Saturday, January 09, 2010

Action Against Hunger surveys along the border of Guatamala and Honduras...

CHIQUIMULA, GUATEMALA—Surveys carried out by Action Against Hunger | ACF International along the Guatemalan border with Honduras show widespread food insecurity and high levels of malnutrition in a region buffeted by the global recession and poor rainfalls. The global humanitarian group has intervened on an emergency and long-term basis, treating children with severe acute malnutrition and implementing nutrition, food security, and water and sanitation programs in the area.

The global humanitarian group announced today that 7.7 percent of children in the Corredor Seco region of Guatemala are acutely malnourished; another 2.4 percent have severe acute malnutrition, the more life-threatening form of the condition.

“Our teams on the ground have come across children deathly ill with kwashiorkor, an extreme form of malnutrition that we haven’t seen in this region for years,” said Jorge Salamanca, Action Against Hunger’s Desk Officer for Latin America.

The region is experiencing a shortage of basic staple foods due to poor harvests. According to ACF’s survey of 1,600 households, more than half of this year’s corn harvest, and 70 percent of the bean crops, have been lost due to insufficient rainfall. As a result, four out of 10 households reported decreasing the number of meals they consume daily; 90 percent of them have stopped consuming one of the basic food groups—either meat, grains or vegetables.

The global economic downturn has also increased the vulnerability of families and negatively affected their ability to cope with low crop yields. The local coffee and sugar industries, major employers in this part of Guatemala, have been affected particularly. Action Against Hunger has also noted a decrease in remittances from the United States and other parts of the world, a serious problem for households reliant on income from family members living abroad.

Action Against Hunger is tackling the problem on several fronts. The agency has launched an emergency response to treat children with the most severe cases of malnutrition and a cash-for-work program for vulnerable families. The agency will provide longer-term assistance through agro-forestry programs, well construction, and education in nutrition and improved agricultural techniques. Action Against Hunger has worked in Guatemala since 1998.

About Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger | ACF International is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. Recognized as a leader in the fight against malnutrition, ACF works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with sustainable access to safe water and long-term solutions to hunger. With 30 years of expertise in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity, ACF runs life-saving programs in some 40 countries benefiting 5 million people each year.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

The Skull and Bones Secret Society - membership would guarantee directorship of the CIA, perhaps...

A macabre artefact being sold in New York this coming month reportedly offers an insight into a secret society that, interestingly, included the membership of both Presidents Bush.

The human skull and crossbones which was allegedly used as a ballot box, is to be auctioned at Christies, New York, on Jan 22 2010 - with an estimate of US$10,000(NZ$13,500) - US$20,000 - along with a book that contains the names and photographs of 50 Bonesmen.

The skull which is fitted with a hinged flap on the top so that ballots can be dropped inside, is believed to have been used for voting at the secret society's meetings in the late 19th Century and may also have been on display at the society's head - quarters in Yale University campus, known as the "Tomb".

The Skull and Bones was reportedly set-up as the first elite society at Yale University in 1832 and helped to define the US establishment as it became. Bush family patriarch, Senator Prescott Bush, father of George H Bush, the first of the Presidents Bush, was a member as was reportedly TIME magazine founder, Henry Luce, and MORGAN STANLEY founder Harold Stanley.

To indicate just how far the society's tentacles reached up into US society, the Robert De Niro film THE GOOD SHEPHERD, suggested a man could be CIA Director if he belonged to the Skull and Bones Society - but officially rejected by the CIA. Indeed.

Every year Skull and Bones reportedly selects 15 final year students to join its ranks with a tap on the shoulder: Skull and Bones, accept or reject?. Recruits allegedly have to undergo a bizarre initiation ritual that reportedly includes nude wrestling, and confessing one's sexual secrets while lying in a coffin. (Now I could imagine the younger Bush in this role). The society is said to fetishise the Skull and Bones and other icons to emphasise that life is fleeting!

However, the sale of Skull and Bones comes just one year after the great-grandson of famous Apache chief, Geronimo, sued the society for the return of his ancestor's remains. Harlyn Geronimo said Geronimo's bones were dug up by the society in 1918 or 1919 from the ir burial plot.

Acknowledgements: The Times

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The days of the internet rodent - the computer mouse are most likely over...

Its been 40 years since the advent of the computer mouse, but one leading research company, Gartner's analyst predicts the demise of the mouse within 3-5 years.

Gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices could take over." The mouse is fine in the desktop environment, but for home entertainment or working on the notebook its over." the analyst declared.

The new products with new interactive interfaces will be inspired by the world of gaming.

The original story here

Monday, January 04, 2010

The cybermen are on the march - new cyber monitoring powers have been given to Kiwi police and SIS...

New Zealand's cyber spies have finally been given new powers by the National Government. The Security Intelligence Service and the police force have been given new powers to monitor all aspects of New Zealand citizens' online activities.

The measures are extensions of powers the police and SIS have had for decades in surveillance capacities, but have been extended to cover the monitoring of cell phone calls and texts; emails, internet surfing, online shopping, chatting, social networking, blogs and other websites.

While the actual legislation was introduced by the former Labour Government in 2004, all the necessary hardware - spying devices and special software in telephone exchanges, internet companies and even the fibre- optic data networks between towns and cities to enable the cybermen to gain the ability to monitor almost all communications in New Zealand took time to install - last year there were 68 interception warrants issued and 157 people prosecuted under the old system.

It will now be like the SIS planting bugs in every cafe and park in the country.

The old stock reply - if you haven't done anything you have nothing to worry about doesn't wash with me! How would you know if some vindictive person had lodged a malicious complaint with the police or SIS and an investigation was taking place concerning you?

Sure, we know it is a different world since 9/11, but we still live in a democracy and still have civil rights that should be respected by Big Brother. The cybermen will need to be kept on a short leash. Their interception warrants will need to be monitored as well. If they want to monitor any Kiwi Riverman blogs, they will need to be fully justified.

Original story here