SANTIAGO, Jul 13 (Tierramérica).- Leaders of the Mapuche, the largest indigenous group in Chile, announced a new offensive against the Michelle Bachelet government to demand greater land, political and cultural rights.
Around 100 Mapuche leaders arrived in Santiago Jul. 7, making the trip from the southern region of Araucanía, to try to meet with the president. They were not received, so left a letter for her.
"We know that Mapuche people's demands cause the state pain. Everything that is to come will be very painful," said "lonko" (chief) Juan Carlos Curinao, who said the Mapuche had overcome their divisions and are ready to fight as a united peoples.
"The movement of the Mapuche has begun. We are tired of waiting. Now we are going to consider our next actions," he told Tierramérica.
Weed Problem Worsens in Lake Maracaibo
CARACAS, Jul 13 (Tierramérica).- The lemna sp, or duckweed, extends like a skein about 30 centimeters thick over Lake Maracaibo in western Venezuela. The weed covers 13 percent of the lake's 12,000 square kilometer surface.
The increase this month is due to "changes in the wind, and the green patches, which reproduce rapidly, shifting away from the center of the lake," José Rincón, a biologist with the University of Zulia's aquatic contamination lab, told Tierramérica.
When the duckweed rots, it emits a foul odor that forces local residents to seek refuge inside, and scares off people from lakeside restaurants and tourist activities. The thick patches also get in the way of fishing operations.
The government will provide 900,000 dollars for manual removal of the plant this season.
Creating a Market for Industrial Waste
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jul 13 (Tierramérica).- Brazil's National Waste Exchange will help set up trade in industrial waste among companies through an Internet site.
The aim is to promote financial and environmental benefits while preventing industrial materials from being dumped in the environment and reducing the use of raw materials.
André Vilhena, director of the non-governmental Entrepreneurial Commitment to Recycling, told Tierramérica that the Exchange is "interesting", but warned of the danger of price speculation and the need to "respect the technical conditions for transport and storage" to avoid any harm to the environment from this endeavor.
The initiative, presented Jul. 8, will integrate existing exchanges in different states, allowing trade not only among businesses in the same state but across regions. Seven of Brazil's 26 states will participate in the first phase, with six more joining in the second phase.
A Boost to Food Security
TEGUCIGALPA, Jul 13 (Tierramérica).- The Special Program for Food Security (PESA for its Spanish name) in two years has improved the living conditions of more than 14,000 families in rural Honduras, an official source reported to Tierramérica.
PESA beneficiaries received training in natural resource management, diversified production and rural development, "under a focus of sustainability and promotion of food security policies," said Germán Flores, director in Honduras of the project sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
PESA's actions are centered on the country's 80 poorest municipalities, where the human development index varies between 0.425 and 0.75, considered extremely low on the UN's scale. These communities have few or exhausted natural resources and suffer high rates of malnutrition and illiteracy. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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