... 2008 (today), is marked the annual International Day for Disaster Reduction. The U.N. General Assembly set aside the 2d Wednesday of October to raise awareness of ways that humans can reduce the suffering that results from natural disasters. Efforts are coordinated by the U.N.'s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, working in conjunction with the World Bank and the World Health Organization. This year the day "falls on the third anniversary of the massive 2005 South Asian Earthquake that devastated a whole region of Pakistan."
... 2002, at 3 a.m. at the Manhattan detention center where U.S. officials had held him since his September 26 arrest at JFK airport on his way from Zurich back home to Ottawa, Maher Arar, a 30-something tech worker, was chained and placed on a private jet that hopscotches 3 continents before landing in Amman, Jordan. Soon Arar, a Canadian citizen, would find himself in the birthplace from which he and his from which he and his family had emigrated when he was 17 -- Syria. There, for nearly a year he endured brutal interrogation, notwithstanding multiple visits to him by the Canadian consul. Syrian officials released Arar in October 2003. As IntLawGrrls posted here and here, Canada eventually paid $10.3 million and apologized to Arar for its role in his extraordinary rendition. (credit for photo of Arar and family in Canada) In the United States, meanwhile, the Manhattan-based federal appeals court, which had rejected Arar's lawsuit, agreed to rehear the matter. According to the Boston Globe,
the move ... was unusual not only because the full circuit assembles for a case only once or twice a year, but because Maher Arar's attorneys had yet to even ask for a full hearing.