[alternet-l] THE ALTERNET NEWS - ISSUE # 103

Joanne Doyle joanne at gn.apc.org
Thu Dec 4 19:11:40 GMT 2003


This issue:


The AlterNet News is the GreenNet e-newsletter that carries brief news 
items, campaign updates, a diary of key forthcoming events and 
announcements. News comes from our contacts all over the web, but most of 
the AlterNet News will come from the GreenNet community. Please don't send 
news to the AlterNet address. Send items for inclusion, including a web 
link if possible, to actnow at gn.apc.org. Items may need to be edited. Plain 
text e-mail is preferred.

Back issues are on-line at:
--> www.gn.apc.org/news/alternet/index.html



The Safra Project is pleased to announce the launch of her new webpages on 
'Sexuality, Gender and Islam':
--> www.safraproject.org



A joint initiative of the Association for Women's Rights in Development 
(AWID), Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and Rights and Democracy, 
Fundamentalisms - a Web Resource for Women's Human Rights, focuses on the 
identifying and exposing the international dynamics of fundamentalisms. 
This resource highlights the impact of fundamentalisms on women in 
particular, identifies trends and strategies to counteract them, and shares 
comprehensive, cross-regional information and analysis to promote a greater 
understanding of fundamentalisms.

The Fundamentalisms web resource consists of the following sections and 
*Comprehensive and regularly updated thematic overviews addressing the 
impact of fundamentalisms on areas such of women's health and sexuality, 
education, employment, political participation and leadership, and so on.
*A guide to relevant human rights forums and mechanisms -- e.g. UN Human 
Rights Commission and Commission on the Status of Women, special 
rapporteurs, working groups, and treaty bodies -- and how these might be 
used to improve women's human rights in contexts of rising fundamentalisms.
*Regular opinion pieces and interviews from women taking the lead in 
advancing and protecting women's human rights in situations where 
fundamentalisms undermine them.
*News, recent events, and information on action alerts from regionally 
diverse perspectives.
*Extensive links to relevant organizations, resources and articles.
*An online research tool specific to the fundamentalisms theme.

For more information please visit the WHRnet site:

--> www.whrnet.org/fundamentalisms/



Join CORE and persuade MPs in the UK to introduce the Corporate 
Responsibility Bill.

Friends of the Earth reports:

The Bill would help stop big companies wrecking the planet, and instead 
harness their innovation and enterprise to improve our environment. The 
Bill says:

- Better reporting
- Companies should report any major impacts they've had on people and the 
environment. Use this to improve each year.
- More than profits
- Directors should have a duty to reduce the damage their companies do – 
rather than maximise profits at any cost.
- Better protection overseas
- Help ensure companies who damage the environment or communities abroad 
can be held liable by the people affected.
- More than 300 MPs have already expressed support for these proposals so 
there is a good chance of the Bill becoming law.

Join the action here:

--> www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/corporates/press_for_change/private_members/



Friends of the Earth Scotland reports:

Citizen guides will "protect lives and prevent pollution"

Communities living beside Scotland's chemical plants were today (Wednesday 
3 December) called upon to help prevent a "Scottish Bhopal" disaster. The 
call by Friends of the Earth Scotland coincides with a number of 
initiatives happening around the world to coincide with 'International 
Environmental Justice Day'. EJ Day commemorates the 1984 tragedy at Bhopal, 
India - where a chemical leak at a Union Carbide-owned facility lead to 
8,000 fatalities. [1,2]

To assist Scotland's so-called 'fence-line' communities take action to 
protect lives and prevent pollution the environment group today published a 
series of six citizen handbooks. [3] Designed to ensure a 'Bhopal-like' 
disaster can never be repeated the handbooks aim to inform communities of 
their rights and empower them to hold local companies to account. The 
series, entitled 'Redressing the Balance', which has taken two years 
research to pull together will also enable people to campaign for 
environmental justice in their own communities and globally.

The 'Redressing the Balance' handbook series:
- Citizen's Science - what activists need to know to tackle pollution
- Global connections - the international impact of community action
- Voices from the grassroots - communities in Scotland campaigning for 
environmental justice
- Environmental Campaigning
- Community Sustainability Audits
- Setting up a Community Sustainability Project

The handbooks are available free to community groups by calling 0131 554 
9977 or visiting:
--> www.foe-scotland.org.uk/nation/agents_handbooks.html



Mines and Communities report:

The winners of the 2003 Dirty Digger Awards have been decided. The awards 
are being made to coincide with the Mining Journal’s ‘Outstanding 
Achievement’ Awards, to be presented at the Mines and Money Congress on 3rd 
December 2003.

Jim-Bob Moffet and Robert Wilson are the joint winners of the main “Death 
Roll Award” (which mirrors the Mines and Money “lifetime achievement” award 
– itself likely to go to Wilson).  The two are respective heads of the US 
company Freeport and the UK-based company Rio Tinto, during the period when 
the two companies took the world's richest mineral deposit at Grasberg from 
under the feet the indigenous people of West Papua, Indonesia. They were 
run-away, unpopular winners (to the point where there were no other 
nominations from activists and community representatives). Not only is the 
company complicit in numerous human rights violations, and large-scale 
environmental destruction, but as recently as 22 November two more workers 
have died at the mine (this time of asphyxiation by sulphur fumes in an 
underground tunnel used to transport ore to a nearby mill). This follows 
the death of at least nine workers in a pit wall collapse in October.

John Rumbiak, a native Papuan human rights activist noted of the mine: “In 
the three decades that Freeport has operated in Papua, the company has 
single-handedly succeeded in establishing its own fiefdom. With the 
assistance of the Indonesian armed forces, paid by Freeport to safeguard 
its operations, the company decides who can enter the area surrounding its 
mine and who cannot 
 The [Indonesian Human Rights] Commission noted that 
[human rights] violations "are directly connected to [the Indonesian army] 
acting as protection for the mining business of PT Freeport Indonesia."

However, the United Kingdom & United States did not grab all the brickbats. 
Flying the flag for the aggressive Canadian junior mining companies is 
Robert ‘Toxic Bob’ Friedland, who scooped the un-coveted “Award For 
Mining's Biggest Renegade”. Fighting off some stiff competition from all 
across the world, the judges had to find for Toxic Bob, primarily thanks to 
his close association with the appalling Burmese SLORC dictatorship at the 
Monywa Copper mine. (For more information see:

--> www.minesandcommunities.org/Aboutus/londoncall29.htm
--> www.minesandcommunities.org/Company/friedland6.htm).



A Canadian canola farmer is taking Monsanto to the Supreme Court of Canada 
arguing that Monsanto's patent is invalid.

Wired News reports:

The case, to be heard in January, will be binding only in Canada. But the 
outcome will have an unofficial ripple effect throughout the United States 
and the rest of the continent, where Monsanto has sued more than 500 
farmers for infringing on its genetically modified seed patents.

In addition to Monsanto, companies including Dow, DuPont and Bayer sell 
their versions of genetically modified soy, corn and canola seeds to 
farmers in North America.

"Monsanto does not have a patent for the canola seed," said Nadege Adam, a 
campaigner for the Council of Canadians, a group with intervener status in 
the Schmeiser case. "It was given a patent for a gene trait.... In Canada, 
no one has ever been given a patent for either a plant or a seed, only genes."

Others wonder where the line could be drawn between a patent on a gene and 
a patent on a seed or plant. A Monsanto spokeswoman said she's confident 
that the Supreme Court will find the canola patent valid in Canada.

"The (lower) courts found the patent was valid, and that is important not 
only to Monsanto, but companies like us who continue to invest in Canada, 
knowing our rights will be respected," said Trish Jordan, a spokeswoman for 
Monsanto's Canadian operations.

Read the full story:

--> www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,61241,00.html/wn_ascii



Nineteen women representing 12 organisations from the cities of Mumbai, New 
Delhi, Bhopal and Goa; and from the states of South-Hyderabad, Kerala, 
Gujarat and Maharashtra participated in the Women's Electronic Network 
Training Workshop in India (WENT-IN) which was held from November 15-22, 
2003 at the Yuva Centre in Khargar district, Mumbai. The workshop trained 
participants in planning effective web-based information services, and in 
using online communication tools to advance their networking and advocacy work.

The graduates of WENT-IN (Women's Electronic Networking Training India) are 
expected to promote the use of information and communication technology to 
enhance women's role and capacity in social and policy advocacy. WENT-IN is 
designed to strengthen women's organisations and networks in India.

The WENT workshop in India follows at the heels of the Fifth Asia-Pacific 
Women's Electronic Network Training Workshop (WENT) which was held last 
October 12-20, 2003 at the Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, Korea. 
The regional WENT is an ICT training workshop for women held annually since 

The WENT in India is also the third national training workshop organised to 
promote the localisation of the regional WENT workshop. Successful national 
WENT workshops were held last year in the Philippines and Malaysia. To 
date, the combined national and regional WENT workshops have trained 221 
women from close to 200 women's organisations from 24 countries in Asia and 
the Pacific in various ICTs such as web and database management, online 
content development, local area networking, and electronic commerce.

WENT in India was co-organised by Akshara, a Mumbai-based women's resource 
centre; and by the Association for Progressive Communications-Women's 
Networking Support Women (APCWNSP). APCWNSP, along with the Korea-based 
Asian Pacific Women's Information Network Centre (APWINC) are the 
co-coordinators of the Asia Pacific Women's Electronic Network Training 
Workshop (WENT).

Members of the APCWNSP in Asia and the Pacific have steered the training 
team of WENT since 1999. WENT regional trainers and APCWNSP members, Pi 
Villanueva Reyes and Justina Curtis led the workshop in India together with 
Aksahara members, Anita Mehta and Nandita Ghandi. Reyes and Curtis also 
belong to WomensHub (Philippines) and Community Communications Online 
(C2O), respectively. WomensHub and C2O are both members of the Association 
for Progressive Communications.

The training resource and documentation of the regional workshop and the 
India workshop are available at:
--> www.i-went.net



The case for open source in developing countries by Rishab Aiyer Ghosh

There is a strong case for free software (also known as open source
or libre software) being deployed widely in developing countries. As
argued in this note, the open source development community provides
an environment of intensive interactive skills development at little
explicit cost, which is particularly useful for local development of
skills, especially in economically disadvantaged regions. Further,
this note argues that the controversy over total costs of ownership
(TCO) of free vs. proprietary software is not applicable to
developing countries and other regions with low labour costs, where
the TCO advantage lies with open source, and the share of licence
fees in TCO is much higher than in high labour cost countries. The
note concludes with a table comparing license fees for proprietary
software against GDP per capita for 176 countries.

Full article at:
--> http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_12/ghosh/index.html



WBKEnglish reports:

A massive Saemangeum Reclamation project on South Korea's west coast 
threatens huge numbers of migratory shorebirds, and if completed would 
greatly accelerate the already rapid declines in the globally threatened 
Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Spotted Greenshank.

In July this year a Korean Court ordered that all work on this massively 
destructive reclamation project (at 40 100 ha, the world's largest such 
project) must cease - an order that is being resisted by pro-reclamation 
ministries in the Korean Government.

With the courts still weighing up the evidence, and the national government 
nervous of increasing international pressure, it now seems that the 
decision on Saemangeum's future will be made sometime next year - when, the 
pro-reclamation camp hopes, domestic and international attention is likely 
to have shifted elsewhere.

If you'd like to know more and would like to get involved, please go to:
--> www.wbkenglish.com/samforsaem.asp



Digital World Contest

The Club TIP (Shared Information Technologies' Club) organise The Digit 
World Contest. It is an international contest which sets a competition 
between web sites dedicated to protection, conservation, promotion and/or 
exhibition of cultural and/or
artistic heritage. The contest is open to museums, foundations and even to
private companies or individual private web sites. You shall find all
information about the Digit World Contest in English, French and Spanish on
--> www.tutytam.org/contest

Social Enterprise MBA

Five fully funded scholarships for social entrepreneurs to study an MBA
at Oxford University's Said Business School are up for grabs. Jeff Skoll,
the former president of online auction site eBay, has stumped up £4.4
million for the School through his philanthropic foundation. The scholarship
page says: "Applicants must have experience of or be working in the social
entrepreneurship arena and have the ambition to return to this field."
Deadline for applications 12th January.

--> www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/html/mba_financial_aid_skoll.asp.



People & Planet: Fundraising Officer £19,278 Oxford

People & Planet is the biggest student organisation in the UK
campaigning on poverty, human rights and the environment. They have
a campaign record of changing the behaviour of governments,
corporations and billion-pound investment funds. They have 28 staff, the
largest student network in Europe and tens of thousands of supporters.

They are looking for a creative and dynamic fundraiser to help us take
forward our plans for ambitious organisational growth. Over the last
five years a concerted effort to develop grant fundraising have helped
us achieve a four-fold increase in our income. We need someone that
can help us maintain our existing level of funding, whilst helping to
build new relationships and explore other avenues for diversifying our
income base, such as major gifts and direct mail.

NOTE: All applications must have been received by 19 December

Full application packs available at:
--> http://peopleandplanet.org/careers

Women Living Under Muslim Laws is looking for a full-time Finance & 
Administrative Officer
(salary range - £19437 - £25575)

Women Living Under Muslim Laws is an international Network that provides 
information, solidarity and support for all women whose lives are shaped, 
conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to derive from Islam. The 
Network aims to increase the autonomy of women by supporting the local 
struggles of women from within Muslim countries and communities and linking 
them with feminist and progressive groups at large; facilitating 
interaction, exchanges and contacts and providing information as well as a 
channel of communication.

Main tasks relate to book keeping and financial analysis and the general 
administration and logistics for the International Coordination Office, 
based in London, UK.

The successful applicant will have a minimum of 2 years experience with 
either MYOB or Sage in addition to familiarity with MS Office (especially 
Excel), Internet and email software. Prior experience in the voluntary 
sector would be an advantage. Additional languages especially French and 
Arabic would be of a great advantage.

Deadline for applications: Friday 12th December 2003.

For more information about WLUML, please see their website:
--> www.wluml.org



Christian Aid is challenging Christmas shoppers across the UK and the 
Republic of Ireland to give a gift with real meaning and help people around 
the world share the celebration and have the chance for a better future.

--> www.christianaid.org.uk/christmas



'They feared that the age of reason which had allowed huge advances in 
science and banished superstition had become the instrument of an unreason 
that made humanity the servant of blind forces. Advances in knowledge had 
been used merely to enhance the might of a few; progress and technology 
needed to be appraised if they were to lead to real benefit.'

- Ardorno & Horkheimer, Frankfurt School of Critical Theory




Tuesday 9th &  Wednesday 10th
‘Gujarat - a laboratory of Hindu Rashtra’  will be screened with ‘Miles to 
Go’ (dir. Nina Subramani) followed by discussion  on Saturday 13 December 
and Sunday 14 December 4pm ‘Gujarat - a laboratory of Hindu Rashtra’  will 
be followed by a launch of a new report by the International Initiative for 
Justice in Gujarat and an opportunity for discussion
6pm - Box office: 0207 930 3647, tickets: £6.50 / £5.50
ICA, The Mall, London, SW1 nearest tube: Picadilly Circus/Charing Cross

Wednesday, 10th
6pm - Nearest tube: Mornington Crescent
PSI Conference Centre, 100 Park Village East, London NW1
Cost: This is a FREE event, with drinks served afterwards!

Wednesday 10th
Trouble in Paradise?
Human rights for an environmentally fragile world
2.30-5pm - The Law Society, Chancery Lane WC2A 1PL
To book a place, cost £5, contact Val Nobbs at Women’s Environmental 
Network, on 020 7481 9004/ email: healthadmin at wen.org.uk

For more information, go to:
--> www.nmk.co.uk/kosovo2.0.cfm

More Diary Dates on GreenNet:
--> www.gn.apc.org/calendar/calindex.shtml

Please add your events to the calendar here:
--> www.gn.apc.org/calendar/add.shtml


The AlterNet News is edited by Joanne Doyle for GreenNet:
---> www.gn.apc.org

Please note that opinions expressed in AlterNet are those of the
contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the GreenNet 
To subscribe or unsubscribe see:

For more information on this service and how to use it, contact
joanne at gn.apc.org


More information about the Alternet-l mailing list