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Showing posts from December 12, 2013

Researchers Develop System for Assessing How Effective Species Are at Pollinating Crops

by Staff Writers
Raleigh NC (SPX) Dec 12, 2013

Photo of small native bee species Andrena bradleyi on a highbush blueberry flower. (Photo credit: Hannah Burrack.)

From tomatoes to pumpkins, most fruit and vegetable crops rely on pollination by bees and other insect species - and the future of many of those species is uncertain.

 Now researchers from North Carolina State University are proposing a set of guidelines for assessing the performance of pollinator species in order to determine which species are most important and should be prioritized for protection.

"Widespread concerns over the fate of honey bees and other pollinators have led to increased efforts to understand which species are the most effective pollinators, since this has huge ramifications for the agriculture industry,"
says Dr. Hannah Burrack, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the new guidelines and related research. 

"However, various research efforts have taken a wi…

MAP: How The World Will Grow In 2014


Guatemala Arrests a Positive Stride Against Money Laundering

Written by James Bargent

Wednesday, 04 December 2013

Guatemala’s attorney general (far left) announces arrests

Authorities in Guatemala have arrested 21 people in raids targeting a money laundering ring linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, the latest sign that the country's culture of impunity is slowly eroding.

Police and prosecutors, with logistical support from the military, made the arrests during a series of 35 raids in Guatemala City, San Marcos, Huehuetenango and Quetzaltenango, reported Prensa Libre.

The group stands accused of laundering some $46 million, which Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz said investigators believed were drug profits linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.

The ring operated using a front company legally established as a fruit and vegetable exporter. 

They laundered money predominantly by paying a partner company in Mexico for non-existent shipments of produce. 

Members of the company would then travel to …

Russia Strengthens Ties With Vietnam


DECEMBER 12, 2013


Editor's Note: This is the first of a three-part series about Russia's intensifying focus on East Asia.

 Part 1 examines Russia's traditional interests in the region and its closer relationship with Vietnam.

Recent challenges in exporting energy to Europe have made an orientation toward Asia more desirable for Moscow. Russia's economy depends on hydrocarbon exports, and while Western Europe is attempting to become less dependent on Russia by seeking new energy sources, Asian markets have large and indiscriminate appetites for energy.

Although Russia's focus in Asia traditionally has been on China, Japan and South Korea, it also has ties to Southeast Asia, which remains a strategically significant -- though not absolutely essential -- area for Moscow's efforts to extend its influence and energy exports eastward. Notably, Moscow recently struck a spate of energy and defense deals with Hanoi in an effort to strengthen their relationshi…

Nonprofit questions Chiquita’s impact on drinking water

December 12th, 2013

Chiquita Brands International has come under the scope of a Washington-based nonprofit that alleges the company has exposed six communities in Guatemala to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals, Komonews.comreported.   

Water and Sanitation Health, Inc. claims that Chiquita has allegedly contamined rivers and drinking water with pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and other products, explained, organization president Eric Harrison.

“We have environmental standards here in the U.S. — regulations through the EPA — and so when you go down to those other countries like Guatemala, companies can kind of skirt around that and they don’t have the strict standards that we do here,”
Harrison told

“The ultimate goal, hopefully, is to one, change certain practices in banana farming and to provide clean water to these community members … If we can get those two goals done, this lawsuit will be a success.”

Previously, Water and Sanitation Health, Inc. sued Dole for similar re…