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Thursday, 21 September

06:50

Fake News rears its head in NZ Election "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Its been disconcerting watching the NZ election. Despite our isolation, it seems we are not immune to the fake news cycles that have increasingly plagued elections overseas. Theres a few reasons why Fake News has become so prevalent, but it is a shame when it impacts at the very heart of our democracy.

Who will you be voting for?

Who will you be voting for?

In the last week, National have been making sustained claims that Labour plan to increase income tax rates next year. And yet when you dig into the issue, Labour have actually said they will not be implementing Nationals proposed tax cuts. Not getting a tax cut is way different to increasing tax rates, and yet if the polls are to be believed, National has been rewarded for this dishonest scaremongering. Its not an isolated incident though. Earlier in the campaign, National claimed Labour had an $11b fiscal hole, a message that quickly gained traction on traditional and social media alike, and yet it was subsequently proven to be false.

The trouble is these Fake News stories travel so quickly, and have become a powerful tool for Politicians willing to exploit them. That something is false or dishonest hardly seems to matter anymore, but get used to it, as it is being driven by a number of forces.

Firstly, people no longer care for the details. We have become driven by soundbites, gifs and memes, and our Politicians have figured this out. When Bill English made his initial claims of Labour increasing income tax, he knew most people wouldnt bother checking into Labours policy. A simple sentence and the damage was done, with right wing media and pundits all jumping on to post the quote and share it around.

Secondly, social media can give anyone a voice. In some ways this is a good thing. I can post about conservation issues and get a decent audience, and it has to some degree weakened the hold of traditional media on the public consciousness. But it means nutcases with very skewed versions of reality can also become very influential. A disgruntled troll living in the basement of his mothers house may have as much media reach as a Journalist who spends weeks researching and fact checking.

The entire media landscape is also splintering. Leading up to the US election last year I was in Florida and watching both Fox and CNN covering the same issue, and yet it was like a completely different story. One would be praising Trump as the only many to solve the US problems, while CNN was likening him to Lucifer. As media sources have proliferated, so to have our o...

04:34

A Tsunami of Earthquakes Striking Globally "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Grace-285H Significant Earthquakes Strike Vanuatu, PNG, Japan Region Significant and Notable Earthquakes Strike Vanuatu, PNG, Japan Region. Vanuatu Magnitude: 6.4 mww   Location: 18.798S, 169.095E [85km NNW of Isangel, Vanuatu] Depth: 200.2 km Time: 2017-09-20 20:09:49 (UTC) Papua New Guinea (PNG) M 5.9 165km N of Finschhafen, PNG   Location: 5.110S 147.834E Depth: 10.0 km Time: []

01:39

Ongoing unrest affecting Porgera mine operations "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

The National aka The Loggers Times | September 20, 2017

PORGERA mine operations have been disrupted by the ongoing unrest and roadblocks, according to mine operator Barrick Niugini Limited.

Executive managing director Richmond Fenn said it had significantly impacted communities and businesses in the district.

The unrest and violence we have seen in recent weeks, combined with frequent road closures on the Highlands Highway, not only impact operations at the Porgera mine, but also prevent the movement of people and goods to and from the region, Fenn said.

We hope that the situation improves soon, and we are working to assist the government and community leaders in bringing about lasting peace in the area.

The two-week closure of the Wabag-Porgera road was lifted yesterday but a truck belonging to iPi Transport was torched soon after.

iPi Transport general manager Maso Mangape told The National that the roadblock was set up by relatives of a boy alleged to have been killed by the security forces last month.

...

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Wednesday, 20 September

17:21

Misleading comments on the carrying capacity of US agricultural land "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

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I have recently become aware of social media discussions supporting misleading interpretations of the 2016 study Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios by Peters, et al., which was published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene in July 2016.

As I reported in my article, Livestock chief gets it wrong on the vegan diet, the purpose of the study was to compare, firstly, per capita land requirements and secondly, potential carrying capacity as measured by the number of people fed.

The study found that the vegan diet (which excludes all animal products) was the most efficient of the ten diet scenarios studied, in that it required the least amount of land per person fed. It was also extremely effective in terms of the overall number fed.

The studys key findings...

05:11

Strong Earthquake Strikes New Zealand Region "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Heba-574M M 6.1 256km W of Auckland Island, New Zealand Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake Strikes W of Auckland Island, New Zealand Magnitude: 6.1 mww Location: 50.371S, 162.550E; 256km W of Auckland Island, New Zealand Depth: 10km Time: 2017-09-20 at 01:43:30 UTC Other Earthquakes in NZ: Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Strikes Cook Strait Magnitude: 5.1 Location: 41.48S, []

02:39

Canadian court to hear case about alleged money laundering by relatives of Malaysian politician "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

A judge at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Canada has ruled that a financial disclosure case related to alleged money-laundering by relatives of the former chief minister and current governor of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, will be held in public.

The case, brought by the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), targets the multinational real estate corporation  Sakto, which was incorporated in 1983 by Taibs daughter, Jamilah, and his brother, Onn Mahmud, and soon became one of the largest players in the Ottawa real estate sector.

A first hearing took place in Toronto on August 21 this year under...

Tuesday, 19 September

20:49

Orphaned Chimp Was So Scared Until He Met This Dog "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

A chimpanzee now known as Rudy was one of the youngest to ever come into the care of a sanctuary in Liberia.

Credit: Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue

Rudy arrived at Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue (LCR) after he was confiscated by Liberia Forestry Development Authority and taken in by a man named Rudolph, who runs a wildlife sanctuary for other animals in Liberia.

When Jenny and Jimmy Desmond, founders of LCR, took the baby chimp in, it seemed only fitting to name him Rudolph, "after his rescuer and Rudolph the Reindeer as he arrived at Christmastime," Jenny told The Dodo. They call him Rudy for short.

Credit: Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue

Rudy was obviously scared and confused. His family had been killed for bushmeat and he was being traded as a pet when authorities found him.

He was only a few months old, and was very pale and weak.

But before long, little Rudy was smiling again.

Credit: Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue

That's because he got the food and shelter he needed at the sanctuary but he also found someone special who helped him feel safe. 

Princess, the rescue dog the Desmonds adopted from a shelter, has become an extremely important part of the sanctuary. 

...

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