May 15, 2015

I'm Sharing My Personal DIY Experience Removing And Installing A New Radiator In My Car. Enjoy! :)


Hi everyone! Well... I did it. I replaced the radiator in my car myself. I went for it this Monday. It took me two days to iron the kinks out. Then another two days to merge, edit video clips. I finally uploaded my DIY video on YouTube this morning. Now I'd like to share my video with all of you. I hope you enjoy my crazy, fun, nerve-racking experience recorded in real-time. :)

Mitsubishi Radiator cost MSRP $300. I paid $107 for an after-market radiator manufactured in Canada, not China. I couldn't find radiators manufactured in America. :(

Local Mitsubishi Dealer Radiator Installation labor cost $110/hour. The local dealer told me it would take them 2-3 hours to install. Total cost $330. Oh, and the Mitsubishi dealer only installs OEM Mitsubishi radiators. Three other estimates from independent mechanics to install the radiator were $150, $160 and $180.

I saved myself $500 or maybe even more doing this job myself, and the hands-on learning experience itself was priceless.

So save yourself a good chunk of money. If I can do this project all by myself with absolutely no prior mechanic experience, so can you. I am on my way to becoming a bonafide Grease Monkey! :)
I have typed a transcript of my 2 minute message at the beginning of my video:

Hi everybody, Josette here, getting ready to replace the radiator in my 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS. My car has been overheating for the past two weeks. So I started trouble shooting starting with the least expensive repair. I have already replaced the thermostat ($21 for the part) and cleaned out the throttle-body (because my car had a rough idle) hoping that would resolve the problem. But, my car is still overheating. The radiator may be clogged up or damaged.

The original OEM radiator lasted for 13 years. So, it’s probably time to replace anyway.

Now, I’d like to point out that I’m not a mechanic. But I am tired of getting taking advantage of by male mechanics that do crappy jobs, sell you repairs you don’t need, overcharge and leave a mess under the hood. This is why I decided to do the job myself. I watched several DIY videos on YouTube, and read the Haynes Repair Manual for my car.

I’m video taping this project to encourage YOU, to believe in yourself. If I can do this with absolutely no experience in the auto business, then you can too. I had to get over my fear and silence the little voice in my head telling me that I couldn't do this. I feared the unknown, and that made me feel insecure.
Plus, I had to overcome the ridicule, even laughter from male mechanics, and other guys after I told them I was going to replace the radiator in my car myself. They made it sound like it was so hard to make me feel insecure, give up, and take it to them. Even my own mom thought I was nuts, and told me to take it to a professional mechanic. So, basically I had no moral support while pursuing this DIY radiator project. I'm sharing my personal experience so you have no excuses to stop you from doing anything. (added emphasis after the fact)
But once I took the initiative to learn something new, that knowledge gained, gave me confidence! You and I can do anything, once we set our mind to it and tell ourselves,

I - can - do - this. Keep repeating to yourself, I can do this!

So let’s get started… I made a list of the tools and supplies you’ll need for this job. (I share this list in the description section of my video for you to print or copy down.)

May 10, 2015

Encouragement From God...♥

Looking Through the Eyes of Love... ♥



This is such a beautiful song with powerful lyrics to complement this touching movie. The original movie "Ice Castle" was released in 1978. AMAZING story! Professional ice skater loses her eye sight and her boyfriend's love and persistence gives her the courage to continue skating blind and become the world class champion figure skater she was. The gift she had was within. ♥ Enjoy! :)

Looking Through the Eyes of LOVE
~by Melissa Manchester
Theme song from the movie "Ice Castle"

Please, don't let this feeling end,
It's everything I am,
Everything I wanna be;
I can see what's mine now,
Finding out what's true,
Since I've found You
Lookin' through the eyes of LOVE.

Now I can take the time,
I can see my life
As it comes on shining now;
Reachin' out to touch You,
I can feel so much,
Since I've found You
Lookin' through the eyes of LOVE.

And now I do believe,
That even in a storm, we'll find some LIGHT;
Knowin' You're beside me,
I'm alright.

Please, don't let this feelin' end,
It might not come again;
And I want to remember
How it feels to touch You;
How I feel so much,
Since I've found You
Lookin' through the eyes of LOVE.

♥ A Love Story! ♥

"Love knows only one time: NOW and only one place: HERE" ~ by Osho

A Love Story
~Author Unknown~

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived; Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment.

When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of silver in my boat. There is no place here for you." Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. "Vanity, please help me!" "I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered. Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness, let me go with you." "Oh....Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself." Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder. "Who helped me?" "It was Time," Knowledge answered. "Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?" Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."

Donkey In The Well... I Love This story! :) ♥

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from God.

Life's Choices! This Is A Such GREAT Story! ♥

Life's Choices
[source: Moytura]

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today.

You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life, choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.

You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.

The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower! After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Michael continued, "... the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read "he's a dead man. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything.

"Yes, I replied." The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Enjoy each day, each breath and mostly each and every friend.

What If? A Poem by Ganga White. Awwwe... This Message Is So Beautiful And Profound. ♥

Photo credit: Alberto Villoldo

What If?
A Poem by Ganga White

What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being

The Value Of One Life ((( ♥ ))) I Love This Message. I Would Do The Same.

Sorry, I just realized that the message in the picture is hard to read after I posted it. I have typed the message below for your reading pleasure. :)

Walking along a beach, a mother saw her daughter picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. She asked the girl why she was doing this. The girl explained the starfish would die if left til the morning.

The mother asked, "What difference will your efforts make when there are thousands of starfish on the beach?"

The girl stopped and looked at the starfish she was holding and said, "It will make a difference to this one."

Passage to Earthschool. Beautiful Story! ♥ Please Remember... You Are Never Alone!

written by Susie Chavez in Eugene, Oregon

“Don’t worry: it’s only temporary. No one ever gets stuck in there forever,” the tall smiling angel teased. “Folks always manage to find the way back home. Anyway, you’re on a timer. When it gets down to zero, bingo: you’re outta there—whether you think you’re ready to Graduate or not. Gonna be fun to see what name they pick for you when you show up on the scene.”

“You’ve been briefed. Of course, you’ll not remember much once you get there—but your Guardian will watch over you every step of the way. He’s getting graded, too, by the way. Well, babe, if you don’t remember anything else, know this: you are mightily loved, and we’ll bring you back home safely: it’s a promise.”

With that, the door slid silently open and Zee entered her glowing cocoon and settled in. She lay awake for awhile, watching the colors and patterns on the misty pearlescent ceiling. Truthfully, she was a bit pensive; but mostly, she was excited. It had been an honor to be Chosen, and she would do her very best. Besides, with her giftings, it oughta be a piece of cake! She smiled, “Oh yeah! Bring it on!” she thought, then closed her eyes and slept.

With knowing smiles, the angels sealed her in.

This story is written for my courageous daughters. I ask: "And What If we are simply in a virtual reality learning system designed by Creator to teach us lessons of compassion and the proper use of power? And What If we are all safely tucked away in our biopods, dreaming?"

This Is A Great Story To Be Shared On This Mother's Day And Remembered For A Lifetime...♥

One young man went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the initial interview, and now would meet the director for the final interview.

The director discovered from his CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent. He asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" the youth answered "no".

"Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"

"My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.” he replied.

"Where did your mother work?"

"My mother worked as clothes cleaner.”

The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

"Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?"

"Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, "I have a request. When you go home today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back home, he asked his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son.

The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother winced when he touched it.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fees. The bruises in the mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his education, his school activities and his future.

After cleaning his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director's office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, when he asked: "Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?"

The youth answered," I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes'

“I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, I would not be who I am today. By helping my mother, only now do I realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done on your own. And I have come to appreciate the importance and value of helping one’s family.

The director said, "This is what I am looking for in a manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life.”

“You are hired.”

This young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and worked as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop an "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, they may be successful for a while, but eventually they would not feel a sense of achievement. They will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying our children instead?

You can let your child live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch on a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your child learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

House Rules... ♥

I Love You Mom! ♥

Mother ~ Author unknown
(American Greetings card)

Sometimes,
a mom means laughter, sharing, and warmth.
Sometimes,
a mom means understanding, encouragement, and guidance.
But always, a mom means love.

As time goes by,
I appreciate more and more
all the things you've done for me.

I recognize kind acts and realize sacrifices;
I understand your viewpoints and appreciate your wisdom.

And with these things,
I discover I not only love you,
but I love what you've done,
I love who you are,
and I love that you are my mom.

******************************
Dear Mom,

I don't know if you realize how much I admire you, but I do.

Being your daughter is a joy, because you've been such a wonderful role model for me, not just in the way you raised me, but in the way you live your own life.

I've learned so much from you, what it means to be truly giving and caring, how important it is to be fair, how to believe in myself and in my ideals. But my most cherished observation, to be a free spirit.

Your example has shaped the way I think and feel and believe much more than you will ever know.

Happy Mother's Day!

♥ I LOVE YOU! ♥

☺~ Josette ~☺

Happy Mother's Day To All Of You Beautiful Wonderful Inspiring Women Around The World! :)


I just want take a moment to personally thank ALL of the women around the WORLD who have chosen to sacrifice their personal lives in order to give birth to new life. Women who have chosen to give unconditional love to their children. Women who have chosen to nuture and mentor these children who will become our future leaders. All of humanity owe's you a GREAT deal of gratitude, because without you women, NONE of us would exist.

"The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between
the heart and the heavenly Father."
~ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge ♥

May 6, 2015

THAILAND: Horrifying Pictures From Within Thai Human Traffickers Camp Where 50 Slaves Were Left To Starve To Death In Bamboo Cages And Pits After Smugglers Abandoned Them To Die

Gruesome: The graves of over 50 migrants (pictured) have been discovered at a human trafficking camp in southern Thailand, where smugglers abandoned them to die
Caged: The traffickers kept their captives in dirty bamboo cages (pictured) until they received full payment for their transport across the border to Malaysia, but many died there

The Daily Mail, UK
written by Jay Akbar
Friday May 1, 2015

The decaying corpses of as many as 50 migrants are being pulled out of the ground in remote woodland in southern Thailand where a gruesome grave site inside a human-trafficking camp has been discovered.

The graves reportedly belong to migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh who were brought to the Songkhla province near Malaysia, a popular stop off for traffickers before they take their human cargo across the border and beyond.

Most of the dead are Rohingya Muslim refugees who starved to death or died of disease awaiting payment for ransoms so they could be smuggled into Malaysia, according to local reports.

A local hospital has confirmed that at least one Bangladeshi man has miraculously survived the fate that befell as many as 50 of his fellow refugees.

The harrowing site was discovered in Sadao district at an abandoned camp for trafficked refugees known locally as 'boat people'.

When traffickers are forced to escape the dirty temporary camps by raiders, they leave the sick and disabled behind to die, local website Phuketwan has said.

A rescue worker who arrived at the gruesome scene shortly after its discovery confirmed there were at least 32 graves and four exhumed bodies were on their way to hospital for an autopsy.

Sathit Thamsuwan added the deceased 'bodies were all decayed' and the lone survivor had been taken to nearby hospital in Padang Besar where he is in a stable condition.

He told Phuketwan that 200 soldiers, policemen and rescue workers had to climb through the mountainous jungle terrain for 50 minutes to reach the graves.

The country's Deputy Police Chief said the makeshift shelter the man escaped from had a bedroom and canteen for the cruel human traffickers who may have detained as many 300 migrants there.

General Aek Angsananont told the Bangkok Post: 'This location helps traffickers transport the migrants at anytime and it is difficult for officers to arrest them.'

A senior official from Sadao district has said: 'Military and border patrol police have now cordoned the area off so we can bring forensic officials to the site.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar are thought to make the perilous journey by sea to southern Thailand - a well worn trafficking route.

They are described by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, having been forced to escape deadly unrest in Myanmar's Rakhine state since 2012.

Thailand has been criticised for pushing boatloads of Rohingya entering its waters back out to sea, and for holding migrants in overcrowded facilities.

But the ruling Junta claims it has taken steps to combat trafficking since June, when the United States said Thailand was failing to tackle modern-day slavery.

In January, the country's confirmed more than a dozen government officials - including senior policemen and a navy officer - were being prosecuted for involvement or complicity in human trafficking.

THAILAND: 26 Bodies Exhumed From Mass Grave At Suspected Human Trafficking Camp

Rescue workers dig as human remains are retrieved from a mass grave at an abandoned camp in a jungle 300m from the border with Malaysia.

Christian Today
written by Reuters staff
Sunday May 3, 2015

Dozens of police and volunteers have exhumed 26 bodies at a mass grave near a suspected human trafficking camp on a hillside deep in a southern Thai jungle, police said on Saturday.

The digging site, in Sadao district in Songkhla province, yielded five bodies on Friday and 21 more on Saturday, all believed to be migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh. Authorities found three survivors at the camp, two of them children.

"A total of 26 bodies were uncovered - 24 men, one woman and one unknown," said Police General Jarumporn Suramanee, adding the operation was now completed. There had been estimates of up to 30 bodies buried at the site.

Illegal migrants, many of them Rohingya Muslims from western Myanmar and Bangladesh, brave often perilous journeys by sea to escape religious and ethnic persecution and to seek jobs in Malaysia and Thailand, a regional trafficking hub.

At least one more human trafficking camp is thought to be located not far from the graves, said Police Colonel Anuchon Chamat, deputy commander of Nakorn Si Thammarat Provincial Police and a member of the investigation team.

Police General Aek Angsananont, deputy commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police, told reporters authorities had known about the camp's existence for a while.

"We heard news about this camp and tried to find it many times but because it was deep jungle, it was very difficult," he said. He said police believed the deaths were due to "a disagreement within the human trafficking trade."

Identifying victims could take time as relatives would need to travel from Myanmar and Bangladesh to offer DNA samples for testing and to identify belongings, where possible, said Police General Jarumporn Suramanee.

"There might be a problem that their relatives might not come straightaway," said the general, who supervised the excavations on Saturday.

The abandoned camp, hidden high on a hill, was strewn with shoes and clothing. It had operated for about a year, police said.

"From the evidence given by witnesses who were in the camp, we believe there was violence here and people died from the violence," said Jarumporn, without giving further details.

Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation with UN involvement to find out what took place at the site.

"The discovery of these mass graves should shock the Thai government into shutting down the trafficking networks that enrich officials but prey on extremely vulnerable people," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

THAILAND / MALAYSIA: Slave Trade Booms In Dark Triangle. An Estimated 250,000 Bangladeshis, Lured With Jobs In Malaysia, Have Been Held For Ransom In Jungle Camps By Trafficking Ring

Infograph Design: Ds Creative Graphics

The Daily Star
PART I: TRANSNATIONAL CRIME NETWORK
written by Emran Hossain and Mohammad Ali Zinnat with Martin Swapan Pandey
Wednesday May 6, 2015

Promising jobs in Malaysia, transnational human traffickers held about 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis captive in Thailand for ransom over the last eight years and realised crores of taka from them, The Daily Star can report.

Lured into the trap, many of the country's poor people make the voyage in cargo vessels through sea to Thailand first, hoping to cross into Malaysia overland.

But before the jobseekers can make it to their final destination, their dreams turn into a collective nightmare. Held in crammed and filthy conditions in Thai jungles for months or even years, they are often beaten and starved for ransom.

Thailand is a strategic location for holding victims in remote mountains dotting that country's coast, said a Bangladeshi expatriate in Malaysia who turned broker.

“The migrants are confined in Thailand to realise the ransom before they are sent to Malaysia, because in the past some jobseekers fled from Thailand without paying. It is better to settle the business at the right time,” he told this newspaper by phone on condition of anonymity.

Only on Saturday, the Thai authorities found 26 bodies from mass graves where trafficking victims from Bangladesh and Myanmar are suspected to have been buried in an abandoned jungle camp located in Sadao district of Songkhla province.

In October last year, Thai police rescued 134 trafficked victims confined in a Southern Thailand rubber plantation deep in a jungle. The BBC had reported all the victims were Bangladeshis, but the Bangladesh authorities said 118 were Bangladesh nationals while the rest 16 were Rohingyas from Myanmar.

Earlier in September, a group of 37 people, also reportedly Bangladeshis, were rescued from the jungle.

All this exposes how a modern-day slave trade has taken a firm root in Bangladesh and also in this region. Beaten, abused and left with no food, these wretched men tell a horrific tale of how they were abducted in the style of the 17th century slave trade in Africa and forced to work in the plantation in hazardous conditions.

THE LUCRATIVE BUSINESS

According to the broker in Malaysia, traffickers' agents spread across Bangladesh get between Tk 5,000 and 10,000 for each person supplied to the chain, and the godfathers in Cox's Bazar pocket between Tk 15,000 and 30,000.

The jobseekers are not released from the Thai jungles until their Thai captors get confirmation from the traffickers in Bangladesh that they received ransom from the victims' families. The amount varies, but it is usually between Tk 2 lakh and 3.5 lakh per victim.

Much of the ransom is transacted through mobile banking, and the traffickers and their brokers have underhand dealings with local agents of various mobile banking services.

Under pressure from the traffickers to pay the ransom by the deadline, helpless families sell their last pieces of land, often their homesteads, or take loans from local lenders at high interest rates.

Information on the trade and its size is hard to come by due to its clandestine nature. But victims and NGOs working on the issue say the network is spread over Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia.

According to a UN report released in December last year, about 53,000 people from Bangladesh and Myanmar voyaged to Malaysia and Thailand by sea that year alone.

Estimates by local and international NGOs are based on secondary sources, mainly media reports, and do not reflect the true magnitude of the problem.

In November last year, this newspaper interviewed eight trafficked victims at home and in Malaysia, six union chairmen of Cox's Bazar's coastal area and several rights activists to get an idea of the trade.

The figures they gave are staggering: At least two cargo vessels, each carrying about 500 people, leave Bangladesh territory from about 20 nautical miles southeast of the St Martin's Island every week, eight months a year. Usually, the business is down in June-September because of rain and turbulent sea.

This means some 4,000 people are trafficked every month or about 32,000 a year. And if Tk 2 lakh ransom were realised from each of them, the amount would stand at Tk 64 crore.

But not all the victims' families can pay ransom. The victims interviewed said some fail to arrange the money, and many of them are sold as slaves.

That people are sold as slaves in Thailand even to this day comes as no surprise. In 2013, the Guardian reported how the over 7-billion worth Thai seafood industry is built on slave labour, as “ghost ships” reach the Thai shore along the Andaman Sea from northeastern direction (Bangladesh-Myanmar).

The British newspaper found one can get a slave for around £250 in Thailand, while Reuters news agency put the price between $155 and $1,550.

“I believe the actual number of people migrating through the route will exceed the estimate [by The Daily Star],” said Teknaf's Katabuniya UP Chairman Hamidur Rahman.

From 2011 to 2013, between 50,000 and 1,00,000 jobseekers made the voyage through the Reju canal estuary point alone, said Abul Kashem, executive director of Help, an Ukhia-based NGO.

The Daily Star's estimate of 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis being trafficked over the last eight years is based on information given by victims and rights activists, and is therefore not definitive. It is rather a conservative estimate. And the calculation was done for the past eight years because we could trace back victims of only thus far.

Of the estimated victims, 10 to 15 percent are Rohingyas, according to Teknaf and Ukhia police.

THAI COMPLICITY?

Those who returned home after rescue cannot give any name, but say the trade is controlled by several organised rings.

Jewel Barua, 22, is one of those rescued by the Thai police from a jungle in January last year. He had been abducted and shipped to the country in November 2013.

In the jungle he was held, he saw a woman-only group running the business. The leader of the group was called “Kaka Rani and looked like a Thai national”.

Matthew Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights, Thailand, said there were tens of thousands of people in this predicament, being beaten and tortured for ransom, whether at sea, in jungle camps, or in other holding areas in Malaysia.

“In some cases, Thai authorities have been complicit in human trafficking, selling detainees to criminal syndicates, who then bring them to traffickers' camps,” he told this paper in an email late last year.

In January this year, Thai authorities confirmed more than a dozen government officials, including senior policemen and a navy officer, were being tried for involvement or complicity in human trafficking.

On the Bangladesh side, Teknaf and St Martin's Island are at the heart of the trade. After arriving from different districts of the country, fortune seekers are kept in houses along the Teknaf coast and robbed of all their belongings, even their sandals. On the fixed dates, they are walked to the boats by the brokers' assistants, who are usually local people.

Captains of most of these vessels are Thai nationals. Once taken to Thai coast, the victims are separated into groups named after the godfathers in Teknaf and Cox's Bazar who send them.

“VEGETABLES”

In clearings cut out in parts of the dense Thai jungles, traffickers set up numerous tarpaulin tents for the jobseekers, who are shifted from one place to another for security reasons and to facilitate intrusion into Malaysia.

The shifting requires hours of journey in pickup-style roofless vehicles. On its open back are placed 20 migrants, who are then wrapped up by a porous plastic sheet.

On the way, whenever asked, presumably by police, what was being carried under the sheet, Jewel Barua heard his captors say: “Vegetables.”

In addition to those held captive in jungles, there are reserve supplies of migrants in the bushes atop Thai hills and islands along the coast and also in cruising ships moored in the Andaman Sea, according to victims and brokers.

The reserve is for backups, in case of a supply of migrants getting caught by cops.

FROM A FREE MAN TO A SLAVE

There are diverse ways to intrude into Malaysia from Thailand. Youths from a Thai clan called Shan are used in pushing migrants into Malaysian territory by cutting fences.

Anis, a victim, had to run for about five minutes through a field to cross the border. There were several women and kids in their group of 42.

Before and after crossing over to Malaysia, the Pabna man met people working in houses along borders of both the countries for no pay, as they failed to pay ransom.

Anis was lucky. He paid the money while in Thailand, and his elder brother, who was already in Malaysia, picked him up from the border dotted with houses, known as “receive houses,” built for keeping trafficking victims.

The rest of the victims were sent to these houses. There, a man named Nazrul Islam was sold by the traffickers to a Malaysian construction supervisor, although he paid Tk 1.8 lakh in ransom. Once a freeman however poor, he is a slave now.

It is hard to tell what happened to the rest of the group. As for Anis, he now works as a cleaner in Malaysia -- a job his brother has found for him.

“It is a myth that traffickers will arrange jobs for trafficking victims,” said Nazrul by phone.

“People are still being lured into the voyage,” he said, adding: “Maybe some trafficking victims are boarding a cargo vessel right at this moment somewhere in the wide, wide Bangladesh sea.”

Watch out for Part II

People being abducted and shipped abroad. Traffickers find Rohingyas as their easy targets

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: 7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Sows Panic In Papua New Guinea, But Threatened Tsunami Passes Without Incident

Yahoo News
written by AFP staff
Tuesday May 5, 2015

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, sending frightened residents fleeing from their homes, but a threatened tsunami passed without incident, seismologists said.

The quake struck 133 kilometres (83 miles) south-southwest of the town of Kokopo in the New Britain region at a depth of 63 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said, and was followed by a 5.9 magnitude aftershock.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned that "hazardous tsunami waves" were possible but in a later update said "the tsunami threat has now mostly passed".

Mathew Moihoi, a seismologist at the PNG Geophysical Observatory, said the latest quake followed a series of seismic activity in the region in recent weeks but there had been no reports of major damage to buildings or infrastructure.

"Some things fell off the shelves," he told AFP.

Annette Sete, who lives in Kokopo, said there had been powerful tremors recently "but this latest one was big".

"Schools shut and kids sent home, many homes had the interiors turned upside down. A number of power lines down and trees fallen but no reports of casualties yet," she said.

Zenia Lopez, a worker at the Kokopo Village Resort, said she and her colleagues ran outside when the quake struck, but there was no damage to their resort.

"It was frightening, we all ran outside, but the place is okay, there is no damage," she said.

- 'We felt the earth shaking' -

A receptionist at the Seaview Beach Resort in Kokopo added to AFP before the phone line cut off that "we felt the earth shaking" but that "everything was okay".

The quake hit in the remote New Britain area near Rabaul, but Moihoi said he did not think it was related to an active volcano some 110 kilometres away.

"Right now, we think it's tectonic in origin," he said. "Whether it develops a flow-on effect... we just don't know right now."

Kokopo, the capital of East New Britain, has a population of around 20,000. It started to grow after Rabaul was flattened by volcanic eruptions in 1994.

Last week, a 6.8 earthquake hit off Kokopo after a 6.7 tremor struck off the same area on Thursday. There was no reported damage.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Jonathan Bathgate told AFP the region had been very active recently and noted that a 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred on March 30, generating a local tsunami. Again, there was no major damage reported.

"We can't predict earthquakes but this area is in a very active sequence. This could be the biggest earthquake that's been building up over the last few months, but there could be another larger earthquake," Bathgate added.

"We now could endure a series of aftershocks... but it doesn't rule out the potential for a larger earthquake."

New Britain, the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, is east of mainland New Guinea and has a population of around 500,000 people.

It lies on the 4,000-kilometre-long Pacific Australia plate, which forms part of the "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

In 2013, neighbouring Solomon Islands were hit by a devastating tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake rattled the region, leaving at least 10 people dead and thousands homeless after buildings were destroyed.

USA: Crater Collapse Causes Lava Explosion On Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano


Yahoo News
written by Caleb Jones, AP
Monday May 4, 2015

HONOLULU — Molten lava, rocks and gas went flying through the air on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano after an explosion was caused by the partial collapse of a crater wall.

The collapse triggered a small explosion, spreading lava and debris around the rim of Kilauea's Halemaumau Crater, the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says.

Janet Babb, a geologist with the USGS, compared the blast on Sunday to taking a hammer to the top of a bottle of champagne.

"You look at the bottle and you see the liquid, but you don't see the gas," she said. "There's a lot of gas in the lava. And so, when that rock fall hits the lava lake, it's like the moment you knock the top of the champagne bottle off and that gas is released and it hurls molten lava and rock fragments."

Rocks overhanging the lava lake are altered by gases coming from the lava, Babb said. The rocks eventually give way and collapse into the lava, causing an explosion.

The material was hurled about 280 feet skyward, she said.

Video of the event shows a wall of rocks sliding into a lava lake that last week rose to a record-high level. The slide caused an explosion that sent fist-size chunks of rock onto the closed Halemaumau visitor overlook, according to the Geological Survey. The area has been closed since 2008, when the lava lake formed, and no one was injured.

There could be fallout of ash and dust from this type of event, but it's very unlikely that anyone could be injured, Babb said. Wind direction dictates the amount of debris that lands in visitor areas, and it is relatively common, she said.

The last time molten lava was visible in the crater was in 1982, when a fissure erupted. The last time there was a lake similar to this one was in 1974.

The vent within Halemaumau Crater has been rising and falling since it first opened, but it reached a record high last week. Even at its previous highest level in October 2012, the lake was too low for people to see. During the day, people could view the gas rising from the lake, and at night people could see the orange glow from the lava.

From the early 1800s up until 1924, there was a continuous lake of lava at Kilauea summit within Halemaumau. At that time, the crater was about half the diameter of what it is now.

In 1924, there was a huge eruption inside the volcano that doubled the size of the crater.

Since 1924, lava lakes have been present at different times. In 1967 and 1968, the entire crater was filled with molten lava. You can still see a "bathtub ring" on the walls of the crater where the lava had risen to at that time.

A magnitude 3.6 earthquake was felt in the area early Monday morning, according to the Geological Survey.

MEXICO: Another Mexican Journalist Found Dead With Signs Of Torture In Oaxaca. :(

Photos provided by Armando Saldaña's employer show the journalist alongside a picture of his body found in Oaxaca on May 4, 2015. (Photo: EFE)

TeleSUR News
written by Staff
Tuesday May 5, 2015

Between 2010 and 2015, 97 journalists in Mexico have been killed as a result of their work.

Mexican radio and print journalist Armando Saldaña Morales was found dead Monday in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca with apparent signs of torture, the state attorney general's office confirmed.

Saldaña's body was found with four bullet wounds in the skull along with signs of torture on his body. State Attorney General Joaquin Carrillo Ruiz said the motives behind the homicide of the journalist were unknown, but added that he had sent a specialized forensic team to the crime scene.

Saldaña went missing while he was returning home in the neighboring state of Veracruz, the same state where photojournalist Moises Sanchez Cerezo was kidnapped and murdered in January.

Saldaña worked in the news department of a local radio station, as well at a local newspaper, leading to suspicions that his assassination is linked with his work as a journalist.

Journalists in Mexico regularly face death threats from organized crime groups, there have also been reports of threats coming from people acting on behalf of politicians.

In August 2014, journalist Octavio Rojas Hernandez was shot four times and killed by an unknown assassin. His colleagues suspect that his homicide was tied to his work covering crime in the state.

According to the Mexican National Commission for Human Rights, between 2010 and 2015, 97 journalists in Mexico have been killed as a result of their work. A further 22 have been reported missing and 433 have filed official notices of threats against them.

MEXICO: Nepotism in Mexico: 88 families dominate. They have held 455 federal legislative positions during the last 81 years

Inherited power: the grandson of the jailed teachers' union leader.

Mexico News Daily
written by Staff
Tuesday May 5, 2015

Just 88 families have held control over 455 federal legislative positions during the last 81 years, a period in which when reelection to the legislature has been prohibited, according to an investigation by El Universal.

The 230 legislators belonging to the 88 families that have dominated Congress since 1934 have passed reforms and formed new parties that have served to extend their stay in office. Many of those families have candidates in the current election, and some already have the seats belonging to their clan assured.

It isn’t personal pledges, popularity or alliances that grant them access to their posts. Their political worth lies in their lineage, the family names, known to the general public, that open the doors of Congress and to greater political power. Among them the Rojo-Lugo, Batres, Vicencio, Sansores, Monreal, Alcaine, Manatou, Martínez, Ortega and Padierna families.

The monopoly of representation enjoyed by the revolutionary families, and their prolonged regional chiefdoms, was previously unified under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Some of that power was quietly transferred to the National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in the 1980s and 1990s, culminating with the PAN’s presidential victory by Vicente Fox over the PRI’s Francisco Labastida Ochoa in 2000.

At the tail end of the subsequent pluralization process, new parties emerged, such as the Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) under the Martínez family and the New Alliance (Panal) under the Gordillo family.

In the PRI, the marriage between Javier Rojo Gómez and Isabel Lugo Guerrero in Hidalgo in 1925 led to seven federal legislators holding office for 45 years between 1937 and 2015. In addition, the house of Fabela-Del Mazo-Peña has created four governors and the current president.

The PAN’s powerful Calderón-Zavala family emerges from the marriage of former president Feilpe Calderón and Deputy Margarita Zavala. Both owe their political power to their fathers, former deputies Luis Calderón Vega and Diego Zavala Pérez.

Five members of the Vicencio family, a union between legislators Abel Vicencio Tovar and María Elena Álvarez Bernal, held 18 posts between 1964 and 2006, with more than 57 total years in office.

Several families from the PRD, including the Ortega Martínez, Monreal, Batres Guadarrama and González Yañez families have each held office between 10 and 20 years.

The PVEM’s Francisco de Paula Agundis Arias and Verónica Velasco Rodríguez were both deputies and senators, bringing their brothers into the fold. The five have held office for a combined 30 years. Alejandro, Francisco’s brother, is running once more this year.

The Gordillo family dominates Panal. Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, former leader of the National Education Workers’ Syndicate, or SNTE, who is in prison on charges of embezzlement and organized crime allegations, has both a daughter and a grandson in the legislature. Together, the family has over 28 years of parliamentary experience.