UN Ocean Conference: a roadmap for sustainable use of oceans

by Vibha Varshney

Down To Earth | 04 June, 2017

                    SDG 14 targets to end overfishing and conserve the marine ecosystem (Credit: Derek Keats/Flickr)
SDG 14 targets to end overfishing and conserve the marine ecosystem (Credit: Derek Keats/Flickr)

The United Nation’s Ocean Conference is set to commence at the body’s headquarters in New York on June 5, world environment day. The meeting is a step ahead in achieving the world’s 14th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14)—conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. It will see participation from over 5,000 delegates and continue till June 9.

The UN plans to finalise the text for its zero draft “Call for Action” by the end of the conference, along with reports of seven partnership dialogues planned during the meeting. In addition, stakeholders have been invited to give voluntary commitments to ensure that the oceans remain clean and provide a robust blue economy.

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Cholera cases in Yemen may reach 130,000 in two weeks, UNICEF warns

United Nations News Centre | June 02, 2017\

A child with severe diarrhoea or cholera receives treatment at the Sab’een Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen,on 12 May 2017. © UNICEF/UN065873/Alzekri

With about 70,000 cholera cases reported with nearly 600 fatalities in Yemen, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today warned that an already dire situation for children is turning into a disaster.

“Cholera doesn’t need a permit to cross a checkpoint or a border, nor does it differentiate between areas of political control,” said UNICEF Regional Director, Geert Cappelaere, following his visit to the war-torn country.Read More »

‘Literal Colonialism’: Blackwater Founder Calls for ‘American Viceroy’ to Rule Afghanistan

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Common Dreams | June 02, 2017

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

Displaying what one commentator called “sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire,” Erik Prince, founder of the private mercenary firm Blackwater, argued in The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States should deploy an “East India Company approach” in Afghanistan.

The country, he wrote, should be run by “an American viceroy who would lead all U.S. government and coalition efforts—including command, budget, policy, promotion, and contracting—and report directly to the president.”

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350.org on New Revelations in #ExxonKnew Case

350.ORG | June 02, 2017

NEW YORK – New documents from the New York State Attorney General show that while now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil, the company actively misled shareholders about climate risk and deleted “untold numbers” of documents related to climate change, including many of Tillerson’s own personal emails he sent under his “Wayne Tracker” alias.

350.org Strategic Communications Director Jamie Henn said that the new revelations were a “bombshell” and highlighted the need for more Attorneys General to get involved in the case, especially California AG Xavier Becerra, whose office could bring serious resources to the effort.Read More »

With Trump Out of Paris, the Road Ahead is Up to Us

350.ORG | June 01, 2017

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden that the U.S would exit the Paris Climate Agreement for the alleged “well being of the United States and its people.”

In response, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve issued the following statement:

“Trump has made his decision and we’re making ours – the rest of the world and the majority of Americans who support the Paris Climate Agreement will stand by it. We won’t be dragged back by a shortsighted and destructive fossil fuel puppet in the White House. While the Trump Administration has spent its first months rolling back hard-won protections for our communities and climate, we have spent it developing a shared vision of the transition away from fossil fuels towards a 100% clean energy economy that works for all.Read More »

Promoting the Commons in the Time of Monsters

by Ann Marie Utratel, Stacco Troncoso

Common Dreams | June 03, 2017

A man shouts slogans as he holds a banners reading “Madrid welcomes you, March for Change” during a Podemos (We Can) party march in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. (Photo: AP/Andres Kudacki)

Can the Commons and peer-to-peer (P2P) practices really offer viable solutions for our present and future social, political and ecological crises? Spain’s municipal successes remind us who the victor was in the battle between David and Goliath.

The Commons is maturing politically, its methods and principles becoming more visible and its participants winning municipal elections in a variety of European cities. How did this happen, and what happens next? First, a look at our present political context, and then some observations on the birth and trajectory of this new wave of commons politics.

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Why It Matters That Poor Kids Don’t Have Time to Play

by Livia Gershon

TalkPoverty.org | June 01, 2017

Student on swing set

(AP Photo/Sandy Huffaker)

Last year, Allyn taught a second grade class in a high-poverty school in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The school had been in the papers for poor test results, and it was pushing to change by adding extra time for reading instruction.

“We were very strictly monitored how each minute of our day was spent,” said Allyn, who asked me to use only her middle name. “I think we were in the spotlight so much from all the media that they were just super strict about how our day was supposed to go.”

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In Iraq and Syria, US-Led Coalition Killing Increasing Number of Civilians

Common Dreams | June 04, 2017

Relatives mourn next to bodies of Iraqi residents of west Mosul killed in an air strike targeting ISIS on 17 March 2017. (Photo: AFP/Getty)

With its latest official declaration estimating the number of innocent people killed by airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. military has admitted killing 484 civilians since beginning a bombing campaign and ground operations to unseat the Islamic State (ISIS) from strongholds in the two countries.

Though that number is far lower than estimates put forth by independent monitoring groups, the death toll reveals rising casualty levels as the U.S.-led coalition has reportedly loosened restrictions and engagement protocols under President Donald Trump.

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Rambles Recollect

by Dipanjan Rai Chowdhuri

Frontier | Vol. 49, No.47, May 28 – Jun 3, 2017

I first met Charu Majumdar in 1968. Some students were going to a rural area for protracted political work and Charuda (Kaka, our leader, called him Charuda, and we usurped the name!) had agreed to a talk to orient their programme. At this time the supporters of Naxalbari were fragmented into sectarian groups. We did not belong to Charuda’s organisation, but the moment he started talking we understood he was speaking to us as our leader.

He said that our work was to take to the peasants the message of armed struggle to establish their own state . Organising economic struggles was not our task. The peasants might not listen to the message and start economic struggles. For example, they might want to take a deputation to the BDO to dig a culvert. You will say that nothing will come of this as far as changing  the nature of the state and the basic conditions of life of the people concerned, but you will accompany the peasant in his procession. The line presented here has been debated to bits but there can be little doubt that it was inspired by the mass line. He said nothing about the “annihilation” line.Read More »

On Binoy Ghosh

by Asok Chattopadhyay

Frontier | June 05, 2017

This year witnesses the celebrations of the  centenary anniversary of  the November Revolution and the fifty years of Naxalbari uprising. Red flags are flying high in the winding tower. But the birthday anniversary of the renowned Marxist Sociologist Binoy Ghosh remains unsung, unchanted.

Just a year back, a pre-anniversary celebration was organized on the 14th June at the Abanindra Sabhaghar premises, Kolkata, where huge people were assembled to pay their homage to this centenarian Marxist Sociologist in presence of the luminaries like Chittatosh Mukhopadhyay, Dr. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and others among whom Dhiman Ghosh, son of Binoy Ghosh, was present. Came out of the hall all the promises and wordings got lost and no further cultivation in this subject evidenced in media prop during a long fifty-two-week latter. Our emotions are not recollected in tranquility rather a hot wind passes by.Read More »