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Tuesday, March 31 2015

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Kenya High Court Finds Criminalizing HIV and AIDS Transmission Unconstitutional

Key provisions of a law criminalizing the transmission of HIV in an effort to curb spread of the disease in Kenya are unconstitutional and violate fundamental human rights, according to a recent landmark ruling from the High Court of Kenya. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed an amicus brief in support of the case brought by AIDS Law Project in 2010.

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Bitter chocolate: Illegal cocoa farms threaten Ivory Coast primates

Researchers surveying for endangered primates in national parks and forest reserves of Ivory Coast found, to their surprise, that most of these protected areas had been turned into illegal cocoa farms, a new study reports.

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Tribal leader targeted for resisting eviction from tiger reserve

A tribal leader in one of India’s tiger reserves is fearing for his safety after a wildlife official urged his community to beat him and drive him out for defending their right to remain on their land.

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Killing us softly: Worldwide, pollution kills twice as many people each year as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined

A recent public outcry in China, sparked by a damning documentary about air pollution, was based on well-founded fear:

Of the 100 million people who viewed the film on the first day of its online release, 172,000 are likely to die this year from air pollution-related diseases, according to regional trends.

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Germanwings co-pilot 'intentionally' sent plane into descent, prosecutor says
Full story: France 24


Critical conference maintains global momentum to curb wildlife crime

Heads of State, ministers and officials from 31 governments meeting today in Kasane reaffirmed their determination to scale up their response to the global poaching crisis, and adopted crucial new measures to help tackle the unprecedented surge in illegal wildlife trade.

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UN Rights Council: Voting Records Exposed

The records of United Nations Human Rights Council members in addressing egregious rights violations in individual countries are scrutinized in the updated “VotesCount” website, Human Rights Watch announced today. The website shines a spotlight on the votes taken by members of the council on situations in individual countries during 2014.

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International Coalition Launches 'Manila Principles' to Protect Freedom of Expression Worldwide

An international coalition launched the “Manila Principles on Internet Liability” today—a roadmap for the global community to protect online freedom of expression and innovation around the world.

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Tribes call on world leaders to recognize their right to hunt

Indigenous organizations and thousands of people from around the world have called on delegates attending a major conference on the illegal wildlife trade to recognize tribal peoples’ right to hunt for their survival.

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World Water Day 2015: UN calls for global unity in pursuit of better water access for all

As the perils of climate change increasingly threaten the planet, the international community must unite in “a spirit of urgent cooperation” to address the many water-related challenges facing humanity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today.

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Cambodia: Stop Blocking Justice for Khmer Rouge Crimes

The Cambodian government should act on charges issued against criminal suspects by an international judge at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, or the United Nations should withdraw its participation from the court and international donors should end their funding, Human Rights Watch said today.

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Pakistan’s changing weather patterns threaten harvests

Anxious farmers in Pakistan waited for weeks for the rains to arrive – but when the skies finally opened, the downpour was so intense it destroyed crops and put the harvest in jeopardy.

“We weather scientists are really in shock, and so are farmers, who have suffered economic losses due to crop damage,” says Muzammil Hussain, a weather forecasting scientist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

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Vanuatu: UN finds 'extensive' loss of agriculture; full scale of damage still to be revealed

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called for emergency support for farmers in Vanuatu, where the vast majority of crops have been destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

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Statoil's historic disclosures blow holes in Exxon and Shell's campaign for secrecy

The Norwegian energy giant Statoil today became the first major oil company to publish its payments to governments under a new, mandatory transparency standard being rolled out across the world. As the Securities and Exchange Commission works to create a similar transparency rule for US-listed oil and mining companies, campaigners in the Publish What You Pay coalition are calling on U.S. regulators to follow Norway’s lead.

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Vanuatu: After devastation, UN experts call to protect human rights of all in disaster response

A group of United Nations human rights experts* called on Vanuatu and the international community to adopt a human rights framework as the basis for recovery in the aftermath of cyclone Pam, while noting that the new global framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted this week includes human rights as a guiding principle in mitigating natural disasters.

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World Heritage Sites risk collapse without stronger local management

Without better local management, the world's most iconic ecosystems are at risk of collapse under climate change, say researchers in Science. Protecting places of global environmental importance such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest from climate change will require reducing the other pressures they face, for example overfishing, fertilizer pollution or land clearing.

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Laos' Sin City's an illegal wildlife supermarket for Chinese tourists

A resort complex tucked away in Laos and marketed to Chinese gamblers and tourists is a hub for trade in illegal wildlife products and parts, a new report reveals.

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Researchers have linked antibiotic resistance with poor governance and corruption around the world

Researchers have linked antibiotic resistance with poor governance and corruption around the world.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Collignon from The Australian National University (ANU) School of Medicine said the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections was one of the greatest threats facing modern medicine.

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Iraqi Militia Attacks Destroy Villages, Displace Thousands

Militias, volunteer fighters, and Iraqi security forces engaged in deliberate destruction of civilian property after these forces, following US and Iraqi air strikes, forced the retreat of Islamic State fighters (also known as ISIS) from the town of Amerli and surrounding areas in early September 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Iraqi government should rein in the militias and countries participating in the fight against ISIS, including the United States and Iran, should ensure military operations and other related support in the fight against ISIS are not paving the way for such abuses.

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Spain: Abortion Bill Endangers Girls

Spain’s ruling Popular Party should withdraw a bill that would force 16 and 17-year-old girls to obtain the consent of their parents to terminate a pregnancy, 22 national and international rights groups said today in letters to the head of the party’s group of legislators in Congress and to UN bodies. The bill is under examination in Congress.

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Citing need to break 'cycle of impunity,' UN panel urges referral of Syria to ICC

A culture of impunity continues to flourish inside Syria amid a conflict that has generated over four million refugees and hundreds of thousands of dead, the head of a United Nations-mandated Commission of Inquiry said today, urging the international community to step up efforts in bringing the four-year-long war to a close.

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Myanmar: "Buddha bar" guilty verdict another blow to freedom of expression

The conviction and prison sentence handed down today against two managers and the owner of a bar in Myanmar for displaying an image of the Buddha wearing headphones should be overturned immediately and is a chilling indication of the growing climate of religious intolerance in the country, Amnesty International said.

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Coping With The Anthropocene. How we became Nature.

Overpopulation, the greenhouse effect, warming temperatures and overall climate disruption are all well recognized as a major threat to the ecology and biodiversity of the Earth. The issue of mankind’s negative impact on the environment, albeit hotly debated and continuously present in the public eye, still only leads to limited policy action.

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To Save An Entire Species, All You Need Is $1.3 Million

How much would you pay to save a species from becoming extinct? A thousand dollars, $1 million or $10 million or more? A new study shows that a subset of species – in this case 841 to be exact – can be saved from extinction for about $1.3 million per species per year, but only if conservation efforts are put in place immediately to ensure habitat protection and management, according to researchers that include a Texas A&M professor.

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Guardians of the Forest: Indigenous Peoples Take Action to Conserve Nearly Half of Suriname

Today, the Trio and Wayana Communities presented a declaration of cooperation to the National Assembly of Suriname that announces an indigenous conservation corridor spanning 72,000 square kilometers (27,799 square miles) of southern Suriname. The declaration, led by these indigenous communities and with the support of Conservation International (CI)​ and WWF Guianas​, comprises almost half of the total area of Suriname. It includes some of the most pristine and intact forests on the planet, which are essential for the country's climate resilience, freshwater security, and green development strategy.

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Vanuatu reeling from impact of cyclone Pam

The closure of the main airport in Vanuatu is hampering the humanitarian response to cyclone Pam, which tore through the Pacific island archipelago yesterday, causing colossal damage.

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BBC reports DRC seeking to change Virunga's boundaries

Virunga National Park was designated World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding universal value to all humanity. As a World Heritage Site protected under national and international law, decisions regarding the boundaries of the park cannot be made by the DRC government alone, but must be made in agreement with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which has a firm position that oil and gas are incompatible with World Heritage status.

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Look What Large-Scale Mining Did to These Four Beautiful Philippine Islands
Full story: Global Voices Onlines


Vanuatu Red Cross responds to severe Tropical Cyclone Pam

Vanuatu residents endured a harrowing night as category 5 severe Tropical Cyclone Pam slammed into Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. The Red Cross is currently carrying out preliminary assessments in Port Vila and other affected areas, while mobilizing its emergency response teams to deliver assistance.

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UN has failed Syria: NGOs

The United Nations Security Council has “failed” the Syrian people, according to some of the world’s largest NGOs. A "report card" compiled by more than 20 aid organisations working in and around Syria – including Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision – gives the Security Council and the wider world a fail grade for attempts to stop the killing and to get aid to those most in need.

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