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.
by Charu Lata Hogg, Democratic Voice of Burma, Burma - Nearly 18 months back, the Myanmar [Burmese] government made a commitment to the international community and its own people. Through a Joint Action Plan signed with the UN last June, it pledged to end the recruitment and use of children into its armed forces, the Tatmadaw Kyi, and the Border Guard Forces (BGFs). It also promised to take steps to ensure that children would be protected from recruitment in the future.
Some tangible measures have been taken; however children continue to be recruited into the Myanmar military and non-state armed groups. On 30 November 2013, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, established under a 2005 Security Council resolution and consisting of all its members, begins a mission to Myanmar. It will meet with representatives from the Myanmar government and other actors to offer advice and support towards ending child recruitment and other grave violations against children in Myanmar.
by Rebecca Murray, IPS, Italy - Married women in Lebanon who suffer abuse at home remain at the mercy of the country’s multitude of religious courts, because the hard-fought civil law against domestic violence has been stalled for a vote in parliament since the summer.
One woman demanding a divorce and custody rights is Aisha, a 24-year-old mother of four originally from the Bekaa Valley, whose abusive husband forced her into prostitution.
by Allison Kilkenny, The Nation, USA - Walmart employees and supporters protested in cities all across the country on Black Friday in opposition to Walmart’s low wages and poor treatment of workers. In some cases, protesters volunteered to engage in acts of civil disobedience and were arrested by police. Organizers expected 1,500 total protests in California, Alaska, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington and Canada. In Secaucus, New Jersey, thirteen activists were arrested after sitting in the middle of the street to block traffic.
Marc Bowers said he worked at a Walmart in Dallas, Texas, for eight years before he was fired for participating in a strike. After Walmart fired him, he decided to get more involved with worker organizing, including traveling to New Jersey for this year’s Black Friday protest. Bowers said he hopes to inspire other workers enduring similar hardships.
by Carolina, Global Voices, The Netherlands - Doctors in Indonesia are protesting the Supreme Court ruling against three obstetricians who were sentenced to 10 months in jail for committing malpractice that led to the death of 25 year-old Julia Fransiska Makatey in Manado, North Sulawesi.
In 2010, Makatey, a nurse working in a remote town in Papua, was supposed to deliver her third child in her hometown Manado. Makatey's father accused the obstetricians of negligence saying that they left his laboring daughter without surveillance or proper treatment for 13 hours.
by Frances Moore Lappé, Common Dreams, USA - I grew up in Cow Town. Or make that Fort Worth, Texas. It was the ’50s and supper was canned spinach with either meat loaf or with what my brother and I called “loose meat”—ground beef and canned mushroom soup. Iceberg lettuce and Jell-O rounded it out.
Food was not a big deal.
by Sophie McBain, New Statesman, U.K. - My mother is from Holland and so, like every Dutch child, I celebrated Sinterklaas every year. According to Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas, arrives in the Netherlands from Spain each November for a visit that culminates in him delivering sweets and presents to well-behaved children on the night of 5 December. This year, Sinterklaas has sparked a debate so fierce that even the UN has become involved.
At the root of the controversy are Sinterklaas’s helpers, called the Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes. “And do you know why Zwarte Piet is black?” I remember my grandma asking me. “It’s because he comes down the chimney to bring you your presents.” This is the story told to most children in Holland, but Zwarte Piet isn’t smeared with soot like Dick Van Dyke after a long day on set. His whole face is painted black and he has thick, painted-on lips, a black curly wig and thick gold hoop earrings.
by Lena Greiner, Der Spiegel, Germany - What could a person possibly have against the desert locust? These peaceful creatures nourish themselves with leaves and fruit, and they like sunlight and the company of others -- thus their penchant for traveling together in swarms in the broad daylight. But there are mavericks among these locusts -- ones that travel alone and at night. From 2008 to 2011, a research group led by Dr. Uwe Homberg at Germany's University of Marburg sought to unlock the mystery of how the insects that fly at night orient themselves in the dark.
The research seems innocuous enough on the surface, but in hindsight, university President Katharina Krause isn't happy about it. Contacted by SPIEGEL ONLINE, she said she would have "seriously urged against taking on the project given the clear military-oriented expectations of the funder." The client was the United States Defense Department. For €143,600 ($194,600), the Americans reportedly sought to determine ways to orient and steer drones and weapons based on the behavior of the desert locust during night flight.
by Anitha S, Countercurrents, India - We in the Idintahkarai village of Thirunelveli district are wondering what the sound of death is. In September 2012 when the police burst upon our village with tear gas and lathis, we thought the sound of death was that of boots. When the Coast guard helicopter flew low on us as we stood in the sea and killed our brother Sahayam, we felt the real voice of death is the whirring of the wings. When dear Roslaine died after months of suffering from the fatal ailment gnawing her in the Trichy jail without proper treatment, we thought the sound of death is her slow difficult breathing.
Now we have heard it again. Last evening the Tsunami Village in Idinthakarai was slowing its daily life pulse.Wind blew in through the Poovarasu trees as children set aside their bags and homework. The courtyards and paths were deserted as women and men slowly moved into the house. . The house of Sahayam too was preparing for the night. Inside the house were 3 lives eager to have dinner and sleep . We do not know what were the thoughts of 14 year old Sona. She must have been thinking of the lessons she had learnt for the next day. Her sister 12 year Subiksha might have been thinking about the walk to the school with friends and the small fights and skirmishes. Would she have been smiling with such girlish thoughts? Litte Tepikson with all the earnestness of the thousand odd days since he was born would have been thinking of cuddling up to his mother's warm body and sleeping. How would we know what the thoughts and dreams of 3 children growing up by the seashore in the comfort of a home were? We would never ever know because the children are gone forever. Last evening the sound of death came to us in the form of a bomb blast. Not knowing to even utter the word bomb or even seeing such a man made destructive tool, the children have become the victims of a senseless massacre.
by Helen Clark, Huffington Post, USA - Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women -- a day which reminds us that violence against women continues to be destructive and pervasive. Ranging from domestic violence and child marriages to the use of rape as a tactic of war, violence against women kills as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer, is a grave assault on many more women and girls and imposes high economic and social costs on societies.
In responding to gender-based violence, the financial costs to health systems, social services, the justice sector and indirect costs, such as those of lost productivity, burden countries around the world. From Chile, where intimate partner violence is estimated to drain as much as two percent of the country's GDP, to the United States, where the cost of domestic violence is estimated to exceed $12.6 billion per year, violence against women imposes high costs on both its victims and society.
by Cati Restrepo, Global Voices, The Netherlands - The death of Nataly Palacios Córdoba, a 23-year-old social worker who was murdered at the hands of her boyfriend, caused such shock among her friends and classmates that they decided to create the campaign 'El amor no mata’ [Love doesn't kill].
Nataly was killed on August 18, 2013, having just completed her university degree the previous March in the city of Medellín [en] in Colombia.
by Mia Doornaert, Presseurop, France - How far should the boundaries of the European Union reach? "Up to where the Gothic ends," was the answer once given by a prominent European, the Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998. In his answer, Kohl reflected an essentially cultural and thus European perspective. An echo of this sounded on November 16 in De Standaard, in an interview with the literary giant Cees Nooteboom, one of the best writers never to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nooteboom is deeply disenchanted with the European debate as it no longer concerns culture or ideas, but is instead all about cents and percentages.
by Alison Winch, The Guardian, U.K. - New research into female competition and aggression suggests that women are biologically wired to be "indirectly competitive". This is another way of saying that women are naturally two-faced: women can't help but bitch.
It's the kind of science that justifies misogyny. The vitriol directed against The Great British Bake Off contestants, for example. Instead of weighing up the quality of the baking, the women were scrutinised for signs of indirect competition: Ruby's apparent flirting with the male judge, or Kim's malice. What was a straightforward competition was labelled as a cat fight. There is a titillating investment in framing women as covertly aggressive. The reality is obviously much more complicated. Women, like men, both compete and collaborate.
by Jasmin Ramsey, IPS, Italy - A momentous agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme was officially announced shortly before 3:00 am local time via Twitter by the spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Michael Mann, on Nov. 24, after more than four days of grueling talks.
The deal occurred after years of negotiations with Iran but only three and a half months after the inauguration of Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, who has already overseen several historic foreign policy milestones.
by Madeeha Maqbool, Daily Times, Pakistan - I read Doris Lessing for my English degree and realised that she could write about the depths of human misery that many people erroneously believe is only their lot in life. She could relate because she spent a large part of her life fighting against and mentally returning again and again to captivity. Born in Persia and raised in Rhodesia, she spent her teenage trying to escape her mother and home. Marrying at 19 to achieve this end, she could not endure a life of intellectual isolation and left her husband and two children to make a life for herself. In her own words, she did not want to end up like her mother — a woman who had to choose between a prestigious nursing career and having a family of her own. Having chosen the latter, Lessing’s mother eventually moved to South Africa with her husband, a shattered veteran of the Great War. In the first volume of her autobiography, Lessing wrote, “Do I believe [my] difficult birth scarred me — that is to say, my nature? Who knows? I do know that to be born in the year 1919 when half of Europe was a graveyard and people were dying in millions all over the world — that was important.” World War I hung over their lives and made home life a misery, and thus was born the urge to escape and start over.
by By Swaleha Sindhi, Countercurrents, India - India is a country of villages as the majority of its population lives in villages and far-flung remote areas. The interesting aspect is that every region of the country though connected with the cities now; however, still possesses its own peculiar traditional ethos. Also most of the rural communities/Tribal’s are still devoid of modern facilities like education, electricity, proper drinking water, health care, ample transportation, etc. Tribal development in India has been a success as the primitive societies living in remote rural areas are now educating their children and living in desirable standards. It is interesting to note that apart from several governmental efforts, the contributions of non-governmental organizations in providing training and development in different sectors of economy especially the tribal population.
by Miriam Markowitz, The Nation, USA - A few years ago, the literary world was beset by a bogeywoman who came bearing bad news and the numbers to prove it; her name was VIDA. Some assumed this moniker was an acronym or a misspelled allusion to Virginia Woolf’s famous literary paramour, Vita Sackville-West, but it wasn’t. VIDA was an all-caps neologism that would come to haunt the dreams of editors of magazines large and small, eminent and less so, with your author, dear reader, included among those unsound sleepers.
by Simone Salden, Der Spiegel, Germany - Faced with a shortage of priests, the Catholic Church in Germany is recruiting an increasing number of preachers from abroad like Benjamine Gaspar, who hails from India and now holds sermons at a church in the town of Bocholt.
When Benjamine Gaspar first heard the name of the diocese -- Münster -- he kneeled down and prayed. As he recalls it, he then got up, sat down in front of his computer and looked up the name on Wikipedia, where he learned that Münster is a city in northwestern Germany, has a population of 300,000, is the seat of a bishopric and is known as a "bicycle city."
by Jaspreet Kindra, IRIN, Kenya - Negotiators at the UN climate talks were making bets on when the conference would end as another cold wet day began in Warsaw. Opinion weighed heavily in favour of late on Friday night or in the early morning on Saturday, but this could change.
"Loss and damage talks are now taken up by ministers," said Sönke Kreft, team leader of International Climate Policy at the NGO, Germanwatch. "Together with decisions on the roadmap for a new agreement in 2015 and concrete steps in climate finance, these could lay the foundation for an acceptable Warsaw outcome."
by Paula Span, The New York Times, USA - Trying to hold onto a job while caring for a family member is a tough juggling act. Caregivers sometimes have to arrive late or leave early, cut back to part-time work, and decline travel or promotions.
For women, these competing responsibilities may prove particularly perilous, a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology suggests. Women who are caregivers are also significantly less likely to be in the labor force, compared to women who are not caregivers. Yet for men, caregiving has no impact on employment status.
by Sabria S. Jawhar, Arab News, Saudi Arabia - Whenever Saudi women are granted rights that they fought for so long to achieve, we squeal, jump up and down and clap like little girls. We tell the world media that Saudi society is joining the international community and on the right path in recognizing women’s rights.
Then reality sets in and we discover that it’s the same old story. A case in point is an incident recently in which a Saudi judge barred a female lawyer from his courtroom because she did not have a legal guardian accompanying her. Just a few months ago, women were granted licenses in Saudi Arabia to practice law and argue cases in the courtroom. The Ministry of Justice granted licenses to only a handful of women possessing a law degree. Women saw the move as a huge step in paving the way to rectifying the flaws in the Saudi domestic courts, which heavily favor men in custody, alimony and divorce cases. Now women could comfortably explain their case to another woman and have the confidence that her sister can argue her position before a judge.
by Kathy Kelly, Counter Currents, India - I've been a guest in Colorado Springs , Colorado , following a weeklong retreat with Colorado College students who are part of a course focused on nonviolence. In last weekend's Colorado Springs Gazette , there was an article in the Military Life section about an international skype phone call between U.S. soldiers in Kandahar , Afghanistan and sixth grade girls at a private school in Maryland . (“ Carson Soldiers Chat With Friends” November 17, 2013 F4)
Soldiers from Fort Carson 's Company C Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4 th Infantry Division had been receiving care packages and hand-written letters from sixth grade girls at a private school in Brooklandville , MD. The project led to a late October video chat session which allowed the soldiers and students to converse.
by Zainab Deen, BBC, U.K. - In Kenya 1.5 million people are living with HIV, and there are about 100,000 new infections every year. Despite this, some sex workers are having unprotected sex - and taking antiretroviral drugs afterwards to cut the infection risk. How reckless is this?
"Let me tell you the truth about why many of us don't use condoms," says Sheila who has been a prostitute in Nairobi's Korogocho slum for six years.
"We don't have money, and when you meet a client who offers to give you more money than you usually get, you have sex without protection even when you don't know his HIV status."