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South Africa: Campaign Against New Coal Mines Gathers Momentum

Source: Green Left Weekly

In an indication that the global climate justice movement is becoming broader, there is now intense opposition to a climate-destroying energy loan for South Africa.

The campaign’s leaders are community activists in black townships allied with environmentalists, trade unionists and international climate activists.

The World Bank is trying to lend nearly US$4 billion to the Johannesburg-based parastatal (quasi-government-run) Eskom. The power company is the world’s fourth largest and Africa’s largest carbon emitter (responsible for 40% of South Africa’s total emissions).

The loan is mainly for building the world’s fourth most CO2-intensive coal-fired power plant, Medupi, in the ecologically sensitive Waterberg area north of the capital of Pretoria. read more


Census Insecurity: It Takes a Pretext

As census forms reach homes across the country, some people are being approached by scam artists who disguise themselves as census workers. What they're after, in most cases, is personal information like Social Security numbers, work history and home values, baseline data for possible identity theft. But others are more afraid of what the government might do with the information it collects.


U.S. Bases in Colombia Rattle the Region

On the shores of the Magdalena River, in a lush green valley dotted with cattle ranches and farms, sits the Palanquero military base, an outpost equipped with Colombia's longest runway, housing for 2,000 troops, a theater, a supermarket, and a casino. Palanquero is at the heart of a ten-year, renewable military agreement signed between the United States and Colombia on October 30, 2009, which gives Washington access to seven military bases in the country.

Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon-Romero to the UN

Bolivia Creates a New Opportunity for Climate Talks

Source: Guardian Unlimited

Bolivia’s UN ambassador Pablo Solon-Romero during a press conference. Photograph: Paulo Filgueiras/UN Photo

In the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate conference, those who defended the widely condemned outcome tended to talk about it as a "step in the right direction". This was always a tendentious argument, given that tackling climate change can not be addressed by half measures. We can’t make compromises with nature.

Bolivia, however, believed that Copenhagen marked a backwards step, undoing the work built on since the climate talks in Kyoto. That is why, against strong pressure from industrialised countries, we and other developing nations refused to sign the Copenhagen accord and why we are hosting an international meeting on climate change next month. In the words of the Tuvalu negotiator, we were not prepared to "betray our people for 30 pieces of silver". read more


Haiti: Where Solidarity Means Survival

Photo by Conner Gorry
Perhaps more than anything today, Haiti needs a new macro-economy, one based above all on meeting the needs of its citizens. Post-earthquake economic restructuring could include equitable distribution of resources, high levels of employment with fair compensation, local production, and provision of social services. In the meantime, what saved many during the earthquake, and what is keeping them alive today, is a culture and economy of solidarity, or mutual aid.

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How Will South Africans Benefit From the World Cup?

Source: Pambazuka

The press conference celebrating 100 days before the World Cup kick-off left the big question unanswered, argues Azad Essa: How will South Africans benefit from the World Cup? For Essa ‘only the dim-witted, government or FIFA communication officers walked away feeling that the World Cup was really about anything more than ending Afro-pessimism and stroking a couple of shiny suits.’

I don’t like press conferences.

Organised to propagate nothing more than a particular message, they are spaces where real questions are rarely asked because there is no place for real answers. read more