by Chrystia Freeland, International New York Times, USA - When Soviet communism collapsed, the West’s declarations of triumph were so full of hubris that it was easy to forget what was right about them. The Ukrainians protesting in downtown Kiev are a reminder that there was actually a lot to glow about.
But the struggle that seemed to be over in 1989 is still going on, and today’s battleground is the square that protesters have renamed the Euromaidan, or Euro-place. The people there are again insisting on the choice of a regime, a type of government, that they and their Soviet compatriots first tried to make in 1991. They know they want what we have and what we are. As our own self-assurance fades, we need to see what they are showing us.
by Martina Schwikowski, IPS, Italy - Maureen Phiri, 18, has a soft voice and a strong message about HIV and young people in her country. “In Malawi, people are still in denial because of cultural beliefs. Traditional leaders and churches are denying the disease. Let us gather those leaders and hear from young people what is really happening.”
Phiri, an activist who lives with HIV, belongs to the Baylor Teen Club in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital. The club is part of a programme that provides medical care and psycho-social support to HIV-positive adolescents, of whom Malawi has 91,000.
by Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe, Global Voices, The Netherlands - From 25th November to 10th December, 2013, the group “Take Back the Tech” invites you to the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women campaign, and to take action each of those days in order to end gender violence.
Each day's action explores a problem related to violence against women and its connection to communication rights. These actions will tackle different communication platforms both on and offline, in creative and tactical ways.
by Sabria S. Jawhar, Arab News, Saudi Arabia - A new study by the World Economic Forum came up with some interesting facts about Arab and Muslim women, particularly Saudis, in education and the workplace. An estimated 80 percent of all Saudi women applying at domestic and foreign universities are interested in the field of engineering.
Greet Brosens, managing director of Sagent Recruitment, told the news website PolicyMic that, “The number of girls studying engineering in the Middle East is higher than the UK for all countries where stats are available. Kuwait jumps out with near parity at 49 percent, and some research even suggests that girls have now overtaken boys in engineering subjects. Bahrain (has a female engineering student population) of 32 percent. (And) 80 percent of all girls in Saudi Arabia are interested in engineering.”
by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, USA - The world's largest library association is warning against the NSA's "ravenous hunger” for information and is urging the passage of legislation to rein in the agency's vast surveillance powers.
As whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed, the NSA has been collecting "metadata," and that's particularly concerning for libraries, because, as Alan Inouye, director of the Office for Information Technology Policy at the American Library Association (ALA), told The Hill, "libraries are all about metadata."
by Jennifer Bell, The National, UAE - Nine-months pregnant and just days from giving birth, Bushra Al Shams heard the news she did not want to hear.
Her nine-month-old firstborn, Sara, had muscular dystrophy – a muscle wasting condition that could also affect her unborn baby.
When Ms Al Shams gave birth to Noor days later and looked into the tiny face of her second daughter, the 29-year-old knew she was born with the same condition.
by Mariz Tadros, Open Democracy, U.K. - Sometime past midnight in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday the 27th November, activists reported that a security vehicle dumped a group of women in the middle of the desert in Egypt. Security officers had arrested them the day before for protesting against the proposed protest law, which they believed would infringe on citizens’ freedom of expression. Some of the women arrested were also activists in anti-sexual harassment groups such as Fouada Watch and Opantish. Captured footage showing how roughly they were treated seemed déjà vu of the repressive security apparatus handling of dissent during Mubarak’s and Morsi’s authoritarian regimes.
However, what is striking is that the arrests of the protestors did not stir the mass mobilization of the citizenry to rise in anger, raising the troubling question of why not?
by Aloosh Devrim, Voice of Syria, Syria - Araa, a 37-year-old mother, dashes through the house, hysterically inspecting one room after the other. She is shivering in panic. She tries to collect as much as she can from the shattered household items.
Here and there she stops, interrupted by a flashback triggered by the memories scattered all around her home. In the devastated TV lounge, Araa had celebrated her master’s degree with her family. In the left corner of her living room, she had cried all night when her husband was posted to another city. Now she stands in the children’s play area of her large living room. She sees glimpses of the last six years of her life with her husband and children.
by Sinem Özge Demir, The Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey - Owing to the 3-year civil war in Syria, almost half of the population have been displaced and 2.3 million of them had to take refuge in neighboring countries. According to the estimations of the United Nations (UN), more than half of Syrian refugee population consists of children. The present situation of this refugee groups, who are struggling to survive in neighboring countries, has attracted attention not only in Turkey but also in the whole world.
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.