Tag Archives: United Nations

In World-Historic First, Microplastics Detected in Human Blood

“We’ve choked this planet with plastic, from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans—and we’ve no idea at all about costs for public health,” said a British lawmaker.

By Kenny Stancil.  Pubished 3-24-2022 by Common Dreams

Microplastics from the Patapsco River are pictured at the laboratory of Dr. Lance Yonkos in the Department of Environmental Science & Technology at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., on Feb. 6, 2015. Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program/flickr/CC

A team of toxicologists found microplastics in nearly 80% of the healthy adult blood samples it analyzed, marking the first time that tiny polymer fragments—measuring less than 5mm in size—have been detected in human blood, The Guardian reported Thursday.

Using techniques that allowed them to detect particles as small as 0.0007mm, the scientists, whose research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International, examined blood samples provided by 22 anonymous donors in good health and discovered microplastics in 17 of them. Continue reading

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‘Countdown to Catastrophe’: UN Agencies Warn of Hunger Emergency in ‘Overlooked’ Nation

“Unless we receive substantial new funding immediately, mass starvation and famine will follow,” said the U.N. food program chief of the crisis in Yemen.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 3-14-2022 by Common Dreams

18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili is bed-ridden and unable to eat, surviving on a diet of juice, milk and tea. Screenshot: ABC News

Multiple United Nations agencies on Monday sounded heightened alarm over the food crisis in Yemen, warning of a projected five-fold increase in famine conditions.

Warnings from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program (WFP), and UNICEF came in response to the just-released Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis on Yemen, which lays primary blame for the food crisis on the ongoing conflict. Continue reading

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A wave of grassroots humanitarianism is supporting millions of Ukrainian refugees

Women offering Ukrainian refugees a place to stay in Berlin on Mar. 4, 2022.
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Indiana University

Along the Poland-Ukraine border, Polish volunteers have been driving Ukrainian refugees to local train stations, or directly to cities like Warsaw.

Other Poles are doing their volunteer work online or at train stations and airports, matching Ukrainian refugees with perhaps the most generous volunteers of all: those who are hosting some of the more than 2 million Ukrainians had fled their beseiged country, in their own homes.

The largest refugee flow in Europe since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s – has elicited an enormous volunteer humanitarian effort in Europe, particularly in Poland, as well as in Germany, Moldova and Romania. Continue reading

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UN Warns Russia’s Attack on Ukraine Could Spike Global Food Prices by 22%

“The global number of undernourished people could increase by eight to 13 million people in 2022 and 2023,” says a new report by FAO, the global food agency.

By Julia Conley   Published 3-11-2022 by Common Dreams

A market in Yemen, 2021. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could mean less bread on the table in Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere in the Global South where millions already struggle to access sufficient food. Phpto: FAO

With dozens of countries around the world relying heavily on both Ukraine and Russia for food supplies, the United Nations warned Friday, the ongoing war is likely to significantly drive up global food prices and worsen malnourishment in the Global South.

With both Ukraine and Russia’s ability to produce and export food uncertain, a global supply gap “could push up international food and feed prices by 8% to 22% above their already elevated levels,” said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Continue reading

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A letter to the Western Left from Kyiv

The ‘anti-imperialism of idiots’ meant people turned a blind eye to Russia’s actions

By Taras Bilous.  Published 2-26-2022 by openDemocracy

Photo: Shivam Bangwal/Twitter

I am writing these lines in Kyiv while it is under artillery attack.

Until the last minute, I had hoped that Russian troops wouldn’t launch a full-scale invasion. Now, I can only thank those who leaked the information to the US intelligence services.

Yesterday, I spent half the day considering whether I ought to join a territorial defence unit. During the night that followed, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed a full mobilisation order and Russian troops moved in and prepared to encircle Kyiv, which made the decision for me. Continue reading

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Myanmar’s Spring Revolution: a history from below

Women factory workers took to the streets and catalysed a mass movement

By Ko Maung.  Published 12-15-2021 by openDemocracy

Protest in Myanmar against Military Coup Feb. 14,2021. Photo: MgHla (aka) Htin Linn Aye/Wilimedia Commons/CC

A year before the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar, striking workers from the Tai Yi shoe factory protested in front of their workplace to demand an increase in their daily wages. To raise their spirits, the workers sang the revolutionary anthem, ‘Thway Thitsar’.

In Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, the mass movement against the 2021 coup, ‘Thway Thitsar’ could be heard all over the country. “The present is critical, brothers and sisters. We must have solidarity.” A regular feature of workers’ protests, the anthem had now become part of the revolutionary movement. I say this not to highlight the song itself, but to call attention to the history of worker organising and struggle in Myanmar – a history that laid the groundwork for the Spring Revolution. Simply put, had workers not previously organised unions inside their factories, the protests that catalysed the Spring Revolution would not have happened. The February 6 protests ignited the anger of people across the country and led to nation-wide protests in the days that followed. Continue reading

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Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Have Larger Presence at COP26 Than Any Single Country: Report

“COP26 is being sold as the place to raise ambition, but it’s crawling with fossil fuel lobbyists whose only ambition is to stay in business.”

By Jake Johnson.  Published 11-8-2021 by Common Dreams

Glasgow Green – march for the climate on November 6, 2021. Photo: The Left/flickr/CC

A coalition of watchdog groups estimated Monday that fossil fuel industry representatives have a larger presence at COP26 than officials from any single country, a finding that further intensified environmentalists’ concerns about the legitimacy of the high-stakes climate summit.

After pouring over a 1,600-page United Nations list of approved COP26 attendees, the coalition led by Global Witness published an analysis showing that at least 503 fossil fuel lobbyists have been admitted to the summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Continue reading

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Medicare for All Advocates Take to the Streets of Over 50 US Cities

“How can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2021

People marched in more than 50 U.S. cities on Saturday to demand Medicare for All. (Photo: @Jaybefaunt/Twitter)

Just days before the 56th anniversary of Medicare being signed into law, advocates for creating a public, universal health insurance program in the United States to replace the largely private, for-profit system held marches in more than 50 cities across the country on Saturday.

The day of action was organized by a coalition of over 100 groups, from Mainers for Accountable Leadership, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Sunrise Movement Seattle to various arms of Democratic Socialists of America, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), and Our Revolution. Continue reading

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Biden EPA Lining Up With Chemical Industry Against Push to Curb Microplastics: Greenpeace

“While you might expect Trump’s EPA to align with the oil and chemical industry against protections for the American people from potentially harmful plastic chemicals, the Biden administration must do better.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-28-2021

Microplastics in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program/flickr/CC

A Greenpeace investigation revealed Monday that the Biden administration appears sympathetic to oil and chemical industry giants—not the public, scientists, and public health advocates—regarding a push in Europe to curb the use of microplastics in everyday products.

According to a report by Unearthed Greenpeace UK’s investigative journalism unit, a senior policy advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Karissa Kovner exchanged emails with the American Chemical Council (ACC) in April 2019 regarding a proposal by the Swiss government to list microplastic UV-328 in the Stockholm Convention, the U.N.’s global treaty on chemicals that don’t easily break down in nature. Continue reading

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New Bill Would Require Biden to Declare Wildlife Extinction Crisis a National Emergency

“Declaring the extinction crisis to be a national emergency would unlock key presidential powers that will halt the unraveling of the planet’s life-support systems.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2021

A black footed ferret at the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center. Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie/flickr/CC

Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation Friday that would require President Joe Biden to declare the wildlife extinction crisis a “national emergency,” a move advocates say would allow the president to use specific executive powers to stem the destruction of habitats and protect species imperiled by human activity.

Led by Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), the Extinction Crisis Emergency Act would “require all federal agencies to prioritize building back healthy wildlife populations, protect critical habitat, and integrate climate change concerns into the recovery of endangered species.” Continue reading

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