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This site gets much traffic from all around the world, from people searching for news from Iraq, making it an ideal place to host stories from deployed forces in harm’s way.  In my travels I’ve met many budding writers who are now wearing boots and carrying rifles, and I found their stories so compelling that I want the world to see.

NOT FREE OR SAFE: TALKS BRING REDUCED FIGHTING AND MORE AID, BUT THOUSANDS REMAIN DISPLACED

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18 June 2013
Kachin State, Burma

Thousands of villagers in Kachin State and northern Shan State have been displaced from their homes for nearly two years by Burma Army advances and see little hope of an imminent return. This is in spite of ongoing talks between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to resolve the conflict which has continued for over two years since 9 June 2011.  While fighting in Kachin State is greatly reduced, clashes continue in northern Shan State as the Burma Army advances against Shan, Ta’ang and Kachin positions there.

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Free Burma Ranger teams recently visited five Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in the KIA’s 3rd Brigade area, providing medical care and Good Life Club children’s programs in each camp.  All together in these 5 camps live about 5,155 people, a fraction of the over 100,000 who have been displaced since 2011 in northern Shan and Kachin States. During this mission, the Government of Burma and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) held talks and released a statement on 30 May 2013, in which they “agree to undertake efforts to achieve de-escalation and cessation of hostilities” but did not agree to a formal ceasefire.  IDPs staying in the camps said they wanted to return but could not do so while the Burma Army was still in and near their home villages.  According to a leader at one IDP camp, “If we have safety and freedom in our land we can go back, but now we are not free or safe.”  The Government/KIO statement mentioned agreement “to continue discussions” on repositioning troops but made no concrete plan.

Read more: NOT FREE OR SAFE: TALKS BRING REDUCED FIGHTING AND MORE AID, BUT THOUSANDS REMAIN DISPLACED

THE KUVANANT FOUNDATION LIVER FLUKE INITIATIVE

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04 June 2012

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Press Briefing

THE KUVANANT FOUNDATION LIVER FLUKE INITIATIVE

The Kuvanant Foundation, in cooperation with Columbia University from the United States and Khon Kaen University, is sponsoring the launch of a highly innovative initiative to change the current trajectory of Liver Fluke infestation in Northeastern Thailand.

Currently it is estimated that there are over 8,000,000 people suffering from Liver Fluke Disease, most of which display no symptoms. Ingested primarily from raw or improperly cooked fish, this is the leading cause of liver cancer in Thailand.

Environmental interruption strategies were, on the whole, ineffective. Assessment and referral for treatment prove marginally successful but given the very high presence of the parasite in some regions, treatment alone offers only a temporary and partial benefit.

Read more: THE KUVANANT FOUNDATION LIVER FLUKE INITIATIVE

Security Risks for Kachin IDPs and Refugees

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25 May 2013
Kachin State, Burma

IN THIS REPORT:

•    Summary of the major security threats for Kachin IDPs and refugees
•    Raw field reports from Kachin Rangers describing recent military clashes and Burma Army troop movements

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Security Threats

In Kachin State there are still thousands of IDPs (Internally Displaced Person). Their displacement is the result of fighting that has continued since the breakdown of the ceasefire on 9 June 2011. Over 100,000 Kachin IDPs faced the brutal cold of winter in the mountains with little to no supplies and small shacks to live in. The most critical needs of IDPs are food, security, medicine, and education. IDPs endure a fearful environment, as there is a constant threat of fighting and indiscriminate shelling from Burma Army troops. Relief is far below the international humanitarian standard because of ongoing attacks by the Burma Army, insufficient funding and limited access for aid organizations in the remote locations of the IDP camps.

Read more: Security Risks for Kachin IDPs and Refugees

Letter by General Odierno on Sexual Assault and Harassment

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18 May 2013

Over the last twelve years of war, our Army has demonstrated exceptional competence, courage, and resiliency in adapting to the demands of war and accomplishing the mission.  Today, however, the Army is failing in its efforts to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment.  It is time we take on the fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment as our primary mission.  It is up to every one of us, civilian and Soldier, general officer to private, to solve this problem within our ranks.

The Army is committed to the safety and security of every Soldier, civilian, and family member.  Our Army is based on a bedrock of trust - the trust between Soldiers and leaders that we will take care of each other.  Recent incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment demonstrate that we have violated that trust.  In fact, these acts violate everything our Army stands for.  They are contrary to our Army Values and they must not be tolerated.

Read more: Letter by General Odierno on Sexual Assault and Harassment

Petition | President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay | Change.org

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07 May 2013

petition

Petitioning President Obama

President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay

Written By: Morris Davis

I served 25 years in the US Air Force, I was the Chief Prosecutor for the Terrorism Trials at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years, and now I need your help.

I personally charged Osama Bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamdan, Australian anathema David Hicks, and Canadian teen Omar Khadr.  All three were convicted … and then they were released from Guantanamo.  More than 160 men who have never been charged with any offense, much less convicted of a war crime, remain at Guantanamo with no end in sight.  There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where not being charged with a war crime keeps you locked away indefinitely and a war crime conviction is your ticket home.

Read more: Petition | President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay | Change.org

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