Humanist Electronic Press Agency

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Publishes only news about social, scientific and cultural achievements and progress of humanity.

N. 28 - July 23, 2000

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Humanists are women and men of this century, of this time. They recognize the achievements of humanism throughout history, and find inspiration in the contributions of many cultures, not only those that today occupy center stage. They are also men and women who recognize that this century and this millennium are drawing to a close, and their project is a new world. Humanists feel that their history is very long and that their future will be even longer. As optimists who believe in freedom and social progress, they fix their gaze on the future, while striving to overcome the general crisis of today...

Document of the humanist Movement:


* France: Genetic modification could help prevent malaria?
* Russia: Russia's scientists protest the disrespect for science in Russia.
* Russia:The first international crew to live on the International Space Station is ready to go.
* USA:Assumed "Speed Limit of the Universe" has been broken.

* Finland: Ethnic Minorities Organize Cultural-Commercial Center.
* Greece: Parthenon Marbles.

* Spain: Refugees and Reconciliation.
* Spain: International Forum on Human Rights.
* Sweden: Falungong Supporters Protest in Sweden.
* Vatican: Pope appeals to leaders for change in prison practices.



Genetic modification could help prevent malaria?
Paris, France, June 26, 2000
(By Juha Uski)
European scientists have created the world's first genetically-modified mosquito, in what they believe may be a step towards eliminating malaria by introducing harmless versions of the insect into the wild.


The first international crew to live on the International Space Station is ready to go.
Moscow, Russia, June 29
(By: Juha Uski)
The departure of the first US-Russian crew (one American and two Russians) to live on the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for October 30, Russian space officials said on Monday. The Zvezda docking module will be launched from Kazakhstan.
"All the queries that emerged during the tests have been ironed out," said Riumin, vice-president of space construction firm Energiya, on RTR state television.
The international space station is a project which involves 16 countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. The ISS will be a 100-meter long complex of more than 100 components weighing more than 450 tonnes. This giant station is due to remain in orbit until at least 2013. Currently it is comprised of two modules - the US-built Unity and the Russian module Zarya.


Russia's scientists protest the disrespect for science in Russia.
Moscow, Russia, July 4
(By: Juha Uski)
On 4th of July Russia's scientists mounted a nationwide protest to the government, against low pay and shrinking research grants. In the streets of Moscow about 300 scientists demonstrated, and smaller groups of scientists joined the protest in other major Russian cities. The large international reputations of these academics often contrast sharply with their paltry post-Soviet wages, which are sometimes as low as 50 dollars a month. Before 1991 and the end of the Communist era, science funding represented seven percent of the overall Soviet budget, and contributed 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product, compared to 0.25 percent nowadays, according to Vladimir Strakhov, director of Russia's Institute of Earth Sciences.


Assumed "Speed Limit of the Universe" has been broken.
Princeton, USA, July 20th, 2000
Source: AP
(By: Juha Uski)
Since Einstein's Theory on Relativity, developed nearly a century ago, physicists have believed there is nothing faster than light moving through a vacuum.
It seems nowadays that not even this is absolute. In an experiment in Princeton, N.J., physicists sent a pulse of laser light through cesium vapor so quickly that it left the chamber before it had even finished entering. The pulse traveled 310 times the distance it would have covered if the chamber had been a vacuum. Even the sceptics wonder: "The interesting thing is how did they manage to produce light that looks exactly like something that didn't get there yet?"
The results of the work by Lijun Wang, Alexander Kuzmich and Arthur Dogariu of NEC Institute were published in the journal Nature.



Ethnic Minorities Organize Cultural-Commercial Center.
Oulu, Finland, July 1, 2000
(By: Juha Uski)
In a small city close to the arctic circle, immigrants of different latitudes have developed common projects during the last few years.
Earlier on, they organized sports activities and even an international conference about ethnic issues. Now they have opened a common commercial and cultural venture. ETNICA Art Gallery opened June 22, 2000, to display the work of ethnic minority artists, along with works of lesser known Finnish artists. The first artist whose work is being featured is Kamutaza Tembo from Zambia. Each day, Mr. Tembo will also demonstrate, for the benefit of small children, the lost art of wire model building at the Gallery. During the following, month ETNICA will expand its function: it will also become a shopping centre, where immigrants of different countries can display and sell their products directly to the Oulu public. The center also houses a small cafeteria.


Parthenon Marbles.
Delos, Greece, July 1st. 2000
Source:Melina Mercouri Foundation
(By: Aristides Zinelis)
The famous British Doctor Christopher Stockdale has covered 26 n. miles between Delos and Paros. This swimming marathon has been organized by the "Melina Mercouri Foundation" in order to sensitize public opinion, and for gathering money for the Foundation's goal which is to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
With his action Dr. Stockdale wants to manifest that this will honor the international community and the cultural heredity of Greece. As a representative of the majority of British people, Dr. Stockdale feels that with this return of the Parthenon Marbles to its place of origin a great injustice can be restored.



Refugees and Reconciliation
Madrid, Spain, June 29, 2000
(By: Jesus Sordo)
Buenas Nuevas (Spanish Good Agency)
An international forum will start today in Madrid which will deal with the present situation of refugees and the prosecution of those who violate their fundamental rights in order to reach reconciliation and create the necessary conditions for a debate that may bring the parties involved closer together. The issue about Pinochet was presented as an exampe of what this forum intends to achieve.


International Forum on Human Rights.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain, June 29, 2000
(By: Jesus Sordo)
Buenas Nuevas (Spanish Good News Agency)
The Galician city of Santiago de Compostela is currently hosting meetings on the respect of Human Rights, the right to self determination and the right to humanitary interference. The framework for this dialogue is sponsored by UNESCO and counts among its players the Secretary for Amnesty International, Pierre Sane, the commissioner of Human Rights for the European Council and other representatives of organizations working toward the compliance of Human Rights. The aim of these meetings, which will extend until next year in various European cities, is to solve the dilemmas regarding the fact that countries that comprise the Security Council of the UN are the ones benefitting the most from the sale of weapons to warring countries.


Falungong Supporters Protest in Sweden.
Stockholm, Sweden, July 21, 2000
Source: AFP
(By: Juha Uski)
Some 50 supporters of the Falungong Movement, banned in China just less than a year ago, held a demonstration late Thursday in the center of Stockholm, in order to present publicly their Movement and to draw attention to the Chinese authorities' schemes against members of the
"Originally Chinese authorities backed the Falungong Movement, whose aim is to improve people's lives morally and physically, but the Chinese authorities felt threatened when the number of people attached to the movement grew", the Nordic spokeswoman of the movement, Lilly Wang said.


Pope appeals to leaders for change in prison practices.
Vatican, July 1
(By: Juha Uski)
Pope John Paul II has appealed to world leaders to change prison practices and reduce sentences. In an appeal for governments to revoke laws which violate prisoners' dignity, fundamental rights and the free practice of religion, the pope said that if detainees are not helped their detention becomes "a mere act of social revenge."
Pope John Paul also said "a change in mentality" towards prison conditions and reforms was needed. "The punitive method" is not the only way to combat delinquency, he went on, and Governments need to "make greater use of types of correction that do not rely on detention." John Paul II acknowledged that progress has been made to adapt the legal system to protect human dignity while seeking guarantees to maintain public order, but added: "A lot is still left to be done? In many countries prisons are overcrowded. Some have some amenities, in others conditions are very hard, not to say unworthy of human beings.".


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ITALY : Olivier Turquet, Founder of the Agency
SPAIN : Jesus Sordo
FINLAND : Juha Uski
Clara Winternitz
Rocio del Valle
Writing and correcting:
Clara Winternitz
Rocio del Valle
Jesus Sordo
Juha Uski
Olivier Turquet, Buone Nuove