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.
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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.
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**180 degree rotated map of the world| Released into the public domain by its author, Vardion. | Wikimedia Commons
By Roberto Savio*
Rome, 24 August 2014 – In 1980, I had a debate at the United Nations with the late Stan Swinton, then the very powerful and brilliant director of Associated Press (AP). At one point, I furnished the following figures (which had been slow to change), as an example of Western bias in the media:
In 1964, four transnational news agencies – AP, United Press International (UPI), Agence France Presse (AFP) and Reuters – handled 92 percent of world information flow. The other agencies from industrialised countries, including the Soviet news agency TASS, handled a further 7 percent. That left the rest of the world with a mere 1 percent.
Why, I asked, was the entire world obliged to receive information from the likes of AP in which the United States was always the main actor? Swinton’s reply was brief and to the point: “Roberto, the U.S. media account for 99 percent of our revenues. Do you think they are more interested in our secretary of state, or in an African minister?”
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“I had not then learned the measure of “man’s inhumanity to man,” nor to what limitless extent of wickedness he will go for the love of gain.” ― Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave (1853).
Those words were written by Solomon Northup in “Twe lve Years a Slave” more than 150 years ago, but they ring as true today as they did then.*
Shackles used to bind slaves. UN Photo/Mark Garten
“More than a century after being banned in the developed world, and decades after being outlawed in the newly emerging developing world, modern forms of slavery—forced labour, human trafficking, forced sexual exploitation—still exist, and unfortunately risk growing in extent and profitability in the world today.”
These statements are part of chapter “Conclusions” of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Report Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour. The Chapter is here reproduced.
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23 August 2014 — The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
Photo from UNESCO
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples. In accordance with the goals of the intercultural project “The Slave Route“, it should offer an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of this tragedy, and for an analysis of the interactions to which it has given rise between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.*
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By Mike Pflanz*, (UNICEF) — Nyakuoch Keat’s nine-month-old son Bhan had been running a fever for days and was listless and unresponsive to his mother’s attempts to cheer him up. His condition worsened, to the point where he was not holding down any food and even seemed to lose consciousness at times.
Photo from UNICEF
There appeared to be very few options for Bhan and Nyakuoch, who live in South Sudan in a cluster of mud-and-thatch huts far removed from health services even when there is no war, which there is now. The nearest doctor was in the village of Kiech Kuon, a two hour walk away across flooded fields and swamps.
But since fighting broke out in December 2013, the clinic there has been closed, with staff fleeing the conflict and government supplies of medicines, equipment and salaries drying up.
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