Roma music: here.
From IPS news agency:
Scraping by on Mud Cookies
By Wadner Pierre
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 27, 2010 – At six in the morning in Cite Soleil, the poorest zone of Haiti’s capital city, the sun is already up. It’s the start of another workday for Lurene Jeanti, making cookies from mud, butter and salt. She’s been mixing the ingredients on the side of the road to sell to her neighbours for the past eight years.
“The mud helps me take care of my children,” she says matter-of-factly.
Jeanti is a slight, muscled woman, one of millions of Haitians who have migrated from the countryside to Port-au- Prince over the past decade. She left her hometown to find a way to feed her five kids.
“My children have no father. I am the mother and the father of them,” Jeanti told IPS. The father is gone and Haiti has no statutes protecting women who are abandoned with their children.
Jeanti grew up in Anse D’Hainault, a remote town in Haiti’s southwest near Grand Anse, known as the “city of poets”. Ezer Villaire, one of the great Haitian poets, was born and raised there.
Unlike other parts of rural Haiti, trees still populate the mountains and little plateaus where yams and cacao are grown. “Have you visited Anse D’Hainault? It’s really nice. You should go,” she told IPS. “I used to farm. I am a farmer.”
But the income from farming small crops wasn’t enough. Unemployment rates rise to 80-90 percent in much of the countryside.
Now Jeanti lives in Cité Saint Georges, a tiny district within Cité Soleil. The concrete canal running through the neighbourhood is full to the brim with plastic bottles.
She sits in a dirty corner near the entrance to a narrow corridor where people come to buy mud cookies or a gallon of water from a neighbour. Most the houses are made with concrete blocks and unfinished.
During her first two years in Port-Au-Prince, Jeanti managed the products she brought from Anse D’hainault. But it wasn’t enough, so she started baking and selling mud cookies herself.
“I buy two bags of mud for 500 gourdes (12.57 U.S.). And I made 100 gourdes (2.50 U.S.),” she told IPS.
Mud cookies are big business. The mud mine is located in the central of Haiti. A cookie-maker like Jeanti has to buy the mud from middle-man who purchases it from someone with access to the mine, then brings it to Port-Au-Prince.
Jeanti wants to go back to her town Anse D’hainault to take of her mother. She is the only daughter. “I want to come back to my home. My mother is getting old. I have to come back to take of her. I am her unique daughter,” she explained.
But she is worried about how she is going to support her five children, plus her mother. “I have one problem. I can’t come back with 2,500 gourdes to Anse D’ahainault. It is not going to help me. But I am getting old as my mom. I’m 49. And… I have to come back to Anse D’Hainault,” she said.
Jeanti knows her story is like those of many Haitian single mothers. “I am not the only one who is making mud cookies to sell. There are many women here who are doing the same business like I do to support their children.” She points to a group of women drying mud cookies on top of the roof.
The voice of Lurene Jeanti is the voice of many hundreds of thousands Haitian women who left their towns to come to Port-Au-Prince in the hope that life will smile on them. With 1.5 million people living in tent camps months after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, it doesn’t appear their situation will improve anytime soon.
While 5.3 billion dollars was pledged by international donors to aid in the rebuilding, less than 20 percent has been disbursed.
Thousands of Haitians Face Risk of Forcible Evictions from Temporary Camps: here.
The UN food agency called an emergency meeting on rising food prices on Friday amid fears of a repeat of the shortages that led to riots globally two years ago: here.
This video from the USA is called THE OTHER PTSD – SEXUAL ABUSE OF WOMEN IN THE MILITARY.
Translated from Dutch news agency ANP today:
THE HAGUE – In the Dutch armed forces, especxially at the officer training institutions KMA in Breda and KIM [for the Navy] in Den Helder, there is misconduct, including sexual harassment and bullying.
The closed culture, traditions and strong social control appear to be a breeding ground for this conduct. Managers and instructors neglect to do enough against this if they find out.
This is documented in a report by Blauw Research on six military academies which caretaker Minister Eimert van Middelkoop (Defense) this Friday sent to Parliament.
… over one in three students has had to deal some time with a form of harassment and 13 percent had to deal with structural bullying.
Perpetrators are often male students with dominant and charismatic qualities while others get caught up in their negative behavior.
Imagine you’re a soldier stationed overseas and discover you’re pregnant. If you want to have an abortion but are living in a country where it’s illegal, you might as well be living in pre-Roe v. Wade America. Why? Current federal law prohibits almost all abortion services at U.S. military hospitals, even if a woman pays for the procedure herself. So, like a woman in the 1950s, you can fly to another country to obtain safe, legal abortion care (if you can afford to travel and can arrange leave) or take your chances with an unsafe, illegal, local or self-induced abortion: here.
USA: Call on Your Senator to End the Ban on Military Women’s Access to Abortion: here.
This video series from Canada is called John Foster – Oil Pipelines the new Great Game – What Afghanistan is Really About.
KABUL, Aug 26 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) – Afghanistan, believed to be sitting on top of billions of dollars worth of minerals and energy sources, has extracted oil for the first time and plans to pump a modest 800 barrels a day, officials said on Thursday.
Afghanistan’s Mines Ministry plans to open bidding soon for contracts to refine the oil from the rugged Sar-i-Pul province in the north.
“The infrastructure existed there a long time ago. We overhauled them and this is the first time we are extracting oil,” said Jawad Omar, a spokesman for the ministry. …
Omar said “a foreign institution” had helped with the Sar-i-Pul extraction but would not give any more information.
Sayed Anwar Rahmati, the governor of Sar-i-Pul, told Reuters the project had had Americans help but gave no further details.
Both the U.S. Embassy and USAID said they were not aware of who was involved in the project.
Afghanistan and foreign forces numbering almost 150,000 troops consume 2.5-3.0 million tonnes of oil annually, Omar said.
DECADES OF UNREST
The ministry this week started to re-inject gas from three gas wells which have a capacity of more than 200 million cubic metres of gas and are a key source for a fertilizer plant in Balkh province to the north of Sar-i-Pul, Omar said.
Foreign institutions have also pledged to invest $400 million in coming years to replace gas pipelines linking Balkh and the adjacent province of Jawzjan province, he said.
Afghanistan exported gas to the former Soviet Union during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s. …
The untapped mineral resources include iron ore, copper, lithium, oil gas and gems which Afghanistan hopes to develop in coming years despite rising insecurity. Violence is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted in late 2001.
NATO forces attacked and killed a pair of private security contractors last night in the Wardak Province, officials are confirming: here.
Afghan graft prosecutor ‘fired’: Official says Hamid Karzai tried to block him from probing high-level corruption: here.
U.S. Escalates Air War Over Afghanistan: here.
Karzai: Nato’s brought ‘nothing but death’ to Afghanistan: here.
Private Security in Afghanistan: here.
War Effort Rife with Corrupt Subcontractors: here.
If China has so far proven masterly in the way it has played its cards in its Pipelineistan “war”, the U.S. hand — bypass Russia, elbow out China, isolate Iran — may soon be called for what it is: a bluff: here.
From the BBC:
26 August 2010 Last updated at 08:22 GMT
Oldest evidence of arrows found
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News
Researchers in South Africa have revealed the earliest direct evidence of human-made arrows.
The scientists unearthed 64,000 year-old “stone points”, which they say were probably arrow heads.
Closer inspection of the ancient weapons revealed remnants of blood and bone that provided clues about how they were used.
The team reports its findings in the journal Antiquity.
The arrow heads were excavated from layers of ancient sediment in Sibudu Cave in South Africa. During the excavation, led by Professor Lyn Wadley from the University of the Witwatersrand, the team dug through layers deposited up to 100,000 years ago.
Marlize Lombard from the University of Johannesburg, who led the examination of the findings. She described her study as “stone age forensics”.
“We took the [points] directly from the site, in little [plastic] baggies, to the lab,” she told BBC News.
“Then I started the tedious work of analysing them [under the microscope], looking at the distribution patterns of blood and bone residues.”
Because of the shape of these “little geometric pieces”, Dr Lombard was able to see exactly where they had been impacted and damaged. This showed that they were very likely to have been the tips of projectiles – rather than sharp points on the end of hand-held spears.
The arrow heads also contained traces of glue – plant-based resin that the scientists think was used to fasten them on to a wooden shaft.
“The presence of glue implies that people were able to produce composite tools – tools where different elements produced from different materials are glued together to make a single artefact,” said Dr Lombard.
“This is an indicator of a cognitively demanding behaviour.”
The discovery pushes back the development of “bow and arrow technology” by at least 20,000 years.
Researchers are interested in early evidence of bows and arrows, as this type of weapons engineering shows the cognitive abilities of humans living at that time. …
Neanderthals and other early humans, he explained, were likely to have been “ambush predators”, who needed to get close to their prey in order to dispatch them.
Professor Stringer said: “This work further extends the advanced behaviours inferred for early modern people in Africa.”
“But the long gaps in the subsequent record of bows and arrows may mean that regular use of these weapons did not come until much later.
“Indeed, the concept of bows and arrows may even have had to be reinvented many millennia [later].”
Traditionally, bows and arrows are supposed to mark the transition from the Palaeolithic to the Mesolithic, about 20,000 years ago.
Neanderthals supposedly did not even use spears for throwing, only for stabbing at short distance.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 21, 2010) — For decades scientists believed Neanderthals developed `modern’ tools and ornaments solely through contact with Homo sapiens, but new research from the University of Colorado Denver now shows these sturdy ancients could adapt, innovate and evolve technology on their own: here.
Europeans never had Neanderthal neighbours: here.
A possible Neanderthal burial ground suggests that they practiced funeral rituals and possessed symbolic thought before modern humans: here.
CT scans reveal that the brains of Neandertal babies had the same elongated shape as those of modern human babies. But whereas modern humans’ brains become rounder as they mature, Neandertals retained the elongated shape throughout their lives. Karen Hopkin reports: here.
Haplotype Study Says That Non-Africans Are Part Neanderthal – And Humans Interbred With Them: here.
Language May Have Helped Early Humans Spread Out of Africa: here.
Tortoise banquet: Remains of the oldest feast found: here.
It took our ancestors 2 million years to go from scraping meat off animal carcasses with sharp stone flakes to making more complex hand axes for hunting and fighting. What took them so long? Here.
Neanderthals cooked their vegetables just like humans: study here.
Neanderthal extinction proven not a result of dietary deficiencies: here.
“Tool kit” may put Neanderthals in northern Russia—surviving later than thought: here.
I’ve been baffled by the spread of a non-story over the past couple days, about the supposed discovery of the oldest fossil of our species, doubling the age of our species from 200,000 years to 400,000 years and overturning the generally-accepted idea that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa: here.
What can be gleaned from a fragment of a 30,000- to 50,000-year-old finger? With highly sensitive genetic sequencing technology, researchers now claim to have spotted a new form of extinct humans that were neither Neandertals nor modern humans: here.
Neanderthal life spans similar to modern humans: here.
Neanderthals Wore Feathers as Fashion Accessories: here.
An international team of scientists made headlines last year when they used genetic evidence to show that an ancient people, once living in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, were distant cousins of the Neanderthals and contributed to the modern human genome before their extinction: here.
A very well-preserved 33,000 year old canine skull from a cave in the Siberian Altai mountains shows some of the earliest evidence of dog domestication ever found: here.
The “cradle of humanity” is thought to be located in Sub-Saharan Africa–meaning below the Sahara, the largest hot desert on earth. So how was humanity able to breach such an intimidating barrier to spread out across the rest of the world? Here.
The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution, by Timothy Taylor. Palgrave Macmillion: 2010, 256 pages; book review here.
Modern humans may have emerged from Africa up to 50,000 years earlier than previously thought, a study suggests: here.
Modern humans came from southern Africa, study suggests: here.
Recent research has begun to investigate the cognitive abilities of animals, such as their capacity to understand language, and is helping to identify the evolutionary developments made by human beings that began to distinguish them from apes: here.
A recently announced discovery of sophisticated stone tools at the Pinnacle Point site in South Africa pushes further back in time the evidence for the appearance of modern human intellectual capacities, to at least 71,000 years ago. The discovery helps reduce what has been seen as a perplexing temporal gap of over 100,000 years between the earliest fossil remains of anatomically modern humans and the first appearance in the archaeological record of evidence that these people possessed the capability for fully abstract, symbolic thought, which is the basis of modern human technology, social organization, and culture at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic period: here.
This satirical video from the USA is called BP: Rich Fish.
Thousands of dead fish reported at mouth of Mississippi: here.
New Gulf oil spill bird numbers: 2026 captured alive, 5169 collected dead at ongoing response: PDF report: here.
Shocking video of dead birds from oil spill, along with report: mission accomplished too soon? Here.
Photos of some of 79 oil spill birds released this week – including laughing gulls on our Facebook page: here.
Black people hardest hit by BP spill: here.
TransCanada will force landowners to surrender their property if they do not accept the dangerous “Keystone XL” oil pipeline on their land, according to a letter obtained by National Wildlife Federation. While the massive 2,000 mile pipeline has yet to be approved by the federal government, they are invoking a Nebraska statute to ensure rapid construction: here.
This video is called Nazi Fugitive Lives Cozy Life in Germany.
From Der Spiegel in Germany:
Israel Calls on Germany to Take Action against Convicted Nazi
Israeli officials have asked Germany to take legal action against a Dutch man convicted of murdering Jews during World War II. The man escaped from prison in the Netherlands in the 1950s and has lived as a free man in Germany ever since.
Israel has called on Berlin to reopen an investigation into a Dutchman convicted in his home country for Nazi crimes who escaped prison in the Netherlands in the 1950s and has been living as a free man in Germany ever since. Klaas[-Carel] F[aber]. even worked for German car-maker Audi in Ingolstadt until his retirement.
Earlier this week, Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman sent a letter to his German counterpart, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, asking her to take up the case. The move followed a petition signed by 150 Israeli attorneys to the Israeli government, calling on it to urge Germany to take legal action against 88-year-old Klaas F., who lives in Nuremberg today.
During World War II, Klaas F. was part of the SS’s “Silbertanne” special commando unit, and he is on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals.
Convicted in 1948
Dutch authorities convicted F. in 1948 for murdering 20 Jews and becoming a voluntary member of the SS. He was initially condemned to death, but his sentence was subsequently changed to life in prison. But he escaped from jail in 1952 and fled to Germany. Since then, he has lived in Nuremberg in Bavaria. Under a decree issued by Hitler in 1943, anyone who joined the SS automatically became a German citizen, and authorities in the country have rejected repeated extradition requests for Klaas F.
In 1957, a German court refused to extradite Klaas F., citing a lack of evidence, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported. And a second case brought to a court in 2004, in which Dutch authorities requested that Faber’s sentence be carried out in Germany, was also thrown out.
The current government, however, appears to be more willing to take action. In August, Justice Minister Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger asked authorities in Bavaria to research “the legal possibilities” for Faber, including the question of whether the Dutch conviction from 40 years ago could still be observed in Germany today.
Update 25 November 2010: here.
The German judicial system continues to protect convicted war criminal Klaas Carel Faber from extradition to Holland, where he faces a life sentence: here.
This video is called Blair rakes in money from Iraqi Oil while Middle East Peace Envoy.
From the Irish Examiner:
Anti war group protests Blair book-signing
Thursday, August 26, 2010 – 07:24 AM
GAAW spokesperson Niall Farrell said: “It would be outrageous and would warrant a drastic response.”
See also here.
Britain: The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war faces fresh criticism from campaigners calling for a separate judicial inquiry into Iraqi civilians killed or injured during the conflict: here.
Report: US wasted billions in Iraq rebuilding: here.
This video is called Trapped Chile Miners Found Alive After 17 Days.
From the Ottawa Citizen in Canada:
First lawsuit filed against Chilean mining company
Safety warnings ignored, families say; judge freezes assets as a ‘precaution’
The Daily Telegraph and Agence France-Presse August 27, 2010
Families of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground are to sue the site’s owner for negligence after alleging that the mining company repeatedly ignored warnings about safety concerns and had been fined for breaching regulations.
On Thursday, one family launched the first lawsuit against the company, San Esteban Primera, and Edgardo Reinoso, a lawyer representing families of another 24 miners, says he is preparing a case.
The company has warned them that it is considering filing for bankruptcy and may not be able to pay salaries owed to the miners when they finally emerge, let alone damages that might be awarded by the impending lawsuits.
However, a Chilean judge Thursday froze $1.8 million in revenue from the gold and copper mine in response to a petition from most of the families, Reinoso said.
“We have found assets, there is money coming in, and we asked the judge in Copiapo that it be withheld as a precautionary measure,” said Reinoso. He said someone had to be held responsible for what had happened.
“Luckily they are alive, but the harm that the situation has caused for them and their families is huge,” he said.
The miners have been stuck below ground since the mine collapsed on Aug. 5. They are not expected to be rescued until Christmas.
Vincelot Tobar, who was in charge of risk prevention for San Esteban Primera, claimed the company put production before safety. He resigned in 2009 over what he said was the company’s failure to institute safety recommendations.
“They never carried out the most fundamental adjustments needed to avoid disasters like what we’re seeing today,” he said. “They always pushed on production.”
The first family to file a lawsuit on Thursday accused the mine’s owners and government inspectors of criminal negligence by allowing the shaft to reopen in 2008 after a worker accident caused it to be closed in 2007.
“I’m not thinking of monetary compensation. I’m thinking of holding people responsible. Not only the mine’s owners but also people who didn’t do their job” to check the safety of the mine, said Carolina Narvaez, wife of trapped miner Raul Bustos.
One of the trapped miners, Luis Urzua, said his team found their way to an emergency shaft but were unable to climb it because there were no ladders, despite San Esteban Primera having been ordered to install them following a death in 2007.
“We attempted to get up through the air shaft but as it didn’t have a ladder we aborted,” he said.
Chile’s Congress has also opened an investigation into the accident.
See also here.
Chilean miners’ ordeal ’caused by greed and graft’: here.
Chilean copper mines were nationalized by socialist president Salvador Allende. However, they were privatized by the Pinochet dictatorship.
Bachelet says trapped miners are ‘heroes’: here.
Former Chilean President Bachelet to Head New UN Women Agency: here.
Chile’s trapped miners: Victims of a ruthless drive for profit: here.
Chile to Probe President Salvador Allende’s Death in U.S.-Backed Coup in 1973: here.