Robert Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe, the former Southern Rhodesia. He has been president of the country since it achieved independence from Britain. He has ruled the country since 1980. His rule has been marked with vote rigging, mass emigration, human rights abuses and economic decline.
Shortly after achieving independence, Mugabe initiated land seizures from the predominately white farmers. Land was seized or acquired at bargain prices. Under the guise of land reform, many of the farms were turned over to Mugabe cronies. Some land was given to the landless, but lacking the experience and capital, many agricultural enterprises failed. The country moved from a food exporting country to one that imported food.
The country’s staple food crop has failed this year. The super El Nino has caused a drought which has resulted in a 75% failure of the maize crop. Many are poorly fed.
This has not discouraged the ruling elite from throwing a lavish birthday party for the president. Saturday February 27 marked his 92nd birthday celebrations. Mugabe turned 92 in office. A million dollar party was held at the site of Great Zimbabwe. Approximately 50 000 guests were feted. A photo published in The Guardian shows Mugabe and his wife, both very well fed eating cake during the celebration.
The country has declared a state of emergency due to the crop failures. The president has asked the international community to contribute at least USD$1.6 billion to help feed the starving. He has announced that he will only accept aid if it is “no strings attached”. That is in reference to many countries’ objections to his human rights record.
If Mugabe is a normal human, he will not live forever. No doubt many are speculating about who will succeed him. It is unlikely that it will be a smooth transition to a real democracy. Speculation abounds that Mugabe is pushing for his wife, Grace, to succeed as head of state. He elevated her to the head of the Zanu PF women’s wing in 2015. Others are not keen on her.
The pictures of the head of state and his wife eating cake while millions are teetering on starvation brings to mind the famous words of Marie Antoinette.
News Dze Zimbabwe
Canada’s new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, has announced the government’s intention to repeal the previous government’s laws concerning the revocation of citizenship. The bill passed when the Conservative Party held the parliamentary majority. The latest federal election saw the Liberal Party holding the majority of votes.
The law was introduced to allow the revocation of citizenship upon the conviction for terrorism. It would not have applied to those born within Canada, but could have been applied to those who gained citizenship upon arrival in the country.
For instance, Zakaria Amara who was born in Jordan but became a Canadian citizen, has received a letter stating the intention to revoke his citizenship for his part in a plot to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange. He is currently serving a life sentence in prison. One of his confederates, also in prison received a similar letter.
Bill C-24 has been challenged in the Canadian courts, but with the minister’s announcement this morning, it is no longer in effect.
Both the implementation and the revocation of Bill C-24 have been controversial. It was argued that people who acquire citizenship and then go on to commit treason, or engage in acts of terrorism or fight against the Canadian military, should be stripped of their citizenship.
Those who worked to revoke the bill have maintained that once citizenship has been granted, it is equal to those who gained it by being born in the country. That doesn’t preclude incarceration if criminal acts are committed.
Another area of the bill that will be revoked is the residency requirements during the first six years. It would require the new citizen to physically reside in the country for 67% of the time.
The ability of the government to strip citizenship from people would remain if it can be shown that fraud or lying occurred in obtaining it.
Canadian Bar Association
Johnson and Johnson has been slapped with a USD$72 million fine for damages and death caused by its J&J Baby Powder. A jury in Missouri awarded the money to the son of a woman who died last October after battling ovarian cancer. Ten million was awarded for damages(death and suffering) and 62 for punitive.
It is alleged that J&J knew that its baby powder contained substances that were known carcinogens, yet failed to inform the public and failed to remove the dangerous substances. Millions, if not billions of doting mothers, including myself, have used the iconic powder on their babies’ bottoms.
Before the advent of the Net, it was difficult to get reliable information about consumer products, but 40 years ago rumours of the presence of asbestos particles in talc circulated, prompting me to stop using the product. I didn’t know if the rumours were accurate. Now the American Cancer Society page states that some talc deposits do contain that carcinogen. Talc containing asbestos is not used for human use now.
What I didn’t know at the time was that other ingredients in the powder could also encourage cancers. A campaign by activists pushing for safe cosmetics that started in 2009 in the US ended in 2012 when the J&J corporation agreed to remove 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde from its products. This included the No More Tears baby shampoo, another of the products I used on my toddlers.
The large punitive award was granted on the basis that the cosmetic company knew that they had chemicals associated with cancer yet kept them in the products to protect sales. A damning piece of evidence was presented during the trial. An internal memo from a medical consultant follows:
At trial, Fox's lawyers introduced into evidence a September 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant suggesting that "anybody who denies (the) risks" between "hygenic" talc use and ovarian cancer will be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer: "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary." CBC News
There are another 1200 cases pending.
Risks associated with ovarian cancer can be linked to some environmental insults and also to genetics. The biggest risk of developing this form of cancer is simply age. The older a woman gets, the more likely that she will develop ovarian cancer. Obesity is also a risk factor. The American Cancer Society has excellent, easy to read information on their site.
American Cancer Society
The Dalai Lama travelled from Rochester, NY, to Minneapolis to speak to the Tibetan community there. They had arranged for him to speak to about 3000 people in the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The Dalai Lama, now 80 years old, is in the US for treatment of his prostate. He spoke to well-wishers this past Sunday assuring them that he is doing well. In his own inimitable style he is quoted:
Most of the time, I just eat, sleep, and rest. I do my regular prayers for four hours in the morning and one hour in the evening, and in between I read my Buddhist texts and have a good time,” he said.
He entered the facility in January.
The Buddhist beliefs state that each Dalai Lama is a reincarnation. Interestingly the Chinese government which has persecuted people for merely possessing a photo of him denies the reincarnation beliefs as nonsense, while at the same time forbidding him to do so and if he does reincarnate he must do it in China.
His lecture to the US Tibetan community centered on striving to achieve harmony with others. He also spoke about religious tolerance. His third main topic was the state of Tibet’s environment. He expressed concern that its fragile nature be respected.
Meanwhile in Tibet, the persecution of monks continues. A monk in Tibet was arrested seven months ago for possessing and distributing a photo of the Dalai Lama. He was sentenced to two years in prison. The PRC authorities forbid pictures of the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan area. The monk was charged with undermining social stability and actions aimed at splitting the country. China took over the formerly independent country in 1951.
A series of self-immolations started in Tibet in 2009. Harsh crackdowns on witnesses and restricted reporting of the practice has restricted accurate information. Word sometimes leaks out. As of September 2015, 143 people have set themselves on fire to protest the ongoing occupation of their country.
Radio Free Asia
Dalai Lama homepage
Radio Free Asia
International Campaign for Tibet
The Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is a cult that broke away from the main LDS(Mormon) Church in 1890.One of the conditions of attaining statehood was the repudiation of the custom of polygamy. The FLDS has maintained the practise in spite of it being a crime in both the US and Canada.
Central to the FLDS belief system is the faith that god speaks through the leader or prophet. Since 2002 that lone leader has been Warren Jeffs. He has consolidated his power over his believers who reside mainly in Utah, Arizona and Texas. There are about 7500 followers in the towns of Colorado City and Hildale which straddle the Utah Arizona state lines.
There have long been rumours about abuses in the colonies, but after Jeffs attained power conditions for the faithful deteriorated further. Family men have been kicked out of the towns and their wives and children assigned to men more favourable to the prophet. Because all property is held in a church trust, people kicked out of the colonies leave with nothing and are forbidden to contact their former friends and family.
When Jeffs’ father died, he married 20 of his stepmothers and assigned others to men of his choosing. He had a reputation for watching out for young, beautiful girls and marrying them as “spiritual brides”. His nephew sued him for raping him when the nephew was five years old.
Some of the wives escaped the colonies and began to tell the public about abuses. An investigator was brought onto the scene to find out about the “lost boys”. Those are young boys and men who are expelled from the colonies never to return. It is obvious that a polygamous system cannot function with an even number of men and women. Warren Jeffs alone is reputed to have married over 80 women. A photograph in the book Prophet’s Prey by investigator Sam Brower, shows Jeffs posing with 58 of his wives.
Law enforcement people tried on several occasions to serve subpoenas but Jeffs always seemed to be not at home. The FBI put him on the Ten Most Wanted list and he was apprehended. In his possession at the time was a tape recording of him raping 12 old Merrianne Jessop. The offense took place in Texas and he was charged with her sexual assault as well as the assault of another under age girl. That got him a life sentence with no parole.
He is still able to control his cult. He does it by phone.
The town marshal and the City Manager of Hildale/Colorado City are currently embroiled in a federal court case that alleges that they aided and abetted crimes against non-church members.
According to the Justice Department, the Marshal's Office selectively enforces "laws and regulations against non-FLDS individuals on the basis of religion."
Just when you may think you’ve heard it all, information was leaked out in a child custody case that those men in the FLDS fold are no longer allowed to touch their wives, except to hold their hands while selected “seed bearers” impregnate them.
Most of the members of the cult are descended from two founding families. The inbreeding that has occurred has resulted in a formerly rare genetic disorder now firmly in place in the colonies. The defect results in microcephaly, major brain dysfunction, severe seizures and early death. It has been explained to the mothers as a test from god.
Courthouse News Service
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
diet. Addicted to reading. Love this planet, especially my little corner
on Vancouver Island, Canada