Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with independent candidate Charles de Kerckhove, St. Paul’s

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with independent candidate Charles de Kerckhove, St. Paul’s

Monday, October 1, 2007

Charles de Kerckhove is running as an independent in the Ontario provincial election, in the riding of St. Paul’s. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

News briefs:June 7, 2006

News briefs:June 7, 2006

The time is 17:00 (UTC) on June 7th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.


  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 11,000 evacuated in Indonesia as Mount Merapi threatens to erupt
    • 1.2 Gunmen Seize 50 in Iraq
    • 1.3 U.S. Senate defeats bill banning gay marriage
    • 1.4 Australian PM announces nuclear taskforce
    • 1.5 EPA block massive West Australian energy project
    • 1.6 “Ten Commandments” judge loses Alabama gubernatorial primary
    • 1.7 20 percent of Victorians drive on worn tyres
    • 1.8 Body found in the Christchurch, New Zealand Avon River
    • 1.9 Real body found at mock crime scene in Florida
    • 1.10 Raw Audio starts Australia’s first regular live webcast
  • 2 Closing statements

NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars

NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars

Monday, May 7, 2018

On Saturday, United Launch Alliance launched a Atlas V 401 rocket carrying NASA’s InSight Mars lander and two Mars Cube One (MarCO) miniature spacecraft known as cubesats. The pre-dawn launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 3E in Lompoc, California was declared a success. This was the very first deep space launch from the west coast of the United States, and aimed to send a lander to the surface of the planet Mars to study its interior.

Launched alongside InSight were two MarCO cubesats, the first to be sent beyond Earth, nicknamed ‘WALL-E’ and ‘Eve’ after the protagonists of the 2008 animated science fiction film WALL-E. They were designed as a dual telecommunications relay for InSight during the spacecraft’s descent through the Martian atmosphere.

Traditionally, NASA launched interplanetary spacecraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on the United States’ east coast. There, rockets were sent eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, borrowing the Earth’s rotational velocity to shoot their payloads out into the solar system. Due to congestion on the launch calendar at Canaveral, NASA chose to launch the spacecraft from from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the country’s west coast instead. A launch eastward from Vandenberg would have been dangerous due to densely populated areas being located downrange. Instead, rockets launched from Vandenberg were sent in a south-southeast trajectory. For Insight and MarCO, the spacecraft was placed in a temporary polar orbit after the launch, with the pair being shot towards Mars during a escape burn performed over the North Pole.

Despite a heavy fog settling in at the rocket’s launch pad in Lompoc, the United Launch Alliance declared a “100% chance of favorable weather for liftoff”. Spectators in Lompoc were treated to a mostly obscured view of the launch, though they were witness nonetheless to the sound and shock waves of the Atlas V’s Common Core first stage as it lifted the spacecraft off the ground on-schedule at 4:05 PDT (1105 UTC). People along the coast of southern California and northern Baja California, however, were in clear view of the Atlas V’s main engine burn and the first burn of the rocket’s Centaur upper stage. People in Orange County, California were treated to the sight of InSight and the Centaur almost eclipsing the planet Jupiter in the night sky.

The recently-inaugurated Administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, congratulated the InSight team in an address televised live on NASA TV after the launch, along with the United Launch Alliance on what was their 128th successful launch in a row. The InSight mission part of NASA’s Discovery program, a class of low-cost solar system exploration missions. It was selected to launch in the program after beating the Comet Hopper and Titan Mare Explorer proposals amongst responses to a 2010 request.

Both InSight and the MarCO cubesats are en route to Mars. InSight carries eight scientific instruments, including a seismometer known as Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS). The SEIS instrument will be recording the very first seismic measurements of Mars, which scientists hope will shed light on the structure of Mars beneath its surface. The lander was equipped with two cameras, based on the architecture of the Mars Exploration Rover’s navigation camera and hazard avoidance camera, to allow mission scientists to monitor the activity of the instruments. NASA scheduled a November 26 landing for InSight on a broad plain in the planet’s northern hemisphere, known as Elysium Planitia.

Foot-and-mouth source confirmed as research laboratory

Foot-and-mouth source confirmed as research laboratory

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A report released tonight by the Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that there is a “strong possibility” that the cause of the recent foot-and-mouth outbreak is contamination, most probably by human movement, from a nearby research facility in Guildford, Surrey, UK.

The labs in Pirbright, where both private firm Merial and the governmental Institute for Animal Health operate, have been subject to ongoing investigations since the discovery of a new foot-and-mouth outbreak on Friday. The strain of the disease had already been identified as an O1 BFS67-like virus, which was isolated in a 1967 outbreak and was being used at the labs for research and the production of vaccines. It is not yet known whether the virus escaped from the Merial or the IAH lab.

Since foot-and-mouth was confirmed in cows at a Surrey farm, more than 200 cattle have been culled as a preventative measure. A protection zone has been set up around the affected areas and rules preventing the movement of livestock have been introduced throughout the country, with the aim of stopping further spread of the contagious disease. Restrictions on the import of English beef have already been imposed.

The last outbreak of foot-and-mouth in the UK, in the spring and summer of 2001, resulted in total losses estimated at £8bn. Seven million animals were slaughtered, and tourism was also badly hit.

U.S. superbug expected to emerge in Canada

U.S. superbug expected to emerge in Canada

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

An infectious superbug spreading in the United States is to “emerge in force” in Canada, doctors fear. The bacteria have been reported popping up in day care centers and locker rooms across the U.S. Usually elderly or very ill hospital patients get the disease.

More than 2 million U.S. residents are infected every year, the Centers for Disease Control estimates.

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Tuesday said that Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are “spreading with alarming rapidity.” The bacteria can cause boils, pimples, or in extreme cases, flesh-eating disease, and more.

“The resistant bacteria is an old foe with new fangs: a pathogen combining virulence, resistance and an ability to disseminate at large,” wrote Dr. John Conly, medical professor and an infectious disease specialist at the University of Calgary.

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario are the provinces which already have had MRSA in hospitals.

A 30-year-old Calgary, Alberta man died last year of lung abscesses associated with the infection, as well as a three-month old toddler in Toronto, Ontario.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, last summer, suffered from an infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus in his leg. Pitcher Ty Taubenheim had a similar infection on his foot.

Doctors are currently investigating some Calgary residents, who could be one of the first Canadian reports of MRSA outside of a hospital setting.

Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


  • 1 The HBO film about her life
  • 2 PETA, animal rights groups and the Animal Liberation Front
  • 3 Newkirk on humans and other animals
  • 4 Religion and animals
  • 5 Fashion and animals
  • 6 Newkirk on the worst corporate animal abusers
  • 7 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • 8 Ingrid Newkirk on Ingrid Newkirk
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Sources

William Harley, Arthur Davidson &Amp; Soichiro Honda Didn’t Like Bikes!

By Neil Ebsworth

When we think of the business empires that were started in garages, images of computer whiz-kids immediately come to mind. But the trend of giant Oaks from little acorns goes back much further than this. As far as motorcycles are concerned, they don’t come much bigger than Harley Davidson and Honda, who as the pioneers of the motorcycle culture held a commonality in that their dreams were born on different sides of the globe from a dislike of bikes.

By bikes, I mean of course, the pedal variety. In 1903 William Harley and Arthur Davidson with the help of Arthurs brother, Walter, took their first steps on the road to glory in an attempt to conquer the hills of Milwaukee with a motor powered bicycle. Their first attempts failed, but by 1904 they had improved their design enough to be able to enter a race at the state fair. They came fourth, and within two years had moved from their garage to their first company factory address. The address in Chesnut Street, now Juneau Avenue, is still their corporate headquarters today.

Although separated by a generation, Soichiro Honda also began his career surrounded by bicycles. His father, a blacksmith by trade also owned a bicycle repair shop where Soichiro grew up with a fascination for all things mechanical. After a six year apprenticeship on an auto repair shop in Tokyo Soichiro returned home to set up his own auto repair shop but it was his adaption skills in adding a piston engine to a bicycle that would start him on the road to success.

YouTube Preview Image

By the time that The Honda motor Company was formed, the Harley Davidson Motor Company was a world leader in motorcycle production. They had supplied custom bikes to the army through two World Wars until the Jeep took over as the utility vehicle of choice. In 1952 under increasing competition , Harley Davidson applied for a 40% import tariff on foreign motorcycles. The application led to charge of restrictive practices against the company. This would be the first of a string of events that would lead the company into decline during the following decades. Through Hollywoods portrayal of the bikes in outlaw biker movies such as The Wild One in 1953 starring Marlon Brando and later, in the now cult movie, Easy Rider with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson, the Harley Davidson name became synonymous with rebellion and illegality. What we view today as an integral part of what makes a Harley special, was, at the time, damaging sales of the bikes and threatening the very future of the company.

Things got worse in 1969, when the company was bought by American Machinery and Foundry. AMF attempted to streamline production resulting in a labor strike that let to the manufacture of sub-standard machines. There unreliability became a standing joke and the bikes gained nicknames such as ‘hardly driveable’ and ‘hogly ferguson’ It was from this last nickname that the riders of Harleys would later be called ‘Wild Hogs’.

It would take a group of thirteen investors to lead the recovery in the fortune of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Bought in 1981 from AMF, they implemented new manufacturing protocols and regained the reliabilty standards of the companies early models. Funnily enough though, it was the depiction of the bikes between the 50’s and 70’s that would finally give Harleys the cult status they hold today.

They say that ‘What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger’. Well, whilst Marlon, Peter and Jack’s portrayals came close to ending this American icon, it was the cult status of the era and these films, that would endure to provide the maturing ‘baby boomers’ with their piece of nostalgia.

Harley Davidson became the custom bike to own through the nineties and its stock price soared. No longer the evil machine of rebellion, the bikes had become the symbol of a generation of achievers looking to recreate the image of their teenage heroes.

In todays 24/7 society, with Blackberrys and pagers, mobiles and handhelds, hitting the road on a Harley, with nothing but the sound of the exhaust in your ear, is the new dream, for a new generation looking to escape their 100mph lifestyle, by doing 120mph alone on the open road instead! Go Hogs!

About the Author: When it comes to Harley Davidson parts , merchandise, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, lookcyclesusa is the place to shop. Read More at OMDN


Permanent Link:

Radioactive part mistakenly sold, melted with scrap metal in China

Radioactive part mistakenly sold, melted with scrap metal in China

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A highly radioactive lead ball that vanished from a factory in China has been traced to a Shaanxi Province metalworks. The ball was removed during the dismantling of a factory in Tongchuan City.

The component vanished on Monday when workers broke up the Shaanxi Qinling Cement Company’s 53-year-old factory for not meeting environmental standards. The ball contains the radioactive isotope caesium-137 and was part of a scale to gauge the quantity of goods passing on a conveyor belt.

Caesium-137 emits gamma rays which can damage the nervous system, lead to infertility and be fatal. It is formed by nuclear fission.

Investigators thought the missing part had most likely been accidentally mixed in with scrap and sold on to metalworkers. On Friday, high levels of radiation were detected at the Xingbao Steel and Iron Company Ltd. The Weinan City business had bought eight truckloads of scrap metal from the cement factory.

Further investigations determined that the ball had been melted down in the No. 6 smelter at Xingbao’s factory. Slag from the smelter was found to be radioactive, and technicians are now working to clean the toxic slag and the smelter. Xi’an-based Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology researcher Wang Xuhui stated that the steel products themselves were safe, as the caesium-137 had mostly ended up in the slag.

Suspected hijackers of Arctic Sea detained by Russian Navy

Suspected hijackers of Arctic Sea detained by Russian Navy

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Reports are emerging that eight people suspected of hijacking the 4,000-tonne Maltese registered vessel MV Arctic Sea have been arrested by the Russian Navy, and are being detained on the frigate Ladny.

Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov confirmed that none of the detainees were members of the crew, and had boarded the vessel after approaching in a small dinghy, “using the threat of arms [and] demanded that the crew follow all of their orders without condition”.

The vessel was found on Sunday off of the Cape Verde Islands, following over a week of searching. The vessel was previously last seen off the coast of France near Brest. There was much speculation as to the whereabouts of the vessel, after it did not arrive in Béjaïa, Algeria as scheduled on August 4, 2009.

The ship is said to be carrying a cargo of Finnish timber that is worth $1.8 million.

According to the Estonian Security Police, among those detained were four Russians who were naturalized Estonian nationals, two Latvians and two Russians.

« Previous Entries Next Entries »