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Tribe travels 5,000 miles to protest against Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Projects in Lumbini Nation, Washington

A coalition of tribes turned out in June after an oil train derailed in Mosier

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Linda Soriano of the Lummi Nation performs a smudge ceremony at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, fanning smoke from burning sage with eagle feathers onto a totem pole, Aug. 25, 2016. Image source: VOA

A Pacific Northwest tribe is traveling nearly 5,000 miles across Canada and the United States with a 22-foot-tall totem pole on a flatbed truck in a symbolic journey meant to galvanize opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure projects they believe will imperil native lands.

This is the fourth year the Lummi Nation in northwest Washington has embarked on a “totem journey” to try to create a unified front among tribes across North America that are individually fighting plans for coal terminals and crude oil pipelines in their backyards.

The highly visible tours, which include tribal blessing ceremonies at each stop, fit into a trend of Native American tribes bringing their environmental activism to the masses as they see firsthand the effects of climate change, said Robin Saha, a University of Montana associate professor who specializes in tribal issues and environmental justice.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s an anti-development movement, but tribes are feeling the effects of climate change quite dramatically and are responding in a lot of different ways,” Saha said. “Some of them feel as if they’re not going to survive.”

Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

In North Dakota, for example, people from across the country and members of 60 tribes have gained international attention after gathering in opposition to the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline. The totem pole heads to that site, near the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation, next week.

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Tribes in the Pacific Northwest have engaged in public protests and taken legal action as West Coast ports have emerged as strategic locations for crude oil and coal companies to reach customers in energy-hungry Asia. Seven crude oil or coal export terminals are proposed for conversion, expansion or construction on the Oregon and Washington coast. Some have already led to increased freight train traffic along the scenic Columbia River Gorge, where local tribes fish salmon.

A coalition of tribes turned out in June after an oil train derailed in Mosier. The oil from the derailment mostly burned off in a huge fire, but a small amount entered the Columbia River where the tribes have federally guaranteed fishing rights.

“We’re all trying to unite our voices to make sure we’re all speaking out,” said Jewell James, a Lummi tribal member and head carver at the House of Tears Carvers.

In recent years, cheap natural gas has prompted many domestic utilities to abandon coal, driving down production at major mines in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal producing region. Asian coal markets have become a potential lifeline for the mining industry — and Pacific Northwest ports are seen as the anchor.

The Lummi Nation launched a savvy public relations campaign last year against what would have been the nation’s largest coal export terminal proposed for Cherry Point, Washington, at the heart of their ancestral homeland.

In May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a needed permit for the Gateway Pacific terminal after finding it would damage tribal fishing rights.

This year’s 19-day totem trek started Tuesday in Vancouver, British Columbia, and makes a stop Friday in Longview, Washington, where a similar shipping terminal would export 44 million tons of coal annually to Asian markets. With the Gateway Pacific project on ice, the Longview project would now be the nation’s largest coal export terminal.

It would mean 16 coal trains a day, mostly from mines in Montana and Wyoming, and an additional 1,600 round-trip vessel calls a year in the lower Columbia River, said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, senior organizer with the Columbia Riverkeeper. There are concerns that wake from the ships could strand juvenile salmon and impact tribal fishing, she said.

Bill Chapman, president and CEO of Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, said in an emailed response to questions that a draft environmental review by Washington state and county officials found there would be no impacts to tribal fishing. Trains already run through the area on established tracks and have caused no issues, he added.

The terminal on the site of an old aluminum smelter plant would create hundreds of much-needed family wage jobs and is supported by labor unions, Chapman said.

“We’re building on a location where industry has existed for over 70 years,” he wrote. “Our export terminal is sited on a stretch of the Columbia River dotted with manufacturing plants and docks.”

A third large coal terminal in Oregon was dealt a blow this month when a judge upheld the state’s right to deny the project based on a similar threat to tribal fishing rights.

If proponents decide to appeal, the case will go to trial in November.

This year’s brightly painted totem weighs 3,000 pounds and is carved of western red cedar. An eagle with a 12-foot wingspan sits on top, and the pole itself features a wolf and bear — symbols of leadership, cunning and courage — as well as white buffalo and tribal figures, said James, who has been carving totem poles for 44 years.

To the sounds of drums and a prayer song, the 22-foot-tall totem pole was blessed in a smudge ceremony at the entrance of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle Thursday. Lummi Nation member Linda Soriano fanned smoke from burning sage, covering the pole in a haze as sun rays beamed down. She then fanned the smoke through the crowd gathered outside the church.

“Mother Earth is hurting,” said Lummi Nation member Randy Peters Sr. as he began his prayer song, “Mother Earth has been hurting from all of the abuse that has been going on. The unsafe practices of the coal, and the mining and the transportation of energy.”

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Tribes in Oregon, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada will host the Lummi until their end point in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where tribes are fighting oil pipelines bound for the East Coast.

“You can’t put a price on the sacred. Our land and our water are sacred,” said Reuben George, manager of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative in Vancouver, British Columbia, where his tribe is opposed to a major oil pipeline. “This totem pole represents our laws, our culture and our spirituality.” (VOA)

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Planning to move Abroad for Higher Education? Here is a list of 5 Most Affordable Destinations to Study Abroad

Here is a list of some of the most affordable destinations to study abroad!

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affordable destinations to study abroad
Choosing to study abroad can be a tough call, and you must consider all factors before you make a decision. Pixabay

Planning to move abroad for higher education?

Access to education is one of the most basic rights of people across the world. However, when it comes to pursuing higher education from international universities, it seems like there are only a few who can afford to study at a destination of your choice.

While the thought of moving abroad and living in a new place with people from different faiths and nationalities can be extremely exciting, there are a few things you must responsibly think about before you take a final decision. The cost of tuition fees, food bills, rent are some of the important aspects to think about and plan before making a call.

Still, living abroad doesn’t come cheap. Wondering about affordable destinations to study abroad? We have got you covered!

 1. GERMANY

With more than 350 universities and institutions offering over 800 courses to make a choice from, Germany makes one of the better and affordable destinations to study abroad. As an emerging education destination, Germany has witnessed an increasing trend of international students with as much as a 14 per cent increase between 2013 and 2015.

Germany is believed to have some of the best academic infrastructures in the world that focus not only on education, but holistic development of the student. The country is also considered to be the one of the top countries to attain specialization in disciplines relating to engineering and technology.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of Germany. Pixabay

While knowing a new language is always a benefit, students need not know German for courses opted in English.

Despite being a nation in central-Europe, the cost of living in Germany is surprisingly low when compared to other European countries. According to data available on the internet, Germany has a lower cost of living than Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

As per information by the German Academic Exchange Service, international students are believed to spend about 725 Euros as part of their daily expenses while local students spend about 864 for their expenses.

Apart from low sustenance costs, German universities have little to no tuition fees which make them an attractive choice as one of the affordable destinations to study abroad.

 2. FINLAND

The Finnish education system has been ranked as one of the best in the world. The country offers a wide variety of courses to choose from and a student can go to Finland as a student for a complete academic degree, an exchange student or as a trainee.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of Finland. Pixabay

Regardless of your nationality, students are exempted from paying tuition fees at Finnish Universities which makes the country a good choice for one of the most affordable destinations to study abroad. However, there are some exceptions in case of a few master’s degrees and programmes.

Since all education costs are born by the Finnish government, students going to the country for Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees do not have any scholarship. However, students joining Finnish universities for doctoral studies and research can avail certain scholarships.

The country has a reputation for a high cost of living in comparison to other countries but Helsinki is suggested as the most affordable city in the region.

 3. NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand has a lot to offer to international students. With cheaper cost of living than nearby places like Australia and reasonable tuition fees, New Zealand has emerged as one of the most affordable destinations to study abroad.

There are 8 universities in New Zealand that comprise a safe and welcoming community and offer high quality of education.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of New Zealand. Pixabay

The country has an extremely flexible education system that can comfortably match the budget of students and offers great value for money. International students can further avail several scholarships that are provided by the New Zealand government, foreign governments, educational institutions, and private sources.

There is no stipulated figure for the annual living expenses incurred by international students as that can vary depending upon the university chosen by every individual student. However, the New Zealand government suggests having up to 15,000 dollars to comfortably cover expenses during the first year of study.

 4. SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is next on our list of most affordable destinations to study abroad.

Tuition fees in South Africa depend upon your choice of university and the education programme.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of South Africa. Pixabay

Nearly all higher education institutes in South Africa comprise of student support offices that help student find and settle into their chosen programmes and accommodations which are available both, on campus and within close proximity to the university campus.

The cost of living in South Africa is relatively low. As per data on the internet, students can estimate an expense of about 980 USD per month, which will include student’s accommodation, food expenses, bills and travel.

These lower costs mean students need not spend exorbitant prices during their student years, in comparison to expenses in other developed countries.

 5. CANADA

Canada has long been one of the preferred countries by people from all parts of the world, courtesy its warm and welcoming society. The country has fast emerged as a preferred location for international students too.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of Canada. Pixabay

Apart from being extremely peaceful, safe and welcoming, Canada is known worldwide for its high standard of living and low cost of living for students.

Canada is known to have some of the cheapest tuition fees for international students when compared to other English-speaking universities. As per data available on the internet, international students bear an annual expense within the bracket of 20,000 to 30,000 Canadian dollars, which includes their tuition and living expenses.

Students enrolled in any Canadian university and aged between 18 and 25 can avail discounts when purchasing their monthly transport pass. Students need not spend much on food bills, either.

All these factors when combined together make Canada one of the most sought after and affordable destinations to study abroad.

Choosing to study abroad can be a tough call, and you must consider all factors before you make a decision. We wish you all the best!

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

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Popular Indian Family Sitcoms ‘Hum Paanch’, ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain’ All Set to Go West: ZEEL

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Hum Panch and Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain
Hum Panch and Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain

Sep 21, 2017: Hugely popular Indian family sitcoms “Hum Paanch” and “Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain” are set to get a British and Anglo-Spanish adaptation respectively, Indian entertainment conglomerate Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) announced on Thursday.

ZEEL has set up ZEE Studios International in Canada to produce global content for audiences across the world.

A few of the initial productions that are in the pipeline include adaptations of “Hum Paanch”, which is being produced in its British version as “Lala’s Ladiez”, and an Anglo-Spanish sitcom adapted from “Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain”. Its working title is “Love Thy Neighbour”, read a statement.

Based in Vancouver, the studio will create global content and formats for international markets in their local languages, many of which will be based on successful Indian ideas and concepts.

It will initially focus on developing content for television and digital platforms as well as original formats and homegrown remakes, with a plan to venture into film production at a later stage.

The content developed will have scripted and unscripted formats across an array of genres, ranging from reality, game and dance shows to shows in the fictional crime drama, sitcom, sci-fi, horror and paranormal space.

Also Read: Where is Indian Television Steering? ‘Pehredar Piya Ki’ Shows a Young Boy and Mature Girl in Wedlock

Commenting on the new initiative, Amit Goenka, CEO at International Broadcast Business, ZEEL, said: “ZEE has always been a cultural ambassador of India, taking its rich and engaging content across the world. In yet another major milestone, we are now set to launch our production company, ZEE Studios International, in Canada.

“Canada is known as a large production hub for various Hollywood companies, as the country offers the requisite infrastructure, talent pool, scenic locales as well as a favourable government incentive scheme. After a series of discussions with the government of British Columbia, Canada, we were invited to set up a production company in Vancouver. Our endeavour through this venture is to produce global content for mainstream audiences across various international markets as well as take care of our domestic requirements.”

The studio will be led by Subhadarshi Tripathy.

(IANS)

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Article Published by Muslim Website based in Canada Defends the Medical Benefits of Female Circumcision

The WHO has explicitly maintained that there are absolutely no medical benefits of FGM and circumcision

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Female Circumcision
The barbaric practice of genitalia mutilation has been banned in developed nations. Wikimedia
  • An article published on a Muslim website based out of Calgary, Canada has defended the medical benefits of female circumcision
  • The article is authored by Asiff Hussein, a journalist who is also known for defending his pro stance on female genitalia mutilation
  • Calling female circumcision as part of Islamic culture, the author claims that is the contemporary feminists that have “denigrate” the practice

September 06, 2017: Female Genitilia Mutilation (FGM) is one of the biggest gender issues in the third world nations. It is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as, “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”

The WHO has explicitely maintained that there are absolutely no medical benefits of FGM and circumcision.

Also Read: “The Restorers” : Kenyan Girls Use Technology to Combat Female Genital Mutilation

Asiff Hussein, a journalist who is popular for his pro-FGM beliefs, partially accepts the WHO definition, but turns away from it claiming that there is a lack of knowledge in public domain regarding FGM. He blames the controlled media and propagandists for the lack of research in finding out the medical benefits of the practice.

Hussein’s recent article, published by Canadian based Muslim website in Calgary, defends these “medical benefits.” The author believes that the contemporary feminists are responsible for “denigerating” the practice.

The author claims that Islam justifies the practice of the removal of a layer on the skin of women’s genetilia called the prepuce. This practice, as the author claims, is circumcision rather than genetilia mutiliation!

FGM has come under fire for its cruelty against one gender. While many Islam scholars have clarified that there is no association between FGM and the religion of Islam, the article on the Muslim website says that the Hadith clearly talks about the practice.

The barbaric act of FMG is banned in Canada and other developed western nations, however, UNICEF has reported that 200 million girls are still suffering from forced circumcision all over the world.


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