Brazilian state of Acre in illegal immigration alert

Immigrants in a shelter in Brasileia, Acre state Officials in Acre say they need more money to help house the immigrants coming into shelters such as this one in Brasileia


The Brazilian state of Acre has declared a state of emergency after a surge of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bolivia and Peru.

Officials said most of the immigrants originally came from Haiti but others had come from as far afield as Bangladesh, Senegal and Nigeria.

They said about 1,700 illegal migrants had arrived during the past two weeks.

Acre, in the Amazon region, has asked for additional funding from the federal government to cope with the influx.

More than 5,000 Haitians have arrived in Acre since 2010, but in recent months there has been an increase in immigration from Senegal, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh. Continue reading Brazilian state of Acre in illegal immigration alert

U.S. and Japan Agree on Returning Okinawa Land

New York Times


TOKYO — The United States and Japan agreed Friday on a new timetable for the return to Japan of a Marine airfield and other military bases on Okinawa, moving to solve a long-festering issue that has bedeviled America’s ties with its largest Asian ally.

By agreeing to a clear timetable for the return of 2,500 acres, both nations are hoping to entice Okinawans to drop their opposition to the air base, which Washington and Tokyo want to move to another part of the island but which many Okinawans want to move off the island. Fierce local opposition has kept Japan from being able to follow through on a deal originally made in 1996 to allow the base and its noisy aircraft to be relocated to a less populated area of the island.
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Zim rights lawyer Mtetwa faces new charges

Zimbabwean prosecutors have slapped fresh charges on prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

Mail and Guardian

A legal group on Tuesday labelled the state’s move a “desperate bid to bolster its case.”

Mtetwa – whose arrest for obstructing justice last month sparked international condemnation – now faces additional charges of abusing the police, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Mtetwa was arrested a day after Zimbabwe’s constitutional referendum, during a police raid of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s offices in Harare.

She is alleged to have said: “Stop whatever you are doing, it’s unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic. You confused cockroaches.
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Pope Francis and a new vision of Catholic reform

Detail of St. Francis of Assisi from “Madonna Enthroned with the Child, St. Francis and four Angels,” a fresco executed by Giovanni Cimabue between 1278-80 for the lower church of St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy. RNS file photo courtesy of the Custodian of St. Francis Basilica in Assisi.

Religious News Service

David Steinmetz

From the very first moment of his unexpected election as Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has embraced a series of small departures from established tradition.

He took his papal name from a great nonconforming saint of the Middle Ages — and one that no other pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church has taken. He then refused to stand on an elevated platform that would separate him from his “brother cardinals,” and asked the people of Rome to bless him rather than receive his blessing. He even insisted on returning to his hotel to settle his account (as though his credit were in any doubt).
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Natural Resources and Social Responsibility: an important step forward



Shell Nigeria, the largest oil and gas company in that country, has been condemned for environmental damage and human rights abuses resulting from its activities. The District Court of The Hague has recently held that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria was liable for damages and ordered compensation. This sentence can be interpreted as a success towards opening up future avenues to penalize multinationals when they are responsible for environmental damage and other abuses.

Transnationals and extractives companies have been operating in Africa without almost no fear of punishment for their irregular practices. Africa’s economic growth has been deprived of income from their natural resources and, in many cases, foreign companies have avoided their responsibilities for social and environmental damage. Shell Nigeria, having been exempt from liability on so many occasions, has finally been told to pay compensation to a farmer whose land was affected by an oil spill.
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The World Bank and the private sector: partners in land grabbing?

© Reuters


The World Bank Group (WB-G) has been preparing the ground for the private investment in Africa by encouraging the commercialization of farmland through its investment and structural adjustment programs in Africa. Equally, the World Bank has been supervising land reforms in several African countries, with the aim to establish a western-styled property system. The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is building on this preparatory work and promotes private sector interest in African agriculture. In what follows we offer a brief overview of the World Bank’s role in the commercialization of farmland and then an introduction to the MCA.
Continue reading The World Bank and the private sector: partners in land grabbing?