WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 23 May 2015

 23 May 201523 May 2015
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


In this week’s Top 10 we feature the landmark vote in Ireland to legalise gay marriage as well as taking a look at developments in West Papua, great female scientists, human trafficking in Nepal and much more.


1. We are on the edge of our seats as we wait to hear the results of the vote in Ireland on gay marriage. In the lead up to the vote it was predicted that the result would be good news for the YES campaign. Thousands of people have returned to Ireland from UK and Europe to vote. If the YES campaign is successful it will be the first time that gay marriage reform has occurred due to the popular vote.
With support from all the major political parties and from the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, (who appeared at a prominent gay bar last year), the campaign also resulted in a number of high profile people coming out as gay.
And even though the moment has passed, if you haven’t yet seen the YES vote video, it is well worth a (tear-filled) look.
Just finally, it is also important to mention that 17 May was International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and Helen Clark (Head of the United Nations Development Program) gave an address to mark the day.


2. The Asylum Seeker’s Resource Centre in Sydney has released an update to their Kids in Detention campaign relating to the Senate inquiry into the detention centre on Nauru. They have included a disturbing video from the inquiry where senior staff of Transfield Services (who are contracted to run the centre for the Federal Government) are being interviewed – but saying very little!


3. Rachel Swaby has written a book to highlight women’s contributions to science and in this article in The Guardian she shares her 10 best unsung female scientists. Reading this it is interesting, if not a little disturbing, how many of these women have not been credited for work that their male colleagues went on to receive high accolades for.


4. Tom Porteus has published an excellent article on the Human Rights Watch news site. He has addressed the lack of constructive responses to the international refugee crisis and his conclusion – lack of compassion. “It’s not just compassion that the United States, EU member nations, Australia and others are lacking. They also lack foresight. There may be some political and economic costs at home to accepting more refugees in the short term. But the international consequences of leaving poorer and more vulnerable countries to bear the brunt of the world’s refugee crisis are all too predictable: more crises, and more refugees.”


5. Some more important, but disturbing pictures from Greenpeace about the changes in our planet.


6. The ongoing oppression of West Papua by Indonesia is not a commonly reported issue in the media and yet it has been an ongoing issue that some have called a ‘slow moving genocide’. In an opinion piece in The Guardian last year, Benny Wenda, called on Australians to show their support for West Papua as the first Free West Papua office opened in Perth. The Australian government has made it clear that West Papuan activists are not welcome in Australia – clearly in line with the Indonesian government’s position on this issue. In a new development this month, the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, has lifted reporting restrictions on journalists covering issues in West Papua and also released a group of political prisoners.


7. Nepal has been in the news a lot lately with reports of the devastation caused from recent earthquakes. New Internationalist has published an article on human trafficking in Nepal, with young women and girls more vulnerable now than ever before. Beulah Devaney has suggested 8 ways that we can help to stop human trafficking.


8. The latest edition of Exposure from UNDP features Namibia and its beautiful scenery. The article highlights the work that the UNDP is doing in Namibia around the importance of boundary protection “to prevent biodiversity loss, land degradation, and consequent economic decline”.


9. Pretty much everyone likes a bit of chocolate now and then. This story features Geoff and his chocolate factory in New Zealand. In 2014 Trade Aid NZ opened a special chocolate factory – 100% organic fair trade chocolate – and it is the first of its kind in the world. Check out the video as well.


10. Here is a little bit of inspiration for the week’s end. When Christopher and Regina Catrambone were cruising in their private yacht and spotted a life jacket floating in the ocean where so many refugees had recently drowned – they decided that they needed to take some action. So they “invested $8 million and bought a 40-metre-long rescue boat, two drones, and hired a 20-person crew including sailors, rescuers, doctors, and paramedics to save those stranded at sea.” In just 60 days they saved over 3,000 lives.


Thanks again for coming along to read out Top 10 each week. If you have any suggestions for improvement or comments to make, head along to our Facebook page and share your ideas.
See you all next week.