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In brief

by Wolf Dagmar

In brief

News in our July/August edition:

Brazilian protest

Brazil saw masses of people protest against corruption and for better public services in June.

Violence errupted several times. The rallies were initially triggered by a rise in public-transport prices in São Paulo und Rio de Janeiro. On 20 June, the municipal authorities cancelled that hike, but the protests went on nonetheless. Many Brazilians are outraged because of corruption. Various political leaders took advantage of the preparations for the Football World Cup next year to syphon off money. Rally participants were similary angry about funds being invested in stadiums. They said hospitals and other components of social-infrastructure were more important. On 22 June, President Dilma Rousseff expressed the intention to improve public transport, spend more oil revenues on education and bring more foreign medical doctors to Brazil. Shortly before D+C/E+Z went to press, she proposed a referendum on reforms. The protests continued nonetheless. (mf)


The global epidemic of ­sexualised ­violence

Though violence against women is nothing new, the long-term health effects have hitherto been underestimated. A report the World Health Organisation (WHO) published recently assesses at the actual occurrence of gender-specific violence as well as prevention options and adequate public-health responses.

The figures are staggering: “35 % of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.” Globally, as many as 38 % of all murders of women are said to be committed by intimate partners.

The women who experience sexualised violence suffer in many ways. Their reproductive, mental and sexual health can be harmed. Risks include sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and giving birth to low-weight babies.

These health issues are not confined to crisis countries or particular communities. They are common all over the world. The WHO blames “economic and socio-cultural factors that foster a culture of violence against women”.
The WHO report is the first global systematic review of all available data on violence against women. It was compiled by the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research in cooperation with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

The authors spell out that violence against women can be prevented. They offer proposals on how to do so as well as guidelines for responses in the health sector. They emphasise that sexualised violence is not something that affects only individuals. Rather, it has an impact on society at large. (my)

WHO: Global and regional estimates of violence against women


World population 90 years from now

In June, the UN published a new prognosis on the growth of humankind until 2100. The experts reckon that some 10.9 billion people will live in that year.

The forecast is 250 million more than the previous estimate predicted in 2011. According to the experts, some 9.6 billion people will populate the Earth in 2050. By 2100, they expect the Asian population to grow by a mere 500 million, so that continent’s share of the world population is set to decline. The African  population, however, is predicted to grow by the factor four  to  4  bil-lion people. The average life expectancy will be 82 years in 2100, and even 89 years in rich nations, the experts say. (mf)  

UN World Population Prospects


G8 promises action on tax havens

Fighting tax havens was high on the agenda of this year‘s G8 summit in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland in June.

The declaration issued by the heads of state and governments from the USA, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia included several pledges on the matter. In the future, the tax authorities are to exchange their data automatically. Moreover, multinational corporations are to be required to publish more information on shareholders and tax payments. Developing countries are to be supported in collecting all taxes that are due. Critics argue, however, that the G8 declaration is still too vague and full of loopholes. They want developing countries to get access to the tax data rich nations collect – and they want the public in general to get access too. (mf)