Rome, 1 October 2015
The last world survey on the strength of democracy went totally ignored, except for the New York Times, which did publish a special report. And yet the World Values Survey, a respected research association with the United Nations, conducted the survey and the data of the 2015 survey are extremely worrying.
**World map showing the countries considered “electoral democracies” (in blue), according to American organization Freedom House. Reference from the “Freedom in The World” report. | Author: Joowwww, updated by 23prootie for 2011 and MaGioZal for 2009-10, 2012-15 | public domain | Wikimedia Commons
In the United States, the number of Americans who approve the idea of “having the arm rule”, has gone from one in 15, in 1995, to one in six.
And while, among those born before World War II, a strong 72% assigned living in a democracy the highest value on a scale of one to ten, for those born after 1980, less than 30% did. Continue reading
By April Glaser*
29 September, 2015 (Greenpeace) – This week Shell announced plans to abandon its Arctic oil drilling operations. This is huge.
From activists who scaled Shell’s rig in April or who stopped one of Shell’s ships this July, to the millions of people all over the world who signed petitions, paraded with polar bears, shared stories and helped organise for real environmental justice, this is YOUR victory. Thank you.
The cost of Arctic drilling
Shell claims that the amount of oil it has been able to find isn’t worth the high costs of what has been one of the most dangerous and expensive projects in the history of fossil fuel extraction (for both the company’s wallet and reputation).
The number of people over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050 and require radical societal change because “unfortunately, 70 does not yet appear to be the new 60” contrary to widespread assumptions, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).
An elderly man waits for the tram in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: World Bank/Flore de Préneuf | Source: UN News Centre
In advance of the International Day of Older Persons, which falls on 1 October, WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said “most people, even in the poorest countries, are living longer lives, but this is not enough.”
“We need to ensure these extra years are healthy, meaningful and dignified,” Dr. Chan said.
President Juan Manuel Santos on 30 September 2015 told the United Nations General Assembly that Colombia’s 50-year conflict is coming to an end, following the latest advances in the three-year peace process between the Government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.
Internally displaced children, victims of conflict in Colombia. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Colombia had put an end to the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.
“Using courage and responsibility,” Colombia he said, was bringing an end to more than 50 years of internal warfare.
“Peace is a difficult path, but not an impossible one, and [we] are dedicated to it. Peace “requires that every person inside opens their mind, heart and soul to reconciliation,” he added. Continue reading
By Uri Avnery*
29 September 2015
“WE HAVE nothing to fear but fear itself,” said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was wrong.
Fear is a necessary condition for human survival. Most animals in nature possess it. It helps them to respond to dangers and evade or fight them. Human beings survive because they are fearful.
Fear is both individual and collective. Since its earliest days, the human race has lived in collectives. This is both a necessary and a desired condition.
Early humans lived in tribes. The tribe defended their territory against all “strangers” – neighboring tribes – in order to safeguard their food supply and security. Fear was one of the uniting factors.
Belonging to one’s tribe (which after many evolutions became a modern nation) is also a profound psychological need. It, too, is connected with fear – fear of other tribes, fear of other nations.
But fear can grow and become a monster.
Lamenting the fact that nearly two decades after its negotiation the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has still not entered into force, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 29 September 2015 urged world leaders gathered at the United Nations to demonstrate the necessary political will to usher in a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States on 18 April 1953 at the Nevada Test Site. Photo: US Government | Source: UN News Centre
“A breakthrough is long overdue,” Ban said at a conference on facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.*
“I welcome all the Treaty’s steadfast supporters here. I am also pleased to see representatives from States that have not yet either signed or ratified the Treaty. I count on you to do so quickly.”