Posts tagged Current Affairs

onearth:

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Jeju Island, even though it’s a newly named “Wonder of Nature,” a UNESCO Global Geosite, and an incredible spiritual, culturally and ecologically unique land.

It’s also “cursed” with the geostrategic disadvantage of being just about the perfect place for the U.S. military to build an anti-ballistics missile defense base, to keep us safe from China.

Locals are protesting the construction, but they’re running out of time.

Read Robert Redford’s plea to save Jeju Island, and then visit SaveJejuIsland.org to help.

The Battle for Jeju Island: How the Arms Race is Threatening a Korean Paradise

3,098 notes

ilovecharts:

All About ACTA

It’s not over yet. #SOPA and #PIPA are one thing. The international version is #ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The agreement has been signed, while existing mostly in secret, by most of the world, with notable exceptions including the EU. 

The act is an attempt to create international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. 

You can look at what is assumed to be the current final form of the agreement, which has been leaked, here. The text has otherwise not been made public; in the US, a Freedom of Information Act request has been denied on the basis of classification for national security. Of course this information was not too classified for those who had a hand in creating the act, a group representing US-based multinational corporations which include International Intellectual Property Alliance (coalition of seven trade associations), The Gorlin Group (Washington “consultancy”)Time Warner Inc. (media company), Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceutical company)Cisco Systems, Inc. (consumer electronics)The U.S.-China Business Council (nonprofit org), Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. (beer), Merck & Co., Inc. (healthcare), National Foreign Trade Council, Inc. (business organization), Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood LLP (representing the biotechnology industry), Entertainment Software Association (computer and video games), CropLife America (crop protection and pest control products), Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center (consulting service representing gauge-manufacturers Thomas G. Faria Corporation), Recording Industry Association of America (recording industry trade org), IBM Corporation (technology), Intellectual Property Owners Association (trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets), Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (movies), John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (publishers), General Motors Corporation (automobiles).

And that was just the Industry Trade Advisory Committee On Intellectual Property Rights that was involved. There are three other other committees, totaling 93 other members of the business elite who have access to the “classified” details of the act we as citizens are not allowed to see, for our own security. 

This video is a chart. 

Singapore just signed it together with the US & other countries. NOOOOOOOOO…

1,800 notes

yanguang:

Featuring our dear Prime Minister. Al Jazeera, if only you weren’t booted off the cable networks years ago for that certain documentary. Thankfully, access to your website is still untouched, for now.

cultureofresistance:

Plastic Circulating Endlessly in Oceans Killing Huge Numbers of Birds, Turtles, Fish and Marine Animals
That plastic bottle or plastic take-away coffee lid that has 20 minutes of use can spend decades killing countless seabirds, marine animals and fish, experts reported here this week.
On remote Pacific island atolls, diligent albatross parents unknowingly fill their chicks’ bellies with bits of plastic that resemble food. The chicks die of malnutrition, and when their bodies decay all those plastic bottle tops, disposable lighters, and the ubiquitous bits of plastic detritus get back into the environment in a cruel perversion of ‘recycling’.
There is now so much plastic in the oceans it is likely that virtually every seabird has plastic in its belly if its feeding habits mean it mistakes plastic bits for food. The same is true for sea turtles, marine animals or fish, experts say.
Northern fulmars, a common seabird numbering in the millions, have acollective 45 tonnes worth of plastic bits in their bellies, estimates Jan Andries van Franeker, a biologist with the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies at the University of Wageningen in Holland.
At least 95 percent of fulmars in the North Sea where van Franeker has been working for three decades have one to several dozen bits of plastic in their stomachs. The same is true for related species like the tiny Wilson’s storm petrels, which unknowingly transport an estimated 35 tonnes of plastic from their wintering grounds in the North Atlantic to breeding grounds in the Antarctic, he says.
“If a seabird’s feeding habits mean it could mistake plastic for food, then it will likely have plastic in its stomach,” he said in an interview at the week long Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, which ends Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii. 
It has been 10 years since the last international marine debris conference and the hope is that industry, civil society, researchers and policy makers will find common ground on the strategies and best practices to assess, reduce, and prevent the impacts of marine debris.
“I sometimes have this kind of dream or nightmare where those fulmars drop all of that plastic on an audience in big conference room like this,” van Franeker told IPS.
“It would make a very clear statement.”

cultureofresistance:

Plastic Circulating Endlessly in Oceans Killing Huge Numbers of Birds, Turtles, Fish and Marine Animals

That plastic bottle or plastic take-away coffee lid that has 20 minutes of use can spend decades killing countless seabirds, marine animals and fish, experts reported here this week.

On remote Pacific island atolls, diligent albatross parents unknowingly fill their chicks’ bellies with bits of plastic that resemble food. The chicks die of malnutrition, and when their bodies decay all those plastic bottle tops, disposable lighters, and the ubiquitous bits of plastic detritus get back into the environment in a cruel perversion of ‘recycling’.

There is now so much plastic in the oceans it is likely that virtually every seabird has plastic in its belly if its feeding habits mean it mistakes plastic bits for food. The same is true for sea turtles, marine animals or fish, experts say.

Northern fulmars, a common seabird numbering in the millions, have acollective 45 tonnes worth of plastic bits in their bellies, estimates Jan Andries van Franeker, a biologist with the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies at the University of Wageningen in Holland.

At least 95 percent of fulmars in the North Sea where van Franeker has been working for three decades have one to several dozen bits of plastic in their stomachs. The same is true for related species like the tiny Wilson’s storm petrels, which unknowingly transport an estimated 35 tonnes of plastic from their wintering grounds in the North Atlantic to breeding grounds in the Antarctic, he says.

“If a seabird’s feeding habits mean it could mistake plastic for food, then it will likely have plastic in its stomach,” he said in an interview at the week long Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, which ends Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

It has been 10 years since the last international marine debris conference and the hope is that industry, civil society, researchers and policy makers will find common ground on the strategies and best practices to assess, reduce, and prevent the impacts of marine debris.

“I sometimes have this kind of dream or nightmare where those fulmars drop all of that plastic on an audience in big conference room like this,” van Franeker told IPS.

“It would make a very clear statement.”

(Source: socialuprooting)

328 notes

rosyeyes:

fiakealii:

artemisia-absinthium:

fuckyeahsexeducation:

1. You’ve Been Psychologically Conditioned To Want a Diamond
The diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted N.W.Ayer to create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.

2. Diamonds are Priced Well Above Their Value
The De Beers cartel has systematically held diamond prices at levels far greater than their abundance would generate under anything even remotely resembling perfect competition. All diamonds not already under its control are bought by the cartel, and then the De Beers cartel carefully managed world diamond supply in order to keep prices steadily high.

3. Diamonds Have No Resale or Investment Value
Any diamond that you buy or receive will indeed be yours forever: De Beers™ advertising deliberately brain-washed women not to sell; the steady price is a tool to prevent speculation in diamonds; and no dealer will buy a diamond from you. You can only sell it at a diamond purchasing center or a pawn shop where you will receive a tiny fraction of its original “value.”

4. Diamond Miners are Disproportionately Exposed to HIV/AIDS
Many diamond mining camps enforce all-male, no-family rules. Men contract HIV/AIDS from camp sex-workers, while women married to miners have no access to employment, no income outside of their husbands and no bargaining power for negotiating safe sex, and thus are at extremely high risk of contracting HIV.

5. Open-Pit Diamond Mines Pose Environmental Threats
Diamond mines are open pits where salts, heavy minerals, organisms, oil, and chemicals from mining equipment freely leach into ground-water, endangering people in nearby mining camps and villages, as well as downstream plants and animals.

6. Diamond Mine-Owners Violate Indigenous People’s Rights
Diamond mines in Australia, Canada, India and many countries in Africa are situated on lands traditionally associated with indigenous peoples. Many of these communities have been displaced, while others remain, often at great cost to their health, livelihoods and traditional cultures.

7. Slave Laborers Cut and Polish Diamonds
More than one-half of the world’s diamonds are processed in India where many of the cutters and polishers are bonded child laborers. Bonded children work to pay off the debts of their relatives, often unsuccessfully. When they reach adulthood their debt is passed on to their younger siblings or to their own children.

8. Conflict Diamonds Fund Civil Wars in Africa
There is no reliable way to insure that your diamond was not mined or stolen by government or rebel military forces in order to finance civil conflict. Conflict diamonds are traded either for guns or for cash to pay and feed soldiers.

9. Diamond Wars are Fought Using Child Warriors
Many diamond producing governments and rebel forces use children as soldiers, laborers in military camps, and sex slaves. Child soldiers are given drugs to overcome their fear and reluctance to participate in atrocities.

10. Small Arms Trade is Intimately Related to Diamond Smuggling
Illicit diamonds inflame the clandestine trade of small arms. There are 500 billion small arms in the world today which are used to kill 500,000 people annually, the vast majority of whom are non-combatants.

This is one of the worst things involved in the marriage system. Please, if you choose to get married do not involve a diamond ring in it. Do not accept diamonds as a gift and do not buy it for a loved one.

I also find it especially creepy that diamond engagement rings came into fashion when breach of promise suits stopped being a thing.  Read more about that here.

LOVE this article, and I’m blessed to have parents that taught me all this at a young age. I love my sapphire and cubic zirconium ring. (and would have been happy with no ring at all..it’s about the relationship, not the chunk of rock and metal on your finger)

I’ve been saying this for some time. I also think engagement rings are sexist, unless both involved in the marriage get one. My wedding ring:

Wedding rings

(Click to read my post about this.)

Black titanium and white gold. Titanium is the lightest metal; it’s so comfortable. Otherwise, I very rarely wear rings. I searched so long for something like this. My father always bought things for me with diamonds in it, despite my position. Because he didn’t agree, he went ahead. Though, I always appreciated his gesture.

Besides the ethical stance, diamonds are overvalued and overpriced. I’ve always thought this despite my upbringing. Kudos to the parents of fiakealii.

(Source: rubyvroom)

31,354 notes

shortformblog:

msnbc:

From an Arab Spring to a Russian Winter?
Tens of thousands thronged to a Moscow square across the river from the Kremlin Saturday to protest alleged electoral fraud and urge an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s rule, demands repeated at other rallies across the country in the largest public show of discontent in post-Soviet Russia. 
Image: Olga Maltseva / AFP - Getty Images

A photo from the protests.

shortformblog:

msnbc:

From an Arab Spring to a Russian Winter?

Tens of thousands thronged to a Moscow square across the river from the Kremlin Saturday to protest alleged electoral fraud and urge an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s rule, demands repeated at other rallies across the country in the largest public show of discontent in post-Soviet Russia.

Image: Olga Maltseva / AFP - Getty Images

A photo from the protests.

373 notes

fyeahafrica:

Five Nobel Peace Prize winners have called on China to free fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo, on the eve of this year’s award ceremony.

The group, which includes Archbishop Desmond Tutu, expressed fears that Mr Liu’s family and friends are being silenced in a “wave of intimidation”.

Mr Liu, who won the prize last year, is serving an 11-year jail term for criticising the Beijing government.

China regards his as a criminal and was angered by the decision to honour him.

The five Nobel laureates along with other activists have organised a committee to campaign for Mr Liu’s release.

“The international community seems to have forgotten that, a year after the award ceremony, Liu Xiaobo remains in prison in China and in harsh conditions,” the committee said in its first statement.

“The committee calls on all those committed to freedom of thought and opinion to join the committee in its efforts to obtain the release of Liu Xiaobo.”

AFP news agency reported that other Nobel laureates involved in the effort include Iranian rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, anti-landmine campaigner Jody Williams and Northern Ireland campaigners Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams.

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is among the other activists on the committee.

Mr Liu was convicted of inciting subversion in December 2009. He had helped to write a pamphlet called Charter ‘08 that called for more democracy in China.

The Nobel committee is due to announce this year’s prize winner on Saturday

9 notes

win-win:

cultureofresistance:

Scales continue to tip in the rich’s favor the world around.
Income inequality — the gap between a society’s richest members and its poorest — is rising not only in the United States but in most of the world’s major economies, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Since 1985, income inequality has grown more pronounced in 17 of the 22 countries for which the OECD has long-term data, including Mexico, Italy, Japan, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The OECD’s report suggests an explanation for why the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown from a single protest site in New York’s Zuccotti Park to a global phenomenon with hundreds of chapters in dozens of countries. Among other things, protesters in the Occupy movement say they oppose the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people.
In the United States, the incomes of the very highest earners have grown by leaps and bounds over the last quarter century, while remaining more or less flat for the vast majority of the population.
Comparable growth in the wealth gap has taken place in Germany, Finland, Israel, Sweden, Luxembourg and New Zealand, according to the OECD. Only five countries — Greece, Turkey, France, Belgium and Hungary — saw their levels of income inequality decline or remain constant.
Income inequality has been linked to a number of troubling economic trends, and some analysts believe the wealth gap is contributing to the slow rate of recovery for the global economy.
Earlier this year, a study in the newsletter of the International Monetary Fund suggested that a country is more likely to enjoy a sustained period of growth if it has a relatively equitable distribution of income — meaning that for the wealthy, high-inequality nations named in the OECD report, bouncing back from the worldwide recession may be taking longer than it needs to.
Income inequality has also been cited as a catalyzing factor for a number of protest movements around the globe, including the riots in England this summer and the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East on which the Occupy Wall Street movement has been patterned.
An OECD press release notes that income inequality, besides affecting the wealthy member-nations of the organization, is also a major concern in many of the developing countries outside of it. The correlation between a nation’s wealth gap and its poverty and social and political instability was suggested earlier this year, when The Atlantic published a world map color-coded by inequality. China, Brazil, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire and Serbia all had high levels of income inequality — as did the United States.
—
Surprise, surprise.

*facepalm*

win-win:

cultureofresistance:

Scales continue to tip in the rich’s favor the world around.

Income inequality — the gap between a society’s richest members and its poorest — is rising not only in the United States but in most of the world’s major economies, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Since 1985, income inequality has grown more pronounced in 17 of the 22 countries for which the OECD has long-term data, including Mexico, Italy, Japan, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The OECD’s report suggests an explanation for why the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown from a single protest site in New York’s Zuccotti Park to a global phenomenon with hundreds of chapters in dozens of countries. Among other things, protesters in the Occupy movement say they oppose the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

In the United States, the incomes of the very highest earners have grown by leaps and bounds over the last quarter century, while remaining more or less flat for the vast majority of the population.

Comparable growth in the wealth gap has taken place in Germany, Finland, Israel, Sweden, Luxembourg and New Zealand, according to the OECD. Only five countries — Greece, Turkey, France, Belgium and Hungary — saw their levels of income inequality decline or remain constant.

Income inequality has been linked to a number of troubling economic trends, and some analysts believe the wealth gap is contributing to the slow rate of recovery for the global economy.

Earlier this year, a study in the newsletter of the International Monetary Fund suggested that a country is more likely to enjoy a sustained period of growth if it has a relatively equitable distribution of income — meaning that for the wealthy, high-inequality nations named in the OECD report, bouncing back from the worldwide recession may be taking longer than it needs to.

Income inequality has also been cited as a catalyzing factor for a number of protest movements around the globe, including the riots in England this summer and the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East on which the Occupy Wall Street movement has been patterned.

An OECD press release notes that income inequality, besides affecting the wealthy member-nations of the organization, is also a major concern in many of the developing countries outside of it. The correlation between a nation’s wealth gap and its poverty and social and political instability was suggested earlier this year, when The Atlantic published a world map color-coded by inequality. China, Brazil, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire and Serbia all had high levels of income inequality — as did the United States.

Surprise, surprise.

*facepalm*

67 notes

fyeahafrica:

China on Thursday said it is not responsible for imposing ”actually existing” neo-colonialism on Africa, dismissing earlier reports by certain Western media outlets.

“China has always insisted upon a policy of self-sufficiency in grain. Instead of purchasing pilesof land in Africa, it has, to the best of its ability, 

offered aid in agricultural technology to Africancountries and helped their agricultural production, as well as boosted the indigenousexploitation of their own natural resources and the capacity to cope with climate change andfood security,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

There is a broad consensus among African nations that China is not pursuing a neo-colonialstrategy in Africa, Hong said.

He cited South African President Jacob Zuma’s earlier statement that Beijing is not colonizingthe continent, but rather is a strategic partner and vast contributor to improving livelihoods inhis country.

“Africa is victimized by agricultural neo-colonialism. It is the common responsibility of the globalcommunity to facilitate the sustainable development of African agriculture,” Hong said.

“China urges countries that have taken up and exploited vast amounts of land in Africa to makeconcrete moves so as to contribute to resolving the issue of food security in Africa,” he added.

China is Africa’s top trading partner, with bilateral trade growing more than 1,000 percentbetween 2000 and 2010.

During her visit to Zambia in June, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indirectly accusedChina of imposing ”new colonialism” in Africa.

The West ”seems unwilling, or unable, to respond” to changes in Africa, Francis Njubi Nesbitt, aprofessor at San Diego State University, wrote in an analysis for the Hong Kong-based AsiaTimes Online website on Wednesday.

“The United States and Europe seem stuck in neocolonial perspectives that continue to paintAfrica as an impoverished backwater that at most deserves sympathy and at worst contempt,”Nesbitt wrote.

(continue reading)

21 notes

ladyogrady:

goldinmyheadx:

cuntflavor:

H&M Admits to Putting Real Model’s Heads on Fake Bodies
The bodies of most of the models H&Mfeatures on its website are computer-generated and “completely virtual,”the company has admitted. H&M designs a body that can better display clothes made for humans than humans can, then digitally pastes on the heads of real women in post-production.

today, everyone’s an asshole

You know society’s standards of beauty are unrealistic when actual human beings can not achieve them.

ladyogrady:

goldinmyheadx:

cuntflavor:

H&M Admits to Putting Real Model’s Heads on Fake Bodies

The bodies of most of the models H&Mfeatures on its website are computer-generated and “completely virtual,”the company has admitted. H&M designs a body that can better display clothes made for humans than humans can, then digitally pastes on the heads of real women in post-production.

today, everyone’s an asshole

You know society’s standards of beauty are unrealistic when actual human beings can not achieve them.

1,084 notes

fyeahafrica:

Drought does not necessarily lead to famine: The catastrophe in Somalia was man-made.

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Several months ago, I wrote an essay entitled “Genocidal Politics and the Somali Famine”. It appears that the coordinator of the UN’s Monitoring Committee for Somalia agrees with the essay’s proposition that nature is not to blame and that powerful human actors are responsible for the catastrophe.

The coordinator of the Monitoring Group recently published an article in which he claimed that the Somali famine is not only a catastrophe, but that identifiable individuals and groups engaged in the production of the famine and therefore have committed crimes against humanity. This bold statement by the coordinator of the Monitoring Group demands careful assessment.  

It has been common wisdom for decades that droughts do not by themselves lead to famines, and the cause of the latter is the failure by national and international authorities to take action long before people run out of food. There have been 10 major droughts over the last 50 years in the Horn of Africa in general, and in Somalia in particular.

The evidence gleaned from this climatic record show that most droughts did not produce famine.

For instance, the first famine in Somalia since independence occurred in 1991/2, when roaming gangs destroyed or looted peasant harvests and then warlords used food as a weapon against hapless people. Today’s famine is similarly a consequence of the (in)actions of several Somali and international actors.

I partly agree with the coordinator’s assessment that this is a man-made famine and, therefore, that those responsible have committed crimes against humanity. However, my disagreement with his claim is that he only offers a partial list of the perpetrators by ignoring some of the major culprits, while accusing others who had nothing to do with the making of the famine.

There is a general agreement that something went horribly wrong in southern Somalia for thousands of people to die of starvation and for hundreds of thousands to be in grave risk of perishing. The coordinator of the Monitoring Group points his finger at the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and al-Shabaab as the principle culprits that precipitated the famine. Consequently, he recommends that these two Somali actors should be hauled to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to account for “their crimes against humanity”.

(continue reading)

Abdi Ismail Samatar is a Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota and a research fellow at the University of Pretoria.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

submitted by http://cafunee.tumblr.com/

129 notes

picturesofwar:

A still frame captured from video of a suicide bomber in Sri Lanka blowing himself up.  The bomber was a member of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization which waged war against the Sri Lankan government for 26 years. 
This picture, taken a split second after the bomb exploded, shows the innocent bystanders just before they were either injured or killed.
14 people died and 35 more were wounded in this attack.
Matara, Sri Lanka - March 10, 2009.

picturesofwar:

A still frame captured from video of a suicide bomber in Sri Lanka blowing himself up.  The bomber was a member of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization which waged war against the Sri Lankan government for 26 years. 

This picture, taken a split second after the bomb exploded, shows the innocent bystanders just before they were either injured or killed.

14 people died and 35 more were wounded in this attack.

Matara, Sri Lanka - March 10, 2009.

124 notes

Think twice about becoming vegan

In today’s trendy artsy world, more and more young people are becoming vegan every single day. The reason most of these people become vegan is for the protection and welfare of animals. They encourage vegan meals, no meat, cheese, dairy, eggs etc. What most vegans do not realise is that there is a dirty underworld to the growing and manufacturing of this disgusting world trade that is kept well hidden from society.

Above is a picture taken in Indonesia of a carrot being prepared and slaughtered. The carrots are first skinned, then drowned, and can be eaten raw or are cooked in boiling water.

 Also above is a disturbing picture of potatoes being ripped from their home. The preparation is the same as the carrots.

Bananas grow together in a herd. When they ripen, they are stolen from their family, and whilst they are still alive their skin is peeled back and their entire body is usually in eaten in about 6 bites.

/being a massive unfunny smartass

 

I’m sorry. I still love my meat, milk and eggs. PETA will never stop me.

(Source: yeahdardy)

68,692 notes