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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Aerial fumigation causing more harm than good in Latin America

In Environment, Global Issues, Human Rights on January 13, 2011 at 2:26 am

While listening to Philip Borges’ talk on TED.com last night, one of the things he said really stuck with me. He talked about one of the tribes he photographed, who had been forced to move three times in 10 years because of aerial fumigation in their area. This forced me to think why we were resorting to such primitive measures in Latin America, of course with ridiculous mental images of Agent Orange and other chemicals back in the Vietnam days. So I decided to find out more about this phenomenon.

 

Latin America, as it is well-known, is the hub for most of the world’s cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs. Colombia alone is the source of over 90 percent of the cocaine entering the United States. Countries like Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia are the main allies of the US, implementing its drug policies to stop the influx of these drugs into US soil. The numbers are shocking: over 750 tonnes of cocaine are shipped annually from the Andes worldwide in this multi-million dollar industry, and these amounts of production are consistently increasing. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st World Trash, 3rd World Victims

In Development, Environment, Global Issues on December 29, 2010 at 3:44 am

How does American waste end up in a toxic dump in Nairobi, Kenya?

With another decade coming to an end, I decided to finally sell my first laptop by the end of this month. While trying to figure out how best to get rid of it, I came across this somewhat-horrifying picture of this toxic garbage dump in Nairobi, Kenya. This led me to wonder, “Exactly HOW would my laptop, of all things, end up thousands of miles away in a dump like this one?” A little bit of research yielded the true story behind how far our trash actually travels. Read the rest of this entry »

What Wikileaks reveals about Abuse of Power and Bacha Bazi

In Development, Human Rights on December 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

While browsing around Tumblr, I came across a story that caught me by surprise: a headline that said “Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops”. My first reaction was “Surley not!”, but with further research, I came across more and more details that had surfaced through Wikileaks cables about a shocking issue with DynCorp’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Mr. Atmar, Wikileaks reveals, encouraged hushing of DynCorp's atrocities in Afghanistan.

A little background on the situation first. DynCorp, a defense company based in DC, is currently contracted by the US government to train soldiers in Afghanistan. In June 24, 2009’s cable between Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and US assistant ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, a party, PARTIALLY thrown by DynCorp, is discussed. Some extracts from the cable:

On the Kunduz Regional Training Center (RTC) DynCorp event of April 11 (reftel), Atmar reiterated his insistence that the U.S. try to quash any news article on the incident or circulation of a video connected with it. He continued to predict that publicity would “endanger lives.” He disclosed that he has arrested two Afghan police and nine other Afghans as part of an MoI investigation into Afghans who facilitated this crime of “purchasing a service from a child.”

Atmar said he insisted the journalist be told that publication would endanger lives. His request was that the U.S. quash the article and release of the video. Amb Mussomeli responded that going to the journalist would give her the sense that there is a more terrible story to report. Atmar then disclosed the arrest of two Afghan National Police (ANP) and nine other Afghans (including RTC language assistants) as part of an MoI investigation into Afghan “facilitators” of the event. The crime he was pursuing was “purchasing a service from a child,” which in Afghanistan is illegal under both Sharia law and the civil code, and against the ANP Code of Conduct for police officers who might be involved. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the cost of natural disaster?

In Development, Environment on December 16, 2010 at 5:33 am

Over 260,000 people died in 2010 due to natural disasters, and according to recent analyses, this has cost us all about $222 billion dollars. Most of the devastation occurred in Pakistan and Haiti, and were caused by climate-change related factors.

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