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Saturday, January 31 2015

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Tibetan nomads hold vigil in Chengdu to protect the grasslands

A group of around 10 Tibetan nomads held a vigil outside the hotel in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, where an official meeting on January 28. They were calling for protection to pasture areas and opposing illegal land acquisition.

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Oman: UN experts call for the immediate release of prominent rights activist, as reprisals continue unchecked

A group of United Nations independent experts has urged the Government of Oman to release Said Ali Said Jadad, a prominent human rights defender who has been advocating for democratic reforms in the country and has been repeatedly detained. Mr. Jadad’s latest detention took place on 21 January, without an arrest warrant.

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Malawi flooding: urgent assistance needed to confront massive and complex challenges, say UN experts

A group of United Nations human rights experts today urged the international community to rapidly provide all necessary funding and assistance to the Government of Malawi and humanitarian actors in response to some of the worst flooding in the country in living memory. Flooding has also affected Madagascar and Mozambique where international assistance is crucial to scale up responses.

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Boko Haram at a glance

The conflict in Nigeria has taken the lives of thousands of men, women and children, many at the hands of armed group Boko Haram. Here’s everything you need to know about the group that is causing turmoil in Africa’s most populated nation.

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China and CITES Secretariat to tackle demand for illegal ivory

Some 80 representatives from national wildlife and other relevant authorities from China, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Commission, and international organizations, including UNDP, UNEP, UNODC and the World Bank, as well as the private sector and non-governmental organizations, experts and specialists from many disciplines, including from the collection and art investment circles, gathered together today for a two-day workshop to discuss demand-side strategies for curbing illegal ivory trade in China. The workshop is co-organized by the Chinese Government and the CITES Secretariat.

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UN experts urge El Salvador to pardon all women jailed for pregnancy complications and repeal restrictive abortion law

El Salvador’s decision to pardon a woman convicted of aggravated homicide after suffering a miscarriage must mark a turning point for the authorities to review the sentences against all women jailed for pregnancy-related complications, a group of UN human rights experts* said on Wednesday.

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B'Tselem to Israeli PM: Black flag of illegality flies over cabinet's policy of attacking residential buildings in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge

Today Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem published its report on the policy of attacking residential buildings in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. The report addresses one of the appalling hallmarks of the fighting in Gaza this summer: bombings in which hundreds of people were killed – constituting more than a quarter of all of the Palestinians killed in the fighting. Time and again Palestinian families suffered much grievous loss of life. In a single instant, so many families were ruined, with the wreckage of their lives mirroring the devastation of their homes.

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New Report Highlights Top Ten Cleanups Saving Lives; Toxic Pollution Kills One in Seven People Worldwide

Diseases like Ebola, HIV and Malaria capture headlines while pollution steadily kills nearly 9 million people every year and cripples the health of 200 million more. Children suffer the worst impacts. Extreme pollution also chokes development and drains billions from fragile economies. But this is one global problem we know how to solve.

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Oxfam calls for massive post-Ebola Marshall Plan; World cannot dither on recovery as it dithered over Ebola

International agency Oxfam today called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola ‘Marshall Plan’ to put the three West Africa countries hit by the crisis back on their feet. The agency said that the world cannot dither on putting the countries’ economies on an inclusive growth plan as it did on the Ebola response.

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'We are being tested again,' Ban warns as UN marks 70 years since Auschwitz liberation

Seventy years ago today, allied forces liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, urging renewed vigilance to eradicate the deep roots of hatred as anti-Semitic attacks continue and vulnerable communities around the world bury their dead while living in fear of further violence.

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World must 'wake up' to enormity of Central African Republic crisis, warns UN relief official

The top United Nations humanitarian official in the Central African Republic (CAR) is calling for increased protection of displaced communities in the northern town of Batangafo, where relief agencies are working hard to ease suffering as the country's ongoing conflict drives a steady stream of terrified people into the area seeking safety.

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Fish catch break on world stage at global conference

Inland fishing - the powerful yet quieter sister to the large, salty marine aquaculture powerhouse - has gained what experts say is a much-needed visibility boost this as the first partnership between Michigan State University (MSU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations goes on in Rome.

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International Solidarity with Iraqi and Syrian Women's Human Rights Advocates against ISIL

Women in Iraq and Syria are the targets of brutal oppression and sexual attacks perpetrated by ISIL. From January 26-28, in Istanbul, Turkey, a landmark event will convene Iraqi and Syrian women's rights advocates working to protect survivors and to document evidence of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war. As representatives of government and civil society, we join these courageous leaders to support their lifesaving work and as allies determined to end sexual violence in conflict.

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Climate Change and Nuclear Tensions Push Doomsday Clock Forward to 3 Minutes to Midnight

Warning that “the probability of global catastrophe is very high” unless quick action is taken, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today cited unchecked climate change and global nuclear weapons modernization as the basis for their decision to move the hands of the historic Doomsday Clock forward two minutes. The shift of the Doomsday Clock hands to three minutes to midnight is the first such adjustment to be made in three years. The Board also outlined action steps that will need to be taken “very soon” in order to avert catastrophe.

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We saw what you did - satellites and human rights

The shocking satellite imagery of the destruction in the northeastern Nigerian town of Baga and nearby villages earlier this month provided graphic evidence of the extent of the crimes by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram when they stormed in.

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More than 2.5 million people reached in emergency response campaign with anti-malarial medicines in Sierra Leone

Two successive emergency response campaigns in Sierra Leone to distribute anti-malarial drugs to people living in areas affected by the Ebola virus disease outbreak have successfully reached more than 2.5 million people, and significantly reduced the number of people with fever that might be mistaken for Ebola virus disease (EVD).

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Leaked report says World Bank violated own rules in Ethiopia, sponsored forced evictions of thousands of indigenous people

The World Bank repeatedly violated its own rules while funding a development initiative in Ethiopia that has been dogged by complaints that it sponsored forced evictions of thousands of indigenous people, according to a leaked report by a watchdog panel at the bank.

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Uncontacted Amazon Indians 'surrounded by loggers' make contact

Three isolated Awá Indians have made contact with a settled Awá community in Brazil’s north-eastern Amazon rainforest.

Amakaria, the leader of the group, and several relatives, were reportedly contacted by a Brazilian government team some decades ago, but decided to return to an isolated life in the forest.

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UNESCO commemorates 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau will provide the backdrop for the commemorations of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 January). Liberated on 27 January 1945, this site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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Salvadoran Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned for Pregnancy-Related Complications Denied Pardon

El Salvador’s Congress has denied freedom to “Guadalupe,” a rape survivor who became pregnant, suffered an obstetric emergency and was wrongfully convicted of and imprisoned for homicide—failing to approve her pardon on Friday by just one vote, despite the recommendation from both the Human Rights Congressional Committee and Supreme Court Committee that she be released.

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International NGOs Call for Transparency in Murder Investigation of Ecuadorian Indigenous Leader

Last week, MiningWatch Canada and the Council of Canadians joined Amazon Watch and a dozen other environmental and human rights organizations to urge the Ecuadorian government to ensure a just, transparent, and expeditious investigation into the murder of indigenous leader and anti-mining activist José Tendetza. We also condemned the SWAT team raid on José Tendetza’s house and urge the investigators to refrain from intimidation tactics.

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Security Council condemns escalating Boko Haram attacks, warns of 'crimes against humanity'

The United Nations Security Council today condemned in the 'strongest terms' the recent escalation in attacks conducted by Boko Haram, and expressed its deep concern that the activities of the Islamist extremist group, including a spate of shocking suicide bombings across northern Nigeria, are undermining peace and stability in the West and Central African region.

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Agriculture: Genetic diversity a hidden tool in coping with climate change

Genetic resources have a critical role to play in feeding the world — especially as climate change advances faster than expected — and much more needs to be done to study, preserve and utilize the biological diversity that underpins world food production, according to a new book released by FAO today.

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Adolescents twice as likely to be out of school as children of primary school age, say UNESCO and UNICEF

Around 63 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 years old are denied their right to an education, according to a new joint report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF, Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, released today during the Education World Forum.

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Israel Continues to Refuse to Connect Four East Jerusalem Neighborhoods to the Water Supply

On Monday, January 19, the High Court of Justice will conduct a follow-up hearing on a legal appeal submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, together with Palestinian residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods behind the separation barrier, that demands the provision of water services. The hearing will take place at 09:00 before Justices Rubenstein, Hendel and Zylbertal.

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Israeli military steps up use of live 0.22 inch bullets against Palestinian stone-throwers

Recent months have seen a dramatic rise in Israeli security forces’ use of live 0.22 inch caliber bullets (Ruger rifle bullets, also known by the nickname Two-Two) in clashes with Palestinians in the West Bank. The firing of this ammunition is an almost weekly occurrence in the West Bank in sites of protests and clashes. Most of those injured have been young Palestinians, including minors. Yet, in the last two months, one Palestinian woman, at least three photographers, and a foreign national who was taking part in a demonstration were also hit by these bullets. B’Tselem does not have the full data on the number of people wounded this type of ammunition.

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Sarawak Governor Fails to Justify His Extreme Wealth

Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud ("Taib") has missed out on a historic opportunity to explain the sources of his extreme wealth. A chair reserved for Malaysia’s longest-serving politician at a panel discussion in London last night remained empty. Neither the Sarawak Governor nor his London lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, turned up at the launch of Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia by Lukas Straumann, a non-fiction book whose appearance Taib had in vain tried to stop.

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Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

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New planetary dashboard shows 'Great Acceleration' in human activity since 1950

Human activity, predominantly the global economic system, is now the prime driver of change in the Earth System (the sum of our planet's interacting physical, chemical, biological and human processes), according to a set of 24 global indicators, or "planetary dashboard", published in the journal Anthropocene Review (19 January 2015).

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NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.


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