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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 10:01am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7371 of 7381) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Wonderful work in the Economist:

a superb SURVEY: RUSSIA Putin's choice Jul 19th 2001 ... Is Russia under President Putin heading for regeneration, stagnation or decay? Probably all three at once, says Edward Lucas

from The Economist Global Agenda . Arms and the man Jul 23rd 2001 ... America and Russia have agreed to hold talks on missile defence and nuclear-arms cuts. This is a step forward. But a workable anti-missile shield—and diplomatic consensus that one is desirable—remain distant goals

Editorial, the Economist Missile defences: What are they really for? Jul 19th 2001 . . . George Bush needs to come clean about his missile-defence ambitions

rshowalter - 10:20am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7372 of 7381) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

From Putin's choice by Edward Lucas ..... with some modifications for the purpose of analogy.

( Another) "trend, though, is stagnation. The collapse of the Cold War,) it turns out, was superficial and partial. Well-connected people and organisations—especially the (military and) security services—started clawing back power straight away. . . . Changes for the better are often stopped in their tracks by greedy bureaucrats, and by the peculiar difficulties and perversities of life in (the United States) . The state, at all levels, dislikes criticism and opposition. Many (Americans) , for their part, still hanker for the certainties, real or imagined, of the past: tradition, authority and unity, rather than experiment, competition and pluralism.

Lucas speaks of a pattern that applies to Russia, but not Russia alone. At some important levels, Russia and the United States face similar challenges and compromising circumstances.

lunarchick - 10:21am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7373 of 7381)

    Dr Korneyev says a week after he had produced his plan to introduce elephants to St Petersburg the city's cultural committee told him he should stand down or be fired. He refused to do so. An audit committee then met to draw up grounds for his dismissal, which included such failings as lack of regulations in the zoo library and misbehaviour by zoo otters.

lunarchick - 10:30am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7374 of 7381)

Chernobyl exposé scientist is jailed /The Sunday Times
Peter Conradi
A LEADING Belarussian scientist who tried to highlight the disastrous effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster on the health of the country's children has been sentenced to eight years in a labour camp.

The jailing of Yuri Bandazhevsky, the former dean of the medical institute in the southern city of Gomel, appears to be part of a long-running campaign by President Alexander Lukashenko to play down the consequences of the world's worst nuclear accident.

Lukashenko presides over arguably Europe's most repressive regime. Reviled in the West, he was accused by two top former officials last week of helping to set up a death squad blamed for the disappearance of four opposition politicians in the past two years.

Bandazhevsky was convicted by a military court, ostensibly of taking bribes in exchange for college admission. He denied the corruption charge but, under Belarussian law, has no right of appeal. His family fears for his health as jail food is virtually inedible and he is receiving no medical attention for a stomach ulcer.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups monitoring the case said his conviction was linked to work aimed at establishing the full extent of damage caused by Chernobyl.

Human rights campaigners say the catalyst for Bandazhevsky's arrest was a study of children close to Gomel, 80 miles northeast of the Chernobyl plant. It found that 80% of children who had been exposed to the highest levels of radiation had irregular heart rhythms and other cardiac disorders which, in many cases, proved fatal.

"He has been breaking new ground," said Solange Fernex, a former French MEP and head of a group campaigning against the conviction. "Nobody has been able to carry out the number of autopsies he has done to show the effect of radiation on people's organs."

Belarus was especially badly hit by the Chernobyl accident. As much as 23% of the land was contaminated by the radioactive cloud, and some 500,000 children and nearly 2m adults are believed to live in the worst affected areas.

Lukashenko, who took to the streets of Minsk earlier this month on inline skates for Belarus's independence day, ahead of a re-election battle in September, has urged the international community to help with the clean-up. At home, however, he has refused to acknowledge the extent of the damage caused.

Vasily Nesterenko, the director of the Belarussian institute for radiation security, said Bandazhevsky had been arrested soon after sending Lukashenko a letter complaining about the handling of the clean-up. "He was jailed because the health ministry does not like his findings," Nesterenko said.

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