Protestors in the poor working class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina have halted plans for GM crop giant Monsanto to build a seed plant in their community. The protestors are mainly farmers who’ve already complained about Monsanto spraying crops with a notorious pesticide, Roundup, which contains chemicals thought to be harmful to humans. Indeed, many children have reportedly fallen sick and affected areas have seen a rise in cancer and birth defects.
Unexploded shells from artillery exercises in India have claimed 63 lives in past years. As a result, protests have erupted in a village in Kashmir because a picturesque meadow nearby has been leased to the Indian Army for further exercises. Villagers claim that not only does the danger of unexploded shells threaten their lives, it hurts their livelihood by taking away land that could be used for livestock and crops.
Skateboarding is changing lives in Cambodia. Due to its conflict-ridden past, the country has hundreds of thousands of children on the streets fending for themselves or working to supplement the family income. There are an estimated 10,000 working children in the capital, Phnom Penh, alone and half of them are girls. Now, a non-profit organisation called Skateistan is holding classes for youngsters, using skateboarding to break down class and gender barriers and to push kids into staying in school and not to touch drugs.
Gay and transsexual immigrants who enter the US detention system often face high levels of sexual abuse resulting in many returning to their home countries rather than staying to fight a legal battle, a new report warns. Many are so poor they cannot afford bail which means they are left with the choice of returning to the home country they fled – where their lives could be in danger - or staying in detention throughout the months of their trial to face physical and sexual abuse from both inmates and guards.
Protests over “seismic bombing” in Trinidad have led to several arrests, including the president of the Triniadadian NGO Fisherman and Friends of the Sea, Gary Aboud. The fishermen were protesting against the contentious use of “seismic bombing” by energy companies – boats firing intense impulses of compressed air into the water to search for oil and hydrocarbons in the seabed – which the Natural Resources Defence Council has said cause catch rates of commercial fish to plummet over vast areas of ocean.
Paranoid schizophrenic Kayla Xavier Moore stopped breathing and died shortly after being detained by police in California, USA. While her family believe she should have been taken to a hospital immediately when she became agitated in her home, the police handcuffed her as she had an outstanding warrant. A recent report suggested that at least half of all people shot and killed by the police annually in America suffer from mental illness. Mental health professionals have urged further special training for officers so they can deal with vulnerable people appropriately.
Concerns are rising that courts run by Islamic clerics in Syria’s rebel-held areas may serve as a prelude to Taliban-style justice later. Sentences are supposed to be suspended during war but there is evidence of executions carried out on soldiers. However, some people in rebel areas support the Islamic clerics as many spent time in prison under the Assad regime.
The Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, receives 98 per cent of terror attack cases in the troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province having treated 6000 victims since 2005. But the result of dealing with the never ending flow of maimed people is having a detrimental impact on doctors’ mental health. Reports have shown that many medics in Peshawar use anti-depressants, sleeping pills and tranquilizers to try and repress the terrible nightmares they regularly have of screaming patients.
The way of life for thousands of indigenous communities in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley is under threat. The construction of The Gibe III dam on the Omo River, which will be the world’s fourth-largest dam when finished in 2015, will divert water from the river which is vital for the survival of indigenous groups. The indigenous people are to be resettled but there is growing concern they have not been consulted properly about their own future.
The five-year civil war in the Solomon Islands – known as The Tensions lasting from 1998-2003 – left 50,000 people displaced on both sides and an unknown number dead. During the war many people were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered and although the conflict ended a decade ago, anguish over the whereabouts of loved ones who disappeared continues. New hearings are to hopefully reveal what happened to these family members and help to bring peace and reconciliation.
Scientists have issued an urgent warning that if global carbon emissions continue to rise at their current rate, humanity will be left with no other option than a costly, world war-like mobilisation. Climate change, pollution, damaged ecosystems, record species extinctions, and unsustainable resource use, are all clear symptoms of a dysfunctional economic system, a new report warns. IPS reports.
Decades of international and local collaboration have brought the Tahki or Asian Wild Horse back from the brink of extinction in Mongolia’s Gobi desert. However, the country’s other wild equine – the Mongolian Wild Ass or Khulan – is fast disappearing due to mining, poachers and a lack of natural resources. IPS reports on the fate of an endangered species.
Parts of Indonesia, Argentina and Nigeria are among the top 10 most polluted places on the planet, according to a new report by environmental groups. Extraordinarily toxic places where lifespans are short and disease runs rampant, millions of people live and work at these sites, often to provide the products used in richer countries. The Top Ten Toxic Threats report is the latest in a series of annual reports documenting global pollution issues. The list is based on the severity of the health risk and the number of people exposed.
The battle might have been over four years ago, but for women in Sri Lanka’s former conflict zones the war continues. Their struggle is not only about making ends meet, but also about saving their honour. The island nation’s 26-year-long civil war (1983-2009) between the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government forces, left many women the sole breadwinners for their families with their menfolk either killed, maimed or gone missing. The dire financial situation has led to increased incidents of exploitation of women.
Greenland will eventually become truly green as most of its massive ice sheet is destined to melt, according to the authoritative UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s latest science includes a warning there is a 20-percent chance the massive Greenland ice sheet will begin an irreversible meltdown with only 0.2 degrees C of additional warming. However, it would take 1,000 years for all the ice to melt.
Sex workers in Cambodia have described their work as the least bad of many terrible options to earn money just to live. According to Melissa Hope Ditmore, who carried out research for a report for the Sex Workers Project, this is a common attitude of sex workers, not just in Cambodia but around the world, and says they should be given support in the form of more safety measures and HIV testing, rather than being criminalised. Anti-sex trafficking and sex exploitation laws in Cambodia are often used to harass sex workers and rights groups that support them.
Skype is to become the latest app to be blocked by the Pakistani government in Karachi, after Youtube earlier in September. The launch of a grand clean-up operation against terrorists, extortionists, criminal gangs and target killers in Karachi is being used as the justification for doing so. Skype allows a cheap and difficult to trace way of communication and the government says this attracts terrorist groups. However, neither the internet community nor rights groups buy this excuse and are calling the move an attack on human rights and civil liberties.
Thousands of people in Afghanistan gathered for ceremonies in Kabul to commemorate the memories of loved ones after the release of a list that gave information on people executed in the late ‘70s by a communist regime. The ‘death list’, obtained by the International Crimes Unit of the Netherlands National Police, gives meticulous detail of teachers, students and activists who were considered counter-revolutionary. The dead are listed in both chronological and alphabetical order. Families at the gathering demanded justice, not just for those on the list, but for the many that have disappeared over the last 35 years.
Some 50,000 files on crimes against humanity are languishing in an undisclosed location in El Salvador while activists and lawyers frantically try to regain control over them. The files contain accounts of massacres and other crimes committed during the 1980-1992 civil war. The Tutela Legal del Arzobispado – the legal aid office of the archbishop of San Salvador – had been working its way through the vast collection when its office was suddenly closed down by the Catholic Church. The written, audio, and video accounts of human rights abuses have now been moved to a hidden location while Tutela Legal campaigns to get them back.
This week the Islamic world marks one of its holiest holidays, Eid al-Adha. The festival involves large family gatherings, bountiful lunches and generous gift giving. However, Muslim refugees from Syria living in Syria are unlikely to be celebrating this year. Languishing in a poverty-stricken refugee camp, Syrian mothers like Fatima are seeking psychological counselling for their situation, wondering how they will feed and clothe their children, never mind buy them presents. Many Syrian women face pressure to trade sex for goods and money, and the cramped conditions of the camps are proving a breeding ground for frustration and violence.