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.