Dog ‘fired’ for refusing to sniff explosives

Because we see dogs of all types in public places sniffing whatever it is they are trained to detect, we immediately suppose that all dogs are the same. Right?

Wrong!

Man’s best friend, like his master can be choosy, too, and for a reason.

The reality is that some people are not cut out to be assigned in a high-pressure or demanding work environment, and this realism seems to apply to some dogs, too.

Take the case of Lulu, a black Labrador, whose handler had high hopes that she would emerge as CIA’s latest bomb-sniffing talent.

High hopes turned to surprise for the handler, however, when a few weeks into training Lulu began to show signs she simply “wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors”.

For Lulu, enthusiasm turned to indifference.

No amount of motivation, either in food or time playing, could bring back the dog to focus on sniffing bombs. She simply was not enjoying herself any more is the way her handler described her predicament.

Apparently the mental and physical well being of the sniffer dogs is the CIA’s priority, so they “made the extremely difficult decision to do what’s best for Lulu and drop her from the program”.

But it is not all bad news, as handlers have the option to adopt dogs who are dropped or ‘fired’.

Lulu now has a new home, and spends her days chasing rabbits and squirrels in the garden. Just to show that she had something else in her mind – having fun and easy life!

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Aung San Suu Kyi: a laureate she is not – Part II

Aung San Suu Kyi with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

I am not over yet with the appalling Aung San Suu Kyi, the much talked about democracy activist who earned a global reputation as a symbol of defiance and strength in the face of a brutal military junta in her country Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Suu Kyi’s stoicism and her refusal to leave her country, even though it meant forgoing a life with her sons husband, who lived overseas, became, likewise, a symbol of sacrifice, inspiration, hope and freedom for all the peoples in Myanmar.

For leading a non-violent resistance movement, even while under house arrest, Suu Kyi was aptly compared to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Evidently and subsequently she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but received it in person only in 2012, after her release in 2010. Her party swept elections a landslide victory in 2015, making her the de facto civilian leader of her country.

Now her reputation is rapidly disintegrating because of her refusal to speak out about — or take meaningful steps to prevent — the military crackdown targeting the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. An estimated 400,000 Rohingya refugees have streamed across the border to Bangladesh running from what appears to be a crackdown on their villages by the military that still controls crucial aspects of Myanmar’s government, including the state security apparatus.

Because of her silence, insensitivity and indifference to the plight of the Rohingyas, dismal things are happening to her and I am citing two here for your information – one is a copy of a letter from Archbishop and former Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and the other is a reprint of an article published in the BBC News, dated 3 October 2017, titled Aung San Suu Kyi’s stripped of ‘Freedom of Oxford’:

My dear Aung San Su Kyi

I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya.

In my heart you are a dearly beloved younger sister. For years I had a photograph of you on my desk to remind me of the injustice and sacrifice you endured out of your love and commitment for Myanmar’s people. You symbolised righteousness. In 2010 we rejoiced at your freedom from house arrest, and in 2012 we celebrated your election as leader of the opposition.

Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya. But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated. The images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread.

We know that you know that human beings may look and worship differently – and some may have greater firepower than others – but none are superior and none inferior; that when you scratch the surface we are all the same, members of one family, the human family; that there are no natural differences between Buddhists and Muslims; and that whether we are Jews or Hindus, Christians or atheists, we are born to love, without prejudice. Discrimination doesn’t come naturally; it is taught.

My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep. A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country.

It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country; it is adding to our pain.

As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again. We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again.

God bless you.

Love

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Hermanus, South Africa

Aung San Suu Kyi’s stripped of ‘Freedom of Oxford’

An honour granting Aung San Suu Kyi the Freedom of Oxford has been withdrawn by the city’s council because of her response to the Rohingya crisis.

The de facto leader of Myanmar was granted the honour in 1997 for her “long struggle for democracy”.

But a motion to Oxford City Council said it was “no longer appropriate” for her to hold it.

More than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh following recent violence.

The trouble erupted on 25 August when Rohingya militants attacked security posts, triggering a military crackdown.

Ms Suu Kyi spent years under house arrest in Rangoon as a campaigner for democracy while Myanmar (formerly Burma) was ruled by a military dictatorship.

She became a worldwide figurehead for freedom before leading her National League for Democracy party to victory in open elections in November 2015.

‘Absolutely appalled’

But her failure to denounce the military or address allegations of ethnic cleansing has been criticised by world leaders and groups like Amnesty International.

Other organisations are now reconsidering honours given to Ms Suu Kyi, BBC world affairs editor John Simpson said.

“I think it is perfectly natural to look around for ways of saying we disapprove utterly of what you are doing,” he told BBC Radio Oxford.

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price supported the motion to remove her honour and confirmed it was an “unprecedented step” for the local authority.

People are “absolutely appalled” by the situation in Myanmar, he said, adding it was “extraordinary” she had not spoken out about reported atrocities in the country.

Last week it emerged St Hugh’s College, Oxford, had removed a portrait of Ms Suu Kyi from display.

 

 

Aung San Suu Kyi: a laureate she is not

 

I have written a couple of blogs in the past about the predominantly Muslim ethnic group called the Rohingyas, in majority-Buddhist Myanmar (formerly Burma), and about human-rights icon and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which you can read at the following links: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/the-plight-of-the-rohingyas/

https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/myanmars-suu-kyi-fails-on-the-plight-of-the-rohingyas/

As I am writing about Suu Kyi now I didn’t realize that, incidentally, I am simply and truly answering the question I posed in the last paragraph of my 2014 blog that, indeed, the lady that is always seen to have fresh flower tacked on her hair is far from being a laureate.

I need not write anymore who the Rohingyas are as I think I have adequately described them already in my 2009 blog. Suffice to say that since I wrote about them in 2009 until today their hellish plight has not gotten any better.

Many, including myself, thought that the Rohingyas predicament would change for the better, especially now that Suu Kyi has become the de facto (in reality/in effect) leader of Myanmar’s civilian government, but unfortunately the more they continue to be persecuted and dehumanized because of Suu Kyi’s utter silence and indifference.

Even Pakistani human-rights activist Malala Yousafzai said “the world is waiting” for Suu Kyi to speak out.

The hapless Rohingyas are at present facing a crisis as people which the United Nations human rights head called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Just to give you a better, but somber, perspective of the life of the Rohingyas now and the absolute insensitivity of Suu Kyi, I recommend that you get hold of the October 2, 2017 issue of Time magazine where a report written by Ms. Elizabeth Dias about them is simply unconscionable, as it is uncivilized.

Or you can just open this link and read more about the heart-breaking story that continues to plague the Rohingya people: https://thediplomat.com/2017/09/the-shame-of-myanmar/.

 

 

The oddity of Sen. Trillanes

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes

You will notice that the word oddity here is describing the person Antonio Trillanes in his capacity as senator of the realm and not as an individual.

As an individual there are many who are like him – arrogant, pompous, swollen-headed, and feeling high and mighty all the time.

You will never miss this kind of persona because it exudes in their appearance and stance and in the way they talk.

But then you will probably ask me, why, aren’t all the senators like Trillanes?

Well, I could not agree with you more, to tell you the truth.

There is just something in the elective position that makes one a different person after a while – an adverse person, to be more specific.

Perhaps you can blame it to the fame, power and wealth that one possesses now.

There is only one person I know who has not changed at all despite all the trappings he has in his position and that is President Rodrigo Duterte.

But this is not about Duterte. Rather it is about Duterte’s arch-enemy, Trillanes.

So there is no disagreement that the rest of the senators are like Trillanes and Trillanes is just like all the senators when they metamorphose from being ordinary citizens to becoming elected official, although for Trillanes, he made it more glaring.

Lamentably, this is not the oddity I am talking about when referring to Trillanes as senator.

The oddity I am talking about is Trillanes’ penchant of making enemies out of his colleagues in the Senate.

I had been around long enough and saw and heard senators of old making speeches, debating one another on important topics and doing Senate hearings, yet none has come even close to what and how absurdly Trillanes performs in the Senate floor.

His lack of prudence, wisdom, maturity, and the like, almost always does him in. It is his arrogance and intimidating stance that make him repulsive, antipathetic and ineffective.

In the not too recent and recent past, Trillanes had altercations with former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is now the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

Presently, Trillanes’ pet peeve is Sen. Richard Gordon whom he wants replaced as chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

Not contented with having Gordon replaced, Trillanes also is setting his sights at no less than Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to have him toppled.

How more presumptuous can Trillanes get?

The Duterte-Trillanes feud

 

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Antonio Trillanes

The bad blood between President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Antonio Trillanes has not only been going on for so long but it is also going nasty at worst that people are already wondering how this personal hatred for one another will end up.

Perhaps Duterte is right that Trillanes started harboring ill-feelings towards him when he gave the ambitious senator the cold-shoulder after he shamelessly offered himself to be Duterte’s running mate should the latter run for president in the 2016 election.

Trillanes probably thought that his own brand of toughness, if you can call his aggressiveness and arrogance that, would further compliment Duterte’s much acknowledged strength of character that has made him a legend in Davao City.

Little did Trillanes knew that like many of the Filipinos who abhor his persona, pompousness and pretentiousness, not to mention the kind of an officer and soldier he was during his stint in the military, Duterte had already a negative impression of him too.

There is no doubt that this unspoken turndown is what made Trillanes put Duterte at the crosshair of his personal verbal tirade that has now included even Duterte’s immediate family.

The sad thing about it though is that every time Trillanes spews out barbs against Duterte and his family it makes him all the more look the scoundrel that he has been portrayed all these times because of his own exaggerated self-opinion.

Thus, it was reported that in Duterte’s mind, Trillanes is out to damage his reputation because he took his rejection as vice presidential running mate personally.

Salbahe talaga ‘to. He takes it personal, kasi bilib masyado sa sarili (He has an attitude. He takes it personal because he believes too much in himself.),” said Duterte.

He also called the opposition senator “wily,” “ambitious,” and “dangerous” and warned Filipinos not to trust him.

Indeed, an apt description!

If Trillanes won as vice president, Duterte joked he would have likely been assassinated, just like Ninoy Aquino.

It may be a joke, but coming from Duterte who is known to possess good gut-feel and read of people, it is not.

Not being picked by Duterte as running mate and not having won as an independent vice presidential candidate in the 2016 elections has made Trillanes frustrated and bitter for he could never be what Duterte has become – not ever in his lifetime and that is good for the country.

Eid al-Fitr and Trillanes’ continuing woe

First let me greet Happy Eid al-Fitr to the Muslims all over the world, but especially our brothers and sisters in Marawi City who are suffering the misfortune of having their tranquil lives outrageously disturbed and bedeviled by the Maute-ISIS militants.

Muslims are celebrating the Eid-al-Fitr religious holiday with prayers as they mark the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, during which believers abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

It is my fervent hope and prayer that the Marawi siege will end soon with government helping rebuild the lives of people and in the forefront of reconstructing the damaged city.

On a much different note I cannot help but share with you this video that reflects nothing but the continuing woe of Sen. Antonio Trillanes.

Nobody, but nobody really wants to be in the shoes of Trillanes now. He made a big boo-boo of himself during the highly watched interview he had with BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ host Stephen Sakur that it looks like he has become the butt of jokes already.

It Trillanes thinks that his predicament in the interview will come to pass as swiftly as it shamefully happened to him, he is wrong for this will forever remain a stigma on his persona that he should start kissing his political ambitions good-bye.

Good for him and enjoy this video!

 

Trillanes’ show of idiocy

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes

I find it truly nothing but a show of idiocy Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte’s absence at the Independence Day rites at Luneta park.

Trillanes described Duterte as ‘tactless’ for skipping the celebration just because the latter lacked sleep, he said, and uttering further the following statement: “You will see in this instance that he does not care, that he does not give any value to this very important event in our country’s history. What’s to lose by waking up early?”

There is nothing to lose actually, Sen. Trillanes, if Duterte’s body clock is similar to yours.

And when I talk about body clock I am not referring simply to the most basic daily rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle.

Perhaps you are not aware, but research has been finding that the body’s clock is responsible for more than just sleep and wakefulness. Other systems, like hunger, mental alertness, and mood, stress, heart function, and immunity also operate on a daily rhythm.

This is where the stark difference lies between you and Duterte because circumstances surrounding your daily lives at this very instant are distinct and divergent.

What I am simply saying is that you, Mr. Senator, is not burdened by the awesome responsibility that President Duterte is carrying on his shoulder in the light of the Marawi City siege by the Maute-led militant group who have sworn allegiance to Islamic State, including dozens from neighboring countries and the Middle East, which was the reason why martial law was declared in Mindanao.

It is not the siege alone per se, but it is the onerous responsibility of facing the consequences of lives lost defending and liberating the beleaguered city from the clutches of evil, not to mention the onus of rebuilding the displaced lives and infrastructure of the city when it is all over.

While you, Mr. Senator, is still harping the lawfulness of the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, the fact is that you are living an easy life and very well far from the predicament that President Duterte is in today.

Thus, I find it absurd and appalling that Trillanes continues to have the temerity to publicly say that he is frustrated and disappointed that he is the nation’s president.

Thank goodness you belong to the trivial few who dislike Duterte because the vital many in this country also think and believe that your presumptuous and arrogant attitude is a big disservice to the country and the Filipino people.

That is the long and short of it.