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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

World cycling body asks US Anti-Doping Agency to explain its case against Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong of team Radioshack waves to fans after the twentieth and final stage of Le Tour de France 2010.

Lance Armstrong of team Radioshack waves to fans after the twentieth and final stage of Le Tour de France 2010.

PHOTO: BRYN LENNON/GETTY IMAGES
The Canadian Press

Published: August 24, 2012,

Graham Dunbar

GENEVA — The International Cycling Union will wait for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to explain why Lance Armstrong should lose his seven Tour de France titles before commenting on the case.

The sport’s governing body said Friday it expects USADA to submit documents “to the parties concerned,” as the case threatens to wipe a cycling icon almost out of the record books.

“The UCI recognizes that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr. Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards in addition to imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognizes the World Anti-Doping Code,” the Switzerland-based organization said in a statement.

“As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision” explaining the action taken, the UCI said, adding that legal procedures obliged USADA to fulfil this demand in cases “where no hearing occurs.”

Armstrong has chosen not to pursue an arbitration hearing where he could have fought charges brought by U.S. anti-doping officials that his teams doped when he won the Tour from 1999-2005.

The UCI and USADA have engaged in a turf war over who should prosecute allegations against Armstrong.

Armstrong disputes that USADA has power to re-write cycling results, and uncertainty remains over what role the ASO sports promotion company which organizes the Tour de France will have in the process.

Armstrong insisted his decision to decline arbitration was not an admission of guilt, but a refusal to enter a process he believes is unfair.

“Lance has never withdrawn from a fair fight in his life so his decision today underlines what an unjust process this has been,” Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s longtime coach, wrote on his personal website on Friday.

Still, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said the UCI was “bound to recognize our decision and impose it” as a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code.

USADA maintains that Armstrong used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids, as well as blood transfusions.

The agency also claims to have blood tests from 2009 and 2010 which were “fully consistent” with doping, at a time when Armstrong was monitored by the biological passport program run by the UCI.

USADA wants to annul all Armstrong’s race results from August 1998. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the road time trial.

The International Olympic Committee said Friday it will await decisions by the U.S. agency and UCI before taking any steps against the rider.

Even if Armstrong loses the legal battle, the UCI would still be able to regard him as its 1993 world champion in the men’s road race in Oslo, Norway.

=====================================

OUR OWN REACTION:

The man was fighting cancer and taking medication accordingly. If any of that medication is considered illegal by some in the US – so does abortion. Who knows, they might outlaw cancer as well.

————————-

Now, please see what else we picked up:


A comment titled to the THE FirstGAY President – no less:
August 24, 2012 – 6:49 PM GMT+0200

USADA should be banned for life – forced into insolvency  – all licensing and power stripped.


and a comment of substance:

The USADA decision is based on accusations from cyclists who clearly tested positive for drugs. By jumping on the band wagon to accuse Armstrong they are being permitted to retain their titles and continue to bike. That is as dirty a fact as doping. There is nothing to admire in either the association or the accusers.

——————-

In a country under political craze everything is possible – even their shooting their own feet – so please – at least our readers – do not jump to conclusions!


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 7th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

BREAKING DOWN THE POLITICAL BARRIERS TO FOSSIL-FUEL SUBSIDY REFORM.

Date/Time: Thursday 21 June 2012, 15:00 – 16:30

Location: Rio Centro Convention Centre – Room T-5, Rio Centro

———————-


Globally, governments subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of over $600 billion per year.

These subsidies directly contribute to over-consumption of fossil fuels and higher emissions of local and global pollutants.

They are also socially regressive, generally benefitting wealthier consumers more than the poor.

Yet reforming fossil-fuel subsidies is challenging. If introduced too quickly, and without sufficient public support, it can have serious political repercussions.

Moreover, there are often concerns about negative effects on the competitiveness of domestic energy-intensive industries.

This session, organised by the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative and the Government of Switzerland, aims to foster an open and constructive discussion among all stakeholders on the political barriers to fossil-fuel subsidy reform and how they can be overcome.

Panel:

  • ·         Moderator: Mark Halle, Director, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Speakers:

  • ·        Keynote speaker: Hon. Martin Lindegaard, Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Denmark
  • ·         Mr. Majid Al-Suwaidi, Deputy Director of Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates
  • ·         Mr. Hans-Peter Egler, Head of Trade Promotion, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland
  • ·         Mr. Fabby Tumiwa, Institute for Essential Services Reform, Indonesia
  • ·         Ms. Kerryn Lang, Global Subsidies Initiative, IISD

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

With just two more days left for the fifth week of New York Informal-Informal, many negotiators welcomed the opportunity to get down to resolving tough issues in  smaller groups. “We’ve spent the last few days making a mess of the text” one delegate observed, “now our job is to clean it up, or at least present clear options,” writes the KIMO Report.

The issue we are following closest stands now at:

The US and the G-77/CHINA reserved on establishing a high-level representative for sustainable development and future generations, while the EU, LIECHTENSTEIN, MEXICO and SWITZERLAND supported the idea.

WE ATTRIBUTE HIGHEST IMPORTANCE TO THE FACT THAT MEXICO IS BACKING ALL OF WESTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE PUSH FOR A HIGH LEVEL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.  This is our former High Commissioner for Future Generations!

THE FACT THAT THE US AND CHINA/G-77 “RESERVED RATHER THEN OPPOSED,” LEAVES THE IMPRESSION THAT IF NOT SOLVED IN THE LAST TWO DAYS – THIS IS ONE OF THE ISSUES TO BE SETTLED AT THE G-20 MEETING IN MEXICO – and we bless on that – so be it –  and all of the Heads of State meeting at Los Cabos can then continue to Rio with a winning card in their vest pocket.

Further, the configuration in Europe reminds us of the situation at the first meeting in Rio (1992) when the EU of then, was joined by the outsiders – Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Austria was not yet in the EU those days) and they were joined by the  second US delegation – the US Senate delegation headed by Senators Al Gore and Timothy Wirth, into a winning triumvirate led by Chair Maurice Strong.

Today Civil Society having been made into an adjunct of the UN, could be placed in the shoes of that previously revolutionary US Congressional group – this at a time of much closer relations they would have today to the US Presidency as it was in 1992. So, let’s hope that  Los Cabos decisions of the G-20 will be to answer the need for a new structural addition to the UN architecture could be indeed such a SMALL OFFICE of a High Commissioner by any name, which will also allow the SDGs to come in as the new MDGs, and further power given to ECOSOC so it performs as a Sustainable Development Commission, with UNEP in Nairobi left in charge of the technical aspects of the Environment and getting a stronger executive to make sure that all is taken seriously.


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 23rd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

IFEX

Campaigns and Advocacy / Campañas y Defensa

22 May 2012

Seventeen states request respect for freedom of expression

SOURCE: Andean Foundation for Media Observation & Study (FUNDAMEDIOS)

(Fundamedios/IFEX) – 21 May 2012 – Seventeen states from the Americas, Europe and Asia suggested that the Ecuadorian government should respect and guarantee the freedoms of the press and of expression in the country.

They made these observations on 21 May 2012 during a session of the UN Human Rights Council, where the states assessed Ecuador using the mechanism known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Estonia, United States, Slovakia, Latvia, Luxemburg, Norway, France, India, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were the countries that presented observations to the Ecuadorian State that it should promote and respect freedom of expression and eliminate laws that criminalize opinion. Some of them also requested that Ecuador should make possible a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to examine the situation of freedom of expression in the country.

The European countries’ delegations were the most critical.
Sweden, for example, mentioned the case that led to the conviction of a former feature writer and the directors of the newspaper El Universo; and although President Correa abandoned the lawsuit, it recommended that the Ecuadorian State should protect freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, Switzerland emphasized that an atmosphere of censorship and self-censorship prevails in Ecuador and that the State has the obligation of respecting this fundamental right, while Luxembourg expressed concern for the intimidations against Ecuadorian journalists.

Among countries in the Americas, the United States was one of the most critical, showing its concern for attacks against journalists and because in Ecuador freedom of expression is not fully guaranteed. Canada and Costa Rica also issued recommendations to establish measures that guarantee the protection of this fundamental right in accordance with international regulations.

The criminalization of social protest and free association concerned Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia and Luxembourg, all of which recommended that guarantees should be in place to allow opposition groups and communities to protest freely, without being condemned as terrorists or saboteurs. In regard to this issue, Spain recommended reviewing the restrictive legislation against NGOs and the criminalization of social protest in the country.

Faced by these pronouncements, the Ecuadorian delegation, led by Vice-president Lenin Moreno; the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patiño; the Minister of Justice Johana Pesántez and the National Communication Secretary Fernando Alvarado affirmed that the press is neither censored nor persecuted in the country and that there are no jailed journalists in Ecuador. “Freedom of expression is absolutely and wholly respected in Ecuador”, stated Minister Patiño.

The 17 observations exceed in number those issued against Venezuela during last October’s UPR, when 13 recommendations concerning freedom of expression were presented, all of them were eventually rejected by that government.

The official report will be presented on Friday 25 May and the Ecuadorian government will have to accept or reject the recommendations issued today, as well as those that the states present in writing.

Fundamedios will attend this session and will provide news coverage through its twitter accounts, @LoFundamental and @Fundamedios, and its Facebook pages Fundamedios and LoFundamental.

For more information:
Andean Foundation for Media Observation & Study (FUNDAMEDIOS)
Unión Nacional de Periodistas E2-32 e Iñaquito
Edificio UNP
Piso 4, Ofic. 403
Quito, Ecuador
info (@) fundamedios.org.ec
Phone: +593 2 2461622/ 2461636/ 2461642
Fax: +593 2 2230 821
www.fundamedios.org
@fundamedios



22 mayo 2012

Diecisiete estados piden respeto para la libertad de expresión

FUENTE: Fundación Andina para la Observación y el Estudio de Medios

(Fundamedios/IFEX) – 21 de Mayo de 2012 – Diecisiete estados de América, Europa y Asia realizaron sugerencias para que el gobierno de Ecuador respete y garantice de forma efectiva las libertades de expresión y de prensa en el país.

Esas observaciones se realizaron este 21 de mayo de 2012, durante la sesión del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU, en donde los Estados evaluaron al Ecuador bajo el mecanismo conocido como Examen Periódico Universal (EPU).

Alemania, Australia, Austria, Bélgica, Canadá, Costa Rica, Estonia, Estados Unidos, Eslovaquia, Letonia, Luxemburgo, Noruega, Francia, India, Suecia, Suiza, Reino Unido, fueron los países que plantearon observaciones al Estado ecuatoriano para que promueva y respete la libertad de expresión y que elimine leyes que criminalizan la opinión. Algunos de ellos también solicitaron que el Ecuador posibilite de forma real la visita del Relator Especial de Libertad de Expresión de la ONU, para que constate la situación de la libertad de expresión.

En este sentido, los países de las delegaciones europeas fueron los más críticos con este tema. Por ejemplo, Suecia mencionó el caso por el que se condenó al exarticulista y directivos de diario El Universo y, pese a que el Presidente desistió de aquel juicio, recomendó al Estado ecuatoriano la protección de la libertad de expresión.

Por su parte, Suiza fue enfático en señalar que el Ecuador se vive un clima de censura y autocensura y que el Estado tiene la obligación de respetar este derecho fundamental, mientras que Luxemburgo se mostró preocupado por las intimidaciones a periodistas ecuatorianos.

Del lado del continente americano, Estados Unidos fue otro de los Estados más críticos y que mostró su preocupación por los ataques a periodistas y porque en Ecuador no se garantiza plenamente la libertad de expresión. Canadá y Costa Rica también formularon recomendaciones para que se tomen medidas que garanticen la protección de este derecho fundamental, de acuerdo con las normas internacionales.

La criminalización de la protesta social y la libre asociación también fueron temas que preocuparon a muchos países como Bélgica, Canadá, Estonia, Francia, Alemania, Hungría, Letonia, Luxemburgo, quienes plantearon sus recomendaciones en el sentido de que deben existir garantías para que los grupos opositores, así como las comunidades puedan protestar libremente, sin ser condenados bajo figuras como el terrorismo y sabotaje. Al respecto España recomendó revisar la legislación restrictiva para ONG y criminalización de la protesta social en el país.

Frente a estas inquietudes, la delegación ecuatoriana, encabezada por el vicepresidente Lenin Moreno; el canciller Ricardo Patiño, la ministra de Justicia Johana Pesántez y el secretario nacional de comunicación Fernando Alvarado, aseguraron que en el país no se censura ni se persigue a la prensa y que tampoco existen periodistas encarcelados. “En Ecuador se respeta absoluta y totalmente la libertad de expresión”, mencionó el canciller Patiño.

Las 17 observaciones formuladas superan a las realizadas a Venezuela, en el EPU de octubre pasado, en dónde se plantearon 13 recomendaciones sobre libertad de expresión, todas las cuales fueron rechazadas por dicho Gobierno.

El próximo viernes 25 de mayo, se presentará el informe y el Gobierno ecuatoriano aceptará o rechazará las recomendaciones realizadas hoy, o aquellas que los estados presenten por escrito.

Fundamedios estará presente en esta sesión y acompañará la cobertura noticiosa a través de sus cuentas de twitter, @LoFundamental y @Fundamedios y sus páginas de Facebook, Fundamedios y LoFundamental.

Para mayor información:
Fundación Andina para la Observación y el Estudio de Medios
Unión Nacional de Periodistas E2-32 e Iñaquito
Edificio UNP
Piso 4, Ofic. 403
Quito, Ecuador
info (@) fundamedios.org.ec
Tel: +593 2 2461622/ 2461636/ 2461642
Fax: +593 2 2230 821
www.fundamedios.org
@fundamedios

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

EU Fails To Resolve Dispute Over UN Climate Fund Seats.

Date: 02-Apr-12
Country: UK/BELGIUM
Author: Nina Chestney and Charlie Dunmore from Reuters.

European Union ambassadors failed to resolve a dispute over the allocation of seats on the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF) board on Friday, possibly undermining the bloc’s credibility in international climate talks.

The EU envoys were meeting for the second time in a week to decide which European nations will be represented on the governing board. This has 12 seats for developing countries and another 12 for developed countries.

“Despite willingness to compromise and adequately share board seats, it has, unfortunately, not been possible to come to an agreement within the EU,” the EU’s Danish presidency said in a statement.

As a result, the EU will miss a March 31 deadline for making a joint proposal on board membership, and EU governments and the bloc’s executive will now have to negotiate directly with other developed countries over who gets the seats.

“For this reason, respective nominations from the group of developed country parties will be withheld until these discussions have taken place,” delaying the entire process, the Danish presidency said.

U.N. climate talks in Durban last year agreed on the design of the fund, which is aimed at channelling up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Disputes of this kind could both slow the process towards the launch of the fund in 2013 and give other countries the impression that the EU is stalling on climate finance. “It shows that the EU unity we had in Durban has been eroded and that could damage Europe’s image in global climate change talks,” Danish presidency spokesman Jakob Alvi said.

The fund’s first board meeting is due on April 25 to 27, a U.N. spokesman said, subject to confirmation next week.

Despite the EU’s failure to reach an agreement, it should not affect the number of seats it will be allocated on the GCF board, he added.

SEAT DISPUTE

Thirteen of the 27 EU countries had requested a board seat, to ensure they had a say in funding decisions.

A draft EU document, seen by Reuters this week, shows that EU member states and Switzerland might together be able to obtain seven full seats plus associated alternating seats between them. Denmark had proposed that Britain, Germany and France, as the likely biggest financial contributors, should hold a full seat each and share three further alternating seats with another EU country.

But an EU source involved in the discussions said Germany – backed by France – refused to share its seat with any other EU country and insisted on a permanent position on the board, ending any chance of an EU compromise.

Poland also insisted on having a full seat, and told the meeting that in the absence of a joint proposal it would put itself forward to the U.N. in a separate bid outside the EU, sources said under condition of anonymity.

Poland, which relies heavily on coal production for its energy needs, says its economy would develop much more quickly if it wasn’t for the EU’s climate policy, which aims to make coal power generation more expensive.

“(The Commission) has tried to rob us so many times before. This time around we want to wear a second jacket – just in case – and let nothing we are eligible for miss us,” a Polish government source told Reuters.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Dear colleagues,

please find below a link to a comprehensive study on Climate Change and Agriculture, prepared by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and commissioned by Brot für die Welt, Brot für alle, DanChurchAid and Church of Sweden.

Title: “Mitigating Greenhouse Gases in Agriculture – A challenge and opportunity for agricultural policies”

www.brot-fuer-die-welt.de/downloads/fachinformationen/greenhouse-gases.pdf

An abstract of the study is copied below at the end of this mail.

A summary in German can be downloaded at www.brotfueralle.ch/de/deutsch/generalarchiv/single-news/article/8/510/

——————————
Dr. Adrian Muller
Socio-economics / Climate Change
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Ackerstrasse, 5070 Frick, Switzerland

—-
phone +41 (0)62 865 7272, direct: 41 (0)62 865 7252
fax +41 (0)62 865 7273
email adrian.mueller@fibl.org
www.fibl.org<webmail.fibl.org/owa/UrlBlockedError.aspx>
———

From the Executive Summary:

The study explores the manner and extent to which agriculture contributes to climate change, and reveals the options to mitigate it. It identifies five broad categories of mitigation actions in agriculture and its broader context:

– reducing direct and indirect emissions from agriculture;
– increasing carbon sequestration in agricultural soils;
– changing human dietary patterns towards more climate friendly food consumption, in particular less animal products;
– reducing storage losses and food wastage;
– the option of bioenergy needs to be mentioned, but depending on the type of bioenergy several negative side-effects may occur, including effects on food security, biodiversity and net GHG emissions.

Although there are many difficulties in the details of mitigation actions in agriculture, a paradigm of climate friendly agriculture based on five principles can be derived from the knowledge about agricultural emissions and carbon sequestration:

– Climate friendly agriculture has to account for tradeoffs and choose system boundaries adequately;
– it has to account for synergies and adopt a systemic approach;
– aspects besides mitigation such as adaptation and food security are of crucial importance;
– it has to account for uncertainties and knowledge gaps, and
– the context beyond the agricultural sector has to be taken into account, in particular food consumption and waste patterns.

Regarding policies to implement such a climate friendly agriculture, not much is yet around. In climate policy, agriculture only plays a minor role and negotiations proceed only very slowly on this topic. In agricultural policy climate change mitigation currently plays an insignificant role. In both contexts, some changes towards combined approaches can be expected over the next decade. It is essential that climate policy adequately captures the special characteristics of the agricultural sector. Policies with outcomes that endanger other aspects of agriculture such as food security or ecology have to be avoided. Agriculture delivers much more than options for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and serving as a CO2 sink.

We close this report with recommendations for the five most important goals to be realized in the context of
mitigation and agriculture and proposals for concrete actions.
– First, soil organic carbon levels have to be preserved and, if possible, increased. Governments should include soil carbon sequestration in their mitigation and adaptation strategies and the climate funds should take a strong position on supporting such practices.
– Second, the implementation of closed nutrient cycles and optimal use of biomass has to be supported. Again, governments and funds should act on this. Policy instruments for nitrate regulation are a good starting point for this.
– As a third and most effective goal, we propose changes in food consumption and waste patterns. Without a switch to attitudes characterized by sufficiency, there is a danger that all attempts for mitigation remain futile.
– Finally, there are two goals for research, namely to develop improved knowledge on nitrous oxide dynamics, and on methods for assessment of multi-functional farming systems. Without this, adequate policy instruments for climate friendly agriculture and an optimal further development of it are not possible.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 27th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The New York Times OP-ED contributor from The World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland

At Davos, Debating Capitalism’s Future

By  Ed Miliband –  a member of the British Parliament and the leader of the Labour Party.
Published: January 26, 2012

IS 20th-century capitalism failing 21st-century society? Members of the global elite debated that unusual question on Wednesday at the annual World Economic Forum.

There was a time, not long ago, when such a debate would have been held only among the protesters who annually shelter in igloos farther down the Alpine slopes. So it is encouraging that more than three years since the global financial crisis, a belated process of soul-searching has begun in search of the right lessons to learn from it.

In Britain, members of the Conservative-led government — not least the prime minister, David Cameron — have echoed the Labour Party’s call for a more responsible capitalism.

There is a great difference, however, between being willing to talk about an issue and being ready to act.

It is a difference between those who still believe that all governments can do is get out of the way and those who believe there is a real role for governments in first reviving our economies, and then setting the right rules for future success. The challenge therefore is not just to capitalism but also to politics.

At the Group of 20 summit in London three years ago, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Obama led concerted action to guide the world economy from the brink. Three years later, some governments are engaging in a short-sighted fiscal protectionism that can only lead to stunted growth.

If we learned anything from the 1930s, it was that governments cannot shrug their shoulders and watch as their own people are consigned to unemployment. I find it tragic and astonishing that some governments need to learn this lesson again.

Nor should we forget the causes of the current growth and debt crisis as we seek to put our economies on a more sustainable footing.

Both the United States and Britain suffered because their economies were overly reliant on the financial sector’s artificial profits; living standards for the many worsened while the economic rewards skewed to the top 1 percent; a capitalist model encouraged short-term decision-making oriented toward quarterly profits rather than long-term health; and vested interests — from giant banks to media moguls —were deemed too big to fail or too powerful to challenge.

We need to recognize that the trickle-down promise of conservative theorists has turned into a gravity-defying reality in which wealth has flowed upward disproportionately and, too often, undeservedly. To address properly the squeeze in middle-class incomes on both sides of the Atlantic requires fresh thinking from governments about how people train for their working lives and what a living wage should be.

Governments can set better — not necessarily more — rules to encourage productive businesses that invest, invent, train, make and sell real products and services. We need rules that discourage the predatory behavior of those seeking the fast buck through hostile takeovers and asset-stripping that do not have the interests of the shareholders, the employees or the economy at heart.  In Britain, the Labour Party is considering how we can raise the bar for corporate takeovers so that companies’ futures are not determined by just a handful of speculators.

And governments must remember they are elected to serve the people, not the powerful lobbies who can pay for access or influence.

Too often the real enemies of market capitalism are some of the leading beneficiaries of the current model, which favors price-gouging cartels and consumer exploitation.

In Britain, airlines need to be more upfront about  the true cost of their fares, and pension firms cannot continue to sign up customers for products that can chip away at their retirement income through exorbitant management fees.

As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, it is neither socially nor economically sustainable for the wealthiest and most powerful to avoid paying their fair share. I support proposals for a financial transactions tax levied equally on the major trading centers from Hong Kong and Singapore to Wall Street and the City of London. The British government needs to show more leadership on this issue in Europe — and all members of G-20 need to help make it happen.

Britain loses billions of pounds in revenues because of outdated rules that allow our richest citizens to keep their money in off-shore tax havens. Tax authorities need to know about income and wealth hidden behind front companies, trusts and other complex financial products. If these rules cannot be changed by international agreement, progressive governments should go ahead and do it themselves.

As President Obama said in his State of the Union address this week, it is “common sense” to ask a billionaire to pay, proportionally, at least as much as his secretary in taxes. Indeed, in Davos this week, I will look around the room and ask myself who pays taxes at a higher rate — those eating the soup or those serving it?

In my country, I believe that changing the rules of capitalism will mean a change of government. But more generally, it will require a change in what citizens expect and ask of politics. The question is not so much whether 20th-century capitalism is failing 21st-century society but whether politics can rise to the challenge of changing a flawed economic model.

============================


George Soros’s essay in the forthcoming edition of the New York Review of Books: www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/feb/23/how-save-euro.
The essay is adapted from a speech he delivered at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

All best from Michael Vachon

How to Save the Euro

George Soros

The upcoming issue of The New York Review of Books.

My new book, Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States, tries to explain and, to the extent possible, predict the outcome of the euro crisis. It follows the same pattern as my other books: it contains an updated version of my conceptual approach and the application of that approach to a particular situation, and it presents a real-time experiment to test the validity of my interpretation. Its account is not complete because the crisis is still ongoing.

We remain in the acute phase of the crisis; the prospect of a meltdown of the global financial system has not been removed. In my book, I proposed a plan that would bring immediate relief to global financial markets but it has not been adopted.

My proposal is to use the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and its successor the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), to insure the European Central Bank (ECB) against the solvency risk on any newly issued Italian or Spanish treasury bills they may buy from commercial banks. Banks could then hold those bills as the equivalent of cash, enabling Italy and Spain to refinance their debt at close to 1 percent. Italy, for instance, would see its average cost of borrowing decline rather than increase from the current 4.3 percent. This would put their debt on a sustainable course and protect them against the threat of an impending Greek default. I call this the Padoa-Schioppa plan, in memory of my friend who helped stabilize Italy’s finances in the 1990s and who inspired the proposal. The plan is rather complicated, but it is both legally and technically sound. I describe it in detail in my book.

The European financial authorities rejected this plan in favor of the Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) of the European Central Bank, which provides unlimited amounts of liquidity to European banks—not to states themselves—for up to three years. That allows Italian and Spanish banks to buy the bonds of their own country and engage in a very profitable “carry trade”—in which one borrows at low interest to buy something that will pay higher interest—in those bonds at practically no risk because if the country defaulted the banks would be insolvent anyhow.

The difference between the two schemes is that mine would provide an instant reduction in interest costs to governments while the one actually adopted has kept the countries and their banks hovering on the edge of a potential insolvency. I am not sure whether the authorities have deliberately prolonged the crisis atmosphere in order to maintain pressure on heavily indebted countries or whether they were driven to their course of action by divergent views that they could not reconcile in any other way. As a disciple of Karl Popper, I ought to opt for the second alternative. Which interpretation is correct is not inconsequential, because the Padoa-Schioppa plan is still available and could be implemented at any time as long as the remaining funds of the EFSF are not otherwise committed.

Either way, it is Germany that dictates European policy because at times of crisis the creditors are in the driver’s seat. The trouble is that the cuts in government expenditures that Germany wants to impose on other countries will push Europe into a deflationary debt trap. Reducing budget deficits will put both wages and profits under downward pressure, the economies will contract, and tax revenues will fall. So the debt burden, which is a ratio of the accumulated debt to the GDP, will actually rise, requiring further budget cuts, setting in motion a vicious circle.

To be sure, I am not accusing Germany of acting in bad faith. It genuinely believes in the policies it is advocating. Germany is the most successful economy in Europe. Why should not the rest of Europe be like it? But it is pursuing an impossibility. In a closed system like the euro clearing system, everybody cannot be a creditor at the same time. The fact that a counterproductive policy is being imposed by Germany creates a very dangerous political dynamic. Instead of bringing the member countries closer together it will drive them to mutual recriminations. There is a real danger that the euro will undermine the political cohesion of the European Union.

The evolution of the European Union is following a course that greatly resembles a sequence of boom and bust or a financial bubble. That is no accident. Both processes are “reflexive,” that is, as I have argued elsewhere, they are largely driven by mistakes and misconceptions.

In the boom phase the European Union was what the British psychologist David Tuckett calls a “fantastic  object”—an unreal but attractive object of desire. To my mind, it represented the embodiment of an open society—another fantastic object. It was an association of nations founded on the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law that is not dominated by any nation or nationality. Its creation was a feat of piecemeal social engineering led by a group of farsighted statesmen who understood that the fantastic object itself was not within their reach. They set limited objectives and firm timelines and then mobilized the political will for a small step forward, knowing full well that when they accomplished it, its inadequacy would become apparent and require a further step.

That is how the European Coal and Steel Community was gradually transformed into the European Union, step by step. During the boom period Germany was the main driving force. When the Soviet empire started to fall apart, Germany’s leaders realized that reunification of their country was possible only in a more united Europe. They needed the political support of other European powers, and they were willing to make considerable sacrifices to obtain it. When it came to bargaining they were willing to contribute a little more and take a little less than the others, thereby facilitating agreement. At that time, German statesmen used to assert that Germany had no independent foreign policy, only a European policy. The process—the boom, if you will—culminated with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and the introduction of the euro in 2002. It was followed by a period of stagnation that turned into a process of disintegration after the crash of 2008.

The euro was an incomplete currency and its architects knew it. The Maastricht Treaty established a monetary union without a political union. The euro boasted a common central bank to provide liquidity, but it lacked a common treasury that would be able to deal with solvency risk in times of crisis. The architects had good reason to believe, however, that when the time came further steps would be taken toward a political union. But the euro also had some other defects of which the architects were unaware and that are not fully understood even today. These defects contributed to setting in motion a process of disintegration.

The fathers of the euro relied on an interpretation of financial markets that proved its inadequacy in the crash of 2008. They believed, in particular, that only the public sector is capable of producing unacceptable economic imbalances; the invisible hand of the market would correct the imbalances produced by markets. In addition, they believed that the safeguards they introduced against public sector imbalances were adequate. Consequently, they treated government bonds as riskless assets that banks could buy and hold without allocating any capital reserves against them.

When the euro was introduced, the ECB treated the government bonds of all member states as equal. This gave banks an incentive to gorge themselves on the bonds of the weaker countries in order to earn a few extra basis points, since the yields on those bonds were slightly higher. It also caused interest rates to converge. That, in turn, caused economic performance to diverge. Germany, struggling with the burdens of reunification, undertook structural reforms, principally in its labor markets, and became more competitive. Other countries, benefiting from lower interest rates, enjoyed a housing boom that made them less competitive. That is how the introduction of the euro caused the divergence in competitiveness that is now so difficult to correct. The banks were weighed down with the government bonds of less competitive countries that turned from riskless assets into the riskiest ones.

The tipping point was reached when a newly elected Greek government revealed that the previous government had cheated and the national deficit was much bigger than had been announced. The Greek crisis revealed the gravest defect in the Maastricht Treaty: it has no provisions for correcting errors in the euro’s design. There is neither a mechanism for enforcing payment by member states of the European debt nor an exit mechanism from the euro; and member countries cannot resort to printing money. The statutes of the ECB strictly prohibit it from lending to member states, although it lends to banks. So it was left to the other member states to come to Greece’s rescue.

Unfortunately the European authorities had little understanding of how financial markets really work. Far from combining all the available knowledge in the market’s movements, as economic theory claims, financial markets are ruled by impressions and emotions and they abhor uncertainty. To bring a financial crisis under control requires firm leadership and ample financial resources. But Germany did not want to become the deep pocket for bad debtors. Consequently Europe always did too little too late and the Greek crisis snowballed. The bonds of other heavily indebted countries such as Italy and Spain were hit by contagion—i.e., in view of the failure in Greece they had to pay higher yields. The European banks suffered losses that were not recognized on their balance sheets.

Germany aggravated the situation by imposing draconian conditions and insisting that Greece should pay penalty rates on the loans in the rescue package that Germany and other states provided. The Greek economy collapsed, capital fled, and Greece repeatedly failed to meet the conditions of the rescue package. Eventually Greece became patently insolvent. Germany then further destabilized the situation by insisting on private sector participation in the rescue. This pushed the risk premiums on Italian and Spanish bonds through the roof and endangered the solvency of the banking system. The authorities then ordered the European banking system to be recapitalized. This was the coup de grâce. It created a powerful incentive for the banks to shrink their balance sheets by calling in loans and getting rid of risky government bonds, rather than selling shares at a discount.

That is where we are today. The credit crunch started to make its effect felt on the real economy in the last quarter of 2011. The ECB then started to reduce interest rates and aggressively expand its balance sheet by buying government bonds in the open market. The ECB’s LTRO facility provided relief to the banking system but left Italian and Spanish bonds precariously balanced between the sustainable and the unsustainable.

What lies ahead? Economic deterioration and political and social disintegration will mutually reinforce each other. During the boom phase the political leadership was in the forefront of further integration; now the European leaders are trying to protect a status quo that is clearly untenable. Treaties and laws that were meant to be stepping stones have turned into immovable rocks. I have in mind Article 123 of the Lisbon Treaty, which prohibits the ECB from lending money directly to member states. The German authorities, notably the Constitutional Court and the Bundesbank, are dead set on enforcing rules that have proved to be unworkable. For instance, the Bundesbank’s narrow interpretation of Article 123 prevented Germany from contributing its Special Drawing Rights to a rescue effort by the G20. This is the path to disintegration. Those who find the status quo intolerable and are actively looking for change are driven to anti-European and xenophobic extremism. What is happening today in Hungary—where a far-right party is demanding that Hungary leave the EU—is a precursor of what is in store.

The outlook is truly dismal but there must be a way to avoid it. After all, history is not predetermined. I can see an alternative. It is to rediscover the European Union as the “fantastic object” that used to be so alluring when it was only an idea. That fantastic object was almost within reach until we lost our way. The authorities forgot that they are fallible and started to cling to the status quo as if it were sacrosanct. The European Union as a reality bears little resemblance to the fantastic object that used to be so alluring. It is undemocratic to the point where the electorate is disaffected and it is ungovernable to the point where it cannot deal with the crisis that it has created.

These are the defects that need to be fixed. That should not be impossible. All we need to do is to reassert the principles of open society and recognize that the prevailing order is not cast in stone and rules are in need of improvement. We need to find a European solution for the euro crisis because national solutions would lead to the dissolution of the European Union, and that would be catastrophic; but we must also change the status quo. That is the kind of program that could inspire the silent majority that is disaffected and disoriented but at heart still pro-European.

When I look around the world I see people aspiring to open society. I see it in the Arab Spring, in various African countries; I see stirrings in Russia, and as far away as Burma and Malayasia. Why not in Europe?

To be a little more specific, let me suggest the outlines of a European solution to the euro crisis. It involves a delicate two-phase maneuver, similar to the one that got us out of the crash of 2008. When a car is skidding, you first have to turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid, and only after you have regained control can you correct your direction. In this case, you must first impose strict fiscal discipline on the deficit countries and encourage structural reforms; but then you must find some stimulus to get you out of the deflationary vicious circle— because structural reforms alone will not do it. The stimulus will have to come from the European Union and it will have to be guaranteed jointly and severally. It is likely to involve eurobonds in one guise or another. It is important, however, to spell out the solution in advance. Without a clear game plan Europe will remain mired in a larger vicious circle in which economic decline and political disintegration mutually reinforce each other.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 17th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Opponents of Israel repeatedly refer to Israel’s “illegal occupation” of territories and to “Palestinian east Jerusalem,” but are these terms accurate in law?

The Jewish people’s historic and religious connection to Jerusalem and Israel are widely acknowledged, but what about their legal rights?

Organized by the Alliance for International Justice in Jerusalem, the conference met on dates corresponding to the first Zionist Congress in 1897 and in the same location, the Musiksaal.                  A group of academics and legal scholars gathered in Basel, Switzerland, two weeks ago to discuss those issues and to affirm “their support for the recognition of the international legal rights of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in respect to the whole city of Jerusalem.” They issued a declaration stating just that, along with their support of “a unified Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel.

The conference issued a declaration referring to the international legal documents that form the legal basis for Jews’ contemporary claim to Israel, which according to conference participant Jacques Gauthier, includes Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).


Gauthier, an international lawyer who addressed the conference, said his legal research over 25 years led him to the conclusion that Jews had a valid legal claim to all the territory west of the Jordan River, including Jerusalem.

“I came to the conclusion that the legal answer came out of key historical events,” he said.

The Basel Conference Declaration cites the legal documents that cumulatively gives the Jewish people title to the lands, including Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the San Remo Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers of April 25, 1920, and the Mandate for Palestine approved by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922. “These were the foundational instruments for the establishment of the modern State of Israel,” the declaration stated.

It all goes back to the World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire by Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Japan, Gauthier said.

The Ottomans had controlled most of the Middle East, including today’s Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Historically, victorious powers simply seize the losing power’s territories, but under the influence of U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, a much different approach was taken. The five victorious powers, meeting as the Supreme Council, heard claims to the territories from Arab and Jewish representatives.

Chaim Weizmann led the Jewish delegation.

“The Zionists asked for recognition over Palestine of their historical connection and the recognition of the Jewish People as a legal entity, along with the right to reconstitute what they had once had, enough territory to cover all historical links to the Holy Land,” Gauthier said.

The Arabs, “who had not been unified and had tribal territories but no states, presented their claims in Paris,” Gauthier said. Led by the Hashemite King Faisal, the Arabs asked for a single giant state that would have included Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but not the area known as Palestine. They had agreed with the Jewish delegation beforehand that that territory would go to the Jews and that each side would support the others’ claim.

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No decision was made in Paris in 1919, but in San Remo, the Supreme Council reconvened to determine the disposition of the Ottoman territories. “They said ‘yes’ to the Arabs and gave them Mesopotamia [Iraq] under a British Mandate [trust] and Syria and Lebanon under a French Mandate.”

As to Palestine, “they adopted the policy right out of the Balfour Declaration – all the political rights were given to the Jewish People,” Gauthier said.

The treaties of Sevres and Lausanne confirmed this and three subsequent treaties created the mandates.

“Those international instruments are binding on all the parties and recognized in international law,” Gauthier said.

“The Jewish People are in the city [of Jerusalem] by right. They are not trespassers, they are not there wrongfully,” he said.

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In 1921, the British severed the east bank of the Jordan and handed it to the Hashemites. “Jews accepted that partition” on the basis that “the rest of Palestine would become a Jewish state.”

Asked about Palestinian claims – at the time the Jews were called Palestinians – Gauthier said the Allies dealt with the Jewish people and wouldn’t subsequently entertain claims from Jews who said they were excluded, as well as Arab representatives.

“The issue legally involves the Arabs as a whole and they were given rights which were satisfactory, as noted in the documents,” he said.

In other words, Gauthier continued, any Palestinian claims were included in the larger Arab claims and were satisfied at that time.

The Jews’ claim to Israel is as strong, in law, as those of Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese to their countries, since all those sovereignties arose from the same documents, Gauthier said.

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Israel has annexed Jerusalem, affirming its claim, but has not done the same with the West Bank. That leaves open the possibility of negotiations and ceding by Israel of its rights to some of the land as contemplated in UN Resolution 242, he added.

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The above is based on  reporting by PAUL LUNGEN, Staff Reporter, Canadian Jewish News.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 12th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Vienna papers this past week, this weekend, and today, Monday, September 12, 2011, are full with reporting of events from the US and studies via analysis interpreting the global situation looking at how these last 10 years have changed the US position in the world.

One such group of studies appeared in Der Standard – www.oiip.ac.at/fileadmin/Unterlag… – authored by Professor Heinz Gärtner,  of he OEIIP – The Austrian Institute for International Affairs translate.google.com/translate?hl…

The weekend Der Standard had whole sections about 9/11. The other papers might have had less in quantity but also came up with interesting articles – Die Presse i.e. had an article by Erich Kocina who spoke with Anas Schakfeh, then the head of Islam in Austria, who immediately in 2001 stated – “This is not good for Muslims.”

Anyway, today, the Monday after the memorials, “Heute” had on its front page “WIR WEINEN MIT NEW YORK” – WE CRY WITH NEW YORK.

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At the UN enclave at the Vienna International Center the memorial was held only today – Monday. It was in the Rotunda – the round area from which radiate the corridors to the ‘Alphabet Buildings.”  The topic:

“Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the 11 September Attacks United Nations Vienna Office Honours Victims of Terrorism.” – that is terrorism in general not just 9/11.

To be crystal clear – the UN says: “All the victims of terrorism worldwide are being remembered in a special event at the United Nations in Vienna today.”

Fair enough for an international organization where some Member States either do not believe that the acts of terror of 9/11 were committed by Islamic Radicals, or their hatred of the US is open for all to see anyway. Having said this, we add nevertheless that I found the event in good taste and rather with acceptable honesty. I also include the posting of the speech by the US Ambassador who also had no problem with delving into all other acts of terrorism because the reaction to these acts is what binds us together these days. The terrorists are the outcasts!

On one side of the Rotunda there were eleven panels holding each the picture of the front page of a journal dated September 12, 2001 – with screaming photos and titles of the atrocity that was committed against the United States.

In front of that series of panels there was the speakers’ stand, and in front of the stand a map that showed the countries that had citizens among the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11. On the lower part of that map there was the list of 90 countries that lost citizens of their own on that day.

I have heard the number 90 before – I was familiar with it – but I never saw this in a map form. I looked at the map and was amazed – trust me that I do not make this up.

FROM AMONG THE 22 MEMBER STATES OF THE ARAB LEAGUE – ONLY EGYPT AND YEMEN LOST PEOPLE THAT DAY AS VICTIMS!

The whole MAGHREB, Sudan, All The GULF STATES, The whole Muslim part of the Horn of Africa – all of these States – not a single victim. Yes – we know that the perpetrators were mainly  from Saudi Arabia, with a sprinkle from the UAE (2), Lebanon (1) and Egypt (1) – I just saw their faces again courtesy of Der Standard – let them turn in their ashes.

We know that many of the States mentioned had oil business and financial dealings at the World Trade Center. They had trainees and professionals on banks’ staff – how were they so lucky not to be there at the T-time? I wonder if it will ever be possible to explain this simple coincidence.? Having shown that map – we consider it an act of courage of the UN.

To repeat one more time – the fact that nobody from Antarctica, Greenland, Mongolia, The Small Island States of the Pacific, or the African Sahel was among those killed at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon is clear, but how is it that in the whole expanse of the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) countries – it is only Egypt, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Kenya that had victims of 9/11?

The UN release says that there were “more then 2,800 victims” from “over 70 countries.” The facts are www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-…  – there are close to 3,000 names on the new memorial – to be exact 2,996 – and to be sure – these names do NOT include the hijackers. Further, the map/list that  I saw had 10 columns of names of States with 9 names in each column – and 9X10 = 90. I hope the UN New York – takes notice.

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The event was chaired by Mr. Janos Tisovszky,  Director of Information Service at UNOV, and it was mainly in the hands of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which is the largest tenant of the VIC.

Mr. Tisovsxky said that the meeting intends to honor the victims and to express solidarity against terrorism. He noted that the Directors General and the other heads of the UN institutions headquartered in Vienna, sit literally shoulder to shoulder with the US Ambassador.

The Opening speaker was Mr. Yury Fedotov, Director-General of UNOV and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He was followed by Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General IAEA, and Mr. Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban- Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

The Closing remarks were made by US Ambassador Gkyn Davies who was actually the initiator of the event.

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Mr. Fedotov said that the terrorists who carried out the “senseless, criminal” attacks on the United States that day did not succeed in destroying the common bonds of humanity – on the contrary, they made them stronger.   “All countries, all peoples were united in their condemnation of this atrocity,” he said.  “We are all united by our common rejection of terrorism which finds no sanctuary in any nationality, any religion nor any legitimate political philosophy.” He noted that the UN fights terrorism with projects like the MDGs to give people aspirations for a good life. We want to encourage people living by the rule of law and reject terrorism.

As terrorist acts continue to be a serious threat to peace and security around the world, Mr. Fedotov stressed that more needs to be done to combat this global scourge, especially through enhanced international cooperation and exchange of information.  He also drew attention to the links between terrorism and trans-national organized crime with criminal profits increasingly finding their way to support terrorism.

Mr. Fedotov honored specifically the memory of all the  23 people recently killed, and many more injured, in the bombing of the UN office in Abuja, Nigeria.  Eleven of those killed were UN colleagues.

Mr. Amano said: As the IAEA works to protect the world against the risk of nuclear terrorism, he renewed his pledge that nuclear security will remain a high priority throughout his tenure as Director General.Mr.Toth went on enlarging the list of past acts of terrorism – Paris, London, Mumbai, Moscow, … Abuja.

Ambassador Davies continued painting this larger picture of terrorism in order to reach the conclusion that we must be united.

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Remarks by US Ambassador Glyn Davies:

September 12, 2011
Vienna International Centre


Directors General Fedotov and Amano, Executive Secretary Toth, and indeed all the heads of the international organizations who are present this afternoon, I thank you for participating in this commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.  Mr. Yumkella, Dr. Othman, welcome.

And, to all of you: Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, thank you all for taking the time today to join us for this simple, solemn event.  Ten years ago yesterday, nearly three thousand people from more than ninety countries died in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  We come together today to honor their memory.

We also assemble today to remember and honor the victims of terrorism everywhere in the world.  We gather to mark our unity of purpose in confronting and countering any and all who seek to achieve political or religious ends through the senseless slaughter of innocent men, women, and children.

New York, and America, were struck ten years ago, but terrorism affects us all.  The list of nations recovering from terrorist attacks is long.  I say “recovering”, for indeed we, the nations and people of the world, have proven resilient.  What terrorists destroy, we rebuild, we re-consecrate, we rededicate.

After the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesia demonstrated its resilience by holding a festival to commemorate the victims on the very beach where so many were slaughtered.  Madrid re-built its train station after the 2004 atrocities that killed nearly 200 injured more than 1000.  By the first anniversary of the London transit attacks that killed 52 in 2005, the transit system had been fully returned to normal.  In the United States, the collapse of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center laid waste to a large swath of Lower Manhattan.  And yet, by May of 2002, mere months later, the clean-up of the site was completed.  Today, a shining new edifice, One World Trade Center, is reaching up into New York’s skyline, and will soon claim its rightful place as the tallest building in North America.

But of course this isn’t about buildings, it’s about the people.  The children of those who died on September 1, 2001, are growing up.  Families have found the strength to cope with their grief, and indeed have formed networks to assist one another and other victims of terrorism.  And just as communities have come together to support those in need following terrorist attacks, the same is happening around the world.

From Bali to Beslan, Athens to Amman, Kigali to Kampala, people of all faiths from the four corners of the globe have united in their resolve to condemn terrorism and to offer support to victims.  In 2009 a suicide bomber killed five Pakistani staff members at the United Nations World Food Program in Islamabad.  One victim’s husband reached out to friends and survivors of violence to establish the Pakistan Terrorism Survivors Network, which works to help the wounded and family members overcome trauma and rebuild their lives.

And the solidarity, the strength displayed after terrorist attacks is not just local, it is global.  We all stood united with India after the cowardly attacks across Mumbai.  We all rejoiced when hostages held by the FARC in Colombia were rescued after six long years of captivity.  We grieved as one for the many thousands of civilians lost to car bombings in Iraq.  And after the deadly havoc wrought by one man recently in Norway, we rallied to stand by our Norwegian colleagues and renewed our common commitment to stand up to any and all who would use such appalling means to achieve political ends.

So how fitting that we mark 9/11’s ten-year anniversary in this place, this great rotunda of the Vienna International Centre, home to so many vital multilateral organizations whose work touches directly or indirectly on the challenge of countering terrorism.  For international organizations are indispensable partners in this effort, and international public servants have often borne the brunt of terrorist attacks.  We all well remember the terrorist attack on United Nations offices in Iraq in 2003, which killed 22 people, including UN envoy Sergio de Mello.  And only a few days ago United Nations offices were attacked in Nigeria. One of the UNODC’s own – Ingrid Midtgaard – lost her life, along with at least 22 others, in this most recent act of violence, and we offer our condolences.  The very nature of the UN’s work as a champion of freedom and international cooperation puts all who dedicate their lives to serving humanity at direct odds with terrorists.

But you are not alone.  Even before the death of Usama Bin Laden, the overwhelming majority of people saw that the murder of innocents did not bring about a better life for anyone.  People across the Middle East and North Africa continue to reject extremism, and are charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations.

So, from Mumbai to Manila, Lahore to London, New York to Nairobi, we have witnessed resilience and solidarity.  Terrorism remains a threat, but our common human spirit has endured and emerged, stronger than ever.  We have not succumbed to the grief and fear that terrorists seek to spread.

On the contrary, since September 11, 2001, countries across the globe have responded collectively to reduce the threat of terrorism.  We have sharply diminished the capabilities of terrorist groups through the combined, collaborative efforts of the international community.  Together, we have answered the terrorists’ attempts to weaken or destroy our societies.  Our message of hope, of support for peace, security, and universal human rights is far more compelling than any message of hate, discrimination, and death.

The tenth anniversary of September 11 is an especially moving moment for Americans.  We are ten years on, but the pain and grief has hardly abated.  And that compels me to thank all of you profoundly for coming here today and joining us in this simple event.

Colleagues, Friends,

Here, gathered as the missions and the staff of the United Nations and the international organizations headquartered in Vienna, here in this great international city, I can think of no more appropriate charge to all of us than that voiced by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold: “No peace which is not peace for all, no rest until all has been fulfilled.”

And that is the thought I wish to leave you with.  We gather today to share our common commitment to peace for all, and our common determination not to rest until terrorism is defeated.  We gather to make known our unified message: Terrorism will not prevail. We are vigilant.  We remember and honor those we have lost.  And we pursue our lives with confidence, not fear.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for joining us here today.

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and looking back at news reports from places not called New York or Washington:

9/11 Global Memorials, Tinged With Weariness.

By Published, The New York Times,  September 11, 2011

 www.nytimes.com/2011/09/12/world/…

PARIS — On Sunday, however briefly, nations around the world came together with the United States to remember the attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 people from 90 countries.

Commemorations were held from Indonesia to Israel, with many political and religious leaders expressing their commitment to democracy and the fight against terrorism. But there was also weariness, with smaller-than-expected crowds in some cities and numerous commentaries noting the wars that followed Sept. 11 and the attacks’ more negative impacts — on civil liberties, air travel, international law and the United States’ reputation.

There was an overnight suicide bombing involving an explosives-packed truck in Afghanistan, the arrests of terrorism suspects in Berlin and Sweden and heightened security alerts most everywhere. There was analysis about how democratic values have triumphed in the Arab Spring, which has been seen as a defeat for Al Qaeda. But even with Osama bin Laden dead, Al Qaeda or its offshoots remain active in the chaotic areas of Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and the Maghreb, and its ideology still inspires some to plan attacks against the United States and its allies.

Although NATO is at war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, 10 years later, the European allies have tired of the war and are pressing for negotiations with the Taliban.

In Pakistan, where opinion surveys show most people doubt that Al Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, the government ignored the anniversary, except to put an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal describing Pakistan as a victim, not a perpetrator, of terrorism.

In Germany, where the attacks were planned, there was a quiet commemoration, an interfaith service at the American Church in Berlin. Three days after the attacks, about 200,000 people had gathered near the Brandenburg Gate, but barely 200 showed up for a moment of silence on Sunday. “I thought there would be a few more people,” said Alan Benson, who helped organize the program and held an American flag. “First there was empathy with Americans, but as a consequence of the wars there are a lot of misgivings now.”

In Hamburg, Germany, where the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, and several of the other plotters lived at Marienstrasse 54, Mayor Olaf Scholz ordered flags at half-staff on public buildings.

Britain, which lost 67 of its citizens on Sept. 11, held several commemorations. It has been America’s principal military partner in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade, and 559 British soldiers have died in the wars there.

In London, remembrances were led by Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron and included many relatives of the 9/11 victims. The ceremony was held at the London memorial garden for the victims in Grosvenor Square, across a park from the United States Embassy.

After family members read the names of those who were killed, relatives, including children not yet born on the day of the attacks, walked into the arbor and laid white roses on a memorial stone that is atop a piece of twisted metal taken from the rubble at ground zero.

Prince Charles said he could identify with the families’ grief, having lost his uncle and mentor, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in a 1979 terrorist bombing in Northern Ireland. “For so many of those left behind,” he said, it had been “a continuing, awful agony that has to be endured day by day.”

In Rome, the Colosseum was illuminated on Sunday night as a gesture of mourning. The Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, wrote President Obama of the need to “look forward and reinforce that international and multilateral solidarity that supported us 10 years ago.” Pope Benedict XVI urged world leaders to address “the grievances that give rise to acts of violence.” Terrorism in the name of God, the pope said, was a kind of abomination, adding, “No circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism.”

In Paris, the main commemoration was across from the Eiffel Tower on the rainy Place du Trocadero, where 10-story replicas of the twin towers were covered with the names of the victims and messages from the French. Some 1,300 people came. A large sign in French and English read: “Sept. 11, 2001. The French will never forget.” One organizer, the businessman Patrick du Tertre, said, “We want the Americans to know that we love them, that we are their allies, that we remember and that we share their sorrow.”

On Friday, the American ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, held a small ceremony in his garden with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who delivered a fiercely pro-American speech.

“In the darkest hours of its history, France has always been able to count on the American people,” he said. “Without you, the Americans, we would not have been able to keep our freedom. So on 11 September, when terrorists struck at the heart of America, every French citizen felt the blow.”

In Oslo, there was a sense of affinity with the United States after the July 22 killings by Anders Behring Breivik, who took 77 lives. He claimed to be acting to defend Europe from Islam, an obsession that began with the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kari Gasvatn, a commentator for the newspaper Nationen, said that both attacks were challenges to democracy and raised questions about what kind of society to build afterward. “Both attacks show how vulnerable we can be,” she said. “Skyscrapers can collapse on a sunny autumn day. Young people can be massacred on a peaceful Norwegian island.”
Asle Toje, a political analyst, said that in Norway, as in most of Europe, the initial sympathy for America after 9/11 was “followed by a lack of enthusiasm, you might say, for the way 9/11 was exploited for political purposes.”
The war in Iraq was connected to 9/11, he said, “and that has made sentiments about 9/11 a lot more complicated.”
Russia marked the anniversary with a powerful evocation of the Holocaust, a subject that was off limits for much of the Soviet era. The Russian National Orchestra performed Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar,” and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, titled “Kaddish.”
Russians recalled the outpouring of sympathy 10 years ago and the sense, however fleeting, that the threat of Islamic terrorism meant that Russia and the United States were aligned. Yevgeniya Pishchikova pointed to deeper shifts. Fear has become so reflexive, she wrote in Moscow News, that conversations in hair salons touch on the changes in the Muslim world, the riots in Europe and the reliable conclusion that “everything is about to crash.”
“Only one thing is clear — there is no way to live calmly,” she said. “So let’s not put on airs. Whether America appeals to you or not, let us commemorate with her the decade of global fear.”

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Reporting contributed by Ellen Barry in Moscow; John F. Burns in London; Jane Perlez in Islamabad, Pakistan; Henrik Pryser Libell in Oslo; Nicholas Kulish in Berlin; Elisabetta Povoledo in Rome; Michael Wines in Beijing; Isabel Kershner in Jerusalem; and Elvire Camus and Alan Cowell in Paris.


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


NEGOTIATING CLIMATE CHANGE WORKSHOP

Organized by the Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS), ETH and University of Zurich

28 September 2011

ETH Zurich (Main Building), Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

F-floor, room 33.1

The main intention of the workshop is to discuss outcomes of the research project “Negotiating Climate Change” <www.snis.ch/call-proposals-2009_233_michaelowa> carried out by a team of political scientists and economists at the University of Zurich, the ETH Zurich and the Graduate Institute, Geneva, with international experts and other interested participants. The project is financed by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS).

Participation is free, but registration is required.

To register, please contact Maya Sela Mozafar via email:

maya.sela@gess.ethz.ch

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

09h00-09h15 Welcome & Introduction to the Negotiating Climate Change Project

(Katharina Michaelowa, Director of CIS, University of Zurich)

09h15-10h00 Keynote: Negotiating Challenges and Climate Change (Joyeeta Gupta, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Project Results Part I: General Framework

10h00-10h30 Bargaining Strategies in Climate Change Negotiations (Stefanie Bailer, ETH Zurich)

10h30-11h00 Preference Attainment: Why are some countries more successful in negotiating the Earth’s climate? (Florian Weiler, ETH Zurich)

11h00-11h30 Coffee Break

11h30-12h30 Discussion (John Odell, University of Southern California,

Joyeeta Gupta, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Project Results Part II: Country Case-Studies

12h30-13h00 India, an emerging power in international climate negotiations: Positions and strategies in a comparative perspective (Katharina Michaelowa, University of Zurich, Axel Michaelowa, University of Zurich)

13h00-14h30 Lunch (at own expense), Dozentenfoyer, Main Building/ J-floor

14h30-15h00 AOSIS in the UNFCCC negotiations: from unity to fragmentation?

(Carola Betzold, ETH Zurich, Paula Castro, University of Zurich, Florian Weiler, ETH Zurich)

15h00-15h30 Continuity and change in Russia’s position in climate negotiations (Liliana Andonova, Graduate Institute Geneva, Assia Alexieva, Graduate Institute Geneva)

15h30-16h30 Discussion (Joyeeta Gupta, Vrije UniversiteitAmsterdam, John Odell, University of Southern California)

16h30-17h30 General Discussion

17h30 Closure

Katharina Michaelowa

Prof. of Political Economy and Development

University of Zurich / Institute of Political Science

and

Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS)

Affolternstr. 56

CH-8050 Zürich

Tel.:  +41-44-634-48-81

Fax:   +41-44-634-52-69

email: katja.michaelowa@pw.uzh.ch

web:   www.ipz.uzh.ch/lehrstuehle/ep_en.html

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We were informed of a Press Briefing

at the Vienna International Cenre, Thursday, September 8, 2011, 1:30 p.m. on

Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alps.

This was to be about: The main results and outcomes achieved under the CLISP Project “Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alpine area” will be discussed at the CLISP international final conference organized by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Federal Environment Agency Austria, held at the Vienna International Centre at that date – on 8 September 2011, at which the Head of the UNEP Vienna Office, Harald Egerer, stressed the importance of the particular study as a platform for the development of an integrated, transnational approach toward adaptation to impacts of climate change in the highly sensitive area of the Alps.

It also said  at the margins of the Conference, high level representatives from the European Union, the Alpine Convention and Austrian agencies will take part at the Press Briefing with the purpose of illustrating present and future strategies to tackle negative effect of climate change in the Alpine space.
Speakers include:

Rosario Bento Pais
DG Climate Action, European Commission

Andre Jol
Head of vulnerability group, European Environment Agency

Marco Onida
Secretary General, Alpine Convention

George Reberning
Managing Director, Federal Environment Agency Austria

————-

Having shown interest, later we also received a Press Release:

Climate Change Adaptation by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space.

VIENNA, 8 September (UN Information Service) – One hundred participants from the Alpine States have gathered today at the Vienna International Centre to discuss the main results and outcomes achieved under the Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space Project (CLISP). Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Federal Environment Agency Austria, the CLISP Final Conference was opened with a video-message from UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.
Climate change is expected to affect spatial development in the Alpine Space, including land use, socio-economic activities and life-sustaining ecosystems services more severely than in other European regions. Temperature increase, decreasing snow cover and more severe weather extremes could cause a variety of adverse climate change impacts. Growing risks from water scarcity, heat waves and natural
hazards might threaten settlements, physical infrastructure, utilities, material assets and human lives.
Vulnerability assessment:
Funded under the EU Alpine Space Programme, the CLISP Project in its three years focused on the challenges to spatial planning in the face of climate change. The 16 CLISP partner organizations have analyzed ten Alpine model regions according to their vulnerability to climate change. Results have shown that regions, which are already sensitive to the climate extremes, are expected to be the most vulnerable regions also in the future. Even though technical measures are mostly well implemented “soft” adaptation strategies like a proper “climate-proof” spatial planning, better coordination of actions within institutions, and better risk-communication are often missing.
Climate change fitness of spatial planning systems analyzed:
The investigation of the “climate change fitness” of spatial planning systems has shown that there are already strong formal planning instruments and important informal practices at hand that could be used to respond to climate change and to coordinate cross-sectoral adaptation activities. Nevertheless, climate adaptation needs to be addressed more directly and defined as an objective of spatial planning in legislation and other frameworks.
Transnational Planning Strategy:
One of the main outcomes of the CLISP project is the Transnational Planning Strategy (TPS) that is mainly aimed at policymakers, decision-makers and political actors in spatial planning in the Alpine space as a decision-making tool for the development of suitable adaptation strategies and actions in response to climate change.
Strategic project in the field of climate change adaptation and spatial planning:
The findings of the CLISP project as well as the pan-European perspectives of climate change adaptation have been discussed with representatives from the European Commission – Directorate General for Regional Policy, Directorate General for Climate Action, the Alpine Convention, the European Environment Agency as well as with participants from other international institutions attending the CLISP final conference.
CLISP Project is a pioneering project in the field of climate change adaptation and spatial planning. Its outcomes are not only of strategic relevance for the coordinated development of climate change adaptation policies in the Alpine region, but with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme the CLISP results and experience can also be shared with other mountain regions, such as the Carpathians, Balkans and the Himalaya region.
The CLISP project can be found at www.clisp.eu
For more information please contact:

Giulia Sechi
UNEP Vienna – Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060 – 4454
Email: giulia.sechi[at]unvienna.org

—————————————————————

At the Press Conference there were just two journalists – myself and the Vienna editor for an industry magazine 4C, Ms. Margarette Endl who came as a guest of the organizers of what turned out to have been the “graduating” event – the release of the final documents of this stage inthe CLISP Project.

Other people in the room were part of the conference and thus asked no questions. Ms. Endl asked questions on the basis of her attendance at the morning session.
I ended up asking on the base of my general interest in the subject, and learned that since the three poles concept the subject has evolved, and I have now much more to learn about the mountain regions. As evidence of this large area – I already posted several items today based on other sources of information.

Coincidently, years ago, I was present when Ambassador Dr. Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl  introduced for Austria and UNIDO the subject of Mountain Regions to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. At the UN Mountains were always a synonym to the Himalayas like deserts, arid and semiarid lands are a synonym to Africa – but she was already then speaking about Austria and the Alps. Now the subject has evolved and we speak of regions within this large area previously included in the Alpine region.

I mentioned the three poles where the Himalayas are the third pole – and asked if we should talk now of five poles – including the Alps and the Andes – while leaving out the lesser areas like the mountains of New Zealand – because the region is rather small or Africa where the melting of the snows of Kilimanjaro has sort of eliminated the problem. I knew this was a rather provocative question and got a very good answer from Mr. Pier Carlo Sandei where he explained that the mountain regions are not just about the disappearance of the glaciers – but rather about the moving up of vegetation lines – thus a general  changing in the nature in the mountains because of Climate Change and other reasons. This is a general UNEP interest and the subject has progressed through a series of Conventions.

I stayed for the afternoon sessions that were chaired by Ms. Sabine McCallum, the department head for the subjects of Environment Impact Assessment & Climate Change of the Austrian Department of the Environment. she was actually the head of the project and her Minister – Helmut Hojesky, Federal Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment, and Water Management, was the main speaker at the High-Level Panel Discussion: “Taking action towards climate-proof spatial development – What is the way forward?”

Others on the panel were Thomas Probst, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment; Rosario Benito Pais and Jose Ruiz de Casas, both from the European Commission one from  Climate Action and the other from Regions; Andre Jol, Head of group Vulnerability and Adaptation, European Environment Agency; and Marco Onida, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention.

What happened here was that the area of the Alpine Convention has been divided into 10 regions that the study dealt with separately. It is obvious that the problems of the Swiss Alps that are dedicated mainly to tourism are very different from the problems in the newer members of the EU from the Balkans and the Carpathian regions where there are also States that do not belong to the EU altogether. The project did not just reshuffle data – but produced data and starts proposing plans of action – this being the ultimate goal of the project that after being absorbed by the States involved – will then be continued in order to come up with further plans of action.

We were told not to forget mitigation. While adaptation is a defense for the countries here – if there are no tangible results on mitigation here and elsewhere – there will be need for more adaptation in the future.

The European Commission told us that CLIMATE ACTION is now a new DG (that means a Department with Department Head and Stuff and a mandate to act). All these studies and Plans of Axtion will be under this department.

THE minister said that his people learn the Swiss and German experience – AND WE HAVE TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE – BECAUSE IT WILL HAPPEN – WHATEVER WE DO.

UNEP declared that they are here because they want to learn from the A-B-C … the Alps, Balkans, Carpathian regions. The countries that were parts of Yugoslavia and Albania have lot of historic experience but having become independent of each other, whatever centralized poiicy there was it is now worse – there is no communication between them. Cooperation is needed and this project provides a unified platform and future regional adaptation. The Balkan region is actually a Balkan and Dinaric Arc Region that covers the Adriatic Coast.

So far as Vienna goes – as always – it finds itself in the middle – this time in the middle between the Alps and the Carpatians with the “B” region to the South.

There was the need for a Carpathian Convention in addition to the Alpine Convention. The Carpathian Convention includes The Ukraine and Serbia that are not part of the EU. 66% of the Carpathian region is still covered with forests – this provides extra-potential to preserve biodiversity, landscape and quality of air.

Pier Carlo Sandei spoke of SUSTAINABLE GROWTH in the context of the 21st Century – rather then the 20th Century. He gave me the feeling that Sustainable Growth as understood earlier is a no=no today when we must think of TRANSNATIONAL REGIONS that will aim by 2020 to be sustained by 20% Sustainable Energy.

He also used in the summary the conclusion: MITIGATION IS GLOBAL – ADAPTATION IS LOCAL & REGIONAL. One will have to look at climate costs – if you invest or you do not invest. This reminds us of the situation that compares the way industry looks at their strategy to answer CO2 emissions decrease requirements.

If you do something overseas – you get the credits and you can apply the full amount right now – but if you reduce your own emissions at home, you do not get the immediate full credit – you rather get the credit apportioned for the long range of the project – and that is what sends corporations to buy credits overseas. AHA! You Kyoto Protocol; affectionados – hear it from us = we warned you that the system never made sense!

——————————

Looking at the nice collection of material I took along – I would like to give here references for the benefit of our readers:

A – ALPINE CONVENTION, 2nd efition, January 2011, Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria with a branch office in Bolzano-Bosen, Italy.  www.alpconv.org

B – BALKAN VITAL GRAPHICS – Environment Without Borders. Published by UNEP/GRID=Arendal in 2007. It was backed by Austria and canada and was used as part of the Belgrade October 10-12, 2001 Ministerial Conference on Building Bridges To The Future Environment For Europe. It deals with mining, water and nature.

C – A COLLECTION ON THE CARPATHIAN CONVENTION, material prepared for the Second Convention of the Parties, Bucharest, June 17-19, 2008. Published in
Bolzano, Italy. www.carpathianproject.eu  —– This material was followed by the Carpathian Project headed by Mr. Harald Egerer of UNEP Vienna. www.carpathianconvention.org … Harald.Egerer@unvienna  … The Partners to the project are institutions from Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, The Ukraine.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 20th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We know it – The global economic crisis has its roots in Europe – dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/d…

While we read about Warren Buffett buying in this down market, and the Chinese snap up New York real estate, but, here we find that some are still trying to join the Eurozone.

A Russian Tycoon offers himself for premier and wants to dump ruble for euro!! – this is metal tycoon and New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail D. Prokhorov –  http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx

In the Ukraine, Vitali Klitchko, a world boxing champion, who wants to enter politics and run for the presidency, wants tp join the EU,

THE SWISS WEIGH THE UNTHINKABLE: A EURO PEG. www.gainesville.com/article/20110…

But Mauritius is increasing its gold holdings, reducing its exposure to the US dollar and the euro, and switched to the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar.

The Chinese must seriously consider now the upgrading of their world status – they have earned it.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Vienna Solarenergie-Stammtisch of EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA – see www.eurosolar.at .

on Thursday – Do., 21.Juli 2011 – the topic was: “Himmlischer Strom für Kirchen, Klöster, Synagogen und Moscheen.”

THAT WAS  IN TRUE TRANSLATION – GODS ELECTRIC POWER for the CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT INSTITUTIONS.

I know it said correctly also Synagogues and Mosques – but trust me they did not show up – I was there.
The question is why were they not there and why do we have to be correct and cover over their not being there?

GOD FORBIDS – I mean no criticism of Jews and Moslems but am not ready to take this as granted that their name had to appear in the title while they did not show interest in being part of this meeting of ECOSOLAR. As the meeting was well publicized in advance nobody can say – we did not know! The SUN is not anti-Muslim – we know it shows up very well in the Arabian desert – also in the Israeli Negev – and it can very easily put to use there and in institutions in Austria as well.

The main featured speaker was:  Pfarrer Mag. Norman Tendis, p.A. Evangelische Kirche St. Ruprecht
St. Ruprechter Platz 6, A-9523 Landskron, Tel. +43 424241712
www.struprecht-evangelisch.at

We heard about Church sponsored  energy autarky – the church can organize partnerships for Solar PV and Wood and Water technologies for the whole community.

Also, the church can establish an electricity tanking outlet.

The church roof is an area that can be offered to the city for support for PV.

To spread the information Yahoo groups are established for people of similar interests in order to develop cooperation within the groups.

A  small village in Lower Austria, not far from Vienna, was given as example of complete autarky.

Similar activities exist in Bavaria and in the Zurich area. Stories were told of cases local legislation tried to interfere with these developments by maling unneeded requirements that are being disproven as necessary by eager legislative cleen-up groups.

The Catholic Church presenter was: DI Josef HITZELHAMMER
technischer Angestellter, Gemeindeentwicklung, Bibelarbeit
www.pfarreneulerchenfeld.at/leben_pfarrgemeinderat.html
j.hitzelhammer@5bios.at

He had similar success stories to tell. So, it is clear – if people with religion put their heart to saving the environment and detaching themselves from perceived dependance on foreign oil or even electric power, they prove that clean energy is a promised land.

Present at this eco-table event were about 60 people.   Of these  12 own electic vehicles.

The meeting was held at the Restaurant “Zum Hagenthaler”  www.hagenthaler.at

—-

SOME FURTHER MATERIAL I RECEIVED FROM Ing. HERBERT EBERHART of  EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA I am bringing here in its original German:


Wirtschaften im Dienste des Lebens
Bewahrung der Schöpfung sollte in allen Kirchen ein Anliegen sein. Viele negative Entwicklungen derzeit: Weltweit verhungen jedes Jahr 30 Millionen Menschen, Verkehrsregeln für internationalen Finanzverkehr notwendig (Tobin-Steuer) u.a.
Projekt beim BMVIT eingereicht:
Energiebilanz des Gebäudebestandes aller evangelischen Pfarren wurde erstellt gemeinsam mit AEE-Arge Erneuerbare Energien www.aee.at . Datenbank für Adressen etc: Istzustand ist jetzt bekannt. Energiekennzahl durchschnittlich 125 kWh/m²/Jahr.
Broschüre zum Energieprrojekt zum downloaden: www.aee.or.at/downloads_1/Broschuere_rev23022010ej_ohne.pdf
Ökostrom-Pool: Mit Alpen Adria Energie www.aae.at günstiger Stromtarif durch Gemeinschaftseinkauf. Alle Pfarren sollten auf Naturstrom wechseln.
Auch Privathaushalte aller Mitglieder der evangelischen Pfarren. Nicht zuletzt durch die Atomkatastrophe in Fukuschima sollten alle
auf Naturstrom wechseln! Mit jedem Stromanbieterwechsel zu 100 % EE wird Atomstrom verdrängt.

Was rasch umgesetzt werden kann:
Stromtankstellen  bei allen Kirchen für Besucher mit umweltfreundlichen Elektro-Fahrzeugen.www.elektrotankstellen.net
Vorhandene Schuko-Steckdosen 230 Volt/16 A verwendbar.
Kirchendächer zur Verfügung stellen für Gemeinschaftsanlagen.

Solar-Gemeinschaftsanlagen in allen Gemeinden, auch nach Vorbild Mureck/Steiermark
Ök.Rat Karl Totter sen. ist  Initiator des Projektes “Energieautarke Region Mureck” www.sebamureck.at

Maria Jungwirth, j.m.jungwirth@aon.at, EE-Pionierin aus Purgstall an der Erlauf/NÖ berichtet:
9,6 kW peak Bürgerbeteiligungs-Photovoltaikanlage für die Kirche Purgstall wurde errichtet.
Anteilscheine (“Sonnenscheine”) zu 750 EUR und 350 EUR. Es gab großes Interesse an Beteiligung.
Jetzt ist ein 170 kW peak Sonnenstrom-Kraftwerk für die Kläranlage in Purgstall geplant, ebenso für das Wasserwerk.
www.pfarre-purgstall.at/photo.html
Purgstall liegt derzeit (22.7.2011) mit 77 Watt pro Einwohner auf Rang 48 in der Solarbundesliga:www.solarbundesliga.at

Vortrag Ing. Erhart Kurz
Industriegebiet 1
A-7011 Siegendorf/Burgenland
Tel: +43(0)2687/420172
Fax: +43(0)2687/42022
Mobil-Tel: +43(0)699/195 195 02
e.kurz@cleen.at
www.cleen.at
Stellte das PV-DUO System vor. 2×185 Watt=370 Watt mit Modulwechselrichter. Preis: EUR 1298.-
Beliebig erweiterbar. Mit ENECSYS-Wechselrichter. 20 Jahre Garantie
Vorteile: einfach, kostengünstig, leicht montierbar. Bei Massenproduktion würden die Preise rasch fallen.
Keine Bauanzeige notwendig. Durch Eigenverbrauch (1:1-Tarif) hohe Ersparnis. Balkongeländer-Montage geplant.
Durch miserablen Ökostromgesetz derzeit noch Pioniermarkt. In Deutschland durch das EEG Erneuerbare Energien-Gesetz bereits 212 Watt Photovoltaik-Leistung pro Einwohner installiert.www.solarbundesliga.at
Wechselstrom-Module (“Solarkraftzwerge”) können entscheidend dazu beitragen, die Photovoltaik-Solarstromtechnik zu verbreiten!
Jeder “Solarkraftzwerg” verdrängt Atomstrom.

Diskutiert wurde unter anderem:

Die OMV zahlt für Weiterbetrieb der Heizung mit Heizöl 2000 EURO “Prämie”!
Hansi Hinterseer macht Werbung für Heizöl:
derstandard.at/1285199446583/Vitatherm-heizt-mit-Hansi-Hinterseer-ein

Hubert Kuhn, EE-Pionier:
Solartechnik Hubert Kuhn
Warnungs 4
A-3932 Warnungs
Tel/Fax.: 02849/8615-15
Mobil: 0664/1329703
E-Mail: info@solar-kuhn.at
www.solar-kuhn.at
Zahlreiche thermische Solaranlage (ca. 1.700), Photovoltaikanlagen, Windkraftwerk 10 kW, Experte für Elektroauto-Umrüstung auf Lithium-Technik.
Eine 5 kW peak auf einer Kirche wurde nicht genehmigt wegen “Netz müßte ausgebaut werden” ???
Der Netzausbau hat vom Netzbetreiber zu erfolgen. Dieser kann die Kosten auf die Netzgebühren umlegen!
Beispiel Netzausbau durch EVN Netz GmbH für Windkraft im Bezirk Bruck an der Leitha:
www.noen.at/lokales/noe-uebersicht/bruck/aktuell/Windkraft-Ausbau-ueberfordert-Netz;art2674,174903

Walter Nauschnegg, Elektrounternehmen, PV-Installateur in Eibiswald/Steiermark:
Oberlatein 39, A-8552 Eibiswald, www.pvn.atw.nauschnegg@pvn.at, Telefon: +43 (0) 664 / 46 43 040
Errichtung von Photovoltaikanagen seit über 10 Jahren. Mit Konzept für Bürgerbeteiligung können auf Kirchen Solarstromanlagen errichtet werden.

Dr. Hans-Otto Schmidt berichtet:
EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA führt Individualbeschwerde beim EUGH wegen Temelin mit Prof. Geistlinger/UNI Salzburg www.uni-salzburg.at/portal/page?_pageid=905,428530&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTALAtomstrahlen machen keinen Halt vor völkerrechtlichen Grenzen.

Unverschämt hohe Rechnung für Gasabschluss:
Solarstammtisch-Koordinator Gerhard Kaindl, gerhard-kaindl@aon.at, Mobil-Tel.: 0664 / 20 27 405  baut gerade ein Plusenergiehaus in Wien mit 8 kw peak Photovoltaik. Der am Grundstück vorhandene Erdgas-Anschluss wird nicht mehr benötigt. Die Gasrohrleitung wurde vom Gaswerk Wien abgeschnitten und entfernt. Dafür verrechnet das Gaswerk unverschämte 4.400 EURO!

Links zum Tagesthema:
Linkliste “Strom vom Himmel”:  www.eurosolar.at/kirche.html

Solarstrom für den Vatikan: Photovoltaikanlage auf päpstlicher Audienzhalle eingeweiht:
www.solarserver.de/news/news-9798.html

Denkmalintegrierte Solaranlagen: Kompromisse statt Kontroversen
www.solarserver.de/solarmagazin/artikeljuni2003.html

Größte dachintegrierte Photovoltaik-Solarstromanlage auf Kirche in der Diözese Wien:
www.piaristen.at/stthekla/pfarre/solarenergie.html

Sonnenstrom für den Stephansdom:
www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20010810_OTS0003/dom-zu-st-stephan-holt-sonnenstrom-vom-himmel–g-e-s-p-e-r-r-t-bis-1400-uhr

news-Gruppe zu Kirche und Energiewende/Erneuerbare Energien:
de.groups.yahoo.com/group/Kirche-Umwelt-EWende/
Beitrag senden: Kirche-Umwelt-EWende@yahoogroups.de
Abonnieren: Kirche-Umwelt-EWende-subscribe@yahoogroups.de

Österreichischer Solarpreis 2005 für Pfarre Dechantskirchen:
www.eurosolar.at/Drucksorten/solarpreis2005.pdf

Österreichischer Solarpreis 2007 für Energieautarke Pfarre St. Franziskus in Wels:
www.eurosolar.at/Drucksorten/solarpreis2007.pdf
Pfarre St. Franziskus Wels
A-4600 Wels, St.-Franziskus-Straße 1
www.dioezese-linz.at/pfarren/wels-stfranziskus
pfarre.stfranziskus.wels@dioezese-linz.at
Tel.: +43 (0)7242 64866 Fax: DW 11
Kontakt: Pfarrmoderator Mag. Anton A. Achleitner
Energieautarke Kirche /
Die Pfarre St. Franziskus ist energieautark. Der Neubau der so genannten “Sonnenkirche” ist
weitestgehend im Passivhaus-Standard gebaut worden. Der Gemeindesaal ist als schwarze
Glasbox ausgebildet, mit 200 m² in die Fassade integrierte Photovoltaik-Elemente (Leistung
22,6 Kilowatt peak). Der Jahresertrag der Photovoltaik-Anlage liegt bei ca.15.300 kWh und ist
somit höher als der Eigenbedarf
Für die Warmwasserbereitung und für die Heizungsunterstützung wurde eine 32 m² große
thermische Solaranlage mit 2 x 1.000-Liter-Pufferspeicher installiert. Den Restwärmebedarf
liefert für die Fußbodenheizung ein auf 85 kW ausgelegter Pellets-Kessel CO2-neutral.

Veranstaltungsprogramm
“SONNENENERGIE FÜR ÖSTERREICH”
www.eurosolar.at/Drucksorten/sofo.doc
www.eurosolar.at/solarstammtisch.html

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar set to invest $290m by 2014.

 www.arabianbusiness.com/abu-dhabi…

July 13, 2011

Abu Dhabi green energy firm Masdar expects to invest $290m in clean tech projects around the world by 2014, a senior company official said on Wednesday.

Masdar invested the first $60m of the DB Masdar Clean Tech Fund – set up with Deutsche Bank – in China and expects to pick its next projects in the next few days.

“We are making a second investment this week. It could be between $15 to $40m,” Alex O’Cinneide, general manager of Masdar Capital, told reporters.

“Four years from now, we could see the fund fully invested. The market is improving, we are seeing real interest with a lot of deals in the pipeline,” he said.

He declined to give details of specific investments but said Masdar aimed to invest 30 percent in North America, 30 percent in Europe and the rest in Asia.

Masdar is the renewable energy initiative of Abu Dhabi, the world’s third largest oil exporter with plans to make seven percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

Masdar’s first $250m clean tech fund launched in 2006 in partnership with Credit Suisse.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 25th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

April 24 in modern history is a peace day date. We just discovered this accidentally. We think the UN should look into the possibility of making this a holy day in its calendar.

This year it happened to be Easter Sunday, but this is not our point. Rather, we coincidentally did something we never do – we looked at the listing of things that happened on this date in modern history and it rang bells in our mind.

Look at April 24, 1916 – it was the start of a down-played conference of European Socialists at Kiental in the Swiss Canton Bern. The Conference lasted till April 30th and was officially painted as a tourism event. But it was much more then that. At this meeting Lenin called to the workers in all countries of WWI to act so the War is ended. That was a Lenin call to the workers of the world to stop a useless war!

In 1926 on April 24th there was the signing of an international agreement relating to mobile vehicles – this was an aspect of the start of globalization. It was thought at that time that mobility will bring people together.

On April 24, 1941 the US and Japan held secret talks to establish a “MODUS VIVENDI” in the Pacific and East Asia. It led to no results, but it was some sort of secretly held effort at avoiding war. Had it led to results, there might have been peace in the Pacific but Hitler would have won in Europe and this surely would not have been the peace we could have enjoyed. So, Japan actually helped bringing about peace by leading to its own defeat – something I could not miss contemplating.

April 24, 1981 President Reagan lifted the grain embargo against the Soviet Union. Was this the start of West-East detente or just the recognition that the “Containment” policy is bringing results?

April 24, 1996, The Palestinian National Council decided to take out the statement about the destruction of the State of Israel from the PLO Charter. This allowed for a step  towards the eluding Peace Accord in the Middle East -though without results yet, it was a required step in the right direction nevertheless.

Looking at birthdays – it was April 24, 1941 – (remember the US-Japan secret talks?) that was also the birthday of Richard Holbrooke – a man who tried to bring peace to places other did not dare to go – Holbrooke achieved great public prominence when he, together with former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, brokered a peace agreement among the warring factions inBosnia that led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. It is sad to look reality in the face – but it was the Holbrooke effort that led to the only tangible peace making event in Europe in the post WWII era – and again it had to be initiated by the US  as the EU has not moved away yet from the bickering among its constituent governments. (The EU is a Federation when it comes to common standardization of goods and measurements – this more then in the USA, but in the all important matters of Foreign Policy, Security, and military command, it is yet much less then the American style of Federal Government. Thus not yet able to be effective in Peace making.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 From Anne Bayefsky
info@EYEontheUN.org

New York, April 2, 2011
Syria, the U.N. “Human Rights” Council,  and the Obama Administration.

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on The Weekly Standard.

The Obama administration’s effort to draw an artificial distinction between the butchers in Damascus and the gangsters in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, has taken a bizarre twist: Syria is seeking a seat on the U.N.’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council. And, as part of the process leading up to the May 20, 2011 elections, the U.N. published a Syria’s “pledge” to protect human rights on Thursday. (that is March 30, 2011 – while the news were full of Syria represing its citizens who call out for democracy – is the whole decent world crazy or folks at the UN and in Washington are plain fakes? That seems to us the real question – the editor of www.SustainabiliTank.info)

For context, this is the same pledge system that Muammar Qaddafi’s regime used to get a seat on the Council last May. Rather than refusing to legitimize a scheme that makes a mockery of the institution, the Obama administration announced hours before that it has decided to seek a second term on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The announcement comes a whopping 14 months before the U.S. term on the Council expires, making the declaration totally unnecessary to guarantee American reelection. Instead, it seems, President Obama aims to preempt mounting criticism of his decision to participate, as well as to minimize the serious menace posed by Syria’s ambitions. The move comes at precisely the wrong moment in time.

The Council was created in 2006 without any criteria for membership. The only advice given to the General Assembly says that, when electing Council members, states should “take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto.” Hence, Syria produced a pledge.

Notwithstanding the current bloody campaign by Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to annihilate democracy-seekers, the Syrian pledge says: “Promotion and protection of human rights are of highest importance to Syria…Syria’s candidature to the Human Rights Council signifies its commitment to respect and to support the inalienable and indivisible nature of all human rights.”

The State Department’s most recent annual report on Syria describes the situation somewhat differently. It recounts that Syrian security forces “continue to use torture frequently” and describes in gruesome detail exactly which body parts Assad’s henchmen routinely mutilate, and how.

Undaunted, Syria’s pledge continues: “Syria believes that its membership on the Human Rights Council would contribute towards enriching the quality of dialogue…aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights for all peoples.” What this means is a bit of a mystery. But perhaps this example of Syrian dialogue, from a June 8, 2010 speech at the Council, might be what the Assad regime has in mind. “This is a state that is built on hatred,” a Syrian diplomat told the Council. “Let me quote a song that children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school and I quote ‘with my teeth I will rip your flesh with my mouth I will suck your blood.’”

Syria’s pledge is accurate on one count, though. It says: “Syria believes that its membership…would contribute to accomplish the objectives of the Council.”  Since the Council systematically demonizes Israel – the Council has adopted the same number of resolutions and decisions condemning Israel as the rest of the 191 UN countries combined – Syria’s assistance is assured.

The pledge is expected to guarantee Syria a seat on the Council because its candidacy is currently part of a fixed slate. To date, the Asian group of states have put forward exactly the same number of candidates as the spaces they have been allotted. The same gimmick by the African group last May succeeded in electing Libya, after Qaddafi pledged: “the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights principles.” 82 percent of the U.N. General Assembly thought that was good enough to welcome Libya aboard the U.N.’s idea of a human rights agency.

Why, then, does President Obama share Syrian and Libyan enthusiasm for the Council? This week’s announcement that his administration wants a second term was accompanied by a list of responses to this question, each more specious than the next.

The justifications include: “The Council took bold, assertive action to highlight Iran’s deteriorating human rights situation.” That “bold” step consisted of a resolution appointing one individual to “investigate” Iran’s human rights violations and report back to the Council a year from now.

Then the administration pointed to “efforts to renew the mandate of the independent expert tasked with monitoring human rights throughout Sudan.” It neglects to mention, however, that the mandate was renewed only after excising all criticism of the government of  Sudan from the Council resolution and substituting such praise as: “recognizing…the efforts of the government of the Sudan in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

The U.S. list also emphasizes the president’s “pivotal role” in suspending Libyan membership from the Council. This “success” (which should never have been necessary to begin with), somehow overlooks the fact that human rights paragons and Council members like Saudi Arabia and China remain comfortably in place.

Then there is the stunning misrepresentation of “a strong statement on LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] rights” from “a group of 85 countries,” that the Obama team heralds as a “landmark moment” for the U.N. Joined by less than half of U.N. members, a mere statement carries with it no practical consequences. And just two days later, the Council adopted a contrary resolution over the wishes of the same coalition. When the resolution on “traditional values of humankind” was passed, the American delegate specifically lamented that it “undermine[d]…the rights of…LGBT individuals.”

The administration even claims to have “end[ed] the divisive debate over the highly problematic concept of ‘defamation of religions.’” But the resolution ( by the UN Council on Human Rights  – Our Comment) on religion which was adopted specifically cites as a role model a “speech given by Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,” delivered on September 16, 2010. In that same speech, not only did Ihsanoglu refer to the defamation of religions, he declared that Islamic law trumps human rights. In his words: “the holy Quran…places a premium on human dignity — a concept that transcends human rights. Furthermore, a December 2010 resolution of the General Assembly necessitates that a report on the “defamation of religions” be completed by the fall. Making reports of its demise premature, to say the least.

Overall, U.S. membership on the Council has been so “successful” that, at its latest session, the U.S. lost eleven of the fourteen votes held.

Most significantly, the session marked the end of the Council’s own five-year review. The administration billed membership as the golden ticket for ensuring reform “from within.” As it turned out, every serious recommendation that the Obama administration put forward on reform (39 of 42) was firmly rejected, ensuring nothing but more of the same in the years ahead.

We are left with the troubling reality that both Assad and Obama are enchanted with the same U.N. Human Rights Council, to the detriment of human rights victims in Syria and around the world (writes Anne Bayefsky and she has made some points in which she discredited the whole UN system – really not just the Washington Administration. Where is the EU? Where are the African States? Where are all those despots that do or do not own oil wells? Those are Our Comments)

======================

Membership of the Human Rights Council

Officers of the Human Rights Council

President
H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow (Thailand) (Biography)

Vice President and Rapporteur
H.E. Madam Bente Angell-Hansen (Norway)

Vice Presidents
H.E. Mr. Arcanjo Maria Do Nascimento (Angola)
H.E. Mr. Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez (Cuba)
H.E. Mr. Fedor Rosocha (Slovakia)

Membership of the Human Rights Council 19 June 2010-18 June 2011

  • by regional groups
  • by yearCountry and year when current mandate ends.
    We noted in red countries where citizens are fighting now the government for their human rights. It seems to us that membership on the Council is tantamount to the perception of outside legitimization of the ongoing repression. That is the essence of beef that Anne Bayefsky holds against President Obama. The question is if he is better off fighting repression from inside the Council or deligitimizing the Council by staying out of it. We have no answer but we think that it is all of the UN system – its voting by regions – is what deserves deligitimization by countries that allow for democracy. It is the UN as such that does not reside in Hall of Democracy and that deserves attention five times every day.
Angola 2013
Argentina 2011
Bahrain 2011
Bangladesh 2012
Belgium 2012
Brazil 2011
Burkina Faso 2011
Cameroon 2012
Chile 2011
China 2012
Cuba 2012
Djibouti 2012
Ecuador 2013
France 2011
Gabon 2011
Ghana 2011
Guatemala 2013
Hungary 2012
Japan 2011
Jordan 2012
Kyrgyzstan 2012
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya * 2013
Malaysia 2013
Maldives 2013
Mauritania 2013
Mauritius 2012
Mexico 2012
Nigeria 2012
Norway 2012
Pakistan 2011
Poland 2013
Qatar 2013
Republic of Korea 2011
Republic of Moldova 2013
Russian Federation 2012
Saudi Arabia 2012
Senegal 2012
Slovakia 2011
Spain 2013
Switzerland 2013
Thailand 2013
Uganda 2013
Ukraine 2011
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2011
United States of America 2012
Uruguay 2012
Zambia 2011

________________________
* Libya – Suspended by General Assembly Resolution A/65/265 adopted on 1 March 2011.

======================================
The election of 15 members of the Human Rights Council will be held on 20 May 2011.

See List of candidates | List of current members

In accordance with paragraph 7 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 the Council shall consist of 47 Member States, which shall be elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the General Assembly.

The membership shall be based on equitable geographical distribution, and seats shall be distributed as follows among regional groups:

  • Group of African States (13)
  • Group of Asian States (13)
  • Group of Eastern European States (6)
  • Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (8)
  • Group of Western European and other States (7)

The members of the Council shall serve for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.

Member States who have chosen to announce their candidacies in writing are listed below. Voluntary pledges that Member States have chosen to provide in support of their respective candidacies, in accordance with paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 60/251, are issued as General Assembly documents in all official languages.

List of candidates

Click on country name below for additional information on candidature.

African States
(4 vacant seats)
Asian States
(4 vacant seats)
Eastern European States
(2 vacant seats)
Latin American & Caribbean States
(3 vacant seats)
Western European & other States
(2 vacant seats)
Benin India
[A/65/758]
Czech Republic
[A/65/757]
Chile
[A/65/730]
Austria
[A/65/781]
Botswana [A/65/732] Indonesia Georgia Costa Rica Italy
[A/65/733]
Burkina Faso Philippines
[A/65/790]
Romania
[A/65/794]
Nicaragua  
Congo
[A/65/787]
Syrian Arab Republic
[A/65/784]
  Peru  

====================================

List of current members

Members outlined in bold will retire on 18 June 2011.

African States Asian States Eastern European States Latin American &
Caribbean States 
Western European
& other States
Angola 2013 Bahrain 2011 Hungary 2012 Argentina 2011 Belgium 2012
Burkina Faso 2011 Bangladesh 2012 Poland 2013 Brazil 2011 France 2011
Cameroon 2012 China 2012 Republic of Moldova 2013 Chile 2011 Norway 2012
Djibouti 2012 Japan 2011 Russian Federation 2012 Cuba 2012 Spain 2013
Gabon 2011 Jordan 2012 Slovakia 2011 Ecuador 2013 Switzerland 2013
Ghana 2011 Kyrgyzstan 2012 Ukraine 2011 Guatemala 2013 United Kingdom 2011
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 2013 Malaysia 2013   Mexico 2012 United States 2012
Mauritania 2013 Maldives 2013   Uruguay 2012  
Mauritius 2012 Pakistan 2011      
Nigeria 2012 Qatar 2013      
Senegal 2012 Repulic of Korea 2011      
Uganda 2013 Saudi Arabia
2012
     
Zambia 2011 Thailand 2013      

===================================

Austria is a candidate for the Council on the Europe and “Other States – like the US” UN ticket. We find thus quite interesting that the Salzburg Festival 2011 has cancelled the opening speech by Swiss Diplomat Jean Ziegler who represented the worst of the UN Human Rights Council. His replacement by the musical genius Daniel Barenboim is really not just an accnowledgement of his musical tallents, but also of his humanitarian activities that outshine everything that the Council was intended to be.We hope that those interested to find out more about this will follow our links. Just see some points in the remnant of this posting – please:

“UN Watch has assembled a cross-regional coalition of 45 human rights groups who will be officially demanding that the U.N. Human Rights Council fire its long-time official, ” said Neuer. “Tragically, Ziegler is not a bureaucratic anomaly or a tolerated annoyance at the council — he is the product and embodiment of a distinct political culture, where abusers like China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia get to judge others on human rights, and where murderers like Syria’s Assad get a free pass.”

Victory: Salzburg Festival cancels on U.N. rights official Jean Ziegler over Qaddafi ties.

Opening Speech and Concert of the Salzburg Festival

Barenboim will deliver the opening speech of the Salzburg Festival this year on July 26th. Previous opening speakers have included George Steiner, Václav Havel, Christoph Ransmayr, and most recently Daniel Kehlmann in 2009. On the same evening, Barenboim will conduct and perform with the Vienna Philharmonic in a program that includes Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, Boulez’s Notations, and Bruckner’s Te Deum. Click here for exact program details.

please see also: www.danielbarenboim.com/index.php?id=9

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nuclear power no solution.

By BRAHMA CHELLANEY
NEW DELHI — Just when nuclear energy had come to be seen as part of the solution to energy and global-warming challenges, the serial reactor incidents in Fukushima have dealt a severe blow to the world nuclear-power industry, a powerful cartel of less than a dozen major state-owned or state-guided firms.

Even before the Fukushima No. 1 plant become the site of the world’s worst accident since Chernobyl, the share of nuclear power in worldwide electricity production had been stagnant for a quarter-century. In fact, after being constant at 16 to 17 percent from 1986 to 2005, the contribution of nuclear power in global electricity actually has dropped to 14 percent since then.

International studies have shown that nuclear power, although a 50-year-old mature technology, has demonstrated the slowest “rate of learning” in comparison to other energy sources, including newer technologies such as wind power and combined-cycle gas turbines. Nuclear power remains highly capital-intensive. It has high up-front capital costs, long lead times for construction and commissioning, and drawn-out amortization periods that put off private investors.

The industry’s trumpeting of a global nuclear renaissance thus has been premature. But after Fukushima, the attraction of nuclear power is likely to dim worldwide. Inherently risky, water-intensive and vulnerable to natural disasters, nuclear-power plants will now face greater public scrutiny.

Many nuclear-power reactors are located along coastlines because they are highly water-intensive. Yet natural disasters like storms, hurricanes, and tsunami are becoming more common, owing to climate change, which will also cause a rise in ocean levels, making seaside reactors even more vulnerable.

For example, many nuclear-power plants located along the British coast are just a few meters above sea level. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused significant damage at the Turkey Point nuclear-power plant on Biscayne Bay, Florida, but, fortunately, not to any critical system.

All energy generators, including coal- and gas-fired plants, make major demands on water resources. But nuclear power requires even more. Light-water reactors (LWRs) like those in Japan and the United States, which use water as their main coolant, produce most of the world’s nuclear power. The huge quantities of local water that LWRs use for their operations become hot-water outflows, which are pumped back into rivers, lakes and oceans.

Because reactors located inland put serious strain on local freshwater resources — including greater damage to plant life and fish — water-stressed countries that are not landlocked try to find suitable seashore sites. But whether located inland or on a coast, nuclear power is vulnerable to the likely effects of climate change.

As global warming brings about a rise in temperatures and ocean levels, inland reactors will increasingly contribute to, and be affected by, water shortages. During the 2003 heat wave in France, operations at 17 nuclear reactors had to be scaled back or stopped because of rapidly rising temperatures in rivers and lake.

Paradoxically, the very conditions that made it impossible for the nuclear industry to deliver full power in Europe in 2003 and 2006 created peak demand for electricity, owing to the increased use of air conditioning.

Indeed, during the 2003 heat wave, Electricite de France, which operates 58 reactors — the majority on ecologically sensitive rivers like the Loire — was compelled to buy power on the European spot market. The state-owned EDF, which normally exports power, ended up paying 10 times the price of domestic power, incurring a financial cost of 300 million euro.

Similarly, water and heat problems caused by a heat wave in 2006 forced Germany, Spain, and France to take some nuclear power plants offline and reduce operations at others. Highlighting the vulnerability of nuclear power to environmental change or extreme-weather patterns, in 2006 plant operators in Western Europe also secured exemptions from environmental regulations so that they could discharge overheated water into natural ecosystems — an action that affected fisheries.

France likes to showcase its nuclear power industry, which supplies 78 percent of the country’s electricity. But such is the nuclear industry’s water intensity that EDF withdraws up to 19 billion cubic meters of water per year from rivers and lakes, or roughly half of France’s total freshwater consumption. Freshwater scarcity is a growing international challenge, and the vast majority of countries are in no position to approve of such highly water-intensive inland-based energy systems.

Seaside nuclear plants do not face similar problems in hot conditions because ocean waters do not heat up anywhere near as rapidly as rivers or lakes. And because they rely on seawater, they cause no freshwater scarcity. But as the Fukushima reactors have shown, coastal nuclear-power plants confront more serious dangers.

When the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck, it flooded India’s Madras Atomic Power Station. But the reactor core could be kept in a safe shutdown mode because the electrical systems had been installed on higher ground than the plant itself. But unlike Fukushima, the Indian plant did not bear the direct tsunami impact.

The central dilemma of nuclear power in an increasingly water-stressed world is that it is a water guzzler, yet vulnerable to water. And decades after Lewis L. Strauss, the chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Agency, claimed that nuclear power would become “too cheap to meter,” the nuclear industry still subsists on munificent government subsidies.

While the appeal of nuclear power has declined considerably in the West, it has grown among the so-called nuclear newcomers, which brings with it new proliferation and safety challenges. Moreover, with nearly two-fifths of the world’s population living within 100 km of a coastline, finding suitable seaside sites for initiation or expansion of a nuclear-power program is no longer easy.

Without a breakthrough in fusion energy or greater commercial advances in breeder (and thorium) reactors, nuclear power is in no position to lead the world out of the fossil-fuel age. In fact, Fukushima is likely to stunt the appeal of nuclear power in a way similar to the 1979 Three Mile Island accident and the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.

Brahma Chellaney is the author of “Nuclear Proliferation” (Longman, 1993) and “Water: Asia’s New Battlefield” (Georgetown University Press, forthcoming).

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JAPAN EARTHQUAKE.
The Financial Times – Japan: A shaken nation.
Japan faces its worst crisis since 1945 after a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast of the country, prompting a nuclear crisis.

A week of tragedy and tension | Shockwaves reverberate from mobiles to jewellery | Asia set to ride out quake’s economic shock | Nuclear power: Too hot to handle

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 18th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From Hiroshima 1945 to Fukushima 2011 – it is “Cukooshima!”

Let me start by saying that this posting is not an expression of any arrow shooting at Japanese that acted for all those years against their best interests. Yes – but sorry – it was Cukoo.

It all started with Japan believing it can stop US expansion in East Asia, and Japan picking the losing side in WWII. This led to the dropping of two nuclear bombs over Japan. Then Japan decided to compete with the US economy and went the way of nuclear energy for peaceful use. Now we see that this was as disastrous as their first encounter with nuclear technology – but this time by their own choice.

We love Japan. For one – I spent three weeks in Kyoto in 1997 with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting that gave birth to the failed Kyoto Protocol. At that time I got to know the Kyoto – Nara – Osaka triangle. But this was not my only encounter with the Japanese. In effect, with my family, we spent two weeks staying with Japanese in their homes thanks to the Ryokan hospitality system, and we exchanged our time-share at the Krystal Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a week at the Resorpia Hakone Japanese Business Class Resort at Hakone, at the foot of the Fiji Mountain. We got to know two different levels which sandwich the Japanese society.

With this said – let me add that I write now from Vienna and that the Austrian people have voted down the opening of an atomic plant as they understood the terrible danger of living with an atomic monster-plant in your backyard. Austria has not even one nuclear plant but gets part of its electricity from the European grid that includes nuclear plants. The Austrians are thus not clean of nuclear energy either – this unless they disengage from the European grid and run their own separate grid for which they have enough hydro-power to provide over 80% of electricity need and could easily supply the remaining part with biomass, biofuels, solar and wind energy. Clearly no real need for nuclear power and the possibility to achieve this without empty posturing based on the truth that once in the past they voted down the opening of the Zwentendorf nuclear plant.

—————————

The Donella Meadows Archive – Voice of a Global Citizen – wrote:
Zwentendorf, a Nuclear Plant That Will Never Be Turned on.

On the bank of the Danube 20 miles northwest of Vienna stands a
completed nuclear power plant, loaded with fuel, ready to start up. It
has stood there, just so, for 9 years, while the Austrians argue about
what to do with it. The most popular plan is to turn it into a museum
for obsolete technology.

The plant, called Zwentendorf, was intended to be the first of six
Austrian nuclear plants. It was begun in 1970 and completed in 1978 at
a cost of 8 billion Austrian schillings — at present value about a
billion dollars. It is rated at 700 megawatts, about two-thirds the
size of Seabrook and Shoreham, two American nuclear plants that are
also ready to go and hotly contested.

“When Zwentendorf began, we didn’t know anything,” an Austrian
environmentalist told me. “Nuclear power sounded better to us than a
coal plant or another hydropower dam on the Danube. If only we had
known then what we know now.”

They know now that two of the four German plants with the same design
as Zwentendorf have been shut down permanently by mechanical problems.
They know now that Zwentendorf is located squarely on an earthquake
fault zone. And during a Danube flood, water seeped into its
containment vessel, so now they know that the groundwater is not
protected from contamination in case of a meltdown.

Furthermore Austria, like every other country with nuclear power, has
no plan for the disposal of nuclear waste. The original idea had been
to bury it in deep granite under the Alps. But the villages at the
chosen site vehemently rejected this plan, and by Austrian law a
locality cannot be forced to accept such an imposition from the
federal government. The Austrians offered the waste to Hungary, Egypt,
and China, but all refused. The Shah of Iran was eager to have it, but
then he fell from power. The Ayatullah wasn’t interested.

By the time Zwentendorf was finished, so many doubts had been raised
that the government was forced to hold a referendum to decide whether
to start the plant. During the weeks preceding the vote, the argument
raged — the same one that polarizes every country that permits public
discussion of nuclear power. People were told they had to choose
between progress and safety, between jobs and the environment, between
present brownouts and future contamination. Bruno Kreisky, then
Chancellor, declared Zwentendorf a top priority and appealed for a yes
vote. Austrians still do not agree whether he caused more
anti-Zwentendorf pro-Kreisky people to vote yes than he did
pro-Zwentendorf anti-Kreisky people to vote no.

At any rate, on November 5, l978, 50.5% of the voters said no to
Zwentendorf. The Austrian nuclear power program came to a halt.

This is part of an article from The Donella Meadows Archive, for
further information please contact Sustainability Institute, 3 Linden
Road, Hartland, VT 05048

Today – that is in 2011 – the Zwentendorf  facility serves as a source
of spare parts for the five German atomic power plant of the same
design, and is used for training purposes. Visits are possible only in
exceptional cases.

————————-

Austrians understand the pain of Japan and the papers are full with articles and letters regarding the nuclear events unfolding in Japan.

The PolitikHeute page of the popular free-of-charge Vienna Heute daily, March 18, 2011, has two out of the three letters from readers, dealing with the EU “Stress Tests for EU Nuclear plants, or the EU and the Atomic Power Plants (the German word AKW):

H. Fruhwirth from Hoenbach reminds us that it is Austrian Environment Minister Nikolas Berlakovich who suggested the stress-tests for all EU AKWs and thinks that had one done so with the Fukushima plants perhaps they would have been stopped before disaster stroke. The mentioned stress tests have already led Germany to announce the non renewal of the operating licenses for as many as 12 plants – this to take effect in a month or two.

Further, the letter points out that politicians, and those that favor nuclear power, finally were driven by what happened in Japan to the realization that humanity is helpless before environmental inputs.

S. Hauer writes a short note asking why the EU deals with crooked bananas and crooked cucumbers, but has no decisions regarding the AKWs, airplane accidents, acts of terror, earth-quakes – even though it is clear that 100% safety does not exist?

On the following page there is an article titled ANSWERS, by Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.

The Cardinal announces  that tonight, Friday March 18th, 7 pm, he will hold at the Stephansdom (clearly most important Cathedral in Austria) – a special service for Japan.

The Cardinal writes that the Fukushima events made him think these last days of his friend, a Chemist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, Professor Max Thuerkauf, who lost his position at the university because of his criticism of the technological insufficiencies of our times and warned of dangers even of the peaceful uses of nuclear power.  His words sound prophetic these days.

Back in 1984 he was saying that the nuclear power plants were just the tip of an iceberg – the development of technologies that were unsustainable. No engine is safe he was saying to those that argued that nuclear power plants are safe. He was noting that men build them, and use them, and we know that even the impossible can happen.

Thuerkauf  said that atomic energy is a fire that cannot be extinguished – surely not by closing a faucet. There is no material that can extinguish a fire that burns a thousand time brighter then the sun – the artificially created radioactivity.  Science has no means to bottle up this artificially created radioactivity will be here for eternity,  and the Cardinal calls us to reconsider what we are doing and look at what price the poor Japanese will pay for these activities.

—————————-

But I cannot leave it at this only. I feel I must make a further comment regarding the Japanese culture that bred the reality of people committing harakiri for some National purpose. Obviously, we had no admiration for those that sacrificed themselves for their emperor and we do not admire a Prime Minister who makes now an official visit to the shrine that sort off deifies their memory, but look now at the 50 workers that still busy themselves in the pit left by the explosions at the dying reactors of Fukushima. These people know they have little chance to survive. The head of the Japanese nuclear authority did not go to inspect the disaster – right on location. He must have had years ofd good pay and it is those workers that will be his sacrificial lambs. He is no better then the US bank-directors that raked in the profits  from the financial collapse in the US or the BP officials who watched the fouling up of the US Gulf. Neigh – the Japanese energy leaders might actually prove to be much worse then these other self-gratifiers.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 13th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

From: Riki Mullu <riki.mullu@jewishfederations.org>
and Monica Wigan: fantaye2000@yahoo.com

Chassida Shmella Invites You to a Special Screening…Join us, and other sponsoring Jewish organizations, at the 15th NY Sephardic Film Festival at the American Sephardi Federation, 15 West 16th Street  on Tuesday, March 15th – 6:30 PM for a screening of:

 “I HAD A DREAM”
The extraordinary life story of Yona Bogale.

BOGALE, YONA (1908–1987), Ethiopian Jewish (*Beta Israel) personality. Bogale was born in 1908 (some sources say 1910 or 1911) in the village of Wolleqa northeast of the important Ethiopian city of Gondar. His father was a weaver, who also worked as a tenant farmer for a local Christian nobleman. In 1921 Jacques *Faitlovitch visited Ethiopia for the fourth time and spent several months in Wolleqa.
At the end of his stay he took Yona Bogale with him to study in Europe. Bogale studied two years at the Mizrachi Tahkemoni School in Jerusalem before continuing his education in Frankfurt,
Switzerland, and France. By the time he returned to Ethiopia he had learned to speak over half a dozen languages. Until the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1935/6 Bogale worked as a teacher in the “Falasha” school which had been established by Faitlovitch and Taamrat Emmanuel in Addis Ababa in 1923.
Following the end of the Fascist occupation in 1941 Yona worked for the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. He resigned in 1953 to devote himself to the Beta Israel community, and played a crucial role in the establishment and operation of the Jewish Agency’s schools in Ethiopia.
Following the closure of these schools Yona continued to work among his people and served as the major mediator for contact between Ethiopian and world Jewry. Perhaps the clearest reflection of his attempts to create a bridge between the two communities were his writings,
A “Falasha” Book of Jewish Festivals, an Amharic translation of portions of Pirke Avot, and a Hebrew-Amharic dictionary. Although generally treated by outsiders as the “leader” of the Beta Israel, within the community his position was ambiguous and he often came into conflict with other important community members. In 1979, Yona immigrated to Israel where he continued his activities on behalf of the Beta Israel.
Thhe film will be shown as part of the Sephardic American film festiva. For more information about the festival Click Here to go to the Official Film

Festival Website
NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.
American Sephardi Federation at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street
You indicate “Click Here to go to the Official Film Festival Website”, but nothing happens.
The image is beautiful. In addition to you and BINA, the New Israel Fund will also be participating. I think if the 3 organizations can respond to questions, that would be quite good.
www.americansephardifederation.org

For information about Chassida Smella go to www.Chassidashmella.org www.ethiopianjews.org
©2011 Chassida Shmella | 25 Broadway, Suite 1700 NY, NY, 10004-1010 Tel: 212-284-6532 email: riki.mullu@jewishfederations.org

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Reversal: UN Ousts Qaddafi from Human Rights Council
Latest from the United Nations
 Vol. 277  |  March 1, 2011         
Nine months after shamefully electing the Qaddafi regime to its Human Rights Council, the UN today reversed itself and suspended Libya’s membership. Click here for details.       

From the moment the Libyan regime declared its candidacy last year, UN Watch initiated the opposition to Qaddafi sitting as a world judge of human rights. Click here for chronology of UN Watch’s tireless campaign.

In September, when the Libyan regime took its seat, UN Watch launched a campaign demanding Libya’s suspension from the Geneva-based Council, becoming the first voice to do so. We were supported by 27 human rights groups, a number that surpassed 80 in our renewed NGO appeal of nine days ago.

Most powerfully, to support the campaign, victims and relatives of victims showed great courage in accepting UN Watch’s invitation to challenge the Libyan regime at the council and confront their oppressor. On this day, UN Watch pays tribute to these victims — and the partner organizations which signed our appeals —  by reprinting the September briefing below. The victim testimonies are worth hearing. Tragically, the UN refused to heed their pleas, until the mass killings of last week became unbearable.

Yesterday we shared these quotes from the media’s global coverage of UN Watch’s campaign. Today, UN Watch analysis was again featured at length in the Wall Street JournalFOX News, the Malaysia Sun, Canada’s National Post, and the blog of Commentary Magazine. Minutes ago, the Vancouver Sun reported: 

 

“The election of Libya to the world’s top human rights body last May was a shameful act that bolstered Gadhafi’s regime, demoralized his victims, and stained the reputation of the United Nations,” said Montrealer Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, which has led a campaign by international activist groups to remove Libya from the council. 

 

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Geneva, September 16, 2010  for the record 

Only days after Libya took its seat for the first time as a newly elected member of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, UN Watch today launched a global campaign to remove it, bringing some of the world’s most well-known victims of Libyan crimes to testify before the assembly of country representatives.

Bulgarian nurse Kristyana Valchyeva (click for video) and Palestinian doctor Ashraf El Hagoug (click for video) took the floor to speak about their suffering as medical workers in Libya who were framed, imprisoned and tortured over false charges of infecting 400 children with HIV.

Speaking on behalf of Freedom House and UN Watch, the two were repeatedly interrupted by the Libyan delegate, who attempted to stop their testimony by making vociferous objections which were then echoed by speakers from Iran, China, Cuba and Venezuela.

However, the United States representative rallied to the defense of UN Watch’s witnesses, insisting on their right to speak freely, as did Belgium for the European Union, Britain, and Ireland.

As a result, amid heated exchanges between the repressive regimes and the democratic alliance, the president of the council, Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand, eventually allowed UN Watch’s invited victims to complete their testimony.

In addition, UN Watch today organized a press conference and a NGO panel, featuring the two torture victims together with Bob Monetti of the Pan Am 103 Victims Association (click for video), and Mohamed El Jahmi (click for video), brother of the late Libyan dissident Fathi El Jahmi — both of whom are scheduled to testify tomorrow before the plenary.

At the events, UN Watch released the appeal signed by 27 NGOs. The campaign invokes Article 8 of the council charter allowing for suspension of member states that commit systematic violations of human rights.

From today’s protest campaign:

  • Joint Appeal to Remove Libya Signed by 27 NGOs
    “The election of the Libyan Arab Jamahariya to the UN Human Rights Council is an outrage to the global human rights community. Given its notorious record as one of the world’s worst violators of human rights, the Qaddafi regime’s membership on the Council flies in the face of the United Nations’ promise, enshrined in Resolution 60/251 (2006), to elect member states that are committed to the promotion and protection of human rights.” Read more

 

  • Voice of America Reports on UN Watch Campaign
    “An overwhelming majority of U.N. member states elected Libya to the 47-member Council in May. U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer calls this an outrage. He says it sends the wrong message to what he calls the victims of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.”  Read more

 

 

 

  • Palestinian Doctor Challenges Council on Including Libya
    “Our trials were seriously flawed. The confessions obtained by torture were used and admitted in court against us. Evidence by experts on HIV was disregarded by the Libyan courts. Mr. President, in the name of universal human rights, how can Libya be elected a member of the Human Rights Council?”  Read more

 

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Effort Launched to Remove Libya from UN Human Rights Council

Voice of America
By Lisa Schlein, Geneva
16 September 2010

A global coalition of human rights groups is launching a campaign to remove Libya from the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council. 

A coalition of 27 non-government human rights groups, joined by victims of Libyan human rights violations, are protesting the membership of what they call one of the world’s worst human rights violators in the U.N. body that is supposed to uphold and protect the rights of people around the world.

Human rights observers agree with Palestinian physician Ashraf El Hajouj who says that he and five Bulgarian nurses were framed, imprisoned and tortured in Libya for almost nine years on false charges of poisoning children with HIV. “Actually, we are the victims, the hidden victims of the Pan Am 103 [bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988] because the two cases – the HIV case and the Pan Am case – were going in the parallel way and almost all the politicians, they were denying this connection,” El Hajouj said.

El Hajouj questions the real motive behind the release of the Lockerbie bomber from prison last year on compassionate grounds. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was freed because he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and given three months to live. He now resides in Libya.

Lockerbie Victims Association member Bob Monetti also questions al-Megrahi’s early release. His 20-year-old son, Rick, was one of 270 people killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. 

He says he knows al-Megrahi did not act alone, but that his guilt was proven and his conviction was correct. 

“In 2003, Libya finally accepted responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103 and a letter was sent to the United Nations. Hearing that Libya was responsible for the bombing and knowing that at least one murderer was in jail in Scotland gave some consolation and some sort of closure to the victims. The compassionate release last year by the Scots and the circus that followed ended that with a thud,” Monetti said.

The groups campaigning to oust Libya from the U.N. Human Rights Council are angry that the United Nations has given no official reaction to the release of the Lockerbie bomber. 

An overwhelming majority of U.N. member states elected Libya to the 47-member Council in May.

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer calls this an outrage. He says it sends the wrong message to what he calls the victims of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“Number one, we refuse to accept this result and number two, the procedure allows it,” Neuer said. “The procedure says Article 8 of the Resolution of 2006 that governs the Human Rights Council provides that a country that systematically violates human rights can be suspended.”

Two-thirds of the 47 members on the council need to vote to remove Libya from the forum. Neuer says this is unlikely to happen. Nevertheless, he says the campaign will continue. 

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But Qaddafi is not out yet – his backing at home and lack of resolve by other governments may keep him going for a while.

www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/world/africa/02tribes.html?_r=1&hp=&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

Even a Weakened Qaddafi May Be Hard to Dislodge.
By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: March 1, 2011t – The New York Times. 

PARIS — The regime of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, has been badly undermined, but he retains enough support among critical tribes and institutions, including parts of the army and the air force, that he might be able to retain power in the capital, Tripoli, for some time to come, say experts on Libya and its military.

 

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