Saturday, October 08, 2005
Quake kills hundreds in India, Pakistan
Saturday 08 October 2005 9:49 AM GMT
A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the Pakistan-India border reduced villages to rubble, triggered landslides and flattened an apartment building, killing more than 1000 people in both nations.
Pakistan's army called Saturday's devastation "a national tragedy".
In the capitals of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, buildings shook and walls swayed for about a minute, and panicked people ran from their homes and offices.
Tremors continued for hours afterward. Communications throughout the region were cut.
About 1000 people died in Pakistani Kashmir, said Sardar Mohammed Anwar, the top government official in the area.
"This is my conservative guess, and the death toll could be much higher," Anwar told Pakistan's Aaj television station. He said most homes in Muzaffarabad, the area's capital, were damaged, and schools and hospitals collapsed.
At least 550 people died in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, the local police chief said.
"The death toll is between 550 and 600 in North West Frontier Province and it is likely to rise," Riffat Pasha, the provincial head of police told AFP.
Another police official said more than 500 people had died in the province's remote districts of Mansehra and Malakand.
"We still do not have any full death count but the reports sent by different police stations say between 500 to 600 people have died," Mansehra police official Mohammad Asghar told AFP.
The quake, which occurred directly on the dividing line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled zones of Kashmir, triggered landslides and sent terrified residents fleeing into the streets.
Senior Pakistani officials described scenes of "massive devastation".
Thirty-five people were feared killed when a courtroom and two schools collapsed in northern Pakistan during the huge quake, police and officials said.
The Pakistani military said that at least one village in Kashmir had been destroyed and that troops and helicopters had been scrambled to reach the stricken areas.
"There are reports of buildings collapsing in several cities in central Pakistan. We have no exact estimates, but the casualties could be very high," said one Pakistani official, asking to remain anonymous.
The Indian army said at least 31 people - 16 civilians and 15 soldiers - had been killed in the Indian-controlled zone of Kashmir and about 300 taken to hospital.
Indian army spokesman P Sehgal said many soldiers had died when their positions caved in along the line of control, the heavily-militarised de facto border which divides Kashmir into Indian- and Pakistani-administered zones.
Sehgal said others were hit by falling trees and landslides.
The US Geological Survey and the Pakistan Meteorological Department said the quake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, while the Japanese Meteorological Agency put the temblor higher at 7.8.
The epicentre was around 100km northeast of Islamabad, according to most agencies, although the Earth Sciences Observatory in the French city of Strasbourg said the epicentre was just inside Indian Kashmir.
The divided territory of Kashmir is claimed in full by India and Pakistan. Thousands of troops face off on each side of the line of control and the two countries have fought two wars over the territory.
The quake shook the desert town of Quetta, 700km southwest of Islamabad as well as the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, 500km north of the Pakistani capital.
In Islamabad, part of an 11-storey apartment block collapsed leaving dozens of people trapped and neighbours clawing at the rubble in an attempt to free them.
Bloodstained people could be seen trapped beneath huge stone slabs at the scene while desperate cries for help could be heard.
A school in the nearby city of Rawalpindi also came down, killing one child and injuring six others, while Afghan officials said at least two children had been killed near the town of Jalalabad.
Witnesses in Islamabad said the ground shook for more than 30 seconds, rocking buildings and causing widespread panic. A second, less severe jolt lasted about five seconds.
Many mosques in Islamabad started reciting special prayers straight afterwards.
The quake was felt strongly in Indian Kashmir, causing panic and bringing people pouring out onto the streets of the summer capital, Srinagar.
"This is the strongest earthquake I have ever witnessed in my life"
"This is the strongest earthquake I have ever witnessed in my life," said Aisha Begum, 84.
Screams were heard from across Srinagar as people fled homes, shops and offices fearing they would be buried under rubble.
Doctors at Srinagar's main hospital said more than 200 people were admitted with injuries and shock, while more than 100 people were being treated at an army hospital in the northern town of Uri alone.
The tremor also brought down part of the state-owned television's main transmitter tower on a hill overlooking Srinagar.
The disputed Kashmir region is an area of high seismic activity that lies in the collision zone of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
FROM PERSONAL BLOGS
Sat Oct 8 13:17:15 2005
Name: VINEET SANTOSHI
Quake Experience: I was driving my bike to office on red signle my bike is moving like a boat i was supriesed every body was looking each other this nature
City: New Delhi
Sat Oct 8 13:17:46 2005
Quake Experience: Everything was quiet.Suddenly things started shaking.. we could see shaking window blinds and everbody was havin an indifferent and experience
City: New Delhi
Sat Oct 8 13:18:04 2005
Name: Sunil Macwan
Quake Experience: Never to say....This was a great exp. of my life....like a high BP of a man, the heart beat increased.. the same way i wast felt the earth beats...
Sat Oct 8 13:18:19 2005
Quake Experience: i was waiting for my friend outside her hostel suddenly i found that someone is pushing me after some time i realize that it was earthquake
Sat Oct 8 13:18:32 2005
Name: A.Murali Reddy.
Quake Experience: I am In Kabul it is around 8-30 am just I am reading my mails on laptop suddenly on my table laptop shaking little bit immediately run away from office, but still I have fear may be earth quake come again. A. Murali Reddy.
Sat Oct 8 13:18:47 2005
Name: Abhijit Das
Quake Experience: Our aquarium in our house in New Delhi crashed onto the ground and the sofa moved from one end to the other.
City: New Delhi
Sat Oct 8 13:19:09 2005
Quake Experience: I wremember the time as i was jus lookin at my watch.we were waiting for our college bus.me and my friends were sitting on a platform. I felt a sudden movement I initially felt that it was my head that was spinning. , so when everyone felt the same way we then thought it was the platform. When we reached college, we got to know that it was a quake.
Sat Oct 8 13:19:24 2005
Quake Experience: i was talking to my colleague, when we felt a sudden tremor and saw the computers shaking and the fan swinging, all the people in the office started vacating luckily nobody got injured, and there was no damage to building, but pretty horrifying experience.
City: New Delhi
Sat Oct 8 13:19:52 2005
Quake Experience: I WAS NOT ABLE EVEN TO FEEL IT
Sat Oct 8 13:20:05 2005
Quake Experience: I was in office..... and it was like somebody is pushing my chair then after few minutes i came to know that its earthquake... but its tooooooooooooo scary... Thanks to God Almighty that we are safe
City: Vaishali (Ghaziabad)
Sat Oct 8 13:20:19 2005
Quake Experience: Arround 9:25 am my computer started shaking, I thought its elelc. prob.Next my chair started shaking.I thought my friend is doing something.but he was bussy with pfone.Then i saw almira it was also swaying.Then i saw the one cable which was shaking.At that moment i relised tha it is an earthquake.Me & my friend rushed to open space.
Sat Oct 8 13:20:56 2005
Name: juned umer
Quake Experience: Today morning at 9.25 am I am sitting down infront my computer in the office. suddenly something is hanging in our top. I so anxes. In running out the office. We are so nerves & after 10 minutes we are relaxing. J&K is very upset God bless him.
Sat Oct 8 13:20:57 2005
Name: G. Agrawal
Quake Experience: Well it was around 9.00 I was standing in my factory which has a small water pool. Suddenly the water starts shaking and the 1/3 water just overlowed. Then I hear the clattering of the factory windows. By the time we evacuated the building it was all over. We could see the entire shed shaking. Luckily there was no damage caused.
Sat Oct 8 13:21:00 2005
Name: T R Balakrishnan
Quake Experience: Not felt in New Mumbai
City: New Mumbai,Maharashtra
Sat Oct 8 13:21:17 2005
Quake Experience: As you know it is the holy month of our ramzan going on, we slept so late after taking sehri(pre dawn meal)but we had to wake up early yo attend office.I was reciting Quran in loud voice and my mother was also in other room. We live at the fourth floor of our building. Suddenly i felt some viberations. I adjusted my chair as it is of some shaking nature and started again on Quran but again i felt even the table over which i was doing the same. I looked back my sister was on her bed in other room complaining that some thing has moved inside her bed and viberating it my mother also felt the same. in no time we took a final nod that this is an earthquake. we started jumping stair by stair but instantly i thought ofmy third floor family whose husband goes office early in the morning she must be left with her two wards she would be feeling helpless. I knocked out her door and lifted her one of the child and asked to run as she by the time now has also felt the tremor. Thus, we all just came out of the building and escaped the high shocking tremors to fall on us.
City: New Delhi
6 for 6 minutes...
It was extremely terrifying. Was sleeping at around 8:45 when suddenly heard a strange sound, 'gaunj' which woke me up for a while but just as I was about to close my eyes for sleep something shook my bed totally. It was the quake. In sleep I failed to recognise it first and tried sleeping again but the second shock was the worst. the whole structure seemed to move for a while. I ran outside trying to go in the street when our maid shouted me to stay where i am and sit down immediately. I din't know what was going on I tried to run again but was again asked to sit down where i stood. I sat on a nearby bench while she recited Kalima in a hoarse voice. The whole house seemed to be moving, shaking badly. Thankfully it stopped soon but it was horrible. I gathered my senses and went to sleep again..
The sound of Geo's broadcaster woke me up from sleep as I heard him talking about the earthquake. I never realised it was that bad till i got to see the television. Margalla Bulding was left to dust, several casualities were reported. They fear that the death toll may rise beyond 1000!. Tauheed Khalla called from Islamabad and told that a crack appeared on one of their walls. The news agency's are only talking about Islamabad and nothern areas not even mentioning Lahore which shows how viscious the quake was over there.
May Allah help us recover from this terrible incident and Save us in future!
Massive tremors rock north India
Massive tremors rocked North India at 9.25 AM on Saturday morning. Tremors measuring 6.8 on the richter scale were felt in Delhi, Srinagar, Amritsar, Patiala, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Dehradun. The quake had its epicentre in Pakistan.
Immediate reports from Jammu & Kashmir say that normal life has been disrupted. Communication lines have been disconnected. People have left their houses and taken refuge under the open sky.
The tremors went on for about thirty seconds and are reported to have also been felt in neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan.
[+] Expand this post
Bala at 12:04:00 AM | 0 comments | Post a Comment | Want to help? | Need help? |
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 08, 2005
Pakistani college closed - Update from Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad
Abbottabad and areas around faced a heavy eartquake (7.6) at 8:42 AM today the 8th September 2005 which resulted in damage to many buildings and have claimed many lives in Abbottabad, Mansehra, Balakot, Garhi Habibullah, Muzafarabad and areas north to this region.
All hospitals in the region are on Red Alert receiving victums of the quake. More than 200 patients have been treated in Ayub Teaching Hospital till now (3:30 PM)
The Surgery Paper B of Final Year MBBS has been posponed while the rest of the examination will be on schedule. The College will remain closed till further order. The hostels have been evacuated as a precaution. For more information please email, call +92-(992)-381907 or send a fax to +92-(992)-382321
Source: Ayub Medical College
Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) at 11:38:00 PM | 0 comments | Post a Comment | Want to help? | Need help? |
Fearing aftershocks, Pakistan hospital treats wounded outdoors
Lying on makeshift beds on a hospital lawn in this northwestern Pakistani hill town, some screaming in pain, hundreds of men, women and children wait for help. But they have to stay there for now, because doctors say the monster earthquake that rumbled through the region early Saturday could have made the building dangerous.
"We feel it is unsafe to keep patients inside," Amir Shah, a senior doctor at the Ayub hospital in Abbotabad, told AFP.
Already at breaking point because of the flood of victims and a shortage of supplies, vilent aftershocks added to the worry.
From MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES
TEAM AT ASIAN EARTHQUAKE ZONE
MSF has a staff of three who recently arrived in the Pakistani area to start a project on safe motherhood. The focus now is to mobiize more staff and supplies to the region.
An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale struck in the north of Pakistan this morning, just 80 kms north of the Pakistan capital, Islamabad. The affected area runs from the north of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Kashmir.
The damage throughout the affected region is considerable and the number of victims is expected to be high. Immediate media estimates anticipate over 1,000 feared dead.
MSF was already present in the area with three expats in the village of Lamnian in Pakistani Kashmir, some 15 kilometers from the line of control with Indian Kashmir and close to the epicentre of the earthquake. The three are a project coordinator, logistician and nurse and were about to start a project there and were hiring national staff.
The village has been completely destroyed, including the clinic where we are about to start working and the MSF house. The project would focus on safe motherhood. All team members are fine.
The Pakistani army is responding with big logistical/medical capacity
MSF is now focusing to getting reponse capacity to the region. Stocks from Quetta, Dubai and Mumbai will be moved up to the north and MSF is looking into how to get additional resources in the country; cargo as well as people (blankets; jerrycans; sleeping mats and tents) ...
Friday, October 07, 2005
It so happens that on some Friday’s I just reprint an article of interest or importance from another source en lieu of the Oread Daily. Today, my friends, is such a day.
The following is taken from MotherJones.com
The Other Hurricane
Has the Age of Chaos begun?
October 07 , 2005
The genesis of two category-five hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) in a row over the Gulf of Mexico is an unprecedented and troubling occurrence. But for most tropical meteorologists the truly astonishing "storm of the decade" took place in March 2004. Hurricane Catarina -- so named because it made landfall in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina -- was the first recorded south Atlantic hurricane in history.
Textbook orthodoxy had long excluded the possibility of such an event; sea temperatures, experts claimed, were too low and wind shear too powerful to allow tropical depressions to evolve into cyclones south of the Atlantic Equator. Indeed, forecasters rubbed their eyes in disbelief as weather satellites down-linked the first images of a classical whirling disc with a well-formed eye in these forbidden latitudes.
In a series of recent meetings and publications, researchers have debated the origin and significance of Catarina. A crucial question is this: Was Catarina simply a rare event at the outlying edge of the normal bell curve of South Atlantic weather -- just as, for example, Joe DiMaggio's incredible 56-game hitting streak in 1941 represented an extreme probability in baseball (an analogy made famous by Stephen Jay Gould) -- or was Catarina a "threshold" event, signaling some fundamental and abrupt change of state in the planet's climate system?
Scientific discussions of environmental change and global warming have long been haunted by the specter of nonlinearity. Climate models, like econometric models, are easiest to build and understand when they are simple linear extrapolations of well-quantified past behavior; when causes maintain a consistent proportionality to their effects.
But all the major components of global climate -- air, water, ice, and vegetation -- are actually nonlinear: At certain thresholds they can switch from one state of organization to another, with catastrophic consequences for species too finely-tuned to the old norms. Until the early 1990s, however, it was generally believed that these major climate transitions took centuries, if not millennia, to accomplish. Now, thanks to the decoding of subtle signatures in ice cores and sea-bottom sediments, we know that global temperatures and ocean circulation can, under the right circumstances, change abruptly -- in a decade or even less.
The paradigmatic example is the so-called "Younger Dryas" event, 12,800 years ago, when an ice dam collapsed, releasing an immense volume of meltwater from the shrinking Laurentian ice-sheet into the Atlantic Ocean via the instantly-created St. Lawrence River. This "freshening" of the North Atlantic suppressed the northward conveyance of warm water by the Gulf Current and plunged Europe back into a thousand-year ice age.
Abrupt switching mechanisms in the climate system ? such as relatively small changes in ocean salinity -- are augmented by causal loops that act as amplifiers. Perhaps the most famous example is sea-ice albedo: The vast expanses of white, frozen Arctic Ocean ice reflect heat back into space, thus providing positive feedback for cooling trends; alternatively, shrinking sea-ice increases heat absorption, accelerating both its own further melting and planetary warming.
Thresholds, switches, amplifiers, chaos -- contemporary geophysics assumes that earth history is inherently revolutionary. This is why many prominent researchers -- especially those who study topics like ice-sheet stability and North Atlantic circulation -- have always had qualms about the consensus projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world authority on global warming.
In contrast to Bushite flat-Earthers and shills for the oil industry, their skepticism has been founded on fears that the IPCC models fail to adequately allow for catastrophic nonlinearities like the Younger Dryas. Where other researchers model the late 21st-century climate that our children will live with upon the precedents of the Altithermal (the hottest phase of the current Holocene period, 8000 years ago) or the Eemian (the previous, even warmer interglacial episode, 120,000 years ago), growing numbers of geophysicists toy with the possibilities of runaway warming returning the earth to the torrid chaos of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM: 55 million years ago) when the extreme and rapid heating of the oceans led to massive extinctions.
Dramatic new evidence has emerged recently that we may be headed, if not back to the dread, almost inconceivable PETM, then to a much harder landing than envisioned by the IPCC.
As I flew toward Louisiana and the carnage of Katrina three weeks ago, I found myself reading the August 23rd issue of EOS, the newsletter of the American Geophysical Union. I was pole-axed by an article entitled "Arctic System on Trajectory to New, Seasonally Ice-Free State," co-authored by 21 scientists from almost as many universities and research institutes. Even two days later, walking among the ruins of the Lower Ninth Ward, I found myself worrying more about the EOS article than the disaster surrounding me.
The article begins with a recounting of trends familiar to any reader of the Tuesday science section of the New York Times: For almost 30 years, Arctic sea ice has been thinning and shrinking so dramatically that "a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean within a century is a real possibility." The scientists, however, add a new observation -- that this process is probably irreversible. "Surprisingly, it is difficult to identify a single feedback mechanism within the Arctic that has the potency or speed to alter the system's present course."
An ice-free Arctic Ocean has not existed for at least one million years and the authors warn that the Earth is inexorably headed toward a "super-interglacial" state "outside the envelope of glacial-interglacial fluctuations that prevailed during recent Earth history." They emphasize that within a century global warming will probably exceed the Eemian temperature maximum and thus obviate all the models that have made this their essential scenario. They also suggest that the total or partial collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet is a real possibility -- an event that would definitely throw a Younger Dryas wrench into the Gulf Current.
If they are right, then we are living on the climate equivalent of a runaway train that is picking up speed as it passes the stations marked "Altithermal" and "Eemian." "Outside the envelope," moreover, means that we are not only leaving behind the serendipitous climatic parameters of the Holocene -- the last 10,000 years of mild, warm weather that have favored the explosive growth of agriculture and urban civilization -- but also those of the late Pleistocene that fostered the evolution of Homo sapiens in eastern Africa.
Other researchers undoubtedly will contest the extraordinary conclusions of the EOS article and -- we must hope -- suggest the existence of countervailing forces to this scenario of an Arctic albedo catastrophe. But for the time being, at least, research on global change is pointing toward worst-case scenarios.
All of this, of course, is a perverse tribute to industrial capitalism and extractive imperialism as geological forces so formidable that they have succeeded in scarcely more than two centuries -- indeed, mainly in the last fifty years -- in knocking the earth off its climatic pedestal and propelling it toward the nonlinear unknown.
The demon in me wants to say: Party and make merry. No need now to worry about Kyoto, recycling your aluminum cans, or using too much toilet paper, when, soon enough, we'll be debating how many hunter-gathers can survive in the scorching deserts of New England or the tropical forests of the Yukon.
The good parent in me, however, screams: How is it possible that we can now contemplate with scientific seriousness whether our children's children will themselves have children? Let Exxon answer that in one of their sanctimonious ads.
Mike Davis is the author of many books including City of Quartz, Dead Cities and Other Tales, and the just published Monster at Our Door, The Global Threat of Avian Flu (The New Press) as well as the forthcoming Planet of Slums (Verso).
Copyright 2005 Mike Davis
This piece first appeared, with an introduction by Tom Engelhardt, at Tomdispatch.com.
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This article has been made possible by the Foundation for National Progress, the Investigative Fund of Mother Jones, and gifts from generous readers like you.
© 2005 The Foundation for National Progress
For Immediate Release:7/10/2005
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Philip McGuigan, has said that he found it quite sad that the SDLP excluded members of his party from attending a ‘North-South Makes Sense’ conference in Derry. All parties that have representatives in the Dáil were invited to attend the conference except for Sinn Féin members.
Mr McGuigan said:
“The decision by the SDLP to exclude members of Sinn Féin from a conference on promoting North-South co-operation, a premise that we totally adhere to, is in my opinion both childish and hypocritical.
“The politics of exclusion is something that is more commonly found in the DUP and it saddens me that the SDLP feel it is necessary to go down this road. Sinn Féin is a big supporter of further North-South co-operation, indeed we are the only party that operates across the entire island, and it seems absolutely ludicrous that the SDLP is penalising us because of this.
“The fact that parties such as the Conservative Progressive Democrats will be attending this conference – a party which is quite happy for partition to remain in place – whilst Sinn Féin is discriminated against is something that speaks for itself. It makes sense for the SDLP and Sinn Féin to be working together to promote North-South co-operation and indeed a united Ireland. Exclusion and alienation doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The Korea Times is reporting on the unionization of lay Buddhists working at the Samkwang Temple in the southern port city of Pusan.
Around 30 ``Bodhisattvas’’ who work as security guards, parking agents and cooks at the Temple have been at odds with temple management for a while now and have recently joined the Pusan branch of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). Bodhisattva, in this case, refers to a lay Buddhist who vows to live by compassion and seek enlightenment while serving priests and working for the temple administration.
Last Saturday the workers gathered in front of the temple gates with other labor activists carrying sings and banners with such messages as ``Stop Unfair Labor’’ and ``Be Sincere in Negotiations.’’
``Even though most of us have been working hard here for more than a decade, the temple doesn’t treat us as workers but as volunteers. They see no need to compensate us for our labor,’’ a Bodhisattva claimed. ``The temple should be quick in coming to the negotiation table and listening to complaints about its unappreciation for our sacrifices,’’ he said.
The temple says the workers are just volunteers. ``They don’t have legal status as employees. And the temple is not in the position to improve their working conditions,’’ a temple official said.
In July, lay Buddhist workers at the Central Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism filed an application with the order’s regional office to create their own union. A decision has not yet been made. If the union is permitted, it will be the first union of Buddhists in Korea.
``The union will help Buddhist management be responsible to its laypeople,’’ said a member of the would-be first Buddhist union. ``There are corruption scandals popping out from the Buddhist community. And we think the Buddhist union will also be helpful in preventing them,’’ he said.
But it isn’t just Buddhists.
Lee Kil-won, pastor of Kyonggin Church in Inchon, created the first Christian labor union in Korea in May 2004. The union caused concern in the Christian community, as critics said struggle and conflict accompanied with union activities oppose the Christian principle of love. However, the union is getting positive reactions so far, mainly for its activities to help church workers who were unfairly dismissed to be reinstated.
``Unionization doesn’t infringe on religious principles. Rather, it helps workers facing unfair working conditions at churches gain their rights as workers,’’ Lee told the Korea Times. ``Every religious organization should take responsibility for its hired workers. As we have set a precedent, it will not be as difficult for them (Buddhists) to have one,’’ he said.
And it isn’t just Korea.
Religious workers in the United Kingdom have been organizing for almost five years. In 2000 nearly 2,000 letters were sent by Reverend Paul Flowers to Methodist ministers and deacons across Great Britain urging them to join a trade union – the Transport and General Workers' Union. Rev. Flowers told the Telegraph and Argus at the time the move was not an expression of dissatisfaction with the church's hierarchy. It was merely to provide his colleagues with a professional body to represent them and create a forum where issues could be raised with the church. The additional benefit clearly of being in a trade union is that it is independent of the church structures. We hope that it could be seen as a useful forum to talk through issues."
Last year after Rev. Flowers was nominated to sit on a government working group set up to examine employment rights in religious organizations. At that time he said, “The absence of any clear guidance for the employment of the clergy means officials often lack the full protection of the law. The T&G has been involved in a number of cases where officials are concerned by unfair dismissal and discrimination.” Many religious officials are considered self-employed which has given rise to problems of employment protection.
And now members of what is believed to be the first workers' union in a Roman Catholic Church say church leaders are trying to break the labor contract and undermine the union. The charges involve lay workers at churches in the Diocese of Brownsville who signed up with the United Farm Workers in 2003.
"During the two years since Aug. 18, 2003, the agreement signed before Judge Ramirez has been broken, and the employees in the diocese and at Holy Spirit have suffered terribly," Rebecca Flores, a spokeswoman for the workers, wrote in a news release.
The union has drawn praise from liberal Catholic Church groups like Call to Action, which said the church should be applying its own teachings about workers' rights in its own backyard. “The Catholic Church has always been at the forefront of supporting workers, yet I don't know of any group of employees that is treated more unfairly than the employees of the Catholic Church," Call to Action spokeswoman Linda Pieczynski said.
Meanwhile, volumes of anecdotal experience suggest, as two Vanderbilt University sociologists concluded in an AFL-CIO-commissioned study, anti-union campaigns at Catholic hospitals are indistinguishable from anti-union campaigns in the corporate world. It's no mystery as to why.
To respond to union organizing drives, they hire the same consulting firms, companies that specialize in "union avoidance."
Yet, most national church bodies are unequivocal on the right of workers to form unions, and issue statements periodically reaffirming the principle.
"The Church fully supports the right of workers to form unions," declared the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in one of several such statements. "No one may deny the right to organize without attacking human dignity first; therefore we firmly oppose organized efforts to “prevent workers from organizing." Sources: Northwest Labor Press, Star Telegram (Texas), T and G News, Telegraph & Argus (UK), Korean International Labor Federation, Korea Times
A group of protesters organized by the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LPC) demonstrated at the site of a proposed power plant in Yaphank, New York on Tuesday. The group accused the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) of racism and of dumping on their neighborhoods.
The protesters said the proposal by the Manhattan-based Caithness Energy to build a 326-megawatt plant near the low-income, black neighborhood of North Bellport would unfairly burden a community already living in the shadow of the Brookhaven Town landfill. They asked LIPA to instead look at repowering existing plants and alternative energy.
"When people think of North Bellport, they think of a poor community, a minority community," Maurice Mitchell, project coordinator of the Long Island Progressive Coalition told Newsday. "We think LIPA is siting their plant here because they think the people won't fight back."
Organizers were curious as to why several environmental groups declined invitations to join the protest. "We just don't understand, because we believed that all environmental groups oppose power plants," said coalition director Lisa Tyson. "Just because this is a poor community, doesn't mean we don't put resources into it."
Richard Amper, executive director of the Pine Barrens Society, an environmental group situated on Long Island said his group is not opposing the plant because Caithness agreed to build outside the Pine Barrens. "Would we love it if we could supply all of Long Island's energy needs with wind turbines and solar cells? Yes!" Amper said. "Is that realistic? No." According to Newsday Amper accused the LPC of “playing the race card.”
Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, agreed. "This type of egregious accusations don't change the scientific fact that this plant is a cleaner, safer technology," she said. Esposito recently was quoted as saying, "I know no one likes a power plant in their neighborhood, but we have to have power, and it's going to come from somewhere."
Both of these environmental groups seem unable to understand the question of environmental racism being raised by the LPC, a community-based organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development, revitalizing local communities, enhancing human dignity, creating effective democracy, and achieving economic, social, and racial justice.
And then there is Caithness Energy which doesn’t even seem to accept the fact that the affected communities exist.
Ross Ain, senior vice president Caithness Energy told the Long Island Press recently that the new plant will be a bonus for Long Island. "This plant will be the most efficient plant on Long Island from an energy standpoint," says Ain. "We save on water, we save on fuel, we save dramatically on air emissions. And we're not in anybody's backyard."
Well, at least, not in the backyard of wealthy Long Islanders anyway.
The plant would be in the neighborhood, if not the backyard, of Miles Malone, who has lived on Bellport Avenue, less than two miles from the proposed site, all his life. Other neighborhoods surrounding the plant include Gordon Heights, Medford, Bellport, North Bellport, Patchogue and Shirley.
"I'm completely outraged," says Malone, the 39-year-old entrepreneur who is vice chairman of the Central Bellport Civic Association. "If it's so benign and so clean, why don't they put it in the Pine Barrens where really no one lives?"
During a question and answer period with Caithness Energy Senior Vice President Ain earlier this year, Don Seubert, an executive board member of the Medford Taxpayers and Civic Association, expressed concerns that Medford “is in an area that is already impacted with a metal recycling plant, concrete company, auto wreckers, the old Holtsville landfill, the town landfill, sand and gravel facilities, and a 250,000-square-foot warehouse on Sills Road.” Seubert is also concerned about the close proximity of some of Patchogue-Medford’s schools to the site of the proposed power plant. “Our schools are much closer than some of South Country’s schools,” Seubert said. “I also think that we’re going down the same fossil fuel trail with another gas and oil-fired plant that I’m not so sure will displace older plants we already have.”
The LPC and Malone believe that increased supply, via underground cables or upgrades to existing plants, can eliminate the need for additional plants. The Cross Sound Cable to Connecticut has been supplying LI with power since last summer, and the Neptune cable from New Jersey is expected to be connected by 2007 and boost capacity by more than 600 megawatts.
LPC Director Lisa Tyson believes the lack of public outcry may have more to do with the socioeconomics of the proposed location.
"I just find it amazing that when a power plant is proposed on [Spagnoli Road], the community got up in arms, organizations focused on it and they stopped it from happening," she says. She's referring to the opposition that KeySpan Energy faced when planning to put up a plant in tony Melville.
Bellport/North Bellport is not “tony.” It is an economically depressed area, with a Main Street of "junkyards, usurious delis and vacant lots," according to Malone.
"In this community, where there's poverty and they're unable to have that kind of activity on such an issue, where is everyone? Where are those other organizations? Where are the people who oppose power plants?" she continues. "Just because it's in a poor black community should not be a reason why people don't fight it. This is environmental racism at its best—or its worst." Tyson is willing to admit the new plant will be, “… cleaner than traditional power plants, which we are of course happy with. However, she points out, “At the same time, it will still give thousands and thousands of tons of pollution to the Bellport community every year—tons."
The Long Island Press reports the plant which is projected to come on line in May 2008 if a projected timeline is met would be sited in an Empire Zone, a state-designated area that provides incentives for businesses to stimulate depressed local economies. Caithness will save millions of dollars in taxes by locating there, which the company says will be passed onto LIPA.
But even Ain admits that the plant will create few if any new permanent jobs for area residents. The entire facility will employ only about 25 workers, he says, and most of those are specialists who may have to be recruited from elsewhere.
"When you have an Economic Development [Zone], you're trying to lift a particular area out of poverty," says Connie Kepert, a local civic leader who is running for Town Council of the District. "That [plant] doesn't help do that." Sources: Newsday, Long Island Press, Suffolk Life Newspapers, LPC
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
A British judge investigating the killing of teenage prisoner Zahid Mubarek has charged that allegations of racist abuse made by black and Asian inmates are not being properly investigated.
Mubarek, 19, of Walthamstow, east London, was beaten to death by his white cellmate Robert Stewart, a known racist psychopath, at Feltham young offenders' institution in west London.
The judge says that the overwhelming majority of prisoners with mental disorders were not segregated in Britain's jails.
The judge also said that he was told by jailers that allegations of racism involving just the word of an inmate against a prison officer were most often rejected out of hand.
The Scotsman reported the judge added that in cases where an allegation of racism centered on an incontrovertible fact - such as a non-white prisoner being kept on the lowest level of privileges - it appeared to him that investigators looked for ways not to find against the accused officer. He said: "At the end of the day I was not convinced that complaints were being investigated, albeit by officers of goodwill who thought that they were doing a good job. I just got the impression that there were many cases that were passing them by."
Inmates who have been interviewed or taken part in focus groups during the investigation report that allegations of racism are not taken seriously and take months even to be acknowledged. One inmate complained he had been racially abused by a prison officer in September and received a letter the following March, which was dated October, asking him if he still wanted to pursue the complaint.
Inmates reported that Muslims were often picked on for abuse. One said that a Muslim who was kneeling to pray was kicked in the backside by a warder.
Inmates from all races had little confidence that prison officers had enough racial or religious awareness to be able to "effectively offset" potential risks.
The judge conducting the investigation had previously stated, "The position of Muslims in prison is now high on the agenda - not simply because Zahid Mubarek was a Muslim, but also because of the significant increase in Muslim prisoners in recent years, and the possibility of reprisals against them by other prisoners in the wake of recent terrorist outrages."
It has also emerged that an Asian inmate was badly beaten in a racist attack weeks before Zahid Mubarek's murder at the same young offenders' institution. The teenager was left without help for 24 hours and, when he did receive treatment, needed 19 days in hospital with a broken jaw and other injuries. Sources: Huddensfield Daily Examiner (UK), Guardian, Scotsman, Hindustan Times, Islamic Forum Europe
A series of anti-gay incidents has led to an anti-hate rally on the campus of a small Illinois College.
Augustana College, a Private not-for-profit, college operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 2,309 students in Rock Island, Illinois was the scene of a rally attended by several hundred students in response to a series of anti-gay incidents on the Rock Island campus since the semester began.
PRISM — an advocacy group that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students — had its mailbox destroyed and several students had harassing messages like “you are a gay faggot” scrawled on their dorm doors. And in a resident hall lounge, a student was quoted as saying "all homosexuals should die".
"I believe it was a true hate crime," said Augustana junior Elizabeth Janicek who attended the rally. "You don't say things like that to people you don't know anonymously without some very hurtful intentions."
Speakers at the rally voiced their defiance and their solidarity.
“The hateful have left their calling card,” said music professor John Hildreth. “Now we have a message for them: We will not see our community polluted by ignorance, stupidity, fear or hatred.”
“This is not what Augustana is representative of,” said Greg Stopka, the Student Government Association president. “We pride ourselves on being a welcoming campus. We are one community and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
“We’re students, faculty and members of the community gathered together to say ‘not at this college,’ ” said John Maxson, the interim president of the College Democrats.
A statement from the schools President Steve Bahls who was out of town on business was read by Dean Jeff Abernathy. It stated, “Homophobic harassment has no place at Augustana and will not be tolerated in any way. Educational institutions, however, must do more than simply punish perpetrators and promulgate policies ... I urge faculty members, staff members and students to discuss the recent events on campus and the underlying problem of homophobia.” The statement added, "Augustana strongly believes that gay and lesbian people share with all others the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God.”
Kirby Winn, Augustana’s director of public relations stated earlier, “All the way through the process, the college’s role is education,” he said. “People here realize the college is not insulated from bad behavior, and we hope to be judged by the nature of our response rather than the actions of people who are intolerant.”
The rally was a joint effort of PRISM, the Student Government Association, the College Democrats and Campus Ministries. Sources: Quad City Times, Universities.com, WQAD (Quad Cities), Gay News
The Labor/Community Strategy Center & Bus Riders Union invites you to:
An Evening of Los Angeles Solidarity with the
New Orleans and Gulf Coast Movements of Resistance
"Challenging Global Warming, National Oppression, and Racism in the Gulf Coast"
with Special Guests from New Orleans
Curtis Muhammad and Xochitl Bervera
Thursday, October 6th, 7:00pm
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
3300 Wilshire Blvd (2 blocks west of Vermont at Berendo Ave)
(translation and childcare provided)
Damon Azali and Barbara Lott-Holland, Co-Hosts, reporting out on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation conference
Curtis Muhammad, Community Labor United & the People's Hurricane Relief Fund
Xochitl Bervera, Friends & Families of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children
Eric Mann, the launch of "Letter in Support of the movement in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast: Notes on Strategy, and Tactics" (which will be available at event)
Minister Tony Muhammad, Western Regional Representative, Nation of Islam
To engage the LA movement in a political discussion of long term support for the New Orleans/Gulf Coast Movement
To raise at least $20,000 for New Orleans Movement Groups
Admission $5 (no one turned away for inability to pay)
All proceeds (including admission) will go to Community Labor United, the People's Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition (a coalition of over 50 groups in the Gulf Coast)
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (213) 387-2800 ext. 28
Bring your checkbooks, credit cards, and cash so we reach our goal of raising $20,000!
A number of demonstrators were hurt today when Syrian police attacked a sit-in by hundreds of Kurds who were demanding the return of Syrian nationality to thousands who lost it 43 years ago.
"Hundreds of Kurds gathered in Shahbandar Square in Damascus in response to a call from several parties to protest against the policy of oppression against the Kurds and against a racist census in 1962" in the northern province of Hassakeh, the Azadi party said. "Despite the peaceful nature of the sit-in, police and security services beat the demonstrators, injuring a number of citizens, including Mustafa Jumaa, the number two of Azadi."
During a television appearance six months ago president Bashar al-Assad had promised that he would naturalize some Kurds living in Syria.
Syria's one-and-a-half million ethnic Kurds have been struggling for years in the face of official repression. Their demands for rights and ethnic identity have grown recently as they watch their counterparts in Iraq take a significant role in government and society reports PolitInfo.com. Pary Karadaghi of Kurdish Human Rights Watch points to significant advances in Iraq. "It is very hard for the Kurds in Syria to be immune to what is going on in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdish population in Syria has been watching for years. Many have been working very closely with the Kurds of Iraq to achieve the same level of success that the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan have achieved," she says.
In Syria, Kurds have lived and worked the land for generations. However they are told, in official terms, they are essentially not there. Pary Karadaghi says one of the most basic ways of showing Kurdish identity has been taken away. "The campaign of 'Arabization' actually replaced the Kurdish names," she says. "People could not have Kurdish names on cities, buildings [and] businesses. Children's names could not be Kurdish."
Joe Stork, with Human Rights Watch in Washington, outlines how many Kurds have been deprived of citizen rights. "The main points of discrimination have to do with their legal standing," he says. "Many of them don't even have identification cards, which are essential for getting necessities like education, like health care and so forth. This is accentuated by the fact that they are the largest ethnic minority in the country."
The roughly 1.5 million Kurds in Syria, who make up around nine percent of the population, live mostly in the north of the country. Sources: Kurdistan Regional Government, AFP, AKI, PolitInfo.com
The following is taken from the Guardian and was sent to me by an OD reader
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.
Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.
'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?'
Usually dolphins were controlled via signals transmitted through a neck harness. 'The question is, were these dolphins made secure before Katrina struck?' said Sheridan.
The mystery surfaced when a separate group of dolphins was washed from a commercial oceanarium on the Mississippi coast during Katrina. Eight were found with the navy's help, but the dolphins were not returned until US navy scientists had examined them.
Sheridan is convinced the scientists were keen to ensure the dolphins were not the navy's, understood to be kept in training ponds in a sound in Louisiana, close to Lake Pontchartrain, whose waters devastated New Orleans.
The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea.
Criticism from animal rights groups ensured the use of dolphins became more secretive. But the project gained impetus after the Yemen terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Dolphins have also been used to detect mines near an Iraqi port.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 people came out to protest the Bush war in Iraq at an appearance by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Princeton on Friday last. The campus protest was hosted by a coalition of Princeton groups, including the College Democrats, the Black Graduate Caucus, Student Global AIDS Campaign and the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action.
A rally earlier sponsored by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) was held in Palmer Square. It was followed by a march to the university's Jadwin Gymnasium, where Rice was giving the keynote address in a celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the university's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
"Condoleezza Rice represents a failed policy. She is not worthy of the position she represents — a notable and honorable position. She has told untruths and been rewarded for it," CPA chair Irene Goldman said, adding that the protest was intended to demonstrate "that we're awake, angry and showing our opinion to the administration."
The Daily Princetonian reports that two students stood on the corner of Washington Road and Prospect Avenue, one in a black hood meant to recall the Abu Ghraib prison tortures, holding signs that read "Honk if you're against torture." Others distributed pamphlets and ribbons to those entering the gymnasium or burned their tickets in protest.
It's intolerable to have a situation where a high public official speaks and there is no show of concern. The silence is worse than any inefficiency of a protest," said Elliot Ratzman GS, a co-organizer of a group of students that distributed red ribbons and pamphlets to audience members as they entered Jadwin. Ratzman said that his coalition is primarily concerned with the Bush administration's "broken promises to Africa" on three fronts: humanitarian aid, the Darfur.
Another contingent of about 80 protesters, who assembled on the other side of a barricade in front of Jadwin, chanted, "This is what democracy looks like!" and "No more lies!" For them, the primary motivation was not the war in Iraq or the situation in Africa but the Wilson School's decision to invite Rice to speak. One graduate student, Bright Limm, said that he was "embarrassed by Princeton University's inviting her and touting her."
At the earlier rally at a nearby location Sue Niederer, who lost her son in Iraq last February said, "I cannot bring back my son. But what I can do is save other parents from opening the door some day and seeing two military idiots, untrained in how to talk to parents, saying, 'Uh, sorry.' Well, sorry doesn't cut it."
Following that rally, protesters - bearing signs that read, "Make levees, not war," and "Secretary Rice lied about Iraq" - walked to the university campus to protest the Rice visit close up.
Before Rice arrived, Asheesh Siddique, coeditor of the liberal publication Princeton Progressive Nation commented, "I'd like her to get up there and say, 'I was wrong, I lied to the American people, and I'm resigning,' but I know that's not going to happen. Instead, she's going to make excuses for her and her colleagues' incompetence and dishonesty."
Of course, he war right. Sources: Times (Trenton, NJ), Daily Princetonian, AfterDowningStreet.org
Sinn Fein News reports that more than 2,000 people turned out Saturday at a celebration rally in Dublin for the five Mayo men freed from jail Friday. The men were in jail for more than three months after attempting to halt the laying of a potentially dangerous Corrib gas pipeline by Shell Oil through their lands in Mayo. The five men had refused to give assurances that they would not obstruct work on their lands.
The President of the High Court will decide next month whether the men are still to be punished for an illegal protest at the Corrib Gas Development site. The court will also hear evidence that Shell itself was in breach of court orders by continuing on-site development work.
One of the five, Micheal O'Seighin, told the crowd that the important thing was that the people of Ireland should know the truth about the pipeline and their imprisonment had achieved this.
Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams said, "I want to welcome yesterday's release of the Rossport 5 and the fact that there is now to be mediation between the men and Shell. It is a disgrace that they were locked up in the first place and forced to remain in jail for 94 days. Of course this is not just about the men and Shell. This is an issue for the Irish government. They need to tell the Corrib Gas consortium to move their pipeline offshore. They need to act in the interests of people of this country and not multi-national corporations. I find it hard to believe that such companies would not listen to government advice on this matter."
Upon their release the Rossport Five (Willie Corduff, brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Mícheál Ó Seighin, and Brendan Philbin ) issued a joint statement that read in part, "We the Rossport 5 would like to thank our neighbors, friends and fellow Irish citizens for the loving support we and our families have received during these 94 traumatic days. In addition we would like to thank the incoming Norwegian government for their respect, support and assistance.”
"We remind Shell and their Irish government partner that imprisonments have historically and will always fail as a method to secure the agreement of Irish people.”
"We now call on our supporters to intensify the campaign for the safety of our community and families.”
Speaking to Daily Ireland just hours after his release from jail, Vincent McGrath said, “… if the same circumstances prevailed again, we would have no choice but to take the same action.”
The credit for the release of the men must go to the public campaign to free them which garnered support from many circles.
It also seems also that the intervention of the incoming center-left Norwegian government was a key factor in brokering the deal that led to the release of the men. The Norwegian state owns 71 per cent of Statoil, which is a minority shareholder in the Corrib field. Senior politicians are believed to have put pressure on Statoil to help to resolve the dispute. According to the Sunday Business Post, a senior Statoil executive traveled to Dublin last week and is believed to have played a key role in negotiations which led to the release.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association said the decision to release the men was the right one. The group said it supported a farmer's right to defend their farms from wealthy and greedy private enterprises. Sources: Sunday Business Post (Ireland), Evening Echo (Ireland), Sinn Fein News, Ireland On Line, Daily Ireland