...where failure is documented
President of Malawi 'dies of heart attack' - and his body is 'flown to South Africa as cash-strapped state can't even afford to conduct autopsy'
6 April 2012
Controversial: Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika had won power in the African state in 2004, but was unpopular among his countrymen
Bingu wa Mutharika, the controversial president of Malawi who saw the country fall into economic crisis, has died from a heart attack, it was reported today.
The 78-year-old leader, reviled by many in his own country and the international community, was rushed to hospital after collapsing on Thursday, but could not be saved. Malawi state media said Mutharika had been flown out to South Africa for treatment, although the current whereabouts of his body remains unclear, according to Reuters.
Immigration Greece: "Absolutely nothing" done, says minister
6 April, 2012
Former Minister for Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis (from 7 October 2009 to 7 September 2010). He now serves as Greece's Minister for Regional Development and Competitiveness.
ATHENS - Greek Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has admitted the government has done "absolutely nothing" to contain the surge of undocumented migrants living in Athens.
"We have done absolutely nothing - I want to be very clear," Chrysochoidis told Mega television, referring to the immigration problem and a surge in HIV/Aids cases. "Not only has absolutely nothing been done, but in Omonia Square, out of the 100 drug users there, 35 are HIV positive.
New pesticide link to sudden decline in bee population
by Michael McCarthy
Friday 06 April 2012
US study says nerve agent causes Colony Collapse Disorder
Bee populations have suffered a sharp decline in the past five years. AFP
A commonly used nerve-agent pesticide is the likely culprit in sharp worldwide declines in honey bee colonies in the last five years, a scientific study claimed yesterday.
Imidacloprid, one of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides introduced over the past 15 years, is likely to be responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the recently observed phenomenon in which bees abandon their hives en masse, according to the study by scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States.
Russia's patriarch admits bling watch cover-up
5 April 2012
Orthodox Patriarch Kirill meets Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the Danilov Monastery in Moscow in February.
AFP - Russia's Orthodox Church on Thursday admitted it doctored a photo of Patriarch Kirill on its official website to erase his expensive watch, after bloggers ridiculed the efforts.
The picture in question shows the patriarch sitting at a polished wooden table with Russia's Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov in 2009. While his wrist appears to be covered with a black tunic, a reflection on the table reveals a fancy watch.
Grisly death fuels tales of Russian police torture
By Jennifer Rankin
5 April 2012
Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov attends a news conference in Moscow, March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
(Reuters) - Albert Zagitov had barely set up his new fruit and vegetable stall at the bustling Volga market in the Russian city of Kazan when he was told by a stranger to pack up and go.
After he refused, he was taken to a police car and driven to a police station where he says four officers took turns to hit him in the head and chest and threatened to rape him. "As soon as we sat in the car, they started behaving very cruelly, swearing at me and calling me names," said Zagitov, a Russian born in the Tatarstan region of which Kazan is the capital. "The threats were real. I was full of fear and in shock that this was happening," he told Reuters, his words pouring out quickly as he recalled the events of last July. He was freed six hours later with an aching head, battered ribs and a charge of petty hooliganism.
Insecurity shut down 160,000 Mexico firms in 2011
4 April 2012
Members of the Ministerial Police guard a crime scene in Ciudad Juarez in 2010.
AFP - Insecurity created by organized crime in Mexico forced the closure of more than 160,000 companies in 2011 alone, according to the country's employers confederation Coparmex.
The warning, late Tuesday, came amid raging gangland-style violence across swaths of the country which is blamed for some 50,000 deaths since 2006.
"Organized crime is deteriorating competitiveness... discouraging national and foreign investment, (and) causing the closure of formal businesses. In 2011 alone more than 160,000 companies stopped operating in the country," according to an online statement from Coparmex President Alberto Espinosa.
Petrol-sucking Swede sparks vacuum blast
4 April 2012
A man who needed extra fuel for his snow-blower made the mistake of using a household vacuum cleaner to suck petrol from his car, causing the vacuum to explode and his car to catch on fire.
The man, from outside of Örnsköldsvik in northern Sweden, couldn't think of a better way to transfer the gasoline on Monday night, and decided to try the house-hold cleaner as a make-shift siphoning device, according to Örnsköldsviks Allehanda newspaper.
But instead of sucking in the petrol and storing it, the vacuum cleaner caught fire, forcing the man to launch it outside of the garage before any further damage was done. However, the man was too late, as the car had already caught fire. Shortly after, the vacuum cleaner exploded outside the garage.
Facebook failing on privacy promises: campaign group
3 April 2012
Facebook has failed to meet a deadline to improve its privacy policies that was set by the data commissioner in Ireland, home to it overseas headquarters, an Austrian advocacy group said on Tuesday.
AFP - Facebook has failed to meet a deadline to improve its privacy policies that was set by the data commissioner in Ireland, home to it overseas headquarters, an Austrian advocacy group said on Tuesday.
In December, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said that Facebook had to better explain to users what happens to their personal data and give them more control. The report, which followed a string of complaints by Schrems and his group, also called on Facebook to allow users to permanently delete old messages, friend requests, pokes, tags and posts.
Europe-versus-Facebook also said that 40,000 Facebook users had made use of the group's guide on how to request from the firm all the data it holds on them, but that so far "no one has received all data Facebook is legally bound to disclose." Instead, Facebook has sent out emails to the users with a "download tool" that only held 22 of the 84 data categories Facebook holds about every user, such as old messages, friend requests, pokes, tags and posts.
The group said it has now published forms enabling people to file a complaint with the European Commission. The group's website is http://www.europe-v-facebook.org/.
Facebook, which says it has 845 million users including 483 million who log in daily, had said in December that the DPC had "highlighted several opportunities to strengthen our existing practices." "Facebook has committed to either implement, or to consider, other 'best practice' improvements recommended by the DPC, even in situations where our practices already comply with legal requirements," it had said.
Human trafficking kingpin sentenced in Canada
4 April 2012
AFP - The kingpin in what prosecutors described as the largest human trafficking case in Canadian history that used Hungarian men as slaves was sentenced on Tuesday to nine years in prison.
Ferenc Domotor, 49, pleaded guilty to running a criminal gang which lured men from his native Hungary with a promise of good jobs and a better life, and then coercing them into forced labor at his stucco companies in Hamilton, Ontario. With time already served, he could spend less than four and a half years in prison.
How Hungarian criminals built a slave trade in Ontario
by ADRIAN MORROW
April 02, 2012
A Hungarian crime family ran the largest human-trafficking ring in Canadian history, bringing people from their home country to work for no pay on Ontario construction sites, buying and selling some for a few thousand dollars a head, and using them as household servants.
The case, which has seen the toughest-ever sentence handed down for the crime, will reach its denouement Tuesday, when the scheme’s kingpin, Ferenc Domotor, learns his fate in a Hamilton court.
Human trafficking – coercing people into forced labour – is a major global problem. Various United Nations estimates in recent years have pegged the number of people under traffickers’ control in the millions. And Canada has taken a tough posture on the crime. The government added it to the Criminal Code in 2005 and, in February, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tabled legislation designed to tighten up the refugee system Mr. Domotor and his associates used to bring in their victims. But, with just a handful of Canadian human-trafficking convictions in the last seven years, this prosecution represents some of the strongest, most tangible action this country has taken against the scourge.