Amidst Broken Promises, Indigenous Authorities Detain Belo Monte Dam Engineers

Amazon Watch, International Rivers

Meanwhile a new lawsuit is filed seeking suspension of the dam’s construction license

For more information, contact:
Andrew Miller, +1-202-423-4828
Brent Millikan, +55 61 8153 7009,

Altamira, Brazil – Three engineers employed by Norte Energia, S.A (NESA), the company building the Belo Monte Dam on Brazil’s Xingu river, were detained Tuesday by Juruna and Arara tribal authorities in the remote village of Muratu after the company failed to live up to promised mitigation measures aimed at reducing the dam’s devastating impacts on local communities.   The incident occurred yesterday as Norte Energia sought to reach agreement with tribal leaders over measures to allegedly mitigate adverse impacts stemming from construction of earthen cofferdams on the Xingu river. The authorities report that the engineers are being prohibited from leaving the village but there is no use of force or violence. The dams are blocking navigation of small boats used by indigenous peoples and other local communities, especially to reach the town of Altamira, an important center for accessing markets, basic health care, education and other services. Continue reading Amidst Broken Promises, Indigenous Authorities Detain Belo Monte Dam Engineers

US says Rwanda’s Kagame may be charged with aiding war crimes

Mail and Guardian

The head of the US war crimes office has warned Rwanda’s leaders they could face prosecution for arming groups responsible for atrocities in the DRC.

Chris McGreal

Stephen Rapp, who leads the US office of global criminal justice, told the Guardian the Rwandan leadership – including President Paul Kagame – may be open to charges of “aiding and abetting” crimes against humanity in a neighbouring country – actions similar to those for which the former Liberian president Charles Taylor was jailed for 50 years by an international court in May.  Rapp’s warning follows a damning United Nations report on recent Rwandan military support for M23, an insurgent group that has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes since April as it seized territory in the eastern DRC. Continue reading US says Rwanda’s Kagame may be charged with aiding war crimes

Missio report on Boko Haram insurgence, state of security

Independent Catholic News

By: Rev Fr George Ajana National Director Missio/PMS Nigeria
In the real sense, Nigeria cannot be said to be a country in turmoil as a result of religious differences. In fact, the three known religions – Christianity, Islam and African Traditional Religions are thriving successfully in the practice of their various forms of religion, with majority living in harmony and peace without offensive feelings about the dogma or faith profession of each religion. Even, there have been marriages between the different believers. However, this does not mean all is perfect as there have been some skirmishes on basis of religion, particularly in the north of the country. But in the south, inter-religious marriages and harmony are more pronounced. Religion in Nigeria is an effective catalyst of heating up emotion in a community of faith out of a diversity of tribes. Continue reading Missio report on Boko Haram insurgence, state of security

US grants property waiver to Nicaragua

Sent by Nica Net

The exception will be effective for a year until July 29, 2013

July 25, 2012

The Government of the United States today granted the property waiver to Nicaragua, the US embassy in Managua announced in an official communication this morning.

The waver or exemption, of a year duration, is an exception to that application of a law that prohibits bilateral US aid and support for loans on the part of international financial institutions, to those states where US citizens have not received from the local government adequate and effective compensation for claims of confiscated property, as in the case of Nicaragua, according to the communiqué.

The waiver, effective for a year until July 29, 2013, was based on the national interests of the United States and on the efforts made by the Government of Nicaragua to resolve property claims of US citizens.   To see the text of the US communiqué in Spanish go to the US embassy website:  It has not yet been posted on the State Department website in English.  

Nigeria: Impact of religion in the Nigeria disturbances

Source:  1.Vanguard | 2. The Moment (London) | 3. Leadership (Abuja)

Find here three AllAfrica texts illustrating the impact of religion in the Nigeria disturbances. First, a writer puts forward the opinion that Boko Haram relies on religion as a fuel for mobilization towards violent solving of grievances against society. Then, a leader cautions against people who plan to ignite a religious war. Finally, some Muslim elders urge the group to consider the hardship being faced by the people due to the crisis. Continue reading Nigeria: Impact of religion in the Nigeria disturbances

Democratic Republic of Congo: Kinshasa: A city’s modern march of hope

A man pulls a wheelbarow filled with 18 empty oil drums. Photo: Cindy Shiner
This opinion piece captures the modern struggle for daily livelihood of the people of Kinshasa. Decades of poor governance, conflict and corruption have turned the people into great ‘Kinois’, meaning experts in ‘getting by’ during hard economic and political times.   It begins at twilight, just as the roosters begin to crow, before the sky reclaims the overnight rain. At first there are only a few hundred – the earliest risers, the ones hoping to get ahead of the traffic, those wishing for a jump on the competition. By dawn, the steam rising from the rain-soaked ditches and potholes, the people along the Boulevard Lumumba number in the thousands. Continue reading Democratic Republic of Congo: Kinshasa: A city’s modern march of hope

Law on violence against women goes into effect

Latin America Press

Carmen Herrera

Legislation is considered a breakthrough, but campaigns to promote womens rights are needed.

On June 22, the Law on Violence Against Women entered into force in Nicaragua, with the approval of its rules of procedure five months after the bill passed in the National Assembly. It carries a penalty of 25-30 years of jail time for a man who kills a woman with whom he had a relationship, including current or former romantic partners, family members, or friends. Continue reading Law on violence against women goes into effect

Brazilian government harshly criticized at Rio+20 for putting the Amazon at risk

Latin America Press

José Pedro Martins

As the world’s largest rainforest, with the highest concentration of biodiversity and one of the largest freshwater reserves on the planet, the Amazon is at the center of the environmental debate in Brazil. That was no different at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this year, also known as Rio+20.  The Brazilian government’s policies regarding the Amazon were strongly criticized by environmentalists, scientists, indigenous peoples and traditional communities during events parallel to Rio+20. Held in Rio de Janeiro from June 20 to 22, it was the perfect setting for the government to present its action plan to reduce deforestation and protect the vast rain forest.  The criticisms focused on three points. First was the group of hydroelectric projects in the region, particularly the construction of the Belo Monte plant on the Xingu River basin, which will become the third largest hydroelectric power plant after Three Gorges in China and Itaipu, which is shared by Brazil and Paraguay. The other grievances are about deforestation and a law passed by the Senate to reduce conservation areas. Continue reading Brazilian government harshly criticized at Rio+20 for putting the Amazon at risk

Scientists Discover New Threats to Corals

By Stephen Leahy

CAIRNS, Australia, Jul 24 2012 (IPS) – Most corals thrive only in shallow waters, where there is enough light for them to grow. But the rapid rise in sea level, due to the melting of polar ice, is making these conditions increasingly scarce.  Measurements from tropical seas around the world reveal that the rise in sea level (3.3 mm/year) is happening at a faster rate than many corals have grown in the past 10,000 years, according to new research released at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS).  “The Caribbean once had 60 percent coral cover, and that has now collapsed to 10 percent,” said Jeremy Jackson, professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, in a special address to the symposium, held Jul. 9-13 in Cairns, Australia. “Corals are critical and endangered ecosystems.” Continue reading Scientists Discover New Threats to Corals

Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July

The Guardian

Scientists at Nasa admitted they thought satellite readings were a mistake after images showed 97% surface melt over four days

Suzanne Goldenberg US environment correspondent

The Greenland ice sheet melted at a faster rate this month than at any other time in recorded history, with virtually the entire ice sheet showing signs of thaw.   The rapid melting over just four days was captured by three satellites. It has stunned and alarmed scientists, and deepened fears about the pace and future consequences of climate change.  In a statement posted on  scientists admitted the satellite data was so striking they thought at first there had to be a mistake.   “This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?” Son Nghiem of Nasa’s jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena said in the release. Continue reading Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July