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Costa Rica goes 75 days powering itself using only renewable energy

Source: The Independent

Costa Rica has achieved a clean energy milestone by using 100 per cent renewable energy for a record 75 days in a row.

The feat was achieved thanks to heavy rainfall, which powered four hydroelectric plants in the first three months of the year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute said.

No fossil fuels have been burnt to generate electricity since December 2014, in the state which is renowned for its clean energy policies.

While Costa Rica is a small country, with a popular of about 4.8 million people, it has made great strides in its use of renewable energy.

Last year 80 per cent of the energy used came from hydropower, while geothermal energy made up about 10 per cent of the mix in the volcano-strewn nation. Currently 94 per cent of Costa Rica’s energy needs are met by renewables. read more

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David Graeber: ‘So many people spend their working lives doing jobs they think are unnecessary’

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

A few years ago David Graeber’s mother had a series of strokes. Social workers advised him that, in order to pay for the home care she needed, he should apply for Medicaid, the US government health insurance programme for people on low incomes. So he did, only to be sucked into a vortex of form filling and humiliation familiar to anyone who’s ever been embroiled in bureaucratic procedures.

At one point, the application was held up because someone at the Department of Motor Vehicles had put down his given name as “Daid”; at another, because someone at Verizon had spelled his surname “Grueber”. Graeber made matters worse by printing his name on the line clearly marked “signature” on one of the forms. Steeped in Kafka, Catch-22 and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Graeber was alive to all the hellish ironies of the situation but that didn’t make it any easier to bear. “We spend so much of our time filling in forms,” he says. “The average American waits six months of her life waiting for the lights to change. If so, how many years of our life do we spend doing paperwork?” read more

Bolivia: A Country That Dared to Exist

Bolivia’s road toward decolonization is a rocky and contested one. But, as Bolivia's Vice Minister of Decolonization Félix Cárdenas argues below, in a bleak world full of capitalist tyrants, bloody wars and racist exploitation, the country's Process of Change under President Evo Morales continues to shine as an alternative to the dominant global order.

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Vice President Biden, More of the Same Won’t Work in Central America

Source: The Hill

Vice President Biden is a man on a mission. Over the last few weeks, the White House’s go-to guy on Latin America has made every effort to persuade Congress to approve a $1 billion aid request for Central America. In separate op-eds in The Hill and The New York Times, Biden has argued that this money could help jump-start the region economically and pave the way for “the next great success story of the Western Hemisphere.” But Biden’s billion-dollar plan has already encountered resistance in Congress, and from fellow Democrats no less. “We’ve spent billions of dollars there over two decades,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) recently noted. “And we’ve seen conditions get worse in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador.” read more