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Tuesday, July 26 2016

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Despairing about elections? This is why your vote matters

It seems that no matter who you vote for, a politician gets elected. Given that outcome, how can we make sure that the person we elect has the character and abilities to do the job properly?

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Radiation along Fukushima rivers up to 200 times higher than Pacific Ocean seabed - Greenpeace

Radioactive contamination in the seabed off the Fukushima coast is hundreds of times above pre-2011 levels, while contamination in local rivers is up to 200 times higher than ocean sediment, according to results from Greenpeace Japan survey work released today.

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Climate change’s costs are still escalating

The massive economic and health losses that climate change is already causing across the world are detailed in six scientific papers published today.

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Alarm over reports of high civilian death toll from US-led coalition airstrikes on Manbij in Syria

U.S.-led coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Syria must redouble efforts to prevent civilian deaths and investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International urged amid growing reports that scores of men, women and children were killed in their homes in al-Tukhar village, near Manbij, on July 18.

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Turkey: Protect Rights, Law After Coup Attempt

The response of the Turkish government to an attempted coup will be a critical test of its commitment to defend democratic principles and human rights, including media freedom and respect for the rule of law, Human Rights Watch said today.

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The Elders express concern over lack of global action on climate change

Six months after the Paris Agreement on climate change, The Elders call on global leaders to live up to their commitments and take prompt action to cut emissions, end fossil fuel subsidies and provide adequate financial support to developing countries to tackle climate change.

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UN World Heritage Committee to Mexico: Save Vanishing Porpoise or Risk 'In Danger' Status for Gulf of California World Heritage Site

At its 40th session this week, the United Nation’s World Heritage Committee (Committee) directed Mexico to take immediate action to save the imperiled vaquita porpoise, or risk “in danger” status for its “Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California” World Heritage site.The site was given World Heritage status in 2005, in part because it is home to the planet’s last remaining vaquita porpoises, as well as the totoaba, a large, endangered marine fish. Just weeks ago scientists estimated that fewer than 60 vaquita survive and the species is on the precipice of extinction.


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Biodiversity falls below ‘safe levels’ globally

Levels of global biodiversity loss may negatively impact on ecosystem function and the sustainability of human societies, according to UCL-led research.

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President Schulz expresses his deep sorrow and condolences following the attack in Nice

Physical and psychological wounds will be slow to heal but I call on the French people to stand strong and united against these acts of hatred. France should not surrender its values of freedom, equality, and fraternity.

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Nice attack: amateur footage shows panic in the streets as truck rams into crowd killing dozens

Nice attack: amateur footage shows panic in the streets as truck rams into crowd. Video via France 24.

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UN report on 2014-16 killings in Ukraine highlights “rampant impunity”

A new UN report released Thursday describes the widespread killings that have taken place in Ukraine since January 2014 and highlights the very limited accountability that has taken place.

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France: Camps must offer refugees shelter, not turn them away says MSF

On Thursday, July 7, six Afghan men were refused entry to the migrant camp in Grande-Synthe, France. Set up in March 2016, the camp was constructed to offer shelter to all refugees in need of safe lodging and basic services. The town council that manages the site in partnership with the French government and the camp manager, the French aid organization AFEJI, now say that men traveling alone will not be allowed access to the camp. This decision comes amid growing pressure put on refugees by authorities in northern France. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is extremely concerned about this decision and calls for it to be immediately overturned.

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South Sudan: UN expert appalled by attacks on IDPs and civilians and urges for cessation of hostilities

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, today condemned the recent attacks on IDPs and civilians in South Sudan, and called for the cessation of hostilities and the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

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The new Secretary General must make UN fit for a climate changed world, says E3G

From border disputes in the South China Sea to the ongoing conflicts and refugee crisis in Syria the world is an increasingly unstable place. Global crises like terrorism and pandemics will be amplified by climate change, undermining the UN’s ability to preserve peace and security.

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Brazilian mine disaster – UN experts welcome settlement suspension and call for a timely resolution

A group of United Nations human rights experts today commended the decision of the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice to suspend the settlement reached between the Government of Brazil and Samarco Mining S.A., and its parent companies Vale S.A. and BHP Billiton Brazil Ltda in response to what has been described as the worst socio-environmental disaster in the country’s history.

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Zeid condemns ISIL atrocities in Iraq, urges release of hundreds abducted after fleeing Fallujah

As the death toll after Sunday’s suicide bomb in Baghdad continued to climb to well above 150, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday deplored the terrible loss of innocent lives. The High Commissioner warned that in addition to doing more to protect civilians from ISIL attacks, it is essential the Iraqi authorities step in to halt uncontrolled militias from continuing to take revenge on civilians fleeing towns recaptured from ISIL.

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Planning terrorist attacks must be made a crime, say civil liberties MEPs

Travelling abroad for terrorist purposes, training or being trained, incitement to terrorism or financing of terrorist activities must be made a crime in all EU member states, urge Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Monday night. Ahead of upcoming talks with the Council on a draft new counter-terrorism directive, MEPs also stressed the need to protect and assist victims, especially across borders.

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The Elders urge leaders to fill $2.5bn El Niño funding gap

Ahead of a high level meeting at the United Nations on 19 July, The Elders have called on world leaders to fill the $2.5bn funding gap to help countries facing drought and a humanitarian crisis linked to the El Niño climate phenomenon.

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Having divided and conquered, Nigel Farage makes a perfectly timed exit

Nigel Farage’s decision to resign as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is the latest instalment in the post-Brexit politics of Britain. Major developments occur on a daily basis at the moment. But unlike David Cameron’s resignation, Boris Johnson’s abandoned leadership challenge or Michael Gove’s implosion, Farage’s departure appears more as a surprise and less of a shock.

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Pakistan: Renewed Threats to Afghan Refugees

The Pakistani government should reduce rights violations against Afghan refugees by extending their legal residency status until at least December 31, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 29, 2016, the government extended registered Afghan refugees’ Proof of Residency (PoR) cards for six months, until the end of 2016.

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Jordan: 70,000 Syrians Trapped at Border

Jordan should immediately allow humanitarian agencies to resume life-saving aid deliveries to 70,000 Syrians stuck in appalling conditions at its northeastern border, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should also resume procedures allowing Syrians to leave the border area for refugee screening in Jordan.

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Remembering Cecil the Lion, One Year Later: Trophy Hunting Remains Prevalent Problem Worldwide

One year ago, an arrow was fired into Cecil, a beloved lion, commencing a heartbreak that would be felt around the world. Cecil, was lured, wounded by an arrow, then ruthlessly tracked for approximately 40 hours before finally being killed on July 1 by an American trophy hunter in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Today the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) remembers Cecil’s life and the countless other wildlife that have been lost to trophy hunting – including the tens of thousands more since this tragedy – and the work that is left to save those remaining.

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LGBT rights and protections are scarce in constitutions around the world, UCLA study finds

LGBT rights and protections are scarce in constitutions around the world, UCLA study finds FSPH WORLD's study provides global analysis of constitutional rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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MEPs call for swift Brexit to end uncertainty and for deep EU reform

The UK must respect the wish of a majority of its citizens, entirely, fully and as soon as possible, by officially withdrawing from the EU before any new relationship arrangements can be made, says the European Parliament in a resolution voted after an extraordinary plenary debate on Tuesday. MEPs also stress the urgent need for reforms to ensure that the EU lives up to its citizens’ expectations.

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Joint statement by Schulz, Tusk, Rutte and Juncker on UK referendum outcome

In a free and democratic process, the British people have expressed their wish to leave the European Union. We regret this decision but respect it.

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Explosive renewables development can deliver on Paris

While some criticize the Paris climate target as impracticable, a team of scholars argues that it is - on the contrary - a triumph of realism. First, and most importantly, adhering to the Paris target of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius is necessary in view of the massive risks that unchecked climate change would pose to society. A crucial type of threats, associated with the crossing of tipping points in the Earth system, is summarized in a landmark map for the first time. Second, implementing the Paris target is feasible through the controlled implosion of the fossil industry, instigated by a technological explosion related to renewable energy systems and other innovations. Third, the target is simple enough to create worldwide political momentum, the scientists say in their comment published in Nature Climate Change.

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Analysis: Has Chinese repression sealed off Tibet?

As Chinese border guards searched the cargo truck he was hiding in, Yonten’s heart began to race. If they discovered him among the boxes, his attempt to escape Tibet would be over and he would end up in prison instead of India.

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Study: Refugees can offer economic boost to their host countries

Refugees are often considered an economic burden for the countries that take them in, but a new study conducted by UC Davis with the United Nations World Food Program indicates that refugees receiving aid--especially in the form of cash--can can give their host country's economy a substantial boost.

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2015 Sees Unprecedented Killings of Environmental Activists

More than three people were killed a week in 2015 defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries, according to Global Witness. The organisation’s new report, On Dangerous Ground, documents 185 known deaths worldwide last year – by far the highest annual death toll on record and a 59% increase from 2014. Severe limits on information mean the true numbers are undoubtedly higher.

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Moldova: Reject ‘Gay Propaganda’ Law, Says Human Rights Watch

The Moldovan parliament should reject a bill to introduce discriminatory anti-gay “propaganda” clauses in national law, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to lawmakers. The bill is similar to those proposed in other countries in recent years that have been roundly criticized by regional and international human rights bodies.

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