Don’t fund Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant , locals urge European banks


Friday, Jun 7, 2013, 6:47 IST | Agency: DNA

Protesters at the proposed site for a nuclear plant at Jaitapur sent an e-mail to the three main bankers — BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole in France — on Tuesday, requesting the CEOs not to fund the project.

They have intensified their cause to save the environment from effects of radioactivity.

Indian government officials are set to meet French and other European investors over the week in Paris to discuss funding opportunities for the nuclear project.

Sources said about 1,000 people gathered around the proposed nuclear site on Tuesday at Jaitapur after learning that officials were going to negotiate the financial aspect of the proposed project with with French as well as other European bankers.

“They were riled by the news that Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Department of Atomic Energy officials were going to Paris to discuss financing of the project with French bankers. Slogans were raised against NPCIL, Areva and the French bankers,” a source told dna.

Amjad Borkar, an activist from the fishermen’s community, said: “The project will destroy marine life and make fishermen destitute.”

The e-mail to the bankers stated: “NPCIL and the Government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information and distorting the facts and are trying their best to convince you to finance the mega project.”

Activists Premanand Tevedkar and Mansoor Solkar said that despite an increase in compensation, the farmers were not going to give up their land. “Protesters said they would lay down their lives but not give up their land and right to livelihood,” he added.

The e-mail was sent by the villagers, farmers and fisherfolk of Jaitapur, Madban, Sakhari Nate, Mithgavane, Niveli, Karel and all the surrounding villages situated near the site.

“We will never allow anybody to contaminate our ancestral land and sea, marine as well as land of the Konkan coast with nuclear energy. It’s our right to life and livelihood and we will not give these up at any cost,” said the e-mail to the bankers.

 

Paris – Secret meeting for Jaitapur Reactors continues despite protests in India #WTFnews


 

PARIS, June 5, 2013

Investors’ meet on for underwriting package for Jaitapur reactors even as protests continue

 Vaiju Naravane
 A crucial investors’ meeting to underwrite the financial package for two 1,650 megawatt Areva EPR reactors to be built in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, got under way here with a top four-man team from India, including officials from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). Senior executives from Areva, the French nuclear giant, several banks and government agencies are also attending the meeting.

The meeting coincides with large-scale protests in Maharashtra against plans to build the two giant nuclear reactors. Hundreds of local farmers have signed petitions saying they do not wish to have their lands requisitioned or the giant reactors to be located close to where they live. Non-governmental organisations fighting plans to build the reactors say the project is located on a seismic site.

The Indian team in Paris is made up of four officials. C.B.S. Venkataraman, Additional Secretary and Niranjan Kumar, Deputy Secretary are from the DAE, while Preman Dinaraj (Financial Director) and Sandeep Singhroy (Director Jaitapur project) are from the NPCIL.

Soaring costs a concern

There have been serious concerns in India over the soaring costs of these reactors. Initially, India is expected to finalise an agreement for the purchase of two EPRs. This is expected to go up to six such reactors. The main sticking points in the discussions so far have been the cost of energy to India per kW/hour coupled with security concerns following the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Areva had initially promised India that energy from the reactors would not cost more that Rs. 4 per kW/h. But since the cost of each reactor has gone up from 3.3 billion Euros to 8.5 billion Euros, it would be a miracle if Areva is able to keep the cost of energy within the original framework.

Anne Lauvergeon, former chief of Areva, had told The Hindu in an interview two years ago that the “four rupee target” would be “maintained at all cost”. But the French have been unable to manage costs within their own country. The only EPR currently under construction in France at Flamanville has had massive cost overruns and is five years behind schedule. However, the two EPRs being built at Taishan in China are said to be going ahead at a terrific pace, being built to cost and to schedule.

“Since the reactors will be built by the NPCIL, the cost factor will definitely be lower in India, perhaps even 30 per cent lower than it is in France. There is, however, cause for worry and the talks in Paris will focus on reducing costs to a minimum without sacrificing safety or quality,” a well placed source close to the talks told this correspondent in Paris.

Members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti said that according to their calculations, the unit cost per kilowatt/ hour will be Rs. 14 per unit. The exact cost of each EPR in India has not been disclosed.

“Three important factors”

“There are three important factors in determining the price of a kilowatt/hour of nuclear electricity. The first is the cost of building the plant. The second element is the cost of borrowing the money. What rate of interest will India have to pay? The third element is the capacity at which the plant runs. If it fails to run at 100 per cent capacity, the costs inevitably go up,” Steve Thomas, a specialist on nuclear energy at Greenwich University’s School of Business told The Hindu.

None of these issues have been properly outlined to the public and no figures have been have been released either by the DAE or the NPCIL, which has angered opponents of the project. The project will supposedly have a 70:30 debt equity ratio.

Members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti said the meeting under way in Paris was kept secret to prevent demonstrations in India. However, word of the meeting leaked out. In a letter to French bankers, the Konkan Bachao Samiti said: “NPCIL and government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and are trying their level best to delude you [investors], in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.”

Anti-Areva Protest: Letter to French and European Bankers from Fishermen and Farmers of Jaitapur


02 June 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To,

The Presidents / Chief Executive Officers,

The French and European Bankers,

 

SUBJECT:- FINANCING OF PROPOSED JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT.

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

We the people of Jaitapur, Madban, Sakhari Nate, Mithgavane, Niveli, Karel and all the surrounding villages situated near proposed JAITAPUR Nuclear Power Project, are writing to you with a deep sense of anguish and disgust about the scheduled development taking place in the city of Paris on 5 th and 6 th June between Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) acting through Government of India, French Company AREVA and various French as well as European Bankers.

 

We, the thousands of Fishermen, Farmers as well as common inhabitants of Jaitapur and surrounding areas, are given to know that NPCIL and Government of India officials are going to negotiate with French as well as European Bankers the loan terms for financing the proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT.

 

We further understand that, to allay and assuage the serious concerns of Bankers as well as French Company AREVA about our staunch and fierce opposition to the proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and are trying their level best to delude you, in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.

 

To put the ground realities and facts in clear perspective, we, the fishermen and farmers of Jaitapur and adjoining areas, want to make it very very clear that our die hard opposition to Proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT is total, fierce and will not be subdued by any means or ways possible. In fact it is gaining momentum every passing day and is extending to larger and wider areas of Coastal Maharashtra, famously known as KOKAN.

 

In view of all above, we urge upon you not to buckle to the cheap tactics of NPCIL as well as Government of India and extend any loan to this ill fated Nuclear Project, which is sure to be scrapped sooner or later and you will end up not only loosing your money but your face too.

 

We will never ever allow anybody to contaminate our ancestral land, seas, marine as well as land environment of this konkan coast with NUCLEAR ENERGY and it’s dangerous fallout of ionizing RADIOACTIVITY at any cost and to achieve this objective, we are prepared to embrace even death if the situation so warrants.

 

Hope propriety prevails in your decision making and you desist from making money over our deaths.

 

                              

Yours Truly

                  Fishermen, Farmers and inhabitants of Jaitapur and vicinity

 

 

 

French Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill


By SCOTT SAYARE
Published: April 12, 2013
PARIS — The French Senate on Friday approved a bill to allow same-sex couples to wed and adopt children, leaving France poised to join the small group of nations that have fully legalized gay marriage, despite an unexpectedly vocal campaign by conservative opponents.

A final vote on the legislation, which figured among the campaign promises of President François Hollande, has been scheduled for next week in the lower house of Parliament, where the Senate’s minor amendments are expected to easily pass. Mr. Hollande’s Socialist Party holds a strong majority in the lower house, which approved an earlier version of the text in February.

Should the bill pass, parliamentary conservatives have vowed to challenge its constitutionality, though precedent suggests that a rejection by the Constitutional Council, which rules on such matters, would be unlikely.

The French debate over legalizing gay marriage comes as the Supreme Court of the United States is examining a law that prohibits it; one possible ruling in that case, concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, would require all 50 states to allow such unions. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in several American states, some areas of Brazil and Mexico and 12 countries, half of them in Europe.

In France, the left has broadly supported the bill on gay marriage, which many supporters prefer to call “marriage for all.” The country’s largest conservative party, the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, has opposed it. There have been a few dissonant voices at both ends of the political spectrum. On Friday, the Senate vote fell largely along partisan lines, 179 to 157.

“You have consolidated and reinforced the republican pact,” Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told the Senate after the vote. In opening marriage to same-sex couples, Ms. Taubira said, “we are simply recognizing their full citizenship.”

There has been marked opposition, however, in a country that remains largely Roman Catholic, with deeply rooted conservative convictions in much of the populace. Opponents of the bill, many of them rallying under a movement called La Manif Pour Tous, or Protest for All, have marched in the hundreds of thousands in Paris and across the country in recent months. Organizers have called for a mass protest next month.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders have also called upon the faithful to protest the legislation, which many opponents cast as a danger for future generations of children who could be raised by homosexual parents. Indeed, opposition has largely focused on the provision, now approved by both houses of Parliament, that would allow same-sex couples to adopt.

It is legal in France for someone who is gay or lesbian to adopt a child, but gays and lesbians may not adopt as couples, with equal parental rights.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 13, 2013, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: French Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill.

 

4 April 2013: International Day to Defend Amina; she represents us #Vaw #Womenrights


by Maryam Namazie

amina

Today is our day to defend our Amina. The 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist whose only “crime” was to post a topless photo of herself saying: “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.

Whilst she has done nothing wrong, she has been effectively detained incommunicado by her family with the help of the police, and the latest reports say she has been drugged and beaten.

Amina says though that she has no regrets.

Our beloved Amina, this is for you…

Actions taken and statements made today in support of Amina will be posted here on a regular basis. You can also post any acts in the comments section below or on FEMEN’s Facebook page.

  • There are actions today in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Kiev, London, Malmo, Milan, Montreal, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, San Francisco, Stockholm, Vancouver, Warsaw and more to mark 4 April, the International Day to Defend Amina. (See time and place here.) Many actions have already taken place in the run-up to this day. You can see some of them here or here.
  • 107,000 people have signed the petition in support of Amina; let’s make it 150,000 today!
  • Jaya Gopal, International Coordinator, wrote the “International Committee to Protect Freethinkers stands in support of the Tunisian Amina for her courage and act of protest against the oppressive misogynistic ethos and archaic laws across the globe. We condemn the Islamic cleric Adel Almi for his Fatwa calling for flogging and stoning Amina to death. The cleric deserves immediate prosecution.”
    • Elisabeth van der Steenhoven, Director of WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform (the largest network in Netherlands on women’rights internationally) sent  a message saying they support Amina.
    • Algerian sociologist Merieme Helie Lucas is at a conference in New Delhi today speaking on women using nudity against the Muslim Right as a new form of resistance by women and youth. She will stress the need for solidarity with Amina.
    • Swapna, Convener, writes “Let the world understand that Woman is a Human who has her own body and mind and that she should be respected and loved. The Tunisian Amina is right in posting a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan: ” MY BODY BELONGS TO ME AND IS NOT THE SOURCE OF ANYONE’S HONOR”. Her message is a human protest against a misogynistic inhuman social system. The Islamist cleric Adel Almi’s call for flogging and stoning Amina to death reflects such a system and ethos. Our Scientific Students Federation (SSF) unequivocally stands in defense of Amina.
    • Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, Association créée par Simone de Beauvoir, Regards de Femmes and Femmes Solidaires, Maison des Ensembles submitted this protestCOMMUNIQUE to the Tunisian embassy today in support of Amina; Anne Marie Lizin, honorary president of Belgian senate submitted the same letter to the Tunisian embassy in Belgium.
    • Zari Asli and Lily M prepared this postcard for distribution at rallies and future events.POstcard_FRONT  POstcard_back_other_places.
    • Yesterday, Tunisian Merieme and FEMEN burnt an Islamic flag in front of a mosque in Paris to symbolise women’s fight against Islamism:

IsnRmFk4fG

 

After 200 years, Paris lifts ‘ban’ on women in pants #womenrights #Vaw


paris trouser ban

Feb 05, 2013 |

Women in Paris can finally wear trousers without fear of criminal prosecution after the government said a ban imposed over 200 years ago no longer had any legal effect.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French minister for wom-en’s rights, said the ban, imposed on November 17, 1800, was incompatible with modern French values. The municipal order required Parisian women to seek permission from the police if they wanted to “dress like a man” by wearing trousers. It was modified in 1892 and 1909 to allow women to wear trousers if they were “hol-ding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse”, but had officially remained on the books.
Answering a question in the Official Journal of the French Senate, Ms Valla-ud-Belkacem said while it had not been formally struck down, the order was in effect abrogated. “This order is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men,” she said. Pari-sian women had demanded the right to wear trou-sers during the French Revolution, when working-class revolutionaries were known as “sans-culo-ttes” for wearing trousers instead of silk-knee bree-ches (culottes) favoured by the bourgeoisie.

According to the Connexion, a campaign to scrap the outdated legislation was launched in 2010 however it was not deemed a government priority.

France’s minister of women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, took up the case last year and announced the lifting of the ban this week.

French lensman finds his photo on Delhi Commission for Women ads, sends notice


R

‘The woman in the photograph may initiate separate action if she gets to know that her picture is being used this way’

Nandini Thilak , IE

A French photographer has served a legal notice to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), for allegedly using an image clicked by him without his consent. The photographer has alleged that the DCW used the copyrighted picture on billboards advertising its rape victim’s cell. He has demanded Rs 50 lakh as damages.

Paris-based photographer Christophe Viseux has claimed that he was driving through Delhi in February this year when he noticed several posters bearing the copyrighted photograph on billboards put up the by the DCW, encouraging rape victims to use its helpline.

Viseux said he clicked the photograph of a partially veiled woman during a trip to Jaisalmer in January 2011 and had uploaded it on his blog. His lawyer said the picture may have been picked up from his blog and reproduced in the DCW advertisement. The respondents listed in the notice are the DCW, the National Commission for Women and the Delhi government.

Viseux’s lawyer, Dushyant Kumar Mahant said his client was awaiting response from those concerned before taking legal action.

“My client found this picture flashed all over Delhi in billboards. While I am representing him as his copyright and moral right to the picture has been infringed, the woman in the photograph may initiate separate action if she gets to know that her picture is being used this way,” Mahant said.

The notice has asked for a response within two weeks and has also asked for a full disclosure of the use of the picture.

In addition to paying Rs 50 lakh for copyright violation, Viseux has demanded that Rs 20 lakh be deposited with an Indian NGO of his choice, which works for women’s rights.

“The original picture was taken in January near Jaisalmer. (This is) just really unfair, especially coming from the government,” Viseux said.

Acknowledging the receipt of the legal notice from Viseux on Friday, the Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Barkha Singh said the commission had contacted its advertising agency for an explanation.

“We received the notice on Friday, and we have called the agency which made the advertisements,” Singh said.

“We are preparing a reply after receiving the notice. The responsibility in the case lies with the agency. We called for designs from a DAVP-approved agency (Directorate of Audio and Visual Publicity, under the Government of India Ministry of Information and Technology) and bought one from the designs submitted,” said Promila Mitra, Deputy Secretary, DCW.

 

Activist ‘surrenders’ before court to highlight pollution of lake #mustread #ganapati


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu, Sept 25, Salem

Says immersion of Vinayaka idols has polluted the Mookeneri Lake

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Taking moral responsibility that he was not able to save the picturesque Mookeneri Lake, here, from a bunch of polluters, who immersed idols of Lord Vinayaka, made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in it, a Salem-based environmentalist V. Piyush Sethia, Convener, Salem Citizens’ Forum, which resurrected the lake into a throbbing water spread that was once a PWD’s cesspool, ‘surrendered’ before a Salem judicial court here on Monday.

The activist’s ‘surrender,’ with no case pending against him in any police station in this particular issue, had caught the Judicial Magistrate No. 4 N. Vijayalakshmi and a host of lawyers and litigant public, unawares. After going through his petition, which claimed that he ‘surrendered,’ since, as a responsible member of Salem Citizens’ Forum, he had failed to keep his promise given to stakeholders at the time of rejuvenation that the lake would not be ‘abused’ for purpose other than water holding and ayacut use.

Perplexed, the Magistrate after seeking his explanation told the petitioner’s lawyer P. Mayan that she had to consult legal experts and senior colleagues before deciding the fate of his ‘surrender petition.’ “But later in the evening the Magistrate had dismissed the petition itself pointing out that it had enclosed no supportive documents such as FIR or any specific complaint filed against the petitioner in this regard,” Mr. Mayan said.

Talking to The Hindu, Sethia said despite knowing well in advance that chemical-coated idols would be immersed in the lake, he failed in his duty as a responsible citizen to stop it.

“As the Forum’s convener I could not also stop the massive pollution that the immersion caused to the lake, illegal under the provisions of Air and Water Act of Environment Protection Act 1986 and Tamil Nadu Public Property Damages Act. I construed it as negligence on my part, which is an abetment to crime. Hence I surrendered,” he said.

He further said the City Police had permitted the immersion of idols – all made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in the lake. “We gave the Police Commissioner a petition against the immersion of such toxic coated idols. He assured us of ‘rule of law.’ Believing him, we did not take the matter to Collector, PWD and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to stop it,” he said. He and others were not against the immersion of idols that are made of clay and natural dyes.

Painful sight

It was a painful sight to see the water spread of Mookeneri Lake, now home to rare water birds, fish and exotic plants, and a much sought-after tourist spot, turning poisonous. “We in the Forum are developing many lakes under private-public partnership. But all our concerted efforts go waste when such environmental vandalism goes on unchecked,” he said.

He has decided to approach City Police to register a case against him – again for abetment to a crime.

 

 


  • Piyush Sethia was involved in the restoration of Mookaneri Lake
  • Vinayaka Idols made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes were immersed in the lake recently

     

In journalist murders, Brazil, Pakistan, India fail crucial test


Posted: 04/16/2012 5:48 pm,HuffingtonPost

 By Elisabeth Witchel/CPJ Consultant

 Brazil, Pakistan, and India–three nations with high numbers of unsolved journalist murders–failed an important test last month in fighting the scourge of impunity. Delegates from the three countries took the lead in raising objections to a U.N. plan that would strengthen international efforts to combat deadly, anti-press violence.

Meeting in Paris, delegates of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for Development of Communication were expected to endorse the U.N. Inter-Agency Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. But a debate that was scheduled for two hours raged for nearly two days, ending without the 39-state council’s endorsement.

The plan, which had been in the works for more than a year, is still proceeding through other U.N. channels, although implementation and funding could face continued difficulties if these nations persist in raising objections. Perhaps more important: Brazil, Pakistan, and India–each ranked among the world’s worst on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2012 Impunity Index–missed an opportunity to send a strong message that they do not condone anti-press violence.

Among its many security-related measures, the plan would strengthen the office of the U.N. special rapporteur for free expression, assist member states in developing national laws to prosecute the killers of journalists, and establish a U.N. inter-agency mechanism to evaluate journalist safety. “The U.N. plan is a unique road map, designed by U.N. agencies, programs, and funds, as well as professional associations, NGOs, and member states to address the issue of the safety of journalists,” said Sylvie Coudray, the UNESCO senior program specialist who has managed the plan’s development. CPJ participated in UNESCO’s consultative process.

During the two-day UNESCO debate, representatives from India and Pakistan repeatedly questioned whether the initiative was appropriate under UNESCO’s mandate. They also dominated the session with calls for greater “transparency” in UNESCO’s sources for information on anti-press attacks. Brazil raised procedural objections, asserting that UNESCO did not have authority to enact the plan.
Delegates from the United Kingdom, Unites States, the Netherlands, Niger, and Albania and others countered that the plan is imperative in light of the growing number of victims of anti-press violence. “Not endorsing this plan,” the Albanian delegate said, “would send the wrong message to the world and to the perpetrators.”
In the end, the council adopted a compromise resolution that allows the plan to move ahead through the U.N. Chief Executives Board, which centralizes operations of specialized U.N. bodies. But UNESCO will have to present another work plan at its executive meeting in spring 2013.
“The failure of the council to formally endorse the action plan, as it was invited to do, is a setback and gives its opponents a chance to renew their hostile attack on the plan and to delay it as it moves on through the other hurdles it must overcome in the U.N. system to get approval and become reality,” said William Horsley, international director of the Centre for Freedom of the Media at the University of Sheffield, who has been closely monitoring the plan.
In a written responses to CPJ queries, a senior Pakistani official said that while his country “welcomes attempts at the international level to find a workable solution,” the U.N. plan “has to be tackled in a comprehensive manner with the cooperation of maximum number of member states at appropriate for[ums].” While acknowledging that Pakistani journalists had been killed, the official said it would be “unfair to say outrightly that Pakistan has a high rate of unresolved cases.” He questioned whether journalist deaths were work-related, and attributed Pakistan’s fatality rate to his country’s war on terror.
Pressure within nations may be a key to keeping the plan on track. In Pakistan, CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee Umar Cheema took his government to task, while Brazilian news mediaput their government on the defensive with extensive coverage of the story. In an interview last week with CPJ, a senior Brazilian official framed his delegation’s objections as procedural, and said the country would not stand in the way of the plan’s further progress. “We are 95 percent in favor of all the articles here, but some of them we think should follow a different procedure,” the official said. “We are very committed to protecting journalists, although we recognize we have many problems we need to be addressed.”
Despite some dissenting nations’ calls for “transparency” in UNESCO’s information sources, the statistics themselves are clear. More than 560 journalists have been murdered with impunity worldwide over the past two decades, CPJ research shows. Already this year, eight journalists have been murdered across the globe. Pakistan, Brazil and India all have among the highest rates of unsolved journalist murders per capita in the world, CPJ’s Impunity Index shows.
States shouldn’t delay this plan. The killers of journalists are acting now.

 

Watch the Committee to Protect Journalists’ video, “Getting Away With Murder,” about its 2012 Impunity Index: