Archive for March 18th, 2015

18/03/2015

After Israel's Elections, What Prospects for Middle East Peace Process?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kate Shuttleworth and Joe Dyke*
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JERUSALEM/BEIRUT, 18 March 2015 (IRIN)* – Shortly before Israel’s elections on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that as long as he remained in power there would be no independent Palestinian state.
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“Whoever moves to establish a Palestinian state or intends to withdraw from territory is simply yielding territory for radical Islamic terrorist attacks against Israel,” he said.

The announcement was a major part of a strategy that saw Netanyahu rise from polling several points behind the more liberal Zionist Union a few days before the vote to surprise election victory and a likely fourth term in office.

While the election was fought more over economics than relations with the Palestinians, where does his explicit rejection of the two-state solution leave the peace process?

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18/03/2015

The Middle East Oil/Nuclear Puzzle

Human Wrongs Watch

By Pepe Escobar*

17 March 2015 (RT)* – US Secretary of State John Kerry may be starting to enjoy the brinkmanship, as he says it’s “unclear” whether the US and Iran would reach a political framework nuclear deal before the end of this month.

**Most of the world's oil reserves are in the Middle East | Author: RockyMtnGuy | Wikimedia Commons.

**Most of the world’s oil reserves are in the Middle East | Author: RockyMtnGuy | Wikimedia Commons.

Loud applause may be heard in corridors ranging from Tel Aviv to Riyadh.

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18/03/2015

WHO Urges Global Action to “Push Back Hard” against Tobacco Industry

Human Wrongs Watch

The head of the UN health agency on 18 March 2015 welcomed new data showing that non-smoking is becoming the new norm but urged global action to “push back hard” against the tobacco industry, saying: “We do not have the riches of the tobacco industry, but we are right and we are resolved.”*

A man smokes a cigarette at a road side rest stop in rural Nepal. Photo: World Bank/Aisha Faquir | Source: UN

Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), made the call in a keynote address at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which opened today and is focussing on tobacco control and non-communicable diseases, namely lung and heart diseases, cancers and diabetes.

Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, according to WHO, and more than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Nearly 80 per cent of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

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18/03/2015

Dementia Affects Over 47 Million People Worldwide, Expected to Impact 75 Million by 2030 and to Triple by 2050

Human Wrongs Watch

Dementia currently affects more than 47 million people worldwide, with more than 75 million people estimated to be living with dementia by 2030. The number is expected to triple by 2050, according to the conclusions of the WHO-hosted Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia in Geneva, held on 16-17 March 2015 in Geneva*

Source: WHO

Source: WHO

Participants in this first ministerial conference on this issue included 80 Member States, 80 philanthropic foundations, 45 NGOs and 4 UN Agencies.

The final statement says “We, the participants of this Conference, note the following:

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18/03/2015

Child Labour, Slavery 'Biggest Crime against Humanity' – Nobel Laureate

Human Wrongs Watch

Depriving children of their childhood and their freedom is “the biggest crime against humanity,” child rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi on 17 March 2015 said during a visit to United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi. UN Photo/Mark Garten

In an interview with the UN News Centre, Satyarthi welcomed the momentum gained in the struggle to eradicate child labour and child slavery since his awarding of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, voicing optimism that the fight would ultimately be a successful one.

“The very first few hours following the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize in October brought so much attention to the world about the plight of the most exploited, most neglected children on the planet. That hadn’t happened in all my life,” he explained.

“Suddenly, the whole issue of child slavery, child labour, education for children, child violence, and things like that, appeared in the global discussion.”

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18/03/2015

The Gun Market of Kirkuk

Human Wrongs Watch

By Francesca Borri*

‘Nobody is safe. You can check who buys a gun. But you cannot know against whom it will be used’

It’s not just Kirkuk that has a local souq al-asliha, or gun market – similar markets can be found in other Iraqi cities as well (MEE/Hawre Khalid)

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KIRKUK, Iraq, 17 March 2015 (Middle East Eye) — I get stopped in a heartbeat. They’ve heard English being spoken. In Iraq, westerners used to be the scared ones. Now, it’s us who scare the locals. The Iraqis search me twice – they are afraid I could be a member of the Islamic State (IS). That I could be a foreign fighter.
18/03/2015

‘Terrifying’ Impact of Ebola on Nine Million Children – New UN Report

Human Wrongs Watch

Some nine million children have seen “death and suffering beyond their comprehension,” and protecting them and their communities is critical in the fight against Ebola in West Africa, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a report released on 17 March 2015.

A child who lost members of his family to the Ebola virus plays at the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) Child Care Centre in Nzérékoré, Guinea. UN Photo/Martine Perret

UNICEF said the report, which was released in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, Geneva, and New York, “looks at the dramatic impact Ebola has had on children as it hit some of the most vulnerable communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.”*

Of the more than 24,000 people infected, some 5,000 are children, while more than 16,000 children have lost one or both parents or their primary caregiver, according to UNICEF.

“For many of the nine million children living in affected areas, Ebola has been terrifying,” the agency said. “These children have seen death and suffering beyond their comprehension.”

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18/03/2015

Agriculture Bears Major Brunt of Disaster Impacts — New Report

Human Wrongs Watch

Sendai, Japan – Nearly a quarter of damages wrought by natural disasters on the developing world are borne by the agricultural sector according to initial results from a new FAO study released here on 17 March 2015 at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Flooding in Sindh Province Pakistan in 2010 destroyed 2 million acres of standing crops. | Photo: FAO

Flooding in Sindh Province Pakistan in 2010 destroyed 2 million acres of standing crops. | Photo: FAO

The Organization also announced the launch of a special facility aimed at helping countries better equip their food production sectors to reduce risk exposure, limit impacts, and be better prepared to cope with disasters.*

Twenty-two percent of all damages inflicted by natural hazards such as drought, floods storms or tsunamis are registered within the agriculture sector, FAO’s analysis of 78 post-disaster needs assessments in 48 developing countries spanning the 2003-2013 period shows.

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