August 22, 2011

Bill McKibben arrested at Tar Sands protest     Photo: Tarsandsaction/Flickr

Tar Sands Protesters Arrested at White House

Penalties worse than expected

Police have arrested 162 environmental activists who staged a protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House. The protests, coordinated by Tar Sands Action and author Bill McKibben are scheduled to continue until September 3. McKibben himself was arrested in the first wave. In what organizers called a violation of an agreement with police, protesters from outside the Washington, D.C., area were held beyond the few hours they expected, in anticipation of a Monday afternoon arraignment. “It’s clear to us that police were hoping to deter this action, and it’s equally clear to us the opposite will be the result,” McKibben said in a statement. The Keystone XL pipeline would connect Canada's tar sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Read more at Grist.

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Road through Brazilian Amazon     Photo: Ben Sutherland/Flickr

Indigenous Bolivians Protest Amazon Road

Walking 300 miles to La Paz

Hundreds of indigenous Bolivians are marching more 300 miles to La Paz to protest the construction of a road through one of the Amazon's most diverse reserves. About 500 members of the Chimane, Mojeno, and Yuracaré tribes began the march on August 15 in the northern city of Trinidad. They expect the journey to take about a month. The Brazilian-backed and built road through the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park will connect Cochabamba with the northern city of San Ignacio de Moxos, providing a link between the Brazilian Amazon and ports on the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile. Environmental and indigenous groups say the road will open up the reserve to illegal exploitation by loggers and coca farmers. "We want to live in peace, with development that respects our lands," said Adolfo Chávez, a leader of the Indigenous Peoples' Confederation of Bolivia. President Evo Morales accused USAID of inciting the protests, and said that the road would be built "no matter what."

Read more at The Independent

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Boston Marathon finish line     Photo: scriptingnews/Flickr

Boston Marathon Legend Dies at 80

Kelley was 8-time U.S. champ

John J. Kelley, the winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon and the dominant American marathon runner of the 1950s, died early Sunday morning at his home in Connecticut of complications from melanoma. Kelley, who was 80, was also a two-time Olympian and an eight-time winner of New York's Yonkers marathon, which also served as the U.S. marathon championships. Kelley's death was first reported by long-time Runner's World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, who trained under Kelley as a high school runner in Connecticut. Kelley shared his name with John A. Kelley, a two-time Boston winner, and was widely known as Johnny the Younger. An English teacher and high school cross country coach by profession, Kelley also finished as runner-up at Boston five times and held a personal best of 2:14:33, a time that would still have ranked him seventh in the United States last year.

Read more at the New York Times

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GS skiing     Photo: acebal/Flickr

FIS Changes Ski Regulations

Skiers upset with new alpine specs

American World Cup skiers voiced their displeasure this weekend after the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced controversial new regulations on ski dimensions for the 2012-13 season. The new rules, which call for longer and wider-turning skis, essentially undo two decades of improvements in ski design. Men's GS skis will jump from a 27-meter radius to a 40-meter radius, the longest since the mid '80s. "Wave good bye to the sport’s progression of arcing the cleanest possible turns," Ted Ligety, a 2006 Olympic gold medalist, said on his blog last week. "I finally had the chance to try a prototype of the 40m GS skis. And quite frankly, they suck." FIS announced the changes after its Injury Surveillance System, which since 2005 has evaluated risk factors such as course setting, speed, snow conditions, and equipment, determined shorter, faster-turning skis were to blame for many injuries. The decision has not been finalized, as FIS officials report "the ski industry is requesting a reconsideration of the change...and this matter will be addressed in late August."

Read more at Ski

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Evin prison     Photo: Sbaz Photos/Flickr

Hikers Sentenced to 8 Years in Iran

Lawyers will appeal

Two American hikers arrested on Iran's border with Iraq recieved eight-year prison sentences on Saturday on charges of espionage and illegal entry into Iran. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have 20 days to appeal their sentence to Iran's court system. Guards arrested the men and fellow hiker Sarah Shourd in 2009 after they allegedly walked across the unmarked border while hiking in Iraqi Kurdi­stan. The three were later sent to Tehran's notorious Evin prison; Shourd was released last September on $500,000 bail for medical reasons after spending 410 days in solitary confinement. In an interview with BBC's HARDtalk, Shourd talked about the harsh conditions of the prison. "I can see [Fattal and Bauer] in their cramped little cell with very little sunlight and they only get out an hour a day," she said. "They exercise side by side on a space like the size of a towel." Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. was “deeply disappointed” with the sentencing and called on Iran to release the hikers immediately.

Read more at The New York Times

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