LEBANON OIL SPILL CRISIS
An oil spill along Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast continues to spread as an Israeli naval blockade prevents clean-up crews from accessing the area. Israeli bombing of the Jiyyeh power plant located 20 miles south of Beirut, which took place between July 13 and 15, caused at least 4.6 million gallons of oil to seep into the ocean.
Satellite images show that the spill now covers 1,200 square miles, coating more than twothirds
of Lebanon’s 140-mile long coast, and is now threatening Syria, Turkey and Greece. Coastal marine life, including an endangered species of sea turtle, is threatened. The clean-up costs are estimated at $50-250 million.
HUNDREDS OF WOMEN TAKE OVER OAXACA BROADCASTER
Hundreds of women have peacefully occupied the studios of Oaxaca’s Television and Radio
Corporation since early August as part of a larger campaign demanding the resignation of state
Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. The corporation operates one TV and two radio stations. Thousands of women belonging to the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca participated in the Aug. 1 demonstration through Oaxaca City as a response to a violent police attack on striking teachers on
The women have broadcast both communiqués demanding that Ruiz Ortiz resign and unedited footage of police violence, which had been previously censored by the TV station. The teachers’ strike, which began May 22, was called to protest the increasing privatization of education and to demand a wage increase. More than 70,000 teachers are participating.
PINOCHET-LINKED COMPANY PLANS PATAGONIA DAMS
Environmentalists, ranchers and fishermen have teamed up to fight new hydroelectric dams planned on rivers in southern Chile, a landscape scattered with national parks and reserves. The proposed project by the Spanish-owned electricity company Endesa includes six dams that would cost $4 billion. Many stress that the 1,000-plus miles of power lines connecting the dams to central Chile would damage the region’s tourism industry.
Endesa is also being blamed for a flood several weeks ago that killed 25 people and flooded towns, roads and farms when floodgates from a dam it manages were opened after a large rain storm. Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet privatized Endesa, once a state-owned power company, in the late 1980s and awarded the company 95 percent “non-consumptive” water rights of Patagonia’s major rivers, a region that holds some of the largest freshwater reserves in the world.
ANTIWAR DIRECT ACTION AGAINST U.S. PLANES AND SHIPS
Seven antiwar protesters of the Trident Ploughshares group were arrested on Aug. 7 after they snuck into a Scottish airport to conduct a “citizen search” for U.S.-manufactured weapons being sent to Israel. In related news, five individuals were acquitted in Ireland July 25 after admitting to damaging a U.S. Navy cargo plane with hammers and an ax in 2003. The group had been charged with causing damage without lawful excuse,” but argued that their actions could have saved lives in Iraq.