Update: SUN 21. April 2019: During the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests in London over 963 arrests have been made and 42 people were charged.
Climate change protesters who have brought parts of London to a standstill said Sunday they were prepared to call a halt if the British government will discuss their demands.
On the seventh day of demonstrations that have occupied key spots in the British capital, Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the demonstrators, telling them: "Humanity is standing at a crossroads."
Organizers said they were willing to switch tactics from disruption to dialogue next week - if the government enters talks.
"We are prepared to pause, should the government come to the negotiating table," Extinction Rebellion spokesman James Fox told AFP. "What the pause looks like is us stopping an escalation. We can discuss leaving if they are willing to discuss our demands. At the moment, we haven't received a response from the government... so we're waiting on that."
Extinction Rebellion was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world's fastest-growing environmental movements.
Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new "citizens' assemblies on climate and ecological justice.
"We're giving them an opportunity now to come and speak to us," Fox told AFP. "If they refuse to come and negotiate with us, then this is going to continue and this is going to escalate in different, diverse and very creative ways."
682 protesters have been arrested over 5 days in London.
Over 100 protesters were arrested on Friday alone in London, as part of the ‘extinction rebellion’ days of action that seeks to draw attention to climate change.
Friday represented day five of the group’s direct action protests. The 100 people arrested brings the total number to 682 detained this week. This action had protesters planting a makeshift boat in the middle of Oxford Circus, London’s busiest shopping strip. The boat was named the ‘Berta Caceres’ boat, in honor of the Honduran environmental activist who was murdered for her activism against extractive companies.
The ‘extinction rebellion’ group seeks to organize direct action, and their website states that they are “an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.”
Peru: Autonomous Indigenous People Fight Deforestation
By teleSur - 19 April 2019
Profit-seeking intruders have had negative effects on Wampi territory, through deforestation and water pollution, as a result of gold mining.
The Wampi Nation of Peru, the first-ever Indigenous autonomous group in the country, continues to fight back against illegal deforestation and raise awareness of land issues in the country, and subsequently the rest of the world.
The Wampis have managed to expel illegal miners from their land both directly and through notifying the national authorities. While illegal logging proves more difficult to curb, Wampi soldiers serving in battalions along the Ecuador-Peru border work with government authorities and Wampi leaders to expel intruders from the region.
In addition to mining and logging, the oil industry proves to be the biggest threat to the Wampi Nation. The Oleoducto Norperuano oil pipeline was built through the territory and has a history of spills and leaks, including 23 between 2001 and 2016.
Agriculture is already one of the biggest contributors to global warming. The greenhouse gases released in the form of methane from cattle and rice farms, nitrous oxide from fertilized fields, and carbon dioxide from deforestation to make space for crops and livestock, add up to more emissions than all our cars, trucks, trains and airplanes combined.
Many Americans first became aware of U.S.military operations in Africa only in October 2017, after the Islamic State ambushed American troops near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing four U.S. soldiers and wounding two others.
(vf) - 16. April 2019 - Strasbourg - Publisher and Journalist Julian Assange has been awarded the 2019 European United Left-Nordic Green Left Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information, WikiLeaks informed Tuesday - thus recognizing Assange’s work through WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been honoured with the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for journalists and whistleblowers, which is sponsored by European parliamentarians and was established in 2018 in honour of assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia.
The award is given to individuals “uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public” and to honor “individuals or groups who have been intimidated and/or persecuted for uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public.”
Assange was jailed last week by and in the UK, after being forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and could not be given the award at one of Her Majesty's Prison in London, where he is held now incommunicado while waiting trial.
Mairead Maguire, herself Nobel Peace prize winner in 1976, received and collected the award on Assange’s behalf at an event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg - France.
Update MON 15. April 2019 (vf): Russia will provide strategic cooperation to the Venezuelan government to investigate several attacks against the National Energy Service (SEN) said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromoloto Monday. The Russian deputy foreign minister said Russia will help Venezuela in investigating the cyber attacks on the country which cause nation-wide blackouts.
"Russia is providing the Venezuelan friends with all the necessary cooperation in response to the requests of the government of President Nicolas Maduro," said Syromolotov.
He reiterated that support for investigations will be given because the Venezuelan government has constantly said the attacks in March were cyber aggression against the SEN of the country.
Meanwhile, the Russian diplomat mentioned that the perpetrators of the attack against the SEN knew the vulnerabilities of the system. "Of course the masterminds of the attack knew well the operative algorithms, the vulnerabilities of the equipment and the corresponding systems," he said.
Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents.
The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water. Of course, if you are living naked in a barrel we will dismiss you too, because you’re a hippie weirdo. Every messenger, and every message they bear, is disqualified on the grounds of either impurity or purity.
As the environmental crisis accelerates, and as protest movements like YouthStrike4Climate and Extinction Rebellion make it harder not to see what we face, people discover more inventive means of shutting their eyes and shedding responsibility. Underlying these excuses is a deep-rooted belief that if we really are in trouble, someone somewhere will come to our rescue: “they” won’t let it happen. But there is no they, just us.
As new studies continue to point to a direct link between the widely-used glyphosate herbicide and various forms of cancer, the agribusiness lobby fights ferociously to ignore or discredit evidence of human and other damage. A second US court jury case just ruled that Monsanto, now a part of the German Bayer AG, must pay $ 81 million in damages to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. The ruling and a line-up of another 11,000 pending cases in US courts going after the effects of glyphosate, have hit Bayer AG hard with the company announcing several thousand layoffs as its stock price plunges.
The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.
That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for "democratic" societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.
But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump's Washington, in league with Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.
The information age is evolving the very nature ofwarfare. Today, each nation increasingly depends on closely integrated, high-speed electronic systems across cyberspace, geospace, and space (CGS). But, it’s a cause of great concern if an enemy can easily use a weapon like a small, inexpensive EMP device. An EMP weapon can deny any individual or entity across a nation the ability to use electromagnetic waves for their digital infrastructure and digital connectivity, e.g. radio, infrared, and radar. Moreover, anuclear blast can also trigger an EMP effect, as can a solar storm. Individually and collectively, this emerging reality understandably changes the nature of warfare, the focus of the war, and the target of warfare, shaking up the very foundation of security.
Chinese mining companies left a Central African river 'in ruins'
The Central African Republic's ministry of mines and geology suspended four Chinese mining companies operating in Bozoum on March 25 for failing to protect the environment. Our Observer, Father Aurelio Gazzera, a missionary in Bozoum, says the affected areas include sections of the Ouham River. Gazzera sent The Observers photos of the river's deteriorating condition, which he says is the result of one company's hunt for gold.
"The river is in ruins"
In photos and videos taken by Gazzera, the Ouham River looks more like a construction site than a body of water, its levels low and its banks severely damaged. Gazzera said Chinese mining companies exploring for gold have set up around a dozen excavation sites in Bozoum and the surrounding area in recent months.
Suspected members of an armed militia ambushed and killed five park rangers and a driver in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on April 9, park authorities said
The attack, the deadliest in the park’s history, brings to 175 the toll of Virunga rangers who have been killed while guarding the park to date.
Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to rare mountain gorillas, but continues to be plagued by the long-running armed conflict wracking the eastern DRC.
Suspected members of an armed militia ambushed and killed five rangers and a driver in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, park authorities said, in the deadliest attack yet at what is already one of the most dangerous conservation sites in the world.
by Joshua Castellino (*) | Minority Rights Group International - Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Despite a legal ruling and international attention, Kenya's Ogiek people have continued to face evictions, underlining the inherent difficulties in implementing judgments.
The continued dominance of colonial-imposed laws over pre-existing customary legal systems, has been the bane of land rights disputes involving indigenous peoples across the globe for many years.
Post-colonial states have been unable to address such issues since formal law has continued to prevail over ancient customary systems even post-independence.
One such example is the Ogiek in Kenya’s Mau Forest, whose fate is to be determined by a Task Force whose report is due at the end of April. The Task Force report should be significant not only for the Ogiek, but for indigenous peoples in Kenya and Africa, with wider global repercussions.
The Ogiek have lived in the Mau Forest for centuries. Their struggle through courts to gain recognition of their ancestral domain through formal law has been a long one.
Refugees say some U.N. workers demand bribes for resettlement
A seven-month investigation found reports of U.N. staff members exploiting refugees desperate for a safe home in a new country.
By Sally Hayden
DADAAB, Kenya — Hamdi Abdullahi stands outside the United Nations compound in this dusty, sprawling camp — home to more than 200,000 Somali refugees — and throws stones at its barbed wire fence and heavy gates.
Though the U.N.'s refugee agency, UNHCR, is known everywhere as the chief protector and spokesman for most of the globe's 25 million refugees, Abdullahi shouts as she hurls the stones, accusing the agency of stealing her children.
It has long been recognised that older female elephants are pivotal to elephant ecology and herd survival (McComb et al. 2011; Foley et al. 2008; Moss et al. 2011), but what of older males?
Longevity in males is associated with size (the older the bull the taller he is), dominance, prolonged musth periods and reproductive success (Hollister-Smith et al. 2007). Until recently, the social life of bulls has drawn less interest from researchers and tourists alike, being viewed as solitary when not having random associations with other bulls or joining female herds for mating opportunities.
The realisation of the importance of the social ecology of male elephants and the role of older males in their society came at a huge cost when wildlife areas in South Africa, that had introduced young Kruger cull orphans without the social structure of older individuals, lost an incredible amount of rhino due to male adolescent elephant attacks. These young males were hitting puberty and immediately going into musth (a condition not normally experienced until a male elephant is in this mid to late twenties) as there were no older bulls to suppress it.
Coming into premature musth, they sought out reproduction opportunities, and when the young female elephants showed no interest they turned their attention to rhinos; these unusual interactions turned aggressive which often resulted in the death of the rhino. The introduction of older bulls into these areas soon put a stop to most of this ‘delinquent’ behaviour (Slotow et al. 2000; Slotow & van Dyk 2001).
This period of adolescence is one of huge change for young males, hitting puberty at the average age of 14 years (Short, Mann & Hay 1967; Lee 1986) and becoming independent of their herd by their early twenties (Poole 1989). It is a time of transition for bulls from leaving their herd to joining bull society.
Not only are they leaving their natal herd, but they are also leaving their natal area (Moss 1988), and so the knowledge of where to go for food and water – which they will have learned during their time with their herd – will be of limited use to them as they explore new areas.
How best do you learn where resources are in these new areas? Perhaps the easiest way to learn is from those that have thrived there – the larger, and therefore older, bulls that show by their physical presence that they know where good resources are.
Our studies on male elephants in the Okavango Delta and subsequently the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana has shown that male elephants are selective of who they spend time with, choosing to be in groups with males of a similar age (Evans & Harris 2008) which, when you are trying to assert yourself in your new social network, would be the best place to be as these are the individuals with whom you want to establish the social hierarchy.
Not only do they choose which age groups to hang out with they are also selective of the individual they spend time with, forming bonds with particular individuals (Pitfield 2017). However, when we looked at who their nearest neighbours were when in all male groups, we found that males of all ages prefer to be closest to those in the older age classification (>36 years of age) – those that are often referred to as past their reproductive prime and surplus to the biological needs of the population.
Our research in the Okavango Delta was focused in a bull area, with the majority of sightings being of males and a healthy population of older individuals. However, this changed over time with the western Delta becoming wetter from 2008 onwards, with more permanent water resources becoming available and an increase in females. We then started seeing less of the older males and wondered where they were going.
Males are often referred to as higher risk takers and more exploratory and thus it is no surprise that it is the males that are leading the way of the expansion of the Botswana elephants into historical rangelands.
At the same time we noticed the large bulls were frequenting our study area in the western Delta less, and reports were coming to us about large aggregations of males in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, south of the Delta.
In 2012 we moved to this area to retain our focus on bull elephant ecology in a bull area – to further our understanding of bull social ecology and the role of bull areas and to address the increasing issue of human-elephant competition in the area.
In 2009, the Boteti River started to flow again after a hiatus of some 18 years, this vital resource of water drew in elephants and other wildlife, alongside the human population. Whilst an obvious important physical resource for elephants, it soon became apparent that it serves as an important social resource, with male elephants spending a lot of time here interacting with other males (not just drinking and bathing), with aggregations of 100 males not an uncommon sighting.
Here the majority of our sightings are of male elephants (98% of all sightings) and again we are seeing that the older bulls are playing an important role in bull society. It may well be that these large numbers at the river give them an opportunity to select who to hang out with. Given the close proximity to community lands, and the predominance of older bulls raiding the crops (Stevens 2018), it may also be that younger bulls are learning the value of human habitation to their dietary requirements by spending time with these older males.
The management and conservation of elephants is always a hot topic of debate, from the affects of large offtake due to poaching and or management strategies, which individuals to hunt and who to translocate. Historically these decisions has been based purely on numbers with herd integrity being taken into account in later years.
As we learn more about the social requirements of male elephants, we must consider these in the management and conservation decisions we make; the importance of older individual to a ‘normal’ society and the importance of bonds in the stability of populations.
• Evans, K. & Harris, S. (2008). Adolescence in male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and the importance of sociality. 76, 779-787
• Foley, C., Pettorelli, N, & Foley, L. (2008) Severe drought and calf survival in elephants. Biology Letters 4(5) 541-544
• Hollister-Smith, J., Poole, J.H., Archie, E.A., Vance, E.A., Georgiadis, N.J., Moss, C.J. & Alberts, S.C. (2007). Age, musth and paternity success in wild male elephants, Loxodonta africana. Animal Behaviour, 74, 287-296
• Lee, P.C. (1986) Early social development among African elephant calves. National Geographic Research, 2, 388-401.
• McComb, K., Moss, C., Durant, S.M., Baker, L. & Sayialel, S. (2001) Matriarchs as repositories of social knowledge in African elephants. Science,292, 491-494.
• Moss, C. (1988) Elephant Memories. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
• Moss, C. J., Harvey C., & Lee, P.C. eds. (2011) The Amboseli elephants: a long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal. University of Chicago Press
• Pitfield, A.R. (2017) The social and environmental factors affecting the life of bull African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in a ‘bull area’ – a social network analysis. MSc Thesis. University of Bristol. pp87
• Poole, J.H. (1989) Announcing intent: the aggressive state of musth in African elephants. Animal Behaviour, 37, 140-152.
• Short, R.V., Mann, T. & Hay, M.F. (1967) Male reproductive organs of the African elephant. Journal of Reproductive Fertility, 13, 517-536.
• Slotow, R. & Van Dyk, G. (2001) Role of delinquent young “orphan” male elephants in high mortality of white rhinoceros in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa. Koedoe,44, 85-94.
• Slotow, R., Balfour, D. & Howison, O. (2001) Killing of black and white rhinoceroses by African elephants in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, South Africa. Pachyderm, 31, 14-20.
• Stevens, J. (2018) Understanding human-elephant interactions in and around Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana. PhD Thesis, University of Bristol. pp243