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International Update Volume 44, Issue 16

BARRICK GOLD STRIKES DEAL WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

Chile

Mining company Barrick Gold has reached a preliminary agreement with local indigenous peoples in Chile that may help clear the way to reactivating the Pascua-Lama mine in the Andes. The local Diaguita communities had long opposed the mine, saying it threatened their water supply and polluted nearby glaciers, and in May 2013 the Chilean environment minister blocked work on the project on the grounds that Barrick had violated its work permit.

CHINA TO BOOST FUNDING FOR REGIONS THAT CUT EMISSIONS

China

In an effort to step up the war on smog, Beijing announced last week that it will boost funding for local governments that do well in reducing air pollution. According to regulations released last Tuesday, China’s cabinet will assign local governments to one of four categories, ranging from “substandard” to “excellent.” Those that do well in reining in emissions will receive more funds, while those that do poorly will get less and potentially face disciplinary action. The cabinet will also impose harsher penalties on officials who fake environmental data.

EU MEMBER STATES BACK COMPROMISE ON GM CROPS

EU

Last Wednesday, the EU struck a compromise on genetically modified (GM) crops that will make it easier for them to win approval from some member states while allowing other countries to ban them. The deal was widely supported by EU member states; the UK farming and environment minister was hopeful that the compromise would “unblock the dysfunctional EU process for approving GM crops,” while France, which recently upheld a domestic ban on GM maize, was reassured that their opposition to such crops would be respected.