Abdelkader Belaouni has been in sanctuary in St. Gabriel's Catholic church in Montreal since 1 January 2006. Mr. Belaouni entered sanctuary after being threatened with deportation by Immigration Canada. Since then, support for him has grown into a campaign that includes neighborhood organizations, NGOs, networks and faith-based organizations across Canada and even overseas.
The Ligue des Droits et Libertés, Quebec's civil liberties union, studied the deportation decision and found it discriminatory because it entirely failed to take into account Mr. Belaouni's blindness.The decision also ignored the fact that he has already had his life uprooted twice: the first time by a brutal civil war in Algeria; and the second time by the post Sept-11th "special registration" program in the United States for all men born in Muslim-majority countries.
Kader and his supporters have attempted to bring his case to the attention of various Immigration Ministers, most recently Diane Finley. Despite hundreds of letters of support and phone calls; despite intervention by members of Parliament from all four major parties, press conferences, pickets, rallies, and delegations to Ottawa, Diane Finley remains silent. In May, 70 heads of organizations, representing some 250 associations working in broadly diverse sectors of Quebec society, supported Kader's right to stay in Canada and urgently requested a meeting with Finley. To date, she has not responded.
The power - and the responsibility - to change the situation is in her hands. To find out how you can help: <www.soutienpourkader.net > or 514 -859-9023.
Reported by Mary Foster
The militaries of Nuclear Weapon States have been plagued by a series of mishaps over the past six-plus decades of the Nuclear Age. On August 30, 2007 an American B-52 bomber flew thousands of miles across the US with six nuclear-armed cruise missiles mounted on its wings. It was supposed to carry conventionally-armed Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACMs) from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Air Force crew members failed to separate the nuclear warheads from the ACMs before loading them onto the B-52. This act of negligence left the nuclear weapons unaccounted for during the 3.5 hour flight until the mistake was discovered upon landing.
This incident is relatively benign compared to many nuclear weapon accidents that have occurred in the past.
For example, in 1966, a B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons had a midair accident while refueling and dropped four nuclear weapons on Palomares, Spain. Although no nuclear explosion occurred, conventional explosions in two of the weapons scattered radioactive material over a populated area.
Dr. Alan Philips recounts 20 accidents and miscommunications that could have started an accidental nuclear war. Mistakes and accidents are part of human nature. It is estimated that there are 3,500 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired at a moment's notice. There is no clearer reason for the US and Russia to de-alert their arsenals and lead the world to complete nuclear disarmament.
Reported by Rick Wayman for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org).
The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, has reported that 17,782 people are still listed as missing, following the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. According to the data ICRC collected so far, 13,449 people are still unaccounted for in Bosnia, 2,386 in Croatia and 2,047 in Kosovo.
"For years, ICRC has been trying to support calls from the families of the missing, hoping to generate a greater response concerning the fate of their loved ones," head of the regional ICRC mission in Belgrade Paul-Henry Arni told Belgrade news agency. ICRC calls for more effort in tracking the disappeared.
Reported by Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a major worldwide tree planting campaign. Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges online with the objective of planting at least one billion trees worldwide during 2007. Patrons include Professor. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Prince Albert of Monaco. By September, 220, 760,328 trees had been planted. To pledge your own contribution, visit <unep.org/ billiontreecampaign/>.