Archive for the "International" Category
World Press Freedom Day is a United Nations holiday celebrated annually on May 3rd. Originally established by the General Assembly in 1993, the holiday is now run by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Press Freedom Day emphasizes universal rights as set forth in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which was written and adopted in 1948. This section of the Declaration states that everyone has the right to seek and relay information, regardless of their location or circumstances.
In the information age, we often take our access to news and events for granted in the United States. While freedom of the press is protected in the U.S. under the First Amendment of the Constitution, there are still some inherent obstacles in the ability to report information. This can lead to withheld information, as well as that of which is not correct. The situation is even direr in other nations, where the reporters may lose their lives over their jobs. World Press Freedom Day is not only set in place to protect the press, but it is also utilized as a tool to promote freedom of expression across all borders.
After the World War II, the world community made efforts to foster peace and universal human rights through the creation of the United Nations. The organization created the Declaration on Human Rights to help protect fundamental rights among all people. Still, not all countries have been on board with recognizing these rights, especially in some of the most oppressed areas of the world.
In 1993, the United Nations created World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness about the importance of a free press. Just two years earlier, the assembly had adopted the Windhoek Declaration to help foster freedom of the press in Africa. The organization found that not only is free press a human right, but the ideal also helps to foster democracy, as well as sound economics.
Celebrations and Awards
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated by groups big and small. UNESCO has an annual conference dedicated to the holiday, which is attended by press members from around the world. Since 1997, the organization has also awarded an annual UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to a press member who has defied oppression and supports the overall goals of the mission of World Press Freedom Day. The award commemorates the Colombian reporter Guillermo Cano Isaza, who was assassinated in front of the El Espectador newspaper headquarters by drug gangs in 1986.
While UNESCO fosters peace through its celebrations, not all members of the press can openly observe the holiday. World Press Freedom Day keeps these members in mind as a reminder that many reporters and photojournalists defy their governments every day in an effort to spread freedom of information.
Goals in 2013
2013 marks the 20th anniversary since the first celebration of World Press Freedom Day. This year, UNESCO is holding its annual conference in Costa Rica May 2nd-4th. The theme is “Safe to Speak.” Awards and seminars will be held at the conference while the original mission to protect the freedom of the press will be emphasized on May 3rd.
The 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is set to be awarded to Reeyot Alemu, a journalist from Ethiopia. She is known for her pieces on gender equality and poverty. Alemu was arrested in 2011 in Kaliti, where she is in the middle of serving a five-year sentence for her reporting.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated every year on May 5th. While the holiday has deep political roots, observations of Cinco de Mayo in the United States tend to be more about celebrating Mexican-American culture. Mexican-Americans utilize the day to celebrate how far they have come as a culture through recognition and festive parties. At the same time, this holiday has been commercialized so that people from varying cultural backgrounds can have the opportunity to partake in the celebrations.
Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration. Historically, however, the holiday commemorates a victory in Mexican politics and society. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army was victorious over French forces, in what would later be known as the Battle of Pubela. While the war between the Mexicans and the French wouldn’t conclude until 1867, the Battle of Pubela marked a surprise victory that carried the Mexican army through to an eventual win. Cinco de Mayo should not be confused with its independence day, which is actually observed on September 16th of every year.
The exact origination of Cinco de Mayo is unclear. Not only was there upheaval between France and Mexico, but the United States was also in the middle of the Civil War during this era. Many historians believe that the holiday first started the day of the Battle of Pubela by Mexican-Americans who lived in California. Many of these residents had escaped the oppression of the French in Mexico and traveled to the western United States in hopes of a better life.
The primary theme of Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. This is accomplished through parties, dances, and foods derived from Mexico. Symbols of Our Lady Guadalupe are also prominently displayed on Cinco de Mayo. Private parties are abundant on this day, while some cities offer public observances.
While Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in heavily Mexican-American populated areas, the holiday is observed in all 50 states. Celebrations are most prominent in the southwestern United States. While not considered a national holiday, some participants choose to take the day off of work or school in order to celebrate. Mexico also observes Cinco de Mayo, but it is not a national holiday there either.
Cinco de Mayo also presents an educational opportunity within many U.S. schools. On the days surrounding and leading up to the holiday, some teachers choose to provide lessons about Mexican history. This includes the country’s independence from the French during the late 1860s.
The true meaning of Cinco de Mayo is often confused by the holiday’s commercialization in the United States. Many restaurants and other businesses take the opportunity to serve Mexican food and products to the public. While there is certainly no harm in partaking in these types of celebrations, many Americans do not understand the roots of Cinco de Mayo. Once the true meaning of the holiday is learned, persons of other cultures often appreciate the holiday even more.
World Tuberculosis Day
World Tuberculosis Day is a holiday observed every year on March 24th. Not only does this date commemorates the discovery of tuberculosis (TB), but the primary purpose of the holiday is to increase awareness about the infectious disease as well as treatment measures to help prevent its spread and related deaths. While not a public holiday, the celebrations are crucial to the education, and hopefully the eventual elimination of this deadly disease. Due to the worldwide prevalence of TB, World Tuberculosis Day is observed in several different countries every year.
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease of the lungs. It is spread from person to person through extremely contagious bacteria. While direct contact can spread the disease, droplets from coughs and sneezes can also transmit TB through the shared airspaces.
People contract numerous other types of infections every year that are treated with antibiotics. What makes TB so dangerous, however, is the fact that the disease is often resistant to medications. Some patients respond to antibiotics, while others with the worst strains may be hospitalized. This is why tuberculosis is often considered deadly. BCG vaccines are often required in infants to help minimize the effects of tuberculosis that may be caught during childhood. The downside is that this type of vaccine is not 100-percent effective, and it does not work in adults.
Tuberculosis was originally discovered by Dr. Robert Koch on March 24, 1882. This was also the date in which Dr. Koch announced his findings of the bacterial cause of the disease to the world in Berlin, Germany. During this time, TB was running rampant in both Europe and the United States.
Since its discovery, TB tends to strike communities in waves. During the time that Dr. Koch made his announcement, tuberculosis cases were high in western nations, but this wouldn’t be the last. During the 1970s and 1980s, there were in influx of cases in the United States, some of which were related to decreased immunity in patients with HIV. Such cases tapered off in 1993 with increased awareness. According to the World Health Organization, the majority of the world’s TB cases are currently found in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Since tuberculosis is difficult to treat, the best way to protect people from infections is to prevent its spread. In 1982, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease proposed the idea of a World Tuberculosis Day. The World Health Organization backed this idea up to help promote efforts to fight the disease. March 24th was the date chosen in order to commemorate Dr. Koch’s findings a century earlier.
This holiday is celebrated in numerous ways. Organizers primarily utilize the day to educate the public about TB, as well as ways to help keep themselves healthy. In regions where healthcare access is limited, communities may increase awareness about the importance of seeking treatment. Charity events are also common to raise funds for research.
World Tuberculosis Day is celebrated by numerous countries. It is also sponsored by the World Health Organization. This is extremely helpful in raising awareness, since this entity has the resources to reach people in all parts of the world, rather than just one single region.
Considerations in 2013
In 2013, the slogan for World Tuberculosis Day is “Stop TB in my lifetime.” This is the second year of a related campaign that aims to raise awareness and action to help stop tuberculosis-related deaths. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control says that technology has made it possible to detect tuberculosis so early treatment is possible. It is up to people to spread the word about these treatments to help prevent the spread of TB throughout communities. The previous slogan for 2011 and 2012 was “Innovation,” primarily pertaining to awareness about TB vaccines.
World Malaria Day
World Malaria Day is a holiday designed to increase awareness about the related deadly disease. This holiday is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), and it occurs on April 25th of every year. While this day doesn’t incorporate an atmosphere of celebration as other holidays do, World Malaria Day is regarded as a crucial day to help promote education and preventive measures to protect people around the globe. WHO estimates that malaria causes an average of 655,000 deaths, many of which may be prevented with increased awareness.
Malaria is an infection spread by mosquitoes. It is directly caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which attacks the body’s healthy red blood cells. While this isn’t a modern disease by any means, it was better understood by the 18th century, when scientists made the connection between mosquito bites and subsequent illnesses.
At first, those infected exhibit typical flu symptoms that can include fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and extreme fatigue. Unlike a minor flu strain, however, malaria causes severe symptoms that last for several days. In fact, some patients may develop jaundice that causes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Malaria can be deadly once it spreads through the body, causing organ failure, coma and seizures. Treatment is crucial, as the infection is deadly without medical intervention. In some cases, malaria is still deadly despite rapid treatments.
While malaria can infect people anywhere, cases are most common in tropical areas where mosquitoes run rampant. There doesn’t seem to be as many cases in warmer regions of the United States, due to the many control methods over the mosquito population. Local communities spray chemicals over the land during mosquito season, and many residents have easy access to repellants.
However, such control methods aren’t as common in other areas of the world, such as Central America and Africa. For this reason, malaria cases are higher compared to other regions. Visitors and travelers are just as susceptible as local peoples. Supporters of World Malaria Day hope that knowledge can help increase methods of mosquito control and protection, thereby reducing cases of malaria.
World Malaria Day was founded in 2007 by WHO, which is the United Nations’ leading panel on global health. During this time there was also a surge in worldwide malaria cases. Many countries jumped on board to help WHO with efforts for malaria awareness. The United States, Uganda, Germany and Switzerland are just a few of the examples of active participants in the holiday. Since the first holiday was held in 2008, it has been held on April 25th every year.
While the United States participates in World Malaria Day, the government does not recognize April 25th as a public holiday. This means that all banks, schools and other government institutions are all open.
Celebrations and Observations
Education is at the core of World Malaria Day. The more that people understand malaria, the better they are equipped to ward off the disease. This can include simple measures, such as protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Furthermore, learning the symptoms of malaria can help save lives.
In some countries, people do not have access to mosquito repellants and localized control methods. On World Malaria Day, some supporters hose fundraisers to gain money needed to help communities pay for these crucial protection methods. Others may petition local politicians to urge changes to reduce malaria in various communities around the globe.