Archive for July 23rd, 2012

23/07/2012

Nigeria: How to Deal with Boko Haram?

Human Wrongs Watch

Maiduguri, (IRIN*) – How to deal with Boko Haram violence splits Nigeria: in the north, the centre of bombings and shootings by the Islamist extremists, there is an almost universal demand for dialogue, while in the south the prevailing attitude is that there can be no negotiation with “terrorists” until they end the insurrection that has killed more than 1,000 people since 2010.

Photo: Obinna Anyadike/IRIN – Boko Haram violence has hurt the local economy – but there is a demand for security gates.

President Goodluck Jonathan has repeatedly said he is open to talks, but not with a “faceless” Boko Haram. “You must have a face. You must tell us the reason why you are doing what you are doing,” he said in an interview in June.

The government has also invested in the stick. But the unprecedented defence and security vote of US$6 billion for 2012, collaboration with Western security forces, and the closure of Nigeria’s borders with its northern neighbours, is yet to blunt the Salafists.

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23/07/2012

Mauritania: Sharing Every Bit of Food … Just to Survive

Human Wrongs Watch

Djoke/Gorgol, (IRIN*) – The fragrance of cooking food wafts from a communal kitchen as the villagers of Djoke, in the Gorgol region of Mauritania, talk about how hunger and drought took them by surprise. Gorgol, Brakna and Assaba form the Triangle of Poverty, where at least 60 percent of the population live on less than one US dollar a day.

Photo: IRIN

“We did not even know the rains were going to fail us [in 2011], we did not receive any warning,” said Sao Moussa, a village elder.

“No one can eat alone – many people do not have enough,” said Moussa. “All neighbours cook and eat together. Everyone eats in batches – first the children, followed by the elders, and then the more able-bodied.”

Prolonged dry spells and erratic rains in 2011 have cut food production by 34 percent, which is a substantial loss. Even when rainfall is normal, Mauritania produces less than 30 percent of the food it needs. Djoke’s residents had lost 20 of their cows to hunger the day before IRIN visited the village.

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23/07/2012

Greece: SYRIZA Backs Government’s Capitulation

Human Wrongs Watch

By Christoph Dreier (WSWS*) – Just over a month ago, Alexis Tsipras claimed he would declare Greece’s memorandum with the European Union (EU) “null and void” and repeal all cuts in social spending if his party won the national election. The party he leads, the Coalition of the Alternative Left (SYRIZA), now fully supports the loan agreements made with the EU and promises the government to act as a responsible opposition.

**Image: SYRIZA electoral poster. Source: Coalition of Radical Left.

In a radio interview last Monday, SYRIZA spokesman Panagiotis Skourletis said the majority of his parliamentary faction opposed the Communist Party’s (KKE’s) draft legislation stipulating the termination of all agreements with the “troika”—the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Skourletis told the World Socialist Web Site that SYRIZA was indeed in favour of renegotiating the terms, but that if Greece completely rejected the memorandum, it would also have to forgo the related loan payments from the EU. “We can’t support these parts of the bill”, he said, although SYRIZA parliamentarians could agree to some of its content.

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23/07/2012

Of Plato and the US$21 Trillion Hidden in Offshore Tax Havens

Human Wrongs Watch

By Silvia Swinden, Pressenza* London – US$21 trillion – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – is the wealth hidden in offshore tax havens, according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network and published by the British paper The Guardian. Economic violence kills but its invisibility requires special measures to fight against it.

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Image by: Wikimedia Commons

In Republic, Plato tells the story of the Gyges, a shepherd who discovers a corpse in a cave with a golden ring that gives him the power to become invisible. He uses it to seduce the queen and murders the king to take his place.

The question about morality presented thus by Plato is whether any man could resist the temptation of being able to perform an objectionable act without being known or discovered.

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