Monthly Archives: April 2011

On This Day…

Kon-Tiki raft

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In 1947, a six-man expedition sailed from Peru aboard a balsa wood raft named the Kon-Tiki on a 101-day journey across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia.

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Michigan State Senator Proposes Foster Kids Get Only Used Clothes

Salvation Army Thrift Store, Santa Monica, Cal...

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Michigan State Senator Bruce Caswell has suggested a plan under which foster children could use their state-funded clothing allowance only in thrift stores. He says they should get “gift cards” to be used only at Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other thrift stores.

Sen. Caswell says he wants to make sure state money set aside for clothes for foster children is actually used for that purpose.

Gilda Jacobs, CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services, put it better than I ever could when she said the following:

“I think that there’s the whole issue of dignity. You’re saying to somebody, you don’t deserve to go in and buy a new pair of gym shoes. You know, for a lot of foster kids, they already have so much stacked against them.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Caswell, who states that his interest is in the state’s budget, admits that the plan wouldn’t save the state any money.

In fact, wouldn’t producing the gift cards cost the state money?

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Chad’s Presidential Election Possibly Fraudulent

Rebuilt Bridge in south west of Chad

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On Monday, Chad held presidential elections. Incumbent president Idriss Deby is almost certain to win. He faced just two opponents – all others withdrew before the election – who are relatively unknown in the country.

Opposition leaders argue that the elections are fraudulent due to the sale of voter cards. The cards were left over from a February legislative poll and were therefore not designed for Monday’s election. Nonetheless, they were readily available in the capital city before the election.

Deby has controlled Chad since 1990, when he took power from Hissene Habre in a coup d’etat. He has since been elected to four terms and resisted multiple coup attempts.

Although Deby has brought many changes to Chad, the country consistently ranks among the world’s poorest.

Via Impunity Watch.

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BP to Provide $1 Billion for Gulf Resoration

Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 25, 2010.

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BP will provide $1 billion for oil spill restoration in the Gulf of Mexico per a voluntary agreement with the federal government and five states.

The agreement does not absolve BP of legal liability for the explosion and spill that began April 20, 2010. However, any restoration efforts paid for by the $1 billion will count toward the company’s liability.

The company faces fines and penalties of as much as $21 billion for the disaster. It could also face penalties under a Justice Department criminal and civil investigation.

Federal and state officials are conducting a natural resource damage assessment to measure the injury to the gulf habitat. The process could take years.

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Today Is World Malaria Day

Global distribution of Malaria risk.

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Click here to see how you can help meet the goal of no malaria deaths by 2015!

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Police, Security Forces Kill Peaceful Protesters in Syria

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On Sunday, police and security forces raided a western Syrian town and fired on protesters. One man was killed.

Saturday, there were reports that security forces fired at people who were paying their respects to protesters who had been killed. At least ten people were killed, and many police officers were injured.

Demonstrations have been going on for several weeks. Protesters are calling for the government to end the state of emergency and martial law and release political prisoners.

Human Rights Watch has recommended that the United Nations set up an inquiry into the incidents which have left many peaceful protesters dead. The U.N. Secretary-General, the president of the European Parliament, the Canadian government, and the U.S. President have condemned the violence in Syria.

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Riots in Nigeria Following Presidential Election

Seal of the President of Nigeria Category:Nati...

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Nigeria‘s April 16 presidential election has left the country in turmoil. According to estimates, upwards of 40,000 have been displaced, and 500 have been killed in the past two weeks. Many towns have held mass burials for those dead.

The rioting started shortly after the election, in which the norther Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari lost to the southern Christian incumbent Jonathan Goodluck.

Analysts believe the conflict is between the starkly divided economic classes in Nigeria and not Christians and Muslims. The southern part of the country is an oil rich delta. The northern part of the country is struggling; most citizens live on less than $2 a day.

After Goodluck won, many Muslim youths in the north rioted, believing the polls were rigged. There are signs of ballot box tampering, including an unusually large voter turnout and possible underage voting. Goodluck’s party is the only party that has officially recognized the election results.

Gubernatorial elections were planned to take place after the presidential election but have been postponed.

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