FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Tuesday:  October 27, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Entries in Ecuador (5)

Monday
Mar262012

Guatemala President Calls for Drug Legalization Ahead of Summit Of The Americas (NEWS) 

(PHOTO: Guatemalan President Otto Molina & Honduras' Vice President Samuel Reyes speak during an anti-drugs summit at the Santo Domingo Hotel, Antigua, Guatemala/IBT)(HN, March, 26, 2012) - This past weekend, three Central American heads of state attended a regional summit to discuss the drug issue which has plagued their nations and their neighbors for decades.  In Antigua, Guatemala, Saturday for the first time, leaders met explicitly to discuss ending the war on drugs as we know it.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said the war on drugs has "failed", and it's time to end the "taboo" on discussing decriminalization for the Americas.

Also in attendance were Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli. Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, a harsh critic of US-style drug policies and a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy was an invited guest and addressed the summit. Outside of Central America, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have expressed support for the meeting.

Invited to attend but who didn't were El Salvador President Mauricio Funes, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.  While Funes initially expressed support for the summit, he has since backed away. Lobo and Ortega have opposed the idea from the beginning.  Funes and Ortega did send lower ranking members of the governments to the meeting, and the Salvadoran delegation called for a future meeting on the subject, saying it remained a topic of great interest and importance to the region.

"We have realized that the strategy in the fight against drug trafficking in the past 40 years has failed. We have to look for new alternatives," said President Molina, a former army general who first called for such a meeting last month, shortly after taking office. "We must end the myths, the taboos, and tell people you have to discuss it, debate it."

(PHOTO: Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla attends Saturday's drugs summit at the Santo Domingo Hotel in Antigua/CRTV)He said that drug use, production, and sales should be legalized and regulated and suggested that the region jointly regulate the drug trade, perhaps by establishing transit corridors through which regulated drug shipments could pass.

But US-backed drug policies in the region have in recent years brought a wave of violence to the region, which is used as a springboard for Colombian cocaine headed north to the US and Canada, either direct or via Mexico. Mexican drug cartels have expanded their operations in Central America in the past few year, perhaps in response to the pressures they face at home.

High levels of poverty and the strong presence of criminal gangs, particularly in El Salvador and Honduras,  combined with the cartel presence is making the region one of the world's deadliest.

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, along with Jamaica, have the world's highest murder rates; and Guatemala recently has been saying it is being "outgunned by gangs".

In its most recent annual report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said violence linked to the drug wars has reached "alarming and unprecedented" levels in the region.

"How much have we paid here in Central America in deaths, kidnappings, extortion?" asked Chinchilla. "Central America has to ask whether it is time that we raise this issue at the Security Council of United Nations."

President Molina also suggested that, barring legalization and a regulated drug trade, consumer countries should be taxed for the drugs seized in the region on their behalf - including the United States.

"For every kilo of cocaine that is seized, we want to be compensated 50% by the consumer countries, he said, adding that the has a "responsibility" because of its high rates of drug use.

While Saturday's summit produced no common platform or manifesto, it is an important step in the fight for a more sensible, effective, and humane response to drug use and the regional drug trade.

Some leaders are pushing for a discussion on alternatives to the drug war to be on the agenda at next month's Organization of American States (OAS) summit in Cartagena, Colombia, April 14-15 where President Santos has also been signaling an openness to debate on the issue. 

Members of the OAS include 35 countries:  Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico,      Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada, Suriname, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Bahamas, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Canada, Belize, and Guyana.

The White House says US President Barack Obama will host Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for a North American summit in Washington on April 2. The meeting is expected to focus on economic growth and competitiveness, security, energy, and climate change; along with North America’s role in the upcoming Summit of the Americas

Ahead of the summit, Obama said Monday he was suspending trade benefits for Argentina from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences program, which waives import duties on thousands of goods from developing countries because of the South American country's failure to pay more than $300 million in compensation awards in two disputes involving American investors; effective in 60 days.

Argentina's top exports under the program were grape wine, prepared or preserved beef, sugar confections and olive oil. Washington waived about $17.3 million in duties on those goods from Argentina last year.

--- HUMNEWS (c) 2012

Monday
Jan092012

'Iran Has The Technology To Develop Nuclear Devices' (INTERVIEW) 

(PHOTO: Rafael Grossi is Assistant Director General at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. NPSGLOBAL.ORG) 

An interview with IAEA’s assistant director general, by the Buenos Aires Herald's reporter Carolina Barros as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad facing new sanctions over his nation's suspect nuclear program, arrived in Venezuela on Sunday to meet with President Hugo Chavez.  The trip will be five-days aimed at shoring up ties in Latin America and will also take him to Nicaragua where he’ll attend the inauguration of re-elected President Daniel Ortega, and on to Ecuador and Cuba.

Rafael Grossi is an Argentine career diplomat, who has specialized in nuclear issues since the 1980s. “Borrowed” from the Argentine Foreign Ministry, Grossi is Assistant Director General at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear agency reporting to the UN Security Council. He is also Chief of Cabinet for Yuyika Amano, IAEA’s Director General. Relaxed and self-assured, Grossi has deep knowledge of Iran’s nuclear development and facilities, which at the moment are in the spotlight for allegedly being expanded to nuclear weapons. While on a short visit to Buenos Aires, Grossi gave an exclusive interview to the Buenos Aires Herald and straightforwardly spoke about the current tensions generated by Iran in the Middle East and the Western world.

Q: How serious is the Iran situation?

Rafael Grossi: In the global context of nuclear weapons proliferation, Iran, when compared with Syria or North Korea, is the most urgent issue and of the most immediate concern. The fact that Tehran has an institutional relationship with the agency (IAEA), signed the Non-Proliferation Nuclear Treaty and stays within the international system in terms of non-proliferation rules is a very important issue. Independently, there are controversies in terms of the degree to which Iran complies with these norms.

Q: Iran insists that its nuclear programme does not have military designs. Is this true?

RG: In public statements, Iran has said and repeated that its nuclear programme is absolutely peaceful, and that it is willing to prove it is and keep its doors open to IAEA inspectors. This demonstrates the importance of our work, as we are the only international presence within Iran that is allowed to get inside nuclear installations. This must be kept and maintained, as a starting point. Beyond the inspections, Iran has not totally complied with the norms in terms of agreements regarding to safeguards, as well as the Additional Protocol, which it pledged to comply with but later decided not to. In other words, Iran has attempted to move forward in terms of transparency several times and later changed its mind.

Q: In November 2011, the IAEA released a strongly-worded document about Iran ’s nuclear development, which led to US sanctions and maybe later EU sanctions. Would this be an ultimatum for an Iran that could have already developed a nuclear weapon?

RG: In 2009, Western intelligence services revealed that uranium was being enriched in a facility in Qom to a greater degree than permitted. This led Iran to rapidly “recognize” the existence of these installations to the IAEA. The November 2011 document, on the other hand, is a list of possible military dimensions (PMD) in its programme. This has nothing to do with enrichment, heavy water, or what happens in known installations, where Iran is undergoing uranium enrichment activities that it should not be doing and which Security Council resolutions have called on the country to suspend (resolutions ignored by Iran until now). The problems revealed by the latest report focus on development and technology directly linked to nuclear weapons.

Q: Specifically, what sort of development is being discussed?

RG: Activities linked to the development of an explosive nuclear device. In the report we focus on the research and development of detonators, primers, the use of uranium in a metallic state, and the nuclear testing and technology. These are all aspects and activities that are solely linked to the development of nuclear weaponry devices.

Q:  Is there time to interrupt this process? Are there actually more than three bombs under development, as is suspected?

RG: We are not saying that Iran has one, two or three nuclear devices: we are saying that Iran has, at different stages of development, technology that is directly linked to the development of a nuclear device. With this report, we have proved to the international community that the issue is not the “possible military dimensions within the Iranian nuclear programme,” as the agency has said up to now. The November report reveals the “list” of what we have been discussing up to now. It is a portion of the information that we have regarding 12 technological lines. We want to clarify what the Iran situation is but, as an agency, we cannot speculate about the real situation.

Q:  Yourself and other IAEA directors are going to Iran at the end of the month. What are your expectations?

RG: Beyond grandiose statements, Iran has not shut down relations with the Agency. (After Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Minister, sent a document, Tehran accepted the continuation of dialogue.) On January 28, we will try to draft a road map to see how we tackle specific issues, including those related to the PMDs.

Q: If the Iranians scratch the PMDs off the list, will the IAEA withdraw from negotiations?

RG: We will continue to inspect the rest of the nuclear programmes. We will call the Board of Governors, who will take the issue to the Security Council. It would be very serious for Iran as, up until now, China and Russia have blocked sanctions on the grounds that Tehran is cooperating with the Agency. If the IAEA tells the world that “ Iran is not cooperating”, Russia and China will be left without justification for their support.

Q: Will Turkey become involved?

RG: Turkey failed in a 2010 attempt to mediate along with Brazil. Now the country is surely looking to ally with or protect Iran, in exchange for the latter’s renouncement of nuclear weapons. Turkey clearly is tired of the Europeans and has realized that it has a very important role in the region.

Q:  What do you think of Ahmadinejad’s Latin America tour and Iran ’s proposal to export nuclear “know-how” to Africa ? Is this but one more challenge?

RG: More than a challenge, this is an attempt by Iran to expand its support base among developing countries, which is currently almost non-existent. Internationally, Tehran has not achieved, despite its efforts, to transform its case into a “North-South” issue, in which the developed North throttles the technological advances of a “southern” country.

----This interview originally ran in today’s Buenos Aires Herald newspaper.

Friday
Jun102011

(HEADLINES) - The Americas - June 11, 2011

THE AMERICAS

(File: Eva Peron) Latin ladies take crack at presidential glass ceiling

EU challenges and opportunities with LatAm

Latin America ponders role of the renminbi

Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Peru shoppers, most promising for retail expansion

New South American exchange opens with uncertainty

Visit of EC Vice-President Tajani to Chile, Argentina and Brazil

UPS expands Latin American capacity

UN chief starts tour of four Latin American nations

Rainforest Leaders to Sign Sustainability Action Plan in 2012

Latin America’s Glossed Decade  

Central America losing war on crime (commentary)

Argentina

(Photo: NASA, A cloud of ash billows from the erupting Puyehue volcano in southern Chile)Flights resume tonight in Argentina from Aeroparque, Ezeiza airports after Chile Volcano eruption

Argentine satellite launches to monitor ocean saltiness from US base

Yum! Brands looks to Argentina for expansion

Israel and Argentina 'most engaged' on Facebook

Argentina's Film `COLD SWEAT’ Will Dynamite U.S. This Fall

Argentinean doctors claim they have cloned the world’s first cow capable of producing human breast milk

Argentinean Air Force launches new UFO commission

Belize

University of Belize Makes History, Offers First Masters Degree

(Photo: ZUMA Press)Destination of the week: Belize

Overturning the Belize Constitution (commentary)

Bolivia

Bolivia switches on modified foods ban

Bolivia asks Iranian official to leave country after Argentine complaint

Bolivia to strengthen ties with Peru's new government

Swapping sugar cane fields for school in Bolivia

Bolivia's stunning salt flats

(Photo: Bolivia's `Bus-train', JALOPNIK)Take a scenic ride in Bolivia’s bizarre Mercedes bus-train

Brazil

Amazon Deforestation Increases Alarming

Brazil to fight drugs with drones

Italy recalls ambassador to Brazil

Brazil is improving on human rights (Commentary)

Rio's Favela Tours: Helpful or Just an Exercise in Voyeurism? (Commentary)  

Canada

Ensure measles shots up to date, health officials urge, as Quebec cases top 300

Vancouver still leads country in reported gay bashings

The Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - a tremendous success (Blog)

Chile

Chinese VP Xi visits 'gateway to Latin America'

(Photo: The Nilahue River, Chile. EPA)Chilean volcanic eruption turns waterway into a steaming torrent

Protest at world’s largest underground copper mine in Chile, drags on (Blog)

(Photo: Lollapalooza, Santiago Chile 4/3/11. Jane's Addiction. Credit: Jeremiah Alexis)Lollapalooza Evolution

Colombia

Ban Ki-Moon arrives in Colombia

Colombian gunman kills victims' rights campaigner

Land and Victims Law Crucial for Millions of Displaced Farmers in Colombia

Costa Rica

Energy expert: Costa Rica needs to define path

(Photo: Containers of Hope. Benjamin Garcia Saxe. INHABIT) Containers of Hope: Cool Costa Rican Shipping Container House Only Costs $40,000

A fair deal for Costa Rica’s indigenous artisans

Ecuador

Ecuador: Correa’s Economic Legacy

Germany's Withdrawal of Funding Threatens Plan to Save Ecuador Forest

The UN Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Ecuador's 17 year battle against Chevron

Ecuador's vice president to head country’s Special Olympic delegation

El Salvador

Journalist Slain in El Salvador

El Salvador Investigates Mysterious Deaths of Sea Turtles

OAS and El Salvador Work together for a Greener General Assembly

Canada to Give $1 Million to El Salvador to fight crime, human trafficking (blog)

Falkland Islands

(Photo: Gilbert House, Falkland Islands Legislative building. MERCOPRESS)Falklands tells OAS sovereignty is “non negotiable”, but seek “neighbourly relations” with Argentina

Obama Administration Votes Against England, Supporting Argentine-Backed Resolution on the Falkland Islands (commentary)

French Guiana

Astra 1N readies for a July 1 liftoff in French Guiana

Guatemala

Future Interoceanic Corridor in Guatemala Will Rival Panama Canal

Guyana

President Jagdeo named first Goodwill Ambassador for global tropical forest

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission is advocating the marketing of non- traditional minerals

Land is the most valuable asset a person can have (commentary)

Honduras

'Up in Smoke' Chronicles Slash and Burn Agriculture in Honduras

Zelaya returns to Honduras

Honduras Levies Security Tax to Pay for Prison

Spain to aid Honduras on basic education

Honduras Readmitted to OAS (commentary)

Mexico

Bank of Mexico Gov. Agustin Carstens Remains on IMF Chief Short List

(Photo: US Mexico Ambassador Nominee, Earl Anthony Wayne, Foreign Policy) Obama nominates new ambassador to Mexico

Mexico tourism chief blasts 'ludicrous' travel warnings

Twitter Saves Lives in Mexico (blog)

Nicaragua

Nicaragua to begin cotton production

Nicaragua, Honduras Restore Bilateral Trade

Nicaragua, Ecuador Condemns U.S. Threats against Venezuela at OAS

Solidarity Plan with Cuba Approved in Nicaragua

Panama

More than 60,000 Children Work in Panama

Panama’s “litter pigs” get tongue lashing from Mayor Bosco

Dam construction threatens Ngöbe

Citizens’ groups fight on as government steams ahead with Cinta Costera

Paraguay

Under UN pressure, Paraguay agrees to ‘open debate’ on abortion issue

Indigenous still marginalized 200 years later (commentary)

Paraguayan Senate approves Unasur charter; new Venezuela Mercosur bid

Peru

Humala: 'Peru's economy is rock solid'

Peru’s Humala Visits Brazil To Meet With Rousseff; Looks To Distance Himself From Chávez

(Photo: Lima skyline. Peru is expected to grow by 6.9% this year. LivinginPeru.com) World Bank says that Peru will be star performer in South America

Suriname

Significant mining pollution in Suriname

Heavy rain triples price of some Suriname vegetables

Suriname soccer chief describes alleged bribery attempt

Suriname not giving up claim to New River – Bouterse

United States

Mexicans protest against Alabama's new anti-illegal immigration law

Cancer patients struggle as drug costs soar

Endless 'war on (some) drugs' fills our prisons, wrecks lives and wounds society (commentary)

Uruguay

Hundreds of Dead Penguins Wash Up on Uruguay Shore

(Photo: Uruguay President Jose Mujica received Vice President Xi Jinping of China. MERCOPRESS)China and Uruguay sign 17 cooperation accords and 530m USD trade package

Uruguay: A Bitter Lesson in Forgiving (analysis)

Venezuela

Venezuela ranks sixth in Gallup wellbeing survey

Venezuela-Iran ties go beyond the oil issue

Venezuelan government to borrow additional USD 10.5 billion

Venezuela’s Chavez and Senior Officials in Cuba for Talks (Commentary)

Sunday
Jun202010

World Refugee Day - (VIDEO REPORT) UN warns that many displaced are unable to return home

The video story below of Somalian refugees fleeing to Dadaab, Kenya is but one example of the work UNHCR is doing and the condition many refugees from around the world live in today.

(HN, June 20, 2010) -- Today marks the 10th year that World Refugee Day will be recognized around the globe. From June 18 to 20 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commemorates World Refugee Day encouraging people from around the globe to host events in order to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees worldwide who are forced to flee their homes.

In 2000 The United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 55/76 decided that from 2001, June 20 would be celebrated as World Refugee Day. UNHCR was originally established in 1950, to help an estimated 1 million Europeans uprooted as a result of World War II to return home. In the 1960’s, the decolonization of Africa produced the beginning of the continent’s many refugee crises. New waves of refugees emerged in the following decades as a result of displacement issues arising in Asia and Latin America, continuing in Africa and turning full circle, at the end of the century, in Europe from the series of wars in the Balkans.

Today the refugees of concern to the UNHCR span the globe. More than half are in Asia and another twenty-two percent in Africa. Latin American countries host hundreds of thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons (IDP’s); most come from Colombia. In the Middle East there are an estimated 1.8 million Iraqi’s seeking shelter overseas – while the largest number of refugees are from Palestinian territories with an estimated 4.7 million seeking a home. In Eastern Europe, statelessness, particularly as a result of the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, remains an issue of concern throughout the region. The precise number of people who are fleeing their homes in Eastern Europe is not known - but may be as high as 120,000 - as UNHCR is only beginning to quantify the problem. 

Refugees live in a wide variety of conditions, from well-established camps and centers to makeshift shelters to living in the open. The United Nations Refugee Agency operates in 110 countries, this year, has a record annual budget of $3.058 billion (U.S.) for 2010 in order to help an estimated 40 million people return to their home of origin, integrate locally or resettle in a third country.

Among the longest-standing refugee camps are the ones located in the countries adjacent to the Palestinian Territories - Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. There is now an entire generation of young people who know no life outside the walls of a refugee camp. In some of the countries, the refugees are banned from working and their children have limited access to services.

The latest wave of refugees to become part of UNHCR's case load are the more than 100,000 refugees that have fled Kyrgyzstan because of ethnic violence.

So heavy is the strain on UNHCR's resources that the Geneva-based agency suffers from a chronic shortage of donor funds.

On World Refugee Day, Seeking a Place to call "Home" (VIDEO REPORT)  

(UN News) -- The United Nations is marking World Refugee Day by urging governments and individuals not to forget the 15 million men, women and children who have been uprooted by conflict or persecution and are unable to return to their homes.

The theme for this year’s observance on 20 June is “Home,” and highlights the need to ensure that all refugees can have a place to call home, whether they return to their places of origin, settle in host countries or re-settle in a third country.

“Refugees have been deprived of their homes, but they must not be deprived of their futures,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to mark the Day, calling for working with host Governments to deliver services, and intensifying efforts to resolve conflicts so that refugees can return home.

A recent report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted a decline in the number of refugees who are able to go home. In 2005, more than a million people returned to their own country on a voluntary basis.

Last year, only 250,000 did so – the lowest number in two decades. The reasons for this include prolonged instability in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and southern Sudan.

“Despite the decline in voluntary repatriation opportunities for refugees, UNHCR is working hard on solutions,” High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in his message.

Mr. Guterres is marking the Day in Syria, which, according to Government estimates, hosts over 1 million refugees, the majority from Iraq. It was announced today that 100,000 Iraqi refugees have been referred for resettlement from the Middle East to third countries since 2007, a major milestone for one of the world’s largest refugee populations.

He stressed the need to find solutions to help ensure that refugees have a place to call home, to do more to combat misunderstandings about refugees, and to provide education and other skills training so that even if they do not have homes they can still have a future.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and award-winning actress Angelina Jolie is in Ecuador, where she is highlighting the challenges facing refugees.

“Having a home, a place where we belong, a place where we feel safe is something most of us take for granted,” she said on the occasion of World Refugee Day. “Yet those who flee from conflict and persecution no longer have their homes, and it will be years before they can even return. In fact, many may never go home again.”

There are around 51,000 registered Colombian refugees in Ecuador, but UNHCR estimates that about 135,000 people are in need of international protection. This makes Ecuador the country with the largest refugee population in Latin America.

Mr. Guterres and Ms. Jolie are taking part today, along with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a live video link – “WRD Live” – which will connect with Washington DC, Malaysia, Syria, northern Ecuador and DRC to talk to refugees about their experiences.

For the first time, the 79-year-old Empire State Building in New York will be lit blue on 20 June to honour the world’s refugees. Other global landmarks that will turn blue include the ancient Coliseum in Rome and – also for the first time – the bridge across the Ibar River in the divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica.

World Refugee Day activities also include film screenings, photography exhibitions, food bazaars, fashion shows, concerts and sports contests across countries in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas and Africa.

Source: UN News, UNHCR, staff files

Wednesday
Apr282010

As Killings of Journalists Rise, More Local Reporters Targeted

(HN, April 28, 2010) - Most deaths of journalists are now among locals covering sensitive stories such as high-level crime and corruption for national media.

The finding was announced on the eve of World Press Freedom Day by the Geneva-based International News Safety Institute (INSI). It said that so far this year, at least 42 journalists have been killed worldwide - with April the bloodiest month fort media in five years, with 17 journalists killed.

With a journalist being killed every 1.5 days in April, INSI said today the numbers have reached "shocking new levels."

Said INSI Director Rodney Pinder: "Freedom shrieks whenever a journalist is kiled for doing their job."

But it is local journalists that are bearing the brunt of the violence against media representatives. So far this year, seven journalists have been killed in Honduras, six in Mexico, and four in Pakistan. Three died in Colombia and Nigeria and one each in Nepal, Venezuela, Cyprus, Russia, Ecuador and Turkey.

The latest targeted killing of a journalist occurred April 25 in Lagos, Nigeria. Edo Sule Ugbagwu, 42, a senior judiciary correspondent working for The Nation newspaper, was shot in his dwelling. His gruesome death occurred just a year after the killing of another Nigerian journalist, Bayo Ohu, assistant Politics Editor of the Lagos-based Guardian Newspaper.

It is not clear whether fewer foreign correspondents are being targeted due to the decline of foreign news coverage by major western news organizations.

On May 3 - World Press Freedom Day - INSI is calling for a minute silence in newsrooms around the world.

Staff, agencies, INSI