Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers

The Independent
ExxonMobil cash supported concerted campaign to undermine case for man-made warming
By Jonathan Owen and Paul Bignell

Stephen McIntyre, who runs, part of a network of climate change sceptics.

An orchestrated campaign is being waged against climate change science to undermine public acceptance of man-made global warming, environment experts claimed last night.

The attack against scientists supportive of the idea of man-made climate change has grown in ferocity since the leak of thousands of documents on the subject from the University of East Anglia (UEA) on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit last December. Continue reading Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers

Sick Nigeria President Yar’Adua ‘to hand over power’

Nigeria’s ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua will write a letter handing power over to his vice-president, his adviser has told the BBC.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has both heart and kidney problems

The letter, formally informing the Senate that Mr Yar’Adua is on “medical vacation”, automatically means his deputy becomes acting president.

The president’s allies have previously resisted calls for him to step aside. Continue reading Sick Nigeria President Yar’Adua ‘to hand over power’

Kenyan mapping tool helps Haiti quake victims

Daily Nation

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd R) speaks with displaced Haitians in front of the Haitian National Palace during his trip to Port-au-Prince January 17, 2010. A Kenyan online mapping tool — — is being used by international organisations to mobilise assistance for the Caribbean nation. Photo/REUTERS

An online crisis mapping tool initiated and operated by Kenyans has been assisting families and friends locate missing persons, following the horrendous earthquake that hit the Haitian capital three weeks ago.

The online mapping tool — — is also being used by international organisations to mobilise assistance for the Caribbean nation. These organisations include the United Nations Foundation, Plan International, Charity Water and the International Red Cross Society.

Other groups using the site include the Clinton Foundation, International Medical Corps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Agency for International Development. Continue reading Kenyan mapping tool helps Haiti quake victims

Protecting Haiti’s children

National Catholic Reporter
Experience says caution, patience must be exercised among children
By Judy Gross

A child waits for a meal to be distributed by the U.N. World Food Program in a makeshift camp in Jacmel, Haiti, Jan. 28. (CNS photo)

Shortly after an earthquake devastated Haiti Jan. 12, the Miami, Fla., archdiocese offered to set up operation “Pierre Pan,” a program to resettle Haitian children in the United States, modeled after a similar “Pedro Pan” program in the 1960s that found homes for some 14,000 Cuban children.

The day after he floated the idea of Pierre Pan, even Randolph McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Charities Legal Services in Miami, admitted that it is too soon to focus on relocation and adoption. Haiti’s immediate needs must take precedence, McGrorty told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper Jan. 19. Continue reading Protecting Haiti’s children

PERU: Mining Co’s Making a Mint, Tax Free

By Milagros Salazar
LIMA, Feb 1, 2010 (IPS) – Experts and activists in Peru complain that while mining corporations are cashing in on soaring metals prices, they continue to enjoy exemption from royalties and corporate taxes, if they reinvest their profits.

Legal stability contracts that locked in the tax status of nearly two dozen mining companies were signed under the administration of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) with the aim of promoting investment. Continue reading PERU: Mining Co’s Making a Mint, Tax Free

Brazil grants environmental licence for Belo Monte dam

BBC News, Sao Paulo
By Gary Duffy
Brazil’s government has granted an environmental licence for the construction of a controversial hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest.
Environmental groups say the Belo Monte dam will cause devastation in a large area of the rainforest and threaten the survival of indigenous groups.

However, the government says whoever is awarded the project will have to pay $800m to protect the environment.

The initial approval was a key step before investors could submit bids.


The proposal to build a hydro-electric dam on the Xingu river, a tributary of the Amazon in the northern state of Para, has long been a source of controversy. Continue reading Brazil grants environmental licence for Belo Monte dam

‘I am humbled by these people’

National Catholic Reporter
By Tom Hagan
Haiti — First Person
Editor’s note: Fr. Tom Hagan, 68, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, is founder of a nonprofit organization, “Hands Together” (, which began its work in 1985 when Hagan, then a chaplain at colleges in southeastern Pennsylvania, started taking students on visits to Haiti. Out of those visits grew a network of supporters and a respected relief organization. Hagan moved to Port-au-Prince in 1997 where he oversaw a program he had begun in Cité Soleil, that city’s largest and most desperate slum. The program is widely recognized as one of the most effective educational and health organizations in that area. Continue reading ‘I am humbled by these people’

Inertia rules as Nigerians lament leader’s absence

By Will Ross

Wole Soyinka says critical issues have ground to a halt

After weeks of rumours and reports that Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua had died or was brain damaged, a BBC interview with the ailing leader broadcast on Tuesday will come as a relief to many.

But the perception that the political crisis is not over is widespread. Continue reading Inertia rules as Nigerians lament leader’s absence

Haiti earthquake jolts a million city-dwellers to head for ‘home’

Christian Science Monitor
By Howard LaFranchi Staff writer
Jacmel, Haiti —

Haiti’s earthquake reversed a decades-long provinces- to-capital migration, driving as many as 1 million Haitians from overburdened Port-au- Prince. Haitian officials are now see an opportunity to 'decentralize' the country.

Geralda Jean-Narcisse, a school secretary in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, was so traumatized by the Jan. 12 earthquake and the devastation it wreaked around her that she could only think of one thing: getting home to Jacmel, the seaside town 50 miles southwest of the capital where her parents live.

When she finally got on a hot and crowded tap-tap (a Haitian bus) earlier this week and made her way to Jacmel, she was disheartened by what greeted her. Continue reading Haiti earthquake jolts a million city-dwellers to head for ‘home’

Nigeria’s vigilante ‘jungle justice’

”]In a series of articles looking at policing in Nigeria, the BBC’s Andrew Walker meets a group of vigilantes who guard residential neighbourhoods in the south-eastern city of Enugu.

Paul Oparaji is the chairman of a local neighbourhood watch group in Enugu – quite normal for a pensioner, one might think.

But in Nigeria “neighbourhood watch” means taking to the streets with a gun or machete and possibly lynching armed robbers.

At an age where other men are keen to put their feet up and enjoy the company of their family, Mr Oparaji is a vigilante, prepared to dispense what he calls “jungle justice”. Continue reading Nigeria’s vigilante ‘jungle justice’