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Catholic church accused of illegal poaching. I’ve posted on this a few times, but it’s getting more play. This time from the Guardian. Check it out and reblorg!


A Filipino wildlife official shows seized elephant tusks and dried sea turtles estimated to be worth more than $2m from a shipment that came from Tanzania in 2009. The Philippines has launched an investigation into the alleged involvement of Catholic priests in the illegal trade of African ivory in the country, officials said. Elephant tusks are commonly used in the manufacture of statues, figurines and image replicas of saints | image by Dennis M. Sabangan


Half the size of a football pitch, Migingo Island on Lake Victoria is claimed by both Kenya and Uganda. The population of 131 is made up of mostly fishermen and traders.

Jesco Denzel

More incredible pics here.


Satellite images show that the rapid summer melt has reduced the area of frozen sea to less than 3.5 million square kilometres this week – less than half the area typically occupied four decades ago.

One example why this matters - record heating bills and (an expected) spike in CO2 emissions for 2013:

Canadian scientists said this week that the record melt this year could lead to a cold winter in the UK and Europe, as the heat in the Arctic water will be released into the atmosphere this autumn, potentially affecting the all-important jet stream. While the science is still developing in this area, the Met Office said in May that the reduction in Arctic sea ice was contributing in part to the colder, drier winters the UK has been experiencing in recent years.”

Not for the weak, this video shows a Guardian investigation into illegal elephant trade in Burma and Thailand. Hundreds(!) of elephants are newly enslaved each year to entertain millions of tourists.

More from The Guardian Environment Network

As a protest, he bid on an oil lease, won, and couldn’t pay

Environmental and leftwing campaigners, from actress Daryl Hannah to film maker Michael Moore and writer Naomi Klein, immediately denounced the sentence as excessive.

At a vigil outside the Salt Lake City courtroom where sentencing took place, supporters of DeChristopher’s Peaceful Uprising civil disobedience movement shouted: “Justice is not found here.”

As Bidder No 70, DeChristopher disrupted what was seen as a last giveaway to the oil and gas industry by the Bush administration by bidding $1.8m (£1.1m) he did not have for the right to drill in remote areas of Utah. He was convicted of defrauding the government last March.

In a phone conversation with The Guardian, a day ahead of sentencing, he said he was expecting jail time: “I do think I will serve some time in prison. That is what I think will be the next chapter in my life.”

DeChristopher’s lawyers had argued that his actions in December 2008 were a one-off, and that the judge should show leniency. They argued DeChristopher had not intended to cause harm.

However, Judge Dee Benson said DeChristopher’s political beliefs did not excuse his actions.

Heads up Guardian!


The Guardian, one of my favorite papers which I often quote here, has completely re-written an article on the Oslo tragedy originally titled, Oslo Bomb: Suspicion Falls on Islamist Militantsby Peter Beaumont, the foreign affairs editor for their sister paper, The Observer. I quoted an excerpt here on Friday at 9:22am, shortly after it was written. At the time, the responsible party was unknown and news of the shooting was just being broken. Mr. Beaumont offered his “expert” opinion on who could be responsible in an article that pointed all fingers to Islamist groups.

It has been known for some time that al-Qaida and other related “franchises” – including the most active groups in Yemen – have been trying to develop operations. Which leads to a second question: why Norway? 

The answer is threefold. In the first instance, with increased levels of security and surveillance in the UK and the US as well as other European capitals, Norway might have been seen as a softer target despite the recent breaking up of an al-Qaida cell in Norway. […]

A second possible factor behind the attack is a Norwegian newspaper’s reprinting in 2006 of a series of Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which prompted threats against the country.

A third potential explanation is the decision last week by a Norwegian prosecutor to file terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening to kill Norwegian politicians if he is deported.

Not only has that excerpt been wiped in its entirety and the title replaced with, Norway Attacks Suggest Political Motive, the central theme of the article, which prematurely blamed Islamist extremists has been re-written as:

The re-appearance of an apparently large scale and co-ordinated terrorist attack in a European capital raises the inevitable questions of who was behind it. The most tempting and immediate conclusion was that it would be a jihadist group, as the style of the Oslo attack bore strong similarities to other earlier attacks in Europe and elsewhere. […] 

Nowhere is the phrase, “As I reported/speculated earlier”.

It’s especially interesting in the light of a new article by Charlie Brooker, The News Coverage of the Norway Mass-Killings was Fact-Free Conjecture:

Let’s be absolutely clear, it wasn’t experts speculating, it was guessers guessing – and they were terrible. […] 

In the aftermath of the initial bombing, they proceeded to wrestle with the one key question: why do Muslims hate Norway?

Luckily, the experts were on hand to expertly share their expert solutions to plug this apparent plot hole in the ongoing news narrative. Why do Muslims hate Norway? There had to be a reason. Norway was targeted because of its role in Afghanistan. Norway was targeted because Norwegian authorities had recently charged an extremist Muslim cleric. Norway was targeted because one of its newspapers had reprinted the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Norway was targeted because, compared to the US and UK, it is a “soft target” – in other words, they targeted it because no one expected them to. 

I expect this behavior from lower papers, not from you. What gives, Guardian?

Shell designs world’s first floating liquefied natural gas facility (FLNG). Six hundred engineers from around the world have worked on the development phase of the Prelude FLNG Project to define, design and evaluate plans for the facility.

Engineers built a scale model of the FLNG facility and tested it in tanks in artificial marine conditions to see if it would withstand wind and high waves.

It’s weight is equivalent to 6 aircraft carriers and, I believe, will be the largest floating man made object in the world.

Source: The Guardian

"Germany’s Halligen Islands owe their existence to the North Sea’s tides. In the ­medieval era, they were larger and more plentiful, but erosion and the encroachment of sea water has greatly reduced their size over the years. Today, the few dwellings that remain are built on metre-high hills called Warften to protect them from flooding. Cattle still roam the salt ­meadows, but for how much longer? The ­islands are largely unprotected by dykes and become largely submerged when high tides strike."


Rising seas, melting glaciers and deforestation threaten unique regions.

The land-of-no-fences is nearly fenced in. This is what inevitable development looks like. Much more to come.


More than 700,000 people, many of them ex-herders and their families, now crowd the gers sprawling north of Ulan Bator

Anyone can ask questions about climate change. To clear up confusion, apparently.

The initial aim is for the Guardian team – with help from various partners and, crucially, our readers – to amass the world’s best layman-friendly online guide to all aspects of climate change, from the science to the politics, economics and more. We will also be looking to partner with expert organisations and individuals to inform the project, and are pleased to announce the first of those organisations is the Met Office, which will be offering scientific advice.

View it, here.