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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

UN: 1 million flee Congo violence

The Congo War was the deadliest but most underreported conflict since WWII, killing more than 5 million people. The current situation in Eastern Congo is edging towards yet another humanitarian catastrophe. According to the UN, around 1 million people are now fleeing the violence. There is news of refugee camps being emptied, burned, and looted. Cities are no longer safe-havens and people are retreating to the forest again, to hide.

Political tensions between Congo and Rwanda are growing. There are signs that both camps are scrambling their allies to prepare for war.

Obviously, no matter how hard we and many others try to help Central Africa's rural populations combat poverty, all these efforts will have been in vain if war breaks out again. Likewise, all conservation efforts - be they related to forest or wildlife protection - will have been futile, as war ravages entire ecosystems (the first Congo wars have led to an ecological disaster of unprecedented proportions in Congo).

So please help in keeping this crisis on the top of the agenda of the international media and of those who can make a difference.

Write to any of the following people in power and urge them to intervene, either on the front of diplomacy or militarily, if you think that's wise. France, Belgium and other EU member states want to send troops to stabilize the situation and to strengthen the U.N. Peacekeeping force MONUC.

European Union
Mr Louis Michel
European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid
[email protected]

Mr Javier Solana
Secretary-General and High Representative for common foreign and security policy, European Council
Via his spokesperson Cristina GALLACH
[email protected]

Mr Bernard Kouchner
Minister of Foreign Affairs of France (Currently holding the EU Presidency)

U.N. Security Council

Mr Jan K.F. Grauls, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Belgium
[email protected]

African Union

H.E. Dr. Jean PING
Chairperson of the African Union
[email protected]

H.E. Mr. Ramtane Lamamra
Commissioner for Peace and Security
[email protected]

Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner
Commissioner for Political Affairs
[email protected]

United Nations news focus on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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