Nearly half a million children in Gaza will not be able to return to primary and secondary schools on Sunday as the new academic year starts, UNESCO, Save the Children and UNICEF said on 25 August 2014*.
**Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after summer break but faces overcrowding in classroom and shortages of supplies. | Girls lining up for class | Author: Al Jazeera English | Wikimedia Commons
More than one million Palestinian students were expected to return to school on 24 August, but classes will remain closed in the conflict-stricken coastal enclave, denying these nearly 500,000 children their right to education.
“Going back to school means bringing back normalcy to children. For this we need a durable ceasefire, and we must meet the most pressing needs for the rapid recovery of the education system,” said Lodovico Folin Calabi, Acting Head of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah.
Since the beginning of the conflict on 8 July, at least 219 schools have been damaged, 22 of which so severely that they can no longer be used.
Among those still standing, 103 have been turned into collective shelters for some 330,000 displaced people, half of whom are children.
Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, represent an “evolving frontier filled with promise and threat for tobacco control,” a new United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) report said on 26 August 2014, urging regulations to impede their promotion to non-smokers and young people.*
E-cigarette. Photo: WHO
“Evidence shows that while they are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes use poses threats to adolescents and fetuses of pregnant mothers using these devices,” said Douglas Bettcher, WHO Director of Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases in an interview with UN Radio.
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which electronic cigarettes are the most common prototype, are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise a solution the user then inhales. The report says existing evidence shows that e-cigarette aerosol is not merely “water vapour” as is often claimed in the marketing of these products. Continue reading
26 August 2014 – The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe, with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reporting that at least 300 people have died in successive boat tragedies.
Photo: UNHCR/M. Sibiloni
“In all, we now believe 1,889 people have perished this year while making such journeys, 1,600 of these since the start of June,” said Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson, telling reporters in Geneva on 26 August 2014 that over the past few days, at least three vessels having overturned or sunk.*
The first and largest of these incidents occurred on Friday when a boat reportedly carrying at least 270 people overturned near Garibouli to the east of Tripoli. Nineteen people, one of them a woman, survived.
“The Libyan coastguard has since recovered the bodies of 100 others, including five children under the age of five and seven women, but the remaining passengers are feared drowned,” said Fleming.
By John Scales Avery*, 25 August 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service – In the follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in which it declared 26 September the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The first ever event will take place a month from now on 26 September, 2014.
What can you, as an individual, do? You can plan an action to commemorate the day. You can write to your Prime Minister/President and/or Foreign Minister, to ask what your government plans to do to commemorate the day. You can ask your local parliamentarian, mayor and city council the same question. You can tell http://www.unfoldzero.org about your activities.
The Inter-parliamentary Union, with 167 members, passed a resolution in March, 2014, calling on its members to support the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Why is the total elimination of nuclear weapons so urgent? Although somewhat reduced in numbers from the insane heights of the Cold War, the power of today’s nuclear weapons is more than sufficient to destroy human civilization and much of the biosphere.
Many of the weapons are on hair-trigger alert, meaning that those in charge of them have only minutes to decide whether a radar signal is a true or false report of an attack. Most of us alive today owe our existence to Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, who correctly reported such a warning as a computer error. Continue reading
Nothing good. But let us have a look at it in the standard peace studies way: Diagnosis-analyzing, Prognosis- forecasting, and Therapy–remedies, even solutions.
**Image: Jewish Wedding in Morocco by Eugène Delacroix, Louvre, Paris | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons
“Israel-Palestine” is the discourse Tel Aviv-Washington prefers. They have all the strong cards: overwhelming military power, political veto in the United Nations Security Council, the economic upper hand in interlocking economies–not just oil cash from Saudi Arabia-Qatar–and the idea of working for a solution with Washington as “mediator”–only USA can bring the two together, gently or roughly–toward a sustainable peace.
It is needed a great distance from reality to believe in that spin. Continue reading