Zagreb - Croatia is considering using specially trained rats to help neutralise unexploded landmines left over from the 1990s Croatian-Serbian war.These are nearly seven pound African rats, people! I bet they'd frighten zorkie's dogs…
A media report yesterday said that Belgium had offered to provide Croatia with the trained African rats.
Rats have been described as a cheap and efficient way to remove landmines.
After being released into the minefield, they sniff out the landmines and after detecting one they start to scratch the ground, alerting their handlers.
"Basically, it's the same principle as with dogs, but unlike dogs, which sometimes got blown away due to their weight, rats do not have such problems and rats also do not get bored so easily," Nikola Pavkovic, an official of the Croatian Demining Centre, told a German news agency.
He said the large African rats, each weighing 3kg, would first have to undergo a period of adjustment to south-eastern Europe's climate and environment.
The demining rats have already been used successfully in Mozambique in a project funded by the Belgian government and the European Union. - Sapa-DPA
Even after Disraeli and Salisbury, there was no guarantee that the party of Church, King and Aristocracy would evolve into the 20th-century party of middle class prosperity. But Toryism has always been a dialectic between principles and opportunities, not to mention opportunism. Long before it became a New Labour phrase, the Tories had become the party for the many, not the few.
That social evolution is also the key to the next phase of Tory electoral recovery. The modern social stance of the Tory party embodies its most enduring principle. The Tory party is the national party. Paraphrasing de Gaulle, Tories should say that they always had a certain idea of Britain. Even in an era of supposedly post-ideological politics, that is still a basic division between Left and Right.
Most middle-class Lefties do not like their country. They despise the lives most of its inhabitants lead and they hate its history. The Blairites try to conceal their distaste by talking about Cool Britannia, as if national life could become an unending pop concert. But they did not approve of Britain as it was, which is why they wanted to turn us into a province of Europe.
That is where the Tories differ. But if they are at ease with their country, they must also approve of its social foundations. These no longer rest solely on an élite. They include everyone who could be described as belonging to the aspirational classes. Those now encompass at least 80 per cent of British society. They are people who have done better than their parents and who hope that their children will do better still. Most have long ceased to be tribal in their attitude to politics. They are inclined to choose between parties as they would choose between competing holiday offers on the internet. Who is offering the better deal?
That should make radical Tories question their instincts. It would be foolish to assume that one could win over the aspirational classes merely by offering tax cuts and a smaller state. Most people's attitude to the state is as ambivalent as their attitude to the police. You do not want to see policemen when you are speeding; you do when someone is breaking into the house next door.
THE pictures on the office wall were all of autumn landscapes, the dry leaves matched by the thin, reedy tones of the ageing former revolutionary behind the desk.Continue to read inside.
"I'm not in a position to advise the youth on reform" he said yesterday when asked what wisdom he had for Iran's young electorate before presidential elections next Friday. "They should go and find out for themselves."
Few would recognise Abbas Abdi, 49, as the leader of the students who stormed the American Embassy in Tehran in October 1979. High on the hope of a new Iran after the Shah's deposition, the students from the capital's Amir Kabir university caused an international crisis by holding US staff at the embassy hostage for 444 days.
But most revolutions destroy their own vanguard, and Iran's was little different. Mr Abdi was released from jail a month ago. It was his second term in the capital's Evin prison, where he served 2½ years, much of it in solitary confinement.
His freedom is at the whim of the regime, so his caution comes as little surprise. "I'm free only so long as they don't send me back," Mr Abdi said.
The former hostage taker was incarcerated for an ironic crime. As a latter-day architect of reform and critic of the regime, his polling company published results suggesting that 74 per cent of Tehranis favoured dialogue with the US.
He failed to defend himself, allegedly under duress, when he was tried for espionage in 2002. "I did not defend myself and I cannot tell you the reason now," he said. "But polling wasn't the reason I was sent to prison. It was just an appearance."
As the North Korea nuclear crisis deepens, an interagency team inside the Bush administration is working with East Asian governments to curb what U.S. officials say is Pyongyang's booming trade in counterfeit cigarettes, pharmaceuticals and currency.
The Secret Service also is pursuing a criminal investigation of North Korean entities for their alleged involvement in making counterfeit dollars in Asia, according to an official close to the investigation. If a case goes forward, it would mark the first time a North Korean entity would be charged in a U.S. court with dealing in illicit businesses.
When asked about [charges of antisemitism] at City Hall in July, in front of TV cameras from all over the world, Dr al-Qaradawi reiterated his often stated view that 'we do not hold any enmity towards the Jews' and that 'Judaism is regarded as a message with a divine origin and a high status'...--Why the Mayor of London will maintain dialogues with all of London's faiths and communities (pdf), issued by the Greater London Authority, January 2005