June 26, 2019  

Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio.

For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have 8 athletes competing; and a good shot for a medal in women's judo: Majlinda Kelmendi is considered a favorite. She's ranked first in the world in her weight class.

(South Sudan's James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel & coach Joe Domongole, © AFP) South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, will have three runners competing in the country's first Olympic Games.

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)



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



CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au)


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Entries in BANGLADESH (13)


Guyana, Suriname elected to key UN Committees for upcoming United Nations General Assembly (REPORT) 

(SOURCE: WorldAtlas) (September 4, 2012) - Set to make history, today both Guyana and Suriname were selected to chair two of the most important committees at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Guyana will serve as Chair of the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly for the 67th Session, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced.

In a related development, Ambassador of Suriname to the UN, His Excellency Mr. Henry Mac Donald, was today also elected to chair the Third Committee, making this the first time that two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) representatives will chair Main Committees of the General Assembly during the same session.

The General Assembly body stated:

"The Assembly today elected Guyana's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador George Talbot, by acclamation to chair the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee).  Ambassador Talbot is the first Representative of a CARICOM Member State at the United Nations to hold the position."

The Second Committee, which deals with a wide range of development matters, will have a full agenda of issues to consider, among them:  macro-economic policy questions, sustainable development issues, including follow-up to the Rio+20 conference, challenges associated with poverty eradication, globalization, international migration and development, and the situation of countries in special circumstances such as Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States.

(Video: UN promo for upcoming 67th UNGA meeting, 2012)

Guyana’s priorities for the upcoming session will include a focus on: food security and agriculture, poverty eradication, climate change related issues, and the developmental impact of inequalities both within and across countries as well as on greater effectiveness and efficiency in the conduct of the work of the Committee.

During Guyana's tenure, the Committee will also undertake the first quadrennial comprehensive policy review of the UN's operational activities for development.  Ambassador Talbot was nominated and endorsed for the post by CARICOM and by the Group of the Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC) which include 33 countries, equaling 17% of all UN members.

Additionally, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bangladesh were also elected to the Bureau of the Committee.

Ambassador Talbot, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the University of Guyana and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, is a career diplomat with vast experience in multilateral affairs.

This year's gathering of the UN's world body of 193 nations will is set to convene in New York City on September 18, and will run for two weeks. According to earlier voting, Serbia's Vuk Jeremić was elected president of the United Nations General Assembly; and Jamaica was chosen as the first seat in the General Assembly Chamber meaning they will lead the chamber in order of speeches.

(This article first appeared in Demerara Waves.)


The Dangers of Journalism (REPORT) 

(Video 25 years of Reporters Without Borders)

(HN, 4/5/12) - Yesterday's suicide bombing at the newly opened National Theater of Somalia is now believed to have killed four people, including the nation's Olympics chief and FIFA head among them; just as a ceremony began in celebration of the Somali National Television's one-year anniversary.

It was meant  to be a moment of lightness in the much darkness Somalia has experienced in 25-plus years of unrest, famine, and chaos.

It also - again - highlighted the dangerous situations global journalists contend with - even at an afternoon cultural event - to tell the story.

(PHOTO: Advocates in Sri Lanka/JNEWS) Journalism, on any stage, is never safe.

Various reports say that at least 10 journalists - four of them women - were seriously injured when the blast ripped through the  theater 5 minutes into a speech by the Somali Prime Minister, Abdiwelli Mohamed.

Witnesses said they believed the bomber had been a female who mingled with the crowd before detonating. The explosion killed 4 people.  The nation's Olympics chief and FIFA head among them.

The Al-Shabaab militant group has taken responsibility.

The hurt reporters are named as (SEE PHOTOS HERE):  Said Shire Warsame of Shabelle TV, Ahmed Ali Kahiye of Radio Kulmiye; Ayaan Abdi (female) of S24 TV/Somalie 24  and Hamdi Mohamed Hassan Hiis (female) of Somali Channel TV; Deeqa Mohamed (female) of the state-run Radio Mogadishu/ Radio Mogadiscio; Mohamed Noor and Mohamed Sharif of Radio Bar-kulan; Somali National Television staffers and Abdulkadir Mohamed Hassan, and freelance journalists Suleiman Sheikh Ismail and Mulki Hassan Haile (female) of Royal TV.

Reporters Without Borders in Paris said, “We condemn this despicable attack in the strongest possible terms and our thoughts are with the many victims,”

By all accounts, being `on assignment' can sometimes mean life or death for a journalist - and not always glamorous. 


In its annual "Attacks on the Press" report, the New York-based Committee  to Protect Journalists (CPJ) detailed intimidation and deaths to journalists. 

Imprisonments of reporters worldwide shot up more than 20% to its highest level since the mid-1990s in 2011, according to the annual survey - an increase driven largely by widespread jailings across the Middle East and North Africa;  finding, 179 writers, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1.  More than 34 higher than in 2010.

Additionally Iran was the world’s worst jailer, with 42 journalists behind bars. Eritrea, China, Burma, Vietnam, Syria, and Turkey also ranked among the world’s worst.

Losing their lives in 2011 were 46 journalists who were killed in the line of work around the world - undertaking dangerous assignments such as covering street protests and civil strife which reached a record level last year (2 more than 2010) as political unrest swept the Arab world. 

Reporters Without Borders puts that number at 66; and a tally by Switzerland Press Emblem Campaign says the total is as high as 106.

Photographers and camera operators made up about 40% of the overall death toll and noted an increase in the deaths of Internet journalists - who rarely have appeared in the totals before - with nine killed last year.

(Video of the moment of blast in Somalia yesterday, captured - via The Guardian)


Country-by-country, in 2011, Pakistan had the most deaths with seven, while Libya and Iraq followed with five each, and Mexico had three.

So far in 2012, the most hazardous duty ranks are:  Syria- 7, Somalia-3, India-2, Nigeria-2, Thailand-1, Pakistan-1, Brazil-2, Bangladesh-2, Afghanistan-1, Philippines-1

By all accounts approximately 22 journalists have died this year alone.  

They are:

Ali Ahmed Abdi, Radio Galkayo, Puntlandi - 3/4/12 in Galkayo, Somalia

Rajesh Mishra, Media Raj - 3/4/12 in Rewa, India

Abukar Hassan Mohamoud, Somaliweyn Radio - 2/28/12 in Mogadishu, Somalia

Anas al-Tarsha, Freelance - 2/24/12 in Homs, Syria

Rémi Ochlik, Freelance - 2/22/12 in Homs, Syria

Marie Colvin, Sunday Times - 2/22/12 in Homs, Syria

Rami al-Sayed, Freelance - 2/21/12 in Homs, Syria

Mario Randolfo Lopes, Vassouras na Net - 2/9/12 in Barra do Piraí, Brazil

Mazhar Tayyara, Freelance - 2/4/12 in Homs, Syria

Hassan Osman Abdi, Shabelle Media Network - 1/28/12 in Mogadishu, Somalia

Enenche Akogwu, Channels TV - 1/20/12 in Kano, Nigeria

Mukarram Khan Aatif, Freelance - 1/17/12 in Shabqadar, Pakistan

Wisut "Ae" Tangwittayaporn, Inside Phuket - 1/12/12 in Phuket, Thailand

Gilles Jacquier, France 2  - 1/11/12 in Homs, Syria

Samid Khan Bahadarzai, Melma Radio - 2/21/12  in Orgun, Afghanistan

Chandrika Rai, Navbharat, The Hitavada - 2/18/12 in Umaria, India

Paulo Roberto Rodrigues, Jornal Da Praça, Mercosul - 2/12/12 in Ponta Porá, Brazil

Meherun Runi, ATN Bangla Television - 2/1112 in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Golam Mustofa Sarowar, Maasranga Television - 2/11/12 in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Nansok Sallah, Highland FM - 1/18/12 in Jos, Nigeria

Christopher Guarin, Radyo Mo Nationwide/Tatak - 1/5/12 in General Santos City, Philippines

Shukri Abu al-Burghul, Al-Thawra/Radio Damascus - 1/3/12 in Damascus, Syria



Bangladesh Army Says Forces Foiled an Attempt to Topple Government (NEWS BRIEF)

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed(HN, January 19, 2010) -- Military officials in Bangladesh say they have foiled an attempt by former and serving officers to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s government.

Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq told a news conference that “evidence has been unearthed that some officers in active military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance through the army”. Razzaq said, current and former Bangladeshi military officers “with extreme religious views” were involved in the ‘heinous conspiracy”.

The plot was instigated by Bangladeshi conspirators living abroad, he added.

Two retired officers – Lt. Colonel Ehsan Yusuf and Major Zakir – have been arrested, Razzaq said, but did not say when. Authorities are also looking for another conspirator retired officer Major Ziaul Haq, he said.

Bangladesh, a parliamentary democracy since 1990, has witnessed two presidents killed in military coups and 19 other failed coup attempts, since its independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Running on a program of cutting food prices, raising living standards and fighting terrorism, the election of Hasina in 2008 ended of two years of military-backed emergency rule.

A border security force, the Bangladesh Rifles, mutinied in 2009 over guards’ pay and working conditions. (Newsxlive)

The rebels killed 63 army officers before the military suppressed the revolt and arrested hundreds of force members over subsequent months.

The government tried 666 members of the border guards in a single proceeding in June, convicting all but nine in a process that the New York-based group Human Rights Watch said failed to meet international standards for a fair trial.

About a third of Bangladesh, the world’s seventh most populous nation, floods during the annual monsoon, hampering development. According to the World Bank approximately 40 percent of the country’s 150 million people live on less than $1 a day. 

- HUMNEWS Staff, Agencies



(PHOTO: In Armenia, drug manufacturers eye the Uzbek market/NEWS.AM)Afghanistan 

Karzai leads wave of condemnation over video of urination on corpses

Afghan life expectancy improves by 18 years since 2001


Worried Albanians in northern Greece prepare to go home


Clinton, Algerian FM discuss Arab mission in Syria 

Andaman Islands

Andaman Islanders 'forced to dance' for tourists - video

Andaman & Nicovar islands: Government orders probe into Jarawa video as outrage grows

Fifteen people arrested for intruding into Jarawa areas

When neglect of a place is projected as an attraction (Perspective)


New snow parks will be opened in Andorra


Angola warns Namibia farmer settlers


Helen Skelton's Polar Challenge: the latest

(PHOTO: In Austalia, the seizure by federal police from captured Spaniards of $80 million in cocaine is the 5th largest ever/Australian Federal Police) Antigua & Barbuda 

Monaco Royal couple compliments Antigua


DirecTV builds its first 70K Argentinean STBs


Armenian drug manufacturers wish to conquer Uzbek market 

American Samoa 

Concern at over-crowding at American Samoa high school


Spaniards to face court over cocaine seizure

Police worried shootings linked to turf war


Baku Tightens Control over Mobile Phones


Bahrain race circuit reinstates protest staff

Bahrain economy is on the mend

(PHOTO: Oily birds & fish are eginning to wash ashore on Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean after last weeks tanker sinking off New Zealand/THE AUSTRALIAN) Bangladesh 

Bangladesh to extend trade with Nepal, Bhutan


US companies to build gas pipeline to the Eastern Caribbean


Belgian tax authorities investigate EU trade chief


Belize opens its border to Mexico for 72 hrs


West Africans would pay more for pesticide-free food


Bolivia to Increase Gas Shipments to Argentina in 2012 


Bosnian Parliament appoints a new prime minister, 15 months after election


Power crisis to linger on 


Brazil milk imports soar as its own farms struggle 

Brazil announces plan to rein in immigration from Haiti

(PHOTO: In Europe, Poland recently handed over teh EU Presidency to Denmark/EPA)Bulgaria

Bulgaria PM Scandalously Scolds Killed Girl Family, Lauds Police

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso to bust corruption


Burundi's military lags behind in fight against HIV/AIDS: survey


Boko Haram infiltrates Cameroon-report


Khmer Rouge genocide trial continues

Medicines clash in Cambodia


Canada to spend $11 million updating diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka

Cape Verde

Cape Verdean government plans to invest in improving conditions at fishing port

Central African Republic

Central African rebel group quits peace process 

(PHOTO: The Straits of Hormuz from space/NASA) Chad

Senegal stops extradition of former Chad dictator Hissene Habre


Chilean grape importers expect stronger markets


China Internet users top half a billion, many more to go

China defends Iran oil trade despite U.S. push

China warns US against interfering after it expressed concerns about Tibetan self-immolations

Chinese Smartphone Maker ZTE Passes Apple Globally, Targets U.S.

Christmas Island

Oil-covered birds, red crabs in island clean-up


Colombia begins historic process of land restitution

Costa Rica

Costa Rica drops in peace ranking

(PHOTO: Great Britain is getting read to rebrand itself & its manufacturing industry with the `Make it in Great Britain' campaign.) Croatia

Croatia, Slovenia discuss border dispute


Iran, Cuba call for new world order 

'A new kind of torture' as Guantanamo detainees lose hope  (Perspective)


Cyprus stops Syria-bound Russian ammunition ship


Djibouti government refutes Al Shabaab's claims

Iraq’s Warka Bank enters Djibouti Market

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic, Haiti join hands to uproot cholera

East Timor

East Timor Settling Down A Bit: UN To Leave This Year

(PHOTO: Romanian president Traian Basescu wears an apron at a Chinese New Year celebration in Bucharest./Romania Business Insider)Ecuador

Iran's Ahmadinejad arrives in Ecuador


Eritrean refugees kidnapped, killed: UNHCR chief


Two convicted journalists to seek pardon

Falkland Islands

'Mercosur members reconfirmed agreed policies over Malvinas,' Timerman


Invasive weed alert


French journalist killed in Syria on official trip

Gaza and West Bank

Gaza Hamas leader to visit Iran, Qatar: report

Mahmoud Abbas Will Not Attend Tunisia’s Celebration of the Revolution

Palestinian Liberation Requires Unity (Perspective)


Released Georgian sailors returning home

(PHOTO: Message in a bottle from Vanuatu. Rudie Langevelt with the message in a bottle he found on Grey Rocks Beach, Bingie in Australia on Friday morning./NaroomaNews.com)Ghana

Panelists advocate restructuring of educational system 


Guyana Water Incorporated launches countrywide disconnection campaign


Twitter exposed epidemic in Haiti before health officials


Hungarians bank on Austria to secure savings

Hungary President Denies Plagiarizing Bulgarian Researcher


Over 40 Percent of India’s Children Malnourished - report

Central Asian sex workers reaching India: Missions told to scan women visitors from region

Indian bureaucracy rated the worst in Asia

India scores major victory in battle to eradicate polio

(PHOTO: The famous Nike `Swoosh'/NIKE)Indonesia

Nike agrees to just pay it in Indonesian workers' compensation deal


Pirate Attacks Target Iranian Vessels


Japan, Singapore Officials Discuss Key Maritime Issues

Japan proposes Saudi Arabia and UAE to increase oil export 


Jordan activist charged after torching king's picture


Kazakhstan faces grain storage problem


Kenya military spokesman in Twitter war over graphic photos

Kenya on edge as terror attack threat looms


Sheikh Sabah Khalid meets Yemeni FM

Legal workers stage strike, call for rights

(PHOTO: In Dubai, UAE volunteers are trying to ckean up the beach from cigarette butts./SUPPLIED) Lithuania

Russia refuses Lithuanian request to interrogate Gorbachev


Remittances to Mexico are rebounding


Myanmar in ceasefire with Karen rebels

New Zealand

Millions spent on travel for judges and spouses

Photo essay: Work's a bowl of cherries

North Korea

N. Korea reopens door to food-for-nukes deal with U.S.


Norwegian Prime Minister Slams Turkey Over Free Press


Omani-Dutch ties growing stronger

Muscat Festival: One month to showcase traditions of Oman 


Pakistan speeds pursuit of Iranian pipeline

Lead figure in MemoGate Mansour Ijaz to appear before the Memo Commission on January 16, 2012-source

PM urged to take notice of nine new Indian dams on Indus, Chenab rivers

(PHOTO: In South Korea, 9 sites have been temporarily added to the UNESCO World Heritage list including Dosan Seowon, built 1574/YONHAP)Papua New Guinea

World's tiniest frogs found in Papua New Guinea

PNG eligible for work program in the US


Paraguay culls 168 livestock in response to Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak


Peru, Phillippines among emerging-economy stars by 2050: HSBC


Saudi Arabia to lift ban on Filipino maids

New strawberry varieties pop out of school lab


Poland hands over EU Presidency to Denmark


Portugal posts highest inflation rate for 10 years

Puerto Rico

Famed astrologer Walter Mercado hospitalized in Puerto Rico


Qatar, Unveiling Tensions, Suspends Sale of Alcohol

Qatar Investments in Sudan Reach US$2 Billion


Romanian president puts on apron and prepares traditional food at Chinese New Year reception

Romanian president Traian Basescu posed wearing an apron a


UN Slams Russia on Syria Monitor Vote

Russia calls for Asian-Pacific unity on environment-protection laws


French Probe Seemingly Clears Rwanda's Kagame in Genocide Events

US NGO Donates Computer Lab to Kigali School

Voices of the most vulnerable children heard at Rwanda’s annual National Children’s Summit by Unicef correspondent Suzanne Beukes

Saint Kitts & Nevis

Increase in local vegetable production projected

Female arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into prison

Saint Lucia

Guyanese National Becomes St Lucia's New Attorney General

Saint Vincent & The Grenadines

Cyprus releases Russian Syria-bound 'ammunition' ship flying the Saint Vincent and Grenadines Flag 

(PHOTO: In Zimbabwe bungee jumping has been suspended while the government conducts an investigation as to why an Australian tourist plunged to the Zambezi river after snapping her rope/NEW ZIMBABWEAN) Saudi Arabia

Saudi oil output nearing capacity limit-report

Crown prince, Yemen premier hold key talks in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia to continue fuel donation to Yemen

Saudi-Israeli hacking scandal continues

Saudi Arabia restaurant offers free meals to the needy

26-day cold snap in Arabia as Shabt season begins


Senegal 'to lose US aid unless it extradites Habre'

Senegal's President pardons jailed opponents

Global Greens Congress to be held in Dakar, Senegal, Mar. 29-Apr. 1 2012 (Press Release)


Singapore, Japan should cooperate in anti-piracy acts (Perspective)


Slovak UN envoy elected new president of Economic and Social Council


Slovenian MPs reject candidate for PM

Solomon Islands

New Zealand FM McCully visits Solomon Islands to talk business

Solomon Islands Ratifies Anti-Corruption Convention

(PHOTO: In Yemen, aid workers who are coping with unrest are turning to the community for collaboration/IRIN)Somalia

Somalia: Wounded have difficulty reaching medical facilities

Somalia Militants Flogging Woman Over Christian Conversion

UNDP compound in Mogadishu attacked

South Africa

South Africa: Zuma in New York for UN session

World’s most expensive fuel arrives in Gauteng

South Korea

'S. Korea in great need of Iran's crude'  says official  

S. Korea puts 9 sites on UNESCO's temporary heritage list

Woman has Deceased Dog Cloned in S. Korea (Video)

South Sudan

US Military to Help Build South Sudan


Spain adopts austerity plan (Video)

Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka's central bank leaves rates unchanged

Tamil refugees slowly return from India

New wave of student protests

Female unemployment rises with education


Filipinos urged to leave Sudan as crisis worsens 


Sweden Announces Plans for Massive 700 Megawatt Wind Farm in The Baltic Sea

Sweden's teachers free to ban Islamic veils

Swedish Companies Take Advantage of Cheap Labor in U.S.


‘Maintenance tax won’t change sexual behaviour’

100 jobs lost as water project funding dries up

(PHOTO: In Tunisia, an unprecedented multi-artist mural goes up in Kairouan as the country readies to mark 1 year since revolution/TUNISIA LIVE)Switzerland

Swiss may say no to European workers


Syria's Assad blames unrest on 'foreign conspiracy'

400 killed in Syria since late Dec: UN

Turkey seizes alleged Iranian arms shipment to Syria


Taiwan's top election issue: rich earn 6 times more than poor

Sewage system in Taiwan highly tainted with antibiotics

Paparazzi hounding of bereaved father spurs call for news boycott


Tajik President congratulates Iranian counterpart

IMF approves US$20.1m disbursement for Tajikistan

Teenager confesses to committing Santa Claus murder in Dushanbe


Head of Iran's National Library to visit Tanzania 

More than 130,000 young people are HIV positive 

Women's climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro shouts for Freedom from trafficking


Thailand To Host Two Global Conferences For The Blind In 2012

Water levels behind Thailand dams a worry

Shrimp outlook promising

Thai growers protest over low rubber prices

Thailand needs to reform its educational system for 2015

Thailand's Education Ministry Builds End-to-End IPTV Communications Network

UN rapporteur says Thais need freedom of expression

L'Oreal sitting pretty here

(PHOTO: In Dubai, UAE officials inaugurate a new 1-Gigawatt solar park/Khaleej Times)The Arctic

Vast methane ‘plumes’ seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats

Britain set to probe impact of Arctic 'oil and gas gold rush'


Pacific island makes renewable a reality


‘Terrors of Tonga’ arrested, guns seized 

Trinidad and Tobago

Emotions flow as Trinidad's 'daughter PM' visits Bihar village

India, Trinidad and Tobago ink key pacts to boost bilateral trade  

Police storm television station in Trinidad and Tobago to seize video of sexual assault

Dubai’s Next Top Stylist: Derek Khan


Tunisian woman kills herself by self-immolation, 4th case ahead of uprising anniversary

Tunisia forum to enhance economic cooperation between Turkey, N. Africa

Major Tunisian Secular Parties Announce Merger

Unprecedented Tunisian Mural Goes Up in Kairouan

Tunisian Mehdi Gharbi Awarded the 2012 Martin Luther King Prize

Qatar Telecom pledges investment in Tunisia

Revolution Through Arab Eyes - Tunisia: The Revolt Continues (Perspective/Video)


Climate negotiator Rende: Turkey ready to do its part on climate change


Turkmenistan to build rail for high-speed trains

Turkmenistan adopts new law on political parties in bid to boost competition

Turkmenistan, UN seek to boost cooperation


Bank of Uganda issues new consumer protection rules

Uganda Faces Inflation Dilemma

Ugandan President Meets with Senior Chinese Official

Uganda: What to Consider When Investing in Land

Minister Urges Development in Information Technology

'International pay' promise for Ugandan scientists

Uganda plans to fence off national parks

Jailed Journalist Applies For Bail

Uganda's plantation workers' fate in limbo (Video)


Ukraine parliament votes down moonshine bill

Ukraine expects to resume cooperation with IMF after completion of talks with Russia on gas price, says social policy minister

Ukraine opposition demands parliament investigate Tymoshenko health

Restrictions of land use to result in shadow leasing

Ukraine's grain crop likely to fall-report

Ukraine introduces discount on transit cargo transshipment at commercial sea ports in 2012

90% of asylum seekers in Ukraine turned down-report

(PHOTO: Are Abu Dhabi's party days over? The Abu Dhabi headquarters of Aldar Properties, which received a $10 billion government bailout/National Journal) United Arab Emirates

UAE-Greece joint committee meeting begins

UAE Says Customers Responsible for Hormuz Security

Talent shortage threatens Gulf retail banking expansion

UAE corporate sector set for 23% growth

Bankruptcy no longer crime under draft law

UAE- Another 'The World' island for sale at USD28.6m

UAE’s Dubai Launches 1-Gigawatt Solar Power Project

513,554 butts on the beach in Dubai

UAE-126 women graduate in medicine, pharmacy

UAE to host third Crisis and Emergency Management Conference

After the Party in One of the World's Richest Cities (Perspective)

United Kingdom

U.K. Film Industry Gets Commercial Clarion Call From Prime Minister David Cameron

UK spy agency MI5 named as gay-friendly employer

UK to reintroduce computer science teaching in schools

High speed rail will be great for city - minister

U.K. Men on Trial For "Death Penalty" Antigay Fliers

Al Gore’s Current TV UK Accuses BSkyB of Forcing it to Shut Down

McDonald's To Offer Books Instead Of Happy Meal Toys In The UK

London 2012 Olympics: BOA nominate Great British Olympians for torch relay

Olympic Summit to give £1 b boost for British biz

Planting trees now will return England to forest cover of Domesday

Sledge hired for 'Make it in Great Britain' campaign

92 Percent of UK Dieters have Fallen Off Their Resolutions Already-Poll

Great Britain on the brink of break-up: Furious Scottish nationalists at war with London over independence referendum (Perspective)

(PHOTO: Zimbabwe’s mobile saturation raches 74.7% says the country's Post & Regulatory Authority/The Zimbabwe Mail)United States

US defense chief condemns Afghan corpse video

NY Judge Drops Binladen Group as 9/11 Defendant

United States EPA: Power Plants Main Global Warming Culprit

U.S. icebreaking technology lacking, as ships charge toward Nome, Alaska (Perspective)


Citrus exports are reduced

Alleged Haiti abuse victim 'ready to testify' (Video)  


Uzbekistan in its determination for development always relies on China’s support - president

BRIEF: Uzbek banks' share capital reaches almost $1 billion 


Message in a bottle all the way from Vanuatu

The charms of island obscurity


Iran asks Venezuela to repay debts exceeding USD 290 million

Venezuela mulls revival of neglected ports

Children's Mission Spreads Nationwide

Prison Standoffs Spiral Across Venezuela (Perspective)


Ties with India a priority for Viet Nam 

UNAIDS, Vietnam work to fight HIV/AIDS

Vietnam to use Japan model / Tokio Marine to help Hanoi make nuclear plant insurance plan

Vietnam fishermen accuse foreign ship of causing boat wreck 

Vietnam ex-cops receive suspended sentences for torturing woman

Vietnam’s sustainable forest target deemed unattainable

Andrew Yee for ELLE Vietnam, Fashion

(PHOTO: In Abu Dhabi at the World Future Energy summit, Un Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announces the UN Year of Sustainable Energy/UN) Yemen

Coping with unrest - aid workers turn to the community


Zambia's tourism minister bungee jumps from Victoria Falls to reassure visitors after snapped rope sent backpacker plunging

Zambian minister offers to bungee-jump with Australian who plunged

Airtel Zambia blocks callers to its call center if they call more than 3 times in a day -ZICTA

AfriConnect picks Airspan for 4G network in Zambia

Region set to enjoy reliable power supply

Zambian government to review mining policy: minister

DFID provides UNICEF with new funding to help Zambia reach health and environment MDGs with Equity (Press release)


Victoria Falls bungee jumps suspended

India Pledges to Transform Zimbabwe Economy

Chinese Contractor Denies Abusing Local Workers

Zimbabwe Constitutional Draft Excludes Language Protecting Gay Rights

Teachers Report for Duty Despite Strike Threats

Zimbabwe’s tele-density rises to 74.7%

Exiled Zimbabwean newspaper to launch redesign Thursday

Brown Revolution Brings New Hope

Time to Use Drama, Film to Spread Gospel

10 fundamental reasons why I endorse Zimbabwe internet/facebook/social media politics, by Presidential Candidate Jones Musara (Perspective)

(PHOTO: Lebanon’s Jabbour Douaihy is one of 6 authors shortlisted for this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction/THE NATIONAL) World

Financial crisis lays seeds of 'dystopian future' – WEF Analysis

Ban Ki-moon to Launch UN's International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at World Future Energy Summit 2012 in Abu Dhabi (Press release)

Shortlist for Arabic fiction prize released

What's in a gTLD?  And what does it mean for you and your business


Climate Change: The North Must Pay for Mitigation Strategies (PERSPECTIVE)

By Imraan Baccus

(HN, November 29, 2011) - As Durban welcomes the world for the COP 17 meeting, the air is filled with some of the excitement that we all felt during the World Cup last year.

But the debates around environmentalism and the need to take serious action against climate change are often tending to the superficial. There is a lot of self-righteousness and Hallmark style sentimentality around, when what we need is a clear look at the realities of the situation.

Climate change is a reality and for a low-lying country like Bangladesh, it could be a very serious problem. There is no doubt that serious action needs to be taken and that it needs to be taken quickly. But when the debate slips, as it often does, into a sort of 'We are the World' sentimentality it forgets some essential facts. One of these facts is that it is North America and Western Europe that have caused this problem. They industrialised first and they became rich countries. 

Here in Durban this morning, a debate around the North, civil society and who should be paying for clean energy alternatives emerged in a civil society discussion. What is clear is that the current crisis was caused by the North's industrialisation over the last two hundred years and they are therefore the ones with the moral responsibility to sort it out. They are also the ones with the resources to be able to afford clean alternatives to fossil fuels. When it is suggested that we must all sacrifice in the fight against climate change there is a slippage into the assumption that we are all equally responsible when that is clearly not the case. We are not all equally responsible and the industrialised North needs to pay climate reparations along with reparations for colonialism and slavery.

When green technologies and energy sources are more expensive, countries in the global South must not be forced to use them. Venezuela has a right to use its oil to meet the needs of its people. The rich countries in the North can afford to shift to clean energy and if it is necessary for the global South to follow suit, then this must be subsidised by the North. Some governments in Latin America have made this point very strongly and the logic of their argument is clear. But countries in the South cannot allow themselves to be bullied into shifting towards technologies that they cannot afford when the masses of their people remain in poverty.

There is also a longstanding colonial tendency to assume that modern civilisation rightly belongs in the white West but should not corrupt the rest of the world. This romantic nonsense is just a ploy to keep the people in the global South in their place, and their countries attractive playgrounds for the global elite. All countries have the same right to modernise and to meet their people's needs.

When environmentalists in the global South echo this colonial language that says that the natives are best left to their traditional ways they are often feted in the North. The Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva is a good example of this. But we should not forget that many progressive Indian academics and activists are extremely critical of her romantic anti-modernism, which they see as being deeply complicit with colonial ideas about the noble savage. Marxists, who are committed to modern forms of economic development, are often appalled by her ideas.

The fact that China and India are now rapidly industrialising is sending all kinds of shock waves through the West, which is rapidly losing its position of dominance over the rest of the world. When the language of environmentalism is used in the North to question the rapid advance of India and China it often masks a desire to reserve industrialisation, and the economic power it brings, to the West.

But the discomfort that many of us feel with the green agenda on the global scale is also replicated at home.

Many black South Africans are deeply suspicious of the green agenda and there is good reason for this. Conservation was historically used to evict Africans from their land and the practise of evicting people in the name of 'eco-tourism' has continued after apartheid. So called 'eco-estates', in rural areas and in cities', are very often nothing other than zones in which the more extreme edge of white privilege uses a green language to make its exclusionary privilege seem like some sort of ethical commitment. 

It's not unusual for middle class environmentalists that want to get rid of unsightly pollution, rubbish dumps or industrialisation in their areas to also want to get rid of poor African people from these areas. There is often a clear connection between environmentalism and racism in South Africa and its quite unusual for the green agenda to take questions of social justice seriously. In fact its quite clear that for many white people, and some wealthy black people too, the language of environmentalism is attractive because its gives its users the appearance of holding the ethical high ground without them having to question their own privilege with regard to other South Africans – most of whom are black and poor.

Of course there are some real attempts to link environmental questions to social questions. Here in Durban the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and the work of people like Des D'sa and Bobby Peek is deservedly famous. The struggle against pollution in South Durban is a struggle lead by working class black people and it demands a clean environment for the people of Wentworth, Merebank and the Bluff. It does not see poor or working class black people as 'pollution', which is often a key assumption in much white environmentalism and much middle class black environmentalism.

If the green agenda is to have a future in South Africa it must face up to the historical responsibility of the North when it comes to climate change and it must find ways to, as has been done in South Durban, link environmental questions to social questions. In Latin America mass movements have been built that successfully link environmental questions to social questions but there in South Africa it remains a field that is dominated by white and middle class interests and often carries a deep hostility to poor black people.

Buccus is Research Fellow in the School of Politics and at the Democracy Development Programme. The views expressed are his own and should not be attributed to any of his institutional affiliations. This commentary first appeared on the website of the South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS).


Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder of BRAC, Bangladeshi humanitarian, wins world’s largest education prize in Qatar

(PHOTO: wikipedia)Keen to promote the cause of education, Qatar stepped in to fill a perceived gap last year when its Qatar Foundation conceived the $500,000 WISE Prize for Education. While the Nobel committee gives out prizes for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace, there’s been no major global prize to recognize outstanding service in education – until now. On Tuesday, the Qatari emir awarded the inaugural WISE Prize to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, who, despite his British knighthood in 2010, remains an under-recognized pioneer in the field of education.

Abed’s organization, BRAC, which I’m privileged to be a part of, has been called the best-kept secret of a development success story. Founded by Abed in 1972, it is now the world’s largest nonprofit by most measurable standards. From its headquarters in Dhaka, BRAC now operates in 10 countries, with a staff of 125,000 reaching 138 million people worldwide – constantly improving and replicating programs that put individual empowerment at the core of antipoverty efforts. For these 40 years of humanitarian work with a social entrepreneurial approach, and specifically for his role in providing affordable education to millions, Abed received the world’s largest education prize at Doha’s World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), which runs this week from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3.

For Abed and BRAC, education is part of a comprehensive antipoverty strategy designed to create ladders of opportunity for the poor. “In these difficult financial times, as more and more people rise up to speak for the ‘99%,’ occupying streets across various cities of the world, the issue of inequity has been thrown into the forefront of world politics,” says Abed. “How do we begin to address this? We start with education – because education is the great equalizer.”

What’s different about the BRAC approach? Praised for its innovation and business-like approach to poverty alleviation, the organization promotes a “low-tech, high-touch” approach to educating the world’s poor. That might sound contrarian in a world enamored of new technology, but it’s effective. The wisest investments are often as simple as renting a schoolhouse instead of building new ones. In the message it delivers this week to over 1,000 thought leaders in the education field, BRAC emphasizes cost-efficiency and scalability – developing solutions that can be replicated several million fold, across multiple countries.

That said, BRAC does partner with private entities in tech ventures to advance its mission and promote connectivity among the poor when it is cost-effective to do, using mobiles phones, smart phones, desktop and laptops. The organization is in partnership talks with Pearson PLC, a leading global media and education company, to assist in Pakistan and elsewhere.

This week’s award signals that philanthropists are increasingly embracing the BRAC approach. His Excellency Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, chairman of the WISE conference, says Abed “recognized that education is a passport to social inclusion and opportunity. He discovered a successful formula, and he adapted and expanded it – first in Bangladesh and then in other countries.”

“As a direct consequence, millions of people around the world lead healthier, happier and more productive lives,” Al-Thani adds. “His vision, resourcefulness and determination are vital ingredients of the innovation process and he stands as an example to all of us who believe that education, more than anything else, determines the destiny of individuals and societies. The jury saw him as an ideal WISE Prize Laureate.”

The jury for the award consisted of five globally recognized leaders in education: James Billington, the U.S. Librarian of Congress; Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University; Fatma Rafiq Zakaria, chair of India’s Maulana Azad Educational Trust; H.E. Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology for South Africa, and Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, the WISE chair.

Already educating millions in Bangladesh – it is, in fact, the largest private educator in the world – BRAC is now in the midst of an international expansion effort that sees it perfecting and scaling up its low-cost education approach with help from private sector partnerships. Aided by a $45 million commitment from The MasterCard Foundation, BRAC is expanding its efforts in Uganda, for instance, aiming to reach over 12 percent of the population by 2016. It is also active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, South Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Haiti.

BRAC’s large-scale solutions aim to create opportunities where few exist for the poorest of the poor. “Innate talent is distributed equally around the world at birth, knowing no bounds of geography or class,” says Susan Davis, president and CEO of BRAC USA, a US nonprofit set up to advance BRAC’s mission. “Opportunity is not. We need to redress that imbalance if this world of 7 billion is to prosper as a whole.”

In addition to traditional learning, BRAC seeks to “educate the whole person” by teaching life skills, which are especially important in conflict and post-conflict environments like Afghanistan and South Sudan. It is embedding social and emotional learning into its curriculum, teaching self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

“BRAC has always been an institution devoted to education at all levels – not just in the classroom,” says Richard A. Cash, an author and expert on global health at Harvard University and one of the founders of BRAC USA. “In fact, in many ways it is what defines the organization. There are training programs for workers at all levels of the organization in Dhaka and the field.”

The Qatari prize is the latest in a string of accolades Abed has received in recent years. In addition to last year’s British knighthood and a Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2007, he has also received the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, the Gates Award for Global Health, and the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. After 40 years of working quietly to alleviate poverty in all its forms, it is recognition well earned. 

---Scott MacMillan is a writer and is the communications manager at BRAC USA in New York.  


Lost on the way to Dohagram Angorpota (REPORT)

By Nicolas Haque 

In the northern districts where Bangladesh meets India, there are no street signs to tell you where you are. 

So after hours of driving down narrow roads flanked by verdant green paddy fields, my cameraman and I had to admit we were lost. 

Thankfully, we spotted a fire station where a jovial fire chief greeted us. We asked him for directions to Dohagram Angorpota, a Bangladeshi enclave inside Indian Territory. 

He told us that he knew exactly where it was because it is an area he has been assigned to cover - at least during the day.

“If there is a blaze during the day my men can be there in no time at all, but if there is a fire after six o'clock in the evening, the people there have to handle it on their own," he said, as he twirled his perfectly parted moustache.    

Indian border guards control the access points to this Bangladeshi village inside the Indian Territory. 

At night they close off the parameters of the area, effectively locking thousands of people inside their community and sealing it off from outsiders.  

There are 55 such enclaves in India and 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh. 

The enclaves were created hundreds of years ago when the region was one territory. Landlords and kings would play a game called pasha in which they bet parcels of their land. 

A recent head count organised by the two countries revealed that 51,000 people live in these no man's lands.

Last July, enclave inhabitants on both sides were asked to choose which country they wanted to belong to. It turned out that feelings of national allegiance went hand-in-hand with religious beliefs. 

The people of Dohogram Angorpota said they would prefer to be Bangladeshi. Most in this enclave are Muslim and feel closer to Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country. 

Similarly, residents of the Indian enclaves inside of Bangladesh are overwhelmingly Hindu and they seek allegiance to India. 

Rezaul Rahman, the headmaster of Dohogram primary school, says: "There is no religious tension, just closer affinities." 

At his school, pupils already consider themselves Bangladeshi. 

They start each day by singing the Bangladeshi national anthem together and they follow a Bangladeshi curriculum, even though students at all the schools around them follow the Indian system. 

Authorities from Bangladesh have officially asked India to grant it 24-hour access to Dohogram Angorpota. 

People here have set their hopes high for the outcome of the Indian Prime Minister Mamohan Singh’s two-day visit to Bangladesh, which begins on Tuesday. 

One of the most important issues under discussion during the visit is the signing of an agreement that formally recognises each other's enclaves.

Shortly after Bangladeshi independence in 1975, Bangladeshi leader Sheikh Muja and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi came to an agreement over these parcels of land. 

But Sheikh Muja was assassinated before the agreement was signed. 

His daughter, Sheikh Hasina is now the country’s prime minister and she is determined to finalise the agreements made by her father.  

For people living in enclaves, the agreement means the formal recognition of a national identity which continues to be strong. 

The people I met in Dohagram Angorpota have been yearning for this sense of belonging and for the recognition of a nation they desire to belong to.

Originally published by Al Jazeera under Creative Commons Licensing 


Tragedy at Sea for African Migrants (News Brief)

Italian rescue workers attend to survivors from the shipwreck off Lampedusa CREDIT: Laura Bastianetto/Croce Rossa Italiana(HN, April 6, 2011) - More than 250 migrants are feared dead after a boat carrying some 300 people sank in the early hours of the morning, some 40 miles off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. 

Forty seven survivors were rescued at sea by the Italian Coast Guard and three by a local Italian fishing boat, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported this morning.

The vessel, which was laden beyond capacity, had left the Libyan coast with migrants and asylum seekers from Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Chad and Sudan. Some 40 women and five children - including a two-month-old infant - were on board. Only two women survived the shipwreck.  
The survivors were transferred to Lampedusa. They told IOM officers who are providing them with first aid and counselling that the boat sank in rough seas. 

They say that when rescuers arrived, the boat was already sinking. Survivors managed to swim towards the approaching Coast Guard ship. Many drowned because they couldn't swim or were dragged down by desperate fellow passengers. 

The journey reportedly took two days in rough seas.

"The survivors are all in a state of shock," says IOM's Simona Moscarelli. "One man told me he had lost his one year old son. One of the two surviving women told me how she had lost her husband."

The Italian Red Cross said the migrants said they hoped for a new life in Europe; among them are tailors, masons and electricians.

The migrants have been transferred to the Loran base, a facility where the Italian authorities are sheltering migrants coming from Libya, in order not to mix them with the migrants arriving from Tunisia.

Since the beginning of February, the island of Lampedusa has been overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 20,000 migrants. The majority of them are Tunisian coming from the Tunisian port of Zarzis, Djerba and Sfax. Over the past ten days, more than 2,000 mostly African migrants and asylum seekers have landed on the island after having sailed from the Libyan coast. 

This latest incident comes as Lampedusa's ability to deal with the large number of refugees "has been stretched to the limit", according to Italian officials.

Since 2006, IOM has been providing assistance to migrants in Lampedusa as part of a project funded by the Italian Government. IOM works alongside UNCHR, Save the Children and Italian Red Cross to monitor reception assistance and to provide legal counseling to migrants who have arrived on the island.

- HUMNEWS staff, IOM


As Libya Burns Bangladeshi Migrant Workers Told to Stay Put (NEWS BRIEF)

There are more than 60,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers in Libya. Only a fraction have been evacuated.(HN, March 16, 2011) --- In a shocking move, the Government of Bangladesh, claiming there is little danger to their safety and security, has told tens of thousands of its migrants workers to remain in Libya.

"We are discouraging those Bangladeshi who are still in Libya from coming back. These are poor workers. We are afraid if they come back they will lose everything," Bangladesh's manpower secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan was quoted as saying."If they are not in direct danger, we advise them to stay where they are."

About 60,000 Bangladeshis working on construction sites in Libya have struggled to escape since the violent rebellion against Colonel Gaddafi began. The situation is deteriorating by the day as forces loyal to the recalcitrant leader continues its offensive against opposition forces.

Officials in Dhaka have admitted they had no resources to send ships or planes, and turned to UN agencies to pick up the slack.

Only about 7,500 Bangladeshis have left, but those that remain are being advised by the government not to leave - even though the UN High Commission for Refugees has called for a mass evacuation.

Migrant workers' remittances are a huge income earner for the impoverished country.

Meanwhile other countries with large numbers of migrant workers in Libya are continuing evacuations. Nigeria has chartered Boing 747 aircraft to bring home its nationals.

- HUMNEWS staff, agencies


Amid Intimidation, Growing Numbers of Sub-Saharan Africans Escaping Libya (REPORT)

(HN, March 10, 2011) - As attention focuses on the widening and increasingly-viscious civil war raging in Libya, growing numbers of Sub-Saharan African migrants are still managing to escape and reach border crossings - to the relief of aid officials and governments.


The good news comes amid reports that Libyan troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi are rounding up black African migrants to force them to fight opposition forces. Western news agencies are quoting young African men who managed to flee to Tunisia.

They said they were raided in their homes by soldiers, beaten and robbed of their savings and identity papers, then detained and finally offered money to take up arms for Gaddafi. Those who refused were told they would never leave, said Fergo Fevomoye, a 23-year-old who crossed the border on Sunday.

"They will give you a gun and train you like a soldier. Then you fight the war of Libya. As I am talking to you now there is many blacks in training who say they are going to fight this war. They have prized (paid) them with lots of money," he told Reuters.

Said UNHCR  spokesperson Sybella Wilkes: “African refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea have told us that just being a Black face in Libya is very dangerous at the moment."

There are more than 20,000 migrants still stranded in Tunisia and Egypt, awaiting evacuation assistance with an average of 6,000 still arriving at the two borders alone on a daily basis. 

According to relief officials there are few countries in the region that are not represented within the steady stream of those fleeing: although the majority of those being evacuated today are Bangladeshis -who still represent the largest group of migrants stranded at both the Egyptian and Tunisian borders - 349 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Malians, Mauritanians, Guineans, Nigeriens, Senegalese, Togolese, Sierra Leonian, Beninese and Cameroonians, are also on flights home.

In the past three weeks, more than 252,000 people have crossed into Tunisia, Egypt, Niger and Algeria.

"Although the numbers of Africans fleeing to the borders still remain comparatively small, they are mounting. This is an encouraging sign given our strong concerns over the targeting of Sub-Saharan Africans inside Libya," says Mohamed Abdiker, Director of Operations for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The UN agency is today evacuating 1,052 Bangladeshi, Sub-Saharan Africans and Filipino migrants from Tunisia, Egypt and Malta. Among the 1,713 migrants evacuated by IOM on Wednesday were a group of 295 Ghanaians as well as a Sudanese.

As the UN and other agencies work to ensure that all the migrants stranded are helped as quickly as possible with particular focus having been given to first the Egyptians and then the Bangladeshis, with large numbers of the latter still awaiting assistance, charter and commercial flights are being used simultaneously to assist African migrants home as fast as possible. 

Donor governments include the British, Belgian, French, Italian, Austrians, Irish, Swiss, Swedish and the US as well as UNHCR, IOM will have helped nearly 21,000 migrants from many countries to return safely home to their countries by today. Recent efforts have focused on securing support for long-haul charter flights to enable the return home of thousands of Bangladeshis in particular.

- HUMNEWS staff, UN


Horror Stories Emerge as Migrants Fleeing Libya Reach Safety (Report)

(HN, March 5, 2011) - UPDATED 0930GMT - As migrants attempt to flee an increasingly dangerous Libya, horror stories are beginning to filter out about desperate measures taken to escape the carnage.

It was previously believed that most of the exodus of more than 100,000 people in the last 10 days consisted of fit young men - but there are also many vulnerable women and children, it has emerged.

On Thursday, 40 particularly vulnerable West African migrants - fearing for their lives given the targeting of Sub-Saharan Africans and desperate to leave Libya - said they had paid a human smuggler to take them to Egypt in a sealed and refrigerated truck.

For African migrants - many from poor, small countries that lack the ability or desire to repatriate their nationals - there are countless bitter tales of targeted treatment in Libya.

Some Eritreans said that in the 160 kms from Tripoli to the Tunisian border, they had been stopped 20 times and totally dispossessed of all their money and belongings.

A Chadian migrant recounted the increasing violence at night-time in Tripoli that had led to great terror among him and others.

Many arrive at border crossing with just a blanket and few belongings. Aid agencies say that as the migrants flee, employers refuse to pay them weeks or months of owed back wages.

"The problem is that there are a number of them arriving at the border without proper documents and without a visa to enter Egypt," said UN  official Roberto Piteo.

But the most horrifying account is that of Ike Emanuel, a 35-year-old Nigerian migrant, who interrupted his journey to bury his 6-month-old baby girl in the desert last week after she died of exposure on a desperate trek to escape Libya.

"I lost my baby. She died and we buried her in the desert," Emanuel told Reuters. "We spent three days in the desert and she was a little baby of six months and she could not endure the cold," he said. "I am going home with nothing, going home again without my baby which can be my future."

Reports also quote many Bangladeshi migrant workers complaining harshly about the lack of any response from their government. In an appeal written on a bed sheet, they urged Tunisia and the world to "save the lives of 30,000 Bangladeshis".

Some returnees have been quoted in the Bangladeshi media as saying that they faced starvation due to the lack of consular assistance.

Shaheed Uddin, a Bangladeshi migrant worker from a camp in Tripoli, said Libyans set fire to a labour camp and looted valuables Thursday night. The camp housed around 1,000 Bangladeshi workers. One Bangladeshi was killed and some others got injured, he claimed.

"Those Bangladeshis then fled wherever they could," he told The Daily Star of Dhaka, adding that such incidents have become regular and his camp housing 300 workers could be next.

In response to an official request from the Government of Bangladesh, the UN has had to step in to fill the lack of responsiveness from Dhaka. There were at least 60,000 Bangladeshis in Libya prior to the uprising.

More than 640 Bangladeshi migrants were evacuated from the Libyan port city of Benghazi Thursday via a road convoy by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and escorted by the Libyan Red Crescent to the Egyptian border crossing at Salum. IOM will then organize for their return home to Bangladesh in the days to come.

Sadly, some African migrants have no hope of assistance from their governments. Giovanni Martinelli—a Catholic bishop and the vicar of Tripoli—says hundreds of Eritreans showed up at St. Francis Catholic Church in Tripoli last Sunday seeking help, according to one published report. Many of the Eritreans are Christians that fled persecution in their home country.

Even for Egypt, which had an estimated 1.5 million of its nationals working in Libya, the sudden burden of hosting the returnees is not an easy task for the interim military governments. What is more, the flow of remittances from these migrants will come to a sudden halt - creating a knock-on effect for vulnerable families back home.

In the past few days, IOM staff had located several thousand migrant workers from many nationalities in the port at Benghazi and the surrounding warehouses with the largest groups comprising Bangladeshi, Indian and Sudanese migrants. This morning, another 500 Bangladeshi migrants arrived at the port compound in a two-hour period.

IOM staff in Ras Ajdir report that an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis already on the Tunisian side of the border, decided to walk the 8km distance to a UNHCR camp today. In a five kms long column, the migrants carried their luggage as best they they can. Some of them, all young men, say they had walked from Tripoli to the Tunisian border.

In Egypt, where IOM is also providing registration and humanitarian assistance to migrants at the Salum border crossing, has so far evacuated 1,079 migrants, mostly Bangladeshi but also including

Ghanaian, Malians and Filipinos.

IOM staff in Ras Ajdir report that an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis already on the Tunisian side of the border, decided to walk the 8km distance to a UNHCR camp today. In a five kms long column, the migrants carried their luggage as best they they can. Some of them, all young men, say they had walked from Tripoli to the Tunisian border.

- HUMNEWS staff, IOM


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.



Starved for Attention - Bangladesh: Terrifying Normalcy 

Starved for Attention” produced by Doctors without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frotiers (MSF) and VII Photography captures frontline stories of malnutrition from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, India, Mexico, and the United States.

Part II: Tackling Childhood Malnutrition

Most damage caused by malnutrition occurs before a child’s second birthday. This is the critical time when the child’s diet has profound, sustained impact on his or her health and on physical and mental development.

In places such as south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, research shows that the cost of purchasing nutritious food is prohibitive form most parents, making it virtually impossible to provide adequate nutrition.

Recent advances in nutrition science and nutrition programming create opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable regions.

Countries including Mexico, Thailand and Brazil have reduced childhood malnutrition through direct nutrition programs that ensure infants and young children from even the poorest families have access to quality foods such as milk and eggs. Through such programs substantial progress has been made to towards freeing children from consequences that come with malnutrition at an early age. At the same time there is growing political will in Asian and African countries to replicate successful programs.

The World Bank estimates that $12 billion a year is needed to scale up effective nutrition programs to meet current needs. Only $350 million were spent on direct nutrition programs in 2007.

There is not enough emphasis on the types of foods included in aid deliveries in other words, the quality of food. Most current food aid programs for developing countries rely almost exclusively on fortified cereals made from corn and soy blend (CSB), which may relieve a child’s hunger, but does not provide proper nourishment.

In 2009 Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF) medical teams treated 250,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition in 116 programs in 34 countries primarily with nutrient dense ready-to-use foods, which while more expensive than foods currently provided by the food aid system, actually work to prevent and cure severe malnutrition – and can be used on a very large scale. Currently MSF is operating nutrition programs in 36 countries

In addition to a diet that includes quality foods, micronutrients – key minerals and vitamins such as iodine, iron, vitamin A and Folate – enhance the nutritional value of food and have a profound impact on a child’s development and mother’s health. Doctors Without Borders and other organizations such as UNICEF collaborate with diverse groups of public and private organizations, forming alliances such as the Vitamin A Global Initiative (UNICEF) and work with governments to deliver key minerals and vitamins.

Families and communities are the key players in the battle against childhood malnutrition and must work together to assess, analyze and take action to solve any problems.  The strategy is to empower community members to become their own agents of change. Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF's role is to work with governments to support participatory, community-based programs focusing on children’s survival, growth and development.

Also critical is the need to protect the rights of women and girls. Wherever women are discriminated against, there is greater malnutrition. Children born to mothers with no education are twice as likely to die in infancy as those born to mothers with even four years of schooling. Reproductive health, including birth spacing for at least three years, also reduces stunting and death.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of all children to the highest attainable standard of health, and specifically the right to good nutrition. Governments have the legal responsibility to protect that right and it is in the best interest of all that they fulfill this obligation. Malnutrition is both a consequence and cause of poverty. Children’s nutrition and well being are the foundation of a healthy, productive society.