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Kuala Lumpur: 10,000 protest rare earth plant over health concerns

Nearly 10,000 people took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur Sunday to protest the opening of Australia-based mining company Lynas' new rare earth plant.

China vs. US: Who’s better for Africa?

China has pledged billions toward Africa's development, but what does this mean for the continent's attitude toward the US?

Algae-based biofuel goes on sale in San Francisco Bay Area

Algae-based biofuel is now on tap in America — with motorists in the San Francisco Bay Area becoming the first motorists in the nation to fill up their tanks.

Russia reset redux?

Moscow may be seeking own version of a reset in relations with the United States. Western countries must respond with care.
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Putin may soon get a frostier reception. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
The Kremlin appears to be easing its hard line toward Washington. The United States and its allies shouldn’t react naïvely by simply responding in kind, but by doing more to defend their common values.

US will be world's top oil producer by 2017, IEA report says

The US will be the world's top oil producer by 2020, the International Energy Agency announced in a new report.

Murray Energy lays off miners over Obama's 'war on coal'

The nation's largest privately-owned coal company lays off more than 150 workers following the president's reelection, citing Barack Obama's "war on coal."

Fighting outside pressure, Laos proceeds with super dam

Transforming the Mekong River into a hydro-power express
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Thai villagers affected by the construction of the Xayaburi dam in Laos hold models of fish in front of the administrative court in Bangkok on August 7, 2012. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Laos -- remote, landlocked and impoverished -- has little to offer in the way of international trade. But one commodity it can sell is its rivers or, rather, the power that can be tapped from its rushing river currents.

As commodities go, it's a hot one: neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and southern China are energy hungry and eager to ensure that their economies have the juice to keep humming. The Mekong River, which threads mainland Southeast Asia, is being aggressively dammed up to supply that energy. If all planned dams come to be, the river will eventually be studded with nearly 20 hydro-power dams.

Enter the Xayaburi Dam, a $3.8 billion project loathed by environmentalists. Laos, defying complaints from the U.S., regional authorities and environmental watchdogs, has just announced it will go forward with the dam's construction, the BBC reports.

As Radio Free Asia reports, a full 95 percent of the dam's energy will be zapped to Thailand. International Rivers, an NGO opposed to the dam, insists that the project will "destroy the river’s complex ecosystems," threaten fish species, displace villagers and perhaps permanently disrupt the Mekong's natural order.


India: US silence leaves India guessing about its post-poll fate

Left out of rhetoric, India must wait and see how next US president treats Iran sanctions, Af-Pak withdrawal, and climate change, says Sumit Ganguly
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It's not surprising that India hasn't figured much in the US election campaign, Indiana University Professor Sumit Ganguly writes in Monday's Deccan Chronicle newspaper. But the poll silence nevertheless leaves India guessing about what the next president's moves will be on India's possible role in post-war Afghanistan, climate change negotiations that could limit India's economic growth and US oil sanctions against Iran that could further limit India's energy supply.

Though outsourcing was a political football in the early stages of the 2012 campaign, as it was in 2008 at the beginning of the economic crisis, Ganguly argues that India's IT services industry has nothing to worry about.

"Once in office, however, [outsourcing] was not a subject that [Obama's] administration returned to with any vigor," Ganguly notes. "Nevertheless his campaign rhetoric had caused much concern to Indian policymakers as well as the titans of Indian commerce and industry."


Laos to start building Mekong 'mega dam' this week

The government in Laos says construction of its controversial dam on the Mekong river will begin in a few days' time.
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