The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
Western tech companies are often confused as to what type of digital products they are actually allowed to unblock in sanctioned countries. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS
- Aliakbar Salehi is a former member of the Iranian parliament and an internet freedom and human rights advocate now living in Washington, DC. In 2006, he was arrested and jailed by the Iranian government for urging human rights reforms.
But the authorities are not the only ones to shoulder blame for quelling dissent, he says. Salehi told IPS that the U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme are also stifling freedom of expression in his country.Â
âPeople in Iran are suffering because of technology-related sanctions. After the 2009 revolution, Iranians were being arrested and had their private e-mails and information exposed,â he said.
The problem, activists say, is that even though the U.S. government has recently created some exceptions to protect the flow of information in sanctioned countries, regulations are still unclear.
This has led to a situation in which U.S. and other Western tech companies are confused as to what type of digital products they are actually allowed to unblock in sanctioned countries.
âOne of my friends, who is also an influential person in Iran, was jailed and accused of conspiring against the regime,” Salehi said. “After they arrested him, they got hold of his e-mails and showed them to him. He simply couldnât deny their accusations, even though his e-mails were private.â
Salehi said that those e-mails came from a Yahoo account. After these incidents, together with a group of Iranian activists, he tried to convince Yahoo to protect their personal information from the Iranian government at the time.
After nearly three years of exhortations, he said, Yahooâs new president took charge and the company agreed to put in place new protections. At the same time, he noted, Iranians are still finding it difficult to open e-mail accounts because of sanctions still in place.
Last month, Iran and a group of six world powers that includes the U.S. struck an interim nuclear deal to ease sanctions on the Iranian government in return for a partial freeze of nuclear activities.
The U.S. Congress is being urged to pass âurgentâ legislation that would make issues of violence against women and girls a key focus in all U.S. diplomatic efforts. The last such proposal, in 2010, was voted down on conservative concerns. But on Thursday lawmakers, activists and development workers kicked off a new campaign to push […]
The post Bill Commits U.S. Diplomacy to Ending Abuse of Women appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Nature reserves act as a safe deposit box for biodiversity and contribute to adaptation to climate change. But in a country like Cuba, plagued by a chronic economic crisis, efforts to increase the number of protected areas go largely unnoticed. âThey are a reservoir of genetic biodiversity of many species,â biologist Ãngel QuirÃ³s told IPS. […]
The post Preserving Life in Cuba for When the Climate Changes appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Women’s rights activists in Morocco have criticised the Islamist-led government for excluding them from drafting proposed legislation to combat violence against women and for seeking to dilute the bill through changes. The long-awaited bill is currently under study in Morocco. It comes after the adoption of a new constitution in 2011 that enshrines gender equality […]
As the international community fleshes out a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be unveiled next year, civil society activists and U.N. officials agree their success will hinge on policies that address the nexus of poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is making a strong push for a politically realistic […]
Lydia Njang, a widow and mother of five from Cameroonâs North West Region, has lost her farmland three times.Â The first time was when her husband died and her in-laws inherited his land. Although they gave her use of another plot of land, she had to give that up when her brother-in-law married. After that […]
The post Bringing Cameroonâs Marginalised to the Poverty Debate appeared first on Inter Press Service.
The garbage trucks of Gaza city are at a standstill due to an ongoing fuel shortage affecting all aspects of daily life, including garbage collection, sewage and waste disposal and other vital services. But the local donkeys are here to help. Abu Hesham on his donkey cart wonât be able to clear all the streets […]
Ten days after the signing in Geneva of a groundbreaking deal on Iranâs nuclear programme, the agreement appears safe from any serious attack by the strongly pro-Israel U.S. Congress, at least for the balance of 2013. Despite continuing grumblings about the first-phase agreement between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, […]
The post Iran Deal Look Safe from Lawmakersâ Attack for Now appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Two of the most despotic leaders in the world sit atop the governments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, according to rights groups. But in sharp contrast to the way they regard their respective peoples, Turkmenistanâs Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Uzbekistanâs Islam Karimov seem to treat each other with courtesy and respect when they get together. At their […]
The post Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan: Cold Leaders, Warm Ties appeared first on Inter Press Service.
This article is part one of a two-part series on charges of racial bias in the child welfare system in Philadelphia. Part two looks at the uphill battle fought by parents or relatives seeking to regain custody of their children.
While only 50.3 percent of Philadelphiaâs children are black, they comprise 73 percent of children in foster care. Credit: Bigstock
- It is nearly impossible in this day and age to turn on the news without hearing about systemic racial discrimination in the United States.
Ample evidence shows that disproportionate numbers of African Americans are imprisoned, subject to police brutality, excluded from employment opportunities and denied decent healthcare, compared to their white counterparts.
One government agency has, by and large, escaped such scrutiny. It goes by different names in different places: Child Protective Services, the Department of Youth and Family Services, or the Department of Child and Family Services.
In Philadelphia, itâs known as the Department of Human Services, or DHS, and by its own admission it is responsible for moving roughly 3,000 children in this city of 1.5 million people into âout-of-homeâ care every year.
According to Todd Lloyd, child welfare policy director of the non-profit organisation Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC), âThe most recent annual data shows 9,205 children entering foster care in [the state of] Pennsylvania, with about 71.7 percent of those children being first-time entries, as opposed to re-entries.â
Lloyd told IPS that Philadelphia County has the highest âplacement rateâ in the state, with 14 per 1,000 children being moved to out-of-home care every year â over twice the national rate of 6.4 per 1,000 children.
The National Coalition for Child Protection Reform (NCCPR), meanwhile, reports that DHS Philadelphia removes children at up to six times the rate of other cities of its size.Â
It is not the rate of transfer alone that has families in Philadelphia on edge but the racially lopsided nature of the entire child welfare system: studies show that while only 50.3 percent of Philadelphiaâs children are black, they comprise 73 percent of children in foster care.
Eighteen-year-old Maureen Phiri from Malawi knows first-hand about the loneliness of HIV. At age 12, she discovered her HIV status but did not tell her mother. Courtesy: Martina Schwikowski
- Maureen Phiri, 18, has a soft voice and a strong message about HIV and young people in her country. âIn Malawi, people are still in denial because of cultural beliefs. Traditional leaders and churches are denying the disease. Let us gather those leaders and hear from young people what is really happening.â
Phiri, an activist who lives with HIV, belongs to the Baylor Teen Club in Lilongwe, Malawiâs capital. The club is part of a programme that provides medical care and psycho-social support to HIV-positive adolescents, of whom Malawi has 91,000.
Phiri works hard to overcome the stigma still attached to HIV among her peers. “Only then we will be able to have an AIDS-free generation,” she told IPS.
Phiri was speaking at a forum held in Johannesburg last week, where the United Nations Childrenâs Fund (UNICEF) presented its Sixth Stocktaking Report about Children and AIDS, entitled âTowards an AIDS-free generationâ.
Syrian refugee children learn to survive at a camp in north Lebanon. Credit: Zak Brophy/IPS
- The terrible bloodshed in Syria has been going on for over two and a half years. It has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history, with more than half of Syriaâs pre-war population now needing humanitarian assistance for their survival.
Nearly 2.3 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries, including over 1.1 million under the age of 18. The suffering caused by the conflict is particularly devastating for these children â they experience trauma and isolation, over half of them are missing out on schooling, and far too many are forced to work to help feed their families.
Syria risks losing an entire generation â and with it, its future, as todayâs children are the ones who could rebuild their country when peace finally sets in.
What is unfolding on Europeâs doorstep today is not only a humanitarian crisis unparalleled in recent history. The impact of the enormous refugee influx on host countries in the Middle East is also fuelling fundamental, structural problems in an already fragile region. The crisis in Syria threatens peace and stability far beyond the countryâs borders: a threat that can no longer be downplayed.
- A new poll following the election of President Hassan Rouhani says that a majority of Iranians oppose Iranâs intervention in Syria and Iraq and believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons despite their governmentâs claims to the contrary.
President Hassan Rouhani in Bishkek, Sep. 13, 2013. Credit: kremlin.ru/cc by 3.0
The poll, released Friday and conducted Aug. 26-Sep. 22, of 1,205 Iranians in face-to-face interviews by a subcontractor for Zogby Research Services, also indicated that Rouhani had relatively lukewarm support at the time and that many Iranians would like to see a more democratic political system in their country.
The water level in the Dique La Quebrada, the reservoir seven km from RÃo Ceballos, has never been lower. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS
- This small town in the semi-arid central Argentine province of CÃ³rdoba now has a 24-hour hotline for people to report their neighbours for sprinkling their lawns or using water to clean off the sidewalks.
The water shortage is felt throughout the province, but it is especially bad in the most populous areas â the provincial capital CÃ³rdoba, the Sierras Chicas hills to the northwest of the city, and the Punilla valley.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 on the evening of Dec. 5, 2013. Courtesy: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
- As the world mourns the passing of South Africaâs first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, his close friend and political stalwart Tokoyo Sexwale says much needs to be done to honour his legacy.
Mandela, 95, died surrounded by his family at his Johannesburg suburb homeÂ on Thursday evening at 8.50 pm.