First the good news. 2014 saw two spectacular sports events, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil, two parties of sport, two examples of excellent organization and two examples of young people coming together to play and have fun. An example for 2015.
On a geopolitical scale, the Ukraine story is the one that has dominated 2014 since the illegal overthrow the democratically elected President of the country on February 22. On a humanitarian scale, the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa demonstrated quite how fragile Humankind's defenses are in a world in which NATO, for instance, spends one point two trillion (thousand billion) USD each and every year but one in which a virus carried by bats can wreck the economies of three countries and kill over seven thousand people and continue to spread, ten months on.
2014 was also the year of numerous air incidents, two of them grabbing the headlines, namely the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished en route to Beijing in March and then in July, flight 17 which crashed over Eastern Ukraine, cause of accident unknown but certainly caused by hostile action, possibly taken by a Ukrainian military jet (Su-25) but this was also the year of a spectacular success in space science: the successful landing on the Philae probe on Comet 67P in November.
2014 saw the drawing of a line between the vested interests of the six lobbies (banking, energy, finance, food, pharmaceuticals, weapons) - the Corporatist Axis, which dictates the policies of western countries and their lackeys among their ex-colonies and a new Social Axis which is centered on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), Latin America and the Caribbean in general, several African countries, Iran, and others in Asia, such as Vietnam. This Social Axis favors the implementation of social policies and development over the corporate greed and military deployment which fuels the policies of the Corporatist Axis, whose cutting edge is NATO and its 1.2 trillion USD-a-year budget and whose main players are the FUKUS (France-UK-US) and the ASS (Anglo-Saxon Syndicate, USA, UK, Canada and Australia). A year after Russia denied NATO in Syria, thwarting an attempt to take control of the Mediterranean base at Tartus, Russia once again blocked NATO's drive to seize the naval base in the Crimea. There is no doubt that the Social Axis walks in tandem with the hearts and minds of humankind today while the Corporatist Axis is becoming isolated, hated and more and more impotent. Watch this space: an animal in a trap thrashes out in all directions.
The heartbeat-drumbeat hidden behind the increased volume as the television blares out sensational headlines to capture the attention of viewers in the "ohhh-ahhh" tidy little package of news which manipulates people through fear and then makes them feel safe, makes a profit. So do gory headlines about monstrous dictators abroad posing an immediate threat at home in the broadsheet newspapers or nudge-nudge stories about Spanking Sarah and the Minister in the tabloids. They sell copy. But how many people say they would prefer some good news for a change?
OK so let us start this year's review with the good news. First, sport, animal rights, climate change, space science and ethical issues. Secondly, geo-political events running through the Ukraine, Middle East and Cuba-USA stories; healthcare crises, global terrorism and air incidents. Finally, where we should be focused for the year 2015.
Two main tournaments were heralded as the best ever in their fields, namely the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia from February 7 to 23 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil, from June 12 to July 13. Russia and Germany, respectively, celebrated their successes in these competitions, which enjoyed the largest ever audiences. Sochi was the most expensive Olympics in history, 51 billion USD of infrastructures and investment providing a spectacular venue for the 98 events in 15 modalities; the Paralympics held between March 7 and 16 was also a lesson in organization and planning, placing the Russian Federation firmly on the map in terms of high-quality sports venues.
The cathedral of soccer this year was Brazil, with the best-ever World Cup Finals, watched by record numbers of viewers, including the one-billion mark for the final between Germany (victor) and Argentina. Importantly, record numbers of viewers were registered in the USA, a force to be reckoned with in the future history of Soccer.
How refreshing it is to see people coming together to play, not necessarily to win, but to enjoy the common honor of participation, congratulating the victor and embracing the other sportspeople. Let us hope that in 2015 they are not looking at each other through the sights of a gun because the Corporatist Axis understands that next year is a year of war.
2014 was a year of success for those involved in animal rights campaigns (1): in March the UN International Court of Justice ruled that Japan's Antarctic whaling program is not scientific and has forbidden the concession of further permits. The PR China destroyed its stockpile of ivory, the Southern White Rhinoceros was listed on the US Endangered Species Act, Shark fins were banned as air cargo, the EU ban on seal products was supported by the World Trade Organization and Norway ended the concession of sealing subsidies.
Target for 2015: the disgusting display of barbarity at Taiji, Japan, where dolphins and whales are herded into a cove and literally hacked to death, and the murder of seal pups in Canada.
More hot air at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in November, whose Fifth Assessment Report pointed towards "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage from emissions of Carbon DiOxide. However, this is an ongoing process which will be taken up again in 2015 at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, which will hopefully introduce legally binding legislation on emissions of Greenhouse Effect Gases.
A First in space exploration, this time for the European Space Agency: on November 12, the Rosetta spacecraft's probe Philae landed on Comet 67P-Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the first time a probe has landed on a Comet, obtaining the first images of its surface and carrying out tests to ascertain the nature of the matter composing the comet. Currently in safe mode shutdown, it is thought that in August 2015 it will gain sufficient sunlight to reboot its systems.
The Comet was discovered in 1969 by Soviet scientists Klim Lvanovych Churyumov (Kiev University Astronomical Observatory, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) and Svetlana Ivanova Gerasimenko (Alam-Ata Astrophysical Institute, Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic).
On February 13, Belgium became the first country to legalize the act of euthanasia for terminally ill patients. Practiced since classical times (through the administering of hemlock), the debate for and against has continued since the issue was raised again in Renaissance times and more intensively since the end of the nineteenth century, when morphine and chloroform were used to alleviate suffering in terminal cases. Palliative medicine is supposed to ease the pain and suffering of the terminally ill and healthcare specialists claim that there is no need for anyone to die in pain, and that pain management and psychological support programs for patient and family/loved ones should be provided. As always, the word "funding" comes into it, but then again if the budget of NATO is one point two trillion USD a year, the conclusion is that if there is money for weapons systems to murder people and destroy homes, then there is money for healthcare systems to save people's lives.
Canonization/Beatification of three Popes
On April 27 the Roman Catholic Church canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II and on October 19, beatified Pope Paul VI. The beatification process is one of recognition by the Roman Catholic Church that a person has entered Heaven, is Blessed and can intervene on behalf of those who pray in her/his name. It is the third of four steps needed for the canonization.
The Vatican requires proof of at least one miracle attributed to the intercession of the candidate for the process of beatification (unless the person was martyred for reasons of faith). For canonization, a second miracle must occur after beatification.
The first stage is Servus Dei (Servant of God), a deceased person whose life and works are being investigated for recognition by the Church as a Saint in Heaven. The second phase before beatification is the state of Veneratus (Venerable), namely a Servant of God who has been declared Venerable due to an act of heroism or martyrdom.
The Ukraine story is a blatant example of the west's meddlesome and insolent policy of provocation and intrusion on Russia's doorstep, a means to test Russia, to prod and provoke, to try and test, cataloging each and every reaction, eyeing up each and every weakness, analyzing every opportunity to later carve Russia up and steal her resources.
After weeks of unrest, chaos and violence, on February 22, the Ukrainian Parliament used illegal measures (multiple voting) to remove the democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovich, a motion devoid of any of the legal precepts necessary for deposing a President. The ensuing referendum in Crimea to rejoin Russia was wholly and totally in line with international, regional and national law.
Needless to say the hand of the West was behind the coup and was an action which created a reaction, which in turn saw pseudo-legal moves invoked by the West, namely sanctions intended to weaken Russia as NATO encroaches eastwards, something it promised time and again not to do.
The fact of the matter is that the democratically elected President of Ukraine was removed in an illegal Putsch, there ensued calls for the deaths of Russians and Jews on the streets of Kiev, the Chief Rabbi of Kiev advised the city's 100,000 Jews to leave, then there were anti-Russian edicts issued by the "new Parliament", and then Fascist massacres, after which Eastern Ukrainians formed self-defense units for their own protection. For those readers who do not believe what I am writing, then Google up Ukraine + massacre + Mariupol, Donetsk, Odessa.
What would anyone else do? But the self-defense groups are not the regular Russian Armed Forces, if they were, the fight would have been over in 48 hours. What the West did was use the Putsch to encroach eastwards, try to grab Ukraine's resources (excellent resource of fracking gas, and why is Hunter Biden well positioned with the Ukrainian energy lobby?)
Ukraine is a stepping stone to Siberia. The lobbies which control western policies have massive interests in new markets, to try to recover some of the losses they suffered in the 2008 financial crisis in which they gambled away billions (some say trillions), in an orgy of speculative stupidity and greed.
The fact that the West took every opportunity to punish Russia for doing what it had to do - defend itself - speaks volumes about western policy in general and the credibility of the policies of its member states in particular. Little or nothing was said of the Fascist massacres (referred to above) and little or nothing has been said about the lack of legality in the transition process from the government of the democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovich, to what we see today - a lackey of the west promising to destroy his own subjects.
Once again the Gaza Strip was the scene of a horrific escalation of violence. Operation Protective Edge saw seven weeks of fighting, 2.100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis killed. Once again the Israeli Armed Forces targeted women and children alongside militants, meaning that the State of Israel is a terrorist entity alongside any other organism it labels as such.
Cuba-USA normalization of relations
Remember Operation Mongoose, the Cuban Project?
The Siren's Song, irresistibly luring the sailors to their fate, to be dashed to death on the rocks. The intravenous heroin user prostitute dying for a fix promising the Earth and the Moon. The USA's foreign policy, with a carrot in one hand and a stick in the other. Cuba's recently discovered oil reserves, putting the country on a par with the USA.
While the international media is crowing about the normalization of Cuba's relations with the USA, with pictures of smiling immigrants and emigrants traveling to and fro, while the viewers and readers of these media outlets practically gain the idea that McDonald's is about to spring up like mushrooms all over the island, let us examine the facts.
The fact remains that while both countries this week made overtures to normalize diplomatic relations (after a high-level telephone conversation between Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama on Tuesday, after President Castro's declarations about historic changes in diplomatic relations on Wednesday and President Obama's reference to "a new chapter" in relations between the two countries), the main issue remains: the inhumane and murderous economic blockade mounted by the USA against Cuba and maintained since 1962.
President Castro was quick to point out "We agree with the re-establishment of diplomatic relations but this does not mean that the main question has been solved, the blockade which has caused so much damage must end".
Not surprisingly, the United States of America stands alone in its policy towards Cuba, which has been criticized at the highest levels in the United Nations General Assembly, in the Ibero-American Summits and in the UNO's regional organisms in the Americas. This may provide the first "because" to the question "why?"
Firstly because Barack Obama understands that he does not walk in tandem with the hearts and minds of Humankind and realizes that the USA is seen today as the bad guy, a hypocrite meddling in the internal affairs of countries across the globe, with hundreds of military bases strewn around the world, then derides Russia for denying it the Crimea naval bases in an attempt to further isolate Moscow, after the attempt to force Russia from its last Mediterranean base in Syria failed.
Secondly why Cuba? For two reasons. First, by setting up an Embassy, the USA can use its famous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to meddle, interfere and cause acts of subversion, organize a color revolution and create problems, as it does elsewhere. This brings us to reason number two, which is the fact that Cuba has discovered massive reserves of oil off its north coast. And guess who wants to place its grubby little hands on those?
Putting things into context
Rule number one for those of us who have been studying and writing about the external policy of the United States of America in the sorry recent history of this country show us most clearly that Washington does nothing whatsoever for the reasons given by the politicians. In fact, we can go further. Take anything a US official policymaker says (a President, Vice-President or any other White House, State Department or Pentagon Official), turn the statement on its head until you get exactly the opposite and that is more or less the truth. So when President Obama says empty statements such as not continuing with the same old policies which produce the same old results and do not help the Cuban people which is what he wants to do, let us read "As Cuba discovers more and more oil and is now in the Top 20 League of Nations with Oil Reserves, and since the blockade is not working, we now intend to steal the oil, take 90% of the profits and leave the other 10 per cent to the Cubans while we subvert them with cynical undercover operations, stage false flag massacres and install a Washington-friendly government which will dole out the contracts to the lobbies Fidel threw out in the 1950s".
If the USA were genuine about its intentions for the Cuban people, why didn't it end the blockade years ago (why indeed did it ever start it, if not to try to stifle the economy of the island?); if the USA is genuinely interested in freedom and democracy then why did it mastermind an uprising in Kiev, overthrowing the democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovich; if the USA is genuinely against terrorism then why were US weapons given to Islamic State, why did the USA support terrorists in Libya and why does the USA support terrorists in Syria?
To date, there is talk that President Obama will ask Congress to lift the embargo. To date, three Cuban anti-terrorist agents held in the USA, (the remaining three of the five known as Los Cinco, the other two had been freed) have been released along with the US spy, Alan Gross, detained on terrorism charges, on humanitarian grounds. Today, we see the beginning of an opening which was preached by Pope Francis in March of this year in his meeting with President Obama.
Cuba is not stupid. No "normalization" has yet taken place and if Cuba has survived for over half a century despite the sanctions, now with estimated oil reserves of between 4.5 and 9.5 billion barrels (some say up to 20 billion), Cuba will not need the USA for anything - it will enter the Top 20 League of Oil Producers. What Washington sees, and what is apparent in its customary hypocritical and cynical diplomatic activity, is that because of its self-imposed blockade, the ones being left out of this billionaire business are the US oil firms, while those from Russia, among others (also BRICS members Brazil and India), Norway, Spain, Venezuela and Vietnam took up leases in the blocks north and west of the island.
Now, if the USA is closed out, watch this space and read this next sentence. If the USA is locked out, imagine that there was a massive oil spill which would devastate the Cuban economy and destroy its income from tourism? After the USA's recent history, would anyone put that past them?
The bottom line is that if you have unprotected sex with a syphilitic AIDS-ridden whore, then you are going to catch syphilis, at best, and AIDS at worst.
The Russian context
It is by now patently obvious that those of us who have been warning for decades that NATO is not sincere, that NATO is in fact a liar and that NATO is the cutting edge of the lobbies which control US policy (banking, energy, food, pharmaceuticals and weapons), that NATO policy is implemented these days by the FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US) and by the ASS (Anglo-Saxon Syndicate, USA, UK, Australia and Canada), that NATO's interests are not those of friendly cohabitation with Russia but rather, creating subversion and carving Russia up into a set of micro-states, each one with massive resources, were right.
The mechanisms to isolate and damage Russia and to eventually steal her resources are already in motion, the cylinders are turning, the pistons are pumping, the lobbies are eyeing Moscow and the vast Russian hinterland eastwards with their piggy, greedy little eyes. Apologies to pigs. This means that the USA now turns towards those countries that have favorable relations with Russia, appealing to all nations everywhere not to trade with Russia, while at the same time trying to isolate the Russian Federation as some kind of pariah. This US policy countervenes each and every precept of the World Trade Organization, raising the question why the USA is not thrown out.
In conclusion, there is one home truth: when an enemy of mine calls me names and tries to harm me, then it is proof that I am doing something right. What the USA in particular and the west in general outside the EU do not understand, is that the Russian Federation and the BRICS block walk hand-in-hand with the hearts and minds and souls of the vast majority of humankind. Cuba will prevail far better without the USA (if I were Castro I would say keep your blockade, it is an honor for Cuba not to have relations with you), Russia will prevail with a master helmsman steering the ship through troubled waters, knowing that calm seas are awaiting. This helmsman is Vladimir Putin. He is the one the world looks up to with respect and Obama is the international pariah. Everyone knows this, including Obama himself.
Global health crises
This year's Ebola Virus Disease outbreak is the worst in history. The latest figures indicate 19,031 people infected and 7,373 deaths, a mortality rate of some 39 per cent, prompting the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to state that while much remains to be done, the UNO will work towards total eradication of the disease.
Nearly a year after the virus first appeared in the Republic of Guinea (in February; the outbreak then spread to neighboring countries Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Senegal, and also to Nigeria), there is still a worrying increase in cases in the forested areas in the hinterland of this country, although there are signs that the outbreak is slowing in some regions.
"Much remains to be done. Ebola continues to spread and is a serious risk for all Guineans," declared Ban Ki-Moon on a high-level visit to the West African countries affected, accompanied by World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, Special Envoy for Ebola Virus Disease David Nabarro and the Director of UNMEER, Anthony Banbury.
The focus today is to engage national government officials, community leaders, traditional healers and local communities in coordination with the UNO's regional organisms, in fighting the disease, spreading awareness and adopting adequate practices. Mechanisms are being set up to ensure that cross-border infection does not occur.
Referring to the "extraordinary" response from the African countries affected, the UN Secretary-General went on to "invite the international community to remain mobilized," adding that "Our common goal is to eradicate the disease completely."
While as yet there are claims that effective treatment does not exist, there is the experimental drug Brincidofovir, administered to Thomas Eric Duncan unsuccessfully, there is the plasma treatment in which a patient receives a transfusion from an EVD survivor with the same blood type (as was the case of Nina Pham receiving plasma from Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the first two American citizens infected), and there is Z-Mapp, which was successfully administered to these two patients, Dr. Brantly and aid worker Nancy Writebol.
What is ZMapp?
ZMapp is a treatment composed of the use of cultures of cells which make monoclonal antibodies, mAbs. The experimentation began with MB-003, a cocktail of three human/human-mouse mAbs, namely c13C6, h13F6 and c6D8, which showed promising results when administered to rhesus monkeys infected with EVD. The process evolved to the creation of ZMab, a cocktail of three mouse mAbs, namely m1H3, m2G4 and m4G7. These also proved very promising in trials on Ebola-infected macaque monkeys. ZMapp humanized the three ZMab antibodies and tested these with combinations of MB-003 first in guinea pigs and then in monkeys. The best and most successful therapeutic combinations were the c13C6 from MB-003 and the humanized mAbs c2G4 and c4G7, from ZMab, and the result is what is known today as ZMapp.
Contagion and symptoms
EVD is not yet an airborne virus like the Influenza viruses, although it is transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, faeces and vomit, milk, urine and semen, possibly also saliva and tears, more especially in the later stages of the illness, and from sweat, studies are inconclusive, according to the WHO. However, the information is unclear because the same source, the WHO, states that EVD can be caught from touching contaminated surfaces. Some say that the virus then needs to be passed to mucous membrane through touching the mouth, nose or eyes, others say it can be transmitted through lesions in the skin, while others state that it can be absorbed directly through the skin, in which case it is enough to touch an infected and contagious person.
Contagion occurs when a patient is infectious, in other words displaying the first symptoms, which is a sudden high fever, extreme fatigue, headache, sore throat, body pain and lack of appetite. This develops into nausea, then diarrhea and vomiting. As the virus takes hold and destroys the blood vessels, the central nervous system takes control from the digestive system and tells the body to expel as much fluid as it can through violent and sustained, copious projectile vomiting and diarrhea, which in the terminal stage can include blood. The patient becomes a human volcano of bodily fluids and torrents of blood.
It is for this reason that the healthcare workers need to use full protective gear at all times, while treating the patient and when cleaning a room after a patient has been accommodated in it, and to follow the protocols for removal of the gear strictly, not touching the face with infected gloves.
The Russian Federation has been present fighting this pandemic at all levels. President Vladimir Putin has met the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and has pledged full support. A medical team of Russian virologists, epidemiologists and bacteriologists is in the field in the Republic of Guinea, to date 19 million USD has been provided, alongside humanitarian aid. Russia is ready to send large numbers of doses of the anti-viral drug Triazavirin, which is effective in 70 to 90% of cases of infections with 15 strains of Influenza, including A H1N1 (Swine Flu) and H5N1 (Avian flu), at any stage of the infection.
Russia is also working on a vaccine and is ready to begin trials on primates. After this the human trials will begin and it may be ready for massive operations by Summer 2015.
Another worrying development was the appearance of poliomyelitis in ten or more countries, identified by the WHO in May, and classified as A "major worldwide health emergency".
After NATO/FUKUS/ASS Axes cavorted with terrorists in Libya and Syria, suddenly in June we were informed that a Sunni militant group called ISIS, or ISIL, then Islamic State, had swept through northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Where did they come from and how did they appear so effectively, in an area controlled by the West after the illegal overthrow of the Ba'athist Government of Saddam Hussein?
Atrocities carried out in Northern Africa (Boko Haram) and in Kenya underline the threat posed by global terrorism. However, are drone strikes not terrorist strikes, are Western acts of intrusion and subversion not terrorist strikes, were Hiroshima and Nagasaki not terrorist strikes, were the strikes against Serbia, Iraq, Libya and Syria not terrorist strikes? If yes, then the West walks hand in hand with terrorist entities. Time for less hypocrisy.
March 8, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared; in July the MH17, also a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine. The fuselage showed clearly the marks of an air-to-air missile and/or machine-gun fire, Ukrainian Air Force fighters were spotted flying behind the aircraft, no evidence has been brought forward as to incriminating BUK-1 missile units in eastern Ukraine. The investigation continues. How long does it take to doctor evidence?
These were not the only air incidents this year - the Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing the 116 people on board, and in December AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed into the Ocean off Indonesia with 162 people on board.
The worst sea incident this year was the Korean ferryboat MV Sewol which sank in April, killing over 290 people after the cargo shifted in the hull.
2015 Where we should be focused
Those of us who observe the geopolitical chess board and see worrying movements towards a war of some dimension would urge members of the international community to question where this will lead us. After the examples provided during the last decade it is by now clear that the policy leaders responsible for the lobbies which control the Corporatist Axis are not to be trusted, indeed they are incompetent and useless failures who in any normal company would have been fired years ago.
But they have power, and they have the power to tailor the mechanisms into a war. Here, the people come in. Democracies have instruments of Representation, be these Houses of Representatives, Houses of Parliament or whatever and the grass roots political players have the power to select or deselect a member. Those with links to lobbies are not fit to serve the people, because they do not serve the people, they serve the lobbies. Here the people have a legal mechanism to use and to make sure policy is not shaped behind our backs.
Remember, Russians do not hate Americans and Americans do not hate Russians. We all love our kids, we all want our grandchildren to grow up in a friendly and welcoming world, not one in which everyone appears to be colored green because we only see people through the sights of a gun.
Where we should focus in 2015 can be summarized in three words: the Millennium Development Goals, benchmarks for human development and education, taking into account well-being, the sharing of resources and a levelling of political enterprise. Fifteen years ago, eight goals were drawn up for 2015: to eradicate extreme poverty/hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality/empower women; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health and healthcare; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infection diseases; to guarantee environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development.
Some successes we have had, but globally success has been uneven, some countries falling short across the board. Perhaps we can start 2015 with a global pledge to make a difference this year, improving our communities, promoting gender equality, denouncing gender violence, working for a charitable organization at least part of the time and keeping a watchful eye on those who claim to represent the people but who increasingly represent the interests of the lobbies which placed them in their posts.
Is this an acceptable state of affairs as we move forward into the Third Millennium of the Christian Era? Then do something about it.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. He is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights.