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5/18/2016

Solomon Islands Disappear Under the Sea

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Indigenous Pacific Islanders in the Solomon Islands are watching their homes disappear into the ocean as climate change raises the sea level and the natural trade wind cycle physically pushes the water against their shores.

Here in North America, governments have yet to engage the problem on a serious scale as the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Indians in the Mississippi Delta watches their homes fall into the Gulf of Mexico. It will be too late to act when the expensive real estate of Manhattan Island or Miami is facing a similar fate.

Simon Albert of the University of Queensland told New Scientist, “All the projections show that in the second half of the century, the rest of the globe will reach the rate of sea level rise that the Solomon Islands is currently experiencing.”

The rate of sea level rise is measured in millimeters per year. It is accelerating, but at the current rate five of the islands in the Solomon chain have disappeared entirely since 1947, and six others have shrunk between 20 and 62 percent.

The sunken islands — Kakatina, Kale, Rapita, Rehana and Zollies — were wildlife habitat, but the only human use was by fishers. The six currently falling into the Pacific will hit humans a bit more directly. On the most populated, Nuambu, 11 families have lost their homes since 2011. Nuambu is still home to 25 indigenous families.

Albert and his four colleagues, writing in the International Business Times, detailed how they determined the current land disappearances are not part of a normal variation in sea level:

We studied the coastlines of 33 reef islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947–2015. This information was integrated with local traditional knowledge, radiocarbon dating of trees, sea level records, and wave models.

Because the Solomon Islands government—unlike the U.S. government—respects the customary land tenure they call “native title” and the U.S. calls “aboriginal title,” the indigenous people have been able to relocate whole villages to higher ground.

The capital of Choiseul Province, Taro, is expected to become the first provincial capital in the world to relocate because of sea level rise.

The original study on the islands disappearing was published in Environmental Research Letters. Some of the questions were addressed by the common sense but rare method of asking the indigenous people who live in the Solomons. Oral traditions helped separate natural cycles from climate change and told how long two villages relocated to the interior had been on the coast. The answer from the people who lived there was about 80 years.

The people losing their homes now are called Pacific Islanders, but if the settlers don’t pay attention and act on climate change, history will call these indigenous people the canaries in the coalmine.

3/5/2016

Cavendish Bananas

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A nasty and incurable fungus has spread through the banana-producing countries around the world, and it could be making its way straight toward banana heartland: Latin America, which produces 80 percent of the world’s exports, threatening to drive the most popular variety of banana to extinction. So scientists are focusing on building a better banana to withstand the fungal assault.

Bananas have reached such all-star status in the American diet that we now consume more of them than apples every year. Yet you’re probably used to seeing just one type of banana at your supermarket: the relatively bland yellow Cavendish. It has high yields, ships pretty well, and ripens slowly, making it appetizing to global food distributors.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the Cavendish might also be its downfall. A nasty and incurable fungus known as Tropical Race 4 (TR4) has spread in Cavendish-producing countries around the world, and it could be making its way straight toward banana heartland: Latin America, which produces 80 percent of the world’s exports. For a paper published in November in the journal PLOS Pathogens, researchers confirmed that the version of TR4 afflicting bananas in different countries around the globe‚ including China, the Philippines, Jordan, Oman, and Australia, appears to come from a single clone. Ever since the fungus migrated from Asia and Australia into Africa and the Middle East starting in 2013, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has urged countries to step up their quarantining of sick plants. Yet the Pathogens paper confirms that these quarantines, seemingly the only prevention against the spread of the fungus, which can live in soil for up to 50 years, have mostly failed. “It indicates pretty strongly that we’ve been moving this thing around,” says professor James Dale, one of the world’s experts on bananas and the director of the Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities. “It hasn’t just popped up out of the blue.”

The finding seems to confirm every banana grower’s worst fear: that the Cavendish will go down the same way our old favorite banana did. A century ago, Americans ate only Gros Michel bananas, said to have more complex flavor and a heartier composition than today’s Cavendish variety. Then, the monoculture fell prey to the fungal disease Tropical Race 1, or “Panama disease,” which wiped out the crop around the globe. There was nothing anything could do to stop it.

So this time around, rather than attack the fungus, scientists have shifted their efforts into building a better banana to withstand it. Dale’s research team, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has spent 12 years working on TR4. Three years ago, it started a trial on two very promising ideas: (1) inserting a TR4-resistant gene from a different wild banana species from Malaysia and Indonesia, musa acuminata malaccensis, into the Cavendish to create a fungus-resistant version of the popular variety and (2) turning off a gene in the Cavendish that follows directions from the fungus to kill its own cells. Dale says it’s too early to discuss the details of the trials, but the team is “very encouraged by the results” of the experiment with the wild malaccensis banana‚ which means the genetically engineered fruit seems to have successfully resisted TR4.

GMO haters would not be too happy about a rejiggered banana plant. Dale’s introduction of a different GM experiment in 2014, a vitamin-A-fortified banana meant to help deliver nutrients to impoverished Africans, was met with harsh criticism from the likes of Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva, Friends of the Earth Africa, and Food and Water Watch. “There is no consensus that GM crops are safe for human consumption,” they wrote in a letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Regardless of where you land on GMOs, there is another option to consider: We could stop relying on Cavendish bananas. If you’ve ever tasted one of the dozens of small, sweet bananas that grow in regions like Central America and Southeast Asia, you probably aren’t terribly impressed with the United States’ doughy supermarket varieties. Belgium’s Bioversity International estimates that there are at least 500, but possibly twice as many, banana cultivars in the world, and about 75 wild species. The Ruhuvia Chichi of the Solomon Islands is sunset red and cucumber shaped; Inabaniko bananas from the Philippines grow fused together, giving them the name “Praying Hands”; Micronesia’s orange-fleshed Fe’i bananas are rich in beta-carotene. Elsewhere, you can find the Lady Finger banana, the Senorita, the Pink French, and the Blue Java.

But Dale doubts the global food industry will suddenly switch to one of these tempting fruits. “To change over to another variety would be quite challenging, because the growers and shippers have really been set up to use [the Cavendish] around the world.” And he points out, “Even if you did find a replacement, that’s not to say that in 20 years another disease wouldn’t come along and knock it over.”

6/27/2014

Pacific islands face fishing crisis

As the population on the Pacific islands grows, finding enough fish to eat is becoming increasingly difficult. Now, the fishing industry is switching to tuna to tackle the problem.

The coral fishermen of Vanuatu are facing a growing crisis: they are increasingly returning from their fishing expeditions with ever dwindling hauls. That`s because the coral reefs that they travel out to are disappearing at an alarming rate as are the fish stocks near the coast that have traditionally served as the staple diet for people in the region. It`s a similar story in the other Pacific Islands too.

A variety of factors are responsible for the phenomenon. In addition to environmental pollution, rising temperatures and a creeping acidity in the ocean`s waters – both a consequence of climate change – have taken a huge toll on the reefs.

In fact, the ocean’s chemical makeup has changed more now than it has in 55 million years. That has put incredible pressure on the region’s embattled coral reefs, which have seen their rich biodiversity diminish. More people, fewer fish

The growing population has led to a shortage of food – and climate change has exacerbated the problem

“Coral fishing in the region could shrink by 20 percent by the year 2050,” says Johann Bell, a fishing expert who lives on New Caledonia, an archipelago located some 1,500 kilometers east of Australia. Bell works with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), an organization of Pacific island countries and territories dealing with environmental and social issues. The decline of the fish catch presents a troubling problem for SPC members. “We have observed that the gap between the amount of fish available in the reefs and the amount that we need to feed the population is growing,” says Bell. And the numbers don’t lie: that gap amounts to 4,000 tons of fish a year. The disappearing reefs have only exacerbated an existing problem. The population on southwest Pacific Ocean islands continues to expand at a rapid rate, expected to reach 50 percent by 2030. If that happens, the islands would need an additional 150,000 tons of fish a year.

A fourth of the world’s tuna stock is found in the waters surrounding eight Pacific islands: Micronesia, Kribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands

But attempting to increase the catch for coral fishermen would only put the reefs under further pressure. “When you don’t cultivate an eco-system in a sustainable way, when you overfish, it is significantly less prepared to deal with the changing climate,” says Doris Soto, a senior officer of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at the Food and Agricultulture Organization (FAO). That is why fishermen in the region are not permitted to catch more than 3 of the 50 to 100 tons of fish pro square meter of water each year. Yet, fish forms the main diet on the Pacific islands, and remains an important source of protein for residents. As coastal fishing wanes, so too does the locals’ most basic staple. Vanuautu, like most Pacific islands, has been forced to look for alternatives. But the question is just where. One alternative would be on land. For instance, the Nile tilapia is a large fish and the most prominent example of species that can be cultivated in fisheries and aquacultures on land.

The Pacific Community has recommended the increased use of freshwater aquacultures, and the Nile tilapia is the perfect solution. Since the region is expected to get more rain in future, the Nile tilapa can now even be bred in areas which have received little precipitation so far. To catch tuna, fishermen have to venture far past the coral reefs where they have traditionally caught their bounty

But the SPC’s main solution to the question of alternative food sources lies further off the coast. Far into the ocean’s turquoise waters, huge swarms of tuna swim freely, offering an enticing alternative. But the fishing sector first needs to adapt its ways to learn how and where to catch the fish before tuna can become a fixture on lunch tables. Luring tuna to the coast Fishermen have already been forced to venture further out into the ocean in their small fishing boats for catch. That means more fuel is needed, raising costs. That`s why the Pacific Community recommends installing Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to attract ocean fish and other sea creatures back towards the coast. FADs are usually man-made floats or buoys that are anchored to the ocean floor with long ropes. They lure tuna and other marine life that often seek protection in the shadow of the floating devices. Vanuatu has already started experimenting with FADs, installing one between the islands of Nguna, Pele and Efate. That has made it easier for the surrounding 30 communities to access fish.

“Now our fishermen can fish in the vicinity of their homes,” Mariwota, a village elder from the community of Taloa was quoted as saying in a joint report by the Pacific Community and Germany’s federal development agency (GIZ). “They are now ensured a good catch,” he said. Selling by-catch at local markets

Many Pacific islands earn a lot of money selling fishing licenses to foreign shipping companies

The approach also involves pushing foreign fleets, that catch tuna in the region on a large scale, to contribute towards improving the food security of the local population. That`s because it`s not just tuna but also other marine creatures, too small to be processed in canning facilities, that end up in the huge fishing nets. The practice has long been criticized by environmental organizations as well.

The SPC now suggests that this by-catch, that in the past was thrown back in the ocean, should be used to feed the local populace. “We want the fleets to be forced to bring their by-catch to land and sell it in cities here before they return to their home countries with the tuna they’ve caught,” says Johann Bell. Bell also believes that the Pacific islands should reduce the number of fishing licenses handed out to foreign companies. “The island countries should hold onto more of those licenses to feed their own people,” he says. His concept could be especially helpful to the islands that lie further west, like Papua New Guinea and Palau. That`s because climate change is set to affect the distribution of tuna stocks in the region. “Our latest studies have shown that climate change will cause tuna fish to head east and to subtropical regions,” says Bell. He predicts that by the end of the century, the island countries in the west could see their tuna catch shrink by up to a third, while the catch increases in the east. That is why the Pacific islands have come up with the Vessel Day Scheme, or VDS, where vessel owners can buy and trade licenses for days fishing at sea. The scheme helps reduce the amount of tuna catch and more fairly distribute the fish among the participating islands. “Originally, the system was developed so that all the island countries could profit equally from the tuna populations, which have long traveled back and forth in the ocean’s waters,” says Johann Bell. “But it is also a good way to adapt to climate change.”

4/7/2014

Flash Floods Worst Ever

Head of the National Disaster Management Council says today’s heavy rains and flash floods are the worst he’s ever witnessed for Honiara.

Loti Yates made the statement on national radio today when announcing the NDMO’s evacuation program for people worst hit by today’s heavy torrential rains and its consequential flash floods.

Reports reaching SIBC state communities in White River, Rove, Mataniko, Koa Hill and other areas located near rivers and streams are among the worst hit areas.

Other unconfirmed reports state that the flooding Mataniko River swept away homes, livestock and a number of people – with some of the people being found in seas outside of Point Cruz.

Heavy flooding also swept away the old Mataniko Bridge in Chinatown, and most businesses and offices were forced to close early today.

One shop owner in Chinatown reportedly opened his shop and invited people to take goods for free after the behind of the building was swept away by the flooding Mataniko River.

Director of National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates told SIBC News this current bad weather is the worst he’s seen since he took up his job as head of the NDMO.

“This event is the worst I’ve ever seen since taking up the job, that there are so much heavy rain around this area that creates this massive flash foods. Not only that, it won’t help when our drainage systems in the city are not working properly, contributing to the floods. Driving around to assess the situation myself today I was sad to notice the fact that there were children and women carrying little kids in the rain trying to evacuate themselves from the flooded areas and in some places it seems people’s belongings have been washed away by the Mataniko floods.”

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office has urged road users to drive back to their homes and garage their vehicles.

NDMO Head Loti Yates told national radio today the road needs to be cleared for police and emergency response workers.

“It would be good if people just head straight to their homes rather than creating extra hurdles for emergency response workers. The police will need space to run their vehicles if we are to engage them to evacuate people from the high risk areas, we will all need space and it won’t help when everyone else wants to witness the events, creating extra traffic on our roads. I think for safety purposes please drive back to your homes, pack your vehicles and remain in the safety of your homes. That will be the biggest message I want to tell people because now the emergency response workers, like police and others working to help those affected will need space on the roads to carry out their duty.”

3/7/2011

RWANDA PIKININI GENOCIDE EXTRADITED ARMED SEX CHANGE CHILD-CANNIBAL BRIDES FROM JAPAN, UNLUCKY THAI TYPO DESERTIFICATION REBELS, SUPERBUG SMUGGLED STORM GENES, TOBAGO DEMON VACCINE STATUES, BHAGVAD GITA GREENHOUSE RECRUITED GAS EMISSIONS, LOST COCAINE-CLIMATE RAMPAGE MONEY, AND IVORY COAST EX-MANGA-COP KILL THREE BLOODY RIDGE GUINEA PIGS, WOUND 34 ROLL YOUR OWN INDIAN BILLIONAIRES, AS ARMOURED, ALLAHU AKBAR, PUBLIC DISSENT VEHICLE ROBBED AFTER TWO-MONTH PACIFIC EARTHQUAKE DOUBLE DRIFT PUPPET SATIRE TORMENTS FOOD CRISIS CORAL-DRUG GIANTS FROM SMOKED SOMALIA GOLD MINES OVER VENEZUELAN INDIGENOUS GANG RAPED MANAHUNE BORDER BRIDGES

The Late Pleistocene (approximately 141,000 years ago) glacial period came to an end because of changes to the obliquity, or tilt, of the earth. This is a possible climate change hypothesis “because of the relatively large and persistent increases in summer energy reaching the high latitudes of both hemispheres during times of maximum Earth tilt”. The warming of oceans, exacerbated by melting glaciers that flow into them, is causing “horizontal mass redistribution” of the world’s seas. Essentially, the weight and position of the world’s oceans have shifted, and this has literally caused the earth to shift its position on its axis! Indeed, Inuit observations seem tied to the technical science of long-term climate change, specifically the theory of the Milankovitch Cycles, which seem to predict natural planetary warming and cooling periods based on the position of the earth and its axis in relationship to the sun.

An estimated two-thirds of Papua New Guinea’s six million people cannot read or write – but the “Buk Bilong Pikinini” movement hopes to make a positive difference. In pidgin, it means children’s book. Some branches of Papua New Guinea’s public library system do not even have books. Many education institutions and schools have no libraries, and children find it hard to learn to read and write.

In recent decades, coral reef ecosystems around the world have declined dramatically. One-fifth have died, and human activity directly threatens another 24 percent. As atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide increase, higher temperatures and ocean acidification could kill 70 percent of the world’s coral reefs by 2050. By century’s end, they could be gone entirely.

A traditional indigenous practice is being taken up by different communities to fight a food crisis in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region. Bengalis and other ethnic groups have adopted the practice of the Mro tribe, of creating a Rice Bank, in their own communities. They say the Rice Bank can give them the chance to prepare as rodents threaten another spell of destruction of crops including paddy in the coming season.

Violence has broken out all over the country of Nicaragua. Armed again, but this time organized by Sandinista thugs. Beatings and brutal physical attacks against intellectuals, journalists and civil rights group members are frequent here now. There is currently no legal opposition allowed in the country against the policies of the Nicaragua government (FSLN), controlled by the Sandinistas. It was illegal for any opposition to the Sandinistas to paint anything on poles or walls, which is what students have been doing for weeks to declare the elections stolen. During the early hours of the morning vehicles carrying armed gangs erase any opposition on walls in the country’s capital, Managua.

A look at some other pests that are benefiting or could benefit from global warming: Ticks that transmit Lyme disease are spreading northward into Sweden and Canada, once too cold for them.

The Trinidad and Tobago police have found pages of the Hindu holy book Bhagvad Gita soaked in millions of dollars worth of liquid cocaine in a laboratory in Couva, Central Trinidad. A Venezuelan national and four citizens of Trinidad and Tobago – two men and two women – were arrested and investigations are now on into this innovative way to traffic cocaine.

Thailand has issued rules making sex change surgery more difficult — including a requirement that potential candidates cross-dress for a year — over fears that some patients are rushing into the operation. Transsexuals and transgender men are a common sight in Thailand, appearing
on soap operas and working at all levels of Bangkok society, from
department store cosmetics counters and popular restaurants to corporate
offices and red-light districts. A national transgender beauty pageant
draws thousands to the beachside town of Pattaya every year. But over the past two years, a rash of castrations, especially among young
men, has alarmed the medical establishment and prompted the new rules.

Giant Humboldt squid have reached waters as far north as British Columbia,
threatening fisheries along much of the western North American coast.

Battling with one of the world’s highest murder rates, Venezuela crushed more than 30,000 guns seized from the streets during police raids this year. Policemen used blow-torches to chop up some of shotguns and pistols. They compacted weapons including home-made pistols into a 5 ton block.

A typo tragically sent Queens firefighters barreling to the wrong address – as three men died in a fire a mere three blocks away. As trapped residents desperately tried to escape an illegally converted boardinghouse on 65th Street in Woodside, the nearest fire companies found themselves on “a wild goose chase” on 62nd Street – because a 911 operator had mistakenly entered a 2 instead of a 5. Two crucial minutes were lost during the rerouting of Engine Co. 292 and Rescue Co. 4. They got to the scene four minutes and 55 seconds after the 911 call.

The African version of “Spitting Image” has delighted big audiences by ridiculing corrupt politicians. A rapping president describes himself as “a real bad dude”; a prime minister and vice-president fight over lavatories; and a set of parliamentarians suffer from a brain disease called “corruptophaelia”. Welcome to Kenya, as seen and portrayed by Africa’s version of Spitting Image, a daring puppet satire that is steadily pushing the boundaries of free expression and outraging the Nairobi elite. The XYZ Show, now preparing for its second series, proved a huge hit. Its well-aimed barbs delighted a devoted and growing audience, while scandalising the politicians who are the show’s main target.

Nicaragua’s navy seized 2,400 kilos (5,286 lbs.) of cocaine in Caribbean waters and arrested five people linked to the consignment.This has been a heavy blow against drug trafficking, The five Hondurans were carrying in their boat more than 2,400 kilos (5,286 lbs.) of drugs, as well as fuel; the five in custody are of Honduran nationality. They were arrested 45 miles east of Puerto Cabezas.

Numerous accounts of rapes show a similar pattern at the Porgera Joint
Venture (PJV) mine in Papua New Guinea, partly owned by Toronto-based
Barrick Gold Corp. The guards, usually in a group of five or more, find a woman while they are patrolling on or near mine property. They take turns threatening, beating and raping her. In a number of cases, women reported to me being forced to chew and swallow condoms used by guards during the rape.

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are now found in South Korea, the Papua New
Guinea highlands, and other places previously not warm enough for them.

A British tourist in Thailand had been raped after being dragged off the
street by two men. She was taken to a hotel where she was raped and then robbed of her belongings. The woman, aged 25, said the attack happened early morning in the Thai resort of Pattaya, twenty metres from a police sentry box. The attack happened after she had been separated from friends.

Seven Papua New Guineans adrift in the Pacific Ocean for more than two months have been rescued but two have since died. A helicopter from the US-based fishing vessel “Ocean Encounter” spotted a 22-foot boat drifting near Nauru in the central Pacific. Seven men were onboard, they left Tabar Island in the New Ireland area of Papua New Guinea to return home to Lihir Island, a distance of about 50 kilometres (30 miles). But they ran out of fuel during what was expected to be a daytime trip and drifted to the northeast.

Unusually heavy rain fell during the period needed to dry the land before burning, says a Bidayuh from Sarawak, Malaysia. New weeds grew quickly over the farms, making it impossible to burn and threatened to ruin the year’s harvest. In response, a Bidayuh-Krokong village held Gawae Pinganga, an almost-forgotten ritual to ask the ‘Pinyanga’, the village’s spirit guardians, for a dry season. The last time such assistance had been asked of ‘Pinyanga’ was during World War II and the elders were uncertain as to the exact composition of the offering.

Organized citizen gangs, called the CPC or Consejo del Pueblo Ciudadana work closely with some of the most dangerous criminal delinquent gangs in the city and region, mostly young disenfranchised and uneducated men, to prevent any opposition to Daniel Ortega and his government policies, while rumors fly that Ortega flies to Cuba for blood transfusions.

The number of Indian billionaires has almost doubled, from 27 to 52 in the
last year, despite one of the worst global recessions in history, In the last year the Indian stock market has gained more than 75 per cent and the economy has grown by almost seven per cent. Yet 42 per cent of the population still live below the poverty line.

The meaning of the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar”, shouted by the Fort Hood killer Major Nidal Malik Hasan before he opened fire, is known as the takbir and is used by Muslims to express a wide range of emotions.

The number of tobacco smokers currently in Thailand has reached 14.3
million. Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry is considering a proposal to the Finance Ministry to increase the tax level on hand-rolled cigarette
products after finding over 7.4 million people smoke this style of
cigarette. The remainder smoke manufactured cigarettes.

Police in Uganda have arrested and extradited a man who is among the most wanted suspects from the Rwandan genocide. The 100-day killing rampage led to the loss of an estimated 10 percent of Rwanda’s population.

A corrupt former Philadelphia cop who used his badge to rob drug dealers
was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in a federal lockup. Malik Snell’s criminal acts had so tarnished the badge that he wore for 12 years that it would be removed from service and destroyed.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is planning to start monitoring levels of ‘’super’’ greenhouse gases, which have an enormous effect on global warming compared with carbon dioxide, at two observatories as part of efforts to combat global warming under the Kyoto Protocol.

Bark beetles reproducing more quickly in warming climates and expanding
their ranges have devastated forests across western North America. In
British Columbia they have laid waste to an area twice the size of Ireland.

Thailand’s main airport is to relocate 12 giant “demon statues” to boost the morale of staff who thought the figures brought bad luck. The statues at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport will move from the arrivals
area to the check-in zone at a cost of around 1.7 million baht (51,000
dollars.)

A gunman went on the rampage in the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific, killing at least four people and wounding six,
including five Korean tourists. An Asian gunman killed four local people, including two children aged four and three, and critically injured a four-year-old girl in an apparent random shooting spree at a local shooting range. The man then drove in a van to Last Command Post Park, a popular tourist destination and opened fire on a group of South Korean tourists.

Before any pill reaches the pharmacy shelf, it must first pass through a
gauntlet of human guinea pigs: the ‘clinical subjects’ paid to take trial
drugs so specialists can observe their symptoms. But like call centers and high-end hospitals, drug trials too are rapidly shifting to India and Asia with Thailand as the region’s favored frontrunner.

Tokyo has banned the sale and lease of anime films and manga comics
depicting rape, incest and other sex crimes to under-18s. A bill,
introduced by the metropolitan assembly, calls on the industry to self
regulate by toning down graphic comics and films on general release.
Publishers and retailers breaking rules face fines up to JPY 300,000. A
group of publishers, complaining of censorship, have threatened to boycott
Tokyo International Anime Fair.

Students are now putting together El Libro Negro, the black book that proves the elections of 2008 were stolen. With this in mind coupled with the increasing pressure on the Ortega government, after one week of peaceful opposition protest met by brutal Sandinista violence, Daniel Ortega finally admitted there had been fraud in the elections.

The recruits assembled by moonlight at a watering hole. Hundreds of boys and young Kenyan men were herded onto trucks, which were covered with heavy canvas and driven through the night. It was so hot inside they could hardly breathe. One recruit, said they banged the sides of the truck for water but got none. Some had to urinate where they stood. Their destination: a secluded training camp deep in the Kenyan bush.

Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast faced a battering by high winds and heavy rains Friday, as remnants of hurricane Ida wrecked homes and officials warned as many as 40,000 could be affected by the storm. Despite being downgraded to a tropical depression, heavy rains from Ida swelled rivers, destroying an estimated 530 houses and decimating remote communities in one of Central America’s poorest nations.

When it comes to American policy in Pakistan or, for that matter, Afghanistan. It’s just the norm on a planet on which it’s assumed that American civilian and military leaders can issue pronunciamentos about what other countries must do; publicly demand various actions of ruling groups; opt for specific leaders, and then, when they disappoint, attempt to replace them; and use what was once called “foreign aid,” now taxpayer dollars largely funneled through the Pentagon, to bribe those who are hard to convince.

An armoured vehicle travelling between Wewak and Maprik has been held up by robbers armed with two AR15 rifles, a pistol, a Winchester and an axe. The thieves escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

The thousands of refugees arriving in Liberia had fled violence perpetrated by rebels who support Ouattara. At least 14,000 people have fled the violence and political chaos in Ivory Coast, some walking for up to four days with little food to reach neighboring Liberia. At least one child drowned while trying to cross a river.

“I had parked next to the Japanese Memorial and two of us went down the hill to the Pigs Tails with the Barbwire to record a video promoting the Solomon Islands, and left a female at my vehicle. Whilst we were down there recording, a person of Local Features walked past the vehicle and eyed the vehicle to see if anybody else was around, and just as he disappeared over the hill, 4 Youths, WITH BUSH KNIVES, approximate age of 20-25, approached the vehicle and DEMANDED MONEY, when they were told that she had no money, they went into the vehicle and STOLE THE TWO BACKPACKS from out of the vehicle and then ran down the hill towards the accommodation areas near the Lunga River…”

In the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the Andean
neighbours. Soldiers destroyed the walkways because they were being used by illegal militia and drug traffickers. They are two foot bridges that paramilitary fighters used, where gasoline and drug precursors were smuggled, subversive groups entered. They are not considered in any international treaty.

“The Head Shaman called for the spirits to come and show us if and how they wanted us to conduct the ceremony to ‘bring them home’. Sure enough they came and showed us. Of course I could not see because I am not the ‘sighted one’, but Aturn saw everything in a flash and told us exactly what the altar and offerings should look like. The ceremony was then held. After the Chief Priest finished, we sat and waited for the response. Within a minute, there was a sound from the east like an old man crying. It was a bird circling the small altar and then above the main altar three times. It is supposed to be a night bird but now it was in broad daylight. It was simply amazing!!! The omen is interpreted as saying ‘We thought that you have forgotten us … but now you come … we are happy. How nice for you to come.’ The rains stopped for seven days within the week after the ceremony.”

A microscopic parasite is spreading a deadly disease among salmon in
Alaska and British Columbia. Researchers say rising water temperatures are
partly to blame.

Thousands of people, including children, are being secretly recruited and
trained inside Kenya to battle Islamic insurgents in neighboring Somalia,
according to deserters, local officials, families of recruits and
diplomats. Most recruits are Somalis living in crowded refugee camps and
Kenyan nationals who are ethnic Somalis living nearby.

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. A Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected. However, the Japanese Meteorological Agency has issued tsunami warnings for the Ogasawara Islands and a tsunami advisory for southern Japan. The quake, which occurred 3:19 a.m., is about 95 miles (155 km) from Chichi-shima, Ogasawara Islands. It is also 210 miles from Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, and 650 miles from Tokyo.

A Sri Lankan was arrested by the Solomon Islands police after he had
escaped from the airport where he was to be deported. The man, who had been illegally residing in the country, was allegedly at the departure lounge when a group of armed men had helped him escape the police. He had been arrested again while four others have been linked to the incident.

Gases such as sulfur hexafluoride and dinitrogen monoxide, which
respectively have 20,000 and 300 times more global warming effects than
CO2, will be monitored at the meteorological observatory in Minamitori
Island, Japan’s easternmost island, and the atmospheric environment
observatory in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture.

A little loop of genes that give bacteria the power to resist virtually all known antibiotics is spreading quickly and likely to cause doctors headaches for years to come. They come on the equivalent of a genetic memory stick – a string of genes called a transmissible genetic element. Bacteria, unlike higher forms of life, can swap these gene strings with other species and often do so with wild abandon.

IIdephonse Nizeyimana was picked up at a hotel in Rubaga, a suburb of the
capital, Kampala, by the National Central Bureau of Interpol. He was transferred to a U.N. detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania, where the tribunal is based. Top officials who allegedly took part in the genocide, such as army generals and politicians, are tried by the tribunal.

Kenya has long feared that the conflict in Somalia, which has been bloodied by civil war since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, will spill across the border into its own neglected northeastern region.The area is home to hundreds of thousands of ethnically Somali Kenyans.

Sixteen countries, home to more than half the world’s smokers and bearing
the highest tobacco use, were involved in the study: Bangladesh, Brazil,
China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland,
Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.

Five armed men robbed the Big Rooster outlet in 4-Mile but three were captured by police as they tried to get away with an undisclosed amount of money. They were all armed with pistols as they entered the fast food outlet and held up the company employees, customers and security guards at about 9am. As they exited the building and made for their getaway vehicle, police closed in and captured three – two in front of Freeway Motors and one in front of Big Rooster while the other two managed to escape on foot.

Nizeyimana is one of the four top accused who are earmarked by the
prosecutor to be tried by the tribunal in Arusha after their arrest as part of the ICTR completion strategy. Of a list of 13 fugitives, he is the second to be arrested in less than two months.

Thousands of would-be fighters, some as young as 11, have been lured into the militia by promises of up to $600 a month, but many fled after they were not paid, were beaten or went hungry. Many recruits remain in the ranks and see the secret militia as their only way out of overcrowded refugee camps and the dusty, poor towns around them.

The U.S. government warns that such invasive plants as the common reed,
hyacinth and purple loosestrife are likely to spread to northern states.

Translated as “God is great”, it can be used to express delight and
euphoria or as a war cry during battles. It is also said during each stage of both obligatory prayers, which are supposed to be performed five times a day, and supererogatory prayers, which are said at will. The Muslim call to prayer, or adhan, and commence to the prayer, or iqama, also contains the phrase, which is heard in cities all over the Muslim world.

Directives have been given to homicide detectives to charge a man with the
murder of German national Peter Taut. The suspect is expected to appear before a Tobago magistrate tomorrow. Taut’s body was discovered on in a shallow grave at his Bacolet Crescent home where he lived. Taut, 56, an engineer, died as a result of asphyxia, an autopsy performed revealed.

For Western pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, Asia
offers a glut of people willing to accept less money for testing out trial
medicines. Softer regulation is another big draw, as are improvements in
Asian hospitals’ facilities and an increase in Western-educated doctors. Just eight years ago, only 6 percent of the world’s drug trial patients were tested in Asia and India. The figure is now 11 percent.

The gunman, believed to be aged in his late 30s to early 40s, apparently
killed himself following the shooting spree but his motive was unclear.
The injured South Korean tourists included a 39-year-old man critically
wounded when he was shot in the back, and two other men aged 38 who were
reported to be in a stable condition. Two Korean children aged eight and five were treated and released after receiving minor cuts during the rampage. After shooting the tourists, the gunman drove to the nearby Bonzai Cliffs area on the northern tip of Saipan island. Police found the gunman’s van with smoke pouring from it and three rifles inside. The body of the shooter was found nearby with a gunshot wound to the head and another rifle.

Since returning to the presidency in 2007, 17 years after being voted out
of office at the end of the Sandinista revolution in 1990, Ortega has
created a network of private businesses that operate under the auspices of
the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), an opaque cooperation
agreement of leftist countries bankrolled primarily by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Ortega’s “ALBA businesses” — known by an alphabet soup of acronyms, including ALBANISA, ALBALINISA, and ALBACARUNA — have cornered Nicaragua’s petroleum import and distribution markets, become the country’s leading energy supplier and cattle exporter, turned profits on the sale of donated Russian buses, and purchased a hotel in downtown Managua, among other lucrative investment moves.

It was unclear whether police had recovered the money and the firearms used in the robbery. They said that any information on this would have to come from their superiors. Cooperate Executive Guards’ Tom Vele was manning the door when the robbers burst in, beat him up and pointed their pistols at him. A shaken Vele, with blood on his head and face, said that he thought they were customers wanting to buy food but they were actually robbers trying to rob the company. They arrived in a blue Toyota RAV4 sports utility, believed to have been stolen. The robbery came two days after police superintendent of operations warned the public to be wary of criminals during the festive season as they were targeting owners of Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4 sports utility vehicles.

In the past the Nyando River basin experienced long rains from March to
June with very short rain spells in November. This trend has been rather irregular in recent years with floods occurring in August instead of April. Dry periods have increased in length and farm harvests are dwindling. The Wakesi community traditionally offers sacrifices to the gods for rain. These offerings are made under trees such as the Baobab, as they are associated with rain. The community revealed that they are increasingly offering sacrifices to the gods for rain. It appears climate change is catalyzing these practices.

Refugees are supposed to find safety in the camps, not a government that is trying to trick their sons into going back to fight in Somalia. The recruitment of children violates the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Kenya is a signatory. Kenya is eager to counter the influence of insurgents in Somalia who preach the spread of a pan-Islamic state into Kenya and Ethiopia, where many Somalis live due to borders drawn by former colonial powers. Somalia’s al-Shabab insurgents — some of whom have ties to al-Qaida –already cross into northern Kenya.

In the attacks that started in April 1994, Hutu militias and members of the general population sought out Tutsis and moderate Hutus, and went on a
100-day killing rampage. Civilians and children got incentives to take part in the atrocities, including promises of land belonging to their Tutsi neighbors.

Only six out of every 10 smokers said they planned or are thinking about
quitting, while five in 10 smokers had tried to quit in the last 12 months. The survey found that 3.3 million workers are exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace and 20.5 million adults to tobacco smoke in their homes.

Fishermen are ruining Semporna’s rich heritage with fish bombing. During their 1,000 hours of diving, the scientists heard 15 fish bombs going off and came across four unexploded bombs. They have warned that conservation action is urgent because of high threats from overfishing, destructive fishing and pollution.

Two women who were walking along the road, after leaving their respective
vegetable gardens, were approached to enquire as to whether they had seen four youths running, and, they said that they had seen some youths running down the hill towards the river, but didn’t take any notice of what they were wearing. In the TV Crew Backpack was a 4 THOUSAND ENGLISH POUND (SBD$40,000), VIDEO CAMERA, and their HERITAGE PARK HOTEL ROOM KEY. And the immediate concern was for the Tens of Thousands of Dollars worth of Equipment in their room. So the chase had to be suspended to go to the Hotel and move rooms and to make sure nothing else was stolen.

40,000 people will be directly or indirectly affected by the hurricane in preliminary damage projections. Nineteen communities are expected to be affected by the storm, which was gusting at up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) per hour.

The shopkeepers are blaming the ‘demon statues’ for the problems they have faced at the airport, which was seized late last year by demonstrators and supporters of the People’s Alliance of Democracy” (PAD).The guardian spirit statues will be shifted from the inner zone of the passenger terminal to the check-in area to ‘improve morale’ of people working at the airport. The anti-government PAD seized two of the Thai capital’s airports in a crippling eight-day blockade late in 2008, which badly dented the kingdom’s tourist-friendly image.

Recruiters started openly operating in Kenyan towns and in nearby huts and tents of the refugee camps. Some recruiters even worked from a hotel fronting a heavily fortified U.N. Compound in the northern town of Dadaab, home to three overcrowded camps of about 275,000 refugees, most from Somalia. More than a dozen deserters said they were promised positions in the Kenyan or Somali armies or jobs with U.N. Security by men acting as recruiters. Some said they were told they would patrol the Kenya-Somalia border, but upon arrival at the training camp, they were told they were going to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, or Kismayo, a key southern city under Islamist control.

President Obama said of Pakistan: “We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state.” When it comes to U.S. Respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty, this country has more important fish to fry. A look at the historical record indicates that Washington has, in fact, been frying those “fish” for at least the last four decades without particular regard for Pakistani sensibilities.

Residents of the Ogasawara Islands are urged to evacuate coastlines
immediately. Evacuate from the seashore immediately to the safe places
near the above coasts. Scores of villagers on a remote Japanese island chain in the Pacific scrambled for higher ground after a major 7.4-magnitude offshore quake sparked a tsunami alert.

It was one of the most brutal genocides in modern history. Some figures put the number of dead at 1 million — 10 percent of the population of the
central African nation. Millions more were raped and disfigured. A whole
generation of children lost their parents.

In the Islamic world, instead of applause, often someone will shout
“takbir” and the crowd will respond “Allahu Akbar” in chorus.
It can also be used as a protest. In the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian
presidential election many people shouted it for an hour between 10pm and
11pm every day for nine days to show their anger at the result.

Desertification and land degradation is the greatest environmental
challenge of our time and a threat to global wellbeing. People must be paid via global carbon markets for preserving the soil. The top 20cm of soil is all that stands between us and extinction. Conflicts and food price crises all stem from the degradation of land.

The Cook Islands Health Ministry has announced the first HIV infection in
the country. Nothing is known about the person who has been diagnosed for privacy reasons, but follow-ups will be made with their previous sexual partners, to ensure the virus has not spread. With the large number of
tourists who arrive in the country each year, it’s no surprise that this
has finally happened.

The survey found that 74.4 per cent of adults noticed anti-cigarette
smoking information on television. Only one in 10 adults were aware of
cigarette marketing in stores where cigarettes are sold; seven in 10
smokers considered quitting because of warning labels; and 98.6 per cent of adults believed smoking causes serious illness. Most people mistakenly believe smoking hand-rolled cigarettes is less dangerous than manufactured cigarettes.

Nizeyimana was a captain the Rwanda Armed Forces, he is
accused of exercising authority over soldiers and personnel through a chain of command, and allegedly sent a section of soldiers to execute of Rosalie Gicanda, a former queen of Rwanda who was a “symbolic figure for all Tutsis.

She said she was unable to resist the two men who, after raping her, took
her Natwest bank and credit cards and 60 pounds in cash and a bracelet
worth 100 pounds. Last night police in Pattaya charged two men with rape and theft. They were named as Krajon Senkam, 29, and Surasak Kovekasan, 20, who were described as local ‘maeng da’ a Thai expression, literally translating as cockroaches, describing men who live off the earnings of local prostitutes. The men were arrested quickly as they were known in the area.

We naturally grasp the extremity of the Taliban – those floggings, beheadings, school burnings, bans on music, the medieval attitude toward women’s role in the world – but our own extremity is in no way evident to us. So Obama’s statement on Pakistani sovereignty is reported as the height of sobriety, even when what lies behind it is an expanding “covert” air war and assassination campaign by unmanned aerial drones over the Pakistani tribal lands, which has reportedly killed hundreds of bystanders and helped unsettle the region.

One typical test, which measures the speed of blood stream absorption, can require volunteers to consume a pill and submit to more than 35 blood draws throughout a weekend. Two weekends of testing, in the United States, would pay approximately $1,000. Volunteers in Thailand would more likely receive less than $50. Other disease-specific trials test experimental drugs on patients over a series of weeks or months. The ‘payment’ in these studies typically isn’t cash but rather the promise of cutting-edge treatment.

More than a third of the world’s child brides are
from India, leaving children at an increased risk of exploitation despite
the Asian giant’s growing modernity and economic wealth.

The police was informed so if you see any of the following items up for
SALE, please ring me on +677 747 6372, after you have detained, or delayed
the person offering it to you. I will come as soon as you have rang and
then they will be handed over to the police to face the consequences.
The list of items that were stolen and what they were contained in was:
One (1) Dark Blue Backpack belonged to the Film Crew, Jamie & Kim,
contained the following: 1 x Very Expensive Digital Video Camera containing a Digital Tape for Recording, 1 x Room Key to Room
112 of the Heritage Park Hotel, and 1 x some other items that I can’t
remember at the time of writing this statement.

The average amount of sulfur hexafluoride, frequently used as an insulator
in electronic devices, found in the atmosphere is relatively small at 6 to
7 parts per million compared with 380 ppm of CO2, but the level has doubled from the 1990s, mostly due to man-made emissions.the National Institute for Environmental Studies has been taking
samples and analyzing them four times a year on Hateruma Island in Okinawa
Prefecture. The agency plans to start monitoring levels once a week at the
observatories in Minamitori Island and Iwate.

The deserters all said they were taken to Manyani, a training center for
the Kenya Wildlife Service outside the port of Mombasa. They said their
cell phones were confiscated upon arrival and Kenyan citizens had to
surrender their identity cards. Kenyans of Somali descent can easily pass for Somalis. They share with Somali nationals the Islamic religion, a common language, and a tall, slender appearance, looking distinct from members of other ethnic groups from farther south.

Uniformed men, apparently from the Venezuelan army, arrived in trucks on
the Venezuelan side at two pedestrian bridges that link communities on both sides and then proceeded to dynamite them. The row renewed tensions that have bubbled for weeks, with Venezuela’s
president, Hugo Chavez, recently telling his armed forces “to prepare for
war” with their neighbour in order to ensure peace. Colombia’s decades-long civil war has for years spilled across its 1,375-mile border with Venezuela in the form of leftist guerrillas, right-wing militias and drug traffickers, a nexus made even murkier by contraband and corrupt local authorities.

Seventy thousand H1N1 vaccines valued at US$675,000 will be here in time
for this country’s hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. And while the safety and the efficacy of the vaccine is still being questioned,these vaccines have
been used in over 20 countries over the past several weeks and have proven
to be very safe. While the vaccines are a welcomed move in light of the
215 confirmed swine flu cases and five related deaths, they hope the
ministry has a plan to deal with the chaos that can ensue.

A jury convicted Snell of conspiracy, attempted robbery and a
weapons offense in connection with a botched home-invasion robbery in
Pottstown. Snell, 37, was also convicted of taking $40,000 in cash from a South Philadelphia drug kingpin during a bogus police car stop

The seabed tremor struck at 2:19 am local time jolting people out of bed as loudspeakers blared across the Ogasawara islands and authorities warned of the risk of a two-metre (six-foot) high local tsunami. The tsunami alert was later downgraded and all warnings were lifted five hours after the quake hit near the islands, some 1,000 kilometres (600
miles) south of Tokyo. No injuries or damage were reported.

Nearly 25 million women in India were married in the year 2007 by the age
of 18; children in India, Nepal and Pakistan may be engaged or even married before they turned 10. Millions of children are also being forced to work in harmful conditions, or face violence and abuse at home and outside, suffering physical and psychological harm with wide-reaching, and sometimes irreparable effects.

The takbir is also included on the flags of many Arabic nations. It is
written on the centre of the flag of Iraq, 22 times along the borders of
the central white stripe on the flag of Iran, and beneath the Shahadah in
the 2004 draft constitution of Afghanistan in white script on the central
red background.

The Chinese government has abducted and unlawfully detained large number of Chinese citizens in illegal prisons. State-run hotels, nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals in Beijing are being used as so-called “black jails”. Many people
detained in these illegal prisons are citizens from rural areas who travel to Beijing and other provincial capitals to file complaints for abuses such as illegal land grabs, government corruption and police torture. In these “black jails” they are subjected to physical violence, theft, extortion, threats, intimidation, and deprivation of food, sleep and medical care,

The other Backpack, belonged to myself, was a Columbia Brand Backpack,
being a unique Backpack within the Solomon Islands as it was given to me by Patricks Defence Logistics whilst I was employed with them and told that it was a Prototype Backpack, which had a main pouch, a zipped opening at the top near the handle and a smaller front semi-attached pouch at the front with a zip for the main pouch and a smaller zip for an internal pouch at the front, and, was of sentimental value as it was the only thing that I got out of Patricks that I have left.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, many governments around
the world are forced to support their private economy in the face of weak
global demand. The combination of higher spending and lower revenues
results in the deterioration the government’s fiscal health. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has such concerns for several Pacific
Island countries.

Hand-rolled cigarettes also cause serious illness for smokers such
as oral cancer and cancer of the aesophagus. In India, about
100,000 died from smoking hand-rolled cigarettes each year.
Most cigarette manufacturers are now producing more smokeless
cigarettes after noting an increasing trend in smokeless tobacco use among
teenagers worldwide.

New Delhi metallobeta-lactamase 1 or NDM-1 for short, will cause more trouble in the coming years. What makes this enzyme so frightening is not only its intrinsic ability to destroy most known beta-lactam antibiotics but also the company it keeps. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are nothing new — virtually all strains of the common Staphylococcus bacteria are now resistant to penicillin. Almost as soon as penicillin was introduced in the 1940s, bacteria began to develop resistance to its effects, prompting researchers to develop many new generations of antibiotics.

Tiny rations of dirty food, beatings and failure to pay promised salaries
caused widespread desertion, recruits said. Some who tried to flee were
caught and beaten, but many managed to return home through Tsavo, a vast
national park filled with dangerous animals that surrounds the training
camp. At least one boy who fled at night with a group of nine others was attacked and killed by lions, another group of deserters was chased by elephants. Some recruits called their families on phones smuggled into the camp and whispered tearful pleas for help.

A society cannot thrive if its youngest members are forced into early
marriage, abused as sex workers or denied their basic rights. Despite rising literacy levels and a ban on child marriage, tradition and
religious practices are keeping the custom alive in India, as well as in
Nepal and Pakistan.

A spike in violence on the Venezuelan side, including the abduction and
murder of an amateur football team, and the drive-by shooting of two border guards, prompted authorities to reinforce the border. Destroying the bridges was a “necessary and sovereign act to curb border
infiltration and drug smuggling,” the economy minister said. Colombian media reported that villagers on their side of the border
remonstrated and threw stones at the Venezuelan troops in a vain
effort to save the walkways. They were sighted at two rural spots, Las Naves and Chicoral, near the Colombian municipality of Ragonvalia.

One cabinet minister denounced the programme as “weird”, while another
complained that villagers were mistaking the puppets for the real-life
equivalents. But to the relief of viewers, the government decided not to
order it off the air, even after a clip entitled “What if Kenya was
perfect?”, which depicted President Mwai Kibaki and the prime minister,
Raila Odinga, in jail in The Hague for crimes committed during last year’s
election violence.

The cholera outbreak in Papua New Guinea’s Madang is still worsening with more than 300 people now being treated for the illness. Cholera is a diarrheal infection caused by ingesting bacteria in water or
food, and can kill healthy people within hours.

More than half the world’s child brides are in south Asia, which also
accounts for more than half the unregistered births, leaving children
beyond the reach and protection of state services and unable to attend
school or access basic healthcare.

Thailand’s people are largely healthy and eligible for testing thanks to a
90-cents-per-visit public healthcare scheme. Its hospitals are staffed by
English-speaking physicians and specialists educated abroad. There’s also no single Thai regulatory body responsible for approving
trials — both a convenience and source of frustration for pharmaceutical
firms. In a departure from Western standards, trial supervisors don’t have to report what the industry calls “Unexpected Suspected Adverse Drug
Reactions” — meaning worrisome side-effects of prototype drugs don’t have
to be documented.

Rains could produce flash floods and mudslides, as Nicaraguans waited for Ida to head north out to sea. One of the first areas affected were the Corn Islands, a tropical paradise popular with backpackers. Around 300 tourists were evacuated from the islands by civil defense forces.

But about 120 people temporarily evacuated to higher ground on Chichi-shima island and some 50 people on Haha-shima island overnight. “It was the biggest earthquake I have ever felt,” said Masae Nagai, a hotel
owner on Chichi-shima, part of the remote archipelago also called the Bonin islands, which has a population of about 2,300.

Only 6 percent of all births in Afghanistan and 10 percent in Bangladesh
were registered from 2000-08, compared to 41 percent in India and 73 percent in the tiny Maldives.

The contents of my backpack at the time were a follows: 1. In the Main Backpack Pouch: a) 1 x Yellow Coffee Table Insert Book with Coastwatchers Posters, Pricelist and other advertising material, including a Coastwatchers Memorial Information Sheet from the Coastwatcher Memorial Trust, and, other Coastwatchers Paperwork related to SCUBA Diving, approximate Value of SBD$1,500, and 2: In the Top Main Backpack Pouch near the Handle: a) A packet of Sinus Tablets, approximate Value of SBD$80. 3: In the Front Smaller Pouch: a) 1 x DC500 Sealife Underwater Camera with Land & Sea Underwater Program (unique and the only one (1) in the Solomon Islands) containing a 1 Gigabyte SD Memory Card in a Camera Case designed for the Camera approximate Value of AUD$1,500; b) 2 x DC500 Sealife Underwater Camera Batteries (unique to the camera) approximate Value of AUD$200; c) 1 x Solomon Islands Tourism Industry Association (SITIA) ANZ Cheque Book with either 20 or 40 Unsigned Blank Cheques in it, approximate value of SBD$10 or SBD$20; d) 1 x SITIA Receipt Book with approximately 70 blank receipts, approximate Value of SBD$12; e) 1 x Coastwatchers ANZ Cheque Book with 22 Unsigned Blank Cheques in it, approximate Value of SBD$11; f) 1 x Reading Glasses Case containing: i) Reading Glasses, approximate Value of AUD$250; ii) Writing Pen, approximate Value of SBD$5; iii) A laminated Honiara Recompression Chamber Contact Numbers Checklist, approximate Value of SBD$100. iv) 5 Coastwatchers Business Cards, approximate Value of SBD$100. v) 1 x Packet of Pall Mall Blue Cigarettes, approximate Value of SBD$22.

Land conflicts in Somalia, dust storms in Asia and the food price crises of recent years all stem from the degradation of land, due to overuse by humans and the impacts of global warming. Since the early 1980s, a quarter of the planet’s land has been despoiled and 1% a year continues to be lost.

“Ocean Encounter” was expected to arrive in Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, to get medical treatment for the survivors, who are suffering from “overexposure and aggressive signs of
malnutrition.” After being picked up, crew spoon-fed small amounts of water and a rice-and-water mix to the survivors because “their systems could only accept small amounts under their condition.” It was not immediately known what the men had to eat or drink during their
two-month ordeal. The survivors said they saw several fishing
vessels during their two months at sea, but these “ignored their gestures
(calling for) assistance.”

Research on a “brain-eating tribe” may hold the key to understanding and
even treating mad cow disease: A genetic study of the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea has shown that certain members carry genetic mutations that protect them from a disease called kuru, which can be contracted by eating prion proteins in brain matter. The disease, which kills tribe members lacking the mutation, is similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), sometimes erroneously referred to as “mad cow disease.”

The better known issues of climate change and loss of biodiversity are both rooted in the global loss of fertile soil, as the soil
harbours a huge stock of carbon and the health of creatures living in the
soil underpins global food production and forest growth. The reason
desertification has not been a priority is because 90% of the 2.1 billion
people who live in drylands live in developing countries,

Also, about 44 million, or 13 percent of all children in south Asia, are
engaged in labour, with more than half in India.

Local authorities on the Ogasawara islands, near Iwo Jima, said they had
set up five shelters for residents but had closed them before sunrise in
the absence of damage reports. The jolts were relatively stronger than those we have felt in the past. But there was no panic as people acted in an orderly manner.

Children in the region have also been seriously affected by insurgency and
instability, as well as natural disasters. We were worried about our students as the jolt was quite strong and lasted very long. But we were relieved to confirm that none of our students were injured and no facilities were damaged. We were quite lucky, considering the size of the quake. The quake hit at a shallow depth of 14 kilometres, 153 kilometres (95 miles) east of Chichi-shima, and was followed by a series of aftershocks measuring between 5.3 and 5.6 which continued into the morning.

Kenyan politicians are not the only people to have suffered ridicule. A
jug-eared, foul-mouthed Barack Obama was shown debating with Osama bin
Laden, who wore a Nike turban and drank Pepsi while pledging to end western civilisation. After the death of Michael Jackson, his puppet equivalent was questioned by God about why he changed his skin colour and about “those little boys”. “Because I’m bad,” Jackson replied.

The Japanese government plans to tighten management of its mineral resources by demanding exploration permits and overhauling the granting of
mining rights.

Especially in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal, past or ongoing conflicts
have broken down most child protection systems, leaving children especially vulnerable.

As it turns out, reefs are quite valuable. Inferring from more than 80
studies, the economists found that, on average, 2.5 acres of coral reef
provide $130,000 worth of goods and services, and sometimes as much as $1.2 million. Here’s the monetary breakdown: Food, raw materials, ornamental resources: average, $1,100 (up to $6,000). Climate regulation, moderation of extreme events, waste treatment/water purification, biological control: average, $26,000 (up to $35,000). Cultural services (e.g., recreation/tourism): average, $88,700 (up to $1.1 million). Maintenance of genetic diversity: average, $13,500 (up to $57,000).

The vast bamboo growing areas, spreading over parts of India, Bangladesh
(taking in the hill tracts) and Myanmar, have been facing acute food
shortages since 2007 due to a rat plague, which occurs on regular basis
every 47 to 50 years. According to government, around 1.1 million people live in the hill districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban, with an area of over 13,000 square kilometres. Half belong to different indigenous groups and half are Bengalis who settled in the 1970s and 80s. Chakma, Bengali, Marma, Mro, Tenchunga, Pankho are the major communities. Mro farmers have traditionally deposited rice in a ‘bank’ during the
harvest period. Community members can take grain from it when necessary.
Non-farmers can also take food from the bank so the whole community
overcomes hunger together.

That’s why we see tanks full of bearded dragons at every shop (and not blue tongues) because bearded dragons have clutches and clutches of eggs many times during the year while the BTS only has 5-15 babies (on average) every 1-2 years. If you’re trying to make money in a reptile business or pet store, blue tongues are not the way to go! It’s much easier to snatch BTS out of the wild and sell them than wait on babies for months and years on end.

Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Tuvalu are maintaining their
government expenditures even as tax revenues have declined because of their weakened economies. The Cook Islands and Fiji Islands have expansionary fiscal policies because they are still subsidizing key industries, building their infrastructure, and trying to soften the impact of the global recession. The Samoan government has to cope with tsunami damages on top of the typical challenges that face Pacific Island countries.

About three hours after the quake, a 60 centimetre (two feet) wave was
monitored 700 kilometres away at Hachijo-jima, part of the Izu island chain that runs south of Tokyo. Waves of up to 20 centimetres also reached the southwestern Japanese main islands.

Full-scale war between Colombia and Venezuela was “unlikely” but there
remained the potential for a bloody border clash. Things are so tense it’s definitely possible. Alarm bells should
be ringing. Chavez, who says he is leading a socialist revolution against US hegemony, has protested against a deal that will extend US access to Colombian military bases. He accused Colombia’s conservative president, Alvaro Uribe, of being a Washington pawn. Venezuela has cut the $7bn annual bilateral trade between the two countries, sparking protests from businesses on both sides of the border.

Trafficking of children for labour, prostitution or domestic services is
widespread, especially within Bangladesh and India, and within the region,
as well as to Europe and the Middle East.

The world is driven by city dwellers: political leaders are setting agendas to satisfy people who live in the
cities, we therefore tend to perceive soil as just dust, or mud, or a
dumping place. But if we don’t preserve that first 20cm of soil, where will we get our food and water from? Half the world’s livestock are raised on drylands and a third of crops, especially wheat.

The impacts of climate change — rising temperatures and more erratic
rainfall — are here already from Latin America to the Sahel.
Adding to the pressure on land is rising global population, which is
expected to pass the 7 billion mark next year and reach 9 billion by 2050.
As well as the consequences for food and water, violent conflicts and
migration will also increase, affecting those living outside
drylands.

Last Command Post Park was the site where the Japanese military commanders
were based during the final advance of American troops during World War II. The nearby Bonzai Cliffs site is also popular with tourists and was where thousands of Japanese civilians living on the island threw themselves into the sea as the Japanese defeat loomed. The Northern Mariana Islands has a population of about 89,000 people, and
is a self governing commonwealth in union with the United States, lying
about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines.

Inequality is increasing and nothing has been done to curb “grotesque”
amounts of wealth building up in India. Mukesh Ambani, the head of Reliance Industries, remains the richest person in India with a net worth of 32 billion US dollars. India’s 100 richest people have a combined wealth of 270 billion US dollars.

Soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage that killed 13 people at Fort
Hood military base in Texas have reported that gunman Major Nidal Malik
Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire. Islamic groups have prepared for a public backlash after it emerged that
Hasan was a Muslim and have expressed fears about inter-faith relations,
already strained by the September 11, 2001 attacks, and wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

Most infections that people get while in the hospital resist at least one
antibiotic. For example, half of all Staphylococcus aureus infections in the United States are resistant to penicillin, methicillin, tetracycline and erythromycin. Methicillin-resistant staph aureus or MRSA killed an
estimated 19,000 people in the United States alone in 2005.

The Ogasawara chain, made up of more than 30 subtropical and tropical
islets some 240 kilometres north of Iwo Jima, were put under the control of the United States after World War II, and returned to Japan in 1968.
The remote islands have preserved their unique biological habitats and have been dubbed the Galapagos of the Orient. After sounding the
initial alert there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami and
no nearby islands were thought to be in the tsunami danger zone.

All villagers, irrespective of their livelihoods, would
get rice from the buffer stock during crisis periods. Rangamati inhabitants can cultivate rice during periods when the lake
waters recede from December to April. Their land goes under water during
the rainy season starting in May every year. They also depend on fishing, but for only eight to nine months a year as
the government bans fishing in Kaptai lake during the rainy season. Fishermen will be able to take rice from the bank provided that they give
more to the community stock when they earn more. About 300 villages throughout the hill tracts had accepted the Rice Bank concept.

Insufficient emphasis has been placed on protecting child victims of
trafficking and ensuring that any judicial proceedings brought against them are child sensitive.

According to 2009 data, Cook Islands and Fiji Islands had
their highest budget deficit as a percentage of GDP at 11.7 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively. The Cook Islands and Kiribati had the highest trade deficits at 92.7 percent.

Japan has abundant supplies of methane hydrate in deep-sea regions off its
coast. And sea floor hydrothermal deposits that contain copper, zinc, gold
and other metals are distributed off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands.

The situation is critical. Coral reefs are showing signs of stress from local pressures at the same time that climate change is starting to have a bigger and bigger impact on reefs. Overfishing has reduced the quality of many reefs. The people of Sabah should be very proud that they own such a top marine eco-system in the world. Semporna is not only a world-class diving spot. The expedition, encountered 844 species of fish,
including 756 species of reef fish, more than 90 coral shrimp species and
more than 100 algae species. The scientists also discovered some coral shrimp and gall crab species that were new to science and a rare mushroom coral species, the lithophyllon ranjithi.

Suspected insurgents killed three people, including a toddler,
and wounded at least 34 Tuesday in a grenade, gun and car bomb attack on
two restaurants and a hotel in Thailand’s south.

The two-family home had been converted to at least seven single-room units, according to the Department of Buildings, which yesterday issued three violations. The house had 10 residents, including the
owners and their two children. There were no smoke detectors in the
basement, and two elsewhere in the house had no batteries, fire inspectors
found. “I heard a huge bang; I heard screams, so I looked through the window and saw flames coming out of the basement. Blue, red – it was raging.”

4) In the Front Smaller Pouch Front Zippered Area: a) 1 x Bendigo Bank (Australia) Internet Banking Key Code Machine with “The
light is on but nobody is home” Neck Holder, approximate Value of AUD$50.
b) A plastic bag containing the following keys from my Laptop Keyboard
approximate Value of AUD$200: i) Shift Key, ii) Letter ‘A’ Key, iii) Letter ‘Z’ Key, and iv) Caps Lock key. c) Toe Nail Cutters attached by an Elastic (Rubber) Band to Finger Nail Cutters, approximate Value of AUD$25,
d) 1 x one (1) Gigabyte Memory Stick with World War II Photos on it (a
Folder name of “Extras for Jaime” on it, approximate Value of AUD$200, e)
2 x Parker Pen without ink sticks, approximate Value of AUD$12, f) 1 x
Nokia Phone Headphone Attachment, approximate Value of AUD$25, g) 1 x
Infra-red Mouse Pouch (with possible instruction sheet inside), approximate Value of AUD$15, h) Another battery for the Sealife Underwater Camera, approximate Value of AUD$100, 5) In one of the Mesh Side Pockets was the SITIA & Coastwatchers Post Office Box Keys on a series of Key Rings and Tags approximate Value of SBD$200.

The brutal violence brings the death toll over the past two days to four
and the number of casualties to more than 50 as a result of militant
attacks in the troubled Thai south, which is gripped by a bitter five-year
uprising.

Increased aridity is making the drylands the most conflict prone region of the world. If you really want to look at the root causes of the conflicts in Somalia and Darfur, and drylands of Asia, you will understand that people in their quest to have access to productive land and water for life, they end up in conflict. In nothern Nigeria, where increased aridity means lack of fodder is driving herders south into the areas farmed for corn. Conflict is almost inevitable.

With 13,000 murders in 2007, the last time figures were published, violent crime consistently registers as Venezuelans’ main concern in opinion polls.
Gun laws are lax in the South American oil exporter. The government estimates there are 6 million firearms circulating among the population of about 28 million. Venezuela’s murder rate is about 8 times that of the United States. Crime has risen under President Hugo Chavez, who has focused on poverty reduction to tackle violence in poor city neighborhoods.

But it warned in a bulletin shortly after the quake: Earthquakes of this
size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre. When a massive 8.8-magnitude quake, one of the most powerful on record,
struck off Chile’s coast in February, Japan issued its top tsunami alert
and ordered more than half a million people to evacuate seaside areas. Authorities later apologised after a wave of 120 centimetres hit and caused no injuries.

After missing work for several days, Jose Emilio Galindo Robles, the
regional director for Radio Universidad de Guadalajara in Ciudad Guzmon,
was found dead inside his home. Authorities have given little information about the case but have confirmed that the journalist
was killed. A motive had not been confirmed. Galindo, 43, known as “Pepe Galindo,” had experience as a reporter and
researcher of environmental topics, especially environmental legislation.
He won the Second Biennial of Latin American Radio for a report about
political crimes in Mexico, El Informador adds. In 2004 he won first prize
in the Biennial of National Radio for a report about pollution of the
Santiago River caused by private companies.

The rebels, travelling by car and on three motorcycles, hurled a hand
grenade into a restaurant at lunchtime in Sungai Kolok, a border
town in Narathiwat province, wounding four people.

NDM-1 resists many different types of antibiotic. In at least one case, the only drug that affected it was colistin, a toxic older antibiotic.
Thus far, the majority of isolates in countries throughout the world can
be traced to subjects who have traveled to India to visit family or have

received medical care there. However, the ability of this genetic element to spread rapidly among Enterobacteriaceae means that there will almost certainly be numerous secondary cases throughout the world that are unrelated to travel to the Indian subcontinent.

They then opened fire on customers, shooting dead a Buddhist police officer and injuring another four people. A three-year-old boy who
suffered gunshot wounds later died at hospital. The gunmen then began shooting at another nearby restaurant, killing the owner, a 45-year-old Buddhist woman, and wounding four people. A car bomb exploded in front of one of the town’s hotels soon afterwards, wounding 23 people.

Around 20 percent of the world’s most powerful earthquakes strike Japan,
which sits on the “Ring of Fire” surrounding the Pacific Ocean. In 1995 a magnitude-7.2 quake in the port city of Kobe killed 6,400 people. But high building standards, regular drills and a sophisticated tsunami
warning system mean that casualties are often minimal.

“The most obscene thing I came across was a copy of the Bhagvad Gita,
the pages torn and soaked in liquid cocaine.” This oil-rich nation continues to be the transhipment point for cocaine coming from South America to the US and Canada. Special anti-drug officers have been trained both at home and abroad in the government’s fight against drugs. The accused are to appear in courts shortly. Trinidad and Tobago is home to a large Indian diaspora sourced from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar between 1845 and 1917. The immigrants were brought here during the British rule to work on the sugar and cocoa plantation.

The explosive weighed 30 to 50 kilograms and was hidden in a Honda Civic
with a fake licence plate, which had passed a screening by a bomb detection machine. The bomb was hidden in the passenger car and detonated by radio signal; two of the wounded were in a serious condition.

An explosive hidden in a motorcycle went off in Pattani
province close to where Buddhists were attending a festival, wounding 17 — five of them seriously.

Desertification and rising aridity were the ultimate cause of the food
price crisis of 2007-8, as it began with a drought in
Australia. This year’s price spike started with a drought in Russia.
Another example of desertification’s impact was the loss of land bordering
the Gobi desert leading to record dust storms that damage the health of
people in Seoul in South Korea, thousands of kilometres away. Combating
desertification and soil degradation requires better land management,
better equipment and new technology to manage water, drought resistant
seeds and payment to communities for preserving the soil.

Four gunmen on two motorcycles opened fire on a 34-year-old Muslim rubber worker as he travelled to work in Narathiwat province; he died at the scene. The bloody rebellion has claimed more than 3,900 lives since it erupted in Thailand’s Muslim-majority southern provinces, bordering Malaysia, in January 2004.

In the early morning the little broadcasting center of the community radio
station “Radyo Cagayano” was being burned
down completely. At about two in the morning, eight mummed soldiers
infiltrated the premises in the small town of Baggao in the Northern
Philippines, captivated and gagged the employees and ignited the entire
radio station with petrol. Radyo Cagayano had just started broadcasting a
few weeks ago and had especially stood up for the interests of local
farmers.

Experts have been warning for years that poor hospital practices and the
overuse of antibiotics spread dangerous bacteria, but practices are
changing only slowly. The fact that there is widespread nonprescription use of antibiotics in India, a country in which some areas have less than ideal sanitation and a high prevalence of diarrheal disease and crowding, sets the ideal stage for the development of such resistance.

The Tongan people were acquainted with the Manahune under the name Haa-Meneuli. but The Haa-Meneuli appear to be Tongans. The Mana’une people of Mangaia Island, Cook Group,are stated by Taniera, their chief, to have come originally to Mangaia from Rapa-nui or Easter Island, and that in appearance they resemble the people of the Tokerau Islands.

The shadowy rebels, who have never publicly stated their goals, target
Muslims and Buddhists alike and both civilians and members of the security
forces, usually with shootings and bombings. The attacks echoed a serious blast in August, which ripped through a restaurant in Narathiwat packed with government officials, wounding at least 42 people. Tensions have simmered since the region, formerly an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate, was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902.

While biodiversity is extremely high, the downside is that the population is glaringly low due to over-exploitation. Coral reefs provide a haven for fish and other creatures, and larger fish tend to congregate around reefs because they are good places to feed. Bleaching — a whitening of corals that occurs when symbiotic algae living within coral tissues are expelled — is an indication of stress caused by environmental triggers such as fluctuations in ocean temperature. Depending on many factors, bleached coral may recover over time or die. Semporna is within the 5 million sq km of sea straddling the waters of Sabah, the Philippines, Indonesia, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skinks are from Indonesia, and are often what you see in the pet stores for $199.99. They are snatched from the wild and sold to pet stores for about $25. Irian Jaya’s are truly terrific BTS that are capable of shades of orange, brown, and red. These babies 100% captive bred. Irian Jaya (and Indonesians) are the easiest type of BTS to find, but keep in mind, finding a truly captive bred bluey can prove to be very difficult. Nearly ALL pet store blue tongues are wild caught. Very, very rarely do you see Northerns in pet stores because it’s simply not cost-efficient for reptile businesses to breed them.

A cheque, for over K1 million belonging to the Telefomin people in West
Sepik, lost in a taxi by a politician, has been found. The cheque was
returned to Telefomin MP Peter Iwei’s parliament office following
widespread publicity and public appeal. Telefomin has a population of about 40,000 people who share a common border with Indonesia.

The idea is one of the ways of sharing poverty in the villages. Their spirit is: they will eat together and starve together. A cyclical plague of rats was likely to continue destroying crops in the region in the coming season. The hill tracts are experiencing a severe infestation of rats, which occurs every 50 years or so, as bamboo flowers produce seeds high in protein, and rats breed four times faster than normal during this time. The rats destroy the paddy and vegetable fields resulting in severe food crisis among the communities. The rat infestation grew over the last two years and may continue for another two to three years. The rodent plague is also affecting at least 25,000 people in six villages along the Indian state of Mizoram.

The Inuit believe our world has tilted on its axis and this contributes to climate change. The elders in Pangnirtung, Iqaluit, Resolute Bay and Igloolik – all believe this phenomenon to be true. It’s been very interesting to see elders and hunters across Nunavut make the same observation about the world having shifted on its axis. Elders across Nunavut have noticed that the sun and stars have changed their position in the sky. The sun is now rising higher and staying longer than it used to. Importantly, in the far north, you must remember that the sun goes below the horizon for a large part of the year, and therefore Inuit are very familiar with its celestial pattern. Indeed, Inuit are telling stories about how in the old days, during the dark months, they would travel the land by dog team using stars as their navigational tools. So, when Inuit talk about the sun and stars, they do so with an intimate knowledge of these systems.

11/9/2009

AN ELDERLY BRITISH BANGLADESHI BORDER GUARD SEIZES NEW NICARAGUAN CURRENCY DEPICTING CHINA COCAINE CLIMATE CYCLONE CHANGED COUPLE, AS SOUTHWEST CARIBBEAN SAUDI LANKAN OVERTURNED TANKER TAX CHEATS VENEZUELAN ROBBERY REFUGEES — PNG COSTA EUCALYPTUS DEGLUPTA RICAN WOMEN, BANGLADESH 'DEMON WORSHIPPER MATUTO` PAINTINGS FEAR MUHAMMAD YAMAHA MYANMAR MAY ATTACK THEIR SWINE COCOA POD BORER FORBIDDEN FLU FOOD VOUCHERS FOR FOUR MOTOR RIOT CITIES, OPIUM SEASON ISLANDS IN KENYAN LASHES SLUM TIGHT PANTS KILLING 330,000 INDIAN SNACKS, 22 PAKISTAN POUNDS, 510 KILOS OF AMAZONIAN BEACHGOERS — CALLS FOR 350 AWAKENING TROPICAL DIVALI DEPRESSIONS, READIES FLOOD-TOLERANT CORRUPTION AND OUTBOARD TORTURE IMMIGRATION SONGS

Bangladesh, which is currently engaged in a dispute with Myanmar over
border fencing, fears that Yangon may attack its St. Martin’s Island in the
Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), which guards the land border, has
identified the St Martin’s Island as the “probable main target” of Myanmar
and has asked the government to immediately strengthen its defence by
constructing aircraft landing zones and concrete bunkers. This is contained
in a “strategic proposal” that came in the wake of constant military
build-up and intimidation by Myanmar. The St Martin’s Island, the only
coral island of the country and the main attraction for local and foreign
tourists for its panoramic beauty and pristine marine life, is under the
jurisdiction of the Bangladesh Coastguards. The island, which is located in
a mineral rich region in the Bay of Bengal, is 8 km west of Myanmar coast.
The BDR has submitted its proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the
Prime Minister’s Office, the navy and air force headquarters and the
director general of Coastguards. It has also urged the government to
increase defence capability of land and sea borders to “repulse any
possible aggression by the neighbouring country”.

China has started the relocation of 330,000 residents to make way for a
canal bringing water from the south to the north of the country, in China’s
second-largest resettlement scheme. Families from Henan and Hubei provinces
are being moved to make way for a canal which will run from the Yangtze
River to Beijing. They are being moved to newly-built villages and will
receive an annual subsidy of around 88 US dollars. The scheme is part of an
expansion of the Danjiangkou reservoir. The government says it hopes to
have water flowing from the Yangtze and its tributaries to the arid north
part of the country by 2014. Around 1.3 million people have already been
relocated to make way for the Three Gorges Dam, which was completed last
year.

A high-profile coalition of artists — including the members of Pearl Jam,
R.E.M. and the Roots — demanded that the government release the names of
all the songs that were blasted since 2002 at prisoners for hours, even
days, on end, to try to coerce cooperation or as a method of punishment.
Dozens of musicians endorsed a Freedom of Information Act request filed by
the National Security Archive, a Washington-based independent research
institute, seeking the declassification of all records related to the use
of music in interrogation practices. The artists also launched a formal
protest of the use of music in conjunction with torture. “I think every
musician should be involved,” said Rosanne Cash. “It seems so obvious.
Music should never be used as torture.” The singer-songwriter (and daughter
of Johnny Cash) said she reacted with “absolute disgust” when she heard of
the practice. “It’s beyond the pale. It’s hard to even think about.” Other
musicians, including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Tom Morello,
formerly of the band Rage Against the Machine, also expressed outrage. “The
fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens
me,” Morello said in a statement. “We need to end torture and close
Guantanamo now.”

Approximately 57 small islands scattered around southern Trenggalek
regency, East Java, are still unnamed. Their natural potentials have not
been identified as well. The islands are scattered, starting from Panggul
water to Prigi, Watulimo sub district. The small islands could yet be used
maximally. The procedure of island identification and the mapping of
natural potentials of the 57 islands are also very complicated. Permission
from the Local Affairs Department and recommendations from the provincial
government is required. Also, because island naming is overseen by the
international law, PBB must also approve it. Another challenge in the
identification of the islands is the different perceptions between
Trenggalek local government and Tulungagung regional government on some of
the islands located in the borderline between the two regions. The
anonymous islands have a considerable amount of swallow nests. Due to the
absence of budget to optimize the resources, the swallow nests are
reportedly often stolen.

Many “matuto” paintings, as a kind of scratches from the pre-historic rock
arts, were found in a number of villages which belong to Kaimana District,
Provinice of Papua Barat. Matuto is a shape of a half-man lizard and
believed as the ancestor of heroes. A lot of matuto paintings were found at
niche surfaces made as canvas for the artists of the pre-historic time in
several archaeological sites. Matuto motif belongs to an anthropomorphic
group with religious meaning representing the people`s ancestors living in
Kaimana in the pre-historic time. Besides matuto, the anthropomorphic group
also includes a palm-print motif which means a protective power to prevent
from evil things, and a human motif. Matuto paintings were found in the
sites of Omborecena, Memnemba, Memnemnambe and Tumberawasi located in
Maimai village. Whereas in Namatota village, matuto paintings were also
found in the sites of Werfora I, Werfora II, Werfora III and Werfora IV.
The other pre-historic paintings which were scratched at the niche surfaces
are in the motifs of lizard, fish, tortoise, crocodile, cuscus, snake, bird
and sea horse which belong to the fauna group. In the geometrical motif,
there are the pictures of sun, direction mark, rectangular and circle. The
pictures of man`s cultural objects include those on the shapes of boat,
boomerang, spear, rock axe, sago hammer and mask. Pre-historic men
scratched paintings on niche surfaces with natural color substance and
their works were called rock arts which served as media to express ideas or
thoughts concerning certain events. These archaeological relics are sort of
civilization from the ancestor`s community in Papua, and have enriched the
national culture.

A new World Food Programme (WFP) pilot project plans to use text messages
on mobile phones to distribute food vouchers to Iraqi refugees in Syria.
The United Nations announced the scheme this week and said it will target
1,000 Iraqi refugee families living in Damascus. Families will be provided
with a special SIM card to receive a 22 US dollar voucher every two months,
which can be exchanged for rice, wheat flour, lentils, chickpeas, oil,
canned fish, cheese and eggs at selected shops. The WFP explained that all
the 130,000 Iraqi refugees currently receiving food aid in Syria already
have mobile phones. The project will initially run for four months, but
might be extended depending on its success.

Members of the protective services routinely muzzle sweep each other, along
with civilians. One IATF officer shot himself in the toe while on patrol in
a densely populated area of the capital city. These armed persons are a
potential menace. Another member of the public was ‘accidentally’ shot by a
cop while holding his five-year-old daughter on the roadside, while waiting
to cross the street. This occurred at a busy intersection, at Charlotte and
Duke Streets, in Port of Spain. Criminals arriving by, and leaving in small
fishing boats, have been targeting sea-bathers at Chagville Beach in
Chaguaramas. What makes this particularly frustrating is that this beach is
across the street from the TT Defense Force Headquarters. The TTDF has a
proud history of serving this nation, so it’s ironic that these violent
crimes occur within line-of-sight of their HQ. One may argue that the
classical role of a defence force is not law enforcement. True; but if that
is the case in our country, then why do we have police/army “joint
patrols”? Surely TTDF Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Edmund Dillon is
taking this as a personal assault on the reputation of the TTDF. After all,
one of it’s stated responsibilities is, “cooperate with and assist the
civil power in maintaining law and order.” Additionally, every Chief of
Defence Staff has included these words (in one form or another) in their
speeches: “The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force is fully prepared to
defend the sovereign good of our nation from all enemies, foreign or
domestic.” How about starting with enemies across the street? The primary
agency charged with the responsibility of policing the Western peninsula is
the Chaguaramas Development Authority Police. Inspector Abdul Singh, the
highest ranking officer of the CDA police, has many challenges, including
acute shortages of personnel, arms, ammunition and vehicles.

In Ecuador, the Shuar are blocking highways to defend their hunting
grounds. In Chile, the Mapuche are occupying ranches to pressure for land,
schools and clinics. In Bolivia, a new constitution gives the country’s 36
indigenous peoples the right to self-rule. All over Latin America, and
especially in the Andes, a political awakening is emboldening Indians who
have lived mostly as second-class citizens since the Spanish conquest. Much
of it is the result of better education and communication, especially as
the Internet allows native leaders in far-flung villages to share ideas and
strategies across international boundaries. But much is born of necessity:
Latin American nations are embarking on an unprecedented resource hunt,
moving in on land that Indians consider their own — and whose pristine
character is key to their survival. “The Indian movement has arisen because
the government doesn’t respect our territories, our resources, our Amazon,”
says Romulo Acachu, president of the Shuar people, flanked by warriors
carrying wooden spears and with black warpaint smeared on their faces. A
month ago, the Shuar put up barbed-wire roadblocks on highway bridges in
Ecuador’s southeastern jungles to protest legislation that would allow
mines on Indian lands without their prior consent, and put water under
state control. An Indian schoolteacher was killed in a battle with riot
police. “If there are 1,000 dead they will be good deaths,” says another
Shuar leader, Rafael Pandam. The Shuar won, at least this round. A week
after the killing, President Rafael Correa received about 100 Indian
leaders at the presidential palace and agreed to reconsider the laws.
Correa had earlier called the Indians “infantile” for their insistence on
being consulted over mining concessions. But he didn’t need to be reminded
that natives — a third of the population — have become an indispensible
constituent and helped topple an Ecuadorean government in 2000.

Mouth-watering Indian snacks like the spicy chaat, masala dosas and chicken
rolls are increasingly becoming popular in Bangladesh where the taste for
western fast food has been holding sway till now. A number of trendy
restaurants in metropolis Dhaka and other cities are now introducing the
snacks in their menu in a bid to attract not only the local food buffs but
international visitors as well. “No longer satisfied with hamburgers, hot
dogs and fries, Bangladeshi eating out habits, never to be left behind, has
also caught on to the trend. Indian items are fast replacing the European
menu as the favoured grab-and-go food of choice, not just because of the
taste but its healthier make-up, and has spread around the world. Popular
restaurants like ‘Dhaba’ are now selling chaat items like bhel puri and the
golgappa. It also has dahi papri, papri chaat, aloo chaat and aloo tikki.
These mouth-watering treats are all served up to you with a smile.

The Weather Office has warned the country to prepare for the cyclone season
in coming months. In a media advisory, the office said the tropical cyclone
season is between November and April. However, the month of January has
been predicted as the peak month for cyclone to hit. Cyclone can also occur
during other months before November and after April however, with lower
risks. On average, one or two cyclone forms in Solomon Islands each year.
Although, El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a significant contributor
to the year to year variability in tropical cyclone activity in the South
Pacific Ocean, it does not have great influence on the cyclone frequency
occurring here. With the typical El Nino conditions continue to persist in
the Tropical Pacific the outlook for Tropical Cyclone activity in the
Solomon Islands during November 2009 to April 2010 is likely to be average
due to the weak El Nino condition. In light of a likely cyclone occurrence,
local communities have been reminded to remain alert and prepared for any
cyclone hit during this season.

Bangladesh is set to officially release three flood-tolerant rice varieties
that would help farmers prevent up to a million tonnes of annual crop loss
caused by flash floods. These rice varieties with submergence-tolerant
gene, known as Sub1, can withstand two weeks of complete submergence. The
Seed Certification Agency has been asked to release the three
submergence-tolerant varieties, Swarna-Sub1, BR-11-Sub1, and
BR-11-Recombinant-Sub1. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports the
project. The flood-tolerant versions of the high-yielding varieties (HYVs),
popular with farmers and consumers, that are grown over huge areas across
Bangladesh are effectively identical to their susceptible counterparts but
those recover after severe flooding to yield well. The Sub1 varieties
withstood submergence quite well during this year’s flash floods in
Jamalpur’s Dewanganj, Kurigram’s Kachir Char, Mymensingh’s Dhobaura and
Sylhet’s Golapganj. The Sub1 varieties have been tested in six BRRI fields
and nine farmers’ fields over the last couple of years and all results show
positive signs.

Trinidad and Tobago joined millions of Hindus around the world to celebrate
Divali, also known as Diwali, Deepavali or Dipavali. Thousands of Hindus
and non-Hindus lined their homes and streets with deyas, a clay vessel
holding coconut oil and a wick. The illuminated streets, a reminder of why
Divali is called the festival of lights, are reminiscent of good triumphing
over evil. The deya is also meant to raise awareness in the believer of his
or her own inner light. The streets of many parts of Trinidad and Tobago
where Hindus make up the majority were beautifully lit. Curved bamboo
strips, walls and fences were used as stands for the deyas. A growing trend
in Trinidad and Tobago is also to see non-Hindus lighting deyas and placing
them on their walls and banisters. Roti shops, caterers and other places
selling Indo-Caribbean food also report a sharp incline in sales around
this time, as enthusiasm about local Indian food spurts, primarily among
persons without home access to the popular dishes. On these islands where
many celebrate everything, every last trimester the local celebratory
spirit ascends. The muslim celebration Eid-ul-Fitr, the Hindu festival
Divali, and the Christian season of Christmas often ensue in rapid
succession. Many who put up lights for Divali will leave up their electric
lights until the end of Christmas and the start of Carnival. In some
regards, it could be argued that the cultural calendar of Trinidad and
Tobago begins with either Eid or Divali – whichever comes first – because
thereafter one season flows into the next. As a result, ethnic groups in
Trinidad and Tobago demonstrate high levels of religious tolerance,
cultural cohabitation and racial harmony. The world should take note.

The recent conflict in the Pakistani region of South Waziristan has already
displaced at least 160,000 people and could rise to 260,000 in the next few
weeks. Local aid workers have registered 160,000 people in six IDP camps
around Dera Ismail Khan, a town on the southern fringe of the tribal area.
They expect a further 100,000 people to arrive in the next few weeks. The
total would amount to just over half of the area’s 500,000 population.
Fighting in South Waziristan has escalated since the government launched a
renewed military offensive against the Taliban. The move follows attacks by
Taliban militants across Pakistan that left at least 175 dead, including a
suicide bomb that exploded at Islamabad University, killing four people.

The musicians’ announcement was coordinated with the recent call by
veterans and retired Army generals to shut Guantanamo. It is part of a
renewed effort to pressure President Obama to keep his promise to close the
prison in Cuba in his first year in office. A White House spokesman said
music is no longer used as an instrument of torture, part of a shift in
policy on interrogations that Obama made on his second full day in office.
The president also formed an interagency group, called High-Value Detainee
Interrogation Group, to examine the techniques used during questioning, but
a White House spokesman said that the new group has yet to be fully
constituted. “The president banned the use of ‘enhanced interrogation
techniques,’ and issued an executive order that established that
interrogations must be consistent with the techniques in the Army Field
Manual and the Geneva Conventions,” a White House official said. “Sound at
a certain level creates sensory overload and breaks down subjectivity and
can bring about a regression to infantile behavior. Its effectiveness
depends on the constancy of the sound, not the qualities of the music.
Played at a certain volume, it simply prevents people from thinking.

The CIA Playlist includes:

AC/DC Aerosmith Barney theme song (By Bob Singleton) The Bee Gees Britney
Spears Bruce Springsteen Christina Aguilera David Gray Deicide Don McClean
Dope Dr. Dre Drowning Pool Eminem Hed P.E. James Taylor Limp Bizkit Marilyn
Manson Matchbox Twenty Meatloaf Meow mix jingle Metallica Neil Diamond Nine
Inch Nails Pink Prince Queen Rage against the Machine Red Hot Chili Peppers
Redman Saliva Sesame street theme music (By Christopher Cerf) Stanley
Brothers The Star Spangled Banner Tupac Shakur

Pins Depicting Muhammad Picture Circulating: The pins also incribe an
Arabian writing that reads ‘Prophet Muhammad SAW’. After receiving report
on the circulation of the pins, East Makassar police immediately arrest the
pin owners. According to East Makassar Police Head, his team has caught two
owners of the Prophet pin. “They are Bahanda, the resident of Samata sub
district, Gowa regency, and Anto, the resident of Tonro, Makassar.” From
Bahanda’s house, the police confiscated 5 pins and stickers with the
drawing of Prophet Muhammad printed on. The police also seized a laptop.
“Currently, the focus of the investigation is the ownership of the pins
which have been circulating in Makassar during the past two days. The two
suspects are still undergoing inquisitions at the police headquarters. “For
now, no charges have been laid, including the accusation of religion
outrage.”

The figures by the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) reveals that more
Nicaraguan men are more likely to marry Costa Rican women than Nicaraguan
women to marry Costa Rican men when the arrive in Costa Rica, with a total
of 12.515 Nicaraguan men marrying “ticas”, while only 934 Nicaraguan women
married “ticos” between 1950 and 2009. Nicaraguan men arrive in Costa Rica
single and without commitment, while the women leave behind children and a
significant other which to stay faithful to. Perhaps the reason is that
more Nicaraguan men come to Costa Rican than Nicaraguan women, explaining
the difference in the numbers. The man is looking to settle here, is more
irresponsible and not attached to theri children back in Nicaragua. The
woman are transitory, leaving children and partner behind with an eye to
returning. They marry for increased sexual potency, protection from
immigration and to have a Costa Rican child. One man said Costa Rican women
are pretty, while other say they don’t like Costa Rican woman because they
are “too liberal”, “like to go out a lot” and “are bossy”.

For the second year in a row, world grain production rose, with farmers
producing some 2.3 billion tons. The record harvest was up more than 7
percent and caps a decade in which only half the years registered gains.
Today, only 150 crops are cultivated, a sharp drop from the 10,000 used
over time, and three grains–maize, rice, and wheat–combined with potatoes
provide more than 50 percent of human energy needs.

At least two people died and 100 people were injured when Bangladesh police
fired rubber bullets at thousands of garment factory workers rioting over
unpaid wages. The two people were killed after around 15,000 workers began
hurling stones and rocks, prompting officers to retaliate, in the worst
industrial violence to shake Bangladesh as it struggles to cope with the
fallout from the global recession. The protesters, who worked for
Bangladeshi-owned Nippon Garments, were demanding three months’ back pay
from owners who had shut down the factory, blaming a lack of orders. The
law-enforcers had to fire rubber bullets from shotguns to disperse the
workers who hurled stones and bricks at the cops; two people had died. At
least 100 workers and a number of cops were hurt in the clashes in the
Tongi Industrial Area, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Dhaka. Nine of the
injured were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital « with wounds
caused by live ammunition and some are in serious condition. The cops said
they used only rubber bullets to quell the unrest. The angry workers became
unruly and violent this morning. They threw up barricades on the roads and
suddenly attacked police. The workers also damaged vehicles, torching some,
and blockaded road links between Bangladesh’s northern districts and Dhaka.
The clashes were the most severe since the global downturn began to affect
Bangladeshi apparel factories, which accounted for 80 percent of the
country’s 15.56 billion dollars worth of exports in the last financial
year. Some 50,000 workers protesting wage cuts and unpaid salaries clashed
with police, leaving scores injured. The global slowdown had forced many
factories in the country to lay off workers or shut down. Western retailers
who are our top buyers have cut orders and squeezed prices. The big
factories have somehow coped, but most of the small- and medium-sized
factories are facing very tough times. Overseas shipments fell by three
percent. Unions said factories have cut wages to compete for orders with
other apparel-producers, such as Vietnam, China and India.The owners of
Nippon Garments were due to pay the wages and had asked employees to
collect their money. But they shut down the factory in the night and sent
police to guard the factory. The workers became angry when they saw the
owners had left without paying the salaries. Forty percent of Bangladesh’s
industrial workforce is employed in the garment sector.

Indians make up one in 10 of Latin America’s half-billion inhabitants. In
some parts of the Andes and Guatemala, they are far more numerous. Yet they
remain much poorer and less educated than the general population. About 80
percent live on less than $2 a day — a poverty rate double that of the
general population — while some 40 percent lack access to health care. The
threats to Indian land have grown in recent years. With shrinking global
oil reserves and growing demands for minerals and timber, oil and mining
concerns are joining loggers in encroaching on traditional Indian lands.
Indians have been progressively losing control and ownership of natural
resources on their lands. The situation isn’t very encouraging. Hence the
revolt rippling up and down the Andes. In Peru, south of the Shuar’s lands,
the government has divided more than 70 percent of the Amazon into oil
exploration blocks and has begun selling concessions. Fearing contamination
of their hunting and fishing grounds, Indians last year began mounting
sporadic road and river blockades. Riot police opened fire on Indians at a
road blockade outside the town of Bagua, where jungle meets Andean
foothills. At least 33 people were killed, most of them police. The Indians
were unapologetic for resisting. “Almost everything we have comes from the
jungle,” says one of the protesters, a wiry elementary school teacher from
the Awajun tribe named Gabriel Apikai. “The leaves, and wood and vines with
which we build our homes. The water from the streams. The animals we eat.
That is why we are so worried.” Farther south along the world’s longest
mountain chain, Chilean police are protecting 34 ranches and logging
compounds that Mapuche Indians have targeted for occupations or sabotage.
The Mapuche, who dominated Chile before the Spanish conquest, now account
for less than 10 percent of its people and hold some 5 percent of its land
— among the least fertile. Mapuche activists agitating for title to more
lands and greater access to education and health care stepped up civil
disobedience this year. Riot police mounting an eviction killed one
Mapuche, and eight were injured. “If the government and the political class
doesn’t listen to our demands the situation will get a lot more difficult,”
Mapuche leader Jose Santos Millao said. He rejects as a “smoke screen”
President’s creation of an Indian Affairs Ministry.

The crime upsurge cannot be ignored despite the absolutely gracious
approach of the British couple who sent a letter of assurance to the
Minister of Tourism and to the THA about their undying love and affection
for the island and its people even after the vicious attack they suffered.
The killing and burying of a German, whose body was found in a shallow
grave, is the latest setback. Bringing the number of murders on the island
to 11, this latest incident also flies in the face of the attempts by the
police to demonstrate that they have the situation well under control.
After every such major crime, the police pledge to take stronger measures,
to increase patrols and to maintain a more visible presence in what they
themselves identify as vulnerable areas. The discovery of the body of the
German at what was his home in Bacolet Crescent does indeed present a new
feature to the murder picture in Tobago. It suggests that criminals are
employing even more grisly methods of perpetrating these offences, further
fouling the environment in which all concerned must respond. Sensing that
he was indeed in some danger, with death threats having been issued to him,
the man was reportedly in the process of making arrangements to leave
Tobago for good. That he was a German-the nationality that has had such a
long and deeply ingrained association with Tobago-is bound to send further
shock waves through that community many of whom have shared their hitherto
wonderful experiences with others who have been making regular trips to
Tobago. Much work is going to be needed to continue the repair job on the
island’s image occasioned by this and the other serious offences. But the
multiplier effect of another gruesome incident such as this on the island’s
profile cannot be underestimated, no matter what the manner of the media
coverage may be, no matter what means may be employed to colour the
presentation.

Try telling Brother Jerry Smith that the recession in America has ended. As
scores of people queued up at the soup kitchen which the Capuchin friar
helps run in Detroit, the celebrations on Wall Street in New York seemed
from another world. The hungry and needy come from miles around to get a
free healthy meal. Though the East Detroit neighbourhood the soup kitchen
serves has had it tough for decades, the recession has seen almost any hope
for anyone getting a job evaporate. Neither is there any sign that jobs
might come back soon. Some in the past have had jobs here, but now there is
nothing available to people. Nothing at all. The hungry, the homeless and
the poor crowded around tables. Many were by themselves, but some were
families with young children. None had jobs. Indeed, the soup kitchen
itself is now starting to dip into its savings to cope with a drying up of
desperately needed donations. This is an area where times are so tough that
the soup kitchen is a major employer for the neighbourhood, keeping its own
staff out of poverty. Officially, America is on the up. The economy grew by
3.5% in the past quarter. On Wall Street, stocks are rising again. The
banks – rescued wholesale by taxpayers’ money last year – are posting
billions of dollars of profits. Thousands of bankers and financiers are
wetting their lips at the prospect of enormous bonuses, often matching or
exceeding those of pre-crash times. The financial sector is lobbying
successfully to fight government attempts to regulate it. The wealthy are
beginning to snap up property again, pushing prices up. In New York’s
fashionable West Village a senior banker recently splurged $10m on a single
apartment, sending shivers of delight through the city’s property brokers.
But for tens of millions of Americans such things seem irrelevant. Across
the country lay-offs are continuing. Indeed, jobless rates are expected to
rise. Unemployment in America stands at 9.8%. But that headline figure,
massaged by bureaucrats, does not include many categories of the jobless.
Another, broader official measure, which includes those such as the
long-term jobless who have given up job-seeking and workers who can only
find piecemeal part-time work, tells another story. That figure stands at
17%.

Darshona Sub1 at Darshona remained unharmed despite being completely
submerged for nine to 16 days this year. 65 percent of farmers cultivate
BR-11 during aman season, which is susceptible to flash floods or rainwater
over 10 days. So the Sub1 varieties now hold the potential to become a good
replacement for BR-11. There are four different Sub1 varieties, IR-64-
Sub1, Samba Mahsuri-Sub1, BR-11-Sub1, and Swarna-Sub1, at the Darshona
trial site. Of these four, the former two are relatively shorter-duration
rice while the later two takes a long time to harvest. The new varieties
were made possible following the identification of a single gene that is
responsible for most of the submergence tolerance. The gene is found in a
low-yielding traditional Indian rice variety known to withstand floods. The
potential for impact is huge. In Bangladesh, for example, 20 percent of the
rice land is flood prone and the country typically suffers several major
floods each year. Submergence-tolerant varieties could make major inroads
into Bangladesh’s annual rice shortfall and substantially reduce its import
needs. As water inundates rice fields, Sub1 gene helps rice plants remain
‘metabolically inert’ for up to two weeks; thereby, keeping the plants
unaffected. But if the water remain stagnant for a longer duration, it will
not be possible for the crop to withstand.” Farmers would be benefited if
the submergence tolerant rice varieties are released soon. The Philippines
released its first submergence-tolerant rice variety, Submarino 1,
recently.

They form the single biggest mass of refugees today, and they face an
uncertain fate as a factor in a geopolitical game involving two Asian
giants and allied players. For the about 400,000 fugitives from tiny Sri
Lanka’s Tamil-speaking areas of less than 18,000 square kilometers
together, the outlook has only become more unsettling. The tide of Tamil
refugees from the island-state’s northern and eastern provinces represents
a twin issue. About 100,000 of them are inmates of rather inhospitable
refugee camps in India’s southern State of Tamilnadu. They have been
languishing there for varying lengths of time, with the influx starting way
back in 1984. The population in the camps includes a generation of Sri
Lankan Tamils who have known no home but India but are not made to feel
quite at home in the country. The rest – as many as 300,000 – have been
held in camps behind barbed wires as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in
the war-ravaged parts of Sri Lanka since Colombo declared total victory
over Tamil rebels seeking a separate state. The inmates have been told to
be prepared to stay put for a period of one to three years. The population
of these camps consists of divided families, with mothers looking for
separated children and women for lost husbands. The plight of these
uprooted people of both categories poses a humanitarian problem of huge
proportions. That, however, would not appear to be how it is viewed in
quarters which matter in India and could make a difference in the
increasing distress of the displaced. New Delhi is under pressure to look
upon the tragedy, if not as a trump card, at least as a useful lever in the
Indian Ocean region where its influence is seen to be under threat from
China with Pakistan in tow. The debate rages in the media over the role
India should play in this perspective, even as the refugees await an
aggravation of their conditions in the camps. The north-eastern monsoon,
which brings most of the rains for this region for about three months until
December, is round the corner. The wet season threatens to prove a time of
terrible woes, particularly for the IDPs in their tarpaulin tents in
overcrowded camps. Unless people are moved from these areas, … an
inundation of water … will make it impossible to live…. The latrines
will overflow, water supplies will be unusable and access by wheeled
vehicles impossible. It will be pretty unbearable. More intolerable to some
security analysts will be India’s failure to use this fresh opportunity to
counter the influence of China and allies allowed to grow in its own
backyard over the past two decades. India has had its share of refugee
problems, but the spillover from Sri Lanka’s civil war falls into a special
category. The most politicized of the problems has been Bangladeshi
immigrants, estimated at 10 million (against the country’s population of
about 1.15 billion). India’s far right has always called them
“infiltrators” and sought to fuel pseudo-religious hatred against them as
Islamist fifth columnists. But this has remained an internal political
issue, with rather poor returns for its inventors.

The Seventh Summit of the ALBA, the Venezuela-led trade and economic bloc,
ended with a decision to implement a single currency for transactions among
member states. The leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Vincent
and the Grenadines were among those who approved the Single Regional
Payment Compensation System (SUCRE). A multidisciplinary team from the ALBA
nations will begin technical operations for its implementation. However, it
is not yet clear how the introduction of the SUCRE will impact the
governments in St John’s, Roseau and Kingstown, since all three are members
of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union that uses the EC dollar as its
common currency. The meeting also signed a special resolution condemning
the Honduras coup. The text demands the immediate reinstatement of Jose
Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a military coup. Zelaya sneaked back into
the Central American country and has been holding negotiations with the
newly-installed government on the way forward. Antigua and Barbuda,
Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines are the only Caribbean Community
countries that are also members the bloc that was formed in 2004 as an
alternative proposal to the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Actions and events are planned in every Pacific Island nation for the 350
International Day of Climate Action. In the last 24 hours, events from the
Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati have been registered with
www.350.org, completing the entire list of Pacific countries. Pacific
communities, many of whom are already affected by climate change, are
uniting to create actions that will raise awareness of impacts in the
Pacific. Each country’s call for action on climate change will be broadcast
through a global network, including on a huge screen in Times Square, New
York. In Kiribati, the 350 action involves over 2000 students and the
President, Anote Tong, in a beach clean up. In FSM, 350 coconut trees are
being planted after a celebration of the use of coconuts in traditional
society. Inhabitants of Cartaret Island will be some of the first people in
the world to be displaced by climate change. The 350 action will be located
at their proposed relocation site to highlight the massive implications of
climate change on their future. Cartaret Islanders will be transported by
boat in a flotilla to the relocation site where church gongs will ring 350
times and 350 mangrove seedlings will be planted. There will also be live
contemporary and traditional song and dance performances. Many of the
Pacific events involve peoples aggregating in traditional dress, and
performances of traditional song and dance. In Fiji, the Econesians are
staging a giant procession in Suva with song, dance, poetry and
entertainment. The Pacific Council of Churches is organising lalis
(traditional wooden gongs) 350 times to show their support for a safe
climate future. In the Solomon Islands a public march will culminate with
traditional Kastom dance and music in the ‘Cultural Village’. Traditional
song and dance will also be a major part of events in Papua New Guinea.

Ten men who belonged to the same soccer team were slain execution-style
after being abducted in a crime that could be the work of warring factions
in neighboring Colombia. Venezuelan troops stepped up security patrols in
the area near the Colombian border after the bodies of 10 men, most of them
Colombians, were found in multiple spots in western Tachira state. The
victims were among a group of 12 men who were kidnapped from a field where
they were playing soccer. The victims’ relatives reported the abduction of
10 Colombians, a Peruvian and a Venezuelan. The kidnappers, described as
armed men dressed in black, were thought to have called out the names of
the team’s members one by one before taking them away in vehicles. The
killings occurred near a porous border where Colombian rebels, paramilitary
fighters and drug smugglers are often able to move about with ease.
Venezuelan officials also have struggled in recent years with frequent
kidnappings and murders blamed on common criminals in various parts of the
country. The motive behind the latest slayings remains unclear. The single
known survivor, 19-year-old Manuel Cortez of Colombia, was shot in the
neck, said Orlando Lopez, one of his brothers. Lopez said that his brother
didn’t know his abductors. “They had them tied up for 14 days in the sun,”
Lopez said. “They tied them up to some trees, with chains on their necks
and with their hands locked up.” Lopez said his brother recalled the men
saying the hostages “didn’t have anything to do with it but that they were
going to kill them because they had seen their faces.” As for Cortez, “they
put him on his knees and they shot him,” Lopez said by phone from the
military hospital in Caracas where his brother was moved after being afraid
for his safety at a hospital in San Cristobal in the border region. A
stranger arrived at the first hospital asking to see Cortez and was
detained by authorities, Lopez said. “We don’t know what group” was behind
the killings, Lopez said. A list of names released by Venezuelan
authorities showed the victims ranged in age from 17 to 38, and several
were from the Colombian town of Bucaramanga, about 90 kilometers (55 miles)
from the border. Investigators suspect the bloodshed may be tied to a
confrontation between irregular groups as part of the Colombian conflict.
Venezuelan troops in the area had been ordered to “act forcefully” against
any armed Colombian group. Colombian officials in the past have accused
Venezuela of allowing leftist rebels to take refuge across the border.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe condemned the killings and said they “show
that terrorism is international, that it has no borders.” He offered help
in the investigation and expressed confidence Venezuelan authorities will
act promptly to “take those terrorists to jail.” Relations have been tense
recently between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Uribe’s U.S.-allied
government. Colombian officials have been critical of Venezuela’s efforts
to police its territory and reduce the flow of Colombian cocaine. Venezuela
charges Colombia and the U.S. are trying to use the drug issue to unfairly
discredit Chavez’s government.

A demon worshipper killed four members of his family before killing himself
on remote Misima Island in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay province. Milne Bay
police described the gruesome murder-suicide on October 10 as a massacre on
Misima, an island 200km east of mainland PNG. The killer was said to be a
demon worshipper who believed in a black Jesus and worshipped on
mountaintops before dawn. Rodney Sinod, from Eaus village on the south
coast of Misima Island, had on numerous occasions told his family that he
was going to kill them so the world would be free. Police reports indicated
that on the fateful morning, after his usual worship on a mountain, Sinod
returned to the family home and, without warning, attacked his father with
an axe. The victim, who was feeding chickens outside, died instantly. Sinod
then ran past his shocked mother into the house where his niece and nephew,
aged two and five years, were playing and killed them with the axe, before
mowing down his sister-in-law. Sinod later turned on his 17-year-old niece,
who had just finished grade 10 at Misima High School a day earlier and had
come home to spend the holidays with her family. Sinod chopped off part of
the teenagers lower left hand with the axe and struck her on the head. The
girl survived the attack and is recovering from her wounds at the Misima
district hospital. Sinod then ran to a mountain where he stabbed himself in
the chest with a knife.At least six villages were engaged in such
activities and reported that even a police officer had established a church
on the island with similar beliefs. Bizarre cults spring up frequently in
PNG. Police in Morobe province were hunting a cult leader who was coercing
followers to take part in public sex with promises of a bumper banana
harvest.

The Government Accountability Office likes to point its finger at
Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands for sheltering tax cheats. But according
to the U.K.-based Tax Justice Network, the United States is the biggest tax
shelter of ’em all, thanks to the great state of Delaware. Delaware, says
the Tax Justice Network, is “the most secretive financial jurisdiction in
the world.” That’s based on an analysis of 60 financial jurisdictions
according to level of secrecy and cooperation with foreign tax authorities.
Luxembourg comes in second, followed by the Switzerland, the Cayman
Islands, and the United Kingdom. Here are some fun facts about Delaware: *
According to the Delaware Secretary of State’s office their operating
budget was $12 million in 2007 and they made $24 million in the fees for
expedited incorporation filings alone. * There are currently some 695,000
active entities registered in Delaware, including 50 percent of the
corporations publically traded on the U.S. stock exchange. * New business
formations in Delaware are currently running at about 130,000 per annum. *
The growth of private individual deposits by non-residents was most robust
in the United States outranking other popular financial jurisdictions such
as the Cayman Islands, United Kingdom, and Luxembourg with total
non-resident deposits equalling $2.6 trillion in 2007. Nicole Tichon of
U.S. PIRG, probably the foremost homegrown tax-haven basher, said the
United States needs to get its tax act together. “If the U.S. wants to be
taken seriously by the international community and try to get their
cooperation, then we’ve got to crack down on what’s going on here at home.
We can’t have it both ways,” said Tichon. “Bank secrecy breeds the same
problems, the same criminal behavior, and puts up the same roadblocks to
law enforcement regardless of where it occurs. As long as the U.S.
government looks the other way, it diminishes our credibility on this
issue.” The Obama administration talked a good game at first about clamping
down on U.S. corporations that abuse tax shelters, but the administration
has since waffled.

Streaks of brilliant colors — red, purple, yellow, blue, green — are
splashed across the trunk of this eucalyptus, which also goes by the name
of rainbow eucalyptus. The Mindanao gum is one of the few non-Australian
eucalypti. It is native to tropical rainforests in the Philippines,
Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and named for the Philippine island of
Mindanao. As such it likes regular water and cannot take drought. That and
the usual eucalyptus ills make it unlikely for it to be planted much
anymore, but its colorful decorations make it a prized specimen where it
does occur. Gum The tree is grown in tropical areas for pulpwood production
for paper and harvested at an early age. Sometimes it is allowed to develop
for construction lumber, but the wood is only moderately strong and not
durable. The Mindanao gum is a fast-growing, rather open, erect evergreen
tree that may reach a height of 75 to 200 feet and a width of 30 to 75
feet. The smooth bark peels off to display the bright colors underneath.
The oval, 6-inch-by-3-inch leaves are bright green. They contain only a
little aromatic oil. The tree may bloom when it is 2 years old. Flowers are
clustered together and not very conspicuous. When in bud the white to pale
yellow stamens that give blooming flowers a fluffy look are hidden in a
covered cap, known as an operculum. The stamens push this cap off at
flowering. The genus name, based on the Greek eu kalyptos, or well-covered,
refers to this hidden quality. Woody cone-shaped capsules appear after
flowering. The Mindanao gum will take a wide variety of soils, but likes
full sun. It is frost hardy down to 24 degrees Fahrenheit. Just like other
eucalyptus trees, it is susceptible to aphid-like psyllids and borers. The
genus Eucalyptus was named by the 18th century French botanist Charles
Louis l’Heritier. The tree is part of the myrtle family, or Myrtaceae.

Nowhere is Indian power so evident as Bolivia, which elected its first
indigenous president, Evo Morales, in 2005. Morales dissolved the Ministry
of Indigenous Affairs and Original Peoples, calling it racist in a country
where more than three in five people are aboriginals. Voters approved a
constitution that creates a “plurinational” state and accords Bolivia’s
natives sovereign status. Time-worn models of aboriginal government,
community justice and even traditional healing are now legally on equal
footing with modern law and science. In the capital of La Paz, “cholitas” —
Indian women in traditional bowler hats and embroidered shawls — now
regularly anchor TV newscasts. “Miss Cholita” beauty pageants are in vogue
and native hip-hop stars headline at nightclubs. At the presidential
palace, Morales — a former Aymara coca farmer who knew hunger as a child —
makes a point of lunching periodically with the lowliest of palace guards.
Morales is ensuring that profits from natural gas and mineral extraction
are distributed equitably and that water — whose privatization in the city
of Cochabamba spurred an uprising in 2000 — is never again privatized. He’s
also pushing to make electrical utilities public. Morales has founded three
indigenous universities, formalized quotas for Indians in the military and
created a special school for aspiring diplomats with native backgrounds.
And he is promoting a campaign to demand that all public servants be fluent
in at least one native tongue. “There is no way to return to the past,”
says Waskar Ari, an Aymara who changed his name to Juan in the 1970s so he
would be accepted to a private high school in La Paz. Now a University of
Nebraska professor, Ari likens his country’s “rebirth” to the casting off
of apartheid on another continent two decades ago. “Finally,” he says
proudly, “Bolivia is no longer the South Africa of Latin America.”

The warlords that the USA champions in Afghanistan are as venal, as opposed
to the rights of women and basic democratic freedoms, and as heavily
involved in opium trafficking as the Taliban. The moral lines we draw
between us and our adversaries are fictional. The uplifting narratives used
to justify the war in Afghanistan are pathetic attempts to redeem acts of
senseless brutality. War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including
democracy or the liberation of women. War always empowers those who have a
penchant for violence and access to weapons. War turns the moral order
upside down and abolishes all discussions of human rights. War banishes the
just and the decent to the margins of society. And the weapons of war do
not separate the innocent and the damned. An aerial drone is our version of
an improvised explosive device. An iron fragmentation bomb is our answer to
a suicide bomb. A burst from a belt-fed machine gun causes the same terror
and bloodshed among civilians no matter who pulls the trigger. We need to
tear the mask off of the fundamentalist warlords who after the tragedy of
9/11 replaced the Taliban. They used the mask of democracy to take power.
They continue this deception. These warlords are mentally the same as the
Taliban. The only change is physical. These warlords during the civil war
in Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 killed 65,000 innocent people. They have
committed human rights violations, like the Taliban, against women and many
others. In eight years less than 2,000 Talib have been killed and more than
8,000 innocent civilians has been killed. We believe that this is not war
on terror. This is war on innocent civilians. Look at the massacres carried
out by NATO forces in Afghanistan. Look what they did in the Farah
province, where more than 150 civilians were killed, most of them women and
children. They used white phosphorus and cluster bombs. The United States
and NATO eight years ago occupied Afghanistan under the banner of woman’s
rights and democracy. They put into power men who are photocopies of the
Taliban. Afghanistan’s boom in the trade in opium, used to produce heroin,
over the past eight years of occupation has funneled hundreds of millions
of dollars to the Taliban, al-Qaida, local warlords, criminal gangs,
kidnappers, private armies, drug traffickers and many of the senior figures
in the government of Hamid Karzai. The brother of President Karzai, Ahmed
Wali Karzai, has been collecting money from the CIA although he is a major
player in the illegal opium business. Afghanistan produces 92 percent of
the world’s opium in a trade that is worth some $65 billion. This opium
feeds some 15 million addicts worldwide and kills around 100,000 people
annually. These fatalities should be added to the rolls of war dead.

Added to that shocking statistic are the millions of Americans who remain
at risk of foreclosure. In many parts of the country repossessions are
still rising or spreading to areas that have escaped so far. In the months
to come, no matter what happens on the booming stock market, hundreds of
thousands of Americans are likely to lose their homes. For them the
recession is far from over. It rages on like a forest fire, burning through
jobs, savings and homes. It will serve to exacerbate a long-term trend
towards deepening inequality in America. Real wages in the US stagnated in
the 1970s and have barely risen since, despite rising living costs. The gap
between the average American worker and high-paid chief executives has
widened and widened. The richest 1% of Americans have more financial wealth
than the bottom 95%. It seems the American hope of a steady job, producing
rising income and a home in the suburbs, has evaporated for many. A
generation of aspiring middle-class homeowners have been wiped out by the
recession. Poor people just don’t have the political clout to lobby and get
what they need in the way Wall Street does. There is little doubt that
Detroit is ground zero for the parts of America that are still suffering.
The city that was once one of the wealthiest in America is a decrepit,
often surreal landscape of urban decline. It was once one of the greatest
cities in the world. The birthplace of the American car industry, it
boasted factories that at one time produced cars shipped over the globe.
Its downtown was studded with architectural gems, and by the 1950s it
boasted the highest median income and highest rate of home ownership of any
major American city. Culturally it gave birth to Motown Records, named in
homage to Detroit’s status as “Motor City”. Decades of white flight,
coupled with the collapse of its manufacturing base, especially in its
world-famous auto industry, have brought the city to its knees. Half a
century ago it was still dubbed the “arsenal of democracy” and boasted
almost two million citizens, making it the fourth-largest in America. Now
that number has shrunk to 900,000. Its once proud suburbs now contain row
after row of burnt-out houses. Empty factories and apartment buildings
haunt the landscape, stripped bare by scavengers. Now almost a third of
Detroit – covering a swath of land the size of San Francisco – has been
abandoned. Tall grasses, shrubs and urban farms have sprung up in what were
once stalwart working-class suburbs. Even downtown, one ruined skyscraper
sprouts a pair of trees growing from the rubble. The city has a shocking
jobless rate of 29%. The average house price in Detroit is only $7,500,
with many homes available for only a few hundred dollars. Not that anyone
is buying. At a recent auction of 9,000 confiscated city houses, only a
fifth found buyers.

A tropical depression has formed in the southwestern Caribbean, prompting
storm warnings for the coast of Nicaragua and two Colombian islands. The
National Hurricane Center in Miami said the 11th tropical depression of the
season formed Wednesday morning. It had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph
(55 kph) and is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm later in the
day or Wednesday night. The depression’s center is about 125 miles (200
kilometers) east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua. It is moving toward
the northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). Colombia issued tropical storm warnings
for the islands of San Andres and Providencia.

China figured once in the issue of Tibetan refugees, too, but it bears no
comparison to the problem of their Sri Lankan counterparts. The island’s
refugees enjoy a measure of ethnic solidarity in Tamilnadu, and their cause
has a certain constituency there. The State’s ruling party, the Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam (Party for Dravidian Progress) or the DMK, cannot ignore
the issue. And the DMK is an important part of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh’s coalition in New Delhi, headed by his Congress Party. Pressures of
local politics have prompted the DMK-led State government recently to press
for citizenship for the refugees in the camps under its less-than-adequate
care. The demand has elicited opposition charges that it is designed to
help the Sri Lankan government by keeping the refugees from returning to
their homeland. New Delhi has not yet revealed its response to the demand.
Nor is it known whether it is listening to lectures from experts about the
role it should play in postwar Sri Lanka. The time has come for India to
once again play an activist role … India should assume the leadership
role in helping Sri Lanka in its relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction
tasks. India has “strategic interest” in the island. The Sri Lankan
Government has been cultivating China and Pakistan to keep India in check.
It has good political and economic relations with China. It has invited
China to construct a modern port in Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka. It
has invited the Chinese to help it in gas exploration in areas which are
closet to India. Similarly, there is a growing military-military
relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which worries India. The
strategic conflict in Sri Lanka is part of a wider power struggle in South
Asia. China has developed strategic assets like the Gwadar port in
Pakistan, besides the Hambantota port. Sri Lanka sits next to shipping
lanes that feed 80 percent of China’s and 65 percent of India’s oil needs.

The Spanish Civil Guard seized 510 kilos of cocaine hidden in the engine
room of a tanker from Venezuela when it was in the north-east port of
Tarragona. The tanker, whose registration was not identified, had sailed
mid-September from Maracaibo (Venezuela) for Egypt but had to stop at
Tarragona to enable the captain to be permuted. The route of the tanker
aroused the suspicions of police, who then decided to conduct an
inspection. The 510 kilograms of cocaine were hidden in a room which
communicated with the axle of the rudder which was reached from inside the
boat through a small hatch or by the sea. An organized group of drug
traffickers, aboard a zodiac and equipped with diving suits, had brought
the 14 bales of drugs from the sea in this inaccessible cache and had to
recover them by the same method on arrival of the tanker. Spain is one of
the gateways to the European drugs problem in Europe, whether of hashish
from North Africa, or Latin American cocaine.

Customs agents have seized 22 pounds of opium after two packages at an
Oakland delivery facility from Thailand aroused the suspicions of agents.
After a closer search, the drugs were found wrapped in plastic and
concealed inside the false walls of large musical drums. The shipment was
bound for a location somewhere in Northern California before it was
intercepted. Opium is made from poppies. It contains morphine, which can be
used to make heroine. Authorities say the drug is often linked with gang
activity.

A female journalist in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 60 lashes over a
TV show in which a Saudi man described his extra-marital sex life. The
programme, made by Lebanese satellite network LBC, caused a huge scandal in
conservative Saudi Arabia when it was shown several months ago. The
journalist is one of two female LBC employees who have been arrested. Mazen
Abdul Jawad, the Saudi man who talked about how he picked up Saudi women
for sex, has already been jailed. The original programme was part of a
series called Red Lines, made by the popular LBC network. It examined
taboos in the Arab world. Unmarried sex in Saudi Arabia amongst Saudis –
rather than expatriates – is one of the biggest. Mazen Abdul Jawad provoked
outrage by describing his techniques for meeting and having sex with Saudi
women. He tearfully apologised but was jailed for five years and sentenced
to 1,000 lashes. Three of his friends who appeared on the show got two
years each. Mr Abdul Jawad blamed LBC producers for tricking him. The
station’s offices in Saudi Arabia were closed down and two of its producers
– both female – put on trial. LBC has made no comment about the cases. It
has long been attacked by Saudi religious leaders for being at the
forefront of Arab satellite stations broadcasting programmes into the
kingdom featuring scantily clad Arab singers and actresses. Ironically,
however, LBC is part-owned by the Saudi media mogul and billionaire Prince
Alwaleed bin Talal.

Muslim women would be banned from wearing tight pants in a devoutly Islamic
district of Indonesia’s Aceh province under proposed regulations to take
effect Jan. 1. It is the latest effort to promote strict moral values in
the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, where most of the roughly
200 million Muslims practice a moderate form of the faith. Any Muslim
caught violating the dress code, which also prohibits shorts for men, will
be told to put on government-issued full-length skirts or loose pants.
Patrolling Shariah, or Islamic police, will determine if clothing violates
the dress code. Wearing tight jeans exposes their bodies, which is strictly
banned under Islam. Civil servants are told to go beyond the rules and
refuse government services to women wearing the banned clothing. Islamic
law is not enforced across the vast island nation. But bans on drinking
alcohol, gambling and kissing in public, among other activities, have been
enforced by some more conservative local governments in recent years.
Opinion polls show that a majority of Indonesians oppose the restrictions
on dress and behavior that are being pushed by a small fringe of hardliners
in the secular democracy. Aceh, a semiautonomous region, made news when its
provincial parliament passed a Shariah law making adultery punishable by
stoning to death. It also imposed prison sentences and public lashings
against homosexuals and pedophiles. Rights groups say the law violates
international treaties and the Indonesian constitution.

Here are the Countries who HIDE 100% from the TAX Collectors Exactly what
you would think was true!

Jurisdiction HIDING SCORE
Switzerland 100
Malaysia (Labuan) 100
Barbados 100
Bahamas 100
Vanuatu 100
Belize 100
Dominica* 100
Brunei* 100
Turks & Caicos Islands* 100
St Lucia* 100
Samoa* 100
St Vincent & Grenadines* 100
Seychelles* 100

Second Tier of Hidden From Tax Collectors (Range from 90% to 96%)
Also Secondary Sort on Financial Secrecy Index Value

Mauritius 96
USA (Delaware) 92
Cayman Islands 92
Bermuda 92
Bahrain 92
British Virgin Islands 92
Portugal (Madeira) 92
Panama 92
United Arab Emirates (Dubai) 92
Costa Rica 92
Antigua & Barbuda* 92
Gibraltar* 92
St Kitts & Nevis* 92
Cook Islands* 92
Nauru* 92
Marshall Islands* 92
US Virgin Islands* 92
Grenada* 92
Austria 91
Lebanon 91
Israel 90
Liberia* 90

Tax is the foundation of good government and a key to the wealth or poverty
of nations. Yet it is under attack. These places allow big companies and
wealthy individuals to benefit from the onshore benefits of tax – like good
infrastructure, education and the rule of law – while using the offshore
world to escape their responsibilities to pay for it. The rest of us
shoulder the burden. Tax havens offer not only low or zero taxes, but
something broader. What they do is to provide facilities for people or
entities to get around the rules, laws and regulations of other
jurisdictions, using secrecy as their prime tool. We therefore often prefer
the term “secrecy jurisdiction” instead of the more popular “tax haven.”
The corrupted international infrastructure allowing élites to escape tax
and regulation is also widely used by criminals and terrorists. As a
result, tax havens are heightening inequality and poverty, corroding
democracy, distorting markets, undermining financial and other regulation
and curbing economic growth, accelerating capital flight from poor
countries, and promoting corruption and crime around the world. The
offshore system is a blind spot in international economics and in our
understanding of the world. The issues are multi-faceted, and tax havens
are steeped in secrecy and complexity – which helps explain why so few
people have woken up to the scandal of offshore, and why civil society has
been almost silent on international taxation for so long. We seek to supply
expertise and analysis to help open tax havens up to proper scrutiny at
last, and to make the issues understandable by all.

An awareness campaign on the cocoa pod borer (Conopomorpha cramerella) has
begun. Cocoa pod borer is a cocoa pest, which can cause extensive damage to
cocoa pods and thus destroying the cocoa industry and is now present in
neighboring Bougainville. As such the cocoa industry is under serious
threat, in that currently, frequent movement of people to and from the
boarder is not controlled and there is a high possibility that this pest
can be easily spread to the nearest Islands of Choiseul or the Shortlands
through infected cocoa pods or other infected planting materials from
Bougainville. Since cocoa is an important commodity in the Solomon Islands,
the Government will try to implement the awareness program as quickly as
possible to help prevent the pest to come into the country through the
common border between PNG and Solomon Islands. Cocoa has earned the country
$71 million in 2008 with a total of 4,000 tons and about $60 (CEMA Report
2009) million actually goes back to the cocoa producers and that’s why
cocoa is important to the SI economy. The MAL staff led by Quarantine
officers will soon be deployed to Choiseul and Western Provinces to carry
out an extensive surveillance on all cocoa projects to find out whether the
pest is here already or not. The public has been clearly advised not to
bring cocoa pods or any plant parts from Bougainville as is also a
Quarantine regulation to be adhered to.

The legal groundwork for the empowerment drive by Latin America’s Indians
was crowned by a U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Though nonbinding, it endorses native peoples’ right to their own
institutions and traditional lands. It has been almost universally embraced
by Latin American governments. It has also helped Indians win some major
legal victories. * The Supreme Court of Belize ruled in favor of Mayan
communities that challenged the government’s right to lease their lands to
logging interests. * A similar ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights on behalf of the forest-dwelling Saramaka maroons in Suriname
reinforced that indigenous groups must give consent to major development
projects. * Nicaragua’s government finally granted collective land titles
to the Mayagna people, complying with a landmark ruling by the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights that it had no right to sell logging
concessions on Indian land. * Colombia’s Constitutional Court deemed more
than 1 million indigenous people “in danger of cultural and physical
extermination” and told the government to protect them. * Brazil’s Supreme
Court ordered rice farmers to leave the long-disputed Raposa Serra do Sol
reservation — 4.2 million acres (1.7 million hectares) inhabited by 18,000
Indians in the Amazon’s northernmost reaches.

Despite the legal rulings, Indians remain second-class citizens. Only one
indigenous representative has ever been elected to the national congress in
Brazil. Indians, occupy vast areas of the Amazon though they account for
less than 5 percent of the population. In Guatemala, where nearly half the
population is of Mayan descent, not a single Indian has ever made it to
national office. Educational disadvantages perpetuate the inequity. In
Guatemala, three in four indigenous people are illiterate. In Mexico, where
6 percent of the population is illiterate, 22 percent of adult Indians are.
Even in Bolivia, only 55 percent of indigenous children finish primary
school, compared to 81 percent of other children.

The drug trade has permitted the Taliban to thrive and expand despite the
presence of 100,000 NATO troops. The Taliban’s direct involvement in the
opium trade allows them to fund a war machine that is becoming
technologically more complex and increasingly widespread. The Taliban
earned $90 million to $160 million a year from taxing the production and
smuggling of opium and heroin, as much as double the amount it earned
annually while it was in power nearly a decade ago. The Afghan-Pakistani
border is the world’s largest free trade zone in anything and everything
that is illicit, an area blighted by drugs, weapons and illegal
immigration. The “perfect storm of drugs and terrorism” may be on the move
along drug trafficking routes through Central Asia. Profits made from opium
are being pumped into militant groups in Central Asia and “a big part of
the region could be engulfed in large-scale terrorism, endangering its
massive energy resources. Afghanistan, after eight years of occupation, has
become a world center for drugs. The drug lords are the only ones with
power. How can you expect these people to stop the planting of opium and
halt the drug trade? How is it that the Taliban when they were in power
destroyed the opium production and a superpower not only cannot destroy the
opium production but allows it to increase? And while all this goes on,
those who support the war talk to you about women’s rights. We do not have
human rights now in most provinces. It is as easy to kill a woman in my
country as it is to kill a bird. In some big cities like Kabul some women
have access to jobs and education, but in most of the country the situation
for women is hell. Rape, kidnapping and domestic violence are increasing.
These fundamentalists during the so-called free elections made a misogynist
law against Shia women in Afghanistan. This law has even been signed by
Hamid Karzai. All these crimes are happening under the name of democracy.”
Thousands of Afghan civilians have died from insurgent and foreign military
violence. And American and NATO forces are responsible for almost half the
civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have
also died from displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical
treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war. Karzai and his
rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has withdrawn from the runoff election, will
do nothing to halt the transformation of Afghanistan into a narco-state.
NATO, by choosing sides in a battle between two corrupt and brutal
opponents, has lost all its legitimacy in the country.

The city has become such a byword for decline that Time magazine recently
bought a house and set up a reporting team there to cover the city’s
struggles for a year. There has been no shortage of grim news for Time’s
new “Assignment Detroit” bureau to get their teeth into. Recently a
semi-riot broke out when the city government offered help in paying utility
bills. Need was so great that thousands of people turned up for a few
application forms. In the end police had to control the crowd, which
included the sick and the elderly, some in wheelchairs. At the same time
national headlines were created after bodies began piling up at the city’s
mortuary. Family members, suffering under the recession, could no longer
afford to pay for funerals. Incredibly, despite such need, things are
getting worse as the impact of the recession has bitten deeply into the
city’s already catastrophic finances. Detroit is now $300m in debt and is
cutting many of its beleaguered services, such as transport and street
lighting. As the number of bus routes shrivels and street lights are cut
off, it is the poorest who suffer. People like TJ Taylor. He is disabled
and cannot work. He relies on public transport. It has been cut, so now he
must walk. But the lights are literally going out in some places, making
already dangerous streets even more threatening. “I just avoid those areas
that are not lit. I pity for the poor people who live in them,” he said.
The brutal truth, some experts say, is that Detroit is being left behind –
and it is not alone. In cities across America a collapsed manufacturing
base has been further damaged by the recession and has led to conditions of
dire unemployment and the creation of an underclass. There is a grim roll
call of cities across America where decline is hitting hard and where the
official end of the recession will make little difference. Names such as
Flint, Youngstown, Buffalo, Binghamton, Newton. Feldman sees a relentless
decline for working-class Americans all the way from Iowa to New York. He
sees the impact in his own family, as his retired parents-in-law have
difficulties with their gutted pension fund and his disabled son stares at
cuts to his benefits. The economic changes going on, he believes, are a
profound de-industrialisation with which America is failing to come to
terms. “We are going to have to face the end of the industrial age,” he
said. “This didn’t just happen lately either. It’s been happening here in
Detroit since the 1980s. Detroit just got it first, but it could happen
anywhere now.”

A judicial council in Belize has thrown out the convictions of three men
serving life sentences for allegedly bludgeoning a fisherman to death.
Sixty-two-year-old Justo Jairo Perez was killed in San Pedro on Ambergris
Caye seven years ago. Francis Eiley, Ernest Savery and Lenton Polonio were
convicted two years later but always maintained their innocence. The
London-based Death Penalty Project represented the men in their appeal. It
said in a statement that they do not face further legal action and will now
go free. The group said the council ruled the conviction was based on
uncorroborated evidence from a single man, who was discovered at the murder
scene with bloody clothing and later turned state’s witness.

Beijing provided Colombo not only the weapon systems that decisively tilted
the military balance in its favor, but also the diplomatic cover to
prosecute the war in defiance of international calls to cease offensive
operations to help stanch rising civilian casualties. Through such support,
China has succeeded in extending its strategic reach to a critically
located country in India’s backyard that sits astride vital sea-lanes of
communication in the Indian Ocean region.” Chellaney also wants India to
intervene in the issue of refugee rehabilitation. This is linked to the
larger strategic objective of replacing China in Colombo’s affections. If
the end influences the means, the refugees must realistically curtail their
expectations of India’s intervention on their behalf. A delegation of
Indian members of Parliament asked for an early release of the refugees
from the camp so that they can return home. Earlier, Colombo had argued
that it needed to screen the IDPs to “weed out” former Tamil militants.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, reportedly told the delegation that
the inmates could not be released before the entire region was de-mined.
According to official figures, 10,593 people had returned to their homes
and another 22,668 had been released from the camps. The vast majority,
thus, continues to live in conditions of internment. Hope for the refugees
has not been heightened, meanwhile, with the announcement that Sri Lanka
will hold both its presidential and parliamentary elections two years ahead
of schedule. The president is taking the plunge to cash in politically on
the military victory over the Tamil rebels. Rajapaksa hopes to reap a
two-thirds parliamentary majority that would enable him to change the
country’s constitution. The speculation is that the statute will be amended
to give him more than two successive presidential terms. Few expect him to
undertake the exercise in order to make Sri Lanka more federal and find a
political solution to the ethnic problem. Fewer still expect his electoral
victory to spell early relief for the refugees.

Prisoners at a Papua New Guinea jail attempted to escape because they were
not fed for two consecutive days. Prison guards successfully stopped the
487 prisoners from escaping. The prison break would have been the country’s
biggest mass break-out in history. The Baisu prison, located near Mount
Hagen in the Western Highland Province of Papua New Guinea, only has
capacity for 300 inmates, yet it holds 800 inmates. A warder stated that
the prison is extremely overcrowded and the facilities are “rundown.” The
800 inmates were starving and left without food because a contract with the
prison’s food suppliers had expired. The chief superintendent of Baisu jail
explained that the prisoners had nothing to eat since Sunday because of a
dispute between rival food suppliers over the contract with the prison. As
a result of the lack of food, three of the inmates fell ill. Fellow inmates
were furious and demanded that the ill inmates be taken to the hospital.
Soon after, 487 of the prisoners attempted to escape the prison. The
inmates were able to get pass three layers of fencing. Many of the watch
towers at the prison had been pulled down because they were rotten and in
extremely poor condition. Thus, the prisoners were able to pass the fencing
more easily. The prison guards had to fire shots at the escapees to stop
them, but no one was killed. This incident would not have happened had the
ongoing ration problem been resolved. The police commissioner has asked the
former contractor to return to feed the inmates, and will continue to
supply food until the dispute over the contract is resolved. A
representative of the prisoners stated that the next time the prisoners
“were made to go hungry, they would simply walk out and risk being shot
dead.” The representative further stated that “while they were lawbreakers,
they had a right under the law to be fed.”

Nearly 5,000 people have died from swine flu infections since the A(H1N1)
virus was uncovered. The death toll marked an increase of about 265 over
the 4,735 deaths reported a week ago. Most of the fatal cases — 3,539 —
have been recorded in North and South America. Iceland, Sudan, and Trinidad
and Tobago reported their first fatal cases over the past week. Mongolia,
Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe also recorded pandemic influenza cases
for the first time, as the virus continued to spread. However, A(H1N1)
influenza was declining in tropical areas of the world, with the exception
of Cuba and Colombia. There was also no significant pandemic related
activity in temperate areas of the southern hemisphere, the WHO said.
Meanwhile respiratory disease activity continues to spread and increase in
intensity in the northern hemisphere, mainly in North America.

Two people died and 15 others were seriously wounded after machete-wielding
rioters broke into violence over ethnic tensions in Nairobi’s largest slum.
The violence began after a dozen youths from the Nubian ethnic group were
hired to demolish trading stalls in the Kibera slum on behalf of a church
that believed the stalls were blocking its path. Later, Luhya tribesmen and
traders retaliated by hacking to death a Nubian man in his mid-20s. Nubian
youths then attacked people indiscriminately despite pleas from religious
leaders for calm. A second person was killed. Four victims of machete
violence had been brought to clinics. Several shacks were set on fire.
Nubians and Luhya have clashed before. Paramilitary police were patrolling
the slum, but officials feared the violence could flare into a larger
conflict.

The fight against tax havens is one of the great challenges of our age. Our
approach challenges basic tenets of traditional economic theory and opens
new fields of analysis on a diverse array of important issues such as
foreign aid, capital flight, corruption, climate change, corporate
responsibility, political governance, hedge funds, inequality, morality –
and much more. How big is the problem, and what is its nature? Assets held
offshore, beyond the reach of effective taxation, are equal to about a
third of total global assets. Over half of all world trade passes through
tax havens. Developing countries lose revenues far greater than annual aid
flows. The amount of funds held offshore by individuals is about $11.5
trillion – with a resulting annual loss of tax revenue on the income from
these assets of about 250 billion dollars. This is five times what the
World Bank estimated in 2002 was needed to address the UN Millenium
Development Goal of halving world poverty by 2015. This much money could
also pay to transform the world’s energy infrastructure to tackle climate
change. In 2007 the World Bank has endorsed estimates by Global Financial
Integrity (GFI) that the cross-border flow of the global proceeds from
criminal activities, corruption, and tax evasion at US$1-1.6 trillion per
year, half from developing and transitional economies. The annual
cross-border flows from developing countries alone amounts to approximately
US$850 billion – US$1.1 trillion per year. Offshore finance is not only
based in islands and small states: `offshore’ has become an insidious
growth within the entire global system of finance. The largest financial
centres such as London and New York, and countries like Switzerland and
Singapore, offer secrecy and other special advantages to attract foreign
capital flows. As corrupt dictators and other élites strip their countries’
financial assets and relocate them to these financial centres, developing
countries’ economies are deprived of local investment capital and their
governments are denied desperately needed tax revenues. This helps capital
flow not from capital-rich countries to poor ones, as traditional economic
theories might predict, but, perversely, in the other direction. Countries
that lose tax revenues become more dependent on foreign aid. Sub-Saharan
Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world in the sense that
external assets, measured by the stock of capital flight, exceed external
liabilities, as measured by the stock of external debt. The difference is
that while the assets are in private hands, the liabilities are the public
debts of African governments and their people. Globalisation and
international trade and finance have got a bad name of late. Each brings
opportunities, and risks. We must now start to address seriously what may
be the biggest risk of all: tax abuse, and tax havens and everything they
stand for.

In eastern Bolivia — where the United Nations says several thousand Guarani
Indians, including children, work as virtual slaves on large estates —
Morales has promised autonomy. But the area’s elite, Morales’ fiercest
opponents, won’t let that happen without a fight. Obtaining autonomy should
be less contentious for Indians in western highlands towns like Jesus de
Machaca, in part because the land in question yields so little. Jesus de
Machaca is a hardscrabble farming town near Lake Titicaca that is more than
96 percent Aymara Indian. It is among 12 Bolivian municipalities, mostly
Aymara and Quechua, whose inhabitants will vote on becoming autonomous.
Under self-rule, they would legalize governing practices that precede the
Inca empire. Local leaders called mallkus are democratically elected by
their communities in public votes, then choose senior town officials. Terms
in office are restricted to a year. The system is closer to socialism than
capitalism. Deputy mayor Braulio Cusi says autonomy will hugely benefit a
community where nearly all the 13,700 residents live in adobe brick homes
and use cow manure as cooking fuel, where most homes lack running water and
babies are born at home because there’s no hospital or clinic. “Dairy
cooperatives, cheese processing. There will be jobs,” says Cusi, who slings
a white leather whip over his poncho as a symbol of authority. He envisions
a slaughterhouse, and hopes to attract a veterinarian. The town’s more than
900 square kilometers (350 square miles) are devoted mostly to cattle,
llamas and sheep grazing, potatoes and quinoa. Purchased in the 16th and
17th century by natives who refused to become tenant farmers, they are
communally owned but parceled out. Selling to outsiders is prohibited.
Jesus de Machaca took its first step toward autonomy when it became an
independent municipality. It later elected its first mayor, also a mallku.
The national government more than doubled the town’s budget. More than 70
percent of homes now have electricity — up from one in ten in — and
construction just ended on a three-story municipal building with parquet
floors and oak doors. The town is even building a soccer stadium — with
astroturf, one councilman proudly notes. “Before, we were forgotten,” Cusi
says after watching the Wiphala banner of the Andes’ indigenous peoples
raised up a flagpole in the shadow of an imposing Spanish colonial church.
“Now we’re going to define, in our way, how we live — according to our own
customs and practices.” U.N. Declaration on Indigenous Rights:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/drip.html

Karzi’s government is filled with “glaring corruption and unabashed graft.”
Karzi is a president whose confidants and chief advisers comprise drug
lords and war crimes villains who mock our own rule of law and
counter-narcotics effort. Where do you think the $36 billion of money
poured into country by the international community have gone? This money
went into the pockets of the drug lords and the warlords. There are 18
million people in Afghanistan who live on less than $2 a day while these
warlords get rich. The Taliban and warlords together contribute to this
fascism while the occupation forces are bombing and killing innocent
civilians. When we do not have security how can we even talk about human
rights or women’s rights? This election under the shade of Afghan
war-lordism, drug-lordism, corruption and occupation forces has no
legitimacy at all. The result will be like the same donkey but with new
saddles. It is not important who is voting. It is important who is
counting. And this is the problem. Many of those who go with the Taliban do
not support the Taliban, but they are fed up with these warlords and this
injustice and they go with the Taliban to take revenge. Most of the people
are against the Taliban and the warlords, which is why millions did not
take part in this tragic drama of an election. The U.S. wastes taxpayers’
money and the blood of their soldiers by supporting such a mafia corrupt
system of Hamid Karzai,” said Joya, who changes houses in Kabul frequently
because of the numerous death threats made against her. “Eight years is
long enough to learn about Karzai and Abdullah. They chained my country to
the center of drugs. If Obama was really honest he would support the
democratic-minded people of my country. He is going to start war in
Pakistan by attacking in the border area of Pakistan. More civilians have
been killed in the Obama period than even during the criminal Bush.” “My
people are sandwiched between two powerful enemies,” she lamented. “The
occupation forces from the sky bomb and kill innocent civilians. On the
ground, Taliban and these warlords deliver fascism. As NATO kills more
civilians the resistance to the foreign troops increases. If the U.S.
government and NATO do not leave voluntarily my people will give to them
the same lesson they gave to Russia and to the English who three times
tried to occupy Afghanistan. It is easier for us to fight against one enemy
rather than two.”

The busy highway of Eight Mile Road marks the border between the city of
Detroit and its suburbs. On one side stretches the city proper with its
mainly black population; on the other stretches the progressively more
wealthy and more white suburbs of Oakland County. But this recession has
reached out to those suburbs, too. Repossessions have spread like a rash
down the streets of Oakland’s communities. Joblessness has climbed, spurred
by yet another round of mass lay-offs in the auto industry. The real impact
of the recession will continue to be felt in those suburbs for years to
come. For decades they stood as a bulwark against the poverty of the city,
ringing it like a doughnut of prosperity, with decrepit inner Detroit as
the hole at its centre. Now home losses and job cuts are hitting the middle
classes hard. Recovery is going to take a generation. The doughnut itself
is sick now. But what do you think that means for the poor people who live
in the hole? That picture is borne out by the recent actions of Gleaners
Community Food Bank. The venerable Detroit institution has long sent out
parcels of food, clothing and furniture all over the city. But now it is
doing so to the suburbs as well, sometimes to people who only a year or so
ago had been donors to the charity but now face food shortage themselves.
Gleaners has delivered a staggering 14,000 tonnes of food in the past 12
months alone. Standing in a huge warehouse full of pallets of potatoes,
cereals, tinned fruit and other vitals, Gleaners’ president, summed up the
situation bluntly: “People who used to support this programme now need it
themselves. The recession hit them so quickly they just became
overwhelmed.”

The Yanomami live in the border region between Venezuela and Brazil. Swine
flu has killed seven members of this endangered Amazonian tribe. Several
hundred members of the Yanomami tribe in Venezuela could be infected. An
outbreak among the isolated tribes of the Amazon could spread among the
indigenous population very quickly and kill many, campaigners fear. It may
already be happening among the Yanomami in the border region between
Venezuela and Brazil. The situation is “critical” and Venezuela and Brazil
must take immediate action to halt the epidemic. An estimated 32,000
Yanomami Indians remain, living in communities up to 400. Venezuelan
Yanomami live in a 8.2 million hectare (20.2 million acre) forest reserve.
Thousands of illegal gold miners have infiltrated the reserve. They also
need to radically improve the Yanomami’s access to healthcare; swine flu
was the suspected cause of the deaths of a pregnant woman and three small
children. The Yanomami have been hurt by epidemics in the past,
particularly when influenza and malaria were brought by miners in the
1980s. As much as a fifth of the community was killed during that period
and that the Yanomami population has fallen to about 32,000.

An elderly British couple was stabbed to death in a robbery while
vacationing in Kenya. Tony Joel, 70, was stabbed 17 times and his
67-year-old wife, Rita, 11 times. The couple from Southend, Essex were
killed while staying in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. A police investigation
was launched following the deaths. A source close to the investigation said
two people had been arrested as a result.

Hello, I Live In Tobago And Would Like To Be An Agent For Yamaha Outboard
Parts How Can That Be Setup? Tobago’s main source of income is tourism and
taking the tourist to the Buccoo Reef in the glass bottom boat is part of
showing them parts of Tobago. The boats here have outboard engines. Parts
are very hard to come by and it’s not always at your fingertips when
something goes wrong with the engine. I need good information like contact
person and number preferrable from Yamaha. Information that will help me
start up that business. Thank you

In Detroit many people see the only signs of recovery as coming from
themselves. As city government retreats and as cuts bite deep, some of
those left in the city have not waited for help. Take the case of Mark
Covington. He was born and raised in Detroit and still lives only a few
yards from the house where he grew up in one of the city’s toughest
neighbourhoods. Laid off from his job as an environmental engineer,
Covington found himself with nothing to do. So he set about cleaning up his
long-suffering Georgia Street neighbourhood. He cleared the rubble where a
bakery had once stood and planted a garden. He grew broccoli, strawberries,
garlic and other vegetables. Soon he had planted two other gardens on other
ruined lots. He invited his neighbours to pick the crops for free, to help
put food on their plates. Friends then built an outdoor screen of
white-painted boards to show local children a movie each Saturday night and
keep them off the streets. He helped organise local patrols so that
abandoned homes would not be burnt down. He did all this for free. All the
while he still looked desperately for a job and found nothing. Yet Georgia
Street improved. Local youths, practised in vandalism and the destruction
of abandoned buildings, have not touched his gardens. People flock to the
movie nights, harvest dinners and street parties Covington holds. Inspired,
he scraped together enough cash to buy a derelict shop and an abandoned
house opposite his first garden. He wants to reopen the shop and turn the
house into a community centre for children. To do it, he needs a grant. Or
a cheap bank loan. Or a job. But for people like Covington the grants have
dried up, the banks are not lending, and no one is hiring. There is no help
for him. It is hard not to compare Covington’s struggle for cash to the
vast bailout of America’s financial industry. “We just can’t get a loan to
help us out. The banks are not lending,” he said. On an unseasonal warm day
last week, he stood in his urban garden, tending his crops, and gazed
wistfully at the abandoned buildings that he now owns but cannot yet turn
into something good for his neighbourhood. He does not seem bitter. But he
does wonder why it seems so easy in modern America for those who already
have a lot to get much more, while those who have least are forgotten. “It
makes me wonder how they do it. And where is that money coming from?” he
asked.

The Parliamentary Bipartisan Committee investigating the anti-Asian rioting
in Papua New Guinea is allegedly shocked at reports of corruption and
bribery in the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Department. Senior
immigration officials told the committee that officers receive bribes and
are involved in other corrupt practices to allow foreigners into Papua New
Guinea. Several officers have been penalised for being involved in such
illegal activities. The committee was told more than 15,000 foreigners are
estimated to be living illegally in PNG and the immigration department
lacks the funding, staffing and technology to be able to deal with them.
The committee will travel around the country for the next two weeks
gathering public feedback and then present its findings to Parliament.

10/19/2009

ONE-THIRD OF DENGUE CALIFORNIA COFFEE CHILD BRIDES AND MASSIVE MADAGASCAR IVORY TEA FARMER COPS KILL SEVEN NEW GLOWING 'FORCED ACQUISITION' EARTHQUAKES, MONKEYS, MOSQUITOES, MUSHROOMS, TOBAGO MURDERS, SOUTH PACIFIC MALARIA, SECRETIVE RITUALS AND DERAILED PASSENGER TRAINS WITH BURMESE MIGRANT WORKERS HARASSED BY GANGS, PREFER HILTON HOTEL HORROR, ILLEGAL XINHUA FISHING, MALAYSIAN MALARIA MAYHEM, OVER BANGLADESH BORDER FENCING, POACHER BOATS, AND ALARMING NICARAGUAN CLIMATE CHANGE FOOD CRISIS AS RWANDA GENOCIDE'S GREENLIGHT RADIO STOCK EXCHANGE SURGES KILL THREE, WOUND 34 — HUNDREDS OF VENEZUELAN FOLK CORPSES TRAPPED FOR 100 YEARS IN KERMADEC, EASTER ISLANDS PONZI PRISON RAT-KILLING, ADMINISTRATIVE BUNGLED THAILAND TSUNAMI UNDERPANTS THIEF'S $60 MILLION PNG PATROL LOCK-UP

8/18/2009

AMID CHINA AIRPORT RIOTS 8,000 TONNES RED BANGKOK SCAM BLASTS 140 FISHING LENTILS KIDNAPPING 79 VENEZUELAN ONE-WAY HOMELESS TICKETS FOR SWINE FLU MOB ON RAMPAGE FROM INDIGENOUS POVERTY AS NEPALESE REFUGEES ARRESTED; SIX ISLANDS BECOME SEVEN WOUNDS KILLING 50 KENYANS IN HEAVY NICARAGUAN RAINFALL WITH BRITISH SIM CARDS FROM 828 TULELE PEISA TOBAGO MACHETES

A mob set ablaze eight buses and several shops after a schoolgirl was run
over by a bus at an unauthorized bus stand near Domjur police station. The
death of Riya Das, a Class-VII student of a local school, triggered mob
fury as locals alleged that the unauthorized bus stand was creating traffic
problems in the area and started setting ablaze buses and shops. Rapid
Action Force (RAF) had to be called in to control the situation.

Violent street battles killed at least 140 people and injured 828 others in
the deadliest ethnic unrest to hit China’s western Xinjiang region in
decades, and officials said the death toll was expected to rise. Police
sealed off streets in parts of the provincial capital, Urumqi, after
discord between ethnic Muslim Uighur people and China’s Han majority
erupted into riots. Witnesses reported a new protest in a second city,
Kashgar.

Venezuelan authorities found the bullet-ridden bodies of three Canadian
boys who had been kidnapped in the South American country, the justice
minister said. The bodies of 17-year-old John Faddoul, along with his
brothers Kevin, 13, and Jason, 12, were found near an electrical tower in
Yare, about 30 miles west of Caracas, Justice Minister Jesse Chacon said.
The body of the boy’s driver, 30-year-old Miguel Ribas, also was found with
them.

A total of 816 people died of swine flu worldwide, with most of the deaths
occurring in South America, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. So
far, 707 people have died in the Americas, 44 in South-East Asia, 34 in
Europe, 30 in the Western Pacific region and one in the Eastern
Mediterranean region.

Many Strong Voices (MSV), unites indigenous peoples from the Arctic with
those from the tiny coral isles sprinkled throughout the globe’s oceans,
known in the parlance of climate change policy as Small Island Developing
States, or SIDS. MSV was spawned on the heels of a 2005 United Nations
climate policy meeting in Montreal and met for the first time in Belize two
years later. The grounds its constituents call home are as diverse as the
planet has to offer, but as the planet warms they share the same
catastrophe.

On many nights at sea off this Pacific port, Aaron Medina drops bombs that
cause dozens of fish to soar into the air. The 23-year-old fisherman
rubbernecks to ensure no police are around before pulling a 1-pound bomb
from his pocket. It’s an old sardine can wrapped in a cement bag filled
with gunpowder, sugar and sulfur. It is lit with a waterproof wick. “It’s
the only way to survive in fishing today,” said Medina, who has been
fishing with explosives off Corinto, Nicaragua’s largest port, since he was
12 years old.

Already poverty kills 50 children each day in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea
and Timor-Leste – a figure likely to rise as the global financial crisis
hits. Many countries in the Pacific are yet to suffer the full impact of
the global financial crisis but it is about to hit the region with all the
devastation and suffering of a tsunami. There is a critical ‘window of
opportunity’ to act in preparation for its impact but it is an opportunity
that is steadily slipping away. The central lesson learned from every
previous economic crisis is that the poorest people in developing countries
suffer the most and that not enough is done to help them.

Travelers to Thailand have braved a variety of hazards in recent years but
foreign governments are now warning about a new and different one:
duty-free shopping at the airport. Several European tourists say they were
falsely accused of shoplifting at the Thai capital’s main airport and some
recount being taken to seedy motels where they were shaken down for
thousands of dollars by a shady middleman. A British couple paid the
equivalent of $11,000 to secure their release five days after being accused
of stealing a Givenchy wallet that was never found, say police, who along
with airport authorities deny any wrongdoing.

A violent crowd went on the rampage at Jyoti Chowk in Kondhwa damaging
shops and vehicles which forced many shops and commercial establishments to
down their shutters. According to Kondhwa police, around 25 to 30 people,
carrying saffron flags assembled at Jyoti Chowk; first they asked all shops
to close down and started pelting at shops and hotels that were open. Four
two-wheelers, a few cars, a Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited bus
and an ATM centre were damaged in the incident. As the situation grew
tense, commercial establishments in the area closed down for an hour. Soon,
the Kondhwa police reached the spot. “We summoned two strike force to bring
the crowd under control,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Jalinder
Supekar.

For some time now, Carteret Islanders have made eye-catching headlines:
“Going, going… Papua New Guinea atoll sinking fast”. Academics have dubbed
us amongst the world’s first “environmental refugees” and journalists put
us on the “frontline of climate change.” So perhaps you have heard how we
build sea walls and plant mangroves, only to see our land and homes washed
away by storm surges and high tides. Maybe you can even recognise the
tragic irony in the fact that the Carterets people have lived simply
(without cars or electricity) — subsisting mainly on fish, bananas and
vegetables — and have therefore not had much of a “carbon footprint”.

Columns of paramilitary police in green camouflage uniforms and flak vests
marched around Urumqi’s main bazaar — a largely Uighur neighborhood —
carrying batons, long bamboo poles and slingshots. Mobile phone service was
blocked, and Internet links were also cut or slowed down. Rioters
overturned barricades, attacking vehicles and houses, and clashed violently
with police in Urumqi, according to media and witness accounts. State
television aired footage showing protesters attacking and kicking people on
the ground. Other people, who appeared to be Han Chinese, sat dazed with
blood pouring down their faces.

“We lament, despite the efforts that were made 24 hours a day since this
started, we have not been able to prevent this abominable homicide,” Chacon
said. “The three boys were identified by a relative.” Police have said that
the brothers were abducted when unidentified men dressed as police stopped
their car at a roadside checkpoint in Caracas as the boys were on their way
to school. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the
kidnappers could in fact be police officers.

In addition, more than 20 countries such as Afghanistan, Belize, Bhutan,
Botswana, Haiti, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Solomon Islands, among
others, have confirmed swine flu cases. A total of 134,503 people worldwide
have been affected by the influenza A(H1N1) virus, also called swine flu,
so far. The actual figure may be much higher, as countries are no longer
required to report swine flu cases.

“We want to tell the world that the Inuit hunter falling through the ice
and the Pacific Islander fishing on rising seas are connected.” Four years
ago the United States was indicted in front of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights for producing the greenhouse gas emissions that
were warming the Arctic homeland at rates twice as fast as elsewhere on the
planet. The warming hasn’t stopped but the network has increased, and the
world they inhabit has become even more tenuous. “This is the start of the
dying of a civilization” warned an economic advisor to the president of the
Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean just north of Madagascar.

Medina is part of the nation’s booming blast fishing industry, which is
quickly spreading across Central America’s Pacific coast. The practice is
also common in El Salvador and Honduras. Blast fishing is an illegal but
lucrative practice in which fishermen throw small homemade bombs into the
marine habitat, killing entire schools of fish and wiping out everything
else within the blast zone – including coral reef habitats – thus depleting
fisheries. “In a few years, blast fishing will be everywhere if it
continues like this,” said Reinaldo Bermuti of Nicaragua’s Fisheries
Institute in the capital, Managua. Other authorities fear the practice is
fueling a black market for increasingly potent explosives that could fall
into the hands of gangs or terrorist groups. “That’s why we’re constantly
working on intelligence,” said police investigator Lester Gomez.

Beneath the current financial crisis lies a development emergency with
catastrophic implications if we fail to respond effectively. And those in
the teeth of this economic storm are women and children. The Pacific
Islands countries are already burdened by poverty. One in four households
and almost one in three of the population are below the respective national
poverty lines. One in 10 Pacific Island children are underweight. Almost
one in five children do not enrol in primary school and of those who do
enrol, one in 10 do not complete their primary level schooling. Of course
the biggest sign of how well government action is protecting children is
the death rate of under-five-year-olds. If we add Papua New Guinea and
Timor-Leste, 18,000 Pacific Island children under five die each year – 50
children per day. Yet forecasts based on the impact of the global financial
crisis estimate the number of child deaths could rise by a further 800 each
year.

The Thai government has vowed a crackdown at Bangkok’s scandal-plagued
Suvarnabhumi Airport, which has barely recovered from its public relations
disaster when anti-government protesters shut it for a week and stranded
300,000 visitors. The airport opened in 2006 and has been dogged by
corruption allegations, taxi touts with “broken meters” and baggage thefts
— prompting a recent order for luggage handlers to wear uniforms without
pockets. But the allegations of extortion take things to another level. “We
are quite concerned about this,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Vimon Kidchob
said. “The government of Thailand is doing everything we can to ensure the
safety of tourists.”

Apparently, the incident occurred after some miscreants showed disrespect
to Shivaji Maharaj. The police have so far arrested five people in
connection with the incident and booked them for rioting and damaging
public property. The police are looking of Amar Dhawane, Maharashtra
Navnirman Sena vice president, Hadapsar Unit, and around 20 unidentified
people involved in the incident. Shrikant Surve (21), Nitin Kakde (23),
Ramesh Patlelu (24) of Wanwadi, Sunil Patil (21) of Kondhwa and Amol Kad
(23) of Katraj are the five arrested

You might know that encroaching salt water has contaminated our fresh water
wells and turned our vegetable plots into swampy breeding grounds for
malaria-carrying mosquitos. Taro, the staple food crop, no longer grows on
the atoll. Carterets Islanders now face severe food shortages, with
government aid coming by boat two or three times a year. However, the story
you have not likely read is the one of government failure and the strategy
we developed in response, so as to engineer our own exile from a drowning
traditional homeland. Carterets people are facing, and will continue to
face, many challenges as we relocate from our ancestral grounds. However,
our plan is one in which we remain as independent and self-sufficient as
possible. We wish to maintain our cultural identity and live sustainably
wherever we are.

Riya was returning home in Domjur’s Uttar Japardah locality and had barely
stepped down a private bus on route 63 when the driver accelerated the
vehicle to park it at the bus stand. At this, she fell and was crushed
under the rear wheels. Angry locals gathered at the spot within moments and
set the bus ablaze. The mob then targeted three other buses on route 63
parked at the bus stand. Then, the mob went on the rampage, setting fire to
five mini buses on the Domjur-Howrah route. The crowd also targeted all the
roadside shops, stalls and shade where bus drivers and conductors rest,
setting these ablaze.

There was little immediate explanation for how so many people died. The
government accused a Uighur businesswoman living in the U.S. of inciting
the riots through phone calls and “propaganda” spread on Web sites. Exile
groups said the violence started only after police began violently cracking
down on a peaceful protest complaining about a fight between Uighur and Han
factory workers in another part of China. The unrest is another troubling
sign for Beijing at how rapid economic development has failed to stem — and
even has exacerbated — resentment among ethnic minorities, who say they are
being marginalized in their homelands as Chinese migrants pour in.

“We really do not have words to express our pain to the Faddoul Diab family
and the Ribas Guerra family for the abominable and lamentable event today,”
Chacon said. Officials have not revealed exactly how much in ransom the
kidnappers demanded, but they have said it was more than $4.5 million — a
figure circulated in the Venezuelan media. A lawyer for the boys’ family,
Santiago Georges, said recently that the family was not in a position to
pay the sum. The boys’ parents were both born in Lebanon, and their father,
John Faddoul, is a naturalized Canadian who has been a businessman in
Venezuela for more than 20 years.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended a city program to send homeless
families out of New York on planes, trains and buses, saying it “saves the
taxpayers of New York City an enormous amount of money.” Speaking in the
Blue Room in City Hall to announce a new finance commissioner, Mr.
Bloomberg was asked if the program simply shifts the homelessness program
to a different place, as some critics of the program have suggested. “I
don’t know, when they get to the other places, whether they find jobs,” Mr.
Bloomberg said. “It may be an easier place for them. If we don’t — we
either have two choices. We can do this program or pay an enormous amount
of money daily to provide housing.”

Some islands in his homeland are composed of granite with spires that rise
into the clouds while others rest on a porous coral platform barely visible
above the ever-lapping waves. Should sea level rise just several feet, as
reports predict, these islands will be inundated. “Who will be prepared to
chuck away a 1,000 year-old album with the history of all their ancestors
overnight?” The near-term goal of MSV is to garner support for the greatest
emissions reductions possible at the UN Climate Conference.

Unlike many of Nicaragua’s coastal areas, Corinto’s rocky shoreline hasn’t
attracted international surfers or real estate investors. But over the past
decade, blast fishing has grown because poverty is rampant, homemade bombs
are increasingly available and law enforcement is lax. Local authorities
estimate fishermen drop 40,000 homemade bombs into the sea every week.
Often working undercover, police confiscated about 1,000 bombs last year,
most of which were seized at highway checkpoints. In 2007, Corinto police
confiscated 650 bombs from a clandestine bomb factory. The Nicaraguan navy
often cruises Pacific waters at night with no lights, hoping to catch
fishermen red-handed. Last year, naval officials say they caught five boats
blast fishing, and seized about 400 bombs. Navy Capt. Francisco Gutierrez
concedes that’s just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of bombs used
each year.

This tragic ‘headline figure’ would coincide with increased poverty in the
region, falling school attendance, higher malnutrition and deteriorating
access to healthcare. Yet the fact that the full impact of the global
financial crisis has not yet hit the Pacific means there is an opportunity
to brace for its impact. There is time for governments to readjust fiscal
and monetary policy to create a social protection (a safety net) for the
most vulnerable. Investing in children and women is not just a moral
imperative, it is smart economics. Irrefutable evidence has now accumulated
to show the societal benefits of investing in children in good times, as
well as in bad times such as the current global economic downturn.

It’s hardly the image the self-proclaimed “Land of Smiles” wants to
project, particularly as Thailand’s vital tourism industry faces its worst
crisis in years after political instability, the global financial crisis
and swine flu scares. The scandal has spawned lengthy chatter on travel
blogs about other scams to watch for in Thailand and a string of overseas
travel advisories on the perils of duty-free shopping in Bangkok. Ireland
is warning its nationals to “be extremely careful” when browsing at
Suvarnabhumi (pronounced “sue-WANNA-poom”).

Seventy-nine undocumented migrants from Asia and Africa were arrested in a
Nicaraguan port off the Caribbean Sea, local police said. The migrants from
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Nepal said they had arrived by boat at the
eastern port of Bluefields, where their handlers led them to a hotel,
telling them to wait there for a train. But there are no trains in
Nicaragua.

While we call on the Papua New Guinea government to develop policy, we are
not sitting by. Instead, we now want to see the media headlines translate
into practical assistance for our relocation program. And we hope our
carefully designed and community-led action plan can serve as a model for
communities elsewhere that will be affected by climate change in the
future. Situated 86 km Northeast of Bougainville, the main island in the
autonomous region of which the Carterets form part, our atoll is only 1.2
meters above sea level. They say evacuation of the islands was inevitable
as for many, many years erosion has been doing its work. “King tides”, or
particularly high tides, are now doing worse. Originally the Carterets were
six islands, but Huene was split in half by the sea and so now there are
seven. In 1995 a wave ate away most of the shorelines of Piul and Huene
islands. Han island, has suffered from complete inundation.

The mob resisted fire brigade officials and chased them away. Flames spread
as oil tanks of the buses began exploding. Though the bus stand lies along
the boundary wall of Domjur police station, policemen were also prevented
from coming out to quell the mob. The crowd blocked the police station’s
entrance. Fire engines could be sent to the spot only after the RAF lathi
charged the crowd.

Thousands of people took part in the disturbance, unlike recent sporadic
separatist violence carried out by small groups in Xinjiang. The clashes
echoed the violent protest that rocked Tibet last year and left many
Tibetan communities living under clamped-down security ever since. Tensions
between Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese are never far from the surface
in Xinjiang, a sprawling region rich in minerals and oil that borders eight
Central Asian nations. Many Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers) yearn for
independence and some militants have waged a sporadic, violent separatist
campaign.

The victims were found with gunshot wounds in the head and neck area, and
it appeared they had been shot to death at least two days before their
bodies were found, judicial police chief Marco Chavez said on state
television. “We’re certain that the evidence and the advancements already
made in the investigation will allow us to conclude this investigation,”
Chacon said. Relatives, friends and classmates of three boys had held
vigils and demonstrations in the streets to call for their release.

It costs the city about $36,000 a year to provide shelter for a homeless
family. The average stay in shelter is about nine months. But Mr. Bloomberg
appeared sensitive to the image of flying homeless families to far-flung
places, as the program is set up to do. In the past two years, families
have been provided one-way tickets to Haiti, Peru, Mexico City, St. Croix,
Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Santo Domingo and Casablanca. (The most
popular destinations are Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.)

It was a theme echoed by many MSV participants. Paul Crowley, of the
Climate Law and Policy Project, was nearly moved to tears as he relayed
news that President Obama has said he is willing to work towards a
successful outcome in Copenhagen. But for groups like the Inuits of Alaska,
even a miracle in Copenhagen can’t reverse the damage already done.
Patricia Cochran, an Inupiat Eskimo born and raised in Alaska and current
chair of the ICC, presented a harrowing slideshow of her homeland. In
Shishmaref, homes hug cliffs crumbling because of melting permafrost into
seas more likely to be beset by storm as rising temperatures reduce sea
ice. The media has publicized this town’s problems, but there are half a
dozen other villages just like Shishmaref, noted Cochran. Ice that hunters
have relied on for centuries is melting earlier and shifting in ways locals
don’t understand. Last year a convoy of more than 200 snow mobiles had to
be rescued by helicopter after sea ice unexpectedly broke up, said Cochran.
“There is not one of us without a friend who has taken their snow machine
out and not come back home again,” she said. “That’s what we face every
day. These, in my opinion, are climate related incidents.”

Blast fishing is considered an environmental crime under Nicaraguan law,
punishable by up to four years in prison. Prosecutors can increase jail
time by tacking on illegal weapons possession charges. But prosecuting
cases is difficult because evidence is easily destroyed at sea. Gutierrez
said five fishermen are currently being processed for alleged blast
fishing, but he couldn’t recall the last time anyone went to jail. “They
have a system. It’s almost impossible to arrest them. When they see us
coming, they just sink the bombs in the sea with rocks,” Gutierrez said.
Widespread corruption among local police officers hinders enforcement
efforts, police investigator Gomez said. Many fishermen say police officers
routinely take bribes from bomb manufacturers and their distributors.

Global research by UNICEF, the World Bank and UNESCO has shown we could not
only save a young child from death but we could also help him or her
complete basic education by the age of 13 by investing altogether no more
than $US2,200 per child. Likewise providing micronutrients for the world’s
children who lack essential vitamins and minerals would cost just $US60
million per year and yield annual benefits of more than $1 billion –
implying a 1,500 per cent rate of return. For Pacific leaders this
illustration of the high returns – both in human lives and economic
productivity – for relatively low financial outlays presents a strong case
for paying particular attention to children in economic policy and fiscal
budgets.

“We have received reports that innocent shoppers have been the subject of
allegations of suspected theft and threatened that their cases will not be
heard for several months unless they plead guilty and pay substantial
fines,” says an Irish government travel advisory. It tells shoppers to keep
receipts to avoid “great distress.” The advice was posted after a
41-year-old Irish scientist, who was visiting for an international genetics
symposium, was accused of stealing Bobbi Brown eyeliner. The embassy
declined to discuss details of her case. Britain and Denmark have updated
their online travel advice to warn that Suvarnabhumi’s sprawling duty-free
zone has hard-to-detect demarcation lines between shops and patrons should
not carry unpaid merchandise between them.

“We suppose they were brought from Colombia to the island of San Andres”
and were then transferred to Bluefields, Nicaragua’s main Caribbean port,
“from which they had hoped to continue their journey to the United States
to pursue the American dream,” Deputy Commissioner Rolando Coulson told
reporters. The Colombian island of San Andres, located off Nicaragua’s
Caribbean coast, is used as a transit point for undocumented migrants
headed toward the United States, but many are cheated of their money and
abandoned in Nicaragua, officials say. One of the undocumented migrants,
Lexman Khaatri Chhetri, told the authorities he had spent much of his
savings to reach the American continent.

What climate change’s exact role is, even experts are hard put to answer.
Debate has raged over whether the islands are sinking, if tectonic plates
play a role, and whether sea levels are in fact rising. We do not know much
about science, but we watch helplessly as the tides wash away our shores
year in and year out. We also know that we are losing our cultural heritage
just as the sea relentlessly wipes out our food gardens. To relieve the
land shortage caused by eroding shorelines, in 1984 the government
resettled 10 families from the Carterets to Bougainville, but they returned
to the atoll in 1989 in flight from what began as a protest by landowners
against a mining company and escalated into civil war. Since that time, and
despite many promises, very little has been done by the Bougainville or PNG
government to assist Islanders’ relocation efforts. Tired of empty
promises, the Carterets Council of Elders formed a non-profit association
in late 2006 to organise the voluntary relocation of most of the Carterets’
population of 3,300.

Locals have demanded the removal of the unauthorised bus stand repeatedly.
They say rows of buses are parked on either side of the road — one of the
main thoroughfares of Domjur. This, along with rows of unauthorised shops
and stalls have reduced the road’s width to that of a narrow lane. Locals
allege that in spite of repeated complaints, Domjur police have allowed the
menace to thrive right under its nose.

Uighurs make up the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang, but not in the
capital of Urumqi, which has attracted large numbers of Han Chinese
migrants. The city of 2.3 million is now about overwhelmingly Chinese — a
source of frustration for native Uighurs who say they are being squeezed
out. About 1,000 to 3,000 Uighur demonstrators had gathered in the regional
capital for a protest that apparently spun out of control. Accounts
differed over what happened, but the violence seemed to have started when
the crowd of protesters refused to disperse. The official Xinhua News
Agency reported hundreds of people were arrested and checkpoints ringed the
city to prevent rioters from escaping. Mobile phone service provided by at
least one company was cut to stop people from organizing further action in
Xinjiang. Internet access was blocked or unusually slow in Urumqi. Videos
and text updates about the riots were removed from China-based social
networking sites such as Youku, a YouTube-like video service, and Fanfou, a
Chinese micro-blogging Web site similar to Twitter. A Fanfou search for
posts with the key word Urumqi turned up zero results while Twitter, which
is hosted overseas, yielded hundreds of comments in Chinese and English.
Major Chinese portals such as Sina.com, Sohu.com and 163.com relied solely
on Xinhua for news of the event and turned off the comment function at the
bottom of the stories so people could not publicly react.

The killings come just days after a prominent Italian-born businessman,
74-year-old Filippo Sindoni, was abducted and killed. That case prompted
Italy’s foreign minister to ask Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s
government to do everything possible to end the kidnappings of Italians in
the country. Officials in Italy said an Italian businesswoman and her
3-year-old son were freed two months after being abducted in Venezuela.
Four men were arrested for their roles in the crime, officials said.
Violent robberies, kidnappings and murders are frequent in Venezuela. There
were 9,402 homicides reported in 2005, slightly down from 2004, according
to government statistics.

“The average cost is trivial,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Most go by bus. Very
few go overseas, very few go long distances. Bus is the normal ways we pay
for transportation, rather than air.” In fact, the most common mode of
travel for families in the program is air, not bus. Forty-eight percent
travel by airplane; 37 percent by bus; and 15 percent by train, according
to city data.

“We will not assume the role of powerless victims, we will do everything we
can to ensure our people who have been here for centuries will be here for
centuries more.” Nick Illauq, deputy mayor of the remote Baffin Island
community of Clyde River, in Nunavut, an autonomous Inuit territory at the
top of Canada, voiced concerns about another type of visitor. “We know the
Earth is changing,” said Illauq, “everyone is rushing to the Arctic to get
our resources. To me, that’s my biggest fear. We are very poor, we ask for
money and we don’t get it. We know we are destroying [the Earth] and yet we
rush to find resources. It’s not just the Inuit anymore, it’s not just the
caribou, it’s the baby being born anywhere right now that is going to have
to face all this crap in the future. Imagine what they are going to have to
face! And it’s our fault.”

But Gutierrez is hopeful that a one-year program to educate fishermen about
the pitfalls of the practice is finally paying off. One month, for the
first time, fishermen turned in more than 311 bombs. “We’ve been trying to
persuade them in meetings,” Gutierrez said. But Medina believes blast
fishing is more widespread than authorities suspect. He says virtually
every fisherman he knows has traded in traditional nets, lines and hooks
for explosives. And the handful of clandestine bombmakers who sell
explosives for about $2 apiece are making more powerful explosives, he
adds. Most recently, Nicaraguan police caught two fishermen with 10-pound
bombs wrapped in cement bags – more destructive and risky than the usual
sardine-can-size bombs. Medina says even 15-pound bombs are now available
on the black market. Injuries and deaths Medina also says some bombs have
exploded while being handled by colleagues, causing loss of life and limbs.
In the past three years, Corinto authorities have reported two deaths, nine
cases of lost limbs and two men who were blinded by explosions.

Governments in the Pacific must not stray from their commitments to
children and women at this time of crisis. They must take all necessary
measures to enhance the role of women as economic agents and to protect
social sector budgets, especially to maintain and, if warranted, expand
essential social services for children and women. There are already
alarming signs that budget cuts have been made or are on their way. Budget
cuts are not necessarily bad, if there is greater efficiency and if the cut
does not impact on social protection measures, it can produce a benefit.
But social protection budgets are all too often a victim of the budget
razor.

British couple Stephen Ingram, 49, and Xi Lin, 45, technology experts from
Cambridge, took the alleged scam public. Their ordeal was pieced together
based on accounts from police, airport and embassy officials and an
interview the couple gave to British media. The couple was approached by
airport security before boarding a flight to London and told that security
cameras showed they had taken a Givenchy wallet. King Power, the company
that owns the duty-free store, has posted CCTV footage on its Web site that
appears to show Lin putting her hand in her bag while browsing a wallet
display. The security guards found nothing, but turned the couple over to
police, said Sombat Dechapanichkul, managing director of King Power Duty
Free Co. “We are not aware of what happened next. It was then the job of
the police to proceed with the case,” said Sombat. Ingram told The Sunday
Times of London that they were questioned at an airport police office and
then transferred to a nearby police station where their passports were
confiscated and they spent the night in jail. The next morning they were
introduced to a translator — a Sri Lankan named Tony — who said he could
arrange bail and get their case dropped, warning it could otherwise drag on
for months. Tony took them to a nearby motel, called the Valentine Resort,
Ingram said. The couple managed a visit to the British Embassy but then
returned to the hotel fearing Tony, who had warned they would be watched,
Ingram said.

The association was named Tulele Peisa, which means “sailing the waves on
our own”. This name choice reflects the elders’ desire to see Carteret
Islanders remain strong and self-reliant, not becoming dependent on food
handouts for their survival. After much hard work, the first five fathers
moved to Tinputz, onto land donated by the Catholic Church. These fathers
are already building gardens so that their wives and children can join them
later when there is food. “I have volunteered to relocate as I would like
my family to be able to plant food crops like taro, banana, casava, yams
and other vegetables that we cannot grow on the island,” said Charles
Tsibi. “I also want my family to grow some cash crops like cocoa to sustain
our future life here in Marau, Tinputz.” According to a recent Tulele Peisa
survey, 80 other families would like to move immediately and 50 wish to
move later on. Twenty families have already relocated on their own. Thirty
families remain unsure about relocating.

State-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has issued an
international tender to import 8,000 tonnes of whole, husked red lentils.
The tendered cargo should include 3,000 tonnes of category A and 5,000
tonnes of category B whole, husked red lentils. TCB classified lentil
grains measuring 1.50-3.00 mm commonly known as Nepali/Indian variety and
3.50-4.50 mm Turkish variety as category A and category B respectively. A
tenderer may offer for both or either of the two items to supply the cargo,
to Chittagong port. Most of Bangladesh’s population of nearly 150 million
eat lentils along with the country’s staple food, rice, every day. It is
now sold at 110 taka ($1.60) per kg. Commerce ministry officials said more
essential commodities would be imported to keep prices stable especially
during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. ($1=69.06 taka)

The demonstrators were demanding justice for two Uighurs killed last month
during a fight with Han Chinese co-workers at a factory in southern China.
Uighur activists and exiles say the millions of Han Chinese who have
settled here in recent years are gradually squeezing the Turkic people out
of their homeland. But many Chinese believe the Uighurs are backward and
ungrateful for the economic development the Chinese have brought to the
poor region. Wu Nong, director of the news office of the Xinjiang
provincial government, said more than 260 vehicles were attacked or set on
fire and 203 shops were damaged. She said 140 people were killed and 828
injured in the violence. She did not say how many of the victims were Han
or Uighurs.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that it had seized 36 bales of cocaine valued
at $55 million off Venezuela’s coast during a routine Caribbean patrol. The
crew of a go-fast boat threw the drugs into the sea when they spotted the
Coast Guard personnel on board the British frigate HMS Iron Duke. The
British and U.S. forces had detected the boat some 40 kilometers (25 miles)
west of Curacao, an island north of Venezuela. The Coast Guardsmen managed
to recover the drug packets from the water and, after boarding and
inspecting the go-fast boat, arrested four men, according to a communique.
“This is an outstanding example of the partnership between the U.S. and our
regional and NATO colleagues to stem the flow of illegal narcotics to
Europe and North America,” said Capt. Steven A. Banks, the head of Law
Enforcement for District Seven.

Kenya will register SIM cards to fight crime. The problem of criminals
using unregistered numbers became apparent last year during post-election
violence. After several months of battling criminals who have been using
untraceable mobile-phone numbers, the Kenyan government has given a
six-month ultimatum to mobile service operators to streamline registration
of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards. The challenge of criminals using
unregistered numbers became apparent last year during post-election
problems when people used SMS (Short Message Service) messages to instigate
violence. The police had no way of identifying the culprits because there
was no registration information linked to the phones used.

The heaviest rainfall in 53 years left at least 10 people dead and
thousands stranded in floods across Bangladesh’s capital. Dhaka residents
were still escaping the rain while traffic ground to a halt with 80 percent
of roads underwater. The national weather office said more than 33cm of
rain fell in the city within 12 hours – the most in a single day since
1956. Thousands in low-lying areas of the city were isolated, while 10
people were electrocuted by broken power lines in their homes. Some
residents are frustrated at the situation. [Shakina Begum, Resident]: “We
are now stuck in rain water. The whole area is flooded. We are facing a
serious shortage of drinking water, our children can’t go to school, and we
can’t go shopping. We are facing a serious problem and can’t go anywhere.”
Forecasts are for more rain in the next few days. Flooding caused by
monsoon rains is common in Bangladesh, a delta nation of 150 million
people.

Medina only works at night, where he and his colleagues stick a flashlight
into the water to attract fish – usually sardines – before dropping bombs
anchored by rocks. The explosion, which kills everything within a 10-foot
radius, sends a few dozen sardines into the boat that are later used as
bait to attract larger fish such as snapper. Fishermen jump in with snorkel
masks to net remaining fish that float around the boat. Bigger explosives
cause an even greater radius of dead or stunned fish and require scuba gear
to dive deep into the ocean. “They go out to sea with one bomb and bring in
400 kilos (880 pounds) of fish,” Medina said of fishermen who use larger
bombs. As the resource is depleted by blast fishing, fishermen are now
lucky to bring in 100 kilos of fish on a given trip instead of 400 kilos a
decade ago, Medina says. While Medina and other local fishermen claim they
have little choice but to use explosives, Helen Fox of the World Wildlife
Foundation says they are motivated by making a quick buck. “It’s a case of
greed rather than need,” said Fox. But Medina says he has little recourse
in a nation with the second-lowest annual per capita income in the Western
Hemisphere at $3,000. “We’re deteriorating the fauna,” he said. “But
there’s no other way to bring money home.”

Of course the budget of many Pacific countries lack the reserves to respond
fully to such an economic crisis. It is therefore important that donors
maintain their aid commitments to the Pacific and ensure investments
benefit those most in need. To the Australian Government’s credit it has
maintained, even slightly increased, its aid budget. It is now hoped
Australia – as host of this year’s Pacific Island Forum – can also
facilitate a policy response across the Pacific that is going to shield the
most vulnerable – children and women – from the ravages of this economic
crisis.

An investigation found that the couple transferred into Tony’s bank account
400,000 baht ($11,800) — half for bail and the other half for Tony’s
“fees,” said police Col. Teeradej Panurak, who oversaw the case. “Tony came
in to translate for us. We can’t control what the accused agree to with a
translator,” said Teeradej. He said the couple was released because there
was not enough evidence to press charges. A visiting British government
official recently raised the case with Thai authorities, and the British
Embassy was consulting other embassies about the alleged scam.

Turning to crime, home invasions: it’s the term for armed attacks on
families in the confines of their homes. And these types of crimes seem to
be getting more frequent throughout the country. There was the most recent
invasion upstairs of Tow Tow Grocery on Fairweather Street in Belize City.
The victims were elderly mother and her daughter – both Belizean Americans
vacationing from Los Angeles. The incident happened quite early in the
night, while seventy-two year old Olive Arnold was in her bed watching the
local news. Her daughter, Rose Holland, was on the front porch with a
cousin while the thieves entered through the back door. The mother and
daughter just arrived in town and have been returning to Belize every year
since 1985. Holland feels the culprits had been planning to pounce since
the day they arrived and the experience has shaken them up so much that
they are not coming back home in a hurry.

Tulele Peisa’s plan is for Carteret Islanders to be voluntarily relocated
to three locations on Bougainville (Tinputz, Tearouki and Mabiri) over the
next 10 years. Our immediate need is for funding so that we can accomplish
the initial 3-year phase of our Carterets Integrated Relocation Programme.
The list of objectives is long and challenging but our plan is holistic so
we have faith it will succeed. Firstly, the three host towns have a
population of 10,000 and we are cognisant of the many complexities involved
in integrating the Carteret people into existing communities that are
geographically, culturally, politically and socially different. Therefore
exchange programs involving chiefs, women and youth from host communities
and the Carterets are in progress for establishing relationships and
understanding. While this is going well, the next urgent steps include
securing more land and surveying and pegging site boundaries. Next comes
constructing housing and infrastructure for 120 families. With the help of
the Catholic Church in Bougainville, the relocation programme aims to
provide design and carpentry services and local materials for basic housing
for these families. We also need to get on with implementing agricultural
and income generation projects (like the rehabilitation of cocoa and
coconut blocks), as well as education, health and community development
training programmes.

Xinhua said several hundred people had been arrested in connection with the
riot and police were searching for about 90 other “key suspects.” It also
quoted a local police chief as saying the death toll was expected to rise.
Uighur exiles condemned the crackdown. “We are extremely saddened by the
heavy-handed use of force by the Chinese security forces against the
peaceful demonstrators,” said Alim Seytoff, vice president of the
Washington, D.C.-based Uyghur American Association. “We ask the
international community to condemn China’s killing of innocent Uighurs.
This is a very dark day in the history of the Uighur people,” he said. The
association, led by a former prominent Xinjiang businesswoman now living in
America, Rebiya Kadeer, estimated that 1,000 to 3,000 people took part in
the protest. Xinjiang Governor Nur Bekri said in a televised address early
Monday that Uighur exiles led by Kadeer of caused the violence, saying,
“Rebiya had phone conversations with people in China in order to incite,
and Web sites such as Uighurbiz.cn and Diyarim.com were used to orchestrate
the incitement and spread propaganda.” A government statement quoted by
Xinhua said the violence was “a pre-empted, organized violent crime. It is
instigated and directed from abroad and carried out by outlaws in the
country.”

Later, the government also admitted defeat in an SMS scam believed to be
perpetrated by death-row inmates. The scheme tricked unsuspecting
subscribers into thinking they had won prizes and were required to send
money through the mobile M-Pesa service in order to collect the winnings.
The police recovered phones believed to be used in the scam in a
maximum-security prison, but could not pin down who the owners were due to
a lack of registration information. “To guard against these tendencies, I
am directing the Ministry of Information and Communication to put in place
an elaborate databank that will ensure all mobile telephone subscribers are
registered,” said Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. Mobile service providers
Zain and Safaricom embraced the idea but noted that registration is not a
panacea to fighting crime. “The issue of subscriber registration has been
oversimplified by the political class and, in itself, it is not a panacea
for addressing rising incidents of crime,” said Michael Joseph, Safaricom
CEO.

Blast or dynamite fishing stuns or kills fish for easy gathering. This
illegal practice indiscriminately kills large numbers of fish and other
marine organisms and can damage or destroy surrounding ecosystems such as
coral reefs. Although outlawed, the practice remains widespread in some 40
nations in Central America, Southeast Asia, the Aegean Sea and Africa,
environmental groups say. In the Philippines, blast fishing dates to before
World War I. During World War II, dynamite-wielding Japanese troops
popularized the practice in Indonesia. Nicaraguan fishermen say the
practice was introduced by bomb-wielding rebels of El Salvador’s Farabundo
Marti Liberation Front seeking a new livelihood after a 12-year civil war
in that country ended in 1992. Fishermen typically use commercial dynamite
or homemade bombs with glass bottles or cans layered with powdered
potassium nitrate and pebbles or ammonium nitrate and a kerosene mixture.

But one lawyer has taken issue with the directive, arguing that the
government’s approach is wrong because registration of subscribers is all
about capturing personal information, which is one of the most vexing legal
issues in the information technology sector. “What we need is very clear
law governing the collection and use of personal information. We failed to
include such a law in the Kenya Communications Amendment Act, and now we
want to patch it up with a presidential directive,” said Michael Murungi, a
Nairobi lawyer. Murungi says there is need to identify the subscribers of
mobile phones in order to deter phone-aided crime, but there is an even
more compelling need for a clear legal framework for the collection, use of
and management of personal information.

A husband and wife from Britain were seriously wounded in a machete attack
in Tobago, police said, comparing the home invasion to a similar one last
year that killed a Swedish couple on the Caribbean island. Authorities
identified the victims as Peter Greene, 65, and his wife, Marion, 59, but
declined to provide details about them or the attack on an island that has
been considered the safer part of the twin-island nation of Trinidad and
Tobago. “It’s a matter of serious concern, this is another serious attack
on tourists,” police superintendent Nadir Khan said. The couple were
airlifted to a regional medical center in Trinidad, but authorities did not
release details about their condition.

Olive Arnold, Victim of Home Invasion “This person come over me and tell me
be quiet. Now I’m not going to be quiet, then he go like – I couldn’t see
his face, he have on a brown cap and a brown shirt and ih gun. And ih tell
me be quiet and I tell him I’m not going to be quiet and I scream. I holler
for them out there and by the time they come to the door, one in a white
t-shirt follow the other one and they all run downstairs.” Rose Holland,
Victim of Home Invasion “I heard my mom screaming so I thought maybe she
fall so I ran in here and when me and Ms. Carol get to the door the guy
standing here and point the gun so we took off back. And they ran behind us
and start chasing us. All three of us fall down on the ground and they jump
on me and say give me everything you got. They tried to pull my bracelet
off and they scratched my hand. When they couldn’t get this off they popped
my Rolex chain off my neck. And they tackled my girlfriend. And she tell
them do you guys know who I am. I’m the mother of so and so. And they say
they don’t care and they popped her chain off too. And then they hopped the
fence back and they left.” Olive Arnold “First, I was gonna come back home
and live, now I tell them no I cannot because the younger generation them
is scandalous. I cannot come back home to live. They take guns like you’re
birds in the air – pop, you know, I’m scared for my life. I’m not coming
back in a hurry right now but I have to come back, but not to live.”

“The plan is slow to achieve but covers all areas dealing with human
relations and has adaptation alternatives, such as small cash income
activities for relocated families,” said elder Tony Tologina, chief of the
Naboin clan. On the long term, we want to build the capacity of Tulele
Peisa to be certain it can carry out its objectives and also develop it as
a resource agency for the Carterets and host communities on Bougainville.
“Tulele Peisa is our own initiative and will continue to co-ordinate and
facilitate the relocation of our island people. After the relocation, TP
will continue to provide monitoring and evaluation skills and further focus
on development options available to our people,” said Rufina Moi, woman
chief. An important part of the programme is that it will also set up a
Conservation and Marine Management Area that will let Carteret Islanders
make sustainable use of our ancestral marine resources. To keep the links
between the relocated Carterets people and their home island, sea resources
and any remaining clan members (who are not yet relocated), the plan
includes developing an equitable sea transport service for freight and
passengers. “In the future, we will keep coming to these reefs and manage
them as our fishing ground,” explained community youth leader Nicholas
Hakata. “When our children come back, they will have a connection to their
heritage.”

Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economics professor at Central Nationalities
University in Beijing and founder of Uighurbiz.cn — one of the implicated
Web sites — said “the relevant authorities” were questioning him about his
Web site. His site has become a lively forum for many issues about Chinese
rule in Xinjiang. Xinjiang’s top Communist Party official, Wang Lequan,
called the incident “a profound lesson learned in blood” and said
authorities “must take the most resolute and strongest measures to deal
with the enemies’ latest attempt at sabotage.” “We also must expose Rebiya
and those like her … we must tear away Rebiya’s mask and let the world see
her true nature.” Seytoff dimissed the accusations against Kadeer. “It’s
common practice for the Chinese government to accuse Ms. Kadeer for any
unrest” in Xinjiang, he said.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday reported that Marion Greene was in serious but
stable condition and that her husband was in critical condition after being
placed in a medically induced coma to treat severe head injuries. Deputy
British Commissioner Jeff Patton described the attack as a “horrible crime”
but declined to discuss it further. Originally from Reading, England, the
couple had been living in the town of Bacolet along Tobago’s southern coast
off-and-on for 10 years. Khan told reporters that robbery has not been
ruled out as a motive and said it was similar to the unsolved killing in
October of Anna Sundsval, 62, and Oke Olsoon, 73, at their home in the Bon
Accord area of Tobago, about 7 miles (10 kilometers) from where the latest
incident occurred. Authorities detained a suspect in that case but released
him for lack of evidence. Khan said his department is “working assiduously”
on the case, but complained of a lack of leads.

Rose Holland “I came in and I guess when they saw me came in, they saw my
car and saw my jewelry and stuff cause I usually wear a lot of jewelry when
I come to Belize. But for one time this year I decided only to wear a few.
And one of my neighbours told me be careful because they are watching you,
be careful. She told me that the morning, which was yesterday morning. Then
in the night, that’s what made me went on the porch, they called me again,
be careful because I guess they hear the plot of what’s going on, so
they’re advising me. How could they have the audacity to just walk in a
person’s home with a gun and look and an ageable lady, be quiet. That is
wrong.”

“We have fully documented our process since beginning our plan and will
continue to, for the sake of developing a model relocation programme,” said
Thomas Bikta, a chief from Piul Island. “At the same time, we are
developing and formulating a Carterets relocation policy that we will
advocate to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the rest of the
world,” Bikta added. We also intend to build an alliance of vulnerable
Pacific communities impacted by climate change who can lobby and advocate
for justice and policies that recognise and support those affected. We
think the Papua New Guinea government must set an example of such policies
by re-developing the Atolls Integrated Development policy and beginning a
recognized financing mechanism similar to REDD (Reducing Emissions from
Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). The
committee or board of which must include all relevant stakeholders,
including community representation and other expertise, not just government
officials.

The clashes in Urumqi echoed last year’s unrest in Tibet, when a peaceful
demonstration by monks in the capital of Lhasa erupted into riots that
spread to surrounding areas, leaving at least 22 dead. The Chinese
government accused Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of
orchestrating the violence — a charge he denied. Seytoff said he had heard
from two sources that at least two dozen people had been killed by gunfire
or crushed by armored police vehicles just outside Xinjiang University.
Mamet, a 36-year-old restaurant worker, said he saw People’s Armed Police
attack students outside Xinjiang University. “First they fired tear gas at
the students. Then they started beating them and shooting them with
bullets. Big trucks arrived, and students were rounded up and arrested,”
Mamet said. Wang Kui, an official with the Foreign Affairs Department at
the university, said she aware of no such incident. She said no students
from the university were among those killed or injured. “We are not
allowing students to come and go because the situation is chaotic at the
moment,” Wang said. “All the students are at school, and we are taking care
of them. But we are not clear about what’s been going on outside.”

A renowned Scottish gemstone expert was brutally murdered in Kenya by a mob
armed with machetes, clubs, spears — even bows and arrows — in what police
believe was the final fight in a years-long mining dispute. A group of at
least 30 men attacked Campbell Bridges, 71, his son Bruce, and four Kenyan
employees near the Tsavo National Park, a popular tourist site in the
Kenyan bush known for its lions. “My men were cut to ribbons and I took a
panga [machete] to the neck. It was an ambush.” said Bruce Bridges. The
murder was the bloody culmination of a three-year battle between squatters
and Bridges — a senior jewel consultant with Tiffany and Company in New
York. The squatters have reportedly stolen rare tsavorite gems from
Bridges’ team in the past. Bridges’ son charges the local miners with
illegally digging for gems on the family’s 600-hectare property. He also
adds that the Bridges family has received repeated death threats, the most
recent one coming just two weeks ago. “As we drove towards our mining camp
we found huge thorn trees blocking the road. Eight men with machetes,
spears, clubs, knives, bows and arrows appeared shouting ‘We’re going to
kill you all!’ Then more people came down the mountain like ants, 20 or 30
of them,” Bridges said. According to his son, Campbell Bridges was attacked
by two men and was stabbed in the side.

Four Uighur detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba were
recently released and relocated to Bermuda despite Beijing’s objections
because U.S. officials have said they fear the men would be executed if
they returned to China. Officials have also been trying to transfer 13
others to the Pacific nation of Palau. The men were captured in Afghanistan
and Pakistan in 2001, but the U.S. later determined they were not “enemy
combatants.” Previous mass protests in Xinjiang that were quelled by armed
forces became signal events for the separatist movement. In 1990, about 200
Uighurs shouting for holy war protested through Baren, a town near the
Afghan border, resulting in violence that left at least two dozen people
dead. In 1997, amid a wave of bombings and assassinations, a protest by
several hundred Uighurs in the city of Yining against religious
restrictions turned into an anti-Chinese uprising that left at least 10
dead. In both cases pro-independence groups said the death tolls were
several times higher, and the government never conducted a public
investigation into the events.

The women say they don’t know who their attackers were but they feel they
were held up by two men in their twenties who live in the same area.
Holland said the thieves also stole her cell phone which was in her bedroom
near the back door. While police have not yet retrieved any of the stolen
items, they have detained four suspects. Police believe that while only two
committed the robbery, it was planned by the four suspects. And while they
are in custody now, they are concerned that there will be retaliation
because the other victim who was visiting the home at the time is the
mother of a notorious George Street character.

7/7/2009

ABANDONED AMAZON INDIAN EXPLOSIVES ILLEGALLY FLOW FROM HUNGRY MISKITO BATTLE IN TRINIDAD MURDER CAPITAL'S COCA-COLA ZERO MAOIST RAMPAGE CONFIRMING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES A/H1N1 FLOOD-PRONE FLU CASES SO THAT THAI WHEAT STEM RUST MOSQUE ATTACK BANS VENEZUELA DENGUE DUCKS INSTEAD OF PERU SPAM CHICKENS

About 500 heavily armed Maoists encircled Chonha village under Dumaria
police station of Gaya district and blasted the primary health centre,
middle school building and community hall in the village using dynamite
sticks and other explosives. Earlier, the Naxalites had blown up a police
building in the same village. Incidentally, it was the eighth Maoist attack
in the district this month.

Influenza A/H1N1 continued to spread on with more confirmed cases reported
worldwide. Chilean health authorities confirmed the nation’s second death
from the new A/H1N1 flu in a man of 49. The man died and medical tests
confirmed the diagnosis. Five more A/H1N1 flu cases were confirmed in
Nicaragua, raising the total number of infected cases in the country to 26.

Gunmen killed 10 people and wounded 12 others when they opened fire with
automatic weapons at a mosque during evening prayers in Thailand’s restive
Muslim south. A rubber tapper was also shot dead and nine soldiers were
wounded by a roadside bomb, on one of the worst days of violence in the
region bordering Malaysia where a shadowy insurgency has rumbled since
2004. Police said at least five gunmen sprayed bullets into the mosque in
the Cho Airong district of Narathiwat, one of three mainly Muslim provinces
where more than 3,000 people have died in years of near daily bomb and gun
attacks.

The United States has created a new system for waging war. Where you no
longer have to depend exclusively on your own citizens to sign up for the
military and say, “I believe in this war, so I’m willing to sign up and
risk my life for it.” You turn the entire world into your recruiting
ground. You intricately link corporate profits to an escalation of warfare
and make it profitable for companies to participate in your wars. In the
process of doing that you undermine U.S. democratic processes. And you also
violate the sovereignty of other nations, ’cause you’re making their
citizens in combatants in a war to which their country is not a party. The
end game of all of this could well be the disintegration of the nation
state apparatus in the world. And it could be replaced by a scenario where
you have corporations with their own private armies.

A Council of Elders of the Miskito indigenous people on Nicaragua’s
Caribbean coast, citing the central government’s opening of the region to
corporate exploitation with little return to local residents, have
announced their secession from the country and declaration of a
“Communitarian Nation of Mosquitia.” But the ruling Sandinista government
are charging that the US embassy has fomented the move. Upon declaring
independence, Miskito Elders and their supporters seized the headquarters
of the ruling party of the autonomous region, Yatama, or “Sons of Mother
Earth,” in Puerto Cabezas. No move was taken to remove them, but National
Police seized the locally caught green sea turtle meat they planned to
consume at their celebratory feast, on the grounds that it is an endangered
species. The occupiers were finally ousted from the party headquarters by
Yatama adherents.

Across the globe, as mining and oil firms race for dwindling resources,
indigenous peoples are battling to defend their lands – often paying the
ultimate price. It has been called the world’s second “oil war”, but the
only similarity between Iraq and events in the jungles of northern Peru has
been the mismatch of force. On one side have been the police armed with
automatic weapons, teargas, helicopter gunships and armoured cars. On the
other are several thousand Awajun and Wambis Indians, many of them in war
paint and armed with bows and arrows and spears. In some of the worst
violence seen in Peru in 20 years, the Indians warned Latin America what
could happen if companies are given free access to the Amazonian forests to
exploit an estimated 6bn barrels of oil and take as much timber they like.
After months of peaceful protests, the police were ordered to use force to
remove a road bock near Bagua Grande.

A ‘time bomb’ for world wheat crop. The Ug99 fungus, called stem rust,
could wipe out more than 80% of the world’s wheat as it spreads from
Africa, scientists fear. The race is on to breed resistant plants before it
reaches the U.S. The sample spores arrived from Kenya on dried, infected
leaves ensconced in layers of envelopes. The suspended fungal spores in a
light mineral oil were sprayed onto thousands of healthy wheat plants.
After two weeks, the stalks were covered with deadly reddish blisters
characteristic of the scourge known as Ug99.

Venezuela’s Health Ministry said it has banned Coca-Cola Zero because it
failed to declare the use of an artificial sweetener allegedly harmful to
the health. Health officials said tests show the no-calorie soft drink
contains a sweetener called sodium cyclamate — charges Coca-Cola Co.
denies. The sweetener’s use is not prohibited in Venezuela. But the
ministry said the company failed to declare sodium cyclamate as an
ingredient in Coca-Cola Zero when it received its initial health permit to
begin selling the product. Coca-Cola is “failing to comply with sanitary
norms,” the ministry said.

Scientists have devised a new system that can predict outbreaks of dengue
fever with 60 per cent accuracy. The system, predicts outbreaks based on
sea temperature and changes in vegetation making predictions up to 40 weeks
in advance. The model could act as an early warning system, allowing
countries to be better prepared for the likelihood of an outbreak. About
two-thirds of the world’s population live in areas infested with mosquitoes
that transmit dengue fever. The new system can be used in Africa, Asia,
Latin America and the Caribbean, which are prone to the fever.

With a steady rise in violent crime including an alarming increase in
homicides, Trinidad and Tobago has overtaken Jamaica as the “murder capital
of the Caribbean”. While homicides increased two percent in Jamaica in
2008, murders were up a staggering 38 percent in Trinidad and Tobago.
Although much of the violence is gang-related, in recent years tourists
have increasingly become targets for robbery, sexual assault and murder.

After blasting the three centres, the Maoists raided the two-storey house
of Maqsood Khan, a big farmer and former mukhiya of Narainpur panchayat of
the Naxal-infested Dumaria block. Using walkie-talkies, they directed the
four female inmates of the house, including the farmer’s wife, daughter and
two maid servants, to move out of the house as they were going to blow it.
Once the womenfolk came out, the Maoists conducted what they call “seizure
of the movable assets”. After emptying the house, they looted about 100
quintals of rice, an equal quantity of wheat, 10 quintals of gram, potatoes
and onions, clothes, about 100 grams of gold jewellery and one kg of silver
ornaments besides utensils — the Maoists blew up the sprawling two-storey
house.

Cuba reported its fifth confirmed case of A/H1N1 flu in a 62-year-old
Canadian woman. Uruguayan health authorities reported four new A/H1N1
influenza cases, bringing the total in the country to 22. Three of them are
students from private colleges in Montevideo and the other is a woman who
recently returned from the United States and lives in the western Uruguayan
province of Rio Negro. The Dominican Republic’s Health Ministry reported 16
new cases of A/H1N1 flu, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 60.
There are a total of about 400 samples awaiting testing in a special
laboratory.

“The gunmen sneaked into the mosque and opened fire as the victims kneeled
on the floor praying.” The brazen attack was one of three in Narathiwat
province, which has seen a surge in violence. A Buddhist rubber tapper was
shot dead by unknown gunmen on a motorcycle in Rangae district and nine
soldiers were wounded, one seriously, when a powerful roadside bomb
exploded under their vehicle in neighboring Rueso district.

The President of Peru’s Amazon Indian organisation AIDESEP has been forced
into exile. Alberto Pizango sought refuge in the Nicaraguan embassy in
Peru’s capital Lima after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Nicaragua
has granted him asylum. Pizango was charged with `sedition, conspiracy and
rebellion’ following the violent confrontation between hundreds of
indigenous protesters blockading a road near the town of Bagua in northern
Peru, and riot police intent on breaking up the protest. The violent
tactics used by the police, firing automatic weapons at Indians who were
peacefully protesting, resulted in many deaths on both sides.

Yatama said the eviction was peaceful. “We’re not going to fight between
Miskito and Miskito,” the regional governor, said. “It’s not that we’re
afraid of that movement.” But Miskito Elders said they were armed. The
National Police apparently did not get involved. The separatists are still
maintaining that they are no longer part of Nicaragua, and have appointed
Héctor Williams as their wihta tara, or great judge. He cited lack of
central government response to devastating hurricanes, a rat plague, and a
mysterious hysteria-causing disease known as grisi siknis.

In the fights that followed, at least 50 Indians and nine police officers
were killed, with hundreds more wounded or arrested. The indigenous rights
group Survival International described it as “Peru’s Tiananmen Square”.
“For thousands of years, we’ve run the Amazon forests,” said Servando
Puerta, one of the protest leaders. “This is genocide. They’re killing us
for defending our lives, our sovereignty, human dignity.” As riot police
broke up more demonstrations in Lima and a curfew was imposed on many
Peruvian Amazonian towns, President Garcia backed down in the face of
condemnation of the massacre. He suspended – but only for three months –
the laws that would allow the forest to be exploited. No one doubts the
clashes will continue.

Nearly all the plants were goners. Crop scientists fear the Ug99 fungus
could wipe out more than 80% of worldwide wheat crops as it spreads from
eastern Africa. It has already jumped the Red Sea and traveled as far as
Iran. Experts say it is poised to enter the breadbasket of northern India
and Pakistan, and the wind will inevitably carry it to Russia, China and
even North America — if it doesn’t hitch a ride with people first. “It’s a
time bomb. It moves in the air, it can move in clothing on an airplane. We
know it’s going to be here. It’s a matter of how long it’s going to take.”

The ministry urged Venezuelans to refrain from sampling the drink, saying
it is “considered harmful to the health.” The U.S. prohibits the use of
cyclamates in human food because of health safety concerns. Sales of
Coca-Cola Zero elsewhere in Latin America have met with resistance over the
sweetener’s use. But Rosy Alvarez, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Servicios de
Venezuela, said that Coca-Cola Zero sold in Venezuela uses other artificial
sweeteners. “No ingredient of Coca-Cola Zero is harmful to peoples’
health,” she said. The local affiliate is nevertheless complying with
Venezuela’s order and has begun halting production, she said. The company
is in discussions with the Venezuelan government. Coca-Cola sells many
other soft drinks in Venezuela including Coca-Cola Classic, Chinoto,
Frescolita and Hit.

An Australian man with multiple serious ailments, including swine flu,
died, but authorities say they can’t be sure whether it was the virus that
killed him. The 26-year-old Aboriginal man could be the first person in the
Asia-Pacific to die from swine flu, which has swept rapidly through the
region but without the fatal impact it has had in the hardest hit countries
such as Mexico and the United States where dozens have died. Bangladesh,
Laos and Papua New Guinea all reported their first cases, while infections
continued to rise sharply in Thailand. Authorities in New Zealand said
widespread transmission of the virus meant it likely had more than 1,000
cases. The World Health Organization declared swine flu a pandemic. More
than 39,000 cases had been reported worldwide, with 167 deaths. The
Australian fatality was from the impoverished Aborgine minority in a remote
desert community. He died in a hospital in the southern city of Adelaide.
It is not yet known what the patient died of or where he became infected.
Australia has recorded the highest tally of swine flu cases in the
Asia-Pacific, reaching 2,330. Swine flu remained mild in Australia and most
people infected made rapid and full recoveries. New Zealand reported 63 new
cases of swine flu _ taking the national total to 216, but the country
likely had at least 1,000 cases. He said despite widespread transmission in
the community, virtually all the New Zealand cases were mild, with only one
patient so far becoming critically ill. More serious cases were expected
once the virus spreads. Officials were moving to ‘manage’ the spread of the
virus after attempting to contain it for two months. Bangladesh confirmed
its first case: a 19-year-old man who had recently returned from the U.S,
the Health Ministry said in a statement. It said he was being treated and
his family members were also under observation. A 27-year-old Australian
visitor has been confirmed as the first case of the virus in Laos, the
official Khaosan Pathet Lao agency reported. The unidentified Australian
has been quarantined but does not need hospitalization.

A Swedish couple was chopped to death in their hotel room in Tobago and two
British females were robbed and sexually assaulted by a bandit who forced
his way into their holiday apartment. The US and the UK issued travel
advisories warning travelers about increasing violence and the failure of
police in Tobago to apprehend and prosecute criminals. “You should be aware
that there are high levels of violent crime, especially shootings and
kidnappings,” states a travel advisory issued by the UK Foreign and
Commonwealth Office. “British nationals have been victims of violent
attacks, particularly in Tobago where law enforcement is weak.” A US travel
advisory issued about the same time warns travelers that armed robbers have
been trailing tourists as they depart international airports in Trinidad
and Tobago.

According to Rizwan, he was in a neighbouring village when the Maoists
started encircling his village. He immediately informed all senior police
officials about it. But the police arrived only after everything was over.
Admitting that she got information about the movement of the Maoists,
Magadh Range DIG Anupama Nilekar claimed that immediate steps were taken
and police parties dispatched to the village. According to the villagers,
the police reached the place a good 15 hours later. The police team was
greeted by “go back” slogans as angry villagers protested against the
apparent police failure. The villagers also raised slogans against senior
police officials.

In Hondura, 24 new cases of the A/H1N1 flu, bringing the country’s total to
56 with 100 more cases to be confirmed. Colombia confirmed one new A/H1N1
flu case, raising the total number of infected cases in the country to 25.
The boy, from Yopal, capital city of the central Casanare province, has had
close contact with a confirmed patient. The European Center for Disease
Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that 26 new A/H1N1 flu cases were
discovered in European countries within the last 24 hours. The new cases
were distributed in Germany, Netherlands, Austria, France and Denmark, it
said.

Nineteen people have been killed and 40 injured in the region’s latest
surge in violence. No group has made a credible claim of responsibility for
any of the attacks in the region, which was an independent Muslim sultanate
until annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand a century ago.

At least 30 Indians are thought to have been killed, but indigenous
organisations believe the real figure is significantly higher, and have
accused the police of throwing large numbers of bodies into the MaraÒon
river. More than 20 police officers are also believed to have died. Peru’s
President Alan Garcia has labelled the indigenous protesters `savages’,
`barbaric’, `ignorant’ and `second-class citizens’. The Indians’ protests
started in response to a series of government decrees promoting the opening
up of their lands to oil and gas companies. In recent years more than 70%
of Peru’s Amazon has been auctioned off to oil companies, with the Indians
rarely being consulted.

“We have the right to autonomy and self-government,” Wycleff Diego, the
separatist movement’s ambassador abroad said, holding up a copy of the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Even the government’s
allies concede that the separatists have valid grievances. “We haven’t been
the best administrators of public things, but that doesn’t mean we should
spill blood,” said Steadman Fagoth, a former Miskito guerilla leader who
has recently allied himself with Sandinista President Daniel Ortega. Two
major drilling concessions have been granted off Nicaragua’s Caribbean
coast, but officials fear the separatist movement could scare off
investors. “It’s going to send the signal that you can’t do business in
Nicaragua,” said a chief executive at Infinity Energy, a Denver-based
company. (A maritime border dispute with Honduras and Colombia has also
been an obstacle to offshore oil development.)

Peru is just one of many countries now in open conflict with its indigenous
people over natural resources. Barely reported in the international press,
there have been major protests around mines, oil, logging and mineral
exploitation in Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America. Hydro
electric dams, biofuel plantations as well as coal, copper, gold and
bauxite mines are all at the centre of major land rights disputes. A
massive military force continued this week to raid communities opposed to
oil companies’ presence on the Niger delta. The delta, which provides 90%
of Nigeria’s foreign earnings, has always been volatile, but guns have
flooded in and security has deteriorated. In the last month a military
taskforce has been sent in and helicopter gunships have shelled villages
suspected of harbouring militia. Thousands of people have fled. Activists
from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta have responded by
killing 12 soldiers and this week set fire to a Chevron oil facility.
Yesterday seven more civilians were shot by the military.

Though most Americans have never heard of it, Ug99 — a type of fungus
called stem rust because it produces reddish-brown flakes on plant stalks
— is the No. 1 threat to the world’s most widely grown crop. The
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico estimates that
19% of the world’s wheat, which provides food for 1 billion people in Asia
and Africa, is in imminent danger. American plant breeders say $10 billion
worth of wheat would be destroyed if the fungus suddenly made its way to
U.S. fields. Fear that the fungus will cause widespread damage has caused
short-term price spikes on world wheat markets. Famine has been averted
thus far, but experts say it’s only a matter of time.

The Solomon Islands police commissioner has warned against the practice of
cutting up unexploded wartime bombs to get explosives for fishing.
Commissioner Peter Marshall warned it was a very dangerous practice. He was
announcing that Hells Point, at the eastern end of the international
airport in the capital, Honiara, is out of bounds to the public. Solomon
Islands Broadcasting reports Mr Marshall said the area has been designated
by the Police Explosive Ordinance Division for destroying highly dangerous
products. The area is used to store explosives and ammunition left over
from World War II.

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry, meanwhile, confirmed 71 new cases,
bringing the country’s total to 589, most of them in Bangkok. Elsewhere in
the region, Papua New Guinea became the second South Pacific islands nation
to report a single confirmed case of the infection, after Samoa confirmed
its first case Tuesday. Singapore reported 11 new cases, bringing its total
to 77. Officials said all but two of the infections were contracted abroad.
In Beijing, an American high school student from Massachusetts was admitted
to a hospital with swine flu symptoms, while 14 other students and two
chaperones were quarantined. Numerous travelers have been quarantined over
swine flu concerns in China, including other school groups from California
and Maryland. Hong Kong reported 16 more cases, including seven that were
domestically transmitted. The new infections bring the city’s total to 237.
Malaysia confirmed four new cases of the virus, raising its tally to 27.

“Violent crimes, including assault, kidnapping for ransom, sexual assault
and murder, have involved foreign residents and tourists (and) incidents
have been reported involving armed robbers trailing arriving passengers
from the airport and accosting them in remote areas… the perpetrators of
many of these crimes have not been arrested.” Highest crime rates in the
English-speaking Caribbean, which extends from the Bahamas in the north to
Trinidad & Tobago in the south, averages 30 murders per 100,000 inhabitants
per year, one of the highest rates in the world. By comparison, the murder
rate in both Canada and the UK is about two per 100,000.

$27bn flows out illegally every year from India. Global Financial Integrity
(GFI) — has ranked the country fifth in the list of 160 developing
countries suffering from the outflow of huge amounts of money through
illicit channels.

Many countries in Asia also reported more infections. South Korea’s health
authorities on Monday confirmed one more case of Influenza A/H1N1, raising
the number of confirmed cases to 48 in the country. A 28-year-old man,
recently back from his business trip to New York, showed flu-like symptoms,
and, accordingly, was quarantined at a state-designated hospital. With four
more cases reported in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan’s tally of A/H1N1 flu
infections have amounted to 424. The four patients – three middle school
boys and one primary school boy – tested positive for the new flu after
having run fevers.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recent takedown of an Internet service
provider thought to be a safe haven for spammers has reduced spam volumes,
but only by a little. Total spam volume dropped by about 15 percent as the
FTC got a court order to pull the plug on a notorious ISP named Pricewert.
which also did business under the name 3FN, was knocked off-line after the
companies that provided it access to the Internet stopped doing business
with it. This happened after the FTC was granted a temporary restraining
order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Frustrated by the refusal of the authorities to negotiate with them,
AIDESEP called for a series of peaceful protests. Indian communities
throughout central and northern Peru have been blockading rivers and roads
in a successful attempt to halt the oil industry traffic. Survival has
called for oil and gas companies in the Amazon to suspend their operations
until the government agrees to peaceful negotiations with the Indians’
representatives; for an independent and impartial inquiry into the tragic
events near Bagua; and for the lifting of all charges against Sr. Pizango.

Puerto Cabezas has twice been rocked by violent protests in recent years:
in 2007, over the central government’s slow response after a devastating
hurricane, and in 2008, when Ortega’s government postponed municipal
elections. Separatist leader Williams, who has enlisted the support of
hundreds of Miskito lobster divers who are protesting a drop in pay as
lobster prices plunge, said he had to discourage the divers from attacking
the party offices after they were re-taken. The separatists say they are
seeking financing to train and equip an army of 1,500. “We’ll defend our
natural resources,” vowed Guillermo Espinoza, the movement’s defense
minister, who was known as Comandante Black Cat during the 1980s war. If no
guns can be procured, he said, the separatists will make weapons
themselves.

The escalation of violence came in the week that Shell agreed to pay £9.7m
to ethnic Ogoni families – whose homeland is in the delta – who had led a
peaceful uprising against it and other oil companies in the 1990s, and who
had taken the company to court in New York accusing it of complicity in
writer Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution in 1995. Meanwhile in West Papua,
Indonesian forces protecting some of the world’s largest mines have been
accused of human rights violations. Hundreds of tribesmen have been killed
in the last few years in clashes between the army and people with bows and
arrows. “An aggressive drive is taking place to extract the last remaining
resources from indigenous territories,” says Victoria Tauli-Corpus, an
indigenous Filipino and chair of the UN permanent forum on indigenous
issues. “There is a crisis of human rights. There are more and more
arrests, killings and abuses.

A significant humanitarian crisis is inevitable. The solution is to develop
new wheat varieties that are immune to Ug99. That’s much easier said than
done. After several years of feverish work, scientists have identified a
mere half-dozen genes that are immediately useful for protecting wheat from
Ug99. Incorporating them into crops using conventional breeding techniques
is a nine- to 12-year process that has only just begun. And that process
will have to be repeated for each of the thousands of wheat varieties that
is specially adapted to a particular region and climate. “All the seed
needs to change in the next few years. It’s really an enormous
undertaking.”

A Spanish cruise ship hit by an outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus among its
crew headed for its final stop at the Caribbean island of Aruba. The Ocean
Dream, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL.N), was on a week-long cruise
due to end but its itinerary was limited after several crew members came
down with the swine flu. Venezuela confirmed three cases of H1N1 flu among
the ship’s crew when the boat arrived at the island of Margarita and more
than 300 Venezuelan passengers were allowed off. The ship’s remaining 900
passengers and crew are expected to disembark in Aruba, the cruise’s final
stop.

Humanity will achieve the dubious distinction this year of having more than
1 billion members of its species living in hunger for the first time in
history. The number of undernourished is estimated to soar by about 100
million over last year, to 1.02 billion, according to the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The 11 percent surge
in the world’s hungry is primarily a product of the global economic crisis,
combined with persistently high food prices. World economic output is
expected to decline by more than 3 percent this year—the first global
contraction since the Second World War. The economic crisis, the FAO notes,
“has reduced incomes and employment opportunities of the poor and
significantly lowered their access to food.”

With 550 homicides in 2008, Trinidad and Tobago has a rate of about 55
murders per 100,000 making it the most dangerous country in the Caribbean
and one of the most dangerous in the world. The rate of assaults, robbery,
kidnapping and rape in Trinidad and Tobago is also among the highest in the
world. According to a report issued by the United States State Department,
gang-related homicides and other crimes will continue to increase in
Trinidad and Tobago in 2009 and 2010.

“In 2006, total outflows from developing countries outpaced incoming
official development assistance (ODA) by a ratio of 10 to 1. This means
that for every $1 in ODA a developing country received, $10 was lost due to
illicit financial outflows. China topped the list of countries for illicit
outflows with $233bn-$289bn, followed by Saudi Arabia ($54bn-$55bn), Mexico
($41bn-$46bn) and Russia ($32bn-$38bn).

Eight more A/H1N1 flu cases were confirmed on the Chinese mainland,
bringing the total number to 80. Three new cases were reported in Beijing,
including a 12-year-old Chinese boy and two foreigners. The boy studied in
the United States and returned to China from Orlando. Meanwhile, five
people were tested positive for the A/H1N1 influenza virus in Hong Kong
taking the number of confirmed cases of the disease in the city to 38.
Vietnamese authority updated the number of its A/H1N1 flu patients to 13.
The mother and younger sister of the 11th case has been confirmed to be
infected with the virus. The family returned to Vietnam from the United
States and were now isolated and treated at the Nhi Dong No. 1 Hospital.

According to the FTC, Pricewert was home to a host of illegal activity
including the distribution of viruses, phishing, spyware and child
pornography. Pricewert “actively shielded its criminal clientele by either
ignoring take-down requests issued by the on-line security community, or
shifting its criminal elements to other Internet protocol addresses it
controlled to evade detection.” The ISP has said that the alleged criminal
activity on its network was the result of bad customers and not its fault.
Pricewert lists its principal place of business as Belize City, Belize, but
it operated out of a DataPipe data center in San Jose, California.

A new kind of refugee is on the rise. And by 2050, there could be as many
as 200 million of them. CARE official says people in flood-prone Bangladesh
should raise ducks instead of chickens. They are not fleeing despicable
acts of violence or persecution but the very land and water on which their
livelihoods depend. They are some of the world’s poorest, forced from their
homes by global climate change.

A top Sandinista leader, Gustavo Porras, accused Robert Callahan, the US
ambassador to Nicaragua, of conspiring with the separatist movement in Cold
War-era fashion. Callahan—who worked in the US embassy in Honduras when it
was the command center for the Reagan administration’s Contra war in
Nicaragua—denies involvement. “The question regarding any contentious
issues that may exist between parts of the Miskito community and the
government of Nicaragua is a matter for the Nicaraguans, and one that they
themselves must resolve,” he said. Sandinista-aligned Miskito leader
Steadman Fagoth—president of Nicaragua’s Fishing Institute—said he
witnessed Ambassador Callahan and US State Department officials meeting
with separatist leaders in Puerto Cabezas.

“This is happening in Russia, Canada, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mongolia,
Nigeria, the Amazon, all over Latin America, Papua New Guinea and Africa.
It is global. We are seeing a human rights emergency. A battle is taking
place for natural resources everywhere. Much of the world’s natural capital
– oil, gas, timber, minerals – lies on or beneath lands occupied by
indigenous people.” What until quite recently were isolated incidents of
indigenous peoples in conflict with states and corporations are now
becoming common as government-backed companies move deeper on to lands long
ignored as unproductive or wild. As countries and the World Bank increase
spending on major infrastructural projects to counter the economic crisis,
the conflicts are expected to grow.

An ancient adversary, farmers have been battling stem rust for as long as
they have grown wheat. The fungus’ ancestors infected wild grasses for
millions of years before people began cultivating them for food. The
pathogen keeps mutating and evolving. It’s one of our biblical pests. This
is not a small enemy. When a spore lands on a green wheat plant, it forms a
pustule that invades the outer layers of the stalk. The pustule hijacks the
plant’s water and nutrients and diverts them to produce new rust spores
instead of grain. Within two weeks of an initial attack, there can be
millions of pustules in a 2.5-acre patch of land. Wheat plants that can
recognize a specific chemical produced by stem rust can mount a defense
against the fungus. But the rust is able to mutate, evade the plant’s
immune system and resume its spread.

The ship made stops earlier in the week in Barbados and Grenada, but
authorities there refused to let passengers leave the ship. Venezuelan
health authorities that the boat had been quarantined for a week along with
its passengers, who are mainly from Spain, Colombia and Venezuela but also
include Brazilian, British and French citizens. “The boat is continuing its
itinerary in the direction of Aruba, where the rest of the passengers and
the affected crew will disembark,” the company said in a statement.
Barbados refused to let the ship dock because 43 crew members exhibited
flu-like symptoms.

The world’s hungry are concentrated in Asia and the Pacific (642 million),
Sub-Saharan Africa (265 million), Latin America and the Caribbean (53
million), and the Near East and North Africa (42 million). Sub-Saharan
Africa has the highest concentration of hungry, while the Middle East and
North Africa saw the most rapid growth in the number of hungry people (13.5
percent). The agency’s definition of hunger is based on the number of
calories consumed. Depending on the relative age and gender ratios of a
given country, the cutoff varies between 1,600 and 2,000 calories a day. It
is likely the figures significantly underestimate the number of people
suffering from hunger. A study published earlier this year found that 12
million children are at risk of inadequate food in the United States.
Figures estimate the total number of hungry people in the entire “developed
world” (including the US and Europe) at 15 million.

The issue of money taken illegally abroad and stashed in tax havens has
recently acquired prominence because of the feeling, encouraged by the
global slowdown, that days of secret banking are over. The consensus was
reflected in the recent meeting of G-20, and has been strengthened by the
promises of Swiss authorities to cooperate with demands, provided they are
backed up by specific details, for investigation into accounts in banks
within their jurisdiction. In India, Supreme Court has taken up the matter
following a PIL by a group of well-known citizens. The Centre has promised
to get back to the court this week with details of what it has done to deal
with the issue, particularly with regard to details of 1,400 accounts with
a bank in Liechtenstein which has been made available by German
authorities.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Sunday reported a ninth case of
influenza A/H1N1 infection in the country. The latest patient was a
29-year-old businessman who returned from the United States. According to
the latest update by the World Health Organization (WHO), 21,940 cases of
A/H1N1 infection have been confirmed in 69 countries, including 125 deaths.

Pricewert was thought to be home to several servers used to control
computers infected with the Cutwail Trojan program (also known as Pushdo).
Criminals had been using these infected machines to pump out spam messages,
and right before the takedown the ISP was responsible for about 30 percent
of the spam. Levels dropped close to 50 percent after notorious ISP McColo
was taken off-line by its upstream providers, and it took months for spam
levels to rebound to the same volume. However, the results from the
Pricewert takedown were not as dramatic.

Alarmed by the predictions on climate refugees, humanitarian agencies warn
that recent gains in the fight against poverty could vanish unless issues
of forced migration become an integral part of the dialogue on global
warming. Attended by delegates from 184 countries, the Bonn conference is
meant to serve as a precursor to a crucial United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. That summit is
expected to produce agreement on how to tackle global warming after the
Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets for industrialized nations for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expires in in 2012.

The US canceled more than $60 million in assistance to Nicaragua, citing
concerns about democracy, rule of law and a free market economy. The board
of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US-funded operation set up by
former President George W. Bush to fight poverty in developing nations,
said it had cut $62 million from a $175 million program for Nicaragua.
“This decision is made with deep disappointment, as our partnership with
Nicaragua has yielded tremendous progress over the past years in reducing
poverty through innovative economic growth projects. The cut in aid follows
a suspension in new US assistance announced after the contested municipal
elections. Ortega accused the US of punishing the poor with the suspension
and defended the local elections, in which his Sandinistas won a majority
of municipalities. “Given the lack of meaningful reforms or progress in
these areas by the government of Nicaragua, the board has agreed to
terminate these projects. The canceled projects include a property
regularization project and improvement of a road in León department.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, said US assistance must be “as
effective and transparent as it is generous.”

Indigenous groups say that large-scale mining is the most damaging. When
new laws opened the Philippines up to international mining 10 years ago,
companies flooded in and wreaked havoc in indigenous communities. “I have
never seen anything so systematically destructive. The environmental
effects are catastrophic as are the effects on people’s livelihoods. They
take the tops off mountains, which are holy, they destroy the water sources
and make it impossible to farm. Mining generates or exacerbates corruption,
fuels armed conflicts, increases militarisation and human rights abuses,
including extrajudicial killings.”

Stem rust destroyed more than 20% of U.S. wheat crops several times between
1917 and 1935, and losses reached nearly 9% twice in the 1950s. The last
major outbreak, in 1962, destroyed 5.2% of the U.S. crop. The fungus was
kept at bay for years by breeders who slowly and methodically incorporated
different combinations of six major stem rust resistance genes into various
varieties of wheat. The breeders thought it unlikely that the rust could
overcome clusters of those genes at the same time. After several
outbreak-free decades, it seemed that stem rust had been defeated for good.
Scientists switched to other topics, and the hunt for new resistance genes
practically slowed to a crawl.

Many of the small island states in the eastern Caribbean depend on cruise
ship arrivals as an important source of foreign exchange for their
vulnerable economies. A number of Caribbean states have reported confirmed
cases of the H1N1 swine flu, which was declared a pandemic by the World
Health Organization. Venezuela has confirmed at least 45 cases, with no
deaths. One person died from the virus in nearby Colombia.

According to the FAO, the growth of hunger is not the result of a decline
in food production. Cereal production, for example, will only slightly
decrease this year from 2008. Instead, “the poor are less able to purchase
food, especially where prices on domestic markets are still stubbornly
high…. At the end of 2008, domestic staple foods still cost on average 24
percent more in real terms than two years earlier; a finding that was true
across a range of important foodstuffs.” In other words, the sharp growth
in hunger is due not to a lack of capacity, although global food production
could be significantly increased given a rational and scientific allocation
of agricultural resources. Instead, the rise in social misery results from
the fact that millions more people are now unable to afford the most basic
necessities.

The GFI report estimated that total illicit capital flight from developing
countries was as high as $1 trillion per year during 2002-06. The illegal
outflows involve activities such as corruption (bribery and embezzlement of
national wealth) and proceeds of licit business that becomes illicit when
transported across borders in violation of laws and regulatory frameworks.
This massive loss of assets is the greatest impediment to economic
development and poverty alleviation and should be of concern to all
nations.

Millions of people living in Kenya’s slums are denied vital services and
live under threat of harassment and forced eviction, posing a major threat
to the country’s security. Kenya’s capital hosts Africa’s biggest slum,
Kibera. An estimated two million people live in Kibera, a slum called
Mathare and other sprawling settlements in and around Nairobi. The
development of slums in urban areas has become the iconic symbol of the
forgotten marginalised people — excluded not only from basic services like
sanitation but also from the decision-making that takes place even about
their own lives.

According to data from Cisco Systems, spam levels dropped about 30 percent
but rebounded to normal levels quickly. Security experts say that following
the dramatic McColo incident, spammers may have put better backup systems
in place to maintain control of their botnets of hacked computers.
“Obviously, this was not a McColo. They were ready for the takedown. We’ve
seen the backups pop up and have to get taken down and so on.”

“The consequences for almost all aspects of development and human security
could be devastating. Global warming fears overblown? The breakdown of
ecosystem-dependent livelihoods is likely to remain the main driver of
forced migration during the next few decades. In the Mekong River Delta,
for instance, the sea level rising by 2 meters (6.5 feet) could mean the
loss of millions of acres of agricultural land, reducing it by half.
Climate change will exacerbate stressful conditions unless vulnerable
populations, especially the poorest, are assisted in building
climate-resilient livelihoods. It’s morally imperative for developing
nations to adopt policy that addresses these global change.

A man was seriously injured after he fell from the overcrowded
Saharanpur-Ambala-Nangal passenger train between Haldari and Dukheri
stations today. The train, which plys between Saharanpr and Nangal Dam via
Ambala, was reportedly overcrowded with migrant labourers coming to Punjab
to find work during the paddy transplantation season. However, after
rumours spread that one person had died while another was injured due to
overcrowding, the agitated commuters stopped the train at Dukheri and
ransacked the station before assaulting a few labourers. One person, who
was injured in the accident, was admitted to PGI Chandigarh with head
injuries. On the other hand, a number of labourers sustained minor injuries
and were administered first aid at the Ambala station. They said despite
having valid tickets, they were assaulted.

The arrival of dams, mining or oil spells cultural death for communities.
The Dongria Kondh in Orissa, eastern India, are certain that their way of
life will be destroyed when British FTSE 100 company Vedanta shortly starts
to legally exploit their sacred Nyamgiri mountain for bauxite, the raw
material for aluminium. The huge open cast mine will destroy a vast swath
of untouched forest, and will reduce the mountain to an industrial
wasteland. More than 60 villages will be affected. “If Vedanta mines our
mountain, the water will dry up. In the forest there are tigers, bears,
monkeys. Where will they go? We have been living here for generations. Why
should we leave?” asks Kumbradi, a tribesman. “We live here for Nyamgiri,
for its trees and leaves and all that is here.” Davi Yanomami, a shaman of
the Yanomami, one of the largest but most isolated Brazilian indigenous
groups, came to London to warn MPs that the Amazonian forests were being
destroyed, and to appeal for help to prevent his tribe being wiped out.
“History is repeating itself”, he told the MPs. “Twenty years ago many
thousand gold miners flooded into Yanomami land and one in five of us died
from the diseases and violence they brought. We were in danger of being
exterminated then, but people in Europe persuaded the Brazilian government
to act and they were removed.

A new strain of stem rust was identified on a wheat farm in Uganda in 1999.
“It didn’t draw a lot of attention, frankly. There’s very little wheat
grown in Uganda.” East Africa is a natural hot spot for stem rust. Weather
conditions allow farmers to grow wheat year-round, so rust spores can
always find a susceptible host. Some of the wheat is grown as high as 7,000
feet above sea level, where intense solar radiation helps the fungus
mutate. The highlands are also home to barberry bushes, the only plant on
which stem rust is known to reproduce through sexual recombination. That
genetic shuffling provides a golden opportunity for the fungus to evolve
into a deadly strain.

A Royal Caribbean Chief Executive said last week the flu outbreak had “a
short, but highly disruptive impact to our operations,” although he added
vessels were returning to their original itineraries. The launch of a
Pullmantur cruise ship targeting Mexican nationals, the Pacific Dream, had
to be canceled because of the H1N1 outbreak in Mexico, the epicenter of the
pandemic.

Three aspects of the present crisis that make it particularly severe.
First, it follows the rapid growth in food prices in the years 2006-2008.
This bubble was driven in part by speculative activities of investors
pouring money into commodities as the financial crisis developed. This
preceding surge in prices eroded any buffer created by households to cope
with economic shocks. Second, the crisis is global. When economic crises
are confined to individual countries, or several countries in a particular
region, governments can make recourse to instruments such as currency
devaluation, borrowing or increased use of official assistance to face the
effects of the crisis. Third, poorer countries are “more financially and
commercially integrated into the world economy” and are therefore “far more
exposed to changes in international markets.” They are highly susceptible
to rapid changes in global demand or supply and credit restrictions.

“Places like Kibera are ticking time bombs. We see young people unemployed
in desperate conditions and they have no stake in creating stable society,”
In a part of Kibera known as Soweto, sewage runs though ditches while
pathways are littered with animal waste, garbage and human waste.
Overcrowding in Kibera is a huge problem and more than 800,000 people live
on 250 hectares. Kenya was convulsed by ethnic violence after President
Mwai Kibaki’s disputed re-election in December 2007, largely pitting
supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga against backers of Kibaki
and the police.

Simple changes can help address potential catastrophe. In flood-prone
Bangladesh, for instance, CARE is helping women who raise chickens switch
to ducks. In other regions, it could mean something as simple as changing
water-craving crops to more resilient foods. “So if the rains don’t come
when needed, you don’t lose an entire crop. Climate migration could climb
to staggering levels, its consequences reaching far and wide.

International disaster relief charity ShelterBox has distributed aid to up
to 2,000 people whose homes were destroyed by Cyclone Aila which hit
Bangladesh. A ShelterBox response team (SRT) arrived in the country days
after the cyclone struck. ShelterBox completed the distribution of 200
ShelterBoxes around the towns of Shyanmagar and Munshigaon, close to the
border with India. The area took the brunt of the storm damage, which also
affected eastern India.

But now 3,000 more miners and ranchers have come back. More are coming.
They are bringing in guns, rafts, machines, and destroying and polluting
rivers. People are being killed. They are opening up and expanding old
airstrips. They are flooding into Yanomami land. Governments must treat us
with respect. This creates great suffering. We kill nothing, we live on the
land, we never rob nature. Yet governments always want more. A warning to
the world that our people will die.” This is a paradigm war taking place
from the arctic to tropical forests. Wherever you find indigenous peoples
you will find resource conflicts. It is a battle between the industrial and
indigenous world views. There is some hope in that Indigenous peoples are
now much more aware of their rights. They are challenging the companies and
governments at every point.

Within a few years, Ug99 — named for the country and year it was
identified — had devastated farms in neighboring Kenya, where much of the
wheat is grown on large-scale farms that have so far been able to absorb
the blow. Then it moved north to Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, putting more
small farms at risk. Those that can afford it are trying to make do with
fungicides, but that’s too cumbersome and expensive to be a long-term
solution. To make matters worse, the fungus is becoming more virulent as it
spreads. Scientists discovered a Ug99 variant in 2006 that can defeat Sr24,
a resistance gene that protects Great Plains wheat. Last year, another
variant was found with immunity to Sr36, a gene that safeguards Eastern
wheat. Should those variants make their way to U.S. fields any time soon,
scientists would be hard-pressed to protect American wheat crops.

Another related factor has been the way in which the US government has
monopolized credit markets to fund its multi-trillion-dollar bank bailouts,
exploiting the privileged position of the American dollar to do so. Poorer
countries do not have this privilege and are facing higher borrowing costs
as a consequence. Take note of the growth in interest rates for debt to
“developing countries” along with the complete absence of available credit
for some nations. The economic crisis has led to other rapid shifts in
capital markets, including the drying up of foreign direct investment. Many
poorer countries are seeing a sharp decline in remittances from migrants,
by 5 to 8 percent. What is more, remittances have usually been resistant to
shocks and often even increased during economic crises in recipient
countries. The countercyclical effect of these transfers is unlikely to
happen this time due to the global dimension of the current recession.

Both Kibera and Mathare became battle grounds during the post election
violence that killed at least 1,300 people in east Africa’s biggest
economy. Millions of dollars have been spent on government projects to
upgrade the slums but there is little to show for it on the ground.
Corruption is a big issue because a lot of assistance money has been
ploughed into these slums, but it seems to be siphoned off.

Without money or resources, climate refugees will likely stay within their
own borders, accelerating movement from rural areas to urban centers and
crowding into cities already bursting at the seams. That could lead to
government instability and further unrest. The challenge is to better
understand the dynamics of climate-related migration and displacement. New
thinking and practical approaches are needed to address the threats that
climate-related migration poses to human security and well-being. Climate
change is a formidable foe that must be tackled. One doesn’t want to see
the hopes of the world’s poorest turned to dust.

The recipients were so grateful. Whole villages had been destroyed and
people were forced to live out in the open. The tents have given them the
opportunity to start rebuilding their lives. Each ShelterBox contains a
10-person tent, blankets, water purification and cooking equipment, basic
tools, a stove and other essential equipment.

In Ecuador, Chevron may be fined billions of dollars if an epic court case
goes against them. The company is accused of dumping, in the 1970s and
1980s, more than 19bn gallons of toxic waste and millions of gallons of
crude oil into waste pits in the forests, leading to more than 1,400 cancer
deaths and devastation of indigenous communities. The pits are said to be
still there, mixing chemicals with groundwater and killing fish and
wildlife. The Ecuadorian courts have set damages at $27bn (£16.5bn).
Chevron, which inherited the case when it bought Texaco, does not deny the
original spills, but says the damage was cleaned up. Back in the Niger
delta, Shell was ordered to pay $1.5bn to the Ijaw people in 2006 – though
the company has so far escaped paying the fines. After settling with Ogoni
families in New York this week, it now faces a second class action suit in
New York over alleged human rights abuses, and a further case in Holland
brought by Niger Delta villagers working with Dutch groups. Meanwhile,
Exxon Mobil is being sued by Indonesian indigenous villagers who claim
their guards committed human rights violations, and there are dozens of
outstanding cases against other companies operating in the Niger Delta.

Now the pressure is on to develop new wheat varieties that are impervious
to Ug99. Hundreds of varieties will need to be upgraded in the U.S. alone.
“You can’t just breed it into one or two major varieties and expect to
solve the problem. You have to reinvent this wheel at almost a local level.
The first step is to identify Ug99 resistance genes by finding wheat plants
that can withstand the deadly fungus. Roughly 16,000 wheat varieties and
other plants have been tested in the cereal disease lab over the last four
years. The tests were conducted when the Minnesota weather is so frigid
that escaping spores would quickly perish. These and similar efforts at a
research station in Kenya have turned up only a handful of promising
resistance genes, which crop breeders are trying to import into vulnerable
strains of wheat.

The FAO also expects foreign aid to drop by 25 percent to the poorest 71
countries. Total official development assistance (ODA) aid from all
countries has been about $100 billion a year—as compared to bank bailouts
running in the trillions and a US military budget of more than $500
billion. Countries that rely on exports have been particularly hard hit by
the economic crisis, and world trade is anticipated to fall between 5 and 9
percent this year. The implications of the rapid deterioration of the
global economy and the consequent decline in living standards for millions
of people were not lost on UN officials. The silent hunger crisis poses a
serious risk for world peace and security. A hungry world is a dangerous
world. Many commentators pointed to the possibility of a repeat of the food
riots that broke out in 2008. Earlier, the G8 countries met to discuss the
global “food emergency.” Little emerged from the conference save a mutually
expressed concern about the danger of social upheaval and revolution.

“Indigenous groups are using the courts more but there is still collusion
at the highest levels in court systems to ignore land rights when they
conflict with economic opportunities. Everything is for sale, including the
Indians’ rights. Governments often do not recognise land titles of Indians
and the big landowners just take the land.” Indigenous leaders want an
immediate cessation to mining on their lands. A conference on mining and
indigenous peoples in Manila called on governments to appoint an ombudsman
or an international court system to handle indigenous peoples’ complaints.
Most indigenous peoples barely have resources to ensure their basic
survival, much less to bring their cases to court. Members of the judiciary
in many countries are bribed by corporations and are threatened or killed
if they rule in favour of indigenous peoples. States have an obligation to
provide them with better access to justice and maintain an independent
judiciary. But as the complaints grow, so does the chance that peaceful
protests will grow into intractable conflicts as they have in Nigeria, West
Papua and now Peru. “There is a massive resistance movement growing. But
the danger is that as it grows, so does the violence.”

Each year, hundreds of plants are crossed in a greenhouse to produce as
many as 50,000 candidate strains. Those are winnowed down, and the most
promising 2,000 are planted in the field. Only the hardiest strains are
replanted each year, until the 12-year process results in a single new
variety with dozens of valuable traits, such as the ability to withstand
drought and make fluffy bread. The oldest of the plants bred for Ug99
resistance are only 3 years old, but one of the strains has been planted in
the field already in case the fungus hitches a quick ride to the U.S. on an
airplane or in a shipping container. In the absence of stem rust, it would
not be the highest-yielding wheat. In the presence of stem rust, it would
be the only thing that would survive.

6/6/2009

INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE AID RISING, BUT EXTREME POVERTY DESTROYS CASH SCAM, LOOTING, KWASO, TARGETING CHINESE WITH OPERATION HIGH VISIBILITY AND 13FT CROCODILE WITH NEW INFLUX OF MYANMAR MUSLIMS AND PAPUA PRISONERS' WATER MARK LAW AMID CORAL TRIANGLE FISH POISONING

The National Council of Women in Papua New Guinea says people of all ages
are dying from starvation, despite the government’s comments that nobody is
lacking food or water.

A haul of skulls and other body parts has been linked to five shipping
containers on the sea bed off the southern Chon Buri province.

A central bank worker in the Solomon Islands may have netted millions of
dollars by depositing old currency notes he was responsible for destroying
into his own bank account. Philip Bobongi was to destroy old and dirty
banknotes but instead had used them to fill his own accounts and accumulate
property and other assets.

A huge crocodile responsible for the deaths of at least seven people has
been caught and put on display on the front of a car in a small Papua New
Guinea town.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police have warned they will be targeting the
illegal trade and drinking of kwaso as well as people going armed in public
without lawful cause.

Bangladesh stepped up vigilance at its border with Myanmar after a fresh
influx of Rohingya Muslims was reported.

US-based Human Rights Watch called on Indonesia to look into the reported
torture and abuse of prisoners in a jail in the province of Papua. Human
Rights Watch singled out brutality by prison guards at the state jail in
Abepura, near the Papua capital of Jayapura.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare stated that people in Papua New Guinea
are not short of food or water. The President of the National Council of
Women Scholla Kakas disagrees, saying Catholic Bishops, who work closely
with the community have spoken of how people are actually dying from
starvation. “This is spreading all over the country where there is urban
drift from the rural villages into the urban areas into the towns of Papua
New Guinea. And what is happening in Port Moresby is true; there are people
dying of poverty.”

Some believe the containers hold the bodies of pro-democracy protesters
killed by the army in 1992. Police have said that their divers will examine
them. Rumours have suggested that the bodies were scattered by aircraft
over the jungle or buried at a remote army camp. According to the official
tally, 52 people died when troops opened fire on protesters in Bangkok
during “Black May” in 1992. But victims’ groups say that 357 people are
still missing.

Although police were unable to determine how much had been stolen, the scam
occurred over three years and the total could amount to millions of
dollars. Police also seized cash from the home of Mr Bobongi, who has been
charged with larceny, false pretences and money laundering.

The astonishing ‘trophy’, secured to the vehicle by ropes, was driven
through the town of Madang after it was caught by a team of local youths.
But while the bizarre trip around the town, amid a carnival atmosphere, was
intended to put at ease locals who feared more attacks, the warning went
out that the croc’s mate was still at large.

The commissioner said Operation High Visibility will run again this
weekend. “This operation will feature traffic management, foot and mobile
patrols with a strong focus on black market outlets in Central Honiara,
Point Cruz, the Ba’hai and White River areas. General duties officers and
supporting personnel from other Police units will continue to routinely
target disorderly and criminal behaviour, drinking in public and illegal
trading in kwaso.”

Rohingya refugees have presented problems for several other countries in
the region in recent months, with reports of Thailand putting those who
come by boat back to sea, and others reaching Malaysia and Indonesia and
trying to work illegally. Local residents and media said about 1,000
Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh in just the past three days, alleging
increased persecution by Myanmar’s military junta.

“How can the government turn a blind eye to beatings and torture in one of
its prisons? Jakarta needs to put an end to this disgraceful behavior,
punish those responsible and start keeping a close eye on what is happening
there.” Reports of more than two dozen cases of beatings and physical abuse
since Anthonius Ayorbaba, became the prison warden.

The government should send out officers to investigate people’s living
conditions and confirm for themselves that people really are starving to
death. The land below high and low water mark are the beaches or
foreshores, reefs and seabed. “This area of land is significant because it
is where many developments like wharfs and tourist facilities are taking
place.”

“Seventeen years on no significant progress has been made in searching for
the people reported missing,” The military government responsible was
forced to step down but the issue of the killings remains extremely
sensitive in Thailand because they were never fully investigated. “The
person who ordered the mass killing has not been punished, nor have the
others involved … who are still living a happy life, playing golf,
sipping wine and making comments to the media.”

The case was uncovered after central bank workers noticed that large
numbers of old notes were still in circulation. Police are applying to the
courts to freeze Mr Bobongi’s bank accounts and seize several vehicles and
properties. Chinese nationals in Papua New Guinea have been subjected to
attacks and protests for a third straight day, leading police to use tear
gas against rioters.

It is known that seven people have been killed by the 13ft captured croc
but there are fears there were other victims who have vanished from their
villages without trace. The latest victim was a 17-year-old girl who was
grabbed by the crocodile from the banks of the Gum River. Her body was
never found. Fearing that the attacks would continue unless the man-eater
was captured, Madang businessman Samuel Aloi called together a group of
youths whose families had learned the art of capturing crocodiles from
earlier generations.

Police officers will also be checking people they suspect to have concealed
weapons and identifying if they are going armed in public without lawful
cause. “Under existing Statute Law, officers of the RSIPF already have the
right to confiscate weapons from people and seize on suspicion on unlawful
activity, at any time. This is not a new power, our officers will simply be
reinforcing their focus on street crime.”

“They forced us from our homes and threatened to treat us even worse if we
go back,” said Syed Alam, who crossed the Naf river on the border in a
small boat with five family members. “The eviction of Muslims in Rakhine
state … increased in recent weeks after the (Myanmar) military started
clearing space to build an army garrison.” Rakhine borders Bangladesh’s
Cox’s Bazar district. Alam said about 120 families were evicted from his
village, and more were being forced out. “I chose to leave my country as a
last resort.”

The government should replace the prison administration, open the
penitentiary to international monitoring and set up an independent team to
probe the reports of abuse in Abepura prison, which currently has about 230
prisoners, including more than a dozen incarcerated because of their
political activities. Human Rights Watch cited cases that included the
alleged beatings of prisoners for trivial offenses often with the offending
prison guards in a drunken stupor and sometimes leading to serious
injuries.

“Equally because of the significance of this area of land, it is one of the
most contested lands among people. The law that applies to this area of
land is not clear. The ownership and other rights that the people and the
Government may have over this area of land is not clear.”

Relatives presented a letter to the prime minister, who has promised to
investigate. “We ask that the government act quickly on this for the sake
of clarity, We don’t hope for much apart from claiming the bones of our
relatives.” The fishermen have reportedly been making their grisly haul for
several years but were initially reluctant to report it for fear that
organised criminals were involved.

Chinese-owned stores were ransacked in the capital Port Moresby and then in
PNG’s second largest city, Lae. Police intervened in another anti-Chinese
protest in Port Moresby, using tear gas to disperse a riot in a popular
market directed at Chinese businesses. Chinese nationals and businesses in
Port Moresby have beefed up security, some hiring off-duty police as
guards, while many have shut their shops as advised by their embassy. The
trouble in the capital began when an anti-Chinese march attended by 100
people ended in violence and looting.

The team of young men attached a large piece of lamb to a hook and hung it
about 2ft above the surface of the river. Then they lay in wait. At 5am the
crocodile suddenly leapt from the water to grab the meat  – and was snared
on the large hook. The youths hauled it to shore where they managed to kill
it, before it was tied to a four-wheel-drive vehicle. “We decided to put it
on display to show everyone that this big crocodile which has killed so
many people has finally been caught,’ said Mr Aloi as he posed for
photographs with the trophy. It’s a very unusual icon to have on the front
of my car, but I wanted the whole town to see it.”

“Weapons are any item capable of causing injury to another person and
include any small knives, bush knives, clubs, firearms or explosive.
Wrecking implements, screwdriver, iron bars, stones and timber qualify as a
weapon if misused on another.” The punishment for going armed in public – a
misdemeanour offence – was up to the courts but generally fines or prison
terms up to 2 years can apply depending on the circumstances. Long jail
terms apply when serious assaults are proven by the courts.

Bangladeshi officials said some of the Rohingyas stated they feared torture
as they supported the democracy movement of Aung San Suu Kyi, charged with
allegedly harbouring a U.S. citizen in her home while under house arrest.
Bangladesh and Myanmar share a 320 km (200 mile) border, partly demarcated
by the Naf, with frontier guards on both sides keeping an eye on illegal
immigration. Yet the flow of Myanmar refugees has been unabated. The army
had pushed back nearly 300 new entrant Rohingyas recently, increasing
vigilance at the border to prevent the influx of Rohingyas.”

Although the country has the 1995 Law on Rehabilitation, setting out
procedures for prisoners to complain about mistreatment in prison, efforts
to lodge complaints so far have been fruitless and Ayorbaba has been
unwilling to address any abuse complaints. Prisoners and their relatives
often reported incidents of abuse by guards to the Ministry of Justice and
Human Rights, but no action was ever taken. Prisoners say they have stopped
reporting abuses because they lack faith in the system and because they
fear retribution.

Laws introduced and court decisions made before and after independence have
not clarified the position. Neighbouring countries in the region have
diverse laws relating to this area of land. In Samoa this area of land
belongs to the Government. In Vanuatu this area of land is customary land.
In some countries of the region like Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu and New Zealand
this area of land belongs to the Government except where customary rights
can be proved to have existed.

Although there are about five containers on the sea bed, they may simply
have fallen off a passing ship. “We have the same curiosity. Why doesn’t
somebody open up these containers and do away with this myth?”  The
director of the National Forensic Science Institute, has been ordered to
investigate but required official clearance before beginning her work.

The Port Moresby police chief has been criticised for allowing the protest
to go ahead, blamed the violence on hooligans. “It was just hooligans
taking advantage of the situation with an emotional build-up. There is
nothing to worry about, as we will continue our patrols and increase
presence on the streets.” In Lae, on the northwest coast, hundreds of men
attacked Chinese nationals and their small businesses across the city.
There were unconfirmed reports of one death and serious injuries to several
looters.

‘We’re planning to operate on it to check for the remains of the young girl
who was killed recently, but we’ll also be sending tissue samples to
Australia for DNA testing in the hope of determining how many other people
it has eaten over the years.’ Mr Aloi said that the crocodile had been seen
in various parts of the Madang waterfront in recent times but no-one had
been able to catch it. ‘This one’s a female and we know that the “husband”
is still at large. We’ve got a warning out to people to remain vigilant and
not to rest on their laurels just because this one’s been caught.’

“Police seek the public’s cooperation and understanding in these random
searches for weapons and enquiries. We are trying to reduce the risk of
drunken fights turning into fatalities. If someone has fair cause to be
carrying a bush knife around town and are not intending harm to others,
they have nothing to fear from police. If you are out to cause trouble,
that’s another matter.”

The Rohingyas might be trying to use the recent turmoil in Myanmar over Suu
Kyi’s trial as a pretext to leave. More than 21,000 Rohingyas have been
living in two Cox’s Bazar camps, run by the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees, since early 1992, when some 250,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh.

“The Indonesian government needs to replace the Abepura prison management.
But this is not just a failure of one prison warden. It’s a failure of
Jakarta to set proper standards and enforce them.” Access to Papua has been
strictly limited. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also ordered the
International Committee of the Red Cross to close its field office in
Jayapura. The ICRC ran sanitation projects in Papua and also visited
detainees, including political prisoners, in Abepura prison.

The review will consider how the law could deal with the competing rights
of land owners and the public benefits that any sustainable development
will bring to the people. The Commission encourages people, offices, and
institutions to make submissions or have their say on how the law should
change to deal with this area of land.

Australia’s foreign aid program will focus on health, education and food
security in the region to alleviate the “enormous human cost” of the global
financial crisis. The Government affirmed it would raise aid levels to 0.5
per cent of gross national income by 2015-16, though next year’s rise will
be minuscule, from 0.33 to 0.34 per cent – amounting to spending of $3.8
billion. These levels keep Australia in the bottom half of aid donors among
developed countries and fall far short of a long-held promise to raise aid
to 0.7 per cent of GNI.

Unnamed youths involved in the Lae attacks complained Asian small-business
owners were “ripping us off”. “Who is allowing these Asians to come into
our country and own small businesses which should be owned by Papua New
Guineans? They are ripping us off and investing their money in their
country.” Earlier in the week, PNG workers clashed with management at the
Chinese-run Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province, on the northeast coast,
after a tractor injured a worker. PNG’s Chinese community began with
immigration in the late 19th century, but local resentment has grown as an
influx of “new Chinese” have slowly taken over small businesses like trade
stores and food shops in the past 15 years. Many in PNG feel squeezed out
and complain about working for ruthless Chinese bosses who impose tough
conditions. Allegations of a rise in Chinese organised crime and corruption
involving PNG officials has also added to community anger. It is estimated
the Chinese population in PNG now outnumbers Australians by more than two
to one.

Scientists have come up with a theory that attributes the historic
migrations of the Polynesians from the Cook islands to New Zealand, Easter
Island and Hawaii in the 11th to 15th centuries, to fish poisoning. Based
on archeological evidence, paleoclimatic data and modern reports of
ciguatera poisoning, some theorize that ciguatera outbreaks were linked to
climate and that the consequent outbreaks prompted historical migrations of
Polynesians.

Threatening violence, challenging another person to a fight, fighting in a
public place, and going armed in public are all existing offences under the
Penal Code of the Solomon Islands. The Police officers would continue to
work closely with government and community leaders to reduce kwaso-related
crime in Honiara and other communities. “Recent stabbings at the weekend
are not an indication that crime is one the rise in the Solomon Islands.
Statistics on reported crime to the RSIPF actually show a significant drop,
with crime down 20% across the Solomon Islands.”

The Rohingyas allege persecution by the military in what was then Burma,
but the UNHCR managed to send most of them back within a short time. The
rest refused to return and the U.N. agency says they cannot force anyone to
go back against their will. Cox’s Bazar officials say more then 200,000
Rohingyas live outside the camps, mixing with local Muslims who have an
almost common language. Muslims are a minority in Myanmar, where most of
the population is Buddhist.

Human Rights Watch said that international monitors such as the ICRC and
independent human rights groups should be able to visit prisoners in
Abepura to investigate reports of abuse. Papua has seen a low-level
separatist movement since the 1960s but pro-independence sentiments have
been on the rise in the face of perceived injustice in the economy and
alleged abuses by security forces in their drive to rid the province of
separatism. The UN special rapporteur for torture visited Indonesia and
found that police used torture as a “routine practice in Jakarta and other
metropolitan areas of Java.”

About 100 million people living on Australia’s doorstep could be forced to
leave their homeland due to climate change this century. Australia will
have a key role in avoiding ecological and humanitarian disaster in what is
called the Coral Triangle – the marine area including Indonesia, Malaysia,
the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
Failure to take effective action on climate change will diminish the food
supply drawn from the area’s coasts by up to 80 per cent.

The federal budget paper on aid, A Good International Citizen, said the
economic slowdown would reverse a four-year reduction in the number of
people living in extreme poverty. An extra 90 million people – including 62
million in Asia – are expected to live in extreme poverty this year.
Countries that will receive the largest aid allocations are Indonesia ($453
million), Papua New Guinea ($414 million) and the Solomon Islands ($246
million). The Pacific will surpass East Asia as the biggest regional
recipient as the Rudd Government focuses on assisting the neighbourhood and
preventing an outbreak of failing island states.

The Indigenous Resistance dub attitude can be, by turns, either a
burn-down-Babylon fiery dub or a self-reflexive, meditative dub. The label
releases Bogota’s DJ Rodrigo’s new take on crucial tracks from the IR
archive in two formats; the full 48 minute head-tripping mix and as
individual tracks-all available through iTunes and Believe digital of
France.

Ciguatera poisoning is a food-borne disease that can come from eating
large, carnivorous reef fish, and causes vomiting, headaches, and a burning
sensation upon contact with cold surfaces. It is known that the historic
populations of Cook Islanders was heavily reliant on fish as a source of
protein, and the scientists suggest that once their fish resources became
inedible, voyaging became a necessity. Modern Cook Islanders, though
surrounded by an ocean teeming with fish, don’t eat fish as a regular part
of their diet but instead eat processed, imported foods. In the late 1990s,
lower-income families who could not afford processed foods emigrated to New
Zealand and Australia. Past migrations had similar roots. The heightened
voyaging from A.D. 1000 to 1450 in eastern Polynesia was likely prompted by
ciguatera fish poisoning. There were few options but to leave once the
staple diet of an island nation became poisonous. This approach brings us a
step closer to solving the mysteries of ciguatera and the storied
Polynesian native migrations. It will lead to better forecasting and
planning for ciguatera outbreaks.

Under the worst-case scenario the ecology of the region would be destroyed
by rises in ocean temperature, acidity and sea level. Poverty increases,
food security plummets, economies suffer and coastal people migrate
increasingly to urban areas. Tens of millions of people are forced to move
from rural and coastal settings due to loss of homes, food resources and
income, putting pressure on regional cities and surrounding developed
nations such as Australia and New Zealand. Even under a best-case scenario,
the region will lose coral and have to deal with higher seas, more frequent
storms, droughts and less food from coastal fisheries. Large cuts in
greenhouse emissions and international financial support for the region’s
environment are needed. It is in Australia’s interest to invest early to
help avoid the worst-case scenario.

Woven throughout this new mix you will hear indigenous voices and chants
collected by Indigenous Resistance from all over the world: the Malaitai
from Solomon Islands, the Krikati indians from Brasil, traditional Cree
chants from Turtle Island, traditional instruments from Sosolakam and
Solomon Islands embedded into tracks recorded in Jamaica, the U.K, Germany,
Solomon Islands, Sosolakam, Brasil, Colombia, Cuba & Turtle Island. IR’s
eclectic production techniques pulls together producers with different
styles and methods to create their releases. This is especially evident on
the full IR18 where DJ Rodrigo deftly maneuvers successfully through the
many genres, which include: Drum N Bass, Jungle, Detroit Techno, Electro,
Big Beat, Dub, Reggae, House and the multi-ethnic stew (breakbeat, dub,
dancehall, ragga) of Dr Das and Asian Dub Foundation (which some pile
together into the term of World Beat) and the punk and hardcore sound of
knob-twirler extraordinaire, Ramjac. As a matter of course, IR travels the
globe working with pockets of Indigenous Resistance in the Fourth World to
get their messages out from behind the propaganda machines that deny them
the freedom of the press. Through free releases and downloads, and funded
by sales of albums through CD Baby, iTunes and Believe Digital, IR has set
up a campaign to send these tracks back into the indigenous communities as
well as back out to the world to fall on sympathetic ears. IR utilizes any
means necessary to get the music and messages heard passed the restrictive
regimes that keep the indigenous down and disenfranchised.

$464 million will be spent over the next four years on food security to
alleviate the impact of shortages, volatile prices, increased consumption,
climate change and the use of crops to produce bio-fuels. Programs will
focus on helping communities to improve their farming and fisheries
management. The biggest boost is to education, which will receive $690
million this year and focus on improving participation rates and teaching
quality. The Government will also extend links between aid and the
performance of partner countries.

Four looters were shot as Papua New Guinean (PNG) police was on high alert
to clamp down on the Anti-Asia sentiment across the country. Since the
weekend, four men were shot as police tried to stop the ongoing violence
directed at Asian-run stores in the Highlands region. One Southern
Highlands man was shot in Mount Hagen. Another Southern Highlander, who was
shot by police, could lose one of his legs after being smashed by a bullet.
Police in Goroka shot a 20-year-old man who was also likely to lose a leg,
as police tried to control thousands of people that went on a rampage and
looted several shops in the town. In Lae, one man was shot in the leg by
police. Police in the Highlands have gone on full alert, keeping
surveillance over Goroka, Mount Hagen, Kainantu and Wabag as hundreds of
people converged in the region and broke into shops operated by families of
Korean and Chinese origins. Most Asian-run shops remained closed in the
Highlands with armed security guards. Meanwhile, trouble makers on streets
attempted to loot those shops again.

4/25/2009

SOLOMON TSUNAMI SOMALI PIRATES’ LONE GUNMAN LEAVES 13 DEAD IN LAWLESS PAPUA BEGGARS’ LONGEST CROP WAR

Papua was on high alert as a range of incidents, including attacks on
police stations, claimed 11 lives to mar voting day in the country’s
easternmost province, still plagued by separatist threats.

Kenya, with nearly a quarter of its 38 million people facing severe hunger,
is now reporting a rapid spread of diseases affecting the country’s vital
wheat and banana crops. The crisis is being exacerbated by plummeting
public confidence in the country’s year-old coalition government.

To wage today’s battles against pirates who took control of 42 ships and
captured 815 sailors last year, the Royal Navy is combining machines and
methods forged during the Cold War with centuries-old naval warfare skills.
The Royal Navy is also hitting back at pirates by using some of the
pirates’ own tricks.

A lone gunman shot and killed at least 13 people in a “premeditated” attack
at an immigrant centre in upstate New York, before turning his weapon on
himself. The gunman first used his car to barricade the back door of the
American Civic Association in Binghamton, 140 miles north of New York City.

The South Asian nation of Bangladesh wants to do something about the
increasing number of beggars migrating into its cities from the
countryside. Legislation has been approved that could send many of the
country’s most destitute to jail for openly asking for charity. Some aid
agencies are skeptical this approach will solve the problem.

Mobile-phone users in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru will be able to
access Google Maps and search up-to-date online maps, look up businesses,
advertise free via Google Maps Local Business Centre, create their own maps
and even check locations while on the move.

It began with British betrayal after the Second World War and has
stubbornly outlived every other conflict. But now, as it marks its diamond
jubilee, the world’s longest-running war is nearing its endgame. The
guerrilla army of the Karen ethnic group, which has been fighting since
1949 for independence from Burma, is facing the greatest crisis in its
history. If Karen resistance collapses, as some believe is likely, it will
be a triumph for the Burmese junta as it consolidates its hold on power.

The incident is, by Port Moresby standards, neither here nor there. Coming
off an overpass and you notice people scattering in light rain. Blocking
traffic is an urban response-style light police truck, with a two-sided
troop seat in the back. A woman is running, followed by two police. One of
the officers punches her hard in the face, then she doubles over from what
appears to be a truncheon in the guts.

Now tsunamis won’t be able to catch you unaware, thanks to a mathematics
formula worked out by scientists that will give advance warnings and an
idea of their destructive might.

The incidents, however, did not prevent most Papuans from voting on
election day. According to National Police data, 75 percent of Papuans
voted at more than 6,000 polling stations across the province. The polls
had to be delayed in Yahukimo and Paniaki, with bad weather obstructing the
delivery of polling material to the two regencies.

Recent reports from Kenya’s breadbasket region of the Rift Valley have
confirmed what the country can ill-afford – the spread of a deadly strain
of a parasitic fungus called stem rust that is threatening to wipe out the
country’s wheat fields.

Most of the other warships deployed to fight pirates in the region are
concentrated north of Somalia, close to the Suez Canal, through which 10
percent of the world’s sea trade passes. Northumberland was the first
warship on the scene from a new European Union task force, charged with
patrolling the southern flank of the 2-million-square-mile piracy zone,
near Mombasa. It was here that pirates scored their biggest victory seizing
the supertanker Sirius Star, laden with $100 million in crude oil.

He calmly walked into the front of the building armed with two pistols and
began shooting, killing one receptionist and wounding another. Moments
later he marched into a nearby classroom and began spraying bullets into
people reportedly undergoing citizenship tests.

Ragged beggars are a common sight on the streets of Dhaka and other cities
in Bangladesh. The government wants to make their presence a rarity, if not
eliminate it totally. To that end, a new law curtailing begging in the open
and on crowded streets will be strictly enforced. Violators will face up to
three months in jail.

Google has maps for Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, but the level of detail is
not what it is for Kenya. “Google Maps is not just searchable digitized
maps helping you to find a local place, service or product. Our goal is to
make information with a geographical dimension available to everyone and to
allow users to update the maps and develop.”

After a three-year offensive by the junta, the Karen National Liberation
Army (KNLA) has been forced into increasingly small pockets of resistance.
Deprived of funds and equipment, it is able to do little more than slow the
advance of the Burmese Army as it lays waste to hundreds of villages,
driving thousands of terrified civilians before it.

We go through a roundabout and come back. The woman is running now, arms
crazy above her head as the police truck pursues her over gutters. Soon
after, we find the woman and a group of her friends standing by the
roadside, panting and bleeding heavily. One man has a deep gash running
across his left cheek. The bashed woman is half-laughing, half-crying. They
are drunk on “steam”, the local metho-rated liquor cooked in secret stills,
flavoured with orange cordial and sold dirt cheap in the markets.

The research, led by a maths professor, was prompted by the 2004
post-Christmas tsunami that devastated coastal communities in Indonesia,
Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. In this instance, an earthquake in the ocean
depths triggered a long surface wave which resulted in six massive wave
fronts, one after the other.

The disruptions began when homemade bombs exploded under a bridge on the
border between Papua and Papua New Guinea. No one was killed, but police
found two unexploded bombs while sweeping the area. Unknown assailants
stabbed five ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers in Wamena, leaving four of them
dead and one in critical condition. A fuel storage tank at a state oil
company depot in Biak exploded during refilling, instantly killing a
bystander.

The strain was first detected in East Africa a decade ago. But it has
spread to other wheat producing areas in the world, largely because poor
farmers here have not been able to afford the fungicide needed to combat
the problem. “It started spreading very fast. We have it in Kenya. We have
it in Ethiopia, spreading toward the north [to] Egypt and it probably
reached India. It is a serious concern. Stem rust, of course, is
controllable with chemicals, but it is damn expensive. The only solution is
to bring in new varieties that are resistant to stem rust. We are at a
quite advanced stage.”

Somali sea bandits hijacked more than 40 large vessels last year, ransoming
about 30 of them for a million U.S. dollars or more. Sirius Star was
released in January after an estimated $3 million ransom was paid, but the
other ships, and about 200 crew, remain in pirates’ hands. The rise in
piracy, and consequent rise in the cost of shipping insurance, drove up the
cost of shipping petroleum, electronics and food.

In seconds, a dozen people were dead, another five were wounded, and more
than 30 had fled amid pandemonium. The gunman, believed to be a 42-year-old
Vietnamese American from nearby Johnson City, had recently lost his job
with IBM in his home town. “It was premeditated,” said the Binghamton
police chief. “The suspect had put a car against the back door blocking any
exit for victims.”

Parliament approved a bill cracking down on beggars and it will take about
a month to draft guidelines on how authorities will enforce the new law.
They note that some beggars seek pity by pretending to be ill or displaying
a disability. Sympathizers say most of those in such a condition on the
streets really have no alternative.

“We believe more accurate, representative local information can greatly
improve the breadth of information available about a given area, and in
turn can help efforts to bolster tourism and business investment.” Google
Maps is available in 23 African countries, but the company is providing
more detailed maps that go beyond the capital cities and include other
aspects of life. The company will divulge more information once the team
finalizes its plans.

Most serious of all, the Karen leadership is losing the support of
neighbouring Thailand, where it was formerly able to organise, arm and –
when necessary – retreat. Trapped between the Burmese Army to the west and
an increasingly unfriendly Thailand to the east, with hundreds of thousands
of their people in wretched refugee camps, the Karen are experiencing a
humanitarian and military catastrophe.

The man with the cut face is leaning through the window, spraying bloody
protestations of innocence. Asked why they didn’t just run away, all they
can repeat is: “It wasn’t our fault; we didn’t do anything.” Papua New
Guineans will stand before they fall. “The trouble is, they are Goilala,
which means they probably did do something, anything from holding up a car
to illegally selling betel nut by the side of the road.”

Of these waves it was the third and largest one that caused the most
devastation, hitting the beaches with terrifying speed. Reaching a height
of 20 metres or 65 feet, it hefted a train from its tracks as it travelled
along the Sri Lankan coastline, killing almost 1,000 people.

Police security posts at the Skaw Wutung border between Indonesia and Papua
New Guinea were attacked by unknown gunmen, with no casualties reported.
About 50 men armed with homemade bombs, spears, cleavers, bows and
cassowary bones attacked the Abepura Police station in Jayapura. The police
shot into the crowd, killing one attacker and injuring eight others.

In Kenya, most of the fields affected by the stem rust strain belong to
small-scale farmers, who grow 20 percent of the wheat consumed annually.
Although maize is the staple among most Kenyans, wheat flour has grown
crucial to the country’s overall food supply. Drought and post-election
violence in maize-producing areas of the country prevented many farmers
from planting crops. Domestic maize production was so poor, the government
had to begin importing corn to help feed some 10 million Kenyans facing
starvation.

To beat pirates in potentially violent showdowns, the Navy has adopted the
pirates’ tactics of using “mother ships” carrying fast boats to spring on
opponents. In the early days of Somali piracy, pirates ranged only a few
miles from their hometowns and threatened just a few thousand square miles
of ocean. The reason was simple: Most pirates were former fishermen and had
only the tools of a typical fishermen. Their personal firearms and their
small, motor-propelled wooden fishing boats, called skiffs. The skiffs were
too slow and too flimsy to catch anything but the most rickety of vessels.

The surviving receptionist, lying bleeding on the floor, alerted police
with her mobile phone and survived the ordeal. “After he shot her she
pretended she was dead. As he exited down the hallway she crawled
underneath the desk and sometime after that she called us.” Some of those
fleeing hid in the basement. More than a dozen hid in a cupboard. At least
five were wounded.

The Bangladesh Finance Ministry says it wants to emulate some neighboring
countries that have implemented plans to rehabilitate urban beggars by
providing them with employment training programs. Imprisonment and brief
training schemes will not solve the problem.

The company has boosted the popularity of the maps by including content
from local celebrities such as Wangari Maathai (Nobel Peace Prize winner),
Julie Gichuru (TV presenter), Churchill (comedian) and Humphrey Kayange
(Kenya Rugby 7’s team captain). Google Maps will help create a greater
understanding of the socio-economic situation in different regions.

“The military situation is as bad as it’s been at any time in the past 60
years. The Karen have less territory, fewer soldiers and fewer resources to
sustain resistance. The Burmese have them more and more surrounded, and
their backs are up against the wall.” A Karen leader on the Thai border
said that the KNLA and Burmese Army were fighting near the town of
Kawkareik, close to the Thai border. All year there have been reports of
Karen villagers being driven into the jungle by marauding soldiers.

Goilala are conspicuously short street dwellers originally from the Central
Province. They are branded Moresby’s most prolific troublemakers, first
suspects in any crime. Programs to rid PNG’s capital of crime are earnestly
afoot. It won’t be easy because criminal behaviour is not confined to
street people. Moresby’s police wield a brutal form of shoot-first,
ask-later justice, and some people see PNG’s politicians as notorious
pork-barrellers. When street people are asked to clean up their act, they
ask: What about them?

If we could understand more about how these long waves behave we could
predict where they might hit and how devastating they might be. The number
and height of the tsunami waves hitting the shoreline depends critically on
the shape of the initial surface wave in deep water.

At daybreak, the rector’s building at Cendrawasih University – about 5
kilometers from the Abepura Police station – was set ablaze by unknown
people. The fire razed important documents and badly damaged one of the
building’s three floors, but claimed no casualties. All the incidents,
except the explosion at the Pertamina depot, were intended to disrupt the
elections in Papua. The depot explosion was simply an accident.

Meanwhile, residents in western Kenya’s Nyanza province, hit hard by last
year’s poor maize harvest, are now reporting the outbreak of a disease that
is destroying banana trees there. Many Kenyans rely on bananas to
supplement their diets. But the once-plentiful fruit is prematurely
ripening and rotting on trees infected with a disease called banana
bacterial wilt. On some plantations, yield losses of 90 percent are being
reported.

Then the pirates innovated. They began capturing trawlers and small
freighters for use as motherships. When about a dozen armed Somalis
intercepted a ship, the pirates had no interest in its cargo. Instead, they
commandeered the harmless-looking freighter to launch their next attack. It
was more than three months before the pirates released the ship and her
crew.

Police arrived within two minutes and surrounded the centre, deploying FBI
hostage negotiators and a heavily armed Swat team. They established mobile
phone contact with 27 survivors barricaded in the basement and relayed
instructions about how to block the door against their attacker.

Every day thousands of beggars are coming to Dhaka city and other cities.
So it is not the solution by putting them in jail for three months or a
rehabilitation center for one month, two months. It is not the solution.
The government should focus on creating jobs in rural areas to stem the
internal migration by the poor into the cities.

One local company, KenyaBuzz, a community events, business and tourism
site, is already making use of the Google Maps API (application programming
interface), on its Web site. “Google Maps serves as a great platform
helping to provide accurate, comprehensive, location-based information for
our audience.”

“It’s a cat-and-mouse kind of struggle. The Burmese burn down villages and
relocate the people close to their own camps.” The Karen conflict has its
origins in the Second World War, when many Karen fought alongside the
British Army against the invading Japanese. The seven million Karen were
promised their own state by the British but when independence came in 1948
the promise was forgotten. A year later, in January 1949, the Karen began
the armed struggle that has continued ever since.

Trust between the citizens of PNG and the authorities is broken. That
explains why almost half of Australia’s annual $358 million in aid to PNG
goes to improving law and justice. Reinstating trust is crucial. Yumi
Lukautum Moresby (“You, me, look out for Moresby”) is making a difference
by building a bridge between the people of the notorious crime-breeding
urban settlements – in which there is no electricity, no toilets, and a few
shared taps for up to 5000 people – and the authorities.

From this it is possible to work out whether a ‘trough’ or a ‘peak’ is the
leading wave. In the case of a trough then the familiar sight of the tide
suddenly going out is the precursor to an approaching tsunami.

The Vice President said he had received a report from Papua Police
indicating efforts and a conspiracy to disrupt the elections. But the
National Police chief said the attack on the Abepura Police station had
nothing to do with the polls, adding it was a random attack aimed at
undermining security officers.

Wheat and banana farmers say they need the government to urgently release
funds to help fight the diseases threatening to impoverish them and to
leave east Africa’s largest economy in even greater need of food aid.
Middle-class workers say they, too, are struggling to put food on the table
because of persistent high inflation, mostly due to rising food costs.

It appears the killer turned one of his guns on himself. Police took nearly
an hour to search the building, amid concerns there may have been more than
one gunman, and then had to persuade 27 immigrants that it was safe to
leave the basement. A total of 37 people were hidden in various sections of
the building. The American Civic Association is a charity that helps
immigrants with naturalisation applications.

It is believed that several hundred thousand Bangladeshis live off begging.
A survey several years ago in relatively prosperous Dhaka found that the
average beggar there managed to collect about $1.5 a day. Approximately 40
percent of Bangladeshis get by on less than $1 per day.

The tourism sector, which has faced a slump because of the worldwide
economic crisis, is also looking to Google Maps for a boost. “Adding
tourism locations on Google Maps creates a free marketing channel and will
drive more people to our Web site and ultimately to the tourist locations.”

In the early decades of the war, the KNU dominated the Irrawaddy Delta,
close to the former Burmese capital Rangoon, as well as areas north of the
city and all of Kayin State. But in the 1990s an increasingly well-armed
Burmese Army made steady gains and in 1995 the KNU was driven out of its
capital, Manerplaw. Buddhists in the Christian-dominated KNU broke away to
form the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which now fights alongside
the Burmese Army. Formerly, the KNU had operated as a quasi-government,
providing schools and clinics and receiving income from tax, as well as
from a profitable trade through Thailand in timber, gold, zinc and
antimony.

Overcrowded Moresby routinely features in top 10 lists of the world’s most
dangerous cities. These rankings are decided by business or travel
magazines, which see Moresby through the prism of tourists or expats, who
live safely guarded in hotels or behind razor wire with all-night security
guards. The real test should be whether Moresby is safe for locals.

‘If a peak is the leading wave, there is no warning except a
fast-approaching wall of water. Potentially this could provide vital
information for areas facing an impending disaster.’

“This was purely an act of violence committed by armed guerillas.” Police
have named six people as suspects in the attack and are questioning eight
others as witnesses.

The country’s growing crisis comes on the heels of allegations that top
politicians on both sides of the coalition government have been involved in
scandals aimed at enriching themselves at the expense of Kenyan taxpayers.

Warships assigned to piracy patrols rarely engage pirates on their own.
They deploy specialized search-and-seizure teams, which consist of marines
armed with rifles and machine guns, traveling in raider craft.

Two women and a man suffering gunshot wounds were being treated at Wilson
Medical Centre in nearby Johnson City. Binghamton, a quiet university town
with a population of 47,000, is the home of IBM and has a low crime rate,
enjoying the nickname Parlour Town for the handsome front parlours of its
elegant villas.

An official report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Solomon Islands
riots found there was no conspiracy behind the violence, blaming police
incompetence instead. Riots erupted after Snyder Rini was elected prime
minister by legislators. Dozens of Chinese-owned businesses were looted and
burned in the riots. Chinese businesses were targeted at least partly
because of allegations they had helped fund the unpopular Mr. Rini to bribe
legislators for support. The damage was estimated at $180 million Solomon
Island dollars but a commission warned that compensation would only trigger
more anger against the Chinese community.

Google is also working with local software developers by providing APIs for
Google Maps to help programmers, Web masters and designers to incorporate
the functionality of Google Maps on their sites and develop new services
based on local information.

The loss of territory brought a loss of funds, which made it harder to arm
and equip itself. The KNU claims to have 10,000 soldiers, including village
militia men, but the number of active fighters is probably between 3,000
and 5,000.

It is women who suffer most. Domestic and sexual violence is described by
Amnesty International as endemic. Women fear reporting domestic violence
partly because of their husbands, partly because police have a reputation
for raping female complainants.

Later the same day, a small aircraft operated by a local airline crashed in
Wamena, killing all six crew on board. The cause of the crash is currently
being investigated.

An opinion poll was released showing that 70 percent of Kenyans believe
that the coalition government, formed to help the country heal from the
ethnic bloodletting that followed the disputed presidential elections, has
achieved nothing since it took power.

A naval engagement with pirates often begins with a commercial ship
reporting an attack, using a radio frequency set aside for emergency calls.
Other times, a maritime patrol plane, usually flying from Djibouti, spots a
potential mothership or pirate skiff, identifiable not by its appearance,
but by its vector. A trawler speeding away from Somalia, toward a
slow-moving tanker ship, just might have hostile intentions.

President Barack Obama said last night: “Michelle and I were shocked and
deeply saddened to learn about the act of senseless violence. Our thoughts
and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the people of
Binghamton.”

The Royal Solomon Islands Police had failed to do its duty in containing
the violence. There was confusion between local police and Regional
Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) police, who have access to
superior resources. RAMSI police and Solomon Islands police were not clear
on who was to take responsibility for containing the violence. It
catalogued a series of failures by the police that resulted in a security
breakdown, including a lack of credible intelligence information,
equipment, and organizational ability.

The KNU suffered another blow when its respected and charismatic leader,
Pado Mahn Shar, was assassinated at his home in Thailand by unidentified
gunmen. Among many Karen there was a suspicion that the ease with which the
killers escaped, and the failure to apprehend them, reflected a cooling of
the welcome afforded by Thailand. Last month Karen military commanders were
ordered out of Thailand and back across the border. This probably reflects
the Thai Government’s increasing dependence on Burma for raw materials and
energy – the two governments are jointly planning ambitious hydroelectric
dams along the Salween River which forms part of their border.

Chamber of Commerce members are encouraged to give street people jobs. They
go through short skills courses and are placed with companies for work
experience. AusAid, pays the wages. “Some are the kids straight out of jail
and we’re always up-front with employers. But it doesn’t seem to bother
many of them. Last year we found 70 per cent of them were retained.”

Naval commanders, in touch with each other by phone, e-mail and satellite
network, sort through the roster of warships in the region to figure out
who might respond fastest. They call this “deconfliction.” When the
responding ship is close enough, it launches a helicopter to scout ahead
and confirm that the suspect seafarers are indeed armed, while preparing to
lower the boarding teams’ boats into the water.

The New York State governor called it a “senseless killing”, adding: “When
are we going to be able to curb the kind of violence that is so fraught and
so rapid? We all have a profound sadness.”

A spokesperson from the RAMSI police force in the Solomon Islands says the
policing problems in the report have been fixed. The Assistant
Commissioner, Commander of the Participating Police Force in RAMSI says his
officers acted professionally and properly in discharging their
responsibility. The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has improved their
capacity to deal with riots, has more trained officers and equipment, and
has developed a call out system.

The border is a valuable conduit not only for the Karen but for Burmese
struggling to overthrow the military dictatorship. After the junta cracked
down on large pro-democracy demonstrations of monks and activists, many of
them escaped into Thailand.

Measures such as this are making Moresby safer. “We definitely think so.
There are perceptions and everyone’s got them. But right now as we drive
through one of the roughest areas of Port Moresby, Kaugere, and we don’t
see any rocks coming towards us. A safe place is good for all of us. It’s
incumbent upon us to get involved.”

The ship’s presence alone was often enough to prevent pirate attacks.
Beyond that, the helicopter might deter pirates simply by “flying close to
demonstrate the aircraft’s machine gun and giving the pirates warning of
their serious intentions.”

The attack is the third massacre in the US in a month. A gunman in Alabama
killed ten people and then himself. Another lone gunman killed eight in a
North Carolina nursing home.

“It’s a crucial route for information. If that’s closed down the whole
country will become much more isolated.” The United Nations has ruled that
the continued detention by Burma of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi violates domestic and international laws. The latest one-year detention
period of Ms Suu Kyi, who has spent 13 of the past 19 years under house
arrest, expires in May.

YLM (Yumi Lukautim Mosbi) hunts corporate sponsorship, runs awareness
campaigns, gets kids playing sport and works with government. It has
organised a toll-free number to evacuate women and children from violent
situations using a private security company. In PNG, people can’t rely on
police to respond to 000. In Australia, this would be seen as a spectacular
failure by police. Two private companies, Protect Security and phone
company Digicel, donated the service, so we are not interested in exploring
the point. In PNG, do it however you can.

If the pirates persist, the boarding teams deploy, flanking the pirates’
boats to approach from both sides, moving fast with weapons at the ready.
If the pirates lay down their weapons, they are taken into custody without
a shot fired. If they shoot, the boarding teams fire back, then climb
aboard.

Not all art is strictly about the aesthetic, some pieces provide an
important function in the community like the large black and white
photographs installed this week on rooftops across Kibera, Kenya. The
intimate photos, taken by photographer JR, act as a second roof, protecting
the village’s delicate structures from water damage, a vital job in one of
Africa’s worst slums.

Everyone is saying Moresby is safer than five years ago, but you’ll still
hit the accelerator hard through the several well-known trouble spots. One
explanation for the lessening crime rate is that so many leading criminals
– they don’t much call them raskols these days, it’s seen as too cute – are
dead.

3/7/2009

KIRIBATI FISHERMEN DOWNGRADE MUTINUOUS KANGAROO DEATH SQUADS WHILE PRESERVING LEATHERBACK GRISI SIKNIS

Three fishermen from Kiribati who went missing at sea for nearly five weeks
have been found alive on an island in Papua New Guinea.

Some 50 people were killed when Bangladesh paramilitary troops fought among
themselves during a mutiny in their headquarters over a pay dispute.
“Nearly 50 people have been killed in sporadic fighting in the headquarters
of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).”

The outlook on Fiji’s long-term sovereign credit rating has been revised
down from stable to negative by the international rating agency Standard
and Poors. The sovereign credit rating indicates the level of risk in
investing in a specific country, and takes political risks into account.

Papua New Guinea has created a nearly 190,000-acre preserve to protect tree
kangaroos and other endangered species, after years of criticism for
turning a blind eye to environmental issues. The Pacific island nation,
where illegal logging is rampant, has recently tried to overhaul its image
in the conservation community, taking the lead on such issues as getting
tropical forest protections included in a U.N. climate pact.

A team of traditional indigenous healers and regional health authorities
from the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) trekked out to visit three
rural Miskito communities along the Río Coco to investigate reports of an
outbreak of a mysterious collective hysteria, known as grisi siknis, or
crazy sickness.

The fishermen were taken adrift by rough seas until they were discovered by
Papua New Guinea villagers. Authorities in Kiribati thought they drowned,
but the men survived on fish and sea water for weeks.

Rank and file soldiers in the Bangladeshi military has staged a nationwide
insurrection. The mutineers seized control of 12 military bases across the
nation, as officers and military commanders were unable to halt the mutiny.
The nation’s new prime minister warned the mutineers they faced stiff
punishment if they continued their violent insurrection and ordered heavy
artillery and armored divisions to move against them.

Fiji’s sovereign credit rating remains at B. Standard and Poors has
downgraded the outlook for the rating’s future because of what it describes
as a “quite dramatic fall in Fiji’s international reserves” -from $US618
million at the end of 2007 to $431 million in December 2008.

The plan for a conservation area stemmed from an unusual agreement between
the government and 35 indigenous communities to protect the 187,800 acres
of remote tropical forest, coastal reefs and mountains on the island of New
Guinea. Leaders representing the 10,000 villagers living in the YUS
Conservation Area, named for the Yopno, Uruwa and Som rivers that run
through it, have agreed to prohibit hunting, and development such as
logging and mining. In exchange, US conservation agencies will provide as
much as $2 million for health and education programs.

The regional health coordinator for the RAAN, said that 34 people have
reportedly fallen ill with grisi siknis in the river community of Santa Fe,
seven people in the nearby community of Esperanza and two in the
neighboring community of San Carlos. The outbreak of grisi siknis, which
has no scientific explanation, is the largest case of collective hysteria
since a massive outbreak in the RAAN community of Raití in 2003.

Villagers in PNG’s New Ireland province found the men and took them to a
medical centre run by the Lihir Gold Mine for treatment. A docotor says the
men were treated and are well. “Medically-wise they’ll need to be observed
24 hours at least and they are starting to eat well.”

The mutineers did lay down their arms, after 18 members of the government,
including ministers of parliament, went to meet with the leaders of the
uprising, putting their own lives at risk. The official death toll stands
at 11, with reports of up to 100 civilians and military personnel believed
dead. Corruption is thought to have been the cause that spurred the rebels
to outrage sufficient for mutiny.

Standard and Poor’s Sovereign Ratings Analyst, said weak growth prospects
especially in tourism, sugar and garments also contributed to Fiji’s
downgraded outlook. The outlook on Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands,
remains unchanged. At this stage, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands have
weathered the financial crisis better than many countries, but warns they
remain vulnerable to low commodity prices and tourist numbers.

By creating the country’s first national conservation area, the PNG
government and people have established a much-needed safe zone for the
irreplaceable biodiversity it contains. Other researchers said the
agreement would go a long way toward ensuring the survival of the
Matschie’s tree kangaroo, a leaf-eating mammal the size of a raccoon that
looks like a cross between “a bear, kangaroo, koala and monkey.”

Though doctors, anthropologists and sociologists have all studied previous
cases, no one has been able to explain the phenomena. Traditional healers
and witches have explained the mysterious illness with different theories
ranging from a curse to incomplete witchcraft.

“They’ve lost some weight obviously. But otherwise they’re in very good
condition.” The fishermen need a week to fully recover before they could be
re-united with their families back in Kiribati.

The mutineers were from the paramilitary border guard units knows as the
Rifles. Corruption in Bangladesh is rampant, and the impoverished nation of
144 million is listed 147th out of 180 nations on the corruption index kept
by Transparency International, a watchdog group. The Rifles have
experienced problems with pay and equipment for years, reportedly due to
corruption.

The leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is the world’s oldest and largest
turtle. Having witnessed the extinction of the dinosaur and the development
of mankind, this magnificent sea creature is now facing extinction in our
Pacific Ocean.

The strange illness apparently affects young people more than old, putting
people in a strange trance and apparently giving them super-human strength.
A 15-year-old girl with siknis can overpower six or seven men. The men
can’t detain her, and have to tie her up in bed sheets.

“They are completely adapted to living in the rain forest and trees, which
is not what you think of when you think of kangaroos.” This kangaroo is
found only on the island but is related to tree kangaroos found in
Australia. Other rare species in the area include the long-beaked echidna
— an egg-laying mammal that looks a bit like a hedgehog — and the Huon
Astrapia, a bird of paradise.

Kenya police ‘ran death squads’and have a reputation for brutality. A UN
investigator has called for the removal of Kenya’s police commissioner and
attorney general over a wave of alleged extrajudicial killings. “Kenyan
police are a law unto themselves. They kill often, with impunity.”

A leatherback turtle nesting beach survey was conducted on Bougainville
Island in Papua New Guinea. The survey recorded 46 leatherback turtle nests
and one false crawl. Of the 46 nesting sites found along the beaches of
Bougainville, there were also 12 unidentified turtle nests, which were
determined to belong to green and hawksbill species.

Among the Rifles mutineers’ demands was the right to participate in UN
peacekeeping operations, which reportedly pay significantly more than
regular operations. The stand down and release of dozens of hostages
followed a warning today by Prime Minister Sheik Hasina that the
paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles must return to the barracks and surrender
their weapons or face unspecified consequences.

Until now, their habitat was under significant threat. Nearly a quarter of Papua New Guinea’s
rain forest has been damaged or destroyed between 1972 and 2002 — mostly
due to illegal logging to extract timber that is made into flooring and
furniture in Chinese factories and sold in the United States and Europe.
But many of Papua New Guinea’s forests, including the new reserve, are
still untouched, and researchers have hope the unique arrangement will find
success.

The illness doesn’t necessarily make people violent, but it does make them
hysterical. Many of the affected will take off running madly, and other
villagers can’t stop them. Sometimes, however, grisi siknis can turn
violent. In the case of Raití in 2003, some of the affected people ran
around town with machetes trying to cut others.

Security forces went on a killing spree against rebel militias in Mt Elgon
in western Kenya, and against some 500 suspected Mungiki members. The
attorney general was “the embodiment in Kenya of the phenomenon of
impunity. There is overwhelming testimony that there exists in Kenya a
systematic, widespread and well-planned strategy to execute individuals,
carried out by the police.”

Some had feared the mutiny could spread to the regular military or
represent the beginnings of a politically motivated coup d’état, and that
PM Hasina’s government could be in jeopardy if the rebellion was not
swiftly put down. There will be angry calls for punishment of the
insurgents, but there will likely also be angry calls for tough action to
combat corruption, perceived to be pervasive in politics and public life.
More mass graves have been found at a military base where soldiers staged a
mutiny this week. At least 100 people are reported to have been killed,
mostly army officers.

This survey also served to verify nesting sites recorded during an aerial
survey. Bouganville lies between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands,
with all three having nesting populations of the leatherback turtle. The
researchers traveled around Bouganville by dinghy interviewing, surveying
and sharing turtle awareness with the local communities as well as
measuring turtle nests along the shore. “There was a high density – close
to 43% of all the nests were in a 5.4 km stretch of beach between the
villages of Papanoa and Naboi. This would be the most likely spot for
conservation work along with some educational outreach about turtles, as
these nests will likely be harvested for eggs.” Communities in Bouganville
frequently harvest the eggs of the turtles for food.

Unlike government-run parks that often exist in name only in many parts of
Asia, the land committed for the project is all owned by local clans.
Conservationists are counting on the locals to bring a unique commitment to
protecting their homes. The reserve is also a good first step toward
reducing global emissions: the trees in the reserve absorb 13 million tons
of carbon each year while deforestation globally represents about 20
percent of carbon emissions.

The mysterious illness has existed in the indigenous communities since the
1960s, but had disappeared for years until the 2003 outbreak. The illness
apparently only affects indigenous Miskito and Mayagna populations. In
2004, the illness was cured by a local healer who treated it with herbs and
other natural medicines. The three local healers sent to the communities
will employ the same techniques.

Some 1,500 people died in the violence after the December 2007 poll. There
were horrifying witness accounts of how young men and defenceless women
were executed by Kenyan police, apparently for being in the wrong place at
the wrong time.

The country has suffered several military coups since independence in 1971.
The army maintains this week’s mutiny by border guards was over pay and
conditions and was not politically motivated.

“For villagers this has been part of their diet for a long time, their
cultural resource and part of their biodiversity. Like fisheries, you want
to manage it well, you don’t want to catch all your fish or you will have
no more in the future, just like turtles. We need to help conserve them or
they will disappear as a species on earth. The leatherback turtle
population in the Western Pacific has declined by 95 per cent in the last
30 years.

“Hopefully, other tropical forest nations will follow this example of
simultaneously combating climate change and conserving the ecosystems on
which people depend.”

2/25/2009

SEA TURTLE SLUMP FLOODS POVERTY BORDERS AS ELEPHANTS PLAGUE CROPS AND DIVERSE ANTS DROWN RATS

Hundreds of dead turtles were found washed ashore along the coastal lines
from Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar to St Martin’s island with bruises all over
their bodies.

A herd of 70 to 75 elephants of the Dalma forest have strayed into five
villages of West Midnapur district and damaged large tracts of crops and
destroyed several houses.

The World Bank warned that up to 53 million more people around the world
could fall into poverty in 2009 as a result of the global economic slump,
and up to 400,000 more children could die each year as a result of rising
infant mortality. The statistics highlight the worldwide character of the
social catastrophe being caused by the deepening crisis.

Armies of ants from Solomon Islands have invaded Papua New Guinea and are
threatening to wipe out the economy in at least one part of the country. A
report from Bougainville says the ants from across the border in the
Solomon Islands are destructive to plants and human beings.

Tonga’s Government has elected to renew emergency powers in parts of capital city.
The acting chief secretary and the secretary to the cabinet, confirmed that the Public
Safety and Public Security Regulations had been extended. The regulations were
renewed based upon the recommendation by the Minister of Police.

More than 700 people in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands province have
been left homeless after a river burst its banks following weeks of heavy
rain.

Over 400 female dead turtles have floated ashore over the last two weeks
alone, locals claimed.

A District Forest Officer said the pachyderms damaged
paddy and sugarcane in about 45 hectres in Tarrui, Gopalbar, Pundra, Sinda,
Mohanpur villages. They also destroyed five mud houses.

The rescuers recovered at least 27 bodies and over 10 people still remained
missing as a passenger launch capsized in the country’s southern Barisal
district. The incident took place in Kirtonkhola River when a sand-laden
cargo ship SM-Selim hit the Mehendiganj-bound launch ML-Happy from Barisal,
with over 100 passengers on board, locals and survivors said.

In Vanuatu, a volcanic archipelago in the South Pacific, root and tuber
crops ensure the subsistence and self-sufficiency of the islands’
inhabitants. Be they taro (Colocasia esculenta) or the greater yam
Dioscorea alata, which are traditional crops introduced by the first
sailors to have travelled to the islands some 3500 years ago, or other
plants that have been grown for some time or were introduced more recently,
root and tuber crops, which are propagated vegetatively, replanted and
propagated by cuttings, are the mainstay of the Melanesian diet. However,
it is the maintenance of the diversity of these plants that lies behind the
food security strategy adopted by the islands’ inhabitants. Melanesian
gardens are a prime example of this: by mixing crops, they provide
protection against pathogens, ensure better use of soils and sunlight, make
certain plants more drought-resistant, allow harvests to be spread over
time, and provide a more varied diet.

“I don’t think the government has understood the gravity of the crisis or
figured out how to tackle such an unprecedented situation.” A British
rodent ecologist — in Bangladesh studying the impact of the rat
infestation — said the rodent population was doubling in size every three
weeks. This means, of course, they must spread into new areas in search of
food. “In addition to destroying nearly all field crops in the region, the
rats get into people’s houses, eating stored food and damaging all sorts of
personal possessions and biting people while they sleep.”

The ants are believed to have transferred during the Bougainville crisis
when there was no quarantine service. The ants from Solomon Islands are
attacking and killing the local PNG ants, vegetables and cash crops.

The World Bank released its forecast to coincide with the Group of Seven
(G7) summit of finance ministers and central bank governors in Rome.
Anti-poverty organisations from the UN Millennium Campaign joined the bank
in lobbying for the establishment of a “Vulnerability Fund” in which each
developed country would devote 0.7 percent of its stimulus package to aid
impoverished “developing” countries.

The body of a woman named Dipti Dey, 30, was first recovered shortly after
the disastrous ferry accident. Later, bodies of 26 other launch passengers
were retrieved from inside the sunken launch after it was salvaged, raising
the death toll to 27, officials confirmed. The Prime Minister has
condoled the death of people and asked the officials to take necessary
steps for treatment of survivors.

The root and tuber species grown in Vanuatu were inventoried in ten
villages representative of the communities in the archipelago. Five
primarily grow taro, the other five yam, for both cultural and climatic
reasons. With more than 1000 varieties of thirteen species, the inventory
confirmed the varietal diversity of the crops grown. The archipelago’s
agro-biodiversity comprises three types of plants: plants that arrived
naturally, for instance on the wind, those imported by the first immigrants
– taro and greater yam in this case – and those introduced recently, also
by man, in particular cassava.

“The whole region has been affected by localised famine, forcing people to
depend on food aid. Food shortages will be a permanent feature here for
many years. We have captured 2,000 big rats from one hectare (2.47 acres)
of land. I can tell you the situation is worsening as rats are invading new
territories.” The WFP will begin a 2.6-million-dollar programme to help the
thousands of people who have lost their livelihoods because of the rats.

Even this utterly inadequate proposal received short shrift from the G7
ministers. In their final communiqué, a single one-sentence reference to
poorer economies said: “The G7 also stresses the need to support emerging
and developing countries’ access to credit and trade financing and resume
private capital flows, and is committed to explore urgently ways, including
through multilateral development banks, to enhance this support.” In other
words, the plight of hundreds of millions of destitute people must be left
in the hands of the same financial system and “private capital flows” that
have broken down, producing the worst global collapse since the 1930s.

A worried cocoa farmer on Buka Island, Aloysius Sammy, said the ants were
also attacking people and the victims were developing swollen bodies from
the ant bites. The ants were found in decaying biscuits and other food
items on cargo storage compartments on banana boats.

The bank’s new estimates for 2009 suggest that lower economic growth rates
will force 53 million more people to exist on less than $2 a day than was
expected prior to the downturn. This is on top of the 130-155 million
people pushed into poverty in 2008 because of soaring food and fuel prices.

An estimated 25 hectares of land was inundated when the Waghi River
flooded, swamping vegetable gardens, cash crops and livestock.

Experts said these turtles met their death as they travelled the stretch of
nearly 120km from Sonadia Island in Cox’s Bazar to St Martin’s island to
lay eggs on the shore.

Villagers alleged that the forest department, despite repeated requests,
did not take any steps to drive out the elephants. Four “Hulla Parties” had
been deployed to push the elephants to the Nayagram forest.

The bank’s extremely low benchmark for poverty—$2 a day—suggests that its
figures vastly underestimate the actual number of people around the world
who are barely able to feed, clothe and house themselves.

Under these renewed powers the police have the authority to stop and search
any vehicle without a warrant, as well as to seek evidence inside of any
vehicle. The powers also allow officers wider authority to make arrests.
These powers have been criticized by international rights organizations
for being an abuse of power and an attempt to frustrate the pro-democracy
movement.

Mr Sammy, who owns a two-hectare cocoa block, said half of his crop had been
destroyed by the ants. He said in south and central Bougainville, there
were no longer any signs of Papua New Guinea ants. Mr Sammy said he placed
some PNG tree ants on his cocoa trees and in just five seconds they were
attacked by Solomon ants.

The country’s National Disaster Centre committed $50,156 to the Western
Highlands provincial government to help more than 700 displaced villagers
in the Dei region, it said. The works department and two local construction
companies were partly to blame for failing to build adequate drainage.

The turtles get entangled in the fine fishing nets used indiscriminately by
fishing trawlers. The fishermen, instead of releasing them back to the sea,
beat them to death with sticks and dumped their bodies in the sea, experts
alleged.

Bangladesh’s remote Chittagong Hill Tracts region faces a serious risk of
prolonged famine and bubonic plague unless a ballooning rat population is
brought under control, experts say.

Preliminary estimates for 2009 to 2015 forecast that an average 200,000 to
400,000 more children a year, a total of 1.4 to 2.8 million over the
six-year period, may die if the crisis persists.

The emergency powers were originally put into place in November 2006 after
a riot broke out in the heart of the capital city of Nuku’alofa. The riot
began when a group broke away from a political reform rally and began
looting local businesses. Throughout the course of the riot 150
businesses, mostly owned by people of Chinese origins, were destroyed.

A disabled gunsmith has been arrested in Papua New Guinea for manufacturing
guns and ammunition in his backyard shed. The 39-year-old wheelchair bound
man known as “Harzem” was also reportedly found with numerous books on
Islam, terrorism and war.

Some fishermen from Sonadia, preferring anonymity, confirmed this saying
it’s a tedious task to release the turtles back into the waters.
Organisations working for the protection of sea turtles have recovered 62
carcasses from Cox’s bazaar area. They have expressed
concern about the environmental pollution caused by such large number of
carcasses.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) began distributing three million
dollars of emergency food supplies to some 120,000 people in the
southeastern tribal area bordering India and Myanmar, after the rat
population exploded.

This is a very serious problem and the Autonomous Bougainville Government,
especially the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) and Agriculture, should
do some serious research on how to get rid of these ants, Mr Sammy said.
With the absence of mining on Bougainville the economy was predominantly
agriculture-based, which meant cash crops like copra and cocoa were the
ones driving the economy. And without control, the Solomon Islands ants are
destroying cash crops, the farmer said.

In addition, millions of people already living in poverty “will be pushed
further below the poverty line,” according to the World Bank policy
note,”The Global Economic Crisis: Assessing Vulnerability with a Poverty
Lens.” The note states: “Almost all developed and developing countries are
suffering from the global economic crisis. While developed countries are
experiencing some of the sharpest contractions, households in developing
countries are much more vulnerable and likely to experience acute negative
consequences in the short- and long-term.”

People residing at Shortland borderline between Papua New Guinea and
Solomon Islands have raised grave concern over increased border crossing by
foreigners into Solomon Islands and vice versa. The people fear this might
lead to allowing terrorists to enter Solomon Islands illegally or drug
smuggling.

Most of the turtles found in this area are of the Olive Ridley, one of the
smallest species of sea turles. This species weighs between 10 to 20kg, 63
to 70cm length and 60 to 67cm in breadth.

Police made the arrest at Dami village in PNG’s West New Britain Province,
an island region in northern PNG, as part of an operation to reduce gun
proliferation. The area has been experiencing ongoing local clashes fuelled
by homemade weapons and firearms. Harzem is believed to be the main weapon
supplier in the tribal conflict.

The rats — some weighing as much as 1.5 kilogrammes (3.3 pounds) — feed
on bamboo forests in the hilly region. A Dhaka University zoology professor
recently visited the hill tracts and sounded the alarm over the
“devastating” impact of the year-long rat plague.

Almost 40 percent of 107 developing countries are “highly exposed” to the
poverty and hardship effects of the crisis and the remainder are
“moderately exposed,” according to the report. The bank warns that three
quarters of these countries will be unable to raise funds domestically or
internationally to finance job-creation, the delivery of basic
infrastructure and essential services—including health, education and core
public administration—and safety net programs for the vulnerable.

Borderline representatives appearing before the Committee alleged that
foreigners illegally entered Solomon Islands through Bougainville. Recent
past crossings happened because Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea did
not have borderline check points where Immigration, Customs and Quarantine
officials manned the posts.

The West New Britain Police Commander said Harzem was in police custody and
would appear in court as soon as possible. “I have given instructions to
fast track his case because of his condition,” he said. Police confiscated
several weapons and ammunition and are continuing their operation in a
neighbouring areas.

The root and tuber crop panel of ten villages in Vanuatu comprises more
than 1000 varieties of thirteen species. the primary aim of farming in this
volcanic archipelago in the South Pacific is to ensure food
self-sufficiency.

The threats of a famine-fuelled conflict are real as the rats are
destroying everything in the hills. Adding to the urgency of the situation,
authorities must act fast to avoid an outbreak of deadly bubonic plague.

The statistics provide only a pale outline of the impoverishment,
malnutrition and misery caused by the global recession. These outcomes are
an indictment of the anarchy of the private profit system. First, the
speculative escalation of food and fuel prices of 2007-08 threw up to 155
million people into poverty; and now the financial crash is threatening
many millions more. These forecasts make a mockery of the United Nation’s
Millennium Development Goals, which set targets to overcome poverty by
2015.

Solomon Islands and PNG have cross-border entries like a traditional
practice before, but people from other countries who came with yachts
abused this privilege. The Foreign Relations Committee also met with
people of Choiseul in Taro.

In most of the villages, notably those attached to their traditions,
ancestral crops are predominant. However, in villages subject to severe
environmental constraints (acid rain or ash showers due to active
volcanoes, cyclones, etc), there are more either local or newly introduced
crops. These crops bolster food security by making the cropping systems
more resilient. In other Pacific archipelagos, such as New Caledonia and
the Solomon Islands, the introduction by the Europeans of new root and
tuber species, combined with the arrival of a market economy, has totally
disrupted the existing systems. Ancestral species have disappeared and food
crop production has become uniform, making the production systems more
fragile and reducing the quality of the local diet. Conversely, in Vanuatu,
while the local populations are increasingly accepting and growing new
plants, those plants have had to fit into the existing agro-biodiverse
systems without adversely affecting the other species grown. In the most
fragile zones, they even help to overcome the shortages resulting from the
seasonal nature of traditional crops. The food production strategy in
Vanuatu is not yet under threat, as culturally speaking, owners set great
store by their Melanesian gardens, which is continuing to maintain their
characteristic agro-biodiversity, despite the growing role played by cash
crops grown for export.

“I have approached certain people in the DPI division and reported this
case but my case has fallen on deaf ears.” Mr Sammy also said when a border
post was set up, every boat whether traditional border crossers or not,
must still be quarantined and customs checks should be enforced. A lot of
ants have also been brought into Bougainville by plant hunters or
collectors, especially for flowers like roses and orchids from Solomon
Islands, which are regarded as some of the most beautiful and rare in the
world. Bougainvilleans are appealing to the Government to do something
before cash crops are wiped out in Bougainville.

2/9/2009

FLOODED POPPIES MINIMIZE SECURITY DROUGHT CRISIS

The Solomon Islands declared a national disaster after torrential rain and
flooding in the South Pacific nation killed eight people and left another
13 missing, destroying homes and bridges.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
is reporting that populations in large areas of Kenya and the Horn of
Africa are now facing an exceptional humanitarian crisis that requires
urgent food assistance. The combined effect of high worldwide food prices
and a crippling drought are seriously jeopardizing the lives, livelihoods,
and dignity of up to 20 million people in rural and urban communities.

Opium poppy cultivation inched up by 3 percent last year in Myanmar,
according to a United Nations report, the second consecutive annual
increase that appears to signal a reversal of years of declining opium
production in the so-called Golden Triangle.

Indonesian security forces attacked a group of one hundred tribal people
who were peacefully protesting about delays to local elections in Nabire,
West Papua.

“Containment of the problem is under threat. Opium prices are rising in
this region. It’s going to be an incentive for farmers to plant more.”

Twelve communities on the Solomons’ main island of Guadalcanal had been
assessed as disaster-hit and appealed for international assistance.
Australia and France have already promised emergency aid.

Papua New Guinea’s law and order problem is set to get worse if a
recommendation to increase the national minimum wage is approved by the
government.

The Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and
Myanmar meet, once produced two-thirds of the world’s opium, most of it
refined into heroin. But pressure by the Chinese government to eradicate
opium in Myanmar helped lead to steep declines, with a low point of 21,500
hectares, or 53,000 acres, of poppies planted in Myanmar in 2006. Since
then, opium cultivation has bounced back by around 33 percent, to 28,500
hectares last year.

For the past 17 years Papua New Guinea’s lowest income earners, like
security guards, have brought home just $US13 a week. Government plans to
increase that to $US43 has business owners worried.

When police began attacking the crowd, the demonstrators called for Mr
Yones Douw, a respected human rights worker, to document the violence. When
Mr Douw arrived, the police attacked him – witnesses said he was kicked,
beaten on the side the head and punched in the face before being arrested,
along with seven protesters. The police also beat other protestors, and
fired rubber bullets into the crowd. Five people were seriously wounded,
and many others received minor bullet wounds.

Since December, flooding has also hit the Pacific island nations of Fiji,
Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, with tens of
thousands of islanders abandoning homes.

UN officials warn that the global economic crisis may fuel an increase in
poppy production because falling prices for other crops may persuade
farmers to switch to opium. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said corn
prices had fallen by half over the past year. The price of opium, by
contrast, has increased 26 percent in Laos and 15 percent in Myanmar over
the same period.

Heavy rain and flooding on Guadalcanal and nearby Savo Island has caused
widespread damage and forced the evacuation of more than 70 villagers to
the capital Honiara.

The PNG Manufacturers Council said the economy cannot accommodate a higher
salary. “It’s not the fact that the private sector doesn’t want to pay, its
whether the economy can accommodate that high level of salary.”

“In Kenya 80 percent of the territory is affected, with the northern and
lower eastern Kenya the most affected. We’re talking of a target population
of 1.6 million for the Red Crescent.”

Farmers in the isolated highlands of the Golden Triangle are also hampered
by bad roads and difficulties getting their crops to market. They often
find that small parcels of opium are easier to carry across the rough
terrain.

The Solomon Islands Red Cross had sent emergency staff and volunteers to
distribute relief supplies to communities in West Guadalcanal and Longu, in
the island’s east. The Solomon Islands is a nation of about 500,000 mainly
Melanesian people, spread across hundreds of islands, which gained
independence from Britain in 1978.

The global economic crisis is only just starting to short-change Papua New
Guinea, with the wage set to further undermine the local economy. “We
become less competitive, our prices go up and we don’t sell any goods.” It
could lead to thousands of workers being laid off, adding to the country’s
already high unemployment and crime rates.

Other areas are Djibouti with 50 thousand people in dire need. Ethiopia is
affected with an estimated 5 million need of food. The Red Cross is moving
in to start assisting the first 150 thousand people. The Red Cross and the
Red Crescent are also active in southern Somalia, as well as Somaliland and
Puntland.

Although opium is still grown in parts of Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, UN
officials say that about 94 percent of the region’s opium comes from
Myanmar. Most of the Golden Triangle heroin is sold within the region, but
small amounts also reach the United States and Australia. Recent seizures
of heroin thought to come from the Golden Triangle have been made on the
Thai resort island of Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon, Myanmar’s
commercial capital.

“The key issue for PNG is more people working and that basically improves
the lifestyle of people and that without a doubt helps law and order
because when people can put food on the table there is harmony, you take
that opportunity away and you have unrest. Or, employers could head to the
labour black market, choosing instead to pay workers their current wage
under the table.”

Eyewitnesses say that a range of security forces were involved in the
attack, including Brimob, Indonesia’s notorious para-military police, plus
soldiers and Indonesia’s Intelligence Service.

The alarming spread of HIV by heroin users in southern China several years
ago persuaded the Chinese authorities to crack down on opium and heroin
trafficking. Western intelligence officials say Chinese spies are active in
anti-narcotics operations in Myanmar, especially in northern areas where
central government control is weak. “There’s strong collaboration with
Chinese intelligence.”

Last month 11 Fijians died and more than 9,000 people were forced into
evacuation centres after the worst floods in decades. Sugar is Fiji’s
second major industry following tourism and sugar farms in the west have
been devastated by the flooding, with damages estimated to be in the tens
of millions of dollars.

The UN report on opium poppy cultivation is based on surveys taken from
helicopters and on the ground. The United States relies more heavily on
satellite images to calculate opium cultivation, and its reports are
sometimes at odds with those of the United Nations. The UN report did not
cover methamphetamine production and distribution, which among some
criminal syndicates has displaced opium and heroin in the region.

“We have launched an appeal seeking 95 million dollars, now we have
received only 6 percent in the two months since we launched and this is not
enough to run an operation.”

In Thailand, methamphetamines remain a problem but longstanding efforts by
the royal family to substitute opium production with vegetables, coffee and
macadamia nuts have virtually wiped out opium production among the northern
hill tribes.

Floods ravaging northern Australia have washed crocodiles onto the streets,
where one was hit by a car. More than 60 per cent of the vast northeastern
state of Queensland has been declared a disaster area, and flooding after
two recent cyclones has affected almost 3,000 homes. The army has been
called in to help with rescue and recovery efforts, while three reports of
large crocodiles washed up from flooded rivers have come in from homes in
the Gulf of Carpentaria region.

The incident fuels concerns that repression and violence against the Papuan
people is increasing.

“Many employers are doing the right thing, but there are many unscrupulous
employers who will exploit their workers to gain maximum profit out of the
cheap labour.”

Afghanistan remains the world’s premier source of opium, producing more
than 90 percent of global supply. Afghan soil is also remarkably more
fertile than the rocky, unirrigated opium fields in the Golden Triangle.
The UN estimates in its 2008 report that one hectare of land yielded an
average of 14.4 kilograms, or 31.7 pounds, of opium in Myanmar but 48.8
kilograms in Afghanistan.

“The damage bill is estimated at $76 million and growing. But we won’t
really know the full extent of the damage until the water subsides, so that
figure could double, it could treble.” It was the worst flooding seen in 30
years. Fresh food supplies were flown into the westerly townships of
Normanton and Karumba, which had been cut off by flood waters. The flooding
comes amid a heatwave over in south-eastern Australia.

The situation has been exacerbated by the global and financial crisis.
However a small fraction of the billions of dollars being spent by
governments to bail out banks and financial institutions could help save
millions of lives in the Horn of Africa.

The death toll in Australia’s worst-ever bushfires has risen to 128 people,
as hundreds more flood community shelters after losing everything they own.
The state government in Victoria, where the fires have raged since
Saturday, is being advised to prepare for 230 fatalities. Police confirmed
128 deaths from the fires, many which officials suspect were deliberately
lit.

1/30/2009

CLINICAL SLUMDOG KWASO GOLD TRIALS

Lihir Gold has reported a 26% rise in annual gold production to 882,000
ounces and forecast output this year would exceed 1 million ounces as new
mines in Africa and Australia are fully developed.

Armed police guarded cinemas in eastern India after slum dwellers ransacked
a picture house showing Slumdog Millionaire because they didn’t like the
use of the word “dog” in the title.

Seven officers were hurt in an attack and the blame is being attributed to
the illegal home-brew alcohol known as kwaso.

Expectations for a higher gold yield come despite a landowner wrangle over
royalties at the company’s main mine in Papua New Guinea that brought it to
a standstill.

Several hundred people rampaged through the cinema in Patna, capital of the
eastern state of Bihar and tore down posters advertising the film. They
said the title was humiliating and vowed to continue their protests until
it was changed.

Around 1500 litres of the brew was seized but that is considered to be only
a tiny drop in a very big ocean.

Lihir chief executive Arthur Hood said he was hoping for a quick resolution
that would enable the mine to restart but conceded he did not know how long
it would take. “I’d like to think we could get back to work in the next day
or so, but I’ve worked in Papua New Guinea a long time and these things are
always a little bit unpredictable,” he told reporters.

The protest was organised by Tateshwar Vishwakarma, a social activist who
filed a lawsuit over the title against four Indians involved in its
production – a lead actor, the music director and two others.

The explosion of the illegal trade, which results in potentially volatile
situations, is not easy for the police trying to contain it.

The dispute involves local islanders in the province of New Ireland, about
700 kilometres north-east of the capital Port Moresby, who want a bigger
share of the mine’s revenues.

Mr Hood said the company was already paying a 2% royalty to islanders on
all gold produced at the mine as well as awarding supply contracts worth
millions of dollars to local firms.

“Referring to people living in slums as dogs is a violation of human
rights,” said Mr Vishwakarma, who works for a group promoting the rights of
slum dwellers. We will burn Danny Boyle [the film’s British director]
effigies in 56 slums here.”

“The police can only do so much. We have a licensing squad of about 12
members and the community, chiefs and religious people have to get stuck in
too,” says Peter Marshall, Solomons Acting Police Commissioner.

“Last year we were looking at about $US130 million ($195 million) worth of
our supply contracts going to Lihirians,” he said.

The case will be heard in a Patna court, according to police. Kishori Das,
another activist, said: “We are in touch with like-minded organisations
across India to take the issue on a large scale.”

Prime Minister John Key visited Honiara to assess New Zealand’s role in the
regional assistance mission and he says it will be some time before NZ
assistance in the islands can be pulled out. “At least three to five years
and it could in all probability be longer than that,” Key says.

The overall increase in the company’s gold production was boosted by a
record yield of 315,000 ounces in the fourth quarter, Mr Hood said. It cost
on average $US400 to mine each ounce in 2008 but only $US353 per ounce for
the fourth quarter, he said. “This is exactly where we want to be,” he
said.

Social, political and religious activists in India often organise violent
protests over films to try to win publicity for their cause. In 1996, Fire,
a film about lesbianism, enraged Hindu fundamentalists who burnt down
several cinemas. In 2000, production of Water, a film about Hindu
widowhood, was moved from India to Sri Lanka after violence by Hindu
nationalists.

An organised gang member who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity
says the gangs sell 60-70 litres of kwaso a day. The sellers, mostly in
village based gangs, take a quarter of the takings.

Gold currently sells for around $US900 an ounce. The Lihir mine produced
247,000 ounces in the last quarter, taking full year production to 771,000
ounces.

Slumdog Millionaire, which recently opened in India has been generally well
received, especially since it won four Golden Globes and 10 Oscar
nominations – including one for AR Rahman, the veteran composer.

Police believe the potent home-brew is fuelling violence and crime.

In the fourth quarter some 22% of the company’s gold was derived from
newly-developed mines in Australia and Ivory Coast, reflecting efforts to
geographically diversify operations, according to Mr Hood.

However, some reviewers, commentators and film industry insiders have
criticised it as “poverty porn” which glamourises the squalor of slums and
perpetuates Western stereotypes of India.

A carton of beer costs around 165 Solomon dollars but for the same effect
you can buy a bottle of kwaso for just $10. A small joint of marijuana
costs 50 cents (NZ$).

There had been no violence against employees or vandalism at the Lihir mine
site stemming from the dispute, he said.

About 40 Mumbai slum dwellers, organised by another social activist, held
up banners reading “Poverty for Sale” and “I am not a dog” outside the home
of Anil Kapoor, one of the film’s stars.

Many sellers say they do so for survival as the Solomon Islands are filled
with a lot of young unemployed people.

Lihir’s shares were up 4% at $3.15 in early afternoon trade, outpacing a
gain of 1% in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index. Analysts expect Lihir to
report 2008 net profit of $US135 million, against a $US24 million loss in
2007.

Amitabh Bachchan, the veteran Bollywood star, also caused a stir when he
accused the film in his blog of portraying India as a “third-world, dirty,
underbelly developing nation”. Mr Bachchan has since apologised to Mr
Boyle, but was conspicuously absent from the film’s star-studded premiere
in Mumbai.

“Money is very hard to come by and the making of kwaso is an easy way of
making money,” says Marshall

After selling $1.2 billion in shares in 2007 to close out an unprofitable
gold hedge book, Mr Hood said the company was now benefiting from exposure
to rising prices of gold, one of the few commodities not ravaged by the
financial crisis.

Mr Kapoor, who grew up in a Mumbai slum, has denied that “slumdog” is
offensive, saying that children from the slums are called many worse things
in India. Simon Beaufoy, the screenwriter, said last week: “I just made up
the word. I liked the idea. I didn’t mean to offend anyone.” Two hours
after opening, the pediatric waiting room at All India Institute of Medical
Sciences is like the anteroom to hell. Families, anxious, restless, sweaty
in the soupy air, cram into plastic chairs, crouch in corners, crowd
doorways, clog up aisles. Cries jangle off the ceiling. Feces litter the
floor. Signs in the corridor attempt to impose order on the chaos:

Don’t spit.

Don’t feed the monkeys.

Don’t pay bribes.

“I think gold will remain very strong,” he said, adding that a weak US
dollar and the requirements for a flight to quality were keeping the yellow
metal from falling.

This overstretched government hospital and medical college treats about
4-million people a year. It’s also one of a growing number of Indian
hospitals that use their patients to gather data on experimental drugs
destined for Western markets. It recently was revealed that 49 children
have died during clinical trials at the institute.

1/27/2009

WHITE-EYED WORLD BANK CHAOS REIGNS AS EXCHANGE STUDENTS RAMPAGE INCREASES FOOD PRICES

Filed under: kenya,nicaragua,rampage,solomon islands,usa,wildlife — admin @ 8:16 am

The Teachers strike in Nairobi turned chaotic as some primary school pupils
went on the rampage. Muslim Primary School pupils in Kawangware smashed
windows and destroyed property as they protested against their head teacher
who had forced them stay in school despite there being no teachers on duty.
Two pupils were injured and taken to hospital by their parents.

The World Bank approved a US$7 million grant to Nicaragua to help the
country mitigate the impact of increased food prices by providing immediate
relief to the most vulnerable groups and expanding the supply of
agricultural products.

Birds from the family Zosteropidae — also called “white eyes” — could be
poster children for rapid evolution.

At the nearby Kawangware Primary School, pupils were locked in the school
compound for hours even as they threatened to leave. Parents camped outside
the school and held a peaceful demonstration asking the head teacher to
release their children.

“This operation will support two existing government programs, thereby
ensuring their continuity and targeting to areas and individuals most
affected by the crisis,” said Laura Frigenti, World Bank Director for
Central America.

They form new species faster than any other known bird, according to new
research.

Police watched from a distance as the events unfolded. When the students
were released they went on the rampage stealing from passers by.
Photographer Stafford Ondego was not spared as pupils snatched his phone
and fled. He reported the incident at the chief’s camp.

“The first program will ensure that poor children in the most vulnerable
areas continue to receive lunch at school, maintaining their intake of
nutritive food at a time of crisis and encouraging their continued
attendance; and the second program will support small farmers to increase
their production during the next agricultural cycles,” she added.

Portland police have confirmed that a 17-year-old Peruvian exchange student
was one of two victims killed in a downtown shooting rampage.

Knut national treasurer Fred Ontere said the union would not relent until
their demands were met. However, he said the union was open to negotiations
but suggested the implementation of their pay raise be two phases.

DNA analysis reveals that all 80 species of white eyes emerged in the last
2 million years.

Police say Marta “Tika” Paz de Noboa of Arequipa, Peru, was shot when Erik
Salvadore Ayala fired into a crowd outside The Zone, an under-21 nightclub.

At Katina School in Dagoretti no teacher reported to work while in Old
Olympic Primary School in Kibera, only pupils turned up.

Between early 2006 and mid-2008 global food prices have increased
dramatically. In Nicaragua, domestic food price inflation increased from
10.7 percent in January 2006 to 34.2 percent in August 2008.

The second victim was 16-year-old Ashley Wilks, a sophomore at Clackamas
High School. Seven others were wounded before Ayala shot himself in the
head. He is in critical condition in a Portland hospital.

Police say they don’t know of any links between Ayala and the victims, and
the shooting may have been random. A handful of other birds and mammals
have been known to adapt to new environments in such short order, but white
eyes are unique because their speciation isn’t a simple reaction to shifts
in local habitats, said study author Christopher Filardi.

The head teacher said many of the pupils came to have breakfast and lunch
which the school offers.

High food prices affect a majority of Nicaraguans, but the poor are
disproportionately affected by high food inflation rates, as the share of
their incomes devoted to food purchases is larger than higher income
groups.

“White-eyes evolved into dozens of new species extremely fast while
simultaneously spreading across much of the southern hemisphere,” he said.
“At this geographic scale, there is no one thing from the outside that
could have made this happen; there is something special about those birds.”

Standard Eight pupils took over the role of teachers and they taught each
other. At Shadrack Kimalel in Ngumo Estate, pupils left after teachers
failed to turn up. Parents were seen picking pupils from primary schools
within the city.

The Emergency Food Price Response Project will support the ongoing Integral
School Nutrition Program (PINE), benefiting approximately 263,000 preschool
and primary school children in 52 municipalities (eight departments) who
experience severe or high poverty levels. This component will be
implemented by the Ministry of Education.

White eyes may evolve faster, in part, because females can start breeding
as young as four months old. It takes most tropical songbirds closer to a
year to reach sexual maturity, Filardi explained.

At Moi Avenue Primary School, journalists were barred from entering by a
lady who seemed to be in charge and only person in school. Parents, too,
were denied entry. She refused to comment on anything, instructing the
pupils to get into their classes and settle down. Parents remained at the
gate hoping to be allowed to take their children home.

The Agro-Seeds Program (Programa Agroalimentario de Semilla – PAS)
distributes a technological package of certified seeds, fertilizers,
training and technical assistance to beneficiaries in the form of a credit.
The loan can be reimbursed with in-kind contributions or in cash at the end
of each agricultural cycle.

And unlike most birds, white eyes are hardwired to be social. They forage,
travel, and even preen together, making it easier for them to colonize,
according to the study.

“This strike has come at a wrong time. We hope the Government and the
teachers reach a consensus. They should bear in mind the heavy toll this
crisis and last year’s post-poll chaos that kept our children out of school
for long,” Mr Jacob Otieno a parent at Moi Avenue primary school said.

The program will assist approximately 31,590 small producers from areas
where the agricultural cycle is most compromised. This component will be
executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with the support of
public sector agencies, such as the Nicaraguan Agricultural Technology
Institute, the Rural Development Institute, the Nicaraguan Basic Food
Company, and the Rural Credit Fund.

Once they arrive at a new location, they quickly settle in for the long
haul, genetically isolating themselves. Different species in the Solomon
Islands exist just 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from one another. The splendid
white eye, is endemic to the Solomon Island of Ranongga and has a range
that can be traversed in a single day’s walk.

Elsewhere, in Western teachers boycotted going to their places of work. At
Nangina Girls Boarding Primary in Funyula, parents rushed to withdraw their
children from the school fearing for their security.

“The project will help in the design of other core programs of the National
Food and Nutrition Security Policy, such as the development of a nutrition
curriculum for children and teachers and the design of tools and guidelines
for the provision of child and maternal health services by the Ministry of
Health,” said Joseph Owen, World Bank Country Manager to Nicaragua.

11/14/2008

INFERTILE YAM DISASTER BEFORE RISING TOURISM SEAS?

For Kiribati, the threat of submergence because of sea level rise seems
distant when compared to the range of potentially disastrous ecological and
economic problems it is faced with in the short-term.

There are many staple foods in the Solomon Islands many however prefer yam,
or uvi, as it is known in Guadalcanal.

The cost of treating infertile couples has halved with the launch of a new
programme expected to become one of the vanguard methods of addressing
Kenya’s high infertility rates.

The alarm bells of sea level rise as a result of global warming and climate
change—brought centrestage in no small measure by the 2006 documentary film
‘An Inconvenient Truth’— catapulted the world’s low-lying atoll nations to
the front pages of the global media.

According to the World Bank, tourism is the largest and the fastest
developing industry in the world today.

In the Pacific, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands have been
perceived as the most threatened.

Yams are a primary agricultural commodity in the Solomon Islands, and have
been used extensively prior to the colonization of the Islands.

Nairobi-based Aga Khan University Hospital said it has achieved its first
two pregnancies using the new treatment and that many more were in the
pipeline.

The amount of tourists having visited other countries has become 4.5%
higher and reached 842 million people as compared to 2005.

Over the past few years, these countries have been the focus of much
research by the world’s scientists to find definitive answers relating to
their impending submergence.

This essentially means that they were brought to the Solomon Islands by our
early ancestors.

Latest University of Nairobi statistics show that almost a quarter of
Kenyan men and nearly a fifth of women are infertile with the majority
unaware of their condition.

In Kiribati alone, two small islets have been submerged by rising sea
levels. Everything one has heard and read about Kiribati being a nation
that is supposed to be among the early victims of sea level rise, that may
not even survive the next few decades rings true as the jet approaches the
runway at Bonriki Airport on Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital.

According to the information given by Washington Profile, the largest
tourist inflow has been marked in Southern Asia and become 10% higher as
compared to 2005.

It is used for important ceremonial events such as reconciliation, weddings
or feasts to show ones status.

Until recently, there was almost nothing that could be done to help them.

India is the most attractive country for foreign travellers. A remarkable
growth – 8.1% has been noted in Africa.

The extreme vulnerability of this ribbon-like string of atolls in the
middle of the world’s largest ocean becomes apparent as their fraying edges
constantly battered by the tides come into view.

A simple Google search show that yams were first cultivated in Africa and
Asia about 8000 B.C.

Hospitals have since last year been racing to introduce wider and cheaper
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programmes, in a bid to open a route to
child-bearing for the infertile.

The retaining walls at the far end of the runway have been reduced to
rubble because of the relentless onslaught of the waves.

A remarkable growth – 8.1% has been noted in Africa. Most foreign tourists
have visited SAR, Kenya and Morocco. In countries of Asian-Pacific area the
number of tourists has become 7.6% higher, and in Europe – 4% higher.

The drive down the one single road that runs through the 30-odd kilometre
length of the atolls that form Tarawa — never more than a couple of hundred
metres at their widest and strung together by a series of two-lane
causeways — is marked with sights of crumbling sea walls and mounds of
refuse lining the coastline in several places.

In the Solomon Islands, where refrigerators are not yet a common household
item, yams are very important since they can be stored for up to six months
without refrigeration.

However, in Kenya, the first IVF baby was born just 18 months ago, under a
pioneer treatment priced at Sh300,000.

Along the lagoon to the west, acres of coconut trees shorn of both frond
and fruit stand mute testimony to the encroaching salt water and
lengthening periods of drought that the atolls have faced in recent years.

In countries of Asian-Pacific area the number of tourists has become 7.6%
higher, and in Europe – 4% higher

Further down at Betio, the southernmost point on Tarawa, one sees
overcrowding that is so unusual for Pacific islands — and of course
poverty.

“We usually cook them very early in the morning, we store some for later in
the day and some for the kids to take to school,” said Lilly Vale, a mother
of two young kids who resides near the Poha area in West Guadalcanal.

Sea level rise not the only problem Increased global awareness of climate
change and sea level rise and the rash of alarmism that has predicted their
impending submergence have tended to portray these as the biggest problem
faced by the 33-island nation straddling the equator across three time
zones.

The huge need for better access to the treatment has seen two hospitals,
Nairobi and now Aga Khan, as well as two clinics introduce the procedure.

Despite the intense scrutiny of the scientific establishment, the interest
of ecologists and aid agencies as well as the glare of the global media,
islanders’ opinion on the submergence issue is sharply divided — and for
all sorts of reasons ranging from anecdotal and experiential evidence on
both sides of the argument, through religious beliefs, to downright
cynicism.

Most foreign tourists have visited SAR, Kenya and Morocco. In countries of
Asian-Pacific area the number of tourists has become 7.6% higher, and in
Europe – 4% higher.

President Anote Tong, the London School of economics-educated head of
state, is understandably cautious: “I am not suggesting and have never
suggested that the islands are sinking because of the rise in sea levels,”
he says. “But there is no doubt we are increasingly facing the effects of
climate change in many ways.”

“We cook them over hot stones… we keep the stones hot throughout the day
just to keep the yam hot.”

We have only started this year and so far we’ve handled two patients, one
in April and one in August both of whom are pregnant,” said Dr Praful S.
Patel, a senior lecturer at the hospital and an expert in IVF.

Germany which was the site of World Cup has become a leader here. Tourism
industry in the Near East has obtained the same result.

In fact, recent sea level data analyses suggest that the danger of
submergence for Kiribati’s atolls—unlike the neighbouring atoll nation of
Tuvalu — is no longer as immediate as was estimated earlier (estimates of
20 to 50 years have now been stretched to more like 80 to 100 years).
Though increased erosion, a greater frequency of higher tides and longer
periods of drought may be a direct result of climate change (just as
similar phenomena have affected other parts of the world, including the
frequent hurricanes in the United States), submergence is no longer the
immediate, central issue.

Lilly says that leftovers are often wrapped in banana leaves and stored in
the kitchen, normally a leaf hut separate from the main house.

These first pregnancies have put Aga Khan Hospital ahead of its peers in
success rates.

The amount of tourists having visited Southern and Northern American
countries became just 2% higher in 2006.

Yet, in actual fact, the country may be faced with a wide range of far
worse and far more urgent potential disasters than sea level rise — though
climate change may well be playing the role of a catalyst in many of these
looming problems.

Lilly says that her family will continue to consume yam even though many in
the village seem to prefer rice nowadays.

But from there, only about a third of IVF fertilised embryos lead to a
confirmed pregnancy.

Such low rates are connected with reducing of tourists visiting Canada and
Mexico.

“I just think that it is healthier, I have noticed many of the villagers
getting sick when they switch to rice and tinned food… our grandparents
lived healthy lives until they were very old, most depended only on yam and
sea food.”

The success rate in Kenya has so far been higher than that.

According to the information provided by the World Tourism And Travel
Council, 8.3% of world’s working places, 9.3% of international investments,
12% of exports and 3.6% of world internal gross product account for a share
of tourism and its branches.

Over the past decade or so, Tarawa has faced fiercer and more frequent
storms, higher tides and longer droughts. Several residents pointed out
that the westerly winds that ushered in the wet season around December had
virtually disappeared in the past seven years, resulting in longer dry
periods and erratic and far less frequent wet spells.

Dietitians would agree with Lilly since Yams are high in Vitamin C and
Vitamin B6.

The real obstacle for couples, however, has been cost. In Kenya, this
treatment has been pioneered by the likes of Dr Praful S Patel and Dr
Joshua Noreh of the Nairobi IVF clinic, who delivered Kenya’s first test
tube baby just over one-and-a-half years ago.

Tourists spend 10.2% of all means expended by world consumers. An average
tourist having visited Europe has made an income at amount of $790 (for
Eastern Europe and European Republics of the Former USSR this rate is
$370).

This has resulted in large-scale migration from the smaller outer islands
to Tarawa, particularly to Betio, where the population density at about 111
per square kilometre compares with that of Hong Kong, making it the densest
urban agglomeration in the Pacific islands. In the past five years alone,
the population is thought to have grown by as much as 20,000 on that narrow
strip of land. With almost no sewerage system, not just groundwater but
even the surrounding lagoon is contaminated and travel advisories warn
strongly against swimming in the lagoon or drinking well water.

This means that yams are high in potassium and low in sodium which is
likely to produce a good potassium-sodium balance in the human body, and so
protect against osteoporosis and heart diseases.

In its first two years of availability in Kenya, IVF has been priced at
more than Sh300,000 per treatment. Aga Khan is now offering IVF for an
average Sh150,000, opening the cheapest route yet for childless couples.

For the USA and Canada the income from a tourist is $1190, for Asia – $890,
for Africa – $590, for The Near East – $710.

The local hospital (manned mostly by Cuban doctors) has been registering
increasing cases of enteric disorders. Housing in Betio resembles
shantytowns in other parts of the world—and without adequate garbage
disposal systems, waste accumulates on the shoreline. In some places around
Tarawa, this is simply burnt, compacted and used as a base for reclaiming
land.

Almost 80% of foreign tourists come from European and Southern American
countries. Eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand supply approximately 15%
of tourists.

The only source of freshwater on these remote atolls is rainwater and
because of the unfortunate combination of a fast growing population and low
rainfall, groundwater reserves have been depleting faster than in previous
years. Also, newly sunk bore wells pump out water faster than the rate at
which it percolates, leaving the population facing serious freshwater
shortages — which is expected to only get worse in time to come.

11/9/2008

Money Laundering, Motion-activated Cameras Taint Economic Growth as New Gecko Burns Houses

Faced with a growing number of drug trafficking, money laundering and
organised crime investigations, the head of Cape Verde’s judiciary police
said his agents may know who the traffickers and money launderers are, but
do not have enough resources to catch them all.

According to scientists at France’s National Museum of Natural History, a
new species of gecko has been discovered — after it hatched from an egg
removed from a nest on a South Pacific island and carried 12,000 miles to
Paris in a box lined with Kleenex. The island, Espiritu Santo, is one of
the larger South Pacific islands of the Vanuatu Archipelago, east of
Australia.

Oscar Silva dos Reis Tavares, who directs high-level crime investigations
at the judiciary police, said his agents are handling 150 investigations,
including 10 money laundering cases. But the police should be looking into
more, he said: “We can’t just go up to someone on the street and use what
they say as evidence in a court of law. This is a small community. People
may know who earns money illegally, but we need proof.”

Los Angeles police are using motion-activated cameras to warn vandals that
they’re being watched.

In the past five years, the islands have increasingly been used as a
transit point for drugs coming from Latin America, destined for Europe and
West Africa, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Minister of Justice Marisa Morais said Cape Verde’s geography has left it
open to transatlantic traffickers: “Our geographical location is both a
privilege and a threat.”

The Police in Solomon Islands have confirmed around three houses were burnt
to the ground over the weekend.

The new reptile species, which was formally assigned the Latin name,
Lepidodactylus buleli, is only three inches long as an adult, and lives
near the tops of the rainforest on the west coast of Espiritu Santo, eating
insects and possibly drinking nectar from flowers.

The houses belonged to Malaitan settlers in West Guadalcanal about a 30
minute drive from the capital Honiara.

Based on government records, Cape Verde, with a growing tourist economy,
controls more than 700,000sqkm of water that include 10 islands and eight
islets with 1000km of volcanic, at times difficult to access, coastline.

Police say a dispute had risen among the settlers after a young man had
defiled a young girl and caused a row between the settlers.

But despite a recent jump in tourism dollars, the government reported about
10 percent of its population living in extreme poverty as of May 2008.
Illegal housing settlements continue spreading out in northern Praia
neighbourhoods like Safende, Calabaceira, and San Pedro, which lack
drainage, roads and easy access to water.

Geckos are small to medium-sized reptiles in the family Gekkonidae. These
fascinating animals are unique among lizards because they are vocal: their
social interactions frequently involve chirping sounds.

In a recent UNODC report, researchers wrote that what appears as legitimate
economic growth in some West African countries may be explained through the
drug trade: “Once the channels for disguising drug money have been
established,” wrote UN researchers, “they can be used for concealing all
manner of criminal proceedings.”

Many geckos also have specialized toe pads that rely on weak intermolecluar
attractive forces, known as van der Waals forces, to enable them to climb
smooth and vertical surfaces, and even to stroll upside down across
ceilings. It is estimated that there are roughly 2,000 species of geckos
throughout the worldwide — and many are still to be discovered.

According to the 2008 African Development Bank and Organization of Economic
Development report for Cape Verde, its economy grew more than 10 percent in
2006, in large part from tourism investments, which increased more than
tenfold from 2004-2006 to $509 million. Since then, the government has
passed legislation to attract additional foreign investment.

The motion triggers a recorded voice that states, “This is the Los Angeles
Police Department. It is illegal to spray graffiti or dump trash here.” The
voice warns vandals that they are being recorded and will be prosecuted.

The egg was collected, along with eight others, from a nest that had been
found in the treetops during a collecting trip to Espiritu Santo in 2006.
Ivan Ineich, the museum’s herpetologist, noticed a bloody carcass that had
accidentally hacked in half by one of collectors.

Josep Coll, European Commission ambassador in Cape Verde, said legitimate
foreign investments can be undermined by money laundering: “Yes, we can
have the mirage of a booming economy, but this is false if there are
illegal investments, condemned by international law, in the mix which lead
to unfair competition.”

The camera provides a high-resolution image of the tagger and the vehicle.
It can capture an image of a license plate from 250 feet.

Economists call this the “Dutch disease” effect, when illicit businesses
generate more money and jobs than the legal economy.

“I said to myself ‘this guy looks bizarre,’ but I couldn’t tell right away
it was a new species because it had been so massacred,” Ineich said.

Proof of Missing Iceberg?

Police chief Tavares said the country’s crime lab has limited chemical
analysis capabilities and relies on analyses conducted in Portugal for
investigations. But it is more than lab improvements that are needed, said
Tavares. “It has been impossible to pin down one of the most well-known
traffickers here [Cape Verde] when we don’t have phone recording equipment
to investigate.”

Climbers later collected a plant where nine minuscule gecko eggs had been
hidden. Ineich wrapped the eggs in wet Kleenex, packed them into a pillbox
and carried them home, where he gave them to a friend who raises lizards as
a hobby. Unfortunately, eight of the geckos died after temperatures in the
terrarium plummeted during a power outage, but the ninth lived.

The number of organised, drug and money laundering cases jumped from 19 to
60 between 2007 and 2008. There may be more, said Tavares: “We don’t know
if we are addressing 10 percent or 90 percent of the problem. It may be the
tip of the iceberg, or we may be at the base.”

“We don’t have a doubt that we’ll be able to identify them once we get them
on camera,” said police Captain Sharyn Buck.

Tavares said in the last four years, the government has frozen 12 accounts
worth more than US$1 million as a part of ongoing high-level crime
investigations. He added that since 2007, the government has seized $1
million worth of land and homes, and cars worth more than $622,000.

Police also say the fires were not caused by indigenous people of the area
but by those within the settlers community.

Though legislation criminalised money laundering in Cape Verde in 2002, the
most recent amendment requires for the first time that those working in
financial transactions, including lawyers, bill collectors, auditors and
accountants, report any suspicion of money laundering.

Three cameras installed last year led to an 85-percent decline in graffiti
and those locations, according to the LAPD. The LAPD recently installed 10
more cameras. The cameras were installed after a series of violent
confrontations that involved vandals.

This is the first time a new species of lizard has been identified from an
individual raised from an egg rather than from adults collected from the
wild, according to France’s National Museum of Natural History.

In passing the amendment, Cape Verde’s Council of Ministers wrote that
money laundering in Cape Verde is “connected to a circuit of organised
crime, such as traffic of arms, people, drugs.”

This new species of gecko is not thought to be endangered.

A woman in Pico Rivera was killed last summer when she confronted taggers
near her home.

When asked to quantify trafficked contraband circulating in Cape Verde,
Justice Minister Morais pointed to the Atlantic Ocean behind the Praia
hotel where she spoke at a recent high-level ministerial conference on drug
crimes: “How big is our problem? Well, how big is the ocean?”

10/15/2008

Tok Pisin = English

Filed under: global islands,language,png,solomon islands — admin @ 3:19 pm

wok = work / job
de bilong wok = workday
hatwok = work hard
man bilong wok = good worker
wanwok = fellow worker
wok kaikai = work for board and keep
wok long = busy (doing something)
wok sip = stevedore
wokim = build (something)
wokim glas i go antap = wind up a window
wokim gut = repair (vb)
wokim / paitim bret = knead bread
wokman = worker / workman
woksop = workshop
loia / loya / loman / saveman long lo = lawyer
tisa = teacher

10/14/2008

Blackbirding

Filed under: global islands,human rights,png,solomon islands,vanuatu — admin @ 7:33 am

Not many people know that the sweet sugar industry in Australia was founded on the sweat of men and women enticed or kidnapped from the islands of Melanesia.

Mr Leo, who called himself Joe Malayta (Malaita) to identify his roots, knew his history well.

He recalled that between 1863 and 1904 about 60,000 Melanesians were transported to the colony of Queensland , where they toiled to create the sugar plantations.

Some of these islanders moved there willingly on the promise of income, whilst others were kidnapped from their island homes.

Now married to Monica, of Vanuatu ancestry, the couple said the ancestors of the South Sea Islands community in Queensland were ‘recruited’ from various islands including the Solomon Islands , Vanuatu , and the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia and to a lesser extent, Papua New Guinea .

This form of human trafficking is historically known as ‘black birding’.

There are possibly up to 20,000 Melanesians, recognised as South Sea Islanders currently in Australia , who lived mostly in the North and Central Queensland region.

They were brought to Queensland , mostly to work in the sugar industry, on three-year contracts of indenture.

According to Leo, this labour trade in Melanesians (or Kanakas as they are often termed) involved at least around 62,000 contracts being entered into over a 41year period.

Once underway, some 8,000 indentured Melanesians on average were in Queensland at any one time, whether as first indentured, reengaged, or as time-expired workers.

For the most part they were regarded as unwelcomed guests – a necessary but ultimately dispensable evil – and the new century had barely commenced before they fell tainted of the White Australia Policy.

With the enactment of the Pacific Islanders Labourers Act of 1901 by the newly created Commonwealth of Australia, recruiting was to cease in 1904 and the majority of Kanakas were compulsorily deported between 1906 and 1908.

Since then the descendants of those who legally, or illegally, remained have lived on the fringes of White Australia as a discriminated minority, a forgotten people.

But the evil winds of discrimination has changed at the turn of the 21st century as Australian leaders begun to realise how terrible it was to treat another human being as a slave.

The Melanesian community was recognised by the Federal Government as a unique minority group in 1994 following a report on the community undertaken by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

On 7th September 2000, Queensland State Premier Peter Beattie pushed further and presented in the Queensland Legislative Assembly a formal Recognition Statement of the Australian South Sea Islander community.

The Recognition Statement recognises Australian South Sea Islanders as a distinct cultural group acknowledging past injustices as well as significant contributions to the social, cultural and economic development of Queensland .

In that document, the Queensland Government acknowledged that the South Sea Islanders were brought to Australia as a source of cheap labour for Queensland ’s primary industries.

It acknowledged that “many people were tricked into coming; others were kidnapped or “blackbirded”.

Men, women and children were forced to work long hours at exhausting manual work for low or no wages while living in very poor conditions. Many were treated like “slaves”.

Poor working and living conditions contributed to the death of many islanders in those years.

The policy further acknowledged that “in the early 1880s, the death rate among South Sea Islanders was five times higher than the comparable European population”.

The Queensland Government then, immediately instructed its departments and other agencies to act on this commitment through their policies, programmes and services.

Leo and Matt Nagas, Melanesians of Vanuatu ancestry agreed that the Recognition by the Federal and State Governments is a huge break through for their status as Australian citizens of Melanesian origin.

“The recognition has slowly but surely shifted the injustices that we’ve been through over the last 100 years and we trust that our children and grand children will equally excel from here,” the gentlemen said.

Today, individual Australian South Sea Islanders have excelled in politics, government, religion, sports, art, business, health and education.

They have also served the nation as members of the defence force in times of peace and war.

The recognition continues to trickle down in the hearts of many Australians as hundreds of Melanesians gathered in Bundaberg last week to participate in a weeklong International Prayer and Cultural Festival.

Calling themselves “Spiritual Slaves”, around 200 young men and women from SSEC in Solomon Islands re-enacted the Christianisation of Melanesians and the arrival of the gospel in Solomon Islands .

Among many who witnessed the drama is Federal MP Paul Neville who acknowledged the unique spirituality of Melanesians which started in the cane fields of Queensland .

Australian South Sea Islanders’ unique spirituality, identity and cultural heritage enrich Queensland ’s culturally diverse society.

For more than a century their culture, history and contribution to Queensland have been ignored and denied.

Sharing similar sentiments, Rockhamton City Mayor, Brad Carter said his Regional Council is committed to ensure that present and future generations of South Sea Islanders have equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to the economic, social, political and cultural life of the State.

“I will ensure that Queensland becomes one of the most accommodating places in the world for people of different backgrounds and cultures including South Sea Islanders,”

Showing its obligation to recognise South Sea Islanders, the Queensland Government in 2001 has made a commitment to address areas of need identified by the community.

The Australian South Sea Islander Community Foundation is a partnership between the Queensland government and the corporate sector to create a permanent legacy to provide university scholarships for South Sea Islanders tertiary students.

Scholarships are awarded annually to the value of $5000 per year for full-time and $2500 for part-time students.

There are no more Melanesians in cane fields as many have moved up the socio-economic strata engaging in reasonably paid jobs and equal opportunities just like any other Australian citizen.

“Gone are the days when we were treated like plants and animals. I just want to thank God for that change,” said Mr Nagas.

Today, many Islanders through their own initiative created a substantial relinking with their families in Vanuatu , Solomon Islands , and Papua New Guinea .

Mr Leo has travelled to Vanuatu on four occasions with his wife and this has been made possible by improvements in having access to disposable incomes that can be spent on overseas holidays.

He said the process of relinking two sides of families separated for 60 years is both exciting and puzzling.

As a third generation Aussie Melanesian, Mr Leo and his grown up children own properties in Rockhamton and today he is still tracing his Solomon Islands roots.

He hopes that one day he will set foot on the land of his ancestors to give back the sweat and blood spilled on the cane fields of Queensland .

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