Family Wins Fracking Suit in Legal Blow to Industry

Common Dreams

Attorney: “I’m really proud of the family that went through what they went through and said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore.’”

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Lisa Parr and her daughter Emma pictured in 2011. On Tuesday the family was vindicated when a jury found a fracking company guilty of causing damages to the family's health and home. (Screenshot: Fox 4)
Lisa Parr and her daughter Emma pictured in 2011. On Tuesday the family was vindicated when a jury found a fracking company guilty of causing damages to the family’s health and home. (Screenshot: Fox 4)

In what is being called a legal blow to the fracking industry, on Tuesday a Texas family was awarded $3 million in the first ever verdict to be handed down over the negative health impacts of fracking.

Bob and Lisa Parr of Wise County sued Aruba Petroleum in 2011 for shale gas drilling operations which their lawyers said “fouled the family’s 40-acre ranch property, their home and quality of life,” by sickening both them and their daughter Emma, as well as their pets and livestock.

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Brazil’s World Cup Will Kick the Environment in the Teeth

The Nation

Dave Zirin

brazilAs Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, a topic that plagues the country is the impact hosting these games will have on the local environment and various ecosystems. Despite efforts by soccer’s ruling body, FIFA, to “greenwash” the games—by holding “green events” during the World Cup, putting out press releases about infrastructure construction with recycled materials and speaking rhapsodically about the ways in which the stadiums are designed to capture and recycle rainwater—the truth is not nearly so rank with patchouli oil.

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South Sudan has become ‘the place where God weeps’

America Magazine

A rebel fighter wears a mask near a body in front of a mosque where people were massacred in Bentiu, South Sudan, April 20. Rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they seized the South Sudan oil hub of Bentiu, hunting down men, women and children who had sought refuge in a hospital, mosque and Catholic church, the United Nations said.
A rebel fighter wears a mask near a body in front of a mosque where people were massacred in Bentiu, South Sudan, April 20. Rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they seized the South Sudan oil hub of Bentiu, hunting down men, women and children who had sought refuge in a hospital, mosque and Catholic church, the United Nations said.

South Sudan’s civil war has taken a brutal turn, despite appeals from the country’s church leaders to stop the violence.

In the oil hub of Bentiu, rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, killed more than 200 civilians and wounded more than 400 in mid-April, the United Nations reported April 21. People were slaughtered inside a mosque, a hospital, and the city’s Catholic church. The U.N. said hate speech was broadcast on local radio stations, urging certain groups to leave the city and encouraging men to rape women.

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Reframing the Planet

The Guardian

People who think they are protecting nature by costing it are stepping straight into the destroyers’ trap.

By George Monbiot

George Orwell warned that “the logical end of mechanical progress is to reduce the human being to something resembling a brain in a bottle”(1). This is a story of how it happens.

On the outskirts of Sheffield there is a wood which, some 800 years ago, was used by the monks of Kirkstead Abbey to produce charcoal for smelting iron(2). For local people, Smithy Wood is freighted with stories. Among the trees you can imagine your way into another world. The application to plant a motorway service station in the middle of it, wiping out half the wood and fragmenting the rest, might have been unthinkable a few months ago. No longer.

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After 34 Years of Mugabe: From Darling to Despot, and from Hope to Hunger

Think Africa Press

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is living proof that power corrupts, and that a cult of personality can devastate a country otherwise brimming with potential.

By Jeffrey Smith

Robert Mugabe accepting a gift from New Zealand in 1980. Photograph by Archives New Zealand.
Robert Mugabe accepting a gift from New Zealand in 1980. Photograph by Archives New Zealand.

On 17 April, 1980, Robert Mugabe addressed a euphoric crowd in the soon-to-be- independent Zimbabwe. In the aftermath of a long and brutal liberation struggle against white minority rule, Mugabe seemed to publicly embrace the ideals of peace and reconciliation. By becoming Zimbabwe’s leader he ostensibly vanquished the ugly specter of colonialism and racism that had defined the country formerly known as Rhodesia, and entered office buoyed by a wave of international fanfare and support.

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Kenyans’ long wait for justice

Deutsche Welle

The trial of Kenyan President Kenyatta at the World Criminal Court is threatening to collapse due to lack of evidence. Survivors of the 2007 post-election violence fear they will be denied justice.

Hundred of thousands of people living in the Kibera slum are still waiting for justice
Hundred of thousands of people living in the Kibera slum are still waiting for justice

The narrow streets of Kibera are full of huts made of wood or corrugated iron. This is Nairobi’s largest slum and home to people who make a living as craftsmen, traders or snack vendors as well as hundreds of thousands of poor and jobless people. No one here can afford a lawyer. Those who need legal aid go to human rights organizations such as the”“Kibera Community Justice Center.” Most of the legal advisors work on a voluntary basis. They have their hands full because many slum dwellers are still suffering from the 2007 post-election riots, when members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribe attacked each other, armed with knives, machetes and iron bars. Members of the police and military also took part in the violence which killed more than 1,000 people and displaced thousands.

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Mental health response gaps in South Sudan

A local outpatient clinic in Minkaman, Awerial County, South Sudan. Photo: Andrew Green/IRIN
A local outpatient clinic in Minkaman, Awerial County, South Sudan. Photo: Andrew Green/IRIN

Juba, 17 March 2014 (IRIN) – Aid workers warn that while psychosocial support needs will mount for the tens of thousands of displaced people in South Sudan, the resources and skills needed to treat them are in short supply, and there is particular concern for men, who feel targeted in the ongoing fighting.

South Sudan has been no stranger to conflict in its short two-and-a-half year history. Emerging from a civil war with Sudan, the country, especially restive Jonglei State, has seen regular cattle raids, inter-communal clashes and battles between rebel groups and the national army.

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