Suicide Bombings on the Rise Again
After staying under the radar for some time now, the Taliban is back to their usual diabolical mischief. On Monday February 18, 2008 a suicide bomber struck in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The attack was made near the Pakistani border on a bridge in the town of Spin Boldak. Assadullah Khalid, the governor of Kandahar, revealed to the press that the suicide bomber attempted to kill a group of Canadian Soldiers, who were under the command of NATO;instead, the attack killed thirty seven civilians, critically wounding four.
The Taliban revealed the bomber's name, Abdul Rahman. This man not only killed thirty-seven civilian but ten foreign and several other Afghani soldiers. Although 50,000 foreign troops along with 140,000 Afghan troops are doing their best to protect Afghanistan from a second coming of Taliban rule, it seems as though their efforts are falling short, seeing as 11,000 people have been killed in the last two years.
This act of terror on a foreign military convoy is a follow up to the attacks that took place just a day prior, where 100 people were killed, while watching a dog fight. This deed is said to be “the deadliest suspected suicide raid since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001.” Because of the severity of these terrorist acts many countries such as Germany are being coaxed into sending in more of their troops to relieve some of the pressure that the Taliban is putting on Afghanistan. Seeing the effects of these suicide raids many countries are calling in for reinforcements, will this act encourage more suicide bombings or deter them, and how so?
- Austin Noel
Car of the Future Runs on Air
In an era where the world of science is overshadowed by the debate on global warming, and the imminent ice age as a result thereof, a French engineer seems to have found the answer we have all been looking for— a compressed-air car.
For over a decade, inventor Guy Negre has worked on a car model that will function on air power. The OneCAT, as he calls it, will use compressed air to push and pull pistons that normally run on gasoline. Short trips with the OneCAT will essentially be made without the use of any liquid fuels, severely limiting the amount of harmful gas and oil emissions on everyday runs. Longer trips can be accommodated for with the help of a fuel burner, which will add increased pressure on the pistons and allow the car to travel longer. Terry Spall of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers hopes that Negre will succeed in what he refers to as "a brave experiment in producing a sustainable car."
Negre's hopes for the car are not limited to the environmental realm alone. The OneCAT is currently priced at a little under $5000 USD, an incredible bargain in the automobile industry. Tata, the Indian sector group that has endorsed the OneCAT, and which Negre has licensed to sell the car, operates only in India and therefore will not be selling the car elsewhere. Negre could rake in millions by working from a central location where the car would be exclusively produced and then shipped out to the rest of the world; however, his real dream is for investors to create local factories and work with primarily locally sourced materials. This move would omit the use of a third party that would only serve to raise the price of the model across the globe.
While the OneCAT model may still be years from finding its way into the US market, the question of the contribution of Americans to the effects of global warming still remains. Maybe it really is time we started placing more emphasis on the fate of our planet than on the number of luxury SUVs we can afford. While the OneCAT has yet to be tested for consumer safety and appeal, maybe it is time we took one giant leap towards a concept car that would ultimately provide for a cleaner future.
Rida Bint Fozi
Australia Apologizes to the Aborigines
Australia has finally apologized to its Aboriginal population for their “past mistreatment.” In a formal apology televised all around the nation, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd placed special emphasis on the suffering of the Stolen Generation—Aboriginal children who were torn from their families from 1915 to 1969, and allocated into white homes in an effort by the government for the assimilation of the Aboriginal and white populations of Australia. Though the Stolen Generation’s request for a reparation fund of an approximate 870 million dollars was rejected, the Aboriginal community was for the most part accepting of the apology in which Rudd said, “For the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.”
The Aboriginals of Australia, numbering about 460,000 people, make up a 2% of the population, yet have no representative in the Parliament, and surprisingly enough, were not counted in the national census until 1967. The country has a long way to go to fulfill the ideals of social integration for the Aboriginal group, “a future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve, and mutual responsibility,” as Rudd said. In a significant first step, the indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin claims the money which would have gone into a reparation fund will instead be used to better Aboriginal health and education, particularly to “close the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians,” which is currently 17 years.