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Hurricane Sandy Devastates Parts of N...
New York, USA
By Derek Henry Flood
30 Oct 2012

The hardest hit residential area of New York City was that of Breezy Point, Queens on the Rockaway Peninsula. Over 110 homes were burned when the storm surge caused a 6 alarm fire in this densely developed working class Irish-American seaside enclave. Here, firefighters reconvene at their vehicle.

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Barcelona, Spain
By Beirut Editor's Picks
29 Oct 2012

Thousands of workers took to the streets in Barcelona, in the eighth general strike to protest against labor reform. The educational community protest against cuts and the rising ratio of students per classroom in schools and colleges.

Each day in Spain more than 500 families are evicted from their homes. 22 percent of Spanish households are living in poverty and nearly 600,000 have no income. It is expected that in the coming months this situation will worsen.

The CGT and CNT anarchist labor unions called a 24 hour strike. The day of action is in defense of public services and a protest against social cuts and unemployment. They also complain that salaries in Spain are the lowest in Europe while the unemployment rate is the highest: it is over the 25% of the population

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In the land of God: Looking To The Trees
Pastaza Ecuador
By Piero Pomponi World Focus
27 Oct 2012

Cononaco Bameno-Ecuador(South America) October 27th-2012-EXCLUSIVE FEATURE STORY.
The Huaorani, also known as the Waos, are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador (Napo, Orellana and Pastaza Provinces) who have marked differences from other ethnic groups from Ecuador. They comprise almost 4,000 inhabitants and speak the Huaorani language, a linguistic isolate that is not known to be related to any other language. Their ancestral lands are located between the Curaray and Napo rivers, about 50 miles (80 km) south of El Coca. These homelands – approximately 120 miles (190 km) wide and 75 to 100 miles (120 to 160 km) from north to south – are threatened by oil exploration. In 1993, the Huaorani, and Quichua indigenous people, filed a lawsuit against Texaco oil company for the environmental damages caused by oil extraction activities in the Lago Agrio oil field. After handing control of the oil fields to an Ecuadorian oil company, Texaco did not properly dispose of its hazardous waste, causing great damages to the ecosystem and crippling communities. And recently, an US oil giant, has been fined $8.6 billion, for causing devastating pollution in large parts of the Ecuadorian Amazon basin, where Huaorani tribe lives. The oil firm Texaco, wich merged with Chevron in 2001, had been accused of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into unlined pits in the Amazon’s rainforest and rivers. Tribes indigenous to the area, like the Huaorani, have campaigned for almost two decades against the firm’s actions, saying that the poisonous waste has increased cancer rates, killed wildlife and contaminated water.In the past, Huaorani were able to protect their culture and lands from both indigenous enemies and settlers but the fighting against the multinational oil company, still goes on.
In the last 40 years, they have shifted from a hunting and gathering society to live mostly in permanent forest settlements. In traditional animist Huaorani worldview, there is no distinction between the physical and spiritual worlds, and spirits are present throughout the world. The Huaorani once believed that the entire world was a forest (and used the same word, ömë, for both). The Oriente’s rainforest of Ecuador, remains the essential basis of their physical and cultural survival. For them, the forest is home, while the outside world is considered unsafe: living in the forest offered protection from the witchcraft and attacks of neighboring peoples.
The Huaorani believe the animals of their forest have a spiritual as well as physical existence. They believe that a person who dies walks a trail to the afterlife which has a large anaconda snake lying in wait. Those among the dead who cannot escape the snake fail to enter the domain of dead spirits and return to Earth to become animals, often termites. This underlies a mix of practices that recognize and respect animals, but does not shield them from harm for human use.
Hunting supplies a major part of the Huaorani diet and is of cultural significance. Traditionally, the creatures hunted were limited to monkeys, birds, and wild peccaries. Neither land-based predators nor birds of prey are hunted. Traditionally there was an extensive collection of hunting and eating taboos. They refused to eat deer, on the grounds that deer eyes look similar to human eyes. While a joyful activity, hunting (even permitted animals) has ethical ramifications: “The Huaorani must kill animals to live, but they believed dead animal spirits live on and must be placated or else do harm in angry retribution.” To counterbalance the offense of hunting, a shaman demonstrated respect through the ritual preparation of the poison, curare, used in blow darts. Hunting with such darts is not considered killing, but retrieving, essentially a kind of harvesting from the trees. Spearing wild peccaries, on the other hand, is killing and is practiced with violence and rage.
While never hunted, two other animals, the snake and the jaguar, have special significance for the Huaorani. Snakes are considered "the most evil force in the Huaorani cosmology", particularly the imposing (though nonvenemous) anaconda, or obe. A giant obe stands in the way of the forest trail that the dead follow to an afterlife with the creator in the sky. Here on earth, snakes are a bad omen, and traditionally killing them is considered taboo.
The Huaorani identify deeply with the jaguar, an important and majestic predator in the Oriente province of Ecuador. According to myth, the Huaorani were the descendants of a mating between a jaguar and an eagle. Elders became shamans by metaphorically adopting “jaguar sons” whose spirits communicate medical and spiritual knowledge. In the Huaorani belief system, jaguar shamans are able “to become a jaguar, and so to travel great distances telepathically and communicate with other Huaorani.”
Plants, especially trees, continue to hold a complex and important interest for the Huaorani. Their store of botanical knowledge is extensive, ranging from knowledge of materials to poisons to hallucinogens to medicines. They also relate plants to their own experiences, particularly that of growing. Among trees, certain kinds are auspicious. Canopy trees, with their distinctly colored young leaves and striking transformation as they mature to towering giants, are “admired for their solitary character … as well as for their profuse entanglement” with other plants. Other significant trees are the pioneer species of the peach palm (used for making spears and blowguns, as well as for fruit), and fast-growing balsa wood, used for ceremonial purposes. Peach palm trees are associated with past settlements and the ancestors who live there.
The Huaorani notion of time is particularly oriented to the present, with few obligations extending backwards or forwards in time. Their one word for future times, baane, also means "tomorrow". Spears are the main weapons of the Huaorani culture used in person to person conflict.
Their main hunting weapon is the blowgun. These weapons are typically from 3 to 4 metres long. The arrows used are dipped in curare poison, which paralyzes the muscles of the animal which is hit with it, so that it cannot breathe. Kapok fluff is used to create an air-tight seal, by twisting the fibers around the end of the dart or arrow. The pictures shows some huaorani , waiting monkeys for hunting.

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Beirut, Lebanon
By Beirut Editor's Picks
19 Oct 2012

A car bomb blast in the East Beirut neighborhood of Ashrafieh killed at least eight people and wounded fifty others, security sources said on Friday October 19, 2012. The explosion, which took place at the busy Sassine Square, where the office of the anti-Assad Christian Kataeb Party is located, struck around 3 p.m damaged buildings and shattered windows over a radius of several blocks.
The incident occurred at a time of heightened tension between Lebanese factions and political parties on opposite sides of the Syria conflict. It is the first bombing in the Lebanese capital since 2008.

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Al Bab, Syria
By Beirut Editor's Picks
15 Oct 2012

Following months of routine shelling, the “liberated” Syrian town of Al Bab bands together in an attempt to grasp a bit of normalcy for their children. Since August, six schools have been shelled in Assad’s escalated aerial bombardment, and class has been moved to underground bunkers and basements, adapting to the times. Many parents fear sending their children to school, but now community members are volunteering their time in order to safely get the kids out of the house... and back to school.

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Into The World Of Muslim Punks
Banda Aceh, Jakarta Indonesia
02 Oct 2012

Young Indonesians living a punk lifestyle are being persecuted by the "Sharia police" of the country. Many punks have recently been arrested in Banda Aceh, Indonesia's most devoutly Muslim province, purportedly to be re-educated. While human rights groups are concerned about the situation, the police say its only goal is to protect the punks from themselves and prevent them from bringing shame on their families.

« Punk is not dead », en tout cas pas en Indonésie. Pourtant la police de la charia est à leurs trousses. Il y a quelques mois les gardiens de la vertu ont organisé une grande rafle à Banda Aceh. Une soixantaine de punks a été arrêtés, tondus et placés en centre de correction. Un seul objectif : les rééduquer pour leur « faire oublier leurs comportements déviants. » Que sont devenus les punks après leur lavage de cerveaux? D'autres à Jakarta emploient la méthode plus douce : pour les remettre dans le droit chemin, d'anciens punks font réciter le Coran à ceux qui, sous le voile, portent la crête. Bienvenue chez les punks musulmans.