NUCLEAR ENERGY: DECIDE WHICH SIDE YOU’RE ON

By Arthur Gris, France

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Nuclear power will help provide the electricity that our growing economy needs without increasing emissions. This is truly an environmentally responsible source of energy.” assured American politician Michael Burgess, while former Finnish President Tarja Halonen warned “Nuclear power is not a miracle key for the future.”. People have been arguing about nuclear power since its creation in the 1940s, until today in 2017. And we’re pretty sure that it will last forever whatever happens. If it stays like this, the debate will remain the same as the pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear will keep on arguing, and if nuclear power is banned, it’s very likely to see the pro-nuclear continue to argue to get it back.

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The aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, 1945.

After its well-known and controversial use in the 1940s with the 2 atomic bombs in Japan which made approximately 250,000 victims, the nuclear power were used in the next decade to offer a brighter and peaceful future designed for the development of new technologies. In the 50s, people saw in the atomic power the actual key to the future. However, we soon learned the limit of that extraordinary power as it was expansive and complicated to maintain. That is when it became really disputed with on one hand industries that preferred to keep going with the traditional sources of power (such as gas, coal and oil) that were in their opinion more reliable and cheaper, and on the other hand those who wanted this power because of its plentiful of positive aspects.

The nuclear power reached its highest peak during the oil wars that started in the 70s and which caused oil prices to shoot up, leading to more and more investments in the atomic power: more than half of all the nuclear reactors were built between 1970 and 1985. Since then, what made this power controversial were mainly the catastrophes such as the Chernobyl one in 1986 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011 which both caused casualties when and after the accidents happened due to the mortal and extremely expandable radioactivity.

Nowadays, the nuclear plants are getting old though new ones are planned for the next years in some countries, mainly developing. The situation faced today by those “nuclear countries” is whether spend money to make their nuclear plants brand new with the latest technologies, or move towards other kind of power.

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The “cons” of this power are well known and are the reasons why it’s so controversial and why people are protesting. One of them is the fact that developing nuclear power can lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons. These kinds of weapons, owned by both enemy nations are often said to be the cause of a 3rd world war. But a war with nuclear weapons on both sides would be an unseen massacre in the history of humanity and for the earth too. A less scary yet worrying situation is the pollution due to the nuclear rejections and wastes coming from the nuclear plants. We still don’t know what to do with it, and bury them in the soil of the earth is not a good and durable solution even though it is very little compared to greenhouse gasses and rejections and waste from the regular sources of energy. Lastly, the major accidents we seen had a radioactive spreading that was very serious and certainly the cause of cancer for the individuals located in many kilometers square around the area. In the most famous case of Chernobyl, the catastrophe will cause about 270 000 cancers (93 000 fatal) within 70 years, according to Greenpeace.

The “pros” however, are often ignored by most of people. They can be divided into two main points. At first, NASA scientists demonstrated that it is cleaner than the gases that fossil fuels produce. Which means that, in a way, there are a lot more deaths due to the fossil energy exploitation, but when people died because of the nuclear energies its mainly due to the catastrophes mentioned earlier in the article which always have a great impact in people’s minds. Actually, the NASA scientist said that in 2009, 1.8 million deaths have been prevented thanks to the nuclear energy replacing other kind of energy.

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Fuel needed to power a lightbulb, nuclear is clearly the less consuming energy.

Second, the new technologies which will be used to rebuild the old nuclear plants will reduce a lot the risks of such disasters. If countries invest in those specific fields of technologies, they might be able to control the risks and use nuclear power instead of poisonous fossil energies. Yes, the aftermaths of the nuclear catastrophes are terrible and are what is frightening and repulsive to people regarding nuclear energy, but since there has been already not a lot of such catastrophes in the past 50 years with the old technologies, the newest being more secure might stop or prevent any catastrophes. It definitely looks like the best solution to produce energy, only before we can fully produce only with renewable energies (in 40 years in the best scenarios, according to experts).

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So…                                 Is it good?                                                                       Is it bad?

What Happen in the “Jungle” of Calais

 

 

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Calais is a town in the north of France. Since 2009 migrants from Syria, horn of Africa, Sudan have been living in a big encampment. Because of the many wars, now this population searches for a better life in the UK. Many living in this camp attempt to illegally enter into the United Kingdom via the Port of Calais or the Eurotunnel by stowing away on lorries, ferries, cars, or trains traveling to the UK.

The Calais “Jungle” is the name according to the local activist NGO, Calais Migrant Solidarity. The name “jungle” is a translation of a Pashto language word “dzhangal” which means forest.

 

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The encampment in Calais was growing year after year and now 6400 migrants live in the Jungle of Calais. It became the biggest shantytown in France, and the life became the worst and unhealthy for themselves. Now the questions arise, how to manage the growing population?  How to set up a safe infrastructure and for everybody?

 

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The French government promised to find a solution and since the 26 October 2016 the Jungle of Calais was destroyed and the migrants were moved  to a different part of France in home centers (CAD), except the Corsica and the department France island (Paris) because there are already many migrants. Each is different. These are often local associations that are mandated to manage the center. The state, for each incoming migrant CAD gives 25 euros per day approximately. This allows the host to feed and help her asylum application. This is the case for 80% of incoming CAD.

Further they can benefit from the allowance for asylum seekers (ADA), a premium of 6-7 euros per day, which will allows them to cover their needs that are not supported by the center where they will be welcomed.

But is it enough? A lot of migrants want to go to the UK and don’t stay in the CAD. How will the French government be held accountable?

Louis LAURENT – France

 

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by Mattis Bieg, Germany

Currently in negotiations the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement with the aim to strengthen and boost the US economy and the member nations of the European Union. The supporters of the partnership are claiming that the trade agreement will result in the creation of millions of jobs for American and European citizens; furthermore, they assert it could have a positive impact on the economy of the EU and the USA. According to the European Commission, the partnership could boost the economy by at least 90 billion dollars just for the USA. However critics believe that big corporations will exclusively profit from the partnership and the positive effects on families and private households won’t compensate the disadvantages in sectors such as environmental protection, consumer protection and food safety acts. In addition, the negotiations between the USA and the EU are criticized for being undemocratic and for haggling behind closed doors without including the public in the decision making process.

The TTIP should be publicly discussed if it is morally defendable to support a trade agreement which could result in the expansion of an already immense wealth gap. According to the book Capital by Thomas Piketty the imbalance will result in a decreasing economic potential for both parties. Furthermore, TTIP strengthens social injustice and the exploitation of minorities and workers in the low-paid sector and the creation of a justice system independent from domestic laws for big companies who will then be able to sue countries via international arbitrations for a potential loss of profit due to domestic consumer protection laws or environmental protection laws.

To ensure that the interests of the US and EU economies as well as big corporations are represented in the negotiations, the leading US negotiators are mostly former lobbyists. For example, Michael Froman, trade representative for the USA and chief negotiator of TTIP, was paid four million dollars by his former employer to take on this task. Other examples are Islam Siddiqui who is a former lobbyist of Crop Life which is representing establishments like Bayer, BASF and Monsanto, or Robert Holleyman who has been an Apple and Microsoft lobbyist for over 20 years. But the EU is no better. Even though there are over 15,000 lobbyists working in Brussels, the negotiators of the EU still thought it would be necessary to have over 520 meetings with neoliberal-related lobbyists.

Perhaps the influence of the lobbyists isn’t a problem at all, because there is at least the potential that those companies involved won’t act selfishly or only focus on their own interests. Lobbyists for example possess an advanced knowledge about finances and management; these skills have been used by the Swiss government to budget the building of the world’s longest tunnel and to stick to the time schedule, which was a complete success. Additionally not all lobbyists are related to finance and business, some of them work for social organizations like the Human Rights Watch, the Freedom House or even the ICRC.

So what could be the other consequences of TTIP? Positive effects of TTIP would be the creation of a strong trade union, which could protect the members of this union from a potential global economic crisis. Other benefits are surely the reduction of beurocratism and the unnecessary costs of domestic customs for export and import. Furthermore, trade with foreign countries who ratified TTIP will be far easier than current conditions. In addition, TTIP will lead to the cultural exchange of goods.

The trading partnership will definitely have an impact on consumer protection, environment protection and worker’s rights. In those cases, the effects will be especially negative for the EU, due to the fact that they have stricter and more diverse laws and restrictions. One just needs to take a look at the list of prohibited chemical and biological substances; of the 1,300 forbidden substances in the EU, only 11 are forbidden in the USA. For example, asbestos (used in the shipbuilding and construction industry), which was clearly and without any doubt declared as a threat to health and a carcinogen, is still commonly used in plenty of goods in the USA. Furthermore, the USA has only ratified two out of eight ILO-norms (International Labor Organization) which would be forced labor and child labor in its worst forms. Obviously this doesn’t mean that the USA is one of the worst countries regarding workers rights, because countries like Syria have ratified all ILO-norms and Iran five of eight, and surely the people there don’t have more workers rights than the people in the USA. However, this kind of behavior illustrates a certain attitude towards the lack of protection of workers in the USA. For example 25 states in the USA have special Right-to-work-laws which restrict the funding of labor unions and worker councils. An example of this would be the Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama which is the only factory of Mercedes worldwide without a committeeman.  In addition, there are countless further cases of egoistic and immoral behavior by international businesses. A great example would be the Canadian establishment, Gabriel Resources, which focuses on the mining of gold in Romania. Romania and Canada signed a trading partnership to protect the interests of companies and investors. However Gabriel Resources is currently suing the state of Romania for prohibiting the project due to the planned use of cyanide during mining, which is against the environmental laws of the EU, to which Romania is applying for a membership. Cyanide is also called a ticking bomb due to the fact that it is highly toxic and even deadly. Further examples for this controversy would be the lawsuit against Estonia for regulating its financial institutions or Uruguay for labeling cigarettes with health warnings. In general this wouldn’t be a problem if the case was held in front of a domestic judge, but those cases are fought in front of international arbitrators, whose lawyers and judges are often selected by the businesses themselves. In addition there is no inclusion of third-parties or witnesses if one of the partners doesn’t agree.

Considering all this information, the negotiation procedure has to be changed in order to include the public and to prevent secret unwritten agreements with the aim to loosen regulations in favor of big companies. Furthermore, the discussion about hard-won workers’ rights, as well as the preparation to introduce a parallel justice system for globalized companies, has to be put to an end to fulfill the aim of serving the citizens and providing them benefits through the TTIP deal. If they conform to the requirements, TTIP is more likely to make a positive change in our daily lives, improve the economy and to strengthen the USA and the EU, if they don’t protect the workers and citizens it will have disastrous impacts on our societies.

Cartoons:

TTIP cartoon 1TTIP cartoon 2

Recommendations:

  • Thank You for Smoking (2005, USA)
  • Why the Deadly Asbestos Industry Is Still Alive and Well (Vice Reports)
  • TTIP-leaks (Greenpeace, Netherlands)
  • TTIP (Vice Reports)

 

racism

~Johannes Enz von Leitner, Hannover/Germany

ˈrāˌsizəm/

noun

  1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
    • prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

“a program to combat racism”

synonyms: racial discrimination, racialism, racial prejudice, xenophobia,chauvinismbigotrycasteism

“Aborigines are the main victims of racism in Australia

 

Racism is commonly known by everybody as insulting minorities with prejudice in dumb and silly ways often executed by people with lower education levels and from a more isolated social background. But why do we have to think about racism daily and why do we have to read about racism and racial crimes so often in the newspapers?

Nowadays racism should be outdated and should not exist anymore, because the world today is globalized and modern and should know better. Of course, there are differences in different ethnicities by culture, religion, or certain habits in educating or raising of children and the youth, which we cannot be erased, but do we have to judge people over these simple criterions, like origin and religion? Racism is often against black people, or Muslims, Jews, Turkish people, or even people from other larger countries.People in Europe are prejudiced against people from the USA or from Asia as they have different views and expectations of us European nations and people originating there.

Maybe we can’t change racism because it is deeply rooted in the world’s history,racism2but we have to work harder to make a difference, at least for our children. We shouldn’t have to have racism in a modern and connected world. The internet has a big impact fighting racism by providing everybody with the same rights and possibilities, the ‘judge’ in the internet is the computer, and it doesn’t care if you are black or white, if you are Mexican or American, or about your language. That is the bright side.The opposite of this is that you can simply be very racist and hide yourself through anonymity and not recieve any punishment. It is like many parts in the modern world, on the one side we try to improve our political correctness, but on the other side, I had a lesson yesterday making jokes about political correctness and how people possibly can only screw it up, being “pc”. You cannot say one sentence without hurting someone if you are talking to overly sensitive people or there can be groups who are amused by racist jokes, whilst of course not meaning any harm by laughing about, “the Negro thief”, or “the banker Jew”…

There is a difference between racism and discrimination, in the way that discrimination is gong even further. Racism is a mindset and often can’t be changed easily. Discrimination occurs if a person with that mindset is in control/in charge and has the opportunity to lead or influence the group. Discriminating people is the act of excluding people because of their origin or because of certain customs or appearance.

In sports, they guard against racism, in the German Bundesliga (soccer league) they do advertisements against racism and stand together with the whole European soccer bound to fight racism, because in soccer or in sports in total there is no racism. You get rated by your skills and talent so you can get anywhere with hardworking! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ-63TwoL1g racism3

There are two sides to the whole racism debate and there are many people being overly sensitive and easily offended by any slightest overtone, but they have a point in talking about it and you have to tell people if their insulting comments are too much, otherwise they will never learn. So at every opportunity avoid sticky situations by not making jokes or hints in this direction, but don’t forget about bias by not talking about it! In any circumstance do not forget to talk about racism with your friends or your family; people won’t know if you never tell them! And ignorance is not the right cure, talk openly and tell them when you feel offended, otherwise nothing will change.

We all have to work together to eliminate racism in our future and world!racism4

 

Europe in Political and Economic Trouble

by Dominik

Some people speak about the third world war! Since 2010 Europe has very serious problems. There are many different problems, for example, the Ukraine-Russia war, the problem with the refugees, the terrorism-problem and the disintegration of the European Union.

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The problem with the refugees and terrorism are connected because of the war in Iraq and Syria. It is in these two countries where many terrorism organizations, for example Al Qaida, IS/ISIS, Boko Haram and Ansar al-Scharia, they fighting for control and causing there peaceful citizens to flee. Because of these organizations, many refugees come to Europe. 13Angela Merkel said in an interview that the refugees are welcome in Europe, but actually she spoke only for Germany. She is not the ‘’President of Europe,’’ but sometimes she thinks  that. Now she is in trouble and the countries in Europe don’t want to host the refugees. France, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Macedonia, Hungary …… so many countries have closed their borders. Germany is now alone with this problem!

 

I think Europe is in grave trouble and the EU is starting to collapse from the weight of the economic burden and destabilization of the way of life.16 It will cause crises and I am afraid the problems are too great to solve. First Europe should close the borders to new refugees and hopefully our economies will recover.  

2016 U.S.A. Presidential Elections

Luis Rafael Vernaza/ Ecuador

In 2015, the new presidential election started, which is now known as a controversial subject, since it has some interesting candidates that are either supported or completely ignored. In my opinion, I support the Democrats because they are not as extreme as the Republicans, and are actually giving illegal immigrants a chance to improve their lives.

One example of a Republican candidate is billionaire Donald Trump, who has gained the donald trumpsupport of most Republican followers and the dislike of most Democrats , as well as many Latinos. He has some rather unusual propositions, like building a wall that separates Mexico from the US, a wall which, as he puts it, will be made with the Mexican Government’s money. He also wants to deport all illegal immigrants, most of whom are Latinos, by also deporting their anchor babies, who were born in the US.

hillary clintonA candidate from the Democratic Party is Hillary Clinton. I believe that she could bring order to this country because her husband is ex-president Bill Clinton, which means that she was a First Lady, and already has some experience in politics. She has also recently stated that the US will help Europe in the recent Belgium terrorist attack. In the end, I hope that a democratic candidate eventually wins the elections because I believe they are what this country needs.