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UNCTAD paper suggests trade war may have benefited India's exports

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United Nations: India sent $755 million more in exports to the US during the first half of this year as a result of the trade war waged by President Donald Trump against China, according to the trade arm of the UN.

Trade diversion effects for India were smaller compared some other countries, "but still substantial", a research paper from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.

The paper on trade and trade diversion effects of US tariffs on China that was released in Geneva on Tuesday said, "US tariffs on China are economically hurting both countries. The tariffs have resulted in a strong decline in US imports from China. US losses are largely related to higher prices for consumers."

But it is also helping other countries like India that are not directly involved in the trade war as the US increased imports from them by about $21 billion in the first six months of the year

Taiwan and Mexico were the biggest beneficiaries.

The paper said that the office machinery and communication equipment sectors were hit the hardest for China, with a total reduction of US imports worth about $15 billion for the first half of 2019.

India was able to capture only $18 million in the office machinery component of the sector, but none in the communication equipment part during this period, according to UNCTAD.

India made the most gains in the chemical sector, about $243 million; electrical machinery, $83 million, and other machinery, $68 million, it said.

Vietnam, with its emphasis on export-oriented growth, presents a contrast to India showing that it was able to benefit much more from the trade diversification.

Its exports rose by $2.6 billion, with electrical machinery accounting tor $400 million and communication equipment $1.1 billion, according to UNCTAD.

Washingtons's tariffs caused a 25 per cent export loss for China "inflicting a $35 billion blow to Chinese exports in the US market for tariffed goods in the first half of 2019," the paper said.

But it added that Chinese firms being able to retain 75 per cent of their exports despite the higher tariffs showed their competitiveness.

Last year, US and China initially raised tariffs on about $50 billion worth of each other's goods and Washington later hit Beijing with an additional 10 per cent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

In June, the US increased the tariffs to 25 per cent.

China has also increased tariffs on US products, mainly hitting the agriculture sector from which Trump draws a significant part of his support.

India, however, has also been a victim of the trade wars of Trump, who has called India the "king of tariffs."

In June, the US removed the General Scheme of Preferences benefits for India. The Trump administration has made several trade and related demands of India, such as removing restrictions on e-commerce, storage of consumer data, and imports of milk products from cattle given cannibalised feed, and Trump's pet cause, reducing import duties on Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The two countries are negotiating a trade deal.

Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in


          

American consumers heaviest hit by Trump’s China trade war, UN says

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American consumers are taking the biggest hits from President Donald Trump’s trade war although Chinese exporters are also hurting, a United Nations report said today. “Consumers in the US are bearing the heaviest brunt of the US tariffs on China, as their associated costs have largely been passed down to them and importing firms in […]

The post American consumers heaviest hit by Trump’s China trade war, UN says appeared first on The Moderate Voice.


          

New UN talks offer best hope for Syria peace

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In an extraordinary achievement, a United Nations facilitator has managed to get a broad spectrum of parties to the wars in Syria to begin work today on a writing a constitution that could start to build peace. UN Syria envoy Geir Pederson is facilitating a 45-member group that began work in Geneva on drafting a […]

The post New UN talks offer best hope for Syria peace appeared first on The Moderate Voice.


          

Find new ways to assist Sahel's 'increasingly vulnerable people,' prelate urges (L'Osservatore Romano)

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Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cited the prevalence of hunger and impact of climate change in the...
          

UD students contribute to high-level U.N. report

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A high-level United Nations-supported Global Alliance report presented in July to U.N. member states included research conducted during the 2019 spring semester by six University of Dayton international studies majors as part of their senior capstone course.
          

Iran begins Fordow enrichment in major nuclear deal rollback

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Iran begins Fordow enrichment in major nuclear deal rollback

BEIRUT (Nov 6): Iran has begun the process of enriching uranium at its Fordow research plant, in the most dramatic rollback of its commitments under its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

About 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds) of uranium hexafluoride gas were brought to the facility on Wednesday, under the watch of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations watchdog, Iranian state news agencies reported.

Undefined

          

11/7/2019: Middle East: Head of UN Palestinian refugee agency quits

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Krahenbuhl replaced amid probe into misconduct allegations The head of a UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees resigned yesterday, the United Nations said, amid an investigation into misconduct allegations. Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl...
          

11/7/2019: Business: T

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he Abu Dhabi Declaration was officially announced and adopted at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’s (UNIDO) general conference in the capital yesterday, with the resolution aimed at creating new joint public and private...
          

Where to see pieces of the Berlin Wall in NYC

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This Saturday, November 9th, marks the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. Many people might know of pieces of the wall on display in various museums such as the Newseum in DC and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in southern California, but did you know there are four places in NYC to see segments of the Berlin Wall? One is in a touristy Times Square museum, another at the United Nations, a third at a public plaza in Battery Park City, and the last inside a public office building lobby in Midtown (though recent reports say this piece has […]
          

Beyond Alignment: Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals

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As investors, both institutional and individual, look for ways to use their money in a more impactful way, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have emerged as a relatable tool. However, Raymond Jacobs and John Levy from Franklin Real Asset Advisors warn the SDGs are vulnerable to misuse, misrepresentation and dilution. In this article, they explain why impact investment products labeled as “aligned with the SDGs” should move beyond just alignment and make a real contribution to positive social and environmental outcomes.

The post Beyond Alignment: Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals appeared first on Beyond Bulls and Bears.


          

The Syrian Regime Acknowledges the Death of Citizen Fares Saeed al Miqdad Who Was Forcibly Disappeared at the Regime’s Hands

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The Syrian Network for Human Rights has notified the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the case of the Syrian citizen, Fares Saeed al Miqdad, from Ma’raba town in Daraa governorate, born in 1971, who was arrested in October 2012 by Syrian Regime forces in a raid on his place […]

The post The Syrian Regime Acknowledges the Death of Citizen Fares Saeed al Miqdad Who Was Forcibly Disappeared at the Regime’s Hands appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.


          

UNICEF USA BrandVoice: Beyond A Safe Haven: Responding To The Refugee Crisis

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On the occasion of 75 years of humanitarian cooperation between Rotary International and the United Nations, it’s time to recognize the people responding to the urgent challenges of today’s displaced people as we realize that 1 in every 108 people on the planet is displaced.
          

OCHA: A child dies every eleven minutes

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The United Nations warned on the repercussions of the continuing conflict in Yemen on childhood. “The conflict is taking a heavy toll on childhood in Yemen,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a tweet on its Twitter account. A child dies every 11 minutes. ” “45 percent of children
          

Foreign Minister of Yemen meets with UN Coordinator in Sana’a

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Al- Thawra Net Foreign Minister of Yemen, Hisham Sharaf Abdullah, has discussed with UN Resident Coordinator Lise Grande on the joint work mechanism between the ministry and the offices of UN organisations, programs and agencies working in Yemen. In the meeting, Foreign Minister praised the significant humanitarian role played by the United Nations to alleviate
          

'Extreme' Keynote Speaker to Present at HTNG European Conference

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CHICAGO (August 26, 2019) - The Keynote Session, 'Ride the Next Wave of Technology or Get Wiped Out,' will be presented by Hélio Vogas during 18-20 November at the upcoming HTNG European Conference in Monte Carlo.

From someone who had a phobia of heights to becoming addicted to skydiving, Hélio has learned a valuable lesson when it comes down to taking risks: You don't need to be a courageous person to take big risks and enjoy the rewards.

When you hear Hélio talking about his surfing or skydiving experience and see him doing stunts on stage with fire, arrows and swords, you might think Hélio doesn't care about safety at all and likes living dangerously. The truth is that he is one of the most scared people you will ever meet...to the point of always parking the car on the street toward the nearest hospital to save precious seconds 'just in case.'

Bringing it to the corporate world, he shows audiences how taking bold risks are the safest option to take if you want your organization to survive in this day and age.

Hélio has spoken from local business breakfast groups to TEDx and the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, Austria. His audiences have ranged from student assemblies to C-level executives of Fortune 500 companies. Fire, swords and some adrenaline are just a few things to expect during his speech at the HTNG European Conference.

Conference registration is open to any full-time employee of a company who owns, manages or franchises a hotel. For all other industry participants, HTNG membership is required. Technology providers, consultants and others who are not HTNG members should check with HTNG's Membership Department to ensure eligibility.

Registration and more information on the 2019 HTNG European Conference can be found here.

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About Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG)

 

The premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry, HTNG is a self-funded, nonprofit organization with members from hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, consultants, media and academic experts. HTNG's members participate in focused workgroups to bring to market open solution sets addressing specific business problems. HTNG fosters the selection and adoption of existing open standards and also develops new open standards to meet the needs of the global hospitality industry.

 

Currently more than 400 corporate and individual members from across this spectrum, including world leading hospitality companies and technology vendors, are active HTNG participants. HTNG's  Board of Governors, consisting of 24 top IT leaders from hospitality companies around the world, itself has technology responsible for over 3 million guest rooms and world-leading venues. HTNG publishes workgroup proceedings, drafts and specifications for all HTNG members as soon as they are created, encouraging rapid and broad adoption. HTNG releases specifications into the public domain as soon as they are ratified by the workgroups. For more information, visit www.htng.org.


          

ICC has info on location of Ghadaffi son, other Libya fugitives: Prosecutor

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UNITED NATIONS: The International Criminal Court has "reliable information" about the location of one of former dictator Muammar Ghadaffi's sons as well as two other Libyan war crimes fugitives, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council on Wednesday (Nov 6). "I urge all states ...
          

Head of UN Palestinian agency resigns amid ethics probe

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UNITED NATIONS: The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has resigned amid an internal probe into alleged mismanagement and ethical abuses at the organisation, the United Nations said on Wednesday (Nov 6). "A short while ago, UNRWA's Commissioner-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, informed the ...
          

House of Lords open letter to Monckton: you are not a member!

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House of Lords open letter to Monckton: you are not a member!

After The House of Lords wrote to Monckton telling him that he should not claim to be a member, Monckton kept doing it. So now The House of Lords has written an open letter to Monckton:

My predecessor, Sir Michael Pownall, wrote to you on 21 July 2010, and again on 30 July 2010, asking that you cease claiming to be a Member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication. It has been drawn to my attention that you continue to make such claims.

In particular, I have listened to your recent interview with Mr Adam Spencer on Australian radio. In response to the direct question, whether or not you were a Member of the House of Lords, you said "Yes, but without the right to sit or vote". You later repeated, "I am a Member of the House".

I must repeat my predecessor's statement that you are not and have never been a Member of the House of Lords. Your assertion that you are a Member, but without the right to sit or vote, is a contradiction in terms.

Leo Hickman has more:

Buckingham Palace was drawn into the dispute when it was revealed that Pownall had sought advice from the Lord Chamberlain, a key officer in the royal household, on the potential misuse of the portcullis emblem due to it being the property of the Queen. The Buckingham Palace website states that any misuse of the emblem is prohibited by the Trade Marks Act 1994, meaning Monckton could potentially be liable for fines and a six-month prison term if the palace pursues the matter and successfully prosecutes him.

As far as I know, I was the first person to note that Monckton was lying about his membership of The House of Lords, way back in 2007.

See also: John Quiggin:

That's typically the opening lie in a Monckton presentation that misrepresents everything from the United Nations to the laws of arithmetic. It's hard to imagine how many cease and desist letters would be required to stop all the falsehoods, or what would be left of his presentation if they were removed[1].

tlambert Mon, 07/18/2011 - 05:20
          

Waiver of Subrogation Enforceable on Gross Negligence Claims

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A condominium sustained $3 million in fire damage when a portable electric generator on a truck owned by its roofing repair contractor malfunctioned. The truck was parked in the condo garage despite contract language expressly prohibiting that. The condo property insurance (“United National”) paid the damages and then filed a subrogation action against the contractor […]

The post Waiver of Subrogation Enforceable on Gross Negligence Claims appeared first on Construction Risk.


          

Comment on Shell Blog by Theo Benschop

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I know for sure the following. A former director of Royal Dutch Shell had said: it is a simple problem with the Black Gold that we are digging up and selling. All what the government has to do is fix the price of the Black Gold at a level nobody will notice. Maybe add something. But there you have the money to pay for the transition to a more sustainable energy. So actually what everybody wants in the agreements in Paris. Also I know for sure that beloved sister Rep. Ilham Omar was perfectly right in her conclusion that a few guilty criminals did something to create the chaos of nine eleven, so not the rest of the world. So that about 7 Billion simple descendants of the first human beings not being a monkey are supporting her for keep on being the one and only first president of all sovereign or not sovereign United Nations.
          

U.S. notifies U.N. of official withdrawal from landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement

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The United States has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted...


          

UN Security Council Sanctions against North Korea Responsible for Deaths of 3,193 Children Under Age 5 in 2018 Alone!

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On Monday, October 28, a brilliant panel discussion revealing the atrocities resulting from the UN Security Council sanctions (in particular, Resolution 2397) forced upon the DPRK was held at 777 United Nations Plaza.  This panel discussion should have been held

The post UN Security Council Sanctions against North Korea Responsible for Deaths of 3,193 Children Under Age 5 in 2018 Alone! appeared first on Global Research.


          

U.S. Lawmakers Implore UN to Address Hezbollah's Threats against Israel

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In a bipartisan letter, House Representatives asked the United Nations' Secretary-General to ask the Lebanese government to confront Hezbollah's threats against Israel.
          

Account Executive (Inside Sales)

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Account Executive (Inside Sales) Conway, AR, US Requisition Number: 36922 We're a $7 billion Fortune 500 Company on a mission to locate and train only the best. We are looking for high-energy leaders to gain the Inside Sales Representative opportunity of a lifetime at our Conway office! This is your opportunity to launch a sales career as a trusted advisor, helping clients find answers to current and future technology needs. You don't need IT experience - if you're a fit, we'll teach you what you need to know. As part of our elite team of Inside Sales Representatives, you'll build relationships with clients over the phone, putting together solutions from the broadest selection of hardware, software, peripherals and services in the industry. In this role, you'll partner with Product Management, Marketing and other sales specialists to manage and grow opportunities within your market/region to achieve sales objectives. What you'll do at Insight: - Act as a trusted advisor to clients, focusing on selling IT solutions, and consulting on current IT environments and future needs. - Build and manage your own book of business and drive the full sales cycle, from initial contact to close. - Develop and maintain client relationships within a territory. - Conduct outbound phone calls and receive inbound inquiries. - Engage our IT specialists as you develop long-term buying relationships with organizations of all sizes. - Develop relationships with Insight's partners to work leads and close business. What you'll need to join Insight: - 1-3 years of sales experience preferred - Prior IT experience is NOT necessary, but you should have an interest in learning all about it. You'll need high energy and HUNGER to win! - BA in Business, Marketing or any related field is a plus - Ability to overcome objections - cold calling experience is a plus - Strong negotiation skills/strong listening skills The position described above provides a summary of some the job duties required and what it would be like to work at Insight. For a comprehensive list of physical demands and work environment for this position, click here. Today, every business is a technology business. Insight Enterprises, Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions and services to maximize the business value of IT. As a Fortune 500-ranked global provider of digital innovation, cloud/data center transformation, connected workforce, and supply chain optimization solutions and services, we help clients successfully manage their IT today while transforming for tomorrow. From IT strategy and design to implementation and management, our 6,800 employees help clients innovate and optimize their operations to run smarter. Discover more at ***********. * Founded in 1988 in Tempe, Arizona * 7,400+ teammates in 19 countries providing Intelligent Technology Solutions for organizations across the globe * $7.1 billion in revenue in 2018 * Ranked #417 on the 2018 Fortune 500, #12 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500 * 2018 Dell EMC Server Partner of the Year, 2018 Intel Retail Solution Partner of the Year, 2018 Microsoft Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Partner of the Year * Ranked #23 on the 2019 Fortune 50 Best Workplaces in Technology and #5 on the Phoenix Business Journal 2018 list of Best Places to Work (Extra Large Business) * Signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and Affiliate Member of the Responsible Business Alliance Today's talent leads tomorrow's success. Learn about careers at Insight: ****************. Insight is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. Posting Notes: Conway -- Arkansas (US-AR) -- United States (US) -- SALES -- None -- US - Conway, AR -- #LI-US Nearest Major Market: Little Rock Job Segment: Sales Management, Consulting, Developer, Supply, Sales, Technology, Operations
          

Port Moresby Nature Park programmes Educate kids

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​SCHOOL students in the National Capital District had an opportunity to observe the final school-themed programme of the year called “Beast and Bites” at the Port Moresby Nature Park.It will run for the next three weeks. It is designed to educate and inspire young people to be guardians of PNG’s unique natural environment and culture. The programme is supported by ExxonMobil, NCDC, Zoos Victoria, The National, Ela Motors and the United Nations Development Programme [...]
          

Nigeria: Four Million Nigerians Face Acute Food Insecurity - FAO

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[Premium Times] The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has said that about 4.02 million people in Nigeria are currently faced with acute food insecurity.
          

The Absurd Idea of World Citizenship

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In a wonderful Commentary article Bruce Bawer takes down the concept of citizen of the world. John Hinderaker reports on it for Powerline (via Maggie’s Farm.) For our purposes we will look at Bawer’s article.

Bawer dates the advent of the concept to Diogenes, who lived in the fourth century A.D., but the more modern source lies in Immanuel Kant. In his essay on the idea of a universal history Kant claimed that we should all become citizens of the world. Barack Obama echoed the thought in a 2008 address he delivered in Germany at the Brandenburg Gate.

So, the concept embodies Enlightenment idealism. I assume that we all know that the Enlightenment in Germany had nothing to do with the British and Scottish versions. Since the time of early Greek philosophy idealism and empiricism have been warring against each other. Arthur Herman has written an excellent book about the history of the conflict, entitled The Cave and the Light

Anyway, citizenship of the world is an idealistic concept, one that disregards nations, borders, boundaries and true citizenship in exchange for the promise of a world of milk and honey, peace and prosperity where we would fight no more wars because we will all belong to one hulking planetary whole.

Bawer approvingly quotes the hapless Theresa May, in one of her rare moments of lucidity:

…if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.

Ironically, of perhaps paradoxically, the thrust toward global citizenship began after Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were defeated by the armies of the Anglosphere in World War II. It intensified after the same Anglosphere defeated Communism in the Cold War. Thus it feels like a victor's lament... for having hurt the feelings of the losers. 

Obviously enough, Woodrow Wilson's ill-fated league of nations-- another Kantian concept-- showed that global citizenship was a bad idea.

Bawer explains:

Ironically enough, the contemporary enthusiasm for global citizenship has its roots in the historical moment that marked the triumph of modern national identity and pride—namely, the World War II victory of free countries (plus the Soviet Union) over their unfree enemies. Citizens of small, conquered nations resisted oppression and, in many cases, gave their lives out of sheer patriotism and love of liberty. As Allied tanks rolled into one liberated town after another, people waved flags that had been hidden away during the occupation. Germany and Japan had sought to create empires that erased national borders and turned free citizens into subjects of tyranny; brave patriots destroyed that dream and restored their homelands’ sovereignty and freedom. And yet a major consequence of this victory was the establishment of an organization, the United Nations. Its founding rhetoric, like that of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, was all about the erasure of borders, even as it hoisted its own baby-blue flag alongside those of its members.

It seems to be a reaction against the martial values that won the wars. Under the guise of preventing wars the reactionaries tried to revalue more feminine maternal values, ones that cared more for caring and less for competition:

The chief force behind the Declaration was Eleanor Roosevelt, the chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission. In a 1945 newspaper column, she had had some interesting things to say about patriotism and what we would now call globalism. “Willy-nilly,” she wrote, “everyone [sic] of us cares more for his own country than for any other. That is human nature. We love the bit of land where we have grown to maturity and known the joys and sorrows of life. The time has come however when we must recognize that our mutual [sic] devotion to our own land must never blind us to the good of all lands and of all peoples.”

The illusion is sustained by the United Nations, another political and cultural fraud:

Behind the Iron Curtain, captive peoples weren’t citizens, global or otherwise, but prisoners. Yet in the West, the UN’s language of what we now call global citizenship started to take hold, and the UN began to be an object of widespread, although hardly universal, veneration. In reality, the UN may be a massive and inert bureaucratic kleptocracy yoked to a debating society, most of whose member states are unfree or partly free; but people in the free world who grow starry-eyed at the thought of global citizenship view it as somehow magically exceeding, in moral terms, the sum of its parts.

Bawer taxes the movement with moral dereliction. If you do not belong to a country you need not concern yourself with defending the country. And you have no responsibilities to your fellow citizens, because everyone the world over is a citizen of the world. If we believe that we must care for everyone who is alive we are going to find ourselves in the position of not caring for anyone.

          

United Nations warns world to quit 'coal addiction'

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November 05, 2019. The United Nations Secretary-General has told world leaders to end their addiction to coal.
          

Africa: UN Turns to Global Investors for Billions Needed for Its 2030 Development Agenda

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[IPS] United Nations -A Republican US Senator of a bygone era was once quoted as saying "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."
          

Webster in the News: Top colleges, Uzbekistan, Pease on Venezuela

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Webster's 2nd-in-Missouri ranking by WalletHub was covered in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and by KSDK, the NBC affiliate. ... Kelly-Kate Pease was interviewed and quoted by El Mercurio about the controversial election of Venezuela to the United Nations Human Rights Council. ... Webster's campus in Tashkent was covered by University World News as part of Uzbekistan's efforts to expand higher education throughout the country.
          

Senior Project Manager

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Senior Project Manager Austin, TX, US Tampa, FL, US Phoenix, AZ, US Requisition Number: 75140 Insight is a Fortune 500 global technology services company. We are a leading provider of intelligent technology solutions, helping companies around the world implement innovation and improve business performance. As a Sr. Project Manager you will develop and implement project schedules to meet deadlines, while ensuring your projects maintain profitability. You will take ownership of your projects, managing and directing all aspects. You will also be challenged every day; presenting Insight to prospective clients, managing your current clients and assisting the sales team with business development activities all in a single day's work. What you'll do at Insight: * Lead projects relative to milestone completion while managing to resource and financial budgets. * Develop and implement complete project schedules to ensure milestones are met * Ensure the change management process is utilized in order to maintain profitability and ensure customer satisfaction. * Manage technical resources working on multiple projects seamlessly. * Engage in weekly or monthly status meetings. * Participate in and help author Statements of Work (SOW) and respond to RFP's as necessary. * Present Insights Project Management and services capabilities to prospective clients. * Multitask You will spend about 60% of your time managing projects. The other 40% will be supporting the implementation and ongoing support of the Clarizen Project Management tool. What you'll need to join Insight: * Combination of 10+ years of education and IT Services experience. * Experience in specific technology areas including networking, storage, infrastructure lifestyle services and enterprise systems. * Experienced Clarizen administrator preferred * Experience using Clarizen mandatory * PMP Certification * Extensive experience in P & L responsibility for a technology services delivery team. * Proven success driving profitability and customer satisfaction. * Proficiency in Microsoft tools including but not limited to MS Office, MS Project, PS Project Server and SharePoint * Ability to effectively communicate, present and articulate strategies across various audiences; sales, marketing, partners, clients, consultants, executive leaders (internal and external) The position described above provides a summary of some the job duties required and what it would be like to work at Insight. For a comprehensive list of physical demands and work environment for this position, click here. Today, every business is a technology business. Insight Enterprises, Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions and services to maximize the business value of IT. As a Fortune 500-ranked global provider of digital innovation, cloud/data center transformation, connected workforce, and supply chain optimization solutions and services, we help clients successfully manage their IT today while transforming for tomorrow. From IT strategy and design to implementation and management, our 6,800 employees help clients innovate and optimize their operations to run smarter. Discover more at ***********. * Founded in 1988 in Tempe, Arizona * 7,400+ teammates in 19 countries providing Intelligent Technology Solutions for organizations across the globe * $7.1 billion in revenue in 2018 * Ranked #417 on the 2018 Fortune 500, #12 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500 * 2018 Dell EMC Server Partner of the Year, 2018 Intel Retail Solution Partner of the Year, 2018 Microsoft Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Partner of the Year * Ranked #23 on the 2019 Fortune 50 Best Workplaces in Technology and #5 on the Phoenix Business Journal 2018 list of Best Places to Work (Extra Large Business) * Signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and Affiliate Member of the Responsible Business Alliance Today's talent leads tomorrow's success. Learn about careers at Insight: ****************. Insight is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. Posting Notes: Austin -- Texas (US-TX) -- United States (US) -- None -- None -- US - Austin, TX -- #LI-US Nearest Major Market: Austin Job Segment: Project Manager, Developer, Business Development, Supply Chain Manager, Marketing Manager, Technology, Sales, Operations, Marketing
          

Responding to the Hong Kong protests

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By Mike Poteet

A controversial tweet

In early October, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a simple image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” This tweet, which would seem innocuous to many in the United States, drew immediate and sustained backlash from both Chinese officials and businesses due to the complicated, contentious relationship between China and Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory that, unlike mainland China, operates as a limited democracy with a capitalist economy.

According to the Associated Press, the Chinese consulate in Houston expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the team following Morey’s tweet; and both Chinese state television and Tencent, a streaming media company with whom the NBA recently signed a $1.5 billion deal, announced they wouldn’t show Rockets games.

Yet the protests that have taken place in Hong Kong this summer and fall hold far more significance than the relationship between the NBA and China. That they should have any impact at all on something as far afield as pro sports only underscores their significance and the serious political crisis they represent. 

Months of protest

According to a New York Times article from last June, the protests initially arose in opposition to a bill considered by Hong Kong’s legislative body, the Legislative Council. The bill would have allowed the territory to extradite criminal suspects to jurisdictions with which it has no formal extradition treaty, including mainland China.

Observers warned that the Chinese government could use the bill to exert increased pressure on Hong Kong. “If enacted, this law would extend the ability of the Mainland authorities to target critics, human rights activists, journalist[s], NGO workers and anyone else in Hong Kong, much in the same way they do at home,” stated Man-Kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

On June 9, more than a million people marched in opposition to the bill — nearly one of every seven Hong Kongers and the biggest public protest Hong Kong had seen since the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014. A New York Times video shows that police used tear gas against protesters on June 12, along with pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons, after a small number of protesters threw objects at them. Anger over the police response inspired even larger protests on June 16, when as many as two million people came together in the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed chief executive, withdrew the extradition bill in early September, but the withdrawal wasn’t enough to bring protests to an end. One commonly heard chant — “Five demands, not one less” — refers to the protesters’ aims. The first was the withdrawal of the extradition bill; the others include (1) no more descriptions of the protests as “riots,” (2) unconditional release and amnesty for arrested protesters, (3) independent inquiry into police behavior, and (4) full and genuine democracy.

Throughout the summer and into autumn, protests continued and were increasingly marked by violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. On October 1 — a holiday that marked the 70th anniversary of the Communist state founded in 1949 — police shot a protester with live ammunition for the first time.

CNBC reported that on October 4, Lam invoked emergency powers and banned face masks at all public gatherings, claiming the move would deter violence because demonstrators cannot conceal their identities. (Many protesters wear masks and respirators to guard against tear gas.) The ban provoked a fresh wave of fiery protests. Lam’s critics worry what further actions might follow and how those actions might weaken Hong Kong’s special status, which they believe China has been steadily eroding. 

Mixed U.S. responses

In mid-October, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. It would require the State Department to certify every year “whether Hong Kong remains sufficiently autonomous from Beijing [China] to justify its unique treatment,” as quoted in The Washington Post. This unique treatment includes exemptions from tariffs and other U.S. laws that apply to all other Chinese exports. If the bill clears the Senate, where it has bipartisan support, it would need President Trump’s signature to become law.

Publicly, Trump hasn’t spoken much about the protests, but the Financial Times reports that he promised Chinese president Xi Jinping that the United States would “tone down criticism of Beijing’s approach” in order to revive trade talks. However, at the United Nations in September, Trump called on China to honor its commitment to “protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system and democratic ways of life,” adding, “We are all counting on President Xi as a great leader,” as quoted in Vox.

Some American businesses find themselves caught between democratic ideals and the pursuit of profit. The NBA, for instance, forced Daryl Morey to apologize for his tweet, then issued its own apology while simultaneously trying to defend free speech, a response that pleased neither Chinese officials nor many US observers. Meanwhile, Apple pulled a map app from its digital store that protesters had been using to track police movement, and shoe company Vans pulled the top vote-getter in a sneaker design competition because the design depicted the protests. 

Christian response

“The Chinese Communist Party may be the greatest existential threat to the Hong Kong church,” notes Christianity Today. Nevertheless, about 900,000 Hong Kongers (almost 12%) are Christian, and Christians enjoy more freedom in Hong Kong than believers in mainland China.

Several church organizations in Hong Kong expressed concern about the extradition bill while calling for restraint and peace from protesters. According to a United Methodist News Service article, the ecumenical Hong Kong Christian Council issued a statement urging the reopening of now-closed public spaces for peaceful demonstration, restraint from using force on the part of police, and dialogue and “rational discussion” between the government and protesters.

Many Christians in Hong Kong have joined the protests themselves. In late August, the first large-scale rally specifically for Christians drew thousands. Its motto was “Salt and light, for justice we walk together.” Attendees formed part of a human chain stretching for more than 21 miles and sang the hymn “Sing Alleluia to the Lord,” which quickly became an unofficial “anthem” for the Hong Kong protests — partly because religious gatherings are exempt from Hong Kong legislation regulating public assemblies.

For believers who choose to participate in the protests, taking to the streets to defend their civil liberties and advocate for greater freedom is an expression of how they understand the gospel. Andrea Wong, an 18-year-old protester, told The New York Times, “I am very certain that Jesus would not have stayed home enjoying the air-conditioning. He would have been out here helping people and marching.”


Be sure to check out FaithLink, a weekly downloadable discussion guide for classes and small groups.


          

The Lost Tribes of Spanish Jews

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Being a Jew in Spain, especially in the southern part of the country that was once home to a thriving community, is a lonely business. That didn’t stop more than 10,000 Venezuelans from trying to obtain Spanish citizenship before a law giving Jews the right to return to Spain expired at the end of this past September—a testament to how dire the crisis had become in the South American country.

Since 2016, violence, poverty, and insecurity have plagued Venezuela, where political upheavals have led to economic and humanitarian crises. Some 4.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. Many have emigrated to neighboring South American countries, such as Ecuador or Colombia. But in an unexpected historical turn, Venezuelan Jews have tried to capitalize on their fleeting chance at returning to Spain, a country most have never known. 

Continue reading "The Lost Tribes of Spanish Jews" at...


          

The Letters of the Eighteen

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Fifty years ago, the Soviet Zionist movement—which in America is known largely as a “refuseniks” movement—sparked a rebirth of identity unlike anything seen in recent Jewish history. In the summer of 1969, 18 religious Jewish families from the Soviet republic of Georgia appealed to the government of Israel and the United Nations with a group letter, asking them to prevail on the Soviet authorities to let them emigrate to Israel, as described in today’s Tablet article, “A Letter to Golda.” What follows are the full English translations of the three landmark texts that spawned the exodus of Soviet Jewry.

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Continue reading "'The Letter of the Eighteen' That Spawned the Exodus of Soviet Jewry" at...


          

UN dispatches emergency team to Beledweyne as floods displace scores

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The United Nations has dispatched her multi-agency team to central Somalia following unprecedented floods that caused havoc in over 115 villages.River
          

OPCW report to identify culprits of Syria chemical weapons attacks

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NEW YORK (dpa)- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is set to produce in the next few months a report identifying the culprits of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, the body's chief said on Tuesday. "We have in connection with what happened in Syria the fact-finding mission, the declaration assessment team and the identification investigation mechanism team - IIT," OPCW director general Fernando Arias told reporters in New York.
OPCW report to identify culprits of Syria chemical weapons attacks

"The IIT is in charge of identifying the perpetrators and in the next few months we are going to be in the position to produce the first report."
The OPCW has said its previous analysis provided reasonable grounds that toxic chemicals had been used in attacks in Syria.
The watchdog did not say who was responsible. The ITT, set up by the OPCW in 2018, got to work in June to assign blame for the attacks.
Arias was at the United Nations headquarters to brief the Security Council on his organization's work in Syria.
He said two main issues were to "verify that Syria has fully declared its entire chemical weapons stockpiles," and to "investigate allegations of the use of toxic chemicals as weapons in Syria since 2013," when it joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.
There have been numerous attacks involving toxic weapons in the war-torn country since then, for which both the Syrian government and rebel forces have been blamed.
In March, the UN Human Rights Council blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for 32 of the 37 publicly reported instances of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
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President Akinci calls his Greek Cypriot counterpart to be constructive in Berlin talks

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President Mustafa Akinci underlined the need to make use of an opportunity provided by United Nations after two years in regards to take a step forward for the resolution of Cyprus problem in a written statement published on Sunday.
          

Comment on Public-Private Partnerships Proposed For 5G Rollout by MorningStar

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Since the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) is a invention of the U.N. and an essential part of the Agenda 21 coup, does this mean we can never get rid of PPPs? Especially since the implementations of U.N. proclamations through the years. Proclamations are not U.S. law however have been enforced as such: 'U.S. Senate Recognizes the United Nations as a Sovereign Nation: http://www.unwatch.com/un_sofa.htm
          

UN policewoman recognized for ‘speaking up and speaking out’ on behalf of the vulnerable

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INTERNATIONAL, 5 November 2019, Peace and Security - At the core of peacekeeping lies the notion of shared responsibility, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday, presenting this year’s award for Female Police Officer of the Year, to a woman who “has made a career of speaking up and speaking out on behalf of all vulnerable populations”.

Police Major Seynabou Diouf has worked “tirelessly with her colleagues inside and outside the Mission to empower women, improve conduct, enhance protection, strengthen performance, and thereby build sustainable peace”, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Peace Operations chief, told the heads of UN police and police experts from 14 peacekeeping operations, gathered at the award ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.

Major Diouf is one of over 1,400 female police officers serving under the UN flag, carrying out a complex range of tasks – from capacity-building and reform, to community-oriented policing, investigations, protection of civilians, and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.

“That is impressive enough”, asserted Mr. Lacroix, “but they also provide the added value of gender perspectives and mainstreaming at all levels and at all phases of engagement with host-State institutions and communities”.

He cited examples in South Sudan where female officers are helping women and youth attain better living conditions within and outside camps for the internally displaced; the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where they are helping to build capacity and accountability in internal security forces; and Mali by promoting confidence-building between citizens and the reconstituted internal defence and security forces.

“Our female officers are also operating in areas affected by the Ebola virus disease, ensuring the required level of security for relief and humanitarian operations”, he maintained.

And female officers are a key element in the sensitization and delivery of training on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) throughout all UN Missions.

“As part of female police officers’ networks, such as the one Major Diouf leads in MONUSCO [UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC], they help prevent, counter and investigate SEA-related offences, advancing the Organization’s zero-tolerance policy”, elaborated the peacekeeping chief. He congratulated Major Diouf “for her outstanding service” to the UN Nations and Congolese people and stated that “all UN police officers in the field and at the UN Headquarters are inspired” by her example to uphold the core values of the Organization.

Previous Awardees
  • 2018: Chief Supt. Phyllis Osei, Ghana, UNSOM
  • 2017: Assistant Inspector Annah Chota, Zimbabwe, UNISFA
  • 2016: Supt. Yvette Boni Zombre, Burkina Faso, MINUSCA
  • 2015: Chief Supt. Raluca Domuta, Romania, MINUSTAH
  • 2014: Inspector Shakti Devi, India, UNAMA
  • 2013: Commissioner Codou Camara, Senegal, MINUSTAH
  • 2012: Constable Rezi Danismend, Turkey, UNMIL
  • 2011: Deputy Supt. Shahzadi Gulfam, Pakistan, UNMIT

Mr. Lacroix also thanked her family for supporting her and making sacrifices during her long deployments. “The more women we have in peacekeeping, the more effective we all will be”, he concluded.

Going the extra mile

Top UN Police Adviser, Luis Carrilho, spoke about Major Diouf’s experience, noting that in her native Senegal she became the first female police officer to be honoured as a Gardien de la Paix, which was previously reserved for male officers.

“Since early in her career, she has shown her determination to make the extra effort, go the extra mile, to achieve her goals”, he spelled out, flagging that as the team leader of an SEA task force in Goma and president of the UNPOL Women’s Network, “she has demonstrated her commitment to giving women a voice and putting an end to SEA”.

“Her efforts have helped the mission to achieve zero SEA cases in 2018, compared to 140 cases between 2016 and 2017”, he attested, calling her “an incredible force for good in our ongoing efforts to root out SEA and ensure UN personnel at all levels perform to the highest standards”.

Motivated to do more

When Major Diouf learned that she had been selected to receive the award, she said she was proud, but also “humble to be recognized for something that has become almost second nature” to her and her life’s work.

“When I was young, I wanted to be a medical doctor but there was an urgent need to help support my family”, she told those assembled. “Being a police officer in the early years of female recruitment provided recognition and a decent salary, but it also allowed me to contribute to society in ways I had never thought possible”.

With this new accolade, Major Diouf says she now feels “motivated to do more” and will continue “to promote women's rights, speak out against sexual and gender-based violence, and fight marginalization and discriminatory customary and religious practices targeted at women and girls”.

UN Photo/Douglas Coffman
Police Commissioner Luis Carrilho looks on as UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, shakes the hand of Major Seynabou Diouf, UN Female Police Officer of the Year. (5 November 2019)

          

Natural hazards don’t always spell disaster: UN risk reduction chief

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INTERNATIONAL, 5 November 2019, Climate Change - Tsunamis are rare, but when they strike, they are the deadliest and most costly of natural hazards. With half of the world’s population expected to live in coastal areas more prone to tsunamis by 2030, investing in early warning systems and resilient infrastructure, will be vital to saving lives and economies, said the top UN official on disaster risks on Tuesday.

Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), laid out the benefit-cost ratio of building cities that will withstand increasingly frequent climate-related hazards, marking “World Tsunami Awareness Day”, designated by the UN General Assembly in 2015.  

Ms.  Mizutori told UN News in an interview, the for every dollar invested in prevention, most countries will reap four times the economic benefit, thus, “if we know how to make a society resilient, a hazard doesn’t necessarily have to become a disaster.” 

In the last century, Tsunamis have claimed more than a quarter of a million lives, killing on average, around 4,600 per event, over the course of  58 recorded instances, according to UN figures.  

The @UNDRR disaster risk reduction chief @HeadUNDRR Mami Mizutori, talks about the importance of investment, early warning systems, this

From our @UN news video team:

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Nearly 15 years on from the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, which killed nearly 230,000 people in 14 countries, the technology of early warning systems across the world’s oceans has improved, and as a result, many lives have been saved, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for the Day.  

However, “the risks remain immense” he added, and “it is clear from the growing economic losses over the last 20 years, that we have not yet fully learned the importance of disaster-proofing critical infrastructure.”  

Rising sea levels caused by the climate emergency may further exacerbate the destructive power of tsunamis, he said, coinciding with 680 million people living in low-lying coastal zones.  

Build to last 

A September report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) spotlighting global temperature increases, changes to the world’s water supply, and the overall scale of the climate emergency, revealed that extreme sea-level events are expected to hit once a year by 2050. 

“Can you think of one single country which is not really experiencing any disasters?” Ms.  Mizutori asked, speaking to UN News.  

With more people living in coastal areas, it will be increasingly important to be able to predict disasters before they strike, and when it comes to the havoc wreaked by tsunamis, seismographic and sea-level monitoring stations and strategic city building will be key to resisting the effects of a changing climate, she said.  

Knowing the signs of a looming tsunami has historically, been lifesaving. World Tsunami Awareness Day was the brainchild of Japan, which through bitter, repeated experience with tsunamis over the years, has built up expertise in early warning, and building cities to last.  

“Tsunamis” meaning “harbour waves” in Japanese, can’t be predicted, and often come with little warning, but earthquake and ocean activity observation can help those in danger buy time.  

Can you think of one single country which is not really experiencing any disasters?--UN disaster relief chief

During the 1854 Ansei earthquake in Japan, a farmer noticed a receding tide – one key sign of a looming tsunami. To warn villagers, he set fire to his entire rice harvest, and the people fled to safety on high ground. The earthquake foreshadowed a great tsunami which overtook present day Hirokawa Town, but the farmer’s actions spared hundreds of lives. 

On the day for tsunami awareness, the world honours that Japanese story of “Inamura-no-hi”, or “burning of the rice sheaves”, and aims to promote the sharing of innovative approaches to tsunami risk reduction.  

To mitigate disaster risks, UNDRR put forth a 15-year framework outlining seven clear targets to achieve substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, known as the Sendai Framework, adopted in Sendai, Japan, in 2015. 

In 2019, the Day promotes the Framework’s target to reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, including hospitals and schools.  

Around 90 per cent of disaster-related funding goes towards reconstruction and damage response, with only 10 per cent to prevention, Ms.  Mizutori said, “We have to find a way to change this 10-to-90 equation, it should be 90-10.”   

By 2040, $90 trillion will have been invested in protecting and building global infrastructure. To help ensure future cities are not overpowered by tsunami waves, “build where you should, don’t build where you shouldn’t. When you build, build to last, with measure for resilience”, Ms.  Mizutori stressed.  

In addition, ensuring people have access to early warning education will spare lives, while hazards inevitably “continue to attack”, she said.  

The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDEP) implementation of tsunami drills in the Asia-Pacific region is one such example of disaster risk communication and prevention.  

The initiative has so far involved 61,000 students, and 115 schools near the earthquake-prone “Pacific Ring of Fire”, home to more than 70 per cent of all tsunamis ever recorded.  

Speaking at a commemorative event for the Day at UN Headquarters in New York, President of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande,  explained that "over the past two decades, more than one quarter of a million people have lost their lives as a result of tsunamis. Today, we commemorate World Tsunami Awareness Day to remember these dear departed souls.

"To ensure that their loss was not in vain, today’s event serves as a call to action. I urge all Member States to adopt and implement disaster risk reduction strategies in order to safeguard future generations", he added. " I am confident that by striving together, we will succeed in delivering for all."


          

Nearly two million Cameroonians face humanitarian emergency: UNICEF

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INTERNATIONAL, 5 November 2019, Humanitarian Aid - Ongoing violence in Cameroon’s northwest and southwest has created a fast-growing humanitarian emergency now affecting some 1.9 million people, a “15-fold increase since 2017”, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.

In Geneva, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson, Marixie Mercado, explained that almost a million children were affected in the West African nation, which until a few years ago was among the most settled and peaceful in the region.

.@UNICEF and @UNOCHA spox brief the press on deteriorating humanitarian situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon.https://uni.cf/2POed4F
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Insecurity – and to a lesser degree, extremely poor road access – have left around 65 per cent of both regions out of bounds to aid workers, who’ve face increased attacks and risk being taken hostage.

“What began as a political crisis in the northwest and southwest regions is now a quickly deteriorating humanitarian emergency,” said Ms. Mercado, a reference to separatist clashes that began in late 2017, linked to alleged discrimination against the country’s English-speaking regions.

15-fold increase in needs since 2018

“Around 1.9 million people, about half of whom are children, are estimated to be in need, an increase of 80 per cent compared to 2018, and an almost 15-fold increase since 2017,” she insisted.

With security worsening in rural and urban areas, particularly in the northwest, UN humanitarian coordinating office, OCHA, insisted that human rights violations continue to be committed by both separatists and Government forces.

“Arbitrary arrest, burning of villages and indiscriminate killing of civilians are conducted with impunity,” it said in its latest situation report on Monday.

For a growing number of youngsters, the situation has deprived them of an education, with thousands of schools closed amid threats by separatists seeking leverage for a political solution to the crisis.

“Three years of violence and instability in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon have left more than 855,000 children out of school”, said Ms. Mercado.

Children ‘living in fear’

Thousands of youngsters “are living in fear”, she added.

In all, nine in 10 primary schools - more than 4,100 - and nearly eight in 10  secondary schools (744) remain closed, or non-operational, in the troubled northwest and southwest since the start of the school year in September.

“Fear of violence has kept parents from sending their children to school and teachers and staff from reporting to work”, the UNICEF official explained.

In a bid to help children who’ve been prevented from learning, community-run activities have been organized.

UNICEF has also purchased educational books and other learning materials for 37,000 school-aged children, as well as broadcasting literacy and numeracy lessons by radio.

Security fears continue to hamper the work of humanitarians however, with 529 recorded security incidents in the southwest and northwest since the beginning of the year, according to UNICEF.

Since August, this has meant that a growing number of aid organizations have faced hostage-taking and extortion situations, while five of the seven attacks against aid workers took place over the past two months.

“In the southwest region, access has improved slightly and we have been able to conduct more missions during the second quarter of the year compared to the first, and to reach places that haven’t been accessible for a year or more,” Ms. Mercado said.

Pupils face kidnapping on way to school

Condemning all attacks on aid workers and humanitarian supply teams, OCHA spokesperson, Jens Laerke, also highlighted the reported kidnapping of three schoolgirls last month.

“When armed groups like this kidnap students on the way to school that’s absolutely horrific and must be condemned.” 

The OCHA spokesperson noted that lack of funding continues to be a major issue in Cameroon, with the $299 million appeal for 2019 only 41 per cent funded.

In May, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomed the Government’s declared openness to work with the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, to seek effective solutions to the major human rights and humanitarian crises caused by the serious unrest and violence taking place in Cameroon.


          

UNICEF urges governments to repatriate thousands of foreign children stranded in northeast Syria

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INTERNATIONAL, 4 November 2019, Peace and Security - The head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is appealing for countries to repatriate scores of foreign children who are stranded in northeast Syria in the wake of the Turkish-launched offensive which began last month.

The agency estimates nearly 28,000 children from more than 60 countries remain trapped in the region, mostly in displacement camps. This includes almost 20,000 from Iraq.

“Children, whether in the northeast or elsewhere inside Syria, must not be abandoned while the walls of war close in around them”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement issued on Monday.

The UN agency reports that more than 80 per cent of the stranded foreign children in northeast Syria are under the age of 12, and half are under-fives.

Additionally, around 250 boys are being held in detention, though that number is likely to be higher. Some are as young as nine.

Many are born to suspected ISIL extremists, who were militarily defeated following the Kurdish-led and United States-backed operation to take back territory across the region. This left thousands of mostly women and children to be housed in often overcrowded camps administered by local Kurdish authorities, which have reportedly been destabilized by the Syrian offensive.

Ms. Fore said the escalation “brings a renewed urgency” for governments to repatriate children who qualify as citizens, before it is too late.

“All are living in conditions not fit for children.” She added. “Their main question to the world is: What will happen to us? These children urgently need adequate care and protection.”

The UNICEF chief reminded authorities of their responsibility “to do the right thing” and bring these children and their parents home where they can receive care and be safe from violence and abuse.

So far, at least 17 countries have repatriated more than 650 children who are now living with family members. UNICEF has supported the process by helping some of the youngsters to reintegrate into their extended families and communities.

However, Ms. Fore pointed out that these countries are the exception, rather than the norm.

“Our message to governments is unequivocal: The best interests of children should be a primary consideration at all times,” she said.

UNICEF remains concerned for the safety and well-being of the stranded foreign children and of thousands of their Syrian counterparts struggling to survive in camps and detention centres in the northeast.

The agency reports that around 40,000 Syrian children have been newly displaced across the region. Some have been separated from their families while others have been injured or disabled because of the violence.

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reported that 108,500 people, including 47,000 children, have been displaced since the fighting began on 9 October.  Most are living with host communities in Hasakeh, Raqqa and Deir Ezzour governorates, while 17,000 are in shelters.

OCHA said the violence compounds an already dire humanitarian situation as 1.8 million of the three million people in northeast Syria  were already in need of humanitarian assistance before this period.

The UN continues to urge all sides in the conflict to ensure that aid workers can safely  access all people in need.


          

Microplastics, microbeads and single-use plastics poisoning sea life and affecting humans

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INTERNATIONAL, 4 November 2019, SDGs - Each year, an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean – equivalent to a full garbage truck dumped into the sea every minute - the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Monday.

Between 60 to 90 per cent of the litter that accumulates on shorelines, the surface and the sea floor is made up of plastic. 

The most common items are cigarette butts, bags, and food and beverage containers. Consequently, marine litter harms over 800 marine species, 15 of which are endangered. And plastic consumed by marine species enters the human food chain through fish consumption. 

Alarmingly, in the last 20 years, the proliferation of microplastics, microbeads and single-use plastics have made this problem even more pronounced. 

Most people associate marine plastic pollution with what they can see along coastlines or floating on sea surfaces. But microplastics and microbeads pose a hidden challenge as they are out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. 

Clean Seas Campaign

“What’s in Your Bathroom?”, UNEP asked on Monday, as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the harm caused by plastics in personal care products and shifts that can be made to reduce plastic footprints.

Microplastics listed on cosmetic ingredients

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • Nylon
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) 
  • Polypropylene (PP)

UNEP launched the Clean Seas Campaign in 2017 to galvanize a global movement that tackles single-use plastics and microbeads. 

Now in its second phase, it is shining a light on specific aspects of marine litter, such as plastic pollution generated by the cosmetic industry.

Many consumers are not aware just how much plastic there may be in the personal care items they use daily on their faces and bodies. 

From the plastic in packaging to the under-5mm microplastics hidden within the products, including beads or glitter, they are designed to wash down the drain, travel through rivers and ultimately end up in the sea.

Microplastics are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment plants and attract waterborne toxins and bacteria that stick to their surfaces. Because they look like food, they are eaten by fish, amphibians, insect, larvae and marine animals as well as seabirds and other marine life, blocking digestive tracts and causing physical problems. 

In addition to endangering marine life, the health implications of microplastics on humans are not yet fully known, but considering their prevalence in clothes, food, water and cosmetics, are expected to be far reaching.

For the next week, UNEP is inviting consumers everywhere to examine products in their bathrooms  and switch out those with microplastics for safer alternatives. 


          

Far more needed to ‘confront the world’s climate emergency’, UN chief tells ASEAN Summit

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INTERNATIONAL, 3 November 2019, Climate Change - Four of the ten countries most affected by climate change are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Sunday, urging the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok to “confront the world’s climate emergency”.

“This region is highly vulnerable, particularly to rising sea-levels, with catastrophic consequences for low-lying communities, as recently published research illustrated”, he said, pointing out that 70 per cent of the global population most at risk of rising sea-levels are within ASEAN and other countries that will be represented at summits later this week. 

The UN chief has been a strong advocate for progress on carbon pricing, ensuring no new coal plants by 2020, and ending the allocation of trillions of taxpayer dollars for the fossil fuel subsidies that boost hurricanes, spread tropical diseases and heighten conflict.

“I am particularly worried about the future impact of the high number of new coal power plants still projected in some parts of the world, including several countries in East, South and South East Asia”, he asserted.

At the same time, Mr. Guterres maintained that developed countries “must fulfil their commitment” to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.  

To avoid climate catastrophe, the world must

  • Cut greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.
  • Reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • Limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. 

“I count on your leadership to undertake the concrete actions necessary to confront the world’s climate emergency”, Mr. Guterres underscored. 

No region immune

Noting a global phenomenon of rising trade and technology tensions, and unease and uncertainty amidst revised downward growth forecasts, Mr. Guterres spelled out: “No region is immune”.  

From to the to human rights, collaboration between the @UN and @ASEAN continues to grow stronger. Read @antonioguterres' full remarks on this vital and growing partnership: http://bit.ly/2WBf75U : @hsiehmingchi
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

And  he drew attention to rising US-China tensions as “another concern emerging on the horizon”,  fearing what he termed “a Great Fracture”, where the two world’s largest economies split the globe in half – each with its own “dominant currency, trade and financial rules…internet and artificial intelligence capacities, and its own zero sum geopolitical and military strategies”.

“We must do everything possible to avert this Great Fracture”, the UN chief stressed, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a world with strong multilateral institutions and a universal economy with respect for international law. 

Turning to economic development, Mr. Guterres spotlighted that the world is “far off track” in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

While ASEAN countries have lifted millions out of poverty, there are still people being left behind.

He pointed out the many complementarities between ASEAN’s Vision 2025 and the 2030 Development Agenda, saying that the UN stands ready to support the region in accelerating its progress, particularly through “our collective efforts on peace and justice, decent work and climate action” as well as in key human rights areas, such as freedom of expression and the right to a healthy environment. 

He also expressed concern over the situation in Myanmar and the plight of massive numbers of refugees . 

While welcoming ASEAN’s recent engagement with Rangoon, he flagged that it was ultimately Myanmar’s responsibility “to address the root causes and ensure a conducive environment for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees to Rakhine State”.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General urged everyone to keep building on the UN-ASEAN partnership “to ensure dignity and opportunity” for the people of the region and beyond.


          

UN Claims Hong Kong Blockchain Firm Is North Korean Laundering Sham

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United Nations committee accuses North Korea of using a Hong Kong blockchain firm as a front to launder funds


          

Hashtags, SMashtags

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“Standardize hashtags”- Ugh, here we go again. Another call for standardizing the use of hashtags during crisis. A report by the United Nations was just released, “Hashtag Standards For Emergencies”. Patrick Meier’s recent blog post provides excellent summary and background information on the report. But, I think they missed the boat, or at least one oar ...
          

Problematising the dominant discourse around children, youth and the internet

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Authored by: 

Organization: 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Introduction

This report is framed as a challenge to the dominant discourse on children online – a discourse that characterises children in online spaces as vulnerable victims rather than people with agency and risk-management capacity. The current discourse on child victimisation draws from 21st century human trafficking policy, which has generally taken an enforcement- and prosecution-driven approach to problems of exploitation. Global agendas against child exploitation have predominantly replicated anti-trafficking discourse, making assumptions about violence, risk and vulnerability online.

In this report, I will describe the dominant discourse on children online as one of victimisation, and then describe three common digital methods being used against child exploitation: text detection, image detection, and online sting operations. I argue that the discourse of victimisation does not actually uphold victim rights, and that in fact many predominant anti-exploitation methods threaten the privacy rights and sexuality rights of young people. Rights to privacy are in jeopardy as the dominant anti-exploitation approach relies on state enforcement and policing, following in the footsteps of older surveillance techniques by monitoring citizens’ internet behaviour and increasing government regulation of online traffic. Additionally, the sexuality rights of young people, while perhaps a controversial subject, are also fundamentally threatened by a dominant discourse that positions all children as victims and does not recognise the sexual agency of young people. Under the supposed goal of safety, many anti-exploitation measures by states have veered toward censorship, limiting young people’s access to all forms of sexual content online, including sexual identity, sexuality and reproductive health resources.

Recognising that problems of violence, sexual exploitation, misogyny and harassment online are very real, I conclude by imagining what a more feminist and sustainable approach to address these issues might look like. Dominant anti-exploitation efforts centralise technocratic expertise in the hands of states and large technology companies. I suggest an alternative approach that uses participatory ethnographic research and youth input to influence technology design that honours young people’s lived experiences and supports their already ongoing practices of risk management.

The dominant discourse of victimisation

Who gets to be a victim? Are children automatically assumed to be victims by dominant legislative agendas? Which children, and where? Such questions help us understand and critique the current global discourse on child exploitation and victimisation, which takes its cues from the soaring rise in attention to “trafficking” in the past few decades. Much of the language and ideology of the current anti-trafficking movement is rooted in the drafting process for what would become the UN protocol on human trafficking. Human trafficking is defined under the 2000 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish the Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception (…),” and expressly prohibits the trafficking of children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. 1 Feminist scholars 2 have noted that the protocol drafting process brought together a peculiar constellation of religious advocates, anti-prostitution feminist activists, bureaucrats, and law enforcement; the rubrics under which they found common agreement have resonance for current child exploitation policy. It is telling that the UN protocol on trafficking, one that had been suggested and discussed for years in various UN agencies, was eventually pushed through by the agency handling transnational drugs and crime control.

Perhaps the most striking point for agreement between these disparate advocacy groups is a shared ideology of punishment for trafficking as a crime. Bernstein 3 argues that, in constructing legislation for the criminalisation of trafficking, a conservative Christian sense of penalty and retribution met a second-wave feminist aim to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence and exploitation of women and girls. This shared ideology of “carceral feminism” advocates for state- and law enforcement-based solutions for addressing crimes of interpersonal violence and exploitation, and glosses over how many marginalised people are in fact often subjected to violence at the hands of the state itself, through structures of policing, environmental law, and economic policy. This point on structural violence and state violence is replicated, I argue, with online policies as well.

Many countries have used the protocol to model their own laws on trafficking, forced migration, labour exploitation and sexual exploitation, including vague definitions of “trafficking victim”, consent and migration. The United States' (US) domestic commitment, especially, to carceral paradigms of justice has expanded into similar policies abroad with state-based interventions into cases of trafficking, through practices of what Bernstein⁠ calls “militarized humanitarianism” – the US financing of enforcement-heavy policing and raids of brothels, settlements and urban spaces where cases of exploitation and trafficking have been purported. This point is perhaps best exemplified by the US State Department’s Trafficking In Persons Report, a country-by-country ranking of the US’s assessment of governmental efforts to prevent and prosecute trafficking. As Pardis Mahdavi notes, lower rankings correspond to sanctions or reductions in foreign aid.4 Additionally, “anti-trafficking” has become a hugely marketable and profitable awareness campaign for numerous activist groups, which use the images and metaphor of “modern-day slavery” to generate millions of dollars in foreign aid and donations. I argue, along with other feminist scholars, 5 that this new “abolitionist” movement has become another rationale for the neo-imperialist rescue of people in the global South, especially those identified as “prostitutes”, replicating a pattern of humanitarian intervention that has frequently been critiqued by post-colonial activists. The UN protocol title, for example, explicitly calls attention to “Especially Women and Children”, a phrasing that feminist activists have criticised as contributing to the assumption of the feminising of victimhood and the masculinising of rescue. Agustín 6 suggests that the specific focus on sex trafficking (as opposed to, for example, issues of education, poverty or environmental justice) in global South countries has produced its own veritable “rescue industry” of professionalised humanitarians, journalists, bureaucrats and corporate representatives seeking to stake their claim on anti-trafficking turf. Children’s charities, especially, many of which have been working on issues of youth education, nutrition, sexual health and child labour for decades, have begun switching their primary focus to trafficking and exploitation as a signal of their commitment to this latest humanitarian agenda.

Digital strategies against child exploitation

Additionally, most trafficking and exploitation policies do not explicitly deal with technology, and in this current moment software development far outpaces legislative policy. Abuses offline have their parallels online, and children’s advocacy organisations have taken to digital methods for finding and preventing child exploitation, including digital forensics, biometric software, and image detection technologies. In recent years, an unprecedented level of alliances have been forged between technology companies, researchers, activists and law enforcement strategising to detect cyber crime and to collect digital data as evidence. In addition, we have seen a rise in cross-border police partnerships, as virtual crimes often implicate multiple countries or anonymous locations in law enforcement attempts to locate victims, abusers and downloaders alike.

Three strategies for countering trafficking and exploitation online that I would like to highlight are:

Text and financial transaction detection:

    Data mining algorithms are designed and used in criminal investigations to rapidly search large databases. Text analysis can assist with analysing language patterns in online advertisements, for example to detect advertisements suggesting the offer of sexual services by under-age minors. Text detection can also assist police working with social media companies on existing investigations, to trawl through data for key phrases, dates and locations; and with financial transaction analysis, detecting potentially fraudulent transactions, as well as other indicators that may serve as evidence for prosecutions.

Image and video detection:

  • Image analysis – the detection, filtering, categorisation and recognition of digital photos – is a common tool in conducting anti-exploitation cases. Digital forensics tools automate the process of searching through photo data collected from computers and hard drives confiscated by police during investigations. Interpol manages the International Child Sexual Exploitation image database, 7 which can be used for image-matching with photos of missing children, victims, abusers and geographic locales. Other technologies can determine if images have been digitally altered or tampered with – for instance, converting an innocent image of a child edited into sexually explicit content. Image analysis can also identify images from surveillance systems.

Digital sting operations:

  • In the US, as well as other countries, undercover law enforcement “stings” have long been used to entrap potential child exploiters. However, in many parts of the world, stings are unlawful, and the data produced by sting operations are considered null evidence in courts. Recently, NGO Terre Des Hommes, based in the Netherlands, took the unprecedented step of designing a photo-realistic video avatar of a child to conduct video chats with potential exploiters on chat room sites. Dubbing the operation “Project Sweetie” 8,
  • the NGO claimed that over six months they collected the names and emails of 1,000 people who solicited the avatar. The campaign has been controversially received, with some lauding it as the innovative next step in preventing sexual exploitation of young people, and others raising alarms over privacy infringement issues.

Rights to privacy

My concern with these digital methods’ infringements on privacy rights echoes the protests by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation, 9 on the grounds of protecting free speech online and protecting online identities. Many of the innovative techniques that law enforcement must use for thorough digital investigations involve biometric surveillance and identification techniques on proprietary websites. Personal privacy online can be absolutely critical for political dissidents and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) activists, for example, seeking anonymity to avoid discrimination, harassment or punishment from repressive governments. These groups may see the denial of privacy as a form of political control, and use encrypted websites and email and other darkweb technologies for their own personal safety.

In addition, current digital strategies echo the dominant discourse on victimisation by failing to acknowledge and uphold children’s rights. Many have argued that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child applies to the internet space: children “shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.”10 Unfortunately, in the name of child safety, internet governance legislation and advocates in many countries have chosen to move in the direction of censoring children’s access to social media. While online censorship models vary between countries (e.g. the censorship of “adult pornography” websites where illegal), sometimes censorship may veer too far and limit children’s access to educational and communication sites.

Sexuality rights

Concerns over privacy rights and surveillance have strong implications for the upholding of sexual rights. As many ethnographic studies have demonstrated, young people already constantly experiment with new internet platforms for expressing sexuality and desire and conducting relationships. To deny these cultural practices in internet safety education is to deny the reality of healthy youth sexuality and forces sexual practices to become more “invisible” and out of the oversight of guardian communities. Heather Horst 11 describes how both US youth in the Digital Youth Project, 12 for example, and Indonesian teenagers in Barendregt 13 and Boellstorff’s 14 research, experimented and played with their online profile photos and identities in ways that they deemed sexy for their intended audiences, but expressed surprise and bewilderment that these photos could be accessed by people outside their peer groups. Horst indicates that what would be needed in these contexts would be greater education around privacy settings and filters so that youth can better conceptualise that internet sites are potentially permanent and accessible by multiple publics.

Rather than filter and block all content related to sex, sexuality and sexual interactions, internet safety measures must encourage age-appropriate explorations of sexuality for teenaged youth. Especially in countries where state policies limit access to resources and public spaces for LGBT youth, it is imperative that young people have access to digital chat rooms, forums and sites that ensure their safety, community building, and interpersonal growth. Research studies by both Hasinoff 15 and Gray 16 illustrate the perils of sexually repressive policies seeping into moral panics that limit the networking and relationship-building of marginalised youth. A victimisation model furthers the policing of youth sexuality, as young people are literally punished and criminalised for the distribution of sexually suggestive images. Panics over “sexting” stem from long-standing moral panics over youth sexuality – online or offline – and further the false narrative that young people are innocent, always already victims. A protective model is unsustainable, and ultimately furthers a culture of policing and repression.

Conclusion: Feminist technology design and resisting techno-panics

I am intrigued by the rapid and unprecedented rise in global alliances between law enforcement agencies and technology companies, as well as the forging of cross-border police partnerships, to design cyber crime detection software and to share data. But I am deeply concerned that the current model for anti-trafficking design centres technocratic expertise in the hands of wealthy states and multinational tech companies, at the exclusion of grassroots-level NGOs, activists and youth who have long been organising on issues of exploitation.

A feminist approach means moving toward youth-centric technologies that recognise different forms of expertise in producing sustainable models of safety. For example, Streetwise and Safe’s pathbreaking research report 17 on youth engaged in the sex trades provides deeply nuanced insight into young people’s own experiences with safety, consent, victimisation, empowerment and the police. The report is an exemplary resource for a feminist anti-trafficking technology able to recognise young people’s ongoing negotiations of risk and safety. The approach would use this knowledge to create technologies that can more sustainably and accurately – and powerfully – end abuse and exploitation.

A feminist design approach values all relevant forms of expertise and input in understanding what “sex trafficking” and “technology” mean in the lived experiences of young people; child protection services; sex workers aiming to end exploitation without punishing prostitution itself; survivors of trafficking, forced migration and human smuggling; and advocates for free speech and network neutrality and against censorship. A feminist design approach, emphasising harm reduction rather than policing, would be more effective because it takes into account the forms of structural violence – global poverty, rape culture, racism, labour exploitation, restrictive and dangerous immigration policies – that make online child exploitation and trafficking a reality in the first place.

The common narrative spun by many children’s advocacy organisations about child exploitation online frames the internet as a space of risk, vulnerability, harm and entrapment. The narrative usually goes like this: exploiters can use various digital platforms to locate, communicate with and groom victims; send text messages and email to conduct their affairs; use various financial transaction sites to conduct monetary exchanges; and trade and distribute photos and videos of trafficked or exploited victims. Such a narrative frames young people as the passive recipients of harm, rather than active agents who already engage in risk mitigation and rely on each other for support networks online. I urge child safety specialists to think through online safety in a pragmatic manner that respects the vast benefits and opportunities of internet connectivity and to avoid “techno-panics” by focusing instead on harm-reduction approaches to youth safety. Many global feminist internet activists have organised against misogynistic, homophobic and racist harassment online; government interpretations of these issues could certainly take note from this legacy of grassroots organising in addressing sexual exploitation and violence in the digital space. In a sense, online sex trafficking and exploitation only magnify existing structural violence and social inequities: Sustainable problem solving therefore means resisting a “quick-fix” technological solution to a problem that is so much more than digital.

References

1 United Nations General Assembly. (2000). Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. UN Doc. A/55/383 at 25. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XVIII-12-a&chapter=18&lang=en%7Ctitle=UNTC%7Cwork=un.org-title=UNTC-work=un.org

2 See, for example, Soderlund, G. (2005). Running from the rescuers: New U.S. crusades against sex trafficking and the rhetoric of abolition. NWSA Journal, 17(3), 64-87; Musto, J. (2009). What's in a name? Conflations and contradictions in contemporary U.S. discourses of human trafficking. Women's Studies International Forum, 32, 281-287; Bernstein, E. (2007). The Sexual Politics of the “New Abolitionism”. Differences: Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies,18(3), 128-151.

3 Bernstein, E. (2010). Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Anti-Trafficking Campaigns. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 36(1), 45-71.

4 Mahdavi, P. (2011). Gridlock: Labor, Migration, and Human Trafficking in Dubai. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

5 See, for example, Kempadoo, K., & Doezema, J. (1998). Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance, and Redefinition. New York: Psychology Press; Desyllas, M. C. (2007). A Critique of the Global Trafficking Discourse and U.S. Policy. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 34(4), 57-79.

6 Augustin, L. (2007). Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry. London: Zed Books.

7 www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Crimes-against-children/Internet-crimes

8 International Federation Terre Des Hommes. (2013). Stop Webcam Child Sex Tourism. www.terredeshommes.org/webcam-child-sex-tourism

9 For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU, and seven other privacy advocacy organisations issued a joint statement in June 2015 expressing concern with governmental facial recognition and face databases. Lynch, J. (2015, 16 June). EFF and Eight Other Privacy Organizations Back Out of NTIA Face Recognition Multi-Stakeholder Process. Electronic Frontier Foundation. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/06/eff-and-eight-other-privacy-organizations-back-out-ntia-face-recognition-multi

10 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

11 Horst, H. (n/d). Commentary on Bart Barendregt's Between m-governance and mobile anarchies: Pornoaski and the fear of new media in present day Indonesia. www.media-anthropology.net/horst_comment.pdf

12 Ito, M., et al. (2008). Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project. Chicago: MacArthur Foundation.

13 Barendregt, B. (2006). Between m-governance and mobile anarchies: Pornoaksi and the fear of new media in present day Indonesia. www.media-anthropology.net/barendregt_mgovernance.pdf.

14 Boellstorff, T. (2005). The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

15 Hasinoff, A. A.. (2014). Sexting Panic: Rethinking Crimininalisation, Privacy, and Consent. Champagne, IL: University of Illinois Press.

16 Gray, M. (2009). Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America. New York: NYU Press.

17 Dank, M., et al. (2015). Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex. New York: Urban Institute, with Streetwise and Safe NYC.

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A policy landscape of sexual orientation, gender identity and the internet

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A policy landscape of sexual orientation, gender identity and the internet

Introduction

Two groundbreaking advances in international human rights have been made in the last half decade, with recognition by intergovernmental bodies that human rights law applies equally to all persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI), and that human rights law is equally applicable online as offline. However, these achievements have not been without significant advocacy efforts by civil society. While internet rights are being increasingly integrated and addressed across the international human rights system, developments on SOGI have been laboured, politicised and isolated, with no state consensus. This report considers the trends, shifts and convergences in international policy making, using a geopolitical analysis.

A brief history

Sexual orientation and gender identity

Activists have been advocating for international recognition of SOGI-related rights as far back as the Beijing World Conference on Women in 1995,1 with concerted efforts to develop state awareness and recognition of the issues since a failed resolution on human rights and sexual orientation in 2003. 2 Brazil’s introduction, and later withdrawal, of a draft text was a catalyst for a number of civil society groups and activists working on sexuality and gender issues to communicate and coordinate more consistently to develop strategies to engage the UN human rights system on these issues. 3 This collective organising led to states delivering a series of joint statements at the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council (HRC) between 2005 and 2011; 4 increasing support for SOGI rights from a handful of countries to nearly half of the UN member states; and finally the adoption by the HRC of the first ever UN resolution on “human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity” in June 2011, 5 and the second in September 2014. 6

Internet rights

Although civil society has been involved in internet policy and governance spaces since the internet was created, the internet has only recently featured in international human rights policy development arenas. The impact of the internet on human rights was first recognised at the international level by an HRC resolution on freedom of expression in 2009. 7 Since then, the UN has adopted a number of resolutions developing international policy on this theme. In particular, the HRC adopted a resolution on “The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet” 8 in June 2012 with 85 state co-sponsors, which affirmed that the same human rights apply online as offline. The following year in November 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, 9 which was followed up by the HRC in March 2015 with a procedural resolution of the same title, creating a UN expert mechanism on the right to privacy. 10 Since the 2009 resolution on freedom of expression, a number of thematic UN resolutions have addressed internet rights. 11

Comparing intersectional recognition

While internet rights concerns have effectively been mainstreamed into initiatives dealing with other human rights issues, sexual orientation and gender identity remain isolated from relevant state-negotiated human rights documents. 12

Internet rights have been recognised by consensus in a number of intergovernmental policy documents, such as resolutions on freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association and assembly, and the safety of journalists. 13 The use of the internet and other forms of technology in propagating harassment and violence against women has been acknowledged by the Commission on the Status of Women 14 – the primary UN political body tasked with women’s rights issues – and by the General Assembly in a resolution on protecting women human rights defenders. 15

Conversely, there is a huge struggle to include any language that might be associated with SOGI in any government-negotiated documents at the international level, with such language overwhelmingly negotiated out of draft texts or put to a vote. For example, even the word “gender” has become controversial because some governments insist that gender can only denote biological sex, refusing to accept the concept of gender as a social construct or to recognise identities beyond the male-female binary. 16

As a result, where SOGI language has been included in negotiated documents, it has been so virtually in isolation from intersecting fields, such as violence or discrimination against women or the protection of human rights defenders. The only UN human rights resolution to date referencing SOGI, apart from the HRC SOGI resolution itself, is the biennial General Assembly resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. While the strong opposition to recognising SOGI-related rights means the discussion is reduced to violence and discrimination (the areas that have a possibility of gaining consensus), the reference in the “killings” resolution is nonetheless hotly contested each time, with attempts to vote the language out of the resolution during the final adoption process.17

Despite the fact that a broad number of thematic and country-specific UN human rights experts regularly report a vast array of infringements of the rights of LGBTI persons,18 in social and economic rights as well as civil and political rights, the political bodies have so far failed to take the intersectional approach that has been an attribute of developments on internet rights.

Politics of sexual orientation and gender identity rights

International intergovernmental debate on SOGI is a delicate matter, and unfortunately plays out in ways that are politically divisive and strategically counterproductive. Although there is a slow but steady increase in support for these issues from states from all regions, they are still perceived as primarily Western priorities despite the fact that the first UN SOGI resolution was tabled by South Africa and Brazil, and the second by Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay.

This is partly because Western states have styled themselves as international leaders on SOGI, critiquing discriminatory laws and practices outside of their regional group, and is compounded by certain Western states using aid conditionality to apply pressure on ex-colonies to repeal colonial-era criminal provisions on same-sex relations. 19

These practices have created a “West versus the rest” dynamic which contributes to the geopolitical polarisation on gender and sexuality-related rights that is reflected at the international level, and alienates potential support from those states that are open to discussing SOGI-related rights, but are opposed to Western hegemony on the international stage.

The politicisation of SOGI plays out in intergovernmental human rights policy development spaces such as the HRC in divisive and regressive ways. Firstly we have seen a division of state positions, generally along lines of regional and political blocs. 20 Traditionally this has been Western and most Latin American states supporting SOGI issues, opposed by Russia, the Vatican, most of the African Group and members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). States within these groups that have dared to support SOGI issues have faced harsh censure from their peers. 21

Secondly, concepts such as cultural relativity, traditional values and protection of the family have been introduced and manipulated in these spaces, primarily by the religious right wing – the OIC, the Vatican, Russia, and conservative groups such as the UN Family Rights Caucus.22 Since 2009 the HRC has adopted various documents undermining the universality of rights, including three resolutions on “traditional values” and two on “protection of the family”. 23 In general, the support and opposition for these initiatives has been in line with positions against and for SOGI-related language respectively.

The politicisation of sexuality rights in international forums means that foreign policy is often at odds with national-level standards and developments, particularly on rights relating to gender identity. For example, some Western states, such as Belgium, France, Norway and Switzerland, present themselves as champions of LGBT rights in international debates while requiring transgender people to undergo sterilisation in order to legally change their gender, 24 a policy that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be a violation of the rights to privacy and family life. 25 Conversely, some states that have culturally established and documented forms of gender diversity 26 – and in the case of Pakistan leading case law recognising the rights of hijras27 – claim that such diversity is contrary to their cultural, moral or religious values when it comes to international debate. 28 This is a terrible contradiction of domestic reality and foreign policy.

State positions on SOGI in the international bodies have almost become a symbolic representation of one side versus another in the greater struggle for a new world order that replaces Western hegemony. Sadly, this positioning is to the detriment of human rights, including through the development of international legal norms and standards that exclude LGBTIQ persons.

Politics of internet rights

In comparison to the tumultuous international debates on SOGI, internet rights policy has been developing relatively smoothly, with consensus resolutions and references in the UN General Assembly, the HRC and the Commission on the Status of Women. This is not to suggest that states unanimously respect or support internet-related rights, but that opposition is more nuanced and complex than the open hostility that some governments express on SOGI.

While there does indeed appear to be international consensus on the issue of access to technology, a customary division of state positions on other issues such as freedom of expression remains unchanged in how states see their validity online or offline. During the HRC plenary panel on freedom of expression on the internet in 2012, China called on the international community to promote internet access in developing countries while also stating that freedom of expression could undermine social stability and national security.29 Cuba has both expressed concern about issues of access to information and communications technology (ICT) and lamented the United States (US) monopoly of the internet. 30

Furthermore, the geopolitical divide over internet rights is not as clear-cut as it is on SOGI issues. When Edward Snowden leaked classified information from the US National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013, the US was in the unusual position of being criticised by many of its peers in the West.31

Indeed, states from all regions have relished the opportunity to criticise the US in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Although not explicitly critical of US policy, pre-existing anti-US sentiment meant that the resolutions on the right to privacy in the digital age quickly garnered support amongst states such as North Korea, 32 Russia, Cuba and China. 33 Consequently, it could be argued that a politicisation of internet rights issues has been to the benefit of consensus-building on international human rights policy development on these issues.

SOGI versus internet rights policy

As SOGI language is a notorious key to destroying consensus in government negotiations, states have used sexual orientation references as a bargaining chip to block or undermine developments that they oppose.

For example, sexual orientation language was used by Western states to bargain against references to the “defamation of religions” in international discussions on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, both during the Durban Review Conference in 2009 and in follow-up meetings and negotiations. 34

This highly questionable tactic arose in discussions on internet rights in negotiations on a resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age at the UN General Assembly in 2013, when a key ally of the US proposed including a reference to sexual orientation. Some of the Five Eyes 35 countries readily supported the proposed language, while other states that were supportive of the resolution theme objected, knowing they would not be able to join consensus on a text that contained sexual orientation language. This was understood to be a strategy to break consensus on an issue that those states implicated in the revelations of deep breaches of privacy rights could not otherwise break without admitting that they did not support the key message of the resolution.

As the Five Eyes countries were openly attempting to water down the text of the privacy resolution, 36 it seemed likely that sexual orientation language was actually being introduced in order to polarise state positions on the text as a whole, and potentially lead to a vote. In effect, the US and its allies pitted sexual orientation against the right to privacy in a failed attempt to undermine international condemnation of and action on the infringement of rights that is mass surveillance.

Moving towards an intersectional approach

Although SOGI and internet rights have developed independently from one another at the international level, the slow increase in state support for SOGI-related rights in international human rights bodies, and the increasing attention being given to internet rights in a number of different thematic resolutions, means that the UN could constructively address their intersection in the near future.

The prevailing geopolitical divide is likely to continue to obstruct the inclusion of SOGI in UN resolutions. However, with internet rights being addressed in a number of negotiated thematic texts, it is not unreasonable to suggest that relevant issues could be included in a future substantive resolution on SOGI.

Furthermore, the HRC resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age mandated the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. The Special Procedures mechanisms 37 have been key allies in raising violations of the rights of LGBTIQ persons across a broad section of thematic and country-specific mandates. A recent report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the HRC highlighted how encryption and anonymity in digital communications enable persons persecuted because of sexual orientation or gender identity to exercise the right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as providing, for some, the only way to securely explore basic aspects of identity such as one’s gender or sexuality. 38

The new Special Procedures mandate has been tasked to look at the right to privacy, “including in connection with” (i.e. but not limited to) the challenges arising from new technologies. Many SOGI rights issues clearly fall under the mandate focus on privacy. It will remain to be seen whether the Rapporteur chooses to address human rights concerns relating to LGBTIQ persons in the execution of the mandate.

Conclusion

With a number of consensus resolutions and documents addressing internet rights, and the creation of an expert mandate on the right to privacy, it is safe to conclude that these issues are now firmly on the UN agenda, and will continue to be mainstreamed into the work of the HRC. Meanwhile, SOGI rights remain segregated with no regular or institutionalised attention to ongoing violations. It will likely remain extremely difficult to get states to consider the human rights of LGBTIQ persons on their substantial merit as long as SOGI continues to be politicised and manipulated by both supportive states and the opposition. The new expert mechanism on the right to privacy could see these two issues being addressed concurrently and with an intersectional analysis for the first time. It remains to be seen whether intergovernmental debate will mature beyond political strife to welcome such an analysis.

References

1 See, for example, Ditsie, P. B. (1995). Statement delivered by Palesa Beverley Ditsie of South Africa, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, 13 September. www.un.org/esa/gopher-data/conf/fwcw/conf/ngo/13123944.txt and Wilson, A. (1996). Lesbian Visibility and Sexual Rights at Beijing. Signs, 22(1). fds.duke.edu/db/attachment/409

2 In 2003 Brazil unexpectedly introduced a draft text on sexual orientation to the former UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolution faced strong opposition, which led to it being deferred by a year and later withdrawn from consideration.

3 ARC International. (2004). International Dialogue on Gender, Sexuality & Human Rights: Final report. Geneva: ARC International. arc-international.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/International-Dialogue-Report-Geneva-2004.doc

4 ARC International. (2011). LGBT Rights at the UN: A brief overview. Geneva: ARC International. arc-international.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/LGBT-Rights-at-the-UN.pdf

5 A/HRC/RES/17/19. (2011). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/17/19

6 A/HRC/RES/27/32. (2014). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/27/32

7 A/HRC/RES/12/16. (2009). ap.ohchr.org/documents/sdpage_e.aspx?b=10&se=100&t=11

8 A/HRC/RES/20/8. (2012). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/20/8

9 A/RES/68/167. (2013). www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/167

10 A/HRC/RES/28/16. (2015). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/28/16

11 See, for example, A/HRC/RES/21/16, The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (2012). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/21/16; A/HRC/RES/23/2, The role of freedom of opinion and expression in women’s empowerment. (2013). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/23/2; A/HRC/RES/24/5, The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. (2013). ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/24/5; A/RES/68/163, The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. (2013). www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/163; A/RES/68/181, Promotion of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: protecting women human rights defenders. (2013). www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/181; and A/RES/69/166, The right to privacy in the digital age. (2014). www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/69/166

12 While this paper examines how these issues have progressed in intergovernmental spaces, it is important to note that infringements on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons are consistently raised by UN human rights expert mechanisms, such as the Special Procedures, treaty monitoring bodies, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, across a broad number of thematic and country specific reports. See for example: www.icj.org/sogi-un-database

13 See footnote 10.

14 CSW agreed conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. (2013). Para. 34(ww). www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw57/CSW57_Agreed_Conclusions_%28CSW_report_excerpt%29.pdf

15

A/RES/68/181. (2013). www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/181

16 See, for example, Adolphe, J. (2012). 'Gender' Wars at the United Nations. Ave Maria Law Review, 11(1). papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2232495

17 ISHR et al. (2012, 22 November). Governments Condemn Extrajudicial Executions in Seminal UN Vote. International Service for Human Rights. www.ishr.ch/news/governments-condemn-extrajudicial-executions-seminal-un-vote; ISHR. (2012, 20 November). UN General Assembly: Rights groups welcome condemnation of killing of LGBT persons. International Service for Human Rights. www.ishr.ch/news/un-general-assembly-rights-groups-welcome-condemnation-killing-lgbt-persons

18 This report primarily uses the language of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”, which have been acknowledged by the intergovernmental bodies, but also refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons using the relevant acronyms LGBT, LGBTI or LGBTIQ, depending on the particular context. For example, while activists and human rights defenders might use the language of Queer rights, this term has not been taken up by the UN, but the UN does recognise and use L,G,B,T and I. Other language yet to be referenced in UN negotiated documents includes “gender expression” and “bodily integrity”.

19 Abolafia Anguita, L. (2012, 9 March). Aid conditionality and respect for LGBT people rights. Sexuality Policy Watch. sxpolitics.org/we-recommend-134/7369

20 UN member states are divided into five regional groups: the African Group, Asia-Pacific Group, Eastern European Group, Latin America and the Caribbean Group, and Western European and Others Group. There are also a number of additional political blocs and affiliations of states and sub-regional blocs that form collective positions on issues, such as the Arab Group, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mercosur, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the European Union (EU), etc.

21 For example, South Africa and Mauritius were publicly denigrated by Nigeria, the then coordinator of the African Group, for their leadership on and support for the first UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in 2011.

22 www.unfamilyrightscaucus.org/un-initiatives/statements-activities

23 Resolutions on “traditional values”: A/HRC/RES/12/21 (2009); A/HRC/RES/16/3 (2011); A/HRC/RES/21/3 (2012); on “protection of the family”: A/HRC/RES/26/11 (2014); A/HRC/RES/29/22 (2015).

24 Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT), Legal and Social Mapping: www.transrespect-transphobia.org/en_US/mapping.htm

25 European Court of Human Rights. (2015, 10 March). Refusal to authorise transsexual to have access to gender reassignment surgery breached right to respect for private life. (Press release.) hudoc.echr.coe.int/webservices/content/pdf/003-5032376-6183620

26 See, for example, Jain, D., & Rhoten, K. (2013, 28 December). A Comparison of the Legal Rights of Gender Non-Conforming Persons in South Asia. Economic & Political Weekly. www.academia.edu/11810587/A_Comparison_of_the_Legal_Rights_of_Gender_Non-Conforming_Persons_in_South_Asia

27 Khaki v. Rawalpindi, Supreme Court of Pakistan (12 December 2009).

28 See, for example: United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). (2011, 17 June). Council establishes mandate on Côte d’Ivoire, adopts protocol to child rights treaty, requests study on discrimination and sexual orientation. unog.ch/unog/website/news_media_archive.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/C125763C00590FD6C12578B2004B0A50?OpenDocument; UNOG. (2012, 7 March). Human Rights Council holds panel discussion on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. unog.ch/unog/website/news_media_archive.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/C125763C00590FD6C12579BA004DFE81?OpenDocument; UNOG. (2014, 26 September). Human Rights Council adopts resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity and concludes twenty-seventh session. unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/24F74BA2FCAB79CDC1257D5F0063A227?OpenDocument; UNOG. (2015, 22 June). Human Rights Council holds general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights. unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/C85AF94F13C23F94C1257E6C0059B456?OpenDocument

29 UNOG. (2012, 29 February). Human Rights Council holds panel discussion on the promotion and protection of freedom of expression on the internet. unog.ch/unog/website/news_media_archive.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/C125763C00590FD6C12579B300535CC6?OpenDocument

30 Ibid.

31 MacAskill, E., & Borger, J. (2013, 30 June). New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies. The Guardian. www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/30/nsa-leaks-us-bugging-european-allies

32 United Nations. (2013, 26 November). Third Committee Approves Text Titled ‘Right to Privacy in the Digital Age’, as It Takes Action on 18 Draft Resolutions. www.un.org/press/en/2013/gashc4094.doc.htm

33 UNOG. (2015, 26 March). Human Rights Council creates mandate of Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy. unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/4CA5769DF702C0CCC1257E14005F5F4B?OpenDocument

34 See, for example, ISHR. (2009, 4 November). Stalemate at the Ad Hoc Committee on complementary standards. International Service for Human Rights. www.ishr.ch/news/stalemate-ad-hoc-committee-complementary-standards

35https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes

36 MacAskill, E., & Ball, J. (2013, 21 November). UN surveillance resolution goes ahead despite attempts to dilute language. The Guardian. www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/21/un-surveillance-resolution-us-uk-dilute-language

37 The UN Special Procedures are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. Special procedures are either an individual (called "Special Rapporteur" or "Independent Expert") or a working group composed of five members.

38 A/HRC/29/32. (2015). Paras 1 & 12. www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session29/Documents/A.HRC.29.32_AEV.doc

Themes: 


          

UN calls for action as Somalia floods affect 200,0000 children

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At least 200,000 children are among more than half a million people affected by flooding in Somalia, the United Nations children agency said, calling for decisive action to help those at risk of malnutrition and disease outbreak. In a statement on Tuesday, UNICEF said thousands of families are livin...
          

UNRWA chief steps down after internal ethics probe

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The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees has resigned amid an internal probe into alleged mismanagement and ethical abuses at the organization, the United Nations said Wednesday.
          

Senior Android Mobile Developer

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Senior Android Mobile Developer Raleigh, NC, US Requisition Number: 75060 We are Insight. As a Fortune 500-ranked global provider of digital innovation, cloud/data center transformation, connected workforce, and supply chain optimization solutions and services, we help clients successfully manage their IT today while transforming for tomorrow. From IT strategy and design to implementation and management, our employees help clients innovate and optimize their operations to run smarter. * Microsoft Worldwide AI Partner of the Year, 2018 * Microsoft Worldwide Modern Desktop Partner of the Year, 2018 * Microsoft US Partner Award for Intelligent Cloud - Application Innovation, 2019 * Microsoft US Azure Team Partner Choice Award - Data and Artificial Intelligence, 2019 Our Insight Digital Innovation team is searching for an experienced, passionate and professional Senior Android Developer to join our team. What Our Mobile Android Developers Do * Develop and design custom applications for Android * Participate in and contribute to all phases of the SDLC * Have a passion for learning and staying updated on emerging trends and technologies * Become a partner and trusted advisor to clients, advising on best-fit technologies and best practices * Work with our Mobile UX Designers to deliver exceptional user experiences What We Look For in our Mobile Developers * Hands-on experience delivering custom mobile solutions * Working knowledge of one or more key solution technologies including Swift, Objective-C, Kotlin, Xamarin, Java, C#, JavaScript, JQuery Mobile, PhoneGap, Web services, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Unity, and Agile * Experience delivering solutions using industry standard SDLC methodologies * Fundamental understanding of object-oriented concepts and design patterns * Excellent communication and interpersonal skills What can Insight offer? * Flex Hours * Remote Work * No Formal Dress Code * Leadership from great Mentors * Unlimited Vacation * Pay for Training * Startup Atmosphere * and tons of other great Perks! Today, every business is a technology business. Insight Enterprises, Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions and services to maximize the business value of IT. We have created a team-oriented environment with quality people, career advancement opportunities, great work/life balance and an excellent compensation and benefits package. Our people appreciate that they represent a brand that is invested in growing local relationships while working globally and doing what is right for our co-workers and clients. We are high on supporting each other and hiring/developing the best technical professionals in the industry. These are some of the reasons why we are often selected as a Best Places to Work award winner in the cities where we work. Discover more at insight.comor just APPLY! The position described above provides a summary of some the job duties required and what it would be like to work at Insight. For a comprehensive list of physical demands and work environment for this position, click here. Today, every business is a technology business. Insight Enterprises, Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions and services to maximize the business value of IT. As a Fortune 500-ranked global provider of digital innovation, cloud/data center transformation, connected workforce, and supply chain optimization solutions and services, we help clients successfully manage their IT today while transforming for tomorrow. From IT strategy and design to implementation and management, our 6,800 employees help clients innovate and optimize their operations to run smarter. Discover more at ***********. * Founded in 1988 in Tempe, Arizona * 7,400+ teammates in 19 countries providing Intelligent Technology Solutions for organizations across the globe * $7.1 billion in revenue in 2018 * Ranked #417 on the 2018 Fortune 500, #12 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500 * 2018 Dell EMC Server Partner of the Year, 2018 Intel Retail Solution Partner of the Year, 2018 Microsoft Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Partner of the Year * Ranked #23 on the 2019 Fortune 50 Best Workplaces in Technology and #5 on the Phoenix Business Journal 2018 list of Best Places to Work (Extra Large Business) * Signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and Affiliate Member of the Responsible Business Alliance Today's talent leads tomorrow's success. Learn about careers at Insight: ****************. #LI-CS Insight is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. Posting Notes: Raleigh -- North Carolina (US-NC) -- United States (US) -- None -- None -- US - Raleigh, NC -- Nearest Major Market: Raleigh Job Segment: Developer, Supply, Java, Information Technology, Programmer, Technology, Operations
          

Database Administrator (Raiser-s Edge)

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Employer Fistula Foundation Location San Jose, California Posted Oct 22, 2019 Closes Nov 21, 2019 Job Function Development / Fundraising Focus Areas Philanthropy / Social Responsibility Position Type Full Time You need to sign in or create an account to save About Fistula Foundation: An estimated one million women in Africa and Asia suffer from obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that leaves a woman incontinent. As a result, she is often abandoned by her family and shunned by her community. We are in business to end this needless suffering. Surgery is the only cure, which we deliver through partners in more than 20 countries. Over the last decade, we have emerged as the global leader in fistula treatment, treating more women in more places that even the United Nations or the US government. We are raising 4 times as much money as we were a decade ago and treating 15 times as many women. But, we are far from done and we are building a team to help us end fistula in a generation. True to our Silicon Valley roots, Fistula Foundation is dynamic and growth-oriented. We pride ourselves on being run like a successful, financially disciplined, for-profit organization; the big difference is our bottom line is measured not in earnings per share or profit, but in the number of women we are able to help. It also means that we lean into technology and the efficiencies it brings, enabling us to do more with fewer resources. Fistula Foundation is committed to delivering results and aspires to the values of the Effective Altruism movement. We have the dynamism of a start-up team with the stability of a mature organization, including a $14M reserve, which includes a nearly $8M endowment. Our supporters love to share stories about how we've touched their lives, as seen in more than 600 stories on *******************. We have 13 years of 4-star Charity Navigator ratings, along with a consistent A from Charity Watch. And, we have earned the recognition of high-profile leaders including Pulitzer-Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, Grammy winner Paul Simon, and internationally renowned ethicist Peter Singer. The Opportunity Fistula Foundation is looking for an outstanding Raiser's Edge Database Administrator for the critical role of maintaining our donor database and tracking all donations for the development department. Working closely with the Senior Development Manager, the RE Database Administrator will be responsible for the performance, integrity, and security of the database. This position will be involved in the planning, development, and implementation of the database as the donor base grows. As well as responsible for troubleshooting issues on behalf of the user and inputting quality data. The DA will be a vital part of our team that provides excellent customer service internally. Key Responsibilities Act as Raiser's Edge Database Administrator for the organization. Manage Raiser's Edge donor database, including maintenance, user accounts, global changes, gift entry, reporting, queries, and data cleanup projects with the goal of providing current, consistent and accurate data. Develop and deliver clear and accurate reporting and tracking vehicles and instructions for reports, gift entry, dashboards and data extracts. Create, implement, and keep up-to-date our Standard Operating Procedures for entry and reporting, ensuring all entries conform to these procedures. Produce all lists from Raiser's Edge for mailings such as emails, newsletters, direct mail pieces, stewardship mailings, etc. Process and track all incoming donations and pledges. Develop, run and review timely donor reporting audits to ensure accurate gift entry and acknowledgment. Conduct a weekly reconciliation between bank deposits and gifts recorded in Raiser's Edge. Post to Financial Edge. Reconcile and close monthly development financials on time. Work with other team members to ensure daily gift entry responsibilities are completed. Work with spreadsheet, database, and word processing software packages in the preparation of requested documents. Provide additional administrative support to the Fistula Foundation team as needed, including assisting with hand signing, folding, and stuffing of donor thank you letters and other outgoing mail projects. Ideal Candidate 3-5 years of experience in Raiser's Edge, preferably as an administrator in a nonprofit fundraising environment. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Excel, and a demonstrated ability to perform mail-merge functions. Fast study of other technology platforms. Passion for non-profit, donor service and international development and a commitment to advancing the status of women around the world. Able to quickly and positively react to new opportunities as they arise while managing existing and competing priorities. Excellent record keeping, writing, communications, and interpersonal skills. Able to work independently, but skilled at considering the needs and time constraints of multiple stakeholders for projects that will involve working across teams. Our Team Our team prioritizes initiative, productivity, and teamwork. We celebrate the successes of our team and our partners. We value creativity and passion for our mission while encouraging our teammates to live healthy lives. We offer a generous, comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, a 403b match, and a significant vacation plan that begins in Year 1. We offer a competitive salary with the potential for performance-based bonuses and opportunities for advancement. We are proud of our supportive office culture, including gym memberships, fruit delivery, and a dog-friendly environment. To : Please submit a thoughtful cover letter with salary expectations and resume to: Kimberly Adinolfi at ******************************. Resumes submitted without a cover letter will not be considered. Thank you. Social share Similar jobs Institutional Grants Associate San Francisco, California Salary: $48,000.00 - 52,000.00 Salary Non-Exempt United Way Bay Area 2 days ago You need to sign in or create an account to save Development Director, Bike MS (NAT3488) San Francisco, California National MS Society 3 days left You need to sign in or create an account to save Development Database Associate 1401 Los Gamos Drive, San Rafael, California 94903 $22.00 - $24.00 per hour + benefits Buckelew Programs 15 days ago You need to sign in or create an account to save More searches like this Development / Fundraising Philanthropy / Social Responsibility Full Time jobs in San Jose Similar jobs Institutional Grants Associate San Francisco, California Salary: $48,000.00 - 52,000.00 Salary Non-Exempt United Way Bay Area 2 days ago You need to sign in or create an account to save Development Director, Bike MS (NAT3488) San Francisco, California National MS Society 3 days left You need to sign in or create an account to save Development Database Associate 1401 Los Gamos Drive, San Rafael, California 94903 $22.00 - $24.00 per hour + benefits Buckelew Programs 15 days ago You need to sign in or create an account to save
          

C1149 Neds Creek Flood Mitigation

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RFx ID: 21907805
Organisation: Tasman District Council
Open date: Thursday, 7 November 2019 3:30 PM +13:00
Close date: Wednesday, 4 December 2019 4:00 PM +13:00
Categories: The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC)
Region: New Zealand
Overview: The Principal Tasman District Council is inviting tenders for Contract 1149 Neds Creek Flood Mitigation, Murchison.

The scope of the work is to cut, transport, place and compact fill into the stopbank structure, shape and trim the banks, and reinstate the area.

The work is fully described in the attached tender document, and key items of work are:
- Construction of the contract works true to line, level and specification as described in the drawings and specifications appended.
- Supply of all materials, plant and labour required to complete the contract works
- Management of the site, ensuring compliance with Health & Safety, Environmental, Resource Consent, and contractual requirements.
- Management of affected parties in co-ordination with Tasman District Council staff
- Provision of necessary testing and certification of the works, in accordance with the specification.
- Reinstatement of the site following completion of the works.

          

YOGYAKARTA, MOUNT MERAPI AND THE LAST DAY IN THE OFFICE

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 Epic centre 2006. Source: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources

YOGYAKARTA, MOUNT MERAPI AND THE LAST DAY IN THE OFFICE
By: Neneng Tarigan.

I have already decided in mind that the last day I serve my office as a civil servant, I have to go to one of my most favorite place in Indonesia, Yogyakarta. I love this city because people in the city are very committed with their cultural value that is a real Javanese culture. This city is not only best known as always keeping up the Javanese tradition but also as “the City of Student” or “Kota Pelajar”. Many students from all over Indonesia studied and graduated from various universities here such as from Gajah Mada University, Islam University of Indonesia Sunan Kalijaga, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Christian University Duta Wacana, ASRI or the Academy of Fine Arts just few examples of reputable Indonesian Higher Education institutes here around. Many intellectuals, researchers, professors as well as foreign students graduated or at least join a further studies in Yogyakarta, most popular subject among others are: cultural, arts, medical, law and agriculture.

People here live very peacefully and governed by a Sultan as the Governor of Yogyakarta Special Region; the recent one is Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. 

Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and Prince Charles. Source: Momolamen.com


The city or Yogyakarta existed since 1755, after the division of Mataram Kingdom into the Sultanate of Yogyakarta and the Sultanate of Surakarta (Solo). Yogyakarta is geographically located in between three most important international gateways of Indonesia, Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar (Bali). The four cities are well connected by various kind of transportation such as bus, train, air plane from and to almost all air ports of Indonesia. Chartered and scheduled flights from foreign countries could also landed at Yogyakarta airport Adi Sutjipto. Yogyakarta is also the only big city in Indonesia, which still has traditional Becak (rickshaw-style) as its public transportation and these kind of transportation facilities, including foods and hotels are available at a very reasonable price and that attract people from all over Indonesia and overseas to come and spend longer time in Yogyakarta rather than other cities in Indonesia. 

The demonstrators and the becaks.
The key attraction of Yogyakarta is Kraton (the Sultanate Palace). It is the center of Yogya's traditional life and despite the advance of modernity; it still emanates the spirit of refinement, which has been the hallmark of Yogya's art for centuries. This vast complex of decaying buildings was built in the 18th century, and is actually a walled city within the city with luxurious pavilions and in which the current Sultan still resides.
The Keraton
The average daily temperature of Yogyakarta range between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius with its maximum 35 degrees. Average humidity is 74% or range between 65% and 84%. Yogyakarta has a tropical climate with only two seasons, that is rainy and dry. Usually the wet season begin in September to April, and the dry season begin from end of April till end of August. The monthly rain falls in Yogyakarta varies between 3mm and 496mm in which those above 300mm take place during the month of January up to April. The heaviest rainfall usually occurs in February while the lowest commonly happens between May and October. Average annually rainfall is about 1,900mm.
Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Special Region) is one of Indonesia's 33 provinces; and one of the most densely populated area of Indonesia. This region is located at the edge of an active volcanic mountain, Mount Merapi that had been erupted several times. The biggest eruption was in 1672, killed about 3,000 people, the following eruption in 1997 and 2001 no casualties were recorded, however eruption in 2006 claimed to kill 2 people and the current eruption that still occurs from October up to November 2010 had taken life of 37 people including the key holder of Mount Merapi, Mbah Maridjan.
There was a mystical story about the key holder of Merapi, Mbah Maridjan or grandpa Maridjan. He was entrusted by The Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX (the father of the current Sultan Hamengku Buwono X) to watch over the volcano's spirits, dispatching his assistant to go to the crater and remind people about when and what the spirit of Mount Merapi wants. According to the Javanese traditional believe, the Sultan himself should maintain the harmony between the Merapi, the Keraton and the Southern Sea. In that order the Sultan has to assigned the Merapi and the Southern Sea Watcher respectively and marry with the Queen of Southern Sea (Ratu Roro Kidul) and regularly serve an offering (“Sesajen” consisted of foods, flowers etc) to the crater of Merapi, so that his people will live in peace and bless with foods and all kind of necessities (usually agricultural products) from the fertilize Merapi soil. But the current Sultan is a very modern Sultan and a devoted Islam. He is a monogamous and has no concubine (selir) although this is allowed and a bit compulsory in Javanese royal tradition to have concubines. He keeps up the Javanese tradition on the offerings, but I hardly believe that he keeps the tradition of marrying the Ratu Roro Kidul or do the offering as to worshiping the Mount Merapi. He did that just to keep the tradition alive but at the same time gradually build the awareness of his people that this dogma is not a Religion. Besides of that not all of his people are Islam, some still hold the Javanese Believe the so called Aliran Kepercayaan or A Stream Believer that is very close to the believe of Javanese tradition; and some of course hold other religions such as Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, etc.
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hemas. Source: Solopos.com

As a modern Sultan it is obvious that the Sultan Hamengku Buwono X relied more on the seismologists prediction about Mount Merapi than Mbah Maridjan prediction. He even clarified publicly that the function of mbah Maridjan was not as a Merapi Watcher or the guard of Merapi or the Key Holder of Mount Merapi, but the function of Mbah Maridjan was to prepare at any time if the Palace or the Keraton has a regular ceremony such as the offering to the Merapi Mountain. However, many people of Merapi and mbah Maridjan himself believe that he is the guard and the key holder of Merapi as entrusted by Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX, and that assignment has never been withdrawn till the death of the previous Sultan, meaning that he still keep and has to maintain that assignment and trust respectfully for what ever cost even with his own life.
Therefore, when the eruption occurred at about 06.00 pm in the evening of 26 October 2010, Mbah Maridjan was among dozens of villagers who died because of believing in his decision not to leave the mountain. He gives his life to abide by what has been assigned to him by the previous Sultan, was to guard the Mountain, and would not leave that though he has to sacrifice his life! He died in his prayer to God the Almighty since he himself was a very devoted Islam and a very humble man who very much in tact with the pure Javanese tradition. What a story....
Mbah Maridjan

There was a disappointment from the current Sultan, because the Sultan has a very strong believe that the accident should not have taken life of his people if they just abide by the advice of the seismologists or the government officials on the danger of Merapi eruption rather than abide by the advice of Mbah Maridjan. So, when the Merapi began spewing its 600 to 2000 degree gases down the mountain's slopes in about 200 miles speed per hour and to the sky, no one from Mbah Maridjan Village that located just 4 kilometers from the crater had enough time to escape and run away from the disaster.
Actually, a week before the first current eruption (26 October 2010) all routes to Mount Merapi were closed to public as the alert status of one of the most active volcanoes in the world was raised to “standby,” just one level below a full-blown eruption. All residents on the slopes of the mountain including Mbah Maridjan had been advised sternly to stay outside at least 10 kilometers radius from the peak of Merapi and to stay away from around the rivers since the lava may spew out at any time and flow along the river and would cease them away. Only authorized personnel could enter the alert area to monitor the observation posts that located in certain areas but not too close to the peak of the mountain.
Nevertheless, how can we blame the people who were not willing to leave their homes and took refuges. Experiences shows that Mbah Maridjan seemed to be correct when he advised people not to leave the mountain in 1997, 2001 and 2006 eruptions, the last one then brought the Mbah into a celebrity life in promoting one of the energizing product. He didn't use the money for himself but donated most of it to his poor neighborhood and the mosque that was enacted besides his home which is now only dust, the debris and the ruins. Further more, how can we blame the peasants and the poor who were afraid to leave their only huts, their grounds and cattle, they are all too poor to live without it. Experiences shows they get only a pity when they loose the properties, there will be no reimbursement or guarantee, let alone to get back part of their belongings. For them there would be indifferent whether they are running away or staying. Lack of healthy water and sanitation as well as lack of foods and medicines is always happens in the refugees camps....that is another nightmare for the refugees......

The refugees. Source: vhrmedia.org
Before I left Jakarta, heading to Yogyakarta on the 27 October 2010, I already aware about the danger of Mount Merapi eruptions, but since I have already booked a hotel and the plane ticket, I was really reluctant to cancel it, let alone knowing the fact that Yogyakarta located 40 kilometers from Mount Merapi. When I arrived in my hotel room, I can feel a little tremor, according to the news, since 22 October 2010, deep volcanic earthquakes occurred seven times, shallow volcanic earthquake 34 times, multiphase volcanic earthquakes 321 times and lava splashed 93 times.

On Thursday 28 October 2008 in the morning, I and my daughter Angie went for a shopping in Malioboro the most well known shopping compound in Yogyakarta, about 200 meters from Jentra Hotel where we stayed. We went to a traditional market Bering Harjo to look for some Batiks, since Batik is Indonesian design pattern that has been acknowledge by the United Nation as one of Indonesian national heritage. After shopping, we walked around and took some pictures of interesting spots, such as the Presidential Palace, the monuments of Yogyakarta Kembali or the Return of Yogyakarta, the traditional market Bering Harjo and the student demonstrators who strongly complain on the poor government service in the educational programs that not even pro to the poor! They also complain on the slowness of the government to tackle on the Merapi victims and the Tsunami earthquake victims in Mentawai islands of West Sumatra that happens almost coincidentally with the eruptions of Mount Merapi! Well, I don't blame the students for these, because I totally agreed with the students that the government never learns from previous experiences and revise the educational programs and victims of natural disasters in the right and appropriate ways. I donate a bit for the Merapi victims through the students activities, I don't want to go to Merapi area, since I might have interfered with the rescuing programs that still continue up today. Some foreign tourists took the opportunity of approaching nearby the area for filming the rather scarce occurrences. Well, they have every right to do that although that was not a good idea at all.

The demonstration in all over Yogya on the Hari Sumpah Pemuda (the Youth Swear Day) which was coincided with the eruptions of Mount Merapi

I returned back to my hotel room at about 01.00 pm, but Angie had decided to went out again strolling around Malioboro to find a little souvenirs for her siblings.
At about 04.00 in the afternoon I heard a very strong boom, and a big quake shake me for at least a second. From the third floor of my hotel room I saw the mountain far across my bedroom window spew a very big smoke and fire, I didn't realized that it was Merapi that exploded, because according to the taxi driver, we can't see Merapi from Yogyakarta, but it was indeed Merapi that I saw and what a pity was I didn't take my camera to shoot and recording the occurrence.
When Angie arrived from her shopping, I told her what I saw that I am now convince we can see Merapi from our room; so the next morning and afternoon of 29 October 2010, I was able to record the Merapi activities on that particular date as you can see in the pictures below.


The hot cloud of Merapi, taken from my hotel's room from 40 km distance

At around 01.00 am of 30 October 2009, I felt so difficulty breathing, I can't sleep and felt so uncomfortably like tons of bricks pressing my diaphragm and stopped me from breathing, so I asked Angie just to put some balm at my back and I used inhaler to release my chocking nose. After few hours it helps and I can sleep a bit.
At about 09.00 am when we were having breakfast, I saw all the roofs turned to white, I told Angie that it was Merapi's dust that covered all over the roofs and the streets around. She hardly believe it, because she never saw that before. Well, I saw that kind of dust once when I returned to my home town Berastagi, North Sumatra in last September 2010, while Mount Sinabung just erupted, so I was right in recognizing the dust of Mount Merapi by then.
Knowing, that we were about going out, the receptionist gave us some masks; and yes, almost all of the whole part of Yogyakarta was covered with dust of Merapi about 1 cm thick. Eventually, Merapi was re-erupted several times between 01.00 to 08.00 am on 30 October 2008. People then were all busy cleaning their houses, gardens and cars, because the dust is so dangerous for the breathing system. 



The Dust Rain in Yogyakarta. Source mediaindonesia.com

I returned back to Jakarta on Saturday evening 30 October 2010. All passengers of Garuda Indonesia Airline had to fly not from Yogyakarta, but moved and took the Garuda flights from Solo about 60 km from Yogyakarta to avoid dusts and the 2000 centigrade Celsius degree of the Merapi's smoke or hot cloud that dangerous for the air planes safety.
I arrived back in Jakarta at 07.00 pm in the evening carrying various emotion from sadness of watching the Merapi and the earthquakes victims in both sides Merapi and Mentawai Islands from the television news; and a little relief that I and my daughter Angie still safe and luckier in not to experience those horrible tragedies.
Indonesia's deadly volcano Mount Merapi still produced another powerful eruption on Nov 1, at around 10.04 am, spewing superheated clouds into the air. Mount Merapi produced two intense eruptions; on the 26th of October 2010, the pyroclastic flows killed around 37 people and on Sunday October 31, a strong explosion that had never been occurred earlier was heard. According to the seismologist experts, the eruption will continue to occur along November and it is difficult to predict the power since Merapi still keep so many lava and other materials that need to spew out from inside of its magma. It was predicted that this time Mount Merapi would produce greater eruption than those in 1997, 2001 and 2006.
In my tenure as the Head of Bureau of Trade and International Cooperation at the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, I feel deep disappointment that there is not a single word of farewell and grateful from the government or the Vice President to what we the pensioners have done and dedicated to the government along the tenure of our career. Instead of complaining, I feel grateful to God the Almighty that although I receive now only less than US 300 for my monthly salary as a pensioner, but I am still much luckier than those Merapi and earthquakes victims, who lost not only their life, their love ones and their properties, but most importantly a brighter future since they lost almost everything......
I still condemn the government for not taking a good care of the poor and the victims of natural disasters appropriately, and in still in-just in punishing the corruption but rather let the corruptions remain un-touch and release in peace. However, what can we expect from the fact that Indonesia is the most corrupt country in Asia? Expecting a change is only in a dream......
BSD City, 2 November 2010.


          

Syria offensive exposes Turkey’s disastrous counter-terrorism policy

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Syria offensive exposes Turkey’s disastrous counter-terrorism policy

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Turkey's problematic counter-terror efforts in northeast Syria have left it using detained Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to threaten Europe and possibly increasing the Kurdish threat along its border while losing the support of key allies like the United States. 

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told reporters on Monday that Turkey would return captured ISIS members to their countries of origin even if those countries had revoked their citizenship.

Blaise Misztal, a fellow at U.S. think tank the Hudson Institute, saw Soylu’s statement as akin to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's repeated threat to “open the gates” and let refugees flood into Europe. 

“It’s hard to see how that is anything more than an extension of the sort of blackmail that Turkey has been engaging in on Syrian refugees,” Misztal told Ahval in a podcast. “This is really a veiled threat against European countries.”  

Also on Monday, Turkey demanded Germany take back 20 ISIS members. 

Some 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters and 11,000 of their family members are being held in Kurdish-controlled detention camps in northeast Syria. Soylu also said Turkey was holding 1,200 ISIS detainees in Turkish prisons and had captured 287 ISIS members in northeast Syria. 

Launched on Oct. 9, Turkey’s Syria operation has killed at least 250 people, mostly Kurds, and displaced some 300,000 people, leading to fears of ethnic cleansing by prominent observers, including former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. 

Turkey’s main military objective is decimating the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliate the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has led an insurgency in Turkey since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, as well as Turkey. 

Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Monday that a considerable blow had been dealt to the YPG and called on Western allies for support. 

“Turkey expects its allies, be it the U.S., EU or any other country, to assume a clear stance against all kinds of terror,” said Kalın. “Recognising the PKK as a terror group on paper is not enough. What you practice is important.”

U.S. forces visited the YPG in Qamishli, in northeast Syria, on Saturday and a source told Agence France-Presse that the United States planned to set up a military post there. The Wall Street Journal quoted U.S. officials as saying a U.S. convoy on Sunday saw artillery strikes landing close to its position near the town of Tel Tamr where fighting had intensified between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

This followed a recent incident when Turkish forces fired on U.S. positions in Kobani. Also on Sunday, the aid group Free Burma Rangers said one of its workers was killed and another wounded by a Turkish drone strike near Tal Tamr on Sunday.

“What the United States wanted was to avoid a confrontation with Turkish troops, it did not necessarily want to end the counter-terrorism partnership with the SDF,” said Misztal, who sees frictions between U.S. troops and Turkish and Turkish-backed forces lingering and even increasing as long as the U.S. mission in northeast Syria remains ambiguous. 

President Donald Trump has said U.S. forces will be staying in Syria to protect Kurd-controlled oil fields, but U.S. forces have continued the fight against ISIS. After the U.S. killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last week, Bloomberg reported that the United States was looking into possible Turkish intelligence links to ISIS, particularly as the Turkish military has observation posts not far from Baghdadi’s hideout. 

Turkey’s focus on the PKK-YPG has left it blind to other forms of terrorism, said Misztal, pointing to an oft-ignored concern in regards to terrorism in northern Syria: what might happen to al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group with links to Turkey, once it is pushed out of Idlib by the forces of President Bashar Assad. “Where will they go? And what will (HTS’) relationship with Turkey look like?” he wondered. 

Misztal also cited reporting that ISIS cells still exist in Turkey today, that thousands of foreign fighters traveled through Turkey to join ISIS, and that Turkish intelligence sent weapons to rebels in Syria.  

“ISIS is a major national security threat for Turkey,” Yusuf Erim, political analyst for Turkish state broadcaster TRT World, told Ahval. "While many have tried to downplay Turkey's contributions in the fight against the terror group, the truth is Turkey has neutralised more ISIS terrorists than any other country.”

State-run Anadolu news agency said Turkey had killed 3,500 ISIS terrorists and arrested 5,500. Yet the annual U.S. State Department country report on Turkey, released on Friday, warned that it remained a transit point for foreign fighters and could serve as a corridor to replenish ISIS. 

The Turkish presidency condemned the report for not mentioning the SDF or YPG, and presidential adviser Fahrettin Altun announced early Tuesday that Turkey had captured the sister of ISIS leader Baghdadi. 

“There’s a certain myopia in the Turkish government about who’s really a terrorist,” said Misztal, pointing out that Baghdadi was killed in Idlib province, which is controlled by HTS. 

This shows the moral bankruptcy, said Misztal, of Turkey’s argument that it is laser-focused on the YPG and terrorism. Now, instead of having its ally, the United States, partnering with the YPG, Turkey faces the prospect of the Syrian Kurdish militia controlled by less friendly governments in Moscow and Damascus. 

“You’re not going to see Syria and Russia really want to stamp out the YPG in a way Turkey would want to,” he said, pointing out that Russia and Syria both made common cause with the PKK against Turkey in the 1990s. “Sometime down the road, they’re probably going to be more willing to arm the YPG, more willing to support the PKK inside Turkey, than the U.S. ever was.”

Already, SDF Commander Mazloum Kobani is now sitting at the negotiating table with the United States and Russia. "Turkey is not completely happy as there are still YPG elements in the region," said Erim, adding that Ankara reserves the right to resume military operations as needed.

Misztal pointed out that Erdoğan supported rebels seeking to topple Assad for years, and still supports Syrian opposition forces like HTS in Idlib. 

“It stands to reason that Assad will want to pay him back in kind, and have his own proxy force that he can deploy against Turkey,” said Misztal. “I think in the long-term Turkey is making its situation on the Syrian-Turkish border worse. It’s creating the conditions to enable the very thing it wants to prevent, which is the further strengthening of the PKK.”


          

The "United Nation Diplomatic Delivery of Package" Scam

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The fake "United Nation Diplomatic Delivery of Package" email below is a scam. Therefore, recipients are asked not to follow the instructions in it. The fake email is being sent by online scammers who are attempting to their potential victims into sending them money, which they claim is for some so-called non-inspection fee, for a shipment of money they found. Continue reading...


          

Cuba Presents UN With Resolution To Remove US Sanctions

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For the 28th year in a row, Cuba’s United Nations delegation presented that body's General Assembly with a resolution to remove US government economic, financial and commercial embargo against them.
          

Delta budgets N389bn for 2020; gives priority to Road, Physical Infrastructure, Education

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By Ovasa Ogaga

Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Wednesday presented 2020 Appropriation Bill of N389.19 billion with Road and Physical Infrastructure sector getting the highest allocation of N84.54 billion, and was followed by Education with N31.6 billion in the 2020 fiscal year.

[caption id="attachment_1194254" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, presenting the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the State House of Assembly at the Chambers in Asaba.[/caption]

The 2020 budget proposal christened "Budget of Sustainable Development” which was presented to the House of Assembly, has N217.64 billion representing 55.92 percent as the Capital Expenditure while N171.55 billion or 44.08 percent was earmarked for Recurrent Expenditure.

The budget is a little less than 2019’s N390.38 billion comprised of N157.10 billion for recurrent expenditure and N233.28 billion for capital expenditure.

The governor gave priority to Road and Physical Infrastructure sector which was allocated N84.54 billion, the highest amount of the budget and was followed by Education with N31.6 billion.

Okowa said that the 2020 budget would help his administration to achieve fiscal stability and promote accountability as imperatives for sustained economic growth.

ALSO READ:FULL TEXT OF GOVERNOR IFEANYI OKOWA 2020 DELTA STATE BUDGET PROPOSALS ADDRESS TO THE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

He said that he would prioritize efficiency in expenditure through stringent control on non-productive expenditure, judicious allocation of resources and cost effectiveness of project delivery.

The governor also stated that the budget would accelerate rural-urban integration and urban renewal through roads and flood control infrastructure, markets development, housing and sanitation.

He said it was targeted at growing the non-oil sectors to produce an economy that was truly diversified, self-reliant, resilient and could withstand external shocks.

“During the fiscal year, we will continue to pursue Health for all Deltans (HeFAD) in line with the Universal Health Coverage mandate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Through the budget, we will increase investment in youth entrepreneurship development programmes as well as technical/vocational education designed to foster a new generation of wealth creators, business leaders and managers.” It will deepen and strengthen our social investment programmes for improved protection of the poor and vulnerable segments of the society, and escalate our peace-building initiatives to secure our oil and gas installations.

“It will ensure public safety and engender an investor-friendly climate, boost revenue through widening of the tax base and administration of a functional tax regime that is fair, just and equitable and engender a more responsive and efficient public sector," he said.
          

Out In The Cold

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Out In The Cold ub Tue, 11/05/2019 - 06:34

The Paris Agreement was signed in 2016 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.

POTUS has begun to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. This is the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change. However, defying Trump, American governors who represent over half the U.S. population pledge to uphold the Paris climate agreement.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of young adults plan to skip classes this week to attend Global Climate Strike marches calling for immediate action to end climate change.

How can this great nation now be alone in the danger zone? Why is it that no other countries have gone along with this decision?

‪Paris withdrawal: Trump officially turns his back on climate crisis and our own children https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/11/06/trump-withdraws-from-…

A Dark Day For America
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/11/04/trump-just-formally-…

‪Trump administration begins Paris climate pact exit https://reut.rs/2NjDQJb

‪Paris climate accords: US notifies UN of intention to withdraw https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50297029

‪U.S. formally starts withdrawing from Paris climate agreement https://youtu.be/2wWTNWGSFJ4

‪As U.S. exits Paris pact, U.S. fossil energy chief says U.S.... https://reut.rs/2JQpDRE

‪U.S. Formally Begins To Leave The Paris Climate Agreement https://n.pr/2ohITQq

‪With the United States withdrawing from the climate pact, other big carbon emitters may have to step up their emission pledges. https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/05/who-will-save-the-paris-agreement/


          

Solving the world's food problems or just processed extruded junk?

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Beyond vegan burgers: next-generation protein could come from air, methane, volcanic springs

by Thin Lei Win | @thinink | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 6 November 2019 12:06 GMT
Image Caption and Rights Information
Products in development combine cutting-edge technology and age-old fermentation processes with the aim of reducing agriculture's massive carbon footprint
By Thin Lei Win
ROME, Nov 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - It may sound like science fiction, but in a few short years the family dinner table may be laden with steak from a printer and other proteins produced from air, methane or volcanic microbes.
With the explosive success of vegan beef and burger substitutes developed by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the alternative protein sector just keeps growing.
According to investment bank Barclays, alternative meat sales could reach $140 billion - or 10% of the global meat industry - within a decade, or a 10-fold increase from current levels.
A new generation of products in the works melds cutting-edge technology with age-old fermentation processes to turn otherwise harmful or everyday elements into essential food ingredients, with the aim of reducing agriculture's massive carbon footprint.
According to the United Nations, agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for 23% of total net manmade greenhouse gas emissions from 2007 to 2016, soaring to 37% when pre- and post-production activity were factored in.
Livestock meanwhile are responsible for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Enter Solar Foods, a Finnish company working on an edible protein powder called Solein which uses water, air and renewable electricity as a way to separate food production from agriculture.
"You avoid land use impacts like clearing forests for agriculture, use of pesticides and use of fertilisers that release greenhouse gases and so on," co-founder and CEO Pasi Vainikka told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Solein is made by putting microbes into a liquid and feeding them small bubbles of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, a process similar to making beer or wine, apart from the lack of grapes or grains, Vainikka explained.
As the liquid thickens, it is dried into a very fine powder which is about 65% protein and tastes much like wheat flour.
In September, Solar Foods struck an agreement with Nordic food company Fazer to develop products using Solein, which can be used in existing plant-based products or future offerings such as lab-grown meat.
Solein will cost about €5 per kilo ($2.50 a pound) to produce and will hit the market by 2021, Vainikka said.
"There's a lot of climate anxiety," he said. "And people are looking for hope and solutions and they're happy to see companies like ours, so that's encouraging."
FERMENTATION, FERMENTATION, FERMENTATION
Another company tackling agriculture's emissions through fermentation, Bangalore-based String Bio, is working to convert methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide as it traps 28 times more heat, from waste and natural sources into protein powder - initially for animals.
"We said this is probably the best impact we humans can have in this world, where we take something that we don't need for the environment and convert it into something we do need," said Vinod Kumar, who with his wife Ezhil Subbian set up the company.
Such environmental considerations, along with concerns over animal welfare and human health, have driven both demand and supply of alternative proteins, said Dan Altschuler Malek, Managing Partner at investment firm Unovis Partners.
Just 10 years ago he said retailers saw alternative proteins as a risky bet, but "today they realise there is a huge demand for all these products."
Unovis manages New Crop Capital, a fund that invests exclusively in start-ups developing meat, seafood and dairy replacements, including Beyond Meat.
New Crop has also invested in Nova Meats, a Spanish company that uses a special 3D printer to produce steak that can mimic the taste and texture of meat.
The printers produce three-dimensional vegan steaks using cartridge-style syringes which extrude plant-based proteins.
VOLCANOES AND TINY ORGANISMS
Some have criticised plant-based alternatives flooding store shelves as highly processed and high in sodium, and Harvard scientists recently questioned their role in a healthy diet.
Others such as the Center for Consumer Freedom, which is backed by the food and beverage industry, have launched campaigns decrying so-called "fake meat" as loaded with chemicals.
Proponents counter that burgers have always been laden with fat and sodium and were never exactly considered health food.
The new generation of proteins are also less processed, said Thomas Jonas, CEO of Sustainable Bioproducts whose protein is based on microbes found in volcanic hot springs at Yellowstone National Park.
In that barren, other-worldly and dangerous landscape, researchers "discovered a bunch of life forms that across millennia evolved to survive in this environment," he said.
Having raised $33 million in February, the company plans to produce "a hamburger equivalent" next year through a "novel fermentation" of the microbes.
At full capacity its 35,000-square-feet (3,250 square metres) plant in Chicago could produce burgers equivalent to those made from cows grazing on 15,000 acres (6,100 hectares) of land, Jonas said.
For investors like Altschuler Malek, alternative proteins are all about options for consumers, with three essential caveats:
"It needs to taste great, it needs to meet certain price points and it needs to be able to be manufactured in large volume," he said.
"There are amazing chefs all over the world that are doing plant-based products. But If you cannot convert that into mass manufacturing it's really hard to see how that can actually make a change in the world."
It is also an opportunity for a radical shift in agriculture which, despite incremental improvements, has remained much the same for centuries, Jonas said.
"Fundamentally we are surviving on this planet based on an agricultural system that has barely changed in the past 11,000 years... when we domesticated a handful of plants and animals."
"New technologies are really giving us tools for a second domestication - things that we didn't even know were there."
(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Chris Michaud (Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, and property rights. Visit www.trust.org)
A protein powder Solein made by Finnish company Solar Foods is seen on a plate. Photo provided by Solar Foods.
Unovis manages New Crop Capital, a fund that invests exclusively in start-ups developing meat, seafood and dairy replacements, including Beyond Meat.
New Crop has also invested in Nova Meats, a Spanish company that uses a special 3D printer to produce steak that can mimic the taste and texture of meat.
The printers produce three-dimensional vegan steaks using cartridge-style syringes which extrude plant-based proteins.
VOLCANOES AND TINY ORGANISMS
Some have criticised plant-based alternatives flooding store shelves as highly processed and high in sodium, and Harvard scientists recently questioned their role in a healthy diet.
Others such as the Center for Consumer Freedom, which is backed by the food and beverage industry, have launched campaigns decrying so-called "fake meat" as loaded with chemicals.
Proponents counter that burgers have always been laden with fat and sodium and were never exactly considered health food.
The new generation of proteins are also less processed, said Thomas Jonas, CEO of Sustainable Bioproducts whose protein is based on microbes found in volcanic hot springs at Yellowstone National Park.
In that barren, other-worldly and dangerous landscape, researchers "discovered a bunch of life forms that across millennia evolved to survive in this environment," he said.
Having raised $33 million in February, the company plans to produce "a hamburger equivalent" next year through a "novel fermentation" of the microbes.
At full capacity its 35,000-square-feet (3,250 square metres) plant in Chicago could produce burgers equivalent to those made from cows grazing on 15,000 acres (6,100 hectares) of land, Jonas said.
For investors like Altschuler Malek, alternative proteins are all about options for consumers, with three essential caveats:
"It needs to taste great, it needs to meet certain price points and it needs to be able to be manufactured in large volume," he said.
"There are amazing chefs all over the world that are doing plant-based products. But If you cannot convert that into mass manufacturing it's really hard to see how that can actually make a change in the world."
It is also an opportunity for a radical shift in agriculture which, despite incremental improvements, has remained much the same for centuries, Jonas said.
"Fundamentally we are surviving on this planet based on an agricultural system that has barely changed in the past 11,000 years... when we domesticated a handful of plants and animals."
"New technologies are really giving us tools for a second domestication - things that we didn't even know were there."
(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Chris Michaud (Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, and property rights. Visit www.trust.org)

          

A New Document War at the UN: The Free World vs China on Xinjiang

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MASSIMO INTROVIGNE | BITTER VINTER Led by Britain, 23 countries denounce the mass detention of Uyghurs. China mobilizes its usual Axis of Shame to react. Sadly, a few European countries, including Italy, did not sign the critical document. Again, the United Nations, this time at the General Assembly, witnessed a war of documents about the horrific transformation […]

The post A New Document War at the UN: The Free World vs China on Xinjiang appeared first on Global Tuidang Center.


          

UN: Shipping must adjust to shifting trade, environmental pressures

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[caption caption="Trade tensions and the costs of environmental compliance will test the global shipping industry, UNCTAD believes. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]An agency of the United Nations has warned that a “new normal” was taking hold in the world supply chain, characterized by moderate growth in the global economy, the restructuring of...
          

The Lost Tribes of Spanish Jews

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Being a Jew in Spain, especially in the southern part of the country that was once home to a thriving community, is a lonely business. That didn’t stop more than 10,000 Venezuelans from trying to obtain Spanish citizenship before a law giving Jews the right to return to Spain expired at the end of this past September—a testament to how dire the crisis had become in the South American country.

Since 2016, violence, poverty, and insecurity have plagued Venezuela, where political upheavals have led to economic and humanitarian crises. Some 4.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. Many have emigrated to neighboring South American countries, such as Ecuador or Colombia. But in an unexpected historical turn, Venezuelan Jews have tried to capitalize on their fleeting chance at returning to Spain, a country most have never known. 

Continue reading "The Lost Tribes of Spanish Jews" at...


          

The Letters of the Eighteen

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Fifty years ago, the Soviet Zionist movement—which in America is known largely as a “refuseniks” movement—sparked a rebirth of identity unlike anything seen in recent Jewish history. In the summer of 1969, 18 religious Jewish families from the Soviet republic of Georgia appealed to the government of Israel and the United Nations with a group letter, asking them to prevail on the Soviet authorities to let them emigrate to Israel, as described in today’s Tablet article, “A Letter to Golda.” What follows are the full English translations of the three landmark texts that spawned the exodus of Soviet Jewry.

***

Continue reading "'The Letter of the Eighteen' That Spawned the Exodus of Soviet Jewry" at...


          

Conflict between nuclear-armed States must be avoided at all cost: Jehanzeb Khan

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Conflict between nuclear-armed States must be avoided at all cost: Jehanzeb Khan UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations General Assembly's main committee has adopted, by an overwhelming majority, a Pakistan-sponsored resolution under which the 193-member
          

Cuts in peacekeeping funding risk diminishing the effectiveness of U.N.'s operations

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Cuts in peacekeeping funding risk diminishing the effectiveness of U.N.'s operations UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has warned that arbitrary cuts in peacekeeping funding risk diminishing the effectiveness of U.N.'s flagship operations and jeopardizing
          

Perang Dagang, Amerika Serikat – China Meradang

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Finroll.com, Jakarta–Perang dagang antara Amerika Serikat dan China memangkas impor barang-barang China oleh Amerika Serikat sekitar US$ 35 miliar pada paruh pertama 2019 dan menaikkan harga bagi konsumen Amerika. Mengutip Reuters berdasarkan studi yang dirilis United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, menunjukkan sepanjang Januari hingga Juni 2019, impor Amerika serikat dari China yang dikenakan […]

The post Perang Dagang, Amerika Serikat – China Meradang appeared first on Finroll.com.


          

Groundbreaking International Gender Strategy Takes Flight At UNIDO 18th Conference In Abu Dhabi

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An ambitious and far-reaching gender equality policywas launched by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) at its General Conference in Abu Dhabi. The Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (2020-2023) promotes…Continue Reading
          

US notifies UN of its withdrawal from Paris climate accord

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The United States has formally notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The notification begins a one-year process of exiting the global climate change accord, culminating the day after the 2020 US election. The agreement brought together 188 nations to combat climate change. Announcing the plan last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the agreement had imposed an “unfair economic burden” on the United States. The Paris agreement committed the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures below 2C above pre-industrial levels and attempting to limit them even more, to a 1.5C rise. The decision to withdraw – taken by President Donald Trump – made the US the world’s sole non-signatory and prompted high-level efforts by the European Union to keep the agreement on track. A report issued in December 2018 by the Institute of International and European Affairs suggested President Trump’s decision to leave had done “very real damage” to the Paris agreement, creating “moral and political cover for others to follow suit”. The report cited the examples of Russia and Turkey, which both declined to ratify the deal despite signing. The US issued its formal notification on the first day it was possible to do so, firing the starting gun on the long process of extricating the country from the 2015 agreement. The withdrawal is still subject to the outcome of next year’s US presidential election – if Mr Trump loses, the winner may decide to change course. But scientists and environmentalists fear the effect the Trump administration will have on climate protections in the meantime. It has conducted what critics have called a seek-and-destroy mission against US environmental legislation. Mr Trump promised to turn the US into an energy superpower, and has attempted to sweep away a raft of pollution legislation to reduce the cost of producing gas, oil, and coal. He characterised former US President Barack Obama’s environmental clean-up plans as a war on American energy. Announcing his decision to withdraw, last year, Mr Trump said: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. I promised I would exit or re-negotiate any deal which fails to serve America’s interests.” But reports suggest the Trump administration made no effort to renegotiate the Paris agreement, waiting instead until the first possible day to exit. The US contributes about 15 per cent of global emissions of carbon, but it is also a significant source of finance and technology for developing countries in their efforts to fight rising temperatures. What was agreed in Paris? Climate change, or global warming, refers to the damaging effect of gases, or emissions, released from industry and agriculture on the atmosphere. The Paris accord is meant to limit the global rise in temperature attributed to emissions. Countries agreed to: Keep global temperatures “well below” the level of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C Limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100 Review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge Enable rich countries to help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy

The post US notifies UN of its withdrawal from Paris climate accord appeared first on BBF World News.


          

Travel2020: Sustainable meetings resonate with socially conscious attendees

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{summary}

CWT Meetings & Events says that sustainability will continue to be an even more important business consideration for the $840 billion industry in 2020. The company’s research is outlined in a feature included in a report, “The Future of Sustainable Events.”

As activists protest in some of the world’s best-known destinations demand action on climate change, companies are increasingly taking notice.

“The sustainability of the meetings and events industry, in fact of the entire travel industry, is at the forefront of companies’ and planners’ minds in 2020,” said CWT Senior Vice President and Managing Director Derek Sharp.

“It’s driven by news coverage of climate change but, more importantly, it’s supported by the next generation of travelers — the millennials who are poised to become the biggest group of business travelers globally from 2024 onwards, and the centennials who are right behind them.”

“These are people for whom travel has become commonplace and accessible in a way that it wasn’t for older generations,” Sharp added. “They want to continue meeting in popular destinations, but they are also hyper aware of the need to adopt sustainable practices that respect the environment and local communities wherever they go.”

Major millennial-focused surveys are finding that climate change is the greatest concern for this generation. Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey 2019 has found that climate change is the greatest concern for this generation. Millennials are skeptical of business’ motives and do not think highly of leaders’ impact on society, their commitment to improving the world, or their trustworthiness.

Only 37% of millennials believe business leaders make a positive impact on the world, and more than a quarter (26%) said they don’t trust business leaders as sources of reliable and accurate information. Leaders’ commitments to helping improve society (45% said they generally are) and behaving ethically (49% said they generally do) also divide opinion.

In response, companies and meeting planners are adopting various initiatives, including offsetting air miles with carbon, eliminating plastic waste, opting for locally sourced and produced food and drinks, or choosing ethical suppliers.

The trend of carbon offsetting for air miles is becoming more prevalent.

Highlights of the report underscore that consumers and employees around the world are seeking out companies and brands that reflect their values. Sustainability is no longer an add-on to business practices. It encompasses a holistic way of doing business that creates positive and meaningful change.

Major international initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are helping to drive home the message that, in 2020 and beyond, sustainability and responsible business are no longer just a feel-good item on HR’s agenda, but have real consequences for a company’s brand and bottom line.

Image: Harvard University


          

Engagement Global: Geschlechtergerechtigkeit fördern

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Vier Frauen und ein Mann sitzen bei einer Podiumsdiskussion auf einer Bühne. Die Frauen schauen zum Mann, der in ein Mikorfon spricht.
Auf dem Podium wurde über Ungleichheit in der politischen Teilhabe von Frauen disktutiert. Foto: Gianna König

Eröffnet wurde die Konferenz zum Thema Gendergerechtigkeit: Agenda 5/17 am Montag, 4. November 2019, im Freisinger Munich Airport Marriott Hotel von Eva Bönig, Bürgermeisterin der Stadt Freising, Dr. Jens Kreuter, Geschäftsführer von Engagement Global sowie Karin Nordmeyer, Präsidentin des UN Women Nationales Komitee Deutschland e.V. und Schirmherrin der Veranstaltung. Die UN-Vertreterin präsentierte neueste Daten und Fakten zur Umsetzung der Nachhaltigkeitsziele, mit besonderem Fokus auf Ziel 5 (Gendergerechtigkeit) und Ziel 17 (Partnerschaften zur Erreichung der Ziele). Zusammenfassend stellte sie fest: „Wo Frauen Rechte und Freiheiten vorenthalten werden […], dort sind der Entwicklung enge Grenzen gesetzt.“ Und weiter: „Die dominante westliche Wissensproduktion ist die Fortsetzung kolonialer Strukturen: Wer diese nicht aufbricht, kann auch die patriarchalischen Strukturen nicht angreifen.“

Nach einem Grußwort von Dr. Markus Gruber, Ministerialdirektor im Bayerischen Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales, in dem er die Bedeutung von Geschlechtergerechtigkeit für globale Gerechtigkeitsbestrebungen hervorhob, schilderte die Journalistin und Friedensnobelpreisträgerin Tawwakol Karman in ihrem Vortrag eindrücklich das Ringen von Frauen um Sicherheit und Gleichberechtigung in Konfliktgebieten. Sie wies auf die enge Verflechtung von Extremismus und Diktatur hin und sagte: „Die westlichen Mächte sollten aufhören Dikatoren zu unterstützen.“

Auf dem Podium diskutierten Tawwakol Karman, Karin Nordmeyer, Christine Haderthauer, Staatsministerin a. D., der Botschafter von Ruanda, Igor César, sowie die Autorin Nahid Shahalimi intensiv die Ungleichheit politischer Teilhabe von Frauen sowie Ansätze, mit denen dieser entgegengewirkt werden kann. Dr. Gisela Burckhardt stellte in ihrem Impulsvortrag dazu einen Ansatz von FEMNET e.V. vor. Anschließend wurden die aufgeworfenen Fragen von den internationalen Teilnehmenden der Konferenz engagiert in Workshops vertieft. Alle Anwesenden waren sich am Ende einig, dass an der Umsetzung der von ihnen postulierten Ansätze vernetzt und stringent weiterzuarbeiten sei.

Während der gesamten Veranstaltung präsentierten verschiedene Initiativen auf einem „Markt der Möglichkeiten“ ihre Arbeit zum Erreichen von Geschlechtergerechtigkeit.

Zur Veranstaltung hatten Engagement Global, Außenstelle Baden-Württemberg, Bayern und der UN Women Nationales Komitee Deutschland e.V. eingeladen.


          

Giving Older Adults a Shot, With the Shot: The International Federation on Ageing Brings the Importance of Older Adult Influenza Vaccines to the United Nations

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Press Release – Toronto, Ontario—31 October 2019 – Influenza is a seemingly innocuous disease but can have devastating affects on the most vulnerable of our communities, especially older adults. On 11 October, the International Federation on Ageing called on policy makers as part of the UN International Day of Older Persons (UN IDOP) to put […]

The post Giving Older Adults a Shot, With the Shot: The International Federation on Ageing Brings the Importance of Older Adult Influenza Vaccines to the United Nations appeared first on My Social Good News.


          

"Populations’ collaboration is key to defeat Ebola," says Abdou Dieng

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"Populations’ collaboration is key to defeat Ebola," says Abdou Dieng. Photo: MONUSCO/Archives


Bunia, October 30, 2019 - The (new) United Nations Deputy Coordinator for Emergency Response to Ebola Virus Disease (EERC) has been in Bunia since Wednesday. Abdou Dieng came to get first-hand information about the situation on the ground as part of the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Ituri. Even though there is almost no more case of the Ebola virus Disease reported in the province, actors are still concerned about communities resistance to the response teams over the fight against this epidemic.

Ituri remains the main active zone of the epidemic at the moment in the DRC, with the "red zones" being the localities of Mangina, Biakato and Mambasa where not only do some communities continue to deny the reality of Ebola, but most of all, others do not hesitate to attack the response teams and other Disease Treatment Centers. The number two of the United Nations Coordination in charge of Operations and Coordination came to Bunia, Ituri to listen to the key players in the fight against the disease with a view to better understanding the reasons for the resistance: "The purpose of my visit is to meet all the partners in this battle to better understand the situation," Abdou Dieng told the press on Wednesday morning.

Abdou Dieng said communication and awareness activities should proceed, while avoiding "militarization of the response teams to avoid scaring people". So, we need to create conditions for the response teams to work in a context that inspires trust in people and not scares them. Another key to success in the fight against Ebola according to Abdou Dieng, the necessary involvement of the populations: "as long as the communities will not collaborate with the response teams, the eradication of the disease will take longer," he said.

Finally, Abdou Dieng thanked MONUSCO for its support in the fight against Ebola. In Ituri, which includes the establishment on 13 September 2019 of a temporary military base in Mambasa with frequent patrols in the area, the almost daily sensitization of populations by both MONUSCO Police, the Force or the Radio Okapi in its local programs. Abdou Dieng will leave Bunia this Thursday for Beni in North Kivu, after meeting with provincial authorities and other partners in the fight against Ebola in Ituri.


          

Why she likes Trump

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Saritha Prabhu describes herself in the Federalist as
a woman, a legal immigrant, a person of color (never liked the term), a former Democrat, and a third-party voter in 2016. Here are 10 reasons I like Trump.

First, he is sui generis, a singularly unique individual who has single-handedly transformed almost everything about American politics, by sheer force of his personality and ideas. Presidents dream of being transformational, and Trump has transformed politics in ways many presidents can only dream about.

He has transformed both political parties, the mainstream media, and the presidential campaigns, and moved the Overton Window on many issues. He has shown many of our institutions for what they actually are and for what we suspected them to be, and broken their brains in the process. His methods may not always be good, but the results have been okay.

Second, by loudly questioning everything in his unorthodox way he has made us re-examine many things: our bloated bureaucracy, some of our egoistic federal civil servants who believe they’re in charge of our republic, the much-vaunted liberal international order, our awful elites and the meritocracy that produced them. Most important, his foreign policy ideas and actions have generated a long- overdue discussion on America’s global policeman role and its unsustainable costs to our people.

Third, he loves America, and his love is genuine, palpable and almost retro. We could do with a little of that nowadays, swimming as we are in a sea of self-loathing, self-flagellation, and history-rewriting from the left. America, of course, has its flaws and sins, but it is refreshing to be reminded by our president that it still stands tall.

Fourth, he says what he thinks, is remarkably accessible, and is probably the only president who can’t seem to resist answering questions thrown at him. In this, he demonstrates a guilelessness and, shall we say, honesty quite unlike any politician, past or present. It gets him into trouble, of course, but also gets him admirers.

His rhetorical style is, to say the least, unconventional but often effective. By talking like a real person and not trafficking in platitudes and liberal pieties, he has made it difficult for conventional politicians to do their thing.

Fifth, he is clearly a non-ideologue and pragmatic, shown in spades in the way he has refashioned the Republican Party’s orthodoxies on trade, immigration, and foreign intervention.

Sixth, his care for American voters seems genuine, especially toward the people who voted for him and show him unflagging support. He is indeed an odd president: a Manhattan billionaire who has a “blue collar sensibility” and relates to voters who’ve suffered bipartisan neglect from D.C. politicians for decades.

And may I say that his rallies are a thing to behold: all camaraderie and affection between Trump and the crowd, characterized by his playful, extemporaneous riffs, funny and sarcastic, with the underlying theme being a conspiratorial partnership against the smug, self-dealing ruling class and media elites that need to be defeated. No wonder Democratic leaders are anxious about the 2020 election—they can’t compete with Trump’s offbeat charisma.

Not to mention that he’s funny, but you need a special sensor to appreciate it, which the dour, humorless left doesn’t have anymore.

Seventh, he has had the greatest influence, perhaps, in transforming how we talk about needless, endless foreign military incursions. He expresses in clear, succinct terms why America’s global policeman role is getting to be untenable, as in his press conference after the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he stated, “But the United States taxpayer is not going to pay for the next fifty years (for endlessly staying in the region).”

One of his finer moments came when he mused movingly during a recent campaign rally about being present at Dover Air Force Base, seeing caskets return from war zones and witnessing the families’ grief. Would that we have more commander-in-chiefs caring—and publicly at that—about dead American soldiers more than gallivanting around the Middle East looking for civil wars to support endlessly.

Eighth, he has challenged China, our most important geopolitical threat, and done what hasn’t been attempted in our status quo politics so far.

Ninth, he says he’s “president of America and not president of the world,” and that American citizens have to be taken care of first before we take care of the world. What a novel idea. This should be said and practiced more often.

In a sane, common-sense world, Trump’s recent United Nations address touting these ideas would be lauded; instead they were pilloried as isolationist and dangerous. But that is the cognitively dissonant media world we live in now—what is pragmatic is framed as radical and transgressive.

Tenth and lastly, I like his chutzpah and pugilistic style, with its underlying theme of “Honey Badger don’t care.” It’s perfectly suited for this moment, where the overarching issue is: Who is really in charge in this republic, the voters or arrogant, unelected federal bureaucrats who think they know best and try to override the will of voters? He seems uniquely suited to take on the combined onslaught coming from many quarters.
Read more here.
          

UN chief condemns live fire at Iraqi protesters as ‘disturbing’

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BAGHDAD, Nov 7 — The United Nations chief Antonio Guterres denounced as “disturbing” reports that Iraqi security forces have fired live ammunition at anti-government protesters in Baghdad, as mass rallies continued to rock the capital and...
          

Only tripartite meeting in the registered agenda of UN Greek Cypriot press claims

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Greek Cypriot press claimed that the only registered agenda of United Nations on Cyprus problem was the due tripartite meeting that will be held on November 25 in Berlin. In the news report of Greek Cypriot press on the issue, it was also argued that Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute was expected to visit Ankara on November 14 and after her scheduled visits in Turkish capital she will meet with the leaders for further discussions in Cyprus.
          

Desert Locusts Threaten Agricultural Production in Ethiopia

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[Addis Standard] The Federal Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) have called for immediate action to control a new Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) infestation in the country. Sani Redi, Agriculture Sector State Minister, Ministry of Agriculture called on development partners to support the government's efforts to control the invasion.
          

Iran injects gas in new centrifuges as atomic deal unravels

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear complex early Thursday, taking its most-significant step away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Tehran meanwhile also acknowledged blocking an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting its nuclear site at Natanz last week, the first known case of a United Nations inspector being blocked amid heightened tensions over its atomic program.

These latest steps put additional pressure on Europe to offer Iran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite the U.S. sanctions imposed on the country since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal over a year ago.

The gas injection began after midnight at Fordo, a facility built under a mountain north of the Shiite holy city of Qom, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said. A UN official from the IAEA witnessed the injection, it said. The centrifuges ultimately will begin enriching uranium up to 4.5%, which is just beyond the limits of the nuclear deal, but nowhere near weapons-grade levels of 90%.

Fordo's 1,044 centrifuges previously spun without uranium gas for enrichment under the deal, which saw Iran limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The deal had called for Fordo to become "a nuclear, physics and technology center."

Iran acknowledged Fordo's existence in 2009 amid a major pressure campaign by Western powers over Tehran's nuclear program. The West feared Iran could use its program to build a nuclear weapon; Iran insists the program is for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said it had blocked a female IAEA inspector from its facility at Natanz, where centrifuges also enrich uranium. Iran said an alarm went off while...


          

Correction: Yemen story

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CAIRO (AP) — In a story Nov. 5 about the signing of a power-sharing deal in Yemen, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has been in exile since 2014. He fled Yemen in 2015.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Yemen's government, separatists sign deal to stop infighting

Yemen's internationally recognized government signed a power-sharing deal with southern separatists backed by the UAE that aims to end months of infighting

By SAMY MAGDY

Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — Yemen's internationally recognized government signed a power-sharing deal on Tuesday with southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates. The deal aims to end months of infighting in the country's south.

The two groups are in an alliance against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But their deadly clashes have exposed a potential rift in the anti-Houthi bloc and threatened to further destabilize the Arab world's poorest country.

Saudi Arabia's state TV broadcast the signing ceremony in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. That's where Yemen's president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has been in exile since 2015, when the Houthis took control of the capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen.

In August, the UAE-backed southern separatists took control of Aden, the temporary capital, from forces loyal to Hadi, which are backed by Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday's power-sharing deal allows for President Hadi to return to Aden and envisages a new Cabinet.

A copy of the deal obtained by The Associated Press also shows the separatists agreed to disband their militias, which would be integrated into Hadi's forces within three months.

In return, the southern separatists are to take part in United Nations-brokered talks between Hadi's government and the Houthi rebels.

Those talks aim...


          

UN says the head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has resigned after internal investigation

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — UN says the head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has resigned after internal investigation.


          

Iran to fuel centrifuges in new step away from nuclear deal

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will start injecting uranium gas into over a thousand centrifuges at a fortified nuclear facility built inside a mountain, the country's president announced Tuesday in Tehran's latest step away from its atomic accord with world powers since President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal over a year ago.

President Hassan Rouhani's announcement means that Iran's Fordo nuclear facility, publicly revealed only 10 years ago, again will become an active atomic site rather than a research facility as envisioned by the landmark 2015 accord. The State Department announced days ago that it would renew a waiver allowing Russia's state-run Rosatom nuclear company to continue its conversion work at the site.

The announcement represents a significant development as Fordo's 1,044 centrifuges previously spun without uranium gas for enrichment under the deal. It also increases pressure on European nations that remain in the accord to offer Iran a way to sell its crude oil abroad. Rouhani threatened to further pull Iran out of the deal in early January 2020, which could mean curtailing international surveillance of its program or pushing enrichment close to weapons-grade levels.

"We are aware of their sensitiveness toward the Fordo facility and those centrifuges," Rouhani said in a live televised address. "At the same time, we cannot tolerate unilateral fulfillment of our commitments and no commitment from their side"

The International Atomic Energy Agency — the United Nations' nuclear watchdog monitoring Iran's compliance with the deal — declined to comment on Rouhani's announcement. Iran's envoy to the IAEA later told the state-run IRNA news agency the U.N. watchdog received word of Tehran's decision in a letter that also asked for inspectors to be on hand Wednesday for the gas injection at Fordo.

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Look out China - here I come.

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Main body: 

It is just too special for me to describe. Even words like “incredible, magnificent or spectacular” I reckon would only serve as an injustice in defining what is about to go down. As I continue grappling with finding the best words to account for the news, there you have it – Your champ Ty is headed to China.

Yes! I am headed to China for the first time in my life. And I will be rocking both Shenzhen & Hong Kong. UNLEASH Innovation Lab is what’s bringing me to China. Close to a month ago, I was fortunate to have been selected from a pool of over 8,000 international young top talents to participate in this program (representing Kenya) after going through a rigorously competitive selection process. UNLEASH is a global innovation lab that brings together young people from all over the world to contribute insights and develop solutions to help achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The primary purpose of my visit will be to dedicate my efforts in solving the world’s most pressing challenges in relation to SDGs three (Good health and wellbeing) and five (gender equality) by working along other top talents from the rest of the world, and fellow changemakers dedicated to global sustainability.

And what’s even more exciting is that I will be able to have a chance to share some of the works that Child.org does, particularly our Baby Box Programme, a project aimed at tackling the significantly high neonatal mortality rates within Kenya’s informal settlements through the provision of safe cribs (Moses baskets) for babies to sleep in. The boxes act and incentive for women to go for postnatal care services while at the same time learning about safe sleeping practices from a skilled health professional.

Equally pivotal is the life-changing experience I am looking forward to; endless and passionate interactions with a community of vibrant and fired youths whose primary motivation will be to amplify voices in pursuit of effecting change in the world. I hope to not only enjoy the program, but to learn a lot from it! To make profound contributions and to gain massive context of what other young people are doing out here to change the world, so that I can better situate the cause for which I am fighting for – to reduce poverty, ensure women and children have good health and to promote gender equality. As I’ve always believed, it is people like us who will be able to rewrite the African narrative, so that little children will no longer be orphaned, proper sanitation will be made possible in Africa, basic healthcare access won’t be a myth anymore and poverty will acquire a redefined face in Africa.

I can’t wait to get completely submerged in this space of profound innovation for growth and change. Until then, this is just but the beginning. I am far from finished! 

 

We hope to bring you more updates from Tyson's exciting trip via Twitter! Follow @childdotorg.

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Life is incredibly full of surprises. While I want to describe this as a “magical opportunity”, I feel like that wouldn’t be a sufficiently accurate manner of defining the feeling I’ve got rapturing my vibe today.
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Trump Takes Steps to Implement Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord

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BY Amy Goodman & Juan González, Democracy Now! PUBLISHED November 5, 2019 https://truthout.org/video/trump-takes-steps-to-implement-withdrawal-from-paris-climate-accord/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=c489ca64-8308-47b9-aafa-896cd1bb4e9c The Trump administration notified the United Nations Monday that it would withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris climate agreement, starting a year-long process to leave the international … Continue reading
          

Top House Democrat Says Removing Trump from Office Ahead of 2020 Election Will Hurt The Party

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Top House Democrat Says Removing Trump from Office Ahead of 2020 Election Will Hurt The PartyA top House Democrat is predicting that Democrats will suffer politically if President Trump is impeached and removed from office before the 2020 election.“As much as I believe that President Trump should be removed from office and represents an imminent threat to our democracy and our national security and many other things, politically it’s probably not a good thing to get rid of him,” House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth told The Hill.The Kentucky Democrat explained that he doubts the Republican Party would nominate Vice President Mike Pence in that scenario but rather someone like former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.“Somebody who would be very, very tough for a Democrat to beat,” Yarmuth said.Haley has been proposed as a viable Republican presidential nominee, but she has attempted to quash speculation about whether she will run in 2020, saying she plans to campaign for Trump.Yarmuth's remarks come as the Democrat-led House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees continue to release transcripts of their closed-door interviews with witnesses for the impeachment inquiry. The inquiry centers around whether Trump withheld $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine on the condition that Ukraine promise to investigate former vice president Joe Biden's business connections to a local gas company.Some White House officials have refused to testify despite congressional subpoenas ordering them to do so, frustrating Democrats and exacerbating the lawmakers' legal battle with the White House.“This will only add to the body of evidence on a potential obstruction of Congress charge against the president,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said.



          

First juvenile reformatory centre inaugurated in Juba

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Officials from both the government and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday inaugurated the first Juvenile Reformatory Centre (JRC) in Juba.
          

Europe’s Green Deal is turning red

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  Global temperatures are set to rise by a catastrophic 3C by the end of the century unless we take major action. The next ten years in particular are crucial. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, has pointed this out over and over […]

The post Europe’s Green Deal is turning red appeared first on Eco Daily News.


          

Forest degradation in Mexico's Monarch Reserve decreases by 25.4%

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Monarch butterflies in Oyamel pine forests, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. © naturepl.com / Sylvain Cordier / WWFMexico City  Five hectares of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) degraded between March 2018 and March 2019, which represents a decrease of 25.4% in comparison to the 6.7 affected hectares recorded during the 2017-2018 period, according to forest monitoring carried out by the WWF-TELMEX Telcel Foundation Alliance, the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) and at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Institute of Biology.
 
Clandestine logging decreased from 1.43 to 0.43 hectares, while losses from forest sanitation also dropped from 1.35 to 0.38 hectares in the same period. The main causes of degradation were drought and tree fall, which affected 4.19 hectares, with a slight increase compared to the previous year, when it registered a toll on a total of 3.93 hectares.
 
Jorge Rickards, WWF-Mexico's General Director, said: "Forest degradation declined because there was no large-scale clandestine logging, nor serious storms like the one that affected the Reserve in 2016. Its core zone has been conserved thanks to the commitment of local and indigenous communities, as well as brigade members, who monitor the forests in exchange for payment for environmental service, while we create options so that the Reserve is a source of life and development for the people.
 
"The main threats to the Monarch in North America are the reduction of the reproductive habitat in the United States, due to the diminution of the milkweed by way of the indiscriminate use of herbicides and land-use changes; forest degradation at Mexican hibernation sites due to historical clandestine logging and tree fall; along with the extreme weather conditions in Canada, Mexico and the United States," Rickards said. 
 
Gloria Tavera Alonso, Regional Director for the Center and Neo-volcanic Axis of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, said: "Through the permanent surveillance operation in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve that has gone on with the National Guard since 2016, they have carried out 1,280 tactical actions to reduce illicit environmental activities in the area. Similarly, ongoing attention has been given to forest fires, pests and diseases, with the purpose of maintaining forest ecosystem health in the region."
 
She mentioned the Monarch Butterfly collective seal launched this year, which is made up of women and men from five community groups, in addition to the publication of a product catalog and a website to strengthen the creation of green jobs in the Reserve. "11 adaptation measures were identified through the Climate Change Adaptation Plan to reduce the vulnerability of forests where Monarch butterfly colonies hibernate each year and sustainable livestock projects are currently being developed to reduce impacts on ecosystems," concluded Tavera.
 
During his speech, Víctor Sánchez Cordero, a full-time researcher at the UNAM Institute of Biology, commented: "The first study on changes in forest cover in the Monarch Region was carried out in 1999, as a scientific basis for the establishment of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, while the baseline to monitor the change in forest cover of the core zone of this Protected Natural Area was established in 2003. Periodic monitoring has been implemented since then, in order to provide economic incentives for conservation that the Monarch Fund gives to the owners in the core zone, which is where the priority sites for hibernation of this species in Mexico are located."
 
These actions are part of a conservation strategy created 16 years ago by the WWF-TELMEX Telcel Foundation Alliance and the Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the governments of Michoacán and the State of Mexico, to promote long-term protection of the Monarch Reserve's forests. These benefits add to the CONAFOR environmental hydrological services payments.
 
Sergio Patgher, Telcel's Brand and Social Responsibility Manager, recalled that, from 2003 to date, the Alliance has carried out work to strengthen sustainable forest management such as planting more than 14.9 million trees on 13,501 hectares of the Monarch region, which is a product of 13 community nurseries that create 300 jobs, and the creation of a network of 32 mushroom production centers.
 
The work has contributed to sustainable tourism in the region, as well as educating, training and equipping 39 forest brigades and dozens of service providers, who receive an average of 100,000 people during the hibernation months. All of which was done in close collaboration with CONANP.
 
"Societal involvement is key. That is why, in July 2019, thanks to the support of more than a thousand volunteers from Telcel, WWF and their families from Puebla, Querétaro, Guadalajara, Morelia, León and Mexico City, we planted 15,000 oyamels in the Monarch Butterfly Reserve, as part of the environmental awareness actions carried out by the Alliance," said Patgher.
 
"In addition to the actions to conserve the Reserve, gardens, with native flowers for pollinators, have been planted in Chihuahua, Mérida, Morelia, Hermosillo, Monterrey and Tijuana in order to offer shelter and food to the Monarch during its migration. 1,300 volunteers from Telcel, WWF and their families participated in planting these gardens between August and September 2019," highlighted Patgher.
 
The Reserve offers refuge to 132 bird, 56 mammals, 432 vascular plants and 211 fungi species. The region's basins filter water to the Cutzamala System which is distributed to more than 4.1 million people in Mexico City and its metropolitan area, while oxygen is generated at the same time. This is in addition to the unique experience of observing butterflies during their hibernation.
 
The monitoring results are validated through field verifications by WWF, the UNAM Institute of Biology, the Monarch Fund, the Reserve Directorate, the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), the Federal Attorney General's Office of Protection for Environment (PROFEPA) and PROBOSQUE personnel, along with community and ejido representatives.
 
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Natural World Heritage Site that protects 56,259 hectares, 13,551 of which are in the core zone, between Michoacán and the State of Mexico, where priority forests are found in which the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) hibernate, after traveling more than 4 thousand kilometers from Canada and the United States.
 
For more information, contact: Jatziri Pérez, WWF-Mexico Communications Director, jperez@wwfmex.org
 
          

UNFPA Jobs 28 Oct 2919, SRH Programme

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UNFPA is on the ground improving lives in more than 150 countries. UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund, an international development agency, invites qualified organizations to submit proposals for the implementation of activities under the SRH Programme across Pakistan. The purpose of the Invitation for Proposals is to identify eligible non-governmental organizations for prospective partnership with …
          

Head of UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees resigns amid allegations of abuses of authority

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The controversial head of a United Nations agency that oversees Palestinian refugees has resigned following allegations of misconduct involving him and other senior managers.
          

Vivaty Studio

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Vivaty Studio is an interactive tool for creating X3D worlds. It allows the user to create all aspects of an X3D world with a graphical user interface.

The tool is provided free of charge as a service to the community. Only a PC version is available. During installation you will be required to agree to the following license. Please read and accept at your own discression. The Web3D Consortium takes no responsibility for this product, including operation or support. Note that Vivaty.com is not an operational domain.

 

Download Vivaty Studio
Note: Some Windows platforms may require an additional install of MSXML V4.x. See Microsoft's Download Center at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=15697 for more details.

 

Image courtsey of Nicholas Polys and Virgina Tech
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Drone Uk: £ 1,000 fine if you don't take the test or register

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Drone Uk: £ 1,000 fine if you don't take the test or register
(Picture: Rex Shutterstock)
Drone users can face fines of up to £1,000 if they fly their device while not passing an internet theory check or registering as Associate in Nursing operator, regulators have warned. kids and adults desperate to fly the gadgets from November thirty can ought to take the check to point out they'll do therefore ‘safely and legally’. WHO|those that|people who} fail or who don't register as a drone operator by that date can face a fine of up £1,000 beneath new rules from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).


Drone users must visit register-drones.caa.co.uk to access new system.

Registration theme opens on Tuesday and applies to anyone chargeable for a drone or unmanned  craft like a model plane consideration a minimum of 250g. Registrants are going to be given a singular ID that should be displayed on their devices. the method can value £9 and should be revived annually. The check can have twenty multiple selection queries, with candidates needing sixteen correct answers to pass. It may be taken as repeatedly pro re nata.

Department store John Lewis stopped mercantilism drones in could as a result of the chaos they're inflicting at airports. Drone sightings at Gatwick in Gregorian calendar month last year caused around one,000 flights to be off or amused over thirty six hours, touching over a hundred and forty,000 passengers within the run-up to Christmas.

A number of alternative airports are forced to suspend flights for many hours thanks to drone activity this year, as well as Heathrow. GB Airprox Board figures show there have been a hundred twenty five near-misses between drones and craft reported  in 2018, up by over a 3rd from ninety three the previous year. In March, the drone no-fly zone around airports was extended from 1km (0.6 miles) to 5km (3.1 miles). Dr Rob Hunter, head of flight safety at airline pilots’ union Balpa, aforementioned encouraging accountable drone use is ‘desperately required to make sure a collision between Associate in Nursing craft and a drone is avoided’.

He said: ‘We are line of work for drone registration for a few time currently as we have a tendency to believe that within the same method that alternative vehicles – be it those within the air or on the bottom – ar registered, therefore ought to drones.’ The CAA’s new platform also will be accustomed facilitate come back lost drones to their house owners. Anyone losing a drone is suggested to post their details on the Drones Reunited platform, whereas anyone United Nations agency finds one is inspired to examine if it's a identification number and enter the small print on-line. CAA assistant director of communications dessert apple Nicholson said: ‘The service is regarding giving one thing back to the community, serving to accountable drone house owners and operators to be reunited with lost drones and continue flying. ‘Our aim is for the Drones Reunited platform to become a necessary service for the drone community – the primary port of incorporate anyone United Nations agency has lost or found a drone.’

          

HL477 - Israel: Sanctions and UN Resolutions (Answered)

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Baroness Tonge
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take to ensure that UN resolutions and sanctions against the government of Israel are enforced.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

​We believe peace will only come through negotiations between the parties, but international action has a role in facilitating progress. We have long supported balanced UN resolutions, including United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 that addressed incitement and settlements. But resolutions that politicise neutral UN bodies or risk hardening positions on both sides, do little to advance peace or mutual understanding. We believe that imposing sanctions on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would not support our efforts to progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.


          

POSITION AVAILABLE: Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI)

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Position title: Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI).

Location: U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA

Period of Performance: May 2017 – May 2018

Job Description and Duties: 

Develop and maintain a Running Estimate of current and future world-wide peace operations. The Running Estimate will be maintained in a database and website which will identify issues, lessons learned, best practices across the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy (DOTMLPF-P) spectrum.

Review current peace operations and use a functional analysis to analyze gaps in United Nations and African Union Peacekeeping capability, and shall identify operational shortfalls in meeting mission mandates and make recommendations to eliminate the shortfalls.

Review books, journal articles, newspaper articles, web-pages, published reports, academic papers, monographs, etc, in order to identify salient inputs to the Running Estimate.

Coordinate with the U.S. Army War College G-9 for the purpose of interviewing International Fellows and capturing lessons learned/best practices from participants in United Nations or African Union peace operations missions.

Compose detailed reports on findings and recommendations based upon

interviews conducted.

Attend conferences, workshops, after-action- reviews, etc regarding peace

operations and apprise the PKSOI staff, to include contractor, attendance/

participation.

Assist PKSOI peace operations-related projects. This assistance may include, but are not limited to, preparing and executing PKSOI-sponsored events, attending meetings, conducting after-action- reviews, reviewing documents, and assessing emergent UN missions.

Develop point papers, concepts of operations, invitation memorandums, meeting minutes, information papers, and decision papers.

Requirements:        

- Research experience, to include the demonstrated ability to analyze information from multiple sources and synthesize into a written product, as evidenced by resume.

- Excellent communications skills both oral and written.

- Staff planning and management experience at the O-6 Command or above-level, or civilian organization equivalent.

- Familiarity with UN peace operations

- Graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College, or like educational institution found across the joint community.

- Experience with military operations

- Bachelors Degree.

Point of Contact: Miklos Kiss, 703-975- 7928, MKiss@act-i.com


          

Cambridge 02138

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Letters on Angela Davis, the Bureau of Study Counsel, climate change, and more

November-December 2019 Opinion

All Topics (include primary again, comand or ctrl click to select multiples)

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Angela Davis, Bureau of Study Counsel, climate change
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Crime and Incarceration

The article about Elizabeth Hinton (“Color and Incarceration,” by Lydialyle Gibson, September-October, page 40) included an observation by Hinton when she visited a loved one inside a California prison and saw “all these black and brown families.” I work for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), dedicated to helping incarcerated men and women successfully transition back into society and reform our criminal justice system. I have walked into numerous prisons in California, which has one of the world’s largest prison systems. Each time I step into one of these institutions, my breath is taken away by the image of a sea of black and brown bodies in oversized blue prison uniforms, slowly pacing these prison yards in a fog of hopelessness.

I’ve also seen how education can help break through this fog. Sam Lewis, ARC’s executive director, often speaks with me about how education dramatically changed his life during his 24 years of incarceration in a California prison. I applaud and second Hinton’s call for Harvard to invest in prison education. Education is and will continue to be critical in developing the leadership of those most impacted by our justice system. As an alum, I would love to see Harvard lead in this effort.

Bikila Ochoa, Ph.D. ’09
Los Angeles

Speak Up, Please

Harvard Magazine welcomes letters on its contents. Please write to “Letters,” Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138, or send comments by email to yourturn@harvard.edu.

 

Hinton’s critique of our criminal justice system, and her call for policy reform, are compelling and convincing. But aside from a few casual references, the article ignores an essential dimension of the story: the victims. It is as if none of the incarcerated had committed an offense graver than possession of recreational drugs. Yet in many if not most cases, the victims of crime are from the same disadvantaged socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic groups as the perpetrators. Moreover, victim compensation, sometimes in lieu of incarceration, should be a key element of humane and effective offender rehabilitation.

In portraying the perpetrators as the victims, the author airbrushes the real victims out of the story. Truly, justice is blind.

Andrew Sorokowski, A.M. ’75
Rockville, Md.

The article was disappointing because it left out an important part of the story. Gibson overlooked James Forman Jr.’s book, Locking Up Our Own, subtitled Crime and Punishment in Black America, which won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2018. I am interested in the topic because I have been a criminal defense lawyer for most of my career, beginning in 1981.

The article sums up Hinton’s book as:

[telling] the story of how federal policies—shaped by presidential administrations and endorsed by Congress—ratcheted up surveillance and punishment in black urban neighborhoods from the 1960s through the 1980s, how criminalization was steadily expanded, and how all of this was driven by deeply held assumptions about the cultural and behavioral inferiority of black Americans.

Gibson overlooks the most important point of Locking Up Our Own: that “amid a surge in crime and drug addiction,” black mayors, judges, and police chiefs who took office in the 1970s, “fearing that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness, embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics” (as the dust jacket puts it). Those officials responded to the demands of black people to do something about the crime in their neighborhoods.

There were big changes in the late 1980s with the advent of the federal sentencing guidelines. Drug cases, even for small amounts of illegal drugs, were prosecuted in federal court instead of state court to take advantage of long mandatory minimum sentences. While many black people were sentenced to prison for crimes involving crack cocaine in urban areas, white people were imprisoned for methamphetamine offenses in rural areas.

Helping Hands

We warmly thank readers who help support publication of Harvard Magazine. Donors during the past year are recognized in the print version of this issue. Your contributions (and advertising revenues) underpin this nonprofit enterprise; the remaining operating deficit is funded by a subvention from the Harvard president’s office. (The magazine’s finances are described further at harvardmagazine.com/why-donate.)

We hope that readers and others who are interested in faculty members’ research will enjoy the new “Ask a Harvard Professor” podcast. To learn more and to subscribe, go to harvardmag.com/podcast. If the initial season, now under way, finds an audience (please spread the word!) and attracts support, we will make this effort a regular part of our service on readers’—and listeners’—behalf.

~The Editors

 

In effect, our country decided to treat illegal drug possession and sales as a criminal-justice problem instead of a public-health challenge. Many public officials, black and white, were making decisions with the best of intentions that resulted in what is now called mass incarceration. Fear of crime motivated all races to do something. I hope Hinton is telling the whole story to her classes about how we got to now.

Patrick Deaton, M.P.A. ’87
St. Louis

The statistics are painfully clear: 50 percent of U.S. murders are committed by 6 percent of our population, black males. A very high violent crime rate in black communities requires police presence to (a) protect potential victims, mostly black, and (b) deter more serious crime. But Hinton concludes that history and white racism are to blame for black crime and imprisonment. Are we to believe that the black community bears no responsibility for its behavior?

Richard Merlo ’57
Elkin, N.C.

“Color and Incarceration” tells a tragic story. To the extent Hinton’s and others’ research in this field defines the problems to be solved, it is useful. This past August 30, Norfolk, Virginia’s, black police chief said, after a bloody week in which 10 people were shot and 5 killed, he is forming a committee to address the public-health crisis of young black men and gun violence the in the same way that they look at the opioid crisis. This means looking at poverty, education, and children regularly witnessing and being victims of gun violence. Black men are either suspect or victim in 93 percent of shootings in Norfolk, often both.

The chief said those demographics have persisted throughout his 30-year career. Black men were victims in 71 percent of the 450 homicides from 2006 to 2017. In the 320 killings in which police arrested someone, that suspect was black 78 percent of the time. He has been saying to groups: Guns are everywhere, shooters are getting younger, and Norfolk residents aren’t energized enough.

The racial makeup of Norfolk is : 47.1 percent white; 43.1 percent African American; 0.5 percent Native American; 3.3 percent Asian; 0.2 percent Pacific Islander; 2.2 percent other races; and 3.6 percent two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 6.6 percent.

Where are the calls for Pareto analyses and research that help will help us set things right?

Robert Armour, M.B.A. ’67
Virginia Beach, Va.

 

Professor Elizabeth Hinton seems to view poverty and racial oppression as the underlying causes of violent crime.

The homicide offending rate for blacks in St. Louis is about 116 per 100,000 (https://www.slmpd.org/images/2018_Homicide_Stats_for_Website.pdf). This is 13 times the rate of 9 per 100,000 in New York City (https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/analysis_and_planning/yea....). The poverty rate in St. Louis is 23 percent, versus 19 percent in New York City.

New York City’s overall homicide rate declined from 31 per 100,000 in 1990 to 3.4 per 100,000 in 2018. Its poverty rate was 19 percent in both years.

Varying levels of poverty and racial oppression do not explain the homicide offending rate for blacks being 13 times higher in St. Louis than in New York City or the 90 percent decline in New York City’s homicide rate since 1990. What does?

Andrew Campbell ’74
Ann Arbor, Mich.

 

Elizabeth Hinton has done valuable research, but the her book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime and the article give a misleading picture of the origin of the dramatic growth in our prison population. Chronological plots of crime statistics from Baltimore* and Massachusetts offer a better picture of what happened (*FBI UCR Crime data from a student research project led by me at George Mason University [in preparation]).

 A combination of factors including rise in drug use and other developments in the 1960s led to a huge surge in crime nationwide. This ultimately led to a bipartisan-supported increase in police resources and stiffening of sentencing that peaked with the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act. The Baltimore plot suggests it had major effect in reducing crime. 

Blacks bore the brunt of increased incarceration because higher percentages lived in poverty-burdened neighborhoods that are breeding grounds for crime. The anti-crime movement overreacted—a typical American behavior—but was fundamentally motivated against lawlessness, not a vendetta against African Americans. 

Frank T. Manheim ’52
Fairfax, Va.

Angela Davis

Harvard Magazine’s hagiographic paean to Angela Davis (“Revisiting Angela Davis,” the sidebar to “Color and Incarceration,” September-October, page 44) at least does touch on reality by noting a few of the details of her part in a horrible terrorist murder in the 1970s. Too bad the tone about that incident is so forgiving and low key.

However, to then pass off her totalitarian sympathies by simply saying she was a “member” of the Communist Party is an outrageous evasion. She was the vice presidential candidate of the American Communist Party twice, supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1979 in Moscow. It’s nice that Davis cares, or says she does, about prisoners in this country. However, when Czech dissident Jeri Pelikan publicly called on her to defend his imprisoned dissident comrades, she refused. When Alan Dershowitz asked her to support Eastern bloc political prisoners, she told him that “they are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism.” Which of course calls attention to her strong support for the anti-Zionist BDS movement, which aims to dismantle the Jewish homeland.

Angela Davis is a thoroughly reprehensible extreme leftist and a hypocrite when it comes to prisoners’ rights. It is a shame that such a puff piece on her made it into your pages, and it is a disgrace for Harvard to have anything to do with glorifying or honoring her.

Jonathan Burack ’64
East Lansing, Mich.

In “Revisiting Angela Davis,” on the exciting, upcoming exhibit from the papers of Angela Davis recently acquired by the Schlesinger Library, there is a questionable characterization of the “attack on the Marin County Courthouse” in 1970 that resulted in her arrest and trial on multiple charges related to this event.

Often referred to as the August 7 Revolt or Rebellion, the courthouse action was initiated by Jonathan Jackson, the younger brother of George Jackson, who was the most influential of the radical black prisoners referred to as the Soledad Brothers after being accused of the murder of a guard in the California state prison of that name. The sidebar states that the courthouse action was “intended to free the Soledad Brothers but instead left four people dead…,” a claim that was actually used by the prosecution in her trial to support the argument that Davis’s personal relationship with George Jackson was the principal motive for her involvement with the incident. The prosecution could not present definitive evidence for this claim, as detailed in Davis’s Autobiography, describing the cross-examination of chief prosecutor Albert Harris by the defense on that point. The implication that the four deaths resulting from the action were attributable to the brutality of Jackson and three militant prisoners during that incident was also contested in the cross-examination. Jonathan Jackson, prisoners James McClain and William Christmas, and Judge Haley were shot and killed inside a van by San Quentin guards in line with the policy at that time that all escapes must be prevented, even if the killing of hostages might be involved.

Anna Wexler, Ed.D. ’98
Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Bureau of Study Counsel

We are the five living former directors and associate directors of the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC), representing nearly a half-century (1971-2019) of the BSC’s existence since its founding in the mid 1940s. We are concerned about the characterizations of the bureau offered as justification for its closing (“Bureau of Study Counsel, R.I.P.”; harvardmag.com/bsc-to-arc-19). We appreciate the magazine’s recognition that something important to students’ educational experience will likely be lost (“A Chill in the Air?” September-October, page 5). In our direct and extensive experiences of the BSC, we know it as an office that is deeply committed to an educational mission and model and that has continuously evolved to support the learning and developmental needs of an ever-changing student population.

The primary mission of the BSC has always been educational. BSC services have helped students sharpen their academic skills (reading, time management, problem-solving) with the broader goal of helping each student develop an independent mind that can, among other things, take thoughtful perspective on sources of knowledge and authority; reckon with complexity and uncertainty; generate and evaluate new possibilities; engage difficult endeavors with rigor and purpose; and weigh choices and consequences against deeply considered values. These capabilities are central to the College’s mission and the aims of a liberal arts and sciences education and are as relevant today as they were in the post-World War II era of the BSC’s founding.

When the College hired a new director in 2005, it expressly reconfirmed the BSC’s mission as an academic support office, not a mental-health service—a clarification that was necessary given that Harvard had moved oversight of the BSC to the University Health Services the previous year (a shift which the BSC counselors at that time cautioned against). In 2015, the staff welcomed the move back to the College as a renewed endorsement of the BSC’s original and continuing focus on learning and development.

During the last few decades, at Harvard and beyond, the term “mental health” has slipped almost unquestioned into everyday parlance and has become overly applied to human experience, including the inherently personal and emotional aspects of education and learning. The best educational/developmental support welcomes the rich complex whole of students’ experience of learning. Although such support—including that offered by the BSC—is appropriately informed by the fields of psychology and neuroscience, it is not mental-health treatment.

Listening closely to students’ experiences of learning has helped the BSC staff identify and bring early attention to emerging educational issues and trends—often long in advance of these becoming College priorities—including diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the University; plagiarism and academic integrity; academic stress and resilience; the role of technology in the college experience; and the value of a holistic approach to learning and development. The BSC has a longstanding record of hiring diverse staff from the fields of education and psychology as well as a history of drawing upon and contributing to evolving models and materials in the field of student learning and development.

For over 70 years the BSC has provided an educational setting in which students from every background have found the practical support, illuminating perspectives, and personal courage needed to engage in transformational learning. We five educators who lived and led two-thirds of the BSC’s long history are grateful to have been a part of such an innovative and inclusive learning service dedicated to promoting the intellectual and ethical development of our students.

Suzanne Renna, Ed.D. ’88
Former associate director and
former acting director

Ann Fleck-Henderson ’64, Ph.D.
Former associate director

Jean Wu, Ed.D. ’84
Former associate director

Abigail Lipson, Ph.D.
Former director

Sheila Reindl ’80, Ed.D. ’95
Former associate director

Climate Change

In an essay on “Climate Change” [President Lawrence S. Bacow’s regular letter to readers, September-October, page 3], it is stated that “The scientific consensus is by now clear:” Convenient, because there is not a word in the article to support this so-called science. Nor is there any mention that carbon dioxide, a small fraction of one-half of 1 percent of the earth’s atmosphere, is essential for plant life, and so for all life on earth—including us. One shudders to think how long life could “flourish” in this academically ideal “decarbonized future.”

Of course, the “scientific consensus” on the structure of the universe was settled by Ptolemy, creation by the Bible, gravity by Newton—until someone like Galileo, or Darwin, or Einstein, with the imagination and courage to challenge consensus, follow-the-crowd thinking came along. One hopes for something better from a major university. Nullius in verba.

William J. Jones, J.D. ’60
Warren, N.J.

Editor’s note: The nearly universal scientific consensus, worldwide and among Harvard experts, is that increased man-made emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are accelerating the warming of the planet and climate change—as has been scientifically predicted for decades. No one disputes that plants use carbon dioxide. Decarbonization refers to reducing man-made emissions from combusting fossil fuels, burning forests, and so on—not to changing the natural chemistry of the atmosphere. The magazine’s extensive coverage of these issues is searchable online at www.harvardmagazine.com; the president’s letter is about University affairs from his perspective, not an article or a report summarizing the underlying science.

 

I read with admiration and sadness the Undergraduate column by Isa Flores-Jones ’19, who writes of the disempowerment she felt as a climate activist trying, in vain, to convince Harvard to divest its holdings from oil and gas companies before her graduation (“Movement Ecology,” September-October, page 35). As Undergraduate columnist from 1985 to 1987, I well remember the “Divest Now” balloon tethered to my and many classmates’ graduation mortar boards—referring not to the University’s fossil-fuel assets, but to holdings in companies doing business with then-apartheid South Africa.

Then, as now, the Overseers made student activists feel they had no agency. As Flores-Jones describes: they listened politely, acknowledged students’ quaint idealism, and disclaimed any power to change the status quo. Affirmation and moral conviction came, instead, from afar: a graduation-day phone call from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to student movement leaders, assuring them their efforts would matter in the end. And matter they did.

Although the lesson of history is that we don’t learn from history, the denouement of the present divestment story seems particularly obvious. Couldn’t Harvard simply cut to the finish, and show that America’s most powerful institutions can occasionally be leaders rather than laggards?

Claudia Polsky ’87
Associate clinical professor of law
and director, Environmental Law Clinic
UC, Berkeley School of Law

I write to challenge President Bacow’s call for a “decarbonized future.” While all scientists agree that the earth has warmed and is still warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850, there is no “consensus” that anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) is the cause of either past or future warming. See, e.g., www.PetitionProject.org, where 31,487 scientists expressly dispute the “consensus” to which President Bacow erroneously refers. In my view, the current climate-change hysteria is based solely upon the projections of several dozen relatively crude and defective computer climate models. All of those models assume their own conclusion that: current and future anthropogenic CO2 will “cause” the glaciers to melt, the seas to rise, and shorelines to disappear. I liken the scary predictions of those modelers to the Wizard of Oz. President Obama has appropriately disregarded all of that CO2 hysteria and recently purchased his dream home on the immediate shoreline of Martha’s Vineyard Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He obviously has no fear of future sea-level rise.

Ten years ago, two distinguished German physicists destroyed the modelers’ unsupported CO2 hypothesis (see “Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics,” by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner, Int.J.Mod.Phys.B, vol. 23, no. 3, 2009). Since that time, no physicist at Harvard, or any other institution, has even attempted, much less succeeded, in showing that Gerlich and Tscheuschner’s falsification of the “anthropogenic CO2 warming hypothesis” is scientifically incorrect. Because there is no valid scientific evidence that the “anthropogenic CO2 warming hypothesis” has any basis in physics and/or the real world, there is obviously no need to put the entire world through the unimaginable and impossible task of “decarbonization.”

Don W. Crockett, J.D. ’66
Washington, D.C.

President Bacow in his essay says, “If the future is our genuine concern, we must face up to the stark reality of climate change.” He proceeds to tout Harvard’s “research, education, and engagement” but refers to the reasonable demand that Harvard act on its principles by divesting from its fossil-fuel investments only by noting that the debate about divestment “will no doubt continue.” What is he waiting for? How long can Harvard continue to urge its employees and students to recycle their cups while avoiding taking the ethical step—and showing true leadership among universities—by divesting? And he doesn’t even mention the advocacy for Harvard to divest from its investments in prisons, which are huge parts of a greedy and profoundly racist and classist set of enterprises.

Paula J. Caplan ’69 
Associate, Du Bois Institute, Hutchins Center for 
African and African American Research
Cambridge

Relative to the health of Mother Earth, the question is whether divestment is primarily a moral or a practical issue. Due to insatiable demand, the overuse of fossil fuels may be permanently damaging the planet; consumption is out of control, for political and economic reasons only indirectly related to good and evil. Thus the corruption of the fossil-fuel industry, and whether or not using a plastic toothbrush is morally superior to smoking a cigarette, are both incidental; unchecked consumption is the issue, regardless of the moral character of fossil-fuel sellers who merely supply the market with what it wants. And because they sell to anyone, as far as good and evil are concerned it is their absence of morality that should concern us; cold, mercenary, and devoid of conscience, they bargain with saints and sinners alike. This is what an Exxon share really signifies—a for-profit investment in a ruthless trade that does not trouble itself with delicate matters of conscience, and soils its hands as conditions require.

So the least the apologists for fossil-fuel investment can do is stop patronizing us with their pseudo-moral arguments of convenience—for the sake of intellectual honesty, if nothing else. Otherwise we must take their position for what it is: a timid, unprincipled concession to the raw power of a worldwide behemoth, to which many research universities are now attached like remoras to the back of a whale. And since we are known by the company we keep, we are left with two questions; for what do we stand, and how will we be remembered. Slavery once had its share of ardent defenders who saw positive moral good in it; how long, then, will it take the fossil-fuel apologists to see the bankruptcy of their position for themselves.

Frank Morgan ’73, Ds ’79
Wrightsville, Pa.

In his September message to the Harvard community, President Bacow summarized his concerns on climate change and fossil fuels: Climate change is a crisis…fossil fuels are the problem…We hope to be fossil-fuel free by 2050. 

Is the “We” President Bacow is referring to, to make all buildings of the Harvard community fossil-free by 2050? If so, how would one measure the cost and benefit to the University? Or is “We” referring to a larger entity?

As we debate the extent and location of “Climate Change” problems, we must not forget the Hockey Stick hoax of East Anglia University, which most agree was based on manipulated data. 

On August 8, 2019, there was a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel that announced that global warming was devastating crop production and threatening food shortages. This news was contradicted 20 days later, by a Wall Street Journal article that global crop production is setting new records. 

I would like to see a report by a skilled scientist of the Harvard community evaluate the research done by the petroleum engineer Robert Rapier in his paper, published by Forbes on July 1, 2018, titled “China emits more carbon dioxide then the U.S. and EU Combined.” Rapier’s statistics indicate a substantial growth of global emissions of CO2 between 1990 and 2017 from 11 to 18 billion tons/year. In 1990, free Europe and the U.S. combined emitted 9 billion tons, and in 2017 it dropped to 8 billion tons. During the same period the emissions of CO2 in China increased from 2 to 10 billion tons. 

A question for our Harvard community should be, what is the measure we should be using in defining the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere?. And what is the view of Professor William Happer of Princeton? 

David Scott ’51, M.B.A. ’53 
Dover, N.H. 

I was disappointed by Mr. Bacow’s column, particularly by his comment that “The scientific consensus is by now clear.”

While periodically scientific consensus may be clear, it is never immutable nor settled. Science is based on observation; and as we continue to observe more and gain more facts, scientific consensus moves on.

The “scientific consensus” was settled that everything revolved around the earth before Galileo. In the Soviet Union, the “scientific consensus” was settled under the Lysenkoist theory that changes to living beings could be passed on genetically. And so on.

I would also observe that “climate change” is and always has been ongoing. As far as I can understand, the earth’s climate has been changing for several million years. It is hard to know what exactly is different right now and why we should suddenly be alarmed about a process that does predate us by the aforementioned several million years and which seems not to have resulted in catastrophe for tens of thousands of years (ever since the last Ice Age.)

I applaud Mr. Bacow’s call for additional research. But the president of Harvard, of all people, should not indulge in unscientific and even anti-scientific appeals to a current consensus.

Tom Neagle, M.B.A. ’72
Fort Mill, S.C.

 Larry Bacow’s climate-change column was the most globally important piece I recall reading in Harvard magazine in decades.

By way of background for this comment, I spent many years studying various fields of science before becoming a Humphrey Fellow at Harvard Business School a lifetime ago. With my M.B.A. degree in hand, I worked as a management consultant for Arthur D. Little Inc., then headed up a similar but smaller firm with a reputation for high-quality consulting work. From this education and experience, through HBS, ADL, and a nearly 40-year-long career, I learned how to sort out the real from the fake, and the important from the trivial. 

Now, as a parent, a grandparent, and someone who cares about other people, I feel obligated to speak up and say that no truer words have been written about climate change and its overarching importance than those in Larry’s column. World-famous scientists who understand climate change, including many at Harvard, shake their heads in sad disbelief at the huge gap between their fact-based concern for our future and the widespread nonchalance of the general public—not to mention the outright denial among some.

Larry’s column provides a welcome and overdue brightening of the glimmers of climate-change light that now emanate from various Harvard schools, including HBS. For that I am grateful. Now it’s time for Harvard, the university that educates leaders who make a difference in the world, to show others the way forward by establishing a University Climate Initiative to put Harvard at the cutting edge of this critical existential issue.

Roger Shamel, M.B.A. ’74
Hillsborough, N.H.

The global warming alarms that sounded late in the last century initially were very troubling. But time was not kind to the alarmists, who have since been discredited: none of their dire forecasts has come to pass. We’ve had no temperature increase at all over the past 20 years, even as atmospheric CO2 concentration continues to rise steadily.

Agreement seems to be emerging among numerous credible scientists that:

  • CO2 probably is not a significant factor in global warming. There certainly is no “consensus” to the contrary, and studies claiming to have found one have been refuted.
  • Warming and cooling cycles occur through natural forces which we can’t control, with solar activity likely being one of the most important.
  • CO2 is a good thing, not a bad thing, and so are fossil fuels. Increased atmospheric CO2 produces many beneficial effects on natural plant and animal environments.

Thus, I was very disappointed to read Harvard president Larry Bacow’s “View From Mass Hall: Climate Change.” He merely parrots the popular media narrative: “…we must face up to the stark reality of climate change. The scientific consensus is by now clear: the threat is real, the potential consequences are grave, and the time to focus on solutions is now.”

Well, no, not really. That is to view climate change from the alarmist extreme of the debate.

Many respected scientists now know better; they offer a more balanced view of things. Future generations may well look back upon the climate change panic as the worst case of mass hysteria since the Church of Rome convulsed over Galileo. Too bad that Harvard’s leadership is following politics, not science, doing little to calm the hysteria or expose the decarbonization mania for the folly that it is.

Robert E. Price, M.B.A. ’71
Franklin, N.C.

Baseball’s Rules

Jacob Sweet’s baseball profile, “All Instincts” (May-June, page 32), states that a batter cannot steal first base. But a batter may attempt to steal first on a wild pitch when there are no on-base runners.

Paul Coran
Rockville, Md.

Jacob Sweet clarifies: This is true in the independent Atlantic League as of July, but not in college baseball or MLB as of press time.

About That Vole

Although I greatly appreciated the article about me (“A New Way of Being in the World,” September-October, page 67), there’s something I would like to clarify. The article ends with a vole who is cornered on my porch by two of my cats. She knows she can’t escape, she believes the end has come, and she covers her eyes with her hands. That part’s okay, but I’ve had some criticism from readers for letting this happen, and the truth (which didn’t appear in the article) is that I didn’t let it happen. I ran toward the cats, shouting at them, they turned to look at me, the vole saw she had a moment to escape, and she dashed away to safety. That’s in the book, and I’d appreciate your publishing this letter so readers won’t think too badly of me.

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas ’54
Peterborough, N.H.

Kudos

Thank you and Nell Porter Brown for the “Explorations and Curiosities” series (Harvard Squared). It’s drawn our attention to all kinds of experiences we would have missed otherwise—just last week we spent a wonderful afternoon at the fascinating Public Health Museum in Tewksbury, which I wouldn’t have known about without Porter Brown’s article in the magazine.

Tara Kelly ’91
Gloucester, Mass.

I enjoyed All in a Day about Worcester (“Purgatory—and Beyond,” Harvard Squared, September-October, page 16N). But I was sorry it did not mention the great Korean restaurant Simjang. The food is outstanding, the staff welcoming; they even hosted a poetry reading where I had a chance to share some of my own dishes of poems about Korea. I hope others discover Simjang, too.

David McCann
Korea Foundation professor of
Korean literature emeritus
Watertown, Mass.

Nell Porter Brown’s feature on “Purgatory—and Beyond” brought me to full attention.

I haven’t thought of Purgatory in Sutton, Massachusetts, for decades. It was a destination for a few summer outings for us kids coming from the heat of the nearby city of Worcester. Although it lacked a swimming hole, the rocks provided entertainment sufficient for an afternoon. Thanks for the photo and for the text which stirred some very good memories, and which in turn inspired the poem I attach.

Station Yourself on the Rock

Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, Mass.—
a geological anomaly—meant
more than that to you and me
(no scientists we at five and seven)
who had come with parents
to picnic a lifetime ago.
Pictures emerge in my mind
of sharp outcroppings of towering rock
intimidating in their seeming leaning
at a cautionary angle that said, Take care,
and we did, climbing that rocky place
named by Puritans as Purgatory
where the soul is cleansed by fire
before coming into the presence of God
enabled to bear the beatific vision
which otherwise it could not, recalling
Moses, hidden in rock and waiting to see
the glory of God pass by, but only
allowed the hindmost parts, as no one
could look on the face of God and live.
As smoke rose up from our charcoal grill—
hot dogs, chips and tonic ready—
we sat at a picnic table and shared
the family meal before God.

Judith Robbins, M.T.S. ’96
Whitefield, Me.

Diversity

Regarding the New York Times Magazine’s cover story on litigation before Judge Burroughs (9/1/19):

While the author sets out to analyze the litigation from the viewpoint of second-generation Asian immigrants, the point I draw from it is quite different. The Harvard admissions process is about diversity for the benefit of the student body, not for the purpose of righting old injustices; it has nothing to do with affirmative action. Harvard may quite properly have a purpose not focused on addressing the harms of historic, institutional racism. One can quite properly argue whether this is the “right” purpose for a private institution or not, but it’s not a federally justiciable issue. 

 William Malone ’58, J.D. ’62
New Canaan, Conn.

 Not White, not Black; Asian. Hispanic.

My son’s high school writes to ask me about his race. There are very few choices and so, I reply, none of them describe the diversity he represents. 

I hesitate to tell the information officer that my son is African American. Yet that’s exactly what he is: his father was born under a tree in the Sahara. His first language was not Arabic dialect but the tribal language of the Saharawi. 

In New Orleans, I think, my son isn’t black. But I’m wrong. He isn’t white. And what else is there? In this town, where people have been mixing for 400 years, the reality of Code Noir and Jim Crow has left lasting divisions. My son came home from day care, at age three, and confided in us that he was glad that his father was not a slave because, as his caregivers had told him, this had been the fate of black people in Louisiana. 

So why do I get it wrong, on the form, and say—because there is no category for my son—white? It is the same box that his young, African-American, English teacher puts him in, ignoring the experience he brings to their reading of African and Asian, Muslim, literatures. But the following year, another English teacher, white and on the verge of retirement, puts him in that other box, the one in which people, no matter how smart they might be, are not seen as competent in English. People with my son’s strange name and curly dark hair. 

Harvard students representing diversity have recently testified about their experience. I applaud them. I did not know what it was like to be “taken for” something, to be projected onto, until I watched my son. 

I worried about my son applying to Harvard with less than perfect scores, less than perfect grades. But he understands something better than I do. He understands that, wherever he is admitted, he will bring needed diversity: intelligence and experience, but also that fact that some people might not have seen him the way I do and also for that reason might not have given him the grade he deserves. And this, too, makes him who he is: “white” or African American, beur or Arab; in the UK, Asian, Muslim; and in Spain, Spanish, like his uncle, and other members of the tribe born before the Sahara was de-colonized.

He checks all the boxes. Why ask me? He knows who he is. 

Felicia McCarren ’82
New Orleans 

Errata

The fourth paragraph of the Vita on suffragist Adella Hunt Logan (September-October, page 54) contained inaccuracies in dating and other details involving Hunt Logan’s interactions with Susan B. Anthony, which were pointed out by Anthony biographer Lynn Sherr. Details appear at harvardmag.com/vita-logan-19. We regret the errors.

The profile of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (“A New Way of Being in the World,” September-October, page 67) reported that she had “three dogs and three cats”—but one of those dogs is her son’s.

The report on a collection obtained by Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library (“Revisiting Angela Davis,” September-October, page 44) indicated that Professor Elizabeth Hinton and two graduate students sorted and organized the materials for an exhibition. In fact, their selections for the exhibition were preceded by processing of the materials by Schlesinger staff archivists Jenny Gotwals, Amber Moore, and Jehan Sinclair.

As published, the letter from Robert H. Goldstein (September-October, page 6) omitted a significant word, rendering “my humorously intended comments incomprehensible,” he notes. The letter should have read: “Among certain ethnic groups, the theological question of when life begins is reputed to be answered, ‘On graduation from law school,’” with the italicized word here restored.

 

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Europe’s Green Deal is turning red

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  Global temperatures are set to rise by a catastrophic 3C by the end of the century unless we take major action. The next ten years in particular are crucial. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, has pointed this out over and over […]

The post Europe’s Green Deal is turning red appeared first on Xi Wen Hwang News.


          

Kyrgyzstan’s Permanent Rep to UN, President of 74th UN General Assembly session meet

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At the initiative of the Kyrgyz side, the United Nations Headquarters hosted a bilateral meeting of Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UN Mirgul Moldoisaeva with President of …


          

Protecting Natural Areas Not Enough to Safeguard Plants, Wildlife

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Scientists say expanding the world’s conservation areas to help protect animals and plant life is unlikely to be effective on its own. The reason: rising levels of human activity in and around protected natural areas. Cambridge University researchers studied thousands of conservation areas in more than 150 countries. They found that, in general, recognizing spaces as protected is not reducing human activity in at-risk areas. The researchers found that a lack of money to pay for land protection is affecting conservation efforts. So is a lack of interaction between people who live in protected natural areas and outsiders. Creating protected areas is something “that we know can work, we know is absolutely essential for conserving biodiversity," says Jonas Geldmann. He was the lead writer of a report on the study. Geldmann works for the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute. The study noted that about 17 percent of the world falls within protected areas. These include national parks, nature reserves and wilderness areas. That information comes from the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Database on Protected Areas. Protected areas are important for supporting environments with many different kinds of plants and animals. The United Nations Environment Program estimates protected areas hold 15% of the carbon stored on land. Andrew Wetzler is head of the nature program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group based in the United States. He says "Protected areas are one of the most important things that we can do to stem the loss of biodiversity and to help solve the climate crisis." He spoke to the Reuters news agency. Cambridge researchers said their study is the largest of its kind. From lights to crops Scientists examined over 12,000 protected areas between 1995 and 2010. They used population counts and information about crop harvests to measure the effect of human activity. They also studied satellite evidence of agriculture and lighting at night. The researchers found evidence of increased human activity in most protected areas in every area. However, they noted that human activity appeared to be more of an issue in nations with fewer roads and a lower ranking on the Human Development Index. The index uses information about life expectancy, education and earnings to rate countries on human development.   Across the northern hemisphere and Australia, protected areas often proved effective at slowing human activity when compared with unprotected areas. But in South America, Southeast Asia and African countries south of the Sahara Desert, pressure from human activity inside protected areas was notably higher. The study found agriculture is a major driving force behind human activity in protected areas. For example, African mangrove forests listed as protected experienced 13 percent greater losses to agriculture than unprotected mangrove areas between 1995 and 2010. Experts say governments need to provide additional financial and material support to help protected areas. Andrew Wetzler said, "Simply designating a place as protected can't be the beginning and the end of a conservation effort." Experts add that working with local communities and involving them with conservation efforts is also important. Jonas Geldmann noted, "We've seen from other studies that if you don't engage with the people living in and around the protected areas, if they're not partners to the protected areas, then making (reserves) work is much more difficult." I’m Jonathan Evans. Rosa Furneaux reported this story for the Reuters news agency. Jonathan Evans adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. ______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   conservation – n. the protection of animals, plants, and natural resources engage – v. to get and keep someone's attention, interest, etc. hemisphere – n. a half of the Earth park – n. a large area of public land kept in its natural state to protect plants and animals reserve – n. an area of land where animals and plants are given special protection
          

Roméo Saganash visits CMU

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Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students, staff and faculty gathered on Oct. 16 to hear Roméo Saganash speak on how Indigenous political leaders are keeping up the fight to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) implemented into Canadian law. 

During his visit, Saganash shared This Fight Continues: 262 & the Declaration, a film created by CMU alum Brad Leitch of Rebel Sky Media, documenting the story of Bill C-262. Following the screening and discussion, a number of students and community allies gathered in the Mennonite Church Manitoba offices to meet with Saganash, break bread, share their questions and make plans.

In 2017, Saganash introduced Bill C-262, a private members bill, to Parliament. The bill’s intent was to fully enact all 46 articles of UNDRIP. 

Thousands across the country, including CMU students, faculty and staff, threw their support behind C-262. With strong backing from MPs across the political spectrum, it passed three readings in the House of Commons and was adopted by Parliament in May 2018. 

Despite this success, the bill failed this summer, “blocked” Saganash said, “by a handful of unelected Conservative senators.” 

Last week’s CMU gathering was among the first in a planned series of such events, gathering support and advocacy for new legislation that will match or exceed the provisions of Bill C-262. While Saganash is no longer an MP, and does not plan to run again, he has passed the baton to Indigenous colleagues whom, he says, are running with it. 

Steve Heinrichs, MC Canada’s director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, is spearheading the campaign to galvanize and expand what grassroots support has already been raised by Bill C-262.

“It’s not just [MC Manitoba] or MC Canada that are encouraging this, but a wide network of folks,” Heinrichs said. “We’re asking all Members of Parliament in all parties to pledge their support for new legislation.”

Danielle Morton, CMU’s spiritual life facilitator and co-host of the Oct. 16 event, said that plans are already in the works for a follow-up event to extend the conversations germinated at CMU. 

Related stories:
A Canada committed to genuine and mutual relationships
Mennonites advocate for Bill C-262
UNDRIP: Good news for everyone
Walking for equality
A personal pilgrimage

Former MP Romeo Saganash, left, and Steve Heinrichs, MC Canada’s director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, and members of the CMU community met on Oct. 16 in an effort to ensure that all 46 articles of UNDRIP are implemented in Canadian law. (CMU photo)

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Study provides insights into natural radioactivity in the Western Ghats

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Read time: 3 mins
Study provides insights into natural radioactivity in the Western Ghats

The Earth's crust contains copious amounts of primordial radioactive substances as a result of geological activities from the dawn of its time. Formed from the interstellar medium that gave rise to the solar system, these unstable elements are unequally distributed across the globe. Due to geological phenomena like weathering of rocks, radioactive substances like thorium-232, potassium-40, and uranium-238 surface from the crust and end up in the soil.

Taking millions of years to diminish to half their original quantity, these radioactive substances release energy in the form of weak gamma rays. While exposure to such weak radiation is typically considered harmless, their effects on humans and the environment, in general, are not well understood. Hence, there's a growing interest to understand the effects of low-level exposure to radioactivity. In a recent study, researchers from Sai Nath University, Ranchi, and Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, set out to quantify the impacts of natural radioactivity on the surrounding environment in the Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences.

The weathering of rocks in the Western Ghats of southern India, along the coast of Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu, has yielded monazite soil. Monazite soil is a dense rare-earth mineral often mined for cerium, which is used to polish optical surfaces, and for radioactive thorium, which is used to make telescope lenses. West-flowing rivers, like the Periyar and Pamba, deposit this soil in the jagged coastlines across Kerala, where human settlements are widespread. The natural radioactivity from these deposits releases the most potent dose of radiation, which is further intensified artificially by the fertilisers farmers use for farming.

The researchers of this study collected soil samples from around the Nilgiris and measured the intensity of gamma radiation from the samples. They then determined if this radiation released due to radioactivity in the soil is within the safety limits for long term exposure.

The radioactivity of different radionuclides — an atom with excess nuclear energy — is expressed relative to the radioactivity of radium. The researchers obtained the radium equivalent values for Thorium-232, Potassium-40, and Uranium-238 to determine the safety of the soil samples. These values are crucial to establish a baseline measurement of radioactivity to carry out further studies in the area, they say.

The researchers used a standard dosimeter — a device that measures the external radiation — to calculate the dose rate — the amount of radiation per unit time outdoors — at 25 different locations around the Nilgiris to ascertain the radiation in the air. Surprisingly, the average terrestrial dose rate over the sampled areas turned out to be almost two times the world average, with thorium alone contributing to over 70% of the radiation.

Although the mean radium-equivalent dose rate in the study area was well below the safety limits, the observed average rise in dose rate over the global average, the researchers speculate, is contributed by cosmogenic nuclides, which are formed when cosmic rays bombard the stable nuclides in the atmosphere. Since the Western Ghats is 2400 metres above sea level, the region is much more prone to cosmic rays than other low-level areas. Unlike in other areas, these atmospheric radionuclides play a significant role in defining the radioactivity of this region, say the researchers.

Further, the researchers also measured the exposure rates in humans living in the Western Ghats to quantify the risks involved due to long-term exposure to such radiations. Their calculations followed the standards set by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. The results revealed that the risk of cancer is negligible since the value is well below the permissible limit. Although the average hazard indices, like the cancer risk index, are higher than in other parts of the world, the radioactivity in the region is not of serious concern. At the moment, they seem to have no profound effect on humans living in these parts, say the researchers. 


          

What the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord means for Canada, the world

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  The United States has announced it has begun the process of formally withdrawing from the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In a statement on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the agreement was an “unfair economic burden” to the U.S. economy, and that he has submitted formal notice to the United Nations, […]

The post What the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord means for Canada, the world appeared first on The Victoria Post.


          

Международный союз электросвязи опубликовал руководство по внедрению решений на основе технологии блокчейна, часть 1

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Данная заметка была опубликована в новостном разделе сайта Международного союза электросвязи 1 октября 2019 года.

«Тем, кто потенциально может заняться внедрением технологии блокчейна, мы даём четкое представление об этой новой технологии, а также о том, как её лучше всего применять», - говорит представитель Китайской академии информационных и коммуникационных технологий (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, CAICT, http://www.caict.ac.cn/english/ ; китайское название - 中国信息通信研究院) Вей Кай (Wei Kai, на фото слева – Н.Х.), являющийся председателем фокус-группы FG DLT Международного союза электросвязи (МСЭ - International Telecommunications Union, ITU) по теме «Применение технологии распределенных реестров» (Application of Distributed Ledger Technology, https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/dlt/Pages/default.aspx ).

Варианты использования технологий блокчейна и распределенных реестров (distributed ledger technology, DLT) появляются сейчас в областях телекоммуникаций, финансов, энергетики, цепочек поставок и государственного управления, - это лишь некоторые из многочисленных секторов, заинтересованных в приложениях на основе данных технологий.

Мой комментарий: Справедливости ради следует отметить, что большинство этих примеров использования представляют собой или небольшие пилотные проекты, или, чаще, некие теоретические конструкции. Всё это, к сожалению, очень напоминает шумиху по поводу «экспертных систем» в конце 1980-х – начале 1990-х годов, когда реально работавших решений было около десятка, а вот «кейсов» - хоть отбавляй …

«Наша цель заключалась в том, чтобы помочь отрасли и государственным органам с большей уверенностью браться за внедрение DLT-технологии», - отмечает Вей Кай.

Фокус-группа МСЭ разработала инструментарий, который может быть использован всеми разработчиками инновационных решений на основе распределённых реестров, и теми, кто на практике применяет такие решения, признавая при этом, что приложения DLT-технологий могут принимать самые разные формы.

Термины и определения для технологий блокчейна и распределенных реестров обеспечат основу для большей согласованности при разработке и применении DLT-решений.

Набор «критериев оценки» будет способствовать усилиям по выявлению сильных и слабых сторон DLT-платформ при различных вариантах применения.

Высокоуровневая эталонная архитектура решений на основе распределенных реестров описывает ключевые элементы DLT-платформ, способствуя более ясному пониманию того, как следует описывать и оценивать такие платформы.

Мой комментарий: В части терминологии и эталонной архитектуры МСЭ дублирует работу, которую делает Международная организация по стандартизации (ИСО). Хотя на неформальном уровне данные проекты в определённой степени взаимодействуют друг с другом, стараясь избегать явных противоречий, в любом случае такое дублирование вряд ли пойдёт отрасли на пользу, не способствуя авторитетность разработок что МСЭ, что ИСО.

Фокус-группа задокументировала и проанализировала около 60 вариантов использования технологии распределённых реестров, обращая внимание, в том числе, на актуальность данной технологии в плане реализации целей Организации Объединенных Наций (ООН) в области устойчивого развития (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, см.   https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ , на русском языке: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ru/ ).

Мой комментарий: Коллекционированию вариантов применения как способу без какой-либо полезной отдачи «убить» массу сил и времени специалистов, с моей точки зрения, нет сейчас равных :) Даже бесконечные терминологические дискуссии, и те иногда приводят хоть к каким-то результатам … Межу тем это коллекционирование изначально бессмысленно, поскольку 1) любой традиционный реестр в любой сфере деятельности, при желании, может быть заменён на распределённый; и 2) тот же Биткойн уже давно доказал, что технологии блокчейна и распределённых реестров работоспособны, в том числе в таком непривычном варианте, когда у решения нет известного «хозяина». Особенно забавно то, что эти весьма пёстрые коллекции «кейсов» (среди которых может не оказаться Биткойна и Эфириума) планируется продавать – документы МСЭ и ИСО не бесплатные!

Группа также предложила концептуальные рамки для рассмотрения последствий внедрения распределенных реестров с точки зрения нормативно-правового регулирования. Группа также прогнозирует развитие технологии в будущем с учетом влияния нормативного регулирования.

Эти руководства свободно доступны по адресу https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/dlt/Pages/default.aspx

Какие варианты применения являются наиболее перспективными?

«Мы все ещё находимся на самой ранней стадии», - говорит Вей Кай. «За исключением криптовалют, мы пока не видим каких-либо неотразимо привлекательных приложений».

В документах фокус-группы анализируются варианты применения различной степени зрелости, от идей и концепций до подтверждающих работоспособность пилотных проектов и полномасштабных внедрений.

«Область технологий распределённых реестров настолько широка, что очень сложно сравнивать различные варианты применения», - отмечает заместитель председателя фокус-группы МСЭ Сюзана Мараньяо (Suzana Maranhão, на фото справа – Н.Х.), представляющая Бразильский банк развития.

«Цепочки поставок (supply chain), однако, представляются той областью, где приложения DLT-технологий могут в ближайшем будущем дать значительную отдачу. Фокус-группа получила много вариантов применения в этой сфере».

Если благодаря использованию DLT-технологии все участники цепочек поставок смогут пользоваться единым представлением соответствующих данных, то удастся повысить эффективность управления цепочками поставок и значительно упростить разрешение споров.

Фиксация цепочек событий в защищенном от внесения несанкционированных изменений распределённом реестре позволяет улучшить отслеживаемость, повысить прозрачность происхождения продуктов и сократить время и затраты, необходимые для проверки соответствия стандартам качества.

И в своей простейшей форме, добавляет Мараньяо, эти DLT-приложения не требуют какой-либо передачи активов, в результате чего нормативно-правовые последствия их использования существенно меньше.

«Варианты применения, связанные с обменом активами, влекут за собой более сложные последствия, и в результате их зрелость повышается медленнее», - подчёркивает Мараньяо.

(Окончание следует, см. http://rusrim.blogspot.com/2019/11/2.html )

Источник: сайт Международного союза электросвязи
https://news.itu.int/itu-issues-guidance-blockchain-adoption/

          

Canberra laws legalising cannabis breach international law, United Nations warns

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The ACT Government has hit back at warnings from the United Nations that legalising cannabis will breach international law, telling the body to instead look at the United States and Canada where the laws go further.

In a letter to the Federal Government sent following recent "concerning" reports, the UNs' International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) reiterated that the legalisation and regulation of cannabis for non-medical use, including in small quantities, were inconsistent with international drug conventions.

Australia, along with more than 200 other countries, signed three international conventions agreeing to certain rules about illicit drug use and restrictions about medications.

But ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr defended the laws that come into effect on January 31, 2020, saying the supply and traffic of cannabis will remain illegal and the UN should turn its attention elsewhere.

"Canada, Colorado and California have cannabis legalisation laws that are much more expansive than the laws passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly last month," Mr Barr said.

"The International Narcotics Control Board's attention would be better focused on those cannabis legalisation regimes rather than the ACT's reforms.

"The [ACT] Government is not encouraging the personal use of cannabis."

A member of the UN board, Professor Richard Mattick, who is also part of UNSW's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said the treaties were legally binding and the ACT's cannabis laws were in contravention.

"Allowing citizens in a country to use cannabis for recreational purposes, or non-medical purposes, is not allowed under the treaties," he told RN Breakfast.

Follow this story to get email or text alerts from ABC News when there is a future article following this storyline.

Professor Mattick said while the ACT was only proposing to legalise a small quantity of cannabis per adult in Canberra, the amount was not relevant.

"The issue is the letter of the law," he said.

"Many countries do feel very strongly about this, so whilst [some] countries — the United States, Canada, Australia potentially, Uruguay, the Netherlands — are allowing cannabis use, the vast majority of the 200 countries are not in agreement with this.

"It creates a problem when we have a set of rules which we say we should abide by, but we pick and choose which ones we want to abide by.

"It's about the international agreement."

UN concerns come after tit-for-tat between ACT, feds

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who has already sounded his opposition to the ACT's move, said it was clear that the legislation was in breach of the UN convention.

"The Australian Government remains committed to the international drug control regime established by the UN international drug conventions which do not support the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use," Mr Hunt said.

"While many Australians may view cannabis use as harmless, almost a quarter of Australia's drug and alcohol treatment services are being provided to people identifying cannabis as their principal drug of concern, roughly the same number of treatment episodes as for amphetamine use."

Professor Mattick said the role of the board was not to "embarrass" Australia, but it would continue to highlight how the ACT laws do not adhere to the international agreements.

"We are allowing the countries to decide how they will handle this difficult situation," he said.

"How this rolls out is going to be very interesting because it could see a fraying of the international agreement."

The concern from the UN follows a tit-for-tat between the Federal and ACT Governments, adding to confusion over how the laws will be practically enforced when the changes come into effect early next year.

Federal Government ministers sharply criticised the ACT's move, with some labelling it as "crazy" and a "social crusade" by the territory Labor government.

For its part, the ACT Government has urged the Federal Government to respect "democratic processes of the ACT" and said the legislation was "the will of the people".

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World: Opening statement at the 70th session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme

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Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World

By Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
07 October 2019

Mr. Chairman,
Deputy Secretary-General,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The modern concept of refugee protection was born in the middle of the last century, as the world emerged from two devastating global conflicts and was preparing to enter the Cold War. Millions had been uprooted from their homes, as wars cast people adrift, empires disintegrated, borders were redrawn, and minorities and political opponents were persecuted and expelled. Ensuring the safety of those displaced, and resolving displacement, were among the earliest priorities of the United Nations.

Seven decades on, forced human displacement remains a global concern. The context is different, but the complexity remains immense. Today’s refugee crises are part of a growing flow of human mobility, driven by many overlapping elements.

Resource-based conflicts that transcend borders, shaped by a mosaic of local, regional and international interests; fueled by extremism, criminal networks and urban gangs.

Loss of hope, as global advances in prosperity, education and the fight against hunger and disease fail to reach those most in need.

Conflicts premised on ethnic and religious differences, stoked by others for political and financial gain.

Collapsing eco-systems and weather-related disasters that destroy homes and livelihoods, forcing millions further into poverty.

Damaging forms of nationalism, and hate speech that – often through cyberspace – have found a new legitimacy in public discourse.

Refugees emerge from these widening fault-lines – a warning of things going wrong. This is why tackling forced displacement calls again for a bigger, broader ambition than we have managed to muster in the recent past.

This was the vision that drove the development of the Global Compact on Refugees. Addressing refugee crises cannot be done in isolation from larger global challenges, and from effective migration policies. The two compacts – on refugees, and on safe, orderly and regular migration – were designed to complement each other, and for good reason.

Look at the Sahel – a situation of enormous complexity, where insecurity, poverty and loss of traditional livelihoods are fracturing and uprooting entire communities, across the region and beyond. Protecting refugees and the internally displaced is vital. But this must be accompanied by a deeper and wider scope of action that cuts across the political, security, migration and development spheres.

Two aspects of the Global Compact on Refugees stand out.

One is its comprehensive approach. It accelerates a long-awaited shift in responses – from a traditional humanitarian angle, as the Deputy Secretary-General said, to one that preserves the humanitarian imperative, but matches it with a broader set of tools more adapted to the dynamics of today’s refugee flows.

This means peacemaking and peacebuilding, development action and private sector investment. It means sustained, strategic support to address the root causes of refugee movements and mixed population flows. The Deputy Secretary-General has just highlighted how this dovetails with the work to bring about a UN system that can best catalyze progress collectively towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Synergies between the compact and UN reforms are therefore relevant and strong.

Also, the compact makes tangible the commitment to international solidarity that underpins the refugee protection regime, but has never been fully realised. You will hear more about this from our new Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, whom I am happy to introduce to you today.

Securing the refugee compact – a practical, concrete tool – proved that beyond the damaging, unilateral approaches that sometimes surface, a commitment to addressing refugee flows through international solidarity still prevails. At UNHCR, we are fully committed to this effort, and we count on all of you – our closest partners – to do the same. It is possible! The Global Refugee Forum, to be convened in December in this building, will be the opportunity to showcase what has been achieved, and make fresh commitments to further progress.

Mr Chairman,

The last year has underscored why the compact is needed, and how it is starting to re-shape our collective response. Let me share my thoughts on seven related challenges.

First, while much of the discussion on forced displacement has focused on arrivals in the global North, the most profound consequences by far are in host countries in the global South. Preserving asylum there, and helping host communities, requires more substantial and sustained international support. More than four million Venezuelans, for example, have left the country, the majority taking refuge in 14 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most of these states have shown commendable solidarity, despite immense pressures. Colombia’s recent decision to grant citizenship at birth to the children of Venezuelans in the country is an example, and the Quito Process is helping shape a regional approach.

Sustaining this solidarity is vital, including through support to the services, infrastructure and economy of impacted countries. I welcome the engagement of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank’s decision to extend support to Colombia – and potentially also Ecuador – through its Global Concessional Financing Facility. I urge them to accelerate their contributions. The forthcoming Solidarity Conference convened by the European Union, together with UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration, will be an opportunity to take stock and commit more.

Second, responses to 'mixed flows' of refugees and migrants continue to generate very divisive debates. Widespread political rhetoric exploits the anxieties prevailing among those excluded from the benefits of globalization, and directs those fears towards refugees and migrants – themselves among the most disenfranchised people on the planet. Pitting exclusion against exclusion is not only cynical and immoral – it rarely offers practical solutions to either. And measures taken or invoked to reduce flows – pushbacks, externalization of asylum processing, policies of deterrence – all erode refugee protection without really addressing the root causes of mixed flows, or the challenges of integration.

These situations are enormously complex – we must recognise that. I saw this last week in Mexico, where impressive examples of refugee integration are coupled with increasing migratory pressures from the region but also from Africa. A range of actions is undoubtedly needed to address these “mixed” flows. Several are included in that region under the MIRPS, a regional framework for protection and solutions which we have promoted; and we will contribute to UN efforts to support initiatives such as a regional development plan for Mexico and northern Central America, currently being discussed. In this context, saving lives and safeguarding the dignity and rights of all those on the move must remain central, together with access to international protection for those with valid claims. There and elsewhere, legal migration pathways would help prevent the abuse of asylum systems as substitutes of migration channels.

We observe these challenges not only in northern Central America and at the southern border of the United States, but also in southern Africa, and south-east Asia. In Europe, public confidence in asylum and migration management has been diminished, and must be restored through fast and fair procedures, good migration management that avoids overloading asylum systems, and investments in integration for those with a right to stay. Cooperation between governments is needed – including on the return of those who do not qualify for international protection or other stay arrangements.

I welcome the recent decisions of four EU States to establish a temporary cooperation mechanism for disembarking those rescued in the Mediterranean, and hope that this will galvanise broader EU engagement and revitalize rescue at sea arrangements. But this must also be matched by a broader ambition – investments in addressing the root causes of refugee flows, and supporting the efforts of refugee-hosting and transit countries. UNHCR continues to evacuate the most vulnerable from Libya – efforts for which Niger and now Rwanda are providing life-saving channels. Hopefully, others will join. We work closely with the International Organisation for Migration in these efforts, as elsewhere. But these operations pose enormous dilemmas, and can only be sustained as part of a comprehensive, responsibility-sharing approach that has the preservation of life, and access to international protection as central imperatives. There, as in several other operations, UNHCR colleagues and our partners are working – let us not forget that – under extremely dangerous conditions.

Third, long-standing and recurring displacement crises continue to persist, in the absence of political solutions. And other major crises are now becoming protracted too. In this context, the compact’s emphasis on inclusion, resilience and development action – pending solutions – is critical. This year marked the fortieth anniversary of the start of the Afghan refugee crisis. Regrettably, peace efforts seem once again to have stalled. I welcome Afghanistan’s decision to apply the comprehensive refugee response model in support of its initiatives to solve displacement, but solutions remain compromised by drought, insecurity and governance failures. Just 15,000 refugees returned home last year. The hospitality displayed by Pakistan and Iran, and their work on refugee inclusion and self-reliance, as well as on legal migration and stay options, are ground-breaking, but must receive more international support while the Afghan crisis continues.

In Somalia, too, while the commitment of the government to reduce forced displacement is evident and commendable, conflict and drought are still inhibiting solutions and driving new displacement. In this context, the regional application of the comprehensive response model by IGAD helps strengthen asylum, access to rights, and refugee inclusion in health, education and national economies.

Governments in the East and Horn of Africa have been in the forefront of the application of the comprehensive refugee response model. Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, among others, have made enormous strides with the support of the World Bank’s expertise and financing, bilateral development support and private sector investments. These are already transforming the lives of many refugees, as well as refugee-hosting communities across the region, and proving the validity of the model enshrined in the compact. They are giving concrete meaning to the African Union’s decision to declare 2019 the year of refugees, displaced people and returnees in Africa.

Fourth, the issue of repatriation continues to be the subject of much attention. A question we are increasingly asked is – how to advance solutions, when security in countries of origin remains fragile, and there is no end of hostilities? Can people return to their home countries in the absence of political settlements?

The answer is that returns must be driven by people, not by politics. Across UNHCR’s operations, we have an ongoing dialogue with refugees on return, and on the complex factors that influence their decisions. We work with governments to help create the conditions paving the way for returns. These must be voluntary and sustainable.

Take the example of Syria. Some 200,000 Syrian refugees have returned since 2016, and over three quarters of the almost six million refugees in neighbouring countries say they hope to return one day. We must continue to be guided by their views and decisions, and provide support to those who choose to return to avoid exposing them to further hardship.

Our policy is not to stand back and wait. We work with the Government of Syria to help address barriers to return and support confidence-building measures; hoping of course that recent political advances are consolidated; and that further humanitarian crises – especially in Idlib – can be avoided through concerted action by all parties.

In the meantime, international support to asylum countries must be sustained. Their outstanding generosity, and continuous donor support have helped Syrian refugees contend with long years in exile, even in places like Lebanon where the ratio of refugees to nationals continues to be the highest in the world. The achievements are significant: last year, 1.3 million Syrian refugee children were attending school, and 110,000 work permits were issued in Jordan and Turkey. However, acute poverty and vulnerability are weighing on people’s lives, and on host communities, and inevitably influencing their decisions.

In Myanmar, too, the Government has recognised the right of refugees in Bangladesh to return, and has started an important dialogue with the refugees, to build confidence and enable informed decisions. UNHCR and UNDP are working on social cohesion projects in northern Rakhine State to help pave the way for eventual returns. These are important steps, but need to be accompanied by more visible changes on key issues of refugee concern – freedom of movement, solutions for the internally displaced, clear information on a pathway to citizenship.

A second bilateral initiative to commence repatriation in August did not result in any refugees coming forward. But it sent important messages: the door is open, and voluntariness was respected. My hope is that this can now pave the way for a more strategic approach, in which refugee voices and choices are central. UNHCR stands ready to advise and support. There, and in other places, for example with Burundian refugees in Tanzania, and Nigerian refugees in the Lake Chad region, we are available to facilitate dialogue and solutions through tripartite approaches which include UNHCR.

Fifth, and closely linked to my previous point, we need to seize opportunities to accelerate solutions. Conflicts moving towards peace are rare, but when there is a chance, we have to pursue it. In this respect, we are closely following events in Sudan and South Sudan. The political transition in Sudan and the new Government’s commitment to a peace process have important implications for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees, and for the internally displaced. The renewed momentum in the South Sudan peace process is also encouraging. Spontaneous refugee returns to South Sudan have already surpassed 200,000, and IDP returns are also under way.

Over the last two years, UNHCR and IGAD have been promoting the inclusion of refugees and internally displaced people in the South Sudan peace process. I hope that these recent developments will pave the way to a definitive end of the cycle of violence and displacement that has blighted the lives of generations of Sudanese and South Sudanese people.

Resettlement is another solution – albeit for very few. While some countries are stepping up their programmes, the overall number of places has plummeted. I am very disappointed by this. Resettlement saves lives and offers stability to refugees who are most vulnerable and at risk. I propose that we use more deliberately our new three-year strategy to intensify resettlement efforts, and expand private sector and community involvement.

The sixth major challenge relates to our engagement with the internally displaced. At the end of 2018, over 41 million people were living in displacement in their own countries. Major IDP operations, in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Lake Chad Basin, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ukraine, remain among our most politically and operationally complex – but all are among our priorities. I wish to flag in particular that together with our partners, we are responding with more resources to the Ethiopian government’s call for support to address recent large-scale internal displacement in the country.

In sum, we are trying to better align our efforts to advance solutions for refugees and IDPs, and to design our operations more effectively, in the context of inter-agency efforts. Our new policy on internal displacement reflects our firm and revitalized commitment. This places particular emphasis on protection leadership, and aligning our interventions with those of our partners.

Mr. Chairman,

A few days ago, at the start of the 74th session of the General Assembly in New York, we heard calls to accelerate our responses to the climate emergency, before it is too late. Greta Thunberg, speaking for the next generations, and António Guterres, speaking as the world’s conscience, were adamant in asking all of us to take action – now.

These calls concern us, too, as we gather here to discuss issues of forced displacement. I have just presented six key displacement-related challenges. The seventh intersects and underpins them all.

Climate-related causes are a growing driver of new internal displacement, surpassing those related to conflict and violence by more than 50%. Climate is often also a pervasive factor in cross-border displacement.

The term “climate refugee” is not based in international law, and does not reflect the more complicated ways in which climate interacts with human mobility. But the image it conveys – of people driven from their homes as an outcome of the climate emergency – has rightly captured public attention.

I am often asked how the UN refugee organization can help respond to this challenge. I wish to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts for your consideration.

For some years, UNHCR has worked to highlight relevant legal frameworks and the protection gaps resulting from cross-border displacement in the context of climate change. We will continue to help steer international discussions and the legal and normative debate in this area, including through engagement with the Platform on Disaster Displacement, and other multilateral fora.

Forced displacement across borders can stem from the interaction between climate change and disasters with conflict and violence – or it can arise from natural or man-made disasters alone. Either situation can trigger international protection needs.

In the first case, these would normally be met through recognition as a refugee under the 1951 Convention or regional refugee frameworks. In the second, temporary protection or stay arrangements, on which UNHCR has expertise, can provide flexible and speedy responses.

Even more specifically, where disaster-related displacement occurs, a strong operational response, guided by protection considerations, is often needed. Here too, UNHCR will continue to work in inter-agency contexts to support governments – building on our strong expertise in emergency responses. The Global Compact on Refugees by the way calls for preparedness measures and evidence-based forecasting, and the inclusion of refugees in disaster risk reduction strategies.

There are other considerations. Climate factors drive people out of their homes – but large-scale refugee movements – whether or not climate-induced – have themselves in turn an environmental impact, and refugees are frequently located in climate hotspots. I am determined to make these considerations more relevant to the way we prepare for and respond to refugee crises.

At UNHCR, we have worked for years to reduce the environmental impact of refugee crises through renewable energy options, reforestation activities, and access to clean fuels and technology for cooking. We have now launched a revitalized energy strategy and are improving our tools to address these challenges. Private sector partners such as the IKEA Foundation have been invaluable in helping us develop new approaches.

And finally like other organizations, we recognise that our own operational footprint has an environmental impact, and are taking action accordingly. We are working, for example, to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use.

Mr. Chairman,

Work to respond to these challenges is made possible by the strong confidence that UNHCR continues to receive from donor partners. We expect funds available this year to reach an estimated 4.82 billion US dollars. The United States’ contribution has continued to be the most substantial, and has been decisive in many challenging situations, and for this I am very grateful. I wish to thank the European Commission and Germany for their particularly strong support; and Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands for providing critical, substantive unearmarked funding; and of course all other donors as well.

The gap between requirements and available resources nonetheless continues to grow in absolute terms and will reach around 3.82 billion US dollars this year. Private sector income is projected to increase by 11% over last year’s figure, to 470 million US dollars. We continue to work to diversify our funding base, in the spirit of responsibility-sharing and to ensure a stable platform for our work. Most importantly, our partnership with development organizations is becoming much stronger, and is helping us find ways to target our resources in ways that leverage those bigger programmes.

I am aware that donor generosity must be matched by constant improvements in how we manage the organization. In late 2016, I initiated a reform process to ensure an agile and effective UNHCR, with country operations equipped to pursue context-driven strategies, innovate, and respond to local and regional dynamics, as part of UN Country Teams. This was the rationale for our regionalisation and decentralization process, which is giving greater authority and flexibility to country offices, helping us get closer to refugees, and front-loading support through Regional Bureaux located in their regions.

We are entering the last phase of structural changes, which will involve adjustments to Headquarters Divisions and other entities in line with the new rebalanced authorities.

Of course, transformation is not only about structures and accountabilities, and is not a one-time exercise – it is also about transforming our organisational culture, investing in the quality of work, improving and streamlining systems and processes, and creating space for innovation.

We are working on evidence-based planning, on how we describe impact, and on increasing efficiency, in line with our Grand Bargain commitments and as an active participant, as the Deputy Secretary-General noted, in broader UN reforms. I recently endorsed a Data Transformation Strategy, and the new UNHCR/World Bank Joint Data Centre will be inaugurated this week in Copenhagen by the Secretary-General – a milestone of humanitarian/development cooperation.

We also continue to embed a strong risk management culture across the organisation, and to strengthen systems and tools for preventing and responding to misconduct. This includes sexual exploitation and abuse, and sexual harassment, for which we have implemented a broad range of measures and to which I am personally committed, also as Champion for this issue in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. There is no place in the organization for perpetrators, and we will keep survivors and victims at the center of our response.

Mr. Chairman,

In 2011, my predecessor, the Secretary-General, convened a ministerial meeting on the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the 50th of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. It is fair to say that until then, the statelessness mandate had been a rather peripheral aspect of UNHCR’s work. Clearly, you didn’t see it that way. More than 60 states and regional entities came forward with pledges aimed at reducing statelessness, and that groundswell of political will and commitment became the catalyst for the #IBelong campaign, launched in 2014. Spurred on by the energy that had emerged, we decided to fix a time limit – ten years – to bring statelessness to an end.

Now, as we mark the halfway point, it’s time to take stock and renew the commitment that set us on the path towards that bold ambition. This is the aim of the High-Level Segment that will follow in a few moments, as part of this Executive Committee meeting.

When we talk about statelessness, we often find ourselves speaking of laws, documents and other technicalities. These are critical, and are where the hard work has to happen, but when we frame statelessness purely in legal terms, we lose sight of the all-encompassing blight it casts on people’s lives, pushing them to the margins of society, denying them basic rights and a sense of identity. This is an area in which – for relatively little investment – wide-reaching impact is within our reach.

Some of you, last year, were present at an EXCOM side event at which a young woman who had grown up stateless became the citizen of a country for the first time. It was a deeply emotional experience for everyone present – and that moment, more than any speech or list of pledges, captured what it means to finally belong, after years spent living on the margins. She and a number of formerly stateless people are present here today, and I encourage you to talk to them and understand what citizenship has meant to them. Their stories are what will inspire us as we move ahead.

There have been important achievements in the first half of the campaign – tackling gender discrimination in nationality laws, introducing laws to avoid childhood statelessness, and developing procedures to find solutions for people who would otherwise be stateless. Certain protracted situations were finally resolved. Fifteen states acceded to one or both of the Statelessness Conventions. Kyrgyzstan became the first State to formally announce that all known cases of statelessness on its territory had been resolved – an achievement that should inspire others. I look forward to honouring a Kyrgyz champion of this campaign, Azizbek Ashurov, at the Nansen Award ceremony this evening.

I also wish to acknowledge the work of UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, and civil society and academic networks – and especially the Geneva-based ‘Friends’ of the campaign, who have been persistent in their advocacy and support. The regional preparatory meetings have been characterized by energy and commitment. I am pleased to share that we have received 171 pledges ahead of today’s event, which has also galvanised other initiatives that may become concrete pledges later.

At a time when we are asking a lot of you, this is particularly commendable. At UNHCR, we will also step up our efforts even more to achieve the ambitious collective goal of ending statelessness once and for all.

Mr Chairman,

The first Global Refugee Forum will be convened in this building in just over two months. It comes at the end of a turbulent decade, in which people and communities have been uprooted across all regions. Nobody foresaw, ten years ago, the convergence of trends and events that would lead to a doubling in the number of people forcibly displaced, and the prominence that refugee and migrant flows would assume in domestic and international politics. Addressing and resolving forced displacement has rightly emerged as an urgent priority intertwined with other 21st-century global challenges, including climate change.

The big question now is – what are we going to make of the next decade? Will it be one that sees us in retreat – turning our backs on the hard-learned lessons of the twentieth century – or one in which we will have the courage of joining forces in spite of our different perspectives and interests, embracing the challenges and opportunities of international cooperation to address the plight of exile? These are the fundamental questions that the Forum will have to tackle. I hope – of course – that it will respond by clearly showing the second way. I encourage all of you to ensure high-level representation from States, share positive experiences, and make significant and impactful commitments that will greatly improve the future of refugees and host communities.

I believe that in the Global Compact for Refugees, we have grounds for optimism. The momentum is there. We have a powerful tool that was born of a narrative of possibility. The Forum will be the occasion, I hope, to show that we do not shy away from the enormous responsibility placed on all of us – one that stems not only from the refugees and host communities looking to us for action, but also from the opportunity that we have to inspire new generations, and demonstrate, in so many practical, concrete ways, why international cooperation matters, and how it can be made to work.

Thank you.


          

World: Humanitarian Funding Update October 2018 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals [EN/AR]

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Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

United Nations-coordinated Appeals

FUNDING REQUIRED $25.20B

FUNDING RECEIVED $11.97B

UNMET REQUIREMENTS $13.23B

COVERAGE 47.5%

PEOPLE IN NEED 135.3 M

PEOPLE TO RECEIVE AID 97.9 M

COUNTRIES AFFECTED 41

Global Humanitarian Funding

FUNDING RECEIVED $17.98B

UN-COORDINATED APPEALS $11.97B

OTHER FUNDING $6.01B

Global Appeal Status

  • At the end of October 2018, 21 Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) and the Syria Regional Response Plan (3RP) require US$25.20 billion to assist 97.9 million people in urgent need of humanitarian support. The plans are funded at $11.97 billion; this amounts to 47.5 per cent of financial requirements for 2018. Requirements are lower than in September 2018 due to revision of the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP). For the remainder of 2018, humanitarian organizations require another $13.23 billion to meet the needs outlined in these plans.

  • Global requirements are $1.10 billion higher than at this time last year. Overall coverage and the dollar amount were only marginally higher in late October than at the same time in 2017.

  • On 8 October the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners issued a Mid-Year Review of the HDRP. The revised plan reflects changes in the humanitarian context, and requires $1.49 billion for 2018, as opposed to the March 2018 requirement of $1.6 billion to reach some 7.88 million people in need of food or cash relief assistance and 8.49 million people with non-food assistance in the course of the year. Despite the general good performance of this year’s belg (spring) rains, the number of people targeted for relief food and cash support remains largely unchanged due to the significant spike in internal displacement since April 2018.

Security Council Briefings and High Level Missions

  • At a briefing to the Security Council on 23 October, Under-Secretary-General/Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) Mark Lowcock called on all stakeholders to do everything possible to avert catastrophe in Yemen. In a follow up note on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of 30 October, the USG/ERC thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Kuwait, the United Kingdom and all donors for the record amount raised for the humanitarian appeal in 2018 which had meant nearly 8 million people had received assistance across the country; more than 7 million people had received food and more than 420,000 children been treated for malnutrition; clean water, sanitation and basic hygiene support is now available to 7.4 million people and about 8 million men, women, girls and boys had benefited from health services.

  • At a Security Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria on 29 October, the USG/ERC urged the Security Council and key Member States to ensure that the ceasefire holds in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib to prevent a military onslaught and overwhelming humanitarian suffering. He thanked donors for the $1.7 billion contributed so far towards the HRP for Syria, but pointed out that this HRP is currently funded at less than 50 per cent.

  • In her statement to the Security Council on 30 October, Assistant Under-Secretary-General/Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (ASG/DERC)
    Ursulla Mueller spoke of the steady decline in humanitarian funding for the Ukraine over the years and mentioned that the HRP for 2018 is funded at only 32 per cent. This is simply not enough to cover food, health care, water, sanitation and other life-saving assistance. ASG/DERC Mueller appealed to donors to increase their support for consolidating gains in anticipation of the fast-approaching winter.

  • During a joint mission to Chad and Nigeria (5-7 October) with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, as part of a series of country visits the two will make to advance humanitarian-development collaboration, the USG/ERC called on donors to fulfil pledges and announcements of over $2 million made in Berlin last month at the High Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region (3-4 September). He noted the importance of maintaining humanitarian response in the region as needs were still very high.

  • Following her visit to the Republic of the Philippines from 9 to 11 October, ASG/DERC Mueller announced that OCHA would continue advocating for sustained funding to address humanitarian needs of people displaced by the Marawi conflict while ensuring that support for the transition to longerterm and sustainable recovery is forthcoming.

Upcoming Event

  • The Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 and World Humanitarian Data and Trends will be launched in the course of joint event to take place in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on 4 December 2018.

Pooled Funds

  • Between January and the end of October 2018, country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) have received a total of $708 million in contributions from 32 donors (including contributions through the UN Foundation). During the same period, a total of $616 million from the 18 operational funds was allocated towards 1,071 projects with 575 implementing partners. Nearly 40 per cent ($246 million) of the funds were allocated to international NGOs and some 26 per cent (approximately $160 million) to national NGOs. UN agencies received 32 per cent ($202 million) of the allocated funds and Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations received over 1 per cent (some $8 million) of all allocated funds. The largest allocations per sector went to health; food security; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition; emergency shelter and NFIs.

  • Between 1 January and 31 October 2018, the Emergency Relief Coordinator approved $477 million in grants from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support life-saving activities in 45 countries. This includes $297.7 million from the Rapid Response Window and $179.7 million from the Underfunded Emergencies (UFE) Window. A total of $31.6 million in Rapid Response grants was approved in October in response to cholera outbreaks in Zimbabwe, Niger and Nigeria; flooding in Laos; and the population influx from Venezuela to Brazil, Ecuador and Peru; as well as to support Government relief efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The UFE 2018 second round was completed this month, with $30.6 million approved in September and the remaining $49.4 million of the round’s $80 million released in October to assist people caught up in nine chronic emergencies in Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Libya,
    Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Sudan.

Country Updates

  • Funding for humanitarian activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is at an all-time low. Nearly all agencies requesting financial support through the HRP have received less funding in 2018 than in previous years. This leaves humanitarian partners ill-placed to meet emerging needs or respond to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the rise in casualties during the recent demonstrations has stretched Gaza’s overburdened health system.
    Humanitarian agencies appealed in August for $43.8 million to respond to the Gaza crisis, particularly trauma management and emergency health care, in 2018. On 22 September, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt launched an $8.3 million allocation from the oPt Humanitarian Fund to implement critical HRP projects, mainly in Gaza. Stocks of medical supplies are in extremely short supply and depleted to almost half of requirements. Since late October, the Gaza power plant has been providing up to eleven hours of electricity a day. However, around 250 health,
    WASH and essential solid waste facilities continue to rely on UN-procured emergency fuel for running back-up generators. This year’s intensive operations have depleted funds and stocks and the $1 million allocated by the oPt Humanitarian Fund for fuel supplies will only last until the end of November. Further and urgent financial support is therefore required.

  • Conditions in Yemen continued to deteriorate in October, pushing the country to the brink of famine. On 23 October, the USG/ERC warned the Security Council that without urgent action, up to 14 million people – half the population – could face pre-famine conditions in the coming months.
    Assessments are currently under way, with initial results expected in mid-November. The economic crisis is raising the risk of famine. The Yemeni rial has depreciated by nearly 50 per cent over the last year. Commodity prices have soared, as Yemen imports 90 per cent of staple food and nearly all fuel and medicine.

Urgent steps are required to avert immediate catastrophe. First, a cessation of hostilities is needed; this is especially critical in populated areas.
Second, imports of food, fuel and other essentials must be able to enter Yemen without impediment. Roads must remain open so these goods can reach communities across the country. Third, the Yemeni economy must be supported, including by injecting foreign exchange, expediting credit for imports and paying salaries and pensions. Fourth, international funding must increase now to allow humanitarians to meet growing needs for assistance. Finally, all parties must engage with the UN Special Envoy to end the conflict. Yemen remains the largest humanitarian operation in the world, with more than 200 partners working through the Yemen HRP.


          

World: Humanitarian Funding Update September 2018 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals [EN/AR]

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Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

FUNDING REQUIRED $25.32B

FUNDING RECEIVED $10.63B

UNMET REQUIREMENTS COVERAGE $14.69B

COVERAGE 42%

PEOPLE IN NEED 133.8M

PEOPLE TO RECEIVE AID 97.4M

COUNTRIES AFFECTED 41

Spotlight on the recent disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

On Friday 28 September, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. On 5 October, the Government and country team/regional office issued the Central Sulawesi Earthquake Response Plan to support the six priority areas identified by the Government. Some existing programmes in Sulawesi will be augmented and others entailing WASH, health, camp management and logistics activities will be developed.

The response plan will focus on immediate response over a three-month period. On 2 October and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock (USG/ERC) announced an allocation of US$15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to bolster relief assistance for people affected by this emergency

Global appeal status

At the end of September 2018, 21 Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) and the Syria Regional Response Plan (3RP) require $25.32 billion to assist 97.4 million people in urgent need of humanitarian support. The plans are funded at $10.63 billion; this amounts to 42 per cent of financial requirements for 2018. For the remainder of 2018, humanitarian organizations require another $14.69 billion to meet the needs outlined in these plans.

Global requirements are $1.13 billion higher than at this time last year. Overall coverage and the dollar amount were only marginally higher in late September 2018 than at the same time in 2017.

High-level events The USG/ERC made a strong appeal for HRP funding for South Sudan and Yemen at two high-level events at UN headquarters last month. At an event on 25 September on the crisis in South Sudan during the General Assembly, the USG/ERC asked that donors sustain their generous and large response to the crisis to enable life-saving activities and to encourage a multi-year approach to crisis response with stronger focus on stabilization, resilience and recovery from the conflict. In his statement to the Security Council on Yemen on 21 September, he announced that we may now be approaching a tipping point beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country.

Three days later, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen reiterated the call for more funding and more humanitarian partners on the ground to respond to the unprecedented emergency in Yemen.
The UNHCR Commissioner and USG/ERC ended a mission to Afghanistan last month with a call for donors to urgently increase and sustain support for humanitarian response in the country, and to take measures to find durable solutions for millions of people caught up in Afghanistan’s displacement crisis.
On 3-4 September, in a follow-up event to the 2017 Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, Germany, Nigeria, Norway and the UN co-hosted the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region in Berlin. On this occasion, UN Member States, international organizations and civil society actors discussed humanitarian assistance, stabilization and development cooperation in the region. Humanitarian and development announcements made at the conference totalled $2.17 billion and it is estimated that $1.02 billion was for humanitarian assistance in 2018 for Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Of that amount, approximately $875 million (86%), has been made available to recipient organizations.

International financial institutions pledged an additional $467 million in concessional loans.

Concerning pledging conferences this year, according to data reported to FTS by donors and recipient organizations as of 18 September, 95 per cent of pledges have been fulfilled for Yemen, 91 per cent of pledges have been fulfilled for Somalia, and 82 per cent of pledges have been fulfilled for DRC. In each of these countries, many donors have contributed above and beyond their original announcements.
For Syria and the Region, the EU recently published a tracking report on announcements made in Brussels in April which can be accessed here:

www.consilium.europa.eu/media/36437/syria-report-six.pdf Donors are urged to quickly fulfil outstanding pledges made at the conferences and to consider providing additional funding before the end of the year.

Pooled funds

Between 1 January and 30 September 2018, the Emergency Relief Coordinator approved $395 million in grants from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), including $265 million from the Rapid Response Window and $130 million from the Underfunded Emergencies Window, for life-saving activities in 38 countries. A total of $40 million was released in September to assist people affected by underfunded emergencies in Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic and Rwanda; as well as people affected by flooding in India and Myanmar, and Venezuelan refugees and migrants arriving in Ecuador and Peru.

Country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) have received a total of US$667 million from 31 donors between January and September 2018. During this period, the 18 operational funds have allocated $478 million to 921 projects, implemented by 525 partners. Over 60 per cent of all CBPF allocations were disbursed to NGOs, including 21 per cent ($100.6 million) directly to national NGOs. Another 36 per cent was allocated to UN agencies and a smaller portion to Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations, which have received 1.2 per cent of funding ($5.8 million) for direct project implementation. The first allocation for 2018 of the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF) for $90 million is ongoing and focuses on covering gaps in first-line responses in cluster strategies and providing life-saving support to people in newly accessible and hard-to-reach areas. In Ethiopia, the Humanitarian Coordinator launched a $30 million reserve allocation targeting immediate and life-saving activities in the nutrition, health, WASH, agriculture/livestock, emergency shelter/NFI, education and protection sectors. Finally, reserve allocations were also ongoing in Afghanistan and Myanmar during September.

In Myanmar, an integrated CBPF and CERF allocation strategy ($1 million CBPF reserve and $2.95 million CERF) prioritized projects aligned with the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF) operating principles and the CERF Life Saving Criteria, aiming at achieving the main objective of addressing critical unmet needs of flood‐affected people across the country, particularly the most vulnerable people.

Country updates

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated considerably over the past year, primarily due to the drought, but also as a result of worsening violence. Overall, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection services in Afghanistan has increased dramatically since the beginning of 2018, from 3.3 million people to 5.5 million people. Over half of the needs are generated by conflict and population movement. In the meantime, chronic vulnerabilities such as poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment are also increasing. Afghanistan is experiencing its most severe drought since 2011, with some 20 provinces affected by significantly reduced rainfall from winter snow. Some 2.2 million chronically food insecure people are on the verge of acute food insecurity, with four provinces – Badakhshan, Badghis, Faryab and Herat – likely to pitch into a state of emergency unless they receive comprehensive and sustained humanitarian assistance. Drought-related displacement is growing in volume and geographical scope – now constituting 40 percent (119,000) of the overall number of people displaced in Afghanistan in 2018. It is likely that the Afghan population – some 15 million of whom are dependent on the agriculture sector across these 20 provinces for livelihoods – will take years to recover. Overall, more than 12 million Afghans have been displaced internally or abroad during the last four decades of conflict, natural hazards, disasters and the resulting socio-economic upheaval.

Since 25 August 2017, extreme violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has driven over 727,000 Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Statelessness imposed over generations has rendered this population seriously vulnerable, even before the severe traumas of this most recent crisis. The vast majority of these refugees now live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle the monsoon rains and cyclone seasons – with alarmingly limited options for evacuation. Low levels of funding are seriously hampering the capacity of humanitarian to respond effectively to the scale and scope of the humanitarian needs in the refugee camps, particularly to ensure safe shelter, appropriate educational options, nutritional support, and most critically, the quality of health services available for an extremely vulnerable population. For example, with the health sector only 23 per cent funded, programming for non-communicable diseases, malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS remains insufficient, and partners are struggling to scale up service provision which is critical for emergencies including obstetric emergencies.

The alarming financial shortfall for humanitarian programmes in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has had detrimental consequences on the lives of the most vulnerable. More than 40 per cent (10.3 million) of the population remains undernourished. One in five children under-five is stunted with likely irreversible physical and cognitive repercussions. More than 9 million people lack access to essential health services. Pregnant women, young children and people living with diseases, in particular, struggle to access the care they need. Those living in rural areas are most at risk. Recent floods in North and South Hwanghae provinces have affected 280,000 people, killed 76 and displaced over 10,500 people, and chronic underfunding is making it difficult for UN agencies and their partners to respond to needs caused by the natural disasters that frequently hit the country. The 2018 Needs and Priorities plan seeks $111 million to assist 6 million out of 10.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The prospect of protracted displacement in Iraq is real, warranting a whole-of-system approach to respond to needs and work toward durable solutions. Some 1.9 million Iraqis remain displaced, with insecurity, lack of livelihood opportunities, destroyed housing, and explosive remnants of war contamination among the key barriers to returning. Considerable protection concerns exist, especially for women and children with perceived ties to ISIL. Critical funding gaps are hampering the response, particularly in food security, health, shelter and non-food item sectors, and the WASH sector. Urgent funding priorities include water supply interventions in the south, especially in Basra, which is experiencing water shortages and a gastrointestinal disease outbreak. Child health and nutrition services for up to 180,000 pregnant and lactating mothers, 300,000 children under the age of five and 5,000 newborn babies lack adequate funding.

The level of humanitarian need in Myanmar remains high and is driven by multiple factors including armed conflict, protracted displacement, inter-communal violence, statelessness, segregation, discrimination, food insecurity and vulnerability to natural disasters. More than 720,000 people – mostly stateless Rohingya Muslims – were forced to flee the country in August last year and there remains little tangible progress on addressing the root causes of violence and discrimination against this population. More than 128,000 Muslims confined in camps, some since violence erupted in 2012, have little to no access to essential services. In Kachin and Shan, persistent cycles of displacement due to conflict continue to raise serious protection concerns, with annual flooding exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. In both areas of the country, access remains a critical challenge.

Recent violence in Tripoli has highlighted the fragile situation in Libya. Thousands of people have been displaced, including families staying in schools converted into makeshift IDP shelters. The violence led to a breakdown in basic services, with frequent electricity cuts and compromised access to water. The situation is compounded by liquidity challenges which deepen needs among the most vulnerable. Humanitarian partners are responding to pre-existing and new needs, but the response is undermined by underfunding. With only 24 per cent of financial requirements covered, the ability of partners to provide assistance in life-saving sectors such as water, sanitation and hygiene and protection, as well as education, is limited. Additional funds are required to support a nation-wide measles vaccination campaign, targeting 3 million children against the backdrop of an ongoing outbreak.

South Sudan continues to experience extensive humanitarian needs, including dire levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. In September, 6.1 million people (59% of the population) faced crisis, emergency, or catastrophe levels (IPC Phase 3-5) of food insecurity. This includes 47,000 people in catastrophic conditions (IPC Phase 5). Urgent funding is needed in the coming months to procure and preposition food and other life-saving supplies during the approaching dry season, when these activities are most cost-effective. Food insecurity is expected to decline slightly following the October-December harvest, and rise again in January-March, when 5.2 million people are expected to be in IPC Phases 3-5, including 36,000 in IPC Phase 5. Resources are also needed to scale up preparedness and capacity to respond to Ebola Virus Disease. Though no cases have been reported in South Sudan, there is a risk of cross-border spread.

An agreement on 17 September to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib, Syria, provided a reprieve for close to three million people placed at risk by a major military escalation in the area, of whom more than two million were already in need of humanitarian assistance. Civilian deaths and injuries due to airstrikes and shelling, as well as displacement and attacks impacting health facilities, were reported in the Idlib area in the weeks prior to the announcement of the agreement. Response and readiness efforts continued in Idlib and other parts of the north-west, drawing to a large extent on cross-border assistance channels from Turkey. Despite significant access challenges, humanitarian assistance continued to be provided across the country, including in areas that had recently come under Government control such as eastern Ghouta, northern rural Homs and much of the south-west. Cross-border assistance to the south-west under the framework of Security Council resolution 2393 remained suspended, but assistance was delivered from Damascus, primarily through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). Deployment of an inter-agency convoy from Damascus to Rukban on the Syria-Jordan border became increasingly urgent, with reports of a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in a camp estimated to be hosting up to 45,000 people. The situation in eastern Deir-Ez-Zor, in the east of the country, also deteriorated, with clashes linked to counter-ISIL operations displacing thousands in rural areas with limited humanitarian access and reports of restrictions on the onward movement of displaced people.

Steep economic decline accelerated in Yemen in September, with the Yemeni riyal losing about 30 per cent of its value against the US dollar during the month. Because Yemen imports the vast majority of its food and other basic commodities, this has translated into sharp rises in prices of food, fuel and other essentials – placing these goods increasingly out of reach for millions of Yemenis at a time when famine remains a real threat. In parallel, conflict in Hudaydah has intensified, with about 550,000 people displaced by the violence since 1 June. Aid operations have dramatically expanded, reaching 8 million people with direct assistance across the country every month. Partners have provided rapid response kits to nearly all families recently displaced from Hudaydah, as well as additional assistance based on assessed needs. Generous funding has been key: the 2018 HRP has received US$1.96 billion, or 67 per cent of requirements. Despite these achievements, recent developments threaten to overwhelm the operation’s capacity to respond. Urgent steps are needed to stabilize the economy, keep all ports and main roads open, uphold international humanitarian law, and move towards a political solution. Partners are also seeking full funding for the $3 billion HRP in order to deliver all activities in the plan.


          

World: FPMA Bulletin #3, 10 April 2018

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eswatini, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Zambia

KEY MESSAGES

↗ International prices of wheat and maize rose in March for the third consecutive month and averaged more than 10 percent above their levels in December 2017. Prices were mainly supported by concerns over the impact of prolonged dryness in key-growing areas of the United States of America and Argentina, coupled with strong demand. International rice prices remained relatively stable.

↗ In South America, severe dry weather and strong demand underpinned the domestic prices of grains in key exporting country, Argentina, while the price of yellow maize spiked also in Brazil in March.

↗ In East Africa, in the Sudan, the strong upward surge in prices of coarse grains faltered in March but they remained at record or near-record highs, reflecting the removal of the wheat subsidies and the strong depreciation of the local currency.

↗ In Southern Africa, in Madagascar, prices of locally-produced and imported rice declined in February from the record highs reached in January with the harvesting of the minor season paddy crop and following an appreciation of the Malagasy Ariary.


          

World: FPMA Bulletin #2, 9 March 2018

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eswatini, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

KEY MESSAGES

↗ International prices of wheat and maize increased further in February, mainly supported by weather-related concerns and currency movements. Export price quotations of rice also continued to strengthen, although the increases were capped by subsiding global demand for Indica supplies.

↗ In East Africa, in the Sudan, prices of the main staples: sorghum, millet and wheat, continued to increase in February and reached record highs, underpinned by the removal of the wheat subsidies and the strong depreciation of the Sudanese Pound.

↗ In Southern Africa, in Madagascar, prices of rice hit record highs at the start of the year, as a result of tight supplies following a sharp drop in the 2017 output to a substantially below-average level and a weaker currency.

↗ In West Africa, prices of coarse grains continued to generally increase in February and reached levels above those a year earlier despite the good harvests gathered in late 2017, due to a strong demand for stock replenishment, coupled with localized production shortfalls and insecurity in some areas.


          

World: FPMA Bulletin #1, 16 February 2018

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eswatini, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Key messages

  • International prices of wheat and maize were generally firmer in January, supported by weather-related concerns and a weaker US dollar. Export price quotations of rice also strengthened mainly buoyed by renewed Asian demand.

  • In East Africa, in the Sudan, prices of the main staples: sorghum, millet and wheat, rose sharply for the third consecutive month in January and reached record highs, underpinned by the removal of wheat subsidies and the strong depreciation of the Sudanese Pound.

  • In West Africa, prices of coarse grains were at relatively high levels in January, despite the good harvests gathered in late 2017, due to strong demand for stock replenishment and insecurity in some areas.


          

World: FPMA Bulletin #11, 11 December 2017

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eswatini, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Key messages

↗ International prices of wheat and maize remained relatively stable in November, reflecting good supply conditions, while export quotations of rice strengthened amid increased buying interest and currency movements.

↗ In East Africa, prices of cereals in November continued to decline in most countries with the ongoing 2017 harvests and were at levels around or below those a year earlier with a few exceptions. By contrast, in the Sudan, prices surged and reached record highs in some markets, mainly underpinned by the sharp depreciation of the Sudanese Pound in the parallel market.

↗ In Central America, after the sharp increases recorded in the previous month, prices of white maize eased in November as market flows returned to normal, after disruption caused by severe rains in the previous month. Good domestic availabilities kept prices at levels below those a year earlier.


          

World: FPMA Bulletin #10, 10 November 2017

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eswatini, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Key messages

  • The benchmark US wheat price declined in October mostly because of higher supply prospects while maize quotations firmed due to rain-induced harvest delays. International rice prices strengthened in October, mainly reflecting seasonally tight Japonica and fragrant supplies.

  • In East and West Africa, cereal prices declined in October with the 2017 ongoing or recently-started harvests. However, concerns over crop outputs and civil insecurity kept prices at high levels in some countries, particularly in Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan.

  • In Central America, heavy rains in October led to unseasonal increases in maize and bean prices. They remained, however, at levels well below those a year earlier as a result of adequate domestic supplies, following the overall good outputs in 2016 and the 2017 first season harvests.


          

World: FPMA Bulletin #9, 10 October 2017

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eswatini, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Key messages

  • International prices of wheat increased in September mostly because of weather-related concerns, while maize quotations fell further on crop harvest pressure. International rice prices remained generally firm, supported by seasonally tight availabilities of fragrant rice and strong demand for higher quality Indica supplies.

  • In East Africa, prices of cereals remained at levels above those of a year earlier in most countries, particularly in Ethiopia reflecting seasonal tightness amid concerns over the impact of the Fall Armyworm infestation on the main harvest and in South Sudan mainly due to the ongoing conflict.

  • In Asia, prices of rice in Bangladesh increased again in September and reached record highs, with seasonal patterns exacerbated by the reduced 2017 main season output and concerns over the impact of the July-August floods on the second season crop, to be harvested from November.


          

ODM: Tuesday marked World Tsunami Awareness Day

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – National Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Clive Richardson said on Wednesday, that Tuesday, November 5 marked World Tsunami Awareness Day.

In the last century, Tsunamis according to United Nations (UN) figures, have claimed more than a quarter of a million lives, killing on average, around 4,600 per event, over the course of 58 recorded instances.

To mitigate disaster risks, the UNs Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) put forth a 15-year framework outlining seven clear targets to achieve substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, known as the Sendai Framework, adopted in Sendai, Japan, in 2015.

In 2019, the Day promotes the Framework’s target to reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, including hospitals and schools. 

Over 700 million people live in low-lying coastal areas and Small Island Developing States, are exposed to extreme sea-level events including tsunamis, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Investing in resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, and education is critical to saving people and protecting their assets against tsunami risk in the future.

By the year 2030, an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s population will live in coastal areas exposed to flooding, storms and tsunamis.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes a tsunami as a series of ocean waves generated by sudden displacements in the sea floor, landslides, or volcanic activity.

“In the deep ocean, the tsunami wave may only be a few inches high. The tsunami wave may come gently ashore or may increase in height to become a fast-moving wall of turbulent water several meters high.

“Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, the impact of a tsunami can be mitigated through community preparedness, timely warnings, and effective response.”

For a destructive force such as a tsunami, the only way is to be prepared. The Caribbean Region is a seismic zone and there are exposed coastal areas.

Fire Chief/National Disaster Coordinator Richardson added that Sint Maarten at the moment is in the process of adding additional resources to its disaster management system.

Additional funds Richardson said would also go towards disaster-proofing critical infrastructure, adding that the rebuilding and reconstruction process should be based on the primary principle of ‘build to last’ and ‘resilience’.

While tsunamis cannot be prevented, the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) would like to offer a source of information – visit www.preventionweb.net/english/ - on things you can do before a tsunami that could save your life and the lives of your family and friends.  Go to the ‘hazards’ tab and select ‘tsunami.’  Prevention web is a knowledge platform for disaster risk reduction.

When a tsunami warning is issued, ‘take action!’ Move to high ground; stay out of the water, away from beaches and waterways.

According to the NOAA, a natural tsunami warning may be your first, best or only warning that a tsunami is on its way. Natural tsunami warnings include strong or long earthquakes, a loud roar (like a train or an airplane) from the ocean, and unusual ocean behavior.

The ocean could look like a fast-rising flood or a wall of water. Or, it could drain away suddenly, showing the ocean floor, reefs and fish like a very low, low tide. If you experience any of these warnings, even just one, a tsunami could be coming.

Some additional preparations that you should have in place are: Make an emergency plan that includes a family communication plan and put together a portable disaster supplies kit that is easily accessible and contains basic items you and your family may need in any emergency.

Include your pets in all your preparedness efforts. Since you do not know where you will be when disaster strikes, prepare kits for work and your car, too.  Meet with your family to discuss the plan and why you need to prepare for a disaster. Practice your plan and keep it up to date.

Be a role model. Share your knowledge and plans with friends and neighbors so they can prepare themselves and their loved ones.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted by the UN Member States on 18 March 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

The Framework aims to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries over the next 15 years.


          

Government and UNMISS Inaugurate South Sudan’s First Juvenile Reformatory Centre in Juba

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Download logo Today, the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, and the Deputy Minister of Interior, Hon. Gen. Majak Akech Malok, dedicated South Sudan’s first Juvenile Reformatory Centre (JRC) in Juba. The project, which is part of ongoing technical cooperation between the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and […]
          

Nigerian Universities In Quest For Global Excellence

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By 2050 Nigeria will become the third most populous country in the world according to the United Nations with 399 million people most of them ambitious youths However the countrys public university system is in a state of dysfunction I
          

Russia Prepared Response to Potential US Withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty - Moscow

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UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – Russia has prepared a response to the possible US withdrawal from the multilateral Treaty on Open Skies, Vladimir Ermakov, the director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said amid media reports on the potential withdrawal.
          

UN First Committee Adopts Russian Resolution on Strengthening Arms Control Treaties

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UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United Nations General Assembly First Committee voted in support of a draft resolution submitted by Russia on strengthening agreements in the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
          

The 2020 Energy Access Booster open to entrepreneurs based in Sub-Saharan Africa & Asia, Deadline : 13 December 2019

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The 2020 Energy Access Booster open to entrepreneurs based in Sub-Saharan Africa & Asia, Deadline : 13 December 2019

Why this programme ?

Access to reliable, affordable and clean energy is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Reaching this goal means providing electricity to 1.0 billion people and clean cooking systems to 3.0 billion people worldwide by 2030.

To help do that, TOTAL, ENEA Consulting, SEforALL and Acumen are launching the Energy Access Booster 2020 call for projects to support energy access entrepreneurs in Africa and Asia.

 

Programme eligibility

The Energy Access Booster 2020 is open to entrepreneurs based in Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia. The selection committee will be open to all applications in the scope but will consider all applications from within that geographic scope, but will give preference to entrepreneurs operating outside East Africa, given the high number of East African entrepreneurs selected in Booster 2019. The 2020 program targets firms at the development stage focusing on one of the two following circular economy-driven topics:

More from my site

The post The 2020 Energy Access Booster open to entrepreneurs based in Sub-Saharan Africa & Asia, Deadline : 13 December 2019 appeared first on mucuruzi.com.


          

QU hosts Science for Sustainable Development 2019 Conference

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Qatar University (QU) hosted the Science for Sustainable Development 2019 Conference (SSD2019) this week where scientific advancements in sustainable development were covered through four dedicated sessions: food security, waste management, water management and renewable energy. The conference focused on addressing how these resources can be actively integrated in order to enable sustainable resource management.

Senior officials in QU attended the conference including QU President Dr. Hassan Al-Derham, QU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Omar Al-Ansari, QU Vice President for Research & Graduate Studies Professor Mariam Al-Maadeed and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Prof. Ibrahim AlKaabi (pictured).

Prof. Ibrahim AlKaabi spoke at the conference-opening saying, “Sustainable development is considered a strategic way to achieving economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in local and international communities. From this point of view, this conference focuses on innovative ways to solve developmental challenges in the areas of food and water security, waste management and renewable energy.” Prof. AlKaabi said the conference reflects the QU vision to promote the culture of scientific research as an effective tool in addressing challenges. In addition, the conference connects researchers and students with their counterparts locally and internationally and introduces new research trends that contribute to sustainable development.

QU hosts Science for Sustainable 2 [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

Prof. Al-Kaabi added, “Our goal is to shed a spotlight on the efforts –both locally and internationally- towards achieving the vision of sustainable development, which is the vision of our nation Qatar, and the goal of the United Nations. In addition, sustainability is a priority of the QU strategy, which covers 2018-2022 and sets a clear path towards excellence in education, scientific research, institutional development and community participation.” Director of QU’s Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) Dr. Hareb Al Jabri also spoke at the event and gave a presentation on the CSD, its departments and achievements, stressing that sustainable development is one of the cornerstones of Qatar National Vision 2030.

QU hosts Science for Sustainable 3 [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

In the Qatar National Vision 2030, sustainable development is one of the main pillars, focusing on aspects of finding a balance between preserving the environment, managing natural resources, and economic and social developments. Key factors which need to be addressed for integrated sustainable resource management are food security, water conservation, renewable energy and waste management. Attempting to integrate all the aforementioned sectors, under the vision of a circular economy, can only be achieved via adopting a policy that actively involves all relevant stakeholders, increases awareness, and establishes effective and reliable communication and coordination links among all players involved.

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Transport union disputes PRASA's war room 'success' after Mbalula announcement

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Members of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) have disputed the statistics and successes announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula regarding the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (PRASA) war room on Monday. The war room was launched on August 8 2019, to improve the customer experience for commuters who use PRASA's services every day.
          

The Road from Damascus: How an Evangelical Syrian Spoke at Harvard’s Commencement

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From Homs to Harvard Divinity to Fuller Seminary, Tony Alkhoury trusts God to “bring life out of deadly events.” Following Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria and establishment of a “safe zone” in coordination with Russia, the beleaguered nation faces another refugee crisis. According to the United Nations, 6.7 million Syrians have registered with their High […]
          

China's pork output to fall by at least 20% in 2019: FAO

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African swine fever (ASF) will cut pork output in China, the world's largest producer, by at least 20% in 2019, the United Nations' food agency said on Thursday, doubling the decline it had expected six months ago.

          

The Housing Game: Investment vs. Human Rights

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All of my bedrooms and homes growing up had term limits: four years. Every four years, my family moved. The consistent cut-off period was, at least to my knowledge, purely coincidental, but as it became a pattern, I became accustomed to it as an adult. There's something about hitting the three-nearing-four-year mark in a single residence that, to this day, makes me itch for a change of scenery.

As a child, I enjoyed moving. It was exciting to start over in a new space. As with a KonMari Method, I would evaluate what objects I wanted to bring with me to my next home. I liked to plan out what my new room would look like. I still enjoy moving as an adult, but it's not without its drawbacks. I still evaluate and reflect on my possessions, but more so for the purpose of fitting everything in my car and avoiding U-Haul expenses. As a 7-year-old, I definitely did not consider the stress, time, and costs tied to moving from one place to the next. I was much less aware of the reasons for our moving, reasons that are more real to me now.

These realities didn't escape my parents. They were aware of the rising costs of living because they could see it right in front of them. Rent increases. Someone gets sick, and health-care costs increase. As is the reality of most working families, housing takes up a significant amount of a household's income. To remain housed, to have a roof over your head, rent or mortgage payments must be made above all else. We are all one accident, one crisis away from missing a payment that will price us out of our homes.

I recently went to the inaugural Memphis Housing Summit, and I was captivated by how one presenter challenged us to rethink housing insecurity as a spectrum. Prentiss Dantzler, a professor of urban studies, showed a line with homelessness on one end and homeownership on the other. In between there was a range of housing situations, including emergency shelters, transitional housing, public housing, and rental housing.

I'm simplifying it a bit, but just visualize a large spectrum where each of us fall somewhere along the line. We're all in this housing spectrum, and we are all affected by housing insecurity to some degree. Much of this is due to the cost of living, which keeps rising and rising. So even if you happen to live years without any additional expenses such as medical bills, education expenses, or even having kids (because children are very expensive) — if you do not have any of that, if your income is not increasing to match the rising cost of living, you will not be able to afford to live in your home. And unless you have a family or network to fall back on, you will be moving or be without housing.

How is it that so many people in our city and country currently do not have housing and so many are on the verge of being without it? There are many reasons. One I find to be significant is that we don't have living-wage jobs to keep up with the cost of living. This affects all working people from those working in the food service industry to educators to health-care workers and many more.

Zooming out a bit, the commodification of housing and land has also largely overshadowed the fundamental function of housing. The result is that we often see investment in housing only when it is deemed profitable. If we approached housing as a human rights issue, as it is recognized under international human rights law, then we would see a change in how we respond to housing. We may prioritize creating more affordable and accessible housing for everyone, rather than investing in multiple projects that rent apartments for $1,000 a month.

Shifting to a human rights frame, we also flip the narrative around housing. As Leilani Farha, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, has said, "If governments were doing more and really understood that this is a human rights issue of the highest order and an urgent matter, I think we'd be in a different place today."

Farha points to the role of the government in not sufficiently implementing policies (for example, living-wage policy and tenant protection laws) that address housing insecurity and homelessness. When we look at it from that angle, we begin to see the structural exclusion of people from accessing safe and healthy housing.

Aylen Mercado is a brown, queer, Latinx chingona and Memphian exploring race and ethnicity in the changing U.S. South.


          

Cardiovascular risk factors in sub-Saharan Africa: a review

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Cardiovascular risk factors in sub-Saharan Africa: a review

 

Manuel Monti1, Maria Pia Ruggieri2, Giovanni Maria Vincentelli3, Fernando Capuano4, Francesco Rocco Pugliese5

 

1 Emergency Department - AUSL UMBRIA1 Assisi (Perugia) Via V. Muller 1, Assisi (Perugia), Italy
2 Emergency Department - San Giovanni Hospital Rome
3 Emergency Department - Fatebenefratelli Hospital - Isola Tiberina Via Fatebenefratelli 1 Roma
4 Antel National President Rome
5 Head of Emergency Department - Pertini Hospital Rome

 

 

Abstract

Background: Ischemic heart disease is increasing dramatically in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), owing toincreasing prevalence of risk factors, and to some characteristics of the African people that make the African population subject to the effects of major cardiovascular risk factors. The pace and direction of economic development, rates of urbanization, the changes in life expectancy, associated with different pathophysiological factors are causing an increased rate of atherosclerotic disease in these countries.

Results: In the next twenty years, the prevalence of ischemic heart disease in SSA will increase, due to increasedrisk factors,especially hypertension, diabetes, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use and the dyslipidemia, mainly due to an increase in urbanization. Moreover, thanks to new knowledge, it has been pointed out the difference of individual risk factors in the African population and other populations due to genetic differences. It is estimated that age-standardized approach for ischemic heart disease mortality rates will rise by 27% in African men and 25% in women by 2015 and by 70 and 74%, respectively by 2030.

Conclusion: More research is neededin Africa to provide evidence for cardiovascular prevention and treatment to mitigate the oncoming epidemic. Healthinterventions are needed for prevent or reduce the morbidity / mortality need to be addressed in both children and adults, including modifiedscore of the risk stratification, starting early therapy and aggressive, if necessary.

 

 

 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a disabling growing epidemic that causes premature death and decreased quality of life. Globally, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which include coronary heart disease (CHD), strokes, rheumatic heart disease (RHD), cardiomyopathy, and other heart diseases, represent the leading cause of death (1).Recent population studies demonstrate an increasing burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related risk factors in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (2). Despite evidence to suggest that CVD-related mortality rates are increasing in the region,  it is only now being recognized  as an important public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa, with coronary artery disease shown to rise in incidence in sub-Saharan Africa(3-4) . Cardiovascular diseases are the main non-communicable conditions in SSA and now 9.2% of total deaths in the African region are caused by CVD (5) , being the leading cause of death in the population over 45 years of age (6) .Cardiovascular diseases account for 7-10% of all adult medical admissions to hospitals in Africa, with heart failure contributing to 3-7% (7) .When studies on urban and rural populations were analyzed, the prevalence of CVD  was found to be higher in the urban than the rural population (8-9).

Behavioural risk factors

 The important contributors to this transition are the so-called “globalization” of dietary  habits and urbanization. Urbanization is the prime driver for nutrition transition and emergence of obesity, themetabolic syndrome and other NCDs in developing countries, especially SSA. The current average annual growth of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa is 4.5%. Over the period 1980-2050, the urban population of Africa, as a whole, is expected to increase from 134 million to 1.264.000 million (10). The rural-to-urban migration in many of the developing countries exposes migrants to urbanized diets and lifestyle. Dietary changes associated with urbanization are related to the fact that rural dwellers tend to be more self-reliant in obtaining food and also tend to eat traditional diets that are high in grains, fruit and vegetables, and low in fat. Once they arrive in urban areas, these same people tend to rely more on external forces for sustenance, resulting in a shift from production of their own food to the purchase of processed foods (11).Major dietary changes include a large increase in the consumption of fats, particularly animal fat and added sugar and decrease in cereal and roughageintake (12).  This involves major changes of the main cardiovascular risk factors between the two areas(13) (tab.1). There was evidence of a significant increase in edible oil, indicating a major change in diet; dietary changes include a large increase in the consumption of fats, particularly animal fat and added sugar, associated to the decrease in cereal and fiber intake(14) (Fig.1). In fact, recent global figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that the prevalence of obesity is not just affecting the developed countries, but is also increasing in the developing countries, where over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems (15) .

Psychosocial factors

Psychosocial factors increase the number of risk factors. Some studies have shown that the number of countries registering , in recent years, a rise in the number of households owning televisions and computers is directlyproportionate to the reduction in physical activities, contributing arise in obesity in children (16-17). Alcohol and tobacco smoking are risk factors towards heart failure, ischemic stroke, heart disease, and acute myocardial infarction (18). Many studies show how alcohol and tobacco use are related to poverty and low socio-economic positions. Rural areas inhabitants are highly affected by such habits, especially compared to the other risk factors, which are  more common in urban areas(19-20) Smoking tendency is increasing among men and women in SSA, mainly in the age group between 30 and 49, with particular reference in women, increasing together with ageing (21). Furthermore, in many developing countries, psychosocial attitude toward obesity is not seen a negative factor (22-23). Mvo et al. and Puoane et al. reported that even if a large percentage of African women were overweight and obese, only a few perceived themselves so (24-25). Gambian populations were reported to be more obesity tolerant (acceptance of obese body size as normal) than African-Americans, and much more tolerant than white Americans (26) .Moreover, the double burden of under and over-nutrition presents a potentially grave situation, which should deserve more attention from both health and economic agencies engaged in development. While they continue to deal with the problems of infectious disease and under-nutrition, they are experiencing a rapid upsurge in disease risk factors, such as obesity and overweight, especially in urban settings. It is not uncommon to find under-nutrition and obesity existing side-by-side within the same country, the same community and the same household. Children in low and middle-income countries are more vulnerable to inadequate pre-natal, infant and young child nutrition. Simultaneously, they are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods, which is usually lower in cost but also lower in nutrient quality. These dietary patterns, in conjunction with lower levels of physical activity, result in sharp increases in childhood obesity, while undernutrition issues remain unsolved(27). Recently, the rise of obesity and cardiovascular risk factors were also seen in rural areas of some countries of the developing world. It has to be pointed out that many so-called rural areas are no longer genuinely rural: people are becoming more urbanized even in areas far from cities. This phenomenon, to some extent, is linked to the so-called "Remittance economy”. Migrant workers remittance led to a relative wealth, even in rural areas influencing some lifestyles (28).Such epidemiological transition is due, in part, to an improved longevity starting from the 1950s, so that more people are exposed to these risk factors, for long enough periods, to cause CAD. Globally considering risk factors, it has to be highlighted how the risk-factor burden experienced by blacks differs from that of whites. A recent study conducted in Ghana shows low median levels of cardiovascular risk factors and the prevalences of obesity, hypertension, dysglycaemia or diabetes, and dyslipidaemia were low too. The preponderance of moderately elevated levels of CRP was also low.However, the evidence has shown that younger patients (<55 years) were prone to a higher risk of atherosclerotic disease, which decreased ageing (29). Such difference, could be partially explained by the difficult collection of data about the actual incidence of risk factors among African population, which may lie in the complexity of conducting proper surveys in many countries, in order to perform an accurate risk stratification. In addition, women do not smoke or drink publicly, but it can assume that the women exhibit these behaviours privately in smaller proportions (30). Moreover there are some pathophysiological peculiarities in the African population, boosting an increased susceptibility to traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

Arterial hypertension

The prevalence of hypertension among urban dwellers in SSA appears to be particularly high, ranging from 8–25 per cent. At the dawn of the twentieth century, high blood pressure was virtually nonexistent among indigenous Kenyans and Ugandans. Starting from 1975, high blood pressure became established in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda (31-32). In December 2006, among the adults living in Addis Abeba, the prevalence of hypertension was 50.9% between males and 47.1% among females (33). In  Cameroon the prevalence of hypertension among people aged 15-99 years in 2004 was 20.8%, a common issue especially among men (34). In Sub-Saharan Africa, age-adjusted hypertension prevalence and age-specific rates of death from stroke are higher among urban blacks than equivalent white populations (35). Yameogo et al showed resistant hypertension is common in black Africans, most affected subjects are people over 60 years old, with limited economic income and living in rural areas (36). Numerous studies have found that such population has an excess prevalence of salt sensitivity, hypervolemia, and low plasma renin activity (37-38).

Diabetes mellitus

In 2010, an estimated 12.1 million people with diabetes mellitus (4.2% of the global estimate of 285 million) were living in sub-Saharan Africa (39). The following year, diabetes prevalence rose to 14.7 million (4.02% of the global 366 million). By year 2030, a 90% projected increase in diabetes prevalence throughout SSA, skyrocketing the number of Africans with diabetes to 28 million. (39) The incidence of diabetes mellitus in IHD remains uncertain because many studies show that, among African population, the main complication of diabetes is the micro-angiopathies compared to Western countries, where the macrovascular complication is the most important (40-41). One common pathogenic mechanism for microvascular disease, is rooted in the chemical by-products of reactions between sugars and proteins occurring over the course of days to weeks, producing irreversible protein cross-linked derivatives AGE (42). The increase in AGE produces growth inhibition and apoptosis of retinal pericytes, also inducing an overproduction of endothelial growth factors and neovascularization, and chronic inflammation too (43-44). Such actions lead to an increased microthrombosis, capillary blockage, retinal ischemia and the activation of endothelial cells, responsible of important shortcomings involving mesangial cells and stimulating glomerular fibrosis (45-46). It has been suggested that, among black population, microvascular damage is due to a different genetic predisposition that stimulates the accumulation of AGEs with all the after-effects (45-46). The strong association between diabetes mellitus and hypertension among the African population, compared to the white population, worsens dramatically microvascular damage (47-48).

Visceral Fat

The phenotype of obesity, found among several ethnic groups in developing countries, appears to be different than among the Caucasian population. Several studies reported a correlation between  visceral fat (VF) and insulin-resistance, rise of triglycerides, blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. Moreover, VF  is correlated to all the conventional cardiovascular disease risk factors and with sedentary life-styles. VF might exhibit a proinflammatory adipokine profile, playing a pivotal role in coronary atherogenesis. The expansion of adipocytes with triglyceride is thought to be trigger the increased expression and production of inflammatory cytokines - such as TNF-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), IL-1β, −6, and −8, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)  and decreased expression and production of leptin and vasoprotective adiponectin. Furthermore, VF might exhibit a proinflammatory adipokine profile (49-50) (Fig.2). During the International Day for evaluation of abdominal obesity, a study, related to the waist circumference data, involving 63 countries, showed highest prevalence of visceral fat in SSA and South Asians, compared with North Europeans and other Asian ethnic groups (51). In fact, it was shown that a parity of average value of waist circumference and BMI in SSA, especially Nigeria and Cameroon, visceral adiposity is significantly higher than other populations (52). High percentage of body fat with low BMI value could be partly explained by body build (trunk to leg length ratio and slender body frame), muscularity, adaptation to chronic calorie deprivation, and ethnicity (53). Some studies also shown how the populations of SSA have an accumulation of visceral fat in other tissues where usually are not deposited (ectopic fat): this feature has the potential to affect insulin sensitivity (54) . A number of studies highlighted how African populations have a lower amount of epicardial fat than the white population: such matter is of considerable interest, as the epicardial fat is now considered an important emerging independent cardio - vascular risk factor (55) (Fig.3).

The markers of body fat distribution, including waist-hip ratio, abdominal subcutaneous and visceral fat diner a heritable component, support the thesis of unique genetic variants associated with ectopic fat depots(56-57-58). Fox et al identified a single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNP) near the TRIB2 locus, which is associated with pericardial fat but not with body mass index or visceral abdominal fat (59). This is the reason why we must carry out studies in order to highlight, among the African population, the genetic variants responsible for the increase in visceral fat but not in epicardial ectopic. This would allow the identification of subgroups among the population, with BMI and amount of visceral fat compiling the standard, who are at greater risk of atherosclerotic disease (60). Other factors, such as genotype, could make the African population very susceptible to visceral fat. Among others genetics, a pivotal role is fulfilled by LOX-1, a type-II membrane protein belonging to the C-type lectin family. The LOX-1 has a crucial part in amplifying local inflammatory responses during atherosclerotic development (61) (Tab.2). The study performed by Predazzi showed a higher frequencies of two polymorphisms associated with the risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), among the South-Saharan rural populations (61)   Furthermore, it must be considered the identification of other  deleterious alleles lying on CVD associated genes (GJA4, SERPINE1 and MMP3), which have a higher frequencies in African population in respect to Europeans. (62)

Communicable Diseases

Several studies reported associations between the exposure to various infectious agents and the prevalent coronary disease(63-64-65). In 1891, Huchard was the first to suggest the involvement of infectious agents in the process of atherosclerosis. Subsequently, several reports shown a relationship between the development of atherosclerosis and the presence of infectious diseases (66-67).  Several types of microbes are now also being implicated as possible causative agents in acquired CVD, and a few bacterial agents have been a research topic for several years. Organisms such as the spirochetes Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) or the Treponema pallidum (syphilis), and flagellated bacteria such as the streptococci, have well-recognized atherosclerotic potential. Interest in the role of infection in atherosclerosis was renewed with the observation that patients with coronary artery disease were more likely than matched controls to have an elevated antibody titer to Chlamydia pneumonia (68-69). Multiple complex processes are involved in the development of CVD. The increased incidence of infectious diseases has highlighted the expression of proinflammatory immune system to survive up to older ages. Although the increase of the protein Cwas not related to an increase of atherosclerotic disease, other acute-phase reactants, including fibrinogen and serum amyloid A, appear to be associated with vascular risk.This selection of a proinflammatory status is confirmed by the higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokine, including the interleukin-6 (IL6) (70). The macrophage is a critical component in the pathway to atherosclerotic inflammation. During an infectious process causes the activation of macrophages, including the  secretion of numerous factors (AGF; TGF; 1,2,4 FGF;VEGF). These substances stimulate the appearance of endothelial cells and are responsible for the creation of a systemic hypercoagulable state (71-72). In addition, mitogenic factors are released through an NF-Kβrelated mechanism, leading to smooth muscle cell proliferation and however there is an increase of monocytes through transendothelial migration at the level of the coronary (73-74). This  means that the activated macrophages stimulate bothlocal lipid accumulation and the instability that presages plaque rupture (75-76-77).

Coronary Heart Disease

IHD remains relatively uncommon in SSA despite an increasing prevalence of risk factors but its incidence is rising. A study of the 1954 have evidenced by 3,500 postmortem studies in Ghana in which only three cases of CHD were found (78). In Uganda, the National Heart Institute at Mulago alone, currently receives at least 100 patients every day with 5-8 being new cases (a total of about 36,500 patients per year with 1,825-2,920 being new cases). In 2011,heart cases increased by 20% bringing the number to 12,000 with  256 new cases registered in January alone (79). The WHO estimated that in 2005, IHD caused approximately 261 000 deaths in the African region, and current projections suggest that this number will nearly 600.000 by 2030. It is estimated that age-standardized mortality rates for IHD will rise by 27% in African men and 25% in women by 2015, and by 70 and 74%, respectively by 2030 (80) (Fig.4). The increase in IHD in Sub-Saharan Africa since the 1980s is presumably because of the increasing prevalence among African populations of the classical risk factors for CAD, include hypertension, smoking, diabetes, abdominal obesity and dyslipidemia. In addition, as a result of developments in combating communicable diseases and a decrease in childhood mortality, life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa has risen since the 1950 and  the number of individuals aged over 60 years is predicted to increase from 39 to 80 million by 2025 in SSA. This meaning that more people are exposed to these risk factors for long enough periods to cause CAD (81-82).

Conclusion

This review attempts to assess the prevalence, levels of risk and major risk factors for developing  cardiovascular disease in SSA.This article answered specific research questions and hypotheses on issues relating to sedentary lifestyles, nutritional behaviours, knowledge on CVDs risk factors, and especially some of the key knowledge on the genetic differences between the African population and other populations. Among the socio-economic and behavioral risk profile study variables, the review documented a high prevalence of active smoking, high consumption of edible oil and fat, an increase in physical inactivity and current active alcohol usage. The economic and social important consequences of the CVD Epidemics in the SSA will be devastating. Important gene - environment can play a crucial role in the increased risk of the IHD of the African population. The detection and management of hypertension and diabetes are still unsatisfactory in inner city areas and show variations by ethnic origin. A priority should be the development of scores for the population of Africa, also using the emerging risk factors such as Calcium Score and visceral fat and considering genetic differences. Increasing burden of obesity, the metabolic syndrome, T2DM, and CVD in SSA has created an urgent need to strategize mass health policies and intervention programs to tackle nutrition and continuing efforts to manage undernutrition. There are two major approaches to prevention: public health / community-based and clinic-based strategies with a targeted approach to high-risk patients and combinations of these. There are concerns that in comparison with communicable diseases, cardiovascular and relatively chronic diseases have a low priority in the global health agenda and that requires this additional emphasis. Finally, we must consider, in the light of the differences between races, strategies for the control of CHD and stroke cushion adopted in European countries directed mostly to white rural populations may be inappropriate for the African population. In conclusion, evaluations must be performed carefully for correct risk stratification, the timing of initiation of treatment and the goals of the therapeutic treatment to be achieved in the African population. In addition, further evaluations should be done to perform a correct public health / community-based strategies targeted at risk factors, including decrease in taxes and prices of fruits and vegetables, more playgrounds, parks, walking and bicycle tracks, provide information to parents about nutrition (particularlymothers), the change of food policy through country-specific guidelines for healthy nutrition for adults and children.

 

 

Tables

 

Tab. 1 The main risk factorsof urban and ruralarea

 

Urban

Rural

BMI (kg/m2)

25.8 ± 6.9

19.3 ± 3.2 *

Waist (cm)

85.2 ± 9.9

67.8 ± 9.9 *

Waist-hip ratio

0.88 ± 0.09

0.81 ± 0.08 *

Triceps skinfold (mm)

17.3 ± 6.8

9.8 ± 5.4 *

% overweight

(BMI > 25)

53.4

5.8 *

p <0,001, ageand gender adjusted                                 

 

Tab.2 Cellular effects of ligand-LOX-1

Cellular effects of ligand-LOX-1 interaction on atherogenesis

Endothelial cells Alteration of vascular tone

Increased intracellular oxidative stress

 Induction of apoptosis

Induction of proliferation and angiogenesis by increasing VEGF expression

Increased expression of adhesion molecules (VCAM-1 , ICAM-1 , Selectins)

Increased expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1

Induction of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1

Reduction of endothelial nitric oxide synthase

Release of matrix metalloproteinases

Smooth muscle cells Induction of apoptosis

Monocytes Induction of monocyte adhesion and activation

Increased oxLDL uptake and foam cell formation

VEGF Vascular endothelial growth factor; VCAM1 Vascular cell adhesion molecule1; ICAM1 Intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1.

 

 

Figures

Fig.1 Date of  consumption of fats (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

 

Fig.2 Main mechanisms ofcardiovascular damage caused by visceral fat

 

Fig.3 Epicardial fat around the myocardial tissue

 

Fig.4 Projection of death from IHD in men and women in the WHO African regions for the year 2005,2015 and 2030 (WHO,2008)

 

 

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Corresponding author           

Manuel Monti

montimanuel@tiscali.it

00393391050122

USL UMBRIA1 U.O. PS/118

Via V. Muller 1

Assisi (Perugia)


          

11/07 Links Pt1: Ron Prosor: For UNRWA, the party is over; Shin Bet: We thwarted over 450 terror attacks in the past year; Apartheid on Temple Mount: Police Block Jews from Using Drinking Fountains

 Cache   
From Ian:

Ron Prosor: For UNRWA, the party is over
When I heard that United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Commissioner Pierre Krahenbuhl resigned, I was shocked. After all, the UN does not have the best track record when it comes to investigating corruption allegations against its own agencies, let alone when it comes to the UNRWA, which until recently had airtight immunity from criticism.

For 70 years, UNRWA has been something of a separate entity in the UN, one dedicated solely to the issue of Palestinian "refugees," alongside the agency that handles all other refugees – the UNHCR. But unlike the former UNRWA never even tried to solve the refugee problem and seemed dedicated to perpetuating it.

Case in point: When UNRWA was founded in 1949, there were around 700,000 Palestinian refugees in the world. Today, their number stands at 5.7 million.

But UNRWA's data must always be taken with a grain of salt, as they tend to artificially inflate. A census that took place in Lebanon in 2017 found that 300,000 people included in the agency's data simply do not exist and that the true number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was 66% smaller than stated on its reports.

At the same time, the budgets appropriated to UNRWA put the UN's actual refugee agency to shame.

Not only is UNRWA's budget per-refugee four times greater than that of any other refugee, it employs 30,000 people. The UNRCR, which deals with 70 million refugees, employs only 10,000 people.

But it seems that UNRWA's party is coming to an end.
Head of Shin Bet: We thwarted over 450 terror attacks in the past year
Head of Shin Bet Nadav Argaman claimed on Thursday that the Shin Bet thwarted over 450 terror attacks in the past year. Argaman spoke at the Unmanned Systems Conference, UVID 2019, initiated by Israel Defense.

"We are an agency with excellent people, the best technology and synergy within the agency and with Israeli security authorities, which allows us to have an edge on very challenging enemies," Argaman said. "All that allowed us to thwart over 450 terror attacks in the past year and try to provide the citizens of Israel with safe and peaceful daily life without knowing what happens behind the scene."

Meanwhile, the IDF mapped on Thursday the house of Kassem Shabli, one of the terrorists who carried out an attack near the West Bank town of Dolev in August, in which 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was murdered.

The mapping was done in order to prepare for the demolition of the house in Kfar Kobar on Wednesday night.

Kassem a-Karim Ragah Shabli, 25, a member of the PFLP, has been arrested in the past for involvement in terrorist activities. Kassem provided the explosives that were used in the IED as well as assisted in assembling it, and took part in the killing of Shnerb.

Two other terrorists were arrested for involvement in the attack.

PMW: Why is Martyrdom-death “unique in Palestine”?
Death as a "Martyr" for Allah and for "Palestine" - during terror attacks and other violent confrontations with Israel - has been promoted as an ideal by the Palestinian Authority for years, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.

The elevated status "Martyrs" enjoy in the PA was recently stressed by a host on official PA TV, who bragged that "Martyrdom in Palestine is unique," because a Martyr's funeral is considered "a wedding." A mother of a "Martyr" present in the TV studio expressed her opinion that death as a Martyr is "an honor":
Official PA TV host: "Praise Allah, I want to say that this Martyrdom always is-"

Mother of a "Martyr": "An honor."

Official PA TV host: "Exactly! Martyrdom in Palestine is unique. We are the only ones who celebrate the news of a Martyr's wedding." [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 27, 2019]


A Martyr's funeral is considered a wedding to the 72 Virgins in Paradise in Islam.

These expressions of support for dying as a "Martyr" come as no surprise. PMW has documented numerous mothers and fathers who have expressed joy when their terrorist children died as "Martyrs." This is what the PA has taught them and what is expected of them. The following are examples of mothers praising their dead children's Martyrdom, collected in one video (additional texts below):

"I hold my head high. The honor is mine. I have a son who is a Martyr." [Official PA TV, Sept. 24, 2002]

"[My son] told me: 'In this entire world, I can't think of anyone to marry... I want to marry the Dark-Eyed (i.e., Virgins of Paradise).' I said: 'If these are his thoughts, I wish him Martyrdom.'" [Official PA TV, Jan. 21, 2003]

"I ask Allah to give him the reward of a Martyr... I greet all the people who came today to accompany my son at his wedding (i.e., to the Virgins of Paradise). My son is a sacrifice for the homeland, for Palestine, for Islam, and a sacrifice for all of Palestine." [Official PA TV, Feb. 17, 2018]






Apartheid on Temple Mount: Police Block Jews from Using Drinking Fountains
Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu on Wednesday released a video showing Israeli police officers physically blocking Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount from using the compound’s water fountain.

Im Tirtzu’s Tamir Baram, who was among the Jews prevented from drinking water on the Temple Mount, said: “We’ve gotten to such an absurd situation on the Temple Mount in which something so elementary as drinking water is being prevented from Jews. For those who forgot, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site – and we deserve to be treated there with respect rather than with discrimination.”


Netanyahu requests U.S. transfer funds to PA, Trump refuses
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested that Washington allow the transfer of $12 million to Palestinian security forces, but President Donald Trump denied the request, Channel 13 reported.

“If it’s so important for Netanyahu, he should pay the Palestinians $12 million,” Senior White House officials told Channel 13, quoting the president.

Netanyahu's administration was supposedly one of the key factors in Trump's decision to cut aid to the Palestinians in the first place, i24 reported. The cuts were made slowly over time, but the US State Department found that the money was still being transferred to Palestinian security forces, according to Israel National News.

Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, among other Israeli officials, reportedly asked the US to allow the transfer.

"All US security assistance to the PA has ceased," a US official told Axios. "The US security coordinator and his team continue to conduct a security cooperation-only mission. These activities are not funded with foreign assistance resources."

The transfer of funds did not occur, according to Israel National News.
Security Agencies in India on Alert for Possible Terrorist Attacks on Jewish, Israeli Targets
Security agencies in India are on alert for possible terrorist attacks on the country’s Jewish community or visiting Israeli tourists.

News site DNA India reported that both al-Qaeda and ISIS could both be involved in such attacks, as intelligence agencies have traced messages being shared online by the terror groups.

In addition, a jihadist group in the southern state of Kerala may be collecting information on the Jewish community in the district of Kochi. Kochi is home to the Cochin Jews, an ancient community most of whose members have immigrated to Israel.

There may also be plans to kidnap Israeli tourists in the country. India is a popular destination for Israeli travelers, especially for young Israelis who have just finished their military service.

DNA speculated that the terror groups could also be motivated by Israel’s support for the Indian government’s decision to impose direct rule on the disputed Kashmir region.
Netanyahu lauds pro-Israel fmr Canadian PM Stephen Harper
RELATING TO the project that will link Harper’s name in perpetuity with the State of Israel, Netanyahu said that Israel is a hub on many levels, including bird migration from Europe to Africa and back. He saw the center as an important facility for ornithological research, combining beauty and science.

In a reference to the many friendships that Israel has developed over the years with the leaders of different countries, Netanyahu said that, “the best friendship is based on an alliance of values. Stephen has stood up for these values time and again.”

Harper, acknowledging that he is not supposed to be partisan in another country, recalled that he had first come across Netanyahu in the 1980s and had seen him on television when he had “virtually exploded off the screen.” He had predicted at the time that Netanyahu would one day become prime minister of Israel.

Not only did that happen, he said, but Netanyahu had become Israel’s longest serving prime minister and had transformed the country and its image on the world stage.

Harper described Netanyahu as “the most consequential figure in the history of the State of Israel.”
Bipartisan group of US congresswomen visits to show ‘no daylight’ on Israel
A bipartisan delegation of women members of Congress is visiting Israel this week to underline that there is “no daylight” between the Democratic and Republican parties when it comes to ensuring the strength of US-Israel relations, and in supporting Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, the leader of the group said Thursday.

Speaking to The Times of Israel by phone as the delegation toured the country, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat of Florida, said the group had met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, and former chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and found it “heartwarming” to hear how similar they sounded about the imperative to enable Israelis and Palestinians to “live side by side in peace.”

Two other members of the delegation were also on the call — Martha Roby (a Republican of Alabama) and Angie Craig (a Democrat of Minnesota). The delegation also included Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman, Brenda Lawrence, Mikie Sherrill and Susie Lee.

Asked about concerns in Israel that some high-profile members of the Democratic party have been loudly critical of Israel, and that three Democratic presidential candidates — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg — have talked of leveraging US military aid in order to compel Israel to change its policies on settlements and the Palestinians, Wasserman Schultz replied: “Quite the contrary: The message given to us, particularly by Prime Minister Netanyahu, is that he does not perceive or believe that there is any erosion of support.”
Jewish Democratic congressman visiting W. Bank blasts treatment of Palestinians
A Democratic congressman from Michigan has criticized Israel for its treatment of Palestinians following a tour of the West Bank earlier this week.

Rep. Andy Levin said Wednesday he was enraged by the situation in Susya, where Palestinian villagers are denied water access, while Jewish settlers nearby are granted government-supplied amenities.

“Yesterday, I traveled to the southern West Bank, including the Palestinian village of Susya, which the Israeli government has destroyed twice and currently denies access to water,” he wrote. “Yet we watched the government utility, right before our eyes, lay in pipes right across the village’s land to deliver tap water to an illegal Israeli outpost nearby.” He did not name the outpost.

Israel has several times in the past demolished Palestinian buildings in Susya, saying they were built without permits.

“It was simply incredible. As angry as the situation made me, the resilience of the Palestinian villagers left an even stronger impression,” wrote Levin, a former synagogue president and chair of the steering committee of Detroit Jews for Justice.
French far-left leader accuses Jews of 'violent sectarianism'
The leader of the French far left accused French Jews of inciting to assault him and promoting “violent sectarianism” that he said doesn’t occur among Muslims.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the France Unbowed movement, inveighed against the CRIF federation of Jewish communities and organizations on Sunday during a televised interview with France Inter.

“Sectarianism’s always been a problem for the republican idea,” Melenchon, who has been accused of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past, said. “Take CRIF. It practices blatant, violent and aggressive sectarianism, namely against me, right? To the point of encouraging people to hit me during a demonstration like the one for Mirelle Knol.”

Mirelle Knol was a Holocaust survivor who was murdered in her Paris apartment last year, allegedly by a Muslim neighbor. CRIF asked Melenchon and the leader of the rightist National Rally party, Marine Le Pen, not to attend a commemorative march for Knol. Both politicians came to the march, where participants booed them until police escorted them away.

CRIF did not call for violence, which did not occur at the event, and condemned the booing.

Melenchon, who continued to call CRIF “bizarre, folkloristic and ridiculous,” did not name any other group as responsible for sectarianism.
BREAKING: Ex-Twitter Employees Charged For Spying For Saudi Arabia, Reports Say
The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday charges against two former Twitter employees for allegedly spying for Saudi Arabia which analysts believe is the first time that the United States government has accused Saudi Arabia of spying in the United States.

The two former Twitter employees that were charged are Ahmad Abouammo, who reportedly is a U.S. citizen, and Ali Alzabarah, who is a Saudi citizen.

In a statement, the DOJ wrote that the “information could have been used to identify and locate the Twitter users who published these posts.”

Prosecutors alleged that Abouammo “spied on the accounts of three users — including one whose posts discussed the inner workings of the Saudi leadership – on behalf of the government in Riyadh,” The Washington Post reported. Abouammo was also charged for allegedly “falsifying an invoice to obstruct an FBI investigation.

Prosecutors accused Alzabarah of “accessing the personal information of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts in 2015 on behalf of Saudi Arabia,” The Post added. “One of those accounts belonged to a prominent dissident, Omar Abdulaziz, who later became close to Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was killed by Saudi government agents last year.”

A second Saudi national, Ahmed Almutairi, was also charged for allegedly spying as prosecutors say that he acted as a middle man between the Saudi government and the two Twitter employees.
‘They Are Leading by Leaps and Bounds’: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Lauds Israeli Economic Innovation in Policy Speech
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa lavished praise on Israel’s technology sector during a recent major economic policy address to women business leaders in Johannesburg, describing it as a model for his own country to follow.

When it came to growth and innovation, Israel was “leading by leaps and bounds,” Ramaphosa told the 2019 Presidential Dialogue of the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa on Oct. 29.

“They are innovative in a number of sectors in the economy — in agriculture, in maritime, in many other areas,” Ramaphosa said, in remarks that were also broadcast live on South Africa’s national television network.

“They have shown that they can lead, and we can learn a lot from what they do,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s comments about Israel came in response to an audience question from prominent venture capitalist Polo Leteka — the co-founder of IDF Capital, a South African-owned equity firm that invests in businesses owned by black women.

Leteka told Ramaphosa that Israel’s status as a global technology leader had been secured by the financial support of its government.

“It was the government of Israel who put up a challenge fund back in 1992 — it was essentially a matching fund that put millions of dollars into the private sector,” Leteka said. “That’s how the industry there has developed as it has.”
Iran said to pull out of deaf futsal championships to avoid facing Israeli team
After the Iranian Judo federation was banned by international sports authorities from all competitions over its boycott of Israeli athletes, another Iranian sports team has reportedly pulled out of a competition to avoid facing an Israeli squad.

Israel and Iran were placed in the same group in the upcoming World Deaf Futsal Championships, along with Argentina and Sweden. Israel was due to play against Iran on Saturday.

The Iranians said they wouldn’t show up to the tournament in Switzerland unless they were moved to a different group, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Thursday. When that didn’t happen, they withdrew from the competition entirely.

Futsal is similar to soccer, with five players per side on a small court.

The Iranian team had won the Asia Pacific Deaf Futsal Championships in February.

Iran does not recognize Israel as a country and Iranian sports teams have for several decades had a policy of not competing against Israelis. Iranian passports remind holders in bold red that they are “not entitled to travel to occupied Palestine.”

Last month, the International Judo Federation (IJF) banned Iran from competition indefinitely over the country’s refusal to face Israeli competitors.
Jordan bans Israeli farmers from border enclave
The Jordanian government announced that as of Sunday, Israeli farmers will be banned from entering the Naharayim enclave, Jordan Valley Council head Idan Greenbaum said Thursday.

Under the 1994 peace agreement with Jordan, the Naharayim enclave and the Tzofar enclave were leased to Israel for 25 years, allowing the Israeli farmers living in the enclave to continue managing their farms.

About a year ago, the Hashemite Kingdom announced that it wanted to terminate the lease agreement and take over the two enclaves.

Various attempts were made both in public and in private to change the Jordanian decision, but the decision is apparently final.

About a month ago, a Naharayim farmer in the Jordan Valley approached with an urgent letter to King Abdullah II and asked him to stop the process of restoring the enclave to the possession of the Kingdom of Jordan.

Idan Greenbaum wrote to the Jordanian King on behalf of all the farmers of the Naharayim enclave: "I am taking an extraordinary step of writing directly to you, to prevent what is a disaster for us. I sincerely ask you to have the opportunity to present our suggestions to you or to someone you trust, through a meeting with us at the Island of Peace itself.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas bans rally to commemorate Yasser Arafat
The Palestinian ruling Fatah faction on Thursday accused Hamas of banning Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from holding a rally to commemorate former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on the 15th anniversary of his death.

Fatah had called on its supporters to gather on Thursday afternoon at the Square of Unknown Soldiers in Gaza City to mark the anniversary of the death of Arafat, who died on November 11, 2004. Another event, planned for next Monday, has also been banned by Hamas.

The ban came as Fatah and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations on PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s initiative to hold new Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections.

Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah, said that the ban shows that Hamas’s announcement welcoming the new elections is nothing but “slogans.”

The ban, Aloul said, is a “frustrating and unreasonable message” from Hamas.

He said that Fatah was optimistic that matters were moving in the right direction after Hamas welcomed Abbas’s initiative to hold long overdue elections. “But Hamas took this unwise and unexpected decision to ban the event commemorating Arafat,” Aloul added.
Gaza Protests Erupt after Police Throw Arrested Man Out the Window of His Home
A rare public anti-Hamas protest took place in Gaza following the death of a 28-year-old man who’d been thrown from the window of his own home by the terror group’s security services.

Three Hamas police officers arrived at the home of Anan Abu Jameh in the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza last Friday. According to the family, the security forces went upstairs to his room, arrested him and then threw him out of the window of his room. He sustained a serious injury to his head and later died from his wounds in the hospital.

"They knocked on the door very hard and as soon as I opened it they said, 'We want Anan,’” said the father. He said he had asked to see a search warrant but was pushed aside by Hamas men who told him they will “do whatever we want.”

The 28-year-old had recently graduated from a local university with a degree in communications and journalism.

The incident led to an uproar among the local residents, who labeled Anan’s death as a "cold-blooded murder." The subsequent protests forced the Hamas police spokesman to make a statement, presenting a different version of events where the 28-year-old was arrested based on a warrant for his arrest.

The police did not specify what the victim was accused of, but claimed Abu Jameh tried to evade the arrest by jumping from his window onto the nearby tree, from where he fell and sustained fatal wounds.

Abu Jameh's family rejected the police’s account of events, calling it a gross lie. The family also added the police didn’t try to investigate the circumstances of their son’s death at any point.

During Abu Jameh’s funeral in Khan Younis a rare anti-Hamas demonstration erupted, with the participants chanting: “Hamas are murderers.”
Middle East: The Anti-Iran Revolution is Well Underway
Iran's attempts to expand its malign influence throughout the Middle East have suffered a severe setback as a result of the unprecedented anti-government protests that have erupted in Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks.

The most obvious source of discontent in these two key Arab states has been the endemic corruption that has taken hold in both Beirut and Baghdad; in both countries, it has been the prime motivation in persuading tens of thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets.

The desire to end corrupt practices and force the governments in Beirut and Baghdad to undertake a radical overhaul of their respective countries' governments is, though, only part of the story.

The nationwide protests taking place in both Arab states are also driven by a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran.

Iran's attempts to seize control of the political agenda in Lebanon dates back to the early 1980s, when Iran established its Hezbollah militia in the southern part of the country to launch a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli forces operating in the area. Since then, Hezbollah -- with Iran's backing -- has gradually extended its influence in the country to the point where Hezbollah is now widely recognised as Lebanon's most influential political organisation.


Seth J. Frantzman: U.N. slams bleeding Iraqi protesters for closing roads, harming oil supply
The Special Representative for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq slammed protesters for closing roads and disrupting oil on its way to ports, raising the ire of Iraqis who wonder why the UN cares more about oil and roads than people’s lives. It came days after the UN Secretary-General visited Turkey and appeared open to a plan by Turkey to settle Syrian refugees in an area that 200,000 have been forced to flee from due to fighting, leading to questions about the overall UN blind-spot on suffering in the region.

Jeanine Hennis, a Dutch politician who serves as a diplomat and Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq, tweeted on Wednesday that the protests in Iraq, where more than 200 protesters have been shot by security forces, are disrupting critical infrastructure.

“Also of grave concern. Responsibility of all to protect public facilities. Threats, closure of roads to oil installations, ports causing billions in losses. Detrimental to Iraq’s economy,” she wrote.

It was undermining fulfilling the protesters’ legitimate demands.

“Losses to whom?” wondered the Twitter account Mosul Eye, which is run by survivors of the ISIS occupation of Mosul. “Most young Iraqis have no work. The schools are bare. The hospitals are completely unsupplied. No electricity. No assurance of clean water.”
JCPA: Iran’s Strategy: Negotiate Using the Threat of Reneging on Its Commitments
Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi said Iran would begin transferring nuclear materials to the Fordow site on November 6, 2019, as part of its fourth phase of reneging on its nuclear agreement obligations. He made it clear that the nuclear agreement prohibited Iran from transferring any nuclear material to Fordow, “but Iran is in the process of transferring nuclear material to the site.” He added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was updated that the transfer of nuclear materials – before being fed into centrifuges – would take place on November 6, 2019. The spokesman said that by the end of the week, Iran would provide reporters with more details on the nuclear issue.

On November 5, 2019, President Hassan Rouhani said that he instructed the AEOI to implement the fourth stage of moving away from Iranian commitments to the nuclear accord. He said that like the previous stages of Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement, these steps are “reversible,” and if the other nations that also signed the deal will fulfill their side of the agreement and restore Iran to their previous position (January 2017), then Iran will return to fulfill their commitments. Rouhani noted that the IAEA would be allowed to monitor their activities.

The Iranian president said that the facility in Fordow currently has 1,044 centrifuges in which uranium gas will be injected, in direct violation of the nuclear accord, where it was agreed that the centrifuges would be operated in a vacuum without being injected with gas. Under the agreement, Iran also pledged to drastically reduce the number of centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment site and banned uranium enrichment by 2031. At the same time, Rouhani made it clear that Iran continues to be committed to behind the scenes negotiations with several countries to resolve the crisis. Rouhani claims that Iran “had hoped to achieve results before taking these current measures, but that didn’t happen; No results were achieved, so we had to take this fourth step.”
IAEA accuses Iran of evading attempts to probe uranium production – report
The top inspector for the UN’s nuclear agency has reportedly accused Iran of evading attempts to gather information on Tehran’s uranium production at a warehouse that was flagged by Israel and where particles were found earlier this year.

Bloomberg, in a report Thursday, cited two officials as saying that Massimo Aparo told diplomats in a closed-door meeting in Vienna on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic was “evading attempts to discover the source of manmade and natural uranium particles detected at a warehouse in Tehran.”

The extraordinary meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors was convened by Cornel Feruta, the organization’s acting head, to discuss the latest concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, the report said.

In September, Reuters reported that traces of uranium were found at a facility in Tehran that was alleged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be a “secret atomic warehouse.”

Iran has not provided an explanation for why uranium was found at the site to the IAEA, which is investigating the facility in the Iranian capital, the news agency reported at the time.
Top Iranian Official Targeted by New US Sanctions Is Wanted by Argentina for 1994 Bombing of AMIA Jewish Center
One of the nine top Iranian officials targeted by new US sanctions on Monday is wanted by the Argentine authorities for his alleged involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in downtown Buenos Aires.

Ali Akbar Velayati was among the list of senior aides to the Tehran regime’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sanctioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in order to “block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world,” an OFAC statement said.

Velayati was Iran’s foreign minister at the time of the AMIA atrocity on July 18, 1994, when 85 people died and hundreds more were wounded when a van packed with explosives was driven into the Jewish organization’s main building in the Argentine capital. He was also alleged to have been present at a meeting of Iranian security officials in the city of Mashhad on Aug. 14, 1993, where the decision to bomb the AMIA building is understood to have been taken.

In July 2018, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral requested Velayati’s arrest by Russian authorities while he was on an official visit to Moscow. Velayati met with Russian President Vladimir Putin one day after Corral’s request was issued.

Judge Corral originally issued international arrest warrants in 2006 for Velayati and seven other Iranian and Lebanese operatives wanted in connection with the AMIA bombing. Corral also tried unsuccessfully to secure Velayati’s arrest under the same warrant in 2016, when the Iranian visited Singapore and Malaysia.


Mike Pompeo: Iran positioning itself for rapid nuclear break-out
Iran has positioned itself to rapidly break out into a nuclear power by resuming uranium enrichment at Fordow, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.

“Iran’s expansion of proliferation-sensitive activities raises concerns that Iran is positioning itself to have the option of a rapid nuclear breakout,” Pompeo said.

The biggest obstacle to build a nuclear weapon is stockpiling enough fissile material — highly enriched uranium or plutonium — for the core of a bomb. A central objective of the 2015 deal was to extend the time Iran would need to do that, if it chose to, to a year from about 2 to 3 months.

Tehran’s latest "nuclear escalations" reflect the regime’s intentions all along: to extort the international community into accepting its violence and terror while it undermines the sovereignty of its neighbors. Members of the international community who are rightly concerned with Iran’s latest attacks and provocations should imagine how Iran,” Pompeo said.

He called on the international community to supports sanctions against Iran.
MEMRI: Even As UK, France Acknowledge That Iran Is Violating The JCPOA, The Trump Administration, After Ostensibly Withdrawing From It, Continues To Preserve It – By Means Of Its Waivers For Civilian Nuclear Cooperation With Iran
On November 5, 2019, Iran announced that it was taking its fourth step to cut back on its obligations under the JCPOA nuclear agreement. This step includes reviving uranium enrichment at the Fordo nuclear facility and activating an array of advanced centrifuges that will enable it in future to double and triple its enrichment capability. In effect, Iran is systematically stripping the JCPOA of all meaning, ostensibly with the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

France and Britain have issued a public response to this fourth step by Iran, saying for the first time that it is violating the JCPOA.[1]

Although the U.S., in May 2018, announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA,[2] it is in effect preserving it by continuing to grant significant waivers to the U.S. sanctions. These waivers allow some countries to help Iran develop its nuclear program under the heading of development for civilian needs – allowing Europe, Russia, and China to continue to uphold the agreement (see for example July 2019 statements on this matter by then-U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton on the continuation of the waivers[3]).

This report will set out the significance of this fourth step in Iran's withdrawal from its obligations under the JCPOA, as explained by two top regime officials, and will discuss the ramifications of the third step – the cancellation of the JCPOA's research and development timetable for it – for the development of Iran's nuclear program. These ramifications were previously discussed in a MEMRI report published in October.[4]




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11/06 Links Pt1: PA: Dead ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi was a US “pawn” and Israel and ISIS are “twins”; Israel says UNRWA chief’s stepping aside shows ‘deep’ change needed; Arab Spring 2.0

 Cache   
From Ian:

David Singer: Rabin’s Policies Can Help Break Gantz-Netanyahu Deadlock
The prospect of a third election in Israel within twelve months looms large – should Blue and White leader Benny Gantz be unable to form a Government of National Unity within the next two weeks.

To break the current deadlock Gantz needs at least nine members to defect from the voting bloc of 55 seats led by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Gantz’s cause could be considerably advanced were he to publicly endorse the policies pursued by the late Prime Minister – Yitzchak Rabin – who was assassinated on 4 November 1995.

Rabin made his intentions very clear in his last speech to the Knesset on 5 October 1995 when presenting the 300 page “Israeli - Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” (Oslo Accords) for approval:

“Members of Knesset,

“We are striving for a permanent solution to the unending bloody conflict between us and the Palestinians and the Arab states." In the framework of the permanent solution, we aspire to reach, first and foremost, the State of Israel as a Jewish state, at least 80% of whose citizens will be, and are, Jews.

"At the same time, we also promise that the non-Jewish citizens of Israel – Muslim, Christian, Druze and others – will enjoy full personal, religious and civil rights, like those of any Israeli citizen. Judaism and racism are diametrically opposed.

"We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

"We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

...
Rabin – then Defence Minister – had stated on May 27, 1985:

“The Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the Jordan River there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees. One tiny State between Israel and Jordan will solve nothing. It will be a time bomb.”

Supporting Rabin’s policies would stand Gantz in good stead as he seeks to form a Government of National Unity and – failing that – in any upcoming election that would hopefully end Israel’s current precarious political situation.


PMW: Dead ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi was a US “pawn” and Israel and ISIS are “twins” - according to the PA
While most of western society saw the death of ISIS leader and arch-terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as a positive development in the war on terrorism, the Palestinian Authority chose to outrageously claim that Al-Baghdadi was a US "pawn" and ISIS a US creation - a terror organization only paralleled by Israel.

Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily, presented a venomous PA manifest against the US:
"They [the US] killed their pawn, who they planted in the open borderless territories of Iraq and Syria after they created an organization-state of barbarity, terror, and racism, for which they chose the name 'the Islamic State.'" [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 29, 2019]

But dealing with ISIS is not enough as it only amounts to "cutting off the tail of the monster," Matar stated, arguing that the monster's head - Israel - is yet to be fought:
"[The elimination of Al-Baghdadi] was tantamount to a strong blow that has cut off the tail of the monster of terror. However, this monster has a head, and in it is a brain that is capable of growing a different tail and wings... The occupation, settlement, terror, racism, crimes against humanity, and rebellion against UN laws and conventions have a state. They named it 'Israel' and established it on the land of Palestine, which is the Palestinian people's historical and natural right."

Comparing Israel to ISIS, Matar stated that in practice ISIS and Israel are identical:
"This [ISIS] is an organization that, in regard to its crimes, there is nothing similar to it in the modern history of the region except for a defective, colonialist, settling, occupying, and racist state for which they chose the name 'the State of Israel.' The heads of large states in the world have said that the elimination of Al-Baghdadi is not the end of ISIS' terror - and this is correct! - but not one of them referred to their responsibility and their state's responsibility to drain the greatest, deepest, and most dangerous swamp of terror for the region and the world: the defective and racist State of Israel. We know... that the Muslim Brotherhood organization... is essentially a twin of the Zionist movement."
MEMRI: Chicago Islamic Scholar Omar Baloch: Israel Arms And Trains ISIS, Uses It To Destabilize The Region, Advance Its Plans For 'Greater Israel,' Alienate Muslims From Concepts Of Jihad, Islamic State
Chicago Islamic Scholar Omar Baloch said in a video he uploaded to his YouTube channel on September 11, 2019 that Islamic State (ISIS) is now fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan because "you will always find ISIS in places that are running a Zionist agenda [for] Greater Israel." He said that Israel created ISIS in order to weaken Muslims by alienating them from ideas like an Islamic state, Jihad, and Muslim unity, without which he said Islam would not be the same. Showing pictures of ISIS fighters, Baloch said that the weaponry, uniforms, and training that ISIS has are evidence that it is trained and armed by Israel, and he predicted that Israel will use ISIS to destabilize Pakistan and Kashmir. He added that Israel is "working on Kashmir" by means of India's actions in the region and that Israel intends to do to the Kashmiris what it did do to the Palestinians.

According to the Facebook page of the Furqaan Institute of Quranic Education (FIQE), Sheikh Omar Baloch was born in Chicago and is the scholar in residence at the Al-Furqaan Foundation, of which FIQE is a division. The Facebook page also says that Baloch studied at Georgetown University, at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, at Jamia Thul Ahlul Hadith in Pakistan. For more about Sheikh Omar Baloch, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7053 Illinois-Based Sheikh Omar Baloch: Islamic Relief Organizations Should Promote the Caliphate as the Long-Term Solution to Humanitarian Problems.

"You Will Always Find ISIS In Places That Are Running A Zionist Agenda, The Agenda For Greater Israel"

Sheikh Omar Baloch: "All of a sudden, guess what? ISIS is in Afghanistan and ISIS is killing Taliban.
[...]
"You will always find ISIS in places that are running a Zionist agenda, the agenda for Greater Israel."



NGO Monitor: Key Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Omar Shakir (HRW) Decision
Like the lower court, the Supreme Court paints a clear picture of Shakir’s BDS activism, from when he founded a pro-BDS student group in 2006 through his present employment at HRW. During this time, he has been a consistent and ardent supporter of BDS (see NGO Monitor’s extensive material submitted in its filings and which was cited in the courts’ decisions). In the words of Justice Yael Wilner (in a short addendum to the main decision), “The statements [made by Omar Shakir and presented] above are definitely calls to boycott entities that operate in Israel and Judea and Samaria, only because of their connection to Israel or an area under its control — each one (statement) individually, all the more so when taken together. It seems to me that there cannot be a substantive argument about this.”

Pro-BDS activists often use the rhetoric of “human rights” and “international law” to justify their discriminatory campaigns, but such rhetoric does not legitimize the boycotts. The Entry into Israel Law, Amendment 28 (2017) applies specifically to boycott calls that are based on a company’s connections to Israel or an area under its control, not to circumstances when the company in question has undertaken problematic activities.

Even though the judges recognize there can be gray areas, Shakir’s activity unquestionably falls within the criteria of the law. Shakir rejects in total the presence of Israeli entities in the West Bank, and his calls for BDS are in opposition to their identity as Israelis, not because of any specific human rights violation.

Contrary to claims from Shakir’s lawyers and Amnesty International (which joined the case in an amicus capacity), denying Shakir’s work visa will not adversely affect human rights NGOs that want to send representatives to Israel to criticize Israel’s policies. This is because Shakir’s involvement in BDS is so egregious.

The Court firmly rejected a key argument from Shakir’s lawyers. They tried to argue that Shakir’s personal BDS activity ended upon his employment at HRW, at which point all his expressions should be attributed to HRW as an organization. Since HRW is not on the Israeli government’s list of “BDS organizations,” Shakir’s activity as an HRW employee should be granted “immunity” from the Entry into Israel Law. In sharp contradiction, the Court determined that he is responsible for his public statements, especially those on his private Twitter account.
Shakir’s BDS is insufficient to trigger a listing of HRW as a “BDS organization” because HRW is a large international NGO with myriad activities having nothing to do with Israel. This is not a reflection on Shakir’s status as a BDS activist or HRW’s anti-Israel advocacy.
Honest Reporting: No Room For BDS Within Human Rights
Omar Shakir is Human Right's Watch (HRW) representative for Israel and Palestine. HRW is notorious for appointing anti-Israel staff and after a long investigation, Israel's Supreme Court have denied Shakir's visa extension. They have asked him to leave the country due to his clear involvement with Boycott movement against Israel.

Israel's law of denying entry to those that are involved with the hateful BDS movement is controversial, but the one thing that everyone is certain of: there is no room for BDS within human rights.




UK Paper Fails to Challenge the Lies of HRW’s Omar Shakir
The Guardian is adept at amplifying, and failing to critically scrutinize, the unsubstantiated claims and accusations of anti-Israel NGOs, and its recent article about the Israeli Supreme Court decision on Human Right Watch (HRW)’s regional director Omar Shakir — a longtime BDS activist — follows this pattern.

First, as we predicted in a tweet before the article by Oliver Holmes (“Israel can deport Human Rights Watch official, court rules,” Nov. 5) was published, the piece uncritically cites Shakir’s unhinged response to the court’s decision:
Shakir wrote on Twitter that if he was kicked out, Israel would join the ranks of Iran, North Korea, and Egypt in blocking access to Human Rights Watch staff. “We won’t stop. And we won’t be the last,” he said.

The truth is that democracies all over the world reserve the right to deny entry to those seen as intent on harming the state. Moreover, there are in excess of 350 NGOs (such as HRW) operating freely in Israel, even those who continually delegitimize the country, support BDS, and even reject Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

The denial of a work visa to one employee of one of these NGOs — after careful consideration by the country’s internationally respected Supreme Court — wouldn’t even minimally change the democratic nature of Israel. The human rights organization Freedom House continually ranks Israel as the only truly free and democratic country in the region, and the suggestion that this status will change due merely to the Supreme Court’s decision on Shakir’s work visa is risible.

In a subsequent paragraph in the article, Holmes makes the following claim about the broader effort by Israel to fight BDS — a movement, let’s remember, whose leaders oppose the continued existence of a Jewish state:
BBC News report uncritically amplifies political NGO’s talking points
On the afternoon of November 5th the BBC News website published a report on its ‘Middle East’ page which was presented to audiences with a ‘halo effect’ reference to a “rights activist”.

The report itself (tagged, inter alia, ‘human rights’) is headlined “Israel court rejects Human Rights Watch activist’s deportation appeal” and the caption under the photograph at the top of the article reads:
“Omar Shakir said he had not called for a boycott of Israel during his time at Human Rights Watch”

Obviously the BBC did not fact-check that claim from the person it had already flagged up as a “rights activist” (i.e. good) before amplifying it.

Had it done so, it would know that analysis of Tweets sent from Shakir’s personal Twitter account between June 2018 and February 2019 by NGO Monitor shows that 16% of those Tweets focused on BDS campaigns against Booking.com and TripAdvisor and additional Tweets supported a UN “blacklist” of businesses operating in Judea & Samaria.

45% of the BBC article’s word count is devoted to uncritical amplification of talking points from Omar Shakir (including a link to a Tweet) and his employer ‘Human Rights Watch’, including the following claim:
Updated Reuters Falsely Reports That Israel Has Criminalized BDS
In an article yesterday about the ruling by Israel's High Court to uphold the government's decision not to renew the visa of Human Rights Watch's Omar Shakir on account of his ongoing anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) activity, Reuters incorrectly reports that Israel has "criminalized" BDS.
In "Israel's top court upholds deportation of Human Rights Watch official," Jeffrey Heller erroneously reports:
Israel says [Shakir] supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which it has criminalized.

It has lobbied Western powers to follow suit, and Shakir’s case was a test for its anti-boycott legislation.


Israel's anti-BDS legislation treats calls for BDS as a civil, not criminal offense. Specifically, the 2011 "Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel Through Boycott," as amended by the Supreme Court, allows businesses that have suffered economic harm as a result of such boycotts to sue for civil damages. There is no criminal component.

UPDATE, 8 am EST, Nov. 6: Reuters Corrects
In response to communication from CAMERA, Reuters commendably corrected the article to make clear that promotion of BDS in Israel is a civil matter, not criminal.
INSS: Russia in the Middle East: A Higher Gear or Media Buzz?
Recent weeks have featured Russia's expanded diplomatic activity in the Middle East following its longstanding involvement in the Syrian civil war. With the reduced U.S. military presence in northern Syria, the image of Russia as the leading power in the region was strengthened.

To what extent does this image of Russia reflect reality? Russia's intensive diplomatic activity in the region reflects Moscow's desire to fill the breach left by the U.S, but it does not represent a change in the balance of power between the global powers in the region. The U.S., should it choose to do so, still has the ability to challenge Moscow and upset Russia's achievements in almost every part of the region.

Russian analyst Fyodor Lukyanov, echoing the official position, stressed that Russia does not view the situation in Syria as a zero sum game with the U.S.

The political process to resolve the conflict in Syria, which was resumed on Oct. 30 in Geneva, is not under Moscow's control. The Russian attempt (2017-2019) to promote a resolution in cooperation with Turkey and Iran through the Astana Process did not succeed, and Moscow is now forced to return to the Geneva track, which is under UN control, and over which the West has veto power.

The U.S. still holds very strong cards in Syria - territorial (most of the Kurdish zone and the al-Tanf region); political (veto rights over the Geneva process); military deterrence; and economic (sanctions and preventing aid for rebuilding Syria). Beyond Syria, Russia at this stage has limited influence on regional states. U.S. allies in the Middle East are not rushing to the Russian side.
Russia captures advanced Israeli missile interceptor in Syria - report
An advanced Israeli surface-to-air missile that was fired from the David's Sling (formerly known as the Magic Wand) missile system was given to Russia by Syria, when it was found intact after the rocket did not explode on contact, according to Russian media sources.

The rocket was reportedly fired on July 23, 2018, and Syrian forces that were dispatched to the scene found the missile intact after it sustained minor damage from impact. The missile was then taken to a Syrian-Russian base where it was transferred to Moscow for further research.

David’s Sling was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and American defense contractor Raytheon. The system is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles and the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude.

The system forms the middle layer of air defense systems between the Iron Dome and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missile defense systems.

Russian media reports quoted Chinese news agency Sina saying that the missile was taken by Russia for “reverse engineering.”
Israeli Deputy FM: We have sent humanitarian aid to Kurds
Israel will help the Kurds in any way it can, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in the Knesset on Wednesday.

The deputy foreign minister added that she cannot go into detail about how Israel aids the Kurds, because doing so can hurt their cause.

“Israel has received many requests for aid in diplomatic and humanitarian matters. We are aiding them in various channels,” Hotovely said, in response to a motion to the Knesset’s agenda on the situation of the Kurds in Syria.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry has helped non-governmental organizations send humanitarian aid to the Kurds.

Hotovely recounted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “condemned the Turkish invasion of northern Syria and warned against ethnic cleansing of the Kurds,” and that Israel conveyed “our truth about the Kurds in a continuing dialogue with the US.”

Israel’s support for the Kurds is based on “historic ties… [and] shared and varied interests,” she added. “There are many Kurdish Jews in Israel who maintained ties with their place of origin. Kurds are a moderate and pro-Western factor in the Middle East.”
Israel says UNRWA chief’s stepping aside shows ‘deep’ change needed
Israel called on the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees to release in full its findings of alleged mismanagement at the organization, following an announcement that its leader was taking an indefinite leave of absence.

The agency, known as UNRWA, said Wednesday the findings of a probe into alleged abuses of power among top management “relate specifically to the commissioner general” Pierre Krahenbuhl.

The Foreign Ministry said reports on alleged mismanagement at UNRWA lend credence to its criticism of the agency and called for a full release of the probe’s findings.

“The reports reinforce Israel’s claims that a deep and fundamental change is needed in the agency’s operating model,” it said in a statement.

The ministry charged that under Krahenbuhl, UNWRA has become more politicized, “the deficit has ballooned” and the agency’s model was increasingly unsustainable.

“The suspension of Krahenbuhl is a first step in a long process needed to eliminate corruption, increase transparency and prevent politicization in the agency,” it said.

It also called on donor states to consider a new operating model for UNRWA and said recent events showed the agency’s mandate should not be automatically renewed three years from now.




Two Jordanians Detained by Israel Return Home After Handover Deal
Two Jordanians, whose detention without charge by Israel led Jordan to recall its ambassador, returned home on Wednesday in a handover deal that defused a diplomatic crisis, officials said.

Hiba Labadi, 24, was arrested in August after crossing into the West Bank to attend a family wedding. She subsequently went on a hunger strike and was hospitalized after her health deteriorated.

Separately, Abdul Rahman Miri, 29, was arrested in September after he also entered the West Bank to visit relatives.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Monday the two would return to Jordan “before the end of the week” without saying how their release had been secured.

Safadi however said King Abdullah had ordered the government to do everything necessary to bring them back “whatever that may cost.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the handover was agreed after talks between Israeli and Jordanian security chiefs. It said Jordan’s ambassador would return to his post “in the coming days.”
The Coming Collapse of Lebanon Is a Crisis for Israel
It is imperative that the United States and Israel’s other allies ensure that Lebanon does not become another Afghanistan — a terror group masquerading as a state. This is a real danger now, and Israel is gravely imperiled by it. America — and all well-meaning peoples — must continue to isolate Hezbollah and its slave government in Lebanon until sanity and civilization return to “the Paris of the Middle East.”

The government and infrastructure of Lebanon are dominated by the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, which has already dispatched gangs of thugs to drive masses of demonstrators from the streets of major cities like Beirut and Tyre. The government of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has resigned due to enormous street protests over his utter mismanagement and corruption.

Israel should be worried, because Hezbollah, with its economic and political power threatened, could lash out at its neighbor to the south as a unifying distraction for its outraged citizenry. A repeat of Hezbollah’s terror-missile war of 2006 would be a far more lethal version of that earlier conflict, which aimed to eradicate the “Zionist entity” on Lebanon’s southern frontier.

Since Hezbollah is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran and Iran’s terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran can be expected to play a key role in Lebanese affairs at this critical juncture. And where Iran gets involved, Israel becomes the ultimate target.
Israeli and Palestinian firefighters practice saving lives together
Israeli and Palestinian firefighters took part in a joint fire-fighting exercise in Rishon Lezion on Tuesday, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The exercise, held at the Rishon Lezion Firefighting and Rescue School and led by the head of the facility, trained the visiting Palestinian firefighters to handle a number of various real-life situations using a simulator. The Israeli firefighters were trained to speak Arabic throughout these life-threatening situations.

Within the scenarios practiced, the joint exercise included real-life situations such as dealing with fires inside buildings and vehicles, as well as efficient ways to rescue casualties or those in need from blocked or closed off areas.

In part of the blossoming professional relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli commissions, the commander of the Palestinian Civil Defense met with the commissioner of the Israeli Fire and Rescue Authority in the commissioner’s office to discuss firefighting innovations, future collaborations and the importance of the joint work between the two governments.

“The close cooperation between Israeli firefighters and Palestinian firefighters is of great importance in the field,” civilian officer Lt.-Col. Samir said. “Thanks to the combination of forces, we have the ability to work together to improve the skills and the proficiency of both Israeli and Palestinian firefighters alike. This collaboration has yielded fruit in the past and continues to bring positive results every time. Therefore, we will continue to work in order to strengthen and improve it, with a clear purpose – to save human lives together.”
Fatah Official Says PA Chief Abbas, Soon to Turn 85, Won’t Run for Re-Election
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will not run for re-election, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub told Palestine TV on Monday.

Rajoub’s announcement contradicted Hussein al-Sheikh, who recently said that Abbas is Fatah’s only candidate in the next presidential election.

“President Abbas is the only candidate of Fatah and honorable Palestinians,” stated Sheikh.

“Let us make him the sheikh of the tribe and the spiritual father of the democratic process,” said Rajoub. “In two months, President Abbas will celebrate his 85th birthday.”

In a speech in September at the annual UN General Assembly, Abbas said he will call for “general elections” in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem.

Abbas is currently in the 14th year of a four-year term.

A date for the Palestinian elections has yet to be determined.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad reject Abbas’s terms for Palestinian elections
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have rejected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s terms for holding elections for the PA's parliament and president, Ynet reported on Wednesday.

The chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC), Hanna Nasir, arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday for talks with leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian factions on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s plans to hold parliamentary elections in the coastal enclave, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to Ynet, Hamas and PIJ, which are not members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, rejected the clause stating that the elections must be held in accordance with the Election Basic Law, which requires recognizing the agreements signed by the PLO to be able to run.

The organizations require a meeting between the factions to define the terms for new elections; only after a consensus is reached, a presidential order for elections would be issued.

A Palestinian parliamentary election was last held in 2006. The following year, Hamas carried out a violent takeover in the Gaza Strip and has been in power in the coastal enclave ever since.
Abbas bans child marriage, with some legal exemptions
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a decision barring Palestinian teenagers from marrying before they turn 18 years old, unless they receive an exemption from a religious court and a top legal official.

The official PA news site Wafa reported earlier this week that Abbas made the decision, but did not say when.

In the West Bank, Palestinian law previously mandated that a female must be 15 years old and a male 16 years old to be eligible to marry, according to Suna Nassar, the PA Women’s Affairs Ministry’s legal adviser. Comparatively, in the Gaza Strip, it had held that a female must be 17 years old and a male 18, she said in a phone call.

The PA controls the West Bank, whereas Hamas rules Gaza. Hamas has not said publicly whether it will enforce Abbas’s decision.

A 2018 PA Central Bureau of Statistics report found that 10.8 percent of women in 2017 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip aged 20-24 had married before turning 18.

In contrast, the report determined that in 1997, 30.3% of women in the West Bank and Gaza who were then between 20 and 24 married before reaching 18.


Hamas Relying on Qatari Funds in Gaza Strip
Qatar warned Hamas, the Palestinian militant group running the Gaza Strip, that it could cease providing funds and aid to the area in 2020. This warning, as Middle East Monitor reports citing Hezbollah-linked Al Akhbar newspaper, came from Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Emadi. El-Emadi reportedly told Hamas and other Gaza factions that Doha had complications with renewing the funding.


Arab Spring 2.0
Moreover, what makes the demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq unique and gives them historical dimension is that they cross the sectarian, religious and party lines, and demand a change in the structure of government, which currently perpetuates these divisions and prevents unity.

This is unheard of for Lebanon, where political power is divided according to the prominence of the various sectors in society, or for Iraq, where the majority of the population is Shiite. In both countries, protesters have made it clear that they would not settle for the mere resignation of the prime minister (Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri has already resigned), nor with reforms that would preserve the current and corrupt system of power.

Although economic hardship and the desire to eradicate corruption are the main issues driving the demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq, Tehran is up in arms over them. Both countries are of paramount importance in the process of "exporting" the Iranian revolution, both play a key role in repelling external attacks on Iran, and both are used as the base of operations from which Iran can use proxies to attack potential enemies.

In Lebanon, this task falls to Hezbollah and in Iraq, it is the work of pro-Iranian militias. Therefore, any threat to the internal stability in Iraq and Lebanon could undermine Iran's security and military strategy.

Tehran is also concerned that the Iranian people may catch the protest "bug," as they did in 2009 and in 2017.

The prospect of the second round of the Arab Spring in Lebanon and Iraq being more successful than its predecessor is unclear. Replacing the political system in Arab countries is no simple matter, and rulers do not give up their seats easily. But the Iranians already feel threatened by this – just as much as they feel threatened by the devastating economic sanctions the US has imposed on them.

It may very well be that Tehran's decision to renew uranium enrichment sought to distract from the internal problems of the protests in Iraq and Lebanon are creating for it. The ayatollahs much prefer the Iranian people focus on the "real" enemy that on their own plights.
FIFA: Iraq 'unsafe' to host World Cup qualifying matches
FIFA says Iraq is not safe enough to host World Cup qualifying games against Iran and Bahrain.

FIFA says it asked the Iraq soccer federation "to nominate a neutral venue" for the matches on Nov. 14 and 19.

The games were to be played in Basra, the southern city which hosted Iraq's return last month to playing competitive games at home.

Iraq has rarely staged home games since the 1980s because of security concerns.

Turmoil in Iraq in recent weeks has been fueled by economic problems and dissatisfaction with Iran's political influence on its neighbor.
Iran shaves weeks off breakout time, but isn’t tearing up nuclear pact yet
The ongoing game of brinkmanship between Tehran and Washington has entered a new, potentially dangerous level, with Iran restarting uranium enrichment at its Fordo nuclear facility and also announcing it was raising the level of this enrichment, up to five percent.

These two decisions represent a distinctly shocking and provocative move by the Islamic Republic, but they also remain easily reversible, experts say, as Iran attempts to bully its way toward financial relief while keeping just shy of prompting European countries to call for a so-called snapback of broader international sanctions.

The transformation of the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant, which is buried deep under a mountain in Iran’s Qom district, from a uranium enrichment facility to one used for other, non-nuclear purposes was a key provision of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The heavily fortified Fordo was originally built and operated in secret by Iran, until it was exposed by Western intelligence services, including Israel’s, and ultimately acknowledged by Tehran in 2009 to great international criticism. The facility is widely regarded as having been built for the explicit purpose of producing highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons far enough underground that it couldn’t be destroyed in a military strike.
US accuses Iran of ‘nuclear extortion’ as Tehran expands enrichment at key plant
The United States accused Iran on Tuesday of “nuclear extortion” and vowed no let-up in pressure after the clerical regime said it would resume uranium enrichment at the key Fordo plant.

“Iran has no credible reason to expand its uranium enrichment program, at the Fordo facility or elsewhere, other than a clear attempt at nuclear extortion that will only deepen its political and economic isolation,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“We will continue to impose maximum pressure on the regime until it abandons its destabilizing behavior, including proliferation-sensitive work.”

The comments came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “never let Iran develop nuclear weapons.”

”Iran expands its aggression everywhere. It seeks to envelop Israel. It seeks to threaten Israel. It seeks to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said at an event in Jerusalem.

Iran has regularly threatened to destroy Israel, and has developed ballistic missiles believed in the West to be intended to carry nuclear warheads in the future.
Macron: With new centrifuge operation, Iran is withdrawing from nuclear deal
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said Iran’s decision to resume enrichment activity at a nuclear facility meant it had withdrawn from the troubled 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers.

Iran on Wednesday said it had begun inserting uranium gas into over 1,000 centrifuges at the Fordo nuclear facility, which under the JCPOA pact had turned into a research facility with no active enrichment.

“I think that for the first time, Iran has decided in an explicit and blunt manner to leave the JCPOA (nuclear) agreement, which marks a profound shift,” Macron said at a news conference during a trip to Beijing, according to a Reuters report.

Macron called the developments a “profound change” from Tehran’s previous position and a “grave” move.

“I will have discussions in the coming days, including with the Iranians, and we must collectively draw the consequences,” Macron said.
Iran briefly held IAEA inspector, seized travel documents - diplomats
Iran briefly held an inspector working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog in the Islamic Republic and seized her travel documents, diplomats familiar with the agency’s work said on Wednesday, with some describing it as harassment.

The incident appears to be the first of its kind since Tehran’s landmark deal with major powers was struck in 2015, imposing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Hours after Reuters reported the incident, Iran confirmed that it had prevented an inspector from accessing its Natanz site - the heart of its uranium enrichment program - last week, because of a concern that she might be carrying “suspicious material”, according to the Fars news agency.

The episode comes at a time of heightened friction between Iran and the West, with Tehran breaching the deal’s restrictions step-by-step in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the deal and renewed sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency is also in transition, with a new chief taking over next month.

The incident is due to be reported on at a meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors on Thursday convened at short notice to discuss “two safeguards matters” not specified in the agenda, which was circulated on Monday.
How Tehran Is Surviving U.S. Sanctions
A year ago, the U.S. kicked off a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. After withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, in November it reimposed a raft of economic sanctions squeezing Iranian oil exports and curtailing the country's access to the international financial system.

Iran expected that other parties to the nuclear deal would help shore up its economy. But European governments could not force private companies to defy U.S. sanctions. Nor did other friendly governments - China, Russia, and India - pick up the slack. They face little pressure from the oil market to go out on a limb for Iran. Global demand is slowing, supply is abundant, and prices are low - so why risk U.S. sanctions to buy Iranian oil?

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank predict that Iran's economy will rebound from a recession to near zero percent growth in 2020. Iran's fluctuating currency, the rial, has stabilized. The Iranian economy stays afloat in part because it is diversified. In 2017, crude oil accounted for 43% of Iranian exports, so Iran's service, agricultural, and non-oil industrial sectors were able to cushion the blow from the collapse of oil revenues under sanctions.

Moreover, the government can draw upon its $100 billion of reserves to cover any gaps and to ensure the continued strong social spending that Iranians expect.
2 Iranians accused of spying on Jewish, Israeli targets in US plead guilty
Two Iranians who were charged with collecting information on Israeli and Jewish targets in the US and on opponents of the Iranian regime have pleaded guilty to acting on behalf of Tehran, the US Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 39, a dual US-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 60, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were arrested last year.

“The Iranian government thought it could get away with conducting surveillance on individuals in the United States by sending one of its agents here to task a permanent resident with conducting and collecting that surveillance,” said Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Doostdar is scheduled to be sentenced on December 17 and Ghorbani will receive his sentence on January 15.

As part of his plea, Doostdar admitted he traveled to the United States from Iran on three occasions to meet with Ghorbani and to convey directions for Ghorbani’s activities on behalf of Iran.
BBC News mantra on ‘peaceful’ Iranian nuclear programme returns
Iran’s latest breach of the 2015 JCPOA was portrayed by the BBC as “rolling back another commitment” in the opening line of an article headlined “Iran nuclear deal: Uranium enrichment to resume at underground facility” which appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on November 5th.

As is inevitably the case in BBC reporting on that deal and Iran’s nuclear programme, audiences were told that:

“Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.”

The BBC knows that in December 2015 (after the JCPOA had already been agreed) the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA – produced a report which stated that:

“…the agency “assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place” up to 2009.”

The BBC also knows that in April 2018 Israel revealed documents from Iran’s nuclear archive which raised new issues. Nevertheless, it once again chose to amplify Iranian propaganda but not to inform readers of those relevant parts of the story.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Defends Imperialism As Bulwark Against Imperialism (satire)
Officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran explain the country’s virtual takeover of Iraq and Lebanon, as well as its use of puppet militias and proxy forces in Syria and Yemen, among others, as a defense against Western efforts to take over Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and other Middle East states, regime sources reported today.

Representatives of various government ministries and the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told journalists Wednesday that the territorial integrity and political independence of countries in the region are sacrosanct, and require Iran’s protection from what they characterized as a US-led effort to exert effective control over them, protection that Iran provides in the form of taking them over and exerting effective control.

“Satanic Western imperialism will not succeed,” warned Deputy Minister of Defense Mohtin Yorai. “To counter the threat of the evil machinations of the Great Satan and its minions we have already assumed de facto control of the governments of Iraq and Lebanon, and are working to establish similar arrangements elsewhere. In the same vein we offer material and financial support to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other groups waging a similar fight. The Zionists and their allies will fail in their campaign to subjugate and rule the region because we will do so first.”




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11/05 Links Pt1: ‘I like your frame on this’: Warren nods as supporter claims US backs 'genocide in Palestine'; It’s Time to Close Down UNRWA; Israel’s Supreme Court rules HRW Director can be deported over BDS

 Cache   
From Ian:

‘I like your frame on this’: Warren nods as supporter claims US backs 'genocide in Palestine'
Elizabeth Warren nodded along with an attendee at her town hall event while he claimed the American military supported genocide.

The Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential hopeful took questions from the crowd in Grinnell, Iowa, on Monday, with one attendee saying, “Right now, the United States is bombing at least seven countries. We support genocides in Palestine and in Yemen. The U.S. military is actually the biggest polluter of any organization in the world.”

He continued, “United States sanctions on Venezuela caused over 40,000 deaths, and we also have sanctions on many other countries like Iran, North Korea, and you can name many more.”

The attendee asked Warren, “I’m wondering, as president, will you stop U.S.-supported murder, whether it’s through sanctions, arms support, or boots on the ground?”

Warren responded, “I like your frame on this.”


Republican Jewish group’s campaign slams Democrats as a ‘disgrace’ — in Yiddish
The Republican Jewish Coalition on Sunday launched a $10 million campaign — an unprecedented amount in partisan Jewish advertising — with online ads depicting 2020 Democratic US presidential candidates as a “disgrace.”

Videos titled “Shanda,” Yiddish for “disgrace,” blast the Democrats for saying they would consider reducing aid to Israel.

“The radical Left has taken the reins of the Democratic Party, and their policy proposals will devastate our national security, our alliance with Israel, our economy, and our health care system,” Matt Brooks, the RJC’s executive director, said in a statement announcing the release of the 15- to 30-second ads.

The placement of the videos on Facebook, YouTube and other media will cost $50,000. Brooks confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency a report in Axios that the RJC had budgeted $10 million for its 2020 efforts.

In the spots, “leading Democrats” are accused of “turning their back” on Israel. They show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is Jewish.





It’s Time to Close Down UNRWA
UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, was accused of appointing as an adviser a woman with whom he was romantically involved. The pair traveled on business class flights across the globe. Deputy Commissioner-General Sandra Mitchell was accused of bullying and of manipulating the system to find a well-paid job for her spouse, Robert Langridge, who was promoted. Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan was accused of behaving like a thug, placing people loyal to him in positions of power, and lobbying to take over UNRWA operations in Jerusalem.

Perhaps not surprisingly in view of the above, the agency has adopted a culture of secrecy about itself. It employs about 30,000 people (compared to the UNHCR’s 11,000 for the rest of the world’s 17 million refugees and displaced persons). Most of its staff are Palestinians and many are known members of Hamas (indeed, Hamas membership helps one get a UN job). Peter Hansen, UNRWA’s former Commissioner-General (1996–2005), admitted in an interview with CBS that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll. For example, the chairman of UNRWA’s Palestinian workers’ union, Suhail al-Hindi, is a member of Hamas’ new political leadership.

Retired IDF Col. Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, notes that as long as UNRWA employees are members of Hamas, they are going to pursue the interests of that organization within the framework of their job.

The agency was threatened with closure after the Trump administration implemented severe cuts following reports that proved rockets had been hidden inside UNRWA schools. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who sat on the ethics findings for months, claims he is “committed to acting swiftly on the corruption allegations.”

The UN originally made clear that UNRWA’s mandate would be short-term, indicating that the refugee issue should be solved expeditiously through repatriation or resettlement. In the words of former UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie, “The refugees will lead an independent life in countries that have sheltered them. Except for the ‘hardcore’ cases, the refugees will no longer be maintained by an international organization as they are at present. They will be integrated into the economic system of the countries of asylum and will themselves provide for their own needs and those of their families.”

Palestinian residents of Arab states — all of whom are considered refugees by UNRWA — should become citizens of those states, as they are in Jordan.


Israel’s Supreme Court rules HRW Director can be deported over BDS
In a landmark anti-BDS ruling the High Court of Justice has paved the way for Israel to deport Human Rights Watch’s local director Omar Shakir for his support of boycott activity against Israel.

Human Rights Watch is weighing an appeal to a larger judicial panel of the verdict by a three judges. If not appeal is lodged, Shakir could be asked to leave the country within 20-day.

The ruling is a victory for those who hold that advocates of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment Movement are acting against the state and are not engaged in legitimate criticism of Israel. Opponents view it as part of a movement to suppress human rights advocacy in Israel.

Shakir, who is a US citizen, immediately tweeted that if the HCJ decision is upheld, Israel will “join ranks of Iran, N Korea & Egypt in blocking access for @hrw official. We wont stop. And we wont be the last.”

Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan [Likud] expressed his satisfaction over the verdict.

"I applaud the decision of the Supreme Court that accepted my Ministry and the Interior Minister's position that a work visa should not be given to a foreign boycott activist who wants to harm Israel and its citizens," he said in a statement.

"Omar Shakir is a BDS activist who took advantage of his stay in Israel to harm it, something no sane country would allow. Israel sees great importance in the activities of real human rights organizations, granting hundreds of visas every year to human rights activists. HRW is welcome to appoint another representative in Israel in place of Shakir if it chooses to do so," he added.
NGO Monitor: Resource Page on Omar Shakir (HRW) Court Case
On November 5, 2019, the Supreme Court rejected Shakir’s appeal and upheld the ruling of the Lower Court that his work visa will not be renewed.

In October 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) hired Omar Shakir to serve as its “Israel and Palestine Country Director.” Shakir has been a consistent supporter of a one-state framework and advocate for BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) campaigns, fitting the longstanding HRW practice of hiring anti-Israel activists to serve in key positions relating to Israel.

In May 2018, due to Shakir’s BDS ties, the Israeli Ministry of Interior chose not to renew his work visa. HRW and Shakir have been challenging this decision in Israeli courts. In April 2019, he lost his case in the Jerusalem District Court and immediately appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court. The hearing took place on September 24, 2019. While Shakir regularly assails Israel for its “lack of democracy,” in fact, the Israeli courts allowed him to remain in the country during his appeal process despite having no obligation to do so.

Omar Shakir’s background and history of anti-Israel activity exemplifies the organization’s troubling ideological approach to Israel and retreat from the universal principles of human rights.1


Guardian fails to challenge the lies of HRW’s Omar Shakir
The Guardian is adept at amplifying, and failing to critically scrutinise, the unsubstantiated claims and accusations of anti-Israel NGOs, and today’s article about the Israeli Supreme Court decision on Human Right Watch’s regional director Omar Shakir – a long time BDS activist – follows this pattern.

First, as we predicted in a tweet before the article by Oliver Holmes (“Israel can deport Human Rights Watch official, court rules”, Nov. 5th) was published, the piece uncritically cites Shakir’s simply unhinged response to the court’s decision:
Shakir wrote on Twitter that if he was kicked out, Israel would join the ranks of Iran, North Korea and Egypt in blocking access to Human Rights Watch staff. “We won’t stop. And we won’t be the last,” he said.

The truth is that democracies all over the world reserve the right to deny entry to those seen as intent on harming the state. Moreover, there are in excess of 350 NGOs (such as HRW) operating freely in Israel, even those who continually deligitimise the state, support BDS and even reject Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

The denial of a work visa to one employee of one of these NGOs – after careful consideration by the country’s internationally respected supreme court – wouldn’t even minimally change the democratic nature of Israel. The human rights organisation Freedom House continually ranks Israel as the only truly free and democratic country in the region, and the suggestion that this status will change due merely to the supreme court’s decision on Shakir’s work visa is risible.

In a subsequent paragraph in the article, Holmes makes the following claim about the broader effort by Israel to fight BDS – a movement, let’s remember, whose leaders oppose the continued existence of a Jewish state.
'A unity government is dead, and Israel is on its way to a 3rd election'
There is virtually no chance, and if there is no dramatic breakthrough in negotiations, Israel will be facing its third general election in a year, senior political officials from the Likud, Blue and White, Yisrael Beytenu, and the New Right were saying Monday.

According to one official, the two sides are farther apart than ever, particularly since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokespeople were questioned by police last week.

The same official said that Blue and White was waiting for Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to decide whether or not to indict Netanyahu. Mendelblit is expected to make his decision in early December. For Blue and White, even if Mendelblit were to drop the count of bribery, any indictment would be the final nail in the coffin of any possibility of forming a government with Netanyahu, he explained.

On the other hand, the official said, Netanyahu wants to remain prime minister, even if he is indicted. Therefore, he will not step down, and will apparently retain the support of the Likud and the smaller right-wing parties when and if he is under indictment.

The official said that as of Monday night, it was clear that neither the Likud nor the right-wing bloc would oust Netanyahu and would prefer to hold a third election, even at their detriment.

He also said that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz's position was shaky and even if he wanted to adopt the compromise put forth by President Reuven Rivlin, he would not be able to negotiate it.

"A unity government is dead, and Israel is on its way to a third election," the official said.
Sderot youth challenge MKs to take up their cause
In the middle of Sderot, near the Gaza border, 120 chairs sat empty on a lawn on Sunday, waiting for MKs to fill them.

The chairs were set up by young residents of Sderot to represent the 120 MKs who they say they feel abandoned them as rockets continue to be fired at them from Gaza on a regular basis, including on Friday.

“Elections are important and coalition negotiations are important,” organizers wrote. “Even investigations are important, recordings are important, indictments are important. And also a memorial ceremony [for former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin] is important.”

“Hey, how did we forget?” they continued. “A plane for the prime minister is important and so are demonstrations outside the attorney-general’s house, but wait, rockets on the residents of the South are not a little important.”

The residents said they’re sick of promises that are not being fulfilled.

“After a Shabbat full of fireworks in the sky, after the horror show organized by terrorists on the other side of the fence, we decided to stop being quiet.”

Dvir Sasi, a spokesman for the protest, said: “We welcome all the MKs to come to us and explain the situation to us, and listen to us, and tell us their solution.”

What does conviction of IDF soldier mean for ICC war crimes battle?
Twenty months into the Gaza border conflict, the IDF courts issued their first conviction of a soldier for shooting one of the approximately 350 Palestinians who have been killed.

At the same time, the sentence was a mere one month of community service since the conviction was not for a more serious charge, like manslaughter, but essentially for the low-grade offense of violating the rules of engagement for opening fire.

Why was this the result, and what does all of this mean for the broader big battle before the International Criminal Court (ICC) over whether Israel’s legal system complies with international law or whether it has committed war crimes?

Official and unofficial statements from the IDF were short on details, leaving some critics to speculate about potential improper intentions.

Essentially, they said that the unnamed IDF soldier had violated open fire regulations in shooting toward the 15-year-old Palestinian Othman Helles as he was climbing the Gaza security fence, but that IDF investigators could not establish for sure one way or another whether that soldier’s bullet was the one that killed him.

What does this mean? How can the IDF know the soldier fired illegally toward Helles without knowing whether his bullet was the “kill-shot”?
JPost Editorial: Recognize the Armenian genocide
About 105 years ago, the Armenian genocide began. Members of the Armenian community living in the Ottoman Empire were systematically exterminated at the orders of the governing authorities. As many as 1.5 million Armenians, an ethnic minority, were rounded up and murdered or deported to the deserts of Syria to die.

The Armenian genocide was well known in its time. The German military attaché to the Ottoman Empire described it as “total extermination” and other accounts provided graphic details of the horrors the survivors went through. Women were sold into slavery and raped, children were left to starve. In a prelude to the Holocaust and the crimes of ISIS, the slaughter of Armenians was an opening to a hundred years of similar mass murder events.

As a state founded in the wake of genocide, Israel knows too well what it means to be a small minority subjected to massacre and the systematic murder by a government. Like Armenians, Jews had to live as minorities under regimes such as the Germans or the Poles, enjoying “protection” so long as they did not get in the way of the state’s interests.

In late October, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide. It overwhelmingly passed with 405 votes and affirms that the US will record the genocide and provide “solemn remembrance of one of the great atrocities of the 20th century.” The US was moved to act because of recent tensions with Turkey.


Turkey protected Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Turkey protected ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – and Trump should have known.

In his national address announcing that US Special Forces had killed Baghdadi, President Donald Trump commended Turkey while turning a blind eye to Turkey’s collusion with ISIS. While Trump thanked “the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us,” he downplayed the importance of intelligence provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which was critical to the mission.

We know that Turkey institutionalized support for jihadis after Syria’s President Bashar Assad attacked Syrian rebels in Ghouta using chemical weapons in September 2013, and that Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) provided weapons, money and logistical support to jihadi groups that evolved into ISIS. Wounded ISIS warriors regularly showed up at Turkish hospitals in Gaziantep to receive medical care.

Baghdadi founded ISIS in the spring of 2014. ISIS attacked Mosul and Sinjar in June, terrorizing Yazidis and Kurds. Over five years, the so-called ISIS caliphate grew to the size of Great Britain, with eight million people under its control.

According to the SDF, “Turkey provides all kinds of support to the terrorist groups. These forces, trained and funded by Turkey, are engaged in a planned ethnic cleansing against our people.” Turkish-backed jihadis in the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) commit crimes on a daily basis in Turkish-occupied areas of Syria such as Afrin, Azaz, Bab, Jarablus and Idlib.
MEMRI: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad: It Is Possible That Al-Baghdadi Has Been Kidnapped, Hidden, Or Had His Appearance Surgically Altered; Israel Has Been Behind The Scenes Throughout The War; Erdoğan Is Our Enemy
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was interviewed on Syria TV on October 31, 2019. He said that the extremist Wahhabi doctrine represented by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and ISIS will continue to exist even after ISIS is gone and that Al-Baghdadi had been released from American prisons in Syria in order to lead ISIS. Questioning whether Al-Baghdadi was really killed by the Americans, President Al-Assad suggested that he may have already been dead or that he may have been kidnapped, hidden, or had his appearance surgically altered. He said that the American operation to kill Al-Baghdadi was a trick and that American politics rely on imagination and resemble Hollywood. Later in the interview, President Al-Assad said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is Syria's enemy and that U.S President Donald Trump is the best president America has ever had because he is transparent about American policy and America's interest in Middle Eastern oil.

In addition, President Al-Assad said that even though Turkey is occupying parts of Syria, negotiating with it would not suggest that Syria could also negotiate with Israel, because Syria does not recognize Israel as a state or the Israelis as a people the way it does Turkey and the Turks. He also said that Syria wants to gradually regain sovereignty in Kurdistan. Furthermore, President Al-Assad said that Israel's influence is ever present in Syria, that Israel's involvement in the Syrian civil war is a given even though it is not openly apparent, and that everything that has taken place in Syria has served the interests of Israel through proxies, agents, flunkies, or the United States. The English-subtitled version of the interview was uploaded to the Syrian Presidency's YouTube channel.
Halkbank Says It Will Seek Dismissal of US Indictment, Judge’s Recusal
A lawyer for Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, which has been criminally charged by US prosecutors with helping Iran evade sanctions, said in a letter on Monday that it would seek to dismiss the case and have the judge assigned to it recuse himself.

In a letter to US District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan, Andrew Hruska, a lawyer for Halkbank, said the bank was not agreeing to appear in court on the charges. He asked that he be allowed to represent the bank for the limited purpose of arguing the dismissal and recusal motions.

A hearing is scheduled in the case on Tuesday, and prosecutors have said they may seek a fine against Halkbank if it refuses to appear.

A spokesman for the office of Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment. Hruska did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought the criminal charges against Halkbank on Oct. 16. The bank called the charges an escalation of Washington’s sanctions on Ankara over its military incursion in Syria, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called them an “unlawful, ugly” step.

Hruska said in Monday’s letter that the bank’s “incidental contacts with the US are insufficient to establish… jurisdiction” in the New York federal court.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Fatah official: Abbas won't seek reelection
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not planning to run in the next presidential election, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said in an interview with Palestine TV on Monday.

Rajoub’s announcement contradicts a statement by another senior Fatah official, Hussein al-Sheikh, who recently said that the only candidate of Fatah in the presidential election will be the 84-year-old Abbas.

“President Abbas is the only candidate of Fatah and honorable Palestinians,” Sheikh said.

Rajoub, who also heads the Palestinian Football Association, described Abbas as a “national treasure.” Abbas, he revealed, does not want to run in the election, and he won’t agree to be a candidate.

“Let us make him the sheikh of the tribe and the spiritual father of the democratic process,” Rajoub said. “In two months, President Abbas will celebrate his 85th birthday.”

In September, Abbas announced in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly that he intends to call for “general elections” in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Rajoub, a former head of the PA’s Preventive Security Force in the West Bank, is seen by some Palestinians as a potential successor to Abbas. However, Rajoub did not say in the interview whether he intends to present his candidacy in the presidential election.

Rajoub’s announcement that Abbas won’t seek another term in office is likely to trigger a “war of succession” between several veteran PLO and Fatah officials who see themselves as suitable candidates to succeed the PA president.

Abbas himself has not said whether he intends to contest the next election. Moreover, he still hasn’t announced a date for holding new presidential and parliamentary elections.

The last Palestinian presidential election was held in 2005, when Abbas was elected for a four-year term. The last parliamentary election, held in 2006, resulted in a Hamas victory.

Rajoub expressed hope that Abbas would set a date for the new elections before the end of this year.
PMW: “The most despicable plot” – Palestinian reactions to the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917 was a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Zionist leader Baron Rothschild stating that “His Majesty's government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Every year, PA officials condemn the Balfour Declaration and seem to compete in calling it names, denying its legitimacy, and refuting the validity of Jews’ right to a national home in “Palestine” as Palestinian Media Watch has reported. This year is no exception. Here are some examples of statements by PA officials and others about Balfour’s “ominous promise”:

PA Minister of Culture Atef Abu Saif stated that the Balfour Declaration is an “invalid promise” that Britain had no right to give, and that the Jews had no right to receive. He called it “a mark of disgrace in the history of humanity” and a “historic mistake,” and predicted that Israel/the Jews will disappear like previous “invaders”:
Minister Abu Saif: “Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, and the invaders will go away as those who preceded them went away...

He added: ‘The ominous promise, in which the one giving the promise permitted giving what is not his to one who has no right, was a mark of disgrace in the history of humanity. The historic mistake will only be corrected when the right returns to its owners.’”

[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Nov. 2, 2019]


The PA claims of the illegitimacy of Britain’s actions and Israel's creation is illustrated by this image printed by the official PA daily, which shows the British and the Israeli flags in a no entry sign on the Balfour Declaration together with an image of Balfour and “Palestine”:

The PLO factions issued a joint statement on the anniversary that named the Balfour Declaration “the most despicable plot in the history of the peoples.” The PLO claimed that the “ominous promise” was the result of the convergence of interests of the “colonialist states” Britain and the US and the Zionist movement. The PLO repeated the PA claim that the colonial powers used the Jewish people as a pawn in the Middle East to gain control in the region, steal its resources, and prevent the Arab countries from developing:
Fatah: “We will defend our holy sites with our blood and our souls” “Jerusalem is ours”
Text: “The deal of the century will never pass. We will defend our holy sites with our blood and our souls” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "This is not allowed. This cannot happen. This is a decisive moment, a dangerous moment for us. Our entire future is at stake. If Jerusalem is lost, what will you say afterwards?" Text: “Jerusalem is ours and you will never have a place in it” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "This is a crucial moment that demands that every Palestinian present themselves immediately to quickly discuss the fate of the eternal capital [Jerusalem]. In politics: It’s the capital. In religion: It’s the capital. In geography: It’s the capital." Text: “The shining rage will uproot the tyranny from our land” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "Here we are sitting, here we are remaining. We will never repeat the mistakes of the past. We will not repeat the mistakes of 1948 or the mistakes of 1967. We are remaining here – occupation, settlements, whatever – We are remaining here!" Song lyrics: "The home is ours and Jerusalem is ours" Text: “The home is ours and Jerusalem is ours. And with our hands we will liberate it, Allah willing” Text: “Fatah Al-Asifa” (The Fatah logo includes a grenade, crossed rifles, and the PA map of “Palestine” that presents all of Israel as “Palestine” together with the PA areas.) [Official Fatah Facebook page, July 28, 2019]


Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas Joins Iranian Plan to Foil Arabs' Anti-Corruption Protests
Alnehaiwi added that the "popular revolutions against the [Iranian] occupiers and [Arab] executioners are a luminous point and milestone that will serve the interest of the Palestinian issue." Noting that Hamas did the right thing when it sided with the Syrian people in their uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad, the political analyst said:
"Hamas may regret its support for Iran. Hamas will lose a great deal if it continues to side with Iran and stands against the people who have revolted against [Iranian] occupation and the executioners."

Such criticism, however, is unlikely to deter Hamas from pursuing its agenda of promoting Iran's interests in the region. The Arabs who are risking their lives to demand good governance and an end to corruption are now being targeted by Iran and its puppets in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Iraq.

It now remains to be seen whether the Arabs who have finally woken up to realize that Iran -- and not Israel -- is the real threat to their well-being will be able to keep up the momentum and continue their uprising against corruption and Iranian dominance over their countries.

By continuing to align itself with Iran, Hamas is leading its people straight toward even greater suffering. The only way for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to alleviate their misery is by revolting against their "leaders" in Hamas. Instead of firing rockets at Israel and demonstrating at the Gaza-Israel border, Palestinians ought to learn from their brothers in Lebanon and Iraq who their real enemies are: Iranian-backed dictators and fake Palestinian leaders, who only know how to lead their people towards further suffering.
Hamas Encouraging Youth Drug Use as Qatar Support Comes to an End
As the year comes to an end, the Gaza Strip is preparing to return to the familiar, suffocating financial crises that is sure to result from Qatar’s ending its grant to poor families. Qatari envoy in the Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, has informed Hamas and other terror factions there that his government is having difficulties renewing the grant, Al-Akhbar reported Tuesday.

These funds did not cover all of Gaza’s poor families, and the most each lucky family received was $100 each month, but it was a reliable stopgap measure to stave off the explosion that’s sure to come without this charity. There will be two more payments until the end of 2019, Al Emadi told the local leaders, after which they are on their own.

Over the weekend, Hamas made it clear that it was blocking the security escalation with Israel and is not interested in keeping it up. But then, on Monday, Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, bragged that he had been the one to determine in recent years whether or not there would be war.

Kan 11 TV on Monday night provided a glimpse into the other wars Hamas has been waging: internal leadership wars, a cruel, Darwinian effort to literally “thin the herd” with violent border fence riots, and an unofficial operation to induce as many as 200,000 Gazan youths to using drugs, mostly hashish and opiates – to help them forget the hardships of their daily lives.
Hamas official: Egypt has barred Haniyeh from traveling abroad for past 3 years
Egyptian authorities have barred Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh from traveling outside the Gaza Strip and Egypt for almost three years to prevent him from meeting with their political rivals, a senior official in the terror group said in an interview published Tuesday.

The last time Haniyeh traveled beyond Gaza and Egypt was in late 2016 and early 2017 before he was elected Hamas head.

“The Egyptians are not permitting the head of the politburo to travel abroad because they do no want him to meet their political rivals,” Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior official in the terror group, told Dar al-Hayat, an Arabic-language news site. “This ban [has been in place] for about the last three years.”

Hamas, which frequently meets with Egyptian intelligence officials mediating between the terror group that rules the Strip and Israel, also maintains close ties with countries that Cairo views as foes such as Qatar and Turkey.




In chilling detail, ex-envoy to US Oren warns of Israel-Iran ‘conflagration’
Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren has described in chilling detail how a conflict between Israel and Iran could easily be sparked and descend into a massive conflagration, devastating Israel and other countries in the region.

Israel is already girding for a war with the Islamic Republic, and has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. A single miscalculation during one of those airstrikes could draw retaliation by Iran, Oren wrote in a column published in The Atlantic on Monday.

“The senior ministers of the Israeli government met twice last week to discuss the possibility of open war with Iran,” he began. “Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing. Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it’s not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark.”

An Israel Defense Forces bombing run could inadvertently hit a sensitive target, or an Israeli official could step out of line and say something to embarrass Iran following an attack, Oren wrote.

“The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel’s air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv’s equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah’s headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin,” he continued.
The Revolt Against Iran
Unsurprisingly, Iran and its allies in Iraq and Lebanon are blaming recent unrest on the usual suspects: a conspiracy of foreign actors that includes the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Zionists.

How will this end? In 2008, civil unrest led to Hezbollah’s armed seizure of Beirut. Hezbollah and Iran have poured thousands of fighters and billions of dollars into neighboring Syria to help crush the rebellion against their Syrian ally. In 2009, Iran’s green movement protests over stolen elections finally ebbed in the face of torture, beatings, and detentions meted out by the regime. “We in Iran know how to deal with protests,” Iran’s second-most powerful man assured Iraqi officials this month. “This happened in Iran and we got it under control.”

Ten years ago, when Iran saw its largest uprising since the 1979 revolution, Obama was not only reluctant to express solidarity with Iranians, he also refused to acknowledge the rigged elections, dismissed advisers who urged active assistance, and blocked CIA resources earmarked for supporting democratic uprisings. In The Iran Wars, former Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon reveals how Obama’s peculiar reticence was largely motivated by his worry that American involvement would ruin his secret overtures to Tehran in hopes of brokering an agreement. While President Trump has also expressed a desire to strike a deal with Iran, he has already retweeted two videos of Iraqi demonstrators storming the Iranian consulate in Karbala. Whether this administration is able to leverage these protests into successful policy beyond tweets remains to be seen. And perhaps more importantly, it is too early to tell whether the nascent political revolts in Lebanon and Iraq can survive the backlash from Iranian-backed militias and snipers long enough to evolve into a meaningful, organized political opposition.
Rep. Cheney to Introduce Legislation Mandating Full Dismantling of Iran Nuclear Deal
Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) will soon introduce new legislation that would compel the Trump administration to eradicate the remaining vestiges of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, the lawmaker told the Washington Free Beacon.

Cheney's legislative effort comes as GOP hawks in Congress have launched an offensive against the Trump administration's decision to again grant Iran sanctions waivers that permit it to conduct sensitive nuclear work, including at an underground bunker site that once housed the regime's atomic weapons program.

The legislation is yet another sign of mounting frustration among hawkish Republicans over the Trump administration's mixed signals on Iran. Critics allege the administration is backtracking on its own "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran in order to preserve possible diplomacy with Tehran down the road.

The Free Beacon reported last week that the Trump administration's State Department had signed off on the nuclear waivers, despite public and private pressure from anti-Iran voices on Capitol Hill. The debate marks one of the clearest divides yet between typically faithful Trump administration supporters in Congress and those inside the administration.

Cheney told the Free Beacon that the waivers have helped legitimize Iran's nuclear infrastructure and paved a way for it to continue working on sensitive nuclear issues with help from countries such as China and Russia.
The Islamic Zealots Who Seized U.S. Embassy 40 Years Ago Today Weren't 'Students'
These were first and foremost religious zealots blindly following the will of clerics (Ali Khamenei and Mousavi Khoeini among them) who often visited the hostages, too. Many attended Amir Kabir University, "strictly allied with Khomeini and the new Mullah establishment," according to Mark Bowden in Guests of the Ayatollah (2006). As Bowden puts it, they "were all committed to a formal Islamic state and were allied, some of them by family, with the clerical power structure around Khomeini."

Bruce Laingen, who was the chargé d'affaires at the embassy, wrote in his journal that Khoeni was "the clerical link with the 'students' at the embassy since the day of the seizure and . . . the link before that, too, in the planning for the seizure." On July 21, 1980, he wrote with certainty that Khoeni was Khomeini's "liaison with the 'students' of the embassy" and that there "can be no question of the extent to which the clerical forces are solidly in control."

The term "students" was inaccurate and misleading in 1979, and it is all the more so now. After four decades, the time has come finally to get it right.


40 Years On: How US-Iran Hostility Affects the World Today
With anti-American slogans and effigies mocking President Donald Trump, thousands rallied outside the former US embassy in Tehran on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis. Amid renewed tensions with Washington, state television showed rallies taking place in several other cities, including Mashhad, Shiraz and Esfahan, four decades after revolutionary students stormed the diplomatic mission. "They will continue their enmity against us. They are like a lethal scorpion whose nature is to have a poisonous sting," the head of the army, General Abdolrahim Mousavi, said in a speech at Tehran. "We are ready to crush this scorpion and will also pay the price."






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11/04 Links Pt2: Poll: Almost 50% of UK Jews will 'seriously consider' leaving if Corbyn wins elections; Historian: New evidence shows FDR’s bigotry derailed many Holocaust rescue plans; Ray Charles in Israel

 Cache   
From Ian:

Poll: Almost 50% of UK Jews will 'seriously consider' leaving if Corbyn wins elections
Britain's Jewish community so deeply concerned by the prospect of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn winning the next general election that community leaders have launched a campaign to undermine his premiership candidacy.

A recent poll by the Jewish Leadership Council, a British-Jewish advocacy group, found that 47% of British Jews would "seriously consider" emigrating if Corbyn is elected prime minister.

Some 87% of British Jews believed Corbyn to be anti-Semitic, and 90% said they will not vote for Labour, the poll found.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the general elections, set for Dec. 12, following his failure to push the Brexit deal through Parliament. Johnson's promise to have the UK leave the European Union by Oct. 31 had been a key element in the Conservatives' leadership bid, which brought him to power in July.

Corbyn has been repeatedly lambasted for his failure to tackle anti-Semitism within Labour. In 2018, the party received 863 complaints of anti-Semitism but took action in only 101 of those cases. Worse, Labour members who have publicly made statements such as "Jews are the problem" have remained in the party despite complaints against them.


According to the Jewish Chronicle, prominent British Rabbi Jonathan Romain has even taken the unprecedented step of urging congregants to vote against Labour, warning that a Corbyn-led government "would pose a danger to Jewish life as we know it."

"I should stress that the problem is not the Labour Party itself, which has a long record of fighting discrimination and prejudice, but the problem is Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn-led Labour, has at best, let antisemitism arise within its ranks, or at worst, has encouraged it," Romain wrote in a letter to the 823 families who are members of his Berkshire shul.

"This has never happened under any previous Labour leader … so the finger of responsibility really does seem to point to Jeremy Corbyn. I am therefore suggesting we should each put aside all other considerations and vote for whichever party is most likely to defeat Labour in whatever constituency we are in – even if we would never normally vote for that party."

Israel Advocacy Movement: Why vote Labour?
In the upcoming election, a vote for Labour is a vote for:
☠️ Terrorism supporters
🇻🇪 An economy like Venezuela
🚫 Racism
A vote for Labour is a vote for insanity… watch the election video Labour don't want you to see.


Jewish Caller Tells Maajid Nawaz He Would Emigrate If Corbyn Elected
A Jewish caller told Maajid Nawaz that he would close his business and leave the UK if Jeremy Corbyn were to become Prime Minister because of anti-Semitism.

David, from Hendon, said: "I will leave the country as soon as Corbyn comes in, God forbid that he should.

"I will not stay in a country where anti-Semitism is now accepted because I think, brilliantly, he and his PR people just didn't answer really, just deflected old accusations.

Now people are fed up with hearing the word so it's almost as if it's accepted and whether that's the case or people are actually anti-Semitic in this country... I hope not but I'm beginning to have my doubts."

He also explained that he would shut down his business of 53 people.

He said: "I will leave, I will close down all of my businesses which I can. I've been nervous of this, I'm in the position where I'll be able to close them down.

"These people won't be employed anymore and that's fine. I'm looking after myself and I'm sure people, some of your viewers or listeners will be saying 'good riddance, let's get rid of the guy'.

But there are hundreds of people like me, and not all of them are Jewish, there are hundreds of wealthy people who have built up businesses who know that in the end Mr. Corbyn will take it all away from us because he doesn't appreciate people who work hard."




Historian: New evidence shows FDR’s bigotry derailed many Holocaust rescue plans
Not only was US president Franklin Roosevelt perfunctory about rescuing Jews from the Nazis, but he obstructed rescue opportunities that would have cost him little or nothing, according to Holocaust historian Rafael Medoff.

FDR’s role in preventing the rescue of European Jewry is detailed in a new book called, “The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust.”

Published in September, Medoff’s book includes new archival materials about the relationship between Roosevelt and Rabbi Stephen Wise, who the author sees as a sycophantic Jewish leader used by Roosevelt to “keep the Jews quiet.”

Wrote Medoff, “Franklin Roosevelt took advantage of Wise’s adoration of his policies and leadership to manipulate Wise through flattery and intermittent access to the White House.” In return for visits to the White House and Roosevelt calling him by his first name, Wise undermined Jewish activists who demanded the administration let more Jewish refugees into the US.

According to Medoff, Roosevelt’s policies toward European Jews were motivated by sentiments similar to those that spurred him to intern 120,000 Japanese Americans in detention camps as potential spies.

“Roosevelt used almost identical language in recommending that the Jews and the Japanese be forcibly ‘spread thin’ around the country,” Medoff told The Times of Israel. “I was struck by the similarity between the language FDR used regarding the Japanese, and that which he used in private concerning Jews — that they can’t be trusted, they won’t ever become fully loyal Americans, they’ll try to dominate wherever they go.”
Gil Troy: Mark Twain’s ‘Innocents Abroad’ explains our Israel obsession
Twain offered his pragmatic American explanation for Palestine’s desolation: “Palestine is no more of this work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition – it is dream-land.” Twain feared that Palestine induced so much stargazing no one ever rolled up their sleeves to produce anything there.

Fortunately, the Zionist movement was starting to tap into old-new Jewish dreams to motivate hardy, hardscrabble, hardworking pioneers – much as the American dream drove Twain’s fellow Americans. This pre-Zionist book offers a core Zionist message. The Palestine Twain saw highlights the modern miracles Zionism created that we take for granted.

STILL, IF dreams can motivate or paralyze, mythmaking can inspire – or disappoint. Sarna has long shown how Palestine as dreamland boosted modern Israel in American and Jewish eyes. Many Americans, especially American Jews, echo the pilgrims’ naivete. They romanticize Israel, falling in love with what Sarna calls a “mythical Israel,” more indicative of “American Jewish ideals” than “Israeli realities.” The Zionist dream, American-style, long celebrated an Israel that was even more progressive than America – defined by kibbutz workers, not Wall Street investors; built by new brawny Jews, not traditionally brainy Jews.

Beware: too much mythmaking about any country – especially the world’s only Jewish state trying to survive in a Middle East hostile to Jews and democracies – is risky. As with any romance, some idealization during courtship greases the wheels of love. And Israel’s “dreamland” still dazzles most Americans. But, today, with Israel in middle age, the toxicity of faded romance often triggers an overly harsh counterreaction. Somehow, many of Israel’s jilted leftist lovers still love America while hating Donald Trump. Yet when they detest an Israeli policy or prime minister, they give up on Israel and Zionism.

Mark Twain’s memories of being a Missouri non-Yankee in King Solomon’s court helps explain our modern obsession with Israel, too. Twain emphasizes how foundational Palestine is to the West. “Crowded with historical interest,” filled with “elegant fragments,” it still dominates our collective imaginations.

But heed Twain’s warning. Those who believe Israel can do no right – along with those who believe Israel can do no wrong – are often telling us more about the “verdicts they brought with them” rather than their fair assessments of this rich, complex, modern democracy.

Clearly, we have some Mark Twain-like “unlearning” to do, especially about Israel.
Revisionist Author Tries to Distort the Record of David Ben-Gurion
Tom Segev’s well-written biography of Israel’s first prime minister, A State At Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion, is undercut by the author’s biases and penchant for narrative.

It would be hard to imagine Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publishing an op-ed in The New York Times on Buddhism. But back in April 1962, the first Israeli premier, David Ben-Gurion, did precisely that — but only after spending weeks studying with religious scholars as a personal guest of the prime minister of Burma, today’s Myanmar. Ben-Gurion even insisted, much to the consternation of his teachers, “that he had discovered a self-contradiction in the Buddha’s doctrine that no one else had ever noticed.” It turned out that he was wrong; it was a translation error.

As Segev makes clear, Israel’s founding father was both exceptional and eccentric. And nearly five decades after his passing, Ben-Gurion remains iconic, with a legacy and career that are arguably unmatched in the small nation’s modern history.

As his private secretary, Yitzhak Navon, once observed, “Without Ben-Gurion, the State of Israel would not be in existence — and this I can say about nobody.” Indeed, long before he was making history, Ben-Gurion was its avid student.

As Segev notes: “He saw himself, and was seen by others, as an incarnation of history.” To a great extent, this was the result of the tremendous willpower that he displayed throughout his life.
New Book Tells a Holocaust Family Mystery
I just finished reading an extraordinary new book, House on Endless Waters by author Emuna Elon.

From start to finish, I found it to be well-written, touching, and chock-full of character development; there were so many stories I could relate to.

The book is a family mystery ripe with great plot twists. It explores one man’s quest — a renowned Israeli author — to visit his birthplace in Amsterdam, despite promising his late mother that he would never return to that city. And during a visit to that city’s Jewish museum, he sees a picture of his mother, pre-war, holding a child he doesn’t recognize. The book explores his adventures through Amsterdam — past, present, and future — replete with dreams, visions, and more, all in beautifully written prose.

Throughout the book, I had memories of growing up in a home where my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, and my mom (z”l) spent so much time researching, reading, and studying about the history of our many family members who were murdered by the Nazis. She attended conferences, discovered obscure files, and spent days at Yad Vashem. In the last few months of her life, my mother learned that her father, Morris Waga, had been married with a family before he married my grandmother. He lost that wife and a three-year old daughter in the camps to the Nazis. Yet, throughout his entire life, he never told my mother or her younger brother.

The book discusses underground networks that hid Jewish children during the war, and the burdens faced by those who survived. The scars of the Holocaust haunt families and people for generations.
Jonathan Tobin: Can Joe Biden save the day for pro-Israel Democrats?
The problem here for pro-Israel Democrats is that, out of necessity, they’ve hitched the fate of their cause to what right now looks like a fading star. Biden, who hasn’t won a competitive race on his own (being Barack Obama’s running mate doesn’t count) since Richard Nixon was president, has so far been a disappointment to his backers. With a focus on the effort to impeach Trump dominating the headlines this winter, it may also remind voters of his son’s questionable behavior further dragging him down.

Nor, it should be added, is Biden coming to the issue with entirely clean hands. He was part of Obama’s eight-year-long pressure campaign against the Israeli government, as well as an ardent supporter of the disastrous 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which he still defends.

Biden may be instinctively supportive of the Jewish state in ways that eclipse those of Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg; however, the tenor of his dialogue with Israel has always been that of an American who thinks he knows the Middle East better than Israelis. Biden received a devastating – and completely deserved – tongue-lashing from former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at a Senate hearing in June 1982. In response to Biden’s threats of aid cuts that were hardly different from the statements of the primary opponents he now considers “outrageous,” Begin slapped him down by telling him that he was “not a Jew with trembling knees,” and that Israel would defend its principles, “and, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”

In a competition with far more extreme critics of Israel than he ever was, Biden is the best that pro-Israel Democrats, who once dominated their party yet now seem unable to muster sufficient support for censoring or shunning anti-Semites like Omar and Tlaib, can muster. It is on his aging and uncertain shoulders that the fate of the Democrats as a pro-Israel party rests. That’s a prospect that should scare friends of the Jewish state, no matter which party they support.
Michael Lumish: Are Arabs indigenous to Judea?
Of course, Arabs are not indigenous to Judea / Israel. Arabs are conquerers indigenous to the Arabian peninsula. If one cares about "the conflict" -- or what I call The Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews of the Middle East -- then one must recognize the Jews as indigenous and the Arabs and Muslims as imperialists and colonialists.

And, yet, the progressive-left and the Democratic Party honestly believe that the Jewish defenders of Jewish children and Jewish land are the aggressors. They honestly believe that Arabs have every right to kill Jews as a matter of "resistance." It is an intelligent rhetorical strategy on par with the propaganda skill of the National Socialists.

The brilliance behind Arab and Muslim imperialism is that they actually managed to convince the arrogant and ignorant Euros that they are the indigenous population in the lands that they conquered.
Corbyn, a cause for concern
Meanwhile, Johnson's main rival, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, also isn't assured of restoring his party to power for the first time since 2010. Corbyn's ideological extremism is attractive to certain strata of British society but is also a deterrent to others. Some polls find Corbyn to be the "least popular Opposition leader of the past 45 years." Even if he doesn't win, it's still theoretically possible for him to establish a "resistance coalition" against Johnson and Brexit, which would include the Liberal Democrats and Scottish separatists who oppose leaving the EU.

Even if Labour is weakened in the upcoming election, in such a manner that Corbyn is forced to resign, he will have left behind a party that is fundamentally different than the one he inherited four years ago. Labour's far-left faction has effectively consummated its takeover of Britain's main Opposition party, essentially ridding it of all internal dissent. Under the guise of its anti-Israel and anti-Zionist worldview, Labour has normalized anti-Semitism as part of the British political landscape. Even if Corbyn goes, the devastation he leaves in his wake will be absolute.

All efforts by the country's Jewish community and Labour's own Jewish MPs to foster dialogue with Corbyn's circle about banishing anti-Semitic activists within its ranks have floundered amid their refusal to recognize the importance of the matter. There have been cosmetic initiatives, mostly for public relations purposes, but little else. Labour under Corbyn's leadership has legitimized anti-Semitism and shown Jews that the party that first welcomed them to Great Britain – no longer cares for them.

With a sense of humor that under the current circumstances has taken a darker turn, British Jews have altered Labour's slogan from "For the many, not for the few," to "For the many, not for the Jew." If Labour rises to power, this joke could have serious implications for all of Britain.




Also in October: A selection of other antisemitic Incidents that we did not cover
A swastika was spray-painted on a sign near a Jewish school in Gateshead. The graffiti appeared on the corner of High West Street and Gladstone Terrace on 7th October.

A swastika and the words “Lewis is a Jew” were carved into the glass panel of a bus stop in East Leeds. Anyone with information should contact West Yorkshire Police on 101 referencing log number 243.

On Shabbat, 19th October at the Clapton Common and Oldhill Street junction in Stamford Hill, three males accosted Orthodox Jews walking home from synagogue with antisemitic slurs including “Heil Hitler”.
Alison Chabloz fails to overturn conviction over Holocaust denial at High Court, leaving no further avenue of appeal
Moments ago, notorious antisemite and Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz has had her application for a judicial review denied by the High Court following her landmark conviction on three charges of sending grossly offensive communications via a public communications network.

Ms Chabloz had sought to overturn her conviction on technicalities relating to the meaning of what constituted sending communications online, but the High Court denied her appeal and upheld the earlier judgment. There was confusion over the way that the case had proceeded to court as Ms Chabloz’s case was brought before judges by her barrister, Adrian Davies, who maintains his record of losing cases for neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers.

Ms Chabloz had sought to overturn her conviction on technicalities relating to the case began as a private prosecution by Campaign Against Antisemitism, which was then continued by the Crown Prosecution Service. The charges related to three self-penned songs in which Ms Chabloz denounced a supposed Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world and attacked the Holocaust as a fraud perpetrated by Jews for financial gain.

The conviction set a new precedent in British law, effectively delivering a landmark precedent verdict on incitement on social media and on whether the law considers Holocaust denial to be “grossly offensive” and therefore illegal when used as a means by which to hound Jews.
Boston University set to hire anti-Israel professor
Sarah Ihmoud, a postdoctoral associate at Boston University, is currently under consideration for a teaching position at the university, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) reported.

According to APT, the university has not yet made an offer to Ihmoud, but the offer is "imminent."

Education Without Indoctrination (EWI) called for action to prevent Boston University from becoming "a platform for Jew-hate."

Ihmoud, co-author of Sexual Violence, Women’s Bodies, and Israeli Settler Colonialism, presented the paper to BU. In it, she claims that "rape and killing of Palestinian women was a central aspect of Israeli troops' systematic massacres and evictions during the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948" and describes Nazi-like actions, including the shooting of pregnant women and the murder of children.

The paper also claims that that both brutality and sexual violence against Palestinian Authority women is an ongoing tactic of the IDF.
Major Jewish Groups Applaud Twitter for ‘Belated’ Shut Down of Hamas, Hezbollah Accounts
Major Jewish groups applauded the micro-blogging website Twitter on Sunday for suspending a series of accounts affiliated with the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

“Thank you @Twitter for suspending the accounts of Hamas and Hezbollah,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted.

Referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Greenblatt added, “US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations do not belong on the platform. Let’s hope all platforms follow @jack’s lead.”

The American Jewish Committee also weighed in, pointing out that while Twitter has accepted that there is no difference between the “military” and political wings of terrorist groups, the European Union continues to separate the two.


The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded by tweeting, “Belated but welcome anti-terrorist moves by @Twitter — hope others will follow.”
BBC ignores Twitter’s terror groups suspensions
To date, those searching for coverage of that story under the BBC News website’s ‘social media’ and ‘Twitter’ tags will find nothing.

Perhaps the BBC is having difficulty working out how to square that quote from Twitter with its own euphemistic portrayals of Hamas as a ‘militant Islamist group’ and Hizballah as a ‘political, military and social organisation’.
Indy egregiously misleads on Gaza power shortages
A Nov. 3rd article in the Independent on the use of solar power in Gaza grossly misled readers as to the extent and origin of the strip’s electricity shortages.

The article, “Meet the Gazan woman turning rubble into building blocks and sunlight into power”, by their deputy international editor Gemma Fox, begins thusly:

For Samar, Gaza’s crippling blackouts used to mean a daily, panicked rush to take her son to the nearest hospital so that his lungs wouldn’t fail.

He suffers from a lung disease that has left him dependent on a machine to breathe. But the machine depends on electricity – something in critically short supply in Gaza.

Samar’s story is far from unique, with the enclave’s two million residents forced to try to survive on roughly three hours of electricity since Israel imposed a blockade in 2016.

Hospitals and other buildings rely on generators to keep the power on during the cuts, but they are expensive, and until recently, a luxury that Samar was unable to afford.


First, Israel imposed their blockades of Gaza, due to Hamas’s takeover of the strip, in 2007, not 2016.

Also, it was both Egypt and Israel who imposed a blockade. In Israel’s case, the only items that have generally been restricted are military related (or dual-use) goods.

Additionally, the Indy gets their figures on the daily availability of electricity in Gaza wildly wrong. Palestinians in the strip get around twelve hours a day, not three, as a detailed report and graph by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) makes clear.
BBC WS radio amplifies claim that a country called Palestine “existed”
Despite the claims from Hills and Lefrak, as we noted when BBC World Service radio previously promoted the museum and its founder back in June, it is essentially the continuation of a project that is very much political – even if Lefrak fails to identify it as such.

Lefrak: “Museum founder Bshara Nassar says his goal is to create a space that’s more personal than political.”
Nassar: “We want to really transform the story and put Palestinians in the light that we’re human beings, right? We’re artists, we’re entrepreneurs, we’re in politics and we contributing a lot to the US as immigrants as well.”
Lefrak: “Nassar immigrated to the US from the West Bank in 2011. When he came to Washington he saw a city full of museums but he didn’t see one that reflected him.”
Nassar: “Really I could not see a place where the Palestinian story can be told.”
Lefrak: “So he decided to open a travelling exhibition that would eventually become the museum. One of the objects in the collection is a 1946 passport for the Palestine Mandate. It was rendered useless the following year after the United Nations voted to establish the State of Israel. Curator Nada Odeh wants visitors to understand that history.”


That passport was of course in fact “rendered useless” in May 1948 when the British terminated their administration of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine – the purpose of which was to create a Jewish national home. In 1947 the UNGA passed a resolution (181) recommending that the area then still under British administration should be partitioned between Jewish and Arab states – a recommendation accepted by the Jews but rejected out of hand by the Arabs and hence never implemented. BBC world Service listeners heard nothing of that history – or the Arab attacks which followed that UN vote – but they did hear the ‘non-political’ museum’s Syrian-born head curator promote the falsehood that a country “called Palestine” used to exist.


German Cardinal: Antisemitism is an attack on us all
A prominent German cardinal of the Catholic Church has pledged that Jews and Christians will stand together in the fight against rising antisemitism in the country.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who is chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference and serves as the archbishop of Munich and Freising, said on Sunday night that “Christians and Jews will never separate again,” in the face of new antisemitism.

He made the comments during a panel discussion on antisemitism at the Catholic Academy in Berlin hosted by the German Bishops’ Conference and the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany.

Among prominent figures who attended were Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism; Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia; and Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

A statement released by the German Bishops’ Conference quoted Marx as calling for stronger social commitment and better cohesion in society “in the face of resurgent antisemitism in Germany and Europe.”

He stressed that he was “very worried” about the direction society is heading because there are “more and more blogs and ideologies from people that cannot be taught, who indulge in conspiracy theories and soon unite as a sounding board for... slogans of antisemitism.”
Outrage in Germany over neo-Nazis’ political ‘kill list’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Monday strongly condemned death threats against two leading Green party politicians by a neo-Nazi group, as concern mounts over a rise in right-wing extremism.

Greens lawmaker Cem Ozdemir, who has Turkish roots, revealed at the weekend that police were investigating an email he had received from a neo-Nazi group saying he was at the top of their kill list.

“We are currently planning how and when to execute you. At the next rally? Or will we get you outside your home?” the email read, according to the Funke newspaper group.

Fellow Greens MP Claudia Roth received a message saying she was second in line to be killed.

Both emails were sent on October 27 and signed with “Nuclear Weapons Division Germany” (AWD), apparently a German offshoot of a notorious US-based neo-Nazi group.

“The German government clearly condemns any kind of threats or violence against politicians,” Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told reporters.

“We cannot and will not accept these attacks on our free democratic system,” she said, vowing to use the full force of the law against the perpetrators.
White supremacist charged with planning to blow up Colorado synagogue
US authorities have arrested a known white supremacist on suspicion that he planned to blow up a synagogue in Colorado, local media reported Monday.

The suspect, named as Richard Holzer, 27, reportedly met an undercover FBI agent on Friday at a motel with explosives that he allegedly intended to use to attack Temple Emanuel in the city of Pueblo.

Holzer told an undercover FBI agent that he had previously been a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and had become a skinhead, according to the Denver Post.

Holzer said he was preparing a “holy war” and claimed to have poisoned the water at the synagogue with arsenic and was planning to do so again, The Denver Post reported, citing an affidavit filed on Saturday at the US District Court in Colorado.

According to the affidavit, when asked what if people were in the building when the bomb exploded, “Holzer stated that he did not think anyone would be there, but that if they were, Holzer would not care because they would be Jews.”
Men dressed as Jews hand out Holocaust denial fliers at Colorado mall
A group of men wearing large white yarmulkes and fringed prayer shawls handed out fliers promoting Holocaust denial and hung up cards bearing anti-Semitic canards on a pedestrian mall in Boulder, Colorado.

The fliers handed out at Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall by the men who appeared to be posing as Jews claimed the Holocaust was “impossible.”

The men also hung notes on index cards around the mall that claimed “Academia is dominated by Marxist Jews,” Jews run the porn industry,” and “Jews ran the Atlantic slave trade,” the Daily Camera newspaper reported.

The men livestreamed their actions, according to the report.

As of Sunday morning, no reports were filed with police about the fliers, Boulder police told the newspaper.


City of Poway, CA, set to rename street after Chabad shooting victim
The city council in Poway, Calif., will consider a proposal on Nov. 5 to change the name of a short street in memory of Lori Lynn Gilbert-Kaye, the only fatality in the shooting earlier this year at Chabad of Poway.

Under the proposal, Eva Drive would become Lori Lynn Lane. It is located near where the 60-year-old congregant lived with her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, about a mile from the synagogue.

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said that people associated with Chabad approached the city to propose the street-name change.

“They did all the groundwork, and our team got the obstacles out of the way,” he said. “It should have unanimous and enthusiastic support.”

Three people, including senior Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, were wounded on April 27 when lone gunman John Earnest shot at worshippers during Shabbat-morning services.

Earnest has pleaded not guilty to state and federal charges, including 113 federal hate crime-related counts.
Karish natural gas field off Israel’s shore found to be much bigger than thought
Energean Oil and Gas plc, a Greek gas producer focused on the Mediterranean, said Monday that its appraisal of the Karish North discovery offshore Israel has revealed 0.9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas resources plus 34 million barrels of light oil or condensate.

The appraisal “significantly” increases the resource volumes discovered by Energean at the Karish and Tanin leases off Israel’s shore, the statement said.

The firm had already discovered 2.4 tcf of natural gas at the Karish and Tanin fields, along with 33 million barrels of light oil. Energean has already signed accords to sell 4.7 billion cubic meters a year of the fuel to Israeli customers.

Light crude oil is a liquid petroleum that has a low density and low viscosity than heavy crude oil. Natural gas condensate is a mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that are present in the raw natural gas produced at gas fields.

Israel, a nation traditionally starved of natural resources, believes the discovery of natural gas reserved off its shores in the Mediterranean will lead it to energy independence and make it an exporter of gas. The Karish and Tanin natural gas fields sit alongside the larger Tamar and Leviathan deposits in Israel’s economic waters in the Mediterranean.
Israel-Egypt gas pipeline deal expected in coming days
A deal that would transfer control of a natural gas pipeline between Israel and Egypt is expected to be closed in the next few days, the companies said on Sunday.

Texas-based Noble Energy (NBL.N), Israel’s Delek Drilling (DEDRp.TA) and Egyptian East Gas Co have partnered in a venture called EMED, which last year agreed to buy a 39% stake in the subsea EMG pipeline for $518 million that will carry Israeli gas exports to Egypt.

In a regulatory filing in Tel Aviv, Delek said the shares have already been transferred to the buyers while the funds are currently being held in a trust. It noted that no closing conditions remained.

“Upon the transfer of the full amount of the consideration to the sellers, which is expected to be performed in the coming days, the EMG transaction will be closed in practice,” Delek said.

Partners in Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar offshore gas fields had agreed to sell $15 billion worth of gas to a customer in Egypt — Dolphinus Holdings — but last month the deal was amended to boost supply by 34% to about 85 billion cubic meters, or an estimated $20 billion.
Elbit Systems Lands 5-Year, $50 Million Portuguese Defense Ministry Contract
Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems announced over the weekend that it has been awarded a $50 million contract to supply the Portuguese Air Force with a complete electronic warfare suite and customer logistics support for the new KC-390 multi-mission aircraft. The contract is to be completed over a five-year period.

Under the contract, Elbit will supply the Portuguese Air Force’s KC-390s with Radar and Laser Warning Systems, an IR Missile Warning System, Countermeasures Dispensing System, a Directional IR Countermeasures system and Active ECM (AECM) POD system.

“The Portuguese Air Force is a long-standing strategic partner of Elbit Systems and we are proud of this contract award to provide enhanced survivability for their new fleet of KC-390 aircraft,” said Edgar Maimon, executive vice president and general manager of Elbit Systems’ Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence Unit.

Last week, Elbit announced that it had been selected by the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport to provide the Swiss Armed Forces with an army-wide tactical Software Defined Radio (SDR) solution under the Telecommunications Armed Forces (TK A) program.
Ray Charles in Israel
“I had always heard that I was popular in Israel, but I didn’t get over there until the early seventies,” the soul genius Ray Charles recalled. “Some people asked me to do a documentary. I liked the idea. I’d never done anything like that before. The film people knew I wasn’t a scholar or a theologian, but they had heard that I had a decent working knowledge of the Bible. They had also heard that the Israelis liked me, and they hoped the two things would blend.”

Ray Charles, accompanied by his five backup singers, the Raelettes, arrived in Israel in early December 1972. In the first two weeks of that month they performed at five wildly successful concerts. Israeli fans of the “Genius of Soul” thronged the concert halls of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. Fans cheered the musicians in the streets and the press gave their concert tour wide coverage.

The musicians spent two weeks performing and touring in the country. It was, Charles remembered, an opportunity to “look around and learn. … It was all so old, so incredibly old, that I couldn’t help but shake my head in wonder. I could smell history in the streets.”

By the early 1970s, Ray Charles and the Raelettes had given concerts all over the world. In Japan, they had encountered particularly enthusiastic audiences. But in terms of enthusiasm none of these concerts prepared Charles and his ensemble for the reception they received in Israel.

That many Israelis liked Ray Charles and his music was an understatement. I was living in Jerusalem at the time and I remember vividly the excitement that his visit generated. I also remember that by the time I made it to the concert hall box office the two Jerusalem shows were completely sold out. I never got to hear him on that tour, but news of it was in all of the Israel newspapers. It seemed that by missing that concert I had missed more than the music.

The riveting story of the Jerusalem concert is best told by the genius himself: In his autobiography, Brother Ray, (co-written with David Ritz) Charles wrote that, “In thirty years on the road, I had never experienced anything like this. We were supposed to do two shows, but the first one had the crowd so crazy and happy that they wouldn’t leave. The second crowd was due any minute, but the first crowd wasn’t about to move.”


The Jewish roots of French icon Asterix the Gaul
The iconic adventures of Asterix the Gaul may be most famous in the French-speaking world, but their inspiration is decidedly Jewish.

One of the most famous characters in French comics, and considered by many to be a French national hero, the adventures of Asterix and his sidekick Obelix are popular all over the world. The comics were translated to over 100 languages, including Latin, Welsh and Hebrew. It has inspired 10 movies, the most recent one the 2018 Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion.

But could Asterix be Jewish? While the answer is obviously no – Asterix is literally a Gaul, after all – Ateret Yerushalayim rosh yeshiva Rabbi Shlomo Aviner argues that the Jewish inspiration is clearly there.

It is important to note that the original writer behind Asterix, René Goscinny, was undoubtedly Jewish, having been born in Paris in 1926 to two Jewish immigrants from Poland. His father accepted a job in Argentina after he was born, unknowingly ensuring their family won't be harmed by the Nazi occupation of France, to which he returned in 1946.

Speaking in an interview reported by Srugim, Rabbi Aviner, who is French himself – after mentioning that this isn't as important as studying Rashi, a medieval Jewish scholar who was also French – reaffirmed Goscinny's Jewishness.

"His father was born in Warsaw, and his grandfather was a rabbi," he explained. "His Jewish identity was strong."
Jewish astronaut snaps space pics of Israel, salutes late father
Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir, who made history last month as one half of the first all-female spacewalking team, on Friday posted pictures of Israel snapped from space with a caption saying the country was part of her father’s journey.

“My father’s globe spanning journey as a surgeon from the Middle East, to Europe, and eventually to the U.S. was an inspiration to many in my immediate and extended family. #TheJourney,” Meir wrote.

Meir’s late father was born in 1925 in Baghdad, and in 1931 the whole family left Iraq as a result of anti-Semitism and settled in pre-state Israel.

He was in medical school at the American University of Beirut when the 1948 War of Independence broke out and returned to Israel, where he drove an ambulance during the war. He then went to Geneva to finish medical school before taking a job in Sweden, where he met Meir’s mother, a nurse who was raised in a Christian Swedish family.

Her parents then moved to the US.




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Women Peace and Security consultant - ActiveUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - UAE

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Provide strategic advice and technical guidance on WPS to the office. The candidates must possess following minimum qualification criteria to be eligible for…
From ActiveUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Thu, 07 Nov 2019 15:54:18 GMT - View all UAE jobs
          

UNICEF: 15m Nigeria Children Need Basic Support

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UNICEF: 1m Children out of School in Kano

Kekenapep – “ Bassey Inyang in Calabar United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said about 15 million children in Nigeria are seriously in need of basic support in various aspects of their lives. The disclosure was made by the UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Enugu, Ibrahim Conteh, while delivering his remarks at the opening […]

The post UNICEF: 15m Nigeria Children Need Basic Support appeared first on KekeNapep!.


          

Greta Thunberg Plans to Join North Carolina Climate Strike

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Teen environmentalist gained international attention for a speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September
          

Malawi: UN expert demands that Christian schools overturn their Hijab ban,

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(Mangochi) The other day I mentioned how Muslims living in Malawi (which is 87% Christian) decided to demolish  the local church after 2 girls (Children of noted radical Muslims) who attended the local Christian school decided to flaunt the school rules on dress and turned  up wearing the hijab. The school sent them home and in return the Muslims rioted demolished the church, the home of a priest,  kicked a teacher out of his home and forced the schools to be closed.


Well it appears that Ms. Maria Jose Torres, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Malawi isn't happy how a christian school which has a dress code acted when the daughters of 2 Islamic agitators were sent home for taking no notice of the school dress code and has demanded that the country sets aside Christian school dress codes for Muslims.



Funny how I've never heard the UN demand that Islamic schools do likewise regards not covering up for allah when it comes to Non-Muslims.

          

‘Faith~United’ for Peace, Justice and Social Action

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Jun 25, 2019

International Justice Mission (IJM) and Indian Pluralism Foundation (IPF) hosted a ‘Breakfast Fellowship’ to initiate inter-faith dialogue for all faith leaders in the city of Kolkata called ‘Faith~United’ for Peace, Justice and Social Action on 15th June 2019.

The dialogue was to promote a cause for justice to dialogue with faith leaders on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #16 that calls for sustainable development to provide access to justice for all and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. IJM aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for all including the poor and vulnerable, combating violence against women and children to building a ‘Safe Community’.

The United Nations sees violence as the most significant and destructive challenge to the development, growth, and the very survival of countries around the world. Institutional restrictions to justice have suspended basic freedoms, security, and human rights to all individuals.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/inter-faith-meet-on-crime-against-women/articleshow/69934616.cms


          

DB손해보험, UNEP과 지속가능·녹색성장 업무 협약

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[팍스경제TV 송현주 기자]DB손해보험(대표이사 김정남)이 5일 ‘오염 없는 지구 : 지속가능·녹색성장’의 다양한 실천 방안을 모색하고 추진하기 위해 유엔환경계획(United Nations Environment Program : 이하UNEP)과의 업무협약(MOU)을 체결했다고 6일 밝혔다.이번 업무 협약은 유엔환경계획(UNEP)의 글로벌 환경정책 동향, 선진 기업의 환경경영 사례와 우리나라에서 추진하고 있는 우수한 환경 정책을 소개해 개발도상국의 모범 사례로 활용 할 수 있는 홍보방안 등을 담고 있
          

Event: Deadline for Nominations for the 2020 UN Public Service Awards

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Nominations for the 2020 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) are due by 27 November 2019. 

This annual awards programme aims to promote and recognize transformative initiatives that foster creativity and innovation in public services. It is open to all public organizations, including local, regional and national governments, and public institutions engaged in public-private partnerships for making people’s lives better. Nominations are accepted in all six UN official languages. 

This year’s awards will recognize the achievements and contributions of public services in five categories:

  • Delivering inclusive and equitable services for all; 
  • Promoting integrated mechanisms for sustainable development; 
  • Developing transparent and accountable public institutions; 
  • Promoting digital transformation in public-sector institutions; and 
  • Promoting gender responsive public services to achieve the SDGs.

          

U.N. agencies warn of hunger in southern #Africa

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United Nations agencies have warned that more than 45 million people across southern Africa are at risk of falling into a hunger crisis over the course of the next six months, with 11 million already ...
          

Call for 2020 United Nations Public Service Awards Nominations!!! Don’t forget to apply for UNPSA before the 27 November deadline here: http://publicadministration.un.org/unpsa  ! For more information on the call for nominations, click on the link below:http://bit.ly/2NK3qWE 

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Call for 2020 United Nations Public Service Awards Nominations!!! Don’t forget to apply for UNPSA before the 27 November deadline here: http://publicadministration.un.org/unpsa  ! For more information on the call for nominations, click on the link below: http://bit.ly/2NK3qWE 


          

UNRWA students in Gaza Connect with Japanese Research Station in Antarctica

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crisis category: 
Students from al-Rimal Preparatory Co-Ed school “C” during their participation in an online session with Japanese scientists from the Syowa Station in Antarctica © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Ibrahim Abu Osheba.
“This is my first time to participate in such sessions. I am so thrilled and excited to see how life beyond the borders of Gaza is and to hear new information, as well,” said ninth-grader Daniya...
Thursday, November 7, 2019
English
UNRWA Program: 
Education
UNRWA Field: 
Gaza Strip
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Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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U.N. nuclear watchdog, Western powers criticize Iran for holding inspector

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The United Nations nuclear watchdog and Western powers on Thursday strongly criticized Iran for preventing one of the agency's inspectors from leaving the country last week.

          

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LETTER DATED 24 OCTOBER 2019 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF INDONESIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
[ Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish ]
          

Job Vacancy at UNICEF for Administrative Assistant

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United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfil their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for... Read More

          

Administrative Assistant Vacancy at UNICEF

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United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfil their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for... Read More

          

What the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord means for Canada

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The United States has announced it has begun the process of formally withdrawing from the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In a statement on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the agreement was an “unfair economic burden” to the U.S. economy, and that he has submitted formal notice to the United Nations, beginning …
          

Jobs at UNDP for Development Coordination Officer / Economist

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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively. In all our activities, we encourage the protection of human rights, capacity development and the empowerment of women. We are recruiting to fill the position below: Job Title: Development Coordination Officer / Economist Job ID: 26888 Location: Abuja, Nigeria Agency: Resident Coordinator Office Practice... Read More

          

African bishops say UN Nairobi Summit will be destructive of pro-life agenda

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Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 6, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- Bishops in Africa have raised concerns about the agenda of the Nairobi Summit, a United Nations gathering being held next week, saying the meeting will be destructive to humanity and the values around human life.

Sponsored by the UN Population Fund and the governments of Kenya and Denmark, the Nairobi Summit marks the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Conference on Population and Development. It will be held in Nairobi Nov. 12-14.

Its program includes five themes, among which are “Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage” and “Upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health care even in humanitarian and fragile contexts.”

Bishop Alfred Rotich, Bishop Emeritus of the Military Ordinariate of Kenya and chair of the Kenyan bishops' family life office, told ACI Africa: “We find such a conference not good for us, (and) destroying the agenda for life.”

“There will be about 10,000 people here and we know what they are for, they are not pro-life but they are 10,000 abortionists. They are practitioners of what is against life. Their coming here is to endorse a wrong policy,” Bishop Rotich stated.

The bishop described Kenya as a country “always open and ready and receptive to all manner of discussion and things,” and wondered why the Kenyan president has offered the country as a market where the pro-choice agenda can be be sold.

“We are looking at it from the African culture and we are asking the nation through the president, have we no values?” Bishop Rotich asked.

He continued: “What is the constitution saying about the respect of God? What is our interpretation, we as independent and sovereign nation? Are we aware of the enemy that is continually interfering with our tradition and culture of protecting life?”

He described the summit as an intrusion that is a “dragon against our agenda for life” and affirmed, “We must protect our borders, which (are) in this case the life of this country – now and in the future.”

Archbishop Martin Kivuva of Mombasa described the summit's agenda as “unacceptable according to our teaching of the Catholic Church” and, like Bishop Rotich, he cautioned president Uhuru Kenyatta to be wary of the forum.

“Be warned Mr. President, these (ICPD25 agenda) are the issues you should watch out,” Archbishop Kivuva said, adding: “We need to say no, we cannot take this.”

Referring to the organizers of the summit, Archbishop Kivuva said that “It is not the first time they are doing this, and they have a hidden agenda.”

“Remember most of this is about population reduction and yet in Europe there is zero growth yet they tell us we are many,” Archbishop Kivuva said, adding that the foreign organizers of the summit “tell us we are poor because we are many. That is a lie! We are poor because they took and still take our resources. Look at DR Congo, with all the minerals it should be the richest country.”

Bishop Charles Kasonde of Solwezi, chairman of the  Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, described Africa’s population as “doing good” and “moderate”.

“In terms of population, it is poverty that drags us down otherwise as the population for Africa we are sparsely populated,” Bishop Kasonde of Solwezi told ACI Africa.

To counter the agenda of the Nairobi Summit, the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum, with the backing of Kenya's bishops, has organized a parallel convention to be held Nov. 11-14.

 

 

A version of this story was initially reported by CNA's sister agency, ACI Africa. It has been adapted by CNA.


          

Deaths Rise in Libya Due to Russians

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Whatever vision that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration had to Libya is now best described as a Russian operation where death and destruction manifests. As Fox News Anchor, Bret Baier says each night, ‘beyond our borders’ there is a very ugly nasty world that is hardly if at all reported. From the United Nations […]

The post Deaths Rise in Libya Due to Russians appeared first on The DENISE SIMON EXPERIENCE Blog.


          

UN Agency for Palestinians in Crisis as Chief Quits

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The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees was in “crisis mode” on Wednesday after director Pierre Krahenbuhl resigned amid a misconduct probe over whether he fast-tracked his girlfriend into a top aid job, analysts said. The decision to quit by Krahenbuhl, commissioner-general for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), came as the agency battled […]

The post UN Agency for Palestinians in Crisis as Chief Quits appeared first on Inter Press Service.


          

Tony Bennett Presents An Exhibition Of Work At The Art Students League Of New York

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Tony Bennett, who paints under his birth name, Anthony Benedetto, presents his expansive portfolio of artwork at the Art Students League of New York’s American Fine Arts Society Gallery on November 5th. 

The varied collection includes watercolors denoting landscapes from Portugal to New York and intimate ink drawings ranging from self-portraits to a notable depiction of collaborator and pop superstar Lady Gaga. Other highlights include a Miles Davis and John Coltrane gouache and India ink piece, a Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn oil painting, a sketch of Stevie Wonder, a self-portrait oil painting, a statue of liberty watercolor and more. 

EXHIBITION DATES: November 5th, 2019 - January 11th, 2020

Tony Bennett took classes at the League under sculptor, anatomist, and painter Frank Porcu and has been a friend to the League for many years. The Art Students League recently hosted a Gala to honor the New York icon with The Everett Raymond Kinstler Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is named after Everett Raymond “Ray” Kinstler, the American portraitist who recently passed away, and was a longtime friend of Bennett and an Art Students League patron. More info on the Gala HERE

About Tony Bennett:
Tony Bennett's life and philosophy is the embodiment of the Great American Story. As he celebrates his 90th birthday on the 3rd of this month, his career as the pre-eminent singer of the 20th and 21st centuries is unprecedented. He continues to be embraced and loved by audiences of all generations. Born in Queens, N.Y., in 1926, Mr. Bennett served in the Army during World War II and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma during the Civil Rights Movement, and was honored by the United Nations for his humanitarian efforts and ideals. As a musical performer he has received 19 Grammy Awards, is a Kennedy Center Honoree and an NEA Jazz Master. With his wife Susan, he established Exploring the Arts to support arts education in public high schools.
Tony Bennett is also an accomplished painter whose passion for the visual arts began as a child growing up in Astoria, Queens and has flourished throughout his life. Painting under his given name of Anthony Benedetto, he has three paintings in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and has exhibited his artwork in museums and galleries throughout the world. Whether performing in concert for sold-out audiences or painting in his art studio in New York City, Tony Bennett has used his exceptional creative talents to search for "truth and beauty" in his artistry.

About The Art Students League of New York:
The League was founded in 1875 by students breaking away from the National Academy of Design. That independent spirit remains at The League today, where students pursue their work unconstrained by dogma, politics or burdensome tuition. Students are educated in the language and process of making art in an environment where anyone who wishes to pursue arts education can realize his or her full potential. The League fulfills this mission by offering affordable, high-quality education and instruction in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and assemblage. Artists who have studied at the League include Georgia O'Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Romare Bearden, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, James Rosenquist, and Ai-Weiwei, among others. www.theartstudentsleague.org


          

CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park on Show at IBTM World Barcelona

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Countless hours of kneading muscles appears to have paid off for the team at Banyan Tree Spa Samui after they won a Kinnari Gold Award at the Thailand Tourism Awards in Bangkok recently. The prestigious awards — recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and overseen by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) — […]

The post CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park on Show at IBTM World Barcelona appeared first on Destination Thailand News.


          

Eesti noortepoliitika pälvib kõrge tunnustuse

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16. oktoobril antakse Belgradis Eestile üle tunnustus Future Policy Award 2019 noori võimestava poliitika kujundamise eest. Auhinna võtavad vastu Haridus- ja Teadusministeeriumi kantsler Mart Laidmets ja noorteosakonna juhataja Reelika Ojakivi.

„See auhind, poliitikakujundamise Oscar, on kõigile Eesti noortele, noorsootöötajatele ja noorte heaks tegutsejatele,“ sõnas kantsler Mart Laidmets. „See on tunnustus Eesti riigile selle eest, et meie noortepoliitika on olnud teadmistepõhine, kaasav, süsteemne ja sealjuures ka tulemuslik – noorte elu on Eestis paremaks muutunud. Eesti noortepoliitika on teistele riikidele eeskujuks ja inspiratsiooniks – seda nii täna kehtiva kui tulevase noortevaldkonna arengukava näol,“ lisas Laidmets.

Eestit tunnustatakse noorte ühiskondliku kaasamise ja osalusvõimaluste loomise eest. Tunnustus on kehtivale noortevaldkonna arengukavale, mis pälvis hindamiskomisjoni tähelepanu. Eriliselt toodi esile noortevaldkonna ühtset ja koordineeritud tegevust noortele võrdsete võimaluste ja eneseteostuse tagamisel.

Ka eelmisel aastal pälvis Eesti noortevaldkonna arengukava tunnustuse, kui OECD raport „Youth Stocktaking Report“ tõi esile Eestit kui üht vähestest OECD riikidest, kus noorte usaldus riigi vastu on suurem kui 50-aastaste ja vanemate seas. OECD hinnangul saab seda seostada just teadliku noortepoliitika edendamisega, tuues nii esile Eesti senist lähenemist ja valikuid. OECD raportis tõdeti, et noorte võimestamiseks on vaja selget visiooni ja strateegiat, mis aitavad noortel omandada pädevused ühiskonna ja majanduse mõjutamiseks. Seetõttu on oluline noorte-keskne lähenemine kõikides eluvaldkondades ning seda on võimalik saavutada vaid teadliku strateegilise planeerimisega.

Koos Eestiga pälvivad tunnustuse Future Policy Awardi veel Euroopa Nõukogu noorte laialdase kaasamise eest ning Nepaal noorte õiguste tagamisel ja võimaluste laiendamisel. Tegemist on esimese korraga, kui Eesti Future Policy Awardi pälvis. Future Policy Award on kutsutud ellu, et tunnustada valitsuse poliitikaid, mis lahendavad ühiskonna kõige akuutsemaid kitsaskohti. Igal aastal tuuakse tunnustusega esile erinevaid valdkondi. Näiteks on tunnustatud riike naiste ja laste õiguste eest seismisel, aga ka põllumajandus-, metsandus-, liigirikkus- või toiduohutuse poliitikate eest.

Auhinnad antakse üle 141. parlamentidevahelise liidu (Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU) kohtumisel Belgradis, Serbias. Tunnustuse annavad välja World Future Council (WFC), IPU ja ÜRO Arenguprogramm (United Nations Development Programme, UNDP), ÜRO peasekretäri noortesaadik, Rahvusvaheline Tööorganisatsioon (ILO) ja mõttekoda Youth Policy Labs. Auhinda antakse välja alates 2010. aastast.

Auhinna üleandmisest saab otseülekannet vaadata homme, 16. oktoobril kell 16.00 siin.

Allikas: HTMi pressiteade. Foto: Koolielu arhiiv.

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United Nations calls for action as Somalia floods affect 200,0000 children

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United Nations calls for action as Somalia floods affect 200,0000 children
          

Head of UNAMI: Violence only Begets Violence, Peaceful Demonstrators must be Protected

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  Jeanine Antoinette Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, “Appalled by continued bloodshed in Iraq. People’s high frustration not to be underestimated or misread” she addressed on her Twitter account. She also added, “violence only begets violence, peaceful demonstrators must be protected. It …
          

Congo Warlord Gets 30 Years

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How long had you been investigating Ntaganda’s abuses?

I started documenting his abuses when I first moved to Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008. Bosco Ntaganda was a member of the Rwandan-backed CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple – National Congress for the Defense of the People) rebel group, which committed countless atrocities against civilians. In late 2008, in the town of Kiwanja, north of Goma, Ntaganda orchestrated an attack where 150 people were killed over two days. For the next five years, I spent a lot of time covering his abuses, speaking to survivors who told harrowing tales of attacks they had survived. As part of a deal that was negotiated with the Congolese and Rwandan governments, Ntaganda was integrated into the Congolese army and became a general, commanding military operations in eastern Congo.

Later, after he created the M23, another notorious rebel group backed by Rwanda, he led attacks on many villages, summarily executing hundreds of people, and was accused of rape, torture, and forced recruitment of children to serve as soldiers in the group. We found that the M23 received support from Rwanda and we presented these findings to Rwanda’s donors. Some donors then suspended their assistance to Rwanda. This pressure was instrumental in Ntaganda’s surrender to the United States embassy in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, in 2013.

When Ntaganda rose in power, did you ever feel justice would never be served?

It was particularly tough when he became a general in the army. Many believed he was untouchable. It seemed he had no fear of being arrested – even with the International Criminal Court warrant out against him. When he lived in Goma, he lived quite close to me and I would see him drive by and around the town, going about his business and even playing tennis. At that time his troops still targeted rival groups, human rights defenders, and others who spoke out against him. They assassinated and abducted people with impunity.

Still, we and courageous Congolese human rights activists kept insisting that he be held to account. Diplomats and United Nations officials would wave us away, saying that he could not be arrested, or that he was too protected by his Rwandan backers and Congolese friends. But we did not stop.

When his own rebel group split, and his backers in Rwanda apparently decided to stop supporting him, Ntaganda knew his life was in danger – he had many enemies. He surrendered himself to the US embassy in Rwanda and asked to be transferred to the ICC.

Finally, he was brought to The Hague. It was inspiring for me to see Anneke van Woudenberg, former deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch who had documented his earlier abuses in northeastern Congo’s Ituri province, testifying against him during the trial. She gave a detailed account based on the work we had done over many years, and all this documentation had finally led to something.

What does this conviction mean for the Democratic Republic of Congo?

It sends a powerful message that those who commit serious crimes against the people, no matter their positions, can be held to account. I hope it will play a role in deterring others who are still committing abuses against civilians in Congo and elsewhere. This might make security forces think twice before commanding forces to violate people’s rights, even during conflict.

Since his conviction, I’ve spoken to victims of Ntaganda’s crimes. Many of them have been forced into exile since they were threatened with more suffering if they dared to speak up. Although his conviction does not erase their pain, they are encouraged that he is being held to account.

The conviction comes as some 130 armed groups remain active in eastern Congo, and many continue to commit serious crimes. Abusive leaders can see what has come of Ntaganda and learn that they are not above the law.

His conviction however only covers his crimes in Ituri province in 2002 and 2003. Activists in Congo seek justice for all his crimes, including the numerous attacks he led in the provinces of North and South Kivu.

Video: Verdict on Former Congolese Warlord

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) conviction of the Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda sends a strong message that justice may await those responsible for grave crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Now that Ntaganda has been convicted and sentenced, what happens next?

Ntaganda’s conviction is historic. He is the first person convicted at the ICC for sexual slavery, as well as the first person convicted at the ICC for crimes of sexual violence committed against his own troops. This sends an important message.

Both Ntaganda and the prosecutor have appealed the verdict. Now he can appeal the sentence if he believes it too harsh for the crimes for which he was found guilty. Appeals proceedings will likely last several months.

The court is also discussing reparations for Ntaganda’s victims. This could include restitution and compensation to victims and their families, and rehabilitation. At this stage, the court is taking steps to facilitate and expedite the reparations proceedings. However, a reparation order can only be carried out once a conviction has been confirmed on appeal.

We hope Ntaganda’s conviction will carry a message to other warlords and serious human rights abusers that they understand they are not above the law, and even years after their crimes, they can be held to account.


          

Stories from the Field: Digital Transformation Key Driver in Social Reform and Growth

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Some African nations lead the world’s e-money businesses. Several are finding that leaving notes and coins behind is not only improving efficiency, safety and transparency, but it is also helping many people leave poverty behind. In 2018, the Senegalese government launched a payment digitization agenda to promote financial and social inclusion through tech.

The post Stories from the Field: Digital Transformation Key Driver in Social Reform and Growth appeared first on United Nations Sustainable Development.


          

CBD Melbourne: Teething problems in the Big Apple

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Former communications minister Mitch Fifield has been in his new gig as Australia’s ambassador to the United Nations for a month. Unfortunately his ambassadorial residence has been found to be something less than habitable.
          

The ‘quiet Australians’ that Morrison fears

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Protesters blockade the IMARC mining conference in Melbourne on October 29.
November 7, 2019

It is worthwhile listening to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s speech to the Queensland Resources Council on November 1, where he rails against “progressivism” and the emergence of a “new breed of radical activism”, because it is a reminder of the parallel reality he inhabits.

In it, Morrison hypocritically describes the climate movement as “apocalyptic”, “brooking no compromise” and opposed to allowing for “alternative views”.

Yet he is the one refusing to compromise on climate action, despite more than 300,000 Australians marching on the streets as part of the September 20 Climate Strike.

And he is the one determined to ignore “alternative” points of view, starting with the scientists that make up the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was their 2018 warning about having understated the risks from high concentrations of greenhouse gases that propelled the highly motivated and knowledgeable high school students into action through School Strike 4 Climate. 

Morrison may have used the protests at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne at the end of October to launch his counter offensive, but it is the millennial rebels and the impact they are having on “quiet” Australians that has prompted Morrison to act. 

The PM and attorney-general have responded in the only way they know how: bringing in new laws with the hope they will silence, intimidate or bankrupt activists through ridiculously high fines and threats of jail.

The Coalition may have bitten off more than they can chew. Amending the secondary boycott provisions in Section 45DD of the Competition and Consumer Act, which currently protects consumer boycotts in relation to “environmental protection or consumer protection”, is something that a wide range of people are likely to oppose.

Yet Morrison is determined to push ahead on behalf of coal and gas corporations and their right to make profit — at any cost. 

At the same time, Morrison has attacked so-called “indulgent” businesses that refuse to deal with certain companies on environmental grounds. 

The success of the Stop Adani campaign is a formidable challenge to Morrison and the ruling class. 

Market Forces estimates that 61 businesses — including banks and insurance companies — have refused to work with Indian mining firm Adani on its Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland.

Extreme as they are, Morrison’s efforts do not go far enough for some establishment figures. Reactionary columnist Andrew Bolt has sneered at the PM’s efforts, goading him to go full Donald Trump and dispute the fact that there even is a climate emergency.

When reactionaries are at peak hysteria, we know the climate movement is gaining traction among “quiet” Australians. This is what frightens the 1%, who would rather we focus on things other than politics. 

Since Morrison’s speech, many commentators have noted how protests, including consumer boycotts, propelled major progressive social and economic change.

But we need to understand Morrison’s speech as more than just an attack on our right to protest or the right of investors to decide where to put their cash.

It is a declaration of war — he knows what is at stake and is choosing to perpetuate the climate crisis.

We are living in a period of unprecedented challenge. Scientists have said we need to decisively decarbonise the atmosphere — and quickly — or risk a serious social, economic and environmental disaster.

Capitalism, once the basis for an unprecedented wave of creativity, is today a force for destruction. The climate crisis is just one manifestation of this. That this discussion is being had a dinner tables and bus stops is what frightens the ruling class.

They have declared a class war. We need to be ready to defend ourselves and the planet.

[Pip Hinman is an anti-coal seam gas activist and member of the Socialist Alliance.]

Protesters blockade the IMARC mining conference in Melbourne on October 29. Photo: Zebedee Parkes

          

Il n.1 dell’agenzia Onu per i rifugiati in Palestina si è dimesso per un’inchiesta

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INVIATO A NEW YORK. Il commissario generale della United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Pierre Krahenbuhl, si è dimesso, in seguito ad un’inchiest ... [Continua a leggere sul sito.]
          

Trump’s trade war cost China $35 billion this year and raised US prices, UN says

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tariffs

  • The trade war wiped out billions of dollars in the first half of the year and significantly raised prices for households, the UN warned in a report Tuesday. 
  • Tit-for-tat tariffs levied between the two sides cut US imports of Chinese products by $35 billion in the first six months of the year, the report said. 
  • The international organization also said a majority of costs from tariffs have been passed down to American companies and consumers. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A sprawling dispute between the US and China wiped out tens of billions of dollars in trade in the first half of the year and significantly raised prices for households, the United Nations warned Tuesday. 

Tit-for-tat tariffs levied between the two sides slashed US imports of Chinese products in the first six months of the year by more than a quarter, or $35 billion, according to the report. The international organization also said a majority of costs from tariffs have been passed down to American firms and consumers. 

"US consumers are paying for the tariffs in terms of higher prices," said Alessandro Nicita, an economist at the UN trade agency, UNCTAD. "Not only final consumers like us, but importers of intermediate products – firms which import parts and components from China."

As the effects of recent tax cuts began to fade, the US economy was widely expected to cool this year. But economists said it's become increasingly evident that tariffs have weighed on sentiment and investment, particularly in trade-driven sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture. 

President Donald Trump ignited the feud with China in early 2018 as his administration sought to address what have long been viewed as economic aggressions, such as the theft of intellectual property and technology. But as officials debated those issues, businesses and consumers have grappled with higher costs and uncertainty from tariffs. 

"The results of the study serve as a global warning; a lose-lose trade war is not only harming the main contenders, it also compromises the stability of the global economy and future growth," said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, UNCTAD's director of international trade and commodities. "We hope a potential trade agreement between the US and China can deescalate trade tensions."

In October, the US and China were able to at least temporarily defuse tensions. Trump has said that the first part of a partial trade agreement could be signed as soon as this month, though advisers have said further negotiations would be needed to address structural issues.

Now read: These 12 highly shorted stocks have suffered brutal losses this year — but one Wall Street firm says a major threat just passed, and it might be time to buy

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Unilever is taking its ethical ad tech trials to Instagram

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Unilever has been trialing ‘ethical ad tech’ where people who watch video ads online can pick a charity to donate the 50% of the ad revenue to. Now, it’s taking that same technology to Instagram.

It has already experimented with its brands like Knorr and Lynx, which have run their ads through the technology – created by Good Loop – on traditional publisher sites.

But FMCG-giant is claiming a first on the Facebook-owned image sharing platform Instagram where its Dove brand will run a series of ads within Instagram Stories. Every time someone watches to the end they will be presented with a swipe up link where Unilever will make a donation to either the United Nations’ ‘UN Women’ body or the local Dove Self-Esteem Project.

It comes as part of its new campaign, launched last week, to spread the message that there is no normal when it comes to how underarms look. 

“The extension of our Unilever partnership to the Instagram environment is hugely exciting, not least because it’s testament to our ability to connect charitable donations with digital advertising at scale,” said Amy Williams, co-founder and chief executive of Good-Loop.

“Good-Loop is all about harnessing the power of doing good to make advertising more impactful for the brand and more positive for the consumer – and we’re so excited to be breaking new ground alongside Instagram and Unilever”.

Three-year-old Good-Loop said advertisers that use its tech see near-double engagement rates for their ads. To date, it’s raised over £0.5m for charity to date and is on target to reach £5m by 2022.

The Co-operative Bank recently embraced the technology through its media agency Hearts and Science, which said if it delivers would be rolled out to other clients.


          

New Modes of Non-Military Intervention Under the Responsibility to Protect: The Case of the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

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Paper

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a new and evolving principle in international politics and international law, derived from the concept of humanitarian intervention in the 1990s. At the time, the international community failed to prevent or deal with some of the sovereign countries in the outbreak of the conflict and humanitarian crisis, so the then UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan called on the international community at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 to deal with serious and systematic human rights violations as such behaviors affect our common humanity faith. With the support of the government of Canada, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) was established in 2001. Co-chaired by Australia's former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans and Algerian Diplomat Mohamed Sahnoun, ICISS has a total of 12 committee members from a number of countries. The commission released its report in December of that year, which assessed previous theories and practices of "humanitarian intervention," developed for the first time the concept of "the responsibility to protect" and called on the international community to take responsibility for protecting people suffering from genocide and mass atrocities. The 2005 UN World Summit adopted the outcome document on the "responsibility to protect", which means that all countries in the world have unanimously agreed and accepted the principle of “the responsibility to protect". Since then, the "responsibility to protect" has increasingly appeared in the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council. Ban Ki-moon, then UN Secretary-General, first appointed a special adviser on the responsibility to protect in 2008. The job of the adviser is to report to the Secretary-General on the implementation of the principle, and since 2009 the adviser has issued an annual report on the responsibility to protect to the General Assembly to promote its implementation. After the Rohingya crisis broke out in Rakhine State in western Myanmar in 2012, some international organizations and countries called for intervention following the "responsibility to protect" principle to protect the Rohingya people. Some even called for military intervention in Myanmar. Why did they propose to apply the "responsibility to protect" to Myanmar? What impact will this discourse system have on Myanmar’s politics? Through the case of the Rohingya crisis, the author tries to clarify the connotation of the "responsibility to protect" and its non-military intervention means, as well as its potential significance for Myanmar and international politics. 

(Read the full paper at the link above)

This paper was originally published in Chinese. It was translated and posted with permission from the author.

 

Zhu Xianghui is Associate Research Fellow at the Myanmar Research Institute & Center for China’s Neighboring Diplomacy Studies, Yunnan University, China.


          

11/7/2019: Navigator: Dynamic leader of UN refugee agency

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Sadako Ogata, who has died aged 92, was the popular head of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) from 1991 to 2000, when she won widespread praise for her dynamic leadership of the underfunded organization during the most testing period of its...
          

Macron Should Call Out Tajikistan President for Brutal Repression

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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Tajikistan Peesident Emomalii Rahmon.

Photos © AP Photo

The last time Tajikistan President Emomalii Rahmon visited France, he shook hands with his then-counterpart Jacques Chirac in Paris. That was 2002. President Rahmon is by far the longest-serving leader in Central Asia and presides over a brutal human rights climate in Tajikistan. This Friday, Emmanuel Macron is set to welcome him back to France.

Beginning in 1992, Rahmon’s decades-long rule over Tajikistan has been marred by a cruel repression, deepening in recent years. Since 2015, when the government banned Tajikistan’s last tolerated opposition party, hundreds of political activists and journalists have been given extremely long prison sentences, following trials that failed to meet minimum standards and were tarnished by allegations of torture.

The imprisonment of Buzurgmher Yorov for 28 years, a lawyer prosecuted in retaliation for his efforts to defend opposition critics, is emblematic of President’s Rahmon strategy to silence dissenting voices. At least 150 opponents are behind bars; many others had no choice but to leave the country.

Those who chose exile have not found safety. Tajik security services are notorious for abusing extradition requests via INTERPOL, the international police organization, to try to get governments to hand over political opponents abroad. In some cases, governments, in violation of their own human rights obligations, forcibly returned critics; in others, critics were simply abducted only to reappear in Tajikistan custody.

Torture in detention is widespread. In the past year alone at least 60 prison inmates died due to two brutal prison riots and supposed food poisoning. In all three incidents, the true circumstances remain unclear and Tajik authorities have refused any inquiry.

Rahmon will certainly ask for France’s political and economic support. But Macron should be true to his principles and publicly call out President Rahmon for his brutal policies. He should press him to release the lawyer Yorov and others whose cases have been raised by United Nations human rights bodies, to stop the harassment of exiled critics and to investigate the massive wave of deaths in detention.

Tajikistan is a country where power is concentrated in the hands of one man. Macron should not miss this opportunity to put President Rahmon on notice that closer ties with France and the EU depend on ending the repression he has orchestrated.


          

Paul Niebrzydowski posted a discussion

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Paul Niebrzydowski posted a discussion

Cultivating Problem-Solving Students with SolutionsU Online Resources

Your Name and Title:Paul Niebrzydowski, PhD, Solutions Journalism Network Story Fellow School or Organization Name:Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) Co-Presenter Name(s):None Area of the World from Which You Will Present:Europe Language in Which You Will Present:English Target Audience(s):Educators and students at the secondary and university level Short Session Description (one line):Learn to create teaching modules for students to engage with the SDGs using SolutionsU. Full Session Description (as long as you would like):Cultivating Problem-Solving Students with SolutionsU Online ResourcesWe’re surrounded by news about what’s broken in the world. Reporting seldom addresses what’s working, and why. But behind social and environmental challenges are people and organizations working on innovative solutions. These social change stories are not only underreported, but also difficult to find—until now. In this workshop, you’ll learn about the growing field of solutions journalism and how solutions-oriented stories can inform and inspire your students (and you!). Using the SolutionsU educational platform, you’ll learn how to create a “story collection” on a critical issue. We will focus primarily on the issues defined in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. You’ll leave knowing how to create modules on the various SDGs and engage students in thinking about social change. Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:solutionsu.solutionsjournalism.orgSee More

          

Responding to the Hong Kong protests

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By Mike Poteet

A controversial tweet

In early October, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a simple image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” This tweet, which would seem innocuous to many in the United States, drew immediate and sustained backlash from both Chinese officials and businesses due to the complicated, contentious relationship between China and Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory that, unlike mainland China, operates as a limited democracy with a capitalist economy.

According to the Associated Press, the Chinese consulate in Houston expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the team following Morey’s tweet; and both Chinese state television and Tencent, a streaming media company with whom the NBA recently signed a $1.5 billion deal, announced they wouldn’t show Rockets games.

Yet the protests that have taken place in Hong Kong this summer and fall hold far more significance than the relationship between the NBA and China. That they should have any impact at all on something as far afield as pro sports only underscores their significance and the serious political crisis they represent. 

Months of protest

According to a New York Times article from last June, the protests initially arose in opposition to a bill considered by Hong Kong’s legislative body, the Legislative Council. The bill would have allowed the territory to extradite criminal suspects to jurisdictions with which it has no formal extradition treaty, including mainland China.

Observers warned that the Chinese government could use the bill to exert increased pressure on Hong Kong. “If enacted, this law would extend the ability of the Mainland authorities to target critics, human rights activists, journalist[s], NGO workers and anyone else in Hong Kong, much in the same way they do at home,” stated Man-Kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

On June 9, more than a million people marched in opposition to the bill — nearly one of every seven Hong Kongers and the biggest public protest Hong Kong had seen since the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014. A New York Times video shows that police used tear gas against protesters on June 12, along with pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons, after a small number of protesters threw objects at them. Anger over the police response inspired even larger protests on June 16, when as many as two million people came together in the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed chief executive, withdrew the extradition bill in early September, but the withdrawal wasn’t enough to bring protests to an end. One commonly heard chant — “Five demands, not one less” — refers to the protesters’ aims. The first was the withdrawal of the extradition bill; the others include (1) no more descriptions of the protests as “riots,” (2) unconditional release and amnesty for arrested protesters, (3) independent inquiry into police behavior, and (4) full and genuine democracy.

Throughout the summer and into autumn, protests continued and were increasingly marked by violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. On October 1 — a holiday that marked the 70th anniversary of the Communist state founded in 1949 — police shot a protester with live ammunition for the first time.

CNBC reported that on October 4, Lam invoked emergency powers and banned face masks at all public gatherings, claiming the move would deter violence because demonstrators cannot conceal their identities. (Many protesters wear masks and respirators to guard against tear gas.) The ban provoked a fresh wave of fiery protests. Lam’s critics worry what further actions might follow and how those actions might weaken Hong Kong’s special status, which they believe China has been steadily eroding. 

Mixed U.S. responses

In mid-October, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. It would require the State Department to certify every year “whether Hong Kong remains sufficiently autonomous from Beijing [China] to justify its unique treatment,” as quoted in The Washington Post. This unique treatment includes exemptions from tariffs and other U.S. laws that apply to all other Chinese exports. If the bill clears the Senate, where it has bipartisan support, it would need President Trump’s signature to become law.

Publicly, Trump hasn’t spoken much about the protests, but the Financial Times reports that he promised Chinese president Xi Jinping that the United States would “tone down criticism of Beijing’s approach” in order to revive trade talks. However, at the United Nations in September, Trump called on China to honor its commitment to “protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system and democratic ways of life,” adding, “We are all counting on President Xi as a great leader,” as quoted in Vox.

Some American businesses find themselves caught between democratic ideals and the pursuit of profit. The NBA, for instance, forced Daryl Morey to apologize for his tweet, then issued its own apology while simultaneously trying to defend free speech, a response that pleased neither Chinese officials nor many US observers. Meanwhile, Apple pulled a map app from its digital store that protesters had been using to track police movement, and shoe company Vans pulled the top vote-getter in a sneaker design competition because the design depicted the protests. 

Christian response

“The Chinese Communist Party may be the greatest existential threat to the Hong Kong church,” notes Christianity Today. Nevertheless, about 900,000 Hong Kongers (almost 12%) are Christian, and Christians enjoy more freedom in Hong Kong than believers in mainland China.

Several church organizations in Hong Kong expressed concern about the extradition bill while calling for restraint and peace from protesters. According to a United Methodist News Service article, the ecumenical Hong Kong Christian Council issued a statement urging the reopening of now-closed public spaces for peaceful demonstration, restraint from using force on the part of police, and dialogue and “rational discussion” between the government and protesters.

Many Christians in Hong Kong have joined the protests themselves. In late August, the first large-scale rally specifically for Christians drew thousands. Its motto was “Salt and light, for justice we walk together.” Attendees formed part of a human chain stretching for more than 21 miles and sang the hymn “Sing Alleluia to the Lord,” which quickly became an unofficial “anthem” for the Hong Kong protests — partly because religious gatherings are exempt from Hong Kong legislation regulating public assemblies.

For believers who choose to participate in the protests, taking to the streets to defend their civil liberties and advocate for greater freedom is an expression of how they understand the gospel. Andrea Wong, an 18-year-old protester, told The New York Times, “I am very certain that Jesus would not have stayed home enjoying the air-conditioning. He would have been out here helping people and marching.”


Be sure to check out FaithLink, a weekly downloadable discussion guide for classes and small groups.


          

Why restoring nature is so important to limiting climate change

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A group of 27 countries met in Paris this month to raise $9.8 billion for the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations program that routes money from wealthier countries to poorer ones to combat climate change.
          

Can tokenization and other fintech initiatives help save the planet's biodiversity?

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Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance (SDFA) - a non-profit organisation with a high-level Advisory Board co-chaired by United Nations Environment Programme UNEP and Ant Financial Services Group - has launched its "Fintech for Biodiversity Challenge" to identify fintech companies across the globe with solutions to support the United Nations' goals around biodiversity.
          

Helping countries with biodiversity conservation targets

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Much of the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is not headline-grabbing and involves things like gap analysis, assessments, strategic action plans and capacity-building-training governments in the use of certain databases, for instance.


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