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Showing posts from August 24, 2014

Tony Blair advises Kazakh president on publicity after killing of protesters

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[He really is a piece of work. Former British PM criticised for suggesting PR strategy following Zhanaozen incident in which police shot dead 15 civilians - "a spin doctor managing the fall out from a massacre." *RON*]
Haroon SiddiqueThe Guardian, 24 August 2014
Tony Blair's role advising countries with poor human rights records has come under scrutiny again after he gave Kazakhstan's president advice on how to avoid his image being tarnished by the killing of 15 civilian protesters by police.

In a letter to Nursultan Nazarbeyev, Blair told the autocratic ruler that the December 2011 deaths, "tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress that Kazakhstan has made". Blair advised Nazarbeyev that when dealing with the western media, he should tackle the events in Zhanaozen, when police opened fire on protesters, including oil workers demanding higher wages, "head-on".

In the letter, obtained b…

Oman Joins Landmine Ban Treaty: Other Middle Eastern, North African Countries Should Sign On

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[Predictably, Human Rights Watch fails to mention that the United States still has not signed on to the 1997 treaty, and although it recently announced its intention to do so, it also "still reserves the right to use its millions of stockpiled mines anywhere in the world until they expire." *RON*]
Anonymous, Human Rights Watch, 24 August 2014

(Beirut) – Oman joined the international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines on August 20, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. It is the 8thArab country and 162nd country worldwide to join. The move should encourage the remaining 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa to join the Mine Ban Treaty and respect its provisions.

More than half of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa are affected by uncleared landmines and explosive remnants of war. New casualties caused by landmines and these explosive remnants were reported in 2012 – the most recent year for which complete info…

Cancer in the Capital's air: How Delhi's pollution poses a health risk to millions

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[When there is a public discussion about 'cancer and the environment' (which is rarely) the focus is typically on smoking and diet - another sign of the rule of the corporatocracy. *RON*]

By Neetu Chandra Sharma, The Daily Mail, 23 August 2014

The air in Delhi, one of the world's most polluted cities, is loaded with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Many areas in the city of nearly 18 million people have high concentrations of toxic PAHs posing major health risks, a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) study found.

Published in the International Journal of Environmental Sciences, the study was done after collecting ambient air samples from major areas of Delhi like ITO, Janakpuri, Nizamuddin, Pitampura, Shahzada Bagh, Siri Fort and Shahdara (see map).

The average concentration of Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)-a major PAH-was found to be as high as 17.86 nanogram/m3 while the total PAH (TPAH) was found to be as high as 52.96 nanogram/m3.

A…

'Incredible' rate of polar ice loss alarms scientists

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[A European satellite has shown ice sheets shrinking at 120 cubic miles a year in Antarctica and Greenland. The rate of loss has more than doubled since 2009. *RON*]

Robin McKie, The Guardian / The Observer, 24 August 2014
The planet's two largest ice sheets – in Greenland and Antarctica – are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year. That is the discovery made by scientists using data from CryoSat-2, the European probe that has been measuring the thickness of Earth's ice sheets and glaciers since it was launched by the European Space Agency in 2010.

Even more alarming, the rate of loss of ice from the two regions has more than doubled since 2009, revealing the dramatic impact that climate change is beginning to have on our world.

The researchers, based at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research – used 200m data points across Antarctica and 14.3m across Greenland,…

Utah grapples with toxic emissions from oil and gas industry’s ‘produced water’

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[Corporations will conceal their misdeeds and need to be firmly regulated; this is inherent in the legal and policy structures that define corporations. *RON*]
By Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 August 2014

Grand County evaporation ponds avoided air quality regulation for years, documents show.

A massive stream of wastewater tainted with hydrocarbons has been flowing into Utah from oil and gas mining on Colorado’s West Slope.

Evaporation ponds used to process the contaminated water in Grand County have released tons of toxic chemicals into the air since April 2008.

But the Colorado company running the 14-pond facility operated without a Utah air-quality permit for more than six years, public documents show, while providing officials faulty data that underreported its emissions and exaggerated the efficiency of its emission-control equipment.

Danish Flats Environmental Services finally secured a permit earlier this month and agreed to pay a r…

Will Forcing Cops to Wear Body Cameras Quell Brutality?

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[The subtitle of this article is "While some cities see positive results, the cameras also have their limits." There will be never be one single magic bullet that will fix the problems associated with police violence and the growing militarization of police forces. We need to be looking at solutions that are "and/and/and" not "either/or." The final chapter of Radley Balko's book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Force contains scores of suggestions for useful changes. It should be mailed to police chiefs throughout the United States. *RON*]

By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet, 22 August 2014

This past May, Daytona Beach police officers were wearing body cams when they approached a woman and began handcuffing her for drug possession. In the middle of their arrest, the cameras went blank. When they were turned back on, the woman’s teeth had been knocked out.

This is just one example of th…