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Archive | 2011

Rivals Say Maliki Leading Iraq to ‘Civil War’

Iraq’s deputy Prime Minister accuses Nouri al-Maliki of acting like “a dictator” amid fears of “chaos and civil war.”

Saleh al-Mutlaq, a prominent Sunni politician, has been placed on 'extended leave' (EPA)

Baghdad, Iraq – Less than 24 hours after the US military withdrew the last of its occupation forces from Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an arrest warrant for Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi on terrorism charges.

Maliki, a Shia, levelled the charges against the highest ranking Sunni in the government – a move that threatens to drag the country back into sectarian bloodshed such as what occurred in 2006-2007 and led to tens of thousands of Iraqis being killed.

The move is particularly dangerous at this time, given the power vacuum created by the US withdrawal.

Just three days after US forces withdrew from Iraq, on December 21, Maliki placed Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni politician and a leader of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, on “extended leave”.

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World’s Oceans in Peril

Climate change is causing our oceans to become increasingly acidic, threatening to alter life as we know it.

The MV Rena, stuck on Astrolabe Reef in Tauranga, New Zealand has spilled 350 tonnes of oil, and many of its shipping containers, severely polluting and damaging the surrounding marine environment (GALLO/GETTY)

“From a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here, it’s the world we live in.”

This bleak statement about the current status of the world’s oceans comes from Dr Wallace Nichols, a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Al Jazeera asked Dr Nichols, along with several other ocean experts, how they see the effects climate change, pollution and seafood harvesting are having on the oceans.

Their prognosis is not good.

Dr Nancy Knowlton is a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. Her research has focused on the impact of climate change on coral reefs around the world, specifically how increasing warming and acidification from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have affected oceans.

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Can Herman Cain Deliver?

Presidential hopeful Herman Cain, while controversial, has a possible chance of winning the Republican nomination.

Recent polls show Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain tied for the lead with Mitt Romney (GALLO/GETTY)

“Many of the Muslims, they are not totally dedicated to this country,” GOP campaigner Herman Cain said in March. “They are not dedicated to our Constitution. Many of them are trying to force Sharia law on the people of this country.”

Prior to this defence, a reporter had asked Cain if he would appoint a Muslim to his administration if he were elected president of the US, to which Cain replied unequivocally, “No”.

While he later apologised to Muslims in the US for his inflammatory comments, this was not the only time Cain has made controversial statements.

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The Pipeline of ‘Poison’

The aftermath of a tar sands oil spill in Michigan has left a community with sickness, anger, and loss of livelihood.

An underground pipeline owned by Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP, began gushing into the Kalamazoo River area, and the affected area of the river remains closed to this day (GALLO/GETTY)

Deb Miller lives less than 30 metres from the Kalamazoo River in central Michigan, site of one of the largest inland tar sands oil disasters in US history.

In July 2010, nearly four million litres of toxic tar sands crude oil gushed into the river following the rupture of the Lakehead Pipeline 6B belonging to Enbridge Energy Partners, a Canadian oil and gas transportation company.

Meeting with other area residents at the office she owns with her husband on the banks of the Kalamazoo, Miller describes the adverse health effects she has suffered in the wake of the spill, including migraine headaches, burning eyes, a persistent sore throat, and a “cloudy brain” condition that she half-jokingly refers to as “Oil Alzheimer’s”.

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