Showing posts from September 2, 2015

Gaza could be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020, U.N. warns

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[Effectively this is genocide. *RON*]
By The Associated Press / El Arabiya, 2 September 2015
A new United Nations report says Gaza could be "uninhabitable" in less than five years if current economic trends continue.

The report released Tuesday by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development points to the eight years of economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars between Israel and the Palestinians there over the past six years.

Last year's war displaced half a million people and left parts of Gaza destroyed.

Children paralysed in Ukraine polio outbreak

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[It's not gone! Only half of children are fully immunized in Ukraine. *RON*]
By James Gallagher, BBC News, 2 September 2015
Two children have been paralysed in the first polio outbreak in Europe for five years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Both cases were in Ukraine where only half the children are fully immunised.

It is likely large numbers of other children have also been infected without developing symptoms.

The WHO said the risk of the virus spreading further in the country was "high" and that the outbreak needed to be rapidly controlled.

One of the paralysed children was four years old and the other just 10 months.

Gerrymanderers Miss One Person

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[A wonderful story sent to me by my friend Harry. *RON*]

Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar, 31 August 2015

As you probably know, "gerrymandering" is the practice of redrawing the borders of a voting district for a specific purpose, usually if not always to make sure it has more of your supporters than opponents in it. This is nothing new, of course, but few gerrymanderers can have failed more spectacularly than those who crafted the Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District in Columbia, Missouri.

The city council established the district in April for the purpose of improving the area of town shown above. According to the Columbia Tribune (also the image source), state law permits the voters in a CID to impose taxes or assessments within the district in order to fund improvement projects. A majority of registered voters living in the district must approve, but if there aren't any registered voters in the district, then only the p…

Congo-Kinshasa: Ntaganda Trial 'Sends Signal That Justice Will Catch up'

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[Ntaganda's trial starts today at the International Criminal Court. "Human Rights Watch documented very serious crimes committed by the troops under Ntaganda's orders since the beginning of the year 2000..." *RON*]
By Jane Ayeko-Kümmeth,, 1 September 2015
The trial of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda starts on Wednesday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Former child soldiers will give evidence.

Geraldine Mattioli-Zeltner is the International Justice Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). DW spoke to her on the eve of the long-awaited trial in The Hague of Bosco Ntaganda. He faces 18 charges, including the rape of child soldiers by his rebel army. Ntaganda turned himself in in March 2013. Prosecutors say he played a central role in ethnic attacks on civilians in 2002 - 2003, in a conflict which civil rights groups believe cost some 6…

What the Conversation About Income Inequality Keeps Getting Wrong About Black People

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[One reason we don't talk more about income inequality: it's also a race issue. *RON*]
 By Jamilah King,, 1 September 2015
It's easy to think that the economy's on the upswing. Unemployment is down, and jobs are plentiful. In August the black unemployment rate fell below 10%, which, while still twice the rate of white unemployment, seemed a vast improvement over previous years, when joblessness in black communities hit record highs.

But those steady improvements mask a daunting truth. In a series of fact sheets released last week, the Center for American Progress demonstrates just how important people of color will be to the United States' political and economic future.

The figures, from a project CAP calls Progress 2050, paint a broad picture of demographic change, which has been described across the political spectrum as the "browning of America." That change, from a centuries-long white majority to a new, …

This Is Why Global Income Inequality Is a Real National-Security Threat

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[This illustrates well some of the reasons why Europe is having trouble with so-called 'migrants.' *RON*]
Brenda M. Seaver, The National Interest, 1 September 2015

Last February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper presented the U.S. intelligence community’s annual Worldwide Threat Assessment to a congressional committee. He cited many of the usual suspects, including cyberattacks, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and transnational organized crime. He also discussed the security impact of sluggish economic growth, reduced global output and poverty.
However, a global issue that is growing in importance did not make the short list: global income inequality. Global income inequality is not a traditional security issue, but it is an emerging threat that the national-security establishment should take seriously.

Income Inequality as a Political Issue

The development community and scholars have long debated t…

Hungarian Police Block Protesting Migrants From Trains; 11 Drown Off Turkish Coast

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[The chaos and misery continue. More than 2,000 refugees (notice how they are consistently referred to as 'migrants'), including families with children, are waiting in the square at the Keleti Railway Terminus. See also: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees. *RON*]

The Associated Press and Reuters, Haaretz, 2 September 2015

Hundreds of migrants chanted defiant slogans outside Budapest's main international train station Wednesday as Hungarian police blocked them for a second day from seeking asylum in Germany and other wealthy European Union countries.

"What we want? Peace! What we need? Peace!" the migrants shouted outside the cavernous Keleti train station, the latest focal point for European tensions over the unrelenting flow of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa fleeing war and poverty.

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, will take a "clear and obvious message"…

Fish habitat protection waning under Harper government, analysis finds

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['It was never really about reducing red tape,' researcher says of changes to regulatory regime. Immediate profit and a comfy retirement for Mr. Harper count more than the planet. A man who doesn't even care for his grandchildren is a very sad thing. Via my friend Jerri. *RON*]

By Bob Weber, Canadian Press / CBC, 2 September 2015
A statistical analysis of the Conservative government's changes to environmental laws and procedures suggests Ottawa has "all but abandoned" attempts to protect Canada's lakes and rivers.

"Over the last decade, what we've seen is a not-so-gradual abandonment of the fish habitat protection field," said University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski.

He has sifted through reams of data and dozens of development applications to conclude that federal protection for fisheries and waterways has been declining for more than a decade.
Ottawa set to cut 130 positions from fish habita…