Thursday, March 5, 2015


CU-Boulder: "The eastern coastline of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, a mecca for tourists, may have been walloped by a tsunami between 1,500 and 900 years ago, says a new study involving Mexico's Centro Ecological Akumal (CEA) and the University of Colorado Boulder."

(Illustration by Samantha Davies, University of Colorado)




Feld Entertainment: "The Feld Family, owners of Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, announced plans today to remove Asian elephants from their traveling circus performances."

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group:


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL): "A court in Moscow has convicted a Russian police officer from Siberia on charges of spying for the United States and sentenced him to 15 years in prison."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spider Venom

University of Queensland (Australia):
University of Queensland researchers have found seven peptides (mini-proteins) in spider venom that block the molecular pathway responsible for sending pain signals from nerves to the brain. 
The discovery, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, could inspire a new class of potent painkillers with fewer side effects than current medications.


BBC News: "Omar Treviño Morales, leader of the notorious Zetas drug cartel in Mexico, has been captured by security forces."

U.S. State of Georgia

U.S. Justice Department:
A New York jeweler pleaded guilty in federal court in Atlanta yesterday to two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property in connection with jewelry he purchased from an armed robbery ring and then sold in New York.  
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn of the Northern District of Georgia made the announcement. 
Carlos Parra, 64, a resident of New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia. Sentencing is scheduled for June 3, 2015. 
Parra admitted in court that he was contacted by a member of an armed robbery crew that stole over $100,000 in jewelry from a courier on Jan. 31, 2013. Parra flew from New York, where his jewelry business was based, to Atlanta to purchase the jewelry from the robbery crew for approximately $16,000. Parra admitted that he had dealt with these robbers or their associates in the past and knew the jewelry was stolen. 
Parra further admitted to purchasing jewelry from a robbery crew in Houston in August 2012. In that instance, the robbery crew stole over $500,000 from a jewelry courier during an armed robbery on Aug. 27, 2012. Parra admitted that he flew to Texas to purchase the stolen jewelry at a discounted rate because it was stolen. He later sold the jewelry in New York to wholesalers for a profit. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CEO Monk

Xinhua: "The head of China's Shaolin Temple has distanced the Buddhist institution from media criticism claiming a planned Australian outpost of the temple will be overcommercialized."


Radio Free Asia (RFA) :
Authorities in western Cambodia have replaced thousands of pounds of rice donated by the Cambodian Red Cross to impoverished families in Battambang province, including residents of a commune stricken by HIV, after villagers complained it was rotten, the regional governor said Tuesday. 
On Feb. 13, Cambodian Red Cross President Bun Rany — the wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen — donated 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of rice, 10 cans of fish, money and blankets each to 924 people infected with HIV/AIDS in the province. 
Aid was also delivered to an additional 4,000 other poor residents of the province at the distribution point in Sangke district's Roka commune, where nearly 270 villagers have tested positive for HIV/AIDS since November last year, after being infected by an unauthorized medical worker who reused syringes. 
Battambang provincial governor Chan Sophal told RFA's Khmer Service that authorities had replaced the rice with a fresh shipment on Monday after villagers complained that it had spoiled and was inedible. 
"We donated new rice to all the people who received rotten rice from the Red Cross," he said. 
"We hadn't inspected the quality of the rice [before it was distributed by the Red Cross], and the villagers couldn’t eat it. Now we have donated fresh rice, so they can consume it."
Chan Sophal said the rice had gone bad because it was stored incorrectly. 
"The rice had been stored in humid warehouses for too long — that is why it smelled rotten," he said, apologizing for the inconvenience caused to villagers. 
Not fit for pigs 
Villagers told RFA that after receiving the rice in February, they had cooked it, but couldn't stand the smell and couldn't eat it, adding that they also found the canned fish to be spoiled. 
They said that they had left the cooked rice for their pigs to eat, but the animals wouldn't even eat it. 
"No one wants to buy the donated rice, even if I try to sell it cheap," one villager said. 
"Not only humans can’t eat it, animals can’t either." 
Another villager, suffering from HIV/AIDS, said the rice would sicken her and worsen her health condition. 
"[Most of us] are patients and if we eat the rice, it will cause our health to deteriorate," she said. 
The villager suggested corruption was to blame for the poor quality of the donation provided by the Cambodian Red Cross, noting that during the ceremony, Bun Rany had referred to the rice as "expensive and of good quality." 
"It must be the local authorities who were in charge of buying the rice," the villager said. 
"[Bun Rany] said the cost of the rice was 130,000 riel (U.S. $32) per sack but in reality, even at cheaper than 50,000 riel (U.S. $12) per sack, still no one would buy it." 
Cambodian Red Cross officer Uy Sam Ath refused to comment on the rice donation. 
Villagers at risk 
Last month, some infected Roka villagers complained of police indifference to their reports of thieves who took advantage of their physical weakness and inability to defend their homes by stealing their cows and other property. 
In the meantime, authorities have charged Yem Chhrem, the unauthorized medical practitioner who worked in an unlicensed village clinic, with murder and other crimes related to the mass infection after he admitted to reusing needles to treat patients. 
Reported by Samean Yun for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes. 
Copyright (c) 2015. RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.



U.S. State of Georgia

U.S. Justice Department: "Two former civilian employees at the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) in Albany, Georgia, and one military contractor were convicted by a federal jury today of bribery and fraud charges related to military trucking contracts, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia."


U.S. Justice Department: "A federal jury in Oklahoma City convicted three Florida men and a Florida corporation today for their participation in an illegal international gambling and money laundering enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats of the Western District of Oklahoma."


National Geographic:


Survival International:
The Bangladeshi government has sparked outrage by ordering that Jumma tribal people cannot speak to foreigners, or Bangladesh citizens from outside the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), except in the presence of a soldier or government official. The restriction does not apply to Bengalis — the non-indigenous residents of the CHT
The CHT, in southeastern Bangladesh, are home to eleven tribes, known collectively as Jummas. Land disputes between Bangladesh’s indigenous Jummas and hundreds of thousands of settlers brought to the region by the government are commonplace, often resulting in violence against the Jummas. 
The Home Ministry has also imposed strict restrictions on foreigners getting permission to enter the CHT. They will only be allowed to visit after submitting their applications a month in advance, and if they receive the go-ahead from the intelligence agencies. 
The order effectively gags Jummas from speaking to outsiders about the theft of their land and the violence meted out against them.

Monday, March 2, 2015


University of Adelaide (Australia): "International research involving the University of Adelaide has shed new light on the origins of some of the most widely spoken languages in the world."

North Carolina

Associated Press (AP):


Moki Edwin Kindzeka, Voice of America: "The bloody toll in elephant poaching continues to climb in Cameroon, where security forces reportedly killed a handful of Sudanese rebels suspected of slaughtering the animals for their valuable ivory tusks."




France 24: "Thieves on Sunday broke in to the fabled Fontainebleau castle south of Paris and stole around 15 'priceless' Chinese artifacts in a lightning raid, according to French authorities."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Myanmar (Burma)

Associated Press (AP):


Road to Power: How GM's Mary Barra
Shattered the Glass Ceiling
Nonfiction book by Laura Colby
Available: March 2015

Follow a pioneer's journey from factory floor to CEO. 
Road to Power is the story of how Mary Barra drove herself to the pinnacle of a company that steers the nation's wealth. Beginning as a rare female electrical engineer and daughter of a General Motors die maker, Barra spent more than thirty years building her career before becoming the first woman to ever lead a global automaker. With $155 billion in sales and 200,000 employees, GM is widely considered to be a proxy for the U.S. economy, making Barra's position arguably the most important corporate role a woman has ever held. This book describes the personal character, choices, and leadership style that enabled her to break through the glass ceiling. 
When 52-year-old Mary Barra was named CEO of General Motors in 2013, only people outside of the company were surprised. She had done everything from working on the factory floor to overseeing manufacturing, from improving union relations to paring down bureaucracy, and from running human resources to helping drag the company back from its 2009 bankruptcy. This book details each step of her career, and the lessons she learned along the way. 
  • Learn how Mary Barra's willingness to take on diverse assignments helped steer her career trajectory.
  • Examine the fine details of Barra's management style and her ability to relate to colleagues.
  • Discover the qualities and experiences Barra had that drove her to lead this male-dominated profession.
  • Study the valuable lessons Barra learned at each stage in her professional life, and why they stuck with her throughout her journey to the top. 
Barra is most certainly a pioneer for women in business, but she's also a living lesson as to how far the right outlook, skills, and drive can take you in your career. Road to Power explores the talent and the mindset that got her all the way to the top.