Tag Archives: 7

A refuge for Myanmar refugee kids

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A refuge for Myanmar refugee kids

By KENNETH CHAW

http://thest

 

Volunteers Heidy Quah and Khoo Ghee Ken (right) make lessons fun and interactive for the refugee kids.
Volunteers Heidy Quah and Khoo Ghee Ken (right) make lessons fun and interactive for the refugee kids.

A group of 18-year-olds take on the responsibility of providing education for over 70 Myanmar refugee kids.

IT is way after midnight and college student Heidy Quah is hunched over her desk, her brows furrowed in concentration.

Instead of surfing the Net, watching her favourite drama series or rushing to finish up some last-minute assignments like most of her peers, Quah is busy drawing and cutting out caricatures of various shapes and sizes.

“Sometimes I stay up till 4am to prepare my teaching materials,” says Quah.

The Diploma in Business student at a local college is a committed volunteer teacher at a refugee school where she conducts art and craft lessons, among others.

At just 18, Quah is the founder of a registered non-government organisation, Persatuan Kebajikan Perlindungan Kanak-kanak Pelarian (Refuge For The Refugees), which aims to provide education for Myanmar refugee children.

As of October last year, 91,520 Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers who are hoping to build a better life for themselves in First World countries like Australia, Canada and the United States, are temporarily placed in Malaysia. The immigration process usually takes up to several years before they are finally resettled in their designated countries.

Meanwhile, precious time goes by as children of these refugees – at the height of their formative years – have no access to the local education system due to their refugee status. The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) has teamed up with various NGOs to set up learning centres for them but out of 13,800 children who are of school-going age, only 40% of them have access to education.

Chin Children’s Education Centre (CCEC) is one such school. Over 70 Myanmar refugee children from ages four to 16 fill the dilapidated community hall of a low-cost flat in Kuala Lumpur, for five hours every weekday. The learning environment is far from conducive as the classes, which are separated by sheets of cloth, are all held in the small hall.

Five teachers – two sponsored by UNHCR while three are hired – work tirelessly to help the children learn English, Mathematics and Science. Due to the overwhelming number of students, the teachers are often unable to step into every class, leaving many of them unattended.

Ten-year-old Pari’s favourite subject is Science and she names Heidy her favourite teacher.
Ten-year-old Pari’s favourite subject is Science and she names Heidy her favourite teacher.

Early last year, Quah had just finished secondary school and was waiting to start college. After hearing about a volunteer opportunity at a school camp, she roped in her friends Andrea Prisha, Chan Weili and Khoo Ghee Ken to volunteer as teachers at CCEC on a weekly basis.

As time went by, the youths established a bond with the refugee kids and were devastated when they heard that the school had to close down in a matter of months.

“CCEC was funded by UNHCR for two years under the Social Protection Fund. The contract expired in July 2012 and was not renewed,” explains Quah.

With college just around the corner, the group was faced with the difficult decision of whether they should continue helping the school.

Eventually, Quah and her friends made the bold choice of not only continuing to teach the students every week but to take on the school’s financial burden as well.

Refuge For The Refugees came into the picture when Quah realised that corporations were sceptical about providing funding to an unregistered NGO. Apart from a few phone calls from apprehensive officials of the Registrar of Societies, the application process went smoothly and before they knew it, RFTR was up and running.

Six months have passed since its inception and Quah confesses that running the NGO has not been easy. They need about RM1,200 a month to keep the school going. This sum covers the rental, utility bills and stationery for the kids.

Sponsorships are hard to come by at times.

A curtain separates one class from another due to space constraints.
A curtain separates one class from another due to space constraints.

Sponsorships

“When we e-mail companies for sponsorships and they find out that we are a bunch of 18-year-olds, many people think that we are up to no good,” says Quah. Thankfully, some sponsors are willing to keep an open mind. Quah recalls a man who wanted to see the school for himself before making a donation.

Online volunteer portals Do Good. Volunteer. and Do Something Good have also served as effective avenues for them to get the word out, fetching sizeable donations from the public. In times of financial drought, they manage to get by, raising small sums through fundraisers like bake sales.

When it comes to ensuring quality education for every child, the youths have to work doubly hard as they are not formally trained teachers. They even come up with their own educational materials to supplement those provided by UNHCR.

Quah and her friends sure know how to make lessons fun for the kids. Sweets are used to help the younger kids learn how to count, while art and craft lessons provide an avenue for the students to develop their creativity.

“RFTR is compiling a proper syllabus for the year, so volunteers can start teaching immediately without having to prepare any material,” shares Quah.

“To get round the language barrier, we carry an English to Chin (dialect) dictionary,” Khoo adds.

The team volunteers for two hours on Wednesdays but every visit to CCEC takes a whopping three hours for the team to travel to and fro, as they rely on public transport. On top of that, they have to allocate time to plan for the day’s lesson besides finding ways to raise funds.

Andrea, a Foundation in Arts student at a local university, asserts that volunteering does not affect her studies.

“College is a priority for me, but these kids mean a lot to me as well. If I have assignments, I will finish them first to make time to volunteer; it is workable,” says Andrea.

Although Khoo, an A-Level student, is unable to teach during weekdays, he helps out with events on weekends, drafts proposals and letters, and updates their Facebook page.

Supportive

Chan, an Australian Matriculation student, does not mind turning down movie outings and skipping teh tarik sessions with friends, just so she can find time for her volunteer work. “Sacrifices have to be made from time to time if I am to teach at the centre,” says Chan.

It helps that the parents of these dedicated and committed youths are supportive of their activities.

Quah and her team of enthusiastic volunteers dispel the common perception that young people just want to have fun and take little interest in the plight of the less fortunate. Khoo points out that many of his peers are not involved in volunteer work because the avenues just aren’t presented to them.

Quah believes parents play an important role in instilling compassion for the underprivileged, in their children. “My parents exposed me to people who were less fortunate from a very young age. We used to celebrate Chinese New Year in orphanages where we would play and sing songs with the kids,” she recalls.

“When I don’t see them for a week and they tell me they miss me, that makes me happy,” says Andrea.

Quah finds great satisfaction in charting the children’s progress. “There was this boy in my class who used to be very destructive. He would hit other kids for no apparent reason. I later learned that his dad is an alcoholic who physically abuses him. I decided to pay more attention to him and appointed him as class monitor. So instead of starting fights, he is now the one who stops fights,” says Quah, who is proud to note a change in the boy’s behaviour.

Indeed, it is positive changes like these which keep the youths going. Quah is driven by a vision to take RFTR to a new level and reach out to more refugee children so that they can also enjoy the gift of education.

To make a donation or find out more about volunteer opportunities at Refuge For The Refugees, call Heidy Quah (012-307 3714) or visit facebook.com/refugefortherefugees or e-mail refugefortherefugees@gmail.com.

ar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2013/1/21/lifefocus/12558661&sec=lifefocus

Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years

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Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years

May 17, 2012 | 216

Since Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón began an all-out assault on drug cartels in 2006, more than 50,000 people have lost their lives across the country in a nearly-continuous string of shootouts, bombings, and ever-bloodier murders. Just last weekend, 49 decapitated bodies were reportedly discovered on a highway in northern Mexico. The New York Times reports on an increasing numbness and apathy among Mexicans after years of worsening carnage, about which they’ve been able to do virtually nothing. Gathered here is a collection of recent photographs from Mexico’s drug war and the people so horribly affected by it.

Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full. There are many dead bodies; the photographs are graphic and stark. This is the reality of the situation in Mexico right now.

A masked Mexican soldier patrols the streets of Veracruz, on October 10, 2011. Soldiers of the Army, Navy and members of Federal Police patrol the streets of the city as part of “Veracruz Safe Operation” after a rising tide of violence plaguing this tourist city. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A masked Mexican soldier patrols the streets of Veracruz, on October 10, 2011. Soldiers of the Army, Navy and members of Federal Police patrol the streets of the city as part of “Veracruz Safe Operation” after a rising tide of violence plaguing this tourist city. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer stands near evidence markers at a crime scene in Ajijic on the outskirts of Guadalajara, on April 9, 2012. Gunmen shot dead three who were sitting in two different cars outside their homes, according to local media. (Reuters/Alejandro Acosta) #

The body of a man lies behind the wheel inside a car in Acapulco, on February 10, 2012. Two men were shot by gunmen, one was killed and the other seriously injured, according to local media. (Reuters/Jacob Garcia) #

Poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia (center) embraces family members and relatives of his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco Sicilia and his friends at their flower wreath, during Juan’s death anniversary in Temixco near Cuernavaca, on March 28, 2012. The bodies of Juan and his friends were discovered on March 28, 2011, in a car in Cuernavaca by the police along with a menacing message from drug cartels. (Reuters/Margarito Perez Retana) #

Morgue workers place a coffin holding an unidentified body into a grave at San Rafael cemetery on the outskirts of the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on December 27, 2011. The bodies of 36 unidentified people, killed in drug-related incidents, were buried after being held in the city morgue for several months without being claimed by relatives. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez) #

A forensic technician points his flashlight at the shoes of a man at a crime scene in Mazatlan, on February 13, 2012. The man was shot dead by gunmen while he was walking on the street, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Baseball players belonging to the Saraperos de Saltillo team take cover during an intense shootout that broke out during a game in the parking lot of the stadium in the city of Saltillo, northern Mexico, on March 13, 2012. According to a state police spokesman, three gunmen were killed and another was injured and captured after the gunmen battled with a special tactics unit of the state police. (AP Photo) #

Thousands of guns are destroyed in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, on February 16, 2012. At least 6,000 rifles and pistols seized from drugs cartels were destroyed by members of the Mexican Army. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jose Lopez Tapia, 8, rests in hospital after he and his mother were attacked on February 6 in Ciudad Juarez, on February 8, 2012. Sonia Tapia and her son were attacked by members of the Municipal Police, she was accused of carrying weapons and arrested for 36 hours. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mexican marines escort Marcos Jesus Hernandez Rodriguez, aka “El Chilango”, alleged leader of assassins and member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, in Veracruz state, during his presentation for the press in Mexico City, on May 11, 2012. Rodriguez was arrested last May 9, during a military operation in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz state, a navy spokesman said. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young man lies dead next to a skateboard and a bicycle after unknown gunmen opened fire in the eastern part of Saltillo, Mexico, on December 7, 2011. According to the state attorney general, three young men were killed in the attack. (AP Photo/Alberto Puente) #

Soldiers put the final touches on a giant “No More Weapons” billboard composed of crushed firearms, placed near the U.S. border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on February 17, 2012. President Felipe Calderon unveiled the billboard Thursday and urged the United States to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico. (AP Photo/Raymundo Ruiz) #

Firefighters remove the body of a man hanging from a bridge in Ciudad Juarez, on March 3, 2012. The body was found hanging from its neck on a bridge late Saturday, local media reported. The body showed signs of torture and the head was covered with duct tape. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez) #

Mexican soldiers burn marijuana plants in a field, in Los Algodones community, Culiacan, Sinaloa State, on on January 30, 2012. Mexican soldiers found the marijuana field and incinerated the drug as part of the Culiacan-Navolato operation. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images) #

Pictures of victims of violence are hung on the facades and walls of houses in the neighborhood of Cerro Gordo in Ecatepec, outside Mexico City, on March 7, 2012. The Murrieta Foundation opened an exhibition called “Giving face to the victims in Ecatepec” with 15 giant photographs placed on houses as part a campaign against violence (rape of women, kidnappings, murders and robberies) in Ecatepec. (Reuters/Henry Romero) #

The body of a dead man, a rifle next to him, lies in a field after a shootout with police on the outskirts of Monterrey, on February 28, 2012. According to local media, 11 people were killed in different violent incidents in the city. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

A soldier stands guard inside a clandestine chemical drug processing laboratory discovered in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Jalisco State, on February 9, 2012. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #

An abandoned neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, on March 30, 2012. Violence in Ciudad Juarez has changed the lives of its residents, where many have fled. Among those who remain, anxious mothers look for missing daughters, families cross the border daily to sleep in neighboring Texas, and men live alone among abandoned houses. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Blood flows near the arm of a killed boy, on the pavement in Acapulco, Mexico, on August 15, 2011. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images) #

An unidentified woman weeps for her relatives at the scene where gunmen attacked a tow truck business in the resort city of Acapulco, on July 8, 2011. Two men and a woman died after unknown gunmen opened fire at the tow truck business. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Cuban citizen Joel Rodriguez Barrero, after being detained in Xochitepec in this April 6, 2012 photograph. Rodriguez Barrero ‘El Cubano’, was detained on April 6 by soldiers and policemen during a patrol and found to be in possession of drugs and weapons. Barrero is responsible for the recent murder and dismemberment of four minors and drug trafficking, according to the State Attorney’s Office. (Reuters/State of Morelos Attorney’s General Office) #

Two men with their hands tied behind their back and with their faces covered with duct tape lie by the side of the road as police secure the area in the city of Veracruz, Mexico, on December 6, 2011. A total of 4 men were found killed in separate incidents in the Gulf port city, which has recently suffered growing violence as drug gangs battle for control of the region. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) #

A truck burns on the road in Guadalajara, Mexico, on March 9, 2012. Drug criminals set 25 city buses and other vehicles on fire in 16 different places, spreading fear throughout Mexico’s second-largest city after an army operation, according to officials. (AP Photo / Bruno González) #

Police stand next to the body of a dead colleague in Ixtapaluca, on the outskirts of Mexico City, on January 23, 2012. Municipal police were transferring two detainees when they were ambushed by gunmen, who shot dead all five police officers and one of the detainees, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Children lie on the ground among silhouettes representing people allegedly killed by soldiers during Mexico’s drug war, during a protest organized by the National Regeneration Movement, MORENA, at the Zocalo central square in Mexico City, on March 4, 2012. Mexico’s Defense Secretary Guillermo Galvan recently conceded that the military has committed errors in the fight against organized crime and drug traffickers, such as torture, homicide and drug-trafficking but said those responsible have been punished. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

Students at the University of Ciudad Juarez and participants of the “Illuminate Juarez” event prepare to release lanterns in Samalayuca, Ciudad Juarez, on May 28, 2011. According to the organizers, the event was held to seek the return of peace to the city, which is considered one of the most violent in the world as a result of drug trafficking, and to promote tourism. (Reuters/Gael Gonzalez) #

A forensic technician holds the head of a woman at a crime scene in San Pedro on the outskirts of Monterrey May 15, 2012. The decapitated body of a woman and her head were found early Tuesday on the foot of a hill next to a low-income neighborhood, according to local media. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Regina Martinez, a journalist and correspondent for the Mexican magazine Proceso, as friends and family members attend her funeral in Xalapa, on April 30, 2012. Martinez, from Veracruz, was found dead in the bathroom of her house on Saturday with signs of violence, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Photojournalists place their cameras on the floor during a demonstration condemning the alleged murder of fellow journalist Regina Martinez in Mexico City, on April 29, 2012. The Mexican government’s human rights commission said Sunday that it will investigate the apparent slaying of Martinez, who often wrote about drug trafficking. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

The body of a man, covered by a cloth in a restaurant after he was shot by unknown assailants in Acapulco, Mexico, on July 30, 2011. Once a glamorous beach mecca for international tourism, Acapulco’s image has steadily deteriorated as a fierce turf war continues between rival drug gangs. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Relatives of Elmer Constantino Castro Andres, a Guatemalan immigrant whose body was found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in northern Mexico, mourn over his coffin at the air force base of Guatemala City, on March 21, 2012. The bodies of 11 Guatemalans, who were among a group of 193 immigrants believed to be killed by members of the Zetas drug gang and whose bodies were found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in April 2011, were repatriated to Guatemala on Wednesday after DNA tests confirmed their identities. (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez) #

Fliers for missing people hang on the door of the city morgue in Acapulco, Mexico, on March 1, 2012. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco the second most deadly city in Mexico after Juarez. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

A skeletal corpse lies in Betania neighborhood, Acapulco, on March 27, 2012. During a recent wave of violence lived in Acapulco, eight people were killed, three of them found decomposed in the outskirts of the City. (Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Working on a scarf, a woman embroiders the account of a murder in a park in Mexico City, on November 13, 2011. The “Red Fountains” civil movement proposes the “Embroidery for Peace, a scarf, a victim” action for each of the victims of violence in Mexico. (Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images) #

The body of a young man who was shot several times, reflected in a mirror next to an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside a bus in Acapulco, on August 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Demonstrators march to protest against violence in Mexico City, on August 14, 2011. The continuing tide of drug-related killings in Mexico has drawn thousands of protesters to march against violence. The sign reads in Spanish: “Stop the war. No to the National Security Law”. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) #

The body of a man killed in a suspected drug-related execution lies along the path where he was shot on March 1, 2012 in Acapulco. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Medical workers stand next to the bodies of 10 men and one woman, discovered in a pile near a well in Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on July 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, file) #

A woman rests prior to a protest against violence as part of the campaign “March of National Dignity – Mothers searching for their children and justice” at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City, on May 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #

Colleagues, relatives and friends of murdered journalists place candles and pictures on an altar erected at the Independence Angel monument in Mexico City, on May 5, 2012, during a vigil to protest against violence towards the press. Days earlier, Mexican security forces found the dismembered bodies of missing news photographers Guillermo Luna Varela and Gabriel Huge and two other people in bags dumped in a canal in the eastern state of Veracruz. The bodies of the photographers, who worked for the Veracruz news photo agency, also showed signs of torture. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/GettyImages) #

A suspected drug-related execution victim lies on Acapulco’s famous Caleta Beach in Acapulco, on March 4, 2012. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Locals look at the screening of names of 10,000 victims of violence in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on the facade of Annunciation House, a shelter for immigrants and indigent people in the US city of El Paso on April 23, 2012. Annunciation House organized a mournful tribute called Voice of the Voiceless in which more than 10,000 names were screened on the facade of the building. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman covers her daughter with a towel as they walk past a crime scene in the municipality of San Nicolas de los Garza, neighboring Monterrey, on September 14, 2011. Six men were gunned down by unknown assailants in separate incidents in this municipality, local media reported. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo) #

A forensic technician sweeps blood off a street at a crime scene in Monterrey, on February 8, 2012. A taxi driver was shot dead by gunmen as another group of hitmen attacked three taxi drivers in a different neighborhood, killing two and injuring one, according to local media. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

Top 10 Major Environmental Issues.

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Top 10 Major Environmental Issues.

* Not necessarily in precise order of importance:

No.1 Global Warming & Climate Change.

Global warming threatens to melt polar ice caps, displace people from coastal cities and tropical islands, and may be reaching a critical tipping point that could affect the ultimate survival of the human race.

 

 

 

No.2 Creating Clean Renewable Energy.

The challenge for the human race in the 21st century is to clean up or replace the burning of “dirty” fossil fuels that fired up the Industrial Revolution which began in the late 18th century.

Unless “clean” renewable energy alternatives are found and introduced quickly our planet risks being turned into an inhospitable, possibly uninhabitable environment.

 

 

No.3 Preventing Ocean Systems Collapse.

Oceans are an essential part Earth’s life support systems providing a huge sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Over 1 billion people around the globe rely them as a source of food.

Some oceans have been over exploited leading to a complete collapse of fishing industries.

In African Somalia this may have been a factor in the regional stability which has led to a food shortages, a break down in law and order, terrorism, and piracy.

Acid rain from industrial pollution is acidifying the seas and killing coral reefs threatening tourism in some areas. Oil spills, ocean dumping and urban chemical runoff are degrading our oceans.

 

 

 

In 1998 a spike up in ocean temperatures killed 70-90% of the Indian Ocean’s and one quarter of the world’s coral.

In his book “Ocean of Life: How Our Seas are Changing” Callum Roberts writes… The world is living on borrowed time. We can’t cheat nature by taking more than is produced indefinitely… at some point, fish stocks will collapse… and there will be no fish to be had at any price.”

No.4 Electronic & Nuclear Waste.

Electronic or “e-waste” is causing massive pollution and health problems as millions of computers, laptops, mobile phones, and TV sets are discarded each year in developed societies and dumped in Third World countries.

The crude recovery processes in these countries are releasing hazardous mercury, lead, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that are killing the workers exposed to them and polluting the environment.

 

 

The disposal of nuclear waste from the world’s 435 nuclear reactors www.euronuclear.org (62 more are currently under construction) will continue to pose a daunting risk well into the future.

Nuclear waste like plutonium-239 remains hazardous for hundreds or thousands of years. Some isotopes remain hazardous for millions of years. The amount of High-Level Waste worldwide is currently increasing at the rate of 12,000 metric tons per year (ref: Wikipedia).

31 countries currently have nuclear reactors. The USA leads with 104, then come France with 58, Japan with 50, Russia with 33, India with 20, South Korea with 23, China/Taiwan with 16/6, and Canada with 18.

 

 

No.5 Inland Water Degradation.

In some developing countries water quality is under threat from rapidly increasing population growth.

Untreated sewage, dumped industrial and chemical waste, residues from medicines, as well as chemical runoff of herbicides and fertilizers are ruining inland waterways.

 

No.6 Resulting Forced Migration.

The United Nations estimated that over 20 million people were displaced in 2008 due to “climate induced sudden-onset natural disasters”… and that there may be up to 200 million forced “environmental migrants” by 2050.

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Oct 8, 2009.
“While diplomats bicker over global warming, the people of Sudan are bracing themselves for more severe droughts. When they come, agriculture collapses, forcing mass migrations, and conflict over dwindling food and water supplies. Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall travelled to a village in Northern Darfur to take a closer look at the problem”.

 

 

Uploaded by AlJazeera

English on Jul 12, 2011.
“Somali refugees have become the victims of the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in nearly sixty years. Faced with starvation and caught in conflict, thousands of Somalis are fleeing their country and heading for Kenya. They have traveled through harsh conditions with little food or water, and no humanitarian assistance. Many head across the border to northern Kenya into Dadaab refugee camp expecting help. But drought has hit almost every country in the Horn of Africa. Somalis have been fleeing from war for years now, but this is a different kind of exodus. The refugees are forced to leave their land because they risk dying of starvation at home. Nazanine Moshiri reports from Dobley, Somalia”.

 

No.7 The New Land Rush.

The United Nations estimates the world population will reach 9 billion by 2050.

With an estimated 861 million “food-insecure” people in 2011 (ref: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) a new land rush is occurring as nations scramble to secure food supplies and land to grow bio-energy crops for cheaper fuel.

“Slash and burn” practices are devastating forests in some areas at frightening speeds leading to a loss of biodiversity, land degradation and loss of ecosystems.

All that on top of the up to 5 million hectares of productive land lost annually through land degradation and soil erosion (ref: UNEP 2011).

 

 

No.8 Risks from New Technologies.

Uploaded by UFOTV

studios on Oct 26, 2010.

“In the last thirty years global demand for food has doubled. In a race to feed the planet, scientists have discovered how to manipulate DNA, the blueprint of life, and produce what they claim are stronger, more disease-resistant crops.

However, fears that Genetically Modified Food may not be safe for humans or the environment has sparked violent protest. Are we participating in a dangerous global nutritional experiment?

This informative film helps the viewer decide if the production of genetically modified food is a panacea for world hunger or a global poison”.

 

Published on Jul 23, 2012 by TheBigPictureRT…
“Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director-Institute for Responsible Technology, leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), author of the books “Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating” and “Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods”.

No.9 Conservation of Bio-Diversity.

“Biodiversity also plays an important role in a whole range of other ecosystem services, such as the production of food, the control of disease, flood regulation, coastal protection, crop pollination, and recreational benefits”…. United Nations Environment Progamme 2011.

Currently protected areas (with varying degrees of protection) only cover around 14% of Earth’s land area, and only about 6% of the seas and oceans.

 

 

No.10 Connecting Science & Policy.

Policy makers need to have a high level of confidence in the science presented to them before acting on decisions that may be costly and unpopular with some sections of the community.

Politicians, government officials, and many of the general public are more likely to act out of self interest rather than worry about major environmental issues affecting their planet. Much easier to let future generations worry about the problem… something they most certainly won’t thank us for.

Politicians are more focused on getting re-elected at the end of their term rather than difficult long term ecological or environmental issues.

And unfortunately, too many people aren’t ready to face such unpalatable issues unless they themselves are affected. Too many prefer to go about their daily business with the attitude that the plain speaking Australians describe as… “bugger you Jack, I’m alright!”

 

 

http://www.safety-security-crazy.com/major-environmental-issues.html

The burning issue

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The burning issue

N25billion Fraud: Senator Goje’s security phobia

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N25billion Fraud: Senator Goje’s security phobia

On January 26, 2013

By John Bulus
Senator Mohammad Danjuma Goje has suddenly developed fear. His fear is consequent upon the rising tide of insecurity in his home state, Gombe and in fact, the entire North East region.

His fear however comes very surprising to the people of the state who knew him so well. For starters, Goje was the immediate past Governor of the State for eight years and his reign smacked the state of visible opposition as his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bulldozed it way across the horizon of the state.

Similarly, Goje holds a chieftaincy title of “Sarkin Yarkin Gombe”, meaning “Head of Warriors of Gombe”. And so, by that, no one expected that “a sarkin yarkin” could fathom fear. But that was the case in Gombe last week when Goje asked the Federal High Court hearing the case of money laundering brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to relocate his case to another location away from both his state and the entire north eastern geo-political zone.

Established upon his first arraignment on October 18, 2011, roughly 5 months after he exited office as governor on May 29, 2011, he was slammed along side four others with 18-count charge. The four accused persons included Alhaji Sabo Mohammed Tumu, former Gombe State Government House food supplier; Alhaji Aliyu Ubadone el-Nafaty, former Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, Gombe; S. M. Dokoro, proprietor of S. M. Dokoro and M. Dokoro Gombe.

Part of the charges read: “That you, Alhaji Danjuma Goje “M”, former Executive Governor of Gombe State, Nigeria; sometimes between May 2003 and May 2011, in Gombe within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, with attempt to covert, conspired with others to conceal or disguise the sum of 5,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira only) property of Gombe State Government, which was, or in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, represented proceeds of an illegal act, contrary to Section 17 of the Money laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under Section 14 of the same Act as amended, modifies and retained under Section 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011(As amended).
“That you Alhaji Danjuma Goje “M”, former Executive Governor of Gombe State, Nigeria; Alhaji Sabo Mohammed Tumu ‘M’ being Gombe state Government House Supplier; and others, between May 2003 and May 2011 within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, with attempt to covert, conspired among yourselves and others to conceal or disguise the sum of 1,920,000.00 (One Billion, Nine Hundred and Twenty Million Naira only, property of Gombe State government, which was, or in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, represented proceeds of an illegal act, contrary to Section 17 of the Money Laundering (prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under Section 14 of the same act as amended, modified and retained under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 respectively of the money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended).

“That you Alhaji Danjuma Goje ‘M’, former Executive Governor of Gombe State, Nigeria; Alhaji Aliyu Ubadone El_Nafaty ‘M’, former Executive Chairman, State Universal basic Education Board, Gombe; and others, sometimes between May 2003 and May 2011, in Gombe, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, with attempt to covert, conspired among yourselves and others to conceal or disguise the sum of N1, 661, 451, 371.64 (one Billion, Six Hundred and Sixty one Million, Four Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, three Hundred and Seventy-One Naira, sixty Four Kobo only, property of Gombe State  Government, which was, or in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, represented proceeds of an illegal act, contrary to Section 17 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition act) 2004 and also punishable under Section 14 of the same Act as amended, modified and retained under
sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended).

“That you, Alhaji Danjuma Goje “M’, former Executive Governor of Gombe State, Nigeria; S. M. Doko ‘M’ being the proprietor of S. M. Dokoro Gombe; S. M. Dokoro Gombe and others, sometimes between January 2008 and May 2011, in Gombe within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court with attempt to convert, conspired among yourselves and others to conceal or disguise the sum of 242, 500,000.00 (Two Hundred and Forty Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira only), property of Gombe
State Government, which was, or in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, represented proceeds of an illegal act, contrary to Section 17 of the Money laundering (Prohibition act) 2004 and also punishable under Section 14 of the same Act as amended, modified and retained under Section 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 respectively of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011( As Amended)”.

Meanwhile, when the matter came up for further hearing during the week, precisely on Tuesday, Goje through his lead counsel, Mr. Chris Uche (SAN) let out a yell that insecurity pervades Gombe and the
entire North east and so does not guarantee the safety of his lawyers and witnesses. As a result of that, he applied for relocation of the case to another destination outside the region. According to Uche, the lives of the visiting lawyers of both parties are in “great jeopardy in an atmosphere that could affect justice.”

The SAN expanded his grounds and cited the cases of the recent kidnapping of a serving member of the state House of Assembly, assassination of Police Inspector Gadzama who was Goje’s police orderly and the January 11 assassination of minority leader of the Gombe State House of Assembly as evidences of insecurity in Gombe. But the Prosecution Counsel, Mr. Wahaba Kunle Shittu voided the argument and advanced that the state of insecurity cuts across the country and not in any way peculiar to Gombe or the zone. He further submitted in his argument that all the witnesses to the case are in Gombe and therefore only wise if the case is tried in Gombe.

He urged the court to refuse the application for the transfer of venue as filed by the defence counsel, arguing that the case is not the only one that is politically sensitive. In an apparent move to study the argument of both counsels, the presiding Judge, Mr. Babatunde Quadir adjourned the hearing to the next day. By 1pm on Wednesday when sitting resumed, the court had become apprehensive and placed observers on tenterhooks on which way the ruling will head to.
But finally in his ruling, Justice Quadir said: “This application is hereby rejected for now. However if any of the accused, counsels or witnesses is harassed, no matter how little, even if it is a phone call, please inform the court”.
He also said that although there has been series of attack in Gombe and other parts of the country, the rights of all the accused to fair hearing have not been infringed just as he noted that none of the accused persons or Counsels has been attacked or subjected to any threat since the case commenced, adding that relocating the venue will elicit different impression to public.

Advancing further in his ruling, Justice Quardir said no session of the court has been interrupted by a security threat since the beginning of hearing on the case.

By the ruling, Senator Goje has got to continue his trial in Gombe, the state he superintended over its affairs for 8 years. His counsel, Uche (SAN) in a reaction to the judgment of the court told Journalists that his team will be heading to the higher courts to test the validity of the judgment.

Said he:“There is the Court of Appeal and there is the Supreme Court. We will use them to test the might of this ruling” he said. Similarly, counsel to EFCC, Mr. Shittu said “The Judge did not only expand but expound the law by stating the Jurisprudence the way it should be. We are ready to go on with the case till justice is done.”

Meanwhile, the case was adjourned to 7th and 8th of March 2013 for further hearing.

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/01/n25billion-fraud-senator-gojes-security-phobia/

Syria conflict ‘will know no victors’ without peace -Pope

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Syria conflict ‘will know no victors’ without peace -Pope

On January 7, 2013

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI called Monday for a ceasefire and “constructive dialogue” in Syria, warning that there will be no victors should the violent conflict drag on further.

“I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins,” he said.

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/01/syria-conflict-will-know-no-victors-without-peace-pope/

Romney Touts ‘Prosperity Pacts’ To Help Middle East, Developing Nations

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Romney Touts ‘Prosperity Pacts’ To Help Middle East, Developing Nations

September 25, 2012 9:52 AM

One former president, one would-be: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (left), spoke this morning at former President Bill Clinton’s annual forum in New York City. President Obama addresses the Clinton Global Initiative later today.

Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty Images

One former president, one would-be: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (left), spoke this morning at former President Bill Clinton’s annual forum in New York City. President Obama addresses the Clinton Global Initiative later today.

Saying that foreign aid must play a role in bringing peace to the Middle East, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the case today for what he calls “prosperity pacts” that would aim U.S. assistance packages at nations that develop “the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.”

Romney was addressing the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a forum that will host President Obama later today.

If he’s elected in November, Romney said (per his prepared remarks):

“To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate ‘Prosperity Pacts.’ Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

“We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

“The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy — free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.”

Romney introduced that proposal by saying he is “often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.

“Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem. But that’s not the whole story.

“The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic. In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators. They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

“In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

“He was just 26-years-old. He had provided for his family since he was a young boy. He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

“On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, ‘Why are you doing this to me? I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.’

“I just want to work.

“Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/09/25/161738202/romney-touts-prosperity-pacts-to-help-middle-east-developing-nations

UN doctor shot in Karachi

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UN doctor shot in Karachi

By Hasan Mansoor (AFP) – Jul 17, 2012

KARACHI — Gunmen opened fire on a UN vehicle in Pakistan’s volatile city of Karachi Tuesday, wounding a foreign doctor working on a polio immunisation campaign and a local driver, officials said.

The shooting, which happened in the low-income eastern neighbourhood of Soharb Ghoth, highlighted resistance to a widely publicised three-day vaccination campaign, which began Monday.

The Taliban have banned immunisations in the northwest, condemning the campaign as a cover for espionage since a Pakistani doctor was jailed after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme.

“A WHO vehicle was fired upon with gunshots. One international staff and one local driver were injured in the incident,” Maryam Yunus, spokeswoman for the United Nations’ World Health Organization, told AFP.

She said the doctor from Ghana and the Pakistani driver had been transferred to a private hospital in the southern port city where their condition was stable.

“They are out of danger,” Yunus said.

Attacks on foreigners are rare in Karachi, but parts of the city are highly volatile. Ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence has killed at least 740 people in the city so far this year alone, rights activists say.

Police blamed the shooting on two Afghan men. Soharb Ghoth neighbourhood is home to thousands of Afghan refugees and migrants from northwest Pakistan looking for work in what is Pakistan’s largest city, with a population of 18 million.

The UN staff were travelling in an unmarked, white double-cabin pick-up. Local TV channels broadcast footage of bullet holes in the vehicle.

WHO said later Tuesday that there was currently “no evidence to suggest that this was a deliberate or targeted attack against polio eradication efforts or WHO”.

It paid tribute to the “incredible bravery” of more than 200,000, mainly Pakistani volunteers who run every vaccination campaign, and said the shooting would not derail efforts to eradicate polio in the country.

But police suggested that the doctor could have been targeted deliberately, because he had been working in the neighbourhood for about three months.

“It could be related to the polio campaign, as there is resistance in the population against it. We are, however, still investigating the real motives,” local police station chief Mohammad Sultan told AFP.

A health expert, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, also interpreted the attack as a sign of an alarming trend.

He said there had been threats and announcements in mosques branding the vaccine anti-Islam and blamed “a new wave of attacks on polio workers” on the CIA’s use of Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi to help find bin Laden.

The doctor was jailed for 33 years in May after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme as cover.

“It has become a very serious and critical issue. People suspect foreigners’ involvement in the programme and fake campaign by Afridi has given further credence to conspiracy theory,” he said.

He said polio workers were beaten in the capital Islamabad on Monday, a team fired on in the southern town of Jacobabad, and a motorcycle stolen in the southwestern town of Ziarat.

“It is an alarming situation because neither the government, nor international aid agencies have a clear strategy to deal with this issue,” he said.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The Taliban ban and insecurity have forced officials to postpone inoculations in parts of Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, jeopardising the health of more than 350,000 children.

Pakistan says 34 million children under five will be targeted in the campaign, which runs until Wednesday.

The highly infectious disease affects mainly the under-fives and can cause paralysis in a matter of hours. Some cases can be fatal.

The Lancet medical journal has said vaccination problems led last year to Pakistan’s highest number of polio cases in a decade, 198, compared to 144 in 2010

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iNmS0p6vLI8eya_Vxz0ASksivlhQ?docId=CNG.677603afc5efb606df47df0f86a41039.141

Give voice to refugees

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Palestinian refugees: time to return NOW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMLboOk6Ek

 

Pictures from Khao I Dang refugee camp, Thailand 1980-82.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeGk5BT-l6g

Warning : viewers must be above 18years old

Memories of the Khoa I Dang Refugee Camp 1986 to 1988

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2vLcGV3n-Y

Cambodia Refugee Camp – Site2 (part1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYiJ4oLJyDE

Umpium Refugee Camp in fire 23 02 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GxiMZTgtAA

on fire in Umpiem Camp (MCA News)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My-QqPyl9rQ

Dadaab Refugee Camp – Kenya (Africa)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlHWHLG_pds

A song at Nu Po Camp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDFXW_6UAmY

 

Displaced Karen Refugees in Jungle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGJyO0V34qM

23Kachin IDP/Refugee Camps – March-April-2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFhCbFFE3WE

 

Zaatari Refugee Camp Jordan – 31 Oct 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8BJO7vgIxI

 

Angelina Jolie in a refugee camp in Syria (09-13-2012)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnKqbgl1-mU

 

Angelina Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees in Turkey

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QneALVeUfMQ

A WELCOME LETTER

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http://www.scribd.com/doc/100670104/18/Professionalism-Dress-and-Behavior

A WELCOME LETTER
Greetings from Kampala! On behalf of the staff and Volunteers of Peace Corps/Uganda, let me say that we are very pleased that youare considering an invitation to join us as a Volunteer. You will join agroup of more than 1,000 former Volunteers who have responded tothe invitation to serve in Uganda.This is an exciting time to be in Uganda. The education system isstretched to the breaking point in a committed effort to provideuniversal primary and, recently, secondary education to the coun-try’s children.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has hit Uganda hard,is entering a new phase as people gain access to HIV/AIDS drugsand strive to find ways to live with the disease in hope, rather thanin despair. Prevention of new transmissions is now the focus, as isa more holistic approach to health care in general. Finally, whileUganda has abundant resources of water, minerals, timber, and arableland, there are serious challenges to putting them to optimal use toraise economic standards for all Ugandans. Education, health careand economic development lay the foundation to make a difference inUganda as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Former Volunteers will tell you the rewards of the hard work youinvest and the benefits of your experience will far outweigh the inevi-table frustrations and challenges you will encounter.
If you decide tocome to Uganda, you will be making an important commitment, onefraught with difficulties yet rich with fulfillment. A two-year commit-ment to the Peace Corps and to the people of a community in Ugandais not to be made casually. You must make it and remake it in numer-ous ways throughout your two years of service. You will be challengedin ways imaginable and unimaginable.
Your patience will be tried toits limits. But if you come here with an open mind, a warm heart, agood sense of humor, a willingness to evaluate and adjust your expec-tations, and a focus on the needs of others rather than your own, youwill do well. The Peace Corps’ trainers and staff members are hereto help you, but you will be the primary architect and judge of yourexperience as a Volunteer. We offer you this opportunity to serve thepeople of Uganda and to have an experience that will change the way you look at the world and at yourself.
Country Director