Get Involved | Habitat For Humanity® Manitoba | Families thrive. Communities prosper. Everyone wins.

Today, new research was released demonstrating that affordable Habitat for Humanity homeownership contributes to families becoming happier and healthier, and enjoying improvements in their children’s well-being and school performance. The research, led and funded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), shows that of the families surveyed, 86 percent report being happier since moving into their Habitat home and 89 percent said their family life had improved.

via Get Involved | Habitat For Humanity® Manitoba | Families thrive. Communities prosper. Everyone wins..

Revolt in Turkey: Erdogan Losing Grip on Power – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Most pointedly, however, he asked if Turkey wanted to follow a law passed by two drunks or the law of God. Since then, the country has been filled with speculation as to who Erdogan may have been referring to. Many believe it was an attack on Atatürk and his Prime Minister Ismet Inönü, who were in office when the ban on alcohol in the country was lifted in 1926. Furthermore, Atatürk is rumored to have died from cirrhosis of the liver. As such, Erdogan’s comments are seen as an attack on a national hero.

Diverse Protests

But it isn’t just the Kemalists who are now venting their rage at the Turkish prime minister. Demonstrations have been reported in more than 40 cities, and they are drawing more than students and intellectuals. Families with children, women in headscarves, men in suits, hipsters in sneakers, pharmacists, tea-house proprietors — all are taking to the streets to register their displeasure.

via Revolt in Turkey: Erdogan Losing Grip on Power – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The Weekend in Gun Violence –

A 2-year-old girl was shot and wounded in her home in Killeen, Tex., Friday morning. A 6-year-old girl was shot in the leg by her father during a boisterous party in Federal Heights, Colo., late Friday. 11-year-old Tayloni Mazyck was struck by a bullet Friday night while standing outside her apartment building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, N.Y., and is likely paralyzed. Sunni Rae Reza, 8, was shot and killed after the vehicle she was riding in was fired upon in southwest Albuquerque, N.M., late Friday, a day before her birthday. A teenager was shot dead in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, Pa., Friday night, and in a separate shooting, a 21-year-old man was wounded.

via The Weekend in Gun Violence –

Border Lines: Cowboys & Indians Get It Together in Chihuahua

Earlier that day, in a Mennonite settlement near Ojo de Yegua, the group had demanded that Mennonite farmers, unable to show a drilling permit, shut down their equipment. Although representatives from government agencies had promised to join the protest and shut down the illegal wells, they never showed up. Instead, two policemen armed with AR-14s burst into the crowd and headed directly toward me. Having been told by the Barzón leader that I was there to chronicle the protest, the farmers quickly gathered around to protect me—and my camera. The policemen began shooting in the air and at our feet, then retreated. Protestors found several of their truck with slashed tires.

Martín Solís Bustamante, a leader from El Barzón, a rural organization in Mexico, called the governor’s office, insisting that he ensure our security, and pointing out that the state water and environmental agencies had agreed the previous week to shut down the new wells. One of the group picked up the bullet casings he could find. We then headed to the Palacio del Gobierno in Chihuahua City—the colonial palace which now houses the governor’s offices—for a late night ad hoc meeting. Our caravan was part of an incipient campaign demanding that the government make good on its promises.

Wearing jeans, plaid shirts, and cowboy hats, the men (along with a few women) arrived at the palace. Never before had I been inside this imposing colonial building with its murals depicting the state’s revolutionary history. Yet I was the center of attention when the Barzonistasconfronted the officials that night.

Stunned government ministers and officials—including the state’s chief of public security—looked on as Bustamante unrolled a plat map with illegal wells marked, pulled a handful of the brass bullet casings from his pocket, and scattered them over the map . Pointing to me, Bustamente told them that the government was obligated to protect not only its own citizens but also international reporters.


In February 2013, I was back at the Palacio del Gobierno with many of the same Barzón-allied farmers and ranchers. But this time they came on horseback as part of the Cabagalta Para Justicia-–the Ride for Justice. This time, one of their leaders, Ismael Solórios, who had pushed for the community’s decision to ban mining operations to protect their water supply, was not with us. In October Ismael and his wife Manuela had been assassinated. The government’s failure to find and prosecute the killers had heightened the already highly charged struggle to conserve the water of the El Carmen aquifer into a broader struggle for justice and against impunity in this desert state.

And this time, the protestors weren’t just cowboys but also Indians. As the Barzon horsemen and women approached the palace from one direction, marching down another street were a couple hundred the indigenous Tarahumaras, who had traveled from southwest Chihuahua to join forces with the ranchers.

via Border Lines: Cowboys & Indians Get It Together in Chihuahua.

Sea Turtle Environmentalist Suspected Murdered by Poachers | The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog

Vanessa Lizano, the owner of the turtle sanctuary where Mora Sandoval worked, told the BBC that the 26-year old had been killed because of his work. “Jairo went on patrol with some volunteers and they were attacked by armed men. It was him they wanted, because he was the one who was always looking after the nests.” Lizano told the BBC that poachers in Costa Rica can make up to $300 per day smuggling turtle eggs and selling them for $1 each, often to drug dealers, on the black market. Lizano said that employees had received many threats over the years due to their work at the sanctuary.

via Sea Turtle Environmentalist Suspected Murdered by Poachers | The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog.

Settlers torch Palestinian fields near Nablus | Maan News Agency

Extremist settlers set fire to over 50 acres of Palestinian fields in the northern West Bank on Monday, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Residents of Yitzhar settlement torched fields in the Khallat al-Injas neighborhood of Madama, and the fire spread to adjacent fields owned by Burin villagers, said Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities.

Five acres of wheat fields were destroyed in the fire, Daghlas told Ma’an.

via Settlers torch Palestinian fields near Nablus | Maan News Agency.

(Government  standing by and doing nothing only encourages new heights of Settler Terror against Palestinians!)

Deutsche Bahn plans to use drones to catch graffiti artists | Germany | Silly non-productive

Gau believes the use of drones is completely disproportionate with the crime. “We’re really using a sledgehammer to crack a nut here,” he commented.

Spraying graffiti on trains is an offense of the lowest magnitude, the lawyer says, even though Deutsche Bahn intends to make quite an uproar about it. Police officers, on the other hand, can only use drones when trying to uncover who is behind very serious crimes.

Gau suggests instead that the train company invest in special varnish for its vehicles. Such finishes are already used elsewhere, and they prevent paint from spray cans from really sticking to surfaces. It can be very easily removed.

“Why is Deutsche Bahn not investing in varnishes for its trains rather than arming itself with drones?” he wonders.

via Deutsche Bahn plans to use drones to catch graffiti artists | Germany | DW.DE | 03.06.2013.

Egyptian Aak: Week 22

The President does not seem up to the job he took…


Week 22

Main Headlines:




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Egyptian Aak: Week 22 | Nervana – Egypt – Nile

the Nile River is  an international river, Ethiopia has no right to make a  unilateral decision without the consent of other stakeholders oike Egypt and Sudan. Therefore, the current talk about past Ethiopian grievances and unfair previous treaties are simply beside the point. These are issues that Egyptians should discuss and reflect on , but such discussion/issues should not divert them from their main goal, which is to prevent a third party (Ethiopia) from controlling Egypt’s water supply.

It is crucial indeed to understand that the Egyptian response will be widely monitored in the countries of entire Nile basins. Any perceived weakness could have tremendous, indeed perhaps negative,  impacts in the future. Serious negotiations with the Ethiopians must start soon, while all options should be considered. As in all conflicts, diplomacy without threat of force is empty talks. Yes, Egypt should be fair to Ethiopia and address  its needs, but Ethiopians should also be fair and acknowledge Egypt’s rights.

There are two elements to the problem to close consider, namely, the external risks and the internal management of water resources. Undoubtedly, water is not a commodity that Egyptians should ever take for granted, Egypt needs to recalibrate its domestic management, cut waste, and increase efficiency; however, this focus should happen side by side with fighting to maintain Egypt’s water rights clearly protected under international law. Any decrease in  the Egyptian share of water will not only affect that country’s water supply, but also crop irrigation and electricity production emanating from the high dam.

via Egyptian Aak: Week 22 | Nervana.