[alternet-l] THE ALTERNET NEWS - ISSUE # 110

Joanne Doyle joanne at gn.apc.org
Tue Apr 13 14:53:40 BST 2004


This issue:


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Back issues are on-line at:
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The third European Social Forum is due to take place in London towards the 
end of 2004. This 'unofficial and independent' site is very new and 
includes links to useful background material, a forum and latest news 
section. All are encouraged to contribute:

--> www.esf2004.net



Green MEPs call for a ban on tetra masts for police communications until 
fears over the safety of their radiation emissions have been answered.

"We are asking for an immediate halt to TETRA mast construction, right 
across the EU, and urgent research to plug the gaps in our knowledge of the 
effect of TETRA on human health, especially that of children," said Jean 
Lambert, Green Party MEP for London. "Reports of TETRA being responsible 
for tumours, leukaemia, motor neurone disease and other cancers must be 
taken seriously until we know with certainty whether or not the masts are 
to blame. With risks like these, the precautionary principle must apply."

Full press release:
--> www.carolinelucasmep.org.uk/news/TETRAban_29032004.html

For more information please contact Ben Duncan on 020 7407 6280, 07973 
823358 or email: press at greenmeps.org.uk

Meanwhile, there continues to be safety concerns about mobile phone masts:
--> www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1188374,00.html



There are new concerns over a group of persistent toxins called 
polybromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as fire retardants, which threaten 
to be as big a problem as polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs).

"Fish are at the top of the food chain so these persistent chemicals build 
up in their organs. Humans are a top predator too so the only long-term 
solution is to phase out these chemicals entirely," said Dr Richard Dixon, 
Head of Policy at WWF Scotland.

Full story:
--> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3602319.stm

Looking further ahead, some of the first products of nanotechnology, 
buckyballs, also show harmful effects on fish.  ETC Group and other 
environmental groups are calling for a moratorium on the commercial 
production of nanoparticles.

--> http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62923,00.html/wn_ascii



Wired News has just published a special report entitled, "How Electronic 
Voting Threatens Democracy", an in-depth look at the growing controversy 
surrounding electronic voting machines and the companies that manufacture 
them, raises important questions about the security of such a voting system.

In the US, electronic voting has been touted as the solution to the hanging 
chad debacle of the 2000 presidential race. With funding from Congress, 
voting officials across the country have been aggressively adopting 
e-voting in their districts. It's estimated that about 50 million people 
will vote on a paperless touch-screen voting machine this year; another 55 
million will use optical scan machines that require voters to use a pen to 
mark a paper ballot, which the machine then scans. Yet there's mounting 
evidence these machines are far from secure.

Read the full report:
--> http://go.hotwired.com/news/evote/0,2645,62790,00.html/wn_ascii_se



Transparency for Colombia [Transparencia por Colombia] and APC member 
Colnodo recently donated their new software "Internet for Accountability" 
to allow a mass take-up of the ‘good government’ tool. More than 500 
municipalities in partnership with the Vice-presidency and the national 
Connectivity Agenda will receive the software plus internet access on the 
signing of a transparency and anti-corruption agreement.

“Internet for Accountability” seeks to make public that which belongs in 
and to the public domain by supporting local mayor’s offices create 
websites which will expand the conditions of transparency in each 
municipality and introduce accountability practices into the management of 
municipal offices.

The project was developed and refined between October 2002 and December 
2003 in the municipalities of Paipa, Pasto, Buga, Popayán and Rionegro, 
with the financial support of USAID.

Full story:
--> www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=17998



The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) has its fourth session in May in Geneva and 
all countries have been asked to produce a national report to present the 
situation in their countries. However, most of the countries did not 
produce any material and those who did were not always accurate.

"This UNFF process is again a sad example that multinational forest
corporations clearly have too dominating a role in shaping global forest
policy. It is clear that by that way there is little chance of facing and
solving the great problems related to forests in different countries." says 
The People´s Forest Forum, an initiative to make a real difference, to seek 
the true picture about the true situation and available sustainable solutions.

The People's Forest Forum are organising a series of workshops and invite 
you to join in. The aim is to produce a DVD-report out of the materials of 
the workshops to be given to the UN Forum on Forests next May.

For more information, see:
--> www.elonmerkki.net/forestforum/uk/ff2.html

Other actions -
Sign the petition for the UN demanding a global ban on GM trees:
--> http://elonmerkki.net/forestforum



Last month Saudi authorities blocked Gaymiddleeast.com - a news site for 
the Middle East's homosexual community - since the beginning of March 2004. 
The site was earlier blocked in June 2003 but the government lifted the ban 
a month later. The US site 365gay.com has also been censored.

"Officially filtering is only supposed to be applied to pornographic 
publications or those directly harming Islam," said Reporters Without 
Borders. "In fact, the Saudi Internet blacklist extends to other areas, 
from political sites to non-recognised Islamist sites via, of course, any 
publication relating in any way to sexuality.

Reporters Without Borders expressed satisfaction as Saudi Arabia announced 
it has lifted a ban on two gay websites, in response to an appeal from the 
international press freedom organisation.

Full story:
--> www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=9586



The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime entered into force last 

The convention, which is the first international treaty on crimes
committed via the internet and other computer networks, is the result of four
years' work by experts from the 45-member Council of Europe and from non-member
countries including the USA, Canada and Japan.

The main aim of the convention - which focusses in particular on child 
pornography, computer-related fraud and violations of network security - is 
to develop a common criminal policy on cybercrime by promoting 
international co-operation and the adoption of appropriate legislation.

For further information on
- the Council of Europe's work on cybercrime, please see:
--> www.coe.int/Files/Cybercrime
- the convention on cybercrime, please see:
--> http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/Commun/QueVoulezVous.asp?NT=185&CM=1&D



Forest Peoples Programme report on a UN Racial Discrimination Committee 
recommendation that Suriname Take Urgent Action to Recognize and Respect 
the Land and Resource Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Maroons:

The forested interior of Suriname is home to Amazonian Indians and 
so-called Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves who recreated 
societies in Suriname's hinterland in the 17th and 18th centuries. These 
peoples have long complained that they suffer persistent and pervasive 
racial discrimination that is particularly evident in the government's 
failure to recognize their rights to their ancestral lands, which have 
instead been parcelled out to loggers, miners and as protected areas.

On the 12th of March, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial 
Discrimination issued its Concluding Observations on Suriname's compliance 
with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial 

The Committee's observations on the situation in Suriname confirm what 
indigenous peoples and maroons have been saying since Suriname's 
independence from the Netherlands in 1975.  Despite a number of agreements 
and promises and many attempts by indigenous peoples and maroons to resolve 
these issues with the government, no progress has been made.  Not only has 
no progress been made, but the situation in the interior continues to 
deteriorate every year as more logging and mining concessions are granted.

Read the full press release:



Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite 
when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power.
- Aung San Suu Kyi



The Bretton Woods Project is looking for a new Coordinator to take forward 
its work. The role will involve planning and contributing to the Project's 
written outputs, giving talks, providing strategic advice to network 
members as well as running a small office. The post requires a strong 
understanding of global policy issues, a passion for creating change, the 
ability to work effectively and diplomatically with diverse civil society 
groups and officials.
Deadline: 28 April

More details:
--> http://brettonwoodsproject.org/jobs




Wednesday, 28th
@ 7pm - Haiti @ The Ritzy
In collaboration with the Haiti Support Group and BBC4, MOSAIQUES 2004* will
screen Jonathan Demme's moving and timely documentary on Haiti - "The
Agronomist", followed by a book launch of Ian Thomson's "Bonjour Blanc: a 
through Haiti", and a discussion on the situation in Haiti today.
Suzy Gillett (French Institute) - Tel: 020 7073 1364; Email: 
suzygillett at onetel.net.uk


Saturday, 8th
The 6th Annual Cannabis March & Festival.
The day will begin with a carnival style march from Kennington Park 
(assemble 12pm) with floats, banners, costumes and samba beats leading to 
an all day free festival in Brockwell Park, Brixton - licence permitting.
Email: info at thecannabisfestival.co.uk
--> www.thecannabisfestival.co.uk

Sunday, 9th
A huge rally in Trafalgar Square, organised by CND, will begin an historic 
weekend of action to stop the next generation of nuclear weapons being 
developed in the UK.
The rally will begin at 11am.
For further information please contact Ruth Tanner on 0207 7002350 or 07968 

Saturday, 8th
CHECHNYA AND THE WAR ON TERROR - Anne Le Tellac, of the Paris based human 
rights organisation Fédération Internationale de l’Action pour l’Abolition 
de la Torture (FICAT), offers an in-depth analysis of Chechnya and how it 
has been affected by the West’s “War on Terror”.

Saturday, 22nd
Dr Heather Grabbe is deputy director of the Centre for European Reform 
(CER), a think tank devoted to improving the quality of the debate on the 
future of European Union.  She will discuss Eastward enlargement, the EU’s 
greatest contribution to security and stability in the 21st century.

Both events organised by Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique Café Diplo at the 
French Institute, 17 Queensberry Place SW7. Tube South Kensington. 10.45 
am. £3, £2 concessions, members free. Info 07984 178193

Wednesday - Friday, 19th - 21st
'Be the Change' conference, London
Purpose: to explore the means of achieving true and effective systemic 
change ­ and to make it happen! For three days they will be drawing on 
leading edge knowledge and experience around some of the most vital 
developments in society today.
Further information: www.bethechange.org.uk

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


This edition of the AlterNet News is edited by Joanne Doyle and Cedric 
Knight for GreenNet:
---> www.gn.apc.org

Please note that opinions expressed in AlterNet are those of the
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