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Chemical Weapons Kill Children

DAMASCUS –  In what is suspected to be the most massive use of chemical weapons in recent history, the Syrian government is alleged of having used poison gases to kill up to 1.200 people in the vicinity of the capital Damascus this Wednesday. If confirmed, the attack against civilians, including numerous children, will have brought the Syrian civil war atrocities to an unprecedentedly heinous level.

Foreign governments, including the US, France and Russia, are demanding an investigation into the use of chemical weapons; a UN chemical weapons inspection team is already in the country since two weeks, but they have not yet been able to reach the area of the attack.

The attacks were described in amateur video footage that showed adults and children with foaming mouths, convulsions and apparent suffocation, as well as countless bodies with no signs of external violence. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius commented that if what the videos show are indeed chemical weapons attacks by Bashar al-Assad, the use of external force in Syria might be required.

In June 2013, Cinema for Peace traveled with actor Jan Josef Liefers to Aleppo and refugee camps along the Syrian border in order to bring attention to the conflict; a report of the trip was on the cover of Europe's biggest newspaper Bild. Moreover, Cinema for Peace organized an emergency screening of the film "Ground Zero - Syria" in May on the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival as well as in Berlin on June 12th. If you are interested in raising awareness on the Syrian conflict and would like to organize a screening on the subject, please don't hesitate to contact Cinema for Peace by replying to this email.


UN PANEL ON NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS REPORTS ON CRUELEST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN THE WORLD



North Korean defector Shin Dong-hyuk (right) at the UN panel on North Korea.

SEOUL  –  A United Nations expert panel hearing focusing on North Korean human rights abuses and prison camps has begun in the South Korean capital this week. The panel has heard North Korean defectors who have recounted stories of cruel abuse as well as daily public executions and torture in the country's prisons. North Korea itself refuses to recognize the UN panel and has never allowed independent investigators to enter the country.
One of the main witnesses the panel heard was Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in the prison camp number 14. He himself had to witness his mother and brother being executed in the camp, and he believes the UN panel is a crucial way to bring attention to the country's abuses. His story is documented in the award-winning  film "Camp 14" by Marc Wiese, a Cinema for Peace laureate.  An estimated 150.000 to 200.000 people are locked in North Korean prison camps, with many inmates severely malnourished and the subject of harsh forced labor. 

Some experts believe that the panel will help shed light on a little known issue but that it would hardly have an effect on the situation in North Korea unless the regime itself changes its course. So far, global interest seemed lukewarm as the hearing was attended only by a handful of journalists.

FUKUSHIMA LEAKING RADIOACTIVE WATER INTO THE OCEAN


FUKUSHIMA – The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was damaged by a huge tsunami in March 2011 is going through yet another emergency threatening the environment. This week, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) that operates the power station admitted that close to 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site. The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog has raised the incident level from one to three on the international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents. This is a sign that the power plant is facing its biggest crisis since the reactor meltdown in 2011.

An international nuclear energy expert, Mycle Schneider, has said that the crisis is much worse than the public have been led to believe. The radioactive water that has been used to cool down the reactors since the meltdown has been stored in huge containers on the site, but they are close to full capacity and filling up with 400 tonnes of water daily. What makes the situation worse is that the power plant is located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, so the ongoing contamination is not limited to spoiling local ground water supplies, but could be carried by ocean currents to the other side of the globe.

After the 2011 catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Cinema for Peace Foundation was active in campaigning on the issue of nuclear power by organizing special screenings and distributing selected films to nuclear energy industry decision makers and relevant politicians, including the German Ethics Commission, who in May 2011 after the campaign called for an "end to nuclear power", suggesting a phase-out in Germany by 2021. The government then decided to abolish nuclear power as the first Western country. At the same time, however, worldwide over 60 new reactors are being planned, with almost half of them in China. Chinese plans also include so called pebble-bed reactors tested by German engineers in 1960s; while efficient, they carry high risks in case of a malfunction.

We invite you to watch the following trailers on Syria and chemical weapons:
  • THE SKIN THAT BURNS by Narges Bajoghli is the story of Iran’s volunteer soldiers who were exposed to chemical bombs during the Iran-Iraq War.
  • FALLUJAH: THE HIDDEN MASSACRE by Sigfrido Ranucci documents the use of chemical weapons, particularly the use of incendiary bombs, and alleges indiscriminate use of violence against civilians and children by military forces of the United States of America in the city of Fallujah in Iraq.
  • GROUND ZERO: SYRIA by Robert King is a compilation of photojournalist and videographer King’s footage into a series of raw, largely unedited vignettes that present a snapshot of the ancient city of Aleppo as it crumbles and burns while its citizens are killed indiscriminately.
  • BATTLE FOR SYRIA by Jamie Doran presents a journey inside the heart of the Syrian insurgency with rebels waging a full-scale assault.
  • THE SUFFERING GRASSES by Iara Lee seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps.
On North Korean prison camps:

  • CAMP14 by Marc Wiese tells the story of Shin Dong-Huyk, a political prisoner in a North Korean re-education camp. He was forced to labor since the age of six and completely separated from the outside world until he managed to escape at the age of 23.
  • KIMJONGILIA by N.C. Heikin exposes the propaganda system of North Korea. It was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year in 2010.
  • THE RED CHAPEL by Mads Brügger recounts how two Danish comedians join the director on a trip to North Korea, where they have been allowed access under the pretext of wanting to perform a vaudeville act.
On nuclear energy and its dangers:
  • INTO ETERNITY by Michael Madsen illustrates the problems of how to deal with the immense amount of nuclear waste that is produced all over the world.
  • THE BATTLE OF CHERNOBYL by Thomas Johnson dramatically chronicles the series of harrowing efforts to stop the nuclear chain reaction and prevent a second explosion, to "liquidate" the radioactivity, and to seal off the ruined reactor under a mammoth "sarcophagus."
  • CHERNOBYL HEART by Maryann DeLeo takes the camera to ground zero in Chernobyl, following the devastating trail radiation leaves behind in hospitals, orphanages, mental asylums and evacuated villages.
  • PANDORA'S PROMISE by Robert Stone. The atomic bomb and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we’ve got nuclear power wrong? This film asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty.
WATCH THE CINEMA FOR PEACE TRAILER OF THE WEEK:

SYRIA AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS:

"Camp 14" by Marc Wiese



NUCLEAR ENERGY:





DAMASCUS –  In what is suspected to be the most massive use of chemical weapons in recent history, the Syrian government is alleged of having used poison gases to kill up to 1.200 people in the vicinity of the capital Damascus this Wednesday. If confirmed, the attack against civilians, including numerous children, will have brought the Syrian civil war atrocities to an unprecedentedly heinous level.

Foreign governments, including the US, France and Russia, are demanding an investigation into the use of chemical weapons; a UN chemical weapons inspection team is already in the country since two weeks, but they have not yet been able to reach the area of the attack.

The attacks were described in amateur video footage that showed adults and children with foaming mouths, convulsions and apparent suffocation, as well as countless bodies with no signs of external violence. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius commented that if what the videos show are indeed chemical weapons attacks by Bashar al-Assad, the use of external force in Syria might be required.

In June 2013, Cinema for Peace traveled with actor Jan Josef Liefers to Aleppo and refugee camps along the Syrian border in order to bring attention to the conflict; a report of the trip was on the cover of Europe's biggest newspaper Bild. Moreover, Cinema for Peace organized an emergency screening of the film "Ground Zero - Syria" in May on the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival as well as in Berlin on June 12th. If you are interested in raising awareness on the Syrian conflict and would like to organize a screening on the subject, please don't hesitate to contact Cinema for Peace by replying to this email.


UN PANEL ON NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS REPORTS ON CRUELEST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN THE WORLD


North Korean defector Shin Dong-hyuk (right) at the UN panel on North Korea.

SEOUL  –  A United Nations expert panel hearing focusing on North Korean human rights abuses and prison camps has begun in the South Korean capital this week. The panel has heard North Korean defectors who have recounted stories of cruel abuse as well as daily public executions and torture in the country's prisons. North Korea itself refuses to recognize the UN panel and has never allowed independent investigators to enter the country.
One of the main witnesses the panel heard was Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in the prison camp number 14. He himself had to witness his mother and brother being executed in the camp, and he believes the UN panel is a crucial way to bring attention to the country's abuses. His story is documented in the award-winning  film "Camp 14" by Marc Wiese, a Cinema for Peace laureate.  An estimated 150.000 to 200.000 people are locked in North Korean prison camps, with many inmates severely malnourished and the subject of harsh forced labor. 

Some experts believe that the panel will help shed light on a little known issue but that it would hardly have an effect on the situation in North Korea unless the regime itself changes its course. So far, global interest seemed lukewarm as the hearing was attended only by a handful of journalists.

FUKUSHIMA LEAKING RADIOACTIVE WATER INTO THE OCEAN


FUKUSHIMA – The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was damaged by a huge tsunami in March 2011 is going through yet another emergency threatening the environment. This week, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) that operates the power station admitted that close to 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site. The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog has raised the incident level from one to three on the international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents. This is a sign that the power plant is facing its biggest crisis since the reactor meltdown in 2011.

An international nuclear energy expert, Mycle Schneider, has said that the crisis is much worse than the public have been led to believe. The radioactive water that has been used to cool down the reactors since the meltdown has been stored in huge containers on the site, but they are close to full capacity and filling up with 400 tonnes of water daily. What makes the situation worse is that the power plant is located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, so the ongoing contamination is not limited to spoiling local ground water supplies, but could be carried by ocean currents to the other side of the globe.

After the 2011 catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Cinema for Peace Foundation was active in campaigning on the issue of nuclear power by organizing special screenings and distributing selected films to nuclear energy industry decision makers and relevant politicians, including the German Ethics Commission, who in May 2011 after the campaign called for an "end to nuclear power", suggesting a phase-out in Germany by 2021. The government then decided to abolish nuclear power as the first Western country. At the same time, however, worldwide over 60 new reactors are being planned, with almost half of them in China. Chinese plans also include so called pebble-bed reactors tested by German engineers in 1960s; while efficient, they carry high risks in case of a malfunction.

We invite you to watch the following trailers on Syria and chemical weapons:
  • THE SKIN THAT BURNS by Narges Bajoghli is the story of Iran’s volunteer soldiers who were exposed to chemical bombs during the Iran-Iraq War.
  • FALLUJAH: THE HIDDEN MASSACRE by Sigfrido Ranucci documents the use of chemical weapons, particularly the use of incendiary bombs, and alleges indiscriminate use of violence against civilians and children by military forces of the United States of America in the city of Fallujah in Iraq.
  • GROUND ZERO: SYRIA by Robert King is a compilation of photojournalist and videographer King’s footage into a series of raw, largely unedited vignettes that present a snapshot of the ancient city of Aleppo as it crumbles and burns while its citizens are killed indiscriminately.
  • BATTLE FOR SYRIA by Jamie Doran presents a journey inside the heart of the Syrian insurgency with rebels waging a full-scale assault.
  • THE SUFFERING GRASSES by Iara Lee seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps.
On North Korean prison camps:
  • CAMP14 by Marc Wiese tells the story of Shin Dong-Huyk, a political prisoner in a North Korean re-education camp. He was forced to labor since the age of six and completely separated from the outside world until he managed to escape at the age of 23.
  • KIMJONGILIA by N.C. Heikin exposes the propaganda system of North Korea. It was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year in 2010.
  • THE RED CHAPEL by Mads Brügger recounts how two Danish comedians join the director on a trip to North Korea, where they have been allowed access under the pretext of wanting to perform a vaudeville act.
On nuclear energy and its dangers:
  • INTO ETERNITY by Michael Madsen illustrates the problems of how to deal with the immense amount of nuclear waste that is produced all over the world.
  • THE BATTLE OF CHERNOBYL by Thomas Johnson dramatically chronicles the series of harrowing efforts to stop the nuclear chain reaction and prevent a second explosion, to "liquidate" the radioactivity, and to seal off the ruined reactor under a mammoth "sarcophagus."
  • CHERNOBYL HEART by Maryann DeLeo takes the camera to ground zero in Chernobyl, following the devastating trail radiation leaves behind in hospitals, orphanages, mental asylums and evacuated villages.
  • PANDORA'S PROMISE by Robert Stone. The atomic bomb and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we’ve got nuclear power wrong? This film asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty.
WATCH THE CINEMA FOR PEACE TRAILER OF THE WEEK:

SYRIA AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS:

"Camp 14" by Marc Wiese



NUCLEAR ENERGY: