11 de maig 2013


Twin car bombs have killed 40 people and injured 100 in the Turkish town of Reyhanli, near the Syrian border. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Intolerable - - - - News and photos from BBC-News Middle est

6 d’abr. 2013

KAL's Cartoon (The Economist)

. You can find in " The Economist " KAL's Cartoon

2 de març 2013

.... Un article diferent sobre Africa, que ha publicat The Economist .... If you want, you can read this article (from " The Economist ").... CELEBRATIONS are in order on the poorest continent. Never in the half-century since it won independence from the colonial powers has Africa been in such good shape. Its economy is flourishing. Most countries are at peace. Ever fewer children bear arms and record numbers go to school. Mobile phones are as ubiquitous as they are in India and, in the worst-affected countries, HIV infections have fallen by up to three-quarters. Life expectancy rose by a tenth in the past decade and foreign direct investment has tripled. Consumer spending will almost double in the next ten years; the number of countries with average incomes above $1,000 per person a year will grow from less than half of Africa’s 55 states to three-quarters. Africans deserve the credit. Western aid agencies, Chinese mining companies and UN peacekeepers have done their bit, but the continent’s main saviours are its own people. They are embracing modern technology, voting in ever more elections and pressing their leaders to do better. A sense of hope abounds. Africans rightly take pride in conferences packed with Western bankers keen to invest in their capital markets (see article). Within the next few months MasterCard will have issued South Africans with 10m debit cards. Even the continent’s politicians are doing a bit better, especially in economic management and striking peace deals. Average GDP growth is humming along, at about 6%. Governance is improving: our correspondent visited 23 countries to research this week’s special report and was not once asked for a bribe—inconceivable only ten years ago. is a welcome transformation, but it is still incomplete. The danger is that Africa settles for today’s pace of change. Only if Africans raise their ambitions still further will they reach their full potential. They need to take on the difficult jobs of building infrastructure, rooting out corruption and clearing the tangle of government regulation that is still holding them back. And they should hurry. Don’t dawdle One reason is that so much more remains to be done. Poverty may have become less visible in Africa’s capitals but it remains widespread. The battle against hunger has not been won. The spread of wealth is uneven and winners from today’s boom all too often rush to fortify their gilded positions inside guarded compounds. The financiers who suggest that Africa could soon rival Asia have let their imaginations run riot. Whereas one is the workshop of the world, the other almost exclusively exports what grows in fields or is dug out from below them. About a third of Africa’s GDP growth comes from commodities. This will not last. Today’s prices are near record highs and commodity markets have a habit of collapsing. Furthermore, recent gains in agricultural commodities may be undermined by climate change. Even now, savannahs are drying out, water tables are dropping and rains either failing or becoming more irregular. One in five Africans will be directly affected by 2020. Even as their continent prospers, many of them will continue to depend on agriculture and there is little they can do about the threats to the world’s environment. Another reason to push ahead is that Africa’s hard-won victories are vulnerable to relapses. Kenya is a model for other countries in east Africa but the campaign for elections on March 4th has been marred by violence (see article). New scourges—like Islamist extremism in the Sahara—could yet sow instability. And Africa must make the most of two transitions it is now going through. The move from the countryside to cities offers the chance of a one-off boost to productivity both on the farm and in the slums. If African states bungle this, they will create a dangerous unemployed urban class. At the same time, though Africa’s population is still growing rapidly—it will double to 2 billion by 2050—families there are becoming smaller. This promises a “demographic dividend”, as the number of workers relative to children and the elderly increases. The continent must make use of this bulge of labour, and the savings it produces, for development. If they squander it, Africans will grow old before they grow rich. Break down your borders Africa’s citizens are already striving to become more productive. Farmers have started using hand-held gadgets to gain access to weather reports. Slums too are teeming with technology. The internet is changing the way the continent does business. In Kenya a third of GDP flows through a mobile money-transfer system set up by a private telecoms company. But Africa’s entrepreneurs are often stymied by the state. The bottom third countries in the World Bank’s ease-of-business ranking are almost all in Africa. Their people could easily have better lives; abundant capital and technology offer big opportunities. The infrastructure is improving—only 5% of the 15,800 miles travelled for our special report was on unpaved roads—but the power grid is a disaster. On the whole, government officials should focus less on building things than getting out of the way. Useless regulations have created bottlenecks. East Africa’s main port in Mombasa is gummed up and land borders across the continent hold back lorries for days. Restrictions on employing migrants and on land ownership prevent businesses from expanding. Bureaucrats and customs officers inflate the cost of getting anything done. Shipping a car from China to Tanzania costs $4,000, but getting it from there to nearby Uganda can cost another $5,000. If aspiring Africa wants a new dream, it should be creating a common market from the Med to the Cape. That would be a boon to trade, enterprise and manufacturing: it would also get rid of much of the petty corruption and save lives. A recent World Bank report pointed out that Africa could produce enough food to feed itself; alas, too few subsistence farmers get a chance to sell their produce (and usually get less than 20% of the market price). Why not rekindle pan-Africanism by opening borders drawn in London and Paris? Africa needs a reborn liberation movement—except this time the aim is to free Africans from civil servants rather than colonial masters.

12 d’oct. 2012

Today I can read this about AFRICA, from the BBC-News.... Africa shows progress on hunger, report says Africa has had more success than South Asia in tackling the problem of hunger over the past decade, according to a report on world food production. Food shortages and malnutrition have been reduced in many parts of Africa, the Global Hunger Index says. But it remains "extremely alarming" in countries such as Eritrea and Burundi. The report says India, meanwhile, which has shown strong economic growth, has a disappointing record on tackling the problem. The wide-ranging report also says the world as a whole is running out of productive land as populations increase. Undernourished Produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide, the paper identifies 20 countries which have "alarming" or "extremely alarming" levels of hunger. It gives countries a score based on the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of under fives who are underweight, and the mortality rate of under fives. Countries in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the worst affected, it says. As well as Eritrea and Burundi, which both lie in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean island of Haiti is categorised as "extremely alarming", with more than 50% of the population undernourished. Although Haiti had been showing some improvement, the effects of the massive earthquake of 2010 pushed it back into the "extremely alarming" category, the report says. On the whole, Africa's relatively good performance in tackling hunger over the past decade is partly due to fewer wars, and the fact that governments have become better at concentrating on improving the health of young children. In South Asia, however, it singles out India for its lack of improvement, despite what it says is impressive economic growth and successful hi-tech industries. 'Conserve resources' The report says income inequality and the low status of women have had a negative effect on the nutrition of millions of poor families. The organisations behind the report are calling for governments to do more to safeguard natural resources and address the problems associated with demographic change. They say climate change is causing flooding, drought and environmental degradation, which all threaten agricultural practices. Rising global energy prices are also adding to the problem as farmers struggle with heightened costs associated with importing agricultural goods. They want to see more efficient farming methods, and for the land rights of poor farmers to be strengthened. The authors also say we are are consuming resources, including fertile land and water, far too quickly. "Agricultural production must increase substantially to meet the demands of a growing and increasingly wealthy population," said Tom Arnold, Concern Worldwide's chief executive officer. "Yet to avoid more stress on land, water and energy resources, and to ensure that all have access to adequate food, that production must be sustainable and must prioritise the poor."

17 de des. 2011


Again, again and again.
Again a tropical storm has hit Philippines. If you want, you can see the pictures and you can think about it.
If you can, you must help thousand of philippines people.

Read the news of the BBC, and see the pictures.

Philippines storm kills hundreds in Mindanao flash floods
A tropical storm has hit the southern Philippines, triggering flash floods that officials say have killed more than 430 people and left many missing.
An army spokesman said many villagers on the north coast of Mindanao island were swept into the sea after Tropical Storm Washi brought heavy rain.
Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities have been hard hit, with many victims asleep as the floods swept into their homes.
Tens of thousands of people have fled to higher ground, the authorities say.
Kate McGeown BBC News, Manila
The Philippines usually has about 20 major storms and typhoons a year.
But this one caught the people of northern Mindanao by surprise, as it's an area which is usually bypassed by the worst of the country's extreme weather.
This is the most ferocious storm to hit the region since the 1970s.
Officials say they warned residents about Washi's approach on Friday, but many people dismissed the dangers and went to bed as normal, only to wake up as the waters rapidly rose.
Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster rescue agency, said the floodwaters had risen alarmingly fast overnight.
"Massive flooding had been reported over the region, especially in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City," he said
Rivers burst their banks after more than 12 hours of continuous rain.
Television pictures of the aftermath showed smashed homes and cars and debris strewn across streets and clogging drainage canals.
Philippine National Red Cross Secretary General Gwen Pang said at least 430 people had been killed.
She said 215 people had been killed in Cagayan de Oro and 144 in Iligan. The figures were based on a count of bodies brought to funeral parlours, she told Associated Press news agency.
“Start Quote
The owner of our hotel received a call around 06:00 from the captain [of a capsized ship] in tears saying the pump had stopped working and he was not able to bail the water out fast enough”
End Quote Mark Donkin in Dumaguete
'Worst flood'
A military spokesman, Colonel Leopoldo Galon, said an entire army division - some 10,000 soldiers - was involved in the rescue efforts around Cagayan de Oro.
He said search and rescue operations would continue along the north shore of Mindanao, where many people had been swept into the sea.
"I can't explain how these things happened," he said. "Entire villages were swept into the sea by flash floods."
"I have not seen anything like this before. This could be worse than Ondoy," Col Galon said, referring to a 2009 storm, also known as Ketsana, that flooded Manila, killing more than 400 people.
Officials said dozens of people had been pulled from the sea in the region but many were still missing.
Large areas were left without power and some domestic flights were cancelled as winds of up to 90 km/h (55mph) swept across the island.

Floods had swamped a quarter of Iligan and at least 10 villages on its outskirts, said the city's mayor, Lawrence Cruz.
"It's the worst flood in the history of our city," Mr Cruz told GMA television. "It happened so fast, at a time when people were fast asleep."
Residents described the floodwaters rising rapidly.
"In less than an hour the water rose to about 11 feet (3.3m)," Ayi Hernandez, a former member of congress, was quoted as saying by Associated Press news agency.
Emergency officials said tens of thousands of people had been forced out of their homes and were staying in more than a dozen shelters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

12 de nov. 2011


One year; one year ago I wrote about China, and today (with new tweets, blogs, ...) I prefer write about China again. In the next future If I can find more time to write on this "Dianjiang bloc" I'll write about other subjects.
But now, I choose this BBC news about China's mines. Please, read it:

China: Yunnan gas-leak mine 'is illegal'
Related Stories
• Dozens rescued from Chinese mine
• Why are China's mines so dangerous?
A Chinese mine where 21 workers were killed on Thursday and 22 more remain trapped was being operated illegally, state media has reported.
The pit, in the south-western Yunnan province, lost its licence a year ago.
The government has tried to shut down illegal mines as it battles to improve the industry's terrible safety record.
A huge rescue operation is still going on at the mine. Investigators believe a sudden release of gas into the pit trapped the miners.
But there are conflicting accounts of whether it was an explosion or a leak.
The incident happened early on Thursday at the Sizhuang mine in Yunnan province's Qujing city.
A day later, no survivors have been found.
State-run Xinhua news agency reported that the colliery area was shrouded in coal dust that was forced out of the shaft by the burst of gas.
Relatives of the miners have gathered at the pit, some of the wailing and crying.
Xinhua quoted local work safety officials saying the mine had been operating without a licence when the accident happened.
For years, the central government has been waging a campaign to make mines safe.
Much of their focus has been closing down illegal mines, where safety standards can be extremely lax.
The official death toll in pits has come down from a high of about 7,000 in 2002 to about 2,600 in 2009.
But analysts say the Yunnan disaster and another tragedy last week in Henan province serve as reminders that mining in China remains one of the world's most dangerous occupations.

20 de nov. 2010

Population and Beijing

You know our feeling on China (and Beijing). Today (China Daily Website) we can find this news about population and Beijing. We'll come back to Beijing, sure!

Beijing faces aging population problemBy Beijing (Xinhua)
Updated: 2010-11-20 16:53 Comments(0) PrintMail Large Medium Small

BEIJING - Beijing will face the challenge of an aging population over the coming five years and the city has limited experience in dealing with the phenomenon, the Beijing Morning Post reported Saturday.

At the end of 2009, registered senior citizens in Beijing numbered 2.27 million, or 18.2 percent of the city's total population of permanent residents, the report said, citing the local government.

The city will have a moderately aged society when its aged population reaches 3.24 million in 2015, the report said.

Of the city's population of registered senior citizens, 1.94 million, or 85.6 percent, are below the age of 80 years, and 326,000, or 14.4 percent, are above the age of 80 years.

In the coming five years, approximately 470,000 senior citizens in Beijing will require nursing.

A survey conducted recently by the society and legal system committee of the municipal political consultative conference found that of 4,000-plus respondents, 24.5 percent intended to live in homes for the aged, a level much higher than the 4-percent level the municipal government expected.

Some 53.3 percent of respondents said they are willing to spend their twilight years at home. That figure was significantly lower than the 90 percent figure the local government had expected.

According to the survey, 99 percent of local citizens born after 1980 said they would not be able to look after their parents during their old age.

13 de nov. 2010

Africa again

Yesterday we could read this (at BBC News):


Aid agencies are planning to immunise three million people in central Africa after a polio outbreak, which has killed more than 100 people.

Hundreds more have been paralysed by the disease, authorities have said.

The disease broke out in Congo-Brazzaville, but has also affected parts of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

The government said the vast majority of deaths had occurred in the city of Pointe-Noire in Congo-Brazzaville.

Congo-Brazzaville had previously recorded its last case of indigenous polio in 2000.

The vaccination plan is being conducted by several aid agencies, including Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO).

'Not immunised'

"The first round of a mass vaccination campaign targeting three million people will begin Friday, in response to a polio epidemic which has unusually claimed a majority of adult victims," said a joint statement.

The majority of reported cases and deaths had occurred in males aged over 15.

Polio, which damages the nervous system, causing paralysis and death if untreated, normally strikes young children.

The immunisation plan will start in Pointe-Noire, the epicentre of the outbreak, and extend to surrounding areas.

"Every man, every woman, every child will be immunised irrespective of their past immunisation status," said Dr Luis G Sambo, WHO's regional director for Africa.

"This way we can be assured that everybody is reached, including young adults, whose immunity may be low."

Congo's director general of health, Alexis Elira Dokekias, said the victims had either not been sufficiently immunised or not immunised at all.

Reports say women and girls may have developed some immunity to the disease through contact with babies that had been immunised.

In 2000 and 2001, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Gabon carried out synchronised campaigns against the polio virus.

17 d’abr. 2010


Fa pocs dies erem a Madrid -un cop més- i vam poder gaudir d'un parell de nits "madrilenyes" realment interesants i agradables. Però arriba dilluns i tornes a la màgica i acollidora Barcelona. Tinc la immensa sort de poder contemplar aquesta gran ciutat des de la gran finestra del despatx, i la visió confirma dia rera dia la mateixa opinió: si has de treballar en una gran ciutat, Barcelona és la millor aposta.
Però un cop passat el dilluns, he tingut dos grans regals:

Gaudir d'uns paisatges del Lluçanès esplèndids i fantàstics: els que podem veure entre Gironella i Prats (malgrat les obres) i entre Prats i Navàs.

Gaudir d'un paisatge i uns dies de treball i convivència personal inoblidables al peu del Matagalls.

(treballar així és un altre regal)

1 de març 2010

Birmània Fam i Drets Humans - HUNGER AND HUMAN RIGHTS -

El Jordi Rius m'ha trucat (pel programa B de Blog de Ràdio Castellar). Això ha fet que em passés bona part del cap de setmana recordant i revisant els primers escrits d'aquest blog.
Resulta que ara fa just uns dos anys vaig afegir unes entrades que (com era de preveure) continuen estant totalment d'actualitat.
Algú recorda què va passar a Birmània?
Les paraules d'Isabel Clara Simó van ser d'una claredat i una intel.ligència ...

Avui, al cap de tant de temps convido als amics i amigues (i a tothom qui vulgui dedicar uns breus minuts) a rellegir les entrades del 18 i 23 d'abril, i les del 8 i 20 de maig (totes de l'any 2008 i que podreu trobar més avall).

Un cop tot llegit, i al davant d'un cafè, en tornem a parlar.

(If you want, you can read again the text on 18th and 23rd of april and the 8th and 20th of may -2008- See you next week)

27 de febr. 2010


A primera hora del matí als carrers hi ha una serenor i fins i tot un silenci que sorprèn a molts; aquesta és una de les màgies del Raval. Ja fa dies que en aquest silenci del matí es lleva un home que dorm en un matalàs al terra -a les portes de la llibreria universitària-
Uns dies enrera el matí era fred, molt fred. En el trajecte que faig des de la parada del tren fins la llibreria sempre presuposava que l’home del matalàs no podria haver dormit amb aquell fred intens. Doncs si. Un dia rera l’altre aquell home dormia i es despertava entre un matalàs vell i una manta bruta d’un color difícil de definir.
Aquesta setmana he tingut una sorpresa. L’home del fred ja s’havia llevat. Cantava i feia uns sorollosos badalls que sorprenien als primers vianants del matí. L’escena no tenia res a envejar a qualsevol dels grans anuncis de la televisió: un indigent mig despullat; un dia fred d’hivern; un carrer mullat del casc antic d’una gran ciutat … i el fons d’aquest escenari? la Universitat i un aparador molt gran de la llibreria universitària. Per últim: un dels llibres de la llibreria “Arquitectura i Paisatge: Barcelona”.
Ja fa dies que no veig Khalid.

28 de des. 2009

Christmas Child in China

Aquests dies hem tornat a parlar de Xina. A casa, la petita ens planteja temes que ens fan rumiar un cop i un altre. Sabem que tornarem a Xina i que aquest viatge tornarà a ser molt especial (però per això encara han de passar uns quants anys més).
Abans de visitar Chongqing haviem recollit molta informació sobre aquella província. Les imatges que anavem guardant semblaven d'una època diferent (carrers sense asfaltar, vestits de fa 200 o 300 anys, molta pobresa, ...); una vegada i una altra havies de contrastar que les fotografies realment corresponien al segle XXI.
Un cop vam ser allà, vam veure que la vida a ciutat era molt diferent que al camp. A les grans ciutats sol haver-hi un nucli central on veus edificis molt alts, cotxes que van molt depressa, botigues plenes de mil.lions d'articles i fins i tot gent amb vestits bastant occidentals. En aquestes ciutats també hi ha "els altres barris": estan formats per edificis antics (molts cops mig derruits), amb carrerons petits i sense asfaltar, amb la bicicleta com a vehicle de transport, amb molta gent al carrer, amb wc comunitaris (a les cases no n'hi ha), amb aigua corrent també comunitària (moltes cases encara no tenen aigua corrent), amb una vivenda que comparteixen dues o tres generacions (avis, pares i fills amb nets), ... I això al segle XXI, és a dir a les portes de les Olimpiades a Beijing.
I al camp? ... al camp vol dir -moltes vegades- viatjar 200 o 300 anys enrera en el temps.
Algunes ONG's col.laboren amb el govern xinès (sense la intervenció del govern és gariebé imposible fer res a Xina) per ajudar als nens i nenes d'algunes zones de l'interior d'aquest immens país. China Care International és una d'elles. Sense entrar en el fons d'alguns mètodes (ja veureu que tot trontolla una mica) s'ha de reconèixer que són dels pocs que intenten ajudar a un país que esta canviant cada minut que passa. Us passo un video de les festes de nadal de l'any passat. Sé que és molt llarg (em sembla que uns 10 min), però us podeu saltar bona part de les imatges centrals. Fixeu-vos en les cares dels nens, de la disciplina xinesa (no obren les caixes fins que els autoritzen, i tot i així... ho fan a peu dret!), fixeu-vos en alguns carrers i cases, ... però també fixeu-vos que els nens de l'Àfrica, de Sudamèrica o de la Xina també saben riure de veritat (tot i que alguns els hi posen molt difícil).

19 de des. 2009


La primera vegada que em vaig fixar en Khalid va fer que em mirés el rellotge (eren les 7,45 del matí). Eren les primeres setmanes d'aquesta tardor i encara no havia arribat el fred. El carrer era moll com cada matí. Khalid seia en un pedrís al davant d'un portal del Raval. Als seus peus tenia una mena de motxilla de color gris que feia joc amb els colors de la samarreta i els pantalons.

Què feia un nen a aquelles hores del matí, i tot sol? Segur que ell tindria una resposta tranquila i natural: "espero que siguin les 9 per entrar al cole". Peró fins i tot per mi era massa d'hora. Aquell dia haviem quedat per anar a Lleida i abans de marxar havia de recollir una documentació que em vaig oblidar a la feina (ja explicaré la meva fascinació per la Catalunya "no barnametropolitana").

A l'andana de l'estació vaig veure poca gent (era més d'hora de l'habitual). El tren anava força buit i vaig poder seure i llegir des del primer moment. Els trens tenen una puntualitat excel.lent que no només agraeixo, sinó que vaig pregonant a amics i familiars sempre que puc (quan s'ho mereixen, s'han de reconèixer les qualitats d'alguns transports públics; en aquest cas els Catalans). Pel que fa a les sensacions, .... pel que fa a sensacions ho deixaré per demà o demà passat: us parlaré de ja fa uns quants anys: "Das Parfum, die Geschichte eines Mörders".

Pel que fa a l'article del dia, avui és del Times.

Després de la lectura no sé quina opinió tindreu, però pel que fa a mi no sabria dir si ha de ser als sis, set o deu anys, però el que cal mantenir és aquella il.lusió que podem veure als ulls dels nostres fills i filles quan passa el rei blanc, el rei ros i el rei negre.

Que per molts anys poguem continuar mantenint aquesta il.lusió.


December 18, 2009

When do children work out that there's no Father Christmas? At age seven? Eight? Nine? Forty three? When they lay in the dark, eyes shut, pretending to be asleep and make the sobering discovery that "Santa" has exactly the same BO problem as Daddy?
Well, I fear it is younger than we think. Much younger. I have no hard evidence for this unhappy hunch - just the knowledge that four-year-olds now use the Internet more expertly than I do and that I know of a woman whose six year-old son recently claimed that he'd known Santa was a lie for OVER A YEAR. "It was your writing on all the gift labels", he shrugged as she clawed at her own face remembering that children should never ever be underestimated, particularly where presents are concerned. But his key line was yet to come. "I didn't tell you because I knew you'd be sad," he said, tenderly.
Oh God. Here's a weird and unnatural thought. What if children suss out the truth years before we think they do but play along so as to spare our feelings? So it's not us humouring them but them humouring us?
You can picture a group of six-year-olds sitting around a table in Costa Coffee. "Aah, my mum is SO cute. She gets all excited buying that sparkly reindeer food which I have to scatter in the garden when I'd really rather be inside watching Handy Manny. But it's nice to see their little faces, isn't it?"
Another will suck on his skinny latte and reply. "My Dad's adorable too. He actually leaves some soot around the fireplace so it looks like Santa has come down the chimney. Ha, ha. But what am I - stupid? We've got a chuffing gas fire. Still we should enjoy it while we can. They grow out of it so fast, don't they." The more I think about it, the more plausible it seems. Think how many times kids ask how it is physically possible for one man to visit every kid in the world in one night. Maybe they enjoy watching us squirm as we mutter ludicrous Paul Danielish things such as "Hey, that's magic!" and "Doh - because the reindeer are supersonic, obviously."
I now remember a moment last Christmas Day when I was clearing up the discarded wrapping paper and noticed my daughter, then four, eyeing me beadily. "Mummy, Father Christmas uses exactly the same wrapping paper as you got from Asda," she said.
Was she testing me? Was she suspicious? When she was making her Christmas list and I remarked that one thing she'd chosen "cost too much money", she looked at me suspiciously. "But you're not buying it, are you?", she said. "And you said the elves make all the toys with their bare hands." (Sadly I did)
I quickly backtracked and told her that every parent must send a cheque by Santa post, but I could swear she looked at me as one might look at a compulsive liar who claims to be carrying Elvis's love-child.Of course children have a vested interest in keeping schtum. We tell them that if they don't believe no presents will materialise, which is kind of a lite version of telling adults that if they don't believe in God they'll be chucked down to Hell. Maybe that's why so many people claim to be agnostic - refusing to say outright that they don't believe and hedging their bets just in case. They got their training from Christmases past.
There are ways to ensure that your kids keep believing for as long as possible, which of course we all want deep down because it's another way of preserving their innocence. Besides psychiatrists have said the Father Christmas myth is good for children's moral development and gives parents an "ace up their sleeve". After all, as they say Santa's making a list, he's checking it twice, he wants to find out who's naughty or nice.
But if they do find you out don't be too depressed. One children's psychiatrist Dr Lynda Breen has said that children are actually very positive when they discover the truth. "It is actually parents who mourn the loss", she said.
She's right, of course. Which is why we'll all be creeping about on the landing and taking bites out of raw carrots to make it appear that Rudolph's been.
Christmas. A time for grown-ups to relive their childhoods.

25 de juny 2009

Tractaments per a tots i totes. A new cancer drug.

Tot i que la feina a Barna m'absorveix (i m'apassiona!) avui dia de Sant Joan (i encara que sigui molt tard) he decidit actualitzar el bloc amb una d'aquelles notícies que m'agrada incorporar.

La meva relació amb ong's i amb persones que la seva tasca diària és ajudar als més desprotegits, no treu que m'oblidi d'un tema que ens ha tocat molt de prop a moltissima gent: el càncer.

Poques vegades em manifesto obertament sobre política, però quan tothom s'omple la boca de la ja desgastadíssima expressió "apostem per les polítiques socials" recordo quina opinió en tenen al respecte molts amics responsables de casals i ong's de barna; recordo quina opinió tenen amics i familiars que han estat ajudant molt directament en paissos d'Àfrica i Sudamèrica i també recordo a malalts i els seus familiars comparant els seus tractaments mèdics i la diferència amb els de rics i famosos. Tot i que reconec que el nostre sistema de salut pública està molt per sobre que el de la mitjana de paissos desenvolupats, també crec que encara hi manquen molts més esforços i recursos per tal que qualsevol persona (sigui pobre o rica) tingui els mateixos drets a l'hora de curar-se (elecció de centre, elecció d'especialista, temps d'espera, .... i sobre tot excel.lència en el tracte).

Sempre m'he preguntat que volen dir els nostres representants políticsquan parlen de "apostar per les polítiques socials". Què volen dir els d'esquerra? I els ecologistes? I els conservadors? I els nacionalistes? Però si resulta que els d'extrema dreta francesa parlen de potenciar les polítiques socials!!! (això si! deu ser un cop hagin fet neteja de tots i totes els qui no els agradem)

Insisteixo. La meva pregunta és: apostar per les polítiques socials vol dir apostar per garantir una vivenda? per garantir un treball? per garantir una atenció mèdica? per garantir una educació? per garantir el menjar? ...

Però avui no passo una notícia de la gent que passa fam, ni de la gent que no té un sostre, avui passo una notícia esperançadora sobre el tractament del càncer, que ha publicat fa poques hores la BBC. Us la passo (i confiem que aquests tractaments tinguin èxit i que arribin a tots els malalts)

New cancer drug 'shows promise'

The treatment was tested on breast cancer patients
Researchers say a new type of cancer treatment has produced highly promising results in preliminary drug trials.
Olaparib was given to 19 patients with inherited forms of advanced breast, ovarian and prostate cancers caused by mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
In 12 of the patients - none of whom had responded to other therapies - tumours shrank or stabilised.
The study, led by the Institute of Cancer Research, features in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Julian Lewis, 62, was treated with olaparib after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
Within a month or two levels of a key chemical marker of cancer went down to a low level, and have now stayed low for more than two years.
In addition, secondary tumours in his bones have almost disappeared.
He has experienced minor side-effects, such as stomach discomfort and mild nausea, but he said: "I hope to carry on with this for as long as possible.
Partly the aim is the obvious one of keeping my cancer cells in check, but there's a broader goal too: to help find out how long this drug can be used safely in other people."

One of the first patients to be given the treatment is still in remission after two years.
Olaparib - a member of a new class of drug called PARP inhibitors - targets cancer cells, but leaves healthy cells relatively unscathed.
The researchers, working with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, found that patients experienced very few side-effects, and some reported the treatment was "much easier than chemotherapy".
Researcher Dr Johann de Bono said the drug should now be tested in larger trials.
He said: "This drug showed very impressive results in shrinking patients' tumours.
"It's giving patients who have already tried many conventional treatments long periods of remission, free from the symptoms of cancer or major side-effects."

Olaparib is the first successful example of a new type of personalised medicine using a technique called "synthetic lethality" - a subtle way of exploiting the body's own molecular weaknesses for positive effect.
In this case the drug takes advantage of the fact that while normal cells have several different ways of repairing damage to their DNA, one of these pathways is disabled by the BRCA mutations in tumour cells.
Olaparib blocks one of the repair pathways by shutting down a key enzyme called PARP.
This does not affect normal cells because they can call on an alternative repair mechanism, controlled by their healthy BRCA genes.
But in tumours cells, where the BRCA pathway is disabled by genetic mutation, there is no alternative repair mechanism, and the cells die.
Cancer cells with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations are the first to be shown to be sensitive to PARP inhibitors.
But there is evidence that olaparib will also be effective in other cancers with different defects in the repair of DNA.
Professor Stan Kaye, who also worked on the study, said: "The next step is to test this drug on other more common types of ovarian and breast cancers where we hope it will be just as effective."
The researchers say the process of drug evaluation and registration may have to be revamped to take consideration of the fact that new generation cancer drugs target specific molecular defects, rather than types of cancer.
Dr Peter Sneddon, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "It is very encouraging to see the development of 'personalised treatment', tailored to the requirements of the individual patient, becoming a reality as it offers the opportunity to design new drugs that are truly selective.
"Although development of this drug is in its early stages, it is very exciting to see that it has the potential to work when other treatment options have failed."

9 de juny 2009

Pobresa i grandesa

Com els veritables amics saben, molts vincles, moltes amistats i molts anys de relacions amb ong's m'han portat a una veritable obsessió per la defensa dels més indefensos.

Doncs bé, la setmana passada es presentava el Pla d'Acció contra la pobresa, de l'Ajuntamet de Barcelona. Us passo l'adreça on podreu trobar el document base en format pdf:

Moltes vegades els projectes i els plans es queden a mig camí; pel bé de moltes persones esperem que no sigui així amb aquest pla.

Per cert, quants minuts diaris dediquen els informatius de TOTES les cadenes de televisió a informacions sobre la lluita contra la pobresa? Quants minuts diaris dediquen a donar suport al treball diari de les veritables ong's? Perquè s'obliden tant rapidament de situacions dràmatiques a les que han donat un titular el dia anterior? Què ens han dit sobre uns projectes importantisims sobre la integració d'infants discapacitats a Mèxic? Quina informació han donat sobre els 400.000 desplaçats del Paquistan? Quans informatius o reportatges especials han dedicat a parlar de l'increment dels indigents als carrers, sotaponts i places de Barcelona?

Aquests dies on personalment he rebut inputs molt gratificants de molts amics i amigues, de molts companys, de professionals, de representants d'ong's o d'alts càrrecs de la Gene i la Dipu.... haig de reconèixer, però, que les paraules que m'han fet arribar algunes persones des de la pobresa i la humilitat han estat molt especials (ja sabeu que ho tinc tot molt ben guardat, i que algun dia no molt llunyà ho compartiré amb tothom).

2 de juny 2009

Tiananmen square, the scene of pro-democracy protests 20 years ago

Aquests dies són estranys, molt estranys. Després d'un bon grapat d'anys on el treball es feia vivint i sentint molt de prop, ara toca canvi i tornar a conviure amb nous projectes, nous companys, nous territoris, nous objectius, ... però això si: amb una renovada il.lusió i amb el ple convenciment que aposto per un gran projecte de futur. Malgrat a alguns amics encara els "amago" la meva veu blocaire, .... pels que ja l'he descobert: MOLTES GRÀCIES pel munt de sms, mails, trucades, tertúlies, sopars, dinars, ... on aquests dies m'heu transmès tants desitjos de sort.

Tots sabeu que en aquest bloc no acostumo a escriure el que ara estic escrivint. Però no em podia estar de fer-ho. MOLTES GRÀCIES.

I com no podria ser d'una altra manera deixeu-me, un cop més, que torni a les meves debilitats i que us passi una notícia de la BBC sobre Xina.

Quan vam ser a Beijing -fa quatre anys- vaig trepitjar la Plaça de Tiananmen diverses vegades. Us puc assegurar que totes elles vaig pensar en els aconteixements que ara fa just vint anys van succeir. La plaça és immensa i no tens la sensació que estiguis vigilat ni controlat, però també t'adones rapidament que apareixen militars quan menys t'ho esperes; fins i tot fileres i fileres de militars que de tant en tant desfilen fent pràctiques.

Em sembla que un dia us vaig explicar l'angoixa que vam sentir un dia al vespre-nit quan vam decidir anar a veure la "baixada de bandera" d'aquesta plaça. Vam decidir anar sols, i el fet que no veiessim turistes i que els xinessos de torn (n'hi havia molts, com sempre!) ens envoltessin i ens comencessin a mirar, acostar, i fins i tot tocar, no va ser del tot agradable. Però al cap de pocs minuts, van aparéixer uns militars, que es van posar darrera nostra i la cosa es va calmar. La gent sap molt bé quin és el poder de l'estament militar, i totes les persones que ens envoltaven es van separar (separar-se volia dir quedar-se a 1 cm de tú). També em sembla que alguna vegada he comentat la fascinació que sentien tots i totes les xineses per la nostra filla gran. Tenien devoció pels seus ulls i el seu cabell, i no paraven de tocar-la i mirar-la. A la que no t'adonaves ja tenies dues dones xineses demanant-nos si es podien fer una foto al costat d'ella. Talment semblava la Júlia Roberts quan era a l'apartament de Notting Hill "acosada" per periodistes.

Però tornem a la plaça. Fa 20 anys d'uns aconteixements que van donar la volta al món i que crec que van servir per iniciar alguns canvis en aquell fabulós i sensacional país. Us passo l'article que m'ha fet reflexionar avui, i una vegada més haig de dir que Xina és la seva gent i no el seu règim polític, i que aquella fabulosa gent mereix ser feliç.

The former leader of Hong Kong's Catholic Church has urged China to reassess its verdict on the 1989 Tiananmen killings.
Cardinal Joseph Zen said he wanted an official inquiry into what happened so future generations could tell the difference between right and wrong.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, is the only place under Chinese rule where memorials to the massacre are held.
The Cardinal, retired from his Hong Kong role, is an adviser to the Pope.
In a talk at Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club, the cardinal said he wanted to see an official re-examination of the bloody crackdown of 20 years ago this week.
"I hope they really consider seriously the possibility of a reassessment of the verdict," Mr Zen said.
"It will not damage anyone, but would be to the advantage of the whole nation," he said.
China's official line on the Tiananmen massacre, in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators and civilians were killed, is that the protests threatened Communist Party rule and had to be quelled.
Asked by AFP news agency when or if he thought the Chinese government would soften its stance, Mr Zen said: "Things in China are unpredictable. It may happen tomorrow or still take 20 years."

Hong Kong's role

Many at Sunday's protest wore black and white, to symbolise mourning
A strong advocate of democracy, Cardinal Zen usually opens the 4 June candlelight vigil in Hong Kong, held every year to mark the massacre.
This year he will be in Rome, but held a special mass for victims last Friday.
Organisers are expecting a strong turnout this year, in part because of comments made by Hong Kong's chief executive, Donald Tsang, which appeared to airbrush history.
Claiming to speak for all Hong Kong people, Mr Tsang said China's economic development should be taken into account when assessing the events of 20 years ago.
The outspoken pro-democracy figure Leung Kwok-hung, known as Longhair, believes Mr Tsang's comments will bring more people to the vigil.
Thousands of people joined a march in Hong Kong on Sunday to mark the forthcoming anniversary of the Tiananmen killings, in one of the few such events on Chinese soil.

13 d’abr. 2009

Why kids should be learning about kings and queens?

Poques vegades incorporo notícies com aquesta al bloc. Però avui he trobat un article al “The Times” que m’ha fet rumiar.
Més d’una vegada hem comentat amb els amics si cal mantenir segons quins continguts i matèries al estudis dels nostres fills i filles.
L’article que avui us passo parla d’això. Cal estudiar la història d’antics reis i reines? O bé el que cal de veritat és estudiar la veritable reina del segle XXI: les noves tecnologies.
Al darrer paràgraf de l’article l’autor exposa la seva veritable opinió sobre el tema. Pel que fa a la meva:
Quan fa uns anys erem a Xina, vam veure sortir uns nens d’una escola de Beijing. Era dissabte, però això era una situació totalment quotidiana. Al cap d’uns dies vaig anar a veure personalment una escola. Crec que a pocs llocs del món conviuen la història i la modernitat com a aquest país asiàtic. I, … com ja saben els amics, jo sóc un admirador i un enamorat de Xina.

(per cert, la foto de capçalera és de Kangxi un dels emperadors xinesos que va ser realment respectat i admirat pel poble)

History or Twitter? Wiki or Wars of the Roses? Over the last few weeks the options offered to generations of future school children studying history have sounded ridiculous: a choice between looking backwards or forwards.
But the truth of course, is never as exciting as all that. "It is important for me to set the record straight," Ed Balls said this week. There would be no “either/or choice between learning history and learning information technology”. But the Schools Secretary added that that it was “absurd that children are stuck in a dark age of technology when they learn history.” The sooner children learnt computer skills, the better.
I have no problem with this. Creative ways of learning are always appealing – as long as they help make more of a subject. The problem is that the subject itself needs to be sufficiently interesting.
My seven-year-old daughter, born of a mother who studied, and loves, history, informed me that she found the subject “boring.” I was shocked, and very disappointed. Shocked that is until I took an interest in the history she had so far learnt at school. I may be paraphrasing - and I am in no way criticising her teachers - but history for her has so far consisted of learning about furniture and toys in the Victorian era, and Florence Nightingale. Neither really grabbed her: she felt they had no relevance to her life, nor were they exciting enough to make a damn good story.
So, one evening while she was in her bath, then while she got ready for bed, and for around an hour after that, I told my daughter about the Tudors, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I and added in James I for good measure. She was enthralled, and I think the reason is simple – children love the idea of Kings and Queens.
Why care about whether technology is used in lessons, if the lessons themselves aren’t appealing? Yes, kids love the internet – mine has set up her own website, and already uses it as an infinite encyclopaedia – but they also love to hear about things exciting, about kings who cut off their wives heads, about a Spanish fleet which tried to invade, about the fluke of a prince dying young, so his younger brother (whether the future Henry VIII or Charles I) acceded to the throne.
Kings and Queens were history, they were the people who made things happen, and their stories resonate for centuries (why else would David Starkey now be regaling us with more about Henry VIII?) When I told my daughter that the next story we would cover was about a king who got his head chopped off, she was desperate to hear about it NOW. She didn’t say that about Florence Nightingale.
Sir Jim Rose is currently finalising his recommendations for changes to the primary school curriculum in England. Yes, technology is important, but history is vital, for learning, for understanding and for fantastic, almost unbelievable, (but true) stories.

28 de març 2009

Les fotos del dia a dia

Divendres vaig ser al Congrés del Tercer Sector. Suposo que molts amics i amigues ja sabeu que el president Montilla ens va venir a veure. El que potser no sabeu és que vam poder parlar personalment amb en Puigcercós, el Mas, la Dolors Camats, el Carles Campuzano, el Jordi Miralles, ...

Però afortunadament aquests polítics no van ser els protagonistes; un mil.ler de persones vinculades a entitats del tercers sector si que ho eren.

Em van demanar ser ponent a una de les taules, on vam coincidir amb gent d'ECOM i d'ECAS. I aquests són els protagonistes.

La crisis va estar present en moltes de les converses i taules tècniques. A l'hora del dinar vaig poder seure al costat d'un alt càrrec del departament. Va reconèixer que les administracions públiques estaven obligades a ajudar més que mai. La Llei de la Dependència, la Llei de Serveis Socials i el posterior Decret de la Cartera de Serveis Socials no es poden quedar en paper mullat.

També va reconèixer que algunes actuacions molt concretes -de les darreres setmanes- del departament havien fet molt mal al nostre sector. Esperem que aquest reconeixement suposi actuacions ben diferents pel futur.

Però el que vull remarcar, com sempre, és el COMPROMÍS, l'ESFORÇ, la QUALITAT, la PROFESSIONALITAT de tantes i tantes entitats que treballem en el tercer sector (en l'àmbit dels discapacitats, la infància, drogodependència, gent gran, ...). A ningú se li escapa que Catalunya té una tradició associacionista molt per sobre que a la majoria dels altres territoris de l'estat i que, malgrat això, el suport econòmic de les nostres administracions no estan al mateix nivell que a la resta de comunitats (només cal que algú es passi una estona mirant el "debe" i l'"haver" de les subvencions amb càrrec a l'IRPF).

Per acabar, mai m'ha agradat la sol.lució fàcil de la "foto de torn" que van treure alguns medis de comunicació escrits (d'àmbit nacional i estatal). Us la podeu imaginar: el president Montilla parlant amb una persona que es desplaça amb cadira de rodes. Ja vaig dir a algun fotògraf durant el congrés que ens calien moltes "fotos de veritat" durant tot l'any i no només el dia que ens venien a veure els polítics.... hi va estar d'acord!

5 de març 2009

Times i el Guernica

La feina i uns quants projectes que algun dia potser explicaré fan que no tingui temps d'actualitzar el bloc, M'estic adonant que les darreres entrades tenen una freqüència gairebé mensual.

Però aquesta nit he tingut una estona per gaudir dels diaris d'altres paissos i he tingut una sorpresa: a la portada d'avui del TimesOnline hi ha un article sobre les bombes que van caure a Guernica, de com Picasso va crear la seva obra i de com Franco va intentar amagar la veritat.

Feia uns dies que volia comentar i penjar unes notícies recents de la BBC sobre Darfur, però ho deixaré per un dia que estigui prou inspirat per recordar a tothom el que ha passat i està passant a la zona de Darfur (del que ja he parlat moltes vegades en aquest bloc).

Per cert, alguns amics em tornen a demanar perquè no parlo de notícies molt més properes (el nostre país o el nostre municipi). Els amics saben el motiu i potser algun dia també ho explicarem a tothom.

Però recuperem l'article sobre Guernica, que realment m'ha encantat trobar i llegir al Times.

Revealed: Franco's desperate attempt to hide the truth about Guernica
Reports by Times journalist George Steer outraged the world and inspired Picasso's Guernica
to not show enlarge option -->

-->Graham Keeley, Madrid
General Franco launched a propaganda campaign to try to counter a report by The Times that exposed the attack on Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, according to original documents.
George Steer, who was covering the war for the newspaper, revealed how the Nazi Luftwaffe Condor squadron reduced the Basque market town to rubble and unleashed a firestorm that killed 1,600 unarmed civilians.

Mr Steer’s report outraged the world and inspired Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica.
Thousands of original telegrams sent by General Franco to the Duke of Alba, the Nationalist Ambassador in London, are to go on show to the public at a new archive in Spain shortly.

They reveal the four-year campaign, waged by the man who was to rule Spain for 36 years, to counter damaging reports in the British Press and prevent their readers from supporting the Spanish Republican Government.
Three days after the devastating attack on Guernica, on April 26, 1937, Franco sent a telegram from his military headquarters in Burgos, northern Spain.
It read: “Escaping Basques recount frightening tragedies of a town like Guernica, burnt and destroyed intentionally by the Reds when our troops were only 15 kilometres away. Indignation great among Nationalist troops for slanderous Red manoeuvres, after destroying their best cities, try to lay blame Nationalist air force when this only pursues military objectives.”
But Mr Steer had already revealed the truth.
He was covering the Spanish Civil War from the Republican side and was one of the first journalists to reach Guernica, hours after the massacre. He waited before filing his report to find proof that the Nazis were responsible: three small bomb cases stamped with the German Imperial Eagle.
At this point, Nazi Germany had signed the Non-Intervention Pact and their troops were officially playing no role in the war.
Mr Steer’s report read: “Guernica was not a military objective … the object of the bombardment was seemingly the demoralisation of the civil population and the destruction of the cradle of the Basque race.”
The report appeared in The Times, was syndicated to The New York Times and went around the world.
When Picasso, who was in exile in Paris, read it, he was outraged and changed a canvas that he was preparing for an exhibition. The result was Guernica, a stark black-and-white canvas, that has come to symbolise the horror of war.
As Franco’s Nationalists faced international condemnation for the attack on defenceless civilians, which was to herald the era of total war, he sent another telegram to London.
Dated May 3, 1937, it criticised lack of coverage of the “murder of thousands of innocents in Madrid under the Presidency of the Red Government”. The telegram claimed that these “murders” were the “deliberate work of Red dinamiters [sic]”.
The efforts of Franco to counter bad publicity in the international Press extended from 1936 to 1940, even after he had crushed the Republican forces in 1939.
In thousands of telegrams, Franco’s propaganda machine sought to remind the world of the outrages it claims the Republican side committed.
They include the alleged murder of “17,000 priests”, the “theft of gold from the Bank of Spain” to Russia and the “barbarity” of the Republican militias.
In reality, though hundreds of priests were killed in the Civil War, the figure of “17,000” appears wildly exaggerated. The Republican Government did send the Soviet Union gold worth $500 million to pay for arms and support.
The documents were carefully preserved by the Duke of Alba and later stored in the Institute Cervantes in London.
Under an initiative to preserve documents relating to the Civil War and the dictatorship, they were transferred to the Historical Memory Documentation Centre in Salamanca in western Spain.
In 2006, Mr Steer was honoured with a street named after him and a bronze bust in Guernica after a 25-year campaign.

11 de febr. 2009

Autonomia i Bolivia (Santa Cruz i Chuquisaca)

Trobava a faltar la consulta de diaris sudamericans. En uns moments difícils i plens d'injustícies, he decidit que aquesta nit la dedico a gaudir de diaris de Xile, Paraguay, Colombia i de Bolívia (d'on avui passo una notícia).

Mentres els d'un costat i l'altre continuen lloant a Obama (per cert: avui al Times apareixia una fotografia de Vogue amb l'esposa d'Obama a la portada; tot molt "vogue"), a Bolívia els ciutadans es queixen de la creació del Ministeri d'Autonomia, ja que això comportarà un centralisme excloent des del govern central. Us sona a alguna cosa?

Val la pena llegir una notícia boliviana sobre centralisme (com sempre dic: no té desperdici).

Ahir, uns quants representants d'ONG's i Fundacions catalanes vam ser amb Ismael Pitarch al Parlament. Va ser tot un honor poder escoltar de manera tant propera a una persona que crec que té molt clar quin ha de ser el paper dels ciutadans, i quin el dels representants polítics (tant de bò tothom ho tingués tant clar; inclosos els polítics bolivians).

Critican mayor centralismo en la autonomía

Henrry Ugarte A. henry@eldeber.com.boLos gobernadores y líderes cívicos de dos regiones critican la creación del Ministerio de Autonomías y califican su implementación, en el marco de la nueva Constitución Política del Estado (CPE), como el mayor intento centralista y excluyente por parte del Gobierno del MAS. Los gobernadores Rubén Costas (Santa Cruz) y Savina Cuéllar (Chuquisaca) rechazaron ayer la posibilidad de aceptar una convocatoria a diálogo de forma individual por parte del Gobierno, porque consideran que pretende posicionar al país con un modelo totalitario y excluyente. Mientras Costas argumenta que el ministro de Autonomías, Carlos Romero, sólo pretende mostrar ante la comunidad nacional e internacional una supuesta búsqueda de concertación que favorezca a todas las regiones, Cuéllar insiste en que la CPE es un engaño porque sirve sólo para la reelección del Presidente.

Entre tanto, el gobernador de Tarija, Mario Cossío, que ayer rindió su informe de gestión, convocó a las instituciones representativas a un encuentro departamental para la próxima semana, con el objetivo de debatir y definir dos temas centrales: si aceptan ir al diálogo con el Gobierno y si mantienen intacto sus estatutos frente a la propuesta de adaptarlos a la nueva CPE. El lunes pasado, luego de estrenarse como ministro de Autonomías, Carlos Romero anunció que en esta semana convocaría a prefectos y alcaldes para debatir y buscar consensos para implementar la nueva forma de administración pública.El anuncio de Romero fue acompañado por una conminatoria con tinte de advertencia: “La Constitución ya no es un hecho político, ahora es un hecho jurídico, y hay que cumplirlo, le guste o no a los actores regionales”, dijo. Para el presidente del Comité pro Santa Cruz, Branko Marinkovic, que ayer retornó de una gira por las provincias, la implementación de las autonomías se torna complicado para las regiones porque les quita recursos, los burocratiza aún más y las regalías, que ya se repartían en las provincias, ahora tendrán que pasar por las manos del nuevo ministro. “Con este nivel de centralismo habrá dificultades para crear empleos y progresar”, alertó.

Según el vicepresidente de la Asamblea Legislativa departamental, Delmar Méndez, el peor error que cometerían los prefectos de las regiones que ganaron la autonomía a través del voto en las urnas sería asistir al diálogo, ‘porque no hay qué negociar con el Gobierno centralista’

9 de nov. 2008

Els inuit

Un dels primers paissos que vam visitar (abans de ser pares) va ser Canadà. Vam tenir la sort de poder destinar un estiu a visitar la costa oest del Canadà.

Només arribats a Vancouver vam llogar un petit cotxe que ens va portar a través de mil.lers de quilòmetres pels parcs naturals de la costa oest (Banff, Jasper, Yoho).

Moltes vegades hem comentat a casa la infinitat de sensacions que vam viure durant aquelles setmanes d'agost (i amb la neu caient un dia rera l'altre).

Vam tenir la sort de tenir alguns contactes amb els inuit i amb la seva cultura. Avui he trobat una informació que va aparèixer sobre el suport i l'ajuda del govern canadenc a les comunitats dels inuit.

Recordo perfectament quin era el tracte que a principis dels 90 encara rebien aquests esquimals canadencs. Fins i tot ens vam emportar algun record molt especial que encara guardem. Ara sembla que les coses estan canviant i això seria fabulós.

A Canadà conviuen cultures diferents; el seu model em recorda, moltes vegades, situacions molt properes. Això si, aquí sembla que hi ha gent que en sap més que ningú (deixarem que s'ho creguin? ... ).

Deixo constància de la informació a la que faig referència:

Canada's New Government Supports Northern Aboriginal Communities
EDMONTON - On behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, Mr. Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament (Edmonton Centre), today announced a total of more than $1.1 million in funding for Aboriginal communities in Alberta, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon.
"Aboriginal communities are a vibrant part of Canada's diverse society," said Minister Oda. "Canada's New Government is committed to supporting projects that help First Nation, Inuit and Métis organizations and provide innovative opportunities for Aboriginal women and youth."
"We are committed to improving the quality of life for First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples," said Mr. Hawn. "Today's announcement represents another step forward in ensuring that Canada's Aboriginal communities have appropriate resources to develop programs specific to their needs."
The Métis Nation of Alberta Association, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, and Qikiqtani Inuit Association will receive funding for day-to-day operations, and to strengthen their capacity to develop policies and programs with the input of their respective communities.
"Responding to the extensive range of community, regional, territorial, national and international issues that affect the lives of Inuvialuit draws heavily upon the human and financial resources of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation," said Nellie Cournoyea, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Chair and Chief Executive Officer. "This contribution from the Department of Canadian Heritage will help our efforts in this regard and will also support an enhanced level of participation by our communities in decision-making processes."
"We appreciate the funding provided by Canadian Heritage," said Audrey Poitras, President, of the Métis Nation of Alberta. "It helps support many of the Métis Nation of Alberta's activities, primarily our Annual Assembly, where Métis people from all over Alberta gather to provide direction to our leaders and celebrate Métis culture."
The Qikiqtani Inuit Association will receive further support for projects that promote and increase cultural awareness, life skills, healthy living, personal development, leadership development and community involvement among Inuit youth.
"We very much appreciate the support of Canadian Heritage. The RO contribution will help strengthen our organization and build our capacity. As a result, we will be able to more fully represent the interests of Baffin Inuit," said Thomasie Alikatuktuk, President of Qikiqtani Inuit Association. "This contribution under the UMAYC program will enable us to engage over 1000 Inuit youth across the Baffin Region in meaningful and enjoyable activities. We are very grateful to Canadian Heritage for this tremendous contribution."
The Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle and the Tender Ties Agency will receive funding for projects to encourage the full participation of Aboriginal women in their own communities and within Canadian society.
"We appreciate the funding received today from Canadian Heritage," said Adeline Webber, President of the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle. "This will allow us to develop a leadership course curriculum that is empowering and relevant to Aboriginal women."
"The funding we have received from Canadian Heritage will provide Métis women in Alberta with an opportunity to contribute to strengthen their communities based on their culture, build capacity for them to work on priorities that they identify and contribute to the kind of society in which they want to live," said Marge Friedel, Co-Chair of the Tender Ties Agency.
Canada's New Government has provided this funding through the Department of Canadian Heritage's Aboriginal Peoples' Program, which supports the full participation and cultural revitalization of Aboriginal people in Canadian society. It enables Aboriginal peoples to address the social, cultural, economic and political issues affecting their lives.

26 d’ag. 2008

Protecció de la salut a la localitat de Tanta (Yauyos)

Després d'un estiu per oblidar, i aprofitant uns breus minuts de tranquilitat, no m'he pogut estar de destinar-los a una de les meves predileccions: els diaris regionals (tant els d'aquí com els de sudamèrica).

Intueixo que aquest agost per oblidar podria tenir continuïtat (amb uns futurs setembre, octubre i novembre per oblidar) i que no podré obrir aquesta finestra al món tant sovint com voldria. Avui he decidit obrir-la mirant a Perú, amb una notícia sobre la província de Yauyos (a més de 4000 m d'alçada), on aquest proper divendres estrenaran unes noves aules per alumnes de primària.

No té desperdici el comentari sobre la nova construcció: "Para proteger la salud de los niños y los pobladores, se regó el terreno para que no se levante polvo" (suposo que el reg del terreny es mantindrà fins el dia de la inauguració, amb les forces vives de la província; després ....).

Al nostre país, on els principals medis de comunicació coincideixen en el 90% de les informacions, llegir El Peruano suposa uns minuts d'aire fresc.

Entregan dos aulas nuevas
[Yauyos] Este viernes 29, los alumnos de la localidad de Tanta, en la provincia de Yauyos, en Lima, estrenarán dos nuevas aulas cuya construcción fue financiada por el Foncodes.Las nuevas infraestructuras beneficiarán a los alumnos de primaria del colegio 20733, situado en la localidad y distrito de Tanta, ubicado a 4 mil 100 metros sobre el nivel del mar y a 10 horas de Lima.
Foncodes precisó que ambas aulas demandaron una inversión de 105 mil nuevos soles. “Son de material noble, tienen tijerales de madera, techo de calamina e instalaciones eléctricas. Para proteger la salud de los niños y los pobladores, se regó el terreno para que no se levante polvo y el desmonte se arrojó a botaderos, especialmente construidos para cuidar el medio ambiente de Tanta”, explicó el organismo.
El año pasado, Foncodes financió en Tanta la construcción de un sistema de agua potable para el citado poblado, instalando tuberías que traen el agua desde los nevados. También lo hizo con la mejora de la posta de salud y construyó parte del sistema de desagüe.

30 de juny 2008

A simple change to the design and african children. Disseny i infants de l'Africa

Una de les imatges que he comentat més d'una vegada amb els amics és la d'uns infants de l'Àfrica que s'havien confeccionat unes "sandàlies" amb mitja ampolla d'aigua (d'aquelles típiques de litre i mig). Els nens i nenes en qüestió posaven el dit grass del peu pel forat de l'ampolla, i la resta de la planta del peu quedava protegida per aquell plàstic ple d'ondulacions i altres dissenys moderns.

Aquesta imatge m'ha vingut al cap molts estius quan, en període de descans laboral, intentes inculcar a les teves filles nous invents amb material reciclat...... Però la distància és abismal.

I no us dic res si comparem la situació en la que viuen molts infants de l'Àfrica, amb la notícia que apareix avui al International Herald Tribune. L'article no té desperdici. No cal navegar gaire per la web d'aquest diari, ja que és una notícia de la PRIMERA PÀGINA, i apareix com a destacada.

Entenc que tots estem pel reciclatge, per l'estalvi, per la reducció de costos innecesaris, ... Però quan a USA dediquen capçaleres de diaris per discutir temes com el que ara veureu... vol dir que no anem bé!

Un dia m'explicaven quin cost tenia tot el procé del canvi de disseny d'un senzill paquet de galetes... el mateix que el cost dels aliments pels infants d'un país africà, durant tres anys! És insultant!

Ara porten temps discutin per veure si canvien el format d'uns envasos:

Solution, or mess? A milk jug for a green earth
By Stephanie Rosenbloom
Published: June 30, 2008
NORTH CANTON, Ohio: A simple change to the design of the gallon milk jug, adopted by Wal-Mart and Costco, seems made for the times. The jugs are cheaper to ship and better for the environment, the milk is fresher when it arrives in stores, and it costs less.
What's not to like? Plenty, as it turns out.
The jugs have no real spout, and their unorthodox shape makes consumers feel like novices at the simple task of pouring a glass of milk.
"I hate it," said Lisa DeHoff, a café owner shopping in a Sam's Club here.
"It spills everywhere," said Amy Wise, a homemaker.

"It's very hard for kids to pour," said Lee Morris, who was shopping for her grandchildren.
But retailers are undeterred by the prospect of upended bowls of Cheerios. The new jugs have many advantages from their point of view, and Sam's Club intends to roll them out broadly, making them more prevalent.
The redesign of the gallon milk jug, experts say, is an example of the changes likely to play out in the American economy over the next two decades. In an era of soaring global demand and higher costs for energy and materials, virtually every aspect of the economy needs to be re-examined, they say, and many products must be redesigned for greater efficiency.
"This is a key strategy as a path forward," said Anne Johnson, the director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a project of the nonprofit group GreenBlue. "Re-examining, 'What are the materials we are using? How are we using them? And where do they go ultimately?' "
Wal-Mart Stores is already moving down this path. But if the milk jug is any indication, some of the changes will take getting used to on the part of consumers. Many spill milk when first using the new jugs.
"When we brought in the new milk, we were asking for feedback," said Heather Mayo, vice president for merchandising at Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart. "And they're saying, 'Why's it in a square jug? Why's it different? I want the same milk. What happened to my old milk?' "
Mary Tilton tried to educate the public a few days ago as she stood at a Sam's Club in North Canton, about 50 miles south of Cleveland, luring shoppers with chocolate chip cookies and milk as she showed them how to pour from the new jugs.
"Just tilt it slowly and pour slowly," Tilton said to passing customers as she talked about the jugs' environmental benefits and cost savings. Instead of picking up the jug, as most people tend to do, she kept it on a table and gently tipped it toward a cup.
Mike Compston, who owns a dairy in Yerington, Nevada, described the pouring technique in a telephone interview as a "rock-and-pour instead of a lift-and-tip."
Demonstrations are but one of several ways Sam's Club is advocating the containers. Signs in the aisle laud their cost savings and "better fridge fit."
And some customers have become converts.
"With the new refrigerators with the shelf in the door, these fit nice," said April Buchanan, who was shopping at the Sam's Club here. Others, even those who rue the day their tried-and-true jugs were replaced, praised the lower cost, from $2.18 to $2.58 a gallon. Sam's Club said that was a savings of 10 to 20 cents a gallon compared with old jugs.
The new jug marks a sharp break with the way dairies and grocers have traditionally produced and stocked milk.
Early one recent morning, the creators and producers of the new tall rectangular jugs donned goggles and white coats to walk the noisy, chilly production lines at Superior Dairy in Canton, Ohio. It was founded in 1922 by a man who was forced to abandon the brandy business during Prohibition. Five generations of the founder's family, the Soehnlens, have worked there.
Today, they bottle and ship two different ways. The old way is inefficient and labor-intensive, according to members of the family. The other day, a worker named Dennis Sickafoose was using a long hook to drag plastic crates loaded with jugs of milk onto a conveyor belt.
The crates are necessary because the shape of old-fashioned milk jugs prohibits stacking them atop one another. The crates take up a lot of room, they are unwieldy to move, and extra space must be left in delivery trucks to take empty ones back from stores to the dairy.
They also can be filthy. "Birds roost on them," said Dan Soehnlen, president of Superior Dairy, which spun off a unit called Creative Edge to design and license new packaging of many kinds. He spoke while standing in pools of the soapy run-off from milk crates that had just been washed. About 100,000 gallons of water a day are used at his dairy clean the crates, Soehnlen said.
But with the new jugs, the milk crates are gone. Instead, a machine stacks the jugs, with cardboard sheets between layers. Then the entire pallet, four layers high, is shrink-wrapped and moved with a forklift.
The company estimates this kind of shipping has cut labor by half and water use by 60 to 70 percent. More gallons fit on a truck and in Sam's Club coolers, and no empty crates need to be picked up, reducing trips to each Sam's Club store to two a week, from five — a big fuel savings. Also, Sam's Club can now store 224 gallons of milk in its coolers, in the same space that used to hold 80.
The whole operation is so much more efficient that milk coming out of a cow in the morning winds up at a Sam's Club store by that afternoon, compared with several hours later or the next morning by the old method. "That's our idea of fresh milk," Greg Soehnlen, a vice president at Creative Edge, said.
Sam's Club started using the boxy jugs in November, and they are now in 189 stores scattered around the country. They will appear soon in more Sam's Club stores and perhaps in Wal-Marts.
The question now is whether customers will go along.
As Tilton gave her in-store demonstration the other day at the Sam's Club here, customers stood around her, munching cookies and sipping milk. "Would you like to take some home today?" she asked.
A shopper named Jodi Kauffman gave the alien jugs a sidelong glance.
"Maybe," she said.

12 de juny 2008

Avui KENYA al The New York Times

Sé que pot semblar irònic parlar d'una bona notícia a Kenya. Sobre tot quan aquests dies m'han tornat a arribar informacions sobre percentatges de persones que moren de fam cada dia, i sobre quines són les zones del nostre planeta on es concentren aquestes morts.

El que no té res d'ironia és veure com a casa nostra tots/es hem trontollat tant per 3 dies de vaga del sector del transport (avui he sentit que hi havia gent que comprava més de 200 litres d'aigua, o 50 paquets d'arròs -per si de cas-). No sé què passaria si haguessim de sobreviure -en una setmana- amb tot el menjar i beguda -d'un any- d'una família keniana.

Però com aquests dies no tinc gaire temps, us passo directament una notícia positiva d'avui del The New York Times sobre Kenya (segurament cap altre medi de comunicació ens informarà d'una bona notícia d'un país africà).

NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) — Kenyans voted peacefully on Wednesday for five legislative seats that will decide who holds a majority in Parliament, in a test of stability after widespread election-related violence last year.
The vote was the first balloting since the disputed re-election of President
Mwai Kibaki in December, which set off ethnic violence that killed least 1,300 people and displaced more than 300,000.
On Wednesday, police officers in riot gear with dogs patrolled polling stations amid fear that trouble might erupt again.
The American ambassador, Michael E. Ranneberger, said the vote was a chance for Kenya to improve its image, which had been severely damaged by the violence.
“I think if the by-elections are peaceful and transparent and are generally regarded that way, that will show that Kenya has learned from the experience of December and is moving ahead democratically,” Mr. Ranneberger said.
By most accounts, the voting went smoothly, with a few polling places staying open a few extra minutes. Counting was expected to be completed Thursday, barring any problems, said Mani Lamayan, spokesman for the Electoral Commission of Kenya.
In the December election, vote-rigging was alleged and international observers criticized the commission.
Prime Minister
Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Party and Mr. Kibaki’s Party of National Unity are seeking to increase their numbers in Parliament.
“We learned a lot with what happened in the last election,” said Issak Mureithi, 45, a voter in Nairobi. “This time I have no fear of violence.”
The elections are to fill seats left open when two Orange Democratic Party legislators were shot dead and two more seats that remained undeclared in the chaotic aftermath of the December election. The fifth open seat is that of the parliamentary speaker, who stepped down from it after getting the speaker’s chair.
Two more Orange Democratic Party legislators, Kipkalya Kones, the minister of roads, and Lorna Laboso, the assistant minister of home affairs, died in a plane crash on Tuesday. No plans have been announced to fill their seats.