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“Tar sands (also referred to as oil sands) are a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil. Tar sands can be mined and processed to extract the oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into oil. The bitumen in tar sands cannot be pumped from the ground in its natural state; instead tar sand deposits are mined, usually using strip mining or open pit techniques, or the oil is extracted by underground heating with additional upgrading.
Tar sands are mined and processed to generate oil similar to oil pumped from conventional oil wells, but extracting oil from tar sands is more complex than conventional oil recovery. Oil sands recovery processes include extraction and separation systems to separate the bitumen from the clay, sand, and water that make up the tar sands. Bitumen also requires additional upgrading before it can be refined. Because it is so viscous (thick), it also requires dilution with lighter hydrocarbons to make it transportable by pipelines.
“Dozens of men reportedly pelted the 13 year-old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow with rocks in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in Kismayo.
Amnesty International said the Islamic miitia in charge of the city had accused her adultery after she reported that three men had raped her.”
“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire” – Tielhard de Chardin
Guantanamo Bay represents a wide array of human rights violations, including: torture, extraordinary rendition, arbitrary (and therefore illegal) detention, denial of fair trials and the right to challenge detainment (habeas corpus). In the process, Guantanamo Bay deprives individuals of their humanity by subjecting them to cruel and degrading punishment. – Amnesty International.
“The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a controversial United States detention center operated by Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2002 in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The detainment areas consist of three camps in the base: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which has been closed). The facility is often referred to as Guantanamo, or Gitmo (derived from the abbreviation “GTMO”). The detainees currently held as of June 2008 have been classified by the United States as “enemy combatants” After claims were made that these prisoners were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against this interpretation on 29 June 2006. Following this, on July 7, 2006, the Department of Defense issued an internal memo stating that prisoners will in the future be entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.
Since the beginning of the current war in Afghanistan, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 420 of which have been released without charge.
As of May 2008, approximately 270 detainees remain. More than a fifth are cleared for release but may have to wait months or years because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to persuade countries to accept them, according to officials and defense lawyers. Of the roughly 355 still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest.
On February 9, 2008, it was reported that 6 of the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility would be tried for conspiracy in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In May 2008, the Pentagon claimed that 36 former Guantanamo inmates were “confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism”
“Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on the 24th of June and the preceding evening.
European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin and have been superficially Christianised as celebrations of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist as “Saint John’s Eve” festivals. They are particularly important in Northern Europe – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden – but are found also in Ireland, parts of Britain (Cornwall especially), France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, other parts of Europe, and elsewhere – such as Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and even in the Southern Hemisphere (Brazil), where this imported European celebration would be more appropriately called Midwinter.
Midsummer is also sometimes referred to by neo-pagans and others as Litha, stemming from Bede’s De temporum ratione in which he gave the Anglo-Saxon names for the months roughly corresponding to June and July as “se Ærra Liþa” and “se Æfterra Liþa” (the “early Litha month” and the “later Litha month”) with an intercalary month of “Liþa” appearing after se Æfterra Liþa on leap years. The fire festival or Lith- Summer solstice is a tradition for many pagans.
Solstitial celebrations still centre upon 24 June, which is no longer the longest day of the year. The difference between the Julian calendar year (365.2500 days) and the tropical year (365.2422 days) moved the day associated with the actual astronomical solstice forward approximately three days every four centuries, until Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar bringing the solstice to around 21 June. In the Gregorian calendar, the solstice does shift, but in the long term it moves only about one day in 3000 years.”
Aka ‘Daw Suu’, aka ‘The Lady’, aka ‘Aunty’
Aung San Suu Kyi translates to ‘A Bright Collection of Strange Victories’
Last night I attended the Amnesty International Australia (AIA), Victoria dinner held in honour of her birthday, as held annually.
I have only just learned about her through AIA and from what I have heard and can read about her can only hold her in high regard and do my best to both support and herald more support for her as her situation continues.
“Born on 19 June 1945 in Rangoon (now Yangon), Burma (now Myanmar). Her father, Aung San, is Burma’s most respected independence hero. Her mother, Ma Khin Kyi, is a senior nurse at Rangoon general hospital and will become a leading public figure and diplomat.
Background to Burma: The influence of Europe begins to be felt in the Irrawaddy delta in the 16th Century. British intrusion mounts at the start of the 19th Century, culminating in 1886 when Britain takes full control of the country, naming it Burma. The British are temporarily forced out by the Japanese during the Second World War and leave for good in 1948 when Burma is declared independent.
In 1962 the Burmese Government is overthrown in a military coup d’état led by General Ne Win. The coup leaders attempt to create a single-party socialist state but end up ruining the country’s economy. Popular unrest against the military regime grows, coming to a head in 1987-88 when rioting breaks out. The regime responds with force.
In the last four years her movements have still been restricted. While she has had some opportunities to telephone her family in England, she is regularly denounced in the government-controlled media, and there is concern for her personal safety. Efforts to revive any NLD party activities have been balked, and its members have been jailed and physically attacked. In the first months after detention was ended, she was able to speak to large gatherings of supporters outside her home, but this was stopped. Yet her popularity in the country has not diminished.
Internationally her voice has been heard not infrequently. Reporters with cameras and videotape have been able to interview her in person, and telephone interviews with the media outside Burma have also been published. Using video cassettes she has sent out statements, including the keynote address to the NGO Forum at the U.N. International Women’s Conference in Beijing in August 1995.
There have been a number of visitors from abroad, including a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, whom she told that Norway will be the first country she will visit when free to travel. SLORC has changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council, but its repressive policies and violation of human rights continue unabated.
Suu Kyi discourages tourists from visiting Burma and businessmen from investing in the country until it is free. She finds hearing for such pleas among western nations, and the United States has applied economic sanctions against Burma, but Burma’s neighbours follow their policy of not intervening in the internal affairs of other sovereign states, and Burma has been admitted into the Association of South Eastern Asian Nations.
On March 27, 1999, Michael Aris died of prostate cancer in London. He had petitioned the Burmese authorities to allow him to visit Suu Kyi one last time, but they had rejected his request. He had not seen her since a Christmas visit in 1995. The government always urged her to join her family abroad, but she knew that she would not be allowed to return. This separation she regarded as one of the sacrifices she had had to make in order to work for a free Burma.”
“Rehabilitation centres and programmes and human rights organisations around the world celebrate the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June.
The day reminds us that torture is a crime and provides us with an opportunity to stand united and voice our opinion against torture, a cruel violation of human rights.
The Convention against Torture:
June 26 was the day that the Convention against Torture came into force. It was also the day the United Nations Charter was signed – the first international instrument to embody obligations for member States to promote and encourate respect for human rights.
To mark June 26, IRCT members in collaboration with the IRCT Secretariat, carry out a wide range of activities and you are more than welcome to join us. To
The IRCT has selected “Help us erase torture” as the theme of the 26 June global campaign for 2008.
The goal is to encourage participants in this year’s events to think of actions that they and others can take to eradicate the man-made scourge of torture from our world. We invite you to use this slogan in your campaign and to think of creative ways to engage people in “erasing” torture from the globe.”
“What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other” – George Eliot
The United Nations General Assembly established 20 June as World Refugee Day in 2001, and since then it has been celebrated around the world each year as a salute to the indomitable spirit and courage of the world’s refugees.
“The refugee challenge in the 21st century is changing rapidly. People are forced to flee their homes for increasingly complicated and interlinked reasons. Some 40 million people worldwide are already uprooted by violence and persecution, and it is likely that the future will see more people on the run as a growing number of push factors compound one another to create conditions for further forced displacement.
Today people do not just flee persecution and war but also injustice, exclusion, environmental pressures, competition for scarce resources and all the miserable human consequences of dysfunctional states.
The task facing the international community in this new environment is to find ways to unlock the potential of refugees who have so much to offer if they are given the opportunity to regain control over their lives.”
“If you’d like to celebrate World Refugee Day, get in touch with your local organization working to help refugees or organise an event yourself.”
“Leading global consumer products company poised to destroy Ivory Coast’s rainforests as both investor and customer, pushing three primates to extinction, just after its future commitment to rainforest protection and certifies oil palm in 2015 was much heralded by some.
One of Côte d’Ivoire most important primary rainforests is to be cleared by global consumer product company Unilever and others, despite Unilever’s recent promises to buy only “sustainable” palm oil from lands not cleared of rainforests for their production. Tanoé Swamps Forest in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is one of the last remaining old growth forests in the country and the last refuge for three highly endangered primates -the Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus, the Geoffroy’s colobus and the Diana roloway -as well as home to many endangered plant species.
Tanoé Forest is thought to contain the last remaining population of Piliocolobus waldronae (known as Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus). This is a species formerly widespread in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, but hunted to extinction over most of its range and declared extinct in 1998; yet a freshly shot specimen was found, in the early 2000s, having been hunted in the Tanoé Forest. If Unilever goes ahead with this project, it may be the first time in history that any company has deliberately profited from the extinction of a species.
Despite international protests, the palm oil company PALM-CI has just begun destroying this 6,000 hectare forest to convert it to oil palm plantations. They are currently building drainage systems at the periphery and, once the rainy season is over, they intend to clearcut all of the forest. If the forest is destroyed, the three primate species as well as many plant species will almost certainly become globally extinct. Large amounts of carbon dioxide will be released from the carbon-rich swamp forests.”