Gulf spill raises questions about role of oil consultants
By Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspaper
WASHINGTON – The names, locations and geographical coordinates are different. Otherwise the drilling plans for three oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico contain identical fonts, footnotes, overly optimistic projections and even typographical errors.
The companies employed the same small Houston consulting firm, R.E.M. Solutions, to prepare environmental information to submit to federal regulators for drill sites hundreds of miles from each other. R.E.M.’s analyses read like photocopies, each saying 11 times that an oil spill was “unlikely to have an impact based on the industry wide standards for using proven equipment and technology for such responses.”
Hudson Bay polar bears ‘could soon be extinct’
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor Thursday, 15 July 2010
Polar bears in the Hudson Bay area of Canada are likely to die out in the next three decades, possibly sooner, as global warming melts more Arctic ice and thus reduces their hunting opportunities, according to Canadian biologists.
The animals in western Hudson Bay, one of 19 discrete sub-populations of the species around the Arctic, are losing fat and body mass as their time on the floating sea ice gets shorter and shorter, according to the researchers from the University of Alberta.
The sea ice is where the bears hunt ringed and bearded seals, their main prey, and they have to build up enough fat in the winter, when the ice is at its greatest, to get through the summer, when the ice retreats from the shoreline and the bears can find no food.
Oil leak in choke line delays start of latest test by BP
By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2010
A new piece of equipment designed to control the gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well sprung its own leak Wednesday night, the latest setback to BP’s efforts to put an end to the environmental disaster.
BP said that the leak in what is known as the choke line could be repaired and that its effort to close the damaged well, and shut down the flow of oil permanently, would resume. But video streams from the seafloor showed a chaotic plume of oil and gas continuing to surge from one of the outlets on the 75-ton cap installed earlier this week.
Tracie Washington: This crime was a symptom of a wider sickness in the police
Katrina: America’s Bloody Sunday
Thursday, 15 July 2010
These charges have been a long time coming. I was in New Orleans throughout the floods and in the days after, and I still remember the sense that something had gone amiss when we first heard of the incident on Danziger Bridge, the way our anger grew.
Since that terrible day back in September 2005, the community – and most particularly the African American community – has been petitioning, marching, following lawsuits, begging, and pleading for justice to be done over these premeditated, murderous acts.
The community has known, through its own investigation and its own work, what happened that day.
Croatia gives Serbia list of 1,500 indicted or convicted for war crimes
Croatia has given Serbia a list of some 1,500 Serbs indicted or convicted for war crimes committed during the 1991-1995 war there, according to a minister.
Published: 11:12PM BST 14 Jul 2010
The list, kept secret until recently, was an obstacle for Serb refugees wanting to return to their homes in Croatia after the war as they did not know if they were on the wanted list.
Zagreb provided it to Serbia earlier this year, said Justice Minister Snezana Malovic, who along with her Croatian counterpart Ivan Simonovic have formed a joint panel to work out the problem.
“The commission agreed criteria and methods of work, so all citizens who are interested will be able to see if they are on the list in the justice ministries in Serbia and Croatia,” Malovic told Tanjug news agency.
Northern Ireland’s politicians take united stance against rioters
Protestant and Catholic leaders in Northern Ireland have vowed to protect the peace process after sectarian rioting left more than 80 police injured. There are fears of a new generation of violence.
CRIME | 15.07.2010
Northern Irish politicians from both sides of the country’s political divide vowed that street violence would not be allowed to threaten the peace process.
More than 80 police officers were injured after rioting in Belfast and other towns and cities, with fears that a new generation is becoming embroiled in sectarian struggles.
“This administration is determined to move our society forward,” said First Minister and Unionist leader Peter Robinson said in a statement on Wednesday after three nights of violence.
Children as young as nine were reported to have been involved in the rioting which continued into Wednesday morning in the Catholic district of Ardoyne.
Iranian man claims US abduction
THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010
An Iranian man who said he was kidnapped by the US has arrived home in Tehran, vowing to reveal more details of his claimed abduction while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last year.
Speaking to Al Jazeera during a transit stop in Qatar, Shahram Amiri said he was interrogated by US agents who refused to allow him contact with his family, but that he “never cracked” and had not revealed any secret information about Iran’s nuclear programme.
US military to hand over last detention centre in Iraq
The US military is to hand over control of its last remaining detention centre in Iraq, as it increases the pace of its withdrawal from the country.
The BBC 15 July 2010
The Iraqi authorities will take charge of 1,600 of the 1,800 detainees at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad’s airport.
The US military has been asked to hold the remainder, some of them alleged members of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Earlier this week, 26 former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime, including his deputy PM Tariq Aziz, were transferred.
Mr Aziz gave himself up in April 2003, about a month after the US-led invasion, and had been housed at Camp Cropper in special quarters.
The 74-year-old was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the 1992 execution of 42 merchants found guilty of profiteering.
Afghans to Form Local Forces to Fight Taliban
By ALISSA J. RUBIN
Published: July 14, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan – After intensive negotiations with NATO military commanders, the Afghan government on Wednesday approved a program to establish local defense forces that American military officials hope will help remote areas of the country thwart attacks by Taliban insurgents.
Details of the plan are sketchy, but Americans had been promoting the force as a crucial stopgap to combat rising violence here and frustration with the slow pace of training permanent professional security forces – the bottom-line condition for the American military to begin pulling back from an increasingly unpopular war. Many parts of Afghanistan have no soldiers or police officers on the ground.
North Korea facing health and food crisis, says Amnesty International
Human rights group calls on international community to help end regime’s ‘systematic neglect’ and prevent humanitarian disaster
The Guardian,Thursday 15 July 2010
A desperate picture of the health of North Korea’s population is painted by a report describing a country of stunted children, where the hungry eat poisonous plants and pigfeed, amputations are conducted without anaesthetic and doctors are paid in cigarettes.
Almost two decades after it was hit by a famine that killed an estimated 2 million people, North Korea again faces widespread food shortages and is unable to provide even basic healthcare for its people, according to the report, published today by Amnesty International.
The human rights organisation accuses the North Korean regime of systematic neglect and calls on the international community to intervene to prevent a humanitarian disaster.
Uganda ‘to go on the offensive’ following Kampala blasts
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said on Wednesday that African troops in Somalia should be boosted to 20 000 to “eliminate” those behind the Kampala blasts that killed more than 70 people
NTUNGAMO, UGANDA Jul 15 2010 07:18
“We can join to build up the strength of that force to 20 000 so that working with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia we can eliminate the terrorists,” he told reporters in the western town of Ntungamo.
Somalia’s al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shabaab on Monday claimed responsibility for the blasts that killed at least 73 people in Kampala as they watched the final of Soccer World Cup at two separate sites.
Museveni said East African nations had already agreed to send an additional 2 000 troops to Somalia, but after Sunday’s attacks, the force should be further bolstered.
After South Africa’s World Cup, xenophobic threats on the rise
South Africa hosted a successful World Cup, but now many citizens are stepping up threats against migrant workers from other African countries. Will there be a repeat of deadly riots of 2008? One employer is building an ‘asylum.’
By Ivo Vegter, Correspondent / July 14, 2010
Knysna, South Africa
Jim Brown, an engineer in the southern-Cape town of Kynsna, South Africa, is adamant.
“Absolutely, the threats are real,” he says, referring to concerns that the sort of xenophobic violence that killed scores and displaced tens of thousands in 2008 could start again – and soon. “I started getting warnings about three months ago, and during the World Cup, my guys were told to expect action by the last weekend of the tournament,” says Brown, who now operates a renovation and construction business from the industrial area of town.
“It’s hard to say who’s behind it, but it does seem to be very organized. Even the security guards around here have been warning foreigners that trouble is coming,” he says.
Laboring under a cloud of violence: Union clashes are on the rise in Venezuela
By Juan Forero
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2010
MARACAY, VENEZUELA — Calling itself the most labor-friendly government in Latin America, President Hugo Chávez’s socialist administration has repeatedly increased the minimum wage, turned over the management of some nationalized companies to workers and fostered the creation of new unions.
But labor leaders and human rights groups say the government’s efforts have had a dark side. About 75 union members have been shot dead in the past two years as the new unions — many of them pro-Chávez — and traditional unions battle it out, making Venezuela among the world’s most dangerous countries for labor activists