Country Life Today: Government ‘release fracking report with 37 of 48 pages entirely blacked out by censor’s pen’

The startling censorship of a fracking report and the man who invented neon are in our round-up today.

Breathtaking government censorship of a report into fracking

A 48-page government report into fracking has been released after Greenpeace finally won a lengthy legal battle arguing that it is in the public interest to publish the document.

What has actually been released, however, is more reminiscent of 1980s East Germany rather than 2010s Britain. The vast majority of the document has been redacted, according to The Guardian; 37 of the 48 pages have been blacked out completely, and only one has been left uncensored: the front cover.

Fracking is a great worry and a hugely important issue, particularly to people living in the country; releasing a report in this pitiful state will surely only serve to exacerbate rather than calm people’s misgivings.

Rebecca Newsom, Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, told The Guardian: ‘Looking at this black wall of redacted pages, people will be wondering why there’s so little the government is willing to reveal about fracking and so much it wants to hide.’

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Full story (The Guardian) 

RSPCA ‘will be forced to put down squirrels and deer’

Grey squirrels are bigger and stronger than the reds and force them out of most British habitats

Grey squirrels are bigger and stronger than the reds and force them out of most British habitats.

Rules on controlling non-native species have come in to force this week, meaning that animals such as grey squirrels and muntjac deer will have to be put down rather than released into the wild.

The rules is clearly good news for threatened species — including red squirrels — which compete with invaders, and are designed to help prevent the spread of new invaders, such as raccoons. But spare a thought for those on the front line of animal welfare — particularly the RSPCA officers who are likely to have to euthanise many more creatures.

‘While the new legislation will still allow these species to be released in situ if they have been trapped accidentally, unfortunately, in certain situations where animals need veterinary care or to be hand reared we will have no other option but to put them to sleep rather than rehabilitating and releasing them back into the wild,’ an RSPCA spokesperson confirmed.

Full story (Kent Live)

Brazil delegates prompt more questions than answers at climate change summit

The first day of the United Nations climate summit in Madrid witnessed lots of public speeches and good intentions…

…but at these events, much of what really matters happens behind closed doors. Thus it is interesting to read a Reuters report on about the Brazilian delegates, suggesting that they do not have the backing of President Jair Bolsonaro.

‘Brazil’s technical negotiators at the United Nations talks in Spain on Monday are disconnected from political leaders and unclear on their goals, two people familiar with the matter said.

‘That means the negotiators could reach a deal that would be disavowed by government leaders. “Really what Brazil will do at the conference is anybody’s guess,” one of the sources told Reuters.’

Full story (Reuters)

On This Day… in 1910

A French inventor reveals neon lighting to the world for the first time in a demonstration at the Paris Motor Show.

Marcus Bracey of Photographed by Richard Cannon © Country Life Picture Library

Marcus Bracey of Photographed by Richard Cannon © Country Life Picture Library

The inventor responsible, Georges Claude, was widely recognised at the time as France’s Thomas Edison, and he made many other breakthroughs. His life took a sharp turn during the Second World War, however: he publicly supported France’s German invaders, and was sentenced to life in prison in 1945 for collaboration. He was eventually released five years later, and lived until 1960.

And finally…

This little Twitter video fills us with nostalgia — but also makes us wonder who on earth has the spare time to put this sort of thing together.