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Mon, 17 Jan 2022
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Nigeria: Trafficking in Human Beings

The Italian ambassador to Nigeria recently claimed that Nigerians constitute one of the largest African migrant groups in his country. In fact, according to various research findings, Nigerian women in particular account for about 90 per cent of all African women in Italy, the vast majority of who are engaged in prostitution. It is uncertain how many of these women are coerced into the trade by bogus claims of well-paid jobs on the part of the traffickers and how many are aware of what they are letting themselves in for, although the increasing publicity surrounding this shameful practice by the federal government on the one hand, and non-governmental organisations on the other, would suggest that the majority are very much in the know.

In amongst all this it was also the case, at least until recently, that fully 80 per cent of these women came from Edo State. One of the main reasons given for this is that businessmen from that state developed links with Italian companies for purposes of trade when the economy was still buoyant, but as the value of the naira continued to slide and the economy worsened they gradually switched to trafficking women. Benin in particular is reputed to have the largest number of trafficking rings, most of which initially recruited young women from the city itself but have since broadened their net to encompass Delta State as well.

All in all, it is reckoned that there are upwards of 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes in Italy, although large concentrations also occur in Belgium, Holland and, to a lesser extent, France and Germany. The cost of trafficking a woman is put anywhere between $8,500 and $14,000. Once delivered, all their documents are seized and they are forced to pay back between $40,000 and $100,000, which can take up to three years. Failure to do so can lead to unpleasant consequences. In one particular case, a woman who escaped back to Nigeria was beaten so badly that she had to be hospitalised for three months. Additionally, her father's house was burnt down. That said, most women work out their time, either because, without papers, they fear deportation, or because they believe that harm will come to them as a result of the oath they were forced to take before they departed Nigeria.


Police arrest 35 outside U.S. military base where Bradley Manning is held

Among those taken away was Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon's secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971

Police in riot gear arrested 35 people yesterday during a demonstration at the U.S. base holding the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential memos to the Wikileaks website.

Hundreds of supporters had rallied outside the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia wearing T-shirts and carrying signs bearing the smiling image of Bradley Manning.

Many sat underneath a yellow banner which read 'Caution: Whistleblower Torture Zone.'

Short scuffles broke out as dozens of officers attempted to push the protesters, some of whom were seated on the pavement, away from the road.

© Associated Press
Arrested: A women cries as she is handcuffed outside the Army base in Quantico - she was protesting at the treatment of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential memos to the Wikileaks website


Letter cites dolphin deaths as part of a "criminal investigation"

Gulfport, Mississippi - The number of dead dolphins washing up along the Gulf Coast continues to climb.

As of Tuesday, 70 dolphins, including 52 calves, have died in Mississippi and Alabama waters. The cause of their deaths remains a mystery, and samples taken from dead animals still have not been tested.

WLOX News has now obtained a letter from NOAA, which we first told you about last week. The letter was sent to marine institutes and orders researchers to hold the samples they've taken until federal officials decide their next step.

The letter cites an active criminal investigation by the Justice Department against BP and others involved in the spill. It also details a civil lawsuit the department has filed, which seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

Click here(PDF) to read the original letter from NOAA.


The Next Nagasaki - Nuclear Fears Stalk The World

A second Hiroshima is happening with the partial meltdowns at Fukushima 1 nuclear reactors. We can only hope the eventual toll in lives comes nowhere near close to that of the world's first atomic catastrophe.

The international community is now asking: Where will be the next Nagasaki?

In the US with its 23 aging reactors of identical design as Fukushima's GE Mark 1 reactors, along with another dozen more of slightly modified design?

In France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country?

Probably not in Germany or Venezuela, which are cutting back their nuclear programs, nor Britain, the world leader in conversion to offshore wind power. Or even China, a solar-energy paragon now scaling back plans for new nuclear plants.

Many people are also wondering: How can the only nation that ever experienced atomic bombings become so trusting in nuclear energy? The answer is both simple and complicated. In the modern economy, the energy to run machines is intertwined with national security, foreign policy and warfare.


Ex-Israeli president gets 7 years in rape case

© Ariel Schalit/AP
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, arrives at a court in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Katsav is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever convicted of a crime.
Tel Aviv, Israel - An Israeli court ordered former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years Tuesday following his rape conviction, rejecting his attorneys' request for leniency and making him the highest-ranking Israel official ever sent to jail.

The silver-haired Katsav broke down in tears and screamed at the judges: "You made a mistake! It is a lie! The girls know it is a lie!"

In December, the Tel Aviv Disctrict Court found Katsav, 65, guilty of raping a former employee and sexually harassing two other women who used to work for him. He also was convicted of indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

In sentencing the disgraced politician, the court said Katsav's record of public service would not be weighed in his favor, accusing him instead of exploiting his position to become a sexual offender.

The former president, who resigned under public pressure two weeks before his term was to end in 2007, went to trial after rejecting a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail.

Comment: 7 years at a country club resort doesn't seem like Justice for such a predator. Perhaps he will be in a general population prison with the thousands of Palestinians who've been suppressed for the past five decades. That would be a better sentence.


Texas, US: Man Starts Shooting After an Increase in Taco Bell Prices

© Reuters/Keith Bedford
San Antonio - While no one exactly enjoys price increases, one San Antonio man took a 50-cent hike on Taco Bell burritos a little too hard.

The drive-thru customer flew into a "taco rage" after learning that Taco Bell's special on Beefy Crunch Burritos had ended and they were no longer selling for 99 cents each--they were now priced at $1.49 each. The man responded by firing into the drive-thru window at the fast food restaurant. While it was a BB gun that he fired, he had a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol on him as well.

What's even more scary is that those BB shots (which luckily didn't hurt anyone) weren't enough to subdue the man's rage as he opened fire at police cars as officers responded to the Taco Bell manager's call for help.

After a SWAT team stand-off, a barricaded motel room and some tear gas, the man was taken into custody and was originally to be charged with attempted capital murder but will instead be charged with "two felony counts of aggravated assault," which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.


Yemen Leader Willing to Step Down This Year

© msnbc.com
Saleh vows to never hand over power to the military, spokesman says

Sanaa - A spokesman for President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Tuesday that the Yemeni leader is willing to step down by the end of the year as part of a "constitutional" transfer of power.

Ahmed al-Sufi told The Associated Press that Saleh informed senior Yemeni officials, military commanders and tribal leaders of his intention in meetings on Monday night.

He said the president also vowed never to hand over power to the military.

Saleh's comments are a reversal of his rejection earlier this month of an opposition proposal demanding his resignation by the year's end.

It is not clear whether the opposition movement calling for Saleh's ouster will accept his latest offer, especially after his security forces shot dead more than 40 protesters on Friday.

On Monday, a top military commander and at least 18 other senior officers defected to the opposition movement demanding the ouster of Yemen's embattled president.

Comment: Interesting to note is the continued references to Al-CIAda by the media. Also, Gadhafi has made references to Al-Qaida in several speeches in recent news. Why the recent extra push about Al-Qaida in the news, is it due to so many waking up to the truth about 9/11 and Empire America?


All six Japanese nuclear reactors hooked up to power lines

Emergency crews dump seawater on spent fuel pool, reducing temperatures

© Tokyo Electric Power via AP

Fukushima, Japan - Workers reconnected power lines to all six reactor units at Japan's radiation-leaking nuclear plant Tuesday, its operator said, marking a significant step in bringing the overheated complex under control.

In making an announcement after days of anxious waiting by the public, Tokyo Electric Power Co. cautioned that much work needed to be done before the electricity can be turned on. Workers are checking all additional equipment for damage to make sure cooling systems can be safely operated, Tokyo Electric said.

In another advance, emergency crews dumped 18 tons of seawater into nearly boiling storage pool holding spent nuclear fuel, cooling it to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, Japan's nuclear safety agency said. Steam, possibly carrying radioactive elements, had been rising for two days, and the move lessens the chances that more radiation will seep into the air.

The power lines and the sustained dousing together mean authorities are closer to bringing the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, with its six reactors and spent fuel pools, under control. Officials and experts, however, have said days, even weeks would be needed to replace damaged equipment and vent any volatile gas to make sure electricity does not spark an explosion.


US jet crashes in Libya, both crew are safe

© AP Photo/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Air Force Air Force shows an F-15E Strike eagle in-flight over Afghanistan on Oct. 7 2008.
Berlin - A U.S. fighter jet crashed in Libya after an apparent equipment malfunction but both crewmembers were able to eject and were back in American hands with only minor injuries, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The F-15E Strike Eagle jet was conducting a mission Monday night against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses when it crashed at 2130 GMT (5:30 p.m. EDT), said Lt. Cmdr. Karin Burzynski, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Africa Command.

A spokesman for the Libyan opposition, Mohammed Ali, said the U.S. plane went down about 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside of the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper published a series of photographs it said was the wreckage of the plane, showing people milling around the burned-out aircraft in a Libyan field.

One of the jet's airmen landed in a field of sheep after ejecting from the plane, then raised his hands and called out "OK, OK" to a crowd who had gathered, the Telegraph cited witness Younis Amruni, 27, as saying.


At defiant march, Syrians shout 'No more fear!'

syrian protests
© AP Photo/Hussein Malla
A Syrian municipality worker extinguishes a burned court room that was set on fire by Syrian anti-government protesters, in the southern city of Daraa, Syria, Monday March 21, 2011. Mourners chanting 'No more fear!' have marched through a Syrian city where anti-government protesters had deadly confrontations with security forces in recent days. The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, who tried to contain the situation by freeing detainees and promising to fire officials responsible for the violence.
Syrians chanting "No more fear!" held a defiant march Monday after a deadly government crackdown failed to quash three days of mass protests in a southern city - an extraordinary outpouring in a country that is known for brutally suppressing dissent.

Riot police armed with clubs chased the small group away without casualties, but traces of earlier, larger demonstrations were everywhere: burned-out and looted government buildings, a dozen torched vehicles, an office of the ruling Baath party with its windows knocked out. Protesters also burned an office of the telecommunications company Syriatel, which is owned in part by the president's cousin.

The unrest in the city of Daraa started Friday after security troops fired at protesters, killing five people. Over the next two days, two more people died and authorities sealed the city, allowing people out but not in, as thousands of enraged protesters set fire to government buildings and demonstrated around the city.

Among the victims was 11-year-old Mundhir Masalmi, who died Monday after suffering tear gas inhalation a day earlier, an activist told The Associated Press. The activist asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor complained Monday that reports indicate the Syrian government "has used disproportionate force against civilians, and in particular against demonstrators and mourners in Daraa."

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that Syria should "cease use of live fire and other excessive force against protesters." On Monday, an Associated Press team was allowed into Daraa, accompanied by two government minders who kept them away from protesters and would not allow photographs of demonstrations. Army checkpoints circled the city and plainclothes officers were deployed in key areas.

Comment: The PTB's next domino in the drive to reshape the Middle East?