The Girl Who May Have Cried Wolf….

802b26c59853bf0174563b5ffcaf9292

“I just thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’” her mother said. “I knew what perverting the course of justice meant, so I knew they were arresting her for lying about the rape. So at that time my daughter had just turned 18 and I insisted because of mental health problems that I sit in on the interview.

After her arrest, the girl was on police bail for months while Hampshire police consulted the Crown Prosecution Service about whether to charge her. “It was horrible, because it was like she might have gone to prison. And what would she do, how would she cope, how would I cope, how would the family cope?” her mother said. She added that her daughter’s mental health deteriorated as they waited for the charging decision, and that she began self-harming and attempted suicide twice. “We didn’t find out until a later date that they hadn’t done the forensics on the clothes. And that was partly the decision to arrest her, for perverting the course of justice.”

That’s right, this young lady from Hampshire went out clubbing, alleged she had been raped, then informed her mother. The police were given her statement and her t-shirt which contained the alleged rapist’s sperm. No effort was made to have the t-shirt forensically examined in order to trace the gentleman concerned, because they didn’t believe her story. Lucky for her alleged rapist (because he could pretty much spend the next six months having sex with women regardless of whether they’d consented to it or not) not so lucky for her.

prosecutefalseaccusers6

Detectives from Hampshire police decided within two days of the rape report that the girl was lying. A detective inspector, who was supervising the inquiry, told a junior colleague: “Fucking nick her.” But six months later – after a complaint by the girl’s mother about her treatment – a new team of officers reviewed the investigation and informed the mother and her daughter that they believed her. The T-shirt was sent for testing, and the suspect, Liam Foard, was tried and found guilty.

The officers involved in the initial ‘investigation’ were disciplined, three of them chose resignation and early retirement from the police force (a good result all round) one received a written warning. The victim eventually received justice and the police force jettisoned three lousy police officers, but the bottom line is this. With 17,000 police officers cut over a four year period and the demands on the service continuing to grow, more of these kinds of cases are inevitable, because in the words of Debaleena Dasgupta, the young woman’s lawyer, “Many people wrongly assume the police have a legal obligation to investigate crimes. However, the only way victims of crime can seek justice for these sorts of issues is using the Human Rights Act, which imposes a duty on the police to properly investigate very serious offences.”

Properly investigate….the police service has a Comprehensive Spending Review in 2015 with more cuts in expenditure still to be made, leading to a reduction in the service being offered and a reduction in policing numbers. Not excitely an encouraging state of affairs for those who report a rape and are accused of crying wolf.

when-is-rape-not-rape-1024x613

 

 

 

Advertisements

Top EU companies urge drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions

BCS

By Alister Doyle and Geert De Clercq

PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) – Top European companies urged governments on Thursday to set a goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero well before 2100, saying that going green can bring profits rather than costs.

Business leaders from global and European alliances of companies including Unilever, Total and Saint-Gobain also called for a global price on carbon emissions and a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies.

“We want a global climate deal that achieves net zero emissions – make it happen,” they said in a statement directed at almost 200 governments which are due to agree a deal to slow global warming at a summit in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

Net zero emissions would mean drastic cuts and imply any remaining emissions would be offset, for instance, by planting trees to soak up carbon dioxide or with yet-to-be-developed technologies to extract carbon from the air.

They said global emissions should peak around 2020 and reach net zero “well before the end of the century”.

Organisers of the conference, part of efforts to build momentum for a global deal after past failures, said the statement was backed by 25 business networks representing more than 6.5 million firms in more than 130 countries.

Still, the Business and Climate Summit mainly attracted top European CEOs, whereas large U.S and Asian companies were notably absent. The statement said businesses believed that a goal of net emissions was “achievable and compatible with continued economic growth.”

Cuts in emissions can help avert more droughts, floods and rising seas and have big benefits such as lowering air pollution that causes millions of deaths, especially in big emerging nations such as China and India.

“Business as usual is no longer possible,” said Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, CEO of French building materials group Saint Gobain.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has urged more business involvement to help limit emissions, called the conference “an important milestone” on the way to the Paris summit.

Still, governments are sharply divided about whether to set a goal of net zero emissions at Paris. A report by the U.N. panel of climate scientists last year said net zero emissions by about 2070 would give a good chance of avoiding ever-more damaging warming.

“Three years ago you couldn’t get 50 CEOs to a conference on climate change,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. He said Climate change was an economic threat – a drought in Brazil, for instance, can cut hydro-electric output, shutting down industry.

He said he favoured a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Such cuts are a radical shift from rises in almost all recent years.

Even Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said OPEC’s top producer was investing in solar power as it anticipates lower global reliance on fossil fuels.

“In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually … we are not going to need fossil fuels. I don’t know when, in 2040, 2050 maybe,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Michel Rose and Jessica Chen; Editing by David Holmes and Ahmed Aboulenein)

Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water in Pakistan

b32-600x350

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Punjab province is set to launch an innovation for water-short Pakistan: Solar-powered ATMs that dispense clean water when a smart card is scanned.

The two-foot-square prototype machine looks and functions like an ATM, but dispenses water instead of cash. Users are issued a card they can use to claim a daily share of water.

The project, a collaboration between the Punjab Saaf Pani (Clean Water) Company and the Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL), a research centre in Lahore, aims to install a water ATM on each of a series of water filtration plants being established in rural and urban fringe areas of Punjab province.

The machine is designed to help the government cut water waste and ensure people have access to clean water, said Jawad Abbasi, a programme manager at IPAL.

“The innovative machines will help the government maintain a record of the exact quantity of clean drinking water being dispensed in a day in a specific locality, besides ensuring its quality,” he said.

The quality and quantity of water being dispensed will be tracked in real time online, through a central server, he said.

HOW IT WORKS

The devices play an audio message upon authentication of a scanned card, after which they dispense water for the user. Green and red buttons enable the user to start and stop the flow of water.

A flow control meter manages how much water is dispensed, and sensors measure the amount of water still available.

In its first phase, the project will cover three districts of Punjab including Bahawalpur, Rajanpur and Faisalabad, all areas with particularly serious water contamination issues, experts said.

Each beneficiary family will be entitled to collect a maximum of 30 liters of clean drinking water daily from the filtration plants with their unique identity card, Abbasi said.

“We are planning to install the machines at 20 filtration plants in the first phase that will benefit some 17,500 families,” he said.

He said that his organisation was seeking $23,500 in aid from the UK Department of International Development to put the prototype into production and install more of the dispensing machines at existing water filtration plants in Punjab.

Similar card-based water dispensing systems are already in use in neighbouring India.

PUSH TO IMPROVE WATER ACCCESS

According to Punjab Saaf Pani Company, only 13 percent people in rural areas have access to tap water, compared to 43 percent of people in urban areas of Punjab. The province, with 98 million people, is the country’s most populous.

The government of Punjab aims to provide clean drinking water to over 35 million people by the middle of 2017 and some 20 billion rupees (almost $200 million) is being allocated for the effort in the upcoming budget, said Muhammad Farasat Iqbal, chief executive officer of Punjab Saaf Pani Company.

“It’s one of the top priorities of the provincial government, to ensure provision of clean drinking water in each locality, as access to clean water is a fundamental human right,” he said.

Iqbal said the clean water would be provided free of cost but beneficiary communities would pool money each month to pay for maintenance of the ATMs and filtration plants.

According to Pakistan’s national drinking water policy, 35 percent of Pakistan’s population doesn’t have access to safe drinking water. The policy estimates that diseases related to water, sanitation and hygiene issues cost Pakistan’s economy about 112 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) each year in health costs and lost earnings.

Nazir Ahmed Wattoo, an environmental expert with the Punjab Anjuman Samaji Behbood (Organisation for Social Welfare) said few water conservation systems are in place in Pakistan, resulting in waste both in daily use and in agriculture.

By regulating and measuring the water used daily in a specific area, he said, the government can better manage the scarce resource.

The real test, he said, will be whether the water dispensing centres are maintained and effectively monitored.

He said the centres also need to be supported by a concerted national effort to build new water reservoirs. Pakistan’s water storage capacity is currently just 30 days, a quarter of what neighbouring India says is needed.

(Reporting by Aamir Saeed; editing by Laurie Goering)

Singer Akon Lighting Africa

candle light

 

LONDON, May 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Senegalese-American singer Akon, whose Akon Lighting Africa initiative aims to bring electricity to some of the 600 million Africans who lack it, announced on Thursday the launch of a new “Solar Academy” for the continent.

The institution, scheduled to open this summer in Bamako, Mali’s capital, will try to give African engineers and entrepreneurs the skills needed to develop solar power. European experts will help supply training equipment and programmes.

The academy will aim to teach people how to install and maintain solar-powered electricity systems as well as micro grids, “which are really taking off in rural Africa”, Akon Lighting Africa said.

Africa has 320 days of sunshine a year, the organisation said in a statement, so harnessing solar energy is an ideal way to enable those without electricity to get it.

“We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise,” said Samba Baithily, who founded Akon Lighting Africa with Akon and Thione Niang.

Seventy percent of Africans are under 35, and creating sustainable jobs is vital, the group said, so investing in solar power for the future can help in more ways than one.

“We expect the Africans who graduate from this centre to devise new, innovative, technical solutions,” said Niang. “With this Academy, we can capitalize on Akon Lighting Africa and go further.”

The group announced the launch of the academy at the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York.

(Reporting By Joseph D’Urso; Editing by Tim Pearce)

India solar lighting

Whisky Is For Drinking, Water Is For Fighting Over

mark-twain

The author Mark Twain once remarked that “whisky is for drinking; water is for fighting over” and a series of reports from intelligence agencies and research groups indicate the prospect of a water war is becoming increasingly likely. 

In March, a report from the office of the US Director of National Intelligence said the risk of conflict would grow as water demand is set to outstrip sustainable current supplies by 40 per cent by 2030.

“These threats are real and they do raise serious national security concerns,” Hilary Clinton the former US secretary of state, said after the report’s release.

By 2030, 47 per cent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Environmental Outlook to 2030 report. Some analysts worry that wars of the future will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.  

1410379733000-ISIL-g3_still

Dangerous warnings

Governments and military planners around the world are aware of the impending problem; with the US senate issuing reports with names like Avoiding Water Wars: Water Scarcity and Central Asia’s growing Importance for Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan

With rapid population growth, and increased industrial demand, water withdrawls have tripled over the last 50 years, according to UN figures.

“Water scarcity is an issue exacerbated by demographic pressures, climate change and pollution,” said Ignacio Saiz, director of Centre for Economic and Social Rights, a social justice group. “The world’s water supplies should guarantee every member of the population to cover their personal and domestic needs.”

“Fundamentally, these are issues of poverty and inequality, man-made problems,” he said.

Of all the water on earth, 97 percent is salt water and the remaining three per cent is fresh, with less than one per cent of the planet’s drinkable water readily accessible for direct human uses. Scarcity is defined as each person in an area having access to less than 1,000 cubic meters of water a year.

The areas where water scarcity is the biggest problem are some of the same places where political conflicts are rife, leading to potentially explosive situations.

As recently as 1989 Senegal and Mauritania fought a war over grazing rights on the River Senegal. And Syria and Iraq have fought minor skirmishes over the Euphrates River. UN studies project that 30 nations will be water scarce in 2025, up from 20 in 1990. Eighteen of them are in the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Israel, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. 

keep-calm-tuesday-is-soylent-green-day-1Contents courtesy of Al-Jazeera

 

Water Scarcity, the long term view courtesy of shrewder, wiser, big businesses

mad-max-fury-road

Currently, one-third of total food production is in areas of high or extremely high water stress, or competition. Five important water risk drivers affect the water security of the food sector: 1) growing competition for water, 2) weak regulation, 3) aging and inadequate water infrastructure, 4) water pollution and 5) climate change. These water risks are already affecting corporate income statements and balance sheets due to: disrupted operations and limits on growth driven by water shortages and loss of social license to operate alongside other factors.

82 percent of food sector respondents to the CDP’s 2014 water information request indicate that water risks could have a substantive impact on business operations and 90 percent of the 31 publicly-traded U.S. companies evaluated in their report cite water as a material risk in their 10-K financial filings. Recent examples of financial impacts include:

Cargill reported a 12 percent drop in 2014 fourth-quarter profits as a four-year drought in the U.S. Southwest damaged pastures used to raise beef.

The Campbell Soup Company saw a 28 percent drop in its California-based carrot division profits in early 2015 due in part to drought followed by intense rains.

The Coca-Cola Company decided not to move forward on the development of an $81 million bottling plant in southern India in April 2015 due to resistance from local farmers who cited concerns about strains on local groundwater supplies.

GrainCorp, Australia’s largest agribusiness, reported a 64 percent drop in 2014 profits due to a prolonged drought that cut grain deliveries by 23 percent and nearly halved grain exports.

J.M. Smucker introduced an eight percent price increase on Folger’s K-Cup coffee packs in early 2015 to offset the worst drought in Brazil in decades.

Unilever estimated that natural disasters linked to a changing climate—in particular, food price increases, water scarcity and reduced productivity in many parts of the agricultural supply chain—cost the company around $400 million annually.

In short, when it comes to growing and producing food, water shortages are a serious & pressing issue, so pressing that Ceres, a nonprofit organization mobilizing business and investor leadership on climate change, produced a report in 2014, from which these facts come. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Change, a network of over 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $13 trillion

soylent-green

GLOBAL INVESTOR STATEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE