Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 8th 2015 Contents A39
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Rescue teams searched through
mud and debris on Friday for people
still missing from a village devastated
by the collapse of two dams at a
Brazilian mine owned by the world's
largest mining company, BHP Billiton.
While only one worker has been
confirmed dead, the local governor
said the mining disaster caused the
most environmental damage of any in
the state's history. It could cost the
mine's owners a fortune to clean up
Walls of water filled with mining
waste cascaded downhill when the
dams burst on Thursday, engulfing
the village of Bento Rodrigues and its
600 residents in a sea of mud while
also flooding others far removed from
the open-pit mine. Little remains of
the village but ruined walls and cars
lying twisted in sludge. Search
helicopters buzzed overhead as
rescuers tried to save a horse trapped
in the mud.
Mine operator Samarco's chief
executive officer said a tremor in the
vicinity of the mine may have caused
the dams to burst, but that it was too
early to establish the exact cause. The
company said one worker died and 13
were missing. (Reuters)
Search ongoing for missing in Brazil mine disaster
Barack Obama on Friday
rejected TransCanada s appli-
cation to build the Keystone
XL pipeline, which would have
transported oil across the Unit-
ed States-Canada border.
After seven years of reviewing
the project, Obama announced
his decision---ending one of the
biggest environmental question
marks of his presidency---from
the Roosevelt Room in the
"The State Department has
decided that the Keystone XL
pipeline would not serve the
national interest of the United
States," he said. "I agree with
Tensions over the proposed
pipeline had been high for years,
with Obama s environmental
base pressuring him to reject the
project---citing its impact on
emissions---and Republicans in
Congress voting repeatedly to
force its approval, citing the eco-
nomic boost it would provide.
But on Friday Obama pushed
back at claims that had long
been major talking points of
both industry and environmen-
talists. Keystone, Obama said,
would not have been "a silver
bullet for the economy" nor an
"express lane to climate disas-
Taking a jab at the politiciza-
tion of the pipeline, Obama said
it had become "overinflated"
and used as a symbol on the
campaign trail by both parties.
"Over years, the Keystone XL
pipeline has occupied what I
frankly consider an overinflated
role in our political discourse,"
Obama said, joined by both Sec-
retary of State John Kerry and
Vice President Joe Biden. The
president met earlier Friday with
Kerry, whose department over-
saw the review.
The president s rejection rests
on key points highlighted by the
State Department: That the
pipeline would not contribute
significantly to the economy,
and that it would not lower gas
prices for American consumers.
Over the last year gas prices
have steadily dropped in the US,
due to an oversupply in the
"Shipping dirtier crude oil
into our country would not
increase America s energy secu-
rity," Obama said.
Obama did not cite the
pipeline s contribution to emis-
sions and ultimately climate
change. Compared to green-
house gases from industrial
sources like power plants (which
are the largest source of US
emissions) and vehicle tailpipe
emissions, Keystone XL s impact
would have been minimal.
But he did say "approving
this project would have under-
cut" America s role as the
"global leader" on combatting
"Not acting," Obama said, "is
the biggest risk we face."
The president said he spoke
Friday morning with Canada s
newly elected Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau, who "expressed
his disappointment" with the
Green groups praised the
president s decision on Friday,
calling it a "day of celebration."
"President Obama is the first
world leader to reject a project
because of its effect on the cli-
mate," said Bill McKibben, pres-
ident of climate group 350.org.
"That gives him new stature as
an environmental leader." The
project s environmental impact
was long a point of contention.
In a major climate address in
June 2013, Obama said the
pipeline should only be
approved if it "does not signif-
icantly exacerbate the problem
of carbon pollution." The State
Department s final environmen-
tal impact analysis released in
January 2014 lent support to
the pipeline s approval, con-
cluding that it would not sub-
stantially increase emissions.
OBAMA SAYS NO TO
INDIA DIVALI PREPARATIONS
Leaders of political rivals Taiwan and China
have met for the first time in more than 60 years
for talks that come amid rising anti-Beijing sen-
timent on the self-ruled island and just weeks
ahead of elections.
China s President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese
counterpart, Ma Ying-jeou, shook hands at the
start of the summit in Singapore yesterday.
Before the leaders entered a closed meeting, Xi
said the two sides are "one family" and cannot be
pulled apart. Ma responded by telling Xi the two
sides should observe mutual respect after decades
of hostility and rivalry and "respect each other s
values and way of life".
"Even though this is the first meeting, we feel
like old friends. Behind us is history stretching for
60 years," he said.
"Now, before our eyes, there are fruits of con-
ciliation instead of confrontation."
It was the first such summit since China s civil
war ended in 1949.
The talks come ahead of presidential and par-
liamentary elections in Taiwan, in which the inde-
pendence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party
(DPP) is favoured to win, something Beijing wants
to avoid. The ruling Nationalists, also known as
the Kuomintang (KMT), retreated to Taiwan after
losing the civil war to the communists, who are
still in charge in Beijing. China has never renounced
the use of force to bring what it considers a break-
away province under its control.
But while bilateral trade, investment and tourism
have blossomed---particularly since Ma and his
KMT took power in 2008---there is deep suspicion
on both sides, and no progress has been made on
any sort of political settlement.
No agreements were expected in what was seen
as a highly symbolic get-together at a luxury hotel
in Singapore, a largely ethnic Chinese city-state
that has maintained good ties with both sides for
decades. (Al Jazeera)
hold historic talks
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Taiwanese
President Ma Ying-jeou shake hands at the Shangri-
la Hotel yesterday, in Singapore. AP PHOTO
Indian women look at
artificial flowers in
preparation for the
Hindu festival of Divali
in Ahmadabad, India,
yesterday. Divali, the
festival of lights, is
by lighting up homes
with earthen lamps
After reviewing for seven years...
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