Whistleblowers face reprisals for speaking up, while corruption persists

Gratien Zimy Ntezimisi, a refugee whistleblower, outside UNHCR's headquarters in Kampala, Uganda, in January. Sally Hayden
A seven-month investigation found reports of U.N. staff members exploiting refugees desperate for a safe home in a new country.
 
This is the second story in a three-part series 'ASYLUM FOR SALE' about alleged corruption in refugee resettlement. Click here to read the first report and here to read the third.
 

In some of the world's most desperate places, UN caseworkers are demanding bribes from refugees.

Fraud and corruption are endemic, and those who speak out are punished.

A woman throws stones at the welcome sign for the UNHCR refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Sally Hayden Ed.: "STONING THE DEVIL" is a culturally as well as religiously deeply routed tradition of many ethnicities.
A seven-month investigation found reports of U.N. staff members exploiting refugees desperate for a safe home in a new country.
 

Bull elephants – their importance as individuals in elephant societies

Elephant bull, Botswana - Image source: Dr. Kate Evans, Elephants for Africa

By Dr. Kate Evans, Elephants for Africa - April 5, 2019

It has long been recognised that older female elephants are pivotal to elephant ecology and herd survival (McComb et al. 2011; Foley et al. 2008; Moss et al. 2011), but what of older males?

Longevity in males is associated with size (the older the bull the taller he is), dominance, prolonged musth periods and reproductive success (Hollister-Smith et al. 2007). Until recently, the social life of bulls has drawn less interest from researchers and tourists alike, being viewed as solitary when not having random associations with other bulls or joining female herds for mating opportunities.

The realisation of the importance of the social ecology of male elephants and the role of older males in their society came at a huge cost when wildlife areas in South Africa, that had introduced young Kruger cull orphans without the social structure of older individuals, lost an incredible amount of rhino due to male adolescent elephant attacks. These young males were hitting puberty and immediately going into musth (a condition not normally experienced until a male elephant is in this mid to late twenties) as there were no older bulls to suppress it.

Coming into premature musth, they sought out reproduction opportunities, and when the young female elephants showed no interest they turned their attention to rhinos; these unusual interactions turned aggressive which often resulted in the death of the rhino. The introduction of older bulls into these areas soon put a stop to most of this ‘delinquent’ behaviour (Slotow et al. 2000; Slotow & van Dyk 2001).

This period of adolescence is one of huge change for young males, hitting puberty at the average age of 14 years (Short, Mann & Hay 1967; Lee 1986) and becoming independent of their herd by their early twenties (Poole 1989). It is a time of transition for bulls from leaving their herd to joining bull society.

Not only are they leaving their natal herd, but they are also leaving their natal area (Moss 1988), and so the knowledge of where to go for food and water – which they will have learned during their time with their herd – will be of limited use to them as they explore new areas.

How best do you learn where resources are in these new areas? Perhaps the easiest way to learn is from those that have thrived there – the larger, and therefore older, bulls that show by their physical presence that they know where good resources are.

Elephants at the Boteti River, Botwana - Image source: Dr. Kate Evans, Elephants for Africa

Our studies on male elephants in the Okavango Delta and subsequently the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana has shown that male elephants are selective of who they spend time with, choosing to be in groups with males of a similar age (Evans & Harris 2008) which, when you are trying to assert yourself in your new social network, would be the best place to be as these are the individuals with whom you want to establish the social hierarchy.

Not only do they choose which age groups to hang out with they are also selective of the individual they spend time with, forming bonds with particular individuals (Pitfield 2017). However, when we looked at who their nearest neighbours were when in all male groups, we found that males of all ages prefer to be closest to those in the older age classification (>36 years of age) – those that are often referred to as past their reproductive prime and surplus to the biological needs of the population.

Our research in the Okavango Delta was focused in a bull area, with the majority of sightings being of males and a healthy population of older individuals. However, this changed over time with the western Delta becoming wetter from 2008 onwards, with more permanent water resources becoming available and an increase in females. We then started seeing less of the older males and wondered where they were going.

Males are often referred to as higher risk takers and more exploratory and thus it is no surprise that it is the males that are leading the way of the expansion of the Botswana elephants into historical rangelands.

At the same time we noticed the large bulls were frequenting our study area in the western Delta less, and reports were coming to us about large aggregations of males in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, south of the Delta.

In 2012 we moved to this area to retain our focus on bull elephant ecology in a bull area – to further our understanding of bull social ecology and the role of bull areas and to address the increasing issue of human-elephant competition in the area.

In 2009, the Boteti River started to flow again after a hiatus of some 18 years, this vital resource of water drew in elephants and other wildlife, alongside the human population. Whilst an obvious important physical resource for elephants, it soon became apparent that it serves as an important social resource, with male elephants spending a lot of time here interacting with other males (not just drinking and bathing), with aggregations of 100 males not an uncommon sighting.

Elephant crossing over fence
Elephant crossing over fence - © Jess Isden

Here the majority of our sightings are of male elephants (98% of all sightings) and again we are seeing that the older bulls are playing an important role in bull society. It may well be that these large numbers at the river give them an opportunity to select who to hang out with. Given the close proximity to community lands, and the predominance of older bulls raiding the crops (Stevens 2018), it may also be that younger bulls are learning the value of human habitation to their dietary requirements by spending time with these older males.

The management and conservation of elephants is always a hot topic of debate, from the affects of large offtake due to poaching and or management strategies, which individuals to hunt and who to translocate. Historically these decisions has been based purely on numbers with herd integrity being taken into account in later years.

As we learn more about the social requirements of male elephants, we must consider these in the management and conservation decisions we make; the importance of older individual to a ‘normal’ society and the importance of bonds in the stability of populations.


Referenes

• Evans, K. & Harris, S. (2008). Adolescence in male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and the importance of sociality. 76, 779-787
• Foley, C., Pettorelli, N, & Foley, L. (2008) Severe drought and calf survival in elephants. Biology Letters 4(5) 541-544
• Hollister-Smith, J., Poole, J.H., Archie, E.A., Vance, E.A., Georgiadis, N.J., Moss, C.J. & Alberts, S.C. (2007). Age, musth and paternity success in wild male elephants, Loxodonta africana. Animal Behaviour, 74, 287-296
• Lee, P.C. (1986) Early social development among African elephant calves. National Geographic Research, 2, 388-401.
• McComb, K., Moss, C., Durant, S.M., Baker, L. & Sayialel, S. (2001) Matriarchs as repositories of social knowledge in African elephants. Science, 292, 491-494.
• Moss, C. (1988) Elephant Memories. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
• Moss, C. J., Harvey C., & Lee, P.C. eds. (2011) The Amboseli elephants: a long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal. University of Chicago Press 
• Pitfield, A.R. (2017) The social and environmental factors affecting the life of bull African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in a ‘bull area’ – a social network analysis. MSc Thesis. University of Bristol. pp87
• Poole, J.H. (1989) Announcing intent: the aggressive state of musth in African elephants. Animal Behaviour, 37, 140-152.
• Short, R.V., Mann, T. & Hay, M.F. (1967) Male reproductive organs of the African elephant. Journal of Reproductive Fertility, 13, 517-536.
• Slotow, R. & Van Dyk, G. (2001) Role of delinquent young “orphan” male elephants in high mortality of white rhinoceros in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa. Koedoe, 44, 85-94.
• Slotow, R., Balfour, D. & Howison, O. (2001) Killing of black and white rhinoceroses by African elephants in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, South Africa. Pachyderm, 31, 14-20.
• Stevens, J. (2018) Understanding human-elephant interactions in and around Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana. PhD Thesis, University of Bristol. pp243

 

Belgium's Royal Museum for Central Africa. In February UN experts said racial discrimination was "endemic" in the country © Reuters

Belgium sorry for mixed-race kidnappings

By  bbc.com - 04 april  2019
 

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has apologised for the kidnapping of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during the colonial rule of Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.

The "métis" children born to Belgian settlers and local women were forcibly taken to Belgium and fostered by Catholic orders and other institutions.

About 20,000 children are believed to have been affected.

Most fathers refused to acknowledge paternity of their children.

Some of the children, born in the 1940s and 1950s, never received Belgian nationality and remained stateless.

The scandal of calling plantations ‘forest restoration’ is putting climate targets at risk

Mono-species plantations like all monocultures are NOT the solution. Solution here is that newly restored natural forests need protecting in order to protect the climate benefits they provide. - picture: Jen Watson / shutterstock

By  and  (*)  -

As trees grow they remove carbon from the atmosphere. New forests can therefore play an important role in meeting the goal of keeping Earth’s temperature to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels.

Governments and wider civil society are increasingly recognising these benefits. One important step was the 2011 launch of the Bonn Challenge to restore 350m hectares of forest by 2030. This is a major undertaking – the area is a little larger than the size of India.

Spurred by the necessities of drastically cutting emissions and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to meet climate targets, many countries, including Brazil, India and China, have committed large areas to forest restoration. Adding up the Bonn Challenge and other national pledges from 43 countries across the tropics and sub-tropics – where trees grow fast – reveals that these governments have pledged to restore 292m hectares of degraded lands.

This very welcome news is, unfortunately, not all that is seems. Our new analysis, published in Nature, shows that implementing the current pledges under the Bonn Challenge will mean the 1.5℃ climate goal is still missed.

Brussels Becomes First Major City to Halt 5G Due to Health Effects

By Josh del Sol Beaulieu (*) - 2. April 2019
 

Great news. A Belgian government minister has announced that Brussels is halting its 5G plans due to health effects.

     Regional Minister Celine Fremault

The statement was made by Céline Fremault, the Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Housing, Quality of Life, Environment and Energy. From an interview last Friday, with L’Echo:

“I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not. The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.”

– Céline Fremault, Minister of the Government (Brussels-Captial Region), responsible for Housing, Quality of Life, Environment and Energy

Human Rights Defenders Need to be Defended as Much as they Defend our Rights

USA and Canada or Brazil are omitted from this fake map??? Individuals in governments of these countries have to also be held accountable for the worst atrocities committed against human rights defenders - assassinations and murders.
 

GENEVA, April 2019 (IPS) - They are ordinary people – mothers, fathers, sisters, sons, daughters, brothers, friends. But for me they are extraordinary people – the ones who have the courage to stand up for everyone else’s rights.

They are the human rights defenders.

Last year, according to reliable sources, 321 of them were killed, in 27 countries. Their murders were directly caused by the work they do to ensure the rest of us enjoy the rights we claim as purely because we are human.

Countless others were tortured, raped and threatened, also for the work they do protecting their, and others’ human rights.

In fact, 2018 was deadliest year for human rights defenders since the UN began monitoring the challenges they face through the establishment of a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

It shouldn’t be like this.

Bayer (Monsanto) Loses Billions As Another Jury Determines Roundup Herbicide Causes Cancer

BAYER-Monsanto should finally take RoundUp off the shelves even in those countries where they had bribed governments to allow it in the first place.

ByCE Staff Writer

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Another jury has determined that Roundup herbicide causes cancer. It's the second case to make headlines, and there are currently thousands of pending cases against the agrochemical giant, Bayer, who recently acquired Monsanto.

  • Reflect On:

    With so much science emerging over the past several decades showing how detrimental this product is to human health and the environment, why has it been approved? Why is it legal? Why do we buy it?

DRUGS & ROCKnROLL AT THE HELM OF SOUTH AMERICA

(Constantly updated - Refresh your Browser!) No time to read and study in order to understand or to find an answer to the question: Why does the USA want to impose their kind of "democrazy" on Venezuela? - JUST WATCH 2:40 Minute CLIP

For earlier upates go to THE VENEZUELA FILES I

For later updates go to and THE VENEZUELA FILES IV

LISTEN WHILE READING: They Don't Care About Us !

President Madura announced a 30-day power rationing scheme to rebuild the power-grid damaged by sabotage.

Update SUN, 31. March 2019 (vf): The Venezuelan government announced Sunday that school activities will be suspended for a longer period of time across the country as a result of the recent attacks against the electric system that have caused another blackout. The Minister of Communications Jorge Rodríguez read a communique saying the government also established a half working day in all private and public institutions of the country, meaning that a work day would start with first daylight and finish at 2 p.m. local time. "The terrorist attacks, carried out by criminal hands who had announced their purpose in a bold way in various public alloctions, have produced considerable damage in the Transmission sector of the Hydroelectrtic Plant of Simon Bolivar in Guri," he added. The statement also said that the attacks had "caused significant levels of destruction of equipment and interupting processes required for the constant functioning of the service." "The Bolivarian Government managed to re-instore the service almost entirely in the past after similar attacks and will not rest until reaching a definitive balance so such an important service can be provided again."

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is under siege by imperialist policies implemented by the U.S.A. that also forced some U.S. allies and vassals to follow.

Go To HELL

REMEMBER: ... shortly before his untimely death, which he blamed on disabling agents,

| sent a message to the , that is relevant now more than ever.

MUST WATCH

duration 1:49

UPDATE: 27. April 2019: Polly Higgins passed over. RIP - we will fight on!

The destruction of Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted

Illustration by Eva Bee
STOP Ecocide - Illustration by Eva Bee
 
Why do we wait until someone has passed away before we honour them? I believe we should overcome our embarrassment, and say it while they are with us. In this spirit, I want to tell you about the world-changing work of Polly Higgins.
 

She is a barrister who has devoted her life to creating an international crime of ecocide. This means serious damage to, or destruction of, the natural world and the Earth’s systems. It would make the people who commission it – such as chief executives and government ministers – criminally liable for the harm they do to others, while creating a legal duty of care for life on Earth.

France shaken after record 1,100 dead dolphins wash up on the country’s Atlantic coast

CECILE DARS, OBSERVATOIRE PELAGIS/CNRS/UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE VIA AP / MARCH 7

INTERNATIONAL ALERT UPDATE: 11.04.19 / 16H00 UTC - Julian Assange was brought to Westminster Magistrate court and is now held in remand prison of "Her Majesty" awaiting trials for skipping bail and an extradition request by the USA. Hearings 02. and 12. May 2019.

INTERNATIONAL ALERT UPDATE: 11.04.19 / 10H00 UTC - The worst fears came true, when the doors of the Ecuadorian embassy in London were opened to British undercover police and Julian Assange was dragged by force of 6 men out of the embassy to then be bundeld into a police van from where he shouted: "RESIST!"

ALERT UPDATE: 04.04.19 - BREAKING: A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told that Julian Assange will be expelled within "hours to days" using the offshore scandal as a pretext--and that Lenin Moreno, who is under investigation for corruption, already has an agreement with the UK for Assange's arrest. Activists mobilized. Fidel Narváez, who was Ecuador’s consul to London until 2018, bluntly warns that “the government seeks a false pretext to end the asylum and protection of Julian Assange.” Narváez wrote that Moreno is using the offshore scandal as a pretext to “yield to US pressure”. However, an unnamed "senior Ecuadorian official" told Associated Press (AP) no decision has been made to expel Julian Assange from the country's London embassy despite tweets from WikiLeaks that sources told it he could be kicked out within "hours to days." Whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been re-jailed to coerce her into a secret interrogation. Edward Snowden remains in exile. Those responsible in the USA have not yet been punished for their revealed war-crimes and crimes against humanity. WATCH> 24/7 LIVESTREAM ON THE EMBASSY ENTRANCE

CHECK at least once a day: LIVE from Ecuadorian Embassy in London amid reports of Assange's asylum withdrawal

US-journalist confronts sickening UK Undercover Police MUST WATCH

Rendition Plane, Increased Police Presence Raise Fears for Assange

Infamous U.S.American rendition plane N966GA spotted in London

A mysterious flight of a U.S. rendition plane to London and increase of plainclothes British police outside the Ecuador embassy has heightened concern for the WikiLeaks founder, as Elizabeth Vos reports.

By Elizabeth Vos - CN - March 24, 2019

In four days, it will be a full year since WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was severed from contact with the outside world by the government of Ecuador. 

Concern for Assange was heightened as the anniversary approaches after a U.S. Department of Justice jet previously used for the rendition of an accused Russian hacker landed in London on Tuesday and remained there for days, only to return to the U.S. on Saturday. The flight reportedly departed from Manassas, Virginia. 

RESIST wherever you still can!

5G Exposed: A Must-See Documentary on this Wireless ‘Experiment on Humanity’

This new documentary by Sacha Stone investigates the science (and lack thereof) behind the effect of wireless technology on the human population – especially children. Exposing the industry bias and aversion to the overwhelmingly strong evidence that 5g is not just harmful, but a genuine threat to Humanity and all biological life.

Watch this extremely important

5G Documentary Here: !

Fukushima: “An Ongoing Global Radiological Catastrophe”. “A Huge Coverup”.

Fukushima the epicentre of global nuclear contamination.

Transcript of 8th anniversary interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott

 
The eight year anniversary of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility passed mostly without comment in mainstream media circles. In spite of ongoing radiological contamination that will continue to spread and threaten human health for lifetimes to come, other stories dominate the international news cycle. The climate change conundrum, serious though it may be, seemingly crowds out all other clear and present environmental hazards.

As part of efforts to normalize this historic event and cover it up in its magnitude, the Japanese government has invested considerable financial, public relations and other resources into what they are billing the ‘Recovery Olympics‘ set to take place in a year’s time in Tokyo. But Helen Caldicott warns that the dangers associated with Fukushima have not gone away and remain a cause for concern. 

On the week marking the eighth anniversary of the Fukushima meltdowns, the Global Research News Hour radio program, hosted by Michael Welch, reached out to Dr. Caldicott to get her expert opinion on the health dangers posed by the most serious nuclear disaster since, at least, the 1986 Chernobyl event.

12 facts that show why bottled water is one of the biggest scams of the century

Hiker drinking bottled water in desert
Tell your friends
 
  • Nearly 780 million people worldwide do not have access to a source of clean water (water that flows through a household connection, borehole, well, or protected spring).
  • In the US, 99.2% of the country has access to clean tap water , but many Americans chose to drink bottled water instead due to concerns about poor taste and contamination .
  • Bottled water and clean tap water are virtually identical in terms of purity and taste. In a 2011 study , only one-third of blind taste-testers could correctly identify tap versus bottled water.
  • Unlike tap water, however, producing bottled water is an expensive, resource-heavy process that requires crude oil and extra water.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of a pure, ice-cold drink of water.

While some Americans get water from the tap, the rest pay for the bottled variety at a cost of $100 billion a year.

The average cost of a gallons worth of single-serve bottled water in the US is nearly $9.50, according to FoodandWaterWatch . That's nearly three times more expensive than the average price for a gallon of milk , and almost four times the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline . Bottled water costs nearly 2,000 times more than tap water, which costs less than a cent per gallon.

Many people assume that the higher price tag is justified by the health benefits of bottled water, but in most cases, that's not true.

Update 10 April 2019: According to an official statement from the office of President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, bilateral negotiations are “moving forward” with both the Bribri and Teribe Indigenous groups of Puntarenas in southern Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s deputy minister stressed the commitment of the government to comply with precautionary measures established by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and "to continue in a constructive process of dialogue and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples within the framework of the Inter-American Human Rights System. Rojas was one of the beneficiaries of the IACHR’s precautionary measure. Following the brutal murder of Rojas, the United Nations Human Rights Commission had urged the authorities to take the necessary action to resolve the killing of the social activist as well as guarantee the protection of the people of Salitre.  

Right Groups, Activists Demand Justice for Slain Costa Rican Indigenous Leader

People demanding justice for Sergio Rojas, the murdered Indigenous leader from Costa Rica.
Sergio Rojas, the murdered Indigenous leader from Costa Rica. | Photo: Twitter / @BHRRC

By TS - 20 March 2019

People are demanding justice for murdered Indigenous leader from Costa Rica.

Various rights organizations are demanding justice for the murdered Costa Rican Indigenous activist who was shot dead Monday. From political parties, the Ombudsman's Office, students, to the presidency of the National Institute of Women are demanding a prompt investigation of the murder of Sergio Rojas, the Bribri leader.

Indigenous land rights defender Sergio Rojas was assassinated by armed gunmen who shot the activist as many as 15 times at around 11:45 pm local time in his home, according to his neighbors, in southern Costa Rica.

May 2019
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