transfer market in the U.S., the world's biggest sender of remittances, which helped it pick up a nicely rounded $1 billion in profit last year from $3.2 billion in revenue. But several years of 30% profit margins have drawn complaints of price gouging and a host of new competitors ranging from big U.S. banks (Bank of America, Citigroup, U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo) to credit unions to foreign niche players like Remit2India.com and FXRemit.com, which caters to Filipinos. Western Union president Christina Gold, 55, a former Avon executive, is responding by giving her firm a makeover. Long billed as the "Fastest Way to Send Money," Western Union has just launched a $300 million global ad campaign using a new slogan, "Uniting People with Possibilities." The company is clearly trying to soften its image. But its executives are under no illusions: defending its lead is getting harder than ever, requiring big investments in new technology and new outlets, especially in the burgeoning markets of China and India. For thousands of tiny villages around the globe, Western Union serves as the main link to the global economy. About 100 miles south of Mexico City, in a valley framed by towering pre-Columbian ruins, sits Coatetelco, population 15,000, which has a beauty parlor but no bank. A few people grow maize, chilies and fruit, but remittances mostly from agricultural or construction workers in Georgia and the Carolinas account for a staggering 90% of the villagers' incomes. Patricio, 49, who stopped working in the U.S. three years ago, says sending money to Coatetelco has become more convenient and less expensive since his return. At the end of each month, he gets a call from his two sons, who are working illegally in Georgia. They give him a code number, and he drives or rides his horse four miles to the nearest Western Union, located in a government telegraph office, to pick up the $600 they spent $40 to wire to him. Less expensive remittance services are available at the nearby Banamex bank in Mazatepec, but so far, Patricio and his neighbors aren't willing to travel the eight miles to get there. Besides, he says, "we do not trust the banks, and they make everything more difficult." Since its founding as a telegraph company in 1851, Western Union has pioneered the stock ticker (1867), the electronic money transfer (1871), the credit card (1914), the singing telegram (1933) and intercity facsimile service (1935). But since 1995, when it became a division of the Denver-based First Data Corp., the world's biggest credit-card processor, Western Union has focused on electronic payments. Western Union processed nearly a billion checks and money orders in 2001 and is the biggest mortgage-payment processor in the U.S. It has also become a leader in the gift-card market, with clients including Blockbuster and Toys "R" Us. But money transfers are Western Union's bread and butter, last year accounting for 80% of the division's revenues, which in turn make up some 40% of First Data's. "It's a sleeping giant," Gold says of her company, "in the sense that many people still think of us as an old telegraph company and don't really recognize how connected we are to the populations of the world." Appointed president in May 2002, Gold, a Montreal native, is working to update the company's image, which was one of her specialties when she ran Avon Products' North America division. Gold for several years served as CEO of the Dallas-based Excel Communications, which uses Avon-style direct-selling methods to market long distance, wireless and other phone services. Since she arrived at Western Union, she has focused on giving the brand a unified look and feel. "At one point, we had 87 different logos around the globe," she says... HARD-235 Product Customization What affect does consumer preference for customization have on market economies? Product customization in this increasingly digital world can decrease the cost of production while increasing customer satisfaction. To remain competitive, companies are having to offer unique packages of their product to the customer. Articles addressing these issues are on topic. Product customization and consumer preferences in market economies are on-topic. Economic theories and policies are off-topic. Topic should focus on growing trends. product customization, comsumer preference, market economy item=purpose, value=Background item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Passage item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/from_related/0,10987,1101021223-400005,00.html Candy Short is a born shopper. She studies every purchase with the zeal of her hound dogs sniffing out a trail. So she couldn't help herself when, while laid up with a back injury in her Southern California home last month, she chanced upon a curious offer on the Internet. A company called Reflect.com promised it could customize cosmetics for her based on information she entered on its website. Short, 33, formulated a lipstick, a moisturizer, then pretty much an entire product line. Some $500 later, she kissed mass-market makeup goodbye for good. HARD-237 Racial profiling How have instances of racial profiling encroached upon the civil liberties of individuals, and has legislation changed as a result? On-topic documents might include the following: 1. American Civil Liberties Union report, 1999 2. documents relating to 'pretext stops' 3. Supreme court rulings 4. National Urban League 5. speeding ticket violations and statistics 6. Clinton government's role in racial profiling state troopers, racial profiling, American Civil Liberties Union, National Urban League item=purpose, value=Answer Answer: item=genre, value=Overview item=granularity, value=Document item=familiarity, value=2 http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_2_the_racial_profiling.html The Racial Profiling Myth Debunked Heather Mac Donald he anti–racial profiling juggernaut has finally met its nemesis: the truth. According to a new study, black drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike are twice as likely to speed as white drivers, and are even more dominant among drivers breaking 90 miles per hour. This finding demolishes the myth of racial profiling. Precisely for that reason, the Bush Justice Department tried to bury the report so the profiling juggernaut could continue its destructive campaign against law enforcement. What happens next will show whether the politics of racial victimization now trump all other national concerns. A debate with OpinionJournal.com: OpinionJournal’s Argument 28 March 2002 Mac Donald’s Rebuttal 29 March 2002 OpinionJournal’s Response 2 April 2002 Mac Donald’s original prediction: The Myth of Racial Profiling Spring 2001 Additional Comments: National Review Online 1 April 2002 FrontPage Magazine 3 April 2002 St. Louis Post-Dispatch 10 April 2002 FrontPage Magazine 6 May 2002 Until now, the anti-police crusade that travels under the banner of “ending racial profiling” has traded on ignorance. Its spokesmen went around the country charging that the police were stopping “too many” minorities for traffic infractions or more serious violations. The reason, explained the anti-cop crowd, was that the police were racist. They can argue that no more. The new turnpike study, commissioned by the New Jersey attorney general, solves one of the most vexing problems in racial profiling analysis: establishing a violator benchmark. To show that the police are stopping “too many” members of a group, you need to know, at a minimum, the rate of lawbreaking among that group—the so-called violator benchmark. Only if the rate of stops or arrests greatly exceeds the rate of criminal behavior should our suspicions be raised (see “The Myth of Racial Profiling,” Spring 2001). But most of the studies that the ACLU and defense attorneys have proffered to show biased behavior by the police only used crude population measures as the benchmark for comparing police activity—arguing, say, that if 24 percent of speeding stops on a particular stretch of highway were of black drivers, in a city or state where blacks make up 19 percent of the population, the police are over-stopping blacks. Such an analysis is clearly specious, since it fails to say what percentage of speeders are black, but the data required to rebut it were not available. Matthew Zingraff, a criminologist at North Carolina State University, explains why: “Everybody was terrified. Good statisticians were throwing up their hands and saying, ‘This is one battle you’ll never win. I don’t want to be called a racist.’ ” Even to suggest studying the driving behavior of different racial groups was to demonstrate one’s bigotry, as Zingraff himself discovered when he proposed such research in North Carolina and promptly came under attack. Such investigations violate the reigning fiction in anti–racial profiling rhetoric: that all groups commit crime and other infractions at equal rates. It follows from this central fiction that any differences in the rate at which the police interact with certain citizens result only from police bias, not from differences in citizen behavior. Despite the glaring flaws in every racial profiling study heretofore available, the press and the politicians jumped on the anti-profiling bandwagon. How could they lose? They showed their racial sensitivity, and, as for defaming the police without evidence, well, you don’t have to worry that the New York Times will be on your case if you do. No institution made more destructive use of racial profiling junk science than the Clinton Justice Department. Armed with the shoddy studies, it slapped costly consent decrees on police departments across the country, requiring them to monitor their officers’ every interaction with minorities, among other managerial intrusions. No consent decree was more precious to the anti-police agenda than the one slapped on New Jersey. In 1999, then-governor Christine Todd Whitman had declared her state’s highway troopers guilty of racial profiling, based on a study of consent searches that would earn an F in a freshmen statistics class. (In a highway consent search, an officer asks a driver for permission to search his car, usually for drugs or weapons.) The study, executed by the New Jersey attorney general, lacked crucial swathes of data on stops, searches, and arrests, and compensated for the lack by mixing data from wildly different time periods. Most fatally, the attorney general’s study lacked any benchmark of the rate at which different racial groups transport illegal drugs on the turnpike. Its conclusion that the New Jersey state troopers were searching “too many” blacks for drugs was therefore meaningless. Hey, no problem! exclaimed the Clinton Justice Department. Here’s your consent decree and high-priced federal monitor; we’ll expect a lengthy report every three months on your progress in combating your officers’ bigotry. Universally decried as racists, New Jersey’s troopers started shunning discretionary law-enforcement activity. Consent searches on the turnpike, which totaled 440 in 1999, the year that the anti–racial profiling campaign got in full swing, dropped to an astoundingly low 11 in the six months that ended October 31, 2001. At the height of the drug war in 1988, the troopers filed 7,400 drug charges from the turnpike, most of those from consent searches; in 2000, they filed 370 drug charges, a number that doubtless has been steadily dropping since then. It is unlikely that drug trafficking has dropped on New Jersey’s main highway by anything like these percentages. “There’s a tremendous demoralizing effect of being guilty until proven innocent,” explains trooper union vice president Dave Jones. “Anyone you interact with can claim you’ve made a race-based stop, and you spend years defending yourself.” Arrests by state troopers have also been plummeting since the Whitman–Justice Department racial profiling declaration. Not surprisingly, murder jumped 65 percent in Newark, a major destination of drug traffickers, between 2000 and 2001. In an eerie replay of the eighties’ drug battles, Camden is considering inviting the state police back to fight its homicidal drug gangs. But one thing did not change after the much-publicized consent decree: the proportion of blacks stopped on the turnpike for speeding continued to exceed their proportion in the driving population. Man, those troopers must be either really dumb or really racist! thought most observers, including the New Jersey attorney general, who accused the troopers of persistent profiling. Faced with constant calumny for their stop rates, the New Jersey troopers asked the attorney general to do the unthinkable: study speeding behavior on the turnpike. If it turned out that all groups drive the same, as the reigning racial profiling myths hold, then the troopers would accept the consequences. Well, we now know that the troopers were neither dumb nor racist; they were merely doing their jobs. According to the study commissioned by the New Jersey attorney general and leaked first to the New York Times and then to the Web, blacks make up 16 percent of the drivers on the turnpike, and 25 percent of the speeders in the 65-mile-per-hour zones, where profiling complaints are most common. (The study counted only those going more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit as speeders.) Black drivers speed twice as much as white drivers, and speed at reckless levels even more. Blacks are actually stopped less than their speeding behavior would predict—they are 23 percent of those stopped. The devastation wrought by this study to the anti-police agenda is catastrophic. The medieval Vatican could not have been more threatened had Galileo offered photographic proof of the solar system. It turns out that the police stop blacks more for speeding because they speed more. Race has nothing to do with it. This is not a politically acceptable result. And the researchers who conducted the study knew it. Anticipating a huge backlash should they go public with their findings, they checked and rechecked their data. But the results always came out the same. Being scientists, not politicians, they prepared to publish their study this past January, come what may. Not so fast! commanded the now-Bush Justice Department. We have a few questions for you. And the Bush DOJ, manned by the same attorneys who had so eagerly snapped up the laughable New Jersey racial profiling report in 1999, proceeded to pelt the speeding researchers with a series of increasingly desperate objections. The elegant study, designed by the Public Service Research Institute in Maryland, had taken photos with high-speed camera equipment and a radar gun of nearly 40,000 drivers on the turnpike. The researchers then showed the photos to a team of three evaluators, who identified the race of the driver. The evaluators had no idea if the drivers in the photos had been speeding. The photos were then correlated with speeds. The driver identifications are not reliable! whined the Justice Department. The researchers had established a driver’s race by agreement among two of the three evaluators. So in response to DOJ’s complaint, the researchers reran their analysis, using only photos about which the evaluators had reached unanimous agreement. The speeding ratios came out identically to before. The data are incomplete! shouted the Justice Department next. About one third of the photos had been unreadable, because of windshield glare that interfered with the camera, or the driver’s position. Aha! said the federal attorneys. Those unused photos would change your results! But that is a strained argument. The only way that the 12,000 or so unreadable photos would change the study’s results would be if windshield glare or a seating position that obstructed the camera disproportionately affected one racial group. Clearly, they do not. Nevertheless, DOJ tried to block the release of the report until its objections were answered. “Based on the questions we have identified, it may well be that the results reported in the draft report are wrong or unreliable,” portentously wrote Mark Posner, a Justice lawyer held over from the Clinton era. DOJ’s newfound zeal for pseudo-scientific nitpicking is remarkable, given its laissez-faire attitude toward earlier slovenly reports that purported to show racial profiling. Where it gets its new social-science expertise is also a mystery, since according to North Carolina criminologist Matthew Zingraff, “there’s not a DOJ attorney who knows a thing about statistical methods and analysis.” Equally surprising is Justice’s sudden unhappiness with the Public Service Research Institute, since it approved the selection of the institute for an earlier demographic study of the turnpike. The institute proposed a solution to the impasse: Let us submit the study to a peer-reviewed journal or a neutral body like the National Academy of Sciences. If a panel of our scientific peers determines the research to be sound, release the study then. No go, said the Justice Department. That study ain’t seeing the light of day. Robert Voas, the study’s co-author, is amazed by Justice’s intransigence. “I think it’s very unfortunate that the politics have gotten in the way of science,” he says, choosing his words carefully. “The scientific system has not been allowed to move as it should have in this situation.” As DOJ and the New Jersey attorney general stalled, The Record of Bergen posted the report on the Web, forcing the state attorney general to release it officially. Now the damage control begins in earnest. Everyone with a stake in the racial profiling myth, from the state attorney general to the ACLU to defense attorneys who have been getting drug dealers out of jail and back on the streets by charging police racism, is trying to minimize the significance of the findings. But they are fighting a rear-guard battle. Waiting in the wings are other racial profiling studies by statisticians who actually understand the benchmark problem: Matthew Zingraff’s pioneering traffic research in North Carolina, due out in April, as well as sound studies in Pennsylvania, New York, and Miami. Expect many of the results to support the turnpike data, since circumstantial evidence from traffic fatalities and drunk-driving tests have long suggested different driving behaviors among different racial groups. While racist cops undoubtedly do exist, and undoubtedly they are responsible for isolated instances of racial profiling, the evidence shows that systematic racial profiling by police does not exist. The Bush administration, however desperate to earn racial sensitivity points, should realize that far more than politics is at stake in the poisonous anti–racial profiling agenda. It has strained police-community relations and made it more difficult for the police to protect law-abiding citizens in inner-city neighborhoods. The sooner the truth about policing gets out, the more lives will be saved, and the more communities will be allowed to flourish freed from the yoke of crime.