Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chaos in Africa

Rugurika: 'Burundi is in a state of civil war'

Burundi's government opposes the deployment of an African Union mission, despite the continuing conflict. For Burundian journalist Bob Rigurika, the chance for dialogue has long passed.
Soldiers in Burundi (Photo: Getty Images/S. Platt)


DW: Mr. Rugurika, over 400 people have died in Burundi in the political violence that erupted over President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial third term in office. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country. But the African Union (AU) doesn't want to send troops to Burundi without the government's permission. And the government in Bujumbara has rejected an AU-mission, arguing that no one in Burundi is at war. Is that an acceptable reason?
The government in Burundi has so far not provided any valid reasons not to let AU troops into the country. This illegal government is deceiving its own nation as well as the international community with its demagogy. The international community took note of Nkurunziza's reelection without taking any action and his government is now benefitting from that lack of action. The limited sanctions that are in place are not enough. The regime is continuing to slaughter its own population and silence critics. Nkurunziza's regime has a lobby within Africa and in Europe as well.
When you say "a lobby" - do you think the international community is turning a blind eye on purpose? 
Bob Rugurika
(DW / M. Müller)
Bob Rugurika formerly headed a radio station in Burundi
The international community has been speaking out, it is concerned. The problem is that it is also divided. You can see that by looking at other crises around the world. In Burundi you can sense that the international community wants to stop Nkurunziza but is being blocked by certain members of the African Union and the UN Security Council who might not even know what's going on in Burundi.
Still, the case of Burundi is proof that the international community has failed on a massive scale. If Nkurunziza is allowed to carry on massacring people, then there will be no more world powers. The Hollandes, Merkels and Obamas of this world are in danger of losing their standing. If Nkurunziza's crimes remain unpunished, that will provoke other violence. The population of Burundi is convinced now that it can only survive if it arms and fights. That's the damage that international inaction has already done.
Using satellite imaging, Amnesty International has found mass graves in the capital Bujumbura. Do you think that the massacres are happening along ethnic lines?
No I don't. In 2006, Nkurunziza's regime executed members of the FNL [National Forces of Liberation – ed.] even though most of them are Hutus - meaning they are in the same ethnic group as the president. They were accused of being part of the political group that was rebelling against Nkurunziza. In 2010, 2011 and 2013, the United Nations and the NGO Human Rights Watch documented nearly 200 extrajudicial executions of Hutus and Tutsis. That shows that Nkurunziza doesn't distinguish between ethnic groups when he is trying to silence critics.
Is genocide in Burundi a real risk as critics have been suggesting?
The regime is currently coming up with a message of hate that has an ethnic component. The Arusha Agreement from the year 2000 gave people in Burundi the chance to live together peacefully and work together in state institutions. There are some ethnic Tutsis vying for favor within Nkurunziza's circle of influence. But he sees them as puppets. It's interesting to see that there are members of all ethnic groups in the opposition. Many of them are former allies and fellow party members of Nkurunziza's, like the party's former speaker, the former chief of intelligence, the former president of parliament and the second vice-president: they are all Hutus. The regime is simply using the ethnic component to manipulate the international community into fearing that there might be a genocide.
The opposition, civil society and the population of Burundi are hoping for political dialogue. Do you believe that is possible?
I don't want to disappoint the people or the international community. But in my experience, the current regime in Bujumbura is characterized by violence. The regime is not tolerant and does not have a democratic culture. That's why I don't really believe dialogue will be possible.
What would be your advice for ending this crisis?
Nkurunziza will only respond to severe pressure, particularly financial pressure. You can already feel its effects: Economic life in Bujumbura has come to a standstill; the central bank is heading towards bankruptcy. New laws have allowed the state to seize assets. Unfortunately, Nkurunziza doesn't care - as long as he and his family are provided for. His confidants should be restricted in their movements, his entourage should be denied visas, and of course international troops should be stationed in Burundi, no matter whether Nkurunziza likes it or not. Nkurunziza no longer represents the state of Burundi.
Many opposition figures have been accused of cooperating with armed groups. Doesn't that contradict what you are saying?
Because the international community missed its chance to mediate, the opposition has no other choice than to arm in self-defense.
Could the situation escalate into a civil war?
Burundi is already in a state of civil war. The government of Burundi has led the country down a path of spiraling violence. What is this if not a civil war? When a state is killing its population and that population decides to arm and fight back - what else should that be called? There have already been thousands of deaths.
Is there a way out of this crisis with Pierre Nkurunziza in power?
Nkurunziza is the cause for this crisis and the cause must be removed for us to find a solution. And that solution can't come from Nkurunziza.
Bob Rugurika formerly headed the radio station Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), which was closed because of its critical reporting. He now lives in exile.

TUNISIA UNVEILS ANTI-JIHADI FENCE ON LIBYAN BORDER. Only Israel and the US are not permitted to defend themselves


BEN GUERDANE, Tunisia (AP) -- Tunisia's defense minister has visited an anti-jihadi fence that's being built on the country's border with Libya to stop Islamist militants from entering Tunisian territory.
Defense Minister Farhat Horchani inspected the first completed part of the 196-kilometer (122-mile) fence Saturday, which aims to counter the threat from jihadi militants and render the entire border impassable by vehicles. Horchani said the project came about with financial assistance from Germany and the U.S.
Military personnel and dozens of journalists were also given a tour of the defense structure, composed of sand alongside water-filled trenches and monitoring centers.
The fence initiative was announced last summer after two terrorist attacks in three months killed 59 foreign tourists and garnered world attention.

Los Angeles County spends $1 billion managing homelessness, report finds. I might add and not much to show for it. How much is spent on the bureaucray?

Los Angeles County spends close to $1 billion a year caring for and managing homeless people, with a majority of the money going to their health needs, according to a new report.
More than half of the $577 million in health spending went to mental health treatment, the county study found. Another $294 million was for cash benefits and food stamps for homeless individuals.
While much of the health-related costs are covered by the state through the Medi-Cal program, welfare payments and food stamps are not. Largely as a result of general relief cash benefits, the county's biggest payout from its own general fund, $176 million, goes to the department of public social services, the study found.
Law enforcement costs, including arrests by the Sheriff's Department, jail stays and probation supervision for homeless people, came in lower, at $41 million.
The cost study "is consistent with a mounting body of research showing the stark fiscal implications homelessness presents for public administrators and the agencies and programs they manage," it said.
"Some housing assistance would probably reduce these costs considerably," said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C.
The study, produced for the county chief executive office's homeless initiative, examined costs for 150,000 single adults who experienced homelessness during a 12-month period in 2014-2015. The county board of supervisors is scheduled Tuesday to consider adopting a plan developed by the homeless initiative. 
Roman said she believed the study is the most comprehensive examination of the costs of homelessness ever conducted among single adults. More than 80% of L.A. County's 44,000 homeless people are single adults.
Officials last spring reported that the city of Los Angeles spends more than $100 million a year coping with homelessness, including $87 million on law enforcement interventions. Libraries, parks, sanitation crews and paramedics also devote significant resources to handling homeless people, the city said in its 21-page report.

John Kerry puts on his Mullah cap to tell us who is and who is not a Muslim.

Secretary Kerry Says ISIS Members Aren’t Muslims

At a conference of coalition members tasked with fighting ISIS in Rome yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry said members of the terrorist organization are not Muslims but apostates of Islam.
“Daesh [ISIS] is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves,” Kerry said. “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”
Apostate, according to The Washington Post, has traditionally been used to describe an individual or, in the plural, a group who abandoned or renounced their religion. Kerry’s application of the term to ISIS is somewhat ironic considering the terrorist organization has justified its attacks on other Muslims by claiming the victims were apostates themselves, which suggests ISIS militants are active participants in the Muslim faith.
This is not the first time Kerry has referred to ISIS as apostate. At the Saban Forum in December, Kerry said the terrorist organization is “a mixture of killers and kidnappers, smugglers, thieves, and apostates who have hijacked a religion and combined a medieval thinking with modern weapons to wage an especially savage brand of war.”
Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the world’s preeminent authority on the Sunni branch of Islam, has refused to call ISIS an apostate group, since ISIS fighters do believe and practice Islam, even though their understanding of the religion is flawed in his opining, CNS News reports.
Social media users have attacked Kerry’s usage of the term as untrue and Kerry lacks any authority on Islam:

Venezuela Is Socialist, Senator Sanders. Any Questions? But, but if only the right people were in charge! Socialism is built upon ignorance, envy and a list of enemies. See second story for the latest socialist success story


Venezuela Is Socialist, Senator Sanders. Any Questions? 

People wait in line to buy eggs at government regulated prices in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. There is currently a shortage of eggs in the country, and people wait in line for at least an hour to buy them. The IMF warned last Friday that inflation would more than double in the economically struggling South American country. (AP)
People wait in line to buy eggs at government regulated prices in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. There is currently a shortage of eggs in the country, and people wait in line for at least an hour to buy them. The IMF warned last Friday that inflation would more than double in the economically struggling South American country. (AP)

Socialism: Like a skyscraper crane about to topple in high winds, Venezuela is teetering on the brink of a horrific economic collapse. It was brought on by one thing: socialism, taken to the hilt.
Yet incredibly, neither Bernie Sanders nor his voters make this connection.
It’s worrisome that so many Americans see socialism in a favorable light these days. A May 2015 YouGov poll showed that socialism was viewed favored favorably by 43% of Democrats, while a June 2015 Gallup poll showed that 47% of Americans would vote for a socialist.
It points to a collective loss of memory. After all, it’s been decades since the fact that the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet empire collapsed. As chess champion Garry Kasparov has noted in “Winter Is Coming,” there have been no truth commissions or victory parades to institutionalize the monstrous idea’s discreditation and demise. In fact, the idea seems to be resurging in the U.S. Democratic Party, even with examples of its failures continuing, the latest example being Venezuela.
That reality of socialism and its horrific results is mocked by Sanders himself, who denies it has anything to do with his own ideas. “I myself don’t use the word socialism,” he told a University of Vermont student publication in 1976 “because people have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech.”
Brainwashed? The very word comes from socialist indoctrination practices. Sanders’ flip dismissal of those realities reminds us of a quote from Nobel Prize winner and author of “The Gulag Archipelago” Aleksander Solzhenitsyn: “Or do they refuse to see?”  Yes, Sanders and his followers refuse.
Even the absence of slave-labor camps, in say, socialist Venezuela, doesn’t get Sanders off the hook. Right now Venezuelans are at the logical conclusion of 18 years of democratic socialism, the kind Sanders has praised in the past, and even benefited from, as he accepted Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez’s oil largesse — stolen from Venezuela’s people — for Vermont.
Today Venezuela, with the world’s largest oil reserves is, believe it or not, importing oil. It’s a perfect illustration of Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman’s well known saying that if the Sahara took up socialism, there would soon be a shortage of sand.
Socialism has also led to massive shortages of food, toilet paper, diapers and medicine, among many other things, all the result of state planning and currency controls and rampant inflation. After 18 years of socialist spending, inflation has hit 720%, the IMF says. And don’t forget that Venezuela also has the world’s highest crime rate, with Caracas rated the world’s most dangerous city by the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.
Socialist Venezuela is on the verge of a massive Argentina-sized sovereign debt default, with $10 billion in debt payments due this year, and only $8 billion left to buy imports such as food, according to an appalling analysis in the Financial Times by Ricardo Hausmann. Meanwhile, Venezuela ranks No. 1 in the world on economist Steve Hanke’s Cato Institute “Misery Index” which is his measure of each nations’ combined inflation, unemployment and interest rates. Friday, Reuters reported that Venezuela was were desperately trying to swap out their gold reserves with German banks to survive a little longer. No surprise, investment banks say they’re looking at an 80% chance of a default. Blogger Miguel Octavio of The Devil’s Excrement reported this week that the Caracas airport was full of weeping families sending their young people into exile abroad.
That’s the part of socialism Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to talk about. It’s the same wherever it’s tried. Voters fall for it over and over, and all it brings is failure. Sanders is only continuing the con. When is he going to be called on it?

Zika virus turns deadly in Venezuela because of acute medicine shortage

  • Padre e hija con Zika.jpg
    AP
The outbreak of the Zika virus in Venezuela, mixed with the economic crisis and the government’s secrecy about health data, has created a “perfect storm” that has already killed 11 people.
Those infected, approximately 118,000 since the start of 2016, the face a tough task of finding the medicines needed to treat the disease and its possible complications given the acute shortage of goods affecting the country for more than two years now.
While Zika itself is not a serious condition, it has been linked to a rare but severe neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, among other things. If not treated right, the condition can cause death or irreversible damage.
The two known treatments, intravenous immunoglobulin and plasmapheresis are currently not available in Venezuela due to lack of supplies.
The 11 Zika patients who have died in Caracas and other cities did not have access to the needed doses of immunoglobulin-g or albumin, according to published reports.
Physician Jose Felix Oletta, Venezuela’s health secretary between 1997 and 1999, warned the situation could get worst in the following weeks.
“The government has announced the import of 3,000 doses of immunoglobulin-g for the first trimester of 2016, but we estimate the real need for that time period is 26,000 doses,” the physician told Fox News Latino.
According to data collected by Oletta from epidemiological divisions around the country, in Venezuela there have been 436,000 probable cases of Zika since July of last year. Experts believe 1 in 1,570 patients infected with the Zika virus have developed Guillain-Barré.
“We could have 750 cases of the neurological disorder in the first three months of 2016. This is the worst situation of Guillain-Barré in Venezuela’s history and we are not prepared for it,” Oletta said.
Sadly, Venezuela used to produce the antibody immunoglobulin-g and albumin, a protein, up until August of last year, when state-owned company Quimbiotec was shut down for restoration and repairs.
Nixon Berrios, head of Quimbiotec´s workers union, told FNL the company first handpicked a company to do the repairs, which had to be interrupted months later. “They had to stop the work to hire a new provider following the bidding procedure [stipulated by law],” Berrios said. “The work is still unfinished.”
Quimbiotec is scheduled to reopen in the next few weeks, but now faces another problem, according to the union leader: “We don’t have the resources needed to produce [immunoglobulin-g and albumin]. Eighty percent of those [supplies] are imported and the government hasn’t approved the dollars to buy them,” he explained.
The sharp drop in oil prices has reduced Venezuela’s income dramatically — according to the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela, the government currently owes pharma companies more than $4 billion. Doctors here are forced to work with 20 percent of medicines typically available in developed countries.
People infected with Zika can’t even find acetaminophen, prescribed for the muscles pain and headache, or the anti-allergic meds to alleviate the rashes.
But while those two can be easily bought in other countries and imported, that’s not the case with immunoglobulin-g and albumin, which have to be kept under a specific temperature and shipped in special conditions.
“People depend on the government,” Berrios told FNL, “because it can only be imported with a proper license.”
Meanwhile, Venezuelans are forced to navigate the Zika epidemic in the dark, since the Venezuelan government has not released official data about the spread of the virus in the country.
“The government admits to only 4,700 cases of Zika and 255 of Guillain-Barré. They are not recognizing the problem, which started in July of last year,” Oletta said — far from the 436,000 cases independently surveyed by him.
Venezuela’s handling of the Zika crisis is also hurting its neighbors’ fight against the disease. Earlier this week, Colombia’s Health minister Alejandro Gaviria expressed his concerns in a radio interview.
“The issue of the border with Venezuela makes things harder,” he said.
In fact, people infected in Venezuela are believed to have exported the virus to the U.S. – where last week a patient in Texas said he was infected after having sex with someone who had visited the country – Argentina, Spain and Peru.
“This could be prevented with better controls and if the government finally acknowledges the problem and takes the necessary steps to solve it,” Oletta, the former Heath secretary, said.

Fun with numbers: The real story behind the unemployment report

Fun with numbers: The real story behind the unemployment report



On the surface, the January jobs numbers appear to be "not bad."  There were 151,000 jobs created, and the official unemployment rate dropped below 5%.
But the story inside the numbers is really, really awful.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates job creation and loss using two different measurements: the Current Population Survey and "Establishment" data from the Current Employment Statistics.  Usually, the two measurements are roughly the same.
But how do you explain this, BLS?
Consider these BLS numbers based on household data. In January, there were 25,328,000 "foreign born" workers employed, a one-month drop of 98,000.
In January, there were 123,710,000 "native born" men and women employed, a one-month drop of 567,000.
Analysts note that there are several ways to count jobs created and lost but the losses shown among men and women, foreign born and immigrants, is significant, said a congressional expert, who told Secrets, "Maybe big thing this month is just the decline in number of native born workers drops over half million in a month?"
That means that the actual number of jobs created was about 650,000.  What kind of jobs were they?  Zero Hedge Blog refers to the "Waiter and Bartender Recovery"  an apt way to describe the fact that 70% of those jobs are minimum-wage positions.
Marketwatch thinks the numbers are "fishy":
Manufacturing mojo?
By virtually all accounts, U.S. manufacturers are struggling to grow amid a decline in exports and a big drop in demand among energy producers. Yet the industry supposedly added 29,000 new jobs in January to mark the biggest gain in 14 months.
Believable? Many economists are skeptical. And even if the job increases are real, some predict hiring will slow again next month. After all, manufacturers only added 33,000 jobs all of 2015.
White-collar woes
Businesses and professional firms that employ white-collar workers added only 9,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain in more than two years.
Quite a comedown for a segment of the economy that has led the way in job creation during the recovery. These jobs increased by an average of 52,000 a month in 2015.
The poor performance can be blamed on a sharp decline in temp jobs after the end of the holiday season — they fell 25,000 last month. But it was still a surprisingly weak number that will raise eyebrows if it persists.
Retailer rebound
Retailers didn’t add as many workers as expected for the holiday season. No surprise. Sales at most traditional retailers such as Macy’s M, -1.18%   have been surprisingly soft as consumers save up or seek better deals online.
So how to explain a whopping 58,000 gain in January that led all industries? That was the biggest gain in almost four years. Even more surprising, department stores added the most new jobs in the retail sector: 15,000. The last time they hired that many people was at the end of 2013.
Every so often a monthly employment report is full of so many irregularities that it pays to discount the report. This might be one of those times.
We've commented several times over the years about the BLS cooking the books on jobs.  James Pethokoukis lists some other stats that tell far more of the real story about the employment picture than the bare-bones numbers highlighted by the media:
Not everything was great: job gains far short of 185,000 expectations (though averaging 231,000 the past three months), U-6 unemployment-underemployment rate unchanged at 9.9%, long-term unemployment worsened, labor force participation and employment rate still way below pre-recession levels, wages gains short of what you would expect to see in a full-throttle economy. Particularly vexing for Barclays was job weakness in the service sector.
In other words, the job situation in Amhttp://admin.americanthinker.com/admin/mod_posts/?action=edit&id=112521erica still sucks, and the president is blowing smoke by touting the numbers as good news.
On the surface, the January jobs numbers appear to be "not bad."  There were 151,000 jobs created, and the official unemployment rate dropped below 5%.
But the story inside the numbers is really, really awful.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates job creation and loss using two different measurements: the Current Population Survey and "Establishment" data from the Current Employment Statistics.  Usually, the two measurements are roughly the same. 
But how do you explain this, BLS?
Consider these BLS numbers based on household data. In January, there were 25,328,000 "foreign born" workers employed, a one-month drop of 98,000.
In January, there were 123,710,000 "native born" men and women employed, a one-month drop of 567,000.
Analysts note that there are several ways to count jobs created and lost but the losses shown among men and women, foreign born and immigrants, is significant, said a congressional expert, who told Secrets, "Maybe big thing this month is just the decline in number of native born workers drops over half million in a month?"
That means that the actual number of jobs created was about 650,000.  What kind of jobs were they?  Zero Hedge Blog refers to the "Waiter and Bartender Recovery"  an apt way to describe the fact that 70% of those jobs are minimum-wage positions.
Marketwatch thinks the numbers are "fishy":
Manufacturing mojo?
By virtually all accounts, U.S. manufacturers are struggling to grow amid a decline in exports and a big drop in demand among energy producers. Yet the industry supposedly added 29,000 new jobs in January to mark the biggest gain in 14 months.
Believable? Many economists are skeptical. And even if the job increases are real, some predict hiring will slow again next month. After all, manufacturers only added 33,000 jobs all of 2015.
White-collar woes
Businesses and professional firms that employ white-collar workers added only 9,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain in more than two years.
Quite a comedown for a segment of the economy that has led the way in job creation during the recovery. These jobs increased by an average of 52,000 a month in 2015.
The poor performance can be blamed on a sharp decline in temp jobs after the end of the holiday season — they fell 25,000 last month. But it was still a surprisingly weak number that will raise eyebrows if it persists.
Retailer rebound
Retailers didn’t add as many workers as expected for the holiday season. No surprise. Sales at most traditional retailers such as Macy’s M, -1.18%   have been surprisingly soft as consumers save up or seek better deals online.
So how to explain a whopping 58,000 gain in January that led all industries? That was the biggest gain in almost four years. Even more surprising, department stores added the most new jobs in the retail sector: 15,000. The last time they hired that many people was at the end of 2013.
Every so often a monthly employment report is full of so many irregularities that it pays to discount the report. This might be one of those times.
We've commented several times over the years about the BLS cooking the books on jobs.  James Pethokoukis lists some other stats that tell far more of the real story about the employment picture than the bare-bones numbers highlighted by the media:
Not everything was great: job gains far short of 185,000 expectations (though averaging 231,000 the past three months), U-6 unemployment-underemployment rate unchanged at 9.9%, long-term unemployment worsened, labor force participation and employment rate still way below pre-recession levels, wages gains short of what you would expect to see in a full-throttle economy. Particularly vexing for Barclays was job weakness in the service sector.
In other words, the job situation in Amhttp://admin.americanthinker.com/admin/mod_posts/?action=edit&id=112521erica still sucks, and the president is blowing smoke by touting the numbers as good news.


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/02/fun_with_numbers_the_real_story_behind_the_unemployment_report.html#ixzz3zPrwG8bC
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Global warming the all purpose answer to everything. No matter what we do it's bad for the fantasy environment the left lives in.

Those days you work from home may end up wrecking the planet

Next time your boss tries to convince you of the benefits of working from home, spare a thought for how that could contribute to wrecking the planet.
More businesses than ever are asking employees to work remotely in a bid to cut rental costs for office space and take advantage of the growth of super-fast broadband, teleconferencing and smart phones.
But working from your kitchen can actually increase the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, since those who stay home usually turn up the thermostat. Home energy consumption increases 20 percent when people work where they live, according to a study by BT Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest broadband provider.
“The general view is home working is always a good thing, but it’s never as simple as it appears,” said Paul Swift, a consultant for Carbon Trust, a London-based research group that advises companies on sustainability. “You can have a very efficient building in a city where people are walking or using public transport. If employees working from home are switching on the heating across the entire house, it will be a negative.”
Swift and his team confirmed that working at home during the winter can quickly lead to an increase in emissions. A single hour of extra heating for most households cancels out the emissions saved by avoiding a commute, the Carbon Trust concluded in a 2014 report.
Only those home workers who live far from the office or who would otherwise drive to work contribute to an overall reduction in pollution. Employees whose daily car commute is at least eight miles, who take a bus for 14 miles or travel at least 32 miles by train can cut emissions, the report said. Those who walk or take public transport would increase their emissions by working from home.
Vodafone Libertel BV, a mobile phone provider, has acknowledged similar findings. Home working increases energy and heating use, offsetting the carbon savings from less commuting and smaller office space, according to its latest Environmental Profit and Loss Account.
More people than ever are working from home, and advocates say the practice can cut pollution. About 3.7 million employees in the U.S. do so for half their time on the job or more, double the level of 2005, according to the consultant Global Workplace Analytics.
That may contribute a reduction of 51 million metric tons of carbon emissions a year, the equivalent of taking all of New York’s commuters off the road, according to the research group that works to help businesses and communities understand the advantages of working from home.
“Barring a national disaster, we see the growth of half- time-plus telework staying at about 5 to 7 percent for the next few years," said Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. “The bigger growth will be among less frequent telecommuters. There we predict growth of 10 percent a year for the next few years.”
There isn’t much data on global trends. A poll of more than 18,600 people in 26 countries published by Ipsos in 2012 named India, Indonesia and Mexico as the top countries for telecommuting, followed by South Africa, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Ten percent to 35 percent of the world’s workforce worked remotely at least once or twice per week, the report found.
Among environmentalists, there’s some suspicion that companies have their own finances in mind when they push employees out of the office.
“Companies are interested in reducing office space for financial reasons,” said Swift of the Carbon Trust. “The environmental side is not the highest priority.”

Somalia beach attack: Survivor tells of ordeal at hands of al-Shabab

Somalia beach attack: Survivor tells of ordeal at hands of al-Shabab


beach view cafe on lido beachImage copyrightReuters
Image captionThe attack started at around 19:00 local time
The 21 January attack by al-Shabab on a popular beachside restaurant in the Somali capital Mogadishu has now claimed more than 40 lives. Many of the victims died from their injuries in the days following the attack. Nasro Dahir Abukar was at the Beach View Cafe when the militants struck. Here, she gives her personal survival story.
I was with my younger brother Eyman. We were were having tea, looking out at the sea, enjoying the sight and sound of the waves. It was one of those wonderful moments in life. 
Suddenly, shooting started on the side of the restaurant which spreads out onto the beach. We all got up and started running away, except those who were hit by the bullets. 
As the gunfire got louder and louder, most of the people who had been sitting on the beach side of the restaurant fell down on to the sand. 
I didn't see Eyman after he ran away, so I started shouting for him and running at the same time. 
I fell down, but someone gave me a hand and I couldn't tell if he knew me or not. He pulled me towards where the kitchen and toilets were. 
Photo of Nasro Dahir
Image captionNasro hid under the bodies of other victims to survive
Those of us who had run for our lives went to hide in the toilets and shut ourselves inside, standing by the hand-wash area. 
Even though praying is forbidden inside toilets, quietly I started reciting verses of the Koran and Hadith [the stories and traditions of Muhammad's life], praying that Allah would protect us from these evil cowards. 
I wondered whether I would survive or be killed.
My thoughts also turned to my little brother Eyman. I wasn't sure if he had escaped the restaurant in time. I started shouting: "Eyman, Eyman, Eyman!" 
I remembered how much my mother loved Eyman, since he was her youngest child. 
beach view cafe front viewImage copyrightReuters
Image captionSomali special forces eventually retook control of the restaurant from militants
I thought of how she would react to the news of our death. Eyman was not just the youngest, but my mother's only son, after she had lost her other son two years ago. 
She still feels his loss now. 
I prepared for the worst.
As the gunfire intensified, I thought about what would happen to our family. 
members of SomaliaImage copyrightAP
Image captionMilitant group al-Shabab often carries out attacks on the capital
I would take the blame for Eyman's death; it was my idea to bring him to Liido beach after all. "Why did I bring him with me?" I asked myself over and over. 
Now, some of the bullets entered the toilet, hitting some of those I was hiding with, whose blood now poured over me.
The attackers threw bombs inside the restaurant and the attack kept getting stronger and stronger. 
I could hear the cries of babies and women, of explosions and gunfire. 
somalis relax on lido beachImage copyrightAFP
Image captionLido beach is a popular place for Somalis to relax
lido beach goers file photoImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMany young people go there to swim, drink tea and meet friends
People were crying out: "LaaIllaaha Illalaah", which is a phrase to use when someone is on the verge of death and asking Allah for forgiveness. 
But their cries made the attackers realise that there were people still alive, so they increased their fire towards us, until we asked everyone to shut their mouths and stay silent. 
Now the restaurant was in darkness. The only lights we could see were came from the bullets flying through the air. 
I lay on the floor, with blood running all around me. Injured people were on top of me and I couldn't say a word. 
I assumed Eyman was already dead and that I was about to die too.
wreckage from car bombsImage copyrightEPA
Image captionTwo car bombs were detonated near the entrance to the other side of the restaurant
But then, hope came. 
Some special forces from the National Intelligence Service Agency (NISA) had arrived.
They came to the window, signalling to us with lights.
Then they started breaking down a section of the wall near the window.
First, they told those who were wounded and the women to come forward. They kept telling us to come to them, but we were still in shock and didn't know what to do. 
Then one of the special forces team, whose face was covered, raised his hand and asked me to come. 
He had a gun in one hand and he pushed my hand, asking me to move forward. 
He pulled my body and forced me to come out of the building. 
When I got outside, I checked my body to see whether I was injured or not.
Demonstrators attend a protest against Al shabab insurgents outside Lido beach in the Somali capital MogadishuImage copyrightAFP
Image captionDemonstrators returned to the scene of the attack less than a week later in a show of defiance
Luckily I was okay, except the pain throughout my body from when I had fallen down onto the floor, and people had trodden on me as they rushed to escape. 
I was covered in shards of glass. The sounds of bombs and gunfire was fresh in my mind. 
Then, they told me "yes" - my brother Eyman was safe. 
I thought of the brave soldier who had chosen to risk his life in order to save us. The attack was still going on while the soldier was rescuing us, and we could hear the sounds of bombs and bullets all around. 
I owe my life to this soldier and if I had seen his face or knew his name, I would try to find him so I could thank him personally for what he did. 
I give my thanks to Allah, and to this solider who helped me survive the attack. 
The soldier was so kind, professional, compassionate, committed and determined to save our lives.
I know that his mission was to save people trapped in the restaurant, and every girl or boy that he saved was also his duty, but my feelings of gratitude and appreciation are so deep. 
So if you are reading this article, know that you are a brave soldier and only Allah can repay your sacrifices to humankind.