Friday, November 18, 2016

Singapore will execute a black man for possessing marijuana

Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a University of Benin Industrial Chemistry graduate and football player

According to Human Rights Watch, "Singapore uses overly broad legal provisions on public order, morality, security, and racial and religious harmony to limit fundamental civil and political rights." Basically Singapore is a dictatorship (no democracy) which censors what people want to say, still has anti-gay laws (they recently banned a book because it was about gay penguins), and they brutally beat some of their prisoners with bamboo canes.

Singaporean justice: 

Now this country is going to execute a black man from Nigeria because he possessed marijuana. Please notice that Singapore claims he is a drug 'trafficker'; yet, their definition of a trafficker does NOT involve the selling of marijuana. If you possess more than a certain amount of the drug they call you a trafficker. 

This is outrageous but most of the world remains silent about the human rights abuses in Singapore because it is a business hub. In my opinion it is a backward country that I would never travel to under any circumstances.

Please pray that Chijioke Stephen Obioha does not suffer too greatly during his execution due to the lack of basic human decency in the nation of Singapore.

The article from Human Rights Watch

Vocabulary from the article:

to execute - this is when the state or government kills a person. Usually the person is killed because he murdered someone. In Singapore a black man can be killed for possessing marijuana.

to convict, convicted - to find someone guilty

a court - the place where a person is put on trial to determine whether he/she is guilty or innocent

trafficking - the transportation and selling of drugs

an appeal - if one court makes a decision, you can often appeal the decision, meaning you can ask a higher appeals court to overturn or change the initial decision

anti-death penalty - against the death penalty

sentencing - when a person who is found guilty is told how he will be punished

inherently cruel - cruel in and of itself

triggered - caused

a presumption - a guess, an assumption

mandatory - no choice, it has to be that way

amendments - changes

judges - the people in courts who either determine guilt or innocence or the sentence for a punishment

rigorous - strong, severe, strict

a drug mule - just a carrier for drugs and not a dealer or manufacturer

a clemency appeal - an appeal for mercy, for a lighter sentence than death

breached - broke, violated

the threshold of - a drug offense is not serious enough to cross the line into a crime that should be punished by death

to be deprived of life - to be denied one's life, to lose one's life

a moratorium - a break, a period of time in which something does not occur

abolishment - elimination

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy - What Will Obama Decide?

{{{Image from US News - click on image to enlarge}}}

A big controversy in the US these days involves the Dakota Access oil pipeline. This controversy involves many different issues, including the issue of the extent to which Native Americans (Indians) should have control over land which has been traditionally/historically theirs.

Essentially, this is a conflict between a large oil company and a group of Native Americans.

Basically, an oil company and the US government would like to run an oil pipeline through land that a group of Native Americans considers sacred (holy). They believe this oil pipeline is not appropriate for a sacred Native American area and they are also worried that the oil may pollute their drinking water.

There have been a number of protests there and many people are waiting to see what the president will say or determine about this situation.

Personally, I am on the side of the Native Americans and I attended a protest held on their behalf in Chicago yesterday (protests took place around the United States as many Americans believe that the US government should respect the rights and wishes of Native Americans).

An article about this topic:

Vocabulary from the article:

a controversy - an issue or topic about which many people disagree; controversial - adjective version

admin - administration, the president's administration or close advisers

Army Corps of Engineers - these folks engage in major government engineering projects; a corps means a group and the word is pronounced 'core'

citing - listing, stating

environmentalists - people who want to save the environment from destruction or pollution

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe - the Sioux are a tribe or group of Indians who were forced to move to their current territory in the 1800s. Standing Rock, North Dakota is where the protests against the pipeline are happening. 

allies - friends, supporters

an opponent - someone who is against something: a proponent is for something

sacred - holy, of religious importance

build-outs of fossil fuel structure - extensions or greater development of structures which make it easier to use fossil fuels (oil, coal)

to exacerbate - to make something worse; so opponents are saying we should not be building more structures to make it easier to use fossil fuels (oil) but we should be building alternative energy structures

an easement - the right to use land which doesn't belong to you

to build under Lake Oahe - environmentalists are certain that oil will seep (leak) from this pipeline into drinking water if the pipeline is built under this lake 

has been on hold (to be on hold) - it has stopped while people wait for a decision

consultations - apparently they are consulting with Native American tribes (speaking to them and getting their opinion)

skirmishes - minor battles, little fights

Greens - environmentalists

a new iteration - a new version

The Keystone Pipeline - this was a pipeline (from Canada through the US) part of which was stopped by President Obama.

to frame an issue - to look at an issue in a certain way

sitting on the easement - not doing anything about the easement