REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
[Malaysia] UNESCO World Heritage: tell the palm oil barons to back off!
Rainforest Rescue, June 2019
Oil palm plantations are closing in on the ancient rainforests of Sarawak’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mulu National Park. The local indigenous Berawan and Penan communities are resisting the project, which would destroy their ancestral forest and livelihoods.
3 June 2019
The Three Most Important Graphs in Climate Change
By Jonathan Foley, GlobalEcoGuy, 3 June 2019
When it comes to climate change, confusion is rampant.
Why? Many people might point to the lack of robust science literacy in America today. Others might point to the deliberate attempts by industry groups and their political allies to obfuscate the issue, sowing doubt and confusion. Others might criticize our media outlets, where facts and respectful dialogue are trumped by sensationalism, manufactured controversies, and shouting matches.
You can’t save the climate by going vegan. Corporate polluters must be held accountable.
By Michael E. Mann and Jonathan Brockopp, USA Today, 3 June 2019
“People start pollution. People can stop it.” That was the tag line of the famous “Crying Indian” ad campaign that first aired on Earth Day in 1971. It was, as it turns out, a charade. Not only was “Iron Eyes Cody” actually an Italian-American actor, the campaign itself successfully shifted the burden of litter from corporations that produced packaging to consumers.
The problem, we were told, wasn’t pollution-generating corporate practices. It was you and me. And efforts to pass bottle bills, which would have shifted responsibility to producers for packaging waste, failed. Today, decades later, plastic pollution has so permeated our planet that it can now be found in the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench 36,000 feet below.
Can forests and smallholders live in harmony in Africa?
By Xiaoxue Weng, George Schoneveld, Emily Gallgher, Markus Ihalainen, Selma van der Haar, and Margaret Arwari, CIFOR Forests News, 3 June 2019
Agriculture continues to present the biggest threat to forests worldwide. Some experts predict that crop production needs to be doubled by 2050 to feed the world at the current pace of population growth and dietary changes toward higher meat and dairy consumption. Scientists generally agree that productivity increase alone is not going to do the trick. Cropland expansion will be needed, most likely at the expense of large swathes of tropical forests – as much as 200million hectares by some estimates.
EU firms buying timber from wanted suspect at centre of $30 million Ukrainian bribery case
Timberleaks, 3 June 2019
A slew of European firms have been purchasing wood from a supplier owned by the wife of Ukraine’s former forestry chief, even though a criminal case alleging the couple pocketed 795 million Ukraine Hryvnia ($30 million) in return for favourable access to Ukraine’s rich timber resources is ongoing. The sales suggest the EU is failing to effectively enforce a law meant to ensure wood imports are legal.
Marina Zhuravleva and her husband Viktor Sivets, a former head of Ukraine’s State Agency of Forestry Department (SAFR) during Viktor Yanukovych’s controversial reign as president, fled the country in 2014 after state prosecutors accused them of netting more than $30 million in kickbacks from four foreign firms to engineer access to timber at discounted prices.
France wants EU to seek end to jet fuel tax exemption to curb emissions
By Geert De Clercq, Reuters, 3 June 2019
The French government wants new European Union executives to push for an end to the global tax exemption for jet fuel to reduce CO2 emissions but has dismissed opposition calls for a ban on some domestic flights to encourage train travel.
The 1944 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation exempts kerosene from taxation, but environmental activists say the aviation fuel should be taxed to reduce air travel and limit the emissions that are causing global temperatures to rise.
[Indonesia] EU wants cooperation over sustainable palm oil
By Dian Septiari and Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, The Jakarta Post, 3 June 2019
Indonesia and the European Union need to further promote cooperation over sustainable palm oil to help ease the tension between Jakarta and Brussels over the latter’s move to phase out the use of crude palm oil in biofuel by 2030, an EU representative has said.
“Indonesia wants to produce sustainable palm oil and has a whole set of policies to do that, while the EU wants to consume sustainable palm oil, so our paths are bound to meet between sustainable palm oil production and sustainable palm oil consumption,” the charge d’affaires of the EU delegation to Indonesia, Charles-Michel Geurts, told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the EU-Indonesia 2019 Blue Book in Jakarta on Tuesday evening.
[Indonesia] 5-step plan to protect our forests
By Sonny Mumbunan and Edward Davey, The Jakarta Post, 3 June 2019
The most recent global survey of tree cover, released by Global Forest Watch, revealed a worrying panorama: the world lost 3.6 million hectares of old-growth rainforest in 2018, an area the size of Belgium. But one country stood out as a success story: Indonesia reported a notable reduction in forest loss for the second year in a row.
While absolute forest loss remains high (340,000 ha in 2018), the direction of travel appears unmistakable. Indonesia’s success is in part due to the robust measures President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government has put in place, including temporary bans on further expansion of oil palm plantations into forests and peatlands.
Sustaining forests and reforestation can help PNG economic growth
By Peter S. Kinjap, PNG Facts, 3 June 2019
Climate change is real and its impact is experienced all over the world, the Pacific Island countries being the most vulnerable and susceptible. Various communities in PNG can tell their stories about how the catastrophe is affecting human life. The sinking Carteret Island is a case example has the the first climate change refugees in the world and facing social, economic and health issues coupled with relocation issues. The environmental damages have caused human security on the island, women and children being denying rights to have better health services and education.
[USA] JetBlue to GreenUp® All Flights This June by Offsetting Carbon Emissions for All Customers Traveling Throughout the Month
Press release by JetBlue, 3 June 2019
To kick-off the busy summer travel season while keeping carbon offsetting top of mind, JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU) today announced it will offset the carbon dioxide emissions (CO 2 ) for all JetBlue customers flying throughout the month of June. JetBlue is partnering with Carbonfund.org Foundation, an environmental non-profit organization, to offset CO 2 for all scheduled JetBlue flights from June 1 to June 30, 2019.
4 June 2019
Human Civilization Will Crumble by 2050 If We Don’t Stop Climate Change Now, New Paper Claims
By Brandon Specktor, LiveScience, 4 June 2019
It seems every week there’s a scary new report about how man-made climate change is going to cause the collapse of the world’s ice sheets, result in the extinction of up to 1 million animal species and — if that wasn’t bad enough — make our beer very, very expensive. This week, a new policy paper from an Australian think tank claims that those other reports are slightly off; the risks of climate change are actually much, much worse than anyone can imagine.
According to the paper, climate change poses a “near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization,” and there’s a good chance society could collapse as soon as 2050 if serious mitigation actions aren’t taken in the next decade.
Political lobbying buys off climate law
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 4 June 2019
Big money talks loudest. A decade ago Washington saw political lobbying spend $700 million to influence the political shape and progress of the American Clean Energy and Security Act – and significantly reduce its chances of success.
The reward for the investment was a 13% reduction in its chances of progress into law. The pay-off for the rest of humanity was, at a conservative estimate, an extra $60 billion worth of climate damages from future superstorms, droughts and heatwaves associated with global heating.
No Mention of Deforestation in JPMorgan’s Climate Risk Assessment
Chain Reaction Research, 4 June 2019
JPMorgan Chase released in May its first assessment on the bank’s climate-related risks and opportunities. The assessment is mostly limited to energy and fossil fuels and fails to consider agriculture-related risks such as deforestation. The financial sector’s connection to deforestation has begun to receive more attention among NGOs, investors, governments, and central banks. JPMorgan has been identified as one bank with wide investments in and loans to companies that operate along soft commodity supply chains – such as palm oil, beef, and soy – and are contending with financial risks linked to deforestation.
Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 4 June 2019
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began, prompting concerns that president Jair Bolsonaro is giving a free pass to illegal logging, farming and mining.
The world’s greatest rainforest – which is a vital provider of oxygen and carbon sequestration – lost 739sq km during the 31 days, equivalent to two football pitches every minute, according to data from the government’s satellite monitoring agency.
Canada must crack down on airlines’ secret lobbying
By Andrew Murphy, National Observer, 4 June 2019
Canada hosted delegates from around the world to talk about transparency at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Ottawa May 29-31. Amid all the talk of data sharing and citizen empowerment, there was no mention that Canada is home to one of the most opaque, secretive rule-making bodies in the world.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency which designs aviation’s environmental and safety standards, has headquarters in Montreal. ICAO’s committee on aviation environmental protection is making critical decisions this year behind closed doors on carbon emissions that will affect the world’s climate system for decades to come. But its meetings are closed to the public. Journalists are literally not allowed in the building.
EU Leaders Face Critical Vote on Climate Neutrality, Paris Agreement Commitment
By Aleksandra Arcipowska and Nicholas Walton, World Resources Institute, 4 June 2019
Nobody said that addressing climate change would be easy, and the same is true for agreeing on which policies we need to meet the challenge. As Europe’s politicians are finding out, it is one thing to make a commitment to go climate neutral “as early as possible,” but landing on a robust, time-bound plan is an entirely different matter.
That Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel finally signaled her support for going climate neutral by 2050 shows that some troublesome political knots may be starting to untie. Germany’s support for the plan is both welcome and wise: The country is a major player in European policymaking, and just as European action is necessary for the world, German action is necessary for Europe.
Emissions trading: emissions have decreased by 3.9% in 2018
European Commission, 4 June 2019
Emissions of greenhouse gases from all operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) have decreased by 3.9% overall in 2018, as a result of 4.1% decrease of emissions from stationary installations and 3.9% increase of emissions from aviation.
The EU ETS covers more than 11 000 power plants and manufacturing installations in the 28 EU Member States and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, as well as emissions from around 500 airlines flying between European airports.
Fires put Mt Kenya forest under threat
By Nicholas Komu, Daily Nation, 4 June 2019
Mt Kenya is not just a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the country’s highest mountain, it is one of our main water towers. Now the forest is under threat from fires, adding to the threats of illegal logging, and experts warn of unforgiving effects if the moorland continues to burn every year.
Moorland plays the critical role of collecting water during the rainy season and acts as a natural reservoir which keeps rivers flowing, especially during dry seasons. But forest fires pose a threat to their existence, and the mountain’s role as a water catchment area.
[New Zealand] Agricultural production down as forestry takes over
Newsie, 4 June 2019
Data released by the the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 56 fewer farm sales in New Zealand (-13.4%) for the three months ended April 2019, compared to the same time last year.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to April 2019 was $22,624, compared to $27,309 recorded for three months ended April 2018 (-17.2%).
In the year ending April 2019, 1,443 farms were sold which is 1.7 per cent fewer than were sold in the year to April 2018.
[UK] Avoiding inexpert witnesses
By Julie Hamilton, Scotting Legal News, 4 June 2019
The recent, high profile collapse of a multimillion pound fraud trial in London highlights the importance of expert evidence. The role of an expert witness should be to provide the court with an opinion on a particular subject based on their experience, knowledge and expertise.
Study: US West forest fires release less carbon than thought
By Keith Ridler, Associated Press, 4 June 2019
Researchers at the University of Idaho say the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere from forest fires in the U.S. West is being greatly overestimated, possibly leading to poor land management decisions.
Researchers in the study published last week in the journal Global Change Biology say many estimates are 59% to 83% higher than what is found based on field observations.
Healthy forests are carbon sinks, with trees absorbing carbon and reducing the amount in the atmosphere contributing to global warming.
5 June 2019
Wilderness – saved today, sold tomorrow
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 5 June 2019
Nature is losing ground even where it is supposedly protected: the wilderness is under increasing pressure.
The world’s protected areas – places of greater safety for the millions of trees, shrubs, flowers, fungi, insects, reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals and birds that survive from millions of years of evolution – are being downgraded, reduced or developed at an increasing rate.
New research shows that since 1892, the formally protected areas of wilderness have in effect lost 2 million square kilometres. This is an area of land and water greater than the state of Mexico, and only slightly smaller than Saudi Arabia.
‘Plant blindness’ is obscuring the extinction crisis for non-animal species
By Sarah McKim and Claire Halpin, The Conversation, 5 June 2019
Up to a million species may go extinct due to human activity according to a recent report, some within decades. We all know the mammals in trouble – polar bears, giant pandas and snow leopards – but how many of us could name an endangered plant? A 2019 report assessed 28,000 plant species and concluded that about half of them were threatened with extinction.
Role of payments for environmental services in landscape approaches
By Stefano P. Pagiola (World Bank), Global Landscapes Forum, 5 June 2019
Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are an important tool for implementing landscape approaches, since they allow the conservation or restoration of landscape elements that are important for hydrological services, biodiversity, and/or carbon but that are not profitable for the local population. This note explains the rationale for the use of PES in a landscape approach, and the challenges faced in doing so.
United Airlines Makes History Flying the Most Eco-Friendly Commercial Flight of its Kind
United Airlines press release, 5 June 2019
United Airlines, a longstanding leader among all global carriers in environmental sustainability, made history today – World Environment Day – with the departure of the Flight for the Planet, the most eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of aviation. On the Flight for the Planet, United became the first known airline to demonstrate all of the following key actions on a single commercial flight: utilization of sustainable aviation biofuel; zero cabin waste efforts; carbon offsetting; and operational efficiencies.
InvestmentEurope owner Incisive Media announces carbon offset partner ahead of ESG Summit
By Jonathan Boyd, Investment Europe, 5 June 2019
Incisive Media, the UK publisher that owns InvestmentEurope, has announced that Ecosphere+ will be its official carbon offset partner for events such as the upcoming Pan-European ESG Summit Zurich 2019.
The offsetting will be facilitated by use of verified carbon credits generated through assets in the Amazon rainforest.
The Ecosphere+ business is part of the €100m Althelia Climate Fund, and the deal means an estimated 2,220 tonnes of carbon offsetting will take place against Incisive Media’s full events portfolio, including an additional buffer of some 5%.
[Australia] Carbon credits to protect the environment and the vulnerable
By Maggie Coggan, Probono Australia, 5 June 2019
Run in partnership between the SA government and Greening Australia’s carbon trading arm, Biodiverse Carbon Conservation, the project operates across four state government conservation reserves and one privately owned property in the Murray–Darling Basin.
Uniting Communities has become the first not for profit to support the project, which protects more than 1,075 hectares of land.
Ecuador in Frontline to Address Climate Change
By Matilde Mordt, IPS, 5 June 2019
As the UN commemorates World Environment Day, UNDP would like to take this opportunity to commend Ecuador’s efforts to address climate change and its commitment to raising its climate ambition.
Ecuador is at the forefront of delivering climate action, and in the frontlines of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) design. It has gone from an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) presented in Paris, that defined targets for only two sectors: Energy and Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use, to a revised NDC 2020-2025 which includes both mitigation and adaptation.
Finland pledges carbon neutrality on eve of EU presidency
By Sam Morgan, EURACTIV, 5 June 2019
Finland’s new government said on Monday (4 June) the country will aim to cut its carbon emissions completely by 2035. The Nordic nation will take over the rotating EU presidency in July, with an ambitious pan-European climate deal still left on the negotiating table.
After more than a month of talks, Finland agreed on a new five-party government, which has now pledged to end eight years of austerity, boost employment numbers and increase fuel taxes. The coalition agreement also sets a carbon neutrality target for 2035.
[Indonesia] “Restoration belongs to the community”
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 5 June 2019
Timescales can be tricky in forest restoration. We might have the best arguments in the world for why it makes environmental and economic sense to plant trees and let them grow. But most people don’t have the financial flexibility to invest time and resources into planting and then wait years – or decades – for the benefits to start rolling in.
“If we want to restore a landscape,” says Fitri Aini, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), “we also have to think about the outcomes for the local community in the surrounding area. If it doesn’t give them quick benefits, one day they’ll return to the forest and cut it down because they need the cash to survive.”
1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns
By Kirk Siegler, NPR, 5 June 2019
The chief of the U.S. Forest Service is warning that a billion acres of land across America are at risk of catastrophic wildfires like last fall’s deadly Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise, Calif.
As we head into summer, with smoke already drifting into the Northwest from wildfires in Alberta, Canada, Vicki Christiansen said wildfires are now a year-round phenomenon. She pointed to the hazardous conditions in forests that result from a history of suppression of wildfires, rampant home development in high-risk places and the changing climate.
[USA] Eight reasons Trump’s ‘clean climate’ claims fail to stack up
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 5 June 2019
Donald Trump believes the US has a “clean climate”, telling the interviewer Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he had informed Prince Charles in a 90-minute conversation that the US “right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics, and it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water”.
There are a few important details the president may have overlooked in presenting a clean bill of health for the US environment, so here is a handy reminder.
6 June 2019
Language matters when the Earth is in the midst of a climate crisis
By Madhur Anand, The Conversation, 6 June 2019
In a 2015 essay, poet and novelist Margaret Atwood wrote, “It’s not climate change, it’s everything change.”
Atwood asked us back then to reconsider the term “climate change” because there is not a system — human or non-human — that will remain untouched by the impacts of climate change. Everything will be affected, and so, likely, everything (as we know it) will have to change.
No laughing matter
By Caitlin McDermott-Murphy, The Harvard Gazette, 6 June 2019
About a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is covered in permafrost. Now, it turns out these permanently frozen beds of soil, rock, and sediment are actually not so permanent: They’re thawing at an increasing rate.
Human-induced climate change is warming these lands, melting the ice and loosening the soil, and that can cause severe damage. Forests are falling; roads are collapsing; and, in an ironic twist, the warmer soil is releasing even more greenhouse gases, which could further exacerbate the effects of climate change.
Indigenous peoples’ work in world’s protected areas is ignored and untapped
By Sandra Cordon, CIFOR Landscape News, 6 June 2019
Indigenous peoples own or manage at least one-quarter of the world’s land surface – vast areas that overlap with 40 percent of global land-based government-protected areas, according to a unique mapping study that demonstrates the significant part Indigenous peoples are playing in safeguarding critical areas for conservation. The study took five years to complete and is the first of its kind, using geospatial data to estimate the size of this overlap.
Need to focus on stable forests for climate change mitigation: Study
By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi, DownToEarth, 6 June 2019
When we think of climate change mitigation, we think of forests as they act as carbon sinks. Till now, a lot of emphasis has been placed on halting deforestation and forest degradation globally.
However, Securing the climate benefits of stable forests, a new study, highlights that preventing deforestation “does not guarantee durable success”. Rather, it bats for securing stable forests that have neither been disturbed so far nor are facing risks of anthropogenic disturbance in the near future.
According to the authors, stable forests have received “little attention” in the global fight against climate change. As a result, these forests may be at considerable risk, they warn.
Driving forward European action on tropical deforestation
By Chris West, Trase, 6 June 2019
Europe is an important market for forest-risk commodities such as soy and palm oil — making European demand one of the drivers of tropical deforestation. With a new European Action Plan on Deforestation still in the pipeline, how can European governments, and crucially European manufacturing and retail companies move forward on the commitments they have made to be deforestation-free?
NY Court orders US Govt to update on proceedings against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 6 June 2019
Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court gives the US Government until June 11, 2019, to provide an update on the criminal proceedings against the fraudster.
There has not been much information over the past several months about the United States criminal proceedings against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow, who is known for his fraudulent Bitcoin schemes. The scarcity of information has been noticed by the Court, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also targeting Haddow in a separate civil lawsuit.
[USA] Beyond Meat’s home in the meat aisle sparks food fight
By Tina Bellon, Reuters, 6 June 2019
In a bid to directly compete with ground beef and pork sausage, Beyond Meat Inc bills itself the world’s first plant-based burger sold in the meat case of U.S. grocery stores.
But interviews with nine U.S. grocery chains show that retailers are still figuring out Beyond Meat’s best fit in their shopping aisles – and it may be closer to the vegan section than the refrigerated meat department so desired by Beyond Meat.
7 June 2019
Sri Lanka to ban chainsaws, timber mills: president
Phys.org, 7 June 2019
Sri Lanka will ban imports of chainsaws and shut timber mills within five years to protect forests, President Maithripala Sirisena’s office said Friday.
Sirisena highlighted his determination to clamp down on illegal logging and increase the amount of territory devoted to forests at an environmental conference.
“I have instructed officials to ban the import of chainsaw machines and blades from next week,” Sirisena told the conference on Thursday, his office said.
House Panel Investigates Whether U.S. Funds Anti-Poaching Efforts Linked To Rights Abuses
By Chris D’Angelo, Huffington Post, 7 June 2019
The House Natural Resources Committee has launched a bipartisan investigation into whether federal conservation grants support organizations linked to alleged human rights abuses overseas.
The probe follows a BuzzFeed News investigation in March that found the World Wide Fund for Nature, or WWF, one of the world´s largest conservation organizations, funded anti-poaching forces that have been accused of torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering indigenous people in Asia and Africa.
[USA] Nature Conservancy CEO Tercek exits as shake-up widens
By Zack Colman, Politico, 7 June 2019
Nature Conservancy CEO Mark Tercek announced Friday he would step down, the latest departure from the powerful environmental group in the wake of a sexual harassment and workplace misconduct investigation.
Tercek’s exit comes just one week after the resignation of President Brian McPeek amid swirling complaints about the culture at the environmental group that operates in 72 countries and had long enjoyed support from across the political spectrum.
8 June 2019
[Germany] Berlin tears up 5,000 arrest warrants deemed illegal
By Oliver Moody and David Brown, The Times, 8 June 2019
Germany has been forced to tear up more than 5,000 international arrest warrants because of a successful legal challenge that argued they could be politically motivated.
Judges warned that prisoners extradited from other EU countries and jailed in Germany could have their sentences overturned after Europe’s highest court ruled that the warrants were invalid, spreading chaos through the German law enforcement system. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
Jamaica Gets US$613,000 Grant from Green Climate Fund
By Charnele Henry, Jamaica Information Service, 8 June 2019
Jamaica’s climate change mitigation efforts have been boosted bya US$613,000 provision from the Green Climate Fund(GCF) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Readiness Support and Preparatory Grant facility.
This, according to Forestry Department Public Education Officer, Nasheji-Gaye Elliott,is expected to significantly bolster the country’s preparations towards achieving REDD+ readiness over the next 28 months.
9 June 2019
Pressure mounts on aviation industry over climate change
By Sonia Wolf and Martin Abbugao, AFP, 9 June 2019
Under pressure from frequent flyers alarmed over climate change, the airline industry says it is “hellbent” on reducing emissions — but the technology needed to drastically reduce its carbon footprint is still out of reach.
In recent months climate activists have stepped up efforts to convince travellers to boycott air travel, with Swedish schoolgirl and campaigner Greta Thunberg spearheading the trains-over-planes movement and making “flygskam”, or flight shame, a buzzword in the Scandinavian country.
[Canada] Alberta wildfires linked to climate change, scientist says
By Colette Derworiz, CBC News, 9 June 2019
As another extreme fire season starts with more people on the run, scientists say they’re already seeing signs that climate change is playing a role again.
Recent fires have been connected to climate change in two separate research papers published earlier this year by scientists with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
In May 2016, a wildfire near Fort McMurray forced more than 80,000 people to flee the northern Alberta city, destroyed 2,400 buildings and burned nearly 6,000 square kilometres of forest.
[Germany] Refugee recruit who spilt the beans blew £150,000 a day on high life in Vegas
By Tom Harper, The Sunday Times, 9 June 2019
Investigators found Mohsin Salya’s German operation hard to penetrate. A break came when they managed to turn one of its young recruits.
Samir Azizi, an Afghan refugee who came to Germany as a baby, was 16 when he joined the Preston businessman’s suspected criminal enterprise in 2008. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
From the UK to Dubai: On the trail of the “fraud of the century”
By Madlen Davies, Ben Stockten, and Ferdinand Moeck, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 9 June 2019
A British fraudster who stole millions of euros of taxpayers’ money had links to a network based in north west England suspected of large scale criminal activity for more than two decades.
Leaked documents reveal Imran Yakub Ahmed, 45, from Preston, who now lives a life of luxury in Dubai, was under investigation by the UK authorities as early as 1998 over concerns about his links with members of the suspected network. A decade later he would go on to be involved in what has been described as “the fraud of the century”.
[UK] City of London police detectives are facing disciplinary action after a £3.5m fraud trial collapsed amid claims the ‘expert’ witness had no qualifications
By Luke Andrews, Daily Mail, 9 June 2019
Two City of London police detectives are facing disciplinary action after a fraud trial collapsed when they used a ‘fantasist’ as an expert witness.
The detectives, who haven’t been named, used former carbon trader Andrew Ager in an alleged £3.5million cold-calling scam where 72 people claim they were convinced to make bad investments in carbon credits and diamonds.
The case collapsed, however, when it emerged that Ager had no official qualifications and had never read a book on carbon credits.
[USA] Forest fires blaze in California, Arizona
The Week, 9 June 2019
The western United States is continuing to deal with forest fires.
A vegetation fire, dubbed the Sand Fire, in Northern California’s Yolo County, which began on Saturday, has grown rapidly, reaching 1,700 acres with no containment. The fire is reportedly threatening several structures and caused the closure of the area’s main highway. Some residents have been ordered to evacuate.