Monday, April 12, 2004
A radical Muslim "cleric" has been arrested in connection with several bombings in Zanzibar:
The cleric, Sheikh Khalid Azan, was found late Saturday after a three-week manhunt, regional police commander George Kizuguto said.

"Khalid Azan was arrested in connection to different acts of violence, sabotage and vandalism, including the spate of bombings. He will appear in court soon," Kizuguto said.

Khalid is one of the top leaders of a radical Islamic group known as Islamic Propagation and Awareness, known by its Swahili acronym UAMSHO. The group is suspected of involvement in the firebombing of a church, a moderate Muslim leaders and government offices.

What's not clear from the article is whether Khalid is also being accused of involvement in bombings last month which were apparently intended to disrupt the visit of German president Johannes Rau.

Sunday, April 11, 2004
Abiola is blogging about DDT--one of my favorite themes:
I have news for those who'd put the welfare of wild animals ahead of that of their fellow human beings - Africa isn't just a gigantic game reserve, to be pristinely maintained for the benefit of filming documentaries to keep you suitably entertained. If "nature" means so much to you, concentrate your efforts on your own backyards, rather than trying to further your crusade on the shoulders of those who are too poor to have their voices heard on CNN and in international fora. Millions shouldn't have to die for the sake of an environmentalism that has become an ersatz religion for many comfortable westerners.

I've actually been reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring over the past few weeks. It's rather well written, so I can see how it became such a popular and influential book. Unfortunately, the book in many cases relies on sensationalism and hyperbole where fact and reason should suffice. In the end, the reader is left with a strong emotional response to the idea of "toxic chemicals" that may or (more often) may not be rooted in reality. Based on these attitudes, the environmental movement has successfully pushed the myth that "polluters" (i.e. chemical companies) are filling the environment with unseen and silent killers.

Sadly, the chemical industry hasn't done much to counter these myths. The response has been two-fold: 1) Denial. (Note the romoval of the word "chemistry" from the DuPont company's slogan.) 2) Dishonesty. This accounts for a lot of the talk about "clean fuels." A more accurate label might be "cleaner fuels," but that would require admitting some amount of pollution and that's bad because, as we all know, pollution kills birds and causes cancer.

Anyway, both of these responses to the environmentalists' challenge have essentially been surrender and have removed the possibility of having a rational public debate about how to deal with pollution.

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