Tag Archives: worldwide

Out in force: Massive women’s marches protest Trump

Women turned out in large numbers in cities worldwide on Jan. 21 to stage mass protests against U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hundreds of thousands of women —  many wearing pink knit “pussy”  hats — marched through downtown Washington, and also thronged the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston to rebuke Trump on his first full day in the White House. People — about 75,000 — also marched in Madison.

The Women’s March on Washington appeared to be larger than the crowds that turned out the previous day to witness Trump’s inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Organizers of the protest had told police they expected 200,000 people to attend but the crowd looked substantially bigger than that, stretching for about a mile and estimated at 500,000.

Thousands filed past the White House and were ushered back by Secret Service officers on horseback.

A planned march in Chicago grew so large organizers did not attempt to parade through the streets but instead staged a rally. Chicago police said more than 125,000 people attended.

The protests illustrated the depth of the division in the country which is still recovering from the 2016 campaign season. Trump stunned the political establishment by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party.

“We’re just disturbed by everything Trump wants to do,” said Bonnie Norton, 35. She and Jefferson Cole, 36, brought their 19-month-old daughter Maren to the Washington march.

Although his party now controls both the White House and Congress, Trump faces entrenched opposition from segments of the public as he takes office, a period that is typically more of a honeymoon for a new president.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump had the lowest favorability rating of any incoming U.S. president since the 1970s.

Thousands of women also took to the streets of Sydney, London, Tokyo and other cities in Europe and Asia in “sister marches” against Trump.

Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that “I am honored to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” but made no mention of the protests. He attended an interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral.

SUBWAY OVERWHELMED

The Washington march stressed the city’s Metro subway system, with riders reporting enormous crowds and some end-of-line stations temporarily turning away riders when parking lots filled and platforms became too crowded.

The Metro reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. Saturday, 82,000 more than the 193,000 reported at the same time on Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration and eight times normal Saturday volume.

By afternoon, the protest rally had been peaceful, a contrast to the day before when black-clad activists smashed windows, set vehicles on fire and fought with riot police who responded with stun grenades.

Many protesters on Jan. 21 wore knitted pink cat-eared “pussy hats,” a reference to Trump’s claim in the 2005 video that was made public weeks before the election that he grabbed women by the genitals.

The Washington march featured speakers, celebrity appearances and a protest walk along the National Mall.

Crowds filled more than ten city blocks of Independence Avenue in downtown Washington, with more people spilling into side streets and onto the adjoining National Mall.

In the crowd were well-known figures including Madonna and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who waved to supporters as his walked his yellow Labrador dog, Ben.

WOMEN’S VOTES

Clinton won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election by around 2.9 million votes and had an advantage among women of more than 10 percentage points. Trump, however, won the state-by-state Electoral College vote which determines the winner.

Trump offered no olive branches to his opponents in his inauguration speech in which he promised to put “America First.”

“He has never seemed particularly concerned about people who oppose him, he almost fights against them instinctively,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

The lawmakers who Trump will rely on to achieve his policy goals including building a wall on the Mexican border and replacing the 2010 healthcare reform law known as “Obamacare” may be more susceptible to the negative public opinion the march illustrates, Levesque said.

“Members of Congress are very sensitive to the public mood and many of them are down here this week to see him,” Levesque said.

At the New York march, 42-year-old Megan Schulz, who works in communications said she worried that Trump was changing the standards of public discourse.

“The scary thing about Donald Trump is that now all the Republicans are acquiescing to him and things are starting to become normalized,” Schulz said. “We can’t have our president talking about women the way he does.”

Study: Catastrophic declines in wilderness over past 20 years

Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology show catastrophic declines in wilderness areas around the world over the past 20 years.

They demonstrate alarming losses comprising a tenth of global wilderness since the 1990s – an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon. The Amazon and Central Africa have been hardest hit.

The findings underscore an immediate need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness areas and to address the unprecedented threats they face, the researchers say.

“Globally important wilderness areas — despite being strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities — are completely ignored in environmental policy,” says Dr. James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. “Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around. International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”

Watson says much policy attention has been paid to the loss of species, but comparatively little was known about larger-scale losses of entire ecosystems, especially wilderness areas which tend to be relatively understudied.

To fill that gap, the researchers mapped wilderness areas around the globe, with “wilderness” being defined as biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance. The researchers then compared their current map of wilderness to one produced by the same methods in the early 1990s.

This comparison showed that a total of 30.1 million km — around 20 percent of the world’s land area — now remains as wilderness, with the majority being located in North America, North Asia, North Africa, and the Australian continent. However, comparisons between the two maps show that an estimated 3.3 million km — almost 10 percent — of wilderness area has been lost in the intervening years. Those losses have occurred primarily in South America, which has experienced a 30 percent decline in wilderness, and Africa, which has experienced a 14 percent loss.

“The amount of wilderness loss in just two decades is staggering,” according to Dr. Oscar Venter of the University of Northern British Colombia. “We need to recognize that wilderness areas, which we’ve foolishly considered to be de-facto protected due to their remoteness, is actually being dramatically lost around the world. Without proactive global interventions we could lose the last jewels in nature’s crown. You cannot restore wilderness, once it is gone, and the ecological process that underpin these ecosystems are gone, and it never comes back to the state it was. The only option is to proactively protect what is left.”

Watson says the United Nations and others have ignored globally significant wilderness areas in key multilateral environmental agreements and this must change.

“If we don’t act soon, there will only be tiny remnants of wilderness around the planet, and this is a disaster for conservation, for climate change, and for some of the most vulnerable human communities on the planet,” Watson says. “We have a duty to act for our children and their children.”

UPDATED: LGBT Pride celebrations around the globe

Pride is celebrated in thousands of cities around the world, from Adelaide, Australia, to Zurich, Switzerland. A guide …

June

= June 5–14: Edmonton Pride, Canada; Pride Winnipeg, Canada

= June 12: Tel Aviv Gay Pride, Israel

= June 12–21: Shanghai Pride, China

= June 13: Athens Pride, Greece; Gloucestershire Pride, U.K.; Warsaw Pride, Poland

= June 13–14: Blackpool Gay Pride, U.K.

= June 19–20: Zurich Pride, Switzerland

= June 19–28: Pride Toronto, Canada; Oslo Pride, Norway

= June 20: Vienna Pride, Austria

= June 22–28: Milano Pride, Milan, Italy

= June 25: Paris Gay Pride March, France

= June 25–July 1: Helsinki Gay Pride, Finland

= June 26–28: Barcelona Pride, Spain

= June 27: Dublin Pride, Ireland; London Pride, U.K. 

= June 28: Mexico City Pride, Mexico

= June 28–July 5: Victoria Pride, Canada

July

= July 1–5: Gay Pride Madrid, Spain

= July 6: GayMat, Luxembourg

= July 16–26: Halifax Pride, Canada

= July 24–Aug. 2: Hamburg Gay Pride, Germany

= July 24–Aug. 1: Belfast Gay Pride, U.K.

= July 27–Aug. 1: Stockholm Gay Pride, Sweden

August

= Aug. 2: Vancouver Gay Pride, Canada

= Aug. 8–9: Antwerp Pride, Belgium

= Aug. 10–16: Prague Pride, Czech Republic

= Aug. 11–15: Gay Pride Copenhagen, Denmark

= Aug. 28–Sept. 7: Calgary Pride, Canada

In the fall

= September: Quebec City Pride, Canada

= October: Taiwan LGBT Pride, Taipei, Taiwan

= November: Adelaide Pride March, Australia; Marcha Del Orgullo, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hong Kong Pride; Gay Pride Brazil, Rio de Janeiro

More than 300 sites to ring bells for MLK ‘Dream’ speech

The final refrain of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech will echo around the world as bells from churches, schools and historical monuments “let freedom ring” in celebration of a powerful moment in civil rights history.

Organizers said people at more than 300 sites in nearly every state will ring their bells at 3 p.m. their time today, Aug. 28, or at 3 p.m. EDT, the hour when King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington.

Commemorations are planned from the site of the speech in Washington to the far reaches of Alaska, where participants plan to ring cow bells along with church bells in Juneau.

On Aug. 28, 1963, as King was wrapping up his speech at the Lincoln Memorial, he quoted from the patriotic song, “My Country `tis of Thee.”

King implored his audience to “let freedom ring” from the hilltops and mountains of every state in the nation, some of which he cited by name in his speech.

“When we allow freedom to ring – when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, `Free at last, free at last, great God almighty, we are free at last,” King said in closing.

Today (Aug. 28) bells will answer his call from each of the specific states King named, as well as at other sites around the nation and the world. At the Lincoln Memorial, President Barack Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will join members of the King family and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who also spoke at the March on Washington, in ringing a bell that hung in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., before the church was bombed in 1963, organizers said.

International commemorations will be held at London’s Trafalgar Square, as well as in the nations of Japan, Switzerland, Nepal and Liberia. London Mayor Boris Johnson has said King’s speech resonates around the world and continues to inspire people as one of the great pieces of oratory.

“The response to our call to commemorate the March on Washington and my father’s `I Have a Dream’ speech has been overwhelming,” King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, said in a written statement.

Some of the sites that will host ceremonies are symbolic, such as the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kan., a monument to the landmark Supreme Court case that outlawed segregated schools in 1954. Bells will also be rung at Lookout Mountain in Tennessee and Stone Mountain in Georgia, a site with a Confederate memorial that King referenced in his speech.

In the nation’s capital, numerous organizations and churches will ring their bells at 3 p.m., including the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall. Washington National Cathedral will play a series of tunes and spirituals on its carillon from the church’s central bell tower, including “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory,” “Amazing Grace,” “We Shall Overcome” and “My Country `tis of Thee.”

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the cathedral’s dean, said bell ringing is a symbol of freedom in the nation’s history and that many churches are trying to answer King’s call to be faithful to the roots of the civil rights movement.

“It’s a kind of proclamation of our aspirations for the expansion of freedom for all people,” he said. “It’s always important to remember that the civil rights movement started largely as a church movement. … It was essentially a group of black clergy with some white allies.”

King preached his final Sunday sermon at the National Cathedral in 1968 before traveling on to Memphis, Tenn., where he was assassinated. King had been turning his attention more toward economic inequalities with his Poor People’s Campaign, moving beyond solely racial issues to talk about all poor people and high unemployment.

“My feeling is that 50 years later, we need to look at ourselves and our own diversity and our own need to be more open and inclusive and diverse than we have been historically,” Hall said. The anniversary is a reminder, he said, “of what a powerful moment that march was in American history and how it really calls us to try to keep faith with the work that was begun 50 years ago.”

On the Web…

March on Washington Commemoration: HTTP://OFFICIALMLKDREAM50.COM

King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech: HTTP://WWW.ARCHIVES.GOV/PRESS/EXHIBITS/DREAM-SPEECH.PDF