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Arctic: THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Biden signals plans to halt oil activity in Arctic refuge On Wednesday, January 20, after Biden had been in office for less than 24 hours, the new administration announced a plan for a moratorium on oil and gas development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A priority, after 4 years of a completely opposite policy, where sales of exploration leases in the region have increased. This announcement comes the day after the public announcement, on the last day of Trump, of the sale of leases on nearly 1,770 square kilometres of land in Alaska. However, the moratorium as announced by Biden will only be temporary. It provides for the conduct of a new environmental assessment in order to evaluate the impacts of possible oil and gas drilling in the refuge on flora and fauna. This decision, based on scientific facts, has many socio-economic stakes. There is a great debate between those who argue that oil is the basis of the Alaskan economy and the Gwich'in, who recall their dependence on the environment for their livelihood. What seems certain is that a permanent ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not for tomorrow, but the rush to sell the leases as quickly as possible will be slowed (CBC).
Critics of Nunavut mine expansion question Baffinland’s regard for Inuit traditional knowledge Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed Mary River mine expansion was met with criticism regarding the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and integration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge, during a review board hearing last week. The company’s CEO, Brian Penney, has asserted that his company has addressed community concerns about the mine’s phase two expansion. However, questions about whether environmental concerns will be addressed by Baffinland have persisted since November 2019, when the hearings were postponed after Nunavut Tunngavik president Aluki Kotierk brought forward a motion to postpone them due to the great number of pending questions in respect to the proposal. Yet Baffinland has held meetings with affected communities and revised its proposal. For example, a decision was made to limit vessels operating in the area to four, rather than 10, months a year, to help avoid disturbing marine life. Nevertheless, last week’s hearing revealed that a significant divide between the company and community still exists. Hearings will continue until February 6. The review board will then send a report to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal recommending whether the project should go ahead (NN).
Kabul/New Delhi/Washington, March 5 (IANS) India Friday said that the Feb 26 terror attack in Kabul will not deter it from helping rebuild Afghanistan as National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to review the security of around 4,000 Indians working in that country. Menon, who arrived here Friday morning on a two-day visit, discussed with Karzai some proposals to bolster security of Indians engaged in a wide array of reconstruction activities, ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to social sector projects. The Indian government is contemplating a slew of steps to secure Indians in Afghanistan, including setting up protected venues where the Indians working on various reconstruction projects will be based. Deploying dedicated security personnel at places where Indians work is also being considered. Menon also met his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta and enquired about the progress in the probe into the Kabul atta
Rethink before It’s Too Late http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/index.php?Lang=en&Page=21&TypeId=15&ArticleId=7108&BranchId=19&Action=ArticleBodyView Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth –Afghanistan. By Houman Dolati It is no more a surprise to see Iran absent in Afghanistan affairs. Nowadays, the Bonn Conference and Iran’s contributions to Afghanistan look more like a fading memory. Iran, which had promised of loans and credit worth five-hundred million dollars for Afghanistan, and tried to serve a key role, more than many other countries, for reconstruction and stabilization of Afghanistan, is now trying to efface that memory, saying it is a wrong path, even for the international community. Iran’s empty seat in the Rome Conference was another step backward for Afghanistan’s influential neighbor. Many other countries were surprised with Iran’s absence. Finding out the vanity of its efforts to justify absence in Rome, Iran tried to start its
By Jennifer Griffin, Justin Fishel Published March 22, 2013 A Pakistani fertilizer maker whose chemicals have been used in 80 percent of the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed American troops in Afghanistan is now seeking U.S. taxpayer subsidies in order to open a factory in Indiana. The request appears to be on hold pending further review, but the situation has stirred outrage in Congress, where some accuse the Pakistani government of halting efforts to clamp down on the bomb-making. For the past seven years, the U.S. government has known that the raw material calcium ammonium nitrate, or CAN, is making its way across the border into Afghanistan where the Taliban use it to fuel their most deadly weapons, namely the improvised explosive device. IEDs have long been the number one killer of U.S. and coalition troops. The material largely comes from Pakistani fertilizer maker the Fatima Group. But the Pakistani government has stymied attempts by the Pentagon to stop the