Archive

Reuters blog archive

from The Great Debate:

Murders in the forest

Since Apr. 26, a crusading forestry activist, a muckraking journalist and a 14-year-old girl have been killed in Cambodia because they tried to safeguard the country’s dwindling land reserves. They are all victims of a decade-long battle over Cambodia’s ecological future, a fight that in the past two years has turned more bloody and corrupt. Their deaths offer the world a stark vision of how crony capitalism has replaced totalitarianism as the threat to human rights in Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, the price of a human life pales in comparison with a blank check.

I worked at the Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh for one year (2011-2012), covering the oil business, land evictions, the environment and forestry. That’s why I was with Chut Wutty, the nation's foremost forest conservationist, on Apr. 26 when he was killed. On the third day of an investigation into illegal logging in Cambodia’s Cardamom mountains, we stopped at what Wutty said was a military-controlled illegal logging outpost. There, he was shot dead during a confrontation with soldiers who were protecting the site and preventing us from leaving. A soldier was also shot dead under mysterious circumstances in the firefight, although Wutty did not fire any shots. When the murderers began concocting a cover-up, a colleague and I were threatened with death. “Just kill them both,” they icily said within earshot of us. After six hours of paralyzing fear and pacing at the scene of the murder, we were transferred from police custody into the care of our editor in chief as night fell.

We were lucky. Less than three weeks later, government security forces fatally shot 14-year-old Heng Chantha during an armed siege against villagers resisting a land eviction by a well-connected agricultural company.

Now, the latest victim is Hang Serei Odom, 42, a reporter for a small Khmer-language newspaper who wrote in early September about military collusion in the deforestation of a lush region on Cambodia’s northeast border with Vietnam. His killing was ghastly: He was found dead from two ax wounds, one to the back of his head, the other to his forehead, and stuffed in the trunk of his car. A military police officer and his wife have been charged with premeditated murder after the victim’s shoes were found in and around the couple’s home.

from Environment Forum:

Getting down to business at U.N. climate talks a hard task

[CROSSPOST blog: 12 post: 11721]

A United Nations flag is raised at the United Nations multi-agency compound near Herat November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

A U.N. concession to delegates at this week's climate talks in Bonn to take off jackets and ties due to recent high temperatures may be going to some participants' heads.

Breaking the back of negotiations for a new climate pact after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 is proving hard work even though the talks' chair hopes to have a new negotiating text on the table by the end of the week.

from Commodity Corner:

Getting down to business at U.N. climate talks a hard task

A U.N. concession to delegates at this week's climate talks in Bonn to take off jackets and ties due to recent high temperatures may be going to some participants' heads.

Breaking the back of negotiations for a new climate pact after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 is proving hard work even though the talks' chair hopes to have a new negotiating text on the table by the end of the week.

from Summit Notebook:

Paper executive would rather not shake on it

Photo

When it comes to hygiene, Hannu Kottonen is one executive who practices what he preaches. As the man who heads Metsa Tissue, a company that produces products ranging from tissues to toilet paper, he knows a thing or two about how germs spread. So when he visited the Thomson Reuters office in Helsinki to take part in the annual Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit, perhaps we should not have been surprised when he declined to shake the hands ot the various journalists assembled there.

 

We didn't take it personally and Kottonen explained that hygiene was an issue that had not been given due attention. But some of that seems to be changing. Metsa Tissue is seeing more demand for some hygiene-related products as a result of the H1N1 flu outbreak and all the attention on hygiene it had generated. And it's not the only such company. Another Finnish specialty paper producer, Ahlstrom Corp, reported a similar trend, with more demand for the material that goes into face masks and for sanitary wipes.

from Summit Notebook:

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit

Photo

The global paper industry has struggled for more than six years to claw its way out of a slump, as soft demand and overcapacity have kept prices down, leading to poor earnings, production curtailments and layoffs.

The current global downturn has further eroded demand for basic materials, including paper, as print advertising has dropped steeply in the crisis. Companies have been forced to run just to stand still, temporarily or permanently shutting mills and axing staff.

  •