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World Summit for the Information Society: Open Source Ardor Cools at WSIS
posted by rudy on Tuesday October 14, @06:29AM
from the fromwesys dept.

IT for development

A push at a series of international "information society" conferences to adopt open source software as an aspect of electronic "common land" has assumed a lower profile with the apparent entry of lobbying from proprietary business interests.

A "plan of action" being prepared for the December World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) championed wide adoption of open source software in June.

Suggested text in the draft then promoted open source awareness, the creation of intellectual property mechanisms supporting open source, and the formation of a UN "Programmers Without Frontiers" body to support open source software (OSS) in developing nations. "Open-source/free software shall be adopted by all public authorities and bodies," the draft stated ambitiously.

The Club of Rome economic think-tank came out particularly strongly in favour of open source in its submission to WSIS in August. It labelled OSS as one of the "common goods of mankind" and an aid to advancing the productive use of ICT in developing countries, where proprietary software is particularly expensive in real terms.

The latest form of the plan of action, however, replaces the open source endorsement with a recommendation to "encourage research and promote awareness among all stakeholders of the possibilities offered by different software models, and the means of their creation, including proprietary, open source and free software, in order to increase competition, freedom of choice and affordability, and to enable all stakeholders to evaluate which solution best meets their requirements."

Observers at the latest preparatory conference to the summit (Prepcom-3) in Geneva, said the changes were made after input from several nations uneasy with excluding mentions of proprietary software from the plan, and from the business lobby, which came out strongly against open source.

Delegates from the US and European Union, they said, were prominent among those asking that commercial software interests get a fair representation.

The summit itself is due to be held in Geneva in December. Prepcom-3 was to have been the last preparatory conference, but emergency meetings have been scheduled next month to knock still vague documents riddled with alternative phraseology into a more definite shape before the summit.

The Global Junior Challenge 2003/2004
posted by rudy on Friday October 03, @05:46AM
from the gjca dept.


Youth Consortium, a non-profit organization founded by the Municipality of Rome and six major ICT companies. The intention of the award,dedicated to young people and to schools, is to identify and reward best practices on the use of new technologies in education and training of youngsters. An international jury selects the finalists and the winners are announced during the award ceremony that takes place in Rome, at the Campidoglio City Hall, in Autumn 2004. You can register at the Global Junior Challenge newsletter

On this occasion the Global Junior Challenge award will pay special attention to a new category of projects: "Women & equal opportunities". Projects under this category must be working to realise equal opportunities between men and women in every sphere of professional life, specifically through the innovative use of information and communications technologies (ICTs). The aim is to contribute to the achievement of the goal of gender-balance in decision-making through the use of ICTs. Another important theme of the Global Junior Challenge 2004 will be the fight against the "Digital Divide" and the innovative use of the information technologies to reduce poverty in the world.

Help A Good Cause


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Children At Greatest Risk From Ozone Depletion
posted by rudy on Monday September 22, @06:08AM
from the fromens dept.


The special vulnerability of children to the Sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays is the theme of today's 16th anniversary of the global treaty that limits the emission of ozone depleting chemicals - the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. These substances are chemicals containing chlorine and bromine atoms, used primarily as refrigerants, fire suppressants, and fu- migants.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today praised progress made under the Montreal Protocol, ratified by 184 countries, as "impressive" with scientists reporting a decline in ozone depletion and the first signs of recovery following efforts to eliminate the de- structive chemicals emitted by human activities.

But 66,000 people each year are dying from melanoma and other skin cancers, many due to the Sun's ultraviolet radiation, and children are especially vulnerable, Annan recognized.

While we may be gratified with the progress that has been made through international cooperation, we must not be satisfied until the preservation of the ozone layer is assured, Annan said in his message marking today as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

"We cannot be complacent, Annan cautioned. The ozone layer re- mains depleted above the Antarctic and the Arctic, as well as in the midlatitudes of both hemispheres of the earth.

The Antarctic ozone hole has grown rapidly this year and as of September 9 covered some 27 million square kilometers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies today warned that protecting children from skin cancers that are trig- gered by overexposure to UV radiation is a matter of urgency.

As ozone depletion becomes more marked and as people around the world engage more in Sun seeking behavior, the risk of developing health complications from overexposure to UV radiation is becom- ing a substantial public health concern," said WHO Director Gen- eral Dr. Lee Jong-wook at the agency's headquarters in Geneva.

"UV radiation is of particular concern because people are often unaware of the health risks. The effects of exposure often do not appear until many years later and overexposure to the Sun poses a risk to all populations, not just fair skinned ones," said Dr. Mike Repacholi, coordinator of WHO's Radiation and Environmental Health Unit.

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The modern world is undergoing a fundamental transformation as the industrial society that marked the 20th century rapidly gives way to the information society of the 21st century. The World Summit for the Information Society, to be held this year, is of vital importance to Governments, the industrial sector and civil society alike; and you in particular. Mandate the Future's Event 2003 aims to bring all the major stakeholders working for equity in the Information Society into one online forum. Be a part of the Event 2003!

Monday September 22

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  • Friday August 29

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