Sources: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and International Peace Bureau, August 6, 2014.
Hungary has become a disturbing example of how a political elite can roll back democracy. Leveraging an electorally successful right-wing populism, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has staged an autocratic crackdown on the nation’s press. The restrictions on media freedom have had an enormous political impact. By the last general election, in April, the government had effectively reined in all of the country’s broadcast media outlets. The media controls that made government voices the dominant ones dampened public enthusiasm for the election.
Source: Philip N. Howard, NY Times, Sept. 8, 2014
When Russian soldiers openly engaged Ukrainian forces at the end of August, a new hashtag began to trend on Twitter. Invented by a Belarusian, #RussiaInvadedUkraine was used nearly a half a million times in the first few days. A week later, it was still being posted hundreds of times an hour. Ukraine’s cyberactivists insisted on the hashtag to remind Western leaders and journalists that weak words are an unnecessary concession to Vladimir Putin.
Source: Chrystia Freeland, NY Times, Sept. 5, 2014
The Science for Peace Working Group on Nuclear Weapons is observing the newly designated (by the UN General Assembly) “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” by distributing yellow slips of paper on university campuses bearing the enigmatic phrase, “What does John Oliver know that will affect your future?” along with a link to a web page showing, first of all, a segment of John Oliver’s TV show on which he humorously reveals the dangers of owning nukes. See it at scienceforpeace.ca/nuclear.
After the John Oliver video, Science for Peace’s web page also provides a video about nuclear famine and a series of links provided by various peace organizations informing people about the risks of nuclear warfare. The group is distributing about 6,000 flyers. If there are supplies left over, Torontonians will be invited to distribute them to their own networks.
The powerful US gun lobby has found a new target—a prominent German gun designer who has developed a gun which can only be fired by its owner.
Ernst Mauch’s Armatiz iP1 handgun uses wireless technology to link the weapon to a wristwatch which can only be worn by the rightful owner—in theory making it impossible for the gun to be fired accidentally or used after a theft.
Earlier attempts to sell the iP1 in California and Maryland were opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights groups, which fears that “smart” weapons will become mandatory. This is largely a reaction to New Jersey’s 2002 Childproof Handgun bill which would restrict new handgun sales to use smart technology within three years of the weapons becoming available in the US.
Sources: Toronto Star, Wikipedia