Brazil judge blocks Amazon Belo Monte dam

A Brazilian judge has blocked plans to build a huge hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest because of environmental concerns.

Kaiapo Indians protests against the Belo Monte dam in Brasilia, 8 February 2011 The ruling follows protests by local indigenous groups

Federal judge Ronaldo Desterro said environmental requirements to build the Belo Monte dam had not been met.

He also barred the national development bank, BNDES, from funding the project.

The dam is a cornerstone of President Dilma Rousseff’s plans to upgrade Brazil’s energy infrastructure. Continue reading Brazil judge blocks Amazon Belo Monte dam

USCCB Chairman Supports Wisconsin Bishops on the Rights of Workers


WASHINGTON (February 24, 2011)—Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed his “support for and solidarity” with the Wisconsin bishops’ statement on the rights of workers. Continue reading USCCB Chairman Supports Wisconsin Bishops on the Rights of Workers

IMBISA Statement on Zimbabwe

Addressed to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, SADC President 2011.

1.      We, the Catholic Bishops of IMBISA (Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa & Zimbabwe) gathered in Pretoria for our 9th Plenary Session, wish to address a very particular plea to the political leaders of the SADC region.  We do this at a critical time in the life of the Zimbabwean Nation.  We do this firstly and especially, out of a deep concern for the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Continue reading IMBISA Statement on Zimbabwe

The World Social Forum, Egypt, and Transformation

 Common Dreams

 by Immanuel Wallerstein

 The World Social Forum (WSF) is alive and well. It just met in Dakar, Senegal from Feb. 6-11. By unforeseen coincidence, this was the week of the Egyptian people’s successful dethroning of Hosni Mubarak, which finally succeeded just as the WSF was in its closing session. The WSF spent the week cheering the Egyptians on – and discussing the meaning of the Tunisian/ Egyptian revolutions for their program of transformation, for achieving another world that is possible – possible, not certain. Continue reading The World Social Forum, Egypt, and Transformation

Nigeria: ‘Genuine Muslim-Christian relationship possible in Plateau’-Archbishop

Summary & Comment: In support of a call addressed to people of all faiths by the Archbishop of Jos Diocese, Plateau governor said “mutual coexistence among religious faith is a major challenge globally but that it should serve as a wake up call for all to deliberately work towards building a harmonious society”. He added “one of the threats to peace and harmony in Jos is religious intolerance”. Continue reading Nigeria: ‘Genuine Muslim-Christian relationship possible in Plateau’-Archbishop

Black (or White?) History Month

Pambazuka News
The author traces the roots of Black History Month and reflects on its significance. The predominant focus on slavery and the slave diaspora in the United States is symptomatic of the Western-centric nature of “black” history. This trend is not just limited to Black History Month but also too much of the teaching of history on the African continent. Both Black History Month and the history of Africa in general need to be decolonized and re-oriented to reflect African perspectives. Continue reading Black (or White?) History Month

In Congo, an assassination’s long shadow

New York Times
Summary & Comment: Adam Hochschild, known for his book “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa,” reflects on the legacy of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected president of the DRC. Hochschild traces the Congo’s history of violence, corruption and warfare, linking much of it back to Lumumba’s murder. He urges the United States to recognize their complicity in both the assassination of Lumumba and the subsequent propping up of dictator Joseph Mobutu. Ultimately, Hochschild sees Lumumba’s death as a moment that has since colored the Congo’s history, demonstrating the dangers of foreign involvement for self-interested purposes. Continue reading In Congo, an assassination’s long shadow