Category: World News


White Chocolate

In the jungles of Peru there is a slow but significant change happening that has world-wide implications affecting us all and the Cocoa plant is at the root of it. Time.com posted an article today describing how many farmers in the agricultural based society have switched from growing coca leaf plants to growing cocoa or chocolate. The coca leaf is the first step in manufacturing cocaine, but with prosperous potential many farmers can now instead sell chocolate to support their families.

In the extremely poor and underdeveloped towns where farmers make a living there are few positive financial opportunities. But over the past few years cocoa farmers have begun more and more to focus on an international legal export of cocoa instead of cocaine much like Columbia has tried to do with coffee. Programs like these require local government and community involvement in order to develop. Hopefully they continue to be a growing prevention strategy of the future to help restore the negative impacts of the past.

Read the rest of the story here

-Erik

Haiti: The New Hades

In Greek mythology the land of dead and tormented souls was known as Hades. This chaotic underworld of darkness and suffering was a place of hopelessness and despair. It seems in many ways this is the situation in Haiti. It is reminiscent of the Hurricaine Katrina aftermath except times 100.. if thats possible. A week after the 7.0 earthquake 70,000 are reported dead so far. Thousands more are missing or injured, not to mention the millions more affected locally and world-wide by those still without electricity, food, water, and medical supplies.

Yesterday U.S .helicopters arrived at the presidential palace greeted by swarms of desperate residents of Port-au-Prince Haiti looking for help for their community, their families, and for themselves. Haiti is currently at the center of media coverage and as the situation intensifies it becomes more and more of something that can’t be real life. It has to be a movie. Maybe like a sequel to “City Of God” but with a catastrophic natural disaster to add to the plot. But no. It’s real and its happening to an entire country live in front of the world.

Lately news has began to cover the looting epidemic there that is spiraling dangerously out of control. When Hurricaine Katrina hit many desperate citizens began to rely on their natural instincts to survive instead of the Federal Government. As days of over 90 degree weather punished civilians, the no water/food/shelter/ or even  a bathroom created more havoc. Many armed with weapons individually and in gangs targeted stores, super markets, and in some cases other people for their supplies.

In Haiti (nation that was already beyond poor) there are no rules to survive a man faced with death will abandon all reasoning to stay alive. Although it is difficult to watch and hear the stories of horrific killings and looting I can only imagine how it must be to watch thousands die around you and know that if you don’t do something you will join them.

Today a 6.1 magnitude aftershock hit the region landing another blow to the county still scrambling to get back on its feet. If you are still looking to help donate to the Haiti relief effort here are some Organizations you can contact.

Save The Children

The Red Cross

World Vision

Habitat For Humanity

 -Erik

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I guess when Young Jeezy screamed, “It’s a recession, everybody broke” he really meant it.  This comes after news that Assemblyman James Tedisco created a bill that would charge wealthy criminals $90 a day for room and board at state prisons.  It’s called the “Madoff Bill,” after billion-dollar Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, and is designed to help the $1 billion annual cost of incarcerating prisoners.  WOW I know right!!! Times are rough and everyone’s feeling the effects of this recession.  Could u imagine having to pay for toilet tissue or meals in prison like everyday citizens do.

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Over in Phoenix & other places this seems to be the case.  Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes prisoners sleep outdoors in 100-degree-plus heat.  He even announced that inmates would be charged $1.25 per day for meals.  In Iowa’s Des Moines County, the budget hole was so bad that politicians considered charging prisoners for toilet paper.  On another note, how would inmates leaving jail w/ debt contribute to them becoming a functional member of society?

Weigh in w/ your comments…

-Ron

Chi-Town Olympics A No Go

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After preparing a couple billion for this proposed Olympic stadium, The Obamas and Oprah using their star power, and even after being considered the “clear front runner” by many analyst, Chicago is eliminated from the Olympic bid  voting in the first round today in Denmark. The worse part about it is all the people downtown right now who bought all the “Chicago 2016” gear. Somebody isn’t gonna be too happy. 😦

-Erik

Pray For Indonesia

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Many of us don’t know where it is. We don’t know any celebrities from there, no famous athletes or musicians. We haven’t seen a movie that took place there and for the most part its far away enough that we don’t even know anyone there or from there. Its human nature to care about whats in front of you the most. The things you see everyday and the people you see it happen to. But between tsunamis, earth qaukes, and hurricanes the last few years have sent deadly blows to millions in Indonesia.

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In less than 2 days 2 separate earth quakes struck the country. On Wednesday a 7.6 magnitude quake hit, and then this morning a 6.8 magnitude earth quake followed. At least 500 have already died, another 500 hundred are injured and hundreds of thousand more will be without electricity, food, water, or shelter. Conditions which will lead to the death toll climbing higher and higher into the thousands as the days pass.

Indonesia Earthquake - 2009

Tragedies like these are too sureal for most of us to relate. We feel bad, we know its terrible, but we can’t relate. Nothing like this has ever happened to most of us. Or anyone we know. We are too used to hearing crazy stories about people dying and nothing shocks us anymore. We can’t all save the world, we can’t donate millions to rebuild places or lives by ourselves. But we can be concerned, and realize how much we have to be thankful for.

-Erik

Cure For AIDS?

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A new study in Thailand suggest that a vaccine for HIV may be coming. The study that included over 16,000 volunteers concluded that the combination of vaccines “ALVAC” and “AIDSVAX” reduced the risk of being infected with HIV by 31%. It is the first time that any experimental vaccine has been shown to prevent the virus. Scientist worldwide are calling the event a historic achievement but caution that the vacine has only been tested on strands of the virus found in Thailand and may not be generalized to work for strands in the U.S. or Africa. The vacine also did not cure those who had already been infected but only prevented some from becoming infected.

Click here for more info

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-Erik