Archive for ‘Middle East’

21/11/2017

A History of Idiocy

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

18/11/2017

I am furious. And I have good reason to be furious.

397px-UriAvnery

Uri Avnery

I was going to write an article about a subject I have been thinking about for a long time.

This week I opened the New York Times and lo, my yet unwritten article appeared on its opinion pages in full, argument after argument.

How come? I have only one explanation: the author – I have forgotten the name – has stolen the ideas from my head by some magical means, which surely must be branded as criminal. A person once tried to kill me for doing the same thing to him.

So I have decided to write this article in spite of everything.

THE SUBJECT is idiocy. Particularly, the role of idiocy in history.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations.

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21/11/2017

Desperate Need to Halt ‘World’s Largest Killer’ — Pollution

Human Wrongs Watch

ROME, Nov 20 2017 (IPS) – Now that the lights of the UN climate change summit’s meeting rooms have been turned off in Bonn, after a week of intense negotiations and some partial results, another major environmental event is now scheduled in Nairobi, this time to search for ways to halt the world’s major killer – pollution.

Birds scavenging for food amidst the debris at the landfill in Danbury, Connecticut in the United States. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The argument is clear: every part of the planet and every person is affected by pollution, “the world’s largest killer,” and while solutions are within reach, new policies, enhanced public and private sector leadership, redirected investments and massive funding are all “desperately” needed, a major UN report has warned.

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21/11/2017

World Toilet Day: Focus on Sanitation, Wastewater Treatment

Human Wrongs Watch

Even in wealthier countries, where people have access to toilets and faecal material is contained, treatment and final disposal of wastewater can be far from perfect, leading to polluted rivers and coastlines, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a World Toilet Day event on 20 November 2017.

The French Red Cross provides water, sanitation and toilets for 11,000 IDPs at the Centre d’Hebergement Provisoire Automica Dahaitsu in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: MINUSTAH

 “Where does our poo go? […] This year’s Toilet Day observance encourages people to think about the sanitation chain,” said Mohammed in her remarks at a panel discussion on toilets and wastewater, co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Singapore, UN-Water and the International Chamber of Commerce.
18/11/2017

Desperate Rohingya Refugees Use Home-Made Rafts to Get to Bangladesh 

Human Wrongs Watch

Over the past 10 days, dozens of makeshift rafts carrying more than a thousand people have floated into Bangladesh, proof that Rohingya refugees are resorting to increasingly desperate means to flee to Myanmar, the UN refugee agency on 17 November 2017 said.

Rohingya refugees are resorting to increasingly desperate measures such as makeshift rafts to cross the Naf River to Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

“Unable to pay for the crossing, refugees are building rafts from whatever material they can get their hands on – mostly bamboo poles and empty jerry cans tied together with rope and covered with plastic sheets,” William Spindler, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.
18/11/2017

Famine May Be Unfolding ‘Right Now’ in Yemen — UN

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations relief wing on 17 November 2017 warned of famine-like conditions unfolding in Yemen, as a blockade on aid and other essential goods by a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels there enters its 12th day.

People queue to fill containers with water from a tank provided by UNICEF in Sana’a, Yemen. Some 14.5 million people in the country have no access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Photo: UNICEF/Algabal2017

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), sounded the alarm during a news briefing in Geneva.

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17/11/2017

Two Meetings

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

11/11/17

DURING THE last few days, I met with two old friends: Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.

397px-UriAvnery

Uri Avnery

Well, the term “friends” may not quite be appropriate. Certainly, Arafat called me “my friend” in a recorded message for my 70th birthday, but Rabin called nobody “friend”. That was not his character.

I am glad that I knew both from close up. Without them, my life would have been poorer.

I DON’T think I ever met two more different people than these two.

Arafat was a warm person. An emotional person. His embraces and kisses were ceremonial, but they also expressed real sentiment. I brought many Israelis to meetings with him, and they all recounted that after ten minutes in his company they felt as if they had known him for years.

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17/11/2017

From Bangladesh: Bearing Witness to My Country’s Genocide and Meeting the Survivors

Human Wrongs Watch

By Dr. Maung Zarni*

13 November 2017 – TRANSCEND Media Service – We just got home in UK last night.  This is my little reflection on what we witnessed.  I came home with a long list of “To-Do’s”.

My wife Natalie and I work as a two-person team of researchers and writers.  We use each other as a sounding board and we teach each other on the Rohingya. She is the one who initially helped me overcome my own anti-Muslim racism and my own ignorance about Rohingyas.

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17/11/2017

Good to Know (Perhaps) That Food Is Being ‘Nuclearised’

Human Wrongs Watch

ROME, Nov 16 2017 (IPS) – It might sound strange, very strange, but the news is that scientists and experts have been assuring, over and again, that using nuclear applications in agriculture –and thus in food production—are giving a major boost to food security. So how does this work?

Using nuclear sciences to feed the world. Credit: FAO

To start with, nuclear applications in agriculture rely on the use of isotopes and radiation techniques to combat pests and diseases, increase crop production, protect land and water resources, and ensure food safety and authenticity, as well as increase livestock production.

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17/11/2017

UN Urges “Immediate Lifting” of Humanitarian Blockade in Yemen

Human Wrongs Watch

With much of Yemen’s air, sea and land entry points closed, heads of three United Nations agencies on 16 November 2017 called for immediate lifting of such blockade in the conflict-ravaged southern Arabian country so that lifesaving humanitarian supplies can pass.

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The Al Hudaydah port is a major lifeline for Yemen, bringing in food and humanitarian assistance. These cranes have been out of service since mid-2015, with little hope of repair anytime soon. Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA

 

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17/11/2017

Climatic Change, Global Economy and Conflicts Drive Food Insecurity and Undernourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Human Wrongs Watch

Adverse climatic conditions, a sluggish global economy and conflicts are key factors driving food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations agriculture agency on 16 November said.

Woman on her way to collect water in drought stricken Chikwawa district, Malawi Photo: OCHA/Tamara van Vliet

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 2017 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report, chronic undernourishment appears to have risen from 20.8 to 22.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016 – pointing to the need to build affected communities’ resilience and find peaceful solutions that strengthen food security.
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