Construction of a Malaysian dam that will flood a rainforested area half the size of Singapore and displace 20,000 tribespeople was given the green light Saturday by the state government, local media reported. "The construction will commence as soon as possible," Adenan Satem, chief minister of the state of Sarawak on Borneo island, was quoted by The Star as saying. The announcement will be a major disappointment for indigenous groups who have staged increasing demonstrations and road blockades in the rugged region to stop rampant logging and dam-building in the state, and have made blocking the dam on the Baram river a priority. Peter Kallang, head of Save Rivers, a coalition of Sarawak NGOs and environmental groups, dismissed Adenan's claim that the project had been blessed by local tribal leaders. Activists allege authorities in the state have a history of buying off or pressuring community leaders to approve unpopular projects. "How can the community leaders give their support when there has been no news on compensation and resettlement? They always will say yes to the government and there's no transparency at all," he said. "Adenan should go and listen to what the poor indigenous people have to say, not the community leaders." Occupying northern Borneo island, much of Sarawak is a jungled landscape crossed by untamed rivers. It is one of Malaysia's poorest states despite being rich in natural resources, but authorities have plans for around a dozen hydroelectric facilities as they seek to accelerate economic development. Three already have been built. Critics call the projects destructive white elephants that will create far more electricity than the state needs. But authorities say the power capacity is required to lure industry to Sarawak. Former British premier Gordon Brown once called the destruction of Sarawak's rainforests "the biggest environmental crime of our times."
- Fox News
Police arrested an ex-con killer this week just over a mile from the house where four University of Idaho college students were killed in their sleep last month.
- NBC Sports BayArea
The 49ers passed on Tom Brady during the NFL free-agent signing period of 2020, and Brady continues to play like a quarterback in his prime with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- BuzzFeed News
The Gay Nephew Of The Lawmaker Who Cried While Voting Against Marriage Equality Has A Message For Her
Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler went viral for her teary (and unsuccessful) plea to stop the Respect for Marriage Act. Her gay nephew wants a word.View Entire Post ›
- Yahoo Sports
DEA agent who helped put Viktor Bout behind bars slams Brittney Griner swap: ‘We couldn’t even get two people for the world’s most notorious weapons trafficker’
Foreign policy experts warn the release of Viktor Bout could incentive future kidnappings of Americans.
- BuzzFeed News
Prince Harry Said The Royal Family Didn’t Think His Relationship With Meghan Markle Would Last Because She Was An Actor
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- The Telegraph
Prince Harry appeared annoyed with his wife at one point in their new Netflix documentary when she joked about having to curtsey to the late Queen.
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The holidays can be a stressful time for any family and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may have a bit of the blues right now. They attended a yacht party in Miami recently and the air around the normally affectionate couple was apparently a bit chilly. A Page Six source described them as “cold” around […]
Griner's lawyer previously told PEOPLE that the transfer to Mordovia's penal colony was "a very challenging period for her" and had the WNBA "very stressed" as she tried to adjust
- Women's Health
Brie Larson is super sculpted from her abs to her legs in an orange bikini in new Instagram pics taken in a sauna. Brie opts for unconventional workouts.
Watch the moment Brittney Griner was exchanged for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on a UAE airport tarmac
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The royal family is reportedly "breathing a sigh of relief that Harry & Meghan didn't have that many bombshells—go inside their reaction.
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- Lebron Wire
Warriors superstar Stephen Curry gave his all-time starting five - but it didn't include LeBron James.
- The Telegraph
Watching the opening segment of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s docuseries, I thought for a moment we were about to get Meghan and Harry's very own version of The Crown. As they began to hint at the pressures of being royal it seemed we were about to be taken through a kind of inside story, a no-holds-barred account of what it’s really like to be in The Firm. Something, at least, that lived up to the drama of the documentary’s controversial trailer. A few more minutes in I was less certain.
- Rolling Stone
The GOP is condemning the president for securing the release of the WNBA star while former Marine Paul Whelan remains imprisoned in Russia
- The Hill
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) on Friday slammed newly minted Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) following her decision to leave the Democratic Party, saying she is “putting her own interests” ahead of Arizona voters with the move. “Last month, the voters of Arizona made their voices heard loud and clear — they want leaders who put…
- Panthers Wire
Even though Baker Mayfield didn't work out in Carolina, Panthers fans were quite happy for the new Rams QB on Thursday night.
- LA Times
Brittney Griner's release from Russia in a high-profile prisoner exchange should be celebrated, not disparaged by reactions reeking of bias and bigotry.
Brittney Griner, the American basketball star imprisoned in Russia, was released on Thursday (Dec. 8) in a prisoner swap for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer whose notoriety earned him the epithet “Merchant of Death.”
- The Telegraph
There were times during Brazil’s final game at this World Cup when Neymar wanted to do too much. As the match remained resolutely deadlocked into its second half, the Paris St-Germain forward dropped ever deeper, attempting to get on the ball, spin and force the issue for his team.