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Showing posts from October 24, 2016

Growing food with seawater and solar power

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[The world's first mass-scale facility that grows tomatoes without soil, fresh water, or fossil fuels launches in Australia. The counter-case, which Canadian politicians apparently think is impossible. *RON*]

Ryan Rifai, Al Jazeera, 19 October 2016
In a desert region of southern Australia is a farm that grows and supplies 15 percent of the entire country's tomatoes without using soil, fresh water or fossil fuels.

Earlier this month Sundrop Farms marked the launch of what it called the "first commercial-scale facility of this calibre in the world", which uses solar power to de-salinate seawater and operate greenhouses in order to grow more than 15,000 tonnes of the red fruit each year.

Their tomatoes are being sold in hundreds of markets across the country.

In a statement released on October 6, the company said that in comparison with conventional greenhouse farms, its "cutting-edge, sustainable technology" will save signi…

Four Harsh Truths for Canada’s Lovestruck Pipeline Politicians

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[Good piece! "A reality check for our bitumen-besotted leaders." *RON*]
By Andrew Nikiforuk, TheTyee.ca, 21 October 2016
Canadian politicians of nearly every stripe seem united, at the moment, in their adolescent professions of love for new pipelines. But love is blind, and in this case, blind to four tough truths about Canada’s dead-end relationship with bitumen.



Among leaders making their lovestruck pronouncements was Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi recently, who flew into B.C. and declared in all sincerity that pipelines shouldn’t be carrying the “sins of the carbon economy” and that we need more of them.

Major New Court Ruling Says “Even The President” Can’t Declare Torture Lawful

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[So, when can we expect charges to be laid, and against how many US presidents? Friday’s unanimous ruling by a panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates a lawsuit against the military contractor CACI. The suit charges CACI directed and participated in torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004, where it was hired by the U.S. to provide interrogation services. *RON*]

Alex Emmons, The Intercept, 21 October 2016
IN A ROBUST RULING in favor of Abu Ghraib detainees, an appellate court ruled Friday that torture is such a clear violation of the law that it is “beyond the power of even the president to declare such conduct lawful.”

The ruling from a unanimous panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates a lawsuit against a military contractor for its role in the torture of four men at the notorious prison in Iraq.

Last June, a district court ruled that a “cloud of ambiguity” surrounds the definition of tor…

Ruptured pipeline sends 55,000 gallons of gas into Susquehanna River tributary

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[But it could never happen here, right? Sunny Ways protect us, right? See also: After denying any spills, Duke Energy ordered to clean up spilled coal ash, or try Where Has the Waste Gone? Fracking Results in Illegal Dumping of Radioactive Toxins. *RON*]

Megan Trimble & Mark Scolforo, Associated Press / Chicago Tribune, 22 October 2016
WILLIAMSPORT — There has been little impact to the water supply so far from a pipeline that ruptured during a freak storm in Pennsylvania that sent nearly 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a creek tributary, officials said Saturday.

But authorities are continuing to monitor the water supplies that serve thousands of residents around Williamsport.

A storm late Thursday into Friday dumped up to 7 inches of rain on areas in western and central Pennsylvania, triggering mudslides, turning roads into rivers and sweeping away at least two homes. Hundreds more were damaged in Centre County, home to Penn State's main…

Tom Hayden, famed anti-Vietnam war activist, dies aged 76

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[RIP - a model of civic commitment. *RON*]

BBC World News, 24 October 2016
Famed American anti-war activist Tom Hayden has died aged 76.

Hayden died in his home in Santa Monica "after a lengthy illness", the Los Angeles Times reports.

He was a member of the "Chicago seven" charged with conspiracy over anti-Vietnam war protests in 1968 and eventually acquitted.

Hayden later served in the California state assembly and Senate for nearly two decades. He was married to actress Jane Fonda between 1973 and 1990.

Born in Michigan in 1939, he became an activist during his time at the University of Michigan, where he helped to found Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

While there, he wrote a policy document called the Port Huron Statement, which he styled the "agenda for a generation".

Palestinian villages 'get two hours of water a week'

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[The worst kind of apartheid. Israeli control over water supplies in the occupied West Bank has left Palestinians desperate. What would the West's reaction be if Putin tried doing this in the Ukraine? *RON*]

Eloise Bollack, Al Jazeera, 24 October 2016

Ramallah, occupied West Bank - Enas Taha, a resident of the Palestinian village of Kafr al-Deek in the occupied West Bank, has become desperate.

"Since the [water] crisis started in June, the municipality has been able to supply water for only one hour twice a week," Taha told Al Jazeera. "I am checking the weather forecast every day; they announced rain three weeks ago, but it has not come yet. The only thing I can do is to pray to God."

Many West Bank communities are facing similar problems, amid an acute water shortage that has lasted for months. In the Salfit, Jenin and Hebron governorates, some villages have gone as long as 40 days in a row without running water.