Category Archives: World Stories

Is The Threat Of The Dakota Access Pipeline Real? I thought pipeline accidents were rare. Turns out, they happen all the time – Nitin Gadia. 

A couple months ago, I attended a protest against. the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was being constructed near my town of Ames, Iowa. As I watched friends getting arrested in nonviolent demonstrations, I had so many questions: does this pipeline really pose a threat to land and water?

With the controversy over the recent denial of the permit to cross the Missouri River at Standing Rock, and the requirement for the pipeline to undergo an environmental review, and with the prospects of efforts to build new pipelines after the Trump administration takes office, answering this question is as important now as ever.

My suspicion was that pipeline accidents are rare, but as I investigated, I found that they actually happen all the time. In the last 30 years, there have been over 8,700 liquid pipeline spills in the US, averaging nearly one every day.

One, in fact, happened recently only 150 miles from Standing Rock, where over 4,200 barrels (180,000 gallons) spilled into a river.

And the spills add up: if the 4.2 million barrels (176 million gallons) that have spilled in the last 30 years were counted as a single spill, it would be the third largest in history, right under the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, when 4.9 million barrels spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

Huffington Post 

Fidel Castro, a South African Hero – by Mac Maharaj. 

To South Africans who suffered under apartheid, he was a beacon of freedom.

There is no in-between space where Castro can be ignored or dismissed. He was either loved or loathed. To his enemies, he was a dictator. But to South Africans who suffered under apartheid, he was a beacon of freedom.

The bonds between Castro and Mandela, between the Cuban and the South African people, go back to the late 1950s.

In 1956, the apartheid regime indicted 156 rights leaders, including Mandela, from all walks of life and every corner of the country on charges of high treason for mobilizing peacefully against white minority rule. The trial dragged on for four years, and South Africa remained trapped in a cycle of repression and resistance for more than 30 years.

On Jan. 1, 1959, we woke up to the news that the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista had fled, that Castro and his July 26 Movement had triumphed. Although it had failed in its immediate goal, the Moncada Barracks attack became a recruiting tool and a major part of the success of the July 26 Movement.

Thus began the leadership of a man who indeed found no passion in playing small, who lived his life on an impoverished island at the doorstep of the mighty United States yet left an imprint on the history of the world.

New York Times 

America’s wacky plans to assassinate Fidel Castro. 

To some Fidel Castro was a revolutionary hero who beat back American imperialists from the shores of Cuba.

To others a ruthless dictator who suppressed human rights and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

But there’s no doubting one clear success the late Castro achieved in his 90 years – not being killed despite an orgy of American assassination plots.

For the US, having a Communist dictatorship just south of Florida which, at one point, served as a launching point for nuclear missiles designed to hit American cities, was just not on. By means fair or foul, they wanted rid of him.

A 1975 investigation by the US Senate, called the Church Committee, found that between Castro’s rise to power in 1959 and 1965 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tried to kill the Cuban leader at least eight times.

However, some claim the assassination attempts were far more numerous. Fabian Escalante, who headed up Cuba’s secret service, estimated there had been a staggering 634 attempts on Castro’s life.

NZ Herald 

Fidel Castro was a ‘champion of social justice’ despite obvious flaws. 

As the US embarked on a decades-long attempt at destabilisation, Castro’s fight for survival became synonymous with his country’s battle for autonomy.

Many on the left of British politics feared that the CIA was intent on regime change across Central and South America, and started to champion the Caribbean island and its charismatic leader, whose influence and appeal grew with each day that he remained in power.

“Fidel himself became a beacon of resistance, demonstrating that there was the possibility for a small people to win their power and hold on to their power despite every possible provocation and blockade. The fact that Cuba still stood independent despite the deprivations is a real, lasting legacy.

Today, people are looking for alternatives, something different, and the relevance of the politics – socialism, if you like – in the Cuba embodied by Fidel, by Che, is becoming more interesting to people. They’re fed up with the current political infrastructure, which doesn’t really empower most people to play an active part within their societies. At a time of austerity, people will look for alternatives, and Cuba is one of those alternatives. I’m not saying it’s the only one or the best one, but it’s one we can look at.” – Rob Miller

“Although responsible for indefensible human rights and free speech abuses, Castro created a society of unparalleled access to free health, education and equal opportunity despite an economically throttling US siege. His troops inflicted the first defeat on South Africa’s troops in Angola in 1988, a vital turning point in the struggle against apartheid.” – Lord Hain

“Fidel Castro’s death marks the passing of a huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th-century socialism, for all his flaws Castro will be remembered as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.” – Jeremy Corbyn 

“Of course, Fidel did things that were wrong. Initially he wasn’t very good on lesbian and gay rights, but the key things that mattered was that people had a good education, good healthcare, and wealth was evenly distributed. He was not living as a billionaire laundering money off into a Panamanian bank account or anything like that – he was good for the people.” – Ken Livingstone

The Guardian 

Humanity has less than 1000 years left until extinction. – Professor Stephen Hawking. 

Humans have less than 1000 years on Earth before we are wiped out in a mass extinction.

This grim outlook was delivered by Professor Stephen Hawking during a speech addressing the universe and the origins of humans at Oxford Union. The leading theoretical physicist said the only way for humankind to avoid the very real possibility of extinction was to find another planet to inhabit.

“We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity. I don’t think we will survive another 1000 without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

This bleak outlook on the humanity is nothing new for the 74-year-old, who earlier this year predicted technology would lead Earth to a virtually inevitable global cataclysm. 

NZ Herald 

Do we have just 1000 years left on Earth?