4 weeks ago

"Decompression" plan for quake-hit Haitian capital | Reuters

* Plan includes assessment, rubble removal, demolition

* Aims to ease pressure of debris, displaced in city

* Rains and aftershocks add urgency to immense task

By Pascal Fletcher

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Feb 23 Haiti's government and its foreign relief partners plan to start "decompressing" earthquake-stricken Port-au-Prince by clearing rubble to allow displaced families to return home or be temporarily resettled, Haitian and U.N. officials said on Tuesday.

The plan, which will require private contractors for some of the debris removal, demolition and rebuilding, is expected to get underway this week, over six weeks after the magnitude 7 quake that shattered swathes

1 month ago

Naples garbage is mafia gold | Reuters

NAPLES "For us, rubbish is gold," is how one Italian gangster explained the mafia's involvement in waste trafficking to an investigating magistrate in Naples.

Areas of the southern city have ground to a halt this week because of piles of rotting rubbish and sometimes violent protests about what to do with it, and Italians are questioning whether organized crime is to blame for the emergency.

The Camorra, the Naples equivalent of the Cosa Nostra mafia of Sicily, has been turning filth into cash for decades in the city, says Michele Buonomo, president of environmental campaign group Legambiente Campania.

"Before 1994 they controlled the entire waste cycle," he told Reuters in an interview. He estimates Mafia involvement in crimes against the environment yield a turnover of 6 billion euros ($8.8 billion) a year.

Fourteen years ago, Italy appointed a special commissioner to take charge of waste disposal and pry it away from Camorra-run companies.

By undercutting legitimate operators, these companies won a host of local authority contracts and ended up in charge of the region's then-privately owned landfills.

"The Camorra isn't actually that interested in household waste but it is interested in controlling the waste cycle, controlling the dumps," said Buonomo.

The Camorra filled the dumps, not just with household trash but also with industrial waste trucked in from around Italy. This traffic remains one of organized crime's most lucrative activities rivaling, and possibly exceeding, narcotics for profitability.

TOXIC

A state of emergency, declared in 1994, was meant to tackle the problem by taking waste dumps into public hands and defining a coherent waste strategy. But six successive trash tsars have been unable to banish the Camorra from the sector.

The gangsters still make fortunes in waste transport and, as they no longer run the dumps, by dumping and burning toxic refuse in the countryside - a major source of pollution blamed for higher than normal rates of certain cancers in the region.

Camorra gangs have also bought land at knock-down prices from intimidated small landowners and sold it at a huge profit to companies involved in stocking bales of waste, said Buonomo.

These bales are destined to be burned in a giant incinerator which is still being built.

But mafia-watchers are not convinced the current garbage crisis was orchestrated by the Camorra.

Just as much to blame are political opportunism, cronyism and the willingness of many legitimate companies to employ shady, but cheap, operators to handle their waste, they say.

"It absolutely was not the Camorra that created this emergency," said Roberto Saviano, author of "Gomorra", a bestselling book on the Naples mafia.

"The Camorra doesn't like emergencies and doesn't need them. It keeps profiting from waste, come rain or shine."

(Reporting by Robin Pomeroy; editing by Robert Woodward)

1 month ago

Army corrections in Mannheim: past, present, future.

Today, the city of Mannheim, Germany, is more than 500 years old.

It was established at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar rivers in

western Germany in 1507. Due to the ease of inland water transportation

and the Rhine River valley's superb agricultural production, the

city rapidly expanded. Just before the Industrial Age, the city's

fertile ground and ability to transport water combined with a growing

population that included local inventors and entrepreneurs, leading the

city to economic significance by the late 19th century.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In 1940, Mannheim became one of the first major industrial centers

1 month ago

Sick 9/11 Workers Sue WTC Insurance Fund

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1 month ago

Establishing Good Drainage for Your Soil

A well-drained soil is essential not only for successful plant growth but also where paths and walls are to be built. It is therefore important to consider the drainage of your whole plot, not simply with regard to the growing areas.

Few plants like a lot of water around their roots and in soil which is constantly wet the plants roots will remain near the surface or will start to rot. Wet soils are also cold, which retards plant growth. When drainage is inadequate, not only is air blocked from the plant roots but the general lack of air in the soil means that bacteria cannot live and the bacteria are a vital part of healthy soil.

It is in particular heavy clay soils which suffe

1 month ago

HOW 4 FIRMS AID IN WTC CLEANUP.

Mayor Giuliani estimates that it could take an entire year to clean

up the remains of the World Trade Center, despite crews working 24 hours

a day, 7 days a week to clear the site.

Like armies on a battlefield, scores of contractors have divided up

the site between their crews, dismantling steel beams and picking

through the rubble.



The New York Times reported mat mere are over I 1,000 workers

divided into four quadrants at ground zero.



The coordinated effort began only hours after the buildings

collapsed, bringing together engineers, contractors, construction crews

and steel workers to assess the

1 month ago

Army corrections in Mannheim: past, present, future.

Today, the city of Mannheim, Germany, is more than 500 years old.

It was established at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar rivers in

western Germany in 1507. Due to the ease of inland water transportation

and the Rhine River valley's superb agricultural production, the

city rapidly expanded. Just before the Industrial Age, the city's

fertile ground and ability to transport water combined with a growing

population that included local inventors and entrepreneurs, leading the

city to economic significance by the late 19th century.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In 1940, Mannheim became one of the first major industrial centers