Mayor’s Update: September 7

first_imgMayor Jay Gillian Dear Friends,New moon tides, northeast winds and rain are in the forecast for this weekend, and they could combine to flood streets. The National Weather Service predicts tides of 5.6 feet (mean low water) at 8:01 p.m. Saturday and 6.4 feet at 8:50 p.m. Sunday (see to compare those predictions to recent and historic events). I ask everybody to monitor conditions and be prepared to move vehicles in the hours around the high tides this weekend.We’re also watching the path of Tropical Storm Florence. The system is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s still too early to know where it’s headed. But we’re entering the heart of hurricane season, and it’s a good reminder of the importance of preparedness. A list of resources is available at major neighborhood drainage projects at the north end and Fourth Ward continue to make progress. Crews at the north end are finishing concrete work on Fifth Street between West Avenue (near the Ocean City Primary School) and Bay Avenue. That stretch of Fifth Street will remain closed to all but local traffic until the concrete work is complete. The refilled trenches there must settle for several weeks before final paving can begin. Separate crews are laying pipe on Seventh Street, and paving at the northern end of the project area is expected to begin on Sept. 17. In the Fourth Ward, three of four pumping stations are in place. The contractor is working with Atlantic City Electric to bring power service to the new equipment.Finally, I’d like to remind everybody of annual 9/11 memorial ceremony at 6 p.m. Tuesday, in front of the Ocean City Fire Department headquarters between Fifth Street and Sixth Street on Asbury Avenue. I encourage you all to attend. The ceremony includes music, prayer and reflections on the memory of lives lost and on the community spirit that was renewed in the wake of the tragedy. This year’s special guest speaker will be Rev. Stephen J. Connor, the new pastor at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. In 2001, Father Connor was living in New York City and spent September through December first ministering at ground zero and then at the morgue on the east side of New York.Warm regards,Jay A. GillianMayorlast_img read more

Brazil assaults indigenous rights, environment, social movements

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Corruption, Culture, Dams, Energy, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, Featured, Forests, Green, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Illegal Logging, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img The Temer administration and Congress, dominated by the increasingly militant bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby, are encouraging violence, say critics, as attacks reach record levels against the landless peasants of the agrarian reform movement and against indigenous groups fighting for land rights assured by the 1988 Constitution.In May a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry, dominated by the bancada, recommended prosecution of 67 people, many of them serving in the federal government, who the commission claims have allegedly committed illegal acts by supporting indigenous groups and their land claims.Also in May, Congress approved MPs (administrative orders), handed down by Temer, removing 486,000 hectares of the National Forest of Jamanxim and 101,000 hectares of the National Park of Jamanxim from protection, likely allowing land thieves to claim these formerly protected Amazon areas for private ownership, ranching and mining.The Chamber of Deputies also rushed through MP 759, giving real estate ownership rights to hundreds of thousands of small land owners illegally occupying land in Brazil. Critics say the MP is also a massive gift to wealthy land thieves. Another bill, now on hold, could gut environmental licensing rules for infrastructure and agribusiness projects. Sunset over the Amazon. Brazil’s sudden fierce legislative and administrative attacks on the environment, indigenous people and social movements originate with the country’s agribusiness lobby, which is hungry to take over protected land in the Amazon and across the nation. Photo by Rhett A. Butler“The first five months of 2017 have been the most violent this century,” Cândido Neto da Cunha, a specialist in agrarian affairs at the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) in Santarém, Brazil, told Mongabay. According to the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), which has been compiling statistics on rural violence since 1985, 36 people have already been assassinated in rural conflicts this year.The latest violence came on 24 May when nine men and a woman were killed in what seems to have been a deliberate massacre on the Santa Lúcia estate in the rural district of Pau D’Arco located 860 kilometers (535 miles) south of Belém, the capital of the state of Pará.For many years, landless families had lobbied for the creation of a land reform settlement on this estate, saying that the man claiming to own the land, now deceased, was a land thief. His widow agreed to hand over the property, but had second thoughts when INCRA officials, who cannot pay above the market price, refused to pay her what she asked.In the meantime, landless families had occupied the area and a security guard, working for the ranch, was killed on 30 April. A posse of military and civil police went in to evict the families and to investigate the death. The families say the police arrived shooting. This version is disputed by the police, who claim that the peasant families shot at them first. However, no police officer was killed or wounded.A landless peasant occupation at KM Mil, a settlement near the Thousand Kilometer marker on highway BR 163 near the town of Novo Progresso in Pará state, Brazil. Violence against peasants involved in the agrarian reform movement is increasing across the nation as wealthy land thieves are emboldened by the Temer administration which has done little to stop the attacks. Photo by Thais BorgesAs Cunha pointed out, this is only the latest in a series of violent land conflicts this year. On 19 April, ten peasants, including children, were tortured and then murdered in the rural district of Colniza in the northwest of Mato Grosso. On 30 April a group of Gamela Indians were attacked by a large group of armed men sent in by farmers. Over two dozen Indians were injured, with four hospitalised in critical condition. Two had their hands lopped off and their legs cut at the joints.On 25 May, 19 organizations, including the CPT and the landless movements (MST), published a letter in which they railed against the systematic “impunity of human rights violations in the countryside.” They went on: “The State is not only complicit and absent… but also an active agent in encouraging the violence, not only through the policies and programs carried out by the Executive, but also by the action of the Legislative which is destroying rights won by the workers.”Wave of violence spurred by bancada militancyCunha made a similar point, linking the spike in violence to the government’s rapid dismantling of environmental laws, agrarian reforms and indigenous protections, a process that gained greater momentum, he said, after Osmar Serraglio, a well-known member of the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby in Congress, was appointed Justice Minister in February.“Violence is one of the ways in which agribusiness and land thieves get rid of ‘obstacles’ to their never-ending expansion,” explained Cunha.Indigenous leaders tear-gassed by police in front of Brazil’s National Congress in April. They were protesting the surging violence against Indians seen since Temer took power, as well as the government’s assaults on indigenous land rights. Photo by Wilson Dias courtesy of Agencia BrasilThis past weekend, Serraglio was suddenly sacked by Temer without explanation, though possibly because of the Justice Minister’s alleged involvement in the Weak Meat (Carne Fraca) scandal. He had received large donations from JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, a company at the heart of the scandal which threatens to bring down Temer’s governmentHowever, his, or even Temer’s, removal seems unlikely to threaten the power of the bancada. Even if the President falls, a scenario that seems increasingly likely, the agribusiness lobby will remain strong — or grow even stronger. That’s because the bancada holds a firm grip on Congress, which will likely have a big say in selecting Temer’s successor who will most likely be chosen in indirect elections in Congress.The only way that the agribusiness lobby’s power might be challenged is if Congress passes a constitutional amendment that mandates immediate direct elections for president — a solution to the crisis many social movements are demanding, but which, as yet, seems unlikely to happen.Agribusiness attacks on indigenous rights For the moment, the bancada (the members of which have again refused to grant Mongabay an interview), is pressing ahead with a program that heavily favors agribusiness and is extraordinarily hostile to Indians, the environment and social movements.On 30 May a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into FUNAI, the federal agency responsible for Indian affairs, and INCRA (the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform), approved the final version of its report. The Commission, whose members came mainly from the bancada, called for 67 people to be indicted for allegedly illegal activities in support of the indigenous movement. The list included a former justice minister (José Eduardo Cardozo), anthropologists, FUNAI employees, INCRA employees and 30 Indians.Brazil’s large scale farmers and commodities companies (such as Amaggi), aren’t the only ones to benefit wildly from an agribusiness-friendly Brazilian government that attacks indigenous land rights and environmental protections. International commodities companies like ADM, Cargill and Bunge will also greatly benefit. Photo by Thais BorgesThe list of names will be handed to the Public Ministry and other authorities for possible prosecution. Though no other action has yet been taken against those named in the list, the report has created a climate of trepidation, with many of those named by the Parliamentary Commission fearful of possible arrest and prosecution.The report’s rapporteur, Nilson Leitão, who had initially called for the closing down of FUNAI, changed his position, in the face of widespread criticism, with the report proposing, instead, the “restructuring” of FUNAI.Bancada attacks on the environmentAlso on 17 May, in the midst of a rapidly escalating political crisis, the Senate found time to approve two provisional measures (MP756 and MP758) forwarded by the Temer administration to dismember the National Park of Jamanxim and the National Forest of Jamanxim ­— two conservation units running beside the BR-163 highway in the Amazon.The conserved lands were created as a barrier to prevent the agricultural frontier from penetrating deeper into the rainforest, and the units also act as a critical environmental corridor connecting the Xingu and Tapajós river basins. In recent years the federally protected Jamanxim preserves have come under increasing pressure due to an invasion by land thieves, with 68 percent of illegal forest felling in federal conservation units occurring within these protected areas.The Amazon rainforest, which saw a decrease in deforestation until recently, has seen a significant increase over the last two years, likely a result of pressures coming from land thieves and Brazilian agribusiness. Satellite photo courtesy of NASADuring the commission stage, the bancada tried to increase the areas to be removed from protection to 1.2 million hectares (4,633 square miles), but the outcry from environmental organizations and some Parliamentarians was so loud that the lobby backed down. Even so, the MPs will remove protection from 598,000 hectares (2,309 square miles), legitimatizing the illegal seizure of federal lands by land grabbers who stand to make a hefty profit when they sell the former federal property to cattle ranchers and other developers.In the final MP drafts approved by the Senate, 486,000 hectares (37 percent) of the National Forest of Jamanxim and 101,000 hectares (12 percent) of the National Park of Jamanxim will be converted to Areas of Environmental Protection (APAs), a weaker kind of environmental protection in which private ownership, mining and cattle ranching are permitted.All protection will be removed from another, relatively small, area to clear the way for the building of the Ferrogrão Railway, which will link the north of Mato Grosso state to the Tapajós River, providing an important export corridor for soy and corn. The Temer government prioritized and fast tracked the approval of the Ferrogrão grain railway at the end of last year, again, doing the bidding of the bancada which also pressed at the time, in an as yet aborted attempt to build industrial waterways to transport agribusiness commodities across the Amazon.MPs are federal administrative acts, a mechanism originally only intended to be used in emergencies. Critics note that it is hard to seriously argue that providing land thieves with free federal land is an “emergency.” It is for this reason that Maurício Guetta, the lawyer for the NGO ISA (Socioenvironmental Institute), called the measure “absolutely unconstitutional”.However, it was not Temer, but impeached president Dilma Rousseff, from the Workers Party (PT), who first used the MP policy instrument irresponsibly, a move much questioned at the time, when she reduced the size of conservation units to make way for huge hydroelectric dams along the Tapajós River.Land speculators are doing a brisk trade in the Amazon basin. In a process known as “speculative clearance,” land thieves, backed by violent militias, lay claim to public lands covered in rainforest. That land is then deforested and illegally sold to cattle ranchers. Each tract of stolen federal land can bring in an estimated R $20 million (US $6.4 million). In May, the Brazilian Congress removed 486,000 hectares from protection in the National Forest of Jamanxim and 101,000 hectares from protection in the National Park of Jamanxim. Critics say the preserves were dismembered to legitimize the illegal occupation of federal lands by wealthy land thieves. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerTemer now has until the end of June to veto the two measures. If he does nothing, they will go into effect. Environment minister José Sarney Filho called on Temer to use his veto, saying that the measures “represent a reversal in the efforts of the Brazilian government to fulfil the commitments that it undertook in the Paris Agreement to combat global warming.”The bancada is using still other parliamentary mechanisms to push its agenda through. It was revealed this week by the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper that the bancada had included a “jabuti” (red-footed tortoise) into an MP. Jabuti is the nickname for an amendment opportunistically inserted into legislation on a very different issue to get it quickly approved.In this case, the jabuti was inserted into MP 752/15, a measure dealing with private concessions in the rail and airport sectors that has already been approved. The intention of the jabuti is to exempt banks from environmental crimes unless it can be proved that they directly caused the damage. If it is approved, IBAMA will, for instance, be unable to collect the R $47.5 million (US $14.5 million) fine it imposed on Santander bank for financing in 2015 the planting of soy and corn in an environmentally protected area in the state of Mato Grosso where such activity is banned. IBAMA is mobilizing in an eleventh hour attempt to persuade Temer to veto the jabuti.A blue and yellow macaw. The decisions being rapidly made by the Temer administration and Brazil’s Congress could do massive harm to Amazon biodiversity for decades to come. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerLegitimizing land theftOn 24 May, the day that social movements were carrying out a large anti-Temer demonstration in Brasilia, the Chamber of Deputies rushed through another provisional measure – MP 759. This measure will profoundly alter the real estate situation in Brazil, giving ownership rights to hundreds of thousands of people who have been illegally occupying land. Romero Jucá, the rapporteur of the measure, said it would be a great boost to the economy, allowing the owners of thousands of small stores to legalize their businesses.While some government action was clearly required on this issue, Edmilson Rodrigues, a left-wing federal deputy, was highly critical of the way in which such an important change was being rushed through as a provisional measure “without public consultation with the affected populations, without hearing social movements.” He said that, in practice, the government was handing over “nothing less than 88 million hectares (340,000 square miles) to the pernicious real estate market.” He added: “it will put an end to agrarian reform and legitimize land thieving.”Yet another monumental change is in the pipeline.A bill to make it far easier to obtain an environmental license for an economic project, which had already been strongly criticized by environmentalists, underwent a further change, when bancada member Mauro Pereira, the rapporteur for the bill, presented a new draft to the Chamber’s Finances and Tax Commission at the end of April.Traditional life in the Amazon could be seriously threatened if the Brazilian Congress passes legislation to gut environmental licensing for infrastructure projects, such as dams. Phot by Mauricio TorresUnder the new version, almost everything — from mining in conservation units, to paving roads in Amazonia, and the extension of agribusiness to new areas — will no longer require a license. Mega-projects, like the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, which will still have to be licensed, will only have to fulfil a series of environmental conditions in order to obtain one.With a few notable exceptions, such as the BBC’s Brazil service, the media in Brazil and abroad is ignoring this hugely important change. With a new scandal erupting almost every day and with 90 politicians, including Temer, accused of corruption, the media is transfixed only on the latest twist in the political drama. This provides a convenient smokescreen behind which the bancada can push ahead at full steam.Voting on the environmental licensing bill in the Commission (five of whose members are on Odebrecht’s list of politicians it bribed) had been scheduled for 3 May, but it was withdrawn at the last moment, thanks to heavy pressure from the Environmental Ministry and the Federal Public Ministry, an independent branch of government. But another date could be set to move the measure forward at any moment.The dismemberment of conservation units, national parks and other protected areas by the Temer administration and Congress are being made to satisfy the country’s very powerful agribusiness lobby, with very little thought given to conservation. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerToo much, too fastEnvironmentalists and agrarian reform specialists question whether Temer’s provisional government, with just 7 percent popular support, should be carrying out such sweeping and significant structural reforms, drastic changes that will clearly impact the environment, indigenous groups and land ownership for years to come.Cunha told Mongabay: “We are really worried. We are no longer in a situation in which rights are not being respected, as happened under Dilma. What we are living through today is the reversal of rights and social victories. The little that we have achieved is being overturned.”FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.A pair of macaws in flight. The Amazon basin is under extreme threat, as the Brazilian government passes measure after measure to gut environmental, indigenous and social movement protections. Photo by Rhett A. Butlerlast_img read more

Would be Awesome If Akshay Kumar Plays My Role in PV Sindhu Biopic: Pullela Gopichand

first_img Akshay KumarbiopicPullela GopichandPV Sindhu First Published: August 28, 2019, 1:13 PM IST Hyderabad: PV Sindhu made history to become the first Indian to win a gold medal at the BWF World Championships. She defeated Japanese player Nozomi Okuhara 21-7 21-17 in 38 minutes.It is rumoured that Bollywood is preparing to screen the film based on her life. Bollywood star Akshay Kumar is reported to be playing the role of Coach Pullela Gopichand. When media asked Gopichand about the same on Wednesday he replied, “I like Akshay Kumar. If he plays my part… Would be awesome. Because… He is one of the people I admire the most. But I have no clarity on the biopic.”Gopichand is the Chief National Coach of the Indian Badminton Team. He won the Arjuna Award in 1999, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2001, Dronacharya in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.Akshay Kumar congratulated her on her Twitter platform when she won the gold medal at the World Championships on Sunday.Heartiest congratulations @Pvsindhu1 on becoming the first Indian to win a at the #BWFWorldChampionships2019. What a feat to achieve, you completely smashed it— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) August 25, 2019″Heartiest congratulations, PV Sindhu on becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal at the BWFWorldChampionships2019. What a feat to achieve, you completely smashed it,” he wrote.PV Sindhu has announced her goal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more