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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Police Return Daughter to Roma Family

Police in Dublin have returned a daughter to her parents after erroneously seizing her, believing her parents had stolen her. The girl is seven years old, blonde haired, and blue-eyed and her parents are, like many but certainly not all Roma, not. Ireland’s police force, the Gardai, received a tip-off earlier this week from a member of the public that a young girl was living with a large Roma family but looked nothing like any of her supposed siblings. Despite the fact that the parents produced both a birth certificate and passport for their daughter, the gardai took the girl and placed her with Health Service Executive. DNA tests have proven that the girl is indeed her parents’ child.

In an extraordinarily similar case, the Gardai seized a two-year-old boy from his Roma family on Tuesday in Athlone, County Westmeath, and returned him to his family earlier today. Ireland’s police have offered little explanation as why they have errantly wrested these young children from their families.

Bahraini Tear Gas Order ‘Troubling’

Following last week’s revelation that the Kingdom of Bahrain is attempting to purchase 1.6 million tear gas shells, 90,000 tear gas grenades, and 145,000 ‘flash bang’ grenades, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that it expects the kingdom will continue to misuse the nominally nonlethal ordinance. Since 2011, the small island kingdom has fiercely put down the nearly daily protests for democratic reforms. HRW said that Bahraini police and the GCC’s Peninsula Shield Force “repeatedly used tear gas disproportionately and sometimes unlawfully in suppressing antigovernment demonstrations”. A report for Physicians for Human Rights found the “extensive and persistent use” of tear gas by Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah’s security forces is “unprecedented in the 100-year history of tear gas use against civilians.” The misuse of teargas, fired at protesters at close range or into enclosed spaces like homes or cars, “has been implicated in more than a dozen deaths and serious injuries.”

Sino-Indian Border Dispute Settled

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh signed an agreement to resolve the Sino-Indian border disputes, which have simmered since the conclusion of the 1962 Sino-India War. Under the agreement, the world’s most populous countries will avoid making threats to use force against each other and refrain from seeking “unilateral superiority” along their 3,500-kilometer (2,175-mile) border. Both sides have also agreed to alert the other regarding military exercises and show “maximum restraint” in the event that border forces come into contact. The two primes also attempted to address the “unsustainable” $39 billion trade imbalance between the two, and agreed to expedite plans to establish a Chinese industrial park in India.

More than 400 Amazon Species Found in Four Years

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), since 2010 at least 441 new species have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. The discoveries include a species of titi monkey that purrs like a cat, a vegetarian piranha, and a new passion flower that sprouts spaghetti-like filaments from the center of the bloom. WWF, which says its “mission is to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature,” compiled the list of 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds, and one mammal, all discovered in the South American jungle.

Spanning eight countries, the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, and it represents more than 50 percent of all remaining rain forests. It’s one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions, but the effects of deforestation and river pollution have significantly impacted the forest’s ecosystem and could have long-term implications for global climate change. Unfortunately, a number of these novel and beautiful lifeforms are already endangered.

Sharif Asks Obama to Cease Drone Bombings

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with U.S. President Barack Obama today to discuss security measures, after the United States quietly restarted $1.162 billion in security assistance to Pakistan. The U.S. froze much of that aid during a period of strained relations following the 2011 Navy SEAL raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. The U.S. President said, “We committed to working together and making sure that rather than this being a source of tension between our two countries, this can be a source of strength for us working together.”

After their meeting, Sharif told reporters he “brought up the issue of drones in our meeting, emphasizing the need to end … such strikes.” Pakistan’s government support for U.S. drone strikes has waned significantly since this year’s general election, when nearly every candidate campaigned on promises to end the strikes. But despite criticism from a number of human rights organizations, the U.S. administration continues to defend their use in Pakistan and Yemen.

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