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Why do we need an Occupy Australia?

Many Australians have questioned the need for an Occupy movement of our own. In contrast to the US, we’re not struggling in quite the same way, economically, having never slipped into recession or been caught up in the Eurozone debt crisis. There are no largescale cuts to public jobs as in Europe or the U.S. At The Referral, Kimberley Ramplin points out that the Australian economy is quite healthy, comparatively speaking:


5.2 per cent unemployment in September 2011. As the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Measures of Australia’s Progress 2011 report shows, pretty much everything (barring productivity) has improved since 2000. Including unemployment. The bad news? That increase applies to threatened animal species due to climate change. The average weekly income per full-time employed adult is $1,305. The average hourly income is between $29.70 and$33.10 (the disparity? Female wages c.f. men) (Source: ABS)

I’ve lived in Australia and the U.S and I know from personal experience that the substantially lower standard of living in the U.S is something few Australians can truly understand. Things are not perfect in Australia economically – not with the astronomical housing prices – but we can’t say that the middle class has collapsed in the same way as in the U.S.


We do ourselves no favours when we uncritically mimic American models without changing them to suit local conditions. The cultural cringe is no more useful in activism than it is in other areas. The 99/1% slogan is powerful stuff indeed but doesn’t adequately address the income distribution of Australia as accurately in the United States. Activism must respond to local needs to be successful.

So what's wrong with Australia? A lot, as it turns out


But the interesting thing is what she decided to leave out...that awesome economic bubble somehow manages to miss the Aborigines. Apparently this isn't a local need? Of course, that capitalist system was immeasurably boosted by colonization, stealing, killing and otherwise exploiting said Aborigines and their land, which brings up the whole issuetastic problem with the name Occupy and what it reveals about the terms of debate anyway.
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'Ditch the witch': How the Murdoch press is using misogyny to wage war on Australian PM Julia Gillard

A year ago, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had won her first election, silencing grumbles from some corners that she hadn’t properly won the leadership of the Australian Labor Party from previous leader Kevin Rudd. The ALP win was a close thing. Gillard had to scramble to negotiate with three independents and the Australian Greens in order to form a coalition – in part because her party lost a lot of votes on its left flank to the increasingly popular Greens. Not only was Gillard remarkable for the close shave, or for being Australia’s first female Prime Minister, but she was also an unmarried atheist without children and with a reputation for progressive thinking. In Australia’s fairly conservative political landscape, in which it seemed unlikely that we’d have a Prime Minister who wasn’t a very wealthy married Christian father any time soon, this was unbelievable.

A year on, the left is just slightly confused about Gillard’s swing to the right – see for instance, our esteemed editor on the “Malaysian solution.” One might then wonder why, just a year out from the election in which they backed Gillard, Rupert Murdoch’s conservative media is baying for her blood.

What’s going on exactly? The big news story in Australia over the last few months has been a proposed carbon tax. Should it go ahead, only 0.02 per cent of Australian businesses will be taxed under this scheme, and 90 per cent of households will receive compensation for the increase in expenses they will undergo as we change over to clean energy. So far, so good – except barely anyone in the country knows those facts. Whoever is running the media show over at the ALP is floundering. Pushed hard by opposition leader Tony Abbott and Murdoch’s News Limited, the only message that is getting through is that the carbon tax is outrageous. Given that News Limited has control of about three quarters of metropolitan daily newspaper circulation in Australia, that’s quite a push. Read more... )

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Unsung Heroes: Nancy Wake

It’s 1944, you’re a member of the resistance in occupied France, and your vitally important radio codes have just been destroyed in a German raid. What do you do?

Black and white photograph of Nancy Wake in uniform, c.1945. A striking woman with dark hair looking directly at the camera. Creative commons image from wikipedia.

Nancy Wake c.1945

Well, if you’re Nancy Wake you cycle alone across 500km of enemy territory in order to find replacements. Who was Nancy Wake and what made her so astonishingly badass? Let’s step back to the start of World War II to find out.

A New Zealand-born nurse, Wake had travelled the world before settling in France in the 1930s. At the start of the war she was living with her new husband, industrialist Henri Fiocca, in the hills outside Marseille. Within months this would be occupied territory as Western Europe fell to the rapid advance of Nazi forces.

With a continent falling to the horrors of war, and possessing sufficient money to live comfortably anywhere in the world, many of us might say “hmm, perhaps it’s time to move to America.” Many of us might choose to keep our heads down, live the life of a wealthy socialite – a relatively safe course of action even in wartime. But not Nancy Wake. She became involved in the Resistance, delivering supplies and acting as a courier, purchasing a vehicle to serve as an ambulance for the care of refugees. Wake became more deeply involved with the Resistance as the war continued, becoming a key figure in the escape lines that helped smuggle escapees, downed airmen and Dunkirk survivors over the Pyrenees and into Spain. (And here it should be noted that Wake was far from the only woman to go to extraordinary risks to save the lives of escapees. Andrée de Jongh of the Belgian Comète Line and countless others performed acts of extraordinary heroism to do what they saw as a necessary task.)

MORE
<

She could kill Nazis with her bare hands: Nancy 'the White Mouse' Wake has died

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World leaders pay tribute to war heroine Nancy Wake

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1987 Documentary:

Nancy Wake- Codename 'The White Mouse'(1987) Part 1 of 6

Nancy Wake- Codename 'The White Mouse'(1987) Part 2 of 6

Nancy Wake- Codename 'The White Mouse'(1987) Part 3 of 6

Nancy Wake- Codename 'The White Mouse'(1987) Part 4 of 6


Nancy Wake- Codename 'The White Mouse'(1987) Part 5 of 6


Nancy Wake- Codename 'The White Mouse'(1987) Part 6 of 6


Film coming up: Bruce Beresford to direct film on Nancy Wake's life: The White Mouse

Australian director Bruce Beresford has signed on to direct feature film The White Mouse, about the country’s most decorated World War II servicewoman, Nancy Wake.

Produced by Peter Glover and Sue Milliken (Farscape, Sirens), the film – which hasn't raised finance – will tell the story of Wake, who died early Monday morning (Australian time) in London, aged 98. The announcement was made by a publicist on behalf of Milliken.MORE



Director Bruce Beresford reveals wishlist for Nancy Wake leading lady

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Resistance heroine who led 7,000 men against the Nazis

Nancy Wake, "the White Mouse" and the most decorated woman of the 1939-45 war, disliked people messing around with her life story. Small wonder. It was an extraordinary story and an extraordinary life.

Ms Wake, who has died in London just before her 99th birthday, was a New Zealander brought up in Australia. She became a nurse, a journalist who interviewed Adolf Hitler, a wealthy French socialite, a British agent and a French resistance leader. She led 7,000 guerrilla fighters in battles against the Nazis in the northern Auvergne, just before the D-Day landings in 1944. On one occasion, she strangled an SS sentry with her bare hands. On another, she cycled 500 miles to replace lost codes. In June 1944, she led her fighters in an attack on the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in central France.

Work began earlier this month on a feature film about Nancy Wake's life. Ms Wake, one of the models for Sebastian Faulks' fictional heroine, Charlotte Gray, had mixed feelings about previous cinematic efforts to portray her wartime exploits, including a TV mini-series made in 1987.

"It was well-acted but in parts it was extremely stupid," she said. "At one stage they had me cooking eggs and bacon to feed the men. For goodness' sake, did the Allies parachute me into France to fry eggs and bacon for the men? There wasn't an egg to be had for love nor money. Even if there had been why would I be frying it? I had men to do that sort of thing."

Ms Wake was also furious the TV series suggested she had had a love affair with one of her fellow fighters. She was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements, she said.MORE



Nancy Wake Wikipedia Take a look at the list of her medals!!!!
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In 3 Countries, Challenging the Vatican on Female Priests


More than 150 Roman Catholic priests in the United States have signed a statement in support of a fellow cleric who faces dismissal for participating in a ceremony that purported to ordain a woman as a priest, in defiance of church teaching.


The American priests’ action follows closely on the heels of a “Call to Disobedience” issued in Austria last month by more than 300 priests and deacons. They stunned their bishops with a seven-point pledge that includes actively promoting priesthood for women and married men, and reciting a public prayer for “church reform” in every Mass.

And in Australia, the National Council of Priests recently released a ringing defense of the bishop of Toowoomba, who had issued a pastoral letter saying that, facing a severe priest shortage, he would ordain women and married men “if Rome would allow it.” After an investigation, the Vatican forced him to resign.

While these disparate acts hardly amount to a clerical uprising and are unlikely to result in change, church scholars note that for the first time in years, groups of priests in several countries are standing with those who are challenging the church to rethink the all-male celibate priesthood.

The Vatican has declared that the issue of women’s ordination is not open for discussion. But priests are on the front line of the clergy shortage — stretched thin and serving multiple parishes — and in part, this is what is driving some of them to speak.MORE

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visit-ability: Making accessible homes in New York
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via Feminists With Disabilities

Denial of Access In the Name of “Historic Preservation

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How The Disabilities Act Has Influenced Architecture

Robert Siegel talks to professor Monica Ponce de Leon, dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, about changes in architecture and design 20 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Read more... )





1998 Disability as architectural criticism — Yale/Rudolph

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Accessible Housing Society
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Green Accessible Home by Jeff Sties Architect
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Huh?

Jul. 24th, 2011 01:07 am
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Phone hacking: US authorities preparing to subpoena News Corp
Investigation launced into whether News Corp broke anti-bribery and hacking laws in US


OH????

via: [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political


Now I am VERY skeptical that the US has the political will to stick anything to Fox News, but ...

Having trouble keeping everyone straight?

Via: [personal profile] delux_vivens Key players in the News Corp phone-hacking case





While we are looking at the phone hacking link from The Guardian, here's a couple more:


The 'For Neville' email: two words that could bring down an empire: James Murdoch now stands accused of complicity in an attempted coverup of crimes within his company

In His Own Defense: Cameron Zigs, but the Opposition Follows

Andy Coulson investigated for perjury while working at No 10


Phone hacking also rife under Piers Morgan at [Daily] Mirror, claims ex-reporter Somehow I don't think The Daily Mail was exempt, do you?

Phone hacking visualized: What happened when? For those of us who are still fucking confused as to the timeline of events


Phone hacking: Three weeks that made a revolution In which the English now expect to actually regulate the press. Huh. Such a novel idea!


Guardian Live Blog which is a constant source of grins as this whole damn thing unfolds:

Consider this roundup:

9:10 am

Peter Walker writes: And finally... a few items from the Guardian:

• You might well have seen this on the website yesterday, but if not Ed Pilkington has an intriguing tale of News Corporation's decidedly bullish business tactics in the US.

• Our main editorial outlines the implications of James Murdoch's allegedly misleading testimony, and what it says about "wilful blindness" – term first associated with the Enron scandal – at the top of News International.

• Martin Kettle argues that the Tory MPs exultant at David Cameron's combative Commons performance on Wednesday might have been celebrating too soon.

• News International's slightly cosy exclusive media deal with UK London 2012 Olympic athletes has been torn up.



and:

10:17am

Paul Owen writes: Here are a few interesting links.

Writer Michael Rosen discusses the use of language by James Murdoch, David Cameron and Boris Johnson over the last week.

Like Margaret Thatcher with her famous use of the dialect word "frit", Cameron likes to do the common man bit. His favourite resource is the mass media as with the Michael Winner "calm down" quote. In this debate it was the use of the Sun's offensive headline "Gotcha", though in this context, you might have expected him to have avoided anything that might imply an overly familiar relationship with any News International product.

Paul MacInnes asks who should be cast in Phone-Hacking: The Movie. He eye-catchingly suggests Hilary Swank ought to play James Murdoch.

• And it's worth revisiting Andy Beckett's profile of James Murdoch, which is here.

10.20am: Peter Walker writes: It's not been a good couple of weeks for Rupert Murdoch. Today, Australia's competition regulator, the ACCC, has indicated it is likely to block a £1.2bn takeover bid by pay TV operator Foxtel, 25% owned by News Corp, for its rival Austar.

The ACCC's preliminary finding is that the takeover could have competition issues, sending News Corp shares down 1.8%. The regulator insisted its decision had nothing to do with phone hacking.

10.22am: Paul Owen writes: Labour MP Tom Watson has said that he plans to refer to the police a claim that James Murdoch gave inaccurate evidence to the Commons culture committee this week. More as we get it.

10.42am: Peter Walker writes: Following on from that: Sky News is reporting that another Labour MP who has been central to pursuing News International over this story, Chris Bryant, has written to News Corporation's non-executive directors requesting that they suspend Rupert and James Murdoch from their roles.




Last but not least raise a middle fingers at that bloody asshole Robin Givhan and her sexism; and both middle fingers and a lot of expletives at the fuckers who decided to run an editorial cartoon stating that instead of paying attention to that hacking bit, we should pay attention to famine in Somalia. Because we can't do both at the same time. And because NOW you fuckers are interested in Somalian famine. I thought Somalis were all pirates??? Media Analysis, the Butterfly Effect and how Rebekah Brooks hair is forced to eat humble pie


As an antidote to Ms. Givhan's idiocy:

Rebekah Brooks's cardinal sin:It isn't her hair, charm or connections that have defined her. Brooks is the archetypal tabloid editor




ETA: via [personal profile] rydra_wong Phone hacking: Met police to investigate mobile tracking claims

Scotland Yard has been asked to inspect thousands of files that could reveal whether its officers unlawfully procured mobile phone-tracking data for News of the World reporters.

There were half a million requests by public authorities for communications data in the UK last year – of which almost 144,000 were demands for "traffic" data, which includes location.

A Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) member has asked the force to investigate allegations that News of the World reporters were able to purchase this data from police for £300 per request.

The claims were made by Sean Hoare, the News of the World whistleblower, days before he was found dead at his home on Monday. His disclosure about the purchase of illicit location data was first made to the New York Times, which said the practice was confirmed by a second source at the tabloid. Police have said Hoare's death was not suspicious.

Mobile phone location data, which is highly regulated, would give tabloid reporters access to a method of almost total surveillance, arguably even more intrusive than hacking into phone messages.


MORE
JAY-sus!

I wonder how many more will be forced to resign?

The crisis triggered upheaval in the upper ranks of Britain's police, with Monday's resignation of Assistant Commissioner John Yates — Scotland Yard's top anti-terrorist officer — following that of police chief Paul Stephenson, over their links to an arrested former executive from Murdoch's shuttered News of the World tabloid.MORE



AND THEN of course, there's the, um... unexpectedly dead reporter. Dude they don't need a movie for this shit. They need a fucking TV SERIES to encompass this thing!
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Disabled Women Activists are Loud, Proud and Passionate!

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. As part of their 30th anniversary celebration, they created this "Loud, Proud and Passionate!" video. They filmed it during their 5th International Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) - here's how they describe it:Signing and singing with passion in Arabic, Spanish and English, 54 disabled women activists from 43 countries celebrate the achievements, pride and solidarity of women with disabilities around the world. These leaders are revolutionizing the status of women and girls worldwide. MORE


BANGLADESH



2009 article:Women with disabilities in Bangladesh marching forward

Women with disabilities (WWD) have been marching forward with capabilities and commendable role in different arenas of development in Bangladesh. They are gaining prominence day by day and lighting the way forward.

Ranjana selected as International Bridge Builder of Harvard University
Umme Kulsum Ranjana, has been prestigiously selected as one among ten International BridgeBuilders of Harvard University for her contribution in organizing women with disabilities’ rights movement in Bangladesh. Ranjana is a woman with physical disability and the President of Protibondhi Narider Jatio Parishad (National Council of Disabled Women-NCDW) a nation-wide network of organizations working with the women with disabilities in Bangladesh. Now Ranjona is participating in the International Conference of Bridge Builders at Harvard University, USA to deliver her speech on Experiences of Mobilizing Women with Disabilities in Rural Bangladesh held on 6-10 April 2009. Ranjona is the first Bangladeshi woman who has been selected for this award.



....






Masuma’s 13th Solo Painting Exhibition is going on

13th Solo Painting Exhibition ‘My Dream’ of Masuma Khan started at Gallery Zoom of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka on 3April 2009 and will continue until 17 April 2009. Masuma Khan, a woman with severe physical disability, who has been recognized as a renowned painter in Bangladesh. She started painting at her very childhood at the age of three. Previously she was awarded President’s Medal as a talented child artist; Jaycees Prize; Anonna Award as the recognition of one among ten best women personalities in Bangladesh. Masuma got her graduation degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.MORE

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via: [personal profile] ardhra

Palm Island Pulls Through Yasi

UPDATED 4.10PM: New Matilda has been posting regular reports on how Palm Island has fared during Cyclone Yasi. Stay tuned here for updates

Yesterday we reported that the mostly Indigenous community of Palm Island, off the coast of Townsville, was unprepared for the approaching tropical cyclone.

We spoke to residents on the island who told us they feared for their lives and questioned why the entire island hadn’t been evacuated. They said much of the housing on the island was not built to withstand a storm of Yasi’s strength.

Thankfully the island was not as badly hit by the cyclone as expected. Queensland police have told us that all residents are okay, although power has been cut and the phone lines are down.

It’s not yet clear what level of damage has been done to the rest of the island’s infrastructure. As soon as we can get through to others on the island we will post updates here, and will continue to do so for the next 24 hours.

...

UPDATE 4.10PM THURSDAY: I’ve just had an update on the situation on Palm from Josh Ridgeway at National Indigenous TV, who spoke earlier to Tim Miller, the manager of Bwgcolman radio station on Palm Island.

Miller confirmed to NITV that there had been no injuries or fatalities on the island and said SES crews were heading over from the mainland this afternoon to assess the damage. Power company Ergon was also due to start reconnecting the power supply.

He said most residents are still in evacuation centres and are being advised to stay inside as it’s still raining heavily.

The post office has lost its roof and there has been damage to some other public buildings. Apparently the island’s cliff now looks bare after trees were razed.

He said the major concern on the island now is food spoilage as there is no power and all fresh food gets shipped in from the mainland.

Miller also confirmed that there was no free evacuation service offered on the day before the cyclone hit and that residents were still being charged for this service.Read more about their experience in the live blog
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Climate Change in Australia's cyclone uptick?


Catastrophic Weather Events Are Becoming the New Normal -- Are You Ready for Life on Our Planet Circa 2011?


Welcome to our planet, circa 2011--a planet that, like some unruly adolescent, has decided to test the boundaries. For two centuries now we've been burning coal and oil and gas and thus pouring carbon into the atmosphere; for two decades now we've been ignoring the increasingly impassioned pleas of scientists that this is a Bad Idea. And now we're getting pinched.

Oh, there have been snowstorms before, and cyclones--our planet has always produced extreme events. But by definition extreme events are supposed to be rare, and all of a sudden they're not. In 2010 nineteen nations set new all-time temperature records (itself a record!) and when the mercury hit 128 in early June along the Indus, the entire continent of Asia set a new all-time temperature mark. Russia caught on fire; Pakistan drowned. Munich Re, the biggest insurance company on earth, summed up the annus horribilis last month with this clinical phrase: "the high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change."

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So Australia has been having a bad couple of months. They've been dealing with floods of Biblical proportions recently, brought on by the La Nina phenomenon, which some scientists think was climate changed enhanced:

A series of floods hit Australia, beginning in December 2010, primarily in the state ofQueensland including its capital city, Brisbane. The floods forced the evacuation of thousands of people from towns and cities.[2] At least 70 towns and over 200,000 people were affected.[2]Damage initially was estimated at around A$1 billion.[3] The estimated reduction in Australia's GDP is about A$30 billion.[1]

...

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Holy HELL!
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Hello! [personal profile] the_future_modernes asked me to repost this:

* The flooding in Australia is still bad, bad, bad. Both the Australian Red Cross and the Queensland Government homepage are good places to donate (via [personal profile] copperbadge).

* There's also flooding in Brazil, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. And Columbia is still recovering from flooding in early December. Googling gets me the Brazilian Red Cross (in Portuguese), the Philippine Red Cross, the Malaysian Red Crescent, the Thai Red Cross, the Sri Lanka Red Cross, and the Columbian Red Cross (in Spanish). Anyone know of other repudiable organizations?
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How a Tiny Town Sent an International Water Giant Packing:In the fight for water independence, Felton, California has become a symbol of what can be achieved.


In 2008, weeks after communities all over the United States celebrated the Fourth of July, the tiny town of Felton, Calif., marked its own holiday: Water Independence Day. With barbecue, music, and dancing, residents marked the end of Felton’s six-year battle to gain control of its water system. The fight, like the festivities, was a grassroots effort. For when a large, private corporation bought Felton’s water utility and immediately raised rates, residents organized, leading what was ultimately a successful campaign for public ownership and inspiring other communities nationwide.MORE


World's Water Supply: Here Are the Haves and Have Nots

British-based risk consultancy Maplecroft has released a new report showing which countries have the most precarious and stable water supplies. The report is intended to help guide investors, underscoring just how serious water supply is getting when it comes to the world economy. From farming to manufacturing, investors in various industries are starting to seriously weigh where they put their money based on how secure water supplies are or will be, and companies with interests in areas with unstable water supplies are having to put water efficiency in a place of priority. Though it focuses on areas of risk, the report also reveals whole new areas in water where investors may want to pile in funds.
Reuters reports, "African nations led by Somalia, Mauritania and Sudan have the most precarious water supplies in the world while Iceland has the best, according to a survey on Thursday that aims to alert companies to investment risks... A "water security risk index" of 165 nations found African and Asian nations had the most vulnerable supplies, judged by factors including access to drinking water, per capita demand and dependence on rivers that first flow through other nations."MORE


The Price of Water: A Comparison of Water Rates, Usage in 30 U.S. Cities

A first of its kind survey of residential water use and prices in 30 metropolitan regions in the United States has found that some cities in rain-scarce regions have the lowest residential water rates and the highest level of water use. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same amount in Boston.

The survey, conducted by Circle of Blue over the last several months, also found that average daily residential water use ranged from a low of 41 gallons per person in Boston to a high of 211 gallons per person in Fresno, Calif.MORE


Philippines: Manila Water Crisis

Metro Manila, the national capital region of the Philippines, is now experiencing a water shortage crisis with millions enduring water supply rationing. Desperate for a bath, disgruntled residents have taken to breaking a water pipe in Malabon City. Filipino bloggers try to make sense of the crisis. Blackshama's blog finds the fact this rationing is done during the rainy season worrisome.
August is historically the wettest month. Unless weather patterns change, next month may be the driest August. September is the last month of the wet season and then the dry begins. The only thing to be done is to lessen water use.
MORE


Will Drinking Water for Millions be Devastated by Natural Gas Drilling?

The ordinary tap water available to 12 million residents in the New York Metropolitan area has been reliably clean and flavorful since 1842, when an aqueduct was built to bring pristine water from upstate to the city. For years the prideful city's water is a consistent winner in blind taste tests. Easy to take for granted, it comes as a shock to learn it is now endangered by natural gas drilling.

For a couple of years there have been media reports from Pennsylvania to Texas of drinking water so tainted that folks are able to light the water from their kitchen tap on fire. There have been more than 300 instances of contaminated water in Colorado since 2003, and more than 700 instances in New Mexico, according to Bruce Baizel, senior staff attorney with Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. In West Virginia a once lushly forested area has been transformed into a dead zoneMORE


Community Water Solutions in Action in Laos

XIENG NGEUN, Laos -- With just 13.4 percent of the country’s 6.3 million people having access to piped water at present, Lao authorities would have to work more than double time if the rest of the population are to have clean and safe water within a decade.

Here in Xieng Ngeun however, no one is waiting for the government alone to provide the townspeople with their water needs.

Located 25 kilometres south of the World Heritage City of Luang Prabang and part of the province of the same name, Xieng Ngeun boasts of having Laos’s first water-supply and sanitation project in which the community has taken part in all its stages, from planning to implementation.
MORE


One Year After Ontario Ban: Over 80 Percent Decline of Pesticides in Surface Waters

In April 2009, it became illegal to sell or apply pesticides for cosmetic lawncare in Ontario, Canada. It seems like a no-brainer risk versus benefits analysis: the benefit is ...hmmm, just cosmetic...while the risks are real, documented, and pervasive. But somehow the allure of a green, weed-free lawn keeps conquering rationality. A year later, does the preliminary data on the effectiveness of Ontario's cosmetic pesticide ban prove it is a good idea?

The scope of the pesticide ban is described on the News Ontario website:

Pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, and in parks and school yards. There are no exceptions for pest infestations (insects, fungi or weeds) in these areas, as lower risk pesticides, biopesticides and alternatives to pesticides exist. More than 250 pesticide products are banned for sale and over 95 pesticide ingredients are banned for cosmetic uses.


If you are a World Cup fan or a golf player, you might be asking yourself: but what about a perfectly groomed playing field? The Ontario ban provides for the continued use of some banned pesticides for special applications, under strict oversight of the Ministry of the Environment. Other exceptions include combatting poisonous plants or disease-carrying insects.MORE



In New Mexico, Ancient Traditions Keep Desert Waters Flowing

New Mexico has a spiritual power emanating from the landscape -- its rios, mesas, llanos, sierras -- that informs our traditional cultures.

Native Americans live each day in a vibrant relationship with everything around them. For them, New Mexico is not just a place to live. It is a way to live.

Similarly, Indo-Hispanos have created an intimate relationship with the landscape over the past three or four centuries. They built acequias -- communal irrigation systems—not only to sustain an agricultural lifestyle, but also to caress and sustain the Earth and its natural creatures.

Acequias evolved over 10,000 years in the deserts of the Middle East and were introduced into southern Spain by the Moors during their nearly 800-year occupation. Spanish colonizers took acequias to the New World. Acequias included specific governance over water distribution, water scarcity plans, and all other matters pertaining to what was viewed as a communal resource. The mayordomo, or watermaster, of the acequia made decisions about water distribution among community members, with the consent and advice of the acequia members.

This communal system of irrigating was a response to the scarcity of water in arid regions and was key to the survival of agricultural communities. In many instances, the acequia governance system was also used to settle other community conflicts, especially in areas like New Mexico, located far from the seat of government in Mexico City. The irrigation system that evolved over centuries and that was implemented in New Mexico was created to ensure a formal civil process to resolve water-rights issues, especially in dry times. Each irrigator had one vote to elect the mayordomo. The mayordomo had ultimate authority over water disputes and his word was final. He derived his authority from the communal power vested in him by all of the irrigators.MORE



Ugandans Return Home to a Demolished Water Infrastructure

AUSTRAILIA: The Biggest Dry is Global Warning of Water Scarcity

The Price of Hydropower Pursuits in Patagonia

War on Water: A Clash Over Oil, Power and Poverty in the Niger Delta

The Himalayas, A Special Report
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So 2010 has been a very uncomfortable year for the church. It seems that every week, hell sometimes every day some other revelation of abuse and rape pops up, alongside the lower grade douchebaggery of interfering with women's health care and gay rights. Here's a quick list of whats been going on so far.

So Abuse has popped up in Norway,

Mexico( from the founder of the conservative Legionnaires of Christ),

Ireland,

Malta (45 priests, 84 allegations out of 855 priests total),

The Netherlands (Leader admits he knew),

Australia (Irish priests are linked to this and good god!This will turn your stomach),

Germany,


New Zealand


among Alaskan Natives (This will make you wanna vomit. But read it through for definitive proof that Ratzinger knew and helped to cover shit up.,
in Milawaukee USA,

woman raped by priest in Florida USA,

Spain,

Germany,

Switzerland,

Brazil (w/ VIDEO, no less)


Austria

and Italy


The Catholic Church's response: Teh Pope: Petty gossip!


His personal preacher Abuse critics are just like anti-semitics!!! Yes. Yes. I know!


Vatican: Everybody else does it!! o_O I thought the point of the Christianity thing was...not to do what everyone else was doing?)

One of Germany's most senior bishops...The sexual revolution and the media is to blame!1 I have no comment


Not the Popes fault! oh and that part in the article where they say that their methods in America are now working?

US Catholic Church quietly reinstating priests accused of sex abuse


Pope: Ok, I'm available to meet with victims!


ETA: Letters surface showing that While Cardinal, ratzinger initially refused to defrock a pedophilel priest
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Sexless in teh City: A gender revolution


THIS Mardi Gras, Norrie received a gift that no other androgynous person in NSW has had before.

The night before the parade, the postman brought a certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that contained neither the dreaded ''M'' nor its equally despised cousin, ''F''.

Instead, it said ''sex not specified'', making the 48-year-old Sydneysider, who identifies as neuter and uses only a first name, the first in the state to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the NSW government.


Because Norrie was born in Scotland (and used the surname May-Welby), it was not a birth certificate but a Recognised Details Certificate - the version given to immigrants who have changed sex and want it recorded.

The law had not considered that anyone might want neither sex recorded but was able to accommodate the request when presented with evidence from two registered doctors that Norrie was physically and psychologically androgynous.

Norrie has since begun doing the rounds to have all offending records changed.MORE
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AUSTRALIA: iiTrial: ISPs not responsible for users’ copyright infringement
Film industry claims that iiNet, Australia’s third-largest internet service provider, was responsible for its users’ illegal file sharing were dismissed.
Justice Cowdroy also provided one of the clearest legal statements ever of an ISP’s role:
An ISP such as iiNet provides a legitimate communication facility which is neither intended nor designed to infringe copyright. It is only by means of the application of the BitTorrent system that copyright infringements are enabled, although it must be recognised that the BitTorrent system can be used for legitimate purposes as well. iiNet is not responsible if an iiNet user chooses to make use of that system to bring about copyright infringement.
Justice Cowdroy acknowledged the widespread public interest in the trial both in Australia and abroad, believing it to be the first trial of its kind to proceed to hearing and judgement. As Crikey has previous explained, this case has global importance.MORE



Pioneering alternative development program at risk


ECUADOR: President Rafael Correa´s double about-face on an intrepid plan to preserve one of the most biodiverse corners of the Amazon rain forest has put the initiative at risk.

Correa had invited the international community for donations of US$3.50 billion over 10 years if Ecuador did not drill in the oil-rich fields located in the Yasuní National Park, the country´s largest.

The Ishpingo Tiputini Tambococha, or ITT fields, sit within the park, which is also home to a number of indigenous communities, and hold 856 million barrels of crude, which could generate US$7 billion for the cash-strapped government.

The diversity of plant and animal life in Yasuní is one of the most dramatic in the world, and the park is constitutionally protected from extractive industry.

Correa´s broad social programs, including universal health care and education, as outlined in the country´s new constitution, requires a constant injection of cash, which the ITT fields could provide.

But in April 2009, nearly two years after the proposal was first announced, Correa formally asked the international community for $3.5 billion, half the amount he said the government could earn if it drilled in the ITT.

Ecuador planned to sign an agreement with a group of donor countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary, represented by the United Nations Development Fund, during the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December, but Correa refused, calling it an interference in Ecuador´s sovereignty.MORE



ARGENTINA:Has mining infiltrated universities?

Three Argentine universities last year rejected the use of public funds generated by mining, sparking a nationwide debate on whether to use money stemming from the lucrative, but environmentally questionable industry.

Opponents of using these funds argue that mining companies could try to play a role in curricula, while others say the money could help cushion school budgets.

Throughout 2009, 26 departments at the state-run National Universities of Córdoba, Río Cuarto and Luján rejected the use of mining funds. The calls were initiated a year earlier by the Esquel site of the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia “San Juan Bosco,” which turned down these funds.

When doing so, the advising council of this university, a public institution, highlighted that Esquel had rejected large-scale mining because of reported environmental damage, which it first signaled in 2003, when more than 80 percent of the community rejected gold mining at a nearby pit. The council added that the university was not alien to the local population´s will.MORE
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Why are Indian students being attacked in Australia?


The Autralians are claiming that its not racism


In fact, one Tim Colbach, columnist for the The Age claims that Indian TV needs to stop whipping up hysteria because there are far more killings of Indians in India than in Australia, and India has dowry deaths too!! So let some common sense reign, eh? Kids? If you don't know what derailing is? There is a classic example. Indian blogger Madhavi brings the subject back on track



And then Mr. Colbach pulls out two instances of Australians murdered in India over a ten year period. You all do it too!!!


The interesting thing is, then why is it that coroners are hiding the cause of deaths for at least 51 foreign exchange students, more than half of which are Indian? Never mind that coroners were deliberately suppressing and under reporting murders. What I want to know is...What were the stats in 2009?
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Secrets of frog killer laid bare


Scientists have unravelled the mechanism by which the fungal disease chytridiomycosis kills its victims.

The fungus is steadily spreading through populations of frogs and other amphibians worldwide, and has sent some species extinct in just a few years.

Researchers now report in the journal Science that the fungus kills by changing the animals' electrolyte balance, resulting in cardiac arrest.

The finding is described as a "key step" in understanding the epidemic.

Karen Lips, one of the world authorities on the spread of chytridiomycosis, said the research was "compelling".MORE

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