Jax.Network has mined over 100 BTC blocks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Jax.Network, a blockchain project building an energy–standard monetary system, has merge–mined over 100 Bitcoin blocks. Miners are welcome to join JaxPool and get a wide variety of different perks, including free JXN coins.

Jax.Network is a blockchain protocol merge–mined with Bitcoin network. The merge–mining technology allows the network to leverage the security of the parent chain and provide more incentives for miners, as they receive extra block rewards in the form of JXN tokens. This week, Jax.Network rechead a major milestone of 100 BTC blocks being merge–mined with Jax.Network. It's interesting to note that the first BTC block was merge–mined during the mainnet launch back in October 2021.

The event comes shortly after JaxPool, an official mining pool focused on merged–mining Jax.Network with Bitcoin, reached an all–time high of 1.58 Ehash/s of computing power. The pool has managed to gain this hashrate in less than two months thanks to attractive terms of participation, which include negative fees on Bitcoin mining and a 1% bonus for every Phash/s. Thus, it surpassed both BSV and BCH networks in terms of computing power.

"We have come a long way to create a protocol that reflects the best of what a blockchain protocol, such as Bitcoin, can offer. A hundred blocks mark one of the first major milestones for us but the most interesting parts of our roadmap are yet to come," Vinod Manoharan, Founder of Jax.Network, stated.

About Jax.Network

Jax.Network provides the technological infrastructure for a decentralized energy–standard monetary system. The Jax.Network blockchain is anchored to the Bitcoin network and issues two digital currencies JAX and JXN. Jax.Network aims at making these coins a universal standard for the quantification of economic value. Established in 2018, the company united professionals from all over the world to build a blockchain network based on the Proof–of–Work consensus mechanism and pure state sharding as a scaling solution.

Go and Tell the Hungry that Their Food Is Being Thrown in the Garbage

Controlling the loss and waste of food is a crucial factor in reaching the goal of eradicating hunger in the world. Credit: FAO

By Baher Kamal
MADRID, Sep 28 2022 – These are facts, not guesses: about 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted and lost… every single year, the equivalent of one ton per each of the one billion hungry people, many of them are those who produced the food.

The findings have been reported by the World Bank, whose recent study: What a Waste 2.0 also informs that the number of wasted calories “could fill hunger gaps in the developing world.”

On this, it reports on the breakdown of the number of calories wasted per day and per person –out of the recommended 2.000– : 1.520 calories in rich North America and Oceania –of which 61% are by their consumers–, and 748 wasted calories in wealthy Europe.

With a much bigger population than Europe, a similar amount of calories is reported as wasted in industrialised Asia (746), compared to 414 in South and Southeast Asia.

Subsaharan Africa and Central Asia register 545 wasted calories per person and day, and Latin America 453, according to the World Bank’s report.

For its part, the United Nations, on the occasion of this year’s International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, on 29 September, reports that reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tons and tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted … every day.


How is the food of the hungry being wasted?

Two main reasons lay behind such food waste and loss. One of them is attributed to inadequate transport and storage facilities in developing countries.

But the major one is the rules imposed by the markets.

Indeed, the dominating marketing, the profit-making technique consists of selecting part of the crops while discarding great amounts of food, just because they are “ugly,” “not nice” in the eyes of the consumers.

This way, millions of tons of potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, lemons, apples, pears, peaches, grapes… are every day left in the field or thrown in landfills, while millions of litres of milk and millions of eggs are dumped in the sea just to reduce their availability in the supermarkets, therefore raising their prices, and this way make more money.

Another market rule is to attract consumers with “special” offers, such as “buy one, take two” or more, while advertising their products as natural,” biological, grown in the field, etc. Other foods are presented as gluten and lactose-free; zero added sugar, more Omegas, more healthy… and cheaper.

Add that they fix tight “expiration date” and this way, pushing consumers to dump the extra amount of food they are induced to purchase just to take advantage of such “special” offers.


The consequences

  • Significant quantities are wasted in retail and at the consumption level, with around 14% of food produced is lost between harvest and retail.
  • An estimated 17% of total global food production is wasted: 11% in households, 5% in the food service, and 2% in retail.
  • Food that is lost and wasted accounts for 38% of total energy usage in the global food system.


Not only the food is wasted…

The International Day meanwhile reiterates that food loss and waste undermine the sustainability of the world’s food systems.

“When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food – including water, land, energy, labour and capital – go to waste.”

In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

Food loss and waste can also negatively impact food security and food availability, and contribute to increasing the cost of food.

The world specialised body: the Food and Agriculture Oranization (FAO), reports these facts:

  • Currently, 41.9% of the global population is unable to afford a healthy diet. That’s over 3 billion people.
  • An additional 1 billion people around the world are at risk of not affording a healthy diet if a shock caused their incomes to reduce by one-third. What if there was a disaster or an economic shock?
  • Furthermore, food costs could increase for up to 845 million people if a disruption to critical transport links were to occur.

In its report, FAO recalls that as the world’s population continues to grow, “the challenge should not be how to grow more food; but reducing food loss and waste” in a sustainable manner, is an immediate need if we are to maximise the use of food produced to feed and nourish more people.

Also, prioritising the reduction of food loss and waste is critical for the transition to sustainable food systems that enhance the efficient use of natural resources, lessen planetary impacts and ensure food security and nutrition.

And that reducing food waste is one of the most impactful climate solutions.

Having reported all that, who would dare to tell the one billion poor why they and their children go to bed hungry or undernourished, every single day, while the big business pundits are dressed in silky clothes, sitting in luxury offices, cashing skyrocketing salaries, and eating exquisitely selected food?


Measuring Human Rights – PODCAST

By Marty Logan
KATHMANDU, Sep 28 2022 – Welcome to Strive podcast, where we chat with new voices about fresh ideas to create a more just and sustainable world. My name is Marty Logan.

Before we get to today’s episode, if you enjoy Strive I encourage you to share it with a friend so they can check out the show. If you’re listening in a podcast app just click on the share icon (the one with the up-facing arrow). Or you can share a post on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn channels.

Today we’re learning about what I think is a fantastic new tool for holding governments accountable to their human rights obligations. Actually the Human Rights Measurement Initiative is six years old, so it’s not brand new, but it was a revelation to me when I came across it recently.

What I like is how the Initiative’s Rights Tracker assigns a score to a government’s record on a specific right, let’s say the right to education, based on how other countries with roughly the same level of resources have performed. As a journalist I still believe in the naming and shaming approach but as today’s guest, Stephen Bagwell of the Initiative, and the University of Missouri, St Louis, says, too often governments respond to reports of rights violations by dismissing them as exaggerated or made up. It is much harder to brush off HRMI’s scores, which are largely data-based.

I also like a comparison Stephen uses to explain why human rights should be measured: the Sustainable Development Goals. There are all sorts of updates on progress toward the 2030 SDGs deadline, when in fact governments are not legally obliged to attain the goals. But hundreds of countries have ratified the various human rights instruments, like the Convention on the Rights of the Child or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — yet no one was systematically tracking their progress on meeting those obligations.

One note on abbreviations you’ll hear in today’s episode: ICCPR is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, noted above, and the ICESCR is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Both are bedrock human rights documents. The former is considered law in 173 countries and the ICESCR in 171 countries.


Human Rights Measurement Initiative

Nepal page on HRMI’s Rights Tracker


The Human Rights Measurement Initiative Tracker assigns a score to a government’s record on a specific right, let’s say the right to education, based on how other countries with roughly the same level of resources have performed. As a journalist I still believe in the naming and shaming approach but as today’s guest, Stephen Bagwell of the Initiative, and the University of Missouri, St Louis, says, too often governments respond to reports of rights violations by dismissing them as exaggerated or made up. It is much harder to brush off HRMI’s scores, which are largely data-based.

Uber, Lyft, Square, ScyllaDB & Google Engineers on the P99 CONF Agenda

PALO ALTO, Calif. and HERZLIYA, Israel, Sept. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ScyllaDB, the company behind the ScyllaDB database for data–intensive apps that require high performance and low latency, today announced the agenda for P99 CONF 2022.

P99 CONF is a highly–technical conference where top engineers share how they are tackling their toughest high–performance, low–latency challenges. Focus areas include Rust, Go, event streaming architectures, databases, Linux, virtualization, observability, and Kubernetes "" all with an emphasis on open source software. The two–day event is free, purely virtual, and highly interactive.

This year's event features 50+ sessions from engineers at Uber, Lyft, Square, ScyllaDB, Google, Red Hat, Oracle, RedisLabs, Microsoft, and more.

Keynotes include:

  • Gil Tene (Azul Systems): Misery Metrics & Consequences
  • Liz Rice (Isovalent): Using eBPF for High–Performance Networking in Cilium
  • Malte Ubl (Vercel): Ultra–Low–Latency Web Rendering on the Edge
  • Dor Laor (ScyllaDB): P99 Pursuit
  • Charity Majors and Ian Smith (Honeycomb): Performance Tuning with Precision
  • Bryan Cantrill (Oxide Computer Company): Sharpening the Axe: The Primacy of Toolmaking
  • Avi Kivity(ScyllaDB): How a Database Looks from a Disk's Perspective

Additionally, some of the most–anticipated sessions on the agenda include:

  • Steven Rostedt (Google): Analyze Virtual Machine Overhead Compared to Bare Metal with Tracing
  • Omar Elgabry (Square): Square Engineering's “Fail Fast, Retry Soon” Performance Optimization Technique
  • Pavlo Stavytskyi (Lyft): Measuring the CPU Performance of Android Apps at Lyft
  • Cristian Velazquez (Uber): Large–Scale, Semi–Automated Go Garbage Collection Tuning at Uber
  • Ron Pressler (Oracle): Why User–Mode Threads Are Good for Performance
  • Armin Ronacher (Sentry, Flask framework): Overcoming Variable Payloads to Optimize for Performance

The vendor–neutral, community–focused event is organized and hosted by ScyllaDB. P99 CONF offers a core subset of talks focused on low–latency distributed data "" sharing engineering strategies from RedisLabs, Percona, Redpanda, QuestDB, TiDB, RavenDB, DragonflyDB, RageDB, and ScyllaDB.

For the full agenda and to register for P99 CONF, visit p99conf.io.

About ScyllaDB

ScyllaDB is the database for data–intensive apps that require high performance and low latency. It enables teams to harness the ever–increasing computing power of modern infrastructures""eliminating barriers to scale as data grows. Unlike any other database, ScyllaDB is built with deep architectural advancements that enable exceptional end–user experiences at radically lower costs. Over 400 game–changing companies like Disney+ Hotstar, Expedia, FireEye, Discord, Crypto.com, Zillow, Starbucks, Comcast, and Samsung use ScyllaDB for their toughest database challenges. ScyllaDB is available as free open source software, a fully–supported enterprise product, and a fully managed service on multiple cloud providers.

Media Contact

Wayne Ariola


Hard Hit By Climate Change, Villagers Raise a Forest on Their Own

The villagers work in a forest they planted to save themselves from the ravages of climate change. Credit: Umar Manzoor Shah/IPS

The villagers work in a forest they planted to save themselves from the ravages of climate change. Credit: Umar Manzoor Shah/IPS

By Umar Manzoor Shah
Meghalaya, India, Sep 28 2022 – Some ten years ago, Sheemanto Chatri, a 39-year-old farmer hailing from India’s northeastern state of Meghalaya, was reeling with distress. The unseasonal rainfall had washed away all the crops he had cultivated after year-long labor in his far-off hamlet.

In 2013, this farmer had sowed a ginger crop on his half-acre land and was hoping for a profitable yield. However, providence had willed otherwise. In September that year, unseasonal rains wreaked havoc on Sheemanto’s village, destroying his crops beyond repair.

“We had not anticipated this. We were praying to God to grant us a good yield. But the rains destroyed everything – our hopes and our livelihood,” says Chatri.

Another farmer, only identified as Marwin, shares a similar predicament. He said that he had grown potatoes on his farm and was planning to sell them in the open market to settle a loan from the bank. However, says Marwin, the drastic change in the weather pattern affected farmers the most in the village.

“At times, it is draught and at times unexpected heavy rains. All this is unprecedented to the core. It affected our livelihood and would hit our families hard,” says Marwin.

He added that the entire village had been incurring losses in farming due to such an unprecedented situation, putting people in dire straits in more ways than one.

“We had absolutely no clue why this was happening. We even performed congregational puja (prayers) and offered sacrifices to our Gods, but nothing happened,” Marwin said.

According to another farmer, Arup Chater, a team of local NGOs with researchers came to the village in November 2014 and assessed the crop losses.  The team also studied the pattern of the weather changes in the area and said they believed deforestation was responsible for the situation.

After the team visit, the villagers – men and women, young and old congregated at an open ground to discuss the remedial measures. They realized how the ruthless chopping of trees from the nearby forests had affected their livelihoods.

“At the onset, we didn’t understand that any such thing would happen to us if we allowed the axing of trees from the nearby woods. Now we understood that nature works in unison, and it was now affecting our lives so drastically,” Chater told IPS.

At this moment, the inhabitants of this village decided to grow a forest.

The village head made a general announcement asking the households in the village to provide saplings so they could be planted in the community forests.

“A kind of roster was devised that divided works amongst the villagers. Every day, duties were distributed among the households for toiling in the woods, tendering it with natural fertilizers, irrigating the saplings, and taking care of the newly sown plants. Three labor groups were created – each given a task of their own: “longkpa” (men), “longkmie” (women), and “samla” (youths),” says Mattheus Maring, the headman of the village.

He adds that at present, there are more than 4000 saplings that are growing.

“This forest was our only hope of not witnessing the impact of climate change. This has grown into a full forest,” Maring told IPS. “There is the chirping of birds and the sounds of leaves everywhere. Gradually, the climatic conditions and water scarcity have subtly begun to improve.”

He says he believes that this forest building has made nature “kind.”

“For the last couple of years, farmers haven’t complained about losses. They get adequate rains on time and water supplies too. The economic conditions of our village also have begun to improve,” says Maring.

He adds that a regular water supply was created by planting 2,000 each of the Michalia champaca (Diengrai), Duabanga grandiflora (Dieng Mului), and 250 Drimy carpus (Dieng Sali) seedlings.

To enhance the water source coming from the roots of the trees, there was significant participation from the “longkpa” (men), “longkmie” (women), and “samla” throughout the day. To prevent wildfires, they make sure to clear and clean it. This activity aims to preserve the water supply for future generations while transforming it into a Nutri Garden by growing traditional veggies or wild delicacies.

Due to climate change, groundwater supplies, rivers, dams, streams, and others are all under stress. In India, rain-fed agriculture occupies 65% of all arable land, highlighting the industry’s vulnerability to water constraints. Since less groundwater is being used for agriculture due to depletion levels, several states of the country are already experiencing water shortages.

Recent studies have demonstrated that climate change-induced global warming enhances the monsoon’s oscillations, causing both brief bursts of intense rain and protracted dry spells. Since 1902, 2022 has experienced the second-highest number of severe events – a frightening scenario that gave rise to droughts and floods.

In India, as per government data, monsoon rains decreased in frequency but increased in intensity in the second half of the 20th century. These extraordinary shifts are severely impacting India’s hundreds of millions of food producers and consumers, raising questions about food security.

However, the inhabitants of this northeastern village are optimistic that their hard work will yield the results – if not today, then tomorrow for sure. “We will not allow the chopping of the trees as we used to in the past. We will be vigilant now and understand that nature is a two-way street. We have to tender it with care to expect it to care for our lives in return. This community forest will save us for sure and will make our lives, the lives of our children better in more ways than one,” says Maring.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Anaqua’s Market Leadership and Innovation in IP Management Solutions Recognized by Top Industry Analyst

Hyperion Research's MarketView report spotlights Anaqua AQX's "transformational' integration capabilities and PATTSY WAVE's "streamlined' approach to docket management

BOSTON, Sept. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Anaqua, the leading global innovation and intellectual property (IP) management technology provider, has again been recognized as a Market Leader and Highly Innovative in the newly published 2022 MarketViewTM Report on IP Management by Hyperion Research, the leading source for Legal Solutions Market Intelligence covering the IP Management market.

The report awards Anaqua's AQX Corporate and Law Firm IP management platforms Market Leader designations in the key areas of IP Business Management (IPBM)/IP Law Firm Management and Decision Support Analytics.

For both IP Business Management and IP Law Firm Management designations, Hyperion says AQX Corporate and AQX Law Firm set the standard today, by "providing a transformational set of capabilities for connecting an organization's legal, operational and business (client) stakeholders to identify, address, mitigate and resolve the challenges of IP."

Regarding AQX's market leading Decision Support Analytics, Hyperion says of both platforms: "Anaqua delivers class–leading analytic capabilities for IP Management, integrating content and technology to provide a contextual framework that supports IP decision making."

Hyperion also awards both AQX Corporate and AQX Law Firm the Highly Innovative designation for their Integration Platforms, noting that the May 2021 acquisition of SeeUnity (the leading provider of API–based enterprise content integration and migration products) "adds to an already robust technology architecture, enabling the delivery of data throughout the enterprise, a key IPBM capability."

Representing a strong inaugural appearance in Hyperion's list of Advanced Solutions for IP law firms, Anaqua's PATTSY WAVE is given a Market Leader designation for its Streamlined Docketing Efficiency, with the report saying: "PATTSY WAVE's unique single screen approach to docket management delivers the access and efficiencies required by today's docketing professionals."

The report acknowledges all three platforms as Highly Innovative for their Customer Driven Roadmaps, which is evidence that Anaqua's customer–focused DNA runs through all aspects of the business.

Eyal Iffergan, Hyperion Founder and Managing Director, Epiq Legal Business Advisory, commented: "Anaqua has catalyzed the IP Business Management operational model, delivering a solution suite that drives the strategic value of IP. Given the innovative, customer–driven approach applied to product development, it's not surprising that Anaqua's AQX platform provides a class–leading set of capabilities for integrating cross–functional stakeholders, including contextualized analytics for strategic decision–making."

Bob Romeo, CEO of Anaqua, said: "To be recognized and commended by Hyperion is extremely gratifying. It is also a testament to Anaqua's ongoing commitment to delivering leading end–to–end, corporate and law firm–focused IP management solutions to the market. We have continued to invest heavily in AQX Corporate in collaboration with our customers to add capabilities organically and through strategic acquisitions. This acknowledgment is also validation of our continued focus on the law firm market, including efforts to integrate and enhance PATTSY WAVE and extend AQX's capabilities for law firm clients."

To learn more about Anaqua's products, download Hyperion Research's VendorView Report for AQX Corporate, AQX Law Firm or PATTSY WAVE.

About Anaqua

Anaqua, Inc. is a premium provider of integrated intellectual property (IP) management technology solutions and services for corporations and law firms. Its IP management software solutions, AQX and PATTSY WAVE, both offer best practice workflows with big data analytics and tech–enabled services to create an intelligent environment designed to inform IP strategy, enable IP decision–making, and streamline IP operations, tailored to each segment's need. Today, nearly half of the top 100 U.S. patent filers and global brands, as well as a growing number of law firms worldwide use Anaqua's solutions. Over one million IP executives, attorneys, paralegals, administrators, and innovators use the platform for their IP management needs. The company's global operations are headquartered in Boston, with offices across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia. For additional information, please visit anaqua.com, or on Anaqua's LinkedIn.

About Hyperion Research

Hyperion Research, an Epiq company, is the industry's leading source for Legal Solutions Market Intelligence. The profession's leaders, innovators, and trend–makers rely on Hyperion as the premier provider of independent market research, analysis, and advisory services. Hyperion provides unparalleled insight into the leading trends in legal strategy, operations, and technology. Hyperion Research is an independent market research organization. Its research coverage of any vendor is based on their significance in the market; Hyperion Research does not accept any remuneration in exchange for participation in the MarketView Research program and reports. Hyperion Research maintains full editorial independence over all research reports, research findings and other analyst work product.

Company Contact:
Amanda Hollis
Director, Communications

Korean Slums: The Shadows of Society, or the New Light for the Future?

IPS youth thought leader trainees Minseung Kim (team leader), middle, Henry Cho, right, Dongjun Lee in the interview with Seong Hoon Kim, Senior Director, Platform Development Division of Korea Social Security Information Service.

IPS youth thought leader trainees Minseung Kim (team leader), middle, Henry Cho, right, Dongjun Lee in the interview with Seong Hoon Kim, Senior Director, Platform Development Division of Korea Social Security Information Service.

By Dongjun Lee, Henry Cho and Minseung Kim
Sep 28 2022 – Have you watched Parasite? In 2021, everyone seemed to be watching it. But I wonder how many of them paid attention to the old man who found a little shelter in a hidden basement behind the kitchen of a mansion. However hidden it was, that’s where he could meet his basic needs. That was his little slum.

It may be a bit of a stretch, but I found that the movie Parasite exposed the core of South Korea’s unique slum culture. It’s hidden under the shadow of big skyscrapers and, more importantly, consists of seniors like the old man in the movie.

Korean slums are full of seniors. In 2020 alone, 388 seniors died home alone. There was a 29% increase in these deaths in 2021. Why? That’s what we will be talking about in this article.

First, South Korea is now an aging society. By 2025, over 20% of the Korean population will be seniors. Consequently, with the increase in the elderly population, the poverty rate among seniors has also increased.

Even though South Korea is famous for being the country that flourished rapidly after the Korean War in 1953, it has constantly encountered multiple financial crises. Many industries favor the younger generation to maximize the nation’s output, resulting in over 2 million elderly workers being unemployed and forcing an early retirement since the 1970s. With this trend, the elderly’s well-being diminished, and many experienced financial devastation – which threw them onto the streets and forced them to seek shelter. This explains the emergence of Korean slums made up of seniors.

There is another significant cause why older people fill Korean slums. The seniors in South Korea are a unique generation, sandwiched between the Korean war in their past and the YOLO (You Only Live Once) culture. They had to support their immediate and extended family (their elderly parents, brothers and sisters, and so on). On top of this, when they become seniors, their children, who live in YOLO culture (defined as the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future), don’t support their parents. As a result, Korean families face a new crisis: abandoned seniors. Recently, there has been an increasing number of news reports about seniors abandoned by their children. Many of them die home alone without any family members. As of 2020, out of 1.8 million seniors living by themselves, 953 of them died home alone. Because of this social phenomenon, many proprietors refuse to rent their homes to seniors over 65.

To find a place to live, they go to the slums, which explains why Korean slums are uniquely full of seniors. Interestingly, these seniors have turned their slums into a silver town where they receive social welfare services and emotional support. Since they live together, charity organizations and social welfare services can easily locate and take care of them. Through these support systems obtained by living in slum areas, the seniors can feel a sense of belonging – they no longer feel alone.

IPS youth thought leader trainees with Executive Director of Concern Worldwide, Korea, Junmo Lee and course founder Dr Hanna Yoon.

IPS youth thought leader trainees with Executive Director of Concern Worldwide, Korea, Junmo Lee, and course founder Dr Hanna Yoon.

Concern Worldwide Executive Director Junmo Lee told IPS that they have to approach this issue with the importance of community in mind. Creating a community where these seniors are connected back to society is the key because the disconnection isolates them. Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organization that strives for a world free from poverty.

But how can this disconnection from their families and productive work be solved? We know that a single private organization can’t solve it. Then what is the solution?

Seong Hoon Kim, the Senior Director of the Platform Division at the Korea Social Security Information Service Team was able to give legislative views on the issue.

To create a community where seniors are reconnected to society, we need a communal contribution where all government, private humanitarian organizations, and family members work together as a team, Kim says.

There is a saying that it takes a whole village to raise a child.

Now, we want to say that it takes a whole village to care for seniors, especially those living in slums. We have to come as one family to support them.

However, our government needs to step up to bring the entire country together to form a community where these seniors are reconnected to their own families and society.

Henry Cho, Dongjun Lee, and Minseung Kim investigated why elderly people in Korea end up living in slums, and what can be done about it.

Henry Cho, Dongjun Lee, and Minseung Kim investigated why elderly people in Korea end up living in slums, and what can be done about it.

We are teenagers now. But we will grow old, too. We don’t want to live in slums because that’s the only option we may have. We hope to stay connected to our families and be productive until we die. To turn this hope into reality, we must start working on it now.

Living in slums after 65? It’s not just their story. It can be our and your story, too, if we don’t act now. We hope the Korean government will hear our voice and act upon it so we can live as happily as we can when we grow old. Is it not our right to pursue happiness even after 65?



Note: Minseung Kim was the team leader for this project.
Edited by Dr Hanna Yoon

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Reasonable Left, Irresponsible Right: & the Future of Social Democracy

Credit: Pexels

By Robert Misik
VIENNA, Sep 28 2022 – With no shortage of catastrophes in the past 15 years worldwide — the democratic left is stepping up to provide stability amid the storm.

Throughout the history of mankind, there have been catastrophes. In modern times, there have also been media representations of catastrophe, including worked-up or even imagined catastrophes.

More than 60 years ago, the German author Friedrich Sieburg wrote about the ‘lust for doom’, which, strangely enough, has a tremendous appeal especially in eras perceived as stable: ‘The everyday life of democracy with its dreary problems is boring, but the impending catastrophes are highly interesting.’

Now that we have had no shortage of real catastrophes in the past 15 years, we no longer have to conjure them up. First came the global financial crisis, which threatened to topple banks and other financial institutions — even states — as if houses of cards.

Later the pandemic arrived and then the military invasion of the second largest country in Europe by the largest. Its shockwaves are devastating half the world, with energy crisis, broken supply chains, price explosion, food shortages, impoverishment and destitution.

Robert Misik

And all the time comes the onrushing climate catastrophe, whose consequences are already apparent and which intersects with the current geopolitical crisis. The global electricity markets are going crazy because there is a lack of gas from Russia, but also because the rivers are drying up, the hydroelectric power plants are empty and nuclear power plants have to be shut down because the cooling water in the rivers is becoming too scarce — even the coal-fired plants are having problems where coal can no longer be shipped.

In any case, disaster is not now something we frivolously imagine because we are bored. It is there — very real for many and at least felt by most. Not only does it colour political debates but an atmosphere of pessimism, insecurity and fear has settled over most societies.

This is so even, perhaps especially, in the affluent societies of the west, which had become accustomed to stability and relative prosperity. A sentiment is spreading: the whole machinery no longer works, it is broken — and the political elites have no plan.

The left choosing stability

Against this backdrop, while the left is trying to develop programmes and instruments to master the crises, to stem the decline in prosperity and the social costs for ordinary people, those on the hard right are betting on things getting even worse, playing up catastrophe.

They hope this will benefit them, that they can thereby achieve electoral success — as with the right-wing radicals in Sweden recently or the right-wing bloc in Italy over the weekend.

It’s no surprise, then, that the far-right contenders paint the ‘elite’ and its networks in dark colours. They rummage through supposedly suppressed news and hidden secrets. They identify, to their satisfaction, how the powerful secure their dominance and say all this is connected. They imagine themselves as if detectives smugly putting pieces of the political puzzle together, in the manner of a latter-day Hercule Poirot.

It is not a completely new phenomenon to offer such a fundamental critique of ‘the system’. What is astonishing is that the far right has hijacked what used to be a prerogative of Marxist intellectuals — and of those activists who imagined a terminal catastrophe would some day issue in a socialist millennium.

Right-wing propaganda has appropriated elements of left-wing critical thinking — the questioning of the conventional and familiar, of the all-too-obvious, and the healthy suspicion of power. Amazingly, the motifs of the enlightenment have been subverted to serve conspiracy theories and fanaticism, in the cause of authoritarianism and nationalism.

The democratic left, in sharp contrast, sees its task today, grosso modo, as providing stability amid the storm. Of course, this is true where it is in government. But it in most cases it also has this reflex of responsibility where it is in opposition.

This has consequences. The left sometimes finds itself defending the status quo, against its deterioration. It knows it cannot score points with simple answers but has to work out complex plans whose realisation is tough.

This liberal left has always stood for freedom, democracy, the rule of law — for social equality and against hierarchy and fascist temptations. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has however drawn his country back into despotism in recent decades, aligned with an ideology of expansionism.

While the radical right (and some pro-Russian hard leftists) propose to kneel to Putin, the democratic left supports Ukraine’s right to self-defence and an independent path.

Russia’s imperialism has been met with sanctions from liberal Europe and north America, rebutted in turn in an economic quasi-war with the help of the ‘weapon’ of gas and oil. Yet in a multipolar and chaotic world where not all are on their side, progressives find themselves having to balance decisiveness and prudence.

Now their own economies must be stabilised and protected, and their societies, because the supply of energy and the functioning of the critical infrastructure has a much broader social centrality. This includes changes in the design of energy markets, which simply no longer function when panic on the markets leads to price explosions of 600 or even 1,000 per cent.

The colonisation of lifeworlds by market ideology has however meant that even the essential goods of everyday infrastructure have been left to the mercy of the markets. Energy suppliers which get into trouble have thus to be bailed out by governments.

The dangers of ‘politics without a project’

The effects of inflation are also different from what we know from economics textbooks. Classic inflation occurs when there is a boom, an economy reaches the limits of its capacity and there is more or less full employment. Then asset owners lose, while borrowers gain. But above all, workers and employees do not really lose out: prices rise but so do wages.

Classical inflation is characterised by a wage-price spiral in which real wages rise along with them. Historically, wage earners lost out primarily because of anti-inflationary policies, not because of inflation.

Today, however, inflation is not the result of a boom but an economic shock: it is imported, primarily due to higher energy prices and supply problems. Many companies too are groaning under their energy overheads, as they cannot fully pass on the cost increase to consumers. This in turn will mean workers will not be able to make up fully for price increases through wage rises.

The unions will fight but it will be very difficult to avoid real wage losses. Low wage increases lead to impoverishment and a decline in aggregate demand but high wage increases would lead to more bankruptcies and thus more unemployment.

The most likely result will be a combination of misfortune — a marked recession plus high inflation. Government will have to intervene with price controls, by dramatically accelerating the shift to renewable energy, by providing payments to the most vulnerable segments of the population, by accepting further budget deficits.

None of these solutions will be perfect. We must be careful not to enter a new era of depoliticised pragmatism — a ‘politics without a project’, to borrow an old formulation from a famous German book edited by the legendary Suhrkamp publisher Siegfried Unseld 30 years ago. But there will tend to be no grand design to policy, just muddling through.

Public debates will be characterised by a certain confusion, as we are already observing. On the one hand, most citizens want clear and focused plans, but at the same time they know that there are no easy, simplistic answers.

A pandering left-wing populism is therefore not an attractive alternative. It is not only a too-narrow preaching to the converted but also there is a broad swath of potential support among liberal and left citizens for a politics of reason and responsibility.

In times of such uncertainty, we do not need trumpeters and bullshiters. We need people who can be trusted to do the best they can to sort things out.

Robert Misik is a writer and essayist. He publishes in many German-language newspapers and magazines, including Die Zeit and Die Tageszeitung.

Source: International Politics and Society is published by the Global and European Policy Unit of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Hiroshimastrasse 28, D-10785 Berlin.

IPS UN Bureau


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Deadly Smoke: Feeding Children Kills Cafeteria Staff

Soo Hyoun Lim's classmate doing a campaign inside the Yongsan International School’s cafeteria with the poster.

Soo Hyoun Lim’s classmate doing a campaign inside the Yongsan International School’s cafeteria with the poster.

By Soo Hyoun Lim and Hyeonuk Hwang
Seoul, Sep 28 2022 – During my summer break this year, I read a news article about five school cafeteria workers who had died of lung cancer. Due to these incidents, a union of cafeteria workers, wearing their aprons and holding their lunch trays, held a protest in front of the President’s office on a scorching summer day. And it made us think about the devastating working conditions for the school lunch employees. Isn’t it so disheartening that we eat our school lunch at the expense of their health?

Did you know that one cafeteria staffer has to provide 150 student servings in a substandard kitchen with poor ventilation systems? That’s why they get lung cancer. While cooking, they inhale gasses, known as cooking fumes or cooking smoke. This substance contains “carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and several toxic volatile hydrocarbons,” which has caused 3.8 million people to die prematurely from this “indoor air pollution”. So installing a proper ventilation system in a school cafeteria is crucial to protect the kitchen staff.

Soo Hyoun Lim (right) and friend campaign for safe working environments for cafeteria workers at Yongsan International School’s cafeteria.

Soo Hyoun Lim (right) and friend campaign for safe working environments for cafeteria workers at Yongsan International School’s cafeteria.

But why isn’t there a proper ventilation system in the first place?  Initially, South Korea did not have a school cafeteria. All school children brought their lunch boxes from home until 2011. Those who could not afford their lunch box received free lunch from school. But imagine it: Johnny is flashing out his fancy lunch box next to Jane, who is eating free lunch from school. What would Jane feel about this? Well, Korean politicians thought that no child should be left behind in terms of school lunches. So for the sake of equality, the Korean government launched a “Free School Lunch for All” program in 2011. The real problem was that they launched this free lunch program without installing a proper kitchen ventilation system to save on the budget. Basically, for the sake of political populism, they overlooked the serious problems a substandard kitchen environment would bring to the health of school cafeteria workers.

What about other countries that offer free school lunches? In Japan, for example, schools are built with a free school lunch program in mind from the beginning. So proper ventilation systems are built in. And they constantly renovate their school kitchens for the sake of the health of both cafeteria workers and students, which is a stark contrast to Korean schools.

Is there anything I can do as a student?

Hyeonuk Hwang holds the poster in public to raise awareness of the dangers school cafeteria workers face.

Hyeonuk Hwang holds the poster in public to raise awareness of the dangers school cafeteria workers face.

I strongly believe that spreading the news of the devastating working environment for school cafeteria ladies using social media is a good place to start. So I made a poster and posted it on my Instagram. The result was phenomenal. We got lots of ‘Likes’ and comments from people thanking us for raising awareness of this dire situation in Korean school cafeterias. And we will continue to design new posters and post them on social media. People may wonder what difference a small media post can make. Confucius said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Our post may be a small stone. But wait until we have a huge collection of posts about this issue. We may move a mountain. You never know.

What else can we do as students? Well, we are writing this opinion editorial to suggest creative solutions which may reach the ears of the policymakers in South Korea. That’s something! For the answer, we thought of using clean and renewable energy: cook with the sun! Have you ever used a solar oven before? Basically, a solar cooker consists of a system of reflectors and a cooking pot. The setup converts the solar energy into heat energy to bake, boil, or steam food. In a solar oven, you can cook anything that you can cook in a conventional electric or gas oven or stove without producing toxic cooking fumes. Well, browning is unlikely in a solar oven due to lower temperatures. On the bright side, this means that we don’t need to worry about our food getting dried out or burned.

Most importantly, no deadly cooking fumes! We may not get crisp French fries or caramelized steaks, but there are huge collections of recipes designed specifically for solar ovens. If we can eliminate the harmful cooking smoke for our cafeteria ladies’ health, we will be happily satisfied with the solar cooker food.

Soo Hyoun Lim and Hyeonuk Hwang took their campaign to Instagram.

Soo Hyoun Lim and Hyeonuk Hwang took their campaign to Instagram.

But will it work for a large crowd of people? According to Mason Terry, director of the Oregon Renewable Energy Center, multiple solar ovens were functioning superbly years ago at a refugee camp in Nepal. You may not know this, but Nepal is home to over 40,000 refugees. If it worked for such a large number of hungry people in Nepal, I’m sure that South Korea could find ways to utilize this earth-friendly oven for their students at school. Since the budget was the issue for installing proper ventilation systems in Korean schools, they can save a lot of gas and power bills by using solar ovens. And with that money saved, they can install proper ventilation systems! Again, we ardently hope that this sustainable solution reaches the ears of South Korean policymakers.

Posters on social media and talking about solar ovens. We know. They are small steps. Perhaps too small to change the current Korean cafeterias. Perhaps too weak to save the lives of our cafeteria ladies. But however small and weak these steps may be, the important thing is that we are leaving our footprints on this issue. Wayne Gerad Trotman once said, “We are not helpless. We all can make this world a better place. We can start with small steps, one day at a time.” So take a small step with us today. Tomorrow we will be a step closer to bringing changes to Korean school cafeterias.

Note: Soo Hyoun Lim was the team leader for this project.
Edited by Dr Hanna Yoon

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Aged Persons Haunted by Abuse in Zimbabwe

HelpAge Zimbabwe director Priscilla Gavi is concerned about the elder abuse in Zimbabwe, especially as many are reliant on their families for support. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

HelpAge Zimbabwe director Priscilla Gavi is concerned about the elder abuse in Zimbabwe, especially as many are reliant on their families for support. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

By Jeffrey Moyo
HARARE, Sep 28 2022 – At his house in Mabvuku, a high-density suburb in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, 86-year-old Tinago Murape claims his grandchildren starve him.

Not only that, but Murape, who now walks with the support of a walking stick, said his three grandchildren – grown-up men with their wives and children living in his house, accuse him of bewitching them.

Murape’s wife, Sekai, born in 1941, died two years ago after she contracted COVID-19.

All of his three children, two sons and a daughter, succumbed to AIDS decades ago, Murape told IPS without beating about the bush as he tapped on the ground with his walking stick.

Faced with joblessness and leading lives as domestic part-time workers in the affluent suburbs of Harare, his grandchildren strongly believe their grandfather cast spells on them, resulting in them failing to get formal jobs even though they are educated.

Now the grandsons, and their wives, have reportedly slapped Murape with sanctions – denying him food as a way of punishing him for causing their economic misery, according to him.

The grandchildren have vehemently denied the accusations.

“That’s not true. It’s old age pushing him to think like that,” one of the grandchildren told IPS.

Yet, for Murape, the abuse has gone on for years as he claims well-wishers and neighbours have often fed and clothed him.

The three grandsons, 27-year-old Richard, 29-year-old Benito and 32-year-old Tamai Murape, have never been formally employed after they completed their technical courses at Harare Polytechnic College.

According to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, 90 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed.

Murape’s grandsons are part of the country’s unemployed, although they blame witchcraft, which they pin on their aged grandfather, for their joblessness.

Director for HelpAge Zimbabwe, Priscilla Gavi, said: “Older people are wrongly accused of practising witchcraft, which sees them blamed for deaths, drought, floods, disease and other calamities.”

In some instances, said Gavi, older persons are set upon by community members with beatings that may be fatal or leave them with disabilities or are burnt in their houses.

But Murape has said he has learnt to make do with the abuse.

“Sometimes they shut me out of my own house on top of denying me food, knowing I have no source of income and well-wishers have become my saviours every day,” Murape told IPS.

In fact, with many aged Zimbabwean citizens like Murape putting up with abuse, the abuse of the country’s senior citizens has turned into a growing trend.

In 2021 alone, police in Zimbabwe claimed they handled 900 cases countrywide related to the abuse of aged persons.

Like Murape, many aged persons in Zimbabwe taken care of by relatives claim they have become victims of physical and emotional abuse, with some claiming even to have been sexually abused.

Aged rape victims are many, like 76-year-old Agness Murambiwa in Harare, who claimed her 22-year-old grandson raped her before he fled to neighbouring South Africa earlier this year.

Gavi said aged persons are not spared from sexual abuse.

“Cases of rape of older women by much younger men are increasing in parts of Zimbabwe. In some instances, these arise from the mistaken notion that having sex with an older woman can cure one of terminal illnesses,” Gavi told IPS.

But the wounds remain for Zimbabwe’s aged rape victims like Murambiwa.

“Earlier this year, Themba, my grandson, attacked me while I slept in my bedroom, threatened to kill me if I made any noise before he raped me. It pains me that my own blood did this to me,” Murambiwa told IPS.

Murambiwa is taken care of by her two daughters, both of whom divorced their husbands and one of whom is Themba’s mother.

The daughters are also strained taking care of their aged mother.

“It’s not easy looking after an aged parent. We have limited resources, and she always complains that we are not doing enough, yet none of us is employed. We are vendors living from hand to mouth,” 52-year-old Letiwe, one of Murambiwa’s daughters, told IPS.

But many aged Zimbabweans like Murape and Murambiwa said they could not fight off their abusers because they were in desperate need of care.

With limited resources to support its senior citizens, Zimbabwe has no social grants for the aged.

This means aged persons like Murape and Murambiwa are on their own as they bear the brunt of abuse in the twilight of their lives.

Yet the Constitution of Zimbabwe protects the elderly, defined in Section 82 of the Constitution as people over 70.

Many of Zimbabwe’s aged citizens have no money after the 2008 hyperinflation eroded their savings.

This time, a new round of inflation has not helped the country’s growing number of abused aged persons who depend on their relatives.

Inflation currently hovers above 257 percent in Zimbabwe, with food prices skyrocketing, meaning the lives of aged persons such as Murape could even worsen.

Other than inflation, for aged men – widowers that have remarried, according to HelpAge’s Gavi, abuse could be even worse.

“Some older men have also faced abuse from their younger wives who mistreat their spouses wantonly, leading to some of these men finding themselves on the streets,” said Gavi.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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