Apr 192014

Almost a fifth of China’s soil is contaminated, an official study released by the government has shown.Conducted between 2005-2013, it found that 16.1% of China’s soil and 19.4% of its arable land showed contamination. The report, by the Environmental Protection Ministry, named cadmium, nickel and arsenic as top pollutants. There is growing concern, both from the government and the public, that China’s rapid industrialisation is causing irreparable damage to its environment. The study took samples across an area of 6.3 million square kilometres, two-thirds of China’s land area. “The survey showed that it is hard to be optimistic about the state of soil nationwide,” the ministry said in a statement on its website. “Due to long periods of extensive industrial development and high pollutant emissions, some regions have suffered deteriorating land quality and serious soil pollution.”
via BBC News – Report: One fifth of China’s soil contaminated.

 Posted by at 09:31
Apr 152014

An analysis of a number of hydraulic fracturing sites in southwestern Pennsylvania has found that methane was being released into the atmosphere at 100 to 1,000 times the rate that the Environmental Protection Agency estimated. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that drilling operations at seven well pads emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average, much higher than the EPA-estimated 0.04 grams to 0.30 grams of methane per second. The researchers, who were attempting to understand whether airborne measurements of methane aligned with estimates taken at ground level — the method commonly used by the EPA and state regulators — flew a plane over the region of the Marcellus Shale for two days in June 2012. “The researchers determined that the wells leaking the most methane were in the drilling phase, a period that has not been known for high emissions,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “Experts had thought that methane was more likely to be released during subsequent phases of production, including hydraulic fracturing, well completion or transport through pipelines.”

via Up To 1,000 Times More Methane Released At Gas Wells Than EPA Estimates, Study Finds | ThinkProgress.

 Posted by at 19:07
Apr 132014

Beware the devil! Pope Francis warned followers during a Friday homily that Satan is alive and kicking in the 21st century and that Catholics should always be on guard. “Look out because the devil is present! The devil is here…” the Pope said during a Mass recorded by Vatican Radio. “And we mustn’t be naïve, right?” The Pope drew from the Biblical story of Jesus’ temptation while speaking to assembled congregants at his Santa Marta residence, just outside of the Vatican. Although some may think it’s “old fashioned” of him to talk about the spirit world in the 21st century, Pope Francis said it’s important to be vigilant.

via Pope Francis issues dire warning to followers at Vatican Mass: Satan is real  – NY Daily News.

 Posted by at 12:06
Apr 122014

Para decirse “unas cuantas verdades”. Portavoces importantes de los dos bandos en liza –incluido el propio presidente Nicolás Maduro- habían anunciado que acudirían al diálogo propiciado por Unasur Unión de Naciones Suramericanas con solo ese cometido. Después de la primera sesión de conversaciones, que se alargó durante seis horas, desde la noche del jueves a la madrugada del viernes, se puede asegurar que entre el Gobierno y la oposición venezolanas hubo poco más que eso, un intercambio de visiones en una reunión que no pareció responder a las expectativas de resolución del conflicto que se habían generado por la convocatoria.

via El primer diálogo entre el Gobierno y la oposición deja más dudas que esperanzas | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

 Posted by at 15:53
Mar 092014

Thousands of Venezuelan students and opposition supporters have joined an anti-government rally in the capital, Caracas. The government deployed hundreds of government security forces to prevent a crowd banging pots and pans from marching towards the food ministry. There were similar marches in at least five other Venezuelan cities. In eastern Caracas, police fired tear gas against protesters trying to erect barricades in the streets. For a month, demonstrators have been complaining about the high levels of violence and shortages of food staples like bread, sugar, milk and butter. The authorities say 21 people have been killed in the weeks of unrest. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles told the crowd in Caracas that detained students and others must be released before any talks with the government. The opposition criticised the heavy security operation put in place by the government to prevent the march from reaching the food ministry .”All this military deployment demonstrates the huge fear Nicolas [Maduro] and his government have to the protests against the serious problems faced by Venezuelans,” Mr Capriles said. “They are destroying this country and people have the right to say that. It’s not possible to criminalise social unrest.”

 Posted by at 15:13
Feb 022014

It’s been a thrilling week for birds at the Vatican.

After two papal peace doves were viciously hunted down by predators on Sunday, Pope Francis was likely angling for a feather-friendly photo opp. But when Francis cozied up to a parrot at the Vatican on Wednesday, he had no idea that “Amore” had a back story of its own.

The bright green parrot is reportedly owned by Francesco Lombardi, a porn star who calls himself a “world champion stripper.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/pope-francis-blesses-male-stripper-parrot-article-1.1598938#ixzz2s9lCgsSk

 Posted by at 11:46
Jan 182014

out with the fumierThe furore took a farcical twist when a lorry driver dumped several tonnes of horse manure outside the Assemblée Nationale, France’s lower house of parliament. His lorry bore the words: “Out with Hollande and all politicians.” Police had to bring in a digger to clear the manure.

via Hollande visits Trierweiler in hospital as fresh affair allegations are published | World news | theguardian.com.

 Posted by at 13:25