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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Citibank cerrará las cuentas del Banco Central de Venezuela EL PAÍS




Citibank cerrará las cuentas del Banco Central de Venezuela



Citibank ha anunciado tras una revisión de riesgos que cerrará las cuentas del Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) y del Banco de Venezuela en un mes. Según el presidente Nicolás Maduro, la medida supone un "bloqueo financiero" del Estado venezolano, que utiliza el banco estadounidense como intermediario para sus transacciones en moneda extranjera.
La entidad financiera ha tomado la decisión tras una revisión periódica de gestión de riesgos en Venezuela. El banco estadounidense ha señalado en un comunicado que la medida no es un reflejo de su "compromiso con un país", con el que trabaja desde hace casi 100 años. El control cambiario en este país ha restringido el acceso a dólares, motivo por el que el BCV y el Banco de Venezuela utilizan a Citibank como intermediario para las operaciones en moneda internacional.
"Hemos decidido suspender los servicios de banco corresponsal [para las operaciones en divisas] a todos los clientes en Venezuela, públicos o privados", explicó a Bloomberg el portavoz de Citigroup Juan Iramain. La medida, añadió, no implica reducir la presencia de la entidad financiera en Venezuela o dejar de operar en el país. La filial venezolana del Citi ha ido cerrado algunas cuentas de tarjetas de crédito desde el año pasado.
La recesión intimida a los inversionistas extranjeros desde hace dos años. Ya en 2014, el índice de mercados emergentes de JP Morgan, indicaba que Venezuela ostentaba el riesgo país más elevado del mundo. La situación se ha deteriorado desde entonces. Para Maduro, el derrumbe económico obedece a una supuesta "guerra" fraguada por un grupo de empresarios, la oposición y el Gobierno de Estados Unidos para desestabilizar al chavismo.
Pero la caída de los precios del petróleo, el riguroso control cambiario impuesto en 2003, las expropiaciones de empresas privadas, la elevada inflación (180,9% en 2015, según el banco central), la escasez de productos y los conflictos políticos han hecho del país un territorio inestable para las inversiones extranjeras.
La fuga de los inversionistas es solo uno de los síntomas del declive financiero. El pasado viernes, la empresa estadounidense Kimberly-Clark suspendió de forma indefinida sus operaciones como consecuencia de la crisis en el país.
Seis empresas multinacionales se han retirado este año del país sudamericano debido a la crisis económica. El desplome financiero en Venezuela ha ahuyentado al gigante General Mills, que en marzo vendió todos sus negocios debido a las pérdidas económicas. Otra compañía internacional que ha suspendido de forma indefinida sus operaciones es Bridgestone.
Además, varias aerolíneas se han retirado de Venezuela. Latam, la mayor de Latinoamérica, anunció en mayo el cese "temporal e indefinida" de sus rutas al país, días después de que hiciera lo propio Lufthansa.

Ocupación de una fábrica

"Esta decisión es tomada después de años en los que la compañía ha procurado hacer frente a complicadas circunstancias más allá de su control, como la incapacidad para comprar materia prima, lo que en los últimos dos meses ha ocasionado que la mayoría de las líneas de producción cierren, así como la carencia de divisas y el rápido aumento de la inflación", explicó la corporación mediante un comunicado.
Kimberly-Clark produce papel higiénico, toallas sanitarias, pañales desechables y servilletas, difíciles de encontrar en un país con altos índices de escasez que obligan a los venezolanos a formar enormes filas en supermercados y farmacias.
La reacción del Gobierno ante el cese de operaciones de la transnacional estadounidense ha sido la toma de sus instalaciones en Venezuela. "¿Es que ustedes creen que nos van a detener activando un bloqueo financiero? No señores, este es otro mundo, a Venezuela no la detiene nadie. Con Citibank o sin Citibank, nosotros vamos, con Kimberly o sin Kimberly, Venezuela va", dijo Nicolás Maduro.
Oswaldo Vera, ministro para el Trabajo y Seguridad Social, acudió el lunes a la planta de Kimberly-Clark, ubicada en el Estado de Aragua (centro del país), para firmar un decreto de ocupación inmediata que reactive las operaciones en esta fábrica: "Empresa que sea cerrada, empresa que será ocupada y abierta por los trabajadores y el gobierno revolucionario". Los cierres de estas empresas internacionales son otro golpe más para la maltrecha economía de Venezuela, que depende de las importaciones y de la venta del petróleo.

L’OCDE critique les insuffisances environnementale France




L'OCDE critique les insuffisances de la politique environnementale de la France




Bien, mais peut et doit mieux faire. En cette période de résultats aux examens, la France reçoit, lundi 11 juillet, son carnet de notes de l'Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) sur ses engagements et sa politique environnementale.
« La France a mené une politique volontaire et ambitieuse en matière d'environnement, marquée en 2015 par la loi de transition énergétique et l'accord de Paris à la COP21, et en 2016 par le projet de loi sur la biodiversité. Le grand défi est maintenant de tenir ces engagements », a déclaré le secrétaire général de l'organisation économique internationale, Angel Gurria.
Ce rapport devait être remis lundi matin par Simon Upton, directeur de l'environnement de l'OCDE, à la commissaire générale au développement durable, Laurence Monnoyer-Smith.
Tous les dix ans, chacun des trente-cinq pays membres de l'OCDE et quelques pays « partenaires » (comme le Brésil ou la Colombie) est évalué sur sa politique environnementale. L'occasion surtout de mettre en regard les objectifs affichés et les résultats atteints. « La France s'est fixé des objectifs ambitieux, ce qui est positif, mais dans de nombreux domaines, des progrès sont à faire », explique la responsable du rapport, Frédérique Zegel, analyste des politiques à l'OCDE.

Examen nuancé, voire sévère

Le tableau d'ensemble est plutôt louangeur, marqué au début de la décennie étudiée par le Grenelle de l'environnement en 2007 et conclu par l'accord de Paris de la conférence sur le climat. Mais, chapitre par chapitre, l'examen se montre plus nuancé, voire plus sévère. Et les recommandations, les « défis », comme l'écrivent prudemment les économistes de l'OCDE, soulignent les points faibles des politiques environnementales françaises.
Au chapitre de la pollution de l'air, si la baisse des émissions de la plupart des polluants atmosphériques est réelle depuis 2000, elle est due à de nouvelles réglementations plus strictes, explique l'OCDE, mais aussi à la baisse de la consommation d'énergie et à la désindustrialisation de l'économie. Surtout, alertent les auteurs du rapport, les émissions d'oxydes d'azote ont dépassé les plafonds fixés par la législation européenne, à cause de la croissance du parc et de la circulation des véhicules diesel.
« Les plans mis en œuvre ne sont pas assez contraignants, leur gouvernance est ambiguë et les péages urbains et restrictions de circulation encore rares », constate l'OCDE, qui recommande de « promouvoir les zones à circulation restreinte et expérimenter les péages urbains ».
Autre point noir mis en avant par l'évaluation, la pollution des eaux due notamment à l'usage intensif des pesticides, qui fait de la France l'un des gros consommateurs de produits phytosanitaires dans le monde. « Si les excédents d'azote et de phosphore ont baissé, l'usage des pesticides a augmenté de 29 % entre 2008 et 2014, contrairement aux objectifs du plan Ecophyto. » Dans ce domaine, l'organisation internationale propose l'instauration d'une « redevance sur les engrais minéraux azotés ».
Autant de points et de recommandations que le ministère de l'environnement affirme avoir déjà mis en perspective, voire inscrits dans des textes législatifs. « La France a progressé par exemple sur la fiscalité écologique, ainsi que nous l'avions recommandé dans le précédent rapport, en 2005, notamment avec la mise en place d'un comité pour cette fiscalité, le rattrapage entre diesel et essence, la mise en œuvre d'une composante carbone dans la fiscalité, mais il reste beaucoup de dérogations, comme pour l'agriculture, le transport routier de marchandises ou l'aérien », détaille Frédérique Zegel.

L'abandon de l'écotaxe critiqué

En France, les taxes environnementales représentaient 2 % du PIB, alors que la moyenne des pays européens membres de l'OCDE est de 2,4 %. Les économistes soulignent la faible application du principe pollueur-payeur, notamment concernant la taxe d'enlèvement des ordures ménagères, qui n'est pas liée au coût du service rendu et au faible financement par les entreprises.
L'abandon de l'écotaxe par Ségolène Royal, la ministre de l'environnement, qui visait à taxer le transport routier de marchandises pour favoriser les modes de frets ferroviaire et fluvial, est aussi critiqué. « L'abandon de l'écotaxe poids lourds a clairement contredit le principe pollueur-payeur en maintenant une couverture partielle des coûts externes, y compris environnementaux, d'utilisation de l'infrastructure routière », écrivent les rapporteurs.
Parmi les recommandations, l'OCDE préconise ainsi de développer l'évaluation environnementale des aides publiques « pour supprimer les soutiens potentiellement dommageables à l'environnement ». Parmi ces soutiens « dommageables » sont pointées les aides au foncier contribuant à l'étalement urbain, les aides à l'agriculture ou à la pêche intensive ainsi que la « sous-tarification de la pollution des eaux ».

Dégradation des zones humides

Si chaque rapport environnemental national donne lieu à une discussion avec le pays concerné et l'ensemble des nations membres de l'organisation – pour la France, cet examen collectif s'est déroulé le 8 mars –, de fait, l'OCDE s'efforce de présenter les points positifs autant que les faiblesses des politiques environnementales. « Ces rapports doivent servir chaque pays à s'auto-évaluer, à se comparer aussi aux autres pays et à améliorer leurs performances », résume Frédérique Zegel.
« Le dialogue social environnemental doit être renforcé »
Autre exemple de cet exercice d'équilibre mesuré, la démocratie environnementale. « Le dialogue social environnemental doit être renforcé », conclut l'OCDE sur ce chapitre. En plein conflit sur le projet d'aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes, mais aussi de nombreux projets d'infrastructure contestés (tunnel ferroviaire Lyon-Turin, barrage de Sivens, Center Parcs de Roybon…), l'avertissement prend tout son sens.
Si la réforme du dialogue environnemental est récente et que ses effets ne pourront être enregistrés qu'à moyen terme, les rapporteurs insistent notamment sur la dégradation, depuis 2000, des zones humides : « L'artificialisation des sols augmente deux fois plus vite que la population. » Et si l'organisation reconnaît le renforcement de l'application du principe « éviter, réduire et compenser », elle note que l'évaluation de la performance du volet compensation reste « difficile à mettre en œuvre ». Il faut, dit l'OCDE, évaluer l'impact des projets dans leur ensemble, un argument rappelé autant par la Commission européenne que par les opposants à ces projets qu'ils jugent « inutiles ».

'The Sahel is on fire': The Malian refugee crisis Middle East Eye




'The Sahel is on fire': The Malian refugee crisis the world forgot

MBERA, Mauritania - The noon sun punches through the shroud of a leaden sky to beat mercilessly on the barren desert. What breeze drifts over the sand grits rather than soothes the eyes. Rain has not fallen here for two years.
When people move, they do so slowly; others curl up in whatever shade they can find to catch a nap. Faces project hunger and lethargy. The last few days of Ramadan are ahead, the final slog of an unforgiving month in an unforgiving environment.
But in this vast refugee camp in Mbera, 50km from the Malian border in Mauritania, 15-year-old Roghietou Himavi Valed does not complain. Her nomadic Tuareg people are used to a harsh life, a struggle that has only intensified in four years of war.
The fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 sent Libya into freefall, and spread chaos across northern Africa. Weapons poured into northern Mali and emboldened Islamic militias in the Sahel – one of the world's hottest, driest and least stable regions – to spread their influence over a number of towns and villages. 
Mali's army refused to aid the native Tuareg, whose own rebels were fighting a decades-long bid for autonomy from Bamako. Instead, civilians found themselves fleeing all sides to escape the crossfire. 
A French intervention helped foil the rise of the Islamic militias but the war still rages in the Sahel, and camps like Mbera, a ramshackle affair now home to more than 40,000 people, are the result.
But Roghietou does not complain.
"We had to leave our home when I was a little girl. Every time I hear my village being mentioned, I am overcome with nostalgia," she says of her home near Timbuktu. "But here, I have everything I need. My entire family is with me. I don't think much about the future. Whatever will be, will be."
For one thing, there is education. Roghietou never went to school in her village - the nearest was a 6km slog - and she has only learned to read and write in exile, thanks to the efforts of humanitarian organisations in Mbera. 
Children receive basic education at Mbera - one thing many did not have before (MEE/Jose Cendon)
But aside from a few aid groups, this place is largely forgotten by the rest of the world as it fixates on the flow of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Mauritania is officially custodian of these 40,000 people but there are next to no officials to be seen.
All the bigger trees are gone, cut down for fuel or shelter, accelerating soil erosion and destroying the last vestiges of fertile land as the Sahara marches south a few kilometres a year. Dead animals litter the landscape and those left die of thirst and hunger every day. 
The people of Mbera are on their own facing years in exile, drought and famine. Their one saving grace is a limited supply of underground water, perhaps the only reason the camp has grown at this place, but even that is running out.
Osman Ag Abi, a 47-year-old teacher originally from Timbuktu, says his people are resigned to a life beyond anything they knew before.
"It is clear we won't be able to return home for a long time," he says. "A number of people decided to go back, but every one of them sent word we'd do best to stay here. There is still a war going on. We all know what is taking place in the Sahara desert. The Sahel is burning. Crime, banditry, jihadism, the racism of the Malian army… We are safe here."
Safe, but changed forever.
"We are nomads," says his colleague Ahmed Ah Hamama, 73. "We follow our animals and we have little use for infrastructure. Here in the camp, our way of life has profoundly changed. We are stuck in one place, and we have slowly been turning into farmers. I have no idea what will become of us. 
"Through socialising, we are getting acquainted with what they call civilisation. It is not necessarily a good thing."
A Tuareg refugee observes cattle at the Mbera camp (MEE/Jose Cendon)
On the most profound level, the refugees are as much a victim of war as of climate change. The tragedy of the Sahel region – a toxic cocktail of climate change, organised crime, ethnic and religious strife, international military interventions and hopelessly porous borders - is certain to escalate. 
Being almost completely ignored by the rest of the world continues to have a profound impact on the Tuareg of Mali. Among the refugees there is constant talk of food shortages. The UN's World Food Programme had been forced to cut its food portions to one third due to lack of money.
Olivier Mirindi, a member of UNICEF's team in Bassikonou, said the lack of international recognition was affecting what aid organisations can do.
"The war in Mali is virtually forgotten. This means our budget here is in great trouble. Our capacities are severely limited. We were forced to let go many of our workers," he said.
"Serious limitations were also placed on the amount of food we can provide. And all we expect from the future are more cuts. The situation could deteriorate to the point where people's lives will come under threat."
More than half of refugees in Mbera are under 18 (MEE/Jose Cendon)
Sebastian Laroze, the UN Refugee Agency spokesman for Mauritania, agreed. "The cuts mean the camp's very existence is in jeopardy. And things are not likely to get better."
UNHCR's projects are co-funded by the ECHO, the EU's directorate for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. Without ECHO's financial assistance, the Mbera camp would probably face closure. But where would the people go?
Muhamad al-Maloud, 24, says there is nowhere. "We all want to go to Europe, but we don't have the funds. And we're all nomads - have you ever met a nomad with all the necessary papers?" he said. 
"All of us are in the same situation. Northern Mali is ruled by terrorism and banditry. The Tuaregs and the Arabs are persecuted by both the jihadists and the Malian army. 
"We have been stripped of everything. The Bamako authorities have always neglected us. Our entire generation has been sentenced to a life hardly worth living.
"In northern Mali, every family wakes up with one goal on their mind – how to find water. That's hardly living, is it? 
"That is why so many of the young people joined the rebels. Here in this camp, each family has someone who had joined the fighting. Those men are the freedom fighters. They are fighting for independence."
And none of this is new. Mali has seen four uprisings since it won independence from France in 1960, all in the northern regions. The worst was the Tuareg rebellion of 1990 to 1995, which turned into civil war and combined with famine and a refugee crisis similar to today.
Fatma Mint Sidi, 47, originally from the Tuareg settlement of Lere, spent six years as a refugee in that earlier uprising.
"Back then I didn't have children, and my husband was still alive," she said as she batted away flies circling under her sizzling tarp. When she returned to her hometown it had been completely destroyed, and not only through war - the desert had encroached to cover it with sand.
"I realise nothing lasts forever, but I didn't expect another war. The last one had completely changed my worldview. In the old days, we all used to help one another.
"It's much worse now than in the 1990s. There's less food and more people. The humanitarian organisations do provide help, but there isn't enough of it to go around. Sometimes the food runs out, and I have a large family to feed."
"Now I have to do everything by myself. Whatever happens is in God's hands."
Refugees at Mbera brave the desert heat to collect supplies (MEE/Jose Cendon)
Reporting from the Mbera refugee camp was made possible by the help of The European Journalism Centre (EJC)

UK infrastructure vulnerable to flood risk, Government advisers warn



Cameroon moves to curb forest loss linked to Chinese ...




Cameroon moves to curb forest loss linked to Chinese investment

A new association set up for Chinese firms exploiting Cameroon's forests aims to help them work within the law
By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame
YAOUNDE, July 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A rise in Chinese companies operating in Cameroon's timber sector, combined with weak law enforcement, have fuelled a surge in illegal logging that is fast depleting the nation's forests, experts warn.
But the government is hoping a new association it has set up for Chinese firms exploiting forests will strengthen links with officials and enable those companies to work within the law.
Every night, trucks laden with logs negotiate hundreds of kilometres of bumpy earth roads, headed to the port in Douala, Cameroon's commercial capital, where the wood - some of it logged illegally - is shipped to foreign markets.
"We have observed a surge in timber trade activities with the increased presence of Chinese business operators in the sector," said Bernard Njonga, coordinator of Cameroon-based NGO Support Service for Local Development Initiatives (SAILD).
"The illegal forest exploitation and logging business has been compounded by weak laws applied to some groups of persons and not others," he added.
Cameroon's forest loss, as in other countries in the Congo Basin, has increased in recent years.
According to Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring platform, Cameroon lost 657,000 hectares (1,623,482 acres) of forest between 2001 and 2014, with the annual rate of loss rising to around 141,000 hectares in 2014.
"The government does not respect its own laws and many forest malpractices go unpunished," said Augustine Njamnshi, Cameroon representative for the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.
Joseph Armathe Amougou, focal point for the U.N. climate change secretariat in Cameroon, said "laws must be strictly respected" if forest governance reform was to yield results.
Cameroon's government agrees there are some irregularities in the forestry sector, but says measures are in place to address the problem.
LED ASTRAY
Bruno Mfou'ou Mfou'ou, director of forestry in the ministry of forestry and wildlife, said many Chinese timber firms and dealers cannot communicate well in French or English, so they use intermediaries who dupe and mislead them into illegal activities.
"We have realised these Chinese investors fall prey to dubious individuals," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the launch of the Chinese Forest Exploiters Association in Douala last month.
The association, established in collaboration with Chinese officials, will enable Chinese operators "to deal with the government directly", he added.
Association spokesman Stephen Y.L. Chong said it would provide information and advice to members. "This will enable us to operate henceforth within the law in Cameroon," he said.
Forest governance in Cameroon has been reinforced since 2012, with heavy sanctions against violators of the law, Mfou'ou Mfou'ou said.
He cited the suspension of 27 forest exploitation companies in 2012, followed by seven others in 2014, because they lacked the correct exploitation licenses, decisions made in line with the 1994 forestry law.
"We have the obligation to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources for future generations, and this is a collective responsibility of both the public and the government," he said.

Cameroon's Prime Minister Philemon Yang (3rd L) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 19, 2015. REUTERS/Wang Zhao/Pool
EUROPEAN SANCTIONS
But authorities in some European states that import wood from Cameroon are not convinced its forest laws are being respected.
Cameroon was the main source of tropical wood imports to the European Union in 2014, at around a fifth of the total, followed closely by Malaysia, according to EU data.
Britain recently imposed, or warned of sanctions on 14 UK importers it believes to be sourcing wood from Cameroon linked to illegal logging, according to Greenpeace.
That followed a similar move by the Netherlands in March, demonstrating that timber from Cameroon is "coming under increasing scrutiny in international markets", the green group said.
"Cameroon's authorities must examine this new set of sanctions and start investigating the companies in question as a first step to tackle the illegality and corruption in the timber sector," said Eric Ini, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.
In 2009, Cameroon appointed an independent monitor, Agreco-CEW, to oversee forest concession allocations. But its recommendations are not always followed, according to Samuel Nguiffo, head of the Cameroon-based Centre for Environment and Development (CED).
A May report from Greenpeace, for example, said Cameroon timber exporter Compagnie de Commerce et de Transport (CCT) had sourced wood from La Socamba, a company logging several kilometres outside its designated area, which it sold in Europe and China.
CCT and its suppliers now face an audit, which has yet to be officially announced, Greenpeace said at the end of June.
CHINESE LOANS
Many Chinese-funded investments in Cameroon, such as a deep-water port in Kribi and mining projects in forested areas, have provided access to natural resources being exploited by both Chinese and Cameroonian firms to satisfy Asian demand, CED's Nguiffo said.
He blamed China's growing environmental footprint in Cameroon partly on the government's heavy reliance on Chinese funding for infrastructure projects.
Since Cameroon launched an investment drive in 2010, China has become Cameroon's prime partner, investing more than $400 million per year, according to statistics from the African nation's ministry of economy, planning and regional development.
About 80 percent of the Chinese loans are for infrastructure such as roads, hydro-electric dams and seaports.
"This dependence has made the country vulnerable and the laws are hardly enforced," Nguiffo said.
In a June report, the World Bank noted that Cameroon's debt levels had increased markedly and a 2015 analysis prepared with the International Monetary Fund put the country at high risk of debt distress.
The increase in debt is the result of large outlays to deal with security threats in Cameroon's north and a boom in public investments - for which it is not clear whether the necessary returns will be generated, the bank said.
(Reporting by Elias Ntungwe Ngalame; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

China developing satellite to monitor floods, drought - The Economic Times




China developing satellite to monitor floods, drought

BEIJING: China will launch its first geoscientific satellite by 2020 for forecasting hydrological events, including floods and droughts.

China announced its plans for the Water Cycle Observation Mission (WCOM) satellite at the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGRSS) 2016 which kicked off in Beijing yesterday.

The WCOM was initiated jointly by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth and the National Space Science Centre with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The CAS has completed key research and tests of the satellite's payload in anticipation of further development.

It will be China's first geoscientific satellite that will give integrated observation of key elements of the global water cycle.

"This year's floods in southern China are an example of how changes in water cycle have a direct impact on our lives," Shi Jiancheng, chief WCOM scientist said.


Understanding the distribution characteristics and changing patterns of the water cycle and forecasting them are frontier scientific issues for us, Shi was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The WCOM will provide unprecedented, accurate observations through simultaneous monitoring of key water cycle elements, such as soil humidity, snow/water equivalents, surface ice and sea water salinity, Shi said.

It will play an important role in flood prevention, drought relief, agriculture, water resource management as well as food and environmental security, he said.

The CAS will cooperate with US and European research teams to initiate a satellite constellation based on the WCOM, aiming to form a worldwide water cycle observation network.

Also at the IGRSS meeting, progress was made in major collaborative research projects, including the China-France Oceanography Satellite (CFOSAT) and the Dragon Program.

The CFOSAT, the first joint satellite development between China and France, scheduled for launch in 2018, is dedicated to ocean wind and wave observation.

A prototype model is complete and the actual CFOSAT prototype is being developed.

The CFOSAT will carry two payloads: a wave spectrometer from France and a wind scatterometer by China.

It will be the first time for both devices to be used for remote-sensing purpose on satellite.

China is responsible for the satellite design, manufacture and launch.

The Dragon Program is a cooperation between the Ministry of Science and Technology and the European Space Agency.

The first phase of the project commenced in 2004 and was completed in 2008.

Scheduled to be completed in 2020, the fourth phase of the Dragon Program consists of 27 projects covering eight fields including agriculture, carbon dioxide monitoring and disaster mitigation.  

Zimbabwe protest organizer charged with inciting violence




Zimbabwe protest organizer charged with inciting violence

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe police have charged the organizer of the country's biggest shutdown protest in close to a decade with inciting violence and disturbing the peace, a day ahead of more protests planned across the country.
Evan Mawarire, a pastor, handed himself over to police Tuesday in the company of a lawyer after police indicated they wanted to question him.
Many people answered his call on social media last week for a job boycott in the southern Africa country to protest dismal economic conditions under longtime President Robert Mugabe.
Police took Mawarire to his home in the capital, Harare, to search it, said his lawyer, Harrison Nkomo.
"They also searched his church building claiming to be looking for a stolen police helmet and baton stick. They also said they were looking for subversive material he allegedly plans to use for tomorrow's protest," Nkomo told The Associated Press.
He said police seized Mawarire's mobile phone after failing to find the alleged subversive material.
A police spokesman did not comment.
Mawarire, who is behind a popular social media movement called #thisflag, has called for another job boycott on Wednesday and Thursday. He has denounced violence and called for people to stay at home.
In a message posted on social media on Monday, Mawarire encouraged people to continue with the protest even if he is locked up.
More than 300 people, including six schoolchildren, were arrested over last week's protests, said Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO providing lawyers to Mawarire and other protesters.
Protests against alleged corruption, economic mismanagement and rights abuses have increased in recent weeks. Mugabe last week blamed the West and sanctions on Zimbabwe for the crisis in his country.

Four Cyber Attacks On UK Railways In A Year - Linkis.com




http://linkis.com/news.sky.com/story/udt6W

The Future Is Unwritten #Cybersecurity | #InfoSec | #IA | #Digital - OT footie #CFC - occasional views expressed my own - retweets not always endorsements

War Vets dumps Mugabe; back Tsvangirai | The Zimbabwe Mail




War Vets dumps Mugabe; back Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda last week fired a salvo at the Zanu PF G40 faction, describing it as worse than opposition leader MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
In an interview with a South Africa-based Africa News Network7 (ANN7), Matemadanda said Tsvangirai was a known enemy hence he was better than an enemy within Zanu PF whose motives were unpredictable.
Tsvangirai has since the formation of the MDC in 1999, caused sleepless nights to Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe due to his popularity especially during election time.
The Zanu PF leadership also accuses Tsvangirai of inviting Western countries to impose targeted sanctions on government officials, including Mugabe and his wife First Lady Grace Mugabe.
However, as Zanu PF factional fights take twists and turns, war veterans now believe that Tsvangirai was "a better rival" than those in the G40, who were allegedly sympathetic to Grace.
Other G40 proponents include Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.




The war veterans belong to another Zanu PF faction Team Lacoste, which reportedly supports Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
"G40 is the number one enemy. It is the front, the face of the imperialists that we have defeated. It is the one that is destroying Zimbabwe. We are not being accorded enough time to expose them, but I can assure you one day we will expose them. These are enemies within," Matemadanda said.
"Tsvangirai can be a better enemy because a defined enemy is an enemy you know, but a pretender is much serious, dangerous and can destroy anyone. This is why you see everything is not moving in Zimbabwe. They have brought confusion in the party. They have brought confusion in government and in every other system.
"They have taken over the land around towns and they are leaders of land barons. They are heading every corrupt activity that you see."
The combative war veteran described their arm together with war collaborators and ex-detainees as the foundation for Zanu PF. He described the organisations as the stumbling block to G40's corrupt activities.
"They want to give an impression that war veterans have become the laughing stock of this society, but as long as that is not corrected Zimbabwe will continue to nose dive to where we don't know," he said.
Matemadanda also took a dig at Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko's continued stay at the upmarket Rainbow Towers Hotel.
Since his appointment as VP in December 2014, Mphoko has been staying at the hotel, something that has invited ridicule for himself through numerous demonstrations.
"You don't need a human rights activist telling you where you should go and sleep. Every child, African or European has a home. And you don't expect a person of the age of Vice-
President Mphoko (to be) without a home. So people want him to go to his home," he said.
He said it was wrong for Mphoko to equate himself with his predecessors who were humble. – NewsDay

Half of European Believe Migrants Bring Terrorism




Survey shows Europeans worry migrants may increase terrorism

About half of Europeans fear the arrival of refugees raises the risk of attacks in their countries, a survey published on Monday found, and many, especially in the east, see them as a burden on their economy.

Washington-based Pew Research Center found the share of people believing that "refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism in our country" was, among others, 46 percent in France, 52 percent in Britain, 61 percent in Germany, 71 percent in Poland and 76 percent in Hungary.
The Hungarian and Polish governments have led criticism of European Union efforts over the past year to distribute asylum seekers around the bloc, mostly from Syria and Iraq.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who oversaw a welcome in Germany for about a million refugees last year, said on Monday that Islamist militants had used the wave of arrivals to infiltrate Europe. Some of those involved in Islamic States attacks in Paris and Brussels are believed to have come from Syria.
Asked whether refugees were a burden because they took jobs and benefits, respondents in the 10 states surveyed gave diverse answers, from 31 percent of Germans who agreed to 82 percent of Hungarians. In Italy, 47 percent thought refugees more to blame for crime than other groups, a little more than in Sweden and Hungary. Only 13 percent of Spaniards thought that, however.
Asked for their view of Muslims, some two thirds of Poles, Greeks, Italians and Hungarians were "unfavourable", a view shared by fewer than a third of French, Germans and Britons.
The Pew data tracked changes over time in some countries.
In Germany in 2005, only 9 percent of people thought Muslim immigrants wanted to adopt local customs, whereas now 32 percent hold that view. In France, that opinion is shared by 43 percent of people, up from 36 percent in 2005.
(REUTERS)
Date created : 2016-07-12

Gao protest turns deadly as Malian army opens fire - France 24




http://www.france24.com/en/20160712-gao-opposition-protest-mali-army-casualties


11:41 (Paris time) IN THE PAPERS


Gao protest turns deadly as Malian army opens fire

Text by NEWS WIRES
Latest update : 2016-07-12

Malian soldiers opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the volatile northern city of Gao on Tuesday, killing two and wounding several more, two doctors at a hospital that received the bodies told Reuters.

The protesters were angry about the introduction of a new interim authority in the region. Some of them had knives, a Reuters witness said.
(REUTERS)
Date created : 2016-07-12

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