brad brace


Filed under: Film,General — admin @ 2:07 am



Filed under: Film,General — admin @ 12:49 pm


Filed under: Film,General,Uncategorized — admin @ 5:03 am


At a time when local law enforcement agencies are being forced to cut
budgets and freeze hiring, cities across Southern California have found a
growing source of income — immigration detention.Roughly two-thirds of the
nation’s immigrant detainees are held in local jails, and the payments to
cities and counties for housing them have increased as the federal
government has cracked down on illegal immigrants with criminal records and
outstanding deportation orders.Washington paid nearly $55.2 million to
house detainees at 13 local jails in California in fiscal year 2008, up
from $52.6 million the previous year. The U.S. is on track to spend $57
million this year.

After dumping its untreated wastewater into lake Managua for more than 80
years, the capital of Nicaragua has started to clean up the huge source of
water in this country, where 80 percent of fresh water sources are
polluted. “For 82 years we have turned Central America’s largest lake into
the world’s biggest toilet.We poison it every day with tons of feces and
garbage, and now, at this pace, it will take 50 years or more to salvage.”
However, that new Augusto C. Sandino wastewater treatment plant inaugurated
by President Daniel Ortega on the shores of Lake Managua (also known as
Lake Xolotl?°n, which means “dedicated to the god X??lotl” in the N?°huatl
language) is a huge step towards the aim of cleaning up the country’s water
sources. There is still much to be done; this is just the first step in a
good plan to rescue the country’s water sources. It will take more than 50
years to get to the point where the water can be used for consumption.

Despite Indonesia’s West Papua region being home to some of the world’s
largest resource extraction projects, which generate massive wealth for
multinationals and for the government in Jakarta, local indigenous people
still suffer from poor health. Documenting that has not been easy, since
Jakarta has been reluctant to allow outsiders into this remote region. But
recently a few international health NGOs, including Medecins du Monde, have
travelled to West Papua, and their data shows a region where tens of
thousands out of 2.5 million inhabitants are estimated to be infected with
HIV/Aids, and lethal cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks are frequent. The
health problems of West Papuans are often the result of change taking place
too quickly for such a remote people. Papuans are being overtaken by new
development and while the delivery of basic health services lacks support
and funding, they’re falling way behind in health standards.

A major 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook the South Pacific nation of Tonga,
prompting a tsunami warning but causing no major damage. The quake was
centred 210 kilometres (130 miles) south-southeast of the Tongan capital
Nuku’alofa. A 5.2-magnitude aftershock was also recorded in the same region
just over two hours after the initial quake. A resident of Nuku’alofa said
there was no sign of significant damage or of a tsunami after the shallow
quake, which struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles). The US Pacific
Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami warning for Tonga, Niue, the
Kermadec Islands, American Samoa and Fiji, but lifted it nearly two hours
after the quake struck.

Despite Australia’s best efforts to supply safe-sex aids to AIDS-ravaged
Papua New Guinea, there’s no stopping local creativity in finding unusual
uses for condoms. Local fisherman cut them up for lures, and women find the
lubricant good for their hair and beauty regime. Non-government
organisations and various HIV/AIDS groups know all too well where many of
those Australian-funded rubbers go. As one NGO boss said: “If they’re
fishing, they’re not f**king.” The PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat
was recently described as “rotten to the core” with corruption,
misappropriation and mismanagement amid news that two million condoms had
been left to expire in a Port Moresby warehouse.

Two leading networks of environmental and Indigenous Peoples’
Organisations, called on world governments to take immediate action to halt
deforestation and forest degradation. Deforestation rates continue to be
shockingly high in many countries despite increased awareness that forests
— which host more than 70% of terrestrial biodiversity — play a key role
not only in sustaining the livelihoods of more than one billion people but
also in mitigating climate change. The environmental networks called for a
stop to promoting plantations and urged governments to immediately halt the
conversion of forests into biofuel plantations in their countries.
Governments should also recognize urgently Indigenous Peoples’ territories,
promote community-based forest management and restoration, ban illegal
logging and related trade, and implement immediate deforestation moratoria.

A U.N. panel will recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve
currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, adding to pressure on
the dollar. the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or
European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket. The
recommendation would be one of a number delivered to the United Nations by
the U.N. Commission of Experts on International Financial Reform. It is a
good moment to move to a shared reserve currency. Central banks hold their
reserves in a variety of currencies and gold, but the dollar has dominated
as the most convincing store of value — though its rate has wavered in
recent years as the United States ran up huge twin budget and external

A reef-top cemetery in Solomon Islands has been destroyed in what villagers
say is clear evidence of the effects of climate change. Villagers in Temotu
Province say they have seen the effects in the Reef Islands, a group of 16
small coral islands 80 kilometres from Santa Cruz island, in eastern
Solomon Islands. an entire cemetery at Tuo village, Fenualoa Island, has
been washed away by waves. The villagers say the destruction was carried
out by a rise in sea levels which has happened gradually over the past few
years. Tuo village community leader, Ezekiel Nodua said the only remains of
the graves are broken pieces of cement scattered over a wide area of
off-shore reef. The reef at high tide now becomes submerged by the sea. Mr
Nodua says the people of Tuo village now bury their dead beside their
homes, because they no longer have a community cemetery to bury their dead.
The densely populated islands have been known to be previously subject to
tidal surges caused by cyclones and volcanic activity

There is a close correlation between disaster, whether natural or
manufactured, and the philanthropy industry. This implies the existence of
two symbiotic professions. First is conflict entrepreneurship and war
mongering whose business is to ensure continuous presence of warlike
activities and general instability in different places. In part this is
because war is big business and hence the tendency for war and business to
reinforce each other. Second is that of philanthropic entrepreneurs,
including peace activists, who make elaborate plans to raise funds to deal
with expected disasters that can be either natural or man-made. Total lack
of disaster is catastrophic to their interests. Man-made disasters can be
related to the business of war. The link between war and business gave rise
to two complexes that have the military at the centre perpetuating warlike

Australia has recently seen a surge in asylum seekers arriving on boats. An
Australian navy ship has intercepted a boat carrying nearly 60 suspected
asylum seekers – the fourth such incident in less than two weeks. The boat
was stopped some 420km (265 miles) north of Broome in Western Australia.
Those on board were being sent to an immigration detention centre on
Christmas Island, about 2,575km (1,600 miles) north-west of the mainland.
The nationalities of the suspects were not immediately known.

The largest federal contract in the state is with the Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department, whose 1,400-bed detention center is dedicated to
housing immigrants either awaiting deportation or fighting their cases in
court. The department received $34.7 million in 2008, up from $32.3 million
the previous year. Some smaller cities have seen their income rise much
faster. Glendale received nearly $260,000 in 2008, triple what it got the
previous year. In Alhambra, last year’s $247,000 was more than double the
previous year’s payments. For some cash-strapped cities, the federal money
has become a critical source of revenue, covering budget shortfalls and
saving positions.

The new plant is processing 132,000 cubic metres of wastewater a day, and
will process 180,000 cubic metres a day when it reaches full operating
capacity. The wastewater from 60 chemical companies and Managua’s 1.2
million people has been dumped untreated into the lake from 17 drains since
1927, when the government ordered all sewage to be channeled into the lake
until a new sewer system was built. But the system was not in place until
2007, when 32 kilometres of underground drainage and sewage pipes running
to the treatment plant were completed. It is an old dream of the Nicaraguan
people to salvage the beautiful gifts that God gave this land of lakes and
volcanoes and, thanks to God, the government and friendly countries, we are
giving a start to that dream. Work on the plant began in 1997, with funding
from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the governments of Germany
and other European countries, and the Nicaraguan treasury. The total cost
was 85.5 billion dollars.

There were hundreds of new reported cases of AIDS, taking the total
official number to more than 4,000 (50% of Indonesia’s total cases). Some
health agencies estimate that the real number with AIDS has reached 70,000,
or about 2.5% of the population. Diarrhoea killed dozens in rural areas
while in urban centres, such as Jayapura and Manokwari, food poisoning
killed more. Deaths from a cholera epidemic in the Dogiyai and Paniai
districts were about 300 by the end of last year. “We are seeing just the
tip of the iceberg of several health problems, and access to clean water
and education. This cholera bacterium is always there. When people are in a
lower nutritional state, or have another disease like HIV/AIDS, then they
are more vulnerable to this. “All families in my village, someone dies…
every day,” says Ipo Hagwan of Northern Kamuu. “People are very scared. It
has been getting worse and we don’t know how to stop it.” The remoteness of
the region makes it difficult for Jakarta to deal with epidemics. But many
Papuans feel their welfare is just not a concern for Indonesia. “Since this
cholera outbreak hit, Jakarta has done nothing to help these people. Where
are the health services from the government and the World Health
Organisation when people are dying every day?”

The centre later said in an updated warning that a tsunami had been
generated that could have been destructive along coastlines of the region
near the earthquake epicentre. In Fiji, the authorities warned people in
coastal areas to move to higher ground and schools along the coast were
closed. Many businesses and government offices stayed closed until after
the warning was lifted. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Civil Defence also
issued a tsunami advisory for all coastal regions soon after the
earthquake. But the tsunami warning was lifted after there were no reports
of any significant rise in sea levels. The warning centre said after
cancelling the tsunami alert that only a minor rise in sea level of around
four centimetres (1.5 inches) was recorded by sea level gauges in the South
Pacific nation of Niue. Nuku’alofa resident Mary Fonua said no significant
damage was apparent after the quake, which lasted for about a minute.
“There was a lot of rattling and shaking. It went on for about 30 seconds
and I went outside and the house was shaking for about another 30 seconds,”
she said. Electricity and phone services were not disrupted.

So where do Aussie condoms end up besides going off in storage? Several
fisherman were out on Port Moresby’s harbour to catch what they promised
would be big tuna. “The fish think the condoms are squid,” fisherman Iewana
said. “Us coastal people use it, but it’s more in the north by the New
Guinea islands guys.” Other fishermen had said they would raid any condom
distribution point when the Aussie-funded rubbers bounced into town. Asked
about the raids, one woman said some of the sisterhood had taken to using
the lubricant for their hair and skin and on rashes because they had heard
it had healing properties. Back to the fishing excursion, which cost 100
kina and two tanks of petrol, but delivered precious little in the form of
tuna of any size. “It’s best to fish in the afternoon,” Iewana said. Even
as this condom fishing story seemed to be slipping away, the fisherman
friend wanted even more money. “You must buy petrol for us,” Iewana said as
they puttered back into shore. “But I’ve already bought ample and gave you
some cash,” the visitor retorted, used to the PNG try-on. “Okay,” he said,
miffed at missing an extra hand-out. They both felt a little screwed.

The expansion of large-scale monocultures of oil palm, soy and other crops
for agrofuel production has been a key factor in the failure to halt
deforestation. The report also states that “the potential for large-scale
commercial production of cellulosic biofuel will have unprecedented impacts
on the forest sector. If cellulosic biofuel leads to a strongly increased
demand for wood, it will have a dramatic impact on the world’s forests,
especially in regions like Africa and Asia, which are already facing
increased pressure on forests due to the failure to combat illegal logging
and the rapidly rising demand for wood in general.

News of the U.N. panel’s recommendation extended dollar losses because it
fed into concerns about the future of the greenback as the main global
reserve currency, raising the chances of central bank sales of dollar
holdings. Speculation that major central banks would begin rebalancing
their FX reserves has risen since the intensification of the dollar’s slide
between 2002 and mid-2008. Russia is also planning to propose the creation
of a new reserve currency, to be issued by international financial
institutions. It has significantly reduced the dollar’s share in its own
reserves in recent years.

Another driver for deforestation is illegal logging – 20% of the timber
supply comes from illegal sources. Europe remains one of the main markets
for illegal timber. Strong legislation to halt illegal timber trade and to
decrease Europe’s devastating impact on the world’s forests should be
adopted as a bare minimum – there is no time to lose. Illegal logging could
increase due to the global economic crisis, as it might cause a contraction
of the formal forestry sector. An additional worrying trend is the massive
replacement of forests by large-scale tree plantations in many countries.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that Russia will finance arms
purchases valued at $2.2 billion. This would increase the country’s
defensive capacity with more tanks, missiles and anti-aerial defense
systems. Venezuela will buy 92 T-72S tanks, Smerch missiles with a range of
90 kilometers, and an S-300, Antey-2500 anti-air defense system including
radars and missile ramps with a range of 400 kilometers. The Russian
government approved financing for $2.2 billion for arms spending. The arms
purchases are intended to defend the country’s petroleum and natural gas
reserves and aren’t intended to attack any other country. Since 2006,
Chavez has bought about $4.4 billion in Russian arms to modernize the armed

First is the big country complex of manufacturing weapons that have to be
sold or used somewhere. USA President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans
about the dangers of ‘a military industrial complex,’ as he left office.
His country was and is the world’s leading industrial power and weapons
producer. Second is the small country complex, having intricate weapons
buying arrangements. For small countries that do not have industries let
alone manufacture weapons, the concept is that of the military-business
complex in which those with access to strings of power determine the
stationing or removal of officers who influence military procurement. The
result is skewed purchases that might be irrelevant to actual defence and
national well being, but which make the well-connected very comfortable.
Consequently, they are often caught flatfooted when real disaster strikes.
The two complexes are intertwined in that the military industrial complex
needs the military business complex. Players in each complex tend to be
interested in ensuring “demand” for the weapons it deals with. Those in
charge, at either end, have to make money. The consequence can be man-made
disaster to humans and the environment. The misery of the victims, whether
due to natural or man-made disasters, is opportunity to the big
philanthropy industry. The symbiosis between producers and absorbers of
weapons is replayed in the philanthropy arena.

The immigration agency is inundated with detainees, if there were 100 more
beds, they’d be filled. Immigrant detainees stay in the local jails
anywhere from a few hours to many months. At most jails, they are not
separated from the rest of the population. Immigrant rights advocates have
raised concerns about local jails not following federal detention standards
and not segregating detainees from people suspected of committing crimes.
Immigration detention is civil, not criminal. If you are holding them in
the same place, that distinction is meaningless. Even though the cities may
benefit financially, the savings do not get passed along to taxpayers.
We’re still paying for it. It’s still a waste of resources to detain people
who do not need to be detained.

More than 120,000 users of the sewage system are now connected to the
treatment plant, which will begin to ease pollution of the 1,040 square
kilometre lake which is located in western Nicaragua, near the Pacific
coast. Another sewage network will be built, to hook up the districts of
Ticuantepe and Veracruz, as well as outlying areas to the south of the
capital, with the new treatment plant. In 1969, the dictatorship of General
Anastasio Somoza (1967-1979) declared the western shore of the lake, where
20 different Managua neighbourhoods were located, as uninhabitable due to
the health risks. The clean-up process is on the right track. By treating
the water bacteriologically, the main factors that produce bad smells and
colours, from sewage, are eliminated, and at least the landscape changes
and the lake will recover its normal colour, little by little.

The government’s failure to respond quickly to the cholera epidemic caused
many more deaths, and the repression Papuans have suffered for years at the
hands of the Indonesian military has exacerbated the problem. Papua has
been troubled by a low-level separatist insurgency since the 1960s.
Journalists need special permission to enter the area, and human rights
groups have accused the military of abuses. Many tribal people in the area
affected by the cholera outbreak believe they have fallen ill because
Indonesian soldiers have poisoned them, and they are suspicious of any
medical treatment. The living conditions of West Papuans can be primitive:
they rarely boil water and their wells can become cesspits. Papuans observe
traditional customs such as washing dead bodies and keeping them above
ground for days before burial. Diseases such as cholera can spread quickly.
“In our village we share a pit for a toilet,” says Sabar Ingiwaii from
Mimika. “And next to it is a pit for washing. We wash from the earth, like
our ancestors always did.” It’s not only disease contaminating the waters.
The Freeport mine in Timika is the world’s largest gold and copper mine and
has dumped an estimated 7bn tonnes of tailings and waste into surrounding

It is surprising there had not been more damage in Tonga from the quake.
The critical point in earthquakes is buildings, so where there are not many
high rise buildings you don’t expect much damage or injuries. But 200
kilometres is very close for that type of magnitude and that kind of
shallow depth. She added a tsunami warning would be expected for such a
large earthquake. With a magnitude of nearly eight and very shallow, you
would send out a warning. Several earthquakes have been felt in Tonga
recently and an undersea volcano has been erupting off the coast of the
main island Tongatapu, although it was not considered to be a threat to
people in the area. The quake occurred near fault lines in the Pacific
“Ring of Fire” where continental plates in the earth’s crust collide and
earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. An undersea earthquake off
Sumatra, Indonesia, in December 2004 set off a tsunami that killed more
than 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean. In the South Pacific, at least
52 people were killed by a tsunami in the Solomon Islands in April 2007
after a 8.0 magnitude earthquake.

Plantations are not forests. All over the world, plantations destroy the
lands and livelihoods of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, as well
as biodiversity and water resources. They also store far less carbon than
natural forests. As they provide very little employment for rural people,
tree plantations are also a major cause of rural depopulation and a further
shifting agricultural frontier, thus causing the destruction of forests
elsewhere. By actively promoting monoculture tree plantations, they are
partly responsible for this global trend of replacing biologically diverse
forests with straight rows of usually non-native trees.

The United States was concerned that holding the reserve currency made it
impossible to run policy, while the rest of world was also unhappy with the
generally declining dollar. There is a moment that can be grasped for
change. Today the Americans complain that when the world wants to save, it
means a deficit. A shared (reserve) would reduce the possibility of global
imbalances. The panel had been looking at using something like an expanded
Special Drawing Right, originally created by the International Monetary
Fund in 1969 but now used mainly as an accounting unit within similar
organizations. The SDR and the old Ecu are essentially combinations of
currencies, weighted to a constituent’s economic clout, which can be valued
against other currencies and indeed against those inside the basket.

Less cocaine-laden airplanes are reaching Africa since Venezuela installed
radars covering the Atlantic coast and its southern border. Drug flights to
West African countries such as Guinea Bissau became more common in 2007 and
2008, as traffickers took advantage of weak air control systems in
Venezuela. The government has taken actions and the effectiveness of those
actions can be seen because cocaine trafficking from Venezuela to Africa
has dropped. Flights of Colombian-made drugs through OPEC nation Venezuela
on capacity lost when tension between Washington and President Hugo Chavez
led to the removal of three U.S-owned radars a few years ago. Venezuela,
which has thousands of miles of coastline and a rugged and porous border
with Colombia, the world’s top cocaine producer, ended cooperation with the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005 after accusing it of spying.

There were two main reasons why policymakers might consider such a move,
one being the current desire for a change from the dollar. The other
reason, was the success of the euro, which incorporated a number of
currencies but roughly speaking held on to the stability of the old German
deutschemark compared with, say, the Greek drachma. The dollar will give
way to the Chinese yuan as a global reserve currency within decades. A
shared reserve currency might negate this move, but he believed that China
would still like to take on the role.

A land dispute is believed to have sparked tribal violence that has left
three people dead and hundreds homeless in Papua New Guinea. Among the dead
is a disabled man who was burnt alive in a house near the town of Wau in
Morobe province. Several people were also treated for shotgun wounds after
hundreds of armed men from the Watut tribe raided villages inhabited by the
Biangai people on Friday. A long-running dispute over ownership of a parcel
of gold-bearing land is the cause of the violence. There’s about more than
50 houses have been burnt – even business, people lost business like stores
and coffee. Everything got burnt down. The national government has provided
money for temporary housing and to maintain a large police presence in the

Several of the foreign nationals housed in Santa Ana said they believed
they should be let out on bond rather than incarcerated while fighting
their immigration cases, especially if they had no criminal records or had
already served their time. Victor Hidalgo, 36, finished a five-year
sentence in state prison on a drug charge before being transferred into
immigration custody. Hidalgo, who is from Nicaragua, said he and others
have jobs, families and homes here and are not a danger to society. “We’re
not national security risks,” he said. The jails that house detainees for
more than 72 hours — including in Santa Ana and Lancaster — are subject
to “stringent detention standards” and undergo inspection by a contracted
company. Other jails are inspected regularly by the immigration agency. The
federal contracts with local jails began about a decade ago but have
expanded over the last few years. The federal government operates some of
its own detention centers and contracts with private companies to run
others but relies heavily on the local jails. The cost varies from around
$80 to just over $100 per detainee per day, generally less expensive than
the cost of housing detainees at federal immigration facilities.

But here in the Pacific coastal region there are five large lagoons and two
lakes, and with the exception of Asososca lagoon, which provides the
capital with water, the rest are unprotected and exposed to pollution. 80
percent of the country’s water sources are polluted to some degree. That
includes the Xilo?°, Nejapa, Tiscapa, Venecia and Apoyo lagoons and the
large Managua and Cocibolca lakes. In 2006, the Latin American Water
Tribunal, found Nicaragua guilty of neglecting and deteriorating its water
resources, mainly for allowing the mining industry to pollute the San Juan
river, which runs out of lake Cocibolca and into the Caribbean sea. The
Ortega administration has plans to bolster the tourism potential of lake
Managua. Last year, the national port authority opened two ports on the
lake, and now offers scenic boat rides.

More than 50 prisoners have escaped from a Papua New Guinea jail after
wardens failed to show up for work and police were busy guarding a rugby
league match. Most of the 54 inmates are still at large after fleeing from
Bomana Correctional Institution near Port Moresby the day by making a hole
in a steel fence around their cell block. “We’ve got about 50 still on the
run,” the official said, adding four had been recaptured. The breakout was
not discovered for “some hours” because many wardens, who are involved in a
pay dispute, had not appeared for work at the prison, which houses some 600
to 700 inmates. The match had left officers unable to respond quickly. “We
were tied up at a security operation at the rugby league ground, and could
not do much,” Yakasa said. The prison official was unable to say what
offences the escapees had been charged with, but said that 22 had been

Coastal villages in Alaska (USA) are reeling from the erosion caused by
unprecedented warming trends due to climate change. One of the most
impacted areas is Shishmaref, a traditional Inupiat village in the Bering
Straits with a population of just over 600 people. The village is located
on Sarichef Island, a barrier island in the Chukchi Sea. In the past, sea
ice would form in the fall, creating a blockade of ice along the shore
which acted as a protective barrier against sea storms. This protective sea
ice, which used to be in place by October or November, no longer forms
solidly. Its absence allows powerful waves to undercut the banks that are
already weakened by an increased melting of permafrost. The later freezing
of the sea ice is an indication of warmer temperatures in the ocean. Local
people say that the Chukchi Sea doesn’t freeze right or fast anymore… We
go out a couple of miles, and you have this creamy and dark-looking ice,
which is very thin and unstable.

In the medium term, the Construction Ministry foresees the creation of a
coastal road, which would link the country’s Pacific coastal departments
(provinces) and serve as a scenic drive along the shores of Lake Managua.
With development aid from Spain, the La Chureca municipal garbage dump will
be converted into a plant for the treatment and recycling of the solid
waste that has gone into the dump along the edge of the lake for over 30
years. In 2007, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources
launched a national reforestation campaign that includes the rivers and
basins around the lake‚ a measure that is essential to improving the
ability of the lake’s water sources to capture water. The treatment plant
has begun to operate, it hopes to eliminate 170 swamps that form every year
in areas around the lake and that are a source not only of bad odours but
of illnesses like malaria and dengue fever, and of flies, which increase
the incidence of diarrhea among children. The project to clean up lake
Managua is one step more towards compliance with the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs). Nicaragua will have to provide clean water and sanitation to
at least 2.5 million of its 5.8 million people by 2015, to meet the
drinking water target, one of the eight MDGs adopted by the international
community in 2000. The MDGs include a 50 percent reduction in poverty and
hunger; universal primary education; reduction of child mortality by
two-thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; the promotion
of gender equality; ensuring environmental sustainability; the reversal of
the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and a global
partnership for development between the rich and poor.

U.S. accuses high level former officials in the Chavez government as being
involved in drug trafficking with Colombia’s FARC guerrillas. Venezuela
bought 10 radars from China and installed six of them last year. It is also
buying Chinese K-8 light attack planes to be used to pursue flights. They
replace a purchase of Brazilian Super Tucanos blocked by a U.S. arms
embargo. The United States says Venezuela let 300 tonnes of cocaine through
the country in 2008. Chavez blames the multi-billion dollar industry on
U.S. consumption. If you do the math, you can’t say 200 tonnes, or 100 or
500 are coming through here, pointing to a U.S. inter-agency report that
says less than 10 percent of Colombian cocaine headed north leaves via
Venezuela. A 4-year plan is to fight consumption, increase penalties for
traffickers to a maximum 30 years in jail and allow the shooting down of
suspected drugs flights. Tensions have flared between Venezuela and
Colombia over a deal which gives U.S. soldiers access to more Colombian
military bases to fight traffickers and rebels.

Hauke Tekiman has lived most of his life in the area where communities are
nourished by fish from the Ajkwa river: “We were never told not to fish
from the river, we never knew that it is poison. And even when we know, we
have to eat fish from the river just to survive. But now some fish are
dying off and people are starting to get sick, too.” The health situation
is a prime example of how Special Autonomy status, which was granted to
Papua by Jakarta in 2001 and is supposed to deliver improvements in basic
living standards for Papuans, hasn’t been properly implemented. Major
development goes on, with massive road projects, oil palm expansion, BP’s
Tangguh Gas project, and the Freeport operations. Indonesian security
forces are massing in Papua. The role of the military, and Indonesia’s
transmigration policies, which has caused an increased Javanisation of
Papua, has been linked to the rising rate in sexually transmitted disease
in the region. HIV/AIDS is threatening the survival of the indigenous
people. Papua’s Provincial Legislative Council has said it wants
preventative measures taken to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, although it
recently shelved a plan requiring AIDS patients deemed to have shown
“aggressively sexual behaviour” to be implanted with microchips so they
could be monitored. Villagers have given pseudonyms as they say they fear

Pretoria police shot and killed a panga-wielding man who attacked several
homeowners in Rooiwal. Police could not explain why the elderly man went on
the rampage. The attacks ended when police opened fire on the man when he
refused to surrender and started throwing stones at officers trying to
disarm him. The suspect was shot and killed when he refused to surrender. A
inquest docket had been opened. Why did the police kill the man instead of
just injuring him so that they could arrest him?

Situations around the world mean that large numbers of displaced persons
are looking for settlement in wealthy, developed nations like Australia and
can be targeted by, and fall prey to, people-smugglers. The Australian
government remains vigilant and committed to protecting Australia’s
borders. Canberra would work closely with neighbouring nations to tackle
people-smuggling. The government has blamed the recent rise in asylum
seekers on the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, along with
the global economic downturn. Australia’s opposition has linked the upsurge
with a relaxation of the country’s immigration policy. The government
scrapped the widely-criticised policy, under which asylum-seekers and their
children were detained for years in special centres in Nauru or Papua New
Guinea, a plan labelled the “Pacific Solution”. Asylum-seekers now arriving
by boat are held on Christmas Island, but their claims must be expedited,
with six-monthly case reviews by an ombudsman now government policy.

40 percent of all the Colombian cocaine that travels to Europe passed
through Venezuela in 2007, but overall traffic has fallen since then
because of a sharp output drop in Colombia. A shift in Colombian coca leaf
production from close to the border to the Pacific coast had also reduced
the amount of traffic through Venezuela. There was a substantive decrease
in the number of shipments passing through Africa headed for Europe last
year. New radars are tracking parts of eastern Venezuela, where planes
including private jets cross to the Atlantic or Caribbean to West Africa,
as well as a southern region close to Colombia and favored by cartels to
land light aircraft. The Chinese equipment cost $260 million and also
replaces two U.S.-made Venezuelan radars that fell into disrepair because
of Washington’s arms embargo against the Chavez government. The embargo
includes spare parts. Washington took its radars away after a short-lived
2002 coup against Chavez that worsened ties. Venezuela cooperated with all
countries except the United States on combating drug trafficking and does
not rule out signing a new deal with Washington. You can’t work with a
colleague who criticizes you every day. The president governs foreign
relations, he decides. Despite the rhetoric, the two countries often
collaborate on interdicting drugs in international waters and Venezuela
extradites captured traffickers wanted in the United States.

During a massive storm in 1973, nine metres of land was lost. In 1974, the
village experienced a storm of major proportions and high water partially
flooded the airport, prompting declaration of a national disaster. In 1997,
a severe storm eroded some 45 metres of the north shore, forcing the
relocation of fourteen homes. Five additional homes were relocated in 2002.
The teacher housing is in a precarious location near the bluff. The fear
that the next storm will leave them homeless, convinced long time and
well-liked teachers to leave Shishmaref. This has been a huge loss to the
community. The sewage lagoon, roads, water supply, laundromat, community
store, and fuel tanks are at risk of damage or loss. The main road to the
airport and landfill has been eroded in several places and the road is now
dangerously close to the sea. Yearly storms continue to erode the shoreline
at an average rate of retreat of 1 to 1.5 metres per year. Almost $23
million has been spent to construct seawalls that will provide only
temporary protection to what is left of Shishmaref.

A former United States deputy sheriff, featured on the popular television
series America’s Most Wanted, has been captured in Belize and is to be
extradited to face trial for murdering his wife and another man a year ago.
Derrick Yancey was caught over the weekend in a bar in Punta Gorda, the
largest town in southern Belize, just days after the US  Department of
State’s Diplomatic Security Service acted on a lead that he was hiding out
in that Caribbean country. Deputy Officer in Charge at the Punta Gorda
Police Station, Inspector Andres Makin, said Yancey was taken into custody
without incident. “We had his photograph in our possession and upon
identifying ourselves, he just handed over himself. There was no resistance
in his arrest,” he said, adding that Yancey was taken to the station in the
area before being transported to Belize City. “I believe that relevant
arrangement is being made for him to transported back to the United States.
He is in custody and a flight away from being taken back to the United
States.” Yancey was an officer with the Sheriff’s Office in Dekalb County,
Georgia when he was charged with murdering his wife Linda Yancey, 44, and
20-year-old labourer Marcial Cax Puluc. He had called into his own
department to report that he had shot and killed Puluc in self defence
after discovering that the young man had robbed, shot and killed his wife.
But police say ballistic tests show Yancey was responsible for both
murders. He was charged with two counts of murder, and released on
US$150,000 bond while he awaited trial, under the condition that he be
confined to house arrest. But Yancey escaped house arrest from his mother’s
home on the morning of April 4th, 2009. Police say he cut off his
electronic monitoring ankle bracelet before fleeing

The United States has charged Bolivia and Venezuela with failing to do
enough to fight the drug trade, but said it would continue aid to the two
countries, both led by critics of U.S. foreign policy. The United States
said Bolivia — the world’s third-largest cocaine producer — Venezuela and
Myanmar had all “failed demonstrably” to meet their counter-narcotics
obligations. The same three countries last year were cited on the list,
which allows the president to cut off U.S. aid other than counter-narcotics
and humanitarian funds. The White House has once again issued a national
interest waiver to continue certain bilateral aid programs in the two South
American countries. In Venezuela, funds will continue to support civil
society programs and small community development programs. In Bolivia, the
waiver will permit continued support for agricultural development, exchange
programs, small enterprise development, and police training programs.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales are
persistent critics of U.S. foreign policy in the region, and particularly a
plan by U.S. ally Colombia to give U.S. troops more access to its military
bases for joint operations against drug traffickers and leftist rebels. It
did not give any similar detail for Myanmar. Washington is concerned by
Venezuela’s growing number of arms purchases, saying they could spark a
regional arms race. Along with the three countries identified as the worst
offenders, the U.S. list named 17 others as major production or transit
centers for illegal drugs: Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, the
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos,
Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru.

Residents voted to relocate the community. However, numerous problems have
slowed this process, including reluctance of the state and federal
governments to give monetary support for vital infrastructure or to take
the lead in the relocation project. The community learned that the site
chosen for relocation was not suitable due to permafrost issues. So efforts
had to begin anew. The place they now think would be the most suitable is
near Ear Mountain close to the village of Wales. It is possible that a
sustainable community can be created there utilizing geothermal potential
and wind power for energy. However, some people say they will never leave
Sarichef Island. But how will they fare, as no services will be available
once everyone relocates?

Scientists have discovered new species of fanged frog, grunting fish and a
giant rat, probably the biggest in the world, in a remote volcanic crater
in Papua New Guinea islands. Researchers have found more than 40 previously
unidentified species in the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi, lying
untouched since 200,000 years. The biologists discovered in the the
three-kilometre wide crater 16 frogs which have never before been recorded
by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat. Other
predators included giant monitor lizards and kangaroos which have evolved
to live in trees. New species discovered include a camouflaged gecko, a
fanged frog and a fish called the Henamo grunter, named because it makes
grunting noises from its swim bladder.

More than 5,000 miles away from the Tri-Cities is a small village in Kenya,
where young girls are facing genital mutilation and forced marriage. Women
they cannot work, or women cannot do anything without asking a man, and
those are the things we would like to empower women, also to give them the
freedom to do things that they need to do. “Voices of Hope” shows Americans
how they can provide help for the young girls. The organization helps send
the young girls to school in a safe location, far from their village where
they would’ve had to go through the gruesome right of passage. Many of the
girls who have their genitals mutilated suffer from sever bleeding, HIV
from shared knives and even death. We don’t want to change the whole
culture, we just want to remove things that are really not important for
women to go through.

Thailand has seen an upswing in violence in its troubled south, where an
insurgency has resulted in close to 4,000 deaths. The attacks seemed to be
slowing down until a massacre at a mosque renewed tensions between ethnic
Thai Buddhists and Malay Muslims. Soldiers in an armored vehicle are
driving up to a military checkpoint on a road lined with barbed wire and
sandbags. They are all on guard, armed with M16 assault rifles and wearing
body armor and helmets. There are an estimated 60,000 security personnel in
southern Thailand’s Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani provinces. They are
struggling to put down daily violence from an insurgency. The ethnic Malay
rebels are seeking some form of independence from the Thai kingdom. A
spokesman for the Thai military’s Internal Security Operations Command,
says the insurgents and their objectives are still a mystery. “What they
want… there are many problems behind the violence – drugs, smuggling,
influential people – the problem of unrest is another one.” A century ago,
this majority ethnic Malay Muslim region was an independent sultanate until
Thailand seized it. The insurgents active in southern Thailand have never
said who they are and what they want. However, they usually kill people
viewed as symbols of the Thai Buddhist state or their collaborators.
Buddhist farmers, teachers, and monks collecting their daily alms require
constant security or they risk being shot and beheaded. Phra Palat Manat, a
Buddhist monk who has lived in Pattani his whole life, says the Buddhist
and Muslim communities used to have friendly relations. But he says when
the violence broke out they became suspicious of each other. “In the past
we depended on each other, helped each other. When Muslims had a wedding
they would invite Buddhists to attend,” he said. “But after the violence,
the visits were few and far between. Sometimes we would attend, but there
was always fear when we went out.”


Filed under: Film,General — admin @ 3:10 pm

Powered by WordPress