brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

June 27, 2016


Filed under: canada,cascadia,culture,geography,government,intra-national,usa — Tags: — admin @ 8:19 am


As measured only by the combination of present Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia statistics, Cascadia would be home to slightly more than 15 million people (15,105,870), and would have an economy generating more than US$675 billion worth of goods and services annually. This number would increase if portions of Northern California, Idaho, and Southern Alaska were also included. By land area Cascadia would be the 20th largest country in the world, with a land area of 534,572 sq mi (1,384,588 km2), placing it behind Mongolia. Its population would be similar in size to that of Ecuador, Guatemala, or Zambia.

June 21, 2016

Global forced displacement hits record high

UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.

Wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at any time since UNHCR records began, according to a new report released today by the UN Refugee Agency.

The report, entitled Global Trends, noted that on average 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.

The detailed study, which tracks forced displacement worldwide based on data from governments, partner agencies and UNHCR’s own reporting, found a total 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million just 12 months earlier.

“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year. On land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders.”

It is the first time in the organization’s history that the threshold of 60 million has been crossed.

“More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year; on land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders. Closing borders does not solve the problem.”

Grandi said that politics was also standing in the way of those seeking asylum in some countries.

“The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today, and it’s this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail,” he declared.

The report found that, measured against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.

The tally is greater than the population of the United Kingdom – or of Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined.

To put it in perspective, the tally is greater than the population of the United Kingdom – or of Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. It is made up of 3.2 million people in industrialized countries who, at the end of 2015, were awaiting decisions on asylum – the largest total UNHCR has ever recorded.

Also in the tally are a record 40.8 million people who had been forced to flee their homes but were within the confines of their own countries, another record for the UN Refugee Agency. And there are 21.3 million refugees.

Forced displacement has been on the rise since at least the mid-1990s in most regions, but over the past five years the rate has increased.

The reasons are threefold:

* conflicts that cause large refugee outflows, like Somalia and Afghanistan – now in their third and fourth decade respectively – are lasting longer; * dramatic new or reignited conflicts and situations of insecurity are occurring more frequently. While today’s largest is Syria, wars have broken out in the past five years in South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine and Central African Republic, while thousands more people have fled raging gang and other violence in Central America; * the rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people has been on a falling trend since the end of the Cold War, leaving a growing number in limbo.

“We’re stuck here. We can’t go on and we can’t go back,” said Hikmat, a Syrian farmer driven from his land by war, now living in tent outside a shopping centre in Lebanon with his wife and young children. “My children need to go to school, they need a future,” he added.

The study found that three countries produce half the world’s refugees. Syria at 4.9 million, Afghanistan at 2.7 million and Somalia at 1.1 million together accounted for more than half the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate worldwide. Colombia at 6.9 million, Syria at 6.6 million and Iraq at 4.4 million had the largest numbers of internally displaced people.

While the spotlight last year was on Europe’s challenge to manage more than 1 million refugees and migrants who arrived via the Mediterranean, the report shows that the vast majority of the world’s refugees were in developing countries in the global south.

In all, 86 per cent of the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in 2015 were in low- and middle-income countries close to situations of conflict. Worldwide, Turkey was the biggest host country, with 2.5 million refugees. With nearly one refugee for every five citizens, Lebanon hosted more refugees compared to its population than any other country.

Distressingly, children made up an astonishing 51 per cent of the world’s refugees in 2015, according to the data UNHCR was able to gather (complete demographic data was not available to the report authors). Many were separated from their parents or travelling alone.

May 24, 2014

Teci, Fiji

Filed under: culture,fiji,geography,global islands — admin @ 4:40 am

The villages of Teci (pronounced “Tethee”) and Dalomo, with a combined population of about 210, are situated on the eastern shore of Yasawa Island in the northwestern corner of the Fijian archipelago. The village of Teci is about a fifteen-minute walk from Dalomo, a ninety-minute walk from Bukama, and a two-and-a-half-hour walk from Nabukaru. To travel to the city of Lautoka, on the main island of Viti Levu, most villagers use a cargo ship that takes between one and two days and makes the rounds on a monthly schedule. (This ship sank in 2010 and has not been replaced.) Although it is possible to take a five-hour ferry from a point in the central part of the Yasawan archipelago, the transportation to the ferry and the ferry ride itself cost considerably more than traveling on the cargo ship. Villagers also sometimes use small motorboats to cross the Bligh Waters to Lautoka, though this sometimes results in disasters and disappearances. In the dry, deforested grasslands of this slender, twenty-two-kilometer-long island, economic life is based primarily on a combination of root-crop horticulture (yams and sweet manioc), littoral gathering (shellfish, mollusks), and fishing. Men bear the responsibility for clearing gardens (slashing and burning if necessary) and planting. Both men and women collect firewood, harvest agricultural products, and weed the gardens. Adults of both sexes and children also engage in littoral gathering, although women do more of this than men or children. Fishing is done principally by men, especially young men, and mainly involves free-dive spear-fishing. Older men, women, and boys use hook and line. Men also use nets to catch both fish and turtles. Women bear the primary responsibility for food preparation, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. Three main sociopolitical institutions govern village life: the traditional chiefly system, the government-instituted role of the Turaga ni koro, and the Christian churches. The most important of these institutions is the traditional system based on kinship, clans, and hereditary chiefs. Teci and Dalomo have five main mataqalis (pronounced “matangalees”), or clans, that together form a single yavusa. A yavusa is the largest territorial unit in the traditional Fijian system. Fijian villages often correspond, one to one, with a yavusa, with one chief per yavusa. However, Teci and Dalomo are part of the same yavusa, and there is a single chief for both villages. The chief lives in Teci, the older of the two villages. Leadership in each of the mataqalis is assigned primarily by age, gender, and descent, although skill and political acumen can also play a role. The head of the chiefly clan is officially installed as chief by one of the other mataqalis. The chief, together with the heads of the various mataqalis, makes decisions and deals with problems. At the time of our experiments, Teci’s previous chief had only recently died, and his heir (his older brother’s son) was still relatively young, so he had not yet been formally installed; nevertheless, he was still referred to as Tui Teci (Chief of Teci). At the time of our study, these villages were governed by a council of elders. Now integrated, and operating in parallel with the traditional system, is the democratically elected Turaga ni koro (Gentleman/Head of the Village), who acts as the representative of the Fijian national government. Both Teci and Dalomo have their own Turaga ni koro. The Turaga ni koro’s responsibilities are varied and include such tasks as dealing with visitors and keeping the village well-maintained. Though not an official part of their duties, the Dalomo Turaga ni koro operated the village radio-phone, and the family of Teci’s Turaga ni koro operated a village store that sold basic foodstuffs.1 In most matters we observed, the Turaga ni koro worked in concert with the council of elders and the chief, and all were seen as a unit. Layered across these institutions, and supported by Teci and Dalomo, are three different Christian religious sects—the Methodist, Evangelical Assemblies of God, and Seventh-Day Adventist Churches, in five separate congregations. These churches make numerous contributions to the villages, from organizing feasts to running youth groups. Fairness Without Punishment 227 Connections with the larger Fijian economy and municipal services are limited. There are no towns, and the only road on the island at the time of our visits was a dirt path that was used by an exclusive private resort near Bukama (the only resort on Yasawa Island).2 There are few opportunities for wage labor. At the time of our experiments, the resort employed three people from Teci and Dalomo. There are three primary schools on the island, including one in Teci. For education beyond the eighth grade, which many have not pursued, students must go to live either on the island of Naviti, in the center of the Yasawa group, or to Viti Levu. At the time of this research, there were three ways in which village families typically had access to market goods. First, several families maintained small supplies of flour, kava, yeast, sugar, salt, and other basic items, which they sold to their neighbors. Second, people traveled on the cargo ship—which came to Teci once a month during this period—to sell crabs, coconuts, mats, and other products in Lautoka and resupply on items like cooking oil and kerosene. Third, the private resort maintained a small shop where basic necessities could be purchased. Villagers did not make frequent use of this shop, owing to its high prices. All residents of Teci and Dalomo over about age six speak both Teci (the local dialect) and Standard Fijian (developed from the Bauan dialect). The two dialects are mutually unintelligible. A few people also speak some English. Although English is officially taught in schools, only a few of the older schoolchildren had learned more than a few phrases. More extensive details on life in these Yasawan villages can be found in the supplemental materials of Henrich and Henrich (2010).

Tutashinde Mbili Shaka! (Together we can win!)

September 25, 2013

New Island

Filed under: disaster,geography,global islands,pakistan — admin @ 8:11 am

At least 238 people died in a mountainous region of southwest Pakistan on Tuesday, when a powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck there. The earthquake struck in Pakistan’s Balochistan region, its largest but least populated province. The quake was felt in the Indian capital Delhi, where some buildings shook. It caused a new island to rise from the sea, just off the Pakistan’s southern coast.

A new island, created in what one scientist called a “mud volcano,” has risen from the sea off the coast of Pakistan, following the September 24, 2013 earthquake there. Not surprisingly, people are already out walking on the new island.

Television stations in the region were the first to report a small, mountain-like island. It is about 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 meters) high, up to 300 feet wide and up to 120 feet long, it sits about 200 meters away from the coast. The new island is a “mud volcano.” It is apparently a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the sea surface following the earthquake.

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