On Three Continents

Mrs. Davis and I spent the past year working with graduate students at Addis Ababa University in a CIDA-sponsored project coordinated by the Dept. of Biology, U of Waterloo. The newcomer from the West is struck by the huge slogan over the roof of the luxurious Hilton Hotel: “Peace, Solidarity And Friendship” and to learn that an important government committee has the same name. This in a country that spends up to 40% of its limited budget on the military.

It faces a constant threat of new aggressions from Somalia, where the US has a powerful military base and is building a second provocative one. It faces an active secessionist war in Eritrea, where the rebels are supported and armed by such right-wing countries as Saudi Arabia.

The Ethiopian government has devised both short-range and long-range elaborate plans to eliminate the backwardness, illiteracy and ignorance inherited from a feudal past, to make the country self-reliant in agriculture, and to increase labor productivity. Although progress has been attained toward all these goals, implementation of many has been severely retarded by the military expenditures.

— Charles Davis, St. John’s, NFLD

Brydon and Andre Gombay are settled into their “sabbatical” address in France and promise to keep up posted on the French and European outlooks on affairs of mutual concern.

Myriam Fernandez is just back from a month’s working trip to Brazil for CIDA, looking at the Canadian sponsored wheat program. After completing her degree in the spring she will go to work for CIDA on the Brazilian wheat program.

Eric Fawcett, Dept. of Physics, UofT, Toronto, M5S 1A7, is Canadian coordinator of the second Int’l Peace Week of Scientists November 9-15, 1987, coordinated this year by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Concept: Throughout the world scientists and non-scientists jointly hold events then announce their activities as part of a world-wide event.

Aims: To further arms control and disarmament and the application of science for peace and human betterment by promoting well-informed public discussion and enhancing world -wide cooperation between concerned scientists and non-scientists.

A $50,000 (US) Peace Prize is being offered for the best proposal for a plan to provide incentives that science be used for peaceful rather than destructive purposes. Deadline: March 15, 1988. For the rules, write or call Prof Fawcett or the Bulletin.

To join the action by being an endorser for this year, contact Prof Fawcett or Dr. David Krieger, Pres., Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 123, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93108, USA.

Plutonium

During the evening of Aug 6, 1987, the Journal programme on CBC-TV made public planned overflights in Canadian airspace of transport planes commissioned by the US government to carry plutonium from western Europe to Japan. According to Bill Cameron, a potential accident over Canadian territory could have enormous consequences because of plutonium’s extreme toxicity. The inhalation of a single dust particle of this substance may subsequently result in death. Perhaps SfP should probe this issue further. Is our Canadian North being viewed as an inconsequential wasteland in this context?

— Robert Korol

On June 26, 1987, the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect. Canada has both signed and ratified the Convention and accepted Article 20, which gives an independent international commission the right to investigate allegations of torture on their territories. (Al)