Death Penalty Focus : Pope Francis Condemns the Death Penalty

Capital punishment “is cruel, inhuman and degrading, as is the anxiety that precedes the moment of execution and the terrible wait between the sentence and the application of the punishment, a ‘torture’ which, in the name of a just process, usually lasts many years and, in awaiting death, leads to sickness and insanity.”

via Death Penalty Focus : Pope Francis Condemns the Death Penalty.

EU grants Greece extra cash, Athens pledges reforms | News | DW.DE | 20.03.2015

EU grants Greece extra cash, Athens pledges reforms | News | DW.DE | 20.03.2015.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured above) announced on Friday that the EU would make two billion euros ($2.15 billion) of unused development funds available to Greece’s new government, led by the anti-austerity Syriza party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Juncker stressed that strict conditions were attached to the additional funds.

“This will not be used to fill Greece’s coffers, but to support efforts to create growth and social cohesion in Greece,” said Juncker, adding that one of the main aims of granting the funds was to reduce youth unemployment in the country.

World Health Organisation ‘intentionally delayed declaring Ebola emergency’ | World news | The Guardian

{Even newspapers have short memories. The governments of the impacted countries pushed back hard internally within the UN and in the press to not declare an emergency for fear of losing trade and tourist business. WHO gave in to the pressure and that’s their bad but governments who think of money before people in situations like this one and this one, share much of the blame.}

Dr Sylvie Briand, head of the pandemic and epidemic diseases department at WHO, acknowledged that her agency made wrong decisions, but said postponing the alert made sense at the time because it could have had catastrophic economic consequences. “What I’ve seen in general is that for developing countries, it’s sort of a death warrant you’re signing,” she told AP.

On 10 June, Briand, her boss, Dr Keiji Fukuda, and others sent a memo to WHO chief Dr Margaret Chan, noting that cases might soon pop up in Mali, Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau. But the memo went on to say that declaring an international emergency or even convening an emergency committee to discuss the issue “could be seen as a hostile act”.

But others argue that although declaring an international emergency is no guarantee of ending an outbreak, it functions as a kind of a global distress call.

“It’s important because it gives a clear signal that nobody can ignore the epidemic any more,” said Dr Joanne Liu, MSF’s international president.

In a meeting at WHO headquarters on 30 July, Liu said she told Chan: “You have the legitimacy and the authority to label it an emergency … You need to step up to the plate.”

After WHO declared an international emergency on 8 August, Barack Obama sent 3,000 troops to west Africa and promised to build more than a dozen 100-bed field hospitals. Britain and France also pledged to build Ebola clinics, China sent a 59-person lab team, and Cuba sent more than 400 health workers.

Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO’s top Ebola official, maintains however that labelling the Ebola outbreak a global emergency would have been no magic bullet. “What you would expect is the whole world wakes up and goes: ‘Oh my gosh, this is a terrible problem, we have to deploy additional people and send money,’” he said. “Instead what happened is people thought: ‘Oh my goodness, there’s something really dangerous happening there and we need to restrict travel and the movement of people.’”

via World Health Organisation ‘intentionally delayed declaring Ebola emergency’ | World news | The Guardian.