Archive for May, 2013

27/05/2013

'Squeezed': Risky Jobs and Domestic Violence – The ‘Hidden’ Social Costs of High Food Prices

Human Wrongs Watch

A new era of high and volatile food prices is causing life-changing shifts in society, according to Oxfam* and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in a joint report.

Source: OXFAM

Source: OXFAM

The report, entitled Squeezed‘, highlights how the failure of wages to keep pace with five years of food price rises is putting a strain on families and communities including: increased incidences of domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse; dramatic changes in the workforce as agricultural jobs are abandoned in favor of riskier but better paid work such as mining; and a breakdown in community life as expensive social events such as weddings are put on hold.

The report, which was  published on 23 May 2013, also highlighted that people are skipping meals or relying on cheaper, lower quality and sometimes contaminated food to make ends meet.

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24/05/2013

'Obama Must Be Taken Before ICC for the War on Terror' – Chomsky to RT

Human Wrongs Watch

By Russia Today (RT)* – The US war on terror is in fact the most massive terror campaign ever, and the invasion of Iraq was the worst crime in recent history, prominent liberal thinker Noam Chomsky told RT*, adding that he wants to see Bush, Blair and Obama tried at the ICC [International Criminal Court].

**Photo: President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, November 10, 2008. Author: White House photo by Eric Draper

**Photo: President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, November 10, 2008. Author: White House photo by Eric Draper

The ‘father of modern linguistics, Chomsky reflects on the language of the war on terror, coming to the conclusion that the freer the society, the more sophisticated its propaganda.

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24/05/2013

Burma: Is Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Complicit in the Rohingya Ethnocide?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Maung Zarni*, TRANSCEND – Is Burma’s Aung Suu Kyi herself complicit in this Rohingya ethnnocide? is a valid, empirical question that needs to be raised.

**Aung San Suu Kyi | Photo credit: Htoo Tay Zar | Wikimedia Commons.

**Aung San Suu Kyi | Photo credit: Htoo Tay Zar | Wikimedia Commons.

Aung San Suu Kyi has firmly exhorted the public that is opposed to the Chinese Arms-industry-owned copper mine at Letpadaung in central Dry Zone of Burma that the people must honor commercial contacts signed between the previous Than Shwe dictatorship and China. Or else there will be no investor confidence in the country.

Consequently, she has earned a new iconic title, “Copper Lady”,  who, as Chair of the official pro-mining report of the government, has advanced the commercial and strategic interests of both China and Burmese military conglomerate vis-a-vis the economically dispossessed Burmese farmers – in the thousands – whose land and livelihoods have been ruined, thanks to the land grabs by the mining joint venture there.

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24/05/2013

"Behind Syria Peace Talks Proposal, US Prepares Regional War"

Human Wrongs Watch

By Bill Van Auken, WSWS*, 23 May 2013 – While ostensibly touring the Middle East to discuss a joint US-Russian proposal for peace talks between the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and Western-backed “rebels,” Secretary of State John Kerry met with US allies to prepare for region-wide war.

**Demonstration in Homs against Assad | Photo: Bo yaser | Wikimedia Commons.

**Demonstration in Homs against Assad | Photo: Bo yaser | Wikimedia Commons.

Stopping first in Oman, Kerry held talks with the ruling Sultan, one of the string of monarchical dictators that constitute, together with Israel, the foundation of US influence in the Middle East.

The secretary of state’s visit coincided with the signing of a $2.1 billion deal between the absolute monarchy and Raytheon Corp. for the sale of advanced weapons systems, including Avenger fire units, Stinger missiles, and Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, part of a ring of steel that Washington has sought to erect around Iran.

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24/05/2013

Energy Savings Hopes Dashed by EU leaders' ‘Political Cowardice’

Human Wrongs Watch

By EurActiv*, 24 May 2013 – Progress on energy efficiency was blocked at an EU summit on Wednesday (22 May) by a cocktail of myopic business interests and timid leadership, according to Hans Nilsson, a board member of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE).

Source: EurActiv

Source: EurActiv

Background briefing documents for the European Council were heavily skewed towards an agenda of energy price differentials and the promotion of unconventional fuels such as shale gas.

In this context, the three references to energy efficiency – and eight to energy costs – in the conclusions represented a significant result for supporters of energy use reductions.

“Clearly it is a repetition of the ‘nice words’ but at least it shows that energy efficiency – ‘the shale gas of Europe’ – is on the agenda [even if] the ministers in Council were not very action-oriented,” Nilsson said. “It was more like they were walking around in the fog, trying to find their way.”

The text that EU leaders signed off on praised the “significant contribution” that efficiency could make to reducing industry costs and said that implementation of directives on energy efficiency and the energy performance of buildings was crucial.

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24/05/2013

Global Economic Growth Still Sluggish – UN

Human Wrongs Watch

New York – Global economic growth will continue to be “below potential” this year, according to a report released on 23 May 2013 by the United Nations that adds that job creation will be vital to spur recovery*.

A government unemployment office with job listings, Berlin, Germany, 1982. | Source: German Federal Archive | Wikimedia Commons

A government unemployment office with job listings, Berlin, Germany, 1982. | Source: German Federal Archive | Wikimedia Commons

The UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2013 mid-year update notes that, since late 2012, new policy initiatives in major developed economies have reduced systemic risks and helped stabilize consumer, business and investor confidence, but with very limited improvement in economic growth.

“The main priority for policymakers worldwide should be to support a robust and balanced global recovery, with a focus on promoting job creation,” said Shamshad Akhtar, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.

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22/05/2013

Change the Game, Share Your Shadow!

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva – “Change is coming,” stresses International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)*. “While it sometimes has felt like an impossible task to get rid of nuclear weapons, we’re now seeing a significant transformation of the nuclear weapons debate. This transformation is currently moving us in one direction: towards a treaty banning nuclear weapons.”

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Thanks to the dedication and hard work of all our supporters and campaigners, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) played a central role in an important step forward: the recognition and understanding of the unacceptable humanitarian impact of a nuclear weapons detonation.

128 states participated in a recent conference on this topic in Oslo, Norway, and at the  nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty NPT Preparatory Committee, over 80 states explicitly raised concerns about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that any use of nuclear weapons would have.

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22/05/2013

Poverty, Food Insecurity Rise Sharply in Egypt

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome – Poverty and food insecurity in Egypt have risen significantly over the last three years, according to a joint report released on 21 May 2013 by the United Nations food agency and partners*.

More than 40 per cent of the average household’s expenditure in Egypt goes towards food; for the poorest families its more than half their budgets. Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

More than 40 per cent of the average household’s expenditure in Egypt goes towards food; for the poorest families its more than half their budgets. Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

An estimated 13.7 million Egyptians or 17 per cent of the population suffered from food insecurity in 2011, compared to 14 per cent in 2009, according to the report by UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

“This increase in food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty rates has not happened overnight, during this year or even during the past year,” said WFP Egypt Representative and Country Director GianPietro Bordignon.

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17/05/2013

Clean Energy, Water Strategies to Halt ‘Runaway’ Climate Change – Experts

Human Wrongs Watch

With dire warnings likely to match or exceed the worst fears about the effects of global warming, environment and development experts gathered on 16 May 2013 at United Nations Headquarters to debate the twin challenge of curbing climate change while sustaining economic growth*.

Sustainable water management brings economic, social and environmental benefits, say countries. Photo: UNEP

Sustainable water management brings economic, social and environmental benefits, say countries. Photo: UNEP

“The fundamental challenge of our time is to end extreme poverty in this generation and significantly narrow the global gap between rich and poor without ruing the environmental basis for our survival,” General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said as he opened the Thematic Debate Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Practical Solutions in the Energy-Water Nexus.

The gathering featured UN officials, a host of environment and energy Ministers, as well as a diverse mix of experts that included Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Colombia University’s Earth Institute, and Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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16/05/2013

Don’t Be Stupid, Be Safe!

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva- Not all stupid things are equal. Some stupid things are far more concerning than others, says the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

stupidorsafe

“There are 19,000 nuclear weapons around the world. It takes only one to cause a humanitarian catastrophe on a horrific scale, ICAN warns.

“Yet we’ve talked ourselves into having 2,000 of them on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched within minutes.”

We are potentially only minutes away from the horror of seeing an entire city flattened in an instant, killing hundreds of thousands of people with no adequate humanitarian relief possible, ICAN stresses.

“Its effects would spread across borders and generations.”

“This is madness, not a security strategy.”

There is only one cure for this threat. We have to ban nuclear weapons.

You can read and sign the petition on the ICAN website.

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