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Thursday, 19 July



Red flags abound as a warming Arctic opens up to shipping "IndyWatch Feed Allcommunity"

KUCHING, Malaysia Conservationists have called on governments and the private sector to do more to mitigate the impact of global shipping activities on marine ecosystems and communities in the Arctic. Commercial shipping along the northern routes that connect North America, Europe and Asia is expected to increase by 500 percent between 2015 and 2025. In Canada, that traffic, which includes container ships, oil tankers and cruise liners, is forecast to double between 2010 and 2020, then double again from 2020 to 2030. The port of Vancouver, for one, expects to see a 33 percent increase in the number of vessels that dock there in the next 10 years. Over in Russia, the current volume of cargo transported through the Northern Sea Route is at 6.8 million tons annually; the country aims to boost that figure significantly to 100 million tons by 2030. Thats an enormous increase, Andrew Dumbrille, manager of national oceans governance at WWF-Canada, said at a panel discussion at the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) in Kuching, Malaysia, on June 26. Much of it is due to melting ice and opening sea routes, shorter routes, less fuel being used and shorter periods of getting goods to communities, he added. A container ship carrying goods via Arctic waters. Image by Kees Torn/Flickr. About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea, with ships and ports acting as the arteries and nodes of the global economy. The changes in ship traffic patterns reflect changes in the global

EU-Morocco agreement including Sahrawi territories: Polisario Front firmly condemns, lodges appeal to CJEU (Frente POLISARIO ) "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

18/07/2018 - Bir Lahlou, July 16, 2018 (SPS) - The Polisario Front has firmly condemned on Monday the decision taken by the European Union Council to sign an amendment to the EU-Morocco association agreement, including ...

New report spotlights financiers of palm oil giant clearing Liberias forests "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

An Indonesian-owned plantation company operating in Liberia has come under renewed scrutiny for allegedly clearing hundreds of hectares of protected forestland, including chimpanzee habitat, wetlands and river buffer zones. Between 2010 and 2016, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) cleared and planted some 150 square kilometers (58 square miles) of land, according to a recent Friends of the Earth investigation, which found that the firm had cleared or fragmented nearly 7 square kilometers (3 square miles) of ecologically rich forest in Kpanyan, Sinoe County. Investigators found that GVL had damaged streams, wetlands and river buffer zones, that it had failed to compensate local communities for the damage, and that it had taken their land without their free, prior and informed consent, a conclusion supported by a decision issued in February by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). GVL, which has rejected the RSPO decision, is owned by Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), a Singapore-registered palm oil company, through a Cayman Islands private equity firm. The firms ultimate owner is Indonesias billionaire Widjaja family. In 2014, GAR promised to stop clearing forest. Palm oil is one of the most ubiquitous products found in the world today, with estimates suggesting it is used in about half of all consumer goods in the U.S. and Europe. Palm oil firms operating in Africa and Asia often promise to work with local communities to develop the economies of host states, but their investments are routinely accompanied by allegations of deforestation, land grabbing and human rights violations. In 2010, GVL

Cracks appear in Malaysias building spree, once a model for development "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

Spring Energy is the just the sort of homegrown, super successful, keenly entrepreneurial company that developing nations across the world crave. Based in a tidy three-story building not far from central Kuala Lumpur, the companys influence extends across the Malaysian peninsula. Spring Energy operates six quarries across Malaysia, four ready-mix concrete batching plants, three asphalt plants, and a fleet of trucks, concrete mixers, and paving equipment. The company and its customers supply building materials for skyscrapers, smooth roads and industrial yards, boulders for sea walls and stone for high-speed rail lines. Never in its 21-year history, though, has Spring Energy signed as many construction contracts as it has in the last two years. The company now counts 1,000 employees. Its overflowing order book is a pure reflection of the infrastructure construction boom that over the last decade has altered Malaysias peninsula and island landscape. But on May 9, 2018, Najib Razak, who had held office as Malaysias prime minister since 2009, was ousted in a shock election defeat. Najib, who also served as the countrys finance minister, had sponsored about $100 billion in rail, port, energy, road, and real-estate infrastructure projects as essential assets in turning Malaysia from a middle-income country into a top-tier Asian economic power. In a surprise election result, Malaysians in May ousted from power Barisan Nasional and its former leader Najib Razak. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay. Elections have consequences, and in Malaysias case, apparently big ones. Malaysias new prime minister is 93-year-old

Concentration Camps in the U.S.: Andrea Pitzer decries tent cities for detaining kids without trial (Democracy Now!) "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

17/07/2018 - Has the Trump administration set up concentration camps in Texas for migrants? The answer is yes, according to at least one expert: Andrea Pitzer, the author of One Long Night: A Global History ...

Tropical Storm "Son-tinh" forms in South China Sea, heading toward Hainan, China and Vietnam "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

Tropical Storm "Son-tinh" formed late July 16, 2018, in the South China Sea as the 9th named storm of the 2018 Pacific typhoon season. The main threat as this storm tracks over Hainan and into Vietnam over the next 36 hours will be rain. Another tropical...... Read more

Pushing Vietnams shrimp industry toward sustainability "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

MEKONG DELTA, Vietnam Shrimp farmer Nguyen Manh Hung lost his entire farm to erosion in 2016 after a series of ravaging droughts and floods. He and his family had relied on their land for over 27 years, and with three children to feed, the loss came as a tremendous blow. [First], the land turned bad. We had a drought. You could look into the soil and you would see clumps of white, Hung told Mongabay. Nothing would live off of that land and not much in the water either. Like many small-scale shrimp producers in this part of Vietnam, Hung had been using an intensive method of farming focused on producing high yields. In these models, farmers clear as much of their property as possible to make way for earthen shrimp ponds, often lined with tarpaulin. Back then we farmed shrimps in ponds, dug by hand and then machines when we got money, Hung remembered. You had to fell trees to make the ponds: one big main pond, one pond for processing and three smaller ponds on the side. But with no trees to hold nutrients in the soil or keep the salty water table down, Hungs farm was completely exposed to the elements. As well as drought, a series of devastating floods in 2002, 2008 and 2016 ripped more sediment from the banks of his ponds, and his land eventually became so badly degraded that he could no longer use it. After years of borrowing money, failed

Indigenous peoples control one-quarter of worlds land surface, two-thirds of that land is essentially natural "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

A new study makes a significant contribution to the growing body of research showing that recognizing the land rights of and partnering with indigenous peoples can greatly benefit conservation efforts. The dearth of reliable data on Indigenous Peoples lands in many parts of the world has implications not only for securing their rights but also for the conservation and management of a significant proportion of terrestrial global biodiversity, the authors of the study, led by Professor Stephen Garnett of Charles Darwin University in Australia, write in the journal Nature Sustainability. Garnett and team sought to address this knowledge gap by producing a map of the terrestrial lands managed or owned by indigenous peoples across the globe, which in turn allowed them to assess the extent to which Indigenous Peoples stewardship and global conservation values intersect and provide a first estimation of the overlap between Indigenous Peoples terrestrial lands and protected areas. While recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples to their traditional lands and waters is increasingly coming to be seen as an ethical obligation, the authors of the study say their results provide evidence that it is also essential to meeting local and global conservation goals and that more collaborative partnerships between indigenous peoples and governments would yield substantial benefits for efforts to conserve high-priority landscapes, ecosystems, and biodiversity. An indigenous woman and baobabs in a dry forest near Morondava, Madagascar. Photo by Joan de la Malla. About 370 million people around the world define themselves as Indigenous, are descended

New species of venomous snake discovered by accident in Australia "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

A team of biologists researching sea snakes in the mining town of Weipa in Australias remote Cape York Peninsula have accidentally discovered a venomous snake thats new to science. The black-and-white snake, now named Vermicella parscauda or the Cape York bandy-bandy, belongs to a group of snakes called bandy-bandies that live in burrows and feed on a specialized diet of blind snakes. So far, scientists know of only five species of bandy bandies, all found in Australia. The hoop snake (Vermicella annulata) is the most commonly encountered bandy-bandy, the researchers report in a study published in Zootaxa. Since bandy-bandies are burrowing snakes, the sight of a small one on a concrete block by the sea surprised Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, and his colleague Freek Vonk from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. We later discovered that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble [that was] waiting to be loaded onto a ship, Fry said in a statement. Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, searching for snakes near Weipa, Queensland. Image courtesy of Bryan Fry. Frys team found another snake of the same kind near Weipa, and spotted another dead individual that had been run over by a car near the bauxite mine. They found two more specimens of the snake in museum collections, resulting in five specimens from the same small area. On examination by my student, Chantelle Derez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually

Trump, NATO and Russian aggression (Pepe Escobar ) "IndyWatch Feed Allworld"

17/07/2018 - The US President's blitzkrieg at the Brussels summit, calling NATO obsolete and for member states to boost spending to defend themselves is correct US President Donald Trump, center, is seen with ...


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