Thursday, December 27, 2012

The child slaves of India...

A slave at five years old

Jamie Choi - <>


Dear friends,

India is stalling the toughest child labour law in its history... because politicians say it’s not a ‘priority’! But the majority of MPs support it and all they need is a massive public push to bring it to a vote. Let´s raise our voices for India´s children. Sign now:

Sign the petition

The Indian Parliament is closing without passing the toughest child labour law in its history. Worse, the bill is supported by the majority of MPs, but it was ignored for weeks, because they felt it was not a ‘priority’!

India is the world’s child labour capital -- kids as young as five are sold to traffickers and forced to work as modern-day slaves, abused and beaten. The historic new bill would ban outright any child labour under 14 and provide stipends for poor families to keep their children in school. But MPs have let it fall off their agenda, and Indian child rights groups say they badly need our help, now, to ramp up the public pressure.

If the Avaaz community comes together, we can create a wave of attention to the bill, and push MPs to vote. Sign this urgent petition and forward it widely -- when we reach 1 million we’ll deliver our message to the Parliament with former child workers:

A staggering 215 million children work in mines, quarries, and factories around the world. All nations have signed an agreement to put the eradication of child labour at the heart of their national education plans. But, India is home to the largest child labour force in the world. If the new law passes, it would ban all child labour for under 14-year-olds and all harmful work for under 18s. The law even has provisions to ensure it doesn’t hurt the poorest families -- enshrining the right to free education and proposing stipends to compensate any losses.

Critics say the real problem isn’t the law, it’s bad enforcement. And it’s true that in the last three years in India less than 10% of the 450,000 reports of child labour were prosecuted under the existing, weak, law. But the new law packs some serious punch. The police will no longer have to wait for a court order to act. All forms of commercial child labour under 14 will be criminalised, and instead of meaningless fines or short prison sentences, the criminals will face tough penalties.

While the majority of MPs say they'll support the bill, there's no political urgency to bring it to a vote. But each day they delay, more children are forced into a life of sweatshop misery. It’s up to us to push them over the edge. Sign the petition to India's MPs now, and share widely:

The Avaaz community has campaigned to protect the children and the most vulnerable, time and time again. Just weeks ago, 1.2 million of us got together to help pass the most comprehensive education plan in Pakistan. How we treat our children is a reflection on our moral compass -- and it´s time to take firm steps against their abuse. Let’s join together to speak out for the future of India’s suffering children.

With hope and determination,

Jamie, Alice, Alex, Alaphia, Lisa, Jeremy, Ricken, Dalia, Rewan, Michelle and the whole Avaaz team


India proposes ban on child labor (Washington Post)

Getting ready for the new law against child labour (The Hindu)

Over 60 million child laborers in India (India Tribune)

35 child workers rescued from Delhi factories (Business Line)

End Child Labour and Educational Disadvantage - report and film

Support the Avaaz Community!
We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way. Donate to Avaaz

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Help Chief Theresa Spence - help her end her hunger strike...

Community (TV series)
Community (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Idle No More, Vancouver
Idle No More, Vancouver (Photo credit: tamara herman)
The world's largest and most effective online campaigning community for change

Chief Theresa Spence - help end her Hunger Strike

This petition is awaiting approval by the Avaaz Community
Chief Theresa Spence - help end her Hunger Strike
5,555 signers. Let's reach 7,500

Why this is important

Open Letter To Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
Re: the great Chief Theresa Spence's Hunger Strike less than a ten minute walk from the Canadian Parliamentary Buildings in Ottawa, Canada. 

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper, 
As you by now know, Chief Theresa Spence is on Victoria Island, less than a ten minute walk from your offices in Ottawa, on a Hunger Strike, waiting for a meeting with you since December 11th, 2012. The situation is dire and is one that does, threatens death; a commitment that Chief Spence has made on behalf of her Peoples. The great pain and inaction that has perpetuated this desperate action is only growing nation wide, and it would behoove us all to have you meet with her and to formulate a plan of action together. A plan towards a brighter future for everyone. 
We, as Canadian Citizens, as First Peoples Citizens and as World Citizens care very deeply for the life of this great Woman, Mother and Chief, and we do not want her to die. But, only you, Prime Minister Harper, have the power to save her life. This very real and human life. Please consider that. We would like you to know that we, and many others like us both in Canada and around the World, are watching your choices here, we are, aware of you and what you do every day you refuse to meet or even acknowledge Chief Spence of your own accord. Each of us would choose to take action and save this life. If we could. But we can not. Only you can do that. Only you have that choice. And, we do, we hope you choose differently today. We hope you choose to save the life of the great Chief Theresa Spence with the power you hold in your hands. With a conversation. No miracle needed. Just a conversation. And a life, will be saved. It is, so easily within your power to affect the future in a positive way. For this great country, and this Great Nation. For our homeand NativeLand.Please, we urge you to make the right decision. Choose to hear this woman, this Mother, this great Chief's plea and meet with her now. 
For all of us. From fellow human being to fellow human being, we urge you, meet with Chief Theresa Spence to discuss her concerns and her pain. 
Signed,An Average Canadian,Jacqueline Rockmanand....10,000 other concerned Average World Citizens 
Those who have already written open letters open letters to you include, but are not limited to, the following:The David Suzuki FoundationAll Three Canadian Opposition PartiesThe Ontario Labour FederationThe Union of Canadian Postal WorkersThe National Union of Public & General Employees (Canada)The Canadian Labour CongressThe United Church of Canada Me, Jacqueline Rockman
Please hear them, hear them all, NOW
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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Mayan calendar ends this month - predictions of cataclysmic end to earth's history...

English: Mayan calendar created by a modern cr...
English: Mayan calendar created by a modern craftsman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fears that the end of the world is nigh have spread across the world with only days until the end of the Mayan calendar, with doomsday-mongers predicting a cataclysmic end to the history of Earth.

Cubans participate in a Mayan ritual at Bacuranao beach in eastern Havana.
Cubans participate in a Mayan ritual at Bacuranao beach in eastern Havana. Photo: AFP/Getty
Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year "Long Count" Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.
The precise manner of Armageddon remains vague, ranging from a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, a disastrous crash with a comet, or the annihilation of civilisation by a giant solar storm.
In America Ron Hubbard, a manufacturer of hi-tech underground survival shelters, has seen his business explode.
"We've gone from one a month to one a day," he said. "I don't have an opinion on the Mayan calendar but, when astrophysicists come to me, buy my shelters and tell me to be prepared for solar flares, radiation, EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) ... I'm going underground on the 19th and coming out on the 23rd. It's just in case anybody's right."
In the French Pyrenees the mayor of Bugarach, population 179, has attempted to prevent pandemonium by banning UFO watchers and light aircraft from the flat topped mount Pic de Bugarach.
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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Thousands of US troops arrive near Syrian shore on the USS Eisenhower - the next war?

Hafez al-Assad. Taken sometime before April 1987.
Hafez al-Assad. Taken sometime before April 1987. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thousands of US troops arrive near Syrian shore on USS Eisenhower - the next war?

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier steams in Mediterranean waters south of Italy during NATO.(Reuters / Paul Hanna)
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier steams in Mediterranean waters south of Italy during NATO.(Reuters / Paul Hanna)
The USS Eisenhower, an American aircraft carrier that holds eight fighter bomber squadrons and 8,000 men, arrived at the Syrian coast yesterday in the midst of a heavy storm, indicating US preparation for a potential ground intervention.
While the Obama administration has not announced any sort of American-led military intervention in the war-torn country, the US is now ready to launch such action “within days” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decides to use chemical weapons against the opposition, the Times reports.
Some have suggested that the Assad regime may use chemical weapons against the opposition fighters in the coming days or weeks.
The arrival of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the 11 US Navy aircraft carriers that has the capacity to hold thousands of men, is now stationed at the coast of Syria, DEBKAfile reports. The aircraft carrier joined the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which holds about 2,500 Marines.
“We have (US) special operations forces at the right posture, they don’t have to be sent,” an unnamed US official told The Australian, which suggested that US military troops are already near Syria and ready to intervene in the conflict, if necessary.
If the US decides to intervene militarily in Syria, it now has at its disposal 10,000 fighting men, 17 warships, 70 fighter-bombers, 10 destroyers and frigates and a guided military cruises. Some of the vessels are also equipped with Aegis missile interceptors to shoot down any missiles Syria might have at hand, according to DEBKAfile.
“The muscle is already there to be flexed,” a US official told the London Times about the US military’s presence outside of Syria. “It’s premature to say what could happen if a decision is made to intervene. That hasn’t taken shape, we’ve not reached that kind of decision. There are a lot of options, but it [military action] could be launched rapidly, within days.”
The move comes after NATO made a significant strategic decision Tuesday to deploy Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems in Turkey on the border of Syria where opposition groups have the stronghold. The defense would be able to protect Turkey from potential Syrian missiles that could contain chemical weapons, as well as intimidate Syrian Air Force pilots from bombing the northern Syria border towns, which the armed rebels control. Syria is thought to have about 700 missiles.
“The protection from NATO will be three dimensional; one is the short-range Patriots, the second is the middle-range Terminal High Altitude Air Defense [THAD] system and the last is the AEGIS system, which counters missiles that can reach outside the atmosphere,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
DEBKAfile’s anonymous military sources claim the THAD and Aegis arrived at the Syrian coast aboard the USS Eisenhower.
“The United States now stands ready for direct military intervention in the Syrian conflict when the weather permits,” the news source wrote.
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Friday, December 07, 2012

NZ judge gives Kim Dotcom the right to sue the police and spy agencies like the GCSB...

One of the domes collapsed at GCSB's Waihopai ...
One of the domes collapsed at GCSB's Waihopai Spy Base after the 2008 Ploughshares attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: New Zealand Police highway patrol car...
English: New Zealand Police highway patrol car (2000–2002 Holden VX Commodore S sedan). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: New Zealand Police highway patrol car (2000–2002 Holden VX Commodore S sedan). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
140 px
140 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
140 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (Reuters/Mark Coote)
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (Reuters/Mark Coote)
Nobody is above the law in New Zealand – especially the police and the GCSB and other spy agencies.
Megaupload mogul Kim Dotcom is free to press charges against a New Zealand spy agency and the police, a High Court ruled. The judge also called for classified data allegedly shared with the US to be disclosed to the courtroom.
This new twist in the Megaupload legal battle will allow Dotcom to press charges against both the New Zealand police and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
The verdict is a small victory for the Internet tycoon in his battle against extradition to the US on charges of copyright infringement and money laundering in connection with media streaming site Megaupload, which was closed down in January by US authorities.
In addition to the ruling in favor of the Megaupload founder, the judge presiding over Dotcom’s case, Justice Helen Winklemann, called for the disclosure of all documents pertaining to the site’s operations. Winklemann said that the details, and all the entities with which they had been shared, included “members of Echelon/Five Eyes, including any United States authority.”
Echelon is an international intelligence agency of which the US and New Zealand are members, along with the UK, Australia and Canada.
The prosecution argued that some of the information is too sensitive to be released, and could potentially damage New Zealand’s relations with Washington.
Dotcom has claimed on numerous occasions that the GCSB, which surveils foreigners in New Zealand, illegally spied on him in the run-up to the raid on his mansion on January 20. Justice Winklemann subsequently ruled that the raid was illegal.
Armed New Zealand police stormed Dotcom’s $30 million mansion in January. They seized Dotcom’s assets, including 18 vintage cars and $42 million in suspected illegal proceeds.
The GCSB has admitted it unlawfully kept tabs on Dotcom and his Dutch colleague, Bran van der Kolk, prior to the mansion raid. Both men were New Zealand residents at the time of the surveillance, meaning that the GCSB acted outside of its jurisdiction. New Zealand’s Prime Minister has since issued an official apology for the offense.

Live footage of the raid

Justice Winklemann also presented evidence that suggested the illegal storming of the Megaupload founder’s mansion was broadcast over a live feed, contradicting previous police statements.
In an internal publication of the New Zealand police published in February, Detective Superintendent Mike Pannet said he had monitored termination activities around the world regarding Megaupload and the raid of Dotcom’s property. Justice Winklemann has issued an order requiring Pannet to file an affidavit detailing the nature of the monitoring he carried out.
Kim Dotcom’s marathon court case has been dogged with controversy from the outset, including allegations of excessive force by the police when they sacked the Internet tycoon’s mansion.
The extradition hearing to decide whether the file-sharing kingpin will be sent to the US for trial has been delayed at least until July 2013.
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