By Meri Pukarinen*, 20 August 2014, Greenpeace — Who wants to dig up entire villages, destroy livelihoods and lock in emissions making climate catastrophe a certainty? Surely some corrupted failed state in the developing world? Think again. This is the aim of the self-proclaimed global climate leader: Europe.
Massive lignite deposits lie at the border of Germany and Poland in the Lusatia region. This brown coal haven is being eyed by Vattenfall – a company owned by the Swedish state, and the Polish Energy Group PGE which has the ear of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Dozens of villages are threatened by bulldozing with some 6000 people losing their homes and livelihoods to make way for these lignite mines.
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The top UNICEF field officer in Gaza on 21 August 2014 reported today that at least nine more Palestinian children have been killed there in the last 48 hours, bringing the total to 469 since early July, saying that there is not a single family in the tiny enclave that has not been touched by the current violence.
- On 12 August, Mohamed Badran, 8, lies on a cot in an ambulance in Gaza. He lost one eye and lost sight in the other during a blast that reportedly killed his father and eight members of his family. Doctors say that Mohamed continues to ask why they “switched the lights off.” Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1157/El Baba
“The impact is has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure that’s been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” Pernilla Ironside, Chief of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Gaza field office told a press conference today at UN Headquarters.
“Children need to have that sense of security,” she added.
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THE TROUBLE with war is that it has two sides.
Everything would be so much easier if war had only one side. Ours, of course.
There you are, drawing up a wonderful plan for the next war, preparing it, training for it, until everything is perfect.
And then the war starts, and to your utmost surprise it appears that there is another side, too, which also has a wonderful plan, and has prepared it and trained for it.
When the two plans meet, everything goes wrong. Both plans break down. You don’t know what’s going to happen. How to go on. You do things you have not planned for. And when you have had enough of it and want to get out, you don’t know how. It’s so much more difficult to end a war than to start a war, especially when both sides need to declare victory.
That’s where we are now.
HOW DID it all start? Depends where you want to begin.
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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.
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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.
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Like so many, like millions, this author’s heart is bleeding for the killed and bereaved in Gaza–so disturbingly similar to the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. With Arab and Western governments doing nothing; like the Red Army. But the latter was heading for Berlin. And the West uses Ukraine as a distraction, trying to hit Moscow.
Various ethnic and religious types present in the Middle East, 19th century | A post card from the 19th century showing the rich mix of ethnic and religious types in the Indian subcontinent 1. unknown; 2. Maratha 3. unknown; 4. Zoroastrian; 5. Jew; 6. Chinese; 7. unknown; 8. unknown; 9. Arab (sitting in the middle on a chair); 10. Sikh | Public Domain
Like Rabbi Michael Lerner, my non-Jewish heart is also bleeding for Judaism and the Israel that could have been. The present regime is a traitor to both, driving into the abyss. Yet they have parliamentary and democratic, voter, support? Except that parliaments are not infallible, democracies can be wrong; even more so if the people think they have a divine mandate.
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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.”
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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.”
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