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Number of posts: 13,954
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 13,954
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And the tail wagged the dog - but who cares?
by Gunnar Westberg / May 29th, 2015
The 2015 Review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended Friday May 22 in New York without a final document being accepted.
No less than 159 states agreed that the humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons would be so catastrophic that they must be abolished.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/05/the-friends-of-nukes-are-losing/
International Physicians For The Prevention Of Nuclear War
Outcome? What outcome?
MAY 25, 2015
by Xanthe Hall
Every five years the same circus. With one big difference. This time 107 states endorsed the “Humanitarian Pledge” to work towards closing the legal gap. That means finding a legal instrument that would prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. Civil society applauded this as the real outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. Now all that remains is for these states to begin a new process. What better year to begin than the 70th commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Up in the gallery, we remained glued to our seats, hoping that South Africa would save the day with an announcement that we are all invited to Pretoria. But although the South African speech was by far the best of all the final speeches, they are keeping us waiting. The wheels of government turn slowly. Even with the support of the majority of states around the world to “close the legal gap”.
Posted by polly7 | Sat May 30, 2015, 04:54 PM (0 replies)
May 29, 2015 by John Vibes
An ambitious new project is hoping to help clean the world's oceans with a trash collector that is reportedly the longest floating structure in recorded world history.
Back in 2013 we reported that a 19-year-old developed a plan to clean up the world’s oceans in just 5 years, removing 7,250,000 tons of plastic. However, last week, Boyan Slat (now 21), founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced that this awesome project will be deployed in 2016.
According to a press release published by the company:
Posted by polly7 | Sat May 30, 2015, 02:55 PM (12 replies)
May 30, 2015 by Amanda Froelich
These trained rats can effectively search 200 square meters in 20 minutes, saving plenty of time and thousands of lives.
Rats are a rodent you either adore or are can’t stand… But soon their stereotypical nature may be discarded, as a Belgian-based NGO is training the little critters to do a job that has potential to save thousands of lives every year, worldwide.
Since the NGO was formed, it has been training rats to effectively search 200 square meters in 20 minutes. This is a stark difference from the 25 operational hours it takes humans with mine detectors to do the same.
And what may be most impressive is that no heroic rats have yet been harmed in the line of duty. Again, this is a grand contrast from the 9 mine-related human casualties reported per day in 2013.
The legacy of land-mines
Photo: Land-mines are catastrophic for children, whose small bodies are particularly vulnerable to the injuries they inflict. One of the mosts heavily mined countries in the world is Afghanistan. ©
Of all the weapons that have accumulated over years of war, few are more persistent and more lethal to children than land-mines . Hundreds of thousands of children, herding animals, planting crops or just playing, have been killed or maimed by these deadly devices.
Treaty in Detail
Sometimes referred to as the Ottawa Convention, the Mine Ban Treaty is officially titled: the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. It was adopted in 1997 and it entered into force on 1 March 1999.
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor (the Monitor), is the innovative civil society research and monitoring arm of the ICBL-CMC and provides the most up-to-date and relevant information on, and assessment of, the international community’s response to the problems caused by landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war.
The Monitor has provided this service to the international community since 1998. It produces annual online and/or hard copy publications of Landmine Monitor, Cluster Munition Monitor, Major Findings of Landmine Monitor and Cluster Munition Monitor reports, individual country profiles for all countries of the world and the disputed areas, as well as topical and thematic Fact Sheets. It is renowned for its independent and impartial reporting, and its researchers and editors are internationally recognized and unbiased experts.
Click here to visit the Monitor website.
Convention on Cluster Munitions
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted by 107 countries on 30 May 2008 in Dublin, Ireland. The convention was opened for signature on 3 December 2008, and as of 20 March 2014 had been joined by 113 states and had 84 States Parties. The convention entered into force on 1 August 2010, six months after the 30th state submitted its instrument of ratification.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits all use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions. It also provides countries with deadlines for clearance of affected areas and the destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions. It includes articles concerning assistance to victims of cluster munitions incidents.
Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions States Parties will be obligated to:
destroy their stockpile of cluster munitions within eight years of entry into force (Article 3);
undertake to clear and destroy cluster munition remnants located in cluster munition contaminated areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 10 years after becoming a State Party (Article 4);
provide age- and gender-sensitive assistance to cluster munition victims, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide for their social and economic inclusion (Article 5); and
submit annual reports on the Convention on Cluster Munitions implementation activities Secretary-General of the United Nations (Article 7).
Click here for the full text of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Impact of Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War
Landmines, unexploded submunitions, and explosive remnants of war (ERW) all pose a serious and ongoing threat to civilians. During and after conflicts, these weapons can be found on roads, footpaths, farmer’s fields, forests, deserts, along borders, in and surrounding houses and schools, and in other places where people carry out their daily activities. They can deny access to food, water, and other basic needs, and inhibit freedom of movement, limiting people’s ability to participate in education or access medical care. Mine and ERW contamination may also prevent the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people, and hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Mine and ERW-affected countries incur costs related to clearing mines, destroying stockpiles, and providing assistance to mine and ERW survivors. More generally, development and post-conflict reconstruction are hindered when access to resources is limited and when people sustain serious, long-term injuries due to mines and ERW.
Posted by polly7 | Sat May 30, 2015, 02:50 PM (12 replies)
It is estimated that one dairy cow can produce up to 150 pounds of manure per day… So why not recycle that digested grass and put it to good use?
This is exactly what the company Reading Buses, based in the UK, has done.
The ‘Bus Hound’, the UK’s first poop-powered bus, has just set a speed record for a regular service bus with a top speed of 76.8 miles per hour (123.5kph). Powered by biomethane derived from cow manure, it is pushing the limits of sustainable technology and showing the world just what can be done with waste matter.
In good humor, the ‘Bus Hound’ (name inspired by the British Bloodhound supersonic car) is decorated with a black and white skin reminiscent of the Friesan cows used for milk production around Britain. It’s also said to sound like a Vulcan bomber.
Full article and video: http://www.trueactivist.com/feces-powered-bus-breaks-world-speed-record/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29
Posted by polly7 | Thu May 28, 2015, 11:01 AM (7 replies)
By Yanis Varoufakis
Source: Project Syndicate
May 26, 2015
So, if our government is willing to embrace the reforms that our partners expect, why have the negotiations not produced an agreement? Where is the sticking point?
The problem is simple: Greece’s creditors insist on even greater austerity for this year and beyond – an approach that would impede recovery, obstruct growth, worsen the debt-deflationary cycle, and, in the end, erode Greeks’ willingness and ability to see through the reform agenda that the country so desperately needs. Our government cannot – and will not – accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease.
Our creditors’ insistence on greater austerity is subtle yet steadfast. It can be found in their demand that Greece maintain unsustainably high primary surpluses (more than 2% of GDP in 2016 and exceeding 2.5%, or even 3%, for every year thereafter). To achieve this, we are supposed to increase the overall burden of value-added tax on the private sector, cut already diminished pensions across the board; and compensate for low privatization proceeds (owing to depressed asset prices) with “equivalent” fiscal consolidation measures.
The view that Greece has not achieved sufficient fiscal consolidation is not just false; it is patently absurd. The accompanying graph not only illustrates this; it also succinctly addresses the question of why Greece has not done as well as, say, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, or Cyprus in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. Relative to the rest of the countries on the eurozone periphery, Greece was subjected to at least twice the austerity. There is nothing more to it than that.
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/austerity-is-the-only-deal-breaker/
Posted by polly7 | Tue May 26, 2015, 12:33 PM (0 replies)
MAY 23, 2015
NEW YORK – A four-week U.N. review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ended Friday without adopting a consensus document after negotiators failed to narrow differences over a proposal to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone.
The failure to produce an outline for actions for the next five years at the meeting, which took place in the 70th anniversary year of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, raised concerns that efforts to advance toward a world free of nuclear arms will lose momentum.
The conference president, Algerian diplomat Taous Feroukhi, admitted to a lack of consensus at a plenary meeting that was held after hours of delay. Citing “diverging expectations of state parties for a progressive outcome,” she said “it would be impossible for any single consensual document to possibly meet the highest aspirations of all parties.”
With the current meeting — held once every five years — not the first to close without adopting a final document, the conference’s effectiveness in promoting its agenda of disarmament, nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy may be thrown into question.
Full article: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/23/world/u-n-disarmament-talks-collapse/#.VWKKEE9VhBc
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
By CARA ANNA
May 22, 2015 9:33 PM
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by setting a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.
The now-failed final document of a landmark treaty review conference had called on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the Middle East conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.
Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program. A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it.
Since adopting a final document requires consensus, the rejection by the United States, backed by Britain and Canada, means the entire blueprint for global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation for the next five years has been blocked after four weeks of negotiations. The next treaty review conference is in 2020.
Posted by polly7 | Sun May 24, 2015, 10:36 PM (2 replies)
May 23, 2015 by Sophie McAdam
Yes, that's exactly what European politicians have in mind to solve a crisis largely created by Western Imperialism in the Middle East.
To anyone with an ounce of compassion for the unimaginable suffering of those fleeing war-torn countries for the safe haven of European soil, the idea of sending the military to destroy ships bringing illegal immigrants to the continent is unthinkable. Yet that’s exactly what is being proposed by politicians in Europe, with widespread public support.
Since the beginning of the year, over 18,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean sea. In April alone there were three separate incidents of boats sinking during a crossing to Italy, killing 1300 men, women and children. These statistics are all the more shocking when you figure in that at this time last year, only 200 migrants had lost their lives at sea.
So why are more people than ever before risking their lives to make it to Europe? Politicians talk of ‘economic migrants’ as though money (and welfare) are the primary driving force behind these acts of desperation, but hey avoid dealing with the root of the problem: that our misguided military action in the Middle East has left millions of families with no other option. For them, it’s a case of stay and live a life not worth living, or take the risk of dying on this perilous journey to search for a safe haven. Choosing to undertake the enormous challenge of reaching Europe could never be an easy decision, as many anti-immigration campaigners would have us believe.
In order to get to Europe, migrants search for illegal gangs who agree to take them in exchange for dollars, quite often the entire life savings of the refugees. These desperate people are unaware in advance of the danger and the abuse (including beatings and death threats by the people smugglers) they have signed up for. Boats are always severely overcrowded and usually in bad condition. It is the human traffickers that Europe has vowed to wage war on, but they only exist through a process of supply and demand: it is military action in the Middle East that led us to this crisis point, and more of the same will do nothing to stop thousands more Libyans and Syrians from attempting the same crossing.
Full article: http://www.trueactivist.com/how-to-solve-europes-migrant-crisis-according-to-politicians-lets-attack-their-boats/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29
Posted by polly7 | Sun May 24, 2015, 03:11 PM (0 replies)
May 24, 2015 by Amanda Froelich
The last time you moseyed past a piece of litter on the ground, were you inspired to do anything more with it than throw it away?
All of his works were built using end-of-life materials: the majority were found in wastelands, abandoned factories, or just randomly along his travels. Some were even obtained from companies going through a recycling process.
Full article: http://www.trueactivist.com/he-turns-junk-into-animal-art-projects-to-raise-awareness-about-pollution/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29
Posted by polly7 | Sun May 24, 2015, 03:08 PM (7 replies)
AGENCY Sunday 24 May 2015
Malaysian police have discovered mass graves in more than a dozen abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the border with Thailand, where Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar have been held.
"These graves are believed to be a part of human trafficking activities involving migrants," Home Minister Zahid Hamidi told reporters.
He did not say how many bodies have been recovered.
The Malaysian newspaper The Star has reported that as many as 100 bodies were found at one camp.
Similar camps and dozens of remains were recovered in jungle camps across the border in Thailand earlier this month, where Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar had been held by traffickers until their families could pay for their freedom.
Full article: http://world.einnews.com/article/267110665/j47hG4-1JDja11R7
Posted by polly7 | Sun May 24, 2015, 03:04 PM (0 replies)
By Joris Leverink
Source: teleSUR English
May 23, 2015
Mesopotamia, the ‘Land of Two Rivers’, cradle of modern civilization and currently home to probably as many conflicts as there are ethnic groups, religious factions and nation states. Rebels fighting states; Sunnis battling Shias; Turks clashing with Kurds; jihadists massacring local villagers; environmental activists against national governments and states competing with one another for the region’s natural resources.
Full article: https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/water-politics-in-the-land-of-two-rivers/
Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war
From California to the Middle East, huge areas of the world are drying up and a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. US intelligence is warning of the dangers of shrinking resources and experts say the world is 'standing on a precipice'
An Egyptian farmer shows the dryness of the land due to drought in a farm formerly irrigated by the river Nile. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Already a billion people, or one in seven people on the planet, lack access to safe drinking water. Britain, of course, is currently at the other extreme. Great swaths of the country are drowning in misery, after a series of Atlantic storms off the south-western coast. But that too is part of the picture that has been coming into sharper focus over 12 years of the Grace satellite record. Countries at northern latitudes and in the tropics are getting wetter. But those countries at mid-latitude are running increasingly low on water.
"Are we just going to plunge into this next epic drought and tremendous, never-before-seen rates of groundwater depletion, or are we going to buckle down and start thinking of managing critical reserve for the long term? We are standing on a precipice here."
Posted by polly7 | Sun May 24, 2015, 02:26 PM (0 replies)