• Gas company targets a protected park in the Peruvian Amazon
An article in The Guardian reported on how an energy company is eyeing the gas reserves of a Peruvian Amazon park where biodiversity exceeds any other place on earth and which is home to indigenous people who have little contact with the outside world.
The report is based on a leaked document. The revelation about Manu national park follows rumors and reports in Peru that the government is to create a gas concession bordering or including parts of the park, but which have not been publicly confirmed.
The Guardian quotes anthropologist Daniel Rodriguez, who has worked with indigenous federation Fenamad: “This is the first time we’ve seen evidence for plans to expand hydrocarbon activities into Manu.” Manu is home to 10 percent of the world’s bird species, 5 percent of all mammals, and 15 percent of all butterflies. Unesco has declared the park a World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve.
• Becoming a mother without a husband in Vietnam
The New York Times reported on northern Vietnamese war widows becoming mothers without husbands in order to avoid living without a child and dying a lonely death.
The article focuses on women in one village who “upended centuries-old gender rules and may have helped open the door for a nation to redefine parenthood.” Having endured the war, they developed a new strength and were determined not to die alone. They asked men, whom they did not interact with afterward, to help them conceive a child. The practice was known as “xin con,” or “asking for a child,” and it meant breaking with tradition, facing discrimination and enduring the hardships of raising a child alone.
“It was unusual, and quite remarkable,” said Harriet Phinney, an assistant professor of anthropology at Seattle University who is writing a book on the practice of xin con in Vietnam. Purposely conceiving a child out of wedlock, she said, “was unheard-of.” It was a product of the mothers’ bravery and a postwar society that acknowledged the unique situation of women across Vietnam, including thousands of widows who were raising children alone.
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