Archive for European Union

Dear President of the European Commission

Posted in Kids, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2022 by xi'an

BoJo’s return to no-future

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2022 by xi'an

The [harebrained] proposal of Boris Johnson to return to so-called imperial measurements or units illustrates [beyond his usual flair for spinning out of yet-another-scandal] an all-too-common innumeracy of politicians (and possibly a lingering anti-French sentiment as metric units were introduced by the French Revolution), preferring to cater to their Brexit voters rather than realising the drawbacks and costs of a parallel system of measurements, as illustrated by the 1999 Orbiter crash. Does he plan to exit the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures as well?! Or does he expect an improvement in numeracy with the public using different bases (other than 10) at ounce once?!

Le Pen election win would be disastrous for research, France and Europe [Nature editorial]

Posted in Kids, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2022 by xi'an

(…) Science is not often a big factor in France’s elections, and this one is no different. But Le Pen is appealing to scientists by pledging to repeal controversial reforms to research institutions enacted between 2007 and 2009 by centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy — which Macron has continued. Both presidents sought to align France’s universities, research and funding systems more closely with those of the United States and the United Kingdom by giving universities more autonomy; improving links between academics and businesses; and increasing financial support for research-intensive corporations.

Sarkozy changed the law so that funders and university administrations could have more independence in making decisions. His government also provided generous tax breaks to businesses that invest in research and development.

(…) Although Le Pen’s [repeal] policy on the Sarkozy reforms might be welcomed by some researchers, National Rally’s wider programme for government will be anything but. For one, the party’s policy on restricting immigration is likely to hit collaborations with scientists in other countries. And minority communities would face severe discrimination under Le Pen. For example, she has said she wants to ban the wearing of headscarves in public by extending a law that prohibits them in [public] schools.

Furthermore, a Le Pen presidency would put France on a collision course with the EU. Her party is intending to violate European laws and regulations by restricting employment or state benefits for EU citizens from outside France; withholding payments into the EU budget; and ending free movement of people between France and its EU neighbours. Universities and research funders must also confront the possibility that a Le Pen government would seek to restrict academic freedom.

(…) Researchers should consider that any short-term gains in terms of funding would be completely outweighed by the disaster of a Le Pen win. And those dissatisfied with both presidential candidates and considering not voting at all should realize that this, too, is likely to be of benefit to Le Pen. Everyone should look at Hungary for an EU case study of what happens when a far-right leader is elected.

Dear Prosecutor General [AI call]

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2022 by xi'an


Public Prosecutor General, Mr. Zbigniew Tadeusz Ziobro
ul. Postępu 3

02676 Warszawa

Poland

Email:
biuro.podawcze@pk.gov.pl


Dear Public Prosecutor General,

I am writing to express my deep concern about charges brought against human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska that stem solely from her activism to support access to safe abortion. Justyna has been charged with ‘helping in the performance of an abortion’ on the basis of Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, and ‘possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market’ under Article 124 of the Pharmaceutical Law. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison. I am deeply concerned that charges against Justyna appear to be brought in reprisal for her activism and her legitimate efforts to defend access to safe and legal abortions in Poland. Justyna is a doula and an activist who has been outspoken about her own abortion. She is one of the founders of Abortion Dream Team, an activist collective in Poland that campaigns against abortion stigma and provides evidencebased and nonbiased abortionrelated information, including on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance on safe selfmanaged medical abortion.

I would like to stress that laws that restrict access to abortions in Poland only allowed when the health or the life of the pregnant woman is at risk or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and criminalise those who provide or help with an abortion put pregnant people’s health and lives at risk and violate Poland’s obligations under international human rights law and standards. It is precisely because of these harmful laws, that Justyna’s support to people whose health needs have been neglected and denied by the Polish health care system are crucial and can save lives. Her work should be applauded, not criminalised. Justyna’s efforts are part of a growing movement of individuals in Poland and around the world who show solidarity and compassion, while helping others to access the sexual and reproductive health and rights they are entitled to. Poland must take urgent action to ensure that abortion is fully decriminalised and that people defending sexual and reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion, are able to carry out their legitimate work without fear of reprisals or intimidation.

I therefore urge you to immediately drop all charges against human rights defender Justyna Wydrzyńska and refrain from bringing any other charges with the intention to criminalise her or other activists for providing lifesaving support to people seeking an abortion.

Yours sincerely,

International Women’ Day: EU solidarity [reposted]

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2022 by xi'an

EP President Roberta Metsola said: ‘‘I want to start by commending the incredibly brave women of Ukraine who are fighting, forced to shelter their loved ones in bunkers, giving birth in metro stations and leading on the frontline. It is a testament to their courage, strength and resilience even in the worst circumstances.’’

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee Chair Robert Biedroń (S&D, PL), declared: ‘‘A few days ago, in the very heart of Europe, Russia launched a brutal war on Ukraine, entirely in breach of international agreements, human rights and our values. I condemn this aggression that has led to the senseless deaths of many Ukrainian soldiers (20% of whom are women) and civilians. Over a million refugees have crossed the border now, mostly women (some of them pregnant) and children. We need to ensure proper assistance is provided to them.’’

French Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities Élisabeth Moreno, added: ‘‘I salute the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people, of these women and men who are facing a wave of unanimously condemned violence. Let us remember that women and girls are always the first victims of crises. Despite this, they are excluded from strategic discussions and exchanges on security and peace.’’

The Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir declared: ”We must put pressure on Russia to immediately stop this war. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. Gender equality should always be on our agenda, even on times like these. The world would be more peaceful with more women in the lead, I have no doubt about that.”

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Chair of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee for Ukraine’s integration into the EU, made the following statement: ‘‘I would have loved to join you today to discuss gender equality but I will talk about war. Thousands of women with children are trying to relocate to a safer place. Some have difficulties accessing basic products like baby food, while others are giving birth in shelters. Elderly people are sometimes left alone at home with no access to medicine or food. I urge your governments to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, to provide massive military support and to engage right now in providing humanitarian corridors for women, children and elderly people. Please do stand with Ukraine and help us preserve ourselves and the values we are standing for.’’

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