22/05/2017

Parliamentary Riffraff

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avery*

20/05/17

WHEN I first entered the Knesset, I was shocked by the low standard of its debates. Speeches were full of clichés, platitudes and party slogans, the intellectual content was almost nil.

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Uri Avnery

That was 52 years ago. Among the members were David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Levi Eshkol and several others of their kind.

Today, looking back, that Knesset looks like an Olympus, compared to the present composition of that non-august body.

AN INTELLIGENT debate in today’s Knesset would be as out of place as a Pater Noster in a Synagogue.

Let’s face it, the present Knesset is full of what I would call parliamentary riffraff. Men and women I would not drink a cup of coffee with.

Some of them look and behave like walking jokes. One is suspected of owning a bordello in Eastern Europe. Several would be rejected out of hand by any self-respecting private employer. Continue reading

22/05/2017

A Grisly Tale of Children Falling Easy Prey to Ruthless Smugglers

Human Wrongs Watch

By Baher Kamal* 

ROME, May 22 2017 (IPS) Don’t read this story if you are a parent or have children relatives. It is the bloodcurdling story of over 300,000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children who are just a small part of millions of children that are innocent, easy prey for smugglers and human traffickers worldwide.

In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, three children look out of the window of a train, which was boarded by refugees primarily from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, at a reception centre for refugees and migrants, in Gevgelija. Credit: UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson VII

In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, three children look out of the window of a train, which was boarded by refugees primarily from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, at a reception centre for refugees and migrants, in Gevgelija. Credit: UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson VII

Among a raft of alarming statistics, a new UN report has just found that children account for around 28 per cent of trafficking victims globally.  Continue reading

21/05/2017

On World Day, UN Urge Countering Threats to Cultural Diversity

Human Wrongs Watch

Cultural diversity – the driving force of change and development – is increasingly under threat, United Nations agencies on 21 May 2017 said, reaffirming support for the cultural diversity that stems from migration.

Members of Mongolia’s National Academic Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance perform at UN Headquarters celebrating cultural diversity. UN Photo/Ryan Brown (file)

“Across the world, violent extremists have targeted cultural minorities and destroyed our shared heritage, to weaken the essential links between people and their history,” said Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Continue reading

20/05/2017

3,000 Migrants Rescued on Mediterranean… in a Single Day

Human Wrongs Watch

19 May 2017 – Nearly 3,000 migrants were rescued trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, according to the United Nations migration agency, which also reported that more than a dozen rescue operations were under way in the area on 18 May 2017.

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Newly arriving refugees wave and laugh as the large inflatable boat they are in approaches the shore, near the village of Skala Eressos, on the island of Lesbos, in the North Aegean region of Greece. Photo: UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson VII

20/05/2017

Cholera Outbreak in War-Torn Yemen Spreading at ‘Unprecedented’ Speed

Human Wrongs Watch

As war-torn Yemen grapples with heavy rains, a collapsed healthcare system and crippled economy, a resurgent cholera outbreak has spread with “unprecedented” speed and taken medical professionals by surprise, the World Health Organization on 19 May 2017 warned.

There has been an unprecedented surge in cholera cases in Yemen, with over 23,400 suspected cases and 242 deaths reported in 18 governorates. Photo: WHO Yemen

According to WHO, more than 240 people have died from cholera in just the last three weeks, out of a total of 23,400 infections. The agency estimates that 7.6 million people live in areas at high risk of cholera transmission.

Continue reading

19/05/2017

Agony of Mother Earth (II) World’s Forests Depleted for Fuel

Human Wrongs Watch

By Baher Kamal* 

ROME, May 19 2017 (IPS) Humankind is the biggest ever predator of natural resources. Just take the case of forests, the real lungs of Mother Earth, and learn that every 60 seconds humans cut down 15 hectares of trees primarily for food or energy production. And that as much as 45,000 hectares of rainforest are cleared for every million kilos of beef exported from South America.
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Forests play a critical role for many countries in their ability to mitigate climate change. Credit: FAO/Rudolf Hahn

Forests play a critical role for many countries in their ability to mitigate climate change. Credit: FAO/Rudolf Hahn

Should these figures not be enough, Monique Barbut, the executive-secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), also drew world’s attention to the fact that “when we take away the forest it is not just the trees that go… The entire ecosystem begins to fall apart… with dire consequences for us all…” Continue reading

18/05/2017

As Somalia Combats Insecurity, Drought Worsens ‘More Rapidly than Projected’

Human Wrongs Watch

17 May 2017 – The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is worsening, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council, calling for more than 800 million dollars in aid to offset the impact of a severe drought in a country that is already battling insecurity and poverty.

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Families displaced by drought in Baidoa, Somalia, gather around Secretary-General António Guterres (white cap), who is in the region urging action to help them. Photo: UNSOM

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“The humanitarian crisis has deteriorated more rapidly than was originally projected,” the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga, told the Council in New York. Continue reading

18/05/2017

Agony of Mother Earth (I) The Unstoppable Destruction of Forests

Human Wrongs Watch

By Baher Kamal* 

ROME, May 18 2017 (IPS) The world’s forests are being degraded and lost at a staggering rate of 3.3 million hectares per year. While their steady destruction in many Asian countries continues apace, deforestation of the world’s largest tropical forest – the Amazon – increased 29 per cent from last year’s numbers. And some of the most precious ecosystems in Africa are threatened by oil, gas and mineral exploration and exploitation.
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The Selm Muir Forest of West Lothian, Scotland. Credit: UN Photo/Robert Clamp

The Selm Muir Forest of West Lothian, Scotland. Credit: UN Photo/Robert Clamp

These are some of the facts that have been repeatedly heralded by the scientific community and the world’s most authoritative voices, who remind us that globally, 1.3 billion people are estimated to be “forest peoples”, who depend almost entirely on them for their livelihoods.

Continue reading

18/05/2017

Amid ‘Alarming Rise’ in Obesity, UN Study Finds 1 in 3 European Adolescents Overweight

Human Wrongs Watch

Citing eating habits, physical activity and sedentary behaviours, the United Nations health agency on 17 May 2017 launched a new publication at the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal which revealed a rising number of obese adolescents in many countries across Europe.

Others standing nearby, a baby sitting in a stroller is fed by her mother at Disney World amusement park in the southern city of Orlando, Florida, in mid-1997. Obesity is a significant nutrition-related problem in the United States. Photo: UNICEF/Toutounji

“Despite sustained efforts to tackle childhood obesity, one in three adolescents is still estimated to be overweight or obese in Europe, with the highest rates found in southern European and Mediterranean countries,” said Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Continue reading

17/05/2017

From Homer to Justinian

Human Wrongs Watch

By Jeffrey Levett*

16 May 2017- Wall Street International –  Herodotus wrote that Egyptians of about 1000 BCE were the healthiest of all civilized people. Both the Hebrews and Greeks benefited from Egyptian science.

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Asclepios - Epidauros
Asclepios – Epidauros | Image reproduced  from Wall Street International
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The Hebrews extended hygienic thought, which is formulated in Leviticus, while in Greece geometry developed. So did rationality. Asclepios and his disciple Hippocrates, father of Western medicine proclaimed: we have an opinion, let’s discuss it, if the evidence warrants, let’s change it.
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