November, 30 2009, 07:18am EDT
For Immediate Release
DENMARK: Rikke Rasmussen, Friends of the Earth Denmark press officer: email email@example.com
DENMARK: Rikke Rasmussen, Friends of the Earth Denmark press officer: email firstname.lastname@example.org
BELGIUM: Francesca Gater, Friends of the Earth Europe communications officer, email email@example.com
UNITED STATES: Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth US media director, Tel: +1 202 222 0748 (US office number) or email NBerning@foe.org
UNITED KINGDOM: Henry Rummins, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland communications and media officer, Tel: +44 776 16 01 666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Million Want Climate Justice in Copenhagen
More than two million
supporters of Friends of the Earth International worldwide want the
United Nations (UN) climate talks talking place from 7 to 18 December to
become a milestone towards 'Climate Justice', but the chances of
achieving a just and effective UN agreement in Copenhagen are extremely
"Rich countries are responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere today and must immediately commit to steep and
legally binding reductions of their emissions. These reductions must
take place without offsetting and without other false solutions such as
agrofuels, nuclear energy or so-called 'clean coal'," said Friends of
the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria.
Negotiators at the Copenhagen talks are expected to agree to binding
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions under the second phase of the UN
Kyoto Protocol, which starts in 2013. This Protocol is the only treaty
that enforces emissions reductions on industrialized, developed countries.
Greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of climate change and
impoverished people and communities -who have contributed least to these
emissions- are the most affected by climate change, according to the UN.
Meena Raman from Friends of the Earth Malaysia said:
"The divide-and-rule tactics of rich countries have cast a dark shadow
over the run-up to Copenhagen, which has led to legitimate and strong
opposition by developing countries. If Copenhagen is to be any different
developed countries must change their mindsets or potentially face more
delays, walk-outs or a collapse of the talks."
"Climate justice will be achieved when the countries that have the most
historical responsibility for causing climate change do the most to
prevent further damage, and substantially reduce their own emissions at
home," added Meena Raman.
To demonstrate their desire for climate justice, thousands of people are
expected to 'flood' the streets of Copenhagen in the morning of December
12 in a march organized by FoEI to demand climate justice and an end to
carbon offsetting, which is a false solution to climate change. 
"Carbon offsetting - when developed countries buy carbon credits from
developing countries to avoid cutting emissions themselves - has no part
to play in a just international agreement to fight climate change.
Developed countries must tackle climate change by making immediate and
real change at home," said Ricardo Navarro from Friends of the Earth El
During the Copenhagen talks Friends of the Earth International
campaigners will lobby negotiators and deliver a petition signed by more
than 30,000 people urging world leaders to do the right thing in
Copenhagen by effectively protecting our climate and people all over the
Campaigners will also strengthen the climate justice movement through
mobilizations, debates and activities at the alternative civil society
summit known as 'Klimaforum'  with allied organisations such as La
Via Campesina and the World March of Women. Thousands of voices
demanding climate justice will also be presented in a 'climate capsule'
exhibition at the Klimaforum and Bella Center.
Friends of the Earth International believes that:
- Rich, developed countries should cut their greenhouse gas emissions by
at least 40% in comparison with 1990 levels by 2020. These cuts should
be made at home - with no offsetting. Offsetting, including through the
'Clean Development Mechanism', is a false solution and should be rejected.
- Rich, developed countries owe to developing countries a climate debt
that is the result of decades of pollution. This debt must be recognised
and repayed, for example through massive emission reductions and through
the provision of sufficient public funds democratically through the UN
to fight climate change.
- The World Bank and its climate funds must be rejected as they are set
to increase developing country debt and promote dirty energy such as
- Major corporations and polluters are lobbying to undermine a just
climate agreement and are advancing their own economic interests at the
expense of people and the planet.
- Including forests in 'carbon offsetting initiatives' does not help to
combat climate change. Instead, it diverts attention from the real
solutions to climate change and deforestation. Plantations are not
forests. Monoculture tree plantations must be excluded from the UN
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT :
Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International, Tel: +234 80 37 27 43
95 (Nigerian mobile number) or email email@example.com
Meena Raman, Friends of the Earth Malaysia, Tel: + 60 12 43 00 042
(Malaysian mobile number) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricardo Navarro, Friends of the Earth El Salvador, Tel: + 503 78 88 75
67 (El Salvador mobile number) or email email@example.com
For more spokespeople contact details in Copenhagen (from December 7)
please send a request for our 'spokespeople contact sheet' to
Friends of the Earth International media line: +31-6-51 00 56 30 (Dutch
NOTES TO EDITORS
 For more information about the Copenhagen UN talks please send a
request for our Copenhagen media briefing to firstname.lastname@example.org
 For more information about the Copenhagen Flood please send a
request for our 'Flood briefing' to email@example.com.
 For more information about the petition signed by more than 30,000
people see https://www.demandclimatejustice.org/
 For more information about the Klimaforum see www.Klimaforum09.org
Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 74 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FOEI campaigns on today's most urgent environmental and social issues.
The Adoptaxolotl 2024 campaign invites donors to adopt a threatened salamander for around 600 pesos, or $35.
Nov 25, 2023
Ecologists in Mexico relaunched a campaign Thursday to protect the axolotl, an iconic Mexican underwater salamander threatened with extinction.
The Adoptaxolotl 2024 campaign invites donors to adopt a threatened salamander for around 600 pesos, or $35, The Associated Press reported. A virtual adoption comes with regular updates on the amphibian's well-being. Axolotl lovers can also buy one of the salamanders a dinner or purchase axolotl-themed t-shirts, bandannas, and mugs.
"The axolotl is at critical risk of extinction," Luis Zambrano González, who works at the Biology Institute of Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM), told the UNAM Gazette. "For this reason we need to understand its conservation as something that all of society is responsible for, to care for its habitat and develop strategies to allow people to relate more to these animals."
"Thanks to these surveys we realized that the amphibian is on the edge of extinction, and if we don't do something we will soon lose it in the wild."
There are 18 different species of axolotls in Mexico, and nearly all of them are considered critically endangered, according to AP. The salamander is famous for its unique appearance, as well as its ability to grow back severed limbs. Scientists believe that studying the axolotls' ability may help them to repair tissue damage or aid in cancer recovery, but they will have to work fast to uncover their secrets.
Zambrano told the UNAM Gazette that axolotl numbers had rapidly declined in surveys: from 6,000 per square kilometer in 1998 to 36 in 2014, a decline of 99.5% in less than two decades.
"Thanks to these surveys we realized that the amphibian is on the edge of extinction, and if we don't do something we will soon lose it in the wild," Zambrano said.
The campaign, which is organized by UNAM scientists, raised more than 450,000 pesos, or $26,300, last year to launch a captive breeding program and to restore habitat in the ancient canals of the southern Mexico City district of Xochimilco, according to AP.
The scientists said that the salamanders in Xochimilco were in danger because their habitat was menaced by urbanization, pollution, and invasive species, the UNAM Gazette reported.
"There is no more time for Xochimilco," Zambrano told AP.
So far, researchers have restored 40 floating islands and 5.5 kilometers of canal, created 36 biodiversity refuges, and installed 71 filters to improve water quality, the UNAM Gazette reported.
Axolotls are also susceptible to the chrytid fungus behind mass amphibian deaths worldwide, according to AP.
Scientists say more research is needed to truly know the extent of the damage to the axolotls' habitat and the risk to the all of the species.
Alejandro Calzada, who works for the Mexican government monitoring less popular species of axolotl, told AP that his team of nine is not able to monitor all the streams in Mexico City or the country as a whole.
"What I know is that we have to work urgently," Calzada said.
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The exchange came on the first day of a Qatari-brokered four-day cease-fire that is slated to see at least 50 Israeli hostages exchanged for at least 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israel.
Nov 25, 2023
The first 24 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza were released Friday evening in exchange for 39 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.
The exchange came on the first day of a Qatari-brokered four-day cease-fire that is slated to see at least 50 Israeli hostages exchanged for at least 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israel. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the pause would be extended a day for every additional 10 hostages released.
"It's a sign of hope for Palestinians and Israelis that the cease-fire will continue and the killing will stop," Mohammed Khatib, who watched the release of the first Palestinian prisoners Friday, toldBBC News.
"I'm very happy of course, but I feel devastated by how that deal was reached… at the cost of our brothers' and sisters' lives in Gaza."
The pause in the fighting has also allowed much needed aid trucks to enter Gaza. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 200 aid trucks were sent from Israel Friday, of which 137 were unloaded by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, U.N. Newsreported. It's the largest convey of aid to enter Gaza since Israel's bombardment began October 7.
"Hundreds of thousands of people were assisted with food, water, medical supplies and other essential humanitarian items," OCHA said.
Four trucks full of gas and 129,000 liters of fuel also arrived in Gaza Friday.
However, Hamas has reportedly delayed the release of more hostages Saturday because it says Israel is not allowing aid to enter northern Gaza, Al Jazeera reported. The group said Israel had also violated the terms of the cease-fire by shooting tear gas and live ammunition at people who attempted to return to their homes in northern Gaza and by flying surveillance drones high over Gaza Saturday.
Hamas took around 240 hostages—both Israelis and foreign nationals—into Gaza during its October 7 attack on Israel that also killed around 1,200 people. On Friday, the group released 13 Israelis, including an 85-year-old woman and children as young as 2, as well as 10 Thai nationals and one person from the Philippines, The Guardian reported.
"Each of them is an entire world," Netanyahu said in response to the first release. "But I emphasize… we are committed to returning all the hostages. This is one of the aims of the war and we are committed to achieving all the aims of the war."
The families of the Thai hostages celebrated their return.
"We are all very happy. Everybody is crying," Rungarun Wichangern, the brother of 33-year-old Vetoon Phoome who was released Friday, toldThe Guardian.
Phoome, who was working on a potato and pomegranate farm near Gaza when he was captured, was one of 30,000 Thai nationals working in the agricultural sector in Israel before the war, and one of around 5,000 employed at farms near Gaza. The Thai government said that 20 more Thai nationals were still being held in Gaza.
The one Philippines hostage released was 33-year-old Gelienor "Jimmy" Pacheco, who had been working as a carer in Gaza. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said on social media that he was "overjoyed" by Pacheco's release, and that he was safely at the Thai embassy in Israel.
"I salute the work of the Philippine Foreign Service in securing his release, and once again thank the State of Qatar for their invaluable assistance in making Jimmy's release possible," Marcos said.
Another Philippine woman, Noralyn Babadilla, remains missing.
Meanwhile, jubilant crowds turned out in the West Bank to welcome the first Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli custody, according to BBC News. The group included 24 women and 15 teenage boys. They had been arrested for offenses ranging from stone throwing to attempted murder. While some had been convicted, others were awaiting trial. Of a total of 300 Palestinian women and children marked by Israel for potential release, less than 25% have been convicted.
Israel holds around 8,000 Palestinians in its prisons, 3,000 of whom were detained since the October 7 attacks, Al Jazeera reported. Nearly every family in the West Bank has had a relative detained at one point, according to BBC News.
The NGO Palestinian Prisoners' Club said that Israel had told the families of released prisoners that they could be fined around 70,000 shekels ($18,740) for sharing sweets to celebrate their loved ones' return, speaking to reporters, or having guests over.
One of the Palestinian prisoners released was 24-year-old Marah Bakeer, who was 16 when she was arrested for allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier, something she and her family deny. Israeli forces shot her in the arm and hand 12 times before her arrest.
"I'm very happy of course, but I feel devastated by how that deal was reached… at the cost of our brothers' and sisters' lives in Gaza," Bakeer said.
The Israeli attack on Gaza has killed more than 14,800 people, around 10,000 of them women and children. This means Israel has killed women and children at a rate that outstrips the deadliest conflicts of the 21st century, The New York Times reported Saturday. More than double the number of women and children have been killed in Gaza in nearly two months of fighting than have been reported killed in Ukraine in two years. Using women and children as a conservative stand-in for overall civilian deaths would mean more civilians have died during these two months than were killed by U.S. forces in the first year of the Iraq War, and nearly as many as the 12,400 estimated killed by the U.S. and its allies during nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan.
"It's beyond anything that I've seen in my career," Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon senior intelligence analyst who now advises the Dutch organization PAX, told the Times, adding that, for a comparison, one may "have to go back to Vietnam, or the Second World War."
The bombardment has also destroyed or damaged more than 60,000 buildings, and some Gazans used the pause in the fighting to return to their homes and survey the damage.
"Our home is destroyed, nothing remains standing. And most of the ducks and chickens were eaten by hungry street dogs," one older woman toldAl Jazeera. "This is not a war; it is a genocide."
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"Nevadans overwhelmingly support putting reproductive rights into our state constitution," said one abortion rights campaigner.
Nov 24, 2023
Abortion rights advocates said this week that they would appeal a decision by a Nevada judge to reject a 2024 ballot initiative to enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution.
Carson City District Court Judge James Russell sided Tuesday with the Coalition for Parents and Children PAC, which last month filed a lawsuit claiming the ballot measure—which would guarantee the "fundamental right to reproductive freedom"—violates Nevada law by covering more than one subject. The petition mentions abortion, birth control, prenatal care, and post-partum care, which advocates note all fall under the umbrella of "reproductive freedom."
However, Russell said that "it is clear to me this is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single-subject rule."
"We are optimistic about the ballot initiative as a whole, and you know, we plan to appeal this."
Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom—a coalition including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, and Indivisible Northern Nevada that filed the petition in September—disagreed with Russell's ruling and vowed to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.
"We are optimistic about the ballot initiative as a whole, and you know, we plan to appeal this," said Lindsey Harmon with Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom. "And we know that in fact, these are all a single subject."
"Nevadans overwhelmingly support putting reproductive rights into our state constitution, and voters should be aware that anti-abortion advocates still have plenty of state government allies who are willing to help them undermine reproductive freedom," Harmon asserted, adding that the coalition would not "let one judge's misguided ruling deter us."
Voters in seven states—most recently Ohio—have passed ballot measures protecting reproductive rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's cancellation of half a century of federal abortion rights in last year's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision.
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