Saturday, December 7, 2013
From news service reports
Report on human trafficking shows rise in use of children
A new U.N. report paints a grim picture of the millions of people trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor: They come from at least 136 different nationalities, have been detected in 118 countries, and the majority of victims are women though the number of children is increasing.
The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, which launched the report Tuesday at U.N. headquarters, said the victims can be found in the world's restaurants, fisheries, brothels, farms and homes, among other places.
The report said trafficking for sexual exploitation accounts for 58 percent of all trafficking cases detected globally while the share of detected cases for forced labor has doubled over the past four years to 36 percent.
In general, it said traffickers are adult men and nationals of the country in which they operate but more women and foreign nationals are involved than in most other crimes.
Syrian opposition appears to be gaining with base capture
Rebels captured a small military base near Aleppo on Tuesday and stormed another in the same area that protects a major airport, a day after seizing Syria's largest dam.
With the back-to-back blows to President Bashar Assad's regime, opposition fighters appear to be regaining some momentum, expanding their northern zone of control while at the same time pushing deeper into the heart of the capital, Damascus.
Rebels have been attacking Aleppo's civilian airport, which remains in regime hands, for weeks. They now appear to have removed the main defenses around the facility. Civilian flights stopped weeks ago because of the intensity of the fighting.
In New York, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said the number of people killed in Syria is probably now approaching 70,000.
Horsemeat scandal spreads to England as plants raided
British authorities Tuesday raided a slaughterhouse and a meat processing company suspected of selling horsemeat labeled as beef for kebabs and burgers, shutting them down temporarily and seizing all the meat found.
It was the first time since the growing scandal broke across Europe that horsemeat being marketed as beef has been traced to suppliers in Britain, officials said, raising questions about how widespread the practice is.
Millions of burgers and frozen meals have been recalled around Europe and many accusations have been made, but so far it's not clear how horsemeat got introduced into so many beef products. French authorities have already pointed to an elaborate supply chain that involved Romanian butchers and Dutch and Cypriot traders that resulted in horsemeat disguised as beef being sold in meals like lasagna and moussaka to consumers around the continent.
Cruise line says stranded passengers not too bad off
The head of Carnival Cruise Lines said Tuesday his company was working hard to ensure the thousands of passengers stranded on a disabled ship in the Gulf of Mexico were as comfortable as possible while the vessel was being towed to port in Alabama.
The reassurances made by Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill were in sharp contrast to what some passengers have told relatives about dirty and hot conditions aboard the ship, including overflowing toilets and limited access to food.
Cahill said the ship has running water and most of its 23 public restrooms and some of the guest cabin bathrooms are working. He downplayed the possibility of an outbreak of disease from unsanitary conditions, saying the ship hasn't seen an abnormal number of people reporting to the infirmary as being ill.
The ship left Galveston, Texas, for a four-day cruise last Thursday with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members. The ship was about 150 miles off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula when an engine room fire Sunday knocked out its primary power source, crippling its water and plumbing systems and leaving it adrift on only a backup power.