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N. 31 - November 26, 2000
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* Finland: Diet and exercise prevent diabetes.
* Azerbaijan: The fifth "Helsinki Citizen's
General Assembly" held in Azerbaijan.
* Finland: Human wall to protect a cultural building.
* Africa: Five European Arists in Africa.
* The world: US$150M for Infant Vaccines.
* Belarus: Opposition youth groups form coalition.
* USA: Kyrgyz journalist receives award for courage.
* Lithuania: Conference held to restore plundered Jewish properties.
Diet and exercise prevent diabetes.
Helsinki, Finland, Nov 14
(By: Juha Uski)
A combination of a low-fat, high-fibre diet and exercise can prevent about 60 percent of cases of adult-onset diabetes, one of the authors of a Finnish study said on November 14.
The study's preliminary findings were released to coincide with World Diabetes Day.
The study by the Finnish National Public Health Institute followed 500 Finns over a period of 2-6 years. In diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone essential in converting sugar into energy, or cannot use its insulin effectively.
This can lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications such as blindness, heart and kidney disease and circulatory problems that often lead to amputation of feet or legs. There are 180,000 people with diabetes in Finland, of whom 150,000 suffer from the adult-onset form. Globally over 150 million people are affected, and diabetes organisations forecast an increase to 300 million by 2025. The study did not investigate juvenile diabetes, which is different from the adult version and cannot be controlled by diet or exercise.
The fifth "Helsinki Citizen's General Assembly" held in
Baku, Azerbaijan, 28 October - 1 November
RFE/RL Civil Societies Report
(By: Juha Uski)
The fifth general assembly of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (hCa) took place from 28 October to 1 November in Azerbaijan. Attendees included over 500 civic peace and human rights activists, mainly from the Caucasus and the Balkans; there were 41 Armenian participants, with 12 from Nagorno-Karabakh. Among other initiatives, the hCa produced the Baku Appeal for Dialogue betwen Cultures and Civilizations, among local Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, as well as the Parallel Summerschool for Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding.
What is hCa? See
Human wall to protect a cultural building.
Helsinki, Finland, 17 September 2000.
Juha Uski, Personal experience
http://www.makasiinit.net, Helsingin Sanomat
(By: Juha Uski)
At 1 pm on an autumn Sunday approximately five to ten thousand people gathered at the "Stables of the Czar" or "Makasiinit" ("storehouses") at the centre of Helsinki and formed a 1-kilometre long human chain wall around the buildings, to show the authorities that they want the buildings not to be torn down. Actually there were two, in some points even four layers of chains of people holding hands, as there was more people than was needed to surround the buildings. The atmosphere was peaceful, lively carnival atmosphere, with performance artists and youth with african drums.
The demonstration was arranged by a people's movement for the preservation of the buildings (www.makasiinit.net).
The buildings have become a symbol of healthy grassroot alternative culture during the 90s. They are not only located at the very heart of the city but also in the heart of many of the city's inhabitants; but as the place where they are is strategically central, next to the parliament house and the new palace of the ruling newspaper of the country, it is also ground with financial interest. The plan to tear down the old buildings has been made under the excuse of building another cultural building, a Music Hall.
The fate of the building is to be decided by the new city government. Themunicipal elections are in October.
Background Feature article: Oasis at the centre of the city People have gotten tired of how all old buildings are torn down, becausethere are torn down also the history and the culture of the people. This is why there exists such wide support to preserve the "makasiinit" buildings. The two buildings were built in 1898-1899 as a railways goods station. The goods were at that time transported from the station to the various points in the city by horse carriages, and from that comes the nickname of the buildings: "the Stables of the Czar" - because then Finland was a part of czarist Russia. The other, nowadays more common name of the buildings is "Makasiinit", which means "storehouses". The goods traffic centre was established in 1966 in another location away from the centre of the city, but the "stables" were still used as well until the end of 1980's. Then the artists and the common people found their chance and moved in to the abandoned buildings little by little. It soon became a kind of center of avant-garde art in the end of 80's and in early 90's; the small art gallery is still there. The classic ecological shop of the city, "Grassroot" started in a little house in front of the building and nowadays resides in the stables building itself. There is also a bike workshop and artist craft spaces, and in the beginning of the 90's the well-known massive flea markets started going during the summer period.
The spaces are used for exhibitions and performances, and this autumn there has been a very nice restaurant and night club, featuring for example the classic "Steam" Sauna club, which moved there from another classic cultural building: the youth culture center "Bat Cave", which was torn down to build the headquarters of a technological company.
And now also this interesting cultural phenomenon is in danger because of the pressure of the big capital, which imposes its "efficiency" and pompousness. To soften the blow, the plan is to build there a cultural institution, a Music Hall. Of course, institutionalized and hygienized culture is the acceptable form and the expressions outside that are "inappropriate". But it seems that many people do not agree to that conception. It seems that many people appreciate more the spirit of openness and looseness of this peaceful area in the midst of the hectic downtown noise, this edge of the park of the Töölönlahti bay area. It seems that the "tearing down and constructing frenzy" starts to be experienced as rather neurotic. It seems that many people are no longer so interested in massive constructions, but rather in the content and the actual role that the places have in people's lives.
Five European Arists in Africa.
Africa, October 1, 2000
LA 2 Television Espanola
By: Jesus Sordo, Buenas Nuevas (Good News, spanish issue)
Five English artists are traveling through Africa on bicycles showing their art to the people in the towns they come to. The members of the group stated that their purpose is not to put on great shows or expositions but to seek closeness with the villages of the African continent, while at the same time learning from the various cultures they find along the way.
Cuban Doctors Help Mitigate Dengue Epidemic in El Salvador.
US$150M for Infant Vaccines.
The World, September 25, 2000
By: Lic. Graciela Prepelitchi, Buenas Nuevas (Good News, spanish issue)
The children of 13 poor countries of the world will receive vaccines against Hepatitis B and other diseases. This is possible through the US$150 million collected by a world alliance of non-governmental organizations and public institutions with the support of the United Nations.
Opposition youth groups form coalition.
Minsk, Belarus, 25 October 2000
(By: Juha Uski)
Source: Radio Free Europe
The largest opposition youth organizations in Belarus have formed a coalition to launch a campaign aimed at introducing democratic changes in the country. The coalition includes Maladaya Hramada, the Association of Belarusian Students, the Belarusian Organization of Young Politicians, the Youth Christian Union, and Malady Front. Their declared goals include ensuring basic freedoms and democracy as well as building a law-based state and introducing a free market. "Young people can no longer tolerate humiliation from and the stupidity of the outdated regime," their statement reads. The coalition plans to stage a demonstration in Minsk on 12 November to demand democratic changes in the country.
Kyrgyz journalist receives award for courage.
New York, USA, 10 October 2000
Radio Free Europe
(By: Juha Uski)
Zamira Sadykova is the editor of the opposition newspaper "Res Publica" in Kyrgyzstan, Eastern Russia. She was presented in New York on 10 October with the International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism prize. Sadykova received an 18-month suspended sentence in 1995 for allegedly slandering Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev and was sentenced again libel in 1997 for reporting on corruption within a state-run gold-mining company.
Conference held to restore plundered Jewish properties.
Vilnius, Lithuania, 3-5 October 2000
Radio Free Europe
(By: Juha Uski)
Vilnius hosted a major international conference on Jewish cultural properties plundered during World War II on 3-5 October, with representative from over 35 countries and various organizations in attendance. The three-day conference focused on developing a mechanism for the restitution of property, such as patents, religious objects, and an estimated 600,000 works of art stolen from Jews during the Holocaust.
During the conference, U.S. and Russian negotiators reached a breakthrough deal that will open access to Russia's archives for the restoration of plundered Jewish properties. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, head of the U.S. delegation, called it a "major, major step forward," adding that "it may be the biggest step forward since the end of World War II." He also said that the opening would show "the dimensions of the art stolen by Hitler's orders throughout Europe."
The Vilnius conference concluded on 5 October with a declaration calling for all states "to expedite" and "take all measures to return" such assets.
The resolution also called on organizations and museums throughout the world to take part in the effort by providing information on such plundered objects. In keeping with the spirit of the conference, the outgoing Lithuanian parliament passed a law which returns a collection of 370 Torahs currently in safe keeping in the national library.
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|ITALY : Olivier Turquet, Founder of the Agency|
|SPAIN : Jesus Sordo|
|FINLAND : Juha Uski|
|Rocio del Valle|
|Writing and correcting:|
|Rocio del Valle|
|MUNDO DEL NUEVO HUMANISMO|
|Olivier Turquet, Buone Nuove|