brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

October 31, 2006

Belize barrier reef suffers, global warming blamed

Filed under: belize,global islands — admin @ 6:41 am

CAYE CAULKER, Belize, Oct 30 – A rainbow-hued parrot fish nibbles on a veined purple sea fan in the tranquil waters of Belize’s barrier reef, the largest in the western hemisphere.

But the fish stays well away from a large patch of dying coral, a white skeleton amid the bright colors of spectacular ocean life along the coast.

Much of the 200 miles (320 km) of Belize’s coral reef has been “bleached” in the last decade and some scientists warn it is likely to die, a victim of global warming.

Reefs around the world are in peril with people damaging the delicate ecosystems and endangering some 1 million species of animals and plants that call the coral home.

Scientists estimate over 27 percent of the world’s coral has been permanently lost and at current rates of destruction, another 30 percent will disappear over the next three decades.

Reefs across the Caribbean have been hit particularly hard, making them vulnerable to deadly diseases.

Greenhouse gas emissions raise the sea surface temperature and increase the acidity of the ocean, hurting the reef, said Melanie McField from the World Wildlife Fund in Belize City, and the damage is almost impossible to control.

“Other effects of development like pollution and over-fishing are caused by locals and can be mitigated. But with bleaching nothing is off limits,” she said.

Belize lost nearly half of its reef, a World Heritage Site, in 1998 when global warming and the “El Nino” weather phenomenon combined to cause the highest sea temperatures ever recorded worldwide.

Experts say 16 percent of the world’s coral was wiped out that year and the damage was made even worse off this Central American nation by Hurricane Mitch, which ravaged the reef with huge waves and covered it with silt and sand.

In July, environmental organizations petitioned the World Heritage Committee to sanction big polluters for harming reefs in Belize and Australia and speeding the melting of glacier parks in Nepal, Peru and the Rockies.

The United States fought the measure and the U.N. body put off labeling the sites as endangered, a title usually reserved for monuments threatened by wars.

The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force gathered in St. Thomas last week, focusing on management challenges for reefs in the eastern Caribbean.


Reefs, often called the rainforests of the ocean, are home to over a quarter of all marine life in the world, even though they cover less than one percent of the ocean floor.

In Belize, a dip of a snorkel mask into the crystal clear water reveals black and yellow striped angel fish, spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks and sea turtles all bobbing along in the mild current.

Found in tropical and subtropical oceans, the reefs depend on algae called zooxanthellae to give them nutrients and brilliant color.

“Even a slight increase in water temperature disrupts the relationship between the coral animal and the algae,” said Richard Aronson a marine scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama.

“The coral actually pukes out 90 or 95 percent of the algae and those that are left are ill,” said Aronson, who studies the bleaching of coral reefs worldwide. With no algae to sustain them, the coral basically starves to death, he said.

The coral can recover by taking up new algae from the surrounding water but if temperatures stay high and the coral stays “stressed”, it can become vulnerable to disease and die.

“It’s like a boxing match,” say McField. “You can get hit by one big pow that knocks you out or you can be punched over and over again until you go down.”


Tiny islands, like the cayes of Belize, suffer the brunt of global climate change, said Kenrick Leslie the director of a regional climate monitoring center in Belize’s capital, Belmopan.

“The United States contributes more than 25 percent of the greenhouses gases in the world while Caribbean islands produced altogether less than 0.1 percent. But we are suffering the major impacts,” said Leslie.

Many islands like the idyllic Caye Caulker, a sliver of sand just four and a half miles (7.5 km) long and 40 minutes by boat taxi from Belize City through a floating mangrove forest, are completely dependent on tourism for survival.

On Caye Caulker, motorized golf carts circle its three sandy streets lined with clapboard guest houses and lobster restaurants.

Tor Bjuland, a brawny blonde medical student, traveled for almost two days from his home in Norway to snorkel here and see a school of electric blue hamlets swim by or a spotted moray eel peak its head out of a crevasse.

“In Norway, it used to snow all year round, which is good for skiing. Now the snow melts early and we have to find somewhere else to go on vacation,” he said, pointing out global warming’s perils for both arctic and tropical climates.

Close to a third of Belize’s 230,000 tourists last year visited the Hol Chan Marine reserve, a coral reef park near the cayes. Income from fishing and travelers is a lifeline for poor residents.

“If the coral disappears, we’ll have to see what else we can do,” said Carlos Ayala a 40-year-old guide with his own boat and tour company who has taught groups about the reef wildlife for 15 years. “It’s hard to imagine.”

Kenya: Uproar of Exam Leak Scandal

Filed under: global islands,kenya — admin @ 6:33 am


Faced with glaring evidence of massive Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination leakage, top officials of the examining body returned to their offices on a weekend to re-assure furious parents and teachers that the exam was still credible.

There were angry reactions from across the country, with all stakeholders calling for the overhaul of the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC).

And police in Kilifi, the epicentre of the leakage, moved swiftly and arrested 10 people, including a secondary school principal and five candidates suspected of playing a key role in the exams leakage scandal .

Deputy officer commanding Kilifi police division, Mr Nehemia Lang’at, confirmed his officers had arrested the principal and the candidates from the same school.

Reporters bought English and Physics papers

Lang’at said the police were also holding a manager and three employees of a local bureau in Kilifi, where some papers of the leaked examinations were impounded.

In a faxed statement KNEC Secretary Mr Paul M Wasanga said police, the Ministry of Education and KNEC had commenced investigations and the culprits, if convicted, would face imprisonment, fines or both.

“We wish to inform the public that any person who gains access to the examinations material and knowingly reveals the contents, whether orally or in writing shall be guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment or fine or both”, said Wasanga.

KNEC did not deny exclusive reports by our sister publication,The Saturday Standard, in which we detailed how a cartel of greedy people was selling KCSE examinations papers at prices ranging between Sh5,000 and Sh15,000.

Our reporters bought English and Physics examination papers hours before they were given to the candidates. They were assured that they could get any other paper so long as they had the money.

Papers have been on sale since exams started

Wasanga did not explain how the examination papers had been sneaked out of the 567 strong rooms countrywide, which are guarded around the clock.

The examinations, we established, are usually leaked long before they are distributed to the countryside. Sources indicate that the examinations are usually leaked by examiners during the proofreading stage.

Although Wasanga said the leaked examination papers were sold on Thursday, our investigations reveal that the KCSE papers have been on sale since the exams started.

Lang’at said the arrest of the 10 people and the ongoing crackdown would assist police to arrest all suspects behind the circulation and selling of the examination papers.

He said police officers on Friday stormed the secondary school and carried checks on the students who were sitting the chemistry theory paper.

The officers found one student had a paper with hand written answers .

Another student was arrested after he attempted to swallow a paper which also had answers for the same paper.

October 29, 2006

12 killed, 2,000 hurt as violence hits country

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands — admin @ 7:37 am

At least 12 people were killed and about 2,000 wounded, many by bullets, as activists of outgoing BNP-led four-party coalition government and Awami League-led 14-party opposition combine clashed in an escalation of violence across the country yesterday.

Reports came that seven were killed while over 1,400 injured in clashes between the activists of the two alliances at different places outside the capital. Five were killed in Dhaka.

The political activists vandalised and set fire to offices and houses of rivals as they came out on streets with vengeful programmes a few hours after curtain fell on the coalition government.

Local administrations imposed section 144 on political gatherings in different parts of the country to check violence, but the political activists carried on with their programmes defying the ban.

The dead include two activists of Awami League (AL) and Jubo League killed in Kushtia and Meherpur, a Jamaat-e-Islami member in Magura, an Islami Chhatra Shibir leader in Kurigram, and three BNP men in Narsingdi and Bagerhat.

October 28, 2006

Recent Films Studied

Filed under: art,Film,General — admin @ 9:45 am

Whale Rider • Bladerunner • Bicycle Thief • Until the End of the World • Wings of Desire • Blue Velvet • Pulp Fiction • Rear Window •
L-Avventura • The Machinist • Shadow Magic • American Splendor • Lolita • Vertigo • A Story of Floating Weeds • La Strada: Special
Edition • Fitzcarraldo • Umberto D. • Aquirre: The Wrath of God • Open City • Gummo • Even Dwarfs Started Small • Ossessione • Rocco
& His Brothers • La Terra Trema • Crazed Fruit • Tony Takitani • Lessons of Darkness • Wheel of Time • Grizzly Man • The Flowers of St
Francis • Knife in the Water • Le Notti Bianche • Why Does Herr R. Run Amok • Chinese Roulette • Favela Rising • Cobra Verde • Control
Room • The Trial • Heart of Glass • Rollerball • The Pornographers • The Thomas Crown Affair • In the Heat of the Night • NIghts of
Cabiria • Touch of Evil • Derrida • Basquiat • Pollock • Ali: Fears Eats the Soul • Bombay • Mother India • Voices of Iraq • Andrei
Rublev • The Third Man • The Killers • Red Beard • Chinatown • On the Waterfront • Sholay • Ran • Pyaasa • The Life of Birds • Dev •
Miss India • Twin Peaks • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas • Naach • Sarkar • Maya • The Motorcycle Diaries • Bold • Born into Brothels
• Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi • Anand • A Passage to India • Taxi Driver • The Terrorist • India: Kingdom of the Tiger • Yasujiro Ozu’s Good
Morning • How to Draw a Bunny • Salaam Bombay • Nayagan: Tamil • Veer-Zaara • Gandhi • Foxy Brown • Visions of LIght • Arakimentari • Rashomon • Blood of a Poet • Inch’ Allah Dimanche • A Soul Haunted by Painting • I Dreamed of Africa • A Panther in Africa: POV • Mama
Africa • Africa: The Serengeti • Out of Africa • Africa Blood and Guts • The American Friend • National Geographic: Africa • Run Lola
Run • Hidden Fortress • Breathless • La Dolce Vita • The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia • Children of Paradise
• Lost Boys of Sudan • La Notte • Tokyo Story • L’Eclisse • Lolita • Citizen Kane • Battleship Potemkin • Man with the Movie Camera •
Legend of 1900 • L’Avventura • La Belle Noiseuse • Nowhere in Africa • 8-1/2 • The Battle of Algiers • The Idiot • The Bad Sleep Well •
Pi: Faith in Chaos • Ikiru • Eraserhead • M • City of God • Hotel Rwanda •

Minnesota declaration: truth and fact in documentary cinema

Filed under: art,Film,General — admin @ 9:23 am


1. By dint of declaration the so-called Cinema Verité is devoid of verité. It reaches a merely superficial truth, the truth of accountants.

2. One well-known representative of Cinema Verité declared publicly that truth can be easily found by taking a camera and trying to be honest. He resembles the night watchman at the Supreme Court who resents the amount of written law and legal procedures. “For me,” he says, “there should be only one single law: the bad guys should go to jail.” Unfortunately, he is part right, for most of the many, much of the time.

3. Cinema Verité confounds fact and truth, and thus plows only stones. And yet, facts sometimes have a strange and bizarre power that makes their inherent truth seem unbelievable.

4. Fact creates norms, and truth illumination.

5. There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.

6. Filmmakers of Cinema Verité resemble tourists who take pictures amid ancient ruins of facts.

7. Tourism is sin, and travel on foot virtue.

8. Each year at springtime scores of people on snowmobiles crash through the melting ice on the lakes of Minnesota and drown. Pressure is mounting on the new governor to pass a protective law. He, the former wrestler and bodyguard, has the only sage answer to this: “You can´t legislate stupidity.”

9. The gauntlet is hereby thrown down.

10. The moon is dull. Mother Nature doesn´t call, doesn´t speak to you, although a glacier eventually farts. And don´t you listen to the Song of Life.

11. We ought to be grateful that the Universe out there knows no smile.

12. Life in the oceans must be sheer hell. A vast, merciless hell of permanent and immediate danger. So much of a hell that during evolution some species – including man – crawled, fled onto some small continents of solid land, where the Lessons of Darkness continue.

Minneapolis, Minnesota April 30, 1999
Werner Herzog

October 27, 2006

Four Rameswaram fishermen missing

Filed under: global islands,india — admin @ 6:53 am

Rameswaram, Oct 26: Four fishermen who had ventured into the sea from here, despite the rough weather yesterday, have not returned, Additional Director of Fisheries Velpandian said today.

In a complaint lodged with the Fisheries department by the kin of the missing persons, they had gone in a mechanised boat along with nearly 2,000 fishermen in 589 boats. Others, however, returned late last night or early this morning.

Velpandian said the sea was rough throughout the night and added Coast Guard personnel have been asked to search for the missing fishermen, Jerome, Selvam, Syed and Ryon.

Heavy rains lashed Ramanathapuram district for the second night yesterday with Ramanathapuram town recording 96.7 mm rain, Mandapam 66 mm, Rameswarm 45.3, Thangachimadam 23 mm and Pamban 20.9.

Officials said traffic on the Rameswaram highway was paralysed as the rainwater inundated the road. Water was flowing two feet above the road near Paramakudi town last night. Most parts of Paramakudi town were flooded, they added.

Ramanathapuram had received a record rainfall of 280 mm on Wednesday night.

Bridge over Moheshkhali channel opens

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands — admin @ 6:49 am

Oct 21: The long-cherished bridge constructed over the Moheshkhali channel in the district was inaugurated today.
The Roads and Highways Department constructed the two lane Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Bir Uttam bridge at a cost of Taka 27.4 crore.
The bridge is 347 meter long and 7.32 meter wide with eight spans and seven pillars.
Construction of the bridge has fulfilled the dream of thousands of islanders of Moheshkhali that was detached from the mainland for a natural channel for hundreds of years.
From now on Moheshkhali people will be able to go anywhere in the country directly by road.
State Minister for Communication Salahuddin Ahmed inaugurated the bridge. Alamgir Muhammad Mahfujullah Farid, MP, and local leaders were present.
Salahuddin said the four-party alliance government fulfilled the dream of the people of Moheshkhali and Cox’s Bazar through constructing the bridge.
The bridge will bring dynamism to trade and the economic activities of Moheshkhali, an island upazila, which is famous for the production of shrimp, salt and battle leaf.

October 25, 2006

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands,india — admin @ 7:08 am

20 cm rainfall in Mandapam

Filed under: global islands,india — admin @ 7:06 am

Rameswaram, Oct. 24 : Mandapam town in this district recorded a very heavy rainfall of 20 cm last night, flooding low lying fishing colonies in the coastal villages.

Rameswaram island also recorded a heavy rain of 12.2 cm.

The villages of fishermen in the island were inundated and scores of huts were damaged in the floods. Thangachimadam and Pamban recorded 9.7 cm and 9.6 cm rain.

Ramnad recorded 2.8 cm rain.

October 24, 2006

Many drown as Bangladesh ferry sinks

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands — admin @ 7:46 am

At least 15 people have died after a passenger ferry carrying dozens of Muslims travelling home for the Islamic festival of Eid sank in Bangladesh after colliding with a cargo vessel.

Four children and six women were among those who died after the small vessel sank in the Meghna river, about 40km southeast of the capital, Dhaka, officials said on Monday.

Witnesses said the ferry was carrying more than 100 people going home for Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.

Rescue workers are attempting find 35 other people who remain missing and also salvage the ferry which is about 20 metres under water.

“The ferry MV Baba Shahparan sank immediately after the collision,” an official of Bangladesh Water Transport Authority said.

‘Lax rules’

Half of those on board were either rescued or managed to swim to safety.

Ferry accidents, often blamed on lax rules and unsafe navigation, are common in the delta nation of 144 million people.

Last year, more than 300 people died in such incidents.

About 20,000 cargo and passenger vessels operate in the South Asian nation, about half of which fail to meet basic safety standards or illegally take on passengers, according to an independent study last year.

More than 2,000 designated ferries carry about 100,000 passengers a day across the country’s 7,000 km river routes, the study said.

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