[alternet-l] THE ALTERNET NEWS - ISSUE # 102

Joanne Doyle joanne at gn.apc.org
Thu Nov 20 18:11:26 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



Not a new site but worth a mention, Ibiblio is in fact one of the Web's 
oldest and largest digital libraries. Its completely free and has an 
eclectic collection of documents, videos, audio and image files.

--> www.ibiblio.org/

Check out this short video clip, you do need sound and about 5 minutes:

-->  www.themeatrix.com/



Stop The War Coalition claim that 130,000 have taken part in a protest 
march today to hold the British and US governments accountable an 
unjustified war.
Channel 4 reports:

"A spokesman (for Stop The War Coalition) said: "This phenomenal response 
shows the depth of feeling of the British public towards this visit."

Earlier, a huge security operation swung into action around Westminster 
Abbey for the visit.

Hundreds of officers swamped the area around the ancient church where Mr 
Bush attended a wreath-laying ceremony before being driven the short 
distance to Downing Street for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Outside the Abbey armed officers patrolled the perimeter of the building.

Metal crash barriers were erected all along roads leading up to the area, 
which is lined at 50-yard intervals with more police officers.

Other squads of police checked drains and grids in the area to look for 
suspicious devices."

--> www.channel4.com/news/news_story.jsp?storyId=45223

For details and links to other protest events organised, see:
--> www.indymedia.org.uk/



Forty women and their organizations were responsible for a highly 
successful feminist media coverage of the European Social Forum. Thousands 
of readers followed the event through the eyes of feminists from Eastern 
and Western Europe.

The success was a result of the cooperation between powerful women who were 
willing to risk speaking out and to be pioneers. ENAWA - European and North 
American WomenAction partner organization Les Pénélopes took the initiative 
to bring 17 women from feminist organizations in Eastern Europe to the 
European Social Forum. The IIAV helped raise funding to bring the women to 
the event and participated itself, as journalists, organisers and editors. 
The women from Eastern Europe spoke in workshops, they participated visibly 
in other workshops, seminars and plenaries, and they wrote articles on a 
daily basis. The articles reflect the depth of thought and concern women in 
Eastern Europe have, and at the same time they reflect the expectations 
their organizations have of cooperation with feminist partners in Western 

  Emails were sent out daily via a number of websites and email lists:
  --> www.penelopes.org
  -->  www.enawa.org
  --> http://socialrights.org/spip/en
  --> www.mano-paltalk.com/jeddi2/zan1311.htm

  and many others.

Many initiatives will follow up on this feminist media coverage of ESF. One 
will be an English-language paper publication. If you would like to receive 
a copy, write to:
--> penelopes at penelopes.org



Friends of the Earth call for immediate action as Britain's biggest ever 
quarry proposal goes to court:

An attempt to establish what would become Britain's biggest ever quarry 
enters the law courts next week (Tuesday 25 November 2003). Fifty times 
larger than conventional UK quarries the proposal by one of the world's 
largest aggregate companies, Lafarge Aggregates, would leave a crater 459 
hectares in area. An entire Scottish mountain would be reduced to a sea 
loch leaving a scar six times the height of the White Cliffs of Dover.

In case the next Tuesday, at Edinburgh's Court of Session, Lafarge will 
attempt to overturn an earlier decision which prevented it from 
establishing a superquarry.

Commenting Friends of the Earth's Chief Executive, Duncan McLaren said:
"Lafarge's plans to destroy the mountains of Scotland for use as cheap road 
building material in the south of England would be a social and 
environmental disaster. Having had its plans rejected by the people and the 
government of Scotland this corporate giant is now trying to get its way 
through the courts. Enough is enough. It is now time to end over a decade 
of uncertainty for the people of Harris. Lafarge should do the decent thing 
by dropping its legal actions and ending its plans for a superquarry on Harris.

"If a company was ever to propose removing the White Cliffs of Dover for 
road building material then there would be such national outcry that it 
would never have been allowed to get this far.""

Spokespeople from Friends of the Earth will be available for interview in 
the run-up, during and after the court case. Call Lang Banks on 0131 554 
9977 or (pager) 07654 200937



Wired News reports that Brazil is looking to adopt open source (OS) in 
favour of costly Microsoft products:

"Silvia's top technology officer wants to transform the land of samba and 
Carnival into a tech-savvy nation where everyone from schoolchildren to 
government bureaucrats uses open-source software instead of costly Windows 

Such a policy makes eminent sense for a developing country where a mere 10 
percent of the 170 million people have computers at home and where the 
debt-laden government is the nation's biggest computer buyer, says Sergio 
Amadeu, the open-source enthusiast appointed to head Brazil's National 
Information Technology Institute by Silva after the president took office 
this year.

Paying software licensing fees to companies like Microsoft is simply 
"unsustainable economically" when applications that run on the open-source 
Linux operating system are much cheaper, Amadeu said. Under his guidance, 
Silva's administration is encouraging all sectors of government to move 
toward open-source programs, whose basic code is public and freely available. "

Read the full story online:
--> www.wired.com/news/infostructure/0,1377,61257,00.html/wn_ascii



OWOS (Our World Our Say) has drawn up a petition calling for "a FULL 
independent, judicial, public inquiry into whether parliament and the 
British people were misled about the threat from Iraq."

Their appeal:
"The Hutton Inquiry is limited to just a small area of the conflict. It is 
absolutely scandalous that an illegal war, which has caused loss of life 
and immense misery along with making Britain one of the most hated nations 
on Earth, has been justified on the basis of half-truths and deception.

On September 24, 2002 Tony Blair stated: 'His (Saddam's) WMD programme is 
active, detailed and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The 
WMD programme is not shut down. It is up and running'.

Tony Blair described the intelligence upon which his assertion was based 
as: 'extensive, detailed and authoritative'.

The dossier which he was quoting from went on to say: 'Some of these 
weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them.'

The whole war was fought on the basis that Iraq posed an immediate threat. 
We were told when war started that Iraq had deployed chemical and 
biological weapons to use against British and US forces. No such deployment 
took place. A whole series of allegations were made in the build up to war 
and throughout the war that have been shown to be at best inaccurate and at 
worst blatant lies. To date, no weapons of mass destruction have been found."

This is part of a major new Our World Our Say campaign to ensure that 
politicians are made accountable to us for their actions.

Sign the petition to Tony Blair at:

--> http://www.owos.info/petition/



Today (Thursday 20th) being International Children's Day, Amnesty 
International is focusing on a number of human rights issues involving 
children around the world.

They make a special call to remind the president of the United States that 
there are still children detained at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay:

"In April 2003 the US authorities revealed that children as young as 13 
were among the foreign nationals detained there. As far as Amnesty 
International is aware, none has been released, despite Secretary of State 
Powell's reported concern six months ago about the damage their detention 
was inflicting on the USA's international reputation.
This is the same government which in 2002 told the UN General Assembly 
Special Session on Children that the USA was "the global leader in child 
protection". The USA, along with Somalia, is the only country in the world 
which has not ratified the Convention of the Child (CRC). The United States 
is also almost the only country left in the world that executes child 
offenders -- those under 18 at the time of the crime -- accounting for 
three quarters of such internationally illegal executions known worldwide 
in the past five years. Another child offender, Raul Villarreal, is 
scheduled for execution in Texas in June 2004. Lee Malvo, accused of a 
crime committed when he was 17, is currently on trial for his life in 
Virginia. He was transferred from federal to Virginia custody on the order 
of Attorney General John Ashcroft, specifically so that the death penalty 
would be an option in his case.

A released prisoner told Amnesty International in May 2003 that he recalled 
speaking to a 12-year-old boy detainee in Guantánamo. One child, Canadian 
national Omar Khadr, was already known to have been in US custody for 
almost a year, half of it in Guantánamo Bay, where he was transferred in 
October 2002. He was reported to have been 15 years old when he was 
captured in Afghanistan in July 2002. He, along with the other detainees, 
has been denied access to lawyers or relatives. Likewise, they have had no 
access to any court or tribunal in which to challenge the lawfulness of 
their detention or to have their status determined. Omar Khadr and others 
could yet face trial by military commission, executive bodies with the 
power to hand down death sentences against which there would be no right of 
appeal to any court.

The detention and interrogation of unrepresented children in Guantanamo, as 
well as contravening international law and standards that apply to both 
adults and children, violate principles reflecting a broad international 
consensus that the vulnerability of under-18-year-olds require special 
protection. "

Read their full report:



In September 2003 Dragon organised a three-day Council of All Beings workshop.
The council followed the classic Deep Ecology Council of All Beings 
workshop programme, but with an added ingredient:

"We used shamanic techniques to deepen the experience and enhance our 
connection with the more-than-human world.

The intent was more than speaking on behalf of another. To my knowledge, no 
Council has been done quite this way before, though we are sure many 
indigenous peoples have done very similar work for centuries. I'd be very 
interested to hear of other Councils that used similar techniques.

This was a meeting of animal and nature spirits speaking through us. To 
honour this development of the original concept we recorded the Councils' 
words and offer them to the wider community for comment and debate."

The full report on the Dragon Council of All Beings is online at:
--> www.dragonnetwork.org/council/



A report by the The World Bank entitled 'Ensuring Gender Equality in ICT 
for Development' can be accessed online.

The report follows the call for 'better integration of gender 
considerations in Bank supported projects so that both men and women can 
access the benefits of development equally.  As most Bank projects have ICT 
components, finding ways to take the gender dimension into account seemed 
to be an opportunity worth considering. The study analyzes lessons of 
experience in including gender issues into projects and discusses some 
practical design and implementation issues for task teams.  It also 
assesses the extent to which existing national ICT policies have taken 
gender into account.'

The study looks at five main areas---ICT Labor Market, Micro and Small
Enterprises, Social Service Delivery and Political Participation, and National
Policies---where the equal participation of males and females in ICT-related
issues could make a contribution to development. It also reviews a range of
Bank projects from different sectors, more than half of which paid little or no
attention to gender issues.

The study was co-task managed by the Gender and Development Group in PREM, and
the Global Information and Communication Technologies Department, ICT Policy
Division (CITPO).  Funding for this study was provided by the Government of
Japan. The study was conducted by KM International Co., Ltd.

The report is available on the GICT internal webpage (under "Of Current 
--> http://gict.worldbank.org



The Rape Crisis Federation (RCF), established in 1996 as a national 
co-ordinating body for the rape crisis movement in England and Wales, 
closed operations earlier this month.

RCF report:

"RCF was a strong and vocal advocate for female survivors of sexual 
violence and for the services that exist to provide support for such women. 
It successfully lobbied on a significant number of legislative and policy 
related issues, significantly the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 
and most recently the Sexual Offences Bill, which is now nearing the end of 
its passage through Parliament. It was not successful in securing 
statutory, central funding for rape crisis services despite strongly 
lobbying to bring this country in line with other European countries 
(Ireland's rape crisis services do have centralised state funding). It 
repeatedly lobbied the Government on bringing the rights of women in this 
country into line with those of women elsewhere in Europe but to no avail.

The closure of the organisation is not due to a lack of need for such an 
organisation. Back in 1996 there were 5,759 reports of rape, this year 
there were over 9,000. The conviction rate for rape currently stands at 
5.8%; one of the worst levels in the whole of Europe.

The closure of RCF is instead the culmination of a period where its 
principles, traditions and structures of governance were sorely tested. In 
this process internal problems unavoidably become public concerns, 
particularly in a political climate which is becoming increasingly hostile 
to organisations and individuals who stand outside of the mainstream. It is 
remarkable timing that just as the Sexual Offences Bill is due to be 
enacted, just as an Inter-Ministerial group on sexual violence is formed 
and just as the Government are due to report to the United Nation on action 
taken to eliminate discrimination against women, the Home Office chose to 
withdraw their financial support of the only national group that defends 
women's rights to live their lives free from the fear of male sexual violence.

The withdrawal of funding at the end of October, leaves the organisation 
with no option but to close. The effects of this will reverberate not only 
through the corridors of power but also in the lived experiences, hearts 
and minds of women for a long time to come."

The RCF website is still online for a short period of time:
--> www.rapecrisis.co.uk



APC's Latest Annual Report: Strategic use of ICTs by civil society and
engaging civil society in ICT policy

In the course of 2002 APC focused its energies primarily in two areas - 
strategic use of
information and communication technologies (ICTs) by civil society and
engaging civil society in ICT policy processes.  The use of ICTs by
civil society has been central to APC since our founding and we have
been working on ICT policy issues since 2000 when APC members identified
ensuring internet rights for civil society as a priority.  But in 2002
we started to delve beneath the surface of the challenges our
communities confront and instead of responding to the symptoms, find
ways to help civil society anticipate and plan for the challenges in
their policy environment at home or in their use of ICTs in their

Highlights covered in the 2002 APC annual report include: APC in the
run-up to the first-ever United Nations summit on the information
society (WSIS), the APC ICT policy monitors in Africa and Latin America
and the Caribbean, a new training course helped civil society
organisations understand how ICT policy decisions affect their work, the
Africa Hafkin Prize recognised people-centred ICT policy initiatives,
tools development included a free software content management system and
piloting in four continents of the Gender Evaluation Methodology for ICT
and internet initiatives (GEM).

And achievements from APC members on five continents such as:
- ALIN-EA, Kenya: Information for drought preparedness
- BlueLink, Bulgaria: Electronic networking begins in a war-torn
province as BlueLink builds bridges in Kosova/o
- Fantsuam Foundation: Local health content in Nigeria blends tradition
and science
- Tau, Argentina: Non-profits and solidarity groups under pressure in
Argentina's second city create an alternative information exchange
- Jinbonet, South Korea: Campaign against the revision of South Korean
copyright law

Download the APC Annual Report 2002
--> www.apc.org/books.



Petersberg Prize

The Petersberg Prize aims to give recognition to the most exemplary
contribution in the field of Information and Communication Technologies
(ICT) for development carried out over the last 10 years. The
Development Gateway is inviting nominations of individuals or organizations 
have made a major impact in the use of ICT for development. A prize of
100,000 euros is to be awarded to the winner.

The Development Gateway will share the stories of the nominees by
publishing them on its portal in order to promote the global understanding 
of ICT4D
and its potential impact.

Nominations are due by February 1, 2004. The Prize will be awarded at
the next Development Gateway Forum in mid-2004.

Full information, rules, and nomination forms are available at:
--> www.dgfoundation.org/prize

or via email to: prize at dgfoundation.org

Google Offering Anita Borg Scholarship

If you're a female student in the computer sciences, check this out.
Google is offering two $10,000 scholarships (one undergrad, one grad)
for women who are majoring or are in first year master's for
"computer science, computer engineering or related field."

The page of information about the scholarship is available at:
--> www.google.com/anitaborg/

The page includes four "essay" questions (essay in quotes because
responses should be no more than half a page each.) The applications
are due January 30, 2004.



IT 4 Communities, the national IT volunteer programme, is currently seeking 
more volunteer projects throughout the UK. We currently have well over 1100 
volunteers interested in supporting voluntary and community groups and are 
seeking a wide range of projects from database design and IT strategy to 
website development, systems reviews and advice. For further information, 
please contact Alex Salvoni on 020 7796 2144 or visit:

--> www.it4communities.org.uk

Please add your job and volunteer vacancies to the GreenNet website here:
--> www.gn.apc.org/jobs.shtml



"There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he
doesn't mind who gets the credit."
- Robert Woodruff




Monday, 24th
The Handbook of Globalisation - J. Michie, Ed.
Edward Elgar Publishers, released December 2003.
Seminar and book launch: 6.15 - 7pm
Venue: Birkbeck University, Council Room (Main Building), Malet St., London
To confirm your place, or for further details of this book launch, contact: 
Gilly Gambardella Course Administrator 020 7631 6836
or email: g.gambardella at bbk.ac.uk

Monday, 24th - 28th
Privacy and Human Rights in the Information Age online workshop -
for social NGOs organised jointly by Internet Rights Bulgaria and Virtual 
This is an intense 5 day workshop that will be moderated by Chris Bailey 
from Internet Rights Bulgaria, with the assistance of Marlyn Tadros from 
Virtual Activism.
Full details and Registration:

Monday, 24th
BBC Charter Review and the Voluntary Sector
Public Voice, the first voluntary sector seminar on BBC Charter Review.
Starts at 9.00 for 9.30am, and finish at 10.45am.
Reply by email to mariag at mediatrust.org or by phone to Maria Gadzhis on 
0207 7874 7603

November 27th to December 3rd
Latin American Film Festival
21 screenings in one week
Just in Central London... Odeon Covent Garden ,  Odeon Panton Street,
Odeon Wardour Street and Moving Picture Company (MPC - Wardour Street).
Book your tickets now.... (Adults £8, Concessions £5.50)
- For Odeon cinemas call 08705050007 or visit www.odeon.co.uk
- For MPC send an e-mail to dla at london.com

--> www.discovering-latinamerica.org.uk/


When you are ready for Christmas shopping, visit onevillage for craft made 
articles from community enterprises
--> www.onevillage.org

Saturday, 6th
Resist the Multinational Empire The Coca Cola Boycott:
Conference organised by the Colombia Solidarity Campaign
Come and discuss how we can ensure that Coca Cola listens, how boycotts can 
work and how people all over the world are resisting the 'multinational 
12.45pm to 5pm
SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) London WC1
Cost: £5 including party (suggested donation £2 for conference only)
Further information: email: colombia_sc at hotmail.com
--> www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk, www.enlighten-palestine.org

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


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