An independent Scotland would not house Trident missiles

Alex Salmond has rejected suggestions that an independent Scotland would allow the UK to keep Trident missiles on the Clyde in the same way as its forces have bases in Cyprus.

In an interview on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, the first minister said the decision by the Scottish National party (SNP) conference to remove Trident from Scottish soil, while still seeking membership of NATO, was non-negotiable.

Ideally, he said, all the UK’s nuclear weapons would be scrapped if Scotland won independence. “Far better it was curtains for Trident, I would say,” he said…

The SNP would now make joining NATO conditional on the alliance accepting that an independent Scotland would require the removal of Trident nuclear weapons from the Clyde – a measure some critics suggest could cost up to £25bn. It would also insist on participating only in military action sanctioned by the UN…

Scotland by majority doesn’t want nuclear weapons. The SNP proposal would be to write that into the constitution of the state and that would make nuclear weapons illegal in Scotland.”

Not too shabby for a nationalist party that just about everyone has always considered to be conservative by definition.

Skeleton of French man found in bed after 15 years

The skeleton of an elderly man has been discovered laying in bed still wearing his pyjamas at least 15 years after he died.

Piles of unopened post dating back to 1996 were also found at the seemingly abandoned house in Lille, northern France, giving investigators an early indication of the year the man died.

Police are yet to formally identify the body, but it is believed to be that of the elderly homeowner who lived alone and had no close relatives.

‘The state of the house suggests it was a peaceful death of someone who died in his bed,’ public safety official Didier Perroudon said.

He added that no concerns had been raised about the man’s absence…‘He was in his bed, in his pyjamas.’

Mr Perroudon said: ‘There was no mess. The house was locked from the inside. Nothing suggests a criminal act.’

The man’s skeleton was found last Friday after a health and safety inspector was sent to examine the ‘abandoned’ house.

Good luck with that autopsy. I don’t doubt identity can be confirmed as the elderly man from Spain who lived there for years.

Cause of death is a different story. Some ailments leave trace on skeletal structure. Others — nothing.

Brazil’s Rousseff signs new forest law opposed by farm lobby

Brazil enacted a controversial law on Thursday meant to protect forests and force farmers to replant trees on scattered swathes of illegally cleared land totaling an area roughly the size of Italy.

The law, signed by President Dilma Rousseff, overhauls the “forest code,” a set of laws unchanged for decades that dictates the minimum percentage and type of woodland that farmers, timber companies and others must leave intact on their properties.

The new code, following years of tense negotiations with Brazil’s powerful farm lobby, is considered necessary to help establish clearer rules for the ranchers, soy growers and other producers who pushed into the Amazon rainforest and other sensitive climes in recent decades, enabling Brazil to become one of the world’s biggest exporters of food…

But the lobby, which fought to keep the law lenient, now says it could challenge the final version in court after Rousseff late Wednesday vetoed a handful of congressional changes.

Environmentalists have opposed the bill because it reduces the total forest area many farmers are required to keep intact. Many critics also believe the law does too little to punish those who have conducted illegal clearing in the past…

Brazil is a global commodity powerhouse and a major producer of soy, corn, sugar, coffee, oranges, cotton and beef. Illegal land clearance has enabled cattle ranchers and producers of soy, the top export crop, to expand into the Amazon basin.

The rate of deforestation has slowed in recent years because of tougher law enforcement and the use of satellite imagery to track areas with the most troubling rates of clearcutting.

But environmentalists fear that trend could reverse as Rousseff dismantles longstanding environmental policies in a push to further develop the economy, which began to slow last year after nearly a decade of steady growth.

RTFA for the details. A lot of this sounds just like another day in the life of our American Congress. Lobbyists buy and sell our elected representatives. Passing laws that should benefit the lives of citizens and future generations is like an episode from one of our wars. Corporate lobbyists, profiteers present themselves as defenders of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – simply aiding poor little mom-and-pop farms.

I wonder when they’re going to discover Clean Coal?

Republican belief in divine rape blows up Senate debate

Republican Richard Mourdock opposes abortion even in cases of rape because such pregnancies are God’s will, he claimed during Tuesday’s final U.S. Senate debate.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said, choking back tears.

Democrat U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly did not directly respond during the debate to Mourdock’s belief in the divinity of pregnancy by rape. Donnelly said he opposes abortion but supports exceptions for rape, incest and the health of a pregnant woman.

Following the debate, Donnelly said, “The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen — ever.”

“What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape,” Donnelly said.

Aside from abortion, Donnelly and Mourdock reiterated familiar campaign themes during the one-hour debate at Indiana University Southeast…

Despite their differences, the Republican and Democratic candidates both said they support gun rights, oppose gay marriage and are in favor of term limits.

A poll released Tuesday found Donnelly and Mourdock statistically tied in their race to replace Republican Dick Lugar in the U.S. Senate.

Sounds to me like they’re battling to prove who can be the most opportunist in a chamber looking forward to meeting next year’s line-up of lobbyists. With one exception. Time and again, Republican candidates make certain voters know they prefer a theocracy to secular independent government.

That is scary. That is counter to the origins and history of this nation. It certainly contradicts the chosen direction of Western democracy.

Another one of those states where I would be voting against the evil of two lessers. At best.

Spain waiting 46 years for US to finish nuclear clean-up

On a sunny morning in 1966 two US Air Force planes collided and dropped four nuclear bombs near the village of Palomares in southern Spain. There was no nuclear blast, but plutonium was scattered over a wide area – and Spain is now asking the US to finish the clean-up…

Overhead, at 31,000ft, an American B-52G bomber collided with a KC-135 tanker plane during routine air-to-air refuelling and broke apart. Three of the bomber’s H-bombs landed in or around Palomares, the fourth landed about five miles offshore in the Mediterranean…

In fact, no-one on the ground was killed that morning. Local people call it the only positive part of this story.

The American airmen weren’t so lucky. All four men on the refuelling plane died and three of the seven men on the B-52 were killed (the four others managed to eject safely).

There was only one telephone in Palomares in 1966, and no running water. But the skies over that poor region of southern Spain were being criss-crossed daily by the world’s most modern war machines. The Cold War excused everything and anything.

The outcome would have been immeasurably worse if the bombs had been armed. Fortunately they weren’t, so there was no nuclear explosion.

In theory, parachutes attached to the bombs should have borne them gently down to earth, preventing any contamination – but two of the parachutes failed to open…

The two that fell to earth unsupported by parachutes blew apart on impact, scattering highly toxic, radioactive plutonium dust – a major hazard to anyone who might inhale it…

In Palomares itself, the US and Spain agreed to fund yearly health-checks on residents, and to monitor the soil, the water, the air, and local crops.

Over the years since there’s been no evidence that anyone has fallen ill as a result of the accident. The food and water remain clean…

So Palomares is like a sleeping dragon. You can’t walk in the fenced-off area, and you can’t farm it or build on it. The message from the Department of Energy is: “Let the plutonium lie and there’s no problem.” Yet local people say that in itself is a problem…

The community finds itself trapped. When residents complain, the accident makes headlines again and there’s a drop in the number of visitors, and a drop in the prices farmers get at market for their produce…

As to when an agreement might be reached – over who pays for the second clean-up, how it will be done, and where the contaminated soil will be stored – that’s still up in the air.

The Deputy Mayor Juan Jose Perez hopes to turn things into a Roswell-style tourist attraction. Never a shortage of folks curious about important disasters. Right?

Using Banana Boat sunscreen makes you a fire risk – WTF?

The maker of continuous spray Banana Boat sun care products has issued a recall due to a risk that the product could ignite on the skin if it is exposed to a flame or spark before drying…

The company has received four reports of adverse events involving burns associated with the continuous spray products in the U.S., and one in Canada.

“The spray valve opening on the affected products dispenses more than is typical in the industry for continuous sun care sprays. As a result, the product is taking longer to dry on the skin than is typical with other continuous sprays.”

Burn experts said Friday the problem appears to be extremely rare…

Dan Dillard of the Burn Prevention Network pointed out that the ingredients used in aerosol sprays are known to be flammable.

The alcohol and petroleum products listed on the containers are flammable, so the only thing you’re missing in the heat triangle is an ignition source,” Dillard said.

Click the link above to check the specific products.

Questions or complaints? Call the manufacturer at 888-786-8477 workdays or send an email to