23 January 2016 – News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

WITADA Top 1023 January 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 issues of rising inequality, racism, and privilege and go to Iceland, Taiwan and Bhutan – and much more too of course!


1. This week Oxfam released their new report, An Economy for the 1%, and the findings are shocking. “Extreme inequality — the gap between the rich and the poor — is rising. Today, 62 people have the same wealth as 3.6 billion people — the poorest half of the world.” This is a rise in the wealth of the richest 62 people by about 44% over five years – at which time 388 people held this same amount of wealth. If you would like to take some action, you can sign their ‘Make Tax Fair’ petition.


2. It seems likely that Iceland will be the first country in the world to completely close its gender gap. They currently rate at 87% equality according to the World Economic Forum’s assessment of gender balance.


3. Taiwan went to the polls last week and for the first time ever, elected a female president – Tsai Ing-wen – and ousted the longstanding ruling Kuomintang party in a landslide victory for the Democratic Progressive Party.


4. In countries such as Australia we may not be aware that over three billion people across the world use traditional open fire cooking methods. This has big implications for health and for the greenhouse gas emissions. In Ethiopia this issue is being tackled with two strategies – increase the options for renewable energy and provide improved cookstoves.


5. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has shared a story about one of their members who arrived in Australia three years ago from Guinea in West Africa. He was a professional soccer player before having to flee from his country and now he’s using his skills to develop his own youth football academy.


6.  Anti-Muslim rhetoric has reached a new peak, both in Australia and the US. Laura Pitter from Human Rights Watch warns that we need to heed the lessons that we learned about the events of 9/11 – “policies and practices that embrace communities most vulnerable to backlash, not tar them, should be essential elements of US counterterrorism strategy. Targeting whole communities for surveillance, or discriminating against them based on religion, erodes trust and undermines efforts to root out violence”.


7. We love the UNDP Exposure series because of the high quality images and information. Here is the latest in the series – Health is Happiness: Enhancing early warning systems to respond to climate-sensitive heath risks in Bhutan.


8. New Internationalist Magazine regularly reviews books and movies that cover issues that matter in the world. This is their list of the best of 2015.


9. This is an interesting video about privilege. A group of 10 people employed by BuzzFeed participated in this activity where they were asked to move forward or backwards depending on their answers to a range of questions designed to measure privilege. It raises some interesting questions and is worth a look.


10. Meet Deng Thiak Adut who was a child soldier in South Sudan when he was six years old. Deng its now living in Australia and is a lawyer based in Sydney. Last year Western Sydney University made a short video about Deng’s life.


Thanks again for your ongoing support for WITADA. Be sure to keep an eye out for our posts over the next few days as we mark Australia Day with a celebration of Indigenous Australians and a call for an end to racism.