Humanist Electronic Press Agency

Diffuses only news on humanity’s social, scientific and cultural advancements.

English edition translated from the French version.

N. 6 - November 1997

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This edition is largely devoted to the burning issue of events in Algeria. However, our articles give a very different echo from that which can be read in the press, or which is broadcast by the traditional media. Yet they have far more sources of information at their disposal. We dare to affirm that the life of each one of us, and indeed society, would be doubtless improved if we took more of an interest in progress rather than regressions.


USA: Amnesty denounces the situation in Algeria

USA: Identification of a substance causing the spread of the AIDS virus

Yugoslavia, Kosovo: In favour of reopening Albanian schools

Switzerland: Early diagnosis of Creutzfeld-Jacob’s disease

Israel: Antihaemorrhagic adhesive

Italy: Results of the Rome elections

USA: Medical and cardiological imagery

Uganda: Peace Demonstration

Italy: Demonstration against public funding for private schools

European Union: Prize awarded to an Algerian militant woman

Israel: Peace initiatives

Croatia and Yugolsavia: Rail links resumed

Bielorussia: Demonstration for freedom of the press

European Union: Standards for drinking water

Algeria: Demonstration against electoral fraud

Norway: Abolition of child labour

France: "A Day for Algeria"

Italy, Turky: Initiatives in defence of a consciencious objector

Italy: Humanist events

Italy, Internet: A computer for every earthquake victims’ camp

Internet: On-line humanist meetings

USA: Virtual reality program


Place: USA

Subject: Amnesty denounces the situation in Algeria

Date: 18/11/97

Source: Amnesty International

During a press conference in New York, the General Secretary of Amnesty International, Pierre Sané, presented his report entitled: "Algeria: civilians in a spiral of violence" before the United Nations headquarters. The press makes no mention of the loss of hundreds of thousands of human lives owing on the one hand to censorship and manipulation of "security" information, and on the other hand, the ban on entering the country, strict surveillance and other restrictions imposed on the media and human rights organisations. In Algeria, the civilian population seems to be increasingly caught up in a spiral of violence: during the past year, it reached an unprecedented level and continues to rise. Since 1992, the year in which the conflict began, at least 80,000 people have been assassinated. With the massacre of thousands of civilians, a terrifying change has been highlighted in this violence. Amnesty International is demanding an international inquiry into the recent massacres and other abuses, in order to name those responsible for these atrocities and to open a way for the future. According to the human rights organisation, a long-term human rights plan should be developed in order to achieve real change. Human rights violations perpetrated by the security forces, state-armed military and armed groups defining themselves as "Islamic groups" are on the increase. Assassinations, torture, "disappearances", sequestration and death threats are part of Algerian citizens’ everyday life. "The international community has turned its back on the human rights tragedy in Algeria " declared Pierre Sané. "This indifference in the face of such horrors represents a total rejection of its own responsibilities towards the Algerian population".

Place: USA

Subject: Identification of a substance causing the spread of the AIDS virus

Date: 21/11/97

Source: El Mundo, Ciudadanos del Mundo

American researchers have identified a mechanism used by the AIDS virus to infect the body. The discovery should enable the development of more effective drugs against the illness, according to research published by the Sciences review. According to studies by Kathleeen Martin of the Harvard Medical School, neturalising an amino acid present in the CCR-5 coreceiver - indispensable for the spread of the virus within the body - would prevent interaction with other elements which facilitate the entry of the virus into the system and would interrupt the contamination process. The identification of this amino acid could facilitate the develpment of new treatments for the illness.

Place: Kosovo, Yougoslavia

Subject: In favour of reopening Albanian schools

Date: 29/10/97 Source: Agencies, Good News

15,000 Albanian people, students and teachers demonstrated in Pristina for schools in their language to be reopened. This is the first demonstration held by Albanians since the years of repression and the closure of the schools by Serbian governments seven years ago. Under the self-proclaimed secretly elected President Rugova, the Albanians (90% of the population) have, with the help of volunteer workers, set up a non-violent basic health and education system and economic aid to emigrants. This system has often been repressed by the Serbian police.

Place: Switzerland

Subject: Early diagnosis of Creutzfeld-Jacob’s disease

Date: 11/97

Source: Agencies Researchers at the University of Zurich have announced in the Nature review the discovery of an antibody to the mutated form of the prion, the protein responsible for Creutzfeld-Jacob’s disease. The discovery of this antibody will enable an early diagnosis of the disease.

Place: Israel

Subject: Antihaemorrhagic adhesive

Date: 4/11/97

Source: Agency

A researcher at Shiba medical centre in Tel Aviv has developed a biological adhesive to slow haemorrhages. The adhesive, applied to a wound, generates a film which imitates natural scar tissue.

Place: Italy

Subject: Results of the Rome elections

Date: 17/11/97

Source: Good News, Rome city council web pages

Here are the results of the Humanist Party and its candidates for the local elections in Rome. Local government candidate: Marina Larena, 0.25%, i.e. 4059 votes Humanist Party local government list: 0.22% ie 2813 votes. Other votes for 15 candidates for the presidency of the ward (district elections): 0.52% equivalent to 6299 votes. (note the results of Carlo Olivieri in the 6th ward who obtained 1.4% with 1094 votes). Votes for the HP in the 15 wards in which it was represented: 0.38% ie 4117 votes. The local government candidate and the local government list achieved almost twice as many votes as in the previous local elections.

Place: USA

Subject: Medical and cardiological imagery

Date: 13/11/9

Source: Punto Informatico

New techniques now allow doctors to observe what is going on inside the body: a technology which could prove very useful in the case of heart attacks. The American Heart Disease Association has held a conference in Orlando on MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This is a special computer controlled resonance which gives an account of the body’s internal structure by creating magnetic fields which trace the images. This technique should enable a better understanding of what happens duriçng a heart attack. According to experts, this new technique should allow more accurate diagnoses, especially as regards predicting the risk of heart attacks.

Place: Uganda

Subject: Peace Demonstration

Date: 2/11/97

Source: ANB-BIA

In Kampala, several thousand people responded to the appeal made by Cardinal Wamala for a peaceful solution to the conflicts currently raging in the north, north-east and western regions of the country. A large number of Catholics took part in the demonstration along with representatives of the Orthodox Church and the Seventh Day Adventists.

Place: Italy

Subject: Demonstration against public funding for private schools

Date: 14/11/97

Source: Turin Humanist Movement

Over two thousand school students took part in the demonstration organised in Turin by the "Kollettivo Umanista Studentesco" (Humanist Student Collective) and the "Independent Student Collective", which have joined "Cobas Scuolas" (independent union) and "Comitato Chiapas Torino". The demonstrators were protesting against government funding for private schools. The demonstration went ahead peacefully. It is interesting to note that students who did not consider themselves to belong to any party or union took part, thus confirming that when the student population takes action, it does not need to do so under the banner of those parties which have approved the funding for private schools. The demonstration ended with a sit-in on Vittorio Veneto square. Some interesting propositions emerged, in particular the formation of a permanent student group with a student information paper.

Place: European Community

Subject: Prize awarded to an Algerian militant woman

Date: 23/10/97

Source: Agencies

The European Parliament has awarded the Sakkarov prize for Human Rights and Liberty of Expression to Salima Ghezali, founder of a women’s emancipation movement in her country and Director of "La Nation" newspaper, the publication of which was recently suspended by the government, given her position in favour of Human Rights and a peaceful solution to the conflicts affecting the country.

Place: Israel

Subject: Peace initiatives

Date: 15/10/97

Source: Agencies

For the first time, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem met the spiritual guide of the Hamas movement, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, in Gaza, asking him to act in order to put an end to the violence and start real talks between Jews and Palestinians. In Tel Aviv, the Perez Peace Centre was opened on the 20th. One of its aims is to promote lasting peace in the Middle East.

Place: Croatia

Subject: Rail links resumed

Date: 21/10/97

Source: Agencies

In Zagreb, the Croatian and Yugoslavian governments have signed an agreement to resume rail links between their two countries, interrupted owing to the war since 1991.

Place: Bielorussia

Subject: Demonstration for freedom of the press

Date: 19/10/97

Source: Agencies

Around one thousand people demonstrated in Minsk against new measures adopted by the Parliament concerning press legislation. The new law states that the government may close down a press body if it goes against the country’s economic or political interests or questions the President’s honour.

Place: European Union

Subject: Standards for drinking water

Date: 16/11/97

Source: Agencies

The European Union’s Council of Ministers for the Environment has decided to set stricter limits for drinking water. The new directive calls for a 50% reduction in the content of lead, pesticides and other chemical substances over the next five years.

Place: Algeria

Subject: Demonstration against electoral fraud

Date: 30/10/97

Source: ANB- BIA

Between 20,000 and 70,000 people (according to sources) demonstrated in protest against fraud in the local government elections, won by the government majority. All the opposition parties, both religious and secular, appealed to the population to demonstrate. This is the first time that all the different "legal" opposition parties have participated in the same march.

Place: Norway

Subject: Abolition of child labour

Date: 30/10/97

Source: ANB-BIA, Le Monde

Some forty countries worldwide have adopted a common plan of action to abolish child labour over the next 15 years. It includes improving the living standards in today’s poorest countries. The plan of action was drawn up during a world conference organised in Oslo by the Norwegian government, UNICEF and the International Employment Bureau.

Place: France

Subject: "A Day for Algeria"

Date: 10/11/97

Source: Agencies

A "Day for Algeria" is a series of events and initiatives organised throughout France by a group of Algerian and French intellectuals, to create awareness of the tragic situation in this country and demand a return to peace and democracy.

Place: Italy, Turky

Subject:: Initiatives in defence of a consciencious objector

Date: 06/11/97

Source: Amnesty International Italy

The Italian section of Amnesty International is launching an appeal for solidarity in the case of Osman Murat Ulke, a Turkish conciencious objector sentenced by court martial to 10 months’ imprisonment for desertion and repeated disobediance. Osman Murat Ulke has been in prison for 11 months for publicly demonstrating his refusal of military service. In 1995, he burnt his call-up papers in public stating that he was a pacifist and "would never do his military service". He is the first conciencious objector in Turkey to have acted in this way. Ulke is currently being held awaiting a new trial for his second desertion, which occurred on his release on 29 May 1997. The right to consciencious objection is the expression of freedom of opinion, conscience and religion recognised by different international Human Rights organisations, in addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Turkish legislation on military service does not provide for the exercise of this right. The Italian section of Amnesty International is seeking support to demand the release of this consciencious objector and introduce recognition of the right to consciencious objection in this country. To join the initiative:

Place: Italy

Subject: Humanist events

Dates: 1 and 8/11/97

Source: Humanist Movement

Around 1000 people in Florence and 3000 in Milan took part in the Humanist "C'è ancora un futuro" (there is always a future) and "Milano città aperta" (Milan open city). These two events were characterised by a large number of placards and general interventions and denunciations of specific problems. Those who took part in these events were citizens who had organised actions in neighbourhoods and places of work and study. In Florence, 3 children took part to present their vision of the future world they wanted. Despite the local character of these demonstrations, humanist groups from other towns were present as observers. In Milan, some had come from Switzerland, Germany and even Hungary. The events ended with a collective declaration undertaking to build a more humane world. A similar event is planned in Turin for around 20 November.

Place: Italy, internet

Subject: A computer for every earthquake victims’ camp

Date: 5/11/97

Source: Città Invisibile

The earthquake destroyed houses and bell towers, but the rebuilding work will not necessarily require just walls. There is also a need to strengthen human relations, circulate information, monitor rebuilding work and organise a permanent network of voluntary aid. These are the main objectives of "a computer for every earthquake victims’ camp" promoted by the telematics association "Città Invisibile" (Invisible City). Publmic access points on the Internet and adequate training have been set up in the areas affected by the earthquake by the Umbrian Regional Towns’ Association, in conjunction with the University of Perugia’s computer services centre. For this project, sponsored by the Public Ministry of Communications, the "invisible citizens" have provided their skills and voluntary assistance to offer, with the whole network, their solidarity. There has already been an appeal for donations to purchase the computers which will remain the property of the ANCI, which will make them available to local mayors. But these computers alone will not be enough. In order to use telematic communications effectively, training is needed in relation to the project’s objectivdes. The association is taking charge of this jointly with the University of Perugia. They will need voluntary training officers on site for short periods.

Place: Internet

Subject: On-line humanist meetings

Date: 11/97

Source: Mundo del Nuevo Humanismo

Since August, personal work meetings which are a feature of the Humanist Movement’s activities and which usually take place in centres, homes and places of work and study, will be able to be held on the Internet at the Spanish address "Mundo del Nuevo Humanismo" ( The meetings are in Spanish and the participants live in Mexico, the United States, Spain, Argentina and Uruguay. The web page also gives an overview of humanist literature, information and the possibility of visiting other pages presenting initiatives in other languages. For more information: e-mail

Place: USA

Subject: Virtual reality program

Date: 10/11/97

Source: Punto Informatico

In Albuquerque in Spain, different scientific researchers claim to have created a virtual reality system capable of making three-dimensional representations of complete computer programs, allowing experts to view and handle computer programs in a completely new way. One researcher affirms that "it’s as if he were inside the brain": this technology could be used for simulating complex functions such as industrial process control, viewing huge data banks, logic path recognition functions and improving software development and design.

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