Location Trackers Reveal Where Your E-Junk Really Ends Up – KLINT FINLEY 05.09.16. 6:01 PM


Plenty of recycling centers promise to dispose of old electronics in an ethical and environmentally friendly way. But how can you be sure that your old phones, computers, and monitors aren’t actually ending up in a landfill on the other side of the planet? An environmental watchdog group believes it’s found a way to keep tabs on what actually happens to e-waste—and hold recyclers who break their promises accountable.

The Basel Action Network (BAN) outfitted 200 non-functioning printers and monitors with cell phone-sized trackers and dropped them off at a variety of e-waste recycling locations in the US between July and December 2015. Since then, the organization has monitored the locations of those trackers to trace the fate of the equipment. “These devices are like little lie detectors,” says BAN executive director Jim Puckett. “They tell people where things go and are very dispassionate about it.”

So far, 62 pieces of equipment, or 32.5 percent, have ended up in countries with laws against importing e-waste—mostly Hong Kong—according to a BAN report released today. The organization has turned its data over to the relevant authorities.

Puckett warns that the organization’s sample size is too small to draw any sweeping conclusions. It’s also incomplete. It’s possible that more devices were exported but haven’t been accounted for due to tracker reception problems, depleted batteries, or equipment failure, he says. It’s also possible that some of the equipment still in the US will eventually be exported.

But the organization’s research, which can be explored through an interactive site created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Lab, does shed light on just where e-waste is winding up. The trackers also give BAN a way to catch recyclers who promise to process e-waste domestically but actually send equipment overseas, where it’s often disposed of illegally in ways that are extremely harmful to the environment and local residents. BAN runs its own certification program for recyclers called the e-Stewards program, and the organization says it’s already caught some of its own recyclers illegally exporting e-waste.

BAN’s new findings are a far cry from its own previous estimates that between 50 and 80 percent of e-waste is exported, but safely disposing of e-waste is more important than ever. The world threw away about 46 million tons of electronics in 2014, according to the United Nations. The US alone was responsible for over 7.7 million of those tons. And it’s only going to get worse. The UN estimates that the amount of e-waste discarded will reach more than 50 million tons by 2018.

Where’s the Harm?

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The Reform Reformation – By Tine Hanrieder April 8, 2016


International Organizations and the Challenge of Change

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at Apr 9, 2016 1.11

The system of global governance has changed since the United Nations was established in the 1940s. International organizations have not only become larger, they have also grown in number. Now, these organizations are spun in a complex network that includes states, nongovernmental organizations, and other agencies that operate above the state level.

Even so, international organizations continue to be deeply rooted in the historical events that gave birth to their rise. The World Health Organization (WHO), International Labor Organization, and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization  have grown in size and scope and interconnectedness—yet the way in which they operate has not changed much since their founding. In fact, decisions made during each of their formative periods still impact the way in which these organizations enact reforms, govern their field activities, and respond to changes in the system. This is called “path dependence.”

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Diamonds and Sacrifices (Excerpt from ‘United in Hate: Central African Republic’) – Vice News Published on Dec 30, 2015


In March 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of predominantly Muslim-armed groups from the northeast, marched on the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and seized power.

They committed mass atrocities against the population, and to the largely Christian population in the southwest, Muslims began to be associated with violence. They took up arms to form a Christian self-defense militia called the anti-balaka, and carried out revenge killings.

By the end of 2013, the Central African Republic had descended into civil war. Under pressure from the international community, the Seleka were forced to give up power and retreated towards the northeast, where they regrouped.

A United Nations peacekeeping mission and a French military operation were able to stem the fighting, but despite their presence, the transitional government has not been able to regain control of the country outside Bangui.

With the anti-balaka controlling the southwest, and the Seleka controlling the northeast, the Central African Republic is de facto partitioned along ethno-religious lines. For those who find themselves on the wrong side of the divide, life has become hell.

In this excerpt, the coordinator of the anti-balaka movement in Carnot takes VICE News to a diamond mine he oversees, which was reclaimed from Muslim owners during the recent conflict.

The Hidden Impacts of Climate Change – Vice News Published on Dec 2, 2015


Diplomats from around the world have spent more than 20 years trying unsuccessfully to hammer out a United Nations agreement on climate change. This year, which is on track to be the hottest ever recorded, they’re gathering in Paris to give it another shot.

Warmer temperatures and rising seas are already changing the environment. But what sort of impact will these changes have on humans, plants, and animals?

VICE News met Shyla Raghav, a UN delegate for the Maldives, an island nation threatened by rising sea levels, to discuss the issue.

Watch “Who Cares About Climate Change?” – http://bit.ly/1Q0NpZa

Climate Activism Under Attack: COP21 – Climate Emergency (Dispatch 2) – Vice News Published on Dec 3, 2015


At the COP21 Paris Climate Talks, the prospect of nations reaching an agreement preventing irrevocable climate change is looking bleak, and discontent is growing among the activists on the ground. Environmentalists feel particularly targeted under the state of emergency imposed after the terror attacks. Squats are being raided by police, climate activists are being put under house arrest around France without committing any crime, and hundreds of people who defied the protest ban to attend a mass demonstration were tear gassed and arrested.

In this dispatch, VICE News hears from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at a chic COP21 opening party, visits the COP21 to talk to an expert to find out why we’ve had 20 summits and still no agreements, while carbon emission levels continue to rise. We visit one of the 24 climate activists under house arrest, and we attend an international climate justice conference hoping to achieve what it believes the UN can’t.

Watch “Police Clash With Protesters in Paris: COP21 – Climate Emergency (Dispatch 1)” – http://bit.ly/1OtY25i

United in Hate: Central African Republic (Trailer) – Vice News Published on Nov 27, 2015


In March 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of predominantly Muslim-armed groups from the northeast, marched on the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and seized power.

They committed mass atrocities against the population, and to the largely Christian population in the southwest, Muslims began to be associated with violence. They took up arms to form a Christian self-defense militia called the anti-balaka, and carried out revenge killings.

By the end of 2013, the Central African Republic had descended into civil war. Under pressure from the international community, the Seleka were forced to give up power and retreated towards the northeast, where they regrouped.

A United Nations peacekeeping mission and a French military operation were able to stem the fighting, but despite their presence, the transitional government has not been able to regain control of the country outside Bangui.

With the anti-balaka controlling the southwest, and the Seleka controlling the northeast, the Central African Republic is de facto partitioned along ethno-religious lines. For those who find themselves on the wrong side of the divide, life has become hell.

VICE News goes to the Central African Republic, to witness a brutal fight for economic and political control and find out what’s happening to those caught in the middle.

Watch “Blood Diamonds and Religious War: Diamonds and Division” – http://bit.ly/1Yy8U5f

Teach the World – By Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann August 20, 2015


Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education

In September the United Nations will finalize a new package of development goals that will guide the efforts of its member states to improve living conditions around the world. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are long on ambition—they intend to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030—but short on substance. Most importantly, the SDGs’ approach to education is insufficient.

Expanding quality education is the only feasible way to generate long-term economic growth, which is why a strong and coherent emphasis on education is central to the success of the global development agenda. Unfortunately, the current SDG goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” is too vague and provides no guidance for measuring increases in cognitive skill levels. The global development community can do better.

COUNT WHAT COUNTS

A growing body of research has emphasized the importance of cognitive skills, or knowledge capital, in driving economic growth. Over time, the knowledge capital of the nation improves as better-educated youth enter the labor force. A more skilled workforce leads to increased economic growth.

Recognizing the importance of education, the prior Millennium Development Goals included a target of reaching universal primary schooling by 2015. Although developing countries did, in fact, substantially expand access to schooling over the past two decades, many have still not translated increased education into economic well-being. The reason is that too many countries focused on increasing the number of children attending school rather than on educational outcomes.

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Inside War-Torn Yemen: Sanaa Under Attack – Vice News Published on May 20, 2015


For more than six weeks, nine countries led by Saudi Arabia have been carrying out airstrikes on Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation. Whole neighborhoods have been destroyed and communities reduced to rubble.

According to the United Nations, the strikes, targeting Iranian-backed Houthi rebel positions in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, have killed over 1,400 people, many of them civilians.

With international media unable to enter the besieged capital, Yousef Mawry, a local journalist, recorded the devastation of his home city for VICE News. He meets the survivors and victims, getting the inside view of life in Yemen.

Peru’s War on Drugs – Vice News Published on Apr 15, 2015


Despite the United Nations confirming in 2013 that Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world’s top coca and cocaine producer, the country’s place atop the drug supply chain has — at least so far — not included the levels of violence seen in Colombia, Mexico, and other international narcotics hubs.

The frontlines of Peru’s war on cocaine are restricted to remote coca-producing basins, where drug laboratories and illegal landing strips are abundant. But the government’s campaign of crop eradication and efforts to destroy narco runways risk further igniting a larger social conflict, alienating the coca farmers whose livelihoods depend on growing the illicit crop.

VICE News traveled to the heart of Peru’s coca-producing region to witness how the government is waging a war on drugs with the aim of putting an early end to its reign as the world’s new king of cocaine.

International Women’s Day: Inequality in Charts -By Teresa Welsh and Tierney Sneed March 8, 2015 | 12:01 a.m. EST


Protestors rally during an International Women's Day march in Istanbul on March 8, 2014.

Protestors rally during an International Women’s Day march in Istanbul on March 8, 2014.

Sunday marks International Women’s Day, the day ordained by the United Nations to observe the triumphs of and challenges faced by women around the world.

Worldwide, a Gallup survey analyzing such factors as law and order, food and shelter, work, economics, health and daily experiences found that more than one in four women are doing well enough to be considered “thriving.” By contrast, 2 billion women described their condition as are “struggling” or “suffering.”

Iceland, Sweden and Denmark top the list of women found to be thriving, with the U.S. ranking seventh in the world. The top three countries with the highest suffering for women are Bulgaria, Afghanistan and Armenia.

Gallup measured the lowest Positive Index Score for women ever in Syria, a country embroiled in civil war for nearly four years. The war has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced an estimated 12 million within the country and across borders.

Women's Global Daily Positive Experience

Gender Wage Gap: In the U.S. and Abroad

In 2013, the median annual income for female workers in the U.S. was $38,097 compared to the $48,099 their male counterparts make, according to U.S. Census data, or less than 80 cents on a man’s dollar.

In 2013, the median annual income for female workers was $38,097, compared with the $48,099 their male counterparts made, according to U.S. Census data.

The discrepancy is even greater for women of color, as black and Hispanic women make even less when compared to white women and white men.

The gender wage gap discrepancy is even greater for women of color, as black and Hispanic women make even less when compared to white women and white men.
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