Sunday, 13 December 2009

Environment ministers upbeat about chance of Copenhagen climate deal

Environment ministers arriving for climate talks in Copenhagen express hopes a global climate deal can be reached.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (DECEMBER 13, 2009) REUTERS - Environment ministers representing about 40 countries met in Copenhagen on Sunday (December 13) for informal talks to break a deadlock in negotiations to reach a deal to curb climate change.
Until now the talks have been run mostly by senior officials. Negotiators from 192 nations are trying to agree a new U.N. climate pact.

Several of the ministers and delegates arriving for the informal talks at the Danish foreign ministry expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached.

"They (heads of delegations and ministers) all express their position that they are ready with the leadership of the Danish government to play a positive and constructive role," said a representative of the Chinese delegation.

"An agreement is certainly possible. If all of us trust each other and if we have the courage and conviction, we can still come to a fair equitable deal in Copenhagen," said India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh.

However, some were more cautious.

"It takes more when it comes to emissions reductions. We have to see some of the big countries put more emission reductions on the table. I still don't think we'll receive that today but we'll push for that," added Andreas Carlgrend, the environment minister for Sweden, which currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.

"We will have bilateral talks and such discussions to see where we can come together and where we have to underline our discussions," said German environment minister Norbert Roettgen.

Citizens in countries around the world are watching developments as they unfold for a sense of what their future climate may look like.

"I think there is a good spirit and there is a sense of now is the time where we have to act and work together and get the agreement that the world expects us to make," said UK climate change minister Ed Miliband.

Delegates claim progress is being made on some fronts, but the hardest decisions on sharing curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and funding to help the poor are likely to be left for the summit.

First train leaves Belgrade to Sarajevo in 18 years

The first train leaves Belgrade for Sarajevo 18 years after the service was halted by war.

BELGRADE, SERBIA (DECEMBER 13, 2009) REUTERS - Creaking and swaying through a landscape of bitter memories, the once beloved Belgrade-Sarajevo train service was restarted on Sunday (December 13) after almost 18 years after the war stopped the service in its tracks.
The train left Belgrade railway station at 07.15 GMT.

When the service was stopped people had to use buses or other means of transportation to get to their destination.

"I am pleased, especially because I work there (referring to Bosnia) and it goes there, earlier we had a difficult time, we used buses, and other means of transport, now I am satisfied," said Nada Gajic, one of the passengers on the train.

The train has three coaches, one from Serbia, one from the Bosnian Serb republic, and a coach from the Bosnain-Croat federation railway companies.

The journey will take more than eight hours instead of six due to the new borders between Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. The journey time is also impacted by the dilapidated track worn out by war, neglect and poverty.

A spokesman from Serbian railways said there is a great demand for the service,

"After the assessment of Serbian railways and Bosnian railways and Bosnian Serb railways, we now have an economic reason to establish such a railway service, and we all expect that there will be enough passengers to fulfil the economic interests of both railway systems," said Nenad Stanisavljevic, spokesperson of Serbian railways.

The express became one of the victims of the wars that erupted in Croatia in 1991 and Bosnia in 1992, fomented by nationalist leaders riding a wave of discontent with a failed economy, crippled by Tito's reckless foreign borrowing.

Parts of the track were blown up or became front lines as an ethnic Serb rebellion cut Croatia in half, and ethnic Serbs, Croats and Muslims fought each other in Bosnia.

The swanky trains of Yugoslavia's golden age -- the "Olympic Express" and the "Bosna Express" -- are gone, to be replaced by older, rickety carriages and slower locomotives.

On the train's route, the legacy of the war is inescapable.

Vinkovci in Croatia, once a main rail junction, was on the front lines and still carries the scars of Serb shelling.

The Bosnian towns of Doboj, Samac and Modrica became notorious for ethnic cleansing and concentration camps.

The present public transport link between the two cities -- a bus taking eight hours to wind its way through backwater towns to the sound of thumping Balkan pop -- is seldom full.

There will only be one train a day, compared with the schedule before the war, when there were three.

Houston's first gay mayor celebrates her election win

The first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city celebrates her election win.

HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 13, 2009) NBC - Houston's first openly gay mayor celebrated her election win on Sunday (December 13). Annise Parker won Saturday's run-off race with nearly 54-percent of the vote.
Parker won the run-off against fellow Democrat Gene Locke after a four-way primary in November came up inconclusive.

Other big U.S. cities like Portland, Oregon and Providence, Rhode Island have openly gay mayors, but none the size of Houston -- the fourth-biggest city in the nation with more than two million residents.

Mugabe gets five more years

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is endorsed to lead his ZANU-PF party for another five years and vows to resist demands for changes to the country's security forces.


ZIMBABWE - At 85 Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is one of the oldest leaders in the world and in the twilight of his political career.

But amongst the ranks of his party Zanu PF he remains popular and has been re endorsed to lead for another five years.

He has led the party since the mid 1970's during a political career which has lasted more than half a century and shows no sign of giving up.

ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE SAYING: "We go back much stronger, a better focused party, ready and raring to go to take on issues that confront us, even problematic ones."

But the veteran leader was forced to share power with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party after losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in March last year.

The coalition has been rocked by differences over how to share power and the MDC is pressing for reform of the security forces it accuses of being used by ZANU-PF to stifle dissent.

Many senior officers in the security forces fought in Zimbabwe's war of independence and remain loyal to Mugabe.

They have vowed never to recognise Tsvangirai as leader.

Now Mugabe has vowed to resist demands from the opposition to change the country's security forces.

ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE SAYING: "and that is the most dependable force we could ever have, it shall not be tampered with , the enemy would want to see it disintegrate and any tactics, manoeuvres, any tactics to tamper with the forces will never be entertained by us."

While Mugabe has managed to remain at the helm of ZANU-PF, a raging battle is underway over who will eventually succeed him, threatening the future of a party that had enjoyed uninterrupted rule from independence in 1980 till last year.

Penny Tweedie, Reuters.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Government's Feminist Tyranny Exists Denying Men Their Constitutional Due Process

Government's Feminist Tyranny Exists Denying Men Their Constitutional Due Process
Author: Shane Flait

Tyrannies begin by promulgating policies of good
intentions. Such intentions fool the public into allowing
government to fund such programs. Feminism was accepted by
most as simply fostering equal opportunity for women. So,
government-funded programs began.

And so began the tyranny against fathers, family and
freedom both here and throughout the western world. This
article is a first of a series exposing the nature of this
tyranny and how we must take back government's tyrannical
control of society to secure freedom for all.

...But the funding grew more programs which supported
lobbying for more and for perverse changes in the laws -
changes that denied men and fathers their fundamental
rights. Feminist-instigated government policies and laws
viewed their intentions as a 'greater good' than the rights
that keep us all free - a view which is the hallmark of
tyranny.

With 'feminist jurisprudence' established, especially
within domestic-related jurisdictions, 'greater good'
intentions like 'best interest of the child' or 'safety of
women' are now used to deny the constitutional rights and
protections of all - but most especially of men and fathers.

Based on both denials of rights and constitutional
protections, fit fathers under divorce or paternity actions
and men accused of specious domestic violence become the
excuse and fodder for government control over their lives
and their earnings. This tyranny has fostered the growth of
a $100+ billion government-affiliated industry feeding off
constitutionally deprived fit fathers and the public for
its ever-increasing control and demands.

In a nutshell, this government's feminist tyranny employs
the noble-sounding greater good intentions as 'best
interest of the child' and 'safety of women' for reason to
justify denying men their rights and protections. The
'best interest of the child' principle is used in divorce
and paternity actions to deny a fit father his parental
rights to legal and physical custody of his child - at
least equal to the mother's.

This allows the court- and thereby the state- to virtually
kidnap his child and, then demand extortion payments
euphemistically called 'child support' for up to 20 years
or more. The government-affiliated industry feeds off these
payments, the continual litigation for more, and a host of
other government-assisted programs to control and
manipulate the father's life, earnings, property and his
pursuit of happiness for himself and his child.

If the father won't - or most often can't - comply with the
extortion payments (perhaps 30% or more of his gross
income), he's jailed without constitutional due process
under feminist-perverted contempt judgments. He can have
his state license to practice his profession revoked, his
driver's license revoked by any administrator of his
state's revenue department and his passport taken to extort
payments from him. If he leaves his country to secure
freedom, he becomes a felon subject to 10 years in jail.
The system reduces him to the status of a slave. And
remember, he's never done anything wrong - but he has been
seriously 'wronged'.

The 'safety of women' principle is used both in divorce and
paternity suits and in any domestic circumstance to throw a
man out of his house and restrict where he can go. It only
takes an 'accusation of abuse' - no trial, i.e. no rules of
evidence to punish him. By law, 'abuse' can be a
subjective - and not even physical - state of the 'woman's
(read victim's) mind. He can be thrown in jail until a
hearing - perhaps for 3 months; but if he admits he abused,
he'll be let out so he can keep his job. That's a good way
to get those phony 'abuse numbers' up to justify more abuse
programs; extortion works wonders.

No constitutional due process to protect against false
accusations means that innocent men are thrown out of their
houses, lose their possessions, denied seeing their kids,
and go to jail - all the time. And, of course, it means a
malicious woman can count on the feminist's government
tyranny to help her steal a man's rights, property, income
and children.

Is what I've quickly summarized about the circumstance that
men and fathers face true?

Yes. But why should you believe it to be true? You should
because the constitutional protections - i.e. our
fundamental rights and the high standard of due process
protecting them is wholly ignored for men and fathers put
into divorce, paternity actions and domestic violence
actions.

The aptly named government-affiliated child support and
domestic violence industry's enormous funding allows it to
propagandize the inherent 'badness of men'. That fathers
run away from marriage or don't want to support their
children. That they don't have the best interest of their
child at heart nor the safety of women.

That's phony propaganda. But it's important to vilify those
who you'll deny rights to. That's the way tyrannies always
work.


About the Author:

Shane Flait gives you the capability you need to fight for
your rights.
Get his FREE Court Process Sheet at
http://FathersRightsLegalAid.com
Read his ebook: 'Wise Way to Financial Independence' =>
http://www.SovereignU.com

The Darkside of Christianity

Like many people, I did not consider that there might be a problem. Surely, I thought to myself, a good Christian folk would have no problems with a gay in their midst? Or would they? I had been told different, and surprised by this revelation (if you pardon the pun), I decided to go undercover to test things out. I am neither gay nor a practising Christian, but I would soon be both.


My cover story was simple. I would tell those I spoke to, I had been struggling with my sexuality while at the same time I wished to remain a Christian, so what could I do. I had hoped that these 'good' Christian people would accept me. I had hoped they would say, don't be silly just be yourself! Surely God and Jesus, for that matter, would accept me for what I am?



I first approached a group called Christian Voice, hoping that they would show some compassion and understanding. I explained that I was attracted to men and wanted to do what for me was natural and just be myself and added that many of my friends had been telling me to be myself. A plausible solution I thought, maybe I could be gay and Christian?



"There is a war between the flesh and the spirit" I am immediately told by a man called Michael. "It is not enough to simply be 'ourselves'. You need support from people who have experienced what you have and have come through with Christ still sovereign in their lives."



This made homosexuality sound like a cancer. I, apparently, needed help from those who have 'experienced what I have?'



These people, Michael went on: "Rejected the lie that homosexuality is acceptable in God's sight."



Personally, I am not a member of any church and I was shocked by this initial encounter. I honestly hadn't expected to find such a total disregard for the feelings of our fellow humans. In this man's view people just can't be themselves - sounds like a form of slavery to me. To him gay and lesbian people possessed a 'plague-like' disease that would forever forbid them to join an exclusive club called 'Christianity'.



The only advice I had received so far was to change sexuality. In effect, what they were telling me was that God and Jesus didn't like homosexuals that I would have to become heterosexual before they would find a place in their church for me. This was a bit like being refused entry to an exclusive venue because I was the wrong class, or the wrong skin colour.



It came as a surprise, but now desperate to find out more I contacted Love In Action and spoke to a man who 'had been' homosexual but was now making an attempt to live as a heterosexual. In a refreshingly frank interview the man, who I found very honest, admitted that he had to take things a day at a time and that he still had strong basic urges to follow his natural feelings.



Having read material published by the American Psychological Association I found what I was now being told quite disturbing, surreal and quite bizarre. Not being yourself could mean risking real and severe mental health difficulties.



After all you cannot seal yourself into a distinct and separate world from the one we all inhabit. Love and having feelings for someone else is natural irrespective of sexuality.



Meanwhile, I was contacted by a man from the Jonah Institute for Gender Affirmation. What I needed, and by implication every gay and lesbian, was a counsellor. He, his name was Arthur, went on to tell me that I could and should change and directed me to two men, either of whom, was excellent. Both, Arthur added, had: "Grown out of homosexuality (sic)."



I found the comment mind-blowing. The reference was childlike, homosexuality according Arthur's comment. Being gay or lesbian was related to childish behaviour. Hence, gay people, A) Need to deal with the disease (cancer, plague). B) Need to take things one day at a time (alcoholic, addiction) or C) Start behaving like adults. If, however, they ignore these warnings then they will bring the wrath of God down upon them. This was beginning to sound dangerously deluded.



In those I had encountered so far there was a strange obsession with the sexuality of the person as if this feature of human and animal existence was a simple black and white issue, when we know sexuality covers a whole spectrum of behaviours and is an extremely complex feature of existence.



My journey, however, brought me to a fascinating woman who had experienced a lesbian relationship at college before finding Jesus. She told me that she had met and married an 'ex-gay' man and that they now have a three month-old son.



"After a hard season (six years) of healing and discipleship" she told me, "I rarely struggle with same-sex attractions."



Rarely is the key word here, like my other informant who still takes one day at a time, she did not speak of being 'cured' of the 'disease', or of growing out of it. Despite healing and discipleship and all the effort she had undertaken to lead a heterosexual life, same sex attraction was very much a part of this woman's natural being.



It struck me and I have wondered about this a great deal what is was that these 'converted' gays were really looking for, God? Acceptance? Being ourselves, for me, is all about being honest and truthful. To hide or repress what you are all about in terms of sexuality I would imagine being deceitful and I would have thought God and Jesus might have frowned on this?

Broken Chains
Human & Equal Rights Organization
Head Office Address: Office 120
Street Address: 15-17 Caledonian Road
City: London
Post Code: N1 9DX

Website: www.broken-chains.org

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Brazil's President lays out his "Zero Hunger" programme. Ahmadiejad's wife makes rare appearance in Rome

Brazilian President Lula da Silva chairs an Africa-Latam meeting ahead of FAO summit and lays out his programme to eradicate hunger. On the sidelines, the wife of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes a rare public appearance at a first ladies summit.

ROME, ITALY (NOVEMBER 15, 2009) REUTERS - Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva on Sunday (November 15) hosted African delegations in a meeting to promote his "Zero Hunger" programme.
Lula, born to a poor family in Brazil's northeast has spent much of his time in office rallying at home and abroad to combat hunger. He has made it his aim to eradicate hunger.

Launched in 2003, in six years his "Zero Hunger" programme has slashed child malnutrition by 73% using food banks, community kitchens and locally procured school meals.

The Brazilian government has promoted redistribution of land and supported small farmers. Brazil's constitution enshrines the right to food, monitored by a national council on food and nutrition.

Anti-poverty agency ActionAid ranks Brazil as the top nation in the war on hunger.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe also attended the meeting.

Last year's food crisis, when fears of food shortages gripped grain markets -- sending wheat and rice prices soaring to record highs and sparking hoarding and riots -- was a wake-up call, one that experts hope will translate into sustained investment.

The unrest was a powerful reminder of the risks of food insecurity and helped spur the world's richest nations to promise to spend $20 billion over three years to help small, subsistence farmers improve their productivity.

Meanwhile the wife of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Azam Farahi, joined NAM (Non Aligned Movement) first ladies summit for a meeting aimed at identifying concrete steps that could be made to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition.

World leaders and government officials meet in Rome on Monday (November 16) for a three-day U.N. summit on how to fight global hunger, but anti-poverty campaigners are already writing off the event as a missed opportunity.

Copenhagen at the Crossroads; Adaptation or Mitigation?

The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 was intended to
commit world governments to a common purpose and approach
on reducing climate changes. Already before the meeting,
it is becoming obvious that such an agreement cannot be
reached. The reason is simple; the concept of the Kyoto
Treaty is deeply flawed and more and more countries are
urged by their citizens to find more effective and more
agreeable provisions for a new treaty.

Such a worldwide pact must treat every country fairly and
must take into account past practices and missteps.
Scientific evidence has become undeniable; the Earth is
getting warmer and climate changes are proliferating.
Consensus is building that a worldwide arrangement must be
arrived at that initially halts further warming and that
eventually restores historic climate conditions when such
restoration becomes economically and technologically
feasible.

The Copenhagen meeting is unable to decide on future
countermeasures because many nations feel uncomfortable
consenting to binding provisions that aim at the reduction
of energy consumption in all participating nations. The
general apprehension and distrust is based on past history;
the wealthiest nations are pushing the hardest for energy
reduction but cannot agree on energy reduction targets and
cannot achieve targets previous agreed upon.

Additionally, there is general unease; will the rationing
of energy lead to a slowdown of national economies? World
populations are continuing to grow. National economies
must keep pace and governments cannot dare to take the
chance of strangling domestic growth. How should
Copenhagen or a subsequent convention respond?

Fortunately, at least one workable solution is beginning to
take shape. This is the concept of turning back the clock;
reducing today's excessive carbon dioxide concentration
back to historic levels. For thousands of years,
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were maintained
by Mother Nature at 280 ppm. Historic climate conditions
can be reestablished with certainty if we can get back to
this magic level and can do so in the near future.

A new environmental movement has sprung up that is trying
to impress upon the world's governments that atmospheric
concentrations have to be returned to 350 ppm. This
movement, which calls itself 350.org, has the right
concept. If we are able to reduce carbon dioxide levels to
350 ppm from higher levels, we will automatically be able
to reach lower levels, too. The challenge of being able to
save Earth from overheating, therefore, comes down to
resolving several, important questions.

What technologies must be available for reducing
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration? How can the
world community agree upon an equitable and fair approach
to significantly reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide
emissions, restore them close to historic levels, prevent
the slowing down of world economies, distribute the
responsibility for cleanup judiciously, and allow younger
nations to catch up to energy use levels of industrialized
countries?

Fortunately, scientists, inventors, and investors have
accumulated an astonishing armory of technologies and
equipment for converting and utilizing energy.

However, the assortment of technologies needed for first
arresting and subsequently reducing atmospheric carbon
dioxide concentrations is not complete, yet. Several
technologies must be advanced before they become usable.
Others must be developed entirely.

Technologies for storing large quantities of electric
energy, for reducing the cost of electricity from solar
energy and wind energy, for growing huge quantities of
biomass without threatening food crop agriculture, and for
converting biomass into petroleum substitutes must be
developed to stop the destructive use of fossil fuels.

Scientists and technologist can, however not stop there.
Completely different technologies are needed for retrieving
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The very low
concentration of carbon dioxide, which is so powerful in
causing global overheating, is thermodynamically not suited
at all for economic recovery and sequestration of this
pollutant.

New inventions are required to provide such a much needed
technology for restoring historic carbon dioxide levels.

Can scientists, technologists, inventors, and investors
respond in time? This is a judgment call. This author
believes that at least one decade is needed for getting
missing energy technologies developed and readied for
installation. Private industry will not be able to provide
the early funding for developing very expensive and risky
concepts. Industry will get involved only after
developments have reached a stage, at which risks can be
quantified.

A major national or international agency must be formed to
tackle the formidable challenges, which need to be resolved
before Earth can be saved.

The agency must be committed to a very tightly written
mission: - Develop and prepare the implementation of a
worldwide plan that will develop novel energy conversion
systems, which will halt global warming and which will be
capable of furnishing plentiful, affordable, and secure
energy supplies for the next few centuries without slowing
world economies or harming the environment.

Funding required for such an agency will be comparatively
small when measured against past, huge, and worthless
efforts related to technology developments for combating
climate changes.


About the Author:

Dr. Hemsath's books, Climate Change-Gold Rush or Disaster?
and Clean Energy For Centuries, offer a comprehensive plan
for saving Earth from overheating. He is now writing a
follow-on book, Petroleum Substitutes From Biomass. For
fifty years he has worked on advanced energy technologies
as scientist, engineer, inventor, Corporate R&D Executive,
CEO, entrepreneur, and author. He holds more than 60 US
Patents.
Visit http://www.thermalexpert.com

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Contribution of Immigrants to British Society

Immigration policy is a political hot potato, particularly in the months preceding an election. Enforced deportations, loss of control of asylum seekers, loss of benefits for refugees until they are accepted all stand to damage the reputation of the UK in the world. Great Britain is generally well respected for its models of good practice in interfaith relations and its appreciation of other peoples’ cultures. It is also noteworthy that major religions praise the values of hospitality and sanctuary. This permeates our legal and moral framework not just in the UK but in the European Union.

Britain has hosted several waves of immigration throughout its history. These give rise to greater tensions during a time of economic recession. While we have benefitted from substantial number of professionals and others from around the world, there is a sense of tension over lack of job opportunities, rising house prices and lack of resources and availability of public services in some specific areas. There seems to be a need for mature discussion about these issues, in such a manner as not to jeopardize the good community cohesion measures in place. On the other hand, we should never lose sight of the great contribution immigrants have made over the years, to the United Kingdom. Our distinguished panel of speakers will illuminate on these issues and the topics.

As there is a great interest in this event, please (RSVP) reserve a place by return email or phone call. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on November 24th.


Robin Marsh Cllr. Margaret Ali – Chair of Community Cohesion Working Group
07956 210 768 0207 -262 0985 / / 07723024750

On behalf of Community Cohesion Working Group committee members: Ms. Vanessa Edwards: CCWG Secretary; Cllr. Liaquat Ali: former Mayor of London Borough of Waltham Forest; Mrs. Ruth Louise Barnett: Holocaust educator; Cllr. Janet Baddeley: Watford Borough Council; Cllr. Mushtaq Lasharie: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea & Chair of 3rd World Solidarity; Mr. Alan Rainer: Interfaith activist & Religious Education teacher, Angad Kaur of Guru Ram Das, project, Mr. Tim Miller: Chair of Hastings Interfaith Forum; Mr. Brij-Mohan Gupta:Co Chair of Hindu Council UK – Cllr. Faizullah Khan: Former Speaker of London Borough of Hackney; Mr. Edwin Shuker: Vice President of the World Congress of Sephardic Jews, Mr. Sukhbir Singh, of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sevak Jatha;

UPF Patron: Lord King of West Bromwich;
Advisor: Imam Dr. Abduljalil Sajid.

Upcoming UPF Events

Universal Peace Federation - UK www.uk.upf.org
Tel: 44 (0) 207 262 0985
43 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NA


Peace and Development Network:
UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Millions need emergency food aid, 25 years after Ethiopia's worst famine

Ethiopia has appealed for emergency aid to help feed 6.2 million people.

NAIROBI, KENYA (OCTOBER 22, 2009) REUTERS - Ethiopia appealed for emergency aid to feed 6.2 million people on Thursday (October 22), 25 years after more than a million perished in the country's notorious 1984 famine. Aid agency Oxfam says although short term assistance is necessary, a long term solution is the only way to change what has become -- over the years -- reliance on handouts.
"It's more... what's not changed. So, what's not changed is that there are millions of people who aren't able -- year on year -- to reliably feed themselves, and that's not changed and that's not satisfactory. It's great that people don't starve, where there is assistance and there is predictable assistance, and that's great. But insufficient energy has been put behind finding the longer term solutions so people can get out of this current reliance on food aid and that's what we think needs to change," said Oxfam's Paul Lomas.

More than 1 million Ethiopians died in 1984 as millions in the rich world sat transfixed in front of their television screens. The huge scale of the suffering brought with it the biggest outpouring of charity money the world has ever seen.

But 25 years on, foreigners still feed huge numbers of Ethiopians.

Oxfam says food aid has trapped Ethiopia into a cycle of dependency on the West and that donations could be better spent.

"We are really looking for both definitely when people... when an emergency appeal like this comes out the donors must respond and people do need food. But we also think that the long term funding is needed too. Now, there are ways that you can do a certain amount of both -- if more money for emergency food aid is invested inside the region, then we could be recycling the economy far more, we could be promoting local agricultural investment far more than buying grain from somewhere on the other side of the world," said Lomas.

Many Ethiopians say they are sick of their image as a famished country and point to foreign investors' growing interest in the country.

"I think every time I meet people who are recipients of food aid it's not a place they are happy to be in, they have their own personal ambitions, their own dignity, they are looking for a way out themselves. People want to get to be in a situation where they can stand on their own two feet," said Lomas.

On top of the 6.2 million people needing food aid, another 7 million people are on a scheme that gives food in exchange for work, which means more than 13 million of the country's 83 million people rely on foreign handouts to survive.

Aid workers say a five-year drought is afflicting more than 23 million people in seven east African nations.

First ever UNESCO World Aquatic Heritage site in Malawi

UNESCO's first ever aquatic heritage site includes Lake Malawi which has some 250 unique fish species, holds an incredible 1000 of the world's 20,000 known fish species.


MANGOCHI, MALAWI (OCTOBER 19, 2009) REUTERS - The Galapagos islands are to Latin America what Lake Malawi is to Africa.
Christened as the world's first fresh water national park in 1980, Lake Malawi National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, mainly due to the fact that it boasts more species of fish than any other lake in the world.

Around five percent of the world's fish species - 1,000 out of 20,000 - are found in Lake Malawi, making its waters crucial for the study of marine life evolution.

Lake Malawi's 29,600 square kilometers makes it the third largest lake on the continent.

Indigenous to Lake Malawi is the Cichlid, a clourful medium-sized fish whose species number between 1,300 and 3,000.

Although new species are constantly discovered, 156 cichlid species are currently listed as vulnerable, 40 species are listed as endangered, while 69 species are listed as critically endangered.

There is also rich birdlife on Lake Malawi including the African fish eagle.

The park itself and the lake's two largest islands, Likoma and Chizumulu, contain five villages.

"It is very unique in the sense that this is the only national park in the country that has got villages inside the park. And Chembe is one of the biggest villages that is found in Lake Malawi National Park. There are about five villages with a total population of about 25,000 people and these people depend on park resources for their own survival," explained Joe Chinguwo, an education and enviromental officer in the park.

A number of the park's human residents make their living from tourists and have enjoyed their home's prominence in the world of conservation.

"We are always happy to receive tourists and visitors from all over the world. We have a lot to showcase within this heritage site. I am happy, as a businessman that many people are now coming here," said boat operator Andrew Njikho.

Lake Malawi national park officers do not just take care of what is in the water. They are equally conscious of conserving the surrounding mainland to avoid sediment building up in the water, which could ultimately be fatal to the fish.

"Apart from conserving the Mbuna (Cichlid) which is in the water, we also conserve the mainland, the trees so that we avoid siltation of our lake," said Chinguwo.

In the late 1970s, siltation caused by deforestation and the introduction of new species caused the disappearance of 80% cichlid fish in East Africa's Lake Victoria, a situation which Lake Malawi is determined to avoid.

Global action against poverty campaign breaks world record

More than 173 million people across the globe participated in the ''Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now'' events, claiming the Guinness World Record for mass mobilisation.

NAIROBI, KENYA (OCTOBER 22, 2009) REUTERS - A global action campaign against poverty dubbed 'Stand up, Take Action' broke a world record for the largest number of people mobilizing for one cause at the same time, the United Nations Millenium campaign said on Thursday (October 22).
Stand Up and Take Action, a campaign of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which sets out to eradicate poverty across the globe by 2015 by using popular artists in advocacy, witnessed a massive turnout of people worldwide over the weekend.

"Last night, we got a message from Guinness that we had actually shattered the world record, and that all together globally, 173 million people in events across the world, over 3,000 events across the world, in more than 120 countries, stood up and took action demanding that they want poverty to end.", said Sylvia Mwichuli, the UN Millenium Campaign's Acting Deputy Director for Africa.

The record for biggest mobilisation was broken in 2006, the event's inception year when approximately 23 million people participated.

The number grew exponentially, as the event kept shattering its own record year after. By 2009, it had increased by more than seven times since it first began.

This year's leg comprised of some 3,000 global events, including the participation of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York, that of Nepalese president Ram Baran Yadav, a concert by Irish band U2 and one by legendary Nigerian artist Femi Kuti.

Through these events and numbers, Mwichuli believes global policy will have to be affected.

"We hope that these figures are going to translate into real actions, through these actions we have had thousands of policy related actions where we have provided petitions to governments both from the grassroots to the national level, we have demanded that governments must allocate resources to development programs.", said Mwichuli.

The UN estimates that almost half of the world lives on less than two US dollars a day, and one in six people does not receive adequate nutrition.

.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Why We Need a Green Revolution: Insights and Opinions of Thomas Friedman

My husband and I went to see Thomas Friedman, a best
selling author and NY Times columnist speak about his most
recent book, Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green
Revolution - and How It Can Renew America, which is a
follow up to his previous book, The World Is Flat: The
World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first
Century. We enjoyed his presentation which was full of
vivid examples, memorable images, and humorous lines.

American Industry Problems

According to Friedman, America has lost its way over the
last decade or so. His entire book is about, as he put it,
how America can gets its groove back. His ideal solution is
that the U.S. should become a world leader in the green
innovation and technology that's needed to tackle the
world's largest problems, which all stem from the fact that
the world has become:

- Hot: As you can guess, this part of his book is about
the climate crisis due to global warming.

- Flat: Straight from his last book, The World Is Flat,
this term refers to the fact that far more people on the
planet have high paying jobs that allow them to achieve the
American standard of living.

- Crowded: The world's population is growing exponentially
which is going to tax all the resources on the planet.

With the world in this three-pronged predicament, five
significant global problems have arisen:

- Ecological and Natural Resources, Supply and Demand.
Increasing demand for raw materials such as timber, water,
and minerals is putting stress on the earth's ecosystems.

- Petrodictatorships. As the price of a barrel of oil
decreases, the pace of freedom increases, and vice versa,
in countries such as Russia, Iran and Nigeria. By
continuing to purchase oil from these countries we are
contributing to the problem.

- Climate Change. As the average temperature of the earth
increases, look for the weather to become more extreme.
Friedman prefers to think of this as global weirding rather
than global warming. In a way he is correct. All weather
patterns are going to become more extreme. Hot will become
hotter, but cool will become colder. Wet and dry, the same
thing. Weather patterns will shift dramatically with as
little as one degree of temperature increase.

- Energy Poverty. A large portion of the world's
population lives without electricity. No electricity means
no access to the world's knowledge. Ignorance through lack
of learning creates large scale problems.

- Biodiversity Losses. The world faces a mass extinction
larger than when an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs.
Currently we are losing one species every 20 minutes,
primarily due to loss of habitat. As the climate changes,
animals will have to search for new habitats, but they are
unlikely to evolve rapidly enough to survive the abrupt
shift in their habitat.

The Solution

Not one to despair over such large problems, Friedman sees
one solution to these five problems: cheap, abundant,
clean, reliable electrons

His hope is that our country will use the power of
innovation, technology, government and businesses
leadership to produce electricity that satisfies these
requirements. He refers to this new industry as Energy
Technology, or ET, the next generation of Information
Technology, or IT.

The Reality

As it stands now, the rest of the world is a step ahead of
the U.S. Of the top 30 clean tech companies in the world,
only 6 are American companies. If we don't take action now,
we'll lose our place as an innovative force in the world.

What we need is a bold revolution to solve the climate
crisis... a Green Revolution, so to speak. He described the
current green effort as a party where everyone gets to
continue enjoying life without making a commitment or
sacrifice. A party, a change in lifestyle, is not enough!
We need to take a stronger stand to get done what needs to
get done. As he put it... a Revolution isn't a revolution
unless someone gets hurt. There will be losers in this new
world, the outdated, dirty, carbon based businesses that
continue to contribute to the problem.

The Action

The ultimate goal of the green revolution is the
disappearance of the word green from our vocabulary. It can
happen as current green standards become embedded into our
everyday lives and become the norm, rather than the
exception.

To accomplish the goal of becoming an innovator in the race
for clean, abundant, clean, reliable electrons, we need to
create what he calls an Ecosystem for Innovation. To
explain this, Friedman used an analogy of a rocket on a
launching pad. The technology and innovation now bubbling
up within entrepreneurial start-ups is the engine exploding
with energy. For the energy of to be directed and focused,
we need the second set of engines to ignite and the
astronauts in the capsule on top to steer us toward the
goals. Unfortunately, at this moment, the astronauts in the
capsules (read politicians in Congress) are in disagreement
about the flight plan.

That flight plan, the system of rules, standards,
regulations, incentives and pricing, is essential to create
the necessary infrastructure for this Energy Technology
explosion. If we are committed to this goal, we need to
focus our attention on getting leaders in all levels of
government to believe in the cause and be willing to take
action. One of Friedman's take away lines was... Don't
change your light bulbs, change your leaders!

According to Friedman this is a critical moment in the
history of planet earth. The next great global industry,
Energy Technology, is just beginning to take shape. We must
act now to reduce the world's carbon output. We must all
take a part in turning the national conversation to issues
associated with cheap, abundant, clean, reliable electrons.

Our actions can't wait. The word later must leave our
vocabulary. There is no later when it comes to addressing
climate change.

If we all start now, we have just enough time to solve this.


About the Author:

Green Career Expert Carol McClelland, PhD, is the author of
the forthcoming book Green Careers For Dummies and founder
of Green Career Central, a membership website with useful
programs, 500+ pages of effective, targeted information to
help you identify your green niche, find a green job, start
a business or further your education. Visit
http://www.GreenCareerCentral.com to request our free
report - "Six Strategies to Find Your Green Career"d

Monday, 12 October 2009

President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Viewed Positively in 62 Percent of Twitter Messages

Attensity Analyzes Sentiment Expressed in 25,000 Tweets

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Attensity(TM) Group, the leader in business user applications that generate value from unstructured data, has released its analysis of public reaction to today's award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama. The surprise announcement created a huge flutter on the Twitter micro-blogging site, resulting in thousands of postings.
(
Using Attensity Cloud, the newest product addition to Attensity's semantic analysis application suite, 25,000 discussion-oriented messages, or "tweets," were pulled from Twitter. All 25,000 tweets were then analyzed by Attensity's Voice of the Customer (VoC) solution, using Attensity's social media domain. Results were created using Attensity's out-of-the-box Sentimetrics analysis. Findings include:
Sentiment in Twitter towards President Obama's win of the Nobel Peace Prize:
8 percent extremely positive
54 percent positive
2 percent neutral
34 percent negative
2 percent extremely negative
In addition to overall sentiment, Attensity also analyzed tweets to determine whether people felt President Obama deserved the Nobel Prize, with these results:
54 percent felt he did deserve the Prize
30 percent questioned whether he deserved the Prize
16 percent felt he did not deserve the Prize at all
Attensity's VOC solution assigned a Sentimetrics Score(TM) of 64 to the sentiment associated with President Obama winning the Nobel Prize. The Sentimentric Score is an Attensity proprietary calculation that enables organizations to track sentiment movement over time. It takes into account and weighs sentiment by degrees of sentiment, and is then normalized based on the number of sentiment-based facts found by Attensity's VOC solution.
To view the pie chart analysis, go to Attensity's web site: http://www.attensity.com/en/ObamaPeacePrize.html
"We expected there to be a great deal of buzz generated by the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, but today's surprise designation of President Obama caused a tremendous flapping of wings in the 'Twittersphere,'" said Michelle de Haaff, chief marketing officer of Attensity Group. "It's rather interesting that there were so few Extreme Negatives, but perhaps that provides insight into the age and politics of Twitter's user base."
Attensity's Solutions
Attensity Cloud is designed to allow organizations to monitor, analyze and respond to social media together with internal customer conversations in email, surveys, and CRM systems. Powered by Radian6, the social media monitoring platform for marketing, communications and customer support professionals, Attensity Cloud (http://www.attensity.com/en/Applications-and-Services/Applications/Voice-of-the-Customer/Market-Voice.html) enables real-time active monitoring of social media to identify trends, influencers and sentiment. Attensity Cloud enables people to determine which conversations are relevant and active, engage in dialogue with the community, and understand which sites and people are the most influential for their organization. The results can provide a foundation for crafting strategic decisions, and to measure and analyze the impact of various social media initiatives.
By combining Attensity Cloud with Attensity's flagship Voice of the Customer (VoC) application (http://www.attensity.com/en/Applications-and-Services/Applications/Voice-of-the-Customer/Voice-of-the-Customer-Index.html), organizations can extend keyword analysis to actionable insights on issues found in social media. They can take advantage of Attensity's deep text analysis capabilities to analyze not only social media information, but also structured and unstructured information from internal sources, including email, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases and surveys for a 360-degree view of customer issues, opinions, ideas and requirements. Organizations can compare "Top Issues" in social media with "Top Issues" in direct communications, to address customers' greatest needs. Users can drill down into details around sentiment and root cause and identify the reasons why customers will or will not buy again.
Entry level pricing for Attensity Cloud starts between $500 and $1,200 USD per month.
Additional Resources
Read Attensity's whitepaper, "Monitor, Analyze, Respond and Repurpose: Toward a more effective utilization of social media." http://www.attensity.com/en/Collaterals/Attensity_SocialMedia_WP080609.pdf
Watch a video via Attensity's blog demonstrating analysis of "tweets" on a new KFC sandwich: http://www.attensity.com/en/Company/Blog/2009/08/Michelle_August5_2009.php
Register for a free webinar demonstration of Attensity Cloud on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 11:00 a.m. PT: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/257697147
About Attensity Group
Attensity Group provides business user applications that generate value from unstructured data. Its comprehensive family of solutions leverages semantic analytics to enable knowledge management professionals, business leaders, customer support personnel and customers to interpret and manage an organization's unstructured data to get relevant and actionable answers -- fast. Attensity Group's award-winning software is in use by more than 250 of the Global 1000 and by large government agencies to deliver powerful insights, enhance operational efficiency, reduce risk exposure, and ensure increased customer satisfaction. The Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) has honored Attensity Group with its 2009 Recognized Innovator Award. Attensity Group, with more than 500 installations worldwide, services customers from multiple offices in the U.S. and Europe. The company's go-to-market entities are Attensity Americas and Empolis in the EMEA region. Attensity Group's corporate headquarters are in Palo Alto, Calif. More information is at http://www.attensity.com. Follow Attensity on Twitter at http://twitter.com/attensity and read the corporate blog at http://www.attensity.com/en/Company/Blog/index.php.
©2009 Attensity Group. Attensity and Sentimetrics Score are trademarks of Attensity Group in the United States and/or other countries. Other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Information is subject to change without notice. All rights reserved.

Contacts:
Michelle de Haaff
Attensity Group
(650) 433-1700
mdehaaff@attensitygroup.com


Lisa Hawes
Sterling Communications
(408) 884-5155
attensity@sterlingpr.com

SOURCE Attensity Group

Monday, 5 October 2009

Pope warns Africa against colonialism, religious fundamentalism

As the Synod of African Bishops gets underway, Pope Benedict warns Africa of religious fanaticism and corruption.


VATICAN CITY, VATICAN (OCTOBER 4, 2009) CTV - Pope Benedict opened a synod of Roman Catholic bishops on Africa on Sunday (October 4) by denouncing the West's materialism and lack of moral values, which he said were contaminating the world's poorest continent like "toxic waste."
In his homily the Pope compared Africa, which he visited earlier this year, to a spiritual "lung" at risk of being attacked by what he called the viruses of materialism and religious fundamentalism.

"There is absolutely no doubt that the so-called 'First' World has exported up until now, and continues to export its spiritual toxic waste that contaminates the people of other continents, particularly those of Africa. In that sense colonialism -- at a political level -- has never really entirely come to an end," he said.

"In this sense colonialism, which is over at a political level, has never really entirely come to an end."

Lamenting the exploitation of Africa's vast resources, the pope also spoke out against religious fundamentalism, which he said was mixed with political and economic interests.

In the 20th century Africa's Catholic population shot up from about 2 million in 1900 to about 140 million in 2000, making the continent ever more important to the Vatican as the number of practising Catholics in the developed world declines.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

World Bank reveals new study in Bangkok on the cost of fighting climate change

The World Bank reveals a new study on the cost of fighting climate change as delegates at the Bangkok Climate Change Talks continue negotiations on a new climate change treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

BANGKOK, THAILAND (SEPTEMBER 30, 2009) REUTERS - Developing countries will need to spend as much as $100 billion annually for the next 40 years to adapt to more extreme and severe weather changes, according to a World Bank study released on Wednesday (September 30).
"Achieving a two-degree world will cost about 75 to 100 billion dollars per year from now, from 2010 to 2050. This is low compare to GDPs its on par with the amount of development assistance to developing countries. So, it is about the same level," Director of World Bank's Environment Department, Warrant Evans told reporters at a news conference during climate change talks in Bangkok.

Despite previous estimates of $9 billion and $104 billion, the World Bank said the latest projection came from its most in-depth analysis of the impact of climate change.

He added that East Asian and Pacific Asian countries with growing economies are experiencing rapid urbanisation, especially in costal areas, and would bear the highest cost.

Meanwhile, a hundred green activists demonstrated outside the UN building, accusing rich countries of causing the most global warming.

"This climate problem is because of the over use of energy transportation for hundreds of years since industrialisation," said Jubilee South Activist representative, Vinod Raina.

The activists said rich countries should bear the costs of combating climate change.

"So, we shouldn't have loans and we shouldn't have World Bank giving loans, which people have to repay. It should be rich countries giving ground and reparation." added Vinod Raina.

Earlier, the head negotiator for the Philippines urged rich nations at the U.N. climate talks to toughen emissions cuts, claiming the typhoon that hit the country this week was a taste of future effects of climate change on poor nations.

"The death, the pain and the damage in the Philippines helps us to understand the necessity of an earnest negotiations," Chief Philippine Climate negotiator, Heherson Alvarez told reporters.

Typhoon Ketsana killed 246 people and triggered widespread flooding in the capital Manila.

The storm, which has also killed 32 in Vietnam, dumped a month's worth of rain in 24 hours in Manila, overwhelming rescue services.

The storm has become a focus of the marathon climate talks in Bangkok this week, with developing nations and green groups saying it is an example of the type of climate disaster poor nations could face in a warmer world.

Delegates from about 180 countries are meeting in the Thai capital trying to narrow differences on emissions reduction targets, climate finance and transfer of clean-energy technology before a December deadline to seal a tougher pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The Bangkok talks, which run until Oct. 9, is the last major negotiating round before a gathering in Copenhagen in December that the United Nations has set as a deadline to seal a broad agreement on a pact to expand and replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Living hell for immigrants in Italy's tomato fields

After crossing half of Africa and surviving a perilous boat trip from Libya in search of a better life in Italy, many immigrants enter into a form of slavery picking tomatoes with living conditions worse than those back home.

RIGNANO GARGANICO, ITALY REUTERS - Every year thousands of immigrants, many of them from Africa, flock to the plantations of southern Italy to eke out a living as seasonal workers picking anything from grapes to olives, tomatoes and oranges.
This army of illegal immigrants certainly could not have imagined the sort of living conditions they would be forced to endure.

Broadly tolerated by authorities because of their role in the economy, they endure long hours of backbreaking labour for as little as 15-20 euros a day and live in squalid makeshift camps without running water or electricity.

The shanty town, known as 'the Ghetto' is where some 600 immigrants live in the countryside near the city of Foggia in Puglia. The area is known as the 'Red Gold Triangle' which produces 35 percent of Italy's tomatoes.

From afar the shanty town resembles a refugee camp in any war-ravaged African country, but the reality is possibly worse.

The economic crisis forced factories in Italy's rich north to shut down or lay off employees, so more migrants than usual -- around 2,000 people -- have come here in search of work.

Rains -- a tomato picker's best friend because the machinery an increasing number of farm owners use to replace manual labour does not work properly on muddy grounds -- have been sparse.

"Here is where I sleep, ten people sleep here," said 24-yr-old Boubacar Bailo from Guinea.

People sleep on bug-infested mattrasses in overcrowded shacks made of cardboard and plastic sheets or in decrepit houses.

"If it's raining they prefer calling us to work rather than the machines, it's shit its only 3 euro for one big crate," Bailo said, adding that this was not living.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which since 2003 has been monitoring the area around Foggia and helping the immigrants get access to basic health services, say more should be done.

"They sleep on the ground on matresses they have picked up on the streets, most of them are rotten and infested with insects." said Doctor Alvise Benelli.

Idle youths in dirty clothes try and sleep or simply stare into the distance at the camps. To eat the immigrants club together to buy a sheep so they can slaughter it themselves and feed more people.

The going rate for illegal tomato pickers is 3.5 euros per "cassone" -- a big plastic crate that, when full, weighs 350 kg. On a lucky day, workers can hope to make as much as 35-40 euros after labouring from dawn to dusk.

But in most cases they will have to pay a cut to the so-called "caporali", intermediaries who select the workforce for the farm owners and make sure the job gets done.

"We just didn't know Italy was like this, we always thought it was a country where you could find a job and do everything like eating and alot of nice things," said illegal immigrant Andrea from Burkina Faso who has been in Italy for several years.

"...But we have seen it is not like that but I can't go back," Andrea said.

This month, the government launched an amnesty for immigrants illegally employed as cleaners or carers for the elderly by Italian families, but that does not apply to those bringing tomatoes from the fields to their plates.

Most of them are trapped, with no papers and barely any income they are forced to travel up and down the country following the harvest, with little hope of ever being able to afford to return home.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

UN: Pace of climate change quickens

As world leaders meet in New York, a new report from the U.N. says the pace of climate change is surpassing predictions.


The pace of climate change is exceeding the scientific community's worst-case scenarios . That's the grim bottom line from a new UN Environment Program report that says emissions already released into the atmosphere could lead to the loss of ecosystems and a more rapid spread of deserts from Africa to Asia.

The UN report comes as world leaders have been meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York and the G20 in Pittsburgh. One goal is breaking the global deadlock on how rich and developing countries will share the burdens of trying to slow global warming.

Earlier in the week U.S. President Barack Obama said the US is pursuing more aggressive climate policy but that efforts must be collective.

U.S. President Barack Obama saying:

"Those rapidly-growing developing nations that will produce nearly all the growth in global carbon emissions in the decades ahead must do their part as well. Some of these nations have already made great strides with the development and deployment of clean energy. Still, they will need to commit to strong measures at home and agree to stand behind those commitments just as the developed nations must stand behind their own."

And the Group of 20 did agree to phase out subsidies on oil and other fossil fuels over the "medium term", according to its communiqué.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, at a news conference following the summit, said the eventual costs for the world will be much higher if nations do not address the threat of climate change.

Some worry though that the lack of a firm timetable and the failure to make progress on financing for poor countries may hinder how much progress can be made at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December

Meanwhile, experts have been meeting at the United Nations desertification conference in Argentina this week where they said land degradation and desert threatens two billion people worldwide.

They warned that unless policy action is taken immediately, freak weather incidents like the huge outback dust storm that blanketed Sydney earlier this week will occur more frequently as the "perfect storm" of climate change gathers momentum.

Manoush Zomorodi, Reuters, New York

Project 10^100 - Vote for the idea you believe will help the most people

It's time to vote!

Last year, Project 10^100 invited the world to submit ideas to help as many people as possible. We received over 154,000 submissions, which we narrowed down to our favorites.

Now, you're invited to view the ideas and vote for the ones you think will help the most people.

Our advisory board will use your votes to identify the best ideas for further consideration, and we've committed $10 million to make up to 5 of them a reality.

Hurry, voting ends October 8, 2009.

Thanks for your help. Please vote! And may those who help the most win.

- The Project 10^100 Team

Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA

Friday, 25 September 2009

Brad Pitt honoured for humanitarism

Brad Pitt prasied for his foundation's help reconstruction of The 9th Ward in New Orleans

At the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Thursday (September 24), Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt was honoured for his humanitarian work in New Orleans.

Seated next to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Pitt's and his "Make It Right" foundation were praised for their efforts to rebuild homes in the Louisiana Port City.

Thousands of people in New Orleans' 9th Ward were left homeless by Hurricane Katrina - Pitt's foundation built thirteen houses there.

Each unique house has sustainable, eco-friendly features to minimise costs like heating and cooling.

The average utility bill for the homes is 35 U.S. dollars a month - the aim is to cut that to zero.

Pitt said the model could be applied to communities everywhere.

Brad Pitt, Actor and Founder of "Make It Right", saying:

"If we had not been so blissfully naive to the potential, we would not be experiencing what we are seeing today and that is the unquantifiable joy of families returning home to the 9th Ward and returning home to something that was better than before. Returning home to and setting forth a new paradigm."

The former U.S. president commended the houses as an example for the future.

Bill Clinton, Former President, saying:

"This is a story that can have a happy ending because if we change the way we produce and consume energy, including the way we build and rebuild, we can create more opportunity as has been done here."

Pitt's goal is to have 150 green homes up and ready in New Orleans by 2010.

Doug MacLaurin, Reuters.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Obama deadpans on Letterman

"I was actually black before the election" U.S. President Barack Obama jokes on David Letterman's late-night chat show.

Barack Obama make the remarks in a pre-recorded segment of the "Late Show With David Letterman" when he was asked about former President Jimmy Carter's comment that some of the sharp criticism aimed at the current U.S. president in the healthcare debate seemed to reflect racism.

As well as comedic moments the interview tackled weighty issues, with Obama offering a cautious prognosis on the economy saying, "we are not out of the woods yet."

Obama, whose approval ratings have tumbled amid a rancorous debate on his plan for healthcare reform and accusations by critics that his policies would lead to too much government meddling in the economy, has made a series of appearences on U.S. television shows in recent days, in an effort to explain and promote his policies.

Source: CBS/WORLDWIDE

Denmark Launches Climate Change Web Platform With Google

Involving Global Opinion in the Climate Debate: Denmark Launches Climate Change Web Platform With Google
COPENHAGEN and NEW YORK, September 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, on behalf of the Danish government as hosts of the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15), today announced a new collaboration with the global internet company Google.

The aim of the collaboration is to increase global engagement in climate change in the run-up to and during COP15 in Copenhagen in December.

The collaboration includes a number of online initiatives:

- "Raise your voice" COP15 YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/cop15

Denmark will allow users of the online video sharing website YouTube to share their thoughts on climate change and to make their voices be heard at the conference. Through the channel, users can contribute their own opinion and questions, and respond to and view videos by climate change opinion makers. The channel will also allow users to watch videos that go behind the scenes of the conference itself. During COP15, videos will be shown to the leaders of the world gathered at the conference, who will have a chance to record their opinions directly from the conference venue.

- Visualization of climate change on Google Earth - http://www.google.com/cop15

Working with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the international scientific community, Google has visualized climate change stories on Google Maps and Google Earth. For example, users will be able to view visualizations of greenhouse gas emissions by region, the expected consequences of climate change, as well as narrated virtual tours on mitigation and adaptation aspects.

- Working together for the climate

A number of different organizations are working on outreach efforts in the period leading up to COP15. To unite all these campaigns, users of Denmark's "Raise your voice" COP15 YouTube channel will be able to visit other major campaigns, including the UN's official Seal the Deal initiative, UNICEF's Unite for Climate youth campaign, the Hopenhagen campaign, Prince Charles' Rainforest Project and the Tck Tck Tck campaign.

In addition to the above activities under the collaboration between Denmark and Google, Google is collaborating with CNN to conduct a global, TV-transmitted Townhall debate during COP15. As such, questions submitted to the "Raise your voice" YouTube channel will be broadcast to a worldwide audience.

The collaboration between Denmark and Google will be launched tomorrow, September 22, by the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, during the UN Climate Summit in New York. Video coverage of the event will be made available on the COP15 "Raise your voice" YouTube channel.

On the YouTube channel there will also be "Call to Action" videos from HRH the Crown Prince of Denmark and the Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

Web links:

COP15 "Raise your voice" YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/cop15

Google Earth climate change visualization: http://www.google.com/cop15

COP15.dk - climate change news and conference information: http://www.cop15.dk COP15 "Climate Thinkers Blog": http://www.blog.cop15.dk

COP15 on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cop15

COP15 on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cop15

For more information, please contact:

Google, Inc.

Niki Fenwick, Senior Manager, Communications & Public Affairs,

nikifenwick@google.com

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Klavs A. Holm, Ambassador for Public Diplomacy, tel. +45-25-28-37-37

Louise Brincker, Head of Press, COP15, tel. +45-23-43-41-76

Jakob Faarvang, Team Leader, COP15 Press/Outreach team,

tel. +45-25-26-75-74

Torben Jensen, Head of Section, COP15 Press/Outreach team,

tel. +45-50-86-75-28

SOURCE Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Over 100 children detained in Calais Jungle roundup, police chief says

More than 100 children and as many adults were detained in a dawn raid on a makeshift migrants' camp near the entrance of the Channel Tunnel in northern France, the local police chief said.

CALAIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 22, 2009) REUTERS - Children were among those who were detained by French riot police as they closed down a makeshift refugee camp near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel that the government says has become a magnet for criminals and people smugglers.
The children were among approximately 200 people who were detained amid scuffles with members of French pressure groups who had gathered to prevent the so-called Calais Jungle being dismantled.

Protesters cried and accused the police of acting without any dignity. But earlier, Immigration Minister Eric Besson said the move was essential to re-establish the rule of law.

Police took down details of the migrants who were detained and at least one person who appeared lightly injured was carried away, eyewitnesses said.

"The adults have already been placed in detention. We are going to verify their personal situations. Those in a legal situation will obviously be released with a proposition of accomodation. For months now, we have not detained anyone without proposing them some accomodation in Calais or somewhere nearby", said police chief Pierre Debousquet.

The French government announced the closure of the Jungle late last week, vowing to re-establish the rule of law in the patchy scrub of land with makeshift housing that serves as a jumping-off point for hundreds of migrants who smuggle onto Britain-bound lorries every year.

Police begin clearing migrant camp as Immigration Minister defends his decison

French police begin clearing Calais migrant camp as French Immigration Minister Eric Besson says he wants to stop people trafficking there.

CALAIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 22, 2009) REUTERS - French police on Tuesday (September 22) began clearing an improvised camp dubbed "the jungle" where migrants gather near the port of Calais before trying to cross to Britain.
The operation, announced last week, has been heavily criticised by humanitarian groups who say it will do nothing to solve the problem of illegal immigration, but Immigration Minister Eric Besson defended the move.

"I want to dismantle this camp which is a base for people traffickers," he told RTL radio shortly after the operation began.

Besson said people traffickers exploited migrants, charging them 15,000 euros to get to Britain.

"I've seen a number of people describe it as a pleasant humanitarian camp. It is not a humanitarian camp. It is the base camp of the people traffickers," Besson said.

The French minister said the state of law needed to be established in the camp, to the benefit of the migrants themselves who are exploited, but also to the benefit of the inhabitants of Calais and its surrounding area.

He said around 250 people had been in the area on Monday but he was unaware of how many were still there as police moved in.

The makeshift tent city grew up after France closed a large Red Cross centre at nearby Sangatte in 2002 under pressure from Britain, which saw it as a magnet for clandestine immigrants.

Humanitarian groups say the high-profile closure of the "jungle" will merely move the illegal immigrants elsewhere in the area.

Monday, 21 September 2009

EU ministers debate resettlement program for refugees and asylum seekers

European duty to ''welcome those victims of persecution'' and be ''a continent of asylum'' are outlined as EU ministers start debating new resettlement policy.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (SEPTEMBER 21, 2009)EBS - EU justice and home affairs ministers debated on Monday (September 21) a new resettlement policy to harmonize EU laws on refugees and asylum seekers.
Resettlement means that refugees who have temporary protection in the country in which they first arrived may move to another country where they can receive permanent protection.

Sweden, who is holding the six-months rotating EU presidency, said the resettlement policy is one its priority though it warned there was ''no quick fix''

''There is no quick fix for that problem I am afraid and we also have to think about that problem in short and long term. However, by offering a resettlement program, we will be able to deal with some of the problems,'' Swedish minister for migration and asylum Tobias Billstroem said as he arrived for the meeting.

Ministers are studying new proposals by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. The Commission said the new resettlement policy will identify common priorities to help the most vulnerable populations and it proposed that member states accepting migrants to be resettled within their border will get 4,000 euros ($5,849) per person resettled.

''The program will not only have an impact on the individual beneficiaries but it will also alleviate the pressure that some third countries that host major refugee population feels today,'' Billstroem said, referring to countries like Syria who is hosting a great number of Iraqi refugees.

The EU Commission also wants to develop cooperation with the United Nations for High Refugees Commissioner (UNHCR), the International Office for Migration (IOM) and non-governmental organisations dealing with immigration and create a greater solidarity between EU member states.

Countries at the border of the European Union like Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Spain or Italy say they are dealing with an increase in the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers. They want other EU nations to show more solidarity and help them resettle migrants outside their own borders and within the European Union.

Jacques Barrot, EU Commission vice-president in charge of immigration, and the UNHCR High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said some values need to be respected when dealing with refugees and asylum seekers.

''There are about ten millions refugees in the world and 750,000 are waiting for resettlement. We therefore have to face those demands which need to be understood in the light of European values, those values which mean it's a duty for Europeans to welcome those who are victims of persecution throughout the world,'' Barrot said.

''We remain confident that Europe is and shall go on being a continent of asylum. It's very important that Europe grants access to European territory for bona-fide asylum seekers and a fair treatment of their claims,'' Guterres said.

Immigration is a hot topic in the EU.

In Italy, the first landing-point in Europe for many migrants from Africa, migrants face detention under legislation passed in July making it a felony to be an illegal immigrant or help one.

In France, the government has vowed to close an illegal migrants' camp in Calais by the end of this week. The camp, known as ''The jungle'' has been the jumping off point for hundreds of asylum seekers bound for the UK.

The European Union is set to issue new immigration policy proposals by the end of October.

Massive crowd turn out for Juanes' Peace Without Borders Concert

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans watch international stars perform in a free Peace Without Borders Concert.

HAVANA, CUBA (SEPTEMBER 20, 2009) REUTERS - Hundreds of thousands of people filled Havana's Revolution Square for a "peace" concert on Sunday (September 20) in which Colombian singer Juanes and other musicians sought to bridge the political divide that has separated Cubans for 50 years.
The concert was shown live on international television, including to viewers in Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community and center of opposition to Cuba's communist-led government.

Puerto Rican singer Olga Tanon, who kicked off the concert by shouting, "It's time to change."

Juanes, a 17-time Latin Grammy winner who lives in Miami, was joined on stage by 14 artists from six countries, among them Olga Tanon of the U.S. territory Puerto Rico, Miguel Bose of Spain and Jovanotti of Italy. Cuban salsa kings Los Van Van closed it out.

Juanes, who organized his "Peace Without Borders" concert in conjunction with the Cuban government, had insisted the show was not political, but raised eyebrows at the end of the concert when he shouted "one Cuban family" for Cuban unity and "Cuba libre," words that have been a rallying cry in the exile community for years.

They prompted immediate speculation on Spanish-language television in Miami, but drew no response from the Cuban government.

The huge crowd in attendance, which Juanes said numbered more than 1 million, danced and swayed under a blistering sun that caused many to faint during the five-hour event.

A number of Cuban dissidents supported the concert, even though they say the government was using it to project an image of tolerance that does not exist.

One of Cuba's leading anti-government dissidents, Martha Beatriz Roque, told Univision on Sunday that Cuban state security police had warned a number of dissidents and other individuals to stay away from Revolution Square.

"I think it shows much about the desire we Cubans have for union, solidarity and desire to live in peace," said Miriam Leyva, wife of dissident Oscar Espinos.

Juanes has said he organized the concert because he believes U.S. President Barack Obama has "opened the door" to change by easing the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo and taking other steps to improve U.S.-Cuba relations.

He said he would like to see Cuban leaders respond to his overture by moving away "from some of the anti-democratic practices of the past."

Cuba's government last week chided Obama for not doing more to completely end the U.S. sanctions on Cuba.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

A British woman, allegedly humiliated in courtroom, says hopeful of justice

Kaya Eldridge, who was allegedly humiliated by a lawyer during the hearing of a molestation case in India, says she is hopeful of justice.

AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, INDIA (SEPTEMBER 19, 2009) ANI- Kaya Eldridge, a British woman, who was allegedly humiliated by a lawyer during the hearing of a molestation case in India, said that she was hopeful of getting justice on Saturday (September 19).
Elridge staged a protest along with several locals and foreigners against molestation of women in India's western Ahmedabad.

"I am very positive about my case. I think if the support of the people is anything to go by, then the judicial system will have to, will have to reflect that and hopefully the truth will prevail here and we will finally get justice," she said.

Local citizens who voluntarily joined her shouted slogans demanding justice for victims of molestation and violence.

"On one hand we are inviting the guests from foreign lands and we are welcoming them and we are pampering them and on the other hand a guest lady is suffering from these atrocities." Swarup Dhruv, a cultural activist said.

High Court of India's western Gujarat state on Friday (September 18) directed the chief metropolitan magistrate to conduct an inquiry into the case.

Elridge wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Mr. Justice KS Radhakrishnan, with signatures of people demanding action against the lawyer who allegedly asked her irrelevant question in the metropolitan court.

The issue was taken up at the High Court by a self-help group.

Expressing concern over the issue, Radhakrishnan sought report in the case after accusations were made by Eldridge that she was humiliated in the courtroom by the lawyer on Monday (September 14).

Last month, Eldridge complained that a plumber molested her when he came for a repairing work at her flat.

Guidelines of India's apex court say that court proceedings should take place 'in-camera' to avoid embarrassment to the victim and to protect her identity.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Lucy Liu, actress and UNICEF Ambassador speaks about human trafficking

 
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Lucy Liu, actress and UNICEF Ambassador, speaks about the need to put a stop to the crime of human trafficking at USAID's Anti-Trafficking Symposium on September 16, 2009. Since 2001 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided more than $134 million to combat human trafficking. USAID has funded anti-trafficking projects in more than 70 countries as a part of the coordinated U.S. government effort to combat the crime of trafficking in persons worldwide. Activities are in place to help prevent vulnerable individuals from being trafficked, to protect and reintegrate victims and to find and punish human traffickers. Lucy Liu's most recent collaboration with USAID was for the documentary "Traffic," a joint project with USAID and the MTV Foundation for the EXIT campaign. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. Agency for International Development)

Why Americans are so stirred up about Obama

Despite all the ruckus concerning town-halls lately, most
of which is the ruckus made by liberals upset that
conservatives are attending and expressing their opposition
to Obama's policies, we have been treated to some
important, if accidental, moments of honesty and clarity.

For example, while conducting a recent town-hall meeting,
Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill attempted to
calm constituents upset over the proposed "reform" by
asking "Don't you trust me?" The resounding "no's"
reverberated throughout the room, along with many boos,
which provides us with our moment of honesty.

So why don't voters trust the government or its
representatives to "fix" the problem? Partially because
they've taken a good look at the proposed "solution" over
the past few months, and the closer they look, the less
they like what they see. From federally funded abortions
(as "health care"), to reduced choices in the free-market,
to likely tax increases and health care rationing, there's
plenty to have a problem with.

According to the latest Rasmussen poll, fifty-four percent
of Americans would rather have no health care reform at
all, rather than the bills that are currently being
considered in Congress. The poll also shows that, while
eighty percent of Republicans oppose the bill, a surprising
forty percent of Democrats are opposed as well.

The other reason they're lacking in the "trust" department
is that they know the government's track record when it
comes to "fixing" things, or generally getting anything
productive done at all, much less done well.

They know government programs only get bigger, not smaller,
(unless you're talking about defense programs under liberal
Democrats). They know the stories about the five-hundred
dollar hammers and six-hundred dollar toilet seats, not to
mention the obscene overspending and fraud in Medicare and
Medicaid. They saw the great job done by local, state and
federal agencies during Katrina, and they weren't too
impressed.

Which brings us to our moment of clarity, courtesy of one
of Obama's recent town-hall meetings, in which he gave a
great reason why we shouldn't trust the government to fix
much of anything, much less manage one-sixth of the economy.

Obama offered the example of the Post Office in an analogy
of how the government run option wouldn't hurt or hinder
the free market in delivering health insurance. Yes, the
US Post Office - the government agency whose failure to
sufficiently master delivery of packages from point A to
point B prompted the rise of free market choices like FedEx
and UPS.

In other words he was saying, "Don't worry about a
government run program killing off private competition,
because it will be awful, just like the Post Office".
(How's that for a vote of confidence!)

Yes, FedEx and UPS are doing fine in their competition with
the government, just as the free market would do a better
job of delivering quality, affordable health care, if not
for government interference. But that's because the Post
Office doesn't get to set the rules under which its
competitors operate.

Health care is another matter. Currently, government tells
insurance companies what products they can sell and where
they can sell them, and what policies customers can buy and
where they can buy them, (and forces them to use the
government product - Medicare - when they turn sixty-five).

I think it's fair to say that the competitors to the Post
Office wouldn't do so well under similar rules, which would
leave consumers with less reliable and lower quality
service.

Rules and regulations under a government run health care
scheme are sure to be even worse - and so would the service.

Ronald Reagan used to tell the joke, "I'm from the
government, and I'm here to help", and it always got a
laugh. Why? Because the notion of the government being
helpful, as opposed to usually screwing things up, getting
in the way, or infringing on our liberties is laughable.

But if we allow this so-called "reform" to become law,
health care in America will "go postal". And the joke will
be on us.


About the Author:

Drew McKissick is a political strategist and former member
of the Republican National Committee with over 20 years of
experience in grassroots politics. He writes a regular
column providing analysis and commentary on the polical
scene. His website is available at
http://www.DrewMcKissick.com . You can follow him on
Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DrewMcKissick

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Canadian group vows to fight Tanzania albino murders

A Canadian group vows justice over the killings of Albinos in Tanzania, whose body parts are sold to be used in witchcraft.

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA REUTERS - A Canadian rights group says it will not rest until there is an end to the murder of albinos in Tanzania -- a minority often hunted down for their body parts to be used in witchcraft.
Since 2007 at least 53 albinos have been killed in various parts of the east African nation, with most incidents occurring in the remote northwest regions of Shinyanga and Mwanza, where superstition is deep-seated.

Albinos lack pigment in their eyes, skin or hair, making their life difficult in Africa, where there is plenty of sunshine. They are more susceptible to skin cancer and sunburn.

Tanzania has about 170,000 albinos among its 40 million people, according to government and lobby groups, and grisly stories about their killings are carried in local media.

The killers sell parts such as arms, legs, hair, skin and genitals to those involved in witchcraft, The buyers hope these grisly ingredients will make their magic more potent, according to police and albino groups.

The high level of violence against albinos reflects the strength of many Tanzanians' belief in witchcraft. Tanzanian witch doctors are believed to be the best and are also sought after by people from elsewhere in east Africa.

Ash, an albino, gave the example of a 5-year-old girl named Mariam who was attacked by a group of men in Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria.

"About a year ago men broke to their home, wielding machetes in the dark. They smashed through the door into the room where Mariam and her siblings were sleeping, and they isolated her in a separate room of the home and they took out a machete, they pinned her down against the bed and they slit her across the throat and she began to bleed. They turned her body over and they took a cooking pot and they drained her blood into a pot while her other siblings watched. Then one of the killers drank the blood on the spot from the pot. Once they were done with that they began with the right leg and they sawed it off while she was alive in pain. They then sawed off her left leg. They then began with the right arm, then moved to the left arm," said Peter Ash, the founder and director of Under The Same Sun.

"Mariam screamed in agony. She did not have the benefit of being unconscious first. She was killed alive like an animal by grown men. They did this while the siblings watched. By the time her mother and other relatives got to the scene, she was already dead and the killers had run off with the body parts, which of course they will sell to witch doctors who then take those body parts, her precious blood, her little legs, her little arms, they grind them up like meat in a butcher shop and they mix them with potions. So this crime, this genocide, this crime against humanity can continue. The witch doctors in the community will buy those body parts and they'll mix them with potions and sell them to the wealthy businessmen and businesswomen in the mining industry and fishing industry and other individuals who may have political affiliations or business affiliations, who wants to become successful, they want to win elections, they want to succeed in business, and they will consult the services of these witch doctors and they'll use Albino body parts," Ash added.

Authorities have arrested more than 90 people, including four police officers, for their role in the killings of albinos or trade in albino body parts, which witch doctors tell their clients will bring luck in love, life and business.

Ash said that Mariam's mother had taken her brother, also an albino, to a boarding school for safety, but the boy cannot go home for holidays and instead lives with foster families.

Ash will later tour another school in Kasulu in western Tanzania near the border with Burundi where about 56 albinos live.

In June, prosecutors opened at least 15 cases against suspects, five of them in Shinyanga.

The murders have damaged Tanzania's reputation for relative calm in the region, and drawn condemnation from the United Nations and European Union.

In neighbouring Burundi, at least 11 albinos have been killed since last year. So far five people have been convicted, including one who received a life sentence.

Stream of high-profile outbursts in the U.S. raises questions on state of the nation's manners

There's a fine line between famous and infamous -

As tennis champion Serena Williams discovered during the U.S. Open after threatening to stuff a ball down a judge's throat.

Member of Congress Joe Wilson was shunned after shouting at President Barack Obama during a speech on healthcare.

And rapper Kanye West was booed off stage at the Video Music Awards after congratulating winner Taylor Swift by announcing Beyonce deserved the award.

The combination of outbursts has led some to question the state of the nation's manners.

But the offenders themselves have admitted misbehaviour and been keen to make up for their mistakes.

TENNIS PLAYER SERENA WILLIAMS SAYING:

"I wanted to apologise first to the lineswoman, to the USTA, and my fans most of all, and to Kim Clijsters who ended up having such a wonderful tournament and winning the championship, and what an amazing feat that was."

SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE JOE WILSON SAYING:

"I, last night heard from the leadership and was told that they wanted me to contact the White House and state that my statements were inappropriate. I did."

Beyonce graciously did the work for West, inviting Swift back on stage to share the spotlight.

Which may just be enough for etiquette experts to believe the traditional American pie may be humble after all.

Julia Glover, Reuters

Australia should prevent attacks, says India

India expresses concern over recent attack on Indian students studying in Australia. The Federal government of External Affairs has also asked the Australian Government to take strict action against the culprits.


NEW DELHI, INDIA (SEPTEMBER 16, 2009) ANI- Expressing concern over recent attack on Indian students studying in Australia, the Federal government of External Affairs asked the Australian Government to take strict action against the culprits.
Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs, said on Wednesday (September 16) that India had kept in touch with Australian leadership to take strict action against the culprits for the recent assault on four Indian men.

Two Indian nationals and two other persons of Indian origin, were assaulted by a group of individuals at Melbourne late in the evening on 12th September. One of the Indian nationals, Sukhdip Singh sustained serious injuries and is undergoing treatment.

Prakash added that the police had arrested four individuals who have since been released pending further investigations.

"We are concerned at the recurring attacks on Indians in Australia. The matter was taken up by our high commission in Canberra with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith of Australia today. Our High Commission has also written to the Premier of Victoria. The Indian Consul General in Melbourne is in contact with authorities in Victoria including the police authorities. As we take note of the assurances given to us, including from the highest levels of the government and provincial authorities of Australia, it is our earnest hope that the concerned authorities would take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of Indians in Australia," said Prakash.

Prakash said that concerned authorities in Australia have been asked to implement the measures as soon as possible in order to prevent reoccurrence of assault on Indians.

"We hope that the latest incident is investigated with care and the culprits are dealt with, as per the laws of the land. It would also help, if various measures being contemplated by the Australian side, in addition to those that have already been announced, are put in place at the earliest, to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents in the future," said Prakash.

Prakash added that officials of the Consulate General of India in Melbourne, are also in touch with the members of the family of the victims, who have been assured all assistance by the Consulate.

A series of violent assaults on Indian students was reported from Australia in last few months.

The attacks, which Indian media have called race-based, caused some diplomatic discomfort between the two countries and sparked angry protests in India. Australia's government condemned the attacks but said racism was not behind them.

Around 93,000 of the 430,000 foreign students in Australia are Indians, up from around 30,000 only a few years ago.

The latest attack has added to fears that violent attacks and robberies of Indian students could seriously damage Australia's third-biggest export earner, the A$15 billion ($12.16 billion) market for overseas students.

Earlier, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also raised concerns with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, and several senior ministers have been wheeled out by the Australian government to try to avert a foreign student exodus.

Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith had also formed a new task force to deal with the problem, led by former special forces commander turned National Security Adviser Duncan Lewis.