Tobacco, artificial intelligence, journalist murdered in Mexico… Friday’s news

UNESCO calls for the implementation of its recommendations on the ethics of artificial intelligence to prevent its misuse.

The World Health Organization (WHO) urges governments to stop subsidizing tobacco growing and support more sustainable crops that could feed millions of people.

“Tobacco causes eight million deaths a year, but governments around the world spend millions to support tobacco plantations,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the UN agency.

More than 300 million people around the world face acute food insecurity, while more than three million hectares of land in more than 120 countries are used to grow a deadly plant, tobacco, even in countries where it is passed hunger.

A new WHO report, titled Grow food, not tobacco (Let’s Grow Food, Not Tobacco), also denounces the tobacco industry for trapping farmers in a vicious cycle of debt, propagating the crop by exaggerating its economic benefits, and lobbying through agricultural front groups.

Tobacco growing causes disease to the farmers themselves exposed to chemical pesticides, smoke and as much nicotine as 50 cigarettes and it is estimated that more than a million children work on tobacco plantations, depriving them of the opportunity to go to school.

Tobacco cultivation is a problem that, until now, was located in Asia and South America, but the latest data shows the expansion of tobacco companies towards Africa. Since 2005, the volume of land dedicated to tobacco cultivation has increased by almost 20% across Africa.

The WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program support the Tobacco Free Farms initiative, which will help more than 5,000 farmers in Kenya and Zambia to grow sustainable food instead of tobacco.

Only 10% of schools and universities have guidelines on artificial intelligence

A new global survey conducted by the Unesco in more than 450 schools and universities has revealed that less than 10% have developed institutional policies or formal guidelines regarding the use of generative artificial intelligence applications.

Responding to the rapid emergence of powerful new tools, UNESCO held the first global meeting of Ministers of Education on Thursday to explore immediate and far-reaching opportunities, challenges and risks. More than 40 ministers shared their political views and plans.

“We urgently need to take action to ensure new AI technologies are integrated into education on our terms. It is our duty to prioritize safety, inclusion, diversity, transparency and quality,” said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education.

The Organization is developing policy guidelines on the use of generative artificial intelligence in education and research, as well as competency frameworks for students and teachers. These guidelines will be presented during the Digital Learning Week, which will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 4 to 7 September 2023.

Sentence for the murder of a journalist in Mexico

Don't kill journalists

The Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemns the murder of journalist Marco Aurelio Ramírez Hernández, committed on May 23, 2023, in Tehuacán, Puebla, and calls on the authorities to investigate.

The journalist was attacked by armed individuals at around 1:45 p.m., when he was inside his vehicle near his home.

Ramírez worked for more than 30 years as a journalist and correspondent for different media in the Tehuacán area. Currently, he collaborated with the radio station “Estéreo Luz FM” in a program in which he analyzed different aspects of public life in the state of Puebla, including human rights violations and alleged irregularities in the exercise of public function.

So far in 2023, at least two other Mexican journalists have been killed. During 2022, the human rights office documented 14 deaths of journalists and media collaborators.

The UN has brought aid to more than five million Ukrainians

The city of Kharkiv, in the northeast of Ukraine, has been badly damaged by shelling.

And in Ukraine the fighting does not stop and is having a devastating impact on communities in the east and south of the country.

“The escalation of the war is taking a high price among civilians who live close to the front line, those who cannot return to their homes and those who live across the country under almost daily threat of attack,” said Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UN has provided aid to more than 5.4 million people, yet supply to villages and towns near the frontlines remains difficult.

“Assistance to areas under Russian military control remains extremely limited. This year, due to the worsening security situation, and changes in the front lines, humanitarian partners have lost access to almost 60,000 people in some 40 cities and towns close to the front lines in the Donetsk regions, Kharkiv and Luhansk,” said OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke.

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Written by Editor TLN

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