By Dialogo September 12, 2012 A guerrilla abandoned the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the company of an Ecuadorean citizen who had been kidnapped in southern Colombia in 2010, and after four hours they managed to reach a Colombian Navy garrison, informed a Military report on September 10. According to the report, the ELN guerrilla took off on the morning of September 9, in the company of Orlando Ibarra, an Ecuadorean citizen kidnapped on August 2, 2010, and kept in a rural area of the Samaniego municipality, in the southern Colombian department of Nariño. In brief remarks to reporters on September 10, Ibarra said that one of his captors offered to help him escape, but initially he did not believe him. “He said to me, “Do you want to escape?” I said to him, “Don’t tease me”. And he told me that he wanted to help me do it (escape), and I said, “Let’s do it,” specified the former hostage. Ibarra, who has worked as a company administrator for 39 years, had been kidnapped in his office in the Colombian city of Ipiales (Nariño, which borders Ecuador), where he lived for 10 years. According to the report, after the escape, the kidnapper and his hostage walked for four hours until they contacted soldiers in Colombia’s Naval Forces 4th Marine Brigade. Immediately, the country’s Army deployed troops and aircraft to secure the area and remove the insurgent and his former hostage from the area. The Military report finally pointed out that Ibarra would be transferred to Bogotá on September 17, to be handed over to his family. The ELN is Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, with some 2,500 men in arms, according to figures from the Ministry of Defense.
“This is an absurd safety risk.” Topics : ‘Let them fine me’ Others fear the economic impact if a child falls ill. “If we have to confine ourselves at home for 15 days because of the school, my husband would not earn anything,” Miranda said.The social security ministry has raised the possibility of extending a furlough scheme for parents forced to observe a period of preventative quarantine.But reluctant families could technically face much heavier sanctions of “between one and three years in jail”, the Madrid region’s education chief warned last month.It remains unclear to what extent the authorities will follow the letter of the law.”That is the question everyone is asking now,” said Pedro Caballero, head of a Catholic parents’ association looking into the situation, which is fraught with legal uncertainties.The education minister has also requested a study on the use of sanctions, without ruling them out. “I must remind families that education is a human right for pupils, not for their parents. And the authorities are obliged to see this is respected between the ages of six and 16,” she told El Pais newspaper.Miranda is not deterred.”If they want to come to my home to fine me, then they fine me, my children are what is most important to me,” she said. ‘Risk-free doesn’t exist’ For weeks now, there have been a growing number of protests and petitions across Spain to demand better health and safety measures in schools. An international Ipsos poll in July found most Spanish parents would back limiting the number of days children are in school, with one in four preferring to wait four to six months before sending them back.In the face of the concerns, the authorities have swung between assurances of safety and threats of sanctions. “Going back to school is safe,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Tuesday.”It’s clear that ‘risk-free’ does not exist during an epidemic but there is a risk that we can avoid: that of social exclusion through not going to school.”Fernando Simon, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator, said nowhere was risk-free and that children could catch the virus in the park, from their cousins or through an adult who caught it at work. “We can’t keep our children in a bubble,” he said, in remarks echoed this weekend by Education Minister Isabel Celaa.”The safest place to be is in school and the benefits of being there are far greater than the possible risks,” she told Spain’s RNE public radio.Many fear sending their children to school will put older family members at risk in a country where one in four families live with a relative who is over 65.”I want to respect the law but if I have to choose between saving their lives or the lives of my parents, and sending my children back to school, it’s a no-brainer,” father-of-five Pablo Sanchez told AFP. With coronavirus cases surging as a new school year begins, many Spanish parents are refusing to send their children back to class despite the threat of sanctions.”You have your whole life to learn, but if you lose your health, that’s it,” says Aroa Miranda, a 37-year-old mother-of-two who won’t send her boys to school this week when term resumes in the coastal town of Castellon de la Plana.Like its European neighbors, Spain is reopening schools this month despite the rapid spread of the virus, with the country counting the highest number of new infections on the continent. “Going back to school is being treated like an experiment, we’re like guinea pigs,” said Miranda, who is about to take her three-year-old off the nursery school list, which is voluntary at his age.”For my eight-year-old, I will pretend he’s ill so I don’t have to send him to school.”Although masks are obligatory in school for anyone aged six and over and social distancing measures have been put in place, she doesn’t think it’s enough. “If I can’t meet with more than 10 people in my home, I don’t understand why my son has to be in class with 25 children,” she railed.
The Leading Edge 9 September 2015If you want to be well informed about Ted Dawe’s controversial book Into the River, I wouldn’t recommend relying on the mainstream media coverage about it.Firstly, despite what most media outlets are reporting, the book has not been banned, it has simply been placed under a temporary interim restriction order while the legal issues around its classification are resolved.If you are relying on mainstream media coverage for information about this incident, you would be forgiven for wrongly believing that New Zealand has fallen prey to some form of Orwellian dystopian state that is about to start burning books in a frenzied attempt to destroy artistic freedom of expression.You would also be forgiven for not being aware of the fact that one of the serious issues currently under investigation in relation to Into the River is whether the Chief Censor actually broke the law by removing its classification and making the book available without restriction in New Zealand.In fact, most people seem to be completely unaware of what this incident is actually all about.A lot of people I have seen commenting on this matter don’t seem to understand that the book originally had an R14 rating due to it’s content, and that the problems arose when the Chief Censor removed this rating from the book, meaning that it could legally be made available to a child of any age in New Zealand.http://theleadingedgeblog.com/into-the-river/Author Ted Dawe defends his controversial teen novel Into the RiverStuff co.nz 20 September 2015Auckland author Ted Dawe is deep in controversy, but he refuses to be sunk by censorship.Christian lobby group Family First applied for a R18 classification after Into the River won the Book of the Year at the Children’s Book Awards 2013.The book flipped between a “M” and R14 rating during the ongoing row over restricted status.Family First director Bob McCoskrie said although they would prefer the R18 rating, they have sent a submission calling for a R14 restriction.“We certainly don’t think it should be a free-for-all for primary aged children,” he said.The conservative group were concerned by the adult themes, sexually explicit content and bad language.“It’s not just about this particular book, but the benchmark the censorship office is setting in what’s appropriate.”There were plenty of great authors who told stories without offending and insulting people, he said.McCoskrie said he was not concerned the interim ban had brought worldwide attention to the teen novel.“When people read the book they will agree with our concerns. Everybody just needs to hold their breathe and in a few weeks it will be solved.”http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/72187037/author-ted-dawe-defends-his-controversial-teen-novel-into-the-river
Oil spill off the coast of Venezuela Non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in Venezuela have blamed the state owned oil company Petrotrin for the presence of crude oil residue found on the shores of the tourist island, Margarita.According to a local environmental group – Papa Bois Conservation – while authorities have not yet officially tested the oil found in Margarita, there are suggestions that it came from the Pointe-Pierre Refinery of the Petrotrin Company.“These are pictures from Venezuela showing how bad it is. Reports are that beaches in Margarita and further afield have been affected and Venezuelan social media is holding Trinidad & Tobago accountable.”Meanwhile, Venezuelan media reports say Venezuela’s Prosecution Office has launched an investigation.“The Venezuelan Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) reported today that it is investigating the environmental damages suffered by the country’s eastern coast following the oil spill from the Pointe-Pierre refinery of the Petrotrin company of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.“It says authorities have asked Petrotrin and the Ministry of energy and Energy Industries “to make reports to assess the damages and the cost of sanitation”.Last month, Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Franklin Khan said an investigation will be launched into the circumstances surrounding an oil spill which, according to Petrotrin, resulted in an estimated 300 barrels of oil escaping from a ruptured storage tank into the seas.U.S. partners with Guyana on oil spill measures