Humanist Electronic Press Agency

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

N. 11 - April 1998

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An interesting remark: Someone has objected that highlighting the good news might somehow divert the attention from the many injustices abounding worldwide. We will reply pointing out that good news are of course also those denouncing injustice.

Please note: in this html version all actives links are avalaibles also in english


Pakistan: Children demonstration
Switzerland: Human Rights status
United States, Cuba: Miami – La Havana flights resume
Kosova, Internet: President Rugova is reelected
Algeria: Victory of Algerian workers
Burundi: Aerial bridge for children
Chile: Humanist electoral success
Italy: Correlation between electromagnetic fields and leukemia
Mexico: Peace march in Chiapas
Switzerland: Bus for social assistance
United States: New antibiotic’s research
Italy, Internet: Interactive web project
Estonia: Abolition of death penalty
Spain: Cannabis sativa curative
Algeria: Family Law
Pakistan: Global march against children's labour exploitation
Messico: Indios defend the  “rebel towns”
Algeria: Aid el Kebir and solidarity
Ghana: Fighting the international debt
Irak: Inspection of  the "presidential sites"
India, USA: In favour of Tibet
USA: Ultra-rapid recharge batteries
Switzerland: A formula for job creation
USA: The secret of Stradivari
USA: Rain forest and international debt
France: Demonstration against the army


Place: Pakistan
Subject: Children’s demonstration
Date: 3/10/98
Source: agencies
Hundreds of children, who worked in carpet and soccer balls’ factories in Maltan, protested against the lack of applying laws protecting child labor; the information said that more than three million children are working in the country.

Place: Switzerland
Subject: Human rights’ status
Date: 3/16/98
Source: ANB-BIA, agencies
The United Nations’ Human Rights Commission began its 54th session in Geneva; the session opened by General Secretary Kofi Annan, will deal with the human rights world situation - that is worsening - and will take concrete actions to address the problem. The session took place the same year of celebration the Universal Declaration’s 50th anniversary.

Place: United States, Cuba
Subject: Miami – Cuba Flights resume
Date: 3/20/98
Source: Pianeta Press
Clinton, the president of the United States, has decided to resume Miami-Havana flights. The flights are, at this time, restricted to food supplies’ transportation.

Place: Kosovo, Internet
Subject: Reelection of President Rugova
Date: 3/98
Source: Good News, KIC
The “parallel” elections organized by the Albanian majority in Kosova took place without incidents. The president Ibrahim Rugova was reelected, due to the permanent non-violent struggle sustained by his party, the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK.), by a great majority of voters. The non-violent demonstrations for peace and self-determination in the region have continued through the whole month of March thus, avoiding the escalation of the crisis into a conflict between the Serb police and the armed Albanian nationalists. The solidarity of Albanian emigrants from Kosova help to set up good quality Internet sites to inform about the situation and their point of view, that provide daily information about the crisis.  Those sites are:  (Kosova Information Center) (Kosova crisis center)
http://web/ (official site of the Kosova Republic)
The three sites give information in Albanian and English, some in German, French and Spanish.

Place: Algeria
Subject: Victory of Algerian workers
Date: 3/28/98
Source: Bonnes Nouvelles, APS
As a result of a general strike, the unions asked for an urgent opening of a negotiation table with the government. During the meeting, it was decided to freeze the privatization of government businesses that may have generated a wave of dismissals. The union militant base that organized the strike had requested it. Workers received the news with joy, but base leaders said they would remain on guard to defend these first successes.

Place: Burundi
Subject: Aerial bridge for children
Date: 3/25/98
Source: ANB-BIA
The World Food Program has begun the aerial transportation of 600 tons of food for 37,000 malnourished children of 111 centers in Burundi.  The aerial bridge begins in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and is financed by the European Union in agreement with the near by countries that keep an embargo against Burundi.  PAM’s director, Siblot announced that: “The number of malnourished children increases in a terrifying way but there are also at least 300,000 adults in the same situation.”

Place: Chile
Subject: Humanist electoral success
Date: 3/22/98
Source: Humanist Party of Chile, Good News
Manuel Meza, one of the 5 elected candidates from the San Bernardo Communal Union Neighborhood Centers, a municipality in the south of Santiago, defeated the Christian Democrat Party’s candidate (the DC in Chile is the relative majority party.)
According to an e-mail sent to Good News by Efren Osorio, a local humanist communal councilman, the success is related to the intense neighborhood group work done by humanists in the area, where for some time, they have been developing a numerous Humanist Movement structure.  The Communal Union organizes functions as a Neighborhood Council; the council members’ work is free.  The Humanist Party obtained 8% of the votes in the last presidential elections and 10,8% in the last municipal elections (with one elected council member) in the same area.

Place: Italy
Subject: Correlation between electromagnetic fields and leukemia
Date: 3/18/98
Source: Pianeta Press
All the convergent epidemiological research indicates a correlation between the presence of electromagnetic fields generated by low frequency electric current lines, and the disclosure of infant leukemia.  The study from the Rome Superior Institute of Health revealed it.

Place: Mexico
Subject: Peace demonstration in Chiapas
Date: 3/23/98
Source: MI.S.N.A
Last Sunday, in the Tuxtla Gutierrez district of Chiapas, fifteen thousand Indians and peasants went out to the plazas asking the Mexican government for a sign of peace toward the zapatista army.  The demonstrators, defenders of the zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), appeal for respect to the San Andres Agreement, signed in 1996 and never fulfilled even up to now.

Place: Switzerland
Subject: Bus for social assistance
Date: 3/24/98
Source: Pianeta Press
A nighttime service bus began riding the streets of Geneva where prostitution takes place, offering the sex’s professionals with the pleasure of a cup of coffee to worm up while they rest for a little while and chat with a social worker.

Place: United States
Subject: New antibiotic research
Date: 3/98
Source: Infocity
The advisory committee of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the United States entity for drug’s certification, has approved a limited research for a new antibiotic that would reveal germs resistant to presently available medications. Synercid is the first of a new generation of antibiotics called estreptogramines. It is composed of two molecules, quinuspristine and dalfopristine that cause a synergic bacterial effect against some particularly aggressive grampositive bacterias.  Among the germs that it seems to be effective are the aural staphylococcus, the cutaneous staphylococcus, the fecal streptococcus, and the pneumonic streptococcus. Some of these bacterial cultures are the source of most common infection catch in hospital environments, and presents clinical problems not easy to resolve. The advisory committee has approved the limited research of Synercid for cutaneous illnesses, hospital’s pneumonia and other illnesses related to germ’s resistance to vancomicine.

Place: Italy, Internet
Subject: Interactive web project
Date: 3/12/98
Source: Infocity
The work called “Nelson Project”, bears the signature of a Wall Street young man from the Triestre University. The program, created by Federico Ziberna in the “Multimedia and Telematic Communication Studies Laboratory”, is a new system that enables the user while “navigating” throughout Internet, to experience the interactivity promised but never delivered by Internet. Using the “Nelson”, Internet is no longer a database, even if it’s a multicolor one, of data and information only for consultation and reading.  The system allows a direct intervention on the consulted pages, if they are made “public” and “opened” through the same system.  In this way, it is possible to interact with texts and become an active participant regarding the growing world knowledge. The reader begins questioning his or her position when facing electronic documents and may become their co-author.  This new system could be defined as a sort of “collaborative hypertext” of many - and yet not explore - applications. Let’s imagine what would it mean for a team of researchers located in four different places of the world; being able to work comfortably on the same page, each watching the changes and suggestions taking place.  The testing and explanation pages are found in:

Place: Estonia
Subject: Abolition of death penalty
Date: 3/18/98
Source: Amnesty International
The Estonian Parliament has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights’ sixth protocol, therefore, abolishing the death penalty.  The country’s last execution took place in 1991.  In 1996, the court declared unconstitutional the death penalty, and as a first step toward abolishing it, a law was enact commuting the death penalty to life in prison.

Place: Spain
Subject: Cannabis sativa curative
Date: 3/15/98
Source: El Mundo (Spain)
Some active components of cannabis sativa curative (commonly known plant due to the extractions of marihuana and hashish) may repair damages done by chemotherapy. World scientists arrived to this conclusion during a congress on brain cancer that took place in Madrid.  The components may be effective against cancer. Dr. Roger Pertwee from the Aberdeen University said to be in favor of legalizing the substance for medical purposes, underlying that many ill patients use it illegally.

Where: Algeria
When: 9th April  1998
About: Family Law
Source: APS, Bonnes Nouvelles

The Algerian Council of State has passed a bill revising the family law. The present code, adopted by the FLN party in 1984, is considered one of the most reactionist as far as women's rights are concerned. The revision is the outcome of 14 years long battle fought by algerian women who refused the discrimination imposed on them. The bill represents a victory against Islamic integralists, who regarded the code as an emanation of the “charia”, the Islamic law.

Where: Pakistan
When: 14/4/98
About: Global march against children's labour exploitation
Source: MI.S.N.A., Buone Nuove
Yesterday the Asiatic section of the Global March against children labour exploitation has arrived in Pakistan. The 42 participants of the relay race, most of whom are children, have crossed the border at Wahgah, where they were welcome by a crowd of 500 people. The Pakistani Minister for Labour Sheik Rasheed Ahmed, who in the next few days will symbolically lead the march, (source InfoBeat), has received the participants with the accompaniment of music and dances . The Asiatic section of the worldwide march set off  from Manila, Philippines, on the 4th of January and will join the sections from the other continents on the 4th of June in Geneva. According to the organisers, the march has already shown its results, producing positive effects for the children exploited in the production of foot-balls in Pakistan and a salary raise for adults working in the same industry.

Where: Mexico
When: 15/4/98
About: Indios defend the “rebel towns”
Source: MI.S.N.A.
Hundreds of Indios supporters of the Zapatist army held a demonstration in the village of San Andres Larrainzar against the episodes of violence in Chiapas of the last few days. Last Sunday, not far from Taniperla, the police had arrested 20 people – 12 of whom were foreigners – in the course of the evacuation of a town hall which the guerrilleros had proclaimed independent.
The foreigners have been immediately expelled from the country, whereas the Mexicans arrested where imprisoned in the penitentiary of San Cristobal de las Casas with the charges of encroachment of authority, criminal association, theft and damage to property.
“We demonstrate against what happened to our fellow countrymen at Taniperla” –  said Diego Perez, leader of the Indios of San Andres - “The police want us to surrender, but we won’t give in.”. The City Council of the village of Polho, also proclaimed independent by the Zapatists, has publicly rejected in an announcement the accusation of “flagrant violation of the Constitution” moved by the Government. “We won't allow them to destroy us and tread upon our rights as Indios. – reads the document– We are here to defend ourselves, with the sole weapons of our cause, our history and our rights”. The Mexican authorities have declared that any decision concerning the independent municipalities under the control of the guerrilleros has to be taken by the Governor of Chiapas, Roberto Albores Guillen.

Where: Algeria
When: 7/4/98
About: Aid el Kebir and solidarity
Source: Bonnes Nouvelles
Algerians have turned the Aid el Kebir, the main annual religious feast, into a great moment of solidarity. In spite of  the uncertainty and of the wait-and-see policy of the Minister for Solidarity, thousands of people have set off on a risky journey to meet the victims of terrorism and spend the festivity with them. They shared the mutton sacrificed according to the tradition, and distributed clothes and toys to the children of the families struck by violence.

Where: Ghana
When: 16/4/98
About: Fighting the international debt
Source: MI.S.N.A.
It was held at Accra (Ghana) the Conference of the international organisation “Jubilee 2000” dedicated to campaign for the abolition of African international debt. Representatives of 20 countries have discussed the issue and formulate a favourable solution for the poorest countries. The conference has been inaugurated by the Archbishop of Cape Town Ndungane, Desmond Tutu's successor; amongst the participants, the co-ordinator of the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya Wangari Maathai, the Ugandan Minister for Finance Damoni Kitabire, the President of the All African Council of Churches professor Kwesi Dixon, the assistant General Secretary of African Trade Unions Michael Besha and representatives of “Jubilee 2000” from South Asia, Latin America, United States and  Europe.

Where: Irak
When: 4/4/98
About: Inspection of the  "presidential sites"
Source :Associated Press
Experts of the United Nations have inspected the 1058 buildings of the 8 Saddam Hussein’s “presidential sites” and found them empty. Charles Duelfer, deputy chairman of the Special Commission of the United Nations, declared that during eight days of accurate inspection no prohibited substances nor documentation concerning their production or revealing their existence was found.

Where: India, USA
When: 4/98
About: In favour of Tibet
Source: Tibet Info, Good News
Following to the hunger strike begun on the 10th of March in Delhi by Tibetan activists to obtain the implementation of the UN resolutions on Tibet of 1959, 1961, and 1965 and the appointment of an UN spokesperson on the issue of human rights in Tibet, the actor Richard Gere was received by a high UN official, and on the 14th of April a public appeal of the General Secretary Kofi Annan invited the activists to end the hunger strike which is endangering their lives. In the meantime, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, has met a collaborator of the Dalai Lama and has announced that she will ask to go to Tibet during her visit to China in September. Annan's and Robinson's interventions are a result of a pressing campaign of appeals brought forward by the C.S.P.T., the committee for the support to the Tibetan people.
To get news, appeals and the bullettin:
in French:
C.S.P.T. (Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain)
in English:

Where: USA
When: 5/4/98
About: Ultra-rapid recharge batteries
Source: various agencies
A new technology was developed by a US trust which allows an ultra-rapid recharge of acid/lead batteries for electric cars: 3 minutes instead of 4 hours. This new technique, which prevents the overheating of the battery and consequently reduces the output of acid, conveys electricity up to 3000 ampere for 1/10 of a second with pauses for cooling off of 8 milliseconds. This method, moreover, will prolonge the duration of the batteries.

Where: Switzerland
When: 5/4/98
About:  A formula for job creation
Source: various agencies
Scientists of the CERN in Geneva have devised a new method to solve the problem of cuts in funds and the need for more staff; the method, launched at the end of 1997, provides new jobs and more free time and is based on the formula of  "recruitment through saved leaves". Workers can choose to accept a salary reduction of 2,5% in exchange of 5,5 non-working days, up to 22 days of leave. Leaves can cumulated and taken all together. With  40 portions of 2,5% the company can employ another person. So far 1300 staff members of CERN have adhered to the plan, thus acquiring a total of 1600 portions, the equivalent of 40 jobs.

Where: USA
When: 5/4/98
About: The secret of Stradivari
Source: various agencies
Professor Nagyvary, a biochemist and violin maker, analysed fragments of wood of the Stradivari and managed to reproduce in modern violins the sound effects which in the original instruments was the result of a long weathering of timber in the salty waters of the Venetian lagoon. The result was achieved by treating the violins with potassium hydroxide.

Where: USA
When: 5/4/98
About: rain forest and international debt
Source: various agencies
The United States have resolved to reduce the debt of those Third World countries the governments of which will commit to preventing the destruction of the rain forests. The beneficiaries are Brazil, Congo, Peru, Indonesia, where are situated half of the rain forests of the world and which own to the USA 5 billions dollars. So far US have allocated only 300 millions dollars for the first 3 years, but should the initiative prove successful the sum could raise in the following years.

Where: France
When: 18/04/98
About: Demonstration against the army
Source: Bonnes Nouvelles
A spontaneous movement of citizens in Rennes, France, has organised a manifestation called "A sandwich for humanity" to protest against the raise of funds allocated to the army in this moment of crisis. They also denounced the devious recruiting campaign which lures young people into joining the army by showing recreational activies and hiding the primary objective of preparing them to war. After only an hour the police intervened to break up the manifestation, but numerous passers-by showed their approval to the initiative.

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