By Maung Zarni*, 28 July 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service — The permanent members of the UN Security Council are certifiably sick entities suffering from bouts of psychoses.
United Nations Security Council on the UN Headquarters in New York City | Date: 6 January 2014 | Source: Own work | Author: Neptuul | Wikimedia Commons
Their discernible inability or lack of will to really promote the collective well-being of us humans and protect our own habitat (the eco-system – not that self-destructive and life-negating Capitalist economic system with no happy ending in sight) can be explained psychologically – in addition to through other lenses. They are all suffering from imperial syndrome of various versions.
1) Loss of Empire (not so great Britain) – The Sun has long set in the genocidal, racist British – actually only English – Raj, and British officials suffer from the delusions that Britain still matters in post-WWII. Continue reading
Despite knowing full well the dangers of mercury, millions of small-scale gold miners across the globe continue to use the metal to separate gold from ore – usually because they have little other choice.*
An Indonesian woman pans for gold while her family looks on, credit: Usman Tariq, UNEP
The mercury is mixed into ore and combines with the gold in a compound that can easily be scooped out and squeezed into a small bar of amalgam.
This is then burned so that the mercury evaporates, leaving behind the gold. The dangerously toxic mercury vapour is often inhaled by the miners and their families, since these activities are usually conducted in their homes, or by the owners of gold shops who will process the amalgam for the miners before buying.
“When you burn off the amalgam – your head will feel like it’s going to explode and you’ll find it hard to breathe,” says Bapak Amit, a gold miner from Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. However, introducing miners to simple recycling technologies can dramatically reduce the impact of mercury on human health and the environment.
Rome – The United Nations on 25 July 2014, called on the international donor community to renew a commitment to fight hunger and food insecurity in the Sahel by protecting and strengthening the resilience of the poor and very poor families in the region.
Photo source: FAO
Various factors, including the impacts of several ongoing conflicts and recurring droughts are exacerbating food insecurity in the region, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, said in a joint statement.
In February, FAO appealed to donors for 116 million US dollars to assist more than 7.5 million vulnerable people in the Sahel. To date, only 16 million US dollars, or less than 14 percent, have been received.
It is a common belief that migration harms European societies, and that the European Union would be better off with either very few immigrants or none at all, says a report by the Italy-based Migration Policy Centre*. These are the report’s key findings:
Hundreds of Syrian families living in camps have faced difficulties sending their children to school. To address this concern, IOM organized a transport initiative where fleets of school buses bring children to school everyday. Before the transportation initiative was launched, many children had no choice but to stay at home. © IOM 2014
Such perceptions are misguided, and they risk causing serious damage to the EU’s economy, living standards, and global clout if they are used as a basis for policy.
The EU is shrinking.
The EU27 held 14.5% of the world’s population after World War II. Today, with a total population of 500 million, the EU’s relative weight has been cut in half (7%). EUROSTAT predicts that without further migration, the combined population of the EU27 in 2050 will be 58 million less than it was in 2010. If the EU continues to lose people, one unavoidable consequence will be the loss of its prominence in international affairs and global institutions. Continue reading
24 July 2014 – In the wake of recent tragedies, the United Nations refugee agency today called on European countries to take urgent action to stop the rising number of deaths among refugees and migrants attempting to reach the continent by sea.
Onboard an Italian ship, a Syrian father holds his one-year-old son as they wait to be checked by doctors. They were rescued in the middle of the Mediterranean. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 260 people have died or been reported missing in the past 10 days after attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe.
The total number of deaths for this year amounts to more than 800 people, compared with 600 in 2013 and 500 in 2012. “The death of 260 people in less than 10 days, in the most horrifying circumstances, is evidence that the Mediterranean crisis is intensifying” said High Commissioner for Refugees Antònio Guterres. Continue reading
Human Wrongs Watch
Tokyo, 24 July 2014 — Persistent vulnerability threatens human development, and unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable.
This is the core premise of the 2014 Human Development Report, launched here on 24 July 2014 by Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Director of the Human Development Report Office Khalid Malik.
Entitled Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, the Report provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience. According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day.
However, the latest estimates of the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index reveal that almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And although poverty is declining overall, almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur. Continue reading
By Neha Khator and Ruhie Kumar*, Greenpeace, July, 2014 — In this world where we seem surrounded by news of gloom and doom, we don’t often hear stories of positive change.
But here is one: a story of a village that has unshackled itself from darkness, after 30 years of having its energy needs neglected by governments.
Today, Dharnai is blooming with hope and ambition.
Dharnai village in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, is now lit-up by a Greenpeace India solar-powered micro-grid.
Enter the village and you’ll see electric poles all around. The solar micro-grid supplies the electricity for homes, street lighting for roads and lanes, and water pumps.
22 July 2014 – New data released today by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) shows the need for urgent action to end female genital mutilation and child marriage – two practices that affect millions of girls across the globe.
Kalpona was 12 when her parents arranged for her to marry a man more than twice her age. A few days before the wedding, they agreed to let her continue with school instead. Photo: UNICEF/BANA2014-00451/MAWA
According to the newly-released data, more than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation, also known as FGM, in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.
In addition, child marriage is widespread, the agency pointed out in a news release. More than 700 million women alive today were married as children. More than 1 in 3 – or some 250 million – were married before the age of 15.