Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GOP Convention Floor Fight Averted

A compromise on Republican Party rules will likely prevent a convention floor fight on Tuesday.
Republican National Committeeman James Bopp, who had led a movement to oppose a new delegate rule on the convention floor, confirms to ABC News that he has agreed to a deal on compromise language.
A new RNC rule would have allowed presidential candidates effectively to choose their own bound delegates. States typically determine delegate allotments through primaries, then meet later at state conventions to pick those individuals. Under the new rule, state parties would give up some power to choose, among themselves, who gets to attend future GOP conventions as voting delegates.
Bopp had led a movement to defeat this rule on the convention floor Tuesday.
Instead, Bopp has agreed to compromise language. The RNC Rules Committee will meet Tuesday to approve the replacement language, Bopp told ABC News.
"The leadership of the Republican National Committee and the Romney for President campaign has heard the concerns of the conservative grassroots voices in our party and has crafted an amendment to the Rules adopted on Friday to address these concerns," Bopp wrote in an email to Republican National Committee members. "At the same time, the revised language closes a loophole in our party rules, which previously failed to include a penalty for delegates who break their promise to vote for a particular Presidential candidate as required by state law or state party rules."
Bopp explained the impetus for the proposed change, in the first place, as fear that Ron Paul supporters bound to Mitt Romney would break party rules and instead vote for Paul. The rule sought to prevent that risk at future conventions, Bopp said.
The compromise language simply states that delegates must vote for the candidates to whom they are bound, Bopp said. If not, they'll be kicked out of future conventions and votes will be cast on their behalf.
The deal likely will not, however, allay some concerns of Ron Paul supporters.
The same new rule effectively bans future implementations of Paul's campaign strategy - of organizing and amassing delegates at state conventions - by requiring states to allocate delegates by statewide vote. Bopp's deal does not change that.
While no countermeasure will likely come up on the convention floor, Paul supporters will likely still be unhappy with the new rules. In Tampa Paul has 320 delegates supporting him out of 2,286 total, according to Paul Campaign Manager Jesse Benton.
                       
Cattle drink from a water tank in Tallula, Ill., Aug. 3, 2012. (Seth Perlman/AP)
By the year 2050, you may be forced to become a vegetarian. That is, if Sweden's water scientists are to be believed.
According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, "There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations."
Humans now derive about 20 percent of their daily protein intake from animal-based products, reports London's Guardian. But a new report published by the institute says the world's population will have to cut that figure to 5 percent by 2050 to accommodate the planet's "considerable regional water deficits."
Why not just produce more food?
"Nine hundred million people already go hungry and 2 billion people are malnourished in spite of the fact that per capita food production continues to increase," the report said. "With 70% of all available water being in agriculture, growing more food to feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050 will place greater pressure on available water and land."
So vegetarianism, the scientists say, is one option to combat the water shortage.
"A move towards vegetarian diets could help free up large portions of arable land to human food production," Orion Jones wrote on BigThink.com. "A third of current farmland is used to grow crops that feed animals. Additionally 'animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet.'"
The report was released for the start of "Water Week" and the annual world water conference in Stockholm. And while the forecast may sound dire, the world's water situation is already grave.
                    

Iran will never stop uranium enrichment: envoy

Iran "will never stop" its controversial uranium enrichment, the country's envoy to the IAEA said on Tuesday, on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement ministerial meeting in Tehran.
"Our enrichment activities will never stop and we are justified in carrying them out, and we will continue to do so under IAEA supervision," Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters.
"We will not give up our inalienable right to enrichment," he said.
The defiant reaffirmation of Iran's position underscored a showdown between the Islamic republic and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, and the UN Security Council.
The Security Council has repeatedly demanded Iran cease its uranium enrichment and has imposed four sets of sanctions on the country, which have been greatly reinforced by separate US and EU sanctions.
The five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany, also this year engaged in three rounds of face-to-face negotiations with Iran on the issue, but they ended in an impasse, with contact downgraded to telephone calls between Iranian and EU officials.
Iran's enrichment is to again be raised this week, when the IAEA is expected to release its latest report based on its ongoing inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities.
Some of the report's findings have already been leaked to Israeli and US media, mainly those confirming a July 25 statement by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that hundreds more uranium enrichment centrifuges had been installed.
Iran's refusal to allow inspectors into a military base outside Tehran, Parchin, could also form part of the report.
Western diplomats last week told AFP that months of clean-up work detected at Parchin suggested the site had been "sanitized" to such an extent that a nuclear inspection would now be pointless.
Soltanieh responded by saying that Parchin "has been blown out of proportion" and said claims of nuclear warhead design tests there were "fabricated by foreign intelligence."
He said Iran was demanding to see the documents the IAEA was using to pursue its suspicions about Parchin and urged the agency to "close this chapter."
He also said Iran has complained to the IAEA about the leaks.
On Iran's intent to continue enriching uranium, Soltanieh noted that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the IAEA's statutes made no explicit mention of levels of enrichment.
"The level of enrichment and how much to enrich has not been fixed in either of those. There is no limitation," he said.
"Everything we do is under the supervision of the agency," he stressed.
The United States and its Western allies, and Israel, suspect that Iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons "break-out" capability.
Iran denies that, saying its nuclear programme is purely for civilian use.

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