Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ebony And Ivory Coast, Part 2

Some 14,000 Ivorians have fled Ivory Coast for Liberia as Africa's next big refugee nightmare begins to take shape.

People are walking several hours or days before they get on barges to the rivers bordering the West African nations, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees said.

A few deaths have been reported among the refugees, including a child who drowned during the crossing of the Cestos River into Butuo. Observers are seeing malnourished children and people with malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhea.

"We are referring the most severe cases to Saclepea, a five-hour drive on very rough roads. In some locations without ambulances we are transferring the patients on board UNHCR vehicles," the agency said in a statement.

"Some are arriving with severely swollen feet, like a 75-year-old man whom we transferred from Butuo, one of the main entry points into Liberia. Some families said they had walked three to four days through the bush with little food."

The displacement is the fallout of the November 28 presidential runoff, after which the country's Independent Electoral Commission named opposition leader Alassane Ouattara the winner. But its Constitutional Council invalidated those results and declared that incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo won.

The country has been paralyzed by a political stalemate and scores of people have died in violence there.  International powers, such as the United States, the United Nations, and the African Union have recognized Ouattara as the winner and are urging Gbagbo to cede power.

Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States on Friday warned they will not hesitate to use "legitimate force" to defuse the crisis if Gbagbo fails to step down.

Some perspective to keep in mind this holiday season, and there's a lesson to be grateful for what we do have in America, even those of us who have little or nothing.

You're A Hard Habit To Break

The President's spokesman says POTUS has kicked the smoking habit for good this time.

The president may have kicked his smoking habit once and for all. It has been about nine months since the president's last cigarette, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" set to air Sunday, Gibbs said he still chews Nicorette, but that the president used "stubborn willpower" to stop.

"It was a commitment that I think he made to himself at the end of the health care and with his two daughters in mind," Gibbs told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Gibbs also said this is the longest period, in the almost eight years he's known the president that he's gone without smoking. 

Pretty good Christmas present/early New Year's resolution for himself and his family if you ask me, especially given the job he has.   Clinton and Bush, Jr. tried to stay in shape too in the Oval Office, Bush admittedly being more successful on that end.

We'll see if the younger Obama can keep up.  I'd put any of the last three Presidents against Michelle Obama on a fitness test however.  I'd bet on her.

Merry Christmas And Stuff

Here's some Yoshida Brothers.

Got about 4 inches of snow here last night, a nice little White Christmas.  I'm gonna play some Fallout: New Vegas.  You all have a nice one whatever you do today, and I'll see you back here a bit later.

StupidiNews, Christmas Weekend Edition!

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