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OpEd: Why The Arctic Ocean Must Be Quarantined

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#PARVATIFOUNDATION – Our world has come to an unprecedented pause in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Doctors call it a “novel” coronavirus, which means that it is new to our population and none of us has immunity to it. The cost in human lives and the widespread havoc it wreaks is consuming our news cycle. But what many of us don’t realize is that our world has a ticking time bomb of pathogens, all of which would be “novel” to us, if released. For the sake of our collective future, we must keep them under ice.

The Arctic Ocean does not only keep our planet cool through the albedo effect, when its white ice reflects the sun’s heat away from the planet. It keeps the local permafrost, with its payload of pathogens, frozen. Within the ice and permafrost of the Arctic region are bacteria and viruses that have been kept dormant for millennia. But the ice is melting. Sections of the Arctic Ocean are now 4C too hot. Up to 95% of the summer ice is gone. And scientists have proven that frozen Arctic viruses as old as 30,000 years can be reactivated.

The warning shot was fired in 2016, when an anthrax outbreak was traced to the frozen carcass of a reindeer that died over 75 years ago and thawed in the summer heat. It tore through a herd of 2000 reindeer, took the life of a 12-year-old-boy, and required the hospitalization of dozens of others. If this trend continues, infections from time immemorial could re-emerge to devastate a world no longer immune. 

MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, is a medical mask that keeps everyone around the globe safe from these frozen pathogens. However, today, the Arctic Ocean is under unprecedented threat from melting and from exploitation that breaks up the ice and inhibits its regrowth: shipping, commercial fishing, oil exploration, and military activity. To protect our global immunity, we must put the Arctic Ocean in quarantine now. We are seeing today the deadly consequences of delay in clamping down to prevent disease.

MAPS declares the entire Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle an international peace park free from all forms of exploitation. Not only does it protect our planet’s air conditioner. Not only does it create a secure habitat for vulnerable species in a time that scientists say we must protect half the planet in order to prevent mass extinction. Not only does it safeguard 17 kinds of whales, who play an essential role in the ocean providing us half the oxygen we breathe. MAPS is urgently needed if we want to keep pandemics from becoming the new normal.

Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd says, “The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary must continue to hold the massive reserves of restless methane within its quiet lonely bosom where sleeping viruses remain safely captive. From the dark boreal forests to the groaning of the shifting floes, there is the constant whispering reminder that this stark and desolate world is the key to our survival.”

The all-volunteer international charity Parvati Foundation originated MAPS and is in dialogue with all nation leaders to sign the MAPS Treaty immediately. This Treaty updates the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to ensure the Arctic Ocean is given the protection our whole world needs now more than ever. Two nations have already signed.

Parvati Foundation’s founder and CEO, the award-winning Canadian musician and author Parvati, says, “COVID-19 is an urgent reminder of the ways we are all interconnected. What each of us does affects everyone else. We must heed the wake-up call to protect our collective future with MAPS now.”

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

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Crime

Amnesty International Canada says China Hacked them

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#Canada, December 8, 2022 – A human rights organization out of Canada, Amnesty International, is accusing China of sponsoring a hacking attempt on their servers and cautioning other human rights groups.  Amnesty International made the revelation on Dec 5th, describing it as a ‘sophisticated digital security breach believed to be sponsored by the Chinese state.”

The human rights organization says they first detected the breach a month prior on October 5, when suspicious activity was spotted on Amnesty’s IT infrastructure.  Forensic investigators and cyber security experts were hired to protect the organization and to investigate.

Amnesty said it was told, based on expert investigation, behaviors, which are consistent with those associated with Chinese cyberespionage threat groups were found and “a threat group sponsored or tasked by the Chinese state” was likely behind the attack.

“As an organization advocating for human rights globally, we are very aware that we may be the target of state-sponsored attempts to disrupt or surveil our work.  These will not intimidate us and the security and privacy of our activists, staff, donors, and stakeholders remain our utmost priority,” they said.

The rights group said it was speaking publicly about the attack to caution other human rights defenders on the rising threat of digital security breaches and ‘strongly condemns state and non-state actors intent on interfering with the work of human rights and other civil society organizations.’

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News

Volodimir Zelensky is TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year

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By Dana Malcom

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A person, idea or object that has done the most to influence the events of the year, for better or for worse is what TIME magazine’s Person of the Year issue features every December, this year in video footage shared by TIME along with the article, that person is dressed in a nondescript green parka; surrounded by taller men as he is you could almost miss him.

The only one without a helmet or vest in his party, he makes his way over to a group of people waiting for him, phones in hand and draped in Ukrainian flags, with smiles they reach for him and with a tearful smile he pushes through his bodyguards and reaches back.

Volodimir Zelensky,  President of Ukraine along with what TIME is describing The Spirit of Ukraine, have been designated TIME’s Person of the Year 2022.

They  join the likes of Elon Musk, Greta Thunberg, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The list is as it said, for better or worse.

Like them Zelensky has become somewhat of a household name as has Ukraine; unlike them he has seen his country laid to ruin in the last 10 months. Between 6,000 and 32,000 of his civilian constituents have been killed; millions more have fled as the country does its best to hold off Russian advances.

The president told TIME reporter Simon Shuster how the long rides between suffering areas in Ukraine on his small train are the only times he gets to read and when he does he reads about other wartime leaders, comedians and authors.

Zelensky, is a former comedian himself and this year, he has been to a lot of places.

From EU conferences to the Oscars all virtually of course, the world has been exposed to his face and his speeches. Back in May he was featured alongside Mia Mottley, Joe Roegan, Joe Biden and Ketanji Brown Jackson as one of the most influential politicians of the year in Times 100.

Also included in that list, Vladimir Putin the man leading the charge against Ukraine who has repeatedly referred to Zelensky as a “Nazi.”

Putin has not quite succeeded in convincing his own people of Zelinsky’s dangerousness.  Russians continue to protest the war and Russian mothers organize anti-war meetings.

TIME said he was recognized “For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defense of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy.”

The Ukrainian president, lauded for his bravery, has become a symbol of hope for Ukranians and worldwide, evidenced by the award.

There’s no telling how long the war will drag on and how long the country leader will have to hold his post, but countries like Canada, Britain and the US have sworn to back him for as long as it takes.

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