Retired Soviet officer rewarded for averting nuclear war

It is September 26, 1983, and Stanislav Petrov is the duty officer at an early-warning anti-nuclear centre just outside Moscow.

Less than a month before, the USSR had shot down a Korean passenger jet. Cold War tensions were at their highest in years.
In a story at RT News, Igor Ogorodnev reports how Petrov’s computer showed that the United States had launched a ballistic missile towards the Soviet Union. Seconds later a few more appeared.
Petrov thought it strange that the United States, with its thousands of nuclear warheads, would begin an assault with so few. The Soviet early detection system was also new and Petrov had little trust in it. Based on a hunch, Petrov chose not to instigate a return salvo. 
A subsequent investigation revealed that  Soviet spy satellites had mistaken sunlight reflected from clouds for ballistic missiles originating from US bases.

Peaceful Afghan Muftis risk lives to oppose misuse of their religion

Dr. Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, reveals The World Discovers Afghanistan’s Peaceful Clerics

In December, 2011, the Center convened a meeting of twenty famous Islamic scholars and dignitaries together with 120 clerics from every province of Afghanistan, reportedly the first time such an event has taken place.

"Never before had anyone brought together the beleaguered Imams of the Afghan provinces, men who had stood up for peace and risked their lives to fight against the misuse of their religion," writes Gopin.

Nigerian Christians, Muslims, stand together in solidarity

A BBC story by Nkem Ifejika reports that people in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and its biggest oil producer, have organized themselves using social media to non-violently challenge President Goodluck Jonathan on his proposed reductions in fuel subsidies.

Ifejika writes that during the protests, "... Christians formed symbolic shields around Muslims as they prayed. In Kano, Muslims visited churches on Sunday as a sign of solidarity."

Peace Run to cover 80 nations

Founded in 1987 by Sri Chinmoy, the Peace Run strives to create goodwill among peoples of all nations. The Run does not seek to raise money or highlight any political cause.

Chimnoy’s web site says, “The Peaace Run is a global relay that seeks to promote international friendship and understanding. As a symbol of harmony, runners carry a flaming torch, passing it from hand to hand whilst travelling through over 80 nations around the globe.”



1812 Historic Peace Churches offer alternate commemorations: War of 1812

The government of Canada is planning a series of large events to commemorate the bi-centennial of the War of 1812. Peacebuilders have an alternate commemoration in mind.

Jonathan Seiling is part of a 1812 Bicentennial Peace Committee which will commemorate the peace church pioneers who expressed alternatives to joining the war in 1812.

Seiling reports that several web pages and a blog will provide information about peace church related activities "to facilitate a forum for those who want to reflect on the voices of peace ranging from 1812 to the present."

A War Resistance in 1812 blog, hosted by a Carol Penner, a Mennonite Pastor in Southern Ontario, welcomes guest bloggers, comments and links to relevant articles online.

Netherlands closes 8 prisons citing declining crime

A drop in crime in the Netherlands is prompting the closure of eight prisons and a reduction of 1,200 jobs, reports the NRC online news.

The decline has left many prison cells empty. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.

The declining crime rate is expected to continue for some time, says the Justice Ministry's research department.

Naval base to be built on UNESCO World Heritage Site, South Korea

JeJu Island, South Korea, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and designated an “Island of World Peace” by the former president Roh Moo-Hyun in 2006. Now, it is at the centre of Save JeJu Island

civilian action protesting the construction of a naval base that will purportedly house 8,000 marines and occupy 50 hectares in this documentary film. The base is alledgely being built under pressure from the USA.

Writing is a tool for peace

Priest, writer, activist, and Christian pacifist John Dear recommends writing as a tool to "do good, spread the good word, influence others to do the good and point the way toward a better world of peace with justice."

Although he never considered himself a writer, Dear, who has been arrested over 75 times for acts of non-violent civil disobedience, began writing because he was passionate about his vow of non-violence, he writes for the National Catholic Reporter Online.

"The experience of writing [Disarming the Heart] set me on a journey I could never have predicted. The writing helped clarify my understanding of nonviolence, which led to further insights and action, and more writing, and so forth," he says in his blog. "The writing helped clarify my understanding of nonviolence, which led to further insights and action, and more writing, and so forth."

With 28 titles to his credit, he adds, "Perhaps I write too much, but I remain passionate about Christian peacemaking. Writing helps me delve deeper into nonviolence and offers a way to share my enthusiasm with others."

Talking restorative justice in Washington, D.C.

“We need to get you back here for a briefing! People in Congress need to hear what you’re doing," writes Ed Nyce in this story from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

The speaker was Carol Chodroff, a lawyer who works for the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives. She was addressing a delegation of MCC staff from Reedley, Calif., the mayor of Reedley and her spouse, and two members of the Reedley Police Department.

The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University has released an academic research paper by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth arguing that “The historical record indicates that nonviolent campaigns have been more successful than armed campaigns in achieving ultimate goals in political struggles, even when used against similar opponents and in the face of repression.” 

In Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict the authors also cite evidence from Max Abrahms that terrorist strategies succeed achieving policy objectives just 7% of the time.

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