Westar gets Kansas OK to sell green energy direct to businesses

first_imgWestar gets Kansas OK to sell green energy direct to businesses FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Topeka Capital-Journal:Westar Energy launched a new program this week that its leader called “a powerful economic development tool” that will allow businesses access to wind energy.On Tuesday, the Kansas Corporation Commission gave its stamp of approval to the Direct Renewable Participation Service. That opened the way for Westar to announce Wednesday that it had reached a 20-year agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC to purchase energy from a new 300 megawatt wind farm that is being developed in Nemaha County.“The KCC unlocked a powerful economic development tool. Many large companies want affordable green energy when they choose sites for expansion or new facilities,” said Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Evergy, which operates as Westar Energy and KCP&L. “We are harnessing Kansas wind to attract and grow Kansas businesses. Wind energy boosts our local economies starting with the new wind farm jobs and the lease payments to landowners hosting the wind farm all the way to the communities that grow as businesses choose Kansas.”The program offers businesses a way to meet their sustainability goals by tapping into Kansas wind energy, said Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig. “There are a lot of large companies that when looking either expanding their facilities or looking at new facilities, they’re really interested in affordable, renewable energy,” she said, adding that having a direct connection to a Kansas wind farm offers a tangible opportunity for those companies.Businesses that participate will be able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the wind farm, to be called the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, as their own. The new program is aimed at large commercial customers, she said.“It provides a direct access,” Penzig said. “First of all, the pricing is based on the price agreed to with the wind farm developer. So they’re getting to see some of the great prices available from Kansas renewables today. In addition, they are able to tell their stakeholders that they have a direct piece of Soldier Creek Wind Farm in Kansas. They don’t have an ownership share, but there’s a portion of the wind energy produced at that wind farm that is dedicated to them and is going to their operations.”More: In the wind: Westar launches push to meet business green energy needslast_img read more

Nedbank funding about-face puts future of two new South Africa coal plants in doubt

first_imgNedbank funding about-face puts future of two new South Africa coal plants in doubt FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Fin24:This decision fits with the banking group’s commitment to “green” funding, responsible lending and supporting sustainability initiatives. The bank says its initial proposal for funding the construction of the Thabametsi and Khanyisa independent power producers (IPPs) has lapsed and will not be renewed.This follows a corporate policy announced in early 2018 that the bank would no longer fund the construction of any new coal-fired power plants beyond its existing commitments to fund Thabametsi and Khanyisa, which were included as part of the new coal IPP programme in the South African Department of Energy’s draft integrated resource plan for electricity, Draft IRP 2018.The proposed Thabametsi 557 MW coal-fired power station, which would be largely owned by Japan’s Marubeni and South Korea’s Kepco, was planned to be built near Lephalale in Limpopo, while the Khanyisa 306 MW power station was to be sited near eMalahleni in Mpumalanga. The biggest shareholder of Khanyisa would be Saudi-owned Acwa Power.Nedbank says that it would prefer to offer financing for projects in energy efficiency and renewable energy, such as landfill gas, solar, hydro and wind projects. The bank says in its core business of lending and investing, it has a crucial role to play in transforming the economy and addressing climate change and that it seeks to “use [its] financial expertise to do good for individuals, businesses and society.”Nedbank’s announcement follows reports in September 2018 of Standard Bank’s withdrawal of financing the construction of coal-fired power. Currently, it appears that FirstRand, ABSA and the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) are still willing to offer funding for the Thabametsi and Khanyisa projects, but this may change. Nedbank and Standard Bank have followed the global trend of financial institutions refusing to fund the construction new coal-fired power plants.Funding is not the only challenge faced by the two new coal IPPs. Credible high court challenges (reviews of the environmental authorisations) are underway, and atmospheric emission licenses, water-use licenses and generation licenses for both projects are either outstanding or being challenged.More: Nedbank withdraws funding for new coal IPPslast_img read more

S&P: Canada to add 9GW of capacity in 2019, more than 75% wind, solar

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A total of 9,177 MW of power generation capacity is expected to be added to the Canadian grid in 2019, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. With 161 MW of capacity set to be retired, Canada could see a net gain of 9,016 MW.Wind and solar resources comprise about three-fourths of the new capacity expected to come into service this year, while the major retirement is a coal-fired plant. In two provinces, Alberta and Ontario, the electric system is managed by an independent system operator. In most other provinces and territories, the system is owned by the local government.At varying paces, provinces and territories have been reducing their fossil-fueled power generation capacity and replacing it with lower-emitting resources. In Alberta, for example, where 62% of Canada’s planned capacity additions for 2019 is located, the province has ordered all coal-fired capacity to be shut down by 2030, prompting utilities to both convert existing facilities to gas-fired capability and add new resources. In Ontario, all coal-fired generation capacity has already been shut, and the province has pushed for a combination of renewables, gas and nuclear resources.Wind accounts for over half of Canada’s planned capacity additions, at 5,200 MW. The Henvey Inlet Wind Project (Nigig Wind Farm) is the largest single project under construction, at 300 MW. U.S.-headquartered independent power producer Pattern Energy Group LP and Henvey Inlet First Nation subsidiary Nigig Power Corp. share ownership of the project, which is scheduled to begin operating in March on Georgian Bay. Ontario’s grid operator, the Independent Electricity System Operator, has a contract for the plant’s output.Solar accounts for 20% of scheduled 2019 additions, totaling 1,804 MW. The largest solar facility under construction is the Loyalist Solar Project, a 54-MW project in eastern Ontario. BluEarth Renewables Inc. and Mohawks of the Bay of Quinteshare ownership of the project, which is scheduled to begin operating in March, and the IESO will purchase the output.One Alberta coal plant accounts for almost all of the generating capacity to be retired in Canada this year. Independent power producer Maxim Power Corp. plans to shut its 150-MW HR Milner Generating Station (M1), which began operating in 1972, in December. It will be replaced with a larger gas-fired facility.More ($): Canada’s grid to add a net 9,000 MW of capacity in 2019 S&P: Canada to add 9GW of capacity in 2019, more than 75% wind, solarlast_img read more

California tops 2020 goal of 33% renewable energy

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:California has passed its 33% renewable energy target two years before the 2020 deadline. The state’s next renewable milestone is at 44% by 2024, a 33% growth in just over five full years.The California Energy Commission estimates that 34% of the state’s retail electricity sales in 2018 were provided by renewable energy sources eligible for its renewable portfolio standard (RPS). This definition notably excludes the state’s large hydroelectric plants.The report notes that in 2018, solar represented the largest portion of renewable generation serving California’s electricity load, at almost 12% of all electricity. Broadly, in the past five years large-scale solar generation has increased nearly five-fold, while behind-the-meter solar resources increased approximately 310%. As well, the state expects it will soon achieve the goal of 1 million solar roofs, with an estimated 958,000 solar systems installed.A total of 19 GWac of solar power has been installed in the state, including behind the meter capacity. In total, the state had installed 30.8 GW of renewable capacity by December 31, 2018.Of interest, large hydroelectric facilities, generally defined as 30 MW or larger, with some exceptions, are not eligible for the RPS in California, therefore generation from large hydroelectric facilities is not included in this calculation. The report notes that in 2017, large hydroelectric represented nearly 15% of California’s electricity generation.More: The Golden State is officially a third renewable, and it’s not stopping there California tops 2020 goal of 33% renewable energylast_img read more

EIA: U.S. coal-fired electricity generation fell to 43-year low in 2019

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Power:U.S. coal-fired power generation last year was at its lowest level since 1976, according to data released May 11 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).The agency said output from U.S. coal-fired units fell to 966,000 GWh in 2019, the lowest level in more than 40 years. The EIA said the 16%, year-over-year drop from 2018 levels was the largest percentage decline ever, “and the second-largest in absolute terms (240,000 GWh).” That decline is expected to continue this year; IHS Markit recently projected that utilities will burn nearly 130 million fewer tons of coal this year than in 2019.The EIA said increased power generation from natural gas-fired plants, along with wind power and overall lower demand for electricity, has driven the decline in coal-fired generation. The agency said natural gas-fired generation reached an all-time record of almost 1.6 million GWh in 2019, a year-over-year increase of 8%. Wind power generation topped 300,000 GWh, up 10% from 2018.EIA has forecast generation from renewable resources will increase 11% this year from 2019 levels. The agency said renewable energy is more likely to be dispatched by grid operators when it’s available because of its lower operating cost.U.S. coal-fired generation capacity hit a high of 318 GW in 2011 and has fallen ever since as coal units have retired or switched to natural gas and other fuels. The EIA said U.S. coal-fired generation capacity was at 229 GW in 2019, a 28% drop during the decade. Utilization rates for coal plants also have fallen, to 48% in 2019, down from 67% in 2010, based on the operating capacity at those times. Meanwhile, combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants ran at an average capacity factor of 57% last year, nine percentage points higher than coal-fired plants.EIA’s report released Monday showed coal-fired generation dropped in every U.S. region, by more than 18% in some areas, including the U.S. Southeast. The agency also noted that “Average delivered prices for coal at power plants have been declining. Through 2015, the cost of coal averaged $2.25 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) before falling to less than $2.00/MMBtu in late 2019.”[Darrell Proctor]More: U.S. coal-fired generation at lowest level since 1976 EIA: U.S. coal-fired electricity generation fell to 43-year low in 2019last_img read more

Party in Richmond with the Anthem Richmond Marathon

first_imgRichmond loves a party. Street party, porch party, block party. Party on the James River. We love to celebrate, especially if it involves our active community. And there’s no better party than the one that takes place during the Anthem Richmond Marathon, Richmond Half Marathon, and VCU Health 8k every year along the scenic courses and finish festival at Brown’s Island on our downtown riverfront. And we’re celebrating a pretty big birthday, too, which is another reason to party. That’s right—this year the Richmond Marathon turns 40(!).When you #RunRichmond on November 11, you’ll find out why it’s often called ‘America’s Friendliest Marathon.’ From registration to race day, we aim to offer the best experience possible so you can crush your goals on the way to the finish line. The Marathon relies on the support of an energetic community that will inspire and encourage you. Hundreds of volunteers spend countless hours preparing for race weekend and supporting every athlete on race day. Thousands of spectators line the course, along with bands, DJs, and cheering groups (did we mention it’s a huge party?), all with the goal of making the Anthem Richmond Marathon weekend the best of the year.The Anthem Richmond Marathon course takes in some of Richmond’s most vibrant neighborhoods and includes scenic views of the James River. Relatively flat with a few rolling hills, it’s great for first timers or those looking for a new personal best. If you need an extra burst, we’ve got energy gels, junk food stops, and wet wash cloths! Hoping to qualify for Boston? We’ve got you covered there too. The Anthem Richmond Marathon was named one of the top 25 races for qualifying for Boston , and we’ve been known to give out a special gift to Boston qualifiers to celebrate the accomplishment!If you’re really into treating yourself (and who isn’t), the Run Richmond Premium Package adds a unique touch to your experience. Let us roll out the red carpet so you can run in style. The package includes indoor pre-race hospitality near the start line, special parking on race day, access to the invite-only party area at the finish festival, and an exclusive premium finisher item, among other amenities. Like we said…treat yourself!So you’re probably saying, “This huge party known as the Anthem Richmond Marathon sounds great. But what’s a party without gifts?” We have those too. Every runner gets a long-sleeve technical race shirt, and waiting for you at the end is a great finisher medal, hat, and fleece blanket, which is perfect for spreading out on Brown’s Island and enjoying some post-race food, live music, and Sierra Nevada beer at the finish festival.The 40th running of the Anthem Richmond Marathon on November 11 promises to be the best yet, so register now to secure your spot. Richmond is an incredibly special place with a vibrant culture that’s gaining national recognition, and we are excited to show you why!last_img read more

Bambi Meets Godzilla, Bubba Meets Jesus

first_imgOne area in the New, Bubba City, got its name because prolific climber Kenny Parker and friends thought some other climbers took route naming too seriously. “In climbing, as in all sports, everyone thinks their attitude is the best. We were just having fun, and we never thought what we were doing had any greater meaning,” says Parker, who has almost 30 years of New River Gorge first ascents. At that time, he says, “Staying out of the line of fire with the locals, laying low, was always a strategy.” He says back in the 80s and early 90s, much of the land, like Endless Wall, was still privately owned. If one wanted to continue to climb there, standing out or directly disrespecting the locals was nonsensical. The Legend of Bubba How did iconic rapids and climbing routes get their names? Names have long been used to either nod or jab at others. Advocates for two styles of climbing, traditional (trad) and sport, have butted heads since the latter was invented. Trad climbing requires gear like cams, nuts, and sometimes hexes, which the climber must place in natural cracks for protection as they climb upward. Sport climbing allows for bolts to be drilled into the rock every few feet so that climbers only have to bring quickdraws to clip into the bolts as they lead. The trad-or-die tribe believes that sport climbing defaces the rock and allows for the first-ascensionist to rappel down the face, drilling bolts in preparation for a ground-up push. Sport climbers see their preferred process as an inevitable evolution of climbing, opening up more diverse rock that would otherwise be inaccessible.  The Hookup Spot Rapids often get their names from happenstance or a comical turn of events. Lost Paddle, one of the Big Five rapids of the Upper Gauley, found its label during a 1969 trip devoted to naming the river’s rapids. In a 2017 piece for Highland Outdoors, editor and raft guide Juniper Rose relays pioneer Gauley kayaker Jim Stuart’s account of the naming trip. “Crew member Barb Brown’s paddle was launched from her grip in the class V rapid just below the confluence with the Meadow River.” Brown swam, her paddle gone. Miraculously, “years later, Brown’s paddle was found with her name engraved on it. It was returned to her, but by then, the name Lost Paddle had been imprinted in the legend of the Gauley,” Rose writes. Others still, like Kenny, might have resisted it in the past but came to see the benefits of each. “Ethics wars between trad and sport were huge in the 90s; people got into fights over it,” he says. “Still, there was a lot more seriousness to the famous areas [like Yosemite]. Here, some people got serious about it, but most of us had a life and jobs outside of climbing and not enough personal energy to crusade.” This story is told in part by Saved from the Blasphemers, a route which was put up on trad gear. When someone returned to bolt it as a sport route, they were stopped by local trad climbers.  Flip through any climbing guidebook today, and you’ll find a range of colorful, silly, or cryptic route names: Pudd’s Pretty Dress, Death by Chewing Insects, I’m So F’in Hungry, and Eye of the Narwhal. Names of rapids can be just as out there but are often more candid. Iron Ring on the Gauley River is named for a big iron ring embedded in the rocks above the class V rapid. The four drops of Pipeline on the James River in Virginia were creatively dubbed First, Second, Third, and Fourth Drop. Not all river feature names are as universally accepted as climbing routes, either. Want to start an afternoon-long debate with some James River paddlers? Ask whether one break in an old Richmond dam is called Grummans or Suckers.  Outside of the sport itself, names also point to paradigm shifts in the history of regional recreation and external tension that inevitably arises from priorities competing for the resource. A lifelong James River paddler, Charles Ware recounts the fight against hydroelectric power in the early 80s. One firm’s proposal became a serious threat to river ecology and recreation, prompting Coastal Canoeists and American Whitewater to establish a group to oppose the plan: the Virginia Rivers Coalition.  Sometimes, two threads of regional climbing history come together in one weird name. Kenny Parker relays that when he was younger, many climbers started at Seneca Rocks before the New matured into a hotspot. At Seneca, they looked up to one of the most impressive climbers of the day, the late Cal Swoager. A Vietnam War veteran, Cal partied hard and climbed harder. As one story goes, after staying up late then finally topping The Bell, establishing perhaps the first 5.12 at Seneca, he bent over and emptied his stomach off the other side of the cliff.  A short profile of Parker in Williams’s New River Rock Vol. 2 guidebook, appropriately titled Kenny Never Wore Lycra, highlights his desire to blend in rather than stand out like many neon-clad climbers of that era. “Bubba” became tradition, and today it lives on in dozens of route names, from Peanut Bubba and Jam (a 40-feet 5.8 trad route at Bimbo Buttress) to Hubba Bubba (a 60-feet 5.9 sport route on the Head Wall). center_img Trad vs. Sport One of them, let’s call him Mark, had the unfortunate habit of sleeping in the buff. Mark had gotten up in the night to use the bathroom donning only boots and birthday suit. Kenny says, “I get woken up to someone outside; I’m like, ‘Mark, what the hell is going on?’ He had gotten caught outside naked by these two girls,” who were supposedly there to bait guys meeting up for other reasons. Kenny, after getting dressed, exited his tent to deal with the situation.  The intentionally-misspelled Travisty is another example of trad-sport tension. This route’s origin story is told by Mike Williams in an article published on his blog “Mike’s Ironclad Beta” in 2012. When a visiting climber named Travis bolted a hard climb at Beauty Mountain, he drilled some holds in the rock to make it easier. “After his departure, the holds were filled in with epoxy and when Harrison Dekker completed the climb [in 1991] in its natural state, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to exploit the unfortunately-named equipper. Years later, an inferior, traditionally protected variation to the route was done and dubbed the Tradjedy.” “Next thing I know, a car comes rolling up, and it’s their boyfriends. One guy gets out, but the girls talk him down, having figured out I was fine.” Parker proffers a beer as a peace offering, but the second man wants to start a fight. “I’m getting shoved while the girls try to break it up.” Eventually, things simmered down. “I think I hung out with them for awhile, and they went away. But the very next weekend, with the same group at the exact same spot, we were woken up again by the same girls,” this time asking for Parker. They hung out for awhile, locals and climbers. When asked what route name arose from all that, he says, “A number of them.” Visitors to the Blue Ridge often remark that the names of our mountains are imaginative, if not abstract: Reddish Knob. Old Rag. Little Stony Man. Used as landmarks, these peaks’ straightforward, descriptive monikers made sense. But as future generations began using the landscape less for orientation and more for chasing its many world-class crags and rivers, naming traditions evolved to tell the exciting, hilarious, and tumultuous histories of climbing and paddling in the region. Another unforgettable Kenny tale revolves around one unofficial campsite. Apparently unbeknownst to climbers, a certain bridge was a known local spot for covert coitus. Because of its proximity to a popular crag, it also became a logical spot for visiting climbers to camp. “We would drive up and sleep at pull-offs in the gorge. There had been incidents involving law enforcement,” Parker describes, “but it was sort of under the radar. We had encounters where locals thought we were there [for hookups].” He describes how one time a group of climbers were camped out at the spot, some in tents or just sleeping bags, some in trucks.  Mike Williams, a climbing guide and author of the New River Rock guidebooks, has been climbing in the New since 1998, establishing many of the most popular routes. He points out that “a lot of tall tales” characterize the region and climbing in general. “It’s an oral history. Someone puts up a new route, and they might note all the things that happened that day,” like who was with them and what they were thinking. Any of those factors could contribute to the new route’s name, but some climbers take it more seriously than others.  A ‘Travisty’ Swoager was welcoming and encouraging to budding climbers and sent routes with Kenny at Seneca. Some time later, he became a born-again Christian and part of the development of climbing at the New. His passion for his religion fed into nearly every route he established, from the ever-popular Leave it to Jesus to Team Jesus and Never Alone (all first ascents in 1985). Later routes began to play off the legendary Swoager’s love for the cross, and routes like Bubba Meets Jesus, a 60-feet 5.11a established by Dave Merritt, were born.  To increase awareness of the issue and publicize local river recreation, they conceived of an urban whitewater race day and sought sponsorship. The first downriver race in 1983 was roughly eight miles long and included the infamous Hollywood rapid, with a take-out at Ancarrow’s Landing, well below the Falls of the James. It was essential that everyone run through one particular dam, in the middle of downtown Richmond, correctly, and while local participants knew the maneuver well, the Coalition thought visiting competitors should have a visual marker. Just before the race, the river was low enough to allow Ware to paddle out to the dam in a canoe and spray paint two giant Xs on the bridge pillar ruins that abutted the proper line. The paint, supplied by a utility opposed to the power proposal (imagine that!), was said to wash out in a few days. But there the Xs remained for ten years, until they were updated to skulls and crossbones. The name of the line, Xs, was given in the 1985 race and has stuck ever since. As for the electric proposal, it was foiled. The descendants of those regional pioneer paddlers, like Ware’s son John, continue to run the James’ class I-IV rapids, while other rivers around the world continue the fight against hydroelectric dams. Names or rapids and routes can be steeped in mythology. When asked what mythology in climbing means to him, Mike Williams puts it succinctly: “Mythology doesn’t have to be true. It’s an oral history, often based on a sort of campfire mythology.” Embellished details, memories fogged by both time and intoxication, different versions of the same event… Humans are adept, if not objective, storytellers; we’ve named everything since the dawn of language. The mountains and rivers couldn’t care less what we call them, but no matter what’s in a name, the act of naming lets someone leave their mark on history, cement in some small, symbolic way their side of a great story.last_img read more

Uribe Inaugurates Hospital Vessel for the Pacific Coast with Italian Support

first_imgBy Dialogo June 16, 2009 Bogotá, June 15 (EFE).- Today the Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, together with Italian ambassador Gerolamo Schiavoni, inaugurated in Buenaventra (west) a hospital vessel that will provide medical assistance to the population of towns along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean and rivers that flow into that ocean. Initially, the San Raffaele will conduct two missions a month, 10 days each with the help of the institutions such as non-governmental organization called Italian Association for Solidarity between the People (Aispo) of San Raffaele Hospital from Milan (Italy), In Colombia, said initiative is led by the Italian-Colombian Foundation of Mount Tabor, and is also supported by several Italian enterprises, and the Colombian soccer player Iván Ramiro Córdoba, Inter Milán team’s defender. During the ship’s trip that will cover coastal areas and riversides of Cauca, Nariño, Valle, and Chocó departments, the crew will provide general and specialized medical consultations, dental care, gynaecology, minor surgeries and clinical laboratory analysis. After cutting the inaugural ribbon and naming the boat, the Colombian president announced that the ship will operate “as social enterprise of health,” and provide specialized medical attention. The ship’s mission is supported by the University of the Cauca, through an agreement for last year medical students to offer their services to society. The hospital ship is 26 metres long and 7 metres of beam (width) and it is laid out in four decks or levels: the upper deck, the main or social level, the physicians’ level, where the offices and labs are located, and another level, where the bedrooms are located. It also has a surgery and an X-Rays room.last_img read more

Honduras Grapples With Dramatic Upsurge in Murder of Journalists

first_img SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — The infiltration of northern Honduras by drug traffickers has not only turned the country into one of the world’s most violent. It’s also made life hell for local journalists trying to cover the mayhem. At least 30 reporters have been killed since 2003, according to the Colegio de Periodistas de Honduras, the national press group. Of this total, 14 were murdered in just the past two and a half years. These are astounding numbers for a country of just 7.5 million inhabitants. “Everyone feels vulnerable,” said Mavis Cruz, director of the news program Noticias a la Hora, which airs on San Pedro Sula’s Radio Libertad. “There have been so many abuses against journalists and there is almost total impunity.” The killings of reporters are part of a broader nationwide crime crisis brought on, in part, by political instability following the 2009 removal of the president by the Honduran Congress — not to mention weak government institutions and the growing importance of Honduras as a hub for traffickers shipping Colombian cocaine to the United States. Authorities estimate that several hundred tons of cocaine pass through the country each year with hyper-violent Mexican cartels pushing out their Colombian counterparts to dominate the business. Meanwhile, Honduran youth gangs provide the trafficking organizations with gunmen who can intimidate and murder for bargain prices. “Well-funded transnational criminal organizations combined with local gangs are destabilizing the country’s democratic institutions and making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world,” wrote James Boswell in a recent study on Honduras published by the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Political instability feeds violence against journalists Fueling the chaos is political instability in the wake of a June 2009 military-backed action that ousted left-wing President Manuel Zelaya. After the coup, many foreign governments cut off aid to Honduras while the fight against organized crime was pushed to the back burner as the new government focused on consolidating power and gaining international legitimacy, Boswell wrote. Today, Honduras registers the highest murder rate in the world — 82 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Caught in the crossfire are many reporters. By Dialogo July 02, 2012 “In the courthouse we are almost face-to-face with delinquents. They look at us, laugh and sneer. So we can’t even go to public hearings anymore because we are exposed,” said Tiempo reporter Juan Carlos Rodríguez. “That means we have to do journalism-lite, like covering local artisans or tourism,” he said. “We can’t investigate anything about drug trafficking. We can’t write the truth. The only way you can tell the truth in Honduras is through a novel.” Rodríguez and other reporters often request that their bylines be removed from their stories. “Before, reporters were proud to say: ‘This is my work,’” added Karina Interiano, who anchors the Notiseis TV news program in San Pedro Sula. “Now, they no longer want to attach their names to their stories.” The killings of reporters are not all drug-related. Some of the deaths are due to personal disputes while others are tied to the rise in political violence following the 2009 ouster of Zelaya, which also polarized the media with some newspapers, radio and TV stations supporting the coup and others coming out against it. Given the dangers, some Honduran reporters are thinking of getting out. Rodríguez, the Tiempo reporter, said he may abandon journalism for a job in finance.center_img Journalists say that those involved in the drug trade — including corrupt politicians and police officers — target reporters to intimidate and derail the press from its traditional watchdog function. The killers receive further encouragement because they are almost never brought to justice, says the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The most recent murder of a Honduran journalist was also the most shocking. On May 9, the body of Ángel Alfredo Villatoro, 47, a prominent host and news coordinator of HRN, one of Honduras’ most popular radio stations, was found on a sidewalk. Villatoro, a friend of President Porfirio Lobo, had two gunshots to the head, was dressed in the uniform of a special operations police unit and had a red handkerchief covering his face. “Honduran authorities must fully investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. He warned that “the deadly cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for these crimes is endangering freedom of expression in Honduras.” Reporters shying away from difficult stories Indeed, precisely at the moment when Honduras most needs an aggressive press corps to investigate organized crime, news coverage has been neutered. Reporters don’t dare probe deeply into drug-related murders and extortion schemes for fear of retaliation. Newspapers are filled with sensational crime stories that are just a few paragraphs long and say almost nothing about the possible motives for shootouts and killings. The San Pedro Sula-based Tiempo daily newspaper shut down its investigative unit in 2009 due to the growing risks. Yet even routine reporting can be lethal. Photographers are sometimes targeted after taking pictures of crime scenes or police lineups, while reporters have been threatened simply for covering legal cases involving traffickers. last_img read more

Colombia-FARC Peace Talks are Focus of CHDS Hemispheric Forum

first_imgBy Dialogo February 18, 2013 Long wracked by brutal drug violence, Colombia is finally enjoying a dramatic resurgence. The economy is on the upswing, poverty is diminishing and the middle class is expanding. Meanwhile, tourists are rediscovering Colombia’s lush rural beauty and sophisticated cities. But a persistent problem remains: the government’s longstanding battle against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). On Feb. 6, the National Defense University’s Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies explored the factors that recently led both sides to the negotiating table, as well as the chances for success of peace talks now underway in Havana, Cuba. The CHDS symposium, entitled “Hemispheric Forum on the Colombia Peace Negotiations,” featured Colombian Army Gen. Carlos Alberto Ospina Ovalle — now a professor at the center — as well as Carlos Urrutia, Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, and several Washington-based specialists on Latin America. “As we’ve seen from peace processes across the Americas, without effective implementation, even the most ironclad agreement negotiated completely in good faith runs the risk of breakdown and failure,” said the event’s moderator, Eric Farnsworth, vice-president of the Council of the Americas. “It is here that the international community can and should be expected to play a meaningful role. Farnsworth also said prospects for a binding peace agreement may be as good as they’ve ever been. “This is the best moment in a generation — and some would say ever — to think about a final resolution of the conflict,” he said. “But we won’t even get to the implementation phase if the parties cannot conclude a peace agreement themselves.” Urrutia: FARC’s prospects are ‘grim’ The FARC, which both Washington and Bogotá classify as a terrorist organization, claims to represent the rural poor against the economic depredation of Colombia’s elite. But Colombian government officials have long denounced FARC’s tactics, which include kidnapping, ransom demands, drug-running and violence. The conflict has been ongoing since the 1950s, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions of people. This past August, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that his government was engaging in exploratory talks with FARC officials in hopes of ending the conflict. The Havana talks are tentative but ongoing — and no one knows where they will lead. Urrutia told the standing-room only audience that Colombia’s military, enhanced by modern technology and intelligence capabilities, has FARC on the ropes and that it’s only a matter of time before the terrorists lay down their arms and agree to deep concessions. “FARC’s prospects going forward are certainly grim,” Urrutia said. “Society no longer tolerates its vicious actions, and [Colombian government] concessions that would have been on the table 12 years ago are now unthinkable. FARC’s involvement in the international drug trade and the international labeling of FARC as a terrorist organization has greatly diminished its standing and it has no room for improvement.” Different ideas on what peace looks like But David Spencer, assistant professor of national security affairs at CHDS, had a less optimistic view of the talks currently underway. “FARC does not think like western governments do,” Spencer said. “They have a very different approach …and the organization has a number of characteristics that make them an extremely frustrating opponent to deal with.” Spencer also said the Colombian state and FARC also have very different ideas of what a successfully negotiated peace settlement would look like. “The state defines end of conflict as demobilization, disarmament and reintegration,” Spencer explained. “FARC claims the guns will stop firing when society is transformed into a socialist state.” A general’s perspective Ray Walser, senior Latin America policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said public opinion in Colombia clearly supports the concept of a negotiated peace. “The current insurgency is a narcoterrorist organization that lacks political legitimacy and is outside the orbit of a democratic conversation. The tactics they employ are evolving, but seizure of power is still the objective.” Indeed, Colombia’s Gen. Ospina, chief of the defense chair at CHDS, said it would be foolish to underestimate the FARC’s commitment to its goals. “The goal of the FARC will not change,” he said. “They will always try to seize power one way or another.” But he also said acquiescing to outrageous demands is not an option. “Negotiating with terrorists is not a healthy practice,” Ospina told his audience. “However, we have to admit that it has worked in other parts of the world, like Central America and Nepal. So maybe it’s not healthy, but it could be useful.” Even so, said the retired general, “if the peace process means impunity for the FARC leaders and allows them to participate in politics, I will have to strongly oppose the peace process. Justice has to be served, and guilty terrorists have to pay for their crimes. Peace cannot be obtained at all costs.” let’s hope the government can reach an agreement with the FARC Well, the comments of these men have absolutely no actual substance and are based on fallacies and lies, real life is different. The useless campaign against the FARCs and the entire Colombian Progressive Movement has been for nothing, of them being “terrorists”, “narc terrorists” all of that crap they know it isn’t true, and is only intended to disgrace the revolutionary, patriotic and anti-empire insurgency. This is a military-politic struggle that is opposed to the political model of the current and past Colombian administration, and will fight it, if not them, others will wield their arms to defend its rights and not be killed by said criminal oligarchy, and this campaign will not prosper with all the warmongers (free birds) and military chiefs. In regards to this page, actually is an eye-opening page for many people who don’t have any knowledge or idea of this situation in which we’re sinking due to the ambition of the great oligarchies of the country, who sell the wealth of the nation in exchange for very little which they keep for themselves, and the poor person becomes even poorer and they don’t seem to care about the suffering of anyone. In this country we definitely need a HUGO CHAVEZ, FRIAS was right to lend him his support, he actually deserved it, but the media belong to the oligarchy and through them they brainwash the ignorant and educated people of this country I offer to the PEACE dialogues all the inventory of 56% of the municipal area of Cali, usurped by the most distinguished original families of Cali, I am a rebel with a cause because I know the almond tree on the inside, the COMMON LANDS are public property intended by the Political Regime of the Municipal’s Code exclusively to develop and execute dwelling plans, to learn to share the urban background formula for the social coexistence, which is the road to peace. If you wish to publish the memoirs that I’ve prepared for thirty years and given the negligence of Cali’s City Hall and the submissive Councilmen of Cali, I will submit under my responsibility the social work of my doing in my capacity as a 72 year-old civil engineer. ALL THE DOCUMENTS ARE AUTHENTICATED FROM LONG TIME AGO AND RATIFIED BY NOTARIES OF THAT TIME, you may designate whom you consider appropriate to verify the documentation. Claudio Borrero Quijano – C.C. 17.044.580 Bogota – T.P. 7260 Civil Engineer of the Postal Code of Cundinamarca – Former Councilmen of Cali during four terms. I’m sending a BLOG of my writings in the weekly posting at Caliescribe.con CALEÑA DIGITAL MAGAZINElast_img read more