Native Activist Found Not Guilty In Border Protest

Amber Ortega, a Southern Arizona border activist facing two federal charges for protesting the construction of the border wall near Quitobaquito Springs, was found not guilty by a federal judge on Wednesday.

Following a short motions hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman ruled that the federal government had imposed a “substantial burden” on Ortega’s exercise of her religious faith by closing access to the border road that runs just south of Quitobaquito Springs — an area that remains central to the spiritual practices of the Hia C-ed O’odham.

The on-the-spot change in the verdict felt like “a dream,” Ortega said.

Ortega and her friend and mentor Nellie Jo David were arrested on Sept. 9, 2020, by National Park Service officers just beyond Quitobaquito — about 120 miles southwest of Tucson…

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Patel Defeated In The Lords But The Battle To Kill The Bill Continues

On Monday night the House of Lords inflicted a series of bruising defeats on the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, irreversibly sinking some of its worst aspects. In defiance of the anti-protest nature of the bill, demonstrators outside made so much noise it resonated inside the chamber while the Lords voted against the government on 14 separate counts.

But this is not the end of the road. Kill the Bill protesters celebrating this victory must keep piling on the pressure – this attack on civil liberties and our fundamental democratic rights needs to be defeated in its entirety.

The bill, described by Amnesty International as an “enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers” and seen by others as an attack on democracy reminiscent of “Cold War era Eastern European dictatorships” enables the authorities to effectively ban peaceful protest and criminalize freedom of speech and assembly.

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Elbit Forced To Sell Factory After Sustained Direct Action Campaign

After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit have now sold Ferranti technologies, with its continued operation in Oldham appearing unfeasible. Activists have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted, and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet of combat drones.

In November 2021, anonymous sources revealed to Palestine Action that mass redundancy notices had been issued to staff working at the factory, and that premises were being cleared in preparation for Elbit leaving the site. Today, it was publicized that Ferranti has indeed been sold to TT Electronics, a British electronics firm.

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Student Workers Of Columbia Reach Tentative Agreement

In the late hours of January 6, after more than two months on strike, the Student Workers of Columbia (SWC-UAW) reached a tentative agreement for their union’s first contract with Columbia University.

Contract wins include significant raises for workers, bringing annual compensation for those on 9-month appointments to just over $40,000 and raising the minimum wage for hourly workers from $15 to $21. SWC members also won dental insurance, childcare stipends, and an emergency healthcare fund available to all union members. They also won full recognition of all student workers as part of the bargaining unit and provisions for neutral arbitration of harassment and bullying cases. Full details have yet to be released to the public.

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Kellogg’s Strike Ends

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) who work at Kellogg’s ready to eat cereal plants in Battle Creek, Mich., Lancaster, Pa., Omaha, Neb. and Memphis, Tenn. have voted to accept the recommended collective bargaining agreement. Approval of the contract ends the BCTGM’s strike against Kellogg’s, which began on October 5, 2021.

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Air Board Denies Key Permit For Mountain Valley Pipeline

Today, in a victory for environmental justice, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-1 to deny the air quality permit for the proposed Lambert Compressor Station. The station would have connected the beleaguered Mountain Valley Pipeline to a proposed ‘Southgate’ extension into North Carolina. Had the permit been granted, nearby communities would be subjected to additional air emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter 2.5, and formaldehyde — substances known to contribute to respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer. The permit denial is a clear victory for communities working tirelessly to protect their health and homes from corporate polluters — and a major setback for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

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Major Investor Pulls Out Of Kitmat LNG Project

The future of a major LNG project in Kitimat has been thrown into uncertainty, after one of its main backers has decided to walk out. Houston-based Apache Corporation says it will leave Kitimat LNG, which was a joint project with Chevron.

“Consistent with the company’s ongoing repositioning for profitable and repeatable North American onshore growth, Apache intends to completely exit the Wheatstone and Kitimat LNG projects,” the company announced today in its second quarter report.

The news comes only one month after Premier Christy Clark took a tour of the Kitimat LNG site, and took photos with workers to promote the project. Even though the BC government has ambitious plans to build several LNG terminals in the province, with three built by 2020, some experts have warned that the proposals could be undermined by much nimbler global competitors and sinking gas prices in Asia.

To date, Kitimat LNG is the only LNG export facility (of 16 proposed) that has been granted an environmental assessment certificate by the province.

“While today’s news that Apache intends to leave the Kitimat LNG project changes the ownership structure of that particular proposal, we remain committed to developing a competitive liquefied natural gas export industry in British Columbia,” the Premier’s office told The Vancouver Observer.

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