Tag Archives: murder

Despite All the Depressing News, The World Is Not Getting Worse, It’s Getting Much, Much Better

Today, I woke up and skimmed the world news headlines. 80% of the stories were about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis or the Malaysian aircraft shot down in Ukraine. The other 20% was mostly news on the Air Algerie flight which disappeared earlier this morning and ISIS’s exile and persecution of the Christians in Mosul.

It was a very depressing experience. But then, I thought to myself: are things really that bad? And I realized, the answer is undoubtedly NO.

What we must realize here is that it’s only in the last 10 years or so that the average person has really had unlimited access to news and information with the emergence of the internet. And it’s only in the last five or so years that social media emerged as a platform to share news.

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It may seem like more bad things are going on, but really we are just more aware of world events than we have ever been in the past.

Ignorance may be bliss, but awareness solves problems. It can be hard to read about the bad things happening in other places, but often times, the only reason those bad things persist is because not enough people around the world have been made aware of them.

And, with all that being said, the world is actually getting better– much, much better. Here’s a few pieces of evidence to support that claim.

First off, our health and medicine is improving at an extremely fast pace. Infant mortality is down about 50% since 1990, and we have significantly reduced the number of deaths from treatable disease like measles and tuberculosis as well.

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Click to enlarge

A second indicator is the rapid decline in poverty worldwide. Since 1981, the proportion of people living under the poverty line ($1.25/day) has decreased by 65%. 721 million fewer people were living in poverty in 2010 than in 1981.

The third indicator is violence. Or more specifically, the lack thereof. It may seem like the world is constantly embroiled in one conflict or another, but overall, war is almost non-existent when compared to past decades:

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Click to enlarge

And while we regularly see reports of gang violence and constantly debate how much guns should be regulated, violent crime and murders has been plummeting:

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Click to enlarge

So when you start getting too down from watching, reading, or listening to the news, just remember:

We can change the world for the better. We are changing the world for the better.

(h/t Think Progress)

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Brazilian Police to World Cup Tourists: Don’t Scream If You’re Robbed

Brazilian police have prepared safety pamphlets which they plan to distribute to foreigners arriving in the country for the World Cup, which begins on June 12.

Police officer Mario Leite talked to the local daily newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo about the pamphlets. He said they advise people not to yell, react or argue with robbers. The brochures also advise visitors not to avoid flaunt anything valuable, to avoid traveling alone and to regularly check to make sure they aren’t being followed. Leite told the paper,

“Tourists coming from Europe or the U.S. don’t come frequently and aren’t used to seeing these types of crimes. Since they’re not used to it, they will react to an assault. With the pamphlets, they know not to flaunt certain objects, to be careful at night and to only walk around if accompanied.”

Arena de Sao Paulo Stadium (Photo: Reuters)

Though it may alarm some visitors, Brazilian police felt the pamphlet was necessary to deal with the realities of crime there. The murder rate in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest state by far with nearly 45 million people, actually dropped in the last year. However, the number of robberies which end in murder (which the locals refer to as latrocinios) is up 9% to 385, the highest that number has been in nearly a decade.

Brazil is expecting around 600,000 visitors from across the globe for the World Cup, and will be taking emergency calls in both English and Spanish in addition to their usual Portuguese.

Read more from Bloomberg here.

A FEW MORE NOTES: A portion of the stadium pictured above actually collapsed when a crane failed during construction last November. The accident left three construction workers dead.

Also, the International Olympic Committee is apparently very concerned with Brazil being behind schedule in terms of preparations for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

According to The Telegraph, the IOC recently secretly asked London officials whether the facilities from the 2012 Olympic Games could be re-used.

The feature photo is from a robbery that occurred in Sao Paulo last October. The video below was captured by the victim. WARNING: Graphic Content (robber is shot at the end)

Why Did Venezuela Just Block the Internet and Kick CNN Out of the Country?

Starting at the beginning of this month, Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez, two senior opposition figures have been calling for Venezuelans to take to the streets to protest the country’s worsening conditions and the government’s lack of action.

Anti-government demonstrations (Photo: Reuters)
Anti-government demonstrations (Photo: Reuters)

These worsening conditions include:

  • Runaway inflation- the inflation rate has risen by more than 50% in the past year
  • Food scarcity- basic food items like milk and harina pan, a type of corn flour used to make arepas (similar to flatbread), a Venezuelan staple
  • Continued rise in crime- when Hugo Chavez to power in 1998, the murder rate in Venezuela was 19 per 100,000, now it’s at 79 per 100,000, up from 73 per 100,000 just last year

Many opposition figures believe that Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, is simply a puppet of the Cuban government.

President Nicolas Maduro (Photo: Washington Post)
President Nicolas Maduro (Photo: Washington Post)

On February 12, Leopoldo Lopez, writing on a Venezuelan news site, said that,

“We need to vote but we also need to take to the streets, protest,”

calling for nationwide peaceful protests. However, those protests became violent when an armed group of vigilantes on motorcycles attacked anti-government demonstrators, leaving four dead.

Leopoldo Lopez turns himself into government authorities (Photo: Alejandro Cegarra/AP)
Leopoldo Lopez turns himself into government authorities (Photo: Alejandro Cegarra/AP)

Since then, the situation has quickly spiraled out of control, becoming increasingly violent with deaths on both sides.

The Venezuelan government has already gained a reputation for media censorship. A recent report from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas estimated that censorship in the country increased by a whopping 87% in 2013.

As the demonstrations began gaining momentum, CONATEL, Venezuela’s telecommunications regulator, ordered the country’s cable stations to drop Colombian broadcaster NTN24, the only impartial news station left on Venezuelan TV.

Demonstrators fill the streets
Demonstrators fill the streets

In the last week, the government has blocked Facebook, Twitter and a number of other websites, censoring anything that they see as anti-government.

On Thursday, the government revoked CNN’s work permits and kicked the news organization out of the country for promoting “war propaganda”. President Maduro announced the move in front of a pro-government audience saying,

“Enough war propaganda. I do not accept war propaganda against Venezuela. If they do not rectify things, get out of Venezuela, CNN, get out.”

One of the CNN images that sparked outrage from Maduro (Photo: Lucas Jackson- Reuters)
One of the CNN images that sparked outrage from Maduro (Photo: Lucas Jackson- Reuters)

Later that day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that the government-owned internet service provider CANTV had cut off traffic to San Cristóbal, the capital city of the state of Tachira, where much of the anti-government protest has been centered.

Marianne Díaz, a lawyer and founder of the activist group Acceso Libre, spoke with Vice about it:

“We know it was a government mandate because last night, President Maduro gave a speech (a mandatory broadcast in all radio and TV stations) where he (amongst many other things) threatened Tachira, saying he would ‘go all in’ and that we ‘would be surprised’ of what he would do, and then internet was cut and tanks went in.”

Protestors help wash blood off the face of an injured man (Photo: Alejandro Cegearra- AP)
Protestors help wash blood off the face of an injured man (Photo: Alejandro Cegearra- AP)

For a great summary of the situation in Venezuela, check out this Huffington Post article.

Read the full story on the internet censorship from Vice here.

Feature photo courtesy of Fox News.