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Sepp44
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« on: April 15, 2007, 08:34:49 PM »

World Bank mulls Wolfowitz's fate             
          
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mr Wolfowitz has said he regrets his mistake
          
                                    Senior World Bank officials have begun a key board meeting, during which the fate of the organisation's chief Paul Wolfowitz is due to be discussed.
Mr Wolfowitz has been under pressure to quit after admitting helping his partner win a promotion and pay rise.
 Although the US continues to support Mr Wolfowitz other nations have questioned his position.
 Mr Wolfowitz is due to appear before the press after the meeting for the first time since the controversy broke.  
 British Development Minister Hilary Benn expressed regret that the question of Mr Wolfowitz's fate would overshadow the joint meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.
 He said the incident had "damaged the bank" and should never have occurred.
                                                                                                                                                 He has to decide for himself whether in regard to this mistake he can credibly fulfil his duties       
   
     
                                                                Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul,
German development minister
   
                                                                                           
                       
                                                                                       Wolfowitz statement       
                                                                 World Bank: Have Your Say       
                     
                                                             

 Germany's development minister said Mr Wolfowitz should ask himself whether he was still able to continue in his role.
 "At this point it is my conclusion that he has to decide for himself whether in regard to this mistake he can credibly fulfil his duties," Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said.
 Sunday's news conference in Washington will come at the end of the three-day meeting of G7 finance heads, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
 A controversial nominee to the role from the beginning due to his part in driving forward the war in Iraq, Mr Wolfowitz has been a divisive figure during his two years at the bank, analysts say.
 Shortly after he took on the job, his girlfriend, Libyan-born Shaha Riza, was seconded to the US state department to avoid creating a conflict of interest.
 But rapid rises in her tax-free World Bank salary to about $193,000 (?97,000) - more than the $186,000 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice receives before tax - raised questions about his involvement in the transfer.
 'Deep unhappiness'
 The bank's staff association is leading the call for his resignation, saying he should "act honourably and resign" as he had "destroyed" the trust of the international lending agency's employees.
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                   
                       
                                                                               Wolfowitz's apology           
                
                                                             

 Mr Wolfowitz has apologised for his mistake and, in a World Bank memo published by Associated Press, he expressed his "deep unhappiness" at becoming involved in her case.
 Documents released by the bank also show that Ms Riza said she was forced to leave her job because of her close relationship with the bank's chief.
 "I have now been victimised for agreeing to an arrangement that I have objected to and that I did not believe from the outset was in my best interest," she said in a note to the World Bank board.
 The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says Mr Wolfowitz is hanging on, but his position is looking very weak, with the White House the only player coming out squarely in his favour.
 The case has caused huge embarrassment to Mr Wolfowitz, who has campaigned against corruption and for sound governance since he was appointed head of the bank in 2005.                                              

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6556791.stm




Morning Report 11/11/05
Blondes Have More Funds


  But only because one of them is the vise president's daughter, and the other is Wolfie's gal pal  
Harkavy
 It should be clear by now that even the fight game is clean compared with the White House's game.  
While Vise President Dick Cheney's lightweight title-holder, George W. Bush, shadow-boxed with celebs at the Medal of Freedom ceremonies Wednesday, Cheney's secretary, Condi Rice, was working on other feints.  
As the New York Times more or less reports this morning, the Bush regime is pumping $50 million into an agitprop scheme run by Cheney's non-gay daughter, who works in the State Department. Once again, the Times is being duped and is duping its readers. For one thing, Steven R. Weisman's story says this with a straight face:  
    "In many ways we're seeing that veil of fear is lifting," said Elizabeth Cheney, the State Department's official in charge of promoting democracy in the Middle East and the vice president's daughter. "We're seeing something very real happening across the region in terms of progress toward opening up societies, opening up political systems and economic systems."[/LIST]  What the paper doesn't say is that this is the project that World Bank chieftain Paul Wolfowitz sent his girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza, over to the State Department to work on. I broke the news on September 22 of that creepy pairing of Cheney's daughter and Wolfie's gal pal. The least the Times could have done was mention that Riza is involved.  
    Insiders at the World Bank now tell me that Riza, a World Bank employee, is not only still getting paid by the bank but that she got a "non-competitive promotion" the day she left the bank in mid-September on "external assignment" to State.
    And now she gets to play around with $50 million on some half-assed scheme to slop some cheery pastels on our tortured Middle East policies.
    At least the Times's Weisman pointed this out about the Cheney cabal's scheme, which is called the Foundation for the Future:  
      Other officials, speaking anonymously to avoid being seen as undermining the effort to promote democracy, say the record has been disappointing, particularly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the United States' most important Middle East allies. What can often sound like preaching from American officials has not helped the cause, they say.[/LIST]  You can tell the Times's editors are particularly gun-shy these days, what with Judy Miller having just gotten the bum's rush ? the paper says she "resigned." I mean, the story's explanation for why Weisman used anonymous sources is hilariously stilted: so his sources could "avoid being seen as undermining the effort to promote democracy."
      In the first place, it's highly debatable whether this public-relations scheme run by Cheney's daughter and Wolfowitz's girlfriend is really an "effort to promote democracy." In the second place, the Times's headline is ludicrous:  
        U.S. Starts Semi-Independent Forum for Mideast Democracy[/LIST]  A "semi-independent forum" for "democracy"? That makes a lot of sense.  
        It's bad enough that Liz Cheney's pop wants to torture people. But now a formerly great newspaper is torturing syntax? That's going too far.
        As for Wolfowitz himself, he's bound to be ensnared in the Plamegate probe. As I pointed out yesterday, his gunsel Doug Feith provided specious "intelligence" back in November 2003 to help the vise president bolster the Bush regime's claim that the unjustified invasion of Iraq was justified.
        To keep an eye on Wolfie, check out Wolfowitz Watch, from the estimable watchdog with the bland name, the Bank Information Center.  
        And for humor, keep an eye on our secretary of the state, Condi Rice. Defending U.S. treatment of "detainees," Rice told a group of American Bar Association international-law types on November 9:  
          For the United States, an essential element of the rule of law has always been and still remains law among nations. We have always respected our international legal obligations and we have led the world in developing new international law.[/LIST]  Please. We're not that punch-drunk.  
          But we're not staggering as much as the Iraqis. Thursday morning's suicide bombing in Baghdead was bad enough, killing more than a score ? but who's counting? ? and the future is even more bleak after the deadly bombing on Wednesday in Jordan.  
          Another vote in Iraq is coming up soon ? national elections are scheduled for December 15 ? and keep in mind, as I noted on the last Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, that Jordan was the safest spot for international observers for the previous Iraqi elections. Jordan is also where Iraqi troops are trained and where much of the business of Iraq is being conducted, because Iraq itself is too unsafe.
          Jordan is no paradise. In fact, with the violence now spreading in earnest across its turbulent border with Iraq, Jordan is hardly likely to be peaceful. As if it ever was. The Hashemite Kingdom is No. 2 in the world in the per-capita export of conventional arms, right behind Sweden. (Don't worry. We're still No. 1 in overall dollars made from selling weapons.)  
          More danger in the Jordan situation: We're not exactly greeted with flowers there either. A majority of Jordanians resent our occupation of Iraq. Even our friggin' admirals have admitted that grim fact to Congress. And that was months ago.  
          A dark landscape. Good thing we have Cheney's daughter and Wolfie's girlfriend spending $50 million on whitewash.

             
           Posted by wharkavy at 11:05 AM
          http://villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/archive/2005_11.php
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 11:13:06 AM »

          Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 00:46 GMT 01:46 UK
                                                                                                      E-mail this to a friend                                  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           In pictures: Malta's hunt victims                
                       
                                                                                                                                                                                          YOUR PICTURE GALLERY IS NOW LOADING...
                       
                                             
                                                       
                       
                                                             Malta allows hunters to shoot turtle doves in spring, as they migrate from Africa to Europe, despite a decline in numbers. But many rarer birds are also killed illegally during the season.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             This bee eater was found by school children in Malta's Simar nature reserve on 25 April, with fatal gunshot wounds to its wing and chest.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             This kestrel, shot on the Maltese island of Gozo, was ringed in Finland. Both common kestrels and the much rarer lesser kestrel have been found shot dead in Malta.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             British tourists found this purple heron, while out walking with their children. It had gunshot wounds to its wing, and a badly blasted beak.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             This osprey was found in 2006, with gunshot wounds to the wing and chest. It had to be put down. A week later a second osprey, ringed in Finland, was found killed.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             There are just 50 breeding pairs of pallid harriers in Europe, outside Russia. A woman found this badly injured bird in her garden in the town of Delimara. It had to be put down.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             This marsh harrier was shot on Gozo on the first day of the spring season. It is one of six dead or injured marsh harriers Birdlife Malta has seen this year.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             This swift was reported to Birdlife Malta on 12 April with fatal gunshot wounds.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             This kingfisher had the lower part of its beak shot off, during a previous year's spring hunting season.
                   
                                       
                       
                                                             These stuffed birds, including purple heron, black-crowned night heron, little egret, great bittern and flamingo, were seized from a taxidermist in the 1990s. Picture: Joe Sultana.
                     
                                                                                                                                          1                                                                      2                                                                      3                                                                      4                                                                      5                                                                      6                                                                      7                                                                      8                                                                      9                                                                      10  

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/6609247.stm
                                                                                     
                   
                                           

                                                                                             
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 11:18:59 AM »

          Clock ticks for Malta's spring hunt             
                    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         By Stephen Mulvey                                                                            
                                                       EU reporter, BBC News                                                  
                                 
                  

             
          Malta's spring bird hunt is in full swing for what could be the last time before the country is taken to court accused of violating the EU Birds Directive.
                                                                    A bee eater with fatal injuries, discovered by school children
                    
                                             The European Commission began infringement proceedings against the country last year, for allowing the hunting of two migratory birds - the quail and the turtle dove - as they travel to their breeding grounds.

           Malta is the only country in the EU that allows bird hunting in spring.
           And according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, some hunters fire at any bird that flies past, not just the two species the government permits.
           "They are blasting at everything. While waiting for quail and turtle dove they will use swallows and house martins for target practice," says the RSPB's Grahame Madge.
           "They will literally shoot anything that casts a shadow over Malta, they will blast it out of the sky."
           
          Tip of iceberg
           Members of the public have been handing dead and injured birds to Birdlife Malta, or e-mailing pictures, almost every day since the season began on 10 April.
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                             
                                 
                                                                                                 Pictures: Malta hunt victims       
                               
                                                                       The list includes numerous marsh harriers, a bee eater, a golden oriole and a little bittern.

           The bee eater was spotted, fatally injured, by primary school children on a visit to nature reserve.
           British tourists raised the alert about a dead purple heron on 30 March, 10 days before the season began.
           Birdlife Malta's conservation officer, Andre Raine, says the birds handed in represent just the tip of the iceberg, as hunters usually hide any birds they have shot illegally.
           "The birds we are getting firstly have to actually manage to fly away from the site where they are shot and then have to be found by a sympathetic member of the public rather than a hunter, and then they have to be reported to us," he says.
           "So the chances of getting any of these birds in the first place is very slim."
           
          Declining populations
           The Maltese Government says the spring hunting season can be justified under the EU Birds Directive, because the migratory patterns of the quail and turtle dove make it impractical to hunt them in the autumn.
                                                                                                                            MALTA BIRD FACTS                        
                                                                                              Malta is a key resting place for migratory birds crossing the Mediterranean
             170 species migrate regularly over the islands to 36 European countries
             Many of the birds breed in northern Europe
             Malta has an exemption from EU law allowing it to trap finches
             Turtle dove and quail are not "threatened" but are declining in Europe
             
                                                                       The European Commission rejects this argument and is reportedly pushing ahead with infringement proceedings at full speed.

           It sent the Maltese authorities a first warning in March 2006, and is expected to progress to the next stage of the proceedings later this year, possibly in July, after which the case will be handed to the European Court of Justice.
           Birdlife Malta argues that "judicious" autumn hunting of the quail and turtle dove - which the directive might permit under certain conditions - is a contradiction in terms, because their populations are declining or depleted.
           Malta is small group of islands with a total area of about 300 sq km, roughly one fifth the size of Greater London, and only half of it is available for hunting.
           About 15,000 hunters make use of this limited territory.
           'No-go areas'
           The Federation for Hunting and Conservation Malta argues that spring is the best time of year to enjoy the countryside.
                                                                     Mizieb, Girgenti and Delimara are among the main hunting grounds
                    
                                            "This is yet another reason why autumn hunting is not a 'satisfactory solution' as a replacement for spring traditional hunting in Malta," the group says on its website.

           "Just the weather and the feeling of nature itself, are totally different."  
           Andre Raine says the sheer concentration of hunters makes some sites "no-go areas" for the public until the season ends on 20 May, and that birdwatchers can get a hostile reception.
           Leonard Caruana of Malta's Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Environment says the maximum penalty for hunting protected species has been increased to up to 14,000 euros and two years' imprisonment , and is now one of the toughest in the European Union.
           Police, soldiers and environment inspectors are constantly patrolling hunting areas, he says.
           But Birdlife Malta says the 27 police and 50 soldiers assigned to the task are unable to keep track of thousands of hunters, while the hunters - sometimes communicating by radio - can easily keep track of the officers of the law.                                               
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6609553.stm
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          Gladiator
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          « Reply #3 on: May 01, 2007, 02:52:34 PM »

          What's worse the government keeps issuing licenses to some nut that turns 18, if they want a hunting gun?:mad:
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #4 on: May 01, 2007, 07:42:33 PM »

          BP chief executive Browne resigns                
                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lord Browne's resignation was a "tragedy" BP said.
                       
                                                       
          The chief executive of oil giant BP, Lord Browne of Madingley, has resigned from his post with immediate effect.


          Lord Browne said he had stepped down to save BP from embarrassment after a newspaper won a court battle to print details of his private life.
           He also apologised that statements he had made in legal documents about a four year relationship with Jeff Chevalier had been "untruthful".
           Lord Browne had planned to step down from the company in July.  
           He will be replaced by his nominated successor Tony Hayward.
                                                                                                                                                                    I deny categorically any allegations of improper conduct relating to BP        
             
               
                                                                           Lord Browne
               
                               
                                                                         

           
           BP said it had accepted Lord Browne's resignation with "deepest regret".  
           'Private life'
           "In my 41 years with BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life. I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private," Lord Browne said in a statement.
           "It is a matter of deep disappointment that a newspaper group has now decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public."
           He confirmed that he did have a relationship with Mr Chevalier who had now decided to tell his story to Associated Newspapers - owners of the Mail on Sunday.
           However, he added: "These allegations are full of misleading and erroneous claims. In particular, I deny categorically any allegations of improper conduct relating to BP."
                                                                                                                                                                    Lord Browne has been hoist on the petard of how he tried to block Mr Chevalier's interview ? though not by the substance of what Mr Chevalier claimed in that interview        
             
               
                                                                           Robert Peston
          BBC Business Editor
             
                                                                                                         

                       Read Robert Peston's blog        
                             
           
          Lord Browne went to the House of Lords to try to win permission to appeal against earlier rulings which followed private hearings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal that would allow some details to be published.
           
          The outgoing boss said that he had initially lied to the court about the circumstances in which he had met Mr Chevalier, because of "embarrassment and shock" at the revelations.
           High Court judge, Lord Justice Eady said that he was not allowed to make allowances for the "white lie" told by Lord Browne.
           Under fire
           BBC Business Editor Robert Peston called the resignation a "sad end to what was, until recently, a distinguished career".  
           He added that there probably were bigger blows to Lord Browne's reputation, such as an explosion at the Texas refinery that killed BP workers and led to stinging criticism of the firm.
           Lord Browne had been at the helm of the company for more than a decade, however in recent months he had come under fire over the company's safety culture and his huge retirement package.
                                                                                                                                                                    It is a tragedy that he should be compelled by his sense of honour to resign in these painful circumstances        
             
               
                                                                           Peter Sutherland
          BP Chairman
             
                                                                         

           
           Because of his decision to leave the firm early he will forfeit a significant chunk of those earnings.
           BP chairman Peter Sutherland said that a review into allegations that company assets and resources had been abused were "unfounded or insubstantive".
           "It is a tragedy that he should be compelled by his sense of honour to resign in these painful circumstances," he added.
           The Mail on Sunday, said that it was Lord Browne who had "made his private life a public issue" by lying in court.  
           "We would like to reiterate that the story we originally sought to publish was a business story involving issues of great importance to shareholders and employers of BP," the paper said.
           Shares in BP barely moved on news of Lord Browne's resignation.
           Analysts said that this was largely because the outgoing boss was already on his way out and that his successor was ready to step straight into the top job.                                  
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #5 on: May 01, 2007, 07:56:07 PM »

          September 14, 2006
                   BP CEO Lord John Browne Should Resign, Says Group

              Filed under: Business Moves, Corporate Outrage, Environment ? TBlumer @ 8:04 am
                         It?s hard to disagree. This group?s well-composed letter explains why:
              I urge you to resign from your position at BP plc.
           Under your leadership and direction, BP is a model of operational negligence exposing the company to costly litigation, regulatory fines and irreparable harm to the company?s reputation.
           For example, poor occupational safety procedures resulted in an explosion at your Texas City, TX refinery in March 2005 killing 15 workers and injuring 170 others. In 2006, poor maintenance of a major oil pipeline in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska resulted in a major oil spill forcing the company to shut down the pipeline for inspection.
           In addition, BP is under investigation by U.S. regulators for possible market manipulation of propane gas, crude oil and gasoline markets.
           Your obsession with the Beyond Petroleum public relations campaign designed to recreate BP as a ?green? and ?socially responsible? company diverted hundreds of millions of dollars, resources and management time from oil operations to publicity.
           While you personally enjoyed celebrity status as a business leader on global warming and a proponent of alternative energy that got your picture in Vanity Fair, your business operations suffered.
           Ironically, instead of being a model of environmental stewardship and a socially responsible company, BP is the icon of operational negligence. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on image building were wasted.
           As Group Chief Executive, you are responsible for these operational failures. Your incompetence and the embarrassment you caused your employees and shareholders should result in a prompt resignation.
           A comprehensive explanation of why BP is in its current fix is here. If you think Lord Browne?s resignation would be advisable, and especially if you are a BP shareholder, you can use or modify the letter I copied above at the link and send it on to the Free Enterpriser. Or, if you happen to be in England, the mailing address is also at the link.
           More companies devoting precious time, attention, and resources to ?Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are likely to see similar scandals and embarrassments. It?s tough enough for management to run a multibillion-dollar enterprise well and to appropriately represent shareholder interests without the distractions of CSR. With CSR, it has to be darned near impossible.
          http://www.bizzyblog.com/2006/09/14/bp-ceo-lord-john-browne-should-resign-says-group/
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #6 on: May 01, 2007, 07:59:25 PM »

          BP stockholders request freeze on CEO benefits                    

                                                                                                                                                             Alaska court asked to freeze Browne's $140 million retirement package

          ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Two large BP PLC stockholders asked an Alaska court on Friday to freeze millions in retirement benefits for outgoing chief executive John Browne, saying he does not deserve compensation in light of recent crises at the oil giant?s facilities in Texas and Alaska.

          At stake is at least $140 million in cash bonuses as well as stock, stock options, long-term performance pay and pension benefits, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

          The motion, filed in Alaska?s Superior Court, asks that Browne?s retirement package be placed in a court-approved trust while shareholders litigate with BP over alleged violations of worker safety and environmental protection laws.Read more...
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #7 on: May 01, 2007, 08:08:09 PM »

          Venezuela takes over refineries             
                    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chavez handed over the refineries as part of May Day celebrations
                    
                                              Venezuela has said that it has taken control of the massive Orinoco Belt oil projects as part of President Hugo Chavez's nationalisation drive.
          Many of the world's biggest oil companies agreed to transfer operational control to the government.
           The May Day takeover comes one year after Bolivian President Evo Morales seized his country's gas fields.
           Mr Chavez has also said he wants to pull Venezuela out of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  
                                       
                                       
                     See a map of the oil fields, projects and companies affected       
                                                                                                                                                                                       Open investment will never return       
             
               
                                                                          Hugo Chavez
             
                                                                       

           The president said he had ordered Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas to begin formal proceedings to withdraw from the two international bodies.
           President Chavez has spoken of his ambition to set up what he calls a Bank of the South, backed by Venezuelan oil revenues, which would finance projects in South America.
           Negotiations
           Oil minister Rafael Ramirez said that four projects taken over in the Orinoco Belt - which can refine about 600,000 barrels of crude oil a day - had reverted to state control at midnight local time.
           Earlier Mr Chavez  had told cheering workers that "open investment will never return".
           State oil company PDVSA will control at least 60% of the projects, which have been ceded by ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Statoil and Total.
           Negotiations are continuing about continuing shareholdings and the possibility of compensation for the refineries.
           Venezuela has only considered agreements based on the book value of the projects rather than their much larger current net worth.
           Mr Ramirez has said that there may not be compensation at all in some cases.  
           More surprises
           There will be more surprises from Bolivian President Evo Morales in his May Day address, one year after he shocked international investors by seizing control of the energy industry.
           "It's going to be a series of surprise measures, and if we were to announce them the day before it'd no longer be a surprise," Interior Minister Alfredo Rada said.
           Local media reports have suggested that the measures could involve nationalising the mining industry.
           The government had hoped to finish nationalising the telecoms industry by May Day, but talks with Telecom Italia - which owns half of the biggest telecoms company - are currently stalled.
           Telecom Italia said last week that it was considering seeking international arbitration over the sale of Entel after Bolivia issued two decrees aimed at renationalising the company.
                                       
                                                                                                                             ORINOCO OIL BELT                        
                                                                                                        
                                                                             Oil projects and companies in affected fields
          1. Sincor (PDVSA*, Total, Statoil); Petrozuata (PDVSA, Conoco Phillips)
          2. Ameriven (PDVSA, Conoco Phillips, Chevron Texaco)
          3. Cerro Negro (PDVSA, Exxon Mobil, BP)
          *PDVSA is Venezuela's state-owned oil company

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6610333.stm#map

                                                         
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          marco polo
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          « Reply #8 on: May 02, 2007, 01:09:19 AM »

          in the meantime im getting tired of seeing WILD pheasants everywhere here. nobody touches them let alone shoots them. beautiful birds and it is so lovely to wake up to bird song rather than gunshots.

          Quote from: Sepp44
          Clock ticks for Malta's spring hunt                
                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          By Stephen Mulvey                                                                            
                                                       EU reporter, BBC News                                                  
                                 
                   

             
          Malta's spring bird hunt is in full swing for what could be the last time before the country is taken to court accused of violating the EU Birds Directive.
                                                                                    A bee eater with fatal injuries, discovered by school children
                       
                                                      The European Commission began infringement proceedings against the country last year, for allowing the hunting of two migratory birds - the quail and the turtle dove - as they travel to their breeding grounds.

           Malta is the only country in the EU that allows bird hunting in spring.
           And according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, some hunters fire at any bird that flies past, not just the two species the government permits.
           "They are blasting at everything. While waiting for quail and turtle dove they will use swallows and house martins for target practice," says the RSPB's Grahame Madge.
           "They will literally shoot anything that casts a shadow over Malta, they will blast it out of the sky."
           
          Tip of iceberg
           Members of the public have been handing dead and injured birds to Birdlife Malta, or e-mailing pictures, almost every day since the season began on 10 April.
                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                               
                                 
                                                                                                       Pictures: Malta hunt victims        
                               
                                                                         The list includes numerous marsh harriers, a bee eater, a golden oriole and a little bittern.

           The bee eater was spotted, fatally injured, by primary school children on a visit to nature reserve.
           British tourists raised the alert about a dead purple heron on 30 March, 10 days before the season began.
           Birdlife Malta's conservation officer, Andre Raine, says the birds handed in represent just the tip of the iceberg, as hunters usually hide any birds they have shot illegally.
           "The birds we are getting firstly have to actually manage to fly away from the site where they are shot and then have to be found by a sympathetic member of the public rather than a hunter, and then they have to be reported to us," he says.
           "So the chances of getting any of these birds in the first place is very slim."
           
          Declining populations
           The Maltese Government says the spring hunting season can be justified under the EU Birds Directive, because the migratory patterns of the quail and turtle dove make it impractical to hunt them in the autumn.
                                                                                                                               MALTA BIRD FACTS                        
                                                                                                Malta is a key resting place for migratory birds crossing the Mediterranean
             170 species migrate regularly over the islands to 36 European countries
             Many of the birds breed in northern Europe
             Malta has an exemption from EU law allowing it to trap finches
             Turtle dove and quail are not "threatened" but are declining in Europe
             
                                                                         The European Commission rejects this argument and is reportedly pushing ahead with infringement proceedings at full speed.

           It sent the Maltese authorities a first warning in March 2006, and is expected to progress to the next stage of the proceedings later this year, possibly in July, after which the case will be handed to the European Court of Justice.
           Birdlife Malta argues that "judicious" autumn hunting of the quail and turtle dove - which the directive might permit under certain conditions - is a contradiction in terms, because their populations are declining or depleted.
           Malta is small group of islands with a total area of about 300 sq km, roughly one fifth the size of Greater London, and only half of it is available for hunting.
           About 15,000 hunters make use of this limited territory.
           'No-go areas'
           The Federation for Hunting and Conservation Malta argues that spring is the best time of year to enjoy the countryside.
                                                                                      Mizieb, Girgenti and Delimara are among the main hunting grounds
                       
                                                     "This is yet another reason why autumn hunting is not a 'satisfactory solution' as a replacement for spring traditional hunting in Malta," the group says on its website.

           "Just the weather and the feeling of nature itself, are totally different."  
           Andre Raine says the sheer concentration of hunters makes some sites "no-go areas" for the public until the season ends on 20 May, and that birdwatchers can get a hostile reception.
           Leonard Caruana of Malta's Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Environment says the maximum penalty for hunting protected species has been increased to up to 14,000 euros and two years' imprisonment , and is now one of the toughest in the European Union.
           Police, soldiers and environment inspectors are constantly patrolling hunting areas, he says.
           But Birdlife Malta says the 27 police and 50 soldiers assigned to the task are unable to keep track of thousands of hunters, while the hunters - sometimes communicating by radio - can easily keep track of the officers of the law.                                                      
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6609553.stm
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          Sepp44
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          « Reply #9 on: May 02, 2007, 09:09:03 PM »

          Ex-Hungary ruler's tomb attacked             
                    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Janos Kadar remains a controversial figure in modern Hungary
                    
                                              The grave of Hungary's last communist ruler has been vandalised and his remains may have been stolen, officials in Budapest have said.
          Police are checking whether the body of Janos Kadar and an urn containing his wife's remains were removed.
           Graffiti reading "a murderer and traitor may not rest in holy ground" was daubed nearby.
           His supporters say Kadar set relatively high living standards but critics say his opponents were tortured and killed.  
           'Murderer and traitor'
           Police have formed a 10-member forensic investigation team to track any missing remains.
           The vandals removed a marble cover stone and broke into the coffin.
           Budapest police spokesman Endre Kormos told Reuters news agency: "It's a relatively small hole so it's possible they were jostled around and we just can't see them, but at this point it's more likely they were taken."
           Kadar and his wife, Maria Tamaska, were buried together at Kerepesi Cemetery in the capital.
           The graffiti was painted on a nearby memorial to communist workers.
           Kadar ruled Hungary for 32 years from 1956, when Soviet troops crushed an anti-communist uprising.
           He remains a controversial figure in modern Hungary.
           While opponents claim thousands of opponents of communism were tortured, imprisoned or killed during his regime, others remember him as Hungary's greatest statesman.
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6616729.stm
                                        
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