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Index September 2007

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The Least Developed Countries, UNCTAD Report 2007

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

Knowledge, Technological Learning and Innovation for Development

Download the 221 pdf pages, prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat.

WHAT ARE THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES LCD?

Fifty countries are currently designated by the United Nations as least developed countries (LDCs):

Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, TimorLeste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.

The list of LDCs is reviewed every three years by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the light of recommendations by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP).

The following criteria were used by the CDP in the 2006 review of the list of LDCs:

  • (a) A low-income criterion, based on the gross national income (GNI) per capita (a 3-year average, 20022004), with thresholds of $750 for cases of addition to the list, and $900 for cases of graduation from LDC status;
  • (b) A human assets criterion, involving a composite index (the Human Assets Index) based on indicators of (i) nutrition (percentage of the population undernourished); (ii) health (child mortality rate); (iii) school enrolment (gross secondary school enrolment rate); and (iv) literacy (adult literacy rate);
  • (c) An economic vulnerability criterion, involving a composite index (the Economic Vulnerability Index) based on indicators of (i) natural shocks (index of instability of agricultural production; share of population displaced by natural disasters); (ii) trade shocks (index of instability of exports of goods and services; (iii) exposure to shocks (share of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in GDP; merchandise export concentration index); (iv) economic smallness (population in logarithm); and (v) economic remoteness (index of remoteness).

For all three criteria, different thresholds are used for addition to, and graduation from, the list of LDCs. A country will qualify to be added to the list if it meets the three criteria and does not have a population greater than 75 million.

A country will qualify for graduation from LDC status if it has met graduation thresholds under at least two of the three criteria in at least two consecutive reviews of the list.

After a recommendation to graduate a country has been made by the CDP and endorsed by ECOSOC and the General Assembly, the graduating country will be granted a three-year grace period before actual graduation takes place.

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 59/209, this standard grace period is expected to enable the relevant country and its development partners to agree on a smooth transition strategy, so that the loss of LDC-specific concessions at the end of the grace period does not disturb the socioeconomic progress of the country.

Working together on Gender Equality in Development and Peace

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

Published on Europa.eu, as Press Release, Brussels, 11 September 2007.

Excerpt: The European Commission, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) have joined together to support stronger action and advocacy on gender equality to influence the aid effectiveness agenda. The programme “EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace” will support the integration of gender equality as a key driver of development in the international assistance agenda. The programme will also promote the involvement of women in conflict prevention and peace-building in line with the commitments of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. With a total budget of 4,7 million (2,5 million EC contribution), the programme will have a duration of 3 years (2007-2009) and will cover 12 countries: Cameroon, DRC, Ghana, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

To present the programme, a panel discussion “Opportunities and challenges in implementing the commitments of the Paris Declaration for promoting gender equality” will take place on 11 September at the EuropeAid Info Point (16:30-18:00). Panellists include Koos Richelle, Director General of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office, as well as representatives of the United Nations and Civil society and DG Development.

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Doing Business 2007, How to reform

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

Download the 194 pdf-pages report about comparing regulations in 175 economies, a copublication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation

Published on Doing Business.org, (not dated).

2 excerpts: Doing Business 2007: How to Reform is the fourth in a series of annual reports investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 175 economiesfrom Afghanistan to Zimbabweand over time.

Regulations affecting 10 areas of everyday business are measured: starting a business, dealing with licenses, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms have worked, where and why …

… Index: Overview: Starting a business, Dealing with licenses, Employing workers, Registering property, Getting credit, Protecting investors, Paying taxes, Trading across borders, Enforcing contracts, Closing a business … (full text).

Conspiration Mondialisation

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Video en francais avec Jean Ziegler sur TV5, du 21 decembre 2006, 11 minutes 30.

GBS-Newsletter

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Von: Giordano Bruno Stiftung GBS,
Date: 27/09/2007

DAWKINS TRIFFT DESCHNER: FESTAKT ZUR VERLEIHUNG DES DESCHNER-PREISES IN FRANKFURT AM 12.10.07

Karlheinz Deschner und Richard Dawkins zhlen zweifellos zu den prominentesten Religionskritikern der Gegenwart. Bislang sind sich die beiden Autoren noch nicht begegnet, doch am Freitag, dem 12. Oktober, wird es in Frankfurt zu einem solchen Treffen kommen. Anlass ist die Vergabe des Deschner-Preises der Giordano Bruno Stiftung an den in Oxford lehrenden Evolutionsbiologen. Der Festakt zur erstmaligen Verleihung des mit 10.000 Euro dotierten Preises wird in der Aula der Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universitt Frankfurt stattfinden und um 19.00 Uhr beginnen.

Weiterfhrende Links:

E-Mail;

Pressemeldung Dawkins trifft Deschner (hpd-online);

Website zum Festakt;

Newsletter GBS (und auf internem link auf Newsletter clicken).

Myanmar and its protests

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Some articles found today:

Myanmar on WITNESS.org: Schoot on Sight.

Security Council urges Myanmar to allow UN envoy’s visit.

Human Rights in Myanmar.

Burma/Myanmar seen by Human Rights Watch.

U.N. rights chief warns Myanmar leaders on violence.

Myanmar protests will end in bloodshed or a new optimism.

Economic Brief: The Economic Factors Behind the Myanmar Protests – Published on PINR, 7 September 2007.

2 excerpts: … Once again, similar to the event in February, people took to the street in a rare display of public anger. The current demonstrations have drawn a significant number of Buddhist monks into the streets and have led to national curfews. Violence finally broke out on September 26 as security forces and protesters clashed.

The end of fuel subsidies were likely part of a larger package of reforms that the junta has been planning in order to, among other things, reduce the pressure of global fuel prices in a country that is dependent on diesel imports for its entire economy. Myanmar has an insignificant domestic refinery capacity and a chronic need for foreign currency. The latest Indian proposal intended to regain access to the Shwe gas fields has reportedly included diesel fuel exports, while a deal with Petronas of Malaysia is seeking similar arrangements. (See: “Pipeline Politics: India and Myanmar“).

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Some Economics in the Near East

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Published on Voltairenet.org, Sept. 26, 2007:

  • The Great Jump of The Gulf Investments in Turkey
  • Prices of the US Dollar Drop, Whereas the American Trade Balance Stables.
  • Qatar Says that the Unified Gulf Currency is not Likely to be Circulated in 2010.
  • The Canadian Dublin Company Continues its Activities in Syria.
  • Washington Says it Wants Baghdad Airport to be One of the Most Important International Trade Centers.
  • The Iranian Central Bank Warns the Banks that Boycotted Iran.
  • The Iranian Government Circulates its Shares to be Sold in 25 Companies in the Stock Market.
  • Pharaon Group Buys 51% of the Capital of the Algerian ABC Company.

(Find the full text of each of this items on Voltairenet.org).

Link: The Trap of Globalization.

Fritz le terroriste

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Publi sur Voltairenet.org, par Jrgen Elssser, 24 Sept. 2007.

Les projets dattentats djous en Allemagne, menace relle ou imaginaire? Un conte dormir debout
:

3 extraits: Le 5 septembre 2007, les autorits de Berlin ont annonc larrestation de trois islamistes, deux Allemands et un Turc, accus de prparer un attentat de grande ampleur contre des intrts tats-uniens en Rpublique fdrale …

… Bien quaucun attentat dans les mtropoles occidentales nait t jusqu maintenant commis au moyen du proxyde dhydrogne, cette substance surgit toujours dans les histoires de chasseurs de terroristes : comme il appartient aux produits chimiques en usage dans le commerce, on provoque facilement la crainte du ‘terroriste d ct’ qui peut se procurer, dans une droguerie, tout ce dont il a besoin pour commettre un massacre …

… Beaucoup de points sur lhistoire du terroriste Fritz et de ses deux complices seraient encore claircir. Mais une chose est sre : la manire dont ils sy sont pris, ils nauraient jamais pu commettre un attentat de grande ampleur.

Trois thories mnent la solution de lnigme:

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On Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’

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Published on CounterPunch.org, by ALEXANDER COCKBURN, September 22/23, 2007.

Leftists used to think that at least as a general axiom, if not by a precise deadline, capitalism was doomed. When I first arrived in the United States in the early 1970s, there was enough exuberance in the air even for mild-mannered reformers to be pushing plans for the abolition of the Federal Reserve, World Bank and kindred institutions …

… There are huge third world economies that have been ravaged by neoliberalism that haven’t endured “the shock doctrine”, in the torments that phrase, as defined by Klein. India in the early Nineties was not on the receiving end of physical ’shock and awe’ bombardment. Tortures were not inflicted by electric shock devices or techniques of sensory deprivation. Death squads have not rampaged through the countryside. If Friedman counseled the Congress Party or the BJP this is not recorded by Klein, who only gives India one brief mention.

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Thousands of refugee children start school in Egypt with UNHCR help

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Received by mail from HREA the Human Rights Education Associates, and their Newsletter.
Date: 21/09/2007

UNHCR, by Abeer Etefa in Cairo, Egypt Thousands of refugee children in Egypt have been returning to school at the beginning of the academic year this week, some for the first time in years. “I never studied before in a school, but I am excited to start attending school this year,” said eight-year-old Somalian refugee Aziza, who was starting school in the Cairo suburb of Al Rehab.

UNHCR is covering the costs of tuition, transportation and uniforms for more than 6,000 refugee children who have been unable to go to school because of conflict or due to the prohibitive costs. The agency is working with partners and community-based organizations to distribute the education cash grants.

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Sommerakademie und Jahresversammlung von attac schweiz

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Li avec Laltermondialisme chez ATTAC France.

(Siehe auch ganzer Newsletter Attactuell-4).

Manipulierte Manipulatoren ? Die Medien als Instrument zur Herstellung von Konsens in Zeiten der Globalisierung“, so der Titel der 4. Sommerakademie von attac schweiz, die krzlich in Biel stattgefunden hat.

Von Freitag, 7. bis Sonntag, 9. September 2007 wurde die Rolle der Medien in einer Reihe von Sessionen beleuchtet : Wie produzieren die Medien eine ffentliche Meinung ? Wie steht es mit der Konzentration der Medien in den Hnden grosser Konzerne ? Wie wirkt sich der zentrale Stellenwert der “vermischten Meldungen” aus, was bedeutet die reisserische Aufmachung von Skandlchen, Unglcksfllen und hnlichem ? Die Sommerakademie war also keinem “klassischen” attac-Thema gewidmet, teils konnten so neue Kreise angesprochen werden. Im Rahmen der Sommerakademie fand auch die Jahresversammlung von attac schweiz statt.

Fr ein Forum zur kritischen Medienbeobachtung

Die 4. Sommerakademie von attac schweiz wurde organisiert in Zusammenarbeit mit der Gewerkschaft comedia und den Zeitungen antidot, Wochenzeitung und Le Courrier. Am Freitag, 7. September erffnete Bruno Clment von comedia die Sommerakademie. Die Medien tragen heute dazu bei, dass wir den Eindruck haben, wir knnten uns jederzeit frei entscheiden, obwohl in Wahrheit eine Vereinheitlichung und Verarmung der Gesellschaft festzustellen sei, kritisierte er. Ohne formale Zensur werden die Menschen dazu gebracht, den desolaten Zustand der Welt als naturgegeben anzuschauen.

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Recession Too Mild A Word

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Pablo Ouziel, 22 September, 2007.

… Yet yesterday in Crain’s New York business this could be read; “Only weeks after financial-sector employment in the city hit levels not seen since the technology-stock bubble, investment banks have switched into firing mode and halted most job searches … As a result, at least 10,000 Wall Streeters of all stripes could lose their jobs by year’s end, according to estimates from Manhattan recruiting and consulting firm Options Group.”

The same story is apparent in England, where yesterday the UK prime minister and chancellor met with US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to discuss the growing turmoil in world financial markets and after the meeting the chancellor insisted that the UK economy remained strong and that it would weather the current storm. Yet as the government promised depositors of Northern Rock they would not loose a penny as the bank’s share price plunged, thousands queued to withdraw their savings.

In this chaotic world of war and recession, which has Iraqis running for cover and Westerners heading to the bank, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. According to the Telegraph a couple of weeks ago, just in Britain “the wealth gap is at its widest for more than 40 years, creating ghettoes of the richest and the poorest that have virtually nothing to do with each other” … (full text).

US – Threatening Water Shortage

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Published on Current Concerns, the English Edition of Zeit-Fragen, no. 12 2007,

(see also the homepage).

In the USA concerns are growing because of regional water shortages, caused by the booming ethanol industry. The newspaper ‘The DesMoines Register’ reports that in the federal state of Iowa, which is the biggest producer of biofuel in the USA, the demand for water, required by the ethanol producers adds up to an estimated 28 billion litres per year.

Some authorities and legislative bodies of the federal state make an effort to check the existing laws. If necessary, the operating companies of ethanol facilities should be obliged to purify and reprocess the water.

The production of 1 litre ethanol requires about four times the amount of water, the geologist Bob Libra is cited by ‘The DesMoines Register’. Currently, 27 facilities produce 7 billion liter ethanol each year which is more than a third of the US-production. By expansion and the installation of new facilities the production could be increased by five billion litres in medium term.

This is the assessment of the Association for Renewable Energy in Iowa. The ethanol producers take the water out of low-lying layers in the earth which bear water. On the one hand, these layers are also used for drinking water, on the other hand they prevent the rivers and brooks from draining.

Source: Schweizer Bauer, 28.7.2007, in german: USA – Ethanolproduktion verknappt Wasser, 23.07.2007, News SBV / Schweizer Bauern-Verband.

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US Capitalism or Socially Bound Property?

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Published on Current Concerns, Sept. 21, 2007.

With the decline of US rule the world and Europe are at the crossroads:

a discussion with the Member of the German Bundestag, Willy Wimmer (CDU) about the US-American, the European and the German relationship to Russia.

2 exderpts: Current Concerns: Mr. Wimmer, what development in the Soviet-American relationship respectively in the Russian-American relationship since the end of 1991, i.e. during the last 20 years have you observed?

Willy Wimmer: If one deals with Russia today, a basic truth applies, which the former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has repeatedly formulated: We will always have the Russians as our neighbours, even if one day the NATO no longer exists. Russia will always be there, and that is why – in that respect the two Helmuts, Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl are much alike our attention must be directed towards sensible relations with our great neighbour.

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Cold War II

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Published on ZNet, by Noam Chomsky, August 27, 2007.

2 excerpts: … Its likely, though little discussed, that a prime concern about Irans influence is to the East, where in mid-August Russia and China today host Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a summit of a Central Asian security club designed to counter U.S. influence in the region, the business press reports. [7] The security club is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which has been slowly taking shape in recent years. Its membership includes not only the two giants Russia and China, but also the energy-rich Central Asian states Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan was a guest of honor at the August meeting. In another unwelcome development for the Americans, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov also accepted an invitation to attend the summit, another step its improvement of relations with Russia, particularly in energy, reversing a long-standing policy of isolation from Russia. Russia in May secured a deal to build a new pipeline to import more gas from Turkmenistan, bolstering its dominant hold on supplies to Europe and heading off a competing U.S.-backed plan that would bypass Russian territory.[8]

Along with Iran, there are three other official observer states: India, Pakistan and Mongolia. Washingtons request for similar status was denied. In 2005 the SCO called for a timetable for termination of any US military presence in Central Asia. The participants at the August meeting flew to the Urals to attend the first joint Russia-China military exercises on Russian soil …

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Le lavage de cerveaux en libert

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Publi dans le Monde diplomatique, par Noam Chomsky, Aot 2007.

Un extrait: … Prenons, par exemple, lventualit dune guerre contre lIran : 75 % des Amricains estiment que les Etats-Unis devraient mettre un terme leurs menaces militaires et privilgier la recherche dun accord par voie diplomatique. Des enqutes conduites par des instituts occidentaux suggrent que lopinion publique iranienne et celle des Etats-Unis convergent aussi sur certains aspects de la question nuclaire : lcrasante majorit de la population des deux pays estime que la zone stendant dIsral lIran devrait tre entirement dbarrasse des engins de guerre nuclaires, y compris ceux que dtiennent les troupes amricaines de la rgion. Or, pour trouver ce genre dinformation dans les mdias, il faut chercher longtemps.

Quant aux principaux partis politiques des deux pays, aucun ne dfend ce point de vue. Si lIran et les Etats-Unis taient dauthentiques dmocraties lintrieur desquelles la majorit dtermine rellement les politiques publiques, le diffrend actuel sur le nuclaire serait sans doute dj rsolu. … (lire tout le texte).

Lien: the Noam Chomsky Website (in english).

Economy & Finances

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Picked up four articles of this matter:

Top leaders pledge to help poor economies benefit from global trade – ADB, Published on Forbes, Sept. 19, 2007: MUMBAI (Thomson Financial) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said top global and regional financial officials have pledged to help small and weak states in Asia and the Pacific build and strengthen capacity to benefit from trade and spur economic growth to alleviate poverty … (full text).

Greenspan: China to determine world economic fate, Published on CHINAdaily, Sept. 18, 2007: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan signs his book “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World” in New York, September 17, 2007. [AP]
Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan predicted in his memoir that the world’s economic fate depends on China and its market economic development by the year of 2030. “If China continues to press ahead toward free-market economy, it will surely propel the world to new levels of prosperity?” Greenspan wrote in “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.” … (full text).

UN Finance, published on global policy, article not dated: The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $20 billion each year, or about $3 for each of the world’s inhabitants.

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Political Vacuum in Somalia

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

The Failure of Reconciliation and Reconstitution Opens Up a Political Vacuum in Somalia:

An excerpt of the end: … There are several scenarios for Somalia’s political future. In PINR’s judgment, the most likely one is continued devolution intensified by a possible spread of wider and more unified armed resistance against the Ethiopian and T.F.G. forces, and augmented by a loss of interest in Somalia by external actors, which will leave the country in the state of neglect that it suffered in the decade between 1994, when an international presence ended, and 2004, when the T.F.G. was formed.

Expect the Ethiopians to be worn down by attrition, the African states to become cooler to AMISOM, and the great powers to be unwilling to commit the resources necessary to make a political process attractive and to provide security.

The failure of reconciliation and reconstitution leaves Somalia where it was before the conferences, but that failure is also an indicator of the severity of fragmentation that external actors will take to heart. They have no Plan B and are likely to step back slowly from Somalia. The political vacuum will open wider, with the new possibility of civil war. (full long text).

Flagrants dlits

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Publi dans Voltairenet.org le 18 septembre 2007:

Extrait: … Le 19 aot dernier, le New York Times publiait une tribune de sept GIs affects en Irak, The War As We Saw It (La Guerre telle que nous la voyons). Brisant la langue de bois officielle, elle relanait dans le pays la polmique sur le bien-fond de la prsence militaire en Irak et sur la ncessit dun retrait immdiat.

Trois des sept salopards qui avaient sign cette tribune ont dj pay leur audace. Le sergent Jeremy Murphy a t touch la tte par un tir ennemi, il na gure de chances de survivre. Puis, les sergents Omar Mora et Yance T. Gray sont morts dans un accident de circulation Bagdad survenu la semaine dernire dans des circonstances imprcises … (tout le texte).

The Forced Migration Review FMR

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Linked with BASJAKs report on Jammu and Kashmir.

This article had been published on FMR online, by K C Saha, August 08, 2000.

Rethinking the Guiding Principles, the case of the Kashmiri Pandits:

This paper critically examines the universal applicability of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement by considering the displacement of Hindus from the Kashmir valley in the course of the low-intensity armed conflict in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

The Kashmiri Pandits are minority Hindus in the Kashmir valley. In December 1989 they started leaving their homes in response to separatist and fundamentalist threats and attacks on their homes, businesses and temples.(1) Imposition of direct central government rule between 1990 and 1996 did not bring an end to terrorist violence. By 1996, approximately 250,000 Kashmiri Pandits had been displaced to Jammu, Delhi and elsewhere, where they still remain.

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antiterrorist law – beyond intention

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Published in the english online edition of Le Monde diplomatique, by Jean-Claude Paye, november 2006.

In March the British House of Lords approved the antiterrorist law proposed by the Blair government after the London Transport attacks of 7 July 2005. The law represents a new step in the British governments ability to criminalise any political act, as well as support for such an act or even spoken opposition … (go to read the full text interview).

La fin des souverainets et des liberts en Europe

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Publi chez Voltairenet.org, par Silvia Cattori, septembre 12, 2007.

Interview avec Jean-Claude Paye: Les lois anti-terroristes, un acte constitutif de lEmpire.

Les lois ‘antiterroristes’ imposes par les tats-Unis ont servi jeter les bases sur lesquelles se construit un nouvel ordre de droit, observe le sociologue belge Jean-Claude Paye. Elles sappliquent dsormais dans tous les tats europens. Tout citoyen europen ordinaire peut, aujourdhui, tre surveill dans son propre pays par des services secrets trangers, tre dsign comme un ennemi combattant , tre remis aux tortionnaires de la CIA et tre jug par des commissions militaires tats-uniennes … (tout l’interview).

The Agrofuels Trap

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Published on FPIF Foreign Policy In Focus, by Laura Carlsen, September 10, 2007.

Agrofuel development has arrived on the global stage. Just this year, the number of declarations, dollars, and development plans that have gone to agrofuels are unparalleled in any other sector. An idea that languished for decades has suddenly become the darling of politicians, big business, international financiers and the media.

This fact alone should make us worry. Since when has an ecological response to fossil-fuel use found favor with governments and corporations alike? Agrofuels have been touted as the solution to the most pressing problems facing U.S. society and the planet: promoters claim they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stave off the end of industrial growth based on fossil fuels, are sustainable and renewable, increase energy security, and help farmers.

But a closer look reveals that the rosy future envisioned by agrofuels promoters in many ways looks like the worst of the past.

What are Agrofuels? … (full long text ).

James Moran on Guantanamo

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Published on FPIF Foreign Policy In Focus, by Michael Shank, June 14, 2007.

Excerpt: … Shank: Why do you think the president has been so reluctant to move forward constructively on Guantanamo?

Moran: For the same reason hes been reluctant to take constructive action with regard to the Iraq War. One, he wants to save face. And two, hes surrounded by the very same people that resulted in our establishment of a detainee policy of indefinite detention without charges and without the ability to defend yourself. These are close-minded people who have little respect for the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or why America has become the greatest nation on the planet. It was for reasons that are really the antithesis of what this administrations policy has been.

Im not surprised that hes reluctant to do the right thing. I cant think of where he has used his presidency to do the right thing, frankly, in any area of policy. The one possible exception might be the immigration bill, and he didnt have sufficient commitment to get it passed. Apparently it was a half-hearted commitment on his part.

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“Islam-as I say-tion”

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Linked with Haris Ibrahim – Malaysia, and with Haris Ibrahim’s blog: The Peoples Parliament.

Published on DISQUIET, by Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, April 5, 2007.

I have been struggling to give expression to the anxiety I have been experiencing at the way in which Islam is being articulated and implemented in this country. It is a process which stands out more for its emphasis on form over substance, its rigidity and repressiveness, rather than its emphasis on values and truths …

… There are laws in this country, though, that prohibit me from trying to live the Islam that I have come to understand, if my understanding does not conform with the decrees issued by councils of men, known as the Fatwa Committee or Fatwa Council. These laws, and these councils of men, are part of a process that has gradually begun to impact on the lives of all Malaysians. Those steering this process would have us believe that the Islamisation of Malaysia is their goal.

In a Malaysiakini report dated 24th July, 2006 entitled 10,000 Muslims attend forum centred on apostasy, Azmi Abdul Hamid of Teras is reported to have said:

We have every right to seek the continuation of this process of Islamisation.

Azmis quoted statement, for me, raises the following questions:

1.what does Azmi mean by this process of Islamisation?

2.Azmi speaks of the continuation of this process. When did it start?

3.Who are the we that Azmi speaks of?;

I have grave reservations about this process of Islamisation that Azmi speaks of. I am very concerned about this Islamisation that we see unfolding in our country … ” (more).

Current Concerns about Iraq

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Download the mentionned DOC

Published on voltairenet.org, June 2007.

In the light of the catastrophic deterioration of the situation in Iraq, we (the Current Conserns’ Team) decided to compile for our readers an electronic dossier.

During the 5th session of the Human Rights Council the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy gave his report. With respect to Iraq he proposed to establish an international and independent court of justice whose mandate will be the trial of those who committed all the crimes in Iraq before and after 2003.

Our dossier contains important information and analysis about the so-called Iraq Special Tribunal which was established by the US after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

This is part from our ongoing efforts to oppose the war, occupation and all its consequences. In this dossier you will fi nd articles and statements by public independent fi gures who are determined to raise their voices in conscientious opposition to this situation.

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For The Poor; Present Economic Development A Hope Or A Hoax?

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Firdous Syed, 13 September, 2007.

Discussion on growing income disparities in India in one of the previous columns of ‘Straight Lines’, had annoyed some friends living in far away places and far detached with the realties of life. It is an irony that the middle class in India has cocooned itself into a goody goody shell of its own where it does not want to confront the hard realties of life. Just published report of the ‘National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector’ may prove an eye-opener for them by bringing them to terms with the plight of the majority in India.

The report point out that the total number of people in India belonging to the poor and vulnerable group having a daily per capita consumption of less than Rs 20 in 2004-05 was 836 million, constituting about 77 percent of the population. Now compare this with the list of the top-100 remunerations in India. Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, tops the list. With the fiscal year ended March 2007, Mukesh Ambani took home Rs 24.51 crores. For the top-10 among the list, Mukesh Ambani, is closely followed by Sun TV CMD Kalanithi Maran and joint MD Kavery Kalanithi, whose annual remuneration stood at Rs 23.26 crores each in 2006-07. Telecom giant Bharti Airtel’s CMD Sunil Mittal ranks fourth with a take-home of close to Rs 15 crores, followed by Dr. Reddy’s Labs executive chairman K. Anji Reddy at fifth position with Rs 14.4 crores. Hero Honda chairman Brijmohan Lal Munjal and its MD and CEO Pawan Munjal are ranked at sixth and seventh positions respectively with a salary of Rs 13.99 crores and Rs 13.88 crores. Jindal Steel’s executive vice-chairman and MD Naveen Jindal is at eighth position (Rs 13.5 crores), followed by Hero Honda’s joint MD Toshiaki Nakagawa (Rs 13.44 crores) and JSW Steel vice-chairman and MD Sajjan Jindal (Rs 13.24 crores) … (full text).

economic turmoils & human development on this blog

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Linked with David Vaughan Icke – England.

Articles on this blog around economic turmoils & human development:

Ulster teachers aid peace hunt in Middle East

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From: Global HRE List
Date: 12/09/2007

Source / Belfast Telegraph. You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.

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Belfast Telegraph, published on 11, September 2007.
By Lisa Smyth

Teachers from wartorn Israel and Palestine are looking to Ulster classrooms for a possible solution to their nations’ conflict.

They were joined by others from Sierra Leone, UNESCO and Quebec at an international education congress recently where the Ulster Teachers’ Union unveiled the success of the conflict resolution project Lift Off, used throughout Ireland.

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Pipeline Politics, India and Myanmar

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Published on PINR, the Power & Interest News Report, September 10, 2007.

An excerpt: … Conclusion:

The junta is insisting that the rules of the gas fields have little to do with political decisions; rather, that it is the business as usual approach of offering the sale to the highest bidder. The decision to sell to PetroChina, however, emphasizes the complexity of resource diplomacy for all players within the region. India’s current loss in the field of energy security will likely not lead to a decrease in its attempts to win greater cooperation from Myanmar over counter-insurgency efforts, but it does reveal the deep connections between China and Myanmar. This relationship will prove hard for India to compete with in the long run, especially as long as the decision-making process within the junta follows the familiar route of political considerations at the expense of sound domestic economic policy.

An important consideration, unexamined here, is that India will not likely rock the diplomatic boat as long as its companies continue to enjoy privileged access to a country that is closed to U.S. and European competition. Exploration, after all, is still ongoing in the offshore blocks while Myanmar’s onshore basins remain largely untapped. (full long text).

Report Drafted by Gideon Lundholm.

2015-Watch report

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for nternational Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

EU aid programme to Africa fails to address Millennium Development Goals

Brussels, 26 June 2007: While overall aid is increasing, the EU is marginalising health and education in its aid programmes for Africa. Of the 23 billion Euro available between now and 2013, hardly any priority is given to social sector spending, which rests at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals.

The report, The EU’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals Halfway to 2015: Mid-term Review, shows that targets to allocate 20% of all EU aid to basic health and education will not be met. In fact, looking at the bigger picture the proportion of EU aid to basic education fell from 4% in 2000 to just 2.7% in 2005. And in Africa the situation seems particularly bad. Since 2001, the European Parliament has systematically included the targets to increase allocations to the Millennium Development Goals. The report concludes that despite its promises to the Parliament, the European Commission has no policy to reach the targets by 2009. The research shows that only two out of 61 EU programmes with the countries of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific cite health as a priority. Moreover, this is actually a decrease on the previous period. In terms of the fight against HIV&AIDS almost no activity has been identified, and education is a priority in just five out of the 61 programmes.

Alliance2015 President Vagn Berthelsen concludes: ‘The EU is not putting into practice its strong commitment to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. It is all too clear that Africa in particular needs a lot of support if it is to achieve these goals. We cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals unless we invest in teachers and health workers. When it comes to eradicating poverty, the European Commission should set an example for the European Union as a whole.’ … (full text).

Rich Growing Richer Faster Than Poor in Developing Asia

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

an Asian Development Bank Study

BEIJING, PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA – The rich are growing richer faster than the poor in developing Asia, and widening disparities in standards of living can threaten the growth process in one of the most dynamic regions of the world, says a new ADB report.

Key Indicators 2007, the flagship annual statistical publication of the Asian Development Bank, says the poor are still lagging behind in the regions rapid development even as poverty rates decline. Both relative and absolute inequality have increased in most parts of developing Asia, the report adds. While relative inequality is concerned with proportionate differences in incomes, absolute inequality is concerned with actual dollar differences in incomes.

Relative inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient has risen significantly in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), Lao PDR, Nepal and Sri Lanka between the 1990s and 2000s (see chart).

In the case of the PRC, the Gini coefficient is estimated at around 47 in 2004, closer to figures associated with Latin American economies and less reminiscent of the growth with equity experience of developing Asias original newly industrializing economies, such as the Republic of Korea and Taipei,China.

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Indian Country

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Published on Znet, by Scott Starr, August 24, 2007.

Beyond the Green Zone in Iraq

An excerpt out of the midst: … During the first Gulf War, Brigadier General Richard Neal, briefing reporters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, stated that the U.S. military wanted to be certain of speedy victory once they committed land forces to “Indian Country.” The following day, in a narrowly publicized statement of protest, the National Congress of American Indians pointed out that 15,000 Native Americans were serving as combat troops in the Gulf. Since General Neal’s comment, however, the term “Indian Country” has become military slang that is often used by troops and leaders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was also used in the Viet Nam war. I have heard it occasionally used in T.V. news interviews and documentaries with and about military personnel.

You see, beyond the “Green Zone” one encounters a “terrorist”-infested territory- a wilderness as dangerous to the “justice bearing liberators” as the lands inhabited by by “Redskins” with the resistance they offered during the Indian wars- wars that opposed the conquest, the theft, rape, murder and cultural genocide and treaty breaking mendacity of the allegedly Christian colonizers.

This linguistic use of the term “Indian Country” speaks volumes about the intellectual ignorance and dishonesty of many in the United States’ self image of the soul of America.

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Inside the populist machine

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Linked with Svetlana Slapsak – Slovenia.

published on Uni Graz, by Svetlana Slapak, not dated.

Inside the populist machine – Elites, intellectuals, narrativeproviders.

excerpt: … The other case links three generations of writers, united in pointing to the worst common enemy: not the nationalists, but the anti-war profiteers. This strategy is far more refined, and shows how precious intellectuals are in the populist public discourse. The oldest is represented by Predrag Palavestra, Serbian PEN President for some ten years, today PENs Secretary and one of the initiators of the new Writers Association.

He presented a daring fabrication to the International PEN in 1994, a collection of statements by the prominent Serbian nationalist writers, academics, and artists, in order to show they were not nationalist. Nobody at International PEN never cared to check the authenticity of statements, or what these persons were really writing and saying. At the same time, Palavestra attacked the anti-war profiteers as the real enemies of the Serbian people.

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… a Women’s Security Council?

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Linked with Svetlana Slapsak – Slovenia.

Why should there be an international body for security, consisting of women, or Women’s Security Council?

Published on glow-boell.de, by Svetlana Slapak, not dated.

excerpt: … In my and other women’s research in these topics, this was due to the complex historic, cultural, anthropological, and social situation in this specific region. As we were following the current trends in thinking gender, this obviously complied with the actual theoretical models of interpretation, especially that the gender is constructed or performed in and by culture, but at the same time it made us very cautious about any generalization. The recent Yugoslav case might not be identical with other war situations around the world. However, it can provide for some rather convincing arguments when the idea of Women’s Security Council is put on the table. My intention would be to tackle the possible negative reactions to this idea, and to challenge some of the stereotypes concerning participation and empowerment of women on the highest level world politics.

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At democracy’s crossroads?

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Linked with Praful Bidwai – India.

Published on The International News, by Praful Bidwai, August 17, 2007.

(The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a researcher and peace and human-rights activist based in Delhi).

All South Asians who value freedom must feel relieved that President Pervez Musharraf dropped the disastrous idea of imposing a state of emergency on Pakistan, which would have allowed him to postpone the legislative and presidential elections due soon. Musharraf seems to be undertaking some sobering introspection to the point of admitting that his popularity ratings have declined and accepting part of the blame for dismissing Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – a deplorable move on which he had to eat crow.

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Political Fallout of Indo-US Nuclear Deal Turns Severe

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Linked with Praful Bidwai – India.

Published on Znet (IPS), by Praful Bidwai, August 21, 2007.

NEW DELHI, Aug 17 (IPS) – The United States-India nuclear cooperation agreement, tabled in Indias Parliament on Monday, has precipitated the worst-ever political crisis for the Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government since it was formed a little over three years ago.

Although the existence of the left-of-centre UPA government is not immediately threatened, it has clearly lost the support of the communist parties on this defining foreign and security policy issue.

Support from the 59 members of parliament of the Left parties, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has been critically necessary for the survival of the UPA, which lacks a majority of its own in the 543-strong Lower House of Parliament …

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Calif. stealth initiative could grab White House for GOP

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Published on People’s Weekly World PWW.org, by Marilyn Bechtel, Aug. 18, 2007.

Under the guise of electoral reform, California Republicans are preparing to launch a deceptively-named ballot initiative which could seriously distort the results of next years presidential election.

In mid-July, Thomas W. Hiltachk, acting on behalf of an entity called Californians for Equal Representation, submitted to the state attorney generals office the so-called Presidential Election Reform Act to eliminate the current system of awarding the states 55 electoral votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote. Instead, all but two electoral votes would be awarded based on who wins in each of the states 53 congressional districts …

… Schwarzeneggers office, the California Republican Party and the Republican National Committee all said they have nothing to do with the proposed initiative. Well take a serious look at it once it qualifies for the ballot, said State Republican Party chair Ron Nehring.

Schwarzenegger told the Sacramento Bee, I havent looked at this, but Im interested to learn more about it.

Fund-raising was to start earlier this month, to raise up to $500,000 for polling and other preparatory work. Actually gathering the needed 434,000 signatures could cost $2 million.

Currently, only Maine and Nebraska, with nine electoral votes between them, award electoral votes based on congressional districts, though some other states are considering changes. A similar but Democrat-sponsored move in North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, has reportedly been sidetracked for now. (full text).

Myths Of Mideast Arms Sales

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by William D. Hartung, 12 August, 2007.

The Bush administrations proposal to send $20 billion worth of arms and $43 billion in military aid to U.S. allies in the Middle East has been promoted by repeating a series of time-worn myths that should have long since been abandoned. With a shooting war in Iraq and a war of words with Iran well under way, the last thing the region needs is a new influx of high tech weaponry.

The suggestions of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that this flood of armaments will be stabilizing in the short term while underscoring the U.S. commitment to moderates in the region over the longer term is a prime example of this historical amnesia.

Take Saudi Arabia, which continues to pursue policies that are moderate in name only. Not only is Riyadh one of the most undemocratic regimes in the world, but it has more often than not used its financial resources to promote extremism and repression elsewhere. From financing fundamentalist madrassahs in Pakistan to supporting Sunni insurgents in Iraq, the regime has a long track record of opposing the values of democracy and moderation that the Bush administration claims are the overarching principles of its foreign policy. Its hard to see how selling Saudi Arabia more military equipment will change this pattern, any more than arming the Shah of Iran in the 1970s and the Afghan rebels in the 1980s promoted stability in those countries … (full text).