Archive for September 12th, 2012

12/09/2012

Big Brother: UK Installs TV Cameras in School Bathrooms, Changing Rooms

Human Wrongs Watch

By RT* – Over 200 UK state schools have installed cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms to monitor students, a recent surveillance survey reported. British parents will likely be shocked by the study’s findings.

***An integrated systems unit |By: Kingrattus at en.wikipedia

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The survey is based on a freedom of information request conducted by Big Brother Watch, an anti-surveillance activist group. The group said they were shaken by the results, which was much higher and more extensive than expected.

The report “will come as a shock to many parents”, Nick Pickles, Director of Big Brother Watch said. “Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage”.

– 47,806 cameras used in 2,107 schools
– 207 schools have 825 cameras in changing rooms and bathrooms
– 90% of schools use CCTV[1] cameras
– 54 UK schools have 1 camera or more per 15 pupils
– 106,710 CCTV cameras estimated in high schools and academies in England, Scotland and Wales.

[1] CCTV: Closed-Circuit Television

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12/09/2012

Books: “The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”

By *, IPPNW About a third of the way through The Path to Zero, David Krieger, one of the authors, suggests a Zen koan — a mind-bending riddle designed to foster enlightenment — that runs as follows: “What casts a dark shadow when dormant and a fiery cloud of death when brought to life?” The answer is nuclear weapons, the subject of this book.

It is certainly a crucial subject.

The contradiction between the potential of nuclear weapons to destroy the world and the determination of nations to possess them is a central dilemma of modern times.

More than sixty-seven years after U.S. atomic bombs killed much of the population of two Japanese cities, some 20,000 nuclear weapons — thousands of them on alert — remain housed in the arsenals of nine countries.

The United States and Russia possess about 95 percent of them.

Moreover, despite a rhetorical commitment to building a nuclear weapons-free world, some nations are undertaking multi-billion dollar programs to modernize their nuclear weapons production facilities, while others appear to be en route to becoming nuclear powers.

Faced with this disastrous indifference by national governments to the fate of the earth, the people of the world would do well to study The Path to Zero, an extended conversation on the nuclear dilemma by two of its most brilliant, knowledgeable, and profound analysts.

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12/09/2012

No Summer Blackouts in Japan – Nuclear Scaremongering Proven False

Human Wrongs Watch

By Justin McKeating, Greenpeace* – Despite the dire warnings from the nuclear industry and its backers, Japan’s hot summer has passed with no power blackouts or shortages even though just two out of its 50 nuclear reactors were in operation.

Photograph © Greenpeace

The Japanese government’s announcement last week of the end of its summer power-saving initiative proved the country’s new energy strategy can and should include an immediate phase-out of nuclear power.

With its support for nuclear power, the government has been putting its people unnecessarily at risk, given the ongoing threats from earthquakes, but it underestimated the public.

The Japanese people have shown in recent months that they can achieve the power savings needed to achieve the nuclear-free future almost 90% of them are calling for.

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12/09/2012

A Personal Experience with the American Justice System

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Much has been written, and will be written, about the differences between the United States and Europe. One of Romney’s arguments against Obama is the President’s goal of making the US “similar” to Europe. The fact that this argument is very popular among the American electorate demonstrates how Europe is understood not only as different, but also as negative.

Roberto Savio | Photo: sidint.net

In any case, I want to tell a personal experience that might be useful if you ever find yourself in a similarly situation as I describe below.

Before starting, it is useful to remember that there are basically two types of Law:

First, the one implemented by the Romans and re-instituted by Napoleon, which is based on codes within which a judge operates and within which the judge cannot act beyond the established rules.

The second system is called Common Law, born in England in the Middle Ages, which delegates responsibility to the judge for making a judgment based on sentences that have been given in previous cases.

The US uses Common Law with some local adaptations such as electing the position of prosecutor rather than being the result of a judicial career, similar to a chief of police, who is also elected.

The truth is that the proliferation of lawyers and their high-level income has no comparison with any other country in the world.

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12/09/2012

US Elections, the Parties and the Hangovers

Human Wrongs Watch

By Ernest Corea*, IDN-InDepthNews, Washington – They are done. Democrats and Republicans have completed their conventions, and President Barack Obama has secured the anticipated post-convention bounce.

**Photo credit: flickr user chad davis and Jeff G. | Source | Wikimedia Commons

The latest Gallup poll puts Obama at 49 percent among registered voters, compared with 45 percent for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also gives Obama a four-percentage-point lead over Romney, 47:43. Obama’s personal favourability rating has increased as well and his favourability:unfavourability score is up to 52:43. That’s a seven percentage point bounce.

Also part of the current reality is the news on the jobs front that was announced just a day after the Democrats’ convention ended.

The number of jobs created rose to 96,000 in August from 86,000 in July. Undoubtedly, this is an improvement  on the massive monthly job losses that President George W, Bush bequeathed to Obama, but nowhere near adequate to turn the employment situation around.

Comparing the effervescence of the Democrats’ convention to the sobering reality of weak job creation, Romney in a rare resort to humour said: “Yesterday was the party, today is the hangover.”

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12/09/2012

Stop at Least Six Grave Abuses against Children in Conflict

Human Wrongs Watch

Three months ago, the United Nations named 52 parties on its annual ‘list of shame’ of those who recruit and use children, kill and maim, commit sexual violence or attack schools and hospitals, including four new parties in Sudan, Yemen and Syria.

Photo: United Nations

In fact, secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict, released on 23 June 2012, gives an overview of the grave violations committed against girls and boys in conflict zones, the main perpetrators as well as measures taken for the protection of children.

Now a top United Nations envoy stressed the need for more action to prevent violations from being committed against children affected by conflict and for greater accountability for such violations.

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