Posts Tagged ‘Togo’

Österreich: Let’s ban the bombs!

Donnerstag, Dezember 11th, 2014

“Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons

Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons
Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015

December 9, 2014

After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which it committed to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and pledged “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

“All states committed to nuclear disarmament must join the Austrian pledge to work towards a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

“Next year is the 70 year anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that will be a fitting time for negotiations to start on a treaty banning nuclear weapons”, Fihn added.

States that expressed support for a ban treaty at the Vienna Conference include: Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

These announcements were given at a two-day international conference convened in Vienna to examine the consequences of nuclear weapon use, whether intentional or accidental.

Survivors of the nuclear bombings in Japan and of nuclear testing in Australia, Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands, and the United States, gave powerful testimonies of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. Their evidence complemented other presentations presenting data and research.

“The consequences of any nuclear weapon use would be devastating, long-lasting, and unacceptable. Governments simply cannot listen to this evidence and hear these human stories without acting”, said Akira Kawasaki, from Japanese NGO Peaceboat. “The only solution is to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons and we need to start now,” Kawasaki added.

For decades, discussions on nuclear weapons have been dominated by the few nuclear-armed states – states that continue to stockpile and maintain over 16,000 warheads. The humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons has prompted a fundamental change in this conversation, with non-nuclear armed states leading the way in a discussion on the actual effects of the weapons.

Unlike the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological – nuclear weapons are not yet prohibited by an international legal treaty. Discussions in Vienna illustrated that the international community is determined to address this. In a statement to the conference, Pope Francis called for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”.

The host of the previous conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Mexico, called for the commencement of a diplomatic process, and South Africa said it was considering its role in future meetings.

“Anyone in Vienna can tell that something new is happening on nuclear weapons. We have had three conferences examining their humanitarian impact, and now with the Austrian pledge we have everything we need for a diplomatic process to start”, said Thomas Nash of UK NGO Article 36.”


(Quelle: ICAN.)

Global: Die wunderbare Welt des CO2 (Teil 1)

Dienstag, Dezember 4th, 2012


(Tabelle aus: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012, S. 16, 17
Download des o. g. Reports hier.)


(Quelle: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012)

Israel: Aufstandsbekämpfung in… Lateinamerika

Dienstag, Mai 10th, 2011

“WikiLeaks: U.S. saw Israeli firm’s rise in Latin America as a threat

By Tim Johnson

WASHINGTON — A security company led by the former head of operations for the Israeli military made such inroads into Latin America a few years ago that U.S. diplomats saw it as a security risk and moved to thwart the company’s expansion, U.S. diplomatic cables show.

The diplomats’ efforts were made easier when an interpreter for the Israeli firm, Global CST, was caught peddling classified Colombian Defense Ministry documents to Marxist guerrillas seeking to topple the state, one cable said.

Still, the ability of the Israeli security consultancy to obtain contracts in Colombia, Peru and Panama in rapid succession speaks to the prowess of retired Israeli military officers in peddling security know-how amid perceptions that they’d bring better results than official U.S. government assistance.

At one point, Panama’s intelligence chief threatened to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials wouldn’t tap the phones of the president’s political enemies, according to then cables. U.S. officials countered that such an arrangement would threaten all security cooperation with Panama, and the Panamanians backed down.

Colombia was the first Latin nation to sign a contract with Global CST, doing so in late 2006, according to one cable, the same year its founder, Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, retired as head of the operations directorate of the Israel Defense Forces.

Ziv “was a personal acquaintance of then-Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos,” the cable said. Santos is now Colombia’s president.

Ziv’s consulting firm pledged “a strategic assessment” that would devise a plan to defeat “internal terrorist and criminal organizations by 2010,” the cable, sent in late 2009, said. The exercise was named “Strategic Leap.”

“Over a three-year period, Ziv worked his way into the confidence of former Defense Minister Santos by promising a cheaper version of USG (U.S. government) assistance without our strings attached,” the cable said.

Colombia began working with a variety of retired and active duty Israeli officers “with special operations and military intelligence backgrounds,” another cable said. By 2007, 38 percent of Colombia’s foreign defense purchases were going to Israel, it added.

With a foot firmly in the door in Colombia, Ziv roamed the region, going next to Peru, a coca-producing nation that also faced security challenges.

Ziv told Peruvian authorities that Global CST’s had played an advisory role in a spectacular jungle raid on a rebel camp in Colombia a year earlier that freed former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three U.S. military contractors and 11 Colombian police and soldiers. Colombia denies that Global CST played a role in the raid.

The Israeli firm signed a one-year contract worth $9 million to help Peru defeat the Maoist Sendero Luminoso insurgency “once and for all” in that nation’s remote Apurimac and Ene river valleys, according to another U.S. cable.

When Global CST approached Panama’s government about expanding on an initial contract, red flags went up at the U.S. Embassy there.

In early 2010, an Embassy cable to Washington said Panama had already paid Global CST for a small security study but the nation’s intelligence chief, Olmedo Alfaro, was threatening to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials would not tap the phones of the president’s political enemies.

“Alfaro is increasingly open about his agenda to replace U.S. law enforcement and security support with Israelis and others,” the cable said, adding that the move “bodes ill” for quelling narcotics activity and crime in Panama.

U.S. officials told the Panamanians that they would limit security cooperation and intelligence sharing if private consultants from a third nation were involved.

“In a meeting with then-U.S. Ambassador to Panama Barbara Stephenson, Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela said that the government “would not let Israeli influence damage the U.S.-Panama relationship,” a cable said.

President Ricardo Martinelli “was similarly taken aback, and emphasized that he did not want to endanger relations with the USG, saying ‘We don’t want to change friends,'” the cable said.

Adding to the pressure on Panama was news that Colombia’s relations with Global CST had soured. In a meeting in late 2009 with the then-U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, national police chief Oscar Naranjo complained that the company had turned out to be a “disaster,” a cable said.

The same cable reported that then-Defense Minister Gabriel Silva overruled a planned Colombian army purchase of Israeli-made Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles, in part because of the nation’s “mixed” experience with Global CST.

Silva is now Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. His office didn’t respond to several written and telephone messages for comment.

Colombia’s souring on the Israeli firm was partly because of U.S. rules that barred intelligence sharing, but also because Colombian police told them in February 2008 “that a Global CST interpreter, Argentine-born Israeli national Shai Killman, had made copies of classified Colombian Defense Ministry documents in an unsuccessful attempt to sell them to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) through contacts in Ecuador and Argentina,” the cable said.

The pilfered documents allegedly contained information about top criminals the Colombians were targeting, the cable said.

“Ziv denied this attempt and sent Killman back to Israel,” it added.

In early April, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reached Killman and reported that he said he “was being ‘slandered’ and no such incident ever took place.”

The cable went on to say that Ziv’s proposals for Colombia “seem designed more to support Israeli equipment and services sales than to meet in-country needs.” It added that Colombia realized that “their deals are not as good as advertised.”

It wasn’t just in Latin America where Ziv and his company pledged quick fix-its for acute security problems. The company, based in a city east of Tel Aviv, would also work in Togo, Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria, as well as in Eastern Europe. Last year, the Israeli government fined Global CST for negotiating to sell weapons and military training to Guinea’s military junta.


(Quelle: McClatchy Newspapers.)

Siehe auch:

The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in Reagan Era

Global: Konstante Zahlen – Binnenvertriebene…

Mittwoch, Juli 21st, 2010

Photo: UN

Das Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) des Norwegian Refugee Councils hat eine tabellarische Übersicht über die geschätzte Zahl der Binnenvertriebenen in den vergangenen zehn Jahren in allen Ländern, die sie überwacht, zusammengestellt.

Die Zahlen aus den Jahren 2001 bis 2009 zeigen, wie viele Menschen intern durch Konflikte, allgemeine Gewalt oder Menschenrechtsverletzungen vertrieben wurden.

Die entsprechende Übersicht finden Sie hier.

Global: (Be-)Merkenswerte Gesundheitsstatistik

Mittwoch, Juli 14th, 2010

GLOBAL: Ten eyebrow-raising health stats

Photo: Tugela Ridley/IRIN
Where are the world’s youngest mothers?

DAKAR, 14 July 2010 (IRIN) – Pause for thought: IRIN has trawled the 2010 World Health Statistics report to bring you 10 fascinating facts on global health.

Not the spreadable kind: In 43 low-income countries 40 percent more people had non-communicable diseases – including diabetes, heart disease and stroke – than infectious illnesses in 2004. Non-infectious diseases killed 33 million worldwide in 2004.

Sleepless in Swaziland: No under-five children slept under insecticide-treated bed nets to ward off malarial mosquitoes in Swaziland, whereas in Madagascar 60 percent of children did so, according to the countries’ most recent surveys conducted since 2000.

Midwifery in Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan is the only low-income country in the past decade to boast coverage of nurses and midwives similar to that in high-income countries – 108 nurses and/or midwives per 10,000 residents. Australia (109), Switzerland (110), Luxembourg (104) and Canada’s (100) are comparable.

Oil-rich, but doctor-poor: Equatorial Guinea, which in 2009 had the world’s 64th highest per capita income, and the highest in sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank), had the same number of doctors per 10,000 residents (3) as did Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Namibia, Togo, Sudan, Yemen and the Pacific islands of Samoa and Tonga.

Protected in the Pacific: Fewer than a quarter of women in Africa reported using contraception, while over 80 percent of women in the region WHO classifies as western Pacific used it. Chad had the world’s lowest contraceptive use at 2.8 percent.

Choking on fumes: Of the 20 countries worldwide where more than 95 percent of those surveyed reported using solid fuels (wood, coal, charcoal, crops) for indoor cooking – associated with higher rates of fatal respiratory diseases like pneumonia – six are in West Africa (not counting Benin, Gambia and Chad, which come within points of the highest threshold.)

Photo: Rodrigo A. Nguema/IRIN
Petrol dollars have not made it to parts of Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo (file photo)

Measles: While 76 percent of one-year-olds in Africa on average were immunized against measles in 2008 versus 58 percent in 1990, these rates were 24 and 51 percent, respectively, in Somalia and Equatorial Guinea in 2008.

Slow on sanitation: Thirty percent of people in Africa used “improved sanitation facilities” – including a composting or flushing toilet, piped sewer systems, septic tanks, or latrines with open ventilation or concrete slabs – in 1990. Eighteen years later, the statistical equivalent of less than half an additional person joined them.

Under-weight children: Some four out of 10 under-five children are considered underweight in Niger, India and Yemen.

Youngest mothers: Almost two out of 10 girls aged 15-19 in Niger have given birth, followed by Afghanistan (1.5) and Bangladesh (1.3).


(Quelle: IRIN News.)


Siehe auch:

GLOBAL: Poll ranks AIDS as top health issue
GLOBAL: Health lessons from four big earthquakes

Afrika: Local rice is nice

Mittwoch, Mai 26th, 2010

“AFRICA: Local rice is nice

ADDIS ABABA, 21 May 2010 (IRIN) – “Local is best” for Africa, said a leading rice research centre as it announced on 21 May that it would focus on improving an indigenous species more than 3,500 years old to feed the continent’s rice consumers.

The Oryza glaberrima rice species, found only in Africa, was better suited to the continent’s hostile growing conditions than the Asian species, Oryza sativa, the only other species to adapt to Africa, said AfricaRice, a Benin-based intergovernmental research organization, also known as Africa Rice Centre.

“The growing conditions will become even more harsh as the impact of climate change unfolds, and the Oryza glaberrima is highly adaptable,” said Koichi Futakuchi, an eco-physiologist at AfricaRice, one of two researchers developing the African species.

The decision to focus on Oryza glaberrima is quite significant, as AfricaRice has devoted the last decade to developing a new variety of rice called NERICA – an acronym for New Rice for Africa – from cross-breeding the African and Asian types.

Our research shows that … the African rice species is able to compete better with weeds, infertile soils, even with toxic levels of iron,” said Futakuchi.

Our research shows that … the African rice species is able to compete better with weeds, infertile soils, even with toxic levels of ironNERICA has had a fair amount of success – more than 80 NERICA varieties that could thrive in rain-fed conditions have been developed and adopted by farmers in about 20 African countries. The best NERICA varieties combine the stress tolerance of O. glaberrima with the high yield potential of O. sativa.

“African rice was initially ignored by mainstream research,” said Futakuchi. “Later, when scientists realized that it had valuable characteristics, they began using it as a source for desirable traits to improve the higher-yielding Asian rice.”

Although varieties of the African rice are still grown in small pockets on the continent, the species was abandoned by most African farmers, who preferred to grow varieties of Asian rice brought in by traders about 450 years ago, bringing the African species to the brink of extinction.

“But now, for the first time, we’re reversing the gene flow, extracting desirable traits from the Asian rice and transferring them into the African rice,” Futakuchi said.

Tewolde Egziabher, head of Ethiopia’s Environment Protection Authority and a global campaigner for protecting biodiversity, welcomed the initiative on the occasion of  the International Day for Biological Diversity, saying: “It makes sense to start with work on the local [species], which are already adapted to local conditions.” The introduction of foreign species was only justified if work on local species had been exhausted, without result.

In a paper by AfricaRice, Futakuchi”s collaborator, Yoboué N’Guessan, cited two reasons for devoting attention to the African species: “I liked the taste so much that I didn’t wait for the sauce! The second was, during trips I took to collect various rice varieties from farmers” fields in 1982, farmers told me, “glaberrima is farmers’ rice, sativa is for office workers”.”

The African species still has problematic traits that reduce yields: the plants tend to fall over when the grain is ripe – known as lodging – and also suffer from shattering, or shedding ripe grain.

In 2009 AfricaRice began work on its entire O. glaberrima collection of 2,500 samples, which are being screened for major diseases and environmental stresses such as acidity, iron toxicity, cold, and salinity.

“I think it will take at least five years to have a line [of the rice variety] ready,” said Futakuchi. There is a tremendous need to boost production, as Africa currently imports 40 percent of its rice needs – at an estimated US$3.6 billion in 2008 – leaving most of the main rice-consuming countries with big import bills.

Rice production in sub-Saharan Africa increased by between 16 and 18 percent in 2008, and a further 4.5 percent in 2009, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). During the food crisis in 2007/08, rice production rose by 44 percent across the Sahel, and by a huge 241 percent in Burkina Faso.

The NERICA varieties led a boom in West African countries like Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali and Togo, but AfricaRice noted that in the five years from 2002 to 2007, Uganda and Ethiopia also reduced their rice imports.”

(Quelle: IRIN News.)