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7/31/2014

Thai Shrimp

Filed under: consumer,fish,human rights,markets,thailand — admin @ 6:43 am

The Guardian recently revealed shocking results from a six-month investigation of the Thai fishing industry: Much of the shrimp sold in American and British supermarkets were produced with slave labor.

While shrimp sold to U.S. consumers hail from a number of different countries, including our own, Thailand is the world’s biggest shrimp supplier. Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, the corporation at the heart of this story, is Thailand’s largest shrimp farmer.

You may think slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. But it’s still around.

Disturbingly, there are even cases of modern-day slavery found here in the United States — including farmworkers in Florida chained and locked inside of U-Haul style trucks, forced to work in the fields for as little as $20 per week. But here in the United States, when we catch cases like that, we send the perpetrators to jail.

Strangely enough, slavery only became illegal everywhere when Mauritania became the last country to outlaw it in 1981. Worse yet, Mauritania didn’t criminalize slavery until 2007.

In Thailand, slavery is illegal, plain and simple. It just happens anyway — a lot. The majority of the estimated half a million victims are migrants from poorer nations like Burma. They pay brokers to help them find jobs in Thailand, and instead the brokers sell them to fishing boats as slaves.

Once on the boats, the slaves are held without pay, forced to work up to 20 hours per day. Those who have escaped describe regular beatings, torture, and even witnessing the murder of other slaves.

But these boats don’t catch shrimp. They catch other fish and sea creatures — fish that aren’t economically valuable as human food. Then they sell their catch to factories that grind them into fishmeal.

From there, the fishmeal goes to CP Foods, which feeds it to farmed shrimp. It takes about 1.4 pounds of fishmeal to produce one pound of shrimp.

The shrimp, by the way, are often farmed in unspeakably disgusting and environmentally harmful conditions. As if slavery alone isn’t enough of a reason to avoid imported farmed shrimp. From CP Foods, the shrimp makes its way to major American retailers, like Walmart and Costco.

Shrimp is America’s No. 1 seafood. In fact, we eat far more shrimp than our other two favorites, tuna and salmon. Perhaps one reason we eat so much shrimp is because it’s not just tasty, it’s cheap.

Now you know why it’s so cheap.

For consumers, cleaning up our shrimp act doesn’t have to mean giving up shrimp entirely — but it does mean doing a bit of homework before dipping that next shrimp into the cocktail sauce. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program provides several recommendations for sustainable and ethical shrimp choices.

On a larger level, retailers and even the government can take action. Walmart, Costco, and their competitors buy shrimp from CP Foods because it is cheap. But they don’t have to.

Surely their customers would understand if they took a stand and said, “Sorry, we’re no longer sourcing farmed shrimp from Thailand until that country can end its widespread problem with slavery. We apologize if our prices go up slightly in order to bring you a slavery-free product.”

Costco told The Guardian it would require its suppliers “to take corrective action to police their feedstock sources.” But when will that occur, and how thorough will it be?

Costco’s best move would be to switch from Thai farmed shrimp suppliers until they change their ways. Better yet, the company could stop selling any shrimp produced via the disgusting seafood farming practices often used abroad.

Italy migrants: Nineteen ‘suffocate’ aboard boat from Africa

Survivor of shipwreck in Lampedusa, Italy Thousands of migrants have risked their lives to reach Italy this year

Nineteen migrants have died, reportedly by suffocating, aboard a crowded boat travelling from North Africa to Italy.

The migrants are thought to have choked on fumes from an old engine while they were confined below deck, Italian news agency Ansa reports.

Rescuers found 18 people in a tangle of bodies. Another person is said to have died during the evacuation. The boat was carrying some 600 people.

Italy is struggling to cope with a rising flow of migrants to its shores.

Many of them make the dangerous crossing from Africa on crowded and unseaworthy vessels, says the BBC’s Rome correspondent, Alan Johnston.

The boat in the latest incident was heading for the Italian island of Lampedusa. It was intercepted after it sent out an SOS signal.

Two passengers from the boat have been taken for treatment to a hospital in Sicily.

In the past month, at least 45 migrants have died in similar circumstances – as a result of being crushed or asphyxiated aboard overcrowded boats.

On Friday, Ansa reported that migrants rescued by a merchant ship this week had spoken of a shipwreck in which 60 people had drowned. Migration to Italy and Malta There has recently been a huge rise in the number of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.

EU border agency Frontex says almost 60,000 migrants have already landed in southern Italy this year.

Most are from Africa or the Middle East and pay large sums to smugglers in Libya and Tunisia, who transport them in unsafe fishing vessels.

Officials say Libya’s continuing political instability is partly to blame for the rise.

Italy – which bears the brunt of migrants making the crossing – launched a rescue operation in the Mediterranean last year, and has repeatedly appealed for the EU’s help to tackle the problem.

6/27/2014

JEJU ISLAND – A PIVOT ON THE PEACE ISLAND

Filed under: human rights,korea,military,usa — admin @ 3:49 pm

Since 2007, activists have risked arrests, imprisonment, heavy fines and massive police force to resist the desecration caused as mega-corporations like Samsung and Daelim to build a base to accommodate U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for their missions throughout Asia. The base fits the regional needs of the U.S. for a maritime military outpost that would enable it to continue developing its Asia Pivot strategy.

Jeju Island, South Korea – For the past two weeks, I’ve been in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as a guest of peace activists living in Gangjeong Village on ROK’s Jeju Island. Gangjeong is one of the ROK’s smallest villages, yet activists here, in their struggle against the construction of a massive naval base, have inspired people around the world.

Since 2007, activists have risked arrests, imprisonment, heavy fines and wildly excessive use of police force to resist the desecration caused as mega-corporations like Samsung and Daelim to build a base to accommodate U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for their missions throughout Asia. The base fits the regional needs of the U.S. for a maritime military outpost that would enable it to continue developing its Asia Pivot strategy, gradually building towards and in the process provoking superpower conflict with China. “We don’t need this base,” says Bishop Kang, a Catholic prelate who vigorously supports the opposition. He worries that if the base is completed, Jeju Island will become a focal point for Far Eastern military struggle, and that this would occur amid accelerating military tensions. “The strongest group in the whole world, the military, takes advantage of National Security ideology,” he continues. “Many people make money. Many governments are controlled by this militarism. The military generals, in their minds, may think they are doing this to protect their country, but in fact they’re controlled by the corporations.”

Jeju Islanders cannot ignore or forget that at least 30,000 of their grandparents and great grandparents were slaughtered by a U.S.-supported Korean government intent on crushing a tenacious democracy movement. The height of the assault in 1948 is referred to as the April 3 massacre, although the persecution and murderous suppression lasted many years. The national government now asking sacrifices of them has rarely been their friend.

But for the construction, Gangjeong seems a truly idyllic place to live. Lanes curving through the village are bordered by gardens and attractive small homes. Villagers prize hard work and honesty, in a town with apparently no need to lock up anything, where well-cultivated orange trees fill the eye with beauty and the air with inexpressible fragrance. Peaks rise in the distance, it’s a quick walk to the shore, and residents seem eager to guide their guests to nearby spots designated as especially sacred in the local religion as indicated by the quiet beauty to be found there.

One of these sacred sites, Gureombi Rock, is a single, massive 1.2 km lava rock which was home to a fresh water coastal wetland, pure fresh water springs and hundreds of plants and animal species. Now, it can only be accessed through the memories of villagers because the Gureombi Rock is the exact site chosen for construction of the naval base. My new friend, Tilcote, explained to me, through tears, that Gureombi has captured her heart and that now her heart aches for Gureombi.

Last night we gathered to watch and discuss a film by our activist film-maker and friend Cho Sung-Bong. Activists recalled living in a tent camp on Gureombi, successful for a time in blocking the construction companies. “Gureombi was our bed, our dinner table, our stage, and our prayer site,” said Jonghwan, who now works every day as a chef at the community kitchen. “Every morning we would wake and hear the waves and the birds.”

The film, set for release later this year, is called “Gureombi, the Wind is Blowing.”¬† Cho, who had arrived in Gangjeong for a 2011 visit at the height of vigorous blockades aimed at halting construction, decided to stay and film what he saw. We see villagers use their bodies to defend Gureombi. They lie down beneath construction vehicles, challenge barges with kayaks, organize human chains, occupy cranes, and, bearing no arms, surround heavily armed riot police. The police use extreme force, the protesters regroup and repeat. Since 2007, over 700 arrests have been made with more than 26 people imprisoned, and hundreds of thousands in fines imposed on ordinary villagers. Gangjeong village now has the highest “crime” rate in South Korea!

Opposing the real crime of the base against such odds, the people here have managed to create all the “props” for a thriving community. The community kitchen serves food free of charge, 24 hours a day. The local peace center is also open most of the day and evening, as well as the Peaceful Caf?©. Books abound, for lending, many of them donated by Korean authors who admire the villagers’ determination to resist the base construction. Food, and much wisdom, are available but so much more is needed.

After seven years of struggle many of the villagers simply can’t afford to incur additional fines, neglecting farms, and languishing, as too many have done, in prison. A creative holding pattern of resistance has developed which relies on community members from abroad and throughout the ROK to block the gate every morning in the context of a lengthy Catholic liturgy.

Priests and nuns, whose right to pray and celebrate the liturgy is protected by the Korean constitution, form a line in front of the gate. They sit in plastic chairs, for morning mass followed by recitation of the rosary. Police dutifully remove the priests, nuns and other activists about ten times over the course of the liturgy, allowing trucks to go through. The action slows down the construction process and sends a symbolic, daily message of resistance.

Returning to the U.S., I’ll carry memories not only of tenacious, creative, selfless struggle but also of the earnest questions posed by young Jeju Island students who themselves now face prospects of compulsory military service. Should they experiment with conscientious objection and face the harsh punishments imposed on those who oppose militarization by refusing military service?

Their questions help me pivot towards a clearer focus on how peace activists, worldwide, can oppose the U.S. pivot toward increasing militarization in Asia, increasing conflict with its global rivals, and a spread of weapons that it is everyone’s task to hinder as best they can.

Certainly one step is to consider the strength of Gangjeong Village, and to draw seriousness of purpose from their brave commitment and from the knowledge of what is at stake for them and for their region. It’s crucial to learn about their determination to be an island of peace. As we find ways to demand constructive cooperation between societies rather than relentless bullying and competition, their struggle should become ours.

Controversy Over Australian Detention Centers

Filed under: australia,government,human rights,intra-national,png — admin @ 3:47 pm

Thousands of people attempt to reach Australia by boat each year to seek asylum, mostly from Indonesia and other pacific islands. It has been the practice of the Australian government to intercept these asylum seekers at sea and transport them to one of a number of asylum detention centers until the government decides what to do with them. One of these detention centers in located on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and another on the small atoll of Naru.

Asylum seekers being rescued by Australian Navy Personnel

In February unrest broke out over night at the Manus Island detention center where one asylum seeker was killed and a great deal more were injured, 2 had to be flown to Australia to receive treatment, one with a gun shot wound and another with a fractured skull. Similar unrest has also occurred at the Naru detention center where the asylum seekers burned down their shelters at the facility last year.

Amnesty International reports that the asylum seeker who died in the February Manus riots was Iranian and that during the riots he was beaten and hit in the head until he died. Amnesty International‚^¿^Ÿs investigation of the incident, reports that the local police and the security staff used brutal and excessive force on the night of the riot. The investigation blames both the Australian government and the government of Papua New Guinea. Amnesty International reports that the asylum seeker who died in the February Manus riots was Iranian and that during the riots he was beaten and hit in the head until he died. Amnesty International‚^¿^Ÿs investigation of the incident, reports that the local police and the security staff used brutal and excessive force on the night of the riot. The investigation blames both the Australian government and the government of Papua New Guinea.

Despite the unrest Australia plans to continue its practice of offsite detention centers. The government maintains that it is still the best way to handle the issue of immigration, which is a serious political issue across the country. The government has cited the safety of the asylum seekers as one of the main reasons for the policy. The government claims that is it is important to deter these immigrants from attempting the perilous journey to Australia in open top boats. These boat are usually crammed to capacity or over capacity with immigrants and the journey is extremely perilous.

Even though the Australian Government presents valid points for their policies, human rights organizations have recorded a number of human rights violations at these detention centers. There have been numerous allegations of hunger strikes, suicide attempts, self-harm and unsanitary living conditions. Amnesty international has received reports that the detention centers do not provide adequate medical care. Amnesty international visited the Manus detention center this past November and reported asylum seekers were enduring unacceptably harsh conditions and humiliating treatment.

Water

Water is to the twenty-first century what oil was to the twentieth century: the commodity that determines the wealth and stability of nations.

People who think that the West’s interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria are only about oil are mistaken. Broadly speaking, Western interest in the Middle East is becoming increasingly about a commodity more precious than oil, namely water.

According to the U.S.-based Center for Public Integrity, Western nations stand to make up to a US$1 trillion from privatizing, purifying and distributing water in a region where water often sells for far more than oil. Although over two thirds of our planet is water, we face an acute shortage. This scarcity flies in the face of our natural assumptions. The problem is that 97 percent is salt water. Great for fish, not so good for humans. Of the world’s fresh water, only one percent is available for drinking, with the remaining two percent trapped in glaciers and ice.

Put differently: if all the water on earth was represented by an 11-litre jug, the freshwater would fill a single cup, and we can only access the last drop.

Nature has decreed that the supply of water is fixed; all the while, demand is rising as the world’s population increases and enriches itself. By 2030, climate change, population growth, pollution and urbanization will compound, such that the demand for water globally is estimated to outstrip supply by forty percent.

Increasingly, for water to be useful, it needs to be mined, processed, packaged, and transported, just like gold, coal, gas or oil. Unlike oil, there are no substitutes, alternatives or stopgaps for water.

World Cup

In Sao Paulo’s poor north zone, in the neighborhood of Tucuruvi, teams of city workers knock on doors, warning people to take pets and small children out of the area.

Quickly after, men in hazmat suits with metal cylinders strapped to their backs start spraying the street, and some of the interiors of the homes, with powerful pesticides. This is the front line of the war on dengue fever in Brazil’s largest city.

“This year, dengue transmission has been much more significant in Sao Paulo than in other years,” says Nancy Marcal Bastos de Souza, a biologist who works with the city authorities. “We spray neighborhoods where we have a confirmed case of someone contracting dengue so we know there are dengue-carrying mosquitoes there,” she says.

Only two weeks shy of the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, which begins June 12, there’s concern that international visitors could get infected and then bring the disease back to their home nations.

Already, it seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong. There have been protests and strikes, and now government officials, like those in Paraguay, are warning their citizens about the dengue epidemic sweeping Brazil.

Dengue fever has long been a problem in Brazil. The country has more recorded cases than any other in the world‚ some 1 million on average each year.

The infection is carried by female mosquitoes, who bite during the day and who pass on the dengue virus to their female offspring. Symptoms include fever, aching joints and headaches. There is no treatment or vaccine, and a rarer form of the disease ‚ dengue hemorrhagic fever ‚ can be fatal. The disease is caused by four different types of the dengue virus, all of which are active in Brazil. But the one that has everyone most worried is called Type 4, which has only recently arrived in the region. So why does Brazil have such a big problem with dengue?

Biologists say one of the reasons is poor water infrastructure.

“People have to put water in a space close to their homes, and there, the mosquitoes come and breed,” says Celso Granato, head of infectious diseases at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

Mosquito eggs can survive up to a year as well, so he says the key to combating dengue is persistence. That means using a combination of controls, such as spraying even when there aren’t that many cases, as the infection comes in waves.

But the local governments in Brazil don’t do that, says Granato. “What does the public administrator here think?” he asks. “This year we didn’t have dengue so don’t worry about next year.” Politicians, he adds, are usually short-sighted.

A new project in the Brazilian state of Bahia with genetically modified mosquitoes has shown early promise but is still in the test phase.

So there’s been little to stop the sudden spike in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city with a population of 20 million. With more than 6,000 cases so far in the city alone ‚ and almost 60,000 in the surrounding state ‚ hospitals are overrun.

Granato says once dengue arrives somewhere, it’s there to stay.

Antonio Rios Sobrinho, a lawyer in his 70s, says he began to feel sick on a Friday. He went home early from work and quickly got worse. He was rushed to the hospital where, after a lengthy period, he was diagnosed with dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Sobrinho says he’s been living in his neighborhood for 60 years and there had never been a single case of dengue. In fact, dengue was generally rare in Sao Paulo. But this year, just on his street, 15 people came down with the infection.

He says he was lucky to survive. This year was bad, but he fears next year will be worse.

Recording the Thugs with Badges

Filed under: human rights,police,usa — admin @ 3:23 pm

The law in 38 states plainly allows citizens to record police, as long as you don’t physically interfere with their work. Police might still unfairly harass you, detain you, or confiscate your camera. They might even arrest you for some catchall misdemeanor such as obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct. But you will not be charged for illegally recording police.

Twelve states-California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington-require the consent of all parties for you to record a conversation.

However, all but 2 of these states-Massachusetts and Illinois-have an “expectation of privacy provision” to their all-party laws that courts have ruled does not apply to on-duty police (or anyone in public). In other words, it’s technically legal in those 48 states to openly record on-duty police. Rule #2 Don’t Secretly Record Police

In most states it’s almost always illegal to record a conversation in which you’re not a party and don’t have consent to record. Massachusetts is the only state to uphold a conviction for recording on-duty police, but that conviction was for a secret recording where the defendant failed to inform police he was recording. (As in the Glik case, Massachusetts courts have ruled that openly recording police is legal, but secretly recording them isn’t.) Fortunately, judges and juries are soundly rejecting these laws. Illinois, the state with the most notorious anti-recording laws in the land, expressly forbids you from recording on-duty police. Early last month an Illinois judge declared that law unconstitutional, ruling in favor of Chris Drew, a Chicago artist charged with felony eavesdropping for secretly recording his own arrest. Last August a jury acquitted Tiawanda Moore of secretly recording two Chicago Police Internal Affairs investigators who encouraged her to drop a sexual harassment complaint against another officer. (A juror described the case to a reporter as “a waste of time.”) In September, an Illinois state judge dropped felony charges against Michael Allison. After running afoul of local zoning ordinances, he faced up to 75 years in prison for secretly recording police and attempting to tape his own trial.

The lesson for you is this: If you want to limit your legal exposure and present a strong legal case, record police openly if possible. But if you videotape on-duty police from a distance, such an announcement might not be possible or appropriate unless police approach you.

Rule #3: Respond to “Shit Cops Say”

When it comes to police encounters, you don’t get to choose whom you’re dealing with. You might get Officer Friendly, or you might get Officer Psycho. You’ll likely get officers between these extremes. But when you “watch the watchmen,” you must be ready to think on your feet. [18r55y6wue615jpg.jpg]

Berserk Cop Arrests Photographer for Standing on SidewalkBerserk Cop Arrests Photographer for Standing on SidewalkBerserk Cop Arrests Photographer for Standing o…

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In most circumstances, officers will not immediately bull rush you for filming them. But if they aren’t properly trained, they might feel like their authority is being challenged. And all too often police are simply ignorant of the law. Part of your task will be to convince them that you’re not a threat while also standing your ground.

“What are you doing?” Police aren’t celebrities, so they’re not always used to being photographed in public. So even if you’re recording at a safe distance, they might approach and ask what you are doing. Avoid saying things like “I’m recording you to make sure you’re doing your job right” or “I don’t trust you.”

Instead, say something like “Officer, I’m not interfering. I’m asserting my First Amendment rights. You’re being documented and recorded offsite.”

Saying this while remaining calm and cool will likely put police on their best behavior. They might follow up by asking, “Who do you work for?” You may, for example, tell them you’re an independent filmmaker or a citizen journalist with a popular website/blog/YouTube show. Whatever you say, don’t lie-but don’t let police trick you into thinking that the First Amendment only applies to mainstream media journalists. It doesn’t. “Let me see your ID.” In the United States there’s no law requiring you to carry a government ID. But in 24 states police may require you to identify yourself if they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity.

But how can you tell if an officer asking for ID has reasonable suspicion? Police need reasonable suspicion to detain you, so one way to tell if they have reasonable suspicion is to determine if you’re free to go. You can do this by saying “Officer, are you detaining me, or am I free to go?”

If the officer says you’re free to go or you’re not being detained, it’s your choice whether to stay or go. But if you’re detained, you might say something like, “I’m not required to show you ID, but my name is [your full name].” It’s up to you if you want to provide your address and date of birth if asked for it, but I’d stop short of giving them your Social Security number.

“Please stop recording me. It’s against the law.” Rarely is it advisable to educate officers about the law. But in a tense recording situation where the law is clearly on your side, it might help your case to politely present your knowledge of state law.

For example, if an insecure cop tries to tell you that you’re violating his civil liberties, you might respond by saying “Officer, with all due respect, state law only requires permission from one party in a conversation. I don’t need your permission to record so long as I’m not interfering with your work.”

If you live in one of the 12 all party record states, you might say something like “Officer, I’m familiar with the law, but the courts have ruled that it doesn’t apply to recording on-duty police.”

If protective service officers harass you while filming on federal property, you may remind them of a recently issued directive informing them that there’s no prohibition against public photography at federal buildings.

“Stand back.” If you’re approaching the scene of an investigation or an accident, police will likely order you to move back. Depending on the circumstances, you might become involved in an intense negotiation to determine the “appropriate” distance you need to stand back to avoid “interfering” with their work.

If you feel you’re already standing at a reasonable distance, you may say something like, “Officer, I have a right to be here. I’m filming for documentation purposes and not interfering with your work.” It’s then up to you to decide how far back you’re willing to stand to avoid arrest.

Rule #4: Don’t Share Your Video with Police

If you capture video of police misconduct or brutality, but otherwise avoid being identified yourself, you can anonymously upload it to YouTube. This seems to be the safest legal option. For example, a Massachusetts woman who videotaped a cop beating a motorist with a flashlight posted the video to the Internet. Afterwards, one of the cops caught at the scene filed criminal wiretapping charges against her. (As usual, the charges against her were later dropped.)

On the other hand, an anonymous videographer uploaded footage of an NYPD officer body-slamming a man on a bicycle to YouTube. Although the videographer was never revealed, the video went viral. Consequently, the manufactured assault charges against the bicyclist were dropped, the officer was fired, and the bicyclist eventually sued the city and won a $65,000 settlement.

Rule #5: Prepare to be Arrested

Keene, New Hampshire resident Dave Ridley is the avatar of the new breed of journalist/activist/filmmaker testing the limits of the First Amendment right to record police. Over the past few years he’s uploaded the most impressive collection of first-person police encounter videos I’ve ever seen.

Ridley’s calm demeanor and knowledge of the law paid off last August after he was arrested for trespassing at an event featuring Vice President Joe Biden. The arresting officers at his trial claimed he refused to leave when ordered to do so. But the judge acquitted him when his confiscated video proved otherwise.

With respect to the law Ridley declares, “If you’re rolling the camera, be very open and upfront about it. And look at it as a potential act of civil disobedience for which you could go to jail.” It’s indeed disturbing that citizens who are not breaking the law should prepare to be arrested, but in the current legal fog this is sage advice.

“Shut it off, or I’ll arrest you.” At this point you are risking arrest in order to test the boundaries of free speech. So if police say they’ll arrest you, believe them. You may comply by saying something like “Okay, Officer. But I’m turning the camera off under protest.”

If you keep recording, brace yourself for arrest. Try your best not to drop your camera, but do not physically resist. As with any arrest, you have the right to remain silent until you speak with a lawyer. Use it.

Remember that the camera might still be recording. So keep calm and act like you’re being judged by a jury of millions of your YouTube peers, because one day you might be.

Rule #6: Master Your Technology

Smartphone owners now outnumber users of more basic phones. At any moment there are more than 100 million Americans in reach of a device that can capture police misconduct and share it with the world in seconds.

If you’re one of them, you should consider installing a streaming video recording and sharing app such as Qik or Bambuser. Both apps are free and easy to use.

Always Passcode Protect Your Smartphone The magic of both apps is that they can instantly store your video offsite. This is essential for preserving video in case police illegally destroy or confiscate your camera. But even with these apps installed, you’ll want to make sure that your device is always passcode protected. If a cop snatches your camera, this will make it extremely difficult for her to simply delete your videos. (If a cop tries to trick you into revealing your passcode, never, never, never give it up!) [18ixo8ne8ammsjpg.jpg]

How to Secure Your SmartphoneHow to Secure Your SmartphoneHow to Secure Your Smartphone

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Keep in mind that Qik and Bambuser’s offsite upload feature might be slow or nonexistent in places without Wi-Fi or a strong 3G/4G signal. Regardless, your captured video will be saved locally on your device until you’ve got a good enough signal to upload offsite.

Set Videos to “Private” Both apps allow you to set your account to automatically upload videos as “private” (only you can see them) or “public” (everyone can see them). But until police are no longer free to raid the homes of citizens who capture and upload YouTube videos of them going berserk, it’s probably wise to keep your default setting to “private.”

With a little bit of practice you should be able to pull your smartphone from your pocket or purse, turn it on, enter your passcode, open the app, and hit record within 10 seconds. Keep your preferred app easily accessible on your home screen to save precious seconds. But don’t try to shave milliseconds off your time by disabling your passcode.

Both apps share an important feature that allows your video to be saved if your phone is turned off-even if you’re still recording. So if you anticipate that a cop is about to grab your phone, quickly turn it off. Without your passcode, police won’t be able to delete your videos or personal information even if they confiscate or destroy your phone.

With the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Android devices I tested, when the phone is turned off the Qik app immediately stops recording and uploads the video offsite. But if the phone is turned off while Bambuser records, the recording continues after the screen goes black.

This Bambuser “black out” feature is a double-edged sword. While it could easily trick cops into thinking you’re not recording them, using it could push you into more dangerous legal territory. As previously mentioned, courts have shown a willingness to convict citizens for secretly recording police. So if you’re somehow caught using this feature it might be easier for a prosecutor to convince a judge or jury that you’ve broken the law. It’s up to you to decide if the increased legal risk is worth the potential to capture incriminating police footage. Other Recording Options Cameras lacking offsite recording capability are a less desirable option. As mentioned earlier, if cops delete or destroy your footage-which happens way too often-you might lose your only hope of challenging their version of events in court. But if you can hold on to your camera, there are some good options.

Carlos Miller is a Miami-based photojournalism activist and writer of the popular Photography is Not a Crime blog. While he carries a professional-end Canon XA10 in the field, he says “I never leave home without a Flip camera on a belt pouch. It’s a very decent camera that’s easier to carry around.”

The top-of-the-line Flip UltraHD starts at $178, but earlier models are available for $60 on Amazon. All flip models have one-button recording, which allows you to pull it out of your pocket and shoot within seconds. The built-in USB then lets you upload video to YouTube or other sharing sites through your PC.

Small businessman and “radical technology” educator Justin Holmes recommends the Canon S-series line of cameras. In 2008, his camera captured a police encounter he had while rollerblading in Port Dickenson, New York. His footage provides an outstanding real-life example of how a calm camera-toting citizen can intelligently flex their rights.

“I typically carry a Canon S5-IS,” Holmes says. “But if I was going to buy one new, I’d go for the SX40-HS. If I were on a budget and buying one used, I’d go for S2-IS or S3-IS.” The features he regards as essential include one-touch video, high-quality stereo condenser microphones, fast zoom during video, and 180×270 variable angle LCD. But the last feature he regards as “absolutely essential.” With it the user can glance at the viewfinder while the camera is below or above eye level.

Rule #7: Don’t Point Your Camera Like a Gun

“When filming police you always want to avoid an aggressive posture,” insists Holmes. To do this he keeps his strap-supported camera close to his body at waist level. This way he can hold a conversation while maintaining eye contact with police, quickly glancing at the viewfinder to make sure he’s getting a good shot.

Obviously, those recording with a smartphone lack this angled viewfinder. But you can get a satisfactory shot while holding your device at waist level, tilting it upward a few degrees. This posture might feel awkward at first, but it’s noticeably less confrontational than holding the camera between you and the officer’s face.

Also try to be in control of your camera before an officer approaches. You want to avoid suddenly grasping for it. If a cop thinks you’re reaching for a gun, you could get shot.

Becoming a Hero If you’ve recently been arrested or charged with a crime after recording police, contact a lawyer with your state’s ACLU chapter for advice as soon as possible. (Do not publicly upload your video before then.) You may also contact Flex Your Rights via Facebook or Twitter. We’re not a law firm, but we’ll do our best to help you.

If your case is strong, the ACLU might offer to take you on as a litigant. If you accept, your brave stand could forever change the way police treat citizens asserting their First Amendment right to record police. This path is not for fools, and it might disrupt your life. But next time you see police in action, don’t forget that a powerful tool for truth and justice might literally be in your hands.

Vodafone ‘spying’ admission fuels election surveillance concerns

Filed under: consumer,fiji,human rights,ideology,institutions,media — admin @ 3:21 pm

Confirmation today there is cause for concern over phone and internet tapping by the regime leading up to the election.

Vodafone has admitted it has ‘secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks’, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates ‘in Europe and beyond.’

Fiji is listed as one of those countries in a report by The Guardian newspaper, where Vodafone admits it allowed ‘state surveillance’ 760 times in Fiji in 2013.

Vodafone Fiji has denied as recently as April it even has the technology to allow phone and internet tapping.

Section 63 of the electoral decree prohibits people from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polling opens and there is wide concern the regime will tap phones and monitor internet to prevent breaches.

Vodafone has previously denied it has the facilities to monitor calls and text messages, insisting it can only access phone records via police or court warrant.

It has also said there is no legislation in place which would allow for telecom operators to intercept text messages, phone calls or internet messages.

The Guardian newspaper report, however, says Vodafone has revealed ‘wires had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer.’

Concerns about phone and internet monitoring in FIji is not new. The subject has come up before on this blog, including revelations from former 3FIR commander, Roko Ului Mara, who says the regime started tapping phones in 2007.

Mara said both Connect and Vodafone do it, but Vodafone was the worst. Others have attested also that the regime uses experts from both India and China to spy on Fiji citizens, especially its critics. —–

How Mexico’s Cartels Are Behind the Border Kid Crisis

Filed under: human rights,intra-national,mexico,usa — admin @ 2:38 pm

Mexico’s drug gangs have taken over the human-trafficking business along the border, and agents suspect they may have a hand in the unprecedented number of underage migrants stagnating in Arizona’s detention centers.

NOGALES, Mexico — Father Ricardo Machuca strides back and forth between six long, metal picnic tables packed with men and women as volunteers pass out plates piled high with corn, beans, rice and pork rinds. Clutching a microphone and wearing jeans, a white tunic, sandals and a messenger bag, Machuca looks more like a bohemian motivational speaker than a Jesuit priest.

Don’t accept offers from strangers who want to help you cross, he warns his audience in Spanish as they quietly dig into their meals. Crossing with coyotes is human trafficking and it’s “un delito federal,” he says. A federal offense. In recent years, warnings about who to avoid on the streets of Nogales have become a key part of Machuca’s advice to those who pass through the binational Kino Border Initiative’s migrant outreach center. Better known as the Comedor, meaning “soup kitchen” in Spanish, the center has been offering hot meals, first aid, clean clothing, and spiritual guidance to migrants since 2009. Someone offering to help wire money could rob you, Machuca tells the migrants. Or a stranger willing to let you use their cellphone to call your family might save their number and use it to extort them later.

“The vulnerability is very high here on the border,” Father Sean Carroll, Machuca’s American counterpart, tells me as an assembly line of volunteers rushes hot plates from the kitchen to the tables. “They want to contract the migrants to try to cross again.”

Carroll is referring to Mexican drugs cartels, along with the smugglers hired by the cartels to recruit desperate migrants looking for a way back into the United States. Over the past decade, after long existing side by side with coyotes, the cartels decided to get in on the action. Now, they’ve turning what was once a relatively informal and somewhat familial underground operation into a highly sophisticated human trafficking network.

While the journey north was always treacherous and costly, in the hands of the cartels it has become deadlier than ever. The entire border, and the routes leading up to it, are controlled by some combination of the Los Zetas, Sinaloa and Knights of Templar cartels, along with a few smaller groups–making it impossible to cross without their permission. And their permission will cost you. Where migrants may have once paid a single person from their hometown $300 to $500 to guide them across, the initial going rate to cross the cartel-occupied border can range between $3,000 and $6,000 per person, the price varying depending on the age, gender, and origin of the migrant. Most people can’t afford that much up front, so family members in the States will often wire money to the smugglers, or pay in installments along the way.

Under the cartel-run migration model, migrants typically make arrangements to cross from their hometowns and are told to find their own way to a certain point where they will meet the coyote. The city of Altar, for example, about 112 miles from Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, is a popular launching point for border crossers, and as such, it has become a center of immigration commerce. Here, smugglers often tell migrants to wait for days before they cross, during which time they are nickel-and-dimed into buying stealth desert-crossing gear–camouflage backpacks, black water bottles, and carpet booties–from vendors who set up shop around town.

For those coming from Central America, just getting to a meeting place like Altar often means riding buses or atop freight trains from southern Mexico where they may be subjected to robbery, beatings, and getting thrown off the train by cartel lackeys. Those who make it will continue to encounter crippling fees at practically every leg of their journey to the border. Refusal or inability to pay may result in migrants being forced to carry backpacks filled with marijuana, getting kidnapped in order to extort money from their families, or being murdered on the spot. Last year, Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was captured by Mexican Marines and charged with ordering the kidnapping and murder of 265 migrants. For female migrants, there is always a good chance they could be raped along the way, either by their guide or one of the stray predators who stalk the desert.

It’s almost impossible to separate the cartels’ migration takeover from the security crackdown on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the 13 years since U.S. Border Patrol became a part of the post-9/11 Department of Homeland Security and adopted the mission of keeping terrorists out of the country, the Southwest border has been transformed into a militarized zone, with nearly 700 miles of varying degrees of steel fencing, 21,000 Border Patrol agents, security cameras and ground sensors, with more high-tech surveillance on the way. Some combination of this beefed-up security, a George W. Bush-era policy of jailing and formally deporting all illegal border crossers, plus the U.S.’ weakened housing and job markets, brought the net flow of migration from Mexico to a standstill in 2011. While traffic over the border has slowed, those still crossing have been funnelled into the roughest corners of the desert, where human predators are only part of the danger.

To avoid areas where Border Patrol agents are most highly concentrated, migrants must take longer routes through Mexico, often walking for days through the blistering heat and unpaved and often mountainous desert terrain, dodging rattlesnakes, yellow jackets and cacti, before they even reach the international line. It’s physically impossible to carry the amount of water needed for more than a few days in the desert.

To coyotes getting paid for each person who successfully makes it over, it’s not worth the risk of stalling the whole group to stop and care for someone who is hurt or sick. More often than not, those who can’t keep up will be left to die in the desert. Even as the number of illegal crossers apprehended at the border has reached all-time lows, more people are dying than ever. According to a report by the human-rights group the Washington Office on Latin America, 463 migrants died in fiscal year 2012. The last time that there were more deaths was in 2005, when 492 migrants died. But the pool of people crossing over was much larger–that year, Border Patrol apprehended three times as many people as in 2012.

Juanita Molina is the executive director of Border Action Network and Humane Borders, two Tucson, Arizona-based humanitarian groups that set up water tanks in the desert based on their maps of where the most deaths occur and advocate for humane treatment of migrants and border communities by Border Patrol. She argues that the criminalization of economic migration has backed an already vulnerable group of people into a corner, with the cartels capitalizing on the situation.

“As a society, we feed the danger by forcing all of these people into the shadows,” Molina told me at her office in Tucson. She speculates that limiting the ability to cross the border to the most dangerous areas was part of the Border Patrol strategy to deter people from crossing.

“Or maybe they didn’t care that people were dying, that there is a certain amount of collateral damage that comes with enforcement,” she says. “It’s hard to know.”

What Molina does know, from mapping desert deaths for the past 12 years, is that people are dying closer to the international line and farther from the roads in town. “The dynamic of pushing people further into these wilderness areas is almost like putting out meat for the wolves,” she says.

Central American migrants are naturally more vulnerable to cartel manipulation and violence on the journey north than native Mexicans. But the cartels may actually be responsible for the recent influx of Central Americans attempting to cross the Southwest border and, specifically, the surge in unaccompanied minors coming from the region.

In 2011, the World Bank declared narcotics trafficking to be one of the greatest threats to development in Central America. After Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown on drug traffickers within his country in 2006, Mexico’s most powerful cartels–Los Zetas, Sinaloa and others–started to spread south, recruiting local gangs to join their operation and terrorizing Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran cities with the same indiscriminate violence that once made Ciudad Juarez the world’s murder capital. Whereas three political parties plus institutions like the Catholic Church and the business community have prevented Mexico from completely crumbling under the cartel chaos, Central America’s historically fragile economy and easily corruptible political, judicial and military systems are much less poised to withstand the weight of the wealthy and heavily-armed drug cartels. Peace accords to end Guatemala’s civil war in 1996, for example, cut the country’s army by two-thirds, leaving a major opening for organized crime. As of 2011, Guatemala’s murder rate was double that of Mexico. And while that rate technically dropped during the past three years, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security noted in its 2013 Crime and Safety Report that the commonly cited statistics provided by Guatemala’s Policia Nacional Civil undersell the homicide situation, as they do not include murders in which the victim didn’t die right at the scene of the crime.

“Guatemala’s worrisome murder rate appears driven by four key factors: an increase in narco-trafficking activity, growing gang-related violence, a heavily armed population (upwards of 60 percent possess a firearm), and a police/judicial system that remains either unable or unwilling (or both) to hold most criminals accountable,” read the report. “Well-armed criminals know there is little chance they will be caught or punished.”

Meanwhile, Honduras and El Salvador have maintained the world’s highest and second-highest homicide rates since the mid-1990s.

By making these countries so dangerous and virtually unlivable for their poorest citizens, the cartels have effectively created an incentive for people to flee, providing themselves with more clientele for their human smuggling business to supplant the hole left by the drop in Mexican migrants.

The cartels are also driving the current border-children crisis in the U.S. Since last October, 52,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended by Border Patrol. House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans have blamed local news coverage in Central American countries of Obama’s pathway to citizenship for the massive influx of kids. But as The Huffington Post discovered by scouring Central American news reports, regional media has accurately covered DACA and the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform and regularly depicts President Obama as tough on immigration.

In reality, it’s more likely a loophole in the George W. Bush-era policy of expeditiously charging, imprisoning, and deporting adult illegal border crossers that is drawing children in droves. According to this policy, while Mexican minors can be sent back over the border immediately, minors from other countries must be held in Customs and Border Protection’s custody for a maximum of 72 hours before they are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. ORR houses the minors in shelters while searching for U.S.-based relatives with whom they can stay during their deportation proceedings. As of March 2014, there were 366,758 pending deportation cases in U.S. immigration courts. That backlog means even just receiving a court date could take years, by which time the minor could make the case that they are better off with their extended family in the States. Or they could just not show up to court and choose to live under the radar like the 11 million other undocumented immigrants in the United States. No doubt the criminals interested in recruiting border crosses have emphasized to families that kids face better odds in the U.S.–and so the children keep on coming.

Some suspect the recent inundation of unaccompanied minors at the border is part of a strategic move by the cartels to distract Border Patrol while they move drugs.

Last week the Obama administration publicized plans to open more facilities to detain children and families, and to reassign immigration officers and judges to population (upwards of 60 percent possess a firearm), and a police/judicial system that remains either unable or unwilling (or both) to hold most criminals accountable,” read the report. “Well-armed criminals know there is little chance they will be caught or punished.”

Meanwhile, Honduras and El Salvador have maintained the world’s highest and second-highest homicide rates since the mid-1990s.

By making these countries so dangerous and virtually unlivable for their poorest citizens, the cartels have effectively created an incentive for people to flee, providing themselves with more clientele for their human smuggling business to supplant the hole left by the drop in Mexican migrants.

The cartels are also driving the current border-children crisis in the U.S. Since last October, 52,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended by Border Patrol. House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans have blamed local news coverage in Central American countries of Obama’s pathway to citizenship for the massive influx of kids. But as The Huffington Post discovered by scouring Central American news reports, regional media has accurately covered DACA and the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform and regularly depicts President Obama as tough on immigration.

In reality, it’s more likely a loophole in the George W. Bush-era policy of expeditiously charging, imprisoning, and deporting adult illegal border crossers that is drawing children in droves. According to this policy, while Mexican minors can be sent back over the border immediately, minors from other countries must be held in Customs and Border Protection’s custody for a maximum of 72 hours before they are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. ORR houses the minors in shelters while searching for U.S.-based relatives with whom they can stay during their deportation proceedings. As of March 2014, there were 366,758 pending deportation cases in U.S. immigration courts. That backlog means even just receiving a court date could take years, by which time the minor could make the case that they are better off with their extended family in the States. Or they could just not show up to court and choose to live under the radar like the 11 million other undocumented immigrants in the United States. No doubt the criminals interested in recruiting border crosses have emphasized to families that kids face better odds in the U.S.–and so the children keep on coming.

Some suspect the recent inundation of unaccompanied minors at the border is part of a strategic move by the cartels to distract Border Patrol while they move drugs.

Last week the Obama administration publicized plans to open more facilities to detain children and families, and to reassign immigration officers and judges to population (upwards of 60 percent possess a firearm), and a police/judicial system that remains either unable or unwilling (or both) to hold most criminals accountable,” read the report. “Well-armed criminals know there is little chance they will be caught or punished.”

Meanwhile, Honduras and El Salvador have maintained the world’s highest and second-highest homicide rates since the mid-1990s.

By making these countries so dangerous and virtually unlivable for their poorest citizens, the cartels have effectively created an incentive for people to flee, providing themselves with more clientele for their human smuggling business to supplant the hole left by the drop in Mexican migrants.

The cartels are also driving the current border-children crisis in the U.S. Since last October, 52,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended by Border Patrol. House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans have blamed local news coverage in Central American countries of Obama’s pathway to citizenship for the massive influx of kids. But as The Huffington Post discovered by scouring Central American news reports, regional media has accurately covered DACA and the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform and regularly depicts President Obama as tough on immigration.

In reality, it’s more likely a loophole in the George W. Bush-era policy of expeditiously charging, imprisoning, and deporting adult illegal border crossers that is drawing children in droves. According to this policy, while Mexican minors can be sent back over the border immediately, minors from other countries must be held in Customs and Border Protection’s custody for a maximum of 72 hours before they are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. ORR houses the minors in shelters while searching for U.S.-based relatives with whom they can stay during their deportation proceedings. As of March 2014, there were 366,758 pending deportation cases in U.S. immigration courts. That backlog means even just receiving a court date could take years, by which time the minor could make the case that they are better off with their extended family in the States. Or they could just not show up to court and choose to live under the radar like the 11 million other undocumented immigrants in the United States. No doubt the criminals interested in recruiting border crosses have emphasized to families that kids face better odds in the U.S.–and so the children keep on coming.

Some suspect the recent inundation of unaccompanied minors at the border is part of a strategic move by the cartels to distract Border Patrol while they move drugs.

Last week the Obama administration publicized plans to open more facilities to detain children and families, and to reassign immigration officers and judges to speed up deportation proceedings. During a visit with senior leaders from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras in Guatemala on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would be dedicating $225 million to the Central American countries to better prosecute gang members, cut down on gang recruitment with youth outreach programs, and help reintegrate deportees.

On the opposite side of the border in Nogales, Arizona Border Patrol spokesman Peter Bidegain is pointing at a two-story yellow brick house just across the border fence. “This yellow building here, it’s operated by the one of the cartels as a scouting facility,” he says. Nearby, a yellow Caterpillar excavator sits idle next to an opening that once led into a cross-border tunnel. “You can see guys on the porch sometimes with binoculars. They work in shifts just like we do.”

Bidegain describes a common cat-and-mouse game played by smugglers and the Border Patrol agents in which migrants are led over the fence on a ladder, prompting the agents to go after the migrants and allowing drug smugglers to sneak by. Vast scouting networks using cellphone or radio transmissions, powered by solar panel battery chargers in the mountains, allow lookouts on both sides of the border to study Border Patrol agents’ every move, waiting for the perfect time to pounce. With Border Patrol and Mexican police stacked on either side of the 15-foot-high steel wall, drugs stuffed in the sides of cars or fake fruit in the back of trucks or even on the back of a single person have a better chance of making it through Nogales than a group of migrants.

“A lot of times the people who are being smuggled here are just being used as bait,” he says.

Some suspect the recent inundation of unaccompanied minors at the border is part of a strategic move by the cartels to distract Border Patrol while they move drugs.

“We have grave concerns that dangerous cartel activity, including narcotics smuggling and human trafficking, will go unchecked because Border Patrol resources are stretched too thin,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this month, requesting $30 million for additional law enforcement. Recent U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration statistics back this theory. Total marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine seizures between January 1 and June 14 of this year have dropped across all states that line the U.S.-Mexico border, but the decrease in Texas–the center of the surge in unaccompanied minors–has been bigger than the average, at 34 percent. The DEA and Border Patrol have said it’s too soon to tell whether the decrease in drug seizures is at all connected to the increase in underage crossers.

As policymakers debate how best to handle the current immigration crisis, the day-to-day game of Whack-A-Mole continues along the border. Border Patrol zeroes in on the highest trafficked areas and, in turn, smugglers change position.

“They will use what’s successful, so they’ll try anything,” Bidegain told me. “It just depends on the smuggling du jour.”

Zimbabwe’s Unfolding Humanitarian Disaster – 18,000 People Forcibly Relocated to Ruling Party Farm

More than 18,000 people live in the Chingwizi transit camp in Mwenezi district, about 150 kms from their former homes in Chivi basin as they wait to be allocated one-hectare plots of land by the government.

MASVINGO, Zimbabwe, Jun 25 2014 – As the villagers sit around the flickering fire on a pitch-black night lit only by the blurry moon, they speak, recounting how it all began.

They take turns, sometimes talking over each other to have their own experiences heard. When the old man speaks, everyone listens. “It was my first time riding a helicopter,” John Moyo* remembers.

“The soldiers came, clutching guns, forcing everyone to move. I tried to resist, for my home was not affected but they wouldn’t hear any of it.”

So started the long, painful and disorienting journey for the 70-year-old Moyo and almost 18,000 other people who had lived in the 50-kilometre radius of Chivi basin in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province. “We don’t want this life of getting fed like birds.” — John Moyo, displaced villager from Chivi basin

When heavy rains pounded the area in early January, the 1.8 billion cubic metre Tokwe-Mukosi dam’s wall breached. Flooding followed, destroying homes and livestock. The government, with the help of non-governmental organisations, embarked on a rescue mission. And even unaffected homes in high-lying areas were evacuated by soldiers.

According to Moyo, whose home was not affected, this was an opportunity for the government, which had been trying to relocate those living near Chivi basin for sometime.

“They always said they wanted to establish an irrigation system and a game park in the area that covered our ancestral homes,” he says.

For Itai Mazanhi, a 33-year-old father of three, the government had the best excuse to remove them from the land that he had known since birth.

“The graves of my forefathers are in that place,” he says. Mazanhi is from Gororo village.

After being temporarily housed in the nearby safe areas of Gunikuni and Ngundu in Masvingo province, the over 18,000 people or 3,000 families were transferred to Nuanetsi Ranch in the Chingwizi area of Mwenezi district, about 150 kms from their former homes.

Chingwizi is an arid terrain near Triangle Estates, an irrigation sugar plantation concern owned by sugar giant Tongaat Hulett. The land here is conspicuous for the mopane and giant baobab trees that are synonymous with hot, dry conditions.

The crop and livestock farmers from Chivi basin have been forced to adjust in a land that lacks the natural fertility of their former land, water and adequate pastures for their livestock.

The dust road to the Chingwizi camp is a laborious 40-minute drive littered with sharp bumps and lurking roadside trenches.

From the top of an anthill, a vantage point at the entrance of this settlement reveals a rolling pattern of tents and zinc makeshift structures that stretch beyond the sight of the naked eye. At night, fires flicker faintly in the distance, and a cacophony of voices mix with the music from solar- and battery-powered radio sets. It’s the image of a war refugee relief camp.

A concern for the displaced families is the fact that they were settled in an area earmarked for a proposed biofuel project. The project is set to be driven by the Zimbabwe Bio-Energy company, a partnership between the Zimbabwe Development Trust and private investors. The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted the project director Charles Madonko saying resettled families could become sugarcane out-growers for the ethanol project.

This plan was subject to scathing attack from rights watchdog Human Rights Watch. In a report released last month, the organisation viewed this as a cheap labour ploy.

“The Zimbabwean army relocated 3,000 families from the flooded Tokwe-Mukorsi dam basin to a camp on a sugar cane farm and ethanol project jointly owned by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front [ZANU-PF] and Billy Rautenbach, a businessman and party supporter,” read part of the report. Sugar cane fields like this one in Chisumbanje are planned to feed the ethanol project in Mwenezi district. The displaced villagers from Chivi basin fear they will be used as cheap labourers.

Sugar cane fields like this one in Chisumbanje are planned to feed the ethanol project in Mwenezi district. The displaced villagers from Chivi basin fear they will be used as cheap labourers. Credit: Davison Mudzingwa/GIP

The sugarcane plantations will be irrigated by the water from the Tokwe-Mukosi dam. Upon completion, the dam is set to become Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam, with a capacity to irrigate over 25,000 hectares.

Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development, COTRAD, a non-governmental organisation that operates in the Masvingo province sees the displacement of the 3,000 families as a brutal retrogression. The organisation says ordinary people are at the mercy of private companies and the government.

“The people feel like outcasts, they no longer feel like Zimbabweans,” Zivanai Muzorodzi, COTRAD programme manager, says.

Muzorodzi, whose organisation has been monitoring the land tussle before the floods, says the land surrounding the Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin was bought by individuals, mostly from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

“Villagers won’t own the land or the means of production. Only ZANU-PF bigwigs will benefit,” Muzorodzi says. The scale of the habitats has posed serious challenges for the cash-strapped government of Zimbabwe. Humanitarian organisations such as Oxfam International and Care International have injected basic services such clean water through water bowsers and makeshift toilets.

“It’s not safe at all, it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” a Zimbabwe Ministry of Local Government official stationed at the camp and who preferred anonymity tells GIP. “The latrines you see here are only one metre deep. An outbreak of a contagious disease would spread fast.” Tendai Zingwe fears her child might contract diarrhoea due to poor sanitation conditions in Chingwizi camp.

Tendai Zingwe fears her child might contract diarrhoea due to poor sanitation conditions in Chingwizi camp.

Similar fears stalk Spiwe Chando*, a mother of four. The 23-year-old speaks as she sorts her belongings scattered in small blue tent in which an adult cannot sleep fully stretched out. “I fear for my child because another family lost a child due to diarrhoea last week. This can happen to anyone,” she tells GIP, sweating from the heat inside the tent. “I hope we will move from this place soon and get proper land to restart our lives.”

This issue has posed tensions at this over-populated camp. Meetings, rumour and conjecture circulate each day. Across the camp, frustrations are progressively building up. As a result, a ministerial delegation got a hostile reception during a visit last month. The displaced farmers accuse the government of deception and reneging on its promises of land allocation and compensation. Children stampede for reading material at the Chingwizi transit camp. Most of the kids had their schooling disrupted due to the displacement.

Children stampede for reading material at the Chingwizi transit camp. Most of the kids had their schooling disrupted due to the displacement.

The government has promised to allocate one hectare of land per family, at a location about 17 kms from this transit camp. This falls far short of what these families own in Chivi basin. Some of them, like Mazanhi, owned about 10 hectares. The land was able to produce enough food for their sustenance and a surplus, which was sold to finance their children’s education and healthcare.

Mazanhi is one of the few people who has already received compensation from the government. Of the agreed compensation of 3,000 dollars, he has only received 900 dollars and is not certain if he will ever be paid the remainder of what he was promised. “There is a lot of corruption going on in that office,” he says.

COTRAD says the fact that ordinary villagers are secondary beneficiaries of the land and water that once belonged to them communally is an indication of a resource grabbing trend that further widens the gap of inequality.

“People no longer have land, access to water, healthcare and children are learning under trees.”

For Moyo, daily realities at the transit camp and a hazy future is both a painful reminder of a life gone by and a sign of “the next generation of dispossession.” However, he hopes for a better future.

“We don’t want this life of getting fed like birds,” says Moyo.

*Names altered for security reasons.

4/7/2014

The No-Fly List

Filed under: airlines,government,human rights,usa — admin @ 6:34 am

On September 10, 2001, there was no formal no-fly list. Among the many changes pressed on a scared population starting that September 12th were the creation of two such lists: the no-fly list and the selectee list for travelers who were to undergo additional scrutiny when they sought to fly. If you were on the no-fly list itself, as its name indicated, you could not board a flight within the U.S. or one heading out of or into the country. As a flight-ban plan, it would come to extend far beyond America’s borders, since the list was shared with 22 other countries. No one knows how many names are on it. According to one source, 21,000 people, including some 500 Americans, are blacklisted; another puts the figure at 44,000. The actual number is classified.

On January 2, 2005, unaware of her status as a threat to the United States, Ibrahim left Stanford for San Francisco International Airport to board a flight to Malaysia for an academic conference. A ticket agent saw her name flagged in the database and called the police.

Despite being wheelchair-bound due to complications from a medical procedure, Ibrahim was handcuffed, taken to a detention cell, and denied access to medication she had in hand. Without explanation, after extensive interrogation, she was allowed to board her flight. When she tried to return to America to resume her studies, however, she found herself banned as a terrorist.

Suing the United States

Stuck in Malaysia, though still in possession of a valid student visa, Ibrahim filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, asking to be removed from the no-fly list and allowed back into the country to continue her architectural studies.

Over almost nine years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) employed an arsenal of dodges and post-9/11 tricks to impede her lawsuit, including invoking the “state secrets doctrine” to ensure that she would never have access to the records she needed. “State secrets” is not a law in the U.S., as it is, for example, in Great Britain, where the monarch also retains ” Crown Privilege,” the absolute right to refuse to share information with Parliament or the courts. Here, it is instead a kind of assumed privilege and the courts accept it as such. Based on it, the president can refuse to produce evidence in a court case on the grounds that its public disclosure might harm national security. The government has, in the past, successfully employed this “privilege” to withhold information and dead-end legal challenges. Once “state secrets” is in play, there is literally nothing left to talk about in court.

A related DOJ dodge was also brought to bear in an attempt to derail Ibrahim’s case: the use of made-up classification categories that dispatch even routine information into the black world of national security. Much of the information concerning her placement on the no-fly list, for instance, was labeled Security Sensitive Information (SSI) and so was unavailable to her. SSI is among hundreds of post-9/11 security categories created via memo by various federal agencies. These categories, too, have no true legal basis. Congress never passed a law establishing anything called SSI, nor is there any law prohibiting the disclosure of SSI information. The abuse of such pseudo-classifications has been common enough in the post-9/11 years and figured significantly in the ongoing case of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) whistleblower Robert MacLean.

Next in its end-run around Ibrahim’s lawsuit, the DOJ pulled “standing” out of its bag of tricks. Standing is a legal term that means a person filing a lawsuit has a right to do so. For example, in some states you must be a resident to sue. Seeking to have a case thrown out because the plaintiff does not have standing was a tactic used successfully by the government in other national security cases. The ACLU, for instance, sued the National Security Agency for Fourth Amendment violations in 2008. The Supreme Court rejected the case in 2013 for lack of standing, claiming that unless the ACLU could conclusively prove it had been spied upon, it could not sue. In the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations showing that the NSA indeed spied widely on American citizens, the ACLU has revived the suit. It claims that the new documents provide clear evidence of broad-based surveillance and so now give it standing.

Standing was also used by the DOJ in the case of American citizen and purported al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki, whom the U.S. murdered by drone in Yemen. Prior to his son’s death, attorneys for al-Awlaki’s father tried to persuade a U.S. District Court to issue an injunction preventing the government from killing him. A judge dismissed the case, ruling that the father did not have standing to sue. In Ibrahim’s no-fly case, the government argued that since she was not an American citizen, she had no standing to sue the government for its actions against her in the U.S. When all of those non-meritorious challenges failed to stop the case, the government invoked the very no-fly designation Ibrahim was challenging, and refused to allow her to travel to the United States to testify at her own trial.

Next, Ibrahim’s daughter, an American citizen traveling on a U.S. passport, was not allowed to board a flight from Malaysia to serve as a witness at her mother’s trial. She, too, was told she was on the no-fly list. After some legal tussling, however, she was finally allowed to fly to “the Homeland.” Why the American government changed its mind is classified and almost all of the trial transcript concerning the attempt to stop her from testifying was redacted from public disclosure.

In addition, by regularly claiming that classified information was going to be presented, the government effectively hid the ludicrous nature of the Ibrahim case from much public scrutiny. The trial was interrupted at least 10 times and the public, including journalists, were asked to leave the courtroom so that “classified evidence” could be presented.

A message of intimidation had been repeatedly delivered. It failed, however, and Ibrahim’s case went to trial, albeit without her present.

Ibrahim Wins

Despite years of effort by the DOJ, Ibrahim won her lawsuit. The U.S. District Court for Northern California ordered the removal of her name from the no-fly list. However, in our evolving post-Constitutional era, what that “victory” revealed should unnerve those who claim that if they are innocent, they have nothing to fear. Innocence is no longer a defense.

During the lawsuit, it was made clear that the FBI had never intended Ibrahim to be placed on the no-fly list. The FBI agent involved in the initial post-9/11 investigation of Ibrahim simply checked the wrong box on a paper form used to send people into travel limbo. It was a mistake, a slip up, the equivalent of a typo. There was no evidence that the agent intended harm or malice, nor it seems were there any checks, balances, or safeguards against such errors. One agent could, quite literally at the stroke of a pen, end someone’s education, job, and family visits, and there was essentially no recourse.

Throughout the nine years Ibrahim fought to return to the U.S., it appears that the government either knew all along that she was no threat and tried to cover up its mistake anyway, or fought her bitterly at great taxpayer expense without at any time checking whether the no-fly designation was ever valid. You pick which theory is most likely to disturb your sleep tonight.

Ibrahim Loses

Having won her case, Ibrahim went to the airport in Kuala Lumpur to fly back to Stanford and resume her studies. As she attempted to board the plane, however, she was pulled aside and informed that the U.S. embassy in Malaysia had without notice revoked her student visa. No visa meant, despite her court victory, she once again could not return to the United States.

At the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Ibrahim was handed a preprinted “explanation” for the visa revocation with the word “terrorist” hand-written next to the boilerplate text. Ibrahim was never informed of her right under U.S. law to apply for a waiver of the visa revocation.

Though it refused to re-issue the visa, the State Department finally had to admit in court that it had revoked the document based solely on a computer “hit” in its name-checking database, the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS.) That hit, in turn, appeared to be a straggler from the now defunct no-fly list entry made erroneously by the FBI.

The State Department and CLASS

As is well known, the State Department issued legal visas to all of the 9/11 terrorists. In part, this was because the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies failed to tell State what they knew about the hijackers, as all were suspected to be bad guys. Then and now, such information is passed on when intelligence and law enforcement agencies make electronic entries in State’s computerized lookout system. CLASS is part of the Consular Consolidated Database, one of the largestknown data warehouses in the world. As of December 2009, it contained over 100 million cases and 75 million photographs, and has a current growth rate of approximately 35,000 records per day. CLASS also collects the fingerprints of all foreigners issued visas.

Pre-9/11, various agencies in Washington were reluctant to share information. Now, they regularly dump enormous amounts of it into CLASS. The database has grown 400% since September 11, 2001.

The problem is that CLASS is a one-way street. Intelligence agencies can put data in, but can’t remove it because State keeps the database isolated from interactive data maintenance. In addition, the basic database it uses to screen out bad guys typically only has a subject’s name, nationality, and the most modest of identifying information, plus a numerical code indicating why a name was entered. One code, 3B, stands for “terrorist”; another, 2A, means “criminal”; and so forth through the long list of reasons the U.S. would not want to issue a visa. Some CLASS listings have just a partial name, and State Department visa-issuing officers regularly wallow through screen after screen of hits like: Muhammad, no last name, no date of birth, Egypt — all marked as “critical, Category One” but with no additional information.

Nor, when the information exists but was supplied by another agency, do U.S. embassies abroad have direct access to the files. Instead, when a State Department official gets a name “hit” overseas, she must send a “Security Advisory Opinion,” orSAO, back to Washington asking for more information. The recipient of that cable at Foggy Bottom must then sort out which intelligence agency entered the data in the first place and appeal to it for an explanation.

At that point, intelligence agencies commonly to refuse to share more, claiming that no one at State has the proper clearances and that department should just trust their decision to label someone a bad guy and refuse to issue, or pro-actively revoke, a visa. If, on the other hand, information is shared, it is often done on paper by courier. In other words, a guy shows up at State with a bundle of documents, waits while someone reviews them, and then spirits them back to the CIA, the FBI, or elsewhere. That way, the intelligence agencies, always distrustful of State, are assured that nothing will be leaked or inadvertently disclosed.

In cases where no more information is available, or what is available is inconclusive, the State Department might allow the visa application to pend indefinitely under the heading “administrative processing,” or simply “prudentially” revoke or not issue the visa. No one wants to risk approving a visa for the next 9/11 terrorist, even if it’s pretty obvious that the applicant is nothing of the sort.

This undoubtedly is what happened to Ibrahim. Though the details remain classified, State certainly didn’t possess super secret information on her unavailable to other law enforcement or intelligence outfits. Some official surely decided to take no chances and revoked her visa “prudentially” based on the outdated information still lodged in CLASS.

Not CLASS Alone

Ibrahim’s case also reveals just how many secret databases of various sorts exist in Washington. Here’s how a name (your name?) gets added to one of those databases, and how it then populates other lists around the world.

A name is nominated for the no-fly list by one of hundreds of thousands of government officials: an FBI agent, a CIA analyst, a State Department visa officer. Each nominating agency has its own criteria, standards, and approval processes, some — as with the FBI in Ibrahim’s case — apparently pretty sloppy.

The nominated name is then sent to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) at a classified location in suburban Northern Virginia. TSC is a multi-agency outfit administered by the FBI and staffed by officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and all of the Intelligence Community.

Once a name is approved by the TSC (the process is classified), it will automatically be entered into a number of databases, possibly including but not necessarily limited to:

*the Department of Homeland Security’s no-fly list;

*that same department’s selectee list that ensures chosen individuals will be subject to additional airport screening;

*the State Department’s Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS, including CLASS-Visa for foreigners and CLASS-Passport for U.S. Citizens);

*the Department of Homeland Security’s TECS (a successor to the Treasury Enforcement Communications System), which is used in part by customs officials, as well as its Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS), used by immigration officials;

*the Known and Suspected Terrorist File (KSTF, previously known as the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organizations File);

*TUSCAN, a database maintained by Canada;

*TACTICS, a database maintained by Australia;

*and finally, an unknown number of other law enforcement and intelligence agency databases, as well as those of other foreign intelligence services with which information may be shared.

As Ibrahim discovered, once a name is selected, it travels deep and far into both U.S. and foreign databases. If one clears one’s name from one database, there are many others out there waiting. Even a comprehensive victory in one nation’s courts may not affect the records of a third country. And absent frequent travel, a person may never even know which countries have him or her on their lists, thanks to the United States.

Once she learned that her student visa had been revoked in Malaysia, Ibrahim sued again, asking that the State Department reissue it. The government successfully blocked this suit, citing a long-established precedent that visa matters are essentially an administrative function and so not subject to judicial review.

A court did scold State for failing to notify Ibrahim of her right to seek a waiver, as it was required to do by law. To the extent that Ibrahim’s case has any life left in it, her next step would be to return to the Department of Justice’s bailiwick and apply for a waiver of the revocation the State Department made based on data given to it by the DOJ that both outfits know was struck down by a court. It’s that “simple.” Meanwhile, she cannot return to the U.S.

Nothing to Hide?

A common trope for those considering the way the National Security Agency spies on almost everyone everywhere all the time is that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. If your cell phone conversations are chit-chats with mom and your emails tend toward forwards of cute cat videos, why should you care if the NSA or anyone else is snooping?

Ask Rahinah Ibrahim about that. She did nothing wrong and so should have had nothing to fear. She even has a court decision declaring that she never was nor is a threat to the United States, yet she remains outside America’s borders. Her mistaken placement on the no-fly list plunged her head first into a nightmarish world that would have been all too recognizable to Franz Kafka. It is a world run by people willing to ignore reality to service their bureaucratic imperatives and whose multiplying lists are largely beyond the reach of the law.

Sad as it may be, the Ibrahim case is a fairly benign example of ordinary Washington practices in the post-9/11 era. Ibrahim is going about her life at peace in Malaysia. Her tangle with the United States seems to have been more a matter of bureaucratic screw-ups than anything else. No one sought to actively destroy her. She was not tortured in a CIA black site, nor left for years in a cage at Guantanamo. Her case is generally seen as, at worst, another ugly stain on the white wall we imagine we are as a nation.

But the watch lists are there. The tools are in place. And one thing is clear: no one is guarding the guards. You never know whose name just went on a list. Maybe yours?

11/21/2013

Exile Islands

Histories of Exploitation

Exile Islands, Then and Now

by DEANNA RAMSEY

Christmas Island sits 220 miles off the southern coast of Java, a tiny, isolated Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. Boven Digoel is a remote spot of jungle on the island of New Guinea in Indonesia’s Papua province, once accessible only by a days-long journey upriver.

Aside from being both tropical and secluded, these sites share something darker and more ignominious, for Boven Digoel was a penal colony established by the Dutch in 1926 for rebels and critics of the colonial government, and the way-station for asylum seekers known as Christmas Island is our modern-day equivalent, a place for the marginalized of the globe to live out lives in geopolitical limbo.

So many boats filled with people from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa were landing on Christmas Island in the last decade that the Australian government built a US$370 million detention center there in 2009. The site houses more than 2,000 people, and sits in one corner of the 12-mile-long island.

The increasing number of asylum seeker arrivals to Australia – more than 15,000 in 2013 alone – has become such an issue that in July former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took a new “hardline” stance, saying that no one arriving by boat would ever be allowed to settle there. He announced that new arrivals would be moved to a center on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island for processing and possible resettlement, while also granting the country a much-needed assistance package. In August, Rudd announced a similar agreement with the South Pacific island nation of Nauru.

Now, instead of Christmas Island’s isolation, those from conflict-torn countries seeking better lives are being sent to a 60-mile-long stretch in Papua New Guinea’s northern waters or to Nauru’s even more remote eight square miles, left to wait indefinitely for their refugee claims to be processed.

Considering the history of the region, these moves to expel people to ever more distant locations – and essentially dodging the reasons why so many are there in the first place – bleakly echo polices of detainment and exile practiced by colonial-era powers.

The use of Australia as a penal colony is an obvious example, and the British East India Company banished its colonized subjects to the Andaman Islands and Singapore. The French employed New Caledonia in the Pacific and the infamous Devil’s Island in Guiana in similar ways, to name just a few.

After a failed communist uprising in Jakarta (then Batavia) in 1926, the Dutch created Boven Digoel, a prison deep in New Guinea at the easternmost border of the Dutch East Indies. The site housed those espousing communist and revolutionary views, including Sutan Sjahrir, future prime minister of Indonesia, and Mohammed Hatta, who would become the country’s first vice president.

The region’s modern exiles, fleeing countries that are centers of contemporary conflict like Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq, must pay people smugglers to take them on the hazardous journey to Australian territory, but they often do not reach their destination.

The rickety wooden boats that smugglers employ routinely break down and sink, with asylum seekers drowning in the seas between Indonesia and Australian territory. In 2010, a boat dashed upon the rocks on Christmas Island’s shores and 50 people drowned. In September, a boat heading to the island sank off the coast of Java, with at least 28 killed. And in October, 30 asylum seekers from Pakistan, Somalia and Eritrea were discovered on an Indonesian beach intending to travel to Christmas Island. According to reports, after a dispute with the smugglers they had paid, they were abandoned and later taken into custody by police.

The journey to Boven Digoel in the 1920s and 30s was not as fraught with danger, with Sjahrir even writing eloquently of the beauty he experienced during his voyage from Jakarta. But life in the penal colony was bad, with prisoners dying of disease, eaten by crocodiles or weakening through their efforts to create new homes in hostile jungle. Mas Marco Kartodikromo, an accomplished writer and vocal critic of the colonial government, was sent to Boven Digoel in 1927; in 1932 he died there of malaria, as many inmates did.

In both the colonial prison camp and our modern-day detention centers there was anger, rebellion and attempts at escape. In Boven Digoel, so many refused to do the work required of them that a special site was created for those “recalcitrants” to live in even further exile. Escape attempts were unsuccessful as no one could navigate the jungle. Some were caught, others just disappeared, never to be heard from again.

In March 2011, the recalcitrants of Christmas Island rioted, some jumping the center’s fence and heading to the airport, others setting fire to buildings, including their own tent accommodations, and throwing rocks at police. And on July 19 of this year, a riot by the mostly Iranian detainees at the Nauru center, reportedly in frustration at the interminable waiting involved in the processing of their claims of refugee status, destroyed many of the site’s buildings.

A United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report from February 2013 on Manus’ center states, “the current policy and practice of detaining all asylum-seekers on a mandatory and indefinite basis, without an individual assessment or possibility for review, amounts to arbitrary detention which is inconsistent with the obligations of both Australia and PNG under international human rights law.” A December 2012 UNHCR found that Nauru’s center did not meet international standards and the conditions were “harsh, with little natural shelter from the heat during the day.” Images illustrate this, showing row upon row of tents exposed to the elements in Nauru and Manus and Christmas Island’s prison-like center wrapped in fencing and topped with barbed wire.

How strange it is that the inconspicuous Christmas Island has emerged as a destination, a space that connects Indonesia and Australia across sea – and now through the desperate people crossing their borders – and also entwines the shared colonial histories of the region. On a map, one can almost trace a straight line from Christmas Island, named by an East India Company voyager, to Boven Digoel and its echoes of the Dutch colonial past, to Manus, which was German colonial territory and later British, and on to the former German colony of Nauru.

Christmas, Manus and Nauru, with their histories of exploitation, now house modern colonies designed to imprison the innocent. The places are marked by the denial of rights, imperialist attitudes and little recourse – all on far-flung tropical islands populated by people who never intended or wanted to stay.

But one difference between then and now is that almost immediately after Boven Digoel was established, dispatches from the prison were published in newspapers throughout the Dutch East Indies, as historian Takashi Shiraishi has noted. The public could read Mas Marco’s description of the shackles he was kept in during his journey to the camp, or Sjahrir’s encounters with the locals of the New Guinea jungle or even a fictionalized account of life at Boven Digoel by the writer Kwee Tek Hoay serialized over three years in a weekly paper.

But what do we hear from our modern-day exiles, people who have fled war and terror and strife and risked their lives to make it to safer shores? Aside from news documenting political maneuverings or boat arrivals and, regrettably, capsizings, there is little from the detained themselves, especially ironic in our age of mass and social media. Those who are detained – the families even – have traveled far, far from their homes in hopes of a respite from conflict and have ended up in ironically named “centers”, with no voice and no recourse but the occasional riot.

Before arriving in Boven Digoel, Hatta somewhat optimistically wrote that he hoped the exile camp might become a “Mecca” for the progressive movement in Indonesia, a place where new leaders could emerge. And while he was certainly correct about himself, there were many others who never, ever left the place.

In December of 1938, the Dutch minister of the colonies wrote to the governor general on the closing of Boven Digoel, “That I am of opinion that the Netherlands authority over the Indies derives its great moral prestige in the world from its effective and humane administrative methods and [therefore I believe that] the sooner it can do without the exceptional means of a special place of internment, the better.”

We can only hope similar correspondence will be sent regarding the “immigration detention centers” marring our southern oceans, for those immigrants – the victims of humanitarian crises that spring from very global issues – deserve much, much better.

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.

3/9/2010

GRENADINES

I recall having to run for my connection to Miami because AA had trouble
getting the jet way to work. Didn’t head into the city to see the print
exhibit as the bus connections took too long and I was hesitant to leave
my bags with the storage operation in the airport (no lockers.) Grenada
Customs scrutinised my passport photo (I guess I have lost some weight)
but recognizing my haircut after I removed my 12hr cap seemed to clinch
it. Gave me 90 days no problem and were surprised I was going to be
staying on Petite Martinique for so long. Expensive cab ride from
airport ($20US I think) to Lazy Lagoon (where I had a reservation for
about $47US) but the bar was very loud and I was very tired so we went
over to the Tropicana Hotel where I was sure the girl said $35US but
later once the taxi had left, claimed the rate was $75US. I tried to get
it down to at least $50US to no avail. That _could be the actual rate as
the room was air conditioned and had a private balcony overlooking the
Carnage (natural harbour) but had seen better days. Made some good
recordings of some sort of cicadas and rain squalls through the night.
Had some fry chicken, rice, vegetables and beer from the adjoining
eatery. Watched the tourism TV channel in my room. Slept a little then
scrambled to get a morning taxi to the ferry dock. Very windy and
difficult to walk on board the Osprey. Some good pics of dramatic mist
rising from pockets of forest along the shore. Into Carriacou and PM
where E Clement from Palm Beach Restaurant came to meet me and take me
to my apartment. (a negotiated $400US/mo) A steep climb up the hill past
many goats and sheep. His web site implies that the apts are right on
the beach, but this was fine, a nicely equipped place with satellite TV
and with a great view across to Petite St Vincent, Carriacou and Union
Islands.

PM time line (from public school building):

1700s – Europeans settled on the island 1795 – Julien Fedoris Rebellion.
A Petite Martiniqian, Joachim Philip fought along side Fedon. 03-03-1795
– Joachim Philip led an attack on the Britisn settlement in Charlotte
Town (Gouyave) GND. 1850s – Church and School were established on the
island. 1897 – Father Joseph Aquart arrived on the island. 101 – A new
school building was completed. 1937 to the present – School building was
completed. 1941 – Alfred Hyacinth Roberts was appointed Principal of
this School. The first Petite Martiniquian to achieve such position.
1944 – The Old RC Church was destroyed. 1947 – The present RC Church
building was completed. 1953 – A Petite Martiniquian, the Hon Eva
Sylvester was elected to the Legislative Council. The first Grenadian
female to have achieved such position. 1955 – Hurrican Janet claimed the
lives of two Petite Martiniquians. 1961 – A serious drought affected the
island. 1970 – The first Post Office was opened 1972 – Michael Caesar
appointed a senator. The first Petite Martiniquian to achieve such. 1982
– Electricity was brought to the island. 1995 – The present post office
was completed. 1996 – A police station was established upstairs the
health centre. 1997 – Great controversy over the building of an American
sponsored Coast Guard Base. 1997 – The present police station completed.
1996 – Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Petite
Martinique office opened. (compiled by Dwight Logan)

I feel asleep in the sun out in front of my place overlooking the
beautiful caribbean blue waters with a big glass of cold rum punch,
listening to a radio programme from SVG (St Vincent and the Grenadines.)
When I awoke, my earphones and the cord holding my sunglasses were
missing! I finally spotted them way over in the undergrowth — I can
only assume that the goats, who occasionally make their way up here to
eat the longer grass, from the house below, must have yanked them off! A
couple of days ago I sadly lost my nice gold Revo sunglasses in the
beach surf. I can usually wear them in shallow water with the cord
attached, but a big wave snuck up behind me and dragged them out to sea
— I still go back and scan the shoreline for whatever might remain of
them. That little stretch of beach has quite strong surf as I’m amazed
by how much sand, coral, conch shells and big stones has been
redistributed from one day to the next. You can hear — I made some
recordings — the round stones tumbling back into the water with each
receding wave. The mosquitos are very small and silent and seemingly
undeterred by deet — only a stiff breeze (plenty of that right now) or
electric fan keep them at bay. One night I grew tired of the fan-noise,
turned it off, and awoke the next morning with many itchy welts. I’ve
now also rigged up my mosquito net which seems to help.But if I continue
to get badly bitten I’ll have to consider getting off the island and see
if that helps. Apparently there is a small boat, Mystic, primarily for
school and mail, that goes to Carriacou at 7:30 am and returns in the
afternoon, so I may make that trip in any event, and see what options
are available there. I had previously made some accommodation inquiries
online and so have those contacts. PSV is a privately owned island that
I could also visit — I think this is where the smuggling activity
happens, as well as being an celebrity resort (Mic Jagger and others
whose names I’m not likely to recognize) E Clement (a common name on PM — I wonder if N, and I are related (?)scottish boat builder heritage.
Anyway, E is expecting some of his 10 siblings, wife and children for
christmas, and wanted to have a big screen tv for them, which he
‘ordered’ from PSV — but the coast guard caught and seized the boat
last night, along with the big TV! While I understand that Grenada duty
is not paid in these operations, I’d guess that duty and taxes must be
being paid somewhere, because I’m pretty sure these TVs aren’t
manufactured on PSV.but somehow there are some great savings to be
had…Fancy liquors seem pretty cheap and a big draw for the yachties
who come ashore. Despite the names of places here, no one except the
French yachties speaks the language or patois anymore. Other islands,
Petite Dominique, Moupin, Union, and the Tobago Keys can be reached from here for a price.

Yesterday (Sun Dec 13) the freighter MV Gemstar, left for its annual
passenger (party passage — think gigantic pounding speakers that you
can feel in your chest, in an otherwise empty metal cargo vessel ) trip
to St Vincent for only $40EC. I stepped aboard, looked around and took
some pictures and later made a little film of the ship leaving the dock
— a scruffy Caribbean Santa tended to the lines and waved from the
galley as the ship made its boozy passage on quite choppy seas. It was a
tempting offer but I’m sure I couldn’t have dealt with that much
‘volume’ overnight and then have to contend with a new reportedly
somewhat dangerous SV port in the early a.m. Made a good recording of a
big flock of birds with other intermittent sounds in a tree in front of
Melodies’ beachfront guesthouse at dusk — thinking I might do this on a
regular basis… The wind presents big difficulties, but I may try using
one of my mesh shirts to baffle more of the noise. Heard again that the
duty-free days may be coming to an end… an unpopular VAT tax and there
may be shortages in the shops — so I stocked-up on white rum and fruit
juice! Mailed more postcards, along with a matchbox to Ruud (a
Netherlands mail-artist) — forgot to watch if the stamps were actually
applied to the cards and matchbox… hope they are honest. Maybe I’ll
check on the matchbox today… just to give them a discrete idea of my
concern. Big, bright white yacht sliding past — apparently there are
many more and even bigger ones yet to come — February and January being
the most popular and driest months.

tyranny refuses you any societal existence… one by one everyone and
every institution turns against you

bought some “brail” nuts from an itinerant vendor down by the dock…
they had to boiled for 20 minutes… they’d be pretty good if they were
roasted instead (same deal with peanuts probably)… they taste vaguely
like brazil nuts, but a smaller rounded shape and are apparently from
the breadfruit tree — which I hope to find here as well

“I DON’T COUNT”

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (transliterate the sounds of numbers one through
10)

example:

won you free your jive sex heaven hates mine then

enter to win; center two sin: all entries published (lulu, scribd, — be
sure to include your name/info with all posts to lists/bcc:
bbrace@eskimo.com.. best gets a limited Global Islands Project coin
edition: printed card with 6 (lowest common denomination) coins from the
last six islands visited!

Watched two turtles being butchered yesterday on the pier– one green
turtle and a hawksbill, while searching for a motorboat ride ($20EC) to
Carriacou. (Planned to attend a “phrang” event held the weekend before
Xmas but by the time we got there and then took a minibus into town,
there was only an hour or so before the big Osprey ferry did its usual
run back to PM. ($30EC) Felt badly for these ancient creatures,
upside-down on land with their throats slashed. Last week I spotted a
small ‘land turtle’ crawling along the road and took his picture which
only alerted the neighbourhood children to his presence. I fear he ended
up in someone’s cooking pot.Sounds as if there is harvesting limitation
however — probably during breeding-season.

Bought some colourful sweet potatoes and passionfruit, which I don’t
think I’ve ever tried. A lot of seeds to try and eliminate for very
little, slightly tart juice.
airport
The sweet potatoes were very good — even cold they are tasty and sweet
with some salt. E got his smuggled big_screen TV after all, but he
thinks he may have to pay duty which will more than double the price.
His sister arrives tomorrow and presumably will be pleased to see big_TV
programs. I said I wasn’t particularly interested i n Direct-TV service
($20/mo) but E gave it to me until there were other guests./The good
news is that the boat’s owner didn’ t lose his boat and but lost the
goods from Grenada. He owns the biggest grocery store in town so we’ll
see how that all plays out…

I caught a tiny yellowfin fish off the pier this morning with my new
miniature rod — it doesn’t seem to cast though… which seems strange.
I will have him for breakfast tomorrow. Saw a barracuda in the water but
not sure if my rod could bring him in or not… Last week I bought a
spotted red fish called Hine — would like to catch one of those as it
was very tasty. Only the locals are permitted to take fish with spears.
Bought some lentils. white and red beans, popcorn, vegetable oil, tiny
yellow mild peppers which I eat raw, dried cocoanut for my curry rice
and three brown eggs — I have one with grated cheese on toast for
breakfast on my eating days. There’s a lady up the road who does a
little BBQ on Saturdays but so far that’s been a non-eating day
unfortunately.

The neighboring outlying islands — PSV and Union actually seem to be
moving in closer.

Well, I finally remembered that the semi-circular bar has to go back
from the reel in order to cast. So that went pretty well this morning
except that the line got all snarled and I didn’t catch anything. Or, as
the fishermen, who seem surprised to see me there on the pier, say, “are
you holding anything?” Cecilia, who owns/owned a guesthouse way up on an impossible/near vertical incline, was on the pier selling salt-ham
sandwiches ($5EC) and apple-juice. She asked me if I wanted to ‘leave’
here — finally realized that she was saying ‘live here.’ I’ll have to
go and visit what’s left of her PM museum.

New guests next-door: not sure where they’re from, maybe the UK. What a
ruckus! For hours they loudly argued about having to climb this hill to
the Palm Beach apartments and whether they should stay. (Plus they run
their TV with the DirectTV box,’all night/day long. I’m left with one
horrid HBO-family channel. ) The website _is misleading, I too thought
the apartments were apart of the restaurant-complex on the beach. But
no, it’s not an insignificant climb up here; but the view of the water
is great and I’m getting used to it. And the goats merely stare at me
now rather than attempting to run… as far as their tethers permit.

There are blue-uniformed female workers who travel to PSV on a boat in
the morning and return at dusk as I’m recording the birds. They don’t
look very happy. There’s some chance that I could get a ride over there,
but would be restricted as to where I could go. There are prerequisite
‘rich & famous security issues’

PM apparently has one of the highest personal incomes in the Caribbean.
Don’t really see it, unless it’s the smuggling and maybe fish sales..
There are five guesthouses on the island.. There was a Christmas
‘serande’ last night that I had expressed an interest in but I guess
they saw that I was sleeping — I asked to be awakened next time.

Finally fixed my fishing rod — all the line was wrapped-up in the gear
complex somehow. Wound some of the untangled line back on the reel.
Should be good to go tomorrow morning. Also have a short ‘mooching rig’
set-up with ‘plastic pumpkin power slugs .” If I manage to catch a nice
fish I will share it with visitors (from a MN dairy-farm, on the lam for
several years) down below at the Millennium Guest house (next door to
the Matthew’s grocery shop.)

almost caught a fish this morning from the fuel dock — they don’t allow
fishing because I guess that dissuades the yachts from coming in; but I
was there at dawn before they were open. Getting better with the rod and
reel — it doesn’t really work all that well, but it was only$9 or so
from Big Five sporting goods in Portland. I’ll try for some fish again
tomorrow. Curiously I couldn’t find any nutmeg in town, despite this
being the Spice Islands. Apparently it’s good i rum punch. Had some BBQ
chicken from Mammy up the road last night. Pretty good. There were a
lot of people milling about, probably spilled-over from the ‘serenading’
that I could occasionally hear… a fiddle, guitar, something
percussive… all out of tune. Apparently you can join in and go house
to house; hopefully that might be possible at some point. Some drunken
local youths were slaughtering and butchering a cow and a pig on the
pier — it’s the Xmas season.

This little 20-yr old Sharp PDA is working pretty well, aside from
phreaking-out and opening all applications in quick succession when
plugged-i to 220V power. I usually just write names of things and ideas
for the GIP books in my Moleskin book because I typically can’t read my
ow writing and it’s too much trouble to transcribe it all. I should be
able to download this txt file to my computer at home.

Big Christmas “White Dance” at the RC public school. Typically loud for
the Caribbean but only went fro 10pm to 5am, only that long because the
band was late arriving. I went down to look around while they were
testing the sound system and realized it was going to be way too loud
for me. But noticed some interesting wall-paintings of Grenada political
personages and an outline of PM history which I photographed this
morning while on my way to buy some more sweet potatoes (black vine)
$5EC/lb (this time.) Still no White Jack overproof rum (140) at
Matthew’s store (or anywhere else), he offered something that no one was
willing to pronounce more than twice, “Jack-and-I” (?) in unmarked plain
bottles for $25EC which I purchased. No fish, not even a bite, this
morning. E told me I should use bait (instead of a lure, but that always
seems like cheating somehow) — apparently there are nighttime snails
that can be used, I may relent. There is some latent hostility towards
visitors which of course surfaces after imbibing… one silly f*ckers
got all upset because I didn’t want to help him carry his trash along
the beach this morning while I was o my way to fish. Another drunkard
decided to berate me for not wanting to talk with him while on my way
home. People here have that irritating

Not only can I not detect the tourist-promotional fragrance of nutmeg
and other spices in the air. there is none to be had in any of the
stores!

Caught one tiny fish this morning which I’ll use for bait, and one big
fish snapped my fishing line, taking my brass lure, swivel and sinker as
well!

Missed an outdoor karokee event last night : that,s what happens when
you go to bed too early. Should be some sort of musical Christmas day
celebration this afternoon at one at the “fisheries building.” >>
nothing there most of the day except recorded pop/reggae, but tagged
along with a Christmas “serenade band” that visited peoples’ houses in
exchange for libation. Pretty cool tradition: fiddle, guitars, drum,
rythum blocks, gourd and tincan shakers. Was called a “stupid white
f*cker… and what are you doing here…” yes, and merry christmas to
you too. There is hostility toward “foreigners” but then, unless you’re
a direct descendant of the Awark or Carib Indians, then you “don’t
belong here” either. Most islanders are quite polite but it’s a veiled
British kind of response that’s difficult to read. The usual reply,
which I heard in Belize and Nicaraugua too, is “ok” or “alright” as if
you had asked “how are you?” It may be more frustrating attempting to
understand someone is likely speaking patois English rather than an
entirely different language…not too many phrasebooks for this.
Strangely enough, Cousin N (and I) are likely related to Scottish
shipbuilding forbears of one of the oldest families (Clement) on the
island! Took a picture of Clement tombstones on my morning walk today.
Some mornings it’s a near-humourous cacophony from several households’
very loud stereos all playing at once, along with all the goats braying
(?)

There may be some maritime tradition about discharging last year’s
flares… anyway. that’s what’s been happening here the last two days…
hard to imagine that they’d be very useful in locating a v vessel in
distress as they veer way beyond, although impressively high, the
ignition point.

Never had so much trouble with mosquitos… I’m wearing $5 worth of DEET
but they still find some unprotected patch. Another red flare! Hear some
singing down below. Three more! If I lived here it would have to be way
up on the hillside but that’s a strenuous climb! Wonder why so few of
the rooftops are painted white or jus t left plain galvanized steel…
most are blue, red, or green. Some more music from further up on the
hill… must figure out how to get up there with out getting too
scratched-up. Can’t be more than two or three households and microwave
tower…Two more flares.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The imagery in the 12hr project can be seen to poetically emulate the
blank, indifference typical of conceptual art and its documentation.
Yet. at the same time it’s clearly a dangerous affront to the conducive
elite and corrupt Artworld — there’s no other explanation for its
exclusion from their increasingly exclusive institutional discourse. The
12hr project has achieved its own orbit and raison d’etre. Perhaps this
is intimidating or alienating but what other recourse/discourse can it
expect? Well, at least some marginal acknowledgement and some financial
support! But no, after 30 years, there’s nothing but refusal and
indifference… the project has returned and enhanced this response; I’m
seriously, repeatedly and deliberately threatened afterall. Eventually I
will return fire and achieve maximum damage as per the Western maxim;
why not, it would be a very responsible response. Maybe I suspected all
along that my work would continue to be denied and so developed this
possibly corrosive aesthetic to shelter my poetry. It could be
rationalized safely in this manner but deep down it’s really much more
pristine and positive and curiously sheltered. You may notice a rhythmic
reoccurrence of sorted subject matters while the incidental lyrical
shots sketch a story-line that very few follow. Your history-tale is
just a big pack of lies after all. Snoop Dog cartoons. Slow rap. No
deal. Literally tens of thousands of people all over the world follow
this project now but sadly very very few decide to pay for this artwork.
There’s institutional-art which pays someone else and the rest which
pays nothing. Eliminating the art-institutions can only help alleviate
this absurd corrupt complicity. Meanwhile the art-acolytes grin and
incredulously, are seemingly grateful for the rare dribble of
chump-change in return for their insipid obeisance and betrayal. There’s
no middle ground here, you need to step way back from the table and
fight the architects of this dismal atrocity. Burn these
upper-middleclass social clubs masquerading as art-galleries/schools,
below the ground but not before nailing the administrators to the walls.
Record their screams and the sounds of ecstatic, licking flames as
glorious anthems to a restored, honest purpose. Rebuild from these newly
freed grassroots… The 12hr project has a Zen-like approach to
depicting an essentially non-existent present. The posted, internet
scans are close approximations of the printed photographs (whose
exhibition/printed-publication will likely continue to be denied as
well): they serve as FPOs (a production printing term meaning For
Position Only.) It’s serial, ostensibly populist nature (initially as
ISBN-books and faxes), denies exclusive Artworld nonsensical-hierarchies
and adapts seamlessly with Internet listservs, newsgroups, ftp-sites and
their mirrors, mailing-lists, and later, blogs and social-media. The
“twelveth hour” of impending destruction is ever-present and
simultaneously non-existent. There’s just a rarefied, residual,
reconstituted, uniquely-mediated poetic identity remaining…

#mce_temp_url#

But because the project demands some continuous, though slight effort
from recipients, it’s presumably discarded only because it’s not
conveniently, submissively packaged as rapid, received ‘critical’
inside-fodder-dissemination for the Artworld acolytes. Well,Yes , I
insist that you at least begin to understand the work before you open
your mouths and develop your hideous institutional ‘careers.’

Somali pirates of the Caribbean. I really wasn’t sure if it was a cop or
a just-released prisoner who accosted me outside the police-station this
morning: he was wearing a Grenada do-rag and tank-top and shorts, and
said something-something-island? I stood my ground and said “excuse me” and made him come to me. Drunken locals, beer bottle-in-hand, wander-into the precinct to shoot the breeze, but “foreigners” are treated
somewhat differently. I plan o becoming increasingly discourteous as my
departure date arrives. Wouldn’t mind visiting Union island and taking a
tour of the Tobago Keys, but moving around these parts is expensive. The
helicopter is in the air. But here’s the thing, I usually have similar
feelings on every island to some degree. I have this 10-10 flexible,
exponential axiom: if it takes 10 days to be acknowledged, then it’ll
likely take 10 years to be accepted, so this is likely a 20 year island.
Yet I suspect that I’m drawn to islands to in some way determine why I’m
routinely excluded, or why societies are apparently always based on
exclusionary principles. This is institutional logic, where the
overarching pseudo-precept preempts everything else that even dares to
attempt self-definition. I’m not the least bit surprised or alarmed by
~terrorism,~ just another name for ~freedom fighters~ what the hey….
displace, essentially-prolong and hopefully disrupt more of the same
privileged pointlessness. If there’s actually a God, beside deserving a
swift kick in the ass, his name should be Oblivion — unfortunately He’s
really not around any time soon. Listened to an Irish pastor (who’s
lived in Kenya) preach about the Potato-famine without once implicating
the government-of-the-day for needlessly causing its citizens to
starve-to-death. Why does corruption continue to usurp commonsense?

Had a big brown with speckles fish, interested in my lure, had to drag
it by him several times before he snapped at it. Must review my
fish-hook tying technique… have now lost all my lures! And as this is
a community of fishermen, who don’t tease the fish… there won’t be any
available here. as E said, fishermen use what they know works – bait –
Now he wants to charge me extra for electricity because I apparently run
the fan a lot. It’s necessary to keep the mosquitos at bay. The
Caribbean is starting to feel more and more like a rip-off for this
little fish. The goats are usually tethered from front ankle to stake
driven in the ground. Inevitably, they wind the cord around and around
the stake until they’re on very short tether. The herd from the house
just below, is sometimes stacked-out but today they were everywhere…
down by the school and the harbour and up above the house here. Maybe
they need to be tied-in-place once in a while so they (or their owners)
know where home-is. They’re horizontal irises make them seem
otherworldly, but always skittish and agile. Hope to include little
posterized folios of their heads for the GIP book.

Batteries are always an issue… I suspect it has something to do with
the 220V power-supply. My rechargeable AA cells which I use for my SW
radio no longer seem to enough of a charge to power the radio — same
story for the gumstick batteries for the Minidisc recorders…. despite
manufacturers claims of no-memory effect, the retention capability just
dwindles to nothing. Fortunately, the add-on AA battery pack which I
load with lithium cells helps-out. The battery-problem used to be worse
with the Fuji camera (I’d have to carry a few sets of AA’s with me
everyday); this new Nikon Coolpix runs a very long time on 2 AA
lithiums.

They somehow blow conch shells to announce the selling of fish on the
pier. Only Jack fish (mackerel I think: not so tasty) yesterday, so I
passed but E presented me with one this morning probably to appease this
rent/power increase. Even deep-fried, these fish are mealy… I may just
go or threaten to go, to Union Island… but that would cost a couple of
hundred.

Surprising how often guesthouse owners will tell you that it’s quite
safe and unnecessary to lock windows and doors… but, when _they leave
for the day, you always hear the locks.

BB’s travel-tips: apply your DEET (I use Ben’s 100%) _after your
sunscreen… also provides an especially curious sheen to your skin.

Purchase an extended-shank bicycle lock to secure common wardrobe closet
doors. I also travel with a heavy cable and Brinks key-lock for securing
either a bicycle or room. Third-world locks are not reliable and
key-copies circulate, especially on islands, despite there being an
apparent absence of locksmiths (?) Usually the locks are pretty-much
insignificant anyway as other points of entry are facile. Freaky! Only
because the prospect of recovering a PP/greencard is hellish within the
visa constraints.

I use a large Otter-box with miniature padlock, in combination sometimes
with a Pack-safe cable-mesh enclosure locked to something substantial to
secure passport and cash and electronics.

Copy of passport/greencard online and on mp3 players.

Never tell anyone the exact day of your departure as this when robberies
are most likely to occur — when you don’t have time to report the
incident.

Bring a short extension cord, multi-tap receptor, lightbulb socket
adaptor, sink sealer, rubber doorstops, duct tape, and laundry line.
You,ll use at least one of these everytime!

Tourist offices are often a good source for free postcards — a
significant savings if you send many.

New Years Day

After much stress and anxiety I decided to leave the “bug house” on PM.
Also picked-up a nasty centipede bite below my right eye and on my ear.
Happened at night while asleep under my mosquito net. I awoke to see my
swollen face in the morning, never saw the long black bugs with many
ridges that routinely invades the house. E told me they didn’t bite. At
first I thought it was a rash of mosquito bites and although opinion
seems divided, E thought it was a centipede (there’s a local name for
them which I forget.) Looks infected and swollen; applied Neosporone and
cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Hired a speedboat to take me to Union
Island (100EC – a little expensive I think) Went to the medical clinic
where they gave a free shot of hydracorasone. May go back again to have
them reexamine. Also will try the pharmacy for some penicillin ointment.
Staying at an apartment in Big Sand. (1100 EC per month plus power – I
overpaid $440US, which I’ll have subtracted from the power bill or next
month’s rent. This is very different island, with a different accent and
more relaxed attitude, popular with many visiting yachties. About 5000
people – more than 5 times PM population. Feels very peaceful with big
green waves crashing on the beach. Not so many mosquitos and the
apartment has window screens but I,ve setup my net this morning after
spotting a couple of bites from last night.

Sandflies here in the morning too. Picked up many new welts while
chatting with the Rasta who lives across the way. He says that I can go
to St Vincent and then to Beguia by ferry and that his sister has a
guesthouse in SV which apparently has the largest botanical garden in
the western hemisphere, which I’d sure to visit. Bequia is a whaling
community. We talked about snow and other natural disasters.’There is a
volcano in SV that is set to go. He recommended the movie 2012. Pretty
much everyone here on this street seems to be related. A neighbour’s dog
took one of my shoes from the porch, but I found it. Walked into Aston
then back over to Clifton where I got some Fucidin H antibiotic from the
pharmacy for my inflamed facial centipede bite. The pharmacist said if
this doesn’t work I’ll to take an oral antibiotic.

I’m looking forward to my eating-day tomorrow. I cooked some rice and
beans with lentils and carried back some curry, hot sauce, box of
matches, tiny green peppers like I had in PM, tin of cocoanut milk,
sardines, three tomatoes. postcards, and a sitting shelf figurine made
in Haiti for V. I.ll probably spend much of the sitting in the sun and
drinking overproof PM rum, on the private pier out behind the apt.

Post office was closed today for inventory but while in Clifton I heard
the sound the sound of a conch shell being blown and knew there were
fresh fish being sold, Bought a nice yellow fin tuna (4 lbs @ 8EC per)
Carried it home and cleaned it on the beach then fried it on the propane
stove in my apt, I broke my fasting rule but only meant to have a small
sample taste, Oh, is it ever good! Still plenty left for a few more
meals. The dog who stole my shoe has become more friendly after
watching me with the fish, Put a few scraps of my fish on hooks dangling
from the pier. A lot of wave action and rocks but there were little
green and yellow striped fish nibbling at the bait so maybe some bigger
ones will show-up.

Union Island History (from a sign on the island):

The first European settlers to arrive on Union Island were Frenchmen.
Jean Augler and Antoine Regaud, who settled here as early at 1763 with
350 slaves. Twenty years later, following the Treaty of Versaillies in
1783, Union Island like the other Grenadines Islands was placed under
the control of England, with Samuel Span and his family becoming the
first owner of the island. To this day there remains a reminder of this
family, in the form of a family cemetery in Ashton. In 1850 the Spans
sold Union Island to Major Collins from St Vincent. He in turn leased
the island to a Scotsman, Charles Mulzac in 1863. The lease was 150
pounds per annum. Along with some of the other Grenadines, Union Island
produced an exceptionally fine strain of cotton, known as
“Marie-Galante.” On his father’s death in 1893, Charles Mulzac’s son
Richard took over the lease of Union Island. His tenure was short. In
1898 a hurricane, coupled with a poor cotton harvest, forced him to sell
his interest in Union Island to a Vincentian, Mr Richard. Twelve years
later in 1910 the British Crown bought the island in what was known as
“the Union Island settlement scheme.” They parceled out 2 acre and 4
acre plots for the local population at favourable credit rates. In 1969
colonial states yielded to “Associated statehood” and ten years later in
1979, St Vincent and the Grenadines became a sovereign independent
nation within the British Commonwealth.

Getting a little annoyed having to leap off the road every time a car
races past.

Went to the Tobago Cayes Marine Park office and Tourist Bureau and
picked up a big pile of brochures about SVG and conservation efforts, as
well as a weekly copy of the Vincentian newspaper (1EC) Headline for Dec
31 reads: “Eight Murders remain Unsolved.” Also some old copies of
Caribbean Compass monthly boating tabloid – very interesting to read
(boaters are being attacked and robbed at various Caribbean night
moorages) and reminded me to look around for Latitude 41 when I get
home, although maybe I should resubscribe to Freshwater News too.

Now the bottom of my right eye is red, don’t know whether some
antibiotic ointment travelled there or whether it’s an eyelash or
something wedged in.

Also had a look at the fancy yacht complex and airport runway next door.
Told Hazel, who runs a clothing shop next to the Clifton Beach
restaurant, that I had paid too much in rent (44EC or 76EC if you use
the 2.67 bankrate — I’ll be paying in EC next month) and that Y(?) her
sister (who runs the hotel I think and my apartment, that the excess
could be applied to my electricity bill. All the dogs are excited about
something outside but it’s usually very peaceful out here. And even i
town while you occasionally hear loud music, it’s nothing like the loud
cacophonies of PM.

Went into town this morning after a big breakfast of more tuna,
cocoanut-curry rice, and red and black-eyed peas with lentils along a
good wallop of hot sauce (sometimes I guess that peppery foods repel
mosquitos…], to mail postcards. ($1EC) While waiting for the TC
Marine Park office to open I purchased an expensive small glass of fruit
punch ($10EC) Apparently I can catch a ride with the park rangers if I
come to the office at 8 am tomorrow morning. There are fairly cool
T-shirts for sale down by the wharf, various colour combinations with
two sayings: Sail Fast/Live Slow or Sail More/Work Less — rather pricey
@45EC but if I get a free ride tomorrow I’ll get one. Likely blue on
orange. Not wanting to waste the 25 minute walk back home (although I
have found a dirt road shortcut), I purchased three boxes of juice (two
pineapple and one fruit punch) @ $9EC — much more expensive here than
PM, which implies that they really are avoiding taxes/duty or something.
This is very obvious with liquor prices. Also spotted a guy wearing a
Scaramouche crew T-shirt and asked about the traditional sailing
excursions to Maureaux, and I forget where else (200EC including lunch
for the day.) Saw a brief spiel about the ship on the TV tourist channel
but looking at it in the harbour from a difference she didn’t really
look all that special, assuming that I was looking at the correct boat,
she was flying a Canadian flag off the stern. The owner was sitting
astride a motorcycle next to the crew member and finally piped up to say
that they may or may not depart Thurs, Fri or Sat. Captain Yannis
cruises is another cheaper possibility but it’s just a big fiberglass
multihull. I’ll start with the rangers tomorrow. There’s a ship’s
chandlery shop in Clifton which I somehow associate with the owner on
motorcycle, that sells even more expensive and foreign groceries —
frequented by yachties in the morning for coffee and croissants; on
parle francais. Maybe one day. Very breezy this morning out on my
essentially private pier; big rolling green breakers. .. The dogs are
pretty bored (they like to chase the horny rooster that I hear every
morning), but they sit together and stare wistfully down the beach,
occasionally going for a brief dip in the sea. The old billy-goat is
tethered in the middle of the yard and will be under the picnic bench by
midday. I am beginning to discern the differences between goats and
sheep, at first I thought they were all goats on PM until Pam (along
with her partner Bill, originally from Minnesota then living in Be…for
five years until they were deported, informed me that there were sheep i
the mix. They look very similar, the goats a little more sinister.

The only edible tropical orchid, Vanilla planifolia (also known as
fragrans), which was originally cultivated around the Vera Cruz area of
Mexico, produces 99 percent of the world’s vanilla. Another genus,
Vanilla tahitensis, cultivated in Tahiti, produces beans with a stronger
aroma but weaker flavour. Vanilla pompona or Antilles Vanilla is
cultivated in the West Indies. Only saffron and cardamom are more
expensive spices than vanilla — the world’s most labour intensive crop.
Vanilla orchids are now grown in many tropical climates with
three-quarters of the world’s supply coming from Madagasgar. Because of
demand and expense, 97% of vanilla used is synthetic.

Well, I’m no longer interested in a Tobago Cayes T-shirt! The Marine
Park office repeatedly lied about the ride over with the rangers being
free. Turns out they want a “tip.” At first 80EC then finally 50EC and
they lied about taking me to a few islands and swimming with the
turtles. I just got dumped off on an island with rich tourists from
neighboring yachts willing to pay $120EC for a lobster dinner. Was
interesting to listen to the stoned ‘cooks’ carry-on amongst themselves
while playing dominos. I guess I was expecting a more pristine
environment, less trash, and something more than a yachters’ picnic
site. The water’s a nice colour. The ride was ridiculously ‘bumpy’,
slamming repeatedly down from wavecrests, really poor boat handling —
they probably wonder why their boat takes on so much water. Saw the
Cap’n Yannis catamaran over there and am no longer interested in that
dreadful tour either. I’ll just take it easy tomorrow, maybe visit the
fort in the morning or the next day. The parrot fish are brilliantly
coloured and have beak-like mouths; you can hear them too, They scrape
algae from the reef and pulverize the coral with their powerful jaws.
What they don’t need as nutrients passes through them as sand — an
adult parrot fish cam create a ton of sand every year.

Visited the fort today; quite a climb to see a pretty unremarkable
remains of a 16th C French fort. Why do we seemingly cherish contiguous
oppressive military refuse? Nice view though, I can now identify all the
islands within sight.

Basin Pond: (another sign)

This pond is part of the most extensive complex of 18th Century ruins on
Union Island. It was built between 1750 & 1763 by Jean Augler, one of
the island’s first French settlers. Basin, the largest of the island’s
ponds, stored and provided water for plantation slaves. It was entirely
paved with local stone, and cemented with heated coral and conch shell.
After emancipation in 1834, Basin Pond continued to be a main source of
water for local people. Up until the 1950s it was still used for washing
and watering animals.

Went down the road (none are named in these parts) to Gordon’s Bar and
Grill (there is no grill). actually a pretty spiffy green and yellow
place on a nice sandy beach with additional little cabanas and music by
Sam (who I’ve met but not heard yet) on Sundays. Other than that it
seems pretty much deserted, so I practised my snorkeling and made some
movies with my tiny, underwater ankle-cam, and collected dozens of
intriguing coral bits which I photographed back at the apartment. This
imagery may be intercut with the ankle-cam films and possibly outlined
and used as folios for my GIP book.

Then I went into Clifton to pick-up some more free postcards from the TC
Marine Park office — they visibly stiffened as I came in the door ;)
Was also looking to buy another fish and possibly record the conchshell
or pan music (Saturday’s probably a better bet for that), but instead,
made some fairly good, surreptitious recordings of domino games: lots of
slamming, shuffling and swearing in some patois I only partially
understand. No fish though, so instead I bought some bacon ($13EC, from
Wisconsin and frozen probably many years ago) at a little shop that’s
quite close to where I live — along with a big bottle of Mauby
concentrate, and a jar of SVG peanuts ($9EC). Her prices might be a
little better than in town where the rich yachties shop. Cooking the
bacon drove the dogs wild — especially when I poured-out the bacon
grease into the sand.

So for breakfast (my major meal), I had a fried egg, cheese, tomato
(very good here), bacon toasted sandwich followed by fruit-punch, my
rice and beans/lentils with hot sauce, and a nice cold glass of Mauby.

Had a little nap, maybe too much food all of a sudden and the rain this
morning.. Very dry here year-round; all the islands are really quite
arid — cactii are common. Thought to try and get a postcard to William
and Pam, originally from Wisconsin (did I cover this already?) who are
staying at the Millennium Guesthouse on PM. Will try to visit St Vincent
this month but I’m a little nervous about possible immigration nonsense,
even though it’s the same country. Sky has now brightened-up, typical
tropical downpour.

“ginger ales are 10c a glass if you don’t like that, you can kiss my
hairy ass”

went into town this afternoon and did some more domino recording…
gradually I’m being acknowledged there, but buying a couple of guiness
stout ($6EC) when hardly anyone buys anything, probably helps…
wandered back home and thanked the pharmacist for her help… people
don’t recognize me easily when they see my haircut instead of the Tilley
hat… it does keep me cool and doesn’t blow off (interesting design
that flexes with the wind, but somewhat squeakily…)’but it may be too
‘dorky.’unless I can batter it up a little, Another person I passed on
the road was surprised that I didn’t recognize him from PM , but with or
without my hat I’m bound to be more identifiable than local folks. I’m
also wearing my red mesh tanktop today (and all this week) which may be
significant. I see red flags flying at houses and hear of socialist
tendencies.

Different newspaper this week: Searchlight — purchased from the
taxi/minibus “Messenger.” Headline for Friday January 8 reads: Storm in
Bike Crash (Prime Minister’s Son undergoes emergency surgery in
Barbados) Will mail this big pile of postcards today. No music at
Gordon’s last night. The barkeep was asleep in a lounge chair. No
customers. The big white place with columns next door (Big Sand Hotel)
doesn’t seem to have any guests either.

Mailed the cards after waiting 20 minutes for the postmistress who
finally called to say she was at the clinic… and someone who was there
all along sold me the stamps. I guess civil ‘servants are the same
everywhere. The pharmacist passed through and said hello. They were
selling those little silver fish with the big eyes again. All you can
really do with them is deep-fry them whole — not especially tasty. Took
some pictures of the con/hshell blower and fish transactions and bought
some lettuce. 8 small tomatoes and a papaya ($19EC); vinegar from
Lambi’s ($6EC — there’s laid-back and then there’s arrogant
indifference that’s becoming too apparent there) Then back home stopping
at “J’s” for 3 boxes of pineapple juice (just $7.50EC there; and 3 eggs.
My hat frightened the little girl there I think. Made a simple salad
which I’m eating now.

(sign in Ashton):

You are now in Ashton, the second major town on Union Island. Union
Island (13.7 sq mi) is located 44 miles south of mainland St Vincent, It
is the second largest and most southerly of the Grenadine islands. Mount
Tabor, its highest peak, rises to 1000 ft. The island’s population of
approximately 2000 people is concentrated within the 2 main towns,
Clifton and Ashton. Union Island Island was settled as early as 5400 BC
by tribes from South America. However the present population is a
mixture of African and European descendants. The French were the first
Europeans, arriving before 1763. They were followed by the British, to
whom the French ceded the island in 1763. Slavery was abolished in 1834.
Thereafter some residents continued to cultivate the land, growing
mainly corn and peas. Many however, beccame seafarers. Today this
tradion continues and is supported by the island’s fishing and tourism
industries. Do enjoy your stay on our beautiful and friendly island.

Radio reception is poor here, even with the amplified antennae, which
I’m beginning to wonder about… of course, on PM I was way up on a
steep hill. Trying to listen to Radio Paradise 820 AM from St. Lucia.
Took another shot out my front door toward B’s (cute girl from St Lucia
and her aged US husband). On PM the repeated shot was toward Union
Island. Did I mention that the papaya was very good? Saved the seeds in
order to try and propagate at home.

The icecube tray shattered into a dozen pieces as I tried to extract the
cubes. The PM place had much better culinary tools but E was the cook at
his restaurant. I’ll head down to the pier and work on the watercolors
shortly. There’s no plausible reception point for any of my artwork so
it’s really an ongoing process, much like my 12hr-project. I’m starting
to overpaint (usually not a good idea for watercolours) the work from
Nicaragua. Some look pretty good; I’ll just keep going as much out of
spite… Had some sardines in tomato sauce and fed the remainders to the
little dog next door — surprised to see that the aggressive dog made no
moves, as he did with the bacon-grease. A=mazed at the sound this made
across the concrete deck… I’ll try to record something like it… A
coupe passed-by accompanied by the dog-chorus… no response but I was
wearing a miniscule swimming outfit.

Made some films of my pocket-kite flying off the pier. Wandered down to
J’s for a couple of Guinness Foreign Extras and seeing as they were out
of peanuts, I settled for some junkfood: cheeseballs and Pringles. This
morning (breezy and overcast: rain seems more likely in the early a.m.)
I made some more cocoanut-curry rice, this time I used canned c-milk but
had to add a little water at the end. Took a couple more pinholes from
the pier and one of B’s house (more seagrape foliage in the foreground
than house) before the sandflies drove me inside. Will look for some
more salad ingredients today. >> sudden brief tropical downpours >> the
girl in the Let Me Go bar and shop told me that the rainy months are
September and October and that the community library might open at 3
p.m. >> small bag of green beans (to add to my tossed salad), giant
papaya, small different kind of cantaloupe, onion (which I,ll use in an
omelette tomorrow), and cucumber (that I sliced-up and made into a
separate salad) = $21EC Y came by in a shared taxi and the driver
offered me a free ride the rest of the way home but I thanked him and
said I liked the walk, even though the one section of dirt road turned
out to be quite muddy. Went out to the pier and started to work on the
watercolours but quickly turned very windy and the rain started-up
again. Photographed some hummingbirds but stayed inside mostly listening to Radio Barbados and reading tourist info on St Vincent. Y loaned me a book on early Union Is entrepreneurs (augustus king mitchell… by
Gloria Stewart Morgan) and newspaper clippings. Apparently the
courthouse and historical records were set afire by two men awaiting
trial in 1979 — a small park in Clinton is on the site. Adjacent to it
is a semi-circle of brightly-painted vegetable stands. I’ve been buying
my produce from an older stand farther down the road, thinking it might
be cheaper there. I was surprised to learn that even here where the soil
is good, all the produce is imported from SV! The economy has been
Westernized I guess, as people used to grow most of their food.

Am wondering if my facial bug bite, which is nearly all healed was
caused by a scorpion. There’s a huge brown bug with long antennae that
lives behind the kitchen splashboard. He ‘sings’ a cricket-like song; at
first I thought it coming from outside or perhaps some squeaking part of
the refrigerator. Very sad news about the earthquake in Haiti. Being
Black and French I doubt much aid will materialize from the West.

Tried to exchange some money ($1000 US) at the only bank (big
flat-screen TV playing CNN ‘news’ about Haiti); they wanted ID and
didn’t accept a copy of my passport. I’m concerned they may notice
(perhaps needlessly) the absence of SVG visa-stamp, so maybe I’ll do
this in SV. I should probably carry that much cash anyway in case
something goes wrong, as it always does. Having waited in line for 40
minutes, I took my time putting away my ID and then tossed their
calendar back in the pile; did a good eye-roll and left. Why ask for ID?
I’d save about $70 on a grand with the bank rate. Saw Sam walking with
some white girl, he called me by name before I remembered who he was —
but I’m probably more distinctive than most here. (There are some pretty
inventive DIY haircuts here and sometimes they acknowledge mine.) In
tourist literature they say the locals have a good memory for faces,
maybe it’s true.

Put out the laundry for Shirley to pick-up. Exchanged money with no
problems. Called the MV Barracuda but it’s in the shipyard ’til maybe
next week. Will try to visit SV then. Happened upon a brief Big Drum
performance by primary and secondary students, intended for US PBS
travel programme. Shot some films and stills with the little Nikon. The
dance was performed for rain and courtships. Interesting to see how
pleased the locals were – some older folks were dancing off to one
side… PBS was so focused on their commentator they missed it. Topped
up my cellphone at the LIME office in Clifton.and got a SVG phone
directory. Bought some bread from the central market $3EC and some more
pineapple juice, Sunset Rum (84.5% alcohol). and three more eggs from
J’s ($32.50 EC) Looking forward to shopping in Kingstown; should be
much cheaper, Hope to buy some bootleg CDs of tinpan music, a pair of
locally fashionable, shinney white sunglasses with black lenses,
groceries and rum. Sat out on the pier again and worked on the
watercolours this afternoon. Walked into Ashton by way of Baddu (much
shorter) and bought popcorn, salt-fish ($12EC/lb), and onions. Inquired
about the BBQ but it’s not happening this week. Soaked some of the fish
for an omelette in the morning. Will take a shower now and make the bed,
then read more about Union Is entrepreneurs.

Followed the road and the a ‘track’ along Richmond Bay past a couple of
houses’ and a gated passageway toward the higher Zephyr hills. Saw some
probably abandoned, ransacked guesthouses and another mini-fortress with no apparent entrance that is only identified on one map as a ‘ruin.’ Got
tried of avoiding being scratched, scraped, and stuck in the overgrown
bush (‘burn bush’ and cactii) so didn’t proceed any farther — not
likely too much to see as the power poles didn’t continue either.
Wandered back home for rum punch and watercolours. Took some hour-long pinhole photos of the sky initially (too cloudy to see the circling
stars; another night) and the fanciful architecture across the way.
Watched a few installments of ‘Cash Cab’ on TV last night – still an
intriguing programme. The Rasta brother was chanting and rattling
outside. New Moon. Will attempt to see Mt Olympus and maybe the Chatham Estate today (a non-eating day: some Spice Black tea (with lime) that I packed.)) Next year I’d like to visit Netherland’s ABC islands (Aruba,
Bonaire, Curacao.)

Belmont Salt Pond sign:

This wetland has provided Union Island with salt since the times of its
earliest ancestors. During the 1700s, its “white gold” was also shipped
off to Europe by French & British colonizers. The island’s climate is
perfect for saltmaking — low rainfall, a warm breeze and lots of
sunshine for evaporation. High temperatures concentrate the sea water in
the wetland, forming layers of salt on its surface. Salt is usually
harvested from March to the beginning of the rainy season. In a good
year, thousands of pounds may be collected by hand. The wetland is a
nursery for many young fish and other sea creatures. It also provides an
important habitat for local and migrating birds, including herons and
ducks. Please help us to keep this wetland clean, and maintain its
centuries-old tradition.

Another Rasta from the same building has a big Isuzu truck and I asked
him if he could bring me a case of Guiness sometime but he says it will
cost nearly $100EC for 24 including deposit, so that’s about $4EC each.
Not a big savings over buying one at a bar for $6EC. Somehow I managed
to walk to Chatham Bay. The maps suggest this is not possible. It’s not
even mentioned in any guide book, even the local ones, but it’s easily
the most stunning locale that I’ve seen thus far on the island!
Beautiful beach and water with only a few beach bars, half a dozen boats
anchored close to shore, pelicans, and very quiet. At the far end of the
beach there’s this totally unexpected, very fancy, open-air
bar/restaurant complex that’s more than a little incongruous with
swimming pool and white pleather sofas! Amazing! I might go there
tomorrow for a BBQ and hear Sam’s music but it’s a fair, hour’s trek
over there and I’d have to head home before it gets dark. I doubt the
so-called dollar buses (a charter trip is $20EC) go there, you’d need a
four-wheel drive to make it down the rutted steep decline. There’s a
short cut through the bush following a dry watershed, but it’s pretty
arduous – going up at least. Thankfully I had my walking stick. Noticed
another road that might go to Bloody Bay, but someone told me that it
was “bushed over,” and accessible only by boat. Also a “track” that
might go to Mt Olympus. The island is quite bristling with 12hr imagery.
I’ll keep taking them but will likely wait for a few years before
processing them. I’ve already scanned over ten year’s worth and many of
the prints have still not been scanned even once. I can insert new
imagery with the “+” designation. Delaying processing will only decrease
contrast which is what I’m after anyway. There are gravel makers here
too, like in Thailand.

(another sign): Union Island, like its neighboring islands throughout
the Caribbean, has seen a succession of inhabitants in pre-colonial
times. The earliest evidence came from petroglyphic drawings found in
these areas (Grenada, St Vincent and Canouan), which indicate that the
Ciboney people were here as early as 5400 BC. They used primeval boats
of raft kind and made progress gradually into the Caribbean from the
South American coast lands. Their out-at-sea canoes exceeded 20 metres
in length. It is only much later, in the centuries preceding the
Christian era that other migrating waves of Amerindians, Arawaks and
Caribs followed in the path of the Ciboney people. The Caribs and
Arawaks originally came from the Orinoco Basin and traveled as far north
as Puerto Rico.

This bought vegetables from CJ’s stand in the square. Better prices I
think: several small tomatoes, cucumber, papaya, grapefruit, for $15.
And more Sunset Rum ($28EC this time), peanut butter (Marouks from T&T: $10), and crackers ( Crix also from TriniD $3.50)

Sitting on the porch ledge and suddenly bitten by some sand flies just
as a sudden shower started. Didn’t last 60 seconds. Earlier I layed in
the sun and had a swim in the third little beach down from me, but
washed all my Deet off. Brought the air mattress down but gave-up trying
to inflate it by mouth. The gasoline vendor in Clifton has a compressor,
so I’ll have to bring it over sometime. Made some ankle-cam films
including one of a little yellow crab with delicate white pincers. Not
at all like the bigger, crusty dark crabs that you see on the shore
rocks. (Not sure the camera is capable of focusing that close.) If you
sit very still they will eventually emerge from their sand burrows. This
one could walk forwards as well as sideways.

Another onion, tomato. cheese omelette with salt-fish. A little tired
this morning, maybe it’s all the food. Making another …

Spent the day working on the watercolors; using both sides of the paper
so they’ll be 100 when I’m done. Will scan their current state when I
get home and post an album to my websites and facebook. “Waters.” Many
people at and just down the road a bit from Gordon’s — it being Sunday
night. Making another Big Sand recording and will see how close I can
get to Bloody Bay (site of master/slave massacre), this morning, once
the threat of rain diminishes. Should try and pick up some groceries too
although I have plenty of cooked rice and beans, a still a little salt
fish and cucumber salad to eat tomorrow.

OK, I walked around Mt Olympus the other way (counterclockwise). past
Bloody Bay and Chatham Bay — up quite high so could see the rain coming
in finely veiled curtains across the water and hillsides. Saw Sam making
his way back from the Chatham beach bars, guitar slung over shoulder —
apparently he played for some people aboard a big white catamaran last
night and then slept on the fancy sofas in the big Italian bar. Spotted
a big land tortoise and walked part way down a track that might go to
Rapid Point (Sam says it’s a deadend at a quarry, but then he’s never
heard of Bloody Bay), before it turned overgrown. Walked and walked and
walked through Ashton and way out to the western end of the island along
an excellent concrete road, financed by the good ol’ Canadian gov’t,
that just suddenly ends. No one seems to live alongside it for some
reason — it is pretty windy — and other than an ancient French
plantation-era, unused pond/reservoir and the rusted remains of some
sort of quarry machinery, there were no other structures to be seen. The
tourist map indicates a Miss Irene bay or beach and a Miss Irene point.
I’ll have to ask Y who she was/is. So, back through Ashton where I
bought popcorn, kidney beans, fruit puch in a box, 4 eggs (they’re a
dollar each!), and a box of matches = $20EC

The Barracouda, MV Rita, MV Gem Star, Bequia Express, Admiral, Geronimo and Glenconner are mostly family-owned ships. I had just read an article about the Barracouda mailboat and its continual, reliable service for 15 years with only two mishaps, so I was disappointed to hear last week
that she was in the shipyard. Hopefully I’ll be able to take the 5 hour
trip this Friday morning (6:30 a.m.) I may walk around Kingstown and the
botanical gardens for a few hours and then catch another ferry to Bequia
(Carib: land of clouds) and stay there overnight, catching an early
morning ferry back to Kingstown in time to pick-up some groceries and
board the Barracouda to Union Is. Did some more w/c on the beach but the
fine, sticky sand is getting in my paints, and all over me as well.
Interesting to see the wind create turbulence across the surface of my
w/c water, just as it does across the sea.

“Cuba before 1959 was a land of plenty for a handful of people and
misery and extreme indigence for the vast majority. It was a playground
of the mafia.” – Gonsalves SVG PM

Watched ‘Rabbit-proof Fence” on IFC again while waiting for the skies to
clear a little. Went downtown in search of Callicou soup but ended up in
this little unnamed place off the main street for a “little lunch”
(EC$10 + 3 for a 500ml Sprite), quite good chicken plus salad, rice.
Inadvertently followed the owner to the jetty where I bought some
“dolphin” (bares little resemblance to what it is commonly called) and
a slice of *Kingfish” for $10EC. Only tourists apparently like tuna
(that would be me); the dolphin is much sweeter — we’ll see on
Thursday. Headlines from the last copy of the Vincentian this week:
Another Pit Bull Attack! – big purple letters: “Mr Raleigh Baptiste, a
welder of Gibson Corner, was in his yard picking tangerines…” Met
‘Sam’ but apparently that’s the bartenders’ name, really it’s Raphael
Socony Holder, and his CD which he now reluctantly sold me for $10EC
(and refused my GIP card) is called “Which Part Don’t You Understand?” I
have no way of listening to it now and really have no idea if it’s good
or not. He seemed so flippant about the transaction that it could mean
one thing or another… earlier I went into the Kash & Karry mart to buy
buy some more funny peanuts in the glass bottle and the decided to buy a
Guiness Foreign Extra Stout — gosh, it’s really tasty… that got me
chattering to the proprietor about Island history which was going pretty
well despite his recalcitrant nature, until I fumbled the name of the
most western point… Janet? N? ok, yes it’s haha Irene Point. Bye-bye
and thanks.

Will try and see if the libraries are open today and maybe record the
children at the primary school.

Memorial Plaque:

This plaque is erected to the memory of all the African Slaves that died
in Union Island during the time of slavery. This Plaque is also
dedicated specially to the 53 slaves who died during a period of months
(Sept 1737 – July 1738) as a result of the harsh living conditions amd
cruel slave drivers of that time. This was the same period wehn cotton
production increased one hundred and twenty percent and the time of
major infrastructural development. May they rest in peace.

Ended-up walking around the second higher tier.. almost to the top of
the radio-tower hill but was dissuaded by dogs whose barking echoed
ominously off the rocky cliff-face. Walked through the village of
Donalson and then back into Clifton past the government school where I
heard singing at about 9 a.m., so will bring the recorder one morning at
that time. Bought some fish seasoning and I have one lime left for my
meal tomorrow. Thought about buying a bottle of red Ju-C (Big 16 (oz)),
primarily to photograph, but didn’t want to carry it about. Will check
on the Barracouda tomorrow, if it’s running I’ll be able to buy
groceries economically in Kingstown Saturday. Sat in a few places
downtown and watched the goings-on; read the entire issue of January’s
Caribbean vegetable sellers has a great singing voice, so I’ll try to
record her one day as well. Tried to have a little nap as I was up late
watching some movie (an old Jack Nicholson I think and a young girl
returning to a little-known family homestead and unearthing the
reluctant past…) on IFC. Wandered down the road to the Big Sand Hotel
with this Zaurus device to see if there was free WIFI signal — but no.
Now sitting on the pier writing this, the dogs come-up hoping to be
petted but I learned my lesson in Thailand.

“Let our quietly attentive staff infuse your sojourn with seamless grace
and gentle discretion…” Canouan resort

I like how the Vincentian newspaper runs their headlines into adjoining
pictures, sometimes reversing or coloring the type in the image-space.
This style wouldn’t have been feasible in the pre-digital typesetting
days, as too much of the picture would have been obscured. The roosters
are ‘crowing.’ The dolphin was good; the kingfish unremarkable.
Finished-off the cocoanut-curry rice, will make some more once I hear
about the Barracouda today. New maximum price for gasoline is
$11.15EC/gal.

Walked over to Chatham Bay and at first sat on the comfy lounge chairs
waiting for the bar to open but soon the rich chartered yachties
clambered to shore and started yacking about their annuities. I left and
went down the beach to what I’d hoped were less expensive
establishments, and who knows, maybe they really were… but the
Sunshine Bar wanted $8EC for a beer. I bought two and declined their
offer of a ^not too expensive fishcake lunch” and headed home early.
When an employee has to look at the owner to see what to charge for a
beer, (and the price on the menu, which I’d looked at earlier, is less)
you know something’s up. Sometime’s I can’t be bothered arguing about
prices and instead decide to never return. I suppose it’s difficult to
constantly encounter all that offshore ostentation and not want to reap
a little of that indifferent wealth, but it would be difficult to assume
that I belong in that privileged swagger. The one brown chicken has
returned for more popcorn. There really are some beautiful ones here,
but now she seems to be particularly interested in my toes. I called J’s
GH in Bequia and reserved a $100EC room in Bequia. I’m thinking I’ll do
this trip repeatedly; next week is some Blues Festival so maybe I’ll
reserve from there tomorrow.

Rolled my luggage up to the gardens in about 20 minutes. Botanical
Gardens (founded in 1765 by a British army medic, it’s the oldest in the
western hemisphere) : brandy & coconut water, cinnamon leaf and ginger
tea; red snapper and avocado; mace from the nutmeg used as seasoning for
pasta. Eron was my very informative guide. Every guidebook recommends
hiring a guide ($20EC); explanations of the various trees and plants
were fascinating: teaks, mahogany, ironwood, cannonball, Australian
pine, travellers’ and king palms, Souffriere tree (national flower),
Bermuda Cedar, breadfruit (a descendent of Cap’n Bligh’s trees brought
as cheap food for British Caribbean slaves, mimosa family of plants that
contract revealing thorns when you touch them, Norfolk pine… Some are
extinct in their natural habitat and many are not indigenous but the
climate supports many species. And of course the beautiful, talkative,
nearly extinct, multi-colorful national bird. the Vincentian Parrots
(Amazona Guildingii), all busy munching away on fruit slices.

I was just about to ‘write’ something when I dropped the stylus and the
point broke off on this tile floor.. I was going to remark that one of
the gang of dogs has forgotten me in my absence — which sets all the
others off… Babylon! Can you believe these wicked boatmen? The
Barracouda had problems again and left me with problems in SVG after
returning from Bequia (really just another boutique island that just as
well might be another exclusive one). And there’s no steel pan music to
be had on the street anyway! I was prepared to make a major
investment/offer and buy about a dozen or more CDs, which seem to
usually go for $10EC — a little steep for bootleg copies. There were
banners about a SVG Customs compliance day this month. Compared with PM they’re already paying way too much. it would be interesting to visit
Martinique and Guadeloupe (where PM boatmen apparently pick up these
deals) but not sure how I might proceed from this point — I guess it
would have to be by water somehow and my return flight could get
complicated. There was this enormous cruiseship (bigger than any warship
I’ve seen, but maybe that was what it really was) docked in SVG just as
I returned from Bequia and sitting on a streetcurb eating a
fried-chicken sandwich and a bake (big fried blob of dough) — suddenly
the complexion of the place changes drastically as the passengers
disembark. It may as well be a VR experience. Curiously there doesn’t
seem to be resentment or hostility from the locals. There’s an
underlying joviality at times that can giveway to a sudden “running of
the mouth” such as I witnessed while waiting/hoping to get passage on
the Guidance, a little cargo boat that I had to take back to Union Is.
along with way too many passengers mixed with cargo that just kept
coming dockside and included just about everything except livestock, or
maybe that was us. Hard to tell if it’s fairly efficient or chaotically
ridiculous — the goods, each scrawled with a name and an island and
probably accompanied by a cellphone call, along with many distressed
senders and receivers coming on board and making demands, but it sort of
seems to pan-out. There’s a crowd on each dock waiting for Guidance as
well. Off to bed; very tired.

There was a very young, fragile and fair-complexioned, maybe Swedish
couple, maybe brother and sister on the Guidance who despite an umbrella
and applying sunscreen visibly reddened on their passage to Mayreau. A
couple of hours into the trip, the captain perhaps started thinking less
about his cargo and erected a tarpaulin shade over part of the main
deck. I think, in maritime law at least, the captain is responsible for
any passengers and crew. He had several mostly young boys who worked
quite hard slinging boxes and sacks into and out-of the hold and decks,
but they seemed pretty jovial. As on the ferries, they troll a very long
line for fish, and caught a small barracuda.

Made some cocoanut rice with shelled peas from the SV market ($7EC) this
morning, and got the beans and lentils soaking. Amazing assortment and
quality of produce there; also bought a small bag of small tomatoes
($1EC), “heap of big limes” ($2EC), bag of hot little peppers ($2EC),
pound of (unfortunately), unsalted roasted peanut ($6EC), bunch of
sweet little ripe bananas ($1.50EC green ones are cheaper), jar of
dry-roasted peanuts as a treat ($10EC), copy of T&T Newsday from
Thursday January 21 (headline: “2010 murder toll reaches 30: Fireman
Shot 18 Times”), and three litre bottles of Sunset rum, which filled-up
my little rolling bag. Imagine how stressed I was to get to the ferry
dock with all this heavy stuff and find that the Barracouda wasn’t
running! Prices were not as dramatically better than Union’s than I’d
guessed. The Barracouda as well as the four Bequia Express ferries were
made in Norway complete with Norwegian signage.

The downtown part of Bequia that I managed to see was a somewhat
disappointing loud, touristy zone with many chartered boats in the
harbour. Would have liked to visit the model boatbuilding museum but it
was closed. The Plantation (Guest) House was abandoned and overgrown and would have been a good place to stay in its day — yielded some 12hr
photos of the statuary dispersed on the grounds.

Did a quick listen and a few edits of the Barracouda and Bequia
recordings, some good stuff! Got all the various batteries recharging.
J’s still didn’t have the Pinehill pineapple juice that I like and the
little girl still cries when she sees me, even when I take my hat off.
Bought some more groceries in Clifton (mostly at Y’s store): pancake
mix, guava jelly, Jamaican cinnamon tea, dozen eggs ($10EC), cheese,
popcorn, Canadian split yellow peas (which I added to my beans and green
lentil soak) and popcorn($3EC), 1 litre Belgian soya oil (12.25 EC),
bottle of peanuts (to take with me to Gordon’s when I have a cold
Guiness), Ocean Spray 100% cranberry-pomegranate juice ($19.50EC to mix with the rum), and Crix crackers. Thinking of another omelette on toast
with those peppers tomorrow along with a very little rice and beans
(just to sample them.)

Talked with Y about the island uprising and her parents’ (as prominent
residents they were suspect and imprisoned but not beaten like the
rest), soda bottling business. Related my story about my similar idea
for unusual flavoured sodas along with reproduced photo-art on the
labels, and how I probably talked about it too much as Jones’ Soda Co in
Seattle did just that.

These entries remind me of Twittering a little. I can remember seeing
the Twitter offices in South Park across the street where I worked at
Wired in Frisco, and not fully understanding the implications and appeal
of an application that merely seemed a restrictive, abbreviated form of
email or listservs. Apparently Twitterers have currently donated $22 US
million to Haiti relief efforts by texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999. (I’ll have
to find out how this works.)

Just before heading out to the pier to work on the watercolours, I
heated-up the SV mkt peanuts with salt and curry. Have to try this with
green peanuts and maybe other spices… a marketing idea? Read some more
of a used book I lifted from one of the unattended Chatham beach bars :
Ian Rankin’s “Hide & Seek” a Scottish detective novel. But I’m mostly
interested in a Penguin classic tome at Ericka’s book exchange, although
it’s not too bad a beach-read. The beans are a-boiling but I need to
remember to add the lentils later as they get mushy by the time the
beans are done.

Wood from Brazil Tiles from Turkey Marble from Italy Wine from Chile
Linens from Egypt Crystal from Ireland Lighting from the UK Champagne
from France White Goods from China Furniture from Indonesia

— shipping container advertisement

Perhaps by buying all those groceries from Y’s store yesterday I
confirmed my intention to pay additional months’ rent and this helped
realize new repairs: (this also means some noise and I’ve learned that
leaving your curtains tied-back is an invitation for anyone to come-up
and speak with you, as one of the workers asked for a box of matches
while scanning the interior of my apt.) The roof of the residence and
former GH across the road is being replaced (a 12hr subject); perhaps my
rent is somehow helping to rehabilitate this fanciful building. More
great sounds too but I’m already running low on MDs. The new pre-amp
with three settings (zero, low, and high gain) is getting some getting
used to, and the battery gave-out when I first started recording from my
GH window, so I had to delete some attempts… The high setting causes
the recording to readily disintegrate with minor changes in volume, ie,
sudden wind gusts.

antimacassars Kick ’em Jenny volcano

Although situated farther south than the path of frequent tropical
storms (between August and October), the last hurricane, Janet in 1955
totally destroyed the island. Earlier recorded hurricanes occurred in
1898, 1831, 1817, 1780, 1768, 1675, and 1625. The temperature hardly
changes with an annual average of 27.5C.

The locals still complain that the gov’t doesn’t do anything for them.
They are a long way from SV and they feel closer ties with Grenada and
maybe T&T. Interesting to consider that Grenada’s and SVG’s most
‘outlying’ islands (PM and UI) are so close to each other — 30 minutes
by speedboat with no formal immigration checkpoints.)

The first five months of the year are typically the dry season, it
really is a dry island entirely dependent on that little rain for water.
This would explain the lack of crops and the early cotton plantations
which eventually depleted much of the soil. The Salt Pond is apparently
a good bird habitat, I need to find out how the salt is/was collected…

blind bit of difference all the hammering is getting to me so I’ll head
down the beach… Someone tore-out possibly the climatic 15 pages
toward the end of Hide & Seek. I’m usually suspicious of fiction’s
resolutions anyway. Might have made another UW film, a crab’s eye view
of the beach/sea, called Life is a Waste of Time. Hard to tell as the
tiny camera ‘froze’ and I have no way of viewing what may be recorded on
the SD card. One rooster, several hens and one adolescent chicken came
around for popcorn this evening. I called PSV to arrange a ‘tour’
tomorrow morning; they wanted to know if I wanted breakfast — like I
could afford anything on that private island (others: are as well or are
already headed in that direction).. well maybe a glass of water: it’s a
fasting day. Be curious to poke around though, not sure if they’ll
charge me for the boat ride or not. Laurie just called back to say that
Captain Maurice on the Zeus II will pick me up at 11 and return at 1, so
a brief visit perhaps. Y is flying to SV to attend an aunt’s funeral, so
won’t be back until Fri. The laundry can wait until then. As you might
expect, the cinnamon tea smells nice, although it’s probably pretty old,
but doesn’t have a lot of taste.

Decided at the last to cancel my tour of PSV just in case I need that
free trip to get to PM (and I’d prefer a little more time there),
although Maurice seemed to think a fee was in order for going to PM
because he would be “facilitating” me — can’t have that!

Exchanged my book for a collection of Italo Calvino short stories.
Borrowed “A Natural History Monograph of Union Island” by Jacques
Daudin, from the Clifton Community Library. It really was open at three,
but not a lot there; the young librarian had purple eyeshadow and will
allow me to borrow what little reference material they have. I recorded
ten minutes of school sounds and having asked a teacher about the
library she agreed to show me some photocopied material tomorrow
morning. Struck up a deal at the Rasta music shop (10 copied CDs for
100EC), mostly because they had a few steel pan CDs, along with Burning
Spear, Steel Pulse, Sizzla, Culture Mix, Reggae compilation, DJ
Loudmouth, and probably a spoken-word Angela Davis work entitled “The
Prison Industrial Complex.” The chickens spotted me coming back from
reading my Union Island book on the pier, so I fed them the leftover
popcorn and unpopped kernels from yesterday.

Serious rain this morning just as I finished my usual omelette with rice
and beans. Though I’d visit the schoolteacher and then walk around
towards Ashton and hang-out there for the day. There’s one track on the
map I’ve not been along that runs past places mentioned in the UI book:
Colin Campbell and Water Rock Reserve where there’s apparently old
growth forest. I’m taking fewer and fewer photos as the island typically
sort of ‘seals-over.’

“Bad weather for we today.” Still waiting for the sky to clear a little
more. My new radio either gobbles-up battery-power, it does have a lot
fancy features, or the AA’s are not fully charging as I can now rarely
have it play for even half a day. I’m trying the dual voltage cord from
the Zaurus to simultaneously charge and play the radio. The output
voltage is lower and the amperage is different but the plug fits and it
seems to be ok so far.

Watched Obama’s State of the Union address last night: very impressive
and I hope it all really happens. His picture is posted in many shops
and boats here.

Found the beginning of the track through Water Rock Reserve but I’ll
need long pants to get through the low-lying burn bushes; couldn’t see
Fort Irene… Bought some Pineapple-Passionfruit ($7.50EC) and Pineapple
($6.75EC) juice, and a bag of Lam’s Caribbean Style Chow Mein Noodles
($6.25EC) from Guyana.

Changed my mind about going to SV this morning. It is a little expensive
once you add it all up: a little over $100US and it’s an arduous trip
being tossed around on the water for five+ hours each way. I’d really
like to see the Montreal Gardens and I’d only have a couple of hours for
that and the Bequia Music festival… maybe later in February when the
memory of the last trip has faded. Made another onion, pepper, cheese,
tomato omelette along with rice and beans. Need to buy some more onions
and bread. Will put the laundry out this morning. D is in snowy Kentucky
headed for Florida.

Made a single pancake with guava jelly — a little undercooked. Watered
the palm plants outside. Read another Calvino war-story. Will head into
Ashton soon and check-out Uncle’s Recreation Centre and the Library and
buy some groceries.

Had a little nap then remembered the four little bags of peanuts I’d
purchased for my trip, and gobbled them-up accompanied by a
pineapple-rum drink and another short-story. Fed the chickens some more
popcorn; they now run to the porch if they see me. Took yet another 12hr
“establishing shot” of B’s house. Read two more stories.

Asked Y if her family was Garifuna — hope I wasn’t offensive (there
probably aren’t many genealogical records) but apparently they have
higher cheekbones and flatter foreheads,,, this is consistent with G
people I met in Belize. I never quite know how much to say about my GIP
books,’sometimes it’s helpful other times it causes trouble and
suspicion.

Walked past a single gravel hammerer (need at least two for a good
recording) and through Ashton to the snackette next to the high school
where I had a marginally cool Guiness and asked about Uncle’s that’s
apparently open on Saturdays for bingo. So bought some groceries from
the little shop underneath the Seashell GH: Daisy Chicken Luncheon Meat
from Brazil in a tin with key ($3.50EC) to go with the Ghanian noodles,
big bag of onions ($5.50EC), another (probably the last on the island)
Pinehill pineapple juice, black-eyed peas ($5.50EC), wholewheat bread
($4.00EC), and three tiny bags of Jamaican almonds @ $3EC/ea.
Searchlight SV newspaper headline: “Robbery suspect gives cops chase
through Richmond Hill: COLLARED!” I inadvertently dropped my newspaper on the road and someone in a minivan stopped to alert me but despite being heavily laden with groceries, no one has ever offered me a ride; there aren’t that many roads/destinations… It’s a dramatically specific island whose 10 million year old volcanic profile is readily if still eerily recognizable. Y couldn’t tell me who Miss Irene was either. I told her that I was feeding the chickens in her absence and that they now ran to the porch when they saw me. If I had related this to Shirley in Belize, she would have been chuckling longer than the chickens.

Cooked some noodles with the Brazilian mystery-chicken: I’m still
getting thinner and probably need more of something.

Another windy day; the mosquitos and sandflies still swarmed around me
the minute I stood outside.

Almost everyone here has either lived in Canada, usually Toronto, or
knows someone who does… I think I said this already… Traded my
Calvino stories for “The Mermaid and the Drunks” -Ben Richards and
“Oryx and Crake” -Margaret Atwood. Learned that the MV Jasper leaves
from Ashton on Mon and Thurs at 6 or 6:30 a.m. So nay go back that way,
bypassing PM and saving some money, if there are no immigration
issues.Bought an eggplant, papaya and cucumber for $16EC; a big 2kg bag
of popcorn for $17EC at Kash & Karry and another Marouks peanut butter
at J’s for $9.95. Will attempt to steam the eggplant and then see if
there’s a bingo game to record in Ashton.

I plan to add the eggplant to my morning omelette. Bingo doesn’t start
until 10:30 p.m. — too late for me. Had a Hairoun Indian Quinine Tonic
Water. Found the track up to Mount Taboi but I was too tired and
carrying my recording gear and novel. Most stores close around noon or
so, and the one that sells refrigerated eggs didn’t reopen until six so
the walk over was unproductive. Fed the chickens and read my book in the
sun.

The other night I dreamt that I was laboriously spreading thin coatings
of honey across immense expanses of a church flagstone floor. I’m only
now beginning to feel like I’m living on this island – the days are
becoming longer, even languid – I suppose I’m always anxious about how
to get off the island in order to begin to get home (there are always
snags and setbacks) but then I eventually succumb a little to the
eventualities… but maybe that anxiety is part of the island
definition. I know all about being excluded, isolated and denied. Is
this a kind of revenge or appeasement? “…the sudden disturbance of
wings triggered by a faraway noise, the startled ricochet and truncated
flight of caged birds…

“In the hour of shipwreck and darkness, no one will save you…”

History is ours and it is made by the people. Do we really believe this
any longer? The great avenues will once more open through which free
people will pass to build a better society. Just sat around all day and
read. Despite the huge breakfast I just had two guava-jelly pancakes…
Really packed it away: later I had a bowl of the chicken chow mein
noodles, which maybe disrupted my sleep. As usual, I’m often trying to
get somewhere in my dreams. I remember purchasing a “yellow” economy
bullfighting ticket but then discovering that there weren’t many of
those colored-coded seats available. Sounding windy again this morning
despite being very still and warm last night. I’ve made some cinnamon
tea and reading “Oryx and Crake” while waiting for daylight and a walk
into town to pay Shirley my rent. Will make a note of the electric meter
reading and also ask at Erika’s about any customs/immigration procedures
and whether MV Jasper arrives at the main jetty in Carriacou that the
Osprey uses, (as I don’t want to have to lug these heavy bags around the
island via dollar-bus from the small pier.) Exit strategies. Finished
“Mermaid and the Drunks” yesterday– various kinds of exile, return and
self-discovery. Pretty good, with lent insight into Chile’s political
strife and culture. The island of Chiloe was mentioned so I’ll have to
research it assuming it’s not fictional. May bring along my walking
stick and venture some ways along the track to Mt Taboi.

dirtysockpuppets.com

Electricity (I asked the guard at the power station) costs about
$.90EC/kwh so by my calculations my bill for January should be around
$84EC. Ynonne’s sister’s name (who works i the clothing shop) is Marie
(not Shirley.) Anyway, I asked for Shirley and was told something bit
her foot on the beach and the swelling prevented her from coming into
work — so ended up giving $1100EC to Y in the supermarket for
February’s rent and then headed part way up the mountain before the
track got too overgrown. Still had some good views of PSV, PM,
Carriacou, Palm and Frigate islands. Bought eggs, more chow mein
noodles, cheese. peanuts, orange juice, and a tonic water on my way home
through Ashton. Soaking some black-eyed peas and kidney beans and the
yellow peas separately. Bought refrigerated eggs that came in about a
week ago, so we’ll see how they compare.

When the water’s moving faster than the boat, you can’t control a thing.
Another eggplant, onion, pepper. cheese and tomato omelette. The
chickens are calling. Still waiting for my rent receipt. I have learned
with frequent good reason, to mistrust nearly everyone, especially the
institutionalized, and when people sense this they feel especially
obligated/permitted to cheat, betray and steal. Self-fulfilling
dialectic in the absence of sufficient positive outcome. nothing I can
do. The beans are still simmering, then I’ll cook the lentils with the
rice and green peas. Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus,
Species. Finished “Oryx and Crake” — a little pedantic at times and
laced with typical Canadian support prerequisites, but a good dystopian
SF tale occasionally sprinkled sparingly with cautious optimism.
oryxandcrake.com Will head into Clifton for more from the book exchange.

ingredients for "Brad's Rum Punch"

ingredients for “Global Islands Project Rum Punch”: lime juice, sorrel rum (for color), overproof white rum, fruit juice blend, ice, lime garnish, served in octagonal glass

Well, the MV Jasper isn’t going to work because the captain checks to see that you’ve checked-out of Union — I’ve not officially exited Grenada nor entered SVG, so I can’t begin to exit… so, I’m dependent on water-taxis (probably a lot more expensive from this side), or goodol’ (drunken/stoned) Mr Bones to get me back to PM in time to catch the Osprey to Carriacou/Grenada and the plane home. Y spotted me from the supermarket and gave me a rent receipt in an envelope. Was she planning on slipping it under my door? Maybe I ask too many questions or am objectionable in some other way. The little girl at J’s certainly thought so again — one look and her eyes widened and she started bawling. Perhaps I should bring a little treat for her next time. No tomatoes; should have bought them yesterday. Picked up a copy of “Vincy Carnival magazine 2009(EC10)” from the Determination Bar (I have a hard time understanding what’s he’s saying — actually I’d prefer another distinct language), he brought me a fresh copy… and three ‘new’ books from Ericka’s (can’t figure out: The Club Dumas (Arturo Perez-Reverte), Catapult (Jim Paul), and the Penguin tome, Clayhanger (Arnold Bennett.)

Every once in a while the saltpond glazes over and people come to gather
up the salt. I might get some, it’s probably zestier than the regular
stuff… Y had no idea… other than warning me that I might burn my
feet…. so how is that?

Sent another matchbox (full of spent matches) to Rudd Janssen. The
postal people thought it was quite funny but insisted that I wrap it in
paper, which they supplied along with scissors, pencil and tape
($1.35EC) A chair has materialized out of nowhere on the pier and I now
regularly sit there to peruse my exchanged novels but after again
realizing/reading the exclusive support mechanism, I’m not so keen.
Instead I took a chance and petted the dogs.

Walked down and around (got some good 12hr pics of boulders in a row)
past Fort Hill and out to the end of the airport runway and back into
town where I bought several tomatoes, a mango and a sporphina (? a pale
green lumpy vegetable that I’m steaming now for my omelette tomorrow) =
$16EC Out to the pier to read Catapult… it recounts the tribulations
of building a rock-throwing device as an artwork in San Francisco
(Headlands Center) amid much wryly anecdotal commentary and recounted
histories. The chickens followed me back from the pier and right up onto
the porch where they stare in the windows at me. I found a few popcorn
kernels beside the stove — that’s all I had and it clearly wasn’t
sufficient. I’ll have to make a bigger batch tomorrow. Thinking of maybe
visiting the Montreal Gardens for three days if I can find a cheap place
to stay nearby. I’d leave on the MV Gemstar Wednesday and come back on
the special Saturday Barracouda run that stops long enough to see a bit
of Canouan and Mayreau.

Dragonflies eat mosquito larvae who also ‘nest’ in land-crab burrows.
The rooster starts crowing about a quarter after four; I’m up, brushed,
flossed, Deeted and shaved and breakfasted by five. Finished the
Catapult.; enjoyed the references to the Bay area. Apparently just
shooting a film in SF or NYC pretty nuch guarantees a ROI from local
audiences alone. Made some popcorn for me and the chickens. Walked into
town and traded Catapult for Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner) at
Erika’s. Maybe I should be cautious when going in there as they do
process Custom and Immigration clearances. Even more salt-gatherers at
The Pond — word has spread. The Club Dumas is a book about old books. I
called the Montreal Gardens to ask if there were any guesthouses to stay
either there or nearby but honestly couldn’t begin to understand what he
said. I unsuccessfully tried texting them also. I was maybe hoping that
as an artist and aspiring gardener I might help-out in exchange for a
simple place to stay. Next I phoned the SVG Tourist Office: I can’t
believe that there’s no where to stay near their primary tourist site.
Maybe it’s not all it’s cracked-up to be. I’m still mindful of the ten+
hour sea voyage there and back. I may try asking in-person in Clifton…
(but there are officious immigration people there.) The chickens came
right up on the porch again for popcorn. They really do seem to
recognize me. In the early mornings they seem to hang out in the cool
mangroves round the saltpond. New neighbours from B.C. in a house within the ‘coconut compound’ which includes the pier. This middle-aged couple often briskly walk back and forth along the short stretch of beach for
some pre-determined time (they glance at their watches before setting
off, and most of the dogs seem delighted to follow along.) I see that
“the Englishman” way up on the hill above the airport has a
(non-operating) wind-generator but it’s curious that there aren’t any
(that I’ve seen) alternative energy devices like solar-panels on an
island that gets a lot or sun and little rain.

MV BARRACOUDA rates:

Kingstown to Bequia $25; Kingstown to Canouan $40; Kingstown to Mayreau $45; Kingstown to Union $50; Bequia to Canouan $35; Bequia to Mayreau $40; Bequia to Union $45; Canouan to Union $40; Canouan to Mayreau $30; Mayreau to Union $30; Children (6-16yrs): $20

I wonder if there’s an early morning flight from Union to Grenada in
time to catch my flight home? My luggage would be overweight and there’s
still the visa issue, but I’d save on the cost of expensive
accommodation in Grenada and taxi fare to the airport and hotel and
ferry/water-taxi costs (this could add-up to say $270US or more); less
lugging of baggage and it would less stressful — fewer things could go
wrong. Would immigration insist that I return to Grenada to checkouts
and then return to SVG to check-in — only to checkout of SVG and
check-in and checkout of Grenada? similar to what E said his sister had
to do? It doesn’t seem that I can check-in or out of SVG because I
didn’t checkout of Grenada and in order to do that I can only return the
way I came or surreptitiously take a water-taxi to Carriacou and
checkout but having done either trip I may as well continue on to
Grenada. Or would SVG just scold me and not stamp my passport (?) and
would Grenada let me in without the SVG exit stamp? I may phone Erika’s
and ask somewhat-anonymously about all this. It may be too expensive
anyway or there may not be an early flight or the puddle-jumper may just
refuse my heavy bags… Cinnamon tea this morning. Hope someone
remembers to pick-up my laundry this morning. Oh, it’s suddenly gone
from the porch. There’s a tiny high-pitched mosquito in here; you open
the door for even a few seconds and in they come. I kill them by
clapping my hands together. The air pressure from opposite directions
may be immobilizing them.

Bought a nice ‘dolphin’ steak for tomorrow. Sat out from of Mitchell’s
hardware with cold tonic water reading the Vincentian (Landmark
Decision: Police Guilty) and watching the goings-on. Bought a bottle of
Sunset rum and box of orange juice from J’s. Almost finished read ing
The Club Dumas. I’ll have to read The Three Musketeers, around which it
is loosely based.. Recorded the rasta chanting with the new moon but one
of the channels all but dropped-out; I really like it so I’ll have to
see if I can re-balance it once home. I see there’s another lunar event
this Saturday so I’ll be listening.

The chickens are plucking around outside on the porch this morning
despite being only moderately interested in the popcorn yesterday; there
are too many mosquitos and flies right now to stand outside. Another
three-egg scramble (not really an omelette): will cook the dolphin steak
later in the day. Running low on bread, butter, juice, peppers and
cheese.

“You don’t have to go…” “Without finding out the answer?” “Without
undergoing the test. You have the answer within you.” “But the end
result is the same: damnation. You have to pay with the innocence of
your soul.”

As for the devil, he is no more than God’s pain; the wraith if a
dictator caught in his own trap, The story told by the winners.
Surprisingly, I consumed all of the two pounds of dolphin before one. I
did have a little nap and this may help me stay up a little later for
Clifton’s Saturday night. Finished The Club Dumais and just barely
beginning to understand what it may be like to live here in amongst the
remnants of a volcano and wicked colonial histories. Yah mon.

Trotted into town after eating all that food and a nap… peanuts from
J’s (always crawling with little children) and exchanged The Club Dunas
for “In the Cut” (Susanna Moore) and there’s only an early morning
flight to Grenada on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. not on Mondays, but it’s only
about 190EC… So that’s surprisingly cheap and now worth
considering….

Recorded the Saturday evening street sounds. A little random and not at
all like the sequestered murmurings on PM. Sucked back a few Guinesses
and one bad Danish Stout along with a small chicken and chips ($8EC.)
Came back via Maglite; never have felt even vaguely threatened here,
though I’m usually asleep by eight. Pretty sure I won’t feel at all
hungry tomorrow. It’s odd but I’m now becoming less and less interested
in eating/drinking. It rarely seems worth the effort. Many French
yachties here as well, they seem very enclosed within their
language/culture. One big catamaran parked over a local’s tiny
scuffed-up wooden outboard and of course he and onlookers were upset. It
probably wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things but in the
marine world there’s usually much more respect accorded to any boat and
its skipper. Just impolite and I’m afraid typically Francais.

walked through Aston (noticed another road cutting up and inland which
I’ll try another day) and around to Clifton where I bought butter, two
tomatoes, 3 sporphina, eggplant ($30 EC) and then to Y’s supermarket for
bread ($4EC Lambi’s and the little red bakery have bread too but it’s
lighter than air). Just finished steaming a couple of the vegetables for
my usual egg scramble tomorrow. Thinking I’ll try setting up the PSV
tour for the last Saturday and have E pick me up there for lunch at his
restaurant before the ferry leaves at 3. So my transport will be free
and I just pay for a nice lunch, perhaps some conch, which I don’t think
I’ve ever tried. I’ll arrange a ride to PM for Sunday with Bones as a
backup plan. Still on the lookout for callaloo soup, I,m asking too
early in the day. OTOH I’ve never seen E’s boat move in the month I was
there… Some guy was selling chicken foot soup from the back of his car
but it didn’t look like it was anything more than the feet in water, so
I passed. Fed the chickens, mopped the floor a little, turned the fridge
back on — I’ve been trying to minimize the electric bill, and will head
out to the pier to read In the Cut, perhaps walking into Clifton around
3 to check for fish.

No fish mongers around today. perhaps there’s no fishing on Sunday.
Nearly everything closes up by mid-day and some re-open in the evening.
Went into the Clifton Beach sports bar that my neighbour Jule and her
husband (from NY) lease and operate. Very breezy with a good view of
harbour activity. Bought a tonic water ($4EC) Told me that SVG visas are
only good for 30 days. Just as well that I don’t have one. Have begun
reading Angle of Repose.

Thinking about how ‘dead’ it was in Clifton on Sunday; perhaps I should
move my departure up a day, leaving for PSV on Fri with Bones as a
back-up Saturday. I’d like to chat a little more with J about how they
do business and residency in SVG. D texted me that he was enjoying his
Christmas book on newspaper columnists. I bought it from a little shop
(Post-Hip) in Multnomah Village last summer; the proprietor rattled-on
enthusiastically about the various older writers I knew little about.
The chickens are squawking for popcorn. Y has left for the store. The
dogs are alerted to some irregularity. The waves continue to break
on-shore. I read my book waiting for sunrise. Much as I like the hot and
dry climate it could be frustrating to live here without an easily
irrigated garden. Antimacassars: I need to again be angry but stay that
way, despising authority, effecting revenge, right the wrongs, stating
the truth and ending this nonsense. In addition to spontaneously singing
songs, islanders seemingly love to burn things. It can be a big pile of
brush or garbage but even a small pile of raked leaves invokes the
smoke. It’s also curious how people with sand in place of lawns are
obsessed with raking leaves (only to have them all blow back the next
day), unless it feeds the desire to burn… Papaya trees are fabled to
not be planted too close to bedroom windows as they cause bad dreams,
but that folklore seems to be largely disregarded here. I think I
finally categorically dislike the computerized voices in reggae songs.
While I understand how the practise eliminates the need for traditional
vocal skills (any wharbbling can be brought into tune/line), it also
excludes anything non-catagorizable or even ‘new.’ Ynonne spotted me
coming my usual way into town and asked me for the difference in a $80EC
power bill, a big portion of which is government taxes. And apparently
solar technology is not permitted! (The Englishman on the hilltop has a
wind turbine however.) Traded …Cut for Chuang-Tzu (A Classic of Tao)
… well, no one else would read it. I asked again about the fare to GND
but I’ve forgotten. Also about private boats going to Carriacou for
their Carnival, also at the Neptune Bar (Julia) but nothing solid.
Watched as the police searched passengers for ganja when disembarking
the Barracuda from SV. I was breaking up some ice and Y came around to
see what was going on; she saw me at the bar and thought I was still ‘in
Clifton… so that’s good.

Watched an interesting TV programme last night about the history of Soul
Train. Michael Jackson _didn’t invent the moon-walk, it was some of the
unpaid ST dancers. White PVC tubing is frequently used here in
ballistades, furniture, and filled with concrete for columns.You can see
stars in the daytime from deep in a well. Listened to Wire’s Below the
Radar and Somic Frequencies mp3s on my new little Cowan player while out this morning: Went for what turned out to be a very long walk. First
over and through Ashton and took the cutoff up and around and eventually
to Clifton where I was going to buy what I thought I remembered seeing
in Lambi’s: refrigerated eggs, but no. I did buy some little very hot
red peppers like I had from St Vincent. 3 for $1EC and 3 tiny bananas
(she called them ‘figs’, also 3 for $1EC.) so, I walked back to Ashton,
this time around the coast and bought my chilled eggs from Henderson’s
again. Then up to the shop underneath SeaShell? for some cheese, pancake
mix, kidney beans, rice, powdered cocoanut milk ($27EC) Then back
through Baddu and home. The clerk told me Salt Pond salt was all but
gone so I took an empty peanut butter jar down there and filled it with
some fairly clean flakes. Then over to J’s before she closes mid-day for
more rum and orange juice ($35.50EC) All set for tomorrow’s meal. The
days are long and all this shopping keeps me busy and active. Now about
to resume my book; chapter four of Angle of Repose which so far recounts
the lives of newly arrived New Englanders in frontier California late
19thC. It’s nice to see all the goats, sheep and cows wandering down the
roads, Several cows have now just begun grazing in the neighbour’s
yard, ignoring all the dogs’ objections.

A restless night with dreams of violent confrontations. The rooster
crowed a little after 5. Another 3-egg (one of which was quite old as
the yolk broke when landing in the pan), scramble. Reading ‘Repose’
again, into chapter 8; I may buy this book for D; I already have a much
better perspective on the Hudson River school of thought and painting
that really was _exported to the western ‘frontier.’Not sure what to do
today; I’ll probably walk over to Chatham Bay again tomorrow as it’s a
non-eating day sometimes needing some distraction. I must remember to
make some guave pancakes today; I have a lot of mix and jelly ‘to
eat-up’ (as M used to say.) Making some popcorn; best to get the pot and
oil very before adding the kernels. Looking forward to the cheap
overproof rums in PM, if that’s still possible after the new VAT this
month. You can get three times the amount of rum for less than a 750ml
bottle costs here. Apparently this stuff is so flammable that it’s
prohibited on most airlines. Or did I say that before…?

Was thinking yesterday while out on the pier reading Repose, that I
should make an ebook from all of M’s saved greeting cards. Maybe D could
scan them for me? I wonder if she saved the envelopes as well? Did the
Ashton-Cliford loop and bought some eggplant (3 short squat ones for
$8EC) All cooked and ready for tomorrow. Only 7 or 8 meals left here,
not sure I’ll get through all the food I have in the cupboards.

New Harmony, Fruitland, The Icarians, Amana, Homestead, The Mennonites, The Amish, The Hutterites, The Shakers, The United Order of Zion, The Oneida Colony…

Finished ‘Angle of Repose” — the angle at which rolling stones and dirt
come to rest, or death. Interesting NatGeo TV programme about the moon
and its stabilizing significance for the earth. It’s apparently slowly
moving away and will eventually cause the earth to wobble more on its
axis, leading to dramatic climatic changes such as another ice age. The
highest tides occur when the gravitational effects of earth, moon and
sun are aligned.

Up early: about 2:30 — maybe I was just hungry. The rooster (there’s
only one other that I can hear at some distance), first crowed at
quarter to four. (In small coastal villages i Belize they crowed at a
few specific and regular times each morning, locals used to mark time by
this phenomena, ie.,, “I’ll meet you at the second cock.” It’s two
o’cock? ;) Have begun ‘Clayhanger.’ and will return the library book and
do another book exchange at Erika’s. I should work on the watercolours
though and need to make a point of making more pinhole photos. Y is away
and so the laundry was done yesterday (Thursday).

No, she changed her mind and goes on Monday. ($280? EC) She and her
Rasta brother are always well dressed. Many chickens to greet my return
this afternoon. Tried to return my book to the library, next to the
primary school, but it was closed and a track ‘n’ field event was
happenin.’ Bought a chicken wing and peanuts ($2EC) and took a couple’of
snaps. Pretty exciting; again, those long tropic thighs make for good
runners. Three teams each wearing red, green or yellow T-shirts. Also
tried to mail some postcards but it seemed I was too late. Did manage to
exchange another book for “Kings in Grass Castles.” Something about
Australia, again in the mid 1800’s. Bought a couple of Guiness and
salted peanuts from the Kash ‘n’ Karry but noticed the old expiration
date. B and her old white partner were there as often, buying supplies
including water. I guess they don’t have a tank (?) Earlier I worked on
the w/c’s and read 60 odd pages about Victorian hardship. The coconut (I
bought one today $3EC), compound is getting quite spruced-up! New roof,
paint and yard work. Apparently tin rooves are cooler than shingle and
yield better rainwater runoff…. Also picked-up a copy of the February
Caribbean Compass — a cool little paper, maybe I could work there?
as-if. Articles on the San Blas Islands and Mt Taboi here on Union
Island. And, the Vincentian: 20 Years for Killing his M.

A Libyan (Islamic = no interest paid) bank is expected to be established
in St Kitts. It will support the new international airport and provide
college scholarships. The birds are chirping outside despite it being
nearly dark. Valentine’s Day (Monday) is apparently a big event here.

Sat out on the pier most of the day reading, watching the breakers and
painting. ‘Clayhanger’ concerns a Victorian printer and architect so
much more interesting than the apologetic, academic introduction would
have you believe. Got me thinking again of incorporating letterpress
elements in the red drawings; perhaps white photopolymer plates made
from the painted picture fragments (SSS.) Went downtown and bought a few
nice tomatoes and rum and (unfortunately, sweetened OJ) from J’s. Called
the Caribbean Cottage Club in Grenada about staying the last three days
in February. I’d like to visit the Grenada Chocolate factory there
(Portland entrepreneurs.) Waiting to record the Rasta as the sunsets…
(Guests moved-in below which may have dissuaded the performance.)

Yes, it’s the young white skateboarder, I’ve seen gliding around town,
with the blond Rasta locks, no doubt attracted by the occasional
moderate surfing swells.

38.15 LSB(?) is supposed to be the Caribbean Emergency and Weather
station at 6:30 a.m. but hear nothing but static, on my SSB radio. The
Internet has doomed many SW broadcasts. It was so cool to see people
clustered around SW radios in Bangladesh, and hearing some English
suddenly was strange. “Transformed … by something without a name in
the air which the mind breathes.”

I may have accidentally shut-off the water valve leading from the tanks
on the roof, so running the pump for an hour was probably unnecessary. Y
told me that the trees were trimmed back from the house so the possums
(which I’ve never seen), in their nighttime quest for the fowl nesting
in the trees, wouldn’t get up there and rattle around on the roof. It’s
apparently been unusually dry this year so I didn’t recognize the
spotted, spikey tree without leaves and now just a few buds, behind the
house as a frangipani. Erosion on the beach here is quite severe. I
could watch big chunks of beach sand being washed-out. In the short time
I’ve been here I guess the shoreline has receded about a foot. Kind of a
helpless feeling; I guess you can pay a lot of money to have boulders
dumped as a breakwater which helps a little. Y thinks it’s worse since a
little island was eliminated to the East when the airport was expanded.
The last batch of beans are furiously boiling. From the pier I can see
(from right/East to left/West) the Tobago Keys, Mayreau, Canouaon, and
the distant peaks of St Vincent. I think Bequia, which is East of SV, is
hidden behind Canouaon. In Ashton Harbour there is the abandoned,
sketchy, outline of an unpopular Italian marina development; quite a few
empty houses as well throughout the island. Once the beans are done I’ll
start the lentils and coconut rice then retire to the pier to read and
take some more pinhole photos once the sun climbs up. (I’m looking
forward to having a Papa Murphy Delite pizza once back in Portland.)
Later this afternoon I’ll attempt to return my library book and look for
fish, which goes fast as much of the minimal catch is pre-sold I think.
Much of my life has been an impending disaster, packed with trouble and
economic woe, so I’m getting a little anxious about getting back to
Grenada and home to see what has conspired in my absence, although D
wants me to stop-over in Florida for a few days. This would be costly
and I need to pay the rent on the ‘treehouse,’ which a showed Y a
picture of yesterday. I pretty much cooked the Canadian lentils, then
slowly added/stirred the coconut milk powder into the same water
followed by the rice being brought to a boil and cover and simmer for 10
minutes. I’ll have leftover uncooked rice which I’ll leave for Y or
someone. I’ll look down the beach in the other direction for my ‘popcorn
bowl’ that the dogs ran-off with yesterday. On page 267 of Clayhanger
with cinnamon tea on the side. Very breezy and very hot today. Made a
nice little film of what I think may be a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
stalking, catching and eventually swallowing-whole a big beach crab. He
looks like a heron but with a duck-like bill. I think I have enough food
here to last until my departure for PM. One more 3-egg scramble, then
pancakes, chow-mein noodles, tomatoes, rice & beans, and pasta with
tinned-mackerel should be enough for 5 more meals. On page 426 of
Clayhanger

Another hot one; walked into town mid-day to exchange Clayhanger for
something else but Erika’s wasn’t open. Bought 2 lbs of fresh fish that
turned out to be Kingfish and not Dolphin — buggers! — if I can’t see
the head it’s harder to tell. (Same price but Dolphin’s much better. I
thought it didn’t look very red but I guessed it was a younger fish or
something. What can you believe?) Sweat’s rolling down my back: out to
the pier. The chickens all followed me back and cheered me up. Started
to read “Chuang-Tzu, a Classic of Tao.” Wondering about Florida again.
(Interesting TV programme about the spreading Burmese/African python
invasion in the Everglades ~ released exotic pets that grew too
large/expensive.) Spotted a roadway up towards “the Englishman’s house”
which I think I’ll investigate this morning before it gets too hot.
Fewer mosquito (bites) this month (Feb), perhaps it’s the dry weather.

Well this is the first day that I didn’t go for a walk somewhere, partly
because I was waiting for my laundry to be picked-up (never happened; I
looked at the washing machine but it was disconnected for some reason)
and I was luxuriating in the 90F sun. Note to myself: buy dominoes and
perhaps a book of dominoes once in Grenada. Gobbled down the rest of the
fish and a big bowl of spicy chow-mein) the little Corgi-like dog was
vigorously wagging his tail while scrunching the scraps.

“Subtract the days and there is no year. What has nothing within it has
nothing without.”

Chuang-Tzu, inner chapter 25, 319BC

Well, the roadway just lead to the fort; I didn’t recognize the house
because the gate was closed last time I was up there. Walked around the
island through Ashton and Baddu, read on the pier, then texted and
called Bones: he says don’t worry he’ll pick me up on the 26th. So
that’s a relief. To celebrate I walked over to J’s where low and behold
she had pineapple juice for me!

“With the abandonment of fixed goals, the dissolution of rigid
categories, the focus of attention roams freely over the endlessly
changing panorama, and responses spring directly from the energies
inside.”

Killed _one of the big brown bugs; they’re very fast. Last of the eggs,
precooked vegetables; little cheese, bread, cooking oil, tomatoes,
peppers, limes remaining… lots of pancake mix, pasta and r&b still.
18th C treaties latitudinally divided the Grenadines between the British
and French. The area on Carriacou known as Gun Point and the headland on PM known as the Breeza apparently belong to St Vincent.

The true man casts away his knowledge to the ants, discovers how to
estimate from the fish, casts away his intentions to the sheep.

“Spillover saying” is named after a kind of vessel designed to tip and
right itself when filled too near the brim. Taoist speech characterized
by intelligent spontaneity – a fluid language which keeps its
equilibrium through changing meanings and viewpoints.

To ‘divide’ is to leave something undivided, to ‘discriminate between
alternatives’ is to leave something which is neither alternative.

Tomorrow I’ll extend the tin of mackerel in tomato sauce with tomatoes
and peppers and use it on the box of pasta and perhaps the chow mein
noodles. Lots of pancake mix to take me through next week.

Up at 3 so started some pinhole night photos of the sky. My FamoCoquillettes with tomato-mackerel sauce turned out pretty well. There’s enough for another meal. Need to get some popcorn for the chickens

(perhaps) and then cooking oil… so may be not. But I will get into
town to buy a paper. Plan to work on the watercolors again today. Took
some larger images of the water with the Xacti camera for use as a web
icon and a printed postcard advertising the advance sale of the entire
suite of Carib Waters paintings: 50 double-sided watercolours for
$30,000 until Sept 30; $700 each thereafter. I’ll scan them and put the
files up on my website and Facebook (http://bbrace.net/webgallerywc/wc.html)

Met some people originally from Martinique on the beach. The happy dogs
were all barking at them of course. Curiously the female German Shepard
is quite protective of me: she sat right at my elbow when the strangers
approached, and barks at the billy goat when he bumps-me, and tried to
lick my swollen facial centipede bite. Went for my walk (almost) around
the island this morning before it got hot. The GS and the Lab-mix
followed me all the way; I had to wait for them to cool-off in the
Jerome Village lagoon at one point. I didn’t realize there were so many
dogs in town until we walked by…. More w/c work; have a few mores days
to wrap-up the suite of 101 double-sided paintings. Will ask about a
day trip to Mayreau but I’m guessing it’s ridiculously expensive —
probably the affluent Tobago Keys effect. Do tourists cause local prices
to rise? Thought about having a GIP coin minted to accompany the
coin/card edition. Would also serve as a good standalone promo item that
could be left anywhere to circulate. Boiled-up the last of the chow mein
noodles with the orange spicy pepper sauce. Wonder if they’d nake a good
(fat-free) snack when dried. Read that seemingly spent lithium batteries
can be revived a little by leaving them in the sun — I’m trying this
out. (Also by hitting them with a rock.) The chickens are upset and
pacing outside the door.

The trouble with Tao is its claims to indifference (irresponsible
“disengagement”) and selective acceptance of oppressive policy/regimes
(which are the real cause of the root dissatisfactions), to “avoid
harm.” I understand the attraction of such a last-resort doctrine but
it’s really not much different than rich corporate robber-barons hiding
their money offshore and retreating to private islands. It’s nearly
(tribal political) election time in SVG where the sale of passports (why
does anyone care?), VAT (why increase taxes during a recession?) and
timid socialism (yes, comrades; thieves, murderers and crooks: beat
around de bush) seem to be the only visible issues. I’d like to know
what happened to St Lucia; it’s often mentioned as a political scenario
to be avoided. Radio stations are deliberately reactionary and
bi-partisan but aggressive lawsuits against media are astonishing. My
brotha!. Eventually biblical-scripture muddies the minimal useful
dialogue. The chickens are understandably upset again this evening.
False prophets. Not hopeful.

Signs (painted lyrics) at Pebbles Jazz Club in St George, Grenada:

I WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROAD – FELL DOWN ON MY KNEES

THEY CALL IT STORMY MONDAY, BUT TUESDAYS JUST AS BAD

ON THE SEVENTH HOUR OF THE SEVENTH DAY ON THE SEVENTH MONTH, THE SEVEN DOCTORS SAY HE WAS BORN FOR GOOD LUCK

I GAVE YOU A BRAND NEW FORD BUT YOU SAID “I WANT A CADILLAC” I BOUGHT YOU A HUNDRED DOLLAR DINNER & YOU SAID “THANKS FOR THE SNACK” I LET YOU LIVE IN MY PENTHOUSE – YOU SAID “IT’S JUST A SHACK” I GAVE YOU SEVEN CHILDREN AND NOW YOU WANNA GIVE THEM BACK

Ate all the cold and spicy chow mein noodles last night — very good as
a snack (not good dried.) Have finished-up the watercolour suite. A good
sunbathing activity. The sun and wind quickly dry deliberately shaped
puddles of color-wash. There are a couple I could ‘noodle’ around with a
little more but it all feels finished somehow. Need to buy a good set of
travel brushes, half-pans, ox gall, compartment box, and more w/c books.
Will see if I can do my walk without attracting the notice of the bully
dogs.

Took the Angelo watertaxi to Mayreau ($150EC not too bad considering
that he had make four trips — and he had lifejackets!) It’s the
smallest inhabited Grenadine Island with only 200 inhabitants, mostly
fishermen – felt a little tense and expensive. Apparently cruise ships
dump their passengers here, which would account for the big stacks of
locked-up lounge chairs on the beach. Everyone lives in the middle of
the island: something to do with the government acquiring what was a
private island and re-settling people while “Canadians” and a group of
lawyers from SV bought the rest. Righteous Robert’s brightly painted
Rasta-urant and the Catholic stone church on the hilltop with a great
view of the Cayes, were interesting to see. Electricity was introduced
in 2003. There is an elementary school, post office, a few grocery
stores, bars and medical clinic. Big HIV/AIDS sign. Apparently the local
water is risky.

My neck is still stiff from being slammed around in that little boat
yesterday. Didn’t wake-up until 6.

Thursday Feb 25: packing day in preparation for the journey back to
Grenada tomorrow morning. Charge the batteries and gadgetry. Empty the
fridge. Clean-up a little. Estimate power bill and pay Y. Dispose of the
disposables. Hand wash shirt and shorts and hang to dry overnight.
Shower in the evening. Text Bones a reminder and ask for a lifejacket if
possible. I think I’ll try sitting backwards and farther back in the
boat this time. Don’t know if I’ll bother with PSV backup tour or not. I
can call Angelo if need be, but he charges $150EC to PM.

Well, Bones finally showed-up but he first picked-up a little ‘package’
at another dock. He is a skilled boatman — a very smooth passage. I was
surprised and delighted to learn that Richard & Pam had leased (perhaps
questionable, according to E, beachfront land ($100EC/mo) and were
industriously building a modest hexagonal house of their own design. The
local children call it the “coin house,” in reference to Grenada’s
multi-sided coinage. I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen and it’s all
built visually and by hand. Thrilled to see how it all transpires and
integrates into the community. PM is certainly a tenser place to live…
I’d been back there for a few hours and the cops were on me… ^how long
have you been here; you’ve been here before; why are you taking
pictures?… (all those stories about locals remembering faces are
true)…But in truth a modestly strong swimmer could get to PSV from
PM… it’s that close. I noticed that the new VAT has dramatically
increased the price of groceries that I saw at Matthew’s — a major
player on the island. Apparently he contributed to this impressive
sounding community center above the primary school that was supposed to
provide internet access and library/media facilities to one-and-all. The
old-timers sit on LIME mobile store steps by the wharf to chat with
friends waiting for the ferry to arrive. The Osprey arrives at the dock
around noon and then mysteriously goes back out into the bay and
apparently anchors for lunch, returning at 3 p.m.

Staying at K’s Caribbean Cottage Club ($170US $440EC for 3 nights –
ouch!); very nice 2 bdrm apartment with high pitched ceilings, lots of
wood and louvered windows and doors. Making recordings from the porch at night. You can glimpse the sea over the palm trees in front. Bought some
tasty BBQ chicken last night ($3.50EC) from a lady down the street. Rum
‘n’ coke and plantain chips. This morning walked down to Grand Anse Bay
and beach then back here with some groceries (big bottle of Coke, dry
roasted peanuts, tonic water, and souvenir spice collection which I
should have purchased from the market in St George where they’d likely
be fresher and cheaper. Also wandered around town: library and museum
closed, Pebbles Jazz club with attached art gallery (closed), Scare Dem
World music shop (Mighty Sparrow CD copy $15EC), vegetable, fish, and
meat markets. Made a nice little film of a big LCD billboard. Walked
around Ft George (closed) taking 12hr photos of the walls. Back to the
apt again where I read some tourist publications. Thought about taking a
Sunsation tour on Sunday but unfortunately they’re not offering any that
day. “Tutti Frutti” Tour ($80US) : St George Stadium, Picturesque West
Coast, Concord Waterfall, Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, Carib’s
Leap, River antoine Rum Distillery, Pearls Airport (which I think is a
raceway), Grenville, Rainforest at Grand Etang Crater Lake. I could ask
the Crabman taxi for a similar tour but I think Katrina said he charges
$200US which be ok split between a few people but no one of the
semi-permanent guests here would want to go. So I might just visit the
two botanical gardens instead. Reading a Frank Zappa biography that was
in the apt. Phoned to confirm my flight home on Monday.

Signs (painted lyrics) at Pebbles Jazz Club in St George, Grenada:

HEY EVERYBODY, LET’S HAVE SOME FUN, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE AND WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, YOU’RE DONE

IT DON’T MEAN A THING IF IT AIN’T GOT THAT SWING

BIRDS FLYING HIGH – YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL, SUN IN THE SKY – YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL, BREEZE DRIFTIN’ BY, YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL – I’M FEELING GOOD

WHEN SHE WALKS SHE’S LIKE A SAMBA THAT SWINGS SO COOL AND SWAYS SO GENTLE THAT WHEN SHE PASSES, EACH ONE SHE PASSES GOES “A-A-AH”

Nearly robbed – at least I can’t see anything missing – last night.
Someone used a length of stiff wire to try and hook things on a table
next to the window louvers. At first I thought they had stolen my PDA
case with wireless modem and SD card inside, but then I spotted where it
had dropped on the floor. (There appears to be wifi in the apt but I
haven’t the desire to try it out.) I actually considered such a remote
possibility before going to bed at 9, and considered moving my recording
equipment inside the locked bedroom, but finally just slid most
everything off to the far end of the table. There’s a locking gate and
barbed wire frost fence, some of the windows are barred and chained, or
nailed shut; there’s supposedly a watchman (big help), and a mastif-like
black dog. I wonder if it wasn’t the beatific smiling rasta kid (Tille)
that helps-out here — he came by to relay a message about the
Sunsations tour and furtively noticed my minidisc equipment set-up on
the balcony. I asked K about security/safety my first day and of
course she downplayed it, saying that once a guest had her handbag
grabbed but local people pounced on the thief. While trying
unsuccessfully lock a door, she told me that she was an Italian ex-pat
yoga instructor (with long blonde dreads), that wasn’t ‘very practical,’
so I’m thinking her employees may take advantage of their situation. The
former owner lived in this apartment, which would explain the security
fortifications. There are workers here as well adding some structures to
other buildings, but it must have been an inside job; no one else would
have had that specific intimate knowledge of building layout and have
likely previously crafted the wire-tool. Also other things outside:
books, laundry, cushions were not disturbed. The previous night I left a
lithium battery out to hold down some paper receipts. It was there as I
encountered the ‘maid’ hanging the laundry in the breezeway but gone
when I returned, the receipts had been ‘thoughtfully’ placed under a
book on another table. I’ll be leaving the lights and TV on all the time
today So not at all like Big Sand where you safely leave your screened
windows open all day/night. St George is quite Westernized and I imagine
is considered ‘progressive,’ attracting an affluent, comfort-seeking
tourist. Earthquake in Chlie, tsunami in Japan; alerts in Hawaii.

K talked me into going to some Grand Anse beach where we (her son and
young handsome boyfriend who seems to want to be a cop and surrogate
father), had an expensive and poor lunch. Left early for the airport
next morning where I repacked my slightly overweight luggage and the
security people tore apart my carry-on luggage, inspecting every item
and insisting that I go back_out and put some items (a bicycle-cable,
lock and 9V battery) in my checked-luggage. While I was out they stole
items from my carry-on bag!! I can’t recommend that anyone visit
Grenada; I’ll just say that Grenadinians are much different from
Vincentians. Finally flew home. Just click-on OK.

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

10/3/2009

FIFTY ON RUN TO 'ASYLUM' VENEZUELAN ARMS VESSEL'S LAND DISPUTE AFTER COCAINE-LADEN AIRPLANES IN L.A. COUNTY CONDOMS DEPARTMENT NABBED DISASTERS FUELING PHILANTHROPY'S TOILET AS JAKARTA CHOLERA AND HIV/AIDS SPREAD THROUGH PACIFIC EARTHQUAKE'S RAPIDLY DISAPPEARING WORLD FORESTS — BIOFUELS DITCH DOLLAR, CLIMATE CHANGE IN ALASKAN COASTAL VILLAGES AS HUNDREDS LEFT HOMELESS IN PANGA RAMPAGE AS FANGED FROGS DISCOVER HORRORS FACING YOUNG GIRLS' STRUGGLE TO CONTAIN SOUTHERN VIOLENCE FOR VANISHED REEF CEMETERY IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA GIANT RATS PRISON BREAK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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