End of Week Blog
Friday, 10 January 2003
With two blog-free days coming up - although I'll be working on new posts, they're unlikely to go up before Monday - I'm just going to note a couple of interesting news items from yesterday.
The first is that Britain has joined the world's roster of alert but not alarmed nations with the discovery of a home laboratory producing ricin, one of the world's deadliest posions:
While it is 6000 times more toxic than cyanide, ricin is not an effective poison for mass weapons because it has been proved to kill people only when injected or ingested rather than just being sprayed into the open air.
The most famous victim of ricin poisoning was
Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who was killed on a London street in 1978 by Bulgarian government agents who apparently jabbed him in the leg with a poison-tipped umbrella.
Prime Minister Tony Blair appealed for people to be (you guessed it) "alert but not alarmed". No doubt the British police are now on the look-out for suspicious umbrella-wielding islamic types.
The Pacific island nation of Nauru is in the middle of a political crisis with the ousting of President Rene Harris after losing a no-confidence vote in the Nauruan parliament. The Australian Government maintains that this has nothing to do with Mr harris' decision to accept thousands of asylum seekers who were originally bound for Australia. They're probably right: Nauru is a caring compassionate nation, much like Australia and there's no reason to suppose that asylum seekers would be any less welcome in Nauru than they are here.
And now, since Gareth Parker at least has noted that the relaxed and comfortable Tugboat History of Australia is going to be a series, it's time to get off-line for a couple of days and work up the next installment. Thanks Gareth. And there's still that John Howard piece that I sort of promised Ken Parish to research.