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News In Brief

Polar bears at risk from pollution as well as warmth

Tim Radford

24th April 2015

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Susanne Miller / USFWS via Flickr (CC BY). As if melting ice in Polar bears' Arctic habitat was not enough, Norwegian scientists have found that organic pollutants such as pesticide residues are disrupting their thyroid and endocrine systems, adding a further threat to the species' survival. more...

EuroComm proposes EU country opt-outs on GMO foods

Euractiv

23rd April 2015

Now these Norwegian protestors against Monsanto are more likely to get their way, following the GMO 'national opt-out' proposals set out by EuroComm. Photo: Caroline Hargreaves via Flickr (CC BY-SA). The European Commission has proposed new rules on foods derived from GMOs that would allow EU countries to opt out from the Europe-wide approval system - a move that has attracted strong criticism from all parties in the GMO debate. more...

Israelis steal fertile soil from Palestinian farms

The Ecologist

22nd April 2015

A protest in Kafr ad Dik village in February 2012 against the theft of land by nearby 'settlers'. Now it's the village's soil that is being stolen. Photo: KafrAdDeek via Wikimedia Commons (CC Public Domain). Not satisfied with seizing Palestinian land and water, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have found a new way to enrich themselves at their neighbors' expense - by stealing their fertile soil and transporting it to their own farms and gardens. more...

Campaigners defeat Coca-Cola plant in South India

The Ecologist

21st April 2015

Protest at Coca Cola's bottling plant at Plachmada, Kerala. The plant has since been closed for rampant pollution. Photo: kasuga sho via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Local campaigners fearful of water shortages and industrial pollution have forced state authorities to cancel an unpopular plan to allocate land for a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Tamil Nadu, India. more...

Banks raising $400m for palm oil expansion 'must examine high risks'

Oliver Tickell

20th April 2015

A truck carries palm fruit for processing from a rainforest plantation in Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Banks preparing to launch a $400m bond issue for a global palm oil giant with a history of legal violations and broken standards have been warned of their 'high risk client' and the 'extreme and outstanding' social and environmental conflicts in the palm oil agribusiness sector. more...

Lake Baikal: World Heritage ecosystems at risk from Mongolian dam

Anson Mackay

19th April 2015

Lake Baikal at Irkutskiy Raion, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. Photo: Fedor Stroganov via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Russia's Lake Baikal is under threat by a massive dam and pipeline on the main river that feeds into it, that would supply mines with power and water, writes Anson Mackay. In line to fund the project? The World Bank. more...

Investors pile in as renewables rise to record level

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

16th April 2015

6,000 sq.km of California are suitable for this 'concentrating solar power' approach shown here at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in California’s Mojave Desert. Photo: Jan Maguire via Flickr. The world's smart money is piling into renewable energy, solar power in particular, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell, as renewables pull away from fossil fuels in terms of both investment and new generation capacity added each year. more...

India: police shoot eight indigenous protestors against illegal dam

Jitendra & Kiran Pandey / Down to Earth

15th April 2015

A peaceful protest by the indigenous people fighting the flooding of their land and villages by the Kanhar dam. Photo: Vindhya Bacao (vindhyabachao.org/kanhar). Police in India's Uttar Pradesh state yesterday opened fire on a 'sit in' by tribal protestors at the construction site of the Kanhar dam, now under construction in open contempt of court orders. Tribal leader Akku Kharwar and eight others were seriously injured by the gun fire. more...

Nuclear reactor flaws raise Hinkley C safety fears

Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell

14th April 2015

The Flamanville nuclear plant in Normandy, France, was already years late and billions of budget - before news emerged that its steel reactor vessel contains serious metallurgical faults. Photo: schoella via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). A serious flaw in the steel reactor vessel of a nuclear plant under construction in France raises safety fears for the EPR design, write Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell - and casts a dark shadow over the UK's troubled Hinkley C nuclear project. more...

Scotland's 'fracking moratorium' - a free-for-all in disguise?

Kyla Mandel / DeSmog UK

13th April 2015

When Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon isn't kissing babies, she manages to find time to reach a friendly understanding with fracking bosses. Photo: Barbara Agnew via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Nicola Sturgeon secretly met with pro-fracking firm Ineos on the very same day that Scotland announced its shale gas moratorium, writes Kyla Mandel - giving rise to fears of a under-the-table stitch-up. more...

Colombia - indigenous defender murdered in gold mining frenzy

The Ecologist

10th April 2015

A typical informal gold-mining operation in Colombia's gold belt. Photo: Josh Rushing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). An indigenous leader in Colombia's 'gold belt' has been killed by unknown gunmen as tensions grow between indigenous communities and outside gold mining interests, many of them linked to illegal armed groups and the drug trade. more...

Neonicotinoid link to Monarch butterfly decline

Jonathan Latham

9th April 2015

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexipus) caterpillar feeding on butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), a relative of milkweed. Photo: Martin LaBar via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Monarch caterpillars are vulnerable to neonicotinoid toxicity at concentrations as low as 1 part per billion, writes Jonathan Latham, and that makes them vulnerable to residues from commercial crops - and even more so from horticultural use in plant nurseries! more...

Tea Party's fake protestors for Big Sugar against Florida Everglades

Oliver Tickell

8rg April 2015

A 'money-burning' event organised by the Miami Tea Party to oppose a 46,000 acre conservation land purchase - but were the 'protestors' all actors? So it would seem. Photo: from Youtube video by Miami Tea Party. The Tea Party of Miami put up a convincing demo last week to oppose a 'land grab' that would see 46,000 acres of sugar farm land restored for Everglades conservation. Just one problem - the 'protestors' were actors each being paid $75 for the two-hour shift. more...

Greenpeace occupies Shell rig after Arctic drilling go-ahead

Christine Ottery & Oliver Tickell

7th April 2015

Greenpeace volunteers on board Shell's 'Polar Explorer' oil rig in the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Miriam Friedrich / Greenpeace. Days after Shell received US Government backing for its plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic, volunteers from Greenpeace have occupied its 'Polar Pioneer' oil rig in the Pacific Ocean to demand a halt to all Arctic oil exploration. more...

Deepening drought forces Brazil to embrace solar power

Jan Rocha

6th April 2015

Sunrise on the Balbina hydroelectric dam in Brazil’s Amazon region. Image: Seabirds via Wikimedia Commons. Without water to feed its hydroelectric dams, drought-hit Brazil is turning to solar power - dubbed 'a fantasy' by the country's president just a few years ago, writes Jan Rocha. Now thousands of megawatts of floating solar panel 'islands' are to be installed on dam reservoirs. more...

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