NI 468 - Fracking - the gathering storm - December, 2013

NI 468 - December, 2013

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Fracking - the gathering storm

A note from the editor

Dinyar Godrej

Ah December! Month when citizens of the Western world can feel under an absolute, sometimes despairing, obligation to ‘be festive’. And what do we offer our readers? Why, an edition on fracking, of course.

The subject of the December mag makes a brief appearance in editorial considerations as the end of the year looms into sight. Proposed topics are met with groans of ‘That’s really going to cheer them up!’ In the end, we just go with what we think is important, December or not.

In our lowdown on fracking, a controversial form of fossil fuel extraction, there are some glimmers of hope. Chief among them being the sheer number of campaigns against the practice wherever it is proposed. Where fracking is concerned, it seems that despite the disinformation peddled by the oil and gas industry and mouthpiece politicians, large numbers of people are quite capable of making up their own minds.

We had festivities of a different sort on 31 October, Halloween. We celebrated 40 years on the media landscape with a glittering panel of activists and thinkers who debated ‘What it means to be an internationalist today’ with an engaged and lively audience. Watch it at:

At times like these particularly I am reminded of our larger audience – you, our readers. Thank you for believing in us through the years and supporting us with your subscriptions. Thank you to those of you who have taken the further step of becoming a Friend of New Internationalist. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

This month our Worldbeater column features Mr European Austerity, also known as Olli Rehn. He may not have a high media profile himself but the campaign of cuts over which he has presided is front page news on an almost daily basis.

With the intractability of the Syrian conflict in mind, disillusion with the UN’s inability to find some way out is tempting. Our Argument on whether it is time to junk the UN Security Council gives pause for thought.

Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

The frack files

The lowdown on fracking and why communities around the world are so against it. The myths, the science, the history, the empty promises, the facts – all in this handy primer written by environmental researcher Danny Chivers.

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What the frack...?

The fracking process explained visually.

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Will fracking realign the world?

Will fracking realign the world?

Pundits foresee an altered world order brought on by fracked gas and oil. Dinyar Godrej thinks the changes could play out quite differently to the most common predictions.

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For Jamile, city life is a daily struggle to find food and shelter, and to avoid multiple dangers.Railway Children

The end of the line

Indian railway stations are a magnet for impoverished children looking for a better future. What usually awaits them is abuse and exploitation. Terina Keene on an initiative helping them find a way out.

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YES: Phil Leech lectures in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Liverpool. He is the founder and editor of and a contributing editor for

Is it time to junk the UN Security Council?

Lecturer and writer Phil Leech and researcher Richard Gowan go head to head.

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Three generations of a Tamil family internally displaced.Trokilinochchi Under a CC Licence

Crude triumphalism in Sri Lanka

On the eve of the Commonwealth summit in Colombo, Lewis Garland reports on the insidious disempowerment of the country's Tamil community.

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Sinking homeland

Sinking homeland

Amy Hall reports on a man's battle to become the world's first climate-change refugee.

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Sarah John

Letter from Botswana: The rule of nostalgia

What is the accommodation between tradition and modernity, wonders Wame Molefhe.

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Filip Horvat/AP Photo

Who is Olli Rehn?

Tough love, harsh truths, austerity cuts – it’s all in a day’s work for the European Commission's ‘archangel of fiscal sobriety’.

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Joel Ryan/PA Photos

Interview with Saleh Bakri

The Palestinian actor tells Frank Barat why fame will not change him - or his passion for justice for his people.

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Dean PeacockSonke Gender Justice Network

Making Waves: Dean Peacock

Dean Peacock , the director of Sonke Gender Justice Network, is determined to engage men and boys in women’s rights. By Janey Stephenson.

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