Archive for Brazil

Back Off Australia!

Posted in America, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Europe, European Union, Justice, News, Prison, Teen Violence with tags , , , , on 25/02/2015 by floroy1942
Australian Prime Minister

Australian Prime Minister

I find it amazing that Australia is going to great lengths to try and save the lives of two criminals who have been convicted and sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Bali, Indonesia.

This all came about when 11 people were arrested for smuggling heroin, among whom were citizens of Australia, Brazil and France. Upon them receiving the death sentence the governments of these three countries began lobbying Bali, where the offences took place, to suspend the death sentence for these criminals.

Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan

Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan

The death sentence was stopped in Indonesia in 2009 but was reintroduced in 2013, for the country takes a hard stance on drug trafficking. In January this year six traffickers were executed by firing squad, five of which were foreigners.

The governments of both Brazil and France are now protesting the forthcoming execution of their citizens but these have been rejected by the country’s President, Joko Widodo, who insists that foreign countries have no say in Indonesian justice. And he is right too!

While France has not made any threats to Indonesia, the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff,  refused to accept the credentials of a new Indonesian Ambassador to Brazil in an effort to exert pressure on the Indonesian government. The general consensus of opinion seems to be that both Australia and Brazil believe that the Indonesian government will cave in to pressure. I hope they don’t.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Indonesian President Joko Widodo

What I found disgraceful was the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, who reminded President Widodo publicly that Australia had donated $0.78 billion to Indonesia following the fateful Tsunami in 2004, and the Australian citizens should therefore not be executed. Abbot has been severely criticized in Australia and world-wide for the comment because it sounds like blackmail.

In my view, no foreign country has the right to interfere in the judicial system of another country, provided it is just and humane, no matter what the charge or sentence. These people knew that the death sentence was an option in Indonesia but went ahead anyway. The fact that they were caught in 2005, ironically enough on a tip from the Australian police, had a fair trial and were sentenced to death has nothing whatsoever to do with the Australian government or its people. The crime was committed in Indonesia, and therefore the perpetrators were subject to the law of that nation.

Drug Overdose Death

Drug Overdose Death

I would like to know what Abbot’s reaction would have been if the drugs were successfully smuggled into Australia, and as a result, say, ten people had died of a drug overdose? I’ll bet he would not have even blinked an eye, or rather he may well have criticised Indonesia for not stopping it! Would he, and Roussef have made such a fuss if these criminals had been convicted of genocide, rape or murder? I doubt it.

The fact that they are ‘only’ drug smugglers seems to make a difference and I fail to see why. Drugs cause no end of deaths, misery and crime across the whole world, but in these people’s eyes that seems forgivable. Rubbish!

I strongly believe that many countries, in particular the western world, have become soft on crime on a massive scale. In most countries the death sentence has been outlawed and that is one reason why we have to accept rampant crime as part of our daily lives. Genocidal killers, murderers and serial rapists have nothing to fear any more, because they know they will only get a few years behind bars when caught and this is no deterrent at all.

Firearms Offences In The UK

Firearms Offences In The UK

UK Prisons - An Easy Life

UK Prisons – An Easy Life

Crime rates for murder etc. have climbed steadily across much of Europe since the abolition of the death penalty and governments have no-one to blame but themselves. Fifty or sixty years ago murder for example was very rare, because the culprits knew that when caught they would be hung. But now, teenagers and even children as young as nine are getting away with it and the statistics have gone through the roof. It is a proven fact that when the punishment no longer fits the crime the numbers escalate.

Global Violent Crime

Global Violent Crime

The really ironic thing is that when killers are caught and receive a prison sentence, the government has to house and feed them which costs exorbitant amounts of money every year. To me, this money could far better be spent on educating people not to commit crime, and better their lives so they do not need to enter into a life of crime.

Prison Costs

Prison Costs

 We are constantly told that the prisons are full to capacity, so if the death penalty were reintroduced that would free up many places and it would give criminals something to fear. It is certain that if someone is contemplating committing murder they will think twice if they know that the hangman’s rope is waiting for them when they get caught.

Who knows how this saga will end. It could be a triumph for justice or the Indonesian justice system will cave in to the pressure, but I have a feeling that justice will be served in the end. I hope so.

Roy.

What’s The Point Of The Rio+20 Environment Conference?

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Forests, Oceans, Pacific, Plastic Rubbish, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , on 22/06/2012 by floroy1942

Why are so many world leaders gathering in Rio de Janeiro if they knew beforehand that it will accomplish nothing? The run-up to the conference has been splashed across the news for the past week, and any fool who imagined something useful would come out of it will be disappointed. I, like most other people, thought it a waste of time and that nothing would be achieved. We are not wrong!

Jaw Flapping and Empty Promises

When leaders get together in this fashion to discuss something as important as the future of mankind on this planet of ours, all we get is jaw flapping and empty promises.  The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNep) has a team of very gifted scientists who warned prior to the conference that humanity may be heading for a ‘tipping point’ which will become ‘irreversible’. That is to say, we are currently doing so much damage to our environment and the planet’s biodiversity, that we will soon reach a point where the damage cannot be undone.

Despite all the empty promises made by governments during the last twenty years of the conference, improvements have been made on only four issues like green house gases and the ozone layer, while the rest, which include the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, preservation measures for the world’s oceans and seas, safeguarding the world-wide fresh water supplies and over-population are still awaiting any concrete proposals after twenty years.

Brazilian President

It is without doubt ironic that this years conference is being held in Rio, situated in a country that is doing more than any other to contribute to the devastating storms, floods and drought being experienced in the western hemisphere by decimating the Brazilian rain forest.  

The Amazon, the largest rain forest on the planet, is steadily being burnt and hacked away, and at the current rate will be a shadow of its former self in just a decade or two. The world’s oceans are rapidly becoming a cesspool of discarded plastic and rubbish, and the fish stocks are being decimated without being given time to recover. Fairly soon water shortages in many countries will become so acute, as to cause mass migration to areas more capable of sustaining human life. This in itself will cause major upheaval across the world.

Another problem such conferences fail to discuss is the steadily climbing over-population in the world. China is the only country that has imposed limits on how many children a married couple may have in order to stem the booming population growth, and that was enacted in 1978.

Population Growth

India is another nation with an unsustainable population growth, but is doing nothing to address the problem. Within a couple of decades we will surely see many other countries enforcing a similar rule to that of China, for population growth is expanding like a runaway train, and pretty soon the Earth will simply not be able to sustain that level of life.

Biodiversity is also being hit hard, and soon we will begin to see the effects of our carelessness as more and more species of plants, insects and animals disappear for ever. 

But can we expect governments to address these problems comprehensively, not on your life! As an example let me use the oil producing countries and the oil industry. They refuse to even hear about removing the subsidies on fossil fuels – why? Because the former will sell less oil and the latter will make less profit!

The World’s Plastic Islands

Knowing full well about the country-sized gyres that have become floating islands of discarded plastic in all our oceans, does any government look to ban a simple thing like the plastic bag – No? Why? – Because it is being blocked by the plastic industry.

The Brazilian government has the power to stop illegal loggers and farmers devastating the forest with their activities, but do they do it – no! Why? – Because there’s money in it.

Biodiversity Loss

Why don’t the fishing nations crack down on illegal fishing and declare far more areas of our oceans protected in order to allow the fish stocks to recover? Why are the Japanese still allowed to ignore the ban on hunting whales with the laughable excuse that ‘its for research’?

We all need to put some serious thought into these problems and force governments to take positive action to save the planet, for if the scientists are correct, we have a very small window of opportunity to act before its too late.

Roy. 

The Amazon Debate Rages On

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, Children, Environment, UK, USA with tags , , on 30/05/2012 by floroy1942

Once again the Amazon Rain Forest is under threat, and it looks like the greedy Brazilian farmers will not be satisfied until its all gone. One month ago the government approved a bill that will undoubtedly see more huge swathes of this mighty forest disappear for ever. The losers will be the whole of mankind in years to come.

Yes Dear! Soon You Will Have To Look Hard To See The Trees!

The only person who could stop this wholesale destruction has ‘chickened out’, for despite calls from environmental groups world-wide and an international petition signed by almost two million people, the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff has failed to veto the entire package. Instead she has opted for vetoing only 12 points of the bill which she says will preserve the ‘protected’ areas of the forest. Most of the forest had been ‘protected’ for decades but it hasn’t stopped farmers and illegal loggers from destroying huge areas of this beating heart of the planet.

One item that the President vetoed is an amnesty for illegal logger farmers ‘provided they plant more trees on their cleared land by 2020’. If that isn’t a prime example of a waste of time I don’t know what is. Does this silly woman and her inept government really think these people will start planting trees again just because they say so? And by 2020? It’s too ridiculous for words. I am sure if we examine the situation in that year we won’t see a single planted tree!

From 1978 to 1989 an estimated total of 1.98 million ha yr−1 were lost, a figure that declined to 1.38 million ha yr−1   between 1990 and 1994. However, the total  rose again between 1995 and 2000 to 1.90 million ha yr−1. Brazilian government calculations show that in the 12 months ending in August 2004, a total of 10,088 square miles of rain forest were destroyed.

The Graph Tells It All.

It should not be forgotten that this same devastation is taking places in the other rain forest belts across the globe like Indonesia, Thailand and  Africa etc.

How The Rain Forest Generates Weather

A simple comparison of weather data from 1980 to the present day shows significant changes in world weather patterns which of course we are all aware of, but does it change the attitude of countries like Brazil etc. towards their rain forests? Not a jot, for as usual greed over-rides everything.

Not many people know that the volume of freshwater that flows into the Atlantic Ocean from the Amazon River is so great that water samples taken 200 miles from the mouth of the river show greatly reduced levels of salinity in the sea, such is the power and volume of the Amazon freshwater as it enters the ocean. However, if we cut down the forest and the rains continue to dry up, the river will become a shadow of its former self. In turn, this will see more devastating changes in weather patterns for the Caribbean and Northern Atlantic countries.

And When It’s All Gone? What Then?

The really sad thing is, massive tracts of rich tropical forest vegetation is being burnt to the ground during the clearance procedure in order for farmers to plant crops of soya and the like, but clearing away the forest is resulting in the major loss of rain in these areas and the cleared ground rapidly loses its ability to sustain crops necessitating more ground clearance. In this way its a never ending cycle of destruction.

Roads Increasing The Destruction Rate

Yet another nail in the coffin of the Amazon is a government plan to build roads across this vast region. There can be little doubt this increased access to the heart of the forest will speed up the destruction to an extent never seen before. I really do despair at mankind sometimes, their stupidity and greed are mind-boggling to say the least.

This year the Amazon area is suffering its first major drought because so much forest has been cleared there is insufficient rainfall. If this trend continues, and it may well do, it could be catastrophic and do significant harm to the whole economy of Brazil, and by rote, the whole planet. but no-one seems to notice. There are currently too many people who live for today and to hell with tomorrow.

It’s OK for people like me to sound the alarm but if no-one listens what’s the point. Humans have become so self-centred these days, few stop to think about the harm they are doing to the future of the planet, and for all the lives of their children. Ask many people what they think of world rain forest destruction and they may say “Oh That’s Greenpeace’s job isn’t it?”, or they have no idea what you are on about. Ask these same individuals why they find it necessary to have three or four cars in the family and the lame reply is “Well, we need them”. Yea! Right!

Believe it or not, I am not a ‘doom and gloom’ character by nature and usually have a very positive attitude towards life, but this rape of our planet and the massive effect it will have on future generations is something I just cannot ignore, unlike most people these days. I do care about what sort of world my children will grow old in, and I do care about the continuance of the human species on this planet. We humans have achieved so much and have as yet boundless possibilities in what we can do, if only we can get over this period in our evolution where we seem determined to self-destruct.

It is possible that many people will agree with the sentiments I put forward here and ask themselves “What can I do about it?”. As we go about our daily lives its hard to imagine we could have any influence on world rain forest destruction, but sometimes making minor changes to the way we live, or just spreading the word and writing to your MP demanding international action on the issue would be of some help if sufficient people do it. I am convinced that saving the rain forests will only come about by international pressure on countries like Brazil and Indonesia etc. For we can be sure that the  governments of the nations concerned are not willing to take any positive steps themselves which is a shame.

Ah Well! Like most of the older generation, I am sure it won’t affect me, but I hope the rest of humanity wakes up before its too late, for anything less would be tragic.

Roy.

Should Certain Nations Have the Veto Power at the UN?

Posted in Arab, Britain, Europe, Germany, Israel, Security Council, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , on 05/02/2012 by floroy1942

Once again we have witnessed the disgraceful use of the veto by Russia and China on a UN Resolution, this time attempting to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Russian YAK Fighters Sold to Syria

The reason for their veto is simple, self interest. Both countries are significant trading partners with the Assad regime. Russia ships arms into Syria to the tune of $1.1billion and has other investments in the country worth $19.4billion. China on the other hand sells a variety of goods worth $2.2billion to Syria annually. So it is easy to see they do not wish to upset the Assad government by joining in with any UN motion that censures that regime.

The League of Nations

The veto dates back to the original League of Nations formed after the First World War in 1920 when each member state had veto power on any and all resolutions. The system was adopted because nations were desirous of a unanimous vote on  issues placed before it. In practice it proved unworkable, but the system was not changed until the United Nations was formed in 1948.

The Yalta Conference – Founding Moment of the UN

At a conference among the Allies held in 1944, which eventually resulted in the formation of the United Nations, the decision was taken to make Britain, Russia, China and the USA permanent members of the UN Security Council, all with veto powers over any decision taken. France was later allowed the same status because it had been defeated by Germany but was still a colonial power. Under Article 27 of the UN Charter, these five powers had a veto right over any and all resolutions made by the Council. As the major world powers, this was as much to protect their own interests as those of others.

Molotov

Russia has made the most frequent use of veto at the UN, mainly through Vyacheslav Molotov who was Russia’s Foreign Minister during part of the Soviet era. Since the end of the Cold War Russia has used its veto power sparingly, but the total is still the highest at 124. Next is the United States with 82, half of which have been used since 1986, often in support of Israel, the most recent used to block a motion against the building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. In total, the power of the veto has been used 215 times in the UN to block resolutions.

Security Council Session

At various times over the past few years, the question of veto rights has been the subject of much discussion in the UN. Many countries have put forward arguments that the five nations no longer represent the most stable and responsible countries in the world. Germany, Brazil, India and Japan have all thought they should become members of the Security Council based on their standing in the world. Germany and Japan are among the largest donators to the UN, while Brazil is the largest Latin American country. India, which has the world’s largest economy and second largest population, is along with Brazil, one of the biggest contributors of troops to UN sanctioned peace-keeping missions.

League Monitors on Holiday

After weeks of debate, the Arab League failed to take any measures that adequately protected the people of Syria. In fact, even the presence of League Monitors on the ground did nothing to stop the violence by government forces, and eventually they turned to the UN for a solution to the crisis. The United Nations began drafting a resolution to censure President Assad and call for him to step down in an attempt to stop the violence, but the whole action has of course now been vetoed by Russia and China for their own reasons. Their joint action has led countries like the USA and Britain to deplore the decision stating, “it lets the Syrian people down, and will only encourage President [Bashar] Assad’s brutal regime to increase the killing” in the words of William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary. These words have in fact been born out by shelling of the city of Homs by the Syrian Army in recent days.

The People’s Cry Falling on Deaf Ears

It is a sorry state of affairs when the world is forced to stand by and watch the slaughter of innocent people who wish nothing more than to be free of an oppresive regime. But sadly, that is the case, for their is little more that can be done. Some countries may now unilaterally take the step of imposing economic sanctions on Syria and its hierarchy, but the people continue to die at the hands of a regime that will not give up power.

A Tank Destroyed by Protesters in Homs

The veto has not done much to further the cause of justice for all in the world and doesn’t look like ever achieving it while the present rules apply. Perhaps it is time for fresh ideas and a new approach to world peace, where no one nation can thwart the  good intentions of the rest of the world and we can have a United Nations in more than just name.

Roy.

The Hypocrisy of Government and Global Warming

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, Budget Cuts, England, Environment, Europe, Forests, Government, Government Spending, Insanity, Modern World, MP's, Parliament, Senior Citizen, Summit, Traffic, Travel, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 06/12/2010 by floroy1942

Britain Needs Leadership. Not Hypocrisy!

Governments the world over are often accused of hypocrisy, but none can surely be as blatant as that of the British government. Two months ago I reported on a decision by the Tory-Liberal Coalition to sell off Britain’s forests (26/10/2010 – Death Knell for Britain’s Forests) for development to help in cutting the budget deficit, now it appears they have reversed direction, but not as you would expect.

A new government initiative is being trumpeted to spend £4.2 million on planting trees in urban areas. Called the ‘Big Tree Plant’ campaign, it aims at planting 1 million trees in Britain’s towns and cities over the next four years. They claim it will not only be “good for our bank balance but good for our well being“.

Preferable to Concrete!

As a project, I applaud it wholeheartedly but then if planting trees is such a good thing, why do far more damage to “our well being” by turning our forests into holiday parks and golf courses. To me it just doesn’t make sense and I am sure most people will fail to understand the logic.

It is true that people will feel happier walking down a tree-lined street than through a concrete jungle, because trees break up the monotony of bricks, mortar and glass shop fronts. But there is a far more urgent need for trees in an urban area, one that most should know, but few think of: Air quality!

It is no secret that trees, and indeed all plants, feed on the CO2 we pollute the atmosphere with and replace it with life-giving oxygen. In all things there is balance in Nature!

Flooding on the Increase

Check out the news on any day and you will find reports of landslides, flooding, hurricanes and typhoons, drought and severe storms across the world. Anyone over the age of thirty will be able to recall that these phenomena have increased dramatically over the past 15-20 years, and by all accounts are set to get even worse as the years go by.

I have consistently demonstrated on this blog my deep concern for the future of mankind, and the way we are destroying our habitat with harmful emissions and razing the one thing that will keep future generations alive even with global warming, the worlds forests.

I am 68 years old and will not have to suffer the disastrous consequences of our actions today, but I fear for future generations who will. It is not until ALL people realise just what we are doing to our planet, that we will eventually come out of the current global warming tragedy that is overtaking us now.

Of course, apart from the rain forest destruction there is the quantity of emissions we pump into the atmosphere that contribute to global warming. This is another problem requiring drastic action, but sadly, one that no nation seems to want to do more than talk about. They have held Global Warming Conferences now for some years, but as we all know, nothing concrete comes out of them because all countries put their own interests before those of the planet.

Is your Car Journey Really Necessary?

As the effects of global warming start to really bite I can see laws passed world-wide that will for example, limit all families to one car. Currently it is not uncommon for a single family have three and four cars because the parents and their offspring need individual transportation. It is still true today that more than 90% of vehicles on the road have only one occupant!

On the Ground and In the Air!

Air travel may also be restricted to essential journeys only. Gone will be your holiday flights to far-off destinations!

In my opinion, all the wild weather we are currently experiencing is due not only to global warming, but also the irresponsible destruction of the world’s rain forests. In Brazil recently it was reported that the Great Amazon Rain Forest was suffering its first major drought in history. Something must be badly wrong when a rain forest experiences drought.

A Target For Greedy Men.

To me there is little doubt that the Amazon Rain Forest is the main ‘powerhouse’ of weather patterns in the Caribbean, America and Europe. As it has shrunk over the years, so has the weather changed proportionally.

The sad fact is, the Amazon is not the only place under threat, for an identical situation is taking place in Africa and the Far East. There too forests have been decimated, and the weather patterns have changed as the destruction has progressed.

The Scale of Destruction

I am sure the trend can be reversed, and it would not be so difficult if only the will were there. Instead of continuing the wanton destruction of the world’s forests and the ceaseless pumping out of greenhouse gases, we should be doing our level best to reverse the damage we have done.

Many will say; “we need wood” and they are right, but there is nothing wrong in expanding the idea of “Sustainable Forests” that is already working in many countries.

Tackling the greenhouse gas problem is more complicated, but measures such as restricting the number of cars, unpopular as it may be, could help to tip the scales in our favour.

Natural Balance Will Return - But Will We Be Here?

There seems little doubt that Nature will return eventually to a state of balance, but the over-riding factor is, will WE still be here? Food for thought!

Roy.

%d bloggers like this: