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Below are the 18 most recent journal entries recorded in News for the people's LiveJournal:

Friday, February 10th, 2006
5:40 pm
45 Japan Cows Suspected of Having Mad Cow
Forty-five cows at a farm in northern Japan are suspected of having mad cow disease and will be destroyed, officials said Thursday. The cows are from a farm on the northern island of Hokkaido where a cow died last month of the disease — Japan's 22nd mad cow case. Following the death, the Hokkaido government banned the farm from moving any of its more than 400 cows, said Osamu Terada, an official with Hokkaido prefecture.

The dead cow was not raised for food and posed no danger to the country's beef supply, officials said. The cows to be destroyed include 43 adults and two calves — the offspring of the cow that died in January, the Hokkaido prefecture said in a statement. The announcement came a month after Japan halted all imports of U.S. beef following the discovery of backbones in a shipment of American veal. The bones are deemed to be at risk of mad cow disease and are banned under a deal that reopened the Japanese market to U.S. beef in December.

5:32 pm
UN urges Nigeria bird flu action
Nigerian officials have confirmed the virulent H5N1 strain of the virus is affecting poultry in three states. Chickens started dying four weeks ago, leading to fears that the emergency measures may come too late. The Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health also urged neighbouring Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana and Niger to tighten border inspections. The agencies said they would send a joint mission to Nigeria within 48 hours to assess the situation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a massive public education campaign, to stop bird flu from spreading to humans in Nigeria. The WHO says it is also sending experts to Nigeria who will use a mass polio vaccination from Saturday to help detect possible human cases of the virus. The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was found on three more farms in the north of the country on Friday, where thousands of poultry have died recently. The new cases - confirmed by National Veterinary Research Institute head Doctor Lamy Lombar - are in Kano State and Plateau State, on either side of Kaduna, where the first case was found on Wednesday.

The WHO's regional director in Africa said international support had arrived but most of it in the form of technical advice and not what the region needs most - money. Police marksmen, ordered to cull 180 ostriches at a farm in the virus-stricken north, killed only 120 birds before running out of bullets, the Associated Press news agency reported. Although the government said it will compensate farmers if their poultry are killed, people have been rushing to sell sick or dead chickens in the markets before restrictions are imposed.

Monday, January 30th, 2006
12:38 pm
Raids across Brazil free 4,000 slaves
More than 4,000 slaves were freed by the Brazilian authorities last year, according to new government figures. But campaigners fear hundreds of thousands more still live and work in near-slavery.

The Brazilian employment ministry said its officials raided 183 farms, the highest number since Swat-style teams were introduced 10 years ago. In total 4,133 workers were freed, with R$7.4m (£1.8m) paid to victims, the ministry said.

"What we know about is the tip of the iceberg," said Father Ricardo Rezende, an anti-slavery campaigner and author of Stepping Out of the Shadow: Slavery for Debt in Contemporary Brazil, the first study of modern-day slavery in Brazil.

Although slavery was officially abolished in Brazil in 1889, Fr Rezende said the official estimate of just 25,000 slaves in Brazil could be way off the mark: "The real figure could be 250,000."

Brazil's modern-day slave trade began to boom again during the 1964 military dictatorship. Following the creation of Sudam, a regional development agency which opened up industry in the Amazon region in 1966, business people and cattle ranchers flocked to the rainforests to make money. The landowners employed middlemen, known as gatos, who found unemployed workers in Brazil's impoverished rural communities, often in north-eastern Minas Gerais.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2006
5:12 pm
Mexican Commission to Give Migrants Maps
A Mexican government commission said Tuesday it will distribute at least 70,000 maps showing highways, rescue beacons and water tanks in the Arizona desert to curb the death toll among illegal border crossers. The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency with independent powers, denied the maps — similar to a comic-style guide booklet Mexico distributed to migrants last year — would encourage illegal immigration. Officials said the maps would help guide those in trouble find rescue beacons and areas with cell phone reception. The maps will also show the distance a person can walk in the desert in a single day.

"What's next? Are they going to buy them bus tickets to Chicago?" said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank. "It's clearly a bad thing for Mexico to be encouraging illegal immigration." The comic booklet for migrants was distributed by the government in early 2005 and warned of the perils of crossing illegally into the United States, while offering tips to stay safe. The booklet, of which about 1.5 million were printed, enraged some advocates of stricter immigration policies in the United States who argue that it encouraged illegal migration.

Thursday, September 8th, 2005
3:22 pm
Rebels Attacks Colombian Power Pylons
Leftist rebels attacked energy towers in Colombia for the second time in three days Wednesday, this time leaving more than a 100,000 people without electricity along the country's Pacific coast, officials said. The rebels blew up at least six major pylons near Ricaurte, 330 miles southwest of Bogota in Narino state, Raul Ortiz, director of the local energy company Central Electrica. The army blamed the strikes on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the major rebel group battling to topple the country's U.S.-backed government.

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
11:05 am
Major earthquake hits Japan
A powerful earthquake off Japan's Pacific coast has injured at least 56 people, set off small tsunami waves and swayed towering buildings in the heart of Tokyo. Bullet trains and a nuclear power plant were temporarily shut down on Tuesday after the quake, which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, jolted the ocean floor off Miyagi prefecture 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Tokyo. In Miyagi's main coastal city of Sendai, the roof partially caved in at a sports gymnasium and injured at least 26 people, police said. Thirty other people were reported injured across four provinces.

10:47 am
Russia, which is scrambling to contain a bird flu outbreak in Siberia, warned the world on Monday that migrating birds may export the deadly virus to Europe and the Middle East in coming months. The outbreak, previously confined to five remote areas of Siberia, appeared to be moving westward after the virus hit a major industrial region -- Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains which sever Asia from Europe.

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005
11:09 am
Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
12:18 pm
Niger leader denies hunger claims
Niger President Mamadou Tanja has dismissed reports that his country is experiencing a famine. He accepted there were food shortages in some areas after poor rains and locust invasions but said this was not unusual for his country. Mr Tanja said the idea of a famine was being exploited for political and economic gain by opposition parties and United Nations aid agencies.

The World Food Programme denied that the scale of the problems had been exaggerated. "We have not spoken about famine but about pockets of severe malnutrition," WFP spokesman Greg Barrow told the BBC. On Monday, the WFP started the general distribution of food in parts of southern Niger. Until now, it has been giving out food in schools or food for work schemes.

Mr Tanja said if the problems were serious, shanty towns would form around the big towns, people would flee to neighbouring countries and street beggars would become more prevalent. Mr Tanja said this had not happened. "We are experiencing like all the countries in the Sahel a food crisis due to the poor harvest and the locust attacks of 2004," Mr Tanja said. But he said the reports of famine were "false propaganda" being circulated by opposition politicians and UN agencies for their own interests.

"We are experiencing like all the countries in the Sahel a food crisis due to the poor harvest and the locust attacks of 2004," Mr Tanja said. But he said the reports of famine were "false propaganda" being circulated by opposition politicians and UN agencies for their own interests.
Thursday, August 4th, 2005
3:10 pm
Grad Student Believes Wood May Replace Oil
A University of Idaho graduate student believes the answer to the world's crude oil crisis grows on trees. Juan Andres Soria says he has developed a process that turns wood into bio-oil, a substance similar to crude oil. The process — in which sawdust and methanol are heated to 900 degrees Fahrenheit to create the bio-oil — is already drawing some interest from energy and wood product companies, Soria said.

So far, Soria's research has focused on sawdust from Ponderosa pine trees, although he said any variety of tree could be used, including fast-growing varieties like those being cultivated for wood pulp. Only about 2 percent of the mass is lost in the heating process, he said. After the bio-oil is produced, he separates it by boiling points, or grades. So far, he said, he's identified oil grades that could someday replace gasoline, tar, glues and resins that make things like lawn furniture.

Still, he said, the bio-oil isn't likely to be an immediate competitor to crude oil. Crude oil currently costs about $60 a barrel, and bio-oil will only be competitive when the cost of crude oil reaches $80 a barrel, Soria said.
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005
10:50 am
Army Officers Stage Coup in Mauritania
A group of Mauritanian army officers announced the overthrow of the president on Wednesday, hours after troops took control of the national media and the army chief of staff headquarters in the capital of this oil-rich Islamic nation. The group, which identified itself as the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, announced the coup against President Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Taya, who was abroad, through the state-run news agency.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005
4:07 pm
Free Market and Hunger

The following articles gives a little background on how the government of Niger's fear of intervening in the free market has led to the death of many. The biggest problem with a free market society is that those who have very little wealth will be the first to suffer during hardships. This is a great system to ensure survival if you are currently in the top percentile in terms of wealth. Those at the bottom will always suffer in such a system. I'm definitely a proponent of the free market economy, but there should be government oversight to ensure that basic needs are being taken care of for those without much resources. The reason being, if it was left to the market those at the bottom will always be ignored.

Plenty of food - yet the poor are starving
Friday, July 29th, 2005
3:23 pm
UN accuses Sudan over Darfur rape
A United Nations report has accused Sudanese authorities of taking no action against militiamen and soldiers accused of rape in the Darfur region. Women in refugee camps risk being raped if they go in search of food, the UN's human rights commissioner says. International charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said in June that 500 women had been raped in four months alone. Sudan's authorities have threatened and arrested victims to make them withdraw the charges, the UN report says.

More than two million people have been forced from their homes and at least 180,000 have died during the Darfur conflict. In June, Sudan set up a special court to try those accused of war crimes in the Darfur region but the report said it was too early to judge its impact.

2:41 pm
PUERTO ASIS, Colombia - No gasoline. No electricity. No running water.

This ramshackle city has been living in fear and deprivation since Colombian rebels declared the southern state of Putumayo a no-drive zone just over a week ago and began blowing up bridges, electrical towers and oil production facilities.

With shortages worsening in the region, a Colombian air force C-130 ferried in 12 tons of food Thursday and then flew out at night carrying 82 civilians who had been stranded in Puerto Asis, the state's main city.

Putumayo is paralyzed. The few commercial flights on small planes out of Puerto Asis are booked solid. Motorists are afraid to drive on rural roads. Even though numerous oil wells dot the state and a pipeline runs through it, gasoline stations are mostly dry.

The United Nations said Friday it was "extremely concerned" by the state's shortages of food and other essentials.

Thursday, July 28th, 2005
2:45 pm
Zimbabwe Wraps Up Crackdown on Slums
Zimbabwe's government on Thursday announced the completion of a crackdown on slums and street traders that left some 700,000 people without homes or livelihoods. But the opposition said demolitions continued.

The campaign has sparked domestic and international criticism, with a U.N. envoy last week presenting a report condemning the crackdown and calling for urgent assistance to help those who have lost their homes and jobs. The envoy said another 2.4 million people have been affected by the crackdown. Zimbabwe's demolition of urban slums has provoked a humanitarian catastrophe, according to the harshly worded UN report that urged an immediate end to the program and the prosecution of its architects

1:42 pm
Defense Official: Bolivia a Leftist Target
Cuba and Venezuela are trying to install leftist governments throughout Latin America and are closest to achieving their objective in Bolivia, a Defense Department official said Tuesday. Roger Pardo-Maurer, a deputy assistant secretary who specializes in Western Hemisphere issues, said Bolivia has become the main target of the two leftist Caribbean countries because revolutionary conditions exist there.

"They are trying to steer this revolution toward a Marxist-socialist populist state," said the
Pentagon official. Pardo-Maurer said Cuba and Venezuela have targeted many other countries in the hemisphere besides Bolivia. "There are subversive projects going on everywhere else," and they seem to be primarily financed and organized by Venezuela, he said.

While Cubans pour into Venezuela, he said, there is a reverse flow as well, with "thousands upon thousands" of Venezuelans heading for Cuba, Pardo-Maurer said. He did not explain the purpose of the exodus of Venezuelans to Cuba. The official added that in exchange for the trained personnel Cuba sends to Venezuela, Chavez reciprocates by supplying the island with 90,000 barrels of oil per day at subsidized prices, sparing Cuba the impact of record-high oil prices.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005
1:07 pm
Monsoon Season Kills Hundreds in India
Surging flood waters have submerged nearly 150,000 homes in India's remote northeast, killing at least 12 people, as the toll from the deadly monsoon season reached 221 in the country.

11:32 am
The Hunger of Niger
The worst drought in years has left 3.6 million people short of food in the West African country. Already counted among the poorest of the world's poor, Niger's farmers simply cannot afford to buy what is still on offer. Their children, in ones and twos, are beginning to die, for want of a few cents worth of food. Poverty is killing them.

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