Friday, 24 November 2017

Czech President Zeman backs construction of Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline

Czech President Milos Zeman says his country supports the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, TASS reports. “I am glad that the Czech Republic has its own stance [on the issue] and protects its own interests,” Zeman told Prague’s Barrandov TV channel, which was broadcast late on Thursday. The Czech leader, who is on an official visit to Russia, added that the decision to support the Nord Stream-2 project was taken on the basis of recommendations by the Czech Industry and Trade Ministry. The pipeline, which is expected to come into service at the end of 2019, is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore.

We ran sophisticated election campaigns

Dear amazing Avaazers,
Ever wonder what happens to the money we all donate to Avaaz? Scroll down to find out the latest!
Start with this beautiful video about the nature reserve we funded with a threatened Maasai community to protect their very existence on the land!
White Helmets
“I may not know you personally, but I could feel your spirit and my community feels your kindness.
Thank you. Asante sana!”

– Nelson Ole Reiyia, Nashulai Maasai Conservancy leader
This reserve happened because 55,000 of us took an amazing leap of hope and trust to donate to Avaaz. Many of us take this leap each year, and we are changing the world in beautiful and jaw-dropping ways!
Like the lives we just saved in Myanmar:
Myanmar refugees
Thousands of Rohingya families were trapped when the Burmese military began a massive ethnic cleansing assault on them. So over 47,000 of us paid for relief and a rescue mission, with boats working around the clock to bring them to safety in Bangladesh.
“In the midst of horrific persecution and ethnic cleansing, the Avaaz global movement’s generous response is bringing hope and help to Rohingya families!”
– Claire Gibbons, Partners Relief and Development
And it’s not just in Myanmar — Avaazers raised over 2 million dollars to help civilians trapped in Syria, funding the White Helmets, a brave volunteer rescue brigade for families trapped under the bombs.
White Helmets
And we supported conservation heroes too – helping bring hundreds of wildlife poachers to justice!!
Poachers
Over 64,500 of us funded brave undercover investigators to infiltrate poaching rings in Africa, to gather the evidence to hold them to account. And it led to 218 arrests!
“The illegal wildlife trade has pushed elephants, apes, lions and many other animals to the brink of extinction. The Avaaz global movement helped defenseless wildlife fight back, putting hundreds of traffickers and many corrupt officials behind bars.”
– Ofir Drori – EAGLE (Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement)
And we’re doing amazing things in politics too — like taking the fight to the far-right wherever they are on the march! See the full story here.
EU Politics GIF
We ran sophisticated election campaigns to stop the far-right taking power in France and across Europe, and organised massive rallies for tolerance in the Netherlands and Germany.
And that’s just scratching the surface — here’s a couple more examples of what we’ve done together this year:
We’ve got Monsanto on the run.
When scientists linked Monsanto’s biggest pesticide with cancer, we were THE driving force behind a global campaign for a ban. 50,000 of us donated to power a hard-hitting media and advertising campaign — and Europe is now on the cusp of a glyphosate ban!
Glyphosate
And we funded a global seedbank to fight back against chemical agriculture! Now any farmer anywhere can source a wide variety of plants for free, giving them an alternative to genetically modified seeds.
Seed Bank
We powered a network providing safe houses and support to help gay people escape Chechnya’s crackdown. When reports emerged of gay people being dragged off to torture camps, we funded groups on the ground organizing rescues and protection.
Safehouses
Plus we’ve taken journalists into war zones, funded scienctific studies to save bees, and paid for education for Syrian refugees.
Our gifts funded all of this to happen in 2017, ON TOP of the hundreds of online and offline campaigns for a better world that land in our inboxes every week! Over the years we’ve become incredibly effective on each and every one of these campaigns. That story is for another email 🙂
But it’s not just the money we raise. It’s HOW we raise it that makes Avaaz such a powerful force for good in the world. Here’s four things that make us special:
  1. Avaaz members are in charge – we don’t take money (ever!) from government, foundations, corporations or large donors. Only our members are in charge of Avaaz, meaning we can fund high-impact work that is too risky for others, like our undercover wildlife stings!
  2. We get political to get things done — Our donations are not tax deductible — so we can get involved in politics, like campaigning in elections to help hope defeat hate.
  3. We’re lightning fast — We can raise a million dollars in hours, and spend it straight away, helping us save lives in places like Myanmar and Syria with hardly any bureaucratic delays.
  4. We give away millions — When a great idea to change the world needs funding, we make it happen. We’ve given away over 24 million dollars to those best placed to help us win — from funding scientific studies to buying a rainforest for orangutans.
Donations Pie Chart
Some people worry that the nonprofit sector can be wasteful and slow. But Avaaz moves at lightning speed. Our movement has won awards for its effectiveness, and our campaigns are held up all over the world as shining examples of people power in action.
When Nelson first shared his vision with the Avaaz team, of that Maasai-managed nature reserve — we knew right away that Avaazers would love it. Not just because brilliant ideas like these are infectious, but because the optimism and solidarity and generosity of this community is one truly remarkable constant in these crazy times.
Thank you, so much, to everyone in this movement, for being who you are, and doing what you do.
With respect and gratitude,
Ricken and the whole Avaaz team
PS. Let others know about the everyday magic the Avaaz community makes – share the video report back here!

Lithuanian parliament Russians to its ‘Magnitsky list’

The parliament of Lithuania, or the Seimas, has overwhelmingly adopted a resolution adding the names of 44 Russian citizens to its version of the ‘Magnitsky List.’ The Lithuanian Seimas, on November 16, unanimously adopted a bill similar to the US Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on Russian officials. The officials named in the Lithuanian act include Alexandr Bastrykin, the former Chairman of The Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office, along with judges Elena Stashina, Alexey Krivoruchko and Svetlana Ukhnaleva. 83 MPs voted for the new resolution, and only one abstained.

A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, Zero Net Carbon

Brookings India organised a private discussion with Muhammad Yunus on his new book A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, Zero Net Carbon Emissions, chaired by Brookings India Chairman Vikram Singh Mehta.
Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. Yunus chairs the Yunus Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a think tank for issues related to social business, working in the field of poverty alleviation and sustainability. The Yunus Centre focusses especially on social business.
In his new book, Muhammad Yunus offers his vision of an emerging new economic system that can save humankind and the planet. In the book Yunus declares it’s time to admit that the capitalist engine is broken, that in its current form it inevitably leads to rampant inequality, massive unemployment, and environmental destruction. A new economic system is needed that will unleash altruism as a creative force just as powerful as self-interest.
Key takeaways from the discussion were:
  1. Innovations in technology can have an impact in reducing inequality, however, innovators sometimes fail to grasp the total impact of their innovations leading to inequality. For example, Artificial Intelligence can make healthcare more affordable, but is instead being used to replace jobs.
  2. Businesses need not all be about making money, but also provide solutions to people’s problems. There is an increasing number of businesses interested in the development of social businesses.
  3. Innovations such as cryptocurrency and community finance have the possibility of helping unemployed youth identify new endeavours.
  4. Poverty is created by deficiencies in the system and not by the poor.

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