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Thursday, July 22, 2004

articles july 22

U.S. tribe sues Canadian mine over waste
Superfund cited in case involving Columbia River

SPOKANE, Wash. - In what is believed to be the first case of Americans suing a Canadian company under U.S. Superfund law, a tribe is demanding that the owner of a huge smelter north of the border comply with environmental laws in cleaning up waste dumped for decades in the Columbia River.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Spokane, the Colville Confederated Tribes asked that Teck Cominco Metals Ltd. be ordered to immediately comply with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order to pay for studies of pollution from the smelter in Trail, British Columbia.

The lawsuit contends that for nearly 90 years, the smelter dumped millions of tons of heavy metals into the river, with the pollution washed into the United States. The tribe, whose reservation borders the Columbia, says its members eat fish from the river for subsistence, as well as cultural and spiritual reasons. full article

Devil's Club:
A Medicine Cabinet for Alaska Tribe
Thorny Plant's Popularity May Endanger Its Sacred Role

July 27, 2004 -- In Sitka, Alaska, one of the most revered members of the community is the thorny devil's club. But the plant's popularity as a medicinal may endanger its sacred role in Tlingit culture. NPR's Ketzel Levine reports.

The Tlingit have turned to devil's club for a list of ailments you wouldn't wish on an enemy: from coughs and colds to stomach ulcers, tuberculosis and hypoglycemia. Tribe members steep it into teas, mash it into salves, chew, sip and steam it. It's also used to ward off evil. The plant, dubbed the "Tlingit aspirin" has not been approved for medicinal use by the Food and Drug Administration.

In a report for npr.org, Levine describes the devil's club characteristics and native habitats: full article

Chagos Islanders Lose Final Plea to Go Home

By Mike Taylor, PA News

The exiled Chagos Islanders – victims of one of the most shameful episodes in recent British history – have failed in their final bid to claim damages and the right to return to their homeland.

Three Court of Appeal judges in London today refused a plea by the Indian Ocean islanders and their descendants – more than 5,000 in all at the last count – for permission to challenge a High Court ruling last October striking out their claim against the UK Government.

The exiles say they were left destitute after being moved to Mauritius and the Seychelles in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for the construction of the US military base on one of their islands, Diego Garcia.

Lord Justice Sedley said today the treatment of the islanders was “shameful”. full article

Karenni State: Statement at the WGIP

The Karenni is the smallest state in Burma. There is an indigenous people made up 14 sub-tribes. Kayah is the largest tribes among them. However, the most well known is the Kayan, which outsiders often refere to as long neck or giraffe women tribes, who are being popular for tourism in the northern part of Thailand. The total of the Karenni population is about 300,000. As the theme of this year is indigenous people and conflict resolution, the case of the Karenni is suitable to the theme.

Since, the time of de-colonization after the independence from Britain in 1948, the Karenni people have been in conflict with the Burmese military troops invasion in the Karenni state. The main course of conflict was made by the fact that Burmese government once promised the right of self-determination to the Karenni people according to the 1947 Panglong agreement and broke it.

The Burmese military forces have been carrying out systematically to destroy the Karenni cultures, traditions, language, and the large areas of natural resources. full article

Uncertainty looms over truce pact
Source: The Sangai Express

Dimapur, July 21: For the first time ever in seven years of the Centre - NSCN-IM ceasefire, struck on July 25, 1997, the possibility of another round of extension is under cloud.

Never in its seven-year of life span have the Centre - NSCN-IM ceasefire looked so uncertain and its immune system so vulnerable to breakdown.

Going by the past developments, the buzz here in Nagaland is that there would be another round of extension - so much so that many are even ready to guesstimate that it would be extended for yet another year.

But experts are worried because of a slew of reasons that is going against the spirit of the ceasefire.

This despite, fervent plea from the people here in Nagaland cutting across political divides as well as from the State Government.

Why? Because for one, the ceasefire, which was primarily meant to give breathing space to the NSCN-IM leadership to explore chances of finding a political negotiation to the vexed Naga problem has not yielded any positive, concrete outcome till date. full article

Mob Rule
"The Outfit" Rips the Lid Off America's Pious Myths

Anyone who wants to understand the reality of modern America should pick up Gus Russo's latest book, "The Outfit." With diligent research and relentless candor, Russo strips away the façade of America's pious national myths, showing in great detail how the criminal underworld ­ and the even more criminal "upperworld" of big business and politics ­ have fused in a deadly symbiosis that underlies the nation's power structure.

You could begin unravelling this dirty skein at almost any point in the last century, but let's join the story at a critical juncture: 1960, when Democrats Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson battled for the right to face Republican Richard Nixon in the presidential election. Of course, bribery, corruption, violence and vote-rigging have long been an integral part of America's glorious electoral heritage ­ a shining example to all the world ­ but the 1960 election was the first time that the country's mobsters had intervened so directly, and so decisively, in the national ballot. full article

Democracy and the neocons: a marriage of convenience

By Jim Lobe
Special to The Daily Star
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Of all the delusions that American neoconservatives perpetrated in their drive to take the US to war in Iraq, the most durable was the notion that they were committed to the spread of Wilsonian democracy. As someone who has watched the neocon movement over the past 30 years or so, I find this hard to accept.

My skepticism is based on several factors, including the obvious selectivity of the neocons. After all, one has only to look at their support for authoritarian regimes in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tunisia and Jordan - as opposed to their eagerness to invade Iraq in the name of bringing democratic rule there - to find some glaring inconsistencies. At the same time, it is the neocons who pushed hardest for US President George W. Bush to cease dealing with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, though he was elected by a substantial majority of eligible voters in the West Bank and Gaza. Indeed, neocon hard-liners like former Pentagon official Richard Perle believe Palestinians should be denied self-determination altogether. full article


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