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Geopolitics

Canary Islands Forest Fires Force Thousands To Flee

EFE (Spain), BBC (UK), AP

Worldcrunch

A thousand people were evacuated Sunday night in La Gomera, in Spain's Canary Islands, as forest fires continue.

Two boats transported residents from the Valle Gran Rey area to the town of San Sebastian overnight, after the fire blocked off road access, the BBC reported.

The Garajonay nature reserve, a Unesco World heritage site, has also been badly affected.

The fires have forced 5,000 people in total to flee their homes since Friday.

Casimimo Curbelo, a local government official told AP: "We are living through hell. We have asked the central government for more resources with which to fight the fire."

This tweet from a Spanish journalist shows her anger that no State official has come to the island to offer support to the island's citizens:

Hoy he comprendido qué es el Estado de las Autonomías: que La Gomera arda desde hace una semana y no aparezca ni un dirigente nacional.

— Carmela Ríos (@CarmelaRios) August 11, 2012

Now I understand the system of autonomies: La Gomera has been burning for a week and not one national leader has turned up.

An unusually dry winter followed by soaring temperatures in recent weeks is reported to be the cause of the fire.

A fire is also ablaze, although on a smaller scale, in nearby Tenerife, which attracts thousands of tourists in the summer months.

On the mainland, a forest fire in Alicante has claimed the lives of two firefighters over the weekend, EFE reported.

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Green Or Gone

Tracking The Asian Fishing "Armada" That Sucks Up Tons Of Seafood Off Argentina's Coast

A brightly-lit flotilla of fishing ships has reappeared in international waters off the southern coast of Argentina as it has annually in recent years for an "industrial harvest" of thousands of tons of fish and shellfish.

Photo of dozens of crab traps

An estimated 500 boats gather annually off the coast of Patagonia

Claudio Andrade

BUENOS AIRES — The 'floating city' of industrial fishing boats has returned, lighting up a long stretch of the South Pacific.

Recently visible off the coast of southern Argentina, aerial photographs showed the well-lit armada of some 500 vessels, parked 201 miles offshore from Comodoro Rivadavia in the province of Chubut. The fleet had arrived for its vast seasonal haul of sea 'products,' confirming its annual return to harvest squid, cod and shellfish on a scale that activists have called an environmental blitzkrieg.

In principle the ships are fishing just outside Argentina's exclusive Economic Zone, though it's widely known that this kind of apparent "industrial harvest" does not respect the territorial line, entering Argentine waters for one reason or another.

For some years now, activists and organizations like Greenpeace have repeatedly denounced industrial-style fishing as exhausting marine resources worldwide and badly affecting regional fauna, even if the fishing outfits technically manage to evade any crackdown by staying in or near international waters.

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