Turkey: Drought Cuts Food Production in Half

“Production has been halved to 300 kilos (661 pounds) per 1,000 square meters (250 acres), even in well-irrigated parts of the region, as rainfall declined to one-fortieth of normal levels, Referans daily said on Wednesday, citing farmers and farming associations.”

The government has selected 35 of its 81 provinces as eligible for financial assistance, Erdogan said. Farmers who have lost more than 30 percent of their harvest to drought can claim assistance and also postpone any agricultural loan payments by a year, he added.

Read moreTurkey: Drought Cuts Food Production in Half

Contaminated US site faces ‘catastrophic’ nuclear leak

ONE of “the most contaminated places on Earth” will only get dirtier if the US government doesn’t get its act together – clean-up plans are already 19 years behind schedule and not due for completion until 2050.

More than 210 million litres of radioactive and chemical waste are stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford in Washington State. Most are over 50 years old. Already 67 of the tanks have failed, leaking almost 4 million litres of waste into the ground.

Read moreContaminated US site faces ‘catastrophic’ nuclear leak

The Great Biofuels Con

According to the World Bank’s top economist, Don Mitchell, biofuels had been responsible for three-quarters of the 140 per cent rise in world food prices between 2002 and 2008. It was this that last October prompted Jean Ziegler, the UN’s “special rapporteur on the right to food”, to comment that biofuels could only bring “more hunger to the poor people of the world” and were a “crime against humanity”.
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A field of rapeseed in England and Africans reveive food relief
Yellow peril: while Britain’s farmers are encouraged to turn their fields over to rapeseed for biofuels, the world food crisis has driven people in Ethiopia to the brink of starvation

Rarely in political history can there have been such a rapid and dramatic reversal of a received wisdom as we have seen in the past 18 months over biofuels – the cropping of living plants, such as soya beans, wheat and sugar cane, to generate energy.

Two years ago biofuels were still being hailed as a dream solution to what was seen as one of the most urgent problems confronting mankind – our dependence on fossil fuels, which are not only finite but seemed to be threatening the world with the catastrophe of global warming.

Read moreThe Great Biofuels Con

Australia is suffering one of its worst droughts on record

Life is hard for wheat and livestock farmers in the south, as they face a possible third year of nearly no rain.

July 12, 2008 POOCHERA, AUSTRALIA — Glen Phillips kneels down, scoops up a handful of dirt and squashes it in his fist to test whether the soil in this dry patch of the Australian Outback is ready to take a crop of wheat.

“It should clump together when you squeeze,” says Phillips, whose family has lived off the land on the edge of the Great Australian Bight since 1949. “That’s how you know it’s good to plant, it’s moist enough to hold the roots.”

He opens his hand and the earth sifts dustily between his fingers. Phillips looks up, lifts his hat slightly and squints into an empty blue sky with no sign of rain.

“We’ll plant anyway,” he says. “We don’t have a choice.”

Australia is suffering one of its worst droughts on record, hurting wheat farming just as the world faces a food crisis. Australia is usually the world’s third or fourth-largest exporter of wheat. But exports dropped 46% from 2005 to 2006, then fell 24% last year.

Most of its exports go to the Middle East and Southeast Asia to make bread and cereals, but the fall in supply has led to soaring prices. A ton of Australian wheat costs $367, compared with $258 in early 2007, an increase poorer countries can ill afford.

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Worsening Drought Threatens Australia’s “Food Bowl”
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Floods may boost world food prices for years
Floods wipe out US crops
The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
The Price Of Food: 2007 – 2008
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
Time to Stockpile Food?
Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.
UN alert: One-fourth of world’s wheat at risk from new fungus
THE FOUR HORSEMEN APPROACH – FAMINE IS IN THE AIR
Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

“When they pay high prices, they pass on an increase to their poorest people, who can no longer afford it,” says Kunhamboo Kannan, director of agriculture, environment and natural resources at the Asian Development Bank. “Just look at Egypt.” Riots over rising bread prices and shortages have led to at least 10 deaths there this year.

Read moreAustralia is suffering one of its worst droughts on record

Worsening Drought Threatens Australia’s “Food Bowl”


An agricultural region that produces over 40 percent of Australia‘s fruit, vegetables, and grain is seriously threatened by the country’s ongoing drought, which has been developing into a crisis over the last decade. Scientists say that the two mighty rivers that irrigate the Murray-Darling Basin (an area the size of France and Germany combined) received the lowest amount of replenishing autumn rain since record-keeping began over a century ago.

Neil Plummer, acting head of the National Climate Centre, described rainfall during the southern hemisphere autumn as “an absolute shocker”, and said: “I’m gasping for good news”. Wendy Craik, chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, said the river system’s condition was “critical… tending towards flatlining”. She added: “We have got it on life support” [The Independent].

Related articles:
Drought devastates Iraq’s wheat crops
Floods may boost world food prices for years
Floods wipe out US crops
The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
The Price Of Food: 2007 – 2008
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
Time to Stockpile Food?
Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.
UN alert: One-fourth of world’s wheat at risk from new fungus
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Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

The degrading ecosystem may cause strife between farmers and environmentalists, as the government has said it might be forced to compulsorily acquire water from irrigators, a move that would anger and devastate farm families [The Daily Telegraph]. Conservationists say the mandatory water buy-backs are necessary to protect the wetland habitat of native birds, turtles and fish.

Read moreWorsening Drought Threatens Australia’s “Food Bowl”

China to urgently boost GM crop development

China has said it must urgently step up the development of genetically modified crops as it faces mounting challenges to feed its 1.3 billion people due to shrinking arable land and climate change.

Newly-approved plans aim to cultivate high-yielding and pest-resistant genetically modified species, the State Council, or cabinet, said in a statement posted on its website late Wednesday

At a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, Chinese leaders said the plans were “of strategic significance” in the country’s drive to make its agricultural sector more efficient and competitive internationally, the statement said.

“Departments must fully understand the importance and urgency of this significant project, further improve the programme and waste no time to carry it out,” it said.

It gave no details on which crops should be developed, but analysts said the plans were likely to focus on developing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, including corn and rice.

China has become a major producer of genetically modified cotton and vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes, but it has yet to begin large-scale production of genetically modified rice, corn and soybeans.

Read moreChina to urgently boost GM crop development

Drought devastates Iraq’s wheat crops

Power outages disrupt irrigation

BAGHDAD – It’s been a year of drought and sand storms across Iraq – a dry spell that has devastated the country’s crucial wheat crop and created new worries about the safety of drinking water.

U.S. officials warn that Iraq will need to increase wheat imports sharply this winter to make up for the lost crop – a sobering proposition with world food prices high and some internal refugees already struggling to afford basics.

“Planting … is totally destroyed,” said Daham Mohammed Salim, 40, who farms 120 acres in the al-Jazeera area near Tikrit, 130 kilometres north of Baghdad. “Even the ground water in wells is lower than before.”

The Tikrit area, where Saddam Hussein was born, normally is flush with green meadows in the spring and early summer – but this year has only thistles, said 30-year-old farmer Ziyad Sano. He’s resorted to collecting bread scraps from homes to feed his 70 sheep, but 20 have died.

Related articles:
Floods may boost world food prices for years
Floods wipe out US crops
The Best Farmland in the U.S. Is Flooded; Most Americans Are Too Stupid to Panic
The Price Of Food: 2007 – 2008
The U.S. Has No Remaining Grain Reserves
Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
Time to Stockpile Food?
Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.
UN alert: One-fourth of world’s wheat at risk from new fungus
THE FOUR HORSEMEN APPROACH – FAMINE IS IN THE AIR
Philippines: Food Shortage Looms – Arroyo Adviser

The dry weather has hurt areas from Kurdistan’s wheat fields in northern Iraq to pomegranate orchards, orange groves and wheat fields just north of Baghdad.

Read moreDrought devastates Iraq’s wheat crops

6,700 Tons of Radioactive Debris Shipped From Kuwait to Idaho

6700 Tons of Radioactive Debris Shipped From Kuwait to Idaho
The shipment across the ocean, unloading at Longview, Washington State port, transport by rail, and burial in Idaho endangers not only the residents of these areas but poses a significant agricultural threat through introduction of pests, microbes, etc. foreign to our nation.

Doug Rokke, Ph.D. – BLN Contributing Writer

(Note: Dr. Doug Rokke is the former Director of the U.S. Army’s Depleted Uranium Project. It was his task to clean up the radioactive battlefields of the Gulf War. Today, this leading opponent of nuclear warfare is vitally concerned that sand contaminated by radioactive munitions exploded in the Middle East has been shipped to Idaho for burial. And more, much more. He asked me to call his warning to public attention.)

During the summer of 1991, the United States military had collected artillery, tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, conventional and unconventional munitions, trucks, etc. at Camp Doha in Kuwait.

As result of carelessness this weapons depot caught fire with consequent catastrophic explosion resulting in death, injury, illness and extensive environmental contamination from depleted uranium and conventional explosives.

Recently the emirate of Kuwait required the United States Department of Defense to remove the contamination. Consequently, over 6,700 tons of contaminated soil sand and other residue was collected and has been shipped back to the United States for burial by American Ecology at Boise Idaho.

When Bob Nichols, an investigative journalist, and I contacted American Ecology we found out that they had absolutely no knowledge of U.S. Army Regulation 700-48, U.S. Army PAM 700-48, U.S. Army Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, and all of the medical orders dealing with depleted uranium contamination, environmental remediation procedures, safety, and medical care .

They had never heard of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for dealing with mixed – hazardous waste such as radioactive materials and conventional explosives byproducts. (reference “Approaches for the Remediation of Federal Facility Sites Contaminated with Explosives or Radioactive Wastes”, EPA/625/R-93/013, September 1993).

The shipment across the ocean, unloading at Longview, Washington State port, transport by rail, and burial in Idaho endangers not only the residents of these areas but poses a significant agricultural threat through introduction of pests, microbes, etc. foreign to our nation.

Sadly the known adverse health and environmental hazards from uranium weapons contamination are in our own backyard. The EPA has listed the former Nuclear Metals- Starmet uranium weapons manufacturing site in Concord Ma. On EPA’s Superfund National Priority List because it poses a significant risk to public health and the environment.

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Read more6,700 Tons of Radioactive Debris Shipped From Kuwait to Idaho

Earthquake Destroyed China’s Largest Military Armory, Says Source

A high-level Chinese military source secretly disclosed last week that the recent earthquake in Sichuan Province caused a chain-reaction of explosions in the Sichuan mountain areas. The explosions destroyed Chinese army’s largest armory, new weapon test bases and part of nuclear facilities including several nuclear warheads. This information is considered China’s top military secret.

After the earthquake, Chinese authorities had ignored the disaster victim’s initial calls for help. Only after the first critical 72 hours had passed did the authorities allow international aid to be delivered to the disaster region. Military analysts believe that this delay occurred because Mianyang City of Sichuan Province is one of important areas for the Chinese military nuclear industries and also its largest armory. The Chinese regime did not want potential spies from the outside world in this very sensitive military area during a time when there may have been a nuclear accident.


“I went to see the site of the explosion again. Villagers on the road told me, ‘These concrete blocks and soil were from the explosion,'” said a medical team member. (Photo provided by mainland Chinese Internet Users)

According to sources, a nuclear accident did happen. On June 27, the Chinese military disclosed that 2,700 chemical cleanup workers had been sent to earthquake disaster areas for nuclear chemical emergency rescue.


A villager said, “At that time, I heard a huge explosion and saw red substances tens of meters high rising off the mountain. This scared me to death.” (Picture provided by mainland Chinese Internet Users)

After carefully analyzing seismic data, military experts in southeast Asia confirmed a non-geological shock had occurred at the earthquake epicenter. The energy released was equivalent to that of an underground nuclear explosion.

Read moreEarthquake Destroyed China’s Largest Military Armory, Says Source

California Wildfire Destroys Homes, Thousands Evacuated

BIG SUR, Calif. – Thousands of residents north of Sacramento have been told to flee after erratic winds blew embers across wildfire containment lines, the latest setback for already strained fire crews.

Authorities ordered residents of 3,200 homes in Paradise to evacuate their homes Tuesday after fire destroyed 40 houses in the nearby rural community of Concow. Evacuation orders also remained in place for 800 to 1,000 residents from Concow and Yankee Hill, about 85 miles north of Sacramento.

“Right now we’re battling the weather and the erratic winds,” said Todd Simmons, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman. “Whatever the winds are doing, that’s pretty much what the fire’s going to do.”

Firefighters also were struggling against a sudden drop in humidity and a spike in temperature as a heat wave forecast to linger until the weekend grips much of the state.About 30 lightning-sparked wildfires in Butte County, where Paradise and Concow are located, have charred 47,000 acres in recent weeks and was about 40 percent contained, officials said.

Fire crews across the state have been trying to cover hundreds of active California wildfires, many of which were ignited by a lightning storm more than two weeks ago. Some 1,450 fires had been contained late Tuesday, but more than 320 were still active, authorities said.

Related article:California: The War On Wildfires

Read moreCalifornia Wildfire Destroys Homes, Thousands Evacuated