Ghana deports thousands in crackdown on illegal Chinese goldminers | World news |

This year the Guardian exposed the scale of illegal Chinese goldmining in Ghana in a film that showed widespread excavating and use of toxic chemicals, and allegations of human rights abuses. Following the film’s publication, Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, established a high-level taskforce, saying it was necessary to bring “sanity” to the mining sector.

Since then the government has launched a series of raids through the combined military, immigration and police taskforce. Towns that had swelled with the presence of illegal miners have been significantly affected, officials say. In Dunkwa, where the Guardian filmed this year, sources said the departure of Chinese had drastically affected the local economy.

“A very big change has happened in Dunkwa,” said one source, who did not want to be named. “They were the ones who provided the mining equipment – most of the Ghanaians left behind cannot continue their operations. It has really affected the mining. The local people are complaining because they say the Chinese were good for business. “Now everything has slowed down.”

But many Ghanaians have lauded the government’s efforts to curb illegal mining. The Chinese have attracted heavy criticism from Ghanaians for taking local jobs, wielding weapons such as AK-47 rifles, and polluting lakes and rivers.

“This illegal goldmining was compromising the environment. It was compromising the security of this country. It had a lot of social consequences and the government was losing a lot of resource revenue,” said Fuseini, the mines minister. “The Chinese were just plundering the resources. So what we have done is take action to stop the plunder and ensure that the resource needs of this country are not any way depleted in ways that breaks resource revenue of the state.”

via Ghana deports thousands in crackdown on illegal Chinese goldminers | World news |

Tripoli’s Best Cafe: Ahwak Ben Tafesh Threatened By Extremists

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

Ahwak Ben Tafesh Tripoli - 1

I remember when I first went to Ahwak ben Tafesh in late 2012. I was reluctant to visit. I figured the place was definitely over-hyped. Why would I want to visit the go-to place of Tripoli’s liberal crowd?

How wrong was I?

I remember being captivated by the restroom. It was filled with graffiti, the most surprising of which was a sentence scribbled at the top right corner saying: “your lack of scientific knowledge is not proof that god exists.” Someone later on scribbled out the word god. I guess blasphemy is somewhat haram even on bathroom tiles. But these exchanges are all kind of peaceful and refreshing.

Ahwak Ben Tafesh Tripoli Lebanon

I’m not a coffee person so I don’t visit Ahwak for the beverages which are, based on my modest experience, quite good. What they serve, however, and I find exquisite is their carrot cake. It’s homemade and all kinds of awesome. Simply…

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Weekend Gun Report: July 12-14, 2013 –

A 2-year-old boy is fighting for his life after he was shot in the chest outside his apartment complex in Marrero, La., Saturday night. A 2-year-old was accidentally shot in the leg by her uncle, Ricardo Moreno, 23, as he discharged his weapon on the south side of Tucson, Ariz., Saturday afternoon.

via Weekend Gun Report: July 12-14, 2013 –

CDC – Blogs – Public Health Matters Blog – Animal Rescue: Caring for Animals During Emergencies

In 2008, Hurricane Ike devastated the upper Texas coast with many animals lost and many more suffering needlessly.  This storm triggered a request for the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to form a deployable veterinary emergency team.

The Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (TAMU VET) is comprised of veterinary faculty, staff, and senior veterinary medical students. Since the inception, the TAMU VET has been deployed for Hurricanes Rita and Gustuv, the 2011 Grimes County Wildfire and Bastrop Complex Wildfire, an Alzheimer’s patient search in Brazos County in 2012, and the 2013 West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

via CDC – Blogs – Public Health Matters Blog – Animal Rescue: Caring for Animals During Emergencies.

Krugman on the Ugly Truth

Seniors for a Democratic Society

Hunger Games, U.S.A.


Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.

The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.

For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).

Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however, the two pieces diverged. Farm subsidies became…

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Is Egypt Safe to Visit?

The sad thing is that this has to be written – hope that Egypt finds way to reconciliation, democracy and respect for all faiths and peoples that make up the best of Egypt!

Egyptian Streets


Through the past three years, Egypt has witnessed a turbulent economic and political atmosphere. From the Port Said Stadium Massacre to frequent unrest at Tahrir Square and the recent toppling of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, tourists often start to think that Egypt has become unsafe. This has resulted in very low hotel occupancy rates – with only 30% occupancy during peak times – and has severely impacted Egypt’s tourism sector, leading to higher unemployment and the closure of several businesses.

However, despite the lack of law and order, very little of Egypt’s instability actually impacts the tourists. All major tourist attractions are well-guarded and locals are more than glad to be receiving foreigners (you are their business!).

Going to the Citadel in Cairo – for example – you cannot enter with a vehicle unless you are part of a tour group (or are a government official). Upon entering…

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Green Drinks: Mosquitoes and Dengue


Why is Singapore currently experiencing a dengue epidemic? How does the Aedes mosquito, as the dengue vector, behave? Why is it so difficult to eradicate?   Against the backdrop of the outbreak, research is critical for sense-making and identifying possible contributing factors to the current situation. Step behind the scenes with Associate Professor Ng Lee Ching to discover how Singapore’s dengue control programme utilises science to guide its operations. Find out why dengue is hitting harder this year, and what you can do to help stop transmission via this potent environmental threat.

Speaker’s Bio:


Assoc Prof Ng Lee Ching is Director of the Environmental Health Institute, an institute of the NEA and a World Health Organisation collaboration centre.  She graduated with a PhD from the Department of Microbiology, National University of Singapore and obtained further post-doctoral research training at the Umeå University, Sweden. With keen interest in translational research on infectious diseases, she…

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