The BELTA blog has a new URL location

 

 

Belta_Blog_80x80

YOU can check out The BELTA blog at its new online location http://www.blackeltabroad.com

 

It’s quite similar, the only difference is, if I’ve dropped the .wordpress.com extension in the URL. THAT’S IT… nothing drastic ūüôā

o, and now you can join a forum / community chat to inquire, discuss, and learn about the various aspects pertaining to living and teaching abroad right from people who have done just that.

 

See you over there! And tell a friend and a stranger too :)D

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Tech companies make progress on ‘blood phones’ and ‘conflict minerals’

(CNN)¬†— They’ve been called “blood phones.”

It’s a reference to the fact that some metals used to make smartphones and other electronic gadgets are sourced from war-torn areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Experts say these “conflict minerals” help fuel one of the world’s deadliest conflicts. An¬†estimated 5.4 million¬†people have died there from war-related causes, including disease and malnutrition, since 1998,¬†according to the International Rescue Committee.

But according to a report released Thursday by the Enough Project, an advocacy group, metals from the Congo are getting less bloody.

That’s thanks in part to the fact that tech companies like Intel, HP, Dell, Microsoft and Apple have made efforts to trace the source of metals used in their devices. An auditing system for smelters, the industrial facilities that process raw metals, also has been put in place. A certification system is in the works that would allow companies to certify some metals from Congo as “conflict free.”

Other tech companies, however, like Nintendo, Canon, Nikon, Sharp and HTC, received low rankings from the group. Nintendo was the only company out of 24 ranked by the Enough Project that received a score of zero, for taking no steps to ensure that its electronics do not support armed groups in central Africa.

“Nintendo is, I believe, the only company that has basically refused to acknowledge the issue or demonstrate they are making any sort of effort on it,” said¬†Sasha Lezhnev, senior policy analyst at the Enough Project. “And this is despite a good two years of trying to get in contact with them.”

In a statement issued to CNN, Nintendo said it “outsources the manufacture and assembly of all Nintendo products to our production partners and therefore is not directly involved in the sourcing of raw materials that are ultimately used in our products.”

The company added: “We nonetheless take our social responsibilities as a global company very seriously and expect our production partners to do the same.”

A Nintendo spokeswoman declined to comment on conflict minerals specifically.

Other companies saw their scores improve from a similar report in 2010.

Intel ranked highest on the Enough Project’s list with a score of 60, meaning it has taken 60% of the steps recommended by the group to ensure it is responsibly tracking conflict minerals. That’s up from a score of 24 in 2010. Apple and Microsoft both scored 38, up from 13 and 15, respectively. Nokia scored 35, up from 19. IBM, Sony, LG and Samsung received scores of 27. Three of those companies had received scores lower than 10 in the previous Enough Project ranking.

The report says there is still much to be done, however.

“Despite the progress made in the past year by both governments and industry, a long road still lies ahead,” the group says in its report, titled “Taking Conflict Out of Consumer Gadgets.” “Exploitation of Congo’s mineral resources continues to exacerbate conflict and instability on the ground and consumers are still largely in the dark as to whether or not their products are conflict free.

“It will take a holistic effort by multiple governments and industries to regulate the flow of illegal conflict minerals. The driver of that effort must remain the demand of the conscious consumer.”

The Enough Project says the results are already apparent on the ground in the Congo. The amount of money armed groups make off three of the main conflict minerals (tin, tantalum and tungsten) has dropped 65% over the past two years, according to a report released earlier this month, which attributes the decrease both to the efforts of the tech industry and to new legislation.

A rule tucked into 2010 financial reform legislation in the United States may soon require companies to disclose whether they source metals form conflict zones. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to vote on those rules concerning conflict minerals on August 22. Some business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, say the SEC should reconsider the rules because they are too expensive or complex to implement.

Four metals — gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten — are used in gadgets and also are mined in the eastern Congo, a region of the vast country that has been in active conflict for years.

Armed groups have profited from mining these metals, holding some workers at gunpoint and forcing them to work for little or no pay, according to the group Free the Slaves.

New certifications systems, however, aim to attach bar codes to packages of Congolese metals that have been certified as conflict-free. The Enough Project also says there are efforts to differentiate Congolese metals from others by their color and other physical properties.

Many challenges remain. The growth of a rebel group called M23 and ongoing gold smuggling threaten to further destabilize the mining industry, the report says.

Companies once were “turning a blind eye to where they’re getting their materials from,” said Lezhnev. But after considerable pressure from advocacy groups and¬†college students, more of them have become aware of the issue.

“Sunshine,” he said, “is the best disinfectant.”

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/16/tech/gaming-gadgets/congo-blood-phones-report/index.html?hpt=wo_t4

 

4th of you lie

Well, while eating bbq, baked beans and potato salad never hurt anybody… I felt like writing a post about this “holiday” almost everyone gets so hyped up about in the beginning of July here in the states. I find it ironic that July 4th in the U.S. is known as Independence Day however, the indigenous people to the land now referred to as America, REALLY HAD NO INDEPENDENCE then nor do their descendants now. Hell, everybody on this soil in some form or another doesn’t REALlY ¬†know or have freedom/independence but yet people from all over the world flock to this nation because of perception. I find it funny that in all of my years of schooling, I didn’t REALLY know the history of this country until I got to college. It’s sad that so many kids, if they continue through, are taught so many of the wrong things in their elementary and middle school education years. Even secondary years to some degree are tainted, only if you have a progressive and dont give a f*ck teacher or 2 will you learn that everything that is taught is usually not true.

My hope is to educate Koreans about real Black American culture and counter the everlasting negative impressions that are put out into the world about Black Americans a.k.a African Americans. The Obama advancement was great but theres no way 400+ years of negative perceptions and generational teachings can be undone by one man… that pressure is just not fair. So I find it necessary to do my part.

So, I hope everyone is enjoying themselves on a day whose history means a lot more than fireworks and charcoal… and I wish you many more… at just as, if not, at a higher level of being free.

BOYCOTT Love & Hip Hop Atlanta!

BOYCOTT NOW

Sign the petition through the link above.

“This show is horrible. It is the biggest false “rendition” of Black life and makes Black women in particular look like all types of adjectives I dont care to get into at the moment. It’s time to take a stand against shows and their creators like Mona to get these sad excuses for truth off the air and out of the reach of our children and other cultures.”

Beware: Fraud while searching online for teaching opportunities overseas

 I write this message

5 minutes after getting off of the phone with my bank. I logged on just curious about the #’s and noticed 1 pending transaction on my account. I thought this i

sn’t possible because I’ve frozen my card, literally in the freezer. I then called and was informed there had been an attempt to make a $365.00 airfare charg

e on AIR CHINA through ORBITZ.com on my card on February 22nd, however, that wasn’t the charge I saw, I saw the $2.00 fee that was still pending. In total, someone almost got me for $367.00.

In particular, to those of you seeking to apply somewhere overseas to teach, etc. ONLY, ONLY, ONLY, ONLY, ONLY download and open documents from a reputable agency and/or source. Don’t

find a random site and start downloading because I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to me. They were able to get ¬†my info. by a bug planted in a downloadable document that allowed whoever to see my bank info.¬†I wanted to post this in case someone, like me who does hours upon hours upon hours of online research when researching something they want to know more information about TO BE CAREFUL. I always thought I WAS taking caution by “quitting” my site and logging off, but that means NOTHING.

This is a warning to you and a wake-up call to me to chill out and from now on I will ONLY ¬†be opening docs from either MY recruiter or the Govn’t. office itself. I hope this helps!