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US to clean 1 of Puerto Rico's worst polluted waterways
30 October 2015 - The United States pledged Friday to help clean one of Puerto Rico's most polluted waterways in a move to end a 15-year struggle by the U.S. territory to [improve the situation] for a community where thousands of people live. The agreement signed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations marks the beginning of an extensive, multimillion-dollar cleanup of the four-mile (six-kilometer) long Martin Pena Channel. It forms part of the San Juan Bay Estuary in the heart of Puerto Rico's capital. (more)

Puerto Rico parrot births mark comeback
26 August 2014 - Officials say two endangered Puerto Rican parrots were born in the wild in a natural nest found outside a national forest for the first time in 144 years. (more)

Puerto Rico formally submits balanced budget
29 April 2014 - Puerto Rico's governor on Tuesday presented the territory's first balanced budget in more than a decade, fulfilling a promise to cut spending at a time when the island's economic problems have spread fear among US investors. The $9.64 billion budget aims to strengthen and revive the economy as the US territory enters its eighth year in recession and struggles to reduce some $73 billion in public debt. The budget does not call for layoffs or new taxes. (more)

Puerto Rico to launch $27 million coastal renovation
19 March 2014 - Puerto Rico's government is investing $27 million to renovate the coastal areas of eight towns. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla says the upcoming renovations will create more than 300 jobs and include the construction of boardwalks. Among the places targeted are the popular tourist spots of Boqueron and La Parguera on Puerto Rico's southwest coast. (more)

Puerto Rico to monitor popular bioluminescent bay
20 February 2014 - Puerto Rico is building a water quality monitoring station to help protect a popular bioluminescent bay in the neighbouring island of Vieques. The Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that the station will help boost conservation efforts for a bay that attracts thousands of tourists a year. The station will be completed in upcoming months and will measure the water's salinity, oxygen, and temperature, among other things. (more)

Puerto Rico plans $8 million renovation of coastal site
16 November 2013 - Puerto Rico is investing some $8 million to renovate a popular tourist spot along the island's southwest coast. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla says crews will build a boardwalk, create bicycle lanes and plant mangroves at the coastal community of La Parguera. He says streets and sidewalks will also be refurbished, and that the community's water pressure problems will be corrected with the installation of new pipes. (more)

Estuaries in Puerto Rico's capital get 'mega clean up'
26 October 2013 - A flotilla of fishing skiffs and kayaks plied through the channels and lagoons that comprise the San Juan estuary system Saturday, as volunteers dove beneath bridges and trudged through the thick mangrove forest lining its coasts. Leading the volunteers, who ranged from youths to elderly fishermen, was marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr Guy Harvey. 'Flushing out the estuary is the solution. They say it will cost $600 million to dredge it, but it would be worth every penny. This could be an ecotourism paradise,' Harvey said. (more)

Puerto Rico to restore, reopen historic bridge
3 September 2013 - Crews in Puerto Rico are restoring a 108-year-old bridge in the island's central region that is listed as a US historic site. The bridge was built in 1905 to carry the first highway to reach Ciales, which was a key coffee town at the time. The span was closed in January 2010 because its base had deteriorated and was unsafe. The bridge crosses 44 feet (13 meters) above the Manati River canyon and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. (more)

Scientists explore deepest trough in Caribbean Sea
23 August 2013 - The man whose research team discovered the wreckage of the Titanic has now turned his attention to the deepest trough of the Caribbean Sea. Dr Robert Ballard was aboard a 211-foot (64-meter) research vessel with dozens of other scientists to probe the Cayman Trough this week and collect samples of organisms they say might reveal how life might exist on other planets. (more)

Puerto Rico: Former President Bill Clinton to push clean energy during visit
13 July 2013 - Former American President Bill Clinton is scheduled to visit the US territory of Puerto Rico to promote renewable energy projects. Clinton is expected to arrive Monday and talk about ways the island can launch projects through the Clinton Foundation. Puerto Rico is already the planned site of the Caribbean's largest solar energy project, which would feature 100,000 solar panels. (more)


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Puerto Rico: Maharishi University of Management alumna presents at international renewable energy conference
6 January 2015 - Claudia Perez, a recent graduate of the Sustainable Living degree programme at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, was a guest speaker on renewable energy at a conference in Puerto Rico towards the end of last year, after winning a competition sponsored by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). She presented a proposal she developed as part of her senior thesis project, advocating for renewable energy in her native Puerto Rico, to top policy makers, investors, technology developers, and other experts in the renewable energy field throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the US.
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Puerto Ricans face punishing drought amid economic slump
6 August 2015 - Puerto Ricans are learning to live without water on an island that already was suffering an economic crisis. A severe drought is forcing businesses to temporarily close, public schools to cancel breakfast service, and people to find creative ways to stay clean amid sweltering temperatures. The drought is one of the worst in the U.S. territory's history. (more)

Misery deepens for those in Puerto Rico who can't leave
3 August 2015 - Puerto Rico's entrenched economic crisis is leading people to either cut their personal spending to the basics or flee to the mainland (United States) to search for jobs, contributing to the struggles of those left on the island. Nearly 10 years into a deep economic slump, Puerto Rico is no closer to pulling out, and, in fact, is poised to plummet further. (more)

Puerto Rico matches number of killings for 2010
12 November 2011 - Puerto Rico has equalled the number of killings reported for all of last year when the US Caribbean territory marked its second highest number of slayings ever. Police said Saturday that 983 people have been killed so far this year. Police say the majority of slayings are drug-related. (more)

Massive Puerto Rico pipeline triggers debate
14 May 2011 - Puerto Rico's Governor is proposing to solve soaring energy prices on this oil-dependent US island with a massive natural gas pipeline that would cross some of the territory's most fragile ecosystems and archaeological sites. Gov. Luis Fortuno has made the $450 million project a central goal of his administration and he insists it is a safe, environment-friendly way to lower utility bills. But others say the 92-mile (148-kilometre) pipeline will tear up lush green mountains and expose people living near it to deadly explosions. The pipeline proposal, which Fortuno has dubbed 'The Green Way,' also has sparked corruption allegations. The largest contract so far has gone to an engineering firm with no pipeline construction experience that is owned by a childhood friend of the Governor. (more)

ACLU: Puerto Rico has pattern of police brutality
3 May 2011 - A celebrity-enhanced ACLU delegation criticized Puerto Rico's government Tuesday for using police to keep the island's main university system open during a strike over a new fee, with members saying they found clear evidence in which officers abused students during the protests. The delegation, which included Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez and former major league baseball player Carlos Delgado, said the initial findings of a fact-finding mission found a pattern of excessive police force over the past 18 months involving students, union leaders, and journalists. Perez said at a news conference that she was overwhelmed by the testimony of students who said they were brutalized or harassed and abused by police during a series of violent clashes over the $800 fee and budget cuts. (more)

Puerto Rico baffled by high asthma rate
26 December 2010 - Puerto Rico is a US Caribbean territory where children are nearly 300 per cent more likely to have the respiratory ailment than white non-Hispanic children in the continental United States. And this year, Puerto Rico has seen a jump in asthma cases, which health officials suspect might be linked to the heavy rains that have unleashed millions of spores. The island, with a population of 4 million, already has 2.5 times the death rate stemming from asthma as the mainland. Nearly 30 per cent of children in Puerto Rico are diagnosed with asthma, and the rate increases to 40 per cent among kids in public housing projects. (more)

Stressed cows in Puerto Rico give less milk, force imports
28 October 2009 - Happy cows apparently do not come from this US Caribbean territory. For the first time in a decade, officials are importing fresh milk from the United States because high temperatures have stressed the island's cows and production has dropped, Agriculture Secretary Javier Rivera said Tuesday. About 1 million litres (260,000 gallons) of milk have been shipped from Florida since early October, said Mr Rivera, who assured consumers that prices have remained the same. Part of the problem also lies with farmers who have not rotated cows -- allowing a certain portion to rest -- to maintain optimum production, he explained. (more)

Puerto Rico to lay off 16,000 workers
28 September 2009 - Puerto Rico's government announced that it will lay off more than 16,000 public workers in the US Caribbean territory, adding to an unemployment rate higher than that of any US state. The government hopes the layoffs will help close a $3.2 billion deficit as the island struggles through its third year of recession and a 15 per cent unemployment rate. However, the layoffs mean unemployment will now rise to 17 per cent. Union leaders announced an island-wide strike in protest on 15 October. Jose Rodriguez Baez, president of a union that represents about a third of the island's 200,000 public employees, said that other protests beyond the strike also are planned. (more)

Puerto Rico: Toxic metals in produce grown on Vieques
28 October 2008 - A new study has found dangerous levels of toxic metals in produce grown on a Puerto Rican island formerly used as a Navy bombing range, despite US Government claims that the soil there is safe. Some products from a research farm on Vieques Island had as much as 20 times the acceptable amount of lead and cadmium, according to the study released last week. Researchers said peppers, spinach, and tomatoes showed higher levels of contamination than products from the nearby Puerto Rican mainland and would pose a health risk to humans. Vieques' small farming community requested the analysis. After decades of being hammered by live rounds from warships and planes, the Vieques bombing range closed in April 2003 following years of protests. Since 2005, workers overseen by the US Environmental Protection Agency have been clearing mortar shells and unexploded munitions in a cleanup expected to take about 10 years. (more)

Hunger strike expands at Guantanamo US military base
9 April 2007 - Several detainees at Guantanamo Bay have joined a long-running hunger strike that attorneys say is a protest against harsher conditions at a new prison unit, bringing their number to 13, a spokesman at the US military base said Monday. (more)

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