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Index July 2007

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India’s Interests at Stake in Relationship with China

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Published on PINR, the Power and Interest News Report, by Harsh V. Pant, 30 July 2007.

3 excerpts: As India embarks on redefining its foreign policy priorities to match its growing weight in the international system, it has become imperative for Indian policymakers to learn from the country’s past in order to frame appropriate policies for the future. The Central Intelligence Agency recently declassified its decades-old documents, referred to as the “family jewels,” which included the CIA’s own assessment of the reasons behind India’s debacle in the 1962 Sino-Indian war. While the documents do not reveal any major new insight into the events, it reinforces some of the issues that India should not ignore …

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Participatory Economics

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If you are braining about new possible economics, here a maybe older, not dated reflection about the subject:

The book ‘Looking Forward‘, by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, entirely published on this not dated

Understanding work, workplace councils, balanced job complexes, and workplace decision-making, the values and aspirations that guide us, and a dialog responding to skeptics.

Hereafter each chapter:

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Another Side to Race and Immigration

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Linked with The BLACK CoMMentator.

Published on Znet, by Bill Fletcher, July 30, 2007.

… The public face of immigration in the USA is not a rainbow; it is brown. Don’t get me wrong. People from Asia, Africa, Europe AND Latin America are migrating to the USA, among other places. Yet in the popular media the portrayal of the immigrant is usually that of a Latino. Periodically one sees the face of an Asian or African. Rarely, unless one is discussing the Russian mafia, does the European face of immigration come to be unveiled.

This deserves exploring. If one goes to New York City, for instance, one will find that East European immigrants have made significant in-roads in the construction industry as both documented and undocumented workers. In fact, much of the work that has been carried out to rid buildings of deadly asbestos has been carried out by East European and Latino immigrants. Yet, East European immigrants seem to be almost invisible.

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… Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month?

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Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is It More? Published on, by Michael Schwartz, July 9, 2007.

2 excerpts: … While the atlantist media is reporting more than 3 000 GIs killed in Iraq and many civilian victims of inter-confessional violences, it looks away from the daily slaughter of civilians by US patrols conducting their search operations for suspects. Professor Michael Schwartz estimates that their number reached 10 000 a month in the first 3 years of occupation. And much more since Bush ordered his surge of operations …

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Tales Of Angst, Alienation And Martial Law

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Published on, by Phil Rockstroh, 26 July, 2007.

2 excerpts: … Moreover, a closer look would reveal that the inner processes by which an individual begins the act of acceptance of authoritarian excess — the mixture of chronic passivity, boredom, low grade anxiety and unfocused rage inherent in the citizens/consumers of the corporate state that primes an individual for fascism — have been in place for quite some time within the psyches of the American populace, both elites and hoi polloi alike. Although, don’t look for torch-lit processions thronging the nation’s streets and boulevards; rather, look for a Nuremberg Rally of couch-bound brownshirts. Instead of ogling the serried ranks of jut-jawed, SS soldiers, a contemporary Leni Riefenstahl would be forced to film chubby clusters of double-chinned consumers, saluting the new order with their TV remotes. In the contemporary United States, the elation induced by the immersion of one’s individual will to the mindless intoxication of the mob might only be possible, if Bush seized dictatorial control of the state while simultaneously sending out to all citizens gift certificates to Ikea …

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U.S. says Doha risks being delayed several years

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Published on, July 5, 2007.

CAIRNS, Australia (Reuters) – A deal to free up world trade could be delayed several years if no progress is made by the end of 2007, the United States said on Thursday, as it stepped up criticism of India and Brazil over failed talks.

Talks between the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India, aimed at reaching a breakthrough in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha round, collapsed in late June, leaving the future of the long-running trade negotiation in doubt.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, swiping at India and Brazil over the breakdown of talks in Potsdam, Germany, said some countries wanted Doha to fail and it was now crucial for some new progress before 2008. (full text).

Economic cooperation between US & Central Asia

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Published by the Associated Press of Pakistan, July 20, 2007.

US working with Central Asia nations to pursue economic cooperation with South Asia

3 Excerpts: … The United States is working with all the nations of Central Asia to pursue greater economic cooperation and integration with South Asia, the State Department said after a senior officials meeting with representatives of regional countries.

Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher hosted a discussion on South and Central Asian regional economic integration, focused on ways in which the United States can support Central Asian nations development into independent, prosperous, and democratic states, integrated into the world economy …

… Representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India also attended. The meeting was part of a series of events centered on the Third Annual Meeting of the US-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) at the Office of the US Trade Representative …

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The War in Iraq Costs

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Published on the website of the National Priorities Project, on 27 April 2007, Embed a Counter in Your Own Website:

In April, 2003 an intergenerational team of Niko Matsakis of Boston, MA and Elias Vlanton of Takoma Park, MD created After maintaining it on their own for the first year, they gave it to the National Priorities Project to contribute to their ongoing educational efforts.

Hereafter you can watch, and also download on your own webpage, the ticker for US’s Iraq war costs:

Cost of the War in Iraq
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To see more details, click here.

See also: Casualties in Iraq, on (Page last updated July 30, 2007 11:07 am EDT).

Saving A President

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Published on, by Stephen Lendman, 24 July, 2007.

In his first year in office, the widely-followed Cook Political Report had this assessment of George Bush’s early months as president: “Looking back over his first five months in office, President George W. Bush and his administration started off to a strong, fast start but now, his future seems far less certain. Not only are Bush’s overall job approval ratings slumping, but his disapproval ratings are climbing (and) after a strong start, the last three months have been less than auspicious for this new President. The good news….is that they have plenty of time before the next presidential (or) mid-term elections. The bad news is that they have a lot of repair work to do and had better get started.” They wasted little time doing it, but no one (at least the pubic) knew in June what lay ahead in September …

Looking Ahead

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India to buy 126 multi-role combat aircraft

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Published on, by Special Correspondent, July 24, 2007.

Kakinada: India will purchase 126 multi-role combat aircraft at a cost of $7 billion, according to Union Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju. Disclosing this to newsmen here on Sunday, he said that under the defence acquisition policy, fifty per cent of the product purchased should be Indian component.

Of the total Rs.96,000 crore defence budget, he said, 45 per cent should be utilised for modernisation including acquiring of new aircraft … (full text).

Netizens and WSIS

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Received by mail:

De: Jay Hauben
Date: 23/07/2007

(The Edu mailing list, and the edu website for subscribing to Edu).

Hi, Wide spread knowledge of the history of the vision and technical development of the net can help strengthen the forces working for universal and quality access. Some of this history and the connection between netizens, the WSIS and universal access is highlighted in the Amateur Computerist Vol 15 No 2 just posted online.

The articles in the issue look at the scientific and technical origins of the Internet, the vision of the libraries of the future, how the internet got to Korea, how the first email connection between the People’s Republic of China and CSnet was established, and critiques market economics as inappropriate for understanding the Internet. These articles grew out of the Netizens panel at the “Past Present and Future of Research on the Internet” side conference held in Tunis in Nov 2005. The issue can be accessed as a pdf file as can the individual article at:

ACN The Amateur Computerist Newsletter (Since 1988), Vol 15, No 2, Table Of Contents.

Below is the opening article of the issue as it appeared on Ohmynews International (Homepage). The editors hope that the publication of these articles will contribute to the continuation of the search for mechanisms of insuring more universal access and the achievement of a more appropriate international governance mechanism. Best wishes. Jay Hauben.

Netizens and WSIS: Welcome to the 21st Century;
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China Invests in Somalia Despite Instability

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Published on PINR, by Adam Wolfe, 23 July 2007.

The Financial Times reported on July 13 that the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (C.N.O.O.C.) has signed a deal with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf to explore the northern Puntland region for oil. The initial agreement was signed last May, and it was endorsed at the China-Africa summit held in Beijing last November. [See: "Upcoming Summit Highlights Africa's Importance to China"]

A meeting between C.N.O.O.C. and Somali officials was held on June 24 to finalize the deal. The terms indicate that the Somali government would retain 51 percent of the oil revenues under a production-sharing arrangement. Further reporting from the Financial Times, however, revealed that Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi was not aware of the contract, suggesting that the oil deal remains vulnerable to political infighting …

… Conclusion:
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When Regulators Become Enablers, Inside Bush’s FDA

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Published on, by EVELYN PRINGLE, July 17, 2007.

2 excerpts: Americans need to stop and consider how many consumers will be killed and injured by dangerous drugs by the time George Bush heads back to Texas at the end of his Presidency, as a direct result of his allowing the interests of the pharmaceutical industry to take control of the FDA.

For nearly 70 years, the common-law tort systems in the individual states have provided a remedy for citizens injured by prescription drugs. However, in one of the most blatant paybacks for political contributions in US history, in January 2006, Bush-appointed officials at the FDA announced that the agency’s approval of a drug and its labeling acts to preempt product liability lawsuits filed by patients against the pharmaceutical giants.

On February 23, 2006, Democratic lawmakers Rep Henry Waxman, of the Committee on Government Reform, and Reps John Dingell and Sherrod Brown of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and voiced their outrage.

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Somalia’s Compromised National Reconciliation Conference

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Published on PINR, by Michael A. Weinstein, July 19, 2007.

2 excerpts: On July 15, the long awaited, thrice delayed and seriously compromised National Reconciliation Conference (N.R.C.) – aimed at beginning to resolve Somalia’s multiple conflicts – was kicked off, only to be abruptly adjourned, as eight mortar rounds were fired at the meeting’s venue, a refurbished former police garage in the country’s official capital Mogadishu. The chair of the commission that organized the conference, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, said the adjournment was due to the fact that only half of the 1,325 anticipated delegates had arrived; local and international media, however, traced it to the mortar attacks. The conference is scheduled to reopen on July 19 …

… Conclusion:

On July 14, McClatchy Newspapers published parts of a recent U.S. intelligence briefing on Somalia, to which it had gained access. The report stated that the T.F.G. is perceived by Somalis as “little more than a pawn of Ethiopia, yet its continued survival, certainly in Mogadishu, remains dependent on the support of the Ethiopian military.” Under those conditions, the report goes on, extremists are able to “regain their footing and heighten inter-state tensions.”

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FBI sending malware to ‘myspace’ clients?

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In a word, yes!

Published on gnn, July 20,

An excerpt: … Now the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation is monitoring the internet social forum Myspace. Its even mailing malware and spyware out to myspace clients its how they caught out the kid making bomb threats against his high school in the article below. An issue that this incident raises though, is that whether you deserve the attention or not, heres what the FBI could be monitoring and compiling about your e-habits even as you read. This malware can log:

  • your IP address;
  • the MAC address of ethernet cards;
  • A list of open TCP and UDP ports;
  • A list of running programs;
  • The operating system type, version and serial number;
  • The default internet browser and version;
  • The registered user of the operating system, and registered company name, if any;
  • The current logged-in user name;
  • The last visited URL.

(full text).

Combattre la pauvret grce au High-Tech

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Publi on online, juillet 19, 2007.

2 excerpts: La science, la technologie et l’innovation ne sont pas un luxe mais bien une ncessit pour les pays les plus pauvres. Voil le constat fait par la la Cnuced – la Confrence des Nations unies pour le commerce et le dveloppement – dans son rapport 2007 sur les Pays les moins avancs (PMA). Sont placs dans cette catgorie cinquante Etats considrs comme particulirement pauvres, dont une trentaine en Afrique …

… Fuite des cerveaux: Ds lors, les PMA “restent vous la production de produits de base faible valeur ajoute et la fabrication de produits faisant appel une main d’oeuvre peu qualifie”, selon la Cnuced. La libralisation du commerce ne conduit donc pas automatiquement un accroissement de l’apport technologique, a rsum devant la presse Genve le directeur de la Cnuced, Supachai Panitchpakdi. Il a recommand “l’adoption de politiques nationales permettant de favoriser et d’absorber les technologies”.
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Sngal, une cole de gnies

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Publi sur, le 19 juillet 2007.

Le Chef de lEtat a mis lide de la cration dune cole de gnies africains.

An excerpt: … Abdoulaye Wade a indiqu que sil fait lapologie du numrique, cest parce que cest la chance de lAfrique. Tout est cration de lhomme, cration de Dieu bien entendu. Mais Dieu nous donn les facults pour comprendre les choses. Malgr tout ce qui nous spare des pays dvelopps tout point de vue, je reste optimiste, parce que nous avons la qualit de la ressource humaine en Afrique, a martel Abdoulaye Wade. La preuve, a-t-il soulign, ce sont les rsultats quobtiennent nos tudiants dans des conditions extrmement difficiles et lenvironnement intellectuel nest pas le mme. Mais quand mme nous russirons. Il faut que nous russissions malgr les difficults, a-t-il soulign, estimant que cest l le vrai dfi qui sadresse lcole, au systme ducatif, aux lves, aux tudiants et aux professeurs. Il faut quensemble, on russisse, je ne dis pas limpossible, mais en tout cas lextraordinaire, a dclar Abdoulaye Wade. Quelque 112 prix ont t distribus lors de la crmonie qui a enregistr la prsence dun public nombreux … (full text).

Most Foreign Insurgents In Iraq Are Saudis

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Published on WSWS World Socialist Web Site, by Peter Symonds, July 17, 2007,
republished on, same day.

2 excerpts: An article in Sundays Los Angeles Times detailing the national origins of foreign insurgents in Iraq has punctured a large hole in the Bush administrations relentless propaganda against Iran. For months, the White House has been demonising Tehran for meddling in Iraq by establishing networks to arm, train and finance anti-US insurgents. Most foreign fighters, however, come, not from Iran, but Saudi Arabia, a close American ally, with which the Bush administration in particular has intimate ties.

According to military statistics provided to the Los Angeles Times, about 45 percent of the hundreds of foreign militants involved in attacks on US troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia. Another 15 percent are from Syria and Lebanon and 10 percent from North Africa. Nearly half the 135 foreigners currently held in US detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis.

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The Piano Is My Life – female pianist Zhou Guangren

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Linked with Guangren Zhou – China.

Published on USC Research Computing Facility, by Zhao Shimin, translated by Elaine Chew, August 1997.

Exerpt: … The German school was on a half-day system, had a varied curriculum and was very strict. Apart from the usual languages, mathematics, nature classes, there were courses in English, Latin, physicaleducation, music and, of course, German. The teachers were all holders of doctorate degrees.

Guangren loved the learning environment at this school. Despite her being a non-German, she topped her class in practically every subject. She especially liked the physical
education and music classes. These music lessons laid the foundation for her illustrious career as a musician.

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Bush borrows a page from Putin’s Middle East playbook

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Published on Russian News & Information Agency, by Marianna Belenkaya, July 17,

2 excerpts: For everything there is a season, we have been told. Nowhere is that more true than in the Middle East. George W. Bush should therefore be commended for borrowing the idea of holding a Middle East peace conference from Vladimir Putin.

The Russian president first made the proposal over two years ago, but the time was not quite right. The U.S. president, it seems, has resurrected Putin’s idea in a last ditch effort to keep his own Middle Eastern policy afloat.

He called on all “countries in the region that support a two-state solution to the long Israeli-Palestinian standoff” to gather in the autumn for a conference “headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”

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Value Chain Development

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Picked up in Weitzenegger’s newsletter of July 9, 2007, Item 1 (see the same on his website).

Download a pdf text Guide of 114 pages.

To read many interesting news and articles, go to ‘The website for International Development Cooperation‘, and its (english) Newsletter.

See more in the same Newsletter about Value Chain Development:

2. Conference: Value Chains for broad-based development, Results of the International conference, Berlin, 30-31 May 2007.

5. Donor Approaches to Supporting Pro-Poor Value Chains;

7. USAID: The Value Chain Approach and Microenterprise Development.
(USAID has issued a Request for Applications, for ‘Guided Case Studies for Value chain Development for Conflict-Affected Environments’);

9. ODI’s Action research on ‘Value chains and the rural poor in disadvantaged regions’.

Kyrgyzstan, Domestic Violence, Tradition Or Crime?

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Linked with Byubyusara Ryskulova – Kyrgyzstan, and with Crisis Center for Women and Family SEZIM.

Published on Radio FreeEurope-RadioLiberty, by Bermet Egemberdieva, June 20, 2006.

2 Excerpts: … “In the beginning, it was all good – until we got married,” Ainura says. “Oftentimes, he was just jealous. It started after we got married, and got worse after I got pregnant. When he would leave for work, he started locking me inside our house. He broke our home telephone and, still, after coming back from work, he would start asking questions about visitors. I answered, ‘Who could come when the door was locked?’ He began to search for reasons to swear at me — he even confessed that on the way home he would plan on what he could complain about. For example, if dinner wasn’t ready or clothes not ironed or washed, and so on.”

And that’s when the beatings began, she says.

“He beat me badly, kicked [me] — even when I had our son in my arms,” she says. “Our son was very scared afterward, and even when my husband was talking loudly, [our son] would start crying hysterically.”

To Ainura, it was clear that her husband was trying to turn her into his property, rather than his wife.

“I was just a slave to him,” she says. “I cooked, cleaned, washed, [and] looked after our child. And when he came home, I begged him not to beat me.”

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Linked with Itsmania Erohyna Pineda Platero – Honduras.

Xibalba Arte y Cultura, jueves 28 de junio de 2007.

Honduras es un pas roto por la desigualdad crnica que ha excluido a la gente joven del centro de oportunidades econmica y cultural, forzndole entonces a sobrevivir en los mrgenes de sociedad, con la violencia y la inescrutabilidad de las pandillas.

Con la fundacin, en 1989, de XIBALBA, ITSMANIA PINEDA PLATERO cre un espacio y una oportunidad dnde las y los jvenes, personas que tiene la probabilidad de cambiar sus vidas y canalizar sus energas artsticas en diferente proyectos socialmente beneficiosos. Con estas actividades pueden descubrir identidades nuevas, basadas, en la admiracin y el respeto de la comunidad.

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News from the Disclosure Project

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Received by mail:

Subject: Events Schedule Update and New Press Conference DVDs
From: Disclosure Project Updates
Date: 25/05/2007

The Disclosure Project May 9, 2001 National Press Club Conference is now available in DVD format – order here.

Updated Schedule of Events for 2007:

CSETI Ambassador and Consciousness Trainings taught by Dr. Steven Greer (More information):

  • June 16-23, Crestone Colorado, Filling up quickly;
  • August 26-Sept, 1 Mt. Shasta California;
  • November 4-10, Palm Springs California.

Lectures and Conferences:
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Courrier d’Information ATTAC n572

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Vendredi 13/07/07, Merci de faire circuler et de diffuser largement. Le Courrier est reu aujourd’hui par 40 159 abonns.

S’abonner ou se dsabonner:

Confort de lecture et impression papier: Version pdf; Version bureautique.

Dans ce numro:

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Iraqi Wars – (or how to end it?)

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Linked with Chalmers Johnson – USA, with, with JPRI The Japan Policy Research Institute, and with about Chalmers Johnson’s Nemesis”-book.

Published on, by Chalmers Johnson, January 10, 2003.

… part of a chapter of Chalmers Johnson’s new book about American militarism: The Sorrows of Empire, How the Americans Lost Their Country.

… I agree with aspects of each of these explanations. Oil, Israel, and domestic politics have all played a role in the Bush administration’s stance toward Iraq. But I feel the need to put them into a larger historical context. A second American-Iraqi war will also be the culmination of a process that began a half-century ago when the United States for the first time employed its Central Intelligence Agency secretly and illegally to overthrow a democratically elected government. The 1953 CIA-engineered coup d’tat against Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq of Iran started a chain of events that included Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution of 1979 against the Shah and his patron, the United States.
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Search for an Eco-Economy

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Linked with Lester Brown – USA, with Earth Policy Institute, and with Plan B 2.0.

Eco-Economy Updates are released as new developments and initiatives occur. They focus on trends affecting progress toward an eco-economy. Eco-Economic updates of the Earth Institute.

Eco-Economy Indicators highlight the twelve trends that the Earth Policy Institute tracks to measure progress in building an eco-economy. Eco-Economy Indicators: Trends to Track.

Find books and articles with the key word ‘eco-economy’.
A few exemples:
on amazon;
on, Santa Barbara Dept. of Geography;
on W.W. Norton & Company;
on BC books of;
on San Diego Earth Times: Eco-economy offers alternative to Middle East oil;
E-C-O = Economy & Ecology.

Around The Globe, Farmers Losing Ground

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Published on, first on, by Lester R. Brown, 30 June, 2007.

Excerpt: … Now fast forward to a trip in 2002 by a United Nations team to assess the food situation in Lesotho, a small country of 2 million people imbedded within South Africa. Their finding was straightforward: Agriculture in Lesotho faces a catastrophic future; crop production is declining and could cease altogether over large tracts of the country if steps are not taken to reverse soil erosion, degradation, and the decline in soil fertility.

Michael Grunwald reports in the Washington Post that nearly half of the children under five in Lesotho are stunted physically. Many, he says, are too weak to walk to school.

Whether the land is in northern Syria, Lesotho, or elsewhere, the health of the people living on it cannot be separated from the health of the land itself. A large share of the worlds 852 million hungry people live on land with soils worn thin by erosion.
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Intelligence Services, the Media and Anti-Iran Propaganda

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Linked with .

Mehrnaz Shahabi interviews Paul Ingram, Senior Analyst at the British American Security Information Council, published on, 30 June, 2007.

Excerpt: … Ultimately we are engaged in battle over ‘hearts and minds’ globally, in building support for an alternative perspective of how nations can relate to one another and build justice. The media, in the broadest sense of that term, is the battleground for these ideas. This means providing honest and balanced comment in such a manner that trust is built up with the people. It means being critical of any and all governments where such criticism is appropriate, highlighting their hypocrisy, challenging those that claim the moral high ground while abusing their positions; but also recognising the danger that comes from promoting a truly cynical view of the world … because that in the end only benefits the powerful and undermines justice. This means embracing the positive aspects of the values promoted by the powerful: freedom, equality, democracy, etc., and highlighting to US and European citizenry the ways in which these values are undermined. We need to rebut stories rapidly. We need to probe the inconsistencies, highlight the uncertainties, the complexities, the mess. US and European populations are already tiring of the rush to war in the Middle East, when the costs are high. If the blame is spread and the complexities recognised, it is more difficult for them to pin it all on Iran. (full text).

Business as Usual or is WTO in Denial?

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Linked with Focus on the Global South FGS.

Published on Focus on the Global South, by Aileen Kwa, 23 June 2007.

Some excerpts: In a concerted effort to smooth over the setback of the collapse in G4 talks in Potsdam on Thursday, Pascal Lamy quickly convened an informal Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) meeting at the WTO on Friday afternoon. He told Members that he had spoken to all four G4 ministers separately, “and that all four have told me that they want the process to continue here in Geneva”.

The Friday TNC meeting was described by an inside source as “too mechanical”, even “surreal”, and that people seemed to have gone back to business as usual. Beneath the surface, however, many questions remained unanswered. The meeting basically affirmed the Geneva multilateral process as central, and that, as Lamy put it, “From now on the process (is) conducted by the Chairs and myself”. Chairs are expected to release draft modalities by the end of June …
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France, Poland put IMF names in hat

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New Zealand Herald, July 09, 2007.

France has revealed that it wants to reclaim the leadership of the International Monetary Fund and Poland said it could field a rival candidate as calls intensified for the abolition of Europe’s monopoly of the job. (full text).

Explotacin minera y conflictos con las comunidades

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Panama, Jennifer Moore.

La posicin del gobierno ecuatoriano respecto a la explotacin minera a gran escala en el Ecuador ha sorprendido y preocupado a los sectores afectados. Los bloqueos de carreteras organizados por la Coordinadora Nacional por la Defensa de la Vida y la Soberana la semana pasada enfrentaron una fuerte represin policial [1], de igual manera las nuevas declaraciones del gobierno estn en contradiccin con las demandas de las comunidades.

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Pakistan mosque clashes intensify

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Published by (english) AlZazeera, July 8, 2007.

Pakistani commandos have raided the compound of a mosque where armed students are holding out, blasting holes in a perimeter wall in the hope hundreds of women and children can escape. Major-General Waheed Arshad, the military spokesman, said that the raids were met with heavy fire and the head of the unit that led the attack was killed. Gunfire erupted shortly after 1am (2000 GMT) on Saturday and about 20 minutes later three big blasts sounded across the capital as the commandos blew up the wall of the madrassa. “We’ve already made four or five holes and tonight also two or three holes were made,” Waheed said.

Casualties: “While these operations were being carried there was intense firing from the militants,” he said. The unit commander was killed and one commando wounded. Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the cleric leading Lal Masjid’s Taliban-style movement, told Pakistani television channels more than 300 followers, mostly female students, were killed in overnight gun battles. Mohammad Ali Durrani, the Pakistani information minister, said Ghazi was lying. (full text).

250,000 extra will get college grants

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Published on, July 5, 2007.

More than 250,000 students will get some form of maintenance grant under Government proposals unveiled on Thursday.

About 50,000 students whose parents earn less than 25,000 a year will get a full grant worth more than 2,800 per year.

Undergraduates whose household income is less than 60,000 a year will be eligible for some form of grant, Universities Secretary John Denham said.

In his first statement to the Commons since taking up his newly created post, Mr Denham said: ‘We are wasting the talents of too many young people for whom university study should be a realistic ambition, not out of reach.

‘Hard-working families on modest incomes have concerns about the affordability of university.’

The extra grants, which will be available to students starting next year, will cost 400million a year when they are fully in place, he said. (full text).

Water economy needs clarity & investment

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Published on TIMES NEWS NETWORK (India), by JAIDEEP MISHRA, JULY 06, 2007.

2 excerpts: NEW DELHI: Its that time of the year, again, when it rains, it simply pours. In Nehrus memorable words, the magic of the monsoons is well and truly upon us. Its also a fact that Indias leaky water economy calls for prompt policy attention. Across the land there is a sorry lack of investment in water infrastructure, including grossly inadequate maintenance, negligible user charges and unsustainably overwhelming reliance on groundwater …

… Now, in the normal course, the poor provision of public irrigation and water supply services can be expected to rev up social tensions and political pressure. That we seem to have avoided such repercussions, albeit temporarily, has much to do with a remarkably transformal technology the tubewell. Irrigators have drilled on a massive scale, with 20 million tubewells now installed. Groundwater now accounts for over 50% of irrigated area. The estimates suggest that 80% of domestic water supply in India now comes from groundwater.
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The War Economy of Iraq

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Published on Global Policy Forum, by Christopher Parker and Pete W. Moore, July 3, 2007.

Excerpt: … The Sorcerers Apprentice: Queried about the chaos that reigned immediately after the fall of Baghdad, then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejoined, Freedom is untidy. People have to make mistakes. Four years on, there is little evidence that Bush administration officials have learned from theirs.

Faith in the capitalist firm as an agent of transition brought with it only unprecedented levels of graft, plunder and incompetence. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2007 US officials helped to fashion a new draft law that, if passed, would go a long way toward privatizing Iraqs oil sector. The specter of sectarian logicencouraged by US officials as they sought to manage the residual passions of a political world beyond the market through intermediaries of their own choosingnow haunts Iraqi political life with violent consequence. And yet, walls are being built around Baghdad neighborhoods cleansed of Sunnis or Shia, partially imprisoning the remaining residents within sectarian cages.
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U.S. says Doha risks being delayed several years

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Published on, July 5, 2007.

CAIRNS, Australia (Reuters) – A deal to free up world trade could be delayed several years if no progress is made by the end of 2007, the United States said on Thursday, as it stepped up criticism of India and Brazil over failed talks.

Talks between the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India, aimed at reaching a breakthrough in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha round, collapsed in late June, leaving the future of the long-running trade negotiation in doubt.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, swiping at India and Brazil over the breakdown of talks in Potsdam, Germany, said some countries wanted Doha to fail and it was now crucial for some new progress before 2008. (full text).

UN warns over hunger in Africa

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Published on Channel 4, source: PA news, July 4, 2007.

UN officials have issued a strong warning that countries are not doing enough to feed the growing number of starving people in Africa.

At least 200 million people on the continent go hungry every day and agricultural production will have to be increased massively to meet their needs, officials from three United Nations agencies said. (full text).


UN food agencies urge ‘Green Revolution’ in Africa.

Rwanda Leading Africa in ICT Revolution

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Published on IPS, by Erin Cunningham, July 4, 2007.

PARIS, Jul 4 (IPS) – Less than fifteen years after the genocide that destroyed much of Rwanda’s human capital, infrastructure, and socio-economic fabric, the country is set to become sub-Saharan Africa’s hub for information and communications technology (ICT).

Thanks to ambitious government initiatives in developing Rwanda’s telecommunications infrastructure, the country’s ICT sector — including mobile phone and fibre optic networks as well as PC and Internet access — has become a primary target of both international public and private investment in recent years.

Named East Africa’s number one ICT nation by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rwanda has benefited from ICT-based investments by lucrative international players such as Microsoft, Nokia, and Terracom.
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