Massive Methane Melt off Siberia

Source: Mother Jones

Arctic seabed stores of methane are now destabilizing and venting vast stores of frozen methane-a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The paper, in the prestigious journal Science, reports the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf-long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane-is instead perforated and leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Melting of even a fraction of the clathrates stored in that shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming. Lead author Natalia Shakhova Shakhova of the International Arctic Research Center tells U of Alaska Fairbanks: read more


Celebrating Compromises in Uruguay: Mujica Inaugurated as President

José Mujica
The smell of fried food and sausage sandwiches filled the Montevideo air as José "Pepe" Mujica assumed the presidency of Uruguay on Monday, March 1st. Street vendors lined the inauguration parade route selling Uruguayan flags to a boisterous crowd which cheered, "Olé, olé, olé, Pepe, Pepe." Mujica, a former Tupamaro guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured under the country's dictatorship, stood in front of the multitude with his wife and vice president as he led the crowd in singing folksongs that were outlawed during military rule.

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DoD Releases Records of Illegal Surveillance

Source: Truthout

Defense Department agencies improperly collected and disseminated intelligence on Planned Parenthood and a white supremacist group called the National Alliance, an Air Force briefing improperly included intelligence on an antiwar group called Alaskans for Peace and Justice, and Army Signals Intelligence in Louisiana unlawfully intercepted civilian cell phone conversations.

These are among the disclosures made this week in the release of more than 800 heavily-redacted pages of intelligence oversight reports, detailing activities that the Defense Department’s (DoD) Inspector General has "reason to believe are unlawful." read more


Honduras After the Coup: Fear and Defiance

"Nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo." ("They are afraid of us because we are not afraid of them.")  This slogan was chanted by the thousands of demonstrators who defied the illegitimate de facto government imposed by the Honduran military in the protests that erupted throughout the country immediately after the after the coup of June 28, 2009.  On a recent human rights delegation to Honduras, I was introduced to the role that fear plays in the political life of the country, and to the importance of the fact that so many people are ready to defy that fear. 

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Chinua Achebe: The Oracle of Africa

Source: In These Times

Nigeria is no longer the butt of jokes, known only for spam mail importuning readers to assist in the recovery of an ill-gotten fortune. Home to one in every six black Africans, Africa’s most populous country is now a trendsetter worthy of serious attention, political analysis-and great puzzlement.

Anglicans in Nigeria now give orders to their American counterparts, who have aligned with them in opposing rights for gay Christians. Unrest in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region-where rebels abduct employees of Chevron, the California-based oil multinational-translates into higher gasoline prices for Americans, who consume more than 800,000 barrels of Nigerian crude a day (nearly as much as that provided by Saudi Arabia). read more