Archive for December 15th, 2012

15/12/2012

Egyptians Vote on Hotly Contested Sharia – based Constitution

Human Wrongs Watch

By RT*, 15 December 2012 — Egyptians are voting on a disputed new constitution that has split the country in two and sparked deadly protests. Liberal opposition condemns the document as too Islamist, curtailing the rights of Egyptian minority groups.

**Tahrir Square on 27 November 2012 | Photo by Gigi Ibrahim from Cairo, Egypt | Wikimedia Commons

**Tahrir Square on 27 November 2012 | Photo by Gigi Ibrahim from Cairo, Egypt | Wikimedia Commons

Polls opened at 8:00 pm local time (6:00 GMT) in Cairo, Alexandria and eight other regions in the first round of voting. Egypt’s remaining regions will get their chance to vote on December 22. The referendum has been split over two days as there are not enough members of the judiciary to monitor the process after some pledged to boycott the vote.

If the new constitution is rejected, another document will have to be drafted in a process that could take nine months.

Over half of Egypt’s 51 million registered voters are expected to make their way to the polls this Saturday.

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15/12/2012

Egypt: UN Rights Experts Urge ‘Critical Review’ of Morsi’s Constitution

Human Wrongs Watch

Only few hours before Egyptians go to polls today, 15 December 2012, to vote on the controversial draft Constitution imposed by President Mohamed Morsi, a group of United Nations human rights experts called on the Egyptian Government to ensure equality, non-discrimination and protection and promotion of women’s rights in the final text.

President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt. UN Photo/Marco Castro

President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt. UN Photo/Marco Castro

“Key opportunities have so far been missed,” stressed independent expert Kamala Chandrakirana, who heads the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

“We are concerned that almost no women were represented in the Constituent Assembly charged with drafting the new constitution and that women’s perspectives were grossly under-represented in the final draft,” said Chandrakirana said, in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Political transitions offer a unique opportunity to address inequalities of the past, advance women’s human rights and ensure that equality between women and men is one of the foundations on which the new legal system is built,” Chandrakirana stated.

However, she noted, “despite offering unprecedented opportunities for progress, political transitions can result in regression and bring new forms of discrimination.”

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15/12/2012

Wages in China More Than Tripled Between 2000 and 2010

Human Wrongs Watch

China’s long-held position as a country of cheap goods based on low-wage labour looks set to change, with wages rising sharply across the board, according to the latest Global Wage Report 2012/2013, issued by the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO).

Find news, videos, graphs on the Global Wage Report 2012/2013 | ILO

Find news, videos, graphs on the Global Wage Report 2012/2013 | ILO

Wages (*) in China more than tripled between 2000 and 2010, leading to speculation about whether the era of cheap Chinese labour is over, says ILO in a release*, noting that the figures relate mainly to state-owned enterprises, known as urban units, but separate surveys show that wages in small and medium private enterprises are also rising sharply, although pay levels are lower than in the public sector.

“Wages in urban units increased on average at double digit annual rates over the full decade,” said Sangheon Lee, one of the co-authors of the ILO Global Wage Report 2012/2013.

“The wage rises are across the board, from people working in restaurants to office workers. The highest wages are in the financial sectors and in state owned sectors, where employees receive very high wages.”

The rapid wage growth signals a shift in government policy towards creating a more balanced, sustainable economy that is less reliant on exports, ILO adds.

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15/12/2012

Nuclear Terrorism – Killing 100,000 People Not Very Difficult

By IPPNW* — Terrorists who wanted to kill 100,000 people and destroy a city could build a simple nuclear bomb, without much difficulty, by obtaining some Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU).

As little as 20 kg of HEU would provide the fuel for a possible bomb to even a fairly unsophisticated terrorist group. I probably could do it myself with the help of a few engineers and someone who understands how to use explosives.

Image: ICAN

Image: ICAN

The simplest way to get access to HEU is to steal the stuff from a research reactor or a reactor that makes isotopes for medical use.

Many of these reactors are guarded by a couple of guys with semiautomatic rifles, who could be overpowered or bribed. Obtaining fuel in this way would more likely lead to a usable weapon than stealing a bomb, which could not be made to work without codes and, usually, a critical gadget  for ignition.

In these research and commercial reactors, HEU generally exists in handy packages of 10 or 20 kg.  It is easy to carry, and the radiation, though harmful, is not lethal.

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15/12/2012

Ocean Degradation Threatens Livelihoods of Hundreds of Millions of People

Human Wrongs Watch

Concrete action to reverse or mitigate environmental damage done to the world’s oceans must be initiated immediately before it is too late, a United Nations ocean expert has warned.

UNDP-GEF report says as little as $5 billion in public funds could catalyse action and financial flows to reverse ocean degradation. Photo: UNDP/A. Chetvergov

UNDP-GEF report says as little as $5 billion in public funds could catalyse action and financial flows to reverse ocean degradation. Photo: UNDP/A. Chetvergov

Speaking at the launch of a new UN Development Programme (UNDP) report held in Washington, D.C, Andrew Hudson, the head of UNDP’s Water & Ocean Governance Programme and UN-Oceans Coordinator, noted that continuing ocean degradation threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, primarily in the world’s least developed countries.

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