By Greg Norman*
4 March 2015 – There’s an old adage that “rules are made to be broken”. Whatever your take on that logic, the idea of “rules are made to be enforced” is less open to debate.
Credit: Pierre Baelen/Greenpeace
A welcome addition when it was introduced on March 3rd 2013, the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the placement of any illegal timber or timber products on the European market.
Yet two years on and Greenpeace continues to expose shipments of wood from companies involved with criminal and illegal activities in the Amazon and the Congo Basin finding their way to Europe.
In November last year we forced Belgian authorities to impound six containers of Amazon wood from Rainbow Trading, a company known to be involved in a criminal timber laundering racket in Brazil, as it arrived in the port of Antwerp.
New guidelines released by the United Nations health agency on 4 March 2015 recommended that adults and children worldwide reduce their daily sugar intake to boost health and stave off non-communicable diseases.
Assorted candies. Photo: WHO/Christopher Black
The World Health Organization (WHO) says intake of ‘free’ sugars – monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) – should make up less than 10 per cent of daily energy intake, while a reduction below five per cent of energy intake per day would provide additional benefits.*
“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay,” said, Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.
In eradicating sexual violence related to Colombia’s internal armed conflict, the main challenge now is translating resolve into tangible solutions in communities where the crime continues to occur, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Sexual Violence said at the conclusion of her trip to the Latin American country on 4 March 2015.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura briefs the press in Bogotá, Colombia. Photo: UNDP Colombia/Andrés Bernal
“There is a direct correlation between poverty, access to justice, and sexual violence,” Zainab Hawa Bangura said in a statement issued yesterday, emphasizing the need to protect poor and uneducated women and girls who are especially vulnerable.*
The overall situation in Libya is “deteriorating rapidly” amid a growing terrorist threat and continuing violence, the United Nations envoy to the country on 4 March 2015 warned the Security Council, as he urged national stakeholders to move firmly in defining the country’s future.
A wide view of the Security Council Chamber as Special Representative Bernardino Léon (shown on screen), briefs the Security Council via video conference on the situation in Libya. UN Photo/Mark Garten
“Libya can no longer afford to allow the political crisis and armed conflict that has gripped the country for much of the past year to fester,” Bernardino León, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a briefing to the Council.
“Unless Libya’s leaders act quickly and decisively, the risk to their country’s national unity and territorial integrity are real and imminent,” he added.
4 March 2015, Transparency International* — It is well-known that the global rich are buying up large parts of London. But who they really are and where their money comes from is too often a well-kept secret. They use secret offshore companies to buy the properties and don’t disclose their identities.
Source: Transparency International
These secret companies (or shell companies) are a common way for moving corrupt money around the world.
They can hide money that corrupt politicians divert from investments in schools and hospitals and they can hide the proceeds of other crimes.
The corrupt are helped to buy properties by lawyers, accountants and estate agents who do not ask where the money is coming from – which by law in most countries, including the UK, they are supposed to do.
Today Transparency International UK is publishing Corruption on your doorstep: How corrupt capital is used to buy property in the UK. This investigation of the London land registries shows just how extensive the use of secret offshore companies is to buy property:
Three quarters of the world population has no access to proper pain relief treatment, according to a report by the United Nations body charged with overseeing Governments’ compliance with international drug control treaties, which was released in London on 3 March 2015.
A patient in a hospital in Cambodia is given some pain killers. Photo: World Bank/Masaru Goto | Source: UN
Around 5.5 billion people still have limited or no access to medicines containing narcotic drugs such as codeine or morphine the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) says in its Annual Report for 2014, which went on to point out that around 92 per cent of all morphine used worldwide is consumed by only 17 per cent of the world population, primarily living in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
3 March 2015 (RT)* – Edward Snowden would go to the US if he was sure that he would face a fair trial there, the former NSA contractor’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena says.
**Edward Snowden | Author: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films | Screenshot of the film Prism by Praxis Films | Wikimedia Commons
“Edward Snowden is ready to return to the US, but on the condition that he be given guarantees to receive a fair and impartial trial,” Kucherena told journalists on Tuesday, as cited by TASS.
The lawyer has said he received a letter from the US attorney-general promising no capital punishment for Snowden should he return to America.
“So what we are being guaranteed is not the fair trial, but that Snowden will not be executed,” Kucherena said.
“And it’s done by a prosecutor, who according to the law, is not in any way able to determine a court’s decision.”
Kucherena says he does not trust news of certain countries’ readiness to accept Snowden. “I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he’s going to be taken to a US embassy,” he said.
3 March 2015 – More than 1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices such as smartphones and exposure to damaging levels of sound, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to devote International Ear Care Day tomorrow to “Making Listening Safe.”
“As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention said in a press release.*
“They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back,” Dr. Krug continued, adding: “Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”