[alternet-l] THE ALTERNET NEWS - ISSUE # 95

Joanne Doyle joanne at gn.apc.org
Thu Jul 10 17:57:57 BST 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



Women Living Under Muslim Laws, 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, has 
just launched their new site. The new site is designed in collaboration 
with GreenNet using a content management system 'ActionApps'.

The site is content-rich, including news, calls to action and publications, 
all thematically and regionally categorised and searchable. The ActionApps 
system displays items in all three languages: english, arabic and french.


The e-Parliament climate and energy website has introduced a new energy 
section to their website, designed by Adrian Harris at GreenNet.
The new section alerts the visitor to the policy instruments and technology 
that has already been proven to work, they
encourage a dialogue through a simple bulletin board about how to improve 
climate and energy policies

--> www.e-parl.net/energy

BRIDGE have redesigned the Siyanda website, now on-line at:

--> www.siyanda.org/



"The upcoming World Summit on the Information Society is a great learning 
opportunity for civil society organisations that are new to the ICT policy 
process to begin to articulate positions and gain valuable experience in 
lobbying that can be taken back to their home countries.

The APC guide "FAQ about Conducting a National WSIS Process" outlines the 
steps to take and key components in organising a national consultation 
around ICT policy. The "question & answer" format homes in on some of the 
key questions we have heard people ask about how to organise. The primary 
target audience is people that are active in using or promoting the use of 
ICTs in their work, but who have not necessarily
been involved in national level policy processes previously.

"We find this is true of many ICT oriented organisations who tend to be 
hands on, providing training, support, and content," said APC Executive 
Director, Anriette Esterhuysen.  "Working at the policy level can be quite 
intimidating.  Our goal is to provide encouragement and support so that ICT 
CSOs can build the confidence to raise their voices in policy discussions."

Download the FAQ on conducting a national WSIS consultation:
--> http://rights.apc.org/nationalfaq_wsis_v1.pdf

Read more about it:
--> www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=12828



"DAVID BLUNKETT has decided that everybody in Britain over the age of 16 will
have to buy an identity card at nearly £40 each, a leaked cabinet document

The move will spark outrage from Britain's civil liberties lobby, which has
long campaigned against ID cards. It is also likely to provoke anger among
voters, who will object to being forced to pay for a new arm of state

The home secretary has rejected voluntary entitlement cards and instead will
require all citizens to have identity cards. Each card will contain biometric
data, such as an image of a person's iris or fingerprint, so police and other
authorities can confirm the holder's identity."

Blunkett has asserted that: "The consultation exercise showed strong public 
support for a card scheme and a preference for the term "identity card" 
rather than "entitlement card"."

The Times article is online at:
--> www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-736390,00.html

Privacy International had earlier this month, in a news piece 
entitled:  "UK Government to Ignore ID Card Opposition", reported that "the 
UK Government has revealed that the 5,000 anti-Entitlement Card email 
submissions sent via the Stand.org.uk website were to be "counted in the 
same way as other inspired samples or surveys of opinion which by their 
nature cannot be representative of the population as a whole".

Further information and useful links at their website:
--> www.privacyinternational.org/



The European Parliament have lifted an outright ban on GM foods. The new 
legislation allows GM products only if they are clearly labelled.

This strict labelling regime may have been a compromise to ward off a trade 
war with the US but it is nevertheless welcomed by environmental groups, 
such as FoE.
The new legislation means that GM animal feed will now have to be labelled 
for the first time, along with thousands of other products which contain GM 
soya and GM maize-derived foods.

FoE did caution that "although the new legislation is a step in the right
direction, they remain concerned that:

- The threshold for GM contamination is too high. MEPs compromised with 
Ministers and agreed on 0.9%. Current testing techniques can reliably 
detect GM s low as 0.1%;
- The contamination of food and crops by unlicensed GM material will be 
allowed for 3 years;
- Member states may, rather than shall, take action to prevent 
contamination of neighbouring farms.

Friends of the Earth is also calling for strict liability to make biotech 
companies liable for any contamination or environmental problems."

Read the press release in full here:
--> www.foe.org.uk/resource/press_releases/meps_back_tougher_gm_label.html

Friends of the Earth has produced a map which sets out the presence of the 
five wild plant species most likely to cross-pollinate with oilseed rape if 
it is grown in Britain:

The Guardian reports online at:
--> www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,989766,00.html

Thanks to those who got in touch with news about events and information 
around the GM debate, following piece on GM nation in the last Alternet News.

Genewatch have a list of local meetings that will allow people to get 
directly involved. The list on our site contains over 75 meetings compared 
with the half dozen or so on the official site:

--> www.genewatch.org/Debate/Debate_Meetings.htm

The Genewatch site also contains a series of 'core issue papers' that are 
available to download online, including:
GM Crops: Environmental Saviour or New Form of Pollution?
GM Crops and Food: Good for Your Health?
GM Food: Your Right to Choose?
GM Crops: Bringing Hope to the Starving?
Can GM and Non-GM Farming Co-exist in the UK?
Who Should Pay if Things Go Wrong with GM Crops and Food?
GM Research: Who Decides?
GM Animals: Do The Ends Justify The Means?

--> www.genewatch.org



The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA, working 
alongside the APC, has completed their 3 year action plan and a briefing on 
the state of FOSS in Africa.

"The APC Addis Workshop on ICT Policy and Civil Society sparked the
formation of the foundation with the workshop working group on
Information Security and Applications Development unanimously resolving
to convert itself into an interim civil society task force to champion
free and open source software. The foundation came into being during a
preparatory conference for the World Summit on the Information Society
in February 2003 and now support for FOSSFA is being debated in the
British Houses of Parliament."

Find out more about FOSSFA and read the action plan:
--> www.wougnet.org/ICTpolicy/opensource.html#FOSSFA

FOSSFA in UK Parliamentary debate:

Can Open Source Technologies Transform African Information
Infra-structures? A troupe of African techies tell it how it is...
--> www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=9965

See September diary dates below for details of an Open source UK event.

Read the latest Cooperative Systems bulletin for an easy to digest 
comparison between Windows and Linux -
The big match: Windows v. Linux:
--> www.coopsys.net/downloads/jun2003.htm#b5



Last week the Women's Environmental Network helped organise a 'European 
toxic-free future' conference.

"The conference, Working Towards a Toxic Free Future, brought together 100 
participants from more than 40 groups in 20 countries, at Soesterberg, in 
the Netherlands, last weekend (27-28 June).

The European Commission is consulting now on plans for much tighter 
regulation of chemicals. People and civil society groups were urged to 
respond now to the internet consultation on draft legislation to counter 
intense lobbying from the chemicals industry and the United States against 
it. Speaker after speaker detailed the scale of human pollution from 
man-made chemicals and the health effects evident in wildlife and, 
increasingly, in people.

Marie Kranendonk, President of the conference organisers, Women in Europe 
for a Common Future (WECF), said: “Children have the right to be born 
chemical free. We cannot accept that they are the guinea pigs of the 
chemical industry.  Europeans have a choice now: economic interests versus 
the protection of the health of people, particularly the most vulnerable 
group  the new generation.”

Up to 20,000 children born in the Netherlands each year show the effects of 
the ‘body burden’ of chemicals their mothers were exposed to: breathing 
difficulties, blood and immune disorders, learning difficulties and 
congenital defects.

There are an estimated 100,000 synthetic chemicals in the environment, 
about 30,000 in every day items and up to 700 contaminants have been 
detected in humans. Current regulation is totally inadequate to deal with 
the pattern of multiple daily exposure to toxic chemicals from products all 
around us: furniture, electronic goods, cosmetics and even food."

Full story:

--> www.wen.org.uk/general_pages/Newsitems/pr_toxicfreefuture.htm

You can respond to the European Commission internet consultation on its 
chemicals policy either directly at:
--> http://europa.eu.int/yourvoice/forms/dispatch.jsp?form=253&lang=EN

or by using the ready-prepared green coalition response at:
--> www.chemicalreaction.org



Last week the World Meteorological Organisation announced that "record 
extremes in weather and climate events continue to occur around the 
world.   Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global 
temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and 
intensity of extreme events might increase."

"Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures 
continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme 
events might increase," the WMO said, giving a series of examples.

The examples were from around the world, including the UK, where
last month was also the hottest in England and Wales since 1976, with
average temperatures of 16C. The WMO said: "These record extreme events
(high temperatures, low temperatures and high rainfall amounts and
droughts) all go into calculating the monthly and annual averages,
which, for temperatures, have been gradually increasing over the past
100 years. New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the
globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been

Read the full report here:
--> www.wmo.ch/web/Press/Press695.doc



An update from our call to action in Issue 92 of The Alternet News
(www.gn.apc.org/news/alternet/092%2008-05-03.html#a7_), the music licensing 
bill, although defeated 10 times, has gone through as the House of Lords 
finally backed down.

The bill, designed to liberalise drinking hours to create a more 
family-friendly drinking culture, also legislates that small venues such as 
pubs require entertainment licences for live music. Although the bill has 
some positive aspects, the main fear was that thousands of smaller pubs, 
bars and restaurants would lose the right to host even solo acoustic 
performance on any regular basis.

--> www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,3605,991269,00.html

The Musician's Union reports:

'Musicians are surely justified in believing that the Government are making 
them a scapegoat for problems that have nothing to do with live music. They 
are also justified in wondering how the Government believe that introducing 
entertainment licensing controls on live performances where none previously 
applied, or have not applied for a very long time, will benefit live music 
at the grass roots.'

Read their update here, including information on 'What has lobbying and the 
MU campaign achieved?':
--> www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/latest_news.shtml



The House of Lords agreed last night (8 July 2003) to amend the 
Communications Bill to allow Ofcom's grant funding powers to be extended in 
the future to cover digital Community Television services in addition to 
Community Radio.
The decision was taken in response to amendments drafted by the Community 
Media Association. Speaking on behalf of the Government, Lord Evans said:
"We are prepared to accept the intention behind these amendments and have 
therefore tabled government amendments which will allow access radio grants 
to be extended by order to cover local digital television services."

Lord Evans indicated that the intention was to support not-for-profit groups:
"We think it is unlikely that grants would be given to for-profit 
organisations, but do not believe that we should absolutely rule it out in 

The CMA welcomed the concession. Steve Buckley, CMA Director, said:
"This is a significant change which provides the basis for a cross-media 
approach to investment in Community Radio and Television. It falls short of 
the strategic approach to Community Media which we have called for, but it 
is certainly a step in the right direction and it will give reassurance and 
encouragement to Community TV. Government now needs to ensure that Ofcom is 
provided with the resources to invest in Community Media at a level 
sufficient to really make a difference."

Full text of the debate at:

Community Media Association website:
--> www.commedia.org.uk



The Common Ground Media Fellows Program is organised by SFCG is an 
international non-profit conflict-resolution organization devoted to 
transforming the way the people and institutions deal with conflict - away 
from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative

Common Ground Media Fellows are journalists, both print and electronic,
who are interested in reporting on public and private controversies in
ways that highlight the ambiguities (the "shades of gray") inherent in
such situations, the values each side shares with the other, as well as
the positions on which they disagree.  Writers with a special interest
in how cooperative resolutions are achieved also are eligible.

Common Ground Media Fellows receive small stipends ($300-$1000,
depending on author/producer's experience and reach of the prospective
publisher or broadcast outlet) for published or broadcast pieces that
bring to the fore fresh perspectives on polarizing issues or on the
concept of common ground.

An application to become a Common Ground Fellow must include:
1. Two samples of your work that have been published or broadcast.
2. A brief (150-200 words) synopsis of an article or segment you intend
to write or produce as a Common Ground Fellow
3. A letter from a publication or broadcast outlet expressing interest
in the article or segment.

Applications to be a Common Ground Media Fellow are accepted at any time
of the year.

Further information at their website:
--> www.sfcg.org

or via email: gkulick at .sfcg.org



GreenNet is looking for a part-time primary support person to work 
alongside our existing support/web administration team. You will be 
experienced with a variety of email programmes, web browsers and dial-up, 
on Windows and Mac operating systems. Knowledge of web-hosting, FTP clients 
and basic Linux is essential; preference will be given to those with a more 
advanced Linux background. Closing date for applications is 25th July 2003. 
Interviews will take place on Thursday 31st July. Salary £21000 pro rata.

Visit the website for a fuller job specification:
--> www.gn.apc.org/GNjob.html

  or email GreenNet support:
  --> support at gn.apc.org



Look at your eyes they are small but they see enormous things.

- A.N.




*Justice Not Vengeance: A New Network*
Thurs 17th July
Attend the launch meeting of Justice Not Vengeance
(JNV), a new initiative from two co-founders of ARROW (Active Resistance to
the Roots of War), David Polden and Milan Rai.
Venue: Quaker International Centre, 1-3 Byng Place,
London WC1E 7JH
Open to all.

Featuring: The London School of Samba's official Rainha da Bateria competition
Live samba, DJ Marcus, and other guest appearances
Friday 18 July 2003, 7pm to 1am
Venue: Porchester Hall, 45 Porchester Road, Bayswater, London W2
Cost: £10 advance; £10 on the door before 10pm; £12 after 10pm
Call 020 7687 8700 or buy tickets securely online from:
--> www.survival-international.org/summercarnivalparty.htm

Running from 7 July to 7 August, the debate will discuss the critical 
questions of how poor communities throughout the world - bearing the brunt 
of floods, famine and drought - can stop crises from becoming catastrophes.

The online debate will look at:
· The best way to respond: is it the prevailing top-down strategy, run by 
governments and many agencies?
· How can disaster management be integrated with development?
· How can community organisations work effectively together with government?

For further details of how to join in, visit:
--> www.christianaid.org.uk/storm

*Resurgence Summer Programme*
31st July - 3rd August
If you like the Magazine you will love this mix of informed discussions, 
stimulating talks, great music and the many creative, relaxing and 
enjoyable activities.
Book early to avoid disappointment.
Programme information and links to booking form here:
--> www.greenandaway.freeserve.co.uk/resurg03.htm


*AktiviX - weekend Linux workshop for campaigners*
20th - 21st September 2003 in Lancaster.
Why do people campaigning on peace, social justice, environmental or animal
rights issues use Microsoft? One of the richest corporations in the world, a
major backer of Dubya Bush, and a symbol of capitalism gone haywire.

Particularly, why do they use Microsoft when an openly developed alternative
is available. GNU/Linux - developed co-operatively throughout the world is
here. Many people are wary about trying out GNU/Linux and all the programmes
available. This is our chance to experiment and try out installing and
running Linux; to share experiences and enthusiasm.

Everybody involved in campaigning for a better world is welcome - whatever
your level of confidence with computers.

More information here:
--> www.seedsforchange.org.uk/aktiv.html


*Beyond Recycling 2003*
A one-day conference organsied by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Exchanging practical approaches for municipal waste prevention organised 
and hosted by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Waste Minimisation Programme.
Date: 4 November 2003
Venue: Bowood Golf and Country Club, Wiltshire

Further details:
--> www.beyondrecycling.net

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 
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