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< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO—State owned television station STVS has apologized for pulling last Monday’s broadcast of the 10 Minute Youth Journal; the program, including the report of the commemoration of the December 8 Murders ran on Thursday night. Journal Editor in Chief Hennah Draaibaar said the TV station management has shown maturity. The Netherlands based media rights watchdog Free Press Unlimited, of which the journal is a partner said it was elated that the program was broadcast unabridged, yet still viewed the incident as a “childish form of censorship” that Government should investigate.
It was the first time in ten years the station stopped a broadcast of the Youth Journal, which only recently copped a prestigious award for its concept. The December Murder item concerned a report of the memorial last Saturday in the Alphons Church for the 15 men who were killed on December 8 1982 and for whose deaths President Bouterse is widely held responsible.
The last minute cancellation of the broadcast was immediately condemned by the Journalist Association SVJ said it was censorship. STVS Manager Shirley Lackin said on Tuesday that pulling the program had been a mistake, probably made by overzealous workers. “It was not supposed to have happened,” she said.
By Marvin Hokstam
PARAMARIBO–Government stepped in last week and brought an unprecedented solution to a long festering problem when it acquired parcels of land that for some 15 years has been at the center of an ongoing squabble between owners and squatters. “Previous Governments did nothing to fix this matter, but meantime it went from being a legal issue to an underestimated social problem. And for a social problem you need a social solution,” said parliamentarian Andre Misiekaba (NDP) who sees the solution as a personal milestone in a multifaceted problem. “We will find solutions as well for the other areas where this problem exists.”
Unlawful land occupancy became a problem in the late nineties, when –in the aftermath of the destructive internal war- many Maroon residents relocated from their traditional villages to Paramaribo. “Their accommodation was never properly arranged and they ended up squatting illegally on undeveloped land, and –probably because of the urgency- the then Government closed its eyes to it; for twelve years. That was wrong, because, even though it occurred during an emergency situation, it still concerned illegal habitation by one group of land that belonged to others,” Misiekaba, chairman of a Parliamentary Committee that looked into the matter explained.
A host of problems developed over the years, with owners having the “migrants” forcibly removed and their dwellings torn down. Some of the areas had mushroomed into shanty towns, where the residents, accustomed to living in tribal conditions, had built their dwellings crisscross across the land.
“Over the years there have been all sorts of statements by people who did not know the nuances. People were saying lock them up and that sort of stuff, but it’s because they did not know the size of the problem,” said Misiekaba. He said that when the Social Affairs Ministry finally ordered a thorough study in 2011, researchers found that it concerned some 3,500 households, totaling anywhere between 13,000 and 15,000 people. “How do you lock up that many people?” Misiekaba snickered.
By Dr Cory Couillard
A Dutch study has linked type 2 diabetes to an increased risk of developing breast and colon cancer. But until now, no research has shown diabetics to have a higher risk of dying from these cancers as well. The study, “A meta-analysis on breast and colorectal cancer in diabetic patients: Higher incidences and mortality rates,” was recently presented at the 2013 European Cancer Congress.
Researchers analysed 20 scientific studies consisting of more than 1.9 million people between 2007 and 2012. They found diabetics to have a 23 per cent higher risk of developing breast cancer and a soaring 38 per cent risk of dying from it. Moreover, diabetics had a 26 per cent higher risk of colon cancer and a 30 per cent risk of dying from that malignancy when compared to non-diabetics. ”The evidence is getting quite strong that there is an association between diabetes and cancer,” said Kirstin De Bruijn, lead researcher at Erasmus University Medical Centre.
PARAMARIBO–The regional commission that will seek compensation from former colonizers of Caribbean nations has identified public health, education, cultural institutions, cultural deprivation, psychological trauma and scientific and technological backwardness as the six broad aspects of the Caribbean condition that are the direct result slavery. “These direct results of these crimes should be the focus of reparatory diplomacy and action,” the Reparations Commission said in a Caribbean Community (Caricom) statement on Tuesday. It said the former slave owning countries in Europe should help to advance truth, justice and reconciliation for the victims of slavery and their descendants.
The Commission said its work was in commitment with the principles of Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African ant-apartheid advocate who died last week, and whose life is being celebrated globally since. “The Commission affirms its commitment to the living legacy of Mr. Mandela, who, by his sacrifice and teachings, provided the world with a moral and ethical framework within which the diplomatic and political search for truth, justice, and reconciliation can be attained,” the statement read.
The statement came at the close of a meeting in Jamaica during which the Commission aimed to define and set in train a plan of action; it was the second major meeting of the commission since Caricom Heads of Government agreed to its establishment at their meeting in July 2013 in Trinidad and Tobago.
PARAMARIBO–Disgust reigned on Tuesday after state-owned television station STVS pulled the broadcast of the 10 Minute Youth Journal because it included a report of the commemoration of the December 8 Murders. Journal Editor in Chief Hennah Draaibaar and Wilfred Leeuwin, Chairman of the Journalist Association SVJ said it was censorship.
It was the first time in ten years that the station stopped a broadcast of the Youth Journal, which only recently copped a prestigious award for its concept. STVS employees had not noticed it until the program was being announced. The station initially said at first that “people should understand that STVS is a state-owned station and that everything has to be checked before it is aired.”
Manager Shirley Lackin told journalists later that she did not know the program was yanked until Draaibaar called her about it. She said she understood why the people manning the switchboard stopped the broadcast. “There is a standing agreement that we carefully watch everything that gets delivered for broadcast. We receive all kinds of stuff and some of it can be offensive. The guys were just being thorough,” she said.
PARAMARIBO–German oil exploration company RWE Dea appeared upbeat this week about the outcome of its seismic survey offshore Suriname. “Only five months after our arrival in Suriname we are pleased to announce the successful completion of a 3D seismic acquisition program in the offshore License Block 52,” the company stated in a press release issues on Monday. The measurements had been carried out in only 53 days, a few days early and on budget.
The release said the data will now be processed with the results becoming available for interpretation in the second quarter of next year. It said the results of the interpretation of the data should provide detailed information about previously identified prospectivity on the block. The seismic acquisition activities were preceded by an extensive environmental study of the entire survey area.
“With the aid of this new data as well as already existing vintage 3D data, we can now prepare a meaningful image of potential hydrocarbon reservoirs across the entire license area,” said Hans-Hermann Ecke, RWE Dea’s Senior Vice President New Ventures. “We’re particularly pleased that this significant program has been carried out efficiently and without incident,” Ecke adds.
The company offered no estimate of the reserve potential. The CIA World Factbook in 2012 estimated the country had 72 million barrels of proved crude oil reserves.
AMSTERDAM–Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has said his Government will not request South Africa to arrest Desi Bouterse when he attends the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, because as Suriname’s President he has immunity.
“Mr. Bouterse’s court sentence remains, but it cannot be executed as long as he is President,” Timmermans said. To PVV Second Chamber member Geert Wilders who -together with fellow VVD-er Raymond van Roon- had asked about Bouterse’s arrest, Timmermans response showed that the Foreign Minister is being led by fear to take action against Bouterse.
Timmermans was pretty terse and almost dismissive in his responses, crisply answering “yes” to some of Wilders’ and Van Roon’s open questions. “Yes” to the question whether he knew Bouterse would be attending Mandela’s funeral and a short “yes” to the request whether he would answer before Tuesday, December 10th at 12.00pm. The Minster only elaborated in his response to the question whether he thought it prudent that Bouterse would be present at an event King Willem Alexander would be attending as well.
“South Africa has extended invitations to Heads of State and the Netherlands places high value on attending this extraordinary gathering; invitations to other heads of state are of no interest (to us),” he said.
JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) — Suriname and Guyana are expected to participate in the 40th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign ministers meeting, which begins Monday in Conakry, Guinea, under the theme: Dialogue of Civilizations: Factor of Peace and Sustainable Development.
Dr Anwar S. Lall Mohamed, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of OIC affairs, will represent Suriname on behalf of foreign minister Winston Lackin, who is in South Africa. Guyanese foreign minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who was in Indonesia last week to attend the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting, will be in Conakry to attend the OIC meeting.
There will be a special ministerial session on the city of Jerusalem “to seek practical steps towards addressing the Israeli policies and plans aimed at Judaising the Holy City and dividing Al Aqsa Mosque,” according to an OIC press statement. The agenda will also focus on the conflict in Syria, the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar after the recent visit of a ministerial delegation to that country, the Moro Muslims in the southern Philippines, the establishment of new OIC regional offices in non-member states, and the appointment of assistant secretaries-general.
By Marvin Hokstam
AMSTERDAM–Announcements that President Desi Bouterse will be attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral have prompted politicians in the Netherlands to ask whether their Government will try to have him arrested in South Africa on drugs charges. The questions by PVV Second Chamber members Geert Wilders and Raymond De Roon coincided on Saturday with calls from an anti-Bouterse movement for reclamation of the amendments to the amnesty law that could see the president pardoned for his role in the murders of 15 citizens in 1982.
That Bouterse will be attending Mandela’s Official State Memorial Service on Tuesday 10 December was announced on Saturday, by press release from the Caribbean Community Caricom. The release said the Heads of Government of Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Guyana and Jamaica will also be in attendance. Mandela, the first democratically elected President of South Africa, former Head of the African National Congress and international icon, died on Thursday December 5th, at age 95. More than 50 heads of state have confirmed that they will attend his funeral in South Africa next week, the country’s foreign ministry tells Reuters. Among them will be King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands.
In their questions to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, Parliamentarians Wilders and Van Roon hint that they do not think it is prudent for Bouterse to be present at any formal ceremony at which their king is in attendance. “Do you agree with us …,? they ask.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Leaders from the South Dakota governor’s office and the state National Guard say a recent visit to Suriname helped strengthen ties.
The Defense Department-sponsored partnership was established about seven years ago and numerous exchanges have since taken place to develop military, political, social and economic ties. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels and state Guard commander Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch visited the country late last month and met with several officials including President Desi Bouterse and U.S. ambassador Jay Anania.