UNODC: Trafficking in children on the increase

24 11 2014

UNODC: Trafficking in children on the increase


More than 2 billion people not adequately protected from human trafficking by their national legislation, says latest UNODC Report;

raises concern about low conviction rates


Vienna, 24 November 2014 – (UNODC) – The 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Personsreleased today in Vienna by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that one in three known victims of human trafficking is a child – a 5 per cent increase compared to the 2007-2010 period. Girls make up 2 out of every 3 child victims, and together with women, account for 70 per cent of overall trafficking victims worldwide.


“Unfortunately, the report shows there is no place in the world where children, women and men are safe from human trafficking,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov “Official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represent only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse.”


No country is immune – there are at least 152 countries of origin and 124 countries of destination affected by trafficking in persons, and over 510 trafficking flows criss-crossing the world. Trafficking mostly occurs within national borders or within the same region, with transcontinental trafficking mainly affecting rich countries.


In some regions – such as Africa and the Middle East – child trafficking is a major concern, with children constituting 62 per cent of victims.


Trafficking for forced labour – including in the manufacturing and construction sectors, domestic work and textile production – has also increased steadily in the past five years. About 35 per cent of the detected victims of trafficking for forced labour are female.


There are, however, regional variations: victims in Europe and Central Asia are mostly trafficked for sexual exploitation, whereas in East Asia and the Pacific forced labour drives the market. In the Americas, the two types are detected in almost equal measure.


Most trafficking flows are interregional, and more than 6 out of 10 victims have been trafficked across at least one national border. The vast majority of convicted traffickers – 72 per cent – are male and citizens of the country in which they operate.


The report highlights that impunity remains a serious problem: 40 per cent of countries recorded few or no convictions, and over the past 10 years there has been no discernible increase in the global criminal justice response to this crime, leaving a significant portion of the population vulnerable to offenders.


“Even if most countries criminalize trafficking, many people live in countries with laws which are not in compliance with international standards that would afford them full protection, such as the Trafficking in Persons Protocol.” Mr. Fedotov said.


“This needs to change,” added Mr. Fedotov. “Every country needs to adopt the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the protocol and commit themselves to the full implementation of their provisions.”



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Soyuz capsule blasted off for the International Space Station

24 11 2014

Crew blasts off for International Space Station


Russian capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, the United States and Italy has blasted off for the International Space Station.The Soyuz capsule roared into the pre-dawn darkness just after 3 am today (2100 GMT Sunday) from the Russian manned space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Aboard the capsule are Russian Anton Shkaplerov, NASA’s Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. The craft will dock with the space station about six hours after launch, where they will join three others already aboard.

Those include Russian Elana Serova, and Cristoforetti’s arrival will make it the second time in the station’s 16-year history that two women have been aboard on long-term missions.

Global gather

24 11 2014

Soyuz capsule blasted off for the International Space Station


Russian capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, the United States and Italy has blasted off for the International Space Station.The Soyuz capsule roared into the pre-dawn darkness just after 3 am today (2100 GMT Sunday) from the Russian manned space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Aboard the capsule are Russian Anton Shkaplerov, NASA’s Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. The craft will dock with the space station about six hours after launch, where they will join three others already aboard.

Those include Russian Elana Serova, and Cristoforetti’s arrival will make it the second time in the station’s 16-year history that two women have been aboard on long-term missions.

Suicide blast in Afghan

50 people were killed and 60 others wounded when a suicide blast ripped through crowds gathered to watch a volleyball game in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday.”The suicide attacker was on a motorcycle, he detonated himself in the middle of a volleyball match,” Attaullah Fazli, deputy governor of Paktika province, told a news agency.

“A lot of people including some provincial officials and the police chief were there. About 50 people have been killed, and 60 injured, a lot of them seriously.” The attack was in Yahya Khail district of Paktika, a volatile province bordering Pakistan.President Ashraf Ghani, who came to power in September, swiftly condemned the attack, according to his spokesman.There was no immediate response from the Taliban insurgents, who are responsible for many of the attacks across Afghanistan.Paktika was also struck by a massive suicide blast in July, when a bomber driving a truck packed with explosives killed at least 41 people at a busy market in Urgun district.
Today’s attack occurred on the same day that Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament approved agreements to allow about 12,500 NATO-led troops to stay on next year as the national army and police struggle to hold back the Taliban.US-led NATO combat operations will finish at the end of this year, but the Taliban have launched a series of recent offensives that have severely tested Afghan soldiers and police.

The new NATO mission – named Resolute Support – will focus on supporting the Afghan forces, in parallel with US counter-terrorism operations.

Georgia’s Tbilisi, most major cities loose power

Most of Georgia is suffering from power outage, Telasi an electricity distribution company of Tbilisi, told Ria. Much of the capital and most major cities and towns now have no electricity as the company is dealing with the emergency situation. Even the main TV tower has been cut off from the supply.

​Holland completes MH17 wreckage recovery

The last remains of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wreckage downed in Ukraine in July, have been delivered to the city of Kharkov, after a week-long operation to recover wreckage from the crash site. “A few parts of wreckage were too big for transport by train and arrived in Kharkov by truck,” the Dutch government announced. The wreckage will now be transported to the Netherlands for reconstruction as part of the probe into the cause of the accident that killed all 298 passengers and crew.

​Burkina Faso announces interim government

The Burkina Faso authorities have announced an interim government by decree on Sunday. According to it, the president Michel Kafando and prime-minister Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida will combine their posts with the posts of foreign affairs and defense ministers. A total of six ministries out of 26 will be under control of the military. They include mines, communications and the interior ministry. Former president Blaise Compaore was forced out of power by mass protests in October after 27 years in office.

​Extension of talks for Iran nuclear deal a possibility

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been discussing the possibility of extending negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program, a US official said, according to Reuters. The meeting in Vienna comes as the deadline for Tehran and the world powers to reach a deal is due to expire on Monday. “Our focus remains on taking steps forward toward an agreement, but it is only natural that just over 24 hours from the deadline we are discussing a range of options both internally and with our P5+1 partners (six powers),” a senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity, which was reported by media

Netanyahu warns France that recognizing Palestine would be ‘grave mistake’

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cautioned French parliamentarians against recognizing the Palestinian state in a vote scheduled for December 2. “The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognise the right to have a state for the Jewish people,” said the Likud politician in Jerusalem. The December vote is symbolic, but follows an official recognition of a Palestinian state from Sweden.

Tunisians head to polls in first democratic presidential elections

In a historic first since the 2011 revolution that ended the one-party rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians will have a democratic choice among a number of presidential contenders. Out of a field of some 30 candidates, Beji Caid Essebsi of the Nidaa Tounes secular party, and the current president, Moncef Marzouki, are leading in the polls. However, observers predict a tight race that could lead to a runoff election in December. Final results of the polling will be released in 48 hours.

​FM Lavrov travels to Vienna for Iran nuclear talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is arriving to Vienna on Sunday for talks concerning the future of Iran’s nuclear program, according to a government source speaking to Itar-Tass. The tense negotiations involving US and Iranian delegates will go on until a consensus is reached.

​Iran: final nuclear deal “impossible” by Nov 24

Iran says the deal on its nuclear program with six world powers “will be impossible” to reach by the previously agreed deadline, November 24, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported, citing an unnamed member of Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna. “The issue of extension of the talks is an option on the table and we will start discussing it if no deal is reached by Sunday night,” the person added. The talks, which have lasted for more than a year between Iran and the US, Russia, the UK, France, Germany and China, focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions – the country’s uranium enrichment capacity and the lifting of the sanctions pressed against Tehran over its nuclear program.

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry dies aged 78

Former four term District of Colombia Mayor Marion Barry has died at the age of 78 due to complications from diabetes and high blood pressure. First elected to the mayoral post in 1978, Barry had roots in the civil rights movement. His career, however, was overshadowed by a 1990 arrest after he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine. Although he decided to drop out of the mayoral race that year, he made a comeback in 1994, being elected to the post one more time and serving out a final four-year term. He was also successfully elected to the DC Council representing Ward 8 in 2004, although he continued to battle drug and tax charges through the remainder of his career.

​Train with MH17 wreckage heads to Kharkov

The train carrying the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines plane (MH17) has left eastern Ukrainian town of Torez, where it crashed in the Donetsk region on July 17, for the city of Kharkov. From there it will be heading to the Netherlands, RIA Novosti reports. The wreckage is being carried in 11 open carriages and one closed wagon (for smaller fragments).The staff from the Netherlands Security Council, Dutch police officers, OSCE experts and six members of the self-defense forces are escorting the train.

US to arm Sunni rebels in Iraq with AKs, RPGs, mortars

The US has decided to arm Sunni tribesmen in Iraq for the purpose of fighting Islamic State militants stationed in the Anbar province, Reuters reports. AK-47s, grenade launchers and mortar rounds have received Congressional approval for delivery. A total of $24.1 million will be spent as part of a much larger $1.6 billion effort proposed for the training and arming of the country’s armed forces, as well as elements of the Kurdish resistance. The Pentagon has underscored the importance of the strategy to Congress, as an essential step to stopping the onslaught of IS extremists.

​ISIS massacre 25 Sunnis in Anbar province

Islamic State militants have killed 25 members of a Sunni tribe during their assault on a village near Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s Anbar province. Local officials told Reuters that corpses of the men from the Albu Fahd tribe were found after the army launched a counter-offensive on Saturday against ISIS. Local tribal leaders fears more dead will be found as the bodies were scattered around with no signs of weapons next to them, suggesting they were not killed during fighting.

‘Big gaps’ remain in Iran nuclear negotiations – Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that there are still large areas of disagreement in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear capabilities take place as the deadline of November 24 approaches. “We’re working hard,” Kerry said ahead of a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Reuters reported. “We hope we’re making careful progress, but we have big gaps, we still have some serious gaps, which we’re working to close.” Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China began the final round of negotiations on a nuclear deal on Tuesday.

​550 Germans have joined ISIS – Berlin

At least 550 German citizens have joined Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told German television channel Phoenix. “We estimate 550. Just a few days ago we had 450,” he said,“These young people… were radicalized in Germany, within this society. That’s why prevention must be accompanied by suppression.” He added that most of them are men, but several women have also travelled to conflict zones.

Media agencies

Jharkhand and J-K and Poll

24 11 2014

Jharkhand polls

On Sunday ended in 13 Maoist-affected constituencies going to the polls on November 25 in the first phase of five-stage elections to the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly.Electioneering had picked up in Palamau, Gumla and Latehar districts between November 21 and November 23 with Prime Narendra Narendra Modi and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi canvassing for their respective candidates with the focal point being as to why Jharkhand remained backward and underdeveloped despite having abundant mineral resources.

Modi even compared the state with Australia having the same resources and population ratio, yet lagging far behind.

He also attacked JMM for dynastic rule in Jharkhand in a reference to JMM supremo Shibu Soren and his Chief Minister son Hemant Soren, while asking people to end “pariwarwad” (dynastic rule) and give the BJP an opportunity.

Responding to Modi’s barb, Hemant Soren sought to know why the PM had appointed Jayant Sinha in his Cabinet even though Sinha’s father Yashwant Sinha is a former Union Finance Minister.

Sonia Gandhi attacked Modi accusing BJP of being responsible for the underdevelopment as that party was in power in the state for 11 out of 14 years of the state’s existence.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi claimed the Centre was slowly shelving the programmes initiated by the previous UPA government.

RJD leader Lalu Prasad talked about social justice and communal harmony while his bete noire and Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav said Prasad was not even fit to contest village-level elections.

Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi claimed it was only his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) that could bring development to the state and do justice.

Stray incidents of violence took place during the campaigning as Maoists allegedly torched campaign vehicles in Chatra and Gumla districts, while two clashes erupted in Daltonganj.

Altogether 199 candidates are in the fray in the first phase of polling with BJP, Congress, JMM, JVM-P, RJD, JD(U), CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML-Liberation) and other regional parties fielding candidates.

Prominent candidates trying their luck are Jharkhand PCC leader Sukhdeo Bhagat (Lohardaga), former state Minister and now on bail in connection with a disproportionate assets case Kamlesh Singh (Hussainabad) and former Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari’s son Dilip Singh Namdhari from Daltonganj.

Namdhari is pitted against Congress candidate and state Minister K N Tripathi.

In Chhatarpur (SC) seat, BJP has fielded Radha Krishna Kishore with RJD nominating Manoj Kumar, while former Maoist and ex-MP Kameshwar Baitha is contesting on an SP ticket.

Former Jharkhand Minister Sudha Choudhary is in the fray from the seat on a JD(U) ticket.

RJD’s Jharkhand unit President and ex-Minister Girinath Singh is trying his luck from Garwha after being trounced in 2009 and is facing challenge from BJP’s Satyendra Nath Tiwari, who defeated Singh on the previous occasion.

Former MP Brajmohan Ram is contesting on a BJP ticket from Latehar(SC), while JVM-P has fielded ex-MLA Prakash Ram and JMM has nominated Mohan Ganju from the seat.

In Panki, Congress has fielded Bidesh Singh, who won as an independent in the previous election and is pitted against BJP’s Amit Kumar Tiwari and independent candidate Kushwaha Shashi Bhusan Mehta.

BJP has fielded its sitting MLA Harikrishna Singh from Manika (ST) seat with the JMM nominating Shilpa Kumar, Congress fielding Muneshwar Oraon and RJD giving ticket former MLA Ramchandra Singh.

For the Chatra (SC) Assembly segment, sitting MLA Janardan Paswan of RJD is pitted against former Minister Satyanand Bhokta of JVM-P, who quit BJP after being denied a ticket.

BJP has fielded Jay Prakash Singh Bhokta, while JMM has nominated Manorama Devi for the seat.

Congress has fielded former IAS officer Binod Kispotta from Gumla (ST) Assembly seat, while JMM has fielded ex-MLA Bhusan Tirkey.

BJP has dropped its sitting MLA Kamlesh Oraon and has nominated Shiv Shankar Oraon from Gumla.

In Lohardaga (ST), Sukhdeo Bhagat is pitted against sitting Ajsu party MLA Kamal Kishore Bhagat, who is being supported by BJP.

Bhanu Pratap Sahi, a Minister in the erstwhile Madhu Koda government, is contesting from Bhavnathpur and is facing a tough challenge from BJP’s Anant Pratap Deo, who had won the seat on a Congress ticket last time.

J-K: Poll

The stage is set for the first of the five-phased Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir as 12 sitting MLAs, including seven ministers, are among 123 candidates trying their luck in 15 constituencies that will go to polls on Tuesday in all three regions of the state.While six constituencies in Jammu division will vote to elect their representatives, electorate in five segments in Kashmir and four in Ladakh will seal the fate of the aspirants in the polling that is scheduled to begin at 8 AM.

The Assembly segments going to polls tomorrow include Kishtwar, Inderwal, Doda, Bhaderwah, Ramban and Banihal (in Jammu division); Gurez, Bandipora, Sonawari, Kangan and Ganderbal (in Kashmir), Nobra, Leh, Kargil and Zanskar (in Ladakh). A total of 10,502,50 voters, including 5,49,698 males and 5,00,539 females, besides 13 transgenders are eligible to exercise their right to franchise in the first phase of the polls.

Bhaderwah has the largest number of 1,04,354 voters among the 15 constituencies, while Nobra constituency in Ladakh region has the lowest number with 13,054 voters. Nearly 1900 polling stations have been set-up by the election authorities in these 15 constituencies.

While Bandipora, Ganderbal and Bhaderwah have the highest number of candidates, 13 each, in fray, Leh has the lowest number of candidates with a direct fight between Congress and BJP.

There are four candidates in fray in Gurez, seven in Sonawari, 10 in Kangan, six each in Nobra and Banihal, four each in Kargil and Zanskar, 10 in Kishtwar, 12 in Inderwal, 11 in Doda and eight in Ramban.

Seven ministers are seeking re-election in the first phase – Nazir Ahmad Khan Gurezi (from Gurez), Mohammad Akbar Lone (Sonawari), Mian Altaf (Kangan), Sajad Kichloo (Kishtwar), Abdul Majid Wani (Doda), Nawang Rigzin Joa (Leh) and Vikar Rasool Wani (Banihal).

Carlsen beats Anand,

24 11 2014

Carlsen beats Anand, retains World Chess C’ship title

Carlsen beats Anand, retains World Chess C

Magnus Carlsen asserted his supremacy over Viswanathan Anand for the second year in running as the Norwegian retained his World Championship title after defeating the Indian Challenger in the 11th game, in Sochi, Russia on Sunday.The Norwegian world champion closed the 12-game match with a 6.5-4.5 scoreline, courtesy his win in the penultimate game.While this may have been closely fought in the eyes of the experts, the fact remains that Anand lasted only one extra game compared to the 2013 match at Chennai when it was all over in the tenth game of the match itself.

For Anand, there were a lot of lessons to be learnt and it is clear that the five-time world champion will probably like to get another shy at the title during the next Candidates tournament.

Anand knew that a draw would keep him in the match but expectedly the Indian ace was not hooked to the idea of staying on till the last game of the 12-game match, and tried to complicate when he got the first opportunity.

When Anand went for the real complications the opinion of the experts was pretty divided out of another Berlin defense game. While the opening discussion continued, Anand was the first to deviate from earlier games in the same opening and in the opinion of Ian Nepomniachtchi, a former second of Carlsen, Anand went for unwarranted complexities.

In the 11th game too, Anand made fewer mistakes than Calrsen and some even opined that the Indian had better chance. As it happened in the game, Anand came up with an exchange sacrifice when according to Grandmaster Peter Svidler, ‘he felt he ought to be doing something’.

As things became clear, the exchange sacrifice was probably not the best of solutions for Anand in a seemingly equal situation and this was what eventually plotted the downfall for the Indian, Anand however regretted his decision to sacrifice a rook for a minor piece.

“It was a bad gamble, and I got punished,” he said.

Carlsen on his part remained the calculation machine he is known to be and his super judgement on the position was the critical factor to seize the initiative.

Anand was pretty sure that the position was equal before that but while he was playing objectively till a certain point but took a nervous decision in the match. Anand could have drawn this and gone on in the 12th game of the match in a must-win situation.

Anand conceded after the match that Carlsens nerves held better in this match. But for the experts, it was clear that Anand had his chances which he did not capitalise.

“Taking in to account that all things considered he did better. I did not something better and some things worse,” Anand concluded at the post-game conference.

Obama encourages ‘best and brightest’ to stay in US

24 11 2014
Obama encourages

Referring to the innovative and entrepreneurial skills of immigrants, in particular Indians, US President Barack Obama has pushed for immigration reform to encourage the best and the brightest to stay in America and not to return to their home country after completing studies.
“We educate the world’s young people in our universities, and then we just send them home, even if they’re wanting to start a business or they’ve got some specialized skill. We just send them home, and then they compete against us,” Obama said in Las Vegas, a day after he announced a series of executive actions to fix the broken immigration system.

“We should be encouraging the best and the brightest to study here and stay here, and invest here, and create jobs here and businesses here, and industries here.

You look at Silicon Valley – 30, 40 per cent of the companies that we now take for granted that have changed our lives, they were started by immigrants,” Obama said.

“So that’s what this issue is all about. And that’s why it deserves reasoned and thoughtful and compassionate debate. And that’s why we have to focus not on our fears, weve got focus on our hopes,” he said, explaining his executive actions that has benefited some five million undocumented workers, including hundreds and thousands of Indian-Americans, a significant numbers of whom are IT experts.

The executive action, said to be one of the largest measure by a US President on immigration, is expected to help a significant number of Indian techies who currently have to undergo a painful and agonising process of H-1B visas to get legal permanent status (LPR), popularly known as Green Card.

“We’re not a nation that kicks out strivers and dreamers who want to earn their piece of the American Dream. We’re a nation that finds a way to welcome them,” he said, adding “we didn’t raise the Statue of Liberty with her back to the world, we did it with her light shining as a beacon to the world.

Obama’s new executive order, combined with his previous executive order of June 2012, could benefit some 600,000 of the estimated 1.5 million unauthorized Asians in the US, said Indian-American Prakash Khatri, the nation’s first Immigration Ombudsman during President George W Bush’s administration.

“Additionally, as many as 400,000 highly skilled Science Technology Engineering and Math college graduates, mostly from Asia, will benefit from the announced changes,” he said.

The South Asian Bar Association also welcomed the executive actions of Obama on immigration. “We welcome these changes and applaud President Obama for his attention to this issue,” said SABA North America president Mansi Shah.

“President Obama new declaration about immigration reforms is a very welcome move and he did this what he promised with the people of United States during his election,” said North American Punjabi Association.




Parliament adjourned after the obituary references

24 11 2014
Parliament adjourned; PM hopeful of fruitful session

Winter session of the Parliament began on Monday, however both the Houses were adjourned for the day after the obituary references. Before the beginning, Prime Minister Modi said that he expects the same cooperation which opposition party showed last time.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing an all party meeting on the eve of the session, assured them that collectively all important issues can be taken up and hoped that the month-long session will go “very well” like the last budget session.”The Prime Minister said that the budget session went on very well and was constructive and successful. We hope that the winter session will also be on the same lines.””The Prime Minister said that Goverment is ready to take up all issues. With collective wisdom, issues of all parties can be taken forward,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said after an all party meeting not attended by Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party.

In his opening remarks, Naidu said that Government will walk the extra-mile to accommodat concerns and suggestions of all parties to enable smooth functioning of both the Houses of Parliament.

He also gave details of the 37 Bills that the Government likes to move for introduction and taking up pending Bills for consideration and passing.

He made a specific reference to the need for early passing of Insurance Laws Amendment Bill that seeks to enhance FDI limit in capital starved insurance sector by the Rajya Sabha.

He also said that introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST) is being discussed over a long time and the government would like to introduce a Bill in this regard during Winter Session of Parliament.


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