Development cannot be sustainable if it does not address the challenge of climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 29 June 2015 told Member States as he opened a High-Level Event on Climate Change convened in New York by the President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa.
In a move to calm down European financial markets panicking at the growing risk of Greece leaving the euro, China promised it would hold on to its eurozone debt, saying the Greek debt crisis was Beijing’s problem too.
“Even though Greece is an internal EU affair, the issue concerns China, as a key EU trading partner, but also because it affects the world’s financial stability and economic recovery,” he said during a press conference following the EU-China summit in Brussels.
Today [25 June 2015], something incredible happened in the Netherlands. In a landmark court case, in which NGO Urgenda along with 900 concerned Dutch citizens sued the government for failing to act on climate change, the Dutch court ruled in their favour. It was a brave and necessary verdict.
The Netherlands is widely known for being progressive on social issues (gay marriage, soft drugs etc) but we are unfortunately far from that when it comes to tackling climate change.
The wet and soggy lowlands have been lagging behind on renewables, with only 4% – one of the lowest in Europe.
But today’s verdict is a game-changer in the fight against climate change.
By Uri Avnery*
27 June 2015
“WAR IS HELL!” the US general George Patton famously exclaimed.
War is the business of killing the “enemy”, in order to impose your will on them.
Therefore, “humane war” is an oxymoron.
War itself is a crime. There are few exceptions. I would exempt the war against Nazi Germany, since it was conducted against a regime of mass murderers, led by a psychopathic dictator, who could not be brought to heel by any other means.
This being so, the concept of “war crimes” is dubious. The biggest crime is starting the war in the first place. This is not the business of soldiers, but of political leaders. Yet they are rarely indicted.
THESE PHILOSOPHICAL musings came to me in the wake of the recent UN report on the last Gaza war.
The investigation committee bent over backwards to be “balanced”, and accused both the Israeli army and Hamas in almost equal terms. That, in itself, is problematic.
By Sufyan bin Uzayr*
25 June 2015, Political Periscope – Nowadays, if there is one part of the world that repeatedly finds itself in the midst of some conflict or the other, it has to be Western Asia, which is more commonly known as Middle East.
Looking at the present-day map of Middle East is a confusing and heart-breaking experience. There are random boundaries separating one state from another, and issues such as terrorism, political strife, corruption, etc. are rampant.
However, it was not always this way. Not so long ago, Middle East was the pinnacle of peace and prosperity. So what went wrong? In this rather long essay, I will try to explain the root causes of the ongoing strife in the Middle East.
The treaty first announced in May concerns the activities of the Church in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
The Vatican hopes the treaty could be a “stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both parties,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, said.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has renewed his call for Member States to repudiate the use of torture amid the international community’s ongoing fight against terrorism and provide victims of the inhumane practice with support critical in helping them rebuild their lives.
Marking the 2015 edition of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, observed annually on 26 June, the Secretary-General today reminded governments around the world of the “absolute prohibition on the use of torture at any time and under any circumstances under international law,” adding that when used in a systematic manner, torture can even constitute a crime against humanity.
26 June 2015 – Last year saw more children killed or maimed in Afghanistan since monitoring of those statistics began in 2007, reflecting that “children are bearing the brunt of the conflict,” according to United Nations UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on children and armed conflict in that strife-torn country.
“The killing and maiming of children from the indiscriminate use of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in populated areas, and the use of children as suicide bombers, can only be condemned as flagrant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Leila Zerrougui, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
‘In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, survivors of conflict are rebuilding their shattered lives one loaf at a time. Their stories’
25 June 2015 – For nearly a decade, the small and dusty town of Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been under attack. But while many women and girls throughout the region have been kidnapped and terrorised by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), others have survived and are now rebuilding their lives.
Sister Angélique Namaika, the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award laureate, has lived in Dungu since 2003. For more than a decade, she has been helping over 2,000 women to overcome their trauma, counter the stigma attached to rape, and learn to live again. With the Nansen prize money, Sister Angélique opened a cooperative bakery on 5 June 2015. I seized the opportunity to go back and see her again.
By Prof. Vandana Shiva*
23 June 2015, TRANSCEND Media Service – Science” is derived from the word score — “to know”. Each of us should know what we are eating, how it was produced and what impact it will have on our health.
The knowledge we need for growing food is the knowledge of biodiversity and living seed, of living soil and the soil food web, of interaction between different species in the agro-ecosystem and of different seasons.
Farmers have been the experts in these fields, as have ecological scientists who study the evolution of micro-organisms, plants and animals, the ecological web and the soil food web.
In industrial agriculture, the knowledge of living systems is totally missing, since industrial agriculture was externally driven by using war chemicals as inputs.
Soil was defined as an empty container for holding synthetic fertilisers and plants were defined as machines running on external inputs.
This meant substituting the ecological functions and services that nature and farmers can provide through renewal of soil fertility, pest and weed control, and seed improvement.
But it also implied ignorance of the destruction of the functions by the toxic chemicals applied to agriculture.