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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By Uri Avnery*
28 February 2015
WINSTON CHURCHILL famously said that democracy is the worst political system, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Anyone involved with political life knows that that is British understatement.
Churchill also said that the best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with an average voter. How true.
I have witnessed 20 election campaigns for the Knesset. In five of them I was a candidate, in three of them I was elected.
As a child I also witnessed three election campaigns in the dying days of the Weimar republic, and one (the last more or less democratic one) after the Nazi ascent to power.
(The Germans at that time were very good at graphic propaganda, both political and commercial. After more than 80 years, I still remember some of their election posters.)
Elections are a time of great excitement. The streets are plastered with propaganda, politicians talk themselves hoarse, sometimes violent clashes break out.
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|In the State of Palestine, children continue to recover from the violence that engulfed Gaza during July and August 2014. Download this video
GAZA, State of Palestine, 26 February 2015 – It has been six months since a precarious truce ended another devastating bout of violence in Gaza. For children like Samar and Rosol Barakat, the scars left by 51 days of hostilities last summer are as raw as ever.
During the conflict, the two girls, their parents and three other siblings fled their flat under heavy shelling. The family took refuge in a United Nations–run school. One night, the classroom in which they slept was hit by an artillery shell. Their father was killed, and their mother seriously injured. Both girls were wounded by shrapnel.
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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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