Turkey says east Med ship will return after maintenance

ANKARA, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey said on Monday that an energy exploration vessel that had pulled out of waters claimed by Greece was only undergoing routine maintenance and would return soon. The Oruc Reis seismic survey ship has been unsettling the strategic eastern Mediterranean region since Turkey sent it along with a small navy flotilla into disputed seas on August 10. Greece responded by staging navy drills with France and several EU allies near ones Turkey […]

Tanzania, Uganda, ink deal on $3.5b oil pipeline project

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AFP) — Tanzania and Uganda signed an agreement Sunday to commence construction on a 1,445-kilometre (900 mile) oil pipeline through East Africa that conservation groups say threatens livelihoods and fragile ecosytems. The project focuses on oilfields in landlocked Uganda discovered in 2006 and proposes pumping the crude to the coast via a pipeline across Tanzania at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion. The multi-national plan is led by French petroleum giant […]

Canada backs opposition to Alaska oil drilling threatening caribou

OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Canada on Thursday threw its support behind groups fighting to safeguard caribou that are threatened by a recent US approval of oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which borders the Yukon. The US Department of the Interior in August approved plans for drilling in the remote Arctic region. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that drilling leases could be auctioned […]

Germany’s first ‘green’ bonds attract strong demand

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) — Germany on Wednesday launched its first “green” bond offering to finance environmental initiatives as it pivots towards a sustainable economy, and could become a benchmark issuer in the booming field. The government raised 6.5 billion euros ($7.7 billion), in the offering for the 10-year 0% bond, with investors placing orders of more than 33 billion euros, according to German finance agency. Even at this early stage, “Germany is well on the way […]

Mauritian citizen becomes powerful voice for oil spill anger

by Shenaz Patel and David Constantin Agence France-Presse In normal times, Bruneau Laurette spends his days providing armed escort to ships dodging pirates as they head through the Indian Ocean. But in recent weeks, the maritime security expert has surged into a new role: the voice of a nation’s anger after an oil spill soiled the coast of his native Mauritius. The disaster occurred after a 100,000-tonne Japanese bulk carrier, MV Wakashio, ran aground on […]

Toxic liquid leaks into Paris river from cement plant

PARIS, France (AFP) — Hundreds of litres of toxic wastewater have leaked into Paris’ Seine River from a plant belonging to Franco-Swiss cement giant Lafarge-Holcim, local reports said, sparking outrage from French officials. Lafarge acknowledged the spillage but insisted it had been the result of sabotage, rather than an intentional act by the company. The contaminated liquid is composed of a mixture of cement, wastewater treatment liquid and plastic microfibres and comes from a Lafarge […]

Zimbabwe to return land to farmers protected by investment deals

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) — Zimbabwe said Tuesday that only foreign farmers protected by international investment treaties qualified to retrieve land seized by the government two decades ago. Former president Robert Mugabe launched land reforms in 2000, grabbing parcels from 4,000 white farmers on the grounds that he was reversing historical land ownership imbalances that favoured the minority whites. On Monday, the government said white farmers could apply to regain the titles to their land. Information ministry […]

Landmark protest in Mauritius over giant oil spill

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AFP) — Tens of thousands of Mauritians protested Saturday in the capital Saint-Louis over the government’s handling of a giant oil spill off its pristine Indian Ocean coast. The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed into a reef off southeastern Mauritius last month spewing more than 1,000 tonnes of oil into waters that are home to mangrove forests and endangered species. After the boat split in two, the larger piece was towed […]

As neighbours build dams, Iraqis watch twin rivers dry up

by Haydar Indhar Agence France-Presse DIWANIYAH, Iraq (AFP) — With its neighbours activating new dams, Iraq’s historic twin rivers could run dry — unless new infrastructure projects and tense talks with Turkey and Iran bear fruit. Nowhere is the effect on the country more palpable than in Basra, Iraq’s only coastal province. Here, the Tigris and Euphrates — on which millions of Iraqis rely to farm — meet at the Shatt al-Arab waterway before spilling […]

Gold-hunting diggers destroy Sudan’s priceless past

by Sammy Ketz Agence France-Presse JABAL MARAGHA, Sudan (AFP) — When a team of archaeologists deep in the deserts of Sudan arrived at the ancient site of Jabal Maragha last month, they thought they were lost. The site had vanished. But they hadn’t made a mistake. In fact, gold-hunters with giant diggers had destroyed almost all sign of the two millenia-old site. “They had only one goal in digging here — to find gold,” said shocked […]

Turkey’s bid to become maritime powerhouse unsettles Mediterranean

by Gokan Gunes with Raziye Akkoc in Ankara Agence France-Presse ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey’s big push into the Mediterranean featuring controversial gas drilling, tough rhetoric and warships is rooted in a grand vision of a “Blue Homeland” that takes over waters claimed by EU neighbours. Fearful of being denied a fair share of the region’s bountiful natural gas wealth, Turkey sent a research vessel and a small navy armada into seas Greece views as […]

Brazil indigenous protesters defy court, resume roadblock

NOVO PROGRESSO, Brazil (AFP) — Indigenous protesters in Brazil defied a court order Tuesday and resumed a roadblock of a key highway through the Amazon rainforest, demanding help against the new coronavirus and an end to illegal mining and deforestation. Brandishing bows and wearing traditional feather headdresses and body paint, dozens of protesters from the Kayapo Mekranoti ethnic group have been blocking highway BR-163 through the Amazon rainforest since Monday morning. They briefly lifted their […]