Daily Archives: April 3, 2012

Report: Too Many Small Fish Are Caught

Pacific Sardine (Sardinops sagax)

Pacific Sardine (Sardinops sagax) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marine scientists are calling for cuts in commercial fishing for sardines, herring, and other small fish. The catch should be cut in half for some fisheries to protect populations of the fish and the predators that depend on them.

A task force produced a report on the issue that was released Sunday.

The report, “Little Fish, Big Impact,” financed by the Lenfest Foundation through the Pew Charitable Trusts, details how fishing has increased for these fish, which now account for 37%, by weight, of all fish harvested worldwide, up from about 8% half a century ago. Most of the fish are ground and processed for use as animal feed and nutritional supplements and as feed for the aquaculture industry, which produces about half the fish and shellfish that people eat.

Forage fish are an important link in the food chain, eating plankton and being consumed, in turn, by large fish like tuna and cod, as well as by seabirds and marine mammals. As a source of food in the wild for larger commercially valuable fish, forage fish are worth more than $11 billion, twice as much as their worth when processed for aquaculture and other uses.

The report cites several cases where overfishing of forage fish has led to the collapse of populations of larger fish or other predators.

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Environment, Sick Sad World, World

U.S. Defends Suspending Food Program to N. Korea

area map of Pyongyang Category:North Korea

area map of Pyongyang Category:North Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. has defended its decision to suspend a food aid program to North Korea, drawing criticism from an nongovernmental organization which said that Washington had missed an opportunity to help “severely hungry people.”

A State Department spokesperson told reporters that a satellite launch planned for April by the North, which caused the suspension of the food aid program, goes against conditions in an agreement between the two nations.

Under that agreement, Washington would have delivered 240,000 tons of food to Pyongyang over twelve months in exchange for a suspension of missile tests and permission for international inspectors to visit the North’s nuclear facilities.

According to the State Department, the launch of a satellite, atop a rocket that experts say could be used to deliver a nuclear warhead, is in breach of the “Leap Day” agreement and calls into question Pyongyang’s “good faith.”

North Korea maintains that the rocket does not represent a missile test, and that its payload is a scientific weather satellite.

During a three-day trip to Seoul that wrapped up Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama “made clear … we’re not going to be rewarding provocation.”

Pyongyang plans to blast the satellite into orbit between April 12 and 16.

Via Radio Free Asia.

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Khmer Rouge Leader: Duch “Very Bad” for Not Destroying Evidence

A shrine containing the bones of those killed at the Khmer Rouge killing fields outside Phnom Penh. Photo by Lindsay.

A convicted ex-jailer told the Khmer Rouge tribunal that a top leader accused him three decades ago of being “very bad” for failing to destroy evidence at his prison.

The U.N.-backed court sentenced Duch (pronounced “Doik”) to life in prison for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people at the S-21 torture prison in Phnom Penh.

Duch is back on the stand this week to testify in the trial of three ex-leaders of the 1975-1979 regime, including his former boss “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea.

Duch informed Mr. Nuon in the 1980s that he left the documents behind during the last days of the regime, when Vietnamese forces ousted the Khmer Rouge.

Duch recalled that Mr. Nuon then told him: “On my side, we destroyed them all, you were very bad that you could not manage this.”

The documents included hundreds of confessions and photos of tortured prisoners that were later used as evidence against Duch.

Mr. Nuon and Duch, who are held at the same detention center, are on bad terms.

Mr. Nuon, ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, deny charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork, and execution.

Via The Bangkok Post.

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Filed under International Justice, World

Garry T. Allen Scheduled to Be Executed in Oklahoma

It is very rare for the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to recommend clemency for a person facing execution, but it did that by a vote of four to one in the case of Garry T. Allen, who is scheduled to be executed in Oklahoma on Thursday, April 12, 2012.

Nonetheless, Governor Mary Fallin has stated that she will not grant clemency to Mr. Allen.

Mr. Allen has no recollection of the crime, either as a result of intoxication and/or being shot in the head when apprehended. However, he has accepted responsibility for shooting Lawanna Gail Titsworth in a domestic dispute.

During the shooting, Mr. Allen engaged in the bizarre behavior of asking Ms. Titsworth if she was all right. Later, at the hospital, he asked where she was. This evidence reflects that Mr. Allen was mentally impaired when he committed the crime.

Mental impairment continued at the time of his blind plea resulting in the death sentence, during his lengthy incarceration, and up to the present time.

Mr. Allen’s blood-alcohol level was .27 two hours after the offense. It is believed that his intoxication was the result of his self-medication for his mental illness. Mr. Allen’s family reported instances of delusional thinking even as a child. He suffered head injuries including being beaten up by four “white guys.” Mr. Allen’s frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in planning and moderating behavior, is damaged, perhaps because of head injuries, the gunshot in the head, or both.

Mr. Allen’s remorse for the actions that he was told that he committed is clear. He has demonstrated deep concern for the victims’ family by insisting on pleading guilty in hopes of sparing both families painful legal proceedings.

The mitigating factors in this case attracted four votes of the Oklahoma pardon and parole board, including that of a former prosecutor who votes to deny clemency in almost all cases.

Garry T. Allen is not a threat to his fellow prisoners or prison workers and should serve the rest of his life in an appropriate state facility. Oklahoma should not execute this mentally ill and remorseful man.

Click here to sign the petition to Governor Fallin to grant Mr. Allen clemency.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Sick Sad World

Kentucky Wins NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

John Calipari coaches a basketball game for th...

John Calipari coaches a basketball game for the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kentucky beat Kansas 67-59 to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship in New Orleans.

The win gave Kentucky its eighth national title and the first for Wildcats coach John Calipari. Kentucky won titles in 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996 and 1998.

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Filed under National, Sports

Shooting at California University Results in Several Fatalities

Oakland

Oakland (Photo credit: satanslaundromat)

A shooting at Oikos University in east Oakland, California, resulted in multiple fatalities, an Oakland police spokeswoman says.

A suspect was taken into custody after the shooting at the religious school, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson says.

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Filed under Education, Sick Sad World