"Live and learn around Traumschule"

June 19, 2018

InterPressService (global south)

2.5 Million Migrants Smuggled Worldwide, Many Via Social Media

The Italian Navy rescues migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. Credit: Italian Coastguard/Massimo Sestini

By Emily Thampoe and Carmen Arroyo

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled worldwide in 2016, generating an income for smugglers which ranged between $5.5 billion and $7.0 billion, according to a newly published report “2018 Global Study On Smuggling Of Migrants” by the Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Coincidentally, the release of the report followedthe arrival in Spain, over the weekend, of more than 600 stranded migrants, initially rejected by Italy’s new populist government which followed through on its anti-immigration campaign policies.

During the launch of the report, many member states’ representatives were also concerned with the rising role of social media in the illegal smuggling of migrants. The report concluded that many social media platforms are used to advertise smuggling services.

This promotion can be seen through published advertisements on Facebook or other platforms that migrants themselves make use of to share their opinions and experiences with smuggling services.

On the one hand, smugglers will often gander the attention of those thinking to migrate through the creation of enticing advertisements with very nice photos and also provide logistical information such as payment options and methods of getting in contact with them.

While migration has long been an issue handled by member states; since 2016, they decided to work together to produce the Global Compact for Migration through the UN. Intergovernmental negotiations are still ongoing and the states will meet next December in Morocco for the final Intergovernmental Conference.

The report, launched at the meeting,described as the “New York Launch of the First Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants” at the UN HeadquartersJune 13, discusses the topic of smuggling migrants in great lengths, but specially highlights the use of social media by both migrants and smugglers.

The researchers Kristiina Kangaspunta and Angela Me presented the report and discussed its results with the member states’ representatives attending the meeting.

According to the study, smuggling processes vary widely, depending on the area and the type of routes they follow. The duration of the journey, for example, depends on the travel -which can be through sea, air or land- and the organization.

The fastest journeys can last between 15 and 20 days, when smugglers give contacts to the migrants for the different steps of the route. This method is used specially to move migrants from South Asia into Greece.

Once again, this report raised the question of how to handle the migration crisis; and different individuals provided different answers. From UNODC the general claim, held by Kangaspunta and Me, was to encourage member states to share their information on migrants.

On the other hand, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) urged the international community to act faster in order to prevent the refugee crisis.

Oussama El Baroudi, Communications Officer at the IOM, told IPS: “Stopping one boat or more in the Mediterranean Sea is not an answer to Europe’s migration challenges. A comprehensive approach to migration governance is needed, combining opportunities for safe and orderly movement, humane border management and countering migrant smuggling and trafficking. Saving lives should always be our top concern. We must urgently find a means to help these rescued migrants and work for a comprehensive method of supporting migrants and States throughout Europe.”

Asked what IOM is proposing, he added: “IOM urges the EU to re-consider a revision of the Dublin regulation based on the European Parliament’s proposal, and to reach agreement in Council to ensure solidarity among member states fully respecting the provisions of the Treaties”.

However, for some non-profit organizations, member states act too slow to stop the migrant crisis. “European governments and institutions have not always coped well with this crisis and have struggled to provide safe, humane options and adequate care and support for those affected by the trauma of conflict and displacement”, Chelsea Purvis, Mercy Corps Policy and Advocacy Advisor, told IPS.

The Mediterranean is not the only area of concern when talking about the migrant crisis, as some nonprofit organizations emphasize.

David Kode, who leads campaigns and advocacy for global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, urged member states to rethink their approach to the Palestinian refugees: “There are currently about 7.0 million Palestinian refugees across the world including the approximately 1.3 million refugees in the Gaza strip. If some states continue to support Israel’s actions and other states remain silent in the face of the atrocities committed against Palestinians, very little will change as Israeli forces continue to use unnecessary, indiscriminate and disproportionate force against protesters”.

The role of social media

The smuggler’s key to success, says the report, depend on building trust with migrants. That’s why, often times “they have the same citizenship as the migrants they smuggle”, and they target the youth in small villages -which are more eager to believe them.

Other tactics used by smugglers may be deceptive and manipulative. Sometimes they use Facebook to pose as employees for NGOs or personnel who are involved with fake European Union organizations.

Some smugglers, especially in relation to Afghan migrants, have made themselves appear to be legal advisors for asylum on various social media platforms. El Baroudi, from IOM, shares his concern with IPS: “Criminal organized groups show unfortunately great capacity in exploiting new technologies to expand their benefits. Social networks are obviously a great leverage of coercion and may result into the trafficking of human beings as observed in Libya”.

On the other hand, migrants also take advantage of social media to discuss the specifics of migrating and using the services of smugglers. In some cases, social media may be used as a sort of “consumer forum” to share experiences with specific smugglers with fellow migrants; akin to a research tool.

For example, Syrians use social media extensively to research the smugglers, asking other migrants for information through Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook.

When asked how the UN, member states, and NGOs can use social media to counter illegal smuggling, Kangaspunta and Me replied that they must harness the power of social media in creating communities, in the same way that migrants warn each other of the risks of hiring a smuggling service.

Sharing her insights with IPS, Purvis said: ”Mercy Corps’ focus is on using technology and social media to help refugees on the move find safety, and our Signpost programme operates in Europe and Jordan. Using an online platform provides refugees with accurate and factual information in their own language about their options and how they can access services in the country they are in.”

El Baroudi shared with IPS what seems to be IOM’s goal: “The desired future outcome is that states, international organizations, and other actors work towards a situation where migration systems, at a minimum, do not exacerbate vulnerabilities but rather guarantee protection of the human rights of migrants irrespective of status, while migration takes place within the rule of law, and is aligned with development, social, humanitarian and security interests of states”.

The post 2.5 Million Migrants Smuggled Worldwide, Many Via Social Media appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Emily Thampoe and Carmen Arroyo at June 19, 2018 03:43 PM

Closing Africa’s Wealth Gap

South African youths protest outside the Cape Town Convention Centre against inequalities. Credit: AMO/ Esa Alexander

By Kingsley Ighobor

From “Africa Reeling” to “Africa Rising,” there’s a new narrative for the African continent, now showing promising signs of sustainable growth under more stable governments.

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, predicts that Africa’s combined GDP will be $2.6 trillion by 2020 and that “Africa’s consumer spending by 128 million households with discretionary income is expected to be around $1.4 trillion.”

Among the countries attracting investors are Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo.

But a new report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) finds that Africa’s new wealth is increasingly concentrated in a few hands. Disappointingly, 10 of the world’s 19 most unequal countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Economic inequality, sometimes referred to as income inequality, is the unequal distribution of a country’s wealth. In highly unequal societies, such as South Africa, most people live in poverty while a minority amasses enormous wealth.

South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, is also the world’s most unequal. Botswana, Namibia and Zambia are also among the top 19.

While Ethiopia’s economy is growing at 8%, it is impossible to miss its impoverished citizens in the streets of its capital, pulling on donkeys to transport goods while the rich and famous drive around in luxury cars.

Inequality drivers

In Nigeria “the scale of inequality has reached extreme levels,” reports Oxfam, a UK-based charity, in a study published in May 2017. Five of Nigeria’s wealthiest people, including Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, have a combined wealth of $29.9 billion—more than the country’s entire 2017 budget. About 60% of Nigerians live on less than $1.25 a day, the threshold for absolute poverty.

“Everything [in South Africa is] was skewed racially—education, access to finance, and access to land,” maintains Haroon Bhorat, an economics professor at the University of Cape Town.

Several factors drive inequality in Africa, according to the group of economists who authored the UNDP report “Income Inequality Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, Determinants and Consequences”.

First, under Africa’s two-track economic structure, growth often occurs in sectors characterized by low absorption of unskilled labour, high earnings inequality and high capital share in total income.

The authors note that growth in those sectors may spur GDP headline growth but will also exacerbate inequality. It’s a rising tide that doesn’t lift all boats.

Second, infrastructure, human labour and land are highly concentrated in Eastern and Southern Africa. Third, authors of the report make reference to the “natural resource curse, an urban bias of public policy and ethnic and gender inequalities.” It appears, they note, that countries with abundant natural resources, such as Botswana and Zambia, are also some of the most unequal.

Inequality also results from regressive taxes [tax rate decreases when taxable income increases], unresponsive wage structures and inadequate investments in education, health and social protection for vulnerable and marginalized groups.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many African countries buckled under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Western nations to implement structural adjustment programmes (SAPs), which led to cuts in subsidies for health, education, transportation and other sectors that help poor citizens.

Some historians and economists now say those cuts fostered inequality. “Under the influence of Western donors, austerity became African leaders’ default coping mechanism for periods of economic stress,” writes Nicholas William Stephenson Smith, a freelance researcher and historian.

Social unrest

For many countries SAPs widened the wealth gap rather than providing macroeconomic stability, argues Said Adejumobi, director of Southern Africa’s subregional office for the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Adejumobi adds that structural adjustment stalled mobility, frayed communities and sharpened divisions along socioeconomic lines. Currently “a tiny group of 4% captures a large chunk of the income and wealth in Africa’s changing tide of capitalist progress,” he says.

Inequality now threatens social cohesion on the continent. In recent months thousands of Ethiopians have been on the streets protesting harsh economic conditions, forcing factories, hospitals and public transportation to shut down operations.

Economic inequality is fueling conflicts in the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria and South Sudan, says Adejumobi. “The warped motive of Boko Haram insurgency may not relate to inequality but…ignorance and deprivation are two factors that may have made it possible for the terrorist group to recruit young people to kill and maim their fellow citizens.”

Expect deprived people to push back against inequality at some point, says renowned French economist Thomas Piketty, because the rich will always try to protect the status quo and resist efforts to achieve an egalitarian society.

Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” makes a moral argument against excessive wealth accumulation, describing it as unfair and unjust and something to be resisted.

Countries adopted the Millennium Development Goals (2000–2015) to, among other targets, halve the number of people living in absolute poverty. Globally, after 15 years, some 50% of participating countries had met that target, 30% had made progress and 20%, mostly developing countries, had not made significant progress.

The Gambia and Ghana met the target, but Ethiopia was among the countries that did not.

The authors of Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa argued that poverty reduction efforts do not necessarily bridge the inequality gap, which was a conceptual underpinning of the MDGs.

To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an offshoot of the MDGs, experts hope countries will embrace a range of policies that tackle various forms of inequalities, not just poverty.

“Policies that help reduce poverty are not necessarily the same as those that help reduce income inequality,” writes Abdoulaye Dieye, director of UNDP’s regional bureau for Africa, in the preface to the report.

Closing the gap

Quality education may dent poverty but will not close the inequality gap unless accompanied by “progressive taxation [tax rate increases with increases in taxable amount] and well-targeted social protection,” Dieye further explains.

Also, countries need to focus on growth pattern rather than growth rate, because inequality falls when growth is in labour-intensive sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, and it rises when growth is in sectors high in capital and the use of skilled labour, such as mining, finance, insurance and real estate, according to the UNDP economists.

Currently most African countries allocate a significant share of their national budgets to recurrent overheads and/or debts, leaving little or nothing for other projects.

Corruption, mismanagement and illicit financial flows (IFFs) also deplete state coffers.

According to a 2015 report by a high-level African Union panel on IFFs headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, Africa loses up to $50 billion annually to illicit financial flows. Mr. Mbeki urges countries to punish multinational companies that are over-invoicing, underpricing or funneling money to tax havens.

“Gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa “on average $US95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014—or six percent of the region’s GDP—jeopardizing the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth,” according to the UNDP publication Africa Human Development Report 2016: Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa.

The authors of the UNDP report highlight that in sub-Saharan Africa, household income disproportionately favours adult males and “gender discrimination is acute and endemic.”

The UNDP correlates gender equality with human development. Mauritius and Tunisia Mauritius have low levels of gender equality and high levels of human development. Conversely, Chad, Mali and Niger have high levels of gender inequality but low levels of human development.

Former vice president of the World Bank’s Africa division Obiageli Ezekwesili said last November that men are mostly to blame for Africa’s economic problems. “When many more women are at the decision-making level, there is less corruption. Nobody does any favour to women by involving them in governance.”

Ayodele Odusola, the lead author of the UNDP report, maintains that no single solution can address inequalities on the continent. “You have to take countries’ context into consideration,” he says, advising countries to adopt progressive taxation, invest in education and agriculture, increase direct taxation and institute efficient tax administration.

*Africa Renewal is published by the UN’s Department of Public Information.

The post Closing Africa’s Wealth Gap appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Kingsley Ighobor, Africa Renewal*

The post Closing Africa’s Wealth Gap appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Kingsley Ighobor at June 19, 2018 03:15 PM


Ancient River Could Flow Again in Tucson, Thanks to Recycled Wastewater

The Santa Cruz River was once the lifeblood of Tucson, Arizona. Due to heavy development and groundwater overdraft, it hasn’t seen year-round flow in 70 years. The city plans to revive the storied desert river with recycled effluent.

by Matt Weiser at June 19, 2018 01:59 PM

Why Building Collectively is Greener, Easier, and Cheaper

The buildings of eco-communities shape many communities’ functions. As Jan Martin Bang argues, “we are what we live in. When we plan our buildings, we are also planning what kind of society we want to create…we make the buildings and the buildings make us.”

by Jenny Pickerell at June 19, 2018 01:27 PM

Why It Matters If Fracking Companies Are Overestimating Their ‘Proved’ Oil and Gas Reserves

Shale oil well

Under the updated SEC rules, which went into effect in 2009, drillers can count oil and gas from wells that won’t be drilled or fracked for up to five years as part of their proved reserves. Those as-yet-untapped wells can be put on a company’s books as a subset of their “proved” reserves, listed under the label “proved undeveloped” reserves.

by Sharon Kelly at June 19, 2018 11:43 AM

Farming as Resistance

It had been 10 long years of fighting, but even a decade wouldn’t age or persuade the women to put down their stones, or to keep Amelia’s tongue in her mouth, to silence her words in a language that wasn’t her own.

by Trina Moyles at June 19, 2018 11:26 AM

Transition Towns – A Reply to Rob Hopkins

Transition Liege poster

Thanks to Rob for his reply to my recent thoughts on the Transition Towns movement.  Here are some brief notes in response.

by Ted Trainer at June 19, 2018 10:59 AM

Conservativism Now?  Market Economies and the Liberal Anti-Culture

Cotton Factory smoke painting

Growth is the social glue that has held liberal industrial societies together, which is one of several connected reasons why we won’t address our relationship to our natural ecology by becoming “more liberal” or “more progressive.” Sustainability, then, is neither liberal nor progressive.

by Erik Lindberg at June 19, 2018 10:29 AM

Boodaville permaculture, Matarranya, Spain

June 18, 2018

InterPressService (global south)

Лекция "Роль профессионального спорта в общественной жизни"

В субботу, 23 июня, в Москве в Сахаровском центре пройдет очередное мероприятие лектория «Автонома». На этот раз мы поговорим о роли профессионального спорта в общественной жизни. Анархист Сергей Аркадьев, участник множества политических и спортивных DIY-проектов, расскажет о своей готовящейся к публикации книге «Другой футбол возможен».

Начало в 19 часов, лучше сильно не опаздывать.

Встречи в социальных сетях:

June 18, 2018 08:55 PM


East Hamilton Rent Strike Crashes Bay Street

On Friday June 15th, striking tenants from the Stoney Creek Towers traveled to Bay Street, Toronto's financial district to pay a visit to the head offices of their landlord's largest investor.

by Stimulator at June 18, 2018 04:59 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Trump is Here to Stay and Change the World

By Roberto Savio
ROME, Jun 18 2018 (IPS)

Donald John Trump, 45th and current president of the United States, has been seen in many illustrious circles as an anomaly that cannot last. Well, it is time to look at reality.

If we put on the glasses of people who have seen their level of income reduced and are afraid of the future, Trump is here to stay, and he is a result and not a cause.

Roberto Savio

In his year and a half of government, Trump has not lost one of his battles. He has changed the political discourse worldwide, established new standards of ethics in politics, a new meaning of democracy, and his electoral basis has not been shrinking at all.

His critics are the media (which a large majority of Americans dislike), the elite (which is hated) and professionals (who are considered to be profiting at the expense of the lower section of the middle class).

There is now a strong divide with the rural world, the de-industrialised parts of the United States, miners with their mine closed, etc. In addition, white Americans feel increasingly threatened by immigrants, minorities, corporations and industries which have been using the government to their advantage. At every election their number shrinks by two percent.

Let us not forget that Trump was elected by the vote of the majority of white woman, in a country which is the bedrock of feminism.

I know that this could create some irate reactions. The United States is home to some of the best universities in the world, the most brilliant researchers as shown by the number of Nobel prizes awarded , very good orchestras, libraries, museums, a vibrant civil society, and so on. But the sad reality is that those elites count, at best, for no more than 20 percent of the population.

In 80 percent of cases, TV news is the only source of information on international affairs. Newspapers are usually only local, with exception of a few (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, in all less than ten), and have a readership of 35 percent of the population.

You have only to travel in the US hinterland to observe two striking facts: it is very rare to meet somebody who knows geography and history even minimally, and everybody is convinced that the United States has been helping the entire world for which nobody is grateful.

An investigation by the New York Times found out that Americans were convinced that their country has been giving at least 15 percent of its budget for support and philanthropy. In fact, in recent decades the real figure has been below 0.75 percent. At the same time, it has a number of institutes of international studies of the highest level with brilliant analysts, plus a large number of international NGOs. But only 34 percent of the member of the Senate, and 38 percent of members of the House of Representatives have a passport…

The country is divided into two worlds. Of course, the same happen in every country, and in Africa or Asia the division between elite and low-level population is even more extreme. But the United States is an affluent country, where for more than two centuries efforts have been made on the fronts of education and integration in a country which has also been called the “melting pot”, and where it is widely believed that it is the best – if not the only – democracy in the world.

Trump, therefore, has an easy and captive electorate, made up of strong believers, and we cannot understand why, if we do not go over the history of American politics, which is in fact parallel to the political history of Europe. The calls for a lengthy analysis which is what is missing in today’s media, and in which recent US politics can be divided (very roughly) into three historical cycles.

The first, from 1945 to 1981), saw the political class convinced that the priority was to avoid a new world war. For this, institutions for peace and cooperation had to be built, and individuals were to be happy with their status and destiny.

Internationally, that meant the creation of the United Nation, multilateralism as a way to negotiate on the basis of participation and consensus, and international cooperation as a way to help poor countries develop and reduce inequalities. Domestically, this was to be done by giving priority to labour over capital. Strong trade unions were created and in 1979 income from labour accounted for 70 percent of total income. A similar trend was also the seen in Europe.

The second cycle ran from 1981 to 2009, the year Barack Obama was named president. On behalf of the corporate world, Ronald Reagan had launched the neoliberal wave. He started by shutting down the trade union of air traffic controllers, and went on to dismantle much of the welfare and social net built over the previous four decades, eliminating regulations, giving free circulation to capital, creating unrestricted free trade, and so on.

That led to delocalisation of factories, the decline of trade unions and their ability to negotiate, and a very painful reduction of the labour share of wealth, which fell from 70 percent in 1979 to 63 percent in 2014, and has continued to decline ever since.

Unprecedented inequalities have become normal and accepted. Today, an employee at Live Nation Entertainment, an events promotion and ticketing company, who earns an average of 24, 000 dollars would need 2,893 years to earn the 70.6 million dollars that its CEO, Michael Rapino, earned last year.

Reagan had a counterpart in Europe, Margaret Thatcher, who dismantled trade unions, ridiculed the concept of community and common goods and aims (“… there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families …” ), partly followed by Gerard Schroeder in Germany. Globalisation became the undisputed new political vision, far from the rigid ideologies which had created communism and fascism, and were responsible for the Second World War. The market would solve all problems, and governments should keep their hands off.

Reagan was followed by Bush Sr., George H. W. Bush. who somewhat moderated Reagan’s policies. While he started the war with Iraq, he did not go on to invade the entire country. And he was followed by a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who did not challenge neoliberal globalisation but tried to ride it, showing that the left (in American terms) could be more efficient than the right. To give just one example, it was Clinton who completed deregulation of banks by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act which separated savings and investment banking. That led to the transfer of billions of dollars from savings to investments, or speculation, with the result that today banks consider customer activity less lucrative than investments, and finance has become a sector that is totally separate from the production of goods and services. There are now 40 times more financial transactions in one day than output from industry and services, and finance is the only sector of human activity without any international control body.

Markets are now more important than the vote of citizens given that, in many cases, it is they that decide the viability of a government. Furthermore, this has become a sector with no ethics: since the financial crisis of 2008, banks have paid a whopping amount of 321 billion dollars in penalties for illegal activities.

Clinton’s conviction that the left could be successful also had its counterpart in Europe, like Reagan had Thatcher. It was Tony Blair, who constructed a theoretical design for explaining the submission of the left to neoliberal globalisation: this was the so-called Third Way which was, in fact, was a centrist position that tried to reconcile centre-right economic and centre-left social policies.

However, it became clear that neoliberal globalisation was in fact lifting only a few boats and that capital without regulation was becoming a threat. Social injustices continued to increase and legions of people in the rural area felt that towns were syphoning off all revenues and that the elite was ignoring them, and unemployed workers and the impoverished middle class no longer felt old loyalties to the left, which was now considered representative of the elite and professionals.

In the United States the Democratic Party, which also held a neoliberal view with Clinton, began to change its agenda from an economic approach to one of human rights, defending minorities, Afro-Americans and immigrants, and advocating their inclusion in the system.

The fight was no longer between corporations and trade unions, and Obama was the result of that fight, the champion of human rights also as an instrument of international affairs. In fact, while he had a brilliant agenda on human rights, he did very little on the social and economic front, beside the law on national health. But his alliance of minorities and progressive whites was a personal baggage, who could not pass on to an emblematic figure of the establishment like Hillary Clinton.

That led to a new situation in American politics. Those on the left began to see defence of their identity (and their past) as the new fight, now that the traditional division between left and right had waned. Religious identity, national identity, fight against the system and those who are different, become political action.

It should be stressed that the same process happened in Europe, albeit in a totally different cultural and social situation. Those left out deserted the traditional political system to vote for those who were against the system, and promised radical changes to restore the glories of the past.

Their message was necessary nationalist, because they denounced all international systems as merely supporting the elites who were the beneficiaries. It was also necessarily to find a scapegoat, like the Jews in the thirties. Immigrants were perfect because they aroused fear and a perceived loss of traditional identity, a threat in a period of large unemployment.

The new political message from the newcomers was to empower those left out, those who felt fear, those who had lost any trust in the political class, and promise to give them back their sovereignty, reject intruders and take power away from the traditional elites, the professionals of politics, to bring in real people.

Since the end of the financial crisis in 2008 – which brought about even further deterioration of the social and economic situation) – those parties known as populist parties started to grow and they now practically dominate the political panorama.

In the United States, the Republicans of the Tea Party, radical right-wing legislators, were able to change the Republican party, pushing out those called compassionate conservatives because they had social concern. In Europe, the media were startled to see workers voting for Marine Le Pen in France, but the left had lost any legitimacy as representative of the lower incomes; technological change led to the disappearance of social identities, like workers.

In a period of crisis, there was no capability for redistribution. The left had now found itself in the middle of a crisis of identity and it will not emerge from it soon.

Let us now come to today. In November 2016, to universal amazement, (and his own) Trump was elected president of the United States, and just four months later, in March 2017, Brexit came as a rude awakening for Europe. The resentful and fearful went to the polls to get Great Britain out of Europe. The fact that the campaign was plagued by falsehood – recognised by the winners after the referendum – was irrelevant. Who was against Brexit? The financial system, the international corporations, the big towns like London, university professors: in other words, the system. That was enough.

Here, I have deliberately lumped together the United States and Europe (the European Union) to show that globalisation has had a global impact. A United States, which had been the creator and guarantor of the international system, started to withdraw from it under Reagan when he felt that it was becoming a straitjacket for the United States.

This started the decline of the United Nations: on American initiative, trade was taken away from the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created. Globalisation has two engines, trade and finance, and both are now out of the United Nations, which has become an institution for health, education, children, woman and other non-productive sectors, according to the market. It is no coincidence that Trump is now fighting against the globalisation that United States invented, and one of its main enemies is the WTO.

An old maxim is that people get the government they deserve. But we should also be aware that they are being pushed by a new alliance: the alternative right alliance. In all countries it has the same aim: destroy what exists. This network is fed at the same time by Russia and the United States. American alt-right ideologues like Steve Bannon are addressing European audiences to foster the end of the European Union, with clear support from the White House. The populists in power, like Viktor Orban in Hungary or Matteo Salvini in Italy (as well those not in power, like Le Pen) all consider Trump and Vladimir Putin as their points of references. Such alliances are new, and they will become very dangerous.

And now we come to Mr. Trump. After what has been said above, it is clear why he should be considered a symptom and not a cause, while his personality is obviously playing an additional important role. It should be noted that he has not lost any important battle since he came to power. He has been able to take over the Republican party completely, and it is now de facto the Trump Party.

In the primaries for the November 2017 elections (for all House of Representative seats and 50 percent of those of the Senate), he intervened to support candidates he liked, and their opponents always lost. In South Carolina, conservative Katie Arrington, who won against a much stronger opponent, Mark Sanford, declared in her acceptance speech: our party is the Trump party.

Trump knows exactly what his voters think, and he always acts in a way that strengthens his support, regardless of what he does. He is a known sexist, and is now involved in a scandal with a porno star? He has moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and he now has the support of the evangelists, a very large and puritan Protestant group which is an important source of votes. (Interestingly, Guatemala and Paraguay which decided to move their embassies to Jerusalem are also run by evangelists.)

Trump has refused to disclose his incomes and taxes, and he has not formally separated himself from his companies. In the United States, this is usually is enough to force people to resign.

He has removed from his cabinet all the representatives of finance and industry he had put in on his arrival (in order to be accepted by the establishment) and replaced them with right-wing hawks, highly efficient and not morons, from National Security Advisor John Bolton to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He has managed to obtain Gina Hastel, a notorious torturer, as director of the CIA with the votes of Democrats.

He has turned his back on a highly structured treaty with Iran (and other four major countries) to forge a totally unclear agreement with North Korea, which creates problems with Japan, an American ally by definition. He has decided to side with Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran, because that move has the support of a large American sector.

In addition to narcissism, what moves Trump are not values but money. He has quarreled with all historical allies of the United States and he is now engaging in a tariff war with them, while starting one with China, simply on the basis of money. However while erratic, Trump is not unpredictable. All that he has done, he announced during his electoral campaign.

Trump believes he is accountable to no one, and has created a direct relationship with his electors, bypassing the media. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, which keeps track of Trump’s many misstatements, untruths and outright lies, he exceeded 3,000 untrue or misleading statements in his first 466 days – on average, 6.5 untruths a day. Nobody cares. Very few are able to judge.

When a president of United States announces that he is abandoning the treaty with Iran, because they are the main financier of ISIS and Al Qaida, the lack of public reaction is a good measure of the total ignorance of most Americans.

Americans have no idea that Islam is divided between Sunni and Shiite, and that the terrorists are Sunni and based on an extreme interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, or Salafism. Iranians, who are not Arabs, are Shiite, and are considered apostate by the Sunni extremists; Iran has lost thousands of men in the fight against ISIS.

This ignorance helps Trump win Republican voters, no matter what.

The fact that Trump knows exactly what his voters feel and think feeds his narcissism. After his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, at a press conference he said of previous US presidents: “I don’t think they’ve ever had the confidence, frankly, in a president that they have right now for getting things done and having the ability to get things done”.

He does not tolerate any criticism or dissent, as his staff well knows. The result is that he is surrounded by yes men, like no president before. His assistant for trade, Peter Navarro, has declared that there should be a special place in hell for foreign leaders who disagree with Trump.

According to the large majority of economists, the tariff war that he has now started now with US allies plus China will bring growth down all over the world, but nobody reacts in the United States. It is all irrelevant to his voters. He now has a 92 percent rate of confidence, the highest since the United States has existed.

Considering all he has done in less than two years against the existing order leads us to consider that the real danger is that he will be re-elected, and leave office only in 2024. By then, the changes in ethics and style will have become really irreversible.

With many candidates in various countries looking to him as a political example, he will certainly be able to change the world in which we have grown and which, albeit with many faults, has been able to bring about growth and peace.

It is true that the traditional political system needs a radical update, and it does appear able to do so. Meanwhile, it is difficult to foresee how a world based on nationalism and xenophobia – with a strong increase in military spending worldwide, and many other global problems from climate change to no policy for migration, and a global debt that has reached 225 percent of GNP in ten years – will be able to live without conflicts,

What we do know is that the world which emerged from the Second World War, based on the idea of peace and development, the world which is in our constitutions, will disappear.

Democracy, can be a perfect tool for the legitimacy of a dictator. This is what is happening in the various Russias, Turkeys, Hungarys or Polands. A strongman wins the elections, then starts to make changes to the constitution in order to have more power. The next step is to place cronies in institutional positions, reduce the independence of the judiciary, control the media, and so on. That is then followed by acting in name of the majority, against minorities.

This is not new in history. Hitler and Mussolini were at first elected, and today many “men of providence” are lining up.

The post Trump is Here to Stay and Change the World appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Roberto Savio at June 18, 2018 03:05 PM

IOM’s Director General Swing Praises Spain for Bringing 600+ Migrants to Safety

Spanish medical staff carried out preliminary health checks on the migrants at Valencia’s port. Photo: Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

By International Organization for Migration
GENEVA, Jun 18 2018 (IOM)

IOM, the UN Migration Agency praises Spain’s action bringing over six hundred migrants stranded on Mediterranean rescue ships to safety.

“I’m glad Spain has stepped forward to defuse this crisis, but I fear a major tragedy if states start refusing to accept rescued migrants as was threatened,” said IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing. “Keeping the rescued people at sea is not, of itself, going to dissuade other migrants from crossing to Europe and they too will need to be rescued sooner or later,” he added.

IOM believes that all EU Member States need to do more to support front-line states and welcomed the Spanish initiative to bring the migrants to safety. Mr. Swing emphasized Monday that the total numbers of irregular migrant arrivals have fallen dramatically from their peak during a 12-month period in 2015 and 2016, when over one million men, women and children crossed the Mediterranean bound for Greece, Italy and Spain. “This is a political crisis, not a migrant crisis,” Director general Swing added.

“Stopping one boat or more in the Mediterranean Sea is not an answer to Europe’s migration challenges,” Director General Swing explained. “A comprehensive approach to migration governance is needed, combining opportunities for safe and orderly movement, humane border management and countering migrant smuggling and trafficking.”

IOM urges the EU to re-consider a revision of the Dublin regulation based on the European Parliament’s proposal, and to reach agreement in Council to ensure solidarity among member states fully respecting the provisions of the Treaties.

“The best way forward is for the EU to reach a common response and shared governance of the migration flows,” explained Eugenio Ambrosi, Director of IOM’s regional office for the EU. “Fair distribution of migrants via a coordinated, humane and shared EU response from all European countries – not just those of the Mediterranean – is the only solution which saves lives, upholds rights and preserves European unity,” he added.

“Saving lives should always be our top concern. We must urgently find a means to help these rescued migrants and work for a comprehensive method of supporting migrants and States throughout Europe,” Director General Swing concluded.

The post IOM’s Director General Swing Praises Spain for Bringing 600+ Migrants to Safety appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by International Organization for Migration at June 18, 2018 01:39 PM


Going Farther Together – The Lake Victoria Peace and Sustainability Centre, Rusinga Island

Badilisha Permaculture Site

LVPSC brings together about 30 groups and organisations working in various sectors on the island under the banner of peacebuilding and sustainability work. Through working together they are able to support smaller groups, have access to peacebuilding and ecological trainings, and widen their reach both on the island and in wider Kenya.

by Wangũi Kamonji at June 18, 2018 01:24 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Fertility Struggles More Open – and Shared on Social Media

By Michelle Catenacci, M.D
CHICAGO, Jun 18 2018 (IPS)

Fertility health is an incredibly personal – and often vulnerable – topic. Fertility, infertility, and fertility preservation have gained increased public interest over the past few years. Infertility is formally defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 12% of women aged 15 to 44 in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Even though a significant proportion of the population suffers from the challenges associated with infertility, awareness of these challenges has historically been limited, as many regarded fertility to be a “taboo” topic.

More recently (thankfully!), couples have become more and more open about their fertility struggles. Stories are being shared on social media, celebrities are discussing their experiences, and physicians are starting the dialogue with their patients about fertility health. This has led to increased “fertility awareness” and a more proactive approach to treating and preventing infertility.

Women experience an age-related fertility decline that impacts both quantity and quality of eggs. Infertility and miscarriage rates also generally increase as women age. Although egg quality is more difficult to decipher, we do have some testing that to look at egg quanitiy, or ovarian reserve.

With regard to egg quantity: unlike men, who produce new sperm throughout their lifetime, women are born with a fixed number of eggs. This pre-set number declines steadily as women age. A woman’s exact egg supply and her rate of egg depletion are unique to each woman and are likely related to her genetics. Environmental factors, such as smoking, have been shown to deleteriously affect egg quantity as well.

A physician can get a general sense of a women’s egg quantity, or ovarian reserve, through various hormonal tests and an ultrasound evaluation. Women will typically get blood test to measure a day three estrogen and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). FSH is the brain’s stimulating hormone for the ovaries.

As the egg supply decreases, the brain has to work harder to produce an egg, and thus we see an elevation in FSH levels. Another hormone frequently checked is AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone). AMH is secreted from small follicles in the ovary. Lower AMH numbers indicate a lower number of follicles.

A pelvic ultrasound is also frequently used to assess egg quantity by measuring the antral follicle count (2-9 mm follicles in the ovary), which also typically decreases with age. Having lower egg reserve does not necessarily cause infertility; however, it can make treating infertility more difficult as women with lower reserve tend not to respond as robustly to the stimulating medications used by fertility specialists to promote egg production.

Many women are now requesting fertility evaluations, even when they are not actively trying to become pregnant. These women may be considering fertility preservation techniques and want to see what their current ovarian status is, or they may simply wish to learn more about their reproductive health.

Although getting your ovarian reserve tested when not trying to get pregnant will usually not tell you for certain whether or not you will eventually have difficulty getting pregnant, these tests can provide some insights to prepare for possible future struggles.

Women who are concerned about their future fertility health may elect to undergo an egg freezing cycle to be used in the future, just in case they do have difficult conceiving. Fertility preservation via egg freezing had previously been recommended primarily for cancer patients, however in 2013, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine opened up this option for anyone wishing to preserve fertility.

Egg freezing for fertility preservation has been growing over the past several years due to increased fertility awareness, decreasing costs, and even insurance coverage. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reports that in 2016, 3.7% of the 237,385 Assisted Reproductive Technologies cycles done in the United States were for egg freezing for fertility preservation and they expect this number to continue to rise.

Ideally, women should be freezing their eggs in their 20s or early 30s when egg quantity and quality are superior, but women of any age may elect this option after appropriate counseling.

As women gain a better understanding of their fertility health, more and more women have chosen to undergo egg freezing cycles to preserve their fertility or “stop the biological clock”. Although no procedure can guarantee a baby, improved egg freezing techniques have dramatically increased the success rates seen by women having babies from frozen eggs.

This has given women more options and the flexibility to build a family using their own eggs on their own timeline. Women interested in learning more about their reproductive health should contact a reproductive endocrinologist to receive fertility testing and interpret results to assess overall fertility health.

The post Fertility Struggles More Open – and Shared on Social Media appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Michelle Catenacci is an Infertility Specialist and IVF Doctor, Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

The post Fertility Struggles More Open – and Shared on Social Media appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Michelle Catenacci at June 18, 2018 01:21 PM


The Promise of Radical Municipalism Today

Tower of Bable

Radical municipalism is the idea that we can build popular assemblies and neighborhood councils, where people learn to manage their common life through face-to-face politics and develop the skills and the power to seize control: to take the city.

by Aaron Vansintjan at June 18, 2018 12:59 PM

Our Energy Challenge in 6 Eye-Popping Charts

decarbonisation rate chart

And the big picture? Despite 25 years of global climate policy-making, decarbonisation rates are not even close to what is required.

by David Spratt at June 18, 2018 12:33 PM

What Would we Eat if Food and Health were Commons? – Inspiration from Indigenous Populations


Weston Price observed that our ancestors would make a lot of effort to enable their bodies to re-build rather than only to supply energy.

by Katarzyna Gajewska at June 18, 2018 11:38 AM

Electric Cars to the Rescue?

Richard Heinberg Leaf car

A lot of hope is riding on the wheels of the world’s three million electric cars. So, how’s the EV revolution going? And even if it’s going well, is it really the best strategy? Those are the questions I want to address here.

by Richard Heinberg at June 18, 2018 11:08 AM

InterPressService (global south)

”I remain optimistic over achieving delivering oil market stability,” says Al Mazrouei

Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry, and President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Conference for 2018, has expressed his optimism over regaining balance to the international oil market, thanks to the cooperation between the OPEC, and its partners.

ABU DHABI, Jun 18 2018 (WAM)

Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry, and President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Conference for 2018, has expressed his optimism over regaining balance to the international oil market, thanks to the cooperation between the OPEC, and its partners.

“Looking ahead, I remain optimistic that we will fulfil our goal of delivering sustainable oil market stability, which is intended to serve the long term interests of producers, consumers and the global economy,” Al Mazrouei said in a statement issued by the ministry ahead of 174th Meeting of the OPEC Conference next week in Vienna, Austria.

“Central to this optimism is the unprecedented level of cooperation and conformity from OPEC and its partners to the production adjustments that were promised under the ‘declaration of cooperation’,” he added.

"Central to this optimism is the unprecedented level of cooperation and conformity from OPEC and its partners to the production adjustments that were promised under the ‘declaration of cooperation’,"
Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, and President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Conference for 2018
”Stock levels have dropped significantly since the beginning of 2017 and the market is moving ever-closer to becoming rebalanced, he clarified. “This will undoubtedly be a key topic of discussion in our June meeting,” he said.

The 174th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the first full gathering of the year, is to take place on June 22nd in Vienna, Austria.

“In this meeting and the 7th OPEC International Seminar, a unique assembly of Ministers, heads of intergovernmental organisations, chief executives of national and international oil companies, industry leaders, academics, energy experts and media, we will review the noteworthy progress that we are making,” he said.

As President of the OPEC Conference for 2018, Al Mazrouei is to preside over both events.

He also commended the performance and new approach of the OPEC over the first half of 2018. ”It has been a constructive first half of the year.” “OPEC has engaged in open and transparent dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders, an approach that I wholeheartedly support and I believe is beneficial to all parties,” he said.

Adding, “We are fast approaching the mid-way point of an important year for OPEC and its partners and it has been a constructive first half of the year.”

“Working closely with the OPEC Secretary General and his team, I was pleased to participate in numerous seminars, events and meetings to further strengthen OPEC’s engagement and rapport with organizations such as the IEA and IEF, and other industry stakeholders,” he said.

From IP week in London, to CERA in Houston, and the IEA International Energy Forum in New Delhi, to name but a few, he concluded.


WAM/Elsadig Idriss/Tariq alfaham

The post ”I remain optimistic over achieving delivering oil market stability,” says Al Mazrouei appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by WAM at June 18, 2018 09:46 AM

Economie des corps

@natacha wrote:

The award in the “Workplace” category went to the company Soma
Analytics, whose health app “Kelaa” stands out among intrusive health
apps as it only works if the users’ employers use the counterpart
software, the so-called “Kelaa Dashboard”. The app records all kinds of
data via the phone’s various sensors. It focuses on stress and sleep,
encouraging employees and employers to “work on” these issues. The
analysed data include phone use, voice characteristics, typing behaviour
and even sleep movements, for which users are encouraged to take their
phones to bed with them. The employer receives summary reports about
their employees’ mental state. While this comes with the usual claims
that the personal data is aggregated and anonymised, the reports do
allow inferences to smaller groups in order to identify “most stressful”

The primary argument is that quantification systems operate upon logics
of control at a distance.
They draw on and reproduce traditional paternalist logics of rational
and disembodied exchanges.
As such, they artificially abstract bodies, identities, and interactions
from social contexts in ways
that both obscure and aggravate gender and other social inequalities.
They operates on the level of
abstraction but with embodied effects for women and men.

Corps au travail

Le corps productif laisse alors place au corps « performant » et
surtout « flexible » que cherchent à façonner les nouveaux dispositifs
de gestion : management par les compétences, évaluation, pratiques de
coaching et de développement personnel, benchmarking, etc. En
privilégiant ces grilles de lecture marxistes ou foucaldiennes, la
sociologie du travail a surtout appréhendé le corps comme un lieu de
projection du pouvoir, mettant au jour l’empreinte du travail sur les
corps. Qu’est-ce que les traces que laisse le travail sur le corps nous
révèlent des formes anciennes et nouvelles d’organisation et de
management des personnels ?

L’élargissement du type de corps étudié que cette approche invite mais
aussi à l’élargissement de la palette des dimensions corporelles saisies
par l’activité. Elle encourage également au recentrage sur le contenu
même de l’activité, le geste professionnel, pour rendre compte non
seulement d’un agir contestataire mais aussi d’un agir créatif qui
rendrait possible le « vrai boulot » .

Pour Céline Lafontaine , le développement des biotechnologies depuis
le milieu du XXe siècle aurait transformé le type d’enrôlement du corps
en passant du « corps productif de l’ouvrier » au « corps ressource de
la bioéconomie ».
Descendant du corps-organisme à la cellule, le capitalisme
contemporain aurait profondément transformé les rapport entre « zoé » et
« bios » au sens où ce ne serait plus seulement la force de travail qui
serait transformée en marchandise mais plus fondamentalement le vivant
en tant que tel : organes mais aussi ovocytes, sperme, molécules,
cellules, gènes séquencés et stockés dans des « biobanques » et engagés
dans des transactions internationales complexes qu’il convient de mieux

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Participants: 1

Read full topic

by @natacha at June 18, 2018 08:15 AM

Ethiopia to Return Land in Bid for Peace with Eritrea

A group of Eritrean men, women and children who have just been dropped off dusty and tired at the entry point in the small town of Adinbried, about 50km southeast of Badme, having crossed the border during the preceding night. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

A group of Eritrean men, women and children who have just been dropped off dusty and tired at the entry point in the small town of Adinbried, about 50km southeast of Badme, having crossed the border during the preceding night. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By James Jeffrey
BADME, Ethiopia, Jun 18 2018 (IPS)

The utterly inconsequential-looking Ethiopian border town of Badme is where war broke out in 1998 between Ethiopia and Eritrea, lasting two years and devastating both countries. 

Ever since the the town has remained, in spite of its ramshackle, unassuming appearance, an iconic symbol for both countries, primarily because despite the internationally brokered Algiers Peace Accord that followed the 2000 ceasefire, and led to a ruling that Badme return to Eritrea, Ethiopia defiantly stayed put in the town.“The country [Ethiopia] is undergoing a seismic change—the likes of which it has never seen in such a short time span." --Yves Marie Stranger

Hence Badme festered as a source of rancour during years that turned into decades, with the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments coming to loathe each other, while all along the border the countries remained at loggerheads, each military eyeing the other warily.

But all of a sudden at the start of June, Ethiopia announced its readiness to fully comply and implement the Algiers Peace Accord, one of a number of unprecedented reformist actions this year, and which show no sign of slowing down since the April election of a new prime minister who has pledged to take Ethiopia in a new and more democratic and hopeful direction.

The Ethiopian government also announced it would accept the outcome of a 2002 border commission ruling, which awarded disputed territories collectively known as the Yirga Triangle, at the tip of which sits Bade, to Eritrea.

“Ethiopia’s change of heart towards Eritrea is genuine, and is directly tied to the momentous changes taking place domestically,” Awol Allo, a lecturer in law at Keele University in law and frequent commentator on Ethiopia, wrote in an opinion piece for Al Jazeera. “Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reconfigured the Ethiopian political landscape and its strategic direction, moving with incredible speed to drive changes aimed at widening the political space and narrowing the social divisions and antagonisms within the country.”

This has included the prime minister linking the political, social and economic transformation in Ethiopia to regional dynamics, especially Eritrea, with which Ethiopia once had particular close economic, cultural and social ties—Eritrea was part of Ethiopia until gaining independence in 1991.

“Every Ethiopian should realise that it is expected of us to be a responsible government that ensures stability in our region, one that takes the initiative to connect the brotherly peoples of both countries and expands trains, buses, and economic ties between Asmara [the Eritrean capital] and Addis Ababa,” Abiy announced.

The rift between Eritrea and Ethiopia has had significant regional fallout. Both countries have engaged in hostile activities against each other, including proxy wars in the likes of neighbouring Somalia, thereby destabilising an already volatile region.

The rugged landscape of Tigray, Ethiopia’s most northern region, stretches away to the north and into Eritrea. Once Eritrea was Ethiopia’s most northern region until gaining independence in 1991. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

The rugged landscape of Tigray, Ethiopia’s most northern region, stretches away to the north and into Eritrea. Once Eritrea was Ethiopia’s most northern region until gaining independence in 1991. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Meanwhile, Eritrea continued to come off worse against Ethiopia’s stronger regional sway and diplomatic clout, becoming increasingly isolated, and subjected to international sanctions.

As a result, life became increasingly miserable for Eritreans—hence the unending exodus of Eritrean refugees into Ethiopia—as their government used the border war with Ethiopia and the subsequent perceived existential threats and belligerencies against Eritrea as an excuse for the state becoming increasingly repressive and militarised, with its leader Isaias Afewerki tightening his ironclad rule.

But the Eritrean government’s narrative has had the rug pulled out from under it.

“The Eritrean regime seems confused, unprepared and clueless about how it should respond to Ethiopia’s peace offer,” Abraham Zere, executive director of PEN Eritrea, part of a global network of writers in over 100 countries across the globe who campaign to promote literature and defend freedom of expression, wrote in another Al Jazeera opinion piece. “Ethiopia’s call for normalization and peace puts President Afewerki in a very difficult position, as it undermines his current strategy of blaming Ethiopia for his repressive rule.”

So far the response from the Eritrean government has been conspicuous by its absence. Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel when pressed to comment on the issue on Twitter replied elliptically: “Our position is crystal clear and has been so for 16 years.”

Previously, the Eritrean government has consistently demanded full compliance by Ethiopia with the EEBC’s decision and unilateral withdrawal of all troops from the disputed territories before any chance of normalizing relations—a demand that fails to take account of the EEBC’s terms and the  complex situation on the ground.

“The insistence on unilateral withdrawal as a condition for normalising relations is not tenable, not least because Badme was under Ethiopia rule before the EEBC’s ruling and continues to be under the effective control of the Ethiopian government,” Awol says. “The two countries must come together in good faith to hammer out a number of details including the fate of the population there.”

It’s unlikely to be easy. Already in Badme and in other of the disputed territories, both Eritreans and Ethiopians are protesting Abiy’s decision to implement the commission’s arbitrarily drawn border that would divide communities between the two countries.

“We have no issues over reconciling with our Eritrean brothers. But we will not leave Badme,” Teklit Girmay, a local government official, told Reuters. “We do not want peace by giving away this land after all the sacrifice.”

“It took us four days traveling from Asmara,” a 31-year-man said of the trek from the Eritrean capital, about 80km north of the border, holding all the money he has left: 13 Eritrean nakfa (80 cents). “We travelled for 10 hours each night, sleeping in the desert during the day.” Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

“It took us four days traveling from Asmara,” a 31-year-man said of the trek from the Eritrean capital, about 80km north of the border, holding all the money he has left: 13 Eritrean nakfa (80 cents). “We travelled for 10 hours each night, sleeping in the desert during the day.” Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Furthermore, across Tigray, Ethiopia’s most northern region that straddles the border, there are reports of increasing anger and protests about the announcement, while the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front regional party that has dominated Ethiopian politics since its founders spearheaded the 1991 revolution that brought the current government to power has issued a veiled warning to Abiy.

“The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front will not take part in any process that harms the interests of the people of Tigray,” it said in a statement, demanding that any withdrawal be linked to additional concessions from Eritrea.

Tigray’s proximity to Eritrea and the previous war means its people are acutely sensitive to the potential ramifications, which is further complicated by how people on both sides of the border share the same language – Tigrinya – as well as Orthodox religion and cultural traditions: a closeness that can also heighten resentment.

“People recognize the shared culture and ethnic background, and that helps for many things, but there’s still distrust because of the 30-year-war [for independence], and mostly due to 1998-2000 border conflict and related mass displacement,” says Milena Belloni, a researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, who is currently writing a book about Eritrean refugees. “There’s a double narrative.”

In 1998 Eritrea invaded Badme before pushing south to occupy the rest of Ethiopia’s Yirga Triangle, claiming it was historically Eritrean land. Ethiopia eventually regained the land but the fighting cost both countries thousands of lives and billions of dollars desperately needed elsewhere in such poor and financially strapped countries.

At the time of the EEBC’s ruling on Badme, the Ethiopian government felt the Ethiopian public wouldn’t tolerate the concession of a now iconic town responsible for so many lost Ethiopian lives—hence it and the rest of the Yirga Triangle remained jutting defiantly into Eritrea, both figuratively and literally.

“Although Badme was a mere pretext to start a conflict fuelled by much deeper political problems, it has since been etched into the imagination of many Ethiopians and Eritreans and has taken on a deeper meaning,” Awol says. “The name Badme condenses within itself a series of fundamental political and economic anxieties and hegemonic aspirations, acting as a byword for brutality, anguish, guilt, shame, fear and pride.”

In addition to potential internal resistance from the Ethiopian government’s TPLF old guard, coupled with potential intransigence from the Asmara regime, the reaction of the international community could also play a significant role.

“The international community, particularly the West, has ignored the dispute for too long,” Awol says. “Now that there is a newfound optimism for peace, the international community must seize the opportunity and act proactively and pre-emptively before local and regional dynamics change.”

Ethiopia is at a potentially exciting crossroads—though nothing is assured, and may well hang in the balance, one that the international community can influence due to Ethiopia’s increasing integration in the global system.

“The country is undergoing a seismic change—the likes of which it has never seen in such a short time span,” says Yves Marie Stranger, editor of “Ethiopia: Through Writers’ Eyes,” and a long-time Ethiophile. “Ethiopia, a land of barter and subsistence farming, a land where very little money changed hands until recently,  now depends on world oil prices,  wheat imports and  the dollar rate—just as much as on the next rainy season. In other words, Ethiopia’s unorthodox economics must now worship in the global church.”

Depending on what happens next, the repercussions for Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the wider Horn of Africa region, could be enormous.

“If Ethiopia does follow through with its stated intention, it’s doubtful that Eritreans would accept any further fear mongering from the Aferwerki administration regarding Addis Ababa’s actions and intentions,” Abraham says. “If Aferwerki attempts to dismiss or undermine this long-awaited gesture from its neighbour, the population may openly turn against the regime.”

The post Ethiopia to Return Land in Bid for Peace with Eritrea appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by James Jeffrey at June 18, 2018 12:01 AM

June 17, 2018

the final straw radio

Shane Burley on Fascism Today + Asheville’s Service Worker Assembely

This week on The Final Straw, we'll be airing two interviews. In the first, Bursts spoke with author and activist Shane Burley about the state of street level fascism and anti-fascism in the U.S. Then about 45 minutes into the episode, you'll hear Bursts speaking with two members of the Asheville branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW.

by The Final Straw Radio at June 17, 2018 07:53 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Consumers and Private Sector critical in fighting droughts and land degradation, says UN

By UNCCD Press Release
QUITO, Ecuador , Jun 17 2018 (UNCCD)

More than 3.2 billion people, or 2 in every 5 people, are impacted by land degradation today and up to 143 million people could move within their countries by 2050 to escape water scarcity and falling crop productivity due to the slow onset impacts of climate change.

To avoid these threats, Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, has called on consumers and the private sector to join governments to save healthy land. She added that lack of preparedness for future droughts in particular, could lead to massive social and political upheavals.

“Everything we produce and consume has a land footprint. A bicycle requires 3.4 square meters of land. Ten square meters of land are used to produce a laptop. Producing one kilogram of beef takes 22 square meters,“ but few people give thought to these daily processes “because the losses are not visible – or at least not accounted for – in the products we consume,” Barbut stated.

“We are all decision-makers because in our daily lives, our choices have consequences. Our small decisions transform the world,” she stressed, and called on consumers to make choices that reward land users whose practices protect the land from degradation.

Barbut, who heads the international agreement that deals with desertification, land degradation and drought effects, also warned that it is dangerous to reduce the true value of healthy land to its economic value alone.

She made the remarks in observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June. The global observance event is took place, in Quito, Ecuador.

Ecuador promotes a bio-economy among its agriculturalists in order to diffuse sustainable land management technologies, which maintain the land’s productivity.

The country is also pursuing the Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality, which means avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation to ensure the amount of healthy land it had in 2015 is the same in 2030, and stays stable thereafter.

Barbut also underlined the need to “go beyond conscious consumerism” to engage the private sector and governments in better land uses because “the real value of the land is not just economic.”

“Land is worth so much more than the economic value we attach to it. It defines our way of life and our culture – whether we live in the city or the villages. It purifies the water we drink. It feeds us. It surrounds us with beauty. But, we cannot meet the needs and wants of a growing population if the amount of healthy and productive land continues to decline so dramatically,” Barbut said.

Tarsicio Granizo, Minister of Environment, Ecuador, said “desertification is a matter that not only has to do with the environment, but also with food sovereignty and with protection of the agricultural soil.”

The Global Land Outlook (The GLO) of 2017 states that 45% of the food consumed globally comes from the world’s dryland areas, and that falling productivity, food shortages and water scarcity in these regions is creating insecurity. The GLO warns that about 20% more productive land was degraded from 1983-2013, and that Africa and Asia face the greatest threats, going forward.

“We must do far more to recognize the immense value of healthy and productive land in strengthening the resilience of the world’s poorest communities, which are facing more drought and other slow-onset climate disasters,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in marking the Day.

Five of the 8 slow onset events identified by the Climate Change Convention as potential future sources of huge losses and damage are manifestations of declining land productivity. These are desertification, salinization, land and forest degradation, biodiversity loss and rising temperatures. Globally, about 2 billion hectares of land are degraded. Most of it can be restored back to health.

“Science has given us the knowledge and tools we need for managing land to build resilience to drought and the impacts of climate change. Governments and the communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on the land can take steps now to prepare for future drought,” Guterres said.

The sustainable land management technologies needed to minimize and reverse many of these effects exist, but the policy instruments and investments to promote their spread are non-existent. As a result, some of the most land-dependent communities are exposed to the growing powerful and adverse weather effects, such as recurrent droughts, unpredictable rainfall and disappearing ground water sources.

Barbut highlighted three critical actions that consumers and the private sector can take to encourage land users and governments to save healthy land from further degradation and to recover nearly barren lands.

First, changing consumer behavior and unsustainable production patterns. Second, adopting more efficient land use planning. Third, creating mechanisms like the LDN Fund that will motivate the private sector to invest in land restoration.

“The public needs to be empowered. If they know that the choices they make every day can make a difference in terms of how the land is used – whether it is abused or nurtured – I am sure they will choose and consume more wisely,” she said.

“Governments must create incentives that can encourage the private sector to see that sustainable management of the land and the restoration of degraded land is the socially responsible thing to do. The UNCCD is ready to help initiatives that can restore degraded land at scale,” she said.

She called on countries to formulate the targets to be achieved by 2030, which signals that “a country has a systematic plan to ensure sufficient high quality land is available in the long-term to meet the demand for essentials like food and water.”

Minister Granizo said “the Government of Ecuador is proud to host, for the first time in Latin America, the celebration of this international day, which was attended by prominent authorities of the Convention to Combat Desertification.”

World Day to Combat Desertification is observed every year on 17 June to raise awareness about the status of the land resources, especially at country level, and to mobilize required actions.

The post Consumers and Private Sector critical in fighting droughts and land degradation, says UN appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by UNCCD Press Release at June 17, 2018 05:53 PM

Aspie Friendly

@sungja wrote:

Nous, les neuro typiques :
Nous naissons hyperconnectés, avec des milliards de synapses. En grandissant, notre cerveau se spécialise grâce au processus dit « d’élagage synaptique » pendant lequel les synapses inutiles sont éliminées. En clarifiant le réseau, notre cerveau affine ses performances et augmente notre développement neurocognitif nous aidant ainsi à trier les informations, gérer nos émotions, hiérarchiser nos ressentis sensoriels, nous conformer à une norme sociale.

Eux, les autistes :
Ils naissent hyper connectés, avec des milliards de synapses. Mais l’hyperactivité de la protéine mTOR entrave l’élagage synaptique ce qui provoque un excès d’informations circulant dans le cerveau ou hyperconnectivité qui engendre une surcharge sensorielle permanente. L’ apprentissage des cognitions sociales va se faire par le biais de l’expérimentation intellectualisée. Leur appréhension du monde se fait de façon complètement atypique et totalement intrigante : ce lien vous amène à une vidéo du conte « Le petit chaperon rouge » réalisé de façon a être compréhensible par un autiste https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LF5M9nlFQs

Il y a encore du chemin à parcourir pour faire évoluer le regard porté sur l’autisme, mais d’ores et déjà des entreprises ont su exploiter les atouts de ces personnes extra-ordinaires :

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by @sungja at June 17, 2018 04:10 PM

Bienvenue à la Signothèque

@seejayer wrote:

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  • How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?

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by @seejayer Sj Rideaf at June 17, 2018 04:06 PM

Technologies & accessibilité

@sungja wrote:

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by @sungja at June 17, 2018 04:05 PM

Hambach Forest Occupation

Poem: Grey walls – A night in a police station

[trigger warning – mentioning of police violence] Grey walls – A night in a police station I‘m waiting. Waiting till this is over. I‘ve heard what you do. Waiting till this is over. I‘ve heard that you make people scream. Am I going to be the next one? I‘ve heard you‘ve broken bones. My blood rushes around, but there is no where to go. My blood rushes around, but there… more…

by hambacherforst at June 17, 2018 10:24 AM

Арестованный по «пензенскому делу» Дмитрий Пчелинцев в СИЗО лишился нескольких зубов

В пензенском СИЗО, в котором содержатся обвиняемые по , с 6 до 22 часов играет «Радио 101.8». Об этом один из фигурантов дела Дмитрий Пчелинцев рассказал в Ленинском районном суде, где решался вопрос о продлении срока его ареста.

June 17, 2018 10:02 AM

Debian security

June 16, 2018


yunity heartbeat 2018-06-17

The yunity heartbeat - news from the world of sharing, fresh every two weeks.


It's summer and lots of stuff is happening! But also people are very “flowy” which is one reason why this is the first heartbeat to not be published on time :( You are very welcome to blame Bodhi and Nick!

Anyway: The spring review had a positive outcome, there were a lot of things we achieved :) There was a vision dreaming session and the summer roadmap planning lead to some clear tasks for the next...

June 16, 2018 10:00 PM

Суд в Пензе продлил арест фигурантам дела «Сети»

14 и 15 июля Ленинский районный суд Пензы продлил до 18 сентября арест фигурантам Дмитрию Пчелинцеву, Василию Куксову, Илье Шакурскому, Андрею Чернову и Арману Сагынбаеву.

По ходатайству прокурора заседание 15 июня прошло в закрытом режиме. Пчелинцев заявил отвод судье.

June 16, 2018 08:32 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development earmarks USD 3 billion to support sustainable development in Ethiopia

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development earmarks AED11 billion to support sustainable development in Ethiopia

ABU DHABI, Jun 16 2018 (WAM)

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for development aid, allocated an AED11 billion (US$3 billion) economic aid package to the Ethiopian government to support sustainable socio-economic development in that country.

The purpose of the funding is twofold. ADFD deposited an amount of AED3.7 billion (US$1 billion) in the National Bank of Ethiopia to bolster the country’s fiscal and monetary policy, as well as to enhance the liquidity and foreign exchange reserves of its central bank. The remaining AED7.3 billion (US$2 billion) seeks to stimulate the Ethiopian economy and encourage joint investments.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, and Teklewold Atnafu, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) outlining the terms of the funding in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

The signing ceremony was held on the side-lines of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, state visit to Ethiopia. Government officials and senior representatives of the two entities also attended the signing ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi said: “Under the wise leadership of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ADFD contributes to the UAE’s efforts to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development and improving socio-economic conditions.”

He added: “In addition to helping Ethiopia overcome the challenges it faces, the funding will encourage the UAE private sector to enter the Ethiopian market and benefit from the investment opportunities it offers.”

Furthermore, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi noted that the funding will boost the country’s gross national income (GNI) and revitalise key strategic sectors.

For his/her part, Teklewold Atnafu, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, praised ADFD’s role in the UAE’s ongoing efforts to support Ethiopia’s national priorities. He/she added that the Ethiopian government welcomes joint investments with the UAE’s investors across diverse fields.

ADFD’s contribution to the development of Ethiopia dates back to 2012. Since then, the Fund has disbursed AED36.7 million (US$10 million) towards financing the Gedo Fincha-Limlem Peria Road project. The operational 80 km road serves the Oromia Region in the west of the Ethiopian Highlands, facilitating the movement of vehicles and reducing transportation costs.

Since its inception in 1971, ADFD has financed development projects valued at AED80 billion in 88 countries around the world. The Fund focuses on projects that enhance key sectors including renewable energy, transport, infrastructure, agriculture, mining, industry, health care, social services, housing, water and electricity.


WAM/Hassan Bashir

The post Abu Dhabi Fund for Development earmarks USD 3 billion to support sustainable development in Ethiopia appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by WAM at June 16, 2018 11:33 AM

Brazil’s Agricultural Heavyweight Status Undermines Food Supply

A soybean plantation in Tocantins, a state in central Brazil, where this monoculture crop is beginning to cover the best lands, following in the footsteps of the neighbouring state of Mato Grosso, the largest producer and exporter of soy and maize in the country, which "imports" the food it consumes from faraway areas. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

A soybean plantation in Tocantins, a state in central Brazil, where this monoculture crop is beginning to cover the best lands, following in the footsteps of the neighbouring state of Mato Grosso, the largest producer and exporter of soy and maize in the country, which "imports" the food it consumes from faraway areas. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

By Mario Osava
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 16 2018 (IPS)

Brazil is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers and exporters, but its food supply has become seriously deficient due to food insecurity, unsustainability and poor nutrition, according to a number of studies.

A week-long nationwide strike by truck drivers, that began on May 21, revealed the precariousness of the food supply, which practically collapsed in the large Brazilian cities, at least in terms of perishable goods such as vegetables and eggs, said the National Agroecology Alliance (ANA).

Brazil ranks 28th out of 34 countries in the Food Sustainability Index (FSI), developed by the Italian Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition, together with the British magazine The Economist’s Intelligence Unit."Monoculture agriculture, without interaction with the ecosystems, is based heavily on imports of inputs, including oil; it degrades the environment, causes erosion and deforestation, in contrast to agriculture as it was practiced in the past, which valued soil nutrients." -- Paulo Petersen

In Latin America, Colombia (13), Argentina (18) and Mexico (22) are the best rated, according to this index based on 58 indicators that measure three variables: sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges and food waste.

But the United States, the world’s largest producer of agricultural products, also ranks only 21st in the FSI, reflecting the same discrepancy between agriculture and sustainable food, which is also not directly related to the countries’ per capita income levels.

“The Brazilian food system is unsustainable in environmental, social and economic terms,” said Elisabetta Recine, head of the National Council for Food and Nutritional Security (Consea), an advisory body to the president of Brazil, with two-thirds of its 60 members coming from civil society.

“Production has become increasingly concentrated, as well as trade. This means food has to be transported long distances, driving up costs and increasing the consumption of durable, industrialised and less healthy food in the cities,” Recine, who teaches nutrition at the University of Brasilia, told IPS.

This is well illustrated by the four supermarkets of the Kinfuku chain in the region of Alta Floresta, in the northern part of the state of Mato Grosso, located on the southern border of the Amazon rainforest.

They sell food transported weekly by truck from the southern state of Paraná, more than 2,000 km away, owner Pedro Kinfuku told IPS at one of their stores.

Mato Grosso is the country’s largest producer of maize and soy, monoculture crops destined mainly for export or for the animal feed industry, which monopolise local lands, driving out crops for human food.

This “long cycle of production and consumption” is part of the system whose insecurity was highlighted by the truck drivers’ strike over the space of just a few days, said Recine.

A group of children eat lunch at a school in Itaboraí, 45 km from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where thanks to the National School Meals Programme (PNAE) the students in public schools eat vegetables and fresh food from local family farms. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

A group of children eat lunch at a school in Itaboraí, 45 km from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where thanks to the National School Meals Programme (PNAE) the students in public schools eat vegetables and fresh food from local family farms. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

This phenomenon also concentrates wealth, generates little employment and increases social inequality in the country, while environmentally it exacerbates the use of agrochemicals, she said.

Brazil, which had managed to be removed from the United Nations Hunger Map in 2014, has once again seen a rise in malnutrition and infant mortality, in the face of “budget cuts in social programmes, growing unemployment and the general impoverishment of the population,” the nutritionist lamented.

At the same time, “obesity is increasing in all age groups throughout the country, directly related to the poor quality of food and the lack of preventive actions, such as the creation of healthy food environments, with regulations that restrict certain products,” said the president of Consea.

“We have to consider the food system from the soil and the seed to post-consumption, the waste,” she said.

The “structural problem” of the mode of production, the transport, distribution and consumption of food in the world today, particularly in Brazil, is the result of “two disconnects, one between agriculture and nature and the other between production and consumption,” said agronomist Paulo Petersen, vice-president of the Brazilian Association of Agroecology.

Monoculture agriculture, “without interaction with the ecosystems, is based heavily on imports of inputs, including oil; it degrades the environment, causes erosion and deforestation, in contrast to agriculture as it was practiced in the past, which valued soil nutrients,” he said in an interview with IPS.

For Petersen, consumption is increasingly moving away from agricultural production in physical distance, and also because of the processing chain, which is generating waste and “homogenising habits of consumption of ultra-processed foods and excess sugar, sodium, fats and preservatives, leading to obesity and non-communicable diseases.”

A large line of trucks slows down traffic in Anápolis, a logistics hub in central Brazil, at an intersection, where thousands of trucks circulate daily transporting food, industrial products and supplies, in all directions in this enormous country. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

A large line of trucks slows down traffic in Anápolis, a logistics hub in central Brazil, at an intersection, where thousands of trucks circulate daily transporting food, industrial products and supplies, in all directions in this enormous country. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

All of this, he said, has to do with climate change, the loss of biodiversity, growing health problems, the concentration of land ownership and the dominant power of agribusiness and large corporations.

“It is necessary to reorganise the food system, to change its logic, and that is the State’s obligation,” said Petersen, also executive coordinator of the non-governmental organisation Advisory Service for Alternative Agriculture Projects (ASPTA)- Family Agriculture and Agroecology, and member of the executive board of the National Agroecology Alliance (ANA) network.

Brazil launched positive actions in the food sector, such as the government’s School Meals Programme, which establishes a minimum of 30 percent of family farming products in the food offered by public schools to its students, thus improving the nutritional quality of their diet.

In addition, family farming was recognised as the source of most of the food consumed in the country, and a low-interest credit programme was created for this sector.

The problem, according to Petersen, is that this financing sometimes foments the same vices of industrial large-scale agriculture, such as monoculture and the use of agrochemicals.

There is a growing awareness of the negative aspects of agribusiness and the need for agro-ecological practices, as well as initiatives scattered throughout the country, but the dominant agricultural sector exercises its power in a way that blocks change, he said.

The bulk of agricultural credit, technical assistance, land concentrated in the hands of a few large landowners, and influence on state power all favour large-scale farmers, who also have the largest parliamentary caucus to pass “their” laws, Petersen said.

A vegetable garden in Santa Maria de Jetibá, of the 220-member Cooperative of Family Farmers of the Serrana Region, the largest supplier of vegetables and fruit to schools in the municipality of Vitoria, in the southeast of Brazil. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

A vegetable garden in Santa Maria de Jetibá, of the 220-member Cooperative of Family Farmers of the Serrana Region, the largest supplier of vegetables and fruit to schools in the municipality of Vitoria, in the southeast of Brazil. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

In Brazil, there are 4.4 million family farms, which make up 84 percent of rural establishments and produce more than half of the food, according to official figures.

But they have little influence in the government in the face of the power of a few dozen large producers.

Food banks are also an example of good, albeit limited, actions to reduce waste and the risks of malnutrition in the most vulnerable segments of the population.

They emerged from isolated initiatives in the 1990s and were adopted as a government programme in 2016, with the creation of the Brazilian Network of Food Banks, under the coordination of the Ministry of Social Development.

In 1994, the Social Trade Service (SESC), made up of companies in the sector, also began to create food banks in its own network, which it named Mesa Brasil (Brazil Board). By the end of 2017, it had 90 units in operation in 547 cities.

That year, the network served 1.46 million people per day and distributed 40,575 tons of food.

It is the largest network of such centres in the country, but it has proven insufficient in a country of 208 million people and 5,570 cities.

Mesa Brasil makes use of food that would no longer be sold by stores, because of commercial regulations, but which is in perfect condition, and delivers it to social institutions.

“It also promotes educational actions for workers and volunteers from social organisations and collaborators from donor companies,” on food and nutritional security, according to Ana Cristina Barros, SESC’s manager of aid at the national level.

“One of our biggest difficulties is the legal obstacles that prevent food companies from making donations, which are increasingly interested in doing so,” she told IPS.

The post Brazil’s Agricultural Heavyweight Status Undermines Food Supply appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Mario Osava at June 16, 2018 12:45 AM

June 15, 2018


TFN #13: Rodman-geddon

This week on The Fuckin News, we look at the geopolitical shitshow revolving around the Orange One’s twitter feed, leaving a trail of confusion from the G7 Summit in Quebec to the heavily hyped Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.

by Stimulator at June 15, 2018 09:05 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Now is Not the Time to Give up on the People of DRC

Displaced women at the Simba Mosala Site in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Badylon Kawanda Bakiman/IPS

Displaced women at the Simba Mosala Site in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Badylon Kawanda Bakiman/IPS

By Jean-Philippe Marcoux
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jun 15 2018 (IPS)

After more than 20 years of brutal conflict, few might believe that things could get worse in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). And yet they most dishearteningly are.

In the last year, we have witnessed a continuous escalation of violence that has spread to half of the country, endangering millions. Some 2 million children suffer from acute hunger, and the DRC is home to the largest number of displaced people in Africa.

Political instability has sparked a flare-up of militia violence that has pockmarked eastern and central Congo, forcing tens of thousands to flee in recent months and stirring fears the African nation could plunge back into civil war. Now is the time for the international community to recognize the threat and to finally address the root causes of DRC’s seemingly endless cycle of conflict.

Yet many donors are forced to pick and choose which disasters to respond to in a world grappling with an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises. Budget constraints make it is easy to justify diverting funds to meet emergency needs.

However, the value of long-term development projects, which too often get short-shrift in the face of ongoing crisis, cannot be underestimated.

We know that humanitarian responses mostly serve to alleviate the symptoms of larger issues and are not solutions themselves. So, my organisation, Mercy Corps, and other agencies are working to address what drives conflict in the DRC: the grievances stemming from the lack of access to services and economic opportunities in a country where two-thirds of the population is under the age of 25.

As insecurity and violence in DRC has forced people out of the traditional rural and farming areas and into towns and cities where they feel safer, urban services are struggling to keep up with the new demand.

Currently, three-quarters of the population lack access to safe drinking water. Without access to clean water, people are more susceptible to disease, and women and girls are disproportionately impacted as they often have to take responsibility for the collection of water. As Justine, one of the women we work with says: “Water is life. So there is nothing we can do without water.”

This is why Mercy Corps is undertaking one of our largest-ever infrastructure programmes to provide safe drinking water to approximately 1 million people in the cities of Goma and Bukavu.

The IMAGINE programme, delivered with support from the U.K. government, involves nine local organisations, six health zones, five districts, two cities, two provincial water ministries and the public water utility.

All of these different parts form an integrated water governance initiative working in partnership to ensure that neighbourhoods have access to safe, clean water, as well as the means to provide feedback to improve water-delivery service. IMAGINE is proof that development gains can be made, even while chaos reigns in other parts of the country.

To be sure, Mercy Corps and other aid groups must and do respond to the most pressing needs that arise from violence in the DRC. Since the beginning of 2018, we have doubled our humanitarian response and set up the Kivu Crisis Response for newly displaced Congolese.

This programme allows us to coordinate with other organisations to respond in a smarter more rapid way to the most urgent needs of displaced people, providing lifesaving assistance in a way that maintains their dignity.

Ultimately, the Congolese people hold the power to decide their own futures. This includes choosing their own leaders through elections that are scheduled for this year. Development programmes like IMAGINE are tools that the Congolese people can use to build safer and healthier futures for themselves and future generations. Maintaining, and where possible, increasing development programming is central to this effort.

Home of to some of Africa’s most majestic national parks, this is a nation whose almost boundless natural beauty and potential eludes most newspaper headlines. Despair often eclipses the energy and determination of its inhabitants after so many years of war. But there are seedlings of hope. Now is not the time to give up on the people of DRC.

The post Now is Not the Time to Give up on the People of DRC appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Jean-Philippe Marcoux is Mercy Corps Country Director, Democratic Republic of Congo

The post Now is Not the Time to Give up on the People of DRC appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Jean-Philippe Marcoux at June 15, 2018 02:33 PM

Глоток воздуха: рассказ пензенского антифашиста о пытках пластиковым пакетом

23 мая на российско-украинской границе подругу обвиняемых по делу о террористическом сообществе «Сеть» Викторию Фролову. Ее вынудили дать показания на своих пензенских знакомых. Незадолго до этого ее молодой человек Алексей Полтавец рассказал, что в марте 2017 года его задержали, били и пытали сотрудники пензенской ФСБ.

June 15, 2018 02:11 PM

Europe, Sharing the Love?

Mediterranean waters in Spain. Credit: Photo by David Aler on Unsplash

By Maged Srour
ROME, Jun 15 2018 (IPS)

Even if arrivals of migrants into Italy by sea have decreased between 2017 and 2018 so far, recent events in the Mediterranean rim have strongly drawn attention to the migration issue and a fierce debate is now underway among European countries.

On June 10, Italy’s new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, barred the ship Aquarius, jointly operated by the NGOs‘SOS Mediterranée’ and ‘Doctors Beyond Borders’ (MSF), from docking at Italian ports. There were 629 migrants on the ship. Among them where 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and seven pregnant women.

The Italian coastguard coordinated the rescue operation but after moving the migrants to the Aquarius, the new Italian government denied access to Italian harbours. Malta, similarly when asked by Italy to accept the boat and take care of the relief, denied responsibility.

In recent years Italy has been at the forefront of a constant wave of migration from North Africa and has provided a huge amount of support by allowing the vessels into Italian ports. Malta also, with its relatively small population has accepted a large number of migrants despite its fewer than 450 000 inhabitants and small land size.

While public opinion, activists, policymakers, local officials and news agencies have criticised the latest decision by the Italian Government, the Government has also given to understand that it is working towards a solution with other European governments, given the very real humanitarian concerns involved in migration to its shores and those of other Mediterranean countries.

Similarly several local officials in Italy have condemned the hardline stance, such as the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando and the Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, the latter stating that “…the port of Naples is ready to welcome” the migrants. “We are humans, with a great heart. Naples is ready, without money, to save human lives” he tweeted on June 10.

A breakthrough in the situation occurred only when Spain’s newly elected Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, decided to welcome the 629 migrants after the mayors of Valencia and Barcelona both offered to take the boat in at their ports. “It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe port to these people” Sánchez’s office said.

As of 15 June, 792 migrants have either died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean, says the UN Migration Agency (IOM). This number represents a decrease compared to the last three years, as deaths in the same period, were 1,836 in 2017, 2,899 in 2016 and 1,806 in 2015.

However, this situation is still represents a shameful paradox in our century. In 2017, migrants dead or missing while crossing the Mediterranean waters were 3,116 and the EU initiatives and allocations of funds have not been able to avoid these tragedies. In 2018 alone, of the 52,389 people who attempted to cross the Mediterraneam rim, 792 died, making the death rate 1.5%. The deadliest route in 2018 is – as of June 15 – the central route (503 deaths), as opposed to going by the western route (244) or the east (45).



The timing of the Aquarius’ events may not be completely coincidental, as there is an EU meeting at the end of June that will consider changing the rule that asylum must be claimed in the country of first entry.

That is the rule that has put Italy on the frontline of Europe’s migration crisis. If considered in this light, the latest Italian decision, could be viewed as a bid for a domestic political win, as dissatisfaction of Italian public opinion towards migration flows has been steadily increasing in recent years. It remains to be seen what will be the political outome at the EU level.

While France’s government deeply criticized Italy’s decision to deny Aquarius’ docking, other countries, such as Hungary, praised Rome’s decision. Viktor Orban, the anti-migration prime minister said that Salvini’s decision is a “great moment which may truly bring changes in Europe’s migration policies.”

After being abandoned for four days, those migrants feared they were going back to Libya, a nightmare that obviously any of them wanted to consider. On November 2017, a CNN report on slave auctions in Libya had prompted international outrage over a slave market operating in the country.

Ben Fishman, an analyst from The Washington Institute, has highlighted what are the root causes of the growth of this general abuse of African migrants in Libya. “First” he wrote in a policy paper right after the CNN report was published, “many traffickers exploit migrants’ desperation to reach Europe, often trapping them in Libya. These traffickers enjoy free rein in Libya exploiting the country’s lawlessness in the same manner that the Islamic State did in 2015-2016 when it took control of Sirte.

Smugglers and gangs overlap with the militia landscape, making it extremely difficult to curtail the activities of one group without impacting the overall profit stream”. Fishman also added that “the main push factors that compel migrants to risk these treacherous journeys – namely, poverty, and lack of opportunities […] have not been adequately addressed”. In 2015 the EU had established a 3.2 billion euros fund to facilitate migration management at the point of origin in Africa but this EU-led initiative clearly needs to be greatly expanded.

Many analysts and activists urge the EU to address the migration crisis in an adequate and sustainable manner. Migration flows will continue, especially if policy responses remain as weak as they are at the moment. The EU needs to implement a comprehensive framework that deals both with the situation in Libya and with the points of origins in Africa, as well as with the welcoming policies implemented by the receiving countries in Europe.

The post Europe, Sharing the Love? appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Maged Srour at June 15, 2018 12:42 PM

UAE drives discussion at annual UN Conference on rights of People of Determination

NEW YORK, Jun 15 2018 (WAM)

The UAE delegation, headed by Abdullah Lootah, Director-General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authorities, has participated in the 11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The UAE’s engagements focused on the empowerment of all people of determination in national development, and technologies, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) as mediums of inclusion.

During his statement before the conference, Lootah highlighted the UAE’s national strategy as a roadmap to include, enable, and empower people of determination in all spheres of life. He underscored that the UAE strives to build a society that is fully accessible to, and inclusive of people of determination, by prioritising the input of people of determination in policy design and implementation and promoting opportunities through education and employment, especially for women and girls.

“Since the launch of the National Strategy to Empower People with Disabilities, a dedicated advisory board and focal points in every service-oriented entity, coupled with targeted programming and policies, have worked to ensure that decisions made across the government prioritise the needs and rights of persons with disabilities and their families across the UAE,” said Lootah.

In line with the nation’s growing policy to utilise advanced technology including AI, the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN convened a discussion with the Permanent Missions of Canada, Denmark, and Singapore, on transforming the inclusion of people of determination using AI and other mediums. This event was part of a longstanding partnership with World Enabled and the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments. Other partners included with UN Habitat, Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, Microsoft, IBM, CBM, and Institute on Disability and Public Policy. Panelists explored the ways in which AI can be utilized to level the playing field for people of determination, and discussed the impact of this technology from various perspectives, including that of industry experts, inclusion advocates, and policy-makers.

Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, delivered the opening remarks at the event, highlighting the concrete measures the UAE has undertaken towards greater disability inclusion. She reminded the audience that Abu Dhabi will be hosting the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, for the first time in the region, and the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, which is lauded as having the highest accessibility and inclusions standards.

In a video message to the audience at the event, Omar Al Olama said, “Our whole world is becoming smarter because of AI, and we must not forget that people with disabilities are a core component of this advancement. We believe that through AI we can help make their lives much better. We also believe that AI should a be a medium for inclusion – involving every citizen in society to ensure that prosperity cuts across industries, demographics, sects, and ethnicities.”

The UAE delegation to the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD also included Reem Al Fahim, Chief Executive Officer of SEDRA Foundation, Ghubaisha Al Ameri, Director of the Al Waqn Centre for Care and Rehabilitation, Sheikha Chaica Sultan Al Qasimi, Youth Delegate and Member of the SEDRA Foundation, and Yasmin Abdulrahman, Adviser at the SEDRA Foundation.

WAM/Esraa Ismail

The post UAE drives discussion at annual UN Conference on rights of People of Determination appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by WAM at June 15, 2018 08:23 AM


India: Farmers in Karnataka distribute mangoes for free to protest against steep fall in prices

This report originally appeared in The Hindu on 15 June

People visiting the Deputy Commissioner’s office and other government offices as well as courts at the DC Office complex in Kolar have a gift for them. They are getting mangoes of different varieties free of cost.

The district unit of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) led the free distribution on Thursday to register its protest against steep fall in prices of mango.

The protesters also presented a bunch of mangoes to Deputy Commissioner G. Sathyavathy and Additional Deputy Commissioner K. Vidyakumari who came to receive the memorandum.

Mango cultivators are facing problem due to fall in the prices and the government should come to their rescue, KRRS leaders said.

Though farmers did not get good prices, mangoes are being sold in retails markets at higher prices, with the middlemen reaping the benefits, KRRS state vice-president K. Narayana Gowda said.

The government has failed to establish mango processing units which would have helped farmers to fetch better prices, he added.

“Assurances in connection with starting of mango processing units remained only on paper”, KRRS women’s wing convener A. Nalini said.

The outfit also condemned lack of facilities at the APMC yard in Srinivasapur where a large quantity of mango is being brought for sale.

The post India: Farmers in Karnataka distribute mangoes for free to protest against steep fall in prices appeared first on Via Campesina English.

by abhilash at June 15, 2018 06:33 AM

Harvest of Hope | The struggles of tenant farmers in Okara Military Farms, Pakistan

This article originally appeared on Newsline in its May Issue

When the warm sun, that brings

Seed-time and harvest, has
returned again…

— Longfellow

As the farmers in Punjab harvested a bumper crop of wheat, on the Okara Military Farms this April, there was palpable tension in the air. Several women in each village set up camp and kept vigil on the fields, lest the men in uniform appear and demand their batai (share). For the last 19 years, the women have fought and resisted them relentlessly, along with their men, to claim the land their forefathers have tilled for a hundred years, in the hope that some day the ownership would be transferred to them as promised by three successive heads of state.

The year 2018 has brought sorrow and added to the anxieties of the farmers. Their strongest ally, Asma Jahangir, who fought with them in the courts, is no more. Meanwhile, the repression of the present incumbents has intensified. In 2023, the status of the lease of the land will change in favour of the farmers. According to the rules, if an agricultural land is tilled by the occupancy tenant for 25 years, he or she has the right to claim its ownership, Aqila Naz, finance secretary Anjuman-e-Mazarain Punjab (AMP) and president Peasant Women’s Society Pakistan, tells Newsline.

On February 26, Yunus Iqbal, leader of the movement and five others were picked up by the agencies, and made to sign the contract for a cash rent system that the AMP had been resisting since 2000. This is the second time the peasants have been forced to sign the agreement under duress. In 2004, the forces had invaded the villages and got signatures from each and every tenant. It was Asma Jahangir who fought their case.

On March 19, when the farmers gathered to pay homage to her on the fortieth day of her death, the police raided the village and disrupted the gathering, injuring several participants. On April 4, the Supreme Court rejected the plea to transfer Mehar Abdul Sattar, general secretary of the AMP, under trial since April 2016, from Sahiwal’s high security prison – Pakistan’s Guantanamo Bay – to the district jail.

The month of April did not bring any good tidings for the tenants. As they were contemplating how to commemorate the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles on April 17, their leader, Yunus Iqbal, chairman AMP, was once again picked up by the agencies on April 13, along with his colleagues. When a petition was filed in court regarding his disappearance he was brought to the Okara Police Camp, an FIR was registered against him on fake charges and he was put behind bars.

As compared to the thousands of acres of land owned by the rich and the powerful of the country, the farmers are fighting for a mere 17,013 acres of land in Okara, and three democratic governments have colluded with the powers-that-be to prevent this from happening. It is seldom that we, the dwellers of the concrete maze called cities, turn our gaze towards the rural backwaters of Punjab or Sindh or Balochistan or KP, to see the injustices that are being perpetrated there.

According to the 2017 census, the rural population forms 60.3 per cent of the total population. Agriculture, despite its falling share in the GDP (19.5 per cent), remains the largest sector in terms of employment: 42.3 per cent of the country’s workforce toils in the fields, grows food for all of us, and yet it is mired in grinding poverty, landlessness and subjugation, indicating a deep malaise in agrarian economic and social structures.

According to the last Labour Force Survey undertaken in 2014-2015, agricultural workers earned Rs 7,804 a month, while the national average monthly wage stood at Rs 14,971. With the average family size at 6.31 per cent and 1.89 earning members per family in Pakistan (the Household Integrated Economic Survey 2015-2016), the monthly income of a rural household translates into Rs 77 (less than a dollar) per person per day. Low income, combined with poor access to basic facilities in health and sanitation, education and physical infrastructure, have trapped the rural population in a cycle of poverty.

Land grab and violations of human rights of peasants are registering a rise the world over due to unrestrained capital accumulation and corporate greed. But alongside, so is the struggle of the peasants for their rights.

The international movement, La Via Campesina, with 182 member organisations in 81 countries, is globalising hope and solidarity among millions of peasants, farmers, landless people and agricultural workers. Being an affiliate of the Kisaan Rabita Committee Pakistan, the AMP is connected with La Via Campesina. In Pakistan, the Okara Military Farms tenants’ struggle is actively supported by civil society, human rights defenders, the national human rights institutions, trade unions and workers’ groups – and millions of silent supporters.

Whether this support will translate into ownership of the Okara farms for the peasants, remains to be seen.

The post Harvest of Hope | The struggles of tenant farmers in Okara Military Farms, Pakistan appeared first on Via Campesina English.

by abhilash at June 15, 2018 05:38 AM

June 14, 2018

Hambach Forest Occupation

UPIII First letters arrive after 3 months

Request: UPIII presently requesting material on botany, organic gardening and permaculture. This is 3 months now that our comrade UPIII has been locked up and only now after 3 months did 6 of her letters arrive together after being witheld altogether for over 2 months. (the letters will be published daily for next 6 months) Her mail however continues to be severely delayed and intentionally disrupted by upon reception at… more…

by hambachforest at June 14, 2018 09:03 PM

InterPressService (global south)

IOM Urges Restraint, Calls for Protection of Migrants in Hodeidah Operation

By International Organization for Migration
Sana’a, Jun 14 2018 (IOM)

The military offensive on Yemen’s busy port city of Hodeidah, which began yesterday (13/06), is putting the lives of 600,000 people at risk. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, warns of the drastic impacts that the military operation is having on migrants and humanitarian access to all affected communities. With its UN and other partners, IOM urges restraint and calls for respect of International Humanitarian Law, especially the protection of civilians, including migrants.

“Three years of ceaseless conflict have devastated Yemen and now this military operation is restricting humanitarian operations, causing further loss of life, internal displacement and suffering for the Yemeni people,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. “We are concerned about the migrants caught up in the deadly fighting either living in or attempting to transit through the country,” he added.

“Three years of ceaseless conflict have devastated Yemen and now this military operation is restricting humanitarian operations, causing further loss of life, internal displacement and suffering for the Yemeni people,”
Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies

To evacuate the stranded or displaced families that want to leave areas of active conflict, IOM is coordinating with transportation service providers to potentially move them to safety.

In collaboration with National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Recovery (NAMCHA) and civil society, IOM has identified 12,766 internally displaced households, over 89,000 individuals, in Hodeidah as of 13 June 2018, with Al-Khawkhah (3,732 households), Al-Garrahi (2,990 households) and Al-Hali (1,107 households) districts hosting the largest amounts of displaced people in the Governorate. IOM has positioned 1,000 emergency shelter materials and other essential aid items in Bait-Al-Faqih district, where 700 households had been displaced to by 13 June. The number of people displaced to this district is also expected to increase in the coming days. Displacement locations without sufficient drinking water are being identified and IOM will begin water trucking to these areas shortly. Additional water sanitation and hygiene gaps are being assessed.

Despite the fighting, IOM provides health care personnel to health care facilities in Hodeidah: a physician, two nurses and a midwife, as well as medical supplies and ambulances. The team rotates between three different facilities. IOM also plans to deploy two mobile medical teams, each roving in an ambulance and staffed with one doctor and three nurses, to Hodeidah, catering to the emergency healthcare needs of affected populations. Additional medical support is being planned in consultation with the Health Cluster.

Ahead of the military operation, IOM stockpiled core relief items, including food baskets, fuel and water to respond to expected needs on the ground. Of the 500 food baskets already procured, some 200 baskets have been distributed to 200 families in collaboration with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and NAMCHA. IOM is urgently procuring an additional 1,500 baskets. Each food basket is expected to support a family for two weeks.

IOM procures the majority of its aid items locally, but does use the city’s port to help migrants, who become stranded in the country, return home through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme. So far in 2018, IOM assisted the voluntary return of over 350 migrants through Hodeidah Port. Due to the escalating fighting, the Organization was forced to postpone until further notice a return movement of over 200 Ethiopian migrants planned for earlier today (14/06). IOM’s Migrant Response Point in Hodeidah, which provides comprehensive support to vulnerable migrants, remains operational with an extremely reduced staff.

“Many migrants are stranded in or near the frontlines. Our Migrant Response Point in Hodeidah is currently running with skeletal staff, impacting how much we can help conflict affected migrants. And with our voluntary humanitarian return operations on hold for moment, the situations for migrants in Hodeidah is bleak,” said Abdiker.

Nearly 60 IOM national staff are present in Hodeidah, with four performing critical programme functions and the rest currently on standby to join active duty, working from home for their own protection. In the coming days, IOM hopes to deploy an international presence to Hodeidah to support national staff in responding to the humanitarian needs of displaced and conflict-affected Yemenis and migrants.

“The safety of our staff based in Hodeidah is a massive concern and we are putting whatever measures we can in place to protect them but they are in the middle of a warzone. Our national colleagues come from the communities affected by the ongoing offensive and put their lives on the line every day to save those of others’,” said Abdiker.

“The humanitarian communities’ top priority is to save lives and provide assistance and protection to those affected by the conflict. This is extremely hindered when security is such a concern in an area that humanitarians cannot access to work,” Abdiker concluded.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int

The post IOM Urges Restraint, Calls for Protection of Migrants in Hodeidah Operation appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by International Organization for Migration at June 14, 2018 06:20 PM

«Я сдался практически сразу»: как ФСБ под пытками выбивает признания у антифашистов

14 и 15 июня пензенский суд продлит срок ареста нескольких молодых людей, задержанных по так называемому делу «Сети», или «пензенскому делу». Девять человек левых убеждений из Пензы и Санкт-Петербурга обвиняют в том, что они создали «террористическое сообщество», которое собиралось провести на территории России теракты, приуроченные к выборам президента и чемпионату мира по футболу, — и тем самым дестабилизировать обстановку в стране. Строится дело прежде всего на признательных показаниях обвиняемых; при этом многие из них рассказывали, как сотрудники ФСБ пытали их, выбивая эти показания.

June 14, 2018 04:36 PM

You Are More Powerful than You Think!

Credit: UNCCD

By Monique Barbut
BONN, Jun 14 2018 (IPS)

Are you overwhelmed by the depressing news coming at you daily? Conflict, forced migrants, famine, floods, hurricanes, extinction of species, climate change, threats of war … a seemingly endless list. It might surprise you, but you can really make a difference on many of these issues.

Just like every raindrop counts towards a river and every vote counts in an election, so does every choice you make in what you consume. With every produce you consume, you strengthen the river of sustainability or of unsustainability. It is either a vote in favor of policies that spread social goods like peace and poverty eradication or social bads like – conflict or grinding poverty.

We look up to governments a lot, forgetting that governments set up policies to encourage us to make specific choices. That’s how powerful our lifestyles choices are.

Imagine, what would happen if the world’s over 7 billion consumers committed, every year, to just one lifestyle change that will support the provision of goods from sustainably managed land.

Every year, we make New Year resolutions about change. Why not include as one of those resolutions, a changeof habit leading that will lead to a smart sustainable consumer lifestyle? Without any government intervention, you can make choices that will help to end deforestation, soil erosion and pollution or reduce the effects of drought or sand and dust storms.

Monique Barbut

However, to make the right lifestyle change, each of us must first find out where the goods we consume are cultivated and processed. For instance, if they are linked to conflict in regions with rapidly degrading land or forests or polluted water or soils, then chose an alternative that is produced sustainably. It is a small, but achievable change to make every year.

Every country and product has a land footprint. What we eat. What we wear. What we drink. The manufacturer or supplier of the products we consume. The brands related to these suppliers that we will support. We prioritize buying from the local small farm holders to reduce our global land footprint. Consumers have plenty of options.

But a vital missing link is the informed consumer.

Through mobile phone apps**, it is getting easier and easier to track where the goods we consume come from. It is also getting easier to find alternative suppliers of our choice, as the private sector embraces the idea of ethical business. The information you need is literally in the – mobile phone in the – palm of our hand.

But you must believe in your own power to change the world. The global effect on the market may surprise you.

We will reward the food producers, natural resource managers and land planners struggling against all odds to keep the land healthy and productive. This is cheapest way to help every family and community in the world to thrive, and avoid the damage and loss of life that comes from environmental degradation and disasters.

Make 17 June, the celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, your date with nature. It’s the mid-point of the year and a good moment to review the progress you are making towards your New Year resolution of a sustainable lifestyle.

In 2030, when the international community evaluates its achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, you can point to positive changes that you have contributed in favor of present and future generations.

You are more powerful than you think. Take your power back and put it into action.

Monique Barbut is Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The post You Are More Powerful than You Think! appeared first on Inter Press Service.


This article is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17.

The post You Are More Powerful than You Think! appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Monique Barbut at June 14, 2018 03:25 PM

Is there Gender Parity & Reverse Sexual Harassment at UN?

By Thalif Deen

Faced with growing allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in the UN system, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last year announced a “zero-tolerance” policy to fight harassment in the world body.

But UN Women, which was created in July 2010 and dedicated to gender empowerment, has moved one step further– and appointed an Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, perhaps one of the few UN bodies to do so.

Dr. Purna Sen, UN Women

Holding that new position is Dr. Purna Sen, Director of Policy at UN Women, who under the newly-created role, will build on the current momentum “to find lasting solutions to stop, prevent and respond to sexual harassment both, within and outside the UN.”

Asked whether there have been any charges of sexual abuse or sexual harassment at UN Women, she told IPS that in 2015, one case of sexual harassment was reported: the allegations, which involved a contractor for UN Women, were substantiated, and the contract was immediately terminated.

In 2016, she said, two cases of allegations of sexual harassment were reported. None of the allegations were substantiated.

In 2017, there was one case of allegations of sexual misconduct against one UN Women staff member. The case is still under investigation.

As part of her mandate, Dr Sen will be calling upon and supporting states, government administrations and the private sector to ensure actions are taken to respond to women’s experiences of sexual harassment.

She begins her assignment with two calls: firstly, asking women to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault and secondly, asking for examples of good practices, policies and laws dealing with harassment.

The email address follows: end.sexualharassment@unwomen.org

Announcing Dr Sen’s appointment, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director PhumzileMlambo-Ngcuka said: “UN Women was established to protect and promote women’s rights. We have a unique role to play in driving action towards accountability.”

“This means zero tolerance for violence and harassment, and actions to ensure that victims are supported. We currently see practices and cultural norms that enable harassment and penalize victims. This has to change.

”In her new role and with her directly relevant background, Purna will help address the deep-rooted patterns of inequality and abuse of women”, she declared.

In an interview with IPS, Dr Sen also responded to charges of “reverse sexual harassments” and the status of gender parity in the UN system.

Excerpts from the interview:

IPS: What is your response to charges of sexual harassment in reverse – where some high ranking UN officials point out cases where “women staffers throw themselves on their bosses to advance their careers?.”

Dr Sen: “Let’s decipher that statement: is it claimed that women are offering sex for jobs or promotion? If so, surely there are some clear responses.

Any muddying of professionalism, competency and recruitment with matters of sexual behaviour is inappropriate and not for defending. That holds whether it is powerful, high ranking officials (mostly men) or junior staff (more likely to be women, young people, national staff etc). Sexual activities in exchange for career advancement is of course unacceptable.

This possibility or practice must not be treated either as a distraction from the seriousness or ubiquity of gendered, structured sex discrimination that is manifest in sexual harassment, abuse and assault or riposte to accusations.

Those men in high ranking positions making these allegations have no doubt had the opportunity to use their positions to raise this issue over their careers. Has this been done? Or are these issues being raised now when women are calling for accountability for those who abuse?

Treating sexual harassment as isolated incidents, or as incomprehensible acts of individuals (as the formulation in the question suggests) is problematic. It leads to obfuscation or denial of the structural and systemic basis of sexual harassment and assault: these are expressions of patterns of unequal power structures where powerful men (predominantly) hold authority and control over junior staff (more likely to be women, local staff.) such that they can influence their careers or experiences at work.

Denial, distraction and excusing of sexual harassment and assault illustrate cultures where the seriousness and harm of harassment is not recognised or prioritized”.

IPS: A General Assembly resolution going back to the 1970s — and reaffirmed later– called for 50:50 gender parity amongst UN staffers, particularly in decision-making posts. How is UN women conforming to this resolution? What is the breakdown of your staff in numbers between men and women?

Dr Sen: UN Women is supporting the SG’s gender parity efforts through its unique mandate to lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality, as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress.

UN Women is also a source of substantive guidance on gender parity and related issues for the UN system, and serves as a repository for best practices, provides guidance and tools, and analyses overall UN system trends to identify obstacles to and key drivers of change in advancing towards equal representation.

Additionally, UN Women supports interagency knowledge-sharing and collaboration, as well as capacity building of gender expertise, through system-wide gender networks, including the Gender Focal Points, IANWGE and the UN-SWAP network

Another important step UN Women is taking is the upcoming development of the Guidelines on Enabling Environment, containing system-wide recommendations and practical measures aimed at creating a work environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and abuse of authority, as well as supports women in their careers through family-friendly policies, work-life balance and professional development programmes.

As of today our overall workforce breakdown is 71% female; 29% male.

IPS: What is your response to the argument that jobs in the UN system should go to the most qualified and the most competent – rather than based on gender equality?

Dr Sen: “The problem with this question is that it assumes a contradiction between being ‘the most qualified and the most competent’ on the one hand, and the pursuit of gender equality, on the other. That is a false premise. It assumes that the goal of gender equality jettisons competency and good qualification.

What lies behind this assumption is the belief that women (for it is in general the appointment of greater numbers of women that makes up actions towards gender equality in staffing or representatives’ profiles) cannot be the best qualified or the most competent.

Therein lies a fully gendered belief in the essential incompetence of women and, in contrast, the innate competence of men. I reject that assumption and there are many examples that support such rejection.

In a nutshell, women can be and are both competent and qualified, including the most competent and qualified, in any sector. More pertinent is the question why is it that competent and qualified women are not being appointed?

The same gendered assumption that pre-supposes that women can be neither, is what stops their true talents, skills and competencies being recognized and rewarded. Cultures of gender inequality are insidious and have long passed their expiry date.

The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@ips.org

The post Is there Gender Parity & Reverse Sexual Harassment at UN? appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Thalif Deen at June 14, 2018 12:52 PM

В Иркутске задержали двух анархистов, их обвиняют в проведении несогласованного митинга

В Иркутске задержали двух анархистов Софью Баженову и Игоря Мартыненко. Об этом ОВД-Инфо рассказала сама Баженова. Активистов задержали на автовокзале, когда они приехали после отдыха. Полицейские заявили, что Баженова и Мартыненко уклоняются от составления протоколов за проведение несогласованного митинга 1 мая, и попросили молодых людей пройти с ними. Активисты отказались, и сотрудники полиции силой затащили их в машину.

После задержанных доставили в отдел полиции № 5.

June 14, 2018 09:41 AM

Farmers from Central America and Brazil Join Forces to Live with Drought

After a day working on the land where he grows corn and beans, Víctor de León serves himself freshly purified water, one of the benefits of the climate change adaptation project in the Central American Dry Corridor region, La Colmena village, in the municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera, in the western department of Santa Ana, El Salvador. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

After a day working on the land where he grows corn and beans, Víctor de León serves himself freshly purified water, one of the benefits of the climate change adaptation project in the Central American Dry Corridor region, La Colmena village, in the municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera, in the western department of Santa Ana, El Salvador. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

By Edgardo Ayala
CANDELARIA DE LA FRONTERA, El Salvador, Jun 14 2018 (IPS)

Having a seven-litre container with a filter on the dining room table that purifies the collected rainwater, and opening a small valve to fill a cup and quench thirst, is almost revolutionry for Salvadoran peasant farmer Víctor de León.

As if that weren’t enough, having a pond dug in the ground, a reservoir of rainwater collected to ensure that livestock survive periods of drought, is also unprecedented in La Colmena, a village in the rural municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera, in the western department of Santa Ana.

“All our lives we’ve been going to rivers or springs to get water, and now it’s a great thing to have it always within reach,” De León, 63, told IPS while carrying forage to one of his calves.

De León grows staple grains and produces milk with a herd of 13 cows.

This region of El Salvador, located in the so-called Dry Corridor of Central America, has suffered for years the effects of extreme weather: droughts and excessive rainfall that have ruined several times the maize and bean crops, the country’s two main agricultural products and local staple foods.

There has also been a shortage of drinking water for people and livestock.

But now the 13 families of La Colmena and others in the municipality of Metapán, also in Santa Ana, are adapting to climate change.

They have learned about sustainable water and soil management through a project that has combined the efforts of international aid, the government, the municipalities involved and local communities.

The 7.9 million dollar project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), with the support of several ministries and municipal governments.

Sharing experiences

The work in the local communities, which began in September 2014, is already producing positive results, which led to the May visit by a group of 13 Brazilian farmers, six of them women, who also live in a water-scarce region.

The objective was to exchange experiences and learn how the Salvadorans have dealt with drought and climatic effects on crops.

“It was very interesting to learn about what they are doing there, how they are coping with the water shortage, and we told them what we are doing here,” Pedro Ramos, a 36-year-old farmer from El Salvador, told IPS.

Ofelia Chávez shows some of the chicks given to the families of the village of La Colmena, in the municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera, Santa Ana department, El Salvador, to promote poultry farming in this rural village. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Ofelia Chávez shows some of the chicks given to the families of the village of La Colmena, in the municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera, Santa Ana department, El Salvador, to promote poultry farming in this rural village. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

The visit was organised by the Networking in Brazil’s Semi-Arid Region (ASA), a network of 3,000 farmers and social organisations of this ecoregion of Northeast Brazil, the country’s driest region. Now, six Salvadoran peasants will travel to learn about their experience between Jun. 26-30.

“The Brazilians told us that there was a year when total rains amounted to only what the families in the area consume in a day, practically nothing,” Ramos continued.

The Brazilian delegation learned about the project that FAO is carrying out in the area and visited similar initiatives in the municipality of Chiquimula, in the department of the same name, in the east of neighbouring Guatemala.

“These Brazilian farmers have a lot of experience in this field, they are very organised, their motto is not to fight drought but to learn to live with it,” said Vera Boerger, a land and water officer of FAO’s Subregional Office for Mesoamerica.

Brazilians, she added in an interview with IPS from Panama City, have it harder than Central Americans: in the Dry Corridor it rains between 600 and 1,000 mm a year, while in Brazil’s semi-arid Northeast it only rains between 300 and 600 mm, “when it feels like raining.”

Life in La Colmena is precarious, without access to electricity and piped water, among other challenges.

According to official figures, El Salvador’s 95.5 percent of the urban population had piped water in 2017 compared to 76.5 percent in rural areas. Poverty in the cities stands at 33 percent, while in the countryside the poverty rate is 53.3 percent.

In La Colmena, Brazilian farmers were able to see up close the two reservoirs built in the village to collect rainwater.

They are rectangular ponds dug into the ground, 2.5 m deep, 20 m long and 14 m wide, covered by a polyethylene membrane that prevents filtration and retains the water. Their capacity is 500,000 litres.

They have started to fill up, IPS noted, as the rainy season, from May to October, has just begun. The water will be mainly used for cattle and family gardens.

(L to R) Pedro Ramos, Víctor de León, Ofelia Chávez and Daniel Santos, in front of one of the two rainwater reservoirs built in their village, La Colmena, in the Salvadoran municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera. The pond is part of the benefits of a climate change adaptation project implemented by FAO. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

(L to R) Pedro Ramos, Víctor de León, Ofelia Chávez and Daniel Santos, in front of one of the two rainwater reservoirs built in their village, La Colmena, in the Salvadoran municipality of Candelaria de la Frontera. The pond is part of the benefits of a climate change adaptation project implemented by FAO. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Ofelia Chávez, 63, raises livestock on her 11.5 hectares of land. With 19 cows and calves, she is one of those who has benefited the most from the reservoir built on her property, although the water is shared with the community.

“I used to go down to the river with my cattle, and it was exhausting, and I got worried in the summer when the water was scarce,” she told IPS, next to the other pond on the De León farm, along with several enthusiastic neighbours who watched the level of water rise every day as it rained.

“Experts tell us that we can even raise tilapia here,” Ramos said, referring to the possibility of boosting the community’s income with fish farming.

He added that the Brazilians told them that the reservoirs in their country are built with cement instead of polyethylene membranes. But he believes that in El Salvador that system probably won’t work because the soil is brittle and the cement will eventually crack.

“It is possible to use (this design with polyethylene membrane) in some places of the semi-arid region, we can experiment with it here,” said one of the Brazilians who visited the country, Raimundo Nonado Patricio, 54, who lives in a rural community in Tururu, a municipality in the state of Ceará.

For the farmers in the Dry Corridor, he told IPS in an interview by phone from Rio de Janeiro, it is a useful experience “to see our crop diversity and our rainwater harvesting systems.”

In the two Central American countries visited, production is concentrated “in two or three crops, mainly maize,” he said, while in Brazil’s semi-arid region dozens of vegetables, fruits and grains are grown, and several species of animals are raised, even on small plots of land.

In total, the Salvadoran project financed by the GEF built eight reservoirs of a similar size.

Each beneficiary family also received two 5,000-litre tanks to collect rainwater made of polyethylene resin, so they can store up to 10,000 litres. Once purified with the filter they were provided, the water is fit for human consumption.

“My wife tells me that now she sees the difference. We are grateful, because before we had to walk for more than an hour along paths and hills to a spring,” said Daniel Santos, a 37-year-old farmer who grows grains.

In addition, in the beneficiary communities, living fences were erected with grass, and other fences with stones, on sloping ground, to prevent erosion and facilitate water infiltration, an effort aimed at preserving water resources.

Furthermore, 300,000 fruit and forestry trees, as well as seeds to plant grass, were distributed to increase plant cover.

María de Fátima Santos, 29, who lives in a rural community in Fatima, in the northeast Brazilian state of Bahía, told IPS that of the experiences she learned about in El Salvador and Guatemala, the most useful one was “the use of the drinking water filter, which is common, similar to that in Brazil, but which is less appreciated here.”

For their part, their Central American counterparts, she said, could adopt the “economic garden”, which consists of a large hole in the ground, with a canvas or plastic cloth, which is covered with ploughed soil and buried pipes provide underground drip irrigation.

With additional reporting by Mario Osava in Rio de Janeiro.

The post Farmers from Central America and Brazil Join Forces to Live with Drought appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Edgardo Ayala at June 14, 2018 02:49 AM

From Fake News to a Fake Death

Arkady Babchenko. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Ed Holt
KIEV, Jun 14 2018 (IPS)

When news broke on May 29th that journalist Arkady Babchenko had been murdered in Ukraine, serious questions about the safety of journalists in the country were raised.

When news broke less than 24-hours later that Babchenko’s murder had been staged by the Ukrainian security service, serious questions about the credibility of journalists in the country were raised."Now we know we should check everything the authorities say not twice, but three or four times." --Anna Babinec

Now, say global press freedom advocates, efforts to keep journalists in Ukraine and other parts of the world safe have only been hampered by the deception.

Johann Bihr, Head of the East European and Central Asian Desk at Reporters Without Borders (RSF), told IPS: “This discredits journalists and hampers efforts to effectively protect them.

“The global impact of this story means that it will have an effect in other countries. Whenever something similar happens, doubts will be raised.”

Babchenko, a former Russian soldier who had fought in Chechnya, had been a vociferous critic of the Kremlin for years. He fled Russia last year fearing for his life and eventually moved to Kiev where he had been working for the Tatar TV channel ATR.

When reports of his death first emerged, there was immediate speculation of Russian involvement – a theory Ukrainian authorities swiftly confirmed.

In the hours after the killing was reported, Moscow denied any involvement and, after Babchenko appeared alive, claimed it was evidence of Kiev’s anti-Russian propaganda.

But as soon as Babchenko appeared at a press conference held by the Ukrainian security services (SBU) the day after his apparent death, revealing he had been co-operating with the SBU in an operation to expose people apparently planning to kill him, press freedom watchdogs were outraged.

In a statement, Philippe Leruth, President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), described it as a “complete circus” and told the Ukrainian authorities it was “intolerable to lie to journalists around the world and to mislead millions of citizens”.

RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said there “could be no grounds for faking a journalist’s death”. He said staging the killing “would not help the cause of press freedom,” adding in a tweet: “It is pathetic and regrettable that the Ukrainian police have played with the truth, whatever their motive…for the stunt.”

And the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) warned it could potentially “undermine public trust in journalists and to mute outrage when they are killed”.

The SBU, and Babchenko, have continued to defend the operation. In posts on Facebook, Babchenko said he did not care about criticism questioning the journalistic ethics of what he and the SBU had done, saying he was grateful that the operation had saved his life.

But groups like RSF, CPJ and IFJ say while they are relieved Babchenko is alive, they question whether the mass deception, and subsequent damage to journalists’ and the Ukrainian authorities’ credibility, was worth it.

“We are glad that Babchenko is alive and are in no doubt that the threats he had been facing were real. However, what we are waiting for is the Ukrainian government to present hard evidence that this was worth it and it has really led to some results. So far, they have failed to do so,” Bihr told IPS.

Ukraine has a poor record on journalist safety. Journalists regularly face harassment and physical attacks as well as ‘doxing’ – the publication of their personal information.

Seven journalists have been killed in the last four years in Ukraine, the most recent being Belarusian-born Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet who died in a car bomb assassination in July 2016.

The investigation into his murder has stalled amid claims of a lack of effort from investigators and Ukrainian involvement in the killing.

After Babchenko’s staged murder, Larysa Sargan, spokesperson for Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, drew up a list on her Facebook page of journalists she claimed had been “traitorous” for criticising the operation.

In the wake of the faked murder, while all local journalists have been quick to stress their relief that Babchenko is alive, their opinions on the merits of the operation differ.

Some have praised it as the best way to save a threatened journalist’s life and expose a Russian plot, but many others have been critical of it and some have linked it back to what they say are serious shortcomings among institutions of power towards journalists‘ safety and freedom of speech.

Olga Rudenko, deputy editor-in-chief at the Kyiv Post newspaper, told RFE/RL: “Ukrainian journalists feel even less safe than they used to. To make it a safer place for journalists, the authorities need to investigate crimes against journalists.

“The whole plot to kill Babchenko, if we presume there was one, was only possible in the first place because so many earlier murders and attacks on journalists remain un-investigated, making for an atmosphere of impunity. Who’d sign up to kill a high-profile journalist if they knew all previous killers had been found and punished?”

Anna Babinec, co-founder of the investigative journalism agency Slidstvo.Info, said the incident had, for many journalists, stripped them of what trust they had left in Ukrainian authorities.

She told IPS: “Many journalists who lacked trust in the Ukrainian government before now have absolutely no trust in it.

“As an investigative journalist, working the whole night at the scene of the ‘crime’ was a great test of my skills. Now we know we should check everything the authorities say not twice, but three or four times. We need to check not only if the police are doing their work properly, but whether they are lying about crimes.”

She added: “As a journalist and human being I’m happy that my colleague is alive, but there are still a lot of questions that the security service and Arkady [need to answer] about this special operation.”

This distrust has deepened in the days since the operation with the SBU reluctant to give further details and both the alleged killer and man who hired him claiming to have been working with the SBU all along.

The leak of a reported ‘hit list’ of 47 people, supposedly discovered by the SBU during the operation, has added to the confusion.

The list, which includes journalists and political activists, contains the names of many critics of the Ukrainian authorities, among others, but, pointedly, does not include Babchenko.

Some local journalists believe it is genuine, but others doubt its veracity. Speaking to RFE/RL, three journalists on the list said they had been contacted by the SBU and shown a list with their names on. They said what they had been shown was similar to the list leaked in Ukrainian media, but had a different order of names and, in some cases, spellings.

One of the journalists said they had been questioned by the SBU about their political opinions.

Whether the SBU will give any further details on the operation and show it was, as the RSF said ‘worth it’, anytime soon is uncertain.

But the fact that local and global media were misled by authorities, with the willing help of a journalist, means this is likely to be a boon for those looking to repress free speech or spread propaganda as it leads to questions about the skills and credibility of those who are supposed to be presenting unbiased facts, critics say.

Russian journalist Tanya Felgenhauer told British daily newspaper The Independent: “This story has been a victory of the post-factual world and it makes our jobs even more difficult.

“One of the only advantages we have over social media and state media is accuracy and fact-checking. Here, our fact-checking model wasn’t sufficient, and our credibility has suffered badly.”

The RSF’s Bihr told IPS: “It provides help for organisations who sow doubt and spread misinformation, who blur the lines between truth and fiction. It provides fuel for repressive governments and propaganda media working to hamper freedom of speech.”

The post From Fake News to a Fake Death appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Ed Holt at June 14, 2018 12:01 AM

Debian security

June 13, 2018

InterPressService (global south)

Eco-Business Releases New Documentary: From Asia to Antarctica

By Eco-Business
Jun 13 2018 (Eco-Business)

The new documentary weaves a tale between the two continents to tell the climate story through a unique Asian lens. Its team is set to travel to the Arctic next year in a new partnership with Explorer’s Passage.

Eco-Business has released its short documentary, From Asia to Antarctica, which tells the climate change story through an Asian lens.

This documentary, by Eco-Business managing editor Jessica Cheam and Scottish documentarian Fraser Morton, is part of Eco-Business’s larger Changing Course campaign on climate action.

It documents the ClimateForce: Antarctica 2018 expedition in March led by Sir Robert Swan, a British environmentalist and explorer who was the first man to walk to both North and South Poles. The documentary also features beautiful footage from the South Pole Energy Challenge, which took place in December 2018 to January 2019. It was the world’s first renewable energy expedition led by Sir Robert Swan and his son Barney Swan.

The documentary weaves a tale between the two expeditions, explores the climate connection between Asia and Antarctica, and tells the stories of those defending it.

“I’m deeply grateful to be given this chance to document the expedition and the fragility of Antarctica,” said Cheam. “I hope through our Changing Course campaign, we will be able to harness the power of media to help bring home the message to the wider public that climate change is not a distant reality but one that affects us now, and Asia will bear the brunt of its effects..”

The Changing Course campaign focuses on advocating renewable energy, zero waste, sustainable lifestyles and engaging youth.

The duo is also working on a climate change documentary with Channel NewsAsia, the Singapore-based English-language Asian TV news channel, featuring the Antarctic expedition. It will be aired in 2019.

Eco-Business has also announced a new partnership with Explorer’s Passage, a pioneer in adventure travel based in the United States, on the ClimateForce 2019 expedition which will go to the Arctic in June 2019.

With 2041, a foundation set up by Swan to protect Antarctica, Explorer’s Passage has launched the Arctic Negative Carbon Initiative (ACNI) which will be a set of protocols for the cruise industry to offset 1.25 times the carbon impact of taking customers to the Arctic.

Its mission is to set the standard for the global travel industry. Eco-Business will be joining 2041 and The Explorer’s Passage on the 2019 Arctic expedition and will be making a sequel to From Asia to Antarctica. It will also help to select and support candidates in Asia who would like to join the expedition.

The post Eco-Business Releases New Documentary: From Asia to Antarctica appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Eco-Business at June 13, 2018 08:52 PM

"Сдал и забыл": Дмитрий Бученков написал книгу о "Болотном деле"

Скрывающийся в Евросоюзе обвиняемый по "Болотному делу" Дмитрий Бученков намерен выпустить книгу "Фальсификации уголовных дел в Российской Федерации. На примере "Болотного дела". Накануне ее публикации Бученков рассказал Радио Свобода о том, как он видит судебно-следственную систему России, о тенденциях в политических репрессиях и о том, что будет дальше с "Болотным делом".

June 13, 2018 07:18 PM


FREE ELKBONE: A Convicted Marriage

In late 1993, Riverside County Police arrested, charged and convicted Orlando “Elkbone” Watley for crimes he did not commit. Arrested at 19 and incarcerated for 24 years, Orlando has maintained his innocence and must be exonerated. We are calling on you to support Elkbone’s fight for freedom. For more info visit: freeorlandowatley.org

by Stimulator at June 13, 2018 05:46 PM

Hambach Forest Occupation

Last Sunday a 50th Forest Walk

This Sunday a special forest walk took place in that it was a 50th walk which over 5 years has brought over 5000 people from all around the world to Hambi .  It has bridged the gap between forest activists and supporters, a gap that both coal industry/media interests and authorities are interested in widening through fear and lack of understanding.  This is done by ignoring some of the crucial… more…

by hambachforest at June 13, 2018 05:10 PM


Climate Justice Now: Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa and allies’ Open Letter to the Regional Member States

LVC SEAf Open Letter

La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa (LVC SEAf) members in solidarity with allies and like-minded organizations, movements and groups have launched an Open Letter on Climate Justice and Peasant Agroecology which will be submitted to Southern African Development Community and East African Community respectively. The letter expresses concern with the many challenges and impacts being faced and felt by local communities in the face of climate change. Climate Change is harshly aggravating the already hard realities of small-scale food producers across the world. This is especially true for the Southern and Eastern Africa region, where a large portion of the population directly depend on the land and Nature for their livelihoods and well-being. Outlining the major impediments to rise of real solutions to the climate crisis such as resource-grabbing which is affecting peasant communities, industrial model of food production, false solutions like Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), REDD+, destructive foreign direct investments (FDIs), and national and regional policies, the letter clearly articulates how these have failed to address the problem.

The Open Letter moves on to make concrete demands for actions to be adopted by governments, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders, and proposals that should inform national, regional and global policies. These proposals actually go much further than mainstream solutions put forward in the Paris Agreement, in terms truly improving the lives of communities in the frontline of the climate crisis in a sustainable, equitable, just, and peaceful manner. Solutions that include the wide adoption of peasant agroecology, rooted in food sovereignty, comprehensive and people-centred agrarian reforms, participatory budgeting and policy making, all with a special focus to the protection of the rights of peasant men and women, as well as their communities.

We the peasants of La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa Region and our allies express our solidarity with all struggles against false solutions to climate change and for climate justice across the globe. Standing in solidarity and hope with all the peoples of our region, we remain committed to the struggle for food sovereignty, agroecology, and rights to our territories, culture and identity as the basis for climate justice.

If  you/your organisation would like to sign this letter, kindly send by email your name or that of your organisation to Brenda Muronda (lvc.seaf.climatejustice@gmail.com). Download and read the open letter in English, French and Portuguese





The post Climate Justice Now: Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa and allies’ Open Letter to the Regional Member States appeared first on Via Campesina English.

by nyoni at June 13, 2018 01:37 PM

Hambach Forest Occupation

UPIII case a call for Climate Justice and Resistance to Specism

As profit is put above stable and livable planet not just for humans prisoners who resist are never forgotten!   Hambi, Climate Justice and Animal Rights prisoners continue to remain political prisoners  stripped of their freedom and abused to protect the largest CO2 polluter in Europe RWE and other ecologically destructive interest like it.  And for as long this destructive corporation and the politicians, judges and police continue not just… more…

by hambachforest at June 13, 2018 12:07 PM

June 12, 2018

Tor Browser

Tor is released!

Tor is released! nickm June 12, 2018

Hello, everyone!

We have a new stable release today. If you build Tor from source, you can
download the source code for on the website.  Packages
should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser over the next several weeks.


Tor backports several changes from the 0.3.4.x series, including fixes for bugs affecting compatibility and stability.

Changes in version - 2018-06-12

  • Directory authority changes:
    • Add an IPv6 address for the "dannenberg" directory authority. Closes ticket 26343.
  • Minor features (geoip):
    • Update geoip and geoip6 to the June 7 2018 Maxmind GeoLite2 Country database. Closes ticket 26351.


  • Minor bugfixes (compatibility, openssl, backport from
    • Work around a change in OpenSSL 1.1.1 where return values that would previously indicate "no password" now indicate an empty password. Without this workaround, Tor instances running with OpenSSL 1.1.1 would accept descriptors that other Tor instances would reject. Fixes bug 26116; bugfix on
  • Minor bugfixes (compilation, backport from
    • Silence unused-const-variable warnings in zstd.h with some GCC versions. Fixes bug 26272; bugfix on
  • Minor bugfixes (controller, backport from
    • Improve accuracy of the BUILDTIMEOUT_SET control port event's TIMEOUT_RATE and CLOSE_RATE fields. (We were previously miscounting the total number of circuits for these field values.) Fixes bug 26121; bugfix on
  • Minor bugfixes (hardening, backport from
    • Prevent a possible out-of-bounds smartlist read in protover_compute_vote(). Fixes bug 26196; bugfix on
  • Minor bugfixes (path selection, backport from
    • Only select relays when they have the descriptors we prefer to use for them. This change fixes a bug where we could select a relay because it had _some_ descriptor, but reject it later with a nonfatal assertion error because it didn't have the exact one we wanted. Fixes bugs 25691 and 25692; bugfix on

by nickm at June 12, 2018 05:04 PM