Earth Rise – Happy Earth Day!

Earth Rise Happy Earth Day!

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Navajo uranium mine workers seek health assistance

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SANOSTEE — A grassroots effort to help uranium mine workers’ children affected by diseases and birth defects is picking up steam on the Navajo Nation.The Navajo Nation Dependents of Uranium Workers Committee will meet for the second time in a month to update community members and hear feedback from residents who suffer from cancer, kidney disease, birth defects and other illnesses resulting from prolonged radon exposure from uranium mines.

The health problems date back to work in the 1950s and ’60s, said Phil Harrison, Council Delegate for Red Valley/Cove Chapter of the Navajo Nation. During that time, uranium mine workers were exposed to high levels of radon, which has caused inter-generational bouts of illnesses in communities across the Navajo Nation.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about this in the public,” Harrison said.

Veteran welcomes nuclear test probe

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A NUCLEAR test veteran has described the Government’s decision to investigate their health concerns as the “news they had been waiting for”.

Veterans believe they have suffered illnesses – including cancers, skin defects and fertility problems – because of exposure to ionising radiation during tests on the Australian mainland, Monte Bello Islands and Christmas Island during the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s.

Now the Government has announced that officials would work with a representative sample of veterans and their offspring to investigate ongoing health concerns.

Peru: indigenous occupy Amazon airfield

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On the morning of April 16 at least 200 indigenous Yashínanka and Yines occupied the airport in Atalaya, capital of Atalaya province, Ucayali region, in Peru’s Amazonian area. The Inter-Ethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Forest (AIDESEP) had been leading a strike since April 13 (or earlier, according to one source) around demands for the repair of environmental damage and for an end to illegal cutting and to the granting of land for mining and oil drilling without consultation with the local communities. The protesters also demanded that the government drop the proposed Law 840/2006, known as the “Law of the Forest,” which would increase private investment in the development of state-owned forests.

AIDESEP vice president Daysi Zapata Fasabi said Prime Minister Yehude Simon had promised to hold a dialogue with the indigenous groups on April 16, but the government announced on April 13 that the meeting was postponed until April 20. “The government is laughing at the indigenous people,” she told the media. “We’ve been disrespected again.” The occupation of the airport was said to be disrupting operations by the Repsol, Pluspetrol and Petrobras oil companies since it kept employees from reaching the companies’ camps. AIDESEP leaders said 1,350 indigenous communities supported the strike, which could escalate to include the blockage of rivers like the Urubamba if the government doesn’t pay attention to the demands. (El Comercio, Peru, April 16; La Primera, Peru, April 17; La República, Peru, April 20)

Let Vanunu go

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Like a modern-day Cain, Mordechai Vanunu walks the streets of East Jerusalem in search of a place to spend the night. He has no permanent address, and because of a cash shortage he moves from one cheap hostel to the next. He is forbidden to talk with foreigners. With Israelis he does not wish to speak. The Arabs in East Jerusalem do not try to befriend him, fearing trouble. He is a difficult and complicated man. His belief in his principles is stern and dogmatic, but is also cause for bewilderment. Even his family and most of his few supporters abroad have cut off contact.

His financial situation as well as his physical and mental health is deteriorating. But Israel, to paraphrase Gene Pitney, is “a state without mercy.” The security authorities and the courts, which back them almost automatically, are time and again after him. This is a vindictive, closed system that intends to apply the law as severely as possible. This week Home Front Command, one of the authorities dealing with Vanunu’s case, called in his attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard to tell them that the warrants restricting Vanunu’s freedom of movement and speech will remain unchanged. A similar announcement will be made by the Interior Ministry. Moreover, Vanunu still faces a four-month prison term for violating the restrictions – because he tried to enter Bethlehem on Christmas and spoke with foreign reporters. He has appealed to the Supreme Court.

France “skips” Algeria name from map of nuclear test sites

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French Ministry of Defence has yet concluded the elaboration of a bill on the compensation of nuclear tests victims, as of last 30 March. Such a bill comprises an implicit recognition of the French State of her responsibility towards damages incurred to Algerians from 13 February 1960 to 31 December 1967.

Still, the same bill does not determine the kind of illnesses subject to compensation. In fact, the bill designers have let such an issue to State Council to decide on, through a decree.
However, although the bill has cited the names of sites where France had tested its nuclear weapons, in its colonies in Pacific Islands, including Mururoa and Polynesia; the name of Algeria is not mentioned at all. Article II of the bill mentions “the Sahara and Oasis,” without specifying where they are exactly situated.
Actually, El Khabar has known that associations of French nuclear test victims in France and Polynesia are working on forcing introducing some amendments on the bill to set more clarification on the responsibility of the French State, as well as clinching an explicit recognition that guarantees them their rights, more than a mere “medical” compensation