Top News: ‘Ethical Oil’ campaign apparently used faked and stolen images; Obama announces $510m biofuel plan; oil spill information emerges despite Shell’ secrecy; escaped German cow finally speaks to psychic after three-months in forest.

#Ethical Oil?

Alykhan Velshi’s ‘Ethical Oil’ website – which promotes Canadian tar sands oil as ethical, while other oil producers are painted as ‘oppressors’ – may need to change its name to simply ‘Oil’, as further evidence of its unethical campaign tactics emerged yesterday. According to a blog on the Rainforest Action Network website, Ethical Oil has been using stolen and faked photos in their campaigns, including one attempting to highlight “conflict oil countries” that claims to be of “a woman being stoned in Iran.” It turns out, in fact, to be a still from the 1994 Dutch indy film ‘De Steen.’ Other examples of the group not living up to their name include using an image of a Canadian mayor without consulting her and the unsanctioned use of photographs belonging to world renowned photojournalists, including Ed Kashi, Lynsey Addario and John Moore. While the notion of ‘ethical oil’ already appears contradictory, the more we know about the figure behind the campaign, the less surprising such tactics become; and, this isn’t the first time.

#Biofuels

Despite yesterday’s news that US farmers have begun growing the first corn genetically modified for fuel, President Obama used his campaign tour to announce plans to spend up to $510m on new biofuel refineries. By building new refineries or retrofitting old ones, fuel could be produced from wood chips, grasses or corn cobs. Aside from ethanol corn – which has been promoted by the government for 30 years – biofuels have struggled to compete with conventional fuels in the US. However, it is thought that the US Navy’s ongoing work to ‘green its fleet’ – including tests on jet fighters – could provide the necessary market and allow biofuels to become more competitive. While these developments are sure to have the biofuel industry licking their lips, we would much rather see the investment for truly clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

#ShellOil

Despite Shell’s tight-lipped tactics, some information appears to be emerging about the true extent of the oil spill in the North Sea. The spill, which continues to grow due to a second leak at the Gannet Alpha platform, has so far discharged around 1,300 barrels into the sea and is the worst in a decade. Conservationists have expressed concern over harm to seabirds and other wildlife. The leak in the supposedly “gold-plated” North Sea raises serious concerns over Shell’s plans to drill in the remote and pristine Arctic. As it happens, Shell is due to hold a public, online discussion on its Arctic drilling plans tomorrow. If you’re concerned about oil drilling in the fragile Arctic, check out our website for info on how and where to get involved.

#Escaped Cow

While stories about escaped cows seem to have become quite commonplace during the slow news days of summer, few have managed to evade capture quite as stylishly and for quite as long as Yvonne. After breaking through an electric fence nearly three months ago, she’s been living the life of a true medieval bandit in the woods around Zangberg in Germany. While inhabitants of the small nearby village are enjoying the tourist boost, authorities have tried everything from food traps to companion cows to lure her out. Having run out of options it appears they may have overlooked the most obvious and have finally called in the services of animal psychic Franziska Matti. Matti claimed she “spoke to her yesterday and she said that she was fine but didn’t feel ready to come out of hiding.”