Dutch court ruling against shell, a partial victory – From Friends of the Earth

THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS, January 30, 2013 “ Today a Dutch court ruled that Shell Nigeria is responsible for polluting farmlands in a landmark case brought by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The court said Shell’s subsidiary is accountable for damage caused by oil spills at Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Though this is an important victory, Friends of the Earth International is disappointed that the court did not return a similar verdict in the cases
brought by the plaintiffs from Goi and Oruma communities. The plaintiffs and Friends of the Earth Netherlands plan to appeal this ruling, as well as the principle point of the liability of the Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) parent company.
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Posted in Economy

Iceland rebels against paying its debt, and the EFTA tribunal agrees

Iceland won an important battle this week at the European Union level to avoid paying to foreign investors for the Icelandic bankruptcy of 2008.

The Tribunal of the European Free Trade Association, resolved that no European law had been broken, and the European Commission has agreed.

Through two referendums the Icelandic people decided not to pay this debt, since it was the responsibility of the banking sector and not the country that led to the economic crisis and bankruptcy in the country. So this is a victory for them created by them, and an example to us all.

 

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Posted in Banks

Hunger: It just happens or is it provoked?

We usually only hear about places like Africa (which is a continent with tens of countries and thousands of ethnic groups, not a single unit) because of wars and famines. As if people in this continent were either killing each other or dying of hunger. Well, I can assure you that 90% of the time and places none of this happens. I already spoke over wars in a previous entry, and now I would like to highlight the issue of hunger/famines and what lays behind it.

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Posted in Economy, Environment, Migration

Clothes industry: What are you wearing?

What are you wearing now? Well, most probably what you chose from your closet this morning and last night. Making sure that it combines well, that it’s fashionable and even that it complements your mood. Now a question arises. To do all this, what size of a closet do you need to have? And where does it all come from? And I don’t mean the shop, but what came before the shop. Do you want to know? Then read on.

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Posted in Economy, Politics

Judicial system: Independent and just?

I have travelled quite a bit, and I don’t pretend to generalise over all judicial systems around the world, but I have seen a worrying tendency, it seems that the different judicial systems have a biased position over justice. And that what we expect to be a just system, isn’t quite so. In many areas we see examples of this tendency.

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Posted in Banks, Politics

Food Waste: How wasteful is it? Does it matter?

When I was a child, my parents use to always tell me: “Finish your food, because there are other children starving in the world”, and my thought always was: “Please, if you can transport this plate to wherever it is needed, by my guest”. Not throwing food away has been feed into our minds forever. The reason for it, I believe, has mainly been because our parents or grandparents lived through a period where food was scarce and thus appreciate the value of it; and even seeing something perfectly good going to waste is ethically hurtful.  It later got into fashion seeing the starving children in a nutritional crisis and thinking “and meanwhile here, we are throwing our food”.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should freely throw food away, it is only that I believe we should re-think the real causes for throwing food away, what it implies and what we can do about it.

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Posted in Health

Homeownership: How necessary is it?

I would firstly like to say that I am a homeowner and I regret it. Right now I’m tied down by a mortgage, but luckily enough I have been able to manage it well enough that it doesn’t give me headaches. But it has reached a point where I have wondered why I bought a house and more generally why do we all aim to be homeowners.

If we look back, traditionally people have moved when they have had the opportunity to seek a better place, found the least worst place, and started to grow and produce. The main issue was the land to cultivate in, not the house. Housing was secondary. With industrialisation, societies started to move into the urban settings where property was hard to come by (everything was already owned) and decided to rent. Rents were generally low and people whether they remained short or long-term, made their rented house/flat their home. Industries built those homes, because they wanted their workers close-by. Those that came and found no work, ended up in shanty or shanty-like housing in the outskirts, and this pushed in the second half of the 20th century the building of social housing by government, especially in Europe.

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Posted in Banks

Democracy: Is this the best we can do?

I have met several people that have argued that the only alternative to democracy is a dictatorship. This sort of narrow-minded view has been fed to us through our education system and through the media, which makes it very difficult to stop suddenly and say: “wait a minute, is it?”. The powers that be have made sure that any alternatives are kept quiet and that all remains as it is.

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Posted in General

The European Union: what is behind it?

What is the European Union, apart from the most recent Nobel Peace Prize winner?

If you ask most Spaniards on the street, you will find yourselves in front of a fervent europhile, praising the wonders and successes of the European Union throughout its history. If you ask most Englishmen on the street, you will find yourself in front of a europhobe, telling you of the robbing of UK funds, the silly rules they force each and every one to follow, and therefore the waist of money that the European Union represents.

How true are either statements and where does the truth lie?

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Posted in General

Debt: How legitimate is it? Must we pay for it?

Debt is a curious concept. While it remains a taboo word in some countries like Germany, who suffered in the 20s and 30s of hyperinflation caused by the First World War debt repayments, and still remain subconsciously traumatised by it,  it is a way of life in other countries like the US, where from your time in college onwards being in debt is the norm. So whist the first strive to never be in debt or at least the less time possible, the latter strive to achieve it, not as an end result, but as a mean to achieve the lifestyle they seek. But in this post I will not discuss personal/individual debt, since it is somehow culturally entrenched, even though banks help with that, but to national debt, the debt by states.

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Posted in Banks

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