Burning through the Desert         
Dan Rielger & Ayala Moriel

A few months ago (the last day of April, to be exact, which was also the first day of my Orientals week-long course), I had the pleasure and honour to host a special guest throughout the day: Dan Riegler of Apothecary's Garden - a purveyor of fair trade resins from around the world - especially frankincense and myrrh that are wild crafted in the traditional methods in countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Kenya. He also sources Cretan labdanum, and other rare raw materials, and sells resin-centrered products that he concocts himself, which you can find on his online shop. One of them being a highly fragrant moustache wax which basically surrounded him with a cloud of frankincense - so obviously he made an instant good impression on me!

We started the day at the Baha'i Gardens in Akko (which deserve a full post dedicated to them) and then went to my studio to make incense - and burn a bunch too. Little did I know what I was signing up for. On top of the usual things I burn for this class (palo santo chips, sandalwood incense sticks, one type of myrrh and frankincense resins and my own rendition of Egyptian Kyphi) - Dan had a trunk-load of resins that he just imported from Africa, and was immensely kind and generous to share with us the most incredible incense resins with me and my class. We spent the afternoon burning rare myrrh, olibanum, and also some gums I never knew existed, namely Sandarac and Ammoniacum, the latter of which totally blew my mind.

I learned so much from Dan, about the resins (and the other raw materials he curates and sells), how they are harvested and collected, the chemical makeup of the resins and how it affects the stages of burning (it turns out that incense resins also have top, heart and base notes) - and this post is just a little taste of all the beautiful resins we burnt when he was here. I'm looking forward to meeting him again on his next visits in Israel on the way to the African continent.

Boswellia carterii
Frankincense usually comes in "tears" shape as this Boswellia carterii - but not always. Below is a specimen of the less known B. neglecta that look more like a chunk of resinous granules. B. carterii has the characteristic, most unmistakable scent of frankincense - beginning with sweet citrus notes of lemon drops and orange candy and continuing into more resinous, woody and even balsamic, caramel-like nuances as the incense burns on the charcoal.

While looking pretty much the same, other frankincense species provide further nuances and a whole frankincense burning comparative study (or incense games a-la Japenese Koh-Doh) can easily occupy half a day. Compare this to Maydi (Boswellia frereana) which albeit its slightly herbaceous (sage-like) opening, is more subtle, woody and perfumey. In fact, it smells almost powdery like violet and iris. Ethiopian frakincince (Boswellia papyrifea) is even finer with its suave, light perfume notes, slightly sweet and with notes of burnt sugar at the end of the charcoal burning process.

Boswellia negoecta - black and white

Boswellia neglecta is endemic to north Kenya and comes in white and black forms (as you can see in the photo) and is not widely known. The white and the black smell significantly different. The white begins resinous-green, piney and mysterious, surprisingly juice like crushed leaves with hints of parsley, galbanum and ammonia (smells a lot like amoniacum).  It has a hint of sweaty note, a little like coriander seed. The final burning moments bring to mind the smoke coming out of autumnal piles of fall leaves.

The black neglecta smells completely different - you wouldn't think it came from the same plant: it smells dark and looming, like moss, mushrooms, decaying fall leaves, peat, forest floor and hints of campfire. It's surprising and magical that a resin can possess so many different facets.

Sandarac
Sandarac (tetraclllyris) comes from Malta and just like its pure milky appearance, burns clean with a woody-balsamic-resinous scent that is fine and very pleasant. It's a little bit like elemi, a little like mastic but not quite. There is a tiny hint of seashore to it that I only detected after many times of burning. It is quite lovely, even if underwhelming at first impression.

Ammoniacum
Ammoniacum is intense and pungent, like a mixture of galbanum, asafoetida, sulphur, greens. It it a very interesting odour but I suspect it would have better effect in magic and exorcism ceremonies rather than contemplative incense rituals.

Commiphora confusa

Commiphora confusa, as the name suggests, is a type of myrrh that is hard to identify, and for several reasons: the flowers look different on each plant, the resin looks different as well - and the most surprising of all: it smells more like frankincense than myrrh.

Commiphora myrrha

Commiphora myrrha (from Ethiopea) has the characteristic bitter, rubbery scent when burnt, and is what I'd imagine the Queen of Sheba to wear on her neck when seducing King Solomon.

Commiphora karat

Commiphora kataf (from Kenya) has pieces of wood in it (which would change the smell of the smoke depending on which chunk you burn). It has a strange, sulphuric-sweaty odour. I guess you could call it spicy, as it has a hint of cumin in it too. Overall it reminds me more of the smell of food than incense - barbecuing kebabs comes to mind.

Commiphira holziana
Commiphora holtziana does not smell like myrrh at all to me. It's more woody than C. myrrha, and a tad fresh to start with. Dan describes it as briny and sea-like but I'm not getting it.

Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh
Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh is by far the most incredibly beautiful myrrh resin I've ever burnt. Although it came in a strange looking chunk, containing pieces of the plastic bags used by the collectors, and even a piece of wool yarn, it has the most fantastic scent, like a perfume on its own accord. It reminds me of the unique "version" of frankincense that B. papyrifea offers. I would love to have this as an essential oil and create a perfume with it.


          IL NOSTRO TRADITORE TIPO        


“Qual è la cosa più atroce e tremenda che hai visto nella tua vita? Ovunque tu sia stato. A parte la canna dell’Uzi di un signore della droga puntata in faccia. I bambini con il ventre gonfio e le mani mozze che muoiono di stenti in Congo, che urlano disperati per la fame senza nemmeno la forza di piangere? I padri castrati con il cazzo cacciato in bocca e le orbite piene di mosche? Le donne con le baionette infilate nella fica?”
Luke non aveva mai prestato servizio in Congo, quindi suppose che Hector stesse descrivendo la sua esperienza personale.
“Noi abbiamo il nostro equivalente” osservò.
“Cioè, fammi qualche esempio.”
“Le grandi manovre del governo colombiano. Con l’aiuto degli americani, ovviamente. Villaggi incendiati. Abitanti stuprati in massa dalle bande, torturati, fatti a pezzi. Tutti massacrati eccetto l’unico superstite lasciato in vita per raccontarlo agli altri.”
“Già. Bé, ne abbiamo visto di cose in giro per il mondo” osservò Hector. “Non siamo stati a menarcelo.”
“No.”
“ E i flussi di denaro sporco, i profitti ricavati dalla sofferenza, abbiamo assistito anche a quello. Solo in Colombia, miliardi. L’hai visto con i tuoi occhi.  Lo sa Dio quanto valeva il tuo uomo.” Non aspettò la risposta. “Nel Congo, miliardi. In Afghanistan, miliardi. Cazzo, un ottavo dell’economia mondiale: in nero, nero come l’inferno. Noi lo sappiamo.”
“Sì, lo sappiamo.”
“Denaro di sangue. Ecco cos’è.”
“Sì.”
“Non importa dove. Può essere in una scatola sotto il letto di un signore della guerra in Somalia, come in una banca di Londra vicino alla vecchia zona portuale. Il colore non cambia. Rimane sempre denaro di sangue.”
“Immagino di sì.”
“Non c’è niente di affascinante, non ci sono scuse. I profitti dell’estorsione, dello spaccio di droga, dell’omicidio, dell’intimidazione, degli stupri di massa, della schiavitù: è denaro di sangue. Dimmi se sto esagerando.”
“Non stai esagerando.”
“Ci sono solo quattro modi per fermare tutto ciò. Primo: dai la caccia ai responsabili. Li prendi, li ammazzi o li sbatti dentro. Se ci riesci. Secondo dai la caccia al prodotto. Lo intercetti prima che arrivi sulle strade o nei mercati. Se ci riesci. Terzo: blocchi i profitti, mandi in rovina quei bastardi.”
Una pausa fastidiosa, mentre Hector sembrava riflettere su argomenti non alla portata di Luke. Stava pensando agli spacciatori di eroina che avevano ridotto il figlio a un avanzo di galera e a un tossico? O agli avvoltoi capitalisti?       
“E poi c’è il quarto modo” proseguì Hector. “Davvero orribile, il più sicuro, il più semplice, il più conveniente, il più comune, quello che crea meno difficoltà. Te ne fotti di quelli che sono stati ridotti alla fame, che sono stati stuprati, torturati, dei morti per droga. Al diavolo i costi umani. Il denaro non puzza, se ci appartiene ed è tanto. Soprattutto pensa in grande. Becchi i pesci piccoli ma lasci in giro gli squali. Un tizio ricicla un paio di milioni? E’ un volgare truffatore. Fai intervenire l’autorità, mettilo ai ferri. Ma se ricicla qualche miliardo? Bé allora la faccenda è diversa. I miliardi rientrano nelle statistiche.” Con gli occhi chiusi, immerso nei suoi pensieri, a Luke Hector per un attimo parve una maschera mortuaria. “Non devi per forza essere d’accordo con tutto questo, Lukie” disse gentilmente, ridestandosi dalle sue fantasticherie. “La porta è aperta. Considera la mia reputazione, a questo punto un sacco di gente se ne andrebbe.” (...)

(John le Carré IL NOSTRO TRADITORE TIPO mondadori, Milano 2010)

          The state of Françafrique and French privilege for Africa’s most venal        
In the 1960s, post-colonial Africa was the most hopeful place on the planet. Post-partum exuberance in Europe’s former colonies was infectious and abundant. Yet fate has not been kind to sub-Saharan Africa. From Namibia to Guinea to Somalia, the path of most sub-Saharan nations has traced an arc of intimate complicity with the predatory appetites of their former colonial masters. Nowhere has this neo-colonial continuation of anti-development and enrichment by and for the few been more evident than in France’s former colonies.


The nature of governance in these ex-colonies attests to the abiding power of the self-serving instinct and immediate gain, over and against the long-term goal of national progress. Such is the confounding irony of Africa’s entire post-colonial era in nations previously occupied by France, Britain, Portugal and Belgium alike: why is the colonial, predatory model of governance so faithfully re-enacted by ruling African elites? It’s as if all that negative conditioning only succeeded in instilling a predatory instinct in the new ruling class. Why are Mandela-style visions for collective prosperity not more common, given the shared experience of subjugation and occupation across the continent?

Read the rest of this analysis of Françafrique over at 3Quarksdaily.

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          Motherhood and the Law of the Father in Nuruddin Farah's "Dictatorship" Trilogy        
As many critics have noted, Naruddin Farah’s trilogy “Variations on the Theme of African Dictatorship” represents the patriarchal structure of the family as reinforcing the power of Somalia’s governmental regime under the General (a stand-in for the historical figure of Siad Barre, who led the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991 as military dictator). Certainly, traditional gender roles that position the father/husband as the unqualified head of the family and his children/wives as powerless and therefore submissive to his commands map easily, according to Naruddin’s novels, onto the structure of a dictatorship, which situates one omniscient and all-powerful man above a citizenry at the mercy of his dictates and their often violent enforcement. I claim, however, that Naruddin also portrays motherhood, both as a familial position and a conceptual framework, as playing a crucial role in the maintenance of the General’s regime.

The extent to which motherhood functions to underpin the oppressive Somali government is most fully explored in the first two novels of the trilogy: Sweet and Sour Milk (1979), which introduces this issue even in its metaphorically rich title, and Sardines (1981). The final novel in the series, Close Sesame (1983), sidelines the issue of motherhood in favor of a final look at the patriarchal family structure and its tribal counterpart, the traditional Somali clan system. I will therefore focus in this post on the first two novels. In Sweet and Sour Milk, Loyaan undertakes to determine the cause for the sudden death of Soyaan, his twin brother, which appears to have been ordered by the General in response to Soyaan’s subversive politics. The novel introduces a host of mother figures, including Loyaan and Soyaan’s mother, Qumman, who, out of fear for her children’s lives, discourages their political activism. The second novel centers on the strained relationship between Medina and Samater, who differ in their approaches to dealing with the General’s government and, by extension, the continued oppression and abuse of women and girls personified in Samater’s highly conservative mother, Idil. While Idil works to maintain the political and social status quo, Medina and other mothers throughout the novel offer us alternative approaches to motherhood. In both novels, mothers are depicted as subjugated to the rule of their husbands and the dictatorship, but they are also powerful in that they either visit—in true Kristevan fashion—the Law of the father upon their children or actively resist the rule of the patriarchal family and government structure.

Although she recognizes that her son’s death was a work of foul play, Qumman insists on blaming other women—Soyaan’s mistress Margarita and her husband’s other wife Beynan, for instance—for his demise. In this way, she deflects responsibility for Soyaan’s murder from the oppressive military regime and—though unwittingly—reinforces the patriarchy’s conventional suspicion of women and breeds distrust within her own community of women. Fearful for her only remaining son’s life, Qumman also tries to prevent Loyaan from pursuing the truth or resisting the government in any way, hovering close to him during a communal “broom party” in an effort to ensure that he does not verbally or non-verbally challenge the officiating government personnel (212). As J.I. Okonkwo points out, “[T]hrough loyalty, service and emotional hold over sons and husbands, Qumman’s generation of women, deeply conservative, militate against individual freedom and progress” (219). We find another—perhaps more extreme and certainly more deliberate—example of this type of maternal control over the potential subversive acts of her children in Idil of Sardines. As I mentioned in a previous post on genital mutilation, Idil insists that she will have her granddaughter, Ubax, circumcised, even if it means that she has to steal the eight-year-old away from Medina and Samater. When Medina moves away with the young girl in an effort to escape Idil’s threat, Idil arranges for a more suitable—conservative and submissive—wife for Samater. Samater ultimately rejects both his mother and the new woman, forcing them to leave his house, but not without arousing the anger of the state.

In fact, Samater’s decision to eject his mother from his home is treated as an act of treason. Samater is picked up by government officials, held in prison for a period of time, and subjected to various acts of torture before he is finally allowed to return to his wife and child. In this sequence of events, we see Idil the matriarch positioned as a representative of the General and his regime. An offense against Idil is perceived by the state as an offense against the General. In addition to a father-figure, then, the General becomes a mother-figure. A passage in the first novel of the trilogy describes the General and his dictatorship as taking on the role of both mother and father to the abandoned orphans of Somalia: “[A]ny unclaimed babies found in the city’s garbage bins or unpatrolled streets were trained to consider the General their father, his revolution their mother, and the regime’s generosities to them their breast-feed” (235). In fact, the novel’s very title, Sweet and Sour Milk, suggests both the role that women play in perpetuating the violence of the military regime through their efforts to protect their children and the ways in which the head of the state acts as a mother himself, indoctrinating his subjects into a harsh world by laying down the Law, his own law of fear and violence. Recurrent imagery in the novel depicts mothers nursing, refusing to nurse, unable to nurse, and weaning their children. I read these women as representative of the state—and the general himself. Together, they portray the General as an abusive mother. He suckles his citizenry in the rhetoric of equality and freedom and then abandons them to hunger and desperation, all in a careful plan to ensure their dependence on his random and infrequent acts of nurturance. In that they care for their children and then limit their children’s struggles against an oppressive government and in that they take on the symbolism of the state—which protects and kills at whim—conservative mothers in Farah’s trilogy raise their children on the sweet and sour milk of the first novel’s title.

Not all mothers in Sweet and Sour Milk and Sardines reinforce the Law of the dictator, however. Especially in the figure of Medina, Farah offers us a woman who acts as a strong leader for the young women in her community and encourages both her surrogate and biological daughters to question the government and engage in political activism. Interestingly, though, in all of her zeal to teach her daughter to resist the General’s militaristic regime, Medina has to consciously work to avoid taking on the qualities of a dictator herself. Medina recalls at one point the words of her progressive father: “You must leave breathing-space in the architecture of your love; you must leave enough room for little Ubax to exercise her growing mind. You mustn’t indoctrinate, mustn’t brainwash her. Otherwise you become another dictator, trying to shape your child in your own image” (17). Even as Medina struggles against the General in her political life and her mother-in-law who represents the dictatorship in her personal life, she must proceed with caution in her relationship with her own daughter, for, as Derek Wright points out, “The freedom which Medina forces prematurely upon Ubax is at times almost as oppressive as the obedience Idil has forced upon Samater” (103). In this way, Farah again insists on the power of motherhood, a power that many women use to initiate their children into the way of the Law and that Medina must moderate in order to raise a free-thinking daughter.

Because women (as mothers) are so potentially powerful in resisting the dictatorship, Farah situates their full freedom—from arranged marriage, circumcision, purdah, censorship, etc.—as crucial to the development of a just government in Somalia. In that they continue to suffer the terrorism and indoctrination inherent to a dictatorship, however, mothers in Farah’s novels often function to serve the state by teaching their children the Law that, ironically, oppresses them and also by serving as honored symbols of the dictatorship itself. It is in fact because Farah is so sensitive to the continued victimization of women and the political consequences of this victimization that popular and scholarly critics agree, as blogger The Activist Writer claims, for example, that he is one of Africa’s leading feminist authors.

Bibliographic Notes: Those who have discussed the patriarchal family structure as reinforcing the General’s dictatorship include R. John Williams and Derek Wright. For further discussion of the significance of milk in Somali lore and tradition, see Abdourahman A. Waberi.

Works Cited

Farah, Nuruddin. Close Sesame. Saint Paul, MN: Greywolf P, 1983.

---. Sardines. Saint Paul, MN: Greywolf P, 1981.

---. Sweet and Sour Milk. Saint Paul, MN: Greywolf P, 1979.

Okonkwo, J. I. “Nuruddin Farah and the Changing Roles of Women.” World Literature Today: A Literary Quarterly of the University of Oklahoma 58.2 (1984): 215-221.

Waberi, Abdourahman A. “Organic Metaphor in Two Novels by Nuruddin Farah.” World Literature Today: A Literary Quarterly of the University of Oklahoma 72.4 (1998): 775-80.

Williams, R. John. “'Doing History': Nuruddin Farah's Sweet and Sour Milk, Subaltern Studies, and the Postcolonial Trajectory of Science.” Research in African Literatures 37.4 (2006): 161-76.

Wright, Derek. “Parents and Power in Nuruddin Farah's Dictatorship Trilogy.” Kunapipi 11.2 (1989): 94-106.
          A Muslim's Top 10 Wishes for 2016        

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post on January 3, 2015. You can find the original article by clicking here or on the title. 

A Muslim's Top 10 Wishes for 2016

Have you ever made a wish that's come true -- because you made the wish? Until now, making a wish, whether at the sight of a shooting star or when blowing out the candle(s) on your birthday cake or when breaking a wishbone, has not yet been scientifically proven to actually work, as far as I know. Yet, in the spirit of hope, I am making 10 wishes at the beginning of the New Year. And as is always the case, as a Muslim, I speak on behalf of 1.5 billion people. So here goes...
1. People no longer confuse me with ISIS.
My name isn't ISIS. It's not even Islamic State. In fact, the words Islamic or State are not actually in my extended name. Nevertheless, time and time again, I keep getting requests to respond to the group's actions. I swear, ISIS or ISIL or IS -- none of them are in my family tree; they're not some distant cousins of mine. In 2016, I just want people to stop confusing me with ISIS. I really don't know what ISIS is thinking and why they do what they do. It's not like the State Department is asked for comment because of the State-to-State connection. As a postscript, can ISIS stop using the word Islamic? 
2. Muslims stop killing Muslims for being Muslim.
Somewhere, along the way over the last couple of decades, Muslims started killing other Muslims for being Muslim in the wrong way, or at least took it to a whole new level. There's a whole ideology out there built around takfir or essentially "declaring Muslims as kufar or unbelievers" for failing an evermore peculiar litmus test. Imagine if death squads emerged killing Black people for not being Black enough. Originating in some of the philosophical exhortations by scholar Ibn Taymiyyah 700 years ago, the criteria by which you are deemed "takfir-ed" and permissible to be killed has reached insane if not idiosyncratic levels. It would be funny if the situation weren't so deadly. Even barbers were caught in the crosshairs and were being assassinated in Baghdad in the 2000s. 
3. Death and destruction in the Muslim world have a timeout. 
From Yemen to IraqLibya to Somalia, and from Afghanistan to far beyond, civil strife is rife in too many parts of what is defined as the Muslim world. Autocrats, militants, extremists and terrorists, don't care who they kill: men, women, children -- everyone is fair game. I wish this would stop. Into this toxic mix, the last thing needed is more killing coming into these countries from the outside; the 2003 invasion of Iraq proved that. I wonder if Russia will hear that message? 
4. We all get comfortable with the "other."
What a difference it was in 2015 between Trudeau and Trump in the North American political cycle. The world needs more Trudeaus and less Trumps (Donalds that is). The fear of the "other" is starting to define Western politics and it is not just about Trump. The rise of right-wing political parties in Europe from Hungary to Denmark is a poignant reminder of the breadth of this phenomenon. Yet, outside the West this fear of the other also permeates and often dominates. In Turkey, we are seeing a renewed vilification of the Kurdish population. Further afield in Burma, the Rohingyaare cast as outsiders. In Malaysia, Christians are prohibited from using the Arabic word for God. And, in nearby Brunei, Christmas was simply cancelled. In some of the war zones in the Middle East, Christians are on the verge of disappearing. The world would be a lot better off if we weren't so afraid of the bogeyman of the other.
5. The Muslim world deals with its taboos. 
Speaking of an aversion to the non-orthodox, there's a whole set of taboos that many Muslim countries and societies need to start dealing with. A lot of them relate to sex. Sometimes the Muslim world acts like it has one big case of the cooties. There have been attempts by some to break through these restrictions. Wedad Lootah in the UAE comes to mind. Shereen El Feki's Sex and the Citadel is another. This is not an issue to take lightly, especially in societies where 60-70 percent of youth are under the age of 30. Bombarded by sexualized imagery from modern and digital media, these youth then live, essentially, in an austere second world that is their reality. More importantly and tragically, rape and sexual assault are simply not talked about; child abuse is an even worse curse hidden under the rug. Finally, at some point Muslim countries - and the clerical establishment -- will need to come to terms with the fact that gay Muslims exist
6. Somewhere, over the rainbow, democracy and Islam go steady. 
Let's be honest, a lot of people have tried to set up democracy with Islam for a relationship. Sometimes it has been a surprise blind date (e.g. Iraq in 2003). Other times, it was a relationship that grew from blind passion (e.g. the Arab world in 2011). Often, the sparks of love eventually turn into animus and things quickly go south. In the Arab world, Tunisia is carrying - with some fragility -- the banner of democracy. Many Muslim-majority countries that used to be counted as democracies now suffer from authoritarian syndromes (e.g. TurkeyMalaysia, and Bangladesh). In other cases, democracy in its infancy quickly devolved into score settling or majoritarian mafias (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt). Perhaps Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country is our hope that can breathe life into this wish. 
7. Averroes comes back in style. 
Averroes -- or Ibn Rushd -- was a man's man. He schooled his way into Raphael's The School of Athens. The polymath kept alive ancient Greek philosophy, paving the way for much of Europe's modern intellectual movements. Back in the day, in Andalusia, he was a big deal (Biden-style). And, why not? He vociferously argued for the co-existence of secular and religious thought in a posthumous debate with the Abbasid scholar Al Ghazali. Ultimately, Ibn Rushd lost the debate to the detriment of the Muslim world, but his arguments culminated with the work, The Incoherence of Incoherence, which I think would be a great riposte to all ISIS ideologues and their friends. If Ibn Taymiyyah came back, then let's bring Averroes back too. 
8. Flying while Muslim is no longer a thing. 
They say that flying while Muslim is the new driving while Black. I guess if you're a Black Muslim, this really sucks, especially if you drive to the airport for your flight. So my wish maybe can be two-pronged: getting rid of both 'driving while Black' as well as 'flying while Muslim.' What is flying while Muslim? Well, it often starts with a casual stare or two from across the way. A timid approach then ensues: "Excuse me sir." This is normally followed by a more forceful: "Please follow me." It can then get quite aggressive, with clothes falling by the wayside. It normally ends with your belongings in disarray, your belt on backwards, and you fast-walking without turning back in the hope that no one thinks twice about you boarding your flight. Oh, and don't watch the news while on the plane. I hate flying while Muslim. 
9. Trump presides over a Muslim beauty contest. 
Was 2015 the year of Trump? You have to hand it to Trump; he sure knows how to grab the spotlight. Unfortunately, he's used that spotlight to spew increasingly populist venom targeted at Muslims (and others). Maybe, we need to better appeal to Trump's core interest: beauty pageants. There are a few lists circulating online for potential Muslim contestants (for Men: click here | for Women: click here). Yet, I think we should make this a mipsters pageant and turn this whole thing on its head. 
10. Peace comes to Syria. 
This Muslim (me) -- speaking on behalf of 1.5 billion people around the world -- has 10 wishes for 2016 but if only one of them came true it should be this one. No country has been more ravaged in recent memory than Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed as gangsters, terrorists, and dictators fight for supremacy. The surrounding region, instead of trying to promote a solution, has sent in weapons, fighters, and incitement. The world, instead of trying to mediate, has sought to settle old scores. All the while, the people in Syria live in lifeless limbo amidst daily death and destruction. If I had only one wish it would be that the violence in Syria would come to an end. 
This wish list is non-exhaustive. I think I may have missed a few...

          10 Questions on the Conflict in Syria        
A potential military strike by Western powers on Syria now appears to be a fait accompli and is being touted as long overdue. Given the spiralling humanitarian disaster that has overtaken the country during the last two years of conflict, continued inaction appears to be an untenable reality. The death toll is now well over 100,000 (although the proportion of civilians to combatants is unclear). There are 2 million refugees, half of whom are children, and over 4 million more internally displaced persons (IDPs), amounting to a quarter of the country's overall population. Yet, it was the apparent chemical weapons attack in the suburbs around Damascus known as Ghouta last week that has served as the impetus for international military intervention into the conflict. Amidst the rhetoric and war rehearsals, clarity on what is really happening seems to be cast aside in the media, in favor of faux-spontaneous leaks, retired generals, and trumpeters of past wars. Here are ten questions to try to set the record straight.


1. Were chemical weapons used in Syria?

When the initial attack unfolded last Wednesday, August 21 in the suburbs in Damascus known as Ghouta (near the town/suburb of Jobar), news quickly spread to local, regional and international media. Claims were made of hundreds of deaths, with some activists claiming the death toll was 1,300. Moreover, the Government of Syria immediately denied responsibility and has continued to do so. However, the attack did unfold amidst a series of army strikes on Jobar, which is a rebel-held area, and has been for quite some time. The Government conversely claimed to find chemical weapons supplies in tunnels in the same area, and it is alleged that some Hezbollah fighters were also exposed to chemical toxins.

A week on, it appears incontrovertible that chemical weapons were used, not just from YouTube videos but also from visits by independent journalists, and of course by a report by Médecins Sans Frontières that has documented at least 355 deaths from local hospitals. It is likely that the chemical agent used was a neurotoxin or nerve gas, most likely sarin gas. What is still not clear, is how they were delivered (i.e. in what form and carried on what type of weapon) and from where.

It should also be kept in mind that this was not the first attack that has been alleged. There have been numerous claims by rebels, and counter-claims by the government on the use of chemical weapons in the conflict. Here's a map of those events. In fact, this is precisely why the team of UN inspectors had arrived in the country, the day before this latest incident (and massacre) took place. In fact, what is interesting is that their investigation of other sites has now been put on the back-burner due to the latest developments.

2. Do we know who actually used the chemical weapons? 

The United States, United Kingdom, and France have all stated they are certain that the Government of Syria has undertaken the attack last week. On the U.S. side, at the forefront of the rhetoric has been Vice President Biden - who has said there is 'no doubt' - and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made an evocative plea for action several days ago. Of course, the next speech is the most important, and it would be one made by President Barack Obama. In light of this certainty, it would be difficult to question the attribution of blame. A leak from the US government also claims to have intercepted a murky call between commanders in the Syrian army that supposedly is evidence of culpability on the Syrian side.

There is tremendous reason to doubt U.S. claims. Firstly, it should not be forgotten that then Secretary of State Colin Powell presented ironclad evidence to the United Nations Security Council of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that Saddam Hussein possessed, a finding that was later proven to be utterly false, but which was the basis of a war that continues until today. Secondly, the U.S. claimed that there was incontrovertible proof that the Government of Syria was responsible for earlier chemical attacks this year, but that finding has been contested, and some experts apportioned blame to the rebels fighting the government. And finally, in this case, no evidence has been presented, as of yet to make such a determination, at least not conclusively.

Does that mean the Assad and his regime are not responsible? No. It is very likely given the ongoing military operations in the same area that the Syrian government launched such an attack. Yet, more evidence needs to be presented to make a definitive conclusion. The other scenarios that could be possible are:

- Extremists groups like Jubhat al-Nusra, who have previously seized advanced weaponry and possibly chemical weapons from Syrian army bases and positions, were attempting to use them on Syrian soldiers (or conversely to cast blame on the Syrian army);

- The Government of Syria inadvertently hit a stockpile of sarin gas releasing the toxins (although unclear if this would lead to the effects that we've seen); or

- Rogue elements within the chain of command used chemical weapons intentionally or inadvertently.

Russia, Iran and China have of course cast doubt on western claims but that is to be expected.

3. What would be the basis or justification for US intervention?

The U.S. intervention would likely be on the basis of Obama's previously stated red line on Syria, which would be the mass use/movement of chemical weapons. It is not in fact about humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect framework, developed in the 1990s to prevent genocide and mass civilian deaths. If it was, then the humanitarian case for intervention has been present for some time, and other massacres by the Syrian regime, such as in Houla in 2012, would have provided sufficient pretext. Obviously, the U.S. and other Western powers, and regional countries, have their own interests at play that are much more geopolitical in nature, but the justification or casus belli being offered is around the issue of chemical weapons, and chemical weapons alone.

4. Will anybody else be involved in the military strikes besides the US and will this affect whether they are 'legal'?

Given Russian and Chinese opposition, and a likely veto of any resolution by the United Nations Security Council supporting such a military strike on Syria - especially in light of the intervention in Libya, which Russia regretted supporting - a 'coalition of the willing' will need to be developed. This coalition would be broader than the Iraq War in 2003, and would be similar to the coalition carrying out the strikes against Serb positions vis-a-vis Kosovo in 1999. While the U.S., U.K. and France will likely lead an effort, Turkey would also be critical as a staging ground (as it borders Syria from the North), and thus there will be an attempt to launch such an attack under the auspices of NATO. Despite its reluctance, Jordan, given its reliance on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia politically and economically, will have no choice but to support . The two other neighbours of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are squarely against any military strike. And of course, the other neighbor - Israel - would sit this one out but would provide intelligence to the U.S. and other parties on Syrian positions, given that it has already undertaken a number of air strikes on Syria in the past two years.

Further afield, it is likely the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) will support military intervention, with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates possibly sending fighter jets to participate in a strike to give it regional cover and credibility. Finally, while many groups within the Arab and Muslim world, and the 'left' of the West, will oppose military intervention, many others will support it, because of the spiralling humanitarian situation in Syria.

Technically speaking if the military intervention is not sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, and there is no imminent threat that the U.S. and other parties can point to towards its own territory or its assets, it would be illegal under international law. However, that has not stopped NATO or other countries (i.e. Russia in Georgia) form undertaking military action in the past. And before the Iraq War, some scholars claimed that while such an attack would be illegal it would be legitimate, and demonstrated retroactively to be legal. Given the state of world affairs, 'legality' is likely not a determining factor for a strike on Syria.

5. Are we seeing a repeat of Iraq in 2003? 

No. The situation today with Syria is different than it was in 2003 in Iraq, for many reasons, despite some passing similarities. In Iraq, the U.S. claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction while in Syria, we already know Bashar al-Assad possesses chemical weapons, and the question is whether he used them (small aside, it was released this week that thirty years ago, the U.S. obstructed a UN investigation when it knew Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons). In Iraq, the U.S. alleged that Saddam Hussein had links with Al Qaeda (and related groups), while in Syria, Bashar al Assad is widely acknowledged to be fighting Al Qaeda (and related groups) in addition to the 'Free Syrian Army' (and in addition to crushing peaceful demonstrators). In Iraq, there was no active state of conflict that was leading to a spiralling humanitarian catastrophe (and the potential use of WMDs), while in Syria there is not just a violent conflict, but also WMDs have been used by somebody (even if the culprit is not yet clear).

What should be noted, however, is that both Iraq in 2003 and Syria in 2013, are in complex environments, and any removal of government or sustained military intervention would have dramatic unforeseen consequences. It seems like the media debate in the U.S. is also similarly anaemic (but slightly better) this time around.

6. What is the real motivation for the United States and other powers?

As with all things in this world when it comes to international relations, the primary interest is not humanitarian but geopolitical. This is not absolute, however, and it could be argued that Turkey has been insisting on humanitarian intervention from an early stage. However, the regimes (not peoples) in the Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia, are exclusively concerned with dislodging Syria from the Iranian orbit, and severing connections between Syria and Hezbollah. Humanitarian concerns are a by-product. And for the United States, something similar is at play. As noted above, if this was about humanitarian concerns, action would have been taken long before 100,000 deaths had occurred.

For the U.S. it has been looking for regime change in Syria for a while. However, these strikes if they occur, will be about sending a message and asserting America's position in the Middle East, given the red line that Obama drew. Ultimately, it may tip the scales in the rebels favour or improve the U.S.'s negotiating position vis-a-vis Iran. The chemical weapons attack in a morbid way, opened a door of opportunity for Western powers (with GCC support) to do something limited without a full-scale intervention.

7. Will military intervention solve the Syrian conflict?

No. Military intervention no matter how small or how big will not solve the Syrian conflict. In fact, it could very much exacerbate the situation on the ground even further (if that can be imagined). What is being reported currently is that the U.S. and allies will undertake a series of 'surgical strikes', a euphemism for a large-scale assault on key military and strategic installations, such as army positions, air bases, radar installations, communications infrastructure, supply routes, and, where appropriate, power stations (among other targets). More than anything this will be intended to send a message to the regime and weaken its capabilities. Yet, it would not be a fatal blow. And it would not necessarily tip the scales in favor of the rebels. It may in fact mobilize certain parties to support the regime, if there are civilian casualties from the intervention.

The solution to the Syrian situation has to be political, if it is going to lead to stability or peace. Yet, if the military intervention escalated and led to the removal of the Syrian regime, that would still not be the end of the conflict. After the Soviets were booted out of Afghanistan, the country devolved into a civil war for five years until the rise of the Taliban in 1996. Somalia has only recently stabilised (somewhat), more than 20 years after the assassination of its leader, President Siad Barre. And neighboring Lebanon, took 15 years of conflict (1975-1990) to reach an end, which was brought about by ironically Syrian military intervention (which committed its own crimes), that produced a - audible gasp - political settlement.

8. What could potentially go wrong?

Everything. The potential for disaster following military intervention in any country is great (see Black Hawk Down, Iraq, Afghanistan and the list goes on). Yet, in Syria it could be apocalyptic. Here is a list of what that could entail:

- Chemical weapons are used by Syria against its neighbors such as Jordan and Turkey, or U.S. military positions in those countries;
- U.S. planes/helicopters are shot down leading to an escalation of U.S. involvement requiring boots on the ground;
- Syria sends a volley of missiles into Tel Aviv and other places in Israel, leading to a regional war;
- Proxy forces of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, launch a sustained campaign against Israel/U.S. interests, including attacks embassies within Lebanon/Palestine/Israel but also in other countries, in the short and medium-term;
- Al Qaeda forces in the region, while opposing the Assad regime, oppose U.S. intervention especially if there are masses of civilian casualties, and use it as a pretext for attacks in places such as Yemen;
- Russia objects to the U.S. strike, and mobilizes warships to the Mediterranean, leading to a standoff with Europe and the U.S.;
- Negotiations with Iran, still in embryonic stages are suspended irrevocably;
- Six party talks with North Korea are suspended by Russia, China, and North Korea irrevocably;
- The Syrian regime goes all out in its conflict and begins to bomb with even more abandon civilian areas controlled by rebels, leading to thousands of casualties, and counter-massacres by enraged rebel fighters;
- The Syrian regime is removed by force from power by the intervention, leading to a power vacuum sinking the country further into civil war for over a decade of even more violent strife and a possible Al Qaeda style government;
- Tensions rise in the Middle East, especially in places of sectarian division (i.e. Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia, and Iraq) leading to civil strife and attacks on governments, and counter-attacks on populations; and
- World War 3.

9. What could potentially go right?

It may seem that what is written above is slightly alarmist and that's true. Many things can go wrong (most of which, to be honest, are hard to predict as they will be unforeseen consequences or as Donald Rumsfeld, ironically calls them, unknown unknowns). However, the U.S.-led strikes could be quite effective. Firstly, if they are limited in scope, they can be completed in one day, reducing the risk for a military entanglement and civilian casualties. Secondly, if they are from the air, there is limited risk for casualties on the side of the intervening forces. Thirdly, an attack that is forceful and hits Syrian military positions, will send a message to Assad that there is a limit to what he can do, which thus far has not been the case, and may entice him to reach a political settlement. Fourthly, it is unlikely that the Syrian regime would retaliate, for a short strike on positions, against Israel, knowing that they cannot afford to fight a war on so many fronts (and thus far they have yet to retaliate to any Israel air strike). Finally, the systematic destruction of Assad's air capabilities could be instrumental in limiting civilian casualties by the regime in the future.

All of this is one possibility of what could occur.

10. Let's cut to the chase - should I support or not support military intervention?

There is no clearcut answer. Ultimately, military intervention should not be supported as a solution to the Syrian conflict. It is not, and whether we like it or not, a political solution/settlement is the only way the current situation moves towards peace and stability. The U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban. The Vietnamese negotiated with the U.S. The Lebanese negotiated with each other. The Dayton Accords to end the Bosnian War were signed with Slobodan Milosevic. It may not be easy, it may be unlikely, and it will not work perfectly, but political discussions involving all parties is the only way to find a real solution.

That being said, if a case is made with overwhelming evidence by independent parties (not U.S. conjecture) that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime, then military intervention on a limited scale, and for a period of 1-2 days only, should be undertaken, ideally with UN support - and if not with broad support of half of the members, i.e. 90, of the UN General Assembly to demonstrate legitimacy - against military targets only, which will both send a message about the use of these weapons and damage the capabilities of Assad.

What is clear is that whatever happens, there are no clear answers with regards to the conflict in Syria.

          Ramadan Dreams        
This week marks the start of Ramadan. I would say today, but as is the case for many things, Muslims cannot even agree on what day marks the beginning of the holy month. Is it Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Sometimes, even in the same country, clerics from different sects or schools of 'jurisprudence' disagree on the sighting of the crescent moon (which signifies that Ramadan has arrived). In Lebanon, Shiites started the fast on Tuesday, and Sunnis on Wednesday, at least the last time I checked. If only the Shiite-Sunni conflict was relegated to a debate over the start of Ramadan. Alas, while diversity is something to be treasured, that is not always true in what is the proverbial Muslim world. The Qur'an tells us about what we can gain from diversity:
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. 
Somehow throughout history, perhaps the year after Prophet Muhammad died (circa 633 AD, or 1), Muslims lost sight of this. Today, you're more likely to hear about diversity as a threat rather than an asset. In fact, it seems to go hand-in-hand with regards to whether a Muslim country can be peaceful or democratic or successful: Well, I would say Country X would have a smooth transition, but they have a very diverse population with different ethnicities and groups. It's almost like Muslims can't survive with their own layered identities in the modern-age, longing instead for some Orwellian dictator to give them all a uniform to gloss over any differences that they may have. Of course, enough of those beautiful strongmen have come along for us to know that is not a great path either (um, certain exceptions aside of course).

And so in 2013, we enter into Ramadan, all 1.5 billion Muslims, or 1.2 billion, or 1.8 billion of us, depending on who's counting (or better yet who's making up statistics off the top of their head and then getting cited by the media, thereby cementing that figure as real), with a 'Muslim world' in complete conflagration - i.e. business as usual. Now all these millions of Muslims, some nominal, some not so nominal, live in different places with different challenges faced. Some in the West. Some in the East. Some in Muslim majority countries. Some as minorities in secular or other countries. And so it goes. Yet, look around, and we see challenges. There's the conflict in Syria, with a death count now over 100,000 and a displaced population representing a quarter of the country. There's the spiralling situation in Egypt, with an uncertain future ahead. And you can never count Pakistan out, with essentially a bombing a day.

You start to go through Muslim countries, and there's a lot that leaves a lot to be desired. It's almost too long of a list. It kind of makes you want to sing an Islamicized version of Les Misérables "I Dreamed a Dream", I guess with a Fatima instead of Fantine. Given the state of Islam, you might actually get in trouble for singing in public. I know that the 29 or so days of Ramadan will not bring peace, emancipation, and progress to the lands where so many Muslims live. Likely the strife, struggle, and scarcity that defines so many people's lives will not change. In fact in places like Syria, violence could actually intensify this month (some militant groups have actually announced an 'Operation Ramadan').

Thus, the realities of Ramadan may overwhelm us. Yet, if Ramadan is anything, it is a time for reflection and thinking of what can be, rather than what is. And in that spirit, I thought it would be good to end with a vision, a so-called Ramadan Dreams, of the realm of a possible future, of the Muslim world (i.e. Umma), where:
  • There are far more Sushis than Sunnis & Shiites; 
  • Being an 'Islamist' means being an expert in Islam rather than a judge/jury/executioner; 
  • The takbeer is used in excitement of a goal scored on the soccer field rather than a direct hit on the battlefield; 
  • Having a beard is a fashion statement not a religious statement; 
  • When we hear about a scandal about a royal Prince, it's because he had a nipple slip and not a multi-billion dollar arms deal go to his bank account; 
  • There are more ninjas than women in face-covering black robes; 
  • There will be actual Jews around to respond to somebody who says "don't be such a Jew"; 
  • When someone says "that's the bomb" he's not actually pointing at a bomb; 
  • You can debate the existence of God with two sides of the debate present; and
  • People can be proud to be Muslim...and not Muslim. 
Now before anybody gets their kefiyyeh in a twist, there are many Muslims who live in countries where things are not so bad, and countless others in Muslim countries, who believe in a pluralistic and open society. Yet, there is a long ways to go before we escape so many of the ills that have come to define Muslim lands and societies. Ramadan 2013 will not bring the change many of us would like to see, but here's hoping that, that change will come sooner rather than later, and help shape a Muslim world that embraces its pluralism, recognises its intellectual tradition, and empowers its people. Ramadan Kareem

          Ledakan Bom Mobil di Somalia Renggut Nyawa 5 Warga        
Ledakan Bom Mobil di Somalia Renggut Nyawa 5 Warga
          Somalia: For many girls, school holidays means FGM “cutting season”        
Source: UN Population Fund
Country: Somalia

HARGEISA – Asha Ali Ibrahim, 41, has been performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on girls in Diaami, Hargeisa and other parts of Somalia since 1997. July and August are her busiest months of the year. “This is the peak season, when parents bring their children to be cut,” she told UNFPA.

July, August and September are something of a “cutting season” for many girls around the world, when the break from school means they have time to undergo, and recover from, FGM. Though there is little formally collected data, experts say that FGM is commonly practiced during the school vacation period in parts of Guinea, Nigeria and Somalia.

In some cases, girls even travel from abroad to undergo the procedure. And in some places, it is a precursor to child marriage, which may also take place during school holidays.

FGM is carried out for a variety of reasons. In some places, it is the belief girls must be cut to control their libido. In others, it is the perception that intact girls are dirty or ugly, or that cutting is a prerequisite for marriage. But the practice causes serious medical problems, including haemorrhage, infection, complications in childbirth and even death.

In all cases, FGM is an internationally recognized human rights violation.

Dangers

About 98 per cent of women and girls in Somalia have undergone some form of FGM, according to a 2011 survey. The most common type involves cutting the genitals then sewing them closed, which can cause significant and long-lasting harm.

Somali girls typically undergo this procedure between ages 7 and 10, but Ms. Ibrahim says girls brought from abroad – especially from the United States and Europe – are usually older, between 12 and 14 years old. “It is a bit cumbersome to carry out the procedure on tissue that is more mature, and the grown up girls struggle more than younger ones,” she said.

Ms. Ibrahim is clear-eyed about some of the dangers. When she took over the role of circumciser from her aging mother, she was motivated in part by a desire to protect girls’ health.

“My mother was using one razor blade on all girls she cut. My daughter got sick soon after being cut by my mother, and I was informed at the hospital that the infection may have occurred from the procedure,” she explained. “I had been understudying my mother, so I asked her to stop carrying out FGM and I took over.”

Ms. Ibrahim uses one razor blade per client to avoid infections. Her other tools include a small bottle of lidocaine, disposable syringes, balls of cotton wool, raw egg that she says heals the wound, a powdered concoction of traditional herbs and penicillin to prevent infection, a thick white thread to sew up the girls after cutting them, and some methylated spirits for cleaning up. Ms. Ibrahim obtains these supplies over the counter from local pharmacies.

Despite her meticulousness, there have been mishaps. Ms. Ibrahim says she has rushed haemorrhaging girls to hospital. Still, she takes pride in her work, and feels it is an important cultural practice. She denies it causes problems during childbirth.

Her own young granddaughter is due to be cut this season, though the procedure has been postponed. “She’s been unwell recently and I am waiting for her to be better before I circumcise her,” she said.“Circumcision is important as a transition to adulthood. It turns a girl into a woman and this is why all the girls in my homestead have to be circumcised,” she told UNFPA.

“The world is changing”

“Schools are closed for two months between July and August, and this indeed the peak season for FGM,” said Ahmed Jama, a UNFPA specialist working on the issue

UNFPA partners with the government, health workers, local organizations, as well as religious leaders and youth activists to encourage their community and policymakers to abandon the practice.

The Hargeisa Institute of Health Sciences revised its midwifery curriculum last year, with help from UNFPA, to teach how to manage FGM-related complications that arise during childbirth. The programme also trains future midwives to become advocates for abandoning the practice.

“The world is changing, and Somalis are changing too,” said Nimo Hussain, the institute’s director.

Religious leaders like Sheikh Almis Yahye Ibrahim, 47, are encouraging these changes. The head of International Horn University, he is one of six sheikhs in the Arab region who have formed a network to fight FGM. He also preaches about the harms of FGM to the roughly 5,000 people at the Ibrahim Dheere Mosque.

But the biggest differences will be seen in his daughter’s generation, where girls are increasingly being spared the practice.

None of Sheikh Ibrahim’s three daughters have been cut. “I wouldn’t want to destroy anything about them. They should remain the way Allah created them,” he said.

Youth take the lead

Activists in the Y-Peer youth network have also take on the issue.

Pioneered by UNFPA in 2002, Y-Peer trains young people to educate community members about sexual and reproductive health. In Hargeisa, Y-Peer advocates talk to health workers, community members and other young people about a range of topics, including family planning, gender-based violence, child marriage and FGM.

And they have taken the messages to heart.

“I can only marry a girl who is over 18 and is not a victim of FGM,” declared Abdirahman Mohamed, 26, a Y-Peer project officer.

“I wouldn’t marry any girl who has undergone FGM because I don’t want to live with the health complications,” Mustafa Abdirahman, 19, another Y-Peer member, told UNFPA.

Still, these brave youth are the exception. FGM is still widespread, and its negative consequences continue to ravage the lives of women and girls .

Eighty-year-old Cibaado Ismail knows this all too well. She lives in the Rugta camp for internally displaced persons, just outside Hargeisa.

Her daughter died at age 17 of complications during childbirth. The baby also died. Ms. Ismail blames FGM.

“An FGM awareness campaign in the camp helped me understand the negative effects of the practice,” Ms. Ismail said. “I have since banned all my 10 female grandchildren from being cut.”

– Pilirani Semu-Banda


          World: FPMA Bulletin #7, 10 August 2017        
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Zambia

Key messages

  • International prices of wheat rose further in July on quality concerns, particularly for higher protein wheat, although upward pressure was limited by prospects of ample global supplies. Export prices of maize remained generally unchanged, while a slowdown in demand capped gains in rice quotations.
  • In East Africa, prices of cereals in most countries declined signi cantly for the second consecutive month in July with the new harvests, but remained generally higher than a year earlier. However, in Ethiopia, prices of maize surged further and reached record levels, underpinned by uncertain prospects for the 2017 crops.
  • In the CIS, prices of staple potatoes declined sharply from the record or near-record highs of June in most countries of the subregion with the beginning of the new harvest. Prices, however, remained higher than in July last year after the sharp increases of the past months.

          Yemen: East Africa Key Message Update, August 2017        
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

Major food security Emergencies continue across the region due to conflict, drought

Key Messages

  • A major food security Emergency is expected to continue into early 2018 in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, following a severe drought over the past year. Large food consumption gaps among worst-affected households, in combination with serious outbreaks of Acute Watery Diarrhea and measles are contributing to atypically high levels of acute malnutrition. Given the severity of current and projected food security outcomes, the resumption of large-scale assistance is critically needed to prevent worst-affected pastoral areas from moving into Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

  • Poor households in the Hiraan, Bakool, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, and Middle Shabelle agropastoral areas of central and southern Somalia are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through 2017 with the greatest food insecurity expected after September, when households exhaust food stocks. In the event that there is a significant interruption to current food assistance programs and higher prices further reduce household food access, Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible.

  • A large-scale food security Emergency continues across South Sudan, with over half of the total population in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 10,000 people on isolated islands in the White Nile River, between Leer and Jonglei, remain of greatest concern. Recent field assessments have confirmed that some island locations remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors and it is expected populations on these islands lack access to emergency assistance. It is feared outcomes may be worse among these populations and some households could be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

  • In Yemen, large populations continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity, with outcomes likely most severe among the nearly 2 million IDPs. Yemen continues to face a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in a worst-case scenario in which imports through Al Hudaydah and Salif ports and internal trade are significantly disrupted, and humanitarian assistance fails to reach populations most in need. Appropriate response is also needed to address a major, ongoing cholera outbreak and mitigate the risk of increased acute malnutrition and mortality, particularly among populations facing both food consumption gaps and cholera.


          Yemen: Another 180 migrants forced from boat today, a day after 50 Somalis, Ethiopians were drowned by smugglers off Yemen        
Source: International Organization for Migration
Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen

Aden – Up to 180 migrants are reported to have been forced from a boat today (10/08) by smugglers off the coast of Yemen. Five bodies have been recovered so far and around 50 are reported missing. This latest incident comes barely 24 hours after smugglers forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into the sea as they approached the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea resulting in the drowning of around 50 migrants. The migrants had been hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen.

Shortly after the tragedy, staff from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa, during a routine patrol. The dead had been quickly buried by those who survived the smuggler’s deadly actions. IOM is working closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure appropriate care for the deceased migrants’ remains.

IOM’s medical staff also provided urgent care to the 27 surviving migrants, both females and males, who had remained on the beach. IOM provided initial health checks and assistance, including food, water and other emergency relief. Some of the survivors (approximately 42 in addition to the 27 survivors IOM spoke to) had already left the beach before being assisted. Twenty-two migrants are reportedly still missing and unaccounted for. The approximate average age of the passengers on the boat was 16.

"The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea, when he saw some ‘authority types’ near the coast," explained Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. "They also told us that the smuggler has already returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route. This is shocking and inhumane. The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future," continued de Boeck.

Since January 2017 to date, IOM estimates that around 55,000 migrants left the Horn of Africa to come to Yemen, most with the aim of trying to find better opportunities in the Gulf countries. More than 30,000 of those migrants are under the age of 18 from Somalia and Ethiopia, while a third are estimated to be female.

This journey is especially hazardous during the current windy season in the Indian Ocean. Smugglers are active in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, offering fake promises to vulnerable migrants. IOM and its partners operate across the region to support these migrants and provide lifesaving assistance to those who find themselves abused or stranded along the route.

For more information, please contact:

Lina Koussa at IOM Aden, Tel: +967 73 770 0120, Email: lkoussatdy@iom.int
Olivia Headon at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int


          Somalia: Somalia: Actors Using Cash and Voucher - July 2017        
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Somalia


          Somalia: UNHCR Somalia: Displacements dashboard | Protection & Return Monitoring Network (PRMN), June 2017        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Somalia

73,000 total displacements in month

25% related to conflict or insecurity

HIGHLIGHTS

Over 73,000 internal displacements were identified in June 2017 by the UNHCR-led PRMN. The majority of displacements (52,000*) were attributable to drought compared to 46,000 in May (April - 142,000, March - 293,000). The trend suggests that new displacements to urban areas are ongoing; with below average Gu rains across much of Somalia and improved road conditions allowing movement, the pace of displacements to urban areas as a coping mechanism or in order to access humanitarian assistance remains high.

Drought-driven displacements are taking place within a context that remains marked by conflict, as demonstrated by the approximately 18,000 displacements during the month directly attributed to conflict and insecurity, following a significant spike in May.

The majority of these displacements are attributable to ongoing tensions and outbreaks of localized conflict in Lower Shabelle region leading to 13,000 displaced individuals, the majority of whom arrived in Banadir (Mogadishu) region. Tensions in Belet Weyne, Hiraan, amid fears of inter-clan violence, in part related to disputes over grazing land, led to the displacement of some 3,000 individuals while airstrikes around Baardheere, Gedo resulted in the displacement of some 1,200 individuals.

These examples highlight the complexity of displacement trends and triggers in Somalia and the interlinkages between them; where phenomena such as drought place pressure on resources in turn leading to conflict.

Not captured in the total displacement figure but important to note are IDP returns. These continued in the month of June and numbered some 16,000 – double the number identified in May. Substantially all of the returns identified concerned persons displaced in Baidoa returning to their areas of origin within the Bay region itself.


          Yemen: Up to 50 Somali, Ethiopian Migrants Deliberately Drowned by Smugglers off Yemen        
Source: International Organization for Migration
Country: Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen

Aden – Early this morning (09/08), a human smuggler, in charge of the boat, forced more than 120 Somali and Ethiopian migrants into the pitching sea as they approached the coast of Shabwa, a Yemeni Governorate along the Arabian Sea. The migrants had been hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen.

Shortly after the tragedy, staff from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa, during a routine patrol. The dead had been buried rapidly by those who survived the smuggler’s deadly actions. IOM is working closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure appropriate care for the deceased migrants’ remains.

IOM’s medical staff also provided urgent care to the 27 surviving migrants, both females and males, who had remained on the beach. IOM provided initial health checks and assistance, including food, water and other emergency relief. Some of the survivors had already left the beach before being assisted. 22 migrants are reportedly still missing and unaccounted for. The approximate average age of the passengers on the boat was 16.

"The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea, when he saw some ‘authority types’ near the coast," explained Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. "They also told us that the smuggler has already returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route. This is shocking and inhumane. The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous. Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future," continued de Boeck.

Since January 2017 to date, IOM estimates that around 55,000 migrants left the Horn of Africa to come to Yemen, most with the aim of trying to find better opportunities in the Gulf countries. More than 30,000 of those migrants are under the age of 18 from Somalia and Ethiopia, while a third are estimated to be female.

This journey is especially hazardous during the current windy season in the Indian Ocean. Smugglers are active in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, offering fake promises to vulnerable migrants. IOM and its partners operate across the region to support these migrants and provide lifesaving assistance to those who find themselves abused or stranded along the route.

For more information, please contact:

Lina Koussa at IOM Aden, Tel: +967 73 770 0120, Email: lkoussatdy@iom.int

Olivia Headon at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41227179435, Email: oheadon@iom.int


          World: Food Assistance Outlook Brief, August 2017        
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

This brief summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected emergency food assistance needs in FEWS NET coverage countries. The projected size of each country’s acutely food insecure population is compared to last year and the recent five-year average. Countries where external emergency food assistance needs are anticipated are identified. Projected lean season months highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season. Additional information is provided for countries with large food insecure populations, an expectation of high severity, or where other key issues warrant additional discussion.


          Kenya: UNICEF Kenya Humanitarian Situation Report 4 August 2017        
Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Kenya, Somalia, Uganda

Highlights

  • The preliminary results of the Long Rains Assessment (LRA) released by the Government of Kenya on 28 July reported that 3.4 million people are food insecure and in need of assistance. This is the highest number of people reported to be in crisis since the same time in 2011, when the number in need was estimated to be 3.7 million.

  • Thirteen of the seventeen nutrition surveys undertaken during the Long Rains Assessment recorded Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) above 15%, with four of these above 30%. There are now nine counties in the country reporting over 15% GAM compared to five in February 2017.

  • Between 1 January and 30 June this year, 41,233 SAM and 79,097 MAM children under 5 years of age received treatment accounting for 52% and 41% of the sectors’ 2017 targets respectively.

  • The ongoing nurses’ strike has continued to impact the health and nutrition sector which is coupled by a national cholera outbreak that is currently active in 8 counties.

  • Five water points were rehabilitated in Marsabit County with UNICEF support over the past two weeks, reaching 5,740 people with safe water.

  • UNICEF Kenya’s humanitarian requirements for 2017 remain underfunded with a funding gap of 44 per cent. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to mitigate risks of a worsening drought situation for children.


          Somalia: Six Projects Totaling $1.04 Million Committed in July        
Source: Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Country: Canada, India, Kenya, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania

Over 53,000 people in four countries will benefit; includes emergency nutrition response in Somalia

Over 53,000 people in four countries will benefit from six projects totaling $1.04 million committed by Canadian Foodgrains Bank in July.

The projects are being implemented by Foodgrains Bank members Development and Peace—Caritas Canada, Canadian Baptist Ministries, World Relief Canada and World Renew, in collaboration with their local partners.

One project, through Development and Peace, is responding to the crisis in Somalia.

Somalia is suffering from its worst drought in 40 years. The crippling effects of the drought are compounded by militant violence and lack of response from a young and struggling government.

Over six million people are in need of urgent help.

According to the United Nations, the country is on the verge of famine.

Through the project, implemented locally by Trocaire Somalia, existing nutrition centres and nutrition programming responding to the needs of young children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are being scaled up.

The project, which totals $388,000, is benefitting 2,700 children and 2,760 women.

Another project, through Canadian Baptist Ministries in Embu County, Kenya, is responding to chronic, ongoing hunger.

Farming households in Embu struggle to grow enough food to support their families year-round due to unreliable rainfall, a lack of access to quality seeds, and depleted soil.

In response, CBM, through its partner African Christian Churches & Schools, is training farmers in conservation agriculture methods.

Conservation agriculture methods help farmers make best use of erratic rainfall, restore nutrients to their soil, and ultimately, increase their crop yields.

1,200 families are benefitting from the project, which totals $125,000.

Other projects committed in July include:

  • An agriculture and livelihoods project in India through World Relief Canada, totaling $115,000 and benefitting 2,400 people.

  • An agriculture and livelihoods project in Tanzania through World Relief Canada, totaling $192,000 and benefitting 20,000 people.

  • An agriculture and livelihoods project in Tanzania through World Renew, totaling $120,000 and benefitting 12,000 people.

  • An agriculture and livelihoods project in Tanzania through World Renew, totaling $96,000 and benefitting 7,000 people.

Projects supported by Canadian Foodgrains Bank are undertaken with support from the Government of Canada.

--Amanda Thorsteinsson, Communications Coordinator


          World: Humanitarian Coordinator Information Products, 31 July 2017        
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen


          Yemen: Security Council Presidential Statement Urges Greater Humanitarian Access to Famine-Threatened Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria (Presidential Statement S/PRST/2017/14)        
Source: UN Security Council
Country: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

SC/12946

SECURITY COUNCIL
8020TH MEETING (AM)

Calling upon all parties in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria to urgently take steps that would enable a more effective humanitarian response, the Security Council today expressed its grave concern about the unprecedented level of global humanitarian needs and the threat of famine currently facing more than 20 million people in those countries.

Issuing presidential statement S/PRST/2017/14, the Security Council deplored that in conflict-affected Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria, certain parties had failed to ensure unfettered and sustained access for deliveries of vital food assistance, as well as other forms of humanitarian aid.

By the text, the Council reiterated its call on all parties to allow safe, timely and unhindered access to all areas and to facilitate entry for essential imports of food, fuel and medical supplies into each country and their distribution throughout. The Council further urged all parties to protect civilian infrastructure, which was critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid in the affected countries.

Stressing the need to enhance longer-term recovery and resilience of conflict-affected countries, the Council emphasized with deep concern that ongoing conflict and violence had devastating humanitarian consequences and hindered an effective humanitarian response, and were, therefore, a major cause of famine.

The Security Council noted with appreciation the Secretary-General’s leadership in the efforts to respond to the humanitarian crises in the four countries and asked him to continue to provide information on the humanitarian situation and response, including on the risk of famine. He was also asked to give an oral briefing in October on country-specific impediments to an effective response and to make specific recommendations on how to address those obstacles to enable a more robust short- and long-term response.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 10:04 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2017/14 reads as follows:

“The Security Council expresses its grave concern about the unprecedented level of global humanitarian needs and the threat of famine presently facing more than 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria, and notes with appreciation the Secretary-General’s leadership in the efforts to respond.

“The Security Council notes the devastating impact on civilians of ongoing armed conflict and violence. The Security Council also emphasizes with deep concern that ongoing conflicts and violence have devastating humanitarian consequences and hinder an effective humanitarian response in the short, medium and long term and are therefore a major cause of famine in the situations above. In this regard, the Security Council also notes the links between food scarcity and increased vulnerability of women, children and persons with disabilities.

“The Security Council reiterates its commitment to work with the Secretary-General to pursue all possible avenues to end conflicts, including through addressing their underlying root causes in an inclusive and sustainable manner.

“The Security Council stresses that responding effectively to these crises requires respect for international humanitarian law by all parties.

“The Security Council underlines the obligations of all parties to armed conflict to respect and protect civilians. The Security Council encourages those with influence over parties to armed conflict to remind the latter of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law.

“The Security Council further underlines the need to ensure the security of humanitarian operations and personnel in conflict-affected countries. The Security Council calls on all parties to respect and protect medical facilities and personnel and their means of transport and equipment.

“The Security Council deplores that in the conflict-affected Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria, certain parties have failed to ensure unfettered and sustained access for deliveries of vital food assistance, as well as other forms of humanitarian aid. The Security Council reiterates its calls on all parties to allow the safe, timely and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to all areas and to facilitate access for essential imports of food, fuel and medical supplies into each country, and their distribution throughout. The Security Council further urges all parties to protect civilian infrastructure which is critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid in the affected countries.

“The Security Council calls upon all parties in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria to urgently take steps that would enable a more effective humanitarian response.

“The Security Council commends efforts by international donors to provide humanitarian assistance in response to these four crises. The Security Council calls for the immediate disbursement of the funds already pledged to Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria at successive international conferences, including those held in Oslo, Geneva and London, if possible in the form of multi-year and unearmarked funding. The Security Council calls on Member States to provide additional resources and funding to pull people back from the brink of famine.

“The Security Council stresses the need to enhance longer-term recovery and resilience of conflict-affected countries.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide information on the humanitarian situation and response, including on the risk of famine, in the conflict-affected Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria, as part of his regular comprehensive reporting.

“In light of the unprecedented threat of famine in conflict-affected Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria, the Security Council further requests the Secretary-General to provide an oral briefing, during the month of October 2017, on country-specific impediments to an effective response to the risk of famine in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria and make specific recommendations on how to address these impediments, in order to enable a more robust short- and long-term response in the four countries. The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s letters on the risk of famine in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria of 21 February and 27 June 2017 and in this regard requests the Secretary-General to provide early warning when a conflict having devastating humanitarian consequences and hindering an effective humanitarian response risks leading to an outbreak of famine.

“The Security Council expresses its readiness to continue to support the Secretary-General’s call to action to avert famine in conflict-affected countries and commits to engage constructively on the Secretary-General’s specific recommendations.”


          Italy: Italy: Unaccompanied And Separated Children (UASC) Dashboard, July 2017        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Between 1 January and 31 July 2017, 12,656 unaccompanied and separated children arrived in Italy by sea, representing 13% of all sea arrivals in this period. This proportion is comparable to the first seven months of 2016, when 15% of those arriving by sea were UASC. UASC numbers have slightly decreased compared to last year, when 13,705 UASC arrived in the first seven months of the year.


          Italy: Italy Sea Arrivals Dashboard (January - July 2017)        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Overview

Between 1 January and 31 July 2017, 95,213 persons arrived in Italy by sea. This is a 2% increase compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year (93,774).

Trends in sea arrivals should be assessed over time, as fluctuations on a monthly basis may be linked to various factors, including weather and sea conditions or the situation in the countries of departure and origin. Geopolitical developments and the capacity of smugglers to organize departures may also affect sea arrivals.


          Somalia: UN Deputy Special Representative holds security discussions with Somalia’s South West State officials        
Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia
Country: Somalia

Baidoa, 8 August 2017 - The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia Raisedon Zenenga held discussions today with South West state administration officials on the progress the state has made in the security sector.

Mr. Zenenga’s visit also focused on the ongoing construction of the new headquarters of the Somali National Army’s 60 Division and a military training base that has been supported by the United Kingdom.

“We have come here to see the progress that is being made in partnership with us and with international donors, international partners who are working with us as the UN, and with South West state to support many projects including the security sector,” Mr. Zenenga said.

The delegation toured the military facility and expressed satisfaction with the progress made thus far. Once completed, the facility will host military officers and train Somali security forces to strengthen them as they prepare to take over the country’s primary security responsibility from the African Union Mission in Somalia.

This is in line with the political agreement on a National Security Architecture that was signed by Somalia’s federal and state government leaders in April 2017. The agreement endorsed an inclusive federal institutional framework for a reformed security sector.

The South West state Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mohamed Hassan Fiqi represented South West state President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and briefed the delegation on the progress the state has made in strengthening security and tackling the humanitarian crisis induced by the current drought.

“We provided reports on the progress made by South West state since it was established. They have appreciated the steps taken by the administration in the security sector, the military and the construction of the military facility,” the Minister said.

The meeting agreed to continue military and humanitarian support for South West state to help it solve the socio-economic challenges it currently faces.

“We appreciate the support we have received in building capacity of the police and paying the salaries of 600 police officers,” Mr. Fiqi stated.


          Yemen: UNHCR Yemen Situation: 2017 Funding Update (as of 7 August 2017)        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

  • 79.8 M required for 2017

  • 42.0 M contributions received, representing 53% of requirements

  • 37.8 M funding gap for the Yemen situation

All figures are shown in USD


          South Sudan: South Sudan Refugees Statistics as of 31 July 2017        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan


          Somalia: Refugees and Asylum-seekers Statistical Report with UNHCR - 31 July 2017        
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen


          World: Dorcas: Annual Report 2016        
Source: Dorcas Aid International
Country: Ethiopia, Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Moldova, Romania, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, World

Highlights
- A new story: We worked on a new story for Dorcas in 2016, with various departments and stakeholders giving their input.
- Strategic plan: We prepared for our new strategic plan (2017-2021) through a focused process of completing a SWOT analysis. The key element of the new strategic plan is to expand inclusive community development in all of our projects. In addition, we are seeking to build a Dorcas “community” in The Netherlands. During an intensive process, which included a SWOT analysis, we prepared ourselves for a new strategic plan for the period 2017 to 2021. Our plan is to develop our work further in inclusive community development. Furthermore, we are building a Dorcas community in the Netherlands.
- Influencing Policy: In 2016 we had a number of productive meetings with members of the Dutch House of Representatives. To support that we showed the film Face Down that concerns the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and which we made at the start of 2016.
- Visits to Field Project: Two groups visited Dorcas projects in 2016, one to Moldova with 23 sponsors visiting their grannies and children and the other group to Romania.
- New Dorcas shops: The Dorcas shops in the Netherlands are doing well. Four new Dorcas shops were opened in 2016. A total of 2,000 volunteers share the work to operate these shops.
- Dorcas Academy: In 2016 we prepared for establishing the Dorcas Academy, through which we will invest in our staff’s knowledge and skill level. Preparations were made in 2016 for setting up the Dorcas Academy, through which we will be investing in the knowledge and skills of our co-workers.


          Somalia: Somali Children Flee Al-Shabab Recruitment        
Source: Voice of America
Country: Somalia

More than 100 children fleeing areas controlled by al-Shabab militants in central Somalia have arrived in the coastal town of Adale, seeking the government's protection, officials said.

Adale is a key trading town in the Middle Shabelle region, 220 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.

In an interview with VOA Somali, the town's district commissioner, Muse Mohamed Ahmed, said the fleeing children are resisting new al-Shabab recruitment campaigns.

"Al-Shabab has a large number of old fighters, so they want to recruit children to bolster its ranks. They have started abducting children from local schools, and those who do not want to join them have decided to flee to the government-controlled areas," Ahmed said.

He estimated that more than 500 children have fled villages and towns in central Somalia, mainly in the Galgudud, Hirran and Middle Shabelle areas.

"We do not have the exact number, but our estimation is that more than 500 children, mainly between the ages of 10 to 15, have arrived in the town in the last couple of months," Ahmed said.

"Most of them pass to other government-controlled areas to join relatives, but 100 of them who did not know where to go stay with us here."

He said each of the families in the town has offered to have two or three children stay with them until Somali government and regional authorities decide their fate.

Other sources in the town have confirmed the presence of the youngsters.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who made an emergency visit to Somalia in March, said more than half of the fighters in the militant group may be children.

Somali government officials said children as young as nine are being used in combat.

"We have seen children as young as nine being caught or killed in several fronts fighting along the militants," said Col. Omar Ahmed with the Somali National Army, or SNA.

Al-Shabab continues waging an insurgency against the U.S.-backed federal government in Somalia and the African Union troops deployed there 10 years ago. Al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida, has been fighting since 2006 to overthrow the Somali government and turn the country into a strict Islamic state.


          Jetzt ist sogar die Stokowski gegen den Online-Pranger der Grünen! – News vom 2. August 2017        
1. Andreas Kemper, Henning von Bargen und Elisabeth Tuider stoßen selbst im eigenen feministischen Lager vermehrt auf Ablehnung ihrer dilettantisch geführten Listen über Menschen mit politisch unerwünschten Meinungen. "So kämpft man nicht für Gleichberechtigung" stellt jetzt sogar Magarete Stokowski auf Spiegel-Online fest und übernimmt damit die Kritik aus der maskulistischen Fraktion. Allerdings scheint Stokowski in erster Linie daran intessiert zu sein, das Image ihrer Ideologie vor weiterem Schaden zu bewahren. So berichtet sie in ihrem Artikel zunächst ausführlich, dass der Feminismus auch in ihrem eigenen Publikum als ausgesprochen aggressiv wahrgenommen wird. Bei dem Versuch, dieses Image noch irgendwie zu retten, leisten die wütenden Rundumschläge von Andreas Kemper & Co. einen Bärendienst, wie Stokowski erklärt:

Mit dem falschen Werkzeug macht man am Ende mehr kaputt als richtig oder tut sich selbst weh. Manchmal geht es schief und man kann dabei zugucken.


Immerhin stellt Stokowski dann aber klar, dass ein solcher Pranger auch ethisch inakzeptabel ist:

Es ist nicht gut, Listen von Menschen nach politischer Gesinnung anzulegen. Siehe: Weltgeschichte. Wer sich über die Leute informieren will, bekommt das auch so hin, ohne Abschussliste.


Hier könnte Stokowski irren: Wer sich beispielsweise über mich aus unterschiedlichen Quellen informiert, dürfte einen komplett anderen Eindruck von mir gewinnen als jemand, der nur in Kempers "Abschussliste" liest, wo die Informationen extrem selektiv und teilweise schlicht falsch präsentiert werden. Genau diese verzerrende Darstellung dürfte eines der strategischen Ziele dieser "Abschussliste" sein. Ihr Prinzip funktioniert so wie ein antifeministisches Lexikon funktionieren würde, das mich als Radikalfeministen darstellt, indem es mit "Belegen" wie diesem arbeitet: "Am 2. August 2017 pflichtete Arne Hoffmann der Radikalfeministin Margarete Stokowski bei und zitierte sie zustimmend."

Der Fluch der bösen Tat: Bislang schießen sich Andreas Kemper und Henning von Bargen mit ihren Denunziationen vor allem ins eigene Knie. Das lagerübergreifende Kopfschütteln über ihre Methoden hört einfach nicht auf.

Derweil gibt Andreas Kemper sein Bestes, damit wenigstens der Wikipedia-Eintrag über den von ihm mitverantworteten Online-Pranger positiver wird.



2. Die SPD geht mit Fake News in den Wahlkampf.



3. Die Sängerin der Popband "Paramore" verteidigt sich gegen den Vorwurf, dass eine Liedzeile ihres 2007 veröffentlichten Songs "Misery Business" antifeministisch sei.



4. Professor Jordan Peterson, ein kanadischer Akademiker, der sich weigert, genderneutrale Pronomen zu verwenden, und totalitäre Tendenzen in der Linken kritisiert, wird von Google und Youtube verbannt:

"Please tell me what principle I have violated," said Peterson in his email to Google upon discovering that he was locked out of his account. "I have not violated any terms that I am aware of and have not misused my account."

The psychology professor has over 350,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, which he uses as a platform to post his lectures, interviews, and Q&As.

"We understand you’ve recently been unable to access your Google account, and we appreciate you contacting us," said Google in a response. "After review, your account is not eligible to be reinstated due to a violation of our Terms of Service."

But Google did not provide any details regarding which rule the professor violated.

(...) "I’ve had that account for the last, say, 15 years," said Peterson (...). "All of my correspondence is in that account. It’s hundreds of thousands of emails from people all over the world."


Mit dieser Entwicklung erhält der Verdacht, dass jeder aus der Debatte eliminiert werden soll, der sich nicht der Gender-Ideologie unterwirft, neue Nahrung.



5. In ihrem Artikel "When Progressives Embrace Hate" macht jetzt selbst die feministisch geprägte New York Times darauf aufmerksam, dass die momentane Führungsfiguren der US-Feministinnen, die Organisatorinnen des Frauenmarsches gegen US-Präsident Trump, mehr als fragwürdig sind:

Start with Ms. Sarsour, by far the most visible of the quartet of organizers. It turns out that this "homegirl in a hijab," as one of many articles about her put it, has a history of disturbing views, as advertised by ... Linda Sarsour.

There are comments on her Twitter feed of the anti-Zionist sort: "Nothing is creepier than Zionism," she wrote in 2012. And, oddly, given her status as a major feminist organizer, there are more than a few that seem to make common cause with anti-feminists, like this from 2015: "You’ll know when you’re living under Shariah law if suddenly all your loans and credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?" She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is "not a real woman" and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.

Ms. Sarsour and her defenders have dismissed all of this as a smear campaign coordinated by the far right and motivated by Islamophobia. Plus, they’ve argued, many of these tweets were written five years ago! Ancient history.

But just last month, Ms. Sarsour proved that her past is prologue. On July 16, the official Twitter feed of the Women’s March offered warm wishes to Assata Shakur. "Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!" read the tweet, which featured a "#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor" — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.

Like many others, CNN’s Jake Tapper noticed the outrageous tweet. "Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba," he tweeted, going on to mention Ms. Sarsour’s troubling past statements. "Any progressives out there condemning this?" he asked.

In the face of this sober criticism, Ms. Sarsour cried bully: "@jaketapper joins the ranks of the alt-right to target me online. Welcome to the party."

There’s no doubt that Ms. Sarsour is a regular target of far-right groups, but her experience of that onslaught is what makes her smear all the more troubling. Indeed, the idea that Jake Tapper is a member of the alt-right is the kind of delirious, fact-free madness that fuels Donald Trump and his supporters. Troublingly, it is exactly the sentiment echoed by the Women’s March: "Our power — your power — scares the far right. They continue to try to divide us. Today’s attacks on #AssataShakur are the latest example."

Since when did criticizing a domestic terrorist become a signal issue of the far right? Last I checked, that position was a matter of basic decency and patriotism.

What’s more distressing is that Ms. Sarsour is not the only leader of the women’s movement who harbors such alarming ideas. Largely overlooked have been the similarly outrageous statements of the march’s other organizers.


Hier geht es weiter mit Infos darüber, was die anderen Organisatorinnen des Frauenmarsches so auf dem Kerbholz haben.

Das ist die Situation im Jahr 2017. Friedliche Verteidiger der Meinungsfreiheit wie Professor Peterson werden aus dem Diskurs gedrängt, Extremistinnen hingegen wurden weltweit von den Leitmedien gefeiert. Und jeder, der das kritisiert, gilt für das feministische Lager als "anti-emanzipatorisch" und "rechts" und betreibt "Hate-Speech".
          Invest in Agriculture to Boost Food Security in Africa – European Parliament        
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) call for more aid to be directed towards agricultural production and assistance to pastoralists to ensure food security Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and Djibouti, which are currently hit by famine and drought. “The international community should make long-term investments in agriculture, as the main source of food and income […]
          Somalia: tsunami disloged toxic chemicals dumped by foreign companies        
none
          U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, Versus Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia        
Yesterday, U.S.

          Offener Brief an den britischen Botschafter        
Wadd_demo_leaf-mod_large

Pressemitteilung 3/2013 der Drohnen-Kampagne zum Appell "Keine Kampfdrohnen!"
23. April 2013

 

Offener Brief an den Britischen Botschafter

Unterstützung der Proteste „Ground the Drones"


Sehr geehrte Damen, sehr geehrte Herren,

im Namen der bundesweiten Drohnen-Kampagne zum Appell "Keine Kampfdrohnen!" möchten wir Sie davon in Kenntnis setzen, dass wir den hier in deutsch und englisch beigefügten Offenen Brief seiner Excellence, Simon McDonald CMG, dem britischen Botschafter in Deutschland, überreichen wollten. Aus diesem Grunde telefonierten wir mit der britischen Botschaft in Berlin wegen eines Übergabetermins. Bedauerlicherweise ist das Büro des Botschafters nach Aussage der Sekretärin nicht bereit, mit Vertretern einer Kampagne, die unter dem Namen "Keine Kampfdrohnen!" arbeitet, zu treffen. Wir werden daher den Brief dem Pförtner der Botschaft am Donnerstag, den 25.4.2013 um 13 Uhr abgeben.

Besorgt darüber, dass Großbritannien - einziges europäisches Land, das eigene Kampfdrohnen einsetzt - dieses Arsenal erweitern will, und plant, in Großbritannien die wahrscheinlich erste Leitstelle für Drohnenkriegsführung in Europa einzurichten, möchten wir die gegen diese Entwicklung am kommenden Samstag, dem 27.4., stattfindenden Proteste in Großbritannien mit unserem Offenen Brief solidarisch unterstützen.

Gleichzeitig ist es uns wichtig darauf hinzuweisen, dass zwei Tage zuvor, am Donnerstag, dem 25.4., im Deutschen Bundestag eine erneute Debatte zu diesem Thema stattfinden wird.

Wir fordern die Mitglieder des Parlaments auf, der Kriegsführung mit Kampfdrohnen nicht zu zustimmen, sondern im Sinne des Appels "Keine Kampfdrohnen!" sich dem Wettrüsten entgegen zustellen.

Den Appell finden Sie unter www.drohnen-kampagne.de

 

Der offene Brief

 

Sehr geehrter Herr Botschafter,


anlässlich der im Vereinigten Königreich von Großbritannien und Irland am 27. April bevorstehenden Proteste gegen Kampfdrohnen unter dem Titel „Ground the Drones" wenden wir uns als Vertreter der deutschen Kampagne gegen die Etablierung von Drohnentechnologie für Krieg, Überwachung und Unterdrückung mit diesem offenen Brief an Sie.

Die Drohnen-Kampagne2 ist im vergangenen Monat durch ein Bündnis von vielen bundesweiten und örtlichen Friedens- und Bürgerrechtsgruppen initiiert worden. Sie wird inzwischen von mehr als 120 Gruppen aus Deutschland unterstützt, darunter mehrere politische Parteien, von denen gegenwärtig zwei im Bundestag vertreten sind. In unserem an Bundesregierung und Bundestag gerichteten Appell „Keine Kampfdrohnen!"3 fordern wir die Aufgabe aller Pläne zur Anschaffung, Forschung und Entwicklung von bewaffneten Drohnen.

Wir fordern die deutsche Regierung weiter dazu auf, sich stattdessen zusammen mit anderen Regierungen dafür einzusetzen, um die neue Eskalation des bedrohlichen Wettrüstens zu beenden, das die Anwendung tödlicher Waffen ohne Möglichkeit öffentlicher Überprüfung, ohne demokratische Kontrolle und im offenkundigen Bruch bestehender internationaler und nationaler Gesetze „normalisiert". Wir fordern die deutsche Regierung auf, zusammen mit anderen Regierungen auf eine weltweite Ächtung von Kampfdrohnen hin zu arbeiten.

Großbritannien ist bisher das einzige Land in Europa, das eigene bewaffnete Kampfdrohnen einsetzt. Wir haben mit Bestürzung erfahren, dass Großbritannien die Anzahl von Reapers in seinem Arsenal verdoppeln wird und schon jetzt dabei ist, die wahrscheinlich erste Leitstelle für Drohnenkriegsführung in Europa auf dem RAF-Luftwaffenstützpunkt in Waddington einzurichten.

Diese einseitige Entscheidung der britischen Regierung könnte möglicherweise ein Wettrennen von Regierungen innerhalb und außerhalb Europas zu Beschaffung und Benutzung von Kampfdrohnen auslösen.

Darüber hinaus heißt es einerseits, dass das britische Verteidigungsministerium mit der aktuellen Untersuchung der Vereinten Nationen bezüglich eventueller Verstöße gegen das Völkerrecht durch die Benutzung unbemannter Drohnen in den Palästinensischen Gebieten, in Pakistan, Jemen, Somalia, und Afghanistan kooperiert4, während es gleichzeitig Berichte gibt, wonach Großbritannien angeblich durch das „UK Intelligence Centre GCHQ"5 (die Zentrale einer der drei britischen Geheimdienste) die USA mit Informationen für gezielte Tötungen in Pakistan6 und anderen Ländern versorgt hat und die US-Stützpunkte in Großbritannien auch aktuell direkt für gezielte Tötungen durch die USA in Afrika genutzt werden.

Die UNO untersucht zurecht die zunehmende Anzahl von Drohnenangriffen, die von den US-amerikanischen und britischen Streitkräften in Afghanistan ausgeführt werden. Seit 2008 hat die Anzahl britischer Drohnenangriffe drastisch zugenommen - fast jeder dritte Drohnenangriff gegen das afghanische Volk wird durch Großbritannien ausgeführt7.

In den letzten Jahren haben UNO-Beamte wiederholt ihre Besorgnis zum Ausdruck gebracht8, dass die Benutzung von Kampfdrohnen gegen Militante in Afghanistan durch die Vereinigten Staaten und das Vereinigte Königreich möglicherweise ein Bruch des Völkerrechts darstellt, selbst wenn im Einzelfall keine Zivilisten und Kinder getötet werden würden.

Europas Staaten dürfen diese bedrohliche neue Form der Kriegsführung nicht einfach übernehmen! Diese neuen Drohnenkriege untergraben das in vielen Jahrhunderten in vielen Kämpfen und unter massiven Anstrengungen errungene demokratische Fundament unserer Gesellschaft.

Es ist bekannt, dass die Nutzung von Kampfdrohnen die Schwelle zum bewaffneten Angriff senkt; die „gezielte" Tötung von Menschen selbst außerhalb von Kriegsgebieten - ohne Anklage, ohne einen Gerichtsprozeß und und ohne Verurteilung - beinhaltet; die Bevölkerung in den Einsatzgebieten gefährdet und terrorisiert; die Entwicklung hin zu autonomen Killer-Robotern befördert und eine neue Runde des Wettrüstens einläutet.

Nach einer von Pew Research im vergangenen Frühling in 20 Ländern durchgeführten internationalen Umfrage9 lehnt eine deutliche Mehrheit der Bürger und Bürgerinnen in ganz Europa Drohnenangriffe strikt ab: 51% der Befragten in Polen, 55% in Italien, 59% in Deutschland, 62% in der Tschechischen Republik, 63% in Frankreich, 76% in Spanien, und 90% in Griechenland sprachen sich gegen den Einsatz bewaffneter Drohnen aus. Und selbst im Vereinten Königreich war mit 47% die Mehrheit der Befragten gegen Drohnenangriffe, während nur 43% sie befürworteten.

Wir freuen uns sehr darüber, dass sich britische Bürger und Bürgerinnen nun aktiv gegen das aktuelle britische Drohnenprogramm einsetzen und am 27. April zum Luftwaffenstützpunkt Waddington marschieren und protestieren werden. Diesen Menschen sprechen wir unsere ausdrückliche Unterstützung aus. Wir fordern Sie dazu auf, auf diese britischen Bürgerinnen und Bürger zu hören - ihr Widerstand gegen Kampfdrohnen findet nicht nur in Großbritannien Unterstützung, sondern auch durch große Mehrheiten in ganz Europa und zunehmend auch durch Bürgerinnen und Bürger der USA.

Zusammen mit vielen anderen Mitmenschen sowie zahlreichen Organisationen in den an Kraft gewinnenden Kampagnen gegen Kampfdrohnen in ganz Europa, den Vereinigten Staaten und der ganzen Welt werden wir uns dafür einsetzen, dass unsere Regierungen die Entwicklung, Anschaffung und den Einsatz von Drohnen beenden.

Höchste Priorität muss sein, dass die Länder Europas jetzt beginnen, auf einen Konsens über einen Verbot der Weiterverbreitung von bewaffneten Drohnen hinzuarbeiten, statt sich darin zu beeilen, diese zu entwickeln, zu beschaffen und einzusetzen.

Wir fordern die britische Regierung auf, den Proteste gegen Kampfdrohnen unter dem Titel „Ground the Drones"Einsatz bewaffneter Drohnen sofort einzustellen und deren Benutzung nicht weiter zu akzeptieren, sondern sich stattdessen mit anderen Regierungen zusammen zu tun, um auf ein internationales Abkommen zur Ächtung Kampfdrohnen hin zu arbeiten.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

 

 Dieser offener Brief mitsamt aller Verweise als PDF-Datei hier verfügbar.


          Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Jeremiad        

Born in 1969, she lived in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. A devout Muslim, she attended a madrassa, wore a hijab, supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, (1) underwent a cliterodectomy at age six, (2) and dutifully endured beatings by family members for alleged moral lapses. (3) Fast forward to 2010. Soon to turn forty-one, having lived in the West since 1992, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is today a secular and a stern critic of Islam. Her most recent book, Nomad: From Islam to America, subtitled A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations,is a wake-up call to the West, a jeremiad which prophesies a bloody, violent future for the planet unless Islam is transformed, the human rights of Muslim women are recognized, and Westerners come to their senses.

What exactly are Hirsi Ali's issues with the faith of her youth?

Firstly, she says that Muslims have a naie, literalist, and unhistorical understanding of the Quran. The Quran, she insists, was written by humans over hundreds of years and not, as Muslims believe, dictated to Mohammed by God's messenger. (4) She sees a desperate need for the historico-critical method that was applied to the Bible in recent generations to be applied to the Quran.

Secondly, she says that Islam is misogynistic. Women in most Muslim countries are the literal property of their fathers and enjoy few rights compared to men. They are subject to beatings, disfigurement, or death for real or imagined improprieties.

Thirdly, Islam is theocratic, she says. In most Muslim societies, the church trumps the state. Anyone who dares to raise questions about Islam or the prophet Mohammed is persecuted. Curiosity and skepticism are heresy.

Fourthly, Islam poses a long-term threat to Western institutions, she insists, because Muslim immigrants in the West settle in enclaves and refuse to integrate physically, psychologically, or politically. Immigrants carry their tribal culture with them, she says. (5) They home school their children or they establish private religious schools, often with government subsidies, they follow Sharia instead of the civil law, and they abuse public welfare benefits.

And what does Hirsi Ali propose as a remedy? First and foremost, she argues that Westerners need to become vocal about gender discrimination in majority-Muslim countries. She calls out Western feminists and multiculturalists for their silence about the violations of the human rights of Muslim girls and women. (6) Further, she proposes that the Christian church, especially the Vatican, stop pursuing dialogue with Muslims and work to convert them. How ironic. For Hirsi Ali, an atheist, Christianity and the Christian God are far preferable to Islam and Allah. (7) Also, Western governments need to stop allowing Muslim immigrants to create ghettoes insulated from the wider society, they need to stop subsidizing madrassas, and they need to help Muslim immigrants become engaged citizens.

It is no surprise that Hirsi Ali requires round-the-clock security. Although many find her message offensive, we ignore it at our peril.


 

  1. See Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wikipedia.
  2. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: a Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations, Free Press, 2010, p. 20. Most of the information in this commentary is drawn from this volume.
  3. Nomad..., p. 55.
  4. Nomad..., p. 206.
  5. Nomad..., p. 79.
  6. Nomad..., p. 224. Hirsi Ali also criticizes Muslim women who attend colleges in the West, many of whom confront her at her public appearances, for their naivete. She writes: "If (they) lived in Saudi Arabia, under Sharia law, these college girls in their pretty scarves wouldn't be free to study, to work, to drive, (or) to walk around. (p. 133)
  7. Nomad..., p. 238, p. 244.

© 2010 Tom Shipka


          Ayaan Hirsi Ali : A Voice of Dissent in Islam        

For many Western political leaders, the problem in today's world is not Islam, which they see as a religion of peace, but religious extremists who subvert it. But this viewpoint is coming under fire from a growing list of writers (1), including Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Though a young woman at 36, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has received no less than a dozen major awards in Europe and the United States for her advocacy of Muslim women and in 2005 she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. Recently she was the subject of one of George F. Will's syndicated columns (September 21, 2006).

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and raised a Muslim. She lived there and in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, until, at the age of 22, she ducked an arranged marriage to her father's cousin and settled in the Netherlands where she learned the language, completed her education, and eventually became a member of Parliament. In 2004 Ali published a book in Dutch which was recently translated and published in the West the under the title, The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam. Ali also wrote the script for a short film "Submission: Part I " which highlights passages in the Koran which disparage women. Theo van Gogh, director of the film, was murdered by a Muslim fundamentalist shortly after the film was shown and Ali was herself threatened with death. Ali holds that in the name of religion, Muslim women "are enslaved in their homes" (p. 7) (2) subjected to genital mutilation and "disownment" (or abandonment) by their families for any real or imagined offense, and denied education and other opportunities for personal and professional growth.

But Ali's critique of Islam goes beyond this. She says that Islamic culture most needs what it most abhors : skepticism. She calls for an enlightenment in the Islamic world much the same as the one in the Christian world centuries ago. She writes: "(W)e Muslims are already imbued with faith and superstition. What we need are schools of philosophy"(p. 15) "Let Us Have a Voltaire" is the title of a chapter in her book. (pp. 35-41) "(A)ll Muslims," she says, "share the conviction that the fundamental principles of Islam cannot be criticized, revised, or in any way contradicted." (p. 9) This dogmatism explains virtually all the defects in Islamic culture, she says, including the 'fanaticism' of terrorists, sectarian strife, lagging the West in "technology, finance, health, and culture" (p. 15), lack of respect for individual autonomy and women's rights (p. 14), the political authority of mullahs, the failure of Muslims to read important Western thinkers, the lack of "a credible and workable political model" (p. 19), and Muslim hypersensitivity to criticism. On the last point, she writes "I am outraged that Muslims are not more offended by the invocation of Allah and 'God is great' for murder (by terrorists) than by cartoons." (p. xv) Her own skepticism is evident. "I have come to realize," she writes, "that the existence of Allah, of angels, demons, and a life after death, is at the very least disputable." (xi)

Ali recently left Europe for her own safety and accepted an appointment at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., where she is now working on a new book in which the Prophet Muhammad has an imaginary dialogue with John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek, and Karl Popper. No doubt we can expect more sparks to fly once she publishes it.


 

  1. These include Muslims and non-Muslims such as Salman Rushdie, Irshad Manji, Ibn Warraq, Taslima Nasreen, Muhammad Abu Zaid, Bernard Lewis, and Sam Harris, among others.
  2. Quotes are from "The Caged Virgin"

Copyright © 2006 by Tom Shipka


          Pasir hitam dari Perut Bumi        



Pasir hitam dari Perut Bumi
SATU
Beberapa hari lalu Ahmad pergi ke pasaraya. Lalu di sapa oleh seorang anak muda lewat belasan tahun. “Apa khabar mu?”
“Baik, aku selamat dari gempa dan masih sihat.”
Sebelum ini jarang sekali dapat ketemu anak muda keturunan Kiwi yang mahu bertegur sapa. Masing masing dengan urusan kehidupan sendiri, sudah hilang perasaan prihatin terhadap manusia sekeliling. Mungkin satu kebaikan dari gempa ini ialah kembalinya semangat keprihatinan terhadap manusia sekeliling, semangat tolong menolong sesama manusia. Kesedaran bahawa nyawa itu berharga, tidak ternilai oleh harta benda.
“Apa pendapat mu tentang gempa bumi ini?” soal anak muda itu.
“Apa maksud mu?” soal Ahmad balik.
“Adakah kau seorang yang religious? Kalau kau percayakan Tuhan, bahawa Tuhan akan menyelamatkan semua kita yang percaya kepada Tuhan. God will save us.” sambung anak muda itu lagi, sambil meneguk air tin guarana.
“Ya aku seorang yang religious. Aku percaya Tuhan. Gempa bumi berlaku bila dua tectonic plates bertembung, lama kelamaan stress akan memuncak. Gempa bumi itu boleh diibaratkan sebagai kayu yang dilentur. Sampai satu ketika, kayu yang di lentur akan patah.”
Manusia di Barat berfahaman kebanyakannya berfahaman sekular, membezakan kepercayaan diri, dan urusan kehidupan harian. Mereka tidak faham bahawa sains adalah explanation, penerangan cara Allah melakukan sesuatu kejadian dengan kehendakNya. Sunnatullah.
DUA
2006, lima tahun lalu. Ahmad bekerja waktu malam di sebuah hotel 4 bintang di tengah kota. Tugasnya menjaga keselamatan hotel waktu lewat malam dan melayan keperluan penghuni hotel. Selalunya dia menyediakan makanan dan menghidang arak, selain memunggah beg beg pakaian. Di tengah kota terdapat berpuluh bar dan disko. Muda mudi mengunjungi bar dan disko dari petang sampai kepagi. Selalunya lepas tengah malam kebanyakan mereka sudah terlalu mabuk, lalu keluar ke jalan dan kaki lima melalak dan muntah. Kelakuan yang menjelekkan, apalagi kebanyakan yang melalak dan menyanyi perempuan muda belasan tahun yang berpakaian menjolok mata. Pada tahun tahun 2006 dan 2007, kebanyakan muda mudi yang mengunjungi bar dan disko itu adalah Kiwi dan segelintir keturunan Samoa dan Maori. Pernah sekali Ahmad terserempak dengan seorang pemudi Melayu di depan hotel, pemudi itu berseluar jeans dan T-shirt, dan bertudung. Agaknya dia keluar berjalan jalan dengan kawan kawan, pukul 1 pagi.
Suasana tengah kota pukul satu pagi seperti satu pesta arak. Muda mudi berpeleseran dalam keadaan mabuk. Kupu kupu malam berdiri di persimpangan jalan. Botol botol bir ditepi longkang. Pasangan bercumbuan di perosok tepi kedai, muda mudi kencing di lorong gelap tepi jalan.
Selepas 2007, salah sebuah negara Timur Tengah mula menghantar anak anak muda mereka ke Christchurch untuk belajar di institusi institusi pengajian tinggi. Anak anak muda ini masih awal dua puluhan tahun, mungkin baru pertama kali keluar kepompong keluarga. Mereka belajar Bahasa Inggeris, university foundation studies dan kemudian masuk ke university di Christchurch.
Waktu malam, terutama malam minggu, loghat Arab Timur Tengah banyak kedengaran di tengah kota. Ahmad selalu keluar ke perkarangan hotel, ramai pemuda pemuda Arab berjalan jalan, ada juga yang berpasangan dengan pemudi Kiwi. Disko dan bar menjadi tempat berkunjung pemuda pemuda Arab itu.
Pernah Ahmad melihat seorang pemuda Arab berpegang tangan dengan pemudi Kiwi di depan masjid pada satu tengahari Jumaat.
Semakin ramai pelajar dari Timur Tengah datang belajar di Christchurch. Beberapa peniaga Arab mula membuka kedai kedai kebab di kota. Imigran Hindi pula berniaga nasi basmati dan kari ayam butter chicken. Pelarian dari Afghanistan dan Somalia menjadi pengusaha teksi, mencari rezeki larut malam, menghantar pulang pemabuk waktu dinihari.
Hisham Al Zeiny dalam khutbah Jumaatnya pada minggu berlakunya gempa bumi itu berkata gempa dan musibah adalah peringatan Allah pada hambanya yang beriman. Jika musibah berlaku pada diri kita, itu adalah peringatan Allah pada kita seorang diri, tanda Allah sayang pada kita. Biarpun hanya tertusuk duri, itu adalah rahmat Tuhan, mungkin itu untuk menebus dosa kita. Setiap diri orang yang beriman itu ada tarafnya disisi Tuhan. Ingatlah, Tuhan hanya beri ujian pada hambaNya yang disayangi, dan tidak di beri ujian itu kalau kita tidak mampu melaluinya.
Tetapi apabila bencana dan musibah itu melanda sebuah kota, daerah atau negeri, itu tanda ada sesuatu kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh orang orang yang beriman di kota/negeri itu. Hisham Al Zeiny pernah berkhutbah selepas gempa September lalu, Tuhan mengingatkan kita di bulan Ramadan. Waktu itu hanya beberapa hari sebelum Eid ul Fitr. Belum pun enam bulan gempa berlaku lagi, kali ini banyak mengorbankan nyawa. Kata Hisham Al Zeiny, kalau ini amaran Tuhan yang lebih keras, amat buruklah padah kita bila hukuman Tuhan nanti sampai. Semoga inilah hukuman Tuhan pada kita.
Kita umat Islam di Christchurch lupa pada tugas kita, iaitu amal makruf nahi mungkar. Malah kita sama sama mencari rezeki dari kemungkaran orang kafir di sekeliling kita. Ada antara kita sama sama melakukan kemungkaran, dan mengikut ikut orang kafir. Biarlah orang kafir, jangan kita berkelakuan seperti mereka.
TIGA
Waktu gempa berlaku air dan pasir memancut keluar dari dalam tanah. Fenomena ini dipanggil liquefaction. Lagi lama dan besar gempa itu diukur dengan skala Richter lebih banyaklah air dan pasir akan memancut keluar dari tanah. Tetapi ini bergantung juga pada paras air bawah tanah, water table. Effect gempa bumi seperti hujan lebat seharian. Pasir itu bila kering dan ditiup angin kering musim panas akan berterbangan, alam sekeliling seperti dilanda ribut pasir, memedihkan mata dan mengganggu pernafasan. Kalau kita masukkan pasir, batu, tanah kedalam gelas atau baldi, kemudian penuhkan dengan air, kemudian goncang baldi itu seperti berlakunya gempa bumi, nescaya batu dan tanah akan bergerak dan memerlukan ruang yang lebih besar di dalam baldi itu. Maka air dan pasir pun menggelegak keatas. Liquefaction.
          Negara Paling Korup 2016        
Kita semua tidak sukakan korupsi, satu perbuatan sampah yang kita mahu hapuskan daripada kalangan masyarakat kita. Dalam satu kajian yang dijalankan oleh Transparency International, mereka telah mengeluarkan senarai Corruption Perceptions Indes (CPI).

Berapakah CPI negara kita Malaysia? Nanti kita lihat sama-sama.






Dalam index yang dikeluarkan untuk tahun 2016, negara paling korup adalah Somalia, malah ia mememang rekod ini selama 10 tahun berturut-turut. CPI yang diberikan kepada Somalia hanyalah 10 point sahaja.

Makin rendah point CPI maka makin teruk tahap korupsi di sesebuah negara tersebut. Ranking top 5 negara yang paling bersih pula didahuli oleh negara New Zealand (90 CPI), Denmark (90 CPI), Finland (89 CPI), Sweden (88 CPI) dan Switzerland (86 CPI).

Bagi negara kita pula, Malaysia diberikan 49 CPI dan berada di ranking ke 55 dunia. Mata CPI diberikan turun 1 mata berbanding tahun lalu dengan 50 CPI.




Dalam kalangan negara serantau pula Singapura dianggap paling bersih di Asia Tenggara dengan 84 CPI berada di ranking ke 7 dunia. Dan negara paling kurop di Asia Tenggara pula adalah Kemboja dengan 21 mata sahaja diberikan.

Country CPI World Rank
1. Singapura 84 7
2. Brunei 58 41
3. Malaysia 40 55
4. Indonesia 37 90
5. Philines 35 101
6. Thailand 35 101
7. Timor-Leste 35 101
8. Vietnam 33 113
9. Loas 30 123
10. Myanmar 28 136
11. Cambodia 21 156


Negara besar seperti U.S.A pula dibeirkan 74 mata CPI, dan berada di ranking 18 dunia. Manakal negara China hanya diberikan sebanyak 40 mata dan berada di tangga 79. Russia lagi bawah dengan hanya 29 CPI, berada ditangga ke 131 dunia.

Berikut adalah senarai penuh ranking yang dikelaurkan oleh Corruption International bagi negara paling kurop 2016.



          The Mean (Part 1) : by Stephen Richter        

Part 1

† Mercutio †

“This is she! This is she!”
“Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.”

 

“What’s the matter with you, Marine?!” said the man from Naval Investigative Service. Dust blew
all around us. He snatched the goggles from my face. My left side went numb. I opened my mouth
to speak but no sound came out. There was only a sucking noise.

I fell to the street, just 500 meters from the gate of our compound at the edge of Mogadishu city. I
watched the sky roll by while men carried me. I heard the rotors of a CH-53 Sea Stallion. Someone
placed an oxygen mask over my face. Gunny had finally done it, he’d killed me.

****

I opened my eyes, gasping, punching with my fists. The Humvee was empty. I opened the door and
stepped out into the pre-dawn. I rubbed my hands over my face. It was zero dark-thirty. The beach
and the city behind me were quiet now.

A shot was fired near the fence-line, by 7th motor T. The air smelled of salt.
On the other side of the compound sat a beach-front country club. The USS Carl Vincent aircraft
carrier dropped anchor 1000 meters offshore. Colonel Reap and the admiral crested a hill of sand.
They walked to the first tee of the 9 hole golf course. Their silhouettes moved across the rising sun.

I straightened out my cammies.

I reached back into the Hummer for a clipboard, initialed a box at the bottom of one of the new duty
forms, and slung my M-16 over my shoulder. I walked onto the green.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” I said, saluting.

“Outstanding morning, devil dog,” said colonel Reap. “Excuse me admiral. Sergeant, our interpreter
is down there with the zodiac. Help him stow his gear then get him to the morning brief.”

“Aye, sir,” I said.

I saluted then walked down a decline of sand. A sport fishing yacht flying an American flag floated
offshore. Men in uniform moved about her deck. A dingy rested on the beach up ahead. A dark
green marine in desert cammies threw his seabag ashore.

“Welcome to Somalia, corporal,” I said.

“I was born here, sergeant,” he said. We shook hands. His were soft.

“Welcome home then, corporal,” I said. I looked at his name tag then grabbed his pack. I tossed him
the keys to the Hummer. “You drive,” I said, “I’ve been on duty all night. I’ll probably kill us.”
A cluster of gunfire erupted in the distance. Corporal Fahrad and I crossed the green to the dirt road
that led back to the compound and to reality. We put on flack jackets and kevlar helmets then
climbed into the Humvee, I checked the safety on my M-16

“Take the dirt road all the way to the beginning of the razorwire,” I said, “When it becomes paved,
take that road all the way to camp. There’s a command det. with colors flying out front. Park behind
any of the vehicles, then wake me.”

“Okay, sergeant,” said corporal Fahrad, “How long will it take to get there?”

“About two minutes,” I said.

“That’s it?”

“That’s all you’ll ever get around this place,” I said, “5 to 10 minute power-naps at various intervals
throughout the day and night. No one sleeps for any consecutive periods of time.”

“Are you serious?”

“Ask me that three nights from now,” I said.

We drove. I watched the Indian Ocean through Fahrad’s window. I didn’t want to look at the city
just yet. I nodded.

“Wake up Wagner!”

I opened my eyes. Gunnery sergeant Higgle thrust his head through my open side window. Corporal
Fahrad stood behind him at parade rest.

“And just like that you’re a dead man,” said Gunny Higgle. He opened my door. “Come on,
sergeant. Lock it on a bit for the corporal here. Don’t teach him how to get killed his first day in this
god-forsaken place.”

“He’s from here,” I said. I climbed from the vehicle then elevated the muzzle of my M-16.
“Well twist my balls in a bow,” said Gunny, “Ain’t that kind of a conflict of interest there,
corporal?”

“I don’t understand,” said Fahrad.

“He’s the interpreter,” I said.

“Fair enough,” said Gunny, “Not trying to offend, just situation awareness, devil dogs. Gotta keep
her tight before the money-shot. Follow me, boys, you’re late.”

We followed Gunny. It was 05:40 hrs. March 28th, 1994. We entered a tent full of officers and
enlisted men. Thousands of Marines from the 15th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit. Part of the Marine Air Ground Task Force from Camp Pendleton, California) hit the beaches back in December. Gunny and I’d been here since August. We’d lost 18 men and two Blackhawk helicopters in October. A

thirty thousand-man media circus called Operation Restore Hope didn’t do much to help matters. President Clinton ordered all U.S. Forces to withdraw from Somalia by the 31st of the month. Everyone was going home. Everyone except for us.

“Alright, listen up!” said a Major in desert cammies. “Eyeballs!” The tent fell silent. “Let’s just talk security for a moment,” said the major, “Since General Aidiz continues to defy the United Nations, even though we are pulling out, we will still utilize all necessary means-”

“Ooh-rah!” said a sergeant in sunglasses.

“Easy, hard-charger,” said the major, “all necessary means to ensure the protection of the relief
efforts. That includes this compound.” His eyes searched the faces of the men standing in the tent.
“Gunnery sergeant Higgle?”

“Sir,” said Gunny.

“I want security det. to commence building to building sweeps and disarm the local population
around the perimeter of the-”

“Country club?” said someone.

“Supply Det,” said the major, “And do not take this lightly, devil dogs. Just because you’re short
and ready to go home does not necessarily mean you will make it there. Plenty of marines in this
room have seen what kind of price there is to pay for those who fuck around.
We have snipers in the buildings behind 7th motor’s fence-line again. I want that shit suppressed
before the final convoys arrive.”

“Aye sir,” said Gunny.

We all looked to one another.

“That’s right, gentlemen,” said the major, “We’re meeting our final relief flights at the airport for
one last tango in Paris. We’ll run six 5-ton trucks loaded with supplies then a Humvee with a 50cal.
on its roof in escort. Another six trucks then a Hummer and so on. The convoy will travel past the
Bermuda Triangle and down the green line. That means crossing the territories of two warlords, four militant sub-factions, and the generally pissed-off local population. The route ends right here at
the Supply depot."

(Bermuda Triangle: A triangular area inhabited by General Aidiz's Abgaal rivals, in the middle of south Mogadishu. Vehicles go
in but seldom come out.)

(The Green Line: The demarcation line between north and south Mogadishu, between Aidiz's forces and Ali Mahli's.)

“Rules of engagement sir?” said a captain in the front.

“We come in peace, if you fuck us we will kill you,” said the major, “That’s pretty much the policy
for the moment. But remember, gentlemen, you will still be under the all seeing eye of the
Associated press, CNN, the BBC, and fucking Telemundo. The media is everywhere, Marines. Do not make me have to grab my ankles in front of the old man because you did something stupid on TV. Cause if I’m grabbing mine then you’re definitely grabbing yours, understand me?”

“Yes sir!” we all said.

“Situation awareness, gentlemen,” said the major, “This general Aidiz is a real piece of shit,”

Corporal Fahrad swallowed.

“Anticipate and stay focused on the task at hand. If you get killed on my watch, marines, you will
be in a world of shit.” The major stood at attention.

“Atten-tion!” Said a first sergeant. We all complied. He saluted the Major.

“Carry out the plan of the day,” said the major. He saluted then left. We filed out of the tent behind
him, putting our helmets back on.

“You’ll need a weapon,” I told corporal Fahrad.

“Slow down, devil dog,” said Gunny. “He doesn’t need anything yet. Gather the troops behind the
command post. I’m gonna take a dump in the new porta-johns then meet you in five minutes.” He
walked off.

“Is he always like that?” said corporal Fahrad.

“Only if he’s had plenty of rest,” I said, “So you’re the only marine in the entire corps who speaks
Somali then.”

“Yes,” said Fahrad, “I never realized, I’m, well I’m a reservist.”

“and?”

“And I just do this stuff on the weekends, man.” His chest heaved. He looked around our perimeter.
“I was in my engineering class at Long Beach State,” said Fahrad, “Two marines showed up and
told me to follow them. We, no one told me I was going to be...” Fahrad’s eyes glistened.

“Come on, devil dog,” I said. “ Pull it together.”

Maybe I should have stayed in school after all, I thought. I envied corporal Fahrad for a moment,
then I didn’t envy him at all. “Could always be worse,” I said. “Let’s go, we’ve got about two
minutes to get squared away.”

“Two minutes?” said corporal Fahrad.

“Like I told you,” I said. My thumb clicked the safety on my M-16 to the fire position. “Ready...
Move!” We jogged down a row of cargo pallets stacked in columns. I watched the buildings on the
other side of the fence-line as we ran. Empty windows flashed in between the rows. I looked back at
corporal Fahrad. His eyes were wild, staring straight ahead.


          The Mean (Part 2) : by Stephen Richter        

I looked back at corporal Fahrad. His eyes were wild, staring straight ahead.

Rounds impacted into a column of boxes. Wood splintered.

“Double-time, go!” I said. We passed through the gauntlet of the staging area then trotted to the safety of the sand bags. They surrounded three rows of tents on the beach. A guideon bearing a flag with the island of Okinawa, the Tori Gate, and the eagle globe and anchor, waved in the breeze.

“Japan,” said Fahrad. He placed his palms on his knees and breathed.

“Hei, so desu,” I said, “Okinawa kara kimashita.”

“You speak Japanese.”

“Yes,” I said.

I took Fahrad to meet the troops of 3rd Recon, or what was left of us. I passed on Gunny’s orders
then ran off to find Gunny myself. He wasn’t in the porta-johns. I knew that much. I jogged to a tent
with a red cross on its front then walked inside. Gunny turned around with a start.

“Fuck, Wagner,” said Gunny. He held a 12 ounce bottle of grape Robotussin in his hand. It
trembled. Corpsman Jackson stood behind Gunny. He shrugged his shoulders.

“Action Jackson,” I said.

“If you want action,” said the corpsman. “come see Jackson.”

“Ooh-rah,” said Gunny. He opened the bottle and drank its entire contents in three swallows. He
kissed Jackson on the forehead then threw the empty container in the trash.

“We have to go,” I said.

“Out-standing,” said Gunny. He inhaled through his nose and closed his eyes. He slapped himself across the face three times then rubbed his palms together. Gunny opened his eyes. He took a swing at me. I blocked the punch with my forearm. “Good shit, devil dog,” said Gunny, “Let’s do this.” He marched out of the tent. I followed him.

“Semper fly,” said Action Jackson.

“Good looking out, Jackson,” I said, over my shoulder.

“Always looking out,” said Action Jackson.

****


“You’re not going to believe this,” said lance corporal Bermúdez. Corporal Fahrad stared straight ahead. “I heard the brass talking behind the tent before the morning brief.” The troops sat with their backs against a wall made out of tractor tires. 7th Motor Transport had become the hottest spot on the depot. A city block of bullet-riddled buildings, with countless windows for snipers, loomed over the far corner of the fence-line. 7th Motor-T sat beneath the buildings on our side of the fence. Rounds impacted into the tires above our heads. Rounds impacted into the dirt beyond us. A round ricocheted off of a forklift loaded with relief supplies.

“How’s that for gratitude?” I said.

“That’s what I’m saying,” said Bermúdez. “A marine was sodomized last night.”

“That was just me,” I said, “when Gunny told me we were staying on as part of the security
liaison.”

“No,” said Bermúdez, “physically. Someone crept into corporal Richardson’s tent, knocked him out
with a rag full of ether, then ass-fucked him something awful.”

“Oh come on,” I said.

“For reals, sergeant,” said Bermúdez, “I even heard an officer laugh about the guy calling him the
Ether Bunny.”

“Shut your sucks!” said Gunny. He ran across the expanse of dirt between Motor-T and the tire
maze. Rounds peppered the earth behind him. He slid into our position with a cloud of dust. “You
want to give up your position?” said Gunny, crouching, “Do it when I’m not around. Okay, I’ve got
us a vehicle.”

“Vehicle?” I said.

“You heard me, Sergeant,” said Gunny. He reached into a duffle bag. “Here you go, Somalia. I
brought your weapon.” Gunny tossed corporal Fahrad a bullhorn.

****

“We come in peace. If you turn in your weapons we will give you food and medicine.”

The voice of Corporal Fahrad echoed down the street, speaking Somali. A lone Humvee cruised in front of the buildings, outside the fence-line. A woman Marine drove. Gunny and I peered over the rooftop of the third building, watching them, then pulled our heads back.  Bermúdez placed the bipod of his M-249 SAW on the brick ledge. PFC Thompson opened a second can of ammo, stretching the bandoleer of rounds within easy reach of their weapon.

“Building two has hall exits and a fire escape down its port side,” whispered Gunny, “That is your
only responsibility, Bermúdez. Do not fuck it up. Kill anyone who crosses this sector of fire,
understand?”

Bermúdez nodded. Gunny winked at me. I tightened my harness.  Gunny counted with his fingers:

Three...
Two...
One...

Gunny and I stepped onto the ledge that surrounded the roof of the building. We dove, headfirst.
Rope trailed out behind me. I kept my M-16 trained on the ground with my left hand. I brought my
right in to my chest to initiate friction. We ran down the wall of the building in an Auzzie rappel. I
hit the pavement and took cover behind a barrel of trash, in the alleyway between the two buildings.

Gunny smiled at me. I nodded.

We ran, without making a sound, from hard cover to soft cover, leapfrogging each other’s positions without need for words nor hand signals. From the dumpster - to an abandoned car - to a rock pile - through a broken first floor window - down a hall - into the stairwell - 2nd floor - 3rd floor - 5th floor - we stopped with our backs against each side of the 5th floor doorframe. I nodded. Gunny opened it. I walked into the hall with my M-16 at the ready.

The second fire team, led by Corporal Donovan, trained their rifles on my head and torso. They recognized me then elevated their muzzles. Gunny walked into the hall. He pointed to various doors. We each took a position in front of one. Gunny looked at his watch.

“We come in peace. If you turn in your weapons we will give you food and medicine.”

The Humvee was right outside the building now. Gunny walked to the end of the hallway and put
on his earpiece.

“Do not move unless we hear gunfire,” said Gunny’s voice in my earpiece, “Lance Corporal
Hargett, tell Somolia to step out of the vehicle please.” Gunny took aim on the door in front of him.
We all did the same.

“We come in peace. If you turn in your weapons we will give you food and medicine.”

Shots were fired.

We kicked in the doors. I shot a teenage boy in the back. An antique M-1 rifle hit the floor. Blood pooled around the twitching body. I turned around. Gunny had been watching me. He crouched down and touched the blood on the floor with his fingertips. He stood.

“Blood make the grass grow,” said Gunny. He ran his fingers over my nose, lips, and chin, leaving a
stain.

“Kill, kill, kill,” I replied. Gunny turned and left. I stood there, trembling.

****


          The Mean (Part 3) : by Stephen Richter        

“Bullshit, marine,” said the man from Naval Investigative Service, “You really expected us to believe that?”

“Sir, we heard shots,” I said, “Gunny instructed us to investigate then we did what we had to do.”

Everyone was sweating, each for his own reasons. N.I.S. had interviewed all the members of our
group except for Gunny, Corporal Fahrad and Lance Corporal Hargett - the driver. Now it was my
turn. It felt strange being back in the same tent we had started in that morning. The three N.I.S.
officers wore suits. They seemed disappointed that there weren’t any lights to shine on me. The
youngest one kept trying to open the tent flap wide enough to let the sunlight hit my face. The
senior officer made him stop. The third officer shook his head.

“Look, marine,” said the senior. He straddled a chair in front of me. “I could really give a shit what
happened out there. But this place is still swarming with the news media. That means if someone in
Washington has to stand in front the camera and explain anything, anything at all, then my director
will be grabbing his ankles in front of that very same someone. That means I’m grabbing my ankles
in front of the director and you, my friend, will be grabbing yours in front of me.”

“We want to talk to you about Gunnery Sergeant Higgle,” said the junior officer.

“I have nothing to say,” I said.

“Then why don’t we talk about Kinville, in Japan.” said the senior.

****

I walked out of the tent. It was nearly sunset. Gunny made eye contact with me from a bench. I
nodded. Gunny stood. The junior officer called Gunny’s name. He walked past me into the tent. I
sat down on the bench next to corporal Fahrad.

“Why don’t you grab some sleep for a couple minutes,” I said, “Believe it or not it’ll do you some
good. I can wake you when they call.”

“Two minutes,” said Fahrad. He looked like hell.

“I need to talk to you,” said lance corporal Billy Joe Hargett. She sat down on the bench beside me.
She wore a t-shirt and cammies. Her hair was shaved tight.

“Why the hell were you driving today?” I whispered.

“Gunny said he wanted to keep an eye on me,” said Billy Joe. She looked me in the eye. Hers were
green. She looked to the porta-johns then back at me. I nodded. She stood then walked to them. I
waited until she went inside one, then stood and walked over myself.

****

“This is horrific, Gene,” said Billy Joe. Billy Joe is from Georgia.

“Considering they only installed these yesterday,” I said. I looked down the hole. Billy Joe slapped
me across the face.

“Wake up, Gene!” said Billy Joe, “Don’t you see what’s going on? That’s why we’re in this mess in
the first place. I need you serious for a second here.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m just tired. What happened?”

“I need to get my life back,” said Billy Joe, “that’s what happened. I want to get back to my
husband in Japan, Gene, you understand me?!” She grabbed my shirtfront.

“What the hell’s going on here!” said Gunny Higgle. The door to the porta-john flew open. Billy
Joe and I blinked. Corporal Fahrad stood at parade rest behind Gunny, smiling. The three N.I.S.
agents stood beside him. The junior one looked at his clipboard.

“Lance Corporal Hargett?” he said.

“Right here, sir,” said Billy Joe. She walked to the agents and followed them to the tent. Gunny’s
eyes burned into mine.

“Meet me at bivouac,” said Gunny. He turned and walked away. I stepped down from the porta-
john. Corporal Fahrad was laughing now.

“Well, you sure seem to be in better spirits there, hard-charger,” I said.

“You only get two minutes, marine,” said Fahrad, “Next time make it count.”

“I’ll do that,” I said.

I turned to follow Gunny. Shots rang out in the distance, small arms, rifles, then automatic weapons.
An alert siren went off. We all ran for the gate, weapons at the ready. There was a roar, like the
crowd in a soccer stadium. The convoy appeared up the road in the distance. A multitude of starving
people, thugs and militants ran alongside them, throwing rocks and bottles. There was a single shot.
The convoy stopped. There were screams then automatic weapons fire erupted from lead vehicle in
the convoy. The crowd scattered. The convoy peeled out, racing towards us. We cleared the center
and held the gates open for the vehicles to enter the compound. Marines were wounded. Action
Jackson preformed CPR. People screamed. Cameras flashed. The boys from N.I.S. ran towards me.
I turned around, towards the setting sun, and held my breath. They ran past me, into the fray.

I walked away.

For most of these marines, it was their last day in country. I figured I’d leave them to settle their
affairs. I had bigger fish to fry and a problem to deal with. If I didn’t do something about it I’d be
screwed. If I did anything though, I’d be screwed. What should one do when they’re about to be
screwed? I just wished there was something in between the two extremes. I worked my way through
the pallets of the staging area, back to the sandbags on the beach. I looked at our flag, on the
guideon, stabbed into the sand at my feet.

“Okinawa,” I said.

The last rays of sunlight vanished behind the city and Africa grew dark again. Bats flew. I stared at
the largest tent at the end of the first row for almost a minute. My heart pounded in my chest. I
tucked my 9mm. into the front of my trousers and covered it with my t-shirt. I reached into my
cargo pocket. It was there, a full bottle of grape Robotussin. Not the Chinese shit either, the German
shit. Gunny would be pleased. I swallowed hard then walked towards the tent.

“Bring your ass in here, Wagner,” said Gunny.

“Holy shit I think it’s Robo-Gunny...” I said. I poked my head through the opening of the tent.
Gunny’s expression brightened.

“And his sidekick, Sergeant Fury!” said Gunny, “bring that ass, devil dog.” He threw his arms
around me locking me into a bear-hug.

“Alright, devil dog that’s enough,” I said. I could barely breathe. Gunny squeezed harder. He leaned
back, lifting me off the ground.

“Robo and Fury!” said Gunny, “back in the saddle!”

“Gunny!” I said.

He released me. I handed him the bottle of Robotussin. “Nice work out there, killer,” I said, regaining my breath.

“A lovely work it was, devil dog,” said Gunny. He examined the label on the bottle. He smiled then
punched me in the arm.  “Big spender. I should’ve wore my fuck-me pumps. He roared with
laughter then stopped. “So what did you tell them?”

“Nothing, Gunny,” I said.

“Then that’s the longest forty-five minutes of nothing I never heard of,” said Gunny. He winked at
me, giggling. He got that way sometimes, Gunny Giggles, Robo-Gunny, those are some of the
names he’s been called over the years that I’d served with him. Gunny peeled the plastic from the
top of the bottle. They just never understood Gunny, that’s all. Gunny’s log book was open on top of
an ammo box. A black and white photograph of Gunny at Khe Sanh was taped to the inside cover.

“They asked me about Kinville,” I said.

Gunny’s expression darkened. His neck muscles flexed with anticipation. I should’ve caught that
but I didn’t. Gunny pinned me against the wall with a knife to my throat. It cut me. My hand went
to my trousers.

“Excuse me,” said Corporal Fahrad. He stepped into the tent. “Oh my, I’m sorry,” said Fahrad.
Gunny and I stepped away from each other. I walked to the exit.

“Hey!” said Gunny. I looked back. He pointed to his eyeballs then pointed at me. “What the hell do
you want now, Somalia, a foot massage?” I walked away. “Apparently you’ve forgotten some of
your basic Marine Corps practical knowledge haven’t you, son?”

I had to find Billy Joe.

I crossed the compound with caution. There was still plenty of activity around the convoy. I touched
my neck then looked at my fingertips. It wasn’t bad. I crept through Supply Company, past the
armory, behind headquarters, towards the main tent of the chow hall.

A shadowed figure slipped out of the tent then entered the maze of cargo boxes stacked behind it.
I stopped.

“What the hell?” I said. I walked back and peered into the tent. Moonlight cast my shadow onto the
floor boards. Lying on the floor, was an unconscious Marine. His trousers were around his knees.
“filthy Ether Bunny,” I said.

I looked at the marine. I looked around the tent then off in the direction the shadowed figure had
fled. I looked at my watch.

“Sorry, devil dog,” I said.

****


          The Mean (Part 6) : by Stephen Richter        

“Do not move,”

I opened my eyes.

My whole body hurt.

Billy Joe’s hand was clapped over my mouth. It was night. A fire burned somewhere. I smelled
smoke. We were in the city still. Billy Joe laid on top of me beneath a pile of trash. A spotlight
moved over our position. The wheels of an armoured vehicle passed by. The plastic trash bags that
were covering our heads blew off. Billy Joe’s heart pounded against my chest. Over her shoulder, I
saw a group of armed men cross the trash pile, right next to us. They followed the armoured vehicle
down the street. I exhaled.

“What happened?” I whispered. My vision blurred.

“Thompson’s dead,” whispered Billy Joe, “Bermúdez, lost some fingers. You were only scratched-
up and unconscious. You may have a concussion.”

“Where’s Gunny?” I said.

“Come on,” said Billy Joe. She slid off of my chest then low-crawled over the trash and rubble. I bit
down on my molars and followed her to the corner of a bullet-riddled building. Moonlight cast
shadows against the wall. Billy Joe low-crawled to the skeleton of a Fiat automobile. She returned

with an Alice pack, an M-16 A2, a radio, and a 9mm. pistol. I took the 9mm, put on an earpiece, then followed her into the bushes - over a ruined brick wall - along a fence - to a hillside with a view of a wrecking yard below. At the base of the hill sat a building with no roof. Moonlight shone
directly into the building’s interior.

The armored vehicle drove into the yard, followed by the same men who had just walked past Billy
Joe and I a few moments ago. Jeeps, Humvees, and civilian vehicles formed a semicircle. Their
headlights illuminated the building below us. Men with rifles took cover behind the vehicles.

Muzzle flashes erupted from the building.

I saw the people clearly now, crouching inside.

“Gunny,” I said. I held down my transmitter. Billy Joe flipped the rear sight over on her M-16 and
took aim.

“Glad you could make it, devil dog,” Gunny’s voice crackled in my earpiece, “We’re out of rounds
down here!”

“We could leave him, Gene,” said Billy Joe. She aimed at the vehicles then at the men taking cover
in the background. The side hatch of the armored vehicle opened. A man in uniform stepped out in
front of the headlights. He lifted a bullhorn to his lips.

“Wait,” I said.

The officer spoke into the bullhorn in Somali. Muhammed answered back in Somali. His bullhorn
squealed with feedback. The officer laughed.

“This I have to see with my own eyes,” said the officer in english.

He marched to the entrance of the building. His men followed him. Faces glowed with sweat
beneath the moon and headlights.

“I’m on the hill behind you,” I said. Gunny didn’t answer me. He left  his transmitter on.

“I guess you really are a marine then,” said the officer. His men filled the room, surrounding Gunny,
Bermúdez, and Mohammed.

“Prepare to shoot the officer,” I whispered. Billy Joe sat back onto the heel of her boot and exhaled.
Her muzzle moved in tiny figure eights.

“Watch out,” said Bermúdez, “careful with my hand, man, my fingers are missing!”

“Why do you have the face of my enemy, marine?” said the officer. He shined a flashlight on
Muhammed’s face, “just a younger face...” He stepped closer.

One of his men placed the muzzle of his rifle to the side of Bermúdez’s head. He pulled the trigger.
Bermúdez’s body fell to the floor.

Gunny drew his K-bar. He stepped to the assailant and sliced his stomach open. Entrails spilled.
“Cut, cut, stab!!!” said Gunny. He slit the Somali’s throat twice, then buried the knife under the
man’s chin, nailing him to the floor. He stood. Everyone was silent. They all took aim at Gunny
then started yelling.

“Wait!” said the officer, “Everyone stop. Take it easy.” He laughed and patted Gunny on the
shoulders, “You crazy Rambo-man!” He kept laughing and patting Gunny on the back.

“What?!” said Gunny. Muhammed looked away. “You want to kill me?!”

“Come,” said the officer, “this way.”

They marched Gunny and Muhammed out of the building at gunpoint.

“I have a shot,” said Billy Joe.

“Wait,” I said. I turned up the volume on my radio.

The officer barked orders to his men behind the vehicles. They opened the rear hatch of the armored
troop transport. They dragged a group of eight or ten prisoners out in front of the headlights. They
were all blindfolded. Gunny and Muhammed stood beside the officer.

“Rambo-man,” said the officer, “Show me how you did that with the knife. I want you to show me
again, on this man right here.” He pointed to the first blindfolded prisoner.

Gunny said nothing.

“Just this one man here,” said the officer, “Then I’ll try on that man.”

“It’s not happening,” said Gunny.

“Come, please,” said the officer, “show me. If you show, then I’ll let the rest of them go free.
Good?”

“No,” said Gunny.

“Gene...” said Billy Joe.

“Wait,” I said. I dug through the Alice pack and removed three M-1 fragmentation grenades. I
pulled  one of the pins.

“I’ll let you go,” said the officer, “Here, show me. I let your friend go too, Rambo-man. Yes! Just
show me.” He handed Gunny his knife back. Gunny looked at the officer. The officer nodded and
smiled.

Sweat stung my eyes.

“You don’t show me, I’ll kill them all, Rambo-man,” said the officer, “I was going to kill these men
tonight anyway. What is two more lives compared to the eight? Plus I’ll let you and your friend
leave this place alive.” Gunny and Muhammed looked at each other. “So what do you say, Rambo-
man?”

Gunny looked down at the K-bar in his hand.

“Ready...” I said.

Gunny looked back at the officer.

“I have the shot,” said Billy Joe.

“Kill him!!! Kill,” said some of the prisoners, “Let us live!”

I let the spoon of the grenade fall to the earth. I prepared to throw.

Gunny smiled. He giggled.

“No,” said Gunny.


          African immigrants and refugees        
Most of the controversy is about the Somalis who might bring in terror.



AlJ laments man made famine in Somalia. Want to fix it? Kill the bad guys who are intimidating aid workers and stealing food.

Somalia has been policed since the early 1990's by the UN (as is the Congo civil war). Including well trained soldiers from Kenya trying to keep the peace. The trouble is that peacekeepers keep the peace, they don't kill bad guys.

on the other hand, this explains the little noticed phone call Trumpieboy made to Kenya's president a couple days ago.

Kenya is having trouble with these "refugees" from Somalia, and deporting a lot of them

so the question is, of course, why they can't be settled in these nearby countries, where there are already a lot of Somalian workers. The answer: these countries don't want them because they cause crime and terrorism.

from my main blog. I think refugees need to be helped, and the best way to do this is pacify their countries.

But who will risk invading and doing this (as Britain did in India and was the excuse for colonialism in Africa).

Resettling refugees is good, but does have problems, the main one being you can't resettle all of them, the second is that the problem of assimilation takes three generations. (at least it did for the Irish, Italians, and Jewish immigrants into the  USA).

about ten perdcent of Zimbabwean population has emigrated to find jobs, mostly to South Africa or the UK. Wikipedia article.

There are various conflicting unofficial figures about the number of Zimbabweans in the US. The RAND Corporation estimated in 2000 that there were 100,000 in the state of New York alone.[12] 
it's hard to find later statistics.  Indeed it is hard to find exactly how many Zimbabweans are working or emigrating abroad.

Rough estimates vary from place to place:

However, tacit agreement among nongovernmental organisations is that the Zimbabwe diaspora is spread out mainly in South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. South Africa is estimated to have the bulk of Zimbabwe’s diaspora community, with an estimated two million to three million Zimbabwean nationals living in that country.
Second to South Africa as a destination of permanent settlement for Zimbabweans is the UK. Community-based organisations estimate the total number of Zimbabweans living legally in the UK to be 200 000, but say it is about 500 000 if one includes undocumented immigrants. 

not many go to the USA: Only 45,000 is the estimate in this article. (2008).

this article states that since 1980 immigrants from Sub Sahara Africa number 1.8 million. into the USA. But few are from Zimbabwe.

and this video frrom the US Library of Congress discusses recent African immigration into the USA.




          Rethinking Somalia and Afghanistan        
Just some thinking out loud on whether setting up/strengthening a central government is the best approach for the challenges we face in Somalia and Afghanistan ...

Meanwhile, former deputy NSA Bob Blackwill's idea is also generating a good deal of discussion ...
          Nuevas vs Viejas         
¿Tragedia?
Se puede describir con historia
Adelgazar o engordar según ideología
La que se explica a través de porcentajes resulta bastante precisa 
Difícil e inútil aquella versada en poemas
Las hay nuevas con diario estreno en titulares de noticias 
También tan viejas que regresan sin políticos buscando foto  
y así ni suman ni restan  votos según declaración
Alguna se llama Sudán del Sur
Somalia
Nigeria
Yemen
Sobre un mapa son exóticos nombres
pero sobre un mapa el mundo no es nuestro mundo
Sobre un mapa no falta ni sobra el agua
Sobre un mapa no hay armas que matan ni psicópatas para empuñarlas
En nuestro mundo regresan las tragedias que nunca se fueron
Regresan con guerras y hambrunas
Regresan y se llevan el futuro  
Y no hay nada que yo pueda hacer
Mis versos no tienen lluvia
No preñan vacas ni cosechan trigo

Gizela Rudek J 

Safe Creative #1703040910719


          Mundo- Cambio Climático. La Tierra arde: sequías, desertificación, hambre, migraciones        
3-7-17 biodiversidad ALat

Cambio Climático. La Tierra arde: sequías, desertificación, hambre, migraciones

En todo el planeta se registran altas temperaturas históricas y es de esperar que el clima se torne cada vez más caliente, lo que implica más sequías, más inseguridad alimentaria, más hambre y más desplazamientos masivos..."

 En todo el planeta se registran altas temperaturas históricas y es de esperar que el clima se torne cada vez más caliente, lo que implica más sequías, más inseguridad alimentaria, más hambre y más desplazamientos masivos de personas, señala la IPS (1) en un repaso que hacen sus corresponsales en los cinco continentes.
De hecho, las temperaturas extremadamente altas de mayo y junio rompieron marcas en varias partes de Europa, Medio Oriente, norte de África y Estados Unidos, informó la Organización Meteorológica Mundial (OMM), que agregó que la ola de calor en el norte llegó este año inusualmente antes.
Al mismo tiempo, las temperaturas globales promedio registradas en la superficie de la tierra y el mar en los primeros cinco meses de este año fueron las segundas más altas de la historia, según análisis de la Administración Nacional Oceánica y Atmosférica de Estados Unidos, el Instituto de Estudios Espaciales NASA-Goddard y el Centro Europeo Copérnico para el Pronóstico Climático de Alcance Medio- Servicio de Cambio Climático.

Europa
En Portugal, las temperaturas extremas del entorno de 40 grados centígrados contribuyeron a la severidad del devastador incendio que con su rápido avance arrasó con la región de Pedrógão Grande,150 kilómetros al noreste de Lisboa, y dejó a decenas de personas muertas y otras más heridas.
La OMM informó el 20 de este mes de que Portugal no es el único país europeo que sufre los efectos de clima extremo, pues la vecina España, que tuvo su primavera más caliente en más de 50 años, y Francia, también registraron temperaturas máximas. Además, los pronósticos para el territorio francés indican que seguirá teniendo tardes con más de 10 grados por encima del promedio para esta época del año.
La primavera española, del 1 de marzo al 31 de mayo, ha sido extremadamente cálida, con una temperatura promedio de 15,4 grados, 1,7 grados por encima del promedio en este período (con respecto a 1980-2010), precisó la agencia.
Y en muchas otras partes de Europa, incluso en Gran Bretaña, también se registraron altas temperaturas por encima del promedio

Estados Unidos
Del otro lado del océano Atlántico, en Estados Unidos, también se registraron calores cercanas o por encima del récord, precisó la OMM. En partes del desierto sudoccidental y hasta California, las temperaturas rondaron los 49 grados.
Más de 29 millones de californianos vivieron bajo alertas de calor extremo el tercer fin de semana de este mes.
Phoenix registró 47,8 grados el día 19. Incluso, la prensa informó de que el tráfico aéreo se detuvo en el Aeropuerto Internacional Phoenix Sky Harbour, en Arizona, por el exceso de calor. Y de hecho, la cancelación de vuelos coincidió con uno de los días más calurosos de los últimos 30 años en ese estado.
Y el Parque Nacional Valle Muerto, de California, alertó a los visitantes de que las temperaturas rondarían entre 38 y 49 grados. El lugar es conocido por haber tenido la temperatura máxima registrada en el mundo de 56,7 grados en 1913.

Norte de África, Medio Oriente y Asia
En Emiratos Árabes Unidos, la temperatura máxima de 50 grados se registró el 17 de mayo, mientras que en el centro de la sudoriental provincia de Kuzestán, en Irán, vecina de Iraq, los termómetros marcaron 50 grados el 15 de este mes, indicó la OMM.
La ola de calor en Marruecos alcanzó su máximo el 17 de mayo, cuando se registraron 42,9 grados en la estación Larach, en el norte del país.
Las altas temperaturas de junio siguieron a las que superaron el promedio en muchas partes del mundo a fines de mayo.
La ciudad de Turbat, en el sudoeste de Pakistán, registró 54 grados. La OMM creará una comisión internacional de expertos para verificar la marca y evaluar si iguala a la de 54 grados registrada en Kuwait en julio de 2016.

Desplazamientos de personas sin precedentes
En ese contexto climático, el mundo registró otro récord inhumano de una persona desplazada cada tres segundos.
Casi 66 millones de personas fueron obligadas a abandonar sus hogares en 2016, informó el Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados en su informe Tendencias Globales, divulgado antes del Día Mundial de los Refugiados, el 20 de junio.
Los desplazamiento no solo obedecen a conflictos, sino al avance de la sequía y la desertificación.
La Convención de las Naciones Unidas para la Lucha contra la Desertificación (UNCCD) alertó el 17 de este mes, en el Día Mundial de la Lucha contra la Desertificación, de que en 2025, en menos de ocho años, 1800 millones de personas padecerán una absoluta escasez de agua y las dos terceras partes de la población mundial vivirán en condiciones de estrés hídrico.
Ahora se teme que el avance de la sequía y de los desiertos, la creciente escasez de agua y la pérdida de seguridad alimentaria generen un “tsunami” de migrantes y refugiados climáticos.
La secretaria ejecutiva de la UNCCD, Monique Barbut, recordó que la inmensa mayoría de refugiados proceden de regiones propensas a la sequía y a la escasez hídrica.
Ni la desertificación ni la sequía por sí solas causan el desplazamiento masivo de personas, pero pueden aumentar el riesgo de conflictos e intensificar los existentes, explicó.

Amenaza posiblemente irreversible
Como forma de ayudar a mitigar los efectos de la actual ola de calor, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (FAO) suscribió el 20 de este mes un acuerdo con la OMM para profundizar la cooperación y responder a la variabilidad climática y el cambio climático, lo que “representa una amenaza urgente y posiblemente irreversible para las sociedades humanas, los ecosistemas natrales y la seguridad alimentaria”.
La iniciativa procura fortalecer los servicios agrometeorológicos y facilitar el acceso a agricultores y pescadores, así como mejorar el monitoreo específico global y regional de alerta temprana y responder a eventos de alto impacto como las sequías.
“Salvar los medios de vida es salvar vidas, de esto se trata la construcción de resiliencia”, destacó el director general de la FAO, José Graziano da Silva, quien suscribió el acuerdo, junto a Petteri Taalas, por la OMM, en el marco de un seminario sobre la sequía organizado el 19 de este mes por Irán, Holanda y la FAO, en Roma.
Al recordar la sequía de 2011 en Somalia, donde 250 000 personas murieron de hambre, Da Silva recordó: “La gente muere porque no está preparada para hacer frente a los efectos de la sequía, pues sus medios de vida no son lo suficientemente resilientes”.
“Durante años, se ha respondido a la sequía en el momento en que ocurre, apresurándose a llevar asistencia de emergencia y mantener a las personas con vida”, observó. “Por supuesto que es importante, pero es esencial invertir en preparación y resiliencia”, subrayó.
Resumen Latinoamericano / Periodistas-es / 24 de junio de 2017

Notas
1- Traducido por Verónica Firme
2- Publicado inicialmente en IPS Noticias
3- Desertificación
Fuente: Resumen Latinoamericano

http://www.biodiversidadla.org/Principal/Secciones/Documentos/Cambio_Climatico._La_Tierra_arde_sequias_desertificacion_hambre_migraciones


          READING COMPREHENSION        

1.HATES CRIMES

            The number of organized hate groups in the United States increased 20 percents last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 9000 hate crimes , more than half of them motivated by race, were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1996- compared to 7947 incidents in 1995 and 5932incidents in 1994. Last week, James Byrd, Jr., a 49 -year's old black man, was dragged to death in Texas by a chain from the back of a pickup truck. Recently, two black men also became the targets of possible copycat crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.

            Authorities say the three men who have been charged with Byrd's murder my have ties with white supremacist groups, which have grown to over 400 organizations nationwide, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan has been granted permission to rally later this month in Jasper, Texas, and the town where Byrd was killed. "These groups are getting better with the public," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern poverty Law Center."They are no longer racist but racialist, not segregationists, but separatists. They are using a lot more attractive buzz words to lead people into their organizations "of the 474 hat groups documented by the Intelligence Project, 127were related to the Ku Klux Klan 100 was neo-Nazi, 42 were Skinheads, 81were Christian Identity, a racist religion, 12 were Black separatists and 112subscribed to a mélange to hate -based doctrines and ideologies.
Tracking Hate Crimes

            The FBI is investigating the Texas case as a possible that crime, defined as an offense motivated buy the dislike of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. " This was an act of violence that had a much broader implication than just the murder of a single person " said Hillary Shelton , deputy director of the NAACP in Washington DC " A much larger message was being sent by this horrible action" Many civil right s groups attributes the rise in hate  crimes to proliferation of Internet hate sites , racist music lyrics and white power literature- propaganda tools for promoting race- hating ideology that have reached an audience of as many as 2 million people . Since1995, more than 160 hate sites are active online, according to the intelligence project. Less than three years ago, there was only one. "Technology has a lot to do with opening up new recruitment opportunities for these groups," said Roy "It's a place where young people of the computer generation can vent their frustration, exchange ideas and download information to feed their hatred.

  1. How many of the hate crimes were about racial differences?
  2. How did Mr. Byrd die in Texas?
  3. Are the men who killed Byrd connected to any groups? If so, what?
  4. How are these hate groups encouraging new people to join?
  5. How many hate groups are there nationwide?
  6. What do civil rights groups say the reason is for such a increase in hat e crimes.?
  7. How many men have been charged with Byrd's murder?
  8. Why were two black men targets of crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.?
  9. What was the increase in hate groups last year?
  10. Who is Hillary Shelton?         

2.PILOT  ACCUSED

            Lotfi Raissi , an Algerian pilot who had been accused of training the suicide hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, walked free today after being granted bail at an extradition hearing . Mr.Raissi, 27 who has been held in jail for five months, emerged from the top security Belmarsh magistrate's court complex in south -east London to applause from his family and friends. Minutes earlier, district judge Timothy Workman said Mr.Raissi, who lives near Heathrow airport. Could have conditional bail as he was only facing extradition to the US on two counts of falsifying as application for a US pilot's license. At previous court hearings in London, lawyers acting for the US authorities indicated he was suspected of being a lead instructor for pilots responsible for the September 11 hijackings. And US prosecutor have in the past made clear that the pilot's license accusations were only holding charges. But no terrorism charges have been formally introduced and Mr. Raissi's lawyers successfully argued today that the charges related to pilot's license applications did not justify him being held in prison. Mr. Workman said he appreciated the September 11 investigation was long and painstaking but he said he was allowing bail as the US government was unlikely to bring terrorism charges inAA the near future. Mr. Raissi's family has strenuously denied he was involved in the September 11 terror attacks in any way. Today he was told his family would have to give $10000in surety, that he would have to live at an address specified to the court , that he would have to surrender his passport and not apply for international travel documents . Mr. Raissi's French wife Sonia, speaking after the judge's decision, said that she believed justice had been done. She said " we have been waiting five months and my message to the FBI is , You arrested him for terrorism so why do you want to extradite him for these ridiculous , minor charges? .

            Lotfi's brother, Mohamed, said "The FBI said to he world that he was a big terrorist and they have to now say to the world, that his man is innocent. They have destroyed his life, his future and his dream".
 But James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court Mr.Raissi should not be granted bail. He said "we are concerned with an investigation into an atrocity that shocked the civilized world ...Mr. Raissi is a suspect in that investigation"

            Hugo Keith, representing Mr. Raissi, said "The Americans now seen unwilling to withdraw from their initial position and accept on this occasion, they pursued the wrong person. He is not fundamentalist. He is married to a white Catholic" Prosecutors have alleged that Mr.Raissi had links to Hani Hanjour ,the pilot suspected of crashing Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

            Mr. Raissi was arrested on September 21 and has been held at London' high -security Belmarsh prison ever since. He was indicated by a federal grand jury in Arizona on charges of falsifying applications for a pilot's license and other documents. He allegedly held a 1993 theft conviction and failed to mention that he had undergone a knee operation. He has also been indicated Arizona on 11 more counts, including conspiracy to submit a false immigration claim. A previous attempt to win him bail in the high court in London in December failed. Lawyers acting for the US alleged that there was "a web of circumstantial evidence that points to the involvement of Raissi in a terrorist conspiracy which culminate in the events of September 11" US counsel said Mr.Raissi had "links to the Al-Qsida organization" and was "someone who has both motive and means t escape"

  1. When was Mr.Raissi arrested?
  2. How long has he been held in jail?
  3. Is it confirmed that Mr.Raissi had links to the hijacker of Flight77?
  4. What nationality is Mr.Raissi's wife?
  5. What did he hide in 1993?
  6. Did he succeed in his previous attempt to win bail?
  7. What are the conditions of his bail?
  8. What nationality is Mr. Raissi and where does he live?
  9. Has he been charged with terrorism?
10.What did the US authorities accuse him of doing?

3.BOSNIA INJURIES

            On Thursday in northern Bosnia, two American soldiers were wounded when a land mine exploded. One of the soldiers suffered injuries to his right foot and other was able to walk away from the blast with shrapnel wounds to his lower leg . The incident happened at about 2:30 PM 0930EST in the town of Hadizici, which is located about ten miles south east of Tuzla .

            NATO issued a statement about the incident. The statement said, "two American engineers were injured by an anti-personal mine as they were conducting a joint inspection of a minefield with the Bosnian Serb Army. One soldier stepped on an anti- personnel mine, incurring injuries to one foot.
Concerns have been raised by ERRI and any number of other sources in regard to the dangers of landmines and other improvised explosive devices in Bosnia. According to UNICEF, Bosnia has one of the highest densities of landmines per square mile of any place in the world. UNICEF says that more than 1800000mines may have been laid in Bosnia during the recent years of ethnic conflict. More troublesome to NATO troops than traditional mines, which are made of metal, are mines with plastic cases or improvised mines made from wooden cases and high explosives. The wood and plastic mines are far more difficult to detect with conventional mine detectors.

            In other news regarding to Bosnian peace mission, United States Navy Admiral Leighton Smith made some remarks regarding the six confirmed sniper incidents involving NATO forces since Sunday. Admiral Smith said, "We have got some jerk up there pulling a trigger and he has got a night scope. That makes it tough. But boy, let me tell you , if we do see him he had better be fast and be clad in bullet-proof stuff. Because we will attack with out  warning. There are such things as anti- sniping teams ....people who snipe at our forces are at great risk to themselves. If we see some body pointing a weapon at our forces he will be attacked with out warning.... no warning shots, no' drop your weapon"

             And true to Admiral Smith's words -- French NATO forces later killed a sniper in the suburb where most of the shooting incidents have occurred. A NATO statement said "One gunman was located by the French Special Forces and was later neutralized. This person was seriously wounded. He later died of his injuries in spite of the intervention from a military physician. Another armed civilian was also apprehended by 0ur forces. This individual was disarmed with out any bloodshed".

  1. How many confirmed sniper incidents have there been?
  2. Where were the two American soldiers inured?
  3. Did both of the soldiers walk away from the explosion?
  4. Will a warning be given to snipers who shoot at NATO forces?
  5. How many mines have been placed in Bosnia during the conflict?
  6. Does Bosnia have a large amount of mines per square mile?
  7. What happened to the sniper found by French NATO forces?
  8. Was the second civilian, who was carrying a weapon ,shot by NATO forces?
  9. Which types of mines are more difficult to detect?
  10. Was the first sniper shot dead by the French NATO forces?


4. CLONE SYSTEM

            Numerous reports from around the world in Jan/ Feb 2001 of fresh attempts to clone human embryos, ranging from Clonaid saying they hope t implant embryos into surrogate mothers in February to Australian scientists saying they have managed to make a human cloned embryo by combining a empty pig egg with a human cell . Their cloned human embryo divided to 32 cells before being destroyed. In other words it seems that the empty eggs from animal contain all that is needed to activate human genes for successful human cloning. There are huge risks of abnormalities and mutations in these human cloning experiments. We know that these animal-human hybrids are likely to escape legal controls because a court of law would probably decide that this was not human cloning a legally defined .However the outcome - if born - would be a clone baby which has identical genes in the nucleus of every cell to the adult from which the original cell was taken . Interestingly , 1%of the genes in mammal cells are not in the nucleus but in the power packs providing all the electricity for cells . These power generators called mitochondriaa .So technically these human clones made from animal eggs would have 1% animal DNA . Worrying  we know that there are many serious diseases in human caused by faulty genes in the mitochondria . But that is with human mitochondria .What will be the risk of problems with animal mitochondria being used to power every cell in human cloned child that is yet to go?

            Clonaid  says five British couples, including two pairs of homosexual men have asked to be cloned. Peter and lldako Blackborn , computer consultants from Huntingdon Cambrisdgeshire UK have expressed an interest in human cloning as a alternative infertility treatment but which had not say if they are in touch with Clonaid . as the press conference called and announce of the cloning the United States government banned it to practice in the future . The US government pledged that it will harm the civilization of the human being so world should not follow the mal -practices .

            After two months the Korean scientist claimed that he also get success to reproduce a clone baby and he claimed that he will use it for the couple who doesn't  have kids and deserve it .According to the scientist , he will provide who ever the couples deserve, but the donor should give his consents .
The British government strongly condemned the act of the Korean scientist and announced that the UK government does not allow the cloning to spread in the world. Cloning should be only in side the lab.  The international scientists said that it is a big step in the human civilization and should be utilized to find out the cure of all diseases in the future. it also claimed ridiculously that every couple wants Clinton and Bill Gates as their children at the same time the natural system has been disturbed by the pressure of cloning . The world need people of every sector not money maker and politicians. If so, the world will destroy very soon.

            A conference has been organized by some popular scientists in the   New York and concluded with a statement that it is a extraordinary achievement for the whole world with some vital de-merits so all should stand together to utilized the said invention. The  prime responsibility rest upon the politicians who claims to be the supreme of the United Nations organization.

  1. What was the conclusion of New York press conference?
  2. What was the only vital demerit of the cloning?
  3. What was the claimed to of the Korean scientist?
  4. Why the US government did banned the cloning system?
  5. What is the main problem of cloning system?
  6. What does Australian scientist claim?
  7. What is the risk in human cloning experiments?
  8. For what reason did the scientists prefer to sue and empty pig egg and a human cell for the experiment?
  9. What is the specific with mitochondria??
  10. Why have scientists shown their interest in human cloning?


5. ARSON IN THE VILLAGE


            On Sunday morning in a hot summer day, one patrol team of CIVPOL monitor received a radio call from the CIVPOL station about an arsoning incident in a bear by village. Someone had called up and informed the station about the incident from a local public call office .The patrol team rushed to the scene of incident. As reaching the scene, they saw a red vehicle speeding away in a very high speed with at least four or five persons inside with at least one man holding something like gun. Arriving at the scene, the monitors saw tow houses burning. Some natives came towards them and informed that some armed people came to the village, set light to the two houses belonging to a local politician and fled in their red car. The situation was immediately reported the CIVPOL station and the local police authority were duly informed. Within few minutes the fleeing red vehicle as stopped at a check point and the perpetrators arrested by the local police.

            The patrol team informed to the fire brigade about the arson case and the Fire brigade team form the local municipality arrived in 15 minutes to the scene and put off the fire. Some local said during the interview that the both house was belong to the local politicians called Mustafa Leader. Leader had some arguments with some rivals during the municipality meeting last Friday about the grazing of the animal in the village of Ruslan. The leader received a threat from the rival of abandon the village as soon as possible or faces the adverse consequences. The leader did not obey the threat and the incident happen. Both house entirely damaged by the arson but the fire bridge could not give the total amount of loss of the house. The CIVPOL interviewed with the house owner and revealed that two houses worth $ 10000 and two camels worth $ 1000, cash worth $99 and utensils worth $45, grains worth $ 129, have been damaged during the arson.  The monitor team assured him relief of compensation from the local authority. 

            The local police team with out aid of UN Police have arrested the red vehicle and recovered a Tomy machine gun and 354 rounds of live ammunitions form the red car. Five suspects including driver also have been arrested by the local but not disclosed in public by the local police. The local police issued a statement in the same day saying that investigation is underway and if information needed contact to regional head quarters the following day.

            The National Labour Party belongs to Mustafa organized a protest rally in the town demanding the full security to the local leader and their property and take legal and strain action to perpetrators. During the demonstration supporters of the party vandalized 4 shops and injured three local security personnel.
 The local authority endorsed compensation to the Mustafa, according to the report of Fire Brigade which cost in the said head but only $ 11000.  The fire brigade did not mention the head of the loss but recommended the whole some of money.

            The local police control the security situation in the town and the police released one suspect with out any legal charge and other four have been sent to the jail by the order of local magistrate on the charge of arson and possession of illegal weapon.

            The red car sent to the auction to pay the compensation of the damage property. The owner of the car complained that his car was stolen from the garage at midnight on the same day, and it is dictatorship of the local authority to auction his car with out investigating properly and he also claimed that he will sue to the local authority in the Apex court.

1.      When did the car stolen?
2.      What was the lost property?
3.      What were the ammunition found by the local police?.
4.      What was the demand of political party?
5.      What had happened during the demonstration of local political party?
6.      What message did the CIVPOL received?
7.      How was the CIVPOL station informed of the incident ?
8.      En- route to the scene, what did the patrol team saw?
9.      What was the monitor action on the scene?
  10. what action did the local police take ?

6. Authoritarian regime


            President Abdurrahaman Wahid granted amnesty  thousands of prisoners Thursday, including some who were ailed for there political beliefs. Minister for law and legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra said 105 political prisoners, and 3000 others who were jailed for criminals' acts, would be released. He said Wahid signed a presidential decree Thursday and the prisoners would be set free Thursday night and Friday morning.

            "We are releasing the criminal prisoners because it's Christmas time and the New year",he said . He added that the release of the political prisoners' mostly separatist activists from Aceh and Irian Jaya province was part of the government's efforts to release all those who were jailed for political activity under Indonesian's former authoritarian regime. Most of the political prisoners were jailed during the32 -year dictatorship of Suharto , who was ousted from power due to a student uprising in May 1998.

            It is not the self motivated move of the government but international political pressure to released the political prisoners .  There are more than 40% members of the parliament are brought from the security service to show the political honesty to the military department .  Military party called National Unity party is more powerful in Indonesia till now and it has 32 years' background. The civil leadership could not do any thing with out the military aid. So democratic government willing to follow the military advice. 

            The international court of justice has declare to punish some of the criminals who were directly involved in the massacre in Indonesia during the dictatorship of Suharto regime. But it is ridiculous to digest that the than army chief who has been accused of murdering 200 prisoners of political belief, is a member of parliament now. The Amnesty International condemned the act of the government to nominate the army chief Mr. Javal as a parliamentarian and said that the government marginalized the people voice.

            The International Court of Justice summoned  as per the international standard to Suharto to present his opinion in Hague whether he did the crime or not , but it went in vain because Suharto has been admitted to Jakarta Teaching   hospital due to chest and BP problem . Suharto has been accusing of accumulating large sum of money and killing 500 students during the students' uprising.

            The interim president of East Timor Mr. Gusmao also condemned the act of the government to make escort free to the war criminals and said government is deceiving the people of Indonesia. Indonesian government barked against the East-Timor saying that no one could interfere in internal matter of the country. For the information, East -Timor is a fragment of the republic of Indonesia and got independence in 1997 by the acute international political pressure and military intervention by the UN.

             Indonesian   people believe, the criminal who are released on the occasion New year will never involve in criminal activities in the future. Indonesia lies in East of the Asia bordering  China , Australia, Iran and Indian sea respectively East, West, South and North. and it is has the most dense Muslim population with mainly  Hindu religion . Indonesia was colonized by French in 1800 AD and ruled till 1936 and got independence. The military authority ousted the civil government in 1940 by military coup and rules till 1997. The country has notorious history of producing natural drugs like Heroine and Cocaine and it is also called the country of golden triangle, the main transit of drugs , including Burma ,Thailand and Laos.       

  1. Which countries are called golden triangle country?
  2. Which country is lies in the  south of Indonesia ?
  3. What is the formal accusation to Suharto?
  4. Why the democratic government does follow the military advice?
  5. What was the reply of the government to East -Timor condemnation?
  6. Where is the international court of Justice located?
  7. why were the thousands of people jailed ?
  8. What did Mr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra say?
  9. How many political prisoners were jailed?
     10. Who were the released prisoners mostly?

7.  GAMBLE

            November 27, 2001 Bangkok, Thailand: Thai police said on Mondays they have arrested six Filipino gang members for allegedly luring two Japanese and three French tourists to gamble in their house and cheating them out of millions of Baht (thousands of dollars) . The gang members, three men and three women, were arrested on Sunday from a house in Bangkok where all six gang members lived, police Lieutenant General Chat Kuldilok told reporters. Lt. Gen. Kuldilik said the women pretended to be Thai house wives and invited their victims. Whom they met on the street while pedaling handicrafts, to come to their house to teach them Japanese, and to sell them handicrafts. He said the male members of the gang pretended to be millionaires from Brunei who lost huge sums to each other to avoid suspicion by the tourists, Chat said. Four of the five tourists agreed to gamble with the male gang members while the female gang members supposedly were making them fool. Once the tourists had lost all of their money to the gang members they tried to get some of their money back, but the gang members refused. The tourists were told if they told the police or any one else about losing money to them, they would be killed. All the male gang members had knives and showed them to the tourists after telling them this. The tourists left the house and notified Thai police immediately. The tourists informed the police of the gang members' house and were willing to help them in hopes of getting their money back. Upon arrest, the Thai police searched the entire house, but unfortunately the money could not be found. One of the tourists response was," I am happy, even tough we didn't get our money back , I'm just glad the gang members were found by the Thai Police . Hopefully nothing like this will happen to any tourists ever again.

            Police interviewed all the detainees in the police cell and found that other two gangs also committing the same crime using same modus operandi in the capital city. Police started the vigorous checking around the suspected area and arrested one gang with some weapons and valuables in the rented house. Police confiscate six knives and four round of live bullets including four gang members.  Later on police honestly publicized two golden rings, four golden bracelets, six wrist watches and five passports. And issued a statement saying that any one who is belongs to the valuables contact with proofs to the city police officer Mr. Rothan.

             Police registered a legal case to the first 6 members of the gang accusing looting the valuable of the tourists but the local magistrate released all saying that police did not show the proofs of looting.  The second gang members also charged with looting the tourists and illegal possession of weapons .The magistrate send them to the jail for six months on the charge of looting but the magistrate said police should be careful accusing the civilian who has only live bullets not a pistol or revolver.

            The police assured that the looting case will come down after the arrest of 2 looting gangs and vows that they will do enough to arrest who are involved in looting case. Police said that tourist should be careful with the people who were involved in prostitution. Bangkok is famous for sex tourism in East Asia.  Most of the prostitutes are brought form the Philippine in the name of house wife . In this racket the local administration and police and pimps are also involved.

1.      How may gang members arrested?
2.      What are the valuables had been confiscated?
3.      Why the Bangkok city is famous for?
4.      How many culprits were sent to jail and how many released?
5.      How the gang member did pretend themselves?
6.      What were the nationality of the victims ?
7.      What was the tourist said after not getting his money?
8.      What did general Chat said about the accident?
9.      What were weapons confiscated.
          10. How many tourists had gambled with cheaters?

8.  EBOLA

            Sunday, December 9, 2001 An outbreak of fever in the West African nation of Gabon has been confirmed as the deadly disease Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. It is world's first documented outbreak of Ebola since last year in Uganda, where 224 people - including health workers - died from the virus. Ebola is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases. "It's been confirmed by a laboratory in Gabon" WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the press. "We have reports that seven people have died" Hartl said WHO has already sent a team to help the coastal nation and that a second team of four specialists would leave Geneva for Gabon on Monday. The out break is in remote Ogooue Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon, he said. Gabon was last afflicted in an outbreak in 1996-97 that killed 45 of the 60 people infected. "We have had very little information" Hartl said. The conformation came from a laboratory in France ville, also in eastern Gabon. A team from the Gabon Ministry of Health and the International Center of Medical Research in  France Ville went to the province last week when they first received reports of that the outbreak might be Ebola, Hartl added. On Friday, Hartl said there were unconfirmed reports of a possible outbreak in nearby Congo. Ebola is passed through contact with bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva and blood, but Ebola is not airborne. The virus incubates for four to 10 days before flu-like symptoms set in. Eventually, the virus causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no known cure for Ebola, but patients treated early for dehydration have a good chance of survival. WHO says more than 800 people have died of the disease since the virus was first case in Gabon was documented in 1994 the agency says. After the 1996-97 out break in Gabon it wasn't documented again until it appeared in Uganda last year. WHO recommends the suspected cases is isolated from other patients and that strict barrier nursing techniques be used to shield health workers from exposure. Gloves and masks must be worn and disinfected prior to reuse, the agency says. Patients who die from the disease should be promptly buried or cremated. The virus has also been transmitted to people from handling ill or dead infected chimpanzees, WHO says. Police are worried there may be widespread panic in the area because of the confirmed reports. There have been rumors of possible riots and / or break -ins. Police officials said tat when out breaks such as this occur, people become frightened and assume the worst and that is when people start to try and upraise against the police . However, no reports have been made in regards to riots and/ break -INS, but police have been told to be prepared for the worst. The Goban Government called emergency cabinet meeting and declared Ivindo province as "forbidden Province". The government begs international support and relief to get rid of the diseases.  it is requested to all media house not to make undue publicity to  the outbreak ,which can terrorize the general public and can hamper  to maintain the security situation in  the country. Gabon a Central African Republic also facing starvation, malnutrition, political instability, and draught from a long decade.  The neighboring countries Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia are also suffering from internal conflict and could not do as requested by the Gabon.  The first world showing their interest  on the request and ready to provide the assistances or relief  but they have an eye or vested interest on the natural resources of the Gabon republic which is rich in diamond, gold , natural gas , petroleum mine .

1.      What did government request to Media?
2.      Which province was declared as "forbidden province" ?
3.      Why the neighboring countries could not assist the Republic of Gabon?
4.      When the disease was documented first in the Africa?
5.      What was the rate of death causing Ebola?
6.      What were the symptoms of Ebola?
7.      How the Ebola is transmitted to another person.
8.      What was the resource of the Ebola?
9.      Why did the first world countries showing their interest to Gabon?
10. How many medical teams are going to be assign to assist the Gabon republic.    


9. TALIBAN ARRESTED

            US forces detained seven suspected Taliban fighters yesterday outside the American military base at Kandhar airport in southern Afghanistan after it came under attack , defense officials said. They said the men were detained for questioning after patrols were sent out to investigate the attack. A small number of other people who might have been involved in the gunfight escaped, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified. No American troops were injured, they said. A Reuters television cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, said he heard heavy gunfire and a number of explosions at the Kandhar base . He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes and was at its most intense for a period of about five minutes ." I have seen the tracers and there were some light explosions like hand grenades ", he said " Americans appeared to be firing at a point in the hills to the West Side of the air base." Operation in Afghanistan by the US military and its allies to mop up remnants of the vanquished Taliban and the AL-QUIDA network are based at Kandahar airport .

            There are about 4100 military personnel based at the airport, with the majority from the US. Mr. Protsyuk said the heaviest firing was on the airport's western perimeter, about half a mile from the terminal building. In a separate incident, an American military transport plane crashed in a remote region of the Afghanistan on Tuesday night , injuring all eight crew members but non of them critically ,US  officials said yesterday . Seven of those injured in the crash were able to walk and " non of the injuries were considered life- threatening " ,said Major Brad Lowell, a spokesman for the US central command in Florida . The cause of the crash was not known , although it did not appear to be the result of hostile fire, official said . An American soldier was killed in an accident in Afghanistan yesterday when a piece of heavy industrial equipment fell on him at Bagram air base near Kabul, the US military said . The soldier's name was  withheld pending notification of next of kin. Later on , it was revealed that the detainees were investigated thoroughly and two among seven were sent to " Kwantanamo Bey" a notorious jail used by American military  to dump terrorists. Kwantanamo Bey is in Cuba , a communist nation , ruled by Fidel Kastro , a south American country

            It was provided to USA on lease for hundred years. Remaining among the detainees were sent to the local judicial authority and imposed to the judicial remand for six months . The American soldier killed by heavy equipment was delivered  to home with a national regards by a special US navy plane . The US had  started war against Afghanistan to abolish Taliban regime , who allegedly harboring the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden  in the country . American military could not find the Osama  till now. Osama is Saudi Arabia born billionaire and blind supporter of Muslim belief , he involved in fighting with Soviet Union  who had strong hold in Afghanistan during the second world war and  with the aid of US the Al quada successes to remove Russia from Afghanistan . Bin laden started getting physical and moral support from theUS . later on , the US  did not give his support to Osama so he and his allies attacked on US interest in South Africa killing 1000 innocent people by the suicide bombing and declared Osama a terrorist .  After the 9/11 terrorist attack on twin tower , the US has declared fight against the terrorism and  announce to hand over the Osama to the US by Afgan Government . The Taliban regime  did not obey the order saying that he was the guest of the country and  guest should not be hand over the western country . 

1. Who is Osama bin Laden?
2. What do you know about Kwantanamo Bey?
3. What had happen to arrested seven detainees?
4. Why did America attack Afghanistan?
5. where did the US transport plane crash?
6. Where is the US central command located?
7. How many US military have been killed according to the passage?
8. Where was the heaviest firing occurred?
9. Where is the Kandhar air port located?
10.  Who is Taras?


10. THE UNITED NATION

            The United Nation is an international organization established to create international security and friendship among the member states. After the Second World War, the allied nation established the United Nation on 24 December 1945 including 51 member states. Now it has 191 member states around the globe. The head quarters of the United Nation lies in New York in the US and the branch for the Europe is lies in Switzerland.

Main objectives of the United Nations are as follows.

1. To maintain international security
2. To maintain friendship among the countries
3. To regards human rights.

It has six main organs
1. International court of justice
2. Secret General assembly
3. Security Council
4. Economic and social council
5. Trusteeship council
6. Secretariat
                                        1. International court of justice.

            The headquarters of International court of justice lies in Netherlands. The UN secretariat lies in New York. The meeting of general assembly starts on third of September and concludes on December. Security council has 15 members among them 5 are permanent members , which are America, China , Russia , French, and Germany and other 10 members are elected by the 191 members states of general assembly for the period of two years . The Economic and Social council has 54 members' states and every member has three years of working period. The headquarters of the Economic and Social council lies in Geneva.

            America, China, France, Germany, Russia the permanent members of the Security council has veto power .Chinese English, French, Russian, Spanish are the official language of the United nation,. Mr. Ban ki Mon is the Secretary General of the United Nations, a South Korea citizen.

            Nepal as a United Nation member state has sent 1241police personnel to serve the United Nation, as civil police, police monitor, police advisor and police trainers. Nepal has established two Form Police Units in Haiti and Sudan as per the request of the United Nation. wins their obedience, confidence, respect and enthusiastic co-operation in achieving common objectives.


1.HATES CRIMES

            The number of organized hate groups in the United States increased 20 percents last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 9000 hate crimes , more than half of them motivated by race, were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1996- compared to 7947 incidents in 1995 and 5932incidents in 1994. Last week, James Byrd, Jr., a 49 -year's old black man, was dragged to death in Texas by a chain from the back of a pickup truck. Recently, two black men also became the targets of possible copycat crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.

            Authorities say the three men who have been charged with Byrd's murder my have ties with white supremacist groups, which have grown to over 400 organizations nationwide, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan has been granted permission to rally later this month in Jasper, Texas, and the town where Byrd was killed. "These groups are getting better with the public," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern poverty Law Center."They are no longer racist but racialist, not segregationists, but separatists. They are using a lot more attractive buzz words to lead people into their organizations "of the 474 hat groups documented by the Intelligence Project, 127were related to the Ku Klux Klan 100 was neo-Nazi, 42 were Skinheads, 81were Christian Identity, a racist religion, 12 were Black separatists and 112subscribed to a mélange to hate -based doctrines and ideologies.
Tracking Hate Crimes

            The FBI is investigating the Texas case as a possible that crime, defined as an offense motivated buy the dislike of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. " This was an act of violence that had a much broader implication than just the murder of a single person " said Hillary Shelton , deputy director of the NAACP in Washington DC " A much larger message was being sent by this horrible action" Many civil right s groups attributes the rise in hate  crimes to proliferation of Internet hate sites , racist music lyrics and white power literature- propaganda tools for promoting race- hating ideology that have reached an audience of as many as 2 million people . Since1995, more than 160 hate sites are active online, according to the intelligence project. Less than three years ago, there was only one. "Technology has a lot to do with opening up new recruitment opportunities for these groups," said Roy "It's a place where young people of the computer generation can vent their frustration, exchange ideas and download information to feed their hatred.


  1. How many of the hate crimes were about racial differences?
  2. How did Mr. Byrd die in Texas?
  3. Are the men who killed Byrd connected to any groups? If so, what?
  4. How are these hate groups encouraging new people to join?
  5. How many hate groups are there nationwide?
  6. What do civil rights groups say the reason is for such a increase in hat e crimes.?
  7. How many men have been charged with Byrd's murder?
  8. Why were two black men targets of crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.?
  9. What was the increase in hate groups last year?
  10. Who is Hillary Shelton?         

2.PILOT  ACCUSED

            Lotfi Raissi , an Algerian pilot who had been accused of training the suicide hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, walked free today after being granted bail at an extradition hearing . Mr.Raissi, 27 who has been held in jail for five months, emerged from the top security Belmarsh magistrate's court complex in south -east London to applause from his family and friends. Minutes earlier, district judge Timothy Workman said Mr.Raissi, who lives near Heathrow airport. Could have conditional bail as he was only facing extradition to the US on two counts of falsifying as application for a US pilot's license. At previous court hearings in London, lawyers acting for the US authorities indicated he was suspected of being a lead instructor for pilots responsible for the September 11 hijackings. And US prosecutor have in the past made clear that the pilot's license accusations were only holding charges. But no terrorism charges have been formally introduced and Mr. Raissi's lawyers successfully argued today that the charges related to pilot's license applications did not justify him being held in prison. Mr. Workman said he appreciated the September 11 investigation was long and painstaking but he said he was allowing bail as the US government was unlikely to bring terrorism charges inAA the near future. Mr. Raissi's family has strenuously denied he was involved in the September 11 terror attacks in any way. Today he was told his family would have to give $10000in surety, that he would have to live at an address specified to the court , that he would have to surrender his passport and not apply for international travel documents . Mr. Raissi's French wife Sonia, speaking after the judge's decision, said that she believed justice had been done. She said " we have been waiting five months and my message to the FBI is , You arrested him for terrorism so why do you want to extradite him for these ridiculous , minor charges? .

            Lotfi's brother, Mohamed, said "The FBI said to he world that he was a big terrorist and they have to now say to the world, that his man is innocent. They have destroyed his life, his future and his dream".
 But James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court Mr.Raissi should not be granted bail. He said "we are concerned with an investigation into an atrocity that shocked the civilized world ...Mr. Raissi is a suspect in that investigation"

            Hugo Keith, representing Mr. Raissi, said "The Americans now seen unwilling to withdraw from their initial position and accept on this occasion, they pursued the wrong person. He is not fundamentalist. He is married to a white Catholic" Prosecutors have alleged that Mr.Raissi had links to Hani Hanjour ,the pilot suspected of crashing Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

            Mr. Raissi was arrested on September 21 and has been held at London' high -security Belmarsh prison ever since. He was indicated by a federal grand jury in Arizona on charges of falsifying applications for a pilot's license and other documents. He allegedly held a 1993 theft conviction and failed to mention that he had undergone a knee operation. He has also been indicated Arizona on 11 more counts, including conspiracy to submit a false immigration claim. A previous attempt to win him bail in the high court in London in December failed. Lawyers acting for the US alleged that there was "a web of circumstantial evidence that points to the involvement of Raissi in a terrorist conspiracy which culminate in the events of September 11" US counsel said Mr.Raissi had "links to the Al-Qsida organization" and was "someone who has both motive and means t escape"

  1. When was Mr.Raissi arrested?
  2. How long has he been held in jail?
  3. Is it confirmed that Mr.Raissi had links to the hijacker of Flight77?
  4. What nationality is Mr.Raissi's wife?
  5. What did he hide in 1993?
  6. Did he succeed in his previous attempt to win bail?
  7. What are the conditions of his bail?
  8. What nationality is Mr. Raissi and where does he live?
  9. Has he been charged with terrorism?
10.What did the US authorities accuse him of doing?

3.BOSNIA INJURIES

            On Thursday in northern Bosnia, two American soldiers were wounded when a land mine exploded. One of the soldiers suffered injuries to his right foot and other was able to walk away from the blast with shrapnel wounds to his lower leg . The incident happened at about 2:30 PM 0930EST in the town of Hadizici, which is located about ten miles south east of Tuzla .

            NATO issued a statement about the incident. The statement said, "two American engineers were injured by an anti-personal mine as they were conducting a joint inspection of a minefield with the Bosnian Serb Army. One soldier stepped on an anti- personnel mine, incurring injuries to one foot.
Concerns have been raised by ERRI and any number of other sources in regard to the dangers of landmines and other improvised explosive devices in Bosnia. According to UNICEF, Bosnia has one of the highest densities of landmines per square mile of any place in the world. UNICEF says that more than 1800000mines may have been laid in Bosnia during the recent years of ethnic conflict. More troublesome to NATO troops than traditional mines, which are made of metal, are mines with plastic cases or improvised mines made from wooden cases and high explosives. The wood and plastic mines are far more difficult to detect with conventional mine detectors.

            In other news regarding to Bosnian peace mission, United States Navy Admiral Leighton Smith made some remarks regarding the six confirmed sniper incidents involving NATO forces since Sunday. Admiral Smith said, "We have got some jerk up there pulling a trigger and he has got a night scope. That makes it tough. But boy, let me tell you , if we do see him he had better be fast and be clad in bullet-proof stuff. Because we will attack with out  warning. There are such things as anti- sniping teams ....people who snipe at our forces are at great risk to themselves. If we see some body pointing a weapon at our forces he will be attacked with out warning.... no warning shots, no' drop your weapon"

             And true to Admiral Smith's words -- French NATO forces later killed a sniper in the suburb where most of the shooting incidents have occurred. A NATO statement said "One gunman was located by the French Special Forces and was later neutralized. This person was seriously wounded. He later died of his injuries in spite of the intervention from a military physician. Another armed civilian was also apprehended by 0ur forces. This individual was disarmed with out any bloodshed".

  1. How many confirmed sniper incidents have there been?
  2. Where were the two American soldiers inured?
  3. Did both of the soldiers walk away from the explosion?
  4. Will a warning be given to snipers who shoot at NATO forces?
  5. How many mines have been placed in Bosnia during the conflict?
  6. Does Bosnia have a large amount of mines per square mile?
  7. What happened to the sniper found by French NATO forces?
  8. Was the second civilian, who was carrying a weapon ,shot by NATO forces?
  9. Which types of mines are more difficult to detect?
  10. Was the first sniper shot dead by the French NATO forces?


4. CLONE SYSTEM

            Numerous reports from around the world in Jan/ Feb 2001 of fresh attempts to clone human embryos, ranging from Clonaid saying they hope t implant embryos into surrogate mothers in February to Australian scientists saying they have managed to make a human cloned embryo by combining a empty pig egg with a human cell . Their cloned human embryo divided to 32 cells before being destroyed. In other words it seems that the empty eggs from animal contain all that is needed to activate human genes for successful human cloning. There are huge risks of abnormalities and mutations in these human cloning experiments. We know that these animal-human hybrids are likely to escape legal controls because a court of law would probably decide that this was not human cloning a legally defined .However the outcome - if born - would be a clone baby which has identical genes in the nucleus of every cell to the adult from which the original cell was taken . Interestingly , 1%of the genes in mammal cells are not in the nucleus but in the power packs providing all the electricity for cells . These power generators called mitochondriaa .So technically these human clones made from animal eggs would have 1% animal DNA . Worrying  we know that there are many serious diseases in human caused by faulty genes in the mitochondria . But that is with human mitochondria .What will be the risk of problems with animal mitochondria being used to power every cell in human cloned child that is yet to go?

            Clonaid  says five British couples, including two pairs of homosexual men have asked to be cloned. Peter and lldako Blackborn , computer consultants from Huntingdon Cambrisdgeshire UK have expressed an interest in human cloning as a alternative infertility treatment but which had not say if they are in touch with Clonaid . as the press conference called and announce of the cloning the United States government banned it to practice in the future . The US government pledged that it will harm the civilization of the human being so world should not follow the mal -practices .

            After two months the Korean scientist claimed that he also get success to reproduce a clone baby and he claimed that he will use it for the couple who doesn't  have kids and deserve it .According to the scientist , he will provide who ever the couples deserve, but the donor should give his consents .
The British government strongly condemned the act of the Korean scientist and announced that the UK government does not allow the cloning to spread in the world. Cloning should be only in side the lab.  The international scientists said that it is a big step in the human civilization and should be utilized to find out the cure of all diseases in the future. it also claimed ridiculously that every couple wants Clinton and Bill Gates as their children at the same time the natural system has been disturbed by the pressure of cloning . The world need people of every sector not money maker and politicians. If so, the world will destroy very soon.

            A conference has been organized by some popular scientists in the   New York and concluded with a statement that it is a extraordinary achievement for the whole world with some vital de-merits so all should stand together to utilized the said invention. The  prime responsibility rest upon the politicians who claims to be the supreme of the United Nations organization.

  1. What was the conclusion of New York press conference?
  2. What was the only vital demerit of the cloning?
  3. What was the claimed to of the Korean scientist?
  4. Why the US government did banned the cloning system?
  5. What is the main problem of cloning system?
  6. What does Australian scientist claim?
  7. What is the risk in human cloning experiments?
  8. For what reason did the scientists prefer to sue and empty pig egg and a human cell for the experiment?
  9. What is the specific with mitochondria??
  10. Why have scientists shown their interest in human cloning?


5. ARSON IN THE VILLAGE

            On Sunday morning in a hot summer day, one patrol team of CIVPOL monitor received a radio call from the CIVPOL station about an arsoning incident in a bear by village. Someone had called up and informed the station about the incident from a local public call office .The patrol team rushed to the scene of incident. As reaching the scene, they saw a red vehicle speeding away in a very high speed with at least four or five persons inside with at least one man holding something like gun. Arriving at the scene, the monitors saw tow houses burning. Some natives came towards them and informed that some armed people came to the village, set light to the two houses belonging to a local politician and fled in their red car. The situation was immediately reported the CIVPOL station and the local police authority were duly informed. Within few minutes the fleeing red vehicle as stopped at a check point and the perpetrators arrested by the local police.

            The patrol team informed to the fire brigade about the arson case and the Fire brigade team form the local municipality arrived in 15 minutes to the scene and put off the fire. Some local said during the interview that the both house was belong to the local politicians called Mustafa Leader. Leader had some arguments with some rivals during the municipality meeting last Friday about the grazing of the animal in the village of Ruslan. The leader received a threat from the rival of abandon the village as soon as possible or faces the adverse consequences. The leader did not obey the threat and the incident happen. Both house entirely damaged by the arson but the fire bridge could not give the total amount of loss of the house. The CIVPOL interviewed with the house owner and revealed that two houses worth $ 10000 and two camels worth $ 1000, cash worth $99 and utensils worth $45, grains worth $ 129, have been damaged during the arson.  The monitor team assured him relief of compensation from the local authority. 

            The local police team with out aid of UN Police have arrested the red vehicle and recovered a Tomy machine gun and 354 rounds of live ammunitions form the red car. Five suspects including driver also have been arrested by the local but not disclosed in public by the local police. The local police issued a statement in the same day saying that investigation is underway and if information needed contact to regional head quarters the following day.

            The National Labour Party belongs to Mustafa organized a protest rally in the town demanding the full security to the local leader and their property and take legal and strain action to perpetrators. During the demonstration supporters of the party vandalized 4 shops and injured three local security personnel.
 The local authority endorsed compensation to the Mustafa, according to the report of Fire Brigade which cost in the said head but only $ 11000.  The fire brigade did not mention the head of the loss but recommended the whole some of money.

            The local police control the security situation in the town and the police released one suspect with out any legal charge and other four have been sent to the jail by the order of local magistrate on the charge of arson and possession of illegal weapon.

            The red car sent to the auction to pay the compensation of the damage property. The owner of the car complained that his car was stolen from the garage at midnight on the same day, and it is dictatorship of the local authority to auction his car with out investigating properly and he also claimed that he will sue to the local authority in the Apex court.

1.      When did the car stolen?
2.      What was the lost property?
3.      What were the ammunition found by the local police?.
4.      What was the demand of political party?
5.      What had happened during the demonstration of local political party?
6.      What message did the CIVPOL received?
7.      How was the CIVPOL station informed of the incident ?
8.      En- route to the scene, what did the patrol team saw?
9.      What was the monitor action on the scene?
  10. what action did the local police take ?
6. Authoritarian regime

            President Abdurrahaman Wahid granted amnesty  thousands of prisoners Thursday, including some who were ailed for there political beliefs. Minister for law and legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra said 105 political prisoners, and 3000 others who were jailed for criminals' acts, would be released. He said Wahid signed a presidential decree Thursday and the prisoners would be set free Thursday night and Friday morning.

            "We are releasing the criminal prisoners because it's Christmas time and the New year",he said . He added that the release of the political prisoners' mostly separatist activists from Aceh and Irian Jaya province was part of the government's efforts to release all those who were jailed for political activity under Indonesian's former authoritarian regime. Most of the political prisoners were jailed during the32 -year dictatorship of Suharto , who was ousted from power due to a student uprising in May 1998.

            It is not the self motivated move of the government but international political pressure to released the political prisoners .  There are more than 40% members of the parliament are brought from the security service to show the political honesty to the military department .  Military party called National Unity party is more powerful in Indonesia till now and it has 32 years' background. The civil leadership could not do any thing with out the military aid. So democratic government willing to follow the military advice. 

            The international court of justice has declare to punish some of the criminals who were directly involved in the massacre in Indonesia during the dictatorship of Suharto regime. But it is ridiculous to digest that the than army chief who has been accused of murdering 200 prisoners of political belief, is a member of parliament now. The Amnesty International condemned the act of the government to nominate the army chief Mr. Javal as a parliamentarian and said that the government marginalized the people voice.

            The International Court of Justice summoned  as per the international standard to Suharto to present his opinion in Hague whether he did the crime or not , but it went in vain because Suharto has been admitted to Jakarta Teaching   hospital due to chest and BP problem . Suharto has been accusing of accumulating large sum of money and killing 500 students during the students' uprising.

            The interim president of East Timor Mr. Gusmao also condemned the act of the government to make escort free to the war criminals and said government is deceiving the people of Indonesia. Indonesian government barked against the East-Timor saying that no one could interfere in internal matter of the country. For the information, East -Timor is a fragment of the republic of Indonesia and got independence in 1997 by the acute international political pressure and military intervention by the UN.

             Indonesian   people believe, the criminal who are released on the occasion New year will never involve in criminal activities in the future. Indonesia lies in East of the Asia bordering  China , Australia, Iran and Indian sea respectively East, West, South and North. and it is has the most dense Muslim population with mainly  Hindu religion . Indonesia was colonized by French in 1800 AD and ruled till 1936 and got independence. The military authority ousted the civil government in 1940 by military coup and rules till 1997. The country has notorious history of producing natural drugs like Heroine and Cocaine and it is also called the country of golden triangle, the main transit of drugs , including Burma ,Thailand and Laos.       

  1. Which countries are called golden triangle country?
  2. Which country is lies in the  south of Indonesia ?
  3. What is the formal accusation to Suharto?
  4. Why the democratic government does follow the military advice?
  5. What was the reply of the government to East -Timor condemnation?
  6. Where is the international court of Justice located?
  7. why were the thousands of people jailed ?
  8. What did Mr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra say?
  9. How many political prisoners were jailed?
     10. Who were the released prisoners mostly?
7.  GAMBLE

            November 27, 2001 Bangkok, Thailand: Thai police said on Mondays they have arrested six Filipino gang members for allegedly luring two Japanese and three French tourists to gamble in their house and cheating them out of millions of Baht (thousands of dollars) . The gang members, three men and three women, were arrested on Sunday from a house in Bangkok where all six gang members lived, police Lieutenant General Chat Kuldilok told reporters. Lt. Gen. Kuldilik said the women pretended to be Thai house wives and invited their victims. Whom they met on the street while pedaling handicrafts, to come to their house to teach them Japanese, and to sell them handicrafts. He said the male members of the gang pretended to be millionaires from Brunei who lost huge sums to each other to avoid suspicion by the tourists, Chat said. Four of the five tourists agreed to gamble with the male gang members while the female gang members supposedly were making them fool. Once the tourists had lost all of their money to the gang members they tried to get some of their money back, but the gang members refused. The tourists were told if they told the police or any one else about losing money to them, they would be killed. All the male gang members had knives and showed them to the tourists after telling them this. The tourists left the house and notified Thai police immediately. The tourists informed the police of the gang members' house and were willing to help them in hopes of getting their money back. Upon arrest, the Thai police searched the entire house, but unfortunately the money could not be found. One of the tourists response was," I am happy, even tough we didn't get our money back , I'm just glad the gang members were found by the Thai Police . Hopefully nothing like this will happen to any tourists ever again.

            Police interviewed all the detainees in the police cell and found that other two gangs also committing the same crime using same modus operandi in the capital city. Police started the vigorous checking around the suspected area and arrested one gang with some weapons and valuables in the rented house. Police confiscate six knives and four round of live bullets including four gang members.  Later on police honestly publicized two golden rings, four golden bracelets, six wrist watches and five passports. And issued a statement saying that any one who is belongs to the valuables contact with proofs to the city police officer Mr. Rothan.

             Police registered a legal case to the first 6 members of the gang accusing looting the valuable of the tourists but the local magistrate released all saying that police did not show the proofs of looting.  The second gang members also charged with looting the tourists and illegal possession of weapons .The magistrate send them to the jail for six months on the charge of looting but the magistrate said police should be careful accusing the civilian who has only live bullets not a pistol or revolver.

            The police assured that the looting case will come down after the arrest of 2 looting gangs and vows that they will do enough to arrest who are involved in looting case. Police said that tourist should be careful with the people who were involved in prostitution. Bangkok is famous for sex tourism in East Asia.  Most of the prostitutes are brought form the Philippine in the name of house wife . In this racket the local administration and police and pimps are also involved.

1.      How may gang members arrested?
2.      What are the valuables had been confiscated?
3.      Why the Bangkok city is famous for?
4.      How many culprits were sent to jail and how many released?
5.      How the gang member did pretend themselves?
6.      What were the nationality of the victims ?
7.      What was the tourist said after not getting his money?
8.      What did general Chat said about the accident?
9.      What were weapons confiscated.
          10. How many tourists had gambled with cheaters?

8.  EBOLA

            Sunday, December 9, 2001 An outbreak of fever in the West African nation of Gabon has been confirmed as the deadly disease Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. It is world's first documented outbreak of Ebola since last year in Uganda, where 224 people - including health workers - died from the virus. Ebola is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases. "It's been confirmed by a laboratory in Gabon" WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the press. "We have reports that seven people have died" Hartl said WHO has already sent a team to help the coastal nation and that a second team of four specialists would leave Geneva for Gabon on Monday. The out break is in remote Ogooue Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon, he said. Gabon was last afflicted in an outbreak in 1996-97 that killed 45 of the 60 people infected. "We have had very little information" Hartl said. The conformation came from a laboratory in France ville, also in eastern Gabon. A team from the Gabon Ministry of Health and the International Center of Medical Research in  France Ville went to the province last week when they first received reports of that the outbreak might be Ebola, Hartl added. On Friday, Hartl said there were unconfirmed reports of a possible outbreak in nearby Congo. Ebola is passed through contact with bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva and blood, but Ebola is not airborne. The virus incubates for four to 10 days before flu-like symptoms set in. Eventually, the virus causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no known cure for Ebola, but patients treated early for dehydration have a good chance of survival. WHO says more than 800 people have died of the disease since the virus was first case in Gabon was documented in 1994 the agency says. After the 1996-97 out break in Gabon it wasn't documented again until it appeared in Uganda last year. WHO recommends the suspected cases is isolated from other patients and that strict barrier nursing techniques be used to shield health workers from exposure. Gloves and masks must be worn and disinfected prior to reuse, the agency says. Patients who die from the disease should be promptly buried or cremated. The virus has also been transmitted to people from handling ill or dead infected chimpanzees, WHO says. Police are worried there may be widespread panic in the area because of the confirmed reports. There have been rumors of possible riots and / or break -ins. Police officials said tat when out breaks such as this occur, people become frightened and assume the worst and that is when people start to try and upraise against the police . However, no reports have been made in regards to riots and/ break -INS, but police have been told to be prepared for the worst. The Goban Government called emergency cabinet meeting and declared Ivindo province as "forbidden Province". The government begs international support and relief to get rid of the diseases.  it is requested to all media house not to make undue publicity to  the outbreak ,which can terrorize the general public and can hamper  to maintain the security situation in  the country. Gabon a Central African Republic also facing starvation, malnutrition, political instability, and draught from a long decade.  The neighboring countries Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia are also suffering from internal conflict and could not do as requested by the Gabon.  The first world showing their interest  on the request and ready to provide the assistances or relief  but they have an eye or vested interest on the natural resources of the Gabon republic which is rich in diamond, gold , natural gas , petroleum mine .

1.      What did government request to Media?
2.      Which province was declared as "forbidden province" ?
3.      Why the neighboring countries could not assist the Republic of Gabon?
4.      When the disease was documented first in the Africa?
5.      What was the rate of death causing Ebola?
6.      What were the symptoms of Ebola?
7.      How the Ebola is transmitted to another person.
8.      What was the resource of the Ebola?
9.      Why did the first world countries showing their interest to Gabon?
10. How many medical teams are going to be assign to assist the Gabon republic.    


9. TALIBAN ARRESTED

            US forces detained seven suspected Taliban fighters yesterday outside the American military base at Kandhar airport in southern Afghanistan after it came under attack , defense officials said. They said the men were detained for questioning after patrols were sent out to investigate the attack. A small number of other people who might have been involved in the gunfight escaped, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified. No American troops were injured, they said. A Reuters television cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, said he heard heavy gunfire and a number of explosions at the Kandhar base . He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes and was at its most intense for a period of about five minutes ." I have seen the tracers and there were some light explosions like hand grenades ", he said " Americans appeared to be firing at a point in the hills to the West Side of the air base." Operation in Afghanistan by the US military and its allies to mop up remnants of the vanquished Taliban and the AL-QUIDA network are based at Kandahar airport .

            There are about 4100 military personnel based at the airport, with the majority from the US. Mr. Protsyuk said the heaviest firing was on the airport's western perimeter, about half a mile from the terminal building. In a separate incident, an American military transport plane crashed in a remote region of the Afghanistan on Tuesday night , injuring all eight crew members but non of them critically ,US  officials said yesterday . Seven of those injured in the crash were able to walk and " non of the injuries were considered life- threatening " ,said Major Brad Lowell, a spokesman for the US central command in Florida . The cause of the crash was not known , although it did not appear to be the result of hostile fire, official said . An American soldier was killed in an accident in Afghanistan yesterday when a piece of heavy industrial equipment fell on him at Bagram air base near Kabul, the US military said . The soldier's name was  withheld pending notification of next of kin. Later on , it was revealed that the detainees were investigated thoroughly and two among seven were sent to " Kwantanamo Bey" a notorious jail used by American military  to dump terrorists. Kwantanamo Bey is in Cuba , a communist nation , ruled by Fidel Kastro , a south American country

            It was provided to USA on lease for hundred years. Remaining among the detainees were sent to the local judicial authority and imposed to the judicial remand for six months . The American soldier killed by heavy equipment was delivered  to home with a national regards by a special US navy plane . The US had  started war against Afghanistan to abolish Taliban regime , who allegedly harboring the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden  in the country . American military could not find the Osama  till now. Osama is Saudi Arabia born billionaire and blind supporter of Muslim belief , he involved in fighting with Soviet Union  who had strong hold in Afghanistan during the second world war and  with the aid of US the Al quada successes to remove Russia from Afghanistan . Bin laden started getting physical and moral support from theUS . later on , the US  did not give his support to Osama so he and his allies attacked on US interest in South Africa killing 1000 innocent people by the suicide bombing and declared Osama a terrorist .  After the 9/11 terrorist attack on twin tower , the US has declared fight against the terrorism and  announce to hand over the Osama to the US by Afgan Government . The Taliban regime  did not obey the order saying that he was the guest of the country and  guest should not be hand over the western country . 

1. Who is Osama bin Laden?
2. What do you know about Kwantanamo Bey?
3. What had happen to arrested seven detainees?
4. Why did America attack Afghanistan?
5. where did the US transport plane crash?
6. Where is the US central command located?
7. How many US military have been killed according to the passage?
8. Where was the heaviest firing occurred?
9. Where is the Kandhar air port located?
10.  Who is Taras?
  
10. THE UNITED NATION

            The United Nation is an international organization established to create international security and friendship among the member states. After the Second World War, the allied nation established the United Nation on 24 December 1945 including 51 member states. Now it has 191 member states around the globe. The head quarters of the United Nation lies in New York in the US and the branch for the Europe is lies in Switzerland.

Main objectives of the United Nations are as follows.

1. To maintain international security
2. To maintain friendship among the countries
3. To regards human rights.

It has six main organs
1. International court of justice
2. Secret General assembly
3. Security Council
4. Economic and social council
5. Trusteeship council
6. Secretariat
        
              1. International court of justice.

            The headquarters of International court of justice lies in Netherlands. The UN secretariat lies in New York. The meeting of general assembly starts on third of September and concludes on December. Security council has 15 members among them 5 are permanent members , which are America, China , Russia , French, and Germany and other 10 members are elected by the 191 members states of general assembly for the period of two years . The Economic and Social council has 54 members' states and every member has three years of working period. The headquarters of the Economic and Social council lies in Geneva.

            America, China, France, Germany, Russia the permanent members of the Security council has veto power .Chinese English, French, Russian, Spanish are the official language of the United nation,. Mr. Ban ki Mon is the Secretary General of the United Nations, a South Korea citizen.

            Nepal as a United Nation member state has sent 1241police personnel to serve the United Nation, as civil police, police monitor, police advisor and police trainers. Nepal has established two Form Police Units in Haiti and Sudan as per the request of the United Nation. wins their obedience, confidence, respect and enthusiastic co-operation in achieving common objectives.






1.HATES CRIMES

The number of organized hate groups in the United States increased 20 percents last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 9000 hate crimes , more than half of them motivated by race, were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1996- compared to 7947 incidents in 1995 and 5932incidents in 1994. Last week, James Byrd, Jr., a 49 -year's old black man, was dragged to death in Texas by a chain from the back of a pickup truck. Recently, two black men also became the targets of possible copycat crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.
Authorities say the three men who have been charged with Byrd's murder my have ties with white supremacist groups, which have grown to over 400 organizations nationwide, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan has been granted permission to rally later this month in Jasper, Texas, and the town where Byrd was killed. "These groups are getting better with the public," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern poverty Law Center."They are no longer racist but racialist, not segregationists, but separatists. They are using a lot more attractive buzz words to lead people into their organizations "of the 474 hat groups documented by the Intelligence Project, 127were related to the Ku Klux Klan 100 was neo-Nazi, 42 were Skinheads, 81were Christian Identity, a racist religion, 12 were Black separatists and 112subscribed to a mélange to hate -based doctrines and ideologies.
Tracking Hate Crimes
The FBI is investigating the Texas case as a possible that crime, defined as an offense motivated buy the dislike of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. " This was an act of violence that had a much broader implication than just the murder of a single person " said Hillary Shelton , deputy director of the NAACP in Washington DC " A much larger message was being sent by this horrible action" Many civil right s groups attributes the rise in hate  crimes to proliferation of Internet hate sites , racist music lyrics and white power literature- propaganda tools for promoting race- hating ideology that have reached an audience of as many as 2 million people . Since1995, more than 160 hate sites are active online, according to the intelligence project. Less than three years ago, there was only one. "Technology has a lot to do with opening up new recruitment opportunities for these groups," said Roy "It's a place where young people of the computer generation can vent their frustration, exchange ideas and download information to feed their hatred.





1.    How many of the hate crimes were about racial differences?
2.    How did Mr. Byrd die in Texas?
3.    Are the men who killed Byrd connected to any groups? If so, what?
4.    How are these hate groups encouraging new people to join?
5.    How many hate groups are there nationwide?
6.    What do civil rights groups say the reason is for such a increase in hat e crimes.?
7.    How many men have been charged with Byrd's murder?
8.    Why were two black men targets of crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.?
9.    What was the increase in hate groups last year?
10.    Who is Hillary Shelton?   


2.PILOT  ACCUSED

Lotfi Raissi , an Algerian pilot who had been accused of training the suicide hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, walked free today after being granted bail at an extradition hearing . Mr.Raissi, 27 who has been held in jail for five months, emerged from the top security Belmarsh magistrate's court complex in south -east London to applause from his family and friends. Minutes earlier, district judge Timothy Workman said Mr.Raissi, who lives near Heathrow airport. Could have conditional bail as he was only facing extradition to the US on two counts of falsifying as application for a US pilot's license. At previous court hearings in London, lawyers acting for the US authorities indicated he was suspected of being a lead instructor for pilots responsible for the September 11 hijackings. And US prosecutor have in the past made clear that the pilot's license accusations were only holding charges. But no terrorism charges have been formally introduced and Mr. Raissi's lawyers successfully argued today that the charges related to pilot's license applications did not justify him being held in prison. Mr. Workman said he appreciated the September 11 investigation was long and painstaking but he said he was allowing bail as the US government was unlikely to bring terrorism charges inAA the near future. Mr. Raissi's family has strenuously denied he was involved in the September 11 terror attacks in any way. Today he was told his family would have to give $10000in surety, that he would have to live at an address specified to the court , that he would have to surrender his passport and not apply for international travel documents . Mr. Raissi's French wife Sonia, speaking after the judge's decision, said that she believed justice had been done. She said " we have been waiting five months and my message to the FBI is , You arrested him for terrorism so why do you want to extradite him for these ridiculous , minor charges? .
 Lotfi's brother, Mohamed, said "The FBI said to he world that he was a big terrorist and they have to now say to the world, that his man is innocent. They have destroyed his life, his future and his dream".
 But James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court Mr.Raissi should not be granted bail. He said "we are concerned with an investigation into an atrocity that shocked the civilized world ...Mr. Raissi is a suspect in that investigation"
Hugo Keith, representing Mr. Raissi, said "The Americans now seen unwilling to withdraw from their initial position and accept on this occasion, they pursued the wrong person. He is not fundamentalist. He is married to a white Catholic" Prosecutors have alleged that Mr.Raissi had links to Hani Hanjour ,the pilot suspected of crashing Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
Mr. Raissi was arrested on September 21 and has been held at London' high -security Belmarsh prison ever since. He was indicated by a federal grand jury in Arizona on charges of falsifying applications for a pilot's license and other documents. He allegedly held a 1993 theft conviction and failed to mention that he had undergone a knee operation. He has also been indicated Arizona on 11 more counts, including conspiracy to submit a false immigration claim. A previous attempt to win him bail in the high court in London in December failed. Lawyers acting for the US alleged that there was "a web of circumstantial evidence that points to the involvement of Raissi in a terrorist conspiracy which culminate in the events of September 11" US counsel said Mr.Raissi had "links to the Al-Qsida organization" and was "someone who has both motive and means t escape"
1.    When was Mr.Raissi arrested?
2.    How long has he been held in jail?
3.    Is it confirmed that Mr.Raissi had links to the hijacker of Flight77?
4.    What nationality is Mr.Raissi's wife?
5.    What did he hide in 1993?
6.    Did he succeed in his previous attempt to win bail?
7.    What are the conditions of his bail?
8.    What nationality is Mr. Raissi and where does he live?
9.    Has he been charged with terrorism?
10.What did the US authorities accuse him of doing?



3.BOSNIA INJURIES

On Thursday in northern Bosnia, two American soldiers were wounded when a land mine exploded. One of the soldiers suffered injuries to his right foot and other was able to walk away from the blast with shrapnel wounds to his lower leg . The incident happened at about 2:30 PM 0930EST in the town of Hadizici, which is located about ten miles south east of Tuzla .
NATO issued a statement about the incident. The statement said, "two American engineers were injured by an anti-personal mine as they were conducting a joint inspection of a minefield with the Bosnian Serb Army. One soldier stepped on an anti- personnel mine, incurring injuries to one foot.
Concerns have been raised by ERRI and any number of other sources in regard to the dangers of landmines and other improvised explosive devices in Bosnia. According to UNICEF, Bosnia has one of the highest densities of landmines per square mile of any place in the world. UNICEF says that more than 1800000mines may have been laid in Bosnia during the recent years of ethnic conflict. More troublesome to NATO troops than traditional mines, which are made of metal, are mines with plastic cases or improvised mines made from wooden cases and high explosives. The wood and plastic mines are far more difficult to detect with conventional mine detectors.
In other news regarding to Bosnian peace mission, United States Navy Admiral Leighton Smith made some remarks regarding the six confirmed sniper incidents involving NATO forces since Sunday. Admiral Smith said, "We have got some jerk up there pulling a trigger and he has got a night scope. That makes it tough. But boy, let me tell you , if we do see him he had better be fast and be clad in bullet-proof stuff. Because we will attack with out  warning. There are such things as anti- sniping teams ....people who snipe at our forces are at great risk to themselves. If we see some body pointing a weapon at our forces he will be attacked with out warning.... no warning shots, no' drop your weapon"
 And true to Admiral Smith's words -- French NATO forces later killed a sniper in the suburb where most of the shooting incidents have occurred. A NATO statement said "One gunman was located by the French Special Forces and was later neutralized. This person was seriously wounded. He later died of his injuries in spite of the intervention from a military physician. Another armed civilian was also apprehended by 0ur forces. This individual was disarmed with out any bloodshed".


1.    How many confirmed sniper incidents have there been?
2.    Where were the two American soldiers inured?
3.    Did both of the soldiers walk away from the explosion?
4.    Will a warning be given to snipers who shoot at NATO forces?
5.    How many mines have been placed in Bosnia during the conflict?
6.    Does Bosnia have a large amount of mines per square mile?
7.    What happened to the sniper found by French NATO forces?
8.    Was the second civilian, who was carrying a weapon ,shot by NATO forces?
9.    Which types of mines are more difficult to detect?
10.    Was the first sniper shot dead by the French NATO forces?


4.CLONE SYSTEM

Numerous reports from around the world in Jan/ Feb 2001 of fresh attempts to clone human embryos, ranging from Clonaid saying they hope t implant embryos into surrogate mothers in February to Australian scientists saying they have managed to make a human cloned embryo by combining a empty pig egg with a human cell . Their cloned human embryo divided to 32 cells before being destroyed. In other words it seems that the empty eggs from animal contain all that is needed to activate human genes for successful human cloning. There are huge risks of abnormalities and mutations in these human cloning experiments. We know that these animal-human hybrids are likely to escape legal controls because a court of law would probably decide that this was not human cloning a legally defined .However the outcome - if born - would be a clone baby which has identical genes in the nucleus of every cell to the adult from which the original cell was taken . Interestingly , 1%of the genes in mammal cells are not in the nucleus but in the power packs providing all the electricity for cells . These power generators called mitochondriaa .So technically these human clones made from animal eggs would have 1% animal DNA . Worrying  we know that there are many serious diseases in human caused by faulty genes in the mitochondria . But that is with human mitochondria .What will be the risk of problems with animal mitochondria being used to power every cell in human cloned child that is yet to go?
Clonaid  says five British couples, including two pairs of homosexual men have asked to be cloned. Peter and lldako Blackborn , computer consultants from Huntingdon Cambrisdgeshire UK have expressed an interest in human cloning as a alternative infertility treatment but which had not say if they are in touch with Clonaid .
as the press conference called and announce of the cloning the United States government banned it to practice in the future . The US government pledged that it will harm the civilization of the human being so world should not follow the mal -practices .
After two months the Korean scientist claimed that he also get success to reproduce a clone baby and he claimed that he will use it for the couple who doesn't  have kids and deserve it .According to the scientist , he will provide who ever the couples deserve, but the donor should give his consents .
The British government strongly condemned the act of the Korean scientist and announced that the UK government does not allow the cloning to spread in the world. Cloning should be only in side the lab.  The international scientists said that it is a big step in the human civilization and should be utilized to find out the cure of all diseases in the future. it also claimed ridiculously that every couple wants Clinton and Bill Gates as their children at the same time the natural system has been disturbed by the pressure of cloning . The world need people of every sector not money maker and politicians. If so, the world will destroy very soon.
A conference has been organized by some popular scientists in the   New York and concluded with a statement that it is a extraordinary achievement for the whole world with some vital de-merits so all should stand together to utilized the said invention. The  prime responsibility rest upon the politicians who claims to be the supreme of the United Nations organization.


1.    What was the conclusion of New York press conference?
2.    What was the only vital demerit of the cloning?
3.    What was the claimed to of the Korean scientist?
4.    Why the US government did banned the cloning system?
5.    What is the main problem of cloning system?
6.    What does Australian scientist claim?
7.    What is the risk in human cloning experiments?
8.    For what reason did the scientists prefer to sue and empty pig egg and a human cell for the experiment?
9.    What is the specific with mitochondria??
10.    Why have scientists shown their interest in human cloning?
5.    ARSON IN THE VILLAGE

On Sunday morning in a hot summer day, one patrol team of CIVPOL monitor received a radio call from the CIVPOL station about an arsoning incident in a bear by village. Someone had called up and informed the station about the incident from a local public call office .The patrol team rushed to the scene of incident. As reaching the scene, they saw a red vehicle speeding away in a very high speed with at least four or five persons inside with at least one man holding something like gun. Arriving at the scene, the monitors saw tow houses burning. Some natives came towards them and informed that some armed people came to the village, set light to the two houses belonging to a local politician and fled in their red car. The situation was immediately reported the CIVPOL station and the local police authority were duly informed. Within few minutes the fleeing red vehicle as stopped at a check point and the perpetrators arrested by the local police.
The patrol team informed to the fire brigade about the arson case and the Fire brigade team form the local municipality arrived in 15 minutes to the scene and put off the fire. Some local said during the interview that the both house was belong to the local politicians called Mustafa Leader. Leader had some arguments with some rivals during the municipality meeting last Friday about the grazing of the animal in the village of Ruslan. The leader received a threat from the rival of abandon the village as soon as possible or faces the adverse consequences. The leader did not obey the threat and the incident happen. Both house entirely damaged by the arson but the fire bridge could not give the total amount of loss of the house. The CIVPOL interviewed with the house owner and revealed that two houses worth $ 10000 and two camels worth $ 1000, cash worth $99 and utensils worth $45, grains worth $ 129, have been damaged during the arson.  The monitor team assured him relief of compensation from the local authority. 
 The local police team with out aid of UN Police have arrested the red vehicle and recovered a Tomy machine gun and 354 rounds of live ammunitions form the red car. Five suspects including driver also have been arrested by the local but not disclosed in public by the local police. The local police issued a statement in the same day saying that investigation is underway and if information needed contact to regional head quarters the following day.
The National Labour Party belongs to Mustafa organized a protest rally in the town demanding the full security to the local leader and their property and take legal and strain action to perpetrators. During the demonstration supporters of the party vandalized 4 shops and injured three local security personnel.
 The local authority endorsed compensation to the Mustafa, according to the report of Fire Brigade which cost in the said head but only $ 11000.  The fire brigade did not mention the head of the loss but recommended the whole some of money.
The local police control the security situation in the town and the police released one suspect with out any legal charge and other four have been sent to the jail by the order of local magistrate on the charge of arson and possession of illegal weapon.
 The red car sent to the auction to pay the compensation of the damage property. The owner of the car complained that his car was stolen from the garage at midnight on the same day, and it is dictatorship of the local authority to auction his car with out investigating properly and he also claimed that he will sue to the local authority in the Apex court.
1.    When did the car stolen?
2.    What was the lost property?
3.    What were the ammunition found by the local police?.
4.    What was the demand of political party?
5.    What had happened during the demonstration of local political party?
6.    What message did the CIVPOL received?
7.    How was the CIVPOL station informed of the incident ?
8.    En- route to the scene, what did the patrol team saw?
9.    What was the monitor action on the scene?
10. what action did the local police take ?

    

6.    Authoritarian regime

President Abdurrahaman Wahid granted amnesty  thousands of prisoners Thursday, including some who were ailed for there political beliefs. Minister for law and legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra said 105 political prisoners, and 3000 others who were jailed for criminals' acts, would be released. He said Wahid signed a presidential decree Thursday and the prisoners would be set free Thursday night and Friday morning.
"We are releasing the criminal prisoners because it's Christmas time and the New year",he said . He added that the release of the political prisoners' mostly separatist activists from Aceh and Irian Jaya province was part of the government's efforts to release all those who were jailed for political activity under Indonesian's former authoritarian regime. Most of the political prisoners were jailed during the32 -year dictatorship of Suharto , who was ousted from power due to a student uprising in May 1998.
It is not the self motivated move of the government but international political pressure to released the political prisoners .  There are more than 40% members of the parliament are brought from the security service to show the political honesty to the military department .  Military party called National Unity party is more powerful in Indonesia till now and it has 32 years' background. The civil leadership could not do any thing with out the military aid. So democratic government willing to follow the military advice. 
The international court of justice has declare to punish some of the criminals who were directly involved in the massacre in Indonesia during the dictatorship of Suharto regime. But it is ridiculous to digest that the than army chief who has been accused of murdering 200 prisoners of political belief, is a member of parliament now. The Amnesty International condemned the act of the government to nominate the army chief Mr. Javal as a parliamentarian and said that the government marginalized the people voice.
The International Court of Justice summoned  as per the international standard to Suharto to present his opinion in Hague whether he did the crime or not , but it went in vain because Suharto has been admitted to Jakarta Teaching   hospital due to chest and BP problem . Suharto has been accusing of accumulating large sum of money and killing 500 students during the students' uprising.
    The interim president of East Timor Mr. Gusmao also condemned the act of the government to make escort free to the war criminals and said government is deceiving the people of Indonesia. Indonesian government barked against the East-Timor saying that no one could interfere in internal matter of the country. For the information, East -Timor is a fragment of the republic of Indonesia and got independence in 1997 by the acute international political pressure and military intervention by the UN.
      Indonesian   people believe, the criminal who are released on the occasion New year will never involve in criminal activities in the future. Indonesia lies in East of the Asia bordering  China , Australia, Iran and Indian sea respectively East, West, South and North. and it is has the most dense Muslim population with mainly  Hindu religion . Indonesia was colonized by French in 1800 AD and ruled till 1936 and got independence. The military authority ousted the civil government in 1940 by military coup and rules till 1997. The country has notorious history of producing natural drugs like Heroine and Cocaine and it is also called the country of golden triangle, the main transit of drugs , including Burma ,Thailand and Laos.       

1.    Which countries are called golden triangle country?
2.    Which country is lies in the  south of Indonesia ?
3.    What is the formal accusation to Suharto?
4.    Why the democratic government does follow the military advice?
5.    What was the reply of the government to East -Timor condemnation?
6.    Where is the international court of Justice located?
7.    why were the thousands of people jailed ?
8.    What did Mr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra say?
9.    How many political prisoners were jailed?
 10. Who were the released prisoners mostly?


7.  GAMBLE

November 27, 2001
Bangkok, Thailand: Thai police said on Mondays they have arrested six Filipino gang members for allegedly luring two Japanese and three French tourists to gamble in their house and cheating them out of millions of Baht (thousands of dollars) . The gang members, three men and three women, were arrested on Sunday from a house in Bangkok where all six gang members lived, police Lieutenant General Chat Kuldilok told reporters. Lt. Gen. Kuldilik said the women pretended to be Thai house wives and invited their victims. Whom they met on the street while pedaling handicrafts, to come to their house to teach them Japanese, and to sell them handicrafts. He said the male members of the gang pretended to be millionaires from Brunei who lost huge sums to each other to avoid suspicion by the tourists, Chat said. Four of the five tourists agreed to gamble with the male gang members while the female gang members supposedly were making them fool. Once the tourists had lost all of their money to the gang members they tried to get some of their money back, but the gang members refused. The tourists were told if they told the police or any one else about losing money to them, they would be killed. All the male gang members had knives and showed them to the tourists after telling them this. The tourists left the house and notified Thai police immediately. The tourists informed the police of the gang members' house and were willing to help them in hopes of getting their money back. Upon arrest, the Thai police searched the entire house, but unfortunately the money could not be found. One of the tourists response was," I am happy, even tough we didn't get our money back , I'm just glad the gang members were found by the Thai Police . Hopefully nothing like this will happen to any tourists ever again.
Police interviewed all the detainees in the police cell and found that other two gangs also committing the same crime using same modus operandi in the capital city. Police started the vigorous checking around the suspected area and arrested  one gang with some weapons and valuables in the rented house. Police confiscate six knives and four round of live bullets including four gang members.  Later on police honestly publicized two golden rings, four golden bracelets, six wrist watches and five passports . And issued a statement saying that any one who is belongs to the valuables contact with proofs to the city police officer Mr. Rothan.
 Police registered a legal case to the first 6 members of the gang accusing looting the valuable of the tourists but the local magistrate released all saying that police did not show the proofs of looting.
 The second gang members also charged with looting the tourists and illegal possession of weapons .The magistrate send them to the jail for six months on the charge of looting but the magistrate said police should be careful accusing the civilian who has only live bullets not a pistol or revolver.
The police assured that the looting case will come down after the arrest of 2 looting gangs and vows that they will do enough to arrest who are involved in looting case. Police said that tourist should be careful with the people who were involved in prostitution. Bangkok is famous for sex tourism in East Asia.  Most of the prostitutes are brought form the Philippine in the name of house wife . In this racket the local administration and police and pimps are also involved. 
1.    How may gang members arrested?
2.    What are the valuables had been confiscated?
3.    Why the Bangkok city is famous for?
4.    How many culprits were sent to jail and how many released?
5.    How the gang member did pretend themselves?
6.    What were the nationality of the victims ?
7.    What was the tourist said after not getting his money?
8.    What did general Chat said about the accident?
9.    What were weapons confiscated.
        10. How many tourists had gambled with cheaters?


8.  EBOLA

Sunday, December 9, 2001
An outbreak of fever in the West African nation of Gabon has been confirmed as the deadly disease Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. It is world's first documented outbreak of Ebola since last year in Uganda, where 224 people - including health workers - died from the virus. Ebola is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases. "It's been confirmed by a laboratory in Gabon" WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the press. "We have reports that seven people have died" Hartl said WHO has already sent a team to help the coastal nation and that a second team of four specialists would leave Geneva for Gabon on Monday. The out break is in remote Ogooue Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon, he said. Gabon was last afflicted in an outbreak in 1996-97 that killed 45 of the 60 people infected. "We have had very little information" Hartl said. The conformation came from a laboratory in France ville, also in eastern Gabon. A team from the Gabon Ministry of Health and the International Center of Medical Research in
France Ville went to the province last week when they first received reports of that the outbreak might be Ebola, Hartl added. On Friday, Hartl said there were unconfirmed reports of a possible outbreak in nearby Congo. Ebola is passed through contact with bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva and blood, but Ebola is not airborne. The virus incubates for four to 10 days before flu-like symptoms set in. Eventually, the virus causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no known cure for Ebola, but patients treated early for dehydration have a good chance of survival. WHO says more than 800 people have died of the disease since the virus was first case in Gabon was documented in 1994 the agency says. After the 1996-97 out break in Gabon it wasn't documented again until it appeared in Uganda last year. WHO recommends the suspected cases is isolated from other patients and that strict barrier nursing techniques be used to shield health workers from exposure. Gloves and masks must be worn and disinfected prior to reuse, the agency says. Patients who die from the disease should be promptly buried or cremated. The virus has also been transmitted to people from handling ill or dead infected chimpanzees, WHO says. Police are worried there may be widespread panic in the area because of the confirmed reports. There have been rumors of possible riots and / or break -ins. Police officials said tat when out breaks such as this occur, people become frightened and assume the worst and that is when people start to try and upraise against the police . However, no reports have been made in regards to riots and/ break -INS, but police have been told to be prepared for the worst. The Goban Government called emergency cabinet meeting and declared Ivindo province as "forbidden Province". The government begs international support and relief to get rid of the diseases.  it is requested to all media house not to make undue publicity to  the outbreak ,which can terrorize the general public and can hamper  to maintain the security situation in  the country. Gabon a Central African Republic also facing starvation, malnutrition, political instability, and draught from a long decade.  The neighboring countries Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia are also suffering from internal conflict and could not do as requested by the Gabon.  The first world showing their interest  on the request and ready to provide the assistances or relief  but they have an eye or vested interest on the natural resources of the Gabon republic which is rich in diamond, gold , natural gas , petroleum mine .

1.    What did government request to Media?
2.    Which province was declared as "forbidden province" ?
3.    Why the neighboring countries could not assist the Republic of Gabon?
4.    When the disease was documented first in the Africa?
5.    What was the rate of death causing Ebola?
6.    What were the symptoms of Ebola?
7.    How the Ebola is transmitted to another person.
8.    What was the resource of the Ebola?
9.    Why did the first world countries showing their interest to Gabon?
10. How many medical teams are going to be assign to assist the Gabon republic.    

9. TALIBAN ARRESTED

    US forces detained seven suspected Taliban fighters yesterday outside the American military base at Kandhar airport in southern Afghanistan after it came under attack , defense officials said. They said the men were detained for questioning after patrols were sent out to investigate the attack. A small number of other people who might have been involved in the gunfight escaped, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified. No American troops were injured, they said. A Reuters television cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, said he heard heavy gunfire and a number of explosions at the Kandhar base . He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes and was at its most intense for a period of about five minutes ." I have seen the tracers and there were some light explosions like hand grenades ", he said " Americans appeared to be firing at a point in the hills to the West Side of the air base." Operation in Afghanistan by the US military and its allies to mop up remnants of the vanquished Taliban and the AL-QUIDA network are based at Kandahar airport .
    There are about 4100 military personnel based at the airport, with the majority from the US. Mr. Protsyuk said the heaviest firing was on the airport's western perimeter, about half a mile from the terminal building. In a separate incident, an American military transport plane crashed in a remote region of the Afghanistan on Tuesday night , injuring all eight crew members but non of them critically ,US  officials said yesterday . Seven of those injured in the crash were able to walk and " non of the injuries were considered life- threatening " ,said Major Brad Lowell, a spokesman for the US central command in Florida . The cause of the crash was not known , although it did not appear to be the result of hostile fire, official said . An American soldier was killed in an accident in Afghanistan yesterday when a piece of heavy industrial equipment fell on him at Bagram air base near Kabul, the US military said . The soldier's name was  withheld pending notification of next of kin. Later on , it was revealed that the detainees were investigated thoroughly and two among seven were sent to " Kwantanamo Bey" a notorious jail used by American military  to dump terrorists. Kwantanamo Bey is in Cuba , a communist nation , ruled by Fidel Kastro , a south American country .
    It was provided to USA on lease for hundred years. Remaining among the detainees were sent to the local judicial authority and imposed to the judicial remand for six months . The American soldier killed by heavy equipment was delivered  to home with a national regards by a special US navy plane . The US had  started war against Afghanistan to abolish Taliban regime , who allegedly harboring the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden  in the country . American military could not find the Osama  till now. Osama is Saudi Arabia born billionaire and blind supporter of Muslim belief , he involved in fighting with Soviet Union  who had strong hold in Afghanistan during the second world war and  with the aid of US the Al quada successes to remove Russia from Afghanistan . Bin laden started getting physical and moral support from theUS . later on , the US  did not give his support to Osama so he and his allies attacked on US interest in South Africa killing 1000 innocent people by the suicide bombing and declared Osama a terrorist .  After the 9/11 terrorist attack on twin tower , the US has declared fight against the terrorism and  announce to hand over the Osama to the US by Afgan Government . The Taliban regime  did not obey the order saying that he was the guest of the country and  guest should not be hand over the western country . 

1. Who is Osama bin Laden?
2. What do you know about Kwantanamo Bey?
3. What had happen to arrested seven detainees?
4. Why did America attack Afghanistan?
5. where did the US transport plane crash?
6. Where is the US central command located?
7. How many US military have been killed according to the passage?
8. Where was the heaviest firing occurred?
9. Where is the Kandhar air port located?
10.    Who is Taras?

10. THE UNITED NATION

The United Nation is an international organization established to create international security and friendship among the member states.
    After the Second World War, the allied nation established the United Nation on 24 December 1945 including 51 member states. Now it has 191 member states around the globe. The head quarters of the United Nation lies in New York in the US and the branch for the Europe is lies in Switzerland.

Main objectives of the United Nations are as follows.

1. To maintain international security
2. To maintain friendship among the countries
3. To regards human rights.

It has six main organs

1. International court of justice
2. Secret General assembly
3. Security Council
4. Economic and social council
5. Trusteeship council
6. Secretariat

                                        1. International court of justice.

    The headquarters of International court of justice lies in Netherlands. The UN secretariat lies in New York. The meeting of general assembly starts on third of September and concludes on December. Security council has 15 members among them 5 are permanent members , which are America, China , Russia , French, and Germany and other 10 members are elected by the 191 members states of general assembly for the period of two years . The Economic and Social council has 54 members' states and every member has three years of working period. The headquarters of the Economic and Social council lies in Geneva.

    America, China, France, Germany, Russia the permanent members of the Security council has veto power .Chinese English, French, Russian, Spanish are the official language of the United nation,. Mr. Ban ki Mon is the Secretary General of the United Nations, a South Korea citizen.

    Nepal as a United Nation member state has sent 1241police personnel to serve the United Nation, as civil police, police monitor, police advisor and police trainers. Nepal has established two Form Police Units in Haiti and Sudan as per the request of the United Nation. wins their obedience, confidence, respect and enthusiastic co-operation in achieving common objectives.


11.  UN FAILURE IN BOSNIA

    A long -awaited report into the failure of a Dutch UN peacekeeping force to prevent the murder of thousands of Muslims in the Bosnian town of Brebrenica will be published on Wednesday. The Netherlands is bracing itself for the results of the inquiry in to the worst massacre in Europe since world War second. The
    BBC's Europe correspondent says Dutch troops are likely to be criticized for their part in event leading up to the 1995 slaughter. In July 1995, Srebrenica was being protected by 110 Dutch troops who were supposed to ensure the safety of the town's mainly Muslim population against surrounding Bosnian Serb forces. The United Nations had declared it a safe area but when it  was attacked, the town fill with out the Dutch UN troops firings shot . Up to 8000 Muslim men and boys were then murdered.

Five years of research

                  While the Dutch troops are likely to be criticized for letting the town fall without a fight , fault is also set to be found with the over all UN commander for failing to order air strikes to protect the enclave. The report is also understood to criticize the Dutch government for showing lack of political will. The 7000-pages report by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation is the official Dutch history of events in Srebrenica. It has taken more than five years to produce. In a 1999 report, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan blamed the international community for its failure to protect the enclave but insisted that it was impossible " to say whether a more decisive action by the Dutch would have saved lives" .A report two weeks ago by the Interchurch Peace Council ( IKV) in the Netherlands condemned Dutch troops, generals and politicians for failing to evacuate and protect the Muslims.

Scenes from hell

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague has ruled that the massacre was genocide. Last August it sentenced Bosnian Serb General Radisav Krstic, considered a key commander in the episode, to 46 years in prison. The judge in the case said the massacre was characterized by " scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history" Survivors' reports, aerial photography and grisly evidence exhumed from mass graves indicate the most victims in the massacre were summarily executed ,Dutch MPs may now call for a public inquiry. Seven military commanders of Royal Dutch army have been sentenced to seven years jail . Ten army personnel have been fired from the service and 20 have been restricted from the promotion as per the report of the criminal tribunal.   The BBC's correspondent Mr. Havel Eastward has been facilitated by the Dutch Government as a friends of mankind . After the massacre in the Srebrenica the Dutch government begs pardon with the Bosnian people and saying that her troops could not do any thing to save the life of the people and she is responsible to the accident.


1. How many Dutch troops were protecting Srebrenica?
2. What ethnic group were the people of Srebrenica?
3. Why the Dutch government begs pardon with the people of Bosnia ?
4. How many people were killed in Srebrenica?
5. How many army personnel were punished?
6. Who is criticized in the report?
7. Where is the International Criminal Tribunal based?
8. Would more positive action by the Dutch troops have saved lives?
9    What sentence was General Krstic given?
10    Who was facilitated by the Dutch government and why?


12.  SWARM ATTACK

    Six people were hospitalized after they were attacked by a swarm of bees in Singapore, a news report said on Tuesday. The bees attacked contractors who were trying to remove a beehive in the tropical city-state .Two police officers who were on the scene to keep back the public, were among those attacked and hospitalized. Police public affairs officers could not immediately be contacted to confirm the report. The incident occurred at approximately 12:30PM on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the people who were injured in the attack were still in the hospital on Tuesday night at 10:00 PM; however they were in good condition. Such incidents are rare in heavily urbanized Singapore. But two years ago , a 51 years old taxi driver died after he was stung by a swarm bees .The driver was changing his back left tire and he removed the deflated tire , a beehive was in the wheel well . Witnesses said that the swarm covered the man's face and hands and repeatedly sting him as he cried out in pain .He died later that night while being hospitalized. Singapore is a very small country covered by the see in the east of Asia and known as a well industrialized country.
    The big industry installations have many nooks and corners where the swarm bees get shelters. firstly people do not care about it because it seems harmless and small in the beginning but after  a year it  appeared in large scale and bees become escort free so they undermine their stung so they try to destroy their hives and got stung and the result  become very adverse. The same accident happened in The US in 1990 when a farmer had gone to his farmhouse to clean the room , he saw that there is a bee hive in the ceiling of the room he thought it was full of honey , unfortunately it was poisonous  swarm bee's hive.  He collected his two sons and a black servant to take the honey . In the mean time when they lit a fire to fly the bees , the swarm bees started stung them . The younger son who was in the door side escaped from the room after having a look at the victims and called the police . The house got in to the gutter by the fire and three injured had been hospitalize in the city centre . The house owner Mr. Kally died during the medical treatment and two had been discharged after 2 weeks with swollen face and bruises for the whole life.  The same accident happened in Nepal too on 23 September 2002. The Raute , who are famous for honey hunter ,had tried to collect honey from the very steep hill near Manang District. they made rope ladder to climb the hill and with the aid of fire they started collecting the honey .
    It was a documentary program filmed by Scottish Director visualized to broadcast in Britain  by BBC. Al together there were 15 men. When the honey hunter was climbing down from the steep hill after the successful visualization of the film. Unfortunately, one of the hunters touched the bees hive. Due to the finished job, they did not prepare for next attack and they all were on very thin cloths and without cloves . Three among five hunters fall down from the cliff and died. Two were severely bitten by the bees were died on the way to hospital and ten crew members of the visualization  were admitted in the hospital and discharged after 2 weeks .  It is said that the bees seems so calm if they are not hurt and if anyone hurt their queen , they become so terrifying and take revenge from the hunter . The queen is the most powerful among the bees. if the queen of the bees  safely removed from the hive it will be so easy to get the honey from the hive   which is considered as medicine  in eastern countries . The working bees always follow the queen bee , if she abandon the hive silently , all the bees left the hive with out revenge. so if you want to get honey remove the queen tactically and calmly.
         
1.    How many people had been killed according to the passage.?
2.    How many people had been injured according to the passage?
3.    Where was the bees's hive in the taxi?
4.    Who was the authentic person to provide informations about injured police officers according to the passage.
5.    What had happened to the two Americans who escaped from the death?
6.    What is the ideal idea to get honey?
7.    What did the team doing in Manning District?
8.    How did the taxi driver killed?
9.    Where was the bees's hive in the room?
10.    Who is the most powerful in the hive?

13.  ARAFAT POLITICS
    Arafat is not the point. As Israelis and Palestinians use ever more lethal means against each other's civilians, the question being asked in Israel and the US is not how to end the occupation, but whether or not to end the career, or even the life, of Arafat. At the time of writing this coverage trend in early February 2002, in a further escalation Israeli tanks have confined Arafat in an area of 200m square in Ram Allah. And have destroyed the remainder of his helicopter fleet that it began to destroy on the attack of his compound on 3 December 2001.
    If Israel killed Arafat or sent in to exile, nothing would change. It seems almost absurd to have to point out that forcing millions of people to live for decades under hostile military rule with no end on sight inevitably produces violent resistance. Only a mind -set that steadfastly refuses to recognize this can become captivated by a lone figure who's real and imagined failings became a smoke screen that obscures the machinery that actually drives the conflict.
    If Israel truly seeks the moral high ground it invokes in the international arena, it should stop seeking a relative high ground whose only elevation stems from the weakness and failing of its historical enemies. Rather Israel should address the most obvious things it dies to perpetuate the conflict.
    The bottom line is that the single most identifiable factor that perpetuates the Israeli- Palestinian conflict in all its forms, both legitimate, is the Israeli military occupation that exists to protect the continuing Israeli colonization of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including Jerusalem.
    Comparisons of Arafat with Bin Laden serve to legitimize Israel's continuing repression of the Palestinians and bear no reality to the dynamics that this particular conflicts, dynamics that Israel has played no small part in creating.
    Israel's killing of civilians is a form of terrorism. The United States  tacit support of Israel's so called retaliation in US support of terrorism .Although Israeli officials are occasionally note don record " apologizing" for the latest " accidental" death of a child , there comes a point -- after a year in which one quarter of the 800 Palestinians killed were children and 50 percent of these children were killed for away from clashes- that it becomes imperative to note that Israel could always simply stop killing children , instead of merely apologizing for it.
    Israel's nightly shelling of Palestinian neighborhoods has accounted for one quarter of the 800 Palestinians killed during the first year of the Second Intifada .  Israel's regular killing of innocent civilians including children as a "by product " of its ironically titled" targeted killings " of Palestinian activists most commonly with rockets fired from combat helicopters at these leader's vehicles while in cit streets offer more examples of the indiscriminate violence that characterizes 'terrorism' as most people understand the word.
    Following a series of suicide bomb attacks in February / March 1996, then Israeli President Weizmann bluntly described Israel's practice of using closure to turn Palestinian towns in to prisons for the entire population: "Sometimes, when you are searching for a needle in a haystack, you have to burn the haystack".
    Israel has been encouraged to carry out similar "retaliation" as in the case of the December 2001bombing, by the knowledge that the United States would not condemn it. America must refrain from "understanding" Israel's violence. This can only have the effect of encouraging the continued Israeli killing of innocent Palestinian civilians.

1.    How many Palestinian children have been killed this year?
2.    How many Palestinians have been killed during nightly shelling?
3.    Are children targeted by the Israelis?
4.    Who is Arafat compared to and why?
5.    Where is Arafat confined, and what size of area?
6.    How many people live under hostile military rule in Palestine?
7.    What is the question being asked in Israel and the US?
8.    Why is Israel not afraid to carry out retaliation attacks on Palestinians?
9.    What happened in 1996?
10.    What dies Israel do when it is faced with suicide bomb attacks?








14.  BUS LOOTED
    A bus, which started off in Kathmandu , at 5:30 PM , traveling to Biratnagar , was looted by some Indian dacoits, which had crossed the boarder in order to escape the authorities there. They had been in Nepal for at least a month and had been regularly stopping night buses and robbing the passengers of all their belongings as well as money.
    When the bus number Ba Ga 3987, first started off from Gongabu Bus Park there was a total of 30 passengers. Just near Thankot 3 more passengers got on. The journey was uneventful until they reached Muggling, where they stopped for dinner. Here, the bus conductor managed to find 4 more people wanting to travel to Biratnagar . After about half an hour stop for dinner, they set off again. At Bharatpur 2 of the passengers got off as they had only booked up to this point. The bus had to wait for about one hour as the engine had trouble and the driver had to fix it .After this they started  of again and had a short tea break at Hetauda where another 2 people got off and one got on.
    At about 2:00 PM in the morning, when most of the passengers were asleep, the driver suddenly stopped as there was a tree across the main road. The passengers all wake up as the bus had come to a sudden stop, and were all looking out of the windows. Two Indian men dressed in black were behind the fallen tree with country made rifles; at the same time 2 also came from the back and two on each side of the bus. At once they told all the passengers to come out of the bus and line up in front of the bus, even though it as a moonlight night, no body could make out the faces of the dacoits, and could tell only by the way they spoke that they were from India. Everybody was told to remove their watches, jewelries and to empty out their pockets and moneybags. One of the men colleted all this while the others told all the passengers to lie down with their faces facing down. During this time the dacoits all disappeared, as nobody wanted to follow them as they might get shot

1.    How many passengers were on the bus when it was robbed?

2.    How many dacoits were there in total?

3.    How long did they stop for dinner?

4.    Why did they stop a second time before the robbery?

5.    How did the passengers know that the dacoits were not Nepali?

5.    Where did the bus start first?

6.    How many got in the Baratpur?

7.    Why did the bus have to stop suddenly?

8.    How many we on the bus at Muggling?

9.    Although it was night time how could the passengers make out how many dacoits there were?  
15.    KOSOVO POLICE

    On Monday 17 March 2003 , at 0745 hours , two Kosovo Police Officers were on patrol duty in a police vehicle when they observed a white van type vehicle , license 496KS858 driving very fast. The officers stopped the white van type vehicle for questioning using their blue flash lights. When the driver stopped, the patrol team stopped five meters behind his vehicle, however the van did not turn off its engine. As the officers exited their vehicle, the drivers of the white van type vehicle sped away very quickly. The officers ran back to their vehicle and chased the white vehicle .They were driving on the road to the airport. The police vehicle was driving at almost 120 km/hour but was unable to catch up to the van. Suddenly, the van turned north on to an unpaved roadway. The officers continued the pursuit. The van drove for approximately a hundred meters more. There was a big hole by the side of the road which the van fell into as the driver had lost control of the van, then it rolled upside down into a deep ditch on the south side of the roadway at grid reference 184-846. The officers stopped their vehicle on the opposite side of the roadway and proceeded cautiously toward the offender's vehicle. When they were approximately two meters away form the white van type vehicle they could see that the offender was still in his vehicle but was not moving. There were no sign of blood or injury  to the offender .As the officers got closer they could see three bundles, approximately 35 cm by 20cm by 25cm in the rare cargo area of the vehicle . One of the bundles was ripped open and a dark green plant material was showing, the officers assumed that it was marijuana. The first officer proceeded to the front of the vehicle to check the physical condition to the driver. The offender was breathing but didn't respond to any of the officer's verbal commands.  The officer radioed for an ambulance and the offender was taken to the local hospital. The second officer searched the offender's vehicle and found another bundle under the front seat with a knife. The Knife was 20 cm long with old blood stains. There were no papers or registration found in the vehicle. All material were seized as evidence and taken to police station.

1.    What were the 2 officers doing at 0745 Hrs?
2.    Why did they ask the van to stop?
3.    What was their reason for stopping the van?
4.    At what distance behind did the police stop?
5.    How many bundles were seen?
6.    Approximately what speed was the van traveling when in pursuit?
7.    What did the officers assume it to be?
8.    Was the knife found before or after the suspect was taken to hospital?
9.    What distance did the van travel on the dirt road?
10.    How did the man crash the vehicle?
16.    GERMANY SOOTING

Germany was in shock yesterday after 19 years old, masked gunman shot 17 people, including two female students, before killing himself in a school massacre in the eastern city of Erfurt.
The black -clad gunman a recently - expelled student of the Gutenberg secondary school, burst into a classroom during an exam yesterday morning around 11 AM and started shooting with a pump action rifle mounted on his back. "He passed us in the corridor with out paying any attention and walked straight into the secretary's office and started shooting." He said. Witnesses said the gunman walked through the building, opening classroom doors and targeting staff, killing nine male teachers, four female teachers, a secretary and two female students all within minutes. Caretakers heard the shots and notified the local police. Two officers arrived on the scene and discovered two dead bodies in the entrance hall. Moments later the gunman appeared and opened fire, shooting dead one of the policemen. A special commando unit immediately surrounded the school, which has nearly 700 students. As the shooting continued, around 180 students were still trapped in the building. Commandos stormed the building shortly before noon and came upon what was described as terrible scenes. 'Bodies lay in the halls, in bathrooms and classrooms' said Mr.Rainer Grube, a police spokesman. The gunman, who had barricaded himself into a room, shot himself as officers approached. 'The gunman killed himself when he saw that there was no way out for him' said Mr., Grube.
    For the students trapped inside the building, their ordeals ended nearly three hours later when they were led, pale and shaking, out of the school to worried parents at the gate. They were all receiving counseling yesterday evening, while four people injured in the attack were brought to hospital. Police were last night still investigating students reports that there was a second gunman. They had no motive for the shootings yesterday evening. Friends of the as yet unidentified gunman described him as an intelligent student who was ' full of life' and often spoke of his wish to become famous. The massacre is one of the most violent attacks in German post -war history, and ranks alongside the 1996 school shooting in Dunblane and the 1999 massacre in Columbine , Arkansas. Yesterday evening Erfurt residents were in shock and German politicians speechless .
'We are stunned at this horrific crime. No explanation we could give would go far enough right now ' said the Chancellor, Mr. Gerhard Schroeder, expressing his sympathy for the families of the victims and the students who witnessed the attack. He ordered the German flag on the Reichstag in Berlin to flown to be flown at half mast. 'We are all in one room .One teacher is dead, we are crying.



1.    Which two other massacres are mentioned?
2.    How many people were injured in the attack?
3.    What time did the shooting start?
4.    What weapons were used?
5.    How many teachers were killed?
6.    Did the gunman target students?
7.     Who notified the police about the shooting?
8.    Who stormed the building and when?
9.    How many police men entered the building initially?
10.    How long it take to gunman to kill the people and was there only one gunman?



17.  DEAD BODY FOUND

Mr. John Edwards lives alone in his cottage in the southern part of Cambridge, UK. He was a retired officer who previously worked for the finance office which was based in London. He had been retired for 5 years now and spent most of his time in Cambridge. He had worked for 34 years and during that time lived in London. By the sides of his cottage, there was a husband and wife living who used to work for Mr. Edwards. The woman would cook his meals and the man would attend to the garden. Mr. Edwards had no close family or friends who would come to visit him regularly .On December 15 , 2002 ,Mr. Edwards was found dead in his study at 0700 hrs. His body was fund by the woman who did his cooking. She had informed the police when she had seen him lying on his desk at 0700hrs. All the doors were closed from the inside so the woman thought in quite suspicious so she looked through the window. This is when she saw Mr. Edwards at his desk. When the police arrived at 0730 hrs. They broke open the door and checked the body. Mr. Edwards was confirmed dead and his body sent for post mortem. By the side of the table there was a bottle and a letter which said that he was taking his life as he was fed up and didn't see any future in continuing. All these materials were sent to the police lab for the necessary testing. The reports all confirmed that Mr. Edwards did take the poison, traces of which were found in his blood and on his lips. On the latter, apart from Mr. Edward's finger prints, there were other prints found as well. When the police checked up they found that it belonged to the husband the woman who cooked for Mr. Edwards. The police found this very suspicious as the husband had said that he never came into the study at any time. The police brought the man in for questioning and under interrogation he at first denied that he had gone to the house ant any time. After 2 hours, he changed his story and said that he
          Private Army Formed to Fight Somali Pirates Leaves Troubled Legacy        
The New York Times  October 4, 2012 WASHINGTON — It seemed like a simple idea: In the chaos that is Somalia, create a sophisticated, highly trained fighting force that could finally defeat the pirates terrorizing the shipping lanes off the Somali coast. But the creation of the Puntland Maritime Police Force was anything but simple. […]
          Blowback in Somalia        
Jeremy Scahill at The Nation  September 11, 2012 The notorious Somali paramilitary warlord who goes by the nom de guerre Indha Adde, or White Eyes, walks alongside trenches on the outskirts of Mogadishu’s Bakara Market once occupied by fighters from the Shabab, the Islamic militant group that has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. In one […]
          Jilbab Ditarik, Apa yang Dilakukan Gadis Muslimah Ini Sungguh Menakjubkan        
Suatu video menghebohkan jagat twitter. video itu menampilkan tindak penistaan kepada seseorang wanita muslimah akibat islamophobia.

seseorang pemuda berupaya menarik hijab seseorang wanita muslimah asal somalia. tetapi, perihal mengejutkan terjalin.

bukannya ketakutan ataupun menangis, wanita yang menggunakan hijab merah itu mendadak melaksanakan perlawanan. warnanya, dia seseorang jago bela diri.

perihal itu nampak dari gerakannya yang tangkas. dengan sedini kilat, dia langsung memukul pemuda itu. sekali, kepala pemuda kena. pernah mundur sebagian langkah ke balik, pemuda tersebut berupaya menjauhi pukulan selanjutnya.

tetapi kecepatan dan juga kekokohan wanita muslimah itu tidak mampu dihalaunya. sebagian pukulan juga mendarat di kepala pemuda tersebut.

“gadis somalia vs laki - laki yang menarik jilbabnya, ” demikian tulis @robbysnt, ahad (15/1/2017) , tanpa menarangkan di mana dan juga kapan kejadian itu terjalin.

kendati demikian, video pendek itu bawa pesan berharga untuk kalangan muslimah buat membekali pribadinya dengan bela diri. sampai - sampai tiap muslimah dapat melindungi pribadinya –minimal melaksanakan perlawanan - dikala terdapat penjahat yang berupaya menista kehormatannya.



VIDEO: https://twitter.com/robbysnt/status/820505057447682049/video/1





(sumber: tarbiyah. net)

          2013å¹´12月英语六级短文改错训练(16)        
  Thomas Malthus published his “Essay on the

  Principle of Population” almost 200 years ago. Ever since then,

  forecasters have being warning that worldwide famine was (S1)

  just around the next corner. The fast-growing population’s

  demand for food, they warned, would soon exceed their (S2)

  supply, leading to widespread food shortages and starvation.

  But in reality, the world’s total grain harvest has risen

  steadily over the years. Except for relative isolated trouble (S3)

  spots like present-day Somalia, and occasional years of

  good harvests, the world’s food crisis has remained just (S4)

  around the corner. Most experts believe this can continue

  even as if the population doubles by the mid-21st century, (S5)

  although feeding 10 billion people will not be easy for

  politics, economic and environmental reasons. Optimists (S6)

  point to concrete examples of continued improvements

  in yield. In Africa, by instance, improved seed, more (S7)

  fertilizer and advanced growing practices have more than

  double corn and wheat yields in an experiment. Elsewhere, (S8)

  rice experts in the Philippines are producing a plant with few (S9)

  stems and more seeds. There is no guarantee that plant

  breeders can continue to develop new, higher-yielding

  crop, but most researchers see their success to date as reason (S10)

  for hope.

  【答案请见下页】


............

Tags - , ,
          Pay now to protect 1 billion people from coastal floods        

As sea levels rise, so will the costs of dealing with it, Christian Aid reminds us in a report released today.

“Spending money now on reducing the risk of disasters will save money and lives later,” said report author Dr Alison Doig in a statement.

More than one billion people will be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060, the report says. Most of them will be in Asia, where the seven most vulnerable cities are. India’s Kolkata and Mumbai top the list, followed by the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

The nation with the most people living in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding is China, home to six of the 20 most financially vulnerable cities.

Four of the other top 20 cities are in the United States, including the city with the most materially to lose: Miami. With $3.5 trillion worth of exposed assets, it is projected to pay the highest cost of coastal flooding by 2070.

The growth of coastal populations combined with rising sea levels due to climate change has created “a perfect storm”, said Doig.

 

Poor people will bear the brunt of it. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for the percentage of global aid for disaster risk reduction to be doubled to one percent, or one billion dollars. The report’s authors suggest raising that figure to 5 percent, arguing that although it sounds like a large amount: it’s better to pay that now than to pay more later.

jf/ag

Ocean waves Maps and Graphics Environment and Disasters Climate change Cities Pay now to protect 1 billion people from coastal floods Jared Ferrie IRIN 20 cities most at risk from flooding PHNOM PENH Africa Somalia Americas Asia Bangladesh China India Malaysia Myanmar Vietnam Europe Egypt
          Killing us softly         

A recent public outcry in China, sparked by a damning documentary about air pollution, was based on well-founded fear:

Of the 100 million people who viewed the film on the first day of its online release, 172,000 are likely to die each year from air pollution-related diseases, according to regional trends.* 

Worldwide, pollution kills twice as many people each year as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined,** but aid policy has consistently neglected it as a health risk, donors and experts say. 

Air pollution alone killed seven million people in 2012, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures released last year, most of them in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the Asia Pacific region.*** 

In a self-critical report released late last month the World Bank acknowledged that it had treated air pollution as an afterthought, resulting in a dearth of analysis of the problem and spending on solutions. 

“We now need to step up our game and adopt a more comprehensive approach to fixing air quality,” the authors wrote in Clean Air and Healthy Lungs. “If left unaddressed, these problems are expected to grow worse over time, as the world continues to urbanise at an unprecedented and challenging speed.”

A second report released last month by several organisations – including the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, an international consortium of UN organisations, governments, development banks, NGOs and academics – also called for more funding towards reducing pollution. 

“Rich countries, multilateral agencies and organisations have forgotten the crippling impacts of pollution and fail to make it a priority in their foreign assistance,” the authors wrote. 

Housebound in China 

A dense haze obstructs visibility more often than not across China’s northern Hua Bei plain and two of its major river deltas. Less than one percent of the 500 largest cities in China meet WHO’s air quality guidelines. Anger over air pollution is a hot topic among China’s increasingly outspoken citizenry.  

“Half of the days in 2014, I had to confine my daughter to my home like a prisoner because the air quality in Beijing was so poor,” China’s well-known journalist Chai Jing said in Under the Dome, the independent documentary she released last month, which investigated the causes of China’s air pollution.

The film was shared on the Chinese social media portal Weibo more than 580,000 times before officials ordered websites to delete it. 

Beyond the silo

Traditionally left to environmental experts to tackle, the fight against pollution is increasingly recognised as requiring attention from health and development specialists too. 

“Air pollution is the top environmental health risk and among the top modifiable health risks in the world,” said Professor Michael Brauer, a public health expert at the University of British Columbia in Canada and a member of the scientific advisory panel for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a consortium of governments and the UN Environment Programme. “Air pollution has been under-funded and its health impacts under-appreciated.”

Pollution – especially outdoor or “ambient” air pollution – is also a major drag on economic performance and limits the opportunities of the poor, according to Ilmi Granoff, an environmental policy expert at the Overseas Development Institute, a London-based think tank. It causes premature death, illness, lost earnings and medical costs – all of which take their toll on both individual and national productivity.

“Donors need to get out of the siloed thinking of pollution as an environmental problem distinct from economic development and poverty reduction,” Granoff said. 

Pollution cleanup is indeed underfunded, he added, but pollution prevention is even more poorly prioritised: “It’s underfunded in much of the developed world, in aid, and in developing country priorities, so this isn’t just an aid problem.”

Mounting evidence 

Pollution kills in a variety of ways, according to relatively recent studies; air pollution is by far the most lethal form compared to soil and water pollution. 
 

Microscopic particulate matter (PM) suspended in polluted air is the chief culprit in these deaths: the smaller the particles’ size, the deeper they are able to penetrate into the lungs.  Particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5) are small enough to reach the alveoli, the deepest part of the lungs, and to enter the blood stream.  

From there, PM2.5 causes inflammation and changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood clotting processes - the precursors to fatal stroke and heart disease.  PM2.5 irritates and corrodes the alveoli, which impairs lung function - a major precursor to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also acts as a carcinogen.

Most research looks at long-term exposure to PM2.5 but even studies looking at the hours immediately following bursts of especially high ambient PM2.5 (in developed countries) show a corresponding spike in life-threatening heart attacks, heart arrhythmias and stroke.

Asia worst affected

The overwhelming majority - 70 percent - of global air pollution deaths occur in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.  South Asia has eight of the top 10 and 33 of the top 50 cities with the worst PM concentrations in the world.  

 

WHO says a city’s average annual PM levels should be 20 micrograms per cubic meter.  But cities such as Karachi, Gaborone, and Delhi have yearly PM averages above 200 micrograms per cubic meter. 

The main source of PM2.5 in indoor air, or household air, is burning solid fuels for cooking and heating, using wood, coal, dung or crop leftovers - a common practice in rural areas of low and middle-income countries that lack electricity.  

Almost three billion people live this way, the majority in the densely populated Asia Pacific region: India and China each hold about one quarter of all people who rely on solid fuels. For these people, the daily average dose of PM2.5 is often in the hundreds of micrograms per cubic meter. 

Filling the gaps

Unlike many other health risks air pollution is very cost-effective to address, Brauer said. Analysis of air quality interventions in the US suggests a return on investment of up to $30 for every dollar spent. 

“We already know how to reduce these risks, as we have done exactly that in high income countries, so this is not a matter of searching for a cure - we know what works,” he said.

But the World Bank report said that unless it starts gathering better data on local air quality in LMICs, the amounts and sources of air pollution and the full gamut of its health impacts, “it is not possible to appropriately target interventions in a cost-effective manner.”

Granoff said there are also gaps in government capacity to monitor, regulate and enforce pollution policy. 

Beijing hopes to bring PM2.5 concentrations down to safe levels by 2030, and has said it will fine big polluters. 

The World Bank report said China is also charging all enterprises fees for the pollutants they discharge; establishing a nationwide PM2.5 monitoring network; instituting pollution control measures on motor vehicles; and controlling urban dust pollution.

But enforcing environmental protections has been a longstanding problem in China.

“Pollution policy will only succeed if citizens are aware of the harm, able to organise their concern [through advocacy campaigns], and have a responsive government that prioritises public welfare over the narrower interests of polluting sectors,” Granoff said. 

While more people die from household air pollution than from ambient air pollution, the latter – through vehicles, smokestacks and open burning – still accounted for 3.7 million deaths in 2012, according to the WHO. 

A change in the air

Kaye Patdu, an air quality expert at Clean Air Asia, a Manila-based think tank - and the secretariat for the UN-backed Clean Air Asia Partnership, comprising more than 250 government, civil, academic, business and development organisations - said the aid community is finally starting to recognise the importance of tackling air pollution.  

• Last year’s inaugural UN Environment Assembly adopted a resolution calling for strengthened action on air pollution.  
• WHO Member States are planning to adopt a resolution on health and air quality at the upcoming World Health Assembly in May. 
• The proposed Sustainable Development Goals, which will set the post-2015 international development agenda, address city air quality and air, soil and water pollution. 

None of the experts IRIN contacted could provide a breakdown of total aid spending on all forms of toxic pollution (air, water and soil pollution that is harmful to human health).  So IRIN asked each of the major global donors for their figures.  

Three responded.  

A back-of-envelope calculation of all reported spending on toxic pollution by USAID, the European Commission and the World Bank suggests that between them they committed about US$10 billion over 10 years. This does not include aid spending on the diseases that pollution causes. The World Bank’s spending figures eclipsed those of other the other donors. 

By very rough comparison, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, with half the death toll of air pollution, received $28 billion via public sector commitments to the Global Fund – the world’s largest financier of programs that tackle these diseases – over the same period, a fraction of total spending on these diseases. 

gh/ha/bp

*Based on WHO statistics for per capita mortality rates in the Western Pacific region in 2012. 

**The mortality figures for air pollution come from 2012 statistics and were released by WHO in 2014, while the figures for the infectious diseases come from 2013 statistics and were released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in 2014 (the Global Burden of Disease study).

***Includes deaths from both household air pollution (4.3 million) and ambient air pollution (3.7 million): the combined death toll is less than the sum of the parts because many people are exposed to both. 

For more: 

The relationship between household air pollution and disease

Ambient air pollution and the risk of acute ischemic stroke 

Cardiovascular effects of exposure to ambient air pollution 

Particulate air pollution and lung function  

Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and incidence of cerebrovascular events: Results from 11 European cohorts within the ESCAPE Project  

OECD's The Cost of Air Pollution report
 

101285 200901271.jpg Analysis Health Killing us softly Gabrielle Babbington IRIN HONG KONG Congo, Republic of Djibouti DRC Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya Rwanda Somalia Sudan Tanzania Uganda Angola Botswana Lesotho Madagascar Malawi Mauritius Mozambique Namibia Seychelles South Africa Swaziland Zambia Zimbabwe Benin Burkina Faso Cameroon Cape Verde Chad Côte d’Ivoire Equatorial Guinea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Liberia Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Sierra Leone Togo Colombia Haiti United States Bangladesh Cambodia Indonesia Iran Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Lao Peoples Democratic Republic Myanmar Pakistan Papua New Guinea Philippines Samoa Sri Lanka Tajikistan Thailand Timor-Leste Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vietnam
          AKHRISO: Madaxtooyada Somalia oo amartay in laga guuro dhismayaasha ay degan yihiin Wasiiro,        
MUQDISHO(P-TIMES)- Agaasimaha guud ee Madaxooyada Soomaaliya Fahad Yaasiin ayaa soo saaray amar cusub oo ku socda shaqsiyaad kamid ah golayaasha dawladda oo degan dhismaha Madaxtooyada dalka. Fahad aya amray in gabi ahaanba la baneeyo dhismayaashan oo ay degan yihiin wasiiro, Xildhibaano, Martida dawladda iyo Taliyayaal ciidan, si dibu habeyn loogu sameeyo loona dhiso. Agaasimaha ayaa […]
          Wildlife Trafficking Is Big Business For Criminals, Even Here At Home        

While agents from U.S. Fish and Wildlife lured a smuggler to a storage facility in the Bronx with the promise of $400,000 worth of illegal rhino horn as part of a sting operation, Sheldon Jordan readied his team to raid the man's warehouse in Canada.

The smuggling ring's Richmond, British Columbia headquarters was posing as an antique auction house, where police found piles of illegal ivory, rhino horn and coral. Animal parts were stored next to 50,000 tablets of ecstasy, bags of marijuana and cocaine.

THAILAND-IVORY/

Wildlife trafficking is a global phenomenon. Most people think of shark fins and elephant tusks on black markets in East Asia, but Jordan, director general of Wildlife Enforcement at Environment Canada, says it's much closer to home. He's is in charge of rooting it out across the country.

Jordan recovered a laptop during the sting that mapped out an illegal network of suppliers and buyers stretching across borders, proof of Canada's connection to a global animal trafficking market that's also tied to guns and drugs.

Black-market prices have skyrocketed to meet growing demand in recent years, leading to a surge in trafficking of everything from exotic timber to the scaly pangolin, the world's most poached animal. Conservative estimates value the industry at US$91 billion annually.

With lax international regulation and the promise of huge profits, criminal networks have been quick to capitalize.

Seizure Of Illegal Pangolins In Medan

"Animals and plants are just another low-risk, high-reward commodity for transnational organized crime," explains Kelvin Alie, executive vice president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

While the world focuses on the usual suspects in Africa and Asia, Canada has quietly become both a destination and a source country. Turtles, lizards and birds are smuggled here for collectors. Polar bear hides and narwhal tusks, prized as trophies, and bear gall bladders and wild ginseng valued for medicinal purposes, are illegally exported.

Often seen as victimless, wildlife crime struggles to capture the attention it deserves.

Beyond the destruction of ecosystems and devastation of animal populations, it can spark violence and unrest, creating the conditions for poverty, hunger and draught, leading to human casualties, explains Jordan.

Governments should focus on criminals and corruption to dismantle the trading networks that breed violent crime.

Media — and the U.S. State Department — tend to pay attention to environmental crime only when it's connected to terrorism. The Lord's Resistance Army in the Congo trades ivory for arms and Al-Shabbab's insurgency in Somalia is financed partly by illegal coal mining.

Polar Bear Skin

Alie says the connection to terrorism is overblown. Instead, governments should focus on criminals and corruption to dismantle the trading networks that breed violent crime.

That is exactly what Environment Canada is doing with a pilot project launched last year to crack down on the polar bear trade.

Using microchips to track animals, enforcement officers follow the supply chain to ensure polar bears are hunted and purchased legally. Jordan hopes to share this tactic and technology with other nations to help safeguard their animal populations.

"This is a problem that grew very quickly, like a grassfire," says Jordan.

He says Canadians need to understand that wildlife trafficking isn't confined to faraway jungles. It's big business for major criminal networks, and it's happening right here in Canada.

Craig and Marc Kielburger are the co-founders of the WE movement, which includes WE Charity, ME to WE Social Enterprise and WE Day. For more dispatches from WE, check out WE Stories.

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          Cholera breitet sich in Somalia aus        
Allein 28 Menschen sind zuletzt innerhalb von zehn Tagen gestorben: Die Infektionskrankheit Cholera betrifft mehr als 25.000 Menschen in Somalia. Bis zum Sommer könnte sich die Zahl verdoppeln.
          Conservative Victory News : U.S. Airstrike Targets Al Shabaab Military Commander in Somalia        
He chose NOT to attack the concept of same sex marriage. Instead he focused on attacking the decision saying that ANY opposition to same sex marriage is by default motivated by hate. I think that is a very significant element of the decision for future use. It will be used as an excuse to hate those who oppose SSM. Because they're such evil icky awful h8rs so they "deserve" it. Expect "bigot against bigotry" to be used as well.
          Reducción de costes y destrucción masiva        
Los restos del naufragio - Ángel Orcajo
En las últimas décadas la política económica que ha predominado en el mundo ha sido la de favorecer la oferta, mitificar al empresario y poner todo lo demás a su servicio, incluida una vasta apertura de fronteras para el comercio pero sin abandonar la parcelación legislativa en estados que ya no sujeta a las empresas. Esto ha favorecido una brutal competencia en la reducción de costes que, aparentando facilitar el funcionamiento de la economía, ha tenido y está teniendo consecuencias devastadoras:

  • Trabajo. La posibilidad de deslocalizar o externalizar la producción hacia aquellos colectivos con menores derechos laborales ha llevado a la reducción de los salarios, tomados falazmente como costes a minimizar. En buena lógica esto ha conducido a un gran empobrecimiento de la demanda, sólo apoyada por un crédito cada vez más insostenible, (y ahora paralizado salvo para refinanciar lo impagable mientras crece la quimera de la deuda).
    • Los incrementos de productividad debidos a la mejora tecnológica se aprovechan sólo para eliminar empleos, no se utilizan para repartir el trabajo, creando así exclusión social. El miedo al paro realimenta una mayor reducción de salarios entre quienes siguen empleados, y lleva a la sobrevaloración del trabajo y de la producción en detrimento del tiempo libre para la autonomía, el conocimiento y la maduración personal.

  • Fiscalidad. En teoría la fiscalidad no es un coste. Los impuestos se aplican principalmente sobre el resultado económico, a posteriori. Pero la posibilidad de preverlos y sobre todo la posibilidad de elegir el lugar en el que menos se tributa, lleva a que los impuestos sean tratados como costes a minimizar, (por parte de las grandes y medianas empresas y por parte de todos los inversores financieros). Esto ha dejado exhaustas las arcas públicas minando la base del estado del bienestar (donde lo había) e incluso haciendo que se cuestione el carácter corresponsable y solidario de la gestión económica nacional.              
    • Con ello aumenta la desigualdad, la riqueza se concentra y se vuelve endeudadora y especulativa (inflando sucesivas burbujas de precios), y los mercados se ven dominados por oligopolios que reducen la posible competencia (supuesta ventaja del mercado).

  • Naturaleza. El paro y la miseria sostenidos innecesariamente permiten a los gobiernos facilitar cualquier nuevo negocio, por sucio o insostenible que sea, y acrecientan la necesidad de producir más sin miramientos con el medio ambiente para lograr el consumo de quienes tienen dinero. Se trata de un sistema orientado a condicionar la opinión pública en favor de cualquier forma de producción que pueda alimentar el crecimiento económico. Pero este exceso de trabajo y de producción, además de ser limitador para la mayoría de las personas, resulta inadaptado a un mundo que toca sus límites físicos. A nuestros empresarios les resulta más fácil competir presionando económicamente a la población que invertir en la necesaria adaptación de los procesos productivos a un futuro de recursos naturales menguantes y ecosistemas degradados.
    • La competencia en legislaciones ambientales, entre las que pueden elegir los empresarios para reducir sus costes, facilita aun más el desprecio a la importancia básica de los ecosistemas. De ese modo se externalizan los costes ambientales -los pagamos todos- y no se tiene en cuenta el coste (no calculable) de perder lo irrecuperable.

Como se ve, estos costes paradójicos tienen el efecto de encarecer la vida cuando se reducen: menores salarios y menos prestaciones públicas suponen pérdida de poder adquisitivo (a pesar de una inflación contenida en apariencia); la concentración de capitales especulativos a causa de una menor fiscalidad implica burbujas de precios, mercados amañados por oligopolios y endeudamiento; y tanto la degradación ambiental como la falta de adaptación a sistemas de producción independientes de la menguante energía fósil sin duda tendrá graves costes para la sociedad. Hay una gran disonancia entre la reducción de estos costes empresariales y el aumento del coste de la vida para la mayoría de la población. La diferencia ha caído del lado de los beneficios. Además hay una gran discordancia entre la reducción de esos costes y el coste físico de producir cualquier cosa: aunque en el mercado puedan resultar más baratos algunos productos importados de otro continente, ¿quién puede negar que este proceso es más costoso si lo medimos en términos de consumo de recursos energéticos, humanos y materiales?

Trabajo en la fábrica (1940) - Pancho Lasso
El funcionamiento propio del mercado en estas circunstancias se basa en la lucha sin cuartel precisamente contra aquello que define la prosperidad general: salarios, bienes comunes y naturaleza. La economía actual no funciona a nuestro servicio. En lugar de ello nosotros nos debemos a la exaltación de sus promedios. Hemos aceptado nuestra deshumanización al aceptar intelectualmente que somos costes.

El santo grial con el que se trata de justificar esta tropelía se llama competitividad. Sin embargo esta mejora de la competitividad que se basa en la elección de las reglas del juego más convenientes no implica una mejora real de la capacidad de las empresas. Esto que parece obvio es sistemáticamente omitido por el modelo económico de la globalización, que sólo mide la competitividad como resultado, sin tener en cuenta los medios utilizados para lograrla, sin discriminar si se trata de medios tramposos, de atajos legales, (que además sólo son accesibles para los privilegiados que pueden deslocalizar sus negocios), o si realmente se ha producido una mejora en las capacidades. Así la carrera por rebajar las exigencias legales en cada país deriva en una destrucción de los recursos disponibles que esas leyes protegían para todos. Y con la depredación “legal” de estos recursos (unida al continuo crecimiento de la deuda como recurso ficticio) en realidad se están disimulando las limitaciones reales de este modelo económico.

La reducción de “costes” laborales, fiscales y ambientales equivale, como la violencia y el totalitarismo, a la búsqueda de un atajo que acaba siendo destructivo en lugar de llevar a un mundo mejor, (suponiendo que fuera ese el fin de esta elusión de obligaciones económicas y no la protección de unas fortunas codiciosas y aliadas contra la suficiencia económica de los demás, los que han de servirles). Que gran parte de la población siga apoyando esta política en contra de las evidencias y de sus propios intereses sólo puede explicarse por un engaño masivo y bien financiadopor una costumbre resignada o por una fe ideológica. Se diría que muchas personas no pueden renunciar a aquello de lo que han hecho bandera. Como dicen los pedagogos sobre las dificultades de la educación: la coherencia con el relato vital propio se siente como una necesidad tan básica que se convierte en una resistencia emocional insuperable aun cuando la realidad demuestra que uno debe cambiar de rol por su bien (y por el de todos).

It's time - Clarence Holbrook Carter
Pero si queremos evitar un futuro económico traumático, y si se quiere buscar una alternativa
mejor sin anular completamente el mercado, la única opción consistiría en darle la vuelta a esta política económica, cambiar el sentido de la presión que establecen las leyes: en lugar de presionar al medio ambiente, a los trabajadores y a los estados, ahora se pasaría a aumentar la presión sobre el sistema productivo mediante exigencias ecológicas, salariales y fiscales. En lugar de favorecer la oferta (y con ella los desequilibrios propios del mercado, como la irresponsabilidad sobre lo colectivo y la tendencia hacia una abusiva desigualdad), sería necesario exigir a las empresas la internalización de los sacrificios que ahora pagamos todos y socavan el futuro, el encarecimiento de estos paradójicos costes productivos, el aumento de sus obligaciones económicas en detrimento de los mimados beneficios:
  • Adaptar los sistemas a métodos sin impacto ambiental, cueste lo que cueste, (forzando el cierre de los ciclos de materiales, anticipando el abandono de la energía fósil, relocalizando la producción), y relegar la idea de mantener el mismo nivel de producción para, en lugar de ello, dar prioridad legal a maximizar la adaptación posible a estas nuevas condiciones.
  • Retribuir mejor el trabajo, de modo que pueda llevarse a cabo el cada vez más necesario reparto del mismo, y también que los salarios puedan pagar esa producción sostenible más cara o el inevitable encarecimiento que traerá el declive del petróleo.
  • Gravar en mayor medida las rentas del capital, de modo que puedan costearse los sistemas públicos básicos, pueda crearse una Renta Básica de Ciudadanía, y puedan adoptarse programas de regeneración ecológica. Con ello se lograría además dificultar la formación de oligopolios y la concentración de capitales que implican especulación, endeudamiento y exceso de poder político privado.
Todas estas medidas, que equivalen a invertir una mayor parte de los actuales beneficios en medio ambiente, en personas y en instituciones públicas, tendrían un efecto ambivalente. Por un lado serían un freno a las empresas actuales pero por otro lado favorecerían la realimentación de la demanda agregada, (demanda de consumo, demanda pública y demanda de las empresas que tendrían que invertir en adaptar sus procedimientos a métodos ecológicos). La creación de esa demanda equivale a la creación directa de nichos de mercado. Y es eso lo que a medio plazo puede crear nuevo tejido productivo y hacer que este se adapte a las nuevas necesidades, no la concesión a los oferentes de viciadas facilidades legales que desincentivan su adaptación.

Pero no es tan importante el promedio económico que resultara con estas medidas (ese PIB que actualmente se apoya en una destrucción no contabilizada) como el alcance de su distribución en la sociedad, su salubridad y su capacidad de renovación. Una política fiscal expansiva que alimentara la demanda sin estos criterios cualitativos sólo resolvería una parte del problema. El sistema acabaría colapsando por su vertiente ecológica o por las limitaciones de los recursos. No hay que olvidar que los conflictos socioecológicos son una realidad sangrante en gran parte del mundo, allá donde las diversas metrópolis han externalizado sus responsabilidades. ¿Hasta cuándo se podrá considerar la ecología como una preocupación no económica ni social, sino sólo adyacente o casi “decorativa”?

Y desde el punto de vista humano, si no se exigen mejoras emancipadoras, el nuevo crecimiento que fomenten las instituciones públicas puede darse sin cambiar nada el carácter explotador y alienante de la competición económica internacional: una limitación para las personas por mucho que se lleve a su máxima expresión la capacidad productiva, o precisamente por hacerlo.
La contaminación - Juan Ignacio de Blas

Es decir, no sólo es necesario estimular la economía sino también controlar sus efectos, su rumbo, su equilibrio, su consumo conjunto de recursos y su utilidad real. Ponerle “freno” y “volante” sería una indudable mejora y debe dejar de verse como un mal a evitar. Por ello es necesario aumentar las cargas al sistema productivo referidas a fiscalidad, trabajo y medio ambiente tanto como sea necesario para evitar su efecto excluyente y destructivo.

El freno a las empresas actuales no sería sino el ajuste necesario para equilibrar esta economía abrumada por la incoherencia: por un lado tenemos exceso de capacidad instalada del sistema productivo, exceso de capital especulativo del sistema financiero improductivo y derroche de recursos energéticos no renovables, y por el otro, escasez innecesaria en parte de la población y una biosfera convertida en sumidero llegando a los límites de su capacidad de carga. El decrecimiento que por termino medio pudiera darse con esa internalización de “costes” a pesar de la renovación de la demanda, daría la medida del decrecimiento que necesitamos para equilibrar la economía dentro de la sociedad y del ecosistema. Y como los salarios y los derechos sociales serían beneficiarios de esas contribuciones que deben aumentar las empresas -predistribución y redistribución- este freno sería a la vez una forma de adaptación más inclusiva y más equitativa que el funcionamiento actual incluso cuando este se da con crecimiento.

El incremento de costes aparentes que aquí se propone es una salida ecológica que no se basa en la reducción directa del consumo y de la producción sino en un verdadero aumento de las exigencias ambientales hasta hacerlas eficaces. El efecto puede ser el mismo pero con la ventaja añadida de que no nos centraríamos sólo en la cantidad producida, (lo cual dejaría muchas variables fuera pues con menos producción se puede contaminar igualmente sólo que más despacio), sino que además estaríamos definiendo e implementando ya los modos de producir tolerables a partir de ahora. Y por otro lado se trata de una salida económica que no se basa ni en la austeridad suicida ni en la necesidad imperiosa del crecimiento del PIB, gracias a que su propio funcionamiento implica un mejor reparto del resultado.

Con independencia del nivel de recursos del que la sociedad pueda disponer en cada momento, el modelo económico que elijamos tendrá una influencia sobre la capacidad adaptativa y el horizonte de esa sociedad. Sea cual sea el grado de desarrollo o de pobreza, lo más determinante de su afección para nosotros es cómo se gestiona. Tan posible es que la riqueza y el desarrollo tecnológico tengan lugar bajo una organización despótica, alienante y explotadora como que la pobreza resulte llevadera (o incluso liberadora) si todo el mundo puede disponer de lo básico para subsistir. Ni que decir tiene que sería mejor eludir la pobreza pero la virtud no está en su opuesto sino en el modo de utilizar los recursos. No podemos elegir los límites de los recursos energéticos ni los límites ambientales que debemos respetar, pero la forma de organizarnos sí es elegible y modificable a voluntad, (si se recaba el consenso necesario, claro), y por ello es en el modelo de gestión (económico, político, ecológico) en lo que más debemos incidir e indagar. Hay que tener en cuenta que oponer alternativas económicas sólo “desde abajo” no puede ser suficiente cuando la política económica crea una corriente mayor que las supera. Es necesaria también una visión macroeconómica alternativa que las complemente. 

Ni la austeridad anoréxica ni el crecimiento ansioso que alimenta una futura depresión son un modelo de equilibrio económico para la sociedad. Una vez alcanzado cierto grado de desarrollo físico, lo que necesitamos no es ni desnutrición ni sobrealimentación sino madurez. La actual austeridad y la política de reducción de “costes” vía globalización y laxitud reguladora determina una espiral económica deflacionaria sin salida: menos capacidad adquisitiva de la población supone que las empresas deben reducir aun más sus precios para vender, y con ello vuelve a empezar la competencia por adelgazar los recursos humanos o por devorar nuevos recursos naturales sin precio. Y una política expansiva basada sólo en un nuevo crecimiento indiscriminado tampoco sería una solución real sino un mero aplazamiento del encontronazo con las limitaciones físicas del mismo, además de no decirnos nada sobre la emancipación humana del materialismo productivista (privado o estatal) en favor de una madurez autónoma.

Sin embargo un aumento de las exigencias al sistema productivo como el descrito aquí implicaría aumento conjunto de salarios, de empleos, de bienes comunes, de tiempo libre, de garantías ambientales y de capacidad de adaptación o resiliencia, es decir, reducción de costes reales para la mayoría de la población y reducción de costes físicos globales. Por supuesto esta opción tiene poderosos oponentes que no quieren ni oír hablar de exigencias, que cuentan con muchos medios para persuadirnos de que hay que hacerles el caldo gordo, y que harán lo posible para que los estados sigan compitiendo entre ellos por facilitarles la vida.

Por ello es necesaria la acción concertada de los estados que compartan libre comercio (o en los sectores en los que lo compartan). En realidad esta concertación de normas ya ha sido posible y ha tenido lugar en el pasado reciente, pero para mal: el Tratado de Maastricht es un perverso ejemplo de cómo sí es posible acordar medidas internacionales duras y vinculantes, (en este caso duras para la población y muy cómodas para los mercados). Y la OMC es otro ejemplo. Tenemos una organización mundial para favorecer el libre comercio y la desregulación del mismo, incluso con capacidad sancionadora, pero no tenemos ninguna organización similar que pueda promover con eficacia la equidad global o el cuidado de la biosfera compartida. Así las cosas, el proteccionismo, la vuelta a los aranceles de uno u otro modo, debería recuperarse pero no por una cuestión de fronteras sino en función de si el país con el que podemos comerciar comparte o no las mismas reglas que protegen el equilibrio económico de la sociedad y la salud ecológica de la biosfera.

Recogida de FIRMAS por una 
Renta Básica como derecho humano
Sólo a partir de la unificación de normas dentro del ámbito de libre comercio se podrían nivelar las obligaciones económicas que debe cumplir toda producción a las necesidades del sostenimiento ecológico y social, tanto si hablamos de sector público como del privado, tanto si se trata de producción a gran escala como si está distribuida y descentralizada. Para poder exigir que el sistema productivo nos sirva a nosotros en lugar de esclavizarnos debe impedirse esa competencia global por una falsa reducción o externalización de costes.

Si la humanidad realmente avanza, todo el mundo acabará percibiendo la actual competencia económica entre estados con la misma repugnancia que en general suscitan hoy el racismo, las guerras imperialistas del pasado y aquellas galeras de esclavos encadenados. Porque en realidad no hemos dejado atrás todo eso: sólo se ha disimulado con un marketing más refinado. La reducción tramposa de costes productivos propia de la globalización es la forma que ha adoptado en nuestra época la codicia inhumana o el etnocentrismo que la admite. ¿Por qué una hora de trabajo en Bangladesh vale menos que una hora del mismo trabajo en Alemania? ¿Por qué ha de ser más barato verter residuos en Somalia que hacerlo en Suiza? Por supuesto la solución a la discriminación esclavista no es hacernos todos esclavos, que es a lo que nos lleva la actual política. E igualmente suicida sería que todos adoptásemos el “liberalismo” ambiental del que nos aprovechamos en otras latitudes. Las ONG que inciden sobre esta discriminación reguladora -quizá habría que fundar Costes Sin Fronteras- enfocan mejor el problema que las que sólo buscan una caridad siempre insuficiente.

Consensuando las exigencias ecológicas, salariales y fiscales desde acuerdos internacionales, los mercados no podrían chantajear a los estados y a sus legislaciones; los inversores no podrían huir, (como ahora nos hacen temer); no tendrían mejor lugar al que evadirse de sus obligaciones. Y tampoco dejaría de haber inversiones, como no cesaron estas cuando los impuestos fueron más altos, (precisamente dando lugar a los llamados treinta años gloriosos), por la sencilla razón de que ganar 20 en lugar de 80 es bastante mejor que no ganar nada. Lo que estimula la verdadera excelencia de los distintos agentes económicos es una férrea similitud en las reglas del juego, no la falta de exigencia o la comodidad de carecer de normas.

El problema de la economía actual no está en las empresas que tienen que cerrar porque su negocio ya no es rentable sino en las que sí tienen beneficios pero no devuelven a la sociedad lo suficiente para mantener su equilibrio económico. No es un problema de coyuntura sino de modelo. Esto se hace evidente con tan solo contar las cantidades evadidas a los paraísos fiscales. Si vamos a seguir adorando la llamada destrucción creativa, -una destrucción nada metafórica- debemos acotarla a los proyectos y a los capitales en liza. La búsqueda de más crecimiento no puede justificar la destrucción de personas, de naturaleza o de las leyes que protegen a ambas.

El cambio en la gestión del mercado propuesto aquí no es ninguna utopía, pero nos acercamos tanto a una cruel distopía, ya presente para gran parte de la población de todo el mundo, que sin duda este cambio menor sería un gran paso para todos.

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Artículos recomendados:

           Hydrometry Project Somalia: Inception report - phase III         
Sir M. McDonald & Partners, Institute of Hydrology. 1988 Hydrometry Project Somalia: Inception report - phase III. Overseas Development Administration. (UNSPECIFIED) (Unpublished)
           Hydrometry Project Somalia: First progress report - phase III - March - August 1988         
Sir M. McDonald & Partners, Institute of Hydrology. 1988 Hydrometry Project Somalia: First progress report - phase III - March - August 1988. Overseas Development Administration. (UNSPECIFIED) (Unpublished)
          The Land Of Mysteries and Beauty Ethiopia        

Ethiopia, a landlocked country is located in the Eastern Africa region and borders five countries that include Somalia, Djibouti, South Sudan, Kenya, and Sudan. Interesting Facts about  Ethiopia: There are many interesting facts about Ethiopia as well as many mysteries. Did you know that? Coffee was discovered here in the Kaffa region after a shepherd [...Read More]

The post The Land Of Mysteries and Beauty Ethiopia appeared first on Tedy Travel.


          ACLU of Northern California Contact Info for SFO Arrivals Affected by Executive Order        
The ACLU of Northern California is asking that people who have been expecting visitors to arrive at SFO from one of the seven countries in yesterday's executive order - Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen - and have not heard from their visitors or have heard that their visitors have arrived and been detained or denied entry to please contact us at 415-621-2488 and leave a message.
          President Farmaajo authorized a coordinated strike that killed a high-level al-Shabaab leader        
H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo), the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia authorized a coordinated operation with international partners near Shashweyne, outskirt of Benadir

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          Bland oss flyktingar finns poeterna        
I Sverige bor ungefär 45 000 somalier. Mycket vet vi om deras forna hemlands krig och problem - men hur mycket vet vi om Somalias starka poetiska tradition? Kulturdokumentären Bland oss flyktingar finns poeterna berättar om hur diktande helt genomsyrar det somaliska samhället. Poesin talar till Gud, bearbetar krigen och formulerar satiren. Och i exilens Europa och USA växer en ny ung generation diktare fram. Det här programmet är gjort av Helen Ardelius.
          en essä om rättigheter        

”To realise the relative validity of one’s convictions and yet stand for them unflinchingly is what distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.”
Joseph Schumpeter

”Vi ser dessa sanningar som självklara.” Så inleds de meningar som sägs vara de mest kända på det engelska språket – den amerikanska självständighetsförklaringen. Det som var självklart var att alla människor var skapta jämlika och att deras skapare hade givit dem oomkullrunkeliga rättigheter, däribland rätten till liv, frihet och att söka lyckan efter eget gottfinnande. Det är ett religiöst uttalande. Inte bara den direkta hänvisningen till skaparen, som alltså gör USA till en uttalat religiös statsbildning alldeles oavsett frånvaron av statskyrka, utan också självklarheten. Om det inte krävs någon motivering av ett påstående är det per definition en trosförklaring och som sådan behövs inga belägg, inga härledanden bortom Gud, kristen eller ej.
Mänskliga rättigheter har blivit en sådan trossats. Thomas Jefferson, som skrev texten ovan, var visserligen själv inte särskilt religiös och öppnade i vissa skrifter rentav för möjligheten att det inte fanns någon högre makt, men både den lockeanska naturrätten och den amerikanska konkretiseringen av densamma bygger på idéerna om både en universell mänsklig natur som ger vissa rättigheter och om en gud som har skapat henne. Ingen av dessa idéer går att härleda. Nu är det kanske inte mycket att fundera över kring texter från 1600- och 1700-talet, men det underliga är att samma trosperspektiv präglar rättighetstanken än i dag, långt efter upplysningen. Det traditionella inom naturrätten också bortom det uttalat religiösa är att hänföra rättigheterna till ”människans natur”, att vi är på ett visst sätt och därför har just dessa rättigheter. Häri finns dock ingen vetenskaplig förklaring eller egentliga filosofiska resonemang, vi ställs inför fullbordat faktum. Det är inte särskilt konstigt, då påståenden om mänskliga rättigheter varken är härledda genom empiri eller logik.
”Individer har rättigheter”, inleder exempelvis Robert Nozick sin Anarki, stat och utopi, en av libertarianismensmoderna klassiker. Jaha? På andra håll sägs att Nozick ”antar att” individer har naturliga rättigheter, och det kan man ju anta, för diskussionens skull.
Nu behöver man inte hänvisa till naturrätt för att motivera mänskliga rättigheter, andra liberaler har haft mer utilitaristiska argument, som att skademinimeringen kräver dessa rättigheter. Det är argument som håller mycket bättre, om så bara för att skademinimering är betydligt lättare att definiera än människans natur. Naturrätten i alla dess former utgår från en tänkt individ, ett tänkt jag, som det är väldigt svårt att se i verkligheten bortom teorierna. När man ser på påstående om just den mänskliga naturen kan man se hur ofta dessa tenderar att bekräfta maktens världsbild. I västerländsk tradition ser vi alltså egennyttan som en självklar del i den mänskliga naturen, i totalitära stater har man ofta definierat opposition som sinnessjukdom. Människans natur skapas i allmänhet efter de behov som ska uppfyllas.
Bekymren med den individ som västerländsk naturrätt utgår från handlar både om ickeexistensen av en reellt fri vilja och om svårigheten att dra några säkra gränser mellan olika individer. Om det inte finns fri vilja, om vi inte, neurologiskt eller psykologiskt, är avskilda från varandra, hur ska man kunna bestämma vilken entitet som har de där okränkbara rättigheterna? Bekymret rör också de gränsdragningar inom mänskligheten som genom historien har givit bara vissa människor rättigheter. Visst, USA har inte legalt slaveri längre, kvinnor har sedan 1974 rösträtt i alla demokratier, men det där vi:et, vi som har rättigheter, är i ständig förändring. Synen på barnaga varierar dramatiskt mellan också utvecklade frihetliga länder, för att ta något som enligt traditionellt rättighetstänkande vore en uppenbar rättighetskränkning om det skedde mot en vuxen man. Inte heller kvinnor, se på synen på våldtäkt inom äktenskapet eller det relativa överseendet med mord på närstående, har ens i modern tid alltid varit människor med lika rätt.
Men naturrätten förutsätter inte bara en odelbar lättdefinierad individ som är sin egen orsak, här finns också en uppfattning om rättigheter bortom samhället, bortom alla reella möjligheter att beivra brott eller försvara människor från kränkningar. Universaliteten i rättighetsteorin innebär alltså att alla människor (alla som i just detta ögonblick definieras som människor) har rättigheter oavsett om dessa respekteras eller inte. Detta är lika för naturrättslibertarianer och FN-fantaster.Sett ur detta perspektiv har alltså befolkningen i Nordkorea redan såväl yttrandefrihet som upphovsrätt enligt gällande västerländska principer, om man bortser från det lilla problemet med Kim Jong Il och ja, verkligheten. Tro nu inte att jag motsätter mig frihet åt Nordkoreas folk (även om jag kanske inte önskar dem västerlandets immaterialrättsregim) men blir det inte lite väl fiktivt? Kartan stämmer inte, och då kan kartan rimligen inte vara absolut sann.
Nu kan man förstås invända att begreppet rättigheter bara är en språklig konstruktion som vi alla vardagligt använder för att markera att vi tycker att någon borde ha rätt till det ena eller andra, formulerat i satser som att alla barn har rätt till ett lyckligt sommarlov eller att alla har rätt att bli älskade. I ingetdera fallen tänker vi oss sannolikt att någon har skyldighet att erbjuda den lyckan eller den kärleken, vi tillåter oss att glida från det som är otvivelaktiga värden för människor och kalla dessa värden rättigheter. I vardagen är den glidningen inte särskilt konstig, men i filosofin och politiken blir den besvärligare. Det finns ju ingen som helst nödvändig kausalitet mellan värden och rättigheter, oavsett hur absoluta värdena är.
Det betyder inte att inte goda stater bör respektera mycket av det som allmänt kallas rättigheter. Nozicks evige motståndare John Rawls (på vars En teori om rättvisa Anarki, stat och utopivar ett svar) formulerar exempelvis att ”mänskliga rättigheter är nödvändiga villkor i varje system för social samverkan. När de regelbundet kränks har vi våldsmakt och slaveri och ingen samverkan alls.” Även om Rawls fortfarande använder begreppet rättigheter så formuleras de åtminstone i relation till samhället. Rättigheter kan bara finnas i relation till andra människor, och kan bara upprätthållas inom ett samhälle. Samhällets centrala poäng är att i möjligaste mån undvika att människor skadar varandra, något vi tenderar att göra bortom civilisationen. Vi är bara så goda som vi tvingas vara, av normer eller lagar. Detta gäller i allmänhet styrande också, vilket gör att den goda staten gärna får kodifiera vad vi kan kalla grundläggande medborgerliga rättigheter i grundlagar eller motsvarande, men bortom lagarna är rättigheterna meningslösa.
Det finns goda argument för att ändå kalla det mänskliga rättigheter. Hanna Arendt såg exempelvis på flyktingens speciella situation och menade att den rätt som endast tillerkänns medborgaren i varje läge riskerar att nekas den som är medborgare i fel land, den som kommer utifrån och som inte behöver räknas. Så är det förvisso. Också i det välmående och förhållandevis öppna Sverige utvisar vi barn ensamma till länder där de inte kan språket, utvisar svårt sjuka barn till länder där de inte kan få vård, splittrar familjer, firar verkställd misär med champagne. Lidande är inte lika mycket värt om det är en utomstående som lider. Detta trots att vi i retoriken ställer upp på de universella rättigheterna. I förlängningen av Arendts perspektiv finns insikten om att också fiktionen om rättigheter kan vara skyddande mot överheten. Så länge vi låtsas att vi har en absolut rätt blir det lite,lite svårare för makten att kränka oss.
Att se rättigheter som fiktion är dock varken nihilism eller värderelativ multikulturalism. Det är inte så att lagar om bilbältesanvändning har lika stort värde som lagar mot tortyr, eller att ett brott mot de förra lagarna skulle vara lika illa som ett brott mot de senare. Det finns absoluta värden, kanske rentav universella sådana. Undvikande av tortyr borde exempelvis ses som ett fundamentalt sådant, och förbjöds första gången av Fredrik II i Preussen 1740 och sedan 1776 i Österrike-Ungern. I en av samtidens otrevligaste politiska paradoxer talar vi allt mer om mänskliga rättigheter, går rentav ut i krig för att försvara och sprida dem, samtidigt som förbudet mot tortyr 250 år senare inte längre är självklart i liberala demokratier.
Utöver tortyr finns det andra företeelser som svårligen kan kombineras med ett mänskligt liv värt att leva. Slaveri, folkmord, politisk och religiös förföljelse, könsstympning, änkebränning är sådana punkter. Detta skulle jag säga gäller alla överallt och stater där sådant pågår kan inte med bästa välvilja betraktas som goda stater där mänskligt liv respekteras, oavsett var dessa stater råkar ligga i världen.
Ändå kan jag lika lite som någon annan stå fri från det omkring mig. Och även om jag påstår att visst är ont vet jag ju att synen på ondska varierat storligen över tid och mellan kulturer. Huvudsakligen har dessa variationer reglerats i vilka som räknas in i det ”vi” som utgör den moraliska normen. Bara synen på dödande, en handling som man kanske intuitivt tror alltid har ansetts oacceptabel, har fluktuerat dramatiskt. Fel att döda någon från den egna byn, rätt eller åtminstone bara ett praktiskt problem att döda någon från grannbyn. Rätt att sätta ut oönskade spädbarn i skogen, fel att sätta ut oönskade spädbarn i skogen, rätt att sätta ut oönskade spädbarn av fel kön i skogen. Rätt att göra abort, fram till en viss graviditetsvecka i alla fall, denna vecka varierar mellan olika länder. Den amerikanska abortdebatten, som vi emellanåt storögt följer, har i det perspektivet en intressant svartvit dimension där ena lägret anser att alla avbrutna graviditeter från och med konceptionsögonblicket är barnamord medan det andra lägret helst skulle se abort tillgänglig och möjlig fram till den naturliga förlossningen.
På motsvarande sätt varierar synen på dödsstraff, dödshjälp, självmord, dödande i strid eller för all del dödande av oskyldiga civila i krig. Ibland tycker man att det är rätt, ibland fel. Inte sällan tycker samma personer att vissa sorters dödande är absolut oacceptabelt och ondskefullt samtidigt som andra sorter är komplett oproblematiskt. Liv som liv, men inte mord som mord.
Hanna Arendt har sagt att ondska är det som fyller oss med självklar men outsäglig fasa – men det intressanta är ju att detta varierar. Vissa religiösa blir lika fyllda av fasa av en tidig abort som de flesta andra skulle bli av det medvetna mordet på en gullig tvååring. Vissa människor ser på vanvård i grisfabriker med extrem bestörtning, andra rycker ointresserat på axlarna, ytterligare andra säger med bekymrat rynkad panna att det där ser ju inte så bra ut. Vissa blev förfärade över amerikanska soldaters kallsinniga dataspelslek med skarpladdade vapen mot civila, andra blev förfärade över att filmen där man kunde se detta läckte ut i offentligheten. I ett land som Frankrike kallar man fortfarande mord på närstående kvinnor för ”familjetragedier” – crimes passionelles – och ursäktar sådant dödande långt lättare än mord på okända på gatan.
Den fasa Arendt talar om sparar vi till vissa sorters särskilt förfärliga övergrepp på människor, men alla människor räknas inte alltid in. Hittills har det alltså gällt människor. Jag håller det dock alls inte för osannolikt att vi om inte särskilt lång tid kommer se på dagens industrialiserade djuruppfödning och slakt som exakt den sortens bestialitet som kallas ondska. Men också inom mänskligheten rangordnar vi, olika efter olika värderingar, olika efter olika kulturer och sammanhang. Rätten till liv är alltid med vissa förbehåll.
En radikalt multikulturalistisk värderelativistisk kritik mot rättigheter ger för handen att människor med fel hudfärg eller religion inte kan antas ha samma rättigheter som vi vita eftersom de inte riktigt har samma behov av att fritt få uttrycka sig eller fritt få leva ut sin sexualitet utan dödshot eller på annat sätt fritt få välja sin väg i livet. Det synsättet är exempelvis praktiskt i flyktingpolitik. Då kan säga att det inte är så farligt för Ahmed att behöva hemlighålla sin sexualitet för att undvika tortyr eller dödsstraff, eller så farligt för Amina att bli könsstympad eftersom det ju händer många flickor i Somalia.Då kan man låta bli att släppa in dem i valfritt västland och ändå hävda sig följa de principer om universell humanism och just mänskliga rättigheter som man säger sig utgå från. Praktiskt, som sagt.

Även om jag inser det just relativa i min egen definition av grundläggande mänskliga värden kan jag inte godta detta. Jag må inte acceptera idén om rättigheter, men en god stat drar inte upp den sortens skiljelinjer. Samtidigt är det lika svårt, inte minst med det senaste decenniets bellum perpetuum, att se mänskliga rättigheter-doktrinerna som tvingande i internationella relationer. John Rawls ansåg att mänskliga rättigheter borde styra relationerna mellan länder och att brott mot dessa var skäl till internationella interventioner eller rentav krig: ”Mänskliga rättigheter är en sorts rättigheter som spelar en särskild roll i all rimlig mänsklig lag; de begränsar de rättfärdiga orsakerna till krig och krigets utformning och de utgör också en gräns för en regims inre autonomi.” Hur den sortens perspektiv har fungerat i praktiken har vi ju sett rätt väl på sistone, men man måste medge logiken i det. Om vi faktiskt på riktigt tror att det vi kallar rättigheter just är rättigheter, hur kan vi låta bli att agera när de kränks? Man kan självfallet gradera mellan rättigheterna också i detta och tänka sig att det faktiskt finns en skyldighet för omvärlden att ingripa i pågående folkmord men inte i kränkningar av rätten till privat ägande, men också detta kan få konsekvenser långt bortom ett eventuellt slut på dödande.
Av de ursprungliga lockeanska rättigheternabrukar liv och frihet sällan diskuteras eller motiveras. I det rättighetsparadigm vi lever är enigheten kring dessa värden (som sedan definieras som rättigheter) stor och därför krävs sällan mer än rent performativa uttalanden om rättigheternas själva existens. Äganderätten är det lite annorlunda med, både förstås för att den i realiteten respekteras mer än det vi skulle kunna kalla frihet i många av världens länder, och för att viktiga politiska skiljelinjer sägs gå just längs synen på ägandet.
I den liberala traditionen ses äganderätten som självklar, du har rätt till det du själv har skapat eftersom du skapat det själv utifrån din egen person och dina egna ansträngningar. Frukten av ditt arbete är ditt, så att säga. Detta har bland annat fått moderna libertarianeratt påstå att skatt är stöld, och att den nödvändiga nattväktarstaten hellre borde finansieras genom exempelvis lotterier då människor ju frivilligt ger upp sina hoptjänade pengar till en Jack Vegas-maskin men inte till skattmasen. Det får andra liberaler att försvara långtgående inskränkningar i människors personliga integritet för att upprätthålla upphovsrätten, som de ser som en äganderätt och därför essentiellt viktigare än andra rättigheter.
Det här synsättet är ytterligt svårt att kombinera med vad vi vet om människan. Äganderätten som princip utgår från en människa som är sin egen orsak, sin egen herre. Om den vi är i stället nästan helt beror på våra gener och vår tidiga uppväxt, i vilken utsträckning kan vi då sägas ha exklusiv rätt till det arbete som vi utifrån den person vi formats till av andra klarar av att utföra? Kan en rättighet verkligen utgå från varje enskild persons tur eller otur, i det genetiska och uppväxtmässiga lotteriet?

Ur ett lite längre historiskt perspektiv är det svårt att inte se hur nästan all kapitalfördelning någonstans bygger på våld, privilegier, på kränkningar av andra. Vid väldigt stora kollektiva kränkningar, som det amerikanska slaveriet eller fördrivningen av olika ursprungsbefolkningar, försöker stater ibland att reglera sådant i efterhand. Det har förstås nackdelen att även om alla som är ättlingar till slavar kan sägas ha förlorat på den monumentala statliga kränkningen har inte alla som inte är ättlingar till slavar vunnit på slaveriet. Det blir en justering mer än någon definitiv rättvisa. Politiskt och moraliskt kan man förstå det ändå. När det gäller kapitalackumulering byggd på mindre självklara övergrepp är det svårare att tänka sig detaljerade efterhandsrevisioner som inte också i sig innebär nya svåra kränkningar. Som teoretiskt exempel kan man självfallet föreställa sig det goda i en total global kapitalutjämning, ett skapande av år noll med en jämn spelplan, varefter alla kämpar vidare efter egen förmåga, men som idé bör det knappast lämna teoristadiet.
Som David Hume skrev är det dock stor skillnad mellan filosofi och vardag. Trots att det inte finns några rättigheter bör den goda staten respektera värdet av det mänskliga livet. Inom vissa förbehåll, med vissa undantag. På samma sätt är frihet ett värde som den goda staten bör respektera och garantera, av utilitaristiska skäl. Trots att jag inte kan se den moraliska grunden till äganderätten är jag heller inte motståndare till privat ägande. Ägandet har viktiga goda effekter, oavsett dess filosofiska grunder.
Ändå tror jag att det är väsentligt att gå bort från idén om rättigheter, och då inte bara för att de saknar filosofisk grund. Rättighetsparadigmet blockerar all diskussion, alla kompromisser. Det kan vara skyddande för den enskilde mot övermakten, om man nu har det som kallas rättigheter på sin sida, men det kan också skapa en unken ovilja till politisk prövning. Om man har en evig och okränkbar rätt till något finns ingenting mer att säga, inga lösningar att pröva mot varandra, ingen verklighet att beakta. Detta har inte minst varit synligt i diskussionen om upphovsrätt.
Det finns mänskliga absoluta värden, men dessa är inte alltid förenliga. Hur ska man någonsin kunna ha rimliga fungerande samhällen om alla dessa värden också är absoluta rättigheter?
”Luften över Jerusalem är tung av böner och drömmar. Som i tungt industrialiserade städer är det svårt att andas” skrev den israeliske poeten Yehuda Amichai, och samma sak gäller här. Rättigheter är politikens motsvarighet till religion. Precis som denna leder den i sina bokstavstroende beväpnade versioner till krig och lidande.

Denna essä ingÃ¥r i essäsamlingen "Frihet och fruktan - tankar om liberalism" som kom ut pÃ¥ Natur och kultur hösten 2011. 

          Re:Politics - USA        
 sebster wrote:


Prestor Jon wrote:
The rights already exist the only issue is whether or not we choose to construct a society that recognizes them.


What you're describing is a nonsense. You're attempting to claim that a thing that isn't written in to law, isn't observed or even noticed by a society, is still an inherent right. What on Earth can that possibly mean, and what good can it do anyone?

Consider this instead - rights are legal protections that you win through hard work and sacrifice, that you should give up only when another important right would be impacted too greatly. And while constitutional protection can make such rights stronger and more easily protected, in and of itself even constitutional protection is not enough* - ultimately rights are defined by a society. This makes people uneasy, because a society can choose to no longer value a right that you might think is very important... but it is how it is.


*Just like your 27th amendment, Russia has a constitutional term limit on the presidency. And yet Putin has ruled since 2000, because after his second term expired he had a puppet placed in the presidency, and then claimed the presidency again after that. Because even though it was written plain as day in the constitution, Russian society didn't care and was happy for Putin to ignore that rule in practice.


Term limits aren't rights. Bloomberg did the same thing when he ran for a 3rd consecutive term as Mayor of NYC. Rights and laws aren't the same thing at all.

Legal recognition of natural rights often requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice but our handful of basic natural rights are preexisting. I'll try to concisely paraphrase Francis Hutcheson, Georg Hegel, the Stoics, Hobbes, Locke, Richard Price etc. with some examples.

You have the right to your own body and your own life, they are yours, they belong to you. These are objective truths that are not changed by ethereal concepts like laws and social norms. Your body is YOUR body, it is not MINE or anyone else's, it belongs to you alone. You have a right to your body because it is yours. I do not have a right to your body because it is not my body, I have my own body that is mine, I do not have a right to yours. For example, I might want to shave your head because I want you to be bald but I don't have a right to shave your head because that's your hair on your body, I have no right to it, you have the right to control your hair and your body. Whether we are both standing in the USA or Australia or Somalia or on a boad in international waters does not change the fact that you are the only one with the right to control your body. I may be capable of forcibly shaving your head, there may be no laws or justice system established holding jurisdiction over the area that prohibits me from shaving your head but neither of those circumstances changes the fact that I have no right to your body. Neither might nor law changes the fact that our bodies are our own and we, ourselves, alone have he right to control our bodies. A person forcibly controlling another person's body is always objectively unjust because nobody has the right to control another's body against his/her will. Nothing changes the fact that your body is your own so therefore nothing can remove your right to control it and nothing can give somebody else a right to your body without your consent.

The same applies to your right to your life. I don't have the right to murder you, I do not have a right to your life. Your life is YOURS, that is an objective truth, nothing can change the fact that your life is your own, it is not anyone else's, everyone else has their own life they don't have YOUR life. Since your life is yours, you own it, you have a right to it, it is YOURS. It does not matter where we are located, what society we live in or what legal system claims jurisdiction over us, none of that changes the objective truth that your life is your own. Therefore, since your life is yours and not mine, I do not have the right to take your life from you, it is not mine, I do not own it, I do not have the right to end it. I will never have the right to arbitrarily end your life against your will simply because I desire to end it. The unjustified ending of your life is murder and I don't have the right to destroy what is not mine. I may have the capability of murdering you, the society and legal system governing us may not prohibit or may condone me murdering you on a whim but none of that changes the fact that your lfie is your own, not mine so I have no right to claim it or take it.

Since we all have a right to our own livesand our bodies we also have the right to protect them. This inherent right to self defense allows us to defend ourselves against those that would harm/murder us against our will. If you choose to try to harm/murder me, because you want my stuff, or you don't like the way I dress or you are offended by something I said/did or because I'm a Tottenham fan, or because you're a crazy homicidal person, whatever arbitrary reason you have for murdering me I have the right to act in self preservation and protect myself from your assault on my body/life. If I am forced to harm or kill you in order to protect myself from you harming/murdering me than my actions are justifiable so in those circumstances my right to protect my body/life allows me to fight back to whatever extent is necessary to stop you from hurting/murdering me. The amount of force I am justified in using is limited to the amount needed to end your threat to my body/life and no more.

We also have the right to our own labor and to our own property/fruits of our labor. Those are our 5 natural rights: life, body, self defense, labor, property.




          Re:Politics - USA        
Prestor Jon wrote:
 sebster wrote:


Prestor Jon wrote:
The rights already exist the only issue is whether or not we choose to construct a society that recognizes them.


What you're describing is a nonsense. You're attempting to claim that a thing that isn't written in to law, isn't observed or even noticed by a society, is still an inherent right. What on Earth can that possibly mean, and what good can it do anyone?

Consider this instead - rights are legal protections that you win through hard work and sacrifice, that you should give up only when another important right would be impacted too greatly. And while constitutional protection can make such rights stronger and more easily protected, in and of itself even constitutional protection is not enough* - ultimately rights are defined by a society. This makes people uneasy, because a society can choose to no longer value a right that you might think is very important... but it is how it is.


*Just like your 27th amendment, Russia has a constitutional term limit on the presidency. And yet Putin has ruled since 2000, because after his second term expired he had a puppet placed in the presidency, and then claimed the presidency again after that. Because even though it was written plain as day in the constitution, Russian society didn't care and was happy for Putin to ignore that rule in practice.


Term limits aren't rights. Bloomberg did the same thing when he ran for a 3rd consecutive term as Mayor of NYC. Rights and laws aren't the same thing at all.

Legal recognition of natural rights often requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice but our handful of basic natural rights are preexisting. I'll try to concisely paraphrase Francis Hutcheson, Georg Hegel, the Stoics, Hobbes, Locke, Richard Price etc. with some examples.

You have the right to your own body and your own life, they are yours, they belong to you. These are objective truths that are not changed by ethereal concepts like laws and social norms. Your body is YOUR body, it is not MINE or anyone else's, it belongs to you alone. You have a right to your body because it is yours. I do not have a right to your body because it is not my body, I have my own body that is mine, I do not have a right to yours. For example, I might want to shave your head because I want you to be bald but I don't have a right to shave your head because that's your hair on your body, I have no right to it, you have the right to control your hair and your body. Whether we are both standing in the USA or Australia or Somalia or on a boad in international waters does not change the fact that you are the only one with the right to control your body. I may be capable of forcibly shaving your head, there may be no laws or justice system established holding jurisdiction over the area that prohibits me from shaving your head but neither of those circumstances changes the fact that I have no right to your body. Neither might nor law changes the fact that our bodies are our own and we, ourselves, alone have he right to control our bodies. A person forcibly controlling another person's body is always objectively unjust because nobody has the right to control another's body against his/her will. Nothing changes the fact that your body is your own so therefore nothing can remove your right to control it and nothing can give somebody else a right to your body without your consent.

The same applies to your right to your life. I don't have the right to murder you, I do not have a right to your life. Your life is YOURS, that is an objective truth, nothing can change the fact that your life is your own, it is not anyone else's, everyone else has their own life they don't have YOUR life. Since your life is yours, you own it, you have a right to it, it is YOURS. It does not matter where we are located, what society we live in or what legal system claims jurisdiction over us, none of that changes the objective truth that your life is your own. Therefore, since your life is yours and not mine, I do not have the right to take your life from you, it is not mine, I do not own it, I do not have the right to end it. I will never have the right to arbitrarily end your life against your will simply because I desire to end it. The unjustified ending of your life is murder and I don't have the right to destroy what is not mine. I may have the capability of murdering you, the society and legal system governing us may not prohibit or may condone me murdering you on a whim but none of that changes the fact that your lfie is your own, not mine so I have no right to claim it or take it.

Since we all have a right to our own livesand our bodies we also have the right to protect them. This inherent right to self defense allows us to defend ourselves against those that would harm/murder us against our will. If you choose to try to harm/murder me, because you want my stuff, or you don't like the way I dress or you are offended by something I said/did or because I'm a Tottenham fan, or because you're a crazy homicidal person, whatever arbitrary reason you have for murdering me I have the right to act in self preservation and protect myself from your assault on my body/life. If I am forced to harm or kill you in order to protect myself from you harming/murdering me than my actions are justifiable so in those circumstances my right to protect my body/life allows me to fight back to whatever extent is necessary to stop you from hurting/murdering me. The amount of force I am justified in using is limited to the amount needed to end your threat to my body/life and no more.

We also have the right to our own labor and to our own property/fruits of our labor. Those are our 5 natural rights: life, body, self defense, labor, property.





This is all wishful thinking. Idealism that may have laid the foundation for actual legal rights. It can be helpful in the progression of human rights to fantasize that these rights are innate, but IMO its dangerous to do so, because if you imagine your rights are innate, you might end up imagining they are inviolable. The truth is that you have no innate rights, the state can violate them both legally and illegally. You only have those legal rights that those before you and those contemporaneous with you take the effort to establish and protect.

But to pretend for a moment that rights are innate, do you have any idea which innate rights we have that are not (yet) protected by law? Surely if what you say is true, then there are innate rights we have that are not currently recognized by the state. Be interested to know what you think those are. Or is the Bill of Rights the expression of all of our innate rights?


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Asterios wrote:
Prestor Jon wrote:

Asterios wrote:
Prestor Jon wrote:

We also have the right to our own labor and to our own property/fruits of our labor. Those are our 5 natural rights: life, body, self defense, labor, property.


never heard of Eminent domain?


As a legal concept? Yes. As an inalienable right? No. Governments aren't natural, they are a man made social construct, governments have no power except what is given to them by the people who create them. People exist with or without government therefore people can create property and own property in the absence of a government. No government has a natural right to a person's property, no government has a natural right to anything because no government has a natural existence.


but Government in and of itself is natural, a form of control and regulation for without it, you are left with anarchy. and that is not natural, people need control in their life in one form or another for without control and or rules nobody has anything or is guaranteed anything.


Government is I suppose natural in the same sense that plastic is natural. I prefer to think of "natural" as "not man made". If you look in nature, you will see that anarchy is actually the "natural" order of things, and government was created by people to protect themselves against the anarchy of nature.
          Re:Politics - USA        
 jasper76 wrote:
Spoiler:
Prestor Jon wrote:
 sebster wrote:


Prestor Jon wrote:
The rights already exist the only issue is whether or not we choose to construct a society that recognizes them.


What you're describing is a nonsense. You're attempting to claim that a thing that isn't written in to law, isn't observed or even noticed by a society, is still an inherent right. What on Earth can that possibly mean, and what good can it do anyone?

Consider this instead - rights are legal protections that you win through hard work and sacrifice, that you should give up only when another important right would be impacted too greatly. And while constitutional protection can make such rights stronger and more easily protected, in and of itself even constitutional protection is not enough* - ultimately rights are defined by a society. This makes people uneasy, because a society can choose to no longer value a right that you might think is very important... but it is how it is.


*Just like your 27th amendment, Russia has a constitutional term limit on the presidency. And yet Putin has ruled since 2000, because after his second term expired he had a puppet placed in the presidency, and then claimed the presidency again after that. Because even though it was written plain as day in the constitution, Russian society didn't care and was happy for Putin to ignore that rule in practice.


Term limits aren't rights. Bloomberg did the same thing when he ran for a 3rd consecutive term as Mayor of NYC. Rights and laws aren't the same thing at all.

Legal recognition of natural rights often requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice but our handful of basic natural rights are preexisting. I'll try to concisely paraphrase Francis Hutcheson, Georg Hegel, the Stoics, Hobbes, Locke, Richard Price etc. with some examples.

You have the right to your own body and your own life, they are yours, they belong to you. These are objective truths that are not changed by ethereal concepts like laws and social norms. Your body is YOUR body, it is not MINE or anyone else's, it belongs to you alone. You have a right to your body because it is yours. I do not have a right to your body because it is not my body, I have my own body that is mine, I do not have a right to yours. For example, I might want to shave your head because I want you to be bald but I don't have a right to shave your head because that's your hair on your body, I have no right to it, you have the right to control your hair and your body. Whether we are both standing in the USA or Australia or Somalia or on a boad in international waters does not change the fact that you are the only one with the right to control your body. I may be capable of forcibly shaving your head, there may be no laws or justice system established holding jurisdiction over the area that prohibits me from shaving your head but neither of those circumstances changes the fact that I have no right to your body. Neither might nor law changes the fact that our bodies are our own and we, ourselves, alone have he right to control our bodies. A person forcibly controlling another person's body is always objectively unjust because nobody has the right to control another's body against his/her will. Nothing changes the fact that your body is your own so therefore nothing can remove your right to control it and nothing can give somebody else a right to your body without your consent.

The same applies to your right to your life. I don't have the right to murder you, I do not have a right to your life. Your life is YOURS, that is an objective truth, nothing can change the fact that your life is your own, it is not anyone else's, everyone else has their own life they don't have YOUR life. Since your life is yours, you own it, you have a right to it, it is YOURS. It does not matter where we are located, what society we live in or what legal system claims jurisdiction over us, none of that changes the objective truth that your life is your own. Therefore, since your life is yours and not mine, I do not have the right to take your life from you, it is not mine, I do not own it, I do not have the right to end it. I will never have the right to arbitrarily end your life against your will simply because I desire to end it. The unjustified ending of your life is murder and I don't have the right to destroy what is not mine. I may have the capability of murdering you, the society and legal system governing us may not prohibit or may condone me murdering you on a whim but none of that changes the fact that your lfie is your own, not mine so I have no right to claim it or take it.

Since we all have a right to our own livesand our bodies we also have the right to protect them. This inherent right to self defense allows us to defend ourselves against those that would harm/murder us against our will. If you choose to try to harm/murder me, because you want my stuff, or you don't like the way I dress or you are offended by something I said/did or because I'm a Tottenham fan, or because you're a crazy homicidal person, whatever arbitrary reason you have for murdering me I have the right to act in self preservation and protect myself from your assault on my body/life. If I am forced to harm or kill you in order to protect myself from you harming/murdering me than my actions are justifiable so in those circumstances my right to protect my body/life allows me to fight back to whatever extent is necessary to stop you from hurting/murdering me. The amount of force I am justified in using is limited to the amount needed to end your threat to my body/life and no more.

We also have the right to our own labor and to our own property/fruits of our labor. Those are our 5 natural rights: life, body, self defense, labor, property.





This is all wishful thinking. Idealism that may have laid the foundation for actual legal rights. It can be helpful in the progression of human rights to fantasize that these riots are innate, but IMO ita dangerous to do so, because if you imagine your rights are innate, you might end up imagining they are inviolable, then when the truth of the matter emerges and your legal rights are violates, you may believe that your legal rights cannot be taken away, even though in reality they can..the truth is that you have no innate rights, the state can violate them both legally and illegally. You only have those legal rights that those before you and those contemporaneous with you take the effort to establish and protect.

But to pretend for a moment that rights are innate, do you have any idea which innate rights we have that are not (yet) protected by law. Surely if what you say is true, then there are innate rights we have that are not currently recognized by the state. Be interested to know what you think those are. Or is the Bill of Rights the expression of all.of our innate rights?


I would argue the opposite. There are fundamental rights that exist beyond government because otherwise without government you have the right to do whatever you want to whomever you want. If you and I go out into international waters or into outer space it doesn't then make it ok for me to harm you or murder you or do whatever I want to you simply because there is no government/legal system holding jurisdiction over us and telling me that I can't. I don't have the right to assault you period, regardless of government.

To your point about the government being able to violate our rights, I would say that yes, that is true but that is simply the argument that Might makes Right. If we only have the rights that government gives us and government is powerful enough to do whatever it wants to us regardless of our legal rights then we essentially no rights at all even with government. The weakest and most important minority is the individual, that's why the US constitution limits the government by listing it's enumerated powers and preserves citizens' negative liberties. There are inalienable rights that individuals possess that cannot be justly usurped by government and therefore the violation of those rights is always wrong. The fact that violating your rights is wrong doesn't prevent it from happening but the fact that it happens doesn't make it acceptable either.

Personally, I think all of our naturally rights are covered by 5 rights, the right to life, the right to be secure in your own person, the right to self defense, the right to control your own labor and the right to own your personal property.

The failure of the US constitution to abolish slavery at the time it was ratified resulted in it failing to protect all of those rights because slavery is a direct violation of all our natural rights. In my opinion we've done a pretty decent job fixing that error, I think there is room for more improvement in terms of clarity and protection that could be done and I think that more government intrusion and restriction than is necessary in the constitution but overall I think it's much better than living under a monarchy, even a constitutional monarchy.
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The United States has carried out two air strikes against the militants of al-Shabaab, a terrorist group that is linked to al-Qaeda, in Somalia, US Africa Command said in a press release on Thursday.
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          National Church collection on 22/23 July in aid of 25m people facing hunger crisis in east-Africa: Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia        

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has announced that a special collections at all Masses will take place across Ireland on the weekend of 22 and 23 July to fund life-saving aid for people currently affected by the devastating hunger crisis in east-Africa.  The money raised will be donated to Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, which is delivering emergency food, water and health care to the 25 million people affected.


Severe drought, driven by climate change, is currently affecting Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia and this has resulted in failed harvests and the widespread death of livestock.  Conflict has exacerbated the effects in South Sudan and Somalia, with areas in both countries now on the verge of famine.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, says the situation is critical and has urged support for the collection from parishioners, “With the failure of successive rains and a prolonged drought having taken hold of the region, just surviving has now become the main challenge facing people in large parts of east Africa.  Millions of people in the region are facing starvation.  The crops have failed and animals are dying because of a lack of grazing and water.  The large number of people affected may shock us, but we must realise that behind these stark numbers are real people: mothers and fathers unable to provide for their hungry children.

“The Catholic Church in Ireland is already responding to this crisis through Trócaire.  However, needs are so enormous that we will hold special collections across the country on the weekend of 22 July.  All money collected will go directly to Trócaire’s humanitarian relief work in east Africa.  Bishops are asking clergy and parishioners to respond to this terrible tragedy with generosity.”

Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne and chairperson of Trócaire, says the agency is already working on the ground saving lives: “Trócaire is currently running an advertising campaign to raise awareness of this crisis.  We have been providing emergency food aid, water and healthcare to affected communities – quite literally life-support for affected people.  Trócaire’s health centres in Somalia are treating approximately 19,000 people each month for malnutrition and associated illnesses.  With the support of parishioners here at home in the coming weeks, many tens of thousands more people will receive help.  For example, over 13,000 children in Kenya will receive supplementary high-energy food, new boreholes will be provided for communities, many more people will receive monthly food rations and schools will be supplied with water.

“Globally, this crisis has received very little attention.  Appeals for aid are under-funded.  For example, the UN has received just 37% of the funding it needs to respond to the crisis in Somalia.  The world is distracted by the actions of a handful of powerful politicians, while in east Africa millions suffer in silence.  It is unacceptable for so many to go hungry.”

The United Nations has described the situation in the drought-ravaged parts of Africa as the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.  Trócaire has a long-standing presence in all four affected countries and is working with local communities to deliver life-saving aid, including food, water and healthcare, to hundreds of thousands of those worst affected.

Donations to Trócaire’s east Africa hunger crisis appeal can be made at trocaire.org or by phoning 1850 408 408 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 912 1200 (Northern Ireland).
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Today the USCIS released details on Temporary Protective Status (TPS) application procedures for eligible Syrian nationals.  In addition to Syria, other designated countries include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. TPS designation can be made by the Secretary of Homeland Security when a foreign country has conditions that temporarily prevent the...
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Here's my attempt at 'understatement of the year'... 2016 was interesting. A number of astounding things unfolded. Some good, some bad, some horrid. All making my personal achievements for the past 365 seem insignificant, and absolutely trivial. 

In January, North Korea announced that it had successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test. On February 1, World Health Org declared Zika a Public Health Emergency. Later in the month Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary and gave hope to those of us who someday wish for climate change awareness, equal rights, accessible healthcare, quality education, and substantial change in the United States. 

In March, Obama became the first US president in 88 years to travel to Cuba, lifting the travel embargo. On March 22, attacks in Brussels killed more than 30. On Easter Sunday, a suicide blast in a park in Pakistan killed 69.  

On April 3, The Int'l Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the 'Panama Papers', which outlines how a Panamanian law firm established secret shell companies and offshore accounts for elite global power players. On April 16, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador, killing 663 people.  

In May, Eric Fanning became secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay secretary in the US military. On June 23, the United Kingdom surprisingly voted to leave the European Union, effectively making England the butt of many a 'Brexit' joke. Unfortunately, later in November the world stage would have a new clown to mock.  

On July 19, sadly my birthday, Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party nominee for president. On July 26, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party nominee for president, and the first woman in the history of the United States to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party. On July 3, a suicide car bomb detonated in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 292. On July 14, a truck plowed into crowds on the Promenade in Nice, France, killing 85 and injuring 200.  

On September 9, North Korea claimed to have successfully detonated a nuclear warhead. In early October, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, tearing through the Caribbean nation killing more than 500.  

On November 8 (after substantially losing the popular vote) Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. On November 22, the Dow Jones Industrial closed at over 19k for the first time ever, signaling that while humanity is lost, at least our economy continues to steadily grow. On November 28, a plane ran out of fuel and crashed near Medellin, Colombia killing more than 70 people, including the majority of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense.  

On December 10, 44 people are killed and 155 injured in bombings in Istanbul, Turkey. On the 11th, a bomb killed 25 during morning mass in Cairo, and another car bomb killed 20 in Mogadishu, Somalia. On the 19th, a truck ran into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring 48.

Marking a very somber year, there were too many notable deaths to mention throughout. David Bowie, Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Fidel Castro, John Glenn, and many many more. Finally, there were far too many shootings in the United States to highlight. A sad fact about the state of our union in 2016.

-----------------------

From a personal perspective, again an understatement, 2016 was interesting. I was able to accomplish some lofty goals, and also travel to several far flung locations.

In early January I founded a group called the NYC Adventure Cycling Club. It now has a wonderful leadership team, over 1k members, and continues to provide unique group rides and 'overnighters' throughout the northeast. Most importantly, it allowed me to meet amazing, lifelong friends. Really, it was more of a social club on two wheels. Some have even said it's a "drinking group with a cycling problem". Regardless, big shout out to Colin and Chris. Keep up the amazing work running the show!  

A bit later in January, I was able to explore the amazing areas of Tulum and Akumal in Mexico. This was part of my family's annual 'Destination Christmas' idea, which has removed all gifts and replaced them with quality time together in an exotic environment.

In early February, my sister ordered and received a copy of 'Someday Never Maybe', a blog-to-book recounting my one-year, 24k mile motorcycle journey to/through Central and South America. This marked one of the first 'paid' copies to be shipped. Although it's family, and my sales will most likely remain in single digits, it feels nice to have a published physical book that I can look back on someday.  

In early March the NYC Adventure Cycling Club completed the first of many organized overnight rides. Although cold, we had a solid group of amazing individuals show. Thanks Chris, Anna, Bert, Colin, and George. We'll look back on that long weekend up to Harriman with fond memories of smiles, laughter, and good friendship.  

In April I traveled all over the United States for work on a whirlwind tour. Miami, LA, Seattle, Vegas, you name it. I was also invited on a fun trip to explore New Orleans with Jen. Later that month I joined my good friends Peter and Sam in Austin for a MotoGP boys weekend. Foggy memories of that one, but I'm certain we had an amazing time. Finally, I popped down to Nicaragua to revisit a few places I'd uncovered on my moto trip, and explore a couple of business opportunities.  

In May I continued to explore my incredible home, New York City. It takes awhile to feel 'at home' in NY, but I'd made friends, knew where my favorite bagel and pizza shops were, and was able to navigate the subway with eyes closed. I don't know if I'll ever be a New Yorker, but the city in Spring was beginning to unfold and present itself to me in a way that's hard to explain for those who haven't lived there.  

On June 11th, I quit yet another fantastic job, and my father and I set off from Brooklyn to ride bicycles for 100 days across the country. On September 18th, 4,519mi later, we dipped our wheels into the Pacific. Following the adventure, I was able to sample the #vanlife by renting a ridiculous minivan and road tripping through the PNW, into Canada, then back 'home' to Denver. It was a lovely way to end the bike journey, and nice to explore and spend more time with Jen.  

In October, I found myself in Mexico yet again. This round to explore the beautiful city of Guadalajara. I sampled wonderful tequila, met rad people, and ate fantastic street food. Later that month I made way down to the Caribbean. Jen accepted a one-year contract in St Lucia with the Ministry of Education, so I figured I'd spend time getting her settled in, and do a bit of 'exploring' myself. My first stop was the lovely fishing village of Castara, Tobago. 

Then from Nov 4th - Dec 28th I was 'living' in St Lucia alongside Jen. During my time there we explored the island together. I also checked another item off ye olde bucket list by spending a month learning and becoming officially certified to sail. I now hold Competent Crew, Flotilla Skipper, and Bareboat Captain IYT certifications, and can fully charter my own boat with confidence. I even captained an overnight trip to Martinique to explore St Anne's French bread and croissants. Happy to report, they're both amazing.

So now I find myself back in Castara, Tobago. I've been contracted to assist a small, boutique hotel to build their website and help with sales/marketing efforts. I'll be here for five weeks, then it's off to Panama to explore several land/business opportunities. Finally, at the end of Feb I'll make way to Cali, Colombia to spend some time dancing salsa, practicing Spanish, and looking at a business there. After that? Honestly I have no idea. An idea that's terrifying, but apparently just the way I want it. Some say life begins at the end of the comfort zone. Sure, we'll go with that, this year was slightly uncomfortable. 

What a fucking year...  Let's put 2016 to bed. See you soon 2017. 












          Parallel Parking        
Hey family, I have been on a hiatus lately due to my trip to New York City and when I returned home, I got sick...thank you for your e-mails and words of encouragement. I didn't realize that these updates mean so much to you guys and thank you for your patience and your time! Get ready for an update...

Coming Home: Parallelling between destinations
I was in New York City for a week to start my monthly ministry with the Herald Youth Center and with the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades. It was the longest time that I have been apart from Jamie and in some ways it was very difficult but also finding that in the absence there is intimacy. Each night when we prayed or spoke about our days, there was a deeper affection and support for one another. We have a chance to share and enter into the promise that God has a plan and purpose for us during this new season of our lives. It reminds me of the words of Oswald Chambers, "When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. " The pauses of these days of our marriage has brought me to understand the cost of pursuing this calling...to serve...to account my days to Him.

A special thanks to Pastor Joseph Tsang of Vision Church who housed me one night and had a great time with some old friends like Norman, Steph and Carrie...the highlight was getting late night Kennedy Fried Chicken and watching U2 Concert videos.

Asian American Laity Ministry
I had the chance to preach at Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church and enter into a discussion with them to develop their English ministry. I am approaching them to establish some training and also support for them on a monthly basis starting in January. I am developing a plan with them to build this new direction in their church and recruiting some pastors and advisors to build this ministry. It was such a blessing to be with the leadership who have such a passion and commitment to see this Chinese church develop a legacy with its second and third generation congregation.

A small and growing group of Laity Project partners are building in New York City with several church leaders and also pastors. I am excited to see how God will use this project to empower the lay leaders of the Asian American church. I am still awaiting to work with several parachurches and with seminaries once the funding comes through.

I am also in the midst of doing the transcription for the Asian American Leadership Roundtable but my camcorder broke. I had it sent in for repairs and hope to get it transribed and posted.

Please pray for the vision of this campaign. Pray for wisdom as I am working with the Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church to establish and build on the ministry of the English congregation.

Chinese Christian Herald Crusades
I was able serve with the Herald Youth Center for a week and focus on developing a ministry plan with the team. In January, there will be a launch for the Center. The Chinese Christian Herald Crusades is in the midst of closing of a property in Queens that will make a multi-functional community center in the heart of the Chinese ethnic community. I am working with the organization to develop a plan to pursue partnerships with English speaking congregations for this project.

Pray for my role there and also the work that God is doing through CCHC. Pray for focus and to follow after God in the midst of this new venture and that we don't get seduced by the magnitude of the new center but rather pursue the preaching and the living out of the gospel.

OneHouse
OneHouse event is a little over a week away and there is such a momentum of the churches to come to this event for unity and social justice. I am preparing a talk for the evening called, "Paradise Lost: God's Testament of Justice in a Broken World." I will be speaking on Jesus's first sermon in Luke 4:17-19...In this very important message (one of the most important ones I have ever prepared), I am living through an unrealized yearning for myself. I have read and poured over scriptures that speak for our response to the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the oppressed...never had it spoken so deeply into my heart as it has this past week. I watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time last night and saw the profound loss in the world's unspeakable silence in the midst of so much tragedy...and I have this opportunity to join brothers and sisters in uncovering God's plan to uncover this journey to bring hope to the world...

Pray for this event but more importantly for a movement of the Holy Spirit to stir the hearts of our brothers to identify with the poor and to move towards a reality of God's deliverence in the lives of those hurting...

Center for New Americans
I have been volunteering at the Center for New Americans, which is a Syracuse organization that helps to resettle refugees from around the world...It has been so eye-opening as these refugees share their lives with me...I met a woman from Somalia who tells me of her experiences in surviving in the midst of moving from conflict, a young Congolese man who has scars that has not diminished his tender demeanor and polite disposition, and a Liberian woman who has overcome political upheaval to only have to fight and overcome her personal bout with cancer. These lives, these stories have nourished my soul...and have brought me to tears...these men and women who have shattered lives...they not only survive but have the most beautiful spirit...to smile, to look at me and offer me some of the most geniune laughs as I share jokes with them...Pray for those around the world who are in camps...surviving and wanting to arrive in a destination where there are lives that are released and radiant.

Speaking engagements
Once again the season has begun and I am getting invitations to speak at churches, outreach events, college fellowships and retreats. Here are the venues as of now...
NYU (Intervarsity Christian Fellowship)
Bergen Christian Testimony Church
Reforme Church of Newtown
Penn State (Asian American Christian Fellowship)
Cornell Navigators Fellowship

Praises for Provision
Thank you for your prayers...Jamie and I had our car fixed which cost us $1200 but it was amazing that my speaking engagements and generous friends who have given us love offerings in time of need really helped this month. We have also to find some alternatives towards my dental procedures and found a discounted rate that saved us more than $300. Thank you for your support.


To Financially Support the ministry please send checks (make payable to PaLM) to:
PaLM
48-19 196th Street
Fresh Meadows, New York
11365-1316
please mark memo: Asian American Laity Ministries
All donations are tax-deductible


          Islam Smoldering Bodies        

A woman tries to extinguish a smoldering body in Somalia, where God's
perfect religion inspired a suicide truck bombing that took 100 lives
and left over a hundred others literally burning in agony.

2011.10.06 (Narathiwat, Thailand) - Islamic gunmen fire on a Buddhist couple sitting in their truck, killing the wife.
2011.10.06 (Gereshk, Afghanistan) - Taliban snipers pick off a child riding a bus. Sixteen other civilians survive with injuries.
2011.10.05 (Narathiwat, Thailand) - A Buddhist woman is shot to death in her own house by Muslim militants.
2011.10.05 (Mian Channu, Pakistan) - A Christian trying to build a church orphanage is murdered by Muslims in a "land dispute."
2011.10.04 (Tanjol, Nigeria) - Muslim militants gun down two Christian villagers.
2011.10.04 (Mogadishu, Somalia) - Over one-hundred people are blown to bits in a powerful truck bombing by Islamic fundamentalists. Many victims were students.

h/t Jim Stewart

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
          Obama administration eases policy on preventing civilian casualties in Iraq, Syria        
A Yemeni boy walks past a mural reading " Why did you kill my family" on Dec. 13, 2013, in the capital Sanaa. A new report says that a drone strike on a wedding in southern Yemen a day earlier may have killed up to a dozen civilians. Photo by Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

A Yemeni boy walks past a mural reading ” Why did you kill my family” on Dec. 13, 2013, in the capital Sanaa. A new report says that a drone strike on a wedding in southern Yemen a day earlier may have killed up to a dozen civilians. Photo by Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced in May 2013 that no lethal strike against a terrorist would be authorized without “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”

But amid unconfirmed reports of civilian casualties, the White House said this week that U.S. bombing in Iraq and Syria is not being held to the near-certainty standard. And the Pentagon, hamstrung by limitations in intelligence gathering, has been unable to determine in many cases whether the casualty reports are true.

“We do take extreme caution and care in the conduct of these missions,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said. “But there’s risk in any military operation. There’s a special kind of risk when you do air operations.”

When Obama outlined his strategy to fight the Islamic State group earlier this month, he cited as parallels the limited U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen and Somalia, where American drone missile strikes have targeted al-Qaida-linked militants. Aides said he was also thinking of Pakistan but didn’t mention those strikes because drone killings there are entirely the work of an officially unacknowledged CIA operation.

But when it comes to civilian casualties, it has become clear that the targeted killing model that Obama has expanded and honed throughout his presidency does not apply to the more intensive military operation against the Islamic State and the Khorasan Group in Iraq and Syria.

According to the White House, the reason the near-certainty standard is not applicable turns on a fine point of international law — the theory that the U.S. is not involved in “active hostilities” in Yemen and Somalia, but is in Syria and Iraq. Such distinctions are controversial, given the frequency with which American bombs and bullets have flown in both countries.

A more practical reason is that the self-imposed rules on drone strikes against al-Qaida are simply too restrictive for a conventional military air campaign against the Islamic State group, which the U.S. says is both a terrorist group and an occupying army, and has ordered the Pentagon to destroy.

“It is much different in scope and complexity” than Yemen and Somalia, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., an intelligence committee member. “I think it will be very hard to apply the very restrictive rules they put in place for other theaters.”

The drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan are carried out either by the CIA or, at times in Yemen and Somalia, the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. They employ Hellfire missiles, relatively small munitions designed to destroy people and vehicles.

In Iraq and Syria, the Air Force and Navy are using cruise missiles and conventional guided bombs to destroy buildings and other infrastructure that Hellfires can’t bring down. Allies, including Britain, France and Arab countries, are also using conventional bombs.

While most of the air strikes have been directed at the Islamic State group, the U.S. also used cruise missiles to attack the Syria headquarters of the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaida cell said to be plotting attacks on the West. Syrian opposition figures have said that one of those missiles went astray Sept. 23 and killed women and children in the village of Kafr Daryan near Aleppo.


All told, human rights groups have said that as many as two dozen civilians have been killed in U.S. and allied bombings in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. military says it hasn’t confirmed any civilian death but hasn’t ruled it out in every case, either.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the near-certainty standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action outside areas of active hostilities.”

Military officials say they are taking great care to avoid civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria, consistent with international law. But international law does not require a near certainty that civilians won’t be harmed in military strikes. U.S. officials say harm to noncombatants is inevitable in a large bombing campaign —especially when the enemy is embedded in civilian areas.

Obama himself made that point in his 2013 speech, in the context of explaining why targeted drone campaigns are preferable to conventional war when it comes to counter terrorism.

“Conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones and are likely to cause more civilian casualties and more local outrage,” the president said.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said this week that the U.S is relying mainly on intelligence-gathering technology such as satellites, drones and overhead surveillance flights to determine whether there have been civilian casualties.

As a result, “It’s much harder for us to be able to know for sure what it is we’re hitting, what it is we’re killing and what is collateral damage,” said Tom Lynch, a retired colonel and former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff who is now a fellow at the National Defense University.

Warren acknowledged that the Pentagon could not say for sure that every person killed in the bombing of Iraq and Syria has been a combatant.

After the near-certainty standard was imposed on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the frequency of strikes dropped precipitously, and the use of so-called signature strikes — attacks aimed at large groups of armed men who fit the profile of militants but whose names were not all known to the CIA — was curtailed.

The post Obama administration eases policy on preventing civilian casualties in Iraq, Syria appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          â€˜Clear increase in stowaways’: 12 African migrants caught sneaking into Germany underneath train        
Preview German police have detained 12 men from Nigeria, Somalia and Ivory Coast, taking a risky hike underneath the cargo of a freight train originating in Italy. Officials say there has been a rise in stowaways after other entry points were tightened up.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          Islamic Militants in Somalia Murder Christian Leader        
Al Shabaab extremists threaten widow of slain pastor of underground church. NAIROBI, Kenya, January 26 (CDN) — Islamic extremists shot the leader of an underground church to death outside the capital city of Somalia this month and have threatened to kill his wife, his tearful widow told Compass. Having learned that he had left Islam […]
          Movie Monday: Extortion        
We actually saw two movies this weekend! Friday evening, my husband brought home a DVD from Redbox (woohoo - Friday!) - a thriller called Extortion. Neither of us had heard of it before, but it turned out to be a taut, tension-filled thriller about a family vacation gone wrong.

Kevin Riley, played by Eion Bailey, is a doctor and seems like a nice guy. He is taking a break from work (though still making last-minute calls about his patients) and taking his beautiful wife, Julie, played by Bethany Joy Lenz, and their adorable son, Andy, on a vacation to a gorgeous resort on a Caribbean island. They arrive, and the place looks idyllic - aqua-colored water, golden sands, palm trees waving in the breeze. Andy is very excited to try Jet Skis, but they are all booked when Kevin checks, so he decides to rent a boat instead. Those are all booked at the resort, too, but the rental clerk tells Kevin he can also rent a boat from a local down the beach. So, Kevin hands over $200 to a random local man in exchange for a very no-frills looking motor boat, and the family of three set off on their own into the ocean with no means of navigation. What could go wrong?

The answer, of course, is everything. Not only is the family stranded on a deserted island miles off-shore, but they are rescued by a fisherman, played by Barkhad Abdi, who was so good in Captain Phillips as a Somalian pirate. He sees a golden opportunity in this desperate wealthy American family, and as the name of the film suggests, extorts from Kevin a very large sum of money in return for not letting his family die of thirst and exposure. Things go from bad to worse, as they generally do in these movies. Eventually, Constable Haagen, the town's police chief played by Danny Glover, gets involved in the case, but even that doesn't go well for poor Kevin.

This is a classic vacation disaster film: your basic Gilligan's Island 3-hour tour gone wrong times 100. There were lots of holes in the plot (like WHY did this family go out for 3 hours on a boat and bring nothing with them?), but we tried to ignore those and just go along for the ride. And it is an exciting ride - a rollercoaster of ups and downs (mostly downs) and unexpected twists and turns. If you're looking for action and adventure, there is plenty of suspense and tension here to keep you holding your breath until the very last frames. If you can just suspend disbelief a bit, it's a very fast-paced and entertaining movie.

Extortion is now out on DVD and is available on streaming through Amazon (as low as $3.99). It is not available on Netflix.




          New Article: Defending The Right to Leisure        
CIRI Co-Director David L. Richards and CIRI Research Assistant Ben Carbonetti have published “Worth What We Decide: A Defense of the Right to Leisure” in the International Journal of Human Rights. The "OnlineFirst" e-version is out now and the print version comes out in January.
Abstract:
One of the most routinely philosophically and politically attacked sections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is article 24: ‘Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.’ Defending against these attacks is important. For example, only the USA and Somalia, among UN member states, are not parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). One reason for the USA’s status is political opposition to CRC article 31, which maintains ‘States parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure. . ..’ Our article defends article 24 from well-known criticisms. We maintain rights are social constructs and, as evidence of social construction, we provide a genealogy of article 24. We also address the social psychology of rest/leisure and trends in actual state practice.

          Fakta-post. 100 000 somalier om 3 Ã¥r? 200 000 Ã¥r 2023?        
Det brukar sägas att Sverige har 40 000 somaliska invandrare. Wikipedia anger SCB-uppgiften 40 200 Ã¥r 2011: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalier_i_Sverige

Uppgiften stämmer säkert, men idag bör det i Sverige finnas ca 65 000 somaliskfödda eller med tvÃ¥ somaliskfödda föräldrar, som jag härmed väljer att kalla somalier. (De borde kanske kallas somalisvenskar och jag är medveten om att vissa, om än en minoritet, är väl integrerade.)


"Mini-utredning":

Enligt SCB-data för 31 december 2010 hade Sverige 48 907 födda i Somalia eller vars bÃ¥da föräldrar var födda i Somalia. (Data i excel-fil pÃ¥ SCB.)

Vidare nettoinvandrade 2011 och 2012 enligt SCB 2 724 resp. 4 094 somalier. Dessa tvÃ¥ Ã¥r bör somaliers födsloöverskott vara ca 1 200-1 300 per Ã¥r. Det ger 2011 och 2012 en ökning pÃ¥ över 9 000 somalier.

Vid Ã¥rsskiftet 2012/2013 fanns alltsÃ¥ i Sverige ca 58 000 somalier. Migrationsverkets Verksamhets- och kostnadsprognos 25 april i Ã¥r, anger 8 400 asylsökande frÃ¥n Somalia/Afrikas horn och 8 600 anhöriginvandrare frÃ¥n Somalia under 2013. UtifrÃ¥n dessa tal är nettoinvandringen 12 000 somalier möjlig. Med den skulle vi vid halvÃ¥rsskiftet ha ca 65 000 somalier.

Skulle nettoinvandring av somalier vara 12 000 för även 2014 och 2015, nÃ¥r antal somalier upp till 100 000 under 2016. Vid fortsatt nettoinvandring pÃ¥ 12 000 per Ã¥r nÃ¥s 200 000 somalier i Sverige omkring Ã¥r 2023.

-
(Beräkning görs med en algoritm här, och utifrån fertilitet 3,7 barn per kvinna. Enligt SCB var år 2007 somaliers fertilitet 3,9 barn per kvinna.)


Postade detta då jag anser korrekt faktaunderlag är viktigt, inte främst för att hävda att det leder till det ena eller det andra. Men vi vet exempelvis att arbetslöshet bland invandrade somalier är hög, både i Sverige, Storbritannien, Kanada samt i USA. Ekonomen Tino Sanandaji visar här att OECD anger sysselsättningsgrad bland somaliska invandrare mellan 16 och 65 år i dessa fyra västländer till endast 24, 15, 36 resp. 52 procent, vilket innebär att ökningen av somalier inte är gratis.

Norges statistikmyndighet SSB räknade nyligen fram att varje ickevästlig invandrare i kostar i snitt 4,1 miljoner norska kronor. Se Hegnar Online, med referenslänkar till Finansavisen. Har googlat på norska nyheten om kostnad för invandring svensk media, men... I SvD och DN nämns den inte, med undantag för en mening i SvD:s replikreferat från budgetdebatten, där SD:s Sven-Olof Sällström refereras.

Andra aspekter, jämte ekonomi (kanske en drivkraft bakom migration), finns såklart.

          MÃ¥ngkultur i brittisk media och lite invandringsstatistik        
Gårdagens ledare i Sydsvenskan, Sammanhållning på upphällning, fick mig att tänka på ett par artiklar i brittisk media nyligen, som berör mångkultur.

Dels Daily Mail-artikeln Welcome to Britain's most diverse street! Road where half of residents speak English as a second language is home to migrants from across the globe, som anger att 48 procent av befolkningen i distriktet Cheetham Hill, i norra Manchester, inte har engelska som förstaspråk. Artikeln nämner några rätt nöjda boende och att människor lärt sig leva med varandra. Inte mycket om problem och utmaningar alltså.

I Telegraph skrev dock redaktören Jane Kelly, i artikeln I feel like a stranger where I live, om varför hon vantrivs i det mångkulturella London.


Nåväl. Vill med tanke på häpnadsväckande exempel på desinformation och undertryckande av fakta jag sett posta några diagram visande olika EU-länders invandring.

Givna asyl som andel av befolkning 2010.



Givna asyl som andel av befolkning 2010 och 2011:



Invandring från "less developed countries" (t ex Somalia) samt "medium developed countries" (t ex länder i Latinamerika eller östra Europa) som andel av befolkning 2010.



Invandring från "less developed countries" som andel av befolkning 2010 (motsvarar blåa delen av staplarna i föregående diagram):


Invandringsdata från Eurostat. Asyldata via denna sida och övrig migrationsdata via denna sida.


Moderaten Björn Schaerströms debattartikel i Vallentuna Fria, Migrationsdebatten full av lögner och onödigt polariserad, förtjänar förresten att nämnas. Tror att årskostnad 1 miljon kronor per mottagen invandrare är för hög. I normalfallet är den knappast högre än 0,5 miljon kronor. Men även det är förstås en kostnad.


          Zalecania dla podróżujących w regiony krążenia dzikiego wirusa polio        
Zgodnie z zaleceniami Światowej Organizacji Zdrowia, wszystkie osoby udają się w regiony krążenia dzikiego wirusa polio, powinny otrzymać szczepionkę inaktywowaną przeciw wirusowi polio (IPV). Odstęp pomiędzy podaniem szczepionki a datą planowanego powrotu nie powinien być dłuższy niż 12 miesięcy. Kraje wymieniane przez WHO to: Afganistan, Kamerun, Etiopia, Gwinea Równikowa, Irak, Izrael, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia i Syria.
          FOME NA SOMALIA É "POLÍTICA        
  Há seca severa, mas este não é o principal motivo por trás da crise de fome que assola a Somália. A análise é de Abdi Ismail Samatar, professor da Universidade de Minessota, nos Estados Unidos. Nascido na Somália, naturalizou-se americano e pesquisa a África há cerca de 30 anos. Falou à Folha, por telefone, de Pretória, na África do Sul, onde é professor visitante.   Na quarta-feira, a ONU declarou crise de fome em mais três regiões somalis, elevando o total a cinco áreas que...
          Los paises mas pobres del mundo        



Hay muchos indicadores para medir la pobreza de un país. Pero de acuerdo con el Ãndice de Pobreza Multidimensional (IPM),EMPLEADO por el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) estos son los 10 países más pobres del mundo en 2015. Para este análisis se han tenido en cuenta parámetros como: los años de escolarización de la población, mortalidad infantil, nutrición, acceso a electricidad, acceso a agua potable, higiene de los hogares y el acceso a bienes como radio televisión.


sierra-leona





10 Sierra Leona

Sierra Leona ha tenido numerosos golpes de estado militares, sus conflictos políticos estallaron en 1991 en una guerra civil que acabaron en 2002 y asolaron la economía. Este año, además ha tenido que hacer frente a una de las peores epidemias del mundo moderno: el brote de Ébola.


guinea-ecuatorial

9 Guinea Ecuatorial

Dos terceras partes de la población de Guinea Ecuatorial viven en condiciones de extrema pobreza a pesar de que el país dispone del mayor producto interior bruto (PIB) per cápita de África Subsahariana gracias a sus reservas de petróleo y minerales como bauxita, diamantes, oro y aluminio. Pero las empresas y los gobiernos corruptos impiden que la población prospere con menos de 30% de alfabetizados. 

libreia

8 Liberia

Liberia, desde 1990, ha sufrido una guerra civil por los roces entre diferentes grupos étnicos del país. Esta situación ha obligado a casi la mitad de la población a abandonar sus hogares y muchos han muerto de inanición.

repub%C3%B1ica-centro-africana

7 Republica Centro Africana

Los problemas de seguridad, una profunda crisis estructural y varios años de mal gobierno, están acabando con la República Centroafricana desde hace más de 40 años.

somalia1

6 Somalia

Somalia, que puso fin a una dictadura de 20 años con el golpe de Estado de 1991, acarrea una profunda inestabilidad. El país está fragmentado por los conflictos de poder y territorio. Uno de los muchos problemas para su desarrollo es el clima, marcado por el calor todo el año.

burundi

5 Burundi

Burundi tiene el segundo PIB per cápita más bajo según elBANCO Mundial, después de la República Democrática del Congo. El PIB de Burundi es bajo debido a las guerras civiles y la corrupción.

burkina-faso

4 Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso cuenta con pocos recursos naturales y la mayoria son de consumo propio, el país depende de la economía agrícola, insuficiente para contrarrestar el crecimiento de la población.

mali

3 Mali

La desnutrición, la falta de condiciones higiénicas básicas y el daño causado por enfermedades como la malaria forma parte de los problemas cotidianos de la población que  continúa siendo uno de los países más pobres del planeta.

etiopia

2 Etiopía

Etiopía, es el 14º país más poblado del mundo, ocupa el puesto 169 de 177 países en el Índice de Desarrollo Humano. Las mayor parte de los 85 millones de personas que viven ahí soportan habrunas y guerras con países como Eritrea desde hace décadas. El gobierno etíope estima que el 81% de la población sobrevive con menos de dos dólares al día.

niger

1 Níger

Niger es según el último estudio de Naciones Unidas el país más pobre del mundo en 2015. Las durísimas condiciones climáticas con continuas sequías, determinan un estado casi permanente de inseguridad alimentaria para la población de Níger. La esperanza de vida es de 44 años.

          Sejarah Laksamana Cheng Ho        
LAKSAMANA HAJI MUHAMMAD CHENG HO adalah pembesar terkenal dalam sejarah umat Islam di negara China. Beliau juga mendapat kedudukan yang istimewa dalam masyarakat kita. Namanya disebut-sebut di dalam Sejarah Melayu sebagai orang yang bertanggungjawab membawa Hang Li Po bagi dikahwinkan dengan Sultan Mansur Syah pemerintah empayar Melaka. Laksamana Haji Muhammad Cheng Ho dilahirkan pada tahun 1371 di Kunming, Yunnan. Bapanya merupakan seorang yang teguh berpegang kepada ajaran agama Islam. Walaupun memegang jawatan tinggi dalam kerajaan, Laksamana Cheng Ho tidak pernah mengabaikan kewajipan sebagai seorang Islam. Setiap kali hendak memulakan pelayarannya, beliau dan para anak kapal yang beragama Islam mendirikan solat terlebih dahulu memohon rahmat dan perlindungan daripada Allah.


Pelayaran-pelayaran Laksamana Cheng Ho bukan sahaja telah berjaya mengeratkan hubungan diplomat dan perdagangan tetapi juga meggalakkan hubungan kebudayaan di antara China dengan Negara-negara lain. Satu lagi perkara yang jarang diperkatakan tentang Laksamana Haji Muhammad Cheng Ho ialah penglibatannya dalam penyebaran Islam dan usaha-usaha dakwah Islam di kawasan yang dilawatinya terutamanya di Asia Tenggara. Sumbangan beliau dalam bidang dakwah sebenarnya besar. Beliau meninggalkan para pengikut seperti di Semarang di Indonesia dan Melaka untuk berdakwah. Maka wajarlah beliau dikatakan ilmuan Islam. Semasa di Mekah, beliau menunaikan haji sebelum meneruskan perjalanannya ke pantai timur Afrika. Monumen Laksamana Cheng Ho didirikan di Somalia membuktikan beliau pernah sampai ke Negara itu. Kemampuan Laksamana Cheng Ho memimpin armada yang sebegitu besar membuktikan kempimpinannya yang tinggi. Beliau mengangkat martabat Umat Islam di sisi Dinasti Ming. Pelayaran Laksamana Cheng Ho meninggalkan banyak kesan positif dalam sosio-ekonomi, politik dan dakwah serta menjadi bukti betapa umat Islam boleh melaksanakan tugas dan peranan yang diberikan dengan baik.

Dalam pelayaran kelimanya yang mengambil masa antara tahun 1417 hingga 1419, Laksamana Cheng Ho sekali lagi mengunjungi Negara Arab dan Afrika Timur. Semasa di Mekah beliau menunaikan haji buat kali yang kedua. Pelayaran kali ketujuh meliputi 3 benua iaitu Asia Selatan, Timur Tengah dan Afrika. Beberapa kajian terkini menobatkan beliau sebagai orang yang pertama mengelilingi dunia. Ada sarjana yang mengatakan kemungkinan Laksamana Cheng Ho adalah orang yang pertama menemui benua Amerika bukannya Christopher Columbus seperti yang diwar-warkan selama ini. Penemuan yang dilakukan oleh Laksamana Cheng Ho adalah 87 tahun lebih awal daripada pelayar dari Portugal itu. Jika benar pendapat itu, maka sejarah dunia perlu ditulis semula dan peta pelayaran perlu diubah. Sayang bagi kita kerana beberapa catatan pelayaran beliau telah hilang dan ini adalah satu kerugian untuk umat Islam dan Negara China dan warisan tamadun manusia seluruhnya.

Selang 2 tahun selepas pulang daripada pelayaran pada tahun 1433, beliau meninggal dunia dan disemadikan di Kunming. Al-fatihah untuk ilmuan islam kita Laksamana Haji Muhammad Cheng Ho.

          Comment on Saks to open seven new outlet stores in 2014 by Air Jordan High Heels        
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          On the brink: as famine looms, world leaders must pay up and deliver political solutions to save lives        
English

As famine takes hold in South Sudan and threatens to spread to northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen, world leaders must immediately step up to fully fund the United Nations’ appeal for $6.3 billion. Of this amount, $4.9 billion is urgently needed by July for critical assistance, including health, food, nutrition, and water. If lives are to be saved, humanitarian agencies must be able to rapidly scale up and access people in need.

World leaders must not walk away from key meetings, such as the Group of Seven Taormina Summit in Italy and the Group of Twenty Hamburg Summit in Germany, without taking action to increase funding, improve access, resolve conflict and insecurity, and ensure that emergency relief is coupled with long-term approaches to building resilience in affected countries.

Author: 
Shannon Scribner
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This woman arrived in Nyal, in Panyijar County, South Sudan, to register for a food distribution. Emergency hunger levels hav e been  declared in the county. Photo:Bruno Bierrenbach Feder/Oxfam
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          A climate in crisis        
English

Nearly eleven million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are dangerously hungry and in need of humanitarian assistance. The worst drought-affected areas in Somalia are on the brink of famine.

There is growing scientific analysis suggesting that the impacts of current and recent droughts in East Africa are likely to have been aggravated by climate change. Climate change is not a distant, future threat. As this briefing explains, it is helping fuel this emerging catastrophe in which poverty, chronic malnutrition, weak governance, conflict, drought and climate change have combined to create a perfect storm.

Governments across the region and around the world need to take responsibility and provide humanitarian assistance to save lives now. Humanitarian aid needs to be coupled with longer term support to promote the resilience of pastoralists and smallholder food producers. Without global efforts to reduce emissions and to help the world’s poorest people cope with the effects of climate change, this crisis will continue to repeat itself.

Subtitle: 
How climate change is making drought and humanitarian disaster worse in East Africa
Author: 
Tracy Carty
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          Drought in East Africa: “If the rains do not come, none of us will survive”        

A large double-decker truck is quickly making its way towards Garadag from Fadigaab, in the south of Somaliland. It is carrying nine families and what is left of their herds: some sheep, goats, and donkeys. It is even carrying their homes – herders can dismantle their huts quickly and rebuild them in different locations.

This is what pastoralists have done for centuries, following the movements of their animals and the changing seasons. However, because of the drought's effects on the Horn of Africa, these nine families have had to move six times in the last six months. They continue to seek drinkable water for themselves and their animals, hoping they will be able to hold out for the soon-to-come rainy season.

Nine pastoralist families’ lives, their wealth (their animals), and even their homes are all being transported towards a new site – where they hope they will be able to hold out for the soon-to-come rainy season.

The region was hit by an 18-month drought caused by El Niño and higher temperatures linked to climate change. Now, in the midst of even more drought, the situation has become catastrophic, causing crops to fail and cattle to die. In addition, the lack of clean water increases the threat of cholera and other diseases.

Across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the autonomous region of Somaliland, 10.7 million people are facing severe hunger. There are increasing concerns that the situation will get much worse, as rainfall in March and early April was very low in places. Poor rainfall is forecast for April through June, the end of the rainy season.

Sheep and goats which have died because of the continuous drought situation in Somaliland.

Droughts are not new to this region, but they are intensifying. There is growing scientific analysis suggesting that climate change aggravates their impacts.

For many in East Africa, the current drought is the worst in living memory. We are now in the third year of very low rainfall coupled with high temperatures, which have exhausted people’s ability to cope with drier conditions and scarce and unpredictable rains.

Pastoralists resettling in the Garadag district after a 60km journey on a truck with their animals. Somaliland, Northern Somalia, March 2017.

Pastoralists are most at risk

Nomadic pastoralists are among the hardest hit by this drought, which has left exceptional numbers of people without most or all of their livestock. They live on harsher lands and receive little support from governments. More frequent droughts are making it harder for people to recover between shocks, making them more vulnerable to the next crisis.

In eastern Somaliland, which has been ravaged by this catastrophe, Oxfam has witnessed entire communities on the move, desperately searching for water and pasture, and chasing the rains that have been forecast but are yet to materialize. Many say that this drought is worse than the one in 2011, which left a quarter of a million people dead and vast herds of livestock completely wiped out. This left survivors without the means to feed themselves or make a living.

Mahmoud Geedi Ciroobay (picture above) is from Kalsheikh – 60 km away from where the pastoralists have settled near Garadag.

“This drought is slowly killing everything, says Mahmoud. First it ‘swept away’ the land and the pastures; then it ‘swept away’ the animals, which first became weaker and weaker and eventually died. Soon, it is going to ‘sweep away’ people. People are sick with flu, diarrhoea, and measles. If they don’t get food, clean water, and medicines, they will die like their animals.”

Right up to six months ago, Mahmoud’s family used to have over 1000 animals: 400 sheep, plus goats and camels. Then, they started moving in search of better pastures and more water for their animals. They moved to the area of Erigavo, then outside of El Alfweyn. “In the last six months, we have moved six times in total – and every time we move, we lose more livestock.”

Farhia Mohamad Geedi (pictured above) is 25 years old. She came here with her four-year-old daughter, Zeinab, her mother, and the rest of her family in hopes of finding new pastures for the few animals in their care. They used to own 100 goats and 100 sheep, but none survived.

“Our animals started dying in October-November. The last animals we had died in February. So now we help our relatives looking after theirs. Together, we all decided to move here, as there are some pastures nearby and it could be better for our livestock,” she says.

“We have moved four times in the last four months. We were trying to follow the rain – moving according to where the rains were supposed to come. But they haven’t. If the rains don’t come, none of us will survive”.

Photos: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam
 

East Africa faces a race against time

Oxfam is launching a humanitarian response to the drought in Somaliland where, together with our long-standing networks and partners, we can have the most impact as quickly as possible.

We will initially reach a minimum of 20,000 people with clean water, sanitation, and cash assistance so that they can buy much-needed food and medicine. We hope to significantly expand our response to reach a further 200,000 people over the next 12 months.

Help us now: please donate

 

English
Parent page: 
Famine and hunger crisis
Ethiopia food crisis
Picture: 
Nimo tient un médicament contre la diarrhée. Elle a perdu la majeure partie de son troupeau et souffre de diarrhée depuis des semaines. « Nous avions 170 bêtes. Mais elles ont commencé à mourir et sont tombées comme des mouches, jour après jour. »
Summary picture: 
Pull quotes: 
“This drought is leaving nothing behind. In previous droughts, we used to lose some animals, but we would always have food and water. But this is different. It is ‘sweeping away’ animals and people.”
Quotee: 
Abdilal Yassen, 70
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Famine and hunger crisis

          How climate change is helping fuel a massive hunger crisis in East Africa         

Nearly 11 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya face terrifying food shortages. A massive drought has killed off crops and cattle throughout the region. Millions, many already in poverty, have been left with almost nothing.

Climate scientists and activists have warned for years now that climate change would cause or intensify crisis like this one.

After looking at the most recent research and consulting with various experts, we can say that climate change has made a bad situation worse.

The climate change link

Droughts are not new to East Africa. However, abnormally high temperatures in the region are linked to climate change. Greenhouse gases, from burning fossil fuels or deforestation, for example, trap heat in our atmosphere and raise the Earth’s temperature. Globally, the last three years have been the hottest ever recorded.

These higher temperatures have intensified the drought.

Higher temperatures increase evaporation, meaning soil and plants lose more water. Heat has contributed to crops withering in parched, cracked soil.

Excessive heat during a drought can be deadly for livestock.  In pastoral areas in northern Somalia and elsewhere, higher temperatures over the past six months have turned very poor rains last year into a terrible loss of soil moisture – helping to desiccate all available fodder for most of the region's pastoralists.

Many farmers and herders in the region that Oxfam has spoken with say the same thing: things have never been this bad. Families have left their homes and sought help in temporary settlements, where they receive barely enough food and water to survive.

Awad Ali, 87 years old, is the head of a family who is living now in the town of Garadag, Somaliland, where a thousand of families have come to live since the drought began. “I have seen many droughts in my lifetime, but this is the worst one”, he says. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam

What needs to be done?

  • First, these communities need urgent help. The United Nations has asked for $1.9 billion to increase emergency food, water, and other resources to save lives. The international community needs to step up and meet this goal.
  • Second, we need commitments from the rest of the world to prevent these situations from reaching this point. The response time has been better than it was for the 2011 crisis, but it could still be improved. Not only does it reduce suffering but it is cheaper to help communities before they’re facing starvation.
  • Third, these crises hit people living in poverty hardest. National programs meant to help and improve the economic well-being of small farmers and herders means they’ll be better prepared to cope when the next drought hits.
  • Fourth and finally, it’s time for climate action. Even if all countries cut their greenhouse gasses by as much as they’ve promised, the world is going to get much hotter—more than 3 degrees Celsius. Governments need to make deeper cuts to reign in global warming, and they need to put forth the funds that these communities are owed to help them adapt to this new reality.

What is Oxfam doing?

We’re helping provide immediate, life-saving aid, as well as working on longer-term solutions.

For example, in Ethiopia, we’re providing safe, clean water to 318,000 people, and 84 schools and hospitals. We’ve launched a response to help at least 20,000 people with clean water, sanitation, and cash assistance for food in Somaliland.

To help communities in Kenya be ready for the next drought, Oxfam has helped repair and install solar-powered boreholes, which give them access to clean water for them and their livestock.

Droughts, even those which have been significantly worsened by climate change, don’t have to turn into humanitarian catastrophes.

Help us save lives by supporting our work

 

English
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GROW
Ethiopia food crisis
Ethiopia
Picture: 
Droughts are not new to East Africa. However, abnormally high temperatures in the region are linked to climate change and can be deadly for livestock. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam
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Dead sheep and goats, which died because of the continous drought situation in Somaliland. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam
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          Literacy Council Student Samiya Mohamed Aces Citizenship Exam        
Congratulations are in order for Literacy Council student Samiya Mohamed, who recently became a US citizen after preparing for the US citizenship exam with her tutor, Lori Depue. Lori and Samiya worked together diligently for over a year preparing for the US citizenship exam by meeting twice a week at the Literacy Council for tutoring sessions. Samiya, originally from Somalia, was initially inspired by her father and husband to pursue US citizenship. After being paired with her tutor at the
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          BLOG: Listening to Leonella (from the Archives)        
In London, radical Muslim activists are calling for the execution of Pope Benedict XVI (B-16).  In Morocco, the government, offended by the comments of B-16 a week ago, has said it will remove its ambassadors from the Vatican in protest.  In the Palestinian territories, more than half a dozen churches have been bombed and fired upon, and Gaza hosted a protest drawing about 2,000 angry participants.  In Iraq, Muslim terrorist groups are vowing revenge.  Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor reports that “the Mujahidin Shura Council… said Bush was leading a ‘new crusade’ and, addressing the pope, said: "We will destroy the cross... then all that will be accepted will be conversion or [death]."
 
Angry Muslims around the world through their protests, threats, and burning effigies of the Pope are saying the remarks made by B-16 offended them and misrepresented Islam.  Even moderate Muslims agree that the speech from the Pope was unfortunate, unwise, and ill-timed.  We are hearing loudly and clearly voices from all over the world saying that the Pope should not have said what he said.  We have heard this judgment from all vantage points.  Yet, before we render our own verdict on the matter, we need to hear a couple of other voices, too, the voices of Leonella and Ali.
 
You might have heard of Sister Leonella Sgorbati by now.  Sister Leonella, 66, was an Italian nun who worked at a Children’s hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia.  Since 2002, she has been working to train nurses at the SOS Kindergarten Hospital.  She finished work on Sunday and was walking to her home when 8 shots rang out.  Three of the shots hit her in the back.  She was taken to the hospital, where she died while undergoing treatment.  Her bodyguard died in the attack along with her.
 
Suspicions are high that she was attacked in response to the Pope’s statements.  Some at the scene have stated that the attack was motivated by anger over what the Pope said.  Others are not so sure.  Even the nuns from the order to which Sister Leonella belonged have said they know of no connection with the Pope’s statement. Many, because of the uncertainty still lingering over the motive of the killers, are hesitant to connect the dots between the Pope’s words and the assassins’ bullets. 
 
Whether there is a direct link between the Pope’s statements and this murder or not, the incidents most certainly are connected.  Here’s how: The Pope in his lecture invoked the writings of a Byzantine emperor from the 1300’s to make the point that dialog between Christians and Muslims must begin with the realization that there are two very different ways of reasoning at play between Muslims and Christians.  Christians have an authoritative place for reason, believing that God—the author of reason—would not act in a way that is unreasonable.  Because God does not contradict reason, God’s will can be embraced by even those outside the Christian faith on the basis of reason. 
 
Muslims do not view God as operating this way, believing instead that God is free even of the constraints of reason and must be obeyed even if the matter is unreasonable.  This fact makes the starting place of discussions with Muslims difficult.  Yet, recognizing this distinction can help the conversation have a start.  Pope B-16 used his lecture to invite an open and frank discussion of the differences between Islam and Christianity.  He offered reason as a good starting place and argued that Muslims and Christians could agree that using killing and violence to spread their faiths would be unreasonable.  This is, basically, what the Pope said.  Many Muslims and others said, “This offends us.”
 
Sister Leonella has now made quite a statement of her own.  Has she not voiced agreement with the Pope through her death?  Is it not unreasonable to kill a servant of mercy in Mogadishu in response to being offended by something the Pope said at a German university?  And what if her death proves not to be linked to B-16’s speech?  Is it not, then, even more unreasonable for this servant to have been killed simply because she was not a  Muslim?   Is she the picture of the “Western Devil” so commonly portrayed by many a radical Muslim imam?  When we hear the story of Leonella Sgorbati, we don’t exactly think of her as a villain, infidel, or dancing pig. Rather, she appears more like a humble servant glad to lay down her life for the good of children and for the glory of the Savior, who also died to serve others.  It probably will not surprise you to know that Sister Leonella reportedly spent her last words offering forgiveness to those who murdered her, even as Christ Himself prayed a prayer of forgiveness for others when He was in His last hour.  Leonella, now dead, says much about the Christian faith.  Muslims need to answer what her death says about Islam.
 
Add to Sister Leonella the voice of Ali Mustaf Maka`il, a 22-year-old college student and cloth merchant.  Ali lived in Mogadishu, Somalia, too.  Ali converted to Christianity almost a year ago and last week found himself in an ethical quandary.  The crowd gathered around him was chanting verses from the Koran in commemoration of a lunar eclipse.  Ali was not comfortable joining with the chants.  So, an offended soldier with the Union of Islamic Courts (a group which rules part of Somalia) shot Ali in the back and killed him.  This happened September 7th, before the Pope said what he said.
 
According to Barnabas Fund, a British group that tracks the persecution of Christians, Somalia has witnessed many such murders of Christians recently.  Three Christians were reported killed in July as they were coming home from prayer meeting.  Islamists were responsible.  Last year, Osman Sheik Ahmed, a Christian evangelist, was killed by Islamic radicals in Somalia.  The gospel he was speaking obviously offended some Muslims.  Muslims—at least some among them—have a convincing way of letting people know when something has offended them. 
 
So, the question arises: Do the deaths of Leonella and Ali offend Muslims?  What do the voices of Leonella and Ali say about the Muslim faith?  If the murders of Leonella and Ali do not represent true Islam, then where is the outrage against such a misrepresentation of Islam?  I have heard even moderate Muslims express anger at the Pope for quoting a 14th Century emperor who supposedly misrepresents true Islam.  The non-Muslim world is left to wonder why this centuries-old quote provokes riots and ire from Muslims around the world, and, yet, the murders of Leonella and Ali in the name of Islam stir not the slightest outrage at all?  Don’t the murders of Leonella and Ali misrepresent Islam, too?  Let’s listen to what the Muslims say.
 

          Menikmati Perpaduan Budaya di Keraton Kasepuhan Cirebon        

Saat ini (5/8/12) cuaca di Cirebon sangat panas dan kering, karena sedang berhembus angin kumbang yaitu angin yang membawa udara kering yang biasa berhembus di wilayah Cirebon hingga Tegal pada Bulan Agustus setiap tahunnya. 

Untuk mengurangi pengaruh hawa panas dari angin kumbang tersebut, Cirebon Insight memutuskan untuk berjalan-jalan ke Keraton Kasepuhan, yaitu sebuah keraton tertua dan termegah di Cirebon. Keraton ini dibangun pada tahun 1529 oleh Pangeran Mas Mochammad Arifin II (cicit dari Sunan Gunung Jati) yang menggantikan tahta dari Sunan Gunung Jati pada tahun 1506. 

Pada awalnya Keraton Kasepuhan bernama Keraton Pakungwati, nama tersebut diambil dari nama Ratu Dewi Pakungwati binti Pangeran Cakrabuana yang menikah dengan Sunan Gunung Jati. Ia wafat pada tahun 1549 dalam Mesjid Agung Sang Cipta Rasa dalam usia yang sangat tua.

Disebelah Timur Keraton terdapat bangunan yang cukup tinggi Bangunan ini bernama Siti Inggil atau dalam bahasa Cirebon sehari-harinya adalah lemah duwur yaitu tanah yang tinggi. Bangunan tersebut dikelilingi dengan tembok bata tua atau terracota yang masih kokoh, tembok tersebut memiliki gapura bergaya bentar sebagai pintu masuknya. Gapura bentar adalah gapura khas kerajaan Majapahit, konon bentuk Keraton Pakungwati pada awalnya mengadopsi bentuk istana Trowulan Majapahit. Hal unik lainnya pada tembok tersebut adalah terdapat ornamen berupa piringan keramik yang berasal dari Cina dan Eropa yang tertanam hampir di sepanjang tembok gapura.

Di depan Keraton Kesepuhan terdapat alun-alun yang bernama Alun-alun Sangkala Buana. Dahalu di alun-alun tersebut setiap hari Sabtu selalu digelar latihan keprajuritan yang disebut dengan Saptonan. Di alun-alun tersebut juga dijadikan tempat untuk melaksanakan hukum pidana Islam, seperti hukum cambuk bagi masyarakat yang bersalah. 

Di Sebelah Barat Alun-alun tersebut berdiri sebuah masjid yang usianya tidak jauh berbeda dengan Istana Pakungwati, yaitu Masjid Agung Sang Cipta Rasa, Masjid ini memiliki keunikan dengan dikumandangkannya Adzan Pitu, yaitu Adzan (panggilan sholat) yang disuarakan bersama tujuh orang muadzin sekaligus.

Sebelum memasuki gerbang komplek Keraton Kasepuhan atau yang disebut Kompleks Siti Inggil,  kita akan menemui dua buah pendopo, yang terletak di sebelah barat disebut Pancaratna yang dahulunya merupakan tempat berkumpulnya para punggawa Keraton dan lurah, sedangkan pendopo sebelah timur disebut Pancanitiyang merupakan tempat para perwira keraton ketika diadakannya latihan keprajuritan di alun-alun.

Setelah Melewati gerbang atau disebut juga regol akan tampak halaman luas di tengah halaman tersebut tampak patung dua ekor macan putih yang disebut juga dengan Macan Ali, yang menjadi lambang dari Keraton kasepuhan, juga menjadi simbol dari keraton lainnya di Cirebon. Di belakang patung tersebut tampak bangunan utama berwarna putih. Bangunan tersebut bernama Malang Semirang dengan jumlah tiang utama 6 buah yang melambangkan rukun iman.

Dibelakang bangunan tersebut terdapat beberapa ruangan yang termasuk ruangan utama yang sering dijadikan kegiatan kenegaraan Sultan kasepuhan, seperti Bangsal Pringgodani dan Bangsal Panembahan yang merupakan ruangan utama tempat Sultan menerima tamu kenegaraan ataupun mengadakan rapat-rapat penting bersama para petinggi keraton.

 Dalam bangsal panembahan kita akan kembali disuguhkan pemandangan yang luar biasa dari perpaduan beberapa budaya, seperti Jawa, Arab, China dan Eropa. Seperti lukisan dan lampu gantung yang berasal dari Eropa, maupun ornamen bunga lotus/teratai merah pada dingding Bangsal Panembahan yang mewakili budaya China.

Di dalam komplek Keraton kasepuhan kita juga dapat menemukan dua buah musium keraton, musium di sebelah barat adalah musium yang berisikan benda-benda pusaka keraton, seperti alat musik yang terdiri dari gending dan gamelan, perlengkapan perang mulai dari keris, tombak, baju jirah serta beberapa meriam dari portugis dan somalia. 

Sedangkan musium di sebelah timur adalah musium Singa Barong, yang berisi kereta pusaka keraton Kasepuhan yang merupakan perwujudan beberapa mahluk yang bertubuh singa, berkepala naga, berbelalai gajah serta bersayap garuda. Kereta pusaka ini tersimpan rapih dalam musium tersebut dan hanya dikeluarkan pada bulan syawal untuk di jamas atau dibersihkan.

Untuk memasuki Keraton Kasepuhan, kita hanya perlu merogoh kantong sebesar Rp 5.000,- saja itupun sudah termasuk jasa pemandu wisata yang juga merupakan abdi dalem Keraton Kasepuhan. Sedangkan untuk memasuki kompleks Siti Inggil kita tidak dipungut biaya sepeserpun. Dalam kompleks Siti Inggil yang sejuk ini kita masih bisa merasakan suasana Istana Trowulan Majapahit.

Keraton Kasepuhan terletak di Jl Lemah Wungkuk Cirebon, letaknya tidak jauh dari Pasar Kanoman (keraton Kanoman). Banyak akses transportasi dari Stasiun Kejaksan Cirebon dan  Stasiun Prujakan, maupun dari Terminal Harjamukti Cirebon kita dapat menggunakan becak maupun angkot. Untuk ongkos becak dari Stasiun Kejaksan dan Prujakan sekitar Rp 15.000,- dan dari Terminal Harjamukti sekitar Rp 20.000,-. Sedangkan untuk angkot, dari ketiga “gerbang masuk” kota Cirebon tersebut, perlu setidaknya dua kali ganti angkot dengan ongkos Rp 2.500, sekali jalan. (ysg)

                  
The Times reports on a Columbia University anthropology professor "who said at a campus antiwar teach-in Wednesday night that he hoped to see 'a million Mogadishus' -- referring to the city in Somalia where American soldiers were ambushed in a lethal firefight in 1993." Interesting that the Times reports this as a denunciation of the professor's remarks. Why not just report it as two stories. Why does the president of Columbia get the headline?
          Aturan Keras di Somalia, Pakai Kutang Akan Dihukum Cambuk        

Para perempuan dari kelompok tertentu di Somalia tidak bisa dengan leluasa memakai kutang atau bra. Sebuah kelompok di negara yang terletak di benua Afrika itu, diberitakan melarang penggunaan bra. Alasannya, fungsi bra hanya mengelabuhi siapapun yang melihatnya.

Aturan tersebut didegungkan kelompok garis keras Al Shabaab. Kelompok itu melarang perempuan mengenakan karena menilai fungsi bra hanya untuk membohongi mata. Kelompok ini menafsirkan bahwa pemakaian bra tidak sesuai dengan ajaran agama yang mereka anut. Dan jika aturan ini dilanggar, hukuman cambuk telah menanti.

Agar aturan tersebut dipatuhi, Al Shabaab sengaja mengirimkan pasukan bersenjata di jalanan di ibukota Somalia, Mogadishu. Tugas utamanya mencari perempuan yang mengenakan bra saat berada di jalan.

Parahnya, perempuan-perempuan tersebut tidak hanya ditanya apakah ia mengenakan bra atau tidak. Namun pasukan tersebut akan memeriksa, apakah payudara yang menonjol tersebut merupakan hasil sanggahan bra ataukah alami dari `sononya`.

Seperti dikutip Daily Mail, Sabtu (17/10), beberapa perempuan di Somalia mengeluhkan pelecehan yang dilakukan pasukan Al Shabaab. Beberapa perempuan yang kedapatan mengenakan bra, langsung disuruh menanggalkannya. Kemudian mereka diminta untuk menggoyang-goyangkan payudaranya.

“Al Shabaab telah memaksa kami mengenakan kerudung model panjang sesuai keinginan mereka. Kini mereka memerintahkan kami mengguncang payudara di hadapan mereka. Mereka mengatakan, payudara harus terlihat alami atau datar sekalian,” keluh Halima, salah seorang warga.

Kamis (15/10) lalu, putri Halima mendapat hukuman cambuk karena melanggar aturan tersebut.

Abdullahi Hussein, seorang pelajar di Mogadhisu utara menuturkan, kakak laki-lakinya baru saja dipukul salah satu pasukan Al Shabaab. Pasalnya ia melawan pria yang mempermalukan saudara perempuannya, yang dipaksa melepas bra.

“Kakak saya dipenjara setelah berkelahi dengan seorang pria. Pria tersebut mencambuk saudara perempuan saya dan memaksanya melepas bra yang dikenakannya. Ia tidak bisa membiarkan hal tersebut,” terang Hussein.

Sebenarnya kaum pria pun tak luput dari aturan kaku yang dikeluarkan Al Shabaab. Setiap pria yang kepergok tidak memiliki jambang akan dicambuk di muka umum.

“Saya pernah dicambuk dan rambut saya digunting di jalanan. Celana saya juga dipotong hingga mendekati lutut. Mereka menuduh saya sengaja bercukur, padahal saya masih berusia 18 tahun,” imbuh Hussein.

Menurut Hussein, pihak Al Shabaab menangkap puluhan pria dan perempuan. Tidak ada yang luput dari perhatian pasukan tersebut. “Anda bisa saja langsung dicambuk oleh pria bertopeng, meski baru saja keluar dari rumah,” kata Hussein.

Pihak Al Shabaab yang dikonfirmasi mengenai hal tersebut, menolak berkomentar. Penafsiran penerapan hukum agama yang berlebihan oleh kelompok Al Shabaab, dikeluhkan mayoritas warga Somalia. Mengingat sebagian dari mereka masih menganut paham Islam moderat tradisional. Beberapa warga bahkan melabeli Al Shabaab sebagai kaum pemberontak karena keinginan mereka untuk mengambil alih kekuasaan negara.

Tak hanya disebut-sebut melarang kaum perempuan mengenakan bra, Al Shabaab juga diberitakan melarang pemutaran film, ringtone musik, berdansa saat pesta pernikahan, bermain dan menonton sepakbola. Namun, dalam beberapa kesempatan, Al Shabaab membantah tudingan itu.

Dalam bahasa Arab, Al Shabaab berarti “muda”. Kelompok ini mengontrol wilayah selatan dan tengah Somalia. Kelompok yang berdiri tahun 2004 ini dipimpin Moktar Ali Zubeyr. Awalnya Al Shabaab terbentuk atas kekalahan kelompok Uni Pengadilan Islam (ICU) dari tangan Pemerintahan Transisi Federal (TFG) dan pendukungnya, terutama militer Ethiopia, dalam Perang Somalia (2006-2009).

Sekitar 3.000 anggota ICU melakukan pergerakan bawah tanah di Mogadhisu dan beberapa wilayah lain di Somalia. Mereka merancang perlawanan terhadap pemerintahan Somalia dan kroni-kroninya di seluruh Ethiopia. Al Shabaab disebut-sebut sebagai pecahan ekstrem dari ICU
http://www.surya.co.id/2009/10/18/aturan-keras-di-somalia-pakai-kutang-akan-dihukum-cambuk

          CYAN in Egypt, finally!        
What a warm thrill it is to have a pretty good net connection to read all the emails, FB messages, and Blog comments realizing that so many folks at home and abroad were thinking about us...I keep getting misty eyed!

We are doing very well now, and reached Egypt after the improvished Sudan but still 120 miles to go north before we can leave our boat at a marina in Hurghada and see the ancient sights in Egypt...and PLAY as our reward for all this past stress. Ahhh, hotels!

We had to stop just south of our goal in Hurgada, Egypt because the wind always comes head on from the north and it just got too strong to go forward into it So on Sunday, 9 boats all pulled into a resort marina in Port Ghalib [25 deg 32 min N, 34 deg 38min E]....cheap but no laundry or food shopping but they have a TGIFridays!!! I haven't gone out to dinner in months, it seems....Yemem didn't count...it was just sustenance!

Plenty of water here to wash 3 months of dirt and salt off the boat...unbelievable grunge!!

This resort here is empty due to the revolution and unrest here...or whatever happened in Egypt...we aren't sure but we think it's over now. When we do get to travel it should be uncrowded and cheaper. We expect to go thru the Suez Canal in about a month then revel in our sailing in the Med and seeing old friends in Turkey who came thru last year.

We expect todock in Cyprus in the fall [but things can change] where a new marina gave us a super cheap deal to leave the boat over next winter. We can easily fly to Lebanon and Israel during cold weather. But before that, during this coming summer, we plan to sail in Turkey and maybe to Croatia where we hear it's beautiful and not too expensive.

We may sell the boat in the Med...maybe a 25% chance if there is interest...but will probably sail to US in one year from this December as soon as hurricane season is over. All depends on how expensive Europe is and if we are still doing well.

This whole ordeal was the most severe thing we have ever done and it's such a relief to have it over and get back to normal life...or what goes for normal for us. You all will never know how much these thoughts meant to us during the trying times we have had.

We still pray for the family in captivity in Somalia from Denmark and for the relatives of our friends on Quest.

          almost safe        
We are almost out of the high risk zone...should be another 36 hours when we are in patrolled shipping zone that runs west towards the Red Sea Entrance and we are headed for Aden to refuel.

At 11 pm last night...only time we can only send and get email and weather...We read the news report that Geoff sent us about the vessel QUEST and our dear friends Scott and Jean and their crew being brutally murdered. It was a tough night on us, to say the least. I broke down from grief and tension and Chuck has never longed for a jet and bombs so much since 9/11. Our tax dollars paid for him to respond that way with his old flight training but it's understandable. He is also distraught but his anger came first! We look at these fine fellow cruisers as martyrs to the cause of our right to sail the free oceans in relative safety. They will not be forgotten by any of us cruisers and for those of us who were friends, we really know what a loss their deaths are. Our hearts go out to their friends and family at home.

We loved talking religion and movies with them...what fun we had going out several times in Phuket and planning to see them again in the Med. There aren't too many Christian Cruisers...it's a secular bunch...but they were fine examples and we had similar views. Scott was one of the directors of the movie "Deliverance" and James Dickey, the author, was a client of Chucks, about the asme time years ago. Our hearts are heavy with thoughts of the violence and terror that our friends endured. We hope this initiates the most aggressive retaliation possible. We have to do something, sometime...this just can't keep up.

We were sailing north about 3-400 miles off Somalia as this whole Navy thing was taking place just about 100 miles closer to shore than we were. They were towing QUEST west and kept a close look out for anything strong on the radar. We now sail in the moonless night with our lights off but checking AIS and radar often. Today we don't know if we are safer with the "blessed" USN ships off the coast or if some maniacs will come along and blast us dead out of spite and revenge. These aggressive, drug charged people [loosely called that] are uncivilized, caveman-like, irrational maniacs. We have both prayed a lot and kept going on our route north/northwest to the shipping channel in the Gulf of Aden. And we will not remove our flag!!! So many of our relatives have fought for it and it's a big emotional issue for us. Had we known this before we left the Maldives, we still would have come...we damn well have the right to be here! Perhaps more stupid than brave! If we were deterred by hight risk situations, we wouldn't be here! But this may be adrenalin talking!

The sailing and seas here in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea have been wonderful ...mostly going 5-7 knots in better than expected winds, and this voyage could have been great if it weren't for this burden of sorrow and taste for revenge.

We just had to share our thoughts and conditions with you all. We know that you are wondering about us.

Love...and we hope to write soon from a safer location to say that the worst will be past.
Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

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          Getting closer to a safe zone        
We are almost out of the high risk zone...should be another 36 hours when we are in patrolled shipping zone that runs west towards the Red Sea Entrance and we are headed for Aden to refuel.

At 11 pm last night...only time we can only send and get email and weather...We read the news report that Geoff sent us about the vessel QUEST and our dear friends Scott and Jean and their crew being brutally murdered. It was a tough night on us, to say the least. I broke down from grief and tension and Chuck has never longed for a jet and bombs so much since 9/11. Our tax dollars paid for him to respond that way with his old flight training but it's understandable. He is also distraught but his anger came first! We look at these fine fellow cruisers as martyrs to the cause of our right to sail the free oceans in relative safety. They will not be forgotten by any of us cruisers and for those of us who were friends, we really know what a loss their deaths are. Our hearts go out to their friends and family at home.

We loved talking religion and movies with them...what fun we had going out several times in Phuket and planning to see them again in the Med. There aren't too many Christian Cruisers...it's a secular bunch...but they were fine examples and we had similar views. Scott was one of the directors of the movie "Deliverance" and James Dickey, the author, was a client of Chucks, about the asme time years ago. Our hearts are heavy with thoughts of the violence and terror that our friends endured. We hope this initiates the most aggressive retaliation possible. We have to do something, sometime...this just can't keep up.

We were sailing north about 3-400 miles off Somalia as this whole Navy thing was taking place just about 100 miles closer to shore than we were. They were towing QUEST west and kept a close look out for anything strong on the radar. We now sail in the moonless night with our lights off but checking AIS and radar often. Today we don't know if we are safer with the "blessed" USN ships off the coast or if some maniacs will come along and blast us dead out of spite and revenge. These aggressive, drug charged people [loosely called that] are uncivilized, caveman-like, irrational maniacs. We have both prayed a lot and kept going on our route north/northwest to the shipping channel in the Gulf of Aden. And we will not remove our flag!!! So many of our relatives have fought for it and it's a big emotional issue for us. Had we known this before we left the Maldives, we still would have come...we damn well have the right to be here! Perhaps more stupid than brave! If we were deterred by hight risk situations, we wouldn't be here! But this may be adrenalin talking!

The sailing and seas here in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea have been wonderful ...mostly going 5-7 knots in better than expected winds, and this voyage could have been great if it weren't for this burden of sorrow and taste for revenge.

We just had to share our thoughts and conditions with you all. We know that you are wondering about us.

Love...and we hope to write soon from a safer location to say that the worst will be past.
Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

          ANEXOS        
Artículo Enciclopedia encarta:




Constitución

Constitución (ciencia política), ley fundamental, escrita o no, de un Estado soberano, establecida o aceptada como guía para su gobernación. La constitución fija los límites y define las relaciones entre los poderes legislativo, ejecutivo y judicial del Estado, estableciendo así las bases para su gobierno. También garantiza al pueblo determinados derechos. La mayoría de los países tienen una constitución escrita. La de Gran Bretaña, encarnada en numerosos documentos (por ejemplo, la Carta Magna) y el derecho consuetudinario que definen las relaciones de los ciudadanos con la Corona, el Parlamento y los tribunales, no está escrita, pese a que, en muchas ocasiones, se ha postulado su redacción para que Gran Bretaña disponga de un texto análogo al de la gran mayoría de estados.


Las constituciones pueden clasificarse mediante varios criterios: si están protegidas contra enmiendas (constituciones blindadas), si presentan una clara separación de poderes, si las disposiciones pueden ponerse en vigor mediante revisión de la actuación del ejecutivo o del legislativo, si establecen un Estado unitario o federado, etc. Las constituciones escritas están asociadas históricamente al liberalismo político y a la Ilustración. Tal es el caso de la historia del constitucionalismo español. Muchos estados autoritarios y totalitarios poseen unas elaboradas constituciones, pero, en la práctica, no tienen vigor para ser respetadas por el gobierno en el poder, que siempre puede no acatarlas, suspenderlas o invalidarlas.


Constituciones en el mundo
Constituciones vigentes en el mundo





1. Afganistán: 1987 .suspendía tras el golpe fundamentalista al gobierno marxista en 1992
2. Albania : 39 de abril de 1991
3. Alemania: ley fundamental. promulgada en 1949
4. Andorra : 1983
5. Angola: noviembre de 1975. modifica en 1976,1980,1991
6. antigua y barbuda: noviembre de 1981
7. Arabia saudita: desde el 1 de marzo de 1992 , el gobierno monárquico absolutista se rige por intermedio del sistema básico gubernamental
8. Argelia : febrero de 1989
9. argentina : 1853. modificada en 1860,1866,1898y 1994
10. Armenia: en 1993 entro en vigencia una nueva constitución
11. Australia : 1 de enero de 1901
12. Austria:1920 .enmendada en 1929
13. Azerbaiján: se prepara una constitución dentro del sistema autoritario que impera en el es país islámico
Bahamas : 10 de julio de 1973.
14. Bahrein : 1973, bajo la monarquía absolutista
15. Bangla Desh: es enmendada e 1973,74,75,77,79,81.88.89 y 91
16. barbados : 30 de noviembre de 1966
17. belarus: se redacta una nueva constitución
18. Bélgica: 1831.enmendada varias veces y revisadas en 1949 y 1971
19. Belice: 21 de septiembre de 1981
20. Benín: el dictador Kereskou al abandonar el marxismo establece una constitución el 2 de diciembre de 1990 .propiciando el multipartidismo por primera vez
21. bhutan : 1953
22. Bolivia 1967
23. bophuthatswana : se rige por la constitución de Sudáfrica
24. Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1974.Modifica en 1989,90,91
25. Botswana: 30 de septiembre de 1966.En una de las pocas democracias del África
26. brasil: 5 de octubre de 1988.la primera constitución , en un gobierno civil en 24 años
27. Brunei darussalam :1959. algunos preceptos fueron suspendidos en 1962 , por el reino absolutista mas rico del mundo
28. Bulgaria :13 de junio de 1991 , ante la caída del viejo régimen marxista pro soviético y la instauración del pluripartidismo
29. burkina faso: con el establecimiento del multipartidismo se consolida una nueva constitución el 11 de junio de 1991
30. Burundi : 13 de marzo de 1992.suspendida por el golpe militar de 1993 que derroco al primer presidente civil .Melchior Ndadaye en plena vigencia
31. cabo verde : 7 de septiembre de 1980 modificada en septiembre de 1990
32. Camboya : 27 de junio de 1981. modificada por el régimen pro soviético de Samrin en 1989
33. Camerún : aprobada en 1996
34. canada : acta constitucional de 1982
35. ciskei : suspendida por el nuevo régimen militar en 1990
36. Colombia : 6 de julio de 1991
37. congo: al establecerse e nuevo sistema multipartidista , se redacto una nueva constitución en 1992
38. corea del norte : la constitución del 27 de diciembre de 1972
39. corea del sur: 25 de febrero de 1988
40. costa rica : 7 de noviembre 1949
41. cote d” Ivoire: (antes costa de marfil ) 31 de octubre de 1960. modificada por el presidente vitalicio Houphoner
43.Croacia: Diciembre de 1990
44. Cuba: 1976
45. Chad: Aprobada en 1996
46. Chile: 1980, Enmendada en 1989
47. Chipre Septentrional: 5 de mayo de 1985, aprobada por referéndum
48. Chipre, 16 de Agosto de 1960
49. Dinamarca, 5 de junio de 1953
50. Djibouti, 1991 y 1984. Leyes constitucionales realizadas pro la dictadura de Aptidón.
51. Dominica: 3 de noviembre de 1978
52. Ecuador: 10 de Agosto de 1978
53. Egipto: 11 de Septiembre de 1971
54. El Salvador: 20 de Diciembre de 1983, modificada en 1991.
55. Emiratos Árabes unidos: Siembre de 1971, en provisional establecido por la monarquía absolutista.
56. Eritrea: El país más joven de la tierra esta redactando su primera constitución bajo el gobierno provisional de Osaías Afwerki, Ex líder de la guerrilla del Frente de Liberación popular de la Eritrea (FLPE).
57. Eslovaquia: El país más joven de Europa se rige bajo la misma constitución de la Republica Checa creada el primero de enero de 1993, ambos estados pertenecían a la antigua Checoslovaquia
58. Eslovenia, Diciembre de 1991
59. España, 29 de diciembre de 1978
60. Estado Vaticano, no hay constitución,(Ley fundamental) 2001
61. Estados unidos, 1787, tiene 26 enmiendas
62. Estonia, una nueva constitución fue sometida a referéndum el 28 de junio de 1992, el país Báltico fue uno de los primeros en independizarse y establecer el sistema multipartidista.
63. Etiopía, promulgada en 1994
64. Fiji: 25 de julio de 1990
65. filipinas: El régimen democrática Corazón Aquino estableció una nueva constitución el 2 de febrero de 1987, que fue sometida a referéndum.
66. Finlandia: 17 de Julio de 1979
67. Francia: 6 de octubre de 1958
68. Gabón: 21 de febrero de 1961, modificada por Omar Gongo, uno de los dictadores mas antiguos del mundo en 1967-1975-1981-1986-1990.
69. Gambia: 24 de abril de 1990 , enmendada en 1982 por el régimen democrático de Dawda K. Jawara.
70. Georgia: Aprobada en 1995
71. Ghana: Marzo de 1992, el nuevo régimen democrático somete a referéndum la nueva constitución.
72. Granada: 1974 fue suspendida por el golpe marxista de 1979 y reestablecida en 1984, luego de la invasión norteamericana.
73. Grecia: Válida desde 1986
74.Guatemala: 14 de enero de 1985
75. Guinea Bissau: 16 de mayo de 1984, bajo la dictadura izquierdista de Luis Cabral y modificada en 1991 por su seguidor Joao Vieira.
76. Guinea Ecuatorial: Obiang Nguema establece una nueva constitución en noviembre de 1991 y es sometida a consulta popular.
77. Guinea: 23 de diciembre de 1991
78. Guyana: El régimen izquierdista de Forbes Burham establece una nueva constitución el 6 de octubre de 1980 y modificada en 1988 por sucesor Desmond Hoyte
79. Haiti. 1987
80. Honduras: Noviembre de 1982,
81. Hungría: 18 de Agosto de 1989. Modificada en 1972, 1983, 1989.
82. India: 26 de Enero de 1950, Modificada en 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1988, 1992 en la democracia más grande del mundo.
83. Indonesia, agosto de 1945, modificada en 1969 por régimen autoritario más antiguo del mundo del dictador Suharto.
84. Irak: 22 de septiembre de 1968, enmendada en 1969,1970, 1973, y 1974 de manera provisional.
85. Iran: Creada por el gobierno fundamentalista islámico del desaparecido Ayatollah Khomeini en diciembre de 1979, enmendada en 1989.
86. Irlanda del Sur: 29 de Diciembre de 1937
87. Islandia: 17 de junio de 1944
88. Islas Camoras: 7 de junio 1992
89. Islas Marianas del norte: 1986
90. Islas Marshall: 1 de mayo de 1979
91. Islas Micronesia: 10 de mayo de 1979
92. Islas Palau: 1 de enero de 1981
93. Islas Salomón: 7 de julio de 1978
94. Israel: No existe constitución política como tal sino un conjunto de leyes; desde 1950 se han incorporado durante un periodo no específico.
95. Italia: 1 de enero de 1948
96. Jamaica: 6 de Agosto de 1962, conjuntamente con la independencia nacional
97. Japón: 3 de noviembre de 1946. En vigor en mayo de 1947.
98. Jordania: 1 de enero de 1952, enmendada en 1974, 1976 y 1984.
99. Katar: 2 de abril de 1970, creada por la monarquía Absolutista con carácter provisional.
100. Kazajstán: Aprobada en 1995
101. Kenya : 12 de diciembre de 1963, enmendada en 1982, 1986, 1991 durante los gobiernos autoritarios de Jommo Kenyata y Danieal Arap Moi.





Las 10 Constituciones mas jóvenes del mundo

1) Chad: 1996
2) Camerún: 1996
3) Sudáfrica: 1996
4) Georgia: 1995
5) Armenia: 1995
6) Kazajstan:1995
7) Malwi:1994
8) Bielorusia:1994
9) Lusemburgo: 1994
10) Rusia: 1993








No Existen constituciones en los siguientes países

1) Israel
2) Nueva Zelanda
3) Reino Unido (Escocia, Inglaterra, Gales, Irlanda del Norte)
4) San Marino
5) Vaticano
6) Bhutan
7) Omán
8) Somalia




Se han suspendido las funciones de la Constitución en los siguientes países

1) Afganistán: Tras el derrumbe del gobierno marxista en 1992.
2) Togo: El régimen autoritario de Eyadema la suspendió en 1991, tras los disturbios políticos que reclaman mayor para el multipartidismo al igual que otros países africanos.
3) Sudán: El nuevo régimen fundamentalista, que llegó vía golpe militar en 1989, suspendió la constitución de 1985 y ahora se rige a base de leyes coránicas.
4) Venda: El nuevo régimen castrense de 1990 con apoyo de Sudáfrica suspendieron la constitución.
5) Ciskei: Los golpistas militares que asumieron el gobierno en 1990 con apoyo de Sudáfrica suspendieron la Constitución.
6) Myanmar: El régimen castrense que asumió el poder en 1998 prohibió la constitución de 1974.
7) Burundi: Los golpistas que llegaron al poder a finales de 1993 y derrocaron la primera democracia del país, suspendieron la constitución de marzo de 1992
8) Transkei: Los golpistas encabezados por el general Bantu Holomisa suspendieron la constitución de 1987.
          Jesus Christ... It Ain't About Religion!!        

Today's history lesson comes to you courtesy of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

If you are gonna raise hell about Trump's executive order on travel restrictions, you should know history.  And then you should wonder why you never even heard of the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.  And why you STILL have not heard any Democrat refer to it this week.  And after you learn history, you should read Trump's Executive Order to know exactly what it says.  By the way, it mentions only one country by name... Syria.

FYI, the Visa Waiver Program is a US program that was passed in 1986 during Reagan's administration.  It allows citizens of 38 identified, developed countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without having to apply for and obtain a visa.  Nationals of countries not part of the agreement must apply for a visa in order to travel to the US.  In order to get a visa to the US, one would need to apply, get fingerprinted and have a face to face visitor visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in their country.  There is generally a wait of several weeks.

On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016, which included the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). This Act identified that nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Sudan after 2011 were no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP.  In February, 2016, Obama's Dept of Homeland Security added Libya, Yemen and Somalia to that list of Countries of Particular Concern.  They would now need to apply for a visa as any other citizen of any other non-VWP country.  Simply because they VISITED one of the seven countries.  


Now... near as I can figure, that is a travel policy implemented by Obama that makes a distinction between these seven countries and the rest of the world.  I never heard anyone accuse Obama of making sweeping policy changes based on someone's religion.  Yet, when Trump used that preexisting list of seven countries in his order to suspend issuance of visas, somehow HIS policy is racist and un-American.

So THAT'S your history lesson.  Now for your "PRESENT" lesson.

A BAN ON ONE RELIGION?   NOPE.   President Trump's order targets seven countries that happen to be also be Muslim-majority countries.  There are FIFTY Muslim-majority countries in this world.  I have been out of school for a lot of fukkin' years, but my math tells me that citizens in 43 Muslim-majority countries are not effected by this order.  That includes citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria and Morocco, all of which are 99% Muslim.  So when Marty Walsh spouts into a microphone that discrimination based on religion is not American, don't applaud him blindly because he's a Democrat.  Remind yourself that Obama separated the same seven countries from the rest of the world.

Trump's order TEMPORARILY suspends the issuance of any visas to any nationals of the seven aforementioned countries for a period of 90 days.  During the first 30 days, the Secretary of State and Dept of National Intelligence are to review the current vetting process and determine what information is going to be needed to properly vet those seeking admission into the United States.  They will determine which countries are not providing that information and give them 60 days to comply.  If they do not comply, citizens of those countries will be barred from traveling to the US.

BARRING GREEN CARD HOLDERS?  Nope again.  Green card holders WILL NOT be barred from re-entering the country.  Citizens of those target countries who have permanent residency will be subject of greater scrutiny, but will likely be allowed through.  Yep, that means that for the next three months, citizens of those countries will be detained for a few hours undergoing questioning by customs agents.

HALTING REFUGEES:  The Refugee Admission Program is suspended for 4 months while the new administration reviews the vetting process before allowing them to resettle in the US.  People escaping religious persecution will still be allowed to resettle in the US, just so long as their religion is not the majority religion of the country from which they are running.

In the end, this executive order represents a suspension of certain policies while this administration reviews and determines how best to protect this nation while remaining a country of immigrants and continuing to show compassion to those fleeing oppression.  But it is a delicate balance.  A balance that has thrown the left into more tantrums.  The former President feels he is still relevant because he sounded off today.  Go away asshole.  You had your 8 years.

          Americans Kidnapped & Killed By Somalian Pirates        
When U.S. Naval forces arrived in an attmept to save the four hostages, gunshots were fired. When the U.S. Navy team gained control of the boat, they discovered that the four U.S. citizens had been shot to death. Two pirates were killed and 15 were arrested on Monday. These were the first deaths of Americans by pirates. The four boaters, Jean and Scotta Adam of California and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle Washington had been sailing arond the world since 2004. I personally feel like something should be done to all pirates. The number of pirate attacks are rising every year.
          Why Brandeis Shouldn't Have Revoked Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Honorary Degree        

Brandeis University’s decision to withdraw an honorary degree from the activist and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali is yet another shameful reminder of how limp the commitment of Jewish institutions to open discourse has grown, and how threatened we’ve all become by a public conversation that permits the expression of nuanced, complicated, even at times offensive ideas—meaning, any ideas at all worth their salt.

Hirsi Ali is a controversial figure in some quarters, and greatly admired in others. Many of her achievements ought to be lauded and some of her statements—in a long career of speaking passionately and openly about her own experience as a black woman who was born a Muslim in Somalia and became a leading feminist and atheist thinker and campaigner in the West—ought to be challenged. Brandeis should have been acutely aware of Hirsi Ali’s work and ideas, and could have privately decided, when discussing whether or not to confer such an honor, that Hirsi Ali was or wasn’t an appropriate recipient of the university’s laurels. But succumbing to pressure and retracting a degree once it was offered strikes us as a Soviet-style tactic that props up an outspoken dissident only to expose her to public pillory. This is simply inexcusable, regardless of anyone’s opinions about Hirsi Ali’s politics (and yes, we made the same argument when the Ramaz School rescinded its invitation to Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi).

Continue reading "Why Brandeis Shouldn't Have Revoked Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Honorary Degree" at...


          Svengo dopo il tg        
Sento pronunciare la parola ”solidarietà” e immagino la Somalia, gli etiopi, il Ruanda o popolazioni asiatiche colpite da catastrofi ambientali. Invece … Continua a leggere
          Northeastern Quartersphere - Wikipedia        

Northeastern Quartersphere

This is the Wikipedia article for "Northeastern Quartersphere" as it appeared on January 26, 2012, shortly prior to its expected deletion as original research.

The terms Northeastern Quarter or Northeastern Quadrant or simply Northeast are sometimes applied to the portion of the Northern Hemisphere in the Eastern Hemisphere or vice versa. If it's lateral boundaries are based on the Prime Meridian, this region includes most of Asia and Europe, a large portion of Africa and some islands in Oceania. The Northeast covers about two fifths of the Earth's land surface area and hosts 75-80% of the world's population. It is the only quarter bounded by the Prime Meridian and Equator that is mostly land. The Northeast hosts about two fifths of the world's economic activity.
Eastern portion of Earth's Northern Hemisphere

Countries

* Europe
o If the Prime Meridian is used as the Western boundary, all except Portugal, most of the United Kingdom, much of Spain and France. If the 20th meridian west, then all of Europe.

* Africa
o If the Prime Meridian is the lateral boundary, then all of Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, most of Somalia, most of Kenya, most of Uganda, Southern Sudan, part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, parts of Gabon, parts of Equatorial Guinea, parts of Rio Muni, parts of Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Chad, most of Niger, part of Mali, most of Algeria, Libya and Tunisia are in this region. If the 20th meridian west is used, then all of Africa North of the Equator.

* Asia
o all except some portions of Indonesia.

* Oceania
o If Prime Meridian is used as the lateral boundary, then Palau, Guam, the Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, part of Kiribati and Wake Island. If the 20th meridian west is used as the boundary in the West and the 160th meridian east in the East, then only Palau, Guam, the Marianas, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Bodies of water

* The Arctic Ocean in the Eastern Hemisphere,
* The Western portion of the North Sea, most of the Mediterranean Sea, and all of the Baltic Sea and Black Sea of the Atlantic Ocean,
* The Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean,
* The Eastern Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan/East Sea, the Yellow Sea, East China Sea the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, Gulf of Thailand and open ocean in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
          La ONU reclama medidas para evitar la hambruna que amenaza a 20 millones de personas        
El Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas ha expresado su preocupación por el "nivel sin precedentes" de necesidades humanitarias que se extiende por todo el mundo y, en particular, ha llamado a tomar medidas para contener la hambruna que amenaza a más de 20 millones de personas en Yemen, Somalia, Sudán del Sur y Nigeria.
          Comment on How mass atrocities end: compendium of 40 case studies by Guled Warsame        
This comment is with regards to the “case study” on Somalia. I tried posting this comment directly under that entry but it does not allow me to do so I will leave it here. In your entry on Somalia, you cite Lidwien Kapteijns’ seminal book “Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Legacy of 1991” several times but you egregiously fail to mention the key event discussed in the book: the mass slaughter, or “clan cleansing,” of Darood individuals by the USC and USC-affiliated individuals after the fall of the Siad Barre regime. Why is that? Since you apparently read her book (or at least give the impression by citing it for other facts), you should have either acknowledged the clan cleansing (since it played such a major role in later developments in Somalia), or given your reason for not including it. This glaring omission undermines the rest of your “case study.” Highly ignorant and inexcusable, it comes off less as a serious scholarly entry and more like something put together by the summer intern.
          Comment on Somalia: from a small war to a long war by moses isse        
The article Somalia: From a small war to a long war is very interesting what is more interesting is self defence drone killings inside somalia.Amisom backed by private military security firms promoting peace and stability while waging war against Somali civilians and al shabab rustlers paid by PSCand NGo, but it is unfortunate non of the think tank academic's willing to stand up for homo-sapien natural justices to survive on the planet.Desperate man do desperate things naturally. Somalis are global ethnic and Somalia is home if anybody thinks it is no man earth, I suggest to think again.
          Comment on Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Legacy of 1991: A Book Review by Kumpulan Lagu Indonesia        
very good reviews, I wanted to buy the book.
          Comment on The Business of Peace in Africa by Ahmed        
"Had they organized the Somali business class — dynamic and well-resourced — to set the rules of the political game, they could have stabilized the country. " This is too simplistic. The country is divided and unstable because of clan grievances. Until those are resolved, nothing will move forward. "Elections this year will probably see pro-Arab candidates sweep the board, all of them professing versions of Islamic law. That might just be enough to draw the majority of the Shabab militants back into civil politics." Al Shabaab will not return to 'civil politics' because they're inherently against the concept. They are a radical, jihadi organization based on the idea of world conquest for Islam. They do not believe in the nation-state and are uninterested in joining conventional politics. Islamists have already been elected to the presidency in Somalia. Both Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and his predecessor Sheikh Sharif are Islamists (Sharif was actually head of the Islamic Courts Union). Both have failed to convince Shabaab members to join the government, despite offering amnesty and even installing shariah law as the supreme law of the land. Al Shabaab can only be defeated through standard counter-insurgency tactics (which includes political reform designed to appease the marginalized clans that make up the majority of their foot soldiers. The radical leadership will simply need to be killed or captured.)
          Comment on Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen by Alem        
PLEASE POST. Thanks. Alex needs to be transparent about his relationship with Meles Zenawi [whom he calls "comrade"] and with the Foundation bearing his name. Has Alex ever received gifts of any kind as a result of this relationship? Second, there is nothing nightmarish, prophetic or secret about the scenario Alex is alluding to. In the 1970s and 1980s dictator Mengistu had publicly made a similar and worse scenario about Iranian/ Saudi regional interests, Bashir's and Garang's Sudan, Iran/Egypt involvement in Somalia [from where Meles was launching and organizing attacks], etc. Third, Alex should tell the reader his editorial/research work on so-called "theory and practice of Meles" [an outline of a paper excoriating "neo-liberalism" and praising the "developmental state" - an idea picked from Ghanaians; the difference being Ghanaians were serious about multiparty democracy and holding leaders accountable through the ballot-box]. Meles continued to toss this same "scenario" to Americans and Brits calculating [correctly, I should add] to exploit their fears and to legitimize his power, get millions of dollars in aid, and above all, wipe out any opposition on charges of terrorism and allow the robbing of state treasury [his wife leading the pack]. Alex is very soft on these matters because of loyalty to his "comrade". Let the reader not forget that it was Meles who 1993 ceded Assab port [depriving Ethiopia of a sea outlet] to the surprise of the then mediator President Carter, Cohen, etc. Assab is now the port of call for Iranians and a playground for Saudis, etc. Eritrea's Afewerki knows Alex's "scenario" only too well; except in his case the objective is the reverse of Meles's. I suggest Alex to be honest and not be blinded by a romantic view of colonial-era armed struggle or by Tplf sex manual. He should not put his credibility on the line nor the institution he is staff of in a bad light. Obviously, Meles was a brilliant tactician. He was able to recruit the likes of Alex and Stiglitz to get him over his policy blunders and bad human rights record. Stiglitz has belatedly taken back his support [his praises for Meles in his Globalization and Its Discontents; Stiglitz's commendation gave him a means to get back at the World Bank and ended in him getting fired].
          Comment on Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen by Alem        
Alex, I think you need to be transparent about your relationship with Meles Zenawi and your involvement with the Foundation bearing his name and if you ever received gifts of any kind. Your statement that Meles confided in you a "nightmare scenario" in 2002 that has turned to be prophetic 14 years later is simply silly. Dictator Mengistu has envisaged a similar scenario about Bashir's and Garang's Sudan, about Iran's regional interests, Sadat's Egypt reacting to Ethiopia building a hydro-dam and Egypt and Saudi involving in Somalia against Ethiopia, etc. You were a young man then and idealistic[inexperienced] busy looking through Tplf sex manual! On a serious note. You lose your credibility by claiming you know one or two "secrets" that Meles shared with you. Why share it now? I am sorry you had to keep this bit of information from the public for fourteen long years [probably losing sleep over it]!
          Comment on Conflict over Resources and the Victimization of the Minorities in the South of Somalia by Abdkadir Jama Mohamed        
I really like it
          Comment on Conflict over Resources and the Victimization of the Minorities in the South of Somalia by Abdi Muse Abdullahi        
I agree most of the comments made above though i am not in agreement with you about the ownerhip of riverine land in Juba where you have stated that oneside of the river is inhabited by Daarood while the other side is inhabited by Hawiye. Jareer are the owners of the riverine areas but due to number of reasons they are counted as minority groups. Oppression and deprive of rights have led Jareer to be counted as one of the minority groups. In JUba alone there are over 700 villages inhabited by the Jareer while pastoral villages in the Jubas can not be more than 100 villages. Before independency, Jareer were among the most respected but the governments after independency have gained more wealth and knowledge than the Jareer because officers that time were more honest and country men. The pastoralist had managed to get more members in numbers in the powerful positions in the government. Drought of 1976 to 1977 has led most of the pastoral people to see and start practicing the farming in the riverine areas through the allocation of land to them and investment of the Siad Barre government. Before these years where encampment of needy and starving pastoralists took place along side the riverine areas, pastoralists never liked live alongside the river because of the mosquito as they had livestock that usually suffers the mosquito bites. Nationalisation of farmlands where most cultivable land that households lived on were taken over as government property. This led diminishing of production as small farmers have not been assisted to get more other farmland for cultivation and impacted on farmers to be in the most poor households in the country. Again more worse, instead of encouraging increased farm production through loan etc, the farmers who kept on farming were asked to pay more taxes from the farm products where a household had to pay one fourth of the production, this eventually led to discouragement of farm products where farmers had to cease farming activities then resorted to urban life as porter, cleaner, housemaid etc. About slaves in Somalai, Many Somali Jareer do not know how somebody bare-foot with two sheets in the bush with livestock could enslave somebody civilized and depending on his/her own production from farms. Maybe we need to describe in this regards the term slave it-selves.
          Comment on Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Turn of 1991 (2013) by Somaliya        
Evolution of the Somali society… Or why Somalia has been struggling to get back on the feet? The essayist is of Somali origin and has lived in Somalia during the time of the “lost paradise” . He grew up in Beletweyne and studied in the cosmopolitan Mogadishu. A scholarship allowed him to take up post-graduate studies in Western Europe. Due to the emerging and ever since protracted conflict in the country, he continued his stay abroad. In recent months, however, he returned to his mother country where he spent several months travelling and visiting places of his past. Along the journey, he met countless old friends and made new ones. Extensive conversations with his peers allowed him to get a profound insight to the current state of affairs in Somalia, from an outsider’s perspective. The sun sets over Somalia…. Since 1991, a war for access to resources has been ongoing in Somalia; fueled by the strong aspiration of various tribal groups to illegitimately gain wealth and political power. The epicenter of the conflict has been the capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu. Ever since, it has been a war that affected mostly innocent people living in the city whose genuine concern has always been to run their daily business peacefully. Never even considering that their livelihoods would be at stake, they have become the focus of scrupulous interests of political leadership and speculations. Well-organized and equipped tribal militia have emerged from the “bush”, indoctrinated to hate their compatriots and politicians from other tribes. Targets of their meaningless killings have been businessmen, political figures and religious leaders of particular tribes, often encouraged by illiterate but power hungry amateurish politicians that failed to enter the Somali political arena peacefully. Instead, they have ordered those tribal “bushman” to humiliate, rape or even kill. Innocent people from other tribes have been forced to leave their home turf, either as internally displaced people (IDPs) within their country or as refugees abroad. As a result, power hungry politicians have remained in the city and scrupulously appropriated properties belonging to fellow countrymen, such as private houses and businesses, but also governmental buildings including schools, hospitals, universities, ministries, industrial areas and military zones. In the conventional comprehension of those politicians, the unlawful acquisition of assets contributes to the wealth of their individual tribes, hence leading to their increased political power in the country. The illegitimate attainment of wealth and related political power has only been possible by means of protracted conflict in the country. Rejoicing their newly gained influence, they request absolute obedience by subdued tribes. This malicious spiral has been whirling ever since the conflict has commenced, and the political arena in Somalia has been distressed by this fact. At the very beginning of the conflict, a wide majority of Somalis anticipated that the motivation behind the conflict was a vigorous change in government rather than the killing of innocent persons, the ruining of livelihoods, properties and subsequent displacement of populations. The slaughtering has continued; men, women, old, young and even children have been amongst the fatalities. Only the tribal affiliates of the murderers have not been forced out of their homeland and dispossessed as the others. In addition to that, ignorant fellow tribesman have not intervened and prevented the continuous violence. Previously, they have been relatives, neighbors, colleagues and friends; and still, they seem to have been in agreement with the ongoing pointless slaughtering of innocent people. They have not made any effort as such to intervene in the conflict. It has been part and parcel of the propaganda machinery to make them believe that the “wealth and power will be collective” and the whole tribe will benefit in the long term; newly gained assets, including agricultural land and properties will be shared. As many people left Mogadishu searching for safety and security, they were followed and the killing was extended across the whole country and only crossing the borders into neighboring countries provided the desired peace. The dark side of Somali history is ongoing, and this essay aims to uncover atrocities that have taken place and continue to be committed in light of greed for wealth and power. Despite the infinite existence of Allah, the Almighty, one day the violence turned against the perpetrators. While the conflict has prolonged, slaughtering has turned both ways and became crueler than ever before. The trust among people has gone lost and in order to be safe, armed militias have had no other choice than to stay within the confined tribal or sub-tribal areas. This also applies to civilians who are safe only within the area of their tribal majority or where well-equipped militias can protect them. Citizens who have lived all their lives in cosmopolitan Mogadishu, neither native to the tribal area nor with militia support, have been forced to return to the place of their tribal origin or leave Somalia altogether. This has lead to a major brain drain and outflow of well-trained and experienced human resources. Shadow operations At that point in time, global humanitarian actors had greatly mobilized and resumed humanitarian assistance all over Somalia; they had also resumed to dispense into the city of Mogadishu. The main objective has been to assist communities affected by the conflict, with food supplies, health support, shelter and anything else required to make communities resilient under the current circumstances. At the same time, conflict mediation processes were recommenced in order to ease the fighting. Subsequently, the targeting of the legitimate beneficiary groups has always been a concern. By addressing “traditional” community elders, international humanitarian agencies assert to reach out to the most vulnerable groups. In reality, community elders tend to closely liaise with warlords and instead of representing the needs of communities they have exposed strong personal interests. By insisting on the practice of delivering aid to people through the respective leaders deceives its genuine purpose. If at all a war could be argued to be fair, this Somali conflict has become even more unjustifiable by tolerating that the most distressed strata of society remain entirely unattended. Would not the delivery of humanitarian assistance to communities directly be much wiser? By giving more control into the hands of hypocritical community leaders and warlords, their power over the communities advances. Whoever seeks humanitarian assistance and support in accessing basic supplies through humanitarian assistance is forced to obey to the false authority of self-declared community leaders; otherwise, no help will reach disobedient but most needy community members and the lack of livelihood options results in hunger and starvation. On the other hand, those elders and warlords have understood to gain maximum benefit from this “humanitarian business model”, by neither investing much of their capital nor time. The occasional shooting and destabilization efforts in the region are just part of this new business model, showing that they possess supreme control over the tribal area. It is them who decide about peace or war in their immediate tribal area, and by doing so they either facilitate or block the delivery of assistance to the most needy. In addition to that, the elders and warlords have been actively engaged in providing logistic support for delivery of humanitarian assistance (food, drugs and shelter, etc.), contracted by the humanitarian aid agencies. They provide the means of transportation and receive daily allowances. Not only that, more often the newly emerging leaders of the communities demand to be the overall manager of the aid delivery operations, including the monitoring of financial cash flows. It is extraordinary that rarely there have been monitoring systems established to follow up on delivery. It is because of this that operational budgets were not disbursed to the full amount and were partially shifted to private bank accounts. In addition to that, food, drug and shelter as well as agricultural equipment were transferred to more profitable markets, either in the same area, in other cities of Somalia or crossing borders illegally as contra-band products. This “business model” has proven that the more communities starve, the more aid would flow and as argued above, the more profitable gain would be made by corrupt community leaders and their warlord friends. According to Somali understanding, this has been the most profitable and never dreamt of business ever, allowing certain people to become rich within a very short period of time. Consequently, it is not in their interest at all to have neither a stable nor a peaceful country. Once, one of the legendary Somali warlords was asked about his thoughts on peace and the militia turning in their weapons in order to achieve this. His answer was as expected. He is not at all interested in contributing to mediate the conflict and promote the peace process in the country. “Is there any business more profitable in this world than being a warlord and the traditional leader of my tribe in charge of facilitating humanitarian aid delivery in my tribal area? I am earning more than hundred thousand USD per day.” According to him, there is no need for peace in the country and no need for a government, either. At the commencement of the war in 1991, he was a soldier barely earning enough to cover the living expenses of his family. The work with humanitarian agencies allowed him to gain personal wealth and status within the tribe. Today, he claims to be a millionaire and is a well-respected tribal patriarch. Moreover, he has become a national level decision maker. He shows pride in highlighting the fact that he has not made any investments in the “business” away from coordinating and commanding militia forces. On the other hand, the militia forced humanitarian agencies to deal with this warlord and tribal elder in “business terms”. He could not care less than about his personal wealth, instability in the country and non-presence of a functioning government. In conclusion, he emphasized the fact that if aid agencies would stop to collaborate with him, he would block access to the areas under his control, claiming that the distress of the communities residing there will increase (and this despite the fact that the community barely received any support through his presence). Darkness in Somalia If there is anything that Somalis are good in, it is to replica and imitate recklessly, especially for what is considered insincere and illegitimate and above, that does not require deep thought, stern effort and responsibility but allows becoming well off over a short period of time. As the days of prosperity for Somali warlords discontinued, recently, certain youth in the country emerged in the humanitarian sector. At the time when the conflict started in Somalia, most of these were adolescents from families who neither had the opportunity to leave Somalia nor to gain access to higher education. They eagerly studied Arabic and English language and acquired the basics of development terminology. They absorbed the humanitarian language claiming to assist the suffering Somali people. And, they established local non-governmental organizations (LNGO) and associations claiming to support particular beneficiary groups, vulnerable groups such as IDPs, women, youth and children; each one of them covering a distinct tribal area. In order to widen their visibility and access to donor funding, some of the LNGOs contacted relatives abroad praising the extensively emerging business opportunities in the humanitarian sector across the country. As a result, diaspora organizations in support of fellow Somalis registered predominantly in Europe, North America, and the Gulf countries but also in other random locations. Now both the diaspora and the respective “branches” in Somalia have access to substantial funds provided by humanitarian and donor agencies. Besides the warlords and red-bearded elders having benefitted before, also the non-governmental sector has entered the “pathway to prosperity” based on the misery created by the conflict in Somalia. Within a few months, LNGOs mushroomed in every corner of the country. Somalis even claim that every family in the country maintains a NGO. Of course, each of them proclaims to be the most experienced and trustworthy institution in the tribal, sub-tribal or sub-sub tribal area; hence, they ought to be contracted to implement humanitarian activities guaranteeing that assistance will unquestionably reach intended beneficiaries. Once and so often it happens that a member of the humanitarian community is killed, working for both local and international agencies. The main cause is that they try to provide support to Somali communities in tribal areas without approval of the so-called tribal leaders. In order to avoid those targeted assassinations, one must get in contact with or contract a Mukulaal Madow, the Somali term for a “Black Cat”. In order to claim that a certain LNGO is able to provide vast coverage within Somalia, offices with the banner of the LNGO are opened in various strategic locations. This is negotiated with the particular leaders of the tribal areas, undoubtedly with financial gain involved. It has also become a practice that international agencies collaborate with LNGOs who claim to be familiar with local dynamics and ensure the implementation of activities. Shedding light on some But what are the proficiencies a LNGO requires to have access to donors and humanitarian funds? Certainly, good communication and writing skills in English or Arabic, depending on the official language of the particular donor agency to be addressed. A digital camera is handy and allows documenting the process and outcomes of projects in communities that claimed to be supported. And of course, the visa to travel to Nairobi and Arab Gulf countries to attend meetings is critical. The chairman of a LNGO supporting agricultural activities in Lower and Middle Shabelle Regions explained that he usually awaits the commencement of seasonal activities and the preparation of agricultural land, in order to join farmers in their activities as a pretended visitor. And in order to bring as many people as possible together in one location, he invites them for lunch. A group photograph will later on show the successful project outcomes and the well documented field visit to the community will tell the achievement of results, including the fieldwork. He confirmed that these pictures are used for donor reports along the elaboration of project activities that in fact have never taken place. Short interviews with potential beneficiaries claim the level of community satisfaction and gratitude to the funding agency. Following the same argument, during one of his many site visits, the author of this essay witnessed the outcome of a well-funded irrigation project. Where there was supposed to be a functioning deep well, including storage facilities and a distribution system, only tanks were delivered and left behind in the middle of nowhere, with no sight of any borehole whatsoever. Only from the distance one might be able to assume that the required infrastructure has been provided. The local community confirmed that they had meetings with representatives from an INGO who promised to provide the community with consistent water supply required for human beings and animals, particularly important to sustain much appreciated livelihood activities also during the dry season. The tanks were built and the INGO vanished. Above case studies reinforce the argument that the humanitarian agencies have repeatedly benefitted from the desperation of local Somalia communities and the good intensions donor agencies show in supporting local communities and making them more resilient. The difference between the work of LNGOs that have been growing like mushrooms in every corner of the country and warlords terrorizing communities is that LNGOs do not carry weapons and are not surrounded by well-armed militia. However, if imperative LNGOs would be able to mobilize and stir up conflict and killing between different groups in support of their ultimate goal, gaining profit through “humanitarian work”. Over the years, LNGOs have become wealthy, contrary to the communities they have been meaning to support; they have remained poor and illiterate and above all, based on the fake claim to support the most vulnerable, they are even well respected. As a result, communities, their particular red-bearded leaders and local militia can easily be corrupted by occasional pocket money or lunch provided by LNGOs. This kind of corruption goes even further up to the higher government levels. Traditional and often illiterate leaders delegate particular members of their tribe to be represented in the Somali Parliament, and while the President is elected by the Members of Parliament the Prime Minister is appointed by the President. The positions of Ministers and Director Generals of the various Ministries are collectively negotiated between the tribes based on the 4.5 system. Right from the offset, this system is prone to corruption. It can be argued that the President of this country was (s)elected by certain interest groups within tribes, often financially supported by “humanitarian businessmen”. It can be argued that the humanitarian sector in Somalia is a shadow business, as the provision of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities in many cases is not genuine at all. Often, decision makers that disperse funds to humanitarian projects on behalf of the international community are neither aware of the Somali complexities nor do they know the context well. The evidence becomes clearer when investigating the irresponsibility towards monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of projects in order to steer the outcomes into the intended direction. It could be argued that some donor elements are part of this shadow business that has been ongoing for many years, gaining a substantive share from well-anticipated donor funds. It is rather depressing to realize that Somali people have been too humble to recognize the filthy business that developed based on their misery. They ought to stand up against those LNGO owners claiming to support their communities. Instead, they continue to respect the wealthy LNGOs owners that build their business empire on the desperation of people. It is irritating why local communities have never questioned the fact that their peers have become outrageously rich over only a short period of time. Reflections The author of this essay has been travelling throughout Somalia in order to reconnect with his people whose lives he had not shared for so many years. From the perspective of a tenderhearted person and keen thinker about development issues in this world, it has been surprising how little comprehension the international humanitarian agencies and donors have about their role in developing Somalia. Initially good intensions turned against the anticipated beneficiaries, hereby making them even more vulnerable while being exposed to conflict and seasonal hazards. No longer there is any doubt about the absolute carelessness by the international community followed by irresponsibility towards the humanitarian resources poured into Somalia, mostly involuntarily afforded by tax payers of donor countries. One might even argue that the money being spent is in accordance with well-developed shadow businesses in Somalia. This would mean that humanitarian decision makers are very much aware of the Somali dynamics and have their share. No matter what, it certainly requires an investigation and thorough analysis of the humanitarian sector in the case of Somalia. It is problematic that there does not seem to be sufficient follow up at field level on the actual implementation of projects and the management of operational budgets assigned to LNGOs. Certainly, the security situation in the country can no longer be an excuse here. Moreover, the general question arises whether the international community is interested in the stabilization of Somalia and overcoming the status of a Failed State. Certainly, this can only go along with the strengthening of capacities at all levels of Somali institutions. The implementation of projects through respective line ministries and professional associations is unquestionably a means to achieve this; instead of contracting “one-man LNGOs” seeking to achieve quick impact at community level and long lasting financial gain at personal level from this situation. The Failed State Somalia offers a thriving business platform, unrestricted and uncontrolled. Countless self-declared community elders and LNGOs, country representatives of UN agencies, focal points for INGOs as well as coordinators from international agencies cavort in the capital and other cities of this fragmented country as much as in the most remote areas; all of them being either directly or indirectly engaged in the humanitarian sector. While most of them bare the hardships of living and working in Somalia with the sincere intensions to contribute to the developing of this country and bringing back peace and stability, others see the governance vacuum as an opportunity to engage in illegitimate businesses carried out on the shoulders of the most vulnerable. Claiming to assist the most affected and desperate communities, the humanitarian sector has chosen to work independently from Somali government and professional institutions considered incapable and too weak to deliver assistance. Not following a developmental approach, the intention does not seem to build appropriate institutional structures to take up the role of humanitarian actors in the country while providing for long-term stabilization of the country as a general goal. Instead, through mismanagement of funds, the humanitarian sector has made few people very wealthy and contributed to the scattering of the country. “There is no lunch for free”, economists claim. However, in Somalia the opposite takes place. Humanitarian funds poured over the country provide millions of lunches for free and have supported certain terrific minds to establish prosperous businesses out of it. This resulted in the fact that nothing in Somalia that can attract some sort of humanitarian assistance is left unattended. It reaches as far as the solid waste collection in the streets of Mogadishu and people residing in the camps assigned for IDPs. Even though it lies within the responsibility of the local government, solid waste would be piling up in the streets causing a major health threat without financial support of donor agencies. And IDPs are forced to reside in camps; often shelters in those camps are advertised on the low income housing rental market. IDPs seeking support in shelter, food and drug distribution are sent by the management of camps to the humanitarian agencies. Then, those items very often are sold in the free market, and the operational funds for the camps remain in the pockets of individuals claiming to be managing those camps. Humanitarian and development assistance have neither been provided to interim ministerial departments to manage IDP camps nor to municipalities to take charge of the solid waste management in cities. The writer of this essay interviewed a cross-section of Somalis on their main source of livelihood, including a wide range of well-off Somalis trying to understand the incentives behind their business establishments and the funding sources. It has become clear that government officials do earn a monthly salary insufficient to live with their families in urban areas, rather it is the professionals employed by LNGO, INGO and UN agencies that can afford the ever-increasing lifestyle in Somalia. Excess wealth is only made by the ones who either own a LNGO, are country focal points, representatives and zonal coordinators of one of the international humanitarian agencies such as UN and INGOs or who entered a business contract with them. Others struggle to find one warm meal a day. Another category of extremely well paid individuals, is the lawyers working in the courts of Mogadishu. This applies particularly to lawyers engaged in property issues, assisting those who have lost their properties during the war or whose properties are illegally occupied. Enormous money transactions are involved in reclaiming property; court trials are lengthy and costly. Instead of following legislative procedures, informal bidding processes are initiated and whoever is able to pay the greater amount will be the assigned “rightful” owner and champion of the trial. Often they are wealthy people who illegitimately gained their fortune. It is evident that this practice does not contribute to reconciliation in the country; rather, it steers up a new kind of conflict that calls for resolution by the many militant groups resident in the city. Entering a tunnel LNGOs running educational facilities, orphanage colleges and health businesses are following the same footsteps. There are uncountable establishments and most of them charitable by description with a rigorous religious regime. Most of the donor requests seek for funding to construct schools, universities and hospitals as well as orphanage colleges. Once granted the financial support, buildings and infrastructure building is carried out in a poor quality in order to reduce costs and maintain funds for the development of side businesses. Repeatedly, those schools, universities, hospitals and orphanages are private enterprises owned by individuals. In order to access the services provided by those facilities, enrollment and subscription fees are to be paid. As no sustainable business models can be demonstrated, these institutions continue to seek financial support from the international community. This includes the maintenance of buildings, remuneration of teachers, provision of books as well as drugs for hospitals. Any additional funding goes straight into the pockets of individual business owners, deceiving the humanitarian community. All over Somalia and particularly in Mogadishu, countless universities have been established. Because the country has not born appropriate teaching personnel yet, very often freshly graduated self-declared professors from the same unqualified university resume duty. There is no evidence of academic curricula, and the subject matters are extracted from the Internet and other university websites. Lacking sufficient fund allocation for recruitment of adequate human resources, often, inexperienced adolescent professors are tasked to teach four to five subjects. Even though, the humanitarian community invests in the academic education and regularly caters for student’s tuition fees, no investment in qualified human resources is made; hence, these ventures are highly unsustainable. Over time it has become apparent that the before described and highly fragmented education model does not provide the country with well qualified and trained professionals to be profoundly engaged in building a new Somalia. For instance, a young professor from the Faculty of Medicine has been requested to teach microbiology, chemistry, physics, cardiology, physiology and anatomy during the course of only one day. Another freshly graduated business and administration scholar was promoted to become a professor of law while also being requested to teach at the Faculty of Engineering in the subjects of mathematics, computer science, electricity, and architectural design. Many students have graduated from these kinds of Somali universities. When a Dean of such university was addressed by the essayist, he confirmed that Somali universities are a worthy business model to “make easy money”. The author was even invited to take part, either as a member of the university board or as a lecturer. As a university board member, shares from the annual benefit are guaranteed besides the monthly salary. As a lecturer, the remuneration will be calculated based on the hours taught. To sustain the monthly financial cash flow, students confirmed that they have to cover regular enrollment fees. In exchange, examination will only be a formality. At the end of each term, each student receives a graduation certificate no matter the examination results. The students are well aware that professors are not sound in the subjects they teach, rather they keep on reading the academic books to the class and memorize the subjects by what they have read themselves just hours before. Simple questions raised by students are relayed to other students or answered the next day. In this system, students keep on paying their monthly fees and count the days until graduation. There are more than forty universities following the same business model in the city of Mogadishu alone, not to mention plentiful schools, orphanages and hospitals that have surfaced in the country. Trying to understand the pattern of emergence, the author concludes that it is comparable to the warlord and LNGO system. Understandingly, also these business models copy approaches widely acknowledged by the humanitarian system and promoted by donor agencies. The provision of education and health has become a commodity; relevant projects are developed by mostly religious entities and submitted as funding requests to the international community. Rather than having a genuine attitude to this, the main objective is again personal gain, rank among the wealthiest individuals in the country and actively participate in the Somali political arena, or even become politicians themselves. This is Somalia today - most of parliamentarians and high-level politicians are strongly rooted in this shadow business. The tunnel leads deep into the mountain By revisiting the proceedings of the last Somali Federal Government elections, the role of humanitarian funding in Somali politics becomes apparent and the influence it has on bringing out the worse of the Somali characters to become the new leadership of the country. From here it can be understood why it will take ages to rebuild this country and why it has been impossible to establish a Somali government based on the rule of law. All those red-bearded and illiterate men who have been living in pastoral and agro-pastoral settings far away from urban areas with goats, sheep, cattle and camels were called to Mogadishu, the main reason being that they claim to be the tribal elders. Within only a few days, they were tasked to identify their representatives to the Somali Parliament. Undeniably, this method shows how distant the leadership is prone to be from reality and that there is no intension to have a serious government for the country. Considering that each Somali tribe consists of hundreds of thousand people, the elders would not be able to identify qualified capacities required for representation at the Parliament apart from individuals within their closely surrounding circles. Surely, the only fact they recognize is that inserting a representative from their tribe into the Parliament will increase their chances to have access to the illegitimate benefits of the “humanitarian business model”. Once the international community calls the elders to come to Mogadishu to attend the selection process, they come well prepared to Mogadishu well prepared for the imminent negotiations with tribal fellows interested to become a member of the Somali Parliament. In fact, some of those concerned parties directly address the elders and seek their promotion; the more cash offered to the tribal leader, the higher the chance to be selected. There are no prerequisites, neither of presenting a Curriculum Vitae outlining knowledge nor political experience of the candidate. Just before the critical meeting of the elders in Mogadishu, a wide range of potential candidates audition at the elder’s hotel room, present their particular skills and assets. Being aware of illegitimate practices and knowing of this rare opportunity to receive enormous amounts of cash in a long time, elders inflate the individual ratio, as there is always someone who can afford. In fact, the candidates for becoming Members of Parliament “nominate” themselves. Indeed, most of the thoughtful people with political background and experience are not related to the shadow business of illegitimately acquiring humanitarian funds. They are well educated and qualified to handle the challenging task of bringing back Somalia on the right track. In addition to that, they possess high moral values and are not corrupt. Interviews with current Members of Parliament explain that a majority of them are related to the LNGO sector, especially those involved the education, health, food security, orphanages and empowerment of civil society and alike. Other Members of Parliament have been identified as former warlords or funded by one. This composition of the Parliament will handpick the President of Somalia and following the same principle, the person who can raise the highest price will be voted. Obviously, the ones who can afford the ransom are those who have access to humanitarian funds. The most recent group that appeared at the political horizon of Somalia is Dammu Jadiid, the “New Blood”. The group comprises of a series of actors that have gained financial power by actively being engaged in the humanitarian sector in Somalia. Being financially strong, they either bribe elders directly or financially support potential candidates to be “selected” as Members of Parliament by elders. An experienced humanitarian actor does not automatically resemble an experienced politician. One could argue that this “passive revolution” has been introduced to the Somali political arena in order to weaken the transitional government further and strategically place cadres with the above-described NGO-mentality at the level of political leadership in the country. In this way, humanitarian-funding agencies can easily influence decision-making processes at macro level, hence, Somalia will be governed following the bad practices of earlier described NGO work in Somalia. The international and Somali communities have both misunderstood the term Dammu Jadiid. Instead of being yet another fundamentalist religious group terrorizing the country, it represents the real new blood that flows in the veins of the Somali governance system; well-experienced political leaders have been exchanged with greedy humanitarian actors. Nowadays, it has become even more difficult for well-intended Somali intellectuals with sound professional backgrounds to return to the country and contribute to the reconstruction of Somalia. Dammu Jadiid and alike have become bouncers that cater for the whole humanitarian spectrum, in the fields of food security and health, education, orphanages and even empowerment of civil society. Great profits have been gained and the political power is under their control. It is very likely that all major donor funds and humanitarian support programmes for Somalia will be distributed amongst this crowd. Employment in their institutions find only those who either freshly graduated from universities managed by them or graduated from universities where their leaders graduated previously. Forthcoming Somali human resources are considered only those coming from “fake universities” that surfaced in the country or those with aligned ideologies. Somali professionals especially from Europe and Northern America are considered diaspora, with an extremely negative connotation. By doing so, they strongly discourage their return to the country and their positive contribution to the reform process in Somalia. The so-called diaspora has followed the developments in Somalia from afar and provided financial support from day one of the conflict, particularly to family members who remained back home. Recent propaganda against the diaspora claims that they have lost their Somali identity in western and “open-minded” societies, hence, would not be able to understand the complexities of the Somali society any more. Complete darkness In recent history, there have been two peculiar incidents that are worth to be mentioned in this context; clearly stated during interventions in the Somali Parliament and from the President directly. The President requested the Prime Minister of Somalia to resign. As there has been no obvious reason, he declined this appeal. At the same time, also Members of Parliament demanded him to resign based on raised acquisitions against him. The President issued no written allegation paper to the Parliament to seek clarification on the case. Neither was the Prime Minister allowed to clarify the acquisition in front of the Parliament. The media was broadcasting the Parliamentary Session online, and instead of explaining the cause for the acquisition, the request was repeated over and over again. In addition to that, there was no evidence of the Prime Minister’s and the Ministerial Cabinet’s failure in fulfilling the mandate at all. The question amongst Somali intellectuals remains, what the cause for the Prime Minister’s forced resignation might have been. Another uncertain event has been the selection of the latest Ministerial Cabinet, considering that the President and his inner circle have appointed the Prime Minister who heads the government. A pre-condition for becoming a Minister is the negotiation of the candidate with the elders and Members of Parliament of his tribe in order to be nominated. It is those Parliamentarians who were selected to be part of the new Cabinet that were fighting alongside the President to dismiss the former Prime Minister. It is surprising that some of the former Ministers who belong to the President’s inner circle have reemerged in the new Cabinet, selected once more by the Parliament that declared days before the failure of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. E p i l o g u e - Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Somalia has not only been destroyed by civil war and armed conflict, but also what followed after when the flood of humanitarian support swept over the country. It poses a major challenge to rebuild this country, and serious re-thinking is required in order to advance an approach before it is too late. Today, donor agencies and humanitarian actors play a crucial role, more than ever before. An attitude revolution is badly needed, from direct implementation through LNGOs to provision of humanitarian assistance as a means to enhance good governance in Somalia. The emphasis should be on strengthening the role of national and local government as well as professional bodies to fulfill their assigned roles. This has been neglected for many years, and very often, national government was not even aware of the activities in the country as the contracts were made from afar between humanitarian agencies and LNGOs. In this way, the flow of cash and humanitarian assistance has never contributed to the capacity building of Somali institutions. Instead, international humanitarian and development agencies are to be located directly within the premises of the Line Ministries in order to provide on-the-job training to the respective departments. If this is not possible, the request should be to partner or strongly engage with those institutions that in future are to implement development projects. By delivering services to communities (as it is the role of government in the first place), the joint implementation of humanitarian and development projects will also contribute to the credibility building of government institutions. Through joint project implementation, Line Ministries will be in the position to acquire the necessary skills and tools to conduct needs assessments in a participatory manner, analyze the findings, prioritize interventions and implement projects hand in hand with beneficiary communities as their constituencies. Line Ministries and beneficiary communities alike ought to monitor project funds in a more systematic manner. This contributes to transparency and empowerment of communities alongside their representative institutions and builds confidence in a country where mutual trust has been misplaced. The current state of the Somali education system is another problematical area. The forthcoming generation represents the human resources of Somalia. The role of the Ministry of Education in unifying school and university curricula is vital. Let us cultivate the human capital in the country as a source for rebuilding Somalia to a stable and flourishing country. Donor funds in support of this must be utilized in a suitable manner. Only when these preconditions are met, Somalia will have a chance to overcome the status of a Failed State and move into the direction to become a stable country once more. At this moment in time, in Somalia there are many distinctive actors about; some are well armed with ammunition others with arguments. But they are all in agreement on the fact of the matter – to keep Somalia in a state of limbo, a place without law and order. The non-presence of a functional government demands continuous humanitarian support to strained communities, both from natural disasters and continuous conflict. The political economy of the new Somalia is based on conflict. The day that the humanitarian support commences to be more responsible, there will be a chance to overcome the meaningless killing and destruction of this beautiful country. It is in the interest of all human kind, starting from the most vulnerable in Somalia to the donor countries that have been providing funds over many years in support of those. Anonymous, March 2014 This article aims to uncover the bottlenecks for development in Somalia. It is to raise awareness on the impact of interventions in Somalia, among international donors and humanitarian agencies alike. If assumed that their practices are not known, this exposé aspires to illustrate the opposite. The wide majority of Somali intellectuals is awake and closely monitors the interventions. It is suggested that the world’s intelligence diligently investigates the subject matter, evaluates the current state of affairs and makes recommendations to global decision makers. Likewise, Somali intellectuals should not give up and do not allow illegitimate forces to rule their country. The fight against corruption must continue.
          Comment on Political Economies of conflict: Old wine in new bottles? by Lindsay KÄ°PTÄ°NESS        
I enjoyed the article as I am currently doing a cause on the political economy of conflicts.In Somalia, the UN arms Embargo has weakened the Somali government from purchasing arms to deal with al shabaab terrorists, who have a constant supply of weapons from piracy and the sell of charcoal and other forms of illicit commodities. They even take and sell humanitarian food supplies to buy weapons and to feed their fighters.Hence the embargo has undermined a legitimate authority from dealing with an illegitimate group and enhanced terrorists capacity to attack and control more territory. The illicit economy of piracy has created booming pirate cities along the coast of somalia and also raised the prices of property in neighbouring countries, like Kenya where the pirates and other beneficiaries have brought in ransom money to buy property thus legitimizing illegal money.
          Comment on Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Turn of 1991 (2013) by Reading list – News round up | Will Write for Prevention        
[...] World Peace Foundation is going to run a number of article on patterns of violence in Somalia. In “Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Turn of 1991 (2013)” , Lidwien Kapteijns looks at the divisive policies of the Barre regime and the resulting clan-based [...]
          World News Briefs -- January 6, 2010 (Evening Edition)        


Suicide Attack On CIA Agents 'Was Planned By Bin Laden Inner Circle' -- Times Online

US intelligence officials believe that the suicide bomb attack that killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan last month was planned with the help of Osama bin Laden’s close allies, raising fears that the al-Qaeda leader is enjoying a lethal resurgence.

They think that the attack could not have taken place without the prior knowledge and assistance of the Haqqanis, the powerful Taleban group thought to be shielding bin Laden.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Yemen for dummies.

Egyptian guard at Gaza border killed in protest over Galloway's aid convoy.

Iran shielding its nuclear efforts in maze of tunnels. At U.N., China insists it's not 'right' time for sanctions on Iran

Egyptian forces wound 2 Palestinians on Gaza border.

Jordan disputes Khost bomber status.

Dubai's decline gives way to Abu Dhabi's rise.

ASIA

Kan, a weak Yen proponent, named Japan Finance Minister.

Three killed in Pakistani-administered Kashmir bombing.

Officials: Suspected US drones kill 12 in Pakistan.

Blast kills 2 Afghans, 9 NATO troops among wounded.

Murder trial tests Philippine justice.

AFRICA

US urges Guinea to restore civilian rule.

South Sudan army-civilian clash kills 17: official.

Ailing Nigerian president phones officials from hospital bed.

US screening 'risks Nigeria ties'.

Threats lead food agency to curtail aid in Somalia. Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebels deny demanding payments from UN.

Somali pirates free hijacked Pakistani 'mother ship'.

Egypt to host conference on the return of antiquities.

EUROPE

France’s elite colleges rise up in revolt against Nicolas Sarkozy.

Discord, revolt roil Brown's Labor Party before elections in Britain.

Britain falls to 25th best place to live in the world... behind Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Slovakia explosives gaffe 'highlights security failings'.

Dagestan suicide bomb kills six police officers. Suicide bomb in Russia's Dagestan follows strike on Al Qaeda.

Ulster defense association says it has disarmed.

Six more days of snow forecast as cold snap continues in Britain.

AMERICAS

Honduras: De facto president objects to US request he leave.

Evo Morales: Climate power to the people.

Websites post picture of Castro in hospital-style wheeled chair.

Cold grips much of US, Fla. races to save crops.

Missing San Francisco sea lions 'off Oregon'.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

More ex-detainees resort to terror, officials say.

Man who bombed CIA post provided useful intelligence about al-Qaeda.

Angry Barack Obama vows security changes. Obama rebuke over bomb plot prompts intelligence pledge.

Yemen arrests three Qaeda militants, targets leader.

U.S. to suspend Gitmo detainee transfers to Yemen.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Pump prices on pace to top 2009 high by weekend.

Cramped on land, big oil bets at sea.

Oil hovers below $82 amid US crude inventory drop.
          World News Briefs -- January 6, 2010        

Yemen Captures Key Qaeda Chief As Embassies Reopen -- AFP

SANAA — Yemeni security forces, under US pressure to rein in extremists, Wednesday captured a key Al-Qaeda leader believed to be behind threats that saw foreign embassies in Sanaa closing their doors, police said.

Mohammed al-Hanq had evaded arrest on Monday during a security force raid in Arhab, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Sanaa, in which two of his relatives were killed and three other people wounded.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran shielding its nuclear efforts in maze of tunnels. At U.N., China insists it's not 'right' time for sanctions on Iran

Egyptian forces wound 2 Palestinians on Gaza border.

Jordan disputes Khost bomber status.

Dubai's decline gives way to Abu Dhabi's rise.

ASIA

Kan, a weak Yen proponent, named Japan Finance Minister.

Three killed in Pakistani-administered Kashmir bombing.

Officials: Suspected US drones kill 12 in Pakistan.

Blast kills 2 Afghans, 9 NATO troops among wounded.

Murder trial tests Philippine justice.

AFRICA

Threats lead food agency to curtail aid in Somalia. Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebels deny demanding payments from UN.

Somali pirates free hijacked Pakistani 'mother ship'.

Egypt to host conference on the return of antiquities.

EUROPE

Dagestan suicide bomb kills six police officers. Suicide bomb in Russia's Dagestan follows strike on Al Qaeda.

Ulster defense association says it has disarmed.

Six more days of snow forecast as cold snap continues in Britain.

AMERICAS

Websites post picture of Castro in hospital-style wheeled chair.

Cold grips much of US, Fla. races to save crops.

Missing San Francisco sea lions 'off Oregon'.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Man who bombed CIA post provided useful intelligence about al-Qaeda.

Angry Barack Obama vows security changes. Obama rebuke over bomb plot prompts intelligence pledge.

Yemen arrests three Qaeda militants, targets leader.

U.S. to suspend Gitmo detainee transfers to Yemen.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Pump prices on pace to top 2009 high by weekend.

Cramped on land, big oil bets at sea.

Oil hovers below $82 amid US crude inventory drop.
          Minyak Naik gula pun Naik        

Ha.ha..ha
Minyak naik pulak,,.Gula pula, sebab banyak sangat orang kena penyakit kencing manis, kerajaan yang amat-amat perihatin dengan masalah kesihatan terpaksalah naikan harga gula..

Kebiasaanya bila harga minyak naik, kerajaan akan bagi alasan yang standard macam tahun tahun yang lalu..
Biasanya:

1. Kerajaan nak menggalakkan rakyat sihat, bila minyak naik rakyat akan naik basikal pergi kerja, pergi kedai, pergi surau pergi kemana-mana pun..jadi ..rakyat bertambah sihat..
*ps..bila Najib nak naik basikal pula,, teringin nak tengok

2. Harga Minyak di Malaysia adalah yang paling Murah kalau nak dibandingkan dengan negara Singapura, Uganda, Somalia, Afrika dan Belanda,,, -,..
*ps..Bila masa pulak kita merasa nak p naik kereta ke Uganda sana nuun..

3. Kerajaan dah tak mampu nak bagi subsidi minyak..
*ps..berapa banyak kerajaan bagi subsidi, siapa yg boleh buktikan..bagaimana dgn subsidi yg diberikan kepada syarikat besar, yg untung hanyalah kumpulan tertentu sahaja

4. Duit Subsidi minyak boleh digunakan untuk pembangunan infrastruktur yg lain seperti Hospital..
*ps.. Bukankah dulu pun kerajaan cakap nak majukan infrastruktur yang lain,,sedangkan masa itu sudah ada budget dan peruntukkannya.

5. Harga Minyak dunia tidak menentu, selalu naik, dan naik sahaja, jadi kerajaan terpaksa menaikkan harga minyak..
*PS..Bila minyak dunia turun knp Minyak Malaysia tak turun, kalau turun pun , lambat...baru turun,..

Yang pasti,,, rakyat sudah pandai ,, semua alasan dari kerajaan tidak dapat diterima oleh mereka...
          Can Ivanka Trump Stop Pop From Cutting US Aid?        
Would Ivanka Trump be complicit if tens of thousands died due to starvation arising from US foreign aid cuts?
To say Donald Trump hates poor foreigners is an understatement. He's definitely bigoted, but apparently it matters less if you're a Muslim [a] from a wealthy nation with [b] Trump-linked business interests. After all, the 9/11 attackers were mostly from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but they go off scot-free in a world where, well, money talks. Although the world is fixated on the fate of his travel ban on folks from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (countries which account for a grand total of zero terrorist fatalities in the US) less is said about the ongoing famines in many of these countries and their near-neighbors.

You see, the Trump administration has been mulling drastic cuts to US foreign aid going to all these poor, ungrateful, Trump-hating coloreds (or is their hatred partly due to the US planning to cut so much aid?) to spend on things like a multi-billion military expansion and a Great Wall of Trump on the US-Mexico border. However, note that Congress ultimately decides what to spend on the US federal budget and not the president.

Meanwhile, some hope that his moderate[-ish] daughter/adviser Ivanka Trump will persuade The Donald to not make such drastic aid cuts--at least that's what some aid agency officials think in the face of massive ongoing famines elsewhere:
The head of the UN World Food Programme has said he is hopeful Ivanka Trump will lobby her father into a U-turn on cuts to humanitarian aid in the face of an urgent cash crisis that is imperilling hundreds of thousands of lives.

David Beasley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina who supported Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency, said Congress and the Senate had already defied the new president to ringfence $980m (£764m) for famine relief this year.

Beasley said he believed Trump would now rethink his policy of stripping down funding of peacekeeping and humanitarian aid for 2018, due in part to the president’s “savvy” daughter, with whom he posed for photographs following a meeting earlier this month.
Even now, the US is the biggest UN contributor, even if its aid contribution is among the least in GDP percentage terms for OECD nations:
The US is the biggest contributor to the UN, paying 22% of its $5.4bn core budget and 28.5% of the $7.9bn dedicated to peacekeeping. Trump has said that such contributions are unfair, and has been seeking to cut spending on US diplomatic and humanitarian efforts by a third...

In relative terms the US is one of the least generous countries when it comes to foreign aid: spending for 2015 stood at just 0.17% of gross national income, compared with Britain’s 0.7%.
The projected aid requirements this year are certainly staggering:
Speaking on a visit to Brussels, where he met leaders of the EU and the Belgian government, Beasley said he needed an injection of $1bn in the coming months to save the lives of 600,000 children. “While the European Union and Belgium have been tremendous supporters, the needs at this time are just extraordinary,” he said. “We are facing the worst humanitarian crisis since the second world war.

“Some 30 million people don’t know where their next meal is going to come from in just four of the countries facing famine, and 1.4 million are literally on the brink of starvation as we speak. “If we do not receive the resources, the food that we need in the next few months we are talking about the possibility of 600,000 dying. If we receive the funds, we can avert famine and minimise the chance of death.”
What does Trump care? More to the point, why would Trump care about colored people unable to afford Trump-branded gold courses or hotels who hate his guts? My guess is that aid proponents are wasting their time lobbying Trump. Besides, Trump can propose the most vicious cuts to US foreign aid, but it's ultimately the congress that decides how much to allocate in the federal budget. Given that fact, I'd be lobbying congresspersons instead of this guy. It's a waste of time IMHO.

And yes, Ivanka Trump does not escape responsibility, try as she might to portray herself as a "non-political" actor.

UPDATE: Don't forget her futile attempt to get The Donald to stay in the Paris Agreement. Progressive causes are lost on him...even if his daughter tries to persuade him.
          The Commander Stumbles        

After President Trump signed an executive order on Saturday giving the Joint Chiefs of Staff 30 days to devise a plan for destroying ISIS, I emailed several senior U.S. military officers—some active duty, some retired, all with combat experience in our recent wars—and asked them what sort of plan the chiefs should submit.

One of the officers, a general, wrote back, “They might begin by telling him to lift this stupid and heinous visa ban.”

The remark highlights a big problem not just with Trump’s scattershot orders but also with his tenure so far as commander in chief: He doesn’t seem to understand the political nature of war or the strategic consequences of politics.

The ban to which the officer was referring—another executive order that Trump signed, on Friday afternoon, barring entry to the United States from any citizen of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, or Somalia—gravely threatens not only American values but also U.S. security interests. (It’s a real trick for one policy to damage both our values and our interests.) American armed forces, after all, are conducting military operations of some sort—from ground combat and airstrikes to special-operations missions—in all but one of those seven countries (Iran). The local soldiers they’re fighting alongside or advising—and the local people who are tolerating their presence—are likely to turn distrustful, possibly hostile, if the American president is telling them that under no circumstances will they be allowed to come into our country because they might be terrorists.

In other words, with this order—which has come under major protest from citizens, judges, and many legislators—Trump is making it harder to defeat ISIS by telling the allies and main forces in that fight that they aren’t good enough to set foot in America.

Whatever war plan the chiefs send Trump, he’s likely to be disappointed. Most of the officers I surveyed say that the war on ISIS—strictly as a military venture—is going pretty well and that the caliphate—the Islamic State as a territorial unit in Iraq and Syria—may be destroyed in a matter of months, if not sooner. The only way to push the campaign much harder, or to get results much more quickly, they say, would be to put more U.S. troops on the ground or to send a lot more weapons to the most active forces fighting ISIS, notably the Kurdish peshmerga and Shiite militias.

However, the chiefs will probably note in their briefing to the president that doing either of those things would alienate local forces or leaders who must lead the fight if it is to be successful for the long haul. The first option—deploying 10,000 or more U.S. troops to Iraq, Syria, or both—would send jihadi propagandists into convulsions of glee, reaffirming their message that America is at war with Islam.

And they wouldn’t be entirely wrong. As Rudy Giuliani told Fox News this weekend, Trump had asked him how to do a “Muslim ban” legally. Giuliani and a few others mulled it over and came up with the idea of a ban on people from dangerous nations (which happened to be predominantly Muslim). The subterfuge was made all the more transparent when Trump said an exemption on the ban might be carved out for persecuted religious minorities—which is to say, Christians—in those countries. It’s hard enough for many Iraqi or Syrian Muslims—soldiers, militiamen, politicians, and ordinary citizens—to tolerate or support Americans who are on their soil but stay a bit in the background. It becomes dangerous or distasteful for them to keep doing so when these Americans multiply in number and fight out in front.

The second option—sending more, and more lethal, weapons to Kurds or Shiite militias—would alienate the Turks (in the case of the Kurds) or the Sunni Arab leaders (in the case of Shiite militias), who are crucial to settling the civil wars that created an opening for ISIS in the first place. The main reason why the United States did not move more aggressively or unilaterally against ISIS strongholds early on, especially in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, was that American commanders had to make arrangements with these local forces and leaders: first, to obtain intelligence on the complexities of the battlefield; then, after that was accomplished, to negotiate which forces will fight where, in what order, against whom, and who gets what afterward.

Coalition warfare is a messy business, and it always has been, but if the United States has interests worth fighting for in the Middle East, there is no other way to do this. Retired Gen. James Mattis, a former head of U.S. Central Command and now Trump’s secretary of defense, testified at his confirmation hearing that the wars he’d fought as a Marine in the region had all been coalition wars, and he preferred it that way.

When the chiefs brief Trump on their new war plan next month, two things are likely to frustrate him the most. First, it will look quite a lot like the existing war plan, with maybe a few things intensified. Second, there will be no magic buttons. Colin Kahl, who was Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser and before that the Defense Department’s chief official on Middle Eastern affairs, tweeted on Saturday, “Psst, @realDonaldTrump, the Pentagon isn’t going to show you a secret plan they hid from Obama.”

This is another serious problem with Trump’s whole outlook. He sees that the world is a mess and that America has lost the leverage it once had, and he concludes this is happening because our leaders are “stupid”—incompetent negotiators who are too “politically correct” to see the real problem. Elect me, he said during the election campaign, and I’ll put the best people in charge, get the best deals, and we’ll start winning again.

He will soon find out that it’s not all so simple. The world is a mess in part because large chunks of it have always been a mess, in part because the world turned more anarchic—power blocs crumbled, borders turned porous, metrics of power changed, and new forms of conflict emerged—after the end of the Cold War. Some conflicts are simply intractable. Sometimes it’s not even clear what “winning” means, and in any case, often, we can’t win alone or entirely on our own terms.

A third executive order, signed this weekend, might make it harder for Trump to grasp these realities. In this order, Trump reorganized the National Security Council so that the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are no longer permanent members of the Principals Committee—the assemblage of Cabinet secretaries who deliberate over urgent matters of foreign policy—while Steve Bannon, Trump’s political strategist, is.

One aspect of this policy may not be as new as it seems. The long-standing legislation governing the NSC states that the JCS chairman “may, in his role as principal military adviser to the National Security Council and subject to the direction of the President, attend and participate in meetings” of the NSC (italics added). In other words, the JCS chairman has never formally been a permanent member of the Principals Committee. However, as a practical matter, because so much of the Principals Committee’s business involves military matters, the chairman or vice chairman has almost always been at those meetings.

On the other hand, the director of national intelligence has been a permanent member ever since the post was created in 2005, and before then, the director of central intelligence was a member. It makes no sense for the secretaries of state, defense, treasury, and other Cabinet heads to meet in the White House with the national security adviser (and sometimes with the president) to discuss and make policy without the nation’s top intelligence officer—the coordinator of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies—being part of that discussion.

The backstory here is that Trump’s national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has floated the idea of abolishing the DNI and having all the intel agencies report to him. It is pertinent to note that a few years ago the outgoing DNI, retired Lt. Gen. James Clapper, fired Flynn from his last job in government, as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency—a move that has since embittered Flynn against the DNI and against much of the intelligence community, which disagreed with him on a number of issues. The removal of the DNI from the Principals Committee suggests that Flynn’s broader plan may be in the works.

Another new and senseless feature of this executive order is putting the president’s political strategist onboard. Karl Rove never attended NSC meetings during George W. Bush’s presidency, as important an adviser as he was on all sorts of issues. David Axelrod sat in on some NSC meetings during Barack Obama’s tenure, though he always sat along the wall, along with a few other aides and deputies; he never sat at the table or said a word.

As the president weighs national security matters, he can mingle his own political interests and instincts with the advice of Cabinet heads and the chiefs of the military and intelligence agencies; in fact, it’s his job to do just that. But the advice of this council should be rooted in U.S. national security interests; that’s why the group is called the National Security Council. Giving the president’s political strategist a seat at this table—elevating him to the same level as the secretaries of state and defense—is bound to inject a perspective that these meetings are expressly supposed to avoid. And given the inclinations of this particular strategist, Steve Bannon, the injections may sometimes be toxic.


          Keskustelua Siellä ja Täällä        
Viime päivinä on ollut melkoisesti liikennettä. Osa liikenteestä tulee Soininvaaran Oden blogikommenttien johdosta, osa Kauppalehden keskustelupalstalta. Joku lukijoista on innostunut lainaamaan vanhaa viisi eiku yhdeksän prosenttia somaleista käy töissä -kirjoitustani useampaankin otteeseen (1, 2). Jostain kumman tuohon työttömyyskirjoitukseen on tullut paljon hittejä Tilastokeskukselta. Jos joku stat.fi:n pojista tai tytöistä löytää noista luvuista jotain huomautettavaa niin kommentteja otetaan edelleen vastaan.

Kauppalehden sivuilta löytyi lot-tauhkan lisäksi hupaisa historiaviittaus. Pena9 pani merkille, että Sulo Aittoniemi oli joskus muinoin tehnyt talousarvioaloitteen numerolla TAA 418/2002 vp. Siinä pyrittiin budjetoimaan määrärahaa "Somaliasta saapuneiden elintasopakolaisten palauttamiseen".

Sulo tiesi jo silloin sen, minkä Väyrynen tietää vasta tänään.


-- lot
          Reading Between the Lines of Obama’s Drone-Casualty Report        

Just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend, President Barack Obama released data on how many people—combatants and civilians—that his drone strikes have killed since he took office. Despite the tight deadlines, reporters noticed one salient fact: The numbers were considerably lower than those compiled and published by non-government organizations over the last seven years.

Who’s right: Obama’s director of national intelligence or the outside analysts? Or does anyone really know, and what difference does it make anyway?

Obama’s report—the first such public document ever—stated that the U.S. launched 473 strikes from Jan. 20, 2009 until Dec. 31, 2015, killing 2,372 to 2,581 combatants and 64 to 116 noncombatants.

New America, over the years, has counted a few more strikes (505), a wider though not inconsistent range of combatant fatalities (1,860 to 4,049), but more than double the number of civilian deaths (216 to 254, or possibly higher still. The group counts an additional 160 to 271 deaths as “unknown” as it’s unclear whether they’re combatants or civilians).

The Long War Journal is closer to the administration on total strikes (471) but closer to New America on civilian deaths (207). The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (442 civilian deaths) is close to New America’s estimate if all the uncertain deaths are counted as civilian.

A few things need to be said about all of these estimates. They include not just drone-fired weapons but other kinds of airstrikes, including cruise-missile strikes, against presumed terrorists. They also count only strikes in areas outside of official war zones—that is, they exclude strikes or deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan. They do include strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and, to a much lesser extent, Somalia, which are conducted mainly by the CIA, not the U.S. military—and where, until now, the U.S. government has not admitted to launching attacks at all. (This is progress, of sorts.)

Why are the numbers so different, especially on casualties? The administration’s report—which acknowledges that the other groups’ estimates are “significantly higher”—puts forth a few reasons. First, and no doubt the biggest of all, is that there are “inherent limitations in determining the precise number” of deaths, especially in “non-permissive environments.” That is, in areas where we cannot easily send soldiers or spies to count bodies on the ground in the aftermath.

Imagery from drones, aircraft, and satellites can help intelligence analysts take such counts, but much of this is guesswork and, until very recently, government leaders—neither politicians nor military officers—took little interest in the question. In part to avoid comparisons to the Vietnam War–era’s body counts, precision in such matters hasn’t been a high priority. More than this, though, nobody knows the real numbers. Nor is it always obvious whether the people killed were combatants or innocent bystanders, especially in places and conflicts where the combatants aren’t wearing uniforms.

In the early years of drone strikes under both George W. Bush and Obama, U.S. intelligence officials tended to count all military-age males in the vicinity of an attack as “combatants.” However, this new report seems to be based on stricter criteria. It states that a dead body is counted as civilian if “there is insufficient basis” for tagging it as a combatant. The report also acknowledges, “Males of military age may be non-combatants.”

Another reason for the difference in numbers, according to the report, is that (ahem) the government knows more than private organizations do. New America, the Long War Journal, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism base their numbers on news stories from a wide variety of media sources. The government draws on these open-media sources but also on what the report calls “sensitive intelligence,” including imagery, human agents, signals intelligence, and geospatial intelligence—all gathered before, during, and after the attack. Though the report doesn’t elaborate, these sources would include NSA intercepts of cell-phone conversations and GPS traces that pinpoint the location of the people having these conversations.

That said, the report’s estimate of civilian casualties is almost certainly too low. For instance, a U.S. cruise missile attack in Yemen, on Dec. 17, 2009, killed 41 civilians. This is widely known and was confirmed on background by U.S. officials not long after the fact. Those 41 deaths are presumably included in this report’s data. Yet, given the report’s estimate of a total 64 to 116 civilian deaths as the result of 473 strikes over a period of seven years, this would mean that—excluding the Yemen cruise-missile strike—as few as 23, and no more than 75 civilians, were killed in this entire timespan.

This is very difficult to believe and raises serious questions about how the intelligence agencies go about gathering and calculating the data to begin with. It, in short, raises questions about the entire report’s credibility.

In a larger sense, though, the specific numbers of civilian deaths—whether they total 60 or 200 or 400—are less significant than the fact that there are civilian deaths in these countries caused by U.S. airstrikes at all. This is an issue not just of morality, human rights, and international law, but also of national-security strategy: Some of these innocent victims’ friends or relatives might react to their sudden, seemingly senseless murders from the sky by sympathizing with, or even joining, the terrorist group that was the target.

Overall, it is a good thing that Obama is, however belatedly, releasing these numbers. It is a better thing still that along with the report, he issued an executive order that, beside calling for greater measures to protect civilians in these sorts of attacks, requires the director of national intelligence to release a public report each year estimating the resulting casualties. If the pilots, analysts, and officials involved in launching these attacks know that the president wants to see all the data on casualties, they might take more care in gathering the data.

Peter Bergen, director of the New America project that’s been tabulating drone strikes and their casualties, said in a phone conversation Tuesday that the report’s very existence suggests a “migration” of these operations away from the CIA’s secrecy to the military’s more open practices. If that is true, it may soon be possible—finally—to have a free, informed debate on whether hurling thousands of bombs and missiles from the sky, in a country with which we’re not at war, is a good idea in the first place.


          Yemen, trafficante getta in mare i migranti: decine di morti, molti ragazzini        

SANA’A – Dramma dell’immigrazione al largo delle coste del Corno d’Africa. L’agenzia delle Nazioni Unite per le migrazioni (Oim) ha reso noto che almeno 50 migranti dalla Somalia e dall’Etiopia sono stati “deliberatamente gettati in mare” da un trafficante di esseri umani in fuga nelle acque territoriali dello Yemen.  La Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni […]

L'articolo Yemen, trafficante getta in mare i migranti: decine di morti, molti ragazzini sembra essere il primo su Blitz quotidiano.


          The Cruise Ship Achille A Cruise Ship of Heartbreaking Memories        
The Achille Cruise ship was a luxury passenger liner and became infamous because of its 1985 hijacking. It was designed in 1938; her hull was laid in 1939 at Vlissingen, which is in the Netherlands for the owners Rotterdamsche Lloyed. With the interruption of World War II coupled with two German bombing raids, it wasn't completed until 1947 and then named Willem Ruys.

She made her first voyage in late 1947. The ships’ size is 192 meters in length and 25 meters in beam. Its draught was 8.9 meters and came in at 21,110 long tons and could accommodate 900 passengers. It had 8 powerful Sulzer engines, with 2 main propellers doing the hard work. In 1964, the Achille changed hands to the Flotta Lauro Line or otherwise known as Star Lauro which is now known as MSC cruises and renamed it to Achille Lauro. At the same year, Star Lauro was also bought, which is Achille Lauro's sister ship, Angelina Lauro.

It was then Rebuilt and modernized. Achille Lauro was operational and being serviced in 1966. The ship played a valuable role in evacuating families if the British servicemen who were caught up in the Six Day Way. It arrived in Cairo in the first of June in 1967.
In October 7, 1985, 4 men that represent Palestine Liberation Front have taken the power over of the ship when it was on Egypt as it was seafaring starting on Alexandria in the direction of Port Said which is within Egypt.

Hijackers were surprised the crew of the ship and acted impulsively to repel the borders. The onboard passengers with the crew members were held hostages; they sailed towards Tartus, Syria and also demand 50 Palestinians in Israel prisons to be released.

When the hijackers were refused to wharf on Tartus, they executed one of the Wheelchaired passengers, an American, Leon Klinghoffer. Since he was Jewish, they threw his corpse overboard. Afterwards, the ship then sailed back to Port Said. After 2 days of discussions, the hijackers then arranged to dispose of the liner for secure passage. They were flown toward Tunisia aboard and Egyptian airliner.

Eventually, the airplane had been intercepted by US fighter planes on an Aircraft carrier USS Saratoga in October 10th and was told to land at a naval airport. Eventually, the hijackers had been detained by the Italians after a dispute over US and Italian government authorities. Other passengers including the hijacking principal mastermind, Abu Abbas were permitted to continue to their target destination in spite of a protest held by the US officials. Egypt demanded a public explanation from the US for demanding the plane to go off-course.

One of the hijackers' al-Asker has been approved parole on 1991. The hijacking mastermind Abu Abbas died in US custody in 1994 while Ahmad al-Assadi vanished in 1991 while on parole. And with the remaining hijacker, Youssef al Molqi had been sent to thirty years in jail.

Towards the end of its service, it was reflagged in 1987. It then remained operational until November 30th of 1994 where it caught fire off the coast of Somalia. It was left deserted and eventually sank on December 2 of the same year.
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          Die Zukunft von Zwangsmigrierten in der ASEAN        
Zwei Kinder schauen aus einem Fenster

Dieser Beitrag ist Teil unseres Dossiers 50 Jahre ASEAN – Welche Rolle spielt soziale und ökologische Gerechtigkeit?

Die Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, Vereinigung südostasiatischer Staaten) feiert 2017 ihr 50-jähriges Bestehen, und dies fällt mit dem Vorsitz der Philippinen unter dem Motto „Partnerschaft für den Wandel, Dialog mit der Welt“ zusammen. Entwickelt sich die regionale Gruppierung ASEAN ein halbes Jahrhundert nach ihrer Gründung positiv oder negativ?

Im Allgemeinen hat die ASEAN in vielen Bereichen recht gute Fortschritte vorzuweisen, u.a. regionale Integrationsbemühungen, Überbrückung von Entwicklungslücken, Friedenssicherung und Verbesserung der sozialen Landschaften in der gesamten Region.

Dennoch ist solcher Fortschritt nicht flächendeckend. Mit anderen Worten, er ist bis heute nicht voll und ganz inklusiv. Es gibt gefährdete Teile der Bevölkerung, die nicht einbezogen oder im Integrationsprozess zurückgelassen werden. Eine solche Gruppe sind Zwangsmigrierte, die auch als Geflüchtete und Asylsuchende bezeichnet werden.

Bis 2015 waren insgesamt 284.949 Geflüchtete und Asylsuchende in Kambodscha, Indonesien, Malaysia, Thailand und den Philippinen registriert (UNHCR 2017). Im selben Jahr waren in keinem anderen ASEAN-Mitgliedstaat Geflüchtete registriert.

Eine einfache Frage, deren Beantwortung aufschlussreich wäre: Werden Zwangsmigrierte, die in ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten Zuflucht suchen, in der nationalen Volkszählung miterfasst? Oder gehören sie zu den fast 630 Millionen Menschen in der ASEAN (ASEAN 2016)? Falls nicht, ist es unwahrscheinlich, dass sie an nationalen Entwicklungsinitiativen beteiligt werden, geschweige denn an regionalen Integrationsinitiativen.

Entwicklung der erzwungenen Migration

Auch ohne genaue Zahlenangaben zu kennen ist es unwahrscheinlich, dass die Zahl der Menschen, die vor Verfolgung fliehen, in der nahen Zukunft zurückgeht. Geopolitische Unsicherheit, andauernde Bürgerinnen- und Bürgerkriege, militärische Interventionen und Menschenrechtsverletzungen, die in fast allen Teilen der Welt stattfinden, sorgen dafür.

Die Trends der erzwungenen Migration haben sich aufgrund der Globalisierung, des technologischen Fortschritts und der verstärkten Verkehrsverbindungen unkonventionell entwickelt. Folglich handelt es sich bei der ASEAN nicht mehr um einen sicheren Zufluchtsort für Asylsuchende aus den einzelnen ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten, sondern auch für diejenigen aus anderen Regionen und Kontinenten.

Beispielsweise wurden etwa 14 Prozent der insgesamt 65,3 Millionen Zwangsmigrierten von Ländern der Region Asien-Pazifik aufgenommen, wobei die Mehrheit (53 Prozent) aus drei Ländern stammt- Somalia, Afghanistan und Syrien (UNHCR 2017). Die Art und Weise, in der die ASEAN auf diese Trends reagiert, hängt vor allem vom Engagement der einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten und der geteilten Verantwortung ab, die Region zu einem Ort zu machen sollten, den alle Heimat nennen können.

Dieser Artikel versucht zu erörtern, wie die ASEAN sicherstellen könnte, dass ihre regionalen Integrationsbemühungen tatsächlich „inklusiv“ sind und Zwangsmigrierten in der Region eine bessere Zukunft garantieren. Er untersucht auch, welche Verpflichtungen die ASEAN und ihre Mitgliedstaaten in der Vergangenheit eingegangen sind.

In welchem Maße haben die bisherigen Erfahrungen die regionale Gruppierung und ihre Mitgliedstaaten dahingehend beeinflusst, die gegenwärtige Situation der erzwungenen Migration anzupacken? Wichtiger: Wie können die ASEAN und ihre Mitgliedstaaten zukünftig am besten auf die Situation der erzwungenen Migration reagieren?

Der regionale Ansatz für den Umgang mit Geflüchteten aus Indochina

Der regionale Ansatz für den Umgang mit einem massiven Zustrom von unfreiwilligen Migrantinnen und Migranten innerhalb der Region Südostasien ist kein neues Phänomen. Die Gründungsmitglieder der ASEAN, nämlich Indonesien, Malaysia, die Philippinen, Singapur und Thailand, waren in den späten 1970er Jahren Asylländer für fast eine halbe Million Geflüchtete aus Indochina, und dies war bis in die frühen 1990er Jahre weiterhin der Fall.

Jeder Mitgliedstaat hatte seine geteilte Verantwortung. Malaysia, Thailand und Indonesien spielten die führende Rolle, indem sie mehr Räume und Möglichkeiten für vorübergehenden Schutz für die Geflüchteten aus Indochina zur Verfügung stellen, bevor sie in Drittstaaten umgesiedelt oder in ihre Heimat zurückgeführt wurden.

Trotz Platzbeschränkungen verpflichtete sich Singapur 1979, etwa 900 Geflüchtete aufzunehmen, und 1982 weitere 480 (UNHCR 2017). Trotz ihrer abgelegenen Lage gelang es den Philippinen in ähnlicher Weise, 1979 5.300 Geflüchteten Asyl zu gewähren, und diese Zahl hat sich 1980 auf 20.300 fast vervierfacht (UNHCR 2017).

Diese Verpflichtung wurde nicht eingegangen, ohne die Risiken und Konsequenzen für die ASEAN oder ihre Mitgliedstaaten in der Zukunft zu erkennen. Die ASEAN hat bestätigt, dass eine solche Verpflichtung einen Präzedenzfall schaffen würde und dass sie letztlich als „Magnet für Geflüchtete“ fungieren würde, der immer mehr Asylsuchende anziehen würde.

Die einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten befürchteten ebenfalls, dass eine solche Verpflichtung weitere soziale Probleme in ihren Ländern schaffen würde. Behörden würden mit den ökonomischen Kosten und dem Verwaltungsaufwand konfrontiert, die der Umgang mit dem Zustrom an Geflüchteten und die Koordination der humanitären Hilfe seitens internationaler Organisationen mit sich brächte (Suhrke 1980).

Trotz zahlreicher Zweifel zeigte der gemeinsame Entschluss, Geflüchteten aus Indochina zeitlich befristet Asyl zu gewähren, die Haltung der ASEAN und ihre positive Reaktion auf die komplexe und in hohem Maße politisierte Situation der Geflüchteten in der Region.  Drei Feststellungen könnten besser erklären, warum ein solches Engagement von den späten 1970er Jahren bis zu den frühen 1990er Jahren erfolgreich war, aber gegenwärtig nicht notwendigerweise wiederholt werden kann.

Der Umgang mit erzwungener Migration in der Vergangenheit

Erstens gab es damals eine größere internationale Reaktion und Verpflichtung von Drittstaaten, etwa den USA, und internationale Organisationen waren in der Lage, die Belastung der Erstasylländer in der ASEAN zu senken, indem sie Geflüchtete zügig umsiedelten und erhebliche finanzielle Unterstützung leisteten.

Beispielsweise wurde die monatliche Umsiedlungsquote in Drittländer im Zeitraum 1979 bis 1980 auf 23.000 Antragstellerinnen und Antragsteller erhöht, wovon zwei Drittel von den USA aufgenommen wurden. Auf der finanziellen Seite haben internationale Organisationen in den sechs Monaten von Oktober 1979 bis März 1980 etwa 100 Millionen US-Dollar für die Geflüchteten in Thailand ausgegeben, während der UNHCR Malaysia etwa 30 Millionen US-Dollar zur Verfügung stellte (Suhrke 1980).

Da die USA sowie internationale und zwischenstaatliche Organisationen Verpflichtungen eingingen, sank die Zahl der vorübergehend in ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten untergekommenen Geflüchteten rapide, wie auch die dadurch entstehenden Kosten für die Asylländer.

Zweitens war Vietnam (das Land, aus dem die Mehrheit der Geflüchteten aus Indochina stammten) bis 1995 kein Mitglied der ASEAN. Daher war die kollektive Verpflichtung der ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten, Geflüchteten aus Indochina vorübergehend Schutz zu gewähren, mit dem ASEAN-Prinzip der Nichteinmischung nicht unvereinbar.

Drittens: hinter der Bereitschaft von ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten, das Risiko einzugehen und die geteilte Verantwortung zu übernehmen, vorübergehenden Schutz zu bieten, war die Absicht, eine gute Beziehung zu den USA zu pflegen, mit dem sehr klaren Ziel, ein Gegengewicht zum wachsenden Einfluss von China und der Sowjetunion in der Region zu bilden.

Dies sind die drei Faktoren, die in der Vergangenheit halfen, die kollektive Antwort der ASEAN und ihrer Mitgliedstaaten beim Umgang mit erzwungener Migration zu stärken.

Eine regelbasierte Verpflichtung im Zeitalter der Unsicherheit

Die heutige ASEAN besteht aus zehn Mitgliedstaaten, darunter Länder, aus denen Menschen geflüchtet waren, etwa Kambodscha, die Volksrepublik Laos, Myanmar und Vietnam. Führungspersönlichkeiten der zehn ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten kamen 2007 in Singapur zusammen, um ihre kollektiven Integrationsbemühungen weiter zu stärken. Dabei bezeugten sie die Schaffung der ASEAN-Charta und unterzeichneten sie, wodurch sie ein rechtlich verbindliches Dokument für die regionale Gruppierung wurde.

Zweifellos ist die Schaffung der ASEAN-Charta eine Manifestation einer erneuten politischen Verpflichtung, den gemeinschaftsbildenden Prozess zu fördern.

Die Charta bereitete außerdem den Weg für die erweiterten Rollen und Aufträge der ASEAN-Außenministerinnen und Außenminister und die Bildung neuer ASEAN-Gremien im Zusammenhang mit Menschenrechten, darunter die ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR, Zwischenstaatliche ASEAN-Menschenrechtskommission) und die ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC, ASEAN-Kommission für die Förderung und den Schutz der Rechte von Frauen und Kindern).

Diese regionalen Menschenrechtsinstitutionen sollen die Rechte von Bürgerinnen und Bürger der ASEAN in Übereinstimmung mit der ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD, ASEAN-Erklärung der Menschenrechte), der ASEAN-Charta und der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte fördern und schützen. Anders als in der Charter der Grundrechte der Europäischen Union werden in keinem dieser Schlüsseldokumente der ASEAN, einschließlich der ASEAN-Charta und der AHRD, die Begriffe „Geflüchtete“, „Asylsuchende“ oder „Zwangsmigrierte“ erwähnt.

Dies liegt daran, dass Kambodscha (1992) und die Philippinen (1981) als einzige Mitgliedstaaten die Flüchtlingskonvention von 1951 und das dazugehörige Protokoll von 1967 ratifiziert haben. Die übrigen Mitgliedstaaten haben die Konvention nicht ratifiziert, und es besteht kein Anhaltspunkt für ihre Absicht, dies zu tun.

In Staaten, die der Flüchtlingskonvention von 1951 nicht beigetreten sind, u.a. Thailand, Malaysia und Indonesien, wird der Begriff „Geflüchtete“ bzw. „Geflüchteter“ in nationalen Gesetzen, Politiken und Verwaltungsverfahren nicht offiziell anerkannt oder erwähnt.

Abgesehen vom mangelnden kollektiven politischen Engagement der regionalen Gruppierung bestehen weitere Punkte, die die mangelnde Bereitschaft einzelner Mitgliedstaaten besser erklären könnten, hinsichtlich des Umgangs mit der erzwungenen Migration in der Region eine rechtlich verbindliche Verpflichtung einzugehen.

Gründe für mangelnde Aufnahmebereitschaft

Erstens haben neu entstehende und komplexe Sicherheitsgefährdungen in der Zeit nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges stark zugenommen und dabei Staaten und Gesellschaften geschwächt und transnationalen Sicherheitsrisiken ausgesetzt. Dazu gehören Bedrohungen, die von Terrorismus und Militanz ausgehen, das Schmuggeln atypischer Immigrantinnen und Immigranten, Menschenhandel sowie Drogen- und Waffenschmuggel – die alle im weiteren Zusammenhang mit den Fluchtbewegungen in der Region stehen.

Die komplexe Natur dieser Bedrohungen veranlasste ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten, übermäßig viel Wert auf Schutz zu legen. In der Folge waren sie nicht bereit, eine regelbasierte Verpflichtung bezüglich des Umgangs mit unfreiwilligen Migrantinnen und Migranten einzugehen.

Mitgliedstaaten, darunter Thailand, Malaysia und Indonesien, behaupteten jedoch, dass sie trotz des Fehlens einer rechtlich verbindlichen Verpflichtung Geflüchteten minimalen Schutz gewähren würden, einschließlich, aus humanitären Gründen, der Beachtung des Prinzips der Nicht-Zurückweisung.

Zweitens entstanden neue Trends der erzwungenen Migration, insbesondere aus anderen Regionen und Kontinenten in ASEAN-Länder, in der Zeit nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges. Obwohl die Anzahl Menschen, die in ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten Zuflucht suchten, von 1980 (437.530) bis 2015 (284.949) um fast die Hälfte zurückging (UNHCR 2017), ist die Vielfalt an Nationalitäten heute größer als je zuvor.

Beispielsweise ist Malaysia heute Asylland für unfreiwillige Migrantinnen und Migranten aus Angola, Burundi, Bhutan, der Zentralfrikanischen Republik, Kamerun, der Demokratischen Republik Kongo, Algerien, Guinea, Äthiopien, dem Iran, dem Irak, Kenia, Kuwait, Ruanda und dem Senegal (neben Myanmar) (UNHCR 2017).

Ähnliche Trends der erzwungenen Migration waren in Thailand und Indonesien mit einer verglichen mit den 1990er Jahren größeren Zahl verschiedener Nationalitäten zu verzeichnen. Von den insgesamt 284.949 registrierten Geflüchteten in den ASEAN-Mitgliedstaaten sind etwa 11,3 Prozent (32.127) aus Nicht-ASEAN-Staaten, wobei die Mehrheit aus den Regionen Westasien, Südasien und bestimmten Regionen Afrikas stammt.

Dies deutet darauf hin, dass die Bevölkerungsgruppe der unfreiwilligen Migrantinnen und Migranten wahrscheinlich die schwierigste Herausforderung für die regionale Gruppierung in der Zukunft sein wird.

Für Zwangsmigrierte eine bessere Zukunft schaffen

In dieser Zeit der geopolitischen Unsicherheit, der ungleichen Entwicklung und der tiefgreifenden Ungleichheit können weder die Vergangenheit noch die gegenwärtige Situation die Zukunft Geflüchteten in der Region voraussagen. Die beste Möglichkeit, die Zukunft Zwangsmigrierter in der Region vorherzusagen ist, sie selbst zu schaffen.

Um jedoch eine bessere Zukunft zu schaffen, sind seitens der ASEAN und ihrer einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten starke Führung, politische Entschlossenheit, eine Bereitschaft zur Lastenteilung sowie Schutzverantwortung erforderlich.

Eine konkrete regionale Verpflichtung, auf die erzwungene Migration zu reagieren, kann nur erreicht werden, wenn die Mehrheit der einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten über eine klare Position sowie Engagement auf der nationalen Ebene verfügen. Dies ist allerdings in der ASEAN bislang nicht der Fall.

Einzelne Mitgliedstaaten, insbesondere Länder wie Thailand, Malaysia und Indonesien, in denen die meisten Geflüchteten leben, sollten eine führende Rolle spielen, indem sie ihren humanitären Ansatz in eine rechtlich verbindliche Verpflichtung transformieren, um die unfreiwilligen Migrantinnen und Migranten konkret und dauerhaft zu schützen.

Die Angst vor den unbekannten Konsequenzen einer rechtlich verbindlichen Verpflichtung sollte Länder nicht davon abhalten, die Flüchtlingskonvention von 1951 zu ratifizieren, da die Motive der erzwungenen Migration nicht durch den Ratifizierungsstatus eines Mitgliedstaats bestimmt werden.

Beispielsweise hat Malaysia die Flüchtlingskonvention von 1951 noch nicht ratifiziert und erkennt keine Geflüchteten im Land an, aber die Zahl der Asylsuchenden ist von 2000 bis 2015 erheblich gestiegen: von 5.412 auf 154.486 (UNHCR 2017).

Dies legt den Schluss nahe, dass die Korrelation zwischen dem Ratifizierungsstatus eines Landes hinsichtlich der Flüchtlingskonvention von 1951 und dem Phänomen, in der Region ein „Magnet für Geflüchtete“ zu sein, schwach ist.

Geographische Faktoren, die Möglichkeit, von verschiedenen wirtschaftlichen Aktivitäten zu profitieren, etwa dem informellen Arbeitsmarkt in Malaysia, Thailand und Indonesien, und der minimale Schutz für Geflüchtete haben zusammengenommen als Pull-Faktoren fungiert, die es für Asylsuchende attraktiv machte, in den jeweiligen Ländern Schutz zu suchen, sogar ohne rechtlich verbindliche Verpflichtung.

Motive hinter der erzwungenen Migration

Die ASEAN und ihre Mitgliedstaaten sollten auch die Motive (Push-Faktoren) hinter der erzwungenen Migration anerkennen, wobei Geflüchtete gezwungen werden, ihr Heimatland auf der Suche nach internationalem Schutz zu verlassen und dabei über wenige Optionen verfügen.

Unter solchen Umständen werden Geflüchtete einen Weg finden, diese Länder zu erreichen. Dabei riskieren sie ihr Leben, indem sie sich von gleichgültigen Dritten schmuggeln lassen, die den Mangel an Integrität unter gewissen Mitgliedern des Kontrollpersonals ausnutzen.

Auf nationaler Ebene sollten einzelne Mitgliedstaaten den Zugang zur Justiz und zu Verwaltungsverfahren stärken und dabei gewährleisten, dass jede und jeder Einzelne der unfreiwilligen Migrantinnen und Migranten den gleichen Zugang zu Grundbedürfnissen und Rechten im Asylprozess haben.

Mitglieder zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen, u.a. medizinischer, religiöser und humanitärer Organisationen, sollten die erforderliche finanzielle Unterstützung und Hilfe erhalten, die ihnen ermöglichen, ihre Aufgaben effizient zu erfüllen. Die relevanten Behörden sollten mit den Mitgliedern der Organisationen Hand in Hand zusammenarbeiten, um mit Geflüchteten in Kontakt zu treten und die notwendige Hilfe anzubieten.

Die Bereitschaft einzelner Mitgliedstaaten, diese Verpflichtungen einzugehen, würde andere Mitgliedstaaten beeinflussen, dasselbe zu tun. Dies ist daran zu erkennen, dass die Regierungen von Indonesien, Malaysia und Thailand in Reaktion auf die Rohingya-Krise Ende 2016 miteinander konkurrierten, ohne sich dessen bewusst zu sein.

Ein wenig diplomatische Rivalität kann zwar nicht schaden, sie führt jedoch in keinem der drei Länder zu konkreten Verpflichtungen auf nationaler Ebene. Welche Rolle sollte die regionale Gruppierung angesichts des Mangels an nationaler Verpflichtung durch die einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten spielen?

Die ASEAN hat 2009 ihre regionale Menschenrechtsinstitution, die AICHR, mit dem übergreifenden Mandat etabliert, die Menschenrechte zu fördern und zu schützen. Die AHRD schreibt in Artikel 16 der ASEAN und ihren Mitgliedstaaten die Verpflichtung vor, das Recht auf Asyl zu gewährleisten. Die AICHR ist gut dafür aufgestellt, ihr Mandat zur Entwicklung einer regionalen Strategie einzusetzen, die die Mitgliedstaaten zur Ratifizierung der Flüchtlingskonvention von 1951 ermutigt.

Dies würde ihre Verpflichtung stärken, gegenüber geflüchteten das Recht auf Asyl zu garantieren. Als jährlich tagendes Organ der ASEAN sollte die AICHR eine ständige Agenda zu erzwungener Migration einrichten, die in ihr Schwerpunktprogramm und Fünfjahresarbeitsplan eingebunden wird.

Strategische Kooperationen und Partnerschaften sind gefordert

Die Zunahme von Nicht-ASEAN-Geflüchteten in der Region deutet darauf hin, dass es sich nicht mehr um eine intraregionale Angelegenheit handelt, die ausschließlich mit internen Mitteln gelöst werden kann.

Da die ASEAN und die AICHR die übergreifenden regionalen Menschenrechtsorgane sind, sollten sie Wege ausloten, mit der Afrikanischen Union, der African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights, (ACHPR, Afrikanische Kommission für Menschen- und Völkerrechte) oder der Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC, Organisation für islamische Zusammenarbeit) strategische Kooperationen und Partnerschaften mit dem spezifischen Fokus auf Angelegenheiten der erzwungenen Migration einzurichten.

Neben dem Einsatz des bestehenden regionalen Menschenrechtsmechanismus sollte die ASEAN eine konkretere und nachhaltigere Plattform entwickeln, in der Themen im Zusammenhang mit der erzwungenen Migration jenseits der drei Säulen der ASEAN-Gemeinschaft diskutiert werden können. Die Logik ist einfach.

Erzwungene Migration hat mit politischer Sicherheit, soziokultureller und ökonomischer Integration zu tun. Daher könnte eine vierte Säule der ASEAN-Gemeinschaft etabliert werden, um regionale Lösungen für komplexe Themen wie erzwungene Migration zu diskutieren.

Zusammenfassend ist zu sagen, dass die Zwangsmigrierten mangels Alternative Teil der Gesellschaft in der ASEAN sind, und zwar seit der Krise der Geflüchteten aus Indochina in den späten 1970er Jahren bis hin zur Rohingya-Katastrophe in der jüngsten Zeit. Die unsichere internationale Reaktion, die die Belastung der Asylländer reduzieren soll, zeigt, dass Geflüchtete wahrscheinlich in einer „lang anhaltenden Situation“ sein werden, während sie auf eine definitive Lösung warten.

Während die ASEAN bestrebt ist, ihre regionalen Integrationsbemühungen zu stärken und ihre Zusicherungen umzusetzen, wahrlich inklusiv, auf die Menschen zentriert und an den Menschen orientiert zu sein, müssen die regionalen Gruppierung und ihre Mitgliedstaaten Möglichkeiten anbieten und die Zwangsmigrierten befähigen, Teil dieses regionalen Integrationsprozesses zu sein.

Die wachsende Präsenz von Geflüchteten aus Nicht-ASEAN-Ländern zeigt außerdem die Notwendigkeit auf, diesen Teil der erzwungenen Migration in der regionalen Agenda und den Integrationsinitiativen einzubinden. Die Grundüberlegung dahinter ist, die Geflüchteten besser zu managen und zu integrieren anstatt ihre Anwesenheit im Land zu ignorieren.

Erst dann werden Zwangsmigrierte gleichgültig welcher Nationalität in der Lage sein, eigenständig einen Beitrag zur Gesellschaft des Aufnahmelandes und zur regionalen Integration zu leisten und ihre eigene Zukunft zu schaffen.

 

LITERATUR

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 2016. ASEAN Statistical Leaflet – Selected Key Indicators 2016. http://asean.org/storage/2012/05/ASEAN_Stats_Leaflet2016_web.pdf, letzter Zugriff: 26. März 2017.

Suhrke, Astri. 1980. Indochinese Refugees: The Impact of First Asylum Countries and Implications for American Policy [A Study Prepared for the Use of the Joint Economic Committee Congress of the United States, November 1980]. https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/1980/12/report-2b9a3aa8-525f-407a-86ba-2e6b4171e90e, letzter Zugriff: 12. März 2017.

Hoher Flüchtlingskommissar der Vereinten Nationen (UNHCR). 2017. Population Statistics, 1979-2015. http://popstats.unhcr.org/en/overview, letzter Zugriff: 23. März 2017.



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