Illegal loggers remain hidden in Peru’s forest but timber finds global buyers

The Guardian

State exercises little control over remote Amazon region blighted by poverty and illiteracy, and organized crime fills the vacuum

Dan Collyns 

Tracing the origin of timber is difficult for the 12 forestry inspectors who work in Peru’s vast, virtually roadless northern Amazon region of Loreto. Photograph: Dan Collyns
Tracing the origin of timber is difficult for the 12 forestry inspectors who work in Peru’s vast, virtually roadless northern Amazon region of Loreto. Photograph: Dan Collyns

Javier Gomez sucks the last morsels of meat from the leg bone of an agouti, a large Amazonian rodent, his creased face belying his 44 years. ‘We’re just happy to have the work,” he shrugs wearily. “Here the only work is timber, that’s it. It’s heavy work but we’re used to it.” Older than his sinewy companions, Gomez says he will earn around $825 for spending four months logging in a camp two days up the Mayuruna river from his home village. Continue reading

A Verdict on Blackwater

New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

It took far too long, but four former gunslingers with the Black water Worldwide security firm have at last been held accountable for the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad in September 2007. It was one of the darkest episodes of America’s long war.

The verdict on Wednesday brings a measure of justice for the innocent victims and their families and offers some assurance that private contractors will not be allowed to operate with impunity in war zones. What it does not do is solve the problem of an American government that is still too dependent on private firms to supplement its military forces during overseas conflicts and is still unable to manage them effectively. Continue reading

U.S. Destroys Its Own Weapons in Enemy Hands

Analysis by Thalif Deen

The Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions on six individuals associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and with Al-Nusra Front (ANF), terrorist groups which now control parts of Iraq and Syria, in August. Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe
The Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions on six individuals associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and with Al-Nusra Front (ANF), terrorist groups which now control parts of Iraq and Syria, in August. Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 22 2014 (IPS) – When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured a treasure trove of U.S. weapons from fleeing Iraqi soldiers last month, one of the rebel leaders with a morbid sense of humor was quoted as saying rather sarcastically: “We hope the Americans would honor their agreements and service our helicopters.” Continue reading

Bishop: Decision to house those monitored for Ebola ‘right thing to do’

Catholic News Service
David Sedeno
DALLAS (CNS) — Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell said that he followed the teaching of Christ and stepped in to house the fiancee of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan and three others for several weeks at a diocesan facility when no one else would.

The bishop’s acknowledgement Oct. 20 coincided with the lifting of the 21-day quarantine for nearly four dozen people being screened for the Ebola virus with none showing any signs of the disease. It also capped nearly a month of a scrambling by local, state and federal officials in trying to both combat the virus and calm the public’s fears about its spread.

During the time, two nurses who had contact with Duncan tested positive for the virus after his death. And with the growing health concerns, officials also faced a national public relations headache as they acknowledged missteps in the handling of the crisis, including not initially banning those self-monitoring themselves for symptoms from traveling or coming into contact with the public. Continue reading

DR CONGO: Bishops Strongly Condemn Religious Attack in Lodja

KINSHASA, OCTOBER, 17, 2014 (CISA) – Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CENCO) has condemned the attack on two catholic priests.

“It is unacceptable to blame the church personnel who, faithful to the hierarchy, exercise their pastoral ministry,” said a statement from CENCO.

The two priests were attacked on Sunday October 12 in Lodja, 750 km north of Mbuji-Mayi capital of Kasai oriental, the same day a convent was damaged.

The attack came after the priests reportedly read a Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference during Sunday Mass which criticized the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, to vie for election for a third term, Fides reported. Continue reading

Nigeria’s schools live in fear of Boko Haram

Deutsche Wella

Nigeria’s government has promised to protect schoolchildren. It has been six months since 200 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and Nigeria’s northern states continue to live in fear.

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“The only thing we desire is that we want them back”, said Bukky Shonibare, barely holding back his tears. “At this point we are begging, we are pleading that they should do all that is needed and let the girls come back.”

Shonibare is a member of the #BringBackOurGirls group, which has been campaigning for the release of the school girls who were kidnapped in Chibok six months ago. For the relatives of the more than 200 girls who are still missing, the uncertainty has become unbearable.
Continue reading

Africa: Family Farming On Focus During World Food Day

News from Africa

Family farming is the focus of World Food Day on 16 October, coupled with the theme: ‘Feeding the world, caring for the earth’.

According to a 2014 report by GRAIN, an international non-profit organization reveals that small farms produce most of the world’s food which affirmed the claim – Family farming feed the world.

In African countries, especially Kenya, small farmers operate 16% of agricultural land, but provide 55% of agricultural output, including: 97% of potatoes, 88% of vegetables, 83% of fruits and berries and 80% of milk.

This shows that small peasant family farms are the bedrock of global food production. The bad news is that they are squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world’s farmland and such land is under threat.

The report also revealed that small farmers are often much more productive than large corporate farms, despite the latter’s access to various expensive technologies. For example, if all of Kenya’s farms matched the output of its small farms, the nation’s agricultural productivity would double. Continue reading

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