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Right to Health and Environment

“We are failing the world’s poorest babies,” UNICEF head says

UNICEF has released a new report on newborn mortality, saying that newborn babies are still dying at high rates across the world, especially in the poorest countries. Worldwide, in low-income countries, the average mortality rate for newborns is 27 deaths for 1,000 births, compared to high-income countries that see 3 deaths for 1,000 births. Newborns in the world’s most…

Report: Canadians cut back on heating, food to pay for prescription drugs

A newly published report estimated that in 2017, 968,000 people in Canada reduced their expenses so that they could pay for prescription drugs, according to the Guardian. This included 730,000 who reduced food expenses and 238,000 who cut heating expenses. Although Canada has universal healthcare, Canada is still the world’s only developed country lacking a universal…

Many young women in Africa unaware they have HIV

A large-scale study across seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa has found that less than half of young women who have HIV know that they have been infected, according to the Guardian. The incidence of HIV among women aged 15-24 in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Swaziland, Malawi, and Lesotho is about 3.6%, around 1.5 million young and…

No Public purpose behind Mining Operations: SC on Goa Mining Court castigates Goa govt. for pandering to corporate interests

In a judgement dated February 7, 2018 the Supreme Court cancelled all renewals of mining leases for iron ore extraction in the state of Goa and wiped the slate clean for a fresh beginning. The Apex Court of India delivered the judgement in SLA (civil) 32128 / 2015 (Goa Foundation vs SesaSterlite Ltd. & Ors,…

Ozone layer declining over densely populous regions

Although the ozone layer is recovering over Antarctica following Montreal Protocol that banned chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that destroy ozone, newly published research indicates that it is declining over lower latitudes, the Guardian reported. The earth’s stratosphere ranges from 10km above ground to 50km. Ozone is gradually increasing in the upper stratosphere, heading towards levels that were observed…

Nearly four environmental defenders killed every week in 2017

The Guardian reported that the killing of those who defended their land or the environment “continued unabated in 2017,” with new data indicating that nearly four people were murdered every week across the world due to conflicts involving mining, plantations, poaching, and infrastructure projects. This figure has increased four times since the first time data was gathered…

Rwanda becomes first low-income nation to provide universal eye care

According to the Guardian, “Rwanda has become the first low-income country to provide universal eye care for its 12 million population.” Rwanda’s government has tied up with Vision For a Nation (VFAN) “to train more than 3,000 eye care nurses” in 502 local healthcare centres; they prescribe spectacles, and refer patients with serious eye conditions to…

Greenpeace: 550 million in India living in hazardous pollutant levels

According to a new Greenpeace India report, around 550 million people live in areas where annual PM10 levels exceeded national standards in 2016. PM10 is particulate matter with a diameter of ten microns or under, The Hindu reported. The report analysed air quality in 280 cities, and found that the majority of people living there–550…

New law permits roads to pass through Amazon rain forest in Peru

The Guardian reported that Peru’s congress has passed a law that would permit roads to be constructed in the most remote and unspoiled region of its Amazon rainforest, an area abundant in mahogany trees and “a haven for isolated indigenous groups”. The area includes four national parks, and could impact five reserves that are home to indigenous…

Uganda blood shortage nearing “crisis level”

The Guardian reported that there is a “critical shortage of blood” in Uganda, a situation that is impacting healthcare services and threatening patients’ lives. The health ministry’s blood bank in Kampala, “which stores and distributes supplies to hospitals, is practically empty.” The blood bank only has 150 units of blood left, which is not sufficient to fulfil…

New York City to divest $5 billion in fossil fuel investments, sue oil companies

The Guardian reported that New York City officials are aiming to divest the city’s pension funds from fossil fuel companies within the next five years, saying this would be “among the most significant divestment efforts in the world to date”. According to the Guardian, the city’s five, $189 billion pension funds have fossil fuel investments amounting to…

Study: Over 25% of land will dry up if Paris climate goals aren’t achieved

An article published on the United Nations’ Climate Change website spotlights a new study in Nature Climate Change, which indicates that “over a quarter of the world’s land will significantly dry up if the earth’s temperature rises by two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in the next three decades, the upper limit for the global average temperature…

NASA study finds proof chemicals ban helped ozone hole recovery

NASA said in announcement that measurements indicating that “the decline in chlorine” due to a worldwide ban manmade chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has led to around 20% less ozone depletion “during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005”. According to NASA, CFCs are “long-lived chemical compounds that eventually rise into the stratosphere,” where they break down…

US Attorney General reinitiates “harmful” war on drugs

Human Rights Watch (HRW) advocacy director Jasmine L. Tyler, in a report titled ‘US Revives its Harmful Drug War’, wrote about how United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions is “reviving the US government’s out-of-date, ineffective, and counterproductive war on drugs.” Citing a report about Sessions reversing a marijuana policy from President Barack Obama’s administration, Tyler noted that…

Ebola survivors to sue Sierra Leone over missing funds

The Guardian reported that two Ebola survivors are suing Sierra Leone’s government, alleging that “a lack of government accountability allowed the disappearance of almost a third of the money that came into the country during the early months” of 2014’s Ebola outbreak. The survivors’ case alleges that this infringed upon survivors’ rights to life and health, according…

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