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Pulitzer Center Update September 14, 2012

This Week in Review: Russian Icebreakers

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The Russians don't think climate change is a hoax; they see it as a business opportunity. Pulitzer Center grantee Eve Conant writes in Scientific American that "Russia's dream to dominate the Arctic will soon get a boost with a nuclear-powered icebreaker designed to navigate both shallow rivers and the freezing depths of the Northern Sea. Last month Rosatomflot, Russia's atomic fleet, inked a deal to begin construction of a massive new vessel 170 meters long and 34 meters wide."

Why is Russia adding to its fleet of atomic icebreakers? As the Brookings Institution's Charles Ebinger explains to Eve, "Climate change is a pivotal factor in accelerating Russia's interest in icebreakers…With climate change we are seeing a major change in the Northern Sea Route, which is a transport route along Russia's northern coast from Europe to Asia. Just in the last few years, with less and less permanent sea ice, maritime traffic across the Russian Arctic has risen exponentially."

Eve's reporting is part of a new Pulitzer Center Gateway that focuses on nuclear security, but also looks at the ways nuclear technologies—and potential nuclear hazards—are spreading to some of the planet's most dangerous neighborhoods and inhospitable climates.

* * *

In the photograph above, Seyma Ozcan looks childlike, vulnerable.

"Before prison, she was frail. But she couldn't eat in prison, because of the food, the crowding and the mental torture of the questioning—unnerving jolts for a 22-year-old thrown in with murderers and criminals along with dozens of university students like herself," writes Pulitzer Center grantee Steve Franklin for In These Times.

Steve traveled to Turkey to report on the ruling party's increasingly harsh crackdown on journalists. But along the way he found many others who have had basic human rights trampled by a government that is at once democratic but highly intolerant of criticism or dissent. Seyma ran afoul of Turkish authorities, according to Steve, after attending an anti-government protest and applying for a job at a Kurdish newspaper.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor


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