Humanist Electronic Press Agency

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

English edition translated from the Spanish version.

N. 7 - December 1997

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This edition is late due to a misunderstanding in the translations: we apologize to you for this. In this edition, the news sent to us from our French editors is noteworthy. The French editors not only handled the French translations, but also the production of “autonomous” news (whose source is “Bonnes Nouvelles”); articles of particular interest are from Djamel, an Algerian who has returned to France after staying for a while in his country and who is now a correspondent for “Buenas Noticias.” This is the kind of result we desire: that the protagonists or witnesses themselves tell the story, without the “filter” of ideologies which presently dominates the media and which reduces everything to a spectacle. Other much appreciated contributions are from Enrico Marcadalli from Nairobi and from our friends in the Chilean Humanist Party. Thus, we hope to be a true press agency that “produces” daily news. In this edition you will also find the news from the baby humanist group “save the world,” which we think is a fundamental contribution to the Buenas Noticias project. In this edition, quotes are taken directly from the humanist paper “Il Pazzarielo” from Portici and S. Giorgio (Naples). Children (averaging 11 years) have outdone the adults and we suggest that the adults increase their collaboration with this initiative before the new generations get ahead.


United Nations, Algeria: investigating commission to look into the massacres.

France: Municipal councils for children.

Algeria: The people organize against aggression

Algeria: Student manifestations

Algeria: Women’s struggle

Chile: 170,000 votes for the Humanist Party

Kenya: Internet course in africans slums

Argentina: Protests for freedom of the press

Egypt: Somalian factions sign agreement

Cambodia: Peace march

Africa: Tribunal on human rights

Haiti: Literacy program

Internet: on-line newspapers are censured

Canada: Territorial rights of indigenous peoples are recognized

United States: Intelligent antivirus

United States: AIDS discoveries

Switzerland: first conference between the two Koreas

Chile: Abortion situation is denounced

Italy: University reciprocity network

United States: Western medicine recognizes acupuncture

Senegal: March for peace

Italy: Demonstrating for the future

France: Support for the Saharaui peoples

Switzerland: Coordination against land mines

Good News Baby


Place: United Nations, Algeria

Subject: Commission to Investigate Massacres

Date: December 19, 1997

Source: Ouest France, Bonnes Nouvelles

The United Nations officially requested the Algerian government authorization to form an investigating commission from the United Nations to investigate the recent massacres; this initiative is of importance to the Algerian government, since the creation of said commission is now of international interest. According to testimonies given to our correspondent from Bonnes Nouvelles in the region close to Algiers, the massacres that took place between July and September victimized the poor and defenseless peoples in the most militarized area in the country. The throats of hundreds of people were cut only meters from the military bunkers. The killing generally occurred between 11PM and 4AM, without any military intervention to stop it. Tensions increased on the dawn of community elections (October 23) and above all in the neighborhoods where the “integristas” had gained the majority vote during the 1991 elections; this was almost like a punishment for the previous vote. Thus people began to doubt whether these massacres are exclusively the work of the integristas, and have begun to think that, on the contrary, they are military in origin. The people want these actions to be investigated, and the international movements of solidarity are also asking for independent investigating commissions. These petitions have not pleased the Algerian powers, who have protested against foreign meddling in the internal issues of their country, arguing that they know all too well who the murderers are. Therefore, the government rejected the reports from Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights and has also demanded that these organizations’ status of counselor membership to the United Nations be withdrawn.

Place: France

Subject: Municipal councils for children

Date: December 7, 1997

Source: Regional Council Agenda of Great Britain, Bonnes Nouvelles

For some time now, municipal councils for children have been functioning in France. Members are elected by their peers for the office for three years. Their role is of a simple consulting nature. The councils for youth and children (depending on the age) were conceived in order to create a dialogue with the community administrations so that they might be informed of the opinions of the youth regarding activities that concern them in their respective cities. For more information: Association Nationale des Conseils D’Enfants et de Jeunes, 15 rue Martel, 75010, PARIS, France, Tel:

Place: Algeria

Subject: People organize against aggression

Date: November 1997

Source: Bonnes Nouvelles

In Algeria, due to the number of massacres that took place between August and September and to the lack of response from the authorities to defend the people, those affected have taken charge of organizing their own defense. The citizens assure the safety of their families by taking turns at watch during the night. They are armed with a whistle to alert their community of suspicious movement, and with a lantern in case the power is cut. Due to the organization of these people, the aggressions have begun to diminish noticeably, and in some neighborhoods have been virtually eliminated.

Place: Algeria

Subject: Student Demonstrations

Date: December 1997

Source: Bonnes Nouvelles

After the IMF applied sanctions, the monies allotted to the education sector have suffered cutbacks and student conditions have worsened. Using the fight against terrorism as the pretext, any demonstration that has not been authorized is repressed through violence. Defying this, in December the students began a series of strikes on many university campuses, asking for an improvement in living and working conditions. They are trying to sensitize the whole of the university community in order to create autonomy.

Place: Algeria

Date: December 1997

Subject: Women’s Issues

Source: Bonnes Nouvelles

While the Algerian power structure is worried about local elections, dozens of women have held demonstrations in front of civil government buildings in order to get news about those in their families who have disappeared. Many associations are working with women who have suffered sexual aggression from the terrorists since no state organization, nor their families take care of them; on the contrary, they tend to try to hide what happened to them. In France, some Algerians are working to find families willing to give them a home for a brief time to offer them hope, and so that the women may speak out about what has happened to them.

Place: Chile

Subject: 170,000 votes for the Humanist Party

Date: December 14, 1997

Source: Chilean Humanist Party, Good News

In the latest parliamentary elections in Chile, the Humanist Party List, present throughout the whole of the national territory, had the following election results: Senatorial elections: 92,880 votes, (2.22%); Representative elections: 166,569 votes, (2.91%). What is noteworthy is that in these elections the Humanist Party received 5% in Region III (the northern part) and 6.33% at the college where Laura Rodriguez was elected representative (when the party joined the coalition of all the democratic forces) in the Pena Lolen area in Santiago. During a press conference, the Chilean Humanists underscored the fact the HP is the only party whose absolute number of votes has increased, going from 95,000 to 166,000 when compared to the elections in 1993 (from the point of view of percentages, this represents a doubling of the votes); the votes for the communist list remained unchanged, while the Concertacion (center-left) lost 900,000 votes and the right lost 200,000. During the press conference the humanists pointed out that if you add the votes of those abstaining, the void votes and the blank votes and those votes received by the communists and the humanists - one can see that, though manifested in different ways, more than 50% of the Chilean population does not support the bi-partisan and neoliberal system represented by its false option between the center-right and the center-left.

Place: Kenya

Subject: Internet Course in africans slums

Date: December 23, 1997

Source: Peacelink for Africa

In Nairobi an intensive course on HTML, web page publication and organization is being given at the Meida Kiononia Meida Centre. The objective of the course is to form a team of young journalists, who know the new communication technologies, in order to personally create and modify the Africanews pages, the monthly bulletin that PeaceLink sends each month throughout the world. If knowledge of the new communication media is important for western publications, it is even more so for small, independent publications in the Southern World because this is the only way to be heard on a worldwide level. The subjects of the course are: electronic communications, transposition of information from paper to the Web, comprehension of hypertext structure, creation and modification of HTML documents. The objective of the course is to qualify an autonomous body that can create and start up Web pages from the same organization or from other small non-governmental organizations. They have been able to overcome the great obstacle of connecting to the Internet from Kenya (which has astronomically high tariffs) by working locally and then sending the final texts and images by electronic mail (as attached files) to Italy where the PeaceLink Association is in charge of transferring them to its own server AlexLanger. The documents made here can thus become available and read throughout the world, independent of geographical location, while at the same time total local control is maintained without any kind of external interference.

Place: Argentina

Subject: Protest for freedom of the press

Date: December 17, 1997

Source: MI.S.N.A.

“The press runs the risk of being muzzled!” This is the shout of alarm launched by the Argentine group “Journalists”. According to their annual report, 1997 has been a year marked by regression with regards to freedom of the press. The year opened in January with the murder of the weekly News (Noticias) photographer, Jose Luis Cabeza. This extremely serious occurrence has caught the attention of the news media, including the foreign press. From 1983, the first year of democracy in Argentina after the dictatorship, no such abuses were registered. The President of the Republic, Carlos Menem, as well as the Minister of Economy, Roque Fernandez, recently accused the national and international press of presenting a distorted version of reality. The group “Journalists” considers the attitude of the Argentine government to be endangering freedom of thought as well as press in the country.

Place: Egypt

Subject: Somali factions sign agreement

Date: December 12, 1997

Source: MI.S.N.A.

The Somali factions that met in Cairo on November 12 have arrived at an agreement on the creation of a unified national government and on the division of power. The signing of the agreement took place in Cairo in the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Attending the ceremonies were, among others, the General Secretary of the Arab League of Nations, Esmat Abdel Meguid, and the ambassador from the United African Nations. Among the faction chiefs present were Hussein Mohammed Farah (son of the late General Aideed) and Ali Mahdi. The agreement provides for the naming of a presidential Council, of a prime minister and a constituting assembly. In addition, before April, 1998, a National Conference should be held. Once again, the observers are cautiously optimistic.

Place: Cambodia

Subject: March for Peace

Date: December 12, 1997

Source: agencies

Close to 3,000 people participated in a peace march organized in Phnom-Penh by the dissident Sam Raisny. It was the first manifestation of opposition in eight months.

Place: Africa

Subject: Tribunal for human rights

Date: December 15, 1997

Source: ANB-BIA

Justice ministers from the United African Organization arrived at an agreement to create a permanent tribunal for human rights whose responsibility will be to defend human rights and freedoms on the African continent. African citizens will be able to present cases against their own government or the governments of other countries, a right that the member states will also have.

Place: Haiti

Subject: Literacy Program

Date: December 15, 1997

Source: Haitian Humanist Movement

1,303 instructors for the literacy program in Haiti are participating in a series of seminars to prepare them for their classes. The instructors will carry out the first phase of the project which includes finding places to teach students (30 per instructor). In the seminars, they are being taught a methodology for teaching the basics of reading and writing that is based on a multi-sectional method and on the Humanist Movement’s self-liberation techniques (used in learning and aimed especially at achieving an emotional and ludic climate that should accompany simple technical learning). The project, suggested by the population itself, foresees literacy for 6 millions Haitians in four years, starting with the bottom of the society, and without any kind of economic contribution from international organizations.

Place: Internet

Subject: On-line censured dailies

Date: December 17, 1997

Source: Reporters Sans Frontieres, agencies

While the Director of La Nation, Salima Ghezali, received the Sacharov prize for peace (see previous editions of Buenas Noticias), the Algerian weekly which was shut down by the government continues to live in an on-line version on the Web Page of the Reporters Sans Frontieres, the association fighting for freedom of the press on a worldwide level; it can be read at This is analogous to the situation of the independent Belarus daily Svoboda (freedom), which was closed down in early December by the Supreme Court because it was accused of “sustaining subversive positions”. This daily is also housed inside other periodicals and can be found at:

Place: Canada

Subject: Recognition of the territorial rights of the indigenous

Date: December 12, 1997

Source: Associazione Popoli Minacciati, The Globe and Mail

The Canadian Supreme Court recognized the territorial rights of indigenous peoples. The decision concerns the tribes who never ceded their land right through an agreement. Recognizing that the indigenous tribes’ territorial rights should have always been in effect, the highest federal court ruling creates evident difficulties for the mining and lumbering industries. The head of the commission, Antono Lamer, has said that it was not the Court’s intent to encourage the indigenous peoples to start new legal controversies, rather it hopes that they will prefer to negotiate an agreement with the federal and provincial governments. Both of which have made clear that they are willing to negotiate. According to the tribal chiefs, the Supreme Court’s decision obliges these governments to recognize the tribes’ rights to reclaim their territorial rights, meaning that they have to be involved in the management of the natural resources in these territories.

Place: United States of America

Subject: Intelligent antivirus

Date: December 18, 1997

Source: Infocity

International Business Machines, IBM, is patenting a new kind of “intelligent” antivirus software, capable of reacting to unknown pirate information programs thanks to the application of artificial intelligence. IBM claims that the solution is to develop an “immune system for cyber-space”. That is to say, a software that is able to recognize new viruses, and alert the IBM analysis center of its presence.

Place: United States

Subject: AIDS discoveries

Date: December 1, 1997

Source: Infocity, Science, Ciudadanos del Mundo

What allows some “serpositives” to coexist with HIV for several years without developing the illness is an abundance of a specific type of immune cell. This is the T lymphocyte auxliary (linfocitos T auxliaries), according to a team of researchers in Boston after the analysis of a North American’s blood who continues to be in good health despite having contracted the AIDS virus when he was eighteen years old. The valuable barrier against HIV is made up of linfocitos T auxiliares, fundamental tools of the immune system which the body produces in many varieties, each one made to fight a specific virus. When these cells find the presence of an enemy, they are reproduced millions of times in order to debilitate the virus. But HIV in the majority of the cases is able to breech the immune system and, due to causes that are still unclear, the linfocitos T auxiliares analyzed are at very low levels, if not absent, if a person is HIV positive. The discovery, according to “Science”, has made them think that the body might be able to control HIV if this type of cell could be “protected”. Thus strong anti-viral medicines have recently been given to HIV patients. This has enabled them to radically reduce the quantity of the virus and, at the same time, the immune system of these patients has begun to produce T cells that fight off the HIV virus specifically. On the other hand, if the patient had been HIV positive for more than six months, the production of linfocitos was not found. From this information, according to Bruce Walker, chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital team, a “window” of time exists in the acute stage of infection in which the anti-viral therapy can reactivate the immune system. According to a study headed by Dr. Kathleen Martin at the Harvard Medical School, also published in “Science”, the ability to neutralize a specific amino acid that is present in the CCR-5 co-receptor, which is indispensable for the diffusion of a virus in the body, could avoid the combination of other elements which facilitate the entrance of HIV in the body, and thus interrupt the infection process. The identification of this amino acid could favor the development of new treatments for this illness. Http://

Place: Switzerland

Subject: First conference between the two Koreas

Date: December 9, 1997

Source: agencies

After more than 44 years of the 1953 armistice that put an end to the war between North and South Korea, historic peace talks have begun in Geneva between Seoul and Pyongyang. In the negotiations, delegations from the United States and China are participating. The “four way” conversations should conclude in two days and constitute only the first stage in a series or encounters aimed at normalizing relationships between the two parties of the Korean Peninsula, one communist, the other capitalist. The talks in Geneva should allow for the elaboration of an agenda for new meetings and set the date of the next one.

Place: Chile

Subject: Denunciation of the abortion situation

Date: December 12, 1997

Source: Humanist Movement, agencies

During the electoral campaign for the upcoming legislative elections, the candidates from the Humanist Party launched a strong campaign on the problem of abortion in the country, where, according to the denunciation, at least 200,000 clandestine abortions are done and many women are jailed for having had abortions. The law does not allow for any type of abortion whatsoever. This law was enacted during the Pinochet dictatorship. The humanist candidates held a manifestation in front of the Moneda palace with the candidates proposing the passage of new legislation which eliminates all penalties for abortions and provides for adequate sanitary assistance for women. Other parties from the left joined the humanist candidates in this demonstration.

Place: Italy

Subject: University network of reciprocity

Date: November, 1997

Source: Humanist Movement Bulletin

At the La Sapienza University in Rome, humanist students began a self-organizing campaign to build a network of reciprocity in order to respond to the high cost of books, photocopies, and the repressive climate imposed by the university’s authoritarian style. Books, photocopies, and class recovery and repetition are exchanged, as well as small course on Brazilian dance, restoration courses, relaxation courses, Kangaroos, etc.--everything, obviously, for free. The only obligation for those who sign up is to take advantage of the Network of Reciprocity and offer something to others. Already 50 students from different disciplines are participating in this network. They are just now taking their first steps with the Reciprocity Network. They hope to reach hundreds of participants in order to organize more extensive services such as kitchens and residences, all based on reciprocity and in order to generate within the university a movement that radically transforms the conditions of life of the students and the dehumanizing direction presently existing at the university. For more information: Lorenzo Palumbo 06/7674158; e-mail:

Place: United States of America

Subject: Western medicine recognizes acupuncture

Date: November, 1997

Source: La Repubblica

Acupuncture works, at least for some therapeutic needs. Those who declared this are not Chinese nor alternative physicians, but a committee of notable experts from the National Institute of Health in the United States. It is a federal health organization. At the conclusion of a “consensus conference” that lasted three days, the twelve members of the work group sent a press release destined for history. In Europe acupuncture was recognized some time ago by the medical establishment, but the declaration made represents an important milestone because it is the first time that western medicine officials seem to also accept the theoretical implications of a treatment that is today used extensively by millions of people including the industrialized world. “There is evidence proving that acupuncture treatments are efficient for postoperative nausea, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, nausea during pregnancy, and pain due to postoperative dental surgery” wrote the committee, which does not limit itself to this acknowledgment, but goes beyond this to approve this ancient Chinese treatment. In fact, acupuncture, added the North American experts, is probably efficient in other cases, such as integrated therapy or as a cure in itself, and they then list a series of pathologies which, nevertheless, they believe need further research. More than necessary, they are indispensable, since “the committee underscores the importance of valuing acupuncture as a cure for specific pathological conditions through studies that might go beyond a rigorous scientific control”. The position taken by the NIH committee, according to some, is also an implicit criticism of western medicine, and goes, therefore, beyond the specific subject of acupuncture. According to some, it is a decisive step forward in demanding a clear path for the world of alternative therapies. Despite the few--and some bad--studies on alternative therapies because of lack of interest by the large pharmaceutical companies, alternative therapies have become a mass phenomenon.

Place: Senegal

Subject: March for Peace

Date: November 23, 1997

Source: ANB-BIA

Several hundred Muslims and Christians participated together in Ziguinchor in a march for peace in Casamance, a region in Senegal that is at the center of conflicts. At the head of the march was the Archbishop of Ziguinchor, Mons. Maixent Coly, and the Imam of the Great Mosque in the city of El Hdj, Alioune Haidara.

Place: Italy

Subject: Rally for the future

Date: November 30, 1997

Source: Humanist Movement

In Turin, as in Florence and Milan, humanists have met to speak about the future. Under a great tent in the middle of an extensive fog, almost 600 people came to listen to the different speeches, to mix among themselves, and to read together a declaration of commitment to build a non-violent future worthy of the human being.

Place: France

Subject: Support for the Saharaui People

Date: November 16, 1997

Source: mlist Africa, Good News

The 23rd European Conference on Support for the Saharaui People, with participants from all continents, was held in Herouville Saint Clair from November 14 to the 16th. In addition to confirming their support of the upcoming self-determination referendum, the United Nations was asked to take down the military walls built by Morocco and to clean the land mine zone, in order to normalize development. The conference requests that a maximum number of international observers be invited to observe the voting process and that an independent commission be formed to guarantee that the peoples’ will is expressed.

Place: Switzerland

Subject: Coordination against land mines

Date: November 26, 1997

Source: agencies

The government announced the upcoming creation of a center of world coordination for all activities that work against anti-personnel land mines. The center will be up and running in 1999, together with the United Nations.

Good News Baby

The Museum for Children is born.

Its headquarters will be in Rome, in Borghetto Flaminio. Construction will begin this year. The project provides for large spaces where children will be free to explore, play, have experiences, and to learn by themselves. Without signs saying “Do not touch”.

Civil Protection in Class

School kids at all grade levels in the Potenza province will begin to see a new subject this year: civil protection. They will learn what to do in case of earthquakes, fires and extraordinary meteorological phenomena. The classes will be given by “high risk” experts.

The conversation club has arrived

A chance to talk together that should not be missed. This developed from the idea of a student at the Círculo Didactico I de Santerano , in Colle (Bari). In each encounter one must “use up” at least 200 words talking with friends.

A Plan for Children

Eight ministries are involved and this project should be completed within two years. The plan foresees the reorganization of childcare centers, a promise to redesign the city to accommodate for the size of a child, rearranging work schedules so that mothers and fathers can spend more time with their children, and more attention paid to televised programming during the hours that children are also watching.

From parent to child: a liver for two

The operation lasted 17 hours and allowed Satrak, an eleven-year old Croatian child to receive part of his father’s liver to replace his own, which was seriously diseased. This is the first Italian transplant of an organ from one living being to another. It took place in Paua, on October 23, 1997; both father and son are doing well and have returned home.

A Cabbage in orbit

A small garden can also be cultivated in space: on the Russian space station MIR, a cabbage is being grown. Said like this, one might think that it is a joke, but in reality it is a great victory: in the future, food will be produced on site for survival; thus the astronauts will be able to extend the length of time of heir missions.

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