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from Global News Journal:

Europe draws inspiration from U.S. Peace Corps

Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, talks to a Haitian orphan

Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, talks to a Haitian orphan

Much criticism has been heaped on the European Union -- the vast majority of it by its own member states -- for not being seen to do enough to help Haiti after the Caribbean state's earthquake. 

Never mind the fact EU states and the European Commission have promised a combined 400 million euros  ($575 million) in aid and long-term reconstruction. In public relations terms, the sums have all but been eclipsed by images, beamed around the world, of  volunteer U.S. firemen pulling victims from the rubble, and emergency aid workers from the likes of Israel and Brazil running much-needed field hospitals.

But an interesting new proposal from Greece promises to change the way the European Union operates and is perceived in the world's most-needy countries, especially at times of crisis.

Drawing a leaf from the U.S. Peace Corps programme, the overseas volunteer organisation established by President Kennedy in 1961, Greece wants to create a European Volunteer Corps that would send thousands of young Europeans abroad to do humanitarian work for a couple of years.

from FaithWorld:

VIDEO: Rescuers recover body of Haiti archbishop killed in quake

archbishop

A Mexican rescuer wipes tears as he stands guard with team members beside body of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot recovered from the ruins of Port-au-Prince cathedral on 19 Jan 2010/Wolfgang Rattay

A Mexican rescue team has recovered the lifeless body of the Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince from the rubble of his residence a week after the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti. Here's the Reuters video report:

from The Great Debate:

Drawing humanitarian lessons from disasters

-- Diane Paul is Nonresident Senior Fellow on Natural Disasters and Human Rights, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement at The Brookings Institution. The views expressed are her own. --

As the world rushes to Haiti’s aid, we should remember some of the lessons of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Protecting vulnerable people is as important as giving them water, food, or medical care. Children, women, the elderly, and the disabled all have particular vulnerabilities that must be taken into consideration when relief is provided.

from Photographers' Blog:

Scenes from Haiti

The numbers from Haiti are staggering. Authorities say the death toll is likely to be between 100,000 and 200,000. Already, 75,000 bodies have been buried in mass graves. 1.5 million residents are homeless . Families have been torn apart. Neighborhoods have been flattened. The government has nearly ceased to exist. But numbers can tell only a small part of the story. Scenes of the devastation in Haiti are filling airwaves and newspapers around the world, triggering a flood of compassion and donations.

Click here for a selection of some of the most striking images captured by our own Reuters' photographers.

from Global News Journal:

Haiti’s plea: “We need help”

QUAKE-HAITI/
-This is a guest post from Rigoberto Giron, who is heading up CARE’s emergency response efforts in Haiti from CARE HQ in Atlanta. Any opinions expressed are his own.-

Just outside of CARE's offices in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, hundreds of newly homeless people are camped out in a public square. During the day, they wait patiently in the scorching sun. But at night, when hunger and thirst overtake them, groups of people can be heard clapping and chanting. Daybreak reveals new banners that read, in English and Creole, "We need help!"

from Tales from the Trail:

The complicated question of Haiti’s orphans

HAITIThe devastation caused by Haiti's earthquake has extended to some of its youngest and most powerless victims: orphans awaiting clearance to join adoptive families in the United States.

The U.S. government has already said it will allow orphaned children from Haiti to come to the United States temporarily for needed medical treatment, and on Wednesday expanded its effort.

from Global News Journal:

United Nations confronts life and death in Haiti

MINUSTAH's collapsed headquarters in Port-au-Prince.

MINUSTAH's collapsed headquarters in Port-au-Prince.

Everybody who knew French Canadian U.N. staffer Alexandra Duguay loved her. She was attractive, energetic and extremely intelligent. I got to know her well when she worked behind the media counter at U.N. headquarters. She was always eager to make sure we reporters had the latest resolutions, U.N. reports and speeches. And in the evening she enjoyed a glass of wine or beer at the Delegates Lounge. But she was bored with her job and wanted more adventure. One morning last spring she had an unusual twinkle in her eye. I asked her if something was up and she said yes. "I'm going to Haiti." A few months later she had her going-away party at the U.N. Correspondents Association room. She and her boyfriend prepared for their imminent deployment to Haiti, where Alex was to be a spokeswoman and media coordinator for U.N. operations in the Western hemisphere's poorest nation.

Alex quickly settled into her exciting new job. Late last year she emailed me an update of life in Port-au-Prince: "Even though it's a bit of a s****y place, I can't complain. I just spend too much time between my house and my hotel room, a.k.a. office. Yeah, we have peacocks as pets ... Haitians are nuts. Lovely but nuts."

from Funds Hub:

Morning line-up

Clear thinking in an opaque industry

News and views on the hedge fund sector from Reuters and elsewhere:

tea.jpg

Asian hedge funds global outperformers in 2009 - WSJ

Hedge funds withdrawal restrictions hold investors hostage - Bloomberg

Cayman earthquake rattles hedge funds nerves - Washington Post

Former hedge fund manager aids insider trading investigation - New York Times

 

 

 

 

from Tales from the Trail:

Haiti’s “Wizard-of-Oz” president – nowhere to be seen

QUAKE-HAITI/There's something weirdly symbolic in the sight of thousands of homeless Haitians massed in a sprawling tent city bang in front of the collapsed icing-sugar white presidential palace.
 
They're here because it's the biggest open space in the capital, but it somehow looks like an appeal for President Rene Preval to come out and speak to his people and reassure them that he stands behind them, that together the country will get through the catastrophe caused by Tuesday's earthquake.
 
Four days after Tuesday's earthquake the Haitian flag that once fluttered above the National Palace still lies in a wilted heap over the toppled white ruin. In the park opposite, men and women strip to their underpants to bathe in a large fountain and scrub their clothes. The hang their laundry on the park rails.
 
Garbage is scattered everywhere and the smell of urine and excrement is getting worse.
 
Far from coming to address them, Preval is holed up in the judicial police headquarters near the airport, mumbling that he can't do much when half the government's offices are destroyed and he doesn't even have a cell phone signal.
 
Meanwhile, the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who lost their homes and families have been left to fend for themselves, with no food handouts and no proper medical treatment. In many cases, they are seriously injured.
    
Foreign rescue workers are battling round the clock digging for survivors. But in the absence of a working government, the disaster relief teams who are supposed to be delivering food, latrines and medical supplies are still mostly dithering about sorting out logistics.
 
From the shambles outside the presidential palace, you wonder if anybody is in charge at all.
 
"The country is not working right now. It's not even eating," remarked Louis Widlyne, one of the countless people sleeping on a sheet that marks out his living quarters in the park.
 
A police officer called Joe was more sympathetic. He had received no orders since Tuesday's disaster, but decided on his own on Saturday that it was time to go back on the beat.
    
"Preval should have come and spoken to his people, but he hasn't," he said. "He is like that. It's just the kind of president he is." 

QUAKE-HAITI/

 

Click here for more coverage of the Haiti earthquake.

from Tales from the Trail:

Haiti’s forgotten bodies

QUAKE-HAITI/As a ragtag group of Haitian rescue workers tried to dig a dead man from underneath a collapsed telecoms company building in Port-au-Prince this week, the firm's owner told me how the 40-year-old security guard had been a cherished employee.
 
Only a short time before, Tarek el Bakri, a Lebanese businessman who lived at the top of the now perilously slanted building, had paid for the funeral of the man's grandson, so much was he part of the family. Now he was paying workers to free his corpse.
 
The workers yelled and squabbled about how best to get at him -- only his arm, shoulder and head were visible -- without causing the structure, which had desks sandwiched between its layers, and a car crushed underneath, to collapse further.
 
A water mains had burst, causing a small fountain to spray out near the dead man's head. At one point an excavator churned toward the site, but the workers waved it away.
 
The man had three children, el Bakri told me. He was crushed along with two cleaning staff. In all, Bakri lost 11 employees in offices across the city, as well as his own home.
 
He said he was the only one pushing for the bodies to be pulled out. He hadn't heard anything from city officials about what he should do. "In any other country people would gather together to help each other," he said. "Here you are on your own. Nobody cares."
 
When I returned a day later, the man's corpse was still there. His dark skin dustier than before. The fountain was still spurting.
 
I remembered then what el Bakri had told me: looters squeezed in to steal all the office computers and cell phone stocks well before anybody had tried to free the victims.

 

QUAKE-HAITI/

Reuters photos by Eduardo Munoz and Carlos Barria.

Click here for more stories on the Haiti earthquake disaster.

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