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Showing posts from July 4, 2010

BP ecocide: cap on gusher removed, oil flows freely

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Cap On Gusher Removed, Oil Flows Freely

Robotic submarines removed the cap from the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning a period of at least two days when oil will flow freely into the sea.

It's the first step in placing a tighter dome that is supposed to funnel more oil to collection ships on the surface a mile above. If all goes according to plan, the tandem of the tighter cap and the surface ships could keep all the oil from polluting the fragile Gulf as soon as Monday.

BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the old cap was removed at 12:37 p.m. CDT on Saturday.

"Over the next four to seven days, depending on how things go, we should get that sealing cap on. That's our plan," said Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president.

It would be only a temporary solution to the catastrophe unleashed by a drilling rig explosion nearly 12 weeks ago. It won't plug the busted well and it remains uncertain that it will succeed.

The oil is flowing mostly unabated into th…

Millions Face Starvation As Niger Prays In Vain For Rain

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Millions Face Starvation As Niger Prays In Vain For Rain

To the north of Niger, the creeping Sahara; to the south, oil rich and agriculturally lush Nigeria – this nation straddles the Sahel – dry, hot and cruel. It has suffered catastrophic droughts – 1974, 1984 and 2005. And now, another.

Five times the size of the United Kingdom, Niger is one of the poorest nations on earth with child mortality worse than Afghanistan. The absence of regular rainfall throughout 2009 has led to poor harvests, lack of grazing for animals and food reserves exhausted.

Hungry people have started adding "bitter" berries to their diet – this is survival food, normally unpalatable but when starving, the unpalatable becomes welcome – essential.

The tipping point, according to one expert is about a week away – 15 July. That is when the rainy season is expected. But the starving livestock may nibble away whatever green-shoots push through.

Ten leading aid agencies launched a joint appeal yesterday, warning…

Iraq's Marshes Reborn

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Iraq's Marshes Reborn

One of Saddam Hussein's greatest acts of ecological destruction – the draining of the Mesopotamian marshes – has been reversed as birds and rivers return to the region

Iraq's marshes drained by Saddam in the 90s to punish rebellious marsh inhabitants are now thriving once more. Photograph: Korsh Ararat, Omar Fadil and Mudhafar Salim/Nature Iraq

Saddam Hussein's draining of the Mesopotamian marshes of Iraq – recorded as the Garden of Eden in the Bible - was one of the most infamous outrages of his regime, leaving a vast area of once-teeming river delta a dry, salt-encrusted desert, emptied of insects, birds and the people who lived on them.

But nearly two decades later the area is buzzing and twittering with life again after local people and a new breed of Iraqi conservationists have restored much of what was once the world's third largest wetland to some of its former glory.

The story of this once almost impossible restoration is told in an exhibit…