Contractor killed at Suncor Energy mining site north of Fort McMurray

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — An Alberta labour spokesman says a contract worker has died at Suncor Energy’s Millennium mine north of Fort McMurray.Trent Bancarz says a man in his 30s was digging a trench this morning when he was buried.His name has not been releasedThe man was employed by Aecom mining.Bancarz says Suncor (TSX:SU) notified the department this morning.RCMP are investigating alongside occupational health and safety officials.

New UN AIDS Awareness stamps makes history

An extra six cents added onto each special commemorative stamp will be contributed to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria championed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The stamps will be issued in three denominations – the Swiss franc, United States dollar and euro. The new stamp, which depicts the UN Secretariat building with a large red AIDS ribbon on its façade, was adapted from a photograph taken by UN photographer Evan Schneider. In addition to the special fundraising stamps, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) also issued a set of three regular commemorative stamps under the AIDS awareness theme. Also today, UNPA issued a stamp in honour of Switzerland’s joining the UN. This follows the historic Swiss referendum in March, which paved the way for Switzerland to become the UN’s 190th. The stamp, a graphic interpretation of a cross and a dove with a Swiss flag in orange and blue tones, was designed by Thierry Clauson. It portrays “vitality, mobility, sensibility,” said the UNPA in its announcement today. read more

Boost bioenergy to ease poverty in developing countries UN

With wood, charcoal and fuel-producing crops emerging as environmentally friendly and cost-effective sources of energy, especially for developing countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called for the urgent inclusion of so-called bioenergy into agricultural and forestry programmes.”Countries need to move towards more sustainable energy systems based on energy sources such as biomass, solar and wind energies,” senior FAO energy coordinator Gustavo Best told four-day International Conference on Renewable Energies in Bonn, Germany. “The production and use of bioenergy also contributes to poverty alleviation and food security. It can reduce land degradation and helps to mitigate climate change,” he added.Bioenergy includes fuelwood and charcoal, energy crops such as sugar cane, sweet sorghum and rapeseed as well as agricultural and forestry residues, to produce heat, ethanol, biodiesel, bioelectricity or biogas. It offers great opportunities for developing countries in creating income and labour opportunities.Sustainable bioenergy systems should be promoted to prevent deforestation, deterioration of watersheds, and loss of soil fertility and biodiversity, FAO said. Bioenergy can contribute to diversify agricultural and forestry production. Ethanol from sugar, sorghum and cassava or biodiesel from rapeseed and other energy crops can replace considerable amounts of fossil fuels.Bioenergy in general and wood energy in particular are the dominant sources for about half of the world’s population, often the poorest of the poor who use it mainly for cooking and lack access to other sources such as electricity or fuel, which would allow them to generate income and improve their living conditions.Currently, energy from biomass accounts for 15 per cent of energy consumed worldwide and for up to 90 percent in some developing countries. FAO is currently working with the Shenyang Agricultural University in China in developing new sweet sorghum varieties and technologies to produce ethanol to substitute for petrol. Sweet sorghum has the advantage of producing both animal feed and sugars for energy conversion. The agency also has energy projects in Nepal and Brazil. read more