Human rights made whole

Human rights made whole


Louise Arbour Opinion in Malaysiakini on Jul 4, 08

On June 18, the United Nations’ intergovernmental Human Rights Council took an important step toward eliminating the artificial divide between freedom from fear and freedom from want that has characterized the human rights system since its inception. By giving the green light to the Optional Protocol to the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Council has established an important mechanism to expose abuses that are typically linked to poverty, discrimination, and neglect, and that victims frequently endure in silence and helplessness.

It will now be up to the UN General Assembly to provide final approval of the Protocol. If adopted, this instrument can make a real difference in the lives of those who are often left to languish at the margins of society, and are denied their economic, social, and cultural rights, such as access to adequate nutrition, health services, housing, and education.   

Continue reading

38 die as ferry sinks in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A ferry sank in a river in Myanmar’s cyclone-battered Irrawaddy delta, killing nearly 40 people, state-media reported Friday.

The motorized ship sank in the Yway river Tuesday after water entered its stern section, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported. The report did not give details on how the accident happened.

The newspaper said 38 people were killed and 44 others rescued.

The ferry, named “Myo Pa Pa Tun,” was traveling from Pakeikkyi village to Myaungmya, about 94 miles west of Yangon, the newspaper said. Myaungmya was not badly affected by Cyclone Nargis, which left a swath of death and devastation in the delta when it struck in early May. More than 84,000 died in the storm.

Continue reading

Experts unveil index to check nations’ rule of law

7/3/2008, 11:24 a.m. CDT


The Associated Press


VIENNA, Austria (AP) — Legal experts from 95 countries have devised a way of measuring how well leaders, officials and judges are meeting the basic principles of law and human rights.

The “Rule of Law Index” — unveiled Thursday at the World Justice Forum in Vienna — is aimed at helping the United States and others countries pursue more fair policies in the pursuit of terrorists, participants said.

“The so-called war on terror has brought with it subtle changes. We talk about ‘coercive interrogation’ instead of what it really is: torture,” former Irish President Mary Robinson said in a speech to the forum.

“We face the new ‘normal,’ which must be confronted,” she said. “For the majority of the world’s citizens, the rules of the game are fundamentally unfair.”

Continue reading

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Try and Read This All the Way to the End and Prove It Wrong!

July/August 2008 Atlantic Monthly

What the Internet is doing to our brains

by Nicholas Carr

Illustration by Guy Billout


“Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly. “I can feel it. I can feel it.”

Continue reading

Deep Down, We Can’t Fool Even Ourselves

Deep Down, We Can’t Fool Even Ourselves

By JOHN TIERNEY, New York Times

Source: Marina Mahathier’s RantingsbyMM

In voting against the Bush tax cut in 2001, Senator John McCain said he “cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate.” Today he campaigns in favor of extending that same tax cut beyond its expiration date.

Senator Barack Obama last year called himself a “longtime advocate” of public financing of election campaigns. This month, he reiterated his “support” for such financing while becoming the first major party presidential nominee ever to reject it for his own campaign.

Do you think either of these men is a hypocrite?

Continue reading

Enough of ‘tolerance’, please

Enough of ‘tolerance’, please

Helen Ang in Malaysiakini Jun 26, 08

A lot has happened the last 100 days. Over here in the pace of politics has outstripped me. In The People’s Parliament – Haris Ibrahim’s blog – I occasionally try to brush away ‘Holy smoke!’ (title of my miniseries).

The political developments are occurring fast and furious on many fronts whereas with religion, as history attests, we can quarrel and talk till the cows come home. Haris and I have been having recently a ‘holy war’ of words, so to speak, with bloggers Mahaguru and Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib in cyberspace; but it’s also a dialogue.



Continue reading

The humanity of journalism

The humanity of journalism

Eric Loo in Malaysiakini on Jul 2, 08

Two-thirds of the world’s poor live in Asia. But a random check on mainstream media contents shows the poor are starkly invisible.  

It’s not for the lack of journalistic spirit that the poor are rendered invisible in our media. It’s the editorial system, driven by profits or beholden to governments, that’s prostituting the traditions of a once noble craft. I’m reminded of a story in the New Internationalist of how a Burmese journalist tries daily to make the best of her situation despite the odds.  

She writes:
“I love to write news stories but I hate the censor board. The censor board vets our stories and they always tell us to publish government policy and propaganda articles, week after week. My boss has two faces. One face is all smiles for the censor board, the other grimaces at us. I think many journal publishers must be similar to him. They all want to hold on to their business and so are self-interested, always ready to compromise, to give in so as to survive.”

This ought to inspire journalists in less adverse circumstances to do better than the vanity lifestyle journalism that dominates the market. We need journalists who’d challenge that which is the existing content structure – status quo journalism – to that which journalism ought to be, transformative.   

Continue reading