Archive for ‘Latin America & Caribbean’

04/04/2014

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand Is at Our Throats

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery* – TRANSCEND Media Service – As everyone knows, Adam Smith invented the theory that individual self-interest is, and ought to be, the main motivating force of human economic activity, and that, in effect, it serves the wider social interest. He put forward a detailed description of this concept in an immense book, “The Wealth of Nations” (1776).

Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh's High Street with St. Giles High Kirk behind | Author: Kim Traynor | Wikimedia Commons

Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh’s High Street with St. Giles High Kirk behind | Author: Kim Traynor | Wikimedia Commons

Adam Smith (1723-1790) had been Professor of Logic at the University of Glasgow, but in 1764 he withdrew from his position at the university to become the tutor of the young Duke of Buccleuch. In those days a Grand Tour of Europe was considered to be an important part of the education of a young nobleman, and Smith accompanied Buccleuch to the Continent.

To while away the occasional dull intervals of the tour, Adam Smith began to write an enormous book on economics which he finally completed twelve years later. He began his “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by praising division of labor.

04/04/2014

Ominous Signs of Climate Change, Visible Everywhere… Act Now Before It Is Too Late!

Human Wrongs Watch

From the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the wealthiest, the ominous signs of climate change are profoundly visible, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for transformative collective action to tackle the phenomenon now – on all fronts– before it is too late.*

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland at the end of March 2014 to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland at the end of March 2014 to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. UN Photo/Mark Garten

“My objective has been to impress on Member States, the world of business and the public at large that climate change is an obstacle to the future security, prosperity and sustainable development of humankind,” Ban on 3 April 2014 told the Friends of Europe Policy Spotlight, held in Brussels, where he has been much of this week holding talks with European Union (EU) officials on a host of pressing global issues.

01/04/2014

Climate Change Impacting Entire Planet, Raising Risk of Hunger, Floods, Conflict – UN Report

Human Wrongs Watch

The effects of climate change are already occurring in all continents and across the oceans, and the world, for the most part, is ill-prepared for their risks, says a United Nations report issued on 31 March 2014, which also warns that while action can be taken, managing the phenomenon’s impacts will be difficult on a rapidly warming planet.* “Nobody will be untouched.”

The melting of ice sheets is accelerating in Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The melting of ice sheets is accelerating in Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.

01/04/2014

UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Heads to UK to Investigate Abuse

Human Wrongs Watch

Domestic and sexual violence, sexual bullying and harassment, forced and early marriages, and female genital mutilation – all these issues and more will be on the docket as the United Nations expert tasked with monitoring violence against women launched her first mission in the United Kingdom.*

**Photo credit: Sherkashmiri | Wikimedia Commons.

**Photo credit: Sherkashmiri | Wikimedia Commons.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, 31 March 2014 began a two week investigative mission to the United Kingdom to study the manifestations of violence perpetrated in the family and in the community.

“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every country in the world,” Manjoo said.*

29/03/2014

US Proxy Terror War on Venezuela

Human Wrongs Watch 

By Prof. James Petras - TRANSCEND* – Protest, dissent and terrorist wars are obviously very distinct forms of expressing opposition and bringing about change.

The Obama-Kerry regime claim that the opposition in Venezuela is a “protest movement” a “peaceful democratic opposition” expressing discontent with economic conditions and that the democratically elected Maduro Administration is an ‘authoritarian regime’ violently repressing dissent.

Washington claims to play no part in the action of the opposition and that its pronouncements are directed at furthering democratic freedoms.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry departs the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in a U.S. military Blackhawk helicopter on March 26, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain] Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/8591480059/sizes/o/in/photostream/. Author;U.S. Department of State

**John Kerry departs the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in a U.S. military Blackhawk helicopter on March 26, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

The overwhelming evidence speaks to the contrary. By every measure, the opposition has engaged in prolonged and extensive violent activity, including terrorist acts, assassinations, arson, destruction of public property including the murder of military officials and civilian supporters of the government.

Widely circulated photographs, even in media outlets backing Washington, show opposition activists throwing Molotov cocktails and building barracades for street warfare.

The Obama-Kerry Administration is in total denial of each and every violent act by the opposition; it unconditionally defends the opposition; it forcibly attacks and demonizes each and every effort by the Government to defend the rights of its citizens, uphold the Constitution and enforce law and order.

29/03/2014

Calls for a Ceasefire in the War on Drugs

Human Wrongs Watch

“The production of opium increased by 102% and cocaine by 20% from 1998 to 2007, despite efforts to destroy crops around the world; in the US close to 500,000 people are in jail for drug offenses, compared with 41,000 in 1980; the US spent 93% of its resources on cocaine for law enforcement and only 7% on treatment programmes; more than 30 countries impose the death penalty for drug-related crimes; over 70%of HIV infections in Russia are due to injecting drugs… The list goes on and the casualties of the drug wars mount.”

Photo: Obinna Anyadike. The war on drugs isn’t working: 10am, Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town

 Photo: Obinna Anyadike. The war on drugs isn’t working: 10am, Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town | Source: IRIN

Humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs IRIN* on 28 March 2014 reported from New York, “Despite growing acknowledgement that the war on drugs has failed, global consensus on the way forward remains elusive. Nevertheless, some detect a “paradigm shift” among many players at the forefront of the debate.”

28/03/2014

“They Know Everything We Do”

Human Wrongs Watch

By Human Rights Watch*, 25 March 2014 – The Ethiopian government is using foreign technology to bolster its widespread telecom surveillance of opposition activists and journalists both in Ethiopia and abroad.

Meles Zenawi, speaks at the Annual Meeting 2012 of the World Economic Forum. Source: Flickr: Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 | Author: World Economic Forum | Wikimedia Commons

Source: Flickr: Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 | Author: World Economic Forum | Wikimedia Commons

The 100-page report, They Know Everything We Do’: Telecom and Internet Surveillance in Ethiopia,” details the technologies the Ethiopian government has acquired from several countries and uses to facilitate surveillance of perceived political opponents inside the country and among the diaspora.

The government’s surveillance practices violate the rights to freedom of expression, association, and access to information.

The government’s monopoly over all mobile and Internet services through its sole, state-owned telecom operator, Ethio Telecom, facilitates abuse of surveillance powers.

“The Ethiopian government is using control of its telecom system as a tool to silence dissenting voices,” said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch.

24/03/2014

The Decline of the Middle Class

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

San Salvador, Bahamas, March 2014 — It is now generally accepted that the North-South divide created at the end of the colonial era and the coalition of New Countries against the powerful North of the world ended with the arrival of globalization. There are now areas of the Third World inside the North, and areas of the North inside the South.

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“You should hope that this game will be over soon.” The Third Estate carrying the Clergy and the Nobility on its back. Date: 1789. Source: Bibliothèque national de France. Author: M. P. Permission: This image is in the public domain, with some restrictions**.

The world is no longer bipolar, with the two big powers creating the other divide, the East-West divide. We now inhabit a multilateral world, where a plethora of acronyms (such as BRICS, G20 and TTP) show how it is now fragmented into multiple layers.

23/03/2014

India’s Arms Imports Triplicate Those of Second and Third Largest Weapons Importers—China and Pakistan

Stockholm — India’s arms imports are now almost 3 times as high as those of the second and third largest arms importers—China and Pakistan—according to new data on international arms transfers published on 17 March 2014 by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Overall, the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons grew by 14 per cent between 2004–08 and 2009–13.
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An Arjun MBT being test driven on the bump track at the Central Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), at Avadi, Chennai | Source: Image, taken from Ajai Shukla's blog at ajaishukla.blogspot.com | Author: Ajai Shukla, uploaded by User:Sniperz11| Wikimedia Commons

An Arjun MBT being test driven on the bump track at the Central Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), at Avadi, Chennai | Source: Image, taken from Ajai Shukla’s blog at ajaishukla.blogspot.com | Author: Ajai Shukla, uploaded by User:Sniperz11| Wikimedia Commons

The volume of Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111 per cent between 2004–08 and 2009–13, and its share of the volume of international arms imports increased from 7 to 14 per cent. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s imports of major arms increased by 119 per cent.

23/03/2014

Number of People Living in Households with Zero Income from Work, Doubled in Greece, Ireland and Spain

Human Wrongs Watch

The number of people living in households without any income from work has doubled in Greece, Ireland and Spain, and risen by 20% or more in Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia and the U.S., warns a new OECD report, adding that young people are at greater risk of poverty than before the crisis: the share of 18-25 year-olds in households with incomes below half the national median has climbed in most countries – by 5 percentage points in Estonia, Spain and Turkey, by 4 points in Ireland and the U.K., and by 3 points in Greece and Italy.
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This shows death rates in metropolitan areas of the United States according to inequality of income and the average per capita income. This chart was created by Patrick Hayes using data from J. Lynch G.A. Kaplan, et al., "Income inequality and Mortality in Metropolitan Areas of the United States ," American Journal of Public Health 88 (1998): 1,074-80 | Public Domain

This shows death rates in metropolitan areas of the United States according to inequality of income and the average per capita income. This chart was created by Patrick Hayes using data from J. Lynch G.A. Kaplan, et al., “Income inequality and Mortality in Metropolitan Areas of the United States ,” American Journal of Public Health 88 (1998): 1,074-80 | Public Domain

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Income inequality and social divisions could worsen and become entrenched unless governments act quickly to boost support for the most vulnerable in society, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD new report, which was issued on 18 March 2014.
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