MAXINE

"Aim at Heaven ... you get Earth thrown in - Aim at Earth and you get neither" - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Freedom Day Spirit Is An Everyday Event

ART FOR FREEDOM: Artists from around southern California collaborated on a mural during The Freedom Day, One Voice, One Act to End Slavery gathering at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa Sunday. The 8 ft. by 32 ft. mural will be auctioned off with proceeds going towards battling slavery issues. Image Credit: JEBB HARRIS, THE REGISTER

Freedom Day Spirit Is An Everyday Event

Last Sunday (March 25th) was the first of a worldwide recognition event, Freedom Day, to bring attention to the persistent and vexing problem of Humans capturing and selling Humans into efforts that include labor, sex, and even war.

200 years ago on March 25th, the politicians’ of Great Britain, led through the Christian principle based efforts of William Wilberforce, voted to abolish its effort to support and participation in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The major efforts that led to this historic moment in time were dramatically portrayed in the recent film release – Amazing Grace.

The modern day efforts of slavery - Human Trafficking – need to stop and the only way to start the effort to reduce and bring an end to this business enterprise (one that generates more dollars and cents than Microsoft Corporation) is through awareness. One day a year is a start, but the spirit of Freedom Day needs to become an everyday event for this practice to end.

In Southern California, Freedom Day was a success.

HELPING HANDS: Mike Hartnov crochets a garment as his group Krochet Kids International demonstrated their project at the Sunday gathering. The nonprofit was founded by a group of young men who crochet and will be going to Uganda in May to teach women to crochet caps and other items which will be imported here for sale. Image Credit: JEBB HARRIS, THE REGISTER

This from the Orange County Register -

Program seeks help in fighting human trafficking
Freedom Day gathered supporters for modern-day abolitionist movement.
By SUSHMA SUBRAMANIAN - The Orange County Register - Sunday, March 25, 2007


COSTA MESA - One of the highest-profile human trafficking cases in Orange County would have never been discovered if it weren't for a neighbor.

A woman in Irvine called authorities when she noticed that a young girl who lived next door never went to school.

The neighbors, former Irvine couple Abdelnasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim and Amal Ahmed Ewis-abd Motelib, admitted in June to forcing a 10-year-old Egyptian girl to work as their domestic servant.

Westminster police Lt. Derek Marsh, a co-director on the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, told that story to about 40 people during a workshop at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa Sunday, part of Freedom Day, organized by nonprofits to educate residents about human trafficking.

"I don't see human trafficking driving down the street in a patrol car," Marsh said. "It's not one of those things that are public to check on."

He encouraged audience members to help fight human trafficking by looking for clues in their neighborhoods – people who seem like fish out of water for reasons that might include living with many other people who don't seem to be related or because they get bused to work.

More than 1,000 people attended Sunday's event, which included workshops on different aspects of human trafficking, films, lectures, art booths and music supporting modern-day abolitionist movements.

"When drugs are trafficked, they can be sold just once," presenter Tobi Aclaro said.

"A person can be sold over and over again."

WELCOMING FREEDOM DAY: To kick off the Freedom Day event, organizers asked the more than 1000 people in attendance to put a hand on one another's shoulder and look at them for 30 seconds in silence. The gesture, meant to welcome the dignity and humanity of others, was the starting point for activities to promote awareness of modern day slavery. Image Credit: JEBB HARRIS, THE REGISTER

At the event's opening, people were asked to touch someone standing next to them on the shoulder and to look that person in the face for 30 seconds, an exercise encouraging people to see humanity in others.

"Imagine the change we would welcome if we began to see the worth and dignity of every human being," said Ruthi Hoffman-Hanchett, one of the event organizers.

Nonprofit groups sold bags, hats and jewelry that would benefit human trafficking victims.

Workshop topics included human trafficking related to global poverty, migrant laborers and child pornography.

According to the U.S. Department of State, approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders worldwide each year. About 14,500 to 17,500 of those victims are brought each year into the United States for forced labor or commercial sex.

"Before today, I didn't even know that this existed," said Tim Zarza, 27, who lives in San Diego. "It's become an industry and it's some people's way of living. And it's terrible."

A Burmese woman who was sold into prostitution in Thailand by her mother when she was 12 told her story. She escaped with the help of missionaries and now is married with two children.

"I have encountered so many problems in my life," said Moon, who gave only her first name. "I'm so thankful for what God has done for me."
Reference Here>>

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji - Legitimate Corruption vs. Illegal Government

Interim talk...Mahendra Patel, Kamlesh Arya & Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama after the budget. Image Credit: Fiji Times

The Real Survivor Fiji - Legitimate Corruption vs. Illegal Government

As time carries on, questions about the legitimacy of a "takeover" Government to rule, as cream rises to the top of a container of milk, begin to come into focus.

A news item about reports that there have been over 400 complaints registered with a newly formed operating unit of the interim Government has one asking the obvious question, once the alleged corruption case has been investigated by a takeover government, which is more corrupt ... the reported corruption or the methods and legitimacy used by the investigating entity?

Two news items - first report from the Fiji Times -

400 corruption cases alleged
REIJELI KIKAU - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

THE interim government's new anti-corruption unit has been receiving complaints at the rate of more than 130 a month.

So far the unit, formed in early January, has 400 cases on its books.

Unit head, Senior Superintendent of Police Nasir Ali, said it was overwhelming to see common people coming up with reports of all sorts and all forms of corruption, some backed with documentation.

SP Ali said cases alleging corrupt practises of past governments were also included.

"These are complaints of corruption of all sorts, from the government to whatever you can name and imagine," he said.

SP Ali said the team of investigators, including police and military personnel and the Attorney-General's office, would work out a priority list of cases to be investigated.

"We have started on complaints that have been supported with documents because it was easier for us but the rest we have to investigate and substantiate the allegations," he said.
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People making complaints had to make a statement or provide investigators with a letter or documents outlining the alleged corruption. "It becomes easier if evidence is provided,'' he said.

Yesterday 25 officers from the unit, including police, military officers and Attorney-General's office staff, completed a two-day training course on how to investigate corruption cases.

SP Ali said the officers started the training on Friday and for the first time this had involved staff from the Attorney-General's office.

He said there would be a series of similar seminars for other officers involved in the probes.

Reference Here>>

And this obvious reaction reported from Radio New Zealand International -

Fiji NGO says government anti-corruption unit has no legitimacy
Posted at 07:01 on 27 March, 2007 UTC

Fiji’s anti-corruption unit says it is working out priorities in dealing with the 400 complaints it already has on its books.

The interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says the response has been overwhelming.

But the whole basis of the unit is being questioned.

A spokesperson for the Fiji Women’s Rights Centre, Virisila Buadromo, says her organisation still believes the interim regime is illegal, therefore any body set up under this government also lacks legitimacy:

“The mechanisims created to set it up were illegal and the people don’t fully understand that and it seem like should the current regime be taken to court and then it found to be illegal or the coup that they put in place is illegal then all the institutions and decisions that they made then become null and void.”

Reference Here>>

In the meantime, SENIOR officials of the interim Government met with executives of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat yesterday to discuss the setting-up of a joint working committee to help Fiji back to democratic rule.

How well does one think this will go? What is the motivation of the current interim Government of Fiji to go back to democratic rule when there are so many cases of corruption to investigate?

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Freedom Day - 24-7PRAYER Joins Stop The Traffik

Image Credit: Ville Miettinen

Freedom Day - 24-7PRAYER Joins Stop The Traffik - To honor and recognize the 200th anniversary of the "Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act", a significant moment in the fight to end the evils of the transatlantic slave trade.

Freedom Day is 25 March 2007. The abolitionists of the 18th and 19th centuries generated a mass movement who campaigned for an end to slavery. In 2007, campaigners want to do the same-to inform people about the evil of Human Trafficking and to call for change that will prevent the sale of people, prosecute the traffickers and protect the victims.

Freedom Day is planning to be a key moment for STOP THE TRAFFIK and now 24-7PRAYER, the campaigning global coalition involving clubs, schools, faith groups, businesses and charities from around the world.

Freedom Day is a day to join in a prayer vigil. The plan is to organize one in every single county, constituency and city in the land, to 'give thanks' for William Wilberforce and all that God did 200 years ago, a prayer vigil to 'intercede' for specific situations and for a measurable positive change toward the reduction in the enterprise of Human Trafficking.

This from STOP THE TRAFFIK organizing partner 24-7PRAYER -

As you read this, a child somewhere is being bought and sold like a lump of meat and we know that God hears their cries and that He is calling us to take action.

24-7 Prayer has committed to support the STOP THE TRAFFIK campaign by holding a prayer vigil on the night of Saturday 24th March 2007 to pave the way for the celebration of Freedom Day on Sunday 25th. The 24-7 Prayer UK team is leading this prayer initiative, but people trafficking is a global issue and so we feel it is essential to get the support from the worldwide community.

With just days to go we need you to take action now. Go ahead and spread the word: book a venue for the vigil and look to mobilise local youth groups, churches, colleges and schools. You might like to run an entire week of non-stop prayer in the build up to Freedom Day?

We've been busy developing specific resources to help with the vigil, which can be downloaded from the website, but for the time being here are some answers to your initial questions:

Q. What is a Vigil?
A. A vigil is a period of wakefulness for a particular cause, generally conducted on the eve of a holy day.

Q. What is the aim of this particular Vigil?
A. We want to see the world alive and awake with prayer all night on 24th March 2007. Across the nation we will take time to 'lament' - to hear the cries that God hears 24/7, the cries of those in slavery.

Q. What's the format of the vigil?
A. You can either organize a 24 hour prayer vigil, or a night of prayer or just a straightforward evening prayer meeting on 24th March.

Q. What's the focus of the vigil?
A. Three P's: Prayer, Profile and Preparation.

Pray! We will take time to 'give thanks' for William Wilberforce and all that God did 200 years ago. We will take time to 'intercede' for specific situations and for measurable change. Wilberforce understood and demonstrated that the power-house of all lasting change is not politics but prayer. "Of all things," he said, "guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer."

Profile! We will seek to build awareness of the issues surrounding human trafficking in our localities through the STOP THE TRAFFIK Campaign.

Prepare! As well as praying about and profiling the issues, we see the vigil as a preparation for Freedom Day - March 25th 2007.

There are already vigils planned from Belfast to Ibiza (see vigil map), from small groups of friends meeting in their front room, to weeks of 24-7 prayer at Boiler Rooms. It does not matter how you want to do it, but God is calling us to pray! So visit the website, see where others are praying and register your own vigil.

“He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captive and release from darkness for the prisoners”. Isaiah 61.

To receive further updates, information and prayer requests over the coming months about supporting STOP THE TRAFFIK through prayer please email us.

Here are a few facts that you might find useful as you begin to get people aware of this issue, you can get loads more resources from the STOP THE TRAFFIK website:

At least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Of these 2.4 million are as a result of human trafficking. [Source: International Labour Organisation, 2005]

600-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. That means that for almost every minute of every day a person is enslaved somewhere in the world.

Approximately 80 per cent are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors. [US Department of State, 2005]

An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. [UNICEF, January 2003]

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do on Freedom Day it would be great if you could let the Stop The Traffik office know by emailing info@stopthetraffik.org.

Be sure to visit the new
24-7 Prayer/Stop The Traffik website for support and resources on setting up a vigil to pray in your community for an end to people trafficking.
Reference Here>>

"Wherever two or more are gathered in MY name" - proceed to intercede on behalf of those who do not have their freedom at the hands of others who do.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Time Out ... It's Sushi In The Japanese Tradition


Time Out ... It's Sushi In The Japanese Tradition

Sushi culture is somewhat mysterious and the etiquette complex. Here is a YouTube video by the Japan Culture Lab that is an informative and entertaining way to understand how to eat and enjoy sushi the Japanese way.

Ever wonder why some Japanese feet smell like vinegar? Find out here.
ht: Pink Tenacle

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Give Dumb A Chance - It's Fun


DUMB

How do Anti-War protestors support the troops? By burning them in effigy, of course.


& DUMBERER

This display just boggles the mind for sheer stupidity, but then, consider the source - Portland's leftist moonbat community, of course.

This proves that you can never underestimate the left's ability to accidentally parody themselves.

Can you imagine, the placing of a Muslim symbol on a Christian cross together ... this will probably get a fatwa of death issued on the protester - from Iran.

To be really insulting and clueless, these moonbats should have placed the Crescent on Star Of David grave markers.

Do you think that they have found out about what they have done?

Too priceless.

Image Credits: Rachael Palinkas' Photos – Peace Rally - originally posted March 18, 2007
Content & comments stolen "liberally" from Confederate Yankee & Little Green Footballs.
ht: Pajama's Media

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The Real Survivor Fiji - Human Writes Blogesphere

"Oppressive Presence" - Image Credit: Reuters

The Real Survivor Fiji - Human Writes Blogesphere

Through the month of February, the new unelected and military Government of Fiji clamped down on the freedom of the press to report what it felt were rights abuses and opinions about the legality of the December Coup action taken on behalf of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

At the beginning of May, the Military began to try and squash the voices that began to pop-up on the World Wide Web with some initial success.

The web, however, can not be silenced short of unplugging the islands nation from the rest of the world.

Of course, with the way that Commodore Frank seems to be running the nations economy into the ground, and declaring that elections to re-establish democracy will not be able to be held until the year 2010, and let us not forget the increased human rights abuses that naturally happen through the process of an illegal military takeover of a "rule of law" based democratic nation - Frank is well on his way to accomplishing this, the unplugging of Fiji from the rest of the world, on his own.

This report from AAP via The New Zealand Herald -

Fijian activists turn to blogs to protest coup
By Xavier La Canna - 5:50PM Tuesday March 20, 2007

The names of the weblogs seem benign - White Rose, Hearts and Minds, Good Men (and Women) Doing Something, Intelligentsiya, Discombobulated Bubu.

But these blogs, and others like them, have been sprouting up in Fiji to protest last year's military coup and alleged human rights abuses that have raised serious concerns in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Probably the best known is Intelligentsiya, the work of mainstream journalists who say the military regime is stifling their efforts to conventionally report what is happening in their country.

It was launched on January 26, about five weeks after the coup, and vowed to highlight a rash of abuses blamed on the military.

"We felt that a site like Intelligentsiya was all the more important to document and discuss the army's ever-growing human rights abuses - most notably the silencing of dissenting opinion by detention and intimidation," the first posting on the site said.
"These abuses are carried out by the armed forces in the name of 'national security'."

But Intelligentsiya has angered the interim military government, which has branded it a bogus platform for unverified reports of alleged abuses.

And earlier this month, military spokesman Neumi Leweni said efforts were underway to establish exactly who was producing material for the site.

Leweni's warning coincided with another to all journalists in Fiji that the military would haul them in for questioning if they were deemed to have filed "irresponsible" reports.

Since then, one of Intelligentsiya's authors has been questioned, but the site's reports continue to be filed. Supporters can even buy t-shirts carrying the blog's address and the slogan: "We will not be silent".

Good Men (and Women) Doing Something takes it name from the Edmund Burk saying that "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

"If enough of us start saying the same thing ... that the coup is wrong and that we want and need to have the rule of law in place, and if we all stand together and make this statement, Bainimarama and his illegal government will have to listen," the site says.

The authors of the sites sound brave, but at least one - titled Ms Vakaivosavosa's Blog - has opted not to continue.

"At this time in Fiji, the climate is not right to continue blogging and I want no-one harmed on account of this blog," the final posting on the site said.

"I have received no communication from anyone to stop blogging or to delete the blog - the decision is mine alone."

Intelligentsiya authors also had to retract a story they posted recently about a man they claimed had been beaten to death by soldiers.

The backdown was used by the government as evidence the site could not be trusted.

The military spokesman Leweni recently said the interim government did not impede the media.

"We haven't really interfered with the media. All we have done with the media is getting them to report the truth," he said.

"We actually raised issues with some of them on articles they have published that were totally untrue."

The managing director of Communications Fiji Ltd, William Parkinson, whose company runs the Fiji Village website, said he closed down a popular forum recently after a visit from the deputy commander of Fiji's military, Captain Esala Teleni.

Parkinson later denied the military had pressured him to do so, and that the forum was closed because people posted personal and racial slurs.

In the past month, the general manager of the Fiji Daily Post and the news director of Fiji Television were detained separately over reports the military objected to.

Coup leader Frank Bainimarama, who has appointed himself interim prime minister, has put the entire media industry on notice that his regime won't tolerate reporting deemed to be mischievous.

"We take people up and find out why they are coming up with these stories, which are false," he said earlier this month.

Reference Here>>

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The "Jumbo Jet" Currency Of Human Trafficking

Freedom Day Announcement Banner - The date is significant in the UK as it marks the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, but we are encouraging everyone around the world to use this day as a focus for awareness on people trafficking, whether or not the date has any historic significance for you. Caption & Image Credit: STOP THE TRAFFIK

The "Jumbo Jet" Currency Of Human Trafficking
(an awareness of FREEDOM DAY, a day to begin the end of Human Trafficking - slavery)

Slavery costs five (5) Jumbo Jets full of people their freedom each day seven days a week and, really, no one is aware (based on a Boeing 747 capacity of about 400 seats). If a Jumbo Jet crashes and it wipes out all who are on board, everyone in the world knows it happened - investigations take place and answers are sought.

Slavery has NOT been abolished in this world. Slavery is a major business enterprise worldwide. Slavery is even a bigger business in overall dollars & cents than that of the software giant, Microsoft.

Frankly, this problem of Slavery/Human Trafficking is a larger problem than the war on terror. The United Nations, and major leadership countries of the civilized world seem powerless to do anything to stop it. Their (our) eyes are NOT on the ball.

We at MAXINE were made aware of the issue of Human Trafficking this last Sunday through a Christian based presentation delivered by Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis Trust and a UK Baptist minister.

The recent release of the movie "Amazing Grace" highlighted the decades long struggle to win the hearts and minds of the people who benefited from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade out of Africa that ended just 200 years ago ... but the job is not done ... not by any stretch of the imagination.

Excerpts from the Stop The Traffik website -

The scale of human trafficking
By STOP THE TRAFFIK.ORG

Men, women and children are trafficked within their own countries and across international borders. Trafficking affects every continent and most countries.

Due to the hidden and illegal nature of human trafficking, gathering statistics on the scale of the problem is a complex and difficult task. There are no reliable national or international estimates as to the extent of trafficking. Figures are usually counted in the countries that people are trafficked into and often fail to include those who are trafficked within their own national borders.


The following statistics may represent an underestimation of trafficking, but are the most credible and frequently quoted.

At least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Of these 2.4 million are as a result of human trafficking. A global alliance against forced labor, International Labour Organisation, 2005

600,000-800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 per cent are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors. US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2005

An estimated 1.2 million children trafficked each year. UNICEF UK Child Trafficking Information sheet, January 2003

The majority of trafficked victims arguably come from the poorest countries and poorest strata of the national population. A global alliance against forced labor, International Labour Organisation, 2005

Trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are caught in the trap of slavery. Anti-Slavery

Human trafficking is the third largest source of income for organised crime, exceeded only by arms and drugs trafficking. UN office on drugs and crime

It is the fastest growing form of international crime, already generating 7 billion dollars per year in criminal proceeds. There are even reports that some trafficking groups are switching their cargo from drugs to human beings, in a search of high profits at lower risk. UN office on drugs and crime

People are trafficked into prostitution, begging, forced labour, military service, domestic service, forced illegal adoption, forced marriage etc.

Types of recruitment; include abduction, false agreement with parents, sold by parents, runaways, travel with family, orphans sold from street or institutions.

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What is trafficking?

A definition:

“Trafficking in human beings” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

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On 25th March 2007 the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade will be remembered in many countries around the world. STOP THE TRAFFIK will use this anniversary as a catalyst for a initiative whose goal is to cry for freedom for every human caught in trafficking around the world, with a particular focus on children and young people. The conviction that freedom is a human right drove both black and white abolitionists in the 18th and 19th centuries. That same conviction drives the STOP THE TRAFFIK coalition in the 21st century.

200 years ago, William Wilberforce realised the shocking news - Britain’s slave trade was a growth industry, and the backbone of Britain’s economy at that time. A man whose convictions compelled him to act. That same spirit that whispered in his ear to end the slave trade whispers in our ears today. On March 25th 2007 there will a worldwide shout for change – we will raise our voices so that everyone may hear - we will shout with joy to celebrate the traffic that has already been stopped, and shout the call for the release of every trafficked. We will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

William Wilberforce was one man who mobilised a swell of voices to speak out against injustice and make a difference that impacted the world. You can be a voice that influences others and get the group or organisation that you belong to to become a member of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

The abolition of the Slave Trade Act (1807) was achieved by a mass movement made up of those who were enslaved, anti-slavery campaigners and ordinary members of the public, black, white, male and female.
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/, http://www.wikipedia.org/, http://www.setallfree.net/ are excellent websites detailing biographies of a broad range of abolitionists.
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CASE STUDIES

Premila from India
It was Premila’s 18th birthday in her small village in rural Bihar. Her parents, desperate to escape their impoverished plight, signed their daughter over to a nightmare. For the paltry sum of 800 rupees (US $18), she was sold to a man living in faraway Punjab state. He claimed there were no “good women” in his village and therefore he was forced to buy a wife. “Wife” is a term used very loosely. There was no marriage ceremony. She was raped by her “husband” and his male relatives for a few years.

Eventually, a new investment opportunity presented itself and Premila was sold to a well-known prostitution ring in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. The sex trafficking trade runs rampant in Delhi and Premila brought a relatively good price: 5,000 rupees (US $109). She joined thousands of other women who exist in impoverished, disease-ridden, dangerous conditions.

Premila was sold yet again to the streets of Mumbai for 35,000 rupees (US $762). It was here in Mumbai that she was finally rescued. Returned to her hometown of Khathiar, Bihar, she was a broken woman. She will never re-marry. She will likely die young.
Source: Dalit Freedom Network

Sokha, Cambodia
Tourist guides call Poipet the ‘Wild West’ of South-East Asia, on account of its roaring sex trade and gambling scene. People also come here to buy or abduct children. Girls as young as five are trafficked over the border into Thailand.

Sokha* and Makara* were sold to a trafficker who promised good jobs for the girls in Thailand. Sokha explains that her mother was ill with a liver complaint. The family needed money to pay for drugs to treat her, and they also hoped to buy some land to build a home. But, reality turned out to be very different.

There were no ‘good jobs’ for the girls, Sokha’s mother died within a year, and the family couldn’t afford to buy land. Sokha, now 17, says, ‘I felt cheated. The traffickers used us for slave jobs, and whilst they earned lots of money we only got enough to feed ourselves each day.’

She explains how she and Makara, 16, were given jobs selling fruit, but it did not pay enough. Soon their bosses forced them into sleeping with men to pay their way. When they were sold they were 14 and 15 years old.

A Tearfund partner provides young girls with sewing skills, counselling and the loving support of a local church. The girls’ parents met staff from Tearfund partner, Cambodian Hope Organisation (CHO), and gave them photos to pass on to an organisation in Thailand that rescues girls from prostitution.

They found – and duly rescued – Sokha and Makara. By then, the girls’ ordeal had been going on for nearly a year. Sokha says, ‘It’s good to be home. We are grateful to CHO who have brought us back to our home, provided us with counselling, taught us the skill of sewing, and brought us into the church.’ When asked what they hope for in the future, Sokha says she hopes to set up her own sewing business and employ and help girls in her situation. ‘We were scared all the time in Thailand,’ she says. ‘Now I’m happy, getting support, living with my family and free to work when I want.’
SOURCE: Tearfund

Mary, Mexico
Mary a 19-year old female came into the United States from Mexico. She was referred to the Salvation Army by a domestic violence shelter where she presently resides with her 11-month-old son.

Mary was persuaded to come to the US with the promise that she would have a better life and be provided a job. Mary was verbally abused and raped several times by her perpetrator - which was the source of her son's conception.

Mary reported that she previously had a miscarriage due to the abuse and at times was not allowed to seek medical attention. She was escorted to her job in a factory where she packaged vegetables, but was never paid for her employment. She reports that she was given a white powder (which was suspected to be cocaine), and only later she determined to be drugs. Mary was not allowed to leave the apartment in which she was staying unless she was going to work. The perpetrator threatened her saying that if she attempted to escape she would be deported or hurt by the immigration department.

Mary is currently being provided shelter, therapeutic counselling, clothing, food and legal advocacy services. Although the authorities have determined Mary to be a victim of human trafficking, the US Attorney's Office has decided not to prosecute the case. She was therefore denied the expedient route to obtaining legal status and is now applying for a visa, which would allow her to stay in the country for up to 3 years after which she could apply for permanent residency.
SOURCE: Salvation Army

Prjua and Ajay, India
Prjua, aged 9 and her brother Ajay, a boy aged 7, lived on Thane train station in Mumbai, India with their parents who were both alcoholics. Prjua and Ajay were regular attendees of the Asha Deep Day Centre, run by Oasis India, where they learnt to read and write and were given the opportunity to play. After attending daily for 3-months they disappeared. The project staff went to look for them. Prjua and Ajay’s father told how a man had come and offered money for them and that he had sold them for the equivalent of $30. That was the last the father and the staff of Asha Deep Day Centre heard of them. In that area of Mumbai every 2-3 months children disappeared, kidnapped or sold into prostitution, forced labour, adoption or child sacrifice.
SOURCE: Oasis India
Read All>>

This last case study is really eye opening. It appears as just a small mention at the end of the study but child sacrifice is STILL a very important ritual performed by some tribes in India.

We in the western world do not want to believe that this sacrifice ritual happens in this world anymore, but as Steve Chalke elaborated during his presentation on Sunday, buildings will not get built in the major cities in India without the labor of members in tribes that continue to believe that a human has to be sacrificed in order to appease their GODS for placing the buildings (modern technology) on the land. A blind eye is turned so that modern development can progress. Unwittingly, outsource projects from the West end up killing children in India.

This is beyond shocking to the average Western mind. An "Apocalypto" world still exists and human child sacrifice is still practiced and facilitated through human trafficking in the world's largest (most populous) democracy - India.

This one story almost pales in comparison to what is happening within the enterprise of producing chocolate.

Most of the cocoa fields that produce nearly half the world's chocolate are located in the Cote D'Ivoire, Africa. 12,000 children have been trafficked (slavery) into cocoa farms in Cote D'Ivoire.

When we buy chocolate ... we are being forced to be oppressors ourselves as we have no guarantee that the chocolate we eat is 'traffik free'!

Our only option is the responsibility of consumer choice - just as with the Tuna industry's response to dolphins being caught and slaughtered on a wholesale level ... "Dolphin Free" labeling - request that major chocolate producers label their products when the products are produced with cocoa sourced from "Traffik Free" fields!

At MAXINE, we say get educated and involved. This activity against Human Trafficking will do more for humanity and the world than most any other effort. Find or sponsor a Freedom Day in your area. Use this organizer's pack as a guide.



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Saturday, March 17, 2007

YES! More Troops For Iraq

An F/A-18 Hornet approaches for landing on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier after flight operations in this Thursday, March 20, 2003 file photo. The first Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired early Thursday against Iraqi targets Image Credit: AP Photo/FILE/Richard Vogel

YES! More Troops For Iraq

It is always confusing for a politically charged, micro-management focused, uninformed populous to rile against what a war power professional may recognize as the right thing to do at a time of conflict ... but, YES, more troops for Iraq.

General Petreaus was approved by unanimous vote by the Senate because it was the right thing to do - and now HE wants more troops because it IS the right thing to do.

The one thing that we have learned as it relates to task competency is that one leaves the decision making of each task to the trained professionals.

MAXINE has one question - When you have a pain in your jaw coming from a cracked tooth, which do you want to work on it ... Senator Kennedy, Senator Clinton ... Any Senator, or a trained and proven dentist with a going practice?

Give the General his request and let him run the war, thank you!

Excerpts from the Boston Globe -

General seeks another brigade in Iraq
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff March 16, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, in addition to five already on the way, as part of the controversial "surge" of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said yesterday.

The appeal -- not yet made public -- by General David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces to close to 30,000 troops.

News of the additional deployment comes about a week after President Bush announced that about 4,700 support troops will join the initial 21,500 he ordered in January. They are in addition to the estimated 130,000 troops already in Iraq.

"This is the next shoe to drop," said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning, who requested anonymity because of prohibitions against publicly discussing internal deliberations. "But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units."
----
"There is a problem in the way the administration reported the surge numbers to begin with," said Frederick W. Kagan , a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "When they initially reported the numbers they only reported the combat strength of the brigades, and they did not count support troops" and other personnel that the operation would need.

"Petraeus has now requested what many thought would be needed to begin with," Kagan said, "but it looks like another surge."

The plan for the aviation brigade is occurring as commanders express cautious optimism that US and Iraqi forces, working together, are quelling the violence in the city and building some much-needed good will among the population.
----
But news that Petraeus wants several thousand more troops is bound to further frustrate the Democratic majority in Congress, which is intent on pressuring President Bush to start bringing troops home within months.

For the second day yesterday, the Senate debated a resolution that would require President Bush to begin a phased withdrawal of US troops within 120 days.

The resolution failed to garner enough votes to pass, but Democratic leaders have pledged to use their power to force the White House's hand, including placing limitations on federal funds for the war.
----

Despite the congressional opposition, the number of US troops committed to Iraq has steadily grown since Bush decided to send the 21,500 troops, the equivalent of five Army brigades and two Marine Corps battalions.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted last month that the total "surge" could ultimately double in size and cost once all support troops are in place.
----
The new unit would bring to four the total number of aviation brigades in Iraq. The official said American commanders would have to reassess in a few months whether they want to keep the higher number; if so, they would have to identify another brigade to relieve one of them.

Military strategists consider the aviation unit an "enabler," meaning it will help the additional combat troops who are spearheading the new Baghdad security plan and operations to secure several cities in Anbar Province where Sunni insurgents and followers of Al Qaeda have gained a foothold.
----
" Any time you deploy more combat forces you need more support forces," said Michael O'Hanlon , a defense specialist at the Brookings Institution who compiles the Iraq Index. "You need some tactical mobility to get them out of trouble."

Read All>> (free subscription required)

More support forces to enable more troop forces, makes sense to MAXINE!


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Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji – The Ying & Yang Of Economics

Malalo Island – Image Credit: Vixenbird from review Fiji Fun

The Real Survivor Fiji – The Ying & Yang Of Economics

The new military junta now ruling the island nation of Fiji loves to see the world from both sides and declare things are good because they say “It’s Good”.

But these news dispatches could not be any different as it relates to the deteriorating pillars of the Fijian economy and it can not be plastered over through righteous Coup Declaration!

Excerpts from AAP via NineMSN (National Nine News, Austrailia) –

Sanctions aren't hurting Fiji: military
Thursday Mar 15 11:51 AEDT

Fiji's military rulers say human rights abuses in the Pacific nation are relatively minor and international sanctions imposed after the recent coup have had little impact.

Speaking on the eve of a meeting of Pacific Islands Forum of foreign ministers in Vanuatu, where Fiji's return to democracy will be discussed, Major Neumi Leweni said he did not feel things in his country had changed since the December 5 coup.

"The impact on the people of Fiji (of sanctions) depends on how people see things" said Leweni, who is Fiji's military spokesman.

"As we speak, I really don't feel any different to the way things were before December the fifth."

He said his situation was typical of average Fijians.
----
"It is going smoothly. Things are going well.
----
Major Leweni also defended the military government's handling of the media, amid widespread allegations of censorship.

"We haven't really interfered with the media. All we have done with the media is getting them to report the truth," he said.

"We actually raised issues with some of them on articles they have published that were totally untrue."

He said he would check reports that websites had been censored by the media, including a popular forum at the Fiji Village website.

Communications Fiji managing director William Parkinson said his site's forum had been shut down after a meeting with the deputy commander of Fiji's military, Captain Esala Teleni, and talking to police.
Read All>>

Malolo Lei Lie – Image Credit: Erikapeto from review Malalo LeiLei Lagoon Resort Club

And this from NewsRoom.co.nz (New Zealand) –

Fiji Government Cuts Tourism Funding
1:07 pm, 15 Mar 2007

Tourism operators in Fiji say a 30 percent cut in government funding will harm their industry even more as it struggles to recover from last year's coup.

In its budget the Government has reduced tourism funding to 10 million Fiji dollars, down from 15 million last.

The chairman of the Fiji Tourism Action Group is asking for a review because the cut may mean marketing is reduced in New Zealand and Australia.

Damend Gounder says the Government does not seem to recognise that economic recovery in Fiji depends on tourism.
Reference Here>>

The Ying - "The impact on the people of Fiji (of sanctions) depends on how people see things" said Leweni, who is Fiji's military spokesman. "As we speak, I really don't feel any different to the way things were before December the fifth." He said his situation was typical of average Fijians. "It is going smoothly. Things are going well.

The Yang - In its budget the [military] Government has reduced tourism funding to 10 million Fiji dollars, down from 15 million last.

Oh boy! This coup is goin'a leave a mark.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji - Human Rights Or Human Writes

Winston Raymond Peters (born April 11, 1945) is a New Zealand politician and the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, outside cabinet. He is also the leader of the New Zealand First political party. Image Credit: Wikipedia (smh.com.au)

The Real Survivor Fiji - Human Rights Or Human Writes

The country of New Zealand has a problem. They are giving support to the nation of Fiji and some of its support money is going to support the Fijian government's Human Rights Commission.

The problem comes, now that the Fiji Government is a ruling military junta, the Human Rights Commission believes it has the right to "write" recent historic events as it sees fit. In other words ... A Military Coup Is Better Than The Rule Of Democratic Law!

This from Radio New Zealand -

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says a Fiji human rights booklet appears to have been perverted by a change in its language.
Radio New Zealand - Posted at 9:08pm on 14 Mar 2007

The New Zealand government aid agency, NZAID, had been financially backing the booklet from the Fiji Human Rights Commission but has asked for the latest version to be withdrawn because it implies a recognition of the coup last December.

Commission director Shaista Shameem says its contract with NZAID does not extend to determining content.

Mr Peters says the booklet was a good idea at the time of a democratically elected government but the new version contains clear implications of support or endorsement for the military regime.

"We cannot support an endorsement of a military junta, an undemocratic unmandated regime by - of all people - a human rights commission," Mr Peters said.

Reference Here>>

We at MAXINE believe - Fiji Human Rights Commission director Shaista Shameem ought to just take a load off and go fishing at a neighboring island ... or neighboring island nation.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

WHEREAS - New Mexico Declares Pluto A "Planet"

HUBBLE PORTRAIT OF THE "DOUBLE PLANET" PLUTO & CHARON - This is the clearest view yet of the distant planet Pluto and its moon, Charon, as revealed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The image was taken by the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera on February 21, 1994 when the planet was 2.6 billion miles (4.4 billion kilometers) from Earth; or nearly 30 times the separation between Earth and the sun.

Hubble's corrected optics show the two objects as clearly separate and sharp disks. This now allows astronomers to measure directly (to within about 1 percent) Pluto's diameter of 1440 miles (2320 kilometers) and Charon's diameter of 790 miles (1270 kilometers). Caption & Image Credit: Dr. R. Albrecht, ESA/ESO Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility; NASA


WHEREAS - New Mexico Declares Pluto A "Planet"

Only in America can a Government (in this case, a state Government) declare that a scientific determination is wrong and overturn it.

Pluto is a planet because, according to New Mexico, Pluto was discovered from a facility located in New Mexico, by a longtime resident of New Mexico, with a telescope operated by a university in New Mexico!

So states a "Joint Memorial" put forth today at a session of the legislature of New Mexico.

This, of course, is what Al Gore wants all Governments to do on behalf of his Global Warming POV, in reverse.

Global Warming, or at least the argument that human activity and CO2 gasses created by human activity is the cause of the recent percieved changes in the climate on Earth, should not necessarily be proven, but declared FACT through Government action.

Of course, this would mean that the Government would be able to micro-manage every aspect of human activity to the detriment of our freedoms in the pursuit of happiness.

The Government has the obligation to first prove something is true beyond a shadow of a doubt before it enters into the "lemming march" process to wholesale communistic dictatorship.

Memorial text for HJM054, State of New Mexico -

A JOINT MEMORIAL

DECLARING PLUTO A PLANET AND DECLARING MARCH 13, 2007, "PLUTO PLANET DAY" AT THE LEGISLATURE.

WHEREAS, the state of New Mexico is a global center for astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico is home to world class astronomical observing facilities, such as the Apache Point observatory, the very large array, the Magdalena Ridge observatory and the national solar observatory; and

WHEREAS, Apache Point observatory, operated by New Mexico state university, houses the astrophysical research consortium's three-and-one-half meter telescope, as well as the unique two-and-one-half meter diameter Sloan digital sky survey telescope; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico state university has the state's only independent, doctorate-granting astronomy department; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico state university and Dona Ana county were the longtime home of Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto; and

WHEREAS, Pluto has been recognized as a planet for seventy-five years; and

WHEREAS, Pluto's average orbit is three billion six hundred ninety-five million nine hundred fifty thousand miles from the sun, and its diameter is approximately one thousand four hundred twenty-one miles; and

WHEREAS, Pluto has three moons known as Charon, Nix and Hydra; and

WHEREAS, a spacecraft called new horizons was launched in January 2006 to explore Pluto in the year 2015;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature.
Reference Here>>

As for Pluto, hey, come on ... it WAS a planet for 75 years before it was determined that it wasn't.

Changes in the global temperature of the planet Earth have been happening all the while for hundreds of millions of years. There really isn't any need for a WHEREAS here.

UPDATE (3-13-2007):

The proof that the scientific community continues to be under threat from Governmental organizations (and the Al Gore imperative) is not that hard to find. Take this article from the Telegraph (UK) -

Scientists threatened for 'climate denial'
By Tom Harper, Sunday Telegraph - Last Updated: 12:24am GMT 11/03/2007

Scientists who questioned mankind's impact on climate change have received death threats and claim to have been shunned by the scientific community.

They say the debate on global warming has been "hijacked" by a powerful alliance of politicians, scientists and environmentalists who have stifled all questioning about the true environmental impact of carbon dioxide emissions.

Timothy Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, has received five deaths threats by email since raising concerns about the degree to which man was affecting climate change.
----
"Western governments have pumped billions of dollars into careers and institutes and they feel threatened," said the professor.

"I can tolerate being called a sceptic because all scientists should be sceptics, but then they started calling us deniers, with all the connotations of the Holocaust. That is an obscenity. It has got really nasty and personal."

The tracking of the ice ages over time - based on scientific evidence. Image Credit: The Great Global Warming Swindle

Last week, Professor Ball appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle, a Channel 4 [UK]documentary in which several scientists claimed the theory of man-made global warming had become a "religion", forcing alternative explanations to be ignored.

Richard Lindzen, the professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology - who also appeared on the documentary - recently claimed: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labelled as industry stooges.

"Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science."

Dr Myles Allen, from Oxford University, agreed. He said: "The Green movement has hijacked the issue of climate change. It is ludicrous to suggest the only way to deal with the problem is to start micro managing everyone, which is what environmentalists seem to want to do."

Nigel Calder, a former editor of New Scientist, said: "Governments are trying to achieve unanimity by stifling any scientist who disagrees. Einstein could not have got funding under the present system."

Read All>>

Maybe, just as a point of order, Pluto should go DOWN!

On behalf of thretened scientists worldwide, we all should proclaim our rights and not allow New Mexico to trifle with the ruling on Pluto ... Pluto is NOT a planet!

UPDATE - March 18, 2007:

Pluto Casts It's Non-Planet Shadow Today

Even though Pluto has been demoted in status, it still exists. Today the "object" passes between the Earth and a distant star.

Excerpts from Space.com via Yahoo! -

All Eyes on Pluto Sunday
By Jeanna Bryner, Staff Writer - SPACE.com - Thu Mar 15, 10:45 AM ET

Telescopes all over the southwestern United States will turn toward Pluto as it meanders Sunday across the face of a star in the constellation Sagittarius. The observations could help researchers better understand the dwarf planet's atmosphere.

Called an occultation, the phenomenon is akin to a solar eclipse. Just as our Moon casts its shadow onto Earth when it passes directly in front of the Sun, other planets also cast their shadows onto Earth when they pass in front of a star.

"Occultations are the only way we can monitor the atmosphere of Pluto from the Earth," said William Hubbard of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

Occultations occur about once every 5 to 10 years for Pluto, but the phenomenon will become more frequent now that Pluto has moved between Earth and the central region of the Milky Way where most of our galaxy's stars reside. With so many chance star encounters, Pluto is expected to experience one or two occultations each year.
----
Pluto will pass in front of the star at 6 a.m. Eastern, and take about six minutes to complete its journey. This is about three times longer than typical Pluto occultations. In addition to the relatively long show, the shadow will be cast on the southwestern United States, a region heavily populated with giant telescopes.

The average skywatcher will miss out on a view of the event, unless they are equipped with a 20-inch or larger diameter telescope.
----
Depending on where along its orbit Pluto is in relation to the Sun, its atmosphere ranges from -391 to -274 degrees Fahrenheit (-235 to -170 degrees Celsius).
----
'What we get at the Earth is just a shadow of Pluto-a guest in the starlight,' Hubbard told SPACE.com. 'The radius of the shadow is related to the radius of the atmosphere, how far the atmosphere goes above the surface.'

The observations could also inform future work done by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, en route to Pluto now.

Read All>>

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji - A Restricted Press

The Real Survivor Fiji - A Restricted Press

Each by each, Fiji’s democratic institutions are suffering a gradual assault.

Basic freedoms and human rights are being over-run by the all to powerful and illegal acts of an out-of-control Commodore dictator.

The next freedom to suffer is the freedom of the press to operate unhindered.

Now Commodore Frank will try to catch Jell-O by attempting to shut down a website ... an offshore website!!

Excerpts from AAP via Fairfax Digital’s, The Age –

Fiji's coup leader clamps down on media
Australian Associated Press (AAP) - March 8, 2007 - 7:14PM

Fiji's coup leader has warned journalists the military will haul them in for questioning if they are deemed to have filed "irresponsible" reports.

The warning came after the general manager of the Fiji Daily Post and the news director of Fiji Television were detained separately over reports the military objected to.

The Fiji Television report detailed the death of a man after he was allegedly detained and assaulted by soldiers during a drug raid on his village in the east of Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island.

Fiji Television has since retracted the story and apologised after the military insisted that soldiers were not involved.

Last week, Fiji Daily Post general manager Mesake Koroi was detained twice for what the military called "anti-military" articles and editorials, the Fijilive online news service reported.

Also on Thursday, the military said it was trying to establish the identities of journalists behind a weblog launched to expose alleged human rights abuses since Commodore Frank Bainimarama's December 5 coup.

Bainimarama, who has appointed himself interim prime minister, told Fijilive that he supported media freedom.

"... it lends credibility not only to the interim government but also to the military, the force behind this interim government and we want it," Fijilive quoted him as saying.

But he issued a warning to journalists, saying there would be consequences for those who made up stories.
----

Fiji Military spokesman Neumi Leweni confirmed efforts were underway to establish exactly who was producing material posted on the intelligentsiya weblog, established by journalists to document alleged rights abuses following the December coup.

The site was launched in January and has used it to publish allegations against the military regime, including several deaths it says resulted from bashings by soldiers.

The accounts have angered the military, which says it has not been given the chance to respond to the claims.
----

A statement posted on the blog on Thursday said the development was worrying.

But it added: "Should anything happen to Intelligentsiya, it would only serve to canonise the blogsite if the authors were captured and taken up for `re-education'."

"There is no shortage of Intelly Agents.

"We'll keep you posted ... and we continue to stand firm, fearlessly."

Webmasters, a Fijian website company, said the domain indicated the website was based overseas.

Read All>>

UPDATE 3-09-2007:

This from fijivillage.com -

Games up for Intelligentsiya
Army tracks cyber critics
Thursday March 08, 2007

The Fiji Military says it has identified a top educational institution in Suva that is being used as a base to run a controversial website that has been branded by the army as a 'pushover' against the interim regime.

Military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni confirmed that they have identified a group of people operating from the institution.

"We have made major progress in our efforts to apprehend these people who have been reporting negative things about the military and we have been tracking them for quite some time now," he said.

Major Leweni says that the website recently made defamatory remarks against military and is portraying a negative image of the Interim Government.

"This time they have gone too far and we will be making arrests soon because we know who they are," he added.
Reference & Additional Comments Here>>

Additional Comment Update:

Bainimarama has a go at reporters
NewstalkZB - 11/03/2007 8:32:02

First it was the politicians, now Frank Bainimara is threatening to have a go at Fiji's journalists.

The country's self-appointed Prime Minister says reporters who write what he believes to be false or malicious stories will be taken in for questioning.

He says unbalanced and provocative reporting could create unnecessary fear, anxiety and reaction.

The commodore is unhappy at reports on websites claiming as many as four people have died after being taken into custody by the Fiji military since last year's coup.

He says freedom of the press is not limitless.
Reference Here>>

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

We At MAXINE Saw It, So It Must Be True!



We At MAXINE Saw It, So It Must Be True!
ht: Pajama's Media

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Remnants - The L.A. Marathon XXII - 2007 Aftermath

A couple of couples who completed the race, walked in coupled comfort to their respective cars located about four blocks from the Universal City Metro Station. Image Credit: Copyright 2007 - ecj-MAXINE

Remnants - The L.A. Marathon XXII - 2007 Aftermath
The gun sounds, and their off – running 26 miles through the streets of Los Angeles … where “Nobody Walks …. “!

The starting line area of the new point-to-point course (L.A. Marathon XXII - 2007) around the Universal City Metro Line station was quite eye opening. Most people, who were interested in the event, came to the course or watched it on television in the comfort of their own home.

My wife and I are prone to walk around the neighborhood in which we live and it just happens to be about one mile from the new starting line area of the race. Late in the afternoon, we began our walk and the most compelling and interesting post event to the main event was happening right before our eyes.

Many people hobbled as they came off of the escalator out of the Metro station at Universal City near Campo de Cahuenga. Image Credit: Copyright 2007 - ecj-MAXINE

Almost no one stops to think about what happens once the 26 mile running race is over. What happens to the competitors? Where do they go? How did they get to the starting line and how do they get back home to recover from such a tremendous ordeal?

I can tell you that a fair number of them do not have a running club or entourage to make sure they are taken care of or pampered. They arrive at the starting line via public transportation or they drive and park in the neighborhood just to end up walking to the check-in point and line up with the thousands of other runners in the race at the starting line.

The gun sounds, and their off – running 26 miles through the streets of Los Angeles … where “Nobody Walks …. “!

Balloons strung over Cahuenga Boulevard near the starting line. Image Credit: Copyright 2007 - ecj-MAXINE

After anywhere from about 4, 5, 6, or 7 hours runners finish. Each runner who crosses the finish line in downtown Los Angeles, receives a medal attached to a red ribbon to hang around ones neck, and gets wrapped in a specially printed and logo’d sheet of plastic to prevent the participant from cooling down to fast.

The race was run and completed, now what?

A couple who completed the race, walked in coupled comfort to their car located four blocks from the Universal City Metro Station. Somehow the experience of the days ordeal seems to be sumed up by the expression on the billboard ahead. Image Credit: Copyright 2007 - ecj-MAXINE

Ok, so we walk two blocks to the Metro Station, hop the subway train, and get back to where we started … we need to get home!

More photos located here!


Here are some of the photo captions located at NowPublic related to the remnants of the Los Angeles Marathon XXII - 2007.

One man exclaimed after posing, “And I’m 49! This was my second L.A. Marathon. I completed one last year.” He was happy to be alive.

One man was walking and asked directions to the starting line - He wanted to visit where it all started earlier that day. He was walking in the wrong direction along Lankershim Blvd. His face was framed in caked, dried sweat salt almost as an additional badge of honor to go with his completion medal.

Stiff, smiling, and wrapped in plastic, a runner is walking to get to his car and make the drive home.

Gate 2 at Universal City with the north side mountain that holds the HOLLYWOOD sign on its south side for all of the world to see.

A successful female runner and very proud male friend at the starting line of the LA Marathon XXII – 2007 (approximately eight hours later).

Temporary crowd control fencing near the starting line of the LA Marathon XXII - 2007.

Close-up of an "only in LA" movie billboard used to drum up distribution. The tell tale sign is the release date - "Coming Soon". Image Credit: Copyright 2007 - ecj-MAXINE

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FORE! - Playin' Through The Hard Way

The V40 grenade is spherical in shape, 6.5 cm (2.5 in) high, and 4 cm ( 1.5 in) in diameter - approximately the size of a golf-ball Caption Credit: Wikipedia - Image Credit: Pajamas Media

FORE! - Playin' Through The Hard Way

Can you imagine, taking an explosive object of destruction and trying to conceal it in a way as to pass a frisking ... even a naked frisking?

Well that is what happened in the Central American country of San Salvador the other day.

This from Reuters via Yahoo! News -

Prisoner caught with grenade where?
Reuters - Fri Mar 2, 9:25 AM ET

SAN SALVADOR - An inmate at an
El Salvador jail was caught with a hand grenade stuffed up his backside -- a novel attempt to disguise his apparent escape plans.

Guards at the San Francisco Gotera prison outside the capital San Salvador found the V40 grenade, about the size of a golf ball, lodged up the man's rectum during a security clampdown, a prison spokesman said on Thursday.

They also caught another 16 inmates who each swallowed a mobile phone.

"We'll have to expel the objects and if they won't come out we'll have to perform surgery in hospital," said Alberto Uribe, a spokesman for the El Salvador prison service.


The body of the M-67 hand grenade is a 2.5-inch diameter steel sphere designed to burst into numerous fragments when detonated. It produces casualties within an effective range of 49.5 feet (15 meters) by the high velocity projection of fragments. The grenade body contains 6.5 ounces of high explosive. Each grenade is fitted with a fuse that activates the explosive charge. Image Credit: Military Analysis Network

Last year, prison guards found an M67 grenade in the vagina of a female visitor at the overcrowded La Esperanza-Mariona prison on the northern fringes of San Salvador.

Prisoners in the Central American country use weapons to try to escape or attack fellow inmates and prison guards, and use cellular phones to order free gang members to commit crimes or smuggle narcotics.

Reference Here>>

This could not get any uglier. What if Islamo-Fascists terrorists begin to view the world as do the drug dealers view their freedom from imprisonment?

A V40 grenade is quite destructive. The steel body of the grenade has 326 squares pressed into its inside face to produce separate fragments when the explosive fill is detonated.

The V40 weighed 136 gm (4.8 oz) and was issued primed from the manufacturer. Fuse delay time is set for about four seconds.

This grenade was considered lethal up to a radius of 18 meters (20 yards) and dangerous up to 300 m (325 yd) from point of impact. It was commonly referred to as the Mini-Frag.

This incident gives us a whole new interpretation to the expressions like, the "San Salvador Open"! Or, how about the "Back Nine"? ... Divot!

FORE!!!!

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Doom Of Profit

The happy couples at the Oscars - Tammy Lynn Michaels, Melissa Etheridge, Al Gore, Tipper Gore - Image Credit: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

The Doom Of Profit

It strikes me that the posting below should be titled "The Doom Of Profit".

It certainly put an end to the perceived purity of this (truly) evil man's character.

Just think, maybe this will put an end to all of this crazy talk about giving this guy the "Nobel Peace Prize"! Give us all a break from his overbearing and lecturing ways.

As he stated very clearly - This (his profiting from his own "doom prophecy") IS a moral issue. Hey, Al, go back to growing tobacco!

This posted at Now Public -

The Profit of Doom
... and it gets worse
by robert galbraith - February 28, 2007


"As the controversy over global warming doomsayer Al Gore's voracious energy-eater mansion rolls on, there's an angle I think merits deeper investigation than it is currently getting. While much of the focus has been on whether or not Gore is an environmental hypocrite, the story has raised the profile of the role of "carbon offsets" in achieving a "greener," more environmentally friendly world.

In its
original story, The Tennessean reported that Gore buys "carbon offsets" to compensate for his home's use of energy from carbon-based fuels. As Wikipedia explains, a carbon offset "is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases."

Wikipedia goes on to explain that "a wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common. Renewable energy and energy conservation offsets are also popular, including emissions trading credits."

So far, so good. But how Gore buys his "carbon offsets," as revealed by The Tennessean raises serious questions. According to the newspaper's report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through
Generation Investment Management:

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe...

Gore is chairman of the firm and, presumably, draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he "buys" his "carbon offsets" from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn't buy "carbon offsets" through Generation Investment Management - he buys stocks."
Reference Here>>

Well, we just finished reading the website for Generation Investment Management.

As Simon Cowell of American Idol fame is prone to say when he gives his best critique ... "If I am going to be honest" - the website for a company that was "established" in 2004 is Nothing But A Bunch Of Fluff ... there is no "there", there ... this company should be based in Oakland! Jerry Brown would fit right in.

The richest statements on the site are:

Our Chairman, former Vice President Al Gore, has assembled Generation's Advisory Board which consists of global leaders and thinkers from capital markets, industry, sustainability, economics, and geopolitical fields. The Advisory Board plays an important part in establishing our long term thematic research agenda into global sustainability issues, such as poverty, climate change, ecosystem services, biodiversity, pandemics, demographics, migration, public policy and responsible lobbying.

We, at MAXINE, really love that word - SUSTAINABILITY - it actually sounds ominous and that we humans have the power to not just have control as to what happens here on earth - as if, but beyond.

And this:

Generation's Advisory Board consists of global thinkers who help us anticipate the changing context for business.

It makes one think, if Al Gore became President of the most powerful nation on earth, how would he use his power to Change The Context For Business!

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Tick, Tick, Tick - H5N1 Virus Hits Woman In China

A health worker vaccinates a chicken against bird flu at a Chinese farm. Chinese farmers also have used an anti-viral made for humans on chickens. Image Credit: China Photos Via Getty Images (2005)

Tick, Tick, Tick - H5N1 Virus Hits Woman In China

Migrating birds are the suspected source of the first virus transfer in 2007 to a flock of chickens as China steps up its second-phase clinical trials effort to create a vaccine.

The unusually warm spring weather is expected to hamper health officials' efforts at curbing the spread of bird flu due to the fact that migrant birds may stay longer within the borders of China.

China has not reported a poultry outbreak since September 20 last year, although the health ministry in January confirmed that a man in the eastern province of Anhui had contracted bird flu but subsequently recovered.

Excerpts from China Daily -

First human bird flu case in 2007 reported
By Shan Juan (China Daily) - Updated: 2007-03-02 06:57

A new human case of H5N1 bird flu, the first this year, was confirmed in China.
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A 44-year-old woman from a remote village in East China's Fujian Province was diagnosed on February 18 as having the virus, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The villager, surnamed Li, had developed a fever after she had eaten two chickens she had raised.
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Li is reportedly in a serious condition at a local hospital. All who have had close contact with her are being closely monitored, although none have so far shown any symptoms of virus infection.

Zhang Changpin, vice-governor of the Fujian Province, has ordered the compulsory inoculation of all chickens, and has required local authorities to set up inoculation files and issue certificates for inoculated birds, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The Ministry of Health told Xinhua it had already notified the World Health Organization about the case.

Since 2003, the deadly virus has infected 22 people in China and killed 14.
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The virus remains essentially an animal disease, but experts fear it may mutate into a form that is easily transmitted to humans and trigger a pandemic.

The Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which is co-developing a H5N1 bird flu vaccine with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said it is ready for the second phase of clinical trials.

"Everything is ready for the second phase which will be carried out when the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) gives the nod," Chen Jiangting, director of the clinical trial research department of Sinovac told China Daily yesterday. "We filed the application last September."

She said the first phase of clinical trials on 120 volunteers showed the vaccine could provide 78 percent protection, and the figure meets the standard for seasonal flu vaccine set by the European Union.

"We are upbeat about the coming second phase of clinical trials," Chen said.

Reference Here>>

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The Real Survivor Fiji – Point-Of-Order Process Pursued

Laisenia Qarase (born February 4, 1941) was Prime Minister of Fiji from 2000 to 2006. After the coup that led to the removal of Mahendra Chaudhry was quashed by the military, Qarase joined the Interim Military Government as a financial advisor on 9 June 2000, and was subsequently appointed Prime Minister on July 4. He subsequently won two parliamentary elections, but was deposed in a military coup on 5 December 2006. Caption & Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Real Survivor Fiji – Point-Of-Order Process Pursued

It had to happen and after nearly three full months since the head of Fiji’s military, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, faces action in the island nation’s court system.

The hope, through this point-of-order process is to highlight the illegitimacy of of the Commodore’s actions.

This from Associated Press via Zee News (India) -

Fiji military coup to face court challenge
Associated Press - Suva, Mar. 02, 2007

Fiji's governing party that was ousted in a coup three months ago launched court action today to try to have the military chief's actions ruled illegal, increasing pressure on the commander to restore democracy in the country.

The case, if successful, is unlikely to force Commodore Frank Bainimarama to give up power because he controls Fiji's security forces. But it would undermine his claim to be operating within the country's constitution.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party formally applied to the high court on Friday to hear its claim that Fiji's military forces illegally removed the democratically elected government on Dec. 5 last year.

In the putsch, Bainimarama removed the government, closed the Parliament, proclaimed himself interim President and imposed sweeping emergency powers on the country. He claimed his actions were within the 1997 constitution, and that he would call elections to restore democratic rule at an undecided future date.

Acting Chief Justice Anthony Gates gave the two sides till March 28 to file detailed affidavits of evidence and defense to the court.

Gates also asked the military not to interfere with Qarase's lawyer and the courts commissioner of oaths traveling to the outlying island of Vanuabalavu to execute affidavits and have them signed by Qarase.
Reference Here>>

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