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MALAWI: High-Risk Sex Among Those Who Do Not Exist

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Published on IPS, by Christi van der Westhuizen, Aug 18, 2009.

CAPE TOWN, Aug 18 (IPS) – A study on men having sex with men (MSM) in Malawi shows that, as elsewhere in the developing world, this vulnerable group is at greater risk of contracting HIV and AIDS than the general population. Moreover, their risk status is exacerbated as governments fail to target them for health services or information to stem HIV transmission.

The study was presented at the human rights conference of the recent World Outgames, held in the Danish capital from Jul. 25 to Aug. 1. At the same session it transpired that MSM in developing countries are on average 19 times more likely to be HIV positive than the general population.   Continue Reading…

Reinventing No Child Left Behind

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Stephen Lendman, August 17, 2009.

Enacted on January 8, 2002, the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act’s (NCLB) sponsors claimed it would close the achievement gap between inner city and rural schools and more affluent suburban ones by setting high reading and math standards, then testing to assure they’re achieved. However, the law’s real aim is to commodify public education, end government responsibility for it, and make it another business profit center.

Renewing NCLB stalled in both houses of Congress for good reason. It’s long on testing, school choice, and market-based reforms, but short on real achievement. It’s built around rote learning, standardized tests, requiring teachers to teach to the test, assessing results by Average Yearly Progress (AYP) scores, and punishing failure by firing teachers and principals, closing schools, and transforming them from public to charter or for-profit ones.   Continue Reading…

MEXICO: States Tighten Already Restrictive Abortion Laws

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Published on IPS, by Emilio Godoy, Aug. 17, 2009.

MEXICO CITY, Aug 17 (IPS) – Alejandra Gómez is facing prosecution in the southern Mexican state of Puebla for having an abortion. The 20-year-old’s case is symptomatic of a wave of anti-abortion legal reforms adopted by a number of states in this country.

The reforms are seen by activists as a backlash against the April 2007 legalisation of first-trimester abortion in Mexico City.

Except in the federal district, abortion is illegal in Mexico, although the 31 states all make exceptions on varying grounds, such as for victims of rape or in cases in which the mother’s life or health is at risk or there are serious fetal deformities.   Continue Reading…

Afghanistan’s child brides

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Published on The Economist, August 17th 2009. Find there a lot of videos. Click on the one mentionned as:

Afghanistan’s child brides, 10.00 min.

Stephanie Sinclair, a photographer, spent time in 2003 with child brides in rural Afghanistan. They are sold as property.

The Geneva conventions at 60 – Unleashing the laws of war

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Published on The Economist, from its print edition, Aug 13th 2009.

The chasm is still too wide between noble Swiss ideas and the hard reality of locations where war is hell.

WALK the calm, well-heeled streets of Geneva and there seems little to connect this metropolis in neutral Switzerland with the genocidal slaughter in Rwanda and the rape camps of Bosnia in the 1990s, or the appalling violence lately inflicted on civilians caught up in fighting in Darfur, Chad or eastern Congo. Yet decisions taken in Geneva do have an effect, both legal and humanitarian, on people in benighted places—and the world would be much happier if the effect was far greater.

The city is the UN’s humanitarian hub, headquarters to both its refugee and human-rights agencies. More memorably, though, it lends its name to a clutch of conventions, adopted six decades ago this month, initially with the horrors of two world wars in mind. Those agreements still form a bedrock for the laws of war and the protection of non-combatants …  Continue Reading…

Autonomous Politics and its Problems

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Published on Zcommunications.org, by Ezequiel Adamovsky, July 10, 2009.

(Contribution to the Reimagining Society Project hosted by ZCommunications. This paper was originally prepared for the June 1 – 7 2006 first Z Sessions on Vision and Strategy, held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and also published in the book Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century)

Part One: Two Hypotheses on a New Strategy for an Autonomous Politics: My aim in this article is to present some hypotheses on issues of strategy for anti-capitalist emancipatory movements. The idea is to rethink the conditions for an effective politics, with the capacity to radically change the society we live in. Even if I will not have the space to analyze concrete cases, these reflections are not a purely “theoretical” endeavor, but spring from the observation of a series of movements I had the chance to be part of – the movement of neighbor’s assemblies in Argentina, some processes of the World Social Forum, and other global networks- or that I followed closely in the past years – the piquetero (unemployed) movement also in Argentina, and the Zapatistas in Mexico …     Continue Reading…

Nora Ephron: Woman’s wit

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Published on The Independent.co.uk, by Edward Helmore, 15 August 2009.

Heroine to a generation of wronged wives, the writer and director’s latest film has strengthened her claim to be the voice of liberal America.

Long before the release of her latest film, a unique mixture of sardonic wit and solidarity with scorned women brought Nora Ephron an unlikely coalition of fans.

But it is only now, with her direction of Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and focused on the US cookery pioneer Julia Child, that the 68-year-old is being championed as something altogether more grandiose. Indeed, a growing band of her countrymen and women feel that, at a time of convulsion and change for their country, this east coast maverick has a reasonable claim to be the most perspicacious chronicler of the American zeitgeist. How did this come to pass?    Continue Reading…

Countdown to transformation

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a special conference under the stars to celebrate and make ET-contact, October 24-26, 2009, Rio Rico, Arizona, USA

Received by e-mail:
From: Disclosure Project updates
Date: 15/08/2009

You are Invited to join us for 3 days and 3 nights under the stars to celebrate ET CONTACT in the beautiful desert outside of Tucson, AZ with:

What is Socialism and Why Should We Fear It?

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Published on political affairs pa, by Thomas Kleven, August 3, 2009.

Barack Obama’s opponents regularly charge him with being a socialist and of favoring socialistic measures. There is little or no discussion of what socialism entails. The mere use of the word is enough said. If it’s socialistic, it must be bad – like calling someone an ogre. Even Obama has felt the need to try to deflect the criticism by making fun of it, as during the campaign when he parried the charge that he’s a redistributionist by joking about sharing a sandwich in elementary school. Obama knows full well, though, that the United States already has more than a little socialism, that many of the most fundamental aspects of American life have been socialized to one degree or another. Evidently he fears that, due to the word’s negative connotations, an open discussion of socialism would impede efforts to revitalize the economy, achieve universal health care, etc.   Continue Reading…

Islam and heresy – Where freedom is still at stake

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Wanted: Islam’s Voltaire

Published on the Economist.com, August 6, 2009.

TO MOST Western ears, the very idea of punishing heresy conjures up a time four or five centuries ago, when Spanish inquisitors terrorised dissenters with the rack and Russian tsars would burn alive whole communities of ultra-traditionalist Old Believers. Most religions began as heresies. Today the concept of “heresy” still means something. Every community built around an idea, a principle or an aim (from fox-hunting enthusiasts to Freudian psychotherapists) will always face hard arguments about where the boundaries of that community lie, and how far the meaning of its founding axioms can be stretched. But one of the hallmarks of a civilised and tolerant society is that arguments within freely constituted groups, religious or otherwise, unfold peacefully. And if those disputes lead to splits and new groups, that too must be a peaceful process, free of violence or coercion.  Continue Reading…

WSF?

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(World Social Forum)

Published on Zmag, Michael Albert interviewed by Katja Kipping, August 14, 2009.

Kipping: You have participated in several World Social Forums (WSF). What hopes and expectations did you have? Have they been fulfilled?

  • Albert: I hoped the WSF would facilitate activists from around the world making new contacts and also inspire new people to become involved, including sharing information to learn lessons from others. All that has been accomplished.
  • I also hoped the WSF would shift the focus of activist attention away from merely identifying what is wrong in societies toward emphasizing what we want and how we achieve it. Here, success has been limited. Despite bringing together hundreds of thousands of people and using very large investments of energy, time, finances, etc. there don’t seem to be many new campaigns, shared projects, and internationally or even regionally shared vision and strategy, much less organization …

… You advocate participatory economy. Could you explain this conception? Is it part of the re-imaging society process?

  • Participatory Economics, or parecon, is the economic model I advocate to replace not only capitalism but also what was called 20th century socialism. I believe it is an economic system that embodies the aspirations of those who seek classlessness, those who want 21st century socialism, those who want self-management, etc.
  • Yes, Parecon is one of the visions put forward and advocated by many people in the Reimagining Society project. Indeed, I hope it will turn out to appeal to nearly all participants, but we will see.
  • Parecon has just a few key institutional features including workers and consumers self managed councils, equitable remuneration for duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valuable work, what we call balanced job complexes which is a way of organizing work that avoids class divisions based on position in the division of labor, and participatory planning for allocation instead of either markets or central planning.
  • Of course each aspect needs further explanation for the description to be compelling, but the main idea is that parecon is a minimal set of economic institutions necessary to convey to producers and consumers a setting of self management, solidarity, diversity, and equity, without class division, in which they can decide their own lives and actions …

… What exactly do you wish and hope to be realized during the next WSF?

  • I would like to see the WSF become a vehicle for attaining shared vision and strategy. Maybe it would evenwelcome us to do a Reimagining Society component of the event  – not just another set of some panels  -  but a component aimed to shift the balance of discussion and exchange from critique to vision and strategy. But if there is some better way to achieve that end, wonderful – whatever works! (full Interview text).

Requests for Information: 20 July – 2 August 2009

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Received by mail:
From: Global HR-Education
Date: 06/08/2009

Dear members, Below is a compilation of requests for information sent to the Global Human Rights Education listserv during the past week. At the bottom of each request you will find an e-mail address, so that you can respond to the request directly.

1. LOOKING FOR SYLLABI ON SCIENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS (Linked with American Association for the Advancement of Science AAAS).
Dear Colleagues, We write to ask your assistance in identifying university and college syllabi on science and human rights from any and all disciplines (e.g. health, engineering, anthropology). With the permission of their authors, these syllabi will be posted online as part of a database of science and human rights resources being created by the Education and Information Resources working group of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. Examples of the types of syllabi we seek include: Health and Human Rights, Anthropology and Human Rights, Science in the Service of Human Rights. We look forward to receiving your syllabi and suggestions for inclusion. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Kind regards, SHRP Staff, Science and Human Rights Program, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1200 New York Avenue, NW , Washington, DC 20005 USA, Ph +1 202 326 6796, Fax +1 202 289 4950, Website, e-mail.

*****   Continue Reading…

The Media, the Left and Power

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(or: Media Capitalism, the State and 21st Century Media Democracy Struggles)

Published on Cyrano’s Journal online, by Tanner Mirrlees, August 7, 2009.

Tanner Mirrlees (TM) interviews Robert McChesney (RM): TM: Why do you think it is important for progressives to understand the media and participate in media democracy struggles?

RM: The media is one of the key areas in society where power is exercised, reinforced and contested. It is hard to imagine a successful left political project that does not have a media platform. The media was not a major political issue for earlier generations of the Left. In the 19th century, a very different media system was in place. 19th century socialists wouldn’t be talking much about the need to criticize the New York Herald Tribune because they weren’t organizing people who read the New York Herald Tribune. It was much easier and more common for the Left to have its own media. The workers had worker papers. They weren’t consuming mass produced commercial media products.   Continue Reading…

The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. Peter Dale Scott, Augusst 11, 2009.

… The Real Grand Chessboard: Those Profiting from Enduring Violence:

The delusional grandiosity of Brzezinski’s rhetoric is inherent above all in the false metaphor of his book title. “Vassals” are not chess pieces to be moved effortlessly by a single hand. They are human beings with minds of their own; and among humans an unjust excess of power is certain to provoke not only resentment but ultimately successful resistance. One can see this easily in Asia, from the evolution of anti-Americanism in Iran to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) in Central Asia: although still ostensibly nonviolent, HT’s rhetoric is now more and more aggressively anti-American.[13]   Continue Reading…

More Dubious Secrets

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Systematic Overclassification of Defense Information Poses Challenge for President Obama’s Secrecy Review

Published on The National Security Archive, by William Burr, July 17, 2009.

Pentagon classification authorities are treating classified historical documents as if they contain today’s secrets, rather than decades-old information that has not been secret for years.  Today the National Security Archive posted multiple versions of the same documents—on issues ranging from the 1973 October War to anti-ballistic missiles, strategic arms control, and U.S. policy toward China—that are already declassified and in the public domain.  What earlier declassification reviewers released in full, sometimes years ago, Pentagon reviewers have more recently excised, sometimes massively.  The overclassification highlighted by these examples poses a major problem that should be addressed by the ongoing review of national security information policy that President Obama ordered on May 27, 2009Continue Reading…

Critique of Warrantless Surveillance Program

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National Security Inspectors General Release Critique of Warrantless Surveillance Program

Published on The National Security Archive, by Meredith Fuchs, July 10, 2009.

Washington, DC, July 10, 2009 – Today’s release of a report (43 pdf-pages) by several agency inspectors general reinforces the National Security Archive’s argument in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the Justice Department should declassify and release the legal justifications for the surveillance program authorized by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Continue Reading…

Amnesty: actions pour femmes

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Lié avec Amnesty International Volunteers.

Reçu par La Lettre Femmes:
De: Francoise Guillitte
Date: 11/08/2009

Participez aux actions actuelles pour soutenir des femmes au Nepal; en Bulgarie; en Irak; au Mynmar; au Sri Lanka.

Register: Newsletter ’stop violece against women’

Chère abonnée, cher abonné, Voici votre lettre mensuelle d’Amnesty relative aux droits des femmes dans le monde. Vous y trouverez des actions en faveur de femmes en danger. Votre réaction pourra peut-être leur sauver la vie. Vous y trouverez aussi parfois des liens vers les rapports, les bulletins d’informations ou les sujets de réflexions soulevés par l’Organisation sur cette thématique. Merci pour votre précieuse solidarité.
Françoise Guillitte, Responsable du Programme Droits des Femmes, Amnesty International Belgique francophone, 9, rue Berckmans, 1060 Bruxelles – Belgique, e-mail.

AFRICA: Raising the Profile of Gender-Based Violence

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Published on IPS, by George Mwita, Aug. 8, 2009.

NAIROBI, Aug 8 (IPS) – Imagine you are a journalist; you get a tip for a story about a sexual assault on a ten-year-old girl, and pitch it to your editor.

You think it’s a strong story idea – fresh news of a violent crime illustrating a widespread social problem; aching human interest angle and solid sources. But he – and chances are high that your editor is male – is not interested.

Susan Wabala, from Peace Pen Communications, a Kenyan media organisation focused on social change, peace-building and conflict resolution, says just such a story about the rape of a minor in the girl’s family home was turned down by editors.   Continue Reading…

HREA conducted workshop for staff of Commonwealth Secretariat

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Published on HREA.org, July 2, 2009.

HREA conducted a two-day introductory training workshop on June 29-30 for staff of the Commonwealth Secretariat at its headquarters in London (United Kingdom). The aim was to increase capacity in implementing a human rights-based approach in the Commonwealth’s programming.

Thirty participants from all divisions of the Commonwealth Secretariat were introduced to human rights concepts and instruments, human rights mechanisms and human rights-based approaches. HREA trainers Peter Dixon and Felisa Tibbitts facilitated hands-on interactive sessions on tools for planning, monitoring and evaluation, sectoral and thematic-based frameworks and policies and other aspects of the human rights-based approach to development and democracy programming.  Continue Reading…

Will Venezuelan Destabilization Follow

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Linked with Stephen Lendman – USA.

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Stephen Lendman 07 August, 2009.

After ten and a half years in office, Hugo Chavez is very savvy about America’s intentions. On January 17, even before Obama’s inauguration, he said “Barack Obama has the ’stench’ of his predecessor as US president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American empire” …

… In America, Chavez bashing remains in vogue with major media contributors especially vocal after he accused the State Department, CIA, and Pentagon of being behind the Honduran coup with clear evidence it’s true after decades of US meddling in the region …

… Will Chavez Now Be Targeted?   Continue Reading…

The Great Hiroshima Cover-Up

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Published on Huffington Post, by Greg Mitchell, 06 August, 2009.

In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 64 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited.

The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades. I first probed the coverup back in 1983 in Nuclear Times magazine (where I was editor), and developed it further in later articles and in my 1995 book with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and in a 2005 documentary Original Child Bomb.  Continue Reading…

RIGHTS: Disfiguring Disease Linked to Right to Food

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Published on IPSnews, by Gustavo Capdevila, Aug. 7, 2009.

GENEVA, Aug 7 (IPS) – Noma, an ulcerous disease whose name comes from a Greek word that means “to devour” because it literally eats away at malnourished children’s faces in just a few months, is found in the developing world, mainly in Africa.

It attacks small children among the poorest of the poor. And although it can be easily treated by common antibiotics if caught in the early stages, 70 to 90 percent of its victims die. The disease is closely linked to malnourishment.

“The mere existence of this disease demonstrates that the right to food of the most vulnerable is being violated,” said Jean Ziegler, vice-chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, a group of experts created a year ago that held its third session in Geneva Aug. 2-7. Continue Reading…

A Just Peace In Kashmir? Reflections On Dynamics Of Change

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Richard Shapiro, 07 August, 2009.

What are the various roles that diverse constituencies must play to facilitate political processes that undo militarization and subjugation in Indian administered Kashmir? How can systemic structures that institutionalize violence, cultural annihilation, economic impoverishment, and political disempowerment be countered through non-violent, ethical resistance? What alliances are necessary to allow hope for overcoming cycles of oppression and breaking with histories of domination? How can international, national, and local actors and institutions work together to disrupt socially unnecessary suffering and ameliorate the conditions of existence? What forces must cohere to enable a just peace to emerge in a democratic Kashmir in the foreseeable future? …  Continue Reading…

Indian police accused of abuses

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Published on BBCnews, August 4, 2009.

Watch this Amateur video showing Indian police beating a suspect, 2.31 min.

Police in India are guilty of widespread human rights violations, including beatings, torture and illegal killings, a new report alleges.

The US-based group Human Rights Watch says India’s policing system facilitates and even encourages abuses.  It says there has been little change in attitudes, training or equipment since the police was formed in colonial times with the aim to control the population. It says the government must take major steps to overhaul a failing system. There was no immediate response from the Indian authorities.

Shocking: … (full text).

Sorrows of the house of Oudh

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Adventures in a megacity

Published on MondeDiplo english edition, by Sam Miller, August 2009.

… “Do you know Moses?” the Princess asked, fixing me with an intense glare. I must have looked puzzled. “The Mount Sinai Moses,” she clarified, exasperated at having to talk to such a simpleton, “in the Bible.” My mind wandered to the only other people named Moses whom I could think of, Ed and Grandma (1), before I said: “Not personally, but I’ve certainly heard of him.” A chortle ran through my body, as if a fit of giggles was about to overtake me. I lowered my head, so as not to catch her eye, as she continued: “We are descended from the Pharaohs. Do you know what I am saying?”

Ordinariness is a sin   Continue Reading…