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Venezuela

Does Venezuela’s Chávez Finally Have A Real Challenger?

A ruling by the Inter-American Human Rights Court has the potential of galvanizing support behind Leopoldo López, a 40-year-old opposition leader who is looking to run against Chávez in Venezuela’s 2012 presidential election.

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López (Wikpedia)
Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López (Wikpedia)


EYES INSIDE
LATIN AMERICA

Legal and political eyes across the Americas are turned to Venezuela, where President Hugo Chávez must decide whether to respect a decision by the Inter-American Human Rights Court (CIDH) and allow a major opposition figure to run against him next year.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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