#Fracking : Cameron Ignores Plea’s from “People About Environment and Health” and Bribe’s Council’s”


#AceNewsServices says according to the latest UK #Fracking news from the BBC also with Video

Councils that back #fracking will get to keep more money in tax revenue, David Cameron has said as he urged opponents to “get on board”.

The prime minister said English local authorities would receive all the business rates collected from shale gas schemes – rather than the usual 50%.

In a visit to a Lincolnshire fracking site, he predicted the process could support 74,000 jobs and reduce bills.

Against fracking 01
Against fracking 01 (Photo credit: Bosc d’Anjou)

But Greenpeace accused ministers of trying to “bribe councils”.

Mr Cameron’s announcement on business rates came as French company Total confirmed plans to invest about £30m to help drill two exploratory wells in Lincolnshire. It is the first major energy firm to invest in fracking in the UK.

The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.

But the process to extract it – called fracking, which is short for “hydraulic fracturing” – has led to protests, with environmentalists fearing the technique could cause small earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage.

On Monday protesters at the Barton Moss fracking facility in Greater Manchester climbed on to lorries entering the site.

But Mr Cameron argued that the UK had the “strongest environmental controls” and pledged: “Nothing would go ahead if there were environmental dangers.

“Shale is important for our country,” he continued. “It could bring 74,000 jobs, over £3 billion of investment, give us cheaper energy for the future, and increase our energy security.

“I want us to get on board this change that is doing so much good and bringing so much benefit to North America. I want us to benefit from it here as well.”

Infographic showing shale gas extraction

Fracking involve’s drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.

Whitehall officials said the business rates commitment would mean councils keeping up to £1.7m extra a year from each fracking site.

Separately, the mining industry has pledged to give communities £100,000 for test drilling and a further 1% of the revenues if shale is discovered, they added.

Energy minister Michael Fallon said councils could benefit by up to “£10 million per well-head” if shale gas was successfully extracted in their communities, through the 1% levy on revenues.

“How fracking recovers natural gas from shale”

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, said the announcement was a “step in the right direction” but any packages had to “fairly remunerate” those affected.

“Start Quote

This is a naked attempt by the government to bribe hard-pressed councils into accepting fracking in their area.”

According to Lawrence Carter of Greenpeace

“One percent of gross revenues distributed locally is not good enough; returns should be more in line with payments across the rest of the world and be set at 10%,” a spokesman said. “The community benefits of fracking should be enshrined in law, so companies cannot withdraw them to the detriment of local people.”

Responding to the LGA’s call for 10% of revenues, Mr Fallon said: “This is something obviously the industry will keep under review.”

For Labour, shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said it was right for communities to share in the potential rewards from shale gas, but he called on the government to “get its priorities right”.

“Only by fully addressing legitimate environmental and safety concerns about fracking with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring will people have confidence that the exploration and possible extraction of shale gas is a safe and reliable source that can contribute to the UK’s energy mix,” he said.

Friends of the Earth’s Jane Thomas argued that the new policy “highlights the depth of local opposition to fracking and the desperate lengths ministers are prepared to go to try to overcome it”.

‘New North Sea’

Lawrence Carter of Greenpeace added: “Having had their claims that fracking will bring down energy bills and create jobs thoroughly discredited, the government is now resorting to straight up bribery to sell their deeply unpopular fracking policy.”

St Anna's Road siteThe “fracking” technique to extract shale gas has proved controversial

The Institute of Directors welcomed the move on business rates, with chief economist James Sproule arguing: “Investment from Total is a vote of long-term confidence in the UK shale industry, and is a welcome sign that the government is creating the conditions necessary to maximise the potential benefits of a new domestic energy source.

UKIP energy spokesman Roger Helmer warned  that “all the financial benefits [of fracking] could be swallowed up by bureaucracy” and urged the government to create a sovereign wealth fund so that  fracking  profits “would ensure financial security for future generations”.

Map showing areas of the UK licensed for oil and gas exploration and areas under consideration for licensing

 

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#TPP is Fast-Tracked Through Congress to Facilitate a Flawed Agreement


#AceWorldNews says according to a post today in EcoWatch written by Ilana Solomon it was yesterday, Congress pulled a rusty, old tool from the bottom of its toolbox. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Camp (R-MI) introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, otherwise known as “fast track,” which could facilitate passage of deeply flawed trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact with limited public and Congressional input. If fast-track legislation is approved by Congress, the President would be able sign the #TPP and then send it to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote—with no room for amendments and limited floor debate. If that sounds backward, it’s because it is.

tppFI

The#TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and fracking across the U.S. Graphic courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

First, fast track is an outdated and inappropriate mechanism. It was first passed in 1974 when trade pacts focused on traditional trade issues, like tariffs and quotas. Today, trade pacts like the #TPP cover a broad range of issues including the environment, investment, labour, government procurement, consumer protections and many more things we face in our everyday lives. It is therefore critical that Congress maintain its constitutional authority to oversee trade policy and ensure that trade pacts protect communities, workers and the environment before the pacts get finalized.

Second, fast track is undemocratic. After congressional approval, the President could submit signed trade pacts to Congress for an up-or-down vote within 90 days with all amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate. Even more atrocious is that it would actually allow the President to write legislation that would change U.S. laws to make them conform to the terms of the secretly negotiated trade agreement.

In other words, fast-track authority eliminates a critical constitutional check-and-balance structure that aids most other democratic processes. By stripping Congress of its ability to fully debate and amend the language of today’s all-encompassing trade pacts, fast-track authority renders Congress unable to ensure that trade negotiations result in agreements that benefit communities and the environment.

Third, it’s a risky endeavor that could help rubber-stamp very harmful trade pacts such as the #TPP. The #TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would elevate corporations to the level of nations, thus allowing foreign companies to directly sue governments in private trade tribunals over laws and policies that corporations allege reduce their profits. It would also open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and, therefore,fracking across the U.S.

TPP What is Wrong?And the real kicker is that—despite these any many other consequences—there has been virtually no opportunity for public discussion of the trade pact, as no draft text has been publicly revealed. So Congress is actually voting on whether to quickly pass trade agreements it’s never even seen!

Now is the time we need a full discussion about the true costs of the #TPP and other trade pacts—not a process to rush flawed deals through the finish line.

The bottom line is that fast track would set us up for failure. It’s critical that Congress has the ability to effectively oversee trade negotiations and ensure that the contents of our trade agreements protect our workers, communities and environment in the U.S. and abroad. The public and members of Congress have effectively been left in the dark for too long. Now it’s up to Congress to take the reins and oppose fast track. On behalf of the Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supports, I urge members to oppose this fast-track bill and retain their right to ensure that the U.S. trades responsibly.

Courtesy of Ilana Solomon

 

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Edward Snowden: Hero Or Zero?


Ace News Group:

#AceWorldNews says ” #truth is stranger than fiction but people who tell the #realtruth deserve to be heard and not not made to pay #freedomofspeech

Originally posted on Robin Hood Revival:

As we have previously stated at Robin Hood, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning are the first of many “truthers”.  America’s condemnation of these “truthers” confirms America has a lot to hide.  The Washington establishment with it portrayal of naivety projects so it hopes, that naivety on to the American people.  The awakening for the american people began some time ago the Washington Post along with the rest of the corporate news media will never again we believe at Robin Hood be capable of shaping the American people’s reality.

Love and blessings

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Obama Administration Issues “Two New Executive Orders” on Gun Control in Attempt to Erode Second Amendment


#AceWorldNews according to by  in his story on January 4th, 2014 that was last updated at 9:07 pm. The Obama Administration announced two new executive orders on gun control Friday, after countless other attempts to erode Second Amendment rights failed to gain public support.

gunconfiscationAccording to one of the proposed actions, patient privacy laws would be pushed aside to allow increased government access to mental health records. Currently required to protect that information, states would now be exempt, instead encouraged to submit a patients private records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

A second proposal from the Department of Justice would “clarify” who is barred from owning firearms, which would include anyone involuntarily committed to an inpatient or outpatient mental institution. In an attempt to diminish concern, the administration claims that seeking help for mental issues does not prohibit a person from firearm ownership.

“The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm,” the statement said.

Unfortunately, even without the executive orders currently applied, the government has already deceptively used this exact tactic to revoke legitimate gun ownership without due process, an issue that will undoubtedly increase.

READ MORE: SL

 

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#AceNewsGroup says to All its Readers “Thank You for 1000 Likes on Our Posts”


WP Like Button#AceNewsGroup says today marks another milestone for our group and it is all thanks to you the readers kind support and all your likes, as we have reached 1000 and we could not do it without your support.

So all l can say is a great big thank you from the Ace News GroupThanks in all languages   

 

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“Russian Police Repeatedly Harassed Two Norwegian TV Journalists”


Sochi (Krasnodar krai), coat of arms
Sochi (Krasnodar krai), coat of arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews  says  Reporters Without Borders is Shocked by the Way the Russian Police Repeatedly harassed two Norwegian TV journalists , Reporter Oystein Bogen and Cameraman Aage Aune , while They Were Visiting the Sochi Region from 31 October to 2 November to cover problems related to preparations for next February’s Winter Olympics .

Bogen and Aune, WHO work for Norway’s Privately-owned TV2 Channel, Say the Police Stopped Them six times in the space of Three days, interrogated Them in Detail About Their work and Their local contacts and, at one Point, even took Them into custody for several hours.

“Arbitrary arrest, violation of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, seizure of journalistic material – this string of breaches of freedom of information suggests a strategy of all-out harassment,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Sochi / RU, 2007
Sochi / RU, 2007 (Photo credit: william veerbeek)

“The ordeal That These two journalists underwent bodes ill for the drastic Security Measures That Will be Applied in the Run-up to the games . Combatting terrorist threats is obviously necessary but it does not justify such excesses. We hope the Norwegian authorities will quickly obtain the explanations they have requested from their Russian counterparts. ”

“The international media must not be intimidated by this episode. There is nothing criminal about covering the preparations for the Winter Olympics or meeting local journalists and activists. We reiterate our appeal to foreign reporters to take advantage of the spotlight on Sochi to look beyond the Olympic facade and to meet local civil society representatives.

“At the Same time, we Urge Visiting journalists to Take the Necessary Precautions to protect the confidentiality of sources and Their to avoid Surveillance of Their Communications . To this end, we have Made A ‘Digital Survival kit’ available to Them. ”

Bogen and Aune had proper accreditation and used a rental car to travel around Krasnodar, the region where Sochi is located, and to visit the neighbouring autonomous Republic of Adygea.

They were first questioned about their plans and the people they were interviewing on 31 October.They were questioned again, twice, on 1 November in Maykop, Adygea’s capital. At the end of the second session on 1 November, other police officer suddenly arrived, accused Bogen of taking drugs and made him accompany them to a nearby clinic for a drug test. This episode ended after an hour and a half, when a person identifying himself as the local police chief released the two journalists and apologised for the “mistake.”

The next day, they were stopped again and interrogated for an hour between Maykop and Sochi. And they were questioned again in the early evening near Tuapse, a town in the Krasnodar region. This time they were taken into custody without any explanation and were put in a cell with other suspects.

Their equipment was temporarily confiscated and their repeated requests to be allowed to call their embassy were ignored. They were freed at around 10 pm but, as they reached the outskirts of Sochi, they were stopped again.

After searches and a security check, they were taken to the nearest police checkpoint, where an officer questioned Bogen about his private life and his work, going so far as to ask him for a list of the people he planned to meet in Sochi and the places where he planned to film. After being forced to sign a statement without being given a copy, they were finally allowed to continue their way at around 1 am

The Russian foreign ministry gave the two journalists a formal apology yesterday for the “series of unwarranted actions” and said the police responsible would be punished for “abusing their authority.”

Reporters Without Borders Published an in-depth Report in early October About the State of freedom of information in the Sochi Region .

(Photos: TV2 / Oystein Bogen, Aage Aune)


Foreign journalists must not retreat in the face of intimidation

Reporters Without Borders shocked intrusive actions by the police, who were subjected to two Norwegian journalists in Sochi region during from October 31 to November 2, 2013 Reporter private channel TV2 Heist Bogen and operator Ogge Eyun came to the region for reporting problems, related to the organization of the Winter Olympic Games, which begin in February 2014 According to the journalists they were detained by law enforcement officials six times in three days.During the detention of journalists questioned in detail about their professional and local contacts and even placed under arrest without explanation.

“Arbitrary detention, secret neglect of journalistic sources, the confiscation of professional equipment … This set of violations of freedom of information shows determination to expose harassment of two journalists. Their painful stay in the region does not bode well against tough security measures that will be taken in anticipation of the Olympics, starting in January of next year. Combating the threat of terrorism is certainly necessary, but it does not justify such action. We hope that the Norwegian authorities very soon receive an explanation from the Russian leadership, “- said Reporters Without Borders.

“The international media should not allow themselves to be intimidated by this incident. There is nothing criminal to carry reports on the preparation of the Olympic Games and to meet with local journalists and activists. We again appeal to foreign correspondents calling a wide press coverage of Sochi to not be limited to the Olympic theme and meet with civil society. At the same time, we urge to take all necessary precautions to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources of information and to avoid total control of their communications: for this purpose we have available for journalists’ digital survival kit ‘. ”

Heist Bogen and Ogge Eyun – duly accredited journalists. They rented a car for journeys in the Krasnodar region, which is located in Sochi, as well as the neighboring autonomous republic of Adygea. Answering questions for the first time on October 31 about the plans and the persons from whom they interviewed journalists were again a series of interviews on November 1 in Maikop (Adygea). At the end of the second interview arrived at the scene other Interior Ministry officials, accusing Heist Bogen in the use of drugs and forcibly took him to the nearest clinic for a series of tests. Journalists detained after half an hour and then released after a man arrived who introduced himself as the local police chief, and brought them to apologize for making a “mistake.”

Nevertheless, the next day journalists were detained and interrogated again an hour between Maikop and Sochi. Then again, in the late afternoon, near Tuapse (Krasnodar region). But this time the journalists detained without explanation in a cell with other suspects, temporarily withdrawing their equipment. Their repeated requests to contact the embassy were not taken into account. Finally, in the area 22 hours journalists released from custody. However, when reporters finally got to Sochi, they once again detained. After the search and security control procedures, they were taken to a nearby checkpoint where police officer questioned Heist Bogen detail about his personal and professional life, asking to provide a list of persons with whom the latter was planning to meet in Sochi, as well as places that he was going to shoot film. Journalists have not received any copies of their statements, which were forced to sign. They finally were allowed to continue their journey in the morning.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a formal apology to two journalists on November 6 for “a number of unreasonable actions” that they have experienced. The ministry said that law enforcement officials, “exceeded its authority” will be punished.

Reporters Without Borders published in early October, a report on the status of the investigation in relation to freedom of information in the region of Sochi.

LINKED ARTICLES

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“Government Anti-“Extremism” Campaign Hits Internet Content and Access in Russia”


Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated tr...
Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated trilingual version (English, French, Spanish). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceGuestNews says according to a recent article in RFS the authorities have used the issue of national security to expand Web monitoring and censorship – even while continuing to promote and develop Internet access for the population at large. The Web has played a key role in the political debate prompted by legislative and presidential elections and in the post-election mobilization of the opposition and civil society. These developments provoked a strong official response. The blogosphere has grown stronger and better organized in the face of state attacks.

Government anti-“extremism” campaign hits Internet content and access

President George W. Bush of the United States ...
President George W. Bush of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, exchange handshakes Thursday, June 7, 2007, after their meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prime Minister (now President-elect) Vladimir Putin said on 9 February 2012: “Negative phenomena exist everywhere, including on the Internet, and should not be used as a pretext to limit Internet freedom.” However, the authorities have used the justification of preventing violence to reinforce their control of the Internet, with the Federal Security Service (FSB) taking steps to close a number of online organizations in late 2011. Most of these groups have clearly called on their members to respect the law and not to let themselves be provoked into violence.

The government list of “extremist” content, as well as the boundaries of the category itself, keep growing. It now includes everything touching on religion and issues of ethnicity, which have become taboo subjects on RuNet – as the Russian Internet is known. That list is the basis of official demands to take down content, and of actions to block site access (see the Russia chapter in the 2011 report on Enemies of the Internet).

The process of domain name registration could affect freedom of expression online by leading to closure of more sites. New rules promulgated by Nic.ru, the biggest Russian domain name-registration company, allow the cancellation of domain names for inciting violence, “extremist” activity, advocating overthrow of the government, activity in conflict with human dignity or religious beliefs. The rules reflected new official regulations. Domain name-registration companies are authorized to suspend names in the .ru and .rf (pΦ) domains upon written notification from “agencies conducting an investigation.” That provision would potentially authorize prosecutors, the FSB, the police, or the drug enforcement agency (FSKN) to order such a move.

In Tomsk, Siberia, the broadcast arm of Roskomnadzor, the federal mass communications supervisory agency, has recently pressured the regional television network TV-2 to stop transmitting two news programs by Dozhd, the first Internet TV network in Russia, whose content is critical of the government.

Anatoly Baranov, owner of the forum.msk.ru discussion platform, states that the Yandex search engine filtered out news items from his site on Yandex.News searches.

Danger of the spread of online monitoring and censorship

English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Ро...
English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Роскомнадзора (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roskomnadzor, whose regulatory authority extends to information technology and mass communications, has announced that it has installed on-line software to detect “extremist” material. The sites identified through this process will be given three days to take down content that meets this ill-defined standard. If a site does not comply, two additional warnings will be sent. The site will then be shut down.

The software was to go into operation in test mode in December, 2011. Its full deployment has beenpostponed indefinitely. Nevertheless, it carries the risk of system-wide monitoring of the Russian Weband could lead eventually to the taking down of all content that displeases the authorities.

The justice ministry, for its part, has invited bids to create its own monitoring system of content on the Internet. Such a system would allow close examination of all content touching on Russian government and justice systems, and any European Union statement concerning Russia.

Bloggers under pressure

Prison sentences and violent attacks were less frequent in 2011, except during the election campaign period. Yet legal proceedings and pressures of all kind continue – above all when the activities of netizens focus on sensitive topics and powerful interest groups.

Maj. Igor Matveev of the interior ministry garrison in Vladivostok has been prosecuted on charges that seem to have been prompted by his revelations last June of practices in the military region where he served. He reported that troops were served dog food in cans falsely labelled as containing beef stew. He faces a possible 10-year sentence.

Yuri Yegorov, a former employee of the regional government of Tatarstan’s human rights ombudsman’s office, received a six-month suspended sentence last June, as well as two years of probation, for defamation. He had revealed a case of alleged corruption in the ombudsman’s office, headed by Rashit Vagiov, that took place from February to July 2007.

Leonid Kaganov, a prominent blogger, was forced last May to house his site abroad. In 2009, the FSB had demanded, through his hosting service, the removal of an anti-Semitic poem that was on his site because he had mocked it.

Roman Hoseyev is the target of administrative action for having quoted from “Mein Kampf” on a site in 2005, before the 2010 banning of the book in Russia. He had drawn comparisons between statements by US President George W. Bush and Hitler.

No information has been received about the fate of a Navy conscript who blogged under the nameVasily, publishing on Twitter under the name Sosigusyan. He denounced hazing and poor living conditions in his unit. His Twitter account was hacked and the content about the military taken down, except for the last three posts, which were written by another person.

Propaganda and cyber-attacks

In addition to mounting a campaign of repression against on-line oppositionists, the Kremlin deploys its own cyber-weapons. Several thousand Twitter accounts were hacked at the end of 2011 in order to flood social media with pro-government messages, using hashtags popular with oppositionists (notably, #navalny, from the name of the well-known political activist and anti-corruption bloggerAlexei Navalny, and #триумфалънпая, from Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow).

LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006.
LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Russian bloggers have pointed to a wave of “bots” unleashed against the LiveJournal social media platform. Oleg Kozyrev, an opposition blogger, has counted more than 2,000 of these software weapons.

Oppositionist Navalny’s e-mail inbox has been hacked, with the contents displayed on a site called navalnymail.kz. According to several bloggers, this action could be part of a government-organized campaign to discredit Navalny.

The wave of cyber-attacks peaked at the time of the legislative elections last December. A series of Distributed Denial of Service attacks paralyzed sites critical of the government before and during the vote, apparently to silence the dissidents. Access to LiveJournal, which hosts blogs critical of the Kremlin, was blocked for three days, starting on 1 December 2011. The site had already suffered a DDoS attack the month before.

Among other Web targets are:

  • Echo of Moscow radio’s site, Echo.msk.ru
  • The independent daily Kommersant’s site, komersant.ru
  • The election-monitoring NGO’s site, golos.org
  • KartaNarusheniy.ru, an interactive map created by Golos to track reports of election fraud
  • Gazeta.ru, an independent news site
  • Lenizdat.ru, a Saint Petersburg-based independent news site
  • Slonl.ru and Newtimes.ru, opposition sites which posted the Golos map after Gazeta.ru took it down
  • Ridus.ru, a citizen-journalism site
  • Doshdu.ru, the site of Dosh, an independent news magazine about the Russian Caucasus
  • Zaks.ru, a news site on the northwest region.

Some media organizations and opposition groups, having anticipated these developments, migrated to social networks and called on their readers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook in the event that their sites went down.

Disputed elections, attempted control of online political debate

Most traditional media organizations, notably television networks, are under Kremlin control, genuine political discussions have been possible only online. Any measure deemed necessary to uphold the country’s strongman, Putin, has been considered appropriate.

Even before and during the legislative elections, debates had been hindered by cyber-attacks and by the arrests of journalists and bloggers. Those detained included Alexey Sochnev, the editor of the independent news site Besttoday.ru; Maria Plieva, a prominent blogger in Ossetia; and the president of Golos, Lilia Chibanova.

Golos’ interactive election-fraud monitoring map proved to be a great success as the elections unfolded. Thousands of videos showing irregularities at voting places were posted to the site, prompting Russians to take to the streets in great numbers to denounce election fraud. Navalny and many journalists were arrested during these post-election demonstrations,

The great majority of traditional media organizations – especially television networks – ignored these events. Instead, they provided largely favourable coverage of Putin’s party, United Russia, which swept the legislative elections.

English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of...
English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Español: Emblema del Servicio Federal de Seguridad. Русский: Эмблема ФСБ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The social media site Vkontakte, which has more than 5 million members in Russia, found itself in the government spotlight. The FSB told the site’s founder and director, Pavel Durov, to shut down seven groups calling for demonstrations last December (including a group rallying to defend the ruling party). A Russian blogger estimated that up to 185,000 netizens subscribed to protest-organizing groups. A spokesman for Vkontakte said publicly that the site would not practice censorship and would not carry out the FSB order. Following the statement, Durov was summoned to appear before prosecutors in Saint Petersburg on 9 December.

Regional discussion forums, very popular at the provincial level, with most participants anonymous, have become a favourite resource for political debate among Russian netizens, and a nightmare for the authorities. However, these sites are less powerful than the national media and easy to censor, though that has not prevented netizens from migrating to other sites, hosted abroad. At least three forums were closed or suspended during the months leading up to the early December elections.

One of these sites is the Kostroma Jedis regional forum, which was targeted following the posting of two satirical videos criticizing Igor Slyunyaev, governor of the Kostroma region, some 300 km northwest of Moscow. In November, other forums were shut down or purged of all political content by their administrators. One such case occurred in the Arzamas, a city 410 km east of Moscow, affecting the mcn.nnov.ru site. Another took place in the west-central city of Miass, 95 km west of Chelyabinsk, affecting the forum.miass.ru site. It is not clear if these were cases of official action or self-censorship. In either case, the closing of these forums signifies a narrowing of the possibilities for political debate on the Russian Web.

In the run-up to the presidential election in March, Golos, the election-monitoring NGO, put up a new version of its interactive map to track election fraud, with stronger defences against cyber-attack. Navalny, the activist and blogger, mounted a site, Rosvybory.org, to assist citizens in becoming presidential election observers.

The campaign of repression mounted for the legislative elections illustrated the official attitude toward protest. And the official response was designed to create a deterrent to popular action in the presidential election period. Tensions grew during the months between the two elections. On 17 February, Reporters Without Borders denounced a wave of intimidation aimed at national independent media. Major targets included Echo of MoscowNovaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper, and Dozhd, the online television operation. The latter organization received a fax on 16 February from the Moscow prosecutor’s office, demanding detailed information on the “network’s financing for coverage of mass demonstrations on 10 and 24 December.”

These barely veiled accusations against Dozhd track precisely with statements by Prime Minister Putin, who had publicly accused demonstrators of having acted at the encouragement of the US state department. Roskomnadzor, the mass communications authority, had already required Dozhd to defend its coverage of the December protests. After examining in detail the images that the network had transmitted, the agency finally concluded that they contained nothing objectionable.

Journalists were again arrested and beaten during the post-election demonstrations of 5 March 2012. The clear goal was to prevent coverage of the demonstrations. However, contrary to what was seen in December, cyber-attacks seem to have been set aside – for now.

Export of the Russian model of Web control?

Russia has played a leading role on the international scene in promoting its vision of the Internet and exporting its Web control strategy. Moscow has proposed to the UN, together with China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, an Internet conduct code designed to provide “information security.”

The impact of the Kremlin’s policy is all the greater because the RuNet sphere of influence extends throughout the region, influencing countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan in their Internet monitoring and censorship programs.

#AceGuestViews

 

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#Syria Misses Chemical Weapons Deadline #Peace


150 px
150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says with the start of the #Geneva2Convention just around the corner on January 22, this is not what we want to hear………………………………………………………..

EuroNews reports as and according to Damascus had agreed to hand over some of its most deadly toxins from the Syrian port of Latakia on December 31, but failed to show.

Officials from the ‘Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ had expected the deadline to be missed.

“We understand that a number of factors have added up which have made the Syrian authorities unable to meet this December 31 deadline – the poor weather in certain parts of Syria is one of these factors and, of course, the volatility of the security situation,” explained OPCWspokesman Christian Chartier.

The December date was supposed to have been the first milestone of a deal brokered by the US and Russia to rid Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal by June 2014.

In a separate development, an anti-President Bashar al-Assad monitoring group based in Britain estimates that at least 130,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it began in March 2011.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

 

HS2: Hybrid Bill Documents that Together Form the HS2 Phase One Environmental Statement


HS2 Cost#AceNewsServices says these documents that together form the HS2 Phase One environmental statement outline the pro’s and con’s of HS2’s environmental impact! It has been given the name “Hybrid Bill” which of course has the hybrid word is a word which etymologically has one part derived from one language and another part derived from a different language. A little like the HS2 as it is being cobbled together in order to obtain contracts ,for those that look to benefit when their tenders are accepted. 

Well here is this cobbled together collection of “Hybrid” parts and God help the countryside when this scheme gets approval, according to the UK Parliament Site this is the progress so far.

Progress of the Bill

Bill started in theHouse of Commons

  1. House of Commons
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  2. House of Lords
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  3. Consideration of Amendments
  4. Royal Assent

Next event

  • 2nd reading: House of Commons2nd reading: House of Commons | Date to be announced

Anyway judge for yourself!          

HS2 BuildingThe ‘HS2 Phase One environmental statement’ was produced to accompany the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill.

We’re seeking comments on all the documents forming the environmental statement through the HS2 Phase One environmental statement consultation open between 25 November 2013 and 24 January 2014.

Guide to the environmental statement

This document does not form part of the ‘HS2 Phase One environmental statement’ itself but provides a short guide to the makeup of the environmental statement.

  1. Understanding the HS2 Phase One environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Non-technical summary and glossary

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: non-technical summary

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: glossary and abbreviations

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

HS2 Phase 1 and 2Volume 1: introduction and background information

This provides an introduction to the HS2 Phase One environmental statement under consultation. This volume also includes an overview of the impact assessment process and the consultation itself, and the main strategic, route-wide and local alternatives considered.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 1: introduction to the environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 2: area reports

Reports of the main environmental effects of HS2 in different geographical areas (known as ‘community forum areas’) along the HS2 Phase One route. This volume also contains books of maps relevant to each report.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 2: community forum area reports and map books

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 3: route wide effects

This document sets out the likely route wide environmental effects of the construction and operation of Phase One of HS2.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 3: route-wide effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 4: off-route effects

This document sets out the likely significant environmental effects of Phase One of HS2 expected at locations beyond the route corridor, such as rail stations, rail depots and rail lines. This volume covers areas not included in the community forum area reports in volume 2.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 4: off-route effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 5: supporting information and planning

Documents providing information including: planning consents, standard measures to be followed when building the route, and environmental effects of moving parts of the route within its legal limits.

  1. HS2 Phase One draft environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Consultation outcome
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: alternatives report

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  3. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: committed developments

    • 25 November 2013
    • Map
  4. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: draft code of construction practice

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  5. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: off-route effects supporting information

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  6. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: planning data

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  7. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: scope and methodology

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  8. HS2 Phase Two consultation: sustainability statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  9. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: wider effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 5: environmental topic reports and map books

Reports by topic of the environmental effects of the building and operation of Phase One of HS2. This volume also contains books of maps relevant to each report.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: agriculture, forestry and soils

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: air quality

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  3. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: climate

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  4. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: community

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  5. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: cultural heritage

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  6. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: ecology

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  7. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: electromagnetic interference

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  8. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: land quality

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  9. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: landscape and visual assessment

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  10. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: socio-economics

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  11. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: sound, noise and vibration

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  12. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: traffic and transport

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  13. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: waste

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  14. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: water resources

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Consultation

Stop HS2Comments are invited on the environmental statement which covers the environmental effects of the building and operation of Phase One of HS2and the measures that could be used to manage and reduce any negative effects.

This consultation is required by parliamentary rules to allow member of the public and other interested parties to comment on the environmental statement which accompanies the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill.

draft of the HS2 Phase One environmental statement was consulted on in spring 2013.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Open consultation

Announcements

  1. Major step forward for HS2 as hybrid Bill published

    • 25 November 2013
    • Press release
  2. High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

    • 25 November 2013
    • Statement to Parliament

 

JFK the Man the President and the Legend


Photo portrait of John F. Kennedy, President o...
Photo portrait of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceNewsServices says before John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960 in a dramatically close election, he promised a “New Frontier” of domestic social and economic reform. As President he offered a wide agenda of legislative proposals to realize this goal. The major proposals included establishing a volunteer Peace Corps to assist underdeveloped countries, raising the minimum wage and broadening its coverage, raising Social Security benefits, providing medicare, providing federal aid to education, creating a federal department of urban affairs, and giving greater powers to the federal government to deal with economic recessions. The Congress and the country were not ready to adopt all of this program, however. The Peace Corps was established, Social Security benefits and the minimum wage were raised, and a historic housing law was enacted, but little else was enacted. Kennedy’s term was tragically shortened by an assassin’s bullet in November 1963.

Kennedy brought an eager and able throng of people anxious to serve under him. One of the most notable among them was Arthur J. Goldberg, special counsel to the AFL-CIO and considered the leading labor lawyer in the country. Kennedy named Goldberg to be his Secretary of Labor. Known as the “Davey Crockett of the New Frontier”, Goldberg became involved in a wide range of social and cultural issues in the Kennedy Administration. He was instrumental in improving cultural life in the Capital and in beginning redevelopment of the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor from Capitol Hill to the White House. In the labor sphere, Goldberg concentrated on dealing with labor relations problems and on improving equal employment opportunities.

The official portrait of Arthur J. Goldberg ha...
The official portrait of Arthur J. Goldberg hangs in the Department of Labor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early in his term Goldberg had to bring bad news on two fronts to the country: unemployment rose to 6.8 percent in January 1961; and, in March the “steel gap” closed and the Russians finally matched American steel production. Later in the year, however, the economy was in better shape. George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, said that under Goldberg’s leadership the Department came closer to realizing its mission of promoting the welfare of working people “than it has at any time in my … experience in Washington.” Goldberg left the Department in September 1962 to become an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Collective bargaining was Secretary Goldberg’s main interest and he actively made the “good offices” of the federal government available to help settle or prevent strikes. In February 1961 President Kennedy created an advisory committee on labour- management relations to help the Administration devise sound labor policies. While he was Secretary, Goldberg helped mediate many disputes, particularly in the defense-related aerospace industry and the crucial transportation industry (railroads, shipping and airlines). Much to the delight of the culturally minded First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Goldberg settled a strike against the New York Metropolitan Opera in time to prevent a cancellation of the 1961-1962 season.

As the first Jewish Secretary of Labor, Goldberg was strongly conscious of the rights of minorities. He committed the Department to actively protecting the rights of blacks and others. He actively implemented Executive Order 10925 requiring the executive branch of the government to encourage equal employment opportunity for all. Within the Department, he took steps to abolish the segregation of facilities for black employees that until then was widespread in Washington’s government offices. He instituted programs to promote better career opportunities for minority employees of the Department which his successors built upon. These programs became models for the rest of the government and for the private sector.

Another major area of concern and activity was employment and training. There was a widespread fear beginning in the 1950s that automation and other factors would rapidly eliminate low-skill jobs and create massive and permanent unemployment if nothing were done. Two new pieces of legislation gave the Department a special role in dealing with this problem: the Area Redevelopment Act of 1961 (ARA) and the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 (MDTA). Under the ARA the Department provided retraining and allowances for unemployed workers in areas of serious unemployment, principally the Appalachian region. MDTA was a much broader law that gave the Department major responsibilities for identifying labor shortages, training the unemployed and the underemployed, and sponsoring a comprehensive program of research. It planted the seed of what grew into a large and complex employment and training program. Secretary Goldberg established in the Department an Office of Manpower, Automation, and Training (OMAT) to carry out responsibilities under both laws.

Amendments to the FLSA in 1961 raised the minimum wage by stages to $1.25 an hour. They also significantly broadened the scope of the law, adding 3.6 million additional workers, most of them in retail or service trades. This was the first major expansion of scope in the history of the FLSA.

Portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson Deutsc...
Portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson Deutsch: Lyndon B. Johnson (* 1908) Italiano: Lyndon B. Johnson nel 1969 Nederlands: Lyndon B. Johnson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded the slain President Kennedy in November 1963. Johnson, a former Senate majority leader, immediately set about to enact the balance of Kennedy’s New Frontier. He also added a few new measures and redesignated the whole package as the “Great Society.” Legislatively, Johnson was quite successful.

 Domestic success was marred, however, by civil disorders in the inner cities and a disastrous war in Vietnam. Johnson was reelected in 1964 but because of opposition to his war policies he did not seek reelection in 1968.

Serving as Secretary of Labor through Johnson’s whole term and the last part of Kennedy’s was W. Willard Wirtz, initially appointed as Arthur Goldberg’s Under Secretary. Wirtz became Secretary in September 1962. Before 1961 he had a distinguished career in the teaching and practice of law, particularly labor law, and in public service. He worked with and wrote speeches for Illinois governor and Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. Unlike Goldberg, Wirtz did not play an active role in mediating labor disputes. Except in national emergencies, he left dispute settlement to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and other agencies. Wirtz focused on the need to assure full employment and equal opportunity to all workers. Using words that could be applied to his predecessors and successors, he described his term as Secretary in this way: “if there was a central unifying and dignifying theme … it was in the insistence that wage earners — and those seeking that status — are people …. Human beings for whom ‘work,’ but not just ‘labor’… constitutes one of the potential ultimate satisfactions.”

During Secretary Wirtz’s tenure an almost bewildering variety of programs took shape at the Department, both to further its historic mission of enhancing workers’ “opportunities for profitable employment” and to help realize the social and economic goals of the Johnson Administration. These programs evolved from MDTA and ARA and their amendments and a number of other laws and programs. When Congress enacted President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” it created a new agency that administered a number of anti-poverty programs, but some of these programs wound up in the Department. There were DOL education and training programs dealing with such groups as unemployed youths, high school drop-outs, older people and the hard-core unemployed. These programs included on-the-job training (OJT), institutional or class-room job-training programs, remedial education, special job-finding assistance, and counseling on personal problems and job-seeking.

To coordinate the Department’s burgeoning training and education programs, in February 1963 Secretary Wirtz established the Manpower Administration (MA), headed initially by the Under Secretary. The MA included not only the Bureau of Employment Security and the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training but also the recently established OMAT. The MA also absorbed the most important of the job-related anti-poverty programs — the Neighborhood Youth Corps (NYC).

English: President Kennedy signing the 1961 Am...
English: President Kennedy signing the 1961 Amendments into law, June 30, 1961. Shown with the President are (left to right) Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK); Rep. Wilbur Mills (D-AR); Sen. John J. Williams (R-DE); Rep. Thomas J. O’Brien (D-IL); Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson; Sen. Robert S. Kerr (D-OK); Rep. John W. Byrnes (R-WS); Abraham Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare; and Wilbur J. Cohen, Assistant Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. SSA History Archives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NYC was set up under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to help unemployed 14- to 21-year-old youths from poor families to gain work experience and earn income while completing high school. By the end of 1968 the program had helped over 1.5 million young people. The program had three main components: one for in-school youth; one for out-of-school, unemployed youth; and a summer component for both groups. The program was federally funded but it was administered by local non-profit sponsors such as public schools, hospitals and libraries. The enrollees largely performed public service jobs, working as aides in libraries, schools, museums and so on.

The NYC was redesignated the Bureau of Work Training Programs when a number of new programs were added. A Special Impact program created training and employment opportunities for people in very poor neighborhoods. New Careers trained poor persons of all ages at a pre-professional level in public service fields in which there was a shortage of qualified persons, such as in health, education and public safety. Operation Mainstream helped older people and workers with outdated skills by providing work experience on community projects that would improve the local environment. These projects were in areas with high unemployment or little industry. OJT under the MDTA sought to help the underprivileged by providing training in the workplace. It also offered basic education and assistance for those not prepared to benefit from OJT. A Concentrated Employment Program sought to make all the employment and training services in a given area available to those most in need. The Work Incentive Program (WIN), established in 1967, helped get able-bodied persons receiving assistance under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) off welfare rolls and onto payrolls by providing training and work experience and by helping them find permanent jobs.

There were other employment assistance programs outside of the Bureau of Work Training Programs. The Employment Service administered the institutional training program, supplementing it with remedial training and income allowances. In addition, the Service expanded its operations to help the underprivileged and shifted its focus from the needs of the employer to the needs of the job-seeker. The Department made special efforts to meet the employment and training needs of women, veterans and farm workers.

An Office of Manpower Policy, Evaluation, and Research supplanted OMAT in 1966. Its mission was to provide basic information for policy-makers. The Office developed plans for the Department’s employment and training programs and assisted other government agencies and outside groups concerned with similar problems. It conducted research and developed demonstration projects for urban ghetto dwellers and other special groups. For example, it conducted a mobility demonstration project to study ways of helping unemployed workers move to areas where the job market was better. It constantly provided feedback to the whole employment and training program on how well or poorly goals were being met. It also assisted foreign countries in planning to deal with their employment and training problems.

Bill Signing- Manpower Development and Trainin...
Bill Signing- Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962. President Kennedy, Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg… – NARA – 194205 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Employment and training dominated during Secretary Wirtz’s tenure, but there were other important activities. Equal opportunity was a major goal of the Department. Following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 an Office of Federal Contract Compliance was established to see that contractors were not discriminating against their employees. The Women’s Bureau had worked hard to secure passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which sought to assure that women workers would receive equal pay for the same work. In 1964 the Bracero program ended, thereby opening thousands of agricultural jobs for American workers, if they wanted them. Efforts by the Department to secure passage of a job safety and health law were unsuccessful but they laid the foundations for future legislative action.

 

Christ, the Cross and John F. Kennedy


Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine ...
Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Main Street, minutes before the assassination. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#AceNewsServices says this was a post l found on the web that was really different to the normal, as it cross referenced “Christ the Cross and JFK” and the fact that fifty years have passed since President John F. Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963. He travelled to Dallas to heal a split in the Democratic party and lost his life when he was shot in an open-air limousine. A well-intentioned mission ended in death, and the world changed forever.
Former United States President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy sit in a car in front of Blair House during the arrival ceremonies for Habib Bourguiba, president of Tunisia, in Washington, in this handout image taken on May 3, 1961. REUTERS/Abbie Rowe/The White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

The assassination was a hinge in history, on par with Pearl Harbour and 9-11. It pivoted America from the calm of the 1950’s to the upheaval of the 1960’s.

But terribly shocking tragedies can have unexpectedly good results. Christians understand this, which is why we put crosses in our churches and around our necks. The cross of Jesus Christ is a reminder of a horrible death that had beneficial results.

Now JFK was no Christ-figure — far from it. Christians believe that Jesus was sinless, while JFK had deep personal flaws that undermined his reputation. But his death, like the death of Jesus, changed history for the better.

Initially, reaction to Kennedy’s assassination was nationwide shock and sorrow. Then the American people rallied around his vision of putting a man on the moon by supporting the Apollo program. JFK’s call for civil rights was amplified by his successor Lyndon Johnson, who invoked Kennedy’s memory as he advocated for the Civil Rights Act.
In the end, the death of JFK was not only a tragedy but a catalyst. I believe that it led to advances that might have become bogged down, or not occurred at all, if Kennedy had served two full terms during the chaos and conflict of the 1960s.
Not everyone will agree that good came out of JFK’s assassination, just as there is no unanimity about the value of Christ’s death. To find a benefit in tragedy seems counterintuitive, perhaps even scandalous.
But the followers of Jesus Christ now make up the world’s largest religious group, with more than 2 billion adherents. They accept the tragic death of Jesus as part of their religious history, and understand — in many ways — that the evil that was done to him eventually resulted in great good.
On a practical level, Christians are motivated to fight injustice because it was a completely innocent Jesus who was nailed to a cross with criminals on either side of him. Across the country, for example, people are now working with the Innocence Project to exonerate wrongly convicted individuals.
John F. Kennedy motorcade, Dallas, Texas, Nov....
John F. Kennedy motorcade, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Religiously motivated movements can have national implications — as significant as the Civil Rights Act and moon landing that followed Kennedy’s death. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa, which allowed victims and perpetrators to speak in public hearings and move toward reconciliation. Such a Christian focus on forgiveness comes from what Jesus said about his killers from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Could such good have been done without a violent death? Perhaps. But the assassination of JFK, like the crucifixion of Jesus, is both a shock and a stimulus. One death motivated the American people to work for progress, while the other continues to inspire Christians to fight injustice and do the hard work of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The anniversary of JFK’s death is a sign, like a cross in a church. It points us toward the possibility that death is not the end, and that good can come out of evil.
Henry G. Brinton is pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia and author of “The Welcoming Congregation: Roots and Fruits of Christian Hospitality.”
 
SOURCE: The Washington Post: On Faith
November 22, 2013 7:00 AM

 

The Economic Cost of a U.S. Military Strike on Syria


Launch of a Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile f...
Launch of a Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile from the USS Stethem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#AceWorldNews says as federal lawmakers and the American people grapple with the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria, NPP brings you  a new interactive tool tracking the Cost of National Security. The site features counters displaying the real-time running cost of U.S. military programs, including theTomahawk Cruise Missile – the weapon to be used in a strike on Syria.

Courtesy of NPP’s Weekly Roundup

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A snapshot of NPP’s rolling counter showing how much U.S. taxpayers have spent so far in 2013 on Tomahawk Missiles.

 

Alistair Burt Middle Eastern Foreign Minister Welcomes Step that will Starve Al Qaeda of Access to Funding


#AceWorldNews says Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt welcomes step that will starve Al Qaeda of access to funding.

Speaking in New York the other day, where he co-chaired the Friends of Yemen conference, Mr Burt said:
English: World map about terrorist attacks of ...
English: World map about terrorist attacks of al-Qaeda. Español: Atentados atribuidos a Al Qaida Dansk: Verdenskort med alle de terror angreb der påstås at været begået af al-Qaeda. Svenska: Världskarta över Al-qaida attentat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) aims to destabilise the Government of Yemen and its security forces. Its ability to do so is significantly enhanced by funding gained through large ransom payments for foreign national hostages. We estimate that in the last two years AQAP has received almost US$20 million in ransom payments. Should this continue, AQAP’s attack capability in Yemen and against its friends and neighbours will only strengthen. “Many Friends of Yemen members in this room have experienced the kidnap of their nationals overseas, and know the terrible impact kidnaps have on individuals and their families. But they also know that making concessions to terrorists, including through ransom payments, serves only to fuel the problem and increases the risk to our nationals.

That is why members of the G8, many of whom are here today, took the unprecedented step at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne to unequivocally reject ransom payments to terrorists. Similar action to reject ransoms to terrorists by Yemen and its friends, who are committed to Yemen’s recovery, will starve AQAP of access to the funding it relies on to exist.

League of Arab States Strong Endorsement of the Geneva Two Process


Arab League states and Israel map.
Arab League states and Israel map. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Responding to the League of Arab States’ statement on Syria, an FCO spokesperson said:

We welcome the League of Arab States’ strong endorsement of the Geneva II process and their support for the Syrian National Coalition, who we recognise as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

We agree with the League that Geneva II is necessary to end to this bloody conflict and secure a transition to a sustainable political settlement in Syria, where there will be no place for Assad.

We share the League’s deep concern at the dire humanitarian situation and the need urgently to improve humanitarian access. We call on all parties to comply with the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement on humanitarian access. The Assad regime continues to obstruct efforts by humanitarian actors to meet the needs of the millions of Syrians suffering displacement and deprivation. This is unacceptable. It must stop.

 

UK: Hosting the 115 Countries World Islamic Economic Forum Delegations


WIEFToday, the UK will host the World Islamic Economic Forum. Delegations from more than 115 countries, including Oman will attend the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum – the first time it has been held outside the Muslim world.

Oman now has two Islamic banks and plans have been announced by three companies to launch takaful products. The Central Bank moved with impressive speed to establish the regulatory framework to enable the Islamic financial industry to take off in the Sultanate. It was a great privilege that the Lord Mayor of the City of London was the first senior visitor to Bank Nizwa after it opened for business in January and symbolic of the ties that have already been established between the Islamic finance industries of the Sultanate and the UK.

For me, WIEF London encapsulates the emergence of new economic ties between nations, religions and cultures . Some want investments that are managed in accordance with their faith. Others are, in the wake of the financial crisis, drawn by principles of balance, shared risk, fairness and transparency. While others still are attracted by the sheer potential of an industry worth around $1.85 trillion globally with growth rates of up to 15% per year. Whatever the draw, the buzz around Islamic and ethical finance continues to grow louder and stronger.

The UK, already home to the world’s financial and legal capital, is an increasingly important global player in Islamic Finance and its status, reach and competitive market makes the service it is able to offer truly unique.

Our expertise in Islamic Finance, where we have a growing number of banks, law firms and other service providers with a wealth of experience, is highly developed, and supported by an internationally renowned legal system and regulatory framework; a time-zone that is advantageous to doing businesses in the East and in the West; and thriving and cutting edge sectors as diverse as healthcare, education and smart cities.

As delegates will see this week, the UK is open for business and has the experience, the skills, the innovation, and the connections to overcome the challenges of the global, 24 hour market and make the most of every economic opportunity. It’s why we are rightly seen as a partner of choice and why this week’s WIEF will cement Britain’s position asthe leading Western country for Islamic finance.

Jamie Bowden British Ambassador

UN:Security Council Recognised and Encouraged Active Contribution of Organisation of Islamic Co-operation


Map of nations in Organization of the Islamic ...
Map of nations in Organization of the Islamic Conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Security Council today recognized and encouraged the active contribution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the work of the United Nations in the fields of peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peace building.

Reading out a statement, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev of Azerbaijan, which holds this month’s rotating presidency of the Council, said the 15-member body “recognizes and further encourages” the active contribution of the OIC in the work that aims to realize the purposes and principles embodied in the UN Charter.

“The Council notes the commitment of both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of tolerance and peace, and calls for enhanced cooperation to promote better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations,” according to the statement.

During the meeting which preceded the statement, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7233“>urged the OIC and all leaders to “do everything possible to repair rifts and rebuild confidence between Muslim communities as well as stem the influence of radical armed groups and violent extremists.”

The UN chief urged partnerships to be strengthened between the UN and OIC which “could be uniquely placed” to launch a major initiative with partners to help end the “profoundly worrying” heightened tensions between Sunni and Shia communities in Syria and other parts of the world.

“This upheaval that has caused the loss of so many civilian lives and represents such a threat to wider security,” Mr. Ban stressed in his remarks to the 15-member Council.

The UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been “making progress” in dismantling and destroying the Syrian chemical weapons programme, said Mr. Ban, while urging continued efforts to reach a comprehensive political agreement “which reflects the will of the Syrian people.”

150 px
150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Highlighting other regions where the OIC would play a positive role, the top UN official highlighted that organization’s potential role to help break the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory and forge a way forward in the Middle East peace process within the agreed frame.

He also cited the OIC’s plans to visit Myanmar and welcomed the delegation’s “constructive engagement” to reduce tensions.

Mr. Ban also highlighted the OIC’s efforts in Afghanistan and Sudan, and urged further partnerships in Mali, following the milestone presidential election there.

Noting that the OIC and its member States have made significant efforts to mitigate the terrorist threat, the UN chief stressed the importance of addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of extremism and terrorism, including by strengthening efforts to peacefully resolve conflict, promote the rule of law, protect human rights and ensure good governance.

“Terrorism is not associated with any particular religion, culture or people’s,” he said. “However, in recent years, terrorist violence has disproportionately affected countries that are members of OIC, from the Sahel and North Africa to the Middle East and South Asia.”

He noted that the importance of intercultural dialogue between and within faiths “is more important than ever” and urged continued efforts to foster a culture of peace and co-existence through efforts such as the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

In 2005, an initiative of Spain and Turkey created the UN Alliance of Civilizations, a forum where civil society, governments and the private sector could learn from each other and stand up for tolerance and inclusively and against extremism and polarization.

 

Nineteen Islamist Groups Fighting to Topple President Bashar al-Assad have Rejected Outright a Mooted US-Russian #Peace Initiative for #Syria


Courtesy of Voice of Russia

19 Islamist rebel groups bow out of Syria peace talks

Photo: EPA

Nineteen Islamist groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have rejected outright a mooted US-Russian peace initiative for Syria dubbed Geneva 2, a statement said.

“We announce that the Geneva 2 conference is not, nor will it ever be our people’s choice or our revolution’s demand,” the groups said in a late Saturday statement read in an online video by Ahmad Eissa al-Sheikh, chief of the Suqur al-Sham chief.

“We consider it just another part of the conspiracy to throw our revolution off track and to abort it.”

The statement also warned that anyone who went to such talks would be committing “treason, and … would have to answer for it before our courts”.

The statement comes weeks after dozens of major rebel groups across Syria said the Western-backed opposition umbrella grouping the National Coalition had “failed”.

The Geneva talks slated for next month aim to bring rebel and regime representatives to the table in a bid to seek a negotiated end to the Syrian conflict, which according to a rights group has claimed more than 115,000 lives since it erupted in March 2011.

The National Coalition is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace talks but has stated emphatically it will only attend if there are guarantees they Assad will step down.

Assad for his part has said “the factors are not yet in place” for such talks, and he has repeatedly rejected negotiations with any group with ties to the rebels or to foreign states.

Among the signatories to Saturday’s statement are powerful Islamist groups Liwa al-Tawhid, Ahrar al-Sham, Suqur al-Sham and Ahfad al-Rasul, which has fought against Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters in Syria.

Read more:

Kerry and Lavrov discuss planned Syria conference

Lavrov, Brahimi agree to continue work on convocation of Geneva-2 conference

UN Syria peace envoy says Iran should come to Geneva talks

Geneva-2: Obama knows Americans can’t use force – expert

Syria opposition to decide November 9 on Geneva talks

 Voice of Russia, AFP
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_10_27/19-Islamist-rebel-groups-bow-out-of-Syria-peace-talks-5278/

The Robben Island Declaration Timeline of History


In support of Occupied Palestine l thought l would provide a post with a link below ,out-lining their plight and request for freedom of 
Palestinian people have struggled for decades for justice and the realisation of their inalienable rights. These rights have been repeatedly reaffirmed by countless United Nations resolutions. Universal values, international legality and human rights cannot stop at borders, nor admit double standards, and must be applied in Palestine. This is the way forward to a just and lasting peace in the region, for the benefit of all its people’s. 
Occupied PalestinePlease read more and add your support by re-blogging their great article at: http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/the-robben-island-declaration-for-the-freedom-of-marwan-barghouthi-and-all-palestinian-prisoners-by-mrn1sa/
Timeline of Events:  
1421
Chinese fleet rounds the Cape of Good Hope and most likely sets food on the Island. In 1421, Chinese Emperor Zhu Di dispatched a huge armada of ships to sail around the world. The armada split into four fleets under the overall command of Admiral Zheng He. In August of 1421, the fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope and relatively accurately mapped the continent for the first time. While we have no evidence of the crews setting foot on either Robben Island or the mainland, it is presumed that they would have done so.
1488
Portuguese discover the Island. Some 67 years later the Portuguese were the first Europeans to round the Cape. The skipper of the 2nd Ship of the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias was probably the first European to set foot on Robben Island to remove meat and eggs.
1496
Portuguese set up a base in cave which they name ‘Portugal Cave’. In 1496, the Portuguese landed again on Robben Island and set up base in a cave which they called Portugal Cave. The present day harbour was built next to the cave which was to become the whaler Murray’s abode at Murray’s Bay. The cave no longer exists.
1501
Antonio de Saldanha and his men kill animals on the Island. Antonio de Saldanha retreated to Robben Island after a skirmish with the Khoe on the mainland, where he was wounded. On Robben Island, de Saldanha and his men set about killing as many penguins, seals and tortoises as they could. It is because of the many seals that were on the Island that the Dutch were later to name the island Robben, the Dutch word for seal.
1591
Sheep are introduced to the Island. Sir James Lancaster & Admiral Raymond were the first to introduce sheep to Robben Island, so that they would multiply and provide for future visitors. This was an important recognition of the strategic importance of the island to maritime traffic and a form of international cooperation. This practice of leaving livestock was continued in 1608 by the Dutch Admiral Cornelius Maaklof.
1611
Island is used as a mail station. Through records it is clear that by the time John Saris was retrieving mail from a rock on Robben Island, the practice of using the island as a mail-station was a common maritime practice. Robben Island was a post office of sorts, and played an important role in international communications.
1614
Chief Xhore chases British convicts to Robben Island. After being lured aboard the British ship the Hector in 1613, Chief Xhore and a companion were kidnapped and taken to England. Xhore’s companion later died en route. Sir Thomas Smythe of the British East India Company had designs for colonising the Cape of Good Hope, by sending out 100 convicts annually. Xhore was to be trained as an interpreter and facilitator of this plan, but Xhore hated his time in England and constantly demanded to be returned home. A year later, he was returned to Table Bay.
Xhore had learnt much about the British, and this knowledge ultimately lead to his effective resistance against Sir Thomas Smythe, who had tried to settle the Cape with convicts. Xhore chased the settlers off to Robben Island, but later in 1625, Xhore was killed by the Dutch. Xhore’s sons participated in the first Khoe-Dutch war in 1658, and among other marks made on history, Xhore will be remembered as the first black South African to go to England.
Convicted prisoners, sent to the Cape by Sir Thomas Smythe, escape to Robben Island.
Under the patronage of King James I of England, Walter Peyton was sent to the Cape with nineteen convicted prisoners from Newgate Prison by Sir Thomas Smythe of the British East India Company. The aim of this was to establish a Penal Colony and supply station.
An ex-officer and convicted highwayman by the name of Crosse was left behind as a leader of 10 convicts set ashore with guns, ammunition and supplies. The convicts soon got into conflict with the Khoe, lead by Chief Xhore. Having received more supplies and a longboat from the passing ship of Edward Dodsworth, Crosse fled from the mainland to Robben Island with 8 men and one boy.
1616
Nine months after having been left at the Cape, the British ship ‘New Years Gift’ collected 3 survivors off Robben Island. Ironically it was Chief Xhore who told the British visitors about the men then stranded on Robben Island. Crosse saw the ships at anchor and was washed out to sea and drowned during trying to reach the ships with a raft made from the wrecked long-boat.
1617
Three more convicts are placed on Robben Island. Under orders, English Captain Benjamin Joseph once more deposited 3 convicts on Robben Island in 1617, but a few days later a fifth ship in the fleet, picked them up again for unknown reasons.
1620
Robben Island, along with Table Bay, is claimed by the British. Table Bay and Robben Island were formally claimed by the British as crown possessions of King James I of England. Thereafter, the English practiced a very casual approach to the possession, and the Cape remained a hospitable sojourn for all international maritime traffic.
1632
Chief Autshumato is trained and taken to Robben Island with other Peninsula Khoe.
In a similar move to the 1613 events surrounding Chief Xhore, the English took Chief Autshumato to Bantam in Java for a year (probably 1631) where he was taught the essentials of the English language. In 1632, in an act of assisted migration, Autshumato and 20 other Peninsula Khoe were then taken to Robben Island by the English to act their as postal and maritime monitoring agents.
In the same year, Autshumato convinced the Dutch to bring over 30 more Peninsula Khoe to Robben Island. Thus it came to be that Autshumato acted as an agent for both the Dutch and the English. Autshumato was able to communicate in English, Dutch, French and Portuguese, and became an astute diplomat, yet official history portrays him as an ignorant beachcomber.
Autshumato is also recorded as saying to visiting French ship in 1632 that he was “Au service de messejieurs Holandois et de messejieurs les Anglois.” [In the service of the Dutch men and English men]
1636
Ringleader of a mutiny attempt banished to Robben Island
The former Governor of Batavia, Hendrik Bouwer, arrived in Table Bay in 1636 and ruled on a mutiny attempt which happened on one of the ships in the Dutch fleet. The ringleader was keelhauled, banished and abandoned on Robben Island.
1638
Khoe leave Robben Island. By 1638, due to the depletion of food (penguins, seals, cormorants and eggs) on the island, the Khoe moved back to the mainland.
1639
Khoe re-introduced to Island
The Europeans had grown use to the safe haven and services offered on Robben Island, so in 1639 Johan Albrecht von Mandelslo deposited fifteen Goringhaicona Khoe on Robben Island, 4 men, 8 women and 3 children, to continue to offer a service.
1652
Jan van Riebeeck and Captain Sijmon Turver land on Robben Island
With a permanent Dutch settlement established on the mainland, van Riebeeck attempted to land on Robben Island in July 1652 and almost got killed in the rough seas and south-easterly squall. On 14 September, he successfully landed on the island with Captain Sijmon Turver, exactly where today’s harbour stands. Soon after this, regular parties were sent out to collect penguins, eggs and seals.
1654
Robben Island used as a food station. At this time, The Cape mainland settlement was still insecure and inhospitable, and Robben Island was used as an emergency ‘pantry’ for the Cape Town VOC garrison. The garrison at this stage was largely comprised of Javanese Mardijkers. A vegetable garden was established and flocks of sheep introduced.
An overseer of the island was appointed by van Riebeeck, Corporal Robbeljaert who was put in charge of a few shepherds who were also sent to the Island. Rabbits and dassies were also introduced, and in June 1655 van Riebeeck also organised pig breeding on Robben Island. Several more men were then sent to the island to engage in caring for the animals and gardens.
1657
Lighthouse erected and the first prisoners introduced
A small Platform was erected on the highest point on Robben Island, upon which a fire was kept burning at night, when ships of the DEIC could be seen off the port. This was also the first year that an official group of prisoners was sent to the island, even although Robben Island had not yet been established as a convict workstation.
1660
The first recorded ship wreck is that of the Schapejacht in August 1660.
1662
Robben Island becomes a formal prison
Jan van Riebeeck concluded his time as Commander at the Cape in 1662. He was succeeded by Zacharias Wagenaar, who was attributed as the man who promoted Robben Island as a formal organised prison where prisoners could be put to hard labour quarrying for blue stone and lime.
1673
Convicts escape the prison on Robben Island
Five Khoe convicts achieved what was thought to be impossible. They managed to steal a rudderless boat and successfully made it back to the mainland.
1675
Two slaves sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island
Two slaves were sentenced for stealing food (vegetables) and had their ears cut off. They were also sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island where they were kept in chains.
1682
Exiles and other captives kept in slavery
An Englishman scholar, David Tappen, captured by the Dutch and forced to serve on the Dutch ships, spent time on Robben Island and wrote the following:
“On Robben Island are set the rebellious rulers brought from the East Indies, where they must end their lives in very bad conditions, since many of them who are now at the Cape must now work like slaves for their living, and often get more kicks than ha’pence for their hard tasks such as carrying wood and stones, burning lime etc. To this Robben Island come not only the rebellious East India rulers and other black folk, but also rebellious Dutch who are kept in slavery there for some years.”
1686
Slaves prisoners on Robben Island. Prisoner lists of 1686 show numerous slave names as prisoners on Robben Island, names such as Jacob van Macassar and Arrie van Bengal. Many Chinese slave/convicts were also sent to Robben Island.
1690
Successful escape from Robben Island by swimming to the mainland. In 1690, a convict by the name of Jan Rykman successfully escaped Robben Island by swimming to the mainland.
1693
Falsely accused sent to Robben Island. Dorha, a successful Chainouqua trader, (loyal to the Dutch) and his brother-in-law (of the Hessequa) are banished to Robben Island by Simon van der Stel and the Council of Policy, on trumped-up charges (latter repealed by the DEIC) to rob Dorha of his amassed cattle and curtail his successful trading system.
Dorha, as a successful trader in the inland areas, was a threat to the corrupt company officials who were dominating the trading processes. Dorha was a victim of a volte-face plot, which saw the company officials ally themselves to his enemy Koopman, leader of the Soeswa. In 1695, Dorha was exonerated and released from banishment on Robben Island but never regained his former prestige and was murdered by Koopman in 1701.
1694
Shipwreck on Robben Island
The yacht Dageraad from Goude Bay ran ashore on the Western side of the island. Sixteen of the crew were drowned.
1716
Sheikh Noorul Mubeen was exiled from the Indonesian Archipelago and banished to Robben Island, but escaped by unknown means. Legend has it that he swam to the mainland where he was found by slave fishermen and hidden on the mountainside. A Karamat shrine in Oudekraal marks his burial-place.
1743
The Prince of Madura was banished to Robben Island with 7 of his followers, after being captured by the Dutch in the Straits of Madura. He died on Robben Island in 1754 and his body was returned to Batavia after a petition by his son.
1744
Tuan Matarah Sayed Abduraghman Motura (Matirim) was exiled from the Indonesian Archipelago (probably Sumatra) and banished to Robben Island where he died. A Karamat shrine on Robben Island marks his burial place and is visited by pilgrims.
1780
A Prince of Tadore in the Tiranate Islands, Tuan Guru, who traced his ancestry to the Sultanate of Morocco, together with Callie Abdul Rauf, Noro Imam and Barodien were said to have conspired with the English against the Dutch.
They were captured by the Dutch and brought to the Cape as state prisoners and incarcerated on Robben Island. Tuan Guru was later released to the mainland in 1792, and Barodien and Rauf died on Robben Island. Taun Guru died in 1807 and a Karamat Shrine marks the place of his burial on Signal Hill.
1786
Tuan Nuruman arrived in Cape Town as a slave and was housed in the Slave Lodge. In 1786, he was found guilty of assisting a group of fellow slaves in an escape bid and sent to Robben Island. Years later, when released from the Island he settled as a freed slave and officiated as an Imam. He died in 1810 and a Karamat Shrine marks his grave on Signal Hill.
1806
Murray installed himself as a Whaler on the island, next to the present-day harbour, and settled in Portugal Cave with his wife and children. Since then the Bay was called Murray’s Bay.
1846
The first lepers were moved (from Hemel en Aarde, near Hermanus) to Robben Island and housed in existing buildings.
1858
Cemetery below Minto’s Hill is established, and acts as a burial ground for staff of the island during the Leprosy Settlement and Convict Station until 1923.
1864
Robben Island Lighthouse was built on Minto Hill. In 1938, a self-contained generating plant was installed to produce electric lighting of 464 000 candle-power. A fog-horn was installed in 1925.
1873
Langalibalele, Chief of the AmaHlubi, and his people worked in Kimberley and in the process acquired arms. Fearing an uprising, the Hlubi were ordered to surrender their arms by the British. They refused and fled towards Basutholand for refuge but were waylaid by troops at the top of the Drakensberg Pass. Langalibalele was brought back in chains and tried for treason and rebellion. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. The Cape Town township Langa is named after him.
1880
A small restaurant and refreshment station is opened. The Island population was then 1070 of whom 800 were male.
1882
A gardening campaign was started by Dr. Impey and Lady Loch, and was promoted by the famous brewer Mr. Ohlsson who paid for a plantation to be laid out on the western shore at his expense. Much of this was destroyed in the Second World War for security reasons.
Over 70 000 trees were planted at this time including thorn trees, tamarisks, firs, pines, wattles, manatoka, cypresses, acasia, salinga and belhambra. The gardening campaign was at its strongest from 1882-1912.
During this time, Franz Jacobs lead a protest and wrote to petition the Queen to improve the terrible Leper conditions on Robben Island.
1886
Chaplain and Dr. Ross oppose female lepers being brought to the Island because of intercourse between male and female lepers.
The postmaster brings out the first Robben Island Newspaper, the Robben Island Times. It cost two pounds a year to produce.
1887
Female leper is block built to the north of Murray Harbour.
1890
New buildings are built for male lepers, in the area that stretches from village to the leper cemetery south of Murray Bay.
1892
Tramway line is built. A 18inch gauge tramway line was laid from the boathouse to the general stores and ran to all of the key off-loading points of the island. Trolleys were drawn by mules.
1893
A Library is opened with 1548 volumes. A magistrate’s court was also started and the librarian doubled as resident magistrate, Mr L Powys-Jones. The Island school ceased to be a mission school and became a government school.
1894
Guest house is built for the resident chaplain of the Dutch Reformed Church
The post of chaplain became necessary with the increase in leprosy patients. 
1895
Residence built for the Commissioner of the Island. The Commissioner was brought in as an administrator when the surgeon-superintendent of the hospital had difficulties subduing violence and dissatisfaction among leprosy patients about their forced residence on the Island. The building would later become a mess hall for officers in WW2.
The Church of the Good Shepherd is consecrated in 1895. This was a Leper Church for men designed by Sir Herbert Baker. A carved figure of the Good Shepherd was brought from Oberammergau (famous for religious plays). A Leper church for women was called the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. A Catholic Chapel and a Dutch Reformed church was also established.
1896
Faure Jetty completed. This jetty acted as a replacement jetty as the one below an old Convict station was destroyed by storms.153 trips were made in 1896 by the steam ferries Tiger, Magnet and Pieter Faure.
1910
Leper Children and Anglican Nuns move to the Island. The Anglican sisterhood took over the children’s leper home, catering for 26 children, into their care. They were recalled to England in 1926 and the children returned to the compounds.
1913
After years of argument, the government agreed to remove the mental patients from the island so that they may be integrated into more humane institutions of care on the mainland.
1930
Lepers removed from Robben Island
1931
All leper buildings, with the exception of the Church of the Good Shepherd, are burned and demolished.
1939
Island acts as Military base. The Department of Defence established fortress Robben Island to guard Table Bay. Murray Harbour, an airstrip and gun batteries were built. A maze of tunnels and bunkers were carved into the island. It was a military fortress in every aspect and home to thousands of servicemen and women.
The vast majority had no idea of Robben Island’s painful past and little consciousness of the pain that would be coming, yet these men and women had been mobilised to fight fascism and Nazism in Europe.
1950’s
Robben Island is used as a naval base. Robben Island was taken over by the SA Navy as SAS Robben Island with a population of 1200 – 1500.
1959
Declaration of Robben Island as an Apartheid era Prison. The National Party Minister of Justice declared that the island would once more serve as a prison. As far as possible, all military installations were to be dismantled and relocated to the mainland. Access to the island was to be restricted and suitable prison structures constructed.
1961 – 1991
Maximum security prison for political prisoners.
1961 – 1996
Medium security prison for criminal prisoners. The first political prisoners began to arrive in 1961. These early prisoners had to participate in the completion of Robben Island’s maximum security prison structures. Along with ANC and PAC prisoners, there were members of many other organisations including the SA Congress of Trades Unions, the SA Communist Party, South West African Peoples Organisation, National Liberation Front, the Non-European Unity movement, the Liberal Party, AZAPO, the APDU, BCM, UDF and others.
After the Rivonia trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and other senior ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. Over the next three decades, thousands of political cadres of all persuasions and all ranks were brought by ferry to be imprisoned on the island. PAC leader, Robert Sobukwe, was initially sentenced to three years imprisonment; because the government were not prepared to release him, they passed a special law in parliament which allowed them to keep Sobukwe in prison without charges, indefinitely. It was called the Sobukwe clause.
After the unbanning of political organisations and the release of Nelson Mandela by FW de Klerk in 1990, a slow process of releasing all political prisoners unfolded.
1962
January, Nelson Mandela leaves South Africa for military training.
March, Mandela receives training from the Algerian National Liberation Front at bases of the latter across the border in Morocco.
1991
All political prisoners had been released from Robben Island.
1996
The last of the Common Law Prisoners leave the island
1997
1 January, The Robben Island Museum was officially opened.
1999
Robben Island became a World Heritage site. The museum and heritage site is visited by thousands of tourists each year.

References

 

SECURITY COUNCIL’S LEADERSHIP ROLE VITAL TO END ‘APPALLING SUFFERING’ IN #SYRIA


United Nations

UN OFFICIAL POST   
After its call on all parties in Syria for humanitarian access to relieve the plight of civilians trapped by heavy fighting, the Security Council must show leadership to ensure cooperation for delivery of food and medicines, and protection measures, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator urged today.

“I am extremely disappointed that we have not been able to make further progress on the ground,” said Valeria Amos as she briefed the Council this morning on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

“Three weeks have passed since the adoption of the Council’s Presidential Statement [on the issue]; with little change to report. Each day that passes without the parties upholding their most basic obligations results in more lost lives, more displaced people and more people denies access to the most basic services,” added Ms. Amos, who is also the Under-Secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs.

On 2 October, the Council, in a Presidential Statement, urged the Syrian Government to immediately allow cross border aid deliveries, and also called on all parties to the conflict to agree on humanitarian pauses in the fighting, with special attention to key delivery routes.

The statement also deplored the escalating violence in a conflict that has already killed more than 100, 000 people and driven some 6.5 million other form their homes since opposition protesters first sought the ouster of the Government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

“Words, despite their ability to shock, cannot really paint a picture of the grime and gruesome reality of Syria today,” Ms. Amos said in today’s briefing. “I call upon all members of the Council to exert influence and take necessary action to stop this brutality and violence. This Council’s leadership role is vital.”

She said humanitarian pauses are needed in all locations “where communities are being held hostage by one party of the other to the conflict” to deliver food, medicine and shelter. “We need those who control the check-points, on both sides of the conflict to ensure the safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian convoys,” she added.

English: Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos at the 20...
English: Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos at the 2007 World Economic Forum on Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ms. Amos also said that people must be allowed to move to safer areas without fear of attack and that he Syrian Government must immediately lift all bureaucratic impediments to humanitarian operation, including visa delays.

The suffering will only get worse as the fighting intensifies and winter sets in, she said, warning: “this is a race against time.”

Speaking to reporters after her briefing, Ms. Amos reiterated her disappointment at the lack of progress in efforts to alleviate the suffering in Syria and said: “What we are seeing is a deepening of the crisis, more and more people affected and in particular I expressed my concern about the extremely brutal and violent nature of this conflict.”

Ms. Amos said she asked the Council to consider a number of measures which would help implement the Presidential Statement and had expressed the desire to discuss the issues in further detail.

She said Council members had listened to her proposals “very carefully” and had asked questions of their own, including on the attitude of both the Government and the opposition to the aims of the Statement; on the security situation and what might be hampering aid delivery; and on specific issues such as the situations of women and children.

“The situation on the ground has not fundamentally changed [since the adoption of the Presidential Statement]. What I need is the political support of the Security Council members and other Members of the United Nations to really make a difference,” she said.

On the political front, UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said the Joint Special Representative for Syria of the UN and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, is in Qatar today, where he met the Emir to discuss the crisis and preparations for an international conference on Syria, to be held in Geneva.

He said that yesterday, Mr. Brahimi was in Turkey where he met with General Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army and 10 of his military commanders, and they also discussed the holding of a conference on Syria. “The Joint Special Representative reiterated his view that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis and that all efforts should be exerted to stop the conflict and end the suffering of the Syrian people,” Mr. Nesirky said.

He said that before travelling to Doha, Mr. Brahimi met today in Ankara with Ahmet Davotuglu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss preparations for the Geneva conference. Mr. Brahimi heads to Tehran tomorrow.

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Public Healthcare Registers Bumpy Launch of Healthcare Exchange’s


English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...
English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Courtesy of: The: Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press

A few weeks after the launch of the state-level on–line health insurance exchanges that are a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, the public’s impression is that it has been a bumpy Bumpy Launch for Health Insurance Exchangeslaunch. About three-in-ten Americans (29%) say the on-line health insurance exchanges are working very or fairly well while 46% say they are not.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults, finds that awareness of the exchanges has increased significantly over the past month. In early September, barely half (51%) knew that exchanges were going to be available in their state; that has risen to nearly two-thirds (65%) today.

One-in-Seven Have Visited Health Care ExchangesNationwide, 14% of adults report having visited an exchange, and another 23% say they intend to. These figures are higher among the 18% who say they currently do not have health insurance: 22% of uninsured Americans have already visited a site, and another 42% say they intend to do so.

So Far, Most Exchange Site Users Just Learning About ExchangesSo far, most of the visitors to the exchange websites are people who have insurance: 41% of exchange visitors have employer-provided insurance, and another 15% are covered by Medicare, Medicaid or another government program. Some 10% of exchange visitors are self-insured, and 29% of visitors are uninsured. Most (58%) who have visited the sites say they went just to learn more about the exchanges, while 32% say they were looking for health care options for themselves or their families.

Despite offering critical evaluations of how well the exchanges are working, many of the sites’ actual visitors report that they did not face significant problems. Among those who have visited an exchange website, more say the exchanges overall are not working well by a 56%-37% margin. Yet when asked about their own experience on an exchange website, a 56% majority say they personally found the site to be very or fairly easy to use, while 40% say it was difficult to use.

More at: http://www.people-press.org/2013/10/21/public-registers-bumpy-launch-of-health-care-exchange-websites/