Letter from Africa: Cutting Nigeria’s ‘big men’ down to size


President Muhammadu Buhari (C) promises to tackle corruption in Africa’s largest economy

In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani looks at the impact of new economising measures in Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to office in May, seems bent on making public office less and less attractive to the average Nigerian “big man.”

Beyond the unusually austere salary package for new members of his cabinet – in response to the country’s worst economic crisis in years – he has given an instruction that should drastically reduce the size of every serving minister’s entourage.

Few Nigerian big men walk alone: Such a typical highly esteemed and self-important person in Africa’s most populous country goes around accompanied by a multitude of men. Continue reading Letter from Africa: Cutting Nigeria’s ‘big men’ down to size

ICE, Peruvian authorities rescue 36 sex trafficking victims, including 11 minors


Victims as young as 4 years old

peru1LIMA, Peru – An international law enforcement operation culminated Saturday with the arrests of six individuals involved in sex trafficking and the rescue of 36 sex trafficking victims, including 11 minors.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Office covering the Andean region and the Peruvian National Police (PNP) conducted the bi national law enforcement operation leading up to the arrests.
Continue reading ICE, Peruvian authorities rescue 36 sex trafficking victims, including 11 minors

British couple jailed for keeping Nigerian as slave for 24 years


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A British couple have been jailed for six years each for keeping a Nigerian immigrant as a slave for more than two decades, a London court clerk said.

Emmanuel Edet, 61, and Antan Edet, 58, were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court in northwest London late on Monday after being found guilty last month of child cruelty, slavery and assisting in illegal immigration.

The couple brought the man to Britain in 1989 when he was 14 years old, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

They told the teenager they would educate and pay him, but they forced him to work long hours for no pay and threatened him with deportation if he tried to escape, prosecutors said. Continue reading British couple jailed for keeping Nigerian as slave for 24 years

Soy, an Exotic Fruit in Brazil’s Amazon Jungle

InterPress Service

By Fabiana Frayssinet


Members of the São Raimundo do Fe em Deus cooperative in the rural municipality of Belterra in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest peel manioc, to make flour. The associations of small farmers help them defend themselves from the negative effects of the expansion of soy in this region on the banks of the Tapajós River. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPSEnter a caption

BELTERRA, Brazil, Dec 8 2015 (IPS) – In the northern Brazilian state of Pará, the construction of a port terminal for shipping soy out of the Amazon region has displaced thousands of small farmers from their land, which is now dedicated to mono-culture.

The BR-163 highway, along the 100-km route from Santarém, the capital of the municipality of that name, to Belterra runs through an endless stretch of plowed fields, with only a few isolated pockets of the lush rainforest that used to cover this entire area.

State-of-the-art tractors and other farm machinery, a far cry from the rudimentary tools used by the local small farmers in the surrounding fields, are plowing the soil this month, ahead of the planting of soy in January.

José de Souza, a small farmer who owns nine hectares in the rural municipality of Belterra, sighs.

“Soy benefits the big producers, but it hurts small farmers because the deforestation has brought drought,” he tells IPS. “The temperatures here were pleasant before, but now it’s so hot, you can’t stand it.” Continue reading Soy, an Exotic Fruit in Brazil’s Amazon Jungle

Activists say human rights, financing pose obstacles to climate accord

Catholic News Service
Human rights need to be part of the final text, to protect people from projects that could be considered clean energy, such as dams to produce hydroelectric power, but would encroach on their lands and homes.

By James Martone
Video of: Pope wants bold climate change action

PARIS (CNS) — Major hurdles stand in the way of a global accord on climate change, including over the questions of human rights and who pays the costs for poor countries to transition into using greener energy, said Catholic and other church activists on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference.

“We want human rights, indigenous rights, food security and gender equality in Article 2” of the accord’s text, said Bernd Nilles, head of CIDSE, an alliance of Catholic development agencies present at the conference site in Le Bourget on the outskirts of Paris. Continue reading Activists say human rights, financing pose obstacles to climate accord

Papa Francesco – L’amore prima del mondo (Dear Pope Francis)

Independent Catholic News

All You Need is Love’ is a documentary film, narrated by Sigourney Weaver, focusing on the lives and dreams of the children of Good Morning School in Mae Sot, a town on the Thai-Burma border.

Mae Sot is home to hundreds of thousands of Burmese nationals that have moved into Thailand to escape the repressive actions taken by Burma’s military junta. However, the vast majority of these Burmese refugees exist as people without nationality, rights or any solid future. This is the harsh reality that the Burmese children in Mae Sot have to face every day.

‘All You Need is Love’ will take you on an inspirational journey towards a greater understanding of the human spirit and the power of the positive. It is a testament to all the very best facets of the human character.

The screening will be followed by a short Q&A with Director, Stuart Cameron.

Entry is free but seating is limited. A collection will be taken for children on the Thai-Burma border at the end of the event.

The screening takes place on Friday, 5 February 2016 from 7-10pm in Room B102, The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

Watch a trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFdDsyy09v8