27 February 2016 – News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

WITADA Top 1027 February 2016
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


In this week’s Top 10 we look at developments in Syria, domestic violence in Morocco, peacekeeping at the United Nations and much, much more.


1. There has been a breakthrough in Syria with a UN-backed ceasefire now in effect. This is the first time in the history of the conflict that a truce has been reached with the main players. Russia and the United States have sponsored this agreement and it is largely designed to allow much needed humanitarian aid to flow into war torn parts of the country. It has been 5 years now since the conflict in Syria began and it seems to become more confusing with an increasing number of players as time goes on. In this article from the ABC’s foreign correspondent Phillip Williams, the history of the conflict and the main players are explained.


2. The war in Syria began as part of the Arab Spring uprisings 5 years ago. There were a number of countries involved in peaceful protests during this time – Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Yemen and others.  In this article from the Economist it is suggested that the Arab world is actually worse off than previously, with the exception that the citizens of these countries better understand their situation.


3. The #LetThemStay rallies around Australia have continued this week with a positive result in Brisbane when the Federal Government reversed its decision to send Baby Asha back to Nauru. But there is much more to do. The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre has some ideas for you.


4. Stan Grant has spoken at the National Press Club to launch his new book, ‘Talking to My Country’. “Grant speaks of a ‘deep wound’ that ‘comes from a time of dispossession’, saying it is at the heart of Indigenous Australians’ low life expectancy, high levels of incarceration and high risk of suicide.” In this video he speaks about the issues covered in his book.


5. Loongkoonan is now 105 years old. She took up painting when she was in her mid-90s and now this amazing Indigenous artist is being honoured with the first international exhibition of her art work. Her exhibition is called ‘Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River’.


6. Human Rights Watch has released a feature story on domestic violence in Morocco. It includes a call to the Moroccan Minister of Women to tighten the relevant laws and also a call to all of us to add our support. This is a critical issue given that a 2010 national survey found that 63% of women reported physical, psychological, sexual or economic violence and yet only 3% of these reported it to the authorities.


7. The Conversation has a series of articles on Understanding the Islamic State, with more to come over the next few weeks. These are short articles that explore different aspects of IS and are well worth a read.


8. One of the key roles of the United Nations is its peacekeeping. For those of us who would prefer a world without any violence at all, this can be a tricky issue. The United Nations Peacekeeping web site explains their approach to some of these complex issues.


9. Missy Higgins, the Australian country singer, has released her new song, Oh Canada, about the plight of refugees and the response from Canada in welcoming them. Great music with a great message. Have a listen!


10. Here’s some lovely news to end our week. A crowdfunding campaign in New Zealand has been successful in raising sufficient funds to buy a pristine beach, Awaroa Inlet, that will now be incorporated into the Abel Tasman national park. And beautiful it truly is!


Thanks for your support again this week. See you all next week.