FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Tuesday:  October 27, 2014

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

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

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

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

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

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

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

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

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

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

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Entries in nicaragua (6)

Tuesday
Jan102012

THE HUM - WORLD HEADLINES - January 10, 2012

Algeria 

Algeria to Nationalize Orascom Algeria’s Mobile Phone Unit

(PHOTO: In Canada, author Naomi Klein is named one of the 12 people to watch in 2012. TORONTO STAR)Australia 

Australia’s International Islamic College suing Saudi Arabia

Azerbaijan 

3023 illegal migrants deported from Azerbaijan in 2011

Bahrain 

Formula One urged to quit Bahrain

Brazil 

US House Speaker John Boehner tours Rio slum as part of trade-boosting Latin America trip

Canada 

Canadian warship bound for Mediterranean

Asking for an outbreak of preventable diseases

12 Canadians changing the way we think

Calgary, Edmonton set attendance record for World Junior events

China 

(PHOTO: Cuban Labor Delegation visits in Damascus, Syria. SANA) China launches remote-sensing satellite

China imports dairy cows as demand for milk continues

China, an important driving force in East Asian cooperation: asst. FM

Hong Kong Arts Festival 2012 to Kick Off January 28

Congo (DRC)

Elections-DR Congo: DRC faces suspension of EU cooperation over last elections

African States and UN agree to beef up measures against Lord’s Resistance Army

U.S. Department of State Announces Second International Sports Exchange with the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cuba 

Cuban Labor Delegation in Damascus: Syrians have right to Solve problems without foreign Intervention 

Egypt

Three New Land Routes to Connect Egypt, Sudan

Equatorial Guinea

Sam Wallace: A poverty-stricken people don't need the wonga cup (Perspective)

(PHOTO: Producers with Cocoa beans in Ivory Coast. BUSINESS LIVE)Estonia

Ikea Expands to Estonian, Latvian Markets

Finland

Woman: Hotel clerk in Finland gave my key to drunken pervert & now I’m suing 

Demand for day-care skyrockets

Around 100 street beggars remain in Finland

France

France's RFI radio back on air in DR Congo

Georgia

Marriott Business in Tbilisi Proving Successful Despite Tough Competition 

India

Indian expats celebrate winning the right to vote

Terrorist threat to railway stations in Bihar

Graft war in India reflective of global power shift: Miliband

India is the success story of South Asia — that is a fact: David Miliband

India seeks reversal of EU carbon emissions tax

International real estate expansion halted for Indian companies

(PHOTO: Students at the International Islamic College in Brisbane, Australia. BIKYA MASR)Bangalore airport may shut down for 7 hours every day from Feb 24-April 19

India Faces Challenges in Connecting With African Continent

'Bangalore can be a little slow' (Perspective)

Indonesia

Many Indonesians repatriated from Saudi Arabia in 2011

Analysis: Power woes could trip Indonesia’s economic surge

Iran

Oil Minister: Iran Self-Sufficient in Drilling Industry

Iraq

Poll: 25 percent of Iraqis 'suffering'

Ivory Coast

Ivorian cocoa arrivals slump, exporters say

Jamaica

(PHOTO: Next top model Model Hoang Thuy (R) with American super model Tyra Banks in Vietnam. SAIGON Daily)New Jamaica PM: We will be a republic 

Japan

Japan begins Middle East visit seeking oil assistance

Japan to Install Tsunami Monitoring System at Sea

Kenya

Kenya's TB campaign proves a success (Video)  

Libya

Libya lifts sanctions against Switzerland

Lithuania

President’s charity campaign provides Lithuanian libraries with thousands books

Malaysia 

Malaysia to boost ties with South Africa

Marshall Islands

Marshalls President announces Cabinet

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulates the Marshall Islands on their Presidential election (Press Release)

(PHOTO: In Ukraine EcoWave Power Completes Testing of Wave Energy Generation. Model-ECO WAVE POWER UKRAINE)Mauritania

Report: Mauritania "expels" Qatari emir

Mauritius

Bihar’s village decks up to welcome Trinidad & Tobago PM

Mexico

Vatican spokesman explains why Pope will visit Mexico

Myanmar 

Aung San Suu Kyi Confirms Run for Burmese Parliament

George Soros to open aid office in Myanmar

Namibia

Namibian Prime Minister Angula Meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

Nepal

Lack of Awareness, Stigma Fuels Marital Rape in Nepal

(PHOTO: Hong Kong Arts Festival to start. This is the Hong Kong Jockey Club. DESTINASIAN) Nepal's child malnutrition 'silent emergency'

Nepal Telecommunications Authority reports 2.1m mobile additions in a month; amends Telecoms Regulations

Smartphones outsell normal handsets

Straws of steel: Earthquake-proof houses

Pollution Rise Worsens South Asia’s Winter Smog

New Caledonia

New Caledonian politician suggest to merge with Wallis and Futuna 

Nicaragua

Nicaragua goes back to gold

Nicaragua next stop in Ahmadinejad's Latin America tour

Niger

Niger's president makes stop over in Luanda city

Nigeria

Nigeria, Finland Renew Commission

(PHOTO: In Uganda Assist Commissioner of Entomology Mr. Fred Luyimbazi inspects a target used to control Tsetse flies in Murchison Falls National Park. SPYGHANA) Nigeria: UN, MDGs and Fuel Subsidy Removal

North Korea

N.Korean economy plunges after hitting high in 2007: report 

Oman

Oman LNG signs pact to fund two more social initiatives

Sierra Leone keen to boost trade with Oman

Pakistan

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait reject Pak's request to supply oil on long-term credit

Palau

2-year Pacific tuna-fishing ban extended until March

Panama

Taboga Festival of the Sea- The timing is right

(PHOTO: Some Saudi's travel miles to go to the cinema. Bikya Masr) Papua New Guinea

Encouraging sign of new gold and copper find in PNG

Paraguay

Paraguayan FM to Attend Inauguration of Daniel Ortega 

Peru

Peruvian Govt Highlights Agreements with Venezuela

Six Peruvian cities nominated for New 7 Wonders Cities campaign

Philippines

South China Sea issues flare yet again as Manila alleges Chinese incursion

A sea of humanity attends Black Nazarene feast, ignoring warnings of possible terror attack

Dads push for declaration of La Trinidad as pioneer in organic farming

Environment is Benguet's main concern for 2012

Puerto Rico

(PHOTO: Vietnam rice exports facing growing competition. Thanh Niet News) Puerto Rico Gets First Assisted Living & Memory Care Community

Russia

Russian naval vessels anchored in Syria

Russia to put new radar in 2012

Russian-Ukrainian border closes because of recognition of people animals in Ukraine 

Rwanda

Children Contributing to Country's Development - Unicef

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia Tourism Minister Calls All Hands on Deck  

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s automotive aspirations

(PHOTO: The vast, sany Karakum desert dominates Turkmenistan in Central Asia which is getting ready for an election. REX) Saudi executions concern U.N. officials

Saudi N-S Railway stations contract signed

The Arab Spring of Saudi Cinema?

Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

Senegal

CCR: Schlesser scores the Africa Eco Race victory

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Women Issues for the 2012 National Elections

The Geo-political implications of the November elections (Perspective)

Singapore

Top international scientists meet in Singapore

Singapore Government Unveils Initiative To Improve National Productivity

(PHOTO: South Sudanese children displaced by attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the town of Mundri, Western Equatoria state. South Sudan. UN NEWS CENTRE) A Pool for Daring Swimmers in Singapore

Slovakia

Piano Media extends its mass paywall in Central Europe, launching in Slovenia

Slovenia

Media in Slovenia to charge for online access

Jankovic announces formation of govt. coalition

Slovenian adventurer launches eco-friendly round-the-world light plane trip

Solomon Islands

Delay of results irk parents

Government soon to receive Truth and Reconciliation Commissions final report

Reconciliation minister assaulted in Honiara

Somalia

(PHOTO: A man covers the body of fellow immigrants killed in Yemen. BAR KULAN)Somali immigrants killed in Yemen

Transitional Federal Government PM says roadmap nearly to fail

Somali Nationalism: A Dead Concept? (Perspective)

South Africa

Runner Zola Budd in Durban for Comrades

South Korea

Google accused of meddling with S Korean probe

S. Korea to offer better biz environment for foreigners: minister

S Korea President Visits China

Financial crimes on rise in S. Korea

Samsung seeking ban on iPhone 5 in South Korea

South Korea approves Anti-leukemia drug production

South Sudan

(PHOTO: In Somalia, the Grand Mosque in Garadag district, Somaliland. THINK AFRICA PRESS)Humanitarian Crisis in the World's Newest Country

Blue Nile Governor Refutes International NGO Claims of Food Gap

Spain

Spain: Thousands March in Support of ETA Prisoners (Video)

Spain: "This year we expect to have a slight increase in the acreage of garlic"

El Mundo America newsroom relocates to Spain, USH and Latam editions of Marca

Spain's SOPA Law: How It Works And Why It Won't  (Perspective)

Spanish prince, princess to tour Central America

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka to establish embassy in Ukraine

Lanka to issue free passports to Tamil refugees in India

Sri Lanka liquor sales grow

(PHOTO: In Tanzania micro enterprises dominate the manufacturing sector. THE CITIZEN) Sri Lankan government is banning its roti and eating it too

Non-alignment and SL’s foreign policy (Perspective)

Sudan

Libya lays out red carpet for Omar al-Bashir

Turabi’s party releases documents alleged to contain coup plan in Sudan

15 people perish in Sudan auto accident

Suriname

Suriname President takes over chairmanship of CARICOM, promises 2012 to be a “year of change”


Sweden

Sweden Recognizes File-Sharing as a Religion

Swaziland

Govt offers farmers land for edible oil production

Taiwan, China aid to Swaziland won’t be affected by economic slump

(PHOTO: In Swaziland, following a spillage of chemicals into canals in Big Bend, fish were found floating dead in the past week. TIMES OF SWAZILAND) andChemical poisons hundreds of fish

Hard work earns orphan six distinctions

Switzerland

Switzerland’s central bank chief resigns

Cooperatives: building blocks of democracy (Perspective)

Lenzburg Prison in Switzerland uses state-of-the-art IP video surveillance

Syria

As Syria unravels, prices soar for guns, grenades, and RPGs

Syria hails arrival of Russian warships

Turkish FM meets Syrian official in Istanbul

Syria Criticizes Qatar´s Biased Stance

Taiwan

Taiwan's elections draw international attention 

Biotech innovation offers hope for Taiwan entrepreneurs

Growth of visitor arrivals to Taiwan double world average: officials

Taiwan’s birth, marriage rates hit new high in 2011

(PHOTO: A Taiwanese garbage truck. FLICKR) In Taiwan, trash disposal is a classical (music) affair

Taiwan, U.S. companies to jointly release online console game 

Movie madness in Taiwan

Tajikistan

200 kilos of Afghan drugs burnt in Tajikistan

Wildlife Conservation Society documents pneumonia outbreak in endangered markhor

Tanzania

Micro-enterprises dominate manufacturing sector — study 

World Bank $5m to boost local mining firm capital

Airtel Mobile Money offers thousands of jobs

Construction of big arena gets going

Doctors to hold emergency meeting

Health-Tanzania: Rising cancer cases cause big concern

(PHOTO: New snake species in Tanzania Matilda's horned viper. Tim Davenport/Wildlife Conservation Society)New Snake Species Found in Tanzania

Need for effective education on disaster management (Perspective)

Agricultural modernisation techniques needed - expert (Perspective)

Press - Not Yet Free, Though There Is Certain Degree of Freedom (Perspective)

2012 - It's Time to Do Your Own Thing (Perspective)

Thailand

Capital market faces unresolved questions

Thailand's furniture industry looks to intra-Asean markets

Hard Drive Prices Rise Due To Thai Floods

Losing out for lack of English

British backpacker 'electrocuted by fridge' in Thailand

Thailand is the hottest Asian destination for British tourists

Thai Christian fights child prostitution

The Arctic

Energy firms asked about Arctic drilling

UK launches Arctic environment inquiry

Visualizing the Link Between Ice Extent and Volume

(PHOTO: Inuit filmmaker Qajaaq Ellsworth’s new app & educational game `Iliarnnarnaqsivuq', or Time for School, is designed to encourage learning among Inuit youngsters.) New Inuit language app makes learning fun for little ones

Much Ado about Methane (Perspective)

Watch This Stunning HD Time-Lapse Of The Largest City North Of The Arctic Circle (Video)

The Netherlands

Dutch Royal Family is Visiting the United Arab Emirates (Photos)

Togo

Mobile technology takes root in Togo (Video)

Tonga

Former Tonga Chief Justice Knighted

Trinidad and Tobago

Coalition member worried over conflicting police reports on alleged assassination plot

Trinidad and Tobago to tie up with India’s Jaipur Institute

Young designer to launch fashion label

Tunisia

Protests Challenge Tunisian Prime Minister’s Public Media Appointments

Tunisia can be a model for North Africa, German foreign minister says

US Issues Arrest Warrant for Tunisian-American Accused of Abducting His Children

(PHOTO: In Tunisia, a banner that reads `Journalists revolt against the dictator's remnants'. TUNISIA LIVE)Tunisia: Request to do away with death penalty

Tunisia, Larger Olive Oil Crop and Exports in 2012

Turks and Caicos

Chamber of Commerce predicting another tough year

Courtney Robinson Appointed As New Director Of The Turks & Caicos Islands Red Cross

Turkey

Istanbul forum to boost GCC-Turkey trade links

Diplomat Confirms Turkey Hosting US Drones

Turkish Minister: Energy Agreement with Russia

Turkey signals more sanctions against Syria

A maturing market (Perspective)

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan refuses to use military force as an instrument of foreign policy - President of Turkmenistan

Monitors from the former Soviet Union to observe Turkmen election

Uganda

State House Aide Cited in Buganda Park Land Scandal

100 dead from nodding disease

Uganda’s Warid Telecom:  “Mobile money moving faster than expected”

(PHOTO: Newport Beach California, USA famous for its big ocean swells where Mark Holmes David New of Green Wave Energy is testing wave powered energy generation 200 yards offshore. Don Bartletti/LATimes)Uganda government releases plans to get rid of tsetse flies in parks

Inspire Africa Reality Show Launched

Ugandans in Diaspora launch TV proggie

Ukraine

Ukraine to introduce EU model to control food quality, biosecurity service head says

Ukraine exports 9.65 million tonnes of grain in 2011-12

Tax revenues in Crimea almost triple over year

Ukraine: Eco Wave Power Completes Testing of Wave Energy Generation Models

United Arab Emirates

Dubai hotels reap rewards of tourism boom, increase rates

Scottish government, UAE in landmark agreement on green energy

Emirates to host Somalia meeting before UK’s sponsored conference

UAE's Dewa launches new USD26m water pipeline project

(PHOTO: In the UAE, Coptic Christians thanked Muslims for Christmas spirit. THE NATION) Copts thank Muslims for Christmas spirit

UAE looks at open data to promote e-government

Plastic bags cause pollution crisis, camel deaths in UAE deserts (Video)

UAE’s Hidden Fashion Talent… Hamda Al Fahim!

Sports fans left in the dark with channel blackout set to continue

United Kingdom

UK still has racism problem says David Cameron

U.K. Will Use Olympics to Spur Investment With Business Summits

Man gets suspended sentence for UK’s largest child porn collection

Woman Who Launched Internet Campaign to Track Down Guy She Met in Spain Finds Out He’s Already Taken

Roald Dahl's best-loved novels celebrated with new set of stamps

6 Million(i) UK Households Could Not Survive Until the Weekend on Savings According to first direct (Press Release)

United States

Almost 1 In 3 U.S. Warplanes Is a Robot

US expels Venezuelan diplomat

Ocean waves power a prototype generator in Newport Beach

Gayest Cities in America, 2012

(PHOTO: In Switzerland, cooperatives reign for consumers. Swiss retail giants Migros & Coop are both cooperatives RDB)Hyundai and Land Rover win top awards at Detroit auto show

CAIR Seeks Support for Bill Barring Military Detentions

American Farm Bureau leader: ‘We are the 1 percent’

Vanuatu

Vanuatu man told to find a lawyer

Vanuatu Churches Continue Anti-WTO Efforts

Volcanic activities at Ambrym and Yasur volcanoes at Vanuatu

Venezuela

Chávez: No somos guerreristas (on his meeting with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

Venezuela's Skyscraper Slum

Venezuela Will Not Bow Down To Imperialist "Tentacles": Chavez

Chavez resumes Venezuelan TV show after illness

Venezuela: Women with PIP breast implants demand justice while creating online support network

Cuba - Venezuela to Premiere Film on Terrorist Posada Carriles

Vietnam

(PHOTO: Venezuela's Skyscraper slum. Ángela Bonadies & Juan José Olavarría/THE ATLANTIC WIRE) Vietnam Bars Zimbabwe’s Mugabe's Plane From Its Airspace

Vietnam rice exporters face growing competition for low-end markets 

Vietnam asks the US to help search for the missing

Vietnam hopes to clear unexploded ordinances in 100 years 

Vietnamese Man Has 200-Pound Tumor Removed From Leg (Video)

Hoang Thuy chosen Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2011

No One Wants to Move to Vietnam’s New Cities (Perspective)

Wallis and Futuna Islands

(PHOTO: Multi Platinum selling R&B group Boyz II Men is headed to Zimbabwe in March this year. The Zimbabwe Guardian)New Caledonia politician says territory should merge with W&F

Yemen

Yemen's Cabinet gives president immunity from prosecution

Yemen told by UN not to pass amnesty law to protect “gross violations”

Yemen PM kicks off tour to GCC states seeking aid

WFP raises 2012 food aid to Yemen to $122 million

Yemen plans to renegotiate container port accord with DP World

Yemen HR minister: government must talk to youths

Yemen to have Friday-Saturday weekend

Zambia

Organization Works to Rehabilitate Sex Workers in Zambia

(PHOTO: Volcanic activities at Ambrym & Yasur volcanoes at Vanuatu. THE WATCHERS)Graft: Zambia charges ex-minister

IFAD releases K127bn for rural agro development

Maamba's planned thermal expansion to boost power

PF government should address the plight of lack of health workers (Perspective)

Zimbabwe

Terror bungee fall like being slapped: tourist (Video)

‘Air Zimbabwe refused to take advice’

Zimbabwe MPs to get own hotel

Union urges teachers to report for work

ZMDC Takes Over Sino-Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Operation

A tale of two democracies: New Hampshire to Zimbabwe

(PHOTO: Taiwan Movie Madness-Actor Masanobu Andô as Genji Kojima (left) & Umin Boya as aboriginal warrior Temu Walis in Warriors of the Rainbow Seediq Bale.)Zimbabwe outlaws sale of used knickers

MDC-T MP demands union for prostitutes

Boyz II Men headed for Zimbabwe

WORLD

Russian, French warships off Syria, Iran, US drones over Iranian coast

$ 20 trillion needed for global oil & gas infrastructure in MENA

MultiTaction 55-inch Multi-Touch Display Can Track Hundreds of Fingers

Struggles of Refugee Children Captured By Filmmakers

Mobile tech and child protection in West Africa

Amnesty International slams western reactions towards Arab Spring

The Career Of The Future Doesn't Include A 20-Year Plan. It's More Like Four.

(PHOTO: MultiTaction 55-inch Multi-Touch Display Can Track Hundreds of Fingers. PC WORLD)‘Occupy’ occupies 2011 Word of the Year

Ecobank applies equator principles to finance activities

Elton John Writing His First Book

Press censorship on the rise in Latin America (Perspective)

Ocean Floor Reveals Past Climate Changes

Deep Sea Expedition to Probe Tectonic Plates 

(PHOTO: The world's tectonic plates. USGS)

Monday
Jan092012

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

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

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

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

Q: How serious is the Iran situation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Will Turkey become involved?

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

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

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

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

Saturday
Oct292011

Floods in Central America Cause Death, Displacement, Chaos 

(PHOTO: UNISDR)(HN, October 29, 2011) – Ten days of heavy rains in Central America have caused the deaths of an estimated 123 persons; forced tens of thousands from their homes and destroyed crops, livelihoods and infrastructure in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

In El Salvador, 35 persons are reported dead and some 55,000 persons were evacuated from their homes and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has begun to deliver assistance and manage shelters in the flood zone.  As part of the UN Flash Appeal for El Salvador, IOM is appealing for US$709,522, which includes US$ 288,997 from the CERF.

With funds from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), in El Salvador IOM will support the management of 42 temporary shelters currently housing 1,895 persons; that the shelters comply with safety and hygiene standards; provide basic materials to improve the shelters; and distribute non-food emergency items amongst most affected families. 

"This week, all assessments were finished, and so with that concrete information in hand we can now begin the delivery of relief supplies and the rehabilitation of shelters", explains Jorge Sagastume, IOM Shelter and Emergency Coordinator in El Salvador, where the need is focused on urgent shelters and return kits for the families to rebuild their damaged homes.

"The rains have stopped, but the emergency continues," said Sagastume, head of the IOM eight-person assessment team which this week visited the departments of Ahuachapán, Sonsonate, La Libertad, Usulután, La Paz y San Miguel.

"Hundreds of persons have left the shelters, but have returned to communities that are still suffering from lack of clean water, proper hygiene, and bacterial infections, especially amongst the children," added Sagastume.

In Guatemala, where 39 people are reported dead and more than 500,000 have been affected, IOM is requesting US$ 442,417 from the CERF to repair and upgrade basic living and sanitary conditions in temporary shelters and provide non-food emergency assistance to some 2,000 families in the departments of Santa Rosa, Escuintla, Retalhuleu, Quetzaltenango, Jutiapa y San Marcos.

IOM's Sebastian Berkovich headed the three-person IOM team that this week visited seriously affected communities in the southern department of Santa Rosa"We had relentless rains for more than a week; non-stop rain for more than seven days.  During our trip to Santa Rosa we saw chunks of highway that had been washed away by the rains and entire communities isolated on the other side of the road," recounted Berkovich.  

Marta Zamora, Nursing Assistant at the village of La Bomba health centre, told IOM, "The water has receded a bit, but access to the clinic is still very difficult.  Fortunately one of our colleagues was able to go the nearest town and fetch medicine, so we have supplies.  We're treating children with upper respiratory infections and many people with fungal infections." 

At the peak of the rains and floods, the Nicaragua Government reported that 10,000 persons had been evacuated to emergency shelters.  Although some 3,000 have returned home, IOM Nicaragua is working with its partners to rebuild and rehabilitate existing shelters, strengthen the capacity of shelter managers, distribute non-food items (house cleaning implements, kitchen kits, comfort kits, and hygiene kits) to the estimated 7,000 persons who remain homeless and in shelters.  As part of the UN Flash Appeal, IOM Nicaragua is appealing for US$ 637,374.

This week, the IOM Nicaragua team visited the most affected departments of Estelí, Nueva Segovia, Madriz, Leon and Chinandega.  The team worked hand-in-hand with IOM's local staff in Chinandega and Estelí, as well as with authorities and the NGO Shelter Box to assess the extent of damage to the homes, as well as the living conditions of those who took refuge in official shelters.

IOM Officer Daizen Oda reported heard from people whose homes completely collapsed or were washed away; others lamented that their home was missing the roof or a wall.

"Some shelters are filled with more than 200 people, including women and children.  They told us that they had lost most of their belongings.  IOM, working with its many partners, is ready to begin distributing non-food items to this population the moment funds become available," said Oda.

A woman from Villanueva, in the department of Chinandega, who was forced to seek refuge in a school told IOM: "It is not easy to live in a school with so many other people and with students coming in every day for their classes." 

As the lead agency in charge of shelter, IOM Nicaragua will work with its partners to rebuild or rehabilitate existing shelters, strengthen the capacity of shelter managers, distribute non-food items (house cleaning implements, kitchen kits, comfort kits, and hygiene kits) to families in shelters; provide protection and psychosocial support to some 4,000 children and adolescents in shelters, and support the prevention of gender-based violence in shelters in Managua.  

To carry out these activities in Nicaragua, and as part of the UN Flash Appeal, IOM is appealing for US$ 637,374.  The approval of the UN's Flash Appeal for Nicaragua is expected today.

IOM is working with governments in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua and Honduras, as well as national and international partners, and is appealing for US$ 2,783,926 to provide emergency assistance to the affected communities.

In the past 40 years, the region has endured a multitude of natural disasters that have killed some 50,000 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

--HUMNEWS staff, IOM

Tuesday
Oct252011

Hurricane Rina Heading Towards Mexico As Many Parts of Central America Suffer From Severe Flooding (NEWS BRIEF)

(graphic courtesy of National Weather Service) (HN, October 25, 2011) Hurricane Rina, which spent days nagging the coastline of Honduras as a disorganized depression, has now coalesced into a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, could barrel into Belize and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula by the end of the week, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

The storm was packing sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour and was tracking to the northwest at six miles per hour.

"Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours," and Rina could unleash up to five inches (12.5 centimeters) of rain in some areas, the Miami-based NHC said in a bulletin.

Rina's center was about 135 miles northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios, on the Nicaragua-Honduras border, and was predicted to pass north of the Honduran coast.

Several nations in Central America have only just begun to dig out from recent torrential rains which triggered deadly flooding and landslides, swamped huge swathes of farmland and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

The number of fatalities across the region topped 100, including 36 deaths in Guatemala, 34 in El Salvador and 18 in Honduras, from non-stop downpours that have affected hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed crops, livelihoods and infrastructure. 

Throughout the region, some 1.2 million people have been affected, said the UN.

According to the Salvadoran Ministry of Natural Resources, almost 60 inches (150 centimetres) of rain have fallen in the past 10 days.  The cumulative record for Hurricane Mitch, which in 1998 killed 11,000 people in the region, was 34 inches (86 centimetres).

The region has endured a multitude of natural disasters, in the past 4 decades, that have killed some 50,000 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

- HUMNews Staff 

Saturday
Jul022011

Immigrants and 11 Latin America Nations Fight New US Immigration Laws (REPORT) 

Protestors hold signs and chant while marching to Georgia's state capitol Saturday. (CREDIT: J DiBenedetto, HUMNEWS 2011) (Atlanta, Georgia, USA-HN, 7/2/11) – Today, thousands marched on the US state of Georgia’s Capitol in protest of House Bill 87 – an anti immigration bill which passed and was signed earlier this year - chanting cries of “Humans are not for sale” and “Justice for all”.  Protestors called upon US President Barack Obama to step in and do something to halt the stringent requirements.

In March of this year, after a moderate amount of debate in the state House of Georgia, the legislature passed a strict immigration bill that has sparked ire among 11 Latin American countries and various civil and human rights groups.

Following a similarly controversial step in the US states of Arizona, Utah and South Carolina, Georgia passed the law, known as House Bill 87, targeting illegal immigrants and those who harbor them in the state. It carried by a largely Republican party-line vote of 113-56 in the House; with a 37-19 vote in the Georgia State Senate. HB 87 is also called the `Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011'.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal went on to sign the bill, one of the nation’s toughest immigration enforcement measures in May, and both the Georgia law and the South Carolina law took effect July 1.  All of these laws have challenged the thorny debate over illegal immigration in the United States and triggered immediate court appeals.

Under Georgia’s sweeping HB 87, police will be empowered to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects and Georgia employers will be required to check the status of potential workers by using the US Federal `E-Verify’ system before hiring. The measure also sets new regulations and penalizes people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants in the state. 

State lawmakers have cited passage of these bills as being necessary because they say “efforts to get comprehensive immigration legislation through the US Congress have failed”, complaining the federal government has not secured the nation's borders.

Immigration protestors want Justice for All on Saturday in Georgia (CREDIT: J DiBenedetto, HUMNEWS 2011) But federal judges in both Utah and Arizona have halted both of those states' laws amid complaints that they are unconstitutional. In Georgia last week, two of the more controversial provisions of the state’s new immigration enforcement law were blocked by US federal judge Thomas Thrash; but other provisions that were not overturned go into effect July 1. It is now a criminal offense to apply for a job with a false I.D. in Georgia, punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and 15 years in jail.

Aside from the 11 Latin American countries, the US Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and several other civil and immigrant rights groups are party to the legal cases hoping to stop Georgia HB 87 from going forward.

The governments of Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru filed court papers stating that HB 87 is unconstitutional because there is already a federal immigration law on the books.

“HB 87 substantially and inappropriately burdens the consistent country to country relations between Mexico and the United States of America,” Mexico says in its brief in support of halting the law. It also claims the bill is “interfering with the strategic diplomatic interests of the two countries and encouraging an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination.”

In its defense, the state of Georgia has also filed court papers against the challenge to dismiss the lawsuits.

Even before the law in Georgia took effect yesterday, there were reports of immigrants, Hispanics and others who may be affected by the new law leaving the state to avoid detection or prosecution.

In a state – and indeed region where agriculture is one of the biggest industries for the South – the consequences include serious labor shortages with crops rotting in fields, and forcing farmers to raise prices to pay for new workers.

"When this all started in May there was big concern whether we would have enough labor to harvest the crops," Executive Director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Charles Hall, said.

Immigrant workers have been leaving the state since Georgia's bill passed. (CREDIT: J DiBenedetto HUMNEWS 2011) Judge Thrash’s ruling last week has stemmed the flow of people leaving for the time being. But many remain worried, and in recent days have taken to Georgia’s streets and called for a `Human Rights Summer’ in the state to stop the bill from fully coming into practice. Organizers plan to visit Latino communities throughout the state to educate people and organize mobilizations.

The two provisions halted by the judge would have resulted in police checking the immigrant status of anyone detained for traffic violations or some other crime and would have criminalized the harboring and transporting of undocumented immigrants.

Still in play and set to go into effect on January 1, 2012 are parts of the bill which will require employers with 500 or more employees to use the federal E-Verify system to determine job applicants’ legal status before hiring them. Federal law says that E-Verify can only be used for new employees; so many undocumented workers will be unaffected unless they lose their jobs.  That requirement will be phased in for all businesses with more than 10 employees by July 2013.  Also starting January 1, applicants for public benefits must provide at least one state or federally issued “secure and verifiable” document.

In South Carolina, a new illegal immigration enforcement unit has been established by that state’s law and the unit will coordinate between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

Critics of the bill cite both the need for migrant workers for food harvesting but also other economic issues as being impacted with the state’s decision.  Metro Atlanta school officials plan to closely monitor their enrollment figures over the summer.  The reason: many illegal immigrants could leave the state and pull their children out of public schools if opponents are unable to block the law in federal court. In Arizona, which passed a similar immigration law last year, hundreds of children left some of its schools after the bill passed. The state’s tourism business is also taking a hit too.

On Saturday immigrants and US citizens alike took to the streets of Atlanta (CREDIT J DiBenedetto HUMNEWS 2011) On Friday in Georgia, the day HB 87 took effect, a Latino community group called The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights organized a “day without immigrants” to protest the measure. It called for a day of non-compliance, asking businesses to close and community members to stay home and not work or shop. Accounts suggest that at least 125 Atlanta-area businesses closed to show their support Friday.

“We will mark our presence with our absence so that the state of Georgia takes note of the important role and contributions of Latinos in the state,” the group’s president, Teodoro Maus, said.

At Plaza Fiesta, a mall in Atlanta that caters to the growing immigrant population, many stores were closed, with signs in the windows expressing opposition to the law and saying they would be closed Friday in solidarity with the immigrant community. Many restaurants in the food court, however, were open.

The group is also trying to create shopping zones that are friendly to the immigrant community. After a business owner signs a “pledge of non-compliance” with the new law, they get a sign to put in their window that says “Immigrants Welcome Here, Georgia Buy Spot.”

Georgia’s Hispanic population has nearly doubled since 2000, to 865,689, or nearly 10 percent of the state’s population, according to 2010 US Census figures.

But the legal fight nationally is far from over. It could drag on for months and reach the chambers of the US Supreme Court before long.

----HUMNEWS staff

Tuesday
Oct262010

(Report) Tackling hunger in Nicaragua 

(photo: UN News) (HN, October 26, 2010) -- In an effort to check rising rural poverty and hunger in Nicaragua, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping the country’s government to support small-scale farmers boost their production of beans, maize, rice and other staple crops.

The agency said that there are 52.5 million hungry people in Latin America, citing high food prices and the global recession as among the main reasons for the region’s increasing food insecurity.

Although Nicaragua has made strides in the fight against hunger and poverty, it is still the second poorest country in the region after Haiti. In 2009 the GDP fell by almost 3% due to decreased export demand in the US and Central American markets, lower commodity prices for key agricultural exports, and lower remittance growth – remittances are equivalent to almost 15% of GDP.

In Nicaragua, poverty is a rural phenomenon, with two out of three people in the country-side living on less than $1 a day.

FAO is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union (EU) to help farmers’ associations increase their yields through a two-year, €3 million scheme which will, among other activities, focus on the delivery of high-quality seeds as well as the provision of technical support and marketing assistance  

During the planting season which lasted from May to June, nearly 5,000 hectares of land were planted with improved bean, maize and rice seeds provided by FAO to more than 4,000 farmers.

No results are available yet, but looking back on the harvest of late last year, Leonard Fagot, the agency’s project coordinator, said he is optimistic.  At the time, FAO assistance led to productivity increases of up to three times the national average in the central area of Jinotega.

Drought and pests hit the department of Nueva Guinea in south-eastern Nicaragua, and yields remained slightly under average. Nevertheless, Fagot is looking forward to the upcoming season. Many farmers will come and work with us again.

Related economic information

The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, but increases in the minimum wage during the ORTEGA administration will likely erode its comparative advantage in this industry. Nicaragua relies on international economic assistance to meet internal- and external-debt financing obligations. Foreign donors have curtailed this funding, however, in response to November 2008 electoral fraud. In early 2004, Nicaragua secured some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in October 2007, the IMF approved a new poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF) program.

- HUMNews Staff (sources: UN, FAO, IMF)