Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ocean clean-up project launches first sea experiment in 2016

DutchNews, December 31, 2015

Photo: Ocean Clean-up

A project to clean the oceans of plastic soup, launched by a former Delft University student, will begin an experiment with a 100 metre long barrier off the Dutch coast in the second quarter of 2016. 

Boyan Slat said in 2014 he had raised $2m via an internet crowdfunding project to fund his ambitious plan to scoop plastic out of the Pacific Ocean. The ‘ocean cleanup’ concept is designed to capture the floating plastic but allow fish and plankton to pass through unharmed. 

The spring experiment marks the first time the barrier design has been tested in open waters. The main objective of the North Sea test, 23 kilometres off the coast near The Hague, is to monitor the effects of real-life sea conditions, with a focus on waves and currents.


The floating barriers are one of the most critical elements of the concept, since they are responsible for capturing and concentrating the plastic debris. The real life trials follow extensive computer modelling and scale model testing in controlled environments. 

A second test, off the coast of Tsushima Island in Japan, will take place in the second half of 2016.

Related Article:

An impression of how the system might look. Photo: Ocean Cleanup

Giant squid makes rare appearance in Japanese port

Yahoo  - AFP,  December 30, 2015

A giant squid, four metres in length, was discovered by fishermen on December 24,
2015 at a port in the city of Toyama on Japan's northwestern coast (AFP
Photo/Akinobu Kimura)

Tokyo (Japan) (AFP) - A giant squid that wandered into a Japanese port has been guided back out to sea almost a week after it was spotted, giving enthusiasts and experts a rare glimpse of the mysterious creature.

The massive invertebrate, four metres (13 feet) in length, was discovered by fishermen on December 24 at a port in the city of Toyama on Japan's northwestern coast.

It was later guided by a diver into deeper seas.

"Its suckers were so strong that I felt some pain," Akinobu Kimura, who runs a dive shop in Toyama, said on TV Asahi.

"Even though I was trying to let it escape (from the port), it wrapped around my body and clung to my arm."

A curator at the local Uozu Aquarium who visited the port and took underwater photos of the squid was surprised at its size.

"It was unexpectedly beautiful, its body glowing red," he said in footage shown on broadcaster TBS.

Giant squids are sometimes caught in Japanese fishing nets, though filming a live one is rare.

The giant squid, "Architeuthis" to scientists, is sometimes described as one of the last mysteries of the ocean, being part of a world so hostile to humans that it has been little explored.

We need a Dutch-style Delta plan to stem the tide of floods

With each new deluge the UK learns nothing, unlike the Netherlands, which has adapted to the changing nature of the threat

The Guardian, Henk van Klaveren, Sunday 27 December 2015

York city centre is covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its
 banks. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

When more than 1,800 people died in the wake of the 1953 North Sea flood in the Netherlands, the national reaction was: never again. The resulting Delta programme to close off the south-western river delta from the sea was so bold that its name became synonymous with dealing with a crisis. If an issue needs a major response, you can be sure that a Dutch politician will call for a “Delta plan to tackle X”. It is time that the UK took some of that attitude and got a Delta plan to tackle flooding.

Flooding has become an almost annual event in the UK. We are waiting for the next storm and flash flood to hit, with another group – or even the same group – of people evacuated, all followed by the promise of some money for a bit of flood defence work. As a nation, we can no longer afford to accept that. Consider the personal misery for those affected, even in areas not traditionally flood-prone like Manchester and Leeds. Consider that the financial cost of these events will continue to rise – and not only for the government. Every home insurance policy now includes a £10.50 Flood Re levy to subsidise insurance for homes with a high risk of flooding.

With the climate changing and becoming more volatile, we can expect heavier rain and more severe storms. Water management systems in the UK, and in particular in England, are unable to deal with what lies ahead.

After almost every flood, journalists and policymakers go to the Netherlands to learn how they are adapting to climate change and what lessons there are for the UK. We see Dutch projects in the news, such as a neighbourhood with floating homes that forms part of a major national programme to create space for the rivers. But those lessons never seem to be taken on board. Come the next flood, off they all go to Holland again.

For the Dutch, water management goes to the core of their national identity. The country was forged in the battle against water. This common fight led to the pooling of resources and decision-making in regional water authorities – among the oldest democratic institutions in the world – which continue that work today. The national habit of consensus decision-making in tackling major issues became known internationally in the 90s as the “polder model”, echoing its water-based roots. No Dutch politician wants to be part of the generation that fails in the common endeavour against water, and no voter would accept someone caught sleeping on their watch.

The Netherlands has adapted to the changing nature of the threat. Today, the biggest danger is not the sea swallowing the land but the rain overwhelming it. The main focus no longer is building higher dykes and bigger dams, like they did after the 1953 flood. Instead, the Dutch have spent the past decade deepening and widening rivers, creating new side canals that provide extra capacity, and setting aside land as dedicated flood plains. This €2.3bn (£1.7bn) project is still ongoing. All this so that when the water does come, the swollen rivers can expand without flooding homes and causing misery.

In Britain, we need to start to realise and accept that flooding is becoming an equally existential issue. There can be no northern powerhouse or sustainable prosperity anywhere if it risks being swept away by the rain. That message is not always clear in Westminster, where the focus is on the quick fix today. The polder model feels far away from the much more combative nature of Westminster – and from Holyrood and Cardiff, too.

We need a Dutch-style national response in the UK, with the necessary funding. The British landscape demands it even more than the Dutch flat countryside. With heavy rainfall flowing down the hills into lower-lying areas, those places need investment in rivers and landscapes able to absorb that water, transport it away from homes quickly or temporarily store it on empty flood plains. We need to stop building in at-risk areas, setting those places aside as buffers to protect existing homes. When and wherever we build, we need to think about how we manage water in that area.

This will require some tough decisions and difficult public debates. The respective environment agencies in England, Scotland and Wales have much of the expertise, but need the political will and funding. A start would be a UK Delta plan. But first the prime minister and the first ministers of Scotland and Wales must truly resolve: “never again”.

The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier (Oosterscheldekering) in Vrouwenpolder,
The Netherlands (AFP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)

Related Articles:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

China fines foreign shipping firms

Chinese authorities have imposed multimillion dollar fines on several overseas shipping companies accusing them of price fixing. This is the latest case involving Beijing's scrutiny of foreign firms.

Deutsche Welle, 28 December 2015

China on Monday fined seven major Korean, Japanese and European shipping companies that transport vehicles for automakers a combined 407 million yuan (around $65 million, 59 million euros) on price-fixing charges.

Investigators found Europe's Wallenius Wilhelmsen, South Korea's EUKOR, Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and other shippers improperly coordinated bids and routes to keep prices high, said China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) - the top state planner and one of several agencies tasked with oversight of monopoly cases.

An eighth shipper, Japan's NYK Line, was also implicated but escaped a fine by cooperating with the authorities, the NDRC said. The biggest penalty of 284 million yuan (about $45 million) was imposed on EUKOR Car Carriers Inc.

The commission accused the companies of mutually agreeing to raise shipping costs and using unfair means to set prices - mainly on routes linking China with North America, South America and Europe.

The latest penalties target "roll-on, roll-off" shippers that move cars, trucks and construction equipment aboard specialized vessels carrying hundreds and sometimes thousands of vehicles.

The NDRC said the companies had already acknowledged responsibility and apologized.
Sweeping investigations

The case follows sweeping investigations into foreign firms in China in sectors ranging from technology to autos.

Business groups say the secretive and abrupt way investigations are conducted is alienating foreign companies. But regulators deny foreign companies are treated unfairly.

Regulators have investigated or penalized auto makers, dairies and technology suppliers under China's 2008 anti-monopoly law in an effort to force down prices Chinese consumers complain are too high.

In August last year, the Chinese government levied a combined 1.24 billion yuan fine on 12 Japanese auto parts firms for price-fixing.

And in perhaps the biggest anti-monopoly penalty imposed by Chinese authorities to date, US chipmaker Qualcomm was fined 6 billion yuan ($975 million) in February on charges it abused its dominance in wireless technology to charge "unfairly high" licensing fees.

sri/hg (AFP, AP)

Monday, December 28, 2015

British man first to row non-stop across Pacific Ocean

British adventurer John Beeden has become the first person to row solo and non-stop across the Pacific Ocean, landing in northern Australia on December 27. He previously rowed across the Atlantic in 2011.

Deutsche Welle, 27 December 2015

The 53-year-old embarked on his journey from San Francisco on June 1 in his six-meter (20-foot) boat named Socks II, and landing in Cairns, Australia, on December 27. During the 7,400-nautical-mile journey he averaged 15 hours rowing for 209 days.

"To be the first person to achieve something like this on this scale is incredible really, and I haven't processed it yet," Beeden told Australian national broadcaster ABC.

His wife Cheryl and two teenage daughters greeted him at the dock in Cairns when he pulled in escorted by a string of local vessels.

Pacific 'much harder' than Atlantic

Beeden missed his planned date of arrival by about a month because of weather conditions slowing him down. He repeatedly tweeted that the journey was proving far more difficult than he had thought.

A seasoned rower, Beeden had already rowed 2,600 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean solo in 53 days in 2011, but said that the Pacific was much harder to tackle.

Along his way, Beeden was met by a series of support boats as he passed islands and was given supplies. After seven months on his own at sea Beeden said he found it "strange" to be back among people and noise. For some of his time out on the Pacific, the nearest human beings were the crew of the space station 250 kilometers (150 miles) above him.

"It's strange, but it's good to be back, but it was kind of good to be out there as well," Beeden said.

Rower lost at sea during previous attempt in 1996

In 1983, British rower Peter Bird almost made the solo row from San Francisco to Australia, but was rescued near the Barrier Reef just 33 miles from the mainland by the Australian navy, after 294 days at sea.

Bird made several more attempts but was lost at sea in 1996.

ss/bk (dpa)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Snakes alive! Missing species found off Australia coast

Yahoo – AFP, December 22, 2015

Two short-nose sea snakes pictured off the coast of Western
Australia (AFP Photo/Grant Giffen)

Australian scientists Tuesday hailed the discovery of two sea snake species feared to have become extinct years ago off the Western Australia coast.

The short-nose sea snake and the leaf-scaled sea snake had not been seen since disappearing from their only known habitat on Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea more than 15 years ago, James Cook University researchers wrote in the Biological Conservation journal.

But they have since been "spotted alive and healthy" at Ningaloo Reef (short-nose sea snake) and Shark Bay (leaf-scaled sea snake), thousands of kilometres south.

"This discovery is really exciting, we get another chance to protect these two endemic Western Australian sea snake species," the study's lead author Blanche D'Anastasi said in a statement about the two species, listed by Australian authorities as critically endangered.

"But in order to succeed in protecting them, we will need to monitor populations as well as undertake research into understanding their biology and the threats they face."

e university said the short-nose sea snake was identified after a wildlife officer sent a photo of two of them to D'Anastasi in April 2013.

"What is even more exciting is that they were courting, suggesting that they are members of a breeding population," D'Anastasi added.

The scientists said it was a "real surprise" when they also discovered a "new and significant" population of the leaf-scaled sea snake in the seagrass beds of Shark Bay.

"The disappearance of sea snakes from Ashmore Reef could not be attributed to trawling and remains unexplained," said another researcher, Vimoksalehi Lukoschek.

Sea snakes are often vulnerable as by-catch by prawn trawlers.

"Clearly we need to identify the key threats to their survival in order to implement effective conservation strategies if we are going to protect these newly discovered coastal populations," Lukoschek added.

Australia approves coal port expansion near Barrier Reef

Yahoo – AFP, Martin Parry, December 22, 2015

Australia has approved a controversial port expansion to support coal mining
 projects and the dredging of spoil despite conservationists' fears it threatens
the Great Barrier Reef (AFP Photo/Sarah Lai)

Australia on Tuesday approved a controversial port expansion to support mining projects and the dredging of 1.1 million cubic metres (2.4 million cubic feet) of spoil despite fears it threatens the Great Barrier Reef.

The decision, creating a huge port capable of handling up to 120 million tonnes of coal per annum, comes two months after the government green-lighted an Indian-backed plan to build one of the world's biggest mines in the same area of Queensland state.

The Aus$16.5 billion (US$12.1 billion) Carmichael project by Adani Enterprises in the Galilee Basin, home to vast coal reserves, has attracted fierce criticism, requiring the fossil fuel to be shipped through the deepwater Abbot Point Coal Terminal which is currently at capacity.

Environmentalists have argued that any expansion at Abbot Point risked the World Heritage-listed reef's health and would destroy local habitats.

Environmentalists argue that any expansion
 at Abbot Point risks the health of the World 
Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and 
destroy local habitats (AFP Photo/Peter Parks)
"The Queensland state Labor government's Abbot Point Growth Gateway project has been approved in accordance with national environment law subject to 30 strict conditions," a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said.

Earlier plans were for at least three million cubic metres of material to be dredged and dumped into waters around the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but this was later abandoned after an outcry.

The approval now permits 1.1 million cubic metres to be dredged, allowing more freighters to dock at Abbot Point, near the town of Bowen, but spoil must be disposed of on existing industrial land.

"No dredge material will be placed in the World Heritage Area or the Caley Valley Wetlands," said Hunt's spokeswoman. "The port area is at least 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) from any coral reef and no coral reef will be impacted."

The decision comes barely a week after 195 nations, including Australia, agreed in Paris to try and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

Hunt said he was comfortable that good-quality Australian coal would feed Indian electricity consumption.

"If they didn't have Australian participation... they would be using lower quality fuel," he told ABC radio.

"So lower quality fuel and lower efficiency (power) stations -- so the net global impact of not using Australian fuels would be for emissions to go up, not down."

'Illogical, irresponsible'

Adani, which has previously accused environmental activists of exploiting legal loopholes to stall its massive open-cut and underground mine which is forecast to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal a year for export, welcomed the decision.

"The expansion of Abbot Point, the lifeblood of Bowen, is key to Adani's plans to deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and Aus$22 billion in taxes and royalties to Queensland," it said in a statement.

Critics argue that plunging coal prices make the development financially unviable, while major European and US banks have refused funding due to environmental concerns.

Greenpeace said the Abbot Point go-ahead was "irresponsible for the reef, illogical and unnecessary".

"Adani hasn't got the Aus$16 billion, no-one's lending it to them, and coal prices are tanking. Even the International Energy Agency is questioning the project," said Greenpeace reef campaigner Shani Tager.

WWF-Australia said the waters around Abbot Point were home to dugongs, sea turtles and snubfin dolphins while the dredge spoil would be dumped on land adjacent to wetlands used by migratory birds.

"It's disappointing that the minister has approved this project within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, despite the damage it will do," spokeswoman Louise Matthiesson said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Zeeland farm claims breakthrough with land-bred oysters

DutchNews, December 21, 2015

File photograph of oysters in Yerseke.
Photo: Takeaway via Wikimedia Commons
An oyster farm in Zeeland is claiming a world first after successfully raising the clams on land, NOS reports. 

Father and son team Sam and Sybe Smit cultivated the creuse or Japanese oysters at their high-tech facility in Kats, on the Oosterschelde estuary. The first batch is being taken to market this week so they are available in restaurants and specialist fishmongers in time for Christmas. 

The farmers used containers filled with purified river water and home-grown plankton to mature the oysters, which were bought from a sea oyster farm as immature specimens. 

The technique allows oysters to mature and be sold all year round and reduces damage through disease. Eventually the team hope to cultivate the oysters from seed. 

The Smits’ next aim is to breed the European flat oyster, which is a more valuable species on the fish markets.

Related Article:

Flamingo flock moves into Zeeland

DutchNews, December 21, 2015

A colony of about 50 flamingos has moved into the Grevelingenmeer in Zeeland for the winter rather than moving on to warmer climes in Africa.

The group of distinctive pink birds is known to breed just over the border in Germany and appears to have moved north to the Netherlands because the lake contains just enough salt to stop it freezing.

‘The Grevelingenmeer is very suitable for them because they can find sufficient crabs and shrimp,’ William van der Hulle, of the Dutch forestry commission, told BNR radio. 

Flamingos are regular visitors to the lake but never in such large numbers, he said. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rescue crews in Indonesia battle high seas to reach ship with 120 on board

Rescue crews in Indonesia are braving high seas to rescue more 120 passengers aboard a boat at risk of sinking.

Deutsche Welle, 19 December 2015

The ferry boat carrying around 120 passengers was hit by 3 to 5 meter waves off the coast of the Sulawesi on Saturday, forcing the captain to send out a distress signal.

Initial media reports suggested the fiberglass boat carrying passengers from Kolaka to Siwa on Sulawesi island had sunk, but authorities later said the boat was taking in water and its engine had broken.

"The ship has not sunk," a South Sulawesi police spokesman said by phone.

A search and rescue official told Reuters that rescue teams were trying to reach the stranded passengers, including at least 19 children.

There was no mention of casualties, but Indonesia's search and rescue agency and navy have been notified.

Indonesia relies heavily on passenger boats to connect 17,000 islands but the transport sector has a poor safety record.

cw/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dutch courts to judge Shell in landmark oil spill case

Yahoo – AFP, Jan Hennop,December 18, 2015

Four Nigerian farmers and fishermen, backed by the Dutch branch of environmental
 group Friends of the Earth, first filed the case in 2008 against Shell in a court
case thousands of kilometres (miles) from their homes (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

The Hague (AFP) - A Dutch appeals court ruled Friday that four Nigerian farmers may take their case against oil giant Shell to a judge in the Netherlands, in a landmark ruling involving multinational corporate governance.

"The Dutch courts and this court consider it has jurisdiction in the case against Shell and its subsidiary in Nigeria," Judge Hans van der Klooster said at the appeals court in The Hague.

The four farmers and fishermen, backed by the Dutch branch of environmental group Friends of the Earth, first filed the case in 2008 against the Anglo-Dutch company in a court case thousands of kilometres (miles) from their homes.

They want Shell to clean up devastating oil spills in four heavily-polluted villages in the west African country's oil-rich Niger Delta, prevent further spills and pay compensation.

The three-judge panel also denied Shell the power to take its decision before the Netherland's top court.

Shell did not specifically say whether it would seek a review of Friday's judgement, but it said that the case over their responsibility for the spills "will be the topic of continuing litigation."

The farmers also wanted Shell to disclose a number of documents they believe could show the company's negligence in maintaining its oil pipelines and guarding against sabotage.

In return, court documents reveal, Shell wanted the judges to scrap Dutch jurisdiction over cases in Nigeria and rule the farmers' appeal inadmissible.

An aerial view of the Shell Cawtharine channels at Awoba in the oil-rich Niger 
Delta of Nigeria (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Nigeria is the world's 13th largest oil producer, pumping out more than 2.4 million barrels a day, but much of the Niger Delta region remains deeply impoverished.

In January 2013 a lower Dutch court threw out most of the farmers' lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs could not hold Shell's parent company responsible for the pollution which has for years blighted the southeastern delta system in Africa's largest oil producer.

In that ruling, judges said Shell's Nigerian subsidiary was partly responsible and ordered it to compensate farmers and fishermen in one claim, in the Delta village of Ikot Ada Udo, but not in the three other claims.

On Friday morning, the Dutch appeals judge however -- in a verdict lasting less than five minutes -- agreed with the Nigerian farmers' appeal.

"All appeals by Shell are rejected," judge Van der Klooster said as he also ordered the massive energy group to hand over the documents.

'Major victory'

"The ruling is a major victory, not only for the farmers, but indeed for the people of Nigeria," Friends of the Earth spokesman Geert Ritsema told journalists afterwards.

"It sets a massive precedent, which means that Dutch courts can make judgements about Dutch companies in other countries," he said.

None of the four farmers were at court, but a Friends of the Earth official said they followed proceedings via Skype "and were overjoyed with the verdict."

"It is vital that multinationals are made to answer for action abroad that would never be accepted in their home countries," added Amnesty International researcher Mark Dummett.

Four Nigerian farmers, seen here in court in The Hague in 2012, first filed 
the case against Shell in 2008 (AFP Photo/Robin Utrecht)

Shell reacted with disappointment.

"We are disappointed the Dutch court has determined it should assume international jurisdiction over SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria)," the oil giant said in a statement.

"In 2013, the court found that Royal Dutch Shell has no liability in relation to these claims," it added.

"As the claims against SPDC relied on the Royal Dutch Shell claims to establish jurisdiction in the Netherlands, in our view the court should have declined to exercise jurisdiction over SPDC on this occasion," the statement said.

Judge Van der Klooster also denied leave to take the case to the Dutch highest Supreme Court for a further decision, saying the four farmers' case will be heard next year.

'Double standards'

Environmental groups have long accused multinationals of following less stringent standards in developing countries than in Europe and North America.

They want the Netherlands and other Western nations to pass laws ordering companies to enforce the same environmental responsibility standards where they operate as are used at home.

Shell has been drilling in Nigeria for the last half-century and is the country's biggest producer.
Related Articles:

Shell accepts liability for two oil spills in Nigeria

Brazilian courts freezes companies' assets in mining spill

The collapse of two dams at a Brazilian mine has cut off drinking water for
 a quarter of a million people and saturated waterways downstream with dense
orange sediment that could wreck the ecosystem for years to come.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Costa Rica wins bitter territory row with Nicaragua

Yahoo – AFP, Ariela Navarro and Nicolas Delaunay, December 16, 2015

The San Juan River is the natural border between Nicaragua and
Costa Rica (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

The Hague (AFP) - Costa Rica won a lingering, bitter territorial row with Nicaragua Wednesday when a top UN court ruled it had sovereignty over a small patch of wetlands on the river San Juan.

The court "finds that Costa Rica has sovereignty over the disputed territory as defined by the court," the judges from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled, in a statement read to the hearing.

Basing its ruling in part on an 1858 treaty between the two countries, the court also reproached Managua for violating San Jose's right to navigation in the waters which form their joint border.

By "excavating" three channels in the river and "establishing a military presence on Costa Rican territory, Nicaragua has violated the territory and sovereignty" of its neighbour, the 16-judge panel found.

A satisfied Costa Rica hailed the decision, and while Nicaragua lamented the loss of the territory it took heart from some sharp criticism of its neighbour for building a road along the banks.

"The ICJ resolution... constitutes total vindication of the national viewpoint on the integrity of our territory," Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis told a news conference in San Jose.

He said he hoped a "horizon of dialogue" would now start between the countries.

Nicaragua's deputy foreign minister, Cesar Vega, told reporters in Managua that his country "will abide by the verdict".

Tensions have flared for years between the two Central American nations over the land -- called the Isla Portillos by San Jose and Harbour Head by Managua.

The fight first reached the ICJ in 2010 when Costa Rica complained Nicaragua's army had occupied a three square kilometre (just over one square mile) block near the mouth of the river San Juan as it flows into the Caribbean.

Nicaragua maintained the territory historically belonged to it, and in a separate 2011 counter-claim to the ICJ argued that Costa Rica was causing environmental damage by building a road next to the waterway.

President of the International Court of Justice Ronny Abraham (2R) looks at 
a document during the case on the border dispute between Costa Rica and
Nicaragua, in the Hague on December 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)

Turning the page

The case has ping-ponged back and forth in the International Court of Justice -- the UN's highest court founded in 1945 to rule on border and territorial disputes between nations.

Costa Rica had maintained in a hearing earlier this year that Nicaragua had "invaded" the tiny stretch of territory on its northeast coast.

And while the 16 judges did not go so far, the ICJ did award Costa Rica compensation for "material damages caused by Nicaragua's unlawful activities on Costa Rican territory."

The two countries now have 12 months to negotiate a fair settlement, otherwise the court warned it would be prepared at the request of one of the parties to step in and set the amount of compensation due.

"Nicaragua has lost 250 hectares of wetlands that we considered to be ours," said Nicaragua's ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos Arguello Gomez.

But he insisted his country now wanted to "turn the page. This ruling will help ties between our two countries. When things are cleared up, then problems go away and that is the most important thing."

He also welcomed the judges' ruling in the 2011 case brought by Nicaragua, which found that San Jose had failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment when it built the road that veers close to the river.

However, the judges refused to award any damages to Nicaragua, saying the ruling in its favour was "satisfaction" enough and Managua had failed to prove the road had caused "significant transboundary harm".

A third dispute between the countries is also before the ICJ, as Costa Rica has asked it to rule on their maritime borders.

The court has no power to enforce its rulings, but two countries must agree before a case can be brought before the tribunal.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Colombia finds treasure galleon, ending 300-year mystery

Yahoo – AFP, Paula Carrillo, 6 Dec 2015

The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose sunk off the Caribbean coast
 of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia in an undated picture released on 
December 5, 2105 by the Colombian Culture Ministry's press office (AFP Photo)

Cartagena (Colombia) (AFP) - Colombia says it has found the shipwreck of a storied Spanish galleon laden with gold, silver and precious stones, three centuries after it was sunk by the British in the Caribbean.

"This is the most valuable treasure that has been found in the history of humanity," President Juan Manuel Santos declared on Saturday.

He was speaking from the northern port city of Cartagena, close to where experts made the hugely valuable find.

Treasure hunters had searched for the ship for decades, described by some as the holy grail of shipwrecks.

The loot is estimated to be worth around $2 billion, its value having dropped significantly due to the falling price of silver, according to US-based company Sea Search Armada.

SSA, whose subsidiary claimed in the early 1980s that it had found the galleon's final resting place, was engaged in a long-running battle with the government of Colombia.

The find was not confirmed and a US court ultimately ruled it was Colombian property.

The San Jose has long been the source of fascination and popular legends, and even figures in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera."

Mystery solved after centuries

Although they found plenty of other wrecks, the San Jose's location had remained a mystery until now.

The San Jose was sunk in June 1708 near the Islas del Rosario, off Colombia's Caribbean coast, during combat with British ships attempting to take its cargo, as part of the War of Spanish Succession.

The galleon was the main ship in a treasure fleet carrying gold, silver and other valuable items from Spain's American colonies to King Philip V.

Only a handful of the ship's crew of 600 survived when the San Jose sank.

A team of Colombian and foreign researchers, including a veteran of the group that discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, studied winds and currents of the Caribbean 307 years ago and delved into colonial archives in Spain and Colombia searching for clues.

The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose sunk off the Caribbean coast of 
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia seen in an undated picture released on December 5, 
2105 by the Colombian Culture Ministry's press office (AFP Photo)

Experts confirmed that they found the San Jose on November 27 "in a place never before referenced by previous research," Santos said.

At least five other major shipwrecks were discovered when searching the ocean floor.

The experts confirmed that they located the San Jose, which was lying on its side, identifying it by its unique bronze cannons with engraved dolphins.

"The amount and type of the material leave no doubt of the identity" of the shipwreck, said Ernesto Montenegro, head of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History.

There could be up to 1,000 shipwrecks off the Caribbean coast of Colombia, but of those only between six and 10 had a large cargo of treasures, anthropologist Fabian Sanabria told AFP.

The biggest find, and the most sought after, was the San Jose, he said.

The discovery "is an unprecedented event for the country," said Cartagena Mayor Dionisio Velez.

On Twitter, the issue was trending under #GaleonSanJose, as users of the one-to-many social network debated whether to return the loot to Spain, and made various estimates about its current value.