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Online mass-surveillance: "Protect right to privacy even when countering terrorism" - UN expert

United Nations human rights expert Ben Emmerson today urged Governments currently engaged on mass surveillance of the internet for counter-terrorism purposes to update their national legislations in line with international human rights law for new technology surveillance measures.

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Water as a Central Political Issue

Water is an essential and, in many regions of the world, rare resource. Geographers Prof. Dr. Hans Gebhardt and Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser are exploring the potential for conflict underlying short water supplies using the Near East and South and Central Asia as examples. Their research at Heidelberg University shows that it is often scarce water resources that are at the root of ostensibly political and religious conflicts – whether the scant supply is physical, sometimes also due to global climate change, or structural due to the unequal distribution of water by the political powers that be.

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Video: Soldiers detain developmentally-disabled child in Hebron, 19 Oct. 2014

Yesterday, soldiers briefly detained a developmentally disabled Palestinian boy, who is under the age of criminal responsibility, on suspicion that he had thrown stones. The boy, A. a-Rajbi, (full name withheld in interest of privacy) who will be 12 in a month, was detained after Palestinian children threw stones at soldiers on the main road of the Jabel Johar neighborhood in Hebron, close to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. A-Rajbi was handcuffed, blindfolded, and held on the floor of an army jeep for some 15 minutes until his father arrived and convinced the soldiers to release his son, who is mentally disabled and cannot speak.

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Governments still behind on commitments to avert biodiversity crisis

Despite increasing recognition of the biodiversity crisis and its impacts on human well-being, the scale of the government response is far from commensurate with the magnitude of the calamity, says IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 12), closing today in South Korea.

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From Crisis to Catastrophe: first comprehensive report on situation of minorities in Iraq since advance of ISIS

The situation of Iraq’s minorities is one of unfolding catastrophe, say Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights, in the first comprehensive report on religious and ethnic minorities published since the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the country.

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Thousands of Lives to Be Devastated by Lower Sesan 2 Dam: International Groups Demand New EIA

Today, a group of 18 civil society organizations from Cambodia and the Mekong region issued a statement demanding that the project developers and the Cambodian Government conduct a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and release information on the redesign of the Lower Sesan 2 (LS2) Hydropower Dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. The action supports recent community statements in which affected villagers refused to relocate and demanded opportunities for communities to participate in decision-making on the project.

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Olympic ski course in South Korea threatens protected, ancient mountain forest for a 3-day event

Friends of the Earth International campaigners are standing with Korean environmentalists in opposition to the construction of a ski course for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang province, South Korea.

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Warriors burn bridge, demand mining company behind Mount Polley toxic spill leave territory
Full story: APTN

Drone victims sue German government for facilitating U.S. strikes in Yemen

A Yemeni man, whose nephew and brother-in-law were killed in a 2012 drone strike, has travelled to Germany to sue the government for facilitating drone strikes of the sort in which his relatives died.

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IPCC launches full Working Group II report

Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is launching the full version of its contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability on Wednesday 15 October. This definitive assessment is the result of years of intensive work by leading experts in the field. It provides the most comprehensive look to date at the widespread impacts and risks of climate change and the opportunities for response. The full version of the Working Group II report includes a Summary for Policymakers, a Technical Summary, 30 assessment chapters, cross-chapter boxes, frequently asked questions, and high-resolution graphics.

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8 Great Scientific Solutions to Feeding the World

In honor of World Food Day on October 16, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is highlighting eight solutions for feeding the world from its FutureFood 2050 website. They include articles featuring Kofi Annan, M.S. Swaminathan, Sylvia Earle and more.

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World Food Day: Family farmers produce over 70% of the world’s food, their rights cannot be ignored

Speaking ahead of World Food Day*, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, calls on Governments to protect the rights of family and small holder farmers working worldwide. Family farming, Ms. Elver says, is a crucial element in the global fight against hunger, and key to the protection and sustainability of natural resources.

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Iraq: Evidence of war crimes by government-backed Shi'a militias

Shi’a militias, supported and armed by the government of Iraq, have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months and enjoy total impunity for these war crimes, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

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Ebola workers urge safety, solidarity

Hanna Majanen summed it up best: "It is the things you do automatically that are difficult. People will touch their face, rub their eyes and bite their fingernails. These are the things you forget.”

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Magnitude 7.4 Earthquake - 64km S of Intipuca, El Salvador

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake has occurred NEAR COAST OF NICARAGUA at: 12.61N 87.97W Depth 80km 14/10/2014 at 03:51:40 (Universal Time)

Earthquake location with respect to nearby cities:

Location with respect to nearby cities:

64 km (39 mi) S of Intipuca, El Salvador
83 km (51 mi) SSW of La Union, El Salvador
90 km (55 mi) SSE of San Rafael Oriente, El Salvador
90 km (55 mi) SE of Puerto El Triunfo, El Salvador
169 km (104 mi) SE of San Salvador, El Salvador

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Stemming Mass Wildlife Extinctions Must Drive International Biodiversity Treaty

As diplomats and citizens from all over the world continue gathering at the 12th Conference of the Parties for the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity this week, they face the sobering reality that wild plant and animal species throughout the planet — indeed in every country — continue to vanish at rates not seen since the dinosaur die-off 65 million years ago. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat itself, in the recent report Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, “Extrapolations for a range of indicators suggest that based on current trends, pressures on biodiversity will continue to increase at least until 2020, and that the status of biodiversity will continue to decline.”

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'My freedom defends yours': Propaganda and truth about homophobia in Russia

The scene evoked the standoff between David and Goliath.

Except that in Kirill Kalugin’s case, he was surrounded by around half a dozen towering foes – muscle-bound men dressed in Russian paratrooper regalia, who locked elbows and cornered him as they hurled verbal abuse and shoved him around. They made it clear they didn’t like him or his message.

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The 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Jean Tirole

The 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel to Jean Tirole "for his analysis of market power and regulation".

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Gaza: Donors, UN Should Press Israel on Blockade

Donor countries at the October 12, 2014 conference on assistance to Palestine should press Israel to lift sweeping, unjustified restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Security Council should reinforce previous resolutions ignored by Israel calling for the removal of unjustified restrictions.

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Children empowered by the Nobel Prize – UN experts applaud Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi’s work

A group of United Nations human rights experts* today applauded the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for their struggle against suppression of young people and children’s right to education.

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Canada: Federal government cancels key industry and environmental group meeting intended to save species at risk - no rationale given

The federal government has decided to cancel a high level meeting used to solicit advice from industry and environmental groups on how to best protect Canada’s species at risk. The move flies in the face of last week’s Living Planet Report, which calls for urgent action to stem dramatic biodiversity loss around the globe.

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South Africa: Pregnant women and girls continue to die unnecessarily

Hundreds of pregnant women and girls are dying needlessly in South Africa. In part, this is because they fear their HIV status may be revealed as they access antenatal care services, according to a major report published by Amnesty International today.

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Majority of Canadians want fracking moratorium, says EKOS poll

Today, the Council of Canadians released the results of an EKOS Research poll that found most people, regardless of political affiliation, support a fracking moratorium. Seventy percent support “a national moratorium on fracking until it is scientifically proven to be safe.”

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Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and NGOs Take to Streets in 10 Cities Demanding End to World Bank's Morally Bankrupt Development

On October 10, 2014, NGOs, farmers' groups, and indigenous organizations from across the world are coming together as part of the Our Land Our Business campaign to denounce the World Bank's Doing Business rankings. The campaign, endorsed by over 235 organizations, will be staging "creative resistance" events at the Bank’s annual meetings in Washington D.C. and nine other cities around the world. The D.C. event is drawing support from a wide range of activist communities, including Occupy groups who will join representatives of impacted communities from Kenya, Mali, and Ethiopia.

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Conservation International Launches Celebrity Studded Awareness Campaign "Nature Is Speaking"

Nature doesn't need people. People need nature. That's the message of the provocative, celebrity-studded campaign Conservation International (CI) is launching today. Nature Is Speaking aims to raise awareness that people need nature in order to survive.

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Cameroon: WWF complicit in tribal people's abuse

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has uncovered serious abuses of Baka “Pygmies” in southeast Cameroon, at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

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Transparency International calls on Ukrainian parliament to pass strong anti-corruption laws

Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, and its partner in Ukraine call on the Ukrainian parliament to pass a series of anti-corruption laws in a vote tomorrow that would create a strong framework for tackling the systemic corruption that has crippled social well-being and economic growth in Ukraine.

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Environmental activism under threat in Malaysia

On the eve of the October 10-18 global ‘Reclaim Power’ week, Friends of the Earth Malaysia and Friends of the Earth International urged the Malaysian government to cancel its plans for 12 unnecessary and damaging large dams.

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What we know about transmission of the Ebola virus among humans

The Ebola virus is transmitted among humans through close and direct physical contact with infected bodily fluids, the most infectious being blood, faeces and vomit.

The Ebola virus has also been detected in breast milk, urine and semen. In a convalescent male, the virus can persist in semen for at least 70 days; one study suggests persistence for more than 90 days.

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UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response statement for clarification: No threat that Ebola is airborne

Following recent media reports, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) seeks to clarify that Ebola is not an airborne disease. At this point in time we have no evidence and do not anticipate that the Ebola virus is mutating to become airborne.

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