Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

02 November 2006

Israel admits using phosphorus weapons

Israeli Cabinet Minister Jacob Edery has admitted that Israel used controversial phosphorus weapons in its attacks against targets during its month-long war in Lebanon this summer.

The chemical can be used in shells, missiles and grenades and causes horrific burning when it comes into contact with human flesh. White phosphorus (WP) weapons are not forbidden by international law, but some human rights groups believe they should be reclassified as chemical weapons and banned.

WP is used by armies for producing smoke screens and as an incendiary. The phosphorus ignites on contact with air and gives off a thick smoke. If the chemical touches skin, it will continue to burn until it reaches the bone unless deprived of oxygen.

and as always there are no winners in war ...

Hezbollah used cluster bombs

Hezbollah fired cluster bombs into civilian areas of northern Israel in the recent conflict, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. The Lebanese Shia militia used two Chinese-made rockets for cluster strikes that hit the village of Mghar in Galilee on July 25, according to evidence gathered by the United States-based organisation.

Although Israel made extensive use of cluster weapons against Lebanon, this is the first independent confirmation that Hezbollah used the weapons.

and the biggest loser in the world is ... drumroll ... wilderness/nature

Species stranded outside protected areas

The most comprehensive map of endangered species and where they live has shown that 11% of birds, 24% of mammals and 33% of amphibians are at risk.

Threatened species are not clustered together, making it harder to target resources. So the current "silver bullet" approach to conservation -- which relies on protecting areas such as national parks which contain numerous threatened species -- is missing many endangered animals.

"In the past what we have essentially done is identify plots using one particular [group of organisms] and said, 'Right, this is where we should put our protected areas'," said Andrew Pullin, head of the Centre for Evidence Based Conservation at Birmingham University. "We may have put our protected areas in great places for mammals or birds but we may not have adequately covered areas that are hotspots for lesser-known groups." The original article is available to subscribers on Mail and Guardian.

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