by Elizabeth Segran, The Nation, USA - Throughout the Muslim world, a groundswell of feminist sentiment is growing among women who are seeking to reclaim Islam and the Koran for themselves. For decades, many women believed they had to choose between their Muslim identity and their belief in gender equality. It was an impossible choice—one that involved betraying either their faith or their feminist consciousness. Four years ago, a global movement called Musawah—“equality” in Arabic—began to make the case that women can fight for justice and equality from within Islamic tradition. For many Muslim women, this came as a revelation.
by Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, U.K. - In his last years, increasingly frail though he was, Nelson Mandela became one of the world's most important and effective campaigners against HIV/Aids. It was a difficult issue to take on because it pitched him into opposition with his own government. Believing that public confrontation would be unhelpful, he chose his words carefully; they were no less powerful for that.
By 2000, South Africa was the worst-affected country on the planet, with an HIV prevalence rate among 15- to 49-year-olds of 24.5%: more than 4 million people, and rising fast.
by Jutta Wolf, IDN, Canada - A huge amount of some 5.7 trillion US dollar – 5,700,000,000,000 – is required yearly to build a green infrastructure by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees C, a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates.
Developing countries in particular are in pressing need of adequate funds to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) plays an important role in providing the necessary funding. Continued warming from the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere is projected to have substantial adverse impacts on the environment, human health and the economy.
by Amanda Hess, Slate, USA - This week, the International Women’s Media Foundation and the International News Safety Institute released the results of an online survey asking female journalists around the world to detail the abuse they’ve experienced on the job. Sixty-four percent of the 875 respondents said they had experienced “intimidation, threats, or abuse” in the office or in the field. Most of the abuse was perpetrated by the journalists’ bosses, superiors, and co-workers. Forty-six percent of female journalists said they had experienced sexual harassment at work, including “unwanted comments on dress and appearance.” That harassment was also overwhelmingly perpetrated by colleagues. Twenty-one percent said they had experienced physical violence—including being pushed, pinned down, or threatened and assaulted with weapons—in the course of their work. Thirteen percent had been sexually assaulted on the job—again, mostly at the hands of co-workers.
by Yvonne Schymura, Der Speigel, Germany -
It was May 17, 1945, not long after Nazi forces had surrendered, ending Word War II in Europe, when miners dug through the wall of rubble with picks and shovels in Altaussee, Austria. There was a 12-meter thick layer of debris blocking the entrance to the salt mine, and though no one knew what was inside, they all hoped they would find what they were looking for.
Corporal Lincoln Kirstein was the first to crawl through the opening. Inside, it was dark and eerily quiet. The entrance was covered in dust and debris, and an iron security door hung shattered on its hinges. Deep inside the earth, Kirstein finally found what he had sought for so long: Europe's cultural legacy. The wooden crates were coated with a thick layer of dust, but otherwise undamaged.
by Tetyana Lokot, Global Voices, The Netherlands - Protests in Ukraine, which started on November 21, 2013, when President Victor Yanukovych and his government reneged on promises to sign an association agreement with the European Union, are the most populous since the 2004 Orange Revolution. New media and social networks have played a key role in both the initiation and development of the Euromaidan protests, as they are known.
But as the movement has escalated, it has become harder to follow solely on the Internet.
by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, USA - At the recent International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative Summit, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva discuss their decades of work devoted to protecting nature and saving future generations from the dangers of climate change. A renowned primatologist, Goodall is best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons. An environmental leader, feminist and thinker, Shiva is the author of many books, including "Making Peace with the Earth: Beyond Resource, Land and Food Wars" and "Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace."
by Ida Irene Bergstrøm, Kilden, Norway - The way in which women are represented in the media is getting worse every day, according to professor of Communication and Media Studies Liesbet van Zoonen. However, the representation of the Norwegian female politicians Siv Jensen and Erna Solberg, may be the exception from the general rule.
"When I began my research on the representation of women and female politicians in the media in the eighties, people kept telling me that "it will take time, but it will get better". I believe that I have good reason to say that it hasn't. It has become worse," says Liesbet van Zoonen.
by Sophie Yeo, Countercurrents, India - Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. But not fat enough. By 2050, the world will need 70% more food in order to feed a projected population of 9.6 billion.
Closing this food gap will become one of the great challenges of the coming decades, particularly as a changing climate shrinks the volume of crops produced in some parts of the world.
by Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS, Italy - The people of this working-class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina’s central farming belt stoically put up with the spraying of the weed-killer glyphosate on the fields surrounding their neighbourhood. But the last straw was when U.S. biotech giant Monsanto showed up to build a seed plant.
The creator of glyphosate, whose trademark is Roundup, and one of the world’s leading producers of genetically modified seeds, Monsanto is building one of its biggest plants to process transgenic corn seed in Malvinas Argentinas, this poor community of 15,000 people 17 km east of the capital of the province of Córdoba.
The plant was to begin operating in March 2014. But construction work was brought to a halt in October by protests and legal action by local residents, who have been blocking the entrance to the site since Sept. 18.
by Victoria Fleischer, PBS, USA - Amy Toensing is a born storyteller. The photojournalist has traveled the world to find her subjects: from a cave dwelling tribe in Papua New Guinea to sunbathers on the Jersey shore. Her photos are revealing and honest, a testament to her skill. "Being intimate with your subjects ... bearing witness to their lives is everything for telling a powerful story," she told the NewsHour.
Toensing is one of 11 women whose work is on display at the National Geographic Society's "Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment." The exhibit showcases the work of female artists spanning generations as part of the Society's 125th anniversary celebration.
by Brittney Cooper, Salon, USA - With this week marking the 58th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, much has rightly been made of the Republican National Committee tweeting a picture of Rosa Parks this weekend, with a caption that said: “today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.” (emphasis added)
But while many have justifiably focused on the claim that racism has “ended” (which the RNC later “clarified“), another significant truth has gotten lost. If they really cared about Rosa Parks’ memory, Republicans would attempt to emulate her courage in challenging the white male entitlement that demanded she give up the seat that she paid for. That kind of white male entitlement still dominates both the GOP and the American political scene today.
by Anu Koivunen, Ingrid Ryberg and Laura Horak, The Guardian, UK - Four independent Swedish cinemas now tell audiences if the films they screen pass the Bechdel test – which requires that a film (1) feature two named female characters who (2) talk to each other about (3) something other than men. Films that meet these criteria get a seal of approval, or an A rating.
The test owes its name to the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, whose 1985 Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip drew attention to how few films appeal to viewers who take pleasure in female "sociality" – forms of social bonding between women. Twenty-eight years later cinemas are turning Bechdel's black humour into policy in order to raise consciousness among audiences about gender imbalance. Indeed, their action has prompted huge national and international debate in recent weeks.
by Emmanuelle Leroy Cerqueira, Global Voices, The Netherlands - After a month of hinting and mystery in Dunkirk in northern France, a new offbeat webzine for the 2.0 generation was launched. X, Y & Z shared some 40 teasers on Facebook before its kick-off on October 14, 2013, earning their page 1,000 likes before the project had even launched.
Now, their page has more than 1,500 fans, many from the Dunkirk area and throughout France, but also from North Africa, Canada, the United States, and Brazil. That's X, Y & Z's main focus—45 bloggers in the same city, collaborating and connecting with each other around the shared goal of pooling their energies, sharing their passions and being open to the entire world. It's a project bringing talents together and creating a new dynamic that is both territorial and digital at the same time.
by Cathy Otten, IRIN, Kenya - Ilham Nori Wahid’s eyes fill with tears as he speaks about the bomb attack that left him wounded, and killed his friends and neighbours in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk province.
“The sound was so loud that I couldn’t hear anything for three days afterwards. There were five people in front of me and all of them were killed.”
by Emily Atkin, Counter Currents, India - If Pakistan’s coastal region of Sindh is any indication, the adverse effects of climate change in developing countries will not be gender neutral.
The women in Sindh — a province of Pakistan with a population of approximately 42 million – have been socializing less, walking further, and encountering health issues due to shortages in fuel wood and fresh water, according to a report released by the women’s resource center Shirkat Gah. The shortages, the report said, are undoubtedly due to climate change.
by Mimi Yagoub, The Santiago Times, Chile - Despite a history of immigration Chile’s population became relatively homogenous throughout the 20th century. In the last 15 years, however, this has changed as large numbers immigrate in search of work, attracted by the country’s strong economy. With a foreign population growing at three-and-a-half times the regional average, Chile more than most faces the economic implications and social issues associated with an influx of foreigners.
According to the U.N., an estimated 400,000 foreign nationals — 2.3 percent of the total population — are currently living in Chile. Since 2000, numbers have grown at an average rate of 6.2 percent per year — the second highest in South America and far above the regional average of 1.8 percent.
by Amy Rankin-Williams, Marin News, USA - Janice is a single mother of four children ranging from 6 to 14 years old. She lost her husband to AIDS five years ago. Janice is HIV-positive as are her two eldest daughters. She is very poor.
Globally, race, poverty, and stigma drive AIDS.
In our country, the rate of new HIV infections among African Americans is 7.9 times the rate in whites. In poor urban areas, individuals living in poverty are twice as likely to be HIV-positive as those with higher incomes. New HIV infections are rising for men who have sex with men.
by Jana Hauschild, Der Spiegel, Germany - At the start of the 20th century, doctors thought they could use patients' paintings to diagnose their psychiatric conditions. This turned out to be largely untrue, but, even so, painting remains an important part of psychiatric treatment to this day. The act of painting allows patients to come to terms with traumatic experiences, fears and their experiences of illnesses -- and sometimes the results are remarkable pieces of art.
As early as the 1920s, art historian and junior doctor Hans Prinzhorn recognized the talent in his patients at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic, and began collecting their works. The world-renowned Prinzhorn Collection at Heidelberg's University Hospital now contains over 5,000 drawings, oil paintings, wood carvings and textile works.
by Henriette Jacobsen, Eur Activ, Belgium - The Netherlands has retained its position at the top of the annual Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) which compares healthcare systems in Europe.
On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 35 European countries for the fourth year in a row, scoring 870 of a maximum 1,000 points.