Bangkok, 15 September 2014 (IRIN)* — Already widely reduced to statelessness and in many cases forced into camps for displaced people, an 800,000-strong population of Muslims in western Myanmar now faces increasing efforts to eradicate the very word they use to identify themselves as a group. Under pressure from Myanmar’s nominally-civilian government, the international community sometimes appears complicit in the airbrushing of “Rohingya” from official discourse.
In this briefing, IRIN breaks down some of the questions about a group of people that has been called one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Who are the Rohingya?
Approximately 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar. Tens of thousands have fled in recent decades to Malaysia, up to half a million to neighbouring Bangladesh, and an unknown number are scattered from Thailand, to India, to Saudi Arabia.
Every birthday is special – but today Japan is celebrating something unique. Japan has been nuclear-free for one year.
Nuclear-free – a phrase that in its simplicity carries a devastating message for the worldwide nuclear industry, and an inspiring lesson for people across the globe. The future can indeed be free of the threat of another Fukushima disaster.
One year ago today, the last commercial nuclear reactor operating in Japan was shutdown. It joined the other 47 nuclear reactors that had been idled for most of the period since the devastating Fukushima catastrophe in March 2011.
Beginning Sunday 14 September, international trade in specimens of five shark species and all manta ray species, including their meat, gills and fins, will need to be accompanied by permits and certificates confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally, as new United Nations-backed trade protections go into effect.
“Regulating international trade in these shark and manta ray species is critical to their survival and is a very tangible way of helping to protect the biodiversity of our oceans,” said John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in a press release.*
A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published on 10 September 2014 found that demand for uranium, the raw material used to fuel nuclear power stations, will continue to rise, despite declining market prices since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in Japan in March 2011 and lower electricity demand as a result of the global economic crisis.
The Red Book, as the report is known, is a recognized global reference on uranium jointly prepared by the IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (NEA/OECD).*
It found an increase in uranium supply, exploration and production. Some seven per cent more uranium resources have been identified since the last report was published in 2012, adding almost 10 years to the existing resource base.
United Nations officials on 10 September 2014 called for renewed commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons and nuclear tests, noting that nearly 2,000 such tests have taken place since 1945.
“Our collective aspiration for a world free of nuclear weapons must be reflected in a firm and formal commitment to ban nuclear tests,” Charles Thembani Ntwaagae, Vice-President of the General Assembly, said in a message delivered on behalf of President John Ashe.
“To test such weapons is to play with proverbial fire, takes us further down the treacherous path we seek to avoid and damages both human health and the environment,” he told the informal meeting convened by the Assembly to mark the observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
The Earth’s protective ozone layer is on track to recover by the middle of the century, the United Nations on 10 September 2014 reported, urging unified action to tackle climate change and curb continued fluctuations to the composition of the atmosphere.
That is according to the assessment of 300 scientists in the summary document of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO).*
“International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a news release. “This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of climate change.”
The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thus helping to preserve life on the planet. Continue reading
The September 10 protest features a revolving icon – symbolizing slow connectivity – illustrating how losing net neutrality would harm websites and other online services.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) aims to introduce changes in existing rules allowing cable giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to operate a two-tiered internet, with “slow lanes” for most internet companies, and “fast lanes” for those willing to pay more.
By RT*, 10 September 2014 – The United States could provide offensively geared weapons to the Japanese military within five years, Tokyo officials say. The discussions between the two countries come as Japan’s rivalry with China intensifies and alliances shift among Pacific powers.
The talks with the US cover what Japan regards as a “strike capability,” and are still preliminary. As such, they do not cover specific hardware at this stage, three Japanese officials involved in the process told Reuters.
US officials said there were no formal discussions between the two countries, but did not rule out the possibility that informal talks on the issue had taken place. One American official said Japan had approached the US informally last year about the matter.
Japan would need US backing for any shift in military doctrine because it would change the framework of the alliance, often described as America supplying the “sword” of forward-based troops and nuclear deterrence while Japan holds the defensive “shield.”
Washington did not have a position on upgrading Japan’s offensive capabilities, “in part because the Japanese have not developed a specific concept or come to us with a specific request.” said another US official.
“We’re not there yet – and they’re not there yet,” the official said. “We’re prepared to have that conversation when they’re ready.”
The United Nations weather agency on 9 September 2014 voiced concerns over the surge of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, which has reached a new record high in 2013, amid worrying sings that oceans and biosphere seem unable to soak up emissions as quickly as they used to.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) latest annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide caused a 34 per cent increase in the global warming in the last 10 years.*
Ahead of a climate summit organized by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York set to take place on 23 September, the WMO urges the international community to take a concentrated action against accelerating and potentially devastating climate change.