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Public Eye Awards.


Against its better judgement, Tepco, Japan’s largest energy company, grossly neglected the structural safety of its atomic power plants in order to cut costs.

In its factories, Samsung uses banned and highly-toxic substances without informing and protecting its workers. The result: cancer.

Barclays, banking giant and the world’s fastest-growing food speculator, drives up global food prices at the expense of the poorest.

In the midst of Amazonas rainforest Vale is constructing the Belo-Monte-Dam. 40’000 people are suffering forced eviction.

Despite being banned in Europe Syngenta markets its herbicide Paraquat in the Global South. Thousands of farmers have already died due to the use of the product.

For 45 years the US-mining corporation Freeport McMoran pollutes with its mine the environment in West Papua. Those who raise their voice get tortured or killed.
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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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Haitians return to Africa, bringing solar energy

SEATTLE, U.S., Aug 2, 2011 (IPS) - Jean Ronel Noël, a young Haitian engineer, stood in a centuries-old fort on a small island just off Dakar and looked out at the Atlantic through a portal that once led enslaved Africans to the ships of the Middle Passage.

"Finally we come to 'the door of the voyage of no return'," he wrote in a blog. "My blood wouldn't stop boiling, wave after wave of gooseflesh. I nearly broke down. So it's through that door that my ancestors passed. The Door of Hell! There are two infinite things, Einstein said: the universe and human stupidity."

Noël, though, had come to Senegal looking forward more than backward. He brought with him some technological keys that he believes can unlock the doors of a rich storehouse of renewable energy, and ultimately a more durable and self-sufficient model of development for Haiti and other poor countries.

A Senegalese firm specialising in solar-power installations, KAYER, had invited Noël and technician Frantz Derosier to visit the westernmost nation of West Africa to teach their employees how to fabricate their own photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight into electricity.

Noël is co-founder, along with his partner Alex Georges, of ENERSA - Énergies Renouvelables, S.A. (Renewable Energies, Inc.). Derosier is one of their 20-odd employees. ENERSA manufactures solar streetlamps and other solar-energy equipment using PV panels that they build from scratch. They count around a thousand such lights installed in over 50 municipalities all over Haiti.

After the catastrophic earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, which knocked out electrical power across the Port-au-Prince area, these lamps were the only public light sources for some localities. The temblor also destroyed much of ENERSA's physical plant, but all the employees survived and the firm was able to restart production within a few months.

During the nine days Noël and Derosier were in Senegal, a former French colony like Haiti, they conducted a week of training sessions with KAYER in the headquarters of a peasant farmers' confederation in the town of Mekhe, about 100 kilometres inland from Dakar, the capital.

The sessions resulted in the first solar panels "made in Senegal". The ongoing collaboration, according to ENERSA, will cover the conception and manufacturing in Senegal of solar products, including solar streetlights. MORE

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KAZAKHSTAN:Workers Fight Massive Crackdown

ASTANA, Jun 29, 2011 (IPS) - Workers striking in what has been described as the biggest organised threat to Kazakhstan’s authoritarian regime in the last decade are being beaten by hired thugs as the government ignores pleas for basic international labour rights to be observed.

Thousands of workers at gas and oil facilities are protesting, some even mutilating themselves, over what activists have called the exploitation of Kazakh workers in heavy industry projects largely financed by foreign capital the government has been keen to attract in recent years.

But the protests have taken on a wider social significance. Opposition groups have begun to publicly support the workers, and their strike has apparently inspired similar action in different cities across the country.

And there are fears that authorities are muzzling protests and breaching basic human rights following the arrest and continuing incarceration of a lawyer, Natalia Sokolova, who was representing the workers.

International rights groups are now calling on the International Labour Organisation and the UN Commissioner for Human Rights to press the Kazakh regime into addressing the workers’ demands.

Lyudmyla Kozlovska of the Open Dialog Foundation which has been campaigning to raise international awareness of the issue, told IPS: "The most important demand of the workers now has become the release of Natalia Sokolova.

"We are afraid that if the workers’ demands are ignored then the social tensions caused by these strikes could turn violent."

The protests began on May 11 when a few hundred workers at the Karazhanbas oil field near Aqtau went on strike. As word spread of their actions, workers at other companies also downed tools. Transportation workers at the nearby OzenMunaiGaz company went on strike, affecting oil deliveries. They have been backed by other miners' and gas workers' unions, and thousands are now on strike.MORE
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Witness: Witness: To the Last Drop

Residents of one Canadian town are engaged in a David and Goliath-style battle over the dirtiest oil project ever known.

The small town of Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta is facing the consequences of being the first to witness the impact of the Tar Sands project, which may be the tipping point for oil development in Canada.

The local community has experienced a spike in cancer cases and dire studies have revealed the true consequences of "dirty oil".

Gripped in a Faustian pact with the American energy consumer, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to protect the dirtiest oil project ever known. In the following account, filmmaker Tom Radford describes witnessing a David and Goliath struggle.

I shot my first film, Death of a Delta, in Fort Chipewyan in 1972. I shot it with a hand crank Bolex camera with a maximum 26-second wind. I had to make sure people knew what they were talking about. There was no time for red herrings. In our new film, To the Last Drop, the latest in digital HD and Cineflex cameras capture the landscape of northern Alberta as never before.

But while technology can go through multiple revolutions in 49 years, the issue that drives both our films remains the same: the rights of downstream communities, and the need to recognise those rights, no matter how powerful their upstream neighbours.

Death of a Delta documented the fight of Fort Chipewyan to have a voice in the construction of a massive hydroelectric project on the Peace River, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. At stake was not only the survival of the oldest community in Alberta, but the protection of a World Heritage site, the Peace Athabasca Delta, a convergence of migratory flyways and the greatest concentration of waterfowl on the continent.

In the David and Goliath struggle that ensued, David won. Water was released from the dam and water levels in the Delta returned to normal. The unique ecology of the region was saved. The town survived.

Today, that same David, the collective will of the thousand residents of Fort Chipewyan, is fighting an even more imposing Goliath. The Alberta oil sands is arguably now the world's largest construction project. Its expansion will have an estimated $1.7 trillion impact on the Canadian economy over the coming decades. An area of boreal forest the size of Greece will be affected by industrial activity.MORE
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WikiLeaks Haiti: The Nation Partners With Haïti Liberté on Release of Secret Haiti Cables

Drawing from a trove of 1,918 Haiti-related diplomatic cables obtained by the transparency-advocacy group WikiLeaks, The Nation is collaborating with the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté on a series of groundbreaking articles about US and UN policy toward the Caribbean nation.

Haïti Liberté
, published largely in French and Creole, is working with WikiLeaks to release and analyze the Haiti-related cables, which will be featured in a series of English-language Nationpieces, written by a variety of freelance journalists with extensive experience in Haiti and posted each Wednesday for several weeks.

The cables from US Embassies around the world cover an almost seven-year period, from April 17, 2003—ten months before the February 29, 2004, coup d’état that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide—to February 28, 2010, just after the January 12 earthquake that devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding cities. They range from “Secret” and “Confidential” classifications to “Unclassified.” Cables of the latter classification are not public, and many are marked “For Official Use Only” or “Sensitive.”


Wikileaks Haiti: Let them live on $3 a day

Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere, according to secret State Department cables.

The factory owners told the Haitian Parliament that they were willing to give workers a 9-cents-per-hour pay increase to 31 cents per hour to make T-shirts, bras and underwear for US clothing giants like Dockers and Nautica.

But the factory owners refused to pay 62 cents per hour, or $5 per day, as a measure unanimously passed by the Haitian Parliament in June 2009 would have mandated. And they had the vigorous backing of the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy when they took that stand.

To resolve the impasse between the factory owners and Parliament, the State Department urged quick intervention by then Haitian President René Préval.MORE

WikiLeaks Haiti: The Earthquake Cables

Washington deployed 22,000 troops to Haiti after the January 12, 2010, earthquake despite reports from the Haitian leadership, the US Embassy and the UN that no serious security threat existed, according to secret US diplomatic cables.

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, were made available to the Haitian newspaper Haïti Liberté, which is collaborating with The Nation on a series of reports about US and UN policy toward the country.

Washington’s decision to send thousands of troops in response to the 7.0 earthquake that rocked the Haitian capital and surrounding areas drew sharp criticism from aid workers and government officials around the world at the time. They criticized the militarized response to Haiti’s humanitarian crisis as inappropriate and counterproductive. French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet famously said that international aid efforts should be “about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti.”

The earthquake-related cables also show that Washington was very sensitive to international criticism of its response and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mobilized her diplomatic corps to ferret out “irresponsible journalism” worldwide and “take action” to “get the narrative right.”


There are a great many reasons why I vomit when feminists like Shakesville go hurray Hilary Clinton!!! And this is one of MANY.

WikiLeaks Haiti: The PetroCaribe Files

When René Préval took the oath of Haiti’s presidential office in a ceremony at Haiti’s National Palace on May 14, 2006, he was anxious to allay fears in Washington that he would not be a reliable partner. “He wants to bury once and for all the suspicion in Haiti that the United States is wary of him,” said US Ambassador Janet Sanderson in a March 26, 2006, cable. “He is seeking to enhance his status domestically and internationally with a successful visit to the United States.”

This was so important that Préval “declined invitations to visit France, Cuba, and Venezuela in order to visit Washington first,” Sanderson noted. “Preval has close personal ties to Cuba, having received prostate cancer treatment there, but has stressed to the Embassy that he will manage relations with Cuba and Venezuela solely for the benefit of the Haitian people, and not based on any ideological affinity toward those governments.”

Soon, however, it became clear that managing relations with those US adversaries “solely for the benefit to the Haitian people” would be enough to put Préval in Washington’s bad graces—especially when it came to the sensitive matter of oil.

Immediately after his inauguration ceremony, Préval summoned the press to a room in the National Palace, where he inked a deal with Venezuelan Vice President José Vicente Rangel to join Caracas’s Caribbean oil alliance, PetroCaribe. Under the terms of the deal, Haiti would buy oil from Venezuela, paying only 60 percent up front with the remainder payable over twenty-five years at 1 percent interest.

As the press conference rolled on, just a mile away from the National Palace, in the bay of Port-au-Prince, sat a tanker from Venezuela carrying 100,000 barrels of PetroCaribe diesel and unleaded fuel.

Préval’s dramatic inauguration day oil deal won high marks from many Haitians, who had demonstrated against high oil prices and the lack of electricity. But it ushered in a multiyear geopolitical battle among Caracas, Havana and Washington over how oil would be delivered to Haiti and who would benefit
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Our Most Urgent Climate Struggles—And How We Might Win Them

There’s a pickaxe in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, one of the world’s richest deposits of coal. If we’re going to have any hope ofslowing climate change, that coal—and so all that future carbon dioxide—needs to stay in the ground. In precisely the way we hope Brazil guards the Amazon rainforest, that massive sponge for carbon dioxide absorption, we need to stand sentinel over all that coal.

Geography to the rescue. You still have to get that coal to market, and at the moment, there’s no port capable of handling the huge increase in traffic it would represent.

Doing so, however, would cost someone some money. At current prices the value of that coal may be in the trillions, and that kind of money creates immense pressure. Earlier this year, President Obama signed off on the project, opening a huge chunk of federal land to coal mining. It holds an estimated 750 million tons worth of burnable coal. That’s the equivalent of opening 300 new coal-fired power plants. In other words, we’re talking about staggering amounts of new CO2 heading into the atmosphere to further heat the planet.

Dirty Coal, photo by Rainforest Action Network

Rainforest Action Network activists protest bank financing of dirty coal at Duke Energy's Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. Much like these demonstrators, citizens all over the U.S. are calling for progressive action toward addressing climate change.

As Eric de Place of the Sightline Institute put it, “That’s more carbon pollution than all the energy—from planes, factories, cars, power plants, etc.—used in an entire year by all 44 nations in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean combined.” Not what you’d expect from a president who came to office promising that his policies would cause the oceans to slow their rise.

But if Obama has admittedly opened the mine gate, it's geography to the rescue. You still have to get that coal to market, and “market” in this case means Asia, where the demand for coal is growing fastest. The easiest and cheapest way to do that—maybe the only way at current prices—is to take it west to the Pacific where, at the moment, there’s no port capable of handling the huge increase in traffic it would represent.

And so a mighty struggle is beginning, with regional groups rising to the occasion. Climate Solutions and other environmentalists of the northwest are moving to block port-expansion plans in Longview and Bellingham, Washington, as well as in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since there are only so many possible harbors that could accommodate the giant freighters needed to move the coal, this might prove a winnable battle, thoughthe power of money that moves the White House is now being brought to bear on county commissions and state houses. Count on this: It will be a titanic fight.

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2011 Goldman Prize for North America: Hilton Kelley, Texas, USA

Hilton Kelley
USA Toxic & Nuclear Contamination

Now leading the battle for environmental justice on the Texas Gulf Coast, Hilton Kelley fights for communities living in the shadow of polluting industries.

Port Arthur, Texas
Located among eight major petrochemical and hazardous waste facilities on the Texas Gulf Coast, the largely African-American West Side neighborhood of Port Arthur has long suffered as a result of the near constant emissions spewing from smokestacks ringing the community. Port Arthur is noted by the EPA as having some of the highest levels of toxic air releases in the country, and the companies operating the local plants have been cited with hundreds of state air pollution violations.

The West Side’s asthma and cancer rates are among the highest in the state, while the community’s income levels are among the lowest. As industry has grown, local property values have plummeted. Few jobs exist in the plants for West Side residents. At the end of each workday, a stream of cars heads away from Port Arthur’s industrial facilities toward the more affluent towns nearby as the gas flares continue to burn within sight of the West Side’s schools and federal housing projects.

The facilities operating in the area include the Motiva oil refinery, the Valero refinery, the Huntsman Petrochemical plant, the Chevron Phillips plant, the Great Lakes Carbon Corporation’s petroleum facility, the Total Petrochemicals USA facility, Veolia incinerator facility and the BASF Fina Petrochemicals plant.MORE

2003 The Ungreening of America: No Clear Skies

SHORTLY AFTER 4:30 P.M. ON MONDAY, April 14, 2003, the power went out at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. The massive plant shut down instantly and, as is common when something goes wrong at a refinery, the "product" in the pipes -- tens of thousands of pounds of highly pressurized liquids and gases -- was released through the smokestacks. In this particular incident, 256,653 pounds of toxic chemicals were hurled into the air over the next 24 hours.

Read more... )

A Love Letter to Hilton Kelley

I applaud you for your tenacity. You decided shortly after your visit that since there was no one to step up and fight for the survival of your town, it had to be you. And so, incredibly, you moved back, and you took on the fight. And you became known as the man who doesn't give up, who won’t take no for an answer, and who has made an enormous positive impact on environmental protections for Port Arthur. The list of your accomplishments is awe-inspiring:

Read more... )

This is what we mean when we talk about environmental justice. This toxic stuff keeps on getting located in poor poc backyards. And then next thing you know, politicians are yelling about welfare and overloading hospitals and not doing well in school and the like. This is bullshit. Enough with poisoning people already. Renewable ways of doing things please.
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In December last year, the Cancun climate change conference took place. Its taken me this long to be able to write about it because I've been so pissed at the way so many stronger countries proceeded to be selfish shortsighted assholes and committed the entire planet to runaway climate change. Now that I can look at the issue without heading off into paroxyms of RAGE, here are the links:


April 2010 Native Peoples Reject Market Mechanisms

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OCt 15, 2010 Climate Talks Tank, Global South Sinks Further

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Lost in Cancun

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Don't Look to South Africa for Leadership

Read more... )Because sending us headfirst into more extreme weather leading famine and death will be SO helpful with poverty alleviation.

UGANDA:Carbon Finance May Not Benefit Forest Communities

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WikiLeaks: US Manipulated Climate Agreement

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Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Full Coverage

Alan Lissner's Cancun Photo and Video Montage

Groups Protest U.N. Climate Summit for Shutting out Civil Society

Cancún Betrayal: UNFCCC Unmasked as WTO of the Sky - IEN Statement on COP16 Outcome


GRASSROOTS CLIMATE JUSTICE IN CANCUN PART II MORE articles at the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Page

CJ from the USA

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For Life, Environment & Justice

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Closing out COP 16, Closing out Migrant Diaries

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Dispatch From Cancun: Developing Paradise in the Suicide Capital If you have triggers, you might want to skip this one.

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Battle in Cancun:The Fight for Climate Justice in the Streets, Encampments and Halls of Power

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Protesters Say "No" to Climate Market in Cancun

The short-cuts that the United Nations system is offering companies to profit from strategies against global warming were the target of loud protests on the Day of Action for Climate Justice.

Two separate demonstrations, of thousands of people each, were held Tuesday as the climate change summit that ends Friday in the southeastern Mexican resort town of Cancún enters the final stretch.

One of the protesters’ slogans, "País petrolero, el pueblo sin dinero" (In this oil-producing country, people have no money), referring to Mexico, underscored the main cause of the heating up of the planet: the burning of fossil fuels, a question that has been practically sidelined in the talks at the 16th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16). MORE

UN's Tiniest Nation: "Help! We're Drowning"

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"Create a Protocol Based on Non-Emissions"
Emilio Godoy interviews YOLANDA KAKABADSE, president of WWF *

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New Forest Agreement - REDD Hot Issue at Cancún

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La Via Campesina Statement on Cancun: The people hold thousands of solutions in their hands

Climate Capitalism Won at Cancun: Everyone else loses

Cancun Climate Breakthrough

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More thoughts on Cancun

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Cancun Calamity:The agreement reached at the Cancún climate talks was actually a step backwards, writes Nick Buxton

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Emissions punted to Durban, breakthroughs seen on Forests

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The Cancun Climate Pact Is Not a Victory for Climate Justice

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Three months later: AFRICA: Anxious Eyes on Green Climate Fund

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Twenty Years to Save Coral Reefs

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USA update

Mar. 26th, 2011 01:00 am
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Vermont House passes Single Payer!!! Woootttttt!!!! Vt. House passes single-payer health care bill Read more... )

Eyewitness at the Triangle
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On a related theme, daily kos user dsteffen has an ongoing series called How regulation came to be. I keep hearing a whole lot of people talking utter nonsense about how regulations are bad for business because how dare the consumer be kept safe at the expense of the almighty dollar, and the free market will keep us safe, blah blah blah. Such people need to be hit over the head with historical cluebats. 
And you know what? Mr. Dsteffens has a GREAT selection: Read more... ) Black Kos' Week in Review features black scientists and artists. 

Makeshift Magazine's newest issue is now out 

General Electric, btw, paid no taxes this year
 None. Zip. nada. Despite make a grand worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, of which $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. But they did get a tax credit! Guess how much? 

Have some news of radical childcare collectives in an article originally published in Make/shift mag Read more... )


This is from the rather pro-business and low taxes Wall Street Journal. Proceed with that in mind:Insolvency Looms as States Drain U.S. Disability Fund Read more... )


Unsurprisingly :Disability Claims in Puerto Rico Get New Scrutiny I want to see more about this situation, will keep you posted as to developments. 

In more happy-making news:Workers With Epilepsy, Diabetes Gain Under Obama Disability Rule Read more... )


U.S. Hispanic population tops 50 million Read more... )
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The World Social Forum which bills itself as ...

1) What is the World Social Forum?

The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action. Since the first world encounter in 2001, it has taken the form of a permanent world process seeking and building alternatives to neo-liberal policies. This definition is in its Charter of Principles, the WSF’s guiding document.MORE

...took place in Dakar, Senegal in February this year.


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Japan Orders Evacuation Near 2nd Nuclear Plant

WASHINGTON — Japanese officials issued broad evacuation orders on Saturday for people living near two nuclear power plants whose cooling systems broke down as a result of the earthquake. The officials warned that small amounts of radioactive material were likely to leak from the plants.

The power plants, known as Daiichi and Daini and operated by Tokyo Electric Power, experienced critical failures of the cooling systems after the plants were shut down, as they were during the quake.

About 45,000 people were affected by the evacuation order at the Daiichi plant, where those living within a six-mile radius were told to leave. The evacuation of the second plant was for a one-mile radius because “there is no sign that radiation has been emitted outside,” an official said.MORE

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Still a Ways to Go, After Historic Ruling Against Chevron

QUITO, Feb 16, 2011 (IPS) - The plaintiffs in the case against Chevron tried in Ecuador, who won a historic 9.5 billion dollar verdict after a nearly 18-year struggle over environmental and health damages caused in a quarter-century of oil operations in the Amazon jungle, are not disheartened by the road still ahead.

Chevron announced that it would appeal the sentence handed down Monday by Judge Nicolás Zambrano in Nueva Loja, the capital of the northeastern Ecuadorian province of Sucumbíos, which found the U.S. oil company guilty of an environmental disaster in the Amazon jungle, as locals have been arguing in legal action that began in 1993.

"This was a trial on behalf of the people, and the beneficiaries are not just the (30,000) plaintiffs but all of the inhabitants of the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana," some 223,000 people, Juan Pablo Sáenz, one of the members of the plaintiffs' legal team, told IPS.MORE

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Burundi opens up rights to use River Nile

Burundi finally appended its signature to water usage from Nile River, providing the Nile Basin Countries with the sixth endorsement which was mandatory to exploit waters from the mystic river. The agreement signed in Kampala, Uganda effectively paves way for the ratification of the long standing Nile Accord, a move likely to strip Egypt of its veto power over rights to the flow from the world's longest river.

A 1929 treaty brokered by former colonial power, Britain, granted Egypt a veto over projects that may alter the flow of the Nile. Another 1959 accord between Egypt and Sudan claimed 90 percent of the Nile’s flow for the two countries.
After a decade of talks, five Nile nations Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya in May 2010 signed a deal that allowed upstream countries to implement irrigation and hydropower projects without first seeking Egypt's approval. A sixth signatory was needed for the CFA to come into force and once it has been ratified by the six national legislatures, a Nile Basin Commission will be created. MORE

Read more... )
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What the hell happened?

Graphic: Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Q&A: BP's role in Gulf of Mexico oil spill

What caused the oil spill? It seems workers on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig (not owned by BP) were attempting to cap this new exploratory well when it suffered a "blow" causing the fire and sinking of the rig and the rupture of the line which brings extracted oil to the shore. Investigators will want to see what caused the explosion.

What are BP's offshore operations? BP took over two big American oil companies in the 1990's, ARCO and AMOCO which gives BP access to many U.S. oil fields and refineries. There has been a slew of new oil and gas finds in the Gulf of Mexico in deep water. BP, like many of its competitors, is drilling exploration wells there to gauge the oil and gas potential. The well, known as Mississippi Canyon (MC) Block 252, is in the 'Macondo prospect'. The well in question is 65 percent owned by BP and has other oil companies as minority partners. It's the norm these days for competitors to invest in these speculative wells.

What's the Fallout?

BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill likely to cost more than Exxon Valdez

• Oil rig explosion already causing political storm
• BP could face criminal charges and ban on activities in US

Britain's biggest oil company was tonight facing an environmental disaster expected to cost more than the Exxon Valdez tanker spill as thousands of tonnes of floating oil began to reach the US Gulf coast.

As several coastal states declared a state of emergency and dispatched clean-up crews, BP was desperately trying to stem not just the flow of crude from its damaged offshore platform but also to snuff out a growing political storm that has wiped billions of pounds off its share price.

President Barack Obama tonight sent officials from the US Department of Justice to monitor the company's handling of the crisis, while lawyers acting for victims of two earlier BP disasters in the US called for criminal charges and a ban on its activities there.

Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co in New York, said the ultimate costs of dealing with the slick could rival that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, which led to $3.5bn in clean-up costs and $5bn in legal and financial settlements.
"This is a real pickle – it's a really challenging one. It's going to be difficult to choke off this spew of oil. Any solution is going to take time and I really think the cost here is going to be in the billions of dollars," he said.MORE

What's the Context?

How the Disaster in the Gulf Could Have Been Prevented: BP's Terrible Record on Environmental and Human Health :The company has found itself at the center of several of the nation's worst oil and gas–related disasters in the last five years.

Crude oil sits on the surface of the water that has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, near New Orleans, Louisiana. US President Barack Obama started his key daily intelligence briefing Thursday with a 20-minute discussion of the oil spill, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images - Chris Graythen

BP, the global oil giant responsible for the fast-spreading spill in the Gulf of Mexico that will soon make landfall, is no stranger to major accidents.In fact, the company has found itself at the center of several of the nation's worst oil and gas–related disasters in the last five years.

In March 2005, a massive explosion ripped through a tower at BP's refinery in Texas City, Texas, killing 15 workers and injuring 170 others. Investigators later determined that the company had ignored its own protocols on operating the tower, which was filled with gasoline, and that a warning system had been disabled.

The company pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and was fined more than $50 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


US oil spill crisis continues


Apr. 9th, 2010 08:54 pm
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Collateral Murder Uncut Version

April 03, 2010 — Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007. It shows Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad. They are apparently assumed to be insurgents. After the initial shooting, an unarmed group of adults and children in a minivan arrives on the scene and attempts to transport the wounded. They are fired upon as well. The official statement on this incident initially listed all adults as insurgents and claimed the US military did not know how the deaths ocurred. Wikileaks released this video with transcripts and a package of supporting documents on April 5th 2010 on

Global Vocies:Kyrgyzstan: The “Archived” Revolution

The roots of the present revolution are various: South vs. North clash (Bakiev is from the South, the rebels are from the North), corruption and suppressive government (in recent years Kyrgyz people witnessed all forms of oppression from closings of the newspapers [ENG] to independent journalists' murders [EN]), Russia's Great Game interest, Ortega-y-Gasset'ian “revolt of the masses” etc). Whatever the real reasons of the Kyrgyz revolution of 2010 are it is important to note that it was overwhelmingly immediate, furious, bloody and… well-documented.

The role of the new media changed slightly this time compared to other dramatic events (like the protests in Moldova or Iran). Blogs and Twitter didn't serve as serious means of public mobilization since the Internet penetration rate is relatively small in Kyrgyzstan ( just 15 percent in 2009). However, new media were agile enough to cover all the main events giving detailed footage of initial protests in Talas, rampage in Bishkek and looting that followed. At the same time, new media were efficiently used by the opposition attracting the attention of international community and shifting public opinion to the side of the protesters. The opposition leader Roza Otunbaeva (@otunbaeva), for instance, registered her account as soon as she became the head of the provisional government. On the other day, son of president Bakiev, Maxim opened a LiveJournal account to express the pro-government point of view.

As Gregory Asmolov concluded [RUS], it was not “journalists 2.0″ who were the most efficient in covering Kyrgyz events but the “editors 2.0″. Bloggers who both knew the region and were outside the country to see the big picture and collected the photographs, videos and Twitter confessions. Two most informed bloggers in this situation were people outside the country: US-based Yelena Skochilo (a.k.a. LJ user morrire) and Kazakhstan-based Vyacheslav Firsov (a.k.a. lord_fame). They managed to assemble the most complete collections of photos, videos and timelines

Trinidad & Tobago: Election Fever

With one action, the prorogation of Parliament, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister thrust the country into election mode. (The constitution of the twin island republic states that from the moment Parliament is dissolved, a general election must be held in no fewer than 35 days and no more than 90). As the news broke, the blogosphere was rife with speculation that the move was made to pre-empt a no-confidence motion against Manning that had been scheduled for debate today in the House of Representatives, as well as to avoid the fallout over the report of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector, which was critical of the modus operandi of the state-owned Urban Development Corporation of T&T (UDeCOTT) - which is not to say that bloggers are not asking other critical questions, some even as basic as “When?

Trinidad and Tobago girls, politics, sports, technology, carnival, and lifestyle, however, starts with the “Why?”:

Why now? Why would the Prime Minister risk losing Government with not even 3 years of his five-year term behind him?
Why? Why when the country can still call on record revenue and a commanding majority in Parliament?

The analysts are pinning it on the no-confidence motion; or Calder Hart. But as Chris Rock asked when speaking on the Columbine shootings, “Whatever happened to crazy?”
It's quite possible Manning is just a nut. A lunatic.


RIGHTS-US: Love Without Borders – Or Papers

Cuba:Old Havana reaches out to the hearing impaired

Peru: Ongoing Mining Strike

Palestinian Christians barred from Jerusalem for Easter

Our Bodies are shaking now: Rape follows Earthquake in Haiti

Bolivia: Polarization persists:Regional elections confirm political split between the western highlands and eastern lowlands

Guatemala: Despite change to Penal Code, poor, indigenous Guatemalans lack resources to bring discrimination cases to trial.

South Korea insists it atomic program is for energy only

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ENERGY: Pipeline Sabotage Blows Image of Stable Canada

POUCE COUPE, British Columbia, Aug 27 (IPS) - North America's largest natural gas corporation hopes a one-million-dollar bounty will take down the saboteur who is blowing up their pipelines in northern Canada.

Since October 2008, six controlled explosions have rocked sour gas pipelines operated by EnCana energy around the Tomslake area in the province of British Columbia. EnCana's reward is thought to be the largest in Canadian history.

While Calgary-based EnCana is the largest player in the area, a boom in unconventional gas extraction has transformed the rolling hills and sleepy farmland in this sparely populated region to a bustling hub of activity.

"We really ramped things up in 2003," Encana spokesperson Brian Liverse told IPS during an interview at the company's field office.

The corporation has several hundred wells in British Columbia, and between 150 and 200 in the area facing sabotage, says Liverse.

Much of the region's gas is sour, or contaminated with hydrogen sulfide, a "highly toxic gas" which can cause death within a few breaths, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.


In 2008, the province reaped a record 2.7 billion dollars from selling natural gas drilling rights. But as sour gas lines cut into fields of canola, companies flare toxic chemicals lighting up the night sky with an eerie glow, and trucks kick up dust on previously tranquil dirt roads, some local residents say increased production is coming at their expense.

"Billions of dollars leave our community every year, yet our elders have to travel to Vancouver when they get sick," said Cliff Calliou, Chief of the Kelly Lake First Nation, an indigenous community of some 500 residents 30 minutes from the bombed sites.

Industry's incursions are "changing the way of life in the community, our hunting, trapping, berry picking - even just going camping," Calliou told IPS during an interview at Kelly Lake's community centre, where several dozen residents attended a conference on strategies for dealing with the petroleum industry.

Despite the region's oil wealth, many houses in Kelly Lake are ramshackle trailers.

Unlike other native groups, there is no official treaty between Kelly Lake and the Canadian government. Natives say the gas is being stolen from unceded land and have launched a 5.2-billion-dollar claim for recompense.MORE


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