Showing posts from August 3, 2014

Israel: Shooting Deaths after West Bank Protest

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[The evidence points to 'unlawful killings' by Israeli Forces. "The Israeli military is responsible not only for reckless and deliberate unlawful killings in Gaza, but also for unlawfully killing Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. Because of the Israeli military’s long history of operating with virtual impunity, more unlawful killings are predictable unless Israel’s allies apply meaningful pressure." *RON*]
Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch, 3 August 2014

(Jerusalem) – Israeli soldiers unlawfully killed two men who had participated in a July 25, 2014 protest in the West Bank against Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip, according to all available evidence, Human Rights Watch said today. Official medical reports and medical sources indicated that they died of gunshot wounds caused by live ammunition.

A third man at the same protest also appeared to have been killed unlawfully. Although witnesses said he threw…

Cowichan River crisis: counting down to zero

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[Climate change is having marked effects on the water supply in North Cowichan and Duncan. *RON*]

By Andrea Rondea, The Cowichan Valley Citizen, 01 August 2014

If the weather continues hot and dry, as predicted, there will be zero water storage left in Cowichan Lake by Sept. 26, a situation that would be catastrophic for the Cowichan River.

This was one of the dire warnings delivered to the Cowichan Valley Regional District's regional services committee last week when Rob Hutchins and other members of the Cowichan Watershed Board presented an update on the state of river flows.

"This is a critical situation for our community that we're facing," said committee chair Gerry Giles.

For the last 11 years the region has been feeling the effects of climate change, Hutchins said, with one significant winter flood and a number of years of low flow in the summer that have required the trucking of fish up the river.

The magic number, he s…

A Green Building Blooms in the Bronx

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[An excellent model that deserves to be widely emulated. *RON*]

Steve Curwood, Living on Earth, Internet Radio Broadcast, Air Date: Week of August 1, 2014

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file
Few think of affordable housing as a haven for nature in one of the toughest neighborhoods of New York City. But Via Verde, an energy efficient, garden-filled building in the South Bronx developed by the Jonathan Rose Companies and Phipps Houses, provides just that. Host Steve Curwood went to check it out.


CURWOOD: Much of the South Bronx in New York City was burned out during the 1970’s and in this birthplace of hip-hop music there is still a lot of poverty and a lot of crime, especially in terms of assaults and thefts. So you might think it would be the last place an idealistic, sustainable housing developer would plunk down a LEED certified $100 million housing complex, but that’s exactly what Jonathan Rose did in 2012. Phipps Houses and t…

Drillers did not report half of spills that led to fines

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[Self-regulation of the oil and gas industry does not work. Also, once again, fines are simply not a true deterrent; they are too readily seen as a simple cost of doing business (a retroactive licensing fee to pollute if you like). Worth noting -- the definition of criminal negligence is "The failure to use reasonable care to avoid consequences that threaten or harm the safety of the public and that are the foreseeable outcome of acting in a particular manner." *RON*]

By Sean D. Hamill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3 August 2014

Half the spills at Marcellus Shale well sites that resulted in fines weren’t spotted by gas companies, which are required by state law to look for and report spills of drilling-related fluids.

That is one of the main conclusions of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review of hundreds of thousands of state and company documents for every incident at a Marcellus well site that led to a fine against a driller through the end…

BALDREY: Don't believe B.C. premier Christy Clark's LNG fairytale

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[A strongly anti-Clark editorial by Keith Baldry. *RON*]

Keith Baldrey, Surrey Now, 29 July 2014
Not a week goes by, it seems, that Premier Christy Clark doesn't talk, yet again, about the vast riches that lay in B.C.'s path if only a liquefied natural gas industry gets off the ground in this province.

It's a theme that began before the last election, and one that helped carry her to a surprising victory with the voters. People seem to at least want to believe the fairy tale-like talk about billions of dollars coming our way to help eliminate the provincial debt and even the sales tax.

But for all the time the premier spends talking about this subject, more evidence turns up that reminds us all about just what a shaky roll of the dice the whole LNG gambit may prove to be.

Clark is arguing that the glut of natural gas on North American markets has kept the price low, and therefore B.C. must look to other markets to make money. China, Kore…

Companies Illegally Dumped Toxic Fracking Chemicals in Dawson Creek Water Treatment Systems At Least Twice, Officials Report

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[How is it that the name of the company responsible for this dumping can lawfully be withheld from the press? Why does this kind of corporate malfeasance always involve fines (=a cost of doing business) rather than jail time (=a true deterrent)? Why has the Harper government created regulations that make the local mayor accountable for what the corporations have done? *RON*]

By Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Blog Canada, 31 July 2014

Although city officials from Dawson’s Creek won’t disclose the names of the companies involved, they are confirming that fracking waste has been illegally dumped into the city’s water treatment system on at least two occasions.

Jim Chute, administrative officer for the city, told DeSmog Canada, that illegal dumping has occurred at least three times, but twice the waste was “clearly” related to fracking.

“It has actually been on three occasions in the last 18 months where we’ve caught inappropriate materials being dumped,” he sa…

Examining the BC Liberal Government’s real fiscal record

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[The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis discusses the BC Liberal government’s real fiscal track record with CFAX radio’s Ian Jessop in Victoria. The two contrast a history of serious cost-overruns on major infrastructure projects with the oft-repeated myth of the government’s sound fiscal management. From the Port Mann Bridge and Hwy 1 widening (550% of initial estimate) to the a new roof for BC Place Stadium (514% of original projection), emerges a shocking pattern of inept project management. From July 29 (19 min) *RON*]

By Damien Gillis & Ian Jessop, Common Sense Canadian, 2 August 2014

Timeline of Canada Revenue Agency's political-activity audits of charities

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[This is, transparently, a shocking abuse of political power. It's interesting to see the extent to which the organization Ethical Oil has been in the front seat driving this process, and that the founder of this group now works in the Prime Minister's Office. But "political activity" does not only mean political opposition; it also means political support. If you are aware of pro-government political activities of a charity and wish to lodge a formal complaint with the CRA you can do so from this web page. *RON*]
By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 08/03/2014

OTTAWA - Timeline of key events surrounding the Canada Revenue Agency's launch of political-activity audits of charities:

Jan. 9, 2012 — Joe Oliver, then Natural Resources minister, issues an open letter denouncing "environmental and other radical groups" who "threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical agenda."…