A Resolute Strategy on Georgia: One day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced "at least $1 billion" in aid to Georgia, a Center for Strategic and International Studies report looks at increasing criticisms of such programs. Robert Hamilton notes that some analysts have begun "to blame Georgia for the conflict" and to warn that U.S. intervention might damage relations with Russia. Hamilton believes the opposite; he argues that stepping back from the current conflict will encourage Russia to make future challenges to its neighbors and to U.S. and NATO positions. "Georgia and the Caucasus are an area where American values and interests converge," says Hamilton, and the United States should take care to "negotiate from a position of strength."
Before She's Ready: Fifteen Places Girls Marry by 15: In developing countries, 51 million girls younger than 18 are married. A report from World Vision, an international aid group, estimates that in the next 10 years, that number could double to 100 million. It is a common practice in South Asia, with nearly 50 percent of girls getting married before they turn 18. India's rate is almost 70 percent. Parents often marry off daughters at an early age for money to support their family.
Report on Reproductive and Health Effects of Bisphenol A: The National Institutes of Health's National Toxicology Program has examined the impact of the compound Bisphenol A and finds only "limited evidence" that the chemical, commonly called BPA, causes adverse health effects. Most Americans are exposed to BPA routinely in plastic food and drink containers (one study showed 93 percent of those sampled had the chemical in their blood), but the level of exposure is considered "low." The risk is greater for those with a "high" level of exposure—a group that includes formula-fed infants. Indeed, the report expressed "some concern" that the compound might cause "effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children."
China, India, and Russia in the Changing Global Defense Market: Russia, China, and India spent $99.47 billion on defense in 2007, almost 50 percent more than the three countries spent four years earlier, a Jane's Industry Quarterly study reports. China has the potential to be a major exporter of military equipment in the future, according to the report. China is ranked fourth by Jane's Defense Budgets for "global military expenditure," coming in behind the United States, Britain, and France. The study predicts that Russian exports will decrease in the next few years and that India will become a major "defense exporter" in 15 or 20 years.
$2 Million Reward for Fugitive Bulger: In an effort to get the public's help in capturing fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger, the FBI has increased the reward for his capture to $2 million. The former Boston crime boss, who is listed as one of the FBI's "10 Most Wanted Fugitives," faces charges of murder and racketeering. Bulger has been on the run since 1995 and is believed to have traveled throughout the United States and Europe. The FBI has updated his wanted poster with computerized age enhancement to show what he may look like today.