Investing in ways to adapt to climate change will promote the livelihood of 65 per cent of Africans, the UN environmental agency on 13 August 2014 reported*, warning also that failing to address the phenomenon could reverse decades of development progress on the continent.
New UN report says investment in climate change adaptation can help promote the ivelihoods of 65 per cent of Africans. Photo: UNEP
Africa’s population is set to double to 2 billion by 2050, the majority of whom will continue to depend on agriculture to make a living, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “With 94 per cent of agriculture dependent on rainfall, the future impacts of climate change – including increased droughts, flooding, and seal-level rise – may reduce crop yields in some parts of Africa by 15 – 20 per cent,” UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. “Such a scenario, if unaddressed, could have grave implications for Africa’s most vulnerable states,” he added.
read more »
By Jasmine Pilbrow*, 14 August 2014 — Last week marked the 69th anniversary since the devastating nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the 6th and 9th of August this year, people around the world took the time to remember the tragic loss of lives, and the disastrous effects the atomic bombs had on Japan and so many of its people.
Photo from: International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
On the 6th of August 1945, a 12 year old boy was at school in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped.
69 years later he says that “even now, I carry the scars of war and that atomic bombing on my body and in my heart. Nearly all my classmates were killed instantly. My heart is tortured by guilt when I think how badly they wanted to live and that I was the only one who did.”
Mayor Kazumi Matsui of Hiroshima and Mayor Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki both took the time last week to write Peace Declarations to mark the significant dates, and to announce their priority to join with people around the world, to ban nuclear weapons.
read more »
During the days before that fateful August 6, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur learned that Japan had asked Russia to negotiate a surrender. “We expected acceptance of the Japanese surrender daily,” one of his staff members recalled. When he was notified that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, the general was “livid.” MacArthur declared that the atomic attack on Hiroshima was “completely unnecessary from a military point of view.”
Image: International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
Why then did the president make the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?
Harry S. Truman was an accidental president. He had been sworn into office only months earlier, when Franklin D. Roosevelt suddenly died on April 12 .
Truman admitted to his wife that he had little knowledge of foreign policy. Feeling inadequate to fill the shoes of the great F.D.R., he had to face indignities and sarcasm.
In the streets, people asked, “Harry who?” and mocked him as “the little man in the White House.”
But Truman hid his insecurity behind a façade of toughness. Publicly, he presented himself as a man of the frontier. He blustered: “The buck stops here.”
read more »
12 August 2014 – Each year 20 per cent of the world’s young people experience a mental health condition, the United Nations reported in a new publication launched to coincide with International Youth Day which this year shines a spotlight on the importance of mental health.
Image: United Nations
“The United Nations wants to help lift the veil that keeps young people locked in a chamber of isolation and silence,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, stressing that mental-health should be talked about in the same way as overall health.*
He noted that lack of access to mental health services, stigma, shame, and irrational fears leave people with mental health conditions “more vulnerable to poverty, violence and social exclusion, and negatively impacting society as a whole.”
read more »
12 August 2014, Geneva (ILO)*– Today some 75 million young people are unemployed globally and more than 220 million young workers are struggling for survival in the informal economy and living in extreme poverty.Young people are, on average, three times more likely to be unemployed than adults – in some places it escalates to four and five times more. Many others are disconnecting from the labour market.*
Youth unemployment | Photo: ILO
The youth employment crisis is a multidimensional crisis. This is undoubtedly a stressful time for young people and in some cases even more so for young women. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day observance “mental health matters” is, therefore, timely.
The scenario of widespread and persistent unemployment or under-employment may leave young people with a sense of growing despair and hopelessness and in a state of heightened vulnerability.The indications are that mental health difficulties have become widespread among youth in recent years. For instance, in many OECD countries up to one in four young people is affected.
read more »
11 August 2014 – Spotlighting humanitarians who often take great risks to help communities in need, World Humanitarian Day 2014 will feature events ranging from a 5K run/walk in Mogadishu, a wreath-laying ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey, a radio talk show with disaster management experts in Papua New Guinea, and the launch of a postage stamp honoring the late United Nations humanitarian veteran Sergio Vieira de Mello.*
Sergio Vieira de Mello was one of the 22 people killed and more than 150 people wounded in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003.
That attack prompted the UN General Assembly to proclaim August 19 each year as World Humanitarian Day to celebrate the spirit of humanitarian work around the world.
“The recent attacks witnessed in Gaza and South Sudan is a reminder of the bravery of aid workers,” Louis Belanger, spokesperson for World Humanitarian Day 2014, told the UN News Centre, referring to the months of July and August that saw an alarming rise in the level of attacks and incidents involving humanitarian workers. “Humanitarians often take great risk to help communities in need and they deserve to be protected.”
read more »
They are around 370 people in 90 countries around the world who constitute 15 per cent of the world’s poor and about one third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people. They are the remains of millions of peoples who suffered historical extermination and still face continuos injustices… But they have an International Day!
Participants at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2014. Photo by Broddi Sigurdarson, United Nations
Marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said indigenous peoples have a central interest in development and can act as “powerful agents of progress.”*
“In order for them to contribute to our common future, we must secure their rights,” said Ban in his message on the Day, in which he added: “Let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.”
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on 9 August in recognition of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982.
“Historical injustices have all too often resulted in exclusion and poverty,” Ban said, adding that power structures continue to create obstacles to indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination.
100th Anniversary of International Fellowship of Reconciliation Konstanz, Germany, August 1-3, 2014
Militaries Are Outdated and Should Go, Like Hanging and Flogging
I would like to offer my congratulations to IFOR on this its 100th anniversary. I once asked Fr. Dan Berrigan, the great American anti-war activist, for some advice to me in my life as a peace activist. He replied ‘Pray and resist’.
The IFOR members will appreciate this advice, coming as they do from their roots in 100 years of building International Fellowship and Reconciliation between peoples of all faiths, traditions (and none), many of whom believe in the need for prayer in order to strengthen their spiritual lives, and many take their prayer, very seriously.
Our Muslim brothers and sisters show us great example by their very beautiful lives of prayer, (5 times a day), and fasting at Ramadan.
But I would like to ask how serious are we about Resistance? What is our Vision? And how does Resistance fit into this? What do we need to resist? How can we resist effectively? And what methods are allowed? In resisting, what are our aims and objectives?
read more »
By ICAN*, August 4, 2014 — At the Little White House in Key West Florida, on 16 May 2014, atomic bomb testimony was delivered in an official forum on Truman ground for the first time. Together with Clifton Truman Daniel, Hibakusha Stories organized an event where and Yasuaki Yamashita were able to share their experience of being children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively.
Setsuko Thurlow | Photo: ICAN
Thanks to support from the Truman Family, The Little White House and The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, atomic bomb survivors are now on the official record defending the position that nuclear weapons are immoral no matter in whose hands. The following is Setsuko Thurlow’s speech from that evening.
“On that fateful day, August 6, 1945, I was a 13 year old grade 8 student and a member of the Student Mobilization Program, we were at the Army headquarters, 1.8 km from ground zero.
About 30 of us students were assigned to work as decoding assistants of secret messages. At 8:15 AM, as Major Yanai was giving us a pep talk at the assembly, suddenly, I saw in the window a blinding bluish-white flash and I remember having the sensation of floating in the air. As I regained consciousness in the silence and darkness, I found myself pinned by the collapsed building. I could not move, and I knew I faced death. I began to hear my classmates’ faint cries, “Mother, help me” “God, help me”.
read more »