Five Reasons Slaves Still Catch Your Seafood

NBC News

By Patrick Winn, GlobalPost Correspondent

BANGKOK — Seafaring slave ships didn’t vanish in the 19th century. They still persist.

And there’s a good chance they’re catching your dinner.

Migrant laborers sorting fish as they work on a Thai fishing boat in Sattahip, in Thailand's Rayong province on September 1, 2011. Thousands of men from Myanmar and Cambodia set sail on Thai fishing boats every day, but many are unwilling seafarers -- slaves forced to work in brutal conditions under threat of death.
Migrant laborers sorting fish as they work on a Thai fishing boat in Sattahip, in Thailand’s Rayong province on September 1, 2011. Thousands of men from Myanmar and Cambodia set sail on Thai fishing boats every day, but many are unwilling seafarers — slaves forced to work in brutal conditions under threat of death.

Just a few years ago, the dark underworld of forced labor in Thailand’s fishing sector was little known. The dirty secrets of this $7.3 billion powerhouse industry have since been explored by the media and international watchdog groups.

But this international outcry has changed little on the lawless seas, where men still slave away on Thai-captained trawlers under savage conditions. Implications for the US are disturbing: Thailand is America’s second-largest seafood supplier behind China. Continue reading Five Reasons Slaves Still Catch Your Seafood

South Sudan rebels seize capital of oil-producing state

Al Jazeera

Clashes in Malakal expected to fuel concerns over security of South Sudan’s oil fields, an economic lifeline

South Sudanese rebel fighters, seen in this file photo from Feb. 8, 2014, gather in a village in Upper Nile State.Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
South Sudanese rebel fighters, seen in this file photo from Feb. 8, 2014, gather in a village in Upper Nile State.Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

South Sudanese rebels said they had seized control of the capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state on Tuesday, an assault that the government said breaches a ceasefire signed last month and casts doubt over planned peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia.

The rebel strike on the city of Malakal — located 400 miles north of the South Sudan capital Juba — was the first attack on a major town since the Jan. 23 ceasefire deal, which both sides repeatedly accused each other of violating.

The attacks started early Tuesday morning and intensive fighting continued in Malakal for several hours, Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reported. Continue reading South Sudan rebels seize capital of oil-producing state

MALAKAL RECAPTURED BY THE OPPOSITION FORCES FOR THE THIRD TIME

Comboni Missionaries South Sudan

ssud3I would have never imagined to be back writing a third part to the chronicle of the events that happened in Malakal and surrounding areas since the beginning of the armed rebellion started by dr. Riek Machar in Dec. 2013. As a matter of fact, military activities continued and in February Malakal changed hands for the fifth time in two months.

23/01/14 – The media announced that an agreement for the ‘cessation of hostilities’ had been signed in Addis Ababa between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLA/M in Opposition of Riek Machar. From the perspective of the people of Malakal what was happening in Ethiopia looked to be very far and without much practical effect on the ground. Most of those who had remained trapped in the town during the second attack, when the SPLA came back quickly moved their families to the villages on the Western side of the Nile or to Renk or to Khartoum or to Juba. Thousands of Nuer people looked for safety at the UN base. A few civil servants started coming back in February following the announcement that the Government was going to pay salaries. Some humanitarian organizations made assessments and planned to assist the displaced population within and outside the town, considering that in two consecutive attacks and counter-attacks people had lost most of their belongings, including food supplies.
Continue reading MALAKAL RECAPTURED BY THE OPPOSITION FORCES FOR THE THIRD TIME

Women Turn Potatoes into Gold in Zimbabwe’s Cities

By Jeffrey Moyo Reprint

HARARE, Mar 9 2014 (IPS) – Shyline Chipfika, 26, is one of thousands of Zimbabwean women in urban centres who have struck gold by growing potatoes. And a lot of their success has to do with an import ban.

Potato plants in the backyard of Lina Chingama, 44, from Zimbabwe's Norton town, 40 kilometres west of the capital Harare. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS
Potato plants in the backyard of Lina Chingama, 44, from Zimbabwe’s Norton town, 40 kilometres west of the capital Harare. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

“I used to be a mere housewife, and my life has changed in a big way after I ventured into potato growing,” Chipfika told IPS.

Chipfika’s husband, faced with joblessness, turned to hawking at a local commuter omnibus terminus in the capital, Harare, after the company he worked for shut down in 2008 owing to the hyperinflation that crippled many sectors of the economy.

Chipfika’s rags-to-riches story is a very rare one in Zimbabwe, and she boldly declares she will not abandon the potato-growing venture anytime soon.
Continue reading Women Turn Potatoes into Gold in Zimbabwe’s Cities

Rain causes flooding havoc in Jo’burg

Mail & Guardian

The most affected areas in the province are in parts of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. (Gallo)
The most affected areas in the province are in parts of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. (Gallo)

Several areas in Johannesburg are flooded, says the Gauteng provincial government, and emergency services are working to provide aid.

Gauteng government said on Friday that several areas in Johannesburg are flooded.

“Co-operative governance and traditional affairs’ provincial disaster management centre (PDMC), together with emergency management services (EMS), are working round the clock to respond and offer aid in affected areas,” said PDMC head Elias Sithole.

The most affected areas in the province are parts of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.

Temporary accommodation, food parcels and blankets were provided to people displaced by the floods.
Continue reading Rain causes flooding havoc in Jo’burg

Pope Francis: Do not get used to behavior that anesthetists the heart

Independent Catholic News

More than 30,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Holy Father’s General Audience on Ash Wednesday. Pope Francis dedicated his catechists to the Lenten journey of forty days that leads us to the Easter Triduum, and recalled the two suggestions offered to us by the Church in this period: to be more aware of the redemptive work of Christ, and to live our Baptism in a more committed way.

“The awareness of the wonders that the Lord carried out for our salvation should lead our minds and hearts to gratitude to God”, he said, and added, “Fully living out our Baptism – and this is the second invitation – means not becoming inured to the situations of degradation and poverty that we encounter when walking the streets of our cities and towns.

“There is the risk of passively accepting certain types of behavior and of not marveling at the sad realities that surround us. We grow accustomed to violence, as if it were a normal part of our daily news; we get used to seeing our brothers and sisters sleeping in the streets, as they have no roof to shelter them. We are used to refugees who search of freedom and dignity, but are not received as they should be.
Continue reading Pope Francis: Do not get used to behavior that anesthetists the heart

Pope Francis urges Brazilians to fight the scourge of human trafficking

Vatican Radio

traf(Vatican Radio) The National Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil (Cnbb) on Ash Wednesday launched the 2014 Brotherhood Campaign, focusing this year on the theme “Brotherhood and human trafficking”.

The motto that has been chosen is “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal 5,1).
The launch of the Campaign which is at its 51st edition, was presided over by Secretary General of the Cnbb and Auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia, Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, with the participation of representatives of the Government, civil society and religious communities.

The Campaign foresees a series of initiatives aimed towards raising awareness, formation and prayer to enable a better understanding of the phenomenon of human trafficking and to prepare “pastoral agents” who will be able to act as “antennae” within communities who are committed to the fight against human trafficking.
Continue reading Pope Francis urges Brazilians to fight the scourge of human trafficking