July 2022 Newsletter Newsletter

Good and Bad News around the World – July Update

Good News World

  • The Taliban have begun a campaign to eradicate poppy cultivation, aiming to wipe out the country’s production of opium and heroin. Afghanistan is the world’s biggest opium producer and a major source for heroin in Europe and Asia. The ban will, however, affect the livelihoods of many farmers and day labourers who have relied on the highly valuable crop to survive.
  • On 1 June, President Biden joined leaders from across the Western Hemisphere to present the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection at the Summit of the Americas. The Declaration is a road map for countries in the Americas to host large numbers of refugees and migrants. This includes legal pathways to enter countries, aid to communities most affected by migration, humane border management and coordinated emergency responses.
  • President Biden has signed an order aimed at drying up federal funding for conversion therapy.
  • The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act has come into force. This requires companies to remove any products with origins in the Uyghur Region before bringing them into the USA because of the risk they are tainted by the forced labour of Uyghurs and other people of Turkic or mainly Muslim ethnic groups currently detained in China.
  • Asadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan held in Guantanamo Bay for 15 years without trial, has been released.
  • The Aboriginal flag is flying permanently on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of a process of healing and reconciliation with the Aboriginal community.

Bad News World

  • Following a 3-day summit, thousands of Afghan male clerics have endorsed their government. Women, who were ‘represented’ at the meeting by their sons and husbands, have declared that the country’s Taliban leaders remain illegitimate. 
  • Japanese women could be forced to ask the permission of their partner if they want to obtain an abortion through pills. They must already gain their consent for surgical abortions under a 1948 law.
  • A Japanese court has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who argued their right to free union and equality had been violated. Japan is the only member of the G7 nations which does not recognise same-sex unions.
  • UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has come under fire following her six-day visit to the Xinjiang region of China. She was accused of falling for Chinese propaganda and for not holding China accountable for its human rights violations. Critics called for her resignation. Since then, she has said she will not seek re-appointment.
  • The bodies of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous advocate Bruno Pereira were discovered buried in the Amazon rainforest near the Brazil-Peru border in northern Amazonas state on 15 June after an extensive 10-day search. They had both been shot. Their murders are thought to be linked to an international network that pays poor fishermen to fish illegally in the country’s second-largest indigenous territory.
  • Ten international human rights groups have accused the president of Tunisia of dealing a blow to judicial independence and an assault on the rule of law after he dismissed 57 judges.
  • Seventy nations criminalise same-sex relations.
  • The United Nations World Food Programme has suspended some food aid in Southern Sudan due to a funding shortage, heightening the risk of starvation for 1.7mn people. More than 60 percent of the population there is grappling with severe hunger.
  • Mohammed-el-Halabi, the Gaza director of World Vision, has been found guilty by an Israeli court of terrorism charges. He was accused of diverting funds to Hamas. His employer, independent auditors and the Australian government say they have found no evidence of wrongdoing.
  • 70,000 Israelis rallied at the Old City in Jerusalem on 29 May, Jerusalem Day, in celebration of their capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Some chanted ‘death to Arabs’ and marched through the Muslim Quarter. They also flouted the ban on Jewish worship at the Al-Aqsa mosque. 
  • It has been proved that the burgeoning space tourism industry poses a significant risk to the climate. Rockets launched by billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson emit black carbon in the stratosphere, where it is 500 times worse for the climate than it is on Earth. After just three years of more than once-a-day rocket launches, space tourism would account for 6 percent of global warming.