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# Nusefile

Archive

2016

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."

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Bad news for WTO on protectionism

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.

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Greenest deal ever? From an auto firm

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.

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2015

NGOs: Caveat donor

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.

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COP21: Prospects dim going in

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.

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Security snoopers and social media

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.

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Red and processed meats -- how dangerous?

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."

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Is this the future of philanthropy?

Still in his 30s, Yonathan Parienti is a straggle-haired ex-banker in blue jeans. Now his mission is to bring social activists together via the Internet. For under-35s there's no paradox.

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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.

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U.S. carbon 'debt' = $4 trillion

U.S. carbon gas emissions since 1990, when climatologist James Hansen publicly warned Congress of global warming, account for 40% of the problem, according to a new study.

And at $40 a ton as the calculated cost of the damage from carbon pollution, the U.S. owes $4 trillion dollars to non-polluting nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and even China.

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The U.S. + Greece, Hungary and Turkey

What does the U.S. have in common with Greece, Hungary and Turkey?

It seems least likely among the OECD nations to achieve the United Nations' new sustainable development goals set for 2030.

That's the judgement of the Germany's largest private NGO study group, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, after the first study of its kind.

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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.

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M.I.T. economists got it right

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.

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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.

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No super-civilizations yet

After scanning 100,000 galaxies, Penn State astronomers announced they have found no sign yet of extra-terrestrial super-civilizations, i.e. ones that have captured a whole galaxy's energy output.

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Rating national goodness: Ireland tops

International policy advisor Simon Anholt has developed a 'Good Country Index' to rate how much nations do to help others and avoid bad practices such as arms dealing.

Top of his list comes Ireland, with Finland second and Switzerland(!) third. Libya is last.

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Technical wizardry behind the Oscar films

If you weren't bowled over by the scientific history behind the leading Oscar films for 2015, you might be blown away by the technological advances in some of the other contenders.

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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.

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Reporters.org restores barred sites

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.

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How good are the Davos pundits?

How well do the Davos moguls and gurus do in predicting the future?

The EurActiv website, with Reuters, matched predictions with results as the World Economic Forum prepared for its 21-24 January Annual Meeting. Not surprisingly, the result was a mixed bag.

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2014

Dirty money losses 10 times more than aid

Developing countries lost almost a trillion dollars through illicit transfers to the developed world in 2011, according to the Global Financial Integrity Institute (GFI).

"Taken together, illicit financial flows currently amount to nearly ten times the total sum of international aid," writes Bjorn Lomborg at Project Syndicate.

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E.U. vs multinational tax dodgers

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.

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What to do in a world without jobs?

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.

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16 of 17,000 terrorist deaths in 2013 were U.S.

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.

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Plastic bags vs the rest

For a paper bag to be better than a plastic one in terms of global warming impact, you have to use it three times. A cotton bag must be used 131 times, according to a new Mother Jones report.

Most of the statistics are Californian, in view of a new law there banning one-time plastic bags, but examples also come from Australia.

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One million Londoners 'trapped' by rising prices

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.

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U.S. health care dearest, least effective, U.K. best

U.S. health care advocacy group Commonwealth Fund says U.S. care3 is the3 most expensive and least effective in the advanced world.

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U.K. aged need more play areas, buses, W.C.s

Two British charities are pressing for communitiers to do more to adapt their neighbourhoods to their growing number of the aged.

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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.

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