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Peru Attacks Illegal Mining Ahead of Climate Talks

“Peru has sent 1,000 police into its southeastern jungles to dismantle illegal gold-mining camps, just weeks before the country hosts global climate talks. Even before the officers began blasting away at miners’ makeshift shelters, the Amazon rainforest nearby looked like a war-scape, pocked with craters and littered with the trunks of amputated trees. Peru’s anti-illegal mining czar, retired army Gen. Augusto Soto, marched the men 6 miles (11 kilometers) to the wasteland known as La Pampa, where 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated in the past six years. They destroyed motors and dynamited a dozen motorcycles as they tore down dwellings that included at least one mud-flanked bordello. The miners had removed and hidden some machinery.

Peru first criminalized unlicensed gold mining in 2012 but only began enforcing the law vigorously this year with serious manpower and explosives. The operations have displaced thousands of the estimated 40,000 people who authorities say moved to the jungle to mine gold. In addition to contributing to deforestation, which scientists blame for between 12 and 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the illegal alluvial gold mining contaminates the jungle with tons of mercury. Mercury is a toxin and has already contaminated the food chain, including fish, the local population’s main protein source. Peru’s environment minister says the country loses about 400 square miles (between 100,000 and 120,000 hectares) a year to deforestation. The South American country will host U.N.-sponsored climate talks that start on December 1”. – The Associated Press.

In this November 12, 2014 photo, a column of policemen occupy a gold mining camp as part of an operation to eradicate illegal mining in the area known as La Pampa, in Peru’s Madre de Dios region. Less than a month before Peru plays host to global climate talks, the government sent a battalion of police into southeastern jungles to dismantle illegal gold-mining mining camps. Peru’s anti-illegal mining czar, retired army Gen. Augusto Soto, marched the men to the wasteland known as La Pampa, where 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated in the past six years. (Photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo)
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Traditional Teddy Bears Prepared Ahead of Festive Season

A teddy bear is completed at the Steiff stuffed toy factory on November 23, 2012 in Giengen an der Brenz, Germany. Founded by seamstress Margarethe Steiff in 1880, Steiff has been making stuffed teddy bears since the early 20th century ever since her nephew Richard Steiff exhibited the first commercially produced teddy bear in Europe in 1903. Teddy bears are among the most popular children’s toys and the company is hoping for a strong Christmas season. In photographs by Thomas Niedermueller. Continue reading »

Steaming Ahead, the 180-Year-Old Toy Train that’s the Oldest in the World

A rudimentary model of Stephenson’s Rocket that was made by a father for his son after seeing it chug past their home has emerged as the oldest toy train in the world. The simple wooden toy was hand-crafted out of scraps of wood by the loving dad who whittled them into the shape of the legendary steam locomotive.

Made from sight in the late 1820s or early 1830s, the model is almost as old as the first real locomotives. The ten-inch long toy has four wheels attached to a block of wood, a cylindrical piece that may have been a stair banister for the boiler and a chair leg for the iconic blast pipe. (Daily Mail Reporter)

Rare Pictures, Artifacts of Titanic Exhibited Ahead of 100th Year of its Sinking

Old photographs, reconstructed suites, letters from victims and many original artifacts from the sunken Titanic are on display at Hans Christian Andersen Castle of Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen. “Titanic – The Exhibition” was opened to visitors in Denmark on April 10, 2011 and will run until Dec. 30.

A 1912 advert for the Titanic. (© Claes-Göran Wetterholms) Continue reading »