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Archive for June 22nd, 2012

Norwegian Terrorist Breivik not insane; his lawyer has told the court in his closing arguments

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2012

By Chief Editor, API.

The trial case against Anders B. Breivik that lasted 10 months came to an end today in Oslo, Norway after the defence lawyers had their time in court where they presented their closing arguments.

According to the defence team consisting of 4 lawyers, Breivik is sane and wants him sent to jail if found guilty, arguing that the accused wants to be considered normal and ready to take responsibility for his actions.

On the other hand, the prosecution told the court that they believe the accused is insane, but added that they had their doubts, thus their conclusion on his state of mind was inconclusive. With such doubt in their minds, the prosecution team told the judges that the accused should not be sent to jail, but confined to a psychiatric institution for the rest of his life.

The prosecution also told the court that if the judges choose to sent him to jail instead of a psychiatric institution, then the accused should be given the maximum sentence of 21 years minus 380 days that he has been in custody.

Breivik went on a killing spree on 22nd of July last year (2011) murdering 77 people.
While in court defending his actions, the accused stated that his actions were necessary in order to save Norway and Europe from itself due to the influx of Muslims. He wants “a Europe” which is not multicultural.
Most of those he killed were young people affiliated to the Norwegian labour party – a party that is now in power. He accuses its leadership of allowing multicultural society to flourish, adding that if things continue the way the ruling party wants, Norway will be taken over by Muslims in a very near future – something he says must be stopped by all means possible.
He is a very strange man. He believes that Norwegians and all the other white people of Europe will thank him when they realise that his terroristic actions was to protect them from Muslims.
He told the court today in his closing statement that the Muslims in Norway are getting too many babies, adding that he was worried for the Norwegian whites becoming a minority in their own country.

The trial ended with the accused getting the last word as the law provides for in Norway.

The court will deliver judgement on the 24th of August. The court has confirmed that the reading of the judgement will be aired live. Over 100 journalists from all over the world are expected to be present. All those who lost their loved ones say they will attend.

If the ruling goes against the accused’s wishes ending up being declared insane by the court, he may decide to appeal. He  has personally told the court that he is sane and will not mind being sent to a normal jail. He is against being declared insane by the judges, because that will sent him to a psychiatric life for a very long time. He fears this result, because he wants people to take him and his ideologies seriously.

His trial revolved on whether he is sane or insane. The video below is from his first appearance in his trial at the Oslo Law Courts, where he was expected to take a plea.



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Norway supports new green growth institute

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2012

Norway will be founding member of the new international Global Green Growth Institute.

“Green growth is essential if we are to be able to achieve our development and climate goals,” said Heikki Holmås, Norway’s Minister of International Development.

Mr Holmås is in Rio attending the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, together with Minister of the Environment Bård Vegard Solhjell.

Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is currently a Korea-based think-tank on green growth, and will become an international organisation in 2012. Norway has recently decided to join the new international as a founding member, and intends to use this opportunity to heighten awareness of the importance of green growth for development and climate policy.

“The Global Green Growth Institute is a welcome and valuable addition to a growing alliance of likeminded partners that are looking for new ways to promote greener policies and increase green investments”, Mr Holmås said.

“With the right conditions, green growth could become ‘the development paradigm’ of our time. Traditional carbon-intensive growth jeopardises the prospects of long-term development by gradually destroying the natural resource base on which people depend. By working through organisations like GGGI, UNEP, OECD and the World Bank and helping more countries forge their own low-carbon development path, we can enable new champions of green growth to emerge and play a leading role. At the same time, we can help to reduce poverty, promote social equality and protect the environment, in the spirit of the Rio+20 conference,” Mr Holmås said.

The Rio declaration paves the way for the Global Green Growth Institute to become a defining actor in the field of green growth in the years to come.

“The action we take and results on the ground are what matters. We have to stress that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and that the development of green growth policies will have to be adapted to national and local conditions,” said Mr Solhjell. Both ministers visited the Amazon rainforest last week and had a chance to see how local communities are managing their forest resources sustainably.

The Global Green Growth Institute has already demonstrated its relevance by assisting some of Norway’s key climate partner countries to develop their own national green growth plans. Some 20 countries will participate in the ceremony establishing the new organisation. Norway’s Minister of International Development signed the agreement on 20 June in Rio




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Rakhine displaced to get help

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2012


BANGKOK,  – The United Nations is ready to assist thousands of people displaced by recent ethnic and sectarian violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, and a UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has visited the region to assess the situation.

“The government has indicated that food, shelter and medical assistance are urgently required,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam told IRIN from Yangon, the former capital, on 15 June. “The UN and its humanitarian partners stand ready to support, as long as security to staff can be guaranteed during operations.”

The Rakhine State Minister said dozens of people had been killed, and close to 32,000 were now displaced and staying in 37 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), the local Burmese media reported. However, aid workers say the situation remains volatile and it is difficult to verify those figures.

On 13 June, Myanmar’s Border Affairs Minister, Maj-Gen Thein Htay, accompanied by Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, visited Maungtaw, the capital of Rakhine State, where they met with residents whose homes had been destroyed.

More than 1,500 homes were reportedly burned in the violence after the alleged rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman by a group of Rohingya Muslim men on 28 May, followed by an attack on a bus on 3 June, in which 10 Muslims died.

In an effort to quell the violence, Burmese President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in Rakhine on 10 June.

“The underlying tensions that stem from discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities pose a threat to Myanmar’s democratic transition and stability. I urge all sides to exercise restraint, respect the law and refrain from violence,” Quintana said.

“It is critical that the government intensify its efforts to defuse tension and restore security to prevent the violence from spreading further,” he said, calling on the authorities to lift the state of emergency as soon as order was re-established.

Discrimination against the Muslim community, particularly the Rohingyas in Rakhine State, was the root cause of the violence, the Special Rapporteur noted, stressing the need for the authorities to take steps to address long-standing issues of deprivation of citizenship, freedom of movement, and other fundamental rights for the Rohingya.

Human Rights Watch has consistently described the treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar as “deplorable”.

Under Burmese law, Rakhine’s 800,000 Rohingya are stateless and are not included in the country’s official list of 135 ethnic groups.

Hundreds of thousands have fled persecution to neighbouring Bangladesh over the past three decades, mostly in the 1990s.

“Policing action should be carried out impartially, in line with human rights standards, and with respect for the principles of legality, proportionality and non-discrimination,” Quintana said.

President Thein Sein called on various segments of Burmese society to jointly maintain peace and stability, and Quintana noted that this obligation also extended to all state security forces because they were responsible for restoring order.

Underscoring the sensitivity of the issue, some Burmese have taken to the internet to express their dissatisfaction with how the situation has been portrayed in the international media.

The Special Rapporteur emphasized that “Responsible media reporting is also imperative to prevent violence from escalating.”



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Living with climate change

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2012

Photo: IRIN
Living with climate change.
RIO DE JANEIRO,  – Ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), popularly known as the Rio+20 Conference, IRIN has released a new publication entitled Living with Climate Change, which contains a series of articles compiled into a booklet.

UNCSD, which takes place in Brazil on 20-22 June, has been organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, other government representatives, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to discuss how the world can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet. More than 50,000 people are participating, including more than 100 heads of state.

“Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress towards the sustainable economy of the future,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference in New York, ahead of the conference.

Earlier this year, the UN released a report entitled Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing to highlight how sustainable development could be incorporated into mainstream economic policy. The report was informed by the urgent need to achieve greater integration among the three pillars of sustainable development – the economic, the social and the environmental.

It is in this context that IRIN compiled a series of articles examining the current debates and policies in practice, and how communities and their governments are working with specialists to integrate the concept of sustainable development into their national programmes on a day-to-day basis. It also focuses on how integrating this concept makes communities and governments more resilient and helps to wean them off aid and external support.



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Stigma and discrimination in the workplace is still a problem

Posted by African Press International on June 22, 2012

Stigma and discrimination in the workplace is still a problem

KAMPALA,  – The government needs to actively support a recently launched East Africa HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy or it will not achieve the goals of fighting stigma and promoting non-discrimination in the public sector.

The policy lunched on 16 May by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs aims to address discrimination in government against its employees living with HIV, ensure access to life-prolonging antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and enable people living with HIV to achieve their potential.

“The policy seeks to provide social protection to all public officers living with HIV/AIDS, and support them on how to cope with the virus,” Paul Bogere, assistant commissioner for human resources at the Ministry of Public Service, told IRIN/PlusNews. “[It] addresses issues of stigma and discrimination during recruitment and in service, subsequently mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS on the performance of staff.”

The negative impact of HIV on Uganda’s workplaces is reflected in poor performance due to illness, absenteeism due to stigma, loss of skilled labour, and increased healthcare expenditure, which the policy aims to alleviate.

Financial support is provided by integrating the costs of treating HIV, opportunistic infections, care and support into staff allowances. “Sick leave shall be granted in accordance with the service regulations on recommendation of a medical doctor and allocation of lighter schedules may be granted for specified periods,” the policy states.

The Ministry of East African Community Affairs will implement the policy with partners that include the Office of the President, the Uganda AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Service, the Uganda Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS and Uganda’s Joint Clinical Research Centre.

“The policy sounds nice on paper but may not be achieved because the government has not taken the health of the citizens seriously. The health budget continues to be reduced instead of being increased to address the management, treatment, care and support of the HIV-infected and -affected populations,” Florence Buluba, the executive director of the National Community of Women Living with Aids (NACWOLA), told IRIN/PlusNews.

“Human resources in the health sector are still an issue. The few doctors and nurses that are in place don’t match with the numbers of patients. Health facilities are thin on the ground, especially in the rural areas, to meet the needs of those working at the grassroots level,” she noted.

Another activist who preferred anonymity asked: “What mechanism is in place to measure the implementation of that policy in the workplace?”

Benon Twebanze, principal personnel officer in the Ministry of East African Affairs said, “In case the policy is violated, there are rules that exist in public service. They will be applied. If there is any disciplinary action, it will be based on Public Service laws.”

He pointed out that “If a public servant is not assigned, or is denied, a chance for promotion due to HIV status, gender or anything, the affected official has a right to appeal to a superior supervisor, permanent secretary, or the appointing authority, the Public Service Commission. If it’s found the decision violates someone’s right, a disciplinary action, interdiction or suspension will be taken against such official, as per the public service guidelines.”

''The policy sounds nice on paper but may not be achieved because the government has not taken the health of the citizens seriously.''

Armed forces exempt

According to the policy, “No employee shall be denied any opportunity be it development, deployment or promotion opportunity because of his or HIV/AIDS status.” The principles of non-discrimination, confidentiality, equal rights and obligations are incorporated and require that HIV status not be considered during pre-deployment, or be a reason for demotion, and that promotions should be based on performance and experience.

However, Uganda’s uniformed services say while they do not discriminate against employees who are HIV-positive, they will continue to reject prospective employees who are HIV-positive.

“We can’t recruit people with major ailments that weaken their body – it’s basically on humanitarian grounds. We need to prolong their lives,” said Col Felix Kulayigye, spokesman for the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.

“If we recruit people with terminal illnesses – like HIV/AIDS, hypertension, heart problems – for military and cadet training, they will not survive. Military training is a very vigorous and tough exercise. We don’t want to kill these people,” he said.

“However, when a person acquires HIV/AIDS while in service, we take care of them. We give treatment, care and ARVs – we have many… serving in the force – they are not denied any opportunity for service and promotions,” Kulayigye noted.

Ibin Ssenkumbi, deputy police spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan region said, “We do it for the good of the people, because the training is intense and requires physically able-bodied persons. Besides the long period of treatment, the trainings are hectic and sick people may deteriorate or die.”

Activists say security forces should not be exempt from the non-discrimination clauses of the new policy. “These are arms of the government and they know that they have not put mechanisms of addressing the policy requirements [in place] so they are running away from responsibility,” said NACWOLA’s Buluba. “That is stigma and discrimination and violation of human rights.”




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