When the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency opens its five-day meetings on Sept. 17, nonproliferation experts are likely to turn their attention toward North Korea, India, Pakistan, and United States. Each of the four nations appears ready to test long-range missiles that could be used to deliver nuclear payloads. While the IAEA has long worried about North Korea, testing by rivals Pakistan and India could dominate the discussion.
Honors for Aung San Suu Kyi
Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi visits Washington, D.C., on Sept. 19 to receive the nation's top honor for a foreign civilian, the Congressional Gold Medal, for her work fighting for democracy in Burma, also known as Myanmar. Two days later, Suu Kyi will be in New York to receive the Atlantic Council's Golden Citizen award.
Ig Nobel Prizes
Irony-loving scientists will be on hand at Harvard University Sept. 20 for the presentation of the 2012 Ig Nobel Prizes for Improbable Research. The parody of the Nobel Prizes celebrates scientists for trivial and esoteric contributions to science, the arts, economics and other academic disciplines. In 2011, the Chemistry Prize went to a researcher who developed and studied the effectiveness of a wasabi-based fire alarm.
Voters in Belarus head to the polls Sept. 23 in parliamentary elections many predict will be plagued by fraud and that some fear could become violent. Election watchers say President Alexander Lukashenko, who has held power in the nation of 10 million since 1994, again is cracking down on opposition parties.
GPS rival launch
The days of primacy for the U.S. Global Positioning System are growing shorter. The European Space Agency is planning to launch on Sept. 28 two more navigation satellites into orbit as part of its Galileo system, to compete with the U.S. military-controlled GPS. The Galileo system is scheduled to come online in 2014, but not be fully capable until 2018.