Quaccheri e cristiani non evangelici senza chiesa

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from Italy

Il Signore passò davanti a lui, e gridò:
“Il Signore! Il Signore!
Il Dio misericordioso e pietoso,
lento all’ira,
ricco di bontà e fedeltà,
che conserva la sua bontà fino alla millesima generazione,
che perdona l’iniquità, la trasgressione e il peccato,
ma non terrà il colpevole per innnocente;
che punisce l’iniquità dei padri sopra i figli e sopra i figli dei figli, fino alla terza e alla quarta generazione!”
(Es. 34, 6-7)

PS: Puoi donare per confermare i domini di 6 nostri siti e le due pec. Non abbiamo fondi 8 per mille come gli altri o contributi pubblici come i cattolici e valdesi (anche per le scelte indirette! Un vero scandalo dei protestanti e cattolici).

Aiutaci con un bonifico bancario dunque

Ecco IBAN di Maurizio Benazzi, animatore blogger CRISTIANO senza chiesa IN ITALIA e NORD AMERICA,:
IT 22W0305801604100571954856 di Che Banca!

For Europa as Sepa system: MICSITM1 (XXX optional only if request)

For USA and World (except Europe): MICSITM3 (XXX optional only if request)

Info point – Telefono/fax 0039 0331 641844 o 392/1943729 anche Whatsapp
Indirizzo postale: via Luigi Tovo 3, I 21057 OLGIATE OLONA VA
skype maurizio.benazzi email maurizio_benazzi@libero.it

06.03.2021 – Kester Kenn Klomegah

China Delivers on its Vaccine Pledges in Africa
African countries engaging in ground-breaking COVID-19 vaccine initiative (Image by WHO)

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

China and Africa have long decades of interaction. The relationship has changed over the years and Chinese outreach to Africa has often been viewed with deep appreciation, especially helping to overcome development challenges.

As expectedly, China appears moving steadily to deliver on its pledge by offering manufactured vaccines aim at eradicating the coronavirus in Africa. Simultaneously, China is strengthening its health diplomacy with Africa, and experts describe it as an additional step towards deepening further its geopolitical and economic influence in the continent.

Undoubtedly, the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines are increasingly becoming popular among African countries. Deliveries have already been made in Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Chinese Foreign Ministry has indicated that China would help 19 African countries as part of its commitment to making vaccines global public goods. Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said on February 22 that China would also support enterprises to export Covid-19 vaccines to African nations that urgently need, recognize, and have authorized the emergency use of Chinese vaccines.

The aid is a clear manifestation of the China-Africa traditional friendship, Wang Wenbin said, adding assertively “China will continue to provide support and assistance within its capacity and in accordance with the needs of Africa.” Further to that, China welcomes and supports France and other European and American nations in providing vaccines to help Africa fight the pandemic.

In the Maghreb region for instance, Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with more than 100 million, has prepared 40 vaccination points and plans to increase that number after the arrival of more vaccine batches, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said early March.

Egypt has received 350,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) in two batches since December, in addition to 50,000 doses of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in February.

On Feb. 24, the Egyptian Drug Authority approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use. Egypt’s Prime Speed Medical Services said it had obtained the right to provide Sputnik V in Egypt in a statement to the stock exchange, without giving details.

In West African region, Sierra Leone became the latest African country to receive 200,000 coronavirus vaccine donation, and 201,600 pieces of disposable needles and syringes from the Chinese government. According to reports, the consignment arrived at the Lungi Airport on February 25, and was received by a high-powered government delegation.

Down in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe will buy an additional 1.2 million vaccine doses from China at a preferential price, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman said, after Beijing agreed to give more free doses to the southern African country. Zimbabwe has already begun vaccinations after receiving a donation of 200,000 doses from the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

Chinese Ambassador Guo Shaochun said in a statement that his country had decided to double its donation of vaccines to 400,000 as part of its “solidarity and action” with Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba said the government, which had already bought 600,000 doses from Sinopharm and would increase its purchases from China. “Zimbabwe is also procuring more vaccines from China at a preferential price. Zimbabwe is set to purchase another 1.2 million doses from China,” Charamba wrote on Twitter.

It targets 10 million vaccinations as the country has been hit with increasing infections. More than two thirds of Zimbabwe’s 35,910 coronavirus infections and 1,448 deaths have been recorded this year, according to a Reuters tally.

Separately, on February 24, neighboring Mozambique also received 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China. The delivery of the first consignment, ferried to Mozambique by an aircraft of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, was witnessed by Prime Minister, Carlos Agostinho do Rosário, Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, Chinese Ambassador Wang Hejun and other senior government officials.

Speaking at the delivery ceremony, held at the Maputo Air Base, Agostinho do Rosario thanked the government and the people of China for the donation of the first batch consists of 200,000 doses and the same number of syringes. “The swift delivery of the vaccine mirrors the determination and commitment of the leaders of both countries to ensure the well-being of the Mozambican people,” the Prime Minister said, stressing that the government has adopted a vaccination strategy that attaches priority to high risk groups particularly health professionals on the front-line of the fight against Covid-19.

Chinese Ambassador Wang Hejun, however pledged to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in the health field and reaffirmed his country’s openness to assist Mozambique in acquiring more vaccines.

He said the Mozambican health system is currently under increasing pressure, but believed the first batch of the vaccine will certainly make an enormous difference. The vaccines are currently available from two Chinese companies, Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech. The vaccine that arrived in Maputo was from Sinopharm. A major advantage of the Sinopharm vaccine is that it does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures. It can be kept at normal refrigeration temperatures of two to eight degrees Celsius.

Indeed, Indians are also speeding with donations to the African continent. The Indian government has promised to send Mozambique 100,000 doses of the vaccine developed by the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Still in the southern Africa, Namibian officials said Beijing would donate 100,000 doses vaccine while India promised a donation of 30,000 shots to Windhoek.

In order to sustain relations and as part of a “bilateral cooperation” efforts, Portugal plans to donate 5% its excess to a group of Portuguese-speaking African countries. With a population of just over 10 million people, Portugal is entitled to 35 million vaccine doses this year under an EU-coordinated purchasing scheme, mostly for double-dose inoculation, leaving it with millions of extra shots.

The 5% share would make up 1.75 million doses. The group of countries is comprised of Portugal’s former African colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Besides getting vaccines through the African Union, a number of African countries by bilateral agreements will purchase vaccines directly from China, Russia and India. For example, five (5) African countries (Algeria, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea and Tunisia) have registered the Sputnik V, which was developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.

The African Union and Africa CDC have joined efforts for the ongoing vaccine readiness work through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team. The AU has secured vaccines through the COVAX facility for Africa. WHO has listed three (3) vaccines for emergency use, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out through COVAX. The Group of Seven (7) leaders have committed US$4.3 billion to fund the equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. European Union has also contributed an additional 500 million euros to COVAX.

The COVAX vaccine facility – which pools financial resources and spreads its bets across vaccine candidates – has handed over the first of 337 million doses it has allocated to around 130 countriesfor the first half of the year. COVAX receives around 90 percent of its funds from G-7 countries and the EU, but none from China, India or Russia.

By March 2, as reported by the GhanaWeb, the number of African countries to have received vaccine doses are the following:

  • South Africa – Johnson and Johnson (J&J)
  • Rwanda – Pfizer and Moderna (reportedly)
  • Egypt – Sinopharm
  • Morocco – AstraZeneca/Sinopharm
  • Seychelles – AstraZeneca/Sinopharm
  • Mauritius – AstraZeneca
  • Algeria – Sputnik V
  • Zimbabwe – Sinopharm
  • Sierra Leone – Sinopharm
  • Equatorial Guinea – Sinopharm
  • Senegal – Sinopharm
  • Ghana – AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India (COVAX)
  • Ivory Coast – AstraZeneca (COVAX)
  • Nigeria – AstraZeneca (COVAX)
  • Guinea – Sputnik V (Experimental basis)
  • Mozambique – Sinopharm.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization has acknowledged that the pandemic has struck at a time of rapid transformation for Africa. “We cannot and must not see health as a cost to be contained. Quite the opposite: health is an investment to be nurtured – an investment in productive population, and in sustainable and inclusive development,” he explained.

According to Adhanom Ghebreyesus, it takes a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, and added that “many African countries have low levels of coverage of health services, and when health is at risk, everything is at risk.”

Since April last year, World Health Organization and its partners have been working through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator for the equitable distribution of vaccines as global public goods. As already known, so far around 200 million doses of vaccine have been administered, but unfortunately most of them in the world’s richest countries.

WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in March 2020. Since then, more than 110 million cases have now been reported to this organization, and almost 2.5 million people have lost their lives. The overall number of Covid-19 cases in Africa currently stands more than 3.8 million late February, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa.

06.03.2021 – RT

France calls up 4,400 officers to enforce 6pm curfew in Paris amid rising Covid-19 infections and compliance concerns
Champs Elysees from the Arch (Image by ASaber91/Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0))

The French authorities have vowed to increase their presence on the streets this weekend as France struggles to enforce a 6pm-6am curfew amid soaring Covid-19 infections across the country and in the capital.

“If the police find groups of people in which respect for social distancing cannot be guaranteed, in particular on the banks of the Seine and in public parks and gardens, they are instructed to proceed with their evacuation,” the Paris police department confirmed on Friday, as it announced the mobilization of 4,400 officers this weekend.

The police also urged people to ensure they reduce their social contacts to a maximum of six people and avoid any travel outside the Paris metropolitan area in order to prevent spreading the virus to other regions.

“If, during gathering in public places, it is found that the sanitary measures in force are not respected, people will be dispersed immediately,” the statement adds.

Since mid-January, the country has been under a nighttime curfew running from 6pm until 6am. However, its effectiveness has been called into question in recent weeks with 23 regions of France placed under “reinforced surveillance” over a rise in Covid-19 infection rates. Stricter measures have been brought in at weekends for Nice and Dunkirk already and will be imposed in the northern area of Pas-de-Calais as of Saturday.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex backtracked on proposed plans for a weekend shutdown of the capital and other major towns, while the Paris deputy mayor has requested a three-week circuit-breaker lockdown to stem the spread of the virus, followed by a rapid reopening of businesses.

Despite calls for tough new measures in the capital, Paris will only see relatively minor additional restrictions, including the closure of non-food stores and shopping centers greater than 10,000m².

On Thursday, a group of protesters took over Paris’ Odeon Theater as part of a series national demonstrations against the continued closure of cultural venues. As many as 80 people made their way into the 18th century building.

In recent weeks, media reports have shown crowds of people enjoying good weather in the capital, many maskless and flouting bans on social distancing.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

05.03.2021 – Still I Rise

This post is also available in: ItalianGreek

Women’s day: equality starts at the school desk
Dance lesson in Kenya (Image by Still I Rise)

Worldwide, only 27% of refugee girls receive secondary education, but it is through the education of women that all of society can improve. Learn about Still I Rise’s strategy for women’s inclusion and empowerment.

Every 8th of March we talk about women’s rights, yet in 2021 education is still a dream for some 132 million girls around the world. The situation is even more serious when we focus on the refugee population: the Covid-19 crisis has worsened an already dramatic picture. It is estimated that 48% of refugee children in the world – even in the pre-pandemic era – had no access to education. There is a significant gap between primary and secondary education. While primary education is attended by 77% of refugee children, secondary education is attended by only 36% of boys and 27% of girls. And now, as soon as the various lockdowns are over, half of these adolescent girls may never return to school (UNHCR data, 2020).

ENSURING EQUALITY STARTING IN SCHOOL

«We don’t need anything more than what should already be ‘average’ or normal,  in order to build a better world today», says Michele Senici, Education Director at Still I Rise. «In the classrooms of all our schools around the world, we bring high quality education regardless of gender. By ensuring that 50% of our students are girls, and through targeted activities, we fight discrimination. Our aim is a world where every girl child is treated with justice and respect».

This non-profit organization has provided education and protection of refugee children since 2018, through active operations in Greece, Turkey, Syria and Kenya. Special attention is given to girls and young women’s needs and requests. In order to do that, Still I Rise creates spaces for listening and interaction where they can feel free and welcomed. «Every week we dedicate an exclusive club to girls, where they can seek answers to their questions and doubts, without feeling judged or hurt. There are countless books that we offer to acknowledge the women who have built and changed the world».

Girl student in north-west Syria

Girl student in Samos, Greece

Students in Kenya

Teacher and student in Kenya

An important part of the lessons covers hygiene and sex education, as well as women’s rights and the importance of consent. In this way, each girl becomes aware of her fundamental rights, and is encouraged to seek help if her voice is not heard. In each class, two representatives, one male and one female, are elected. They are responsible for communicating to the staff any doubts, problems or proposals to improve the school and its activities, together.

«The girls also have a Child Protection Officer with whom they can have sessions and be supported emotionally and otherwise», adds Racheal Wanjiru, principal at Still I Rise International School in Kenya. «In each of our school programmes, we aim to empower girls so that they gain more confidence in themselves and their abilities. Female teachers make up 80 percent of the staff at our school in Nairobi, and we take them as a role model. The message we try to convey is that, through study, every girl can have her own job and be empowered to become whatever she dreams of».

THE CAUSES OF THE PHENOMENON IN THE WORLD

Povertychild marriage and gender-based violence – such as female genital mutilation- are among the most common causes of girls dropping out or not entering school worldwide. Other causes include the tendency to favour boys in accessing education and school facilities seemingly incapable of responding effectively to the specific hygiene and protection needs of girls.

Yet investing in girls’ education is more urgent and crucial than ever. According to a World Bank study (2018), women with a secondary education are more likely to earn more and also to have a better quality of life for themselves and for their communities. In this way, there are improvements in social capital, independence, general health and well-being, as well as a decrease in early marriage and pregnancy.

In addition, other research shows that every additional year of education received by a woman can reduce the chance of infant mortality by 5-10%. Education saves lives and is the first fundamental step towards truly equal human rights.

Watch the video:

The struggle of Nahid, 14-year-old girl, for the right to education of girls and young women 

Further information:

Vanessa Cappella

Press Office & PR Manager

media@stillirisengo.org

05.03.2021 – Paris – Inter Press Service

International Women’s Day, 2021 #MarchWithUs: 5 Activists on Dismantling “Gender Lies”
Protest for women’s rights in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Image by Sanjog Manandhar)

Today, despite centuries of activism and mobilisations, women and non-binary people continue to remain disadvantaged in almost every sphere – from “public life” to the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence.

In light of COVID-19, some struggles have been considered in theory, but most continue to be ignored in practice. How can we dismantle the “gender lies” perpetuating in the 21st century? How do we start taking into account the diverse experiences of women, without excluding black and indigenous voices on the basis of power and privilege?

Afghanistan, Nepal, Bolivia, Mexico and Uganda: five activists tell us how they transform the ways their communities think and act around gender.

Afghanistan: rap music to save child brides

Sonita Alizadeh, is a survivor of two attempts at forced marriage, and now a rapper and activist fighting for the liberation of women against forced marriage. Born in Herat, Afghanistan, under the Taliban regime, she grew up in Iran, as a refugee with her family. At 10 years old, she narrowly escaped a forced marriage. Her family again tried to sell her when she was sixteen, she escaped. Afghanistan has the 20th highest number of women married before the age of 18 in the world, with 28% of Afghan girls married off as minors, according to Girls Not Brides.

My mother was a child bride, and she did not meet her husband until their wedding day. By marrying me off at a young age, she was simply repeating the cycle. This tradition makes me want to raise awareness of this harmful issue with the help of millions of others around the world through my music,” says Sonita in an interview with Forus.

Witnessing her friends swiftly disappearing as they were forced to marry, Sonita wrote the song “Daughters for Sale”, which kick-started her work as a human rights activists and rapper.

Music touches people in a way words cannot – it is deeper and more emotional. People listen to music and young people pay attention to the lyrics. Music can be a powerful way to hear important messages. That is why I always rap about things that need to change in the world, or ideas that young people need to hear, to dream big.”

Today, Sonita uses her tracks and success to give young girls self-confidence. She sings to tell: “Hold this hope in your heads and your hearts. Hold this hope for the future. Never give up.”

Nepal: Fighting “period poverty”.

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets and to social media, calling on their governments to end the perpetuating cycle of widespread sexual violence against women and children.

In Nepal, hundreds of activists returned to the streets after a 17-year-old girl was raped and strangled to death. Some protesters wore black over their eyes to symbolize public authorities closing their eyes to sexual violence. Activists say that although the country’s constitution guarantees equal rights to women, there is a clear disjunction between theory and practice.

“How do we make sure that there is no gap between law and social progress?” asks Jesselina Rana, a human rights lawyer, co-founder with engineer Shubhangi Rana of Pad2Go, a social enterprise focusing on menstrual health and the taboos surrounding it.

It is estimated that around 83 percent of menstruating individuals face some form of restriction or exclusion during their menstrual cycle in Nepal.

“From a very young age, menstruating individuals are made to believe that their menstrual cycle makes them impure, and it can only be talked about behind closed doors,” Jesselina explains.

With Pad2Go, Jesselina distributed over 80 sanitary napkin vending machines across Nepal. She collaborates with pad manufacturers, to provide pads at less than market rate in order to ensure affordability. She also organises discussions with both men and women to normalise conversations around menstruations.

“Nepal being a patriarchal society, men engagement is crucial to overcome social issues faced by women. Socially we need to get men into those spaces of conversation, at a young age, to make sure that everyone is part of the discussion to end the toxic cycle of gender discrimination.”

Protest in Mexico. Credit: Melanie Isahmar Torres Melo

Bolivia, Mexico: “Ni Una Menos”

Cradled in the “machismo culture”, Bolivia has one of the highest domestic violence rates against women in South America. The annual average of 110 femicides in the past 7 years persists, despite a 2013 law establishing measures to prevent and prosecute gender-based violence.

During the lockdown the slogan “Stay at Home” was widely promoted across Bolivia, yet for many women and girls victims of violence, that actually meant a very dangerous “Cállate en casa” (shut up at home), explains Iris Baptista from Red Unitas, a platform funded in 1976 that reunites 22 NGOs in Bolivia.

“Red Unitas created the campaign “SIN VIOLENCIA ES MEJOR” (Better Without Violence), to raise awareness of the fact that women are doing most of the work during the pandemic, to fulfil their role as mothers, wives and workers, yet they continue to face violence at home,” Iris explains.

But, violence against women and femicides are not just common in Bolivia—they are prevalent throughout the region. Global data is difficult to gather due to differences in reporting standards, however, the 2016 report, “A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths” founds that fourteen of the twenty-five countries with the highest femicide rates are Latin American.

Defined as “a pandemic within the pandemic”, gender-based violence has spiked since COVID-19 broke out. Writer Lynn Marie Stephen believes that laws and initiatives to protect women, “fail to indict the broader systems that perpetuate these problems, like social, racial, and economic inequalities, family relationships and social mores”.

“It’s not that there was less violence against women in the past, it’s just that it wasn’t made as visible as it is today,” says Melanie Isahmar Torres Melo, a photojournalist covering women issues in Puebla, Mexico.

Every day, 10 women are killed in Mexico. The number of femicides has increased by 137% in the past five years and reached its highest monthly rates in 2020. Despite this number, only 5% of all crimes committed in Mexico are punished. This dichotomy between numbers is often the result of a “single crime” vision, rather than a sociological phenomenon, linked to the idea of patriarchy and sexism.

“Most perpetuators are never caught; this has triggered ‘social anger’ around the issue of feminicides in Mexico. There is no respect for victims, they are blamed for being killed. New movements are rising led by different collectives and civil society organisations. People are taking to the streets and shouting “Ni Una Menos” no woman should be killed,” says Mela.

Uganda – creating an enabling environment for civil society

I was arrested and shamed for leaked nudes”, model and activist Judith Heard explains. When nude pictures of her were published without her consent in 2018, she was widely criticized and was arrested under the Anti-Pornography Act. Her situation is far from unique, a survey conducted in 2016 found that 50% of Ugandan women aged between 15 and 49 has experienced violence by an intimate partner. As a result, in February 2019, Heard launched Day One Global, an advocacy organisation that seeks to curb sexual harassment and rape.

From Marion Kirabo who led a women’s protest against rising tuition fees, to Rosebell Kagumire, editor of the African Feminism digital platform opening “discussion and dialogue on feminist issues throughout the continent”, activists and “gender advocates” in Uganda, are creating innovative forms of “transnational feminism” both online and offline.

Yet, a recent report by Forus International, shows that only 1% of gender equality funding is going to women’s organizations worldwide, and that promoters of gender equality need increased protection. Even more worryingly, attacks on women organisations and civil society more generally, have been reinforced by the current COVID-19 crisis.

Overall, organizations that engage in monitoring the state’s conduct and advocate for human rights, anti-corruption, accountability, and democratic governance are experiencing growing obstacles. One of the most recent examples is the Uganda Communications Commission Guidelines for everyone posting content online, including bloggers and online news platforms, which aims to control people’s freedom of speech.

“While the Ugandan government welcomes the social services many civil society organizations provide, at the same time it feels threatened by the possibility of political mobilization and empowerment of the population that come with self-organized practices; needless to say, such threats to the government’s grip on power yield conflicts between the state and civil society actors,” according to the Uganda National NGO Forum, an umbrella organization with more than 650 member NGOs across the country.

#MarchWithUs

Despite the considerable progress, more than half of the world’s girls and women—as many as 2.1 billion people—live in countries that are not on track to reach key gender equality-related targets by 2030.

However, a new survey from Focus 2030 and Women Deliver, covering 17 countries on six continents—reveals that citizens are eager for sustained and strengthened political and financial investments to accelerate progress towards gender equality. In particular, the global public supports the need for women to play a role in all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic response, with 82% of survey respondents on average saying they believe women should be involved in the response at all levels.

To build a recovery plan and a roadmap for the future, a gender lens must be applied. With the digital campaign #MarchWithUs, Forus is taking a full month to reflect on the voices of women and non-binary activists who are on the frontline of social change. It is time to act to turn “gender lies” into gender promises.

By Bibbi Abruzzini, Pénélope Hubert and Yohan Cambet – The authors are members of Forus Communication team.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

See you to 6 March

Venezuela strengthens gender violence law

02.03.2021 – US, United States – Codepink

Jodie Foster said …
Tahar RahimJodie and Foster in “The Mauritanian.” (Image by Graham Bartholomew/STX Films)

Tuesday night at the Golden Globes the Best Actress award went to Jodie Foster. She used the opportunity to talk about the importance of the film The Mauritanian, in which she plays attorney Nancy Hollander, and to raise up the beauty of Mohamedou Slahi. She was able to talk about how he had been a teacher of being loving and forgiving. So we must seize this moment to yet again call for GITMO to be closed!

The Mauritanian comes out today on demand and we invite you to join us and the community that has stood outside the White House in orange jumpsuits for 19 years for a Q&A with Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was unjustly imprisoned at GITMO for fourteen years, and Nancy Hollander, his attorney who uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy (she is the one Jodie Foster plays).

We will gather on zoom March 6th at 12 PM PT / 3 PM ET,  for an introduction of the film by Shailene Woodley (who plays Nancy Hollander’s associate) and CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou. Following the film will be the Q&A. RSVP here to join us– the first 100 to rsvp will get a free ticket to the film.

Forty men remain in Guantánamo today. They are all Muslim. Most have never even been charged with crimes. Six have been cleared to leave, yet the government has made no efforts to transfer them out of the prison. The military commissions have barely moved forward: they are still unfair, and deny detainees fair-trial rights. Tell Biden he must put an end to this symbol of injustice, torture, and indefinite detention – once and for all and ask your friends to join you.

03.03.2021 – scoop.me

Denmark protects the homeless: Covid 19 vaccinations for people without shelter
(Image by SCOOP.ME)

Homeless people are at particular risk for a Covid 19 infection. After all, staying home or washing your hands regularly isn’t so easy when you don’t have a roof over your head. That’s why Denmark is now prioritizing homeless people in the vaccination schedule. 200 of them received the first partial vaccination between February 15 and 16.

The Covid 19 pandemic is hitting homeless people particularly hard. Staying at home, washing hands regularly and social distancing are hardly feasible for homeless people. For this reason, several Danish charities are working together to move homeless people to the front of the vaccination queue. The Danish vaccination strategy follows a 12-step plan: the population is divided into target groups. Homeless people fall into target group 10 and, as it stands now, are scheduled to be vaccinated in early April. Homeless and socially disadvantaged people who are at particular risk can “move up” to category 5 and will be vaccinated earlier. This category includes people with illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or immune deficiencies.

Doctor’s visit as a requirement for vaccination

However, this “step up” requires a doctor’s visit. Only when a doctor’s estimation finds the individual to be at particular risk of a serious reaction to the virus will they move up to category 5. This approach has been met with criticism from nonprofit organizations that advocate for the rights of homeless people in Denmark: Since homeless people can rarely benefit from the country’s health services, the additional prescribed doctor’s visit is another obstacle.

“Unfortunately, homeless people are not automatically put in category 5. We have the impression that almost all of them would, however, if they had the opportunity to see a doctor”

says a member of Gadejuristen (Danish for: street lawyers). Gadejuristen is an NGO that provides legal advice to vulnerable people at the street-work level.

Homelessness in Denmark

According to VIVE, the Danish Center for Social Science Research, 6,431 people are currently homeless in Denmark. 200 of them were administered the first partial vaccination between February 15 and 16, 2021, through the nonprofit organization Gadejuristen, after having undergone a medical examination.

Defining Homelessness:

FEANTSA is the only European NGO focused exclusively on the fight against homelessness. Its ultimate goal is to end homelessness in Europe. FEANTSA has developed a definition of homelessness and calls it “ETHOS”. ETHOS describes homeless people according to their housing situation. This defines whether a person is homeless or houseless, their housing situation is considered unsecured, or insufficient. These categories break down into 13 operational categories that can be used for various policies, such as: identifying homelessness, developing, monitoring, and evaluating homeless policies.

Denmark has been vaccinating since December 27, 2020. The country’s goal is to immunize the whole population by the early summer months of 2021. With a 3% share of fully administered vaccinations (measured by total population), the northern European country secures second place (after Malta) in the vaccination ranking within the EU.

Vaccinations for homeless people in other countries

But Denmark is not the only country thinking about its homeless citizens: Covid 19 vaccination initiatives for homeless people also exist in the Vatican, in communities of Detroit in the United States, and in parts of Montreal in Canada. In Austria, homeless people are part of the extended risk group. This group is expected to be vaccinated in Phase 2, with a planned vaccination start in March 2021.

Homelessness in Denmark – Facts and Figures

VIVE has conducted a national survey on homelessness every two years since 2007. Over a period of seven days (always in the 6th calendar week), the Danish Center for Social Science Research collects data. The national homeless census covers eight different homeless situations.

According to the latest count from 2019, homeless people are distributed as follows:

  • People sleeping rough (ETHOS 1.1): 732
  • People sleeping in emergency shelters (ETHOS 2.1): 313
  • People staying in homeless shelters/hostels (ETHOS 3.1): 2,290
  • People staying in hotels due to homelessness: 191
  • People staying with family and friends: 1,630
  • People staying in short-term transitional housing: (ETHOS 8.1): 121
  • People housed after release from prison (ETHOS 6.1): 72
  • Homeless people after release from hospitals/treatment facilities (ETHOS 6.2): 148
  • Other: 380
  • Not specified: 554

Total: 6,431

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

03.03.2021 – Newsclick

5 Years Since her Assassination, Movements Across Globe Demand Justice for Berta Cáceres
Berta Cáceres, indigenous peoples’ rights activist, receives the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015. – Still from the video tribute for the posthumous Champions of Earth 2017 award, by UN Environment. (Image by CC BY 3.0 / UN Environment – ONU Brasil -)

Berta’s organization, COPINH, has called for a series of global actions to intensify the struggle demanding justice in her case

Five years have passed since Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home in La Esperanza, Honduras. Berta was the co-founder and coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and following the coup d’état in 2009, had emerged as an important national leader in the movement for the re-foundation of Honduras.

Before her assassination, Cáceres had been subjected to a campaign of threats, intimidation, criminalization, and acts of physical violence by members of the Honduran security forces, as well as private security guards and employees of the Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA) company. This was due to her active role in the resistance to the construction of the hydroelectric project Agua Zarca on the Gualcarque River that is sacred to the Indigenous Lenca people.

In these five years since her assassination, COPINH has waged a tireless struggle to achieve justice for their comrade and leader Berta. In November 2018, after a long drawn-out trial which even saw the exclusion of COPINH’s legal representation, seven people were convicted of participating in the murder of social leader and environmental activist Berta Cáceres. The convictions and posterior sentences were hailed as a partial victory, but for the organization, achieving justice goes far beyond the convictions of the hit-men that were paid to pull the trigger. They believe that justice involves bringing those to trial who were involved in planning and financing the operation, of which there is already evidence of pointing to the members of the powerful Atala-Zablah family, who held positions on the board of DESA as well as key shares in the company. Following the convictions in November 2018, COPINH had said that justice must involve the trial and conviction of all those involved in “the plot of persecution, harassment and threats that brought about the assassination of Berta Cáceres.”

As of now, the key advance towards reaching the upper echelons of the DESA company and untangling the criminal structure behind this assassination, was the arrest on March 2, 2018 of David Castillo former military intelligence officer and president of the DESA company. Castillo was arrested when he was trying to flee the country for the United States where he bought a USD 1.2 million house 8 months after Berta’s murder.

Records show Castillo coordinating with members of the Atala-Zablah family about Berta and maneuvers to thwart COPINH’s determined resistance to the hydroelectric project. However, since his arrest, Castillo’s legal team filed numerous petitions to the court in order to delay the proceedings. The pandemic-imposed lockdown put this process in greater risk, especially given that his preventative detention was set to expire March 2, 2020. Yesterday, March 1, after 36 months, proceedings began in earnest with the evidentiary hearing. Following the proceedings the court announced that after 11 suspensions, the trial of David Castillo is scheduled for April 6-30, 2021.

International cry for justice

As COPINH and Berta’s family mark five years without her physical presence, they have invited people from across the world to join them in their reiterated demands for justice. “We commemorate 5 years since the siembra (planting) of our comrade Berta Cáceres, 5 years of fighting against impunity and injustice in Honduras, 5 years of confronting powerful economic and political sectors that have attempted to steal justice out of our hands, but at the same time, they are 5 years of building ties of solidarity between comrades of struggle that have accompanied the demand for justice, 5 years walking with Berta in the construction of processes of emancipation and autonomy for the people,” COPINH wrote.

In this regard they have called for an international campaign on social media platforms beginning at 9:00h Honduras, to “demand that the Honduran authorities promptly investigate all perpetrators of the crime and ensure that David Castillo’s trial proceeds without delay.” They have called on people across the globe to use the hashtag #JusticiaParaBerta (Justice for Berta) as well as #CastigoALosAtala (Punishment for the Atalas) and #5AñosJuntoABerta (5 years with Berta). They have also called on people to tag the Honduran state entities involved in the case including the Judicial Power (@PJdeHonduras), Public Prosecutor’s Office (@MP_Honduras), the Human Rights Secretary (@sedhHonduras), and the Secretary of Governance and Justice (@sgjd_honduras).

At night, COPINH will livestream a virtual concert “Justice for Berta” with artists from Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia, Uruguay, the UK, and Spain, including Roger Waters, Andrea Echeverri, and Rebecca Lane.

On March 3, a forum will be held titled “Indigenous People against Corruption,” and on March 4 COPINH is calling on people globally to plant a tree in honor of Berta. COPINH hopes to revive the international cries for justice in Berta’s case ahead of the trial of David Castillo which will be even more crucial than the trial of the 7 who were convicted of executing the assassination. Castillo is the link to those who planned and financed the murder and as such, as with this whole process, it will be an arduous struggle.

In the trial held in November 2018, Laura Zúniga, one of Berta’s daughters and a member of COPINH, gave a victim’s impact statement reflecting on the struggle for justice and why the family and the organization has remained resolute: “From the moment my mom was murdered, we were excluded from the process, and we don’t agree with it. We don’t agree with being denied the possibility of having an observer present during my mom’s autopsy, of not receiving information. We’ve had to fight for information at every moment, every step of the way. We didn’t do it on a whim, we did it because we are prepared to do everything necessary to get to the truth because we understand that it’s our right, because we understand that it’s the right of the Honduran people, because we want to establish precedents for justice.”

Courtesy: Peoples Dispatch

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

02.03.2021 – US, United States – Common Dreams

Experts Say J&J-Merck Deal—Though Welcome Step—Does Not Get to ‘Heart of the Matter’ on Vaccine Apartheid
People lining up for COVID-19 vaccination in New Jersey in January. (Image by greenleft.org.au)

“Our elected leaders are choosing to allow a few Big Pharma companies to maintain their monopoly control over these drugs in order to maximize their profits.”

By Kenny Stancil

In response to the Biden administration’s brokering of a deal wherein pharmaceutical giant Merck will utilize excess manufacturing capacity to produce the coronavirus vaccine of its longtime competitor, Johnson & Johnson, public health advocates said Tuesday that the partnership—though welcome—reveals how global vaccine supplies could be significantly increased if patent monopolies were dissolved and the technology controlled by Big Pharma shared worldwide.

“Factories across the world are lying idle when they could be producing hundreds of millions of vaccines this year—but they can’t because Big Pharma is refusing to share the know-how.”
—Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now

President Joe Biden on Tuesday will formally announce the deal, which has the potential to boost the supply of Johnson & Johnson’s recently authorized single-shot vaccine, The Washington Post reported.

While Merck, one of the world’s biggest vaccine makers, failed to develop its own Covid-19 shot, the company will dedicate two of its U.S. facilities to producing its rivals’ shots, “perhaps even doubling what Johnson & Johnson could make on its own,” according to two senior administration officials who spoke to the newspaper about the new arrangement on the condition of anonymity.

Though the agreement was heralded by many as “huge” news and a positive development that would increase production at a key time to help fight the pandemic, advocates for broader access and an end to corporate control of vaccines both in the U.S. and around the world said the deal is also revealing.

“This partnership with Merck and J&J lays bare what we’ve known all along: there is excess manufacturing capacity in the U.S. and around the world for manufacturing lifesaving vaccines,” Margarida Jorge, campaign director at Lower Drug Prices Now, said in a statement.

“But instead of doing everything we can to get these vaccines developed using taxpayer dollars into people’s arms as quickly as possible,” said Jorge, “our elected leaders are choosing to allow a few Big Pharma companies to maintain their monopoly control over these drugs in order to maximize their profits.”

“The Trump administration and Congress could have prevented the problem in the first place by refusing to grant exclusive patents for Covid medicines developed with taxpayer funding,” she added. “But President Biden can still scale up production to meet global demand by using existing authorities.”

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Jorge’s comments come in the wake of progressives’ demands for the Biden administration to invest in the ramping up of global manufacturing capacity and to stop derailing a popular knowledge-sharing effort supported by more than 100 countries that would make it possible to disseminate vaccine recipes around the world.

Like his predecessor, Biden has continued to block India and South Africa’s proposal for an emergency waiver of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which mandates the enforcement of patent protections, allowing pharmaceutical companies to monopolize control over scientific knowledge and technology even though they are publicly funded products.

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, told Common Dreams that the White House-brokered deal between Johnson & Johnson and Merck “could be the beginning of a concerted effort on the part of rich countries to face down the rapidly building pressure to override patents on Covid-19 medicines.”

“It couldn’t be clearer that the Big Pharma patent model is failing us—failing to provide the medicines we need fairly or in sufficient supply,” Dearden added. “Only this morning, we learned that factories across the world are lying idle when they could be producing hundreds of millions of vaccines this year—but they can’t because Big Pharma is refusing to share the know-how.”

As the Associated Press reported Monday, factory owners on three different continents “say they could start producing hundreds of millions of Covid-19 vaccines on short notice if only they had the blueprints and technical know-how.”

“But that knowledge belongs to the large pharmaceutical companies who have produced the first three vaccines authorized by countries including Britain, the European Union, and the U.S.—Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca,” AP noted. “The factories are all still awaiting responses.”

If blueprints were shared, “then immediately overnight every continent will have dozens of companies who would be able to produce these vaccines,” said Abdul Muktadir, whose Incepta plant in Bangladesh already makes vaccines against hepatitis, flu, meningitis, rabies, tetanus, and measles.

In response to the manufacturing partnership negotiated by the Biden administration, Dearden told Common Dreams that “using spare Merck capacity to produce the J&J vaccine is welcome, but it’s still not getting to the heart of the matter.”

“It’s good these two companies will be working together. It would be even better if the technology were shared with qualified manufacturers around the world to produce as much as possible to protect people worldwide now and in the future.”
—Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen

“This technology should not be the property of these giant corporations,” he said. “They should not have the final say on who produces these life-saving vaccines and on what terms. Nor should they decide, in effect, what order people are vaccinated in.”

As Dearden pointed out, “most countries in the Global South are demanding patents be overridden. It’s really obscene that those countries that have already bought the majority of vaccines available this year are saying, ‘No, no, that’s not necessary, the system works just fine.’”

“In fact, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a perfect candidate to be a people’s vaccine,” Dearden continued. “It promises to work well across the world, it’s one-shot, and it was developed with huge amounts of public funding.”

“This research should never have been privatized,” he added. “Biden could make a real difference here—by dropping U.S. opposition to the patent waiver proposal at the WTO, and by unilaterally overriding patents on the J&J medicine and declaring it a people’s vaccine.”

Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, agreed that the deal brokered by Biden “is positive and that we can go further.” He told Common Dreams that “we will have to be much more ambitious in order to vaccinate the entire world.”

“It’s good these two companies will be working together,” said Maybarduk. “It would be even better if the technology were shared with qualified manufacturers around the world to produce as much as possible to protect people worldwide now and in the future.”

According to Jorge at Lower Drug Prices Now, “This path would ultimately mean less profits for the corporations that currently hold the patents.”

But as Brook Baker, senior policy analyst at Health GAP and professor of law at Northeastern University, said last week in response to a reporter’s question about the impact of temporarily suspending the WTO’s intellectual property rules on the profit margins of patent holders, the TRIPS waiver doesn’t mean that pharmaceutical corporations won’t be well-compensated. Besides, Baker added, “we should recognize that Pfizer and Moderna are already poised to earn billions this year even after receiving billions in public subsidies.”

Mustaqeem De Gama, a South African diplomat involved in the WTO discussions, told AP that “people are literally dying because we cannot agree on intellectual property rights.”

Ultimately, progressives have argued, declining to share vaccine recipes with the world is not only morally indefensible but also self-defeating insofar as it prolongs the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, enabling the virus to mutate and ensuring that global economic hardship continues.

“To end the greatest public health crisis of our lifetimes,” Jorge concluded, “our elected leaders must choose to prioritize the health and economic well-being of people over Big Pharma’s profits.”

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02.03.2021 – Deutsche Welle

Nigeria: Hundreds of kidnapped students released — governor
(Image by Nigeria: Hundreds of kidnapped students released — governor | News | DW | 02.03.2021)

The governor of Zamfara state has said that 279 girls taken from a school are “now safe.” Their abduction was the second mass school kidnapping to take place in Nigeria this year.

Hundreds of Nigerian students kidnapped from their boarding school in the northern state of Zamfara have been released, state governor Dr. Bello Matawalle said on Tuesday.

“Alhamdulillah! It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity,” Matawalle wrote on Twitter. “This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts. I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe.”

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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