EDF drops lawsuit against environmental activists after backlash

EDF’s West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire. The energy firm claims activists caused damage in excess of £5m. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Guardian

Energy company accused of undermining peaceful protest with civil action against campaigners who occupied power plant

The energy company EDF has dropped a £5m civil lawsuit against a group of 21 activists who occupied one of its gas-fired power plants for a week in October 2012, in a move described by supporters of the demonstrators as a “humiliating climbdown”.

EDF faced a strong public backlash against its civil suit, which was described by opponents as an attempt to undermine peaceful protest in the UK, after details of the action were published in the Guardian.
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A sigh of relief post-Kenya election

Odinga supporters are disbelieving at the election result as they demonstrate in Nairobi

New Internationalist

By Henry Owino

Kenya has finally redeemed its image from the tarnishing it experienced during the 2007 post-general election violence. Kenyans have largely accepted the results of the latest poll on 4 March and maintained the peace, regardless of which side of the party political divide they stand on.

The losers remained peaceful, as winners celebrated their victory in colorful pomp. Supporters of winning presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta roused fellow Kenyans from their sleep at 1am on Saturday morning with blaring sounds of vuvuzelas (plastic blow horns) and whistles. People young and old, men and women, celebrated with dance and songs. Continue reading A sigh of relief post-Kenya election

Uprooting Racism in the Food System: African Americans Organize

Setting up bee hives at D-Town Farm in Detroit. The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network runs D-Town Farm, teaches gardening skills, and educates about the food system. They also work on policy change and dismantling racism to build food security in Detroit’s Black community. Photo courtesy of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

Other Words

By Beverly Bell, Tory Field, and Deepa Panchang

A shovel overturned can flip so much more than soil, worms, and weeds. Structural racism – the ways in which social systems and institutions promote and perpetuate the oppression of people of color – manifests at all points in the food system. It emerges as barriers to land ownership and credit access for farmers of color, as wage discrimination and poor working conditions for food and farm workers of color, and as lack of healthy food in neighborhoods of color. It shows up as discrimination in housing, employment, redlining, and other elements which impact food access and food justice.

Many people involved in creating food – from Haitian tomato pickers organizing in Florida, to Native Americans saving seeds in Arizona, to Black Detroit residents growing gardens in fractured neighborhoods – are simultaneously chipping away at structural racism. In the Harvesting Justice series we touch on many of these issues, starting with a look at African-American farmers and what they doing to win justice in the food system.
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Local Communities Forced to Pay Salaries of DRC Army and Rebels

The M23 rebels are among the other rebel groups and Congolese army who have been accused of extorting money from locals to pay their soldiers. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

By Taylor Toeka Kakala

GOMA , Mar 15 2013 (IPS) – On the way to his fields, Denise Mambo, a resident of Kitshanga, North Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, stops at a rope laid across his path.

“No one is allowed to go past this rope without paying the ‘lala salama’,” a Congolese army (FARDC) sergeant known only by the nickname Django tells IPS.

The “lala salama”, Swahili for “sleep in peace”, is an illegal tax often imposed by the army and rebels in the eastern DRC battlegrounds of North and South Kivu, Maniema, Katanga and Eastern provinces — and particularly in the Ituri region in the northeast.
Continue reading Local Communities Forced to Pay Salaries of DRC Army and Rebels

Voting Will Change the Lives of Zimbabwe’s Women

Five million registered voters in Zimbabawe have an opportunity to change the lives of this country’s women. Women represent the majority, some 53 percent of the Zimbabwe’s 12.6 million people. Credit: Trevor Davies/IPS

By Nyarai Mudimu

MOUNT DARWIN, Zimbabwe, Mar 15 2013 (IPS) – “Ten reasons why women must vote ‘Yes’ for the draft constitution…” says the Constitution Select Committee’s campaign radio jingle that plays over the airwaves in a grocer’s store at Mukumbura border post business centre on Zimbabwe’s northeastern border with Mozambique.

Zimbabwe is holding a referendum on Mar. 16 to decide on whether to adopt the draft constitution that has taken almost four years to draft and gobbled 50 million dollars of donor funds from the impoverished country’s economy.

The Constitution Select Committee (Copac) is the constitutional parliamentary committee tasked with writing the draft constitution, and ahead of the referendum has been tasked with informing Zimbabweans about the draft and encouraging them to vote.
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Odinga challenges defeat at Kenya Court

Supporters of Raila Odinga gather to support the defeated candidate’s move to petition the Supreme Court [EPA]
Al Jazeera

Police fire teargas at supporters as the defeated presidential contender files legal objection to election results.

Kenya’s defeated presidential contender Raila Odinga has filed a challenge to his election defeat, as police fired teargas to disperse his supporters who had gathered in front of the Supreme Court where the decision will be made.

Lawyers for Odinga, who is Kenya’s prime minister, called their petition before the Supreme Court on Saturday a “legitimate legal process” that ensures the will of the people is respected.

Odinga refuses to accept the slim first-round win by his opponent Uhuru Kenyatta, alleging collusion between the president-elect and the electoral commission.
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Zimbabwe votes on new constitution

Al Jazeera

Reports of violence mar campaign for widely supported charter that would limit powers of President Robert Mugabe.

zim2Polls have opened in Zimbabwe for a referendum on a new constitution that would curb President Robert Mugabe’s powers and pave the way for elections later in the year.

Around six million eligible voters began casting their ballots on Saturday at 05:00 GMT at 9,456 polling stations dotted across the southern African country. Polls across Zimbabwe are due to close at 17:00 GMT.

Official results are expected to be released within five days of the vote.

The country’s main political parties, including Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, are in favour of the proposed law changes, making the simple majority needed for a “yes” vote a near certainty.
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Climate Change Will Force Billions More Into Poverty, Warns UN

Global Day of Action Climate March, December 3rdh 2011, UN climate summit 2011 in Durban, South Africa. (Ainhoa Goma / Oxfam International via Flick r/ Creative Commons License)

Common Dreams

Global South getting ‘raw deal’ from ‘monster child’ of industrialization: climate change

– Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

A lack of action against climate change will force up to three billion people into extreme poverty by 2050, according to the United Nations 2013 Human Development Report, released Thursday.

Unless actions are taken to avert climate change by a coordinated global community, the report argues, extreme weather, environmental disasters, deforestation, and air and water pollution could halt or reverse any progress made in recent years to lift people in the world’s poorest communities out of poverty. Continue reading Climate Change Will Force Billions More Into Poverty, Warns UN

Encore: Ending the Silence on Climate Change

Bill Moyers Journal


Remember climate change? The issue barely comes up with any substance in our current political dialogue. But bringing climate change back into our national conversation is as much a communications challenge as it is a scientific one.

This week, in an encore broadcast, scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, joins Bill to describe his efforts to galvanize communities over what’s arguably the greatest single threat facing humanity. Leiserowitz, who specializes in the psychology of risk perception, knows better than anyone if people are willing to change their behavior to make a difference.
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A proportionate view of the Magdalen laundries

Independent Catholic News

womenLast Friday night’s God Slot on RTÉ radio broadcast an interview with two nuns who had worked in Magdalene homes. This was the first interview of its kind and the nuns granted it on condition of anonymity because they were scared of the backlash that would follow if their names became public. Clerical Whispers writes:

The nuns had main four main points:

The first was that Ireland during the era of the Magdalen homes was extremely poor and this must be taken into account when assessing the place of the laundries in Irish society.

The second was that women who fell outside society’s norms were more harshly treated than men.
Continue reading A proportionate view of the Magdalen laundries