Charities pledge $700m to fight deforestation worldwide, by giving more power to indigenous groups

A coalition of charitable groups and the government of Norway pledged today to spend well over half a billion dollars over the next four years to prevent deforestation internationally and recognise indigenous peoples' rights to manage forests.

The charitable groups pledged NZ$704 million to help indigenous groups gain rights to the forests where they live and to help them protect their land. The government of Norway pledged another NZ$50 million to help prevent deforestation in Indonesia and Brazil.

The coalition of more than 15 organisations and Norway made the announcement ahead of an international climate change summit in San Francisco. It includes the Ford and the Rockefeller foundations.

"Evidence shows indigenous communities are the most effective stewards of the land they inhabit and in doing so, they are ensuring that the greenhouse gas levels do not do irreversible damage to people and the planet," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

The funds will support those working to protect, restore and expand forests, help communities make land use more sustainable and empower indigenous people by teaching them about their rights.

National, however, is accusing Shane Jones of flinging money around. Source: 1 NEWS

The endeavour is separate from a New Zealand programme in which the Government has allocated nearly $500 million to the goal of planting 1 billion trees. About $240 million of that was announced last month, when Forestry Minister Shane Jones explained that iwi, private land owners and non-government organisations will be able to apply for the money to cover planting costs.

Mr Jones estimated that the $240 million injection will result in 60 million new trees and the creation of 1000 jobs over the next three years.

In San Francisco today, Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said that to prevent deforestation, the rights of indigenous people need to be secured and governments need to protect those fighting for land and the environment.

About half of the forests in the world are managed by indigenous people but only 15 per cent of those lands are legally recognized as belonging to them, she said, adding that more than 200 land and environmental activists, many of them indigenous, were killed last year.

"If our rights as indigenous peoples are recognized, we can continue to protect these lands for generations to come," she said.

Scientists say forests already remove 30 per cent of carbon emissions added to the atmosphere each year but rampant deforestation driven by a growing demand for animal protein, soy and wood products is undermining trees and the soil's capacity to store carbon.

They say the time to achieve the most ambitious goal - limiting a rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 - has almost passed and that preserving and expanding forests is critical to fighting climate change.

The party wants to move and shake things up when it comes to climate change. Source: 1 NEWS

Erazo Yaiguaje, an indigenous Siona man from South America, travelled from the Colombian Amazon to San Francisco to share his tribe's plight in getting the government to recognize their ancestral land and to publicize his people's fight against cattle ranchers and efforts to clear land mines left behind by a rebel group.

The ranchers, he said, started arriving in the Putumayo areas once occupied by rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who in 2016 laid down their guns after they and the Colombian government reached a peace deal.

Mr Yaiguaje said his tribe lives in 11,000 acres (4,450 hectares) but that the government has refused to recognize their land encompasses 128,000 acres (51,800 hectares).

"The pledge recognises the importance of indigenous peoples and how from the forest and the jungle, we're helping the world," Mr Yaiguaje said.

But he said he hopes the money gets to those it intends to help.

"These funds are usually given to the government and our communities see very little of it," he added.

They’re frustrated with what they say is a lack of Government action.
Source: 1 NEWS



Court upholds fine for editors and photographers who published topless Kate Middleton photos

A French court of appeals has upheld a ruling that two directors of French celebrity magazine Closer should be fined a maximum NZ $79,000 for breaching the privacy of Kate Middleton, when publishing topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing back in 2012.

The Versailles appeals court upheld a decision today from September 2017 in Nanterre to fine the publication's two directors the maximum possible, and the two photographers who snapped the duchess NZ $18,000 each.

Last September, the office of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were pleased at the ruling as they "wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen".

The damages were short of the NZ $2.65 million hoped for by the royal couple.

Prince William and Kate Middleton in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

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'Food terrorists' could face 15 years in prison as Australia considers new penalties in wake of fruit needle crisis

So-called "food terrorists" could face 15 years behind bars as part of tough new penalties aimed at preventing another strawberry needle crisis.

The government will introduce legislation to federal parliament yesterday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for it to be passed before MPs exit Canberra.

More than 100 reports of tampered fruit are being investigated by police across the country, many of which are thought to be fake or copycat cases.

The Queensland and NSW governments are offering a reward to catch the culprits.

The measures include increasing the maximum penalty for food contamination from 10 to 15 years' jail, in line with child pornography and terror financing offences.

There will also be a new offence of being reckless in causing harm, which will carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The most serious cases with national security implications will be covered by sabotage offences, with penalties ranging from seven to 25 years' jail.

The prime minister said the strawberry crisis was a distressing series of events.

"This is a shocking and cowardly thing to do," Mr Morrison said.

The government is also providing $1 million to make more food safety officials available to increase detection, fast-track recalls and assist the industry to rebuild confidence.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud labelled the offenders parasites, calling for them to be caught and have the book thrown at them.

"Each and every one of us, we can help an Aussie farmer better than any government can," Mr Littleproud said.

"We can go into those shops, we can buy a hell of a lot of strawberries. Cut 'em up and eat 'em - don't cut them out of your diet."

One person, a young boy, has been arrested so far. 

NSW authorities are investigating more than 20 incidents of needles found in strawberries. Source: Breakfast

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3D gun businessman accused of sex with underage prostitute in Texas

An affidavit accuses the owner of a Texas company that makes untraceable 3D-printed guns of paying $500 cash to have sex with a female under 17.

The affidavit filed overnight in state district court in Austin accuses 30-year-old Cody R. Wilson of sexual assault of a juvenile. It says he met his alleged victim through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com.

Wilson hasn't responded to a phone message. Jail records indicate he's not in custody.

Wilson is identified in the affidavit as the owner of Austin-based Defense Distributed. He announced last month that he is selling 3D-printed gun blueprints through his website after a federal court blocked posting them online for free.

That followed a collection of states suing to stop a settlement that the federal government had reached with Defense Distributed.

Cody Wilson with a Liberator pistol.
Cody Wilson with a Liberator pistol. Source: Associated Press

The pistol can be 3D-printed out of ABS plastic at home for a few hundred dollars.


US surgeon accused of removing wrong organ and not telling patient

An American surgeon denies he breached the standard of care when he removed an Iowa woman's healthy kidney instead of her adrenal gland.

Dr Scott Baker and The Surgical Institute of South Dakota responded to a lawsuit filed by Dena Knapp last month alleging professional negligence, the Argus Leader reports. The response acknowledges Dr Baker removed Ms Knapp's right kidney instead of an adrenal gland and an associated mass during her October 2016 surgery.

Knapp says she wasn't told about the mix-up until after she was released from the hospital. She developed stage-three kidney disease after the surgery.

Dr Baker and the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hospital deny breaching the standard of care by removing the kidney, failing to remove the adrenal gland and failing to admit the mistake. They also deny that Ms Knapp suffered damages.