Source: GM Watch - June 8, 2011
The Plenary Session of the Congress, approved the opinion of the law project that declares a moratorium of ten years that prevents the import of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) on the national territory for cultivation, breeding or of any transgenic production. It was sustained by the president of the Agrarian Commission, Aníbal Huerta (PAP), who declared that in the face of the danger that can arise from the use of the biotechnology a moratorium must be approved to take care of our biodiversity.
Finally, the president of the Commission of Andean Towns, Washington Zeballos (BPCD), informed on the modifications to the opinion and that the term of the moratorium would have to be of ten years. The proposal was approved by 56 votes to favor, zero against and two abstentions and exonerated from second voting by 50 votes to favor, four against and three abstentions. The approved norm establishes a moratorium of ten years, determines as competent authority of the subject to the Ministry of the Environemnt and creates a Technical Commission of Evaluation and Prevention of Risks of Use of GMOs, that in two years will have to issue a report on the subject.
Source: The Telegraph - May 26, 2011
The bill, which now goes to the Senate, was initially intended as a measure to rein in unfettered logging, and increase protections of Brazil's forested areas, which play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases.
But farm-based economic interests prevailed against environmentalists in reshaping the bill to ease restrictions that have been in place since 1965 and are credited with curbing deforestation.
"The Chamber of Deputies (on Tuesday) turned what was a forest protection law into something that will encourage deforestation and the uncontrolled advance of farming and ranching," the NGO Greenpeace charged in a statement.
Environmentalists, scientists and ten former environment ministers fought to the bitter end to stop the bill.
The development was seen as a first setback for President Dilma Rousseff who enjoys majority support in Congress but was unable to keep her party united as powerful rural lobbies managed to divide lawmakers.
Izabella Teixeira, the environment minister, has warned that the president could veto points in the bill that might encourage deforestation.
But National Farm Federation chief Katia Abreu said, "Brazil's farm and ranch interests are celebrating the step forward."
Brazil's Forest Conservation Law dates back to 1965; it limits the use of woodlands for agricultural purposes, requiring owners to keep a certain percentage of their land in its natural state.
In the sprawling Amazon River basin region, the existing law requires that as much as 80 per cent be kept as woodland.
But the new law would allow huge areas to be farmed if they were illegally logged before July 2008; and it would allow farming along environmentally sensitive riverbanks.
"This is an amnesty that sends the message that environmental crimes are not punished. And that will foster more deforestation," argued Paulo Adario of Greenpeace.
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Posted by Harvest Dream on Friday, January 28. 2011 in Africa, Corporate Power, Corruption, Dark Arts, Economy, Energy, Global Banking, Infrastructure, Injustice, Military, Politics, Social Insights, South and Central America, USA
Source: France 24, January 14, 2011
Brazil staggered Friday under the worst natural disaster it has ever seen, as it counted nearly 500 dead from mudslides this week near Rio de Janeiro.
By late Thursday, 480 bodies had been collected in the aftermath of the disaster that struck the mountainous Serrana region just north of Rio the day before, according to officials.
That surpassed an estimated death toll of 300 to 430 suffered in 1967, when mudslides crashed through a coastal town called Caraguatatuba that was "up until now seen as the biggest (natural disaster) in Brazil," the news website G1 said.
It was feared more bodies were yet to be discovered as rescuers finally arrived in villages cut off because of destroyed roads and bridges in the region.
Efforts to locate survivors and bodies were taken under the risk of further mudslides, as rain continued to fall on the waterlogged region, making it even more unstable.
"It's very overwhelming. The scenes are very shocking," President Dilma Rousseff said after visiting the area.
She pledged "strong action" by her government, which has already released 470 million dollars in initial emergency aid and sent seven tons of medical supplies.
The catastrophe was seen as her first big test since taking power two weeks ago, taking over from her popular predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Storms early Wednesday dumped the equivalent of a month's rain in just a few hours before dawn, sending mudslides slicing through towns and hamlets, destroying homes, roads and bridges and knocking out telephone and power lines.
The worst affected towns were Teresopolis, which recorded 223 deaths, Novo Friburgo, with 201 deaths, and Petropolis, with 39 deaths. Another 17 fatalities were registered in the village of Sumidouro.
The toll of dead from this one disaster was higher than the 473 rain-related deaths recorded for all of Brazil over the span of 2010.
Churches and police stations were turned into makeshift morgues, the smell of decomposing corpses heavy in the warm air. Thousands of survivors took refuge in shelters.
Outside one morgue in Teresopolis, crowds looked at photos of the dead, searching for loved ones.
"I can't go inside. I don't have courage to," said one woman, Ana Maria, 40.
"You have no idea how hard it is to see the bodies of so many children... It's horrible," one fireman there told AFP.
Elsewhere in the town, in a gymnasium, hundreds of people left homeless by the calamity sat around on mattresses, still in shock, some injured.
Edmar Da Rosa, a 44-year-old laborer whose face was badly lacerated, looked lost and unable to comprehend the deaths of family members.
He said a retaining wall fell on part of his house that he shared with his wife, three children and a grandson.
"My wife died. My grandson ended up dying. And the others are hurt," he said.
A few meters (feet) away, 59-year-old Joao de Lima clutched a doll with desolation written on his face.
"I lost my four daughters and everything I had," he said softly.
Haiti will never be rebuilt, despite the promises of fly-by politicians. This is the sad truth. The resources, and the will of international organizations will wane as time passes. Haiti is widely recognized as a 'failed state', and it's people will in all likelihood live in post apocalyptic conditions until such a time that they themselves absorb an entirely new model for the future. Without international support Haiti is an orphan with little recourse.
Related Post: Failed States - Liberia
Source: Reuters - January 5, 2011
Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Brazil's Cosan, the world's No. 1 sugar and ethanol company, won European Union approval on Tuesday for an ethanol and sugar joint venture.
The European Commission, the EU's competition authority, said it did not believe the deal would significantly impede competition in the European Union.
The companies signed a binding agreement in August, with the deal expected to be concluded early this year. The venture will have an estimated annual turnover of $21 billion.
Source: The Telegraph - December 18, 2010
His critics said the move turns the country into a near-dictatorship. It comes just two weeks before a new national assembly is sworn in with a larger opposition bloc that could have frustrated some of his plans to create a socialist state.
The firebrand leader had only asked his allies for the right to govern without referring to congress for a year. Instead, they handed him the powers for 18 months as proof of their "revolutionary commitment", said Cilia Flores, the national assembly president.
The official reason for the move was to allow Mr Chavez to deal with the devastating aftermath of weeks of floods by fast-tracking tax increases and funding for construction of new homes.
But amid a fresh wave of nationalisations of farms and businesses, he has already outlined a long list of new laws that extend far beyond relief and reconstruction.
He taunted the incoming opposition congressmen in a television address.
"You won't be able to make a single law, little Yankees," he said, deploying one of his favourite insults, which depicts his opponents as American stooges.
"We're going to see how you make laws now."
The 18-month period means the opposition will be blocked from any significant role in Venezuelan politics until just months before the 2012 presidential election.
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