Saturday, July 2, 2011

For her organization's work to defend women's rights, dangerous people in Guatemala want Norma Cruz dead.

Norma Cruz and her team at Survivors' Foundation run a crisis shelter for women, adolescents and children. Since May 2009, Norma has received numerous phone calls threatening her life, her family and her crucial work.

Norma is one of eight compelling cases we're highlighting during this year's Summer Solidarity Action. There's no better time than now to show your support for defenders at risk of intimidation and abuse.

Write a note to Norma Cruz and other human rights defenders from all over the world -- encourage them to stay strong!

Last year, we featured Norma Cruz in our 2010 Global Write-a-thon campaign. Shortly after, she told us that your letters and postcards were lining the halls of Survivors' Foundation.

She also believes that the media attention sparked by your letters has triggered a stronger response from authorities to keep pursuing her case and providing much-needed security.

Let Norma and other individuals who stand up for free expression in places like Bahrain, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka know that we're still here and this summer, our voices are even more powerful. Write a letter this summer to a human rights defender.

Never written to a human rights defender before? It's okay. We've provided some simple guidelines to help organize your thoughts. The most important thing -- be supportive!

A letter can do amazing things. It can go places that no messenger could. It can send the voices of many to support the power of one. It can bring comfort, even joy, to a person in despair.

Even the strongest human rights defender needs some support sometimes. Be a voice of strength.

Stand with us and begin your Summer of Solidarity right now!

Thank You,



Never before have I felt so optimistic about the prospects for ending the spectacularly costly and counterproductive war on drugs.
On June 17th – the 40th anniversary of the drug war – the Drug Policy Alliance organized thousands of people all across the country to speak out for change at more than 50 local events. We brought politicians and celebrities together to speak at press conferences. And thousands of news stories highlighted the growing momentum to reform our nation’s drug policies.
Now, a small but growing number of elected officials with guts are deciding it’s time to step out.

Less than one week after our 40th anniversary "celebration," a bipartisan group of legislators introduced a path-breaking bill to end federal marijuana prohibition. Show your support by telling your legislators to endorse this bill.

A New Bill to Legalize Marijuana
We have a chance to make marijuana legal at the federal level for the first time since marijuana was effectively outlawed in 1937. Last week, the Drug Policy Alliance and other anti-marijuana prohibition organizations worked with Rep. Barney Frank to introduce historic legislation that would end federal marijuana prohibition for adults. This new bill would leave it up to state governments to decide their own marijuana policies and would essentially take the feds out of the picture, much like the repeal of alcohol Prohibition.

Help bring the failed war on drugs to an end! Tell your representative to co-sponsor this groundbreaking bill, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.

Express Yourself at the New
The Drug Policy Alliance has launched a website that lets you tell the world what you think about the drug war – and what you'd do differently.
Can you express what the drug war means to you in exactly six words? Try your hand at the Six Word Memoir tool. Or do you want to control the purse strings and tell the world how you would spend the money the U.S. wastes on the drug war each year? Redistribute the drug war budget as you see fit, and share your recommendations on Facebook.

Trillion Dollar Tragedy
Asking “What has $1 Trillion Bought Us?”, the Drug Policy Alliance hand delivered a one trillion dollar bill to each and every member of Congress on the 40th anniversary of the war on drugs. We joined over 12,000 supporters who, through their participation in our online action campaign, challenged their representatives to put a stop to the failed war on drugs before any more lives are lost and before any more of our precious tax dollars are wasted.
Many Congressional offices loved the trillion dollar bill! And indeed, with serious talk about ending the war on drugs in the news more than ever, and public opinion overwhelmingly against it, the momentum for change is steadily growing.


The national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports announce today from a
press conference agitation programmes, including a half-day general strike for July 3 in the capital Dhaka,
in protest against the deals signed between Petrobangla and US oil company ConocoPhillips for exploration
and extraction of gas from two offshore blocks in the Bay of Bengal. The programmes will also
include protest rallies across the country on July 3-2011


Jatiyo Olama Party

Without Opposition Party Correction of the Consituttion is not right for the Nation: Dr. Akabar Ali KHan

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home › Features › Snapshots › America’s Weak Recovery America’s Weak Recovery Why Congress and the Fed Can't Get the Economy Back on Track Alan S. Bl

The majority of Americans can be forgiven for believing -- as they do -- that the U.S. economy is still in a recession when it’s not. The economy is certainly growing, which is the definition of not being in a recession. But growth has been painfully slow this year, running at just about a two percent annual rate. No one would call that good performance. It is, in fact, little better than half the growth rate that many forecasters expected when the year began. Reflecting this weakness, forecasts for both 2011 and 2012 are being revised downward.

Think of the U.S. economy as an airplane flying on three engines. The main growth engine is always the private sector, with monetary and fiscal policy, the two smaller engines, giving the aircraft a boost now and then. In normal times -- which these are not -- the private sector provides more than enough forward thrust. So the two supporting engines, monetary and fiscal policy, are not needed. Indeed, there are times when the private sector generates so much power that the other two engines must be fired in reverse to hold the airplane back. (My metaphor is breaking down here. Licensed pilots, please forgive me.)

But the present is one of those times when the main engine is faltering a bit. It hasn’t gone dead. The economy is still flying well above the clouds, not nose-diving the way it did in the winter of 2008–9. But the normally powerful private sector is not generating much forward momentum right now. It could use a little help from the supporting monetary and fiscal engines, but it doesn’t look likely to get any. In fact, they are more likely to do harm. That is what is so worrying.

Why has growth slowed down so much? There is not one crisp answer; rather, it seems to be a combination of factors. Higher oil prices have taken a toll, although they seem to be receding of late. The earthquake in Japan also nicked growth a bit, especially in the automobile sector, although that also seems to be ending. The housing market stubbornly refuses to show a pulse and, indeed, appears to be taking another dip. (What a shame that the foreclosure problem was never tackled.) Government spending is being scaled back, too, as the 2009 stimulus bill peters out and state and local governments continue to retrench. Meanwhile, the U.S. consumer, once the growth engine of the world, is stuck firmly in neutral, neither propelling growth nor retarding it. All in all, it is a less than inspiring near-term outlook.

And yet a fiscal contraction -- some combination of tax increases (such as the expiration of the 2011 payroll tax cut) and spending cuts to reduce the budget deficit -- looks to be coming soon. Given the horrendous long-run deficit projections, that sounds like the prudent thing to do. But it is not what an economy needs when it is suffering from a paucity of demand. For now, the U.S. government should be like Saint Augustine: seeking chastity, but not just yet. Because, contrary to much misleading political rhetoric, cutting government spending does not create jobs; it destroys them. (This should be obvious: How could a government kill jobs when it buys things from private companies?)

How large a fiscal contraction is in store is hard to say. It depends on how the budget negotiations turn out, and that, in turn, depends on the mysteries of partisan politics. The most likely outcome is that the near-term cutbacks will be modest; political gridlock has its virtues. But this prediction could easily prove wrong. Perhaps the two parties will surprise everyone by agreeing on a large budget deal that embodies huge spending cuts right away. But the bigger risk is that they strike no deal at all, and the government crashes headlong into the national debt ceiling. That could force immediate federal spending cutbacks of 40 percent or more.

While the fiscal engine seems likely to fire in the wrong direction, the only question being how strongly, the monetary engine has fallen silent. The Federal Reserve, which aggressively fought the recession and supported the recovery in its early days, now looks like a spent force. Its controversial second round of quantitative easing, which just ended, earned the Fed a huge amount of criticism and may not have done the economy much good anyway. Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is fighting (and so far winning) an internal battle to hold back the Fed’s so-called hawks, who, if they had their way, would tighten monetary policy rather than ease it. Nor is it even clear what more Bernanke would do if he were given a free hand.

All this paints a not-very-pretty picture for the near term. The main growth engine (private spending) is sputtering, and taken together, the two supporting engines (monetary and fiscal policy) look likely to reduce demand slightly. And that is without even mentioning the two crash-landing scenarios.

In one, the inability to reach a budget agreement collides with the Republican Party’s unwillingness to raise the national debt limit without massive spending cuts. The resulting impasse precipitates both a financial crisis, as investors conclude the U.S. government has lost its marbles, and massive reductions in federal spending to comply with the debt limit. A double-dip recession would not be out of the question.

The second adverse scenario comes from abroad. Suppose the Europeans mishandle the delicate Greek debt crisis, setting off either a messy sovereign debt default or a withdrawal of Greece from the euro system, possibly both. Either event would have strong, rapid, adverse repercussions on Ireland, Portugal, probably Spain and beyond, and certainly on the world financial system.

Neither of these dark scenarios is likely, but each is possible. With bad luck, both could come true. In the meantime, the economy is limping along with unemployment hovering near nine percent and job creation inadequate. What to do?

There is a way out, but the government is not likely to take it. Republicans and Democrats could agree on a two-part fiscal package consisting of a moderate stimulus program for a year or two that is sharply targeted on job creation, coupled with a multitrillion-dollar deficit-reduction program that would be enacted now but only start cutting spending and raising taxes in, say, a year or two. A big, credible deficit-reduction program should allay any market or political fears that the budget deficit is spiraling out of control, thereby creating room for some short-term stimulus.

The Fed, for its part, could blast some of the inert excess reserves out of the banking system, and into productive uses, by lowering the interest rate it pays on excess reserves (which is now 0.25 percent) at least to zero and preferably to some negative number -- which would mean charging a small fee for holding idle deposits at the Fed. Neither of these policies is a panacea that would magically transform the economy overnight. But each would do some good. Unfortunately, they both look like pipe dreams today, given the deep partisan divisions in Congress and the Fed’s felt need for a pause.

More realistically, one can hope that the coming fiscal contraction is too small to do serious damage to demand. And one can hope that the Fed just maintains its current hyper-expansionary policy stance for quite a while, without doing more. Indeed, both seem likely -- the latter, especially so. Doing those two things would at least minimize the net drag emanating from fiscal and monetary policies. It is a sad state of affairs when the best advice that policymakers might actually take is, First, do only a little harm. But that seems to be the case today.

About 80 years ago, Andrew Mellon, the secretary of the U.S. Treasury, assured President Herbert Hoover that the best way to get the economy growing again was for the government to get out of the way and let the Great Depression run its natural course. “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate,” he famously advised. “It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, live a more moral life . . . and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.” The breathtaking belief in both laissez faire and social Darwinism is, depending on one’s point of view, either quaint or chilling.

But it is apparently not dead. Mellon’s ideas live on, starting with his admonition to “liquidate real estate,” which the country has followed to a tee by refusing to adopt serious measures that might have limited the wave of foreclosures. Stop artificially stimulating the economy by monetary or fiscal policy, policymakers are told. Stop regulating it; indeed, roll back previously enacted financial and health-care regulations. Stop “debasing the currency” with inflationary monetary policy. All this was terrible advice when Mellon gave it to Hoover. It remains terrible advice today.

Stand with Aung San Suu Kyi

Stand with Aung San Suu Kyi
The future of Aung San Suu Kyi and her amazing movement for democracy in Burma is hanging in the balance this week, and we could make the difference.

Suu Kyi has bravely called on the military regime to free the thousands of monks and peaceful activists still held in horrific prisons, some in cramped dog cages. Unprecedentedly, thousands of Burmese have risked their own safety to join her call for freedom through an online petition! Yesterday, the regime issued an ominous warning to Suu Kyi – and the Generals may be deciding right now between dialogue or another brutal crackdown.

This could come down to us. Activists in Burma have appealed to the world for help, saying that pressure from the international community is crucial to preventing violence and freeing political prisoners. Let's stand with Suu Kyi and the brave Burmese, sign on to their petition, and send it to the EU, India and other key governments who can press the regime.


Press release from Poem Receipting Parisad, TSC

Press Release from BAPAUB

WE Son of Freedom Fighter: Press Release

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

IWMF Names Ugandan Journalist 2011-2012 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow Batanda Exposed Acid Attacks of Women as ‘Revenge Crimes,’ Murders of Albinos

The International Women’s Media Foundation has selected Jackee Budesta Batanda--a Ugandan journalist who has reported on the vicious acid attacks of women as “revenge crimes” and the targeted murders of albinos--as the 2011-2012 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow.

Amid a brutal crackdown on journalists covering anti-government protests, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has denounced local and international media outlets as "enemies." In this atmosphere, Batanda became determined to report and research “closing media spaces in African nations” during the fellowship when she studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies and other Boston-area universities. She will also have access to The New York Times and the The Boston Globe.

“Press freedom in Uganda is under attack. Jackee wants to shine a spotlight on how the government is treating journalists,” IWMF Executive Director Liza Gross said. “In the true spirit of Elizabeth Neuffer, Batanda’s interest in covering crucial humanitarian issues in Africa offers inspiration for journalists everywhere. We hope this valuable opportunity will provide her with time to expand her reporting.”

The fellowship was created in memory of Boston Globe correspondent Elizabeth Neuffer, an IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner who was killed in Iraq in May 2003. The program, funded by Neuffer’s family and supporters, aims to promote international understanding of human rights and social justice and create an opportunity for women journalists to build their skills.

Batanda, 31, a reporter for the Global Press Institute, plans to create a reporting skills workshop for Ugandan journalists after her seven-month fellowship. A gifted writer and photographer, Batanda holds a master’s degree in forced migration studies from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and an undergraduate degree in communications from Makerere University in Uganda. Batanda, a communications officer for the Refugee Law Project of Makerere University’s law faculty, received Uganda’s 2010 Young Achievers Award and a Justice in Africa program fellowship.

Batanda “will bring drive and passion to this program,” said Cristi Hegranes, founder and executive director of the Global Press Institute. “With her desire to create change and her dedication to human dignity, along with extensive writing and social justice background, I cannot imagine a person better qualified.”

For more information:
Roshani Kothari

Charlotte VERDIN, Communication Manager à l’IHECS


Retour aux archives
Charlotte VERDIN, Communication Manager à l’IHECS

Jean-François Raskin, Administrateur général, introduit notre nouvelle chargée de communication. L'occasion de revenir sur les raisons de la création de cette fonction au sein de l'IHECS.

Jean-François Raskin, Administrateur général, introduit notre nouvelle chargée de communication. L'occasion de revenir sur les raisons de la création de cette fonction au sein de l'IHECS.

La question de la communication, tant externe qu’interne, s’est régulièrement posée à l’IHECS. Les activités de plus en plus nombreuses, dans des domaines variés, trouvent parfois peu d’échos aussi bien au sein de la communauté ihecsienne qu’à l’extérieur.

Nous avons donc pris la décision d’engager une personne qui sera spécifiquement chargée de cet aspect qui nous paraît nécessaire et intrinsèquement lié à l’existence même de notre institution.

Depuis quelques mois, Charlotte VERDIN a pris ses fonctions de Communication Manager au sein de l’IHECS.
Curriculum vitae

Après avoir obtenu son diplôme de l’IHECS en 2006, elle travaille en 2007 au sein de l’ONG d’art-éducation pour enfants et ados défavorisés « Projeto Axé » à Salvador (Brésil). A cette occasion elle réalise un remarquable reportage photo « Salvador mon amour » sur la ville de Salvador de Bahia et ses habitants.

De 2008 à 2011, elle occupe la fonction d’Internal Communication Coordinator au sein du Groupe Dexia. Responsable éditoriale de l'intranet principal du Groupe, elle coordonne également des projets de communication transversaux à toutes les entités du Groupe Dexia.

Pour être complet, Charlotte suit actuellement une formation en dessin à l’Académie des BeauxArts de la ville de Bruxelles.

En étroite collaboration avec la direction et l’ensemble des acteurs de notre institution (professeurs et étudiants), il s’agira de mettre en valeur et promouvoir notre institut et la multitude de projets qui s’y développent et y voient le jour (travaux d’étudiants, partenariats, conférences…).

Mais également de développer et mettre en œuvre, en accord avec la stratégie globale et en synergie avec les différents acteurs de l’institution (corps institutionnel, professoral et estudiantin) et ses partenaires, une politique de communication cohérente et efficace.

La première réalisation de Charlotte a été de redynamiser le site web. Aujourd’hui, une simple visite permet de constater que le site de l’IHECS a trouvé une nouvelle jeunesse, qu’il présente des informations régulièrement mises à jour et propose un échantillon de réalisations d’étudiant(e)s.

Dans un second temps, elle coordonne la réalisation d’une Newsletter, outil de communication et de contact indispensable, dont vous lisez le premier numéro. Parallèlement, Charlotte suit avec beaucoup d’attention les travaux de l’asbl des anciens dans la perspective de dynamisation du réseau et du renforcement des liens avec les jeunes diplômés.

Ces réalisations constituent les premiers jalons dans ce processus plus global, dont la prochaine étape sera la rationalisation de nos canaux de communication interne (i-campus, intranet, valves...)

D’ores et déjà, nous lui souhaitons beaucoup de succès dans ses nouvelles fonctions et la remercions pour avoir accepté ce nouveau poste important pour notre institution.

Sons of Freedom Fighters would Stay in Street


Seven Journalists Arrested in June 2011

For whatever reason — be it covering protests, phone hacking or the commonly used disturbing the peace charge — journalists and jail cells aren’t exactly strangers. Some journalists are arrested for simply doing their jobs in difficult areas while others are actually breaking the law. With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the more prominent cases of journalists arrested in June alone.

Press Association Reporter Arrested for Phone Hacking
The latest journalist to be arrested is a 34-year-old Press Association reporter, who is rumored to be Laura Elston, according to the Guardian. On June 27, 2011, she was arrested “on suspicion of illegally accessing voicemail messages.” She is actually the fifth journalist the Metropolitan Police have arrested in the last few months in connection to a police inquiry into phone hacking.

Sam Mayfield

Sam Mayfield, a freelancer journalist and filmmaker, was arrested on June 6, 2011, while covering the protests in Wisconsin. In her blog, Mayfield writes of the account, “We do not have to leave a public building simply because a man or a woman with a gun and badge tells us to do so. We are critical thinking individuals; we have the right, the ability and the obligation to challenge authority.” She was charged with disorderly conduct and fined $263.50. (Our sister blog, FishbowlLA covered the incident.)

Pete Tucker and Jim Epstein

Pete Tucker, of, and Jim Epstein, a producer, were arrested on June 22, 2011, while covering the D.C. Taxicab Commission, a public meeting. The Washington Post phrased it as, “Their alleged crimes involved them doing their jobs: recording the proceedings of a public body with photographs, video and audiotape.” The two were taking video and photos of the meeting, which the commission had previously banned. Epstein and Tucker are charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful entry and could be sentenced to nine months in jail and $1,250 in fines, according to a Business Insider story.

Somali Reporters Covering Mogadishu Protest
On June 13 and 14, 2011, three Somali reporters were arrested for covering protests in Mogadishu, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists. Two Radio Kulmiye reporters, Mohamed Amin and Ahmed Ali Kaahiye, along with Abdifatah Mohamed Hashi, a journalist from the popular Somali website Keymediai, were arrested but were later released with no charges filed against them. “The detention of journalists trying to cover protests is nothing but censorship and must stop,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. The Somali government must adhere to its charter which protects freedom of expression.”

Were these reporters just doing their jobs and unfairly arrested or did some of them cross the line? When is it OK for a reporter to be arrested?

Image from flickr user Vectorportal.

Sad News: Chehlam/ Resala

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Apologize Action: Urge the U.S. government to apologize to torture survivor Maher Arar

Maher Arar suffered torture because of the actions of U.S. officials, and an apology is now long overdue. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was travelling home to Canada from visiting relatives in Tunisia in 2002. While changing planes at New York City’s JFK airport, he was detained by U.S. authorities and then transferred secretly to Syria, where he was held for a year and tortured. Released without charge, he was allowed to return to Canada, and the Canadian government issued an apology. However, the U.S. government has failed to apologize or offer Arar any form of remedy—despite its obligation to do so under the UN Convention Against Torture and other human rights treaties.

Join Amnesty International, 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, author Stephen King and former interrogator Matthew Alexander: Urge President Obama and Congress to apologize to Maher Arar and fulfill his right to remedy. It’s the right thing to do.

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PDP Leader Urge: DR F A Quarishi

Chairman of PDP Dr. F A Quarishi urged to take inter government schedule to avoid the clash and conflicts of two big party's leader BNP and Awami League. Before making new election and to avoid the care taker policy argument he urged that HE President would offer "National Government" before 90 days for the election. He also, expressed deep shock of the hearing of Arafat Rahman Koko by learned court , younger son of Begum Khalefa Zia and told he may not be guilty as circulated in people.

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