The Will to Survive



Came across this picture on the social media some days ago and got me really thinking. As I sat and pondered over the picture, a wave of sympathy swept over me for the man and his child caught in a political high stakes game of war he didn’t sign for. A.refuge in his own country, I can’t help but notice the sad, dejected yet determined look on his face to make ends meet to feed his daughter and himself. The fact that he was carrying his daughter points to another issue, no accommodation. And his daughter Continue reading

Ebola outbreak precautions – in pictures


Powered by article titled “Ebola outbreak precautions – in pictures” was written by , for on Thursday 7th August 2014 14.04 UTC

Paramedics wearing protective suits move Miguel Pajares, a Spanish missionary infected with Ebola, on a special isolation stretcher, at Carlos III hospital, in Madrid, Spain
Paramedics wearing protective suits move Miguel Pajares, a Spanish missionary infected with Ebola, on a special isolation stretcher in Madrid. Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA
Protective clothing and facilities in place at the Royal Free hospital in north London, in preparation for a patient testing positive for the Ebola virus.
Protective clothing and facilities at the Royal Free Hospital in north London. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
A nurse wears protective clothing to demonstrate the facilities at the Royal Free Hospital. The specialised unit allows a team of doctors and nurses to provide care for anyone with the contagious condition.
A nurse wears protective clothing to demonstrate the facilities at the Royal Free hospital. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
A South Korean quarantine officer checks a thermal camera monitoring the body temperature of passengers arriving from overseas at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea.
A South Korean quarantine officer checks a thermal camera monitoring the body temperature of passengers arriving from overseas at the Incheon international airport. Photograph: Shin Jun-hee/AP
A health official uses a thermometer on a man in the arrivals hall at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria.
A Nigerian health official uses a thermometer on a man in the arrivals hall at the Murtala Muhammed international airport in Lagos. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP
An ambulance convoy transporting Miguel Pajares, leaves the Torrejon de Ardoz military air base of , near Madrid, Spain
An ambulance convoy transports Miguel Pajares from the Torrejon military air base near Madrid. Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP
The interior of a Spanish Air Force Airbus A310  equipped with medical and security measures, before it departed for Liberia, to repatriate Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, who is infected with the ebola virus.
A Spanish Air Force Airbus A310 was equipped with medical and biosecurity measures before it left for Liberia to collect Miguel Pajares. Photograph: EPA
A Liberian nurse in protective clothing is sprayed with disinfectant after preparing bodies of victims of Ebola for burial in the isolation unit of the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.
A Liberian nurse in protective clothing is sprayed with disinfectant after preparing bodies of victims of Ebola for burial in Monrovia. Photograph: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA
Steve Monroe, deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases points at a map in the Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta.
Steve Monroe, the deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases points at a map in the emergency operations centre in Atlanta. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
Children are encouraged to wash their hands in Monrovia, Liberia.
Liberian children are encouraged to wash their hands in Monrovia. Photograph: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA
Doctors communicate using headsets under their ventilated plastic suits at the Frankfurt Main university hospital in Germany, during a simulation exercise for a possible Ebola infection, or other highly contagious illnesses.
Doctors communicate using headsets under their ventilated plastic suits at the Frankfurt Main university hospital in Germany. Photograph: Boris Roessler/EPA
A man has his temperature taken before entering offices in Monrovia, Liberia.
A Liberian man has his temperature taken before entering offices in Monrovia. Photograph: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA
Military police are deployed at the burial site for victims of the Ebola virus in Johnsonville outside Monrovia, Liberia.
Liberian military police are deployed at a burial site for Ebola victims near Monrovia. Photograph: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA
Nancy Writebol, an American aid worker, arrives at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Nancy Writebol, a US aid worker, arrives at Emory university hospital in Atlanta. Photograph: Sipa USA/REX
A nurse with a spray disinfectant at the ELWA Hospital where a US doctor Kent Bradley contracted the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia.
A Liberian nurse with a disinfectant spray at the ELWA hospital in Monrovia, where the US doctor Kent Bradley contracted the Ebola virus. Photograph: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The Khmer Rouge and Cambodian genocide: how the Guardian covered it


Powered by article titled “The Khmer Rouge and Cambodian genocide: how the Guardian covered it” was written by Matthew Weaver, for on Thursday 7th August 2014 07.00 UTC

March 1975

Khmer rouge article

The Khmer Rouge is poised to seize power after nearly five years of civil war. The Guardian’s Martin Woollacott reports on the fears of a “bloodbath” if they take over. A general tells him that whenever government soldiers are captured “almost all the officers are killed.”

A bank worker says: “I am not afraid because I am not corrupt. If the Khmer Rouge win, there will be blood on the streets. But they will only kill the corrupt people who take American aid and don’t give it to the poor people.”

April 1975

The Khmer Rouge takes over after a three-month siege of Phnom Penh. There are celebrations on the street and the communists’ victory is welcomed by China. “The Chinese people will forever stand by you,” Chairman Mao says.
Cambodia is renamed Kampuchea and its new leader, Pol Pot, declares Year Zero.

May 1975

At least 90 officials from Cambodia’s former government are executed “in a systematic process of elimination”, according to reports from Thailand. Meanwhile, millions of Cambodians are moved from Phnom Penh to work in the countryside in new rural collectives to stave off a food crisis.

August 1975

A Guardian editorial notes the reports of mass executions and condemns Cambodia’s “ultra-dogmatic attempt to make all society rural”. The Khmer Rouge’s agricultural policy is defended by Aidan Foster-Carter, from the department of sociology at the University of Leeds. “What the Khmer Rouge government has done is simply to try to ensure that everyone is engaged in productive labour,” he says.

February 1976

Khmer rouge article 2

Executions are being used as a method of social control, according to a report from Woollacott, citing reports from refugees. “Every disappearance, from village, factory or town, is assumed to have ended in death in some forest clearing or at some river edge,” he writes. “There was at least in some regions a police of physical extermination on the worst of the class enemies – army and police officers and, less certainly, civil servants and intellectuals. How far it went, whether the orders came from Phnom Penh or at the initiative or local Khmer Rouge commanders, cannot be measured.”

In a series of three articles about life in Cambodia, Woollacott writes that it is a society driven by fear.

April 1976

A former Khmer Rouge official says he took part in the execution of 5,000 people the previous September.

September 1976

A group of exiles asks the United Nations to investigate acts of genocide by the Khmer Rouge.

September 1977

Khmer rouge article 3

Woollacott says journalists were sceptical of initial fears of a bloodbath in Cambodia. He also notes leftwing support for the Khmer Rouge and a tendency to dismiss reports of executions as CIA fabrications. He admits that he and many others were wrong to doubt the brutality of the Khmer Rouge, after the publication of a book about their atrocities based on interviews with 300 refugees.

“What emerges is a kaleidoscope of horror scenes that stay in the mind long after the book has been been closed … The heads of 40 young women buried up to their necks and then knifed in the throat, sticking up out of the ground like cabbages; the bayoneting to death of civil servants and their families …; a gang of eight and 10-year-olds heaving on the gallows rope from the other end of which dangled their schoolmaster.”

April 1978

Khmer rouge article 4

The Guardian publishes a 4,000-word extract of Cambodia Year Zero, by Francois Ponchaud. It reports claims that up to 1.4 million were killed by the Khmer Rouge. “One or two million young people are enough to make the new Kampuchea!” was the blood-chilling boast of the Khmer Rouge, which they are now turning into a grim reality,” it says.

January 1979

The Khmer Rouge government is overthrown by invading Vietnamese troops. The new government finds dozens of corpses, many bearing the marks of torture. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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UK should suspend arms licences if Gaza violence resumes, says Nick Clegg


Powered by article titled “Nick Clegg challenged over Vince Cable role in approving Israel arms sales” was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for The Guardian on Thursday 7th August 2014 10.24 UTC

Nick Clegg has been accused of trying to pretend the Liberal Democrats have nothing to do with signing off arms sales to Israel, even though Vince Cable, the Lib Dem business secretary, is in charge of approvals. Alistair Burt, a former Conservative Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, said the Lib Dems should not be trying to distance themselves from the issue, after the deputy prime minister called for some licences to be revoked if they had been used for repression in Gaza.

“I think, to be blunt, they are trying to pretend that Liberal Democrats don’t sign off arms exports to Israel, which they have been doing,” he told the BBC’s World at One. “Vince Cable has been doing that for the past few years, because it’s a joint decision he takes with the foreign secretary. I hope he will have assured himself that any exports to Israel are for their external protection and security.”

Burt said it was “no bad thing” to review arms exports but the UK already had strict controls. “This country does not export goods to any country which could be used for internal repression. That is in the law. The law is carefully scrutinised, not least by an extremely good Commons committee headed by Sir John Stanley,” he said.

Stanley, chair of the parliamentary select committees that oversee British arms exports, has asked the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, for details of any military exports that may have been used by the Israeli army in Gaza. He also asks Hammond for more details of the government’s review of arms export licences, which was announced this week.

On Thursday, Clegg made clear he thought Britain should immediately revoke any licences for arms that had been used in the conflict. However, he stepped back slightly from arguing for the suspension of the sale of all military equipment to Israel, saying this should only happen if the ceasefire broke down.

Clegg has made clear already that he favours an arms embargo, but he set out his thinking more clearly in an LBC radio phone-in. “We must respect the strict criteria laid down in law,” he said. “We must look at what’s happened in Gaza to see if those criteria were breached … If it’s shown those criteria were breached, then never mind suspending those licences, they would have to be revoked.”

Clegg said no new arms export licences had been issued during the past month of violence but there could be a complete suspension if Israel and Hamas returned to violence. “We now have a truce. I think it is crystal clear and it would be unacceptable and wholly wrong for us to do anything other than suspend those licences if that ceasefire were to come to an end and violence were to break out again,” he said.

Senior Conservative figures including Andrew Mitchell and Sayeeda Warsi, who resigned as a foreign minister over the crisis, have said there must be an embargo.

Clegg is the only party leader to call for direct talks between Israel and Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation. Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, said this was “misguided” and wrong on Thursday, but Clegg’s position was backed by former Liberal leader David Steel, who also said Israel’s government was “treating Palestinians as lesser human beings in exactly the same way the South African apartheid government treated the majority of its citizens”.

David Cameron is under pressure to take stronger action against Israel after the UN condemned its shelling of a school as a moral outrage. The prime minister has not so far joined Clegg or Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, in saying Israel’s actions in Gaza have been disproportionate.

The total value of controlled export licences to Israel – which can be for commercial or military use – was around £8bn last year. The government and campaigners agree that the vast bulk of this – around £7.75bn – is for commercial equipment, mostly cryptographic software to supply Israel’s for mobile phone networks.

Documents obtained by the Campaign Against Arms Trade under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that since 2010 there have been £42m worth of licences to export military-only equipment to Israel.

Licences granted in the past year include a wide range of hardware, from components for naval guns and drones to ammunition, submarines and combat aircraft parts. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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MH17 memorial focuses on supporting families and friends left behind


Powered by article titled “MH17 memorial focuses on supporting families and friends left behind” was written by Melissa Davey, for on Thursday 7th August 2014 04.19 UTC

Around 1000 people from different backgrounds and denominations filled St Patrick’s cathedral in Melbourne on Thursday morning to remember people lost in the MH17 tragedy and to support their friends and families as part of a national day of mourning.

The focus was on them, as talk of blame and of justice for the victims was put on hold to focus on the suffering of those left behind and the need to offer them comfort.

The friends and family of those killed held each other tightly as clergy, government officials and dignitaries spoke, as the Australian Boys’ Choir sang, and as the names and photographs of the dead were displayed, one by one, on screens throughout the cathedral.

The Catholic archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, used his opening address to acknowledge their pain and the terror they must have felt as news emerged that flight MH17 had been shot out of the sky. He said there had been an outpouring of love for them, which he hoped provided some comfort, though he said it would not take away the pain.

“We stand in solidarity with those who are suffering unimaginable loss,” he said as he opened the memorial ceremony.

The Australian Boys’ Choir sang the national anthem, followed by a multifaith opening prayer from representatives of 12 belief systems, including Jewish, Hindu, Islamic and Catholic denominations.

The governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove, offered a moving tribute to those killed as he wore a white wristband with the words “we will never forget you” in Dutch.

He was also present at a repatriation ceremony for the victims held on the tarmac of a Netherlands air base just over two weeks ago.

“Our thoughts were consumed by lives cut short, those left behind and the intolerable heartbreak caused by this tragedy,” Cosgrove said.

“So often words do not and cannot express our true feelings and thoughts during such a time of great loss.”

He acknowledged the resilience of the families of those killed, and referred specifically to Rin and Anthony Maslin, who lost their children Mo, Evie and Otis, and the children’s grandfather, Nick Norris, to the tragedy.

“Even at such a time, even the most deeply bereaved can demonstrate extraordinary fortitude,” he said.

“The Maslin family has expressed so powerfully some of how they feel, that in spite of the enormity of their loss and the depth of their despair, their love exceeds and surmounts all the hatred in the world.

“There is nothing stronger or more powerful than the love we have for our children, our partner, our parents, our family, our friends.”

He also offered condolences and heartfelt thanks to the people of the Netherlands, who he said had embraced each and every one of the dead as though their own.

“Thank you for the compassionate and dignified way you have paid respects, for the minutes of silence, the ringing church bells, the flags flying at half mast and the sea of flowers. We thank you for your kindness and humanity as you too deal with tremendous loss.”

His words were followed with a reading from the Netherlands ambassador, Annemieke Ruigrok, and the high commissioner for Malaysia, Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said those on board MH17 were “innocent, unoffending and precious”.

“We mourn 38 of our own who laughed and learned and loved beneath the southern cross,” he said.

“Today is not about why or how, it is about who we have lost and what we will miss.”

To the families, he said: “It is almost impossible to say anything that can console you at this painful hour.

“But I hope you can draw modest consolation from our nation’s great, invisible, generous, sustaining sympathy, and from the knowledge that you do not walk alone today.

“You loved wonderful people who lived meaningful lives.”

Katie Noonan performed an acoustic version of the song, Even When I’m Sleeping, and returned to the stage later to close the service with I am Australian.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, followed her performance, saying that almost three weeks ago today families and friends of the MH17 victims woke up to the “very worst news imaginable”.

He used his tribute to reiterate the importance of bringing home the 38 Australians who were among the 298 shot down.

“May those we have lost arrive home to the people and country they loved,” he said.

“We cannot bring them back, but we will bring them home as far as we humanly can, and we rededicate ourselves to supporting the bereaved.”

Abbott also described the contribution those Australians killed had made to society. A time to judge those responsible and bring them to justice would come, he said, but the memorial service was to recognise the meaningful lives of those killed.

“[They were] doctors who worked with refugees, teachers who worked with children, with people who are disabled, volunteers in armed forces and local charities, business innovators, and pillars of local communities, young people filled with passion for the lives before them,” he said.

“Somehow, we who have not been bereaved must reach out to those who have and show by our love. That love has not abandoned them – you have not been abandoned and you never will be.”

The families of the victims then filed to the front of the cathedral, where they laid flowers in remembrance of those they loved, and will miss, so much. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Why You Should Stay Hungry & Foolish, By Steve Jobs

Just came across this and its sending me thinking…. Thought to reproduce it here.

Stay hungry and foolish……

This is yet the most celebrated speech made by Steve Jobs. It was the 114th Commencement Address to graduating students of Stanford  University on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories!

The first story is about connecting the dots

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife.

Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

Continue reading

Its Not Over

With the recent happenings all over the world, the risings in the Arab world that started with Algeria moved down to Egypt, now stucked with Libya and Syria.

But it’s quite interesting to note the penchant of our so-called leaders to cleave to power by all means especially in Africa and Arab world. Take for instance, Libya. Ghaddafi has been there for about 4 decades and is now caught in the quagmire of a revolution and civil war that has enveloped him and his country and brought the fury of the nations to their doorstep in the form of NATO. Now i actually wonder why Ghaddafi would have to wait for this long for him to realize that the world cannot contain his idiosyncratic tendencies anymore. A self-styled “King of Kings” and a Bat by nature and origin. Now what i mean by this is his alliance with the Arab world claiming to be Arab and also alliance with African, claiming to be a Brother. Now on which side of the divide is he actually? Hence a Bat. Yoruba’s call it “o se ku o seeye”.

Well as it may, did it ever cross his mind that he will be flushed out this way or suffer the indignity of world condemnation, denial and back-stabbing from his trusted allies. It’s interesting to note as well if he ever learned from the example of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who has been humiliated through the court of law. But did he ever think it will be over for him if he dared to step aside?

Even with him ousted from power now and yet to be located, it’s not over for him still…..though he had long ignored the back door escape that was opened for him but now locked….by revolutionists of like mind like him 42 years ago who are giving him the same dose he gave others 42 years ago, he still has a chance to make amends if given the chance, or better still live in solitary confinement where he can do memos of his sojourn as demigod, or strategies to hold on to power in the 23rd century…

But whichever way it is, it’s not over for him. Just hope other learn from his mistakes and as well our Mr. Presido in Nigeria will take heed.

Will most like be doing write ups on long ruling dictators in Africa and intending ones ( the Jonas…)

Till then…….


British Hypocrisy


1722485819-thousands-tamil-protesters-gather-outside-houses-parliament-right-london-mondayI have long pondered on the roles that Britons take at times in  the face of certain world crisis. A times i find myself questioning their rationale for taking decisions which i find quite objectionable. Ok, what’s the matter? The rationale behind their protest or support for events happening around the world often leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Some days ago, i read of a certain man carrying out a hunger strike in order to force the British government to intervene in the Sri Lanka Crisis by forcing the government to stop its assault on the  Tamil tigers who are been holed up in a little corner after about 20 years of bloody civil war. Now, some Britons are joining this man as well to declare that the Tamil Tigers want freedom.  But let us stop and ponder, this Tamil Tiger Rebels have held the nation of Sri Lanka to ransom for about 20 years in its so called quest for freedom of what? Lives have been lost, homes destroyed and the nation nearly brought to a ruin because of rogue group!  

Now, the Sri Lanka government has finally gotten the nerve to cower them into a corner and demanding their surrender which they are not willing to do and using humans in the little territory they have been driven to as shield against government forces. (The news today is that government forces have finally succeeded in breaking a barrier leading to the rescuing of about 5000 civilians who were trapped in the conflict). While that is not my main discourse this morning, its the moral justification of the Britons protesting. Are we saying, we should free terrorists? Enemies of a free world? Desperate men in search of power?

What sort of freedom does people who turn the gun on their brothers in the fight for a false freedom. What these people are doing is what dissident Irish Republican Army IRA is doing; they attack British troops and target assets belonging to the British. They have carried out the deadliest single bombing of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” in the market town of Omagh in August 1998 in which Twenty-nine people were killed. The most recent was the killing of two young British soldiers in North Ireland. I wonder why the British sympatists did not take up placards justifying the action taken against their own kin.

Another classic example of British hypocrisy is the recent conference on racism been organized the United Nations which is been boycotted by key sincere nations of the world (America and its major allies) save for countries with sinister motives like Iran and France and of course spineless British Government who cannot call a spade a spade.

For how long will she continue to be a boot-licker?