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Links and Videos of the Week (2012/25+26)


World Toilet Day

Today, on November 19, is World Toilet Day, declared by the World Toilet Organization – who would have thought something like that exists?

But there’s a meaning to it, befauce over 2.6 billion people don’t have toilets at all – and for many more, the situation isn’t much better. Which isn’t all too good for people’s health, much too often there’s bad hygiene, and the excrements are discharged directly into the environment.


The United Nations claim that more than 5 million children die every year from sanitation related diseases such as diarrhoea. More than a billion people without sanitary facilities relieve themselves on streets and in rivers, heavily polluting the water. The most important source of water contamination in developing countries is due to the lack of adequate sanitation facilities. Although public toilets are available in most countries, most of them are poorly maintained.

The WTO envisages clean, safe, affordable, ecologically sound and sustainable sanitation. It aims to advocate sustainable toilet systems through capacity building and public education, and by implementing real time projects.

(via kultpavillon via BloggerAmt)

Lethal Numbers 2

I found via JuliaL49’s here (in German) the report of the US Congress’ Democrates – sources: BBC News and Tagesschau, also CNN – which states that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost the USA from 2002 to 2008 thanks to “hidden costs” 1.6 trillion dollars – $20,900 per US family (or $5,300 per person), possibly increasing to $46,400 by 2017 (that’s $3.5 trillion total).

Numbers that make you go dizzy… it’s just not clear how fast they could withdraw in a sensible manner (assuming they want), and I agree with Julia that a fast withdrawal doesn’t seem to be an optimal solution.

Free… the World

After yesterday’s “Free Burma” (non-)action day, let’s not forget that there are also a few other countries where the human rights situation is not optimal. Human Rights Watch considers in their Welt Report 2007 (as PDF) 74(!) countries worth mentioning (and the European Union is combined in that number) – the amount of problems, of course, varies greatly (who would seriously put, say, the EU on the same level in this regard as Burma?):

Angola, Burundi, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, USA

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

Europe and Central Asia:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, European Union, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Middle East and North Africa:
Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco/Western Sahara, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

peace pigeon