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 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:54 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

We will continue on tomorrow: July 26.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:53 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi Marti,

Welcome to our message board.

First, please understand we do not do personal charts on this mb. There is a subject on the first page called 'if this is your first visit to the mb' that lists the various rules and procedures for this mb.

Second, the EA of JWG has specific archetypal meanings that I would encourage you to read and inform yourself about. The correlations, for example, that you have stated regarding Aquarius, etc, are not consistent with our EA.

Venus, and its higher octave Neptune, do correlate to the sense of meaning that any given Soul creates and needs for it's lifetimes. Your S.Node of Venus in Aquarius in the first house would correlate, partially, to what that sense of meaning has been for your Soul prior to the life you are now living. Back that up by locating the natal Uranus in your chart: by house, sign, and aspects to it. In JWG's EA, for a simple example, the 1sh House, Aries, Mars correlate, among other archetypes, to a new evolutionary cycle of development. Thus, an inner sense of having something new and special to actualize that then requires an essential freedom to develop, and actualize. This would then correlate to the sense of meaning with the S.Node of Venus being in the 1st House Aquarius. The Aquarius archetype would condition this by way of needing to initiate relationships with a diversity of types of people in order to evaluate through comparison and contrast exactly what that new sense of individuality is within your Soul: to find your unique place in the world. Within this desiring different knowledge systems in order to help you objectify exactly what unique sense of identity is: astrology would be one example. Within this a core emotional paradox relative to relationships: needing freedom while at the same time needing relationships.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:46 AM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by Rad
Hi Wei,

"The mean motion of moon's node is retrograde, so we should determine counter-clockwise even node is direct in person's chart, is that correct?"




So we should use Saturn/Chiron/Uranus/Neptune/Pluto/Sun as baseline to determine their phase relationship with moon's nodes?


Generally, yes. But one needs to look at the ephemeris on the day of birth for any given Soul to look at the various rates of motions for the planets to make sure about which ones are slower than others.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:42 AM 
Started by cinschu - Last post by Rad
Hi cinschu,

Sidereal astrology was never a system that focused on the evolution of the Soul. The nature of it's structure does not really allow for it.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:41 AM 
Started by Heidi - Last post by Rad
Hi Wei,

"If a soul's kundalini energy has been awaken in this life time, how will this awareness integrate into their future life? For example, the woman JWG talked about, does it mean whatever caused her horrible vision from birth in this lifetime, has been healed, recovered, that won't happen to her in future life? And can she "remember" this healing ability or recover this memory sometime in the future life? And does a soul have to evolved to spiritual state, to be prepared for this awakening?"


It integrates into her future life by way of the evolution that the kundalini created in the current life: we always pick up were we left off. The causes that created her vision issues would have been healed by way of the kundalini in her current life. Those causes will not be recreated in another life because they have been healed/ evolved in the life that she had lived. It is possible for her to remember this healing in a future life: but that would mean she would have had to evolve to the beginning of the 3rd Stage Spiritual stage of evolution, and continue to evolve through it. Generally, yes, the Soul has to have evolved into the spiritual state to be prepared for this kind of evolution. Remember or know that the degree of kundalini awakening is very relative to the evolutionary and karmic condition of any given Soul.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:34 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S Elections

Sanders seeks unity at Democratic national convention after chair resigns

    Senator to speak on opening night after fall of rival Wasserman Schultz
    Michelle Obama will also appear as senator heralds superdelegate reform
Dan Roberts in Philadelphia
Monday 25 July 2016 11.00 BST

Bernie Sanders will on Monday urge supporters to consider how “far superior” Hillary Clinton is to the alternative, as Democrats seek to defuse fresh outbreaks of tension at the start of their four-day national convention in Philadelphia.

In a crucial opening night address to delegates, the Vermont senator will appear alongside first lady Michelle Obama as the party seeks a display of unity in contrast with Republican infighting in Cleveland last week.

The star-studded convention got off to a rocky start on Sunday, when Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to announce her resignation on the eve of proceedings, following revelations of bias against Sanders during the long and bitter primary contest with Clinton.

But the Sanders campaign seemed keen to put the fight behind it over the weekend, despite the leaked emails which showed DNC staff sought to exploit his religious beliefs and Wasserman Schultz openly dismissing the notion that he could ever win.

“Sanders will make it clear that Hillary Clinton is by far superior to Donald Trump on every major issue from economics and health care to education and the environment,” said his spokesman Michael Briggs, in a statement before news of the Wasserman Schultz resignation.

In a surprisingly muted response to the resignation, Sanders said she had made the right decision but paid tribute to her “years of service”.

Despite tense relations between the campaigns during the primary fight, Sanders has swung rapidly behind team Clinton since a full-throated endorsement speech two weeks ago in New Hampshire, claiming he had moved the party’s nominee to the left in a series of negotiations over policy.

“Sanders will stress that the most progressive platform in Democratic Party history includes agreements he reached with Clinton to dramatically expand healthcare access and to make public colleges tuition-free for students from families with annual incomes up to $125,000 a year,” said Briggs, in a preview of the Monday night speech.

“In his remarks, Sanders also plans to rip into Trump for siding with the Koch brothers and echoing fossil fuel industry claims that climate change is a hoax despite the virtually-unanimous scientific consensus that the warming planet is causing devastating harm.”

Nevertheless, some Sanders supporters were in an angry mood over the DNC email revelations and there were an ambivalent atmosphere, at best, reigned over some events in Philadelphia on Sunday evening. Some activists planned demonstrations and sit-ins in the city, in protest against the party’s continued use of super-delegates in its nominating process.

But the Sanders campaign appeared satisfied with the outcome of a rules committee meeting on Saturday that proposed a commission to reduce the number of the controversial unelected delegates in primary contests.

“This is a tremendous victory for Senator Sanders’ fight to democratise the Democratic party and reform the Democratic nominating process,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager. “We were pleased to work with the Clinton campaign to enact this historic commission.”

Sanders will use his speech to flag ways in which supporters can continue pushing their agenda outside the mainstream.

“He will send a message to the convention and to the 13 million voters who supported him that they have begun a political revolution to transform America and that the revolution – Our Revolution – continues,” said Briggs.

“Together,” Sanders will say, “we continue the fight to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1% – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”


GOP Rocked By Clinton Truth Bomb That Russia Is Helping Trump

By Jason Easley on Sun, Jul 24th, 2016 at 1:11 pm

The Hillary Clinton campaign went there today by connecting the dots and letting voters know that the Russian government is working to get Donald Trump elected president.

Transcript via ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What more is there to know?

We see what’s in them.

MOOK: Well, what’s disturbing about this entire situation is that experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, took all these emails and now are leaking them out through these Web sites.

Obviously, they have to determine, you know, what’s accurate, what — what’s been doctored, what has been doctored. And it’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by — by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.

We said…

STEPHANOPOULOS: For the purpose of helping Donald Trump?

MOOK: That’s what some experts are saying. And so a…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that what you believe?

MOOK: Well, I don’t know. The experts need to tell us that. It was concerning last week that Donald Trump changed the Republican platform to become what some experts would regard as — as pro-Russian. And so, again, the DNC needs to — needs to look into this and take appropriate action.

But — but it’s — it’s important to understand the broader perspective of — of why this is happening.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to stay on the WikiLeaks for a second, but — but you’re raising some important questions here.

Do you think Donald Trump is too close to Vladimir Putin?

MOOK: I think what’s troubling is how he has praised Vladimir Putin. It’s troubling that last week he said that — or he questioned whether NATO should protect our Eastern European allies.

So yes, I think that’s troubling for any American, from a national security standpoint.

It is the ugly little secret that the Trump campaign doesn’t want to discuss. When Donald Trump Jr. was asked about support of his dad by the Russian government, he blew a gasket on CNN.

Trump can ramble on about emails all he wants, but the reality is that there is only one candidate who us being backed by a government that the Republican Party considers an enemy to America.

Donald Trump’s praise for Putin is no coincidence, and the Clinton campaign is calling out the reason why.


The Stupid Runs Deep In Republican Ranks

By Rmuse on Sat, Jul 23rd, 2016 at 9:18 pm

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

Over the past eight years many pundits have referenced the absurdity of Americans voting against their own self-interests. One could attribute the phenomenon to low-information, low-intellect or just rank stupidity, but it is more likely due to contempt for other Americans.

By now though, even bone-head Republicans comprehend, or they should comprehend, that there is nothing whatsoever any Republican will ever do for the people; it’s just not in their religious conservative nature. Still, disparate special interest groups are supporting the GOP with full knowledge that Republicans are simply anti-everything and they will never change, especially now that a reality television celebrity is running the party.

There is an old poem, or story, attributed to various peoples in history about a rattlesnake that fatally bites an idiot that took pity on the creature and picked it up to save the its life. As the victim lay dying they ask the snake why it bit them after being rescued. Of course the rattlesnake tells the dying good Samaritan that “you knew I was a rattlesnake all along and you picked me up anyway.”

There are different ways to express the moral of the story, but suffice it to say that anyone who is intimately involved with evil should only expect that evil to be visited on them, because they knew they were cavorting with evil. Another moral for the story is don’t be stupid.

One group of Republicans were, and probably still are dazed, angry, and sufficiently confused over both the RNC’s anti-LGBT platform as well as Donald Trump’s choice of an anti-LGBT rights running mate in Mike Pence. Last week the story was that the only openly-gay Republican delegate ever to sit on the platform-writing committee was in tears as “her Party” steadfastly hewed to its evangelical extremism and included decidedly anti-gay rhetoric in the official Party platform.

On the heels of that story was openly gay Log Cabin Republican (LCR) president, Gregory T. Angelo, unleashing Hell on the RNC and issuing a press release in the form of a fundraising-like letter to LCR members claiming he “is mad as Hell;” but he is still a dyed-in-the-wool Republican.

In his press release/letter, Mr. Angelo said:

“There’s no way to sugar-coat this: I’m mad as hell – and I know you are, too. The Republican Party passed the most anti-LGBT platform in the Party’s 162-year history. Opposition to marriage equality, nonsense about bathrooms, an endorsement of the debunked psychological practice of ‘pray the gay away’ – it’s all in there. This isn’t my GOP and I know it’s not yours either.”

Logic would inform a person with even diminished cognitive abilities that:

If the GOP is not your party and you’re mad as Hell; and they are opposed to and hate everything about you and your way of life; and they literally want you dead to conform with their  god and Christian bible’s dogma, then logic and self-preservation demands that you flee the party with the utmost urgency. But that is not happening in GOP stupid land.

As many pundits have noted over the past eight years, Republicans and their voters fulfill Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity in doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. In this particular case, it is insane on the GOP’s part to continue pursuing a policy of hatred toward LGBT people when the majority of Americans now support marriage equality and the Constitution’s equal rights safeguards, but it is just batshit crazy for gay Republicans to cling to the Party and expect it to change and support LGBT equality. LCR can’t comprehend that the GOP is the proverbial rattlesnake in the earlier referenced story and they keep clutching it to their bosoms and get angry they are getting bit.

These Republicans, who are also gay, cannot or will not separate themselves from the Party no matter how much the social conservative Republicans want to harm them. So, besides the LCR president writing a letter, since the group was “credentialed to attend the convention” they attended the convention to raise Hell and:

“Take a stand. Now is not the time to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. But we’re going to need your support to do it. That’s why I’m writing to ask for your help.

Please give today and give generously — $500, $250, $100, or whatever you can give…to Take back the Platform. Take back the Party…and let the folks on the Platform Committee who paved the way to this foolishness know you’re not going down without a fight!”

LCR did not “take back” their party, did not change anything, and did not even put up a fight. As a conservative over at RedState remarked: how could gay Republicans ever “Take back what was never yours? That’s the problem. I’m all for inclusion, [but] not at the expense of the soul of the party.”

The conservative writer claimed that LCR’s intent is “fundamentally changing the party to the point that there is no visible difference between the GOP and the Democrats.” Another Republican idiot, obviously. Not openly calling for discrimination against LGBT people is in no universe the only difference between Republicans and Democrats and any American who watched any of the RNC hate-fest learned that first hand.

If Mr. Angelo had actually kept tabs on the machinations that produced the anti-LGBT platform, he would be aware that there was an openly gay delegate on the platform-writing committee that wept while pleading with Republicans for a semblance of compassion for gay people and their constitutional rights. In fact, Rachel Hoff appealed to the Republicans saying, “We are your daughters. We are your sons, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues, the couple that sits next to you in church. Freedom means freedom for everyone, including for gays and lesbians.”

Silly first openly-gay Republican delegate ever: doesn’t she know that part and parcel of everything Republicans stand for is denying freedom to every American, particularly gays and lesbians?

It is simply astonishing that any LGBT person, or advocacy group, even a Republican gay advocacy group, would think for one nano-second that the Party that exists to deny equality to well over half the population would suddenly embrace equality for the LGBT community; the evangelical right will never allow it and for LCR to think otherwise is beyond insanity; it is stupid. And as if to punctuate exactly how stupid it is, LCR went to Cleveland to support Trump and his anti-gay running mate, and then they will vote up and down the ballot for all the venomous Republicans who will bite them immediately on being sworn in office.

Now, there are likely other groups in the Republican party that do not embrace every hateful policy near and dear to the party faithful, and they probably had high hopes that this year in this election things would be different. Now that there is stark evidence the GOP is more extreme than ever, and are Hell-bent on biting everyone in America who is not a white Christian male, it is curious why the party still has broad support from the various sub-groups among the rank and file.

One expects poor, low-information yokels in the rural South and Midwest to consistently vote against their own self-interests; they’re stupid bible thumpers and don’t know any better. However, for seemingly intelligent, informed and politically-engaged members of the LGBT community to continue supporting Republicans is not only stunning, it’s a special kind of stupid that makes those low-information yokels blush; it also informs that the stupid runs deep in Republican ranks.


Obama: dark Trump vision ‘doesn’t really jibe’ with facts

By Reuters on Sun, Jul 24th, 2016 at 8:19 pm

The dark vision of America under siege described by Donald Trump in his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination does not mesh with reality, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.
Obama: dark Trump vision ‘doesn’t really jibe’ with facts

By Ayesha Rascoe and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The dark vision of America under siege described by Donald Trump in his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination does not mesh with reality, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday.

Obama noted that the “birds were chirping and the sun was out” for most Americans after Trump’s Thursday night speech, which expounded on the threats to America from illegal immigrants, Islamic State militants, and race-related violence.

“This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people,” Obama said at a White House news conference after meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Obama said the violent crime rate in America has been lower during his 7-1/2 years in office than any time during the last three or four decades, despite an “uptick” in murders in some cities this year, and the recent high-profile killings of black men and police officers.

The timing of Obama’s quickly arranged short meeting with Pena Nieto presented both leaders with a convenient platform from which to criticize Trump.

Just three weeks ago, Obama – who has six months left in the White House – invited the Mexican president to visit one last time before the U.S. president leaves on Jan. 20.

Trump has pledged to build a wall at the Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to force Mexico to pay for it.

The New York businessman has also promised to slap tariffs on some U.S. products made in Mexico, and seek radical changes or even discard the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Pena Nieto was first to mention Trump, but said he respected both Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and would work with constructively and in good faith with whoever wins the Nov. 8 election.

In March, Pena Nieto likened Trump’s “strident tone” to the ascent of dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. But he said on Friday that he had never pointed the finger at any of the candidates, saying that anything he had said had been taken out of context.

And he stressed that the two nations’ futures were closely bound.

“The closeness between the United States and Mexico is more than a relationship between governments. It’s a solid and unbreakable relationship between millions of people who live in both nations,” Pena Nieto said.

Obama said the rate of illegal immigration is down from past decades, and praised Mexico for helping to address a flood of migrants fleeing Central America and for work on drug trafficking.

“A Mexico that has a healthy economy, a Mexico that can help us build stability and security in Central America, that’s going to do a lot more to solve any migration crisis or drug trafficking problem than a wall,” Obama said.

Obama and Pena Nieto praised the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal as addressing some of the criticisms of NAFTA. Both Trump and Clinton have said they oppose the TPP, which has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Congress.

“There are going to be different visions about where we should go as a country,” Obama said, running down a list of economic issues facing the nation.

“But we’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, David Alexander and Eric Walsh in Washington, and Dave Graham, Ana Isabel Martinez, Adriana Barrera and Michael O’Boyle in Mexico City; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:26 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Refugee camp company in Australia 'liable for crimes against humanity'

Directors and employers of Ferrovial told they risk prosecution over firm’s role at offshore detention sites
Asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea

Ben Doherty in Sydney and Patrick Kingsley
Monday 25 July 2016 00.01 BST

The company that has taken over the management of Australia’s offshore immigration detention regime has been warned by international law experts that its employees could be liable for crimes against humanity.

Spanish infrastructure corporation Ferrovial, which is owned by one of the world’s richest families and the major stakeholder in Heathrow airport, has been warned by professors at Stanford Law School that its directors and employees risk prosecution under international law for supplying services to Australia’s camps on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

“Based on our examination of the facts, it is possible that individual officers at Ferrovial might be exposed to criminal liability for crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute,” said Diala Shamas, a clinical supervising attorney at the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School.

“We have raised our concerns with Ferrovial in a private communication to their officers and directors detailing our findings. We have yet to hear back.”

Shamas said her colleagues’ findings should be a warning to any company or country seeking to replicate Australia’s refugee policies elsewhere. “One of the things that we and our partners are concerned about is the timing of all of this,” said Shamas, who also worked in conjunction with the Global Legal Action Network.

“As states move to tackle increasing migration flows, and amid reports that Australia’s offshore model is something that other states in Europe might look to replicate, and the possibility that other companies will be enlisted in those efforts – we set out to examine the potential serious consequences of that kind of involvement.”

Ferrovial acquired responsibility for the offshore detention contract in May after buying more than 90% of Broadspectrum, the company managing the camps. Ferrovial has said it will not bid for a new contract after the current one expires in February 2017.

But campaigners accuse Ferrovial of acting too slowly to end its relationship with the camps.

Shamas’s legal warning came as a new report released on Monday by rights advocacy group No Business In Abuse (NBIA) and the Melbourne-based Human Rights Law Centre said: “Even one day of business in gross human rights abuse is too much.”

Shared in advance with the Guardian, the report advises Ferrovial to immediately cease all operations at the two camps, and urges its financiers and shareholders to withdraw their support for the Spanish company if it refused to do so.

The report accuses dozens of European and North American banks and investors of complicity in Australia’s offshore detention regime because of their financial backing for Ferrovial.

“Ferrovial’s investors and financiers must uphold international business and human rights standards by rejecting their current association with the gross human rights abuses,” NBIA’s report said.

In response to queries from the Guardian, Ferrovial said: “Respectfully, but strongly, we rejected the factual and juridic allegations contained in it.”

Ferrovial also said it would not be renewing its contract with the Australian government next year; noted that it was a signatory to various human rights commitments; and pointed out that many of the alleged abuses at the camps predated Broadspectrum’s involvement.

The company also argued it does not “run” the camps, but merely provides a considerable number of services, and highlighted how the Australian high court has upheld the government’s right to detain asylum seekers in offshore sites.

Australia’s offshore detention centres have attracted widespread and consistent criticism since the country re-introduced its policy of “offshore processing” in 2012.

Currently, people who arrive in Australia by boat without a visa seeking asylum are sent to either Nauru or Manus Island, where most are held in indefinite, arbitrary detention. They are told they will “not, under any circumstances, be settling in Australia”, but there are no other viable resettlement options for them.

At present, there are 843 men held on Manus Island, and 466 people, including 50 children, in the Nauru detention centre. Most have been held on the islands for nearly three years.

The United Nations has found that Australia’s immigration detention regime breaches international law, amounting to arbitrary and indefinite detention, and that men, women and children are held in violent and dangerous conditions.

One asylum seeker was murdered by guards on Manus Island, while another died because there were no appropriate antibiotics to treat infection.

On Nauru, asylum seekers and refugees are regularly physically and sexually assaulted, and say they are frightened to complain because of a culture of impunity on the island. At least 29 cases of rape and sexual assault – including against children – have been reported to Nauru police, but there have been no arrests or charges laid.

Several arms of the UN have repeatedly condemned Australia’s offshore regime, including the UN high commissioner for human rights, the UN committee against torture, the UN special rapporteur on torture, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and the UN high commissioner for refugees.

An Australian Senate inquiry found that a “culture of abuse” exists in offshore detention, and former staff have condemned the camps. A traumatologist described conditions on Nauru and Manus as the “worst atrocity” he had ever seen, while the former chief psychiatrist on the islands said the camps were “inherently toxic” and akin to torture.

The NBIA executive director, Shen Narayanasamy, told the Guardian that Ferrovial’s complicity in the abuses on Nauru and Manus was “incredibly cut-and-dried under international law”.

“There is no shadow of a doubt that gross human rights violations are occurring, no shadow of a doubt that Ferrovial is complicit,” she said.

“The risk to Ferrovial is essentially the annihilation of its reputation. As a company that relies upon contracting with governments for service provision, they put at risk all of their contracts, and all of the future contracts they hope to win. They put at risk all of their ratings, all of their client relationships - people will assess that they are too controversial, too unethical to have a relationship with, and they could see large institutional investors divesting.”

NBIA links the Pacific Ocean camps to the 22 mainly European banks that fund Ferrovial’s activities, and six European and American investment funds that own shares in the company.

Twenty-two mainly European banks – many of them household names – have jointly provided Ferrovial with a €1.25bn (£1bn) loan for general corporate purposes.

The banks include Barclays, RBS, Santander, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase – as well as Instituto de Crédito Oficial, a bank owned by the Spanish state. The other banks are Banca IMI (Intesa Sanpaolo), Banco Sabadell, Banco Popular Español, Bank of America, Bankinter, BBVA, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche, Mediobanca, Mizuho, Morgan Stanley, Société Générale, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Contacted by the Guardian, most of the 22 banks were guarded in their response to concerns over their connection to Ferrovial. Four said they played no role in the Broadspectrum takeover: Citigroup, Société Générale, Banco Sabadell, and Instituto de Crédito.

Twelve banks would not comment publicly on the specifics of their loan to Ferrovial. Of those, three said they played no role in the Broadspectrum takeover, but would not make this claim publicly.

But other banks did not attempt to distance themselves from the transaction, with HSBC, RBS and RBC all responding with general statements that nevertheless stressed their banks’ commitment to human rights.

BNP Paribas has received an email from Ferrovial promising to improve the situation at the camps, in response to concerns raised by BNP Paribas with Ferrovial’s management.

Representatives from NBIA have been meeting with Ferrovial’s investors and financiers since December. Narayanasamy said there was widespread concern across Europe’s financial sector over Ferrovial’s involvement in offshore processing.

“I think there is a genuine acknowledgement from most financial institutions that not only is involvement in gross human rights abuses ethically and morally unjustifiable, it is bad for business.

“We received comments like ‘the company is facing commercial suicide’. Another company told us: ‘All of us saw you and immediately got on the phone to the company’,” she said.

Ferrovial’s biggest shareholders include six European and North American corporate investors – Blackrock, Vanguard, Columbia Threadneedle, Deutsche Asset Management, Cohen & Steers, and Norges, the Norwegian central bank which manages the state pension fund.

Norges has acknowledged the potential for an ethical problem, and has referred the issue to Norway’s Council on Ethics for an independent judgment. Columbia Threadneedle said it discussed its concerns over the camps with Ferrovial, and was reassured that the contract with the Australian government would not be renewed.

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:23 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Only complacency can stop Nigeria – and Africa – from finally conquering polio

It is two years since the last case of wild polio in Nigeria. Ensuring every child is vaccinated should free the entire continent of the disease inside a year

Oyewale Tomori
The author is president of the Nigerian Academy of Science
Sunday 24 July 2016 09.00 BST   

In Nigeria, if we’re diligent and careful, we may never see another child lose the use of their legs to polio.

Thirty years ago, millions of children went unvaccinated against a preventable disease that persisted and paralysed in nearly every country in the world. Since then, the number of unvaccinated children has dropped precipitously. While we still have work to do to ensure not even one child is missed, the biggest challenge Nigeria has to contend with now is complacency.

On 24 July 2016, Nigeria reached two years without a case of wild polio. That is commendable. But if reaching this landmark has left many euphoric, total eradication would be historic. If Nigeria and the rest of Africa can make it to July 2017 without a case of polio, we will be officially polio free. To do this, we have to consolidate the progress we have already made, and vigorously invest in our collective capacity to contain and wipe out the disease wherever it may linger.

To banish polio from Nigeria and the rest of the continent, we must vaccinate every child. To miss even one would be to leave the door open for wild polio virus to return, or to risk outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio virus, a very rare form of polio that can emerge in under-immunised populations.

In Nigeria and across Africa, national governments have been instrumental in supporting this last-mile effort. So too have local civil society leaders, religious and traditional chiefs. All have been backed by the incredible commitment of the continent’s health workers. It is through these networks that we are able to quickly, aggressively and effectively respond to the last vestiges of polio in some of the most remote corners of the world.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari took office last year, he has clearly stated that he is committed to ending polio in Nigeria. Earlier this month, following a meeting with Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s regional director for Africa, Buhari called for a reinvigorated approach to guaranteeing Nigeria’s polio-free status by prioritising public funding to health programmes and to innovative strategies that have enabled the country to immunise millions of children even in hard-to-reach and insecure areas. While national commitment is critical, state governors and local officials need to act on Buhari’s message. They must not only pledge to keep Nigeria polio-free, but also ensure all our children have access to the vaccines they need to protect them from killer diseases.

The health infrastructure built to eradicate polio need not disappear with the disease, either. The infrastructure and response mechanisms built to bring an end to polio can and should be repurposed into sustainable public health programmes and a functioning health infrastructure. We should care for our children with the same excitement we exhibit when bringing them into the world and not abandon responsibility to donors and international agencies.

Nigeria already has the opportunity to develop a great legacy. In the past two years, polio surveillance networks have been used to monitor and contain the 2014 Ebola outbreak, as well as responding to measles and rubella outbreaks throughout Africa.

Nigeria should also take the lessons learned from its emergency operations centres – which have been used to great effect for polio and were instrumental in stopping Ebola – to monitor and control disease outbreaks such as Lassa fever, and provide better health services to the large population of internally displaced people.

I know better than most that the obstacles that stand in the way of eradication are not to be discounted. The violent insurgency in north-east Nigeria has made routine vaccination exceedingly difficult in certain parts of the country, and finding and vaccinating children displaced by violence remains a major challenge. Nonetheless, the eradication of polio is not a luxury. We have come too far and invested too much to rest on our laurels.

Those who have dedicated their lives to improving public health are said to run on impossible idealism and a tenacious commitment to the greater good. Few of them are ever lucky enough to bring a definitive end to such a devastating disease. For all of the children whose lives have been irreparably damaged by an entirely preventable illness, let’s come together and call on our leaders at home and abroad to make polio a distant memory.

• Dr Oyewale Tomori is president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and chairman of Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunisation

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:21 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
'The best solution? Move the Mauritanian capital': water on the rise in Nouakchott

A prisoner of climate change, Nouakchott faces challenges of flooding and erosion that have been exacerbated by preparations for the Arab League summit

Alex Duval Smith in Nouakchott
Monday 25 July 2016 09.00 BST

The two events are not unrelated. As heads of state fly into Nouakchott’s new airport for the Arab League summit on Monday, Vieux Fall will be raising the roof – and the floor – of his family’s small compound.

“The water table has risen more than usual this year. The toilets are overflowing. We are flooded again,” says the 36-year-old computer technician, standing in a shallow pool of water in his yellow-tiled courtyard.

On the roof of the single-storey dwelling, a bricklayer is building a bedroom. In the street, another man is mixing cement. Downstairs, along all the walls, at a height of 70cm, Fall has drawn a line in blue pencil: the new level of the floor. Wedged between the advancing dunes of the Sahara and the rising Atlantic Ocean, the Mauritanian capital is a prisoner of climate change (pdf).

Nouakchott has no mains drains. Much of the city is at or below sea level, protected from the ocean only by an eroding dune. In the past decade, local and international studies have warned that the city is in danger of being swallowed by the sea. Yet a frenzy of construction has preceded the summit, leading to fears of disastrous flooding when the rains come in August.

“We are getting ready for the rain. We spend all our savings on masonry. It may seem like madness, but we cannot afford to move,” says Fall. He points out a tap, set in the wall just below knee height. “When I was a young man, it was level with my shoulder,’’ he says. “You see, we have raised the floor – and of course all the door frames – by about a metre in the past 15 years.”

Fall shares the compound with his wife, his two children, his younger sister and his widowed mother. The family were allocated the property in the 1980s when Fall’s late father was a customs officer and the Socogim PS neighbourhood came into being as a leafy suburb for civil servants.

“All the trees are dead. The water rising under Nouakchott is salty,” says Siré Camara, 48, the lucky occupant of the tallest building in Socogim PS – the two-storey culture centre he founded in 2006. From the roof, where he is building a third storey, he points out the skeletal trunks of the trees lining the roads. “The only patches of green are the tall reeds growing in the abandoned compounds, and in the primary school and dispensary that never reopened after flooding in 2013,” continues Camara.

“The area is full of stinking ponds where people empty their waste water and throw their household waste. It is disgusting and unhealthy. We have dengue fever, which was completely unknown in Nouakchott before. The best solution would be to move the Mauritanian capital and start again. That is what would happen in a rich country.”

Until 1960, Mauritania was not a mapped entity. Its French colonisers cared about the territory only as a sandy link between north Africa and present-day Senegal. Camel herders sipped green tea at a watering hole called Nouakchott (“the windy place”) with 200 residents and not enough annual rain to fill a thimble.

Now Nouakchott has a population of 800,000, precipitation that registers on bar charts, drinking water piped from Senegal, but still no drains. Three years ago, so much rain fell on Mauritania during August and September that more than 2,000 people were left homeless. In the wake of the emergency, the German cooperation agency (GIZ) designed a network of ditches and pumping stations to evacuate surface water in areas like Socogim PS.

Omnia Aboukorah-Voigt, GIZ project coordinator for climate change in Nouakchott, said: “I don’t think Nouakchott really needs a storm drain but it needs sanitation, better urban planning and management of the coastal zone.

“We are talking about very few days of rain a year. But the number of rainy days is increasing and the problem is the large amount of rain that falls in a very short time. Given the fact that the ground water is really high, when it rains there is no place for the water to infiltrate the ground. The more you build – roads or buildings – the more you are laying a waterproof cover over parts of the city, which will lead to flooding elsewhere.”

In Socogim PS, Camara says the pumps have been a disappointment. They have worked in the immediate run-up to the summit but previously they had not functioned, causing vast pools of stagnant water to build up.
Mauritania makes a fresh attempt to boost agriculture
Read more

Hamzette Ould Amar, director general of the national water board said residents were to blame.

“The problem is their behaviour. They throw solid waste in the canals. That creates huge problems for the pumps. We have now bought pumps with double the capacity – 120cm3 – and these will solve the problem.”

He claimed a long-term solution – full sanitation – will be operational within three and a half years. However, residents and donors remain sceptical of the extent to which a much-vaunted government contract, signed with China last year, will result in a comprehensive drainage system for all residents of Nouakchott.

 on: Jul 25, 2016, 06:18 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Can $15m worth of toilets finally clean up the Ganges?

More than 60% of the world’s open defecation takes place in India, but a donation from the spiritual leader known as Amma could help revive a flagging campaign

Karl Mathiesen

A Hindu spiritual leader has donated $15m to build thousands of toilets in villages along the Ganges in an effort to cleanse India’s holy river from the pollution caused by the country’s open defecation crisis.

Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī, known as Amma (“mother”) to her followers, made the donation to prime minister Narendra Modi’s stuttering push to ensure all Indians are using toilets by 2019, saying it was “one of the most important tasks of the hour”.

In Hindu spirituality the Ganges is a source of purification, the holiest body of water on Earth. People living on its banks bathe in it and drink from it every day. This month during the Kumbh Mela, tens of millions of Hindus will cleanse themselves in its waters. But Amṛtānandamayī told the Guardian these acts of necessity and devotion expose people to danger.

“The river is a symbol of the ancient Indian culture. But only some of what is called the Ganges today is the original pure water. The rest is sewage and factory waste,” she said. “People still have the faith that the Ganga is the Divine Mother herself and has healing properties. As such, millions go there to bathe and drink the water. Due to pollution, this can cause sickness.”

More than 600 million Indians have no access to a toilet. This exposes them to disease, indignity and danger. More than 200,000 children under the age of five die each year from diarrhoea and almost half of under fives have stunted growth (pdf) as a result of exposure to faecally transmitted infections.

On accepting her donation, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley said: “Every poor person on the banks of the Ganga must have a toilet so that we can keep the environment clean and the pollutants of the households don’t get into the Ganga itself.”

Successive governments have failed to tackle open defecation in India, meaning the problem is now much worse than in neighbouring countries. A report by the WHO and Unicef (pdf) found that almost half of India’s population do not have access to proper toilets – compared to 1% in China, 3% in Bangladesh and 23% in Pakistan. Almost 60% of the world’s open defecation occurs in India.

Women and girls are particularly affected. To preserve their privacy many walk far into fields under cover of darkness to go to the toilet. Last year, two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh were gang-raped and killed while on one such trip.

Modi’s response to the deaths in Uttar Pradesh and terrible statistics of disease was to launch an ambitious nationwide campaign to end the practice of open defecation in time for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday in 2019.

“Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?” he said in a speech to the nation in August 2014, driving the problem right up the political agenda.

This first year of the programme has seen a modest rise in the number of toilets being built. “It is difficult to get a reliable picture of progress,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, Unicef’s chief of water, sanitation and hygiene.

“However for India to achieve the government target of open defecation free status by 2019, states will need to accelerate coverage to reach 12% [of India’s 1.25 billion people] per year. The challenge is immense and acceleration is critical” he said.

But Tom Palakudiyil, WaterAid’s director of international programmes in Asia warned that Modi’s promise to build toilets for 60m homes had the potential to spark a “construction craze” that would not actually solve the crisis if the toilets remained unused.

In the past, India has built millions of rural toilets. But surveys have found that even in households with access to toilets, a quarter of men and 17% of women do not use them. Often newly constructed toilets are used as storage spaces or rubbish bins.

Palakudiyil said that the government had mandated that education and training be included in the Modi plan, however “in practice, when that goes from Delhi to the state capital, to the district level, it gets lost in translation purely because the functionary on the ground will know that his performance will be measured in the number of toilets and not in awareness-raising education camps that he organised in the village”.

Amṛtānandamayī said the programme must not only encourage people to build toilets, but to use them.

“Devoid of another place to relieve themselves, the villagers do it in open ground. It isn’t really a preference, but has become a habit due to lack of other options. They are unaware of its ill effects. They do it out of helplessness. Proper education will certainly create a change,” she said. “I was also raised like that and lived like that till seven. Yet, I changed my ways. So, I am sure these people will also change.”

A representative of Amṛtānandamayī’s organisation, Embracing the World, said the organisation would provide sanitation training in villages where toilets are built.

Embracing the World raises money from across the world from followers who believe Amṛtānandamayī to be a saint. She is best known for the habit of embracing those she meets – she is thought to have hugged 35 million people – leading her to be known as the “Hugging Saint”.

The organisation promotes sustainable development. Embracing the World recently cleaned the Pampa River in the state of Kerala. Later this month, Amṛtānandamayī will release another $15m for toilet construction in the region.

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow@GuardianGDP on Twitter, and have your say on issues around water in development using #H2Oideas.

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