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Thursday:  November 20, 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 Laos (17)

Thursday
Nov082012

World leaders praise Julia Gillard's sexism speech at ASEM - (REPORT) 

(Video ABCNEWS Australia)

(HN, November 8, 2012) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s now famous misogyny speech in parliament last month is still creating waves abroad, with the prime minister congratulated by other world leaders during an international summit.

Ms. Gillard says French President Francois Hollande and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, among other leaders, approached her at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Laos to commend the speech, in which she branded Opposition Leader Tony Abbott a misogynist.

The prime minister’s fiery 15-minute address to the Australian parliament early last month went viral worldwide, making news headlines and dominating social media.

“The president of France congratulated me on the speech, as did the prime minister of Denmark, and some other leaders, just casually as I’ve moved around, have also mentioned it to me,” Ms. Gillard told ABC radio on Wednesday.

Video of Ms Gillard’s outburst was watched more than 300,000 times on YouTube in just one day, and it made headlines in the US, India, Canada, UK and South Africa.

On one prominent American website, Jezebel, Ms. Gillard was described as a “badass motherf****r”.

Interviewed for the latest edition of Marie Claire magazine, the prime minister said her office had been besieged with emails and phone calls after the speech went viral on the internet.

“I’m taking it all with a bit of a wry smile,” she said.

“I’m certainly taking `badass’ as a compliment. I think that’s how it was meant.”

Ms. Gillard said she had heard that a Melbourne all-girls school had watched the speech during a class and “spontaneously broke into cheers and applause at the end of it”.

“So that touched me,” she said.

Ms. Gillard said what motivated her to make the speech was the “double standards and the lecturing” from Mr. Abbott.

-- This article first appeared on the Australian Times website via the AAP.

Tuesday
Apr032012

The World’s Happiest Countries (REPORT) 

(Happy Face/The Joy Project)(HN, 4/3/12) - On Monday, representatives at the UN took a day off from discussing the crisis and conflict engulfing the globe to talk about something totally different: how to be happy.

Holding a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly hosted by the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan - long ranked as the `Happiest Country on the Planet' - the world body looked at ways to put happiness on the global agenda at their gathering "Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm".

In partnership with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the government in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu may just have a thing or two to teach our world leaders.

The first-ever World Happiness Report, is based on Gallup World Polls over a period of 2005-2011, with respondents aged 15 or in more than 150 countries asked to evaluate the quality of their lives on an 11-point ladder scale running from 0 to 10 - with the bottom rung of the ladder (0) being the worst possible life for them and 10 being the best possible.

The report generally shows that the world’s happiest countries are all in northern Europe -- Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands took the top four spots, in that order.  Canada came in fifth, well ahead of the United States at eleventh place. The least happy countries at the bottom of the list were Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Benin and Togo.

In advanced countries, women are happier than men, while the position in poorer countries is mixed. Happiness is lowest in middle age.

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, initiated the idea of an alternate model to Gross NationalProduct as a measurement of national progress in the 1970's and the country has famously adopted the goal of gross national happiness over gross national product (GNP). 

The 800,000-person kingdom - where the per capita income is an estimated $670 - has become the center of development economics these days as Western policymakers seeking knowledge on national happiness in the globalized world look to Bhutan for answers.

Indeed the debate is growing over how to best measure the progress of countries beyond monetary valuations; and the `Happiness Quotient' ranks high in terms of quality of life.

According to the report - co-authored by economists Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute, Richard Layard of the London School of Economics, and John Helliwell of the Economics Department of the University of British Columbia - on average, the world has become a little happier over the last 30 years; tho the rise in economic living standards has not always had a direct impact on happiness. 

(PHOTO: lovehkfilms) True - overall the happiest countries in the world are all in Northern Europe while the least happy countries are all in Sub-Saharan Africa; but it's not just wealth that makes people happy: political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption are far more important than income in explaining well-being differences between the top and bottom countries, according to the report.

The survey reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness and more lack of misery as criteria for government and public policy making.  It also reviews the state of happiness in the world today and shows how the new science of happiness explains personal and national status.

On a more personal level, the researchers argue that good mental and physical health, someone to count on, job security and stable families are all crucial to self-happiness.

UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon at the High-Level meeting said "I commend the Government of Bhutan for initiating this important debate on the link between happiness, well-being and prosperity."

He commented that he had received a final report recently of the Global Sustainability Panel, in preparation for the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit citing the 56 recommendations of the panel and the importance of establishing a `Sustainable Development Index', or a set of indicators to measure progress towards sustainable development, including happiness and well-being.

Ban ki-Moon noted that such thinking dates back to the earliest times, and can be found, for example, in the teachings of the Buddha and Aristotle. More recently, measuring success by wealth alone has been questioned in the groundbreaking Brundtland Report of 1987, the Human Development Index and the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, established by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

"We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development.  Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible.  Together they define gross global happiness," said the UN Secretary General. 

He called upon government ministers, policymakers, business and civil society leaders, and young people - to work together to transform our economies, to place our societies on a more just and equitable footing, and to protect the resources and ecosystems on which our shared future depends.

Connecting the dots between these issues - between water, food and energy security, climate change, urbanization, poverty, inequality and the empowerment of the world’s women - lies at the heart of sustainable development and he said, "The outcome from Rio+20 should reflect this". 

Countries in order of their `Happiness Factor' according to the report are in this order:

Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, US, Costa Rica, Austria, Israel, Belgium, Luxembourg, UAE, UK, Venezuela, Iceland, Panama, Spain, France, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico, Italy, Kuwait, Germany, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Singapore, Belize, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina, Jamaica, Colombia, Greece, Chile, Japan, Guyana, Taiwan, Malta, El Salvador, Slovenia, Uruguay, Malaysia, Thailand, Poland, Jordan, Slovakia, South Korea, Bolivia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Bahrain, Belarus, Honduras, Mauritius, Vietnam, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Kosovo, Cuba, Paraguay, Algeria, Estonia, Portugal, Myanmar, Moldova, Russia, Peru, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Romania, Libya, Laos, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Montenegro, Tunisia, Albania, Nicaragua, South Africa, Ukraine, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, India, Djibouti, Hungary, Namibia, Iraq, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Nigeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Morocco, Latvia, Syria, Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique, Somaliland, China, Mauritania, Malawi, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Serbia, Mongolia, Palestinian Territory, Nepal, Armenia, Yemen, Sudan, Senegal, Cameroon, Macedonia, Uganda, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Angola, Guinea, Niger, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Liberia, Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Georgia, Bulgaria, Congo, Tanzania, Haiti, Comoros, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Benin, Togo.

- HUMNEWS

Friday
Mar302012

Asia pollution problem, drugs, economy on ASEAN Summit agenda (REPORT) 

(PHOTO: Haze over Bangkok at sunset/Flixya, Yumandible) (HN, March 31, 2012) - Thailand will raise haze that blanketed its northern region and its neighboring countries as an agenda concern for leaders to deal with at the 20th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia next week, April 3-4, according to Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia, whose chairmanship was handed over from Indonesia last year, is for the first time hosting the ASEAN summit and related meetings from today through Wednesday (March 30-April 4). The summit marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the regional bloc.

Some countries, including the Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Indonesia, support Thailand's initiative and the ASEAN leaders may issue a joint statement for cooperation to solve the haze problem, an annual occurrence.

(MAP: ASEAN nations) ECONOMY MATTERS

In preparation for the high level leaders meeting, finance ministers from ASEAN nations wrapped up their 16th gathering with an agreement to intensify economic and financial cooperation for realizing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, said a joint statement released after the gathering.  

"The ASEAN finance ministers together with the troika of ASEAN central bank governors of Indonesia, Cambodia, and Brunei reaffirmed our commitment to maintain growth and development momentum and financial stability of the region in the face of difficult global challenges," said the statement.

It added the ministers exchanged views with the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund on policies to maintain stability in the current environment and called on them to continue to pursue innovative projects and assistance to better serve the needs of the ASEAN economies.

"We agreed to take all necessary actions to sustain growth and preserve the stability of financial markets," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Keat Chhon said in a press briefing after the meeting.

(Video: Cambodia getting ready for ASEAN 2012/TeukTnotChou)

He said the ministers were also pleased that the ASEAN economies grew by 4.5 percent last year despite the heightened uncertainties in the global economy.   The ministers also agreed to continue intensifying efforts to build stronger integrated financial markets to achieve the ASEAN Economic Community.

Addressing the ASEAN economic situation at a meeting on Friday, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda said within ASEAN, Indonesia should continue robust growth on strong domestic demand, while Brunei will return to its trend growth thanks to high petroleum prices.   Thailand and the Philippines, both of which suffered a severe drop in exports toward the end of last year due to supply chain disruptions, are expected to show vibrant growth.

Vietnam continues to battle inflation, whilst Myanmar is expected to accelerate reforms, and Singapore, and to some extent Malaysia, will experience some slowdown, as they will be affected more by external conditions.

"But, importantly, we expect growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam--the so-called CLMV countries--to continue to outpace growth in middle-income ASEAN," he said. "All in all, despite a difficult external environment, we still expect ASEAN growth this year to remain robust at 5.2 percent."

ASIA DRUG FREE ZONE

Also on the Asian leaders agenda will be a declaration creating a drug-free zone among members in the next three years.  The 10 ASEAN leaders expect to endorse the declaration at their summit meeting next week. 

Arthayudh Srisamoot, director-general of Thailand's Foreign Ministry's ASEAN Affairs Department, said the government has pushed for the drug-free zone with member nations for some time, and was pleased to see the declaration finally come into being. The government regarded the zone as an important part of its campaign against drugs.

"ASEAN will try to give more cooperation and more coordination on drug policy as well as exchanging experiences among members," he said.

Cambodia will host the ASEAN Senior Officials meeting tomorrow and Saturday, a Foreign Ministerial Meeting on Sunday and Monday; the leaders' group meets Tuesday and Wednesday.  In June, Thailand will host a seminar on cross border management between ASEAN and Japan, South Korea and China (non ASEAN nations) to discuss rules and regulations for free flows of trade in the region.

The leaders are to praise Myanmar for making progress with political development after it invited ASEAN members and the media to observe its by-elections this weekend; hoping that open elections are the first step to more regional cooperation with this just emerging nation - including becoming a visa-free country for ASEAN citizens by 2015.

CHINA

Although not an ASEAN nation, China's presence is being heavily felt in Cambodia as President Hu Jintao arrived in the Phnom Penh capital Friday on a state visit to bolster ties between the already close nations, just days before the ASEAN meeting begins; and, having just left the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in New Delhi where leaders there called for the creation of a new global development bank  and where the attitude was described as `non-West, not anti-West'.

(MAP: The Philippine Sea is a marginal sea east & north of the Philippines/Wikipedia) Hu’s four-day trip is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Cambodia in 12 years and is timed to showcase Beijing’s close relationship with the current ASEAN chair, observers say. It is likely that the thorny issue of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is likely to resurface among South East Asia leaders as well, without China being represented at the summit.

-- HUMNEWS (c)

 

Related:          Thailand: pollution puts Chiang Mai off the tourist trail

Related:          Will ASEAN Tackle South China Sea?

Related:          ASEAN security experts meet in Cambodia to strengthen small weapon control

Tuesday
Jan172012

New Chair of ASEAN, Cambodia can reset the balance of Asia power (Perspective) 

By Kavi Chongkittavorn

(PHOTO: Cambodia, as the new ASEAN chair, will seek to consolidate the community of 600 million ASEAN citizens & increase the grouping's bargaining power with the world's major powers/THE NATION)

Ten years have elapsed since Cambodia chaired the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit for the first time, in 2002, three years after its admission. Now, Phnom Penh is more democratic and richer and has gained more experience in handling the ASEAN scheme of things. Indeed, the current host has the potential to reset the grouping's global standing and relations with all of its powerful dialogue partners. Undeniably, Cambodia would like to leave behind a tangible legacy under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen - the region's longest-reigning leader. It is not surprising that Cambodia has chosen a simple slogan of "One Community, One Destiny" - reflecting the nation's fundamental Buddhist values and new-found confidence. In short, at least for the time being, ASEAN's destiny is now in Cambodia's hand.

There are at least three areas in which Phnom Penh can take the lead.

First, as an emerging developing country, Cambodia can serve as a linchpin to narrow the development gap between the new and old ASEAN members. The country is in a good position to do so. During the past decade, Cambodia's economy has grown impressively at around 5 per cent per year. That helps to explain why it has now graduated from the list of the world's least-developing countries. The Cambodian leaders believe that more equitable development within ASEAN will strengthen its unity and prosperity. Truth be told, a development gap does not only exist between the old and new members but also among the former group. For instance, the per capita GDPs of Singapore and Brunei are many times higher than those of Indonesia or the Philippines.

Although Cambodia is the newest member of ASEAN - joining in 1999 - the country has enjoyed a special status within the group because of the nature of its political system and leadership - nobody can deny that it is the freest among the new ASEAN members. This unique position allows the once war-torn nation to play multiple roles in the regional and international arenas.

Just take a look at present-day Cambodia and its cosmopolitan capital city, with its heavy presence of foreign investors and thriving business community. Cambodia, the UN and other international organisations have been working closely together to build up this nation since the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991. Indeed, its international profile has been the envy of ASEAN members. For instance, it is the only ASEAN member that has signed all important human-rights instruments. Next year, it will bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the first time. At the end of December, Hun Sen delayed for another two years the adoption of a highly controversial law to regulate the operation of civil society organisations based in Cambodia. It was a wise move to mitigate any possible criticism in the future. The host is also contemplating holding a forum to allow interfacing between ASEAN leaders and representatives of non-governmental organisations ahead of the summit in early April.

The second challenge is to ensure that ASEAN will not become a pawn in the major powers' competition. With pro-active multilateral diplomacy and a long tradition of strict neutrality since independence, Phnom Penh will not shy away from engaging the grouping's dialogue partners, especially the US and China, to harness their economic power as well as manage their relations with ASEAN. The outcome of the East Asia Summit in Bali last November showed that ASEAN needs to stay ahead of the curve and further consolidate its common positions, which are extremely limited. As the ongoing Thai-Cambodian conflict and disputes in the South China Sea will continue to dominate the ASEAN agenda one way or another, Cambodia's past diplomatic finesse and brinksmanship could come in handy in keeping ASEAN together.

Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong are considered highly seasoned diplomats, each with three decades of experience, who understand the regional pulse like the backs of their hands. The two want to see ASEAN play a mediating role in the six-party talks aimed at resolving problems relating to North Korea's nuclear weapons programme since all concerned countries are members of the ASEAN Regional Forum. In the past, ASEAN tried to play such role but was not successful. At the Bali summit, South and North Korean foreign ministers met and agreed on the resumption of six-party talks. With the new leadership in North Korea, the ASEAN chair wants to explore this prospect again. Phnom Penh has longstanding and good relations with Pyongyang. Former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung built a residence for retired Cambodian King Sihanouk to live in during his exile. His son, King Norodom Sihamoni, has a contingent of security guards trained by North Korea.

As the ASEAN chair, Cambodia hopes to get all five members of the so-called "nuclear club" - the US, China, Russia, the UK and France - to sign the protocol of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone this year. ASEAN wants a commitment that the five would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the group's members. China was the first nuclear power to express interest in signing the protocol in 2005. But ASEAN would prefer all five to sign at the same time.

Another important mission is to encourage China and ASEAN to conclude a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible. Senior ASEAN officials met and discussed the terms of reference last year among themselves, ignoring China's request to sit in on the meeting. Last week, senior officials from China and ASEAN held discussions in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, after months of delay, to exchange views on how to proceed with the proposed joint projects stated in the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. At the meeting, Beijing was more conciliatory, while the ASEAN claimants, especially the Philippines, played tough.

The third area of importance regards the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI). Cambodia would certainly like to promote multifaceted cooperation within this framework. That would also mean boosting its ties with the US. During the past three years, the countries have ramped up their relations, including the security dimension. Since there are many ongoing hydroelectric projects along the Mekong River, cooperation concerning water management and conservation as well as better governance will be highlighted. The degree to which the lower riparian countries (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) can cooperate with the US will impact on the upper riparian countries in the long haul. Last November, the US invited Burma to join the LMI as part of the US-Burma normalisation process.

In the final analysis, the current chair must do its utmost to convince the leaders of non-ASEAN countries that their participation in all ASEAN-led meetings or summits are important and beneficial to all. Uncertainties abound at this juncture on whether the invited leaders would be able to make their way to Phnom Penh. For instance, despite Washington's strong commitment to ASEAN and the East Asia Summit, it is not clear who will represent the US at the upcoming EAS summit later this year. Similar anxieties also persist in the cases of China and Russia, which will pick new leaders.

Can Cambodia build on the success of the Indonesian chair in raising the profile of ASEAN and consolidating ASEAN in the global community? It will not be long until we find out.

- Kavi Chongkittavorn is assistant group editor of Nation Multimedia Group – publisher of the English-language daily, The Nation, in Thailand. He has been a journalist for over two decades reporting on issues related to human rights, democracy and regionalism. This piece ran in the Nation on 1/16/12.

Wednesday
Jan112012

THE HUM - WORLD HEADLINES - JANUARY 11, 2012

(PHOTO: Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander; Princess Maxima of the Netherlands visit the Sheikh Al Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 8 January 2012. Patrick van Katwijk) Afghanistan 

A rare sign of hope in Afghanistan

Afghanistan signs oil contract with Chinese giant

Antigua & Barbuda 

Lovell Says No Early Elections

Argentina 

Little relief in sight for Argentina due to climate

American Samoa 

Hospital woes top American Samoa legislature agenda

Australia

Council struggles to lure more doctors-town's only doctor threatens to leave

Reports of doctors blaming Australian women's behaviour for rupturing breast implants

Bahrain 

Bahrain Court Cases Resume For Doctors, Anti-Government Protesters

(PHOTO: In Venezuela a jail riot leaves 5 people dead. EPA)Belarus

Belarus Erects New Online Barriers

Belarusian Activist, Journalist Jailed

Belgium

Belgium Satellite Services and Intersat Announce Strategic Tie-in to Expand into the Middle East and Africa (Press Release)

Belize

Wholesale vendors get their own market

Bolivia

More than 85% of Bolivia's bilateral debt is held by Venezuela

Indigenous People in Bolivia Resume March for Tipnis

Bosnia-Herzegovinia

Witness in Karadzic trial describes killing of 1,000 Muslims

(PHOTO: Islam and Christianity - Young Muslims, many from Somalia, walk the streets of Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood near the meeting place of a Church of Christ. ERIK TRYGGESTAD)Botswana

'Loop' usage by women explodes - Ministry of Health

Brazil

Southern Brazil's Drought Dings Corn, Threatens Beans

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Prince on official visit to Sinpagore 

Cameroon

Cameroonians returning to Nature’s packaging

Canada

Canada welcomes Cuban reforms on eve of tour by Harper's Latin America minister

Under 16 too young for snowmobiles, doctors say (Video)

China

China, US to Discuss Iran, Trade Imbalance

China's Wen to visit key Mideast energy powers, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates & Qatar this weekend

How the West is wholly missing China's geopolitical focus (Perspective)

Colombia

Bolivian crowned Colombia's new Coffee Queen

Congo (DRC)

(PHOTO: The three-part documentary “Fleeing Carthage” recounts the dramatic moments that led to the ouster of former Tunisian president Zine El Abedine Ben Ali. AL ARABIYA) Jillian Michaels: I’ve Been Matched with a Little Girl

Croatia

Croatia gets third biggest private hospital in Europe

Cuba

Fidel Castro’s Reflections: The Best President For The United States (Is a Quantum Computing Robot)

US satisfied with Cuban oil platform safety in Gulf of Mexico  

Ten years of Guantanamo - and no end in sight (Perspective)

Cyprus

Doctors in court for Legionnaires’ baby deaths

Dominican Republic

Haiti president prioritizes balance in Hispaniola 

Egypt

Egypt presents food and logistic assistance to Djibouti

El Salvador

Election Campaign Starts in El Salvador

UN investigator who revealed Iran's "Baha'i Question" memorandum dies aged 93

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea President Makes Visit To Zimbabwe

(PHOTO: Fidel Castro offers his idea of a US Presidential pick. GIZMODO) Estonia

Estonia Foreign Minister to Visit Tajikistan

Ethiopia

Diageo buys Ethiopian brewer Meta Abo for £146m

Falkland Islands

Malvinas recovery for Argentina must become a “Chilean cause”, says former minister

Fiji

Russia’s Lavrov expected in Fiji next month

Extra hours for doctors

Finland

Putting foreign doctors to work (Perspective)

Germany

Hospital doctors ready to strike for better pay

Grenada

Grenada "days away" from national strike

Grenada PM among attendees at Toronto man's funeral

Guatemala

Guatemalans' STD lawsuit invalid, U.S. argue

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau opposition reject interim president 

Haiti

President Declares January 12th 2012 National Holiday

India

(PHOTO: Polar Bear Clubs in Uzbekistan shut down. RFE) Sailors back home after 11 months in captivity

U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India

Thailand PM to be India's chief guest at Republic day parade 

Three fake doctors arrested

Over 350 doctors attend medical meet

Kore wins at Chennai Open chess to join leaders

Indonesia

Doctors turn away bird flu victim

Third Man Dies From Bird Flu in Indonesia

(PHOTO: In Indonesia, Xia Aimei’ tells the story of a Chinese girl’s escape from sexual slavery in Jakarta. Falcon Pictures) Jakarta’s Dark Underbelly, Through Foreign Eyes (Film)

Iran

Iranian nuke scientist killed by magnetic bomb

163 Iranian nationals held in Thailand’s prisons

Iraq

Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege (Video)  

Ireland

Minister for Children travels to Vietnam for adoption talks

System of recruiting foreign doctors defended

Irish Minister in UAE business talks

Israel

Israel, Cyprus sign defense agreements - reports

Ivory Coast

France 24:  First-ever video proof documenting murder of suspected Gbagbo militants (Video)

Japan

First Korean member in Japan's Cabinet

Bulk of tsunami debris from Japan expected in 2013; multiple fields of wreckage reported in Pacific Ocean 

Kenya

Al Shabaab sold Doctors Without Borders hostages to pirates?

Fear and faith: As Kenya battles terrorists, church looks to take the Gospel to its increasingly Muslim neighborhood

(PHOTO: In Nairobi, he African Heritage House overlooking the great, still plain of Nairobi National Park, is both a trove of a continent’s aesthetic richness & a mausoleum of its extinct wonders. KUWAIT TIMES)Keeper of Africa’s lost art

Kosovo

Women in Politics, Women in Public Service: Kosovo has the youngest female President in the world

Kuwait

Kuwaiti Amir Receives Letter from Tunisian President

Kuwait’s students to solve world’s problems using Microsoft technology

Kyrgyzstan

Turkey first official trip abroad for Kyrgyz leader

Human right defender Azimzhan Askarov goes on termless hunger strike in Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Lao leader urges stronger relations with Vietnam

Laos upgrades golf course to economic zone  

Liberia

$24.9 Million IFAD Loan to Liberia to Revitalize Cocoa and Coffee Production Sectors

China Promises More Support for Educational Sector

(PHOTO: In Pakistan, Bill Gates offers to help with Microsoft prodigy's healthcare costs. MICROSOFT) Libya

Zambia reneges on Libya’s LAP Green Network deal

Madagascar

Madagascar: the challenge of child-friendly schools

Malawi

Malawi judicial strike shuts down courts

Shake-up at Reserve Bank of Malawi

Malaysia

Kazakhstan Keen On More Trade With Malaysia In Promising Sectors

Mexico

Guatemalan refugees cleared out of camp in Mexico, NGOs say

Mongolia

Mongolian music conquers the world 

Morocco

Maroc Telecom begins Morocco-Spain cable laying

Namibia

Namibia Lose Legal Battle to Oust Burkina Faso from Africa Cup of Nations

New Zealand

Machine turns doctors into surgeons

Doctors face tighter rules in bid for recertification

(PHOTO: Iconic photo taken June 8, 1972, shows Kim Phuc, running down a road near Trang Bang after a South Vietnamese Air Force napalm attack. Phuc will be at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California 1/19. Nick Ut/AP)Nicaragua

Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega begins new presidential term

Ahmadinejad travels to Nicaragua after defending Iran’s nuclear program in Venezuela

Nigeria

Finding Solution to Clashes Between Herdsmen and Farmers

Doctors take medicare to protest ground in Lagos

Pakistan

Dr. Jamal’s killing in Peshawar:  Provincial Doctors Association protest enters second of three day strike

Doctors trying their best to save Pakistani Microsoft child prodigy

Bill Gates offers to bear Aarifa’s medical expenses in US

Ready to rule Pakistan again: Pervez Musharraf (Video)  

Peru

Peru fire leaves hundreds homeless (Video)

Philippines

'It's not fun in Switzerland' (or why new Philippines DOT slogan works)

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico governor approves proposed referendum on cutting size of island legislature

(PHOTO: Rahul Puranic, Indian crew member of hijacked Italian oil tanker Savina Caylyn is greeted by his 4 yr-old daughter & wife on his arrival at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Tuesday. Vivek Bendre)Qatar

Royal Princess of Thailand tours Qatar Foundation

Russia

Venezuela: Country of Great social missions (Perspective)

Rwanda

“We Are At a Critical Moment in our Economy” says private sector

Samoa

Samoa and the question of Tokelau 

Saudi Arabia

Turkey: 6-year Ban Lifted On Exports Of Poultry Products To Saudi Arabia

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone set to deregulate international telecom gateway

Rebranding Sierra Leone: The Nation’s Saving Grace

Somalia

TV journalist held without charge in Somaliland

South Africa

Giant Footprint of God Video

Suriname

Suriname President Mr Bouterse wrong choice for Caricom chairman (Perspective)

Swaziland

Lack of bandwidth causes problems for MTN 3G network

Over 34,000 Swazi men circumcised

HIV+patients in a dilemma

Woman accused of poisoning in-laws

Switzerland

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is in Geneva, Switzerland Today for a Fundraiser

Occupy the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (Perspective)

Syria

United States awaits new draft resolution on Syria from Russia at UN

(PHOTO: Syrian Art Exhibition showcasing art from the uprising opens at the British Museum) British Museum showcases Syrian artists’ take on art, politics and brutality

Observing the Observers (Perspective)

Taiwan

Nuclear power a key issue for Taiwan polls

Taiwan needs to step up electoral reforms: foreign observers

Young Taiwan Voters Concerned about Economy (Video)

Beijing takes Taiwan off watch list after food scare

Taiwan's investment environment 3rd in world: BERI

Snarky Tofu Rob Schneider Love’s Taiwan

Joseph Ambro

Tajikistan

Uzbekistan Cuts Gas Supplies to Tajikistan

Tajikistan Considers Iran as Strategic Partner

Tanzania

Rural telecom market holds the key to growth in Tanzania

48 Tanzanian Microfinance Institutions Adopt Code of Conduct

Regional Commissioner underlines Dar, Beijing bilateral ties

Iran, Tanzania sign cultural cooperation agreement

(PHOTO: Funny man US Comedian Rob Schneiders stumps for Taiwan. Joseph Ambro)Thailand

Thailand's 32 provinces declared cold disaster zones, say officials

Active year ahead for Thai bonds

Chinese brewers Tsingtao to open plant in Thailand

The Netherlands

Khat banned in the Netherlands

Togo

Fuel crisis in Togo?

Tobacco taxes up in Togo

Tokelau

Phishing economy: Why tiny Tokelau is 3rd largest country domain

Tonga

Tonga's king blocks arms amendment act

Tonga police seek three men over armed robbery

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made More Than Twitter Last Year and tied the GDP for Tonga

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago PM to visit Kolkata

Tunisia 

Another Tunisian dies of self-immolation in employment protest, 1 year after Ben Ali ouster after a fruit-seller's self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring 

Prime Minister's New Media Appointments Cause Controversy

Tunisia - FM meets German counterpart

Tunisia joins UN Democracy Fund

(PHOTO: Tunisian singer Amani Al Suwaisi who was attacked in Tunisia. Albawaba)Singer Amani Al Suwaisi assaulted in the streets of Tunisia

Al Arabiya’s ‘Fleeing Carthage’ recounts last hours of former Tunisian regime

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Government Appoints Five New Permanent Secretaries

Turkey

Turkey angry after Danish court leaves Kurd TV on air

Imprisoned journalists publish own newspaper

Turkey vows to thwart Syrian civil war

Turkey will continue to impose its 8-point sanctions against France – Turkish PM 

Tunisian FM Abdessalam to visit Turkey 

Turkmenistan

Incumbent President Vows To Make Turkmenistan 'Industrial Power'

Turkmen Schoolteacher Says Presidential Candidacy Rejected

Empty TV broadcast centre

Tuvalu

As Tuvalu Readies for King Tide Season, a Swell is an Unwelcome Harbinger

Uganda

Uganda: Police Shut Down Three More Broadcast Stations

Ugandan journalist committed to High Court for treason

Officials Meet On Food Insecurity

Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) To Strike over Interest Rates

Uganda is left with fewer than 5000 doctors and no strategic plan to retain them

Male Organ Size: Homosexuality, Economy and Uganda's Domestic Relations Bill (Perspective)

Ukraine

Ukraine mulling revision of tariffs for some goods with WTO

Ukraine angered by Russia’s Onishchenko remarks over quality of produce

Expert: UAH 40-50Billion needed for development of agricultural market in 2012

(PHOTO: Chinese brewers Tsingtao to open plant in Thailand. TSINGTAO) Ukraine continues healthcare reform

Ukraine to start commercial production of shale gas by 2015

Implementation of innovative technologies starts in Ukrainian schools

United Arab Emirates

Dubai announces solar park for clean energy

UAE clarifies citizenship rules for children of naturalized Emiratis

UAE second top performing economy in Arab world

Emirates in expansion mode

UAE banks may refinance rather than repay debt

Queen Beatrix, princess Maxima put on headscarf for mosque visit

UAE: Dutch Queen Tours Jebel Ali Port

Man arrested with 5kg of crystal meth in hotel room

Parents urged to use car seats for children

Start-up hopes to help UAE businesses lost in translation

Used computers from Emirates Post to be refurbished for underprivileged

Abu Dhabi blasts rumours it is to axe UAE horror film

(PHOTO: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at Abu Dhabi, UAE. Mohan Padmanabhan THE HINDU)Taj of the Abu Dhabi — It doesn’t get grander than this

United Kingdom

New 101 police number rolled out

UK To Grant Scotland Binding Independence Vote

Scottish supermarkets should be banned from selling alcohol, says top doctor

UK Recommends Two Drink-Free Days Per Week

Study: UK Nurses Lack Compassion, Skills

Intel exploring ways to help Stephen Hawking speak

British Embassy in Vietnam hoists Olympic flag

Most U.K consumers go online to buy holiday gifts

UK's Two Main Political Parties Back GMOs And The US Agenda

Migration IS killing off jobs: 160,000 Britons have missed out on employment because work was taken by foreigners (Perspective)

United States

Iranian-American death sentence confirmed: US

Fannie Mae CEO to resign

Middle TN doctors, researchers, activists pursue the end of AIDS

US Seriously Concerned Over Tibetan Self-Immolations

US probes alleged hacking by India spy unit

(PHOTO: British Ambassador Antony Stokes & Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism Ho Anh Tuan at the flag hoisting ceremony in Vietnam. Vietnam Net) Hollywood's Tunisian Film Festival marks Arab Spring anniversary

University of Wyoming Offers Reduced Tuition to Tunisian Students

Social media and the US presidential race (VIDEO)

US firm KKR seeks to bond with Pacific Brands

A New Race of Mercy to Nome, This Time Without Sled Dogs

Uruguay

New Records Set by Heatwave in Uruguay

Uruguay Increases Minimum Wage Next Year

Uzbekistan

Uzbek Fun Police Shut Down Winter Swimming Club

Vanuatu

Vanuatu joins the World Trade Organization

Vanuatu sets up fish processing plant in joint venture with China

Vanuatu Government to establish new industrial zone

Concern over infant formula use in Vanuatu

(PHOTO: Transparency Vanuatu says payments based on aid funds should be made public. Phillip Capper]Spotlight on Vanuatu's ambassadors over aid deals

Vanuatu government profile

Vanuatu Roving Ambassadors Contract Leaked

Vanuatu women's soccer coaches learn the ropes

Vatican City

Vatican receives final report on US women religious lives 

Venezuela

Venezuela closes chapter on compensation to Exxon Mobil

5 dead in Venezuela jail riot

Vietnam

Vietnam prepares to better protect its S. China Sea claims

Vietnam police confiscate wild tiger carcass from Hanoi restaurant where it was being boiled

Vietnam women with massive tumors recover after surgeries 

Made in Vietnam wind towers face anti-dumping lawsuit

Vietnam's First Weapon Museum Opens To Public

Vietnam trial begins of teen accused of killing to play video games

Inside The Vietnam ETF (VNM) - Leveraged ETFs

City of Hanoi Selects Echelon and ElcomTek to Deploy Vietnam's First Smart City Street Light Control System

Vietnam Napalm Survivor Kim Phuc to Speak at Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, California

Western Sahara

US Congressional Action Spurs State Dept to Break Western Sahara Deadlock (Perspective)

Yemen

Yemen’s Government Approves Expanded Amnesty Deal for Saleh

Explosion stops output at small Yemen oil field

Yemen unearths Paleolithic sites

Institution Revolution Expanding in Yemen

Zambia

Zambia: Former Diplomat Calls on West to Engage Iran Through IAEA

State to open up airwaves for private investment

Cabinet to meet over Online publications

China buy vehicles for Zambia

U.S Calls for More Grant Applications

Africard arrives in Zambia #payments

MTN goes green in Zambia

Zimbabwe

India to offer Zimbabwe $100m credit

Zimbabwe teachers strike for more pay

(PHOTO: Infectious: More than 165 wild animals including 88 hippopotamuses have died amid an outbreak of anthrax in Zimbabwe. DAILY MAIL) Anthrax outbreak claims lives of more than 165 wild animals in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Utility Moves to Expand Pre-Paid Consumer Meter Program

Chinese have become unwelcome guests in Zimbabwe because of bad labour practices (Perspective)

WORLD:

Battle set for internet domain names

Meet the Heroic Women Who Sparked the Arab Spring 

UN Ratifies Zero Tolerance for Blue Helmets

Why Latin America Calls on Philosophers (Perspective)

At the Crossroads of Sustainability: A Conversation with Bill Ryerson

A Solar Solution for Africa’s Mobile Problem

SA assumes UN Security Council presidency; Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo start two-year terms on the council

(PHOTO: Meet the heroic women of the Arab Spring. PALESTINE NOTES)

Wednesday
Jan042012

THE HUM - WORLD HEADLINES - JANUARY 5, 2012

Afghanistan 

UN Helps Uzbekistan to Equip Border with Afghanistan

Argentina 

(PHOTO: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Mt Holyoke)Argentine president fine after thyroid cancer surgery

Saudia Arabia's buy 30,000 acres of prime land in Argentina

Australia 

The Melbourne filmmaker, the topless Ukrainian feminists and a brush with the KGB

Bahamas

Standing out from her peers

Bangladesh 

2 Bangladeshi workers die in UAE after falling from hotel  

Botswana 

Botswana nurses eye Namibian jobs

Bulgaria 

Bulgarian Nationalist Party Stops Newspaper, TV Station May Follow Suit

Cambodia 

Thailand, Cambodia agree to implement World Court border order

Chile

(PHOTO: Torres Del Paine, Patagonia. RANDOM FACT)Patagonian wilderness devastated as fire sweeps through Chile’s Torres del Paine

China 

In Chinese trading town, disputes and strains fuel mistrust of India

(PHOTO: China's Vertu `Year of the Dragon' edition phone. VERTU) Vertu's Year of the Dragon phone has roaring price

Christmas Island 

Detainees tell of Christmas Island punishment

Aussie PM Julia Gillard denies tough asylum seeker punishment move

Colombia 

Colombia receives $3.78B in remittances

Comoros

Comoros jails Muslim leader over booze bribe bid

Congo (DRC)

In DRC, Tshisekedi Asks for Protection, UN Tells Him Kabila Is In Change

In DRC, France’s RFI suspended over elections coverage

Congolese Plea for Conflict-Minerals-Free iPhone

Giving Congo's child soldiers a second chance

NBA Players Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Fan’s Look

Cook Islands 

Cook Islands fishing company fears Taiwan deal

(PHOTO: The Korgan Hotel in Yiwu in southern China, where two Indian traders were held in detention for two days. THE HINDU)Costa Rica 

100,000,000 Text Messages Sent During Holiday Season

British backpacker accused of murder in Costa Rica

Croatia 

Croatia prepares to join the world wine battle

Cuba

Cuban chess players well positioned in the global ranking

Nordic Brigade of Solidarity Visits Cuban Town

Cyprus

Turkey demands KKTC involvement in Cyprus talks

El Salvador

(PHOTO: Protestors arrest in El Salvador. PRENSA LATINA) Dozens of Demonstrators Arrested in El Salvador 

Ethiopia

The Film Oblivion: How Abduction for Marriage Ended in Ethiopia

New Ethiopian AIDS plan needs men (Perspective)

Falkland Islands

Argentina Ratifies Sovereignty Over Malvinas Islands

(PHOTO: Sappers Hill Corral, the large stone-walled corral, a Falklands’ landmark, remains behind minefield fences. MERCOPRESS)Falklands’ “land release” demining phase begins next week with 18 Zimbabweans

Fiji

UK calls for public dialogue on a new constitution for Fiji

France

French Foreign Minister to Visit Tunisia on January 5th

Gay Tunisian man fears being deported from France

Gaza and West Bank

Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh Visits Tunisia

Germany

IDB, Germany to continue to offer development aid to Yemen

Oxfam criticises production of bananas and German Supermarkets 

Guam

GTA TeleGuam Airs Top Asian Networks

Guatemala

Iran’s president adds Guatemala to his tour of four Latin American countries

Guyana

Rural Guyana should get top priority in the planning corridors of Georgetown (Perspective)

Haiti

(PHOTO: Haiti Ambassador Duly Brutus, today assumed the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council for the next 3 months (right), taking over from the Permanent Representative of Guyana, Ambassador Bayney Karran. OAS) Haiti Assumes Chair of OAS Permanent Council

Haiti: From Displacement Camps to Community (Perspective)

Honduras

Unusual heavy rains hit Honduras

Hungary

Hungary’s New Constitution Lacks Rights For Gays, Bans Gay Marriage

India

4-day meet in city to focus on Persian culture

India, Tunisia to take forward MSME co-operation

Hotels Beware of Mixed Olive Oil

Indian businessmen manual to be published in the UAE

“Security wise, we are dependent on Sri Lanka” – Indian External Affairs Minister

Indonesia

Indonesia enjoys relations with almost all UN member states: FM

Iran

Turkey's FM in Iran for talks on nukes, Syria

(PHOTO: A new report says all Italian olive oil, isn't. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH) Iran: Tractor exports up 154%

Ahmadinejad will travel to Tajikistan in Noruz (Persian New Year)

Iranian photographer wins top prize at Slovenian contest

Ireland

Fall in asylum seekers linked to recession and tougher controls

Italy

'Four out of five' bottles of Italian olive oil debased - report

Ivory Coast

Cote d'Ivoire president meets Chinese FM on bilateral ties

Jamaica

Jamaica's first female PM set for office

Japan

Japan and China still at odds over islands (Video)

Japan Fights Virus With Virus

Jordan

(PHOTO: In the UAE, Iran sanctions are impacting traders in marketplaces and souks. THE NATIONAL) Gov't to hold conference on online media regulation 

Kyrgyzstan

Ethnic Kyrgyz Have Trouble Gaining Citizenship In Kyrgyzstan

Laos

PTT increasing investment in green business

Lithuania

Lithuanian office suppliers shun crisis, spur eco-product sales

Macau

Home for Autistic want tertiary college

Malaysia

(PHOTO: Ukraine holidaymakers Sergei (right) extending his gratitude to a Fire & Rescue Services Department officer for the assistance provided as Tanya and Igor look on. THE BORNEO POST) Ukraine holidaymakers safe on shore after ‘little adventure’

Maldives

Government lifts week-long ban on resort spas, massage parlors

Malta

Malta signs bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia

Mauritania

Man of the Year 2011 in Mauritania

Emir of Qatar expected Thursday in Nouakchott  

Morocco

PJD leads new Moroccan government

Mozambique

Argentine institute to work with Mozambique’s agricultural sector

Myanmar

Burma Celebrates Independence Amid Criticism

Myanmar celebrates 65th independence day

Billionaire George Soros visits Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon

Namibia

Internet Fraud Cons the Country Out of N$3,5 Million

New Caledonia

New Caledonia government okays new air fares

(PHOTO: Ukraine asks for $9 bln gas discount from Russia to form joint transit consortium. RIA NOVOSTII)New Zealand

North Avocado growers face disaster (Perspective) 

Nicaragua

Nicaragua pursues loan with Venezuela to prevent higher electricity rates

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Archbishop of Abuja Dismisses Civil War Reports

Social Media Ginger Subsidy Protests

Norfolk Island

Air New Zealand to operate Norfolk Island flights

Norway

(PHOTO: The Black Sea © Flickr.com/Hans Dekker)Norway’s Statoil discovers one more oil field in North Sea

Pakistan

Pakistan-Tajikistan Discuss Electricity Exports

Papua New Guinea

Copper Drives Papua New Guinea Island’s Independence Movement

Paraguay

Paraguay Returns Land to Indigenous Peoples of Northern Chaco

Peru

Peru deemed better-positioned in LatAm to face global crisis

Barclays: Peru Needs Systematic Solution to Social Conflicts

(PHOTO: The Dakar Road Rally makes its way through South America.) Dakar Rally places Peru in the spotlight

Philippines

Philippines senator wants more disaster preparedness

Royal Dutch Shell donates $1M for Sendong relief, rehab operations

Poland

Poland orders more Kongsberg missiles from Norway

Qatar

Qatari PM, Ban Ki-Moon discuss US-Iran rhetoric about Gulf, Syria crisis 

Qatar- Drastic cut in carbon emission

Russia

Russian fuel tanker under way for ice-encrusted Nome, Alaska

Tons of scrap to be transported from Russian Arctic in 2012

Saint Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts-Nevis Moves Closer to Green Energy Goals

(PHOTO: In Korea, robots are now being used to control prisons. YONHAP)Saudi Arabia

Renewed Protests Defy Ban

Saudi poets slam ‘plague’ of extremism and poverty in Million’s Poet show

Seychelles

Chinese Troops In Seychelles (Analysis)

Sierra Leone

Youth Ambassador, entreprenuer Anthony Navo elected as Chairman of AWOL in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Communities Divided Over Mining in Rainforest (Perspective)

Singapore

Singapore Poly transforms classrooms into work spaces

Slovenia

Slovenian court: referendum challenging same-sex ‘marriage,’ adoption law can proceed

(PHOTO: In Singapore, Singapore Poly is using technology to turn classrooms into schools. Singapore POLY) Somalia

Parliamentarians elect new speaker after fist-fight session

Crisis in Somalia: PM Mohamed Ali & his wife speak out

How a Somali rapper became the 'Face of Africa' 

South Africa

SA assumes UN Security Council presidency for second time

Unclear if Mandela will be at ANC party

South Korea

S. Korea adds cyber-security to defense plan

Robots Patrol South Korean Prisons at Night

South Korea’s SK Energy to buy more Iran oil in 2012

Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea – Episode 1 (By Cisco)

South Sudan

South Sudan's President Pledges Commitment to Resolve Conflict in Jonglei State

WFP Concerned By Violence In South Sudan

One Year Anniversary of South Sudan Referendum (Perspective)

(PHOTO: Aerial view of Kalma refugee camp in Darfur, Western Sudan. RADIO DABANGA)Spain

How Spain’s version of SOPA is setting the web on fire

Spain Launches Some of the Strongest Anti-Piracy Laws

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka expresses concern over France’s postal service publishing 4 stamps featuring Tamil Tigers

Sri Lanka to conduct population census in March

Private company to develop the Sri Lanka's renewable energy industry

Sri Lanka 4th Best Economy in the World in 3rd quarter 2011, says report

Sri Lankan Hospitals to Go Paperless

Sri Lankan bank connects its 500th ATM (Press Release)

Sudan

Sudan, South Sudan to Resume Talks on Abyei in Addis Ababa

UN Seeks Access to War-Torn Sudanese States

Kalma refugee camp: no food aid for three months, 15 days

(PHOTO: Sudan shuts a third newspaper, The CItizen. AFRICA REVIEW) Sudan shuts third newspaper in media crackdown

Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Website created for polar bear attack inquiry

Swaziland

Coca-Cola urged to abandon Swaziland’s King Mswati III

Government Makes Small Loans for Young Entrepreneurs to Help Fight Crisis

Poorly performing schools to be under scrutiny

Most nabbed drunk drivers unmarried

Sweden

(PHOTO: Troubled Swedish carmaker Saab may have suitors in India, Turkey)Investors from India, Turkey could still save Saab

Filesharing Now a Religious Practice in Sweden

Gun laws may be tightened: minister

Switzerland

Switzerland's central bank chief accused of insider trading

Madonna Takes Family And Brahim Zaibat Skiing In Switzerland [PHOTOS]

Syria

Syria accuses US of interfering in Arab affairs

Syria, Iran to boost Agricultural Cooperation

Syrian National Council launched its official website

Taiwan

(PHOTO: A mass cycling event, “One Bike One,” in honor of the Taiwanese Republic's anniversary took place on Dec. 31. CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY) Taiwanese Set New Guinness Record for Their Anniversary

Taipei city government to expand Wi-Fi network of free access to Internet

Taiwan sparks up electric bike promotion efforts

Taiwan media regulator wants less Korean content on TV

A First Look at Conde Nast’s WIRED Taiwan

Taiwan's IT wizards turn to the movies

Taiwanese Engineers Arrested For Selling Intel Chips On eBay

Taiwan Mobile expects higher smartphone purchases in 2012

Taiwan's machinery exports likely to hit record high in 2011, surpass Italy

(PHOTO: WIRED Magazine gets ready to launch in Taiwan) Freedom differentiates Taiwan, mainland China: says MAC head

Tajikistan

Uzbekistan cuts gas supply to Tajikistan without notification – Tajik Foreign Ministry

Tanzania

20 Somali Migrants Found Dead in Tanzania

Mobile broadband modernisation underway for Tanzanian operator

Vodacom Tanzania says firm injects $100bn for facelift

Communities empowered to probe extractive investors

Govt, donors urged to fund alternative energy

Aid Agenda:  We Need to go Back to the Basics (Perspective)

Thailand

New Year Road Mishaps Kill 314 in Thailand

Flood situation in southern Thailand still critical

Thailand Gets New Banking Policies

Wanted: About half a million more labourers

Transgender airline staff make inaugural flight in Thailand

(PHOTO: The Ravana Robot, an interactive 10-faced robot that can say greetings via QR Code technology in 4 languages - Thai, English, Chinese, Japanese - is an attraction at the Thailand Pavilion. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD)Robots ready to take centre stage at BoI Fair 2011

'Greater Phuket' Chosen for First Jewish Pesach Festival in Thailand

The Arctic

Russian river water affecting the Arctic – AO shift blamed

The Netherlands

Dutch military on board ship with emergency aid for Somalia

Dutch to fund $36.4m Kilimanjaro Airport facelift

Dutch teen sailor nears end of round-the-world voyage

Togo

15 biofuel plants worth N414bn to come afloat

Tunisia

Tunisia Granted Membership to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

McDonald’s Announces to Set Up New Franchises Soon in Tunisia

(PHOTO: At Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Dutch investment will upgrade the airport. INSIGHT MAGAZINE) International Day of Internet Freedom – A Tunisian Initiative

Turkey

India’s Aditya Birla to invest US$500m in viscose plant in Turkey

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan's 'Protector' Registers For Presidential Election

Ashgabat Residents Turn Up Noses At Smelly Artificial River

Tuvalu

Sun risk for albino Islanders

Uganda

Uganda launches investigation into "nodding disease"

Kumi Siamese Twins Pass Away

Hearts star David Obua causes fury in poverty-stricken Uganda by building £500k mansion

(PHOTO: In Turkmenistan residents are dealing with an old, smelly river. RFL) Cancer Institute seeks funds for upcountry units

Uganda fights phone fraudsters with registration of SIM cards

Ukraine

Ukraine starts pumping Azerbaijani oil

Ukraine asks for $9 bln gas discount from Russia to form joint transit consortium

Ukraine recognized one of leaders in global food market last year

Only 8% in Ukraine say foreign policy meets their interests

First power plant using gas from household waste launched in Ukraine

Ukraine's jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko kept under 24-hour camera surveillance with lights permanently ON

Daughter Not Allowed To Meet Jailed Ukraine’s Ex-Premier

United Arab Emirates

UAE business  growth slips

Sanctions put squeeze on UAE's Iran traders

(PHOTO: Mariam Al Safar, the 1st Emirati woman train attendant, at work on the Dubai Metro. GULF NEWS) Relatives of Mangalore air crash victims in the UAE hit out against compensation delay

UAE residential market set for growth

Emirates Airlines to launch Vietnam services in June

UAE University to host international conference on Time

Big Solar and Big Wind to Meet in Abu Dhabi for World Future Energy Summit

Emirati woman train attendant breaks the traditional mould

Auschwitz in gym advertisement, removed

Groupama claims the UAE dash in the Volvo Ocean Race

Dh387,988 club bill goes viral

(PHOTO: The Cavalli Club in UAE. Megan Hirons Mahon XPRESS) Young energy leaders prepare for summit

In the UAE, Shopping Bag Doubles as Grocery List in Promo for Tide

Fossil fuel subsidies making biofuels uncompetitive in UAE (Perspective)

United Kingdom

Archbishops commit to ‘listen to England’ in research to launch twin projects

Microsoft sues U.K. retail chain for pirating Windows

UK consumers gave 1.3m e-readers this Christmas

Call for gun law crackdown after cabbie shoots dead girlfriend and two others

UK youths join gangs to escape abuse at home

£400 Million Later, and All UK Eggs are Free-Range or From "Enriched" Cages

(PHOTO: In the UAE where plastic bags are a concern, product giant Tide tries something new. ADAGE) Offshore Wind Spurs UK Renewables Growth

Apple Interested In Bidding For Premier League UK TV Rights, Says Report

Sex, blood and the status quo (Perspective)

United States

Oil Companies Big Winners as U.S. Becomes Net Exporter of Fuel

US State Department sets up counter-terrorism bureau

US Hispanic Consumers  Holiday Shopped on Their Mobil Devices to The Tune of $5.15 Billion

U.S. Taxpayers Cover Nearly Half the Cost of U.N.’s Global Warming Panel - Report

U.S. Education Spending Compared To The Rest Of The Developed World

NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong Eun transition called 'important opening' for religious liberty focus by The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Twitter Founder Biz Stone Speaks about Technology and Empathy at Farm Sanctuary gathering

Sign of the Times – A Photo Shows Romney Backing Vietnam Draft

US cancer deaths continue to drop

Double bubble: U.S. twin birth rates soar since 1980

The President of the United States Joins the Instagram Phenomenon

Uruguay

Mark Zuckerberg’s Outrageous Week in Uruguay

Mark Zuckerberg eligió Punta del Este para continuar con sus vacaciones

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: Police Make Rare Admission of Prison Rapes

Web Use Spirals in Uzbekistan Despite Curbs

(PHOTO: Tajikistan says Uzbekistan will pocket $70M more with increase in transit rates. UZBEKISTAN NEWSWIRE)Uzbekistan spikes transit rates to Tajikistan, Tajik Railways says

Vanuatu

Vanuatu police name NZ businessman’s alleged killer

Fijians appear on rape charge

Venezuela

Inmates Keep 1,000 Family Members from Leaving Venezuela Jails

About 200 Venezuelan women to sue French breast implant company

Venezuela Calls on Senior Citizens to Enroll in Mission

Venezuela to Take Measures to Control Weapons  

Police: 1,150 kidnappings in Venezuela in 2011

Polluted water responsible for the Lake Valencia flooding

Telecoms agency closes 27 radio stations in 10 states in 2011

Vietnam

Vietnam urged to free anti-corruption journalist

Vietnam urged to call up private capital for airports and seaports

InternetQ wins Vietnam's mobile marketing contracts

First bird flu outbreak in Vietnam contained in Hau Giang

Vietnam wins first prize at Asia student film festival 

Vietnam chess ace Liem invited to join 2012 London Olympics Torch Relay

Vietnam’s Development Dilemma – Sustainability or exploitation? (Perspective)

Western Sahara

Pan-African Parliament plans to send delegation to occupied Western Sahara

Ahead of Arab Spring ‘Curve’ in Morocco – US takes ‘Giant Leap’ approving use of aid in Western Sahara (Perspective)

Yemen

The International Federation of Journalists urges Yemeni VP to end harassment against newspaper staff

US aid for Yemeni media institutions discussed

Report: Yemeni prime minister plans Gulf tour

Yemen president not US-bound

(PHOTO: In Yemen, Qat is coming under fire. BIKYA MASR)Yemen’s battle against Qat

Zubair volcano (Jemen, Red Sea): New dramatic video shows volcanic eruption forming new island (VIDEO)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen author Paul Torday: 'The Yemenis said, what’s all this about fish?'

Zambia

India gives Zambia $50 m loan to build health centers

First Quantum suspends production at its copper/gold mine in Zambia due to strike

The Shield of Presidential Immunity

Prisoners suffer eye infections

47 year old Zambian says he has 95 children

Zambia’s C.R.I.$.I.$.rapper invited to attend US Grammy awards

Zambia: Cervical Cancer – ‘A Battle We Can Win’ (Perspective)

Zimbabwe

(PHOTO: Air Zimbabwe airliner. FILE) Again, Air Zimbabwe gets grounded

Serial Rapist Gets 40 Years in Jail

Mystery surrounds diamond ore theft in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Constitution - Drafters Back At Work

Wage Disputes Tense As Firms Reopen

Jobless Nurses - 'Govt Flouting Labour Laws'

'Boeing' Set to Keep You Laughing

WORLD:

BRIC Economic Slowdown Boosts CIVETS Profile

Donors await improved accountability from `Least Developing Countries’ (LDC’s)

Revenue from MENA IPOs down sharply

China and 21 Other Countries to Get iPhone 4S

Asian Social Media Users Create; Western Users Consume [STUDY]

Cussing For Charity – New Twitter App Benefits UNICEF

Climate Change, Migration and Conflict

Friday
Dec022011

Landmine Treaty Progress as Somalia and Finland Join (REPORT)

(HN, December 2, 2011) – The international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines is making strong progress toward its objective of a mine-free world, with Finland and Somalia agreeing to join in the next few months.Cambodian deminers, with tools used for landmine detection and clearance, during a field visit in Phnom Penh. CREDIT: Mary Wareham/Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch praised the progress as a major meeting on landmines wrapped up in Phnom Penh. However, the United States’ review of its policy has regrettably entered its third year without conclusion, Human Rights Watch said.

“We’ve largely succeeded in stigmatizing this coward’s weapon, but antipersonnel mines continue to claim too many lives and limbs in Cambodia and elsewhere years after they were laid,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch. “It is very encouraging that more and more countries continue to embrace the movement to ban landmines, and that impressive progress is being made in landmine clearance and stockpile destruction.”

The Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel mines and requires their clearance and assistance to victims. A total of 158 nations are party to the treaty, which entered into force on March 1, 1999, and another two states have signed, but not yet ratified.

A total of 97 countries participated in the Mine Ban Treaty’s Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, held in Phnom Penh from November 27 to December 2, 2011 – 82 states parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and 15 countries that have not yet joined. Observer delegations participated from China, India, Burma, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam.

The meeting reviewed progress and challenges in implementation and universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Major developments included the following:

  • Finland’s minister of international development, Heidi Hautala, announced that her government will join the treaty in the coming weeks;
  • Somalia declared that it would join in the next few months, if not sooner;
  • The two newest treaty members – South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, and Tuvalu – actively participated in the meeting;
  • Turkey announced it has completed the destruction of its stockpile of 2.9 million antipersonnel landmines, a very significant achievement since it had missed its treaty-mandated deadline of March 1, 2008;
  • Belarus, which also missed its stockpile destruction deadline of March 1, 2008, said it would complete the job in May 2013;
  • Burundi and Nigeria declared the completion of their mine clearance obligations, bringing the total of mine-free states parties to 18.


Cambodia is one of the most heavily-mined countries in the world. Credit: UNICEF“The United States needs to stop sitting in the back row as an observer in Mine Ban Treaty talks,” Goose said. “The US needs to conclude its landmine policy review, join the rest of the international community that has rejected this weapon, and play a positive leadership role.”

In late 2009, the US began a comprehensive landmine policy review “initiated at the direction of President Obama.” The Clinton administration, in 1998, set the objective of joining the Mine Ban Treaty in 2006, but the Bush administration reversed course in February 2004, and announced that it did not intend to join.

The US and nearly all of the 38 other states that remain outside the ban treaty are in de facto compliance with most of the treaty’s provisions. Every NATO member has foresworn the use of antipersonnel mines except for the US, as have other key allies, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

The United States has not used antipersonnel mines since 1991, in the first Gulf War, has not exported them since 1992, has not produced them since 1997, and is the biggest donor to mine clearance programs around the world. But it still stockpiles millions of antipersonnel mines for potential use.

Cambodia, the host of the meeting, is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world. According to Landmine Monitor, Cambodia has approximately 44,000 survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war.

An extensive mine action program established in 1992 has resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of new mine victims, but lives continue to be lost. There were at least 286 Cambodian casualties in 2010 from mines, explosive remnants of war, and cluster munitions.

Landmines and explosive remnants also place thousands of hectares of agricultural land off-limits in affected countries such as Laos and Cambodia.

- Human Rights Watch, HUMNEWS staff

Monday
Oct242011

Indochina: Floods Impacting Millions, Crops Damaged (BRIEF, PHOTOS)

A Cambodian boy rides his motorcycle through flood waters. CREDIT: WFP Cambodia/Polly Egerton(HN, October 24, 2011) - A wide swath of Indochina is being hit by historic floods. An area the size of Spain is said to be under water, with tens of thousands of hectares of rice paddies and dozens of factories damaged.

Over the weekend, flood waters began to submerge streets in the Thai capital of Bangkok.

Laos and Cambodia have also been hit by widespread flooding.

In Cambodia, aid agencies are reporting severe flash floods and rising water levels in 17 out of 24 provinces affecting more than 1.2 million people. The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an immediate response operation to address the food requirements of over 12,000 families - or 60,000 people. 

WFP is by providing a monthly 50kg of rice per household in Cambodia, said spokesperson Gaelle Sevenier.

Impoverished Laos, which is also flood-prone, is reported to have had almost eight percent of its rice farmland damaged. The UN says 12 out 17 provinces have been affected by severe flooding caused by tropical storm Haima and Nock-Ten this year.

At a press briefing in Geneva on Friday, David Singh from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) said the floods in South East Asia are threatening 8 million people.

Prokeab village in Kampong Thom province shows the overwhelming impact of flood waters on people's lives and livelihoods. Credit: WFPHe said the floods underline shortcomings in disaster risk reduction, with the highest concern being many children drowning because they can't swim (reportedly over 200 children in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand out of an estimated total of 740 related deaths). There are also thousands of workers unemployed because of poorly located manufacturing plants. 

UNISDR wants the governments of the affected countries to open discussions with the private sector on what adjustments needed to be made in their land use and basic prevention measures when these events were now so predictable.

Across the region, the well-being of millions are be drastically affected by the loss of livelihoods, as manufacturing plants are forced to shut and agriculture struggles to recover.

Singh said that, over the long term, countries such as Thailand need a more comprehensive framework to manage disasters, especially floods. The main shortcoming right now is there are about eight institutions that deal with water. Most of the countries in the region have no comprehensive framework to deal with this catastrophe.

Their analysis have raised fears that the current flooding in Thailand may be a prelude to even worse flood catastrophes in the future. UNISDR believes that the worst is yet to come.

- HUMNEWS staff, UN

Tuesday
Oct112011

Asia's Rice Bowl Inundated by Historic Floods (NEWS BRIEF)

Farmer Sai-ngern Inthawong on the Bueng That Luang wetland in Laos during dryer times. CREDIT: Mekong River Commission(HN, October 11, 2011) - Amid a global food crisis that has seen the price of staple items soar in countries as diverse as Somalia, Pakistan and Laos, historic floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have damaged tens of thousands of hectares of rice paddies in South-east Asia.

Worst hit is Thailand - the world's Number One exporter of rice. However, smaller and poorer countries such as Laos and Cambodia are fearing extensive crop damage.

More rains are forecast in an unusual monsoon season that has already devastated some 1.5 million hectares of prime agricultural land. Vietnam, the world's Number Two rice exporter, has also suffered extensive crop damage.

In Thailand, where flooding has been mostly limited to rural areas, the capital Bangkok is bracing itself for a deluge. More than 230 people have already died in Thailand. 

Laos, among the poorest countries in the world, has been struggling to recover from severe tropical storms that struck in June. The Vientiane Times reports that some 64,000 hectares of rice land has been damaged by flooding this wet season.

More than 429,900 people in 1,790 villages of 96 districts across 12 provinces have been affected by floods and landslides triggered by tropical storms Haima and Nock-Ten, the newspaper reported.

"The whole region will now suffer from rising food prices as potential harvests have now been devastated," said Margareta Wahlstrom, the United Nations chief of disaster reduction. "The damage is very serious this year and it will be some time before people can resume normal lives."

The Mekong River, which cuts through all the countries, is rising in some parts. According to the Bangkok-based Mekong River Commission "all stations along the Mekong River mainstream were recording levels that are above the long-term average for this time of year."

- HUMNEWS staff, UN, agencies

Tuesday
Jul122011

(HEADLINES) - ASIA/PACIFIC - July 12, 2011

Asia-Pacific

ADB set to develop country's four land ports

Himalaya travel company targets summit success

Rural Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos biomass usage to be boosted

Courtesy: FLICKR. Kiribati.Eradicating leprosy in the Pacific 'out of reach'

American Samoa

Climate change denial

Bhutan

Courtesy: Bhutan Daily Domestic violence acceptable, finds study

Brunei Darussalam

Follow rules to prevent road mishaps

East Timor

RI’s Flour-based Industry Flourishing

Guam

Self-determination requires education campaign

Laos

Lao PM to visit Myanmar to promote friendship, co-op

Macau

Steve Wynn drops $12.8m on vases for Macau resort

Courtesy: Macau Times, Alice Kok on TDM Talk Show ‘We need to develop our own culture’

Malaysia

Malaysian SCORE Renewable Energy Project Generating Controversy

Maldives

Military ordered to ensure order in chamber as disruptive MPs force Majlis cancellation

Micronesia

Kia‘i Moku: Invasive wattle tree taking hold Upcountry

North Korea

North Korea To Create Internet Oasis

Palau

Wal-Mart employee told to 'hurry up,' files racial discrimination lawsuit

Papua New Guinea

Pacific benefit in carbon plan, says Greenpeace

Samoa

Camp Unity Keeps Pacific Islander Kids Off Streets

Poignant last trip to help village

Solomon Islands

Renewable energy in the Solomon Islands is making a difference

Tonga

Tonga businesses operating without licences

Tuvalu

A view on how the Pacific will take Australia's carbon tax

Vanuatu

Sacking of Vanuatu’s ambassador to UN will cost thousands of dollars

Monday
Dec132010

New Hydroelectric Project to Provide Laos With Huge Cash Influx (News Brief)

(HN, December 13, 2010) -- The landlocked Southeast Asian country of Laos - one of the poorest in the world - is celebrating the arrival of a new revenue stream in the form of the Nam Theun 2 hydropower facility.

Operating since April, the controversial 1,070 megawatt plant was officially inaugurated late last week. Over 90% of the electricity generated is being sold to neighbouring Thailand, providing Laos with a $2 billion revenue stream over the next 25 years.Will the fresh income from hydro projects trickle down to this family in Vientiane? CREDIT: Michael Bociurkiw/HUMNEWS

Officials say the funds are earmarked for the nationwide improvement of health and education services, and other poverty alleviation programs.

The influx of revenue could not have come at a better time. Laos, like many other developing countries, has taken a huge economic blow from the global economic downturn: foreign remittances from overseas workers has slumped and so have orders for textile products. Tourists have also been in short supply, despite the hosting of the Asian Games in Vientiane in December 2009. Aid agencies feared that the Communist government may be tempted to institute budget cuts to education and health.

But officials behind the project put forth a positive spin, suggesting it will go a long way in eradicating poverty - especially in the country's backward northern provinces.

"This project is a testament to the fact that when hydropower projects are done right, in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, the benefits are considerable," said Kunio Senga, Director General of the Asian Development Bank's Southeast Asia Department.

Before the Nam Theun 2 - located on a river of the same name, which is a tributary of the Mekong - more than half of the families in the nearby Nakai Plateau villages lived in poverty. Child mortality rates were high, clean drinking water was scarce, and sanitation was almost non-existent.

"Today, the vast majority of residents say they are better off than ever before," said Senga.

The ADB said displaced families have been provided with new hardwood homes complete with electricity, clean water and sanitation facilities.

CREDIT: International RiversThese improvements, coupled with improved healthcare services, have resulted in a measurable decline in child and infant mortality rates, with parasitic infections falling by 90 percent, according to the ADB.

"This is an incredibly complex project, and numerous challenges have arisen along the way," said Senga. "By working closely with communities we strive to address their concerns - from compensation to the need for more land - and to introduce programs tailored to their specific needs. We will continue to closely monitor the situation."

The project has also placed great emphasis on environmental management. Over $60 million has been invested in downstream water quality management, with better than expected results, says the ADB.

However environmental groups still have reservations about the overall benefit of the project.

US-based watchdog International Rivers says there are still questions about the sustainability of livelihoods for the more than 6,000 villagers relocated for the dam, and tens of thousands more downstream.

"It's way too early to call this project a success," Ikuko Matsumoto, Lao programme director for the group was quoted as saying.

Laos is highly dependent on outside assistance. The ADB provided $120 million in support of the $1.43 billion project. Twenty-seven different financing institutions also supported it, including the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and Agence Francaise du Developpement.

The Nam Theun 2 Power Company is jointly owned by Electricite de France International, Electricity Generating Public Company (Thailand), and the Government of Laos.

The World Bank estimates the project will account for almost 40% of Laos's economic growth this year.

"The idea of the Laotian government is to become the 'battery' of Southeast Asia, because they've got tremendous hydropower potential, so what we're trying to emphasize is, please take the model and the lessons," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said after a visit to the project with The Associated Press in October.

- HUMNEWS staff, ADB, files

Tuesday
Dec072010

Weakness in Developed Economies Poses Risks for Emerging Asian Tigers - ADB (News Brief)

(HN, December 7, 2010) The emerging "tiger economies" of Asia will see moderate growth at best in the coming year due to continuing slow demand in the USA and Europe.Many Asian economies, such as Laos, are benefitting from increased tourism receipts. CREDIT: Michael Bociurkiw/HUMNEWS

According to the Asian Development Bank's just-released Asian Economic Monitor, the Asian economies saw a robust recovery in the past year due to higher domestic demand, stimulus interventions and low financial vulnerability.

While many of the economies received high marks for good economic house-keeping - many are export-dependent and cannot escape the economic contagion from the USA and Europe.

"The external economic environment for emerging East Asia has weakened as the US economy continues to struggle and doubts remain over the sustainability of the eurozone recovery," said the ADB. "Many emerging East Asian economies now face the challenge of managing strong growth and capital flows amid a weaker external environment."

Small economies, which just a few months ago appeared on the brink of collapse, are clawing their way back. Laos, for instance, benefitted from construction related to the Southeast Asian games and higher mineral production.

Myanmar (also known as Burma), which has been battered by severe weather events and political unrest, saw economic growth improve to 4.4% in 2009 from 3.6% the previous year boosted by large inflows of foreign direct investment, the ADB said.

However, GDP in both Brunei Darussalam and Cambodia contracted.

One of the extraordinary developments has been the surge in stock market growth in the emerging economies of East Asia.

The ADB reports increases in bourses such as: Indonesia (44.3%), Thailand (38.3%), Philippines (35.7%) and Malaysia (17.5%) posting record highs.

- HUMNEWS staff, ADB

Sunday
Nov212010

World leaders seek to save the tiger from extinction (Report) 

Tiger - photo courtesy of WorldWildlifeFund (WWF) (HN, November 21, 2010) An unprecedented 13- state summit that  aims to double the tigers population by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022 begins in Russia today.

Russian prime minister and self-proclaimed animal lover Vladimir Putin opened his native city to the world's first gathering of leaders from nations where the tiger's free rein has been squeezed ever-tighter by poachers.

"This is an unprecedented gathering of world leaders (that aims) to double the number of tigers," Jim Adams, Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region at the World Bank, said at the opening ceremony of the four-day event.  

The number of tigers in the wild has dwindled from 100,000 to 3,200 in the past century, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  The main threats to tigers are the destruction of their habitats in Asia - due to economic and industrial expansion - and poachers.

The wildlife charity warns that the tiger could become extinct within the next 12 years unless urgent action is taken.

Poachers represent a huge threat to the tiger's survival. The use of tiger bones in traditional Chinese medicines is widely known, although the ingredient hasn't been listed in official Chinese manuals for pharmaceuticals since 1993. Tiger is also served in high priced restaurants so that millionaires can eat endangered species to demonstrate their wealth. 

"It's essential to eliminate poaching," said Adams. "Solutions must begin at the local level. Trans-boundary cooperation must be reinforced."

The summit's Russian hosts said that a global initiative on tigers could provide lessons for other joint environmental pursuits.

The tiger summit will provide an example "for other challenges such as global warming," Russian Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev told the gathering.

The high-profile summit is due to be attended by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and delegations from India and Bangladesh -- the three nations with the largest volume of tiger skin and other organ trafficking.

Russia is the only country to have seen its tiger population rise in recent years. It had just 80 to 100 in the 1960s but now has around 500, with experts praising Putin for taking an active role in the cause.

Putin has personally championed the protection of the Amur Tiger in the country's Far East and was hailed by the Russian media for firing a tranquillizer dart at one of the fabled beasts in 2008.

The conference is expected to tackle the burden of funding a 12-year plan that reaches across the 13 nations. It is also believed to be the world's first gathering of leaders to address the fate of a single species.

But consensus on the need to save the tiger has been hampered by a lack of coordination on the ground to stop the trafficking of tiger parts such as paws and bones -- all prized in traditional Asian medicine.

Apart from Russia, 12 other countries host fragile tiger populations -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.

Experts stress that India and China are by far the biggest players in saving the beast.

India is home to half of the world population while the Chinese remain the world's biggest consumers of tiger products despite global bans.

-HUMNEWS Staff

Tuesday
Nov162010

Headlines - November 16, 2010 (Asia and Pacific) 

Overly warm waters, disease, and other factors can kill corals. In this case, "bleaching" turned this fire coral (which has a christmas tree worm on top) white. Photo courtesy of NOAA, FGBNMS.American Samoa

American Samoa on aid spending watch

No firm details of cannery jobs in American Samoa following agreement

American Samoa based airline introduces larger aircraft

Marine National Parks have experienced vast losses of coral reefs to bleaching and disease

Bhutan

Bhutanese Christian serving three years for showing film about Jesus

Bhutan to receive Asian Development Bank funding for rural biogas power  

Perfect Balance (opinion)

Brunei Darussalam

His Majesty urges Muslims to devote closer to Allah

Giving the local SME’s the upper hand

8th ASEAN Skills Competition participants leave for Thailand

The new floods and draughts (environment)  

East Timor          

East Timor government prepares review of Oil Fund Law

Abbott likens PM to Burke and Wills

Kiribati

Kiribati climate change conference calls for urgent cash and action

Laos

Cambodia, Vietnam differ from Laos in cluster bombs ban

Laos donates US$100,000 to Vietnam’s flood victims

Maldives

Maldives grappling with globalization, says foreign policy expert

Maldivian shuttlers enjoy competition at Asian Games  

North Korea

Number of N. Korean defectors in South rising, says official

North Korea constructing light-water reactor, expert says

North Korea sets out political cleansing

North Korean Jo wins women’s 25m Pistol event

UN report A “Wakeup Call” on N. Korea: Hill (perspective)  

Palau

ADB aids Palau’s push for sustainable water, sanitation services

Papua New Guinea

Harnessing the full power of community investments

Investigation into flaws of Australia’s Pacific Island workers scheme  

Tonga

Tonga moves to greater democracy

Campaigning for Tonga’s historic election begins

ANZ downgrades Pacific growth forecast

Vanuatu

Pacific politics revamped from an island perspective

Tourism Vanuatu campaign targets Aussies

Hawksbill turtle swims from Vanuatu to Australia

Wednesday
Sep082010

(REPORT/INTERVIEW) "Reading is FUN-damental" - Twitter partners with Room to Read on World Literacy Day

PHOTO: Room to Read, India (HN, September 8, 2010) – Can you read this? 

Wehn yuo cnnaot raed, noe hruendd ftory ccrhaetars maen noinhtg. Hlep ptoorme goalbl latceriy:  http://t.co/W5UTbuB

Today, September 8th is the 35th anniversary of World Literacy Day.  Adopted in 1965, this year’s theme organized by UNESCO (the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) celebrate’s women’s empowerment through literacy and pays tribute to the women and men who work behind the scenes who help others acquire literacy skills.

One in five adults worldwide - 796 million - lack minimum literacy skills (reading and writing); with two-thirds of those being women and girls accounting for more than half of the 67.4 million out-of-school children globally.

Literacy rates are comparatively, a cause for celebration and the world has made progress since 1965 with now close to 4 billion literate people in the world.  However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults - is still a goal ahead to achieve.

In 2003, the United Nations proclaimed the ten years until 2012 the “United Nations Literacy Decade”, and has put literacy and education front and center as `Millennium Development Goal Number 2’ to be accomplished by 2015.  

A basic education equips children with literacy skills for life and the ability to learn further and grow intellectually.  Literate parents are more likely to send children to school and literate people are better able to access continuing, higher education; and jobs.  In today’s 21st century, `later literacy’ also means experience and understanding with digital languages and technologies but reading and writing remain the fundamental building blocks for development.  

The International Literacy Day global celebrations today focus on the transformation literacy can bring to women’s lives and those in their families, communities and societies and on the people and efforts who help them get there, such as the international organization `Room to Read’.

PHOTO: Erin Ganju, Room to Read`Room to Read’ was founded by former Microsoft executive John Wood, with co-Founders Erin Ganju and Dinesh Shrestha.  This year the organization celebrated its 10 year anniversary with the opening of its 10,000th library in Nepal; where the effort first began.   After a vacation to Nepal in 1999 allowed Wood to witness first-hand the country’s lack of educational resources, he and his co-founders launched a book drive for one school, and turned that one-time act of kindness into the basis of inspiration for a global education movement.  

Over the last decade, `Room to Read’ has increased its work exponentially to impact over four million children in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia through its worldwide network of more than 1,000 schools and 10,000 libraries filled with over 7 million children’s books. 

The organization works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, and has empowered children with increased access to high-quality educational opportunities – including 10,000 girls this year who are attending school on scholarship.  

Known also for its innovation in technology and marketing, `Room to Read’ (@roomtoread) became Twitter’s first Corporate Social Responsibility partner last year creating a joint project to create `Fledgling’ wine (@fledgling) - a year-long first-of-its-kind social winemaking project in collaboration with the Napa Valley vineyard Crushpad. The Fledgling wines, a Pinor Noir and a Chardonnay, will benefit `Room to Read's’ literacy programs in India and will launch to the market on September 25. 

Additionally, Twitter and `Room to Read’ have teamed up on this International Literacy Day in order to show the world what someone who cannot read see’s, when they look at a page of words.  The `Hope 140’ effort will show viewers the scrambled message you see at the beginning of this article, and then unscramble the message to show the true words. 

"With the International Literacy Day campaign, we are asking the average Twitter user to experience, just for a minute, the disempowerment that one in five people in this world experience due to illiteracy," said John Wood. "Room to Read' is galvanizing a global movement to solve this critical issue and through Twitter's worldwide platform, we aim to not only raise awareness but to instigate action." 

On the `Hope 140’ page you’ll also find ways to buy `Fledgling’ wine, as well as how to donate to Room to Read’s publishing program which has created 433 children's books in 22 local languages and distributes them throughout its library network in Asia and Africa.  In honor of International Literacy Day and throughout September, `Room to Read’ will be producing the book "Unjani" or "How Are You," an original South African children's book written in Xhosa and English and a donation will be matched by a Room to Read donor.

So today, HUMNEWS, Room to Read and Twitter ask you to tweet for literacy and help others around the world to achieve the basic skill of reading - which can change people’s lives, forever.

Because if you can’t read this “Wehn yuo cnnaot raed, noe hruendd ftory ccrhaetars maen noinhtg. Hlep ptoorme goalbl latceriy:   http://t.co/W5UTbuB” – there is still a long way to go to total world literacy.

==============================================================================================================

PHOTO: John Wood, Room to ReadINTERVIEW WITH JOHN WOOD, Founder of Room to Read and author of the highly-acclaimed book,Leaving Microsoft to Change the World”.

Q:  10 years on in Room to Read for you John. What is the most important thing you've learned about the world as you've been building Room to Read 

John:  Ten years ago, when I delivered that first load of books to children in Nepal, I had no idea that we’d be at the point we are today – impacting the lives of five million children and on track to double that by 2015. The big lesson for me is to dream big and share that dream with incredibly passionate, qualified and hardworking people to make that dream a reality. That’s what Room to Read is all about – we went from a handful of supporters (mainly friends and family) to a network of thousands around the globe.

Children’s education is an issue that crosses borders and resonates with people in every corner of the world – and it’s incredible that Room to Read is the convergence point as we lead a global movement to provide every child with the ability to attend school and learn to read.

Q:  Room to Read was Twitter's first corporate social innovation sponsor.  Talk about before Twitter, and after Twitter.  How has this, helped Room to Read better achieve its goals of literacy?

John:  Twitter has become a great vehicle to help us engage with our supporters and spread our message and mission to an even wider audience. Room to Read’s Twitter account (@RoomtoRead) already has close to 450,000 followers and with the 315,000 people following me @johnwoodRtR, together  we’re reaching almost half a million people around the world on a daily basis – which is outstanding! Many of the our  40+ volunteer chapter network around the world also maintain their own Twitter accounts – so we’re definitely getting the word out there.

Twitter’s unique format enables us as an organization to provide real-time updates and information to supporters – without greatly taxing our resources. We use it to thank our supporters and partners, give shout-outs to other organizations, and just to keep the Room to Read message alive and fresh.

We were also fortunate enough to be chosen by Twitter as their first corporate social innovation partner and because of that we’ve had the opportunity to experiment with creative ways to use the platform. In fact, for International Literacy Day on September 8, we have worked with Twitter to develop a creative way for people to understand the concept of literacy and what it’s like for the 776 million people in the world who still can’t read. At the same time, we’re asking the social network community to help support the publication of a new children’s book for the children of South Africa.

I truly believe that simply by getting the message out across the globe, we’ll rally more and more supporters in our battle against illiteracy – and Twitter is an incredibly platform that allows us to do just that.

Q: R2R has an intense focus on results, talk about how running an efficient and stable business, helps to achieve your goals for reading, literacy and education worldwide?

John:  We started Room to Read with some important basic business principles – that we would be efficient, accountable and results-driven. I strongly believe it’s necessary to take the best of the business world and combine it with the best of the NGO world – in fact, I tell our team that we want to run Room to Read with the compassion of Mother Teresa but the focus and tenacity of a blue-chip company.  

I don’t believe in the model of an NGO spending up to 40 cents of each dollar on administration and fund-raising. So, we keep our overhead low and run a tight ship. We do creative things, like getting our board members to donate frequent flier miles, and having volunteers in 40+ cities raise about a third of our annual budget. There are many small steps that together add up to create a very efficient organization. So, what you get when you make a donation to Room to Read is a very direct, very tangible result. We tell donors exactly how much it costs to build a school, publish children’s book, establish a library or to support a year of a girls’ education. In the long term, education in the developing world has been proven to be the best ticket out of poverty, so an investment in this area yields amazing long-term benefits.

Q: How does technology play a role in how you conduct business and measure results?

John:  It’s incredible how quickly technology evolves and allows us new and creative ways to communicate with our supporters. Using social media has enabled us to have instant access to millions of potential supporters across the globe – we can directly engage with them on a regular basis and develop a real connection more easily share our work across the globe and directly engage with people.

We also actively use technology to develop and track our programs as well. With Salesforce licenses generously donated by the Salesforce.com Foundation since 2007, we have built what we call our Global Solutions Database (GSD) that tracks all of our projects in nine countries as well as our operations in the global office. It’s the Room to Read mega-reference – which is key, because keeping results in key to our organization. Every project established by Room to Read across our nine countries is tracked in the system – we track implementation timeline, number of students and teachers, percentage of community contribution, etc.  The information collected helps guide our monitoring and evaluation team’s efforts, so we know if we need to boost our work in certain areas.  This information is then also used to provide more detailed information to our donors so that we can directly connect them to the project they’re supporting -- and in doing so, we keep our them excited about our work.

Q:  Can you talk about the importance of your local language education programs and books? Why was it important for teaching and learning?

John:  When we started building libraries we soon realized that many of the children’s books in our libraries weren’t being used by the children – most of them were in English, which is not the primary language for most of the students. At that point, we decided to develop our Local Language Publishing program, to produce and distribute books in local languages. The books are written by local authors, many of whom attend our writers’ workshops, and are illustrated by local artists. We also publish the books locally, so in addition to providing books for the children, we’re helping to support the local economy.

Many of our books have won prestigious awards – but more importantly, they are incredibly popular and effective tools in teaching children to read. Not only is the language something the children can understand, but the stories and illustrations are culturally relevant and speak to the children’s life experience.

Q:  Helping children get the habit...how easy is that?  And what have you heard years on, about how this simple act, changes their lives? 

John:  I believe children have an inherent desire to learn, so if you give them the tools and the right guidance, they can’t wait! With our focus being now more directed on literacy and gender equality in education, we’re developing new programs to teach reading more effectively so that it does become a skill and a habit for millions of children. Our teams in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal are already having great success in the pilot phases of their literacy programs, so we have high expectations to see literacy rates jump dramatically in the next several years.

How does reading change a child’s life? This is probably most dramatically illustrated when you talk about educating girls. No offense to my gender – but it is amply documented that when you educate women you have spillover effects to the next generation which are substantially larger.  When you educate a woman, you educate the next generation and all subsequent generations.

There is an increase in health and nutrition for the whole family, higher income levels for the woman and overall improvement in the quality of life for a community. For only $250, you support a girls’ education for one year. I believe that’s the best investment one can make when trying to effect global change.

Q:  What's next for R2R and for you?

John:  For the organization, Room to Read's long-term goal is to help over ten million children to gain the lifelong gift of education by the year 2015.  We’re well on our way to meet this goal – by the end of 2010, we’ll have impacted the lives of over five million children. But we’re also looking to increase the quality of education through improved teacher training and additional materials – we want the educational opportunity to be the best it can be. We’re also looking to expand our Girls’ Education program and provide even more life skill training – girls thrive when they’re allowed to develop self confidence and academic skills – and we want them to go out and conquer the world!

Geographically, we’re looking to add programs in Africa fairly soon and have been researching opportunities in Central America as well. The sad fact is that there is a long list of countries ripe for Room to Read, but we have to be sure we have our resources in place before we take the next leap – but we’ll get there!

As for me, this is it!  I want to see to it that Room to Read meets its goal of reaching 10 million children within the next five years. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked, but it’s also the happiest I’ve ever been, and I can’t imagine doing anything else! Every morning, I feel like the luckiest person alive because I get to make a difference in the lives of children