27 September 2016 – With some 6.5 million people dying annually from air pollution and 92 per cent of the world’s population living in places where levels exceed recommended limits, the United Nations today rolled out its most detailed profile of the scourge ever in a bid to slash the deadly toll.
Woman wears mask to protect from pollution. China. Photo: World Bank/Curt Caremark | Source: UN News Centre
“Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough,” top UN World Health Organization (WHO) environmental official Maria Neira said of the new air quality model, which includes interactive maps maps that highlight areas within countries exceeding WHO limits. The world’s population reached 7.35 billion last year, according to UN figures.
By Robert J. Burrowes*
DAYLESFORD, Australia, 29 September, 2016 – As most of the world ignores or hypocritically celebrates the 147th birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the International Day of Nonviolence on 2 October, some of us will quietly acknowledge his life by continuing to build the world that he envisioned.
Robert J. Burrowes
When asked for his message for the world, Gandhi responded with the now famous line ‘My life is my message’ reflecting his lifelong struggle against violence.
Gandhi’s life was dotted with many memorable quotes but one that is less well known is this: ‘You may never know what results come of your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results’.
Fortunately, there are many committed people who have identified the importance of taking action to end the violence in our world – whether it occurs in the home or on the street, in wars, as a result of economic exploitation or ecological destruction – and this includes the courageous people below.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signs the peace agreement, observed by FARC chief Rodrigo Londoño, Latin American presidents and other dignitaries, in an open-air ceremony in the city of Cartagena de Indias. Credit: Colombian presidency
Starting at 5:00 PM on Monday Sept. 26, the people in the square watched a live broadcast of the ceremony in Cartagena de Indias, 664 km to the north, where the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels signed a peace agreement, putting an end to 52 years of armed conflict. Continue reading
City view of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Asia-Pacific region is urbanizing rapidly. Credit: UN Photo/Kibae Park
Few of the decliners are prepared to accept large-scale immigration, particularly from doubler countries, to address labor force shortages and population aging concerns.
At one extreme are the doublers: 29 countries whose populations are expected to at least double by the middle of the 21st century. At the other extreme in striking contrast are the decliners: 38 countries whose populations are expected to be smaller by the middle of the 21st century. Continue reading
Just over half of the world’s refugees are children. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS.
On Monday, the United States was one of the main countries to obstruct a UN Declaration that no child should ever be detained. Though welcome, the US’ commitment the following day to resettle 110,000 refugees in 2017 was overshadowed by its ugly record on detaining unaccompanied minors.
Just over half of the world’s 65.3 million refugees are children, of which the vast majority, some 25 million children are out of school, threatening to leave almost an entire generation behind.
By Johan Galtung*
23 September 2016 – TRANSCEND Media Service – We want journalists to do that, give us the state of the world, by from one “trouble spot”–arenas of past-present-future violence–to the other. Not to mirror the world, but to make it more transparent. What questions should they ask to do a good job, below the surface?
For key illnesses like epidemics: ask for diagnosis, the causes; for prognosis, the consequences; for therapy, “what are you doing to restore health”. “Ice to lower the fever”, would not be accepted; they would demand a theory linking the diagnosis to the therapy.
We should demand the same level of sophistication for peace even if there is no consensus about peace diagnosis, prognosis and therapy.
But peace studies have identified two causes underlying violence: unsolved conflict, and unconciled trauma from past violence.
It makes as good sense to use “the talking method” (Freud) to try to identify them in concrete cases as to ask patients where it hurts and how long.
Journalists, physicians and mediators have one thing in common: they are expected to ask questions. Continue reading
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on 23 September 2016 warned that some Western countries’ supremacy and exclusiveness undermined equitable international cooperation, calling on world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly to support Russian initiatives in counter-terrorism and disarmament.
Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
“Unfortunately, the ideas of mentoring, supremacy, exclusiveness, and realising their own interests by any means, have been deeply rooted in the minds of political elites of a number of Western countries, to the detriment of efforts to promote just and equitable cooperation,” Lavrov told the UN Assembly General’s annual debate.