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Zero Discrimination Day

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March 1 is Zero Discrimination Day, an annual worldwide event that promotes diversity and recognizes that everyone counts.

Organizations like the United Nations (UN) actively promote the day with various activities to celebrate everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs.

Many countries have laws against discrimination but it’s still a problem in all layers of society in every country in the world. Many countries have and still use discrimination as a way of governing.

The symbol for Zero Discrimination Day is the butterfly, widely used by people to share their stories and photos as a way to end discrimination and work towards positive transformation.

What’s Open or Closed?

Zero Discrimination Day is a global observance and not a public holiday so it’s business as usual.

About Zero Discrimination Day

The UN first celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, 2014, after UNAIDS, a UN program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.

Ancient Treasures Recovered by Europol

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Late last month (January 2017) it was announced that collaboration between police from 18 countries had led to recovery of 3,561 stolen ancient artifacts. The Europol or the European Police Agency also reported that they arrested more than 75 people in the process as reported by the Guardian newspaper and other news outlets.

The items recovered included a marble Ottoman tombstone, a post-Byzantine icon depicting Saint George and hundreds of coins. The operation which was named Pandora took place in October and November, 2016. A major part of the operation was led by Spanish and Cypriot police who carried out checks on more than 48,500 people, about 50 ships and more than 29,000 vehicles. It has been reported that approximately 500 objects were uncovered in Murcia, south-eastern Spain, including 19 coins that had been stolen from an Archaeological Museum in 2014. In Cyprus, 40 ancient objects were found at the post office in Larnaca, near the island’s main airport. It is believed that in addition to airports, post – offices and ships, police also searched internet sites, and art galleries for information and posts.

The officials have said that they are unable to put a total value on the total number of artifacts found, as experts are still going through the process of appraising everything. However, it is quite obvious that many of the retrieved artifacts are of great cultural importance to Syria where most of these items were stolen from. These artifacts were looted in Syria by the Islamist terrorists and many were going to be sold in London and other major cities and to private collectors. The police and experts believe that many relics and artifacts from the ruins of Palmyra and Nimrud as well as other heritage sites are still being smuggled and sold in private global markets and even in British shops.

Technology Brings Ancient Rome Back to Life

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The Cutting-edge technology of Virtual Reality (VR) is helping to bring ancient Rome back to life as reported by the CBS news. The technology which is now being utilized is helping visitors in Rome to experience what the historical sites looked like thousands of years ago.  Digital artists are now using Renaissance-era artists’ depictions to help re-envision the relics. This is one great example of marriage of science and art and the new technology of VR is making all of this possible. The VR headsets are now being used by tourists and visitors to see what these great heritage sites once looked like.

So what did Rome look like, for example 2000 years ago? Well, according to archeologists, two thousand years ago, this labyrinth, now underneath the city of Rome, was the sprawling home of Emperor Nero, stretching the size of three football fields. Today, tourists can explore it, but the colors, light and opulence of this ancient Roman villa were unimaginable until this great new technology allowed the visitors start seeing and imagining things as they were.  The archeologists believe that the cavernous space which is now being re-imagined and re-visualized was considered one of the most magnificent palaces ever built. Its name, “Domus Aurea,” means “golden house.”   And, Virtual reality brings to life this important piece of history.   

The archeologists also believe that the emperor’s massive compound was covered over. It was forgotten about for nearly 1,500 years until Renaissance artists tunneled down into what they believed was an ancient Roman cave. The marvelous frescos they saw influenced art for centuries, and their paintings of the site would become a roadmap for a much later generation of digital artists. The architecture and paintings found there by Renaissance artists influenced the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael and many other artists.

The city of Rome has used technology to re-imagine several tourist sites, including the forums of Caesar and Augustus, where history is illuminated through lasers and light shows projected on the ruins.


 Excavation work continues according to the archeologists working on the project, and there’s still another 30 percent of this palace to be unearthed in the next few years.

Stolen part of sarcophagus to be repatriated

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A part of a marble sarcophagus that was stolen in 1988 and was found and confiscated from a gallery in Manhattan, New York, where it was displayed will return to Greece, the District Attorney’s office announced on Friday.

The sarcophagus dates back to 200 AD and depicts a battle between Greek and Trojan fighters and it was smuggled abroad and transported through Europe before finally ending up in New York.

The official repatriation ceremony as well as the relevant protocol took place in the office of District Attorney of Manhattan Cyrus Vance Junior.

The DA’s office went into a gallery in Midtown Manhattan and seized the fragment – which was on display as a centerpiece – while, according to reports, once presented with evidence that it had been stolen, the Manhattan-based gallery handed the item over willingly.

According to cbslocal.com, the Manhattan DA’s office has recovered and returned several ancient artifacts as part of criminal investigations and prosecutions

International Mother Language Day

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The United Nations’ (UN) International Mother Language Day annually celebrates language diversity and variety worldwide on February 21. It also remembers events such as the killing of four students on February 21, 1952, because they campaigned to officially use their mother language, Bengali, in Bangladesh.

What Do People Do?

On International Mother Language Day the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN agencies participate in events that promote linguistic and cultural diversity. They also encourage people to maintain their knowledge of their mother language while learning and using more than one language. Governments and non-governmental organizations may use the day to announce policies to encourage language learning and support.

In Bangladesh, February 21 is the anniversary of a pivotal day in the country’s history. People lay flowers at a Shaheed Minar (martyr’s monument). They also: purchase glass bangles for themselves or female relatives; eat a festive meal and organize parties; and award prizes or host literary competitions. It is a time to celebrate Bangladesh’s culture and the Bengali language.

The Linguapax Institute, in Barcelona, Spain, aims to preserve and promote linguistic diversity globally. The institute presents the Linguapax Prize on International Mother Language Day each year. The prize is for those who have made outstanding work in linguistic diversity or multilingual education.

Public Life

International Mother Language Day is a public holiday in Bangladesh, where it is also known as Shohid Dibôsh, or Shaheed Day. It is a global observance but not a public holiday in other parts of the world.

Background

At the partition of India in 1947, the Bengal province was divided according to the predominant religions of the inhabitants. The western part became part of India and the eastern part became a province of Pakistan known as East Bengal and later East Pakistan. However, there was economic, cultural and lingual friction between East and West Pakistan.

These tensions were apparent in 1948 when Pakistan’s government declared that Urdu was the sole national language. This sparked protests amongst the Bengali-speaking majority in East Pakistan. The government outlawed the protests but on February 21, 1952, students at the University of Dhaka and other activists organized a protest. Later that day, the police opened fire at the demonstrators and killed four students. These students’ deaths in fighting for the right to use their mother language are now remembered on International Mother Language Day.

The unrest continued as Bengali speakers campaigned for the right to use their mother language. Bengali became an official language in Pakistan on February 29, 1956. Following the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Bangladesh became an independent country with Bengali as its official language.

On November 17, 1999, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 to be International Mother Language Day and it was first observed on February 21, 2000. Each year the celebrations around International Mother Language Day concentrate on a particular theme.

Symbols

The Shaheed Minar (martyr’s monument) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, pays homage to the four demonstrators killed in 1952. There have been three versions of the monument. The first version was built on February 22-23 in 1952 but the police and army destroyed it within a few days. Construction on the second version started in November 1957, but the introduction of martial law stopped construction work and it was destroyed during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

The third version of the Shaheed Minar was built to similar plans as the second version. It consists of four standing marble frames and a larger double marble frame with a slanted top portion. The frames are constructed from marble and stand on a stage, which is raised about four meters (14 feet) above the ground. The four frames represent the four men who died on February 21, 1952, and the double frame represents their mothers and country. Replicas of the Shaheed Minar have been constructed worldwide where people from Bangladesh have settled, particularly in London and Oldham in the United Kingdom.

An International Mother Language Day monument was erected at Ashfield Park in Sydney, Australia, on February 19, 2006.  It consists of a slab of slate mounted vertically on a raised platform. There are stylized images of the Shaheed Minar and the globe on the face of the stone. There are also the words “we will remember the martyrs of 21st February” in English and Bengali and words in five alphabets to represent mother languages on five continents where people live.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

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Gender equality has always been a core issue for the United Nations. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution not only to economic development of the world, but to progress across all the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well.

On 14 March 2011, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted a report at its fifty-fifth session, with agreed conclusions on access and participation of women and girls in education, training and science and technology, and for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. On 20 December 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on science, technology and innovation for development, in which it recognized that full and equal access to and participation in science, technology and innovation for women and girls of all ages is imperative for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

On 15 December 2015, the General Assembly adopted the resolution, deciding to proclaim 11 February of each year of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations invites all Member States, all organizations and bodies of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, the private sector and academia, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities, in order to promote the full and equal participation of women and girls in education, training, employment and decision-making processes in the sciences, eliminate all discrimination against women, including in the field of education and employment, and overcome legal, economic, social and cultural barriers thereto by, inter alia, encouraging the development of science education policies and programming, including school curricula, as appropriate, to encourage greater participation of women and girls, promote career development for women in science and recognize the achievements of women in science.