Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hydrogen gets the boot!

Physicists recently booted Pluto from the planetary list in our Solar System.

Chemists, in order to be not out done by the physicist counterparts, too booted something.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Research Fable..

In the jungle of research, a small white rabbit stumbles upon a wolf.

“What’s a bunny doing here? ” says the famishus famishus wolf.
“I am doing an important piece of research work for my thesis, ” says the rabbit.
“And what is that?”
“It’s all about the superiority of rabbits on wolves.”
“Hin hin.”
“Dont you believe me? Come in my place.”

And no one ever heard about the wolf anymore.

Sometimes after that the rabbit meets a Tiger in the jungle of research. Asked what he is doing in such a perilous place, the rabbit says: “A thesis work on the superiority of rabbits on tigers. And if you don’t believe me, come to my place.”

And no one ever heard about the Tiger anymore.

And then just before his sabbatical year, the rabbit met with a fox in the jungle. He invites the fox, who do not believe in the superiority of rabbits on foxes, to come to his place. And inside the rabbit’s home, the fox sees a small amount of wolf bones, and next to them a not so small mount of tiger’s bones. And next to them, there is a table. Behind it, in an armchair, there is a lion. On the desk a small sign says “Director of Research.”

Moral of the Story:
it does not matter what the subject of your thesis is, it’s what power you boss really has.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

My Roadtrip from England to Wales (03 - 07 JUL 2006)

BATH, ENGLAND


Our Driver Emily and our car Ford Zeota Estate
I'm taking a piss in Bath City Centre



Roman-inspired Victorian architecture is very pronounced in Bath
City Square - where Goth meets Neo-classic


BRISTOL, ENGLAND

Bristol Cathedral
Hamster-like Behavior at the Bristol Science Museum


SWANSEA CASTLE, WALES

BT overpowering what is left of the Swansea Castle
Swansea Castle showing signs of anicent repairs


CAERLEON ROMAN FORTRESS (Isca)

Entrance to the Roman Fort
One of the Roman Barracks

The Amphitheatre
One of the entrances into the theatre


CARDIFF CASTLE, WALES


The Clock Tower at Cardiff Castle

This is where the Stuart Family lived in Cardiff Castle

Lovely Helen & The Stuart's Personal Norman Castle
Inside the Norman Castle Ruins


SOUTHGATE, WALES

Shouldn't the sea breeze mess her hair?
面对大海。。。

Cave Exploration
An Anglo-saxon Castle in the middle of a Golf Course


This used to be the flood plain which the castle was defending from
Inside the Anglosaxon Castle

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Celebrating My Beautiful Macbook

Mac on Messy Desk. Note the matching speakers


I still miss my SAR days at SBAB.
The Yellow Heli is the RAF SAR Heli


Another Frontal View


This is the side profile. The profile of perfection!


A typical screenshot of a chemical engineer at work



My Lovely OS X Dashboard. Quick access to Google,
Translator, Wiki, Weather, Time, etc

Reading the Young PAP Forum


I found a ridicuous thread at the Young PAP forum today. The thread is titled "The Logic for High Cost Living". The author claimed that high cost is essential for the survival of Singapore because the resultant expenditure would make every generation of Singaporeans to contribute to the national economy, by filling up positions in a foreign-invested plant.

I think my registration at the Young PAP Forum will never be approved. After-all, I wrote this in my signature: "Those who exchange liberty for security deserves neither" - Benjamin Franklin. Oh well.. I guess the ruling party is only interested to hear from people who share the same view as theirs or people who intends to propagate their views.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Think Again: International Courts

No. The 1993 and 1994 U.N. Security Council resolutions that established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and its sister court for Rwanda (ICTR) both said the courts would contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to “the restoration and maintenance of peace.” Sadly, that has not happened.

In The Hague, the ICTY’s most famous indictee, Slobodan Milosevic, has successfully used drawn-out courtroom appearances to perpetuate the feelings of hatred still harbored by many Serbs. Few Serbs, Croats, or Bosnians think that the ICTY has helped achieve reconciliation. The fragile peace in that region is the product of international troops and diplomacy, not judges and lawyers. In Rwanda, fewer than 36 percent of people polled in a 2002 survey said that the ICTR has promoted reconciliation in their country. And the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announcement that it would investigate atrocities in Sudan has not ended violence there.

What’s worse, modern tribunals have been prolonged and expensive. As of November 2005, the ICTR had handed down judgments for only 25 individuals. More than $1 billion has been spent on the tribunal so far, or about $40 million per judgment. By contrast, South Africa’s truth commission processed 7,116 amnesty applications for less than $4,300 per case. In postconflict Mozambique, programs to demobilize and reintegrate thousands of former combatants cost about $1,000 per case. Rwandan community leaders aren’t shy about saying that the more than $1 billion the United Nations has so far poured into the ICTR could have been better spent.

“Today’s International Courts Are the Legacy of Nuremberg”

Not really. Supporters of today’s international criminal tribunals say that their work builds on the post-World War II tribunals in Nuremberg and, to a lesser degree, Tokyo. As a matter of legal doctrine, that is true. The category of “crimes against humanity,” for example, was developed at Nuremberg and is now a central element in many prosecutions. But there is a critical difference between now and then.

The courts in Nuremberg and Tokyo were part of a broader political project that aimed to rehabilitate the occupied countries socially and economically, not simply to try guilt or innocence or hand out harsh punishments. The Allies enacted a punitive policy toward Germany a quarter-century earlier, with disastrous results. The U.S.-dominated courts established after World War II were streamlined and efficient—perhaps to a fault. At Nuremberg, defendants were given no meaningful right of appeal, and the prosecution was able to introduce documentary evidence into the record that defendants could not challenge. But the fact that many due-process concerns were swept aside meant the court completed its work in less than 11 months; 10 of the 22 defendants were hanged on Oct. 16, 1946. These were military courts that operated with military efficiency, and the Allies could then focus fully on rebuilding the broken nations.

By contrast, the international courts for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and the new ICC in The Hague operate under civilian law and provide generous protections to defendants. The result is a ballooning of the courts’ timelines and costs. It took the ICTR 10 years to complete the same number of trials that Nuremberg conducted in less than a year. The trial of Slobodan Milosevic is now in its fourth year. Nor have these societies been able to make a clean break with their past. The protracted and always polarizing exercises that are today’s war crimes trials cannot serve the decisive political and social function that Nuremberg did.

“War Crimes Tribunals and Truth Commissions Advance Human Rights”

Not always. War crimes tribunals and truth commissions are well-meaning responses to ghastly atrocities. But the assumption that they advance human rights rests on a deep failure to recognize that nearly all of today’s atrocities are committed in the anarchic, violent atmosphere of war zones. Any strategy for limiting atrocities must prioritize the pursuit of providing a stable, sustainable end to armed conflicts.

In some instances, threats of prosecution can actually impede peacemaking, prolong conflict, and multiply the atrocities associated with them. Consider Uganda. In July 2004, the ICC’s chief prosecutor—responding to a request from the Ugandan government—launched a judicial investigation into the situation in the north of the country, where the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has sustained a barbaric insurgency for some 18 years. In April 2005, two dozen community leaders from northern Uganda went to The Hague to urge the prosecutor to hold off. One delegation member was David Onen Acana II, the chief of the dominant tribe in the war zone. He and his colleagues argued that their communities’ traditional approaches would be far more effective than international prosecutions in ending the violence. In October, the Ugandan government, which had escalated its campaign against the LRA, announced that the ICC had issued arrest warrants against five top LRA leaders. LRA fighters responded by stepping up attacks against civilians and aid workers—just as Acana had warned.

Many successful, rights-respecting peace accords—including those in Spain and Mozambique—were built on tacit agreements not to look back. Is modern Spain weaker and less law-abiding because it did not engage in wrenching and divisive prosecutions of those who committed abuses during its decades of civil war and repression? The logic of prosecution-obsessed activists would say yes; common sense says no.

“Victims of War Crimes Demand Prosecutions”

Only sometimes. When people in rich, secure countries advocate the prosecution of war criminals, they often claim to be acting in the interests of victims. But the actual preferences articulated by survivors of atrocities are varied, and often differ from what many activists suppose.

Because most atrocities these days are committed during violent intergroup conflict, most survivors seek first and foremost an end to the fighting and to regain basic economic and social stability. That is no small matter. Nations have found various ways to deal with perpetrators of violent acts, and throughout history many of these methods have given priority to the reintegration of wrongdoers into normal, nonviolent existence. In Mozambique, the 1992 peace accord that ended 15 years of civil war mandated a blanket amnesty for all those who committed war crimes. It also provided for the demobilization of fighters from both sides and their reintegration into civilian life. In 2003, I talked with a high-level perpetrator who, after the war, participated prominently in the political reintegration of his country. When I spoke with him, he was about to finish his law degree. Nearly all the Mozambicans I talked to between 2001 and 2003 expressed great satisfaction with the 1992 amnesty. Most said they could not imagine prosecuting people who had committed wartime atrocities. “If we did, the whole nation would be on trial,” one man said. Satisfaction with amnesties can be found elsewhere. In South Africa, researchers found in 2001 that more than 75 percent of black citizens were satisfied with the work of the truth commission—which offered complete amnesties to former perpetrators who met its conditions.

Is the cumbersome machinery of an expensive international court operating in The Hague what the people of war zones need most? Of course, there are some victims who demand prosecutions, and activists from rich countries often echo their demands to anyone who will listen. But those who want to help the survivors of atrocities should first ask broad sections of society in an open-ended way how they define their own needs and how they define justice. The international community should be guided by the answers to those questions rather than by the simple assumption that prosecutions are always helpful.

“Giving Amnesty to War Criminals Encourages Impunity”

Where’s the proof? Post-genocide Rwanda has been dedicated in its pursuit of war crimes prosecutions. But it has borne that country little fruit. At one point when Rwanda was still trying to prosecute all those accused of participating in the 1994 genocide, more than 130,000 of its 8 million citizens were detained. Yet President Paul Kagame has also kept all major elements of society, including the judiciary, the government, and the media, completely under his thumb. That undermines the rule of law in Rwanda, no matter how dedicated the regime is to seeking justice. In 1994, Freedom House gave Rwanda a “Not Free” rating for its political rights and civil liberties—basic components of the rule of law anywhere. In 2004, Rwanda received the same rating.

By contrast, when Mozambique and South Africa ended their internal conflicts in the early 1990s, they enacted widescale amnesties—and in both countries, the rule of law quickly improved. In each of them, political leaders opted to move past the violence and injustices of the past and to focus on the tasks of social and political reconstruction. As part of that reconstruction, each country became a multiparty democracy in which the accountability of leaders and other key norms of the rule of law could finally take root. The restoration of public security, meanwhile, allowed the provision of basic services. And though their criminal-justice systems remained woefully underfunded, both were finally able to start providing citizens basic protections, such as an assurance of “habeas corpus.” South Africa’s Freedom House score made impressive improvements between 1994 and 2004. In poorer Mozambique, the improvement was smaller but still marked.

“War Crimes Prosecutions Deter Future Atrocities”

The evidence is weak. Proving deterrence is, admittedly, a tough task. Not many leaders document their intent to commit atrocities, let alone the fact that they decided against them for fear of prosecution. But there is important evidence against the proposition that war crimes prosecutions deter atrocities. Consider Milosevic. He was warned explicitly on several occasions about the threat of prosecution. He had witnessed the ICTY indict the leader and top general of the Bosnian Serbs, and he’d seen NATO troops arrest war criminals in Bosnia. Still, he decided to proceed with abuses in the restive province of Kosovo and, ultimately, the ethnic cleansing of most of its Kosovar Albanian inhabitants in 1998. In the face of such examples, the blithe claims of activists that war crimes prosecutions deter atrocities should be treated skeptically, at best.

“The World Needs the International Criminal Court”

No. We can predict that the ICC will be no more effective than the international courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in improving the lives of war-zone residents who are its primary stakeholders. That is, not very effective at all.

In a criminal trial, two sets of facts—those of the prosecution and those of the defense—do public battle with each other. Those competing facts are probed and examined in detail and a winner and loser are ultimately decided. When such a trial concerns events that took place in recent memory, in a society that’s still highly divided and deeply traumatized, the trial itself too often exacerbates existing political rifts.

That was the case with the ICTY and ICTR, and it risks being true of the ICC, too. The ICC shares with the two ad hoc courts the attribute that—unlike the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals—it exercises jurisdiction without being part of any broader administrative body that is responsible under international law for the welfare of the people within its domain. The prosecutor and judges of the ICTY and ICTR answer to the U.N. Security Council, and their counterparts at the ICC answer to the assembly of states that ratified the 1998 Rome Statute. That gives these courts an indirect line of accountability, if any, to the communities they aim to serve.

Meanwhile, these war-shattered communities continue to live under the day-to-day control of their national governments. In the case of the former Yugoslavia, this fact has made it hard (and, in the case of wanted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, impossible) for the ICTY to arrest some of its highest-ranking indictees. In the case of the ICTR, the Rwandan government’s control over most of the witnesses and physical evidence involved in the court’s cases has given the government a huge bargaining chip. It has used this power to force the ICTR to halt its investigations into well-founded accusations that Kagame’s supporters also committed atrocities. In the ICC’s work thus far on Uganda, the Ugandan government has similarly been able to deter the prosecutor from pursuing cases against pro-government forces.

The idealists who supported the ICC’s creation hoped that it would help check the power of governments and improve the well-being of much-abused people. There is little to suggest it will do either.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) Saga

The HPL episode that sparked off a political storm in Singapore in 1996 has been buried alive by the PAP. But its ghost will continue to haunt those involved.

INTRODUCTION

It all started when the Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES) censured a publicly listed property development company called Hotel Property Ltd (HPL) for not seeking shareholders' approval for the sale of some of its condominium developments at a discount price.

Dr Lee Suan Yew, Lee Kuan Yew's younger brother, was on the board of directors of the company. He had purchased a unit in a condominium project developed by HPL called Nassim Jade.

Shareholders of HPL had been grumbling about the way business was conducted in the company especially when it came to dealings with the Lee family. Many of the shareholders were waiting to buy units at the said project. When the launch of the property never came to pass, the shareholders saw red and demanded an explanation.

The stock exchange authorities quickly announced that HPL had breached regulations. One day later, Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, publicly revealed that they too had bought HPL condominiums. The story made headlines and started tongues wagging. The story was then traced back to one Ong Beng Seng, a property tycoon in Singapore, and Managing Director of HPL.

Ong had developed two condominium projects at the choiciest districts of Singapore. One was the abovementioned Nassim Jade situated where opulent and expansive embassies and mansions were located around Nassim Road. The other, Scotts 28, was at the heart of Singapore's shopping and tourist district Scotts Road. Both projects consisted of condominum apartments valued at millions of dollars per unit before the property slump.

MORE RED FACES

It was also revealed that not only had Lee Kuan Yew, his brother and his son purchased these apartments, they were offered substantial discounts to boot. The apartments were due to be put on sale on the open market on 17 April 1995. Three days before the official launch, HPL conducted a "soft launch" where a select group of potential customers were invited to have first go at the apartments. This was not exactly an unheard of practice amongst property developers. The problem was that because HPL was a publicly listed company, it had shareholders to account to. Rules under the SES Manual Listing stated that approval had to be sought for transactions involving "connected persons" of the company involved and those persons' associates. The HPL did not seek the permission of its shareholders. Suan Yew, Lee's brother, was a non-executive director of the company.

At the soft launch, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, chose an apartment to buy. She was quoted a price of $3,578,260 (or $1,583 per square foot) for the apartment. This was a seven percent discount on the list price. Buyers at soft launches are usually given only a five percent discount.

Later, Kwa Geok Choo contacted her son, Hsien Loong, and told him of the Nassim Jade apartments upon which he called Aunty Pamelia Lee, wife of Uncle Suan Yew, and said that he and his wife, Ho Ching, were interested in buying the property as well. Aunty Pamelia then later came back to her nephew and offered him an apartment for $3,645,100 a discount of 12 per cent or $437,412 on the asking price. The Deputy Prime Minister accepted the offer.

This was not all. On the Scotts 28 condiminiums, similar offers and purchases were made. Lee Kuan Yew and son bought two more units and paid $2,791,500 and $2,776,400 respectively for them, each bagging a five percent discount.

All in all, Lee Kuan Yew received from HPL a total of $416,252 whilst Lee Junior got $643,185 in discounts. All the purchases amounted to more than $10 million and were carried out without mortgages and loans.

And yet, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

It was later found out that Lee Kuan Yew's entire family was in on the purchases. Daughter Lee Wei Ling, a medical doctor in a government hospital; sister Lee Kim Mon; and his two other brothers Freddy and Dennis; Kwa Kim Li, a niece of Lee; and Gloria Lee, Lee's sister in law, all bought the condos at hefty discounts. Wei Ling bought two apartments at Nassim Jade and was reported to have sold one off for a tidy profit. Again, all these transactions were carried out without the approval of the shareholders of HPL.

SHAREHOLDERS' ANGER

News was leaking out about the Lee family's purchases of the HPL condominiums and the shareholders were getting increasingly alarmed and disgruntled. When pressure was brought to bear on the management, HPL decided to belatedly seek the approval of its shareholders a full eleven months later.

The SES had no choice but to issue a statement censuring HPL for the breach of regulations. It noted that some of the discounts given to directors and their relatives in respect of the Nassim Jade units were higher than those given to non-related buyers and that the publicly listed companies have a duty to obtain the best price so as to maximise the return to its shareholders.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

In spite of this, there was no investigation nor inquiry, merely a censure for the company. Meanwhile, Lee Suan Yew quietly resigned as a director with HPL. To date, many questions remain unanswered:
1. Who made the decisions to sell the apartments at such discounts to the Lee family?
2. Who authorised Pamelia Lee to sell the units to her relatives?
3. How many more relatives or friends, apart from those readily identifiable, bought the units through such connections?
4. Why did Ong Beng Seng, owner of HPL, offer the units, and presumably the discounts, to the Lee family?
5. Why was there no enquiry into Lee Suan Yew's involvement in affair?

Friday, March 17, 2006

23 AUG 1997 - A date to remember in Singapore's Judical History

A Chilling Reminder of Our Judical System... (Unfortunately)

A "FUNDAMENTAL error" had been made in the Tang Liang Hong defamation case earlier this year QC George Carmen told the Singapore High Court, Aug 21. Mr Carmen said this during his submission in the defamation suit by prime minister Goh Chok Tong against Workers' Party leader J. B. Jeyeratnam.

The judge in the Tang case, Justice Chao Hick Tin, had laboured under the impression that it was Mr Jeyaretnam who released the police reports to the press, Mr Carman said.

However, while under oath, on the second day of the trial, Mr Goh told the High Court that it was he who authorised senior minister Lee Kuan Yew to release Mr Tang's police reports.

Mr Carman said the prime minister and Mr Lee, his predecessor, "shot themselves in the foot" by releasing the report over which they are now seeking legal damages.

Mr Carman also accused Mr Goh and his predecessor for ''orchestrating a damage claim when there really hasn't been any damage by (Mr Jeyeratnam). The real loss has been self-inflicted and engineered. This really is standing justice on its head.'' In his written judgment, May 29, Justice Chao said: "The police report was released to the media through the Secretary-General of the WP at a rally that evening..."

Mr Carman said: "That is totally and completely untrue." He demanded that the lawyers for the PAP men explain to the court how the judge had been so "seriously misled".

He added that nowhere in any of their court documents did the plaintiffs mention that it was Mr Goh and Mr Lee who released the police reports, as the Prime Minister had testified on Tuesday. Instead, the documents were drafted carefully to suggest that it was the press which procured the release of the reports.

From the witness box, Mr Goh said that he first read about Mr Tang's plan to file a police report from an interview in The Straits Times. In it, Mr Tang had said that not only was he going to sue Mr Goh and the PAP men, but he would also file police reports against them for defaming him by calling him an anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist.

Mr Goh went on to describe how he had asked Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng to inform him if Mr Tang did file a police report, as he said he would.

On the evening of Jan 1, while attending a PAP rally in Potong Pasir, the report was presented to him about two hours after Mr Tang filed it. A copy was also sent to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who was attending another PAP rally in Hougang.

At about 9.15 pm, Mr Goh proceeded to the Hougang rally, where he met Mr Lee and exchanged a few words with him about the reports.

"We had to decide what to do with it," he said, noting that at that point of time, Mr Tang had not made public his police reports.

Mr Goh said he saw no need to go public with the reports to benefit Mr Tang's chances at the polls since the WP man would have been seen to have kept his word.

But, he added, after WP chief J. B. Jeyaretnam had made known Mr Tang's lodging of the reports at its party's final election rally that night, he had no choice but to bring the reports out into the open, especially when newspaper journalists began asking for copies of the reports. "If I had not, I would have come across as trying to hide something."

The decision, he said, was made the next day, which was Polling Day. Mr Lee had contacted him to discuss the reports. They spoke for five to 10 minutes, and he authorised Mr Lee to release the reports.

To that, Mr Carman asked: "Did Mr Lee ask 'may I release it? Or 'shall I release it?"' Mr Goh: "No, he said 'should we release it?' I said yes."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Position Paper for World mUN 2006

I will be representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the UN Commission of Human Rights at World mUN 2006. World mUN 2006 is co-organised by Harvard University and Beijing University. It is held at Beijing, China this year. This is the 15th consercutive year it has taken place. Below is my position paper for the agenda on the right to development.

Topic: The Right to Development
Country: The Federal Republic of Nigeria
Delegate: Donaldson Tan, Imperial College London

1. Recognising the human person is the central subject of the development process
2. Reaffirming the role of indigenous people in sustainable development
3. Agreeing the private sector has a duty to contribute of equitable and sustainable communities and societies

May 1999 is a significant date in the history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It not only marked the end of the 16 consecutive years of military dictatorship in Nigeria, but also the establishment of the Obasanjo Administration. President Obasanjo has initiated many political and economic reforms in view to improve the human rights situation and to meet international standards. This reflects the commitment of the Nigerian government towards nation building and building an international reputation of abiding to human rights. The Federal Republic of Nigeria would like to take this opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to human rights.

The route to the realisation of the right to development in Nigeria is not trouble-free. Rampant communal violence has not only disrupted the lives of many Nigerians, but also hamper the facilitation by the government to realise the right to development among Nigerians. The Federal Republic of Nigeria would like to take this opportunity to thank the Paris Club for writing off partially the Nigerian debt. However, the written-off sum is not sufficient, but it frees up some financial resources to invest into the local infrastructure and economy. What Nigeria needs is sustainable development fueled by local entrepreneurship. The local entrepreneurship initiative in Nigeria is hampered by marginalisation of minorities and lacks sufficient funding. The Federal Republic of Nigeria welcomes any international financial and expertise aid. This is in view of our committment to nation building and human rights in Nigeria.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a developing country. Rapid petrochemical industrialisation has proven to be beneficial to the Nigerian economy, but majority of the population still lives below the poverty line. Chemical pollution, noise pollution and destruction of the landscape has affected the livelihood of many Nigerians, especially indigenous people. It is crucial to protect their right to development. The Declaration on the Right to development states that it is the duty of states, individually and collectively, to formulate development policies to facilitate the realisation of the right to development (Ref: Article 4). The right to development implores that these people are entitled to compensation, so as to restore their livelihood as soon as possible. The petrochemical plants in Nigeria are foreign-owned. Private International Law requires the plaintiffs to engage in expensive and often speculative exercises in “Forum Shopping” and give the defendants ample opportunities to engage in delaying tactics. For example, the leak of MIC gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, on 3 DEC 1984, was one of the worst industrial accidents in history. The case for compensation for this incident was initially contested in US Courts to decide if the compensation case should be carried out in India or the United States. It took the US Supreme Court 4 years to arrive at this decision. Consequently, the Indians in Bhopal never received their entitled compensation in time, and their livelihood not restored. Nigeria calls for reformation for International Private Law to be in alignment with the Declaration on the Right to Development. A new system of dealing with major industrial accident compensation in developing countries should display the following characteristics:

(a) it must be supranational in nature, so as to avoid national conflicts between home and host countries' laws and interests, and to allow for international co-operation in the compensation process.

(b) It must make the compensation of the victims the first priority. The applicable principles must reflect this. A “no-fault” liability system would be appropriate as it avoids the need to establish breach of a duty of care, requiring only that a casual connection exists between the harm suffered and the failure of the technology. It should also avoid the problem of the limited liability of the foreign parent company by providing compensation regardless of where, within the structure of the MNC, the ultimate cause of the accident can be seen to rest.

(c) It needs to provide a readily available source of funds from which compensation can be paid as soon as possible after the incident. Thus an international fund from which compensation can be paid seems desirable.

Hence, the Federal Republic of Nigeria calls for the set up of an International Indemnity Fund within the UN to aid such victims. The use of an international compensation fund is not unprecedented. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC Fund) was set up to help compensate victims of oil pollution at sea. This fund came into force by the Merchant Shipping Act 1971 of the English Law. The IOPC Fund will serve as a template for the new International Indemnity Fund. However, this proposed fund should not operate as a “last stop” system, but rather a “first stop” approach whereby the proposed fund acts as the initial source of compensation.





Committee: Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)
Topic: Woman during War-time
Country: The Federal Republic of Nigeria
Delegate: Donaldson Tan, University of London

Observing the grave offences of numerous human rights violators in the time of war, and the inhumane treatment of both civilians and military personnel in this context, the Federal Republic of Nigeria urges this Commission to seriously address the weighty issue of rights in wartime, specifically for the women of the world. Having ratified CEDAW and its optional protocol in 1992, the Federal Republic of Nigeria will take this opportunity to re-affirm its commitment to the establishment of woman's right as an inalienable human rights.

Strongly adhering to the belief that all humanity is equal, Nigeria particularly condemns the use of abuse tactics in the systematic destruction of a group or culture. The Federal Republic of Nigeria prohibits racist or discriminatory organizations within our borders, and promotes the elimination of such violations of human rights throughout the international community. Nigeria joins the Commission in the condemnation of this violent and shocking infringement of international standards of humanity, and looks forward to a maturity of policy and advancement in protection in this crucial area of human rights.

Nigeria believes that nations must work together to empower women politically and economically, and all other aspects of society, through education and economic opportunity. Only through such action, then the status of woman will be elevated in the eyes of men in general, and therefore act as a stopper that every man is entitled to violate every woman.

Nigeria also calls for increased UN intervention into armed conflicts in Africa, through the African Union. In this way, the African Union can respond fast to an armed conflict situation fast, where the rights of women are being violated. In particular, the current legislature is limited in the sense the the War Tribunal is only held at the end of the armed conflict and not ongoing. By the time the armed conflict is over, most of the victims have been killed, and there will not be any witness left alive to engage in legal debate and to address one's grieves. Nigeria acknowledges that this primary legal mechanistic factor serves to belittle the addressing the rights of woman during war-time at the War Tribunal, and therefore urges for various nations to work together to raise the profile of woman both politically and economically, such that the violation of woman's right in war-time will be minimised.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Book To Recommend

Rational Extended Thermodynamics
(Springer Tracts in Natural Philosophy)

by Ingo Muller, Tommaso Ruggeri

Rational extended thermodynamics explores the tenets of non- equilibrium thermodynamics in an efficient and systematic manner; the theory is relevant to processes with rapid changes and steep gradients. After describing the motifs, the early evolution, and the formal structure of this new branch of irreversible thermodynamics, the authors apply the theory to mon-atomic gases, mixtures of gases, relativistic gases, and "gases" of photons, phonons and metal electrons. The disussion brings into perspective the various phenomena called second sound and provides new insight into the role of material frame indifference under Galilean and Euclidean transformations. This new editon has been thoroughly updated and the book as a whole was revised. Much new material has been added, in particular on reacting mixtures, light scattering, radiation thermodynamics and shock wave structure. Moreover, the proximity of the theory to the mathematical theory of hyperbolic systems and to the kinetic theory of gases is revealed. Thus researchers in mathematics and physics, as well as thermodynamicists, may find the book relevant to their work.


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News Junkie, Irreverent Blogger, Anarcho-Capitalist, Technologist