New Internationalist

Briefly…

Issue 138

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[image, unknown] BRIEFLY...

[image, unknown] LAW AND ORDER[image, unknown]

Commonwealth crimebuster

Did you know that there is a Commonwealth Fraud Officer? The growth of sophisticated international economic crime has been worrying Commonwealth law ministers and a couple of years ago they created a commercial crime unit. Since then it has rendered assistance in cases involving sums in excess of S12 billion. Crimes involving such vast sums can have disastrous effects on member countries with fragile economies. The unit has already received requests for assistance from almost every Commonwealth country - and even some countries outside the Commonwealth.

From Commonwealth Currents, 12/83.

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[image, unknown] PESTICIDES[image, unknown]

Round one won

For eighteen months talks have been going on between representatives of church and environmental groups and officials from the US National Agricultural Chemicals Association (NACA) on ways to ‘reduce the misuse of pesticides in the developing world. Finally, a victory: NACA has adopted a set of voluntary guidelines on advertising pesticide products. US producers, who account for 15 per cent of pesticide sales to developing nations, have agreed to include suitable information about their products’ health and environmental hazards in their advertising campaigns.

From Consumers Union: News Digest 12/83.

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[image, unknown] ENVIRONMENT[image, unknown]

Bimini blown

Abandoned: the once-bustling village of Bimini, in the Comoros Islands off the Madagascan coast. The clean water has turned a muddy red; marine life is dying: the fishermen are deserting the ocean for urban jobs inland.

An entire community of 4,000 inhabitants has been disrupted since its main life support system, the coral reef, has been destroyed,’ reports the UN’s Development Forum. Over the years the coral reef, a habitat rich with fish, was cut away, ground down and sold as lime to make cement. At the same time, the forests of Bimini’s hills were cleared for fuel and commercial uses. The bare mountains collapsed under erosion, filling the island waters with silt and choking off marine life.

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[image, unknown] CHANGE[image, unknown]

Influences on the environment

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From ‘The State of the Environment’, 1984, UNEP

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[image, unknown] MEDIA[image, unknown]

Green TV

The Television Trust for the Environment - the first non-profit co-production agency for television programmes - was launched in London this year by Dr Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP). The trust (TVE) has been set up to take advantage of the revolution in electronic communications. Its aim is to promote greater understanding of environmental issues.

A cross-section of the world’s leading environmental organisations are represented on the TVF Council. Members include David Attenborough, Thor Heyerdahl and Shridath Ramphal. The editorially-independent Trust will help film-makers produce programmes on environmental issues, and is co-sponsored by UNEP and Britain’s Central Independent Television. The intention is that other countries will set up their own independent but co-operating IVE groups.

From UNIC press release.

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[image, unknown] ECONOMICS[image, unknown]

Hyperflation

Argentine inflation reached 259,400 per cent by autumn’83, reports the Buenos Aires daily, La Nacion. Their calculation is based on figures from March to October 1983.

From LAWR 83-47.

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[image, unknown] MENTAL HEALTH[image, unknown]

Talk: the faster fix

Most GPs admit that tranquillisers are no substitute for talking things over. But many would also say that they don’t have time to discuss each patient’s problems.

But now a GP, Dr Richard France, has shown that talking would actually save them time. Working with a clinical psychologist, Dr France monitored over 400 patients at his group practice for two and a half years. About half the patients were referred to a psychologist and the other half were given ordinary treatment.

The first group ‘improved more rapidly, both in their own estimation and in that of their GPs and relatives,’ said Dr France. Costs for tranquillisers and sleeping pills were halved and the first group returned to the doctor only half as frequently as those receiving orthodox treatment.

From New Health, 3/84.

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[image, unknown] RICH WORLD[image, unknown]

Marketing Mr America

Presidents on magazine covers are nothing new - but looking like this? On the cover of a recent issue of Parade, a Sunday newspaper supplement with a circulation of 24 million, was the President of the United States pumping iron for the article ‘How to Stay Fit’ by Ronald Reagan.

‘Move over, Jane Fonda, the President declared. ‘Here comes the Ronald Reagan workout plan.’ Reagan’s article could set a trend. California’s Democratic Senator Alan Cranston has had campaign photos taken with his exercise gurus. Vice-President George Bush has been reported to outrun his secret service bodyguard on the track. Most of the contenders work out: they watch their diets and take vitamin pills. Where will it lead? One envisages a ‘Mr America’ contest of the candidates in bathing suits, flexing their muscles for the electorate.

From ‘New Health 3/84.

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Endquote

Chauvinist’s corner: on rape. ‘We tend to get over-censorious about it, Rape is an emotive word in so far as women tend to put great stress upon it as being something unpleasant.’

David Mackenzie Ross, defending counsel, quoted in ‘The Law is an Ass’.


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