Browsing articles from "October, 2016"

Linked To Outbreak, U.N. Considers $400 Million Plan For Cholera In Haiti

Oct 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Linked To Outbreak, U.N. Considers $400 Million Plan For Cholera In Haiti

A young Haitian suffering from cholera symptoms receives medical attention Saturday at Saint Antoine Hospital of Jeremie in southwestern Haiti.

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For years, the United Nations has refused to publicly acknowledge that its troops were the source of a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

Debate Continues Over U.N. Role In Bringing Cholera To Haiti

But now the U.N. is accepting “moral responsibility” for the outbreak that has sickened nearly 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 others.

The U.N. is currently hashing out a plan that could spend nearly half a billion dollars to address cholera in Haiti. The plan includes compensating Haitians who were “most affected” by the outbreak. This may include direct payments to Haitians who got sick or lost a family member to the disease.

“We see this as a very important sign of solidarity with those directly affected by cholera,” U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said in a telephone interview with NPR.

Dr. Paul Farmer Is 'Surprised And Upset And Humbled' After Visit To Haiti

The 2010 outbreak, which is ongoing, has been linked to sewage that leaked from a U.N. base. It’s the first recorded cholera outbreak in Haiti in 100 years.

Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson says the assistance and compensation package is still not finalized nor is it funded. Half the money is to fight ongoing transmission of the disease, he says.

“The first track involves intensifying our efforts to treat and eliminate cholera as well as to improve long-term access to clean water and sanitation,” he says.

The second track is the compensation: providing roughly $200 million in “material assistance” to cholera victims in Haiti. The money may go directly to victims or it may go to communities that were hard hit. Eliasson says these details haven’t been finalized. This proposal is a sharp reversal for the U.N., which continues to fend off legal challenges from people who contracted cholera or lost family members to the disease.

Eliasson says the U.N. has not changed its legal position that it is immune from claims stemming from the outbreak.

“We have immunity,” he says. “For us who have hundreds of operations around the world in very poor and uncertain circumstances, we run serious risks of getting into situations where this [liability] could lead to huge amounts of damages or claims. So therefore we’ve developed this model that we hoped will in practice be the same as models some of the lawyers are suggesting.”

But Philip Alston, a law professor at New York University, disagrees. Alston, who serves as a U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, says this new plan to compensate Haitians without accepting full responsibility sets a terrible precedent.

“As the U.N. begins to operate in more and more countries around the world and as there are greater risk of these kinds of negligence claims, the U.N.’s position will be ‘We are not accountable. We refuse accountability,’ ” Alston says.

But it’s not even clear if this plan will ever be carried out.

The proposal still needs to be presented to the U.N. General Assembly. Eliasson says some member states are uncomfortable with paying direct compensation to victims.

“Some of the member states do not consider this normal development work and would rather see the funding come from some other sources,” Eliasson says. “So this is a work in progress. We expect to finalize this in a week or two.”

Other countries may simply be unwilling to contribute millions of dollars to repair a blunder by the world body.

Novelist Paul Beatty Is First American To Win Britain’s Man Booker Prize

Oct 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Novelist Paul Beatty Is First American To Win Britain’s Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty is the first American to win the U.K.’s Man Booker Prize for fiction for his novel The Sellout.

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Paul Beatty is the first American to win the U.K.’s Man Booker Prize for fiction for his novel The Sellout.

Alastair Grant/AP

For the first time, an American has won the Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most coveted literary award. Paul Beatty will take home the award and the purse, 50,000 pounds (about $61,000), for his novel The Sellout, a satire about race in the U.S. Amanda Foreman, chair of the judges, called the book “a novel for our times,” and said Beatty “slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with verve and a snarl.”

The Man Booker judges chose a distinctly American story for its first American winner. The narrator of The Sellout is a black man from a small town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The town is so down-and-out that it is being taken off the map. In response the narrator, known as Bonbon, re-instates both slavery and segregation in the town. Those moves land him at the Supreme Court where the books begins. At this evening’s award ceremony in London, Beatty told the crowd that the book had been hard to write and he added, “I know it’s hard to read.” That may be true but it’s also very funny. The Sellout has been called “a comic masterpiece.”

Man Booker Spotlights Novelists New To The Award's Shortlist

'The Sellout' Is A Scorchingly Funny Satire On 'Post-Racial' America

Beatty was one of two Americans up for the Man Booker Prize this year. Until recently it had only been awarded to writers from the United Kingdom or Commonwealth countries. But three years ago it was opened up to any author writing in English whose book has been published in the U.K. That raised some concerns among British writers and publishers that Americans would dominate the award which is not only prestigious but also helps boost the sales of the winner.

In the last three years, a number of Americans have been on both the long and short lists for the award. But they haven’t taken over. The other American nominated this year was Ottessa Moshfegh for Eileen, her first novel. There were also two Canadians, Madeleine Thien author of Do Not Say We have Nothing and David Szalay for All that Man Is. Two British authors, Graeme Macrae Burnet for His Bloody Project and Deborah Levy for Hot Milk rounded out the list.

U.N. Says 2016 Will Be Deadliest Year Ever For Migrants Crossing The Mediterranean

Oct 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on U.N. Says 2016 Will Be Deadliest Year Ever For Migrants Crossing The Mediterranean

A migrant holds onto a rope during a rescue operation some eight nautical miles off Libya’s Mediterranean coastline earlier this month.

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A migrant holds onto a rope during a rescue operation some eight nautical miles off Libya’s Mediterranean coastline earlier this month.

Aris Messinis /AFP/Getty Images

2016 is set to be the deadliest year on record for deaths of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, amid the world’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

It’s “the worst we’ve ever seen” even though far fewer people are attempting the dangerous crossing than last year, as William Spindler, spokesman for the U.N.’s refugee agency, told reporters. “Last year at least 1,015,078 people made the crossing. This year so far, crossings stand at 327,800,” he said.

However, he says “3,740 lives have been lost so far in 2016, just short of the 3,771 reported for the whole of 2015.” And there are more than two months to go.

The likelihood of death while making the journey has dramatically increased, Spindler says: “From one death for every 269 arrivals, last year, in 2016 the likelihood of death has spiraled to one in 88. On the Central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy the likelihood of dying is even higher, at one death for every 47 arrivals.”

Many factors contributed to the rising fatalities, according to Spindler. “People smugglers are today often using lower-quality vessels – flimsy inflatable rafts that often do not last the journey,” he says. “Several incidents seem to be connected with travel during bad weather.”

Changing tactics by smugglers are also to blame, Spindler says, “with several occasions where there have been mass embarkations of thousands of people at a time.” He adds that “this may be to do with the shifting smuggler business model or geared towards lowering detection risks, but it also makes the work of rescuers harder.”

Migrants wait to be rescued earlier this month by members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the Mediterranean Sea, some 12 nautical miles north of Libya.

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These mass embarkations, Spindler says, mean the emergency workers “need to rescue several thousand people on several hundred boats,” according to the BBC.

Turkey And The EU Strike Controversial Migration Deal In Brussels

Finally, a higher proportion of the crossings this year were from North Africa to Italy, “a known perilous route,” he says. While the total number of people making the crossing over that route has stayed approximately constant, according to the International Organization for Migration, the number crossing the sea to Greece has dramatically decreased in the same period after the EU and Turkey struck a controversial deal earlier the year aim at stemming the flow of migrants.

Meanwhile, rescue workers are overwhelmed. Yesterday, the Italian coast guard saved 2,200 people during recover efforts involving 21 different rescue missions, according to The Associated Press. It also “recovered the bodies of 16 people.”

As the U.N. concludes, “significantly expanding the availability of regular pathways for refugees to reach safety needs much greater and urgent attention.”

Cleveland Beats Chicago Cubs 6-0 In Game 1 Of World Series

Oct 26, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Cleveland Beats Chicago Cubs 6-0 In Game 1 Of World Series

The Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 of the World Series, building on a dominant performance by starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

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The Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 of the World Series, building on a dominant performance by starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

Matt Slocum/AP

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET with final score

The Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series on the strength of a commanding performance by their starter Corey Kluber who struck out nine batters over six innings.

Kluber was so dominant that he struck out eight of the first nine Cubs batters he faced. He had the help of back-up catcher Roberto Perez who clobbered two home runs.

Cubs starter Jon Lester gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings. The Indians got to Lester early in the game. He gave up a hit and walked two batters in the top of the first inning before giving up an infield hit and hitting a batter. By the end of the first, the Indians were ahead 2-0 and their fans smelled blood.

Cleveland’s Roberto Perez hit two home runs in the Indians’ 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series.

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Cleveland’s Roberto Perez hit two home runs in the Indians’ 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series.

Charlie Riedel/AP

The Indians added another run when Perez hit a home run to left field off Lester in the fourth inning. He struck again in the bottom of the eighth inning hitting a three-run homer, again to left field, off reliever Hector Rondon.

The Cubs twice threatened to get back in the game. In the seventh inning, they loaded the bases with no outs, but Indians reliever Andrew Miller shut them down. In the eighth inning, the Indians put two runners on base, but again failed to score.

Our original post:

Game 1 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians is underway.

The home-team Indians jumped out to 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Cubs starter Jon Lester walked the bases full and then gave up an infield hit and hit a batter.

Both teams have waited decades to call themselves champions. As the Two-Way reported earlier, it’s been 68 years since the Indians last won the Series and 108 years since the Cubs were baseball’s champions.

(The last time the Indians played in the World Series was 1997 and they lost in a seven-game series to the then-Florida Marlins.)

Typically, a World Series generates its own excitement. Still, with all due respect to baseball’s Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball’s best regular-season team with 103 victories this year, tonight is a special night in Cleveland.

Before the first pitch, Indians fans streaming into Progressive Field were bouncing off the vibes from the arena right next door.

That is Quicken Loans Arena, where the National Basketball Association’s current kings, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are kicking off their 2016-17 season. Tonight they raised a championship banner from their historic 2015-16 season when they became the first NBA team to overcome a 3-1 game deficit and win the series against the Golden State Warriors.

But enough of basketball — my colleague Tom Goldman is on the scene at Progressive Field, and he summed up the mood inside the ballpark this way: “You can see it in the eyes of every fan here in Cleveland. The Cavs! The Indians! It’s beyond festive. It’s a dream come true in Cleveland!”

The temperature at game time was 50 degrees. Ski hats and parkas are in full force, says Tom, and of course, the coats and headgear are mostly in the Indians’ red, white and blue colors.

Buick Up, Honda And Subaru Down, Says Consumer Reports

Oct 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Buick Up, Honda And Subaru Down, Says Consumer Reports

A Buick Avista concept car is exhibited in Beijing in April. Buick, which sells a large percentage of its cars in China, is No. 3 in Consumer Reports‘ latest reliability rankings.

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A Buick Avista concept car is exhibited in Beijing in April. Buick, which sells a large percentage of its cars in China, is No. 3 in Consumer Reports‘ latest reliability rankings.

Andy Wong/AP

Buick, a subsidiary of General Motors, has become the first domestic brand in more than three decades to earn one of the highest ratings for reliability from Consumer Reports. Results from the Consumer Reports Annual Brand Reliability Survey were released in Detroit Monday.

Lexus, owned by Toyota, was the top brand. Toyota itself came in second, followed by Buick. The company ranks cars and car brands based on its survey of more than a half-million car owners.

Buick

“Yes, really, Buick,” says Jake Fisher, who runs Consumer Report‘s auto testing lab in Connecticut. Fisher tells NPR that Buick has been making reliable cars for quite a while, and he says the brand continues to improve. According to Fisher, what sets Buick apart from the other GM brands is that it has a small number of models and doesn’t make large trucks or SUVs, which have been a problem for GM.

This year Buick sold more than 1 million vehicles through September, according to GM. Buick is a near-luxury brand and skews older in the U.S., but the company’s sales are overwhelmingly dominated by China, which is the largest market for Buick. China accounted for nearly 40 percent of GM’s global sales.

Consumer Reports has been criticized in Detroit for being too enamored of Japanese carmakers. The Japanese brands all finished in the top 15 of 29 brands surveyed. “Anyone who’s not doing well with our ratings thinks that the system might be rigged against them,” says Fisher. “This is data. These are real situations. This is cars breaking down. This is not opinion. This is not what people think about their cars. It doesn’t matter if you’re from an automaker called Honda or Buick. Each car needs to be reliable.”

Episode 729: When Subaru Came Out

Honda And Subaru

If Buick was a surprise, it wasn’t the only one. “The Honda Civic, this year with a redesign and a lot of changes, has really fallen way down,” Fisher says. That was one of many surprising results in the survey. All of the Asian nameplates scored among the top half of the 29 brands tested. They accounted for seven of the top 10 spots. What Fisher found “absolutely surprising” was Honda. The company fell two spots, barely holding on to its slot in the top 10. “This is the first time really in history that we did not recommend a Honda Civic because of reliability problems,” Fisher says.

Despite a decade of double digit sales growth, Subaru fell out of the top 10. Fisher says that’s in part because of problems with its midsize sedan as well as quality issues with the Subaru Outback.

Tesla And Technology

Automobiles are safer than they’ve ever been and in many ways more reliable, according to Fisher. He says reliability remains just as important a factor. “Certainly cars are lasting longer. It’s not uncommon to have a car that goes 100,000 or 200,000 miles. But today’s cars have [different problems than] they did five or 10 years ago,” he says.

From Consumer Reports:

  • Tesla‘s Model S has improved to average reliability, which now makes the electric car one of our recommended models. But its new Model X SUV has been plagued with malfunctions, including its complex Falcon-wing doors. Both vehicles can be upgraded to include Tesla’s optional semi-autonomous Autopilot software, which can allow the car to maintain lane position, speed, and following distances on its own.
  • “Consumer Reports has serious concerns about how some automakers, including Tesla, have designed, deployed, and marketed semi-autonomous technology. We believe automakers need to clearly communicate what these systems can and cannot do. To that end, we have identified models in our ratings that offer semi-autonomous features.”

“We’re seeing problems with in-car electronics that we didn’t see five or 10 years ago,” says Fisher. He says that as the car companies introduce new technologies “often to make cars better to drive or better to live with, sometimes they add reliability problems, reliability headaches.”

Fisher uses Tesla as an example of a company that pushes the envelope and puts the latest technology in its cars. “It’s going to be a problem,” Fisher says, pointing out that “the Model X is one of the least reliable cars on our survey. And there’s a lot of possibly needless complexity in that car which is otherwise a quite simple power train. I mean, electric cars should be reliable,” Fisher says. He says all of the technology, including autopilot, is what’s pulling Tesla’s rating down.

Fisher says as some companies race to use the newest technology, whether it’s proven or not, other companies prefer more of a methodical, slow rollout. He says Toyota and Lexus, which won the top prizes, tend not to put the absolute latest and greatest technology in their vehicles. “Some people say [Toyota is] a bit boring, but there’s a reason they are. Because they’re a little bit slower at rolling out that technology.” Fisher says Toyota’s dominance in terms of reliability “kind of proves their point.”

‘Trump TV’ Launches Its Pilot With Pitch To His Base

Oct 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘Trump TV’ Launches Its Pilot With Pitch To His Base

In a new Facebook Live show launched Monday night, Donald Trump’s campaign painted a rosy picture of the election in just two weeks, with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway even saying “unequivocally” that “we will win.”

Her interviewers were two of the GOP nominee’s campaign advisers Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims, hosting the inaugural edition of an online show “bypassing the left-wing media,” as Epshteyn put it, “which skews everything.”

The “nightly campaign coverage” had some of the hallmarks of a newscast. Set for 6:30 p.m. ET each night, running up against network TV news, the campaign will broadcast live from Trump Tower until Election Day. There was a news scroll at the bottom of the newscast, but there was also a button to donate to Trump’s campaign. Monday’s setting was in the Trump “war room,” where a large photo of the real estate mogul hovered behind the anchors’ heads as campaign staff meandered around.

The hosts denied that this was some type of “Trump TV,” a rumored endeavor from the GOP nominee if he loses to try to monetize his loyal base into a massive media influence akin to Fox News. As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has noted, such an an endeavor is easier said than done, even if Trump does have two former conservative media heads, Fox News’s Roger Ailes and Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, on his team. Trump’s son-in-law, New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, has reportedly had discussions with investors about a possible network.

Sims said it was simply a way to motivate Trump supporters in the final two weeks, and that “it would be malpractice on our part if we didn’t utilize these massive online platforms that he has.” The initial live viewership was at about 60,000, but half and hour in, just half of that was left. At the end of the roughly 45-minute broadcast, they then cut live to Trump’s rally in Florida.

Did Trump TV Launch Last Night?

The duo of Epshteyn and Sims held a similar broadcast after last week’s final debate, where they also painted a rosier picture of their candidate’s performance than non-partisan analysts and polls found.

Conway, too, faced much friendlier questioners than she had throughout the day, where she was on cable TV defending her candidate even as multiple non-partisan polls show the GOP nominee with an increasingly shrinking path to the presidency.

The topics were much different. At the top of the show was a lengthy discussion on a Wall Street Journal story about Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a top Hillary Clinton ally, steering Virginia Democratic Party funds to the wife of an FBI agent who worked on the investigation into the private email server the Democratic nominee used while serving as secretary of state. However, the race was a top priority for Democrats hoping to flip the state legislature, and McAuliffe’s spokesman pointed out such support is a “customary practice for Virginia governors” to help their party. The FBI agent wasn’t even working on the case then, but Epshteyn likened the alleged collusion from the Clinton campaign to a mob-like payoff.

The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren also appeared midway through, going off on a tear about why Trump was the right choice for the country even though he’d had some personal missteps.

“If you’re looking for someone that’s got a love of country as deep as Donald Trump — and I’ve seen it — then you’re going to have to join the basket, you’re going to have to jump out of the basket, and you’re going to have to make your voices heard,” she said.

Lahren also acknowledged that Democrats would beat the GOP in the areas of organization and fundraising, but the next guest — Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer — said there was encouraging news on that front, even as reports out on Monday showed Democrats with significant advantages in early voting in key battleground states.

“We know we’re ahead of where we’ve ever been before, and we think we’re ahead of them,” Spicer said, claiming that the GOP had a conversion rate of 72 percent for getting new voters who had just registered to vote for them.

What’s It Like To Be Rich? Ask The People Who Manage Billionaires’ Money

Oct 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on What’s It Like To Be Rich? Ask The People Who Manage Billionaires’ Money

Sociologist Brooke Harrington says that for the world’s wealthiest people, many of the laws and rules followed by the rest of us simply don’t apply.

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Sociologist Brooke Harrington says that for the world’s wealthiest people, many of the laws and rules followed by the rest of us simply don’t apply.

Adam Gault/Getty Images

What are the lives of the planet’s wealthiest people really like?

Several years ago, sociologist Brooke Harrington decided to find out.

She knew she’d have a hard time gaining access to the world of the über wealthy, so she did something unusual: She took courses to become a wealth manager.

Hidden Brain

In the course of this training, Harrington met other wealth managers, who agreed to be interviewed for her research.

She discovered that, in order to manage money for the super-rich, these professionals learn a lot about the private lives of their clients.

What they shared, Harrington says, shocked her.

“The lives of the richest people in the world are so different from those of the rest of us, it’s almost literally unimaginable. National borders are nothing to them. They might as well not exist. The laws are nothing to them. They might as well not exist.”

The Hidden Brain podcast is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced Maggie Penman, Jennifer Schmidt, and Renee Klahr. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.

Gunmen Storm Pakistani Police Training Center; Dozens Killed

Oct 25, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Gunmen Storm Pakistani Police Training Center; Dozens Killed

Gunmen stormed a police training center late Monday in Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province and detonated explosive vests, killing at least 48 police trainees, authorities said.

Baluchistan’s top health official, Noorul Haq, said at least 116 people were wounded – mostly police trainees and some paramilitary troops.

A security official put the death toll at 51. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media,

Major General Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, told reporters Tuesday that the attackers appeared to be in contact with handlers in Afghanistan. He said the attackers belonged to the banned Lashker-e-Jhangvi Al-Almi group, an Islamic militant group affiliated with al-Qaida.

Neither Lashker-a-Jhangvi nor any other group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But the Islamic State group and breakaway Taliban faction Jamaat-ul Ahrar have claimed responsibility for past attacks in Baluchistan. Lashker-e-Jhangvi has mainly targeted members of minority Shiite sect of Muslims.

The attack started when between four and six gunmen opened fire as they rushed the hostel at the police training center in a suburban area of the provincial capital of Quetta.

“They were rushing toward our building firing shots so we rushed for safety toward the roof and jumped down in the back to save our lives,” one of the police trainees told Geo television.

Security was tight Tuesday morning around the training center and hospitals.

Haq, the top health official, said many of the trainees were killed when the gunmen detonated explosive vests. He said the death toll was expected to climb as many of the injured were in critical condition.

General Afgan said the attackers may have had inside help, although he did not give details. “This is an open war and when you have enemy inside and outside, they can easily exploit the situation,” he said.

He said the security forces and police were clearing the area and searching for any possible hidden attackers.

Baluchistan has been the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by Baluch separatist groups for more than a decade. Islamic militants also have a presence in the province that borders Afghanistan.

The provincial home minister, Sarfaraz Bugti, said one attacker was killed by security forces and two died when they detonated their explosive vests.

He said that about 700 trainees were at the base when it was attacked.

Baluchistan police chief Ahsan Mahboob told reporters that four gunmen attacked the training center, attempting to enter the hostel housing the trainees. A gun battle erupted when the guards resisted, he said.

A statement issued by the military put the number of attackers at up to six.

Footage shot by local television showed ambulances rushing out of the main entrance of the training center as fire engines rushed to put out fires set off when the gunmen threw incendiary devices.

Most of those being treated at city hospitals had gunshot wounds, although some sustained injuries jumping off the roof of the hostel and climbing a wall to escape the gunmen. Nearly all of the wounded were police, authorities said.

Local television reported that two explosions were heard, but it was not immediately clear what caused them.

Violence is common in the province, and the attack came hours after gunmen shot and killed two customs officers and wounded a third near the town of Surab, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Quetta.

Earlier Monday, two gunmen on a motorcycle killed a police intelligence officer in the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Khalid Khan, a local police officer.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack. The group’s spokesman, Muhammad Khurasani, said in a statement that the shooters returned to their hideout after the attack.

Pakistan has carried out military operations against militants in tribal areas near Afghanistan and in cities across Pakistan, but extremists are still capable of staging regular attacks.

Mass-Eviction Set To Empty ‘The Jungle’ Of Migrants. What’s Next For them?

Oct 24, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Mass-Eviction Set To Empty ‘The Jungle’ Of Migrants. What’s Next For them?



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to France, where police are preparing to evict thousands of migrants from a notorious makeshift camp known as The Jungle. It’s in the northern French port town of Calais. The eviction had been planned and delayed many times before as officials struggled to determine just what to do with the would-be refugees. But NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that that has changed. She’s with us now from Calais. Soraya, thanks for joining us.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: You’re welcome, Michel.

MARTIN: So what are police planning to do with these migrants?

NELSON: Well, they want to remove all of the migrants tomorrow during basically a 12-hour-long eviction that will start at local time 8 a.m. We’re talking about 6,000 to 8,000 people and possibly even more because no one knows exactly how many people are here. And what’s going to happen is that police are going to divide these migrants into four groups – single male adults, adults who are traveling in groups, unaccompanied minors and families – who will then be registered and then they’ll be sent by bus to refugee homes around France.

The authorities tell us they have places for 7,500 people, and that’s something that’s new. They have not had that before. But it’s also important to remember that when they’ve tried to do things like this in the past, it just never goes smoothly. For example, earlier this year when they cleared the southern part of the camp, basically, 129 kids were lost. It’s unclear what happened to them. You know, they’re just not – they were no longer around.

MARTIN: What are the migrants telling you? Have they been told what the plans are? Are they planning to go along with these plans?

NELSON: Well, it’s really interesting because nobody that I spoke to today says that they like this camp. I mean, the conditions here are horrible. It’s muddy, there’s squalor, there’s just no really running water or electricity. But they also don’t trust the French authorities, so this doesn’t look like it’s going to be an easy process. Most of the migrants I interviewed were like Eritrean migrant David Haile. He said he won’t go unless the police force him. So I asked him if he was going to try to hide.

DAVID HAILE: Yeah, I will try. We will try, if we got the chance. But if it’s very difficult, we’ll go with them and we’ll see what happens.

NELSON: But surprisingly, he doesn’t object to the demolition either to cut down on what he thinks is competition he faces when he tries to get to England from here.

HAILE: There was so many problem there, you know? So the chance is very difficult to get across England. If the camp is closed, maybe the chance would be good.

MARTIN: Soraya, you know, you mentioned earlier that in an earlier effort to clear at least part of the camp that children were lost. I understand that there are something like 1,300 unaccompanied children and teens in the camp. What’s going to happen to them?

NELSON: So far, about 200 have been sent to England, in large part to be reunited with family members there. And when we spoke to the prefect of Calais earlier, she says they will work with British authorities to see if more can be sent there. But for now, they’re going to be put into special housing for unaccompanied minors in close to 300 centers across France. And actually, unaccompanied minors are in the best situation as far as what’s going to happen tomorrow because French officials all agree that something must be done for them.

MARTIN: How is it going so far as these preparations to clear the camp have been made? I understand that last night people were throwing rocks at the police and then the police responded with smoke grenades. Is there the expectation that there will be more difficulties tomorrow if there are people who refuse to leave?

NELSON: Well, the Interior Ministry spokesman told us no, that they’re going to be asking people to come to the center to register and present themselves – like, in other words, a voluntary eviction, if you will – but that they won’t be forced to go. What we saw last night though hardly seemed congenial. I mean, even as the sun was going down, we saw dozens of police officers in riot gear setting up next to a field where some migrant kids were playing cricket. And at the same time, you could see this whole line of adult male migrants glaring at the officers from the same sand dunes where they were throwing rocks at police officers last night. So it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a peaceful process.

MARTIN: That’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson in Calais. Soraya, thanks so much for speaking with us.

NELSON: You’re welcome, Michel.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

In ‘Fire At Sea,’ Glimpse The Migrant Crisis From The Heart Of Mediterranean

Oct 24, 2016   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on In ‘Fire At Sea,’ Glimpse The Migrant Crisis From The Heart Of Mediterranean



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We’re going to hear about another location in the ongoing migrant crisis through a new documentary called “Fire At Sea.” The film focuses on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which sits in the middle of the Mediterranean between Sicily and the coast of North Africa. The island has been a landing point for migrants from countries from Syria to Nigeria to the Ivory Coast. Here’s a clip from the film. It’s a distress call from 250 stranded migrants at sea begging the Italian navy for a rescue.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FIRE AT SEA”)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: How many people? How many people?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Hundred-and-fifty (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Your position.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (Unintelligible) Please, we beg you, please help us.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Your position.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: …Of blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Your position.

MARTIN: We later learned that this vessel and the people aboard were never found. “Fire At Sea” unfolds over the course of a year, weaving back and forth between the peaceful daily rhythms of life for the island’s Italian residents and the dangerous, nightmarish conditions of the overcrowded migrant boats adrift at sea.

The film recently won the highest prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and has been selected as Italy’s foreign language entry for the next Academy Awards. The film’s director Gianfranco Rosi joins us now from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for speaking with us.

GIANFRANCO ROSI: Thank you.

MARTIN: What drew you to Lampedusa? How did you even know to go there?

ROSI: Most of the time, Lampedusa was always covered by the media – by television, by newspaper – in moments of tragedies, when, you know, there was something horrible – death or some kind of very heavy things happen. But most of the time, it was left out the fact that, you know, on this island live 4,000 people and there are people that are there daily. So the idea was somehow to switch the point of view and telling the story, yes, of the migrant but through somehow the point of view of the islanders, people living there.

MARTIN: It’s hard to find a clip, you know, or an excerpt to play because the film is so quiet. It doesn’t have narration. It’s the people doing what they do or going about their lives. You know, for the most part there’s no voiceover saying this thing happening now. And I was wondering what made you choose that approach.

ROSI: I had the imagination when I arrived there that this was going to be a place where there was an incredible interaction between migrants and the population. And that was never the case. Somehow these two worlds of the burly encounter – and the boats are intercepted or rescued in the middle of the sea. And then from there, they’re brought into the island, and then from the island they spend two, three days there. They go in a center where they first identification. And then from there, they go to Italy to start the process of political refugee status.

So since the last three, four years, there’s been an institutionalization of the arriving in Lampedusa. And it’s harder and harder to have an interaction between the people of the island and migrants. So somehow I felt that when I was there, Lampedusa became, like, almost a microcosm, a metaphor of what Europe is right now, you know? This is a world that we don’t know, and we never have really chance of meeting and interacting with. So there’s always a separation between our world and this world that is coming.

MARTIN: I want to play another clip from the film. It’s a scene in which a group of recently-arrived migrants rescued – they’re from Nigeria. They’re gathering in prayer, and one of them gives his testimony of what led them to…

ROSI: Yeah.

MARTIN: …Make that very frightening journey. Here it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FIRE AT SEA”)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: This is my testimony. We would not go as (unintelligible). Many has died. Most, we are (unintelligible). And we flee from Nigeria, we run through the desert, we (unintelligible)…

MARTIN: And will you help us understand what he’s saying there?

ROSI: Yes. It was a prayer of thanking the fact that these people coming from Nigeria, where they were under ISIS, and then through Nigeria to the desert and then from the desert to Libya. In Libya, they were in prison for six months. They were beaten up. And then at certain point, they have to decide either stay here and die or cross the sea and I might survive. And those people that were sinking, that was in a boat – we rescued them, and half of their friends didn’t make it and half, they were able to survive.

And I had time to spend with them. I was with them in the boat. I was with them in the port. I was with them at the rescue center. And the next day when I went and tried to talk to them again, they invited me in their room and they asked me to witness this prayer and this thanking and asked if I could film.

And this is a moment for me which is very important in the film because you would really see a tragedy of this journey in just three minutes. In this very brief moment, everything is told, you know? The fear, the fact that they arrived finally in a place and the sense of freedom that they reach in Lampedusa and then the unknown of what’s going to happen then in their life, you know, because of after they leave Lampedusa, these people are left on their own. And this is another big tragedy that I think we have to confront.

MARTIN: Do you ever wonder, say, five years from now or 10 years from now when we look back on this time what we think of ourselves?

ROSI: I don’t know. I’m not very optimistic right now. I saw – I don’t know in five years from now what’s going to happen. If the whole world doesn’t come together, like, you know, the way somehow they were able to put together all the head of states from all over the world for the climate issue, I think that’s an issue that belongs to the world. And this cannot be left only to single country that are on the front line.

When Barack Obama made his speech at the United Nation about the immigration emergency, he said something very beautiful. He said who builds a wall, he’ builds a prison for himself. And this is somehow what we have to understand that the world will never resist history. They never did – they will never resist, so we have to change completely our policy.

MARTIN: Gianfranco Rosi is a documentary filmmaker. His latest film “Fire At Sea” won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. It’s been selected as Italy’s foreign film entry for the 89th Academy Awards. It opened in the U.S. on Friday. Gianfranco Rosi, thank you so much for speaking with us.

ROSI: Thanks.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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