China Strikes Back
The US state department has come down on China in its latest report on human rights, and this time, China has retorted with a statement of its own. Labeling China as "an authoritarian state," Washington has accused them of denying its people their basic freedoms, many of which are guaranteed them under law. China, however, has called the report "tattering and shocking," referring to the number of human rights violations that have occurred under the watch of the United States.
Beijing’s report was based on various US and international news sources and also discussed incidents such as the Virginia Tech massacre. Pointing specifically to the situation in Iraq and the "war on terror," China has accused the US of using double standards in its report. Citing the invasion of Iraq as the cause of the “the greatest humanitarian disaster[s] in the modern world,” the report discusses the crimes committed by the United States that have yet to be properly acknowledged by the world.
While listening to the bickering of these countries, one is compelled to wonder if these reports are simply a means to deflect attention from each country's obvious human rights' violations. Perhaps the best route for both China and the United States would be to address allegations against themselves instead of hurling insults across the globe. Indeed it would make for a world in which the critical issue of human rights was not reduced to a few lines in a 100-page document that claimed to shed light on this serious matter.
- Rida Bint Fozi
Hey, That's Not Gold!
Just because it looks and feels like gold, does not mean that it is. This is a lesson that Ethiopia’s Central bank had to learn the hard way. This revelation came about after Ethiopia’s National bank exported a large amount of “precious” gold to South Africa. Upon its arrival, South African authorities immediately sent the “fool’s gold” back to Ethiopia claiming they had been cheated, and were actually sent gold painted steel.
After this discovery by the South Africans, the Ethiopian National Bank immediately put all of this gold under investigation. It seems that the Ethiopian National bank had purchased millions of dollars worth of counterfeit gold from an undisclosed supplier. The supplier was put under arrest after these shocking findings; however, the supplier could not be the only one to blame seeing as every piece of gold purchased had to go through a variety of tedious inspections. The bank had no choice but to look inward and place under arrest various national bank officials, business partners of the supplier, and chemists from the Geological Survey of Ethiopia, whose responsibility it is to check the legitimacy of the gold.
This one incident sparked further suspicion that caused the bank to inspect another batch of gold in their vault. They found that many of pieces of the gold were in fact counterfeit. This was deeply disturbing to Ethiopia’s National Bank because some of the gold in the vault had resided there for many years, after it had been confiscated from smugglers trying to export it Djibouti.
The Budget and Finance Committee of the Ethiopian Parliament has now ordered the bank to inspect all of its gold to see if more, or all, of the gold bars in their possession are indeed counterfeit. The Auditor General is expected to give a report of their findings to parliament during their next meeting. This incident not only puts various bank employees and The Geological Survey of Ethiopia members in trouble, but has cost the Ethiopian National Bank millions of dollars. Is this all the result of total incompetence by the bank, or was the gold that was purchased legitimate, then swapped for fake pieces by the bank’s officials? As usual only time will tell. This seems like a case for Sherlock Holmes, but then again he is probably as real as the gold is.
- Austin Noel
Native Americans Trace Ancestry to 6 Women
Researchers have found that nearly 95 percent of today’s Native American population (including North, Central and South America) can trace their genealogy to just 6 women. These 6 women left a particular DNA legacy that can be found in mitochondria, the power plant of cells, which is only passed along by the mother. The researchers formed a “family tree” that traces the different mitochondrial DNA to 6 women living between 18,000 and 21,000 years ago. None of the women lived in Asia, Perego and his colleagues from the Sorenson Molecular Foundation in Salt Lake City claim, because their particular DNA trace isn’t found there. They probably lived in Beringia, the land bridge that once stretched to North America, and is now submerged. The research was published this week by the journal PloS One.
- Carolina Alvarado