One from the Same Human Side.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Air pollution is killing the human race, etc. Is there any chance people will ever clean some of it up?

Air Pollution Now Responsible for 1 in 8 Deaths Worldwide, Study Shows

Air pollution is now the world’s single greatest environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new findings that show poor air quality is responsible for 7 million deaths a year – one in eight total deaths worldwide. WHO estimates that indoor air pollution caused 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households that burn wood, coal or biomass as cooking fuel, while outdoor air pollution contributed to 3.7 million deaths the same year. Because many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollutants, WHO could not simply add the two figures together, but came up with an estimated total of 7 million deaths in 2012.
It is already common knowledge that poor air quality can trigger and aggravate respiratory diseases like acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But WHO reported that its new data also shows a stronger correlation between air pollution and cancer, as well as air quality and cardiovascular diseases, including strokes and heart disease.
“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” Dr. Maria Neira, director of WHO’s department for public health, said in a statement. “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.”
WHO’s new data also revealed that cardiovascular diseases accounted for the vast majority of deaths linked to air pollution: 40 percent of deaths caused by outdoor air pollution were due to heart disease and another 40 percent were from strokes. Of deaths linked to indoor air pollution, strokes made up 34 percent of fatalities, while heart disease represented 26 percent. Lung cancer accounted for 6 percent of both outdoor and indoor air pollution-linked deaths.
Low- and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific were the most affected by poor air quality, WHO reported, with a total of 3.3 million deaths due to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths from outdoor air pollution. Poor air quality was also more likely to impact low-income women and children, according to Dr. Flavia Bustreo, assistant director of WHO’s general family health department, because they spend more time at home breathing in pollutants from wood, coal or biomass stoves.  Approximately 2.9 billion people worldwide use wood, coal or dung as cooking fuel in their homes.
In countries with poor air quality, WHO recommends government policies and programs to curb air pollution; indeed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that our country’s clean air laws prevented 160,000 premature deaths in 2010. And in 2020, the agency predicts 230,000 premature deaths will be avoided because of improved air quality.
Air quality regulations can even spur economic growth: The U.S. Clean Air Act kickstarted the country’s environmental technologies industry, creating markets for cleaner vehicles, alternative fuels and pollution controls. By 2007, this industry was generating approximately $282 billion in revenues, producing $40 billion in exports and supporting 1.6 million jobs, the EPA reported.
WHO based its new estimates on the organization’s latest mortality data for 2012, as well as new global data mapping technology that included satellite data, ground-level emission monitoring and models of how pollution spreads through the air. Later this year, WHO plans to release data on outdoor and indoor air pollution-linked deaths by country, indoor air quality guidelines for household fuel combustion and an update on air quality measurements in 1,600 cities in different regions around the world.
Image credit: Flickr/Keith Bacongo
Passionate about both writing and sustainability, Alexis Petru is freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work has appeared on Earth911, Huffington Post and Prior to working as a writer, she coordinated environmental programs for Bay Area cities and counties. Connect with Alexis on Twitter at@alexispetru

The Chinese want to wage war on pollution in East China. But will sending in children do the job?

Air Pollution Now Threatening Health 


Humanity is losing the battle for clean air. Despite decades of efforts to combat it, air pollution is taking a growing toll on human health, the environment, and the economy, according to a new Worldwatch Institute study.

Once primarily an urban phenomenon in industrial countries, air pollution has spread worldwide. More than a billion people--one-fifth of all humanity--live in communities that do not meet World Health Organization air quality standards.

In greater Athens, the number of deaths rises sixfold on heavily polluted days. Mexico City has been declared a hardship post for diplomats because of its unhealthy air. In Bombay, simply breathing is equivalent to smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.

"The technological solutions tried to date have been inadequate, their gains often negated by growth," according to Hilary F. French, a Researcher at the Washington, D.C.-based organization and author of Clearing the Air: A Global Agenda. "Restoring air quality depends on restructuring the energy, transportation, and industrial systems that generate the pollutants."

In the U.S., air pollution causes as many as 50,000 deaths per year and costs as much as $40 billion a year in health care and lost productivity.

Around the world, Milan, Shenyang, Tehran, Seoul, and Rio de Janeiro reported the worst levels of sulfur dioxide--a pollutant directly harmful to humans. Paris and Madrid also made the top 10 in the list, produced by a U.N. monitoring network.

"Though concern for human health led to the world's first control laws, air pollution poses an equally grave threat to the environment," said French.

"Lakes, streams, and estuaries are dying because of acid rain, 35 percent of Europe's forests are showing signs of air pollution damage, and crop losses in the U.S. caused by harmful emissions are estimated to be 5-10 percent of total production--more than $5 billion a year."

Technological solutions--such as scrubbers, filters, and catalytic converters--have long been the primary weapons to control emissions. Their use has become widespread in the industrialized world, but they are still virtually non-existent in most of Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the developing world.

"These technologies have helped, but they are increasingly being overwhelmed by industrialization and growth in car fleets. Policymakers nonetheless persist in combating specific pollutants with technological BandAids rather than addressing the problem at its roots.

"In the United States, for example, new clean air legislation currently before Congress mandates more pollution control technologies and may require the use of alternative fuels, but it pays scant attention to improving energy efficiency, decreasing reliance on cars, and reducing hazardous wastes."

French advocates instead fundamental reforms in the regulation
and design of polluting systems. For example, removing subsidies that
keep fuel 3 prices artificially low and thus discourage energy efficiency would directly benefit air quality.

"China, for instance, has improved efficiency an average of 3.7 percent a year since it began its economic reform program in 1979. Similarly, adopting world market prices for energy could help clear the air in the Soviet Union."

Incorporating the environmental costs of burning fossil fuels into energy planning could both encourage efficiency and the use of nonpolluting, renewable sources, according to French. An experiment under way in New York State forces power suppliers that burn fossil fuels to add one cent per kilowatt-hour to their contract bids to account for air pollution costs.

Taxing emissions can also be effective. Sweden is considering levies on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide from factories and power plants.

Taxes can also be used as an incentive to minimize pollution from automobiles. For instance, purchasers of low-emissions cars could receive a rebate funded by taxes on highly polluting ones. Sweden has such a system to encourage buying cars equipped with catalytic converters. Improved public transportation and urban planning designed to lessen dependence on autos, however, will be necessary to achieve lasting air quality gains.

"Freedom of information can be a crucial component in an air pollution strategy. In the United States, right-to-know legislation has been instrumental in spurring public outcry over toxic chemical emissions, leading to more responsible industrial behavior," French said.

Because air pollution respects no national boundaries, stepped up international cooperation is critical, according to French. Treaties have already been signed under the auspices of the European Economic Community and the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe to reduce the flow of pollutants across borders.

Some Western European countries are even finding it cheaper and more effective to fund control measures in upwind Eastern European countries than to take further steps at home.

West Germany, for example, is providing East Germany with $163 million in environmental aid to purchase advanced coal-burning technology for power plants and other pollution control measures.

In other cooperative ventures, the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council and Rocky Mountain Institute are advising the Soviet government on energy efficiency.

"While the means are available to restore air quality, it will be a difficult task. In the West, powerful business interests will strongly resist measures that cost them money. In Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the developing world, extreme economic problems coupled with shortages of currency mean that money for pollution prevention and control is scarce.

"Around the world, however, the notion that 'pollution is the price of progress' has become antiquated. Faced with ever mounting costs to human health and economic losses in agriculture and forestry, countries everywhere are discovering that pollution prevention is a sound investment."

- END -

Maybe she got tired of taking poison as an absolute. It stays in your system, and slowly kills you.

Three cops, a 17-year-old and 'a cry for help': why did Kristiana Coignard die?

Apparently, they found out she had a mental health record, and they just shot her outright, while claiming she had a weapon on her. I doubt that she ever did. Probably just having a mental health "reputation" was enough for innocent her to get shot dead by the police. Probably. Who can prove it?

Tom Dart in Houston

Just after sunset last Thursday, 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard entered a police station in Longview, Texas, a small city two hours east of Dallas with a history of police violence not all that different from the rest of the United States – but no less mysterious.
Coignard picked up a red, wall-mounted phone in the police department lobby and asked to speak with an officer – for reasons that also remain unclear.
The teenager may have been “wielding a knife”, according to the mayor. Police say “they were confronted by a white female who threatened them” – after which she brandished some sort of weapon, “made threatening movements toward the officers and was shot”. Motives on either side are still relatively unknown.
What is clear, nearly a week later in Texas and six months after police killings and community relations starting coming under renewed scrutiny across the US, is that another teenager has died after being shot “multiple times” by local cops. Three officers are on paid leave, the Longview police told the Guardian. A preliminary autopsy report has ruled the death a homicide.
And in the case of Kristiana Coignard, as in what advocates and sheriffs agree constitute more than half of US police killings each year, the victim appears to have had mental health problems.
Call it “justifiable homicide”: FBI statistics counted 461 encounters between police and those they killed with the threat of violence in 2013. Some have dubbed it “suicide-by-cop”, as about one-third of such cases can be classified – in addition to undoubtedly many more undercounted deaths. The hacktivist collective Anonymous prefers “trained to kill”.
Whatever you call the overlapping patterns of police violence and brief encounters with young and possibly unstable citizens, mental health advocates insist the United States is “not keeping track”.
“We’ve deputised America’s police to be mental health workers,” Doris A Fuller, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, told the Guardian. “We’re asking cops to make a split-second decision about whether someone is actually a threat to them.”
On a Facebook page for the Longview police, a user claiming to be Coignard’s uncle wrote that “for quite a few years my niece suffered from mental illness”.
The teenager was taking medication, seeing a therapist and living with her aunt, Heather Robertson, according to an interview with Robertson at ThinkProgress. She told the website that Coignard had struggled with depression and bipolar disorder since her mother’s death when she was four years old. Robertson said her niece had been “only violent with herself”.
“I think it was a cry for help,” Robertson said of the incident in the police department lobby. “I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”
There is video of the killing, Coignard’s aunt said the police told her.
A Longview police spokesperson, Kristie Brian, told the Guardian there are currently no plans to make footage available to the public. She declined to confirm the type of weapon Coignard allegedly brandished but said the department expects to release more details about the shooting later this week. The Texas Ranger Division is investigating the incident.
Brian said Longview officers “are trained in all kinds of different situations”, including dealing with people with mental health problems, and that the county has a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which sees specially trained officers dispatched to urgent psychiatric situations. She said she did not know whether the three officers currently on leave had been CIT-trained.
Coignard is the third person – and the third young person – shot dead by Longview police in less than a year. No charges were filed by a grand jury against three officers who killed a 15-year-old robbery suspect during a shootout last March. A 23-year-old cook with a history of making threats died in August after a routine traffic stop went awry.
Three-and-a-half hours south, in Houston, the 2012 death of Brian Claunch had exemplified the potential for tragedy when police with limited training encounter a troubled individual in a pressurised situation. Though Houston has a widely praised CIT programme, two officers without that experience were called to a care home one night when Claunch, a schizophrenic, wheelchair-bound double amputee, started behaving erratically.
Police said that he grew violent and cornered an officer while waving a shiny object in their direction. Matthew Marin shot the 45-year-old in the head. The object proved to be a ballpoint pen. In June 2013, a grand jury declined to bring charges against the officer.
That year a police officer in Dallas was dismissed from his job, and indicted by a grand jury in 2014, after he shot a mentally ill man who was holding a knife but standing still several yards away. The encounter lasted less than 30 seconds from the officers’ arrival to the gunfire.
A 2013 joint report by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association found that while no national data is officially collected on fatal police shootings of the mentally ill, “multiple informal studies and accounts support the conclusion that ‘at least half of the people shot and killed by police each year in this country have mental health problems’.”
A third of “justifiable homicides”, the study found, could be characterised as “suicide-by-cop”, and many victims were not taking their medications nor under close supervision by mental health agencies.
Not unlike the larger call for more reliable nationwide numbers to address all police killings, advocates say a lack of firm data leads to a standard of police responses to encounters with the mentally ill that depends on officer training and varies widely from department to department.
“We’re not keeping track of that, so we don’t really have a handle on the situation,” said the Treatment Advocacy Center’s Fuller, adding that research indicated about half the US population lives in counties served by CIT policing.
Ron Honberg, national director of policy and legal affairs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said his organisation has called on the US justice department to keep better track of deaths involving police and the mentally ill. Outgoing attorney general Eric Holder, whose replacement was expected to pass confirmation hearings on Wednesday in Washington, recently called the lack of more comprehensive police incident data “troubling”.
Honberg said the standard police response to someone behaving aggressively is often to “come in and be very assertive, and that can be exactly the wrong way to deal with someone who may be having a serious psychiatric episode” and may have a fear of the authorities.
While better training and protocols are vital, he told the Guardian, at their core the violent encounters are “a manifestation of a broken mental health system”.
Anonymous, in a video posted on Saturday, cited Coignard’s death as the impetus for a new operation called Stop Lethal Force on Children.
“In 2014, we watched as police killed children and it started a army [sic] of angry Americans,” the group said. “This teen girl’s death just put fuel on that fire.”
  • In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255 and the Trevor Project’s Lifeline is 1-866-488-7386.
I suppose the unbroken mental health system's answer to that is to keep someone in a mental institution, being paid for somehow, through the government or something, for life. That's not a good thing to do.

Fortunately, whoever it is who'd kept in there for life while they are "helping" them with extreme medications won't live very long. So I guess that does take care of the problem, when you think about it. On the other hand, "not very long," coming and going, can last up to over 40 years.

Sadly, these young men create actual music. But it's in the name of extreme politics. They need something else, but how?

Tell Amazon to Stop Selling Racist Music!

  • author: Chris Wolverton
  • target: Jeff Bezos, CEO of
  • signatures: 21,986
we've got 21,986 signatures, help us get to 22,000
White power bands such as Skrewdriver, Max Resist and The Bully Boys recruit young people into the Neonazi movement with catchy songs promoting their racist beliefs. One of the most popular Skrewdriver songs, a punk selection called "White Power," blames non-whites and diverse societies for riots and muggings, while calling for violence with the lyrics, "they should all be shot."

Whether these hateful, provocative lyrics are protected speech is open for debate. But major retailers have the power to ban white power music from their catalogs, therefore limiting its reach amongst impressionable youths.

Apple recently removed white power bands from iTunes, following criticism from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), but continues to offer their music for download and hard copy purchase. Please sign the petition to urge the online retail giant to stop supporting hate speech and racism, and to pull white power music from their site!

you have the power to create change.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Philippines is not the most child-friendly country in the world.

Pope Francis: Denounce Manila's arrests of homeless children to prepare for your visit!

In preparation for Pope Francis' visit to Manila, the Filipino police arrested hundreds of homeless children to "stop gangs of beggars targeting the Pope." Most of these children have never committed a single crime - being born on the streets does not make them criminals!

This would be terrible under any circumstances, but it is especially tragic and ironic now. Pope Francis has been very kind to the homeless, even visiting them in the middle of the night dressed as a regular priest. If he knew what happened in preparation for his visit to Manila, surely he would denounce the practice and call on the Filipino government to reform its treatment of the poor!

Sign the petition today: Ask Pope Francis to speak out on behalf of the jailed Filipinio homeless children!According to Time Magazine, the Filipino government routinely rounds up homeless children, and there was an uptick in arrests for the Pope's visit. 

"Children are summarily kept for anything up to three months without charge, with little ones sharing cells with young adults. Many fall prey to serious sexual and physical abuse: Kids just eight-years-old are often tormented into performing sex acts."

SCMP Magazine calls this "a blatant violation of the country’s child-protection laws." It is an even bigger violation of the children's human rights.

Pope Francis can pressure the Filipino and Manila governments about this crime - let's get 50,000 signatures alerting him to this atrocity so he can take action!

you have the power to create change.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Auschwitz is apparently memorable for some reason. Among all of those many concentration camps.

Industry Heavyweights Support Auschwitz 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav and Steven Spielberg are heading to Poland this weekend to take part in the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Zaslav, Spielberg and a number of other industry heavyweights have quietly worked with Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation, the Polish government and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum to bring a delegation of 100 Auschwitz survivors and their families to take part in the solemn ceremony on Jan. 27.
The 70th anniversary commemoration is expected to be the last time that a large group of Auschwitz survivors will be able to make the trip to the site of the Nazi concentration camp, because of their advancing years. As such, Zaslav and Spielberg recognized the importance of making sure that their voices were heard and that their families had the opportunity to share in the experience.
Zaslav and Spielberg spearheaded the fundraising effort to cover the costs of the trip. The group will include 25 teachers from around the world who will take part in a four-day seminar on how to teach middle and high school students about the influence of genocide and hate on world history.
Zaslav is chair of the Auschwitz: The Past Is Present Committee, and he led the core leadership team comprised of Spielberg, Len Blavatnik, Haim Saban, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, investor Joel Citron, attorney Stephen A. Cozen, World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder and tech mogul Yuri Milner. Execs from across the media and entertainment spectrum also participated including Barry Diller, Ari Emanuel, David Geffen, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Meyer, Leslie Moonves, Eric Schmidt, Diane Von Furstenberg, Rob Wiesenthal and Jeff Zucker.
In connection with the ceremony and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Discovery outlets around the world on Sunday will air the documentary “One Day in Auschwitz.” The pic, produced by the Shoah Foundation, chronicles the emotional experience of 89-year-old survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon (pictured) on her recent trip to the site, which is now maintained as a museum and historic landmark by the Polish government. The doc will air in more than 220 countries. Discovery channels in the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Africa will also carry a commercial-free telecast of Spielberg’s 1993 Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List.” The Discovery Education unit of the cable giant has distributed an extensive curriculum to secondary schools in the U.S. and other countries to coincide with the anniversary and the “One Day” doc.
The need to commemorate the atrocities against Jews at Auschwitz is underscored by the Charlie Hedbo slayings in Paris and other horrendous examples of hate-fueled crimes around the world, Zaslav said.
“It’s a solemn moment to reflect and recognize that we have come a long way in dealing with hate and genocide, but we have a long way to go,” Zaslav told Variety. “It’s important to recognize what happened there. Auschwitz is the best example of what can happen when religious, racial and ethnic hatred is unbridled.”
Zaslav’s interest in the 70th anniversary was sparked by all the time he’s spent in Eastern Europe in recent years as Discovery’s business has expanded in the region. His family’s roots are in Warsaw. His grandparents and other extended family were fortunate to have fled their homeland before the Nazi extermination campaign began in the early 1940s. After Zaslav toured Auschwitz a few years ago with his family, he couldn’t stop thinking about those who could not leave. An estimated 1 million people were killed at Auschwitz, the largest of the network of Nazi concentration camps that committed genocide against a staggering 6 million people, most of them Jews.
“When you walk the grounds, there is a feeling that is undeniable,” Zaslav said.
Last year Zaslav saw a mention in the New York Times that it had been 69 years since Soviet troops liberated about 7,000 Jews at Auschwitz. Discovery had already been working with Spielberg on a documentary project about the broader history of genocides. Zaslav and Spielberg realized that the 70th anniversary carried a weight that should be recognized. As painful as the subject is, Auschwitz also offers inspirational examples of hope and the human spirit’s ability to survive in the face of unimaginable cruelty.
Weinstein Co. co-chairman Weinstein, who lost extended family members in Auschwitz, said the new wave of anti-Semitism in Europe is alarming. The commemoration ceremony on Tuesday is a moment to demonstrate the danger of letting hate fester. He noted that Jews were directly targeted for violence just earlier this month during the chaos in Paris following the Charlie Hedbo attack.
“We have to show the world that we won’t forget,” Weinstein told Variety. “We have to look at the atrocities at Auschwitz. We want people to rise up and feel indignant. You have to step up for what you believe in. In this modern world, we have no choice.”
Weinstein said he was “desperately” trying to get on a plane to make it to Poland for Tuesday’s ceremonies, despite the whirlwind of the Sundance film fest, Producers Guild Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards this weekend. “Nothing is more important than this,” he said in a telephone interview Saturday from Sundance.
The commemoration at Auschwitz on Tuesday will be attended by 40 heads of state — President Obama, however, has raised eyebrows by opting to send Treasury Secretary Jack Lew — and be carried live on Polish TV. Discovery will have several film crews on hand to document the experiences of the survivors. The footage will be used as part of a “virtual field trip” developed for online platforms in connection with Discovery Education’s Auschwitz-related teaching curriculum.
Following Tuesday’s ceremony, a 15-minute doc on the history of Auschwitz, produced by Spielberg and narrated by Meryl Streep, will be installed at the museum in a permanent screening facility. There are also plans for a permanent installation of testimonies of Holocaust survivors that have been collected during the past 20 years by the Shoah Foundation.
The focus of Past is Present Committee was to honor the survivors by documenting their individual stories. The larger goal of the effort is to shine a light on the need for the world community to combat hate and genocide wherever it surfaces.
“When I was a kid I learned in temple the mantra of ‘Never again.’ But there has been genocide since the Holocaust,” Zaslav said. “There is persecution because of religion and ethnicity. This is a moment to realize that we as a global society have to stand together.”

Wow, Rape victims need rehabilitation. I guess they committed such a crime.

Response from DA Fred Bright

Apparently the idea here is to punish the victim of the child abuse, not the rapists, and to uh, rehabilitate her and dismiss the case once she's doing better, for some reason.

Jan 26, 2015 — Here is the response from DA Fred Bright concerning this case.

"We fully recognize that the 14-year-old child involved is a victim. Our office does not arrest individuals and was not consulted about the case initially. From the time we first received this file, we expected no active prosecution against her and our only goal has been to obtain counseling, treatment, care, and protection, which she is now receiving. On December 1, 2014, we, along with the child and her lawyer requested, and the Juvenile Court Judge agreed and signed an order to hold her case in abeyance. That order means that her case is automatically dismissed upon successful completion of treatment, counseling, and care. These services will hopefully rehabilitate her so that she can get the help she needs.

We have reviewed the matter and met with the law enforcement officers from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Eatonton Police Department who conducted the investigation. The State is prosecuting the adult defendants for statutory rape and related charges when appropriate. The cases against the adult offenders are expected to be presented to the next Grand Jury in Putnam County scheduled for March, 2015 for indictment. We hope these prosecutions will protect her and other youth of our communities in the future.

Yesterday, I spoke to the Attorney General and his specialist in Human Trafficking, who will be helping us with this prosecution. They applauded our efforts and told me, “you’re doing all you can.” We look forward to working with them to bring justice to this case."

While this is "great news" for this specific case, it has made me aware of the greater issues of the possibility of this happening in other parts of Georgia due to gaps in victim protections in the law, as well as media presentation of human trafficking cases. I will continue to educate and advocate in those areas so that Georgia can continue to improve its treatment of victims of child sexual exploitation. Thank you all so much for your support in this issue, and good luck to those of you facing similar issues in your own states.

Regarding April, a victim of persecution who is obviously getting no justice whatsoever in Georgia and who may be being coerced and/or forced onto medications for having been a severe human trafficking and abuse victim there.