29/09/2016

6.76 Billion People Living with Excessive Air Pollution – UN Report

Human Wrongs Watch

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.

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29/09/2016

Gandhi: ‘My life is my message’

Human Wrongs Watch

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.

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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.

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29/09/2016

Colombia Referendum – First Acid Test for Peace

Human Wrongs Watch

BOGOTA, Sep 27 2016 (IPS) – It was like a huge party in Colombia. “Congratulations!” people said to each other, before hugging. “Only 20 minutes to go!” one office worker said, hurrying on her way to Bolívar square, in the heart of Bogotá. And everyone knew what she was talking about, and hurried along too. Complete strangers exchanged winks of complicity.
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

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

24/09/2016

Fear and Shortages as Boko Haram Displaced Return to Ruins

Human Wrongs Watch

Around 70,000 people have found destruction, insecurity and scarcity on arrival in Gwoza, a city liberated earlier this year from militants in northern Nigeria.

A group of women walk along a street in front of the bombed out ruins of what was the Emir’s palace in Gwoza, Nigeria.   © UNHCR/Hélène Caux

 

By Hélène Caux*  

GWOZA, Nigeria,  23 September 2016 (UNHCR)  – After Nigerian forces liberated this once thriving city from Boko Haram militants, displaced resident Saeed returned home to gutted buildings and burned out cars. He is clear about what the city needs: “We need everything.”

The 38-year-old is among thousands of people, both returnees and those displaced from nearby villages, facing immense challenges in Gwoza, a city 40 kilometres from the border with Cameroon, which was liberated by Nigerian forces in March.

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24/09/2016

Population Growth Extremes: Doublers and Decliners

Human Wrongs Watch

NEW YORK, 23 September 2016 (IPS) – While the world’s population of 7.4 billion is growing at 1.1 percent per year – about half the peak level of the late 1960s – enormous differences in demographic growth among countries are increasingly evident and of mounting concern to countries and the international community.
City view of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Asia-Pacific region is urbanizing rapidly. Credit: UN Photo/Kibae Park

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

24/09/2016

UN Refugee Summits Fall Short for Children

Human Wrongs Watch

UNITED NATIONS, September 21, 2016 (IPS) – As Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini opened the floor for US President Barack Obama’s leaders’ summit on refugees, she embodied a hope unavailable to most child refugees.

Just over half of the world's refugees are children. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS.

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.

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24/09/2016

Post-9/11 Wars Have Cost Nearly $5 Trillion (and Counting): Report

Human Wrongs Watch

13 September2016 
As nation remembers 9/11 victims, report calculates cost of military response to attacks

The estimate includes budget requests for the 2017 operations in Afghanistan—which are poised to continue even after President Barack Obama vowed to withdraw troops from the country by then. (Photo: Marines/flickr/cc) | Source: Common Dreams

The U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost taxpayers nearly $5 trillion and counting, according to a new report released to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the attacks.

Dr. Neta Crawford, professor of political science at Brown University, released the figures in an independent analysis (pdf) of U.S. Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Veteran Affairs spending, as well as their base and projected future spending. 

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24/09/2016

Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is ‘a Disaster for Global Food System’

14 September 2016 (teleSUR)*The Monsanto takeover creates the world’s largest seed and pesticide company and threatens to entrench corporate control of the global food system. German drug and chemical corporation Bayer confirmed Wednesday that it reached a record-breaking US$66 billion takeover of U.S.-based biotechnology giant Monsanto.
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A Greenpeace activist displays signs symbolizing genetically modified crops at a protest in front of the European Union headquarters in Brussels Nov. 24, 2008.

A Greenpeace activist displays signs symbolizing genetically modified crops at a protest in front of the European Union headquarters in Brussels Nov. 24, 2008. | Photo: Reuters | Reproduced from teleSUR as part of this article.

Bayer is one of the leaders in the world’s farm-products market, while Monsanto is better known for being a mega-producer of genetically modified crops.

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24/09/2016

The State of the World–By Journalism

Human Wrongs Watch

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?

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Johan Galtung

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

24/09/2016

Russia Blames Western ‘Arrogance’ for Bloodshed in Middle East, North Africa

Human Wrongs Watch

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.

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