Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Afghan drug war to be won with crops, not jails: judge

Study: Pakistan floods were predictable
Atlanta (UPI) Jan 31, 2011 - Monsoons that brought flooding to Pakistan last July could have been predicted days in advance if data from computer models had been processed, researchers say. Five days before the rains began, computer models at a European weather-forecasting center were giving indications downpours were imminent, an American Geophysical Union release said Monday. The July floods killed thousands of people and disrupted the lives of an estimated 20 million people.

A retroactive study of the raw model data found that if the information had been processed, forecasters could have predicted extremely accurate rainfall totals 8-10 days beforehand. The floods themselves could have been predicted if the data from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting had been processed and fed into a hydrological model which takes terrain into account, researchers say. "People don't understand the powers of modern environmental prediction," says Peter Webster, a professor of earth and atmospheric science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. "This disaster could have been minimized and even the flooding could have been minimized."

The weather center, a London-based organization of 33 participating European countries, "does not give out weather forecasts and weather warnings to the general public or media," center scientist Anna Ghelli says. "ECMWF provides numerical forecasts to its member and co-operating states and they are responsible to prepare forecasts for the public and advise the authorities in their own countries. "We noticed that the signal was there five days in advance, but the lack of a cooperating agreement between the forecasting center and Pakistan meant warnings didn't make it to the Pakistani people or Pakistan's own meteorological agency. Processing raw data into weather forecasts and combining them with hydrological models is only half the work, Webster says. To have any effect, resulting flood forecasts must be successfully disseminated to authorities," he says.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Feb 1, 2011
NATO's military might will never win the war against Afghanistan's heroin trade alone, an Afghan judge said, urging the alliance to put more energy into weaning farmers off opium poppy crops.

Afghanistan's primary court of counter narcotics in Kabul has handled more than 2,000 cases in the past four years, said Hayatullah Ahadyar, one of the six judges who sit on the court that oversees big drug busts.

"We do not have to always use force, capture people, put them in jail. We have to have alternatives for farmers," he said.

"How many people should we capture and put in jail? Maybe nobody will be left in Afghanistan, everyone will be in jail," he told AFP in an interview ahead of a meeting with NATO officials in Brussels on Monday.

Despite raids against drug facilities and eradication campaigns, NATO faces an uphill battle as Afghanistan remains the world's top producer of opium, the base for heroin, accounting for 90 percent of the global supply.

Afghanistan's opium industry is worth almost three billion dollars (2.2 billion euros) a year, supplying heroin to Europe and helping to fund the Taliban-led insurgency against foreign troops in the more than nine-year-old war.

A square-jawed 31-year-old, Ahadyar has seen his share of cases: Nigerians caught at Kabul airport with pellets of heroin in their stomachs, an Iranian bus driver hiding drugs in his hold on his way to Iran, a Canadian bringing chemicals into the country.

Impoverished farmers are often convinced to plant the drugs by cold hard cash from foreign smugglers or intimidated by Taliban fighters who use the trade to finance their activities, Ahadyar said.

Suggesting alternative crops to farmers is not enough, he said. They need cool storage facilities for their fruits and vegetables and viable transportation to export goods.

They also need security to prevent "terrorists from coming to their houses and asking: 'please cultivate this for us'," said the young judge, adding that he faces death threats "all the time."

"The farmer in a bad economic situation will accept this," said Ahadyar, who was in Brussels along with an Afghan legal expert and a lawmaker to meet with members of the European Parliament and give talks to think tanks in a programme organised by the European Foundation for Democracy.

The United States decided in March last year to shift its strategy on opium production in Afghanistan from eradication of crops to a broader focus involving prohibition and alternative agriculture.

Convincing Afghan farmers to swap lucrative poppy crops for saffron, almonds and pomegranates will likely take time.

A United Nations report last week expressed concern that more Afghan farmers may be tempted to produce opium after a disease decimated crops in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces last year, sending prices soaring.

"Lack of security, lack of education, lack of a better life, this is why farmers are growing drugs," Ahadyar said.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

New British troops aim to beat Taliban on trust
Salisbury Plain, United Kingdom (AFP) Jan 30, 2011
The next British brigade heading to Afghanistan will enter Helmand Province with a new emphasis on giving locals enough confidence to oust the Taliban from their strongholds. Ten years and now 350 British military deaths into the mission, their focus will be on improving the lives of ordinary Afghans first and on front-line fighting second, in a clear strategy shift. Leaders of the 6,500 ... read more

Boeing And Northrop Grumman Submit Proposal For Missile Defense Competitive Contract

NATO Achieves First Step On TBMD Capability

LockMart-Raytheon Team Submits Proposal For GMD Contract

Aegis BMD System Completes Tracking Exercise

Raytheon nabs $145 million deal in Kuwait

Kuwait Awards Contract To Raytheon For Patriot GEM-T Missiles

LockMart Receives Contract For Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Demonstrations

S. Korea, U.S in talks over missiles

UA Engineers Study Birds And Bees To Design Robust Unmanned Vehicles

AeroVironment Receives Order For Raven UAS Digital Module Upgrade Kits

New US drone spy cameras fail Air Force test: study

Three US drone strikes kill 13 in Pakistan

Boeing Tests New Ka-band SATCOM Antenna System

Raytheon to supply radios to Aussie army

RAF Begin Training With US On Intelligence Aircraft

Joint STARS Successfully Supports JSuW JCTD

Raytheon Awarded APY-10 Radar Contract For Boeing's P-8A Aircraft

LEMV Program Completes Critical Design Review

Multi-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar Counters IEDs

Boeing And iRobot Team Delivers First SUGVs To USAF

Israeli army battles generals' scandals

Boeing to revise tanker bid pitch

Kaveri engine set for Indian combat plane

Brazil reassessing options on arms deal

Few regrets in ex-US defense chief's memoir

Clinton to join security talks in Germany

US says willing to assist India-China dialogue

US eyes more Asian defense talks

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program

US Office Of Naval Research Achieves Milestone

Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement