New Internationalist

Briefly..

Issue 126

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[image, unknown] BRIEFLY...

[image, unknown] CHILE[image, unknown]

‘Missing’ libellous?

The film ‘Missing’, which portrayed the American government s role in the 1973 coup in Chile against the socialist government of Salvadore Allende. won the Cannes Festival award last year and provoked an unprecedented protest from US State Department officials.

A SI 50 million libel suit is now being brought against those responsible for all stages of the films production. Heading the list is Thomas Hauser. author of the book. The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice, on which the film is based. Also named is the film celebrated director Constantin Costa-Gavras, and the Motion Picture Corporation of America one of the Hollywood film giants.

From what is so far known about the legal action, the coot-plaint will he limited to one aspect of US culpability: connivance in the murder of Charles Horman. the American journalist who went ‘missing’ after witnessing US collaboration with the military coup. The collaboration itself will not, it seems, be a matter of dispute.

From Moto, No. 10.

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[image, unknown] DISARMAMENT[image, unknown]

Facing the fear

‘What happens to you when you think about nuclear war’?’ demands a bright orange leaflet from a group called Interhelp. They suggest some typical responses: . . .It’s too horrible to think about so I just block it out.’ Or - If it happens, it happens: I just hope it’s quick.

Interhelp has been formed to help people who feel emotionally numb at the prospect of nuclear war. ‘Of all the dangers that threaten our planet, they say. - none is so great as our collective paralysis in the face of them. - Workshops, speakers, a newsletter and a Despair and Empowerment Manual are among the resources they offer.

Contact point Dennis Freeland, 18 Linden Rd. London N10, UK.

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[image, unknown] COMMUNICATION[image, unknown]

Quo vadis

US President Ronald Reagan, visiting Brazil’s capital city Brasilia, gave a toast at a state dinner ‘to the people of Bolivia’.

Reagan than realised his gaffe and compounded it by ad-libbing that that was where he was going next. In fact, he was headed for Bogota, Colombia

The next day, a half page advertisement appeared in a São Paulo newspaper, headlined:

‘The people of Bolivia appreciate the visit of the President of Canada’. And a paper in Nicaragua carried the headline: ‘US president doesn’t know where he is, or where he’s going.’

From WorldPaper, Feb. 83.

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[image, unknown] WATER[image, unknown]

Full flush

Have you ever wondered how much water gets flushed down the loo? Too much, thinks the World Bank. It is looking into the production of a low water consumption flushing system, because it reckons the developed world flushes about 40 per cent of its potable water down the toilet

From Malay Mail. 1.10.82

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[image, unknown] HEALTH[image, unknown]

Malaria-free Singapore

The World Health Organisation has declared Singapore free of mosquito-borne malaria, a milestone in the republic’s health control programme. Its last malaria outbreak was in 1975, since when Singapore has not had any indigenous cases of the disease.

From the New Straits Times, Malaysia, 24.12.82.

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[image, unknown] COMMUNICATlONS[image, unknown]

Conservative rubbish

A poster that was due to go up on the hoardings on May day was dumped at the last minute by Britain’s Conservative Party Central Office. Four days before May day, the panic button was pressed and all copies ordered to be destroyed.

The poster bore the slogan ‘Even when Conservatives talk rubbish it makes sense’. Its aim was to emphasise the £20 million that the Conservatives claim their local authorities have saved by privatising refuse collection services. The pre-election publicity campaign is believed to have had a £15 million budget.

From the Guardian, 29.4.83

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[image, unknown] INDONESIA[image, unknown]

Classroom spies

Teachers in secondary schools in East Java have been instructed by the regional office of education to compile secret dossiers on their pupils. They are required to complete questionnaires for each child in their class, answering questions about the political activities of their parents and the child’s own ‘subversive activities, political practices. criminal record and involvement in fights.

A parent commented that such dossiers could affect the pupil’s chances of employment, recalling that graduates from universities in Bandung are prevented from getting jobs in the civil service if they were active in the student movement while at university. An educationalist said it seemed to be implied that if a child’s parent opposed the government, the child would automatically be a dissident as well.

From Tapol Bulletin No. 56.

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[image, unknown] ENERGY[image, unknown]

On your bike

As a tool, the bicycle is very efficient indeed. A cyclist needs only one-fifth of the energy of a person walking to move a given weight a given distance, as well as being three to five times faster. In terms of petroleum units, a cyclist in good condition is capable of 1500 miles per gallon (1 gallon 34,000 calories). Among all moving animals and machines, a man on a bicycle has the highest efficiency rating,

From Alam Sekitar, Malaysia, Vol. 7, No.5.

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[image, unknown] CULTURE[image, unknown]

Blue jeans in 2051 A.D.

Worldpaper (April 83) reports on a promotion gimmick for the newspaper El Tiempo in Bogota. Colombia, which turned into a national happening, To highlight its 25,000th edition. El Tiempo ran a contest for its readers to select a thousand items to be buried in a silver capsule and resuscitated in 2051, when they expected their 50,000th edition to be printed.

There were festive crowds and banners when the winners were announced, and the nation’s president in attendance. The chosen items included the complete works of Colombia’s most celebrated writer. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. inscribed with a special message from the author, a Beta-Max video tape system: uniforms of the nations armed services: a soccer ball —and a pair of blue jeans, as the most characteristic clothing of our time, ‘and thus of the utmost interest to those opening the capsule 68 years hence’.

Have NI readers any alternative suggestions’?

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Endquote

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.’

Oscar Wilde

 

Patriotism is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant

 

‘Your belief that there is no connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. Through that mistake men have committed grievous crimes. Your reasoning is the same as saying that we can get a rose through planting a noxious weed,’

Gandhi


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