Archive for March 11th, 2012

11/03/2012

Of George Orwell and the Greek Haircut

Human Wrongs Watch

By Peter Schwarz – WSWS* – In his novel 1984, George Orwell coined the term “Newspeak” for an ideologically charged language that stands reality on its head. The word “haircut” as applied to the write-down of Greek government debt should be added to the vocabulary of Newspeak.

**Credit photo: Ggia | Wikimedia Commons

What is publicly presented as the financial markets’ “sacrifice,” a “waiver” by private creditors, giving up over half of the value of their Greek bonds, is in fact a financial gift to the banks.

The debt swap agreed Thursday [9 March] night by nearly 86 percent of the creditors will not prevent the bankruptcy of the Greek state. It merely postpones it by shifting the cost of such a bankruptcy from the private to the public sector, on which about three-quarters of the Greek debt will fall.

11/03/2012

The Year After the Great East Japan Earthquake

Human Wrongs Watch

Bangkok (IRIN*) – Japan is widely regarded as well-prepared for disasters, being used to frequent tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes and volcanic activity, but a year after the calamitous events of 11 March 2011, the lessons from the multi-disaster still resonate.

**Photo:Japanese Red Cross | IRIN

“The learning from the Great East Japan Earthquake will be a vital contribution to preparing the world to meet the challenges of disaster risk in the urbanized, globalized world of the 21st century where a natural hazard can trigger a chain of catastrophic events,” UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, said.

On that day, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck 70km east off the coast of the Tohoku region in northeast Honshu, Japan’s largest island, followed by tsunami waves up to 40m high.

Soon after, explosions and radioactive leaks rocked the nearby Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants, adding a new calamity for authorities to deal with while complicating the safety of aid workers on the ground.

11/03/2012

Yemen – No Home, No Hope for Entire Populations

Human Wrongs Watch

Yemen has been facing a new wave of internal displacement, with tens of thousands of civilians fleeing tribal clashes in the north and fresh fighting between Government troops and militants in the country’s south.

Credit:UN

Credit:UN

The situation is particularly difficult in the Haradh governorate, north of the capital, Sana’a, where, according to Yemeni authorities, sporadic tribal clashes have displaced some 52,000 people over the past three months, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, said in Geneva.

“That figure is in addition to the estimated 314,000 Yemenis already displaced in the country’s north and unable to return to their homes in the Sa’ada governorate.”

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