Just another WordPress site https://www.museumpirates.com Just another WordPress site Sat, 12 Jun 2021 11:40:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 Modern Times https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/modern-times/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 11:40:45 +0000 https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/modern-times/ ‘ "What you aspire to as revolutionaries”, continues Lacan barely audible now, “is a master. You will get one.” '

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‘ "What you aspire to as revolutionaries”, continues Lacan barely audible now, “is a master. You will get one.” '


This content originally appeared on openDemocracy RSS and was authored by Christos Tombras.

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UP CM presents study incorrectly attributed to Harvard to PM Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/up-cm-presents-study-incorrectly-attributed-to-harvard-to-pm-modi-amit-shah-jp-nadda/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 11:28:27 +0000 https://www.altnews.in/?p=96138 There have been reports of a growing political tussle between the central government and the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh which goes to poll next year. Speculations of a...

The post UP CM presents study incorrectly attributed to Harvard to PM Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda appeared first on Alt News.

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There have been reports of a growing political tussle between the central government and the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh which goes to poll next year. Speculations of a rift are circulating amid PM Modi’s mishandling of COVID-19 and Adityanath facing flak over the rising number of dead bodies found in Ganga. UP CM has dismissed rumours of BJP’s unhappiness with his leadership. On June 10, he met Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. A photograph from the meeting shows Adityanath handing over a book to him titled ‘कोविड-19 एवं प्रवासी संकट का समाधान: उत्तर प्रदेश पर एक रिपोर्ट’’.

The next day, Adityanath presented the book to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and BJP President JP Nadda. The photo with Nadda shows an English version of the same report – ‘COVID-19 & The Migrant Crisis Resolution: A Report On Uttar Pradesh’.

News agency UNI reported, “As a testimony of some excellent work in tackling probably the biggest migrant crisis in about a century, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath handed over a copy of the book to Prime Minister Narendra Modi released on the study conducted by Harvard University.”

In fact, CM Yogi presented three books to PM Modi, one regarding the study of Harvard University, another the similar study by John Hopkins University and the third one by the suggested model of ascertaining Gross Domestic Product at the district level,” the report added.

The Daily Pioneer reported the same on June 12.

THE STUDY IS NOT BY HARVARD

The book handed over by Adityanath to the Home Minister is the Hindi translation (‘कोविड-19 एवं प्रवासी संकट का समाधान: उत्तर प्रदेश पर एक रिपोर्ट’) of the study ‘COVID-19 & The Migrant Crisis Resolution: A Report On Uttar Pradesh’. The cover page of the book has two logos – Institute For Competitiveness (IFC) and Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC), an affiliate network of Harvard Business School.

Back in April, the same study was hailed by certain news outlets as Harvard University lauding the Yogi Adityanath government for handling the migrant crisis more effectively than other states. Alt News had revealed that the study was not prepared by Harvard University but IFC. The study was shared on a WhatsApp group ‘State Media 1’ where the UP government communicates with journalists. This time as well, the study was misrepresented as a Harvard study and shared on the same group.

According to IFC’s website, it is “the Indian knot in the global network” of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (ISC) at Harvard Business School. IFC doesn’t refer to itself as a part of Harvard Business School. ISC prospectus lists IFC as an affiliate of MOC, which is essentially a Harvard course on competitiveness and economic development. It was developed by Professor Michael Porter and the staff and affiliates of ISC.

Amit Kapoor, honorary chairman at IFC, had told Alt News over an email conversation, “It is not accurate to refer to a study by an MOC affiliate as a Harvard study.” Kapoor also informed, “Contrary to media reports our study doesn’t conclude UP government handled the migrant crisis more effectively than other states. The document is not a comparative statement on the handling of the crisis by different states. It is documentation pertaining to the effort of the Uttar Pradesh government and extracting insights from the same.”

“The document was for internal consumption and was not intended to be made public. In addition, as you note, the study/ document was not projected as a Harvard study anywhere in the document, rather as a work of the Institute For Competitiveness. The interpretation was unexpected. The logo from the report will be removed to correct the interpretation and to not project anything wrong,” he continued.

But after the study handed over to the Prime Minister, the President and the Home Minister still carried the logo, Alt News contacted Kapoor for clarification. “As stated earlier, the report was meant for internal use and not to be released in public. To your question, IFC did remove the MOC network logo from the report, which I am also attaching in the email. This report had not yet been released by Institute For Competitiveness in the public domain and the document is for limited internal circulation. These reports being shared have not been printed or published by Institute For Competitiveness.”

It is noteworthy that the document does not carry a disclaimer stating that it is only meant for internal use.

Below is the recent copy of the study (right) shared by Kapoor which shows that the MOC logo has been taken down.

WHAT DID THE JOHNS HOPKINS STUDY SAY?

UNI reported that another “similar study” by Johns Hopkins was also presented to the Prime Minister. Two months ago, Newsroom Post, Web Dunia, and The Pioneer wrongly hailed Uttar Pradesh as a topper in COVID management citing a report by Johns Hopkins. Dr David Peters, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Department of International Health, who is one of the authors of the study, had refuted claims made by Indian media.

“The case study covered activities in UP from January 30, 2020, to January 15, 2021, and aimed to document the range of actions taken in Uttar Pradesh in response to COVID-19 and to identify lessons for how to respond in resource-constrained settings. As you can see in the report itself, the case study did not make comparisons to other countries or states, nor make claims about which states or countries are top performers,” he told Alt News.

In the month of April, two studies were incorrectly projected by the media as studies by Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University lauding the UP government for managing the migrant crisis and COVID-19 better than other states. These claims were further amplified on social media and WhatsApp. The study that was falsely attributed to Harvard especially gained a lot of traction with even prominent journalists tweeting about it. However, neither the claims nor the attribution was correct. Despite clarifications published two months ago, UP CM Yogi Adityanath presented these studies to the Home Minister, the President and the Prime Minister. The false claims were also repeated on a WhatsApp group where the UP government communicates with journalists.

The post UP CM presents study incorrectly attributed to Harvard to PM Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda appeared first on Alt News.


This content originally appeared on Alt News and was authored by Archit Mehta.

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Laotians Still Affected by Wartime Use of Agent Orange, Study Finds https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/laotians-still-affected-by-wartime-use-of-agent-orange-study-finds/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 10:59:21 +0000 https://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/toxic-defoliants-06102021173323.html The U.S. wartime use of Agent Orange and other defoliants in Laos more than a half-century ago is still causing dioxin-related congenital disabilities, according to a recent survey by an NGO that is urging Washington to help those who have suffered birth defects.

The War Legacies Project, an NGO which raises awareness of the long-term health and environmental impacts of herbicides sprayed in Indochina, conducted a survey of 126 villages in southern Laos’ Savannakhet and Saravan provinces, bordering Vietnam, between 2015 and 2019. The villages sit within a five-kilometer (three-mile) radius of spray routes.

 The survey found that 500 people in Laos under 50 years of age have congenital disabilities that may be associated with their parents’ or grandparents’ exposure to toxic herbicides during the war. It also found that more than 50 percent of those affected were under the age of 20 — “leaving a legacy of debilitating diseases and birth defects in its wake more than two generations later,” the NGO said.

Dioxins — manmade chemical compounds now recognized as known human carcinogens have been shown to induce birth defects in all species of animals that have been studied.

The U.S. military sprayed 12 million gallons of dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange and eight million gallons of other herbicides on Vietnam and parts of Laos and Cambodia between 1961 and 1971 to kill vast swathes of forest and cropland during the Vietnam War, the report notes.

The herbicides used during the war were up to 50 times more concentrated than what was acceptable to use on U.S. farms at the time, and Agent Orange — the most notorious of the herbicides — had been contaminated by dioxin during the manufacturing process by producing the chemical at too high a temperature, according to the report.

The U.S. military sprayed nearly 400,000 gallons of mostly Agent Orange along the Ho Chi Minh Trial, which ran through Laos’ territory, between December 1965 and March 1966, the report says.

At least 800 villages in five provinces in southern Laos were sprayed with herbicides during wartime, though the NGO was able to survey communities only in Savannakhet and Saravan provinces, said Susan Hammond, founder and executive director of the War Legacies Project. The other three provinces are Khammouane, Sekong, and Attapeu.

“Part of the problem with Laos is also that we don’t know the full extent of the spraying,” she said she said in an interview with RFA.

On average about four or five people per village surveyed has disabilities that were consistent with those caused by exposure to dioxin, Hammond said, adding that altogether about 600,000 gallons of Agent Orange was dropped on Laos during wartime, including the U.S.’s Secret War in Laos (1961-1975). The most common birth defects found were hip dysplasia, paralysis, and cleft-lip or cleft palate.

She estimated that overall thousands of people with disabilities from exposure to the toxic sprays could be found in the area encompassing the five provinces and that birth defects are still being found in people born today.

The 46-page report, titled “2021 Report on the Laos Agent Orange Survey: State of Health and Livelihood,” says that the U.S. government has not appropriated any funds to assist people with disabilities in areas of Laos sprayed with Agent Orange and other herbicides.

The U.S. government has provided financial assistance to Vietnam since 2007, with more than U.S. $390 million going towards dioxin remediation and health and disability programs, and dedicated $14.5 million in fiscal year 2021 to assisting people with “severe upper and lower body mobility impairment or cognitive or developmental disabilities,” the report says.

The areas in Laos that were sprayed with herbicides are remote and poor communities inhabited by ethnic minorities who do not have immediate access to health care.

“The U.S. government hasn’t issued funding to help the people,” Hammond said. “They are helping people in Vietnam who have been exposed, who lived in the areas that were sprayed with herbicides, since 2007,” Hammond said.

“So, we’re hoping that the U.S. government will do the same for Laos in the future, but at the moment they are not providing any funding directly to the people with disabilities who live in the areas that were sprayed,” she said.

The U.S. State Department did not respond to e-mails and phone calls from RFA asking about the report.

Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and has pushed for the clearing of landmines in Laos and has led efforts to help address the military damage caused in Vietnam, said the use of Agent Orange in Laos only recently came to light.

“We want to know what, if any, dioxin contamination from Agent Orange exists in Laos, and we want to identify Laotians who are suffering from disabilities that may be the result of exposure to dioxin in areas where Agent Orange was sprayed so we can help them,” he said in e-mailed comments to RFA.

“We have known about the UXO problem in Laos for many years and have been working to clear U.S. cluster munitions, but we only recently learned that Agent Orange was sprayed there,” added Leahy.

“We know the use of Agent Orange in Laos was far less than in Vietnam, but we want to work with the Laotian Government to determine the scale of the problem and what can be done to address it,” said the Senator.

The U.S. government has spent more than U.S. $500 million in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia to dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXOs), Senator Tammy Baldwin told a panel on Agent Orange and UXOs in Laos at the Stimson Center in the Washington, D.C on May 27.

Reported by Ounkeo Souksavanh for RFA’s Lao Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.


This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by Radio Free Asia.

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How returning lands to Native tribes is helping protect nature https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/how-returning-lands-to-native-tribes-is-helping-protect-nature/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 10:15:00 +0000 https://grist.org/?p=537795 This story was originally published by Yale Environment 360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In 1908 the U.S. government seized some 18,000 acres of land from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to create the National Bison Range in the heart of their reservation in the mountain-ringed Mission Valley of western Montana.

While the goal of protecting the remnants of America’s once-plentiful bison was worthy, for the last century the federal facility has been a symbol to the tribes here of the injustices forced upon them by the government, and they have long fought to get the bison range returned.

Last December their patience paid off: President Donald Trump signed legislation that began the process of returning the range to the Salish and Kootenai.

Now the tribes are managing the range’s bison and are also helping, through co-management, to manage bison that leave Yellowstone National Park to graze on U.S. Forest Service land. Their Native American management approach is steeped in the close, almost familial, relationship with the animal that once provided food, clothes, shelter — virtually everything their people needed.

“We treat the buffalo with less stress, and handle them with more respect,” said Tom McDonald, Fish and Wildlife Division Manager for the tribes and a tribal member. The tribes, he noted, recognize the importance of bison family groups and have allowed them to stay together. “That was a paradigm shift from what we call the ranching rodeo type mentality here, where they were storming the buffalo and stampeding animals. It was really kind of a violent, stressful affair.”

There is a burgeoning movement these days to repatriate some culturally and ecologically important lands back to their former owners, the Indigenous people and local communities who once lived there, and to otherwise accommodate their perspective and participation in the management of the land and its wildlife and plants.

Throughout the United States, land has been or is being transferred to tribes or is being co-managed with their help. In California, a land trust recently transferred 1,199 acres of redwood forest and prairie to the Esselen tribe, and in Maine, the Five Tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy recently reacquired a 150-acre island with the help of land trusts. Other recent land transfers to tribes with the goal of conservation have taken place in Oregon, New York and other states.

The use of Indigenous management styles that evolved over many centuries of cultures immersed in nature — formally called Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) — is increasingly seen by conservationists as synergistic with the global campaign to protect biodiversity and to manage nature in a way that hedges against climate change.

The Nature Conservancy, for example, one of the world’s largest conservation organizations, has institutionalized the transfer of ecologically important land with its Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Program in both the U.S. and globally.

Yurok Tribe vice-chair Frankie Joe Myers on land purchased with the help of conservation groups. Paul Robert Wolf Wilson, courtesy of the Trust For Public Land

“If you look at it from a land justice perspective, we need to support a strengthening and healing of that relationship,” said Erin Myers Madeira, director of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities program for the Nature Conservancy. “If you look at it practically, Indigenous people are the original stewards of all the lands and waters in North America, and there’s an extensive knowledge and management practices that date back millennia.”

One of the largest completed land transfers began eight years ago in Australia when the federal and state governments bought 19 separate farm properties and the associated water rights for $180 million in the Lower Murrumbidgee Valley in New South Wales. The goal was to restore the vast and fertile wetlands — rich with birds, fish and other species — that had been damaged by wholesale water diversion for agriculture.

Interested parties were invited to submit proposals for the management of what was then called the Nimmie-Caira wetlands. A consortium that included the Nature Conservancy and the tribal council of the Nari Nari, the Indigenous people who have inhabited the region for 50,000 years, won the right to manage the property.

The old irrigation infrastructure was removed and altered to return to a more natural and traditional water regime. In 2018, the first water using the wilder approach began flowing, and species such as golden perch and southern bell frogs, along with spoonbills, egrets, black swans and other birds, grew more abundant. The Nari Nari found and protected ancestral burial grounds, ancient clay ovens and other cultural sites, and hunted out thousands of invasive species , including feral pigs, deer, foxes and cats.

In 2019 the Nature Conservancy transferred the more than 200,000 acres of the Nimmie-Caira property to the sole ownership of the Nari Nari, who now manage it. The Nari Nari have renamed it Gayini, which means ‘water’ in their language.

“This is a significant event for the Nari Nari people, who have been using traditional knowledge to sustain our country for thousands of years,” said Nari Nari Tribal Chairman Ian Woods. “We can continue to protect the environment, preserve the Aboriginal heritage of the land and enable the intergenerational transfer of knowledge of caring for country.”

It’s hard for outsiders to fathom how differently many Indigenous cultures perceive the landscape and wild creatures, and their relationship to it, but it is clear their lives have been deeply intertwined with the natural world in a very different way than non-Indigenous cultures.

In a recent report, two U.S. Forest Service researchers, David Flores and Gregory Russell, offered an explanation of the difference between European and Indigenous concepts of nature. Indigenous holistic knowledge “regards animals and features of the landscape as possessing characteristics that Western minds typically ascribe only to humans, e.g. having points of view, exhibiting agency, and engaging in reciprocal communication.”

That fits with a description of the Salish Kootenai perspective on bison. “Buffalo power, being considered supernatural, was appealed to for the healing of the sick, for protection from enemies, and for prophecies regarding the welfare of the individual petitioner and the destiny of the tribal group…” wrote Henry Burland in 1941, as part of the Montana Writer’s Project. “Their myths reveal a close intimacy between Indian and buffalo.”

Because of this relationship and kinship with other species, as well as the land itself, new management policies and major changes among the Salish and Kootenai require that resource managers consult with tribal elders to maintain a close cultural connection with the bison.

That includes the traditional use of fire to manage the buffalo and the landscape. “The green-up after a burn is a huge attraction to buffalo,” said McDonald. “They can smell that succulent one inch of green that comes up in the black ground after a fire. Burning maintained hunting grounds and strong game populations like a farmer or rancher would do.”

The traditional use of fire may be the most talked-about topic involving traditional ecological knowledge these days, because of the catastrophic fires that have swept the American West. In addition to using “fire as medicine” to manage wildlife habitat and forests to increase ecological resilience or to grow certain useful species for such things as basket making or food, traditional planned burning has important applications to reduce the intensity of conflagrations. A recent study found that the Indigenous fire regime in the forest around the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico — primarily perennial small fires and wood gathering in settled areas — “made the landscape resistant to extreme fire behavior.”

The model has implications for managing fires in the wildlands-urban interface across the Western United States, where homes and forests are intermingled.

The trend of increasing aboriginal management is not just about providing title to new land. The Obama Administration envisioned that Bear’s Ears National Monument in Utah, filled with sacred and other Native cultural sites, would be co-managed by the Department of Interior and a five-tribe coalition. And last fall, a report was published by Martin Nie and Monte Mills, professors of natural resource policy and Indian law respectively at the University of Montana — though acting as private individuals — on the steps needed to overcome barriers and increase co-management of America’s public lands with tribes, especially changes in federal law that would require agencies to work with tribes on a co-management basis.

For the first time since 1770, members of the Esselen tribe hold a ceremony on ancestral land returned to them in California’s Big Sur region. Matthew Pendergast

Now, with Native American Deb Haaland at the helm of the Interior Department, the movement toward co-management of public lands with the tribes, if not outright transfer, is expected to gain steam. President Biden has pledged to listen to and work with Native tribes in the West as he moves to protect more public land and, especially, as he moves to fulfill his promise to protect 30 percent of the U.S. by 2030, the 30×30 plan.

Other countries have adopted similar projects. In Canada for example, the federal government partnered with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to co-manage the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area & Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area in the Nunavut Territory, which encompasses much of Canada’s northern region. The native name “Tuvaijuittuq” means “the last ice area,” and it is the place where the ice that now remains in the Arctic is the thickest and is likely to last the longest in the face of climate change. It could well become the last refuge for polar bears, seals, narwhal, walrus and beluga, as well as the algae beneath the ice that is the bottom of the Arctic food chain. It could be the last refuge, too, for subsistence hunters as the climate warms.

Local land trusts are also moving toward the return of land. In addition to the Nature Conservancy, which has perhaps a dozen projects in the U.S., some local efforts are seeking this kind of redress. First Light is an effort by dozens of land trusts and five tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy tribes, to have access to ancestral lands throughout Maine for hunting, gathering and ceremonial purposes. It includes a 150-acre island that the Passamaquoddy called Pine Island, which was taken from them by European settlers. And last month, the New York-based Open Space Institute transferred 156 acres along the Hudson River to the Mohican Nation Stockbridge-Munsee Band, which will manage it as a nature preserve.

The Esselen Tribe of California, which had inhabited the Big Sur region for thousands of years, was stripped of its culture and lands by the Spanish, who built missions in the region. The Western Rivers Conservancy, with funding from the California Natural Resources Agency, arranged the purchase of a 1,199-acre ranch with redwood forest and a crystalline stream, the Little Sur, where steelhead spawn, to protect it and planned to donate it to the U.S. Forest Service. Locals objected, and so last year they instead transferred the property, valued at $4.5 million, to the Esselen – 250 years after it was taken. The tribe says it will protect natural values, including spawning steelhead, the California spotted owl, the endangered Calfiornia condor and habitat that connects the ocean to the Santa Lucia Mountains, as well as use the land for traditional ceremonies and plant gathering.

In many cases, tribes are buying land that is important to them. In Northern California, the Yurok Tribe, the largest tribe in California, owns 44 miles of land along the Klamath River. They have been piecing back their aboriginal lands, with the help of land conservation groups such as the Trust for Public Land and Western Rivers Conservancy, to protect the habitat of their primary food source, salmon, and to assure access to ceremonial grounds and other cultural landscapes. The Yurok have purchased more than 80,000 acres to add to their holdings, including 50,000 acres that had been been owned by a timber company and surround four salmon spawning streams that the tribe now plans to restore.

Ke’pel Creek runs through land recently purchased by the Yurok Tribe in Northern California. Paul Robert Wolf Wilson, courtesy of the Trust For Public Land

Much of the campaign to return Indian land or at least allow co-management is part of the racial justice movement that is sweeping the globe. In the American Indian community, it’s called #Landback — and some in that movement see a more radical form of reconciliation.

In a recent article in the Atlantic, David Treuer, a Native American, citing the litany of forced removal and broken treaties that enabled the creation of U.S. national parks, advocated for giving a consortium of Native American tribes the ownership and management responsibility — with binding covenants to protect natural values — for all 85 million acres of the national park system, as reparations in kind for land that was stolen from them.

“The total acreage would not quite make up for the General Allotment Act, which robbed us of 90 million acres, but it would ensure that we have unfettered access to our tribal homelands,” he wrote. “And it would restore dignity that was rightfully ours. To be entrusted with the stewardship of America’s most precious landscape would be a deeply meaningful form of restitution.”

Still, there are some concerns about possible downsides to tribal management. Will tribes allow hunting in places where it hasn’t been allowed because of tradition? Or will a change in tribal administrations alter policies toward ecologically important lands that no longer favor protection?

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal management of natural resources has been highly praised. They created the nation’s first tribal wilderness area, the Mission Mountain Wilderness Area, and annually close off 10,000 acres of it to humans to allow grizzly bears — a spirit animal — to feed on a summer bonanza of lady bugs and army cutworm moths high in the mountains.

But there are numerous examples of natural resource exploitation by tribes as well, and some critics say problems could arise from Indigenous management.

After a decades-long fight to get oil and gas leases voided in the Badger-Two Medicine area along Montana’s wild Rocky Mountain Front, a bill was introduced in Congress to allow the Blackfeet to co-manage the Badger-Two Medicine, part of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, as a ‘cultural heritage area.’

George Wuerthner, the Oregon director of the Western Watersheds Project and a longtime public lands watchdog, observed in a recent blog post that the Blackfeet Reservation, near the Badger-Two Medicine, is far from an example of good conservation stewardship, with widespread leasing for oil and gas fracking, livestock overgrazing along many riparian areas, and poaching, including of grizzly bears.

“One hopes that if the tribe is given co-management of the area, they will treat these public lands better than they treat their reservation lands,” Wuerthner wrote. “However, the way to assure that this will happen is by designating the area a wilderness area. A ‘cultural heritage’ area is an untested designation and may not guarantee full protection of the landscape.”

Those who are working to get some conservation landscapes into the hands of Indigenous people say a growing number of studies have shown the efficacy of native management. For example, a study published last year by Richard Shuster and Ryan R. Germain of the University of British Columbia found that Indigenous-managed lands in Australia, Brazil and Canada were richer in vertebrate species than existing protected areas.

In some cases, proponents admit, there could be negative impacts for conservation goals if ecologically important landscapes are managed by Indigenous people. But, “when you look holistically, the benefits and the approaches Indigenous people have taken have been far and away better than many of the Western approaches,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of the Wyss Foundation’s Campaign for Nature. “Does that mean that universally every place will be conserved for biodiversity? No. But if we embrace and learn from an Indigenous world view on land and use that as a paradigm in which to set a lot of our future conservation approaches, I think we will be a whole lot better off than if we don’t.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline How returning lands to Native tribes is helping protect nature on Jun 12, 2021.


This content originally appeared on Grist and was authored by Jim Robbins.

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Fiji disaster unfolds as nation breaks daily covid record with 94 new cases https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/fiji-disaster-unfolds-as-nation-breaks-daily-covid-record-with-94-new-cases/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 08:14:15 +0000 https://asiapacificreport.nz/?p=59127 By Barbara Dreaver, 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent

A disaster is unfolding in Fiji as covid-19 cases continue to escalate – 94 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest recorded daily number to date.

That is the highest ever daily total for the country, and health experts have told 1 NEWS the country is on the brink of losing control.

A Fiji government media statement released late Tuesday night shows a medical system under stress and unable to cope with the dramatic rise in numbers.

Suva's emergency field hospital 120621
Suva’s emergency field hospital set up at Vodafone Arena with the main hospital having become a “closed” covid-19 pandemic institution. Image: APR screenshot TVNZ

It says due to the high number of those testing positive with covid-19 and constraints on quarantine capacity, all new positive cases will be isolated at home where feasible.

But in the Lami-Nausori containment zone a serious crisis is emerging where all resources will be solely directed at those seriously ill with covid-19.

“We are preparing to shift into a mitigation phase that ensures that healthcare resources are focussed on caring for patients who develop severe illness as a result of the virus,” the statement read.

Suva’s main Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH), now closed because of a raft of cases from there, is now being used as a covid-19 care facility.

The Valelevu Health Centre also closed this afternoon after two patients recently discharged from hospital went there to be tested and returned positive results.

So far there have been three covid-19 related deaths in the last few day, but authorities are refusing to count them as such, stating that they died of complications from underlying conditions.

Republished with permission.


Fiji covid pandemic crisis worsens. Video: TVNZ News


Crisis expected to get worse. Video: TVNZ News


This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.

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Marape tells PNG police they should be ‘doing their job’ over sorcery killings https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/marape-tells-png-police-they-should-be-doing-their-job-over-sorcery-killings-2/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 05:49:14 +0000 https://asiapacificreport.nz/?p=59119 By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Prime Minister James Marape says Papua New Guineans who continue to commit crimes under the pretext of “sorcery” must be arrested and charged by police.

Marape was responding to questions asked by The National in relation to the death of Mary Kopari who was killed by an angry mob over allegations of sorcery in Margarima, Hela.

“People shouldn’t be killing women or girls over sorcery, as far as Papua New Guinea is concerned,” he said.

“Killing someone accused of sorcery is illegal, so police should be doing their job.

“We discourage anyone from killing another over sorcery, if you feel that someone has caused an offence, there are appropriate charges to be laid against that person”

The special Parliamentary Committee on Gender-Based Violence chairman, Charles Abel, has written a letter to Police Commissioner David Manning requesting for information on actions taken over:

  • sorcery accusations related killing in Hela; and
  • the systematic police response to sorcery accusation-related violence.

Information needed by Monday
Abel said the information must be provided to the committee secretariat no later than Monday.

Hela police have told The National that eight suspects were identified in the horror torture and killing.

Officer-in-charge of Hela CID Sergeant Daniel Olabe said after the killing that there had been a confrontation between the woman’s family and the husband’s family.

“From the video, we have identified eight men who tortured the woman.”

However, no charges have yet been made.

Republished with permission.


This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.

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Marape tells PNG police they should be ‘doing their job’ over sorcery killings https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/marape-tells-png-police-they-should-be-doing-their-job-over-sorcery-killings/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 05:49:14 +0000 https://asiapacificreport.nz/?p=59119 By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Prime Minister James Marape says Papua New Guineans who continue to commit crimes under the pretext of “sorcery” must be arrested and charged by police.

Marape was responding to questions asked by The National in relation to the death of Mary Kopari who was killed by an angry mob over allegations of sorcery in Margarima, Hela.

“People shouldn’t be killing women or girls over sorcery, as far as Papua New Guinea is concerned,” he said.

“Killing someone accused of sorcery is illegal, so police should be doing their job.

“We discourage anyone from killing another over sorcery, if you feel that someone has caused an offence, there are appropriate charges to be laid against that person”

The special Parliamentary Committee on Gender-Based Violence chairman, Charles Abel, has written a letter to Police Commissioner David Manning requesting for information on actions taken over:

  • sorcery accusations related killing in Hela; and
  • the systematic police response to sorcery accusation-related violence.

Information needed by Monday
Abel said the information must be provided to the committee secretariat no later than Monday.

Hela police have told The National that eight suspects were identified in the horror torture and killing.

Officer-in-charge of Hela CID Sergeant Daniel Olabe said after the killing that there had been a confrontation between the woman’s family and the husband’s family.

“From the video, we have identified eight men who tortured the woman.”

However, no charges have yet been made.

Republished with permission.


This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.

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Myanmar Dissident Deaths in Custody, Unapproved Autopsies Prompt Calls For Probe https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/myanmar-dissident-deaths-in-custody-unapproved-autopsies-prompt-calls-for-probe/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 01:24:22 +0000 https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/deaths-06112021212401.html Several dissidents who spoke critically of the junta takeover of Myanmar’s democratically elected government have died in detention and were given crude autopsies before their bodies were returned to their families, prompting observers to call for a probe into the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

Zaw Htun, also known as the Poet Khet Thi, was arrested by junta security forces in Sagaing region’s Shwebo township and sent for interrogation on May 9, after months of taking part in nationwide protests against the military’s Feb. 1 coup and calling for resistance to the regime through his poetry.

Less than 24 hours later, his family was informed of his death and told to collect his body at a hospital in the region’s largest city Monywa. His wife said that authorities informed her Zaw Htun had died from a health condition, but she found his body covered in bruises and missing its internal organs, leading her to believe he had been killed in custody.

Bo Kyi, secretary of the Thailand-based rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), said his organization had seen “a number of such cases” in the aftermath of the military putsch, as security forces have killed 861 people in violent crackdowns on mass protests and detained, charged, or sentenced more than 4,800.

“They cut the body open and sew it back very crudely,” Bo Kyi said, adding that it is unclear why “they have to remove some internal organs without families’ consent.”

“Usually, it is done to the bodies of people they arrested a day earlier that died during interrogation. They then return the disfigured bodies to the families the next day,” he said.

“I think they are trying to instill fear in the public. They are sending a message about what will happen to those who resist their rule.”

Zaw Htun’s death followed those in March of Khin Maung Latt, the election campaign manager for the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) party for Yangon city’s Pabaedan township, and Zaw Myat Linn, an NLD member who ran a vocational training center in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Tha township.

The two men were arrested on March 6 and 8 respectively and their families were informed of their deaths the following day, although authorities provided little information about the circumstances in which they died. The bodies of both men were returned to their families at Mingalardon Military Hospital in northern Yangon, had been cut open and sewn up crudely, and exhibited signs of trauma—including multiple bruises and wounds.

Khin Maung Latt, 58, was a devout Muslim and the father of Sithu Maung, one of the NLD’s two Muslims to be elected in the country’s November 2020 elections, which the junta has claimed were won by the NLD because of widespread voter fraud, although it has yet to produce credible evidence. Zaw Myat Linn was an outspoken critic of the military coup who was well-respected in his home township.

In a related case, 18-year-old medical student Khant Nyar Hein was shot dead by junta security forces during an anti-coup protest in Yangon on March 14 and his family members said that they had to plead with authorities not to perform an autopsy on his body before returning it to them.

“I heard the authorities say they planned to perform autopsy on my son’s body, Khant Nyar Hein’s father told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“I begged them not to cut open his body. My son died young, and his body was intact. We preferred to cremate my son’s body that way. So, we managed to avoid that.”

‘Outrageous and unacceptable’

Win Kyi, a senior member of the NLD party, called the killing of protesters and the mutilation of their bodies “totally unacceptable, both legally and morally.”

“They are killing people arbitrarily and, on top of that, they are taking out their internal organs and sewing them back up with hideous stitches,” he said.

“They are supposed to handle the bodies of victims with respect. I can only imagine how tragic this is for the surviving family members.”

Phil Robertson, deputy director of New York-based Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, condemned the arbitrary detention and torture of dissidents and agreed that autopsies should not be conducted without the consent of family members.

“Removing internal organs would require permission from either the deceased person before they died or the family,” he said.

“Intrusive actions by the authorities to remove organs from the body for whatever reason is of the deceased person without permission is outrageous and unacceptable.”

Robertson called for an investigation into deaths such as those of Zaw Htun, Khin Maung Latt, Zaw Myat Linn, and Khant Nyar Hein.

“The problem, of course, is that Myanmar’s military is trying to cover everything up,” he said.

Efforts by RFA to contact the military’s Information Committee about the deaths in custody and unauthorized autopsies went unanswered Friday.

Reported and translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.


This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by Radio Free Asia.

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Nearly 30 Junta Troops Killed in Myanmar’s Chin State as Rights Czar Calls For End to Violence https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/nearly-30-junta-troops-killed-in-myanmars-chin-state-as-rights-czar-calls-for-end-to-violence/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 01:06:36 +0000 https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/chin-06112021195843.html Nearly 30 junta troops were killed Thursday in Myanmar’s Chin state as fighting between militia groups and the military escalated in the country’s remote regions, prompting the United Nations rights czar to warn of a “human rights catastrophe.”

Members of the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) in Chin’s Thantlang township said they attacked a column of soldiers traveling around 25 miles outside of the town center, killing as many as 17 in the ensuing firefight and suffering no casualties.

“More than 100 junta soldiers were marching towards the Khuahring Thang mountain range,” said a fighter with the Thantlang CDF, who spoke to RFA’s Myanmar Service on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

“We’re a little worried about the situation. There are more troops than ever pressing on us. The fighting is expected to become more intense.”

The CDF fighter said his group attacked the column “because the military has been intimidating local residents.”

The clash marked the first in Thantlang township and caused around 600 residents of three villages in the area to flee to the mountains, he said.

“Most people fled because they were scared about the presence of the soldiers,” he said.

“A lot of people in Thantlang had already fled their homes earlier [when troops began to deploy to the area].”

A similar clash broke out in an area between the townships of Hakha and Gangaw, the Hakha CDF announced Thursday, saying it had killed 10 junta soldiers. The group did not report any casualties of its own in the fighting.

In a statement, the CDF said it will “continue to fight fiercely in all parts of Chin state” to protect the people.

RFA was unable to independently verify CDF claims about the number of soldiers killed in Thursday’s clashes and calls to Myanmar’s Deputy Information Minister Zaw Min Tun went unanswered Friday.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 9, 2020. Reuters
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 9, 2020. Reuters
‘Human rights catastrophe’

On Friday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned that any escalation in violence in Myanmar must be halted to prevent even greater loss of life and a deepening humanitarian emergency.

“As I had feared, armed conflict and other violence are intensifying in many parts of Myanmar, including Kayah State, Chin State and Kachin State, with the violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups,” Bachelet said in a statement, noting that the military has continued to use heavy weaponry, including airstrikes, against armed groups and against civilians.

“In just over four months, Myanmar has gone from being a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe,” she said.

“In addition to the loss of life, people are suffering from severe impacts on the social and economic rights. The military leadership is singularly responsible for this crisis, and must be held to account.”

The junta deposed Myanmar’s democratically elected government on Feb. 1, claiming that the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party had won the country’s November 2020 elections due to widespread voter fraud, despite a lack of evidence. The move prompted widespread protests that the military has responded to with violent crackdowns, killing some 860 people over the past four months.

The CDF is a network of volunteers that formed in April to protect the people of Chin and has enjoyed relative success facing the military—the second largest in Southeast Asia—with slingshots and the same crude flintlock “Tumee” rifles their forefathers used to fight off British colonizers in the 1880s. The CDF said it had killed some 100 junta troops between March and May.

Fighters of the CDF were engaged in daily battles from May 12 until May 15, when the junta occupied Mindat with 1,000 fully armed troops who used civilians as human shields and sprayed gunfire indiscriminately, the CHRO said recently.

The CDF pulled out May 16 to protect civilians from further artillery attacks and fire from helicopter gunships, Chin fighters have said, but fighting resumed on June 3 and both sides have suffered casualties.

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) estimates that some 40,000 civilians have fled their homes throughout Chin state since May.

Health workers at a hospital in Sagaing region's Kalemyo township, in an undated photo. RFA
Health workers at a hospital in Sagaing region's Kalemyo township, in an undated photo. RFA
Outbreak compounds challenges

As more residents flee intensifying fighting in Chin, the region is also facing an outbreak of COVID-19 that medical workers reported had killed 10 people as of Friday. Over the past three weeks, around 320 cases have been reported in the townships of Tunzan and Kyeehar, near Myanmar’s border with India.

Myanmar’s least developed state had already been dealing with a shortage of health workers prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but sources told RFA that following the military coup, many of the medical personnel in the state joined the nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement, leaving few behind to control the spread of the virus and treat those infected with COVID-19, the disease it causes.

“Nobody who is infected wants to go to the hospital because there are no doctors there,” said an official with the COVID-19 Relief Team in Kyeekhar, where medical students are assisting three hospital staffers attend to 195 infected patients.

“They are just being treated at home … We have tried to help them. If their condition becomes serious, they call us for help, and we take them by car to the hospital so that they can be given oxygen.”

The administrator of Kyeekhar township confirmed to RFA that there are no longer any doctors at the local hospital.

“We are treating patients with the help of volunteer doctors and nurses,” he said.

On May 28, the local government issued a Stay At Home order in Kyeekhar and Tunzang townships and similar restrictions have since been implemented in the nearby townships of Tedim, Falam, Hakha and Thantlang.

According to the junta’s Ministry of Health, a total of 144,876 confirmed infections and 3,237 deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded in Myanmar beginning in March 2020.

Earlier this week, the United Nations in Myanmar voiced concern about what it called “the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation” the country’s remote conflict areas.

The U.N. stressed the urgent need for food, water, shelter, fuel, and access to healthcare for people fleeing the fighting, saying that the aid it has distributed is insufficient—particularly for those in remote locations, where insecurity, travel restrictions, and poor road conditions are delaying the delivery of supplies.

Aid groups estimate that more than a quarter of a million civilians in seven regions of Myanmar have been displaced by clashes between the military and militias or fighting between ethnic armies in the four months since the junta coup.

The 226,000 displaced in 2021 join more than 500,000 refugees from decades of military conflict between the government military and ethnic armies who were already counted as internally displaced persons at the end of 2020, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, a Norwegian NGO.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.


This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by Radio Free Asia.

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Reporters Do a Better Job When They Do NOT Ignore Civic Groups https://www.museumpirates.com/2021/06/12/reporters-do-a-better-job-when-they-do-not-ignore-civic-groups/ Sat, 12 Jun 2021 00:18:55 +0000 https://nader.org/?p=5375 By Ralph Nader June 11, 2021 Connecting the civic community with the mainstream media is no minor endeavor. Historically, this connection has been essential to a functioning democracy. The citizenry is the taproot of democracy and a key source for journalists’ declared function of informing the people. My efforts on this front have been threefold.…

The post Reporters Do a Better Job When They Do NOT Ignore Civic Groups first appeared on Ralph Nader.]]>
By Ralph Nader
June 11, 2021

Connecting the civic community with the mainstream media is no minor endeavor. Historically, this connection has been essential to a functioning democracy. The citizenry is the taproot of democracy and a key source for journalists’ declared function of informing the people.

My efforts on this front have been threefold. First, I wrote about 30 national citizen organizations last October documenting how, since the Sixties and Seventies, the media has been marginalizing the civic community on a variety of matters and especially of reforming the political economy.

Where once journalists would cover civic group reports, litigation, testimony, and top civic leaders for their expertise, the coverage now is woefully inadequate. Civic leaders do not like to publicly acknowledge this exclusion for it makes them look powerless vis-à-vis the political and commercial interests they have to confront and reform. So, my urgings for them to pay intense attention to the years of near blackout fell on cautiously silent ears.

Next, recognizing how hard it is, in the modern Internet age, to reach reporters to provide them with scoops, leads, corrections, and amplifications of their articles and features, I started the Reporter’s Alert (See, https://reportersalert.org/). The idea was if you can’t reach reporters and editors, as once was the case, then maybe you present story suggestions in one place, and they’ll check in from time to time. There are now six lists of suggestions on the site. There are some modest indications that the suggestions are being viewed by some reporters and editors.

A third approach occurred to me while reading recent newspapers. By its own objectives and standards, the media is well advised to call these experienced civic leaders to better the reporting they are doing.

Here are some varied examples of the importance of such calls.

1. Day after day the press is reporting on the Biden infrastructure proposals all totaling $4 trillion, broken down into $2.3 trillion for public works and the rest toward “human infrastructure” for adults and children. There are ongoing negotiations between the White House and the GOP in Congress that involve lower dollar figures. Yet, in the New York Times and the Washington Post, reporters allow the impression that these are gigantic sums because they do not tell us that these are sums stretched over 8 to 10 years. So, divide them by eight or ten and they appear very modest and less susceptible to misunderstanding. From say $400 billion a year down to a little over $100 billion, depending on what gets through Congress, is really very little for a $25 trillion economy with serious deferred maintenance of our public services and family necessities. Apple alone just announced another $90 billion stock buyback. A new proposal to build a sea wall around Miami, due to rising sea levels, came in at $1 billion a mile. Reporters calling any number of citizen groups working on public investments would have avoided this daily omission.

2. Much reporting on HR1 dealing with overcoming state-driven voter restrictions has left out provisions adding new obstacles to third-party candidate ballot access. Both candidate and voter repression are tied together (more voices and choices) and bad for a competitive democracy. A call to Oliver Hall of the Center for Competitive Democracy would have revealed that unreported fact.

3. For years, reporters have had a far too limited range on trade policies, focusing on conventional trade barriers and too little on the way corporations created “corporate-managed trade” over so-called “free trade” both substantively (subordinating environment, consumer and labor rights to the imperatives of commerce) and procedurally creating a dictatorial process of secrecy and exclusion. Were they to have brought Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch into the discourse, they would have served their public far better. In recent years, reporters began to understand this accurate, precise information source and do call Ms. Wallach more often.

4. Judy Woodruff of PBS’s NewsHour has a penchant for interviewing reporters. For example, she interviews reporters covering tax issues, when her predecessors interviewed acknowledged tax experts like Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. The drop in quality shows reporters have to be more limited in what they say and they have far less historical context regarding Congress, the Treasury Department, and the IRS.

5. Sidney Wolfe of the Health Research Group and Dr. Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest used to be in the news all the time during the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, and into the very early 20th century. No more, nor are their expert colleagues. The paucity and superficiality of coverage of pharmaceutical issues (including the latest Biogen fiasco) and the failure of the FDA and USDA to regulate the food supply continues.

6. The mainstream media is finally stepping up its reporting about the need to investigate whether the Covid-19 pandemic started with a negligent leak from the Wuhan Institute. The media would have done well to contact Andy Kimbrell of the International Center for Technology Advancement, a seasoned litigator, to hear his cautious skepticism back in the spring of 2020 that the Covid may not have been from direct animal contact.

7. Coverage of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes has been unusually good, but could have been better and earlier, were the reporters on this beat to have contacted Paul Hudson, head of Flyers Rights (See, https://flyersrights.org/) and a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee. Hudson has been covering the aviation safety scene for 32 years since he lost his daughter in the Pan Am 103 explosion/crash in Scotland.

8. Coverage of autonomous cars is and has been a media exercise in “gee whiz hoopla,” uncritically reporting the industry’s hype in hundreds of articles. Now as the New York Times has reported there are serious drawbacks to seeing autonomous cars (as distinguished from semi-autonomous systems) on the roads. (See, It Turns Out It’s a Long Road to Driverless Cars, New York Times May 25, 2021). Really? Calls to the Center for Auto Safety, former NHTSA Director Joan Claybrook, or the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety would have alerted reporters about these still unsolved technical problems years ago. This mis-telling was a serious disservice to readers.

9. Reporters covering political candidates and their agendas, almost never ask about candidates’ stands on corporate crime and corporate welfare. Most recently, this was the case with the Times’s Q and A with the candidates for mayor of New York City. New York is a hotbed of corporate crime waves that the Times reports on as if it is a separate topic from political contests.

10. Lawlessness in the executive branch under both Parties, with the worst under Donald Trump’s Justice Department, is rarely a reporter’s focus. We’ve documented continual serious presidential violations of federal statutes, international treaties, and illegal uses of executive orders. Almost none of our calls are returned. (nader.org).

The examples could go on and on. United Airlines’ publicity stunt the other day, announced orders for numerous supersonic airline passenger planes which no one is manufacturing. Reporters never asked about obvious, serious drawbacks pointed out in a concise letter to the editor in the Washington Post by an aerospace engineer, Antonio Elias.

The media would do well to recognize that just about every movement for a just society started with a small number of citizens, then more organized civic groups before the politicians joined the fight. Journalist’s report, as you did in the Sixties and Seventies, the legitimate voices of expert civic engagement, as you cover the plight of the people they’re striving to help – and our society will improve.

The post Reporters Do a Better Job When They Do NOT Ignore Civic Groups first appeared on Ralph Nader.


This content originally appeared on Ralph Nader and was authored by eweisbaum.

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