Friday 21 August 2009

Waste ship arrives back in Britain

Ship carrying containers of rubbish arrives back in Britain after three-week voyage. Brazil, which rejected the shipment saying it contained toxic waste, has fined three local firms, but investigations are still underway in both countries.

SANTOS, BRAZIL (FILE - AUGUST 5, 2009) REUTERS - Seventy-one of a total of 81 multi-coloured containers arrived at the British port of Felixstowe on Friday morning (August 21) on the cargo ship MSC Serena. The remaining ten will return next week, the English Environment Agency said.
Some of the containers contain clinical waste including syringes, nappies and condoms, according to the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Resources (IBAMA).

The MSC Oriane set sail on August 5 from Santos to return the rotting cargo to Britain from Brazil, where it had been shipped falsely declared as plastic for recycling.

The containers were hoisted on to the freighter in the early morning hours at Santos, South America's largest port, destined for Antwerp. There, 71 of the containers were transferred to the MSC Serena, bound for Felixstowe.

The incident outraged many Brazilians and prompted President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to criticise Britain and developed nations for urging higher environmental standards while using developing nations as garbage dumps.

Criminal investigations are under way in Britain and Brazil to discover how the waste came to be shipped this year and last to Santos and another port further south.

Brazil has fined firms that imported or handled the waste. Brazilian law prohibits the import of household waste for any purpose, including recycling.

British police arrested three men in late July but no formal charges have been brought against them and they have been released on bail after surrendering their passports.

It will be a week before English Environment Agency investigators can examine the contents themselves as it has to be fumigated first.

The agency said once evidence has been gathered, it will ensure the waste is safely dealt with by an appointed contractor. It said the shipping lines contracted to transport the containers from the UK to Brazil agreed to bring the containers back to the UK at their own expense.

It is illegal to export waste for disposal, but it can be sent abroad for recycling. The maximum penalty for exporting waste illegally is an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

Thursday 20 August 2009

Zambian President Rupiah B. Banda establishes Diaspora Desk at State House

Following concerns raised by Zambia Diaspora Connect and subsequent participation at the National Indaba held between 4th and 5th April 2009, the organisation is pleased to announce that a Diaspora Desk has now been established at State House by His Excellency, President Rupiah Bwezani Banda.

The Diaspora Desk at State House is under the office of the Special Assistant to the President, Economic and Development Affairs. The desk will be in constant liaison with the Zambian Diaspora in exploring ways to enhance Diaspora participation in the development of the nation. Mrs. Ngoza Munthali, Chief Policy Analyst at State House has been appointed as the focal contact person. In their communiqué (ref. SH/101/6/3), State House also reaffirmed the National Constitution Commission’s acceptance of the recommendation on dual nationality which was another area of concern raised at the National Indaba.

Establishment of the Diaspora Desk marks a milestone in the aims of Zambia Diaspora Connect and as an organisation; our primary commitment is to push the Diaspora’s agenda.

Tchiyiwe Chihana

Public Relations Officer

Zambia Diaspora Connect

Lawrence Bloom ‘Reclaiming tomorrow’...

Event - Green Economy Initiative

Presenter - Lawrence Bloom, Chairman, UNEP, Green Economy Initiative
Green Cities, Buildings and Transport.

Date - 6:30 pm 3rd September 2009, 43 Lancaster Gate,London W2 3NA

'Reclaiming tomorrow'...

"We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase." - David Suzuki Foundation

"I have seen the future, and it won't work" - Paul Krugman, New York Times[1]

The chilling accuracy of Paul Krugman's observation was recently confirmed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) review of more than 10 different future scenarios, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Royal Dutch Shell.

Of those, the MIT study concluded that Shell's 'Blueprints' scenario resulted in the lowest realistically achievable CO2 emissions levels, because it was based on the rapid implementation of advanced technologies and energy efficiency initiatives, and involved a highly effective collaboration between government, industry, international institutions, NGOs and academia.

Even then CO2 levels would stabilize at around 650ppm...yet 450ppm is currently accepted as the viable maximum.

We now understand that at this level various serious trigger points and feedback loops start operating. Not least of these is the acidification of the oceans, causing them to become a net emitter of CO2 rather than a sink. These increasing CO2 levels then feed back into higher temperatures, accelerating both ice melt at the poles and the melting of tundra ice with its consequent release of methane.

So the evidence indicates that we cannot rely on technology alone to ensure our survival. 'Business as usual' is not an option – much more needs to be done to raise awareness and change our behaviour. The Blueprints scenario gives us a five-year window. We must act now!

Arguably the biggest obstacle to this critical change is the absence of public engagement toward the urgency of our predicament, resulting in a lack of any real commitment to carbon reduction.

In line with Einstein's observation that 'No problem can be resolved at the same level of thinking that created it', I believe that only a world-class lifestyle behaviour change programme could take us through this next challenging period with a realistic prospect of minimizing its impacts on human survival and well-being.

For more of this presentation by Lawrence Bloom - click here

Lawrence Bloom
World Economic Forum
Global Agenda Council on Urban Development,

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Acquitted President FTJ Chiluba to Appear on Zambia Talk Radio

Zambia's second Reublican president FTJ Chiluba has been acquitted of all corrupt charges, whatever your position is on this issue you have a chance to converse with President Chiluba who has agreed to appear on Zambia Blog Talk Radio Saturday, August 22 @ 9 am EST (New York) 1500 hours (Zambia).

Monday 17 August 2009

Human Rights Watch says Iraqi gays face murder, torture campaign

A leading rights group says that Iraqi militias are conducting a campaign of torture and murder against men suspected of homosexual activity, adding that government security forces may be involved.

BEIRUT , LEBANON ( AUGUST 17, 2009) REUTERS - Iraqi militias are conducting a campaign of torture and murder against men suspected of homosexual activity, a leading rights group said on Monday, adding that government security forces may be involved.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the killings began earlier this year in the poor Sadr City district of Baghdad, once ruled by Shi'ite Muslim militias, and had since spread to many cities across Iraq. HRW released a report in Beirut on Monday on abuses related to sexual orientation and gender in Iraq.

''What we found was disturbing. We heard stories of murder, extra judicial executions, brutal torture, abductions, beatings and threats. The target of this killing campaign which was focused mainly in Baghdad but also spread to other cities in Iraq was gay men and men who challenge social norms of masculinity or signs which were interpreted as homosexuality, feminisation or westernisation, all exposed people to violence. We cannot accurately estimate the scope of this campaign. However, our conversations with human rights activists, U.N. workers, and doctors in hospitals have led us to believe that the killings may easily number in the hundreds,'' said activist Rasha Moumneh.

Homosexual conduct is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein 6-1/2 years ago.

Shi'ite Muslim militias once held sway over many areas of Baghdad and Iraq's Shi'ite south, but a series of government crackdowns in the past two years has weakened their presence.

Sunni Islamist militants such as al Qaeda have also spread religious intolerance.

HRW said it had been told that in some attacks Iraqi security forces had "colluded and joined in the killing".

''The evidence we gathered suggest that the Mehdi army is the primary but perhaps not the only perpetrator of this campaign. Mehdi Army spokesmen have actively promoted fear about the feminisation of Iraqi men suggesting that militia action is the only cure despite increasing media reports on the killings both locally and internationally, the Iraqi government has done nothing to quell the violence,'' said Moumneh.

Iraq's Interior Ministry said accusations of the involvement of its forces in gay slayings must be accompanied by evidence. It also said secrecy and stigma attached to homosexuality means that few come forward with complaints of abuse.

Ministry spokesman Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf said it is the nature of Iraqi society that they do not get clear complaints on this issue as the relatives of victims consider talking about the subject worse than the crime itself. The silence means it is difficult to know how many people have been killed in homophobic attacks, but HRW said hundreds may have died.

There is no law against homosexuality in Iraq, but it can be punished under laws meant to protect public order and morality.

In March, the bodies of four gay men were found in Sadr City, each bearing a sign reading "pervert" in Arabic, police said.

Many gay Iraqi men have fled to other countries, such as Turkey, out of fear for their lives.

HRW carried testimony from victims, including one man who said his partner of 10 years was taken from his home at night in April by four men dressed in black and wearing masks.

''And they came to take my partner at his parents' house. Four armed men barged into the house masked and wearing black. They asked for him by name. They insulted him and took him in front of his parents. All that I heard about later from his family. He was found in the neighbourhood the day after. They had thrown his corpse into the garbage. His genitals were cut off and a piece of his throat was ripped out. I feel as if my life is pointless. I don't have family now. I cannot go back to the country I have a death warrant. I feel the best thing to do is just to kill myself. In Iraq, murderers and thieves are respected more than gay people,'' said the man whose statement was read out by Scott Long, an HRW activist, during the conference.

Ferrari to Return as PPDA is Given the Boot

One of France's top news anchors, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, will
bid farewell to viewers this summer and be replaced by the
darling of the French media, Laurence Ferrari.

PPDA as he is more affectionately known has been a familiar
face on prime time news for more than three decades. For Ferrari
it marks a return to TF1 – the country's biggest private
television channel - which she left in December 2006 to host a
weekly political programme on rival station Canal +.

The change signals something of a revolution in French
television journalism. After all PPDA has been more or less the
face and the voice of television news for the past 30 years.

In February 1976 he was chosen to present the prime time news
on the country's public channel Antenne 2, which later became
France 2. He jumped ship nine years later to join TF1, where he
has been ever since.

His tenure has been remarkable in the often fickle world of
television in which ratings rule. But a recent drop in viewing
figures has been compounded by stories of his autocratic style
with newsroom colleagues and the desire by the powers-that-be
for a change at the top.

Not surprisingly Ferrari didn't require that much persuading to
return to TF1. Despite a recent drop in ratings, the 8 o'clock
evening news still regularly attracts more than 10 million
viewers and is quite simply the most prestigious job in
television journalism.

The 41-year-old first joined TF1 in 2000 and for the next six
years formed one half of the golden couple of TV news along with
her former husband, Thomas Hugues. The pair presented a weekly
fast-paced news magazine and were regular holiday stand-ins for
the channel's main news presenters - Ferrari for Claire Chazal
at the weekends and Hugues ironically enough for PPDA on

Ferrari's move in 2006 to Canal + came as a surprise to many,
after all it gave her less exposure to the public at large. But
it couldn't have been better timed professionally speaking,
coming as it did at the beginning of the campaign for last
year's presidential elections.

Her weekly political programme, "Dimanche", gave Ferrari the
chance to go one-on-one with some of France's leading figures.
And she won accolades for her pugnacity especially with the two
main presidential candidates at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy and
Ségoléne Royal.

Indeed the chemistry between Ferrari and Sarkozy certainly
clicked – if only on a professional level rather than, as
falsely rumoured later, the personal one.

Much is being made of Ferrari's glamour and there's no denying
her looks but she's also an accomplished journalist with years
of experience. Her arrival should provide a boost to TF1, not
least from those curious to see a fresh face at the helm.

But for some media watchers there are perhaps more sinister
powers at work.

The merry-go-round in front of the cameras is also being
accompanied by a shake up behind the scenes at TF1 with
appointments in both news production and direction seeming to be
made at the behest of the channel's major shareholder – Bouygues
– whose CEO, Martin Bouygues, just happens to be a close friend
of Sarkozy.

At the same time public television is getting ready to scrap
advertising, as ordered by Sarkozy earlier this year, with
rumours a-plenty that the aim is in fact to pave the way to
eventual privatisation of the main channel, France 2.

Not surprisingly perhaps there's speculation in some quarters
that Sarkozy is setting himself up as France's answer to Italy's
Silvio Berlusconi, with a hands-on approach to setting the media

Be that as it may, the immediate question is what next for the
60-year-old PPDA? With his experience he'll certainly be courted
by competitive channels and is unlikely to disappear completely
from the small screen. And of course there's also doubt as to
how long Chazal will be able to hang on to her weekend slot
before being replaced.

About The Author: Johnny Summerton is a Paris-based
broadcaster, writer and journalist specializing in politics,
sport and travel. For more on what's making the headlines here
in France, log on to his site at

Sunday 16 August 2009

Milken: Dambisa Moyo on moving from aid to investment

Dambisa Moyo was a speaker on the "Moving From Aid to Investment" event at the Milken Global Conference 2009. She talks about the thesis in her book "Dead Aid" and what is wrong with the aid industry (April 27, 2009).

Bishop T.D. Jakes

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Bishop T.D. Jakes, whose internationally-known ministry started in West Virginia, returned home Aug. 13-15, 2009, for a three day conference that encouraged attendees to persevere beyond any current challenges to achieve their dreams. (PRNewsFoto/The Potter's House)