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Thousands Die in Typhoon – an Effect of Climate Change?

TACLOBAN – Last weekend the massive Typhoon Haiyan razed large swathes of the Philippines, leaving behind thousands dead and displacing tens of thousands as the storm winds and tsunami-like flooding obliterated entire neighborhoods.

International efforts to gather aid to the struck region have begun swiftly, but they are slow to arrive, as local governments have also been destroyed and thus organizing aid deliveries has been challenging. Help is thus urgently needed, and you can also support the efforts by donating to UNICEF and Red Cross through the links.

Typhoons are not uncommon in the Philippines, but the enormous power of Haiyan once again raises questions about how man-made climate change is giving more and more energy to such weather anomalies, as was also assumed to be the case with Hurricane Sandy when it struck New York with great power last year.

We invite you to watch also the following trailers on the topic of natural disasters and climate change:
  • THE IMPOSSIBLE by J.A. Bayona tells the story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
  • THE 11th HOUR by Leila Conners is a look at the state of the global environment including visionary and practical solutions for restoring the planet's ecosystems. Leonardo DiCaprio won the first International Green Film award for his environmental efforts, including the 11th Hour.
  • CLIMATE OF DOUBT by Catherine Upin explores how a movement mobilized to undermine public acceptance of the scientific consensus on global warming and on how human activity contributes to climate change.

America's Secret War on Different Continents – An Axis of Evil?

DARMSTADT – America's reputation is at stake. The world's largest democracy doesn't seem to care about the basic rights stated in its own constitution, violating every possible privacy right against its own citizens and the citizens of the world.

Last June whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed shocking truths about what the US government is secretly doing around the world: following virtually every Internet user – even heads of states – with their surveillance systems. Its embassies are in reality surveillance centers, even friends and partners are being spied on and the people responsible for it don't go to jail, but are allowed to justify their actions in US Congress.

Until this day there has been no proof that any of these illegal activities by the US and their counterparts all over the world have helped humankind in any way – neither have wars been prevented or ended, war criminals caught nor major terrorist attacks revealed. Where was the intelligence when Assad started to plan killing his own people, when villain states were buying know-how to build a nuclear bomb? An engineer called A.Q. Khan from Pakistan was selling such know-how for nuclear bombs all over the world for years before somebody finally realized that he is offering this also to Libya.

The latest in revelations comes in the form of tangible activities on foreign soil, as German investigative journalists have uncovered that the US uses military bases in Germany to wage wars in secrecy. Reporters from Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR have put together a website that reveals how for example drone attacks in Africa are controlled from military bases in Germany. The German government itself has appeared equally protective of the secrets as the Americans: attempts to photograph the bases and inquiries about them have been denied and responded to with police force. More leaks on this are to follow over the next two weeks.

We invite you to watch also the following trailers on the topic of US spying and drone wars:
  • THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith is the story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of classified documents, decides to challenge an "Imperial" Presidency – answerable to neither Congress, the press, nor the people-in order to help end the Vietnam War.
  • WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS by Alex Gibney is a 2013 American independent documentary film about the organization started by Julian Assange, and people involved in the collection and distribution of secret information and media by whistleblowers.
  • REMOTE CONTROL WAR by Leif Kaldor. Billions of dollars are driving an unnoticed shift to Robots in the military that has revolutionized how war is fought, the rules of war, and creating new technologies that will soon change our world.
  • DIRTY WARS. Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America's expanding covert wars.

Child Pornography Ring Caught

TORONTO – Canadian police have announced that their global inquiry into child pornography, going under the name of Project Spade, has successfully caught over 348 people involved in its production and distribution and rescued 400 children as a result of the 3-year investigation.

The films in question were found to be distributed to at least 94 countries, and the investigation has provided further leads in over 50 countries, thus helping to crack down on child pornography globally. One of the most worrying facts revealed through the investigation was how many of the people caught were working in jobs where they had close contact with children: there were among others doctors, school teachers, foster carers and priests.

A Canadian police statement said: "It is alleged that officers located hundreds of thousands of images and videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children – some of the worst they have ever viewed."

We invite you to watch also the following trailers on the topic of sexual abuse of minors and child pornography:
  • TRADE by Marco Kreuzpaintner by Marco Kreuzpaintner tells the story of Adriana, a girl from Mexico City who is kidnapped by sex traffickers in order to be sold as a sex slave in an internet auction.
  • HUNTING THE PREDATORS by Ann-Marie Macdonald  follows the steps taken by police forces in Canada, America and England to uncover a large group of people owning, distributing and producing child pornography.
  • PLAYGROUND by Libby Spears focuses on the child sex trade in the United States.