Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A great Congo blog

Alex Engwete has a fantastic post on Mitt Romney and the implications for Africa should he win the race to the Whitehouse. Alex is fantastic blogger and I recommend his blog to anyone who has an interest in the Congo and the politics of the region

 "[T]he Romneys were reported to have invested at least $1 million in 
Elliott Associates, L.P., a hedge fund specializing in 'distressed 
assets.' Elliott buys up cheap debt, often at cents on the dollar, 
from lenders to deeply troubled nations such as Congo-Brazzaville, 
then attacks the debtor states with lawsuits to squeeze maximum 
repayment. Elliott is run by the secretive hedge-fund billionaire and 
G.O.P. super-donor Paul Singer, whom Fortune recently dubbed Mitt 
Romney's 'Hedge Fund 
Kingmaker.' (Singer has given $1 million to Romney's super-pac Restore 
Our Future.)" 

Romney is therefore one of Africa's most vicious enemies among many 
others--including some African leaders themselves. "

That is a very damming and accurate conclusion. My comment was

 "FG’s owner Peter Grossman was doorstepped by freelance reporter Greg Palast and asked whether he thought it was fair to take $100 million for a debt he had paid $3 million for. He said “Yeah I do actually…I’m not beating up the Congo I’m collecting on a legitimate claim”. 

Again another example of wealth transfer from the poor in Africa to the wealthy in the USA. In most  nations this is illegal, makes you think a bit about the morality of the American republicans you also might want to have a read of Jane Young's unholy gaffs in the holy land.

" So desperate is he - as are all but a couple of American politicians - for the campaign donations from wealthy Jews anywhere (and Christian evangelicals who consider the Bible a legal document with respect to the Zionist dream) that they will turn any trick at the expense of the Palestinians."

Harsh words and I agree. A Romney Whitehouse would be a disaster for not only Africa but the rest of the world as well

Monday, July 30, 2012

Irish tramp mis-adventures

Caught my attention  from Baird Maritime

By Gordon O'Rourke
Hualien was reached about 23 days after leaving Bangkok via Maraveles and Bataan.
We berthed at berth 20 or 21, on the western quayside and discharged the logs with our own Derricks in just under two days. Then we were shifted by the harbour tugs to berth 15 in the inner harbour with our bow facing south. We then commenced the discharge of the 4,000 tons of granite blocks using our 80 tonne SWL and 15 tonne swinging derricks.
We only had about 1,000 tons of granite left to discharge when we received a summons from the Harbour Master (HM) to attend his offices for a meeting. We were invited by the HM to leave port, as a strong typhoon, ‘Ophelia’, was approaching
Hualien and was predicted to pass directly though at about 1400 hrs the next day.
Perceived wisdom regarding tropical revolving storms (TRS) anywhere in the world is for big ships to leave port and put distance between themselves and the TRS as quickly as possible to ride out the storm and for smaller vessels to seek shelter in port.
We were, quite naturally, in the big ship category.
I explained to the HM that we would not be able to put to sea immediately, as we would have to re-secure our heavy lift derricks and the other 16 derricks. Normally this was an operation that would take best part of a day to complete, but it was further complicated by the fact that we would also have to re-secure all the sea fastenings on the granite blocks to prevent them from moving in heavy seas and punching a hole in the ship’s side or cause a heavy list.
We suggested putting out extra moorings to hold us in position and to ballast the ship down with water ballast to reduce her windage profile. The HM and his staff agreed with our suggestion.
Upon returning to the vessel, we hastily set about implementing the plan. Although I personally had some misgivings, we had no choice but to pursue this course of action. We could not be put to sea in our present condition. There was a strong wind blowing, and a big swell already showing outside the harbour.
Our decision to remain was vindicated later that day, when heavy swell was causing a heavy strain on our moorings. We had 22 parts of large insurance wires, anchor chain and rope moorings out, holding us in position. Several times throughout the night the rope moorings were breaking and having to be reused.
There was a surge of swell coming into the inner harbour, which was now filling up with small fishing boats. The swell was hitting the quay wall further in and the reflected wave was hitting us on its return to the outer harbour. We were bumping and banging and rolling at times against the quay wall.
0700 hours: That morning, the forecast gave the typhoons position as 161 kilometres south of us, with a barometric pressure at its centre of 985 milllibars, estimating that the eye of the storm would still pass over us by about 1400 hours.
0900 hours: Two tugs arrived and were holding us alongside whilst our crew retensioned all the moorings.
1030 hours: The pilot came on board with orders for us to single up and move with tug assistance to anchor in the swinging basin of the inner harbour. We later learned that the HM was concerned that we would break adrift at our present berth and smash all the smaller local fishing boats. With the wisdom of hindsight, this was a very sensible move on his part.
1100 hours: We arrived at the designated anchorage and dropped both anchors. The typhoon was definitely approaching. The weather conditions had deteriorated to Force 11 on the Beaufort scale (‘Violent storm’), gusting to Force 12 (‘Hurricane force’). There were winds up to 100 kilometres per hour. There was very heavy rain. There were very tall waves, about 10 metres in height and breaking over the top of the eastern breakwater. The high swell conditions were causing us to pitch up and down and to roll to about 15 degrees either side. Our stability condition was probably “very stiff,” as we had a lot of bottom weight, about 6,680 tonnes in total, thanks to the granite in the lower holds, the water ballast in the double bottoms, the freshwater and the bunker fuel and lube.
Our anchorage position was about 0.3 nautical miles from the western quay (about four ships lengths) and about 0.4 nautical miles from the Eastern breakwater (about five ships lengths). Constantly monitoring our position by our two radars as visibility was now almost zero, and the rain driving horizontally.
1220 hours: The very strong wind gusts were now causing us to drift westward, with main engine running at half ahead and sometimes full ahead to ease the strain on the Anchors. It was apparent they were dragging, and we were proceeding at a very fast rate astern.
1245 hours: The ship’s stern touched the quay (or the bottom) with the wind at full typhoon force. The swell was very high, and the ship had turned and lay alongside the quay due to very strong wind pressure. We were now pitching and rolling very violently. It was bloody scary. The ship’s port side was receiving a massive battering against the permanent fender units on the quayside.
We took a quick check with the engine room staff on what internal damage was evident due to the battering we were receiving. They reported that on the air compressor cylinder deck, the horizontal deck plating was showing signs of buckling, and the side shell frames – vertical with horizontal stringers – were also showing signs of distortion.
A quick check with the Captain and the Chief Engineer showed that it could turn very nasty, very quickly, if a massive hole was punched in her side. Especially in the engine room, which did not have so many athwartship sub divisions. Of course, the risk of the granite blocks in the cargo holds breaking adrift and going through the ship’s side or causing a heavy list to port remained very real and frightening.
It was not prudent to use the ship’s engines any more, as it was highly likely that we had a damaged rudder, and possibly a bent propeller as a result of the heavy blow to the stern area.
We decided to evacuate the engine room immediately. We could not use the engines for the time being without risking possible irreparable harm to the engines, rudder and propeller.
Everybody was getting very nervous as the punishment to the ships side shell plating became increasingly excessive. We didn't wish to drown the crew and ourselves with the ship if she sank at the berth.
A vote was taken to abandon ship. We couldn’t launch a lifeboat or a liferaft in these conditions. There was only one route of escape: by using the accommodation ladder in its horizontal stowed position on the port side of the ship, lay down on it, and to leap onto the quay when the ship rolled over heavily to port in a split second move.
The accommodation ladder itself was also getting heavily battered, and was breaking up at its bottom end. This route of escape would not be there for very long.
It was of course, with the wisdom of hindsight, a very risky thing to do. If any one of us mistimed it or misjudged the distance when leaping across the short gap, we would have fallen down between the ship and concrete quay face and been smashed to pieces between the ships hull plating and the concrete jetty's wooden and steel fender units.
To get 28 men, including ourselves, off using this escape method was very tricky, but we managed it without Ioss of life or any serious injury. Just a few scraped knees and hands. Unfortunately for me, I had to be the last off the ship and then walk along the submerged concrete deck of the quay. Rainwater and the waves had flooded the quay. I fell into a hole, and banged my head very badly.
It was now about 1330 hours, and we had all gathered together on the quayside that was almost knee deep in water, when we spotted an empty container just behind the wharf apron. We all piled inside it, oblivious to the fact that it could get blown over or whatever. We were thoroughly soaked to the skin and cold.
Suddenly, the skies cleared, the wind dropped and we saw sunshine. But our ship was still rolling violently on the swell, large waves coming in the harbour entrance. This lasted for about 20 minutes. Then the skies started to cloud up again and the wind to blow as strongly as before, but from the opposite direction (from ENE to WSW). There were no other signs of life as we trudged wearily up the hill to the HM’s office, only to find them also sheltering and recovering from a multitude of water leaks and heavily waterlogged offices and corridors. They welcomed us in, telling us to sit down wherever we could find a dry place. Meanwhile, they phoned our port agent to come and collect us and take all 28 of us to a hotel.
The HM informed us that there was another ship in distress near the harbour entrance. Details were sketchy, but she was a ‘logger’ and had lost all her deck cargo of logs. These logs were washing up ashore and into the harbour.
Our agent arrived with four minibuses and transported us all (still soaking wet and disheveled and in a state of shock) to the hotel.
The next crisis came with a knock on our door. It was the crew. They were all lined up outside, with only orange hotel towels wrapped around them.
Declan had to do some quick thinking. He grabbed his credit cards and went out to the street market nearby, buying up their stocks of shorts, tee shirts and sandals, rushing back to the hotel to distribute them.
I was nursing a big ice pack from the fridge on the back of my head and forehead, trying to conduct a sensible telephone conversation with John to inform him and our Insurance underwriters of the suspected damage to the ship. At first he just laughed and thought we were pulling his leg, until Declan told him the same news. He then became gravely concerned, and was overreacting.
The phone never stopped ringing for several hours afterwards. It was impossible to get any sleep or rest for my suspected concussion.
Eventually, we managed to get a few hours sleep, as did most of the crew. There were no local counselling services for the trauma that we had just been through. We just had to grin and bear it.
The next morning, the local newspapers spelt it all out. There had been winds of 140 to 160 kilometres per hour at its worst. It was the strongest typhoon in the last four years. I would check all that out with the official figures from the local weather bureau later.
‘Helena’ was still afloat, but she was not in good shape. After we all came ashore during the passage of the eye of the typhoon, she had surged along the quayside with no moorings to restrain her, except two very slack anchor chains. With the change in wind direction, her bow or foremast had collided with the boom of a Container Crane, which had been deliberately left out over the quayside by its owners to dry its paintwork after repainting.
We hurried down to the quayside with some crewmembers and managed to climb aboard via the (now very badly damaged) accommodation ladder. We put out some mooring lines to hold her in position. We then had to go around and do a damage survey before the insurance underwriters surveyor from the Salvage Association arrived from Hong Kong.
We tested the rudder hard over several times, and tried to turn the main engine shaft slowly, to check for damage to the propeller. We sighted one bent blade tip.
The agent picked us up, with lots of faxes from John to be answered. The agent took us to a spot just along the seafront, about a kilometre outside the harbour and south from our position.
It was a most incredible sight.
It was the other ship that had been in distress. She was a logger, just slightly smaller than us. She had not survived the storm. She had broken into three pieces.
Her crew of about 24 men were all hospitalised. Some had serious injuries. Some had their faces smashed in, due to the action of the derricks breaking loose and the cargo gear (steel blocks, cargo hooks and wire ropes and the like) all swinging around in the violent seas. Boy, it was frightening to see. That could have been us too. Crowds of local people were taking photographs. Her name was the ‘Cahaya’.
‘Helena’ was also an object of attraction, with lots of local sightseers walking the quayside.
The agent had arranged for myself and our injured crewmembers to go to the local hospital for checkups, seven of us in total. When we arrived at the hospital, there was a pyramid of lifejackets belonging to the ‘Cahaya’s crew outside the hospital main door. All were soaking wet. It was a grim testament to the power of the elements.
We managed to speak to a couple of the ‘Cahaya’s crew and empathise with them. They told us their grim story. We were then patched up and x-rayed and transported back to the hotel. I was certainly glad that we had a strongly built ship. In the 1950s and 1960s, shipowners still deliberately built over specification.
Meanwhile, John was obtaining written reports, salvage tug quotes and photographs, as well as making phone calls to the shipyard in Keelung about drydocking space.
We gathered all the crew together to get as many statements as we could and discussed with them the fact that we would have to tow the ship to Keelung shortly for drydocking inspection and possible repairs. We could not use the main engines to go under our own power.
I asked for a volunteer crew to ride the dead ship, with promises of a bonus payment.
To our surprise there were no takers. They were all shit-scared. So were we. What would happen if the tug’s towing-wire broke, leaving ‘Helena’ to the mercy of another typhoon? Six months of every year, from March to September, this area of Asia was typhoon alley for six months of every year, and the crew didn't mind reminding us of that fact.
We couldn’t subject them to another ordeal so soon, so we had to go back to the salvage tug contractor and request for a revised quote for a dead ship tow with no riding crew, all the while awaiting the arrival of the Salvage Association surveyor from Hong Kong to inspect ‘Helena’ and give towage approval for the salvage tug. The agent, meanwhile, was instructed to buy train tickets for all of us to get from Hualien to Keelung after the ‘Helena’ and her tug left for Keelung, with an estimated towing time of two days.
A tug and tow of a dead ship with a riding crew is easier to control, as the ship’s crew are steering her and the course is being kept better. In the event the tow wire breaks, the two crews (tug and ship) can soon pass another wire between the vessels and the tow continues.
If the tug and tow has no riding crew, that means the course keeping of the tug and tow is not so good. The ship swings wildly around, as it is not being steered and thus is not following the tug’s course. If the tow wire breaks, the tug has to wait for the weather to improve before it can get another wire across to the ship and have it secured by the tug’s own crew, who must go onboard.
All this adds extra time to the total towing time. That's why the tug owners ask for an increase in price for the towage of a dead ship with no riding crew.
We also had to rig some of the derricks again, and take what lashings we had managed to put on the granite blocks off, as the cargo receiver was nagging us for the delayed discharge of the 1,000 tonnes of granite blocks.
Once the approvals were granted and issued by the SA surveyor, the balance of cargo was discharged and the derricks and ship were all re-secured for towing by the tug, we all left for Keelung.
Fast forwarding to almost nine months later, I attended the court of inquiry in Hualien on my own regarding the incident. The Greek Captain didn't dare risk returning to Taiwan, due to an arrest warrant out for him by the owners of the damaged container crane, which still had not been repaired. Apparently, the opposing lawyers also wanted to arrest John, if he ever came to Taiwan, as he was the owner of the shipowning company assets, i.e. the ‘Helena’ herself. They were not concerned with Declan, or myself as we were third parties. We were the ship managers, and didn't own the assets.
So now I knew why John was not a director or managing director of the shipowning company. Smart one, John. Very crafty. The lawyers on both sides had been enjoying slinging writs around.
The upshot of the inquiry was that both parties were held to blame. We for not putting out to sea early enough to avoid the TRS, and them for failing to hoist their container crane boom up “out of harm’s way” after the berth was emptied by a ship, as is the practice in ports worldwide.
It is worth noting that ‘Helena’ only experienced another three typhoons throughout the rest of her life.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Congo. Bad to Worse

I have been keeping an eye on the Congo as things start to once again go from bad to worse. The worlds media don't give Africa the attention it deserve with most having just one or two correspondents to cover the continent. In the past couple of weeks 200,000 people have been displaced due to on going conflicts some pictures here from Time magazine

"Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo board buses at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town 521km (312 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 10, 2012."

" A UN peacekeeping patrol drives through the eastern Congolese city of Goma, July 23, 2012."

" A child carries firewood through the Kigeme refugee camp in Rwanda, July 18, 2012. Over 10,000 refugees have arrived from Eastern Congo since May fleeing the fighting between the M23 rebels and Congolese government forces "

"Congolese people crowd into a building following a clash between M23 rebels and the Congolese army on the edge of the village of Rugari, around 37km from Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's restive North Kivu province on July 26, 2012"

 It is heart breaking reading about the people of the Congo and just wishing that Africa and the world would pay more attention to the situation occurring in the Congo. But read we should

Aljazzea and the BBC are doing a pretty   good job of covering it but most mainstream media simply don't seem to care. Also it is worth keeping an eye on  Congo Siasa and From Congo  I will post other blogs I come across.

Updated Breaking News

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I am a major fan of diversity. The idea of a uniform scares the shit out of me at school I managed to get my hands on a tie ( from an op-shop ) from the 60's I suspect  it was very thin in an age when tie's were wide it however complied with the school rules and I was never given comply totally notice by the teachers.

On reflection I suspect it must have been a tie from another era of the college and was therefor legit.

Farrar has posted this photo.

How bloody funny is that. The three ? What ? I haven't a clue.

Are Labour  ( a party I support ) so dislocated  that they need to wear uniforms to caucus meetings ?

I don't do fashion advise but I think this dress code is a uniform and  who ever came up with it should be sent to Siberia in winter.

Icehouse says it all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kyle Chapman is a national embarressment

Close Up  tonight ran a story on Christchurch describing it as the most racist city in New Zealand

" Christchurch is undergoing the the biggest population change the country has seen in recent history.
With the rebuild thousands of people from not just New Zealand but all over the world are on their way in.
But are they welcome?"

They of course ran with a picture of Kyle Chapman, a man I detest. He is a national embarressment.

I actually think I hate Kyle Chapman and I try to avoid hate.

" United Future leader Peter Dunne has called for a “multiculturalism act” in light of racist anti-immigration flyers distributed in areas of New Zealand.

The flyers, which were dished out in Christchurch and South Auckland, were made by a racially-motivated far right group known as Right Wing Resistance.
They are headed by former National Front leader Kyle Chapman.

Mr Dunne said the act would stamp out blatant racism and mark the growing multiculturalism of New Zealand society.

“Official statistics already show that almost one in three New Zealanders today are of non-European origin – within the next 15 years that is likely to increase to over 40 percent.

“By 2021, for example, a quarter of our population will be of either Asian or Pacific origin.

“A Multiculturalism Act should ensure everyone enjoys equal treatment and protection under the law, while formally acknowledging the freedom of all members of New Zealand society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage without fear of persecution,” he said."

Unfortunately you can't really legislate racism away and Peter Dunne should know that under our law we actually already have  "equal treatment and protection under the law " Dunne should know nothing other than education will ever " stamp out blatant racism" .

What we should be doing is taking the piss out of Kyle Chapman and to be fair both main stream media and blogs from the left and right do just that. I would actually go further. This is his Resume .

" Chapman was born in Taumarunui, New Zealand. He has said that he wanted to join the National Front from the age of 14, and that he was a skinhead during the 1980s and early 1990s. As a teenager he was a member of several skinhead gangs. He was the founding member of the New Zealand Hammerskins. Over his time as a Skinhead he made major contributions to the skinhead movement in New Zealand. Several organizations were formed with his help to build a national unity in the fractured and conflict-filled subculture. As part of a clean slate in 1995, he confessed to a series of politically motivated arson attacks between 1987 and 1992, primarily education buildings and homes of known sex offenders. He was reported as saying he "wanted to make amends for the actions he had done as an out of control youth".

He is a qualified social worker, and worked in Christchurch from 1993 to 1997, dealing with youths involved in street subcultures. He also served as the youth worker representative on the Safer Community Council in Christchurch from 1996 to 1997.

In May 2009 Chapman married Claire Clifford, a Mormon,[2] but they separated in October of the same year, reportedly due to his failure to fulfill his promise of abandoning his involvement in white supremacy groups.[3] Clifford has a child by Chapman.[4] "

How many of  these pricks are we the tax payer funding ? I have no problem as a tax payer paying the DPB, unemployment, etc benefits but I really hate the idea that part of my tax dollar is funding these guys unless they are incarcerated and unable to preach their hatred.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hamish ni idiot

Nyingine muhimu wakatia mawazo yangu kwamba mimi walihatarisha kuchanganyikiwa kutokana na baadhi ya maudhui ya blog yangu. Mimi kamwe kumkosea marafiki zangu makusudi na kama nimenyang mashaka I apologize bila hifadhi. Nadhani ni muhimu kwamba mimi kueleza blog yangu na unaweza kufikiria kujua njia bora ya kufanya hivyo kuliko kuiba Scott Yorke  na maneno Imperator Samaki wa.

" Ni lazima siku hizi kwa ajili ya wanablogu kusema kitu kuhusu wao wenyewe. Kama wajibu kama taarifa hizo tiresome ujumbe mashirika makubwa wanatakiwa churn nje.

Hivyo una haja ya kujua kuhusu mimi? Jina langu ni
Hamish Stewart. Mimi ni katika sekta ya kuchapisha / bahari. Mimi kwa namna fulani kupata muda wa kukimbia blog.

Mimi zaidi blog juu ya habari na siasa. Leanings wangu kisiasa ni kuelekea kushoto, kama niko wastani, na wala sina hamu ya kuongeza bendera ya uasi ujamaa wakati wowote hivi karibuni. Mimi kwa kweli kama baadhi ya mambo ya ubepari, lakini si habari ya kuwa kwa mtu yeyote wa marafiki zangu leftie.

Sina muda kwa ajili ya msimamo mkali wa rangi yoyote, wala sitaki kuvumilia theorists njama.

Mimi ni msaidizi wa chama cha Labour pamoja na ukweli kwamba wao ni juu ya rundo zima la clowns na ni kujitegemea bila hofu ya mvuto wote wa nje. Ingawa unaweza kuamua kwamba mambo yote mawili kwa ubishi.

Kanusho kawaida

Blog hii ni yangu mwenyewe, na haina kuwakilisha maoni ya mtu mwingine badala yangu. Hasa si mwajiri wangu. Kama si kama kitu niliandika hawaendi kufikiri mtu mwingine kuweka yangu juu yake (ingawa inawezekana kuwa ni mpenzi wangu mimi kama mimi aliiambia wakati wakati yeye anafanya kuwaambia..

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kubwa Habari kutoka Uganda

 Some good news out of Kampala Uganda today.

" KAMPALA, 21 June 2012 (IRIN) - The Ugandan government says it is in discussions to legalize and grant naturalization to thousands of refugees who fled into the country in the 1960s and 1990s, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

At an event in the capital, Kampala, to commemorate World Refugee Day on 20 June, Stephen Mallinga, Uganda's Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, said the government had set up a committee that included refugees and humanitarian agencies to discuss the mechanisms for naturalization.

"These are refugees who... have lost touch with their countries of origin. Naturalization of these cases is one possible solution and discussions are underway in this direction," he said. "The naturalization of these refugees will mean their stay in Uganda will not be illegal. They will be Ugandans who are entitled to live and work in Uganda and have a productive life." 

It is actually a win win for Uganda and the refugees. Giving legal rights will improve the employment prospects for these people in the real economy.

The picture is unfortunate as this woman I suspect is a recent refugee from the Congo.

" He said the refugees eligible for naturalization would be those who have been in the country for lengthy periods and have no interest in returning to their countries of origin. Most of those matching these criteria were originally Congolese and Rwandan.

Uganda would become the second East African nation to naturalize refugees - in 2010 Tanzania naturalized more than 162,000 Burundians who fled their homeland in 1972.

Mary Cifende Anganze, a Congolese refugee representative, welcomed the minister's announcement. "It will be a big milestone in the lives of those who qualify for the citizenship. They will have new opportunities in life," she said.

"This is a very good gesture by the government. It's really a humanitarian act by Uganda. These people who will naturalized will be integrated with the local community and live together as one," said Mohammed Abdri Ada, a representative of the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) in Uganda. "In Europe, it's basically supposed to take five years. But in Africa, it takes about 30 to 40 years for one to be granted citizenship." 

I have an interest in this.  Significant Other's  sister and three of her nieces are recent refugees in Kampala as was she and her nephew and niece who live here now. The Congolese community in Auckland all have missing family members.

" The exercise would contribute to solving the challenge of Uganda's heavy caseload of 183,148 refugees and asylum seekers. According UNHCR statistics from 1 June 2012; the country hosts 104,686 Congolese, 22,786 Somalis, 19,406 Sudanese, 16,160 Rwandans, 9,475 Burundians and 6,734 Eritreans. There are also 2,124 Ethiopians, 1,640 Kenyans and 137 others. "

New Zealand take in 700 refugees a year and the figures above illustrate the scale of the problem, it is worth reflecting on the wealth of Uganda, Tanzania and New Zealand.

" He pointed out that the country faced large gaps in funding, while the number of refugees continued to rise, saying, "I appeal to the international community to mobilize the requisite resources in order for Uganda to meet the protection needs of these refugees." 

We should help. I am part of the Congolese Auckland community, they are fantastic citizens.

On a slightly comic note I discovered google translate and have replied in Swahili to a couple of friends in the community by text. After initial disbelief  they are now texting me in Swahili I am sure my blackberry can deal with this but I just don't know how. The next hour will be taken up with translating into English some texts  then replying in Swahili.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Argentina aggression

Argentina has been behaving badly and they should know better. The latest stupidity as detailed by FIS  is an attempt to ignore international law and revert to the role of a thief when it comes to the Falkland Islands.

" In recent months, Argentina has been gathering further support from neighbouring countries to take practical measures against maritime and logistical activities that affect the economy, tourism and oil exploration in the area corresponding to the islands. Obviously, there's a follow-up of companies, partners, shareholders, directors, investors, banks and institutions directly or indirectly involved in the activities that Argentina and its partners intend to undermine and destabilize, in order to force the British government to sit down and discuss the claims, as the various UN resolutions have determined."

What neighbouring countries ?  Venezuela  There would be political support from that direction why the hell you would view that as an asset is beyond me.

This is about far more than soveriegnty over the Falkland Islands it is a story of Argentine debt we worry about public debt in NZ and it is about 25% of GDP in Argentina it is over 50%. 

" The fact is that so far the Argentine government has taken no action with respect to fisheries, but there are strong rumors in Buenos Aires on certain measures, the implementation of which are being studied. One of them might be granting fishing licenses in the conflict zone to fishing vessels from third countries. This measure will involve an "overlap" with what the FIFD has been doing and which represents the main source of income that the Government of the Falklands has received for 30 years."

Interesting and remember that Sanford's fish the Falklands fishery. This should it happen would be tantamount to either a second tax on Sanford's or more likely straight out theft of  valuable resource by the Argentinian government.

" But there are countries that support Argentina's position at the UN, as is the case of Russia and China, and the possible entry of fishing vessels with those flags would mean a full u-turn from the situation the islanders and their current partners have enjoyed. Needless to say, these countries are privileged members of the UN, and therefore, if they perform fishing activities in the area with Argentinean permits, it would be very interesting to see what the reaction of the United Kingdom would be."

I have no idea what the British response would be but anything other than the interdiction of those vessels and confiscation of both catch and vessels would be, well an admission of impotence and a signal that the Falklands will be part of Argentina in the near future.

" Sending Royal Navy vessels to the area to stop a helpless Russian or Chinese flagged fishing vessel would turn the UK into an "aggressor" and it would also force the British diplomacy not only to talk with Argentina but with other politically relevant countries. These alternatives would provide a major shift in the fishing and political situation beyond the Falklands, since resources and important areas are at stake. "

What a load of shit. Russia and China  will not die in the ditch for Argentina, I would expect the Anglo Saxon fist  as proposed by Trotter to clench. Still Argentina will be able to claim closer relations with Venezuela and that will really help their economy when it comes to international investment and ability to borrow.

The only way in the short term that the Falkland's will be under Argentine  sovereignty is by conquest and they have already tried that.