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To renewable energy and energy efficiency – away from nuclear – Switzerland’s program

flag-SwitzerlandSwitzerland’s transition away from nuclear power, Science Daily,  July 7, 2015 Source: SAGE Publications

Summary:
Switzerland has a long history of trying to be as self-sufficient and energy independent as possible. Although its energy supply system has served it well in the past, the country is now looking to turn away from its reliance on nuclear power and seeks to compensate for the energy lost from hydropower as a result of climate change……

In the latest issue of theBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, Dominic Notter of Empa discusses how the country aims to address this transition, finding a new supply mix that combines energy conservation, greater efficiencies, alternative energy sources, the “smart grid,” and the introduction of new technologies, so that Switzerland can secure its energy independence for the future……..

energy-efficiency-man“The goal is to gradually phase out of nuclear power and into renewables by 2034, and to be largely independent of fossil fuels. Reaching it is based upon the idea of combining highly efficient energy production processes with substantial reductions in energy consumption.”Notter concludes: “Over the next four decades Switzerland faces a restructuring of its entire energy supply system. The new supply mix will be free from nuclear power, rather low in carbon intensity, and resting upon much higher efficiencies based on the newest and the most energy- efficient technologies- along with the developments of smart grids, decentralized power suppliers, hydropower, wind power, photovoltaics, biomass, wood, and the rigorous use of burning waste to generate energy whenever materials cannot be recycled […] A single “magic bullet” suitable for every purpose is not available. Switzerland most likely has to find its own energy supply mix, with the biggest sustainability potential.” Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by SAGE Publications.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150707102025.htm

July 11, 2015 Posted by | renewable, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Uranium shipments suspended by Cameco, Areva , due to Saskatchewan fires

Climate change is bringing heatwaves, which bring wildfires, which bring added dangers to all phases of the nuclear fuel chain

wildfire-nukeflag-canadaCameco, Areva suspend uranium shipments due to Saskatchewan fires http://globalnews.ca/news/2102099/cameco-and-areva-suspend-uranium-shipments-due-to-saskatchewan-fires/ By Staff The Canadian Press CALGARY, 10 July 15  – Cameco Corp. and Areva Resources Canada have stopped shipping uranium from their northern Saskatchewan operations after wildfires made highway transportation unsafe. Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers says the company suspended shipments from the mines in the region about a week ago.

Areva spokeswoman Veronique Larlham says that company did the same a few days ago.

READ MORE: Increased wildfire behaviour expected in Saskatchewan due to weather

But both say their overall uranium deliveries are continuing normally because they have large inventories.

The operations affected are Cameco’s Rabbit Lake mine, McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill, the Cameco-Areva jointly-owned Cigar Lake mine, and Areva’s McClean Lake mill.

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Canada, climate change | 2 Comments

Japan’s unimaginable crisis of 17,000 Tons of Nuclear Waste

text-wise-owlJapan’s 17,000 Tons of Nuclear Waste in Search of a Home, Bloomberg by  July 10, 2015 —Welcome to Japan, land of cherry blossoms, sushi and sake, and 17,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste.

That’s what the country has in temporary storage from its nuclear plants. Supporters of atomic power say it’s cleaner than fossil fuels for generating electricity. Detractors say there’s nothing clean about what’s left behind, some of which remains a deadly environmental toxin for thousands of years.

Since atomic power was first harnessed more than 70 years ago, the industry has been trying to solve the problem of safe disposal of the waste. Japan has been thrown into the center of the conundrum by its decision in recent months to retire five reactors after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. It also decided this week to begin the restart process of one reactor despite public opposition.

 “It’s part of the price of nuclear energy,” Allison Macfarlane, a former chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in an interview in Tokyo on atomic waste. “Now, especially with the decommissioning of sites, there will be more pressure to do something with this material. Because you have to.”……..

the world’s 437 operating reactors now produce about 12,000 tons of high-level waste a year, or the equivalent of 100 double-decker buses, according to theWorld Nuclear AssociationContinue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Ugly Australians, like Paladin Energy, linked to 100s of deaths in uranium mining in Malawi and Namibia

There is a very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia,”

flag-AustraliaAustralian miners linked to hundreds of deaths, injuries in Africa, SMH,  July 11, 2015 -Will FitzgibbonAustralian mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and injuries in Africa, which can go unreported at home. Some of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies include state governments as shareholders. One company recorded 38 worker deaths over an eleven-year period.

justiceIn Malawi, litigation continues against Paladin Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Perth-based Paladin Energy, and its subcontractor after an explosion disfigured one worker with such heat that his skin shattered when touched by rescuers. Two others died in the same incident.

Other allegations include employees in South Africa hacking a woman with a machete and Malian police killing two protesters after a mine worker reportedly asked authorities to dislodge a barricade on the road to the mine.

An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in collaboration with 13 African reporters, uncovered locally-filed lawsuits, violent protests and community petitions criticising some Australian companies.  Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, health, Malawi, Namibia | 5 Comments

Beautiful but deserted Pacific Runit Island with its hazardous radiation tomb

Deadly dome of gorgeous Pacific island leaking radioactive waste  news.com.au , JULY 07, 2015 A PICTURESQUE coral atoll that lies northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean harbours a deadly secret.

A giant, concrete dome filled with radioactive waste looms above Runit Island, and it’s leaking. Locals call it “The Tomb”.

Runit (or Cactus) dome was used for Cold War nuclear testing by the US government for 10 years from 1948. There were 42 tests in total on Enewetak Atoll, including 22 explosions on platforms, barges and underwater in the space of just three months in 1958, just before a moratorium on atomic testing.

In the late 1970s, an estimated 73,000 cubic metres of contaminated topsoil was deposited in the Cactus nuclear test crater beneath the dome, according to a report commissioned by the US government.

It was only supposed to be a temporary measure — but the dome remains.

Scientists now fear that a major storm, typhoon or other natural disaster coulddamage the 46cm-thick concrete dome, releasing nuclear waste into the sea, The Guardian reports.

The US Department of Energy insists cracks in the dome are merely cosmetic, a result of drying and shrinking of the half-submerged dome, but there are plans for repairs. The 2013 report states that this is to satisfy local concerns, but adds that rainwater could infiltrate through the cracks, possibly affecting groundwater flow and “radionuclide migration into the marine environment”.

waste dome Enewetak Atoll

Inhabitants of Runit were resettled on nearby Enewetak Island in 1980. Even in the early days, concerns were raised over human exposure to radiation through locally grown food, with resettlers resorting to cans of spam, Columbia University’s Michael Gerrard wrote last year in The New York Times.

Runit remains uninhabited, home only to abandoned bunkers and cables, but locals still visit to fish and salvage scrap metal. It sounds dangerous, but impoverished Marshall Islanders say they have no choice.

And just because Runit is remote, doesn’t mean other countries are totally immune from its influence. A report published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal last year traced plutonium found in Guangdong province in the South China Sea back to the Marshall Islands…….. Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Talks to resume between Iran and the West, as deadline passes

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear talks to resume Saturday as deadline slips by PAUL KORING WASHINGTON — The Globe and Mail, Jul. 10, 2015 A deal to deny Iran an arsenal of nuclear warheads remained unfinished as the world’s big powers and Tehran failed again to meet a self-imposed deadline, only to set a new one for Monday.

Talks will resume Saturday in Vienna, but stark differences on key issues – intrusive inspections of Iran’s military bases, whether ending sanctions also means lifting the arms embargo – may still derail a deal.

After weeks of intense diplomacy failed to meet a twice-extended deadline, both sides resorted to veiled threats and traded accusations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States and its Western allies of demanding additional, last-minute requirements. “Now they have excessive demands,” he said.

President Barack Obama still hopes to announce what would be an historic breakthrough and provide a significant foreign-policy achievement to his legacy…..http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/iran-says-other-sides-changing-demands-are-bogging-down-nuclear-talks/article25409774/

July 11, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Oil companies, weapons makers, committed to stopping nuclear deal with Iran

weapons1‘Greed of Wall Street prevents Iran nuclear deal from being signed’ Rt.com  July 10, 2015 Even though Americans and Iranians want peace and cooperation between their two countries, US oil cartels, defense companies and the Israel lobby is preventing a deal going forward, says Caleb Maupin from the International Action Centre.

RT: The Iran nuclear talks seem to be in deadlock. There’s still no deal in sight in Vienna, one more deadline has expired and apparently the framework pact for the talks has now been extended until Monday. Do you think we are going to see any kind of deal eventually?

Caleb Maupin: There is absolutely no rational reason that a deal wouldn’t go through. The people of the US, they want peace and further cooperation with Iran. The people of Iran want further cooperation with the US. The only thing that is getting in the way of a deal being signed and better cooperation between our two countries is the greed of Wall Street. The oil companies, the weapons manufacturers, the Israeli government and its network of supporters are really committed to preventing any deal from going forward. And even though all humanity wants peace we are really seeing every effort being made to prevent a deal from being signed and it’s very frightening to see these continued extensions of these negotiations……….

We are seeing the US at the last moment making ridiculous demands as a kind of concession to the very wealthy and powerful forces in the US that don’t want a deal to go through and it’s very unfortunate………

I think that there has been a section of the ruling elite here in the US who has said from the beginning they will not allow there to be peace between the US and Iran. And it’s not just Republicans, there are many figures within the Democratic Party that are connected to the oil companies and the weapons manufacturers and the Israel lobby. These organizations, which represent very rich and powerful people, they have control of a lot of elected officials in the US…………..http://rt.com/op-edge/272848-iran-us-nuclear-deal-talks/

July 11, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

More deaths from leaukemia as workers exposed to more low level ionising radiation

As cumulative dose of radiation exposure increased, so did the risk of dying from certain kinds of leukemia, the researchers found.

In the new study, the researchers calculate that for each gray (1,000 mGy) of total radiation exposure, a worker’s risk of leukemia rose three-fold.

radiation-causing-cancer

Long-Term Low-Dose Radiation Exposure May Increase Leukemia Risk, Scientific American,  Leukemia was already known to be caused by exposure to high doses of radiation, like that released by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 By Kathryn Doyle July 10, 2015  (Reuters Health) – In a long-term study of more than 300,000 workers in France, the U.S. and the U.K., those with many years of exposure to low doses of radiation had an increased risk of dying from leukemia.

Medical workers and even patients are also exposed to much more radiation than was common decades ago, the study authors point out, but it’s unclear what amount of low-level exposure raises cancer risk, they say.

“A lot of epidemiological or radiobiological studies have brought evidence that exposure to ionizing radiation can cause cancer and leukemia,” said lead author Dr. Klervi Leraud of the Radiobiology and Epidemiology Department at Fontenay-aux-Roses in Cedex, France.

Workers exposed to ionizing radiation who are later diagnosed with leukemia can already ask for financial compensation in the U.S., the U.K. or France, Leraud told Reuters Health by email.

Leukemia is known to be caused by exposure to high doses of radiation, like that released by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. In the years following those bombings, leukemia cases increased among the survivors, the authors note in The Lancet Haematology, online June 21. But such high doses are rare today.

For the new study, researchers considered 308,297 nuclear energy workers whose radiation exposures were monitored. All had worked for at least a year for the French Atomic Energy Commission or similar employers or for the Departments of Energy and Defense in the U.S., or were members of the National Registry for Radiation Workers in the U.K.

The workers were followed for an average of 27 years, with data on exposure and health status through the early- to mid-2000s, depending on their country. Researchers looked for deaths from leukemia or lymphoma. Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, health | Leave a comment

Russia is front-runner in scramble to sell nuclear reactors to South Africa, but who will pay?

South Africa has concluded similar pacts with China, France, the US, Japan and South Korea.

“There are serious questions that need to be answered as to whether South Africa is able to finance this programme and how any investment would have to be repaid,

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaWill Putin pay for SA’s $100bn nuclear plan?, Mail & Guardian, 06 JUL 2015 11:03 MIKE COHEN The awarding of contracts to build SA’s nuclear plants is nearing. Who will pay for the big project? Russia is seen as the frontrunner to win the right to build South African nuclear power plants that may be worth as much as $100-billion. With a six-month deadline to award contracts, who’s going to pay for the country’s biggest project yet remains a mystery.

Price-tag estimates for as many as eight reactors generating 9 600 megawatts, which the government wants to begin operating from 2023 and complete by 2029, range from $37-billion to $100-billion. Bids are due to start this quarter, with Russia’s Rosatom seen as a leader. Areva, EDF, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding and Korea Electric Power have also shown interest.

fighters-marketing-1

The planned investment comes as the government battles to fend off a junk-grade credit rating and the Treasury seeks to rein in the budget deficit. Proceeding with the nuclear plants could result in a large increase in public debt, the International Monetary Fund warned in a report on June 24.

“There appears to be a simple-minded assumption that countries like China or Russia will provide cheap plants and offer finance,” Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich in the UK, who has monitored South Africa’s nuclear plans since 1997, said in a phone interview on June 24. “That’s an illusion.” Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance refutes government denials over a nuclear deal.

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaDA slams nuclear deal July 10 2015  IOL By ANA  The DA refutes government denials over a nuclear deal.

Cape Town – South Africa’s inking of two memoranda of understanding with Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom made it clear a deal for a new reactor was already in the pipeline despite government’s denials, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay said he had written to Energy minister Tina Joemat-Petterson following Thursday’s announcement of the agreement on the sidelines of the Brics summit in the southern Russian city of Ufa to demand that she release further details of it.

“That these MOUs reportedly speak of cooperation in order to provide training for five categories of specialists for the South African nuclear industry is the clearest indication yet that Rosatom is the preferred bidder,” Mackay said

“Signing MOUs of this nature, while a competitive bid process is underway, smacks of gross impropriety on behalf of Minister Joemat-Pettersson and can be seen as nothing more than a crude attempt by the Zuma administration to bolster Rosatom’s bid over potential rivals.”

Government on Thursday denied Russia was the preferred bidder for a deal that would increase South Africa’s nuclear power capacity………http://www.iol.co.za/business/news/da-slams-nuclear-deal-1.1883599#.VaBBpF-qpHw

July 11, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Deep in the ocean, the true scale of global warming is hidden

climate-changeHave the oceans been HIDING the true scale of global warming? http://sidharamp.blogspot.com.au/  Nasa warns heat hasn’t disappeared, it’s just been buried in the sea 

  • Scientists looked at a layer of the oceans between 300 and 1,000ft
  • They found it has been accumulating more heat than first thought
  • Study looked at direct ocean temperature data for more accurate results
  • Previous attempts to explain the temperature trends have relied heavily on climate model results which are less able to deal with short-term data

ocean-heating

By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD FOR DAILYMAIL.COM 9 July 2015 Powerful winds in the Pacific and Indian oceans are hiding the effects of global warming.
This is according to a new report that claims the so-called ‘pause’ in climate change never took place – scientists just haven’t been digging deep enough.
The pause refers to the fact that the temperature of Earth’s surface has increased by just 0.06°C in the past 15 years.
A new report claims the so-called ‘pause’ in climate change never took place – scientists just haven’t been digging deep enough. Temperature data from the global ocean (2003-2012) at four depths shows the warmest water at depths of about 330-660 feet
It has been used by some groups as evidence that climate change is not happening.

HOW OCEANS CAN BURY HEAT

Scientists claim one of the causes of the‘plateau’ in sea-surface temperature is a change in the exchange of ocean water.
They believe this exchange is occurring between warm, surface waters and cold, deep waters – as if the warming is ‘hiding’ underwater.
Easterly trade winds of the Pacific Ocean have increased significantly over the past two decades and as a result are blowing higher volumes of warm surface sea water to deeper depths.
Stronger trade winds blowing from South America to Australia have had the net effect of cooling surface temperatures by a global average of between 0.1°C and 0.2°C,
This would be enough to account for the apparent hiatus in global average temperatures over the past 15 years.
The warm water won’t hide below the surface forever: scientists believe that it may re-emerge later or affect other climate indicators, such as sea level or ocean circulation.
But the Nasa study claims the planet’s extra heat has spent the last 10 years sinking into the depths of equatorial waters.
Scientists have found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000ft (100 and 300 metres) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognised.
The team, which included Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also found the movement of warm water affected surface temperatures.
During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentrations increased and trapped more heat energy on Earth, global surface temperatures also increased.
However, in the 21st century, this pattern seemed to change temporarily.
‘Greenhouse gases continued to trap extra heat, but for about 10 years starting in the early 2000s, global average surface temperature stopped climbing, and even cooled a bit,’ said Willis.
In the study, researchers looked at direct ocean temperature measurements, including observations from a global network of about 3,500 ocean temperature probes known as the Argo array.
These measurements show temperatures below the surface have been increasing.
The Pacific Ocean is main source of the subsurface warm water found in the study, though some of that water now has been pushed to the Indian Ocean.

July 11, 2015 Posted by | climate change, oceans | 1 Comment

The Renewable Energy News that I can’t keep up with

Norway Could Be Europe’s ‘Green Battery’
Norwegian hydropower could make Norway the “green battery” of Europe — not by building new power plants, but by further developing the hydropower installations that were built out beginning at the ..
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150710081213.htm


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July 11, 2015 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment

Reject Nunavut board’s recommendation against uranium project – AREVA urges Canadian govt

areva-medusa1Areva urges minister to reject Nunavut board’s disapproval of uranium project CBC News  Jul 08, 2015 The company that wants to eventually open a uranium mine near Baker Lake, Nunavut, is asking the federal government to reject a territorial regulator’s recommendation that the project not be approved.

In May, following a multi-year environmental impact review, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) said Areva Resources Canada’s Kiggavik project should not be approved because it doesn’t have a construction timeline attached to it.

But whether the project can proceed is ultimately up to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt. Areva has written Valcourt asking him to send the recommendation back to NIRB and direct NIRB to “consider the inclusion of appropriate terms and conditions to a project approval.”..http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/areva-urges-minister-to-reject-nunavut-board-s-disapproval-of-uranium-project-1.3142869

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Canada, France, politics international | Leave a comment

The Ugly Australians, And Other Miners, Leaving Health and Environmental Damage in Namibia

[Paladin’s] Langer Heinrich Uranium mine[Namibia] … 

Craton Mining and Exploration [copper] is a subsidiary of Australian-based International Base Metals…..

Rio Tinto owns Rössing Uranium Mine…

[Australian] Deep Yellow Limited (DYL)  the Aussinanis uranium project.

Aussies in toxic trail By Shinovene Immanuel, Ndanki Kahiurika 10 July 15  http://www.namibian.com.na/indexx.php?id=28936&page_type=story_detail&category_id=1#sthash.TJSxEgQV.P3bN2nwk.uxfs&st_refDomain=blogs.icerocket.com&st_refQuery=/search?tab=buzz&fr=h&q=uranium+Australia      NAMIBIA, a mining frontier for decades, continues to struggle with mining companies which subject workers to dangerous working conditions.

Among the alleged culprits are Australian multinationals. Well-established Australian companies face allegations of treating Namibian workers differently by subjecting workers to health risks which would be deemed unacceptable back home.An International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) investigation, in collaboration with The Namibian, found that Australian mining companies have been implicated in instances of death, disfigurement, and the displacement of people across Africa. They have also been responsible for environmental destruction.That mining in Africa provokes controversy, even violence, is not new. Chinese companies receive regular criticism. Canada, too, has been forced to confront allegations of violence and even slavery linked to its mining companies.The ICIJ investigation looked at Australia’s increasing role in exploring and developing mining projects on the African continent because it has been less examined.

TROUBLING

What ICIJ uncovered and pieced together suggests a troubling track record on the part of Australian companies in the rush for Africa’s minerals, including practices that would be impermissible, even unthinkable, in Australia and other parts of the developed world. 

ICIJ found that, at the end of 2014, there were more than 150 Australian-listed active mining companies with recorded properties in Africa. Other estimates, using different criteria, put the number even higher.

Australian companies have 49 mining licences in Namibia; two of those companies are operational.

Even though Australian firms run successful mining companies which contribute to Namibia’s economy and workplace conditions have improved compared to two decades ago, there are still questions about the safety of workers.

Thousands of people, including village chiefs, former employees, human rights defenders and government agencies across Africa have taken Australian companies, their subsidiaries and their contractors to court for alleged negligence, unfair dismissal and eviction or pollution, according to court submissions and judgements unearthed from more than a dozen countries.

Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | environment, Namibia, Reference | 2 Comments

Australian uranium mining company Paladin accused of ribbing off impoverished Malawi

ripoffflag-AustraliaAustralian miner accused of dodging tax in world’s poorest country, The Age, July 11, 2015 – Political reporter  Tax avoidance tactics of multinational companies have angered Australians, but an Australian mining firm used such methods in Malawi. Tax avoidance tactics of multinational companies have angered the public and placed pressure on the Abbott government to prevent profits being exported offshore.

But an Australian uranium miner is defending the use of identical methods to reduce its tax bill in the world’s poorest country, Malawi.

Between 2009 and 2014, Paladin Energy moved $US183 million out of Malawi to a holding company in the Netherlands and then on to Australia.

A 15-page report by London-based ActionAid has found the Dutch transfers and a special royalties deal – in which Malawi’s mining minister agreed to drop the initial tax rate applied to the uranium mine from 5 per cent to 1.5 per cent – have cost the Malawi public $US43 million.

In Africa’s poorest nation, where per capita GDP is just $US226 a year and life expectancy 55, that money could provide the equivalent of 39,000 new teachers or 17,000 nurses, according to the aid group……..

Paladin’s tax-free transfers to the Netherlands were a combination of management fees and interest payments on loans initiated in Australia. The company loaded its African subsidiary up with huge debts, leaving the Kayelekera​ uranium mine in northern Malawi with an 80:20 debt to equity ratio – a financing structure known as “thin capitalisation”.

The Dutch structure allowed Paladin to avoid paying a 15 per cent withholding tax to the Malawi government due to a tax treaty between Malawi and the Netherlands which expired in 2014, saving the company $US7.3 million. Paladin closed the mine in February 2014, citing a “sustained low uranium price”.

ActionAid has accused the company of “treaty shopping” and shortchanging the Malawi people. The country’s nursing ranks have the equivalent of four nurses to every 100 in Australia, despite 10 per cent of Malawi’s population being infected with HIV/AIDS……..http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-miner-accused-of-dodging-tax-in-worlds-poorest-country-20150710-gi6uzv.html

July 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Malawi, politics international | Leave a comment