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South Africa's ANC names Motlanthe president

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on South Africa's ANC names Motlanthe president)

South Africa's ruling African National Congress has named its deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe as head of state, until elections are held next year.


“Motlanthe will be the president, not interim, he will be the president of the republic until the election,” spokesman for the ANC parliamentary caucus KK Khumalo said after a meeting between the party and lawmakers.

RELATED: Mbeki resigns after power struggle

VIDEO: Mbeki announces his resignation

Mr Motlanthe's nomination comes a day after President Thabo Mbeki announced his resignation in a live television broadcast, after calls by his party for him to step down seven months before the end of his second term.

Mr Motlanthe was elected party deputy president at a crunch ANC conference in December last year, at the same time as Jacob Zuma toppled Mr Mbeki from his position as party chief.

Broadcast to the nation

According to the South African constitution, parliament elects the president from among its members, dominated by the ANC since 1994.

“In terms of the process we are going to follow Mr Motlanthe is going to, in the days running up to the election… be president of the country,” said Phosa.

Mr Motlanthe was only recently appointed to parliament as minister in the presidency charged with smoothing the transition from one administration to the next.

Mr Mbeki was called to resign after suggestions by a judge that his government had interfered in a corruption prosecution against his arch rival Mr Zuma, which was thrown out of court over a week ago.

Mr Mbeki denied any such interference in a broadcast to the nation on Sunday.

The Sun King

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on The Sun King)

REPORTER: Chris Hammer

In a sports stadium in the regional Chinese city of Wuxi, 3,000 people are sitting down to dinner and a show, at least they are once they secure something to eat.


The stadium is the only place in town big enough to house the annual staff get-together of Suntech Corporation. Last year there were only 1,000 staff to cater for, this time next year there will be 5,000. And presiding over this dinner, as he has presided over the amazing growth of Suntech, is mainland China's richest man – Australian Dr Zhengrong Shi.

Now, one of the most remarkable things about this event here tonight is that just six or seven years ago Suntech didn't even exist. Dr Shi was a research scientist living quietly in Sydney's suburbs. Now he has become one of China's most successful businessman. But he is not content with just making money, he also wants to save the planet. As his staff celebrate a successful year, they are entertained by, of all things, excerpts from Al Gore's environmental blockbuster 'An Inconvenient Truth'. And when Dr Shi addresses his staff, it is to pay tribute to St Al.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI, SUNTECH FOUNDER (Translation): In 2000, Al Gore failed in the presidential election but he did something greater than a president might have done. He spent six years telling everyone around the world the challenge that we face for human survival – that is global warming.

It is a message that doesn't appear to do much for many of the factory workers in the audience.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI (Translation): I feel that the noise in the audience is a bit loud. Can you all please be a bit quiet and let me finish my speech?

Later I ask why lecture his staff on the environment.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: The message that I tried to send the staff is our responsibility with the product we produce is to save the environment, to save the earth, so we should feel proud of what we are doing.

Of course for Suntech and Dr Shi, global warming is actually a rather convenient truth – their fortune has been made producing solar electricity panels. The company is now worth around $6.5 billion and Dr Shi himself is worth more than $3 billion. Yet, he says he is more interested in green products than greenbacks.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Because this global warming issue is really a severe problem. You know, human beings really face a challenge to survive on this planet if we don't control what we're doing now. But average people, they don't understand this.

REPORTER: So you don't want to just make money, you want to save the world?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Yes, that is basically what we do. You know, like what we do in the company, like Al Gore's movie 'An Inconvenient Truth', right. We asked every employee of Suntech to watch this movie, then let them feel, have pride in the job we are doing. So that's why we educate our staff.

This is how Suntech makes its money – producing solar electricity panels to export to the world. It is a perfect marriage of high-tech product with low-cost Chinese labour. These workers soldering fragile silicon wafers together are doing what a machine might do in Europe or the States. It's a formula that has seen Suntech's profits and its New York-listed shares skyrocket. So how does it feel suddenly to be so rich, to have so much money?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: I think for most, if not all, entrepreneurs I think the purpose is not for the personal wealth, although in the end it show up somebody earns so much money. But I think that's a side product of a human being pursuing his career, his dream.

This is our R&D area. This is our R&D lab. So I think this is the best lab in China, I believe.

Dr Shi spent 14 years researching solar technology in Sydney. He is familiar with every machine in Suntech's lab.

REPORTER: And all this technology, you understand it all?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Of course, yes. We developed… The whole lab is basically designed by myself.

The solar power entrepreneur believes his photovoltaic cells will soon become price competitive with fossil fuels.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: You know, I keep telling people in 10 years time, if we do not have any technology innovation, the price will be at least half in 10 years time. So I think solar definitely will become more and more competitive.

REPORTER: So within 10 years?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Within 10 years.

REPORTER: So what would you say to Australian politicians who say, “Look, if we replace coal, we need to replace it with nuclear because solar simply can't do it?”

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Well, I think that is why our politicians need to see solar in a dynamic way. It is not still, stands still. It is changing every day. Australian Government people should keep the quality coal underneath the earth, OK, to keep the value there. They should start to use sunshine.

If I don't solve this problem immediately, it is going to hit the company in the short term.

Keeping up with Dr Shi is no easy task as he is called from the lab to a crisis meeting.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: That's also I'm enjoy doing it, OK.

Suntech is already a massively successful company but it would be even more successful if it had access to radical new technology that Dr Shi himself helped develop in Australia but is not permitted to use. The story of what happened to that technology is instructive for what it says about Australia and for how it has shaped Zhengrong Shi's plans to shake up the global energy business.

Zhengrong Shi arrived here at the University of New South Wales back in 1988 to study for a PhD, but he had no real interest in solar power. In fact he had no real interest in research at all. He says what he really wanted was to find a way to stay in Australia and not come back to China.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Well, supposedly I should come back because that's sort of part of an agreement I had with the institute I used to work for. But from the bottom of my heart I did not plan to come back.

Then two life-changing events occurred, Zhengrong Shi and his wife were granted Australian citizenship and the young researcher talked his way into a position here with this university's world-leading solar electricity program.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: When I really started my research, OK, and then I realised it is so enjoyable. I keep telling people I never thought research…there was so much fun in doing research. And I could be a good scientist. I never thought of myself I could be an experienced or talented scientist. Before, I never thought of it, when I was in China.

Graduating with a PhD, Shi had helped develop a revolutionary new technology that used a fraction of the costly silicon used in traditional solar wafers. He continued that research at Pacific Solar, a company connected to the University of New South Wales, but it burnt through $25 million in research money without commercialising the technology.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: So I can tell you at that time if there were investors in Australia who can really see what is to happen to this industry or to especially this technology, can fund the technology in Australia, I guess Pacific Solar would have stayed in Australia.

With money drying up, Dr Shi suggested Pacific Solar start its own manufacturing in China.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: I proposed this to the managing director at the time – if Pacific Solar, instead of just focusing on pure research, if Pacific Solar started, apart from research, also started some manufacturing using conventional technology, Pacific Solar would have been very, very successful.

REPORTER: So if Pacific Solar had listened to you and had invested in manufacturing in China, this huge company, instead of being based in Shanghai could have been headquartered in Sydney?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Could well be. Could well be.

The new technology Dr Shi helped develop has now been put into commercial production at this factory near Leipzig, in Germany. But it is protected by patent – he might have helped develop it but the Sun King can't use it. Indeed the failure by Pacific Solar to commercialise the technology so disheartened Dr Shi at the time that he considered giving away research altogether and starting a restaurant or a supermarket in Sydney.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: I just feel bored. So then I talked to my wife and said I want to do something different to fill my life in because I want myself always busy. And that is all. We talked, we started chatting about it. Definitely she would never agree. But on the other hand, I mean, I was just, sort of I don't think I was serious about doing that anyway myself.

REPORTER: You must be glad you didn't?


Meanwhile, in Dr Shi's absence, China had been undergoing a remarkable change. A new entrepreneurial culture had taken hold and the economy was booming. The government was now keen to lure back the generation which had been lost to the West. Dr Shi visited China and, convinced things had changed, established Suntech in 2001.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: So I realised if I come back here, I can really do something because I have so much more advanced experience and knowledge than people here do. So I think this country needs me. So with that Of course that's also egoism, right? So I can show my value here.

REPORTER: So the real reason you came back to China was because, unlike Australia, you felt that here you could make a difference?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Yeah, right. Yeah, right. That sort of summarises it, yes.

Six years later Dr Shi and his wife have transformed $6 million in seed capital into a $6 billion company. They live in an apartment in this well-to-do neighbourhood populated largely by expats. Their two sons, both born in Sydney, go to an international school but still miss Australia.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Oh, they miss Sydney a lot. My boys like a couple of years ago they said, “I don't understand why my dad come here. Sydney is so beautiful “and so many beaches and nice waves all the time.” So they do miss Australia and Sydney a lot. But basically, although we live in China but behind closed doors our lifestyle is still very much similar to what we had in Sydney.

Indeed, the entrepreneur remains an Australian citizen and flies an Australian flag outside his headquarters in Wuxi.

REPORTER: Why? Why have the Australian flag?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Because, you know, still Australian flag because we have Australian shareholders. Still about 25% of shareholders are Australian shareholders.

REPORTER: So how do you think of yourself now – as Chinese or as Australian?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: I think of myself as both actually. Because I still think of myself as Australian-Chinese because I am not Australian as a race but 14 years is my golden time that I spent in Australia. I learned a lot, especially the philosophy and the mentality type of thing and I find it is really important. People are very open, very straight, very honest and very objective in a certain sense.

Yet there are aspects of the Australian character that Doctor Shi is not so impressed with. He has opened his door to small entrepreneurs from around the world. Here he is meeting with a Chinese-American hoping to interest the Sun King in a new venture.

MAN: OK, so how we can use this? Firstly we have a plan for 25%.

Dr Shi says such dealings are based on trust but says it's something some Australians seem to have in short supply.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: So what we found is there is always a trust issue in the beginning. So I find some Australian companies' mentality seems always, “Maybe Doctor Shi wants to steal my technology or Suntech wants to steal my technology and try to copy it.” But I keep telling them “I am Australian, OK?” I lived in Australia for 14 years. I came here to start a business. We are so successful. We make a lot of money. It is like we are not like a start-up company which depends on your technology.

REPORTER: So in many ways they're more interested in not being ripped off than they are about succeeding?

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Yes, yes. So that is the thing.

And yet Dr Shi's new business plan includes Australia. He learned from his time at Pacific Solar that research works better if it is married to manufacturing. Now he wants to vertically integrate his company even further by mining his own silicon in Queensland or Western Australia and refining it in Tasmania.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: So to refine silicon will require high purity quartz and cheap electricity and also some good engineers. I think Australia has all this.

Suntech currently exports the great majority of its production but as it builds a massive new plant in Wuxi, Doctor Shi is carefully cultivating the market that holds the greatest potential for his company – China itself. Suntech has built a number of small-scale demonstration projects like installing solar panels on the roofs of these apartments that feed power into the nearby grid, and this car park, where the lighting is solar-powered. The parking is for visitors to Wuxi's lake – a famous beauty spot now clouded, like much of the country, in a perpetual haze of pollution.

The Chinese Government has recently declared the twin aims of improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution. Dr Shi believes that within five years it will embrace solar power. Looking out over Shanghai from Suntech's 63rd-storey office, he lets me in on the final stage of his plan. As well as mining and processing silicon, developing world's best solar panel technology and manufacturing the panels, he wants to start selling the power they generate.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: In 20 years time we are more thinking about the company as an energy company, it not just produce solar panels. As an energy company, as you can imagine, like BP or Shell.

Zhengrong Shi's vision would turn the energy industry inside out – solar would no longer be an alternative fuel and Suntech would be at the centre, competing with the fossil fuel giants of today.

DR ZHENGRONG SHI: Maybe in the future we are reaching the same scale of BP or Shell but we are a solar energy company not an oil energy company.


TX: 21/3/07 Ep: 5/2007

Feature Report: The Sun King










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Feature Report: Singapore’s Taste Test







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Environment Interview








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The Lost Children of Reunion

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on The Lost Children of Reunion)

REPORTER: Fanou Filali

For almost 40 years, Jean-Pierre Gosse has called France home.


JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): From time to time in the morning, when I feel sad, I open the window and enjoy the view.

As a child, Jean-Pierre was brought here from the French island of Reunion as part of the government migration program. Now he and his wife, Genevieve, are preparing to leave France forever. Jean-Pierre accuses the French government of stealing him from his family.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): I want people to know. I want to denounce France, the mother country. France claims to stand for human rights. It’s an advanced country everything is supposed to run smoothly. I want to challenge this. If France is so great, how come in the ’60s they allowed the kidnapping of children from Reunion?

The French island of Reunion is just a small speck in the Indian Ocean. Over a 15-year period, 1,600 children were transported from Reunion to central France, on the other side of the world. Jean-Pierre was only 14 when he arrived in France, and was placed with a family of farmers in the region of la Creuse. Today, he is taking his wife and stepdaughter back to the farm where he was kept as a virtual slave.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): You see, Angelique, when I was a little, only 14, they took me from Reunion and brought me here. They forced me to work very hard in the fields. Then, instead of going to bed like you in your bedroom, daddy used to sleep out here, under straw to keep warm. And daddy used to share the dog’s food.

Jean-Pierre spent two years working as a farm labourer for 16 hours a day, unpaid.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): You may say the best thing is to cry, but I can’t. It hurts a lot, but I can’t cry. Because I shed enough tears when I was 14.

The architect of the policy that brought Jean-Pierre to France was Michel Debre – a prime minister under Charles De Gaulle and a leading political figure in post-war France. In the 1960s he had the idea of kerbing the island’s growth by sending children to the French countryside where the population had gone into a steep decline.

MICHEL DEBRE, FRENCH MP (Translation): Dear fellow citizens, we know there is still much poverty here. But you know, as your presence here testifies, that your patriotism and efforts are rewarded by the solidarity metropolitan France extends to you.

The children were told they would receive an education and would be able to go back to Reunion on holiday.

ALIX HOAIR (Translation): The truth is, those children were promised holidays, which never eventuated. They were promised high school and never got it. I can’t see how the state can deny that. Promises weren’t kept.

In the 1960s Alix Hoair worked for the government department in charge of the migration program.

ALIX HOAIR (Translation):In a nutshell, the problem is you take children, make all sorts of promises, then once in France, you drop them, abandon them to farmers to do with them whatever they want.

Alix Hoair was responsible for looking after the children from the time they arrived in France until they were placed with families.

REPORTER (Translation): When did you first realise there were problems and how did you become aware of the fact?

ALIX HOAIR (Translation): When the kids started running away from their foster families and telling me about their lives. They said, “We work 20 hours a day for no pay. We’re not slaves. We’d rather cut sugar cane at Reunion than work here.”

Alix Hoair decided to write about his concerns to the politician who’d dreamt up the scheme, Michel Debre. The letter cost him his job.

ALIX HOAIR (Translation): Then they realised I had written directly to Debre. Then if Prefet told me “I’m calling an emergency meeting”. I said “Fine.” At the meeting he told me “We’re restructuring the centre, we no longer need you.”

In the town of Boussac in the la Creuse countryside, residents celebrate their local saint. Despite a clear attachment to the past, nobody here wants to remember what happened to the children of Reunion.

MAN (Translation): We don’t feel this really concerns us. And we don’t feel responsible for their stay here.

REPORTER (Translation): Heard about the Reunion kids?

MAN 2(Translation): No.

REPORTER (Translation): Are you from la Creuse?

MAN 2(Translation): Yes, I was born here.

REPORTER (Translation): And you, sir?

MAN 3(Translation): I wasn’t yet born then.

Only this man wanted to talk about the children, and why they were brought here.

MAN 4(Translation): The word was that they were taking children to make money.

REPORTER (Translation): Did they make them work?

MAN 4(Translation): More or less.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): Farmers were told here’s free labour, do what you want with it. They don’t eat much, they work hard, they never complain and, best of all, there’s no need to pay them. Because let’s not forget they were paid to care for us.

As a 14-year-old boy, alone and far from his family, the situation was intolerable.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): I tried to kill myself three times. The first time I cut my veins open. The second time I hanged myself with a cow’s chain. The third time I wanted to jump.

REPORTER (Translation): When you tried to kill yourself, did a social worker come to see you?

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): No.

Paule Aron was a social worker in Reunion when she went to France to supervise the migration program. I asked her why children like Jean-Pierre were effectively abandoned.

PAULE ARON, FORMER SOCIAL WORKER (Translation): I can’t say, but not enough checks were done, given the number of children. It was impossible for one person to check on 200 kids. It’s also possible that when the social worker came the kid wouldn’t say anything. If the kid says nothing, you can’t guess at what’s going on. If he doesn’t look miserable, how can you know?

When he turned 21, Jean-Pierre was too ashamed to go back to his family and stayed in la Creuse. Now he’s determined to make a good impression. This afternoon he’ll have his hair cut before the big trip.

Jean-Pierre has only made two short visits to Reunion in the past 30 years. Encouraged by his wife Genevieve, he now feels ready to make a permanent move.

ANGELIQUE (Translation): This is the first time I’ve gone to Reunion.

REPORTER (Translation): What’s it like, do you think?

ANGELIQUE (Translation): I don’t get it.

REPORTER (Translation): What do you think it will be like?

ANGELIQUE (Translation): With sunsets on the beach. Not just a beach, it’s a whole ocean.

REPORTER (Translation): What will you do when you get there?

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): First I will thank God. If there’s a God somewhere, I’ll thank Him. Deep down, I’ve always wanted to go back to my island. To make my dream come true. So of course I think God, if He’s listening to me.

AIR HOSTESS (Translation): Ladies and gentlemen, it is now 10:15 local time. Welcome to La Reunion, where the temperature is 24 degrees.

Jean-Pierre’s younger brother Robert meets the family at the airport. Robert was only a small boy when his older brother was taken.

ROBERT, BROTHER (Translation): Was it an excellent trip?

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): Very good, but I’m so tired.

REPORTER (Translation): How’s the cigarette, Jean-Pierre?

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): Well, after 12 hours without one… And look, I’m very happy to be on my island again.

Jean-Pierre’s mother has recently had a stroke and she’s still not well.

VALERIE, MOTHER (Translation): Did you have a good trip?

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): Yes, thanks Mami. Now I’m going to sit down. To see my mum again, my family, my brother. For me it’s the start of a new life, in spite of my age. It’s a really emotional thing for me.

Two days after he arrived, Jean-Pierre is going back to where it all began. Hell-Bourg is a temporary centre where children were placed by parents who couldn’t cope. Jean-Pierre’s mother sent him here for a short stay after a cyclone had devastated the island and their home.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): It was here in this big room that they gathered us together to ask us if we wanted to go to France. And from here they took us to the airport. And at the airport… Without knowing what was going on, I ended up at the airport ready to go to France.

When Jean-Pierre boarded the plane, his mother Valerie was at work. She knew that social services planned to send her son to France but says she never officially consented to the trip.

REPORTER (Translation): When you gave your permission to send Jean-Pierre to France, did you sign anything?

VALERIE (Translation): No.

REPORTER (Translation):It was just in words?

VALERIE (Translation): Yes, just words. I didn’t sign anything.

REPORTER (Translation): What did the social worker tell you exactly?

VALERIE (Translation): That she was taking him to France. The welfare services would look after him, he would go to school, get a job. But it didn’t happen. They made him a slave… who looked after animals and worked on farms.

REPORTER (Translation): Do you recent her for letting you go away?

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): No. I’m not angry with my mother or anyone else in the family. What I feel most angry about is the government. They lied to my mother, telling her that I was doing very well in France, that I’d be looked after.

Although Jean-Pierre’s mother says she never signed anything, there is a thumbprint on a form authorising her son’s travel to France. But the form doesn’t specify the nature of the trip, nor the length. And it makes no mention of Valerie giving up her rights to see her child. Valerie couldn’t read or write without assistance, but she did her best to stay in touch with her son.

VALERIE (Translation): I remember I wrote him at least one letter to tell him he had a new brother. He’s 35 now. I wrote to him when the child was four months old, saying he had a little brother.

Jean-Pierre, never received his mother’s letter. Last year he found it, unopened, in his official file. It was vital for the children to receive letters from home, otherwise they’d be put up for adoption. This guaranteed the children wouldn’t return to Reunion, which is precisely what the government wanted. As Reunion’s police commissioner wrote to Michel Debre in 1966:

“To prevent any possibility of returning to Reunion, we can essentially select only young children for whom the legal break with the family of origin has been completed.”

In the case of the Begue family, it was the social workers who tricked a mother into giving up her child.

REPORTER (Translation): How does the photo affect you?

FRANCINA BEGUE (Translation): It hurts.

In 1972, Francina Begue took her 3-year-old daughter, Mari-Linda, to a children’s hospital. She was suffering from dysentery and was placed in the welfare centre to recover. After she got better she was at the nursery to recover.

FRANCINA BEGUE (Translation): After she recovered they called to tell me that my daughter was fine and I could take her back in two weeks. That’s when I signed a form to collect her in two weeks. But it wasn’t true because a week later I went with my husband and they told me I’d signed an abandonment form.

REPORTER (Translation): The form you signed was an abandonment form?

FRANCINA BEGUE (Translation): Yes, but I didn’t know. I thought it was to take her back after she got better. But it was to take my child. And since that day I’ve never seen her again.

Francina can’t read and feels she was forced into giving up her daughter. A year after she signed the document, she was told her child had been put up for adoption.

FRANCINA BEGUE (Translation): The social services said it was too late. They said, “You have to look after your other children.” I was pregnant with my third child. Social services said, “Leave this child to others and we’ll look after your other children.” That’s how they put it.

REPORTER (Translation): Were the children stolen?

PAULE ARON (Translation): No, they were with child protection. Not stolen from their parents. They were with child protection because there were problems. Noone went to take them from their shacks.

Jean-Pierre and Genevieve have now been in Reunion for a week. Jean-Pierre isn’t sure that coming back was the right decision. They’ve come to see Jean-Philip Jean-Marie, president of an association that assists people who want to re-establish themselves here.

JEAN-PHILIP JEAN-MARIE (Translation): I know that some of those who tried to resettle besides Jean-Pierre could not. They had to go back to France.

GENEVIEVE (Translation): It’s true that sometimes I need to cheer him up. Because we only got here a week ago and he says “I want to go back, I won’t make it.”

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): Mentally and emotionally I’m nod ready. I feel like saying I won’t make it because I don’t feel at home.

JEAN-PHILIP JEAN-MARIE (Translation): Between childhood and an adulthood spent elsewhere, something is missing. This school yard full of children. — the school yard full of children. Perhaps the slap from the parent when you were naughty. Then there’s the food, the smells, the whole island.

NEWSREADER (Translation): Today, one of the victims has decided to sue France and claim damages.

It was only after one of the children decided to sue the French Government that an official inquiry was ordered into the controversial migration policy. Only two inspectors were appointed to investigate. Their report, published late last year, made no attempt to find how the children from Reunion had been affected by their experiences.

JEAN-PHILIP JEAN-MARIE (Translation): It’s only a report based on figures. From such a date to such a date so many children were taken. But they haven’t been able to give a reason. There is none. There can’t be any. It’s a crime.

As far as the French Government is concerned, it’s now a closed case. And noone was prepared to speak to Dateline. For Jean Pierre, the report was nothing more than a whitewash.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): I want the state to officially admit that the children from Reunion were deported. That’s the only word for it deportation. The state deliberately deported people from Reunion to France to make slaves of them.

REPORTER (Translation): Was it legal?

PAULE ARON (Translation): Yes, absolutely. We don’t do it anymore, but this was back in 1965. We don’t do that in 2003. Long term temporary placements. But back then it was quite legal to say “We’ll see when you’re able to take him back.”

Jean-Pierre wants more than an apology. He too is now taking legal action against the state claiming 5 million euros in compensation for his suffering.

JEAN-PIERRE GOSSE (Translation): I don’t give a damn about apologies. Saying sorry only takes a second but I had 35 years of suffering. Saying sorry won’t repay a 35-year mess. My deepest wish is to finish my life on my island with people I love, my wife and my daughter, who is here too. I’m going to try and wipe the slate clean. And go forward.

Students unmask sushi scandal

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Students unmask sushi scandal)

Cheap fish masquerading as fancy and endangered species disguised as eco-friendly have both been busted by the enterprising young scientists and a new technique called DNA bar coding, the New York Times has reported.


Kate Stoeckle, 19, and Louisa Strauss, 18, collected 60 samples of seafood from four restaurants and ten stores in Manhattan, preserved them in alcohol and sent them to the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada for genetic analysis.

Stoeckle's father Mark Stoeckle is an expert on birds and a proponent of DNA bar coding, a field developed since 2003, in which scientists use a single gene to identify a species rather than the entire genome, the daily said.

One evening, over dinner at a sushi restaurant, Stoeckle asked her father if the technique could be used on sushi, and a high school science project was born.

In Canada, Guelph graduate student Eugene Wong compared the DNA of the samples the young women sent him to a global library of 30,562 “bar codes” representing nearly 5,500 fish species, the Times said.

The DNA revealed that two of the four restaurants and six of the 10 grocery stores mislabelled their fish, the Times said.

Dangerous consequences

Wong and biology professor Robert Hanner collected another 40 samples in Toronto and in Guelph.

“This not only raises concerns of consumer fraud, but also public health,” said Hanner, also associate director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, in a statement on the University of Guelph website.

“A person could have allergies to a certain species and if it's mislabelled that could have dangerous consequences,” Hanner said.

Among the findings was Mozambique tilapia, a cheap fish that is usually farm-raised, sold as pricey white tuna.

Flying fish roe actually came from the humble smelt, and seven out of nine fish labelled “red snapper” were not.


Atlantic Halibut, classified as endangered in the wild, was labelled and sold as Pacific Halibut, a species labelled a “best choice” for human consumption by environmentalists, the University of Guelph statement said.

“Consumers may think they are doing the right thing for the environment by buying a certain type of fish that is eco-friendly when really they could actually still be buying exploited species,” Hanner stressed.

Researchers have been working to identify and catalogue species from around the world using barcode technology and so far, more than 5,000 of the approximate 30,000 species of fish have been barcoded, the statement said.

The study will be published next week in the journal of Food Research International, the University of Guelph statement said.

Robert Reich Interview

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Robert Reich Interview)

ROBERT REICH, FORMER US LABOR SECRETARY: In my view, George, is that the history will record this as a terrible, terrible tragedy – an unmitigated disaster.


We should have never gone into Iraq. We are actually creating more terrorism by being there than we would have been not going there. But, ah – and I think that it has become a political issue in America partly because of the loss of life on both sides, but also partly because America understands or is beginning to understand how utterly wrong-headed this entire operation was from the beginning. Even the Republican candidates are distancing themselves from George Bush. Even Republicans in the Senate and the House who are not candidates for president, but know they will have to face voters in re-election contests are also distancing themselves from George W. Bush. The President continues to believe that he is right. He, despite every signal, every indication to the contrary and feels that history, ultimately, will vindicate him. Well, we can't know in advance what history is going to say, but I would be utterly amazed and surprised if this entire adventure, this entire Iraqi invasion from the beginning of its inception, were not judged to be an utter failure and a terrible, terrible thing for the world.

GEORGE NEGUS: Professor, you were a key player in the Clinton administration, your a close friend, as I understand, of both Bill and Hillary. Have you decided which of the Democrat candidates you will back next year in 2008?

ROBERT REICH: Well, George, I'm not officially or even unofficially backing any candidate. It's a little bit too early. But, it seems to me that we are blessed, as Democrats, in the United States, with three very, very attractive candidates. Hillary Clinton has a great deal of experience. I know her well. I know her since she's she was an undergraduate in college when she was 20 years old. Barack Obama has been able to captivate large numbers of young Americans, inspire them. I haven't seen this degree of excitement in this since Robert Kennedy ran for president, quite frankly. And John Edwards has come up with a set of specific policies on health care, on Iraq, on a whole gamut of issues that I find the most attractive of all the candidates. So we have an embarrassment of riches on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, let me try not to be partisan or biased, but I think the republicans have not yet figured out how they are going to conduct this election, who they are going to support. They seem to be in complete disarray.

GEORGE NEGUS: What difference do you think it would make to America's reputation in the world – to its moral authority, if you like, if there was a Democrat, not a Republican in the White House?

ROBERT REICH; I can tell you one thing if Al Gore, who won the popular vote, as you know, in 2000, had been president, I doubt very much whether we would be in Iraq at this moment. I doubt very much whether world public opinion would be so counter to the United States. I doubt that America's standing in the world would have plummeted to this low point. You know, George W. Bush has almost single-handedly lost America whatever moral authority, positive standing …

GEORGE NEGUS: How do you begin to restore that?

ROBERT REICH: I'm sorry?

GEORGE NEGUS: How do you begin to restore that moral authority?

ROBERT REICH: Well, it's going to take years to regain the moral authority. It's not something you can just snap your fingers son and say “Well, we have it back.” no. America's reputation is tarnished. We are the world's bully in the eyes of many people around the world. We, by acting unilaterally, by not waiting for the United Nations, by coming up with this notion of preventive war, this go-it-alone attitude on behalf of the United States has cost us dearly. And I'm not the only one to say this. This is now the predominant view in the Democratic Party, and also among many Republicans in America.

GEORGE NEGUS: Professor, a big issue right now in America is the sub-prime debt crisis in America's housing bubble. How worried should we be as members of the global community about the state of the American economy right now?

ROBERT REICH: Well, there's reason to be somewhat worried. When Bill Clinton left office, there was a $5 trillion, 10-year surplus. George Bush has turned it around to a $5 trillion deficit over 10 years. America is deep in debt. Mostly to the Chinese and the Japanese to the tune of $2 billion a day. And then on top of all of this, you have a lack of regulation, you have sub-prime loans that should never have been made. The banking and credit industry as a whole has and is suffering a huge blow-up, a kind of a bubble bursting that is being felt around the world. It's a world financial market, so when America is acting irresponsibly, the rest of the world feels it. So I think there is reason to be concern. I don't think we will have a depression. Will America go into recession later this year? I think the probability – my view – is that it's slightly better than 50-50.

GEORGE NEGUS: Not known for exactly mincing your words, you said under George Bush that everything had gone upside down. In fact, the economy, you said, has gone to shit. Which I am sure is a technical term.

ROBERT REICH: It's a complicated economic term taught in economic schools.

GEORGE NEGUS: Right now in your country, which I saw recently described as the richest 1% of Americans control something like 20% of national income. Are Americans bother by the fact that 37 million of their own people are living in poverty, and the rest of the world looks at them as being unjust as a result of that.

ROBERT REICH: Americans have a great tolerance for inequality. So many Americans think that one day, they are going to be rich. The degree of inequality we are now seeing, with so much of the national wealth going to the top 1%, has caused inequality suddenly to become a political issue in this campaign for the first time in years, we're seeing candidates talk about and worry about the degree of inequality. And partly that's been driven, George, by the fact that median wages in the United States have been flat, they have not been keeping up with inflation, while housing values have actually been declining. So people are now getting a little anxious and they're saying “I'm working harder than ever. The only people benefiting from this economy are the people in the top 1%, and I may be.. well, I'm being shafted.” That is the stuff that drives American politics, and we're seeing now inequality back on the political agenda.

GEORGE NEGUS: Professor, if our own Prime Minister, John Howard, is re-elected and he found himself early in 2009 dealing with a Democrat in the White House, whether it was Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, how do you think he'd go?

ROBERT REICH: Well, look, your Prime Minister has supported George Bush in Iraq and he is known as a very, well, kind of right-of-centre politician, and right-of-centre administration. America, which has been drifting to the right for 25 years, is now beginning to drift back to the left. So I would say, in all likelihood, we are going to have a Democratic president next time around. That's what all the polls show in the United States. It would be lovely if there were a Labour prime minister here in Australia. But I'm not going to offer any political views. I will be very non-partisan on Australian television.

GEORGE NEGUS: Please don't! Thanks. Great to talk to you, professor. To say the least, we live in interesting times right now, no matter which side of the Pacific we live on.

ROBERT REICH: That is absolutely true. Thank you, George.

Photograph not missing Maddie

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Photograph not missing Maddie)

The photograph, taken in Morocco three weeks ago, showed a light-skinned blonde-haired child being carried on the back of an elderly Morroccan woman.


VIDEO: Mystery girl identified

It was passed to investigators from Interpol by Spanish tourists who spotted the girl while on holiday near Tangiers.

But journalists sent to investigate the potential sighting have confirmed the girl in the picture is not Maddie, but Bouchra Benaissa, the daughter of a local farmer.

Her father Ahmed Ben Mohamed Benaissa, produced a birth certificate and other documents to prove her identity.

'Search continues'

"We already have problems providing for our children, how could we have more, let alone European ones?" he asked.

The girl, born October 24, 2004, and the youngest of four blonde sisters, was said to be traumatised by the unwanted attention.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, say the search for their daughter will go on, despite the latest setback.

"If these reports that the girl in the photograph isn't Madeleine are true, it is disappointing news," said Clarence Mitchell, the family's spokesman.

"Clearly, the search for Madeleine will continue and I would appeal for everyone to refocus their efforts to achieve her safe return."

Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz on May 3, shortly before her fourth birthday.

Formal suspects

Her parents, 39-year-old doctors Kate and Gerry, told police they left the girl and her younger twin siblings asleep in the villa while they went to a neaby restaurant for dinner.

Mr and Mrs McCann were earlier this month named as formal suspects in the case by Portuguese police.

According to the family, Portuguese police suspect Kate McCann was involved in the accidental death of her daughter and think both parents then tried to cover it up.

The McCanns strongly deny any role in Madeleine's disappearance.

Sightings of the girl have been reported in European countries including Belgium, Grece and Malta, as well as Morocco.

Album's price? It's up to you!

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Album's price? It's up to you!)

"It's up to you" says a website message instead of a price for the record, "In Rainbows," to be released on October 10, although a hard copy packaged version will also be available for 40 pounds.


"Hello everyone. Well, the new album is finished, and it's coming out in ten days. We've called it In Rainbows. Love from us all. Jonny," says guitarist Jonny Greenwood on the Radiohead website.

The hit art-rockers, already authors of six albums, several of which figure frequently in lists of the top albums of all time, are led by enigmatic, media-shy singer Thom Yorke.

The four-piece band formed in Oxford, central England, in the 1980s and reached global stardom with hit albums OK Computer and Kid A, featuring intense, atmospheric sounds and Yorke's falsetto voice.

The more orthodoxly priced hard copy version of the new album, which includes CD and vinyl versions of the album plus photos and other material, can also be bought on the website.

Fans seemed to have mixed feelings about the innovative commercial strategy.

"I'm not a fan of Radiohead, but I think this is a great idea because it makes people think about the value of music," wrote Alvanoto, on a blog on The Guardian newspaper's website.

Murg added: "I just paid ú4.00 for the download. I suppose that taking out the packing, CD art and the like, the amount is a fair charge for the artists' work (also taking in mind that RH are not starving…or anything)."

Iianl was not so impressed.

"Gah, this is annoying. I want a hardcopy, because I'm a Radiohead fan and a mere download just doesn't feel right. .. But 40 pounds is a hell of a lot of money for an album, even if the box looks really nice," he wrote.

Ok Computer and Kid A both featured in Time magazine's list of the best 100 albums ever, compiled last year.

Also in 2006, readers of British music magazine Q voted 1997's OK Computer the best album of all time and 1995 hit record The Bends the second best.

War and peace

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on War and peace)


The eleventh hour has passed, these protesters say – time is running out.


They`re fighting for people like Italian Mario Bertorelli. He survived the slave labour programs of the Nazi years. But he may not survive the wait for compensation in the new, modern Germany.

MARIO BERTORELLI, SLAVE LABOUR SURVIVOR: At the end of the war, the West gave a lot of help to Germany to rebuild it. Rightly so – I have no objection. And yet now, Germany, a wealthy country, cannot pay us compensation for the suffering. Where`s the democracy? Where? I am asking the Chancellor. I would like him to be here tonight. I would like him to have a little taste of what the Gestapo did to us, of what we suffered. But I`m not pleading for poverty – I`m pleading for justice.

There are an estimated 1.5 million people like Mr Bertorelli. They`re what`s left of the 10-12 million men and women, mainly non-Jews, rounded up from their homes in eastern Europe, forced to work either in the concentration camps or the now-renowned companies which shored up Hitler`s war effort.

It`s past midnight in Berlin and these protesters have a pointed message for Chancellor Schroeder and the heads of German industry – it`s time Germany fulfilled its promise to compensate the victims of the slave labour programs. But this is only a tiny part of an extraordinary battle which is now being played out by governments and lawyers from two of the world`s greatest powers. But while the political and legal wrangling continues, every day the victims are dying without a resolution.

Zbigniew Ogrodzinski has kept a painstaking record of his life. Among the more mundane school reports and exam certificates sit the documents charting his years under the Nazis. Dragged from his home in Poland, the 19-year-old, who had planned a career in the merchant navy, was now reclassified by the Nazis as a slave labourer and sent to the quarries in a concentration camp.

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: The work was, ah… I wouldn`t say it was a work. Actually, they wanted to finish us by heavy work, to liquidate all the people who was working.

REPORTER: They wanted to kill you?


REPORTER: By work?

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: By work, yes. They wanted to kill us by work. Everything must be done in running steps – not walking, but running, with stones. It exhausted us terribly.

One of around 2,000 slave labour survivors living in Britain, Zbigniew has been trying for years to win compensation. For him and many others, it`s the need for closure – recognition that the companies who profited from their misery are sorry. 56 years on, few can understand why German industry has yet to make amends.

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: German industry is one of the strongest industries in Europe. I can`t believe that these firms are not making… not having any money now.

Back in 1999, the election of Chancellor Schroeder held out the first real promise of success for the survivors.

GERHARD SCHROEDER, GERMAN CHANCELLOR, DECEMBER 1999: We are now at the end of a bloody century in which Germany has caused much suffering. The Holocaust can never be erased from our conscience – we can`t heal those wounds. But at least we`re doing something to alleviate the pain.

Schroeder`s new government marked a more open chapter in the history of reunited Germany. It announced an astonishing initiative – astonishing not least because it appeared to have the backing of German industry. A foundation would pay 10 billion marks to the slave labourers, half raised by government, the rest by German business.

But the companies had one huge condition – they`d only agree if they could be protected from being sued in the American courts, where dozens of writs had already been laid against them by survivors. The Clinton Administration agreed to issue a statement of interest discouraging the courts from pursuing the class actions. The foundation was finally set up in July last year. But eight months on, with victims dying at a rate of 200 a day, no money has yet been paid.

WOLFGANG GIBOWSKI, GERMAN COMPANIES` SPOKESMAN: The payments are not delayed. We already have the money and so far, the payments are not delayed. We have it and we could pass it to the foundation.

REPORTER: But you`re not passing it to the foundations, so the payments are delayed.

WOLFGANG GIBOWSKI: We are not allowed to pass it to the foundation. Because we promised that we would only pass the money to the foundation when the necessary preconditions are fulfilled. And that is not the case. We don`t have legal peace.

It`s very sad. It`s a tragedy that these old victims are passing away every day. But at least this will not diminish the money which has to be paid to the foundation, because the heirs of those people who are diminishing away will receive the money.

REPORTER: But the point of this whole initiative is to pay the very people who suffered through slave labour. There is no satisfaction, or very little satisfaction, in the money going to their heirs.

WOLFGANG GIBOWSKI: And to achieve legal peace for German companies.

Campaigner Deidre Berger provoked a storm a year ago when she publicly named for the first time the companies which operated during the war. Showing me the site for Berlin`s new Holocaust Memorial, she insisted industry is out of step with Germany`s desire to openly acknowledge the past.

DEIDRE BERGER, AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS: The strongest step that could be taken was to file a statement of interest in courts – it was signed by President Clinton – and that`s really the most that can be done. The German industry doesn`t accept that that`s the strongest step that can be taken, and they have the idea that there can be 100% protection from all future lawsuits. But today, with corporations being so international and with issues becoming much more international, there is simply no 100% security and there will be no 100% legal peace.

ZBIGNIEW OGRODZINSKI: At the end, they should pay all the compensation that the money is supposed to be there, and the legal part is so complicated it`s not moral. I think that all the people who are now, like myself, in the 80s, they are dying.

Signs of hope are few, though parliament meets daily to try to resolve the crisis. It may move to pay its half of the compensation. Meanwhile, industry`s opportunity to offer moral redress has almost passed.


January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Vanuatu)

REPORTER: Mark Davis

3-It’s a year of celebrations in Vanuatu as the country marks its 25th anniversary of independence.


But today is an annual highlight of the social calendar in Port Vila, the Queen’s birthday at the British High Com.

MAN: I’ve been here since 1969 and I’ve been to most of the parties since 1969 with the exception of the last three years when I’ve been rather ill.

Sick or not, few would miss this year’s party. It will be the last one – the British are leaving Vanuatu.

WOMAN: I cried already and I’m going to cry when the flag goes down. You see, I got my MBE from the Queen.

MAN 2: And this is probably the saddest day of my life.

You wouldn’t believe the day would come when the British flag would come down?

WOMAN: No, I wouldn’t and I blame bloody Tony Blair.

MAN 3: As for Elizabeth and me, we’re exchanging an island in the Pacific for an island in the Atlantic as we move on from here to the Escutcheon Islands.

For such an aid-reliant country, the closure of the British High Com is a reflective moment for Prime Minister Ham Lini but there are still other suitors out there. Over the last few years, Australia has tried to take on the role of the biggest brother with mixed results.

The French ambassador is staying put, intent on retaining influence in the Pacific. The Chinese ambassador is a keen observer, back in force after Vanuatu briefly flirted with Taiwan last year. And a new player, Indonesia, is now entering the game.

MAN: China’s moving in, Australia, the Indonesians. But they’re not the same, not the same.

Other countries have an interest here and are moving in – China, Australia. Other big countries are showing an interest in Vanuatu, do you welcome them in the same way as you would have welcomed Britain?

MAN: I’ll be very frank, no, I don’t, I don’t.

As the afternoon wears on, some of the diplomatic niceties wear off. Foreign affairs are taken very seriously here and a controversy has recently erupted around the issue of West Papua.

For 25 years Vanuatu had supported independence for the West Papuans and loudly condemned Indonesia as occupiers and killers. More recently, the welcome mat has been put out for Jakarta, an act which is dividing the nation and the government.

MAN: He is the one accepting these people. Moana.

You blame Moana?

MAN: Yeah, I blame Moana.

The finance minister, Moana Carcasses, is keen to strengthen ties with Indonesia and water down Vanuatu’s long support for the West Papuans. It could be a dangerous path for PM Ham Lini. Governments often fall here on foreign policy issues, and on a more personal level, families divide.

Across is room is his niece, Laura Lini. She isn’t speaking to him and moved out of his house a fortnight ago after he invited an Indonesian delegation to visit Vanuatu.

LAURA LINI: He knows about what I believe in and it is something that my family has always believed in.

Laura Lini has become the most vocal opponent of her uncle’s new affection for Indonesia and a founder of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association.

LAURA LINI: I don’t believe that Vanuatu should ever compromise for its sovereignty to such nations as Indonesia.

Oddly enough, the Indonesian ambassador to Australia, Imron Cotan, is at the centre of the controversy. In the absence of any formal relationships, he has become Indonesia’s key negotiator in the wooing of the Vanuatu Government.

In May, demonstrations broke out on the streets of Port Vila when Cotan led a delegation to meet with the government. His car was stopped and surrounded in the main street with Laura Lini leading the pack.

LAURA LINI: There was a chief that was there who stopped the car. I took the West Papuan flag, put it around the car of the ambassador. I opened the flag and I said that, “Vanuatu does not need you here, go back to where you come from, Vanuatu people support the cause for independence for the West Papuan people.”

Laura and five others were charged with causing a civil disturbance, charges which were later dismissed.

LAURA LINI: And I said to the magistrate, “This is who I am – my name is Laura Lini.”

And my address is the Prime Minister’s residence?

LAURA LINI: Yes. Yes. And I also told him who my father was and what he believed in and I also believe in the same thing.

It’s no coincidence that emotions are running high on the West Papua issue in Vanuatu’s 25th anniversary year. In the 1970s both West Papua and Vanuatu were struggling for their independence. Vanuatu got there first and pledged not to leave West Papua behind.

On July 30, 1980, a new and feisty nation entered the world stage led by Father Walter Lini. Under Father Walter, this tiny country made a big splash. It virtually led the nuclear free Pacific movement and championed the liberation of New Caledonia and West Papua in particular.

Walter Lini, now dead, was the current prime minister’s brother and Laura Lini’s father.

LAURA LINI: I think I’m only taking up what my father has left off and I believe strongly on these issues and I do want to make people know that these issues are important and they’re important for Vanuatu.

No other country has taken up the West Papuan cause like Vanuatu has. Events like this one have long infuriated Indonesia.

Last December chiefs from every corner of the country gathered to raise the West Papuan flag and condemn the 1969 annexation of West Papua. But Vanuatu has caused more grief for Indonesia by being the only country that has consistently raised the West Papua issue at the UN and other forums. But that may be about to end.

REPORTER: So West Papuan issue is now a negotiable one with Indonesia?

HAM LINI, PRIME MINISTER: Actually, yes, we can – we believe strongly that maybe by a good dialogue we can get agreement.

It’s an uncomfortable issue for the PM, but his support for West Papua is now on the bargaining table.

REPORTER: So you are signalling a change in Vanuatu’s policy on West Papua?

HAM LINI: Actually we’re still will support about West Papua, but how to handle that maybe can be looked towards a change.

REPORTER: Is there a political risk for the PM and for other members of their cabinet?

BARAK SOPE,INDEPENDENCE LEADER: Yes, yes, that’s an issue that they have to face in the January election.

Not all members of Ham Lini’s government agree with the recent policy switch. Veteran politician and independence leader Barak Sope is one minister who believes the West Papua issue is hot enough to bring down the government.

REPORTER: And this is probably the only country on earth where West Papua is actually… A domestic issue.

BARAK SOPE: A domestic issue. Yes, it is, it is.

Governments sort of – people get elected.

BARAK SOPE: Because of that, yes.

Which is extraordinary.

BARAK SOPE: Yes, because, I mean, when you go around – when you go out to the rural areas and people ask us “What is your foreign policy?” And then when you explain it even if you don’t mention it, someone in the audience will say, “What about the your position on West Papua?” Because it’s part of the election campaign.

If you look at all the platforms of all the parties, I’m sure – West Papua turns up somewhere. Yes, yeah, it’s written black and white.

Independence can be a relative concept. 25 years on from the heady days of Father Walter Lini, the government relies on foreign aid more than ever, and Indonesian money is as good as anyone’s.

The finance minister, Moanna Carcasses has a practical view on what Vanuatu can offer donors in return.

MOANNA CARASSES, FINANCE MINISTER: First thing we can offer them is, you know, we have a voice, important voice in the United Nations, and that’s one thing that we can offer to them and I think Vanuatu has been good using that weapon, if I may say that, wisely.

Ham Lini doesn’t have the firebrand nationalism of his brother, he doesn’t need it. The key skill of any prime minister today is attracting largesse from international friends. Vanuatu has mastered the art of playing upon the obsessions and interests of other countries.

The Chinese – fixated on defeating Taiwan in any forum and gaining a foothold in the Pacific.

The French – fretting about the loss of their language and the possible loss of more Pacific colonies. Australia – in a panic about failed states in the Pacific and the possibility of terrorists lurking within them.

The British – still chipping in a little for auld lang syne. The price asked of Vanuatu is generally fairly painless. But the latest international suitor, Indonesia, is asking for a much higher price… the abandonment of a fellow Melanesian people.

MOANNA CARASSES: We have to think about Vanuatu, that’s one thing, and I think the wall are changing, the attitude are changing. In 1980s the attitude was the colonisation are strong, strong, strong. Now I think they are changing, the rule is changing at the moment. But we are caring about our brothers over there.

Until recently Dr John Ondawame has never had any trouble making connections here. There’s no answer. A West Papuan, he moved here two years ago to lobby Vanuatu full-time to help win back his country’s freedom. But today’s task is far less ambitious. He just wants his flag back, taken by the police when the Indonesian ambassador was in town.

DR. JOHN ONDAWAME: Maybe I go there to the police office to pick up my flag, Morning Star, but I’m not sure that the officer in charge is gonna be there.

A member of the outlawed OPM movement in West Papua, he was imprisoned then exiled in Sweden and 10 years in Australia before coming here.

DR. JOHN ONDAWAME: Many days they have been keeping my flag. Clearly very mad.

Until recent times the West Papuans have had more success in Vanuatu than any other place on Earth. But now things have turned frosty. He’s a bit shocked today that he can’t even get his flag back. But a tug-of-war over a flag is a minor part of a much bigger game that’s being played.

It seems that Vanuatu is doing more than just playing the West Papuan card to draw in Indonesian aid. Talks are progressing for Vanuatu to sponsor Indonesian’s entry into two regional associations which have proved most troublesome to Jakarta in the past.

Discussions between Ambassador Cotan and Moana Carcasses have revolved around Indonesia becoming a member of the MSG – the association of the Melanesian nations and the Pacific Islands Forum.

MOANNA CARASSES: So strong that Indonesia should be part of the forum because it’s a part of the Pacific. I don’t see why Indonesia shouldn’t be part of it. And because Indonesia is part of Melanesian, because there is Melanesian there, should be part of MSG.

AMBASSADOR COTAN: The inclusion of West Papua into Indonesia has been sanctioned by the UN resolution.

Both the Melanesian group and the Pacific Islands Forum is meeting in the next couple of months and the Vanuatu Government is in the middle of making its decision on whether it will sponsor Indonesia inside.

Barak Sope is outraged that his government is even talking to Indonesia, let alone sponsoring them into regional forums and he believes the majority of cabinet shares his view.

BARAK SOPE: My view of West Papua is for them to get total independence.

REPORTER: This has been the view of Vanuatu for 25 years? You and Father Walter were always strong on this.

BARAK SOPE: Yes, yes, that’s where I won’t change now, just because I’m in a coalition.

Over many years Sope has raised the West Papuan issue at the UN and was a friend of murdered West Papuan leader Chief Theys Eluay.

BARAK SOPE: Theys came here during 2000 with the delegation and he also was part of the Vanuatu delegation of the United Nations, the year 2000 and then when he went back he got killed, was killed. So this is why we’re saying how can Indonesia say that they’re looking after the West Papuans while they’re killing them?

MOANNA CARASSES: I think Indonesia want first to show that they are not the beasts that they used to be, there is a change of approach and attitude. And they come to Vanuatu saying that “We have something to offer you, we have trade to offer you, commerce, and we can do business together.”

BARAK SOPE: Whatever is coming to Vanuatu from Indonesia is almost nothing. A few cars, some tractors or something like this.

Are you disappointed then? Are you disappointed?

BARAK SOPE: Yeah, I’m totally disappointed in not receiving – just because receiving a couple of cars and 200,000 people have – Melanesian people have been killed for their freedom.

A church function provides a little light relief for Prime Minister Ham Lini. For the PM and his family, politics, although unspoken today, are never far away. Laura Lini sits on the other side of the field, away from the family and resolutely in opposition ever since she confronted Ambassador Cotan.

HAM LINI: Actually since she took part in that action that was made, she didn’t come back to my house to say anything. I only met her on Saturday when we were there but we haven’t talked about that. But that may be she’s doing what… her father was had a very strong belief on that.

REPORTER: How do you feel about this? Of course Father Lini was your brother and he was very strong on West Papua, do you feel a family commitment to this or you think it’s time to move on?

HAM LINI: As I said, I think maybe it depends on situation but now maybe it’s time to look differently.

Although she’s now lost access to her uncle’s dinner table, Laura Lini has been working overtime with the traditional chiefs of Vanuatu. The chiefs still exert enormous power here and they have a strong attachment to West Papua, regarded by many as the home of Vanuatu’s ancestors.

LAURA LINI: If he comes out to say publicly that he’s going to have dialogue with Indonesia, and that will be a problem with the chiefs because the chiefs have come out publicly to say that we don’t want to have anything to do with Indonesia. And politics, when it involves chiefs, it can become very – quite messy.

There are many West Papuan support groups around the world, but few have this much clout. Having the daughter of the most revered political leader in the country’s history helps, and not many groups would have the leader of the opposition dash over from parliament when he hears they’re meeting.

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, (Translation): For me, the Indonesians in West Papua are tourists. They’re not from West Papua. So why would the Vanuatu government support a tourist who has come for a holiday, who comes to take money and then go?

But the most important person here today is not a politician, it’s a representative from the council of chiefs.

REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COUNCIL OF CHIEFS, (Translation): We can’t stand by and watch such suffering. This is not just me, but all the chiefs of Vanuatu. And I must say, when the chiefs are backing something, there’s no corner their influence does not penetrate.

On sacred ground on the outskirts of Port Vila, the traditional chiefs of Vanuatu are gathering. It’s an extraordinary moment for West Papua but John Ondawame is still fuming about his flag.

DR. JOHN ONDAWAME: They’re keeping my flag. I don’t like it very much and there’s already people died for – because of this flag so I won’t tolerate anymore. I will lose patience for that. I’ve had enough.

You’ve had enough?

LAURA LINI: You can see in the background we have some chiefs that are here and they’re at the moment waiting for the Prime Minister to arrive.

If the chiefs call a meeting, the Prime Minister will come?

LAURA LINI: Yes. Always? Always. They’re going to tell the Prime Minister today that the West Papua issue is now on the hands of the chiefs of Vanuatu. We will hear what the Prime Minister will have to say but I’m sure that he will be able to tell us this afternoon. Hopefully after today I will be able to go back to the house.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: Honourable Prime Minister, you have come, and we believe your understand custom. You follow our traditions. You heard the chiefs say they needed you and you came.

With the courtesies out of the way, chief Vera Venglat gets into his stride. As one of the wise men, Vera Venglat invokes the memory of the PM’s dead brother, Walter Lini, the father of Vanuatu, and in an anniversary year, the memory of what Vanuatu once stood for.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: What we are now discussing is based on what the father of Vanuatu talked about a long time ago. It’s about the issue of West Papua.

The PM looks increasingly chastened as the chief picks up steam.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: We can’t sit by and watch our brother countries suffer.

For 20 minutes the chief spells out his concerns about dealing with Indonesia. The ancestors came from West Papua, the blood that is spilt there is the blood of the chiefs of Vanuatu.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: And now our chiefs are standing up. Our chiefs have wisdom and feel their pain. Now they have sat down at the sacred fire.

Vera Venglat wraps up with a payment to the PM, an offering more valuable than the gifts of any foreign emissaries – sacred mats and kava to seal the deal.

CHIEF VERA VENGLAT: My talk will finish here and now we have bought this kava root here. We want the words of the father of independence to be brought up again. We need to open these discussions again so that our brothers can be free the West Papua. Thank you.

An extraordinary transformation seems to take place with Ham Lini as he commits himself to the freedom of the West Papuans.

HAM LINI: So I want the assure everyone here, although it might be a hard time and a long time, West Papua will be free according to God’s plan. And we in our small ways need to look for ways to help.

Lini is a man of custom, but he’s also a politician. He knows the chiefs have influence in every village in Vanuatu in a way that local members could only dream of.

REPORTER: He talks straight about West Papua?

MAN: He answered what we asked him. And he was all right. He talked straight.

The Prime Minister accepts the chief’s gifts and in doing so, accepts their speech and their commands.

MAN: We told him to come to the talk and he came.

REPORTER: And he must listen to you?

MAN: He must listen, because he’s a man who knows custom.

REPORTER: Can he disagree, does he have to obey or is he his own man?

MAN: He will agree.

REPORTER: Would there be trouble if he did not agree?

MAN: There’d be no trouble if he didn’t agree but there would be an enquiry to find out why.

With the Melanesian nations meeting this month and the Pacific Islands Forum soon after, the coming weeks will tell whether old friends or new will prevail upon Ham Lini.

GEORGE NEGUS: And Mark tells us it seems the chiefs have had a victory. A member of the Free Papua Movement will join Vanuatu’s official delegation to the Melanesian nations meeting in a few days time.

New Orleans a 'ghost town' as thousands flee

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on New Orleans a 'ghost town' as thousands flee)

New Orleans has become a “ghost town” with only 10,000 residents left after thousands fled to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Gustav, which is bearing down on the city, Mayor Ray Nagin said today.


“We think at a maximum we may have 10,000 people left in the city. It is a true ghost town,” said Mr Nagin, who said police estimate that as many as 327,000 have evacuated New Orleans.

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“If there's any area where people did not evacuate, it's probably people who have means, people who live uptown(and were) never really flooded” by Hurricane Katrina three years ago, he said, speaking on local television.

“They were out walking their dogs this morning and had no intention of leaving. God bless them,” said Mr Nagin.

The mayor said he spoke by telephone with President George W Bush today and that both “felt good” about preparations for Gustav thus far, after the bungled response to killer Katrina three years ago.

'Storm of the century'

More than 1,800 people died along the US Gulf Coast in 2005, most of them in New Orleans, where thousands were stranded for days without food or sanitation.

“It is just nice to see a plan come together,” Mr Nagin said. “The difference between now and Katrina is that we knew what we had to do in Katrina, we just didn't have the resources. This time we do.”

New Orleans residents fled the city by car, bus, train and airplane as the storm bore down the US Gulf coast, with landfall expected at midday on Monday, local time.

Mr Nagin yesterday ordered the city emptied in the face of what he warned would be “the storm of the century”, and advised that those who stay behind would have to fend for themselves.

Gustav is on course to crash ashore near New Orleans, in what Mr Nagin said would be the first major test of the city's newly fortified infrastructure and rebuilt levees after Hurricane Katrina levelled part of the city three years ago.

Test of rebuilt levees

“It's the first time it's going to be tested since Katrina,” he said, adding that it was likely that some flooding would result when the category three storm arrived.

“I don't want to jinx us in any way,” he said, “but looking at this storm, I think we'll have flooding on the west bank. Don't think we can get away from that unless the storm goes to a category two or one.

He added: “I think the levees are going to hold on the east bank for the most part… Everywhere else, I'm betting, is going to hold.”

Mr Nagin said Hurricane Gustav would provide proof of just how far the city has come in its post-Katrina reconstruction and may even convince some former New Orleans residents that it is safe to return.

“People are waiting to see if these levees are for real,” he said. “I think that's going to send a tremendous signal to everybody that the levee work that was done, even though it's not complete, is in good shape.

“We're protected. And I think the rebuilding is going to take off one more time.”