By Pepe Escobar*
27 February 2015 (RT)* - Winston Churchill once said, “I feel lonely without a war.” He also badly missed the loss of empire. Churchill’s successor – the ‘Empire of Chaos’ – now faces the same quandary. Some wars – as in Ukraine, by proxy – are not going so well.
**BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) | Author: Cflm001 (talk) | Wikimedia Commons
And the loss of empire increasingly manifests itself in myriad moves by selected players aiming towards a multipolar world.
So no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is going bonkers, releasing wacky CIA-tinted “forecasts” where Russia is bound to disintegrate, and China is turning into a communist dictatorship. So much (imperial) wishful thinking, so little time to prolong hegemony.
The acronym that all these “forecasts” dare not reveal is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). BRICS is worse than the plague as far as the ‘Masters of the Universe’ that really control the current – rigged – world system are concerned. True, the BRICS are facing multiple problems.
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27 February 2015 (Transparency International)* – Systemic corruption in the health sector in West Africa hurt the response to the Ebola epidemic that has already killed more than 9,500 men, women and children. Poor risk monitoring in managing the aid funds has also led to claims of corruption and mismanagement. This must stop.
Source: Transparency International
Transparency International has called on the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and the United Nations to conduct and publish a comprehensive audit of all Ebola emergency funds.
In conjunction with this, governments and aid providers must ensure that health sector services are strengthened and the appropriate corruption risk assessments are implemented and monitored.
The aid audit must include the money donated by citizens of the affected countries, many of whom are desperately poor and gave what little they could in the hopes of helping in this crisis.
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By Andy Brown (1)
There are no circumstances in which using children for sex is acceptable. HIV Specialist for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Shirley Mark Prabhu says: “The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed by all countries in this region, is very clear on this point. There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Any child under the age of 18 is a victim of sexual exploitation. It violates their rights to health, education and a childhood.”
© UNICEF EAPRO/2014/Brown
HIV specialist Shirley Mark Prabhu talks with Saeng about his situation.
BANGKOK, Thailand, 26 February 2015 – Saeng* was forced into prostitution at the age of 14. After falling out with his** parents and running away from home, he found himself on the street with no money.
Desperate and too young to understand the risks involved, he ended up in the sex industry, exploited by adults. Bars wouldn’t allow him to work on the premises because he was underage, so he sold sex on the streets.
“I didn’t know much about HIV.”“I fought with my Dad because I wanted to be a kathoey and he couldn’t understand,” recalls Saeng, who is now 18. The Thai term he uses is colloquial for a range of transgender identities.
“I went to stay with a friend who sold sex in the bars around Nana district. I would hook up with foreigners who paid me 500 baht (US$15) for sex. If I got enough customers, I could spend the night in a hotel. Otherwise, I would sleep on the streets.
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A World Health Organization-led treaty that aims to achieve a tobacco-free world has dramatically curbed tobacco use worldwide since its entry into force 10 years ago on 27 February 2015, but “the war on tobacco is far from over” with the tobacco industry still spending billions to promote products that are expected to kill some 8 million people each year by 2030, the United Nations health agency said.
A man smokes on the side of the road as a bus passes in Nepal. Photo: World Bank/Aisha Faquir | Source: UN
The WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) entered into force on February 27, 2005, enacting a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide.
The treaty is the first international treaty negotiated under the WHO’s auspices, and has become one of the fastest endorsed by the United Nations to date, with 180 Parties, covering 90 per cent of the world’s population.
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Despite its comprehensive approach to tackling modern forms of slavery, the Government of Belgium must further sharpen its focus on proper victim detection and identification, a United Nations independent expert declared on 26 February 2015.
Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long work hours without rest days, confiscation of ID documents, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical or sexual violence. ILO/A. Khemka
“Belgium’s multi-disciplinary approach to tackling modern forms of slavery, which brings together various stakeholders at policy and operational level is an example of good practice,” stated Urmila Bhoola, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and its consequences, in a press release.*
“However, potential victims, including children and other vulnerable groups, are not always detected, identified and referred to the appropriate structures, which leaves them susceptible to abuse and exploitation.”
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24 February 2015 – The production and movement of methamphetamines and heroin, coupled with the trafficking of precursor chemicals necessary to produce illicit drugs, present a major threat to the countries forming the Greater Mekong Sub-region.*
And while law enforcement officers dealing with these issues have traditionally lacked the correct resources to swiftly and systematically identify seized substances, this has started to change thanks to assistance provided under UNODC’s Global SMART Programme.
As part of SMART – or the Synthetic Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends – UNODC works with police and customs agencies in the region to equip and train them on the use of field drug-testing kits so as to quickly identify illicit substances.
The kits allow law enforcement personnel to conduct on-site testing for illicit drugs, including narcotics such as opium and heroin, as well as psychotropic substances like amphetamines. UNODC is also providing precursor testing kits that help detect the chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs.
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By Prof. James Petras*, TRANSCEND Media Service
The Greek government is currently locked in a life and death struggle with the elite which dominate the banks and political decision-making centers of the European Union. What are at stake are the livelihoods of 11 million Greek workers, employees and small business people and the viability of the European Union.
**Anti-austerity peotests – Author: Philly boy92 : Wikimedia Commons
If the ruling Syriza government capitulates to the demands of the EU bankers and agrees to continue the austerity programs, Greece will be condemned to decades of regression, destitution and colonial rule.
If Greece decides to resist, and is forced to exit the EU, it will need to repudiate its 270 billion Euro foreign debts, sending the international financial markets crashing and causing the EU to collapse.
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New York, 23 February 2015 – This year is pivotal for global action on climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in New York, emphasizing that all the major advances of 2014 have set the stage for success in 2015.
“Our challenge now is clear: to finalize a meaningful, universal agreement on climate change,” Ban told Member States at a briefing on relevant progress as momentum builds towards a meeting to be held in Paris this December, when leaders are expected to reach a landmark treaty.
“Addressing climate change is essential for realizing sustainable development. If we fail to adequately address climate change, we will be unable to build a world that supports a life of dignity for all,” the Secretary-General warned.
Joining Ban at the briefing was President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, as well as the Permanent Representatives of Peru and France, who organized the gathering.
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