Eritrea accused of slavery and crimes against humanity
A U.N. Commission of Inquiry this month accused Eritrean officials of "crimes against humanity, including widespread and systematic enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, rape, murder and other inhumane acts".
Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, in Washington, described it as a "shoddy human rights report" in The New York Times. His argument: "It's Bad in Eritrea, but Not That Bad."
The G20 nations, self-proclaimed promoters of freer trade, have introduced unprecedented measures restricting trade and have seen "a notable rise in anti-trade rhetoric" since October 2015, the World Trade Organization notes in its latest monitoring report.
Business funding of public projects, including actions by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, has come under cold scrutiny lately. Are the ideological purists missing the story? An auto company is underwriting a major international environmental project.
ProPublica, the public-interest journalism site, is offering a Nonprofit Explorer webapp to check out non-governmental organizations in the U.S. for their spending, expenses, remuneration of officials and other financial details.
An intern at inkl.com, the Australian-based subscription news filter site, offers a rundown of the position of big players on the climate scene as the World Summit opens in Paris (30 November-11 December 2015). Sheida Danai, a freelance journalist, points out that China plans to double its emissions while the United States Congres is considered unlikely to approve any treaty.
Security snoopers vs Wikileakers, who are more important for media in society? Or is it the collapse of traditional business models with the rise of social media? Swiss journalists came together at the Fourth Journalistic Assizes on 27 October at the Swiss Press Club in Geneva.
You probably read the news that the World Health Organization has ruled that red and processed meats are carcinogenic. What you may not have seen is an assessment of what that means in fact.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has analysed the report. He concludes: "If you're really worried about cancer, cut out the smoking, the drinking, the overeating, and the city living. Once you've done that, then it's time to decide if you also want to skip the bacon."
Truthiness in the Democrats' first Presidential debate
If you were as surprised as me to hear Bernie Saunders declare that Afro-American youth unemployment is over 50%, you might want to check out PolitiFact's review of truthiness in the first Democratic Presidential hopefuls' debate on 13 October 2015.
According to Katie Saunders, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning project of the Tampa Bay Times, he should have said that over half African-American high-school grads are not in full-time jobs.
Scientists, researchers call for ban on autonomous weapons
Nobel cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk (founder of Tesla) and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are more than 1899 people who gave their support for an open letter on 27 July 2015 calling for a ban on autonomous weapons.
"The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting," they declare in the open letter published at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires.
As part of his effort to get smarter policy from the politicians, Paul Krugman in his New York Times column on 25 July 2015 listed some of the achievements of mainstream economists in recent years and underlined again their puzzling lack of influence on the politicians despite this.
W.H.O. agency says agent orange is 'possibly carcinogenic', DDT probably, and lindane certainly
The Lyon-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, has issued classifications for the carcinogenity of three major herbicide/pesticides including 2,4-D, an ingredient of agent orange, used by the U.S. against Viet Cong-controlled territory in Vietnam.
N.Y. Police Plaza edited wikipedia pages of victims
Computer users working on the NYPD headquarters' network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations going back to 2006, Kelly Weill reported on the Capital website on 13 March 2015.
Tibetan and Russian web users should be able to pick up banned websites, thanks to Reporters Without Borders, using major platforms that it will be difficult or embarrassing for the authorities to block.
The Independent has a good piece from Simon Neville on the European Commission's attempt to put pressure on multinationals to pay more taxes in the European countries where they make their earnings. The story is built around the E.C.'s action against Amazon.
"The EU cannot act on taxes without unanimity from all members, so with deals under scrutiny in Ireland and Luxembourg in particular, any change is certain to fail," Neville notes.
Approximately 100 million of the 172 million working-age adults in the United States receive welfare benefits. At the same time, millions more jobs will vanish in the next few years because of digital technologies such as driverless cars, tablets in restaurants, and Internet teaching.
How can society provide for its population? Marshall Brain, founder of HowThingsWork.com, argues in favour of providing everyone with a basic income in the United States large enough to give them a comfortable living.
According to the U.S. State Department, 9707 terrorist attacks took place worldwide in 2013. They caused more than 17,800 deaths and some 32,500 injuries. Among the deaths, 16 were U.S. citizens. Another 7 were injured, and 12 kidnapped.
Not unexpectedly, the dangerous places were the usual suspects.
A British think-tank says one-in-five London households earn so little they find it hard to survive (£20-33K) but too much to qualify for benefits. The Centre for London calls these 1 million Londoners ENDIES, employed but no disposable income or savings.
U.S. faces "unpredictable, highly damaging" impacts from climate change
"There is a small, but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world," the American Association for the Advancement of Science said in a statement about climate change on 19 March 2014.