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CHRIS McDERMOTT OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Tiger in the water(Photo: B_cool)China approved a new national park this month in northeast China in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces to save two endangered species—the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard.

Only nine wild Siberian tigers were estimated to be living in this area in 1998, increasing to 27 by 2015 thanks to conservation efforts including a logging ban. The global population of Amur leopards was less than 30 in 2007, but almost doubled by 2015.

The sanctuary, to be completed by 2020, will border Russia and measure 5,637 square miles, an area 60 percent larger than Yellowstone National Park.

The current habitat for the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard is too small an area to provide enough prey for the carnivores, whose wide search for their usual elk, wild boar and deer has recently led them into residential areas. It has even been reported that tigers have been wandering into Jilin Province and eating dogs and cattle.

Governmental officials expect the national park to ease some of this conflict. "Local government plans to relocate some existing communities, factories from inside the national park area, so as to avoid conflicts between wildlife and human activities," a spokesperson for Jilin's Forestry Department told Xinhua.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

GreatLakes 0315wrp opt(Photo: NASA)Officials from Enbridge Energy Partners insisted on the structural safety of its 64-year-old pipelines that pass under the Straits of Mackinac even though a company-commissioned study found that the lines' protective coating has deteriorated in some areas.

"I believe this pipeline is in as good of condition as it was on the day it was installed," Enbridge's director of integrity programs Kurt Baraniecki said at a Pipeline Safety Advisory Board meeting in Lansing, Michigan on Monday.

But the 250 protestors who showed up to the meeting responded to the comments with "derisive howls and laughter," the Detroit Free Press reported.

The meeting was centered around the Canadian oil transport company's heavily contested Enbridge Line 5 that lies just west of the Mackinac Bridge and carries roughly 23 million gallons of crude oil and liquid natural gas each day.

Built in 1953, the 645-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline runs from Superior, Wisconsin, across Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas before terminating in Ontario, Canada. As it travels under the Straits of Mackinac, a narrow waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, Line 5 splits into twin 20-inch-diameter, parallel pipelines.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR AT BUZZFLASH

trump333(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

On March 9, the Washington Post reported that the Trump Organization had just been granted dozens of trademarks by China, and questioned whether this was another of the many apparent conflicts of interest between Trump the president and Trump the business tycoon:

China has granted preliminary approval for at least 38 Trump trademarks for businesses ranging from hotels and spas to animal training and weather forecasting, reopening a debate about the potential for conflicts of interest under his presidency…

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called it an "astonishing development." After Trump sought valuable trademarks in China for more than a decade without success before his election, "the floodgates now appear to be open," he said in a statement.

Cardin suggested that Beijing officials "have come to appreciate the potential return on investments for China in having a positive, personal business relationship" with Trump as president. He called on the administration to "brief Congress, immediately, on these matters and on the potential constitutional dangers that they present."

China was a regular target of Trump's campaign rhetoric, in which he focused on reforming trade policy and accused China of currency manipulation. However, now that he is president, the trademarks appear to be an example of how the Trump business empire is benefitting from a financial relationship with China.

2017.14.3 BF Chow(Photo: Len2040)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Ninety percent of the minke whales hunted and killed each year in Norwegian waters are female and "almost all" of them are pregnant, according to a documentary aired earlier this month on NRK, a government-owned public broadcasting company.

The documentary, Slaget om kvalen ("Battle of Agony"), shows grisly footage of Norway's whaling industry, including one bloody scene where a fisherman cuts open a whale and removes its fetus.

The release of the documentary has sparked intense outcry from conservation groups in light of Norway's long-standing objection to the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) 1986 ban on commercial whaling.

"Whale hunting is now even more unacceptable," the head of Greenpeace Norway, Truls Gulowsen, told AFP.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

refugee(Photo: brxO)

The ill, punitive and callous treatment of many child refugees who have fled to the United States has been widely documented on Truthout. A recent New Yorker article by Lauren Collins documents that this is also an endemic problem in Europe:

Among the 1.3 million people who sought asylum in Europe in 2015 were nearly a hundred thousand unaccompanied children. Most were from Afghanistan and Syria. Thirteen per cent were younger than fourteen years old. The data for 2016 are incomplete, but the situation is comparable. Experts estimate that for every child who claims asylum one enters Europe without seeking legal protection. (The number of unaccompanied minors attempting to enter the United States, most of them from Central America, has also increased dramatically in recent years....) At an age at which most kids need supervision to complete their homework, these children cross continents alone.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Collins writes, the "best interests" of child refugees are supposed to be the foremost priority in how they are treated. The reality, Collins observes, is far different -- and devastatingly destructive:

As a result, refugee children are sleeping on sidewalks and in traffic medians. They are stuck in unofficial settlements like the [infamous refugee camp near Calais, France], whose conditions have been described as “dreadful” (the British Red Cross), “deplorable” (Save the Children), “totally inappropriate” (the European Council on Refugees and Exiles), and “diabolical” (Doctors of the World), or in holding centers such as Amygdaleza, in Greece, where, according to Human Rights Watch, “the detention of children in crowded and unsanitary conditions, without appropriate sleeping or hygiene arrangements, sometimes together with adults and without privacy, constitutes inhumane and degrading treatment.” The children at such places confront a number of dangers: vermin, feces-contaminated water, bullying, petty crime, violence, sexual abuse, and diseases ranging from scabies to tuberculosis.

Collins also notes that since 2014, more than 10,000 of these migrant and refugee children have simply "gone missing."

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 06:23

The Army Turns to YouTube for Recruiting

2017.14.3 bf Elder(Photo: Matthias Rosenkranz)PAT ELDER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Like President Trump who regularly tweets messages to his audience, the Army's Recruiting Command has an "alternative" channel to communicate with potential recruits. Enter Archie Masibay, SGT,US Army. 

SGT Masibay, AKA Archiezzle, burst upon the world of video recruiting in early 2016, part of a virtual platoon of soldiers in the recruiting command. The Staff Sergeant turned recruiter has produced 430 videos on YouTube with 18 million views and 37,000 subscribers.

Are the sergeant's frequent explanations of recruiting policy to be regarded as official pronouncements? For instance, the news that the Army will now be accepting soldiers who score a 21 on the ASVAB enlistment test is a radical departure from the past that is sure to send shock waves throughout the Army and American society. Is this for real?

Archie says, "My opinions in my videos about the US Army and the military as a whole does not represent anyone. They are my own based on experience. My Goal here on YouTube is to release my creativity and thoughts about life and military."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Boom 0313wrp opt(Photo: Public Domain)Scientists have determined that methane from a fracked well contaminated a Texas family's water supply and triggered an explosion that nearly killed four members of the family.

The family's ranch in Palo Pinto County is located only a few thousand feet away from a natural gas well.

In August 2014, former oil field worker Cody Murray, his father, wife and young daughter were severely burned and hospitalized from a "fireball" that erupted from the family's pump house.

A year later, the family filed a lawsuit against oil and gas operators EOG Resources and Fairway Resources, claiming the defendants' drilling and extraction activities caused the high-level methane contamination of the Murrays' water well.

"At the flip of the switch, Cody heard a 'whooshing' sound, which he instantly recognized from his work in the oil and gas industry, and instinctively picked his father up and physically threw him back and away from the entryway to the pump house," the complaint states. "In that instant, a giant fireball erupted from the pump house, burning Cody and [his father], who were at the entrance to the pump house, as well as Ashley and A.M., who were approximately twenty feet away."

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR. OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Pesticide 0313wrp opt(Photo: cgpgrey)California is the first U.S. state to require Monsanto to label its blockbuster weed killer, Roundup, as a possible carcinogen, according to a ruling issued Friday by a California judge.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan previously issued a tentative ruling on Jan. 27 in Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, et al.

Judge Kapetan formalized her ruling Friday against Monsanto, which will allow California to proceed with the process of listing glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a chemical "known to the state to cause cancer" in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65.

In January of 2016, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the State of California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) over the agency's notice of intent to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical.

OEHHA issued the notice after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate, which classified the chemical as a "probable human carcinogen." The IARC report compelled OEHHA to list glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical and warn consumers about the possible danger associated with glyphosate exposure.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Tailpipe 0310wrp(Photo: Tusanero)Scott Pruitt, the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), does not think that carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor" to climate change—even though the actual science says it is.

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact," Pruitt said in an interview with CNBC. "So no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."

"But we don't know that yet ... we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis," Pruitt continued.

The former Oklahoma attorney general, who sued the EPA more than one dozen times before being tapped to lead the agency by President Trump, was speaking to CNBC from an oil industry conference in Houston.

Host Joe Kernen asked Pruitt, "Do you believe that it's been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate?"—a fact that has been established by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2670566753 1f2db8b1e1 z (Photo: eirigipics ) 

Although it might be conventional wisdom that Western colonialism no longer exists, this is a dangerous myth. Colonialism persists in the form of the continued oppression of Indigenous peoples worldwide. Moreover, when it comes to the relationship of Europe and the US to the Global South, the old system of direct colonial rule has actually been replaced with financial control over many of the same countries that were colonized. The onerous financial conditions placed on many developing nations through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund -- including austerity measures and spending requirements for goods from developing nations -- represent the colonialist notion of knowing what's in the best interest of other countries. Like colonialism, it also happens to financially benefit the former ruling powers.

The globalization of exploitative labor further reinforces the relationship of capitalism to erstwhile colonialism. The squalid working conditions and meager wages of many workers in the Global South is the focus of a revealing book by John Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis, which is this week's Truthout Progressive Pick. Capitalism provides the vehicle for much contemporary imperialism, but is often not perceived as such because it is not as directly visible as, say, an occupying army (although, of course, the US and Europe still occupy countries militarily as well). Colonialism used to be dependent upon direct rule of areas and countries by agents, bureaucracies and militaries representing the colonial power. Now, colonialism largely consists of financial dependencies and labor markets characterized by poverty.

In an excerpt featured on Truthout, Smith reflects on the 2014 collapse of a substandard garment factory building in Bangladesh that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 workers:

The collapse of Rana Plaza not only shone a light on the pitiless and extreme exploitation of Bangladeshi workers. It also unleashed a powerful pulse of x-rays that lit up the hidden structure of the global capitalist economy, revealing the extent to which the capital/labor relation has become a relation between northern capital and southern labor -- in no other sector has production shifted so completely to low-wage workers in oppressed nations while control and profits remain firmly in the grip of firms in imperialist countries.

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