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Index July 2006

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Some books and articles on Economy and more

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John Kenneth Galbraight: how to get the poor out of our conscience

See these links going to different writings:

Magic Reasons for Prosperity

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Linked with our presentations of Valentyna Dovzhenko – Ukraine, of The Eurasia Foundation, also of the POLITICAL SITUATION IN UKRAINE.

The Three Magic Reasons for Prosperity of Nations: Does Ukraine Have Them? By Valentin Zelenyuk, July 31, 2006.

Back in the XVII century, Adam Smith clearly identified the key reasons behind the wealth and poverty of various nations. The three major reasons that this patriarch of modern economics mentioned were: (i) peace, (ii) easy taxes, and (iii) tolerable administration of justice. Ukraine was lucky to have the first one (unlike a number of other transitional countries), but has done very badly on the other two.

Indeed, as we argue in this article, the biggest and the main fundamental problem that prevented Ukraine from realizing its great economic potential until now has been a poor business environment. In particular, there were and unfortunately still are serious problems with the most important issues for any business: property registration, the tax system, protecting minority shareholders, dealing with licenses, opening and closing companies, and hiring and firing people.

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Linked with our presentations of Valentyna Dovzhenko – Ukraine, and of The Eurasia Foundation, also of Magic Reasons for Prosperity.

BY YULIYA TISHCHENKO, Analyst of the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Studies, Kyiv, July 31, 2006.

Ukraine’s acquisition of political stability is complicated. On the one hand, the negotiations on signing a “Universal of Ukrainian Unity” are going on, and the “big coalition” of the Party of Regions, Our Ukraine Bloc, the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Communist Party of Ukraine has a good chance to be formed.

On the other hand, there are still many undecided issues that can lead to the breakdown of the talks. For example, the issue of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration is not decided and the status of the Russian language wants additional discussion.

But the most important issue of the talks between the main Ukrainian political forces is a candidate for the premiership. This issue is of fundamental importance. Apparently, the Party of Regions insists on Viktor Yanukovych’s candidature. The problem for the negotiators is that he is not a consolidating politician. Besides, Yanukovych’s candidature is politicized by the past events connected with the “orange revolution”.

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The Political Economy of the Kashmir Conflict

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Linked with our presentations of Kundan Lal Chowdhury MD – India / Kashmir, and of Kashi Nath Pandita – India, and also of Firdous Tabasum – India / Kashmir. See also our presentations on our Kashmir blog, scroll down for the many articles by Kashi Nath Pandita.

Opportunities for Economic Peacebuilding and for U.S. Policy, by Wajahat Habibullah, United States Institut of Peace, June 2004, Special Report No. 121 (See the whole long article on this page of ‘the United States Institute of Peace‘ …
or download the whole 16 page report.


The governments of India and Pakistan have recently indicated a desire to develop warmer relations and to settle the issues that divide them by peaceful means. This endeavor will not succeed, however, unless political violence in Kashmir is substantially reduced.

A process of dialogue with Kashmiri separatists launched by the previous Indian government seems very likely to continue under the new government installed after the elections of May 2004. Indeed, the leadership of the new government had opened communication with separatist elements before the recent dialogue began.

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CADTM activities

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Linked with our presentation of CADTM.

Recent statements, transmitted by CADTM, the Committee for the abolition of the Third World dept:

“Economic Brief: The End of the Doha Round”

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Negotiations aimed at reaching a consensus on the Doha round, the World Trade Organization’s (W.T.O.) global trade agreement, collapsed on July 24. Pascal Lamy, the W.T.O.’s director general, formally suspended the last-ditch talks in Geneva, which centered on agricultural tariffs and trade-distorting subsidies, because an agreement could not be reached between the six core negotiators — the United States, India, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, and Australia. The negotiating parties were in agreement that this round of talks needed to produce a consensus on farm issues if a final agreement were to be reached by the end of this year. (Read the whole very long article on PINR July 27, 2006).

Lebanon’s Economy

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Today’s latest news on Google about Lebanon’s Economy:

But first read this, and then this;

The way Israel conducts its wars, By Mohammad Akef Jamal, Special to Gulf News – War is the last choice by a civilised country. Today’s wars are devastating and more powerful than those in the past. This is because civilians are the main victims of armed conflicts. The catastrophic consequences of wars have a devastating impact on civilians, especially if the war is between two unequal adversaries. (Read more on

On NPR – Lebanon’s Economy battered by Aerial Attacks: text. To be listened click on link there;

Middle East Economy Under Fire;

Conflict’s impact on Israel’s economy is scattered – In Jerusalem and other areas well outside the range of the conflict between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hezbollah, life goes on almost as normal. Hilary Kreiger reports;

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Ordinateur à 100$: le Nigeria dit oui

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par Marie-Eve Morasse, le 26 juillet 2006 – Le projet «One Laptop per Child», qui vise à doter les enfants des pays en voie de développement d’ordinateurs abordables, a reçu sa première commande de taille : le Nigeria annonce l’acquisition d’un million d’appareils.

Le projet «One Laptop per Child», piloté par le fondateur du Media Lab du Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Nicolas Negroponte, a été dévoilé en 2005. Il est notamment soutenu par Google, Nortel, RedHat, ADM, News Corp. et les Nations unies. Les ordinateurs seront vendus aux gouvernements et seront remis aux écoles.

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Exposed: The Carlyle Group

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To watch the 48 minute documentary about, go to Information Clearing House and listen.  Note: The first one minute forty seven seconds of this program is in broadcast in Dutch, hereafter its translation:

“The war in Iraq does not seem to be over al all, but in the meantime the rebuilding has already started. This has unleashed fiercecompetition for contracts, which are mainly awarded to American (ed: U.S.) companies. What is remarkable about these companies, is that they have people on their payroll from American politics and the military. Is this a conflict of interest, or is this the new global way of doing business?
One of the companies that operates in this manner is the Carlyle Group. On their payroll are people like : George Bush (Sr.), James Baker III and old premier John Major. The Carlyle Group is a private investment bank which doesn’t come to the publics attention very often but it is one of the biggest American (ed: USA) investors of the defense industry, telecom, property and financial services. What is the Carlyle Group? Who are the people behind the name? And how much power does Carlyle have?”

The following remainder is in English.

monetary turmoil

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The US dollar on reprieve – The Asian Development Bank warns of threatening monetary turmoil. The oil trade is uneasy about the increasing impossibility of reinvesting the petrodollars they are accumulating, whereas the bank world is pondering over the dollar’s real value. A downturn in trade has just begun on the stock exchanges of the Gulf, even as the Asian Development Bank was warning its members against a possible collapse of the US currency. What if the dollar was really no longer anything but fiat money? For several months a lively debate has been developing within international financial circles: is the dollar so overvalued as to be at risk of a brutal collapse, on the order of 15 to 40% depending on the commentator? The controversy is kept alive by a disputed rumour whereby some oil contracts might be on the verge of being converted from dollars into euros. This, in turn, would spawn a depreciation of the US currency … // … Oil traders are increasingly reluctant to entrust investment funds with their money.

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Major Works by Immanuel Wallerstein

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Linked with our presentations of Immanuel Wallerstein – USA.

(Read all the book reviews on

  • The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century, Academic Press; (August 1997).
  • The Modern World System II: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600-1750, Academic Press; (June 1980).
  • The Modern World System III: The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World-Economy, 1730-1840s, Academic Press; (December 1988).
  • The Capitalist World Economy. Cambridge University Press; (June 1979).
  • Historical Capitalism With Capitalist Civilization. W.W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition (July 1996).
  • Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing World-System, Cambridge University Press; (September 1991).
  • The Essential Wallerstein, New Press; (May 2000).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century, Univ of Minnesota Pr (Txt); 1st edition (July 28, 1999).
  • The Decline of American Power, New Press; (July 2003).

About the Author (e-mail): Immanuel Wallerstein directs the Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University and teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in Paris. His many books include After Liberalism; Utopistics; The Modern World-System; and Historical Capitalism.

… realities about business and poverty …

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Linked with our presentation of Maria Teresa Leal – Brazil, and Coopa Roca – Brazil.

Maria Teresa Romeiro Leal, who works with seamstresses in a Brazilian slum, reveals two realities about business and poverty: first, workshops owned by poor women can compete in the world of haute couture; and second, making quality goods is the best way for poor women to find business partners, open markets, and earn a living.

The New Idea

Maria Teresa, known as Tetê, has found a new way to alleviate one of the oldest problems afflicting Brazil’s urban poor. Unemployment is the bane of life for migrants who have settled in shantytowns, or favelas; but development programs have failed to help the poor find reliable income. Tetê realizes that, despite good intentions, small enterprise programs fail on several fronts: they fail to produce high quality goods, they fail to understand and develop markets, they fail to make best use of their workers’ skill, and they fail to see themselves as viable, competitive manufacturers competing in a global economy. Rather than organize poor women to produce poor goods, Tetê is raising both the standard of the product and the living standard of the people. This philosophy guides her cooperative, which makes expensive high-fashion clothing and sells it to Rio de Janeiro’s elite.

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Africa’s development

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How to help technology help African entrepreneurs? A current discussion at the worldbank, July 2006, (see there the whole article).

Discussion Questions

  1. Should African governments focus on expanding low-cost technologies that are easily adopted in both rural and urban areas, such as mobile phones, or on expanding more robust ICT services, such as Broadband and fiber-optic cable, that require heavy infrastructure investment?
  2. What is the role of the private sector in countries where little is currently known about the level of demand for robust ICT services?
  3. Are ICT-specific development projects required to enable infrastructure build-out or can ICT needs be met through mainstream financing programs for businesses?
  4. Given the enormous cost of investing in ICT, which sectors (i.e. state, NGO, local business) should be the first targets of government and donor efforts to drive ICT adoption and usage?
  5. What is the most effective way for these governments and donors to demonstrate the potential benefits of ICT adoption and usage to firms?

Read all this and much more on – The website for International Development Cooperation, and its (english) Newsletter.


Le Congo transformé en libre-service minier;

Difficile chemin vers la paix;

Arrière-pensées européennes.

The Cooperation Council

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Eighth meeting of the Cooperation Council between the European Union and Kazakhstan. Eighth meeting of the Cooperation Council between the European Union and Kazakhstan … // … The Cooperation Council discussed the candidacy of Kazakhstan for the Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2009. It took note of the EU’s position, namely the need for any Chair to comply with the OSCE’s undertakings and standards, including those concerning the human dimension. It took note of the EU’s intention to reach a decision on this issue by the end of this year. In this context, the EU underlined the need for Kazakhstan to make progress in crucial areas such as the freedom of the media and the ability of political parties to operate freely, and it emphasised the need for Kazakhstan to follow the path of democratic reforms and full respect of individual Human Rights.

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Development Finance

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A new World Bank report (of May 2006) says 2005 was a landmark year in global development finance. Go to this site of the

One year after the Gleneagles G8-Summit the German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul strikes a balance which is basically positive. See on (german) Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Also, the KfW Entwicklungsbank and DEG (the german development bank) present the 2005 Annual Report on Financial Cooperation with Developing Countries. See all here.

Read all this and much more on – The website for International  Development Cooperation, and its (english) Newsletter.

the hidden Economy Index

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Go to the Center for the Study of Democracy for hidden Redistribution, Turnover, Employment, Estimation of the Business for the Size of the hidden Economy … thus ts Index.

Click also on the link Publications.

A book on Amazon: Cash-in-Hand Work: The Underground Sector and the Hidden Economy of Favours (Hardcover).

About Public-private Partnership to Counter Corruption (Coalition 2000).

G8 summit and Lula

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SAINT PETERSBURG (AFX) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told US President George W. Bush that political leaders now have to decide whether it is possible to salvage stalled global trade talks.

The two leaders, meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit, committed themselves to working to revive the Doha round of world trade talks.

‘I am convinced that now is the time for us to make a political decision, whatever it might be. We cannot leave (it) in the hands of our negotiators only,’ Lula said through an interpreter. (Read the whole article on

hidden fees

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Excerpt of ‘The hidden economy’, by Christopher Shea, the Boston Globe , June 25, 2006: … We’re living today in the hidden-fee economy. Printers come with a particularly hefty and devious add-on fee in the form of those cartridges, but they’re just one of many products with a sneaky price structure. Cellphones, of course, have deadly “overage” charges lurking behind the attractive monthly rates, while credit card companies lure customers with low annual fees then hit them with late fees and higher interest rates if payment is even a day late. (In 2001, banks pulled in $7 billion in late fees according to one study.) Comically pricey phone calls and outlandish minibar tabs pad the balance sheets of hotels whose affordable basic room rates serve as a come-on. Low weekly fees for rental cars attract customers, but they get you on the insurance, car seats for the kids, and $6-per-gallon gas.

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China’s investment cap ineffective

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Excerpt: … “Obviously the 40-percent cap set up in 1997 has failed to meet both the needs of the local industries and the government’s goal of managing the flow of China-bound capital,” Wu said at a forum held by the Taiwan New Century Foundation on how Taiwan can prepare itself for the hidden dangers of the Chinese economy.Wu said that the government was currently reviewing the feasibility of the restriction, in the context of both allowing local industries to take advantage of the economic opportunities in China, and enhancing the industries’ ability to diversify their investments in the global market … In response to the threat by the Chinese National Federation of Industries to hold demonstrations in November if the government doesn’t make progress on lifting the investment cap and ban on direct cross-strait air links, Wu said that the government is trying to find a balanced solution to the problem. “Our consideration is not simply to lift the 40 percent investment cap. Rather, we are thinking about how to make the management of Taiwanese businesses’ investment in China more effective, just and transparent,” Wu said. He added that the government’s goal is to help Taiwanese people reach the cutting edge of their industries in the global market … (Read this article by Chang Yun-ping, of July 16, on Taipei Times).

Tax costs

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Today the Service Employees International Union Local 21, a public service employee union in Louisiana, released the USAction/Emergency Campaign for America’s Priorities report entitled “Protecting Louisiana’s Priorities: The Hidden Costs of Repeal or Drastic Reduction of the Federal Estate Tax” to its members who struggle to make ends meet on two or three jobs. The report reveals the great cost estate tax repeal or reduction would have to Louisiana for the benefit of a mere 91 multimillionaires. To read the report, go to and click on “State Reports,” which can be found under “ESTATE TAX REPEAL: WRONG PRIORITIES. The city and school support workers who make up SEIU Local 21 want to remind Senators Vitter and Landrieu that they barely make ends meet and the middle class is slipping away from them every day,” said Maria Wickstrom, president of Local 21LA. “The people of Louisiana elected our Senate leaders to look out for the interests of working families — not heirs and heiresses to the very rich.” The estate tax repeal and recent estate tax reduction proposals favor the lucky few born with silver spoons in their mouths over the hardworking Americans who make up the vast majority of this country. On Sen. Landrieu’s recent proposal to raise the exemption levels and lower the rates on the estate tax, Wickstrom commented today: “We do not support Landrieu’s estate tax bill. We oppose a repeal and any modified version of a repeal. Landrieu’s version may not be as costly as a full repeal but it is still a proposal that benefits the wealthy, adds to our looming deficit, and exacerbates income inequality.” … (Read the whole article on US Newswire).

some revenue gains in top industries

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published on July 13 on the Big Picture, scroll down the page until ‘Top Industries: Revenue Gains’.

Grain for Gas Stations

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Supermarkets and Gas Stations Compete For Grain, by Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of “Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble”, July 13, 2006.

WASHINGTON, Jul 13 (IPS) – Cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption this year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that world grain use will grow by 20 million tonnes in 2006. Of this, 14 million tonnes will be used to produce fuel for cars in the United States, leaving only 6 million tonnes to satisfy the world’s growing food needs.

In agricultural terms, the world’s appetite for automotive fuel is insatiable. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year. The grain to fill the tank every two weeks over a year will feed 26 people.

Investors are jumping on the highly profitable biofuel-bandwagon so fast that hardly a day goes by without another ethanol distillery or biodiesel refinery being announced somewhere in the world. The amount of corn used in U.S. ethanol distilleries has tripled in five years, jumping from 18 million tonnes in 2001 to an estimated 55 million tonnes from the 2006 crop.

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making visible the hidden Economy

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A gender impact analizis of economic policy, by Susan Himmelweit, 2002. This paper makes the case for analyzing the gender impact of economic policy, based on the existence of an unpaid as well as a paid economy and on structural differences between men’s and women’s positions across the two economies. Economic policy is targeted on the paid economy. However, unintended impacts on the unpaid care economy may limit how effective any policy can be. Gender-impact assessment will not only make the effects of economic policies on gender inequalities transparent; it will also enable policy makers to achieve all their goals more effectively, whether or not these goals relate explicitly to gender. The introduction in the UK of a new Working Families’ Tax Credit (WFTC), designed to make employment pay and help reduce child poverty, provides an example of how gender-impact assessment could have been used to improve an initial policy design. The paper also suggests criteria for evaluating economic policy, so that its full gender impact and its effects on both paid and caring economies can be assessed. (Read this 22 page pdf on

The World Bank’s Recipe for Climate Disaster

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Linked with our presentation of Oronto Douglas – Nigeria, and of Nigeria’s Oil and the population, also of Environemental Rights Action ERA – Nigeria, and
SEEN – Sustainble Energy & Economic Network. Also with The World Bank’s Recipe for Climate Disaster.

A new investment framework to tackle climate change does nothing to address global warming, while sacrificing the poorest on the altar of “business as usual,” activists charged as World Bank and IMF staff approved the framework at their spring meetings in Washington. The Bank strategy proposes the world embrace untested coal technologies, nuclear power, and large hydropower as solutions to global warming, while giving short shrift to renewable energy. (Read all about World Bank, Environemental Concerns and Oil Business on SEEN, the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network).

See here their Reports;

like ‘the winners and loosers of World Bank Fossil Fuel Finance’ (April 2004).

See also the World Fact Book/Nigeria.

Another Communication is possible

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Linked with our presentation of Howard Zinn – USA, and attac international.

BIA News Center, July 03,2006, by Erhan USTUNDAG.

(Excerpt): … Journalists and rights activists from the Establishing a Countrywide Network for Monitoring and Covering for Media Freedom and Independent Journalism Project (B?A²), who started off with this appeal, now aim to contribute their own experiences to those of others and widen the pool of experience with the “International Independent Media Forum” to be held at the Istanbul Bilgi University Dolapdere Campus between November 3-5, 2006.

The forum which is jointly organized by the IPS Communication Foundation (Istanbul) and IPS Inter Press Service (Rome, Berlin, Johannesburg, Bangkok and Montevideo) will host independent media and news initiatives from the world such as Indymedia-Filistin, Z-Net, Le Monde Diplomatique, Al Jazeera, OurMedia, Taz, TeleSUR, Il Manifesto as well as ongoing experiences from Turkey including Acik Radyo and Bianet. Many representatives of the local media, academics, activists and students will also participate. The list of participants grows by the day.

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The Economy of Honduras

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Linked with our presentation of Jessica García – Honduras.

The Economy of Honduras is the measure of economic activity in Honduras. It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. In the 1960s it was the poorest nation of the region, but after the earthquake in 1972 that devastated Managua, and the two wars that followed ( the first being the one in between the Sandinistas and Anastasio Somoza Debayle and the second being in between the Sandinistas and the Contras; Nicaragua became the poorest of Central America’s modern nations. The economy is based mostly on agriculture, which accounted for 22% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999. Leading export coffee ($340 million) accounted for 22% of total Honduran export revenues. Bananas, formerly the country’s second-largest export until being virtually wiped out by 1998’s Hurricane Mitch, recovered in 2000 to 57% of pre-Mitch levels. Cultivated shrimp are another important export sector. Honduras has extensive forest, marine, and mineral resources, although widespread slash and burn agricultural methods continue to destroy Honduran forests. Unemployment is estimated at around 4.0%, though underemployment is much higher. The Honduran economy grew 4.8% in 2000, recovering from the Mitch-induced recession (-1.9%) of 1999. The economy is expected to grow 4-5% in 2001, led by continuation of foreign-funded reconstruction projects. The Honduran maquiladora sector, the second-largest in the world, continued its strong performance in 2000, providing employment to over 120,000 and generating more than $528 million in foreign exchange for the country. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, was 10.1% in 2000, down slightly from the 10.9% recorded in 1999.

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The Continuing Need for Land Reform – Guatemala

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Linked to our presentation of Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez – Guatemala.

International Land Coalition – making the case for civil society: Guatemala (no publication date indicated).

The population of Guatemala is c. 11 million, of which approximately 58% is rural. Guatemala has severe poverty problems. Over 75% of the population is estimated to be below the poverty line, and about 58% of the population is deemed to be below the extreme poverty line. The Western Highlands are the poorest region of the country. More than 70% of the country’s poor are rural, whilst more than 90% of the indigenous population is classified as poor.

Guatemala signed a comprehensive Peace Accord on December 29, 1996. It is hoped that this will bring 36 years of civil conflict to a final close. The Peace Accord has created an unprecedented opportunity for institutional and policy reform. A wide consortium of stakeholders is working together to ensure sustainable peace and the meaningful poverty reduction.

The Accord contains several specifically land-related elements. These include commitments relating to the establishment of a cadastral-based land registry, the creation of a Land Fund and the development of land conflict resolution mechanisms. Their inclusion in the Accord underscores the importance of land issues in contemporary Guatemala.

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about Leftism – some controversial blogs and articles

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Linked with our presentation of Howard Zinn – USA.

Left-wing politics, a not finished discussion, including its sub-links, see wikipedia - and also its archived discussion on Talk on wikipedia.

Chinese Neo-Leftism, see also on wikipedia.

Other links about leftism:

attac international;

in french: Université d’été 2006: Ruptures avec le néolibéralisme, Mettre les alternatives au coeur des débats de 2007. La 7ème Université d’été se déroulera à Poitiers du 25 au 29 août 2006. Le programme s’articulera autour des thèmes du Manifeste des alternatives, qui consiste à faire des échéances électorales françaises de 2007 et 2008 un grand moment de débat public sur les ruptures nécessaires avec les politiques néolibérales. Renseignements, programme (à venir) et inscription par mail ici.

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Ziel von Bundesentwicklungsministerin Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul ist es seit ihrem Amtsantritt die Strukturen der deutschen Entwicklungspolitik zu straffen, Durchführungsbereiche zusammenzuführen, Arbeitsbereiche besser zu verknüpfen, um damit effektiver zu werden, flexibler zu sein und damit den Einsatz der Finanzmittel zielgerechter und besser zu steuern. (Lesen Sie den ganzen Artikel hier).

Read all this and much more on – The website for International  Development Cooperation, and its (english) Newsletter.

Economy of Mauritania

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Linked with our presentation of Aïssata Kane – Mauritania.

Economy – overview: A majority of the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for almost 50% of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. With the current rises in metal prices, gold and copper mining companies are opening mines in the interior. The nation’s coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. The country’s first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In recent years, drought and economic mismanagement have resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In March 1999, the government signed an agreement with a joint World Bank-IMF mission on a $54 million enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF). The economic objectives have been set for 1999-2002. Privatization remains one of the key issues. (Read all and more on wikipedia).

The world factbook/Mauritania;

Fact Monster;

info please;

Portals to the world.

Migrant workers ‘boost UK growth’

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Linked with our presentation of Sir Bill Morris – England.

See on BBC, April 23, 2006Migrant workers from Eastern Europe are providing a positive boost to Britain’s economy, according to a report.New immigration has helped to keep inflation under control, boost output and raise tax revenue, research by Ernst & Young has suggested.

Workers from Poland and Slovenia are among those “plugging gaps in a variety of industries”, the report said …

Crest of wave

Some 300,000 immigrants have taken jobs in areas ranging from agriculture to hospitality in the last three years, the report said.

“We are on the crest of a new immigration wave,” said Professor Peter Spencer, the report’s author. “The steady flow from most recent accession countries to the UK has proved remarkably positive for the economy.

“As a direct result, the UK workforce has become younger, more flexible and economical, easing the pensions burden and keeping interest rates lower than many commentators would have predicted.” (Read the rest of this article on above link).

WTO free trade talks restart but still deadlocked

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With a deadline looming, ministers from 60 countries are trying to break the deadlock in the free trade talks at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. The complex negotiations have been stalled for over two years. Poorer countries are demanding the European Union and the United States reduce the subsidies they pay to their farmers in return for the major developing nations cutting the amount of tax they charge on imports. Reducing those import tariffs would allow the US and Europe to sell more in those countries.

The tariffs are already low in the European Union, the USA and Japan. In developing markets such as Brazil, China and above all India they are higher. Importers of agricultural products into India pay tariffs of 37.4%. The head of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, who is a former EU Trade Commissioner, called on Europe, the US and the developing countries to all make concessions.

If not, he said, they will miss the deadline for reaching a new trade treaty by the end of the year. The agreement is supposed to add billions of euros to the world economy and lift millions of people out of poverty. (Read on today’s

Venezuelan ambassador discusses ‘offensive against poverty’

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By Cheryl LaBash, New York, Published Jun 30, 2006

Excerpt: … Ambassador Alvarez explained how the home heating oil program that assisted 200,000 people in nine U.S. states last winter grew from needs exposed by the Katrina hurricane disaster. Bolivarian Venezuela organized immediate aid, including opening CITGO’s Lake Charles oil refinery for emergency shelter, funding housing for evacuees in Houston and even bringing buses from Miami to transport stranded people to safety. But Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez predicted that the skyrocketing oil prices from the hurricanes compounding the invasion of Iraq would create even more hardships in poor communities inside the United States.

“Then we started thinking that the most vulnerable, the weak sectors of society were the low-income families who use heating oil,” Alvarez said.

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Ecuador’s NGOs

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Linked with our presentation of Blanca Campoverde – Ecuador.

Ecuador’s NGOs: The socio-economic realities of Ecuador are, for many, as grave as they have ever been. Regrettably, 74.9% of the Ecuadorian population remains unemployed or subemployed while well over half of the nation lives under the poverty line. Moreover, as the cost of living has risen drastically in the wake of dollarization, the per capita GNP and the GDP have consistently decreased for the past several years, bringing more hardship and suffering to those who have spent the past decade struggling to hold on. Meanwhile, with neoliberal measures steadily diminishing the State’s role in the economy as well as its ability to maintain any kind of social welfare infrastructure, and with the government dedicating roughly half of the nation’s resources to keeping up with interest payments on its USD 12 billion external debt, Ecuador has been unable to count on the State to act as a benefactor.

However, in the face of economic hardship, a number of NGOs have been doing a remarkable job helping the nation to get by. Working to fill the gaps left by a faltering economy and a lack of governmental assistance, NGOs have played an indispensable role in helping the nation’s marginalized citizenry meet their basic needs, encouraging sustainable development, and protecting the nation’s natural resources from exploitation.

Recognizing the importance of the increasingly vital role played by Ecuador’s many noteworthy NGOs, would like to highlight the work of some of the nation’s more distinguished non-governmental organizations. What follows is a fairly comprehensive list of some of the nation’s most notable NGOs along with links to their web sites (when applicable), a brief description of their work and principle projects, contact information, and information for would-be volunteers.

(Read more on Ecuador Explorer).

Nigeria Ranks Third Poorest Country in World

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This Day (Lagos), Posted to the web June 30, 2006:

Head of delegation of the European Commission to Nigeria, Leonidas Tezapsidis, says Nigeria is ranked the third country with the highest number of poor people in the world.

Tezapsidis stated this at a workshop for Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSR) and Support to Reforming Institution Programme (SRIP) in Abuja yesterday.

Represented by Mostato Waker Risorrch, the EU boss said China and India were the only countries ahead of Nigeria.

“Doesn’t Nigeria have enough oil to take care of its citizens? No, Nigeria is not rich,” he argued.

He said oil alone could not eradicate poverty in Nigeria considering the proportion of poor people in the country.

“Nigeria may rival countries like Kuwait in oil and gas reserve but there are 50 times more Nigerians than Kuwaitis,” Tezapsidis argued.

According to him, if every Nigerian was to receive an equal share of the current high oil revenue, poverty would still not be over.

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Speaking on poverty and Iraq, Edwards sounds like a hopeful

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Portland speech: the ex-candidate for vice president pushes a higher minimum wage, tax credits and more. Saturday, July 01, 2006, by SHELBY OPPEL WOOD.

Former Sen. and Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards decried a “huge void of moral leadership in this country” in a Portland speech Friday, calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, a new war on poverty and sounding like the 2008 presidential hopeful that many presume he is.

In town to speak to a meeting of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, Edwards told reporters he is “seriously thinking” about running but wants to make sure his wife remains healthy.

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The Federal Reserve

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Dirty Secrets of the Temple – by Stephen Lendman

Years ago I read William Greider’s excellent book published in 1987 on how the US Federal Reserve System works. It was detailed and explicit and makes wonderful and informative reading, except for the solution he suggests to a huge problem. His was far too timid. This article proposes a much different one. Greider called his book Secrets of the Temple with a sub-title: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country. A better sub-title might have been how the Fed (and other key central bankers) runs the world. This article attempts to summarize what it does, how it does it, for whose benefit and at whose expense. For those who don’t know, prepare for some stunning information and commentary.

(Read this whole article on June 29 of his Blog).