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Current International Update

International developments reported in the current issue of ELR's Weekly Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left. For older material reported between 2000 and 2010, visit the Weekly Update Archives.

Volume 47, Issue 29

INDIGENOUS DEFENDANTS CLEARED OF CHARGES RELATED TO PANAMA DAM

Country: Panama

Three indigenous defendants accused of instigating project delays and causing financial losses during protests at the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in western Panama have been acquitted of all charges. According to an opposition group leader, the company provided no concrete proof that he or any of the other 60-plus protestors trespassed on its property or impeded the work of its personnel. The dam is fully operational and its reservoir has flooded the land of three Ngäbe-Bugle communities.

ZAMBIAN VILLAGERS ALLOWED TO SUE MINING COMPANY IN ENGLISH COURT

Country: Zambia

Zambian villagers have won the right to sue mining company Vedanta Resources in the English courts. London’s Court of Appeal threw out the company’s attempt to block the Zambians’ legal action over pollution allegations. The villagers allege that their land has been destroyed by water pollution caused by the Nchanga Copper Mine, which is owned by Vedanta. Vedanta said it would seek the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. For the full story see http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-vedanta-zambia-court/zambian-villagers-...

AUSTRALIA TAKING STEPS TO LOWER ENERGY COSTS

Country: Australia

To help lower energy costs, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has threatened gas producers with export restrictions unless they plug domestic shortages. Despite having one of the world’s largest coal and natural gas reserves, as well as ideal conditions for clean power generation, Australia has the highest power prices in the world. Political indecisiveness and climate policy missteps have left the country’s power system in limbo, which has doubled electricity prices and increased the risk of blackouts.