International Intonation – March 27, 2013

Mark Hendricks, Contributor Ω

A Predator unmanned surveilance drone.- PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER EIMON

A Predator unmanned surveilance drone.
– PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER EIMON

Saving elephants with drones

The World Wildlife Fund will begin testing a new drone surveillance program next month in Namibia designed to catch poachers and give conservation officers a helping hand.

Drones are unmanned aerial aircrafts controlled remotely from a ground location.

“It will be a great advantage to protect both wildlife and the rangers,” said Crawford Allan, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s TRAFFIC (Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce) North America project. “We will know where the animals are, the (drone) relays the location to ground control and you can mobilize rangers on the ground to get in between the animals and form a shield.”

This initiative is in response to such actions as last week’s mass poaching in southern Chad where 89 African elephants were killed.

The project is being funded by a $5 million grant from Google Global Impact Awards.

Where you can find out more: news.discovery.com

Education is taking fire in the Windy City

Chicago will be closing 54 public schools in order to make up a $1 billion budget deficit.

Closures are necessary according to mayor Rahm Emanuel as too many Chicago public schools are only half-full. The public school system has room for 500,000 students but only 403,000 enrolled.

The plan will affect 30,000 students. Opponents of the cut say the proposed closures will disproportionately affect minority students.

“As a former teacher and a principal,” district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said to the Associated Press, “I’ve lived through school closings and I know that this will not be easy, but I also know that in the end this will benefit our children.”

The schools being closed are in high-crime areas of Chicago where gang violence is believed to have caused the city’s increase in homicide rates.

The school district plans to have community groups help students get to their new schools safely.

Where you can find out more: www.ap.org

More bank bailouts on the horizon?

The country of Cyprus is currently debating in parliament strategies to keep their financial system from collapsing.

Cyprus is a small island nation south of Turkey that is used as an international banking hub for many countries around the world, Russia being one of the principal investors.

Banks in Cyprus need $13 billion in order to stay open.  The European Union won’t lend the money to Cyprus unless they can raise $7.5 billion on their own.

Parliament has passed bills that will limit the amount of money able to be withdrawn for fear of a bank run on Tuesday.

The most radical plan won’t be voted on till later in the week. The Cyprus government will be voting on a tax of between 20 to 25 per cent on all uninsured deposits of over 100,000 euros at the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in the country.

Where you can find out more: http://www.nytimes.com

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