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Peru Aims to Eradicate Record-Setting 22,000 Hectares of Coca in 2013

first_img LIMA — Peru’s government wants the world to know it’s dead serious about eliminating illegal coca crops used to produce cocaine. Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza announced Jan. 14 that his government will eradicate at least 22,000 hectares of coca in 2013. This is 4,000 hectares more than the original target for the year, and well above the record-breaking 14,100 hectares destroyed in 2012. Meeting the ambitious eradication target would be a major step in reversing the upward trend in Peruvian coca production that began around 2005. While previous governments met eradication targets, coca-growing farmers replanted at a faster rate. The government’s new plan includes a much broader reach for the eradication squad, known by its Spanish acronym CORAH, an increase in the budget for coca eradication and drug interdiction, and a program to dramatically boost the state’s presence not only in zones where coca is currently grown, but in areas where it could be grown. “We are developing post-coca and preventative strategies,” said Mario Ríos, head of the promotion and monitoring unit at state anti-drug agency DEVIDA. “We need to provide alternatives to farmers leaving coca, and make sure coca does not spread to other areas.” It’s still unclear if the CORAH eradication brigades will move into Loreto. Zarate said an eradication program similar to the Upper Huallaga would be too costly, because of the remoteness of the area. An alternative would be periodic eradication missions, as well as anti-drug operations coordinated with Brazilian and Colombian authorities. Peru and Brazil set up a task force late last year to develop protocols for joint police and military operations in border zones, given the fact that the two countries share nearly 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) of jungle border. Peru recorded 62,500 hectares of coca in 2011, according to the annual report presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), an increase of slightly more than 2 percent over the previous year. That gain came despite the eradication of more than 12,000 hectares in 2010. Peru is the world’s second-largest coca producer, according to UNODC figures — right behind first-place Colombia, with 64,000 hectares under cultivation, and ahead of Bolivia, with 27,200 hectares. President Ollanta Humala has declared he’d like to see Peru fall to last place by the time he leaves office in July 2016. While estimates differ on production, most analysts believe Peru produces between 350 and 400 metric tons of cocaine annually. TThe Peruvian government had kept eradication brigades out of the VRAEM for fear of a social explosion, fueled not only by the Shining Path and drug traffickers, but also due to the lack of a state presence. Yet the Humala government, faced with increased violence and the spread of coca crops in the Belgium-sized zone, ultimately announced a major offensive for 2013. The Humala administration has earmarked $1.1 billion for the VRAEM this year, more than double the previous year’s budget. This includes major outlays in roads, water, electricity systems, education and health care. Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano announced in late December that the state would also incur $300 million in new debt in 2013 to fight terrorism and drug trafficking in the zone, including the construction of eight anti-terrorism bases and acquisition of boats and aircraft. Former coca farmer Teodoro Rojas said extending eradication to the VRAEM is contingent upon the government following through on its development pledge. “Coca can be eradicated, but the state also needs to eradicate the root cause behind coca-growing, which is poverty,” he said. “If the root cause is not eliminated, coca will only spread elsewhere.” Ríos said that Loreto is “a troubling new scenario. We are seeing a spread of coca and [opium] poppies happening at a fast pace.” Retired Police Gen. Juan Zarate, who coordinates CORAH, said the VRAEM and Loreto pose different challenges. The issue in the VRAEM, according to Zarate, is security, and the eradicators will require protection. This should be helped by legislation passed by Congress in late 2012, which gives Peru’s Armed Forces a role in fighting drugs. The government estimates that it will need at least six years to get a firm grip on the coca-cocaine problem in the VRAEM. The Humala administration has budgeted about $15 million for CORAH in 2013. This may not seem like much, but it’s the first time the program has its own line item in the budget. In the past, CORAH has been funded primarily by international donors led by the United States and the 27-member European Union. CORAH extends coca eradication efforts to VRAEM By Dialogo January 21, 2013center_img This year, Peru plans to extend its forced eradication program to major hotspots. The eradication brigade, CORAH, has focused exclusively on the northern Upper Huallaga Valley since its founding. Ríos said the coming year will see eradication in the valleys formed by the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, known as the VRAEM, and possibly in the Putumayo zone, in the department of Loreto, along the northern border where Peru meets Brazil and Colombia. In 2012, the VRAEM was home to nearly 20,000 hectares of coca, said the UNODC report, accounting for 32 percent of Peru’s total land devoted to coca cultivation. Coca crops have been on the rise there since early in the past decade. The area — the last bastion of leftist Shining Path rebels — has also been under a state of emergency since June 2003. Last year saw a jump in Shining Path violence, including the mass kidnapping of gas pipeline workers in April, and the killing of 20 police officers and soldiers. While coca crops in Loreto represented just 7 percent of land used for coca in the UNODC report, they have expanded rapidly, increasing from 1,209 hectares in 2008 to 4,450 hectares in 2011; that same year, coca output jumped by 40 percent. “This is the first time there will be eradication in the VRAEM and it has to be done correctly, accompanied by a state platform that provides all the necessary services. Isolated programs will not work,” said Ríos. Authorities say eradication will succeed only if coca farmers have viable alternatives and markets for what they grow. Peru has already replaced coca with coffee and cacao; other alternative products that show promise include rubber, biofuels and tropical fruits. “Alternative development is working and we are focusing on cooperation, not only in financial assistance but cooperation for technical assistance, creating markets and certifying products. We have to guarantee a diversity of products and markets for farmers,” said Carmen Masias, the director of DEVIDA. Project gets $1.1 billion in funding this year last_img read more

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USC aims for zero waste inauguration

first_imgHelen Williams, a junior majoring in international relations and environmental studies, said she hopes the inauguration educates the community on zero waste practices. Rosen said the biggest challenge of the initiative has been working with the city to ensure that waste from the event is diverted away from landfills. The factsheet outlines seven steps necessary to achieve a zero waste inauguration, including eliminating single-use plastics; reducing paper waste such as programs; using compostable serviceware; encourage caterers to minimize excess food; educate guests on waste diversion; donate leftover food to food banks; and work with waste haulers to track the destination of the ceremony’s waste.  The zero-waste inauguration fact sheet found on the office’s website identifies and breaks down the material that each item used at the inauguration is made of — everything from certifiably compostable napkins to disposable wooden forks and spoons. Dux said that while the operation may seem like a challenge, efforts to increase sustainability on campus are a joint effort between FMS, USC Hospitality, the administration and the public.  Rosen hopes that the inauguration shows students who are concerned with sustainability on campus that the University is taking important steps toward change.  This is not the first large-scale event at USC that will be zero waste. In April, the Los Angeles County recognized the USC Office of Sustainability for making the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum a zero waste facility. For two years in a row, USC’s stadium also won the Pac-12 Conference Zero Waste Competition. However, Dux believes that achieving zero waste for the inauguration will be more challenging than the Coliseum. According to the office, the inauguration aims to divert 90% of trash away from local landfills. To achieve this goal, the ceremony will utilize compostable and recyclable materials and encourage all attendees to properly divert waste into color-coded bins. President Carol Folt’s inauguration is one for the books. While the former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chancellor is the first female president to be inaugurated in USC’s history, the ceremony is unique for another reason: its plan to achieve zero waste. “With inauguration, I wanted to make sure we set the tone early, even as we plan for more concrete initiatives that I look forward to working with our community to implement soon,” Folt wrote. “It’s lovely to see something like this coming to ’SC,” Rosen said. “An area where I have seen students complain about the lack of sustainability and the lack of initiatives around that.” “As an ecologist, I have always been concerned with making sure we all do everything we can to sustain our planet,” Folt wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan. “When I arrived at USC, I was so heartened by the sincere desire of our students, faculty, staff and [the] entire campus community, to do more to curb our environmental impact.” “When we first started this process, we didn’t think we would be able to compost properly,” Rosen said. “So working within the city’s confines and what the University is required to use was probably the hardest piece — this is where we lean on our partners.” According to the USC Office of Sustainability, the ceremony makes “meaningful strides” in implementing and expanding the University’s sustainability efforts. Ellen Dux, associate director of the Office of Sustainability, said the ceremony’s ambition was a collaborative effort from various offices on campus, including Facilities Management Services, USC Auxiliary Services and the Office of the President, among others. Adam Rosen, vice president of the USC Office of Cultural Relations and University Events, said his department oversaw planning for the event and that he met with Folt to discuss her plans for the day. “[Folt] is using this public opportunity to signal to the broader community that this is a priority, and it speaks more broadly to aggressively advancing sustainability on our campus,” Dux said. “It’s one thing to do zero waste at the Coliseum, which is a huge venue but … the Coliseum is a closed loop — we control everything that goes in or out,” Dux said. “When I initially met with Dr. Folt, she said, ‘The one thing that I want is for this to be the greenest inauguration that has ever happened,’” Rosen said. “We sat down as a team to brainstorm from the event side … and brought in all of our campus partners.” Williams believes that many students are often too busy with their day-to-day tasks to realize the need to be conscious and considerate of their habits. She hopes that Folt’s prioritization of sustainability will increase these conversations on campus. “A lot of people, especially on campus, don’t know how to sort their waste and don’t know the proper ways to recycle, so having such a campus-wide event [where] everyone is invited and everyone is aware of the diversion of waste increases awareness about the movement and promotes sustainability,” Williams said. “This is a very public moment for [Folt] and for USC, and she said ‘I want to put this first foot forward and signal to everyone who is watching that USC is committed … and serious about advancing sustainability,” Dux said. “But it’s not a closed loop, anyone can wander anywhere with a burrito from home or a huge jug of something in plastic.” Ellen Dux, director of USC’s Office of Sustainability, said she believes that a president committed to reducing the University’s carbon footprint will help to educate the community on sustainability issues. (Andrea Diaz | Daily Trojan) “Having someone in the highest office on campus constantly remind us that [sustainability] is important and that environmental crises are happening will impact all of us,” Williams said.last_img read more

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MLB reduces Facebook Live broadcasts, still plans six social-geared streams

first_imgMLB has scaled back its partnership with Facebook Live in 2019, as first reported by Morning Consult, and confirmed by Sporting News. After broadcasting 25 games exclusively on the social media service last year (and 26 overall), it will show six non-exclusive games on Facebook Live this campaign.The moves comes as MLB has expanded its multimedia production elsewhere, partnering with Twitter for hitter-specific live streams, teaming up with Sporting News’ parent company DAZN for a nightly live look-in show called “ChangeUp” and adding MLB.TV to Amazon Prime video. It also brokered a streaming deal with Sling TV. An MLB official did tell Sporting News on Friday that the style of the 2019 broadcasts on Facebook, while not exclusive, will still be social-focused, meaning out-of-market viewers will have the opportunity to interact with announcers and relay questions they want posed to players and managers.There will also still be game recaps produced by MLB, as well as weekly recaps for all 30 teams.Facebook said it’s still “early in the days of having live sports,” meaning year-to-year changes are expected as it tests out what works with its audience. MLB declined to announce which six games will be broadcast on Facebook but said there will be one every month of the regular season.“Collaborating with Facebook will again drive the creation of new ways for us to deliver content to baseball fans that engage on the platform daily,” an MLB spokesman wrote in a statement. “Facebook provides a community-focused environment that will allow for fans to connect with their favorite teams via custom on-demand content and live game action driven by an original MLB Network social-first broadcast production.”MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whip-around show on DAZNSporting News reported last fall that MLB perceived its 2018 partnership with Facebook as a successful experiment, and an official expressed optimism that exclusive Facebook Live broadcasts would continue in the same vein.last_img read more

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