Monday, May 18, 2009

News of interest 5/18/09

How to survive the coming century

ALLIGATORS basking off the English coast; a vast Brazilian desert; the mythical lost cities of Saigon, New Orleans, Venice and Mumbai; and 90 per cent of humanity vanished. Welcome to the world warmed by 4 °C.

Clearly this is a vision of the future that no one wants, but it might happen. Fearing that the best efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions may fail, or that planetary climate feedback mechanisms will accelerate warming, some scientists and economists are considering not only what this world of the future might be like, but how it could sustain a growing human population. They argue that surviving in the kinds of numbers that exist today, or even more, will be possible, but only if we use our uniquely human ingenuity to cooperate as a species to radically reorganise our world.

The good news is that the survival of humankind itself is not at stake: the species could continue if only a couple of hundred individuals remained. But maintaining the current global population of nearly 7 billion, or more, is going to require serious planning.

-New Scientist

Militants threaten to blockade oil vessels

Nigeria's main militant group said on Monday it would blockade key waterways in the Niger Delta to try to prevent crude oil exports after days of military helicopter and gunboat raids on its camps.

The security forces launched an offensive against militant camps around Warri in the western Niger Delta on Friday after two oil vessels were hijacked and its soldiers were attacked, leading to the heaviest fighting in at least eight months.

"We have ordered the blockade of key waterway channels to oil industry vessels both for the export of crude and gas and importation of refined petroleum products," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said.

"This means vessels now ply such routes at their risk," the group said in an e-mailed statement.


Reliving the Sean Bell Case by Renaming a Street

New York politicians love to rename streets, and the battles that ensue range from the explosive to the mundane.

The City Council’s vote in 2007 to reject renaming a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, after the black activist Sonny Carson came closer to dividing the Council along racial lines than any issue that members could recall. On the other hand, when Rose Feiss, the founder of a lampshade factory, was honored in 1987 with an eponymous boulevard in the South Bronx, the main objection was that the change might confuse people looking for the former Walnut Street.

So William G. Bell is prepared for anything as he pushes for a Sean Bell Way in Jamaica, Queens. “I can’t get no more disappointed than what I already went through,” said Mr. Bell, who is seeking to rename several blocks of Liverpool Street for his son Sean, 23, who was killed there in a barrage of police bullets as he left a nightclub on what would have been his wedding day, Nov. 25, 2006.

Police officers testified that in a chaotic scene outside the club they believed that a friend of Sean Bell’s had a gun. No gun was found. When a Queens judge last year acquitted the three detectives involved, the decision spurred protests that led to hundreds of arrests.
-New York Times

Indigenous Chiapans Insist They Are in Prison For Belonging to the EZLN

El Amate, Chiapas. May 6 - "I have been detained because I belong to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation" (EZLN), Miguel Vazquez Moreno declared today when he gave his testimony in the second criminal court in the State Center for Social Rehabilitation of Convicts (CERSS in its Spanish initials) number 14, El Amate, where none of the officials and employees, of course, are wearing face masks. Nor do they seem aware that there is a national and state health emergency.

In contrast to his first "statement" given under coercion in pre-charge detention, Vazquez Moreno is assisted by an interpreter who speaks his language, or at least a variation of his dialect (the interpreter the authorities have provided is from Cancuc, while the eight detained men from San Sebastian Bachajon speak the tzeltal dialect of Chilon). But, at least they understand each other, and that is enough.

From behind the railing he declares himself innocent of the charges against him, and requests that he be freed for lack of evidence to proceed with a trial. And he introduces himself in this manner: "I am from the ejido San Sebastian Bachajon and I belong to the support bases of the EZLN, an organization that defends its right to exercise autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples, its right to territory and natural resources."
-La Journada (translated to English by Kristin Bricker)

No comments: