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					                                     SHORT NEWS for August 2007
                                            (33 articles)

Artificial Life Likely in 3 to 10 Years (070820) AP
WASHINGTON – It is expected that wet artificial life may be announced in 3 to 10 years time, a
technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways. This will remove one of the few
fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role in addition to helping us in fighting
diseases, locking up greenhouse gases and eating toxic waste. Three major hurdles are still there in creating
synthetic life which include a membrane for the cell to keep bad molecules out, allow good ones and the
ability to multiply; a genetic system that controls the functions of the cell; and a metabolism that extracts
raw materials from the environment as food and then change it into energy. It is still believed that creating a
cell membrane should not be a problem and the scientists are optimistic about the next two hurdles also.

Biofuels Costing the Earth? (070820) PA Media
SUFFOLK, UK – Increasing amounts of biofuels is being produced to reduce the carbon dioxide impact of
transport. On the contrary World Land Trust (WLT) argues that this is not the best way of using the land to
mitigate climate change. This would lead the third world countries to clear the most endangered species for
higher agricultural production. The WLT believes that much more carbon dioxide emissions can be avoided
by protecting the remaining forest and restoring forest on arable land not needed for food production. At the
same time we need to increase the efficiency of fossil fuels and develop carbon-free transport fuels to
replace hydrocarbons.

Japan Eyes Chopsticks for Biofuel (070823) ET
TOKYO – Japan, with no natural energy resource of its own, has decided to turn millions of used chopsticks
into biofuel as an alternative clean energy resource to ease country‟s energy shortage. Each of Japan‟s 127
million people uses an average of 200 sets a year, which amounts to 90,000 tons of wood. It is also planning
to turn straw into biofuel to run cars. According to an official, they will have to look at the pluses and
minuses, including greenhouse emissions, of the process of collecting the chopsticks, carrying them to
facilities and then producing the biofuel. In fact, the disposable chopsticks have historically been a cash cow
for Japan‟s forestry industry, which says it uses timber from thinning that would have otherwise been

Worldwatch Perspective: Nothing is Simple, Not Even Biofuels (070824) WI
It is believed that over a 30-year period, more greenhouse gas emission can be avoided per acre of land by
restoring forests than by using current biofuel technologies. But it does not mean that promoting all biofuel
technologies is wasteful and counterproductive. As ethanol made from corn reduces greenhouse emission by
about 13% compared to gasoline, has low sustainability score. If the forests and other conservation lands are
converted to cropland for biofuels, it will cause more environmental damage than we can make up for by
using corn ethanol. Palm oil plantations for biodiesel in Indonesia and Malaysia are the most infamous
example of this. In Brazil, the savannah and edges of Amazon are also being eaten away by expanding
agriculture production, some of which is for biofuels. The expansion of world croplands for biofuels is not
thus inevitable.

Experiment Suggests Limitations to Carbon Dioxide „Tree Banking‟ (070820) Green Progress
NORTH CAROLINA – The experiments on Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) suggest that proposals to
bank extra CO2 from human activities in trees may not lead to a net gain in carbon sequestration if water
and nutrient availability to plants decreases at the same time that carbon dioxide increases. On the other
hand impact of fertilizing large areas on water quality will be intolerable to society as it is already a scarce
resource. The tree growth may increase from 5 to 40% depending upon the nutrient and water availability to
the plants. The experts argue that carbon that is in foliage is going to last a lot shorter time than carbon in
the wood, because leaves quickly decay. So elevated CO2 could significantly increase the production of
foliage but this would lead to only a small increase in ecosystem carbon storage.

Zero Carbon Offset Program At Paradise Bay Resort & Spa Grenada (070821) Website
LA TANTE, GRENADA – Paradise Bay Resort & Spa in Grenada was the first resort in the world with a
utility grade windmill as well as the first resort to provide all guests free of charge with a certificate for a
carbon free vacation, whereby the carbon emission for guests‟ flights and stay are fully compensated.
Moreover, this Carbon Free Vacation program is not optional but applies to all the guests‟ flights and stays,
including provision for local transport and guest activities without increase in their prices. The resort
initially planned to purchase carbon credits from existing offset companies, but after researching found that
these programs are not always as transparent and accountable as they should be, while claims for carbon
credits are often too optimistic.

Brazil Rejects Reports of Amazon Logging in Camps (070822) Reuters
BRASILIA – Brazil‟s government rejected accusations by Greenpeace that the settlement of poor peasants
in the Amazon was fueling the destruction of the world‟s largest rain forest and said that deforestation in
settlements had been falling, and was not always illegal. However, Environment Minister pledged a full
investigation into accusations. It was clarified by the Government that the deforested settlements cited were
created in the 3 decades before 2002 and until then it was legal to cut 50% of the forest, compared to 37%
actually cut in those settlements. Greenpeace on the other hand claimed that timber companies were allowed
to cut wood in exchange for building schools and roads for the settlements and government has yet to give a
satisfactory explanation.

Georgia Contractors Cut Costs by Going “Green” with Use of New Emissions Technology (070820)
Green Progress
GEORGIA – Southern Drilling, a Georgia-based provider of heavy drilling equipment for mining
operations, water wells and mineral exploration has been instrumental in reducing diesel fuel consumption
and pollution in the state for the last five years. Southern Drilling is the exclusive distributor in Georgia of
Emissions Technology, Inc.‟s Combustion Catalyst Systems (CCS) that reduces harmful pollutants in
stationary diesel engines by 50% and lowers fuel consumption by 15-20%. By injecting the platinum-based
catalyst into the cylinder, scaring and pitting is reduced within the combustion chamber. This increases the
lifespan of the engine while keeping the engine operating at optimum performance. People involved in this
business started believing the technology as they observed savings right after the installation and they
noticed that bigger the engine, the bigger the savings.

The High Price Our Environment is Paying For Our Spending (070830) ACF
SYDNEY – Australian Conservation Foundation‟s Consumption Atlas, a new interactive online tool
developed in collaboration with the Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis at Sydney University,
reveals that people living in Australia‟s wealthiest metropolitan areas are responsible for the country‟s
highest household greenhouse pollution because of their higher level of consumption. Use of electricity in
homes accounts for 15% of the greenhouse pollution each of us creates. The majority is created indirectly
from the production and transportation of all the things we are buying. Everything we buy has an impact on
environment, as all things demand energy, water and other natural resources to produce. People can make a
difference to their individual contribution to greenhouse pollution by buying less, wasting less and choosing
products that last.
AES Corporation Dams to Flood Panama Villages, Drive Species Extinct: International Coalition
Demands Cancellation (070823) CBD
SAN FRANCISCO – The Center for Biological Diversity, along with more than 50 indigenous and
environmental groups representing more than a million people from around the world, has sent a letter to
Virginia-based AES Corporation demanding it withdraw from three controversial hydroelectric dam
projects threatening La Amistad International Park in Panama (World Heritage site), dependent wildlife (40
species of fish, 250 species of reptiles and amphibians, 215 species of mammals and 600 species of birds),
and local communities slated to be displaced by flooding. Stream-monitoring studies have shown that the
construction of even one dam would be catastrophic for aquatic biodiversity. Many of fish and all shrimp
species living in these rivers must migrate between the ocean and freshwater to complete their life cycle,
which would otherwise not be possible. In addition, thousands of Ngobe people stand to have their villages
flooded to relocate.

International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement to Host 8 th Conference on
Successful Strategies (070824) INECE
WASHINGTON – The 8th International Conference will open in Cape Town, South Africa on 5-11th April
where the experts from around the world will collaborate on identifying concrete individual and collective
actions to advance the global agenda of strengthening environmental compliance and enforcement at all
levels of governance. The conference is expected to feature action-oriented thematic workshops,
distinguished keynote speakers and networking opportunities for over 150 invited participants. The
conference tracks include strategic management of environmental compliance and enforcement programs,
detecting noncompliance, transboundary compliance, creating a culture of compliance and regulatory
community‟s role in compliance. As noted by South Africa‟s Department of Environmental Affairs and
Tourism, environmental compliance and enforcement are becoming high profile issues in South Africa in
the context of high economic growth and development.

Brazil Tries to Calm Europe‟s Environmental Concerns (070828) Reuters
SAO PAULO – Delegates from Brazil‟s farm sector will visit Europe next month on a mission to convince
customers that the expanding agricultural business is not harming the environment. The road show, which
will take place in the main European capitals, will be the first initiative from Brazil‟s agriculture sector to
counter the claims it is adding to environmental destruction. Activist groups believe that the fast expansion
of Brazil‟s soy frontier was speeding up the destruction of Amazon rain forests. Brazil is the world‟s
second-largest soybean producer after US. European consumers started to demand proof of origin and soy
industry leaders felt it was time to take action to prevent buyers from turning to other sources. The
producers argue that they had only 1.5-3.0 per cent of Brazilian soy coming from the Amazon area.

Volvo Unveils Green Engines for Trucks (070829) Reuters
STOCKHOLM – Sweden‟s Volvo, the world‟s second biggest truck maker, unveiled a line of truck engines
adapted to run on renewable fuels. The engines are powered by seven types of fuels, ranging from synthetic
diesel to a mix of hydrogen and biogas. These are made from renewable raw materials and do not add
carbon dioxide to the ecosystem. The Volvo company believes that had the fuels been available, the
vehicles could have been carbon dioxide-free within just a few years. The politicians and energy firms need
to do more to make sure renewable fuels were developed further and made available to consumers. More
efforts are needed to create European, or preferably global standards for renewable fuels and ensure their

New Book Details Dramatic Rescue of Dolphins Swept Out To Sea During Hurricane Katrina
(170830) Kerzner Marine Foundation
PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS – On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most
catastrophic storms in the history of the US, Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas is proud to
launch the real life non-fiction adventure book, The Katrina Dolphins: One way Ticket to Paradise. This
170-page, full-color coffee table book by Georgeanne Irvine chronicles the extraordinary saga of eight
Atlantis bottlenose dolphins – Jackie, Jill, Michelle, Kelly, Tamra, Toni, Noah and Elijah, that were washed
out to sea from their Marine Life Oceanarium home in Gulfport, Mississipi and dramatically rescued weeks
later. The book features details about the events leading up to Hurricane Katrina as well as the exceptional
rescue and recovery mission of the dolphins and their transport to Dolphin Cay at Atlantis, where they are
now living with other dolphins from the Oceanarium that were evacuated prior to the storm.

Industrial Nations Reach 2020 Climate Compromise (070831)
UN – Industrial nations agreed a compromise at UN climate talks that stiff 2020 targets for greenhouse gas
cuts would be useful pointers for future work on a new climate treaty. A draft text put to delegates for
approval at the end of the August 27-31 meeting noted that leading climate scientists reckon that cuts in
greenhouse gas emissions of 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels are needed by 2020 to slow global
warming. The range provides useful initial parameters for the overall level of ambition of further emissions
reductions. It fell short of calls by the European Union and developing nations for the range to be a stronger
guide for future work on a new pact beyond 2012. Countries including Russia and Japan had objected to the
idea of a guide fearing it was too binding. The Bali conference will try to forge a new global agreement to
cut greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. Failing to cut emissions by at
least 30% of 1990 levels by 2020 would condemn millions to disease, water shortages and misery in the
developing world.

UN Says Floods Affect 100,000 Ethiopians (070828) Reuters
ADDIS ABABA – More than 100,000 people have been affected by floods in Ethiopia and 17 dies of
waterborne disease in Amhara, Tigray, South Sudan Nations and Nationalities Peoples State and Gambella
regions. Lake Tana, the source of Blue Nile, was continuing to rise and increasing the risk of more floods.
The Ethiopian government has sent 1121 tonnes of food aid for 60,000 people in the worst hit areas. The
UN estimates up to 900 Ethiopians died last year when several rivers burst their banks. Flash floods
typically happen in lowland areas of the country after heavy rains drench the highlands during the June-
September rainy season.

Greek Government Criticized as Fires Rage On (070828) Reuters
KRESTENA – Greece‟s conservative government faced mounting criticism of incompetence from
opposition party three weeks before parliamentary election on Tuesday as villagers fled fierce forest fires
that have killed 63 people. Exhausted firefighters, now boosted by foreign help, have been trying to douse
the fires for more than four days. A village residents was quoted as having used 300 litres of wine to try to
extinguish the fire around his house but in vain as they were still left at the mercy of the flames. The Prime
Minister has appealed to Greeks to stay united in the national crisis. The government offered up to 1 million
euros for help in tracking down the arsonists and asked the public prosecutor to see if they can be
prosecuted as terrorists.

The Tale of Sushi in the Global Economy (070822) GPIP
GPIP – The Sushi, seafood, has traveled a long path from sea to the plates, and this has been possible
mainly due to new infrastructure of globalization through cargo connections including transcontinental jets
and super-frozen containerships and the financial links across the continents. The “Tale of Suhsi” a book by
Sasha Issenberg traces the birth of modern Sushi to the day of summer of 1972 when Japan Air Lines
carried four Canadian bluefin to Tokyo‟s Tsukiji market, the first time Atlantic fish had arrived in Japan by
air. The Sushi restaurants around the world led to filling of open jobs abroad and given the labour shortage,
many Sushi chefs in the US today are not Japnese and not the male. The authors points out that if the
luxury-minded Chinese middle class are starting to develop an appetite for Sushi, they appreciably
participate in the global economy.

Trees Won‟t Fix Global Warming (070812) Life Science
NORTH CAROLINA – The Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) experiment at Duke University observed
that the trees do not store extra CO2 from the atmosphere unless the soil is fairly fertile with sufficient
moisture. According to FACE Project Director Ram Oren, the sites poor in nutrients and water there was
little response to the enhanced doses of CO2. He observed that the fertilization of forests to spur more CO2
uptake will affect the quality of water which is already a scarce resource. A project member observed that
elevated CO2 could increase the production of foliage, which would lead to only a small increase in
ecosystem C storage due to quick fall, and decay of tree leaves.

Business World Finally Sees Potential Profits in Joining the Battle against Global Warming (070817)
LONDON – The exploding business of saving the planet is gaining ground with the countries like US,
Europe and Japan locked in a frantic race to cash in this venture. The city of London financial district has
taken a lead in making billions from the management of CO2 emissions, one of the fastest-growing
segments in financial services. The European governments started capping the amounts of carbon dioxide
that industries could emit, while letting them buy and sell CO2 emissions allowances. The cap-and-trade
system encourages factories and industries to cut emissions by giving them pollution permits. If they
produce less GHGs than the total of their permits, they can sell the surplus certificates (credits) to
companies that find them cheaper than cutting their own emissions. About US$30.4 billion of allowances
were traded last year, representing 1.6 billion tons of CO2, double the volume of 2005.

Coal Dependency Seen Braking China‟s Climate Drive (070822) Reuters
NORWAY – China is expected to overtake US by 2008 as world‟s leading emitter of GHGs due to its
dominantly coal-dependent (70%) energy mix because of booming economic growth and a heavy reliance
on high-polluting coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired plants are opening at a rate of about one a week.
Beijing is now taking steps to curb global warming on many fronts, ranging from greater energy efficiency,
tougher emission standards for cars and even the controversial one child per family policy, in which over
300 million births have been averted nationally. China faces much more difficulties in breaking dependence
on coal than other countries.

Global Warming Causing Mediterranean Sea to Rise, Threatening Egypt‟s Lush Nile Delta (070824)
ALEXANDRA, EGYPT – Millions of Egyptians could be forced permanently from their homes due to
vulnerability of Egypt‟s breadbasket-the Nile Delta (arable land and home to 30% of the total population)
where the Nile river spreads out and drains into Mediterranean Sea, which has been creeping upward about
0.8 inches annually for the last decade, flooding parts of Egypt‟s shoreline. By 2100, the rising waters could
wipe out the sandy beaches that attract thousands of tourists. The uncovering of buried treasures in ancient
Alexindria, once the second most important city in the Roman Empire is expected. The sea is expected to
rise by 4.9 m by global warming unexpectedly rapidly breaking up the Greenland and West Antartic ice
sheets. It is predicted that if sea level rises by 1 m, it could flood a quarter of Delta, with a population
density of 4000 persons per square mile, forcing about 10.5 per cent of Egypt‟s population from their
UN Climate Talks Focus on Business End (070826) AP
VIENNA – The world is expected to spend $20 trillion on energy over the next 2 decades for ensuring that
it is as environment-friendly as possible. A new report by the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change says additional investments of about $210 billion a year will be needed mostly in the developing
world to maintain greenhouse gas emissions at their current levels until 2030. The world needs to find new
and affordable ways to burn coal and oil more cleanly and recapture carbon dioxide emissions. The war
against climate change is not a war against oil but it is war against emissions. Experts say developing
countries will need billions more each year to help them adapt to changes in their climates. The UN is
leading the push to discuss a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The
treaty requires 35 industrial nations to cut their global warming emissions 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Faster Change Means Bigger Problems (070829) CICER
OSLO, NORWAY – The debate about what constitutes dangerous anthropogenic interference with the
climate has almost exclusively focused on how much the temperature can be allowed to increase and not
how quickly these changes take place. We must stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere within a time period that allows ecosystems to adapt and economic development to continue
and that ensures that food production will not be threatened. It has been observed that adaptive capacity
decreases rapidly with an increasing rate of climate change. There is also a risk that rapid climate change
will increase the likelihood of large and irreversible changes, such as a weakening of the Gulf Stream and
melting of the Greenland ice sheets. Rapid change also increases the risk of triggering positive feedback
mechanisms that will increase the rate and level of temperature changes till more.

Mankind to Blame for Warming but Can Slow Damage (070829) Reuters
VIENNA – As per a UN draft report, mankind is to blame for climate change but governments still have
time to slow accelerating damage at moderate cost if they act quickly. Most of the observed increase in
globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in
anthropogenic greenhouse concentrations. But many impacts can be avoided, reduced or delayed by cutting
greenhouse emissions. Among the options to offset warming are the reductions in the use of fossil fuels,
increased energy efficiency, wider use of renewable energies, carbon markets or burying carbon dioxide
from coal-fired power plants and the cost of such initiatives should be manageable for the world economy.

Now Its Not Just Spiderman That Can Scale The Empire State Building (070829) IOP
Only recently has man come to understand how spiders and geckos effortlessly scuttle up walls and hang
from ceilings but it was doubted that this natural form of adhesion would ever be strong enough to hold the
weight of real life Peter Parkers. Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-
molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable adhesive force
could be used in conjunction with van der Walls forces and capillary adhesion. As with spiders‟ feet, the
hooks and hairs are self-cleaning and water-resistant. This means that they will not wear or get clogged by
bad weather or dirty surfaces and will be able to withstand some of the harshest habitats on earth. However,
size-effects on the adhesion strength require further research.

Mexico Wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize (070816) SIWI
STOCKHOLM – Adriana Alcantara Ruiz, Dalia Graciela Diaz Gomez and Carlos Hernandez Mejia, the
students from Cultural Institute of Paideia in Toluca, Mexico, were awarded the prestigious 2007 Stockholm
Junior Water Prize during the World Water Week in Stockholm. The prize is presented each year to high-
school age students for outstanding water-related projects that focus on topics of environmental, scientific,
social or technological importance. The Mexican team‟s project entitled, „The Estimation of Pb (II) from
Water via BIO-Adsorption using Eggshell‟ developed a novel approach to adsorb lead in industrial
wastewater by utilizing eggshells, a locally abundant bio-organic waste material.

Conservation Group Petitions Seven Coastal States to Address Ocean Acidification Under Clean
Water Act (070817) CBD
SAN FRANCISCO – Apart from global warming caused due to increased CO2 level, the ocean acidification
is quietly and lethally altering the fundamental chemistry of world‟s oceans. The ocean takes up about 22
million tons of CO2 each day and has absorbed about half of the CO2 released into the atmosphere by
human activities. This makes the ocean water more acidic. The pH of ocean has already changed by 0.11
since the pre-industrial times and if the current emissions continue, an additional 0.5 units is predicted by
the end of century. The federal Clean Water Act requires states to revise their list of impaired water bodies
on a periodic basis so as to set a limit on the discharge of pollutants into these water bodies. The Centre for
Biological Diversity (CBD) has submitted data to states showing that ocean waters of Oregon, Alaska,
Hawaii, Florida, New York and New Jersey are being degraded by CO2 absorption.

2007 Stockholm Water Prize Presented to American Professor Perry L McCarty of Stanford
University (070821) SIWI
STOCKHOLM – Professor Perry L McCarty from Stanford University, California received the 2007
Stockholm Water Prize last night from H M King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Professor McCarty‟s work
led to more efficient biological treatment processes, particularly in anaerobic treatment for wastewaters,
biological nutrient removal, and the development and use of biofilm reactors. The award is presented
annually to an individual, organization or institution for outstanding water-related activities. Professor
McCarty has published more than 300 papers in water science, environmental engineering and microbiology
science journals with 50 papers just in last 10 years. Apart from this 2 textbooks on chemistry, biology and
design of treatment systems for municipal and industrial wastewater.

Iraq Calls for Water Treaty to Avert Crisis (070823) Reuters
DAMASCUS – Iraq has called for a water treaty with neighbors that share the river Tigris and Euphrates,
its main water resources. The water resources minister of Iraq said that Iraq could fall in crisis, if they don‟t
have information about the neighbors projects particularly project Turkey and they ended up without a fair
share of the water. Euphrates volumes through Iraq have fallen to 30 billion cubic meters a year, half the
flow of a few decades ago before Syria and Turkey increased the dam building. The Iraqis are planning to
meet Turkey over water at all levels and believe that Turkey should seek their approval for some of their
projects. On the other hand Turkey says that its neighbors had no right to question what Ankara did with
rivers rising within its borders but that it would not use its control of the Tigris and Euphrates as a weapon
against Syria and Iraq.

Bolivia‟s Lake Titicaca Strangled by Pollution (070823) ET
BOLIVIA – Nestled high in the Bolivian Andes, the famed Lake Titicaca, the world‟s highest navigable
lake, is being strangled by city-fed pollution that is driving away local people who draw sustenance from its
mythical waters. This has affected the livelihood and water supply of around 350 families of Cohana
village. The dry season reveals tons upon tons of bottles, cans, plastic bags, medical refuse, tattered clothes
and a host of unmentionables littering the shores. The potential presence of pathogens such as bacteria,
viruses or parasites makes it the most polluted sector in Titicaca. Biological activity is directly affected by
the water‟s lack of oxygen and the fish found earlier are now dead. The reality comes home when you no
longer see the schools of fish that should normally swim among the reeds of the lake waters.
China Says 278 Cities have no Sewage Treatment (070831) Reuters
BEIJING – More than half China‟s 1.3 billion population, including 278 cities, live without any form of
sewage treatment. Eight out of those cities have populations of more than 500,000. In its rapid development
into the world‟s fourth-largest economy, China has been struggling to curb horrific water and air pollution.
It has become the world‟s top emitter of acid-rain causing sulphur dioxide and many analysts expect it to
overtake the US this year as the biggest greenhouse emitter. An estimated 5000 administrative towns and
20000 smaller market towns had no sewage treatment facilities and a lack of clean water was especially
acute in the central province of Henan. Pollution has taken on greater urgency as Beijing tries to clean up its
notoriously filthy air before hosting the 2008 Olympics next August.

Bangkok Luxury Store Owner Convicted for Wildlife Trafficking (070828) WA
BANGKOK – A Bangkok luxury store-owner of Indian origin was convicted for breaching Thailand‟s
wildlife protection law, when he was sentenced to 2 years in prison and fined US$300 apart from
confiscating all the “shahtoosh” (made from the wool derived from poaching highly endangered Tibetan
Antelopes) shawls. He may be soon deported from Thailand permanently. The Thai Special Taskforce was
set up under the new ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) by the 10 countries of
Southeast Asia to combat the region‟s wildlife criminals. The US Government assisted the Thai prosecutors
in strengthening their cases after suspects claimed the seized shawls were not made from shahtoosh through
their Forensic experts.