Archive for September, 2011


Africa’s Rapid Urbanisation – Magnet of Hope or Misery Time Bomb?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Francis Owusu* Think Africa Press 

An important dimension of Africa’s demographic change is rapid urbanisation. The problem of urbanisation in Africa, however, is not merely the number of urban residents. Compared to other regions, Africa still has one of the lowest levels of urbanisation in the world.

Lagos population has doubled in a decade

According to UN estimates only 40% of the region’s population lived in urban areas in 2010, compared to about 50% globally.

The concern over Africa’s urbanisation, rather, is with its speed: while the roughly 3.3 billion worldwide urban resident population is projected to double by 2050, Africa’s 373 million urban resident population is expected to more than double by as early as 2030.

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Connection between Terrorists and Illegal Trafficking of Nuclear Materials

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations committee entrusted with helping countries tackle terrorism has voiced concern at the close connection between terrorists and transnational organized crime, including the illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials.

Credit: UN

Despite “the real and significant achievements of the last 10 years,” much remains to be done at the national, regional and international levels, stressed the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) after a meeting at UN in New York on Sept. 28th.

The close connection between terrorism and transnational organized crime, including trafficking of illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials,” according to the CTC.

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Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea — Poverty, Torture, Extrajudicial Killings …

Human Wrongs WatchThink Africa Press

By Desmond Tutu*

Over the past year, the world has watched with great interest as the Arab Spring has dissolved decades of repression. Citizens weary of injustice have stood up and demanded control of their destinies. I wish that oppressed people everywhere in Africa could benefit from the dramatic changes we are witnessing in North Africa.

Bubi children | Tukes@en.wikipedia

The people of Equatorial Guinea, for instance, an oil-rich country home to the continent’s longest-ruling leader, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, have endured decades of repression, and many remain mired in poverty despite the country’s considerable natural resource wealth.

Torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and harassment of journalists and civil society groups have been well documented by the United Nations and other sources.

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Just $18 Million Needed to Save Desperate Humans

Human Wrongs Watch

While global spending on weapons is set up to further increase in spite of the economic recession, four major UN agencies and their aid partners have just appealed for $18.3 million to help tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing into western Ethiopia to escape violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.

Credit: UN

The joint appeal by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and their partner agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is intended to help up to 35,000 refugees.

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U.S., the Republicans, and the Pizza Boss

Human Wrongs WatchInDepthNews (IDN)

By Ernest Corea*

Behold! Another stirrer-upper. As an evangelical stream of consciousness moves through the Republican Party, this could well be how some activists reacted to the news that on Saturday, September 24 Herman Cain, would-be presidential candidate and former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Godfather brand of pizza won the party’s straw poll in Florida. He is the only African-American seeking the Republican nomination.


Cain picked up 37 percent of the votes cast in Florida, leaving frontrunner Rick Perry well behind in second place with 15 percent, and Mitt Romney whose name was on the ballot although he did not campaign in Florida with 14 percent.

Michelle Bachman who won the Ames, Iowa straw poll finished last. That’s the kind of result that a stirrer-upper creates.

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Big Business Stealing Seeds, Devouring Life Cycle


By Vandana Shiva*

We are in a food emergency. Speculation and diversion of food to biofuel has contributed to an uncontrolled price rise, adding more to the billion already denied their right to food.

Jatropha | Wikimedia Commons

Industrial agriculture is pushing species to extinction through the use of toxic chemicals that kill our bees and butterflies, our earthworms and soil organisms that create soil fertility. Plant and animal varieties are disappearing as monocultures displace biodiversity.

Industrial, globalized agriculture is responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, which then destabilize agriculture by causing climate chaos, creating new threats to food security.

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Obama and How to Save a Quarter of a Trillion Dollars

Human Wrongs Watch

By Lawrence Wittner*

In the midst of the current stampede to slash federal spending, U.S. Congress might want to take a look at two unnecessary (and dangerous) “national security” programs that, if cut, would save the United States over a quarter of a trillion dollars over the next decade.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The first of these is the Obama administration’s plan to spend at least $185 billion in the next ten years to “modernize” the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

At present, the U.S. government possesses approximately 8,500 nuclear warheads, and it is hard to imagine that this country would be safer from attack if it built more nuclear weapons or “improved” those it already possesses.

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Palestine: Yet Another One Hundred Years of Solitude

Human Wrongs Watch

By Baher Kamal & Fareed Mahdy

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas handed over a request to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, asking the United Nations to admit the state of Palestine as a full member. Then he told the General Assembly “I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership.”

Image: Adam Moft | Wikimedia Commons

“I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership in the UN and our admission as an independent state,” Abbas said on Sept. 23, 2011.

Abbas, like everybody else, knows that the Security Council does not usually have such a “shred of conscious”, but rather a huge “shred of interests”, be these extending influence or winning elections.

In the specific case of the U.S., which announced it would veto any resolution recognising a Palestine State, president Barack Obama needs Jewish votes and lobbies for a second mandate in next year’s election.

Obama, “The First Jewish President”

Not only that–Obama is the “the first Jewish President”, according to the title of a New York magazine’s lead article, written by John Heilemann and quoting a major Obama fundraiser.

Listening to Obama speak at the United Nations on Wednesday [Sept. 21rst] many would nod in agreement, not less in Palestine and the Arab world,” wrote in this regard Marwan Bishara*, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, who is widely regarded as a leading authority on the Middle East and international affairs.

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The Markets ‘War On People’ and the New Momentum

Human Wrongs Watch

Rafael De la Rubia*

There are sufficient indicators to interpret that we have entered a new moment in international matters. What started in Tunisia and Egypt with the “Arab Spring” has extended to numerous countries on different continents: from the Outraged of Spain and Greece, to Chile where students are demanding free and good quality education through massive, non-violent demonstrations.

The wave is not stopping; on the contrary, it’s growing day by day. People are waking up and channelling their protests through novel movements and new forms of struggle that are gaining renewed strength. It could be that this will not stop until it reaches and moves the consciousnesses of the entire planet.

These mobilisations mark a before and an after. In general they start from the motor of “outrage” against injustice, corruption, a lack of democracy and loss of social advances, and they are taking novel paths, being carried out peacefully and based on the methodology of nonviolence.

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Palestinians Without Hope … Once More

Human Wrongs Watch

In a closed envelope delivered to UN secretary-general with little hope, the Palestinian Authority submitted on September 23rd its demand to the United Nations to recognise Palestine as an independent State, while giving time to the Security Council to consider what it had repeatedly claimed but it will now reject due to the U.S. “veto”: a Middle East settlement based on a two-State solution, one for Israel and one for Palestine.

1948 Palestinian Exodus | Author: | Wikimedia Commons

(Socialist Worker*–21/09/2011) The fierce opposition of the U.S. and Israel to UN recognition of Palestinian statehood obscures an important current of criticism coming from Palestinians themselves.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is vowing to press ahead with a bid for United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood this week, even though the U.S. has vowed to veto the proposal if it comes to a vote in the UN Security Council.

Hard-right Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has warned that there will be “harsh and grave consequences” if the Palestinians persist with their plan to seek UN membership, and the U.S. has threatened to cut off $500 million in aid to the PA.

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