At The Finish Line…Where Only The Truth Matters

first_imgBILL NEAL•    Next to the last call for ya . . . The 2nd Annual Pittsburgh City League Hall of Fame Inductions coming up on Saturday, October 17th is now Officially SOLD OUT!  But don’t let that stop you from trying to get a ticket . . . But Good Luck with that.  And don’t say I didn’t warn you about the sell out.•    Now if you don’t get in the Awards Show, you can still get in the After Party. . . Maybe . . .  Maybe!  The After Party is at The SAVOY Downtown right before the Strip District on Penn Avenue.  Starts after the Awards about 10:30-11:00 pm.  Hope to see ya there.•    Speaking of seeing things have you the “Champion Chase” on PCNC?  Ty Miller, The Legend Dee Thompson, Coach Rob Thomas, and of course, “Smokin’ Jim” Frazier.  But never mind those Hard Hats you want to tune in to see the most beautiful women on local T.V. and the wife of my good friend and one of the area’s all time great basketball stars Rico Appendanza.  (A Connie Hawkins League Hall of Famer and a member of the SkyWalkers Club.)  MRS. APPENDANZA YOU ARE THE TRUE STAR OF THAT SHOW!!!•    And speaking of Beautiful women, have you seen the latest lady on ESPN?  Cari Champion.  Beautiful, talented and knows the game.  Now another reason to watch the sports channel.•    Oh yea, I almost forgot.  “Your” Pittsburgh Pirates are done, finished, over . . . Let me put it this way.  Pittsburgh Pirates you got knocked XXXX OUT!!•    Go-To-The-Bank . . . . Get all your money out and put it on this.  The Steelers led by Michael Vick win in San Diego against the Chargers and they’ll win Big.  And that you can take back to the Bank!last_img read more

Tottenham have a big money replacement lined up if Christian Eriksen signs for Real…

first_imgAdvertisement 15efuNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsgeWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eda( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 3efdaWould you ever consider trying this?😱hchke9Can your students do this? 🌚omuc76Roller skating! Powered by Firework Tottenham Hotspurs want to bag Ajax’s brilliant young player Frenkie De Jong as soon as possible as Real Madrid have launched as they know they might have to give up Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid.Advertisement Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have already joined the race to sign De Jong and PSG are in pole position after telling Ajax they are ready to pay 67million pounds.Advertisement While Madrid are looking to sign De Jong as they want to revamp an ageing squad, Spurs have responded by contacting De Jong’s agent, Ali Dursun, and giving him guarantees that will match the current highest bid for his client.Tottenham know they will have to spend bigger than ever before to replace the 26-year-old Danish international – with a move to their new 1billion pounds stadium looming and manager Mauricio Pochettino wanted by Manchester United.Advertisement Their current transfer record is the 42million pounds they paid Ajax for Davinson Sanchez in 2017. But Tottenham would bank more than 100million pounds from the sale of Eriksen, who has told his Monaco-based Dutch agent Martin Schoots that he will only leave Spurs to join a top club in Spain.If De Jong signs with Tottenham, he will have the opportunity to play with former Ajax players Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Advertisementlast_img read more

Missing man Keith Bean

first_imgPolice are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing man Keith Bean. The 35-year-old was last seen on Kangan…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Connacht GAA Club Championship Fixtures

first_imgAIB Connacht Club Intermediate Football Championship 2016:Quarter final: Monivea Abbey 1-16 Kilmore (Roscommon) 0-9Semi Final 1: Ballinamore (Leitrim) v St Molaise Gaels (Sligo); Sunday, Nov 6th 2.30pm Carrick on ShannonSemi Final 2: Monivea Abbey v Kiltimagh/Westport/Shrule Glencorrib (Mayo); Sunday, Nov 6th 2.30pm MacHale Park, Castlebar 2.30pmFinal: Sunday, Nov 20th Connacht GAA AIB Club Junior Football Championship 2016:Semi Final 1: Creggs (Roscommon) v St Michaels (Sligo); Sunday, Nov 6th 2.30pm Markiewicz ParkSemi Final 2: Oranmore Maree v Louisburgh (Mayo); Sunday, Nov 6th 2.30pm Tuam StadiumFinal: Sunday, Nov 19th Quarter final: Tourlestrane v Castlebar Mitchells or Knockmore; Saturday, Nov 5th 2.30pm Markiewicz ParkSemi Final 1: Corofin v Tourlestrane/Castlebar or Knockmore; Sunday, Nov 13th 2.30pm MacHale Park, Castlebar (or Galway venue if Tourlestrane win)Semi Final 2: St Brigids (Roscommon) v Aughawillan (Leitrim); Sunday, Nov 13th 2.30pm Venue TBCFinal: Sunday, Nov 27th AIB Connacht Club Senior Football Championship 2016: With the Galway county finals now completed in hurling and football, 5 clubs will now look forward to participating in the upcoming Connacht Club Championships, while senior hurling champions St Thomas’ go straight into the All Ireland semi finals in February. Senior football champions Corofin, Intermediate football champions Monivea Abbey and Junior football winners Oranmore Maree are joined by Intermediate Hurling champions Ahascragh Fohenagh and Junior Hurling winners Micheal Breathnachs in provincial action over the next few weeks, all hoping to make it all the way to Croke Park in early 2017! Connacht GAA AIB Club Junior Hurling Championship 2016:Semi Final: Calry St Josephs (Sligo) v Cluainín (Leitrim); Monday, Oct 31st 2.30pm Leitrim VenueFinal: Micheal Breathnach v Calry St Josephs or Cluainín; Sat Nov 5th Connacht GAA CentreAll Ireland Quarter Final: Connacht Winners v Britain; Nov 19th/20thprint WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email Connacht GAA AIB Club Intermediate Hurling Championship 2016:Semi Final: Tooreen or Ballyhaunis (Mayo) v Oran or Four Roads (Roscommon); Monday, Oct 31st 2.30pm AthleagueFinal: Ahascragh Fohenagh v Tooreen/Ballyhaunis or Oran/Four Roads; Sunday, Nov 6th Athleaguelast_img read more

NUI Galway Name Team For Walsh Cup Opener

first_imgNUIG’s opening game in the Walsh Cup against Laois has been moved from its original venue of Abbeyleix to Rathdowney with throw in at 2pm. NUI Galway have named their starting fifteen for Sunday’s game with Thirteen from Galway Clubs, Six from Clare and three from Tipperary named in the panel. Cathal Tuohy (Tommie Larkins) (Galway)Barry Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge) (Clare)Ger Fennelly (Ballingarry) (Tipperary)Ger Forde (Ardrahan)(Galway)Conor Ryan (Eire-og, Nenagh)(Tipperary)Conor Cleary (Kilmaley)(Clare)Michael Connelly (Liam Mellows)(Galway)Ian Fox (Sarsfields)(Galway)Oisin Donnellan (Feakle)(Clare)Con Smyth (Feakle)(Clare)Sam Conlon (Roscrea)(Tipperary)Gearoid Loughnane (Loughrea)(Galway)Ger Hennelly (Ardrahan) (Galway)Aidan Helebert (Gort)(Galway)Pearse McCrann (Ardrahan) (Galway).Colum Devine (St Josephs Doora Barefield)(Clare)Kevin McHugo (Tommie Larkins)(Galway)Jack Commins (Gort)(Galway)Stephen Whelan (Ardrahan)(Galway)Stephen Barrett (Liam Mellows)(Galway)Shane Moloney (Rahoon/Newcastle)(Galway)Fergus Killeen (Corofin)(Clare)The Management team areTony Ward, Tony Og Regan, Peter Fahy, John ComminsGAA Officer: Michael O Connor.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email The Panel is:last_img read more

Oileáin Árann Hosts West of Ireland Offshore Racing Event This Weekend

first_imgAction from Last Year’s Races In Lahinch. The wonderful and scenic surroundings of Oileáin Árann will be the host venue for the 2017 West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA) races this year with the first races underway tomorrow (Wednesday). For the first time ever, Cumann Huicéirí na Gaillimhe and WIORA have joined forces to organise an event to include both Galway Hookers and modern yachts racing side by side, on Sat 8th July. There will be serious bragging rights up for grabs!Club Seoltóireacht Arainn is unique. As the only Gaeltacht sailing club in Ireland! The club was recognised as a Category 1 Sailing Club by the board of the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) in April 2017. They run very successful Summer sailing courses on Inismór, mainly for the children of adults that were born on the island but now live elsewhere. These kids return to Aran to stay with grandparents and attend these Summer courses. They will also be running swimming lessons in the inner harbour during WIORA week and part of the harbour will be closed off for this event.Through huge voluntary effort, spearheaded by marine related businesses around Galway Bay, and with the permission of Galway County Council, the committee is set to achieve something that government departments has failed to deliver over many decades! They will be installing a 100m marina of floating pontoons in time for the event. Pontoon layout enclosed. No government funding has been provided to fund this pontoon development. This is a really exciting development for the island and has the potential to attract many of the travelling Irish, French and English yachts to tie up at Kilronan as they make the trip up the west coast. It also provides an excellent facility for future regattas to be run on the island.WIORA Aran 2017 is expected to see a revival of the fortunes of this event, following the economic crash, with up to 50 yachts racing and another 30 cruising yachts attending the event as observers. We expect up to 500 sailors on Inishmor all week long!This is the 40th anniversary of an overnight race to Kilronan, run by Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC). Back in 1977, the commodore of GBSC was FF minister Bobby Molloy who regularly raced his yacht to Aran. The late ex-minister remains very popular in Aran for his tireless work to develop the islands. To commemorate the event, the WIORA committee has decided to dedicate a race to his memory. His widow, Phyllis, is traveling to the islands for the weekend to present the race winner prize at the Saturday night prizegiving.Cormac MacDonnacha is the head of the organizing committee for WIOR. He Spoke to John MulliganAudio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The Racing continues until Saturday.Action from Last Year’s Races In Lahinch.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Emailcenter_img The West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA) is an association made up of some 12 sailing clubs with racing fleets from Donegal to Kerry. The annual yacht racing championships are normally held in one of the bigger clubs along the west coast every year. However, for the first time ever, the members of WIORA voted in 2015 to award the hosting of the 2017 event to the fledgling outfit, Club Seoltóireacht Árainn.last_img read more

Irish Golfing Unions set to merge

first_imgThe ILGU and GUI will now prepare for EGMs of the organisations at which affiliated clubs will vote on the Proposal. In the coming months, Information Packs containing important details regarding the new organisation will be prepared and issued to affiliated clubs. The packs will include the Proposal and all information pertinent to clubs, in the form of an Executive Summary and Frequently Asked Questions.The EGMs are expected to be held before the end of 2018, with the club briefings being held in advance of the vote date. The ILGU and the GUI will hold separate club briefings with their respective ladies and men’s clubs in advance of the vote date. The exact date(s) for the briefings and the EGMs will be agreed by the respective Boards, with affiliated clubs being notified in due course.If the clubs of the ILGU and GUI support the proposal, a transitions phase will commence during which the GUI, ILGU and Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) will be wound down and the new body will be established to carry out all activities currently undertaken by the three organisations.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email Following extensive discussions and consultation, the Boards of the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) have approved a Proposal which provides for the formation of a single governing body for Golf in Ireland.last_img read more

‘Everyone seems to be flying’ – Galway star McDonagh

first_imgby Conor McKenna  Galway are aiming for a third successive crown – anda seventh in eight seasons – against their arch-rivals. “Thankfully we’ve no injury worries. Everyone’sactually back. We’ve had a couple of girls come back from injury so everyoneseems to be flying it now which is a real positive,” said McDonagh. “Trainings are getting very intense and everyone’strying to get their foot into that starting 15 so it’s encouraging getting allthe girls back,” added McDonagh, speaking in Dublin as the Ladies GaelicFootball Association’s new Insurance partner AIG announced exclusive discountson car and home insurance for LGFA members and their families. McDonagh is hoping that her side can deliver abetter performance than their male counterparts did last week – and she’sexcited ahead of Sunday’s clash with Mayo at Elvery’s MacHale Park, which willbe shown LIVE on the LGFA’s Facebook Page (4pm). “I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited for thegame. The last game we played was the League final. Bit of a disappointmentafter that game so we’re looking forward to getting going again and facing Mayoon Sunday.“Hopefully we can put on a bit of a betterperformance than the Galway men’s footballers did,” she said.McDonagh was happy with her sides Lidl National Leaguecampaign, as Galway finished top of the table but suffered defeat against Corkin the showpiece Division 1 decider at Parnell Park. “I thought it was quite an encouraging campaign.We’ve a lot of positives to take out of it. We did reach the final, we hadquite a respectable couple of games. We finished top of the table so there wasdefinitely plenty of positives to take from it,” said McDonagh. Stephen Glennon left his position as Galway manager atthe end of the 2018 campaign, with Tim Rabbitt replacing him, although McDonaghconfirmed that Glennon was the only member of the management team to vacatetheir position. “Stephen was the only one that stepped down. TimRabbitt was a selector on the panel and he stepped up and the rest of themanagement have stayed the same. I think the management in place now areabsolutely brilliant and anything that we ask for they give it to us.“Everyone is on the same page and has been now forthe past three years so it’s definitely positive. Everyone has the one focusand we all know how we’re going to get there. Everyone’s on board and everyoneis of the same similar mindset,” she said.McDonagh is pleased with the new championshipformat, as it replaces the long gap after the provincial final which she wasnot a fan of.“For the likes of us that only have one game in theprovincials it gives us those extra couple of games that you have instead ofjumping straight into a quarter final.“I think in 2017 we had something like an eight-week layover which in my opinion is way too long to keep the girls focused and motivated so I definitely think those couple of games are really of benefit to us,” she added.LGFA players from left, Niamh Carr of Donegal, Áine McDonagh of Galway, Ciara Trant of Dublin and Eimear Scally of Cork were at today’s announcement of AIG’s exclusive insurance offers to LGFA members. As Official Insurance Partner of the LGFA, AIG revealed exclusive 15% off car insurance & 25% off home insurance for all LGFA members and their families. All adult Intercounty LGFA players receive 25% off car insurance. Find out more about these exclusive LGFA insurance deals on Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email Galway footballer Aine McDonagh has revealed thatthe Tribeswomen will be at full strength for next Sunday’s TG4 Connacht SeniorFinal against Mayo. last_img read more

Madagascar mine ignites protests, community division

first_imgAn Australian mining company, Base Resources, plans to break ground soon on a mineral sands mining project in southwestern Madagascar.Base Resources says the project represents a development opportunity for the region. It has the support of most government officials and local mayors.But local opposition groups have called for an end to the project, citing the negative environmental impact it could have and insisting that it’s been made possible only through corrupt land deals.The battle over the project has played out in the Malagasy media for several years and is reaching a fever pitch as the project nears fruition. In the latest development, a Madagascar court released nine community members held for six weeks on accusations of participating in the destruction of Base Resources’ exploration campsite. FIANARANTSOA, Madagascar — Last month, a Madagascar court ended a six-week saga for people in the southwestern village of Benetse, near the city of Toliara. Nine members of the community had been detained without trial for several weeks following an act of civil disobedience against an Australian mining company, Base Resources, that plans to break ground soon on a mineral sands project in the area.Their friends and family in Benetse went to great lengths, literally, to support the nine after they were detained. In late May, more than a dozen villagers traveled for the first time to Fianarantsoa, a city hundreds of miles away on the country’s high plateau. But they weren’t able to enjoy the red gullied landscape of the highlands, so unlike the spiny forests and baobob trees back home in the dry, flat southwest. They were in Fianarantsoa to see their loved ones — small-scale farmers who had lately become known as the “Toliara 9” — stand trial.Emma Vazonandrasana and others in a bush taxi on the way home to the village of Benetse. They’d gone to Fianarantsoa, a city in the country’s central highlands, to support nine friends and family members who’d been detained for their alleged role in the destruction of Base Resources’s property. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.The nine men were apparently part of a group of around 40 community members that burned and vandalized Base Resources’ exploration campsite in April. In early May, authorities arrested the nine, charged them with arson, destruction of property, and forming a mob, and transferred them to prison in Fianarantsoa. They were scheduled to go before a judge on May 24, but at the last moment the trial was postponed for two weeks.“We are disappointed,” Emma Vazonandrasana, who was among those who made the 12-hour taxi-bus trip to Fianarantsoa, and whose brother and father were among the nine, told Mongabay the next day. “We spent so much time and money to be there. We are tired, tired of worrying, tired of the travel. We thought they would be released today.”However, Vazonandrasana’s side received welcome news on June 13, when the nine men were released. They were convicted of unarmed gathering without permission and given six-month prison sentences, but the sentences were suspended. The court gave the nine the benefit of the doubt with regard to arson and destruction of property.Civil society groups in Madagascar rejoiced at the verdict, even if they deemed the conviction and suspended sentence unfair. “It’s nice to see that this system works from time to time!” Ketakandriana Rafitoson, executive director of Transparency International Initiative Madagascar, wrote in response to an emailed communiqué from civil society groups that Mongabay received.The battle over the mineral sands project has played out in the Malagasy media for several years and is reaching a fever pitch as the project nears fruition. Base Resources plans to start construction this year and says the project represents a development opportunity for the region. It has the support of most government officials and local mayors. The company calls its deposit near Toliara “world class” and has indicated, in a televised interview, that it will have the highest profit margins of any mineral sands project in the world. But opposition groups based in Toliara, Benetse and nearby villages have called for an end to the project, citing the negative environmental impact it could have and insisting that it’s been made possible only through corrupt land deals.The prison in Fianarantsoa where the “Toliara 9” were held from early May until June 13. The prosecutor denied Mongabay access to the nine men while they were detained, saying that such visits weren’t allowed before the trial. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Demand for whitenessThe ultimate cause of the controversy is consumer demand for whiteness. Ilmenite, the main mineral in the deposit, yields titanium dioxide, which helps make paint, toothpaste and sunscreen white. The deposit also contains exploitable levels of rutile and zircon, which have similar uses as pigments. Another large mineral sands project, run by a subsidiary of London-based mining giant Rio Tinto, has been operating in Madagascar for about a decade, and has also faced opposition and scrutiny from local groups.Though mineral sands deposits exist in coastal areas the world over, they are most often exploited in the developing world, where environmental regulations are lax or difficult to enforce, Steven Emerman, a Utah-based geophysicist and consultant who has studied Rio Tinto’s Madagascar project, told Mongabay. (Australia, where mineral sands projects are better regulated, might be considered an exception.)One of the risks of mineral sands mining is exposure of both workers and the public to uranium and thorium, both radioactive metals. Uranium and thorium can get into local water supplies or be inhaled as dust. Thorium levels are especially high at the proposed mining site near Toliara, and “serious radioprotection measures” will be required to make the project safe, a 2014 study by chemists at the University of Antananarivo found. The zircon at the Toliara deposit is so high in uranium and thorium that Base Resources will not be able to sell it in the United States, Japan or the European Union, which will treat it as radioactive waste.“Who are they planning on selling this radioactive zircon to?” Emerman asked.Base Resources declined to share its environmental and social impact assessment with Mongabay. “The ESIA summary is currently very extensive and we do not currently have a shortened version for distribution,” Jean Bruno Ramahefarivo, the  company’s general manager for external affairs in Madagascar, said in a written statement to Mongabay. The statement was part of a long email exchange with company representatives, who did not respond to requests for clarification as to why the length of the impact assessment prevented it from being shared publicly.Base Resources is a small company compared to the likes of Rio Tinto. It made its name developing the Kwale mineral sands project in southern Kenya over the last decade. Looking for a second project, the company acquired Base Toliara, as its local subsidiary is now known, in January 2018. The company expects to create more than 850 permanent jobs, almost all for Malagasy nationals, and to pay the Madagascar government about $28 million in taxes and royalties each year from 2022 to 2054. There would also be knock-on employment and tax benefits as local suppliers did business with Base Toliara.The village of Tsianisiha, west of the proposed mining site. The population is divided about the project. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Base Toliara plans to use a “dry mining” technique. After removing the vegetation and stripping the topsoil, the company will excavate the sand to 20 meters (66 feet) below the surface. Bulldozers will push sand into “dozer mining units” that mix it with water, forming a slurry that will then be pumped to a plant where heavy mineral concentrate — the useful bit, making up about 6 percent of the original sand — is pulled out. This concentrate will be piped to a second plant and separated into ilmenite, rutile and zircon. The minerals will then be trucked via a private road to a small shipping terminal in Toliara.Plans for the road and terminal are particularly controversial. The road, exclusively for use by company vehicles, would cut through pastoral land and divide some farmers from the land they work, although the communities are being consulted on where crossing points can be built. The terminal would be built on Andaboy Beach, which many local people consider sacred. The site of spiritual rites, it is sometimes littered with coins, and there are taboos about eating pork before going there. Large crowds gather around Andaboy on holidays such as Easter, and local fishers use it as a base of operations.A group called Zanadriake (meaning “Children of the sea”) has opposed the terminal construction plans for many years. A middle-aged member named Gano told Mongabay that he was proud to have earned his living as a Vezo — an ethnic identification associated with living off the sea. He has been a fisher and sea-cucumber diver for 37 years, earning enough to send his children to school. Like others in the group, he said he regards any agreement to lease the land at Andaboy to a foreign company as a betrayal of Vezo tradition, and one that will only benefit white-collar workers.“If Base Toliara occupies it for its mineral sands project, where will we earn our living from?” Gano asked. “Are we not human beings? They at Base Toliara have skills, so they are human beings. But we that do not have skills, we are not [treated like] human beings.”Base Toliara told Mongabay that its terminal will take up only 2 hectares (5 acres) of a large beach area, and that the jetty will be high enough for pirogues to sail under, between the pillars. The company plans to build an artificial reef to increase the catch for local fishers.Gano (in red cap), a member of Zanadriake, an organization of fishers and divers that opposes Base Resources’s plan to build a small port at the beach near Toliara, looks on as his friend Gentsy shows a video of the beach during a crowded holiday. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Fears of displacementDemonstrations against the project have become commonplace in recent years. The leading faces of the opposition are Théo Rakotovao, a well-known Malagasy musician who comes from the region and has sung about the mining controversy, and Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, a member of parliament from a neighboring area who has given rousing speeches about the mine. They have led protests at the beach and in the streets over the past two years. Representatives of community opposition groups have also traveled to the capital Antananarivo to register their discontent with the central government.In addition to concerns over environmental impact, the protests are about land rights, including cultural and economic displacement. The first thing many local people point out is that there are tombs on the land (91 of them, according to Base Toliara). The company says the families have agreed to have the tombs moved and will be given three zebu cattle as compensation, in line with Malagasy tradition.Twenty households live on the deposit itself, some of whose members work for the company and have agreed to move. However, the project will impact the livelihoods of many more people who farm and raise animals on that land. The company acknowledges this “resource utilization” and says it will compensate them for the loss, probably by the end of July, in accordance with Madagascar law and International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 5, which deals with involuntary resettlement.As a foreign-owned company, Base Toliara can’t own land; it must lease it from the national government. The government is currently in the process of buying or otherwise taking possession of the necessary land. This creates conflict because many local people don’t have formal deeds to the land they live on, let alone the land they farm or graze their animals on. Even without deeds, they have land rights under Madagascar law, but in practice these are not always honored.Even if a company such as Base Toliara does everything above board, the lack of transparent governance in Madagascar can open the door for unscrupulous mayors and regional officials to abuse their power. They decide who owns untitled land — land that has suddenly become very valuable — and this can create a great deal of resentment among community members.Manantsoa Ratsimaro, a Mazoto supporter and 61-year-old farmer in the village of Tsianisiha, stands outside his house next to campaign material for President Andry Rajoelina. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.A people divided The mayors of the five affected communes, each containing many villages, support Base Toliara. Jean Manantena Mahatokisa, the mayor of Tsianisiha, told Mongabay the mining project will bring jobs and progress as he fixed the ink cartridge on an old typewriter in his office. Although he was mildly critical of the company’s communication strategy, he said he’d seen no corruption, and he claimed that 95 percent of his constituents supported the project.The mayor’s math seemed well off the mark. Many residents of Tsianisiha and the other communes adamantly oppose the mining project. Most people stopped at random by Mongabay proudly declared their affiliation with the main opposition group, Mazoto (meaning “motivated” or “eager”).Manantsoa Ratsimaro, a Mazoto supporter and 61-year-old farmer in Tsianisiha, called the mayors of the five communes “traitors.” Standing near his thatch-roofed house, he pointed out the plums, cassavas and twining plants growing in his yard. “I’ll never agree to let Base Toliara exploit my land because my descendants need to live off of it,” he told Mongabay. “Without the land, they will suffer. They did not finish school. I will not accept the project even in exchange for a billion ariary [around $275,000]. I would spend that money quickly and it wouldn’t have any effect on my descendants. However, things that we eat here are abundant and will last even after I’m gone. [My descendants] can grow old with them.”Manantsoa Ratsimaro sits outside his house with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “I’ll never agree to let Base Toliara exploit my land because my descendants need to live off it,” he said. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.However, there is debate about what people such as Ratsimaro can legitimately call their land, and there is a current of local support for the mining project. Some people, especially those with more schooling, are excited by the job opportunities it presents. “Young people will work for them [Base Toliara]. Older people will work for them,” Alexis, a resident of Ranobe, a village near the proposed mining site and the father of several children, told Mongabay. “This will put an end to crime because criminals will find jobs. Robberies result from hunger and poverty. If Base Toliara comes to life, robbery and poverty will be no more, and the area will develop.”Some villagers told Mongabay that they think of Base Toliara in the same way they think of charities that have worked in the area. The company has already spent $400,000 on social projects, such as the construction of three deep wells. If exploitation commences, Base Toliara will be required by Madagascar law to spend $500,000 annually on social projects; the company says it plans to go beyond that and spend at least $1 million to $2 million.Alexis, a resident of Ranobe, one of the villages closest to the proposed mining site, supports the project, mainly for the jobs it will create and the security this will provide. “Robberies result from hunger and poverty. If Base Toliara comes to life, robbery and poverty will be no more, and the area will develop.” Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Madagascar’s mining minister visited the Base Toliara concession area in March and said he would report on the issue to President Andry Rajoelina, who has remained silent on the project but tends to support the extractive industries. The president’s communications team declined to comment for this article. Madagascar’s mining ministry did not respond to requests for comment.Base Toliara’s exploitation permit is of questionable validity. The Madagascar government that issued the 40-year permit in 2012 may not have had the authority to do so. It was a “transition” government led by Rajoelina, who had come to power following a 2009 coup d’état. Rajoelina is now the country’s legitimate president, having won the 2018 election, but his earlier administration had, under international pressure, agreed not to make such far-reaching deals. “The Transitional Government shall be responsible for administering the day-to-day affairs of the country…It will refrain from making new long-term commitments,” reads the Roadmap for Ending the Crisis in Madagascar signed by Rajoelina in September 2011, which became Malagasy law later that year. (It was Rajoelina’s signing of this agreement that allowed him to receive some official recognition by the United Nations, which had previously shunned him.) When Mongabay questioned Base Resources about this issue in an email, Ramahefarivo replied: “The exploitation permit was acquired by the previous owners and is considered valid.”Base Toliara has exploration rights — but not exploitation permits — at three other large concessions in southwest Madagascar. Few people in the region seem to know about these. Base Resources representatives told Mongabay that it has done no research in those three areas and does not know if Malagasy people live there. However, an anthropologist who works in the region told Mongabay that the sites are “absolutely” inhabited; that there are a number of villages and hamlets in and around the concessions, including many that are visible on maps; that the concession areas are important for rice production; and that it was puzzling that Base Resources would deny knowing that.Gano (in red cap) and other members of Zanadriake look at a map of Base Resources’s concessions in the region. One man points at the blue dot that represents Toliara, the city where many of the group’s members live, and where the company is planning to build a small port that they object to. The company plans to begin construction on the concession nearest to Toliara this year. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Banditry or protest?Ramahefarivo referred to the people who burned the company’s campsite as “bandits” in an email to Mongabay, and he told a Malagasy journalist that the idea that the Toliara 9 were defending their rights was a “pure lie”. However, the event was orchestrated in the manner of civil disobedience. About 40 protesters took action together, both men and women, in the light of day. They did not injure anyone; they invited television crews, who recorded the event; and they vandalized property, including samples of ilmenite and zircon, directly in front of gendarmes, who were also filming.The people of Benetse did not feel anyone should be imprisoned for the action. “They are innocent people who protected the tanindraza [the land of the ancestors]” Emma Vazonandrasana, the young woman who tried to see the trial in Fianarantsoa, said of the nine who were arrested, using the Malagasy word for one’s family or community land.Children in a coastal village west of Base Resource’s main mining concession stand near a campaign poster for Théo Rakotovao, a musician who opposes the mining project. Rakotovao ran unsuccessfully for parliament in May. “I entered into politics in order to protect people,” he said. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Even with the Toliara 9 now free, the controversy surrounding the project is likely to continue. The company hopes to ship the first ilmenite in 2021. Opposition groups such as Mazoto have no clear-cut plan to stop the project and seem to be running out of time, but are hoping that their determination will somehow pay off.“If the people don’t agree, the mining company should go home,” said Rakotovao, the musician and opposition leader. “They can exploit mineral sands in Australia.”last_img read more

Grassroots campaign saves major wetland in Montenegro

first_imgCampaigners have saved the Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro from development after an 18-year campaign.They lobbied European Union ministers, mindful of fact that Montenegro’s leadership was looking to join the EU, but its poor environmental record was holding it back.They also used the influence of European diplomats to augment pressure on local officials and of the internet to broadcast their cause worldwide. They won local support with their plans for sustainable tourism. MONTENEGRO — “You see, they are coming, the visitors are coming,” says Jovana Janjušević as we walk along one of the trails that zig-zag across Ulcinj Salina, a diverse saltwater wetland in southern Montenegro.  “Now when we see people walking around, it is amazing… we fought for almost 18 years.”Covering 15 square kilometers (6 square miles), the salina is part of the Bojana-Buna estuary and one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans. Thousands of birds rest here each year in the spring and autumn. Its significance to migratory birds is often compared to that of Heathrow Airport for humans, with nine times more birds passing through the salina than passengers through one of the world’s busiest airports.The Ulcinj Salina showing remnants of its old salt works as natural vegetation take over. Image by Mark Hillsdon for Mongabay.For nearly two decades, a partnership including EuroNatur, the Martin Schneider Jacoby Association (MSJA) and the Center for Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP) has been working to protect the lagoon from development, with a campaign that has mixed traditional lobbying with the power of the internet and the world of diplomatic relations.The salina is the site of the old Bajo Sekulic salt works, which opened in 1926 and at its height employed over 450 local people, producing a high-quality salt billed as ‘a marriage of the sun and the sea.’Over the years there have been various attempts to protect the salina, which is also home to over 50 different species of nesting birds, including huge flocks of greater flamingo, rare Dalmatian pelicans, and diminutive black-winged stilts.Hunting was banned by the local worker’s council as early as 1984, when Montenegro was still part of the former Yugoslavia, and five years later the site was recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA).Flamingos specialize on salt water habitats. Image by Mark Hillsdon for Mongabay.In September 2019, the salina was also designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, putting additional pressure on the government to take the necessary steps to maintain and enhance the ecological character of the saltpans.Until 2005, the site was managed for salt production, with the careful maintenance of its channels and saline pools proving perfect for birdlife. But the situation changed dramatically in 2005 when the salina was privatized, with 75 percent of shares in the salt works bought for €800,000 ($890,000) by an investment company called Eurofond, in what EuroNatur has described as an ‘opaque process.’The unanswered question, explains Janjušević, executive director at CZIP, is whether the sale involved just the right to extract salt, or all the land as well. Eurofond claim the latter but according to the local land registry, the Montenegrin state is still the registered owner.In 2012, the salt company declared bankruptcy and halted production, allowing the site to rapidly deteriorate, with criminals destroying the pumps which were crucial to circulating water around the site and preserving the unique habitat.  As dams collapsed, fresh water flooded in, says Janjušević, deterring the migrant birds that thrive on the salt water.An old canal and roadway from the salt works still provides structure used by waterbirds. Image by Mark Hillsdon for Mongabay.Eurofund also began lobbying hard for the designation of the salina to be changed from an industrial zone to land suitable for the construction of a tourist resort, putting forward plans for a marina, golf course and luxury hotel.The Save Salina Campaign launched a petition to oppose this change of use but, said Janjušević, only 3,000 local people signed it because many of them were afraid to put their name to the text. To prove citizenship, Montenegrins also have to give their ID number, she explained, and many people were unsure how this information would be used.The petition did initially meet with some success, and parliament recognized the salina as a ‘potential protected area,’ but the success was short-lived, and the decision was overturned by the courts on appeal in 2015. However, the partners were allowed to tentatively start promoting the site, with the creation of a small souvenir shop, interpretation boards and even bike hire. But access was eventually denied, as the factory’s bankruptcy proceedings were completed.The old factory and workshops at the entrance to the salina now lie derelict as gradually the whole site was dismantled, with everything of any value stripped out, including the pumps that CZIP installed to help increase the flow of water around the salt pans.But the campaigners had a secret weapon; they had arranged a special VIP visit to the site, which was attended by the ambassadors from the German, French and Polish embassies. All of a sudden, the campaign had friends in high places and the fate of the salina could no longer be ignored.Jovana Janjušević, executive director at the Center for Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP). Image by Mark Hillsdon for Mongabay.“When you have people saying something is important but they are just a bunch of ornithologists, it can be ignored,” said Janjušević. “But when you have an ambassador saying it, then it’s fact, no one questions it.”Diplomats are taught not to meddle, she added, but they can ask questions and that can ‘make the government sweat.’A key figure proved to be the former German ambassador, Gudrun Steinbacker. “In the course of our interventions and through our own investigations and those of relevant NGOs… we got to know more about the corruption around the privatization of the salina and made it public,” said Steinbacker. It was, she added: “a very questionable privatization.”“Montenegro is in the course of [European Union] accession and has to implement EU standards, especially in the field of environment and nature conservation,” Steinbacker said. “There is a huge gap between documents and reality on the ground. We ambassadors from EU countries have a right to take note of these gaps and appeal to the government to improve the standards.”Without Steinbacker’s support, said Michael Bader, who rents tourist accommodation in Ulcinj: “we wouldn’t be where we are today… It pushed everything to a higher, international level.”While the campaign had already been lobbying key EU ministers, the diplomatic pressure significantly raised the profile of the salina, to the extent that it became central to Montenegro’s efforts to join the EU. It is now included in the government’s annual progress reports to the EU, and protection of the salina has been set as benchmark for future EU accession. In 2017, an EU study said that the salina should be revitalized, with the Montenegrin government agreeing that salt production should be re-established.Campaigners also launched a second petition to afford the site protected status, this time harnessing the power of the internet and the WeMove platform to gain over 100,000 signatures in just two weeks. The petition resonated with people around the world, said Janjušević, and put further pressure on the Government until in June this year the site finally received protected area status as a Nature Park.The Ulcinj Salina, with remaining salt works infrastructure, supports a wide variety of migratory waterbirds. Covering 15 square kilometers (6 square miles), it’s part of the Bojana-Buna estuary and one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans. Thousands of birds rest here each year in the spring and autumn. Image by Mark Hillsdon for Mongabay.According to Montenegrin law, explained Janjušević, the power to designate sites below national park status lies with the local authority, although in this case the national government was also involved “because the pressure from the EU went straight to them, not to the local municipality.”“Perseverance finally pays off,” said EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer. “The town council’s decision offers the opportunity to really preserve and revitalise the salina. It’s been a long struggle.”“We will closely track the further developments,” he added. “The Nature Park logo must not become a fig leaf for the government.”The key elements of the protection are that salt production is to be re-introduced and activities such as cycling and birdwatching will be encouraged, but no new buildings are to be constructed.“This victory for nature is a unique example of people struggling for birds,” Janjušević said. “Against all pushback, against spatial planning, investors’ desires, industry and bare figures.”She said the monitoring and bird surveys local birdwatchers carry out supported their efforts.  “We have based everything on science, not just our feelings… We use scientific methods that are proven – then you have something in your hands that you can fight the decision makers with.”The campaign also tapped into local affection for the site and was able to show local people that the proposed luxury tourist development would not only destroy the salina but also provide poorly paid, often temporary jobs. Instead, they are now developing a sustainable tourism plan that promotes a more diverse range of stable jobs based around nature tourism, as well the health benefits and spa potential of the salina’s mud and salt.“I think tourism is going in another direction, and people are looking to have less impact on nature,” Bader said. “Tourists are already coming, even without big marketing, they are coming. If you push this a little bit then this area will be full of visitors, and that’s the sustainable tourism that Ulcinj needs.”The salina now has Nature Park status, achieved after years of campaigns and with the help of several European diplomats. Image by Mark Hillson for Mongabay.But winning Nature Park status is far from the end of the story, and the campaign is set to continue applying pressure and raising awareness until this unique habitat is brought back to full health.Conserving the biodiversity of the salina requires the same level of water management as salt production, said Janjušević, and an estimated €10 million ($11,150,000) is needed to restore it.But despite the fact the second petition called on the Government to identify the true owners of the site, prime minister Duško Marković has yet to respond. “The next step must be to find out who is the real owners,” Bader said. “If you don’t know who is the owner, you will not get an investor.” Article published by Sue Palminteri Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Agriculture, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation Solutions, Freshwater Ecosystems, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Migration, Protected Areas, Wetlands, Wildlife FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more