India: Uranium ore truck set ablaze
Transport of uranium ore from the Bagjata mine to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) processing plant was suspended after an ore-laden truck was torched by Maoists on May 7. Fifteen armed people pulled the driver down from the vehicle and then set it ablaze. The Maoists have reportedly been demanding permanent jobs for locals as compensation for acquisition of their land in Bagjata. About 150 families were displaced to make way for the Bagjata mine and have not been compensated. "If such violent activities continue to recur time and again, we apprehend it wouldn't be easy for us to function here," a senior UCIL official said.
Renewable energy provides 6.5 million jobs globally
In 2013, approximately 6.5 million people were employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide, according to the 'Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2014' report of the International Renewable Energy Agency. The figure is up from 5.7 million jobs in 2012. The largest employers by country are China, Brazil, the US, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh; while the largest employers by sector are solar photovoltaic, biofuels, wind, modern biomass and biogas.
The report is posted at www.irena.org/REjobs
Meanwhile, Sub-Saharan Africa's lack of electricity is hindering development but this can be reversed if countries turn to large-scale renewable energy projects, according to a report by the Green Alliance with the support of Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF. The region – home to 41% of the world's energy-poor people – faces an energy crisis that development models are not addressing. Laura Taylor, head of Christian Aid, said: "Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from an acute energy crisis, with 70% of the population lacking access to electricity. Low-carbon, off-grid energy can address this faster and cheaper than high-carbon options – alleviating poverty in the process."
The report, 'The low carbon energy lift: powering faster development in sub-Saharan Africa', is posted at www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea_p.aspx?id=7400
Sweden: support for nuclear power wanes
A new survey has revealed that 50% of Swedes want nuclear power to be phased out, up from 44% in 2011 and 31% in 2007. But the figure is still well short of the 75% who supported nuclear phase-out in 1986, in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.
US: Cuts to nuclear security funding
A group of 100 former government officials, peace advocates and experts have criticised the White House for planning to cut nuclear security funding next year. Cuts are planned to the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, International Nuclear Materials Protection Program, and the Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
The joint letter is posted at: http://livableworld.org/nonpro_letter_fy15/
Global Day of Action on Military Spending
Once again the worldwide Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) has shown the strength of public feeling about excessive military spending, and the urgent need to re-allocate the money to different priorities. The 2014 GDAMS on April 14 featured around 125 actions in 25 countries and an extraordinary range of creative events: from parliamentary symposiums, petitions and street theatre to 'Penny Polls' and die-ins. There were events in Paraguay and the Philippines, in villages in Rajasthan and on the Peace Boat at the Suez Canal. In California, two dozen organisations distributed 15,000 pieces of literature at 34 rapid transit stations. In addition, the International Peace Bureau coordinated a bigger presence than ever on social media, including a 'selfie' campaign, a 'Thunderclap' and lively networking via Facebook and Twitter.
− International Peace Bureau
The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database now contains information on all international transfers of major conventional weapons from 1950 to the end of 2013. A new Fact Sheet describes trends in international arms transfers that are revealed by the new data. It lists the main suppliers and recipients for the period 2009–13 and describes the changes in regional trends. The SIPRI data reveal that global military expenditure at 2.4% of global GDP totalled US$1.75 trillion (€1.28t) in 2013.
Nuclear Resister E-Bulletin
The latest Nuclear Resister E-Bulletin is available and includes reports on:
* four people arrested for blocking a cement truck to Jeju Island naval base construction site, South Korea
* NATO 3 sentenced to 5−8 years in prison
* Good Friday actions at nuclear and drone-related sites throughout the US
* two Veterans for Peace actions at Beale air force base
* a protester arrested during a drone protest at Whiteman air force base
* nine anti-drone activists arrested at Creech air force base
* Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.
To read more and to subscribe to the Nuclear Resister E-Bulletin or the print edition, visit: www.nukeresister.org
US: National campaign to clean up abandoned uranium mines
Organisations from throughout the US held an Earth Day ceremony to launch a nation-wide campaign to clean up hazardous abandoned uranium mines (AUMs). Clean Up The Mines! calls for effective and complete eradication of the contamination caused by the estimated 10,000 abandoned uranium mines that are silently poisoning extensive areas of the US. Clean Up The Mines! volunteers from across the country toured abandoned mines in late April.
Organisations involved in the campaign include Defenders of Black Hills, Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, Peace Pagoda, Veterans for Peace, Popular Resistance and others. Charmaine White Face, a scientist and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, said: "For the American public to be exposed to radioactive pollution and not be warned by federal and state governments is unconscionable. ... Currently no laws require clean up of these dangerous abandoned Uranium mines. We are letting Congress know: It is time to clean up the mines! We value persistence. We will employ a variety of tactics including legislative and judicial avenues to hold the government and corporations accountable for their negligence and community-based actions to raise awareness and clean up the mines."
Marshall Islands legal challenge to nuclear weapons states
A small Pacific nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has decided to take legal action against the nine nuclear-armed countries. The Marshall Islands is taking its case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and also filing against the US separately in Federal District Court in San Francisco. The lawsuits argue that the nuclear disarmament obligations apply to all nine nuclear-armed states as a matter of customary international law. The courts are being asked to declare that the nuclear weapon states are in breach of their obligations under international law and order them to begin negotiating in good faith to achieve a cessation of the nuclear arms race and a world with zero nuclear weapons. The Marshall Islands were used for 12 years as a nuclear testing ground by the US.
At the www.nuclearzero.org website, you can sign a petition and learn more about the Marshall Islands and the lawsuits. Other resources are posted at:
Intransigence from weapons states at NPT PrepCom
Ray Acheson from WILPF's Reaching Critical Will program summarises the recently-completed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee (NPT PrepCom):
After two weeks of discussion, the NPT PrepCom closed without adopting the Chair's draft recommendations to the Review Conference. There were some positive outcomes, however. There is clarity on where things stand with the nuclear-armed states and an emerging vision and determination about what to do about it. The logic of prohibiting nuclear weapons as a means to facilitate their elimination is hard to dismiss. Against the background of growing frustration with protracted deadlock and the continued refusal by the nuclear-armed states to meet their obligations, it is becoming an increasingly compelling way forward for many delegations.
It became clearer than ever during the course of this PrepCom that the nuclear-armed states have failed to meet their obligations from 2010; that they and some of their allies intend to push for an indefinite extension of the action plan containing those obligations; and that the nuclear-armed states will refuse to take on any new commitments related to nuclear disarmament. The nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent countries continue to see value in nuclear weapons. This value stems from these states' dogmatic commitment to outmoded, irresponsibly risky, and obviously unsustainable, notions of "nuclear deterrence". These states' efforts at this PrepCom have chiefly been oriented toward preserving their dominance over the possession and status of these weapons. Putting forward a set of hollow commitments as "practical next steps," these countries have tried to close the space for pursuing effective measures for nuclear disarmament. ...
By pushing back against any and all forward movement, nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states have created opportunity and incentive for non-nuclear-armed states to take the lead on nuclear disarmament. These states have the space now to build on the humanitarian reframing of nuclear weapons by working to prohibit them through an international treaty. This is a step that they can take, even in the face of continued stalling from the nuclear-armed states. Indeed it is a step that they must take. It is an approach will help bridge the gap between the aspirations for nuclear disarmament and the seemingly intractable legal and political landscape that exists today. And while the nuclear-armed states should be encouraged to come along, such a course of action need not rely on overcoming their intransigence. Instead, a ban treaty might be just the thing to unlock it.
Ray Acheson's full report is posted at:
Detailed resources on the 2014 NPT PrepCom are posted at:
From WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor #786, 16 May 2014
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