brad brace

3/5/2016

Berta Cáceres Assassinated

BertaCaceres

Honduran Indigenous Leader Berta Cáceres Assassinated, Won Goldman Environmental Prize

Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres has been assassinated in her home. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras.

In 1993 she co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). For years the group faced a series of threats and repression.

According to Global Witness, Honduras has become the deadliest country in the world for environmentalists. Between 2010 and 2014, 101 environmental campaigners were killed in the country.

In 2015 Berta Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s leading environmental award. In awarding the prize, the Goldman Prize committee said, “In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam.”

Statement from SOA Watch:

HONDURAS–At approximately 11:45pm last night, the General Coordinator of COPINH, Berta Caceres was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca. At least two individuals broke down the door of the house where Berta was staying for the evening in the Residencial La Líbano, shot and killed her. COPINH is urgently responding to this tragic situation.

Berta Cáceres is one of the leading indigenous activists in Honduras. She spent her life fighting in defense of indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources.

Cáceres, a Lenca woman, grew up during the violence that swept through Central America in the 1980s. Her mother, a midwife and social activist, took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, teaching her young children the value of standing up for disenfranchised people.

Cáceres grew up to become a student activist and in 1993, she cofounded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to address the growing threats posed to Lenca communities by illegal logging, fight for their territorial rights and improve their livelihoods.

Berta Cáceres and COPINH have been accompanying various land struggles throughout western Honduras. In the last few weeks, violence and repression towards Berta Cáceres, COPINH, and the communities they support, had escalated. In Rio Blanco on February 20, 2016, Berta Cáceres, COPINH, and the community of Rio Blanco faced threats and repression as they carried out a peaceful action to protect the River Gualcarque against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA. As a result of COPINH’s work supporting the Rio Blanco struggle, Berta Cáceres had received countless threats against her life and was granted precautionary measures by the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights. On February 25, 2016, another Lenca community supported by COPINH in Guise, Intibuca was violently evicted and destroyed.

Since the 2009 military coup, that was carried out by graduates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, Honduras has witnessed an explosive growth in environmentally destructive megaprojects that would displace indigenous communities. Almost 30 percent of the country’s land was earmarked for mining concessions, creating a demand for cheap energy to power future mining operations. To meet this need, the government approved hundreds of dam projects around the country, privatizing rivers, land, and uprooting communities. Repression of social movements and targeted assassinations are rampant. Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate. Honduran human rights organizations report there have been over 10,000 human rights violations by state security forces and impunity is the norm–most murders go unpunished. The Associated Press has repeatedly exposed ties between the Honduran police and death squads, while U.S. military training and aid for the Honduran security forces continues.

8/1/2014

RH has become the government of PNG

I have just arrived back from Pomio, where the clear felling of the bush and subsequent oil palm planting are in full swing despite the fact that the vast majority of villagers oppose both. Villagers are powerless to stop these activities which continue even though SABLs have recently supposedly been revoked. This looks likely to have the same status as the police commissioners public order (Dec 2011) that police be pulled out of logging camp sites. The police never were removed, and it is only their continued presence, violence and intimidation that prevents villagers from setting up road blocks to protect their land, gardens and environment.

What is clear to me is that for most local villagers in Pomio the state has shifted away from them and is largely in the pockets of large Malaysian logging companies.

These companies control important governments departments and officials in crucial departments such as Lands, Forestry and the police force. The same applies to other officials in District administration, Local Level Government, Provincial Administration and national government departments. Nearly all sectors of the state have been co-opted into coercive pro-development policies that seek to privatise land and resources without villagers consent.

These logging companies were supported and gave support to the local national member for Pomio who is now in jail for corruption charges. The large funds of money these foreign companies provide at election time has transformed voting into a patron client relationship that supports local, provincial and national government politicians who support the Lease-Lease back schemes (SABLs).

Police and company directors often tell complaining villagers that the land is no longer theirs but belongs to the state which has leased it from them so as to lease it again to the Malaysian companies. The state has become the crucial intermediary in the forced process through which villagers lose control of their resources and especially their land. Much of this depends upon the production of dubious reports by the Lands Department that collects and produces lists of signatures that are highly selective in that they are not the signatures of major clan leaders and of those who represent the majority of villagers.

Through the SABLs and the Private, Public Partnerships, the Somare government created two interlocking policies that have institutionalised corruption in PNG to a point where villagers find it almost impossible to achieve forms of justice concerning the fraudulent nature of state processes that have been effectively dispossessed them of huge areas of land.

Officials in departments like forestry write reports that are not just wrong but are intentionally designed to conceal and legitimise the forced appropriation of land. For example one letter by the local forestry official concerns the late night visit of the armed riot squad to the village of Mu in 2012 where villagers were forced by police to sign English documents that they could not read. This was said to be not at all violent intimidation, but was simply the police correcting an administrative oversight. The riot squad had just gone to collect the names of villagers who had attended a recent meeting over logging, where record keeping had been poorly implemented. None of this explains the swearing and violent demeanour of the armed police and that the signatures were collected forcibly and from many who never went to the meeting. The state is not just incompetent buthas become the crucial instrument for foreign large scale capital, it is state officials who seek to manage and placate opposition to the loss of vast areas of customary local land. They produce the dodgy reports that seek to sanitise and obscure what is actually happening on the ground.

Recently RH has shifted tactics and there has been a movement away from using the violence of the riot squad to intimidate opponents. Instead there is a greater use of courts and restraining orders to prevent the organisation of protests. The cost of legal action has become another form of intimidation that is meant to penalise protesters and their leaders. The judiciary has now become co-opted into this realising a coercive development agenda that has little respect for people’s customary property rights.

7/31/2014

Ecojustice research finds that Canada has no standard for more than 100 substances regulated by at least one other comparison country

Filed under: canada,disease/health,resource — admin @ 6:38 am

TORONTO – July 16 – Canada’s drinking water standards continue to lag behind international benchmarks and are at risk of falling even farther behind, according to the findings of a new investigative report, Waterproof: Standards, released by Ecojustice today. “There is no reason Canadians shouldn’t have the safest drinking water the world,” said Ecojustice staff lawyer and report co-author Randy Christensen. “But regulatory efforts required to create, implement and maintain strong, world-class standards are sorely lacking.” Waterproof: Standards examined the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality — which determine the maximum allowable level of contaminants in water considered safe for human use and consumption — and compared them with corresponding frameworks in the United States, European Union, and Australia, as well as standards recommended by the World Health Organization.

The findings are troubling. While Canada has, or is tied for, the strongest standard in 24 instances, it has, or is tied for, the weakest standard for 27 substances. And in 105 other cases, Canada has no standard where at least one other comparison country does.

For instance, the standard for the commonly used pesticide 2,4-D is 1.5-3 times stronger in other countries than it is in Canada. Long-term exposure to this substance, a common herbicide that can be detected in surface water across Canada, has been linked to liver, kidney and nervous system damage. In another troubling case, Canada has no standard for styrene, a possible human carcinogen, even though it is regulated by the United States, Australia and the World Health Organization. Also noteworthy is the fact that Canada has no microbiological water treatment standard– advanced filtration or equivalent technology — that provides protection, in addition to the microbiological water quality standards, from waterborne pathogens, such as E.coli. “Access to clean, safe drinking water is human health and rights issue,” said Ecojustice senior scientist and report co-author Dr. Elaine MacDonald. “Without a concerted effort to improve Canada’s deficient water standards, legislators will continue to put the health of Canadians at risk and perpetuate inequity in water quality across the country, particularly in rural and First Nations communities.”

St. Lucia

Filed under: climate change,resource,st lucia — admin @ 6:32 am

As unpredictable weather patterns impact water availability and quality in St. Lucia, the Caribbean island is moving to build resilience to climate-related stresses in its water sector.

Dr. Paulette Bynoe, a specialist in community-based disaster risk management, climate change adaptation policy and environmental management, says integrated water resource management is critical. “All governments must work together within the region and lessons learnt in one country can be translated to other countries.” — Dr. Paulette Bynoe

“We have been making progress…making professionals and other important stakeholders aware of the issue. That is the first step,” she said.

“So in other sectors we can also look at coordination whether we talk about agriculture or tourism. It’s important that we think outside of the box and we stop having turfs and really work together,” she added.

Earlier this month, Bynoe facilitated a three-day workshop on Hydro-Climatic Disasters in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in St. Lucia. The workshop was held as part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States-Reducing the Risks to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (OECS-RRACC) project.

Participants were exposed to the key principles of IWRM and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); the implications of climate change and variability for water resources management; policy legislation and institutional requirements needed at the community level to facilitate DRR in IWRM; the economics of disasters; and emergency response issues.

Rupert Lay, a water resources specialist with the RRACC Project, said the training is consistent with the overall goals of the climate change demonstration project in GIS technology currently being implemented by the OECS Secretariat.

“What we need to do now in the region and even further afield is to directly correlate the effects, the financial impacts of these adverse weather conditions as it relates to water resources,” he said.

“We need to make that link strongly so that all of us can appreciate the extent to which and the importance of building resilience and adapting to these stresses.”

On Jul. 9, the St. Lucia Water and Sewage Company (WASCO) placed the entire island under a water emergency schedule as the drought worsened. The government has described the current situation as a “water crisis”.

The crisis, initially declared for the north of the island, has expanded to the entire country.

Managing director of WASCO Vincent Hippolyte said that there had not been sufficient rainfall to meet the demands of consumers. At the most recent assessment, the dam’s water level was at 322 feet, while normal overflow levels are 333 feet.

“Despite the rains and the greenery, drought conditions exist because the rivers are not moving. They do not have the volume of water that will enable WASCO to extract sufficient water to meet demand,” he said.

“We are in the early stages in the drought situation. It is not as severe as the later stages, but we are still in drought conditions.”

The government said that experts predicted the drought would persist through the month of August.

Bynoe said what’s happening in St. Lucia and elsewhere in the Caribbean is consistent with the projections of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Climate Modeling Group from the University of the West Indies.

She said both bodies had given possible future scenarios of climate change as it relates to the Small Island Developing States, and how climate change and climate variability could affect water resources.

“I think generally the issue is that in the region there is a high likelihood that we can have a shortage of water so we can experience droughts; and perhaps at the same time when we do have precipitation it can be very intense,” Bynoe, who is also Director of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Guyana, said.

She noted that the models are saying there can either be too little water or too much water, either of which could create serious problems for the Caribbean.

“With too much water now you can have run off, sedimentation, water pollution and water contamination which means in countries where we depend on surface water the treatment of water become critical and this will then bring cost implications because water treatment is very costly,” Bynoe explained.

“But also, if you are going to treat water you have to use a lot of energy and energy is one of the sectors that contribute to greenhouse gasses. So you can see where the impact of climate change is affecting water but with water treatment you can also contribute to climate change.” For St. Lucia and its neighbours, Bynoe said lack of financial resources tops the list of challenges when it comes to disaster mitigation and adapting new measures in reference to hydro-climatic disasters.

She also pointed to the importance of human capital, citing the need to have persons trained in specific areas as specialists to help with modeling, “because in preparation we first have to know what’s the issue, we have to know what’s the probability of occurrence, we have to know what are the specific paths that we can take which could bring the best benefits to us.”

She used her home country Guyana, which suffers from a high level of migration, as one example of how sustainable development could be negatively affected by capital flight.

“But you also need human capital because first of all governments must work together within the region and lessons learnt in one country can be translated to other countries so that we can replicate the good experiences so that we don’t fall prey to the same sort of issues,” Bynoe said.

“But also social capital within the country in which we try to ensure that all stakeholders are involved, a very democratic process because it’s not only about policymakers; every person, every household must play a role to the whole issue of adaptation, it starts with the man or woman in the mirror,” she added.

In October 2010, Hurricane Tomas passed very near St. Lucia killing 14 people and leaving millions of dollars in monetary losses. The island was one of three Eastern Caribbean countries on which a slow-moving, low-level trough on Dec 24, 2013 dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain, killing 13 people.

6/27/2014

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.

Pacific islands face fishing crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/24/2014

Greenhouse Gardening

Filed under: agriculture,antigua,caribbean,climate change,resource,weather — admin @ 4:37 am

Antigua is one of the most drought-prone countries in the Caribbean. So whenever it rains, the inhabitants generally regard the weather as “showers of blessing”.

But that is starting to change. Many farmers now see the rains as a curse and are now fighting an uphill battle to save their crops, vital for both the local and foreign markets.
“The yield and lifespan [of crops in a greenhouse] basically are three times as much as open-field production.” — Delrie Cole

“We are a drought-prone country,” Ruleta Camacho, senior environmental officer in the ministry of agriculture, stated. “The issue now is that due to the impact of climate change, we are having exacerbated drought and exacerbated rainfall events.”

Heavy rainfall can damage crops and high humidity brings with it an infestation of pests and diseases, increasing the consumption of pesticides.

“We are having large amounts of rain in very short times. There are a number of communities that are affected by flood conditions, communities where the livelihoods of the population could be affected,” Camacho added.

One such community is Jonas Road where Delrie Cole has been farming for the last three years. But since Cole introduced greenhouse technology to his farm, he is no longer at the mercy of the rains.

With the greenhouses he is also able to grow his vegetables – cilantro, parsley, basil, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, pumpkins and tomatoes – during periods of drought or deluge.

“The need for the greenhouses came about because of climate change and a lack of production in the summer season when you have more stressful conditions,” he said.

“Due to the changing climate we are having hotter summers and it’s a pretty difficult time when you have the plants being stressed and the fruits are falling from the trees.

“The greenhouse basically gives you that edge where you can better operate in terms of control, cutting down some of the humidity that you would have during the summer,” he explained.

Greenhouse farming, which is cultivation of plants inside a building with glass walls and roof under controlled conditions, has become necessary with climate change.

Temperature and humidity can be controlled, making it possible for farmers to grow crops year-round.

“The yield and lifespan basically are three times as much as open-field production,” said Cole, who has been a farmer for more than 30 years.

“We are doing crops which are running 12 months, so whereas you would have planted a field that is carrying us through 12 months, farmers in the open would have been planting three crops within that same length of time and their yield would be less.”

Farmers in Antigua stand to benefit from the Reducing the Risks to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) project being implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The ministry of agriculture has identified the threat of heavy rainfall on cash crops such as lettuce and tomatoes,” Susanna Scott, coordinator of the RRACC project, said.

“A lot of damage could result from intense rainfall, which is expected to increase with climate change and also in time of drought the impact of the dry weather on these crops is severe as well,” she said. “So what we are looking at doing is investing in greenhouses to provide a protective area for crop growing.”

Antigua’s main agricultural exports include cotton to Japan and fruits and vegetables to other Caribbean territories.

Hot peppers and vegetables are also exported to the United Kingdom and Canada. Other agriculture products are bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, livestock and pineapples.

Agriculture is currently a rather insignificant part of the economy, making up just four percent of GDP. However, it appears that cultivation is on the rise, with approximately 300 acres of land planted with vegetables.

Antigua has also been campaigning to encourage more youth to get involved in agriculture and there is evidence of some success.

Oraine Halstead and Rhys Actie, who are both under the age of 25, are full-time farmers.

“As a boy growing up with my grandmother, she was involved in planting vegetables and I got a little knowledge of it and fell in love with it,” Actie, a national of St. Lucia who moved here at the age of nine years and is now 23, said.

Halstead, who has been a farmer for two and half years, said farming is a very fulfilling career.

“I love to be around plants, taking care of them. It’s a joy to see them grow to maturity and the food they produce,” he said.

In the wake of climate change, greenhouse farming is seen as the only way to protect crops and manage a better yield than in normal condition. Farming under controlled condition protects crops from wind, rain, sun and precipitation.

The advantages of vegetable production in tropical greenhouses include higher yield and quality; reduced risks for quality and yield; less susceptibility to disease and damage caused by heavy rainfall; extended harvest time; reduced water consumption; and better use of fertiliser and pesticides.

“People are more keen as to what they consume and where it’s coming from. We are doing vine ripening so the flavour is good. Consumers are knocking on our doors because of the quality and the taste of our tomatoes,” Cole said.

Water

Filed under: military,resource,syria — admin @ 4:31 am

The United Nations, which is trying to help resolve the widespread shortage of water in the developing world, is faced with a growing new problem: the use of water as a weapon of war in ongoing conflicts.

The most recent examples are largely in the Middle East and Africa, including Iraq, Egypt, Israel (where supplies to the occupied territories have been shut off) and Botswana.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week expressed concern over reports that water supplies in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo were deliberately cut off by armed groups for eight days, depriving at least 2.5 million people of access to safe water for drinking and sanitation.

5/9/2013

MANNGINGI’

Filed under: cnmi,culture,resource — admin @ 4:44 pm

We should not pursue economic development in the Northern Islands

Written by By Anastasia Schweiger

MANNGINGI’ is a Chamorro practice I learned while growing up in Tanapag. By bowing one’s head, kissing an elder’s hand with your nose, and saying nora or not, manngingi’ is a simple but profound gesture that shows one’s respect for the manamko. It is a respect that my father has taught me all my life, a deep respect for this place that I call home.

So when I prepared for today’s topic, I realized that very few people and very few countries have given the Northern Marianas and its people the respect they so deserve.

Throughout the CNMI’s history, foreign powers have made major decisions for these islands without knowing much about them, let alone having the common decency to ever visit them when making those decisions.

This history has been nothing short of disrespectful, an insult to the cherished tradition of manngingi’.

However, I fear that now, we stand poised to make that same mistake about the Northern Islands, about which we know very little and to which many of us have never been.

That is why I stand here today to argue that we should NOT pursue economic development in the Northern Islands.

To begin with, in the spirit of manngingi’, rather than seeing them as the ultimate jackpot, we should treasure the Northern Islands as family heirlooms that we preserve for future generations.

We need to live by the Native American proverb:

“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

With that in mind, we have to remember that the profit of today may be the ultimate sacrifice of tomorrow.

For instance, mining pozzolan may be the next black gold rush, but it will strip Pagan dry, leaving it polluted, barren, and vulnerable to erosion.

Commercial farming may make us the bread basket of Micronesia, but like other countries that have over-farmed their soil, that could suck the land of all its nutrients, leaving it infertile for countless generations.

And commercial fishing could result in overfishing that depletes our oceans of the one food staple that the islands have relied on for centuries.

Yes, these economic developments may bring money today, but what about tomorrow?

What happens when we have mined the last ounce of pozzolan?

What happens when we have harvested the last coconut?

And what happens when we have caught the last fish?

When that happens, we will realize that we cannot eat money.

Like the Iroquois nation, when making decisions, we must consider their impact on seven generations into the future.

If we are to ensure that our islands are here for the next seven generations, rather than developing the Northern Islands, we should preserve them.

This brings me to my second point.

In order to preserve the Northern Islands, we need to enact legislation that gives us more control over these islands.

Current federal legislation gives the CNMI jurisdiction over less than three miles off the coast of each island. That leaves hundreds of miles of ocean that we have absolutely no control over.

How are we to protect against overfishing in those waters?

How are we to prevent illegal undersea mining?

How are we to regulate any kind of maritime activity?

The U.S. Coast Guard may patrol these waters, but who decides what is acceptable and unacceptable in our submerged lands?

Shouldn’t those decisions be made by the people who live in these islands?

But it’s not just about submerged lands.

As far back as 1971, a Use and Occupancy Agreement between the U.S. government and the former Trust Territory governments permitted the use of Farallon de Medinilla as an aircraft and ship ordnance impact target area. In other words, a place to drop bombs, all for one measly payment of $20,600.

And now the U.S. Department of Defense wants to do the same with Pagan, destroying its environment, its character, and its people?

As Northern Islands Municipal Council member Diego Kaipat put it, “If Pagan is taken by the military, residents will become the real endangered species.”

Aside from the military, even environmental activities have taken away our control of the Northern Islands.

Specifically, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument gave the federal government control over almost 100,000 square miles of the entire Northern Marianas, or about a third of the CNMI.

So between submerged lands, military lands, and environmental lands, our commonwealth controls only a small fraction of the actual area of the NMI.

How are we to preserve our commonwealth, let alone the Northern Islands, without the basic authority to make decisions about these islands?

We cannot protect, we cannot preserve our own home if we don’t even have the keys to that home.

Therefore, the U.S. Congress must enact legislation that gives the CNMI more authority to regulate its own waters.

Only then will we be in a position to preserve all our islands, not just the Northern Islands.

However, I know that more control will require that we become more responsible in how we handle our islands, which brings me to my third and final point.

In order to preserve the Northern Islands, we need to become better stewards of all our islands.

And that will only happen when we change the way we think about economic growth.

Famous British economist, John Clapham, once said, “Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress.”

We, in the CNMI, have proven this point all too well.

Just look at us now. What did the economic advance of the 80s and 90s bring us?

A large influx of foreign workers that overwhelmed our infrastructure and led to human rights abuses resulting in federalization.

A real estate rush that led to families turning on each other and ultimately losing much of their land.

And the construction of more hotels and garment factories than we ever needed which led to red-flagged beaches, sewage overflows, and Mount Puerto Rico.

Sure, these things brought in money, but at what cost?

Communities plagued by crime, drugs, gambling, and domestic violence?

A government driven into corruption by bribery, greed, and cronyism?

And a westernized culture that values money over family, friends, and community?

Yes, there has been economic advance, but not human progress.

The solution to these problems, and the key to becoming better stewards of our islands, can be found in what I started with: the essence of manngingi’.

In his book, “The Rope of Tradition,” Lino Olopai demonstrates this essence when describing the traditional way of building a canoe. Noting that a breadfruit tree provides the best kind of wood for a canoe, Lino explains how before the canoe is even built, the family on whose land the tree is found is consulted at length, sometimes for several weeks. And even when the family finally gives permission to cut down the tree, the canoe builders carry out a ritual that involves talking to the spirit of the tree.

This traditional process of building a canoe is not a simple and quick financial transaction. You don’t just order it online and have it delivered. It is a dialogue that cultivates relationships, community bonds, and appreciation for both nature and people.

It’s not about cost. It’s about value. It’s not about money. It’s about respect.

And to me, that’s what manngingi’ is all about: respect.

Today’s topic asked us to “take into account the needs of the residents of the Northern Islands.”

Well, in my opinion, they deserve more than just being taken into account. They deserve our utmost respect.

Because who else has been on the front lines fighting the militarization of the Northern Islands?

Who else has learned to live in balance with nature?

Who else respects their islands as much as they do?

So, no, we should do more than just “take their needs into account.”

We should salute them, and learn from them, and listen to them.

Because they live by something my Uncle Frank Aguon taught me a long time ago growing up in Tanapag, that if you take care of the land, it will take care of you.

And that is what we must do. We must take care of the Northern Islands and honor them as we would honor our own manamko’.

And in the spirit of manngingi’, let us bow our heads in humility, kiss them with love, and treat them with respect.

Thank you.

A Mount Carmel High School senior, the author is this year’s winner of the 29th Attorneys General Cup Speech Competition.

3/7/2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11/9/2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The CIA Playlist includes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/19/2009

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

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.”

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.

3/31/2009

PRISON JUMPING SPIDERS BANKRUPT STRANGLED PARADISE WAR APPAREL AID AMID INDEPENDENT CYCLONED TREE PLANTATIONS

South Asia’s export based apparel industry is reeling under the impact of
the global recession as demand for clothing from Western countries slows
down. The industry is one of the biggest employers in this region.

Burmese people beg for food in the rain as aid begins to arrive following
cyclone Nargis. International aid for cyclone victims in Burma was
deliberately blocked by the military regime.

One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole
or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008.

Police found the body of a strangled woman in a suitcase dumped at
Bangladesh’s Zia International Airport. Security officials alerted customs
and police after the suitcase was found on a trolley outside the airport’s
departure door late yesterday.

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

A British man is allegedly killed by thieves in a raid on his yacht during
a boating holiday off the southern coast. Malcolm Robertson and his wife
Linda were sailing their boat off the coast of southern Thailand when he
was allegedly beaten with a hammer and thrown overboard by a group of men
trying to steal a dinghy.

The Seychelles, the idyllic archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast
of Africa, is best known as an island paradise playground for celebrities,
royalty and the ultra-wealthy. These days, it’s better known for something
else: bankruptcy.

The junta’s wilful disregard for the welfare of the 3.4 million survivors
of cyclone Nargis – which struck the Irrawaddy delta last May, killing
140,000 people – and a host of other abuses amount to crimes against
humanity under international law. The storm surge coupled with intense
winds swept away homes, fields, livestock and rice stores, leaving little
or nothing for survivors. But the military regime, which was at the time
preparing for a national referendum on its plans to hold elections in 2010,
insisted it could cope with the disaster despite its scale and shunned most
international relief for weeks.

Criminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education,
transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only
Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which
quadrupled in the past two decades. The increases in the number of people
in some form of correctional control occurred as crime rates declined by
about 25 percent in the past two decades.

Customs officials scanned the luggage and found the body of a 35-year-old
woman dumped inside. She was strangled by a rope. She is a married woman
with two children and her husband lives in Malaysia.

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

Executions around the world increased by more than 90 per cent last year.
2,390 people were executed last year. China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the
United States were responsible for 93 per cent of the executions. China had
the highest figures, carrying out 72 per cent of all executions. Fifty-nine
countries retain the death penalty worldwide but only 25 of them carried
out executions in 2008. In Europe only Belarus carried out the death
sentence. Africa, Botswana and Sudan were the only countries to have
carried out executions. The fact that fewer countries carried out
executions shows we may slowly be moving toward a world that is free of the
death penalty.

The tiny country’s debt burden may be tiny compared to Iceland, which
needed a $2.1 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund last
fall, but the Seychelles’ problems illustrate the degree to which the
global economic crisis has leveled some economies altogether. And because
of its small size, with just 87,000 people, the Seychelles now has the
unenviable stature of being perhaps the most indebted country in the world.
Public and private debt totals $800 million – roughly the size of the
country’s entire economy.

For the last three years, 40-year-old Phekan sewed buttons on cotton shirts
in a small factory in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi earning about
$100 a month. But she lost her job earlier this month after the European
retailer buying the shirts slashed orders. Phekan is worried how she will
continue to live in the city while searching for another job. Phekan says
her landlord will demand rent on the first of the month, and she does not
know how she will pay the money.

The Burmese army obstructed private cyclone relief efforts even among its
own concerned citizens, setting up checkpoints and arresting some of those
trying to provide help. Supplies of overseas relief materials that were
eventually allowed into Burma were confiscated by the military and sold in
markets, the packaging easily identifiable.

As US states face huge budget shortfalls, prisons, which hold 1.5 million
adults, are driving the spending increases. States have shown a preference
for prison spending even though it is cheaper to monitor convicts in
community programs, including probation and parole, which require offenders
to report to law enforcement officers. A survey of 34 states found that
states spent an average of $29,000 a year on prisoners, compared with
$1,250 on probationers and $2,750 on parolees. The study found that despite
more spending on prisons, recidivism rates remained largely unchanged. As
states trim services like education and health care, prison budgets are
growing. Those priorities are misguided.

Three new case studies and a video have been released on the impacts of
monoculture tree plantations on women in Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and
Brazil. These tree plantations provide rubber for car and bus tires, palm
oil for processed foods and pulp for toilet paper – all items being used in
the west. They are also destroying local communities.

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

Conservationists searching through the undergrowth of a remote mountain
region have identified up to 50 new species of jumping spiders. Medical
science could benefit from the discoveries through the study of the
chemicals contained in their venoms. Insights into how to develop vision
for robots and how to miniaturise could also be made by the study of the
jumping spider eyes.

Last year, as tourism and fishing revenue began slowing, the Seychelles
defaulted on a $230 million, euro-denominated bond that had been arranged
by Lehman Brothers before its own bankruptcy. The IMF came in in November
with a two-year, $26 million rescue package, and the country has since
taken a series of emergency steps: It laid off 12.5% of government workers
(1,800 people), floated its currency (the Seychelles rupee, which has
fallen from eight to the U.S. dollar to 16, effectively doubling the prices
of imports), lifted foreign exchange controls and agreed to sell state
assets.

Bigger manufacturers are able to absorb the impact of the slowdown, but
many smaller units are badly hit. “The bigger people, because economies of
scale and cost pressures are important, are still going to grow, but it is
small companies which don’t have economies of scale, they might go out of
business.”

The researchers were repeatedly told that surviving men, women and even
children were used as forced labour on reconstruction projects for the
military. “[The army] did not help us, they threatened us,” said one
survivor from the town of Labutta. “Everyone in the village was required to
work for five days, morning and evening without compensation. Children were
required to work too. A boy got injured on his leg and got a fever. After
two or three days he was taken to [Rangoon], but after a few days he died.”

States are looking to make cuts that will have long-term harmful effects.
Corrections is one area they can cut and still have good or better outcomes
than what they are doing now. Focusing on probation and parole could reduce
recidivism and keep crime rates low in the long run. But tougher penalties
for crimes had driven the crime rate down in the first place. One of the
reasons crime rates may be so low is because we changed our federal and
state systems in the past two decades to make sure that people who commit
crimes, especially violent crimes, actually have to serve significant
sentences.

In the case of Nigeria, in 2007, the French tire maker Michelin came in to
the Iguóbazuwa Forest Reserve, a biologically diverse region supplying food
for around 20,000 people. Michelin bulldozed the forest and local farm
lands to convert them into rubber plantations. Women living there lost
their subsistence farms and the local forest which provided medicinal herbs
and plants.

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

Along with spiders, which can leap 30 times their own body length,
researchers discovered three previously unknown frogs, two plants and a
stripy gecko. The great age of discovery isn’t over by far. Spider venom
has evolved for millions of years to affect the neurological systems of the
spider’s insect prey and each species of spider gives us another
opportunity to find medically-useful chemicals.

The IMF has given a thumbs-up to the initial progress, but it warned that
the economy would contract 9.5% this year. The government of Australia is
sending tax experts to help overhaul the revenue collection system and
audit local companies. Now the Seychelles is negotiating with the
governments of Britain, France and other Western countries including the
U.S. – the so-called Paris Club – to reschedule $250 million in debt it
owes them. It is asking for 50% of it to be forgiven – a rate it hopes its
commercial creditors will then apply to its remaining $550 million
outstanding.

The industry is impacted slightly less in India, where strong domestic
consumption is providing a market for manufacturers. But the export
dependant industries in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been impacted more
severely by shrinking retail sales in the West. An estimated 25 percent of
orders have been cancelled by Western buyers.

The Burmese regime’s response to the disaster violated humanitarian relief
norms and legal frameworks for relief efforts. The systematic abuses may
amount to crimes against humanity under international law through the
creation of conditions where basic survival needs of people are not met,
intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to
mental or physical health.

Over all, two-thirds of offenders, or about 5.1 million people in 2008,
were on probation or parole. The study found that states were not
increasing their spending for community supervision in proportion to their
growing caseloads. About $9 out of $10 spent on corrections goes to prison
financing (that includes money spent to house 780,000 people in local
jails). One in 11 African-Americans, or 9.2 percent, are under correctional
control, compared with one in 27 Latinos (3.7 percent) and one in 45 whites
(2.2 percent). Only one out of 89 women is behind bars or monitored,
compared with one out of 18 men.

In Papua New Guinea, monoculture oil palm plantations provide palm oil
which is used to produce soap, cosmetics, processed foods and agrofuels for
the European Union (EU) and other western countries. These plantations,
however, also destroy forests, biodiversity, and local community
livelihoods. Small farmers were promised the opportunity to benefit
financially from the palm plantations and have been using much of their
land for palm oil production, depleting the soil, but earning less than was
promised. Women living near these plantations don’t have enough arable land
to farm and are exposed to toxic pesticides. “Health is a very big concern
in our place right now we breathe in the chemicals… I’m pretty sure we are
inhaling dangerous substances and definitely are dying every minute. Some
women had babies who developed asthma when they were just one or two months
old.” said a woman from the community of Saga.

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

Jumping spiders with their remarkably miniaturized yet acute eyes could
help us understand how to push the limits of vision. In addition to filling
in the gaps in our planet’s natural history, exploring spider biodiversity
and evolution could potentially inform fields as diverse as medicine and
robotics. Jumping spiders have better vision than other types of spider and
two of their eight eyes are especially well developed for high resolution
vision. In effect, they have evolved a design that has deconstructed the
eyeball and put it together, with modifications, section by section in
miniature. The retina of the spiders could be of particular interest
because instead of the three-dimensional hemisphere in the human eyeball it
has developed like a flat scanner.

“We borrowed more than we can repay. This was wholly irresponsible.”

Heavily reliant on tourism, the Seychelles is desperately searching for
ways to raise capital – at a time when tourism is forecast to drop
precipitously this year. The country has already seen a drop of 15% in
visitor arrivals from the start of 2009; tourism revenue for the year could
drop by some 25% more as a result of the global recession.

The industry was hoping to exceed last year’s exports which totaled over
$10 billion, but is unlikely to meet the target. “The export goal initial
in this year was $13 billion, and we are little scared whether we will be
able to achieve that goal. Buyers are delaying the goods because of falling
demand. We are struggling for survival in these bad days.”

Georgia had 1 in 13 adults under some form of punishment; Idaho, 1 in 18;
the District of Columbia, 1 in 21; Texas, 1 in 22; Massachusetts, 1 in 24;
and Ohio, 1 in 25.

In Brazil, Eucalyptus plantations provide pulp for paper that is used for
toilet and facial tissue, as well as other disposable paper products in the
west. These Eucalyptus plantations, push out local agriculture, deplete the
soil and are water-use intensive, devastating local flora and fauna. One
woman, anonymously interviewed in Southern Brazil, explains that “the
companies only give work to men. The few jobs they give to women are the
ones that pay the least.” Even in the case of men, the companies tend to
hire workers from outside the region, and this influx of strangers
invariably leads to a rise in sexual harassment cases.

In the early decades of the war, the KNU dominated the Irrawaddy Delta,
close to the former Burmese capital Rangoon, as well as areas north of the
city and all of Kayin State. But in the 1990s an increasingly well-armed
Burmese Army made steady gains and in 1995 the KNU was driven out of its
capital, Manerplaw. At this time, Buddhists in the Christian-dominated KNU
broke away to form the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which now
fights alongside the Burmese Army. Formerly, the KNU had operated as a
quasi-government, providing schools and clinics and receiving income from
tax, as well as from a profitable trade through Thailand in timber, gold,
zinc and antimony. The loss of territory brought a loss of funds, which
made it harder to arm and equip itself. The KNU claims to have 10,000
soldiers, including village militia men, but the number of active fighters
is probably between 3,000 and 5,000.

The 30 to 50 new species of jumping spiders were spotted and caught during
a survey of a region of Papua New Guinea. Among the new spiders were types
that came from particularly unusual evolutionary branches and zoologists
hope that these will offer new clues into how jumping spiders evolved, a
question that remains a puzzle. There are 5,000 species of jumping spider
yet to be discovered around the world. They evolved much more recently that
other spiders.

Seychelles officials have another idea though: to promote the country’s
longstanding virtue of being an off-shore business haven, with no corporate
tax, no minimum capital requirements, only one shareholder or director
required, and an annual licensing fee of just $100. It also hopes to grow
revenue from fishing licenses in its territorial waters, and soon it will
present a proposal to the United Nations to expand its exclusive rights to
the surrounding seabed, potentially increasing prospects of revenue from
underwater minerals, oil and gas.

The textile and garment factories in the region provide jobs to tens of
millions of people, especially women, and are the biggest employers in the
region after agriculture.

States started spending more on prisons in the 1980s during the last big
crime wave. Basically, when we made these investments, public safety and
crime was the No. 1 concern of voters, so politicians were passing all
kinds of laws to increase sentences. Now, crime is down, but we’re living
with that legacy: the bricks and mortar and the politicians who feel like
they have to talk tough every time they talk about crime.

The impacts of these monoculture plantations are not gender neutral. As
much attention should be placed on gender equality in the nations supplying
the raw materials to support the western lifestyle as they do within their
own borders. They argue that consumers need to understand the impacts of
their consumption on both environmental and social justice, and consider
reducing consumption rates. At the same time, benefitting countries must
push for policies and protections for the environment and the people that
live there. The current monoculture plantation system is not
environmentally or socially sustainable.

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

Instead of building webs or responding to the motion of prey they have
learnt to distinguish between different animals and their attack techniques
depends on what they are tackling. Instead of sitting at the centre of a
web, jumping spiders found a new way to make a living by wandering around
their habitat and pouncing – like cats – on their prey. Some of them are so
cute. There is a whole lot of beauty in these small spiders if we look
closely enough.

And hopes for expanding tourism remain high. In addition to the usual
roster of luxury-seeking royals and high-spending celebs, the middle-tier
traveler is now being heartily courted, too. The government in early March
announced an “Affordable Seychelles” campaign – what would have until
recently been an oxymoron – with the motto: “Once-in-a-lifetime vacation at
a once-in-a-lifetime price,” based on lower prices caused by the halving in
value of the currency.

The border is a valuable conduit not only for the Karen but for Burmese
struggling to overthrow the military dictatorship. After the junta cracked
down on large pro-democracy demonstrations of monks and activists in 2007,
many of them escaped into Thailand.

2/25/2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/15/2009

CLIMATE CHARMERS CANED MONSTER'S TAIL

Climate change is not only occurring, it is accelerating. Deforestation
accounts for almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. One idea is to reduce
this figure by giving forests a monetary value based on their capacity to
store carbon and thus reduce greenhouse gases. This may eventually lead to
developed countries paying developing ones to reduce emissions caused by
deforestation and forest degradation.

The snake charming ban has stripped 800,000 members of Bengal’s Bedia
community, who have worked as snake-charmers for generations, of their only
source of income, while an estimated 20,000 are serving jail terms for
defying the ban.

The world must do more to confront the largely unstudied and neglected
phenomenon of people-trafficking. So little is known about the problem,
that no estimate can be given of the number affected. There is lack of a
common understanding of what human trafficking is, and whom it affects.

For generations, the ethnic Muslim Rohingya have endured persecution by the
ruling junta of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. The plight of
the Rohingya, descendants of Arab traders from the 7th century, gained
international attention after five boatloads of haggard migrants were found
in the waters around Indonesia and the Andaman Islands.

The Tanzania Teachers’ Union is taking legal action after 19 primary school
teachers were given the cane. The teachers were caned by a police officer
in front of their pupils after an investigation into poor exam results at
three schools.

“Unless a mechanism is put into place that makes forests worth more alive
than dead, deforestation will continue until the world’s tropical forests
are completely destroyed. In the absence of large-scale incentives for
conservation, an enormous number of the world’s species of plants and
animals and the resource base of millions of indigenous peoples and forest
communities will ultimately go up in smoke.”

The Bedia community is nomadic and regards snake-charming as its
birthright. The ban has severely affected 100,000 families in West Bengal’s
Cooch Behar, Murshidabad and Malda districts.

The most commonly used term for the problem – “people-trafficking” – itself
emphasises the transaction aspects of the crime, rather than the day-to-day
experience of modern enslavement. And it suggests the trafficking
phenomenon is little understood in all its forms from child soldiering to
sweatshop labour, domestic servitude, and even entire villages in bondage.

But unlike the Kurds or the Palestinians, no one has championed the cause
of the Rohingya. Most countries, from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia, see them as
little more than a source of cheap labor for the dirtiest and most
dangerous jobs. “The Rohingya are probably the most friendless people in
the world. They just have no one advocating for them at all. Hardly any of
them have legal status anywhere in the world.”

The report blamed teachers for being late or not showing up for work and
not teaching the official syllabus. One of the caned teachers, Ativus
Leonard, 33, said he was now too ashamed to meet his pupils.

Political and financial support could be provided to indigenous peoples if
governments decide that local forestry practices contribute to storing
carbon. “If instituted in a manner consistent with indigenous interests,
reduced deforestation could help to protect the biodiversity of plants and
animals, help to secure indigenous lands and livelihoods, and provide for
the ongoing culture and community of indigenous and forest-dwelling
peoples.”

Now they have set up a union and campaign group to lobby for an exemption
from the ban and state support for retraining. They say that if the state
continues to deny them their traditional source of income it should fund
them to set up snake farms so they can earn a living.

Statistics suggest that sexual exploitation is the most common form of
human trafficking (at 79%, followed by forced labour at 18%). This itself
may be an “optical illusion”, because “sexual exploitation is highly
visible in cities or along highways while forced labour is hidden. We only
see the monster’s tail.”

There are an estimated 750,000 Rohingya living in Myanmar’s mountainous
northern state of Rakhine, which borders Bangladesh. Thousands flee every
year, trying to escape a life of abuse that was codified in 1982 with a law
that virtually bars them from becoming citizens. Myanmar’s military
government has repeatedly denied abusing the Rohingya, though Amnesty
International said the junta has described them as less than human. Rights
groups have documented widespread abuses, including forced labor, land
seizures and rape.

But indigenous peoples and other observers have also expressed concern
about possible negative impacts. If forests are given monetary value, many
fear that – where land tenure rights are unclear and decision-making
remains top-down – new conflicts could arise among indigenous and local
communities and between them and the state.

The union, the Bedia Federation of India, says if the government cannot
lift the ban on snake-charming shows, then it should help them start up
snake farms where they could use their expertise to develop anti-venenes.

“How many hundreds of thousands of victims are slaving away in sweat shops,
fields, mines, factories, or trapped in domestic servitude? Their numbers
will surely swell as the economic crisis deepens the pool of potential
victims and increases demand for cheap goods and services.”

“It was like living in hell,” said Mohamad Zagit, who left after soldiers
confiscated his family’s rice farm and then threw him in jail for praying
at a local mosque. The 23-year-old spoke from his hospital bed in Thailand,
where he had been detained after fleeing Myanmar.

“We have no rights,” said Muhamad Shafirullah, who was among 200 migrants
rescued by the Indonesian navy. He recalled how he was jailed in Myanmar,
his family’s land stolen and a cousin dragged into the jungle and shot
dead. “They rape and kill our women. We can’t practice our religion. We
aren’t allowed to travel from village to village … It’s almost
impossible, even, to get married or go to school.”

Mechanisms might exclude local populations from implementation and
benefit-sharing processes, and possibly even expel them from their own
territories: “The increased monetary value placed on standing forest
resources and new forest growth, opens the door for corruption in countries
where this is already rife in the forest sector. Centralized planning where
the national government creates plans, receives payments and disburses the
new funds only adds to the marginalisation of forest people.”

“Having lived with the reptiles since childhood, the snake-charmers know
only one vocation, that is handling snakes and holding public shows, but
strong measures adopted by police and forest department for the last decade
or so have put them in a difficult situation.”

Another little-understood aspect of human-trafficking is that female
offenders have a more prominent role in people-trafficking than in any
other crime, with women accounting for more than 60% of convictions in
Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Twice since the 1970s, waves of attacks by the military and Buddhist
villagers forced hundred of thousands of Rohingya to flee over the border
to Bangladesh, a Muslim country whose people speak a similar language. Many
have since been repatriated, but 200,000 still work there as illegal
migrants and another 28,000 live in squalid refugee camps.

These concerns are reinforced by the difficulties experienced by indigenous
peoples in accessing international climate change debates. Indigenous
peoples were shocked to see that references to their rights were removed.

He said hundreds of thousands of Bedia will protest in Calcutta at what
will be the world’s largest-ever gathering of snake-charmers.

Most countries’ conviction rates rarely exceed 1.5 per 100,000 people –
“below the level normally recorded for rare crimes… and proportionately
much lower than the estimated number of victims”.

Violence against Rohingya women is common, and they face the threat of
prison because of their illegal status. Thousands of Rohingya have taken to
the seas from Bangladesh in search of better jobs, but ended up drowning or
at the mercy of traffickers. For years, the Rohingya traveled to the Middle
East for work, with nearly a half million ending up in Saudi Arabia.

There is also growing concern that indigenous peoples and local communities
are “unlikely to benefit if: they do not own their lands; there is no
culture of free, prior and informed consent; their identities are not
recognised; or they have no space to participate in political processes.”

It is sick that we should even need to write a report about slavery in the
21st Century. “My 14 children rely on me. They have no safety, no food,
nothing,” said Mohamad Salim, a 35-year-old, bearded fisherman who also was
detained and hospitalized in Thailand and begged to be allowed to continue
onto Malaysia. “What will they eat? How will they live if I don’t find
work?” he said, his voice trembling.

CLIMATE CHARMERS CANED MONSTER’S TAIL

Climate change is not only occurring, it is accelerating. Deforestation
accounts for almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. One idea is to reduce
this figure by giving forests a monetary value based on their capacity to
store carbon and thus reduce greenhouse gases. This may eventually lead to
developed countries paying developing ones to reduce emissions caused by
deforestation and forest degradation.

The snake charming ban has stripped 800,000 members of Bengal’s Bedia
community, who have worked as snake-charmers for generations, of their only
source of income, while an estimated 20,000 are serving jail terms for
defying the ban.

The world must do more to confront the largely unstudied and neglected
phenomenon of people-trafficking. So little is known about the problem,
that no estimate can be given of the number affected. There is lack of a
common understanding of what human trafficking is, and whom it affects.

For generations, the ethnic Muslim Rohingya have endured persecution by the
ruling junta of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. The plight of
the Rohingya, descendants of Arab traders from the 7th century, gained
international attention after five boatloads of haggard migrants were found
in the waters around Indonesia and the Andaman Islands.

The Tanzania Teachers’ Union is taking legal action after 19 primary school
teachers were given the cane. The teachers were caned by a police officer
in front of their pupils after an investigation into poor exam results at
three schools.

“Unless a mechanism is put into place that makes forests worth more alive
than dead, deforestation will continue until the world’s tropical forests
are completely destroyed. In the absence of large-scale incentives for
conservation, an enormous number of the world’s species of plants and
animals and the resource base of millions of indigenous peoples and forest
communities will ultimately go up in smoke.”

The Bedia community is nomadic and regards snake-charming as its
birthright. The ban has severely affected 100,000 families in West Bengal’s
Cooch Behar, Murshidabad and Malda districts.

The most commonly used term for the problem – “people-trafficking” – itself
emphasises the transaction aspects of the crime, rather than the day-to-day
experience of modern enslavement. And it suggests the trafficking
phenomenon is little understood in all its forms from child soldiering to
sweatshop labour, domestic servitude, and even entire villages in bondage.

But unlike the Kurds or the Palestinians, no one has championed the cause
of the Rohingya. Most countries, from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia, see them as
little more than a source of cheap labor for the dirtiest and most
dangerous jobs. “The Rohingya are probably the most friendless people in
the world. They just have no one advocating for them at all. Hardly any of
them have legal status anywhere in the world.”

The report blamed teachers for being late or not showing up for work and
not teaching the official syllabus. One of the caned teachers, Ativus
Leonard, 33, said he was now too ashamed to meet his pupils.

Political and financial support could be provided to indigenous peoples if
governments decide that local forestry practices contribute to storing
carbon. “If instituted in a manner consistent with indigenous interests,
reduced deforestation could help to protect the biodiversity of plants and
animals, help to secure indigenous lands and livelihoods, and provide for
the ongoing culture and community of indigenous and forest-dwelling
peoples.”

Now they have set up a union and campaign group to lobby for an exemption
from the ban and state support for retraining. They say that if the state
continues to deny them their traditional source of income it should fund
them to set up snake farms so they can earn a living.

Statistics suggest that sexual exploitation is the most common form of
human trafficking (at 79%, followed by forced labour at 18%). This itself
may be an “optical illusion”, because “sexual exploitation is highly
visible in cities or along highways while forced labour is hidden. We only
see the monster’s tail.”

There are an estimated 750,000 Rohingya living in Myanmar’s mountainous
northern state of Rakhine, which borders Bangladesh. Thousands flee every
year, trying to escape a life of abuse that was codified in 1982 with a law
that virtually bars them from becoming citizens. Myanmar’s military
government has repeatedly denied abusing the Rohingya, though Amnesty
International said the junta has described them as less than human. Rights
groups have documented widespread abuses, including forced labor, land
seizures and rape.

But indigenous peoples and other observers have also expressed concern
about possible negative impacts. If forests are given monetary value, many
fear that – where land tenure rights are unclear and decision-making
remains top-down – new conflicts could arise among indigenous and local
communities and between them and the state.

The union, the Bedia Federation of India, says if the government cannot
lift the ban on snake-charming shows, then it should help them start up
snake farms where they could use their expertise to develop anti-venenes.

“How many hundreds of thousands of victims are slaving away in sweat shops,
fields, mines, factories, or trapped in domestic servitude? Their numbers
will surely swell as the economic crisis deepens the pool of potential
victims and increases demand for cheap goods and services.”

“It was like living in hell,” said Mohamad Zagit, who left after soldiers
confiscated his family’s rice farm and then threw him in jail for praying
at a local mosque. The 23-year-old spoke from his hospital bed in Thailand,
where he had been detained after fleeing Myanmar.

“We have no rights,” said Muhamad Shafirullah, who was among 200 migrants
rescued by the Indonesian navy. He recalled how he was jailed in Myanmar,
his family’s land stolen and a cousin dragged into the jungle and shot
dead. “They rape and kill our women. We can’t practice our religion. We
aren’t allowed to travel from village to village … It’s almost
impossible, even, to get married or go to school.”

Mechanisms might exclude local populations from implementation and
benefit-sharing processes, and possibly even expel them from their own
territories: “The increased monetary value placed on standing forest
resources and new forest growth, opens the door for corruption in countries
where this is already rife in the forest sector. Centralized planning where
the national government creates plans, receives payments and disburses the
new funds only adds to the marginalisation of forest people.”

“Having lived with the reptiles since childhood, the snake-charmers know
only one vocation, that is handling snakes and holding public shows, but
strong measures adopted by police and forest department for the last decade
or so have put them in a difficult situation.”

Another little-understood aspect of human-trafficking is that female
offenders have a more prominent role in people-trafficking than in any
other crime, with women accounting for more than 60% of convictions in
Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Twice since the 1970s, waves of attacks by the military and Buddhist
villagers forced hundred of thousands of Rohingya to flee over the border
to Bangladesh, a Muslim country whose people speak a similar language. Many
have since been repatriated, but 200,000 still work there as illegal
migrants and another 28,000 live in squalid refugee camps.

These concerns are reinforced by the difficulties experienced by indigenous
peoples in accessing international climate change debates. Indigenous
peoples were shocked to see that references to their rights were removed.

He said hundreds of thousands of Bedia will protest in Calcutta at what
will be the world’s largest-ever gathering of snake-charmers.

Most countries’ conviction rates rarely exceed 1.5 per 100,000 people –
“below the level normally recorded for rare crimes… and proportionately
much lower than the estimated number of victims”.

Violence against Rohingya women is common, and they face the threat of
prison because of their illegal status. Thousands of Rohingya have taken to
the seas from Bangladesh in search of better jobs, but ended up drowning or
at the mercy of traffickers. For years, the Rohingya traveled to the Middle
East for work, with nearly a half million ending up in Saudi Arabia.

There is also growing concern that indigenous peoples and local communities
are “unlikely to benefit if: they do not own their lands; there is no
culture of free, prior and informed consent; their identities are not
recognised; or they have no space to participate in political processes.”

It is sick that we should even need to write a report about slavery in the
21st Century. “My 14 children rely on me. They have no safety, no food,
nothing,” said Mohamad Salim, a 35-year-old, bearded fisherman who also was
detained and hospitalized in Thailand and begged to be allowed to continue
onto Malaysia. “What will they eat? How will they live if I don’t find
work?” he said, his voice trembling.

12/15/2008

OLD TERROR WAVES HACKED AND SLAUGHTERED

Filed under: china,General,png,rampage,resource,usa — admin @ 8:37 am

Without a law banning export of toxic electronic waste in the United
States, there has been no way to know if old cell phones, computers or
televisions originating there didn’t end up in some poor village in the
developing world, where desperate people pull them apart by hand to recover
some of the valuable metals inside.

The Papua New Guinea jungle has given up one of its darkest secrets – the
systematic slaughter of every male baby born in two villages to prevent
future tribal clashes.

China is aggressively developing its power to wage cyber warfare and is now
in a position to delay or disrupt the deployment of America’s military
forces around the world, potentially giving it the upper hand in any
conflict.

Coordinated groups of gunmen shot and blasted their way through tourist
sites in the Indian financial center of Mumbai, killing at least 101 people
and wounding more than 200 while apparently targeting American and British
citizens for use as hostages.

Currently even when e-waste (electronic trash) goes to a “green” recycler,
the chances are high that toxic stuff from the developed world ended up in
a huge pile in the middle of some village.

By virtually wiping out the ‘male stock’, tribal women hope they can avoid
deadly bow-and-arrow wars between the villages in the future.

There has been an alarming increase in incidents of Chinese computer
attacks on the US government, defence companies and businesses. China now
has both the intent and capability to launch cyber attacks “anywhere in the
world at any time”.

The attackers swept through two luxury hotels favored by foreigners, the
Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi, firing automatic weapons, throwing
grenades and sending panicked guests scrambling for safety. Some guests
were trapped inside the hotels for hours, even as a series of explosions
set fire to the Taj hotel, a landmark along of Mumbai’s waterfront.

The U.S. generates an estimated three million tonnes of electronic waste,
such as cell phones and computers, each year. U.S. citizens bought some 30
million television sets this year and that number will be higher next year
as all U.S. TV networks switch to digital broadcasts Feb. 17.

‘Babies grow into men and men turn into warriors,’ said Rona Luke, a
village wife who is attending a special ‘peace and reconciliation’ meeting
in the mountain village of Goroka.

In 2007, about 5m computers in the US were the targets of 43,880 incidents
of malicious activity – a rise of almost a third on the previous year.

Although Mumbai has been the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent
years, experts said Wednesday’s assaults required a previously unseen
degree of reconnaissance and planning. The scale and synchronization of the
attacks pointed to the likely involvement of experienced commanders, some
said, suggesting possible foreign involvement.

‘It’s because of the terrible fights that have brought death and
destruction to our villages for the past 20 years that all the womenfolk
have agreed to have all new-born male babies killed,’ said Mrs Luke.

Launching their attacks after dark, the terrorists struck almost
simultaneously at the city’s domestic airport and a railway station and
sprayed gunfire at the Leopold Cafe, a restaurant popular with foreigners.
As many as 16 groups hit nine sites on the southern flank of this crowded
metropolis of 19 million.

It is estimated that 100 containers of e-waste arrive in Hong Kong every
day and are then smuggled into China. It’s all coming from the U.S. and
Canada; much of this activity is illegal in China. But it is a very big and
profitable industry so many officials in China and elsewhere are willing to
look the other way.

China’s ability to wage cyber warfare is now “so sophisticated that the US
may be unable to counteract or even detect the efforts”. Given the
dependence on the internet of key sectors of US public life, from the
federal government and military to water treatment, social security and the
electricity grid, a successful attack on these internet-connected networks
could paralyse the US.

Mumbai is South Asia’s financial hub and an entertainment capital, with
many of the glitzy targets symbolizing the new cosmopolitan face of the
world’s largest democracy. Several witnesses said the gunmen demanded to
see passports from cornered guests, separating American and British
tourists from the others. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said U.S.
officials were not aware of any American casualties but were still
checking.

‘The women have had enough of men engaging in tribal conflicts and bringing
misery to them.’ Tribal fighting in the region of Gimi, in the country’s
Eastern Highlands, has been going on since 1986, many of the clashes
arising over claims of sorcery.

There has been concern about Chinese computer espionage since 2002, when a
large-scale series of cyber intrusions was launched on US military and
government computer systems. In that attack, codenamed Titan Rain by the
US, the Chinese downloaded up to 20 terabytes of data — twice the amount
stored in the entire print collection of the Library of Congress.

In the chaos and confusion, it was difficult to confirm details or
determine the nationalities of hostages apparently being held on several
floors of the damaged hotels. India’s NDTV 24×7 news channel reported that
the gunmen were holding more than a dozen foreigners, including a Belgian
and an Indonesian.

The mountain of e-waste grows each day as new electronic devices are
created to drive an economy rooted in endless growth. And consider that 85
percent of e-waste goes in landfills or is incinerated locally,
contaminating the United States’ groundwater and air. Millions more
stockpiled computers, monitors and TV are sitting in basements, garages,
offices and homes.

The sensational claims recall the Biblical story of the Old Testament
pharaoh who ordered all midwives to kill Israelite baby boys because he
wanted to ensure there were never enough young men to fight in an army
against the Egyptians.

Much of the activity is likely to emanate from groups of hackers, but the
lines between private espionage and government-sponsored operations are
blurred. Some 250 hacker groups are tolerated, and may even be encouraged,
by Beijing to invade computer networks. Individual hackers are also being
trained in cyber operations at Chinese military bases. China is stealing
vast amounts of sensitive information from US computer networks.

Firefighters could be seen helping guests to safety, and some later reports
suggested that hostages at the Taj had been freed. Other reports said there
were attacks at two hospitals, a police station and the Mumbai office of an
ultra-Orthodox Jewish outreach group, Chabad Lubavitch.

A resident of Agibu village, Mrs Luke said she did not know how many male
babies were killed by being smothered, but it had happened to all males
over a 10 year period – and she suggested it was still happening. Choking
back tears she added: ‘It’s a terrible, unbearable crime, but the women had
to do it. ‘The women have really being forced into it as it’s the only
means available to them as women to bring an end to tribal fights.’

Beijing is investing huge resources in cyber and space missions because it
sees America’s computer networks and space assets as its “soft ribs and
strategic weaknesses”. The extent of its activities gives it the potential
to beat the US in military conflict.

Huge waves caused by king tides smashed into dozens of villages and towns
in northern Papua New Guinea, destroying homes and flooding businesses and
a hospital, local media reported.

10/31/2008

Declaration of Maputo

Filed under: General,human rights,resource — admin @ 3:46 pm

Maputo, Mozambique, October 19-22, 2008

Declaration of Maputo: V International Conference of La Via Campesina

Food Sovereignty now! Unity and struggle of the people!

We are men and women of the earth, we are those who produce food for the world. We have the right to continue being peasants and family farmers, and to shoulder the responsibility of continuing to feed our peoples. We care for seeds, which are life, and for us the act of producing food is an act of love. Humanity depends on us, and we refuse to disappear.

We, La Via Campesina, are a worldwide movement of rural women, peasants and family farmers, farm workers, indigenous peoples, rural youth and afro-descendents from Asia, Europe, America and Africa, gathered together in Maputo, Mozambique from October 19 to 22, 2008, for our V International Conference. We were received in a warm and fraternal fashion by our hosts, the National Union of Peasants (União Nacional de Camponeses/UNAC) of Mozambique. We met to reaffirm our determination to defend peasant and family farm agriculture, our cultures and our right to continue to exist as peoples with our own identity. We are more than 550 people, including more than 325 men and women delegates, from 57 countries, representing hundreds of millions of farming families. We women represent more than half of the people producing food in the world and here we celebrate with energy and determination our Third Worldwide Assembly of Women. We are also celebrating our Second Youth Assembly of La Via Campesina, since only with the decisive participation of youth can a present and a future for rural areas be guaranteed. In this V International Conference we also ratified 41 organizations as new members of La Via Campesina, and we have the participation of many organizations and allied movements from all over the world, in our First Assembly with the Allies of Via Campesina.

Four years of struggle and Victories

In this V International Conference we have evaluated our main struggles, actions and activities since the IV International Conference that took place in Itaici, Brazil, in June of 2004. Among them we highlighted the massive mobilizations against the WTO, against Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in different parts of the world, and against the G8 in Rostock and Hokkaido. In 2005 La Via Campesina was very present in the days of struggle against the WTO Summit in Hong Kong, thus participating in the most recent of the actions with which we social movements have paralyzed the negotiations at WTO summits since Seattle in 1999. We have also played central roles in other mobilizations against the WTO over the last 4 years, from Geneva to India.

In 2007 we organized, with our principal allies, the International Forum on Food Sovereignty in Nyéléni, Mali. This was a crucial moment in the building of a broad and global movement for Food Sovereignty. More than 500 delegates from the most important social movements of the planet participated, and we defined a strategic agenda for the coming years. Both before and after Nyéléni we organized many national and regional meetings on Food Sovereignty. In recent years we have been able to get the concept sovereignty incorporated in national constitutions and/or laws in countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Nepal, Mali, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Through our Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, which is the expression of our struggles for land and in defense of territory, we co-organized the World Forum for Agrarian Reform in Valencia, Spain in 2004, and in 2006 we organized the International Meeting of the Landless in Porto Alegre, Brazil, before the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). There we participated in the Brazilian women’s mobilizations against the ’green deserts’ of Eucalyptus monocultures of the TNC Aracruz, on March 8, and in the Parallel Forum, achieving important advances in the positions of the governments. In 2007 in Nepal we organized the International Conference on Food Sovereignty, Agrarian Reform and Peasant Rights.

In 2004 we held an international fair for exchange of local seed varieties, in the context of our IV Conference in Brazil. In 2005 we organized the International Conference on Seeds called “Liberate Diversity,” as part of our global struggle in favor of peasant seeds and against GMOs and terminator technology. Via Campesina Brazil organized powerful mobilizations during the International Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-8) in March, 2006 in Curitiba, Brazil. We had major activities on these same issues in Mysore, India that same year, and in 2008 in Bonn, Germany, and in France where our hunger strike was key to achieving prohibition of Monsanto’s GMO maize. In Brazil in 2007, Keno, a leader of the MST, was assassinated by a gunman hired by Syngenta; but one year later we forced Syngenta to hand illegal areas used for GMO experimentation over to the government.

La Via Campesina, together with other social movements, organized the “Solidarity Village” as a parallel event to the Conference on Climate Change that the UN organized in Bali, Indonesia (2007), where we advanced the argument that peasant agriculture cools the planet.

In 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia, we organized an international conference focused on our proposal for an International Declaration of Peasant Rights. Prior to this international conference we held an Assembly of Women on the Rights of Peasants

The commitment to solidarity of La Via Campesina was made evident in 2004 with our global efforts to channel alternative aid to the victims of the Tsunami, in 2007 with three delegations to meetings with the Zapatistas in Mexico, and every year with important actions in solidarity with those who are being victimized by the criminalization of social protest on all continents.

The displacement of rural peoples as a result of the neo-liberal model is provoking the mass movement of peoples, turning migration into a critical issue for Via Campesina. Since 2004 we have been developing strategies and actions on migration in our new International Working Group on Migration and Rural Workers. We have undertaken major actions against the ’wall of shame’ being built in the United States.

From town to town and country to country, we have taken up the struggles of La Via Campesina. Our movement is present in almost every place on the Earth, wherever neo-liberalism is being imposed on peasants and rural communities.

The struggle of La Via Campesina inspires, stimulates and generates resistance by social movements against neo-liberal policies. The number of countries with progressive governments is on the rise, gaining power as a result of years of popular mobilizations. A good number of local and national governments have accentuated their resistance, and their interest in the agenda of Food Sovereignty, as a result of popular mobilizations and as a response to the global crisis of the food prices.

The offensive of capital in the countryside, the multiple crises, and the displacement of peasant and indigenous peoples

In the current global context we are confronting the convergence of the food crisis, the climate crisis, the energy crisis and the financial crisis. These crises have common origins in the capitalist system and more recently in the unrestrained de-regulation in various spheres of economic activity, as part of the neo-liberal model, which gives priority to business and profit. In the rural zones of the world, we have seen a ferocious offensive of capital and of transnational corporations (TNCs) to take over land and natural assets (water, forests, minerals, biodiversity, land, etc.), that translates into a privatizing war to steal the territories and assets of peasants and indigenous peoples. This war uses false pretexts and deliberately erroneous arguments, for example to claim that agrofuels are a solution for the climactic and energy crises, when the truth is exactly the opposite. Whenever peoples exercise their rights and resist this generalized pillage, or when they are obliged to join migrant flows, the response is always more criminalization, more repression, more political prisoners, more assassinations, more walls of shame and more military bases.

Declaration of Peasant Rights

We see a future UN Declaration of Peasant Rights as a key tool in the international legal system to strengthen our position and our rights as peasants and family farmers. For this reason we are launching the Global Campaign for a Declaration of Peasant Rights.

Food Sovereignty: the solution to the crisis, and for the life of peoples

Nevertheless, the current situation of crisis is also an opportunity, because Food Sovereignty offers the only real alternative both for the life of peoples, as well as for reversing the current global crises. Food Sovereignty responds to the food, climate and energy crises with local food grown by peasants and family farmers, attacking two of the principle sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the long distance transportation of foods and industrialized agriculture. It also offers relief to a particularly nefarious aspect of the financial crisis, by prohibiting speculation in food futures contracts. While the dominant model truly means crisis and death, Food Sovereignty means the life and hope of the rural peoples and of consumers. Food Sovereignty requires the protection and re-nationalization of national food markets, the promotion of local circuits of production and consumption, the struggle for land, the defense of the territories of indigenous peoples, and comprehensive agrarian reform. It is also based on the transformation the production model toward agro-ecological and sustainable farming, without pesticides and without GMOs, based on the knowledge of peasants, family farmers and indigenous peoples. As a general principle, Food Sovereignty is built on the basis of our concrete local experiences, in other words, from the local to the national.

The crisis is causing incalculable suffering among our peoples and has eroded the legitimacy of the neo-liberal model of “free trade,” such that some progressive local, state and national governments have begun to seek alternative solutions. In La Via Campesina we must be capable of taking advantage of these opportunities.

We have to develop a working methodology that includes critical and constructive dialog to achieve successful cases of implementation of Food Sovereignty with these governments. We also need to take advantage of international spaces of “alternative integration,” such as ALBA and Petrocaribe, to advance in this terrain. But we must not only bet on governments, but rather build Food Sovereignty from below in the territories and other spaces controlled by popular movements, indigenous peoples, etc. The time has come for Food Sovereignty and we need to take the initiative to make progress in all of our countries. We peasants and family farmers of the world can and want to feed the world, our families and our communities, with healthy and accessible foods.

Multinational corporations and free trade

Our reflections have made it clear to us that multinational corporations and international finance capital are our most important common enemies, and that as such, we have to bring our struggle to them more directly. They are the ones behind the other enemies of peasants, like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the FTAs and EPAs, neoliberal governments, as well as aggressive economic expansionism, imperialism and militarism. Now is also the time to redouble our struggle against FTAs and EPAs, and against the WTO, but this time more clearly indicating the central role played by the TNCs.

The advance of women is the advance of La Via Campesina

One issue was very clear in this V Conference, that all the forms of violence that women face in our societies -among them physical, economic, social, cultural and macho violence, and violence based on differences of power – are also present in rural communities, and as a result, in our organizations. This, in addition to being a principal source of injustice, also limits the success of our struggles. We recognize the intimate relationships between capitalism, patriarchy, machismo and neo-liberalism, in detriment to the women peasants and farmers of the world. All of us together, women and men of La Via Campesina, make a responsible commitment to build new and better human relationships among us, as a necessary part of the construction of the new societies to which we aspire. For this reason during this V Conference we decided to break the silence on these issues, and are launching the World Campaign “For an End to Violence Against Women.” We commit ourselves anew, with greater strength, to the goal of achieving that complex but necessary true gender parity in all spaces and organs of debate, discussion, analysis and decision-making in La Via Campesina, and to strengthen the exchange, coordination and solidarity among the women of our regions.

We recognize the central role of women in agriculture for food self-sufficiency, and the special relationship of women with the land, with life and with seeds. In addition, we women have been and are a guiding part of the construction of Via Campesina from its beginning. If we do not eradicate violence towards women within our movement, we will not advance in our struggles, and if we do not create new gender relations, we will not be able to build a new society.

We are not alone: the building of alliances

By ourselves, we peasants and family farmers cannot win our struggles for dignity, for a just food and agrarian system, and for that other world that is possible. We have to build and reinforce our organic and strategic alliances with movements and organizations that share our vision, and this is a special commitment of the V Conference.

Youth provide our hope for a better future

The dominant model in rural areas does not offer any options to young people. Youth are our base for the present and the future, so we commit ourselves to the full integration and creative participation of young people in all levels of our struggle.

Education to strengthen our movement

In order to have greater success and victories in our struggles, we need to dedicate ourselves to the internal strengthening of our movement, by political formation to build our capacity to interpret and transform our realties, by training, and by improving communication and articulation among ourselves and with our allies.

Diversity and unity in the defense of peasant agriculture

As an international social movement, we can say that one of our greatest strengths is our ability to unite different cultures and ways of thinking in one single movement. La Via Campesina represents a common commitment to resist, and to struggle for life and for peasant and family farm agriculture. All the participants of the V Conference of La Via Campesina are committed to the defense of food and of peasant agriculture, the right to Food Sovereignty, to dignity and to life. We are here, the peasants and rural peoples of the world, and we refuse to disappear.

Globalize Struggle! Globalize Hope!

source: Via Campesina

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress