The Global Digest

Africa/Middle East

Open Letter: Stop military assistance to Myanmar's illegal government (military regime)

Dear Prime Minister,

As the whole world knows that the military coup was in Myanmar last year on February 1, 2021. Since then, many Burmese people have protested nationwide for democracy. And the illegal government so-called State Administration Council led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing oppressed the people to date. Those innocent people were killed, prisoned, and burned in their villages and towns.

This Myanmar military regime misused the nation's armed forces to abuse innocent people with their advantage weapons, including Israeli government assistance such as weapons and military hardware. Indirectly, those Israeli weapons assistance to Myanmar is used to kill innocent people.

Therefore, the Burmese people call the Israeli government to stop weapon assistance to the illegal Myanmar government. Instead, the Israeli government should support the Burmese people, as people to people. People-based support including such as helping Myanmar with agricultural technology and reforestation. Burmese people welcome Israel for any political and economic investment in Myanmar except military dictatorship. In that way, it will be meaningful support to the Burmese people.

Please stop military weapon support to the illegal Myanmar government.

Yours Sincerely,
John Smith Thang

DELETING RACISM: News from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association

19 March 2021

Poland’s largest ad platform OLX and the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association have partnered together to monitor and delete sales of racist, fascist and antisemitic propaganda items. In the joint declaration, both sides commit to act in line with Polish and international law and in particular with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. OLX is owned by the South African technological corporation Naspers.

In the first weeks of the partnership, OLX, acting on the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s recommendations, deleted 655 offers of neo-nazi gadgets, such as a lead plaque ‘celebrating Hitler’ and badges with Nazi SS symbols. Some of the deleted offers also featured extremely antisemitic books such as the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ – the most popular antisemitic pamphlet of the 20th century, and ‘The Controversy of Zion’ (Strategy of Zion in Polish) by Douglas Reed, a Holocaust denier. Other deleted items included releases of Polish and foreign music bands that support nazism and racism. According to Rafal Pankowski, Professor of Sociology at Collegium Civitas and co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association: - ‘It is symbolic that the first item to be deleted was a vest with a Celtic cross (an international symbol of white supremacy), a flag of the Confederacy (which fought to uphold slavery in the American Civil War), and a three-armed swastika used by the South African neo-nazi group Afrikaaner Resistance Movement (AWB).’

Members of this organisation fought against against the dismantling of racial segregation by committing terrorist attacks and murders. Janusz Walus, a Polish emigrant who murdered anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani in 1993, was a supporter of AWB. Dr. Anna Tatar from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association said: - ‘As part of the partnership, NEVER AGAIN will support the OLX Group through expert consultations and provide recommendations on ways discrimination can be tackled. This involves trainings to educate employees on how to identify racist and fascist content.’ Together with organisations outside Poland, the association will also report similar content on OLX platforms in other countries, such as Romania and Hungary.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, Chief Executive Officer of Naspers South Africa voiced her support for the partnership between the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and OLX: - ‘Both Naspers here at home and OLX in Poland abhor and condemn any form of racism and xenophobia and any attempt to disseminate hate speech of any kind.’ She also added, ‘Our team in Poland has also been engaging with NEVER AGAIN and we welcome their commitment to fight racism and discrimination. NEVER AGAIN has been working with OLX to further identify (limited incidents of) content that break the rules and are listed on the platform.’ For a number of years now, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has also been in partnership with the large online sales platform Allegro to eliminate sales of fascist and racist propaganda items. On 21 March 2018, the International Day Against Racial Discrimination, the association became a partner in the Partnership to Protect Rights, created by Allegro. As a result of the partnership, between March 2018 and March 2020 the platform deleted 99 percent of items identified by ‘NEVER AGAIN’, which was over 12 thousand offers in total (the final decision to delete an auction is taken by Allegro based on its terms and conditions). Among those offers were replicas of SS medals, flags of the Third Reich, as well as CDs of neo-nazi bands and books promoting antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

Among the items removed from the Allegro site upon intervention by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was a book entitled ‘The Way of a Nationalist’ by Tomasz Greniuch, who was, for a short time, director of the Wroclaw chapter of the state-sponsored Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). The book contains praise of fascist movements. The author refers to the antisemitic conspiracy theory, according to which a ‘world government’ was supposedly aiming to destroy Poles and Poland ‘in the time of Zionist triumph, when the idea of globalism presumes the enslavement of all the nations of the world into one superpower under the aegis of the world diaspora.’ Moreover, in his book Greniuch supports the Hitler salute: ‘We are not ashamed of our views, or of our tradition. To us the Roman salute, the greeting of the Aryan Europe, shown by raising the right arm in the direction of the sun is not a gesture meant to order beer.’ He also praises the Belgian SS officer Léon Degrelle, who was sentenced in absentia to the death penalty for his collaboration with Nazi Germany, and Corneliu Codreanu, creator of the Iron Guard, the Romanian fascist organization responsible for anti-Jewish pogroms.

Tomasz Greniuch was the leader of the fascist group National Radical Camp (ONR) in the Opole region of Poland. His many years of extremist activity have been documented by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in the ‘Brown Book’, a publication which monitors hate speech and hate crimes. In 2005, Greniuch co-organized a march to commemorate the 1936 anti-Jewish pogrom in the town of Myslenice. A year later, he publicly gave a ‘Heil Hitler’ salute in a student club at Opole University. He was also the founder and co-organizer of the so-called Independence Day March in Warsaw. In 2016, the program of the international far-right music festival ‘Eagle’s Nest’ included a discussion meeting with Greniuch. In 2018, he was awarded the Bronze Cross of Merit by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Since 2018, Greniuch worked in the Opole branch of the Institute of National Remembrance, becoming head of the branch in November 2019. In January 2021, he organized an exhibition glorifying the wartime Holy Cross Brigade of the far-right National Armed Forces (NSZ), which had openly collaborated with the German Nazis. In February this year, Greniuch was appointed as Director of the Wroclaw chapter of the Institute of National Remembrance. Following protests against his appointment, both in Poland and internationally, he resigned from the position. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia. Since 2005, it has led the ‘Racism-Delete’ campaign, which has the objective of removing racist content from the internet. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is a member of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). The Association also takes part in projects to counteract online hate speech including ‘Get the Trolls Out’ and ‘Open Code for Hate-Free Communication’.


Special Report
By Dr.Manju Mishra

Invitation poster

Dear friends and well wishers,

We feel proud to inform you all the grand opening ceremony of fifth Nepal Africa Film Festival 2016 will be inaugurated by Right honorable Vice President of Nepal.Delegates to the festival are from Norway, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Egypt, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

This will be the biggest gathering of high level delegates from Africa in Nepal. Opening Film Patrice Lumumba about a national hero of DRC.Other films are from Guniea Bissau,Burkina Faso,South Africa,Denmark,Egypt and Algeria and one from Nepal.Our especial thank goes to Zanjibar Film Festival and the Egypt embassy in Nepal for supporting us to provide the best films. The inauguration will be followed by typical Nepali dances and music.

CJMC heartily welcomes our delegates in the land of Himalayas. Mt.Everest and Mount Kilemanjaro are bridging the gap between Nepal and Africa. The theme of the film festival is" Africa through African Lens" with warm regards, Manju Mishra


Jul 29, 2016

Protest against British mining company Vedanta Resources

* Angry protests across Zambia and India in run up to Vedanta's London AGM on Friday. * Tribals and Dalit Bahujans protest beating and murder of activists resisting Vedanta's Niyamgiri mine. * UK courts hear two cases against Vedanta's Zambian operations. * UNCTAD report reveals scale of KCM's export misinvoicing in Zambia

Angry protests will be held in India and Zambia next week in the run up to British mining company Vedanta Resources'(1) AGM at Ironmongers Hall, Barbican, London at 2pm on Friday 5th August. Inside the AGM dissident shareholders will ask questions submitted by protesting Zambian villagers who are suing Vedanta in the UK for twelve years of polluted water, as well as displaced farmers who were never compensated for their land in Lanjigarh, Odisha, India and accuse Vedanta of murdering and harassing them with state collusion. A loud protest organised by Foil Vedanta(2) will take place outside the meeting, demanding that Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines publish its hitherto secret annual accounts in Zambia, and accusing the company of pollution, human rights abuses and financial mismanagement in India and Afrika.

In the Zambian Copperbelt, 600 farmers, fishermen and former miners living downstream of Vedanta's Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) held historic protests in their villages this week(3) demanding an end to twelve years of pollution by KCM, which has turned the Kafue into a 'river of acid'1 2 and left them with no access to clean water. They told KCM to de-silt and remediate the contaminated areas so they can return to normal life, and submitted a Memorandum of Complaint signed by Headmen of nine villages to be read at Vedanta's London AGM. The villagers are also suing KCM and Vedanta to court in the UK for personal injury and loss of livelihood due to gross pollution, having won a precedent London jurisdiction hearing in May.(4) An estimated 40,000 people in total are affected by contaminated water which also affects the municipal piped water system3.

One of the protesters and Fikolongo village headman Simon Mwila, who is also a claimant in the London case suing KCM and Vedanta said: “Vedanta KCM has polluted our only water source since 2004. We feel weak and sick from drinking contaminated water and eating the fish but we have no choice. Relatives are dying mysteriously and we know it is the pollution. Each day they continue with impunity, cheating the government that they are controlling pollution but they are not. We want to live in peace, harmony and good health. KCM Vedanta must stop polluting us and clean up their mess!” A number of scientific papers have documented the extent of contamination, with acid pH and heavy metal content regularly tens and even hundreds of times above legal limits.4 5 6

Justice Coulson's judgement on the polluted villager's jurisdiction case indicted KCM for financial secrecy, historic dishonesty and attempts to pervert the course of justice(4), revealing that KCM have never filed any annual accounts in accordance with the Zambian Companies Act, and referring to a 2014 London arbitration case against KCM in which three judges found KCM to be dishonest, obstructive and willing to cause unnecessary harm.(5) An UNCTAD report published in July 2016 found 'systematic export underinvoicing' of copper from Zambia starting in 2005, the year after Vedanta took over KCM (Zambia's biggest copper producer). $12 billion of underinvoicing is recorded between 1995-2014.7

Following damning audits of KCM in 2014, the Zambian government entity ZCCM-IH which owns 20.6% of KCM has also filed a case against KCM and Vedanta in London for $100 million owed on an April 2013 settlement8. The UK government has repeatedly promoted KCM via the Department for International Development's Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), most recently in 2012 when KCM were sponsors and speakers at their Jubilee Economic Forum in London alongside then Zambian President Michael Sata.9

In Chingola, Zambia more than 100 residents of Nchanga South will submit a petition to the press and the London AGM(6) decrying the fumes and noise from KCM's copper smelter, which is less than 50m from houses on East 1st Street, and demanding to be compensated and resettled as the 2006 Environmental Impact Assessment had required10. In Kitwe former KCM miners who have never received their terminal benefits will protest ahead of the next hearing in their ongoing case against KCM in the Zambia High Court on 8th August. 2500 miners were retrenched by KCM in November 2015, and have also been denied proper benefits, leading to riots11. Students at Copperbelt University in Kitwe are also expected to hold a solidarity protest.

Demonstrators in London will again demand that KCM publish its secret annual reports, claiming that Vedanta is hiding its tax evasion and capital flight, as well as shifting its liabilities onto the Zambian state. They will also demand justice for the victims of the 2009 chimney collapse which killed between 40 and 100 people.12 The Sandeep Bakshi Judicial Commission report (leaked by activists in 2014) held Vedanta guilty of negligence in the incident but no action has been taken.13 Samarendra Das from Foil Vedanta said: “Vedanta has been found guilty of polluting the Kafue river and damaging communities livelihoods and health in Zambia. In India they are indicted for negligence in the country's second largest industrial disaster at Korba in 2009, and have lost their iconic Niyamgiri mine due to popular resistance. The ground swelling protests in India and Zambia are demanding justice from the British Government to initiate an inquiry against Vedanta's practices and delist them from the London Stock Exchange.”

In Bhubaneswar, capital city of the State of Odisha in India, a large group of protesters are expected in the streets on 5th August demanding that Vedanta is kicked out of its two Odisha bauxite operations at Jharsuguda, where ongoing pollution has led to farmers protests, and displaced people have never been compensated, and Lanjigarh (Niyamgiri) where local tribal activists and protesting land losers have been beaten, harassed and killed by police this year, under the pretence that they are Maoists.(7) Fact finding teams led by former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Justice B G Kolse Patil14, as well as the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) found state collusion between the police and Vedanta, who have been thwarted in their attempt to mine Niyamgiri's bauxite by the people's movement.

Padmanav Choudhury from Asarpada village, an active member of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (Niyamgiri Protection Coucil) and a land loser yet to receive any compensation from Vedanta said: “I was tortured for two days, hung upside down and thrashed by police for participating in a demonstration against police atrocities in Niyamgiri. Vedanta and the Odisha government are working together to deny our democratic and legal right to object to their mine. No matter what they do, we will not leave Niyamgiri or give up our fight.”

Despite a May Supreme Court ruling which rejected Vedanta and the Odisha state's right to challenge the ban on Niyamgiri mining Mines Minister Piyush Goyal stated in July that he would again try to push the Niyamgiri project through.15 Mass demonstrations have again celebrated the Supreme Court victory this June.(8) Adivasi and Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti leader Dadhi Pusika echoed the protesters demands that the refinery built to process Niyamgiri's bauxite should now be decommissioned, saying: “Lanjigarh must be shut down and stopped from causing pollution, misery, and landlessness in our villages. This a not just a local issue. It is a global struggle of the humanity to protect nature and civilisation.”

In Delhi, students from Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA) will hold a solidarity demonstration calling for an end to Dalit suppression by Vedanta in Niyamgiri and its other operations. In London Foil Vedanta will warn shareholder that Vedanta Resources is bluffing them with grand claims of mergers and acquisitions(9) to hide its toxic debt situation - with $8.6 billion of debt and $1.8 billion in intercompany loans16, amounting to debt of 7 times Ebitda17, and $2.9 billion in debt covenants due in 2016. They will point out that Chairman and 69.9% owner Anil Agarwal's claims to have invested $4 billion in Africa18 have already been disproved by Zambian government audits which revealed the company had in fact failed to invest any CAPEX in the subsidiary since buying it in 2004, only reinvesting internally generated cash.19

In India, Vedanta's attempts to assure shareholders and media that their attempted merger with oil subsidiary Cairn India is going ahead has been denied by top minority shareholder Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), who sent a recent public statement denying their approval20. The merger with Indian arm Vedanta Ltd, would give Vedanta access to Cairn's $2.6 billion cash reserves. Meanwhile Agarwal has appealed to the Indian government to 'monetise what is below the ground', enabling speculation and advocating an oil boom comparable to Shale Gas in the US21, and a third CEO has quit Cairn India over differences with the Vedanta Resources board.22 Cairn India is India's biggest fracker at the Raageshwari deep gas field and has the world's largest EOR polymer flood field at Mangala in Rajasthan, which injects 400,000 barrels of polymer liquid (water and chemicals) per day to extract oil in a drought ridden area.23 To address their debt crisis subsidiary HZL in March declared a special golden jubilee dividend at 1200% effectively paying parent company Vedanta Ltd $1.2 billion24. Ends.

Notes to editors: CASE STUDIES IN LONDON, ZAMBIA, and INDIA ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. Photos and film of the global demonstrations will be sent on Thursday 4th August by 2200hrs GMT.

Please join us at the demonstration at 2pm on Friday 5th August at Ironmongers Hall, Barbican, London, EC2Y 8AA. Photographs and a report will follow on 5th August by 5pm GMT. A short film of the demonstration will be released to broadcast media by 00.30 GMT on 6th August.

1. Vedanta is a FTSE 250 diversified oil and mining company, who have been named the 'world's most hated company' by the Independent newspaper for their long list of environmental and human rights crimes for which they are being opposed all over the world.25

2. Foil Vedanta are a London based international solidarity group focusing on the activities of British mining company Vedanta. We link up global communities affected by Vedanta, and hold them to account in London. We are currently aiming to make the case for Vedanta to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange for their human rights and corporate governance abuses.

2. 600 villagers from Kamuchanga, Fitobaula, Fikolongo, Hippo Pool, Luano, Mushishima, Kakosa, Hellen, and Shimulala demonstrated in Luano and Hellen on 19th and 20th July holding placards demanding an end to pollution and remediation of the riverbanks and groundwater. Their protest was broadcast on Zambian channel ZNBC's Copperbelt Focus on Thursday 28th July. Pictures and film footage are available. 2. In May this year 1,826 of the most affected villagers won a precedent victory to have their case against KCM and Vedanta, demanding compensation for personal injury and loss of livelihood due to gross pollution, heard in UK courts. Justice Coulson's May 27th precedent judgement is attached to this document.

2. In the case of Konkola Copper Mines Plc v U&M Mining Zambia Ltd heard in the London Court of Arbitration in 2014 judges Eder, Cooke and Teare JJ called KCM; “…an entity which has employees willing to give untrue evidence, to cause unnecessary harm, to be obstructive of the arbitration process and to take untenable points with a view to delaying enforcement…a party willing to do all it can to prevent the other party from enforcing its legal rights.”

The judgement found evidence of multiple tax evasion and capital flight devices used by Vedanta-KCM along with asset stripping and failure to invest any CAPEX as claimed. In the 2011 High Court of Zambia case of Nyasulu and 2000 others verses KCM (the precursor to this UK pollution case) Justice Musonda found that KCM “was shielded from criminal prosecution by political connections and financial influence” and awarded $2 million in damages to the villagers, which was never paid by KCM due to their appeal and delay of the case.

2. Copies of the petition will be attached to a later press release. Jay Majhi, Jaya Shankar Naik and Sukru Majhi from Nisanguda village (Bhawanipatna Block, Kalahandi) were killed by anti-Maoist combat force Special Operation Group (SOG) on November 15th 2015. In late November Drika Kadraka, an Adivasi (tribal) activist from Ambadhuni village (Rayagada district) was picked up and beaten by the anti Maoist squad. He committed suicide when he returned. On 27th February Dongria Kondh youth Manda Kadraka (20) was killed by police in a fake encounter leading to protests and uproar.

On 7th April Dasru Kadraka, the 25-year-old Adivasi youth leader and activist of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (Niyamgiri Protection Council) was arrested from Muniguda market claiming that he was in hiding from police over Maoist activities. On 10th May Adivasi movement leader Baka Majhi was taken away by police and has not returned. The NCHRO claim that these incidents are linked to Vedanta's ongoing attempt to mine Niyamgiri and document evidence that the victims were not Maoists.26

8. On May 6th 2016 the Supreme Court of India turned down Vedanta's application to overrule the previous precedent judgement against them, in which referendums in the tribal villages unanimously rejected mining27. In June a seven day padyatra (march) across Niyamgiri involving occupants of up to 112 remote villages celebrated the victory, and protested ongoing harassment and killing by police in their communities, as well as breaking down a boundary wall built by Vedanta which had blocked their road28.

8. Vedanta Ltd was India’s second most indebted company in June 2015 with $12 billion of debt29 Vedanta's Chairman and 69.9% owner Anil Agarwal and his CEO Tom Albanese have been making multiple media appearances recently outlining their ambitious plans to expand into Africa30 31. On July 9th they were reported claiming a $1 billion investment in the Gamsberg zinc mine in South Africa32 to create 'a new HZL in Africa', and on July 10th claimed that Vedanta had already invested $4 billion in Africa - $3 billion of which was ploughed into KCM.33 In fact a July 18th report by Investor Intel revealed that Vedanta had originally planned to invest $630m into Gamsberg but this was later cut to $400m with only $20m actually invested so far34. In Zambia government audits of Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines in July 2014 revealed that Vedanta had in fact failed to invest any CAPEX in the subsidiary since buying it in 2004, only reinvesting internally generated cash.35 Vedanta also hold mining leases in Liberia, and is 13% shareholder of Azumah Resources, with a 2,800km2 concession for gold mining.36

Zambia: corruption and miscarriage of justice in Vedanta water poisoning case

May 19, 2015


· Victim of Vedanta subsidiary KCM's water pollution receives death threats and harassment on behalf of KCM following guilty verdict. · Claimants angry that justice is still not served following Supreme Court decision to reduce $2 million damages to almost zero in controversial judgement. · Evidence of bribery, corruption and major irregularities throughout judicial process.

On 2nd April the Supreme Court of Zambia upheld a precedent High Court verdict that Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is guilty of major water pollution which turned the Kafue into a river of acid in 2006 and poisoned thousands of people, some of who have suffered long term impacts to their liver, kidneys and other functions. But the $2 million compensation originally awarded by the High Court to 2001 victims who self organised to sue KCM, has been reduced to virtually nothing, denying them their long due justice.

Now lead claimant James Nyasulu has been receiving threats and harassment from agents working on behalf of KCM, telling him not to fight this multinational company, which has connections in the judiciary. Nyasulu and the committee of claimants have evidenced multiple incidents of procedural irregularities, bribery and corruption during their nine year struggle for legal redress: - When victims went with their families to local clinics and hospitals (many sponsored by Vedanta) in November 2006 after drinking contaminated water, they were unable to get medical reports as staff feared they would be dismissed. This was noted in the 2011 High Court judgement1 but ignored in the recent Supreme Court verdict, which only granted the 12 out of 2001 claimants who had medical reports any possibility of damages, leaving 1,989 victims with nothing.

- The claimant's first lawyer, Kelvin Bwalya (KBF Associates), was initially employed by them when he occupied a very small office, with one vehicle, in the back streets of Lusaka. Several years after taking their case he had inexplicably amassed a fleet of 12 new cars, and moved to large offices and residence in the centre of the capital city. They reported these discrepancies to the court which recused him on grounds of corruption in 2009.2 - One of the three judges on the bench of the first Supreme Court hearing on 3rd June 2014 in Ndola, was former KCM lawyer Albert Wood. This major conflict of interest should have admitted to the Chief Justice by Justice Wood according to Zambian law, but was only addressed due to the intervention of the claimants, after which he was removed from the bench.

- KCM's lawyers Nchito and Nchito abandoned the case before 3rd February 2015, and KCM instructed Malombo and Malombo in their place, who wrote letters to the claimant's lawyer Mr K Shepande, advising him of a false date for Supreme Court hearing (6th Feb instead of 5th Feb). However Malombo and Malombo were never been appointed before court or had their documents stamped and filed, though they appeared in court for KCM on 2nd April. Instead, the final judgement again named Nchito and co as KCM's advocates. - Following the 2nd April Supreme Court verdict, a printed version of the judgement was not released until 6th May 2015, during which time Mr Nyasulu waited in Lusaka, periodically camping in the office of the Chief Justice to demand access to the delayed judgement, as he could not afford another expensive journey from Chingola in the Copperbelt to the capital city. During this period Nyasulu received many death threats and threatening calls telling him not to fight KCM.

Nine years after the pollution occurred twenty two of the original 2001 claimants have now died, some from liver and kidney damage potentially caused by the poisoned water. The rest fear they will never get real justice before they also pass away. Other local people have experienced miscarriages and other birth problems. James Nyasulu from Chingola, lead claimant in the case, who worked for ZCCM from 1987 until 2000, says: "I know about mining processes and the processes Vedanta use are very different to ZCCM. Yes, ZCCM still polluted but they released very small amounts. Vedanta is polluting with impunity and on a much larger scale and it is still happening all the time. When the water goes off for 2 or 3 days then you know there has been pollution. All those people who drink from the Kafue - from Chililabombwe to Lusaka - they have drunk polluted water at least once. The diseases those industrial chemicals cause cannot even be treated in our hospitals, but the government is not thinking of that."

London based solidarity group Foil Vedanta claim that disregard for domestic laws and for human and ecological life, and reliance on bribery and corruption is typical of KCM's parent company Vedanta: Vedanta has repeatedly been accused of bribery and corruption in India. In Puri, Odisha, the company's attempts to acquire 10,000 acres of land for a corporate university were heavily aided by the state. Several weeks ago former, Chief Secretary of Odisha, B K Patnaik, who helped push the scheme, left his government employment to become President of the University project. During the Forest Bench hearing of the case challenging Vedanta's now banned Niyamgiri mine in 2009, Justice S H Kapadia and senior counsel Harish Salve admitted they were shareholders of Sterlite, but were allowed to continue in the case nonetheless.

Vedanta's large donations to the two main Indian political parties between 2004 and 2012 were ruled as illegal by the Delhi High Court in March 2014. In 2009 Vedanta's iron mining subsidiary Sesa Goa Western Cluster Ltd, obtained a 1 billion tonne iron ore reserve in Liberia, for just $123.5 million (a fraction of its true value) in a abnormal deal with Israeli company Elenilto. In Rajasthan, India Vedanta bought state company Hindustan Zinc Limited for £64 million in 2002 (valued by BNP Paribas), against a true value of £2.5 billion. Their current attempt to buy the remaining 30% government shares is being opposed in the Indian Supreme Court. Ends.

Notes to editors: Case studies are available. Please contact : James Nyasulu in Zambia on 00 260 955541613

Notes to Editors: (1) On 6th November 2006 one of KCM's tailing pipelines burst, spilling highly acidic waste into the Chingola stream, which meets the Mushishima stream and then joins the River Kafue, providing water to 40,000 Zambians from Chililabombwe to Lusaka. It was not until 8th November 2006 that the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) became aware of the spill and ordered KCM to cease operations at the tailings plant12. Local water companies Mulonga and Nkana Water stopped supplies as they were highly polluted and the entire Chingola district was without water for six to ten days13.

Those who did not receive tanked water drank directly from the Kafue and its tributaries which was highly acidic and contained 10x acceptable levels of copper, 770x manganese, and 100x cobalt, turning the river bright blue with copper sulphate precipitate. Thousands of people became sick with diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of sight, and many later developed kidney and liver problems amongst other long term illnesses. Miscarriages and birth problems have also been recorded in the affected communities, as well as premature deaths with unknown causes.

The ECZ later reported that the effluent was almost pure acid at PH 2.8, while other sources reported PH 1.516. Worse still KCM had knowingly been operating the Tailings Leach Plant without lime, which is usually used to neutralise acidic effluent, for up to a week, a major violation of KCM's license to release effluent under Zambia's Water Pollution Control (Effluent and Waste Water) Regulations of 1993 and KCM's Environmental Management Plan.

(2) On 2nd April 2015 the Supreme Court finally gave its judgement, upholding the High Court verdict that KCM was guilty of negligence, gross pollution and disregarding the right to life. However, they disagreed with Justice Phillip Musonda's judgement that the twelve available medical records were indicative of the damage to other claimants who had shared the same water sources but did not have medical evidence. Instead the court ruled that only the twelve plaintiffs with medical records could be compensated, and the degree of damages would have to be assessed by the Deputy Registrar of the High Court. In reality that could mean that KCM pays virtually none of the High Court's $2 million damages award, let alone the substantial interest it would now have attracted. The referral of damages claims back to the High Court is also procedurally abnormal.

"Builder & Destroyer”- Can Gandhi Teachings Help Manage Ebola Fight?

Special Contribution
By Rakesh Manchanda

Mahatma Gandhi shaking hands with King George-V

Mahatma Gandhi teachings were clear- “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent conquer him with love. Human kind needs a hand-shake, a hug and a passionate pat and cuddling. Without all these, humanity can't survive advocates Balmurali Balaji-Founder of Techno-Gandhian Forum. Mahatma Gandhi words of wisdom on handshake politics was bang correct-“In a gentle way you can shake the world.”

Another quote of Gandhi says-“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Imagine a `No Handshake` Nation in modern times? Ebola the bully Virus going global now with no cure is forcing almost all 54 African nations to adopt a `No Handshake` Culture. See the Governors of West African countries recently with clenched fists in air and no warm handshake in action. Handshake or a Bow is the first silent global greeting of any human touch. It is more than a Hello! It is a natural silent gratitude for a future binding contract. In business, politics, consolidation, friendship, love or solidarity the warm touch of hand displays the magic of commitment. Historical source say handshake stems power transfer from a God to a King. A folklore belief says that a handshake was a means to trace and check another man for a weapon or a knife tucked in a sleeve. Today even bitter enemies in political lobbies shake hands for the betterment of people.

October-2014-President Kiir and Museveni adopting Namaste Greetings

Indians greeting of `Namaskar` with folded hands or Chinese bow is more safe in such situation. What goes wrong when you shake hands with an Ebola suspect? There is a grave possibility of transmission. An adult human body carries 70% fluids and hand sweat circulation ensures a faster transfer of virus. Ebola Handshake syndrome as per Mali-West Africa experience: To understand why the need of hand gloves from doctors to citizens is suddenly appearing -Let us sample a new Ebola Hit country-Republic Of Mali. In my first Ebola Emergency write up, I tried to sketch the rumours attacking a new Ebola hit country. As per WHO slide show the chain of contact got dangerous in Mali when a two year old Ebola infected girl died on 25th.October.The fear was that her body fluids and sweat must have infected 141 others in this border town of 128,000 people called Kayes. Here 57 `infected` in the contact chain are still missing. This small town Kayes went in a grip of fear. One third people started wearing gloves and rest stopped shaking hands. The gloves in October-2014 in and around Kayes were sold overnight and the price went skyrocketing. The elite in Mali later went a step ahead in a false protection mode by adding goggles, gloves and mask in their daily user list.

Ebola fear is not limited to a mere handshake or a traditional burial kiss. Clearing the vomit, sweat, saliva, urine, stool of an Ebola suspect also needs a new safe sterilised culture with new expensive disposable wears for rescuers as discussed in my past write ups. Doctors are helpless. They need extraordinary courage to sustain an Ebola case. Scratch WHO funds and research support for this 40 years old Ebola Monster. Research support was never fulfilled claim the experts. Rich countries in a grip of Ebola fear are forced to spend almost a thousand times more. The dark side to a greedy system of profit-oriented American pharmaceutical giants gets exposed. Gloves or No Gloves for safety, Ebola is the ultimate global test of cultural hygienic practices. Containing it is a matter of washing hands, having clean water, and hygienic toilets, and prompt cremation burial. If we do not have an effective garbage recycle plan as in Delhi-India or elsewhere in Africa, no sanitation system and no water purification plants in order and if we leave dead animal bodies out in the open for vultures to eat, then Bats and Ebola like Virus will party.

This is the only Planet we have. Let us defeat Ebola to protect our safe living. Ebola is a threatening force! It has no right means to attain its right-hood due to a human error and negligence in the past 40 years of its presence now visible to all. A safe Mahatma Gandhi handshake for a clean corruption free Ebola free world is a must. About author: Worked in African countries since 2006 as Director-Grafax Cotton Pvt.Ltd. and had been supporting International Red Cross and few NGOs as volunteer on Basic and Advance Life Support.

Written in Public Interest by: Rakesh Manchanda, B-5,Gharonda Apartments, Shrestha Vihar,Delhi-92. Phone:011-22145369,+919953540829.

`Ebola Free` Certificate-Scare Flyers or Screen Safe India ? By Rakesh Manchanda.

Ebola outbreak is real. Travellers complain-`Stop Ebola not us`. On 8th.August-2014, World Health Organisation announced a Medical Emergency because of No scientific cure of Ebola. Health Minister J P Nadda recent response with 24 hours Ebola helpline is welcome but India `s Ebola preparedness is like searching an umbrella after the rain has arrived. You do not have to be a doctor to understand readiness to fight Ebola Anyone keeping an alert watch on Indian media will easily find that Government is hiding its errors. On August 8th, the Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan said, “There are no cases of Ebola in India”. That was a lie! Health Ministry Affidavit spins a different story: Of 691 passengers as on 13th.November,70 are belonged to high-risk (Ebola cases), according to the ministry’s affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to government’s preparedness against Ebola. The SC, while admitting a PIL on the issue by Vineet Dhanda, had earlier issued notices to the Centre and state Governments. IBN Live bites on August 20th showed with footage: 5 arrivals in India found to have contact history with Ebola cases

New Delhi: Five persons out of a total of 145 passengers who arrived at various airports in India from Ebola virus-affected countries in the last 24 hours were found to have contact history with positive cases of the disease, the health ministry said. “India is ready to face any Ebola outbreak”-says the Minister. The message tries to say All is well. But in actual it is opposite. Reason ? Right now there is no known medicine/vaccine to curb or cure Ebola. All preventive measures appear on experimental basis. Travellers not having fever, or any other Ebola symptoms at the airport, can develop symptoms later on. This means who do not display symptoms at airport may also be the carrier of virus. Why our Health Minister was replaced after 5 months with a No 5 months Report Card is another unsolved mystery?

No Clear Cut Protocols in an Ebola Chain of Survival: New Minister Nadda should thank the honesty of the Indian expatriate Ebola suspect coming from Liberia who dared to share his certificates with Airport screening team otherwise there are no clear cut protocols for Ebola detection except for some self declaration forms as shown below. Indian Health Ministry has recently notified and asked those travelling to India from Ebola-affected countries to carry a `No Ebola Certificate` stating-no evidence of the deadly virus in their body fluids. This move shall create more problems and panic. Many are aware the `No Ebola Flight` to Canada and Australia was a violation of the international Health Regulations, a 2005 World Health Organization treaty to which both are signatories. This action was criticized by many countries.

No one disagrees that Ebola is dangerous. Its terror transmission must to be stopped from entering. The 15 minute Ebola test kit at airports as promoted by dream sellers is still not approved and is not available. Getting certificates means a check up and delays like while getting a Mandatory Yellow Fever Card for an African country visit. Corruption in Africa-India is rampant. Fake Yellow fever card in Africa and in India can be easily bought by a `no visit` to a doctor or even by not getting vaccinated as per media. Doctors in the Ebola hit West African countries are not even more then 50 in the entire country and in Sierra Leone 8 doctors have already died due to Ebola Virus. Getting Ebola Free Certificate in Ebola Hit Nations from its Health Ministry without a Lab test is a weak unsafe solution. Red Tapes which worry Indian Travellers.

Mandatory Ebola Free Certificate may help many patriotic experts who wish to insulate India from Ebola but in actual it is a weak `quick fix` move. It pits Indians against `expatriates`-Indians. There are more than 45,000 Indians working and staying in Ebola Hit Nations. They courageously earn their live hood and send dollars to India as NRIs. Collecting a `No Ebola` Certificate with initial Lab tests it shall take minimum 15 days as thousands will be screened but virus carriers are only few. Who shall be responsible for loss of opportunity in this investment of 15 days of thousands? Instead of addressing the real Indian problems in the Ebola hit countries such acts will give rise to sneakers entering from porous borders like Nepal and Bangladesh

Terror Transmission Tale –Stop in a Hurry ? New directive of WHO which speaks better sense is that `Ebola survivors` must abstain from sex for three months or 90days but this unique India directive that all 45,000 working Indians must carry back a `Ebola Free` certificate back home to India without `changing the ground reality` is a punishment. Indians have to cover a lot of distance unlike in India before reaching the airport to catch flight back home and Lab test facilities in West Africa are only limited to capital city while America is gearing up with 42 Ebola test facility. See the social stigma as in the poster below.

Using Airports screening has shifted the real focus to stop Ebola at its source. India needs to send more aid and more doctors to the Ebola hit countries which can be put by Indian Embassy to the host country`s airports to screen travellers there. How many doctors in real are send to Ebola hit countries should be proudly announced by Ministry of External Affairs ? Karnataka Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader concern and his Ebola alarm with a letter as put by media was send to PM-Modi 2 months ago. India`s Ebola Preparedness and World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines is still not visible. The real fight at ground zero in Ebola hit countries is to win the trust of the host countries, to protect international flyers and to maximise Global Public Systems by speed screening.

About author: Worked in African countries since 2006 and had been supporting International Red Cross and few NGOs as volunteer on Basic and Advance Life Support. Other articles on Ebola sensitization written by same author and published in this column recently are : EBOLA BULLY SUCKS LIFE BUT CANNOT WIN OUTBREAK CURE IN REEL LIFE-REAL LIFE FIGHTS FOR 40 YRS. EBOLA TIDE: LETS FIGHT RUMOURS FIRST FROM MALI TO MANCHESTER

Written in Public Interest by: Rakesh Manchanda, B-5,Gharonda Apartments, Shrestha Vihar,Delhi-92. Phone:011-22145369,+919953540829.

Ebola Bully Sucks Life But Cannot Win

Special Contribution
By Rakesh Manchanda
Nov 29, 2014

Spouses are afraid to touch each other. Ebola has forced a division in the West African united family binding. No one trusts one another. Family warmth and party charm is missing. Mothers are afraid to hug and kiss when a child gets fever. Schools stand closed and weddings are put on hold. See the alert preparedness of Ivory Coast which stands `Ebola Free` since 1994 but on WHO Radar - The government of Ivory Coast has recently asked its residents to stop their customary `three-kiss` hello. Many reports indicate doctors overcharging. Rich go to hospitals and come back after few days of getting monitored. Poor dare not go to hospital and volunteer for Ebola test as they are convinced there is no cure. Transmission of Virus as per recent WHO directive is not possible if the advance stage of symptoms is not seen on the Ebola Victim.

Doctors are helpless and have to treat Ebola `case` as a `criminal` and not as a victim in isolation. Scratch WHO funds and research demand which was never met. The dark side to greedy system of profit-oriented American pharmaceutical giants gets exposed. How can change with a sacrifice in Burial culture help control? WHO Ebola dead count between 4th and 2nd.Nov-2014 remind 132 new deaths only in one country. Neighbour country which is equally hit reports no death. One WHO expert puts it as a contrasting way the two countries are dealing with burials. In one country doctors, counsellors and police are chased away as residents fear their loved ones as suspects will be lifted like a broken motorcycle and shall later be sealed and send somewhere to burned and not buried with no washing and kissing of the parting soul. Web of rumours continues. How culture of community with ignorance blocks the control:

One false rumour is that foreign health officials have brought the epidemic. Fear Buzz is they might inject suspected patients with lethal chemicals for experiment. Trial is not possible without the consent of relatives. Ebola challenge is different unlike Polio. During Ebola combat the viral is there but vaccine and control map with chain of survival protocols stand missing. Change in West African Markets-Streets and Neighbourhood ? Let us go back to worst hit three West African countries-Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The streets are still alive and kicking with trade. People try to avoid rubbing shoulders with the next person. Buses which were overloaded are now taking fewer people. The economy and survival has been hit hard. Few trades have closed down – no football matches, less bars and entertainment with lesser night clubs. Interaction with each other is minimised -no touching and no hugging. WHO message is clear the virus spreads after the advance symptoms show up.

There is a state of Medical Emergency. Before Ebola, neighbourhood was like one big noisy single family with children playing. Today it is silent and self centred. Only sound of Ambulance siren in night is heard. Washing hands and taking a bath after daily home return is more frequent now. Food is heated up several times before eating. Outside eating has stopped since the outbreak. How is job work outside home affected? Some companies now work four days a week to minimise risk of contracting Ebola in a public vehicle. An Indian Steel company in West Africa says there is minimal touching and staff using public transport either charter a vehicle or  wear long sleeves or a coat even though the weather is very hot, so as to minimise touching another person. Will Ebola change people`s faith on Mosque and Church?

Rise of Civilization: Both Science and Religion as essential power tools stand helpless. Monster Ebola spares none-Rich and poor. All the lies - about religion and nationality stand useless. West Africans fight against Ebola leaves global unity footprints- We really are one people, one race. There cannot be a Muslim Ebola or a Christian Ebola. As per media reports few Churches advocated use of salt and lemon to fight demons promoting Ebola but priests got trapped and died. Ebola brings a hidden change. Blind followers-priest relationship is changing fast for betterment. Most Imams, prophets and priests take the lead to spread awareness and keep the people calm with hope. The magnitude of Ebola fear is bringing a big change in the thinking process at least on hygiene of all inside and outside Africa. Global Governance needs to fill up the rich-poor gap with fair wealth distribution. Civilization is cheated but needs funds to beat Ebola. Hope, awareness, determination and collective connectivity to wake up humanity are getting ready. About author: Worked in African countries since 2006 and had been supporting International Red Cross and few NGOs as volunteer on Basic and Advance Life Support. Written in Public Interest by:

Rakesh Manchanda, B-5,Gharonda Apartments, Shrestha Vihar,Delhi-92. Phone:011-22145369,+919953540829.

Ebola Tide: Lets Fight Rumours First from Mali to Manchester

Special Contribution
By Rakesh Manchanda
Nov 16, 2014

Many friends called up to understand Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Mali is now the sixth West African country to report death of a toddler two year old girl child and now three more in Bamako in the second Ebola Tide. Ebola-Need to Fire Fight Rumours First.

Ebola is not a respiratory or airborne virus, and there is no evidence that this shall spread via air. Like HIV and Hepatitis B as example of viruses transmitted by bodily fluids it can never get converted to a respiratory virus. Another strong example that this virus is not air-born is evident when you see the map and position of several Mali towns along the porous border that were not hit in past 11 months since Ebola broke out in neighbouring countries.

Rumour 2 -Can Ebola Spread via contaminated water or river ?

No ! Ebola spread is never linked with water or River even though it may be polluted. The need to fight the rumour that River Niger water as we see in the map connecting many countries including Mali is dirty so Ebola breaks. Interestingly, Word Ebola (when co-discovered) took its name in 1976 from Ebola River in Zairi later and now called Republic of Congo. Running water as River Niger is ruled out in the outbreak of viral transmission.

Rumour 3-Can Ebola Spread via Cooked Food ?

No ! but vegetable and meat need to cooked thoroughly, properly and hygienically. Ebola is a dangerous virus, it reminds the community that the risk of contracting the infection is minimal if basic precautionary measures are followed. Ebola is not spread through the air by respiratory secretions or casual contact like the flu or the common cold. It requires direct contact with the bodily fluids (especially vomit, blood, and feces) of someone severely ill with—or recently deceased from—the disease, or by handling or eating undercooked, contaminated bush meat, especially bats, monkeys, gorillas, and some antelope which sometimes our locals in Africa point out the poor tribal eating culture. The illness is not contagious from person-to-person as promoted by `witch doctors` until the sick person has symptoms, such as fever, vomiting or diarrhoea. So people do not have to run to hospital to get admitted for normal fever and headache as wrongly advocated by doctors few months ago.

Ebola early messages may have added to the confusion, which now stands cleared and positive. NGOs are now trying to spread a more positive message. Rather than saying Ebola is deadly, there’s no cure, you can’t protect yourself-WHO is trying to emphasise that yes! 37% are surviving. If Ebola spirals further out of control, it could soon threaten us all of us. The fact that a weak choice less health care system in a small country can let this monster grow to a size that threatens the world is a situation that shows how interdependent and safe we are. But this interdependence needs a `costless` religious global connectivity of People to fight rumours.

Letter addressing on racism in South Korean society

Ebola virus disease

Dear African Students, [cc: parents, and community leaders] Greetings from Helsinki!

Recently, one of your community leaders asked me to write a letter to you about South Korea and particularly about the conditions of life in light of the recent news where Africans were banned from entering a women’s university, a restaurant, and perhaps others places. When I was told that there were 65,000 of you in this group, I thought to myself, What will I say to so many young people at once? Here, I will try to cover your concerns, hopes, and interests, and if you will also allow me to write in a less technical manner, I will provide a slightly wider commentary for you since you have also said you are interested in investing in your education in South Korea, and that is the main reason for your concerns. First, it is to be applauded that you have reached out to undoubtedly many concerning South Korea through your connections on social media to help you to seek more information. As I understand it, there has been much concern expressed on social media coming out of the countries of Africa over such unacceptable behavior, especially at an Itaewon restaurant. As it happens, one of my students from Kenya is the one who first alerted me to the developing case by posting the picture that the restaurant was “not accepting Africans.” Concerning Ebola, and racist exclusion by some in South Korea, on the small chance that someone on a plane is sick with Ebola, the likelihood of other passengers and crew having contact with their body fluids is very low. Further, when someone is sick with Ebola, they are usually so unwell that they cannot travel as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the person will become ill within a short period of time (less than 21 days) and experience rapid decline in health. The World Health Organization (WHO) writes, “Because the risk of Ebola transmission on airplanes is so low, WHO does not consider air transport hubs at high risk for further spread of Ebola.” Also, and most importantly, as you know, as everyone knows, Ebola does not pick and choose whom it will infect; anyone can be infected, not just Africans. The virus is not racist. What I think has happened is that global public health programs have been underfunded for essential and basic services and thus risks like Ebola arise. The normal containment of diseases as proscribed by science in public health was deficient of a normal barrier system to the spread of Ebola. Once the research investigations are complete, we will of course know more. In the meantime, there will likely be an increase in cases.

Upon hearing the news, you were reasonably upset, confused, and even fearful of coming to South Korea. Many Koreans and expats living in Seoul were sympathetic to your concerns. You read my open letter to the owners of the restaurant, which concluded with the following lines: …A quick search on Africa shows that it is a continent of 55 nations and perhaps 20% of the world's population. It is large enough to hold the entire land area of China, the US, and most of Europe. Not only is your window a disgrace, but I suppose illegal, or I hope it is. When I am in Seoul next, I will plan to dine with my African friends and all African students are welcome to my lectures, anytime. The experience of racism is not only suffering, it is vast suffering and should be criticized and legislated against wherever it is expressed in public. I need not go further with such a description for you are well aware of centuries of colonization, the Middle Passage, and extractive exploitation, unfortunately. However, there has been some progress, globally, for instance the previously undreamed-of has happened in South Africa, thinking of Judge Masipa. And, in South Korea, a woman from the Philippines has been elected to the National Assembly as a lawmaker. In the US, of course, President Obama.

For South Korea, I would start with the positive. It is the most democratic country in East Asia and has the normal checks and balances in place to create liberty and general equality. In practice, the country is generally safe from the gross forms of injustices; however, there is much to be done in the way of substantive democracy as contrasted with formal democracy. The Korean people are active in democratic protest and redress which generate the necessary awareness in a society focused on democratic substance, while at the same time there is a business culture which is in opposition to democratic substance, as with anywhere. South Koreans are still working out the institutional forms as a matter of application in actual living democracy. Examples of actual democracies, beyond the formal institutions, are the Nordic countries. Concerning education, the Koreans have a long history of education particularly dating back to King Sejong, the scholar king who charged the scholars to create a written language which all Koreans could learn. The outcome of that tremendous effort is what we see today in the Hangul 한글 (Korean phonetic system), something which Chairperson and computer scientist Eric Schmidt of Google praised when he was in Seoul last year. Seoul based business journalist Matthew Weigand quoted Schmidt in Business Korea, “...[Hangul is] the most intuitive language of the world…” I agree, and it might be perfect for various coding and online work, along with helping to “rescue” some of the world’s verbal languages that never developed written characters. In the case of higher education today, some similar problems can be seen in most Korean universities, as they are teaching to a world that has passed by, and where they have not adopted the necessary innovations for meeting the challenges of advanced technical civilization. Many in the universities are holding on to prestige and various social privileges while the universities have become heavily administrated institutions rather than knowledge communities such as those which von Humboltz initiated in the European Enlightenment which focused on inquiry. At the universities, in one major aspect, some are innovating in the convergence studies clusters, and we will have to see how effective these innovations turn out to be for a national system which will have to move from heavy manufacturing into a knowledge economy. For the near future, convergence is key since the natural sciences have become integrated together through nanotechnology or materials science. In the Asian context, convergence also includes culture, so in my work I have adopted convergence in a holistic manner according to the Korean use of the term. As far as enrollment, Korean universities are all heading into decline both in student enrollment and what they have to offer as some humanities have been eliminated and philosophy is almost absent. Whether the universities will be relevant by around 2020, it is hard to say, but it should be a major public debate.

It seems the country has missed the time to bring in foreign talent which could be of assistance to allow for a better transition to help with social transformations and disruptions from technology. More specifically, it is already too late to have a large influx of foreign talent and also wait to change the system at the same time; to do both would not fit the timeframe of necessity. Much of this is because of the reasons related to race, culture, and subsequent lack of reasonable accommodations, compensation, and access to a support system for legal or other needs (though healthcare is world class). The reason essentially is while waiting for the systemic changes in the conditions which are sometimes unbearable, the foreigners are likely to just leave, not interested in being used as experimental subjects to change a system without support and compensation. Currently, the foreign professor usually survives an average of four months, and even first-rate scholars such as two Nobel laureates left before their contract was completed at Seoul National University and at Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST), both schools at the very top of ratings. Some other course of action will have to be taken or these institutions will be further dismantled due to the problems mentioned above and the low marginal cost to reproduce educational systems in the near future. I suppose what would have to happen to attract foreign talent is there to be a comprehensive, reasonable benefits package along with the extension of a guaranteed level of academic freedom within the faculty appointments, so as to correlate with values of freedom in academia, globally. The institutions should also move towards convergence research and teaching as facilitation and not as rote. To implement these programs is a matter of will and vision, since technology and wealth are not a problem in South Korea. As for students, the same is unfortunately the case, where students arrive only to find that South Korea is a very difficult place to live and that a small few students actually get enough assistance on which to live and thrive as students. Though living as a student can be economical, I do not think the student should be stressed beyond a certain frugality. Some students have reported that a very few will actually get a lot of money and live in luxury while not helping out others who are barely able to live. The unfortunate low-budget students end up getting exploitative jobs, which consequently interfere with getting to class or study groups. Student life, rather than being an exploration of self and the world through educational opportunities, can potentially become miserable. I have witnessed this personally and met with students at nearly all hours of the day in cafes due to their inhumane schedules. Personally, I am sorry to see the Korean people spend tax money to provide scholarships so there can be global appreciation of South Korea, but in the end, the Korean people end up paying for students to dislike the country. This is a shame and neither the taxpayers nor the foreign students are to blame, but systemic problems which could be addressed effectively with proper investment.

Here I will move over to a comment on racism. Racism is a systemic violence with individualized elements and of course subsequent benefits, humiliations, or worse depending upon who you are; and it is certainly not solely a Korean problem though there are unique aspects to racism in Korea. Racism as a systemic injustice is made up of a complex of interrelated networks of socio-economic exclusion, psychological projection, hate, and then occasionally outright oppression. Racism, by definition is vicious, and is not to be confused with the somewhat normal sense of discomfort one experiences when around people from another race, with whom one is unfamiliar. Racism is something quite different; it is a viciousness borne out of superiority/inferiority and hatred that leads generally to a systemic lack of support for others of different races, or in some cases some form of public action such as hate speech or physical violence. Usually, reason and logic do not convince the racist, only self-defense through activism, criticism, and constant pressure on social rules and laws will work to address the human frailty of discomfort and projection, which is amplified by certain elements in culture into a vicious demeanor. Further, there are more –isms which follow the same as racism, such as: classism and genderism. These are acute social ills today in global society. Classism is the same as racism, it only depends on who you are and where you are in social status, whereas genderism is the same as racism, but depends on a spectrum of gender. But don’t be fooled by terms, since all of these are oppression categorically, and thus oppression should be addressed directly, quoting Simone de Beauvoir. For any oppression I would point largely to systemic violence rather than specific cases or people, though in some cases, individuals should be challenged, openly. I know you would also like me to share some personal experiences with you. I will illustrate with examples, which I have seen or know personally others who have had these experiences; and all of which were in public spaces and by those who work in public institutions.

Incidentally, similar to the Africans who were denied entrance to the restaurant in Itaewon, just recently I was denied WiFi access at a major Korean cafe chain, even if I bought something at the cafe. The young woman at the counter said in a haughty tone, “you have to have a Korean phone [to get WiFi].” I walked away perplexed and thought perhaps I should check the story with another barista. I learned the same from the second person, “No WiFi without a Korean phone.” In my case, I don’t really use phones, which is sometimes irritating to friends. I do have a valid professor’s visa from the Korean Government which lasts for two years. Disregarding official visas it seems that the private businesses are making their own laws of exclusion as in the case of the restaurant of which you wrote to me. On other occasions, while not in Seoul, I have been denied service at restaurants when I visited with foreign friends. In these instances, denial is done through ignoring the foreigner, even if one requests service in the Korean language. In another case, which was reported online and in the media, occurred when a national broadcaster, Munwha (or cultural) Broadcasting System (MBC), ran a 300 second video on foreigners dating Korean women, narrated with an extremist paranoia to go along with the video. A three second disclaimer was given, towards the end of the film “not all foreigners.” The video had its effect on the foreign community where perhaps 15,000 people joined the social media response to the company, which was followed by a positive response from Koreans as well; however, no legal proceeding ensued, of which I am aware. That a major TV company can run such a video is indicative that the racism is not a marginal phenomenon of just a few people here and there. Around the time of that video, I happened to challenge something about racism while working at another university, Sungkyunkwan University, related to internal institute matters, and was threatened with physical violence (by foreigners) and then was forced out of my job by the dean. At one point, I went to classes with security escorts and the police on standby. Eventually I resigned due to lack of confidence in the department for protections against threats. A few months after my resignation, the university had me arrested on an international flight when I arrived in Incheon Airport when visiting South Korea for other business. In fact, the flight attendants from the Korean airline took my passport on the plane, and handed me over to the police; something flight attendants are not authorized to do. Already guilty was the clear message I got from the airline. The drama was a political move by the university and designed to create the worst possible experience for myself and family, since once I went through two hours of interrogation by the police, the Korean judge threw the case out without my ever having to do anything further. This made me a fan of the justice system, since others in that system were involved in bringing reason to an already difficult experience. Other professors have reported in the media, similar experiences with universities, and I want to give mention here that K-12 teachers have also reported some very difficult and bitter experiences.

Concerning student life and reasonable success, as mentioned, I think the concern you may want to consider is that many times the scholarships and benefits are not enough to ensure a decent living standard, even for a student, so that he or she can maintain good nutrition and basic hygiene and so on. I have heard of many student’s stories and this reminds me of one story I can relate concerning a professor, a black man from the US, who died in South Korea. In fact, he was from an Ivy League college. He was living in an old dormitory at a university in the mountains where the heating system was undependable and winters are cold. He had not had his bathroom plumbing operational for six weeks and had to go down to another floor to use the facilities. One afternoon, three foreigners found him in distress in his room and called the police. The paramedics were unable to revive the man. The foreign professors, instead of being thanked, happened to find themselves escorted to the police station and accused of murder without any process; even when there were two surveillance cameras on the location. However, within 30 minutes at the police station the emergency room doctor released a statement that the man’s condition was due to a complication in the combination of powerful cancer medications he was taking. The man was very sick. However, the short time at the police station had its chilling effect as the detective stood in front of the foreigner professors yelling at them while the translator let them know what was being said. Though as you mentioned in your message to me, these issues of racism are not ever mentioned in the Korean dramas you see on TV. I think you are correct, though I haven’t seen many of the shows. I’d recommend that you explore the reasons why such important topics are not covered. It would be a good research project and could be done with a larger online community. Since there is a great intellectual and ethical distance between what you understand from television and what you learn on your own, the best way to reduce any risks I’d recommend that you, your family, and the authorities there in Kenya work with the authorities in South Korean universities on a one to one basis to ensure essential and basic needs and security. All of the above can be dealt with by careful attention to the conditions and to dialogue with authorities from the university where you will go. If one university does not seem to offer such guarantees then move on to the better place which can provide assurances. The online communities are another source for information as are students who are currently studying in South Korea. P2P or peer-to-peer review can help to keep those communities honest in their representation of the facts.

Here I will comment finally on your probable interest in the growth and prosperity in this small country and perhaps some of you will generate some wealth in South Korea after graduation. There are a few major ideas about its massive growth since the 1970’s, where before then, it was at the level, externally, of some of the countries near where you live, though Nairobi is developing quickly and not included as a least developed place. Some of the explanations for South Korea’s growth which I have heard during my time there are: • a miracle • a strong dictator who industrialized the country, though regrettably some Koreans had to be crushed such as in the rural sacrifice • high values are placed on education due to the culture going back to King Sejong • US support • neo-Confucian and religious totalitarian aspects which allows for the regimentation of all areas of life, including family and personal life. In my view, there is some form of truth to all of these and it depends on what sectors of society we are speaking of, whether of social democracy or of others such as corporate culture, nationalist culture, and so on. I tend to think the development was from the confluence of some strong factors in Korean culture, primarily high values on education and the neo-Confucian large-scale regimentation of life and applied to industrialization. This drove the largely rural populace into the cities and factories for a manufacturing, export oriented economy. In addition, there was crucial financial and military backing from the US due to Korean’s geo-strategic location. With the US absorbing Korean export goods the country was able to stabilize until an internal Korean consumer culture could also emerge. Major democratic uprisings came later and helped to move the country towards a parliamentary system, a great achievement; and that has not been too long ago.

Economically, South Korea is diversifying, where China is the major importer for Korean goods today, while the US is second, and there are plans for more interaction with the countries on the African Continent, which is perhaps some of the underlying background on why you are seeing opportunities arise. There are also some serious issues emerging rapidly for South Korea in the near future; one major issue being the aging population and low birth rates. Birth rates are approximately 1.2-1.6 per woman and it does not seem that an increase will occur since young families have home economic concerns. In fact, there is an acronym for these families DINK (double-income, no kids.). It is also likely too late to make many changes in demographics due to time constraints. This demographic problem is leading to three conditions: one is the decline in workers for manufacturing; the second is a decline in farmers, and the third is the need for an increase in public benefits to citizens who are entering into lower productive years. In my view, these points are serious concerns, however, there is another looming concern which is the need to move the entire system into the approaching third industrial revolution of which you perhaps have heard of the P2P collaborative economy. Already, countries like Germany and France are gearing up for it, for example, the Orange Corporation (France) funded a large study on P2P and the collaborative economy, and Germany and China are putting in a collaborative, renewable power grid. The country of Ecuador is trying to skip heavy manufacturing and go from resource extraction to the P2P knowledge economy. As I have pointed out, there is much good in South Korea, and much to learn. The country has a lot to offer aspiring students who are pursuing knowledge and who seek to contribute to global society in the future. And, I say this so long as the conditions of study, room/board, and stipends are clear from the beginning, and there is a support group of other students and adults with which you can interact. There should be proper preparations for foreigners to live which includes a number of easily foreseeable needs, and would require investment at all levels from community up to national. Instead of focusing on merely getting foreigners into the country to increase its global stature, the country should focus on creating the conditions for students and others to thrive. If those conditions are met, it would indeed be possible to both pursue your dreams and to contribute to friendship and true globalism between Kenya, the Continent of Africa, and the Land of the Morning Calm.

Best wishes, -from Helsinki, October 2014, Layne Hartsell, Professor, Sookmyung Women’s University Fellow at P2P Foundation and the Asia Institute

Press Statement on the Escalating Violence in Gaza Strip

Jul 14, 2014

Child victim

CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development is gravely concerned over the more than six-day long Israeli offensive against Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip that has killed more than 160 people, most of whom are civilians including children. Besides, the military offensive has caused a power outage to some 70,000 Gaza civilians. Israel’s talk of a possible ground invasion of Gaza and bombardment of the area, as reported by the media, despite international calls for a cease-fire, is distressing. Thousands of troops have reportedly massed along the border in recent days. Consequently, some 17,000 thousands of Palestinian residents of the northern Gaza Strip fled their homes.

On the other side the counter attack of Hamas escalated the situation in Gaza region. Both the groups fighting against each other and killing the innocents including the children is not acceptable. The new escalation of horrific violence has engulfed the daily lives of Israelis and Palestinian civilians. Both Palestinians and Israelis have a fundamental right to live in security and without fear. In this connection we are reminded of the words of wisdom that Pope Francis uttered in St. Peter’s square while reciting the Angelus Prayer on last Sunday and called on the faithful to pray: “Now, Lord, help us! Grant us peace, teach us peace, guide us toward peace.” “Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say: “Never again war!” “Everything is destroyed by war.”

Affirming Pope Francis’ quest for peace, and reiterating that collective retribution is not justice, nor will it lead to peace, we appeal to both the governments to immediately halt the military aggression in the Gaza strip and to bring about a just peace which will benefit both Palestine and Israel, peace that will save lives of Israelis and Palestinians and their families from grief. CBCI Office for justice, peace and development appeals to Christian faithful and the people of good will to devoutly and earnestly pray for lasting peace in the Holy Land.

Yours truly, Rev Dr. Charles Irudayam, Secretary, CBCI-JPD Office, New Delhi


Special Report
By Miriam Rose
Apr 9, 2014

The demonstration in London

•Groundbreaking report Copper Colonialism: Vedanta KCM and the copper loot of Zambia, which has shaken Zambia, is formally launched in London. •Protests outside the Zambian High Commission and Vedanta Headquarters in London demand that KCM annual reports are made public, and compensation paid to communities poisoned by polluted water. •Vedanta have told Zambian government they are making a loss and may need state rescue, while report reveals they made $362 million in 2013. •Vedanta may be going private as boss Agarwal becomes 70% owner and share prices fall.

Today more than 40 protesters from Foil Vedanta(1), the Afrikan diaspora(2) and other organisations in London will chanted, played drums and held banners and placards outside the Zambia High Commission in London. They demanded that some of the revelations in Foil Vedanta's groundbreaking report Copper Colonialism: Vedanta KCM and the copper loot of Zambia(3), launched in London on Wednesday 2nd April, are addressed by Vedanta and the UK government - asking them to formally investigate the company, and criticising the involvement of the Department for International Development (DfID) in promoting their Zambian operations. Meanwhile Vedanta may be about to de-list from the London Stock Exchange as Chair Anil Agarwal becomes the 70% owner by buying up shares in the suffering company.

Protesters at the Zambian High Commission today held a banner reading 'Vedanta plunders, Zambia bleeds' and placards asking the UK government to bring Anil Agarwal to trail. Loud and rhythmic drums and megaphone chants echoed in the streets during the vibrant demonstration. A delegation met the Deputy High Commissioner and handed over a copy of the report in the presence of Zambian TV and diplomats. The delegation pledged to assist the Zambian government in monitoring Vedanta and making links with its operations in other parts of the world to understand its pattern of operation. The protesters demanded that the UK government formally investigate, and bring to trial, contentious FTSE 250 mining company Vedanta for tax evasion, transfer mis-pricing, major poisoning of water supplies leading to birth deformities, and poor workers conditions. They highlighted the role of UK taxpayers bodies - the Commonwealth Development Committee (CDC) and the DfID, in promoting Vedanta's subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia.(4) They also called for Vedanta and the Zambian government to release Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)'s annual reports, containing figures on profits and tax payment, which are currently kept secret.

Members of the Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe and the Global Justice Forum will attend the demonstration alongside other groups

The authors of the groundbreaking report visited Zambia in December, and challenged a number of major misconceptions about Vedanta in Zambia, where they had created the perception that they are an Indian company, and are making such a loss at KCM that they may need to be rescued by the state. In fact KCM are one of the highest profit making subsidiaries of the parent company making $362 million in 2013, or 12.19% of the total company revenue, according to the company's own documents and analyst reports.(5) Vedanta's tax contributions in Zambia are close to zero, and they even brag that 50% of tax paid is via employees Pay As You Earn (PAYE). Since the report was published online in late January, Vedanta executives have visited Zambia more than four times to counteract the evidence presented in it1. However, as of yet no evidence has been presented by Vedanta to dispute the figures and other claims presented in the report.

The report details how Vedanta, a FTSE 250 London based company which is 69.71% owned by Chairman Anil Agarwal, bought KCM for a fraction of its true value, possibly losing the Zambian exchequer up to $1.4bn in total.(6) It goes on to record some of the environmental and social abuses of the company in Zambia – including major pollution of the river Kafue in 2006 and 2010 which have led to ongoing health problems as extreme as deformed births and miscarriages, as well as poor workers conditions and low pay. Demonstrators also demand that Vedanta is forced to pay the fine of $2 million served by Zambian courts in 2011 as compensation to 2000 claimants poisoned in 2006, and stop ongoing spills affecting Chingola residents.(7) Finally, they join the calls of KCM employees and former employees in Zambia, demanding that retrenched workers are properly compensated for taking redundancy, and existing contract labourers are unionised. Following the visit of new Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese in February, newspapers reported that Vedanta has come to an agreement with the labour minister that retrenchments would be stopped and casual labourers unionised2. Protesters in London will demand that this promise is fulfilled.

Foil Vedanta's Samarendra Das says: “There is a clear pattern in the way this company operates across India and in Africa - building projects without permissions, evading tax, de-unionising and illegal mining. They have also been found guilty of gross negligence leading to mass fatalities and major pollution incidents. The UK government and the FCA must formally investigate and bring to trial this company which is bringing shame on the London Stock Exchange, and take serious action against it.”

Vedanta's share price dropped by a third during 2013, prompting Chairman and majority owner Anil Agarwal to raise his stake in the company to 69.71% to keep the company afloat, and raising questions about whether Vedanta will soon de-list and become a private company. The loss of earnings was largely due to illegalities and local protests at Vedanta's operations in India. In Goa, Vedanta's iron ore mines have been stopped for the past year following revelations that they had exported 150 million tonnes of iron ore in 2010/11 while only declaring 7.6 million, their agreed export allowance. In Odisha, their Niyamgiri mine has been banned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests due to local opposition, costing them $10 billion in lost investments, and in Australia their Mount Lyell copper mine has been suspended following a series of fatal accidents3.

Francis Wambuzi, Chair of the Former KCM Miners Association(8) and resident of Wusakile township, located beside KCM's Kitwe smelter says: “KCM workers are being over taxed and under paid, and Vedanta has shifted the majority of workers onto contractual labour who's union they do not recognise. Those who were retrenched from KCM this year as part of cutbacks have received peanuts in redundancy pay, just like the rest of the 752 retrenched workers in our group. Their factory chokes us with sulphur and we can't even grow crops. Is this development?

We demand that Anil Agarwal answers our question: who is with-holding our severance benefits?” 100 workers staged a lock in on 17th March, refusing to come out of Shaft no 1 at KCM's Chililabombwe mine because meals for overtime workers had been stopped by KCM management.
Jul 2013-Mar 2014
Jan 2011-Jun 2013