Editorial voices from elsewhere
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
Whether you feel that natural gas fracking is the economic salvation of New York or an environmental disaster waiting to happen, there is one indisputable fact about it: The science is not in. Not by a long shot. And that’s why a moratorium in New York makes sense.
While the industry’s persistent public relations campaign has portrayed fracking as clean and safe, we simply don’t know if that’s true. At least five studies are under way or being considered on fracking as scientists and health researchers seek answers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release findings next year on a study of the potential effect of fracking on drinking water.
Another recently announced study is already instructive: Geisinger Health System, which operates hospitals, clinics and an insurance program in 44 Pennsylvania counties, plans a 20-year study that will look for possible links between fracking and illnesses among its 2.6 million clients.
In effect, then, fracking is the experiment, and the people of Pennsylvania are the laboratory mice.
The U.S. faces a retirement crisis. The fact is that most workers are saving too little to retire, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, which tracks pension issues. And workers are acutely aware of this.
An institute study released on Tuesday found that the percentage of workers saving for retirement dropped to 66 percent from 75 percent in 2009. One-third said they had saved nothing for the years when they were no longer working.
Of those surveyed, 28 percent had no confidence that they would have enough to retire comfortably and 21 percent were “not too confident.”
Living only on Social Security guarantees a frugal retirement. Benefits max out at $1,320 a month, $15,840 a year, at age 70. And Congress, with Republicans anxious to trim entitlements, may shave that formula for future retirees.
Retirement money has to stretch further because we’re living longer. According to a report by the Society of Actuaries, a male who turns 65 this year can expect to live another 20.5 years, a female another 22.7, an increase of roughly a year each over the decade.
The problem is no less real for being slow-moving, but it’s better to deal with the retirement financial crunch sooner rather than later.
The Norwegian government on March 4 and 5 sponsored an international conference on the various effects that nuclear weapons detonations would have on human health, the natural environment and economic development.
Although the conference did not touch on nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear arms reduction or elimination of nuclear weapons, it was significant in that it squarely dealt with the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.
Government and political leaders and citizens should deepen discussions on this issue and increase the awareness of the cruel nature of nuclear weapons to give momentum to efforts for reduction and eventual eradication of nuclear weapons.
Two atomic bomb survivors, among the Japanese government delegates, told the conference that survivors have suffered not only ill health but also post-traumatic stress disorder from their radiation exposure 68 years ago.
Having suffered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Japan has a duty and responsibility to appeal against the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and work toward their elimination in earnest.