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Lego will not renew a promotional contract with Royal Dutch Shell following pressure from environmental group Greenpeace.
The Danish toymaker did not say when its “long-term” contact with Shell expires.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against Arctic drilling by oil companies such as Shell and has accused Lego of associating with “bad company”.
Lego toys are handed out to people filling up at Shell gas stations in more than 30 countries.
As part of a branding deal first signed in 2011, Lego has also sold toy brick sets in the shape of petrol stations and drilling rigs with Shell’s logos on them.
Greenpeace said Shell has been using Lego to build brand loyalty with millions of children who are the “next generation of consumers”.
As part of its campaign, the lobby group uploaded a YouTube video showing Lego toys drowning in oil in the Arctic, which received nearly six million hits.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against Arctic drilling by oil companies such as Shell and has accused Lego of associating with bad company (photo Facebook)
Greenpeace said in response to Lego’s decision: “It should choose its partners more carefully when it comes to the threats facing our children from climate change.”
Lego Group president and chief executive Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said the company should never have become part of Greenpeace’s dispute with Shell.
“The Greenpeace campaign uses the Lego brand to target Shell,” he said in a statement.
“We firmly believe Greenpeace ought to have a direct conversation with Shell.”
“We do not agree with the tactics used by Greenpeace that may have created misunderstandings among our stakeholders about the way we operate,” Jorgen Vig Knudstorp added.
Shell said its contract with Lego “has been a great success and will continue to be as we roll it out in more countries across the world”.
The company has been exploring for oil in the Arctic since 1918 and is forecast to spend billions of dollars drilling for oil and other fossil fuels in the Arctic over the next decade.
In recent years, the practice has come under intense scrutiny because of concerns it will damage the environment and contribute to global warming.
“The extreme Arctic conditions, including giant floating icebergs and stormy seas, make offshore drilling extremely risky,” Greenpeace said.
“Scientists say that in the Arctic, an oil spill would be impossible to clean up meaning devastation for the Arctic’s unique wildlife.”
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Supermarket giant Tesco has been accused by Greenpeace of stocking a brand of tuna that is caught in a way that can harm other wildlife.
Greenpeace said Tesco pledged in 2012 to ensure all its own brand tuna was sustainably caught.
But the group says Tesco has started to stock tinned tuna from low-cost brand Oriental and Pacific which it says is caught in large nets.
Tesco said Greenpeace was “simply wrong” and the manufacturer said it “totally refutes” the claims.
Greenpeace claimed the brand was “dirty” because tuna in it was caught in big nets, known as purse seines, that could kill sea creatures.
The environmental group said Tesco “must try harder” to make sure tinned tuna was sustainably caught.
Tesco has been accused by Greenpeace of stocking a brand of tuna that is caught in a way that can harm other wildlife
Greenpeace said Sainsbury’s was at the forefront of sustainable tuna, and Waitrose, the Co-operative, Marks and Spencer, and Morrisons were also praised.
Campaigner and celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is featuring the issue on his Fish Fight programme on Channel 4 on Sunday, called on Tesco to take the brand off its shelves.
Tesco said it had moved much faster than many of its competitors to make sure its own-brand tuna was 100% caught using a pole and line, which avoids catching other species by accident.
It said it had also promised to use sustainable tuna in other products such as pastas, sandwiches and salads.
A spokesman said: “Many of our competitors continue to sell non-pole and line caught tuna. Customers have a great choice of sustainable tuna at Tesco.”
LDH, which owns the Oriental and Pacific (O&P) tuna brand, supplies a range of products including canned tomatoes, fish, fruit and vegetables, and dried pasta.
In a statement, the company said: “At least 85% of the tuna we sell is fished using the pole and line method; our O&P brand skipjack tuna is caught using the purse seine fishing method, which accounts for 63% of all tuna caught around the globe.
“Credible scientific research by the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations shows that stocks of skipjack tuna are healthy.
“All of our tuna suppliers are members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and support its research-led initiatives for long-term conservation of tuna stocks.”
Russian authorities have decided to drop piracy charges against the first of 30 people accused of taking part in a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic.
The man has been identified as Anthony Perrett from Newport in Wales, who is now preparing to leave Russia.
He was in the group of 28 activists and two freelance journalists arrested in September as they staged a protest at a Russian offshore oil rig.
They were all charged with hooliganism – but have all been freed on bail.
They are being granted amnesty under a new Russian law which has seen several high-profile releases in recent days.
Greenpeace said on Tuesday that one man from the “Arctic 30” group had been told his case was now closed, and that others were expected to receive notice soon.
The statement did not name the man.
An earlier report saying that three people had been notified for release was later corrected.
Anthony Perrett was in the group of 28 Greenpeace activists arrested after they staged a protest at a Russian offshore oil rig
Twenty-six of the group are foreigners – six of them Britons – and Greenpeace said they would be free to leave Russia once they had the right stamps in their passports.
“We know that getting those stamps would be the best Christmas present for the Arctic 30 and we hope it can happen quickly, but until such time as they do, we still cannot say when they will leave,” it said in a statement.
The detainees, from 16 different countries, had sailed to an oil rig operated by Russia’s state-run energy company Gazprom in September.
They were intercepted by Russian coastguards, who fired warning shots as some activists tried to climb on board the rig.
Their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, was seized.
The group was initially charged with piracy but the charges were later reduced to hooliganism.
They denied the charges, saying their protest had been peaceful and legal.
The Russian amnesty law was passed last week by the State Duma and could see the release of some 20,000 people.
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The detained captain of Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and other two British activists have been granted bail by a court in northern Russia.
Peter Willcox previously captained Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship when it was blown up by French agents in harbor in New Zealand in 1985.
Britons Alex Harris and Kieron Bryan were also bailed along with Dutch national Faiza Oulahsen.
Nine other foreign detainees and three Russians were granted bail earlier.
A third Briton, Anthony Perrett, is also hoping for a decision on Wednesday while three other British activists will have their bail hearings later this week.
Of the 13 detainees who appeared in court earlier this week all but one were given bail.
Peter Willcox, the captain the seized Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, has been granted bail by a court in northern Russia
Australian activist Colin Russell, 59, who acted as the ship’s radio operator, was ordered to remain in pre-trial detention until February 24.
Greenpeace said it was “baffled” why he had been kept in custody for another three months while a spokesperson for Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said she was concerned about his case and monitoring it closely, the Canberra Times reports.
The detainees have been held on charges of hooliganism after taking part in a protest at an Arctic offshore oil rig operated by the Russian company Gazprom.
If found guilty they face up to seven years in prison.
Kieron Bryan was on the ship as a freelance journalist and videographer.
Alex Harris, 27, acted as communications officer on the ship.
In a letter from prison to a fellow Greenpeace activist in October, quoted by the Torquay Herald Express, the activist wrote: “I dream of the outside world a lot. When I wake I’m sleeping with steel bars digging into my back, facing the same four green walls I’ve faced for 25 days. That’s the hardest time of the day.
“Despite everything that has happened I don’t hate Russia, I just want to go home.”
The Dutch foreign ministry says the bail ruling for Faiza Oulahsen was a positive development.
Nine people bailed on Tuesday were named as: Miguel Orsi (Argentina), Camila Speziale (Argentina), Ana Paula Maciel (Brazil), Paul Ruzycki (Canada), Sini Saarela (Finland), Francesco Pisanu (France), Cristian D’Alessandro (Italy), David Haussman (New Zealand) and Tomasz Dziemianczuk (Poland).
On Monday, Russian national Yekaterina Zaspa, who served as medical crew on the ship, was bailed along with photographer Denis Sinyakov and activist Andrey Allakhverdov.
Bail of 2 million roubles ($61,000) was stipulated for each detainee.
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Tasmanian Greenpeace activist Colin Russell, who is among other 30 arrested during a protest against Arctic drilling, will remain in jail for three more months pending trial, a Russian judge has ruled today.
Prosecutors have asked the courts in St Petersburg to keep all 28 activists and two journalists in jail beyond November 24, when their current detention period runs out.
Colin Russell was the first to have his case heard on Monday.
British journalist Kieron Bryon is due in court later on Monday.
The 30 have been charged with hooliganism over a protest at a Russian oil rig in the Arctic in September. The offence carries a maximum sentence of seven years.
Originally they had been charged with piracy, which carries a longer jail term.
Tasmanian Greenpeace activist Colin Russell will remain in the Russian jail for three more months
Besides Colin Russell, six others have hearings on Monday. A request for bail or house arrest was denied.
Before being told he must remain in prison, Colin Russell told the judge: “I haven’t done anything wrong.
“I don’t understand the reasons why I’ve been detained. I’ve done two months’ hard time for nothing.”
Last week the 30 were moved to prisons in St Petersburg from Murmansk in the Arctic.
Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and is urging Russia to release the detainees – who come from 18 countries – and their ship, Arctic Sunrise.
If Russia keeps all 30 in jail for another three months they will remain there during the February 2014 Winter Olympics hosted by Russia in Sochi.
The environmental group’s international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, condemned the judge’s ruling against Colin Russell, saying “this case is now a circus”.
“Our friends may now be in jail for months longer, all because they made a stand for all of us in the pristine Arctic. We will continue to pursue every legal avenue we can, and leave no stone unturned, until each and every one of them is home with their families,” he said.
“We hope the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea will order their release when they adjudicate on Friday.”
Russia is not attending the UN tribunal hearing in Hamburg, as it is not party to some UN Law of the Sea dispute procedures.
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Piracy charges against 30 Greenpeace activists will be replaced with hooliganism charges, according to Russian officials.
The new charge has a maximum penalty of seven years rather than 15, Russian news website Lenta reports.
The Arctic Sunrise ship was seized more than four weeks ago by Russian security forces after activists tried to scale an offshore oil platform.
All 30 people on board – including two freelance journalists – were detained.
So far all bail applications in the case have been refused.
Vladimir Markin, the head of Russia’s main investigating agency the Investigative Committee, told Russian news agencies that the charges had been reclassified.
Piracy charges against 30 Greenpeace activists will be replaced with hooliganism charges
Last week, 11 Nobel prize-winners wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging him to drop the charges of piracy.
The presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said the president had no power to influence the courts.
Vladimir Putin said last month that the activists had violated international law but it was “absolutely evident that they are, of course, not pirates”.
Greenpeace Russian programme director, Ivan Blokov, told Russia’s Interfax news agency that there was no case for either piracy or hooliganism charges.
“There are no signs of hooliganism – no violence, no threat of using violence or any damage to property,” he said.
Ivan Blokov added that he was surprised the Russian government had earlier refused to attend international court hearings in Germany over the detentions.
The Netherlands took the case of the Dutch-flagged ship and its crew to the UN tribunal in Hamburg on Monday.
The Russian foreign ministry released a statement pointing out that Moscow had opted out of UN Law of the Sea dispute procedures, which infringe upon sovereignty, in 1997.
All 30 people on board the ship, including 28 activists, have been in custody in the northern port city of Murmansk and complain of being held in harsh conditions,
They were detained when Russian security sources stormed the ship following a protest against drilling for oil in the Arctic.
Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and is calling for the release of the detainees, who come from 18 countries, and their ship, the Arctic Sunrise.
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Eleven Nobel prize-winners have written to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to drop charges against 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists.
They were held last month during a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic.
The signatories – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu – described the charges of piracy as “excessive”.
Eleven Nobel prize-winners have written to Vladimir Putin asking him to drop charges against 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists
But Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, responded that the president had no power to influence the courts.
The Greenpeace activists, who complain of being detained in harsh conditions, face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
In the letter, which was released by Greenpeace, the laureates urge Vladimir Putin “to do all you can to ensure that the excessive charges of piracy against the 28 Greenpeace activists, freelance photographer and freelance videographer are dropped, and that any charges brought are consistent with international and Russian law”.
It is also signed by former East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta and Northern Irish peace campaigner Betty Williams.
Russian investigators claim that hard drugs have been found on board the Greenpeace ship seized during a protest in the Arctic last month.
“During a search of the ship, drugs (apparently poppy straw and morphine) were confiscated,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said.
Poppy straw, or raw opium, can be used to produce morphine or heroin.
Greenpeace said in a statement that any suggestion of illegal drugs being found was a “smear”.
“We can only assume the Russian authorities are referring to the medical supplies that our ships are obliged to carry under maritime law,” it said.
Thirty people are being held on suspicion of “piracy” after activists attempted to scale a Russian oil rig.
The head of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin, offering himself as a guarantee for the detainees.
Russian investigators claim that hard drugs have been found on board the Greenpeace ship seized during a protest in the Arctic
There is widespread international concern for the crew of the Arctic Sunrise, who hail from 18 nations.
The Netherlands has demanded the immediate release of the detainees, who are being held in the northern port of Murmansk pending trial, as well as the release of their the Dutch-flagged ship.
In its statement, the Investigative Committee said charges against some of the detainees might change in the light of evidence gathered from the ship.
Apart from the suspected drugs, “dual-purpose” equipment was found on the Arctic Sunrise, it said, adding that this “could be used not only for ecological purposes”.
Investigators would seek to determine who among the detainees was responsible for “deliberately ramming” Russian border guard boats, endangering their lives, it said.
Greenpeace replied: “There is a strict policy against recreational drugs on board Greenpeace ships, and any claim that something other than medical supplies were found should be regarded with great suspicion.
“Before leaving Norway for the Russian Arctic, the ship was searched with a sniffer dog by the Norwegian authorities, as is standard. The laws in Norway are amongst the strictest in the world, and nothing was found because nothing illegal was on the ship.”
“Any claim that illegal drugs were found is a smear, it’s a fabrication, pure and simple,” Greenpeace said.
Greenpeace went on to dismiss the allegation of ramming as a “fantasy”.
In a statement, it released a slow-motion video of its launch and the coast guard boats to show the moment they had touched.
“The Greenpeace boat sails towards the middle of the port side of the security forces boat and then only briefly touches it with the nose, immediately turning away and making a 180° turn to the left,” Greenpeace said.
“The film clearly demonstrates that the official claims are entirely bogus.”
In his letter, Kumi Naidoo wrote: “I would offer myself as a guarantor for the good conduct of the Greenpeace activists, were they to be released on bail.”
In his native South Africa in the 1980s, Kumi Naidoo campaigned against apartheid and was arrested on several occasions.
Jude Law and Damon Albarn have joined hundreds demonstrating in London over piracy charges brought by Russia against 30 Greenpeace activists.
Six British activists were among those arrested last month as they protested against oil drilling in the Arctic at a rig owned by Russian firm, Gazprom.
Relatives of the activists protested outside Russia’s London embassy.
It was one of a number of events being held in more than 40 countries.
The entire crew of the ship, Arctic Sunrise, was arrested on September 18 after two activists tried to board the Russian state-controlled oil platform in the Pechora Sea.
They have all been charged and are being held in the port of Murmansk, in northwest Russia, facing prison terms of up to 15 years.
Jude Law and Damon Albarn have joined hundreds demonstrating in London over piracy charges brought by Russia against 30 Greenpeace activists
The Britons who have been charged include freelance video producer, Kieron Bryan, and logistics co-ordinator, Frank Hewetson – both from London.
UK activists Anthony Perrett from Newport in Wales; Alexandra Harris, originally from Devon; Philip Ball from Chipping Norton; and Iain Rogers, from Exeter, have also been charged.
In London, Saturday’s protesters stood behind banners declaring, “Free the Climate Defenders”, “Journalist and Not Pirate”, and “Free The Arctic 30”.
Jude Law, who knows Frank Hewetson, said he was “exercising my right to peacefully protest”.
He added: “I am just adding my face and body to the mass of support. What is ludicrous is that they have been charged with piracy.”
Actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter also turned up in front of the embassy in west London to show their support for the activists.
Jim Carter described the arrests as “a ludicrous situation” and urged PM David Cameron – along with the leaders of the other 18 countries which made up the nationalities of the 30 activists – to apply pressure on Russia.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has raised the case with his Russian counterpart and said British officials would continue to raise specific concerns Greenpeace had about the legal process with Moscow.
The Netherlands has also launched legal action to free the activists. Two of its citizens are among those charged, along with people from countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Russia, and the US.
Other Greenpeace protests took place in cities including Madrid, Moscow, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Istanbul.
Fourteen Greenpeace activists have been charged with piracy by the Russian authorities.
They were among a 30-strong crew on a Greenpeace ship that was protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic.
The group was arrested last month after two of the protesters tried to board an oil platform owned by the Russian state-controlled firm Gazprom.
Greenpeace has called the charges “irrational, absurd and an outrage”.
The 14 activists were taken from jail to the Murmansk office of the Investigative Committee, the Russian equivalent of the FBI.
There they were formally charged with “piracy of an organized group”, an offence that carries a 15-year prison sentence.
Those charged include Kieron Bryan, a freelance video producer from London; Anthony Perrett from Newport in Wales; Alexandra Harris, originally from Devon, and Philip Ball from Chipping Norton.
Fourteen Greenpeace activists have been charged with piracy by the Russian authorities
Greenpeace said more activists are expected to be formally charged on Thursday.
The group’s international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, said the charges were “extreme and disproportionate”.
“A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience. This is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest,” Reuters news agency quoted Kumi Naidoo as saying.
Kumi Naidoo said the way Russian officials had treated the protesters represented “the most serious threat to Greenpeace’s peaceful environmental activism” since the bombing of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in 1985, when the group was campaigning against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously said the activists were “not pirates”, but may have broken international law.
The Investigative Committee said earlier this week that peaceful aims would not justify what it has described as an “attack” that posed a threat to the rig and its personnel.
Last month the Greenpeace ship approached the Prirazlomnaya platform, Russia’s first offshore oil rig which is scheduled to start operating by the end of the year.
Two activists tried to climb up onto the platform and tie themselves onto it, in an attempt to draw attention to the issue of the expansion of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean.
They were detained after a short skirmish in inflatable dinghies in which armed Russian FSB officers in balaclavas fired warning shots into the water.
Greenpeace has released cameraphone images it says show the moment Russian security forces boarded the Arctic Sunrise ship.
The Arctic Sunrise ship, with its crew comprising 18 nationalities, was then towed to Murmansk.