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15/08/2020
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Toma nota.../Take note...

Reigning lawlessness is destroying democracy and adulterating human rights

The current Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) shows that Democracy is under threat worldwide. 60 of the 137 states surveyed have undermined their democracy in the last 10 years. 58 states have restricted their rights to demonstrate, freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, and the right of assembly. The BTI analyzes transformation processes toward democracy and a market economy in an international comparison method and identifies successful strategies for peaceful change in their WEB pages.

The Corona virus is putting our democracies to the test.

Democracy International (DI), an NGO based and registered in Cologne, Germany, reports that «the Corona pandemic is reinforcing this trend». The crisis that is afflicting the world right now is very disturbing and the organizations and institutions (such as the DI, our PDCI and many others) that promote democracy and defend human rights must coordinate their efforts to counter this revolutionary trend towards anarchy, the precursor of authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

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What energy sources does the world rely on?

Energy systems have important and often hamful environmental impacts. Historical and current energy systems producing carbon dioxide are dominated by fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). They produce as well other greenhouse gases affecting climate change and accelerating exponentially global warming. Up to 2018, Solar, Wind, Hydropower, Nuclear and other minor renewable energy sources barely managed to satisfy 4% of global energy consumption, while production using polluting resources grew close to 50% during the first 18 years of this century. The visible reduction in air pollution due to the paralysis caused by the pandemic, demonstrates the need for a radical transformation of energy sources.

The world’s energy system must be transformed completely

It has been changed before, but never as fast or fully as must happen now.  

For more than 100,000 years humans derived all their energy from what they hunted, gathered and grazed on or grew for themselves. Their own energy for moving things came from what they ate. Energy for light and heat came from burning the rest. In recent millennia they added energy from the flow of water and, later, air to the repertoire. 

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US Presidential advisor Anthony Fauci faces Online Attacks and COVID-19 Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories

Jon Cohen (of Science magazine) asked Fauci,“How are you managing to not get fired,” which probably isn’t a question that most people typically get. Fauci answered, “Well, that’s pretty interesting because to [Trump’s] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.

... a White House statement by mid April indicated that “Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump.” Trump himself said “I like him. He is terrific,” about Fauci. Although, Trump did add, “Not everybody's happy with Anthony” and “Not everybody‘s happy with — everybody.

May 10.– Fauci doesn't exactly ooze controversy. As the longtime Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, he’s been able to work through multiple different Presidential administrations and iterations of Congress that have crossed both major political parties. This has included beginning that position under President Ronald Reagan and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 by President George W. Bush. Fauci was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Over the years, he hasn’t had any real outrageous public moments. He’s never lip synced on stage, interrupted someone’s MTV Award acceptance speech, been accused of deflating any footballs, or made fun of any particular groups of people.

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A dangerous gap: US Financial markets have got out of whack with the Economy

The Economist looks at the dangerous gap between America’s stockmarket and the economy. In the past few weeks a gut-wrenching sell-off in shares has been followed by a delirious rally. Between February 19th and March 23rd, the S&P 500 index lost a third of its value. With barely a pause it has since rocketed, recovering more than half its loss. At one level, this makes good sense. Asset managers have to put money to work as best they can. But there is something wrong with how far stock prices have moved. American shares are now higher than they were in August, suggesting that the economy can get back to business as usual. There are countless threats to such a prospect, starting with how far the rosy view on Wall Street is from life on Main Street, where people are out of work, small businesses are struggling to get cash and there is the ever-present threat of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Markets vs the real Economy  

May 7.– Stockmarket history is packed with drama: the 1929 crash; Black Monday in 1987, when share prices lost 20% in a day; the dotcom mania in 1999. With such precedents, nothing should come as a surprise, but the past eight weeks have been remarkable, nonetheless. A gut-wrenching sell-off in shares has been followed by a delirious rally in America. Between February 19th and March 23rd, the s&p 500 index lost a third of its value. With barely a pause it has since rocketed, recovering more than half its loss. The catalyst was news that the Federal Reserve would buy corporate bonds, helping big firms finance their debts. Investors shifted from panic to optimism without missing a beat.

This rosy view from Wall Street should make you uneasy (see article). It contrasts with markets elsewhere. 

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The compelling obligation to accept our environmental and planetary responsibilities

Many do not pay heed to global warming. They even deny that there is such global warming - "Look at the great snowfall! Look at how cold it is!", they say in winter. Others flaunt their scientific wisdom and proclaim that warming is natural as part of the planet's climate cycles. Indeed, there are climatic cycles and there always have been: ice ages and heat ages (that we may call in our times the "greenhouse age"); and it is even known that there have been mini cycles in the midst of the respective ages.

Natural climatic cycles take many thousands of years to develop and mini cycles take many hundreds of years to develop. What we are experiencing is a global warming that is taking decades and not centuries or millennia. Our civilization cannot cope with such an accelerated change.

And we are responsible for the tremendous acceleration of the natural cycle due to the acute mistreatment to our environment promoted by the abuse and neglect of human beings who are also causing progressive deforestation and the resulting desertification that is swallowing huge territories.

On the left we have a map that shows (in white) more than half the Earth's surface covered by deserts or whole regions that are experiencing increasing aridity to become deserts. And this image is from 8 years ago. It is much worse now. In dark green we see some small sectors where reforestation efforts were being made, but they are not constant to at least partially recover some forests. The places where forests are being destroyed are highlighted in red.

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