Merger of Brazil’s agriculture and environment ministries in limbo

first_imgAgriculture, Agrochemicals, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Pesticides, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation Article published by Glenn Scherer During his campaign, presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro repeatedly called for the merger of Brazil’s Ministry of Environment (MMA) and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA). Bolsonaro strongly backs agribusiness, while seeing the work of environmentalists as undermining the Brazilian economy.However, the president elect was met in recent days by a firestorm of resistance against the merger from environmentalists, NGOs, scientists, academics, the environmental ministry itself, and from eight former environmental ministers.Even the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby has come out against the proposal, calling it unworkable, noting that the two ministries have different, incompatible missions and agendas that would be compromised by a merger. Others note that a spirited dialogue between the two ministries is politically healthy for the nation.Bolsonaro, in response to criticism, said he will reconsider his plan, making a final decision on the merger known after taking office in January. Despite being close during the campaign to extreme right ruralists (mostly cattle ranchers), Bolsonaro has selected Tereza Cristina, a somewhat less radical ruralist, as new agriculture minister. A meeting of the ruralista group – major supporters of agribusiness – with then candidate Jair Bolsonaro at center in white shirt. Tereza Cristina, to the right of the new president, is Bolsonaro’s choice as Minister of Agriculture. The Bolsonaro administration takes office in January. Photo: FPA / Flickr.Throughout his campaign, now victorious presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro pledged that he would abolish Brazil’s Ministry of Environment (MMA) and fold its functions into the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) – a very controversial position.Two days after winning the race, the former army captain announced the fusion of the two ministries as part of a plan to reduce Brazil’s current 29 cabinet posts by half.His explanation, given in a March interview, seemed to be based on his blame of the environmental ministry for economic harm: “The MMA manages to do damage to what should not be done,” he declared. In comparison, Bolsonaro sees agribusiness as paramount to Brazil’s wellbeing, as seen in an October speech: “We need a president who will not get in the way of the rural producer. We will not have any more conflicts in that area.”Bolsonaro’s reasoning is supported by an outspoken and extreme group within the ruralist agribusiness faction – mostly cattle ranchers – represented by Luiz Antonio Nabhan Garcia, president of the Ruralista Democratic Union (UDR). Garcia was a frequent figure seen alongside the candidate during Bolsonaro’s campaign and also in the first round of official acts as president in Brasilia last week. Garcia has strongly criticized the limits put by Brazilian environmental regulations on Amazon deforestation, and also the Paris Agreement.In talks with other ruralistas, Garcia stated without offering evidence that “the world wants to take over the Brazilian Amazon,” threatening Brazil’s sovereignty. He has also referred to the Paris Agreement as toilet paper, and asked: “What benefits does the Paris Agreement bring to Brazil and us Brazilian [land]owners? Nothing!”Jair Bolsonaro, Nov. 2016. The presidential candidate strongly supported the ministry merger, but he backed off recently, saying he will make a final decision in January. Image by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom / Agência Brasil.Bolsonaro reverses himselfOpposition to the ministry merger was swift, coming from environmentalists, NGOs, scientists, academics and the environmental ministry itself.Eight former environment ministers – Marina Silva, José Sarney Filho, Izabella Teixeira, Carlos Minc, Gustavo Krause, José Carlos Carvalho, Rubens Ricupero and José Goldemberg – published a joint article in defense of maintaining the Ministry of Environment, along with Brazil’s continued participation in the Paris Agreement. Bolsonaro proposed withdrawing from the accord during his campaign, a position from which he has since somewhat distanced himself.Perhaps surprisingly, another group within Brazilian society ­– primarily representing soy, sugarcane, paper pulp and other crop growers, but not cattlemen ­– came out strongly against fusing the ministries. Just after the first-round election in early October, 40 representatives from the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby in Congress met with the then candidate, who was awaiting the runoff election, and urged him not to combine the ministries.After that meeting, Garcia, a big defender of the merger, told the press that Bolsonaro would review the issue.Current Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi under president Michel Temer during the launching of the Agricultural and Livestock Plan for 2018/2019 in Brasília, in June 2018. Maggi, though a staunch ruralist, came out strongly against the fusion of the two ministries. Image by Antonio Cruz / Agência Brasil.Not a practicable ideaThe reason many ruralists balked: the unworkability and inconsistency of the proposal – MMA and MAPA have different charters and responsibilities, they said, and often take antagonistic positions.Even Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture under current President Michel Temer and one of the largest soybean producers in Brazil, opposed the change: “How can a MAPA minister remark on an oil field or mineral exploration? [which are among MMA activities]. The fusion will bring losses to Brazilian agribusiness, due to demands made by European countries [for the nation’s farmers] to play a role in environmental preservation.”Tereza Cristina, president of the bancada ruralista and House deputy re-elected by Mato Grosso do Sul, also showed her doubts: “I will not say if I am for or against it, but it raises a concern to bring a ministry of that size and complexity to Agriculture.” Since making that statement, Bolsonaro selected Cristina to run the agriculture ministry, replacing Maggi. Cristina’s views in favor of agribusiness and against environmental regulation ­– especially in favor of the relaxation of pesticide rules – are seen as conservative by analysts, but less radical than those expressed by Garcia.The Ministry of Environment, posted a note on its official website, explaining problems with the proposed merger: “The two bodies are of immense national and international relevance and have their own agendas, which overlap only in a small fraction of their competencies. An example is that of the 2,782 licensing processes currently being carried out by IBAMA [the federal environmental regulatory agency], only 29 are related to agriculture… Undermining the authority represented by the Ministry of Environment, at a time when concern about the climate crisis intensifies, would be risky. The world, more than ever, expects Brazil to maintain its environmental leadership. ”Contacted by Mongabay, the environmental ministry declined to discuss the merger further.Federal House deputy for Mato Grosso do Sul Tereza Cristina in November 2017. She has been tapped by Bolsonaro to be Brazil’s next Agriculture Minister. Image by Waldemir Barreto / Agência Senado.Comings and goingsDespite the objections raised, Bolsonaro announced he would join the two ministries less than two days after his victory. But only two days later he stepped back from his decision, though in an ambiguous way. In his first press conference as president elect, he declared: “I have two months to decide, but it looks like [the ministries] will be separate.… But Jair Bolsonaro will be the one to choose the Minister of Environment. And [that appointee] will not be [nominated] by pressure from NGOs or a radical in defense of the environment.”Defending his reasoning for the merger, he said: “There has always been a struggle between the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, and [I] had to pacify it. In some countries they are only one ministry.”Others dispute Bolsonaro’s contention. According to data gathered by the Climate Observatory (OC), a network of civil society organizations that disseminates climate change data, “no major commodity producer or country” has ever advocated for this kind of ministry “junction or annexation. In the United States, India, China, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Spain, [and elsewhere] the departments or ministries are separated.”Contacted by Mongabay by email and by phone, the headquarters of Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party (PSL) did not respond to queries for this story.A supermarket in the United Arab Emirates (UAR) that sells Brazilian produce. Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi and farmers held meetings with the UAR in October 2018 to improve agribusiness relations. Some experts worry a merger of the agriculture and environment ministries could jeopardize future Brazilian agriculture discussions with other nations. Image courtesy of MAPA.Bad for business and the countryCriticism of the merger has continued unabated. The potential combination of the ministries “will bring serious damage to Brazil and will pass on to consumers abroad the idea that all Brazilian agribusiness survives thanks to the destruction of forests, attracting the fury of non-tariff barriers to the disadvantage of all,” said former environmental minister and 2018 presidential candidate Marina Silva on Twitter.Alessandro Molon, a federal House deputy for Rio de Janeiro, told Mongabay that the subordination of the environmental agenda to agribusiness interests is an obsolete vision. “Not even the most expressive part of the bancada ruralista, both in terms of number of representatives and in business values, is in favor of this terrible idea.”The fusion, instead of facilitating agribusiness, as Bolsonaro believes, would be equivalent to shooting oneself in the foot, said Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of Climate Observatory. “When [agribusiness] producers go to Brussels [the EU political center], they will hear demands for sustainability requirements and will not escape from them.”Rittl told Mongabay that if the two ministries are fused, the Brazilian economy, which depends heavily on agribusiness, could face setbacks. “The country is still struggling to get out of recession, and [that] recovery [requires] the support of good agribusiness practices. We would only gain from it – the country, the science, the economy, business and the image of Brazil.”According to Angelo Costa Gurgel, professor of economics at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), the merger would create difficulties for the progress of both agendas: “A ministry that accumulates the responsibility of supervising programs, activities, and developments of both agribusiness and environment would have too many [widely divergent] challenges, making it difficult to be well managed under the coordination of one single ministry and minister. Who would be the [possible] ministers and secretaries with the profile, knowledge and experience to handle so many agendas?”IBAMA seized this mining area licensed by Altamira municipality in Pará state. The mine was found to be in noncompliance with environmental licensing requirements after the Kayapó indigenous group complained it was polluting the Curuá and Trairão rivers. Analysts note that the agriculture and environment ministries both have different and often incompatible missions and agendas, mining being just one example. Image by Felipe Werneck / IBAMA.Open questionThe controversy sparked by the potential fusion shows just how vital the Ministry of Environment is to Brazil, said OC’s Rittl, who added that: “If Bolsonaro realizes this fact, he can make decisions that will benefit the country.”In addition, Rittl noted that Brazilian ministers of agriculture and of the environment, though they may not agree, have long enjoyed a spirited and productive dialogue: “The new president talks about having less ‘ideology,’ but even ruralistas like Kátia Abreu, for instance, with all her bias, was willing to dialogue [with environmentalists] once she sat in the chair of the [Agriculture] ministry.”Brazil has the opportunity to become the largest agricultural and environmental power in the world, said Gurgel, but for that to happen, a consonance of goals is needed: “That harmony will only occur through a long-term alignment of the two agendas, respecting the competencies of each [and] of both and seeking solutions to potential conflicts.”It is worth noting, Gurgel added, that a significant portion of Brazilian agribusiness already recognizes the need to ensure an environmentally sustainable and socially fair production system. And likewise, a considerable part of the nation’s environmental movement is allied with the agribusiness sector to improve best practices and the image of the country.“In short, the commitment of the two agendas through a discussion founded on science and knowledge, and for the sake of sustainable development in Brazil, seems a better alternative than the fusion of the two ministries,” said Gurgel.However, environmentalists, ruralists and the Brazilian public will need to wait until January for Bolsonaro’s ascent to power, before learning his final decision on the matter.Banner image: Jair Bolsonaro. Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.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.center_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 overSponsoredlast_img read more

Smokescreen…

first_img…for rigging or Rube Goldberg system?The American cartoonist Rube Goldberg was famous for skewering the tendency of officialdom to insist on making simple tasks into mind-bendingly complex undertakings, performed by a concatenation of machines. It soon entered the popular lexicon and as Wiki informs us, “A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overcomplicated fashion. Often, these machines consist of a series of simple devices that are linked together to produce a domino effect, in which each device triggers the next one, and the original goal is achieved only after many steps”.“Over the years, the expression has expanded to mean any confusing or complicated system. For example, is “Retirement ‘insurance’ as a Rube Goldberg machine?” Or in Guyana at this time: is creating a voters’ list a Rube Goldberg machine? As they instructed in the Sound of Music, let’s start at the very beginning. When elections in three months were precipitated by the NCM back in Dec 21, 2018, this highlighted the need for GECOM to be able to immediately produce that voters’ list – like they do in every other civilised country.After all, as your Eyewitness has been pointing our ad nauseam, Art 61 permits the President at any time to call snap elections within 3 months. As the Opposition pointed out, after the NCM, GECOM could do this – as it had done just months before when they ran off the LGE – by subjecting the PLE extracted from the NRR to a Claims and Objections (C&O) exercise. Simple, no?No!! Ignoring the constitutional timeline, Granger’s man in GECOM, Patterson, started the exponential increase in complexity by ordering (in secret) a new H2H Registration. Fast forward past the firing of the illegally-appointed Patterson to the appointment of a new GECOM Chair. She truncated the H2H but ordered that the 370,000 (unverified) names be coded and “merged” into the NRR.After squawks of protests at the time this “merging” would take, the Chair just decided that a PLE from the extant NRR will be used for the C&O as of this weekend!! So at the end of the 35 day-C&O, we will be getting the OFFICIAL voters’ List (OLE). No siree Bob!! The new 370,000-person data from the H2H will simultaneously be run off and compared with the (Tentative?) OLE by some US firm!! So what happens if 70,000 new names are found?We’re going to have another 35-day C&O?? What the heck’s going on? Knowing the nature of the beast we’re dealing with, your Eyewitness isn’t sanguine that this is just an innocuous Rube Goldberg machine.The extra complexity is to help with the rigging!…on “green” economyIt was just announced that Norway will pass over the last US$50M tranche from the US$250M Bharrat Jagdeo had negotiated with Norway – for keeping our rate of deforestation between 2010 and 2015 to 0.056%. The PPP, of course, did better than that, hence, the complete transfer. But the deforestation under REDD+ was only part of the vision of Jagdeo and the PPP: it was to help with the transformation of Guyana on the LCDS path into a developed economy.The most critical constraint to our development has been the absence of cheap electricity. Without this, even though we have resources aplenty, we couldn’t add value added to then move us out of the poverty trap as price-taking, “primary” producers. Jagdeo arranged for the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project (AFHEP) which the Norwegians had approved and committed US$80M.But just so Jagdeo wouldn’t be credited for a transformative project, the PNC and Granger cut Guyana’s nose to spite Jagdeo’s face.So right now, we’ve regressed to Burnhamite blackouts. Much less industrialisation!!…for fearGranger was so shaken by just 5 PPP protesters at the Pegasus, he threw a ¼ mile cordon around his office for a “Cabinet Meeting”!!And this was the fella who was to lead our troops against the Venezuelans??last_img read more

Shifts…

first_img…in cleavagesWell! Well! Well! Boris Johnson’s gamble on calling a snap election has paid off big time for the Tories – but moreso for himself!! With a solid majority of at least 78 seats in the House of Commons and his nearest rival, the Labour Party, over 160 seats away and splintered, Johnson can pretty much write his own ticket. He’d already purged the Conservative Party of his rivals, and replaced them with younger faces who’re completely beholden to him.But apart from the not inconsequential fact that the Brits can run off an election with 47 MILLION voters in 1½ months, what else can we learn from our erstwhile colonial ruler, who “tutored” us in politics?!! Well, right off the (electoral) bat, we can tell those same tutors that even though they had insisted we should all shrug off our various cultures and assimilate into one (English-dominated) culture…the election clearly shows their own people haven’t heeded that bit of advice!Anymore!!When “Britannia ruled the waves”, it was easier to convince the “ethnic” Scots, the Welsh and the Irish (the four kingdoms that made up the “United Kingdom”) about just being “Brits”. They all could lord it over and rule us “natives” in their empire – on which the sun never set. Most of our overseers on the sugar plantations, for instance, were impoverished Irish and Scottish young men who could tower over us.In democratic politics, where political parties vie for power, the point of the game is to garner the greatest number of votes. The key variable is the main cleavages in the society – along which the parties can mobilise by pushing the “cause” of one or the other self-identified groups. After WWII in Britain, the cleavage of class became dominant, and catapulted the Labour Party over the Tories even with the indomitable Churchill at their helm.What the Tories have done right now is to create a new line of cleavage: culture — Brits against foreigners — which subsumed the old one of class on the question of Brexit, and threw out all those Poles and others from Eastern Europe. Even the blue collar workers fell into line with the Toffs: it was “us against them”! Lesson for us in Guyana is whether we’ll continue to accept the old cleavage of ethnicity to dominate, or create a new one to subsume it.With its APNU/AFC coalition, the PNC has accepted the ethnic cleavage, but claims to “bridge” it. The PPP, on the other hand, has defined a new cleavage that subsumes the old ethnic one – competence.By going after ALL Guyanese – who accept they’re more competent to develop Guyana than the PNC!!…fundsThe PNC are counting their chickens even before the cock has done his job with the hens!! Exxon has already told them that Guyana ain’t getting no oil money till after the elections. You don’t remember what that fella with the degree in “Environmentalism” whom Granger picked to run “Energy” – like picking the lamb to watch the lion!! – said on the subject?? That the first few months of oil will all be taken by the International Oil Companies (IOCs), because they have refineries that can deal with the “higher impurities”!!But yet the Government has worked over the Governor of the Bank of Guyana to open an account at the NY Fed for the oil revenues to be put into the NRF. Why the rush?? Now, maybe there’s nothing wrong with the NYFed, but since we’ll be paying the IOCs’ income taxes from our 12.5%, does this mean we’ll be cutting a cheque from the NYFed to the GRA?? Just asking!But isn’t all this moot? As the Opp Leader pointed out: the NRF’s ILLEGAL!!…at Ferguson’s Buckingham Palace??Now we can understand why the PNC was so fixated on “corruption” when in opposition. As Freud explained, they were “projecting” what was on their minds onto the “other” – the PPP.Buckingham Palace was already on Fergie’s mind!!last_img read more

German deal will have A.V. impact

first_imgUnder this contract, EuroHawk GmbH will also provide aircraft modifications, mission control and launch and recovery ground segments, flight test and logistics support. EuroHawk GmbH is a joint venture of Northrop Grumman and EADS. The company is based in Immenstaad, Germany. Delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled for 2010, with the following four systems scheduled tentatively between 2011 and 2014. The Euro Hawk system will replace the aging fleet of Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been in service since 1972. james.skeen@dailynews (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – The German Ministry of Defense awarded a $559 million contract to EuroHawk GmbH for the development, test and support of the Euro Hawk – a variant of the Palmdale-built unmanned Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft. The Euro Hawk will be derived from the U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20, a computer-controlled reconnaissance plane assembled by Northrop Grumman workers in Palmdale. The Euro Hawk will be equipped with gear developed by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, or EADS, for collecting communications and radio signals to meet the German air force’s requirement for a high-altitude, long-endurance signal intelligence system. “The first aircraft will be built in Palmdale,” said Northrop Grumman spokeswoman Cynthia Curiel. “The initial checkout flight test will be done in Palmdale.” The aircraft is the first of five expected to be built for the Germans. Four other aircraft are expected to be ordered under a separate contract in 2010. last_img read more

Boycotts of five more Iraqi ministers leave Sunni void in government

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD – Iraq’s political crisis worsened Monday as five more ministers announced a boycott of Cabinet meetings – leaving the embattled prime minister’s unity government with no members affiliated with Sunni political factions. Meanwhile, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people in a northern city, including 19 children, some playing hopscotch and marbles in front of their homes. And the American military reported five new U.S. deaths: Four soldiers were killed in a combat explosion in restive Diyala province north of the capital Monday, and a soldier was killed and two were wounded during fighting in eastern Baghdad on Sunday. The new cracks in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government appeared even as U.S. military officials sounded cautious notes of progress on security, citing strides against insurgents linked to al-Qaida in Iraq but also new threats from Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Despite the new U.S. accusations of Iranian meddling, the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors met Monday for their third round of talks in just over two months. A U.S. embassy spokesman called the talks between U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, “frank and serious.” But it was al-Maliki’s troubles that seized the most attention.last_img read more

WATCH: The stunning Mohd Faiz Subri goal which won the 2016 Puskas Award

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo may have stolen all the headlines at the Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday evening, but another player had his own moment in the limelight following an extraordinary feat in 2016.Mohd Faiz Subri claimed the Puskas Award at the ceremony, having scored what was voted the best goal of the year.The Malaysian midfielder netted a stunning free-kick for Penang against Pahang in the Malaysian Super League, replicating the famous Roberto Carlos strike from the 1997 Tournoi de France.Words cannot do the incredible goal justice, so watch the video above instead to get a true understanding of its brilliance…last_img

Assembly urges shield law from Congress

first_imgThe Senate approved the resolution in a unanimous vote last week. It does not require the governor’s signature and will be transmitted to Congress. In other Assembly action Monday: By a 43-29 vote, lawmakers approved a bill allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp, a move critics said would complicate law enforcement efforts to combat marijuana cultivation. The Senate approved the bill last week, and it now goes to the governor. After a lengthy partisan debate, the Assembly voted 47-31 to ban materials and activities in schools that are discriminatory toward gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu¤ez of Los Angeles said the bill by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, was needed to expand the anti-discriminatory protections now afforded minorities based on race, gender and religion. Critics said the measure still allowed for the promotion of gays and lesbians. “This is a predatory bill,” said Assemblyman Jay LaSuer, R-La Mesa. “It preys on the innocence of children on a lifestyle that is unacceptable.” The bill now goes to the Senate. By a 45-16 vote, lawmakers approved Senate legislation to enhance the security of government-issued identification cards featuring electronic chips that contain personal information. The bill now goes to the Senate. Lawmakers passed a measure that would relieve cell-phone users of air-time charges if their phone is stolen. The Assembly approved the bill 44-32, sending it back to the Senate. In other legislative action Monday: The Senate voted 22-7 to approve an agreement that would allow the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to open a third casino in the Palm Springs area and operate up to 5,000 slot machines instead of the current limit of 2,000. The bill now goes to the Assembly. The Senate also approved and sent to the governor a bill by Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Carson, that would require the Secretary of State’s Office to post on its Web site a list of candidates who agreed to abide by a clean campaign pledge.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesState law does not apply to federal investigations, however, a loophole that has landed at least one Californian in jail this year. Joshua Wolf, a freelance video journalist and blogger, is in jail for refusing to hand over unaired footage from a July 2005 protest in San Francisco during which a police car was damaged. Federal authorities joined the investigation because the cruiser was partially paid for with federal money. Federal authorities also are trying to compel two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to reveal who leaked grand jury testimony about Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and other figures in the federal government’s ongoing steroids investigation. Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada have challenged a subpoena ordering them to divulge who leaked them transcripts from the secret grand jury proceedings. Last week, a federal judge told them they must comply with the subpoena unless his ruling is blocked by a higher court. At least 48 states and the District of Columbia give journalists varying protections. But the Bush administration has signaled its opposition to a federal shield law, and legislation has been stalled in Congress for the past two years. SACRAMENTO – Congress should support protections allowing journalists to keep their sources secret before federal authorities and the courts, under a resolution approved Monday by the state Assembly. In a 76-0 vote, lawmakers endorsed a nonbinding resolution that urges Congress to enact a federal shield law, seeking to add a voice of support behind a stalled effort in Washington. “A free press is essential to preserve our way of law and our Democracy,” said the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa. “The lack of a federal shield law puts all of us at risk.” California has one of the nation’s most protective statutes to shield journalists from prosecutors’ inquiries. It generally allows journalists to refuse to disclose a news source or unpublished information. last_img read more

State reconsidering abalone fishing

first_imgRed and white abalone, which grow to 10 inches, are prized for their size and taste and are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, drawing high prices, particularly in Asia. Red abalone are raised for food in hatcheries in California and elsewhere in the world. In the 1950s, red and other types of abalone were so common along the Southern California coast that abalone sandwiches used to cost about $1.50, but an abalone dinner now usually costs $50 or more at the few California restaurants that serve it. Patrick Foy, a biologist and information officer with the California Department of Fish and Game, said no decision has been made regarding reopening San Miguel Island to abalone fishing. He said the divers will count the abalone in 400 rectangular areas to gather the information needed by the Fish and Game Commission. “We are working closely with the California Abalone Association and taking as objective an approach as we can to collect this data,” Foy said. The heyday of commercial abalone fishing – from 1969 to ’77 – was like a gold rush until wildlife officials noticed the drastic population declines. Estimates of where the white-abalone population stood 30 years ago run from 2.2 million to 4.2 million, but they were placed on the endangered-species list by the National Marine Fisheries Service in May 2001 when their population along the coast was estimated at just a couple thousand. San Miguel is one of the few places off Southern California where red abalone have been able to survive and multiply on their own. The water might also have protected them from withering syndrome, a bacterial infection that is another cause of the abalone decline in Southern California. Christopher Voss, president of the California Abalone Association, said another cause of the abalone decline was the expansion of the sea otter range. Sea otters eat abalone, and the numbers of abalone remain low along parts of the central coast and in the Monterey Bay area, partly because of the sea otter population, Voss said. Whether San Miguel should be reopened to abalone fishing depends on an accurate assessment of the abalone population there, he said. “The survival of the abalone is the main objective of every step we are taking,” he said. “We want to see the abalone continue to recover. If the stock assessment is not great enough, we will not harvest. We are dedicated to enhancing the resource.” Voss said there are encouraging signs that abalone populations are also recovering on some of the other Channel Islands. Melissa Newman, the leader of the white abalone recovery team for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said pink, green, red, threaded, white, black and pinto abalone are the primary species in California, and the population of red abalone on San Miguel is likely one of the only viable populations left in Southern California. “Depending on the densities of red abalone on San Miguel, it may be a fishery can be developed that ensures the long-term viability of the red abalone and does not affect other species,” she said. Abalone fishing off Northern California has been allowed on a limited basis for years, and the abalone there are doing well, she said. But Newman said she has concerns about the San Miguel proposal. “Researchers have been monitoring it well for a relatively short period of time,” she said. “It isn’t clear how well this population will do over the long term and whether it will remain viable over the long term.” eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! After a nine-year ban on collecting abalone anywhere along the Southern California coast, the California Fish and Game Commission is considering opening San Miguel Island to fishing for the world’s largest type of the sea mollusk. Researchers are launching an intensive five-day survey today through Thursday on the island about 55 miles off the coast from Santa Barbara to determine whether the red-abalone population there is strong enough to withstand commercial fishing. The effort is organized by the California Department of Fish and Game to help evaluate a request by the California Abalone Association to open fishing on San Miguel, where thousands of red abalone have survived and reproduced despite a drastic decline in the population elsewhere. Abalone fishing has been banned along the California coast south of San Francisco Bay since 1997, and the white abalone was placed on the endangered species list in 2001 and remains off limits everywhere. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los Angeles“There’s a feeling there is a good population of red abalone (on San Miguel),” said Patrick Coulston, a supervising biologist with the Department of Fish and Game coordinating the survey. The abalone recovery and management plan the Fish and Game Commission adopted late last year called for considering the possibility of a limited fishery on San Miguel based on the notion there is a good population of abalone out there, he said. “They wanted their decision to be based on good information, which is the purpose of the survey,” he said. About 50 divers will conduct the survey, with about one-third of them affiliated with the California Abalone Association, which advocates commercial fishing of abalone there, Coulston said. Whether the state winds up sanctioning commercial or recreational fishing, or both, depends on the survey findings and what the Fish and Game Commission decides. Red abalone, which can grow to be 12 inches in diameter, are the world’s largest type of abalone and are native only to the Pacific Coast from Oregon down the California coast to Mexico. last_img read more

Runner making push for university in A.V.

first_imgLANCASTER – State Sen. George Runner says Antelope Valley officials should form a new government agency to provide an advantage in seeking a state university for the area. A joint powers authority created by local cities, counties, colleges and schools would signal to state officials that the valley is serious in seeking a four-year college, provide a single voice for lobbying and hold the power for steps such as acquiring land for a campus, Runner said. “In order to be successful we have to have local governments involved,” Runner, R-Lancaster, said. Runner’s proposal for a Antelope Valley Higher Education Joint Powers Authority is an outgrowth of a renewed effort led by the Antelope Valley Board of Trade to convince state officials to open a California State University campus in the Antelope Valley. Antelope Valley leaders must make the effort to secure one of those, Runner said. “We want to make sure we are on that list. They don’t come to you because you deserve them,” Runner said. A joint powers authority headed by local elected officials would provide credibility for the effort, he said. It would be the first for higher education in California, although joint powers authorities operate all around the state. Local bus operator Antelope Valley Transit Authority, for example, is a joint powers authority by Palmdale, Lancaster and Los Angeles County. Logical voting members of the Antelope Valley Higher Education Authority would include Lancaster and Palmdale, Kern and Los Angeles counties, Antelope Valley College and the Antelope Valley Union High School District, Runner said. Besides trying to secure a state university, the joint powers authority could work on expanding existing higher-education programs locally or encouraging private universities to open new ones, he added. The 23-campus California State University system opened its newest college, California State University, Channel Islands, in 2003 in Camarillo. Before that, CSU, San Marcos, opened in 1988 in San Diego County as the first entirely new campus since the 1960s. California State University spokesman Paul Browning said the university system has no expansion plans, but added that expansion often occurs at the direction of state lawmakers or as satellite campuses become full colleges.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsFor years, Antelope Valley officials have said a four-year university would be an asset both for local residents and for local businesses, and they say the valley’s population growth has made the idea practical. Board of Trade members are studying what sorts of educational programs a university – preferably a polytechnic institute like the state universities in Pomona and San Luis Obispo – should offer and where there is a square mile or so of land to locate it. They plan to have a college master plan ready next March to present to state education officials. The Board of Trade’s higher education committee chairman, Bob Johnstone, supports Runner’s proposal, saying the joint powers authority would fulfill the necessity to have elected officials’ guidance in what will be a political decision in selecting college sites. “To me I think that’s an asset,” Johnstone said of the authority. While university officials have set no timeline, local leaders believe two or three new locations will be picked over the next 10 years for two or three new California State University campuses. last_img read more

European Football Show Podcast on talkSPORT 2, January 5, 2018

first_imgNat Coombs and Andy Brassell round up the week’s football stories from around Europe and discuss the latest transfer stories and rumours. Plus they preview all of this weekend’s action.last_img