INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END OBSTETRIC FISTULA: MAY 23, 2017

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

May 23 is the United Nations’ (UN) International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, which promotes action towards treating and preventing obstetric fistula, a condition that affects many girls and women in developing countries.

Pregnant woman in rural Africa.
Pregnant women in developing countries need access to proper healthcare to avoid problems like obstetric fistula.
©iStockphoto.com/GomezDavid

Celebrate the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Fundraisers, media announcements and mobile van campaigns driven by health professionals are a few of many events and activities that promote the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Public Life

The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is a global observance and not a public holiday.

About the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labor without prompt medical intervention, such as a Caesarean section. An estimated 2 to 3 million women and girls in developing countries are living with obstetric fistula.

In 2003 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its partners launched the global Campaign to End Fistula, a collaborative initiative to prevent fistula and restore the health of those affected by the condition. In 2012, the UN announced that it would observe International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on May 23 each year, starting on 2013.

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Thu May 23 2013 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Fri May 23 2014 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Sat May 23 2015 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Mon May 23 2016 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Tue May 23 2017 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Wed May 23 2018 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Thu May 23 2019 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance
Sat May 23 2020 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula United Nations observance

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INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: MAY 22, 2017

International Day for Biological Diversity

On May 22, 1992, the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted by the of the United Nations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2001, the International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated each year on the anniversary of this date.

International Day for Biological Diversity
The International Day for Biological Diversity raises awareness about preserving endangered habitats.
©iStockphoto.com/Terraxplorer

What Do People Do?

A wide range of events are organized globally to increase the understanding of the important role of biodiversity in our future. Celebrations are organized by: the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which forms part of the United Nations Environmental Programme; many national governments; and a range of non-governmental organizations.

Activities include:

  • Translating booklets, leaflets and other educational resources into local languages.
  • Distributing information on biodiversity via schools, colleges, universities, newspapers, radio and television.
  • Exhibitions and seminars for students, professionals and the general public.
  • Showings of movies on environmental issues.
  • Presentations of programs to preserve endangered species or habitats.
  • Planting trees and other plants that help prevent erosion.

Politicians may also give speeches on local environmental issues and other events may include competitions for children and young people to take photographs or create artwork centered on the annual theme of the day.

Public Life

The International Day for Biological Diversity is an observance and not a public holiday.

Background

In 1992 state and government leaders agreed on a strategy for sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as “The Earth Summit”, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sustainable development is a way to meet the needs of people all over the world and ensuring that planet earth remains healthy and viable for future generations. One of the most important agreements reached during the Earth Summit was the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Convention on Biological Diversity came into force on December 29, 1993, and each anniversary of this date was designated the International Day for Biological Diversity. From 2001 onwards the date of this celebration was moved to May 22 due to the number of holidays that fell in late December. On this date in 1992, the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at a United Nations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Each year, the International Day for Biodiversity focuses on a particular theme. Recently, the themes have been: Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation (2003); Biodiversity: Food, Water and Health for All (2004); Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World (2005); Protect Biodiversity in Drylands (2006); and Biodiversity and Climate Change (2007); and Biodiversity and Agriculture (2008).

Symbols

The International Day for Biological Diversity is part of a series of activities to focus attention on the Convention on Biological Diversity. The symbol of this convention is a stylized image of a twig or branch with three green leaves. Depending on the background, the leaves may be just outlines or green blocks. Each year a piece of artwork is commissioned to reflect the theme. Details of the artwork are used as symbols for different aspects of the International Day for Biological Diversity.

International Day for Biological Diversity Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Sat May 22 2010 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Sun May 22 2011 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Tue May 22 2012 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Wed May 22 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Thu May 22 2014 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Fri May 22 2015 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Sun May 22 2016 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Mon May 22 2017 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Tue May 22 2018 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Wed May 22 2019 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance
Fri May 22 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity United Nations observance

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 5-21-2017

STANLEY GREENE, TELLER OF UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS

Stanley Greene. Credit Goran Galic

Stanley Greene, whose visceral and brutally honest images of conflict and his fearlessness in the most perilous of places made him one of the leading war photographers of his generation, died on Friday in Paris. He was 68.

A founding member of the photographer-owned agency Noor Images, Mr. Greene, who lived in Paris, had been treated for liver cancer for several years, associates said.

Mr. Greene was one of the few African-American photographers who worked internationally. He traveled widely, making powerful images of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the republics of Chechnya and Georgia, among other places. Some pictures were too raw for many publications.

“You want to sit there comfortably with your newspaper and blueberry muffin, and you don’t want to see pictures that are going to upset your morning,” Mr. Greene said in a 2010 interview with the Lens blog of The New York Times. “That is the job of a journalist, to upset your morning.”

Mr. Greene’s commitment to telling the unvarnished truth extended to his assessments of the ethical questions facing photojournalism. He railed against the use of computer programs like Photoshop to alter the scenes of news images, a practice that he said turned photos into “cartoons.” And he scorned photographers who staged images in an attempt to recreate a missed moment after arriving late to a news scene.

“We have to be ambassadors of the truth,” he told Lens in 2015. “We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, because the public no longer trusts the media. We are considered merchants of misery and therefore get a bad rap.”

Mr. Greene had once aspired to be a painter, like Matisse, or a musician, like Jimi Hendrix, but he discovered his true instrument the first time he picked up a camera, he told Michael Kamber in the 2010 Lens interview. Mr. Kamber, a former conflict photographer himself and the author of “Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories From Iraq,” compared Mr. Greene to a jazz musician.

Slide Show

 

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Stanley Greene, Teller of Uncomfortable Truths, Dies at 68

CreditStanley Greene/Noor

“Stanley is like the Charles Mingus of photography,” Mr. Kamber, the founder of the Bronx Documentary Center, said in an interview this week. “Stanley is about his heart, his emotions and his feelings. His photos are very impressionistic, like a stream of consciousness.”

Aleppo, 2013. Credit Stanley Greene/Noor

The younger Mr. Greene had a “somewhat privileged yet traumatic childhood,” said his longtime friend Jules Allen. “There was a loneliness there that was insatiable, but he was blessed enough to at least partially deal with his pain through photography.”

As a teenager, Mr. Greene joined the Black Panthers and was active in the antiwar movement. His dreams of becoming a painter gave way to photography, and he was encouraged in that pursuit by the renowned photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.

In the 1970s, Mr. Allen and Mr. Greene shared a darkroom and a studio in San Francisco while Mr. Greene studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. Some of his early work was published in “The Western Front,” a book that chronicled the city’s punk music scene in the 1970s and ’80s.

A woman holding a gun. Chechnya. Credit Stanley Greene/Noor

Mr. Greene worked as a fashion photographer in the 1980s and moved to Paris, where he later joined the Vu photo agency. He worked extensively in Africa and the former Soviet Union. He was the only Western photographer in Russia’s White House in 1993 during an attempted coup against the president, Boris Yeltsin. Trapped inside, amid shelling and gunfire, Mr. Greene continued to photograph throughout the building, capturing two images that received World Press Photo awards.

An injured person carried on a stretcher in Moscow during a military clash between then President Boris Yeltsin of Russia and the vice president, Aleksandr Rutskoyi. Credit Stanley Greene/Noor

“Though I’m bombarded by young photographers who ask me how to become a conflict photographer, I tell them, ‘Get a life,’” he wrote in “Black Passport.” “If they persist, I tell them about the consequences. I tell them there is no glory.”

At the end of “Black Passport,” Mr. Greene reflected on the centrality of storytelling to the human experience. Wars are fought, he said, because people have different views of the same story.

“Photography is my language and it gives me the power to tell what otherwise is not told,” he said. “Eugene Smith told me vision is a gift, and you have to give something back. He haunts me like that. It’s not the bang-bang that compels me. It never was. At the end of the day it is not about death, it is about life.

“The quest is to try to understand why human beings behave the way they do,” he continued. “The question is, How does this happen? And sometimes, the only way to find out is to go to where it is happening. One day the neighbors are talking to each other over the fence, and the next they are shooting at each other. Why is it that we don’t consider life precious, and instead we literally let it drip through our fingers?”

SOURCE

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IAN BRADY, UNREPENTANT KILLER OF BRITISH CHILDREN

Ian Brady in police custody. Credit William H. Alden/Getty Images

LONDON — Ian Brady, whose murders of five children in the company of his lover horrified Britons and were viewed by generations as the distillate of evil, died on Monday night at a high-security psychiatric hospital in Liverpool, England. He was 79.

Julie Crompton, a spokeswoman for the facility, Ashworth Hospital, confirmed his death there. No cause was given. The Associated Press reported that at a court hearing in February, lawyers said Mr. Brady had been bedridden for the last couple of years and that it was “fair to say” he was terminally ill with emphysema and other ailments.

His accomplice, Myra Hindley, died at 60 in a hospital in November 2002. Despite appeals for parole, she was never released from prison.

Mr. Brady and his lover, Myra Hindley, became known as the Moors Murderers. Credit Greater Manchester Police, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Brady, who went on a hunger strike in 1999 and was force-fed on the orders of judges who had ruled him mentally ill, never expressed remorse for the killings, some of them involving beatings, torture and sexual abuse. He had been held at the psychiatric hospital since 1985.

Jailed for life in 1966, the couple were known as the Moors Murderers, a headline writers’ sobriquet derived from their practice of burying their victims on Saddleworth Moor, a remote and hilly area near Manchester, in northwest England. The BBC once called them “British society’s benchmark for evil.”

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The Moors Murders: A Notorious Couple and Their Young Prey

The details of the case, how Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were caught, and who their victims were.

EXPLORE Feature

At the time of their arrest, in 1965, only three bodies had been found. One murder in particular, that of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, evoked rage and revulsion when it was discovered that the killers had made a tape-recording of her pleading for her life and photographed her naked, bound and gagged. Her body was found in a shallow grave with her clothes at her feet. The recording was played in court.

The pair preyed on unaccompanied young people from July 1963 to October 1965, abducting them near a dance hall, from an open market and from a fairground. Their trial judge, Fenton Atkinson, described Mr. Brady as “wicked beyond belief, without hope of redemption.”

Mr. Brady published a book about serial killers in 2001. Credit Feral House

Addressing readers in the book, Mr. Brady wrote: “You will presently discover that this work is not an apologia. Why should it? To whom should I apologize, and what difference would it make to anyone? You contain me till death in a concrete box that measures only eight by ten and you expect remorse as well? Remorse is a purely personal matter, not a circus performance.”

While he initially went by the surname Stewart, he changed it to Brady when he moved from Scotland to Manchester to live with his mother and a stepfather, Patrick Brady. As a child he was described by teachers as having above-average intelligence but as lazy and prone to misbehavior.

His teenage years were marked by a series of brushes with the law on charges of house breaking and burglary, leading to his detention both in prison and in young offenders’ facilities. There he developed a close and abiding interest in the works of Hitler and the Marquis de Sade.

Mr. Brady and Ms. Hindley met when they were both working at a small chemicals company in Manchester, she as a typist and he as a stock clerk. Ms. Hindley later depicted herself as having been in thrall to Mr. Brady, who, she said after they were sentenced, had beaten and blackmailed her.

Writing from prison in 2000, he disputed that version of their relationship. “Myra is a chameleon, who simply reflects whatever she believes will please the person she is addressing,” he wrote in a letter to Liverpool-based journalists, after seeing a BBC program in which Ms. Hindley said she had been “overwhelmed by Brady’s powerful personality.”

Mr. Brady several years before his arrest. Credit Mirrorpix, via Getty Images

“She can kill in cold blood or rage,” Mr. Brady said. “In that respect we were an inexorable force.”

At trial, they claimed innocence. Mr. Brady was found guilty of killing John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. Ms. Hindley was found guilty of murdering Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. She was also convicted of sheltering Mr. Brady after the killing of John Kilbride.

The couple later confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade, whose body was found on Saddleworth Moor, and Keith Bennett, 12, whose remains have never been found; Mr. Brady ignored calls by the boy’s family to reveal where the body was buried.

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THE MIND OF THE RACIST WHITE SUPREMACIST: “LOVERS”, BY ERNEST CRICHLOW

 

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WORLD DAY FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY FOR DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT: MAY 21, 2017

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is annually held on May 21 to help people learn about the importance of cultural diversity and harmony.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is a chance for people to celebrate cultural diversity and harmony.
©iStockphoto.com/skynesher

What Do People Do?

Various events are organized to increase the understanding of issues around cultural diversity and development among governments, non-governmental organizations and the public. Many of these include presentations on the progress of implementing the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

Events include:

  • Seminars for professionals.
  • Educational programs for children and young adolescents.
  • The launch of collaborations between official agencies and ethnic groups.
  • Exhibitions to help people understand the history of various cultural groups and the influence on their own identities.
  • Celebrations to create greater awareness of cultural values and the need to preserve them.

The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development tends to be marked in countries that embraced their varied cultural history and acknowledged the importance of embracing it.

Public Life

The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is an observance and not a public holiday.

Background

The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in Paris, France, on November 2, 2001. It was the 249th resolution adopted at the 57th session of the United Nations General Conference. Although the declaration was the culmination of years of work, it was adopted in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. This reaffirmed the need for intercultural dialogue to prevent segregation and fundamentalism.

The year 2002 was the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage. At the end of that year, on December 20, 2002, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The General Assembly emphasized links between the protection of cultural diversity and the importance of dialogue between civilizations in the modern world. The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was first observed in 2003.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Fri May 21 2010 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Sat May 21 2011 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Mon May 21 2012 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Tue May 21 2013 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Wed May 21 2014 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Thu May 21 2015 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Sat May 21 2016 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Sun May 21 2017 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Mon May 21 2018 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Tue May 21 2019 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance
Thu May 21 2020 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development United Nations observance

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WORLD INFORMATION SOCIETY DAY: MAY 17, 2017

World Information Society Day

World Information Society Day is celebrated each year on 17 May to remind the world of the vision of the World Summit on the Information Society to build “a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society” based on fundamental human rights.

Woman and man using mobile phones
World Information Society Day aims to alert people about how information and communication can help improve societies worldwide.
©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

What Do People Do?

World Information Society Day promotes people’s awareness of the power of information and communication to build societies in which they can create, access, use and share information and knowledge to achieve their full potential. Organizations such as UNESCO actively take part in the day by inviting people to engage in various activities to promote campaigns centered on this event.

Public Life

World Information Society Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

The annual observance of World Telecommunication Day, which marks the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865, drew attention to the work of ITU and the challenges of global communication.  In March 2006, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 17 as World Information Society Day to recognize the efforts made to advance communication and ITU’s role in helping people connect around the world. The UN’s first World Information Society Day took place on Wednesday, 17 May 2006.

Prior to World Information Society Day, World Telecommunication Day, which was first held in 1969, was celebrated on May 17 by people and organizations such as ITU. Many now refer to this day as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, taking into account the UN’s observance of World Information Society Day. The purpose of this observance is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the internet and other information and communication technologies could bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

Symbols

UNESCO has not allocated a specific symbol for the day, although it uses images of modern information and communication technologies to portray the importance of the day.

World Information Society Day Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Mon May 17 2010 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Tue May 17 2011 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Thu May 17 2012 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Fri May 17 2013 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Sat May 17 2014 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Sun May 17 2015 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Tue May 17 2016 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Wed May 17 2017 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Thu May 17 2018 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Fri May 17 2019 World Information Society Day United Nations observance
Sun May 17 2020 World Information Society Day United Nations observance

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SKYWATCH: BRIGHT SUPERNOVA DISCOVERED, MEET VALKYRIE, NASA’S SPACE ROBOT, AND MORE

LATEST NEWS

Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s Space Robot

Sky & Telescope
In just a month, teams will guide this 300-pound, 6-foot-tall humanoid robot in a series of simulated trials as part of NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge. Read more…

Road Tripping Space: Visiting Meteorites in Africa

Sky & Telescope
Did you know you can sleep in a 2-billion-year old crater? S&T Contributing Editor Govert Schilling recounts his meteorite adventures in Africa. Read more…

Astronomers Discover Magnetic Bridge Between Magellanic Clouds

Sky & Telescope
A magnetic field appears to span the space between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, the two dwarf galaxies being consumed by our Milky Way Galaxy. Read more…

OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 19 – 27

Sky & Telescope
Look east in early dawn Tuesday morning for Venus with the waning crescent Moon, as shown here. And can you make out Mercury yet? (In these scenes, the Moon is always shown three times its actual apparent size.) Read more…

Bright Supernova Discovered in “Fireworks Galaxy” NGC 6946

Sky & Telescope
A brand new supernova in NGC 6946 is bright enough to see in modest-sized telescopes. Here’s how to find it. Read more…

Gobs of Globs — Tour 16 Spring Globular Clusters

Sky & Telescope
Chandeliers of the galaxy, these distant stellar swarms fire our sense of wonder. Hop on and we’ll tour 16 of season’s finest globular clusters! Read more…

Tour May’s Sky: Big Dipper Leads the Way

Sky & Telescope
Listen to May’s astronomy podcast to learn why the Big Dipper is the “Swiss Army Knife” of the late-spring northern sky. Tune in…

COMMUNITY

S&T‘s Adventures in Chile

Sky & Telescope
Sky & Telescope‘s third tour to this astronomical paradise in South America wowed its participants day and night. Read more…

Fred Espenak Webinar: Advanced Eclipse Imaging

Sky & Telescope
Want to take your eclipse-photography experience to the next level? Get tips on advanced techniques from Fred Espenak, a.k.a. “Mr. Eclipse,” during S&T‘s live webinar on Tuesday, May 23rd. Read more…

Meet Steve, the Friendly Neighborhood Aurora

Sky & Telescope
The story of Steve, the mysterious pink-ribbon aurora, shows how citizen scientists are making important contributions to research and discovery. (Photo credit: Sherri Grant) Read more…

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