transit of Venus between the Sun and Earth

The transits of Venus, visible in Central America and North America and will continue to Europe, is a unique opportunity for science but also to human curiosity, say experts.

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“Essentially it’s an eclipse, the interesting thing that happens every hundred years,” said Eduardo Araujo, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The planet passes between Earth and Sun and looks like a small point that the Sun travels,” he said.

The distance is so great that it has no effect on the earth but it is a “great opportunity” for scientists to study the wavy motion, gravitational forces, density, and many aspects as possible.

Now begins the collection of data, the results will not be immediately, studies will be completed in months and present the first findings.

“It’s an opportunity from the standpoint of the scientific world and from the point of view of human curiosity is unique too,” said Araujo, who recalled that not all generations have the opportunity to see a transition.

Transits of Venus are rare, occur in pairs eight years apart and then not recur over a hundred years later. The last was 2004 and after this, that completes the pair, experts estimate that there will be another until 2117.

NASA planned to begin at 22:09 GMT and is expected to have a duration of seven hours.

The entry is expected to occur between 22:09 and 22:27 GMT on June 5 and depart between 4:32 and 04:50 GMT.

Araujo encouraged to participate in any activity that NASA centers, planetariums and scientific organizations have been organized throughout the world to see this unique spectacle.

Although, recalled that it must be done with caution and “never look at the sun with the naked eye” because it can cause anything from eye injuries or even blindness in severe cases.

Experts recommend looking through telescopes or special glasses prepared, never with normal sunglasses.

Transits of Venus captured public attention in the eighteenth century, when the size of the solar system was one of the greatest mysteries of science, NASA recalls in an article.

The relative distance of the planets was known but not their absolute distances-how many miles between us and another possible world, and Venus was the key, according to astronomer Edmund Halley deduced (1656-1742).

Halley found that observing the transit from various places on Earth, it should be possible to triangulate the distance to Venus, prompting international expeditions to survey the transits occurred in 1761 and 1769.

Other split the explorer James Cook, who was sent to Tahiti in French Polynesia today in an effort that some historians have called “the Apollo program of the eighteenth century.”

NASA says that the experiment, in retrospect, it sounded better than it was the result, because the bad weather in some places of observation and the limitations of primitive instruments caused “confusion” on the actual density of the atmosphere of Venus and other data.

A late nineteenth century, astronomers, with modern instruments and cameras, finally managed to measure the size of the solar system as Halley had suggested to the data of registered transits in 1874 and 1882.

Now scientists at the twenty-first century, with satellites in space and better cameras than ever, hoping to study hundreds of phenomena as the behavior of extra solar planets in the search for life in the universe.

Latin American Leaders Demand Action on Illicit Arms Trafficking!

Latin America is the area south of the Rio Gra...

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At the close of the summit, the member countries issued a separate and special declaration (available in pdf format here) defining public security as a precondition for economic and social progress and calling for international cooperation, technical assistance and legislation to combat the illicit trafficking of weapons.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon also called on the international community to provide financial and technical assistance to the region and urged his counterparts in Latin America to strengthen legislative controls on the possession and use of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

These calls for a more regional approach to curbing arms trafficking were overshadowed by a controversial outburst from Ecuador’s president, the absence of 11 heads-of-state and the summit’s macro-economic themes.

But inside the summit walls, public security emerged as a top concern and representatives of a region struggling with high rates of violence and criminality used the platform to call for agreement on regulating the international arms trade. The surge in violent crime in Latin America has been particularly devastating to countries that have resources important to drug trafficking networks and relatively weak state institutions. Honduras, for example, is a transit country for the majority of cocaine smuggled out of South America and is on track to have the highest murder rate in the world.

A recent United Nations report (pdf available here) says that 31 percent of the estimated 468,000 intentional homicides committed around the world in 2010 occurred in the Americas. And firearms, which were used in 42 percent of violent deaths, “undoubtedly drive homicide increases in certain regions and, where they do, members of organized criminal groups are often those who pull the trigger,” according to the UN.

The ability of Latin American countries to control firearm availability certainly depends on international cooperation. Unfortunately, weapons transfers can take place on a relatively small scale without triggering attention from federal authorities. A variety of obstacles prevent stricter control over domestic guns sales in the U.S., such as powerful lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association and their congressional allies who block legislation that would tighten federal control over gun sales.

The availability of powerful assault weapons in the U.S. has likely had an effect on violence in the region. An analysis by blogger Diego de Valle illustrates how the expiration of the ban on assault weapons in the U.S. is correlated with rising homicide rates in the war against (and amongst) the drug cartels. Access to U.S. assault weapons may also be related to the rise in incidents of multiple homicides in Mexico.

The U.S. is an important player in controlling the circulation of illegal weapons in Mexico, but it is only one of many. According to arms expert Keith Krause, substantial quantities of weapons seized from Mexico’s criminals originate in Mexico or Central America. Honduras, for example, recently admitted that it cannot account for thousands of guns that disappeared from government warehouses. Many weapons that were funnelled to Central America to fight 20th century conflicts are still circulating today, fueling narcotics-related conflict in Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala.

But controlling this market is a tall order for any country or region. The illicit global market for small arms and light weapons (SALW) is estimated to be worth approximately $1 billion dollars annually. Trade flourishes in part because of a large gray market of legal guns that become illegal when they are lost or stolen from government stockpiles. Government weapons and ammunition stockpiles that are poorly monitored can be diverted to this gray market with little risk because, in the absence of a universal marking and tracking system, it is difficult to trace to a “legitimate” owner and hold that person accountable.

The long career of international arms dealer Victor Bout, and his eventual capture in a DEA sting explicitly demonstrates of the need for a global treaty on the weapons trade, according to Oxfam International. Despite significant evidence of Bout’s participation in illegal weapons sales, he was able to continue to sell guns and fuel conflict in the world’s worst war zones for two decades.

Currently, only 73 (out of 154) countries regulate trade in light weapons and, of those, only 56 have laws criminalizing their illicit transfer. The lack of a global treaty addressing the trade in SALW allows gun traffickers to avoid both arrest in countries that lack penalties and extradition to countries with comprehensive, enforceable laws.

Currently, commodities like bananas and electronics are highly regulated under international law, but there are no substantial agreements requiring states to monitor and restrict transfers of arms and ammunition around the globe.

This may change. A proposed global Arms Trade Agreement will be debated in the UN next year. And while it will not eliminate the illicit trade in guns, it can reduce the availability of military-grade weapons on the shadowy gray market and clarify the fuzzy boundaries between licit and illict trade in weapons responsible for hundreds of thousands violent deaths. It may also give Latin American and Caribbean governments a template for further regional and domestic action on this issue.


Two aircraft delivered to Honduras to fight Drug trafficking by USA!

Maule" MXT-7-180

Maule" MXT-7-180

This Wednesday Honduras received two planes donated by the United States, among other things, for combating drug trafficking, and on November 17 will receive two more, officials said.

The two aircraft “Maule” MXT-7-180 were received at the base of the Honduran Air Force (HAF), located at the airport Tonconctín, south of Tegucigalpa, the commander of that branch of the Armed Forces of Honduras, General Ruiz Pastor.

“These aircraft will help to meet the needs we have,” said Pastor, who announced that on November 17 two more aircraft will arrive.

For his part, Chief of Plans and Programs of the U.S. Southern Command, Jorge Aldana said, “These planes were chosen for multiple uses, (they), humanitarian assistance, (fight) against narcotics, search and rescue.”

With 90% of the cocaine consumed in the United States passes through Central America, according to U.S. officials, and the cartels have managed collaboration of fishermen and villagers, which has high local drug traffic and consumption and homicide rates.

Mexican army has stationed an entire battalion in a northern border town


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Mexican troops marching into town!!

Mexican troops marching into town!!

The Mexican army has stationed an entire battalion in a northern border town abandoned by most of its residents late last year amid a brutal turf war between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels.

Soldiers began patrolling the area months ago, but it was only Monday that the troops formally moved into the newly constructed base in Ciudad Mier.

Hundreds of residents lined the town’s main street to welcome the 652 soldiers of the 105th Battalion, one of three new military units deployed to the state of Tamaulipas.

Ciudad Mier and many other towns in the northeastern state have been found themselves caught in the crossfire after the March 2010 rupture of the alliance between the Gulf cartel and its former armed wing, Los Zetas.

Gunbattles – some lasting up to eight hours – between the criminal organizations forced about 7,000 people from Ciudad Mier and neighboring villages to move into a shelter in the city of Miguel Aleman.

By last month, however, some 4,800 residents had returned to Mier, thanks to the army patrols.

Life in the town is starting to return to normal, but the signs of violence are everywhere – on houses and businesses, on the exterior of the church, where bullet holes and broken windows can be seen, as well as in the dozens of closed businesses and abandoned houses.

A second army base is being built in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, where 72 migrants, the majority of them from Central America, were massacred by Zetas in August 2010, and a third base is under construction in Ciudad Mante, another strife-torn part of the state.