Daily Archives: February 9, 2018

My Chakra today

My Chakra today

My Chakra today


Something is wrong!

Venice – Giuseppe Marastoni | 19th century via: http://bit.ly/2neTcjR

Venice - Giuseppe Marastoni | 19th century
via: http://bit.ly/2neTcjR

Venice – Giuseppe Marastoni | 19th century via: http://bit.ly/2neTcjR

My pot with flowers today

My pot with flowers today

My pot with flowers today

My birds on the wire today

My birds on the wire today

My birds on the wire today

My Duck today

My Duck today

My Duck today

Watch “France: Court extends compensation rights to all victims of Algerian independence war” on YouTube

Reporter’s notebook: Man vs machines in the gold mines of Cameroon


Small Chinese companies are operating “semi-mechanised” gold-mining operations across the forests of eastern Cameroon. It’s a sector they have pioneered, between the manual operations of local miners and the industrial scale practised by multinationals.
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  • In eastern Cameroon, local people have for years mined for gold on their ancestral lands, using spades, buckets and hard work. Now Chinese companies have arrived with excavators and powerful pumps – and the locals say they’ve received no compensation. Derek Thomson went to meet them for The Observers Direct.

    The Rafa Mine is deep in the forests of eastern Cameroon, 12 hours’ drive from the capital Yaoundé – nine hours on the highway, then three hours on a winding dirt road.

    The Observers Direct report on Cameroon’s artisanal miners.

    It’s called The Rafa Mine locally because “Rafa” – Raphaël Hamada – inherited it with his sister Calice when their father died, in accordance with local traditional law (droit coutumier). For more than 20 years, the family has mined the land for the gold ore that’s mixed in with the red clay. Lacking the resources to mine the whole area themselves, they sold ‘licences’ to other locals, plot by plot.

    But in November, Chinese workers arrived, built a camp on the Hamadas’ land, and started mining with mechanical excavators to move the earth and with diesel-powered sluice boxes to separate the gold from the sand.

    ‘No one came to see me’

    “No one came to see me to tell me what I was facing,” Calice told us. “I went up to where my mine was, and it was like I wasn’t even on my own land anymore.”

    It turned out the Chinese workers’ bosses had bought a concession from a Cameroonian who had secured exploration rights for the whole region. Calice and Rafa had no formal title to the land, and no paperwork for the deals they made with other local miners.

    Under Cameroonian law, minerals in the ground belong to the state. The state grants concessions to mining companies in return for 15 percent of the gold they extract. The companies are supposed to pay compensation to local people who owned or were making a living on the land; the state is supposed to funnel part of the revenue it receives back to local communities. But village chiefs in the area told us they haven’t seen any compensation from the companies, and have not received any payments from the central government for the last five years.

    Calice Hamada, centre, says she and her brother inherited a gold-mining site from their father when he died. She says Chinese workers are now mining the site without paying compensation.

    Chinese mines guarded by the army

    At the mines in the region, interpreters – Cameroonians who have learned Chinese – act as intermediaries between the locals and the Chinese companies. Cameroonian soldiers are also present, to guard the Chinese mines against theft and make sure there’s no trouble with the locals.

    On November 15, 2017, there was a confrontation between locals and Chinese miners near a village called Longa Mali, further north. A Chinese worker pulled out a gun and shot a local Cameroonian. The locals then beat the Chinese man to death with stones. When we visit the village, people show us photos of the two bodies on their phones.

    The two Chinese men we see at the Rafa Mine don’t want to talk to us. Their interpreter tells us we need to talk to the company’s head office in Yaoundé, but when we get back to mobilephone cover the office does not return our calls. At other sites in the area, people have been told by local officials not to talk to us.

    Local miners work by hand – digging, crushing and then panning the gold to separate it from the sand.

    Despite the threats, many of the local miners we meet are determined to pursue their claims. One young miner urges us to take him to see the local representative of the Mining Ministry.

    After a frustrating week – witnesses dropping out after receiving threats, soldiers threatening to confiscate our camera, companies and officials not returning our phone calls, and an unexplained 45-minute stop by police we are anxious to talk to the central government about the local miners’ concerns, and about any plans the ministry has to support and develop the local mining industry.

    We’re glad when the press office at the Mining Ministry tells us we have an interview with the minister later in the morning – and disappointed when we arrive and are told he’s not in fact available. The press officer, along with the director of mines and five other ministry officials, listen to our questions and promise to provide answers. As of this writing, two weeks later, they have not responded. If they do get back to us, we will publish their response on this page. We’ll also send it to the local miners at Rafa’s Mine who are still camped at the entrance, watching the Chinese excavators work.

    US Congress votes to end brief government shutdown – France 24



    France 24 Mobile – International News 24/7

  • USA
  • US Congress
  • US Congress votes to end brief government shutdown

    Latest update : 09/02/2018

    © Mark Wilson, Getty, AFP | Lights shine down Pennsylvania Avenue leading to the US Capitol in the early hours of Friday, February 9, 2018.

    Article text by NEWS WIRES

    The US House of Representatives joined the Senate early on Friday morning in approving a bill to end an overnight federal shutdown, sparing Republicans further embarrassment and averting serious interruption of the government’s business.

    The stopgap funding and budget measure, approved by a 240-186 House vote, will go next to President Donald Trump. The White House said in a statement that he will sign it into law, which would extend government funding through March 23.

    The shutdown, which started at midnight, was the second this year under the Republican-controlled Congress and Trump, who played little role in attempts by party leaders earlier this week to head it off and end months of fiscal squabbling.

    A carefully crafted, bipartisan stopgap funding and budget package was introduced with confidence earlier this week by Senate leaders, who predicted swift passage before the expiration at midnight on Thursday of current funding authority.

    But in an unexpected turn of events, the deadline was missed because Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, objecting to deficit spending in the bill, engaged in a nine-hour, on-again, off-again protest and floor speech that leaders could not stop.

    Paul’s dissent dragged the Senate proceedings into the wee hours past the deadline, underscoring the persistent inability of Congress and Trump to deal efficiently with Washington’s most basic fiscal obligation of keeping the government open.

    “Republican majorities in the House and Senate have turned the (budget) process into an embarrassing spectacle, running from one crisis directly into the next,” said Democratic Representative Nita Lowey prior to the House vote.

    ‘Loot the Treasury’

    After an all-night session of debating and voting, the bill ending the shutdown finally won House passage only after Democrats provided enough votes to offset the opposition of 67 Republicans, a remarkable rebellion in the party’s ranks.

    While Paul’s performance in the Senate strained the patience of his colleagues, he focused on the same concern that caused so many House Republicans to oppose the bill – deficit spending.


    The budget bill raises military and domestic spending by almost $300 billion over the next two years. With no offsets in the form of other spending cuts or new tax revenues, that additional spending will be financed by borrowed money.

    That part of the overall package was a bipartisan attempt by Senate leaders to end for many months, at least beyond November’s midterm congressional elections, the fiscal policy quarrels that increasingly consume Congress.

    But the deficit spending in the bill will add more red ink to Washington’s balance sheet and further underscore a shift in Republican thinking that Paul was trying to draw attention to.

    Once known as the party of fiscal conservatism, the Republicans and Trump are quickly expanding the nation’s budget deficit and its $20 trillion national debt.

    Their sweeping tax overhaul bill approved in December will add over 10 years an estimated $1.5 trillion to the debt, an accumulation of past years of annual budget deficits.

    The $300 billion in spending included in the bill just approved will ensure the annual budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion in 2019, said the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a private fiscal policy watchdog group in Washington.

    “I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits,” Paul told fellow senators.

    “Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can’t … in good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits. Really who is to blame? Both parties,” he said.

    Paul voted for the deficit-financed tax bill in December.


    • USA

      US Senate backs budget deal, but too late to avert shutdown

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    • USA

      US Congress votes to end government shutdown, Trump claims victory

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    • USA

      US government shutdown drags on as Senate struggles to reach deal

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    All you need to know about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics – France 24



    France 24 Mobile – International News 24/7

    © Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP | The 23rd Winter Olympics are set to be the coldest in history.

    Article text by FRANCE 24 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/follow_button.36c0c29c73929bf937f4c70adb1a29e4.en.html#dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-0&lang=en&screen_name=France24_en&show_count=false&show_screen_name=false&size=m&time=1518184499277

    What is Korean sport diplomacy? Why are Russian athletes competing as neutrals? And how will Olympic first-timers Nigeria and Eritrea fare? We take a look at some of the big stories as the 2018 Winter Olympics got under way on Friday.

    North and South Korea marched together under the unification flag and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shared a historic handshake with the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the 2018 Winter Olympics opened in a spirit of reconciliation on Friday in Pyeongchang.

    Click on the player above to watch our special programme on the 23rd Winter Olympics.

    • SPORT

      Five rings, one dream: African athletes’ winding road to PyeongChang Winter Games

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      Kim Jong-un’s sister arrives in South Korea for start of Winter Olympics

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      Koreas to march under single flag at Winter Olympics

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    From Wikipedia: Today’s featured article- CRAIGSIDE


    Today’s featured article

    Cragside, visitors' entrance

    Cragside is a Victorian country house near Rothbury in Northumberland, England. It was the home of William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, founder of the Armstrong Whitworth armaments firm and inventor of the hydraulic craneand the Armstrong gun. Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power. The entire estate, designed by Richard Norman Shaw, was technologically advanced, with a hydraulic lift, a hydroelectric rotisserie, and early versions of a dishwasher and dumb waiter. Armstrong was raised to the peerage in 1887, taking the title Baron Armstrong of Cragside. He was the first engineer ever to join the House of Lords. He filled Cragside with a significant art collection, and it became an integral part of his commercial operations, entertaining guests including the Shah of Persia and the King of Siam. Following Armstrong’s death in 1900, his heirs struggled to maintain the house and estate. The National Trust acquired the estate in 1977 and opened it to the public in 1979. (Full article…)

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    Prime Minister Tsai Ing-wen surveying the Hualien earthquake damage

    Hualien earthquake damage
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