Africa's corrupted pro-ivory bloc gets stronger, wants to ease restrictions

Again Elephant killings for ivory on the horizon!
By Alok Gupta - CGTN - 31. January 2019
 

‍Several African countries are defying global wildlife conservation efforts and collectively asking for an easing of international ivory trade regulations, triggering fears of large-scale poaching of elephants. 

In a proposal submitted early this month to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – a wildlife trade regulator – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe urged the removal of clauses restricting them from selling their ivory stockpile. They also want to trade live elephants.

Zambia has proposed to downgrade the elephant protection status to pave the way to sell its ivory stockpile. In order to carry out unrestricted international trade of white rhino horns, Eswatini is demanding a set of exemptions.

Bolsonaro Wants to Plunder the Amazon. Don't Let Him.

Right-wing financed new president of Brazil is key to the international sell-out of the natural ressources of the people of Brazil, who have hardly any defences against this para-military governance.

The Brazilian president's pro-business agenda will be a test of American companies' commitment to the environment.

By Leila Salazar-López The New York Times - January 29, 2019

The rise of President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has put the environment and human rights in peril. His promises to open the Amazon for business could result in huge deforestation and the release of vast greenhouse-gas emissions. His threats to slash fundamental environmental and indigenous rights standards that help keep the Amazon standing are a threat to climate stability.

Mr. Bolsonaro, however, wouldn't be the only one to blame for devastating the Amazon. Companies that accept his invitation to reap profit from Amazon destruction, and the financial institutions that provide the capital, will also bear great responsibility. And those poised to benefit from Mr. Bolsonaro's reckless policies include American companies and financial institutions.

- says chief of African-American NGO

Kaddu Sebunya at the site of the world's largest burning of ivory in Kenya in 2016 (Photo: AWF)

By

The head of a major African organisation tasked with protecting wildlife has said China's own rapid development model should not be replicated on the continent.

Speaking to EUobserver in an interview last week in Brussels, Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of the Nairobi-based African Wildlife Foundation, said China's model for Africa would be "a catastrophe in terms of environment".

"China is now paying the price, luckily that they have come to that realisation and perhaps not too late and they are fixing things," he said.

Sebunya was referencing coal-polluting plants in China, which Beijing says is now shutting down. He was also referring to renewed efforts by China to restore its protected wetlands.

China and Africa since 2015 have been working on intensifying the production of energy and natural resources throughout the continent. Last year, at a summit the two sides agreed to figure out ways to make it more green.

Protests against Colonialism Day January 26 take center stage all over Australia with the demand to not have to protest again next year. Change for Australia Day is mandatory.

The controversy over "Australia Day" January 26

By Louisa Wright et al. (*) - 26. January 2019

Protests across Australia against 'Invasion Day' holiday

Events to mark the birth of modern Australia in 1788 are being countered by large rallies by indigenous communities. They're demanding that the Australia Day public holiday be changed so it doesn't celebrate colonialism.

Rallies have been held in several Australian cities calling for the country's national day to be abolished because it marks the anniversary of the British arrival at Sydney Cove in 1788.

Picture
Like for humans: "They really do not care about us!"

By Chris Mercer - 25. 01. 2019

Oh dear! Oh dear!
How hope springs eternal....

So much hype developing around the forthcoming CITES conference.

The same hype I saw and warned against when the SA Portfolio Committee of Parliament held the Colloquium on lion farming last year. 

And as I predicted, that initiative is now mired in bureaucracy in the form of a 'high level panel' (!!)

​Better read this before you get too excited. Sorry to rain on other peoples' parade yet again...

CITES and Sustainable Use

Imagine that you are sitting in a plenary session of CITES in Kuala Lumpur or some other exotic conference venue for international talk shops. You are one of 5000 people in a vast hall, each with your own special interest and agenda. Next to you is sitting a Japanese piano maker.  He has no interest whatever in the conservation of lions. He is merely there to ensure that he can continue to get his hardwood supplies from Indonesia. It is quite impossible for you to speak or be heard. There are just too many people and to many different and often conflicting agendas.

Suppressing Dissent

By Charles Hugh Smith - ICH - January 24, 2019

A Cultural Revolution is a movement designed to preserve the political and financial power of a ruling elite by social rather than political or financial means. 

Thus the primary tools of a Cultural Revolution are not redistributing power via elections (politics) or financial reforms; the primary tools are public shaming and denouncements, purges of those in positions of authority, show trials, guilt-by-association, wholesale denouncements of entire classes and widespread accusations of anti-progressive ("counter-revolutionary") tendencies in which guilt is defined by all-or-nothing litmus tests of one's loyalties to the Cultural Revolution's strict ideology.

- UPDATES from 23. January to 15. February 2019 see below

CASUS BELLI:

Venezuela: USAmerican VP Pence Calls for Overthrow of President Maduro

Venezuela's response to Pence: Yankee Go Home!
By DemocracyNow - Jan 23, 2019
 

The United States is continuing to ratchet up pressure on Venezuela in what appears to be part of a coordinated effort to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from office. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence posted a video message online telling Venezuelan opposition leaders and protesters that the U.S. supports their efforts to oust Maduro.

Vice President Mike Pence: “I’m Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States. And on behalf of President Donald Trump and all the American people, let me express the unwavering support of the United States as you, the people of Venezuela, raise your voices in a call for freedom. Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”

USA vs Mexico Border Wall Prototypes

Update: 19. Feb. 2019 - 16 US states are now taking prez Trump to court for his Border Wall Charade.

Update: 16. Feb. 2019 - Trump signed the spending bill and will face constitutional court cases with regards to his plan to draw the money for his "Great" Wall from other sources (e.g. the military) by executive orders based on the National Emergency he wants to declare. His insane plan already faces now lawsuits from a Nature Reserve and three landowners in Texas.

After Trump's National Emergency Declaration, Legal Scholar Says, Initiate Impeachment 'Immediately'

New Mexico Says No to 'Trump's Border Charade, Fear-Mongering'
California Rejects Trump's 'Political Theater', Announces Pull Out of National Guard

Donald Trump's emergency ruse is a wake-up call

Hurd says 1,000 Texas farmers could have land seized to build Trump's border wall

Update 14. Feb. 2019: Trump will sign the bipartisan spending bill to avert another government shutdown, but will call a state of emergency to then push his subject of obsession.- the wall - with executive orders. 

The $5.7 Billion Hole in Shutdown Coverage

The arbitrary, fanciful and contradictory nature of Trump’s border wall demand goes unexamined - USA will violate the international treaty CMS
 
Update: Calculate the Nonsense for yourself: https://www.omnicalculator.com/construction/trump
 
by Reed Richardson (*) - FAIR - January 23, 2019

In the standoff between the Democratic House and President Donald Trump over the latter’s demand for border wall funding, the corporate press has done a passable job highlighting the unpopularity of Trump’s border policy, as well as exploring the vast real-world impact of the shutdown. There have been notable low points in the coverage as well, from tabloid-style outrage-baiting  (FAIR.org, 1/7/19) to overwrought falsely balanced factchecking (FAIR.org, 1/10/19).

But there’s also been a major blindspot in reporting on the shutdown, and it involves the very thing at the center of the entire debate: Trump’s proposed border wall expansion.

The Brazilian photographer and the 20-year reforestation project of over 2.7 million trees

20 years of renaturation work - Image source: Instituto Terra

The mammoth project has planted saplings of more than 290 species of trees, and seen the return of many species of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

By Fino - Sustainable Planet - Instituto Terra - 23.01.2019
The project serves as a beacon to awaken awareness of the need to restore and conserve forest land.

This project is the result of an ambitious initiative taken in the late 1990s by renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado. Confronting environmental devastation in and around a former cattle ranch bought from Salgado’s family near the town of Aimorés, in Brazil’s state of Minas Gerais, they decided to return the property to its natural state of subtropical rainforest. The ongoing results are truly amazing.

Killings Of Guatemala's Indigenous Activists Raise Specter Of Human Rights Crisis

Mayan indigenous people protest against the government of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on the day he gives an address to Congress in Guatemala City, Monday. - Santiago Billy/AP

For three days last week, thousands of Guatemalans blocked roads and major highways to protest the Central American country's slide toward a constitutional crisis. The protest organizers included groups that have long demanded justice: indigenous communities and campesinos, as rural and farm workers are called.

Indigenous citizens, many dressed in colorful traditional clothing, came out partly to protest the Guatemalan president's recent expulsion of a United Nations-backed commission investigating corruption in the country. Since 2007, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish initials CICIG and funded by the U.N., the United States and the European Union, has worked with Guatemalan justice agencies to target corrupt officials.

In the highly unequal society that is Guatemala, many Maya believe any strengthening of the justice system will protect indigenous rights granted under the country's constitution and peace accords.

Unist’ot’en and the limits of reconciliation in Canada


Supporters of the Unist'ot'en camp and Wet'suwet'en walk along a bridge over the Wedzin kwa River leading towards the main camp outside Houston, B.C., on Jan. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

However, the reoccupation is much more than a blockade.

- but We are Deluding Ourselves that We are Not

By Robert Burrowes - January 17, 2019

It is easy to identify the ongoing and endless violence being inflicted on life on Earth. This ranges from the vast multiplicity of assaults inflicted on our children and the biosphere to the endless wars and other military violence as well as the grotesque exploitation of many peoples living in Africa, Asia and Central/South America. But for a (very incomplete) list of 40 points see ‘Reflections on 2018, Forecasting 2019’.

However, despite the obvious fact that it is human beings who are inflicting all of this violence, it is virtually impossible to get people to pay attention to this simple and incontrovertible fact and to ask why, precisely, are human beings behaving in such violent and destructive ways? And can we effectively address this cause?

Of course, one part of this problem is the existence of many competing ideas about what causes violence. For example, some ideologies attribute the cause to a particular structural manifestation of violence, such as patriarchy (which generates a gendered system of violence and exploitation) or capitalism (which generates a class system of violence and exploitation). However, none of these ideologies explains why humans participate in structures of violence and exploitation in the first place. Surely a person who was not violent and exploitative to begin with would reject such violent and exploitative structures out of hand and work to create nonviolent and egalitarian structures instead.

Hero Patrice Lumumba - His last photo mid December 1960 on a truck from Elizabethville. Credit:Horst Faas/AP

Present elections obviously not clean, Internet cut countrywide, governmental forces and militias on the loose, while the majority of the people live in abhorrent poverty and the genocide against minorities continues; Ebola outbreak not contained, but the international offtake in gold, diamonds, coltan, timber etc. soars.

Though "independent" for now almost 60 years the Congo is still held in turmoil to be exploited by foreign interests.

At least seventy armed groups are believed to be currently operating in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in addition to the de-stabilizing presence of nineteen thousand UN peacekeepers.

The chilling details of Patrice Lumumba’s assassination and how he was dissolved in acid

By Ismail Akwei, F2F-Africa - January 17, 2019

Since January 17, 1961, no one has been held accountable for the brutal murder of Congo’s independence leader and first prime minister Patrice Lumumba who was shot dead with two of his ministers, Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo.

China Takes Over Zambia’s Airport, National Broadcasting Cooperation And ZESCO Power Plant

A Design of the new to built Kenneth Kaunda Airport in Zambia

By greenworldwarriors - 17 January 2019

In a new tweet the Chinese Exim Bank clarifies that the bank now has full control over Kenneth Kaunda Airport, Zambia’s main broadcast cooperation and the ZESCO Power plant.

These Chinese take-overs are a result of the total loans that Zambia are granted by China. In the image below the total amount loans of the African country are listed. The bank says to recover the loans by all means.

Total loans that Zambia are granted by China

Copperbelt C400 Roads418 million dollar (2015)

Chipata – Serenje Railway line2,3 billion dollar (2017)

Mongu – Kalabo Road287 million dollar (2011)

2.000 Military houses157 million dollar (2017)

Mansa – Luwingu Road242 million dollar (2012)

Amnesty International’s Troubling Collaboration with UK & US Intelligence

Peter Benenson, left, with George Ivan Smith at a 1966 Nordic Africa Institute Seminar. Uppsala-Bild | Creative Commons

Some troubling connections contradict Amnesty’s image as a benevolent defender of human rights and reveal key figures at the organization during its early years to be less concerned with human dignity and more concerned with the dignity of the US and UK’s image in the world.

Udate 24. 01. 2018: Since "the Crocodile" has returned from his money-begging trip, the brutality of "sescurity"-forces has only increased. UN demands that the extrajudiial killlings stop and that the internet is opened immediately.

- Civil uprising brutally squashed by Zimbabwe Army, internet cut

Zim protesters demand that the Crocodile steps down

Zimbabwe has blocked Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp messaging app amid a crackdown on days of violent protests.

A coalition of local human rights groups says at least 12 people have been killed and many more beaten and tortured by security forces this week.

The UN has called on the government to halt the "excessive use of force" by security forces including firing live ammunition, and allegations of night-time door-to-door searches and beatings.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said it had recorded at least 844 human rights violations in all and accused the authorities of cutting off the internet "to mask the massive human rights violations".

Opinion and Open Letter By Olinda Chapel-Nkomo - B24 - 16 Jan 2019
 
I am extremely confused Mr President. Who is your latest post meant to benefit? You have blocked the internet for all Zimbabweans and therefore they can't see this. Is this "optics" for the international community ?