Organisers announce over 100 events dedicated to photography at Photo Romania Festival 2015

Gentle Violence - Cristina Bobe / Photo Romania Festival 2015
Photo Romania Festival brings 10 days of exhibitions, conferences, workshops and photography competitions to Cluj-Napoca – Transylvania’s largest city – between May 15 and 24, announced the organisers during a press conference. The festival is the biggest photography event in Eastern Europe, and this year's edition includes 70 exhibitions by internationally renowned artists, over 20 workshops with various themes held by specialists, conferences, concerts and other special events. The opening Gala of the festival will take place tomorrow night and will be followed by the presentation of a group exhibition created by the members of Photosharp, one of Romania’s biggest photography communities. This year's edition will have an estimated 160 guests from home and abroad, renowned photographers and managers of photography festivals throughout Europe. 

The manager of Photo Romania Festival, Cătălin Balog Bellu, included Photo Stories – a TED-like photography conference, Hungarian Photographers @ Photo Romania and Architecture Photography Days among the top events the audience will be able to attend during the fifth edition of the festival. For the first time in Romania, the festival will also include a formal meeting of European photopraphy festivals managers – Industry Days. Also, the festival will contain panels dedicated to professional wedding or dental photography, and special events dedicated to photojournalism or mobile phone photography. The exhibitions bring together various photographic techniques, from analog photography to digital manipulation and photography on wood, and address different genres, ranging from portrait photography to the conceptual one, and from landscape photography to photojournalistic projects focusing on social issues.

Waiting Patiently - Sylvia Plachy
Photo Romania Festival 2015
According to Sebastian Vaida, Photo Romania’s artistic director, some the top exhibitions brought to Cluj by this year’s edition are Waiting patiently by Hungarian-born American photographer Sylvia Plachy, one of the most celebrated photographers in the world, The Atlas of Beauty by Mihaela Noroc, Midnight Milk by Norwegian artist Marie Sjøvold, and Gentle Violence by Cristina Bobe, a unique experiment that combines photographic art with medicine. All of the above will be open to the public between May 15 and 24 and will be hosted by The National Arts Museum in Cluj. Other special exhibitions are Jane Long’s Dancing with Costică, Blanco y Negro by Josep Maria Ribas Prous, or Felix Dobbert’s Reconstructions - Still Life In Progress. 

The headquarters of the festival, located in an old and picturesque building in the center of the city, will become, during the 10 days of events, a genuine Museum of Photography, hosting old and contemporary photography exhibitions, dozens of workshops within the the Photo Romania Academy, conferences dedicated to the history of photography or specific photographic techniques and themes, book releases, concerts, debates and informal meetings between the audience and the photographers. Although this is where the heart of the festival will beat, Photo Romania will also include events all across the city, in various galleries, museums, universities, shopping centers, in the city’s Central Park and even outside Cluj, in the astonishing Turda Salt Mine and the small town of Turda. 

Photo Romania Day Festival will also host a Nikon day, during which those interested will be able to test the latest equipment from the Japanese manufacturer. In addition to working with Nikon, the festival enjoys a partnership with Nordic Light Festival in Norway, which facilitated Marie Sjøvold’s exhibition in Cluj.

Created in 2010 under the name FIAF, Photo Romania Festival brought photography to the forefront of Romanian cultural life and was able to put Cluj in the global network of high-class photography festivals. Furthermore, the prestigious British publication "The Telegraph" included Photo Romania in a list of most important photography festivals in the world. 

Photo Romania Festival 2015 lead partner: Nikon

Photo Romania 2015 Project is funded by EEA Grants 2009-2014, PA17/RO13 program, “Promoting cultural and artistic diversity in the European cultural heritage”.

Photo Romania Festival is organised with the support of the Town Hall and City Council in Cluj-Napoca.

For more information regarding Photo Romania Festival, visit the Facebook page (, visit the website ( of the event and read the official publication of the festival:

Mystery in the Sky: A Legendary Photo (Slowly) Gives Up Its Secrets

The previously unpublished version of the iconic photograph.
Part detective story, part homage to the American immigrant experience and, ultimately, a tribute to the simple dignity of hard work, the documentary film Men at Lunch examines the mysteries behind one of the most recognizable images of the 20th century: eleven men casually perched atop a steel beam hundreds of feet above Manhattan. For eight decades, from the time the photo was made in 1932 until brothers Seán and Eamonn Ó Cualáin came across a print of the photo in a pub in the west of Ireland in 2009, the picture was embraced as a stirring illustration of the creation of modern New York. Here, the picture seems to say, are the immigrants who built, by hand, the greatest skyline in the world. Here are the unsung heroes of Manhattan.

But as the Ó Cualáin brothers dug into the claim accompanying the picture they saw in that County Galway pub — namely, that the photo showed two local men, Sonny Glynn and Matty O’Shaughnessy, among the 11 on the girder in the sky — they discovered that little to nothing was truly known about the photograph itself. For instance, the picture is often misidentified as having been made atop the Empire State Building; it was actually taken during construction of Rockefeller Center. Even the photographer remains anonymous — for years the picture was wrongly credited, officially and unofficially, to the great Depression-era social reformer and photographer, Lewis Hine.

Today, four years after first encountering the photograph, and with their documentary film now in limited release, Seán (director) and Eamonn (producer) are still working to confirm the identities of most of the 11 men in the picture, even as they both have moved on to other film projects. Thus far, their inventive research into the skyscraper photo — including digital, 360-degree recreations of the image, beautifully rendered in the documentary — has uncovered the names of only two of the workers: Joe Eckner (third from left) and Joe Curtis (third from right).

Incredibly, their digging also brought to light another, previously unpublished portrait of the men on the beam on that long-ago September day — a photo, seen here (slide #2 above), of the 11 cheekily waving their hats.

Anyone with information about the photograph, or with documentation that might confirm the identities of any of the other nine men in the picture, is urged to contact Seán and Eamonn through the film’s Facebook page or via Twitter: @menatlunchfilm. Although, truth be told, Seán Ó Cualáin admits to an understandable ambivalence about the possible ramifications of their enduring investigation.

“Deep down,” he says, “I hope that the identities of all eleven men are not found. The mystery adds to the magic of the photo.”

A First Run release, Men at Lunch was financed by TG4, The Irish Film Board and The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It opens in New York at the Quad Cinema on Friday, Sept. 20.

Photo Romania Festival has made the news in the prestigious British Journal of Photography

Mihai Moiceanu & Morten Krogvold
Photo Romania Festival and its partnership with Nordic Light Festival of Norway have made the news in the "British Journal of Photography". British journalists underline the importance of the cultural dialogue between the two festivals, which offers Romanian and Norwegian artists a chance to develop their international recognition. The Romanian photographer who exhibited in Kristiansund is Mihai Moiceanu, whereas Marie Sjøvold and her exhibition ”Midnight Milk” will be present at Photo Romania, in Cluj-Napoca, between the 15th and 24th of May.

“We are proud to be able to send a young photographer of this calibre to Romania. It’s great to be able to help get Norwegian photographers out into the world.”, said Charles Williamsen, the managing director of Nordic Light, cited by the "British Journal of Photography". The magazine welcomes the positive cooperation between Photo Romania and the Norwegian festival, and the international publicity opportunity that it offers to young photographers from both countries. The "British Journal of Photography" was founded in Liverpool in January 1854, it is the second oldest specialized magazine in the UK, and one of the most relevant photography journals worldwide.

The exhibition "The Inner Circle of Wood" by Mihai Moiceanu was a great success in Norway. The international photography community and the audience at Nordic Light greatly appreciated his nature shots of rural Romania. His works will also be exhibited at Photo Romania Festival, along with 50 other exhibitions by internationally acclaimed Romanian and foreign artists. One of most anticipated events of this year’s edition will be the exhibition "Midnight Milk" by Norwegian photographer Marie Sjøvold, addressing in an intimate manner the identity changes in a woman's life after becoming a mother. “Over the last few years, Marie Sjøvold has excelled with her high quality personal and intimate projects. We are proud to be able to send a young photographer of this calibre to Romania”, said Charles Williamsen.

The collaboration between Photo Romania Festival and Nordic Light marks two important steps for the Romanian event: ”first of all, it is the first time a Romanian photography festival’s representatives are involved as institutional partners in an international photography event. Secondly, it is the first time a Romanian festival is part of a cultural exchange of this magnitude”, said Cătălin Balog Bellu, the managing director of Photo Romania Festival. 

According to Sebastian Vaida, the artistic director of the Romanian festival ”Our visit to the Nordic Light photo festival has meant a new experience in culture, meeting a lot of interesting and warm people, incredible places and outstanding photographers. We can't wait to meet our partners from the Nordic Light festival again, as they will visit us here, in Cluj Napoca, for Photo Romania Festival.”

Hundreds of photographers from around the world, dozens of exhibitions, workshops, contests and special events will animate Cluj between the 15th and 24th of May, at the fifth edition of Photo Romania. The public will be able to attend more than 50 exhibitions by Romanian and international photographers, specialized workshops, competitions, concerts, and special events such as Photo Stories, Industry Days, Photojournalism Day, Focus Hungary, or Architecture Photography Day. 

For more information regarding Photo Romania Festival, visit the Facebook page ( and the website ( of the event.

Photo Romania Festival 2015 lead partner: Nikon

Photo Romania 2015 Project is funded by EEA Grants 2009-2014, PA17/RO13 program, “Promoting cultural and artistic diversity in the European cultural heritage”.

Photo (© Sebastian Vaida): Mihai Moiceanu (left) and Morten Krogvold, the artistic director of Nordic Light Festival



CALL FOR ARTISTS: Photographers and video makers are invited to submit photos, art videos, paintings, installations and performance art pieces for 3 months.

To take part in the selection, send your works’ submissions with a CV/biography, some still images (for video-art), links of videos/performances and pictures of artworks via e-mail to:

UNITED PHOTO PRESS, in collaboration with International Albufeira Marina, is pleased to announce the open call for the international art festival RETROSPECTIVE OF 25 YEARS 1990 | 2015 and its section for guests.

The art festival will be organized in Albufeira Marina, at Algarve, Portugal starting from the opening day June 1, 2015, with a rich program of different events until August 31, 2015, Artists, photographers, video makers and performers, will have the amazing opportunity to show their works to a huge audience, during 3 summer months, one of the most important period for the whole art world in Europe.

UNITED PHOTO PRESS will be composed by collective and solo photographers and art house gallery exhibitions, and it will include the experimental program of exhibitions and art residencies from UNITED PHOTO PRESS & GUESTS. For the first time in Albufeira Marina we will give audience the possibility to see the works and at the same time have private meetings with artists, to meet them personally and share their art and experience inside and outside the commercial areas of the Albufeira Marina.

The festival will include 250 artists from UNITED PHOTO PRESS, photographs & painters, and guests in painting, video art, installation/sculpture and performance art, with a strong program of video art screenings and premiers, talks, private meetings between artists and audience, live dj set, live experimental dance and art performances.

Starting from 1990, UNITED PHOTO PRESS with International partnerships all over the world have curated and organized more than 300 contemporary art events, with the participation of about 25.000 international artists from all-over the world (Japan, China, Czech Republic, Angola, Mozambique, India, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Portugal, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Greece, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Poland, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Israel, UAE, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, Iceland, Chile, Mexico etc…) with an average of 50 to 150 artworks exhibited in each show (with a maximum of 250 artists involved in the great Japan Art Festival during the UNITED PHOTO PRESS TOUR LIVE IN JAPAN IN JUNE & JULY 2014). UNITED PHOTO PRESS organization has international partnerships with art venues all over the world and collaborates with museums, galleries and institutions.

For photographers and painters of the UNITED PHOTO PRESS everything matters, nothing goes unnoticed, or negligible. Their incessant production of art only has the power to escape the common consensus. After many years of research and exhibitions about the evolution of the idea of identity, we ask artists to share their personal tales through their artworks; to create a link between their personal experience and the audience through the artworks exhibited; to share their private tales and the reason beneath their work with the public. The exhibition and the book "WORLD - Black & White + Painters 2014/15" reflect what the artist’s feel they need to see and not just what the receiver wants or want to see.

"Get your creative juices flowing, learn from peers and thought leaders, and improve as a photographer. Ignore the awesome prizes, this is about harnessing the spirit of collaboration to feed your passion and elevate your game!"

Artists interested in taking part in our shows, are free to be sponsored and supported by institutions, organizations, governments and their representers; the logos of their sponsors will be included in all the communication (digital and print) of the events. Artists are free to take part in one or more of the programmed events.

It’s possible to organize dedicated exhibition and solo show in Albufeira Marina. Please send us a project proposal to receive a quotation.

To take part in the one or more events of UNITED PHOTO PRESS festival, send your works’ submissions with a CV/biography, some still images (for video-art), links of videos/performances, pictures of artworks via e-mail to:

At the end of the whole exhibition cycle there will be the publication of a digital catalogue.

UNITED PHOTO PRESS was elected in 2010 partner of the United Nations for International Year of Biodiversity.


Presenting the UNITED PHOTO PRESS - RETROSPECTIVE OF 25 YEARS 1990 | 2015 began by thanking in particular our members scattered around the world and to future guests participating in our future exhibition that will last three months in Marina de Albufeira in Portugal, our recognition for their willingness, imagination and interest in the United Photo Press project.

Our many, many thanks to The American Institute of Arts for their recognition in our humble contribution for art in the world.

Today's work, is sure tomorrow we are all artistically together without distinguishing race, color or sex, which stimulates our dream in inspiration and feeling new formulas, new techniques, new materials, so that we grow together .. .

One was renewed progressively more active and innovative. An exercise of exchanges, shares and complicity. Characters that recreate soul games, color experiences, enchanted forms, dressed in lines or dashes. Representation in multi-disciplinary areas, parade of emotions, sensualiades and transparencies. Proposals from conventional to new trends, sensitivities, ruptures and divisions. Projects that have learned to voice a crossroads of aesthetic-plastic concepts. Journey shared between the eyes and the mind, hold the breath when you feel those who observe us.

Attention, curiosity and interest in the natural sublime task of creation.

Say in addition, an exercise in which the difference of the result is visible in each, the effort, the time to research and anonymous humility responsible but who simply creates because it can not close the chest ideas and ideals.

Their exchange results in the necessary renewal, continually ascending and free, on a flight, in the imagination of time in solitude and recollection, in an extreme care that is never extinguished, before being renewed in each new piece, new work, new project.

This is how we crossed into the future, several lines but not dispersed to the convictions of the themes in a colorful mixture, where feelings and emotions move, build and complement, the result of individual artistic expression.

Carlos Alves de Sousa
President of United Photo Press

Photo Romania Festival grants scholarships to 10 young photographers

Ten young photographers will be the beneficiaries of Photo Romania Festival 2015 Grants. The winners will take part, free of charge, in any workshop they wish and in most events of the festival. Photo Romania Festival 2015 will take place between the 15th and the 24th of May in Cluj-Napoca.

The grants adress young people (maximum 25 year olds), who don't have significant photography background and skills, but who wish to evolve artistically and have genuine potential to become good photographers. The contest is open to participants from Romania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, (the Republic of) Moldova, and Ukraine.

Photo Romania Festival organisers will cover the costs of accommodation (bed and food included) during the 10 days of the event.

Photo Romania Grants support the geographical mobility of young photographers. Through these grants, Photo Romania Festival organisers wish to contribute to the development of technical skills and the artistic side of young photographers. Also, by being international, the contest has a supplementary objective: to facilitate the intercultural dialogue in the photography field.

You can apply for one of the Photo Romania Festival 2015, Grants by clicking here ( and following the instructions.

Application deadline: 1st of May, 2015. The winners will be selected by a contest jury consisting of Photo Romania Festival organisers and partners. 

Hundreds of photographers from around the world, dozens of exhibitions, workshops, contests and special events will animate Cluj between 15 and 24 May, at the fifth edition of Photo Romania. The public will be able to participate in more than 50 exhibitions of Romanian and international photographers, specialized workshops, competitions, concerts, and special events such as Photo Stories, Industry Days, Photojournalism Day, Hungarian Day, or Architecture Photography Day. 

For more information and to stay abreast of news regarding Photo Romania Festival, visit the Facebook page ( and the website ( of the event.

Photo Romania Festival 2015 lead partner: Nikon

Photo Romania Festival 2015 partner: F64

Photo Romania 2015 Project is funded by EEA Grants 2009-2014, PA17/RO13 program, “Promoting cultural and artistic diversity in the European cultural heritage”.

Essaouira – Life In The Port by Barbara Janu

Barbara Janu / United Photo Press
Situated at the Atlantic coast approximately 300 kilometers south of Moroccan Casablanca, the ancient town of Essaouira rightly occupies a prominent place in all travel guides to Morocco. The oriental medina, consisting of a maze of narrow alleys, is lined with city walls that not only offer a gorgeous view of a wide (and considerably windy) beach and the town itself, but that primarily is a great post from which you can peacefully observe the busy life in the local port.

It is right the fishing port that endowes Essaouira with its unmistakable glamour and atmosphere. It is not hard to find it – its reliable guidepost is the swelling sound of seagulls squawk, accompanied by intense smell of fish guts that may not always agree with a too sensitive nose or stomach of a visitor.

From the early morning, when most tourists are still in a deep sleep, tens of fishing boats enter the port to bring fresh fish and seafood of all possible sizes, shapes and colors. The fishermen who process the fish and prepare it for the sale are keenly overseen by the port’s local feathered inhabitants. The seagulls insistently demand their share and as long as the fishermen do not serve them the fish guts and other unsellable fish parts fast enough they do not hesitate to steal a whole fish from under the hands of the less vigilant ones.

Barbara Janu  / United Photo Press

The Essaouirian port cats observe the whole bustle of the place in a seemingly impartial manner, lazing about on heaps of fishing nets for most of the day. Their shiny fur and good shape give the idea of what’s the main component of their diet.

There is enough fish and Moroccans are fond of cats, so there is no need to hurry anywhere. The bright side of the life in the port was discovered by the local dogs as well, lounging on the soft nets just like the cats or waiting at the market stands for their ration of fish.

Barbara Janu  / United Photo Press

Tourists stroll across the port during the day, catching their “takes” like the fishermen, just in the form of good photos and videos. It is not difficult, the picturesque port with the blue-white medina at its background belongs to the most beautiful and photogenic spots in Morocco. 
When the stench of the fresh fish guts is replaced by the lovely smell of grilled fish later during the day, you will know for sure that you are going to revisit this place on your next trip to Morocco.

Text: Veronika Vodicova
Fotos: Barbara Janu / United Photo Press

World's largest asteroid impact zone believed uncovered by ANU researchers in central Australia

Rock features showing shock metamorphic deformation in the mineral quartz from the Warburton Basin impact.
Australian scientists have uncovered what is believed to be the largest asteroid impact zone ever found on Earth, in central Australia.

A team lead by Dr Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University (ANU) said two ancient craters found in central Australia were believed to have been caused by one meteorite that broke in two.

"They appear to be two large structures, with each of them approximately 200 kilometres," Dr Glikson said.

"So together, jointly they would form a 400 kilometre structure which is the biggest we know of anywhere in the world.

"The consequences are that it could have caused a large mass extinction event at the time, but we still don't know the age of this asteroid impact and we are still working on it."

The material at both impact sites appears to be identical which has led researchers to believe they are from the same meteorite.

Over millions of years the obvious craters have disappeared, but geothermal research drilling revealed the secret history hidden under an area including South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

"The next step will be more research, hopefully deep crust seismic traverses," Dr Glikson said.

"Under the Cooper Basin and Warburton Basin we don't have that information and our seismic information covers up to five kilometres and some other data such as seismic tomography and magnetic data.

"The mantle underneath has been up-domed which is a very promising indication of a major event."

There are many unanswered questions about the underground site and whether the twin asteroid impact could have affected life on earth at the time.

"When we know more about the age of the impact, then we will know whether it correlates with one of the large mass extinctions [at the end of specific eras].

"At this stage we do not have all the answers, but there has been a lot of interest and people are certainly interested in any impact on the dinosaurs."

The research has been published in the geology journal Tectonophysics.

Mercedes Benz Prague Fashion Weekend

The largest fashion event in the Czech Republic

MBPFW presents renowned foreign brands in the commercial section. 

MBPFW works with distinctive aesthetics inspired by fashion shows in Paris or Milan. The aim of its choreography is to connect different arts disciplines.

MBPFW is the only fashion event in the Czech Republic that has an international overlap (it is a part of the international network of fashion weeks organized under the patronage of Mercedes-Benz similar to New York, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Istanbul or México City).

MBPFW’s emphasis is on an attractive audience from the worlds of fashion, design, art and business.

Every year, MBPFW welcomes important guests from the Czech Republic as well as from abroad.

MBPFW cooperates with Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and is organized under the auspices thereof.

MBPFW does not mean just fashion shows. A number of side events take place during the entire week ending with the fashion weekend – we want Prague to be(come) alive with design and fashion!

FEBIOFEST | International Film Festival Prague

International Film Festival Prague – FEBIOFEST was founded in 1993 by FEBIO, an independent film and TV company. Starting as an enthusiastically organized, basically no-budget event for a couple of friends and film buffs, FEBIOFEST has grown during the past years into one of the largest film festivals in the Czech Republic, which nevertheless still maintains its original profile as an audience-friendly festival.

Situated in the modern 12-screen multiplex, Cinestar Andel, FEBIOFEST guarantees excellent screening conditions for all formats, not to mention supreme comfort for festival-goers.

When evening rolls around, FEBIOFEST also transforms itself into the widely attended and increasingly popular FEBIOFEST MUSIC FESTIVAL, showcasing world music, jazz, blues, avant-garde and alternative rock concerts in the multiplex cinema garages.

To filmmakers and celebrities, FEBIOFEST offers a pleasant stay in Prague – the city of Kafka, beer and film buffs, at hotels conveniently located next to the festival cinema and close to the Czech capital’s magical Old Town.

In recent years, FEBIOFEST has hosted renowned directors and actors such as Nanni Moretti, Claude Lelouch, Peter Weir, Olivier Assayas Roman Polanski, Volker Schloendorff, Isztvan Szabo, Tsai Ming-Liang, Tom Tykwer, Hal Hartley, Andrey Konchalovski, Armin Mueller Stahl, Nikita Michalkov, Carlos Saura and Claudia Cardinale.

Basically the festival is oriented towards full length films, bringing to Czech audiences the best films of the last year, as well as distribution premieres, retrospectives and tributes. It also discovers new territories and unknown filmmakers, and features special sections dedicated to gay and lesbian cinema, children’s films (FEBIOFEST JUNIOR), and even experimental films.

Thanks to its broad overview of the latest and best cinematography from around the world, high quality screenings and famous guests, every year the festival’s exceptional program draws large, curious and appreciative audiences of all ages and receives much critical acclaim in the press, not to mention the keen interest of local distributors.

After the festival has completed its run in Prague, selected films (mostly distribution pre-premieres) travel to 8 other Czech cities to give movie lovers beyond the capital an opportunity to see high quality films. The spirit of FEBIOFEST even makes its way to neighboring Slovakia, where the Slovak FEBIOFEST is organized independently.


Amount of money that art sells for is shocking, says painter Gerhard Richter

‘The records keep being broken and every time my initial reaction is one of horror,’ says world-famous German artist, after sale of one of his works for £30m.

Gerhard Richter, the world-famous German painter, has expressed his incredulity at the astronomical sums paid for his works, calling the art market “hopelessly excessive” and saying that prices are rarely a reflection on quality.

Richter, 83, told the German daily Die Zeit he had watched the outcome of a recent auction at Sotheby’s in London with horror after an anonymous buyer paid £30.4m (€41m, $46.5m) for his 1986 oil-on-canvas, Abstraktes Bild.

We artists get next to nothing from such an auction. Except for a small morsel, all the profit goes to the sellerGerhard Richter

“The records keep being broken and every time my initial reaction is one of horror even if it’s actually welcome news. But there is something really shocking about the amount,” Richter said.

He said he believed people who paid so much money for his paintings were foolish and foresaw that prices for his art would crash “when the art market corrects itself”, as he was convinced it would.

Seen as the leader of the New European Painting movement which emerged in the second half of the 20th century, Richter made a name for himself with “photo-paintings” that replicate photographs and are then “blurred” with a squeegee or a brush.

The price paid for Abstraktes Bild amounted to a staggering 5,000-fold increase on the price he had originally sold it for, he said.

He told the weekly newspaper that he understood as much about the art market as he did “about Chinese or physics”, and said contrary to a common perception he hardly benefited at all from such sales.

“We artists get next to nothing from such an auction. Except for a small morsel, all the profit goes to the seller,” he said.
Gerhard Richter in front of one of his paintings at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in June 2012.Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Richter said he was given the impression by gallery owners that he was inclined to undervalue his own work. Recently, having set the price of one of his photographs at €2,000, he said he was told by a gallery owner: “You can’t sell that for €2,000, it needs to be more like €10,000 or €20,000.”

He was relieved, he said, that he did not have much to do with the buying and selling process. “Luckily I can … shut my studio door on most of the discussion about the market and prices. I’m good at suppressing it,” he added.

He said that while it had been years since he had seen Abstraktes Bild – created by his trademark technique of building up paint and then pulling it away with a piece of wood – he remembered it being a “quite good” piece of art, in contrast to his painting Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan) which last year fetched €29m at auction.

“I found that odd,” he said. “I don’t think the picture is that great … when I heard what it had gone for at auction, I thought ‘that’s completely over the top’.”

Richter, who was born in Dresden, said he was nonplussed as to how and why auctions had become so important. “It is really quite alarming, particularly when you take a look at the catalogues. They always send them to me and they get worse and worse. You cannot imagine what rubbish is offered, at prices that are rising all the time,” he said. He said that both “serious galleries” and young artists were suffering as a result.

“Many of the young artists go straight to auctions in order to earn the big bucks. So in contrast to the past artists cannot develop slowly. And the business is getting more anonymous. In the end it just comes down to the price.”

Richter fondly recalled the memory of selling Abstraktes Bild almost 30 years ago to a Cologne collector “for I think around 15,000 marks” (around €7,670). “I was very proud that it became part of his collection.”

Cogs in the machine: how the art market became obsessed with money

No one who had bought his works in recent years, he said, had ever contacted him to show an interest in him or his work, implying that they were only interested in the work’s investment value. He confirmed that often his works were among those bought as safe, tax-free capital investments and stored in art bunkers in east Asia or Switzerland.

Richter said he had resigned himself to the fact that “hardly any one talks about art any more. Even in the arts pages of the broadsheets”.

He said he was virtually powerless to alter the prices of his works. Attempting to torpedo the high prices by offering new works at lower prices only backfired, he said. “I made 100 small original paintings and sold them very cheaply. They sold immediately and promptly ended up being sold at auction … you cannot escape the market.”

Richter said that an original work of art had barely any meaning for him and he had many reproductions hanging in his studio.

He praised an initiative offered at Tate Modern in London where he had an exhibition in 2011, in which his works were run off on a printer. “I found it terrific … they had an online printer that printed off loads of my pictures so that everyone could take one home with them.”

He admitted he never buys art himself. “I don’t spend money on art,” he said. “I like looking at paintings, but I go to a museum to do so. I don’t have to own art myself.”

Chef Jamie Oliver Proves McDonald’s Burgers “Unfit for Human Consumption”

Chef Jamie Oliver has won his long-fought battle against one of the largest fast food chains in the world – McDonalds. After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are made, the franchise finally announced that it will change its recipe, and yet there was barely a peep about this in the mainstream, corporate media.

Oliver repeatedly explained to the public, over several years – in documentaries, television shows and interviews – that the fatty parts of beef are “washed” in ammonium hydroxide and used in the filling of the burger. Before this process, according to the presenter, the food is deemed unfit for human consumption. According to the chef and hamburger enthusiast, Jamie Oliver, who has undertaken a war against the fast food industry, “Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.”

Besides the low quality of the meat, the ammonium hydroxide is harmful to health. Oliver famously coined this the “the pink slime process.”

“Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” Oliver asked.

In one of his colorful demonstrations, Oliver demonstrates to children how nuggets are made. After selecting the best parts of the chicken, the remains (fat, skin and internal organs) are processed for these fried foods.

After years of trying to break America, Jamie Oliver has finally made his mark by persuading one of the biggest U.S fast food chains in the world to change their burger recipe. 

McDonald's have altered the ingredients after the Naked Chef forced them to remove a processed food type that he labelled 'pink slime'.

The food activist was shocked when he learned that ammonium hydroxide was being used by McDonald's to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for its burgers in the USA.

The filler product made headlines after he denounced it on his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. 

'Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold at the cheapest form for dogs and after this process we can give it to humans' said the TV chef. 

Jamie showed American audiences the raw 'pink slime' produced in the ammonium hydroxide process used by producers named Beef Products Inc (BPI).

'Pink slime' has never been used in McDonald's beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

Now after months of campaigning on his hit US television show McDonald's have admitted defeat and the fast food giant has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

US Department of Agriculture microbiologist Geral Zirnstein agreed with Jamie that ammonium hydroxide agent should be banned.

'Pink slime' has never been used in McDonald's beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

Now after months of campaigning on his hit US television show McDonald's have admitted defeat and the fast food giant has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.


In 1999 Jamie Oliver began his TV chef career in the British TV series 'The Naked Chef.' He was awarded an MBE for his services to hospitality. But his healthy eating crusade, hasn't always gone smoothly in the U.S.

Crying on TV: In 2010 while filming 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' he broke down when he met serious resistance after the residents of America's country's fattest city, Huntington, West Virginia, were uninterested in his advice. After a confrontation with school dinner ladies, the TV chef sobbed: 'They don't understand me. They don't know why I'm here.'

Letterman setback: That year he suffered another setback with a doom-filled lecture from chatshow host David Letterman. The host told Oliver he believed diet pills were the only successful way to lose weight in the U.S. and that he expected humans to 'evolve to the point where 1,000 years from now we all weigh 500-600lbs and it will be OK.'

UPP WINER - Underwater Photographer Of The Year

THE YEAR (2015):
'50 Tons Of Me'
Nuno Sá / United Photo Press
Three esteemed judges, Alex Mustard, Martin Edge and Peter Rowlands had the pleasure of going through 2500 entries from 40 countries to select the award winners. 

“It was highly enjoyable, but something we took very seriously. Every judge saw every picture multiple times, I think we probably know some of the images better than the photographers who took them,” said Alex Mustard, chair of the judging panel and the driving force behind UPY. 

“The quantity and particularly the quality of the images entered left us all astounded. 

It was a privilege to be part of something so special. Heart-warming to see the competitions so enthusiastically embraced by the community, heartbreaking at times when we just couldn’t squeeze some truly amazing images into the winners circle.”

International Macro
WINNER: '50 Tons Of Me' - Nuno Sá

The Natural reserve of Ria Formosa is home to the world’s largest population of the two species of seahorses found in the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. However the local university together with Project Seahorse has registered a 85% decline in seahorse populations between 2001 and 2009.

I spent 10 days diving in this natural reserve for National Geographic Portugal, following a pioneering project between the University of Algarve with Project Seahorse that has been breeding seahorses in captivity. The goal is reducing the demand of wild seahorses and also re-populate areas where seahorses populations have been reduced or extinct by fishing. Over 50 tons of seahorses are captures every year for ornamental purposes and use in traditional oriental medicine.

To light this photo, I had the unusual accessories of two scientists, who were holding my strobes, 1 strobe behind and 1 over the seahorse

Judge’s Comment, Martin Edge: In the opinion of the judges, the best in show! The composition is simple but so effective. What attracts me to this particular image is the understated quality of light and shade made possible by the subtle use of flash. It's though it is lit from within. It's a fine example of what I refer to as delicate post processing.


Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

Leonard Nimoy Was Not (Only) Spock


Mr. Nimoy had a longtime interest in photography that he channeled later in life into several books and exhibitions at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and elsewhere. His specialty was portraiture, often involving the kind of subjects that don’t frequently adorn gallery walls. (The headline of a 2007 New York Times article about his work: Girth and Nudity, a Pictorial Mission.)

A 2010 show at Mass MoCA featured photos of people acting out their “secret selves,” something Mr. Nimoy suggested he knew something about in an interview with The Times.

“So many people have said that the project has made them wonder about whether they have a secret self, and inevitably some of them ask about my secret self,” Mr. Nimoy said. “Are you kidding? I’ve had 60 years of acting out my other selves. Been there, done that.”

As part of the Yiddish Book Center Wexler Oral History Project, Leonard Nimoy explains the origin of the Vulcan hand signal used by Spock, his character in the “Star Trek” series. Video by Yiddish Book Center on Publish DateFebruary 27, 2015. Photo by Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project.

Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.

Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995.

In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”

“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some special effects that appear primitive by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.

His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.

The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including — besides Mr. Nimoy — William Shatner (as Captain Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura) and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).

When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast including Zachary Quinto as Spock, he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.

He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. And he made records, singing pop songs as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances — to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.

But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew, who was both one of the gang and a creature apart, engaged at times in a lonely struggle with his warring racial halves.

In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” performances, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character — Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster — who is transformed by love.

In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.

“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declares after the spores’ effect has worn off and his emotions are again in check. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”

Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.

From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.

Credit Jerry Mosey/Associated Press

He continued to be cast in little-known movies, although he did presciently play an alien invader in a cult serial called “Zombies of the Stratosphere,” and in 1961 he had a minor role on an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” His first starring movie role came in 1952 with “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer.

Mr. Nimoy served in the Army for two years, rising to sergeant and spending 18 months at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. He also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November 1955.

He then returned to California, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher and cabdriver while studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He achieved wide visibility in the late 1950s and early 1960s on television shows like “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.” Then came “Star Trek.”

Mr. Nimoy returned to college in his 40s and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin, an affiliate of Antioch College in Ohio, in 1978. Antioch University later awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate.

Mr. Nimoy directed the movies “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), which he helped write. In 1991, the same year that he resurrected Mr. Spock on two episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Mr. Nimoy was also the executive producer and a writer of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

He then directed the hugely successful comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a far cry from his science-fiction work, and appeared in made-for-television movies. He received an Emmy nomination for the 1982 movie “A Woman Called Golda,” in which he portrayed the husband of Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, who was played by Ingrid Bergman. It was the fourth Emmy nomination of his career — the other three were for his “Star Trek” work — although he never won.

Mr. Nimoy’s marriage to the actress Sandi Zober ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Adam and Julie Nimoy; a stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and an older brother, Melvin.

Though his speaking voice was among his chief assets as an actor, the critical consensus was that his music was mortifying. Mr. Nimoy, however, was undaunted, and his fans seemed to enjoy the camp of his covers of songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” (His first album was called “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”)

From 1977 to 1982, Mr. Nimoy hosted the syndicated series “In Search Of ...,” which explored mysteries like the Loch Ness monster and U.F.O.s. He also narrated “Ancient Mysteries” on the History Channel and appeared in commercials, including two with Mr. Shatner for He provided the voice for animated characters in “Transformers: The Movie,” in 1986, and “The Pagemaster,” in 1994.

In 2001 he voiced the king of Atlantis in the Disney animated movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and in 2005 he furnished voice-overs for the computer game Civilization IV. More recently, he had a recurring role on the science-fiction series “Fringe” and was heard, as the voice of Spock, in an episode of the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

Mr. Nimoy was an active supporter of the arts as well. The Thalia, a venerable movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, now a multi-use hall that is part of Symphony Space, was renamed the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002.

He also found his voice as a writer. Besides his autobiographies, he published “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” in 2002. Typical of Mr. Nimoy’s simple free verse are these lines: “In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”

In later years, he rediscovered his Jewish heritage, and in 1991 he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a television movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sued a neo-Nazi organization of Holocaust deniers.

In 2002, having illustrated his books of poetry with his photographs, Mr. Nimoy published “Shekhina,” a book devoted to photography with a Jewish theme, that of the feminine aspect of God. His black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women struck some Orthodox Jewish leaders as heretical, but Mr. Nimoy asserted that his work was consistent with the teachings of the kabbalah.

His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea: He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.

“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,” Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended.

But that wasn’t such a bad thing, he discovered. “Given the choice,” he wrote, “if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
Correction: February 27, 2015

An earlier version of this obituary, using information from Antioch College, misstated the name of an institution that awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate. It was Antioch University, not Antioch College.

Cell breakthrough to bring two-dad babies

Azim Surani who is leading the cell project, was also involved in the research that led to the birth of Louise Brown (Welcome Trust)
Scientistshave shown for the first time that it is possible to make human egg and sperm cells using skin from two adults of the same sex.

The breakthrough raises the prospect of the first fully “manufactured” baby made in a laboratory dish from the skin cells of two adults of the same gender.

The researchers admitted that the development raised serious ethical issues, but said it would help people who had become infertile through disease and had also prompted interest from gay people.

The breakthrough, funded by the Wellcome Trust, was achieved at Cambridge University in a project with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.

The scientists used stem cell lines from embryos as well as from the skin of five different adults. Researchers have previously created live baby mice using engineered eggs and sperm, but until now have struggled to create a human version of these “primordial germ” or stem cells.

The stem cells can be turned into any tissue in the body. As well as producing sperm and eggs, they will ultimately provide a “repair kit” for any organ.

Louise Brown

Ten different donor sources have been used so far and new germ-cell lines have been created from all of them. The team has compared the engineered germ cells with natural human stem cells taken from aborted human foetuses to check that the artificially created versions of the cells had identical characteristics.

Details of the technique, published in the journal Cell, show that a gene called SOX17, previously considered to be unimportant in mice, has turned out to be critical in the process of “reprogramming” human cells.

“We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish,” said Azim Surani, professor of physiology and reproduction at Cambridge, who heads the project.

“We have also discovered that one of the things that happens in these germ cells is that epigenetic mutations, the cell mistakes that occur with age, are wiped out,” said Surani, who was involved in research that led to the birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby, in 1978.

“That means the cell is regenerated and reset, so while the rest of the cells in the body have aged and contain genetic mistakes, these ones don’t. We can’t say no mutations are passed on, but mostly it doesn’t happen.”

Scientists have proved stem cells from the skin of two adults of the same sex can be used to make human egg and sperm cells. IVF could then be used to create an embryo

Jacob Hanna, the specialist leading the project’s Israeli arm, said it may be possible to use the technique to create a baby in just two years. “It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex,” he said.

“I am not in favour of creating engineered humans and the social and ethical implications . . . need to be thought through, but I am very confident it will work and will be very relevant to anyone who has lost their fertility through disease.”

The use of manufactured sperm and egg cells would require a change in the law.

The Nobel prize winner Professor Sir Martin Evans, who was the first to produce embryonic stem cells from mice, said the research gave “a new explanation of one [element] of human biology . . . but until it is applied for a practical purpose it is only a small incremental step”.

Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem-cell biology and developmental genetics at the National Institute for Medical Research, said Surani’s team was the first to produce a reliable way of making human stem cells.

“It will be useful for the development of sperm and eggs, not just as germ cells but as mature cells. It will be important for understanding the causes of infertility and for the treatment of it,” he said.

“It is probably a long way off, but it would be a way for people who have had treatment for conditions such as childhood leukaemia, which has left them infertile, to have children of their own.”

Allan Pacey, an infertility expert and professor of andrology at Sheffield University, said he was “excited” by the idea of using skin cells to make sperm for the thousands of men who have survived childhood cancer and been left infertile. Others anticipate demand from elderly would-be parents and say the development will bring ever closer the prospect of people “designing”’ their offspring.

This issue has been at the centre of objections to mitochondrial transfer, the “three-parent baby” technology expected to be approved by the House of Lords this week.

David King, director of the Human Genetics Alert watchdog, said he was “concerned that scientists might view [germ-cell line creation] as a convenient route to creating genetically engineered babies”.

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

President Obama issued a presidential veto against Congress’ bill to force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. In vetoing KXL, President Obama is showing that he’s listened to the people, not the polluters. This is an incredible moment for all who participated — this is your moment. I hope you celebrate this news with me today.

But the fight is not over. Today dozens of movement leaders, economists, musicians, filmmakers (including a few recent Oscar winners), and many more released a Unity Letter ahead of the President's final decision.

Just a few years ago, KXL was considered a done deal in Washington — but together we fought back. You made phone calls, sent emails and letters, and spoke up to friends and neighbors. Fossil fuel companies are throwing millions into maintaining their destructive status quo. But they didn’t account for your perseverance, creativity, and courage. You’ve rallied, you’ve marched, and now — in the final moments, you can take this through to the finish line.

The science is clear: the Keystone XL Pipeline would have a devastating effect on our climate and set the stage for increased fossil fuel dependence for years to come. And we know all too well that pipeline oil spills, like the recent 63,000-gallon spill near the Yellowstone River, has devastating effects to neighboring communities, drinking water, and our health.

The president's outright rejection of the KXL permits would be the final nail in the coffin for Keystone. And with partisan bickering over KXL behind us, we’d finally be able to focus on the real opportunity ahead: building America’s new, clean energy economy.
Mr. Obama added that “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

Environmental groups hailed the president’s veto. Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, praised Mr. Obama for keeping his word on vetoing the legislation and urged the president to reject the pipeline.

“The president has all the evidence he needs to reject Keystone XL now, and we are confident that he will,” Mr. Brune said.

Republicans denounced the veto, saying Mr. Obama gave in to the his environmental supporters. Republicans also said it would cost Americans much-needed jobs.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio called the veto a “national embarrassment.”

In a statement, he said, “We are not going to give up in our efforts to get this pipeline built – not even close.”

Since 2011, the proposed Keystone pipeline, which would deliver up to 800,000 barrels daily of heavy petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast, has emerged as a broader symbol of the partisan political clash over energy, climate change and the economy.

Most energy policy experts say the project will have a minimal impact on jobs and climate. But Republicans insist that the pipeline will increase employment by linking the United States to an energy supply from a friendly neighbor. Environmentalists say it will contribute to ecological destruction and damaging climate change.

Mr. Obama has hinted that he thinks both sides have inflated their arguments, but he has not said what he will decide.

In his State of the Union address last month, Mr. Obama urged lawmakers to move past the pipeline debate, urging passage of a comprehensive infrastructure plan. “Let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline,” he said.

Republican leaders have said they plan to use the veto, which was expected, to denounce Mr. Obama as a partisan obstructionist.

“This is bipartisan legislation being vetoed by a partisan president,” said John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. “I think the president has made his decision to side with special interests. This is going to further marginalize the president in the last two years.”

Environmentalists interpreted the veto as a sign that Mr. Obama would soon decide to reject the project, as he sought to enhance his environmental legacy.

“All along we’ve hoped that the president meant what he said way back in 2008 about stopping climate change; the veto is a start, but we will find out for sure when he issues his final decision on this gimcrack project,” wrote Bill McKibben, the founder of the group, which has led the campaign to urge Mr. Obama to reject the pipeline.

In recent months, the environmental activists — who have spent years marching, protesting and getting arrested outside the White House in their quest to persuade Mr. Obama to reject the project — say they are increasingly optimistic that their efforts will be successful.

“Hopefully the ongoing legislative charade has strengthened his commitment to do the right thing,” Mr. McKibben added.

The debate began in 2008, when the TransCanada Corporation applied for a permit to construct the 1,179-mile pipeline. The State Department is required to determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest, but the last word on whether the project will go forward ultimately rests with the president.

After you have driven home in your car, (or taken public transport) turned on your lights, maybe lighted your gas fireplace, and enjoyed the...
Kayemtee 2 minutes ago

The world seems awash in cheap oil at the moment. How is it in the interest of the United States to allow the construction of this pipeline...

Mr. Obama has delayed making that decision until all the legal and environmental reviews of the process are complete. He has said a critical factor in his decision making will be the question of whether the project contributes to climate change.

Last year, an 11-volume environmental impact review by the State Department concluded that oil extracted from the Canadian oil sands produced about 17 percent more carbon pollution than conventionally extracted oil.

But the review said the pipeline was unlikely to contribute to a significant increase of planet-warming greenhouse gases because the fuel was likely to be extracted from the oil sands and sold with or without construction of the pipeline.

This month, environmentalists pointed to a different review by the Environmental Protection Agency that they said proved the pipeline could add to greenhouse gases.

The question of whether to build the pipeline comes as Mr. Obama hopes to make climate change policy a cornerstone of his legacy. This summer, the E.P.A. is expected to issue sweeping regulations to cut greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, a move experts say would have vastly more impact on the nation’s carbon footprint than construction of the Keystone pipeline.

In December, world leaders hope to sign a global United Nations accord in Paris, committing every nation in the world to enacting plans to reduce their rates of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. In the coming months, countries are expected to begin putting forward those policies for cutting carbon emissions.

While the Keystone pipeline is not expected to be part of the United States climate change plan, a public presidential decision on the project could be interpreted as a message about the president’s symbolic commitment to the issue of climate change.

Until that decision comes, however, both sides of the Keystone fight are stepping up their tactics. Environmental groups are planning more marches and White House petitions, while Republicans in Congress are looking for ways to bring the Keystone measure back to Mr. Obama’s desk.

Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota, who sponsored the Keystone bill, said he would consider adding language requiring construction of the pipeline to other legislation, such as spending bills to fund federal agencies, which could make a veto far more politically risky for Mr. Obama.

A final decision by the president could come soon. Last month, a court in Nebraska reached a verdict in a case about the pipeline’s route through the state, clearing the way for construction. And this month, final reviews of the pipeline by eight federal agencies were completed.

However, Mr. Obama is under no legal obligation to make a final decision, and there is no official timetable for a decision. He could approve or deny the project at any time — or leave the decision to the next president.
Because we are powerful together,

Annie Leonard
Executive Director