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Posted on on March 29th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (




A worker at a hydraulic fracturing operation in Rifle, Colo. Natural gas production releases methane, which contributes to greenhouse gas pollution. Credit Brennan Linsley/Associated Press



WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday announced a strategy to start slashing emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas released by landfills, cattle, and leaks from oil and natural gas production.

The methane strategy is the latest step in a series of White House actions aimed at addressing climate change without legislation from Congress. Individually, most of the steps will not be enough to drastically reduce the United States’ contribution to global warming. But the Obama administration hopes that collectively they will build political support for more substantive domestic actions while signaling to other countries that the United States is serious about tackling global warming.


In a 2009 United Nations climate change accord, President Obama pledged that by 2020 the United States would lower its greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels. “This methane strategy is one component, one set of actions to get there,” Dan Utech, the president’s special assistant for energy and climate change, said on Friday in a phone call with reporters.

Environmental advocates have long urged the Obama administration to target methane emissions. Most of the planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution in the United States comes from carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas. Methane accounts for just 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — but the gas is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so even small amounts of it can have a big impact on future global warming.

And methane emissions are projected to increase in the United States, as the nation enjoys a boom in oil and natural gas production, thanks to breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology. A study published in the journal Science last month found that methane is leaking from oil and natural gas drilling sites and pipelines at rates 50 percent higher than previously thought. As he works to tackle climate change, Mr. Obama has generally supported the natural gas production boom, since natural gas, when burned for electricity, produces just half the greenhouse gas pollution of coal-fired electricity.

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have campaigned against the boom in natural gas production, warning that it could lead to dangerous levels of methane pollution, undercutting the climate benefits of gas. The oil and gas industry has resisted pushes to regulate methane leaks from production, saying it could slow that down.

A White House official said on Friday that this spring, the Environmental Protection Agency would assess several potentially significant sources of methane and other emissions from the oil and gas sector, and that by this fall the agency “will determine how best to pursue further methane reductions from these sources.” If the E.P.A. decides to develop additional regulations, it would complete them by the end of 2016 — just before Mr. Obama leaves office.


Among the steps the administration announced on Friday to address methane pollution:

-  The Interior Department will propose updated standards to reduce venting and flaring of methane from oil and gas production on public lands.

-  In April, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management will begin to gather public comment on the development of a program for the capture and sale of methane produced by coal mines on lands leased by the ederal government.

-  This summer, the E.P.A. will propose updated standards to reduce methane emissions from new landfills and take public comment on whether to update standards for existing landfills.

-  In June, the Agriculture Department, the Energy Department and the E.P.A. will release a joint “biogas road map” aimed at accelerating adoption of methane digesters, machines that reduce methane emissions from cattle, in order to cut dairy-sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

Advocates of climate action generally praised the plan. “Cutting methane emissions will be especially critical to climate protection as the U.S. develops its huge shale gas reserves, gaining the full greenhouse gas benefit from the switch away from coal,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former White House climate change aide under President Bill Clinton, now with the German Marshall Fund.

Howard J. Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs for the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for oil and gas companies, said he hoped the steps would not lead to new regulations on his industry. “We think regulation is not necessary at this time,” he said. “People are using a lot more natural gas in the country, and that’s reducing greenhouse gas.”

Since cattle flatulence and manure are a significant source of methane, farmers have long been worried that a federal methane control strategy could place a burden on them. But Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that his group was pleased that, for now, the administration’s proposals to reduce methane from cattle were voluntary.

“All indications are that it’s voluntary,” he said, “but we do see increased potential for scrutiny for us down the line, which would cause concern.”


Related Coverage:


Photographs: Rising Seas,



Asia Pacific

Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land:

Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change

Bangladesh, with its low elevation and severe tropical storms, is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, though it has contributed little to the emissions that are driving it. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

DAKOPE, Bangladesh — When a powerful storm destroyed her riverside home in 2009, Jahanara Khatun lost more than the modest roof over her head. In the aftermath, her husband died and she became so destitute that she sold her son and daughter into bonded servitude. And she may lose yet more.

Ms. Khatun now lives in a bamboo shack that sits below sea level about 50 yards from a sagging berm. She spends her days collecting cow dung for fuel and struggling to grow vegetables in soil poisoned by salt water. Climate scientists predict that this area will be inundated as sea levels rise and storm surges increase, and a cyclone or another disaster could easily wipe away her rebuilt life. But Ms. Khatun is trying to hold out at least for a while — one of millions living on borrowed time in this vast landscape of river islands, bamboo huts, heartbreaking choices and impossible hopes.

Play Video

Home in the Delta — Like many of her neighbors, Nasrin Khatun, unrelated to Jahanara Khatun, navigates daily life in a disappearing landscape.

As the world’s top scientists meet in Yokohama, Japan, this week, at the top of the agenda is the prediction that global sea levels could rise as much as three feet by 2100. Higher seas and warmer weather will cause profound changes.

Climate scientists have concluded that widespread burning of fossil fuels is releasing heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet. While this will produce a host of effects, the most worrisome may be the melting of much of the earth’s ice, which is likely to raise sea levels and flood coastal regions.

Such a rise will be uneven because of gravitational effects and human intervention, so predicting its outcome in any one place is difficult. But island nations like the Maldives, Kiribati and Fiji may lose much of their land area, and millions of Bangladeshis will be displaced.

“There are a lot of places in the world at risk from rising sea levels, but Bangladesh is at the top of everybody’s list,” said Rafael Reuveny, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington. “And the world is not ready to cope with the problems.”

The effects of climate change have led to a growing sense of outrage in developing nations, many of which have contributed little to the pollution that is linked to rising temperatures and sea levels but will suffer the most from the consequences.

A woman stood where her house was before Cyclone Aila destroyed it in 2009. Scientists expect rising sea levels to submerge 17 percent of Bangladesh’s land and displace 18 million people in the next 40 years. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

At a climate conference in Warsaw in November, there was an emotional outpouring from countries that face existential threats, among them Bangladesh, which produces just 0.3 percent of the emissions driving climate change. Some leaders have demanded that rich countries compensate poor countries for polluting the atmosphere. A few have even said that developed countries should open their borders to climate migrants.

“It’s a matter of global justice,” said Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies and the nation’s leading climate scientist. “These migrants should have the right to move to the countries from which all these greenhouse gases are coming. Millions should be able to go to the United States.”

River deltas around the globe are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising seas, and wealthier cities like London, Venice and New Orleans also face uncertain futures. But it is the poorest countries with the biggest populations that will be hit hardest, and none more so than Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated nations in the world. In this delta, made up of 230 major rivers and streams, 160 million people live in a place one-fifth the size of France and as flat as chapati, the bread served at almost every meal.

A Perilous Position

Though Bangladesh has contributed little to industrial air pollution, other kinds of environmental degradation have left it especially vulnerable.

Bangladesh relies almost entirely on groundwater for drinking supplies because the rivers are so polluted. The resultant pumping causes the land to settle. So as sea levels are rising, Bangladesh’s cities are sinking, increasing the risks of flooding. Poorly constructed sea walls compound the problem.

The country’s climate scientists and politicians have come to agree that by 2050, rising sea levels will inundate some 17 percent of the land and displace about 18 million people, Dr. Rahman said.

Bangladeshis have already started to move away from the lowest-lying villages in the river deltas of the Bay of Bengal, scientists in Bangladesh say. People move for many reasons, and urbanization is increasing across South Asia, but rising tides are a big factor. Dr. Rahman’s research group has made a rough estimate from small surveys that as many as 1.5 million of the five million slum inhabitants in Dhaka, the capital, moved from villages near the Bay of Bengal.

The slums that greet them in Dhaka are also built on low-lying land, making them almost as vulnerable to being inundated as the land villagers left behind.

Ms. Khatun and her neighbors have lived through deadly cyclones — a synonym here for hurricane — and have seen the salty rivers chew through villages and poison fields. Rising seas are increasingly intruding into rivers, turning fresh water brackish. Even routine flooding then leaves behind salt deposits that can render land barren.

Making matters worse, much of what the Bangladeshi government is doing to stave off the coming deluge — raising levees, dredging canals, pumping water — deepens the threat of inundation in the long term, said John Pethick, a former professor of coastal science at Newcastle University in England who has spent much of his retirement studying Bangladesh’s predicament. Rich nations are not the only ones to blame, he said.

In an analysis of decades of tidal records published in October, Dr. Pethick found that high tides in Bangladesh were rising 10 times faster than the global average. He predicted that seas in Bangladesh could rise as much as 13 feet by 2100, four times the global average. In an area where land is often a thin brown line between sky and river — nearly a quarter of Bangladesh is less than seven feet above sea level — such an increase would have dire consequences, Dr. Pethick said.

“The reaction among Bangladeshi government officials has been to tell me that I must be wrong,” he said. “That’s completely understandable, but it also means they have no hope of preparing themselves.”

Dr. Rahman said that he did not disagree with Mr. Pethick’s findings, but that no estimate was definitive. Other scientists have predicted more modest rises. For example, Robert E. Kopp, an associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute at Rutgers University, said that data from nearby Kolkata, India, suggested that seas in the region could rise five to six feet by 2100.

“There is no doubt that preparations within Bangladesh have been utterly inadequate, but any such preparations are bound to fail because the problem is far too big for any single government,” said Tariq A. Karim, Bangladesh’s ambassador to India. “We need a regional and, better yet, a global solution. And if we don’t get one soon, the Bangladeshi people will soon become the world’s problem, because we will not be able to keep them.”

Mr. Karim estimated that as many as 50 million Bangladeshis would flee the country by 2050 if sea levels rose as expected.

Continue reading the main story
Disappearing Land

Losing Everything

Already, signs of erosion are everywhere in the Ganges Delta — the world’s largest delta, which empties much of the water coming from the Himalayas. There are brick foundations torn in half, palm trees growing out of rivers and rangy cattle grazing on island pastures the size of putting greens. Fields are dusted white with salt.

Even without climate change, Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable places in the world to bad weather: The V-shaped Bay of Bengal funnels cyclones straight into the country’s fan-shaped coastline.

Some scientists believe that rising temperatures will lead to more extreme weather worldwide, including stronger and more frequent cyclones in the Bay of Bengal. And rising seas will make any storm more dangerous because flooding will become more likely.

Bangladesh has done much to protect its population by creating an early-warning system and building at least 2,500 concrete storm shelters. The result has been a vast reduction in storm-related deaths. While Cyclone Bhola in 1970 killed as many as 550,000 people, Cyclone Aila in 2009 killed 300. The deadliest part of the storm was the nearly 10-foot wall of water that roared through villages in the middle of the afternoon.

The poverty of people like Ms. Khatun makes them particularly vulnerable to storms. When Aila hit, Ms. Khatun was home with her husband, parents and four children. A nearby berm collapsed, and their mud and bamboo hut washed away in minutes. Unable to save her belongings, Ms. Khatun put her youngest child on her back and, with her husband, fought through surging waters to a high road. Her parents were swept away.

“After about a kilometer, I managed to grab a tree,” said Abddus Satter, Ms. Khatun’s father. “And I was able to help my wife grab on as well. We stayed on that tree for hours.”

The couple eventually shifted to the roof of a nearby hut. The family reunited on the road the next day after the children spent a harrowing night avoiding snakes that had sought higher ground, too. They drank rainwater until rescuers arrived a day or two later with bottled water, food and other supplies.

The ordeal took a severe toll on Ms. Khatun’s husband, whose health soon deteriorated. To pay for his treatment and the cost of rebuilding their hut, the family borrowed money from a loan shark. In return, Ms. Khatun and her three older children, then 10, 12 and 15, promised to work for seven months in a nearby brickmaking factory. She later sold her 11- and 13-year-old children to the owner of another brick factory, this one in Dhaka, for $450 to pay more debts. Her husband died four years after the storm.

In an interview, one of her sons, Mamun Sardar, now 14, said he worked from dawn to dusk carrying newly made bricks to the factory oven.

He said he missed his mother, “but she lives far away.”

Play Video

A Day’s Work:  At a brickmaking factory in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, Mamun Sardar works long hours to pay his family’s debts.

Impossible Hopes

Discussions about the effects of climate change in the Ganges Delta often become community events. In the village of Choto Jaliakhali, where Ms. Khatun lives, dozens of people said they could see that the river was rising. Several said they had been impoverished by erosion, which has cost many villagers their land.

Muhammad Moktar Ali said he could not think about the next storm because all he had in the world was his hut and village. “We don’t know how to support ourselves if we lost this,” he said, gesturing to his gathered neighbors. “It is God who will help us survive.”

Surveys show that residents of the delta do not want to migrate, Dr. Rahman said. Moving to slums in already-crowded cities is their least preferred option.

But cities have become the center of Bangladesh’s textile industry, which is now the source of 80 percent of the country’s exports, 45 percent of its industrial employment and 15 percent of its gross domestic product.


Rising Seas

Some areas of the globe are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels and inhabitants are being forced to make stark changes in their lives.

OPEN Photographs

In the weeks after the storm, the women of Dakope found firewood by wading into the raging river and pushing their toes into the muddy bottom. They walked hours to buy drinking water. After rebuilding the village’s berm and their own hut, Shirin Aktar and her husband, Bablu Gazi, managed to get just enough of a harvest to survive from their land, which has become increasingly infertile from salt water. Some plots that once sustained three harvests can now support just one; others are entirely barren.

After two hungry years, the couple gave up on farming and moved to the Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second-largest city, leaving their two children behind with Mr. Gazi’s mother.

Mr. Gazi found work immediately as a day laborer, mostly digging foundations. Ms. Aktar searched for a job as a seamstress, but headaches and other slum-induced health problems have so incapacitated her that the couple is desperate to return to Dakope.

“I don’t want to stay here for too long,” Mr. Gazi said. “If we can save some money, then we’ll go back. I’ll work on a piece of land and try to make it fertile again.”

But the chances of finding fertile land in his home village, where the salty rivers have eaten away acre upon acre, are almost zero.

Dozens of people gathered in the narrow mud alley outside Mr. Gazi’s room as he spoke. Some told similar stories of storms, loss and hope, and many nodded as Mr. Gazi spoke of his dreams of returning to his doomed village.

“All of us came here because of erosions and cyclones,” said Noakhali, a hollow-eyed 30-year-old with a single name who was wearing the traditional skirt of the delta. “Not one of us actually wants to live here.”


Produced by Catherine Spangler, David Furst, Hannah Fairfield, Jacqueline Myint, Jeremy White and Shreeya Sinha.

A version of this article appears in print on March 29, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: As Seas Rise, Millions Cling to Borrowed Time and Dying Land.



Posted on on February 18th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Yingli And SolarAid Light Up African School



by Energy Matters of February 7, 2014

Yingli - SolarAid
Yingli Green Energy and SolarAid joined forces to help Mayukwayukwa High School in Kaoma, Zambia harness the power of the sun.
Donated by Yingli Solar and its partners through SolarAid, the system is large enough to meet the lighting requirements of the 600 student school; plus provides cell phone charging for the entire community.
“The solar lighting lengthens learning hours, improves education quality and reduces dependence on expensive and toxic kerosene lamps,” said Richard Turner, Chief Fundraiser at SolarAid.
The new high school is located in one of Africa’s oldest refugee camps – the Mayukwayukwa Settlement – and was constructed under a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) program.
Less than 10% of rural sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity and families can spend up to a quarter of their income on kerosene for lighting. Kerosene lamps are carbon intensive and are also known to cause respiratory disease in households where they are heavily used. Africans spend billions a year on kerosene and while the fossil fuel may provide light, it also reinforces poverty.
“Bringing clean safe light to communities in Africa helps create brighter and better futures for students and families currently living without electricity,” said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy; the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels.
SolarAid has set a goal of ridding the continent of kerosene lamps by 2020 and replacing them with clean power sources; improving the health, education and wealth of Africa’s 110 million households currently living without access to electricity.
SolarAid’s focus is the distribution of solar lights that cost as little as $10, pay for themselves after 12 weeks and last for five years.
“Quality, compact solar lights increase people’s income by an average of 20% per month,” states the SolarAid web site.


Posted on on February 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

date:  Mon, Feb 17, 2014


Syrian rebels or international terrorists?
Vijay Prashad* – The Hindu
*Vijay Prashad is the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
With Bashar Assad arguing that this is a war against terrorism, and the rebels arguing that this is a war against authoritarianism, no agreement can come of the peace talks on Syria.
Geneva 2’s mood mirrored the sound of mortar and despair on the ground in Syria. Not much of substance came of the former, as the U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi tiredly indicated that diplomacy continued despite the lack of a breakthrough. He hoped that the United States and the Russians would pressure their clients to remain at the table, from where, for three weeks, little of value has emerged. No agreement can come of these peace talks for at least two reasons. First, the government of Bashar Assad and the rebel coalition do not agree on the interpretation of the conflict. Mr. Assad argues that this is a war against terrorism (Al-Qaeda), while the rebels argue that this is a war against authoritarianism (the Assad government). Second, the rebels themselves are deeply fractured, with the Islamists in Syria who are doing the brunt of the fighting indisposed to any peace talks.
Mr. Brahimi hoped that humanitarian relief would be the glue to hold the two sides together. Residents in the old city of Homs and in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Yarmouk in Damascus have been under siege for two years. It was hoped that safe passage could be provided for food and medicine, but this was not accomplished. U.N. and Islamic Red Cross workers bravely avoided snipers and shells to transport food and medicines to the Syrians; children among them stared at fresh fruit, unsure of what to do with it. Absent momentum from Geneva, the options for a regional solution are back on the table.
Role for India, China?
In 2012, Egypt convened the Syria Contact Group that comprised Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — unlikely partners. Pressure from the U.S. and Russia at that time closed down the Group. Today, the regional partners seek an exit from their exaggerated postures over Syria, but there is no diplomatic space for them to act. It falls to powers that are untainted by the war, perhaps China and India, to call for a meeting — a Beijing or New Delhi summit — to craft a serious agenda to pressure all sides to a ceasefire and a credible political process.
The war is now fought less on the ground and more over its interpretation. Expectations of a hasty collapse of the government withdraw as the Syrian Army takes Jarajir, along the Lebanon border. Islamists groups continue to fight against each other in the north, weakening their firepower as the Syrian army watches from the sidelines. The emboldened Syrian government has now stepped up its rhetoric about this war being essentially one against terrorists with affiliation to al-Qaeda. Ears that once rejected this narrative in the West and Turkey are now increasingly sympathetic to it. As the Islamists suffocate the rebellion, it becomes hard to champion them against the government. Focus has moved away from the prisons and barrel bombs of the government to the executions and social policies of the Islamists.
A year ago, the West and Turkey would have scoffed at talk of terrorism as the fantasy of the Assad government. The West and the Gulf Arabs had opened their coffers to the rebels, knowing full well that they were incubating the growth of the Islamist factions at the expense of the secular opposition. Turkey’s government of Recep Tayyip Erdog?an micromanaged the opposition, provided bases in Turkey and allowed well-armed fighters to slip across the border into Syria. By early 2012, it had become a common sight to see well-armed Islamist fighters in the streets of Antakya and in the refugee camps in Hatay Province. The seeds of what was to come — the entry of al-Qaeda into Syria — was set by an opportunistic and poorly conceived policy by Erdog?an’s government. It did not help that his otherwise well-spoken and highly-regarded Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutog?lu began to refer to Syria’s Alawites (Mr. Assad’s community) as Nusayri, a derogatory sectarian term. Turkey joined U.S., Europe and Gulf Arab calls for Mr. Assad’s departure well before the numbers of those dead climbed above the thousands. Nervousness about the spread of al-Qaeda to Syria has made the rebels’ patrons edge closer to the Damascus narrative. The U.S. government wishes to arm the Iraqi government with Hellfire missiles and drones to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Britain has said that any fighter who comes back from Syria will be arrested (last week, a Sussex man — Abu Suleiman al-Britani — conducted a suicide operation in Aleppo). The Saudi Royal Court decreed that any Saudi found to have waged jihad abroad could spend up to 20 years in prison.
General Mansour al-Turki of the Saudi Interior Ministry said: “We are trying to stop everyone who wants to go to Syria, but we can’t stop leaks.” The Turkish Armed Forces fired on an ISIS convoy on January 28 inside Syria, and told the government in a report prepared jointly with the Turkish National Intelligence agency that al-Qaeda had made credible threats on Turkey.
Mr. Erdog?an hastened to Tehran to meet the new Iranian leadership — their public comments were on trade, but their private meetings were all on Syria and the need to combat the rise of terrorism. What Mr. Assad had warned about in 2012 came to pass — for whatever reason — and led to a loss of confidence among the rebels’ patrons for their future. Even al-Qaeda’s putative leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has sought to distance himself from ISIS. These signs indicate that on Syria, the “terrorism narrative” has come to dominate over the “authoritarian regime narrative.”
Islamic Front:
The fractious Syrian opposition that came to Geneva does not represent the main columns of rebel fighters on the ground. These are mainly Islamists — with the al-Qaeda wing represented by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and the rest represented by the Islamic Front. They have no appetite for negotiation. Mr. Abu Omar of the Islamic Front said that Syria’s future would be created “here on the ground of heroism, and signed with blood on the frontlines, not in hollow conferences attended by those who don’t even represent themselves.” A U.S. intelligence official told me that when the U.S. went into Afghanistan in 2001, “We smashed the mercury and watched it spread out slowly in the area.” Al-Qaeda was not demolished in Kandahar and Tora Bora. Its hardened cadre slipped across to Pakistan and then onwards to their homelands. There they regrouped, reviving the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda in Yemen, Ansar al-Sharia, Ansar Dine, and ISIS. The latter slipped into Syria from an Iraq broken by the U.S. occupation and the sectarian governance of the current government. There they worked with Jabhat al-Nusra and fought alongside other Islamist currents such as Ahrar ash-Sham. It was inevitable that these battle-tested Islamists would overrun the peaceful protesters and the defectors from the Syrian Army — the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — who scattered to the wind in 2012.
The FSA troops either joined up with the Islamists, continued to fight in small detachments, or linger precariously as twice defectors who are now homeless. The barbarism of the ISIS pushed other Islamists — with Gulf Arab support — to form the Islamic Front. The hope was that this group would run ISIS back to Iraq and remove the stigma of “al-Qaeda” from the Syrian rebellion. The problem is that one of the constituents of the Islamic Front — Jabhat al-Nusra, arguably the most effective of its fighting forces — sees itself as the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda and has largely abjured the fight against ISIS. Another problem is that the in-fighting on the ground seems to have tapered off — one of the Islamist groups, Suqour al-Sham signed a truce with ISIS and pledged to work together.
By early 2014, these groups found their supply lines cut off.  Iraq’s attack on ISIS began to seal the porous border that runs through the Great Syrian Desert.  Jordan had already tried to close its border since early 2013, having arrested over a hundred fighters who have tried to cross into Syria.  Lebanon’s border has become almost inaccessible for the rebels as the Syrian Army takes the roadway that runs along the boundary line.  Last year, Turkey closed the Azaz crossing once it was taken over by the radical Islamists.
On January 20, the rebels attacked the Turkish post at Cilvegözü-Bab al-Hawa, killing 16.  This is what spurred the Turkish Army to attack the ISIS convoy a week later.
As the Islamists saw their supply lines closed off, the U.S. announced that it would restart its aid to the rebel fighters.  On February 5, the Syrian Coalition chief Ahmad Jabra told Future TV that his rebels would get “advanced weapons” — likely from the U.S.  The FSA announced the formation of the Southern Front – with assistance from the West — to revive the dormant fight in Syria’s south-west.  All this took place during Geneva 2, signalling confusion in U.S. policy.       Does Washington still want to overthrow the Syrian government?  Would it live with an Islamist government on Israel’s borders?  Or, perhaps, the U.S. is eager for a stalemate, as pointed out by former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, “The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad.  The regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion.  Both sides’ external allies are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future.”  This is a cruel strategy.
It offers no hope of peace for the Syrian people.
Road ahead for Syria group:
A senior military official in West Asia told me that one of the most overlooked aspects of West Asia and North Africa is that the military leaderships of each country maintain close contacts with each other. During Turkey’s war against the Kurdish rebellion in its eastern provinces, the military coordinated their operations with the Syrian armed forces. These links have been maintained. When it became clear that Mr. Erdog?an’s exaggerated hopes for Syria failed, and with the growth of the Islamists on Turkey’s borders and the Kurds in Syria having declared their independence, the Turkish military exerted its views. The Iraqi armed forces had already begun their operations against ISIS. Additionally, Egypt’s new Field Marshal Sisi overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi when the latter encouraged jihadis to go to Syria. This was anathema to the Egyptian military who acted for this and other reasons to depose Mr. Morsi. The military view of the political situation leans naturally toward the terrorism narrative.
It appears now that the regional states are no longer agreed that their primary mission is the removal of Mr. Assad.This view — shared by the militaries — is evident in the political leadership in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey.With Egypt, these three states would be the core of a rejuvenated Syria Contact Group.

The 2012 group also had Saudi Arabia, which might be enjoined to come back to the table if they see that their outside allies — notably the U.S. — are averse to a policy that would mean Jabhat al-Nusra in power in Damascus.

Without Saudi Arabia, and perhaps even Qatar, the Syria Contact Group would be less effective.

If the Syria Contact Group is to re-emerge, it would need to be incubated by pressure from China and India, two countries that are sympathetic to multipolar regionalism.
Thus far, neither China nor India has taken an active role in the Syrian conflict, content to work within the United Nations and to make statements as part of the BRICS group.
But the failure of the U.S. and Russia and the paralysis of the U.N. alongside the continued brutality in Syria require an alternative path to be opened up.
Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have indicated willingness for a dialogue — China and India need to offer them the table.



Posted on on February 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


On Sri Lanka, Tamils “Shame Ban Ki-moon” at UN As Pillay Report Leaks.


By Matthew Russell Lee (Inner City Press) from the UN Headquarters in New York.


Photo: Tamil demonstration in front of Feb 12, 2014, they chant “shame on



UNITED NATIONS, February 15 — As the Sri Lanka resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March grows closer, the Sunday Times has excerpted High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s report, see below.  Meanwhile on February 12 Tamils protested in front of the UN in New York, chanting “Ban Ki-moon, shame on you,” under the watchful eye of a Sinhalese UN Security officer known to report to the Sri Lanka mission to the UN (he asked a photograph for his photos of the protest — he refused). This is the UN.


   The same United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) which screened the Rajapaksa government’s denial of war crimes, “Lies Agreed To” complete with speech by Shavendra Silva (here recounted in Italian along with Reuters’ censorship) is set for another in its propaganda film series.


  Now, however, after UNCA tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, it is confronted by the new Free UN Coalition of Access (FUNCA), of which “the photographer who refused” is a member.



  The Sunday Times quotes Pillay:


“new evidence — including witness testimony, video and photographic material — continues to emerge on what took place in the final stages of the armed conflict. Human remains also continue to be discovered, for instance in Matale in November 2012 and Mannar in December 2013. As the emblematic cases highlighted above show, national mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice. The High Commissioner believes this can no longer be explained as a function of time or technical capacity, but that it is fundamentally a question of political will… The High Commissioner remains convinced that an independent, international inquiry would play a positive role in eliciting new information and establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed. In the absence of a credible national process, she believes the international community has a duty to take further steps which will advance the right to truth for all in Sri Lanka and create further opportunities for justice, accountability and redress. The High Commissioner reiterates concern about the continuing trend of attacks on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, particularly against human rights defenders, journalists and families of victims; the rising levels of religious intolerance; and continued militarization which continues to undermine the environment where accountability and reconciliation can be achieved. She therefore reiterates and updates the recommendations made in her previous report to the Human Rights Council, most of which remain unimplemented.”


Posted on on February 15th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Green Prophet Headlines – BrightSource’s Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, is live

Link to Green Prophet

BrightSource’s Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, is live

Posted: 14 Feb 2014

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

It has been a long, controversial and expensive road for BrightSource Energy, but their 392 megawatt concentrating solar plant is now finally delivering renewable energy to the California grid and it is the largest plant of its kind in the world.

Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System (ISEGS), which is comprised of 350,000 garage door-sized mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers atop 40 foot towers, is jointly owned by NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource Energy
a company that started out at Luz International in Israel.

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

In addition to offsetting roughly 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the massive solar facility located roughly 50 miles northwest of Needles, California, will deliver solar power to roughly 140,000 homes via California utility companies PG&E and Southern California Edison.

Despite this enormous boost for solar energy, BrightSource Energy has taken a lot of heat from environmentalists and social activists for their five square mile solar project in the Mojave desert.

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

It took months to resolve the issue of relocating desert tortoises that call the desert home, to make way for thousands of concentrating mirrors, and Native Americans complained that the project destroys sites that are sacred to them.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the towers, which reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, have scorched an astonishing number of birds.

The paper also notes that the energy produced at Ivanpah will cost four times as much as natural gas and boasts a smaller generation capacity to land ratio than conventional plants. In other words, CSP projects like ISEGS require more land than fossil fuel plants.

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

Despite these downsides, the $2.2 billion plant will produce one third of all solar thermal energy in the United States, and potentially pave the way for similar projects to take flight as well.

:: WSJ


Posted on on February 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Goa Carnival expects to attract more than 250,000 visitors this year.

GOA was a Potuguese Colony that was ceded to India. The people are mainly christian and still carry Portuguese culture.

Published on : Friday, February 14, 2014

Goa Carnival           West India Goa’s state annual Goa Carnival is expected to attract more than 250,000 visitors this year, Press Trsut of India (PTI) reported.

The non-stop festival will be held from March 1 to 5 in the main cities of the coastal state beginning with a float parade in state capital Panaji.

“Tourists are expected to arrive in droves to witness colourful parades scheduled in various cities,” said State Tourism Department director Nikhil Desai.

          “Occupancy in several hotels across the state is high. People have booked their tickets to participate in the festival,” Nikhil said.

           A float parade organised by the Tourism Department will be led by     King Momo, a ceremonial figure who proclaims the decree of eating, drinking and merry making during the carnival.

          The Goa Carnival is celebrated throughout Goa and ends days before the season of Lent that precedes Easter.







Actually – the climax comes on Carnival Tuesday with “el Coso”, a spectacular parade which will amaze everyone who sees it. The next day the Burial of the Sardine marks the end of the festivities: the spirit of Carnival, symbolised by the sardine, is carried through the streets on a funeral bier, and is then set on fire and consumed by the flames to the despair of the entourage of inconsolable and “grief-stricken” widows, widowers and mourners. The final ending, however, is really the celebration of the “Piñata Chica” at the weekend, with shows, dances and parades. If you are planning to come to the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival you should make your arrangements well in advance. This already popular destination, with its year-round attraction of sun and beautiful beaches, is in even greater demand at this time.


Practical information:

Date:   From Feb 28, 2014 to Mar 9, 2014
Place:  Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife. Canary Islands)
YEAR   DATES PARADE Santa Cruz FUNERAL of the Sardine PARADE Puerto de la Cruz
2012 12/02-26/02 21/02 22/02 25/02
2013 03/02-17/02 12/02 13/02 16/02
2014 23/02-09/03 04/03 05/03 08/03
2015 08/02-22/02 17/02 18/02 21/02
2016 31/01-14/02 09/02 10/02 13/02


Posted on on February 11th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Science presents a new verdict:

Camels Had No Business in Genesis.

The annual camel race in the desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan, in 2007. Radiocarbon dating was used to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the 10th century B.C.— decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible.     Salah Malkawi/Getty Images

There are too many camels in the Bible, out of time and out of place.

Camels probably had little or no role in the lives of such early Jewish patriarchs as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who lived in the first half of the second millennium B.C., and yet stories about them mention these domesticated pack animals more than 20 times. Genesis 24, for example, tells of Abraham’s servant going by camel on a mission to find a wife for Isaac.

These anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history. These camel stories “do not encapsulate memories from the second millennium,” said Noam Mizrahi, an Israeli biblical scholar, “but should be viewed as back-projections from a much later period.”

Dr. Mizrahi likened the practice to a historical account of medieval events that veers off to a description of “how people in the Middle Ages used semitrailers in order to transport goods from one European kingdom to another.”

For two archaeologists at Tel Aviv University, the anachronisms were motivation to dig for camel bones at an ancient copper smelting camp in the Aravah Valley in Israel and in Wadi Finan in Jordan. They sought evidence of when domesticated camels were first introduced into the land of Israel and the surrounding region.

The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr. Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads.

The findings were published recently in the journal Tel Aviv and in a news release from Tel Aviv University. The archaeologists said that the origin of the domesticated camel was probably in the Arabian Peninsula, which borders the Aravah Valley. Egyptians exploited the copper resources there and probably had a hand in introducing the camels. Earlier, people in the region relied on mules and donkeys as their beasts of burden.

“The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development,” Dr. Ben-Yosef said in a telephone interview. “The camel enabled long-distance trade for the first time, all the way to India, and perfume trade with Arabia. It’s unlikely that mules and donkeys could have traversed the distance from one desert oasis to the next.”

Dr. Mizrahi, a professor of Hebrew culture studies at Tel Aviv University who was not directly involved in the research, said that by the seventh century B.C. camels had become widely employed in trade and travel in Israel and through the Middle East, from Africa as far as India. The camel’s influence on biblical research was profound, if confusing, for that happened to be the time that the patriarchal stories were committed to writing and eventually canonized as part of the Hebrew Bible.

“One should be careful not to rush to the conclusion that the new archaeological findings automatically deny any historical value from the biblical stories,” Dr. Mizrahi said in an email. “Rather, they established that these traditions were indeed reformulated in relatively late periods after camels had been integrated into the Near Eastern economic system. But this does not mean that these very traditions cannot capture other details that have an older historical background.”

Moreover, for anyone who grew up with Sunday school images of the Three Wise Men from the East arriving astride camels at the manger in Bethlehem, whatever uncertainties there may be of that story, at least one thing is clear: By then the camel in the service of human life was no longer an anachronism.


Posted on on February 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



Kerala bags an United Nations award for sustainable tourism initiatives.

Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014

Kerala Backwaters      Kerala, God’s own country is recognized for its sustainable tourism policies by the United Nations. Kerala tourism is awarded by the United Nations for creating innovative initiatives in sustainable tourism.

This is the first ever UN award for any state in India.

The coveted award from the United Nations was mostly influenced by the sustainable  development initiative in the world famous backwater resort of Kumarakom. According to a press release from the Kerala tourism, they received the award at the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism held in Madrid, Spain.



Kerala won the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance, the highest honour given to the government bodies for shaping global tourism policies through innovative initiatives.

Kerala Tourism was chosen for the honour for its path-breaking ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the Hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.

The Kumarakom initiative had earlier won the National Award for Best Rural Tourism Project in March last year and also the PATA Grand Award for Environment.


Dr. Tej Vir Singh awarded the UNWTO Ulysses Prize for the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge.

Dr. Tej Vir Singh, professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Tourism Research & Development (CTRD) in India, has been named winner of the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge. The Award honors outstanding members of the academia for their significant contribution to the development of tourism education and research.

Dr. Singh, the Founding Editor of Tourism Recreation Research, the oldest and highly respected, international tourism journal in Asia, is a pioneer in introducing extensive tourism research in the region. A specialist in Himalayan tourism, Dr. Singh has produced several books on tourism and many papers on tourism development and its impacts.

“I would like to commend Dr. Singh´s lifelong dedication to tourism research and his pioneering the concept and practice of sustainability in the field of tourism. His work has inspired many other academicians to develop their own research in the field, contributing greatly to the advancement of tourism education and of the tourism sector as a whole,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

As the Founding Director of the Institute of Himalayan Studies and Regional Development at the University of Garhwal, Dr. Singh started the first Himalayan tourism training course. In 1976, he established the CTRD, a non-government organization devoted to the cause of tourism academics and research, with a special focus on India. Under his leadership, the Centre started an outreach programme that included education, training, research guidance, consultancy, curriculum design, and tourism programme initiation to several Indian universities, management institutions and colleges. Today, the CTRD is recognized for the generation and publication of valuable research on recreation and tourism, and is well-known as a leading organization for developing and disseminating scholarships in tourism in India.

The UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge will be presented during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony to be held on 22 January 2014, within the framework of the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain.


Volatile Bangkok turns out positive for Indian tourism.

Published on : Thursday, January 23, 2014

bangkok-shutdown        While Bangkok faces a tourism fall due to the ongoing political crisis, Indian tourism reaps the dividends. Thailand government’s decision to impose emergency in Bangkok is supposed to cause a loss of almost B10 billion for the Thailand tourism industry. On the contrary, foreign tourists are preferring to book a holiday in India.
According to the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the volatile political condition in Bangkok has spurred a huge interest of international travelers seeking holiday escapades in Indian. Political volatility has been on the rise in Bangkok, especially in the past few days. A couple of bomb blasts took place in the capital amidst wide protests. Protesters have been trying for more than two months to bring down the government. The Indian embassy in Thailand too is continuously tracking the situation and coming up with updates.
The global tourism industry has seen such shift of choices due to political and violent condition in a particular destination. To site an example, Spain tourism had a major share of international travelers last year owing to the political strife in Egypt. While Bangkok is one of the most popular destinations in Asia, India enjoys the advantage of volatile currency and a plethora of destination choices. In fact, domestic tourism also got a boost as many Indians are also going for home holidays rather than opting for Bangkok as every year about 500,000 Indians visit Bangkok.




Tourism can foster sustainable development in Central America – UN General Assembly.


Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014


unwto GNSustainable tourism is an ally of poverty eradication in Central America and the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – as reflected in the UN resolution on “Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America”.

The 193-member UN General Assembly adopted the resolution unanimously during its 68th session. This represents an important step towards mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the international development agenda and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (New York, USA, 22 December 2013).


Emphasizing that sustainable tourism in Central America is a cross-cutting activity with close linkages to other sectors and thus generating trade opportunities, the UN General Assembly recognizes tourism as a fundamental pillar of regional integration and an engine of social and economic development, income, investment and hard currency in the region. The resolution further “encourages giving appropriate consideration to the issue of sustainable tourism in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda”, which will follow the deadline of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly invites States and other stakeholders, as well as the World Tourism Organization, to continue to support the activities undertaken by the Central American countries for the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism and extend the benefits of tourism to all sectors of society, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of the population.


International tourism in Central America grew significantly in recent years. In 2012, Central America received almost 9 million international tourists who generated US$ 8 billion in revenues, up from, respectively, 4.3 million arrivals and US$ 3 billion in 2000. Today, international tourism accounts for as much as 17% of all Central American exports.


The UN resolution was sponsored by 51 Member States: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Cape Vert, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Ukraine and Uruguay.


Central America poised for tourism growth: SITCA

Published on : Sunday, September 15, 2013

centeral America          The Secretariat of Central American Tourism Integration (SITCA), along with the tourism authorities of the seven Central American countries – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvado r, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – have conducted a study on the evolution of the tourism sector in the region over the past 12 years and found a positive forecast of expected 6.1 per cent growth for this year.

       In the period between 2000 and 2012, tourism to Central America has grown by 122.8 per cent from 4.23 million visitors in 2000 to 9.39 visitors in 2012, an annual increase of seven per cent on average stated the study.

Domestic tourism from within the region accounts for 40 per cent while North America accounts for between 35 per cent and 40 per cent of visitors.
Costa Rica and Guatemala received the highest number of visitors, but Nicaragua and Panama have registered the biggest growth in the period covered by the study, moving from fifth and sixth position (in terms of the total number of visitors received) to fourth and third respectively.

The average spend by tourists has also grown considerably over the last 12 years, thanks to an increase in the amount of products consumed, moving from an average spend per person of US$700 in 2000 to US$1,016 in 2012.
Based on the results of the study, it is expected that the number of visitors will increase by 6.1 per cent this year compared to last year, with an expected total of 9.96 million visitors.

For 2013, the average spend per tourist is expected to reach US$1,016.63, compared to US$1,016.18 in 2012. Revenue from tourism revenue is expected to be highest in Panama and lowest in Nicaragua.
The data presented by SITCA shows that the tourism sector in Central America is becoming the main source of revenue for all seven countries and a true driver for the economic growth of the region.




International tourism exceeds expectations with arrivals up by 52 million in 2013.


International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013. For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4% to 4.5% growth – again, above the long term projections.

Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), Africa (+6%) and Europe (+5%). The leading sub-regions were South-East Asia (+10%), Central and Eastern Europe (+7%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%) and North Africa (+6%).

“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies”, he added.

UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4% to 4.5% in 2014, again above its long-term forecast of +3.8% per year between 2010 and 2020. The UNWTO Confidence Index, based on the feedback from over 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years

“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth”, added Mr Rifai.

2014 regional prospects are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%) and Africa (+4% to +6%), followed by Europe and the Americas (both +3% to +4%). In the Middle East (0% to +5%) prospects are positive yet volatile.


Europe welcomes most of the new arrivals

Europe led growth in absolute terms, welcoming an additional 29 million international tourist arrivals in 2013, raising the total to 563 million. Growth (+5%) exceeded the forecast for 2013 and is double the region’s average for the period 2005-2012 (+2.5% a year). This is particularly remarkable in view of the regional economic situation and as it follows an already robust 2011 and 2012. By sub-region, Central and Eastern Europe (+7%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (+6%) experienced the best results.

In relative terms, growth was strongest in Asia and the Pacific (+6%), where the number of international tourists grew by 14 million to reach 248 million. South-East Asia (+10%) was the best performing sub-region, while growth was comparatively more moderate in South Asia (+5%), Oceania and North-East Asia (+4% each).

The Americas (+4%) saw an increase of six million arrivals, reaching a total of 169 million. Leading growth were destinations in North and Central America (+4% each), while South America (+2%) and the Caribbean (+1%) showed some slowdown as compared to 2012.

Africa (+6%) attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million, reflecting the on-going rebound in North Africa (+6%) and the sustained growth of Sub-Saharan destinations (+5%). Results in the Middle East (+0% at 52 million) were rather mixed and volatile.


Russia and China – leading in growth in 2013

Among the ten most important source markets in the world, Russia and China clearly stand out. China, which became the largest outbound market in 2012 with an expenditure of US$ 102 billion, saw an increase in expenditure of 28% in the first three quarters of 2013. The Russian Federation, the 5th largest outbound market, reported 26% growth through September.

The performance of key advanced economy source markets was comparatively more modest. France (+6%) recovered from a weak 2012 and the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia all grew at 3%. In contrast, Germany, Japan and Italy reported declines in outbound expenditure.

Emerging markets with substantial growth in outbound expenditure were Turkey (+24%), Qatar (+18%), Philippines (+18%), Kuwait (+15%), Indonesia (+15%), Ukraine (+15%) and Brazil (+14%).


Source: PATA


Posted on on January 27th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


EU and India join hands to facilitate Offshore Wind


Facilitating India’s transition towards low carbon development by supporting implementation of national policies and programs for offshore wind power


27th January 2014, New Delhi – The Global Wind Energy Council and partners announced today the launch of a four year project to develop a roadmap for offshore wind development in India, with a focus the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Supported by a &#8364 4 million contribution through the European Union’s Indo-European Cooperation on Renewable Energy programme, the project will work in close cooperation with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, State governments and other relevant offices of the Indian government to look at the challenges and opportunities presented by offshore wind.


“The Offshore Wind Power Development project supported by European Union’s Indo-European Cooperation on Renewable Energy programme falls perfectly in line with the vision of the Government of India for development of offshore wind power in the country. The project is being launched when the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy is also working towards the introduction of National Offshore Wind Energy Policy in India”, said Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.


“We in Europe are committed towards reducing emissions and moving towards sustainable forms of energy, thereby lowering the dependency on fossil fuels and working towards a cleaner climate. This project on Wind energy in partnership with our Indian counterparts is driven by the same philosophy – secure, affordable and clean energy for all,” said Dr. João Cravinho, Ambassador of the European Union.


Globally, although onshore wind is now a mature, competitive and mainstream energy generation source, offshore wind is still in a relatively early stage of development. Most of the 6 GW of capacity installed is in the North Sea, Baltic and Irish Seas. The only other substantial market is in China, although there are exciting developments in Japan, Korea, Taiwan as well as early movement in the United States.

As with all new technologies, the capital costs are high, and there is still a great deal of technical and management learning required to bring costs down to competitive levels. One of the goals of the project will be to learn as much as possible from the European experience to ensure that when India ventures offshore it does so in the most effective way possible.


“We look forward to working with our Indian and European partners to help fuel India’s development with clean renewable energy. We believe that with careful analysis and thorough preparation drawing on our global network, offshore wind can make a significant contribution to ensuring that clean energy plays the dominant role in supplying India’s growing energy needs,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.


The partners bring a wealth of experience to the project: The World Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE), based in Pune, will host the project management unit, and focus on the state of Gujarat; The Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), based in Bangalore will focus on the State of Tamil Nadu; DNV-GL, the world’s largest renewable energy consultancy, will, through its Bangalore based subsidiary, provide it’s long expertise in the offshore industry, as well as its experience in technology assessment, project design, due diligence and other areas; and we are pleased to have the support and participation of the Gujarat Power Corporation Limited.


The specific objectives of the project are to create an enabling environment for offshore wind through through resource mapping, policy guidance and capacity building measures, and to assess the inrastructure base and identify improvements required. In addition, the project will seek to build partnerships at a technical, policy and research level both within India and between India and EU companies, research groups and institutions, with a final goal of developing an Offshore Wind Outlook and development pathway for India up to 2032.


For more information, please contact:

Lauha Fried, Communications Director, GWEC +32 477 364 251
Shruti Shukla, Sr. Policy Advisor, GWEC +91 96959 77666


EU and India join hands to facilitate Offshore Wind



About the project partners:

Global Wind Energy Council is the international trade association for the wind power industry. The members of GWEC represent over 1,500 companies, organisations and institutions in more than 70 countries, including manufacturers, developers, component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies.

Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy is one of the largest think tanks in South-East Asia; its vision is to enrich the nation with technology-enabled policy options for equitable growth. CSTEP is a multi-disciplinary policy research organisation working in the areas of Energy, Infrastructure, Materials, Climate Adaptation and Security Studies.

DNV GL now forms the world’s largest ship and offshore classification society, and a leading expert for the energy value chain including renewables and energy efficiency. It has also taken a position as one of the top three-certification bodies in the world. Operating in more than 100 countries, its 16,000 professionals are dedicated to helping customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

Gujarat Power Corporation Limited has been playing the role of developer and catalyser in the energy sector in the state of Gujarat. GPCL is increasing its involvement in power projects in renewable sector, as the State of Gujarat is concerned about the issues of pollution and global warming. Gujarat has over 3GW of installed onshore wind capacity currently.

World Institute of Sustainable Energy is a not-for-profit institute committed to the cause of promoting sustainable energy and sustainable development, with specific emphasis on issues related to renewable energy, energy security, and climate change. Since its inception in 2004, WISE has pioneered many important initiatives in the above areas.

Funded by EU


This project is funded by the European Union



Posted on on January 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


UAE – Global leaders to discuss renewable energy today

MENAFN – Khaleej Times – 21/01/2014

ABU DHABI – Global leaders, decision-makers, technologists and business executives are assembling in the capital today to discuss matters relating to renewable energy.The World Future Energy Conference (WFES), which is the largest summit of energy experts, will share the best international practices, unveil new products and discuss sustainable solutions to tackle present and future energy challenges.

As the centerpiece of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, WFES 2014 expects to receive 30,000 attendees from over 172 countries, up from the 152 countries that participated last year.

Held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the seventh edition of the World Future Energy Summit runs from January 20-22, 2014 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on the theme ‘Powering the Future of Energy Innovation and Investment.’

Since its inception in 2008, WFES has grown to become the leading discussion platform for renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability, and it is now considered the pre-eminent international event for government and industry decision makers to find viable, sustainable solutions to the world’s growing energy challenges.

Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, WFES 2014 is the centerpiece of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the largest ever gathering on sustainability in the Middle East. The event comprises a world-class conference that offers an unparalleled forum for political, business and intellectual debate and a large-scale exhibition which facilitates networking and transactions between manufacturers, suppliers and customers across both the public and private sectors.

Global decision and opinion makers include UAE Minister of Energy Suhail bin Mohamed Faraj Fares Al Mazrouei; Rachel Kyte, vice-president for sustainable development at the World Bank; and Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency. Around 125 speakers will address delegates during the conference programme, on topics such as waste-to-energy, natural gas and the evolving energy mix, energy efficiency, and renewable technology innovation.

Other high-level speakers at the event include Marie-Jose Nadeau, president of the World Energy Council; Saif Al Sayari, executive officer of energy solutions, Taqa; Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar; and Kazuo Furukawa, chairman of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation. More than 900 exhibiting companies will take part in WFES, International Water Summit, and the inaugural EcoWASTE, with more than 200 new products to be unveiled at the three shows. New and expanded exhibition features at WFES this year include the Project and Finance Village, showcasing over 20 renewable energy projects from the region and beyond.


UAE – 15 years jail for woman who tortured and beat maid to death

MENAFN – Khaleej Times – January 21, 2014 from Abu Dhabi – The torture caused severe injuries to the Ethiopian maid, which got infected due to lack of medical treatment and led, along with other factors, to her death.

A woman accused of torturing her two housemaids, and beating and abusing them regularly – resulting in the death of one of them – has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The 45-year-old Emirati, R.A., who works as a public relations officer, is believed to have subjected her Ethiopian and Filipina maids to daily beatings, and physical and mental torture.

The torture caused severe injuries to the Ethiopian maid, which got infected due to lack of medical treatment and led, along with other factors, to her death. R.A. has been given an additional one month in jail by the Court of First Instance for denying the victim medical treatment.

Her husband, a 42-year-old policeman, A.A., who allegedly watched R.A. physically abuse the maids and deprive them of their freedom by locking them up in the bathroom, has been sentenced to three years in prison for being an accessory to the crimes. He tightly secured his villa in Nad-Al-Hamar to prevent the maids from escaping.

The couple earlier denied charges of false imprisonment, deprivation of freedom with the use of force, physical and mental torture to death and causing bodily harm.

The Filipina maid, 29, who survived the torture, which lasted for a couple of months, told the prosecutor that her employer used to beat her, and deny her food. She also forced her to drink a mix of detergents when she was dissatisfied with the cleaning of the toilet.

The maid said R.A. threatened her with jail and intimidated her with their connections in the police and immigration.

R.A. locked the two maids in the bathroom fixed with a camera, through which she would monitor them after she left for work in the morning. She also photographed them in compromising positions and threatened to make the pictures public.

She fed the victims a piece of onion, sugar and salt for five days. She gave better food to the deceased maid after she lost consciousness due to the constant beating and malnutrition. The victim’s injuries got infected, but R.A. refused to take her to the hospital due to the fear of being held accountable.

A forensic expert said the deceased weighed only 37kg when she died. Torture, malnutrition and negligence of injuries contributed to her death. The victim’s blood sample also contained traces of a pesticide.

The verdict is subject to appeal within 15 days.



Posted on on January 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

 What India does in its own country is India’s business, and ethical people all over the world are entitled to express an opinion about how India handles its social system – BUT when India comes to an outside country – they must submit to the laws of that country where they are mere guests. When they go to a State where there is even more discrimination then in their home country – the Indians ought then to behave among themselves at a minimum according to their own mores – this we include for the sake of Indian homes in Arab States.

Above ought to be rock substance for a US paper of the New York Times stature. Any pussifooting around on this just reminds us of worse days for this paper – the days of its refusal to look at the Holocaust for fear of  alienating some perceived American interests.


India-America Relations on Edge.

The Indian diplomat charged with visa fraud and mistreating her domestic worker is back in Mumbai, and tensions between India and the United States have eased. But her case and the issues it raised are not resolved, and the damage to India-America relations is unlikely to dissipate soon. This unfortunate episode is a reminder that while both nations are democracies, neither can avoid the hard work necessary to make the relationship work.

The envoy, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested last month on a criminal complaint charging that she had paid her maid, Sangeeta Richard, $1.42 an hour or less despite promising on her visa application to pay the minimum wage of $9.75 an hour. Prosecutors said that Ms. Richard was not only underpaid but overworked. Last Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted Ms. Khobragade on similar charges and accused her of trying to intimidate the victim.

India, its passions fanned by election-year politics, pushed back hard at what many Indians said was American arrogance. Authorities removed security barriers at the American Embassy in New Delhi, canceled the embassy’s food and alcohol import privileges and engaged in other fits of pique. The State Department, at India’s request, granted Ms. Khobragade diplomatic immunity. But after negotiations with prosecutors on a plea bargain failed, she was asked to leave the United States and, in exchange, an American diplomat was withdrawn from India.

Ms. Khobragade has been hailed at home as a symbol of Indian pride. Her father, a retired bureaucrat and her chief defender, is talking of running for public office with a campaign focused on his daughter’s case. Indians have been overwhelming sympathetic to Ms. Khobragade and shockingly indifferent to Ms. Richard, one of untold numbers of powerless domestic workers lured to America by the promise of a job gone bad.

Even so, the case might have been handled better. The United States cannot ignore laws that mandate how workers should be paid and that they be treated fairly. But federal prosecutors have wide discretion, and the State Department, before the criminal investigation, could have urged India to reassign Ms. Khobragade to New Delhi and required her to make restitution.

The United States has to make sure that foreign diplomats understand American laws, although the indictment says that this defendant knew exactly what she was doing. America should also re-examine its own demands for special privileges for its diplomats overseas. More broadly, the case has exposed differences between the two countries over such basic concepts as fairness and equality, while revealing a troubling level of Indian animosity toward the United States. The two governments are trying to turn the page by resuming high-level meetings. But it will take more than that to achieve the “global strategic partnership” with India that President Obama has boasted about.


Posted on on January 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Knesset goes green.


Israeli parliament to be solar secure by end of the year.

By  January” title=”\”>January” target=”_blank”>″>January 1,2014 – from


Knesset by Shutterstock

The Israeli parliament building’s roof has long been touted as a perfect place to build a 1MW solar array. And today, the idea for the Knesset to produce its own solar energy went into effect.

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein officially launched the “Green Knesset” project – a multi-year project that will convert the Knesset into a legislature guided by the concept of sustainability.

The first two years of the venture will consist of 12 smaller projects focusing on energy and water. Among other things, this phase will include the construction of a 4,500 square meter solar field for the production of electricity from renewable energy; replacing hundreds of bulbs with LED bulbs; replacing the air-conditioning systems with an energy center; automatically shutting down all of the computers at the end of the workday; measuring the amount of water used for irrigation in the Knesset and adopting a more economical water consumption model; the desalination of water from the Knesset’s air-conditioning systems and using this water for irrigation and other purposes

Knesset says the projects will return the $2 million investment within five years. The money saved will go to a “green fund” – and be used for additional sustainable initiatives.
Photo by SeanPavonePhoto /

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Posted on on December 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


Militarisation warning for Antarctica as China and Iran show increasing interest.

posted October 21, 2013


A Russian ice breaker in the previously pristine waters of Antarctica.A Russian ice breaker makes its way to Antarctica. Photo: Dan Smith

Australian academics have pointed to dangers that Antarctic bases are for the first time being militarised, despite the continent officially being called a land of peace and science.

Satellite systems at polar bases could be used to control offensive weapons, according to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and little could be done to prevent it due to the loose nature of the Antarctic Treaty rules.

The report highlights a Chinese base inland in the Australian Antarctic Territory for its satellite intelligence gathering potential and also flags Iran’s recent interest in establishing a polar presence.

Abuses of the treaty’s strict controls on any use of military personnel are said to have already occurred with many countries not reporting their use in Antarctica, while Australia is neglecting to use defence assets there.

The report, “Cold Calculations”, released on Monday, warns that the increasing militarisation is occurring just as Australia’s Antarctic efforts face crippling budget restrictions.

“We run our Antarctic program on the smell of an oily rag,” said Australian Strategic Policy Institute deputy director Anthony Bergin. “For 2013–14, its overall budget is $169 million, an 8 per cent cut from 2012–13.”

The latest Defence White Paper said there was no credible risk to Australia’s national interests in the Antarctic that might require substantial military responses over the next few decades.

“But in the decades to come, military conflict between the major powers could well have an Antarctic dimension, given the possible role of Antarctic bases in surveillance and satellite monitoring,” Dr Bergin said.

“We’re not using our military resources to support our Antarctic program, even though many other nations use theirs. It’s part of the verification regime that they should report the use of military personnel, but many don’t.”

The central rule of the Antarctic Treaty for guaranteeing peaceful use of the continent is a agreement that any nation can inspect another’s operations.

However, the co-author of Cold Calculations, Sam Bateman of the University of Wollongong, questioned whether this inspection regime was up to assessing whether research was being conducted for non-peaceful purposes.

Professor Bateman said it was likely that Antarctic bases were being used increasingly for military research involving space and satellites.

“We could be moving towards the increased weaponisation of Antarctica through the use of Antarctic bases to control offensive weapons systems,” he said. “That possibility is worrying.”

The clear, interference-free skies of Antarctica make them suitable for space observation, and Professor Bateman pointed to China’s third Antarctic station, Kunlun, at one of the highest and coldest points on the continent.

“It’s ideally suited for sending, receiving or intercepting signals from satellites,” Professor Bateman said.

He said both China and India had active government programs and were seeking to increase the number of their bases – yet neither currently reported the use of military personnel and it may be time for the treaty to tighten reporting requirements.

“This might include, for example, widening reporting of introductions of military personnel into Antarctica to recognise the possible employment of private security contractors and other civilian personnel in activities of an essentially military nature.”

Iran’s foray into Antarctica as a maritime power was recently confirmed though the government’s semi-official Fars News Agency, which reported Rear Admiral Khadem Biqam as saying its first phase would involve co-operation with another nation.

At the same time, Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings raised doubt about the Australian Defence Force’s ability to sustain a maritime presence during a full Antarctic summer season.

“Our currently very limited capacity to operate in the far south is looking embarrassingly poor and not in keeping with the claim that this is part of the ADF’s primary operational environment.”

The strategic report comes as the Abbott government prepares to embark on developing a 20-year strategic plan, in a project to be led by the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre’s executive director, Tony Press.

Dr Press said the relentless erosion of core budget capacity ran the risk of recreating a “Sir Humphrey Appleby hospital” in Antarctica: three research stations and a marine science capability – but no means to fund and support real scientific activity.



Posted on on July 26th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Raanan Katzir , China experience Missions.


2001-present Director, Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group, “SACOG”.…

2001-present Lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture at Galilee College in Israel – )

2001- Present Lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture at CINADCO (International Center for Agricultural Development and Cooperation), Israel,


2011 Guizhou Province, Guiyang City: Invited by the Guizhou Academy of
Agriculture Sciences to lecture Sustainable Agricultural topics on the various
institutes of the Academy.

2011 Beijing, Lecturing on Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)..
Lecturing on Dryland Farming Institute , Hebei Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Gansu Agriculture University, Lanzhou (GAU), conducting a one week course on
Sustainable Agriculture
2011 Dingxi, Gansu: Chinese Potato National Conference. Lecturing on Agro Bio
2011 Wuwei,Gansau: Lecturing on Gansu provincial desert control research institute.
Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering Research Inst.
(CARRERI) CAS. Conducting a one week international course on Sustainable
Agriculture and combating desertification.
2011 Dingxi, Gansu, Chinese Potato National Conference. Lecturing on Agro Bio
Diversity 2012
2012 Lanzhou University, Institute of Agro ecology. Conducted one week
Course to Ph.D. and M.Sc. students on sustainable agriculture on dry land Conditions
2012 Inner Mongolia Holingeer ( Huhhot), conducting lecturing and
consultancy on arid land restoration and conservation. NGO, The Nature
Conservancy (TNC), Inner Mongolia project.
2012 Jiangxi, Ganzou,Anyuan township. A “ MATAT-Israel” consultancy
mission on “ Establishment of Modern Cycled Agricultural Economy
System”, organized by Jiangxi Association for International Exchange of Personnel.
2013 Henan, Lecturing on Pingding University.2013 Gansu, a consultancy mission in Minqin.
2013 China, Ningbo, Zhejiang 2013 Symposium on Foreign Economy, Trade Technology and Talent.
2013 China, Taiyuan. 2013 Shanxi foreign experts Group Seminar.
2013 China, Fuzhou, China Cross-Straits Technology & Projects Fair.
2013 China, Fujian, Zhangzhou , Sino-Europe Agricultural Development Center.
Lecturing on Fujian Academy of agricultural Sciences, Fujian Agricultural.
Lecturing on Fujian Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry University.
Lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture. Awarded as an Honorary Professor.
Visiting Zhangzhou Jiu-Bao Biotechnology Incorporation and Zhangzhou Science & technology Bureau.
2013 Zhejiang , Visiting Zhuji, Shaoxing District.
2013 Shanxi, visiting for field study tour and project proposals, Yonghe and Ruicheng Districts.


Raanan Katzir — Sustainable Agriculture (Agro-ecology), professional topics he offers for courses, conferences and consultancies 2013:

A. Sustainable Agriculture general subject:

• Sustainable Agricultural, the general approach
• Sustainable Agriculture ,national and global aspects
• The Israeli experience of Sustainable Agriculture
• The agro environmental problems in the developing countries
• Bio diversity, food security and environmental conservation.
• Agro biodiversity
• The basic elements of food security
• Food security and sustainable agriculture
• World water resources and sustainable management
• Bio technologies and sustainable agriculture
• Precise Agriculture
• Ecological threat to open space areas.

B. Regional Agricultural Research and Development (R&D),

• Agricultural Extension Methods to disseminate knowledge and technology.
• Advanced agricultural research in Israel.
• From subsistence to advanced marketing agriculture in the developing countries.
• Planning of Agricultural Projects.
• Agricultural Regional R & D (Research and Development), Projects

C. Agricultural development in arid zones

• Combating desertification, the Israeli case story.
• Advance agriculture on arid land, the Israeli experience.
• Combating desertification, the global issue.
• The advantages of drip irrigation method
• Irrigation control
• Soil salinity and the use of saline water for irrigation
• Soil disinfection by Solarization
• Soil conservation, rain water harvesting and a forestation in arid land
• Developing water resources and irrigation methods to achieve advance agriculture in arid zones, the Israeli experience
• Soil Conservation method to avoid erosion and harvesting of rain water
• Carbon sequestration on range land in arid zone
• Heat stress in milking cow

D. Other agricultural professional topics

• Advanced agriculture in Israel
• Organic agriculture practical methods
• Frost Hazard Mitigation.
• Urban Agriculture
• Peri urban agriculture in Israel
• Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA), of agricultural and environmental Projects
• Agro and eco tourisms projects
• Simplified hydroponics
• Benefits of micro farming to grass root farmers
• Fuel from agricultural crops as renewable energy resources
• Advance agriculture in greenhouses
• Greenhouse climate control
• Climate Change and Agriculture
• World food prices crisis
• Mitigation of factors causing agricultural natural disasters.
• The Israeli case story of using and involved of micro organisms in agriculture
• Rangeland restoration and conservation
• Modernize and biblical agriculture in Israel

The course on Sustainable Agriculture is aimed mostly to graduate and PhD students and also university staff professors. The course is focusing on the sustainable management of the natural resources as soil, water, crops, animal husbandry, climate and human resources, in order to maintain sustainable nature and produce food and raw material to obtain food security. The course is dealing with practical case stories, mostly of the Israeli experience and others. Participants will be able to understand and also analyze the rural sustainable management, planning and conducting of rural developing projects.
Similar approach could be apply to conduct rural regional study tour as consultancies and producing documents on Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA), and project financial applications.
The above topics could be presented also to advance farmers.
The above topics fit participation on international conferences.


Tel Aviv, 20,05,2013

Raanan Katzir, CV Summary

At present: Director, SACOG, “Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group”
4 Efter St. Tel Aviv, 69362, ISRAEL.
Tel: (+972-3)-6991381.Celular: (+972-58)-727-976
Fax: (+972-3-) 6990152. E-mail:  rannan at

Agronomist, M. Sc. Agr., graduate from The Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University Jerusalem. Forty years of working experience with the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture in the fields of agricultural extension, plant protection, national coordinator of agricultural research and extension, head of national plant quarantine office and director of international projects in developing countries within the framework of the Israeli Agency for International Cooperation (CINADCO, MASHAV).

Conducting post studies in France, South Africa and the US. I participated on tens of international conferences. I Published tenths of articles concerning my professional work.

I have fully workable management of English, Spanish, French and Hebrew as mother language. I have often participated on international conferences and conducted tens of lecturing and consulting missions in the developing countries of South America, Africa, Central Europe, China, India and Oceania.
In the last thirty years I specialized on Sustainable Agriculture, focusing on sustainable management of natural resources the like of soil, water, crops, animal husbandry, climate and human resource for the aim of agricultural production and food security. The basic approach is a holistic integrated management to conserve the natural resources for their future ability to generate food and avoid agro-ecological disturbances.

My activity covers open field and protected agriculture (greenhouses), urban and peri-urban agriculture.

I am a member of the Israeli Association of Engineers, the Israeli Societies of Entomology and Phytopathology and the International Society of Development (SID).

General Secretary of OISCA-Israel an NGO connected to a mother NGO in Japan, dealing with environmental education, reforestation and international developing activities.

Since retirement in 2001 from Israeli Government work,I became director of a Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group (SACOG), engaged in lecturing, consulting and participation on conferences in Israel and in other industrial or developing countries.



1993 Beijing, China. One week International Symposium organized by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) on: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

1996 Hangzhou, China.  Two-week seminar on water resource management for sustainable agriculture under semiarid conditions.

  1997    Kunming, Yunnan, China.  One-week survey on agricultural development 

 1999        Lanzhou, China.. International Conference,  on Desertification. 
                 The Institute for Desert Research.

 2001        China, Shandong Province, KenLi, Agricultural Survey and Consulting Mission to
                Enhance Production.

 2001       China, Gansu Province. Yonchang, Jinchang, a survey on Water Resources and
               Efficient Irrigation. Jiuquan, Combating Desertification and Desert Agriculture.
                 Lanzhou, Conducting two seminars on Sustainable Agriculture (Institute for Desert  
                Agriculture and the Cold
                and Arid Regions Environmental & Engineering Research Institute, Chinese        
                Academy of Science),

 2002     China, Urumuqi, ‘ Forum on Environment, Cultural Heritage and Economic Development in Xinjiang”

 2002    China, Beijing, CALLAS Co. Conference on Seed Production in China
2002      China, Balikun County, Hami. Consultancy on mitigation of salinity soils.

2002      China, Saltland Greening Inst. Of Landscaping Co, TEDA , Tianjin.
              Conducting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture.

2002      China, Nanjing, Hohai Univ. conducting course on Sustainable Agriculture.

2002       China, Nanjing, Institute of Soil Science (CAS), lectures on Sustainable Agriculture.

2002     China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Conference on Desertification, . Conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture.

2002  China, Lanzhou, Arid Land Institute. Conducting a consulting mission in  Eastern Lanzhou Province  and lecturing  a course on Sustainable Agriculture.

2002    China, Tailai, Heilongjiang Province.  Conducting a consulting mission on rehabilitation  of the sandy soils of the Tailai County.

2003  China, Sichuan, Chengdu. Provincial, Ministry of Agriculture. Conducting a  course on  Sustainable Agriculture.

2003 China, Guangdong, Guangzhou. South China Agricultural University.  
         Conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture.

2003  Hong Kong, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden Cooperation. Presenting a lecture on Organic Agriculture in Israel

2004 China, Gansu Province, Lanzhou . Conducting lectures on Sustainable
         Agriculture on the following institutes: Dry Land Agriculture Inst., Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou University, Normal University, Cold and Arid Regions,   Environmental and Engineering Research Inst.

2005 China, Guizhou Province, Guiyang City. Agricultural Bureau, Horticultural  Department , consulting mission on a regional R&D Project.

2005  China , Guizhou Province, Guiyang City. Lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture  in the Guizhou Normal University.

2006 China, Beijing, Eight International Conferences on Development of Dry Land.

 2006   China, Guiyang city, Guizhou Normal University. Conducting a course on  Sustainable Agriculture to students and university staff members

2006  China, Shanghai, Jiao Tong University, lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture to   students and staff.

2006  China,  Ya’an,  A one week course on Sustainable agriculture to  graduate  students and   staff in Sichuan agricultural University

2006, China, Sichuan Tibetan High Plateau, Khanding , Bamey, Daofu. A study tour to   establish a Simplified Hydroponics and  Micro farming  project.

2006,  China,  Beijing, Geography and Natural Resource Inst. CAS, conducting  lectures on Sustainable Agriculture.

2006,  China, Beijing, China Agricultural University, presenting lecture on the  advance desert agriculture in Israel.

2006 , China,  Tianjin Agricultural University, conducting  lectures on Sustainable  Agriculture.

2006, China, Lanzhou, Gansu Agriculture University , five days course on
          Sustainable Agriculture.

2006,   China, Lanzhou, Dry Land Institute, GAAS, conducting lectures on  
            Sustainable  Agriculture.

2006, China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering  Research Inst. CAS, Presenting lecture on the  advance desert agriculture in Israel and drip irrigation

2007 China, Shanghai, The 9th Shanghai International Forum on Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Industry ( July 3-5)

2007     China, Gansu, Dingxi, one week course on developing water resources and  irrigation.

2007    China  , Inner Mongolia , Alaxa ( Alashan), one week consultancy and  lecturing on Combating Desertification

2007       China    Chengdu, Sichuan. Conducting a one week course on Sustainable Agriculture .  South West Universities for Nationalities.

2007     China, Shanghai, A consultancy on The Ecological Conservation of the Chongming Island , (Shanghai Academy of agricultural Science). 

2008    China, Lanzhou University, Gansu. One week course to students and staff on  Sustainable Agriculture

2008      China  SHIHEZI University , Xinjiang , Conducting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture and a field study on advance desert farming. 

2008 China  , Inner Mongolia , Alaxa ( Alashan), in cooperation with NGOs ( SEE,  OISCA, Heifer), activities of  consultancy and  lecturing on Combating Desertification.

2008    China,  Turpan, Xinjiang , in cooperation with Heifer-China , conducting consultancy and  lecturing on Combating Desertification.

2008     China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering  Research Inst. CAS, Presenting a lecture on Sustainable Agriculture and Biotechnologies Methods.  

 2009   China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering  Research Inst. (CARRERI), CAS, Presenting a one week course on  Sustainable Agriculture.

2009     China, Dingxi, Presenting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture to experts of provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Water Authorities. 

2009    China, visiting Shapotou combating desertification research Center

2009      China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering  Research Inst. (CARRERI), CAS. Conducting a one week international  course   on Sustainable Agriculture and combating desertification

2010   China , Conducting courses on Sustainable Agriculture and consultancy field visits on  Shanghai Jiao Tong University ( SJTU), and Sichuan Agricultural  University (SICAU).

2010  China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering   Research Inst. (CARRERI), CAS, Conducting a one week international.

2010   China, Guizhou Province, Guiyang City. Invited by the Guizhou Academy   of  Agriculture Sciences to lecture Sustainable Agricultural topics on the various  institutes of the Academy.


Residence: 4 Efter St., Tel-Aviv, 69362, Israel
  Tel.: +972 3 6991381, Cell: +972 528 727976, Fax: +972 3 6990152

Office:     “SACOG”, Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group.
                   (Address as residence)
Personal Information

Birth Date: December 26, 1935

Nationality: Israeli

Marital Status:  Married + 4 children (1961, 1965, 1970, 1976)

Languages:                          Speaking                    Reading                   Writing 
               Hebrew                   very good               very good                 very good 
               English                    very good              very good                 good
               French                     good                       very good                 fair
               Spanish                    very good              very good                   fair

Agricultural Ecology / Sustainable Agriculture
Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA )
Developing water resources
Advanced agricultural in arid land
Agricultural Regional Research and Development (R&D)
Programming agricultural extension methods

1953-1956 B.Sc. in Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem,   the Faculty of Agriculture at Rehovot.

1958  M.Sc. in Agriculture,  Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Faculty of Agriculture at Rehovot, (Thesis:  The Identification of the retention of copper fungicides for the control of tomato late blight, Phytophthora infestants).

Employment Record:

2001-present               Director, Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group, “SACOG”.
2001-present              Lecturing Sustainable Agriculture on Galilee College, Israel ( )
2001- Present             Lecturing Sustainable Agriculture on CINADCO (International Center for Agricultural Development and Cooperation), Israel,
1990 – 2001  Director of Projects & Technologies and Latin American Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation (CINADCO). 

1987-1990 Director of international courses and in-charge of liaison with scientific institutes, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Center for International Agricultural Development and Cooperation (CINADCO).

1977-1987 Head of Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry of Agriculture, Plant Protection Department.

1976-1977 Coordinator for professional  (research, extension), activities, Ministry of Agriculture, Programming and Budgeting Division, as well as Lecturer in Plant Pathology at the Tel-Aviv University, Faculty of Life Sciences, conducting laboratory experiments.

1975-1976 Head of the Division for the Assessment of Natural Damage, Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture.

1971-1975 In charge of coordination of professional activities, Ministry of Agriculture, Programming and Budgeting Division.

1970-1971 In charge of professional activities, Ministry of Agriculture, Extension Service, and Plant Protection Division.

1968-1970                  Consultant to the Government of El Salvador, on behalf of the Division   for    International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, Israel and the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation (CINADCO), Ministry of Agriculture; in charge of the organization and implementation of a program on plant protection methods and techniques for pest control and extension activities.                    

1960-1968 Regional Extension Specialist in Plant Protection, Central Coast Area of Israel, Ministry of Agriculture, Extension Service; plant pest control; organizing courses and lectures for farmers on plant protection problems.

1959-1960 Commander of military agricultural training center; organizing and conducting agricultural courses for soldiers intending to establish agricultural settlements.

1958-1959 Responsible for the organization of agricultural courses at the military training center.

Overseas Studies and Study Tours:

1967   Five months of studies in the field of Plant Protection.  Diploma awarded by A.S.T.E.F.-Association for Technical Specialization, France.

1970  Three week Plant Protection Tour, organized by the University of California, Riverside, California.

1975 Two week study tour in Switzerland, organized by the Agricultural Crop Insurance Company, Zurich, Switzerland.

1979 Two month study tour in the U.S.A. (including Washington D.C., California, Florida, New York) on problems related to Plant Quarantine, under the auspices of U.S.D.A. and APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service).

1981 Two month study tour in the Republic of South Africa on quarantine problems, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture of South Africa.

1984 Two week course on Storage Pests, EPPO, FAO, Montpellier, France. 

1999         Two week course on Forest Trees Dendrology. Amman, Jordan and Tel Aviv, Israel

Participation in International Conferences:

1989 Bad-Durkheim, Federal Republic of Germany. One-week   conference on Integrated Pest Management in tropical and subtropical countries, organized by GTZ.

1992 Paris, France.  One-week seminar organized by the Inter-American
Development Bank on IDB-European NGO’s on ecological problems.

1993 Paris, France. One-week seminar organized by the Inter-American
Development Bank on Social Sector Programs and Social Sector Reforms.

1993 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. One-week workshop organized by UNCTAD on commodity export policies in African countries in a process of structural adjustment: cotton, tea and horticultural products.

1993 Beijing, China. One week International Symposium organized by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) on: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

1994 Mexico City, Mexico. One week World Conference organized by the Society for International Development (SID) on: People’s Rights and Security-Sustainable Development Strategies for the 21st century.

1994 San Jose, Costa Rica.  One-week conference,  on Integrated Pest Management.

1996 San Jose, Costa Rica.  One-week conference,  on Agricultural Environmental issues.

1996         Santa  Cruz, Bolivia, One week conference on Indigenous People in Latin America.

1996 Netanya, Israel. One-week conference,  on Periurban Agriculture.

Geneva, Switzerland, UNCTAD,   One week working group on Development Policies in Resource-based economies.

1998      Gaza, Palestinian Authorities. One week work group on Peace Procedure and  Agricultural Development.

1999        Bangalore,  India. International Conference on MAN and NATURE,   Organized by OISCA , South India.
1999        Lanzhou, China.. International Conference , on Desertification. 
                 The Institute for Desert Research.

1999         Jerusalem, Israel, XIVth international Plant Protection Congress (IPPC)

2000       Berlin,Germany, International Symposium , Urban Agriculture and Horticulture

2001    Tokyo, Japan, “ Global Forum on Education for Sustainable future:  
       Promoting  Earth Ethics”. Organized by OISCA-International.

2001      Nitra, Slovakia ,  Symposium on “Agriculture for the quality of Human  Life”.  Organized by Animal Husbandry Research Institute, Nitra.

2002      Calicut, Kerala, India, Conference on “Biodiversity and Environment “ Organized by OISCA South India.

2002     China, Urumuqi, ‘ Forum on Environment, Cultural Heritage and Economic Development in Xinjiang”

2002    China, Beijing, CALLAS Co. Conference on Seed Production in China.

2003    Switzerland, Lausanne, the International Conference for Sustainable Development and Environmental Remediation. Swiss Environmental Solution for Emerging Countries (SESEC II).

 2003     Mexico, Chapala Jalisco.  International II Symposium on Sustainable  Communities in Mexico & USA.

2003     Slovakia, Nitra, International conference on Bread and Peace to All people.  Presenting paper on Suastainable Agricultural Regional Development.

2003     USA, Fort Myers, ECHO 10th Annual Agricultural Mission conference.

2004     Switzerland, Lausanne, the International Conference for Sustainable
             Development and Environmental Remediation. Swiss Environmental Solution  for Emerging Countries (SESEC III)
2004     Mexico, Mazamitla. Primer Congreso Internacional “ Pobreza: la Cara del Esclavo Moderno” ( Poverty, the face of modern slavery).

2004  Japan, Amamatsu,  representing Israel on OISCA International Board of  Directors meeting.

2005  Mexico, Mazamitla. Secundo  Congreso Internacional “ Pobreza: la Cara del Esclavo Moderno” ( Poverty, the face of modern slavery).

2005    Mexico, Chetumal,  X Congrso Nacional y IV Congrso Internacional de  Ciencias Ambientales.

2005  Japan, Gifu Perfecture,  representing Israel on OISCA International Board of  Directors meeting.

2005  Switzerland, Lausanne, the International Conference for Sustainable
             Development and Environmental Remediation. Swiss Environmental Solution for Emerging Countries (SESEC IV).

2006 China, Beijing, Eight International Conferences on Development of Dry Land.

2006   Mexico, Sayula, Jalisco, International Conference on Future without Poverty

2006  Japan, Fukuoka City, representing Israel on OISCA International Board of
            Directors meeting.

2006,  Slovakia, Nitra , International conference on “Water for life, water as element,” presenting paper on Water resources and irrigation methods to achieve advance agriculture in arid land.

2006,  Mexico, Zacatecas, IV International Congres on ” Un futuro Sin Pobreza, Desarollo Sustentable con Calidad.”
2007 China, Shanghai, The 9th Shanghai International Forum on Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Industry ( July 3-5)

2007 Mexico, Universidad Autonoma Zacatecas ( UAZ), XII National Mexican 
         Congress  of Horticultural Sciences, Protected Organic Agriculture Conference.
         ( Aug.)

2007 Slovakia, . Nitra , International conference on “A forestation, presenting paper on Israeli experience on rain water harvesting and a forestation in arid land.

2008  Japan, Tokyo , representing Israel on OISCA International Board of
            Directors’ meeting.

2010  Slovakia, Nitra , International conference on “Information Technologies in Agriculture”, presenting paper on Agro Bio Technologies, the Israeli Experience.

2010  Japan, Toyota City, representing Israel on OISCA International Board of 2010 Switzerland, Lausanne – The International Conference for Sustainable Development and Environmental Remediation. Swiss Environmental Solution For Emerging Countries (SESEC IX).Presenting a lecture on Agro Biodiversity.


Professional Lectures Presented as single lectures or on-the-spot Courses, Consultancies and Other professional activities. 

1973 Arequipa, Peru. Three week course, organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Peru, on:  agricultural extension methods.

1973 La Serena, Chile. Three week course organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Chile on: Agricultural Extension Methods.

1974 Huancayo, Ciudad Trujillo, Peru.  Two three-week courses organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Peru, on:  agricultural extension methods.

1975 Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  Two-week course organized by FAO on the efficient and safe use of pesticides in agriculture.

1975 Santiago de Verguas, Panama.  Two-week course organized by FAO on the efficient and safe use of pesticides with emphasis on aerial and terrestrial use.

1977 Santiago, Chile.  Two week course organized by the University of Chile, Faculty of Agronomy, Campus Antumapu, on the efficient and safe use of pesticides. 

1977 Santa Tecla, El Salvador. Two-week course organized by the FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture of El-Salvador.  Intensive training course,  for the professional staff on the safe and efficient use of pesticides for coffee cultivation and technology transfer to the farmers of small farm holdings.

1985 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.  Two-week course organized by the FAO on:  the safe use and correct application of pesticides on small farm holdings.

1986 San Lorenzo, Paraguay.  Two-week course organized by the FAO on:  the safe use and correct application of pesticides on small farm holdings.

1988 Amatitlan, Guatemala.  Three-week course organized by the Ministry of Agriculture on: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Agricultural Extension.

1988 Lima, Peru.  Three-week course organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Crop Sanitation on: Integrated Pest Management with emphasis on Crop Quarantine.

1989 Katmandu, Nepal.  Two weeks workshop organized by FAO on the safe and efficient use of pesticides.

1989 Centeno, Trinidad and Tobago. Training course organized by FAO on the safe and efficient use of pesticides in the English speaking countries of the Caribbean countries and Surinam.

1990 Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea. Two week training workshop organized by the FAO on the safe and efficient use of pesticides.

Raratonga, Cook Islands.  Two week training workshop organized by FAO on safe and efficient use of pesticides.

1990       Apia, Western Samoa, Two-week training workshop organized by FAO on safe and efficient use of pesticides
1990 San Salvador, El Salvador.  Survey organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Ministry of Agriculture of El Salvador on: Study for the establishment of a plant clinic.

1990       Osaka, Japan, OISCA Kansai Training Center, a short course on Agricultural Extension Method.

1991 Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Survey organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Honduras on:  Study for the preparation of two projects:
 1) Plant clinic
 2) Improvement and management of tomatoes.

1991 Enugu, Nigeria.  Survey organized by the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) on:  The Development of a Training and Demonstration Farm.

1992 Ciudad Arce, El Salvador.  Three-week course organized by the Centro de Tecnologia (CEMA) on:  Agroecology with emphasis on Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

1992 Enugu, Nigeria.  Two week course organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) on:  Agricultural Extension Methods.

1993 Quito, Ecuador.  Survey organized by the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, and the Ecuadorian Institute for Agrarian Reforms (IERAC) on:  Study of Projects for Agricultural Development.

1993 Bogota, Colombia.  Survey organized by the Departamento Nacional de Planeacion de la Republica de Colombia and the Israel Centre for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, on:  A Project Plan for the Development of Tropical Fruits in the Atlantico Region.

1993 Chillan, Chile.  Three-week course organized by the Faculty of Agriculture, Concepcion University on:  Integrated Pest Management and Agricultural Extension Methods.

1993 Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.  Three-week course organized by the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD) on:  Integrated Pest Management and Agricultural Extension Methods.

1994 Zacapa, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.  Three-week course organized by OIRSA on:  Integrated Pest Management.

1994 Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  The Higher Institute of Agriculture.  Two-week seminar,  on Agroecology.

1994       Guacimo, Costa Rica, three week course, EARTH ( Escuela Agricola Regional Tropico Humedo), on  Sustainable Agriculture.

1995 Quito, Ecuador, ESPE, Escuela Politecnica del Ejesito.  Three-week seminar,  on water resources and uses for agriculture, including agroecological problems.

1995 Burgas Free University, Bulgaria.  Two-week seminar on, Agroecology.

1995 Chillan, Chile, Concepcion University, Faculty of Agriculture.  Two-week seminar, on Agroecology.

1996 Grecia, Costa Rica. Two week seminar on agriculture environmental issues.

1996 Lima, Peru.  One week survey on agricultural development projects , Fruit Production and Irrigation. Organized by MASHAV.

1996 Quito, Ecuador. One-week survey, on agricultural development projects, Field Crop and Irrigation. Organized by MASHAV

1996 Hanzhou, China.  Two-week seminar,  on water resource management for sustainable agriculture under semiarid conditions.

1997 Lublin, Poland.  Two-week seminar, on Agroecology.

1997 Hamakita, Japan. OISCA Org.  Three week seminar on Agroecology.

1997 Kunming, Yunnan, China.  One-week survey on agricultural development projects.

      Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA. Delaware Valley College (DVC), Two-         weeks   seminar on Sustainable Agriculture.

Mexico, Oaxaca. One week MASHAV (Center for International Cooperation,  Min. of Foreign Affairs, Israel), survey mission on establishing an              Agricultural Training Center.
Guatemala ,  Guatemala City.  One week MASHAV mission on establishing  cooperation with The Central Agricultural School (ENCA ).
 El Salvador,  San Salvador.  4 days MASHAV mission, Evaluation a Project  on Diary Cattle.

 1997    Czech Republic, Prague. One-week seminar on Sustainable Agriculture.   Cooperation, MASHAV, Czech Rep., Min. of Agriculture.

1998  Ukraine, Kiev. One week MASHAV mission on establishing a project on Dairy Cattle. Cooperation MASHAV, Ukraine  Min. of Agriculture.

   Poland, Stara Pola.   One week MASHAV mission. Evaluation of a project    of  Dairy Cattle. Cooperation MASHAV , Poland Min. of Agriculture.

1998    Hungary, Budapest.   One- week MASHAV mission: Evaluation on an Irrigation Project. Cooperation between MASHAV and Hungary Min. of Agriculture.

1998    USA, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Delaware Valley College ( DVC ), Two week seminar on Sustainable Agriculture.

1998    St. Kitts, Nevis, 3 days seminar on Sustainable Agriculture.

1999      Nicaragua, Leon, Chinandega, Matagalpa. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Center for International Cooperation ( MASHAV ), a relief  survey mission,  following Hurricane Mitch damage.

1999      Costa Rica, San Jose, A study tour to determine characteristics of  a long term MASHAV project on Agricultural Marketing.

1999        El Salvador, San Salvador, An Evaluation on a MASHAV long-term project on Dairy  Cattle.

 1999     Jordan, Karak, conducting a regional project of establishing modern Sheep Dairy  and Milking Center
 1999     Slovakia, Nitra, International Symposium on “Agricultural Towards the the 21st  Century”.

1999     Czech Republic, Prague, the Agricultural University. A course to graduate students on Sustainable Agriculture.

2000        Chile, Concepcion. Concepcion University & Fundacion Chile.  A study tour and Workshop on Arid Land Ecology and Reforestation. 

2001         Mauritius, St. Pierre. Agriculture Research/ Extension Unit (AREU), A course on  Sustainable agriculture.

2001       China, Shandong Province, KenLi, Agricultural Survey and Consulting Mission to   Enhance Production.

2001       Ecuador, La Peninsula de Santa Elena. An Agro- Ecological survey and Seminar on Sustainable Agriculture and Fruit Production. Organized by CeDeGe.
2001       China, Gansu Province. Yonchang, Jinchang, a survey on Water Resources and
               Efficient Irrigation. Jiuquan, Combating Desertification and Desert Agriculture.
                 Lanzhou, Conducting two seminars on Sustainable Agriculture (Institute for Desert  
                Agriculture and the Cold
                and Arid Regions Environmental & Engineering Research Institute, Chinese        
                Academy of Science),
2001       Slovakia, Nitra, Agro film, International Festival. Participating as a member
              of International  jury Committee.
2001      Japan, Tokyo, Conference on; “ Global Forum on Education for a    
               Sustainable Future:  Promoting Earth Ethic.
2002      Ecuador, Riobamba, conducting a university, “ Escuela Superior Politecnica
              de Chimborazo” (ESPOCH), course on Sustainable Agriculture.
2002      Mexico, Tehuacan, “The Center of Simplified Hydroponics”. Course on 
              Sustainable agriculture.
2002      China, Balikun County, Hami. Consultancy on mitigation of salinity soils.
2002      China, Saltland Greening Inst. Of Landscaping Co, TEDA , Tianjin.
              Conducting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture.
2002      China, Nanjing, Hohai Univ. conducting course on Sustainable Agriculture.
2002       China,Nanjing, Institute of soil science (CAS), lectures on sustainable
2002     China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Environmental and Engineering Research
             Institute, Conference on Desertification, . Conducting a course on Sustainable

2002  China, Lanzhou, Arid Land Institute, Conducting a consulting mission in
           Eastren Lanzhou,  and conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture.

2002    China, Tailai, Heilongjiang Province.  Conducting a consulting mission on the
            rehabilitation of the sandy soils of the Tailai County.

2002  Slovakia, Nitra, Agro film, International Festival. Participating as a
               member of International  Jury Committee.

2003  Ecuador, Guayaquil, “ Universidad Agraria”, conducting a course on
          Sustainable Agriculrure .

2003   Mexico, Chapala, Jalisco, Consulting work on how to avoid Lake Chapala
            from drying up by introducing agricultural sustainable Methods like   
          Simplified  Hydroponics.

2003  Argentina, Universidad Nacional de Tukuman. Presented a lecture on: 
         Sustainable Agriculture in Israel.

2003  Slovakia, Nitra, Agro film, International Festival. Participating as a
               member of International  Jury Committee.
2003  China, Sichuan, Chengdu. Provincial, Ministry of Agriculture. Conducting a   
           course on  Sustainable Agriculture.
2003 China, Guangdong, Guangzhou. South China Agricultural University.  
         Conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture.
2003  Hong Kong, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden Cooperation. Presenting a
          lecture on Organic Agriculture in Israel

2004  USA, Denton, University of North Texas (UNT). Conducting lectures 
          concerning Sustainable Agriculture.
2004  USA, Waco, Texas. World Hunger Relief Inc. (WHRI). Conducting lecture on
         Sustainable  Agriculture.
2004  Mexico, Colima , University of Colima, Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas y
         Agropecuarias, conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture.
2004 Mexico, Jocotepec, Chapala ,Tehuacan Center of Simplified Hydroponics,
         conducting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture.
2004  Mexico, Puebla, Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla
         ( UPAEP), conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture.
2004 China, Gansu Province, Lanzhou . Conducting lectures on Sustainable
         Agriculture on the following institutes: Dry Land Agriculture Inst., Gansu
         Agricultural University, Lanzhou University, Normal University, Cold and Arid    
          Regions,  Environmental and Engineering Research Inst.
2004  Slovakia, Nitra, Agro film21, Inter national Festival. Participating as a
           member of International  Jury Committee.
2004   Japan, Amamatsu, conducting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture in OISCA
2005 China, Guizhou Province, Guiyang City. Agricultural Bureau, Horticultural
        Department , consulting mission on a regional R&D Project.
2005  China , Guizhou Province, Guiyang City. Lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture 
         in the Guizhou Normal University.  
2005 Poland,  Warsaw Agricultural University (SGGW). Skierniewice, Research 
          Institute of Pomology and floriculture. Katowice, Silesia University. 
        conducting lectures  on Sustainable Agriculture.
2005 Mexico,Tecoman,  Colima University, Course on: El Modelo Israeli en    
          Agricultura Sostenible. 
2005 Mexico, Tehuacan, Conducting a study and consulting mission on integrated
          sustainable project of incorporation of the urban and peri urban areas.  
2005   China, Gansu Province, lecturing Sustainable Agriculture on   Cold and Arid    
          Regions, Environmental and Engineering Research Inst. Consultancy mission 
           on dry land agriculture in the Dinxi area
2005 China, Zhejiang, Quzhou and Lishui areas. Consultancy mission on mountain 
         growing vegetables.
2005 China, Beijing, Institute of Geographic Sciences and natural Resources, CAS,
    Lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture.
2005 Slovakia, Nitra, Agro film 22, International Festival. Participating as a
               member of International  Jury Committee
2005 China, Shanghai, Jiao Tong University, a single lecture on the global aspects
         of sustainable agriculture and food security.
2005  China, Chengdu , Sichuan , conducting a course on sustainable agriculture to
          experts of the provincial Ministry of agriculture.
2005 China , Guangzhou , Guangdong, South China Agricultural University
         ( SCAU), conducting a single lecture on the Israeli experience of Sustainable 

2005  China Guangzhou, Guangdong, Zongshan University, conducting a single  
         lecture on the Israeli experience of Sustainable Agriculture.
2005 China, Yanshan Guilin, Guangxi,  Institute of Botany (CAS). Conducting a    
 2006   China, Guiyang city, Guizhou Normal University. Conducting a course on
            Sustainable Agriculture to students and university staff members
2006  China, Shanghai, Jiao Tong University, lecturing on Sustainable Agriculture to 
          students and staff.
2006   China,  Ya’an,  A one week course on Sustainable Agriculture to  graduate 
             students and   staff in Sichuan Agricultural University
2006, China, Sichuan Tibetan High Plateau, Khanding , Bamey, Daofu. A study tour
          to   establish a Simplified Hydroponics and  Micro farming  project. Conducting
         with Heifer Int. China, Chengdu.
2006   Mexico , Lecturing and consulting on Sustainable Agriculture. Universidad
                Autonoma de Zacatecas.
2006    Mexico ,  DIF, Jalisco. Consulting on sustainable agriculture and combating
                  poverty. Mexico, Lecturing and consulting on Sustainable Agriculture, Universidad      De La Salle, Bajio Leon.

2006    Palau Lecturing and consulting on Sustainable Agriculture, Palau Community  College (PCC), Koror.

 2006,  Slovakia, Nitra, Agrofilm23, Inter national Festival. Participating as a
           member of International  Jury Committee
2006,  China,  Beijing, Geography and Natural Resource Inst. CAS, conducting
          lectures on Sustainable Agriculture.
2006,  China, Beijing, China Agricultural University, presenting lecture on the
          advance desert agriculture in Israel.
2006 , China,  Tianjin Agricultural University, conducting  lectures on Sustainable
2006, China , Lanzhou, Gansu Agriculture University , five days course on
          Sustainable Agriculture.
2006,   China, Lanzhou, Dry Land Institute, GAAS, conducting lectures on  
            Sustainable  Agriculture.
2006, China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering
           Research Inst. CAS, Presenting lecture on the  advance desert agriculture in
          Israel and drip irrigation
2006, Mexico, A regional rural Resears and Development ( R&D) proposed project.  
         A study tour in the State of Queretaro .

2006,   Mexico, Presented a lecture on  Toluca Rotary Club on ” Experiencia Israeli   
             on “Agricultura Sostentable”.
2006,  Mexico, Tehuacan, El Instituto Tecnologico de Tehuacan. Presented lecture on
          ” Experiencia Israeli on Agricultura Sostentable”
2006, Mexico, Universidad, Autonoma Zacatecas, Unidad Academica de Agronomia,
          Conducting a 3 days course on Sustainable Agriculture
2006, Mexico,  Universidad, Autonoma Zacatecas, Unidad Academica de Agronomia, Participating on a meeting day on  Analisis del Trabajo Desarollado ,  actividades a desarollar, esquema y formas del trabajo para lograr un programa rural regional de Investigacion y Desarollo.
2006, USA, Doylestown Pennsylvania, Delaware Valley College ( DVC ), Two weeks seminar on sustainable agriculture.

2007     China, Gansu, Dingxi, one week course on developing water resources and
2007    China  , Inner Mongolia , Alaxa ( Alashan), one week consultancy and  
              lecturing on Combating Desertification
2007       China    Chengdu, Sichuan. Conducting a one week course on Sustainable 
             Agriculture .  South West Universities for Nationalities.  
2007     Germany, Gottingen University and Kassel University, conducting lectures     
              on  sustainable agriculture.
2007     China, Shanghai, A consultancy on The Ecological Conservation of the
         Chongming Island , (Shanghai Academy of agricultural Science).Mexico, Zacatecas, Universidad  Autonoma  Zacatecas (UAZ), Agricultural Faculty, conducting a 4 days course on Organic Agriculture
2007, Mexico,  Cholula, Tehuacan, lecturing on Organic agriculture
2007, Slovakia, Nitra, Agrofilm24, Inter national Festival. Participating
          as a member of International  Jury Committee
2007, Slovakia, Nitra, conducting a one week course to Ph.D. students of the Slovak
          Agricultural University, on Sustainable Agriculture.
2007,  China, Lanzhou University, Gansu. One week course to students and staff on Sustainable Agriculture.
China, Inner Mongolia , Alaxa ( Alashan), in cooperation with NGOs ( SEE,  OISCA, Heifer), activities of  consultancy and  lecturing on Combating Desertification.

2008    China,  Turpan, Xinjiang , in cooperation with Heifer-China , conducting
              consultancy and  lecturing on Combating Desertification.

2008     China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering
             Research Inst. CAS, Presenting a lecture on Sustainable Agriculture and
             Biotechnologies Methods.   
2008    China,  Sichuan Agriculture  University, field visits in Shuanliu, Pengzhou ,   
              Pixian,   Anxianand Renshou Counties in order to support professionally the May  
              earthquake victims.  Conducting Sustainable Agriculture Course in Ya’an
              campus to students and staff

2008      China  SHIHEZI University , Xinjiang , Conducting lectures on Sustainable
              Agriculture and a field study on advance desert farming. 
2008     Slovakia, Nitra, conducting a one week course on Sustainable Agriculture
             to Ph.D. students of the Slovak   Agricultural University.
2008     Slovakia, Nitra, Agro film, International Festival. Participating as a member
              of International  jury Committee.

2008   Japan, Tokyo Conducting Sustainable Agriculture lectures on Chiba  
University, Graduate School of Horticulture
2008   Mexico, Del Valle, Guanajuato. Conducting a course on Sustainable
           Agriculture  in  the Universidad Tecnologica del Suroeste de Guanajuato

 2009   China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering  Research Inst. (CARRERI), CAS, Presenting a one week course on Sustainable Agriculture.
2009     China, Dingxi, Presenting lectures on Sustainable Agriculture to experts of
             provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Water Authorities. 
2009    China, visiting Shapotou combating desertification research Center
2009      China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering
             Research Inst. (CARRERI), CAS. Conducting a one week international 
             course   on Sustainable Agriculture and combating desertification
2009     Slovakia, Nitra, conducting a one week course on Sustainable Agriculture
             to Ph.D. students of the Slovak   Agricultural University
2009    Slovakia, Nitra, AGROFILM 26, International Festival. Participating as a  
member  of International  jury Committee .
2009    India, Bangalore, Institute of Simplified Hydroponics. Conducting a two days 
 course on “Sustainable Agriculture, the Israeli Experience”.
Presenting a lecture on the National Institute on Advance Studies On “Climate Change and the Israeli Agriculture”
Visiting the “Palm Grove Nurseries” and “Gopalan Enterprises”.

2010  Japan, a professional mission To OISCA Int. Japan. Visiting and lecturing
Sustainable Agriculture on Fukuoka, Nishi Nippon Training Center, Shikoku OISCA TC, Toyota City, OISCA Chubu TC, Hamamatsu, OISCA College for Global cooperation, OISCA Int. Head Quarter, Tokyo.
Visiting Takamatsu, presented lecture on Sustainable Agriculture: The general approach and the Israeli experience, to students and staff on the Faculty of Agriculture of the Kagawa University.
Visiting Tsukuba, Presented a lecture on Sustainable management of water resources in Israel to researchers of National Institute for Rural Engineering (NIRE) and Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Science (JIRCAS).

2010 China , Conducting courses on Sustainable Agriculture and consultancy field
               visits on  Shanghai Jiao Tong University ( SJTU), and Sichuan Agricultural 
               University (SICAU).

2010, Panama, Chriqui, San Felix. Conveying a study tour on Ngobe Bugle Indian 
          community and Conducting a course on Sustainable Agriculture in cooperation   
         with The Foundation Nuestra Senora del Camino.

2010  China, Lanzhou, Cold and Arid Regions, Environmental and Engineering
             Research Inst. (CARRERI), CAS. Conducting a one week international 
             course   on Sustainable Agriculture and combating desertification.
2010 ,  Slovakia, Nitra, Agrofilm27, Inter national Festival. Participating as a 
             Member of International Jury Committee.

2010     Japan. Lecturing Sustainable Agriculture topics on OISCA College for   
           Global Cooperation, Hamamatsu, OISCA Shikoku Training Center 
           (a JICA course), Presenting a key lecture on World Water Resources,
           Kagawa   University.

2010   China, Guizhou Province, Guiyang City. Invited by the Guizhou Academy   of
          Agriculture Sciences to lecture Sustainable Agricultural topics on the various
          institutes of the Academy. 


Directing International Cooperation Activities in Israel

1987 Three- week seminar, on  Arboriculture Fruitiere (French).
1987 Five- week course, on Agricultural Extension in various branches (English). 
1988 Six- week course, on Agro forestry (English).
1989    Seven-week course, on Innovative Integrated Pest Management with     
            Agricultural Extension (English).     
1991 Five week course, on Agricultural Ecology (English).
1991 Four week course, on Food and Grain Storage  (English).
1992 Four week course, on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (English).
1994    Three week workshop, on Management of Arid and Semiarid Ecological
            Systems (English).
1997   Three week workshop, on Regenerative Agriculture (English).

Literature  (Lectures Prepared as Articles for conferences)
A Mechanism for Adapting Agricultural Development to Current Socio-Economic Changes in Israel.  Bucharest, Romania, 1992.

Agroecology, An Approach of Preventing Ecological Damage in Agricultural Production.  Beijing, China, 1993.

National and Regional Supporting System to Promote the Export of Cotton (Israel). Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 1993.

People Security Through Agricultural Production and Rural Development in Developing Countries.  Mexico City, Mexico, 1994.

Big Business Farm – From Agriculture to Agribusiness.  Jerusalem, Israel, 1995.

Agro-ecological Aspects of the Peri-urban Process.  Netanya, Israel, 1996.

Agriculture Under Unfavorable Natural Resources.  Geneva, Switzerland, 1996.

Agricultural Development in Israel. www .city  farmer org.  Urban  Agricultural Notes. 1999

  Sustainable Agriculture in the World, The Israeli Experience .Bangalor India, 1999.

The Advantage of the Desert for the Advancement of Farming under Israel
     Circumstances. Lanzhou, China,1999.

The Use of Saline Water for Irrigation of Agricultural Crops. Tianjin, China, 1999.

Sustainable Agriculture, the Israeli Experience. Trivandrum, India,2000.

The Sustainable Management of Water Resources in the Arid Zone of Israel with Emphasis on Reforestation Activities. Concepcion, Chile,2000.

The Agro-Ecological Aspects of  “Sustainable Agriculture” in Mauritius, St. Pierre, Mauritius, 2001.

Agriculture for the quality on human life, Nitra, Slovakia, 2001.

Biodiversity and Environment, Calicut, Kerala State, India, 2002.

 Microfarm  Project using Simplified Hydroponics and Fertigation in the Lerma Chapala Basin. Mexico, 2003.

Socio Economic Forms in the Rural Area of the Developing Countries, Related to Food Security. Nitra, Slovakia, 2003.

Sustainable Agricultural Methods to Combat Desertification, the Israeli Experience, ECHO 10th Conference, Fort Myers, USA, 2003.

Microfarming Techniques for Yak Producers in the Tibetan Area of Muli in SW Sichuan, China. Conference, Chengdu, September, 2004.

The Global Aspects to Achieve Food Security through Sustainable Agriculture.
SESEC conference, Lausanne, Switzerland , 2005.



The Israeli experience on Biotechnologies and Sustainable Agriculture. Shanghai International Forum on Biotechnologies, July 2007

Chongming Island Ecological Conservation Project1, Shanghai, July 2007

Organic Agriculture under protected condition, Universidad Autonoma Zacatecas
     (UAZ), XII National Mexican   Congress of Horticultural Sciences, August 2007..



Posted on on July 24th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Death by Corporation, Part II: Companies as Cancer Cells.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:40 By Dr Brian Moench, Truthout | Report

The financial industry, chemical industry, drug companies, nuclear industrial complex and dirty energy empire work “like tumor cells for the relentless destruction of the environment that they themselves depend upon for their very lives. And the rest of us stand by and watch it happen.”

The Financial Industry

The global financial crisis of 2008, at a cost of more than $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The financial crisis became a human crisis. The World Bank estimated that 53 million people worldwide were thrown into poverty and that between 200,000 and 400,000 babies died annually as a result. Millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa have suffered severe malnutrition and long-term brain damage as fallout from the financial disaster.

Suicide rates rise and fall with the state of the economy. Unemployment and foreclosure are the largest triggers in increased suicide risk. About 35,000 Americans die every year from suicides, up about 28 percent since 1999. Suicide rates in Europe, where the recession has been even more severe, are even higher. Ervin Lupoe from Wilmington, California, shot his five children and wife to death before turning the gun on himself. Lupoe was deep in debt, behind on his mortgage and had been fired from his hospital job. Anxiety, fear, crime, domestic abuse, murder and suicide all increased worldwide because of the financial crisis.

It was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry. It was the private market, not government programs, that made, packaged and sold most of these wretched loans without regard to their quality. The packaging, combined with credit default swaps and other esoteric derivatives, spread the contagion throughout the world. That’s why what initially seemed to be a large but containable US mortgage problem touched off a worldwide financial crisis.

The speculative binge was abetted by a giant “shadow banking system” in which the banks relied heavily on short-term debt, snake oil mortgage hucksters and credit rating agencies that essentially prostituted themselves for cash from the investment banks. Regulators “lacked the political will” to scrutinize and hold accountable the institutions they were supposed to oversee. The financial industry spent $2.7 billion on lobbying from 1999 to 2008, while individuals and committees affiliated with it made more than $1 billion of campaign contributions.

The banking industry is completely unchastened. It is now pressing a full-frontal assault on repealing Dodd-Frank – a small, inadequate attempt to prevent it from destroying our economy again.

The Chemical Industry

Albert Einstein is often attributed with a statement like, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Although Einstein may not have actually said that, and he was not an entomologist, the importance of pollinators to modern agriculture is difficult to overstate. Humans likely will not survive a total collapse of the bee population, and we are headed in that direction. Eighty-seven of the top human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees.

“Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to 7 billion people,” said UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“Colony collapse disorder” (CCD) began to appear in 2007. The bees were abandoning their hives, losing their homing behavior and acting disoriented, kind of like “bee autism.” Like three blind mice, scientists, federal regulators and the media initially pointed the finger at climate change, poor nutrition, fungus, cell-tower radiation, mites, and viruses. Finally they’ve begun to open their eyes.

A new class of pesticides that systemically infiltrates the entire plant from seed to flower, called neonicotinoids, attacks the nervous system of insects with devastating efficiency. Neonicotinoids surged in popularity about the time CCD appeared. Not surprisingly, they were found to be as toxic to beneficial insects as they were to pests. These pesticides have risen to the top of the list of CCD culprits, and the European Union has placed a two-year ban on neonicotinoids. So far, nothing has been done by the EPA in the US.

Europe and the United States have different approaches to environmental regulation of toxic substances. Europe errs on the side of safety; the US errs on the side of corporate profits. Where Europe requires chemicals to demonstrate safety before release and is willing to take products off the shelf at a relatively low threshold of evidence, the United States does virtually the opposite. The EPA basically assumes all products are safe and will withdraw products only after they have been conclusively proven guilty of serious harm.

The chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, DuPont and Monsanto (highlighted in Part I of this essay) have waved a smoke screen in front of the bee calamity, claiming the mystery cannot yet be solved and not even precautionary action can be taken. The mounting science that implicates their product is “faulty,” they say, just like the “junk” science that exposed tobacco, asbestos, lead and human-caused global warming. But to show its objectivity and concern, Monsanto is hosting a “Bee Summit,” Bayer is breaking ground on a “Bee Care Center,” and Sygenta is funding grants for research into the accelerating demise of honeybees in the United States. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m willing to guess that the pesticide industry’s research will exonerate pesticides.

Despite the unique and critical function that bees perform, despite what is common sense to everyone else, the EPA appears only too happy to let the smoke screen obscure its responsibility to protect our food supply. The EPA has shunned researchers who have drawn conclusions critical of neonicotinoids and are poised to make the situation even worse by approving another bee-killing class of pesticides from our friends at Dow – the sulfoximines.

When it comes to safeguarding the food supply of all humankind or the profits of a handful of chemical companies, you can tell who has the upper hand.

The Drug Companies

About 20 years ago, the United States became, and still is, virtually the only major country where the $600 billion drug industry can advertise directly to consumers. Patients now tell their doctors what drugs they should be on. For the drug companies, the results have been spectacular, for public health, the exact opposite. The US is 49th in the world in life expectancy despite Americans taking more prescription drugs per capita than any other country. Spending on prescription drugs more than doubled between 1999 and 2008. Nine of ten adults over 60 are on a prescription drug, as are one of every four children and teenagers. More than 20 percent of all American adults are taking at least one drug for “psychiatric” or “behavioral” disorders. Americans’ recent fascination with doped-up zombies is a reality show playing out in front of their own mirrors.

Between 2001 and 2007, the percentage of adults and children on one or more prescriptions for chronic conditions rose by more than 12 million. Twenty-five percent of American children now take a drug for some kind of chronic condition. Nearly 3 million children are on Lipitor, the anti-cholesterol drug that is increasingly suspected of causing a wide range of neurologic pathologies, including Lou Gehrig’s disease. (It turns out nerve cells require cholesterol to function). Twenty million Americans are on these anti-cholesterol drugs, the largest-selling class of prescription medicine.

I have seen patients on as many as 18 prescription drugs. When I was in medical school, I was told that by the time a patient is on five different drugs, there is virtually a 100 percent chance of having an adverse drug interaction. One doctor observed that there is no scientific basis for treating older folks with more than $300 of meds per month that have serious side effects and largely unknown multiple drug interactions. In fact 200,000 Americans are killed every year by prescription drugs, including adverse drug interactions. A standard marketing approach for drug companies seeking to meet “sales quotas” is to send drug reps to doctors and push them to prescribe drugs for off-label use, which although legal, raises obvious questions of ethics, efficacy and magnification of side-effect risks. The end result is Americans take epilepsy seizure drugs for pain, antipsychotics for the blues and an antidepressants for knee pain – and hot flashes – all because of marketing and sales quotas.

A deadly example is Cephalon’s painkilling fentanyl lollipop, Actiq, which is loaded with the potent painkiller that I use only as a supplement to general anesthesia and for the first few hours of postoperative pain. The product was approved only to treat terminal cancer patients in chronic pain who are already on an opioid drug because life-threatening conditions can occur at any dose in patients without a chronic, buildup of tolerance for narcotics. With the pressure to meet their quota at their backs, Cephalon sales reps were regularly sent to doctors who treated no cancer patients, with free coupons to pass out to patients with simple problems like migraines and back pain. A study by Prime Therapeutics found Actiq was prescribed off-label nearly 90 percent of the time. You can go online right now and get a free coupon for a “reduced price” on your fentanyl lollipop. Meeting a sales quota is certainly one of the reasons prescription pain killer overdoses kill 15,000 people a year, nearly four times more than in 1999, with 500,000 ER visits and costing health care insurers $72.5 billion annually. Some pharmaceutical corporations have become simply drug dealers with fancier clothes.

Many drugs become part of mainstream medical practice only because of studies sponsored by drug companies.
Most published trials funded by drug companies show positive results and are conducted overseas – on sick Russians, homeless Poles and slum-dwelling Chinese – in places where regulation is virtually nonexistent. Furthermore, drug companies spend twice as much on sales and marketing as they do on research. The pharmaceutical industry has the largest political lobbying force in the United States. None of that lobbying is to persuade Congress to let them save more lives. Its only objective is let the industry make more money.

The pharmaceutical industry has heavily infiltrated the curriculum in American medical schools, is taking a dominant role in its relationship with the medical profession, and is having a corrupting influence on academic research into its own products. At Harvard Medical School, the pinnacle of American medicine, where I served as an instructor years ago, of the 8,900 professors and lecturers there in 2009, 1,600 admitted that they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies, sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, that could bias their teaching or research.

The story of Vioxx and Celebrex is a microcosm of drug company behavior. When studies on Vioxx and Celebrex became available in 1998 and 1999, many doctors were disappointed. Neither drug alleviated pain any better than the older medicines. And the drugs cost close to $3 a pill; over-the-counter pain relievers, in contrast, cost pennies a dose.

Merck had known of potential lethal side effects even before launching Vioxx in 1999 but had brushed all such disturbing tests under the rug. Merck held data for three years that proved Vioxx caused an alarming increase in the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Estimates of deaths caused by Vioxx are as high as 500,000. Merck knowingly and maliciously allowed a deadly drug to continue to be sold to patients for years to maximize profits through the sale of a product they knew was killing people. Merck’s actions fit the legal definition of “negligent homicide.” Part of this story is the cozy relationship between Merck and the FDA. An FDA scientist who discovered the Vioxx heart connection early on said his FDA bosses forced him to quash information that was potentially damaging to Merck. The most disturbing part of the Vioxx story is – despite paying out billions of dollars in lawsuits, Vioxx still made money for Merck. Walking over a few dead bodies on the way to meet a sales quota is just what we do in corporate America.

The Nuclear Industrial Complex

Any discussion about corporations that threaten the future of mankind must obviously include the nuclear industry. Even outside the realm of nuclear accidents, every phase of the nuclear fuel cycle releases radiation into the environment – the uranium mining, the milling, the fuel production, the power plant operation and the multiple streams of waste.

For example, out of sight, out of mind, and virtually out of the discussion of nuclear power are the 200 million tons of uranium mill tailings still lying scattered throughout the Western US exposed to the winds and rain. Dr. William Lochstet of Penn State University calculated that operation of a single uranium mine could result in 8.5 million deaths over time.1 Dr. Robert O. Pohl of Cornell believed the potential health effects from mill tailings could “completely dwarf” those from the rest of the nuclear fuel cycle and add significantly to the worldwide toll of death and mutations.2 In 1977, Dr. Walter H. Jordan, of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), stated the commission “had underestimated radon emissions from tailings piles by a factor of 100,000. It is very difficult to argue that deaths to future generations are unimportant.”3 Radon gas is heavier than air but can travel thousands of miles from its source, damaging chromosomes and causing cancer every mile of the way.

The health risks of radiation always have been viewed differently by scientists with a background in the hard sciences – physics and engineering – compared with scientists with a background in the soft sciences – biology, genetics, physiology and medicine. Generally, the “hard” scientists tend to discount risks of low-dose radiation and are more often proponents of nuclear power. The “soft” scientists observe that biological organisms are too complex to establish rules for safe exposure; they more often oppose nuclear power, like the aforementioned scientists who have warned about mill tailings.

Hermann Muller won the 1943 Nobel Prize for discovering genetic mutations caused by X-rays. In a paper he published in 1964, “Radiation and Heredity,” he predicted the gradual reduction of the survival of the human species as the exposure to ionizing radiation increased. Since then, radiation to the human population has steadily increased. And, in fact, sperm counts and fertility rates are dropping worldwide, according to a 2010 report from the European Science Foundation. Multiple culprits likely are involved, but our exposure to radiation, from medical procedures to fallout from nuclear tests, accidents and power plants, are at the top of the list.

The National Academy of Sciences’ last report on the health risk of radiation in 2006 (BEIR VII) stated all radiation has consequences, and no dose can be considered safe. Radiation damage is cumulative, and each successive dose builds upon the cellular mutation caused by the last. It can take years for radiation damage to manifest pathology. For nuclear apologists to declare that no one died from Fukushima, so onward with the “nuclear renaissance,” reveals childlike ignorance or deliberate deception.

All nuclear power plants are potential global disasters that threaten the future of mankind and every living thing. Every human has been affected by radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident because the radiation eventually circumnavigated the entire globe. Radiation’s calling card is damage to chromosomes that can be passed on to subsequent generations. Chromosomal damage is not just the first step in a long road to cancer and infertility, it is also a common denominator for myriad diseases and dysfunction involving virtually every organ system.

Fukushima, although it has disappeared from the news cycle, is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.
Three self-sustaining nuclear meltdowns that will not be fully contained for years, six damaged reactors, the equivalent of 20 nuclear cores exposed. Half of Japan is now contaminated. Serious cleanup could cost $10 trillion. The Japanese government has admitted that the amount of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster so far is the equivalent of 168 Hiroshima bombs. That doesn’t count the radioactivity that is still being spread into the Pacific Ocean from radioactively contaminated water used to cool the doomed reactors, which will end up distributed throughout the global ecosystem.

The whole concept of nuclear power plants, launched by President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech to the United Nations in 1953, was an afterthought to the development of nuclear weapons. The public had become terrified of “mutually assured destruction” and those politicians, convinced that nuclear arms were nonetheless imperative, were looking for a means to soothe Americans’ nuclear anxiety, or what we might call today “pre-traumatic stress disorder.”

The promise of safe, “too cheap to meter” electricity turned out to be a complete and utter fraud, and the governments of the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Russia played a major role in that deception.

But so did the corporations that stood to cash in on the nuclear power “boom.” The companies that helped bring us these nuclear power plant disasters – General Electric, Hitachi, Toshiba – through flawed designs, poor construction, cheap materials and prioritizing profits over safety have nonetheless enjoyed near immunity from financial consequence. In virtually every country with nuclear reactors, the laws seriously limit a nuclear company’s liability to a tiny fraction of the real damages. So when that is the case and a corporation’s only motive is profit, there is little incentive for them to prioritize safety instead.

The list of examples of nuclear corporations cutting safety corners to save money is too long for this article, but how the nuclear industry responded after the Fukushima debacle is just the most recent example. Rather than being chastened by this disaster, the nuclear industry has done just exactly what the financial industry did – act like nothing happened and fight tooth and nail against any reform. The NRC spent a year assembling a list of 12 post-Fukushima safety improvements but, succumbing to industry pressure, chose to demand only three. Then it gave the industry up to five years to comply. Recently the nuclear industry complained to congressional Republicans that NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was being too aggressive in pursuing post-Fukushima safety regulations, so they got him canned.

Granting a license extension to an existing nuclear power plant may not seem like much of a reason to march and protest, but nuclear reactors have a limited life span because all their component parts do. And the materials degrade more quickly because of the radioactive exposure. Extending a plant’s life of operation definitely increases the risk of an accident. So far by 2013, 71 nuclear reactors have applied for a 20-year extension of their licenses, and all 71 have been approved, many with the same design flaws as found at Fukushima. “Fukushima? What Me Worry?”

The Dirty Energy Empire

Finally, this brings us to the fossil fuel industry. As I write this, the temperature is a record-setting 105 degrees in Salt Lake City; no relief is expected for a week. Western forests are being obliterated by drought, pine beetle infestations and wildfires. Reservoirs are only half full. The summer is just getting started; so is global warming.

To keep the climate stabilized enough to maintain civilization as we have come to know it, or even avoid mass starvation and global chaos, we will have to stay within a carbon budget. The world must only allow about one fifth of the known, economically recoverable reserves of coal, oil and gas to be extracted and burned. There is no evidence whatsoever that any of these corporations are entertaining any thoughts of self-restraint. As mindless, amoral, and unbridled as a malignancy destroying its host, Exxon-Mobil, TransCanada, Peabody Energy, Koch Industries and the like employ hundreds of thousands of people working like tumor cells for the relentless destruction of the environment and climate that they themselves depend upon for their very lives. And the rest of us stand by and watch it happen. In fact, if we work for a bank, we may not only be watching it happen, we may be loaning them the money to make sure it happens.

If the fossil-fuel corporations seem like Frankenstein monsters, unbelievably they may actually not be the worst. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, many Chinese and Indian companies that make the refrigerant HCFC-22 are demanding big money to dispose of a byproduct of that process, HFC-23, which is a greenhouse gas 14,800 times more potent than CO2. Despite having cheap destruction technology readily available, they intend to hold their stores of HFC-23 hostage until the rest of the world pays up. This has caught the attention of other manufacturers of HCFC-22 in developing countries who are poised to join in the “climate bomb” threat.

Under a UN program, incinerators for HFC-23 are installed at 19 refrigerant facilities, mostly in China and India but also in South Korea, Argentina and Mexico, to help control the super greenhouse gas. Destruction of HFC-23 is extremely cheap. But refrigerant companies made billions in windfall profits from the sale of carbon credits, maximized through manipulation of HCFC-22 and HFC-23 production levels. This prompted the European Emissions Trading Scheme to ban the trade of HFC-23 credits as of May 1, 2013. Other carbon markets have followed suit, resulting in the collapse of the HFC-23 credit market. What is at stake here is the greenhouse gas equivalent of one-fourth of China’s annual CO2 emissions.

As disturbing as all of this is, something looms on the horizon that could dismantle what few tools citizens have to defend their health, environment, wallet and climate from evisceration by corporate invaders from across the globe. In Part III of Mankind: Death by Corporation, we’ll investigate what is being assembled behind a curtain of secrecy, a “Death Star” of corporate omnipotence, allowing them to impose their will on citizens and communities anywhere in the world as never before – The Trans-Pacific Partnership.

[1] William Lochstet, “Radiological Impact of the Proposed Crownpoint Uranium Mining Project,” August 1978, unpublished manuscript.

[2] Robert O. Pohl, “In the Matter of Public Service Company of Oklahoma,

Associated Electric Coop., Inc. and Western Farmers Coop., Inc. (Black Fox Station Units 1 and 2,” testimony before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, Docket Nos. STN 50-556 and STN 50-557.

[3] Walter Jordan, “Errors in 10 CFR Section 51.20, Table S-3,” memorandum to James R. Yore, NRC, September 21, 1977; and Walter Jordan, letter to Congressman Clifford Allen, December 9, 1977.


Posted on on July 23rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Shuttle diplomacy under way on global aviation emissions deal.

Date: 23-Jul-13

Reported by Valerie Volcovici of the Environmental News Service of Reuters by geting the information by e-mail.

Diplomatic talks on a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the global aviation industry have intensified recently as EU and U.S. officials try to stave off the threat of a trade war, lawmakers and observers said.

Peter Liese, a member of the European Parliament from the conservative German Christian-Democratic Union, led a delegation to meet with Obama administration officials in Washington last week to discuss the issue.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ civil aviation body, has until September to complete a resolution on a market-based plan that would curb rising greenhouse gas emissions from global airlines.

Should the UN organization fail, the European Union could try to re-impose an emissions trading system on global airlines. The EU postponed the implementation of the law in 2012 to give the ICAO time to devise a global approach.

Liese sees only a 50 percent chance the ICAO talks can deliver a deal strong enough to avoid a revival of the law and avoid threats of a trade war.

“Unless we have progress in the next six to seven weeks, we will run into a big problem,” Liese told Reuters.

Liese said drafts of the resolution that ICAO assembly delegates will consider at their triennial meeting, which starts in Montreal on September 24, might not be not ambitious enough to pass muster.

“We made very clear that what is on the table now is not enough,” Liese said.

He added that a deal acceptable to Europeans would unambiguously clarify that there will be an international agreement from 2020 onward.

The ICAO narrowed its options in May to three market-based measures, including a mandatory offsetting scheme.

The following month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), set up to help the UN harmonize aviation after World War II, backed a system in which airlines would offset increased emissions after 2020 by buying carbon credits from projects that cut them in other sectors. A wider coalition of aviation groups endorsed the plan in recent weeks.

Nancy Young, vice president for environmental affairs for U.S. airline lobby group Airlines for America, said the strong industry backing of a market-based emissions plan should give the ICAO “very strong momentum to reach an agreement.”

The agreement, she said, will not be a detailed framework, but “a glide path toward a single market-based measure by 2016,” the year the next ICAO assembly takes place.


The ICAO’s 36-member leadership council is scheduled to meet on September 4, when it is expected to discuss a final resolution.

If the council agrees to the draft, it is likely the plan will be endorsed by the full assembly when it convenes in late September-early October, said Annie Petsonk, international counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, who tracks the negotiations.

Petsonk and Young said there has been intensive “shuttle diplomacy” over the last few weeks, with European officials coming to Washington and U.S. officials going to the ICAO headquarters in Montreal.

In addition, meetings between countries with similar views on the issue have been taking place. For example, China and India, which along with the United States strongly opposed the imposition of the European trading scheme on their airlines, are likely meeting ahead of the assembly to coordinate objections to the ICAO’s proposed resolution.

Liese said U.S. and EU officials might also have to consider a potential bilateral agreement if the ICAO fails to agree on a deal that would stave off the threat of a trade war.

But Jos Delbeke, director-general for climate action for the European Commission, was optimistic.

“Negotiations inside ICAO are in full swing, and we are confident that a useful resolution is going to be adopted in Sept/Oct,” Delbeke told Reuters in an email.


Talking Carbon Credits is just not the way to do something about global emissions – taxation is the way to sharpen the mind of private enterprise and trade wars in this respect are nothing to shrink away from – this is in every environmentalist’s balanced mind.


Posted on on July 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Op-Ed Contributor – The New York Times.
The Slowing of Two Economic Giants.
Published: July 14, 2013

KOLKATA, India — THE world’s two most populous countries are slowing down. To be sure, China’s output is expected to grow by 7.8 percent this year, and India’s by 5.6 percent — far superior to 2 percent for Japan, 1.7 percent for the United States, 0.9 percent for Britain and a shrinkage (negative 0.6 percent) in the troubled euro zone, the International Monetary Fund projected last week.

But there is no sequel in sight for the 10-percent-plus growth China and India posted in 2010. The West can no longer count on their continued expansion to lift its sagging economies. For 2.5 billion people, the consequences are more dire: in India, less money to strengthen the threadbare social safety net, and in China, possible political instability. What does the slowdown mean for these two giants, and which will come out ahead?

Let’s start with China, the bigger of the two economies. Talk of a global “Beijing consensus” — state-controlled capitalism as an alternative to the “Washington consensus” about how poor countries should develop — has largely disappeared. China’s new leaders are focused on problems at home: battling corruption, reining in the overheated housing market, scaling back the government’s outsize role in the economy, and cracking down on financial speculation.

China may be close to exhausting the possibilities of technological catch-up with the West, particularly in manufacturing. For China to move up the value chain, and become an advanced-manufacturing powerhouse like Germany, it must move beyond off-the-shelf technology and copying rival designs and reap gains from genuine innovation, which can come about only through research and development.

China has amassed huge foreign exchange reserves, partly by keeping the value of its currency low. It now has to rebalance its economy away from the construction boom and financial speculation and toward private consumption and improvements in pensions, health care and other forms of social protection. Crony capitalism has been allowed to misallocate capital toward too-big-to-fail, low-productivity state-owned firms operated by loyal apparatchiks and away from dynamic private small firms.

Concentrated wealth poses problems for both countries. The Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based wealth monitor, estimated last year that the 83 richest delegates to the National People’s Congress and an advisory group, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, had a net worth of over $250 billion. By comparison, the declared assets of all of the roughly 545 members of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, amount to only about $2 billion.

In India, the collusion between Indian billionaires and politicians, while rampant, is somewhat less direct and more subject to political and media scrutiny. In China, collusion between party officials and commercial interests, especially at the local level, has caused widespread popular anger against arbitrary land acquisition and toxic pollution.

The economist and philosopher Amartya Sen recently argued on this page that India has lagged behind China because it had not invested enough in education and health care, which raise living standards and labor productivity.

He rightly emphasizes that deficient social services and the inequality that results are not just a matter of social justice, but of economic growth as well, as the history of much of East Asia shows. But one should not get the impression that progress in social services is by itself sufficient for growth. Exemplary welfare programs in the state of Kerala in India, and in Sri Lanka, have not been matched by spectacular economic performance. The latter also requires improvements in infrastructure, less cumbersome regulations and a culture that fosters entrepreneurial investment.

Mr. Sen raises but does not examine a puzzle: why voters in the world’s largest democracy cannot get politicians to effectively deliver social services. Infant and maternal mortality and poor sanitation are not salient electoral issues. This is partly because India’s fractious society (more heterogenous than China’s) has often emphasized uplifting the dignity of former oppressed social groups over basic good governance.

What of the Chinese model? The history of developing countries shows that authoritarianism is neither necessary nor sufficient for development. The Communist Party will find it increasingly tough to manage a complicated economy (without independent regulators) and political system (without an independent judiciary or effective rule of law).

Without innovation, China cannot sustain high growth, as the artificially low prices of land and capital for politically favored firms become difficult to maintain and the supply of cheap labor dwindles. Unlike in India, a significant slowdown could be regime-threatening for China — today’s young people, with higher expectations than their forebears, will have less tolerance for a shortage of good jobs and affordable housing. China’s leaders may be riding a tiger that will be hard to dismount.

On the other hand, India’s experience, like America’s, shows how partisan fragmentation in a rambunctious democracy can undermine effective governance. In the last few years the headline economic stories in India have been about pervasive corruption: politicized allocation of high-value public resources (land, mineral rights, oil and gas, telecommunications), shady public-private partnerships and the galloping cost of elections financed by the illicit incomes of politicians. India’s administrative system, where promotion has little connection to performance, encourages even more malfeasance than China’s. But India has independent judges, government auditors and a free press — checks on corruption that are absent in China.

As inequalities rise and resentment of official corruption, corporate oligarchy and economic and environmental depredations heats up in India, pressure for short-term populist palliative measures — subsidies, handouts, loan waivers and underpricing of energy and water — will also rise, at the expense of long-term investments in infrastructure, education and public health. China has deflected some of the same frustrations through high-profile construction projects, spectacles like the 2008 Olympic Summer Games and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and carefully orchestrated campaigns of nationalist fervor.

IN both giant countries there are glimmers of hope. China is making substantial advances in energy-efficient technology and improving health care and pensions. In India, voters are starting to demand good governance, and vigorous social movements against injustice — caste oppression, sexual violence and environmental degradation — are making a dent.

But China’s rigid political system makes it heavily dependent on enlightened consensus among its nonelected rulers, while India’s ramshackle, pluralistic democracy has been surprisingly supple, even if its citizens haven’t reaped the material benefits yet. They share a fundamental problem — a lack of accountability, especially at the local level — that, if not addressed, will make it impossible to sustain strong economic growth and provide a social safety net. In India, democracy is weakest at the village level: electoral participation is vigorous, but local elites often capture the local government, leaving bureaucrats little autonomy (or money) to carry out substantial improvements. In China, the failure of accountability is national, and inherent in the authoritarian system.

In the short term I expect China to do better than India in improving the material condition of its people, primarily because China has more money to spend on redistribution projects and because its infrastructure and administrative capacity are somewhat better. In the medium term, I anticipate that the two countries’ rates of economic growth will converge in the not-too-distant future, as India reaps the benefits of having a younger population. But in the long run, which country does better will depend on political reform, or its absence.


Pranab Bardhan, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of “Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India.”


Posted on on July 2nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Bhopal (/bo??p??l/ (Hindustani pronunciation: [b?o?pa?l] is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters of Bhopal District and Bhopal Division. The city was the capital of the former Bhopal State. Bhopal is known as the City of Lake for its various natural as well as artificial lakes and is also one of the greenest cities in India.

Bhopal houses various institutions and installations of national importance. Some of these include ISRO’s Master Control Facility, the CSIR, AIIMS Bhopal, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) AMPRI, MANIT, IISER, SPA, IIFM, BHEL and NLIU.

The city attracted international attention after the Bhopal disaster, when a Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide manufacturing plant leaked a mixture of deadly gases including methyl isocyanate on the intervening night of 2 / 3 December 1984, leading to the worst industrial disaster in the city’s history. Since then, Bhopal has been a center of protests and campaigns which have been joined by people from across the globe. {Wikipedia}


Alternet’s Smirking Chimp / By Bob Burnett

Is America Turning into Texas?
What’s happened Texas graphically illustrates the choice facing America.

July 2, 2013

On April 17 there was a horrific explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people, injured more than 200, destroyed or damaged 150 homes and caused at least $100 million in losses. Five days later, Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Illinois trying to lure business to Texas, praising his state’s limited regulations. Is Texas America’s future?

Republican conservatives have a simple economic precept: what’s good for business is good for America. Conservatives believe states should provide a “business friendly” environment with low taxes and few regulations. They argue this inevitably creates jobs and builds community through the “trickle-down” theory of Reaganomics: “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Texas is the foremost practitioner of the conservative theory. This year Chief Executive Magazine voted Texas “the best state to do business in” for the ninth consecutive year, citing factors such as low taxes and sparse regulations. Texas’ 6.5 percent unemployment rate is below the national average.

But the Texas economy has negative aspects that contributed to the explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant. There is no state fire code and McLennan, the county that housed the plant, also has no fire code. According to the New York Times

Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012.

In much of Texas zoning laws are non-existent. In 1962, when the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant originally opened, the facility was far from downtown; in recent years, a school, nursing home, and apartment complex were built nearby.

A consequence of Texas’ “anything goes” attitude is not only the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities but also America’s dirtiest environment. According to the Houston Chronicle Texas leads the U.S. in greenhouse gas emissions.

Texas’ coal-fired power plants and oil refineries generated 294 million tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in 2010, more than the next two states — Pennsylvania and Florida — combined.

Regrettably, many Texans lack adequate health care. The Texas Observer reports that the state ranks first in the nation for adults without health insurance.

Over the last decade, Texas added thousands of jobs in construction and energy. Unfortunately, Texas leads the nation in construction fatalities.

The Texas construction industry is characterized by dangerous working conditions, low wages, and legal violations that hurt working families and undercut honest businesses.

Furthermore, an average of 39 energy industry workers die each year.

Oil and gas field services and drilling workers were killed on the job in Texas more than those in any other profession, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of five years of fatal accidents investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

And when Texans are injured on the job, they often have great difficulty getting their medical claims reimbursed. Texas is the only state where employers have a choice about paying worker’s compensation. If the worker’s employer doesn’t provide coverage, the worker has to file a civil claim. But even when there is worker’s compensation, the system is notoriously difficult.

Texas Governor Rick Perry roams the U.S. luring workers to Texas with the promise of good jobs, but the reality is unimpressive. Writing in the American IndependentPatrick Brendel observed the new Texas jobs are primarily low-wage jobs:

Texas has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour in 2010) compared to any state, according to a [Bureau of Labor Statistics] report. In 2010, about 550,000 Texans were working at or below minimum wage, or about 9.5 percent of all workers paid by the hour in the state.

On June 14, Governor Perry vetoed an equal pay bill.

Meanwhile, the ruined city of West, Texas, is struggling to recover. Total losses will be more than $100 million and FEMA likely will reimburse only 10 percent. The City of West has sued the owner and supplier of the West Chemical and Fertilizer Plant.

On April 22 Texas Governor Rick Perry was asked about the explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer Plant and contended that “more government intervention and increased spending on safety inspections would not have prevented” the West catastrophe.

What’s happened in West and Texas graphically illustrates the choice facing America. We can adopt an extreme pro-business strategy and subordinate worker pay and safety; we can, in effect, tell the 99 percent, “You’re on your own.” Or we can adopt a strategy that puts people first; we can decide that capitalism has to be subordinate to democracy and protect the rights of all Americans.


Posted on on June 29th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Op-Ed Contributor of the New York Times

Bhutan Is No Shangri-La

Published: June 28, 2013

DAMAK, Nepal — BEFORE my family was expelled from Bhutan, in 1992, I lived with my parents and seven siblings in the south of the country. This region is the most fertile part of that tiny kingdom perched between Tibet and India, a tapestry of mountains, plains and alpine meadows. Our house sat in a small village, on terraced land flourishing with maize, millet and buckwheat, a cardamom garden, beehives and enough pasture for cows, oxen, sheep and buffaloes. That was the only home we had known.

After tightening its citizenship laws in the mid-1980s, Bhutan conducted a special census in the south and then proceeded to cast out nearly 100,000 people — about one-sixth of its population, nearly all of them of Nepalese origin, including my family. It declared us illegal immigrants, even though many of us went back several generations in Bhutan. It hasn’t let any of us move back.

The enormity of this exodus, one of the world’s largest by proportion, given the country’s small population, has been overlooked by an international community that is either indifferent or beguiled by the government-sponsored images of Bhutan as a serene Buddhist Shangri-La, an image advanced by the policy of “gross national happiness,” coined by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s.

Bhutan even helped inspire the United Nations last year to declare March 20 the International Day of Happiness — a cruel irony to those of us who were made stateless by the king, who was an absolute monarch when we were expelled.

Many of our ancestors were recruited from Nepal in the mid-19th century to cultivate the arable land of southern Bhutan. We are known as Lhotshampa — literally, people of the south. The Drukpas, the Buddhist elite, and the Hindu Lhotshampa had coexisted, largely in peace, until 1989, when the king introduced a “One Nation, One People” policy imposing Drukpa social norms on everyone. The edict controlled the smallest details of our public lives: how we ate, dressed and talked. The Nepali language was banned in schools, and Hindu pathshalas, or seminaries, which teach the Sanskrit scriptures, were closed.

Protests demanding an end to the absolute monarchy and persecution of the Lhotshampa beginning in summer 1990 were quashed, and repression — including torture, sexual assault, evictions and discriminatory firing — intensified. As part of the government’s campaign of intimidation in the south, my school was suddenly closed. That day, the headmaster summoned us to an assembly, announced that we were to collect our belongings and told us to go home at once. I passed my final months in Bhutan not completing the fourth grade, but helping to rear our animals.

One winter day in 1991, my mother was in the kitchen, my father was shaving and my siblings and I were gathered for snacks. It must have been noon — I remember the buzzing of bees leaving for their routine forage — when uniformed officers burst into the house and seized our citizenship documents, birth certificates and other papers. They accused my father of waging war against the government. They ordered him to put on his bakkhu, the Drukpa national outfit, which was still wet from the wash that morning, and then dragged him out, kicking him and slapping his face. He was taken with dozens of our neighbors to a high school that had been converted to a military camp.

My father was held for 91 days in a small, dank cell. They pressed him down with heavy logs, pierced his fingers with needles, served him urine instead of water, forced him to chop firewood all day with no food. Sometimes, they burned dried chilies in his cell just to make breathing unbearable. He agreed eventually to sign what were called voluntary migration forms and was given a week to leave the country our family had inhabited for four generations.

Not knowing when we’d be back, we set our animals free and left open the doors and windows of the house. We walked in spring showers to the border with India, through forest and valleys. At the border, the Indians, who wanted nothing to do with us, piled us into trucks and dumped us at the doorstep of Nepal.

We were among the 90,000 Bhutanese refugees who flooded shelters in eastern Nepal at that time. The population grew to more than 115,000, as people kept trickling in and children were born. My parents, a brother and I have called these shelters our home for 21 years.

The original seven refugee camps have shrunk to two, but almost 36,000 people continue to live in misery here. More than 80,000 have been resettled in other countries; 68,000, including my wife, most of my siblings and extended family, have moved to the United States. I expect to be able to join them very soon.

Helping us, though, is not the same as helping our cause: every refugee who is resettled eases the pressure on the Bhutanese government to take responsibility for, and eventually welcome back, the population it displaced.

Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy in 2008, two years after King Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne to his eldest son. To live up to its promises of democracy and its reputation as a purveyor of happiness, the government must extend full civil rights — including citizenship and the right to vote — to all of the Lhotshampa still in its borders. It also must allow those Lhotshampa it expelled to return.

Instead, Bhutan has steadfastly ignored our demands; multiple rounds of talks between Bhutan and Nepal over the status of the Lhotshampa have yielded little progress.

The international community can no longer turn a blind eye to this calamity. The United Nations must insist that Bhutan, a member state, honor its convention on refugees, including respecting our right to return.

Other countries bear responsibility, too. Nepal, impoverished and internally divided, is already home to large numbers of Tibetan refugees and other stateless peoples, and has not welcomed the Lhotshampa, even though we share an ancestry. Nor has it adequately sought help from other countries to manage its refugee problem. India should use its influence to pressure Bhutan to do the right thing; it should then reopen the roads it created to accommodate the exodus of refugees — but this time to allow our safe return.

But until the world looks behind the veil of the Shangri-La, I have no hope of retracing my path home.


Vidhyapati Mishra is the managing editor of Bhutan News Service, a news service for Bhutanese refugees. He wrote this essay from the Beldangi II refugee camp.


Posted on on June 24th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

U.S.-India Joint Fact Sheet: Economic Collaboration

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 24, 2013

we would like here to attract attention also at India International Cleantech Summit, October 8-10, 2013 – New Delhi, India.


At the fourth U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, the United States and India reaffirmed that economic collaboration between both governments and private sectors is a keystone of our deepening partnership. Business ties have led the way in achieving a nearly fivefold increase in bilateral trade since 2000. Annual two-way trade is more than $100 billion, while total two-way foreign direct investment is nearing $30 billion. These developments are drivers of innovation, economic growth, and job creation for both of our nations.

Working Together on Shared Economic Priorities

The United States and India have resolved to facilitate even greater economic benefits by engaging in robust bilateral economic discussions, working to facilitate greater trade and investment in each others’ economies, and discussing opportunities and challenges our industries face. Our numerous bilateral interactions complement our engagement in multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Our bilateral economic cooperation includes:

Economic and Financial Partnership

Since 2010, the United States and India have engaged in an Economic and Financial Partnership (EFP) to deepen U.S.-India engagement in core economic policy areas. Annual ministerial meetings led by the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Indian Minister of Finance, and additional discussions at the subcabinet level, have focused on macroeconomic policy, G-20 topics of mutual interest, financial sector development, infrastructure finance, anti-money laundering, and combating the financing of terrorism. The EFP meetings have featured participation of our central banks and financial sector regulators. Under the dialogue, Indian economic officials have engaged with U.S. officials and market participants in areas of relevance to India, such as attracting private investment into infrastructure financing, and government debt issuance.

Bilateral Investment Treaty Negotiations

The United States and India have engaged in bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations since 2008, with the last round held in June 2012. A high-standard BIT would deepen the bilateral economic relationship and support economic growth and job creation in both countries. Both sides look to working together to move forward on negotiations.

Commercial Dialogue

Since 2000, the Commercial Dialogue facilitates discussions on key economic topics such as standards for smart grids and intelligent transportation systems, public awareness programs on Intellectual Property Rights, sustainable manufacturing practices, and support for small and medium enterprises.

Trade Policy Forum

The Trade Policy Forum (TPF) enables the United States and India to engage on a wide range of policy issues impacting bilateral trade and investment. As part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen this dialogue, both governments plan to renew expert-level discussions on trade and investment policy issues of interest to the two countries. These discussions are intended to lay the necessary groundwork for the next ministerial-level TPF meeting later this year. The TPF’s Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), composed of U.S. and Indian private sector leaders, plans to provide input to both governments.

Aviation Cooperation Program

Under the U.S.-India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP), the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will sponsor the fourth India – U.S. Aviation Summit in October 2013. This Summit and the many technical cooperation projects under the ACP enable engagement between the United States and India in important aspects of aviation safety, technology, and management, facilitating ties between U.S. and Indian aviation sectors.

Information and Communication Technology Working Group

Through the Information and Communication Technology Working Group (ICTWG), U.S. and Indian officials work to promote collaboration and partnerships in a sector that is at the forefront of innovation. The ICTWG will meet in Washington later this year to discuss cooperation on equipment security, manufacturing incentives, cloud computing, and enhanced cooperation in ICT-related innovations. The meetings will be held in conjunction with the private sector to present issues in the context of public-private partnership.

Antitrust Partnership

Increased cooperation between the U.S. Antitrust Agencies and Indian Competition Agencies helps ensure that markets are open and competitive. In September 2012, the U.S. Antitrust Agencies (Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)) and the Indian Competition Agencies (Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Competition Commission of India (CCI)) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Antitrust Cooperation. Under the MOU, all agencies plan to keep each other informed of significant competition policy and enforcement developments in their jurisdictions. The MOU sets out a framework for technical cooperation and consultation on competition policy and enforcement. Since July 2010, the U.S. Agencies have conducted a dozen week-long training programs for the CCI on antitrust topics including mergers, abuse of dominance/monopolization, and economic analysis; and they have provided comments and guidance on Indian competition policy. Both sides look forward to additional training programs and staff exchanges – including placement of an FTC economist at the CCI in August 2013, a possible International Fellowship at the FTC for a CCI staff member under the U.S. SAFE WEB Act, and participation by senior officials in the third BRICS International Competition Conference hosted by the CCI in New Delhi, November 20-22, 2013.

U.S.-India CEO Forum

The U.S.-India CEO Forum is a unique gathering of CEOs and senior government officials from both countries that enables a forthright conversation about immediate policy issues that are impeding greater trade and investment between our two countries. The Forum also provides an avenue for both sides to identify ways that public-private collaboration could fill gaps in the market that neither would, nor could pursue alone. The CEO Forum has facilitated new collaborative initiatives in key areas such as infrastructure financing, aviation, clean drinking water, and renewable energy. At its next meeting on July 12, 2013 in Washington, it intends to further develop joint initiatives and priorities, and discuss ways to overcome business challenges.

State-to-State & City Engagement

Over the past year, economic ties at the state and city levels have grown. Several highlights include:

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s trade mission resulted in several new commercial deals in education, technology, life sciences, and energy with a combined value of more than $60 million.
Washington state’s Governor Christine Gregoire led a trade mission of nearly 50 business, education and government leaders and established partnerships in energy, life sciences, and film.
City mayors like San Antonio’s Julian Castro are laying solid groundwork for enhanced city-to-city engagement with new and existing India partners.
The Confederation of Indian Industries brought a delegation of business leaders from the state of Jammu & Kashmir to visit several U.S. cities.
The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) led a delegation to attend Vibrant Gujarat, and USIBC also sent a Chairman’s Executive Mission to participate in the first U.S.-India Business Summit in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

American Business Corners…)

The new American Business Corners initiative is facilitating economic engagement with India’s booming urban centers and strengthening U.S.-India business connections by providing Indian entrepreneurs information about trade and investment opportunities with the United States. To date, the U.S. Commercial Service has opened 12 American Business Corners in India from Chandigarh to Thiruvananthapuram and from Surat to Guwahati.

PRN: 2013/ T09-06