Espen B. Eide

The 3rd of September, Espen Barth Eide came to our school and talked about foreign politics. In that regards he talked about the situation in Syria. He said that what we have is a really difficult situation, and it is hard to know what is the right thing to do.

It is not a war between two parties, it is a war between several – which makes the situation even harder.

He stated that the Security Council has yet to talk about the matter regarding the use of chemical weapons. As of right now, we have strong indications that those types of weapons was used – what we do not know is who used them. We have had a norm in about 90 years forbidding the use of chemical weapons, and he told us that he and the other foreign ministers in the other northern countries has written an appeal to the Security Council stating that they expect them to deal with the fact that chemical weapons has been used.

He also said that Norway as a country has a rather big responsibility, and all the countries has a shared responsibility to do something about the situation in Syria. He would, however, not state what Norway would do – he only stated a lot of possible reactions. He wanted to wait for UN’s findings.

Eide said that he thinks that it has been put too little emphasis on the foreign politics during the election campaign in Norway w

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hich is being held today, September 9th.

He ended with saying that foreign politics deals with many important issues, those issues are more important than the question on how we are going to finance our roads.

On the 21st of August a gas attack was performed in the area in and around Damascus. With the number of civilians killed rising above 1000, this chemical weapons attack is the worst the world has seen since the 1980s.

The attack happened the night to the 21st, 3am local time (0000 GMT)

(See the timeline below)

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Timeline

August 21st:

(Reported on Facebook pages of the Syrian opposition)

01:15 – Heavy fighting in rebel held districts of Ghouta

02:45 – Reports of ‘’chemical shelling’’ in the Ein Tarma district

02:47 – Reports of ‘’chemical weapons’’ had been used in the Zamalka area of Ghouta

03:00 – Doctor who works(worked) in Irbin, told Human Rights Watch that attack began at 3am. He said at the time there was no fighting taking place between government forces and opposition fighters. The second doctor also told Human Rights WaTch his medical ce

nter treated 65 children.

05:30 – (Muhadhamiya, reports from another medical center) Reports of another attack.

The symptoms

Large numbers of patients displayed convulsions, pinpoint pupils, excessive saliva and problems with breathing.

Medics treated patients with atropine.

Col Hamish de Bretton-Gordon( chemical weapon expert) thinks that there was a 3 phase attack.

UN Security Council

The United nations security council consists of 15 countries. Five of the member countries got a permanent seat at the council (USA, France, UK, China and Russia), while ten members only get elected for two years at the time. The security council task is to monitor the world situation and intervene if the world security is  at risk. The council is the only UN institution that has the power to ask for and use military power.

To interfere in a conflict the member countries of the council have to decide what to do and vote on a decision. For the council to take a decision nine of the member countries have to vote yes. But all the five permanent members got the chance to put in a veto. That means that even though 14 of the councils members votes positive, one of the permanent members could put in a veto on the decision and all the other positive votes will not count.

 

This post is a collaboration between me, http://relatedsignals.com/http://juliazofiaa.blogspot.no/ and http://dimobr-interenglish.blogspot.no/

Erin Brockovich

One of greatest problems in the world today is the lack of clean drinking water. On their webpage, Unicef states that more that as much as 768 million people around the world do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. You might think that this is a problem only connected to poor and dry parts of the world like Africa, but that is not the whole truth. In a country like the USA you would believe that your tap water is safe to drink, or at least safe to shower and bath in. But in Hinkley, California residents started getting sick with nosebleeds, cancer and other serious diseases after chemicals leaked in to their water.

In our English class we watched a movie based on the story of Hinkley. In the movie Erin Brockovich is a single mother that gets a job at a law firm. While organizing files she discovers some suspicious blood samples. She starts to investigate, and finds out that the

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gas and electric company has leaked out a dangerous chemical used to prevent rust. The chemical contaminates the drinking water and makes the habitants sick. She gathers over 600 victims and sues the company. They win and gets 333 million dollar. in the movie Erin get 2 million while the victim she first discovered got 5 million dollars.

The story behind the movie is totally different. In reality it was one of the victims that began to be suspicious when the gas company gave her an offer on her house ten times the market value. She asked the law firm Erin worked at to take a look at the case and they put Erin on the job. Erin collected evidence and gathered about 650 people in to the lawsuit. They won and got 333 million dollars where 133 million went to the law firm. Erin got her two million dollars, but the woman that discovered the crime did not get the 5 million as said in the movie.