Archive for December, 2020

31/12/2020

The Second Cold War Is Coming

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

It will be quite different from the one with the Soviet Union

The new Cold War will be between China and the West
The new Cold War will be between China and the West | Image from Wall Street International.

31 December 2020 (Wall Street International)*  —  While the Coronavirus has rightly taken much of our attention, a fundamental geopolitical realignment has been taking shape in the world, and it will become clearer in 2021. The realignment is the start of a Second Cold War, which hopefully will not become a ‘hot’ war.

The new Cold War will be between China and the West, but it will be quite different from the one with the Soviet Union. The world has changed significantly since 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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31/12/2020

Fools’ Crusade: Why United States Provocations towards China Will Lead to Disaster

Human Wrongs Watch

By Jeff J. Brown and Jeremy Kuzmarov | The Transnational – TRANSCEND Media Service*

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Fools’ crusade: Why United States provocations towards China will lead to disaster

On July 4, 2020, the U.S. Navy dispatched an unprecedented two aircraft carriers and four other warships to the South China Sea for naval manoeuvres in waters claimed by China. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo subsequently broke with the official U.S. policy of neutrality in territorial conflicts in the South China Sea and declared that China’s claims to most of the Sea were “completely unlawful,” though many of the disputed territories had been part of China prior to being taken over by Japan in the 1895 Sino-Japanese War.[1]

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31/12/2020

Netherlands Violates Nationality Rights: UN Human Rights Committee

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)* — The Netherlands has violated a child’s rights by registering children under the category “nationality unknown” as opposed to Stateless – leaving them ineligible to access international protections, the UN Human Rights Committee  declared on Tuesday [29 December 2020].

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© UNICEF/Sidra | A boy plays in the playground of an asylum seeking centre in Baexem in the Netherlands.

“The right to nationality ensures concrete protection for individuals, in particular children”, said Committee member Shuichi Furuya.

In what they called “a ground-breaking decision”, the Committee’s first on the right of a child to acquire a nationality, the members referred to a petition by a boy named Denny, who in 2010 was born in the Dutch city of Utrecht to a 21-year-old mother from China.

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31/12/2020

US President Trump’s Pardoning of Blackwater Private Security Contractors Guards, Convicted in 2015 for War Crimes, an ‘Affront to Justice’ – UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries

(UN News)* — Five independent UN experts condemned United States President Donald Trump’s pardoning of private security contractors, convicted in 2015 for war crimes in Iraq, on Wednesday [30 December 2020].

UNAMI | Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

The four Blackwater Worldwide contractors were prosecuted and found guilty of multiple criminal acts committed during a 2007 massacre at Nisour Square in Baghdad, which left 14 unarmed civilians dead and at least 17 wounded.

“Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families,” said Jelena Aparac, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries.

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30/12/2020

The Northern Irish Ghost Companies That Mask Crime Worldwide

By David Leask, Peter Geoghegan, and Richard Smith*

Exploitation of workers, corruption and money-laundering, all kept in the shadows by lax regulation. Could Northern Ireland become “the new Panama”?

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Northern_Ireland_in_the_UK_and_Europe

Location of Northern Ireland (dark green) – in Europe (green & dark grey) – in the United Kingdom (green) | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

(openDemocracy)* — Nikolai Sukhanov is used to flags of convenience. The flags of many nations flutter from the stern of ships on the docks and quays of Nakhodka in Russia’s far east. Owners often register their vessels thousands of miles from home, in countries with far looser regulations and restrictions than their own.

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30/12/2020

Belo Monte Dam: Electricity or Life in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest

Human Wrongs Watch

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 28 2020 (IPS)* – “We are no longer familiar with the Xingú River,” whose waters govern “our way of life, our income, our food and our navigation,” lamented Bel Juruna, a young indigenous leader from Brazil´s Amazon rainforest.|En español

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The main plant of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant has a capacity of 11,000 megawatts, to which 233 more megawatts are added from the secondary plant. The complex cost twice the initial budget, equivalent to more than 10 billion dollars when it was built. It also faces difficulties such as the delay in the construction of the transmission line that will carry energy to the southeast of Brazil, inefficiency in generation and higher than expected social and environmental costs. CREDIT: Marcos Corrêa/PR-Agência Brasil

“The water is no longer at its normal, natural level, it is controlled by the floodgates,” she explained. The giant floodgates are managed by Norte Energia, a public-private consortium that owns the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant whose interest is using the river flow for profit.

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30/12/2020

Why Do Overweight and Obesity Continue to Rise?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Nila Eslit*

There are significant factors directly associated with too much weight gain

Children as young as five years old are getting overweight or obese
Children as young as five years old are getting overweight or obese | Image from Wall Street International.

25 December 2019 (Wall Street International)* — Obesity and overweight were once conditions that concerned only high-income families in developed countries. But, sooner than later, these also became the problem among the middle and low-income groups in developing nations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese and overweight worldwide has increased almost triple times since 1975.

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30/12/2020

Bias, Racism and Lies: Facing Up to the Unwanted Consequences of Artificial Intelligence

30 December 2020 (UN News)*Powerful digital tools using artificial intelligence (AI) software are helping in the fight against COVID-19, and have the potential to improve the world in many other ways. However, as AI seeps into more areas of daily life, it’s becoming clear that its misuse can lead to serious harm, leading the UN to call for strong, international regulation of the technology.
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ITU T | The UN is drawing up international rules governing the use of AI

The phrase “artificial intelligence” can conjure up images of machines that are able to think, and act, just like humans, independent of any oversight from actual, flesh and blood people. Movies versions of AI tend to feature super-intelligent machines attempting to overthrow humanity and conquer the world.

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29/12/2020

Madmen and Economists

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.”
— Kenneth E. Boulding (1910-1993)

Why Are Economists Addicted to Growth?

John-Scales-Avery

John Scales Avery

Economists (with a few notable exceptions) have long behaved as though growth were synonymous with economic health.

If the gross national product of a country increases steadily by 4 percent per year, most economists express approval and say that the economy is healthy. If the economy could be made to grow still faster (they maintain), it would be still healthier. If the growth rate should fall, economic illness would be diagnosed.

However, it is obvious that on a finite Earth, neither population growth nor economic growth can continue indefinitely.

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29/12/2020

The Virus That Shut Down the World: The Plight of Refugees and Migrants

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© UNICEF/Canaj Magnum Photos | A 33-year-old man from Afghanistan, pictured with his family on the Greek island of Lesvos, is hoping to be relocated to Germany.
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29 December 2020 (UN News)*In part four of our review of the global impact of COVID-19, UN News considers the new challenges faced by refugees and migrants during 2020; from a heightened risk of catching the COVID-19 virus in crowded camps, to being stranded due to travel restrictions, and becoming the targets of criminal gangs.
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