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NEWS UPDATE #161


India has topped the list of countries with pollution-related deaths in 2015, with 2.51 million people dying prematurely in the country that year from pollution, according to a new study published in the reputed medical journal, The Lancet. Pollution kills at least nine million people and costs trillions of dollars every year, the study found.

INDIA

Three Dalit brothers died in Karnataka after being denied food rations for lack of Aadhaar, say activists
Scroll
Three Dalit brothers died of starvation in July near Karnataka’s Gokarna town after the family was denied rations for six months because they did not have an Aadhaar card, a fact-finding report by a civil rights group has claimed. The report, by activists from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, was submitted to the state government on October 13, three days before Scroll.in reported the death of an 11-year-old girl in Jharkhand whose family’s ration card was not linked to Aadhaar. The child’s mother told Right to Food activists that she died asking for rice. (Related: Jharkhand girl ‘starvation’ death: Family stopped getting ration 8 months ago)

Andhra Pradesh : 30 tribal children dying in Agency area every month
Adivasi Resurgence
bal women are successfully delivering children but unfortunately not able to protect them. Most of the children are dying before celebrating their first birthday. According to district medical and health office records 5,820 infants died in Visakhapatnam district since 2011 till September end of this year. The records said 341 infants died during the last six months including 185 in the agency. The Chief Minister’s adopted village Pedalabudu also recorded deaths. On an average 30 children are dying per month due to the lack of proper medication and non-availability of gynaecologists and paediatricians in the agency area.

At 2.5 million, India tops list of pollution-linked deaths: Study
The Indian Express
India has topped the list of countries with pollution-related deaths in 2015, with 2.51 million people dying prematurely in the country that year due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution, according to a new study published in the reputed medical journal, The Lancet. India accounted for about 28 per cent of an estimated 9 million pollution-linked deaths worldwide in 2015, the study found. It also topped the list of deaths linked to polluted air (1.81 million) and water (0.64 million). (Related: Delhi covered in toxic haze after night of Diwali fireworks)

Andhra Pradesh revokes order to check planting of Monsanto GM cotton
Reuters
Andhra Pradesh, a leading cotton producing-state, has withdrawn an order asking government officials to inspect fields planted with an unapproved variety of genetically modified (GM) cotton developed by Monsanto Co, the world’s No. 1 seed maker. Farmers in the state have planted 15 percent of the cotton area in the state with Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex (RRF), prompting the local government on Oct. 5 to form a panel of officials to inspect the fields of farmers growing RRF. (Related: GM cotton grown in 8.5 lakh ha, illegal market is Rs 472 crore)

After The POSCO Withdrawal Govt of Odisha Handing Over Land To JSW Steel
POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti , Countercurrents.org
As you know that the continuous peaceful resistance of our people forced the POSCO to exit finally. However, we came to learn from the media that the government of Odisha is planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to hand over our land to another company named JSW Steel Limited. JSW Steel Limited is a part of the Sajjan Jindal controlled JSW Group. The company is likely to invest Rs 50,000 crore for the 10 mtpa steel mill and a 900 MW capacity power plant. The company has also pledged an investment of Rs 2,000 crore to set up a captive port in Odisha’s coast at Jatadhari Muhan near Paradip.

The Centre’s proposal to build a mega dam in Arunachal Pradesh makes even hydropower companies wary
Arunabh Saikia, Scroll
The Siang Upper Stage-II project – the proposed site of the new dam – was to be built by the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation. The state government signed a memorandum of agreement with the public-sector company in May 2013. The company does not think the proposal to combine two projects is a good idea. “As things stand now, it is better to build according to the old plan of two stages,” Ngurang said. “But the Central government is insisting on one big project. If there is one big project, then the district headquarters of Upper Siang, Yingkiong, will completely submerge.”

Varavara Rao: ‘Naxalite movement hasn’t killed as many people as the bourgeois parties have’
Mumbai Mirror
Today, this movement has formed base areas in the forest regions in the eastern and central parts of the country. Having seized land from landlords and protected it from their goons and the police, they have formed co-operatives. In Bastar, this alternative politics is being practised in the form of Janatana Sarkars, a united front of Adivasis, Dalits and small farmers, for the past 13 years. It is a one-ofits-kind government functioning without any World Bank aid. It has been able to halt the expansion of multinationals and big business houses in the forests. There is no other instance in the history of the world of such a protracted armed class struggle.

India’s Largest Floating Solar Plant in Kerala Is a Marvel in Frugal Engineering
The Better India
India’s largest floating solar plant located in Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad, Kerala, is all set to start operations. The entire construction and installation work was completed this month. Stretching over 6,000 square metres, the 500 kWp (kilowatt peak) solar plant is a mega project commissioned by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) on a measly budget of ₹9.25 crore. (Related: World’s First Floating Wind Farm Will Power 20,000 Homes)

WORLD

Global pollution kills 9m a year and threatens ‘survival of human societies’
The Guardian
Pollution kills at least nine million people and costs trillions of dollars every year, according to the most comprehensive global analysis to date, which warns the crisis “threatens the continuing survival of human societies”. Toxic air, water, soils and workplaces are responsible for the diseases that kill one in every six people around the world, the landmark report found, and the true total could be millions higher because the impact of many pollutants are poorly understood. The deaths attributed to pollution are triple those from Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers
The Guardian
The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society. The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said. (Also read: ‘Catastrophic Penguin breeding event’ leads to demands for a marine protected area to be set up in East Antarctica)

23 countries and states to phase out coal as US$432 billion of capital leaves the industry
Greenpeace
Over a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business, according to new research from CoalSwarm and Greenpeace. This represents nearly 370 large coal-fired power plants – enough to power around six United Kingdoms – and equivalent to nearly half a trillion US dollars in assets retired or not developed. While many generating companies go through this rapid makeover, the research also shows that a total of 23 countries, states and cities will have either phased out coal-fired power plants or set a timeline to do so by 2030.

India, China Backed by Over 100 Countries in Effort to Eliminate Farm Subsidies
Sputnik News
India and China are poised to play the rabble-rouser during the upcoming WTO Summit. The two countries have intensified lobbying among other countries in order to garner maximum support for their proposal that seeks to end the trend of farm subsidies in developed countries of the west. Argentina that is preparing to host this year’s WTO Ministerial Conference in December, has warned that the India-China move could derail the talks. The proposed law calls for the elimination of agricultural subsidies to the tune of around $160 billion in the US, the EU, Japan, Canada, Norway and Switzerland at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December this year.

Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spew Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon
EcoWatch
Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.  Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

New Study Shows Glyphosate Contaminates Soils – Half of Europe At Risk
Navadanya
Pesticides, once used, do not dissolve into thin air, but persist in the environment, contaminating soil, air and water. This is the most recent red flag to emerge as a result of a new joint study by the University of Wageningen, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission and RIKILT laboratories – recently published in the scientific journal “Science of the Total Environment” – which shows that almost half of European soils are contaminated.  Results of the analysis of 300 soil samples in 10 different European countries reveal that 45% of agricultural land in Europe contains glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA. (Related: United Nations reporta: Agroecology, not Pesticides, is the Future for Food)

‘The threats continue​’: murder of retired couple chills fellow activists in Turkey
The Guardian
Aysin and Ali Büyüknohutçu, the Turkish beekeepers and environmental defenders whose murder in Finike earlier this year has sent a chill through the country’s conservation movement. If the killings of the retired couple were not shocking enough, the aftermath – a dubious judicial investigation and the alleged suicide of the key suspect – have raised questions in parliament and the media about the priorities of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who increasingly seems to care more about the economy and concrete than lives and the environment. (Also read: Indigenous Community Judge Shot Dead As Colonial Violence Terrorizes Nicaragua)

‘If it’s going to kill us, OK, we’ll die’: Villagers stand firm as Cambodian dam begins to fill
Mongabay
Cambodia’s largest hydropower project, the Lower Sesan 2 dam, was officially launched late last month. Experts fear the dam will lead to a 9.3 percent loss of fish throughout the entire Lower Mekong River Basin, a concern Prime Minister Hun Sen has brushed aside. Thousands of people have already been relocated to make way for the dam, but around 100 families intend to stay on their land, despite intense pressure and the risk of inundation.

ExxonMobil, Shell among companies told to attend human rights investigation over climate change
Greenpeace
The Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines have called on 47 carbon producers to attend a preliminary meeting in its investigation into their corporate responsibility for climate-related human rights abuses (1). The companies include ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, BHP Billiton, Suncor, and ConocoPhillips. This is the first opportunity for  the Filipino petitioners to  meet representatives of the fossil fuel companies face-to-face. Though carbon producers might choose to ignore the request for their attendance, the preliminary conference is set to take place on 11 December, in which the petitioners and companies need to discuss and agree evidence submission and witness testimonies.

The Niger Delta Avengers Declare War On Western Oil Giants
MPN News
On May 26, Chevron announced that it was shutting down its onshore operations in Nigeria due to “terrorism.” In the third assault targeting a Chevron facility in the country last month, the main electricity pipeline to one of Chevron’s facilities had been blown up. The “Niger Delta Avengers” are claiming responsibility for that incident and others in an ongoing wave of attacks this year that have targeted Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, Western oil giants operating in the country.

Another Madagascar environmental activist imprisoned
Mongabay
Malagasy authorities have held Raleva, a 61-year-old farmer, in custody since September 27 after he asked to see a mining company’s permits to operate near his village. His arrest is at least the sixth such case of authorities targeting those opposed to wildlife trafficking or land grabs. Environmental activists say they face bribes and threats from traffickers on one side, and jail time and fines from the government on the other.

“Absolutely Unconscionable’: In Post-Harvey Texas, No Relief Funds for Critics of Israel
Common Dreams
Civil liberties advocates are denouncing a decision by a Texas city to require applicants for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds to sign a statement certifying that they are not currently boycotting Israel, and will not participate future protests. Although the hurricane devastated the entire Houston metro area with record rainfall and destructive flooding, a local television news station reported in early September that “damage in Dickinson may be the worst of Harvey,” with more than 7,000 homes and 88 businesses “significantly damaged.” However, individuals and businesses submitting applications (pdf) for the funding must sign a contract affirming that “the applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this agreement.” (Reltaed: 16 Billion-Dollar Disasters Have Impacted the U.S. This Year, Tying an All-Time Record, Thanks to the California Wildfires)

 

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