Conflict-area

anonymous asked:

I would have thought you were a Hillary supporter.

Her foreign policy has always made my skin crawl. Honestly, it’s not far from most neo-cons. I have enough issues with Obama’s foreign intervention as is (drone strikes have escalated more and more without much care at all for civilian casualties), but Hillary’s policy seems to be that Obama should have been MORE aggressive. Advocating sending arms to conflicted areas (because Iran Contra worked out GREAT), increasing military intervention, establishing no fly zones and thus pretty much inciting violence, and the list goes on.

Bernie’s foreign policy isn’t ideal, especially when you consider his reaction to the complete assault on Gaza was far from ideal, even if he does have a past of speaking out against some of Israel’s war crimes. But, at the end of the day, he’s a far cry better than HRC. On his campaign website, he at least says “However, while recognizing that Israel has the right to defend itself, he also strongly condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza as disproportionate and the widespread killing of civilians as completely unacceptable”.

Everyone says Bernie is somehow “weak” on foreign policy and, while I wish he would speak on it more, I actually find his platform overall much more appealing than HRC’s. The emphasis on diplomacy and reducing the harm that America perpetuates worldwide in our use of torture, spying, etc. is !!!! to me. 

The only thing that bugs me - and this is a big thing - is his belief in the use of drone strikes which I find inhumane because they kill mass amounts of civilians. I mean, he says, “Look, a drone is a weapon. When it works badly, it is terrible and it is counterproductive. When you blow up a facility or a building which kills women and children, you know what? … It’s terrible.” Which is a several steps ahead of his competitors, but at the same time I wish he’d talk more about how he’d PREVENT the harms of drone strikes if he was so set on using them.

So, yeah, it’s funny how commentators are always rambling about how FP is Bernie’s weakness when I find it to be his clear strength in a Bernie/Hillary matchup. Obviously universal healthcare and free tuition are big ones, but that is what really turned me away from HRC to Bernie. 

I just wish he’d talk about all that he’s talked about before - it’s not like he’s clueless - instead of just saying “Well, I voted against the war in Iraq!” Which, true! And great! But you’ve got more in you than that, Bernie.

Tracing The Origins Of Tea || Sri Lanka

Aljazeera writes:

Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka - Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world after water. But the drink, which is the mainstay of many cultures, is subject to the same volatile market forces as oil or gold.

Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest exporter of tea, behind China, India and Kenya, and relies on the industry to employ formally and informally one million of it’s 20.6 million people, according to the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Tea accounts for 17 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports.

The largest importer of Ceylon tea is Russia and other members for the Commonwealth of Independent States. Iran, Iraq and Syria were some of the biggest consumers of Sri Lankan tea, and conflict in these area has put a strain on the industry, according to the Tea Board report. China’s recent economic troubles, as well as low oil prices in another large importer, the United Arab Emirates, mean that tea exports could face another hit in 2016.

Market analysts observe, however, that there is significant growth in tea consumption in large markets such as the United States, where health-conscious consumers are looking for better alternatives to sugary fizzy drinks and young, wealthy millennials are showing interest in speciality teas. There is also growing demand for “ready-to-drink” tea products.

Keep Reading.

Conflict remains major barrier to schooling

UNICEF reports that one in four children in conflict zones is out of school

Based on a recent review of 22 countries affected by conflict[1], UNICEF found that nearly 24 million children living in crisis zones are out of school. The analysis highlights that nearly one in four of the 109.2 million school-aged children who live in conflict areas are missing out on their education.

Those countries that most need the benefits of education are often those with the most children missing out on education. South Sudan is home to the highest proportion of out–of-school children with over half (51%) of primary and lower secondary age children not accessing an education. Niger is a close second with 47% children unable to attend school, followed by Sudan (41%) and Afghanistan (40%). (UNICEF press release).

(via Conflict remains major barrier to schooling | Global Partnership for Education)

does anyone else think it’s fucked that my crush doesn’t believe in ghosts bc I see this being a potential area of conflict down the track

Bloody wastes

Yuu walked along the city streets, hood up and stance careful, she had heard the sound of conflict in the area and had become nervous, investigating seemed like the only course of action, she drew closer to the epicentre of the area and felt a stench hit her hard, there was a thick musk of gore in the air, and the sheer amount was enough to start questioning numbers.

She climbed a nearby tower and over looked the desolation before her, blood was painting the ground of a T-junction, ccg officers littered the area like a spilled garbage bin, and in the centre was a red haired woman with a quinx, yuu was immediately on edge, especially when they noticed her, she did nothing, only staring at them like a deer in headlights. they could feel fear gripping their soul at their seemingly mindless slaughter.

She breathed heavily, jumping down from the building and walking towards the mess, her posture was tense, ready to flee in an instant “what…why did…you slaughter them all?”

@littleredmarill

To be honest I just wish people would see that they don’t have the right to an opinion in the area of conflict if it isn’t concerning them

Refugee crisis: Children face malnutrition and freezing temperatures in Balkans winter weather

Of the 1.2 million refugees and migrants who applied for asylum in Europe in 2015, nearly 350,000 were children – many of them minors without their parents. Britain has said it will take in some unaccompanied refugee children from Syria, north Africa and other conflict areas, but did not say how many. This is in addition to the 20,000 Syrian refugees the government has pledged to take in by 2020.

Migrants and refugees have had to brave temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius (5F) to cross frozen Balkan borders en route to western Europe, visibly unprepared for winter and in increasing danger from the cold. Men, women and children covered in blankets have been forced to sleep rough in tents or next to bonfires in the open. Save the Children said that women, children and babies are in danger of contracting hypothermia.

Migrants have been arriving in Serbia with blue lips, distressed and shaking from the cold. Exhausted mothers have told the group’s aid workers they are unable to keep their babies warm and dry, and that some have slipped while carrying them on icy roads. The United Nations and aid agencies have warned that children are at risk of freezing to death given their lack of adequate clothing or access to sufficient nutrition.

Many of the people making this arduous journey are fleeing conflict zones such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, where millions of people are gripped by hunger, struggling to survive with little help from the outside world. Children suffer from severe malnutrition, their parents often having to beg or sell possessions to get basic commodities including water, medicine and fuel. According to the UN children’s agency, malnutrition is a major threat for millions of refugees.

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40,000 S. Sudanese on brink of catastrophe: UN

Khartoum, Feb 9 (IANS) At least 40,000 South Sudanese citizens are threatened to starve to death due to escalating food insecurity in the new-born state, UN agencies said Monday.


“South Sudan is facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity, as 2.8 million people – nearly 25 percent of the country’s population – remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe,” said a joint statement by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), Xinhua reported.

The three UN agencies said the dry season, which is now beginning, could bring additional hardship to people facing the most severe levels of hunger.

The agencies urged for a speedy implementation of the peace agreement signed last year, and for unrestricted access to conflict areas to deliver much needed supplies to the most affected areas.

“It is not only areas directly affected by conflict that are food insecure – some 200,000 people in Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap states have also seen their access to food deteriorate, owing to factors such as price inflation and market disruptions that are tied to the conflict,” said Serge Tissot, Acting FAO Representative in South Sudan.

“Prompt implementation of the peace agreement is absolutely critical to improving the food situation.”

Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF representative in South Sudan, meanwhile, warned in the statement against continuation of deteriorated security conditions and lack of access to humanitarian assistance to the needy.

“Families have been doing everything they can to survive but they are now running out of options,” he said.

Aid agencies in South Sudan are facing difficulties in their work, particularly after the parliament has recently passed a bill restricting the work of the NGOs and reducing the number of foreign aid workers.

South Sudan has been facing tough humanitarian conditions because of the civil war which erupted in 2013, where many international humanitarian organisations have earlier suspended their activities because of the violence and government restrictions on aid groups.

So far I’ve lived about 30 years but my birth certificate says that I’ve only lived 23. These days I find it harder to think about things in a black and white manner. I mean, sometimes I think about things as black and white just to simplify things cause my mind wanders too much, I have to curb it. But as I’m living, I’m learning that nothing is really simple but everything really is. See, we’re the ones who complicate things, creating unnecessary conflicts in areas where conflict does not exist. Things in themselves are quite simple. Just watch how children operate and you’ll see; they want something they go for it, they think something they say it, they don’t curb themselves. Children don’t tip-toe around “sensitive” topics. Children don’t bullshit. Children are raw. I guess I’ve lived about 30 years but my birth certificate says I’ve only lived 23 but my soul, my soul is about as old as a 5 year old’s soul.  

849 people killed across Iraq in January

Baghdad, Feb 1 (IANS) At least 849 Iraqis were killed and 1,450 wounded in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in January across Iraq, a UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement on Monday.


The statement said that a total of 490 civilians and 359 security members were killed, while 1,157 civilians, including 47 civilian policemen, and 293 security members, were wounded.

The UNAMI excluded the casualties in Anbar province where fierce clashes were underway between the Iraqi forces and the Islamic State militant group which has seized most of the province, Xinhua reported.

“In general, the UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas,” it said, adding that “the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.”

It added that there are an unknown number of people who died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicine and health care.

According to the statement, Iraqi capital Baghdad was the worst affected province with 1,084 civilian casualties, including 299 killed and 785 injured, while the provinces of Diyala, Nineveh, Kirkuk and Salahudin followed in the list.

Iraq is currently witnessing a wave of violence since the IS terrorist group took control of parts of the country’s northern and western regions in June 2014.

Blast at Turkish school injures 5 students

ANKARA, Turkey - Suspected Kurdish militants hurled a hand-made explosive device at a middle school in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Friday, injuring five students, officials said.

The attack targeted the Celebi Eser middle school in Diyarbakir’s Baglar district on the last day of school when students receive report cards before a winter break, regional education official Adnan Hurata told the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkey’s security forces are fighting militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in Diyarbakir’s historic Sur district. Authorities are enforcing a 24-hour curfew in Sur as the security forces press ahead with large-scale operations to rout out the militants. A Turkish human rights group says more than 160 civilians have been killed since August, caught up in the conflict raging in urban areas.

All five students were hospitalized but none of them is in serious condition, Hurata said.

The Kurdish rebel group, which wants autonomy for Kurds in southeastern Turkey, has targeted schools in the past because it oppose the Turkish education system, which it says aims to assimilate Kurds.

In Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, and said it “demonstrates the extent of the immoral and vile initiatives this terror organization is undertaking.”

Erdogan took the opportunity to renew an attack on a group of more than 1,000 academicians whom he has accused of treason for signing a declaration earlier this month calling for an end to Turkey’s military operations. Prosecutors have launched investigations into the scholars for alleged terrorist propaganda and some 20 of them were briefly detained for questioning, raising further concerns over freedom of expression in Turkey.

“These so-called academics have clearly showed whose side they are on,” Erdogan said.

Fighting between the PKK and the security forces reignited in July, shattering a two-year-old peace process that aiming to end the three-decade conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.

There was no immediate statement from the rebels on the explosion.

Wasil’s story

Momcilo Gavric joined the Serbian army at eight, after his family was murdered by the Austro-Hungarian forces. Gavric, the youngest soldier in World War I, was, however, more fortunate than most minor boys — and girls — compelled to take up guns, or wear suicide belts, in the world’s worst conflict-ridden areas. After the war, Gavric went to England briefly to study, and despite enduring imprisonment by the Germans and tussles with Tito’s regime, lived to be a father and died in 1993, two years into the Yugoslav civil war. Wasil Ahmad, the 10-year-old Afghan boy celebrated for his role in battling the Taliban in a siege last summer, and now killed by the Taliban for the same reason, would never know what it’s like to be a young man or to grow old.

Wasil’s is the story of the child in combat, across continents and cultures. Militants — Islamists as well as anti-Islamist militias, drug cartels and ethnic warrior outfits — continue to use children in the line of conflict, as soldiers, messengers, spies and human shields. Any encouragement or legitimisation by the state of the use of children in conflict is doubly worrisome. By feting Wasil, the boy who picked up the gun after his policeman father was killed by the Taliban, the provincial government may have ended up publicising him as a target for the militants. Undoubtedly, the Taliban’s crime is paramount. Yet, the public celebrations of him, despite President Ashraf Ghani’s strict orders last year against the use of children in security forces and pro-government militias, were also fraught with dangers.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child proclaims the inadmissibility of those below 15 in direct hostilities. Yet, two and a half decades since its adoption, states and societies haven’t done enough. It’s still only a hope that war-zone children will hold on to their childhood.

114 armored vehicles to be deployed in Mindanao

CAMP O’DONNELL, Tarlac — The Army is deploying most of the 114 newly refurbished units of M113A2 armored fighting vehicles in Mindanao even as senior defense officials are confident that security in the region will remain stable despite the approaching elections and the failure of Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin yesterday said the M13A2s would be deployed to ensure order in areas where they are needed most.

“They will be deployed in conflict-stricken areas where it can operate on terrain suited for armored operations,” Gazmin said.

There were reports that tension is brewing in several areas in Mindanao after Congress did not pass the BBL.

Compounding this security concern is the upcoming national elections, following reports that local warlords have started massing up their private armies.

Gazmin admitted that the failure of Congress to pass the BBL has created some sort of tension among some Mindanaoans but the majority are just taking this in stride.

“There’s a little bit of tension. Some people and some of our population are disappointed because of the non-passage of the BBL despite the long deliberations. Others understand the process and everyone is taking it in stride for as long as the peace process continues,” Gazmin said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri said he is confident while some were disappointed over the turn of events, the non-passage of BBL will not result in any major atrocities.

He said BBL is one of the many processes in the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Remember that the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) still exists and that serves as a framework to pursue peace. We have not abandoned our commitment to the Bangsamoro for peace,” Iriberri said.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año said despite the BBL debacle, the military and MILF leadership are not giving up trying to find lasting peace in Mindanao.

“We are constantly communicating with the MILf leadership who assured us that they no longer want to return to fighting,” Año said.

Total conducting seismic testing on Congo oil block

KINSHASA (Reuters) - French oil major Total is conducting seismic testing on a block it operates in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a company spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday, making it the first oil major to conduct such testing in the country.

Congo produces just 25,000 barrels of oil per day along its Atlantic coast in the west but hopes that further exploration offshore and near Lake Albert, which straddles the eastern border with Uganda, will boost that figure significantly in coming years.

Total holds a 66.66 percent stake in Block 3, located along Lake Albert. Semliki Sarl, majority owned by South Africa-based SacOil, and the Congolese state hold minority stakes.

Total acquired its exploration licence in January 2012 but has had to contend with persistent insecurity in the conflict-ravaged area caused by rebel groups.

The spokeswoman did not provide additional details about the testing.

Crude deposits were first discovered in the Albertine rift basin by Uganda in 2006. Uganda estimates the reserves on its side of the border at 6.5 billion barrels and some experts believe Congo could have a similar quantity.

Research and exploratory findings based on seismic testing by a company owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler on two other blocks in northeastern Congo suggest they could contain reserves of close to 1.5 billion barrels of oil, the company has said.

Campaign groups have criticised oil exploration on both sides of the border, saying it risks disturbing the ecosystem in Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorilla and other rare species.

One-third of Block 3’s acreage is located inside Virunga but Total has promised not to explore in or near the 7,800-square-kilometre park.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross in Kinshasa; Additional reporting by Bate Felix in Paris; editing by Susan Thomas)

South Asian Women MPs demand stronger role for women in politics, diplomacy(Update)

New Delhi, Feb.3 (ANI): Time has come for political parties to give 33 percent tickets to women in elections, Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament of India asserted, while advocating stronger representation of women in diplomacy at a special session co-hosted by the Ananta Centre and the High Commission of Canada with South Asian Women Parliamentarians earlier today.

The initiative was aimed at building a dialogue between women MPs from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal and creating awareness on the challenges to increased participation of women in political and economic spheres.

“Qualities are neither feminine nor masculine, and yet there exists a glass ceiling beyond which women cannot grow. They are systemically kept out of decision making processes. Conflict resolution is one area where they need to play a role. I feel that when you bring a women into decision making, you are not empowering women, but the society itself. The time has come for each recognized party to give 33 percent tickets to women in elections. Any party that does not give 33% ticket to women must not be allowed to contest,” said Lekhi.

“Women are worst affected in conflict situations, and hence we must have more women in international discussions,” said Chandrani Bandara Jayasinghe, Member of Parliament and Minister (Sri Lanka)

“Afghan women are very vulnerable due to the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan. Women can be agents of peace and drive change with their resilience,” asserted Naheed Farid, Member of Parliament (Afghanistan).

“Women are more focused on seeking consensus and promoting agenda for peace. They are naturally equipped with diplomatic skills, including negotiation and decision-making. Women diplomats have access to rural and conservative households, and can bring out voices of other vulnerable women. Diplomacy of the 21st century must be one of equal representation,” said Chhaya Sharma Pant, Member of Parliament (Nepal).

“Across South Asia, we see that economic independence of women is very important for social and political empowerment. In the context of terrorism, women can play a very important role if they are part of diplomacy, as they are good negotiators. Women are empowered in the corporate sector and businesses, but we need more women in public life, in politics and government. I feel women are not trusted with senior ministerial positions,” said Maiza Hameed, Member of Parliament (Pakistan).

The regional tour of the Women Parliamentarians involved programmes in Colombo and New Delhi. In New Delhi, the delegates engaged and interacted with think tanks, women’s organizations, students and the media - deliberating on topics ranging from women in international affairs to economic independence and empowerment through skilling, among others.

Ananta Centre is an independent organization registered under the Indian Trust Act. It focuses on leadership development and encourages frank and open dialogue on the most important issues facing Indian society, to help foster its transformation.

The Centre also engages civil society, business, governments and other key stakeholders on issues of importance to India’s development, foreign policy, strategic affairs and national security. (ANI)

Applied Memetics - An Arlington Oddity

Applied Memetics, LLC is a social media marketing (read: manipulation) company based in Arlington, Virginia. It was founded by ex-CIA member Dan Gabriel, who recently came under fire on social media for publishing false tweets and pamphlets claiming that Ben Carson had dropped out of the presidential race during last night’s Iowa Caucus in order to redirect votes to Ted Cruz.

i.imgur.com/CZ8oqEs.png (evidence of tweets)

The company claims to bring “independent journalism” to areas lacking press freedom such as Cuba on its front page, but a deeper look paints them as more of an intelligence-agency-for-hire. Services like remote SIGINT collection (lifting text messages, phone calls, internet data), mass SMS propaganda broadcasting, and “leverage”, whatever that means, through social media like WhatsApp.

Applied Memetics lists a number of partners they have worked with in the past including Voice of America (US propaganda outlet used in conflict areas), the IT wing of the Veterans Affairs office, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. It seems more and more as though their journalism isn’t quite as “independent” as they claim.

AM states that their mission is to generate “engineered influence” for their clients. This is accomplished through “exploiting and leveraging perception to create new realities on the ground”.

It would seem that these new realities are engineered for the benefit of government interests, as stated here:  “Simultaneously, state and non-state actors around the globe face a similar major challenge: harnessing the evolution of new, pervasive and powerful information and communication technologies.  Recent unrest in the Arab world, facilitated by these same trends, has underscored the need for governments to incorporate holistic approaches to governance in an age of social media.”

And here.

Our work is grounded in sociology, cognitive psychology, and information systems analysis.  In each of our projects, we define political outcomes in a variety of temporal ranges: a clearly articulated plan for achieving them; an understanding of audience receptivity and opposition levels; a clearly conceptualized delivery method; and, most importantly, a system of measuring success we call metrics. “

Refugee crisis: Children face malnutrition and freezing temperatures in Balkans winter weather

Of the 1.2 million refugees and migrants who applied for asylum in Europe in 2015, nearly 350,000 were children – many of them minors without their parents. Britain has said it will take in some unaccompanied refugee children from Syria, north Africa and other conflict areas, but did not say how many. This is in addition to the 20,000 Syrian refugees the government has pledged to take in by 2020.

Migrants and refugees have had to brave temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius (5F) to cross frozen Balkan borders en route to western Europe, visibly unprepared for winter and in increasing danger from the cold. Men, women and children covered in blankets have been forced to sleep rough in tents or next to bonfires in the open. Save the Children said that women, children and babies are in danger of contracting hypothermia.

Migrants have been arriving in Serbia with blue lips, distressed and shaking from the cold. Exhausted mothers have told the group’s aid workers they are unable to keep their babies warm and dry, and that some have slipped while carrying them on icy roads. The United Nations and aid agencies have warned that children are at risk of freezing to death given their lack of adequate clothing or access to sufficient nutrition.

Many of the people making this arduous journey are fleeing conflict zones such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, where millions of people are gripped by hunger, struggling to survive with little help from the outside world. Children suffer from severe malnutrition, their parents often having to beg or sell possessions to get basic commodities including water, medicine and fuel. According to the UN children’s agency, malnutrition is a major threat for millions of refugees.

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Spread the Health
External image

Flu season is set to peak in February, so the best time to get a flu shot, if you haven’t already, is right now. (Seriously, like today.) It takes 1-2 weeks after you get your shot for you to become immune.

There’s nothing good about the flu. It costs Americans billions of dollars in medical bills and lost wages every year. Between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die annually because of it. The most vulnerable suffer the most: the elderly, pregnant women, and young children. This is especially true beyond our borders where preventable disease plagues children caught in areas of conflict.

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