Belgische wapenhandel voedt conflicten in Midden-Oosten en Azië by Vredesactie vzw

Persbericht 25 februari 2009

60 jaar NAVO is genoeg: een campagne van Vredesactie

60 jaar NAVO is genoeg: een campagne van Vredesactie

Opmerkelijke wapenleveringen aan Israël, Saoedi-Arabië, India, Pakistan en Turkije

De Israëlische bombardementen op Gaza deden heel wat stof opwaaien over de wapenexport en -doorvoer naar Israël. Ondanks de systematische mensenrechtenschendingen en de spanningen in de regio, blijkt onze overheid immers nog steeds vergunningen goed te keuren voor leveringen van militair materiaal. Ook andere controversiële landen in de regio kunnen rekenen op wapens van of via ons land. Zo neemt Saoedi-Arabië, naast Israël, Libanon, Koeweit en de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten, een prominente plaats in op de lijst van bestemmelingen van militair materiaal vanuit België. Ook India en Pakistan en het Turkse leger krijgen vlot toegang tot wapens van Belgische makelij.

Vredesactie vzw stelt dat dit in tegenspraak is met de principes die ingeschreven zijn in onze wapenwet. Die bepalen dat wapenleveringen niet mogen bijdragen tot schendingen van mensenrechten of tot het aanwakkeren van regionale conflicten. De vredesbeweging eist dat de overheid de leveringen naar explosieve regio’s en ondemocratische regimes stopzet. Continue reading

Chinese copper entrepreneurs flee DR Congo

Published on Monuc, 20 feb 2009

More than 40 Chinese-run copper smelters are standing idle in the Democratic Republic of Congo after their owners fled the country without paying taxes or compensating staff at the end of the commodity boom, according to a governor.

Moïse Katumbi, governor of Katanga province, which is bisected by Congo’s copper belt, said Chinese entrepreneurs abandoned their smelters in a matter of days in a co-ordinated move at the end of last year as copper prices tumbled.

Asked if they would be welcomed back if the price rebounded, he told the Financial Times: “No, no, no. Not as long as I am governor. Katanga is not a jungle. They worked as if it was a jungle.”

Katanga’s notoriously rough-and-tumble mining sector enjoyed a heady boom in recent years as commodity prices soared and foreigners rushed in to exploit its copper deposits. The Chinese entrepreneurs who came were part of their country’s small-scale, private sector-led engagement with Africa.

This has occurred alongside, but not always in conjunction with, a state-driven effort to secure resources, which last year led to a $9bn minerals-for-infrastructure deal between China and Congo.

When global commodity prices tumbled, the result in Katanga was painful: in the space of weeks luxury house-building projects and freshly imported Jeeps vanished to be replaced by unemployment and rising crime. Continue reading

The Pakistan puzzle and the Afghan Trap

From the RealNews Network

Interview with Garry Porter

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Pakistan puzzle, with Gareth Port…“, posted with vodpod

Continue reading

Google and net neutrality

Author: Daniël Verhoeven, 22 feb 2009

Avant-propos: finding information on the web NOT using Google or any other search engine

A fortnight ago I planned to write an article about Google and contextual information search, the opposite of full text search (Google, Altavista, Yahoo search…). I started to collect information NOT using Google. I found out that one of my best friends in Belgium, Wim VDB – saw him on the birthday party of Francis – had made a small critical posting about Google privacy: ‘Zoekmachines en uw Privacy‘. When browsing his blog I stumbled on an article of Geert Lovink, I knew Geert a long time ago as a writer in Hactic… I wanted to reconnect. Using the tag, I found an article of him on Weizenbaum and Google search. Weizenbaum is a shared reference, one of the first well grounded critics of the information age. Since Weizenbauw was himself one of the architects of computer technology, he knows what he is talking about. Geert’s  article was a tribute to Weizenbaum and also a kind of Google bashing. This article linked to another article in Eurozine this one from Daniel Leisegan, Das Google-Imperium and to Siva Vaidhyanathan’s huge project:

The Googlization of Everything: 379 postings until now. Continue reading

When you watch these ads, the ads check you out

Source The Associated Press, for fair use only

Author: Dinesh Ramde – Jan 30, 2009

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Watch an advertisement on a video screen in a mall, health club or grocery store and there’s a slim – but growing – chance the ad is watching you too.

Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer’s gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity – and can change the ads accordingly.

That could mean razor ads for men, cosmetics ads for women and video-game ads for teens.

And even if the ads don’t shift based on which people are watching, the technology’s ability to determine the viewers’ demographics is golden for advertisers who want to know how effectively they’re reaching their target audience.

While the technology remains in limited use for now, advertising industry analysts say it is finally beginning to live up to its promise. The manufacturers say their systems can accurately determine gender 85 to 90 percent of the time, while accuracy for the other measures continues to be refined.

The concept is reminiscent of the science-fiction movie “Minority Report,” in which Tom Cruise’s character enters a mall and finds that retinal scanners identify him and prompt personalized ads that greet him by name.

But this technology doesn’t go nearly that far. It doesn’t identify people individually – it simply categorizes them by outward appearances.

So a video screen might show a motorcycle ad for a group of men, but switch to a minivan ad when women and children join them, said Vicki Rabenou, the chief measurement officer of Tampa, Fla.-based TruMedia Technologies Inc., one of the leaders in developing the technology. Continue reading