Archive for February, 2013

28/02/2013

UK Defense Ministry Slammed for Wasting Billions in Public Funds

Human Wrongs Watch

By Russia Today*, February 28, 2013 – Over £1 billion in public money was spent by the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) on unused equipment and spare parts between April 2009 and March 2011, the Public Accounts Committee said. A further £3.4 billion in gear was stored and went unused.

**British Army Flag| Photo: George Bosanko | Wikimedia Commons

**British Army Flag| Photo: George Bosanko | Wikimedia Commons

Some £1.5 billion was reportedly spent purchasing 38 percent more raw material and ‘consumable inventory,’ such as clothing or ammunition, than was needed, according to a report published by the UK’s Public Accounts Committee.

“It is unacceptable that the Ministry of Defense is wasting significant amounts of public money buying equipment and supplies that it doesn’t need,” said Richard Bacon MP, a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Some central non-explosive depots were reportedly filled to 80 or 90 percent capacity because of the department’s habitual hoarding.

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28/02/2013

‘The Energy Game Is Rigged’ – Fossil Fuel Subsidies Topped $620 Billion in 2011

Human Wrongs Watch

Emily E. Adams, Earth Policy Institute*, February 27, 2013 – The energy game is rigged in favor of fossil fuels because we omit the environmental and health costs of burning coal, oil, and natural gas from their prices. Subsidies manipulate the game even further. 

World Fossil Fuel Consumption 2011 | Earth Policy Institute

World Fossil Fuel Consumption 2011 | Earth Policy Institute

According to conservative estimates from the Global Subsidies Initiative and the International Energy Agency (IEA), governments around the world spent more than $620 billion to subsidize fossil fuel energy in 2011: some $100 billion for production and $523 billion for consumption.

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28/02/2013

Isreal-Palestine: “2013 Will Be a Decisive Year for the Two-State Solution,” Says Ban

Human Wrongs Watch

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the importance of making progress this year in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and called on both parties to refrain from any actions that undermine prospects for resuming negotiations.

Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian's car at the Hawera checkpoint outside the town of Nablus in the West Bank. Photo: IRIN/Kobi Wolf

Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian’s car at the Hawera checkpoint outside the town of Nablus in the West Bank. Photo: IRIN/Kobi Wolf

“2013 will be a decisive year for the two-State solution,” Ban on 27 February 2013said in a message delivered on his behalf to the UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, which began today in Rome.

“Failure to make tangible progress only means the continuation of suffering, violence and instability in the whole region.”

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28/02/2013

‘World’s Youth Must Steer International Community Through Its Turbulent Period’

Human Wrongs Watch

“The world’s youth must take the helm in steering the international community through its turbulent period of economic and political transition and towards a more “prosperous, equitable and peaceful future,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged in Vienna, adding that the United Nations was increasing its focus on global youth action to support this cause.

Source: UN Alliance of Civilizations

Source: UN Alliance of Civilizations

Speaking at a youth event at the Fifth Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, in Vienna on 26 February, Ban told delegates representing “the largest generation of young people the world has ever known” that the world was waiting for their contribution on a host of urgent issues, UN reports.

“I am here today to ask you to help show us the way. The world is going through a period of transition – economic, demographic, political and environmental,” Ban said in his remarks, stating that although the challenges are profound, “so are the opportunities.”

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26/02/2013

UN Calls for Elimination of Child Labour in Livestock Sector

Human Wrongs Watch

Governments, farmer organizations and rural families must all be involved to eliminate child labour in the livestock sector, which is a widespread and largely ignored practice, according to a new United Nations report.

A young boy tends to his cattle. Photo: FAO/Giuseppe Bizzarri

A young boy tends to his cattle. Photo: FAO/Giuseppe Bizzarri

The report, Children’s work in the livestock sector: Herding and beyond, found that agriculture accounts for most of the reported child labour in the world, with livestock accounting for some 40 per cent of the agricultural economy.

While there have been global efforts to tackle child labour in agriculture, the report, produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), argues that the livestock sector has received much less attention. In some parts of the world, children start herding at a young age, ranging from five to seven years old.

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26/02/2013

‘Big 10’ Food, Beverage Companies Failing Millions of People Who Supply Them with Land, Labor, Water…

By Oxfam International*, 26 February 2013 – The social and environmental policies of the world’s ten biggest food and beverage giants are not fit for modern purpose and need a major shake-up, says international agency Oxfam.

Source of photo: Oxfam

Source: Oxfam

The “Big 10” food and beverage companies – that together make $1 billion-a-day – are failing millions of people in developing countries who supply land, labor, water and commodities needed to make their products.

Behind the Brands – part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign to fix the broken food system – for the first time ranks the agricultural policies, public commitments and supply chain oversight of Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Pepsico and Unilever.

ABF (19%), Kellogg’s (23%) and General Mills (23%) scored most poorly. They have weaker policies than Coca-Cola (41%), Unilever (49%) and Nestle (54%) for example.

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26/02/2013

UN Calls for ‘Independent Investigation’ into Death of Palestinian in Israeli Detention

Human Wrongs Watch

A senior UN official voiced concern about the death in Israeli detention of Arafat Jaradat and called for an “independent and transparent investigation” into the circumstances of the Palestinian’s death.

Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli prisons similar to this one. Photo: IRIN

Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli prisons similar to this one. Photo: IRIN

Mr. Jaradat, who was arrested on 18 February, died on Saturday, according to a statement released on 25 February 2013.by the office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.

“The Special Coordinator takes note of the preliminary findings of the autopsy that was conducted on Mr. Jaradat’s body with the participation of Israeli and Palestinian experts,” said the statement.

“The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat’s death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible.”

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26/02/2013

West African Stability Still Endangered by Global Traffickers – UN Warns

Human Wrongs Watch

Cocaine trafficking, the smuggling of migrants, and the trafficking of fraudulent pharmaceuticals are among the numerous damaging illegal activities perpetrated by transnational organized crime syndicates which continue to fuel instability across West Africa, a new United Nations report* has warned.

Credit: UN Photo/UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau

Credit: UN Photo/UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau

The report, a threat assessment issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and entitled Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa, cautions that the profit from cocaine trafficking alone may still be larger than the national security budgets of several West African countries, causing difficulties for local law enforcement.

In addition, it notes that West African criminal groups have become increasingly independent and enterprising in their ability to bring drugs into the region.

“Transnational organized crime is clearly a serious threat to West Africa,” Pierre Lapaque, the UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, said in a press statement marking the report’s release.

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26/02/2013

What France Wants in Mali

Human Wrongs Watch

Canadian writer and antiwar activist Roger Annis* untangles the web of lies and deceptions that obscure the French and U.S. strategy for Mali.

A French soldier patrols a small village in Mali | SocialistWorker

A French soldier patrols a small village in Mali | SocialistWorker

By Roger Annis*, Socialist Worker*, 25 February 2013 – Two large deceptions are embedded in most news reports and government statements backing France’s military intervention into Mali six weeks ago. The first concerns the circumstances leading to France’s unilateral decision to invade Mali on January 11.

It was a quick decision, says France, prompted by unforeseen military threats by Islamic fundamentalist forces against the South of the country, including the capital city of Bamako.

The second is the claim by France that it wants to exit Mali as soon as possible.

“French leaders have said they intend to start pulling out the 4,000 troops in Mali in March to hand over security to the Malian army and to the U.N.-backed AFISMA force, an African military contingent,” says a typical report in the Chicago Tribune on February 18.

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25/02/2013

“Liberated’ Afghanistan Accuses US Forces of Torturing, Murdering Civilians

Human Wrongs Watch

By Alex Lantier, WSWS*, 25 February 2013 – A meeting of Afghanistan’s National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Hamid Karzai asked US Special Forces to leave Wardak and Logar provinces in two weeks, following an NSC review of reports that the American troops had tortured and murdered Afghan civilians.

**U.S. Army Special Forces with Hamid Karzai in Kandahar province | Author: U.S. Military | Source: |http://www.army.mil/cmh/brochures/Afghanistan/Operation%20Enduring%20Freedom.htm |  Wikimedia Commons

**U.S. Army Special Forces with Hamid Karzai in Kandahar province | Author: U.S. Military | Wikimedia Commons.

The statement issued by the Afghan government—itself a puppet regime set up by the United States and its allies—is a damning indictment of the US-led NATO occupation of Afghanistan, now in its thirteenth year.

It states: “After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US Special Forces stationed in Wardak Province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people. A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force, and in a separate incident a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge… Such actions have caused local public resentment and hatred.”

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