Brazilian Government Largest Illegal Logger in the Amazon

BRASILIA, Brazil, September 30, 2008 (ENS) – A Brazilian government agency that provides land to settlers is the largest illegal logger in the Amazon rainforest and could face criminal prosecution, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Monday. Minc blamed Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, or Incra, for occupying the top six places on a new government list of the 100 largest illegal loggers.

Today, he backed off a little, giving another government agency 20 days to analyze information presented by Incra contesting the legality of the deforestation.

Illegally cut logs await transport from a clearing in the Brazilian rainforest. (Photo by Andy Revkin)

“As some questions had been raised about what is legitimate, Ibama will go to evaluate point the point,” Minc said, handing responsibility for the inquiry to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama.

Minc clarified that Incra is the formal owner of the six parcels of land at issue, which in fact were deforested by the settlers. But legally, he said, the problem falls again on Incra because the Institute cannot pass ownership of land to the agriculturists until it has been settled for 10 years.

“They are small deforestations, of 20 or 30 hectares, per person. On the other hand, a small one deforests little but thousands deforest a great deal,” said Minc. “Therefore, we have that to improve, and as well we have to improve the incidents of deforestation on conservation units and on aboriginal lands.”

In total, 223,000 hectares of the rainforest were logged on those six properties

The Amazon rainforest is being chopped down more than three times as fast as last year, Brazilian officials said Monday, after three years of declines in the deforestation rate.

Read moreBrazilian Government Largest Illegal Logger in the Amazon

Gas Shortage In the South Creates Panic, Long Lines

If Drivers Can Fill Up, They Get Sticker Shock


People wait to fill their tanks at a Citgo station in Charlotte, where drivers have reported gas lines 60 cars long after 11 p.m. (By Davie Hinshaw — The Charlotte Observer)

Gasoline shortages hit towns across the southeastern United States this week, sparking panic buying, long lines and high prices at stations from the small towns of northeast Alabama to Charlotte in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

In Atlanta, half of the gasoline stations were closed, according to AAA, which said the supply disruptions had taken place along two major petroleum product pipelines that have operated well below capacity since the hurricanes knocked offshore oil production and several refineries out of service along the Gulf of Mexico.

Drivers in Charlotte reported lines with as many as 60 cars waiting to fill up late Wednesday night, and a community college in Asheville, N.C., where most of the 25,000 students commute, canceled classes and closed down Wednesday afternoon for the rest of the week. Shortages also hit Nashville, Knoxville and Spartanburg, S.C., AAA said.

Read moreGas Shortage In the South Creates Panic, Long Lines

Catastrophic fall in numbers reveals bird populations in crisis throughout the world


Northern Wheatear

The birds of the world are in serious trouble, and common species are in now decline all over the globe, a comprehensive new review suggests today.

From the turtle doves of Europe to the vultures of India, from the bobwhite quails of the US to the yellow cardinals of Argentina, from the eagles of Africa to the albatrosses of the Southern Ocean, the numbers of once-familiar birds are tumbling everywhere, according to the study from the conservation partnership BirdLife International.

Their falling populations are compelling evidence of a rapid deterioration in the global environment that is affecting all life on earth – including human life, BirdLife says in its report, State of The World’s Birds.

Read moreCatastrophic fall in numbers reveals bird populations in crisis throughout the world

Who Killed The Electric Car? (Documentary)

Google removed the video.

I’ve found a replacement.

A MUST-SEE!!!


Documentary about GM killing of the electric car. It has been here since ’96 but they killed it off.

The film features interviews with celebrities who drove the electric car, such as Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Alexandra Paul, Peter Horton, Ed Begley, Jr., a bi-partisan selection of prominent political figures including Ralph Nader, Frank Gaffney, Alan Lloyd, Jim Boyd, Alan Lowenthal, S. David Freeman, and ex-CIA head James Woolsey, as well as news footage from the development, launch and marketing of EV’s.

Nominated: Best Documentary – Environmental Media Awards (2006)
Won: Special Jury Prize – Mountain Film (Telluride) (2006)
Nominated: Best Documentary – Writers Guild of America
Won: Audience Award – Canberra International Film Festival
Nominated: 2007 Best Documentary Feature – Broadcast Film Critics Association

The “gasoline” for operating this car only costs 16 cents per gallon!

Who Killed the Electric Car? from Julien Chaulieu on Vimeo.

A murder mystery, a call to arms and an effective inducement to rage, Who Killed the Electric Car? is the latest and one of the more successful additions to the growing ranks of issue-oriented documentaries.
– The New York Times

A potent hybrid of passion and politics fuel this energetic and highly compelling documentary.
– Michael Rachtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter

If $3-a-gallon gasoline doesn’t make you hate the big oil companies, the shocking revelations in Chris Paine’s thought-provoking documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? will.
– V. A. Musetto, New York Post

Estrogen Flooding Our Rivers

The Montreal water treatment plant dumps 90 times the critical amount of certain estrogen products into the river. It only takes one nanogram (ng) of steroids per liter of water to disrupt the endocrinal system of fish and decrease their fertility.

These are the findings of Liza Viglino, postdoctoral student at the Universite de Montreal’s Department of Chemistry, at the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Drinking Water Treatment and Distribution, who is under the supervision of Professors Sebastien Sauve and Michèle Prevost.

The presence and effects of estrogen residues on aquatic wildlife are well documented. However, this research is unique because it didn’t only consider natural hormones and those used in oral contraceptives – it also included products used in hormone therapy that is prescribed to menopausal women.

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FDA Considers Engineered Animals For Food

Agency Will Accept Industry Proposals To Sell The Public Animals With Mixed DNA


Two featherless chickens peck around in some grass at the Hebrew University in Rehovot. Israeli scientists at the Agriculture department of the university have genetically engineered bare-skinned chickens as part of a research project to develop succulent, low fat poultry that is environmentally friendly. (AP)

(CBS/AP) The U.S. government will start considering industry proposals to sell genetically engineered animals as human food.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday a government review will ensure that such animals are safe to eat.

Genetically engineered animals are created when scientists insert a gene from one species of animal into the DNA of another animal to reprogam some of its characteristics.

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Video shows shocking farm cruelty to pigs

UNDERCOVER animal activists have filmed horrific scenes of cruelty to farm pigs.

The incidents include workers slamming piglets on floors and leaving them still wriggling to die, beating animals to death with metal rods and inserting rods into sows’ hindquarters.

Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posed as workers between June and September this year at a farm in the midwestern US state of Iowa, the Associated Press (AP)reports.

Read moreVideo shows shocking farm cruelty to pigs

FDA Criticized Over Plastic Chemical

Groups Raise Questions About the Safety of Bisphenol A

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 16, 2008 — Researchers and environmental groups attacked the FDA for concluding that a widely used plastic ingredient is safe for humans, saying the agency ignored critical studies showing potential ill health effects.

The comments came at a hearing called by the FDA to examine the science around bisphenol A (BPA). The chemical is used in hard plastic products, including some baby and water bottles, and is also used to line metal food cans.

A growing number of advocacy groups and some members of Congress have called on regulators to ban bisphenol A.

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Controlled drugs dumped uncontrolled into water

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – In a frustrating quirk in government policy, the most tightly controlled drugs – like painkilling narcotics prone to abuse – are the ones that most often elude environmental regulation when they become waste.

Federal narcotics regulators impose strict rules meant to keep controlled pharmaceuticals out of the wrong hands. Yet those rules also make these drugs nearly impossible to handle safely as waste, say hospital environmental administrators.

Many would like to send controlled substances to landfills or incinerators to keep them out of waterways as much as possible. Instead, they are nearly always dropped into sinks and toilets by hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

The problem is huge, because more than 365 medicines are controlled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – almost 12 percent of all prescriptions, the agency says. They include widely used narcotics, stimulants, depressants and steroids – drugs like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, diazepam (often sold as Valium) and methylphenidate (often sold as Ritalin).

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Chicago seeks aid after worst rain in at least 137 years


Chicago received more than 6 inches of rain Saturday, breaking a 1987 record.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)Chicago authorities asked Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to issue a disaster declaration after rainfall Saturday in the Windy City broke a single-day record that had stood for more than two decades.

The deluge flooded streets and stranded residents in their homes. Officials worked to rescue people Sunday as the city grappled with another day of drenching.

O’Hare International Airport recorded 6.64 inches of rain Saturday — breaking the all-time record of 6.49 inches set in 1987, according to the National Weather Service. Records have been kept since 1871.

Read moreChicago seeks aid after worst rain in at least 137 years