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Archive for August 2009

Prime Minister Taro Aso calls election for 30 Aug

August 30, 2009 - JAPAN

Prime Minister Taro Aso has called a parliamentary election that could oust his governing Liberal Democratic Party after its more than five decades of almost uninterrupted rule. His approval ratings have fallen and his party’s chances of losing the election have risen sharply. Aso’s LDP and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, hold a combined 334 of the 480 seats in the lower house of parliament. Whichever party wins will have to tackle the country’s worst recession in 60 years.

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Million boat event protests California canal

August 16, 2009 - UNITED STATES

Despite the state’s extreme budget woes, California’s Department of Water Resources plans to start underwater drilling in September to find the best route for a controversial US $10-billion canal project in the inland river delta and estuary in the north of the state. Protesters plan to stage a Million Boat Float on the Sacramento River river to register their opposition, then float upstream to demonstrate the following day at the state’s legislature.

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Experts, NGOs gather for World Water Week in Stockholm

August 16, 2009 - STOCKHOLM

Decisions makers, international experts and a few heads of state gather at the World Water Week in Stockholm each year to mull the planet’s most urgent water-related issues. The theme for 2009 is Responding to Global Changes: Accessing Water for the Common Good. On Aug 19, Canadian manufacturer Trojan Technologies will be awarded the 2009 Stockholm Industry Water Award for what is described as an environmentally sound alternative to traditional chlorine-based water treatment.

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Bridge span over Colorado River joined up

August 15, 2009 - UNITED STATES

The sides of the 1896 foot-long arch for the Colorado River Bridge, the central part of the 3.5-mile Hoover Dam Bypass Project in Nevada, are coming together despite setbacks. Its 1060-foot concrete arch span will be longest in the United State and fourth longest in the world. Link-up is expected in September or sooner. Some 900 feet above the river, the bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck old road, which crosses the dam. The new bridge opens to traffic in 2010, two years overdue.

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Ecuador celebrates bicentenary of declaration of independence

August 10, 2009 - ECUADOR

Ecuador celebrates the bicentenary of its declaration of independence from Spain on 10 Aug 1809, almost 20 years since the country returned to democracy after a string of military dictatorships. President Rafael Correa won’t have the cash to mark the milestone in a lavish way. While the other Latin American countries will open museums, monuments, buildings and grand infrastructure works for their bicentenaries, Ecuador’s cash flow problem is likely to limit the country to cultural events.

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Japan holds its first Space Elevator Games

August 8, 2009 - JAPAN

Japan’s first space elevator contest — the Japan Space Elevator & Technical Competition – Climb me to the Moon — will be held at Nihon University in Chiba Prefecture. Japan is a member of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), the governing body for the now multi-country effort to develop the technology that could one day present a low-cost alternative to rockets. The robotic space elevator would send astronauts and payloads shooting spaceward on a tethered ribbon.

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Niger’s citizens vote on whether president can extend rule

August 4, 2009 - NIGER

President Mamadou Tandja named Aug 4 as the date for a referendum on extending his rule to three terms. He circumvented a ruling by Niger’s hightest court against his plan by dissolving parliament on May 26 and assuming emergency powers to rule by decree. The Aug 4 referendum will be followed on Aug 20 by parliamentary elections and a presidential election on Nov 14. Without the extension, his term ends on Dec 22.

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Anders Fogh Rasmussen takes up post as NATO secretary general

August 1, 2009 - BRUSSELS

At their 60th anniversary summit, NATO leaders agreed to appoint Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the Alliance’s next Secretary General. He takes up his post on Aug 1, when the term of Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer expires. Turkey had threatened to veto Rasmussen’s appointment because of his handling of a 2006 crisis triggered by cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper.

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German scientist takes helm of Antarctic Treaty Secretariat ;

August 1, 2009 - BUENOS AIRES

German scientist Manfred Reinke was elected executive secretary of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat at the conclusion of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in the United States in April, and he starts on Aug 1. He faces a difficult 4-year term, as 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty, and 11 countries have claimed sovereignty over parts of Antarctica to secure the contiguous offshore oil, gas and mineral rights. And taxing environmental issues threaten the health of the South Pole.

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German scientist takes helm of Antarctic Treaty Secretariat ;

August 1, 2009 - BUENOS AIRES

German scientist Manfred Reinke was elected executive secretary of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat at the conclusion of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in the United States in April, and he starts on Aug 1. He faces a difficult 4-year term, as 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty, and 11 countries have claimed sovereignty over parts of Antarctica to secure the contiguous offshore oil, gas and mineral rights. And taxing environmental issues threaten the health of the South Pole.

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