Humanist Electronic Press Agency
English edition translated from the Spanish version.
N. 8 - January 1998
During the International Humanist Movements meeting in Buenos Aires, the first international edition of Good News was developed; among the subjects discussed were: the world wide network of correspondents; the english and portuguese editions of the bulletin and the project of our own real on-line press agency to produce daily news. This is a good step forward!
Argentina: Humanist Movements International Meeting
Germany: Hydrogen Car
Europe: Indigenous Peoples Rights
Belgium: Ecology and Hydraulic Autonomy
Zambia: Liberty for Kaunda
Europe: Recycling Newspapers
Mexico, The Earth, Mobilization to Denounce Chiapas Massacre
Egypt: Infibulation Prohibited
Internet: Against Censorship
Iran: Muslim Women Challenge
Kosovo, Albania: Rugova for Non-Violence
Philippines: Worldwide March against Child Exploitation
Subject: Humanist Movements International Meeting
Date: January 3-9, 1998
Source: Humanist Movement, Good News
An international meeting of the Humanist Movement took place in Buenos Aires. The main meeting took place at the Obras Stadium, with the presence of approximately 3,500 people. At this meeting the worldwide data were presented and analyzed: at present the Movement totals 26,000 members in the structure in 70 countries around the world and a base of adherents and sympathizers some five times the number of members in the structure. There are 341 humanist centers; 541 neighborhood publications with a circulation of approximately 800,000 monthly; after the meeting, in which the general orientation for the next semester was given, several other meetings were held to coordinate specific activities generated by New Humanism throughout the world: Center of Cultures, Centers and Neighborhood Newspapers, Human Support Campaigns, Humanist Clubs, the Humanist Economy Network, the Humanist International, Electronic Magazines, the World Without Wars 2000 Campaign, University Forums, Union Associations, Community for the Human Development, etc. Among the variety of activities, as we mentioned above, was also the first world edition of Good News!!
Subject: Hydrogen Car
Source: Agencies, Good News
In Frankfurt, Toyota presented a new car model using hydrogen produced from a fuel cell system. It produces electricity directly from the fuel cell which bypasses the accumulation of energy in batteries that in general produce recharging and interruption problems The difficulty with storing hydrogen at more than 250 degrees below zero, that is present in other prototypes, has been resolved in the Fuel Cell Electric vehicle made by Toyota thanks to the fact that hydrogen is being produced from methanol contained in the fuel tank and the kinematic chain is based on combustion in the cells, with methanol storage in an auxliary battery; all under the hood of the vehicle. The chemical process is based on heating the methanol and the water which are transformed by a catalyst into hydrogen and carbon dioxide; from this chemical reaction no toxic substances are generated which makes this a zero emissions vehicle and a perfect ecological machine. It is not yet clear if, when and in what conditions this machine will be mass produced.
Subject: Indigenous Peoples Rights
Source: Association of Endangered Peoples
The European Parliament approved, without conditions, a resolution proposed by The Greens relative to the mining activities planned in Kakadu National Park, Australia, one of the areas defined as a world heritage site. The European Parliament exhorted the Australian government to respect the status of Kakadu National Park as a world heritage site; to respect the territorial rights of the aboriginal peoples and asks for an independent group of experts to research and report on uranium imports by the European Union; analyzing the impact of these mining activities on health and the environment, on the rights of the indigenous peoples and the effect of the tailings; it asks for all member states to stop importing from countries where the territorial rights of indigenous peoples are not respected.
Subject: Ecology and Hydraulic Autonomy
An independent water source provided by rain in one hundred homes in Belgium. A Professor of Chemistry at the University of Mons declared war on water supply systems used by the territorial administration -- convinced by the results of his studies, he has gone from theory to practice with his home and with some one hundred other homes. Bypassing the water distribution network, and relying on rain alone, which duly filtered, feeds the fawcets in his home. This water is better for drinking, says the Belgian professor. With this system you can also do away with public water systems for sewage waters. A bacterial treatment of sewage waters supplies what is necessary for garden irrigation; while the classic baths are substituted by toilet baths, the contents of which will be used later as fertilizer.
Subject: Liberty for Kaunda
Source: Humanist International, Good News
Kenneth Kaunda, ex president of Zambia and present leader of the opposition has returned home thanks to the rapid actions and protests against his encarceration on December 24, 1997. The government arrested him without cause. The government, after having won democratic elections has quickly changed the Constitution, the election laws and has instituted a police state. Among others protesting his encarceration were Nelson Mandela and the Humanist International of which Kaunda is a member, and the UNIP party. Kaundas opposition party in addition to strong protests at the Zambian Embassy and the United Nations, has also launched an international signature campagin to support democratic opposition to the present government. The situation is still serious because the elderly statesman and Father of the Nation is now under house arrest. He is forbidden from speaking with the international press and is accused of being responsible for a recent military coup, which is absurd since Kaunda was in South Africa at that time for treatment of a wound received from a failed assasination attempt during a non-violent protest. Representatives from the UNIP have declared that the majority of the opposition has no interest in resolving the political crisis through violence and have confirmed their adherence to the principles of non-violence which has characterized their policies and their admission to the International Humanist.
Subject: Recycling Newspapers
Old newspapers could one day be used to produce cement. This is a project under study by some european universities to research cost reduction of recycling paper. In fact, old newspapers submitted to the process produce a large quantity or residuals, that are also damaging. More than 30% of the newspapers end up as waste products, which in Europe amounts to 5.8 tons yearly and which are generally not completely used up in the recycling process. The waste is composed of celulose fibres, and also of minerals such as kaolin and limestone. If the percentage turns out to be very high, they could be used for producing adobe and bricks. The results of some research studies indicate that if the quality of the waste generated from recycling newspapers were improved, it would be useful for the production of cement. Practical studies have been done Belgium, Denmark, and Spain, where the first experimental pilot facilties have been installed. In addition to being a more economic process, the use of the waste could reduce the extraction of Kaolin from mines, and thus represent an environmental safeguard.
Place: Mexico, The World
Subject: Demonstration Against the Chiapas Massacre
Source: agencies, Humanist Internacional
A vast number of protests from around the world were held after the massacre of the Mayan Indians in Chiapas on December 22. The massacre was blamed on paramilitary troops with the evident complicity of the Mexican army. The first reaction to these protests produced the firing of the Minister of the Interior and the arrest of 46 persons accused of the crime. Among the many voices speaking out against the crime, the Humanist International is responsible for generating press releases and protests at some forty embassies and consulates around the world.
Tema: Infibulation is Banned
Source: ANB-BIA, Good News
The Egyptian State Council has banned infulation and any other practice of mulitation of the human female clitoris even though the girl/woman and her relatives should want it, and unless there were some health reason for the operation. Such practices, which are painful and humiliating and violently mutilate the sexuality of a person, are still practiced in many Arab countries.
Subject: Against Censorship
Source: Reporters Sans Frontieres
During a campaign against general censorship and against the arrest of the director of the Cameroon newspaper Le Messager, Pius Njawe, Reporters San Frontieres display in their web page several articles written by the reporter, at the same time as he himself was being arrested, and among which was his notebook called The Galley Slave, which was written in his cell while he was a prisoner. The reporter was encarcerated for publishing false news, after publishing an article about the present state of health of President Biya. Article and petition supporting the journalist: http://www.calvacom.fr/rsf/RSF_MAJ/RSFCens/Cens_VF/Cens23F.html
Subject: Muslim Women Challenge
Source: agencies, Bonnes Nouvelles
Taking advantage of the Iranian soccer teams qualification to participate in the world cup, hundred of women took to the streets, challenging the law of the Mullahs, to express their joy. From the time when the Ayatollah Khomeni took power in Iran in 1979 and the following dictatorship by the Mullahs ensued, women have been the main victims of this Islamic republic: banned from going out in public without a shador, banned from speaking to men, for example. Since then the Mullahs milita is everywhere and controls the people, especially the women: who can be attached if a wisp of their hair escapes the shador. Women can not go to public places, stadiums, cinemas, etc. Last December the women defied these prohibitions, and went out to see the qualifying games, taking to the streets without veils, which represents a true revolution for this country. The most important fact is that the Mullahs were unable to impede them, which raises the hopes that this country will quit itself of this totalitarian system and gives hope to all the women who are living in countries where integralism is in place.
Place: Kosovo, Albania
Subject: Rugova for Non-Violence
Source: Albanian T.V. Humanist Movement
A campaign upholding the principles of non-violence has been launched by the self-proclaimed President of the Republic of Kosovo, President Rugova, as an answer to the ever increasing violence in the region of Yugoslavia where there is a majority presence of Muslims. Faces with unending repression from the Serbian plican against the peaceful student demonstrations asking for the Albanian schools to be re-opened and against terrorist acts commited by an Albanian minority (which is suspected to be financed by the Serbs themselves), Rugova has confirmed his own commitment to option of non-violence as well as that of his party and has given great predominance to the letter sent to him by Paolo Vecchi, from the Humanist Movement in Florence, which, in the name of all humanists, exhorts him to persist in his position. The letter was widely publicized in albanian television during a program about the situation in the region.
Subject: Worldwide March Against Child Exploitation
Source: Mani Tese, Good News
The world march against the exploitation of children at work left from Manilla on January 17, 1998. The march is supported and promoted by more than 400 non-governmental associations from 85 countries around the world. The march will last for six months and will go through all of the continents untill arriving at its destination in Geneva in June where there will be an international conference on the subject of a new treaty for the protection of childhood. In a press release, Mani Tese, a non-governmental organization for development and cooperation which is coordinating this initiative in Italy, points out that: Exploitation of children is a consequence of structural injustices and miseries: on the eve of the year 2000 we find ourselves faced with ever more children who die from hunger and fatigue. The existing laws against the exploitation of children are insufficient - action must be taken to address the causes of a phenomenon that is frequently the result of adult unemployment, of social program cuts, and growing poverty."
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