Archive for January, 2009

Jan 30 2009

Ten Thousand People Encircle the Niyamgriji Mountains in Orissa, India


Three days ago, 10 thousand people, a majority of them tribal, formed a 17 km long human chain around the Niyamgrii mountains in Orissa, India. The people were protesting the plans of Vedanta, a British mining company, to start bauxite mining the mountains. Bauxite is the most important raw material for aluminum production and last year the Supreme Court said two of the planned mining projects could go ahead.

The protest was the second large-scale demonstration in ten days: on 17 January up to 7,000 protesters marched to the gates of Vedanta’s aluminium refinery in the nearby town of Lanjigarh.

 

“The ruling meant that an arm of the British-listed mining giant Vedanta could use bauxite from a mountain in Orissa which local hill tribes view as sacred,” says on BBC News and continues: Read More

Jan 30 2009

The Icelandic Government has Collapsed… and then what? – A Letter from Icelandic Anarchists


A letter from Icelandic anarchists who have taken part in the revolt against the recently collapsed government. The article originally appeared on Aftaka.org, an Icelandic anarchist website.

The Icelandic Government has collapsed and some people talk about a revolution. In a way it is true. Ordinary people overthrew this neoliberal government by writing articles, holding speeches, noise demonstrations, bonfires, car horns, direct action, civil disobedience and minor sabotage. A nation that before had hardly put up any resistance to abuse of power for a long time, finally stood up and said: “No thanks! No more shit!”

But what will follow? Have we reached the ultimate goal? Is the minority government of the Left Greens (Vinstri Grænir) and the Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) enough? Are we just going to settle for new elections this spring?

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Jan 30 2009

Norsk Hydro Wants to Build an Aluminum Smelter in Iceland


Þeistareykir ehf. and Landsvirkjun (Iceland’s national energy company) have now started discussions with the Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro about the purchase of geothermal energy from Þingeyjasýsla, north Iceland. The energy was supposed to run Alcoa’s planned aluminium smelter in Bakki, Húsavík.

The memorandum of understanding between Þeistareykir, Landsvirkjun and Alcoa because of the aluminium smelter in Bakki, ran out on November 1st 2008 and was not renewed. One of the reasons was said to be the uncertainty on the Icelandic financial markets. Tómas Már Sigurðsson, Alcoa’s director in Iceland, says that decisions about electricity purchase depends on the market situation and hopes that it will get better in the next 12 months.
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Jan 26 2009
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Icelandic Government Toppled by People’s Power


Today the Icelandic government collapsed. Geir H. Haarde, Iceland’s former prime minister announced early today after a row of government meetings. Yesterday, Björgvin G. Sigurðsson, the minister of commerce, announced that he would finally take on his responsibility for the financial collapse, resign and fire the directors of the Financial Supervisory Authority (FMA).

Since the collapse of the Icelandic economy in October 2008, the current Icelandic government formed by Samfylkingin (Social Democrat Alliance) and Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (neoliberal conservatives), has been under heavy pressure. Every Saturday for 16 weeks people have gathered by the parliament and demanded that the government will resign, the boards of the Financial Supervisory Authority and the Central Bank will be fired, that elections will take place as soon as possible and that the corruption in  the power base and financial sector be curtailed. Read More

Jan 19 2009

Blockade Stops Vedanta from Entering Tribe’s Land in Orissa


On January 6th, more than 50 protesters stopped Vedanta, a British mining company from entering the land of the Dongria Kondh and other Kondh tribes in the state of Orissa in India. Vedanta plans to mine bauxite in the Dongria Kondh’s sacred mountains, destroying the forests – the tribe’s livelihood.

Survival International says:

Last night’s action follows high level meetings at the weekend between Vedanta’s billionaire chairman Anil Agarwal and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who backs the mine. After the meeting, Agarwal told journalists that mining would start ‘within a month or two’. Read More

Jan 15 2009

Arne Næss dies at age 96


IHT – Arne Næss, a Norwegian philosopher whose ideas about promoting an intimate and all-embracing relationship between the earth and the human species inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world, died Monday. He was 96. His editor, Erling Kagge, confirmed his death to Agence France-Presse.

In the early 1970s, after three decades teaching philosophy at the University of Oslo, Næss (pronounced Ness), an enthusiastic mountain climber and an admirer of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” threw himself into environmental work and developed a theory that he called deep ecology. Its central tenet is the belief that all living beings have their own value and therefore, as Naess once put it, “need protection against the destruction of billions of humans.” Read More

Jan 13 2009

Eight Power Plants Needed for Helguvík Smelter


The directors of Reykjavík Energy (OR) and Hitaveita Suðurnesja (HS) have both said that the companies are not able to supply all the necessary energy that Century Aluminium needs fo it’s planned aluminium smelter in Helguvík, in the next 7 years, even though 6 new power plants would be built. At least 200 MW would be needed, which is the amount of energy that could be produced by building power plants in Bitra (geothermal field) and in Urriðafoss waterfall (in Þjórsá river).

Össur Skarphéðinsson, minister of industry has on behalf of the Icelandic government, given Norðurál (Century Aluminium) the permission to build up to 360 thousand ton aluminium smelter in Helguvík, which would produce double the amount Rio Tinto Alcan’s smelter in Hafnarfjörður produces. But where does all the necessary energy – 625 MW – come from?

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Jan 13 2009

Alcoa Loses 929 Million US Dollars


Alcoa recently reported its fourth quarter 2008 results which e.g. stated that the company lost 929 million US dollars during this period. Aluminium’s global price sank 35% during the fourth quarter and 56% since only July 2008. The demand for aluminium has dropped heavily.

“We are taking wide-ranging measures to address the economic downturn,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO of Alcoa. “We have streamlined our portfolio to focus on businesses where Alcoa is the recognized leader, curtailed production to adjust to weakened demand, reduced global headcount, and achieved significant savings in key raw materials.”

According to Aloca’s press release aluminium production will be cut down by 750 thousand tons per year, which is c.a. 18% of the global production. 13,500 workers will lose their jobs (13% of the company’s workforce), salary will be frozen and no new employees will be hired for a limited time. Four company’s owned by Alcoa, that do not work inside aluminium production will be sold and investment costs will be lowered. The press release also states that Alcoa will use new ways to get raw materials.

Alcoa’s directors in Iceland say that these measures will not affect the production and work here in Iceland.

Jan 08 2009

Party Political Live TV Show to be Sponsored by Rio Tinto-Alcan Stormed by Angry Protestors


From Aftaka.org – On December 31st, we witnessed a unique action here in Iceland. Obviously it was not the all time climax in the history of Icelandic resistance compared e.g. to the 1949 riot, when Iceland joined NATO and people put up heavy resistance in Reykjavík. But first and all, it was a symbol for the waking up which is taking place in the Icelandic society – society that before was completely apathetic. And the action worked out perfectly in that we managed to do what we wanted, to disrupt and stop the TV transmission.

Hundreds of people had gathered by the government’s office, where flares were lit and people marched to Austurvöllur, the square in front of the parliament. The group then gathered by a statue of Jón Sigurðsson, Iceland’s so called independence hero. In few minutes a live TV program called Kryddsílsd, would take place. The program is an annual show where the ministers of the government and the heads of the political parties come together to drink themselves tipsy and talk about the political year that is about to end. Read More