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Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:30

AUG. 22, 2014

An aerial view of the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, circa 1965. Credit Paul Popper/Popperfoto — Getty Images

THAYER SCUDDER, the world’s leading authority on the impact of dams on poor people, has changed his mind about dams.

A frequent consultant on large dam projects, Mr. Scudder held out hope through most of his 58-year career that the poverty relief delivered by a properly constructed and managed dam would outweigh the social and environmental damage it caused. Now, at age 84, he has concluded that large dams not only aren’t worth their cost, but that many currently under construction “will have disastrous environmental and socio-economic consequences,” as he wrote in a recent email.

Pete McMartin: Keep our roads safe — ban cars E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 25 August 2014 21:12

Cyclist criticism is unfair: The consequences of rule-breaking by drivers are way more serious

By Pete McMartin, Vancouver


Sun August 18, 2014

Pete McMartin: Keep our roads safe  ban cars

Pete McMartin writes that if critics of cyclists were to apply the same level of indignation to car drivers — that is, themselves — the degree of calumny would be the difference between being stung by a mosquito and being shot through with an elephant gun.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann , PROVINCE

Odd, the public reaction to cyclists at times.

A cyclist collides with a pedestrian on a sidewalk — where clearly the cyclist had no reason being — and the knives come out on the letters-to-the-editor page, bristling with the correspondence of readers who want bicyclists licensed, insured, ticketed, tested, held to the same burdensome standards as motorists, and given a stern talking-to by law-abiding people such as themselves.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 08:59
Seeking Accountability for Gaza E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 24 August 2014 12:10


Independent Investigative Journalism Since 1995 - August 23, 2014

Israel and the Obama administration insist that Israel’s recent slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza was justified by indiscriminate rocket fire from the blockaded area, but some international law advocates think the disproportionate response justifies prosecution of Israeli and U.S. officials for war crimes, says Marjorie Cohn.


By Marjorie Cohn http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/23/seeking-accountability-for-gaza/


The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists (Asociacion Americana de Juristas) sent a letter on Friday to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders and aided and abetted by U.S. officials in Gaza. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC has the power to hold individuals criminally accountable for the most serious of crimes.

“In light of the extreme gravity of the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, in particular the large number of civilian casualties and large scale destruction of civilian property, including schools, mosques and hospitals, and the ongoing incitement to genocide perpetrated by Israeli political figures and leaders, the [NLG] and endorsing organizations strongly urge the Office of the Prosecutor to use its power under Article 15 of the Rome Statute to initiate a preliminary investigation” of crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 08:55
Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed The Underrated Saudi Connection E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 24 August 2014 04:50

By Patrick Cockburn


[This essay is excerpted from the first chapter of Patrick Cockburn’s new book, The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprisingwith special thanks to his publisher, OR Books.  The first section is a new introduction written for TomDispatch.]


There are extraordinary elements in the present U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the U.S. is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The U.S. would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

But U.S., Western European, Saudi, and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition. There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the U.S., Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis.  It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army.

Alaska requests greater involvement in oversight of large B.C. gold mine E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 23 August 2014 13:48



The state of Alaska has taken the rare step of asking the Canadian government for greater involvement in the approval and regulation of a controversial mine in northwestern British Columbia amid growing concern that the project could threaten American rivers and fish.

Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources outlined its request in a letter this week to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which has been reviewing the proposed KSM gold and copper mine, owned by Seabridge Gold Inc. The project has already been approved by B.C.

UN Agency: Iran Abiding With Terms of Nuke Deal E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:16

VIENNA — Aug 20, 2014, 6:45 PM ET


The U.N. nuclear agency says that Iran is keeping commitments it agreed to with six world powers in a pact that temporarily caps its nuclear activities and eliminates material that could be most easily used to make nuclear weapons.

The finding is contained in a restricted International Atomic Energy Agency report released Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 20:37
From sugar to drugs, Harper has turned everything partisan E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:06


Konrad Yakabuski http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/an-unhealthy-dose-of-partisanship/article20144092/The Globe and Mail


Warning young people about the dangers of smoking pot should be about as controversial as telling them to brush their teeth. The same goes for recommending that adults consume no more sugar than they can bench-press. Health officials are right to point out the pitfalls of both.

This is Canada, in 2014, however, where the Harper government’s insistence on putting its political stamp on policies that were previously left to independent agencies or experts in the bureaucracy means that even its public service announcements (PSAs) are suspect. Where an anti-pot ad aimed at teens seems partisan and nutritional guidelines seem to go light on the sugar lobby.

Welcome to Guatemala: gold mine protester beaten and burnt alive E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 11:04
Indigenous people speak out against the Marlin mine run by Canadian company Goldcorp
•Surge in deaths of environmental activists over past decade, report finds
 The Marlin mine in western Guatemala owned by Canadian firm Goldcorp.

The Marlin mine in western Guatemala owned by Canadian firm Goldcorp. Photograph: David Hill

“They took him and poured gasoline all over him. Then they struck a match and lit him.”
Doña A – not her real name, for security reasons – was standing up, arms crossed, lightly leaning against a ladder, and speaking in her language, Maya Mam, while a friend, a relation by marriage, translated into Spanish. There were 20 or so Mams in the room – mostly women, some children, one elderly man – and we were in an adobe-brick house in the highlands of far western Guatemala, not far from the border with Mexico, and just around the corner from an open sky and underground gold- and silver-mine called Marlin.
Christy's Classroom for Public Education TUESDAY, SEPT. 2nd @ 9AM E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:59

By Social Environmental Alliance

Please share widely
Cover Photo
(in front of the Premier's Wing)

Wondering what to do during the teachers' strike? Want to join students, parents & teachers in a Peoples' School at Premier Christy Clark's doorstep on the Legislature Grounds?

ALL OUT at Christy's Classroom when classes resume on TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 2nd!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 20:01
It's time for the International Criminal Court to rule on the conduct of the Israeli army E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:01


Under international humanitarian law there have been many incidents that could constitute serious international crime





Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:13
Dutch Parliament votes to ban all neonicotinoid pesticide uses in the Netherlands E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 07:23




18th March 2014 Neonicotinoids are dangerous to bees and other pollinators and are a primary cause of the massive bee deaths . A majority of the Court today rallied behind motions of the Animal Welfare Party for a national ban on the use of this insecticide in agriculture and retail sales . Neonicotinoids are relatively new agricultural poisons which have a disastrous effect on bees. These insecticids are thousands of times more toxic than DDT . The Party for Animal Welfare has been campaigning for many years against the neonicotinoids .
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