Tuesday, June 29, 2010
06/25/2010 The double standards of multinationals | Martin Khor

Developing countries should be able to adopt a 'polluter pays' principle for ecological disasters â€" just like the US has with BP

The $20bn fund that Barack Obama managed to get BP to agree to set up to meet claims for economic losses and environmental costs from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is impressive, especially since the amount can be increased. The political pressure so evident also caused BP to temporarily suspend paying dividends. This should set a precedence for how host countries of multinationals take stern action, and executives of multinationals respond to meet their responsibilities â€" even if only partially.

These double standards must change. There should be international co-operation between the host and home countries of multinationals to ensure they compensate for the environmental clean-up as well as pay victims for ecological disasters they cause, wherever they take place. The G20 leaders should talk about it this weekend, and not just focus on bank levies and the shift to fiscal austerity packages.

Though the Mexican Gulf oil spill may be the United States' greatest environmental disaster, worse ecological catastrophes have been caused by international companies in developing countries. Little, if any, compensation has been paid by these companies. And the governments of the countries whose people own the companies usually turn a blind eye. The two most directly related cases â€" because they also involve oil spills â€" are in Ecuador and Nigeria. Ecuador's Amazon region has been contaminated by oil and toxic waste in amounts far larger than the Gulf oil spill so far. The oil and waste was discharged by Texaco (bought over by Chevron in 2001) when it operated an oil concession in 1964-1990.

New York Times reported indigenous people in the area saying that toxic chemicals had leaked into their soils, groundwater and streams, and that some of their children had died from the poisoning. It cited a report of an expert (contested by the company) who estimated that 1,400 people had died of cancer because of oil contamination.

The indigenous groups have taken a court case against Chevron for $27bn in damages. They accuse Chevron of dumping more than 345m gallons of crude oil into the rainforest and another 18.5bn gallons of toxic waste in pits in the forests. Experts claim that the disaster has devastated their lands, income and health to a degree far larger than the BP spill in the Gulf. The company paid Ecuador's government $40m in the early 1990s for clean-up costs, but this amount is seen as far too little given the scale of the damage.

The second case is the Niger Delta in Nigeria, a major oil-producing region in which Shell and other companies operate. A recent article by John Vidal in the Observer entitled "Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it", describes how spilt oil has contaminated swamps, rivers, forests and farmlands in the region. "In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico," wrote Vidal.

A report by environment groups calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5m tons of oil â€" 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska â€" has been spilled in the delta over the past half century. According to Amnesty, in 2009 the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil was spilled and it accused the oil companies of a human rights outrage. Life expectancy in the rural communities has fallen to a little above 40 years.

According to Nnimo Bassey, a Nigerian who is chair of Friends of the Earth International: "We see frantic efforts being made to stop the spill in the US. But in Nigeria, oil companies largely ignore their spills, cover them up and destroy people's livelihood and environments."

Then there is the worst environmental disaster in Bhopal all

These cases illustrate the great contrast between what the U.S. administration makes a multinational company financially responsible, and how these companies that cause environmental disasters in developing countries, may leave or free or insufficient payments.

Developing countries should learn a lesson from the US and take similar action in line with the "polluter pays" principle.

But these countries just don't have the political clout of the United States. Thus, the governments of the home countries of the multinationals should also act to make their companies accountable for their actions when they operate in other countries, and to compensate adequately when they cause environmental damage.

Martin Khor

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Monday, June 28, 2010
06/25/2010 The double standards of multinationals | Martin Khor

Developing countries should be able to adopt a 'polluter pays' principle for ecological disasters â€" just like the US has with BP

$ 20 billion fund that Barack Obama managed to get BP to agree to set up to meet claims for economic losses and environmental costs from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is impressive, especially since the amount can be increased. The political pressure so evident also caused BP to temporarily suspend paying dividends. This should set a precedence for how host countries of multinationals take stern action, and executives of multinationals respond to meet their responsibilities â€" even if only partially.

But then the US is a powerful host country indeed, and BP had little choice but to yield given the political pressure and public anger. Developing countries are also host to multinationals that in many cases have poisoned the environment or caused immense loss of life and property. But these multinationals have got away scot free or paid miniscule sums for the harm they caused.

These double standards must change. There should be international co-operation between the host and home countries of multinationals to ensure they compensate for the environmental clean-up as well as pay victims for ecological disasters they cause, wherever they take place. The G20 leaders should talk about it this weekend, and not just focus on bank levies and the shift to fiscal austerity packages.

Though the Mexican Gulf oil spill may be the United States' greatest environmental disaster, worse ecological catastrophes have been caused by international companies in developing countries. Little, if any, compensation has been paid by these companies. And the governments of the countries whose people own the companies usually turn a blind eye. The two most directly related cases â€" because they also involve oil spills â€" are in Ecuador and Nigeria. Ecuador's Amazon region has been contaminated by oil and toxic waste in amounts far larger than the Gulf oil spill so far. The oil and waste was discharged by Texaco (bought over by Chevron in 2001) when it operated an oil concession in 1964-1990.

The New York Times reported indigenous people in the area saying that toxic chemicals had leaked into their soils, groundwater and streams, and that some of their children had died from the poisoning. It cited a report of an expert (contested by the company) who estimated that 1,400 people had died of cancer because of oil contamination.

The second case is the Niger Delta in Nigeria, a major oil-producing region in which Shell and other companies operate. A recent article by John Vidal in the Observer entitled "Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it", describes how spilt oil has contaminated swamps, rivers, forests and farmlands in the region. "In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico," wrote Vidal.

A report by environment groups calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5m tons of oil â€" 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska â€" has been spilled in the delta over the past half century. According to Amnesty, in 2009 the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil was spilled and it accused the oil companies of a human rights outrage. Life expectancy in the rural communities has fallen to a little above 40 years.

By Nnimo Bassey, the Nigerian who is chairman of the Friends of the Earth ":" We see the desperate efforts to stop the oil spill in the U.S.. But in Nigeria, oil companies have largely ignored their diversion, cover them and destroy the people 'livelihoods and the environment. "

Then there is the worst environmental disaster in Bhopal all , where poisonous gas from the US-owned company Union Carbide in 1984 affected half a million people, killing 2,300 immediately, with another 15,000 to 30,000 dying subsequently and many thousands of others maimed seriously. Neither Union Carbide nor Dow Chemical, which bought the firm in 2001, accepted responsibility for the disaster. Union Carbide paid $470m in a deal in 1989 with the Indian government, but this is a small and wholly inadequate amount, given the enormity of the disaster.

These cases show a big contrast between what the US administration is doing to hold a multinational company financially accountable, and how similar companies that cause ecological catastrophes in developing countries are able to get away either freely or with grossly inadequate pay-outs.

Developing countries should learn lessons from the United States and to take similar measures in accordance with "polluter pays" "basis.

But these countries just don't have the political clout of the United States. Thus, the governments of the home countries of the multinationals should also act to make their companies accountable for their actions when they operate in other countries, and to compensate adequately when they cause environmental damage.

Martin Khor

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[[[Green Toys Dump Truck]]]



Discription : 3 years & up. Tough and durable, this dump truck is 100% made from recycled milk cartons. The eco design features a workable dumper and no metal axles to rust. 10 1/2"L x 7 1/4"H.


More review coming soon.

We got this truck and the recycling truck for our son's first birthday. They are durable and I prefer their appearance to most of the trucks on the market these days.

I had read the reviews about these trucks not rolling on hardwood floors, but they work great on ours. The only time they don't roll is if you push them away from you, at which point some of the wheels don't roll the entire time, but the truck doesn't stop moving. We got them to use in the sandbox and they are great for transporting my son's little treasures around the backyard.

This was a xmas present and my nephew LOVES it. Its so awesome I wish I knew about them when my kids were lil. Its made well and feels nice. Easy and quick opening to get it put to use with snow and its super light weight but not to light weight.

i got this for my son at 1year. he loves it. he takes it out side and plays in the dirt and brings it in and moves his other toys with it.



Buy here (at discount) Green Toys Dump

Sunday, June 27, 2010
06/21/2010 Excessive: Costing the earth

Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard's new book examines the high price of the western world's obession with all things material

• US cult of greed is now a global environmental threat, report warns
• Fred Pearce: Consumption dwarfs population as main environmental threat

If you really want to understand a country, a society, or even a civilization, don't turn to its national museums or government archives. Head to the tip.

According to Annie Leonard â€" former Greenpeace activist, unwavering optimist and waste obsessive â€" the tip is akin to society's secret journal. "Stuff" became a fascination for Leonard in her teens, choosing field trips to landfills while at university when she began to question how we came to build an economy based purely on resources.

That was 20 years ago, and a lot has changed. Waste and recycling are now burning policy issues. Forty countries, hundreds of factories and still more landfills later , Leonard worries we have not grasped the fundamental problem with our materials economy. "It is a linear system and we live on a finite planet. You cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely. Too often the environment is seen as one small piece of the economy. But it's not just one little thing, it's what every single thing in our life depends upon."

In 2007, Leonard tried a novel medium â€" a YouTube video â€" to convey the message. The Story of Stuff was a frank and cleverly animated short film telling the story of the American love affair with stuff and how it is quite literally trashing the planet. Three years on and it's a viral online phenomenon; seen by 10 million people in homes and classrooms all over the world. Now she has followed up the video with a book of the same name.

Leonard surprised many though, not really being against things. It ISN 't even anti-consumption. In fact, it feels a lot of people need to consume more. Just not many of us in the western world, which often consume excessive.

Consumption may be good, "she says. "I" t want to be unsympathetic to people who really want more things ".

But consumerism is always bad, adding little to our wellbeing as well as being disastrous for the planet. "[It's] a particular strand of overconsumption, where we purchase things, not to fulfil our basic needs, but to fill some voids about our lives and make social statements about ourselves," she explains.

"It turns out our stuff isn't making us any happier," she argues. Our obsessive relationship with material things is actually jeopardising our relationships, "Which are proven over and over to be the biggest determining factor in our happiness [once our basic needs are met]."

Leonard calls upon wider research to argue the sociological and psychological consequences of our all-consuming epidemic, including that of Tim KasserRobert Putman and . Kasser identified a connection between an excessively materialistic outlook and increased levels of anxiety and depression, while Putman argues we're paying the ultimate price for our consumeristic tendencies with the loss of friendships, neighbourly support and robust communities. Together they suggest we are witnessing nothing short of the collapse of social fabric across society.

Part of the problem, according to Leonard, is our confused sense of self. We've allowed our citizen self to be dwarfed by a relatively new reflex action â€" consume, consume, consume. "Our consumer self is so overdeveloped that we spend most of our time there. You see it walking around â€" we usually interact with others from our consumer self and are most spoken to as our consumer self. The problem is that we are so comfortable there that when we're faced with really big problems [like climate change], we think about what to do as individuals and consumers: 'I should buy this instead of this.'

Like George Monbiot, Leonard doesn't think so-called ethical consumption, or greensumptiongoing to get us out of any problems. "The real solution is not to improve your ability to choose the best option, it 's get this product off the shelf," she says. "He 's is increasingly looking like buying a green delay people engaging in the political process."

Film Leonard 'has its critics. Fox News branded it "full of misleading numbers". And the free market and climate sceptic think tank The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Called the project "community college Marxism in a ponytail." But many have found it hard to argue Leonard doesn't live up to her values. At her home in California she and another five families have chosen community over stuff, tearing down the fences between their homes. "Its not a big deal", she says. "We don't have matching clothes and its not like a commune of anything. We are all just regular families in these six houses [who] share things. And we just have so much fun."

The Story of Stuff is about America, but how is the UK faring? Leonard does note some positive differences: the NHS, our liberal political discourse â€" allowing us to utter the words capitalism and unsustainable in the same large breath, and she likes the fact that washing lines are not a threatened species. One thing that does bug Leonard about this country, though, is our pyromania. Specifically, she's worried about our leaders' love affair with waste incinerators. "It's just so depressing. Incinerators are such a regressive way of dealing with waste materials. We need to promote zero waste as an alternative."

Zero waste is the term that gets thrown around a lot, most recently this week on Wednesday secretary Caroline Spelman . For Leonard, a complete overhaul in our approach involves a real cradle-to-cradle revolution; marrying intelligent design upstream and consumer incentivised recycling and composting downstream.

This may well be one of the answers, and the book is a few more. But Leonard does not 't qualify for everything, and it' s want to commit to a new economic paradigm, either, because t "We haven 'invented yet."

She believes in one thing, though: "Change is inevitable. You can 't continue to use one and a half of the world' s the amount of funds for an indefinite period."

Many have argued against the minor details of the book, but few have questioned the fundamental premise that our current use of resources is unsustainable. Even fewer have doubted her optimism. "Environmentalists need to figure out a way of talking about this stuff in a more engaging and inviting way, and that is what I hope I'm doing with this book."


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Saturday, June 26, 2010
06/19/2010 I love her, but sex killing

Carole Jahme shines the cold light of evolutionary psychology on readers' problems. This week: Love, sex and masturbation

From an anonymous male, aged 40+
I had a few very loving, love, "serious" relations, as adults, nor frivolous, and no one (at least on a conscious level - who knows what the hell 's happening to me subconsiously ) to time the short term.

Inevitably, however, my sexual attraction for my partner wanes to the point where we become virtually non-sexual. This can happen in less that a year after the relationship started. This condition consistently contributes to the relationship falling apart. My emotional feeling of love stays constant, and the breakup is traumatic for both of us. Add to the mix my undeniable enjoyment of and never-failing satisfaction with masturbation, and it seems to be a recipe for disaster. Is there an evolutionary take on any of this?

Carole replies:
An attempt to preserve long-term relationships that are presented as sexual people with chemical catch-22.

Studies on the length of relationships have shown that couples in harmonious, stable and trusting long-term relationships have higher blood levels of oxytocin (a chemical that regulates attachment, promotes cooperation and facilitates sensations of joy and love) than people who are not in compatible relationships.1These happy couples will also receive other benefits in terms of life expectancy, lower rates of alcoholism, depression and illness, and more rapid recovery after accidental injury. 2,3,4

But there are conflicting chemicals at work in sexual relations, which sometimes prevents them from ever becoming in the long term. Dopamin is a neurotransmitter in the limbic system â€" the brain's primitive reward centre. It mediates both the sex drive and addiction to drugs. Brain scans have shown that the rapid rise in dopamine levels during orgasm is similar to that seen in a heroin high.5 But dopamine falls rapidly following orgasm in both males and females and is replaced with rising levels of a hormone called prolactin.

Both parts of the brain 'S "dopamine" reward system.

At first, rising prolactin causes sleepy post-orgasm contentment. (Interestingly the amount of prolactin produced is far greater after sex with a partner than after masturbation. Thus there is little prolactin relief for those who masturbate.) But once this sleepy feeling of satiation has passed, prolactin may go on rising and cause problems for couples wanting to sustain a long-term sexual relationship. In both men and women excess levels of prolactin can cause loss of libido, anxiety, headaches, mood swings and depression.6

High prolactin is associated with sensations of despair. When the prolactin levels of newly caged wild monkeys were monitored, the hormone was seen to rise once the animals realised they were trapped.7 Levels of the hormone were much higher in monkeys incarcerated for months compared with wild animals that had only just been caged. Science has yet to determine how long prolactin continues to rise and remain high in humans after orgasm, so this is speculative, but in a relationship with lots of sex it could mean levels are elevated for weeks or even months.

How does all this tie in with your predilection for maturbation? There have been some illuminating studies of this behaviour in non-human primates. It has been found, for example, that male monkeys who masturbate tend to be of low status, whereas high-status male monkeys are likely only to experience ejaculation during sex.8 It also seems that the frequency of masturbation is higher in captive primates than in wild animals. You can make of this what you will.

Dopaminergic system varies from person to person, some people exhibit greater the reward seeking behavior than others, and this may somehow explain why many relationships burned a year. 9 In reproductive terms, 12 months is long enough for fertilisation to take place. It is also certainly long enough for prolactin levels to rise. Once your libido flags and anxiety sets in, the short-term reward gained from masturbating may give you a dopamine "high" without risking bringing on that post-orgasmic prolactin "low".

Chemical compatibility is essential to all good relationships. Couples lucky enough to enjoy long-term partnerships may have similar sex drives (perhaps not too much sex, or even none at all?) and dopaminergic systems that don't flood their bodies with too much prolactin. Human behaviour seems to be under the control of two evolutionary programs: one that results in fertilisation, disillusionment and a series of partners, and the other that enables humans to develop the lasting relationships that lead to long, happy and healthy lives.

References
1. Carter, SC (1998) Neuroendocrine perspectives on social attachment and love. Psychoneuroendocrinology; 23(8): 779-818.
2. DeVries, C, Glasper, ER (2005) Social structure influences effects of pair-housing on wound healing. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity; 19(1): 61-68.
3. Coan, JA et al (2006) Lending a hand: social regulation of the neural response to threat. Psychological Science, A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science; 17(12): 1032-1039.
4. Holden, AEC et al (2008) The influence of depression on sexual risk reduction and STD infection in a controlled, randomized intervention trial. Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases; 35(10): 898-904.
5. Holstege, G et al (2003) Brain activation during human male ejaculation. Journal Neuroscience; 23 (27): 9185-9193.
6. Heaton, JPW (2003) Prolactin: An integral player in hormonal politics. Contemporary Urology, 15: 17-25.
7. Suleman, BVM, Mbaruk, A et al. (2004) Physiologic manifestations of stress from capture and restraint of free-ranging male African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine; 35(1): 20-24.
8. Thomsen, R, Soltis, J (2004), male masturbation in a free range of Japanese macaques. International Journal of Primatology; 25(5): 0164-0291.
9. Guo, G, Tong, Y et al (2007) Dopamine transporter, gender and number of sexual partners among young people. European Journal of Human Genetics; 15: 279â€"287.

You can email your questions to Carole by clicking here. Please put "Ask Carole" in the subject line.

Terms and conditions
Please say whether you wish to be named in connection with your enquiry and if so by what name. We reserve the right to edit questions. If you mail us a question, you agree that your email may be published on the site.

We regret that Carole cannot answer all the mails we receive. We cannot provide urgent advice and suggest that if you need such advice you seek it immediately without waiting for a response from Carole. With regards to legal, medical or financial issues, we recommend seeking the advice of a listed professional. We will not be held liable for any loss, damage or injury you incur as a result of using this site or as a result of any advice given. We will not enter into personal correspondence via email.

Carole is UK-based and as such any advice she gives is intended for a UK audience only.

Carole Jahme

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[[[Life is good Women "Happy Tree" Good Karma Organic V-neck T-Shirt (Large Honeydew Green)]]]



Discription : Life is good made this masterpiece of earth-friendly clothing eco-conscious optimist in each of us.

No feel print on Happy Tree reads: Be one with the rivers and the trees and the animals and the oceans. Life is good. Life is green. Live in harmony.

100% Peruvian Organic cotton is of the highest quality in the world and the workmanship of this product is as well. You will find this super soft, comfortable and soon to become a good friend every time you wear it.

Good karma is a suitable name for this shirt, you'll feel, give and receive positive vibes to wear this shirt every day, it really brings a smile to your world.

Live in Harmony. Environmentally friendly clothing for environmentally friendly people is the message of Good Karma on the inside collar.


More review coming soon.









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06/24/2010 Sunday Times recognizes Amazongate "history" was garbage. But who is to 'is to blame?

Newspaper has apologised over the IPCC's Amazon claim, but questions remain over how falsehoods made it into print

• Roy Greenslade: Sunday Times apologises for climate story
• Forests expert officially complains about 'distorted' article

It's a distressing sight but we'll have to get used to it: most of the world's prominent climate change deniers skewered on their own sword.

Arms, which has been so cruel to him is a revelation, paraded in triumph egregious fabulist Richard North in January The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had "grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on the Amazon rainforest". The panel's fourth assessment report had claimed that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation". Reduced rainfall could rapidly destroy the forests, which would be replaced with savannahs.

This claim, North asserted, "seems to be a complete fabrication". It was sourced to a report for the environmental group WWF, written by a journalist and a forest policy analyst. But even that report, North insisted, did not contain the information the IPCC used. He maintained that:

"The assertions attributed to them, that 'up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation' is nowhere to be found in their report."

With startling originality, he dubbed the controversy "Amazongate", a term which soon travelled round the world.

Other deniers, being the herd animals we know and love, leapt on his claims and bore them off, cackling with delight, without apparently pausing for a moment to check them.

In the Telegraph, James Delingpole, who seldom misses an opportunity to make an idiot of himself, announced that these revelations meant:

\\ "AGW [anthropogenic global theory of] warming toast. It 's Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. It' s Stern. It 's credibility of the IPCC."

In reality, as we will see, it's Delingpole's beliefs on climate change that the story has reduced to toast.

Like the hundreds of others who fell head first into this trap, he should have been more cautious. Richard North is our old friend Christopher Booker's long-term collaborator, and between them they are responsible for more misinformation than any other living journalists. You could write a book about the stories they have concocted, almost all of which fall apart on the briefest examination.

This is not an exception. I decided to check the claims of North 'that the report of the World Wildlife Fund (PDF) said nothing about 40% of the Amazon's forests reacting badly to a reduction in rainfall. I used a cunning and recondite technique known only to experienced sleuths: typing "40%" in the search bar at the top of the page.

This stroke of genius took all of 10 seconds to reveal the following passage:

"Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall."

Who says investigative journalism is dead?

None of North's suckers had bothered to carry out this complex procedure. They hadn't bothered because they didn't want to spoil a good story.

North was right to point out that the IPCC should not have relied on a report by WWF for its predictions about the Amazon. Or he would have been right if it had. But it hadn't. The projection was drawn from a series of scientific papers by specialists in this field, published in peer-reviewed journals, some of which are referenced in the first section of the IPCC's 2007 report (pdf).

The IPCC had made a mistake in referencing the claim in the second section of its 2007 report. It had no reason to use WWF as its source when the material originated in peer-reviewed scientific papers. But an organisation which made no referencing errors in a report of several thousand pages would be an organisation run not by humans but gods. It was a silly but manifestly trivial mistake.

With the inevitability â€" talking of gods - of a Greek tragedy, hubris was followed by nemesis. The story was picked up by Jonathan Leake, the environment editor at the Sunday Times. He wrote what appears initially to have been a sensible article about the controversy. He quoted at length the expert in tropical forests and climate change Dr Simon Lewis. Dr Lewis criticised the IPCC's sloppy referencing but pointed out that the 40% claim was well supported by the science.

As Lewis explained in his subsequent appeal to the Press Complaints Commission:

"The entire article was read to me, and quotes by me agreed, including a statement that the science in the IPCC report was and is correct. The article was reasonable, and quotes were not out of context."

But between Leake's checking of the copy with Lewis and its publication, something happened. An article which explained the context, applied proper scientific caution and gave both sides of the story was transformed into an inaccurate hatchet job. The article was headlined UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim [now behind a paywall on the Times' site]. It claimed that the 40% claim:

"was based on an unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise".

It created the impression that Dr Lewis endorsed this view. As he points out:

"following this telephone call the article was entirely and completely re-written with an entirely new focus, new quotes from me included and new (incorrect) assertions of my views."

The new version bore strong similarities to Richard North's concoction. At the bottom of the Sunday Times piece were the words

"Research by Richard North."

Needless to say, the Sunday Times article reignited the false controversy North had sparked, and was reproduced on denialist blogs all over the world.

When the article was published, Lewis posted a comment on the thread, pointing out that it had misrepresented his views and that the rainforest claim was not bogus. His comment was deleted. He wrote a letter for publication in the paper. It was ignored.

But the Sunday Times was messing with the wrong man. Lewis wrote what should become the template for a submission to the Press Complaints Commission. He laid out the case clearly and simply, compared the paper's behaviour to the commission's code and provided reams of evidence, including his email correspondence with Jonathan Leake and the newspaper. The University of East Anglia, which has written the textbook on how not to handle a crisisHas a lot to learn from him.

The Commission, as we know, are reluctant to rule against the newspaper, and the submission of Lewis 'was undeniable. To avoid the adverse ruling, Sunday Times had no choice but to publish a refutation of the total in its history, on page 2 edition last Sunday ' . However, he was forced to admit that the paper 'expense - and the withdrawal of North' s almost identical treatment - nonsense from head to toe. Those who deny the greatest triumph of 'into a total rout.

To test this hypothesis, I rang the paper's managing editor, Richard Caseby, and asked him what happened between Jonathan Leake reading his copy to Simon Lewis and the article going to press.

\\ "We 're not going to make any comments on this article."

I said: "It seems to me that you've left Jonathan Leake to take the rap for this, when someone else at the Sunday Times was at fault."

"I've got no comment to make to you on anything."

This was delivered in a surprisingly aggressive tone, which suggested to me that I might have touched a nerve.

The ironies of this episode are manifold, but the most obvious is this: that North's story â€" and the Sunday Times's rewritten account â€" purported to expose inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood on the part of the IPCC. Now that the IPCC has been vindicated, its accusers, North first among them, are exposed for peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood. Ashes to ashes, toast to toast.

www.monbiot.com

George Monbiot

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Friday, June 25, 2010
06/23/2010 Worries about the housing revolution

Local people are being given more control over how many homes are built in their area, but there are fears it could escalate the housing crisis. By Peter Hetherington

Housing targets have been dropped nationally. Planning strategies, determining the level of new homes needed in eight regions, are being axed. Public funding for social and affordable housing is taking a nosedive. And that is just for starters.

The housing professionals who thought that Liberal Democrat influence in a coalition government would temper the revolutionary zeal of a recent Conservative manifesto, are in for a shock as they meet at a key housing conference this week.

Already, these cuts bite. National Program for affordable housing, as well as other companies - Kickstart scheme of work at sites where construction has stalled, and drive the market renewal areas to turn the old terrace housing in the North and Midlands - are faced with cuts ?? 230 with the coalition came to power.

Richard Capie, director of policy at the CIH, worries that another £610m allocated in the HCA's budget this year will disappear, further undermining the agency's programme. And that is before the next three-year spending review begins to bite, dealing housing yet another blow.

Housing professionals also have serious concerns that a new planning framework replacing these targets and regional strategies already seems to be sending out the wrong signals to builders and developers, following a letter to councils from the communities and local government secretary, Eric Pickles â€" Shapps's boss â€" effectively giving them the green light to put housing plans on hold.

A third district in Oxfordshire â€" Cherwell â€" is keen to hang on to a proposed new "eco-town" earmarked by the last government, although some in the coalition seem keen to scrap the proposal along with other eco-town developments.

Bob Neill, planning minister, is adamant that urgent reform is needed because, he insists, regional targets failed to deliver sufficient housing. At a conference this month, organised by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), he told delegates: "It may be controversial, but there is a clear mandate for the coalition to remove the regional planning apparatus, and that will happen. Swift steps will be made to remove targets and take the necessary legislative steps to dismantle those arrangements."

Yet in London, blessed with its mayor and his strategic authority, the picture will be very different. While regional planning and housing strategies will be scrapped in the rest of England, the capital will keep its London plan, housing targets and all. Ironically, the pragmatic Tory administration in the capital is living proof that, contrary to the assertions of ministers, targets do work; this plan has already delivered over half the mayor's target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2012, 60% of them in the social rented category.

"Ministers have made clear they will treat London differently," says one insider close to negotiations with the government. Agreement has been reached to transfer the HCA's functions in the capital, with a current annual budget of around £1.1bn, to the mayor. In turn, Boris Johnson will devolve housing powers to 32 boroughs under a "delegated delivery" programme. It should all be wrapped up before the summer recess.

Elsewhere, however, little, if any, spending in this area is ringfenced.

Yet at the same time, Neill said the coalition was committed to bringing forward new incentives to encourage "responsible and sustainable development". These include the government matching council tax receipts on new developments for six years by creating a special "matching fund" by top-slicing the revenue support grant to local authorities.

"We will match pound for pound the extra money councils get on council tax for six years," said Neill. "Localism is at the heart of our approach to planning because we genuinely believe it is important to give local people control over the shape and the future of their communities. We are determined not to go back to a situation where central government controls the content of local plans."

From the Oxfordshire perspective, Mitchell, for one, has his reservations. "Will those incentives work?" he asked the TCPA conference. " I don't know ... I have asked David Cameron this question. He is convinced they will. I've told him I'm very doubtful. I'm not sure they're big enough or quick enough, and I have a real worry about this. I think perhaps in three or four years' time someone will be scratching their heads and saying, 'What will we do now?'"

A year ago, it all seemed so different. The previous government â€" acting irresponsibly, according to the new regime, with little or no "real" money on tap â€" made a housing pledge of an extra £1.5bn to deliver 20,000 new homes over four years, with much of the cash coming from other departments and "underspends" elsewhere. This funding is no longer seen as secure, and the pledge has been dropped.

To be fair, the coalition recognises that England needs new and improved homes. Among other reasons, this is because household formation is outstripping house-building, people are living longer, and others are staying single â€" all placing greater demand on the market and on the need for social and affordable properties. More than 4 million people are estimated to be on waiting lists for social housing.

Up to now, the fragile housing market in England has been propped up by state intervention, in the form of the HCA which has, effectively, rescued much of the housebuilding industry by funding it to build affordable social housing for housing associations. Last year, for instance, almost three-quarters of housing starts â€" 64,811 â€" were partly funded by the agency. It has become a key player in the market.

The National Housing Federation, which represents not-for-profit housing associations, partly funded by government, has already written to Shapps warning that the number of affordable homes in England this year could slump by as much as 65% â€" the lowest since 1990. And this week it further underlined the looming housing crisis in a statement warning that the government's housing budget could be cut by a third over four years, with the loss of 200,000 further construction jobs.

With the government placing all its faith in councils to deliver the level of housing needed â€" and some small authorities have precious little planning capacity and expertise to meet this challenge â€" Capie argues that a commitment to devolve more powers to town halls, and communities, could still work well, given time. But why such a rush? "Local planning has the potential to be good, but managing the transition is not being done brilliantly," he warns. "Central government cannot abdicate its responsibility, and house-builders are very concerned about the [emerging] planning framework. Housing was in crisis before the election, and that crisis looks like it is going to escalate."

Emma Cariaga, head of strategic projects for Land Securities, one of the biggest developers, voices the concern of many private developers. "The view from the private sector is not about change itself," she insists. "But my question is one of time and whether the scale of change is what we need right now." Far better, she thinks, to test the new planning regime in several areas before rolling it out nationally.

Peter Hetherington

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06/20/2010 Cannibalism helped earliest Britons survive after ice age

New radiocarbon methods show that 14 700 years ago people living in Gough 's cave in the Mendips has acquired a taste for the flesh of their relatives, and not only for ritual reasons

Scientists have identified the first humans to recolonise Britain after the last ice age. The country was taken over in a couple of years by individuals who practised cannibalism, they say - a discovery that revolutionises our understanding of the peopling of Britain and the manner in which men and women reached these shores.

Research has shown that tribes of hunter-gatherers moved into Britain from Spain and France with extraordinary rapidity when global warming brought an end to the ice age 14,700 years ago and settled in a cavern â€" known as Gough's Cave â€" in the Cheddar Gorge in what is now Somerset.

From the bones they left behind, scientists have also discovered these people were using sophisticated butchering techniques to strip flesh from the bones of men, women and children.

"These people were processing the flesh of humans with exactly the same expertise that they used to process the flesh of animals," said Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. "They stripped every bit of food they could get from those bones."

The discovery of the speed of Britain's recolonisation after the last ice age, and the disquieting fate of some of those first settlers, is the result of two major technological breakthroughs. The first involves the development of a technique known as ultra-filtration carbon dating. Perfected by scientists based at Oxford University's radiocarbon accelerator unit, it allows researchers to pinpoint the ages of ancient bones and other organic material with unprecedented accuracy.

In addition to these findings, the discovery â€" by Danish scientists a few years ago â€" that the last ice age ended with astonishing rapidity has also played a key role in reappraising the recolonisation of Britain. Far from being a gradual process, in which men and women slowly reoccupied territory that had been taken from them by spreading glaciers, the resettling of Britain now appears to have been rapid, dramatic and bloody.

For around 60,000 years the planet had shivered as ice sheets fluctuated over large parts of the northern and southern hemisphere â€" including Britain, then a peninsula of northern Europe, which supported a small population of humans for much of this time. However, around 24,000 years ago, the weather worsened drastically. Britain's last inhabitants either died out or headed southwards for some continental warmth in refuges in northern Spain and central France.

Britain's icy desolation ended abruptly 14,700 years ago when there was a dramatic leap in temperatures across the globe according to ice-cores found in Greenland and lake sediments in Germany. In less than three years, temperatures had soared by around 6 to 7 degrees Celsius and ice sheets began a rapid retreat throughout the world.

Such a jump in temperature brought about an astonishing change in the world's weather patterns â€" though the underlying cause remains unclear, scientists admit. Suggestions include the proposal that variations in the orbit of the Earth around the Sun allowed more solar radiation to bathe the planet and so warm it up. It has also been proposed that there may have been a sudden eruption of carbon dioxide from the oceans. This helped trap heat from the sun in the atmosphere and so heat up the world.

"Whatever the reason, it was good news in those days, because the world was so cold and so it heated up nicely. However, if a rise like that happened today it would be devastating," said Dr Tom Higham, deputy director of the Oxford radiocarbon unit. "The world would be scorched. That is one of the most important aspects of the story of the resettling of Britain."

Other sites of this antiquity, in Germany and France, have also supplied evidence that human bones had been butchered. But the Gough's Cave finds were puzzling because radiocarbon dates indicated that humans had used the cave for more than 2,000 years, including several centuries in which the country would have been covered in ice sheets.

"The problem with radiocarbon dates of this antiquity is that it only takes a tiny trace of contamination from modern organic material to distort results," said Higham. "That is why we kept getting such a range of ages from the Gough's Cave bones."

To circumvent this problem, Jacobi and Higham worked on technique - known as ultra-filtration - which involves using a series of complex chemical treatments to destroy any modern pollution in samples taken from a cave. The first results date comes with using this technique have been published by scientists in the paper Quaternary Science Reviews last year and were based on their re-analysis of the bones of Gough's Cave. These revealed a very different picture for the ages for the bones than had previously been calculated.

As for the route of this migration, it probably took these ancient hunter-gatherers across Doggerland â€" a now submerged stretch of land in the North Sea that is known as Dogger Bank today â€" and into eastern England. Within a couple of years, they had reached Gough's Cave, though the cavern would not have formed a permanent residence but would most likely have served as a refuge to which they could return on a regular basis.

Previously it had been thought that the cave had been occupied, on or off, for around 2,000 years. However, the new set of dates generated by Higham shows that these not only cluster round the date of 14,700 years before the present, but that they cover only a very narrow range of about a hundred years or less. In other words, the cave was occupied for only a few generations at that time.

Bello has found that each of these sets of remains is covered with marks that show they had been the subject of comprehensive butchery, with all muscle and tissue being stripped from them. But why de-flesh those bones in the first place? What triggered such an extreme act? To provide answers, scientists have put forward a number of different theories. These include suggestions that it was a form of ritual which involved the eating of small pieces of a relative's flesh, not as a source of nutrition, but as an act of homage.

Others have argued that it involved a form of crisis cannibalism in which people ate the flesh of others because all other sources of food had disappeared. "An example of that sort of cannibalism was provided by the Andes air crash in 1972 when survivors ate the flesh of those who had been killed in the accident," said Stringer.

And finally there is straightforward cannibalism in which humans hunt, kill and eat other humans because they have a preference for human flesh. This is sometimes known as homicidal cannibalism.

The new evidence that is emerging from Bello's work does not resolve the issue, though some significant pointers have been uncovered. "These people were breaking up bones to get at the marrow inside," he said. "They were stripping off all of the muscle mass. Brains seemed to have been removed. Tongues seemed to have been removed. And it is also possible that eyes were being removed. It was very systematic work." In addition, human remains appear to have been disposed of in the same way as animal bones, by being dumped in a single pit.

Currently, most evidence suggests that people are likely to use the skills they have acquired in the meat of animals, in particular, the meat of horses, and deer, and another favorite of the Stone Age, in order to kill people who died from natural causes.

"We don't see any traumatic wounds in these remains which would suggest violence was being inflicted on living people. This was some kind of cultural process that they brought with them from Europe," he said.

Whatever the nature of the cannibalism that was carried out by these early settlers, it did them little good in the end. Two thousand years after the ice age ended, Europe was plunged into a new, catastrophic freeze. A massive lake of glacial meltwater built up over northern America. Then it burst its banks and billions of gallons of icy water poured into the north Atlantic, deflecting the Gulf Stream. Temperatures in Britain plunged back to their ice age levels and the country was once again completely depopulated.

"This new period of intense cold lasted for more than a thousand years," said Stringer. "Only by 11,500 years did conditions start to return to their present level â€" and Britain was colonised by humans for the last time."

Robin McKie

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
06/20/2010 Why Jesse Jackson is still fighting

An icon of the civil rights movement, the Rev Jesse Jackson has campaigned for equality at great personal cost. But a penchant for controversy â€" and his criticism of Barack Obama â€" has dogged his recent efforts. Fifty years after he staged his first protest against segregation, the firebrand explains why he's still fighting

The Reverend Jesse Jackson does not so much enter a room as rearrange its molecules around him. When he comes into the lobby of a London hotel, you can sense his arrival before you see him, as though the sheer force of his personality has displaced the air. He is physically imposing â€" more than 6ft tall with broad shoulders and a boxer's bulk â€" and walks slowly, oozing a sense of purpose. He is, it must be said, quite terrifying to behold.

When we meet, he looks me straight in the eye, takes my hand and bends to kiss it. The chivalrous gesture sits oddly with his intimidating presence and although it is no doubt intended to be charming, I am left with the impression that the charm is being calculatedly deployed to get me onside. As we sit down he leans forward courteously to ask my name. A few minutes later he forgets and has to ask again.

Perhaps it is the jet lag: Jackson is in the UK for a whistle-stop tour, taking in meetings at the Houses of Parliament before giving an address at the Cambridge Union and flying home to Chicago. He is trailed by a substantial entourage of dark-suited men carrying laptops and briefcases. One of them insists on fitting me with a microphone so that our encounter can be filmed for posterity and posted on Jackson's website. The others seat themselves in close proximity like worker bees attending their queen. The hotel staff, seemingly aware that greatness is in their midst, start scurrying around attentively.

It is perhaps not surprising that Jesse Jackson, civil rights campaigner, Baptist preacher and sometime politician, inspires such awe. At 68, he has devoted most of his life to campaigning for the oppressed. Once one of Martin Luther King's closest aides, Jackson has been at the vanguard of the civil rights movement for the past five decades â€" and he is still fighting.

"We are free but not equal," he says, thumping out his sentences with the lyrical vigour of someone delivering a particularly inspiring sermon. The acolytes stop tapping their BlackBerries and fall into a respectful silence. "We're free to vote, but if you look at the black population â€" defined as African, Asian and Caribbean â€" if you look at infant mortality, life expectancy, unemployment, access to capital, to business development, if you look in prisons, if you look at who's at Cambridge and Oxford, if you measure that today, the majority is free but not equal. That is today's challenge."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins, a series of non-violent protests that started when four black students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College sat at the "whites-only" lunch counter in Woolworths. In July 1960, five months later, the 19-year-old Jackson instigated a similar protest in the segregated public library in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. He went on to become a leader of the sit-in movement. "Once the flame was lit, it caught fire," he says, his words slurring together in his languid Southern drawl.

And yet despite Jackson's heroic attempts to make the world a more egalitarian place, over the years his firebrand rhetoric and headline-grabbing antics have mired much of his story in controversy. His critics claim he is an opportunist, flinging himself before the cameras whenever a new racial crisis springs up. They point to his penchant for dubious theatrics, such as his turning up to be interviewed in a TV studio the day after Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968 wearing a turtleneck stained with the dead man's blood. Then there are his ill-judged public outbursts: two years ago he criticised Barack Obama, then running for president, when he thought a TV microphone was turned off. He claimed he wanted to cut Obama's "nuts off" for "talking down to black people" and "telling niggers how to behave". He subsequently apologised and insists he remains a fervent Obama supporter â€" in fact, one of the abiding images of election night is of Jackson standing among the crowds in Chicago's Grant Park with tears streaming down his face.

Did he regret saying what he did? "Yes. You grow. Sometimes you make mistakes. What is a standard joke 20 years ago, is not a joke anymore. ... Culture changes people suggest levels of dignity, you reduce the area that 's acceptable. And sometimes You can say, very, very bad unnoticed for these reasons. "

Still, there was a feeling in some circles that Jackson, bruised and battered by his failed presidential bids, was bitter at the younger man's comparatively easy rise. Jackson started to look out of step with the public mood. In 2008 the rapper Nas, one of a new generation of black Americans, accused him of being yesterday's man. "His time is up," Nas said. "We heard your voice, we saw your marching, we heard your sermons. We don't wanna hear that shit. It's a new day. It's a new voice… We don't need Jesse… We got Barack."

In fact, according to David Remnick's new book Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama , Obama sought Jackson's blessing to stand for election to the Illinois Senate in 1996. As Remnick said recently: "There is not Barack Obama without Jesse Jackson. Jackson, for all his faults, did an enormous historical good by breaking down the barriers toward the political imagination of having a successful African-American presidential candidate."

So, I ask Jackson, why did Obama succeed where he himself failed? Jackson grins. "Besides his being brilliant? It's time. Timing. I would say he ran the last lap of a 60-year race." And perhaps, also, there was a belief among white Americans that Obama, with his mixed-race parentage and international outlook, would be a safer pair of hands. Obama was seen as a conciliatory figure, whereas Jackson was frequently pigeonholed as the angry pugilist.

"Those who had to knock down walls were scarred," Jackson concedes. "We faced jailing trying to get the right to vote, and beatings like dogs. I was jailed… The generation that came behind was able to face ahead without so much of a headwind. That's why, on election night, I began to cry. I didn't realise I was crying, but I was crying because of the joy of the moment: all the people around the world â€" in South Africa, in Haiti, in Ireland, with all the struggles they were involved in â€" were pulling for this guy to win… And I thought about the journey, and I wished Dr King and the moderates who were killed just for being in the wrong moment could have been there to see the fruits of their labours. I felt the experience. That's why that was such a huge moment for me and in American history, for all of us. All history, really."

Does injustice still make him as angry as it used to? "No, it inspires me to fight on. Anger would blind you. One must have the strength not to be angry, not bitter, because anger and bitterness can consume… People are more inspired by hope than they are by fear; they are inspired more by love than they are by hate."

Jesse Jackson is a son of the segregated South, born in the same year as Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy murdered in a town in Mississippi in 1955 after reportedly wolf-whistling at a white woman. He was raised in a three-bedroom shack with a tin roof, with no running water, the offspring of an affair between his teenage mother, Helen Burns, and fellow Greenville resident Noah Robinson, a former boxer and married father of three.

Two years later Helen married Charles Henry Jackson, a janitor â€" at 16, Jesse was adopted by his stepfather. Now any questions about his difficult early years are blankly ignored. He is not rude, but simply pretends not to have heard. When I ask about his father, Jackson refers to Charles, not Noah. His 85-year-old mother is the only one of his parents still alive. "Every time I call her she says: 'A lot of people love you now, son, but I loved you first.'" He laughs. "Usually she has a Bible verse for anything I'm going through." He credits her with giving him "a sense of self-worth and self-respect".

But his childhood experiences of racial discrimination left a lasting impression. When Jackson was six, his stepfather, who had fought for the Allies in the Second World War, was forced to take a part-time job mowing the lawn of a white German émigré. "I said: 'Dad, this guy talks funny,' and I turned around and saw that he was crying. It crushed me to see my father cry. He said: 'I went to fight the war â€" we were fighting him and now I'm cutting his grass,' and he was humiliated by it."

Did witnessing his father's humiliation make him angry? "No, the fact is, we were not sensitive to how damaging the system of segregation was. We learned to adjust and live in the smallest corner of the room, so to speak.

It is hard not to find oneself slightly hypnotised by the power of Jackson's words. He talks with such rhythm and practised eloquence. It is an example of what Manning Marable, the author of a forthcoming biography of Malcolm X, calls the "messianic style" of public speaking, heavily influenced by the church, which was the focal point for political resistance in black communities.

Jackson is a master of it, peppering his rousing oratory with biblical passages and an impressive recital of dates and facts relating to anything from the colonial history of Haiti to the football tactics of Chelsea. He can talk for several minutes without interruption, letting his ideas wash over me until I am veritably drenched by rhetoric and gasping for air.

He really is quite formidable, and there are obviously still many, many things he would like to get off his chest. The Iraq war, for instance, which he sees as a flagrant attack on "international law, human rights, self-determination, shared economic security". Would he like to see the leaders who took us to war in Iraq â€" George W Bush and Tony Blair â€" stand trial at The Hague? "Whoever engages in wars without justification [should stand trial]. No one should live outside the law."

As he approaches his 70th birthday (and his Old Testament allowance of three score years and 10), it is clear that Jackson, who is married to his childhood sweetheart and has five children, remains determined to stay in public life. His reputation was dented in 2001 by the revelation that he had fathered a secret daughter from an adulterous relationship with a former employee, but one gets the sense that Jackson could survive almost anything.

He has always been something of a loose cannon, a man convinced of his own rightness and possessed of the certainty that rules can be broken. But for all those who are put off by a certain swagger in his personality, there are thousands more who owe their freedom in part to Jackson's persistence. According to the late Marshall Frady, a former civil rights reporter who wrote an acclaimed 1996 biography of Jackson, he is driven by a desire to become a "moral-heroic" figure and yet is prevented by his outsider status. "This may be the most fundamental, elemental conflict in him," wrote Frady. His fate was "forever to be an unfinished hero".

Does Jackson feel he never got the recognition he deserved? He is too smart to answer directly, instead choosing to quote from Proverbs 22: "Remove not the ancient landmarks that our mothers and fathers have set…" he says in sonorous tones. "Each successive generation inherited the benefit of the struggles, and the wisest among us appreciate their contribution."

He stares at me for several seconds, his tired eyes drooping at the corners, the flesh on his cheeks sagging with age. He looks exhausted. How would he like history to remember him? Jackson blinks. "I'm going to serve to the end," he says, his voice edged with weariness. The interview is over. Jackson pushes himself up from the chair, exhaling heavily. The entourage starts unplugging laptops and gathering up files of paper. My microphone is removed. Jackson is ushered into another room for a radio interview, and just before the door closes I catch a final glimpse of a solitary figure in a dark suit, his shoulders erect, his head held high, forever the unfinished hero.

Elizabeth Day

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Monday, June 21, 2010
06/21/2010 Federer made to later in the first match

• Follow the latest scores with our interactive scoreboard
• Today's order of play
• Audio: John McEnroe on Rafael Nadal's chances
• Gallery: all the pictures from the opening day

4.15pm: At the top of set five, the early signs are that Falla is fading. Did the tie-break snap his spirit? Looser, more relaxed than he's looked all afternoon, Federer immediately breaks serve and then holds for 2-0. All at once, Falla's shots turn sloppy and lacking in belief. His head is down and his feet are heavy.

In the next game he scraps to 40-15 and is then brought back to deuce, pushing a forehand way beyond the baseline. Federer dinks a beautiful drop shot to reach break-point, only for Falla to save it with a smash. The Colombian is still hitting some glorious balls but his challenge is more fitful, less sustained.

Federer returns to the breakpoint and exciting game with an elegant backhand up the line. He leads the final set 3-0 with a double break.

4.05pm: The opening match on Centre Court is now headed for a fifth set. Federer romps through the tie-break, winning it 7-1 and finishing it off with a sharply angled cross-court backhand that leaps off the court and then dips to the sidelines, miles away from the scurrying Falla. The challenger has ran so far this afternoon and he must now run for a few miles more. But does he still have the heart and the energy. He must have already won this contest three or four times over. And yet each time, somehow, Federer has clawed his way back into contention.

4pm: In the press room, hardened sports reporters are baying at the screens. Out on Centre Court, they're raising the rafters. Falla clings on, against the odds, to make it 6-6, anticipating correctly to run down a Federer bazooka to his forehand and lash it down the line for a winner. And that sends us into the tie-break.

3:50 pm: Alejandro Falla serves for the match at 5-4 only for Federer to rise up like Lazarus. At 15-30 the champion raids his box of magic and emerges with an outrageous backhand drop-shot to open up the court. At 30-40, he steps forward and puts his whole weight behind a forehand that rips off the baseline for a winner. That leaves the set tied at five games apiece. Up in the players' box, Federer's dad has damn near levitated in his excitement.

3.40pm: Down on a sun-blasted Centre Court, Falla is reading Federer's serve as though it's a large-print book. He lashes returns deep into the court and keeps the top seed on his heels. Even when Federer appears to have him on the run, he sees the ball clearly, flattens his stroke and sends the ball down the sidelines at a terrific speed, using the Swiss's pace against him. It's an audacious, hit-and-hope approach that's been paying huge dividends here today.

Falla serves at 4-3, fourth set. He is within sight of victory - except that he's been here before and it didn't pan out. Sure enough, Federer applies the pressure. He clambers to 0-30, and then to 30-40. Is Falla about to crack? He swings his lefty serve into Federer's background to save the break point and then does it again to win the game.

So no. Falla not cracking, at least not just yet. He leads 5-3 and will now serve for the match, with history on his racket face.

Needless to say, there are other matches going on as well. Needless to say, we can wait to hear about them,

3.25pm: You would forgive Alejandro Falla for suffering a let down after losing that third set. You'd understand if it took the wind out of his sails and if he took some time out to regroup - maybe opting to keep his powder dry for a final death-or-glory stand in the deciding set.

Instead, he he has stayed cool, calm, collected. He goes and breaks Federer's serve in the opening game and now leads 2-1.

3.05pm Roger Federer belatedly hits the accelerator. He surges to set point and then takes the third set with a glorious forehand that clips the line. He pumps a fist and roars at the grass. In the past five minutes, the momentum of this match has swung his way. But he still trails Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.

3pm: Hold on to your Pimms, your crucifix, your pre-tournament form book. The reigning Wimbledon champion is teetering on the brink. He has looked jaded, flat-footed, a shadow of his former self. He has sprayed forehands past the baseline and sent backhands to the net. And Falla, to his eternal credit, has played the match of his life. He has run for everything, struck laser-beam passing shots and shown a revelatory touch at the net.

At 4-4, love-40, it looks all over for Roger Federer. And then, way later than it should have happened, the Kracken wakes, the Swiss stirs and the crisis is averted. Federer storms back to take the game, roaring himself on, as though he has suddenly twigged what's happening out there. Falla must now serve to stay in the set. But phew, it was a close-run thing.

2:50 pm: Out on Centre Court, Alejandro Falla is clinging on in set three as the champion probes for an opening to turn this nightmare around. Federer clobbers a few piercing forehands but he looks tense and his timing is off. The good news is that Falla is toiling too. He has a groin strain and keeps summoning the trainer during the change of ends. Could it be he's slowing down?

If Federer is to quash this rebellion it has to be now. He connects with a crisp backhand down the line to bring up break point. But again, incredibly, Falla wriggles free to tie the score at three games apiece. And this strange tale remains as strange as ever.

Who is this Falla anyhow? The more I see of him, the more he reminds me of someone. He has the left-handed groundstrokes, the heavy top-spin, the western grip. He runs like a rabbit and seems to love lashing those southpaw forehands into Federer's backhand corner. He also has injury issues, a trainer always at hand.

The evidence is compelling. Could Alejandro Falla - lowly, unfancied Alejandro Falla - actually be Rafa Nadal in disguise? Has anyone actually seen these two players on the same court at the same time?

2.30pm: It's crunch time for Falla, who steps out to serve for a two set lead. Each point is a heart-stopper, each exchange a mini epic. Both players are tight-lipped and positively fizzing with nervous energy. At set-point to Falla, Federer hits his best shot of the match - a backhand return up the line from way out of court. There are two further set points, but these prompt two anguished errors from Falla. All at once he seems to have lead in his boots.

It is the longest game of the match. On and on it goes: deuce, advantage, deuce, advantage. And then, on his fourth set point, Falla jams Federer with a clever body-line serve and then scurries into the net to knock off a forehand volley. That's it: Falla takes the second set to lead 7-5, 6-4.

The five green monkeys erupt in jubilation. They go scampering up into the aisles, biting and clawing at the spectators; stealing their strawberries and drinking their Pimms.

Roger Federer is now two sets in the hole and this year's Wimbledon is officially on the planet of the monkeys. This, needless to say, is not how it was meant to be.

2.15pm:Alejandro Falla only broken by Roger Federer 'serve to lead 7-5, 4-3. Five green monkeys have just entered the center of the courtyard, where they are now dancing to the uncertainty of the grid and singing Moon River all ballgirls.

One of the above proposals completely totaled tissue of lies. But now, for life, I 'm trying to recall which one.

2pm:Just time for a quick recap on some other results already in real world, from Mondo Bizarro-Wimbledon 's Center for the court, where unfancied Alejando Falla leads Roger Federer 7-5, 2-2.

Vera Zvonareva has won. Karolina Sprem has won. Over on Court One, seventh seed Nikolay Davydenko is a set down to the American Kevin Anderson. Davydenko is the energiser bunny of men's tennis. He plays everywhere, at any time and bagged the biggest title of his career at last year's ATP finals. But he has never performed well at Wimbledon and is also struggling to recover from a wrist injury. Oh, and Elena Baltacha is now 1-4 down in the final set against Petra Martic. But for the time being, of course, we're staying on Centre.

1.50pm:

1.45pm: The worm has turned, the gardener has rebelled and the king is in trouble. Against all the odds, against all the predictions, Roger Federer has a match on his hands. Falla has just broken at 5-5, courtesy of a double fault, a lancing forehand winner and a gliding backhand volley that leaves the Swiss stranded. Falla now serves for the first set. Wonder of wonders.

1.30pm

Thanks for your comments and gallant attempts at Wimbledon poems. Am half-tempted to write the rest of this blog in rhyming couplets but reckon I'll stick with the edgy, free-verse approach, at least for now.

Falla holds and the contest is locked at three games each. This means that Falla has now equalled the number of games he took from Federer in the last match they played. I'm guessing he's feeling pretty pleased with himself right now.

1.15pm: News from the ground. Just over an hour into this year's championship and we already have a winner. Out on Court Nine, Yung-Jan Chan (ranked 77) has whopped Patty Snyder (ranked 78) 6-0, 6-2.

On 14, Lopez ekes the first set on a tie-break while Federer eases 2-1 up on serve in the first set on Centre, swiping forehands into the corners as Falla chases shadows.

Ah, and Clijsters joins Chan in the locker room. The Belgian has just beaten Camerin 6-0, 6-3 to get her Wimbledon comeback underway.

1pm: The balcony at the press area looks out over lowly Court 14. At the baseline, Spain's Feliciano Lopez (the man who cuffed Nadal at Queens) is being given a major work-out by America's Jesse Levine and the first set looks to be heading for a tie-break.

Lopez looks cool, almost sleepy. But he's clouting his serve to stay alive, crying out at the exertion of it all, and labouring back and forth to slice his backhand and keep Levine at bay. It's safe to say that this is not the gentle curtain-raiser he was looking for. It used to be that Wimbledon's courts played faster and lower than the ones at Queens. If this is still the case, Lopez is struggling to adjust his game.

And now, at the trial center, Roger Federer moves to open his defense. It goes like Gatsby arriving at the cocktail reception: immaculate, blow-dried and fresh laundered. In the crowd someone wolf whistles and the champion replied with a shy smile.

By contrast, his opponent, Alejandro Falla, looks pensive and irritable, seemingly overcome by the occasion. If Federer is Gatsby, Falla is his lowly deck chair attendant, or possibly the grump, overworked gardener. He gulps air as the knock-up gets underway, flicking clumsily at an overhead. He's only been out there three minutes and already he looks in need of a sit down.

12.40pm:

"Did we get to 12.23 without a question about Andy Murray?" marvels McEnroe, who has grown as used to fielding questions about Murray as he once was fielding questions about Tim Henman. "I thought I was out of here."

For the record, McEnroe still believes that Murray can lift this trophy - but maybe not this year. Since surging to the Australian Open final back in February, the Scot has struggled and is still without a title in 2010. That finals defeat has knocked his confidence. He faces a long, hard climb to the summit if he is to go one better than he did last year.

First set to Clijsters, meantime. Right now she's set fair for the first victory at this year's championship.

Apologies, too, for the delay between posts. The fault its partly mine and partly laptop, but mainly it's the laptop. I can blame the laptop with impunity, safe in the knowledge that it can't answer back.

12:33 pm: And so play starts! Kim Clijsters is already four games to love up against Maria Elena Camerin on Court No2. Is this the year the dominance of the Williams sisters ends?

11.44am:Horde territory. They come in hundreds along the route in rats and gather in huddles on the grass, Murray Mount (Tilt, formerly known as Henman Hill). But, as I do, they go and massaging with a little visible purpose, and they drift past the tennis courts, located as blank canvases. There is still almost half an hour before the ball struck in anger.

Until then we are occupied with scouting the terrain and finding our feet. Until then, in other words, we are stuck in the Wimbledon equivalent of silly season. With this in mind I am indebted to my colleague Simon Jeffery for forwarding me a story about the final destination of the championship tennis balls. Turns out that many of them will eventually make the exodus to Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire where they will spend their retirement as "homes for harvest mice".

No more being pounded back and forth by Serena Williams. No more being top-spun into a daze by Rafael Nadal. Instead, they will sit tight in Slimbridge and get defecated in by rodents. "We're hoping it will be a case of game, set and mouse," chirrups John Crooks, mammal manager at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Fingers crossed this event kicks off on time. Pray God there are no rain delays. If so, we may well be ringing up in search of more puns from the mammal manager, and perhaps even requesting an interview with a rehoused mouse. Kim Clijsters is first up on Court Two. What are the odds of bringing the match forward by ooh, 15-minutes or so?

11.36am: Is Wimbledon the hardest thing to rhyme another word with?
Here's the first effort of SW19's poet in residence:

Excuse me. I'm sorry. I speak as an Englishman.

For the game of lawn tennis there's no

better symbol than Wimbledon.

The place where the flame game "has

aroused, and then lit in,

Where so many thorns are straight Sat

and then tingled in

Wimbledon.

10.55am: It's day one of the Wimbledon championships and the grounds are all-but ready. Obscure, lowly-ranked tennis pros lug their rackets up the stairwells and caterers push jingling trolleys on the walkways. Nick Bolletteri, mentor to the Agassi generation of American world-beaters, is basking like a lizard outside the doors to Centre Court. It is all eminently civilised; a little private party on a summer's morning.

And then, over the PA, comes the announcement to the stewards to open the gates. I guess this means we're starting. Any second now the place will be rammed. The journeymen pros will scurry to their locker rooms and basking Bollettieri will be forced to fly â€" fly! â€" for cover beneath the nearest rock.

Outside the windows of the press centre, the crowds are filing by and the grounds are filling up. I'm heading out for a spell, to gauge the atmosphere and grab a sandwich. The refreshment kiosks have just opened and, if I leave it any longer, the lines are liable to be as long as a gorilla's forearm. But, from my vantage at the window, I note that many of these spectators look a little old and slow. Hurry now and I reckon I can outpace them in the race for the freshest croissant. Back shortly.

10.31am: Good morning and welcome to our Wimbledon 2010 live blog, bringing you the latest news and results, gossip and all-important weather updates.

To get you started, we preview Laura Robson's chances of causing an upset against Jelena Jankovic, a Small Talk interview with Elena Baltacha and Serena Williams's thoughts on whether she can win her 13th grand slam title.

On the men's side of things, Roger Federer promises not to let Switzerland's World Cup exploits distract his pursuit of yet more success at SW19 and an interview with Dustin Brown.

Oh, and a fella called Andy Murray kicks off his bid for a first grand slam title tomorrow. You can read interviews, news and much more on our dedicated Andy Murraysite.

10:31 am: Good morning and welcome to our Wimbledon 2010 live blog, bringing you the latest news and results, gossip and all the important updates weather.

To get you started, we preview Laura Robson's chances of causing an upset against Jelena Jankovic, a Small Talk interview with Elena Baltacha and Serena Williams's thoughts on whether she can win her 13th grand slam title.

On the men 'side of things, Roger Federer promises not to let Switzerland's World Cup exploits distract his pursuit of yet more success at SW19 and an interview with Dustin Brown.

Oh, and a fella called Andy Murray kicks off his bid for a first grand slam title tomorrow. You can read interviews, news and much more on our dedicated Andy Murray site.

Xan Brooks

guardian.co.uk ? Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions| More Feeds





Greeny NEWS
Sunday, June 20, 2010
06/13/2010 BP is just a symptom of a dangerous addiction to oil

President Obama's attacks on "British Petroleum" and its chief executive, Tony Hayward, are deeply unedifying. Not because of the hypocrisy and misinformation involved, though there is plenty of that: BP has not been called British Petroleum for years and its controversial dividend is denominated in US dollars.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, conjured up images of pound notes flowing into pinstriped pockets in the City when she suggested shareholders had "deeper pockets" than fishermen on the Gulf coast. But recipients of the divi are not all fat cats, and they are certainly not all British. About 40% of BP's dividends are paid to US small investors and pension fund members, including teachers in California and Texas. These are people like Miriam Sullivan, the 74-year-old wife of a retired New Jersey teacher, who told Bloomberg she stands to lose $10,000 a year if the BP dividend is suspended.

US companies have wreaked more than their fair share of environmental havoc and loss of life. There was Exxon Valdez and Piper Alpha. The escalation of the BP row last week overshadowed another story in an Indian courtroom, where seven local employees of the US multinational Union Carbide were convicted of causing death by negligence at its plant in Bhopal in 1984, when a toxic leak killed thousands of people. Union Carbide's American chairman, Warren Anderson, has never been brought to justice and is listed as an "absconder" by the court.

The real problem is not Brit-bashing by US politicians. It is, as US commentator Thomas Friedman has pointed out, that Obama has missed an opportunity to move the discussion on to the underlying issues of climate change and the developed world's addiction to oil.

The horrific effects of this addiction are not confined to the environment. A report published in Sweden last week by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) went unremarked in the UK but its allegations are devastating.

ECOS claims its research shows that a consortium of oil companies â€" Lundin of Sweden, Malaysian group Petronas and Austrian concern OMV â€" should be investigated for complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan. The oil companies, ECOS says, worked alongside the perpetrators of rape, torture, child abduction and forced displacement, and the consortium's infrastructure enabled the commission of crimes. Lundin, the consortium leader, denies the allegations.

for decades.

BP and its bosses richly deserve to be pilloried over Deepwater but this is far too important to be reduced to a puerile slanging match. When the US president speaks to David Cameron this week and meets the BP chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, there needs to be a constructive dialogue. There is still time to grasp this opportunity for real change.

To sustain our oil addiction, companies are pushing the boundaries into controversial areas such as tar sands, into conflict zones, and into joint ventures with oligarchs. We have entered the era of Extreme Oil. Deepwater does not tell us much about the sins of British oil companies versus American ones. It tells us a great deal about the huge costs, human, financial and environmental, of being hooked on oil. The US is the world's biggest consumer. Reducing that consumption and moving towards a more sustainable economy would have enormous benefits: it would cut emissions of greenhouse gases, leave the US less vulnerable to oil price spikes and lessen the need to deal with oil-rich countries that may compromise foreign policy.

Obama could have used his political capital to initiate a serious discussion on how to end our dangerous dependency. How saddening that, so far, he has chosen not to.

Ruth Sunderland

guardian.co.uk ? Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds




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