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European bat population bounces back from the brink: study

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's bat population is vulnerable, but conservation policies have boosted it by more than 40 percent after years of decline, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said on Thursday. European bat populations shrank, particularly during the second half of the 20th century, because of intensive agriculture, disappearing habitats and toxic chemicals used in treating roof timbers where they roost.

One of two Canadian Greenpeace activists might be home this Friday: mother

MONTREAL - The mother of one of two Canadian Greenpeace activists recently detained in Russia says her son might be home as early as this Friday. "He was fine when I spoke to him (Tuesday)," Nicole Paul told The Canadian Press in reference to her son Alexandre. "He could arrive on Friday." The Montrealer and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., were among 30 crew members on a Greenpeace ship who were detained after a protest at a Russian oil rig in September.

Russia begins closing cases against Greenpeace activists

Russia has begun closing the criminal cases against the 30 crew of a Greenpeace ship who were charged with hooliganism over a protest against Gazprom drilling in the Arctic, the group said Tuesday. "The first of the Arctic 30 has today heard the good news that the Investigative Committee has closed its criminal case against them," a Greenpeace spokesman told AFP, without naming the activist. The move, part of Kremlin-backed amnesty, should pave the way for the other 29 crew to have their cases closed and allow the 26 foreign nationals charged to finally leave Russia.

Russia releases Argentine Greenpeace activist

St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov 21 (EFE).- A Russian court on Thursday released Argentine Greenpeace activist Camila Speziale, who had been jailed since mid-September for protesting against the economic exploitation of the Arctic. Speziale left the prison in St. Petersburg, where she had been transferred on Nov. 12, after obtaining bail on Tuesday, the ecological organization said. Still in prison is Miguel Hernan Perez Orsi, also from Argentina, although hopes are that he will be released soon given that he has already been granted bail by the court.

Dutch plead in court for release of Greenpeace activists

An international maritime court will rule this month whether to order Russia to release 30 crew members of a Greenpeace ship held since mid-September in a high-profile case brought by The Netherlands. Russia, as expected, did not attend the near three-hour hearing at the German-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, based in the northern port city of Hamburg. Its angry response after two Greenpeace activists scaled a state-owned Gazprom oil platform to protest at Russian oil exploration in the Arctic has sparked an international outcry.

Dutch ask sea tribunal to free Greenpeace activists

HAMBURG — The Netherlands asked an international court on Wednesday to order Russia to release 30 people detained during a Greenpeace protest against oil drilling in the Arctic at a tribunal Moscow refused to attend.

Families of Canadian activists jailed in Russia want government intervention

OTTAWA - The families of two Greenpeace activists jailed in Russia for the last six weeks following a protest at a drilling rig in the high Arctic say it is time for the Harper government to exert some political pressure. Paul Ruzycki, of Port Colborne, Ont., and Montrealer Alexandre Paul were among 30 activists detained Sept. 18 when Russian paramilitaries stormed their ship in international waters. The pair initially faced charges of piracy which have since been reduced to hooliganism — but they still face possible sentences of up to seven years in prison.

Greenpeace activist hangs off Eiffel Tower in protest against Russia

A Greenpeace activist Saturday staged a protest in a tent suspended from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower against Russia's detention of 30 members of the environmental lobby group. The activist also unveiled a banner with the slogans "Free the Arctic 30" and "Militants in prison, climate in danger", forcing authorities to close the French monument to tourists in the morning.

Netherlands seeks release of Greenpeace crew; wants to recover ship

AMSTERDAM - The foreign minister of the Netherlands said Friday he is seeking to obtain via diplomatic channels the release of Greenpeace activists who were charged with piracy by Russia after the environmental group protested at an oil platform in the Arctic Sea. Two Canadians _ Alexandre Paul of Montreal and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont. _ are among those facing the piracy charge, which can result in a 15-year prison sentence upon conviction.

Russia charges two activists with piracy

Russian investigators on Wednesday formally charged two of 30 Greenpeace campaigners detained for two months over an open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling with piracy, an activist said. "The first two activists have been charged with piracy," Mikhail Kreindlin, a representative of Greenpeace, told AFP. "These activists are from Brazil and Britain." ma-as/cc
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