Archive for September 18th, 2012

18/09/2012

Of Netanyahu, Barak and ‘The March of Folly’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*, TRANSCEND – Noting could be more scary than this duo – Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak – is in a position to start a war, the dimensions and outcome of which are incalculable.

Netanyahu | Wikipedia 

Ehud Barak | Wikipedia 

It’s scary not only because of their ideological fixations and mental outlook, but also because of the level of their intelligence.

The last month gave us a small sample. By itself it was but a passing episode. But as an illustration of their decision-making abilities, it was frightening enough.

The routine conference of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations was to take place in Tehran. 120 states promised to attend, many of them represented by their presidents or prime ministers.

This was bad news for the Israeli government, which has devoted much of its energies during the last three years to the strenuous effort to isolate Iran – while Iran was devoted to a no less strenuous effort to isolate Israel.

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18/09/2012

Zambia – The Good, the Bad and the Chinese

Human Wrongs Watch

By Tony Henderson, Pressenza* – China’s voracious appetite for natural resources has driven a boom of investments and aid to African countries. In the Southern African country of Zambia, Chinese companies are building roads, hospitals, sports stadia as well as reviving copper mines abandoned in the country’s Copperbelt region.

**The major Nkana open copper mine, Kitwe. Photo: Per Arne Wilson | Wikimedia Commons.

The Chinese have also chosen Zambia as the place to set up its first out of five free trade zones in Africa. The Chambishi multi-facility economic zone on the Copperbelt is anchored by a 200 million US dollar copper smelter. It is also meant to manufacture “TV’s, mobile phones and other electronic items”.

According to government sources, over 5,000 local jobs have been created and at completion, the zone will have up to 60 Chinese companies, employing 60,000 local people.

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18/09/2012

Bangladeshi Women – “Will I Get My Dues … Before I Die?”

Bangladesh’s discriminatory personal laws on marriage, separation, and divorce trap many women and girls in abusive marriages or drive them into poverty when marriages fall apart, Human Rights Watch says in a new report.

**Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron in London in 2011.

The 109-page report, “‘Will I Get My Dues…Before I Die?’ Harm to Women from Bangladesh’s Discriminatory Laws on Marriage, Separation, and Divorce, documents how the country’s discriminatory and archaic personal laws impoverish many women at separation or divorce, and trap some women in violent marriages because they fear destitution.

“In many cases these laws contribute to homelessness, hunger, and ill-health for divorced or separated women and their children.”

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have recorded significantly higher levels of food insecurity and poverty among female-headed Bangladeshi households, it adds.

“Bangladesh is world famous for programs meant to reduce women’s poverty, yet for decades it has ignored how discriminatory personal laws drive many women into poverty,” said Aruna Kashyap, Asia researcher for women’s rights and author of the report, which was released on Sept. 17, 2012.

“With many women precariously housed or struggling to feed themselves when their marriages break down, Bangladesh should immediately reform its personal laws, fix its family courts, and provide state assistance to poor women.”

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