Tag Archives: Japan

The ugly truth about guns and domestic violence … a repost


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The truth about guns and domestic violence in America isn’t pretty. But if we want to make meaningful changes to our gun laws that will save lives, we have to face some shocking facts, including: Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries.American women should not be killed at such alarming rates. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an important moment to make sure that as many people as possible — our friends, family, and members of our communities — understand just how urgent this crisis is.Please share this graphic on Facebook and Twitter today:

Women in the US are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns that women in other high-income countries.

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Domestic violence in America is directly related to our weak gun laws that make it all too easy for abusers to get guns. We shouldn’t stand for this — and neither should our leaders in Congress.

The first step is to make sure everyone knows the facts.

Please share this graphic on Facebook or on Twitter today, and help make sure that your friends know just how bad this situation is.

Thanks for adding your voice,

Brina Milikowsky
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

5 Foods Americans Eat that Are Banned Around the World


by The Daily Meal | Shine Food

Synthetic Hormones rBGH & rBSTSynthetic Hormones rBGH & rBSTThe United States government has set several rules and guidelines in place to protect us from eating potentially harmful foods. Several dishes considered real delicacies in other parts of the world, like haggis in Scotland or fugu (puffer fish) in Japan, are banned from the U.S. food market because of potential health risks. But looking at the issue from a reversed angle, there are actually several common foods eaten in America that are banned in other parts of the world.

RELATED: 11 Banned Ingredients We Eat In the U.S.

The shocking truth is that many of our favorite foods, like boxed mac and cheese and yogurt, include ingredients that other countries have established as potentially harmful for health, and therefore are banned. Clearly, mac and cheese on its own isn’t poisonous in any way, but the yellow food colorings #5 and #6 have been shown to cause hypersensitivity in children, and are therefore banned in countries including Norway, Finland, and Australia. For yogurt and other milk products, it is the rBGH and rBST that some countries are concerned with – these growth hormones are banned in several regions including the European Union, Canada, and Japan because of their potentially dangerous impacts on the health of both humans and cows.

RELATED: 10 Foods and Drinks Banned in America

Though the studies and investigations showing the possible dangers of these ingredients are not to be taken lightly, food manufactures in America surely are not trying to poison the American people. Different countries have different policies and politics when it comes to food, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) assures that it is monitoring the safety of all ingredients available for American consumers. The varying food-safety laws around the world are good reminders for all of us to be aware of what ingredients are in our foods, and not to panic, but to use common sense and mild precaution when choosing what foods we eat.

RELATED: 150 Foods Worth Traveling For

1. Olestra (aka Olean)

Olestra is a zero-calorie fat substitute created to make healthier snacks such as fat-free potato chips. But olestra has been shown to cause side effects in the form of gastrointestinal problems, as well as weight gain – instead of weight loss – on lab rats. The U.K. and Canada are two places that have banned this fat substitute from their food markets.

2. Brominated Vegetable Oil

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is vegetable oil, derived from corn or soy, bonded with the element bromine. It’s added to many sodas and sports drinks prevent the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface. But bromine has also been shown to alter the central nervous and endocrine systems, causing skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmia. The chemical is banned both in Europe and Japan.

RELATED: 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World 2013


3. Synthetic Hormones rBGH & rBST

These two growth hormones can be found in dairy products such as yogurt and milk. The controversy with cows injected with these hormones is that several studies cite rBGH as a cause of cancer. Due to these reports, many consumers in the U.S. choose to buy organic milk and dairy products, as well as those labeled “rBGH free,” and the hormone is totally banned at milk and dairy farms and in dairy products in the European Union, Australia, Canada, Israel, and New Zeeland.

RELATED: 13 Breakfast Plates Around the World

4. Azodicarbonamide

This chemical azodicarbonamide can be found in boxed pasta mixes, breads, frozen dinners, and packaged baked goods, and is added as an instant bleaching agent for flour. In Singapore, Australia, and most European countries, this chemical is banned due to reports of it causing asthma. Azodicarbonamide is also a chemical used in foamed plastics, like yoga mats.

5. BHA and BHT

Found in cereals, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spreads, and many other foods in need of preservation, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are commonly used preservatives. The National Toxicology Program’s 2011 report on carcinogens states that BHA can trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity and “is reasonably anticipated to be a human hazard.” The preservatives are both banned in parts of the European Union and Japan, and the U.K. doesn’t allow BHA in infant foods.

Click here to see more Foods Americans Eat That Are Banned Around the World

what happened after I signed the petition?


AvaazpixDear amazing community,

I often get asked by Avaazers, “what happens after I sign a petition?” And the truth is, a HECK of a lot! Every Avaaz campaign springs from a massive global mandate, and then zeroes in on the best way for our voices to win. Here’s just two of our victories from the last few weeks:

Remember when 2 million of us came together to stop the flogging of a 15-year old rape victim in the Maldives? Her sentence has been quashed! Here’s what our team did to win:

Maldives ad
Our ads threatened the profits of officials who owned parts of the tourism industry
  1. Spoke for hours with the Maldivian Attorney-General and Ministers and emailed the President at his personal account.
  2. Commissioned opinion polls showing massive support for reforms to protect girls. And wrote an Op-Ed in a major national paper.
  3. Persuaded a top Islamic scholar to speak out against flogging.
  4. Threatened to run an ad (right) in tourism publications, affecting the country’s major industry.
  5. Visited the Maldives and the location where the girl was held, pressing officials directly.

Ahmed Shaheed, former Foreign Minister of the Maldives said “The Avaaz contribution was the spearhead of the campaign to overturn the flogging sentence; a petition signed by millions, a country visit, a public opinion survey, and persistent follow-up all proved irresistible.”

Another example: Remember how almost 2 million of us rallied to stop the Maasai tribe in Tanzania from being kicked off their land for a hunting reserve? Last week, the Prime Minister announced they could stay! The petition provided a powerful basis for what the team did next:

Maasai
Maasai women gather to protest the eviction. Photo by Jason Patinkin
  1. Got CNN and the Guardian to visit the Maasai and break the wider story to the world.
  2. Advised Maasai elders on their campaigning strategy.
  3. Flooded Ministers and the President with messages — forcing a debate in cabinet and Parliament.
  4. Ran a hard hitting newspaper ad in an influential paper which publicly shamed the government.
  5. Persuaded diplomats worldwide to raise the issue — embarrassing the government.
  6. Financially supported Maasai elders to travel to the capital where they gathered to ‘occupy’ land outside of the Prime Minister’s office for weeks, refusing to leave until he met them.
Education cheque
Gordon Brown said: “A million dollars has been raised via the brilliant Avaaz.org, in just a few days.”Brazil Open Vote
Key Brazilian Senator joins Avaaz “open vote” naked protest sending a clear message: “we have nothing to hide”

The victory belongs to the Maasai people, but our community helped them win by making this a global issue the government could no longer ignore. This hopefully ends a 20 year land battle!!

Of course, our community does a LOT more than petitions. Last week, we raised a $1 million challenge grant in a few days to donor governments to put Syrian refugee kids in school. At a UN meeting, I was able to put a cheque on the table and issue the challenge on behalf of over 40,000 Avaaz donors. UN Education Envoy Gordon Brown, who chaired the meeting, called our community’s effort a “magnificent and impactful intervention” in getting other governments to give!

And often it’s not the Avaaz team but our community that does the direct lobbying. For example in Brazil, we’re inches away from winning a massive fight to end the shady practice of ‘secret voting’ in the Congress. Our huge push helped win the vote in the lower house and right now, Senators’ telephones are ringing off the hook as Avaaz members across Brazil use our online calling tool to directly tell them to stop this corruption — experts say a win is likely in days!

It’s this unique magic mix between a gigantic and spirited community of citizens able to speak out, donate, and lobby, and a small team of top notch advocates able to take smart, strategic actions at the highest level with democratic legitimacy, that makes our campaigns increasingly unstoppable.

If we keep believing in each other, and growing in size and in commitment, there’s no limit to the good we can do in the world. Thank you so much for the honour and the joy to be part of and serve this community. It’s something truly precious we have here — let’s keep building Avaaz.

With love and appreciation,

Ricken and the team

PS — You might not know that Avaaz is different from just about every other global organization in that we are 100% funded and guided by our community. Every campaign we run is first polled and tested to a random sample (you might think of it as a jury) of our community, that tells us exactly how the whole the community will react. I may be the CEO, but you’re my boss. If you don’t like something (and I don’t mean 51% like it, but 81% like it) then our team go back to the drawing board and come up with a better option for you. We have never, ever, broken this rule. So at the end of the day, it is your wisdom, the collective wisdom of our community, matched with the smartest suggestions the team hears from you and come up with ourselves and from our partners and experts, that determines what we do every single day.

When you add to that the fact that 100% of our funding comes from small online donations (we strictly refuse any donations from corporations, governments, foundations, and even individual donations over 5000 Euros), I think Avaaz may be one of the purest organisational expressions of people-powered change in the world today. Make that an organisation served by a beautiful team of wonderfully talented and deeply committed people that I wish I could introduce you all to, and we’ve got a kind of magic that can build the world we dream of.

PPS — If you want to chip in to help keep it all going, click here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/october_reportback_a/?biEWLbb&v=29788

PHOTO OF THE MONTH : National Geographic


Picture of cherry blossoms at night in Japan

by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, from the March 2013 feature story “Night Gardens”

 

Witness the magic of nocturnal gardens, designed to flourish when the sun sets. In Japan the nighttime viewing of cherry blossoms in spring, like these at Kyoto’s Hirano Shrine, is a special event.
Download this and hundreds of other wallpapers.

Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network


Chip in to help hold paper villain Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) accountable.

Here are RAN, we are engaged in one of our largest campaigns yet in an emergency effort to save Indonesia‘s imperiled forests. We’re working in the U.S., Japan, and Indonesia to create the market leverage necessary to transform the corporate practices of APP, the largest paper company in Indonesia. And our campaign is working: major U.S. and European customers like Staples, Random House, Levi’s, and Gucci have stopped buying paper from controversial sources like APP.

Now is the perfect time to put more market pressure on APP, and that is directly where your support will go.
Make a tax-deductible donation to the Rainforest Action Network today.

Canadian donors, please click here.