Of all things to launch onto an unsuspecting public in Germany, Greg Koch picked American beer. A 51-year-old Californian with an impressive beard, Koch has been experimenting with coffee and chocolate flavorings in his hometown San Diego. And he thinks Europe is ready for a taste of his concoctions. Koch spent the last four years looking at 130 different locations in nine countries, ranging from Iceland to Italy. But he opted for Berlin in the end, where his company "Stone Brewing" is setting up its own brewery. It's the first ever European subsidiary of a US craft brewer. "The challenge with the German beer market is there's not much choice. It's full of industrial Pils," Koch said, adding that many people don't want to try his beer because it's American. Germans have a rather low opinion of industrially produced American beer, and - so far - an underdeveloped awareness of the very different, far more flavorful beers made by American craft brewers. "For the rest of us who want … [Read more...] about Berlin start-up scene: Europe’s ‘Silicon Valley’?
Air in eight Italian cities is riddled with drugs, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research at the National Research Council in Rome. The study analyzed the air for the presence of two legal drugs: caffeine and nicotine, and two illegal drugs: cocaine and cannabinoids. Commissioned by Italy's anti-drugs department, contents of the air from six cities were analyzed every day for a year, while two cities had their air studied on seven random days per month. The researchers tested for each of the substances using samples taken from the cities' air quality monitoring stations. A hazy combination of smoke and fog blurs the view of Bologna from the mountains above the northern Italian city, which scored high in the environmental survey. The smog is made up of what the scientists call particulate matter or fine particles suspended in the air. While particulate matter - or PM - can be produced by natural sources like volcanoes and dust storms, … [Read more...] about Drugs in the air in Italy’s cities
The Pakistani military has begun a full-scale offensive against a growing domestic Taliban insurgency and claims to have killed 55 militants and destroyed the Taliban's Swat Valley headquarters. “Large number of militants were killed, including hardcore elements, and many militants injured,” a senior military official said. “The operation is in full swing.” On Friday, the military said it had killed more than 140 militants in air and ground attacks. The figures could not be independently confirmed. The Pakistan military has deployed 15,000 security forces in an effort to eliminate the estimated 5,000 extremist militants in northwest Pakistan. The operations began late last month when the insurgents advanced to within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the capital, Islamabad. On a state visit to the United States, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari described the escalating conflict as war. “This is an offensive – this is war. If they kill our … [Read more...] about Pakistani military sees some success against Taliban in Swat Valley
St. Helena, with just over 4,000 residents known as "Saints", is best known as the rocky outcrop where French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte saw out his final days. After five years of construction, controversy and embarrassing delays due to high winds, the airport built at a cost of £285 million (318 million euros) finally opened for business. "It will bring in tourists and we will be able to get a better standard of living," said the island's governor Lisa Phillips. The volcanic tropical island itself measures just 122 square kilometres (47 square miles) and is located almost exactly halfway between Africa and South America. The island had no suitable flat surface to construct the necessary 1,950 metre-long airstrip. Engineers were forced to chip away a mountain peak and fill in a valley to create enough of an even surface. Because of high winds, Comair abandoned plans to operate the route with a Boeing 737, paving the way for AirLink's smaller Embraer 190 jet. The winds meant … [Read more...] about St. Helena’s isolation ends as air link opens
Authorities said Monday that the alert stemmed from an "extraordinary increase" in ozone concentration due to the presence of a high pressure weather system and intense solar radiation around greater Mexico City. The Mexican capital is home to more than 20 million inhabitants. An advisory posted by the city authorities recommended that people stay off the streets between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., refrain from vigorous exercise in the open and curb sporting activities, in order to avoid respiratory problems. The last time a a phase one alert was issued for particle pollution was on New Year's Day 2005. Then, air quality was likely affected by heavy use of firecrackers, a city official said. Ozone, which is a key ingredient of air pollution, is a form of oxygen created by the reaction of sunlight with air containing other pollutants such as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide. Altitude Geography is also a factor. The capital city lies about 7,350 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level in a high … [Read more...] about Mexico City alarm bells ring over worst air pollution in a decade