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Posts Tagged ‘seekers’

Greece to screen asylum seekers, oust law breakers: official

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Greece will screen immigrants living in the country to determine who is entitled to asylum and expel those who break the law, a junior minister said on Saturday.

“The people who meet the conditions for return will return home,” deputy labour minister Anna Dalara told Flash Radio.

“Whatever the case, if there is law-breaking behaviour they will receive their tickets and they will leave,” she said.

Greek authorities say a surge in arrivals by thousands of would-be immigrants and asylum seekers has stretched the country’s capacity to breaking point.

The Socialist government recently announced plans to erect a 12.5-kilometre (eight-mile) wire fence along a stretch of its northeastern border with Turkey that is commonly used by traffickers to deposit their human cargo.

Athens has also pledged to step up asylum examinations to clear a backlog of some 47,000 applicants, many of them awaiting approval for years.

Rights groups have repeatedly criticised Greece for failing to provide adequate shelter and support to people fleeing conflict in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

Would-be immigrants and asylum seekers are currently kept in squalid and congested detention centres and police cells for months.

Most are then released with an administrative order to leave the country. Some try to book illegal passage to other European countries but the majority end up on the street, destitute and at risk from criminal gangs.


Source: SGGP

Hopeful gold seekers ignore orders to stop

In Vietnam Society on December 7, 2009 at 10:20 am

After a 2.1 kilogram piece of gold was found at the Cha Ha River in the northern-central province of Nghe An, hundreds of local residents have swarmed the area.

Residents of Nghe An Province sift for gold on the banks of the Cha Ha River (Photo: SGGP)

Authorities in Tuong Duong District said that two months ago, a group of nine people from the Hao mountain village in Yen Hoa Commune came looking for gold at Bu Rivulet, a branch of the Cha Ha River.

The group struck fortune when they found the large chunk and sold it for VND1 billion (US$54,000) to a gold shop in Hoa Binh town.

News of the group’s find spread quickly and local residents rushed to the river hoping to discover similar wealth.

Regardless of the weather, masses of people including children and the elderly, head to the river each day.

Around 20 gold-sifting operations have now been set up by the locals along a 20-kilometer section of the river, located about 40 km from the town.

Ms. Luong Thi Tinh, a woman from the Hao village who pans for gold, said her family was poor and they hoped finding the precious metal would bring them a better life.

She said Mr. Oi, one of the nine people who found the 2.1 kg piece of gold, had just built a new house with the money he had come into.

Gold seeker Vi Van Nhoong said that he bought tools to pan for gold over a year ago, and five out of his 10 family members search for the metal daily. If they were lucky, he said, they could find up to one gram of gold a day.

In their zeal for fortune, the residents have dug up the riverbanks, leading to serious landslides in some areas.

Ho Hoai Thom, chairman of the district’s Yen Na Commune People’s Committee, said that his commune has around 10 gold sifting machines, 10 families who pan for gold full-time, and around 100 other seekers of whom some are hired by families who own the machines.

Because local residents are so poverty-stricken, authorities say they allowed them to continue the practice. And despite causing the hazardous landslides, the residents were only issued warnings.

But at the beginning of October, the district ordered the locals to stop and began issuing fines.

Kha Van Ot, head of the Tuong Duong District Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that most gold seekers are working without licenses at the river, and despite the order, they continue to pan for gold.

The department and district authorities are now discussing measures to deal with the issue.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Panacea seekers chop down endangered trees

In Vietnam Society on November 23, 2009 at 10:16 am

Rumors that trees known as Chinese Swamp Cypress can treat all diseases, including cancer, have led local residents in the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac rushing to chop down forests in search of the alleged cure-all.

All Chinese Swamp Cypress trees in Dac Lac Province’s Trap K’Sor forest are numbered. Illegal loggers seek out the endangered trees believing them to be a cure-all for diseases. (Photo: SGGP)

In addition to its rumored disease-curing properties, Chinese Swamp Cypress (Glyptostrobus pensilis) is also sought after for its sturdy wood and beautiful red-brown color.

The trees, however, are no longer reproducing and are listed in the Vietnam Red Book of endangered species.

Chinese Swamp Cypress are located in Ea Ral and Trap K’Sor forests of Ea H’Leo and Krong Nang Districts respectively. They are the two last known areas where the species grows in the world, with only around 280 trees left in total. 

Nguyen Van Kiem, head of the Krong Nang District forest management station, said that the rumor started after a TV game show aired on June 5, 2009, which featured a question about a type of tree able to treat all diseases. The answer provided by the host was the Chinese Swamp Cypress.

A day after the program aired, hundreds of residents in Krong Nang District rushed to Trap K’Sor forest searching out the precious trees.

The forest management station was forced to ask police to intervene and the residents were ordered not to cut down the wood. 

However, the station has since reported 16 cases where trees were found chopped down, totaling 43 cubic meters of wood.

Twelve more cases involving 15 people illegally exploiting and trading the precious wood at Ea Ral, have also been reported.

Dac Lac Province has now set up two stations to protect the trees at Trap K’Sor and Ea Ral, however, the work has met with many difficulties due to a lack of financial and human resources.

Trap K’Sor station has just three staff to protect 29 trees, which are scattered over 51.6 hectares of thick forest and swamps.

The Ea H’Leo District forest management station has asked the Dac Lac Province Forest Management Sub-Department to establish a Chinese Swamp Cypress biological area, but it has yet to be approved.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share