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Index October 2007

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China and the end of poverty in Africa towards mutual benefit?

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter; first published on Diakonia, Sweden, Revised Sept. 12, 2007.

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- Summary of the report: China and the end of poverty in Africa towards mutual benefit? (626 kB)

- full report: China and the end of poverty in Africa towards mutual benefit? (1,4 MB)

In 2006 China hosted the Third Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) attended by 48 African heads of state and high level representatives. This unprecedented high level meeting witnessed the birth of a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.

Undisputedly, Chinese policies including trade and investments and its role as a donor and creditor will have an important impact on the future of developing countries in Africa and the joint global challenge to combat poverty.

New report from Diakonia analyses Chinas role:

Diakonia has in collaboration with European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) produced a report analysing Chinese development assistance policies, i.e. Chinas role as a donor to Africa, an area not so much written on in comparison with trade and investments. The report explores Chinese views on Chinas role as an important player in development policies and what responses China has to concerns expressed by external stakeholders about the increased Chinese cooperation with Africa.

Three issues in relation to devolpment assistance: … (full text).

Somaliland Moves to Close its Borders and is Caught in a Web of Conflict

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Published on PINR, by Michael A. Weinstein, 31 October 2007.

Excerpt: … Somaliland is not about to lose its independence to a unified Somalia that remains a dream, nor is Ethiopia likely to abandon it entirely. Indeed, some local analysts believe that with Gedi gone, Addis Ababa will try to distance itself from Yusuf by making an alliance with Hawiye factions — as it has done in the past — and move closer to Hargeisa as a consequence. PINR judges that such a shift is less likely than continued support for Yusuf.

The change that has occurred through Somaliland’s capture of Los Anod is that it has been drawn into Somalia’s fragmented conflicts and is now vulnerable to suffering internal destabilization if its policies fail. Those policies are thoroughly intelligible in light of Hargeisa’s perceived interests and its isolation — just as are Eritrea’s and Israel’s — but they are fraught with danger. It remains to be seen whether Somalilanders have the resilience necessary to overcome the stresses of embattled isolation. (full long text).

more news on Somaliland & Somalia:

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Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater

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Published on The People’s Voice.org, by Wayne Madsen, Sept. 27, 2007, and re-published (in french) on Voltairenet.org online (Vent de rbellion dans les forces US), October 29, 2007.

An excerpt: Wayne Madsen Report WMR has learned from U.S. and foreign intelligence sources that the B-52 transporting six stealth AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles, each armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead, on August 30, were destined for the Middle East via Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

However, elements of the Air Force, supported by U.S. intelligence agency personnel, successfully revealed the ultimate destination of the nuclear weapons and the mission was aborted due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community.

Yesterday, the /Washington Post/ attempted to explain away the fact that America’s nuclear command and control system broke down in an unprecedented manner by reporting that it was the result of “security failures at multiple levels.” It is now apparent that the command and control breakdown, reported as a BENT SPEAR incident to the Secretary of Defense and White House, was not the result of a command and control chain-of-command “failures” but the result of a revolt and push back by various echelons within the Air Force and intelligence agencies against a planned U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional
weapons.

The /Washington Post/ story on BENT SPEAR may have actually been an effort in damage control by the Bush administration. WMR has been informed by a knowledgeable source that one of the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles was, and may still be, unaccounted for. In that case, the nuclear reporting incident would have gone far beyond BENT SPEAR to a National Command Authority alert known as EMPTY QUIVER, with the special classification of PINNACLE.

Just as this report was being prepared, /Newsweek/ reported that Vice President Dick Cheney’s recently-departed Middle East adviser, David Wurmser, told a small group of advisers some months ago that Cheney had considered asking Israel to launch a missile attack on the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz. Cheney reasoned that after an Iranian retaliatory strike, the United States would have ample reasons to launch its own massive attack on Iran. However, plans for Israel to attack Iran directly were altered to an Israeli attack on a supposed Syrian-Iranian-North Korean nuclear installation in northern Syria … (full long text).

EDITORS’ NOTES on The People’s Voice.org:

1: The story can’t be verified, but we considered it important enough to publish it so that our readers at least can get to know WHAT the story IS, whether true or false.

2: This article has generously been brought to our attention by Sarah Meyer of INDEX RESEARCH.

And my comment: in any way, during the french May 68 student’s revolution, one had written on a wall (my translation): ‘imagine there is war and nobody is participating‘.

IF our humanity has to survive, it’s with the help of THIS people, not with our ‘Cheneys’.

When Blackwater Kills, No Questions Asked

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Published on IPS, by Ali al-Fadhily, IPS correspondent in Baghdad, October 30, 2007.

2 excerpts: … The recent attacks by Blackwater USA mercenaries in Baghdad are far from the first – and many believe they will not be the last …

… The political fallout from the incident in Baghdad last month has led the Iraqi government to accept the findings of an Iraqi investigative committee that Blackwater guards are guilty of the killings, and that they acted without provocation.

The Iraqi investigators said Blackwater should be expelled from the country, and demanded eight million dollars compensation for the family of each victim. Officials decided last week to establish a committee to find ways to repeal a 2004 directive issued by L. Paul Bremer, head of the former U.S. occupation government in Iraq, which placed private security companies outside Iraqi law, making them immune to prosecution.

Many Iraqis are angry that Blackwater enjoys special rights.

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On Track for U.S. Collapse

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Published on LewRockwell.com, by Michael S. Rozeff, October 27, 2007.

2 excerpts: Bush and Cheney are steering the U.S. into a collapse. Only strong public voices by influential people can prevent the coming disaster. We desperately need for men and women who are known to the public and have credibility to speak up in the critical period ahead to avoid catastrophe.

  • A few weeks ago, Israel bombed a alleged nuclear facility in Syria. This is a warm-up for an attack on Iran.
  • In the last few days, the U.S. unilaterally tightened sanctions on Iran. Russia and China do not support this move.
  • A week ago Bush warned Iran that its attainment of nuclear arms would lead to World War III.
  • Russia, which has been assisting Iran in its nuclear construction program for decades, regards Western military action against Iran as unacceptable.
  • China has been arming Iran with missiles. Its relations with Iran have been improving for years.
  • We know that Bush and Cheney are capable of pre-emptive attack. We know that Bush will act if he believes he is right no matter what the costs are. In his distorted worldview, Iran with nuclear weapons is a scenario worth any cost to avoid.

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Creating Our Own Hell on Earth

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Published on ZNet, by Tom Turnipseed, October 26, 2007.

Climate Warming Causes Drought Fueled Mega-Fires

(Columbia, S.C.) Five years ago my wife and I discontinued using our lawn irrigation sprinkler system, now we only water our small vegetable garden. Facing evidence of climate change, we are trying to do our part to save water.

With water supplies rapidly shrinking, Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia declared a state of emergency for 85 counties and asked President Bush to declare it a major disaster area on October 20, 2007. A drought of historic proportions is affecting Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, as well as parts of North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. Meanwhile, drought is feeding a fiery fiasco in California …

… On October 24, 2007, Ellie Venom with the Conservation Voters of South Carolina wrote a guest column titled Lacking Vision on Energy in The State paper in Columbia, South Carolina She is highly critical of Santee Cooper, South Carolinas publicly owned utility, for their proposed construction of a 1,320 megawatt pulverized coal plant in a rural area along the great Pee Dee River. Rather than their pumping tens of thousands of tons of toxic pollutants into the air and water every year, Ms. Veno contends they can invest in efficiency and conservation to meet the demand for electricity. She says, Our states lack of vision on energy, whether at the federal, state or local level, is a grim reminder that South Carolina is still wandering lost in the energy dark ages.

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Breaking Down an Innocent Man

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The FBI’s Right to Threaten Torture

Linked with FRONTLINE.

Published on Counterpunch.org, by JAMES BOVARD, October 27/28, 2007.

A federal appeals court has concluded that an FBI agent must go to trial on charges he coerced a false confession out of a prime suspect in the 9/11 attacks. But the FBI still insists that its agent did nothing wrong. And the feds swayed the court to suppress that portion of a recent decision detailing how the FBI agent used the threat of torture to break an innocent man.

Abdallah Higazy, a 30-year-old Egyptian student, arrived in New York City to study engineering at the Polytechnic University in Brooklyn on August 27, 2001. A U.S. foreign-aid program reserved and paid for his room at the Millennium Hilton Hotel, next to the World Trade Center. After the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, Higazy hot-footed it out of the hotel. After the terrorist attack, the hotel was sealed.

Three months later, guests were allowed to retrieve their belongings. When Higazy went to the hotel on December 17, he was arrested and accused of possessing an aviation radio. (A hotel security guard reported finding the radio in a safe in his room.) Higazy denied owning the radio. He was arrested as a material witness and locked up in solitary confinement …

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Are Presidents Entitled to Kill Foreigners?

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Linked with FRONTLINE.

Published on The Future of Freedom Foundation FFF, by James Bovard, October 5, 2007.

What is the common term for ordering soldiers to kill vast numbers of innocent people?

A war crime.

But not when it is done on the command of the U.S. president.

Killing innocent foreigners seems to be a perk of the modern presidency akin to the bands playing Hail to the Chief when he enters the room.

Bush is revving up the war threats against Iran. Seymour Hersh reported in the current issue of the New Yorker that the administration is advancing plans to bomb many targets in Iran. British newspapers have confirmed that the Pentagon has a list of thousands of bombing targets. Hardly anyone claims that Iran poses a threat to the United States.

Yet few people in Washington seem to dispute the presidents right to attack Iran. It is as if the presidential whim is sufficient to justify blasting any foreign nation that does not kowtow to the commands of the U.S. government …

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The Nuke Deal Is Dead

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Published by Counterpunch, by Vijay Prashad, October 23, 2007.

On October 12, 2007, the Congress Party threw in the towel. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the leader of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi told the press that they would step back from the US-India nuclear deal. “If the deal does not come through,” Singh said plaintively, “that is not the end of life. In politics, we must survive short-term battles to address long-term concerns.”

The short-term battle was won by the Communists, who led the opposition to the deal and winnowed regional parties away from the Congress and toward their position. The Communists’ stance is that the nuclear deal (set in motion in 2005) is only one part of a wider embrace between the Indian and US governments, and between Indian and US-based corporations …

… Dollars from Rupees: In the early 1990s, the U. S. administration read the shift in India quite correctly. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen observed the middle-class of 60 million, the size of France, and salivated. For Bentsen, and for the Clinton administration, the existence of this class and its hitherto suffocated desires meant that there existed a market to help contain the crisis of over-accumulation to which “globalization” was to be the answer. A decline in the annual rate of growth of the global Gross Domestic Product from the 1960s (5.4%) to the 1980s (3%) offered evidence of the crisis, but nothing was as stark as the falling profit rate of the 500 U. S. transnational corporations (4.7% in the late 1950s to -5.3% in the 1980s). Walden Bello recites these figures and concludes, “Oversupply of commodities and inadequate demand are the principle corporate anomalies inhibiting performance in the global economy” …

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Early Graphic Expressions

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URL for all pages, click on the intern titel.

Subject Matter: How do graphic expressions originate? What attributes, structural formations and developmental tendencies are observable in early graphic expressions? Is that which emerges a product or a process? Are its attributes universal or are they always bound to the specific cultural context from which they arise? Wherein lie early pictorial awareness and aesthetics? What general aspects of early human symbolic behavior do early graphic expressions convey?

Early Graphic Expressions An Empirical Reference for Europe:
Wherein lie early pictorial awareness and aesthetics? Since 1999, we have devoted our research at the HGKZ* to this area of inquiry. The realization that reliable and broadly accepted empirical knowledge on the origins of graphic expression has yet to be gained is a motivating factor as well as a source for our studies; As a first result, we publish en empirical reference of early graphic expressions produced by European children. The publication consists of a picture archive (c. 25′000 pictures, c. 200 children, age c. 1 to 6) and a tutorial. The archive and the tutorial is accessible over the Internet (open in September 2007; read only) and will be available as book and DVDRom in 2008 (read and write, including interactive instruments).

Re-Edition ‘Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection’: Re-Edition of the historical archive?The Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection in a digital version (open in September 2007). Research, Development, Lectures, Seminaries (Zurich University of the Arts): Main page of the research on early graphic expressions and the related lectures and seminaries at the Zurich University of the Arts.

Contact:

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The Map of the International Investments Changes

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Published on Voltairenet.org, 23 October 2007.

“The International Investment Map has changed due to the international economic developments, the most important of which is oil prices”. This is what Mr. Hamad al-Qadi, the international expert in the field of the agreements of the international investment for trade and development in UNCTAD. According to al-Qadi, the increase of oil prices has pushed towards investment in oil industries on the account of investing in other sectors …

  • “Al-Olaa” Company is Being Granted the License for Financial Investments in Syria;
  • Syria Express Its Readiness to Open a Trade Consulate for the Turkish Cypriots;
  • The Increase of “Tamweel” Companys Profits by 244 million Dirhams;
  • Emirats Revenues of Non-Oil Products Double;
  • The Construction of the First Factory for Producing Biological Fuel in Russia;
  • The Egyptian “Orascom” for Construction Builds the First Station of Solar System in Egypt;
  • Syria Opens a Trade Consulate for the Turkish Cypriots.

… (full text).

India and Dalits

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Linked with Business and castes in India.

Published on Human Rights Watch HRW, February 13, 2007.

3 Excerpts: India: ‘Hidden Apartheid’ of Discrimination Against Dalits, Government Fails to End Caste-Based Segregation and Attacks India has systematically failed to uphold its international legal obligations to ensure the fundamental human rights of Dalits, or so-called untouchables, despite laws and policies against caste discrimination, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today (February 13, 2007). More than 165 million Dalits in India are condemned to a lifetime of abuse simply because of their caste …

… On December 27, 2006 Manmohan Singh became the first sitting Indian prime minister to openly acknowledge the parallel between the practice of ‘untouchability’ and the crime of apartheid. Singh described ‘untouchability’ as a ‘blot on humanity’ adding that ‘even after 60 years of constitutional and legal protection and state support, there is still social discrimination against Dalits in many parts of our country’.

‘Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the rights of Dalits’, said Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York Unive’The Indian government can no longer deny its collusion in maintaining a system of entrenched social and economic segregation’ …

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Business and castes in India

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Linked with Nishikant Waghmare – India, and with India and Dalits.

First read this two Economist’s articles, published both Oct 4th 2007:

With reservations, India’s government is threatening to make companies hire more low-caste workers, and Untouchable and unthinkable, Hiring quotas would not help lower-caste Indians and would harm business.

Nishikant Waghmare’s reply sent to the Economist (received copy by mail on Oct. 24, 2007):

Dear Editor,

I wish bring to your notice an article published in your Magazine “Business and Caste in India” October 4, 2007.

It is really great to see that such a kind of research done by British people on Caste system of India where there are more than 8500 Castes and sub-castes in Hindu Religion in India.

The “Issue of Castes” which is debarred in the Elite – Upper Castes Hindu Indian Media is finding place in your esteemed magazine of U.K . Please accept my warm heartiest congratulations for publishing Castes in India Issues which are national interest and are particularly close to my heart. However the views expressed in the article are extremely skewed. For example, the World Bank findings have indicated that Caste breeds economic inequalities.

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Cheney’s Law

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Received by mail:

From: WorldCitizen, (John)
Date: 17/10/2007

(WorldCitizen is an actively discussing Yahoo Group).

Videos that could break the back of tyranny in America: The Power Behind the Power revealed – PBS.ORG gives us the inside info on “Cheney’s Law”. The face of tyranny is ugly, even with a bit of make up.

These several videos make up the full program. Watch them before they are removed. Try to find a way to down load them. Oct. 16, 2007:

Best you go directly to this page of PBS.ORG, and begin to listen to the first one, or you click on this link http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/cheney/view/main.html

Click on video 1, when finished, click on ‘next’, etc. until to sixth /Epilogue.

Cheney’s Law:

Video 1: The Way it would be, 8.38.;

Video 2: The Office of Legal Cousel OLC, 8.31 min;.

Video 3:End-Running the Process, 5.20 min.;

Video 4: The Education of Jack Goldsmith, 5.56 min.;

Video 5: Goldsmith Says ‘NO’, 9.48 min.;

Video 6: Battle of the Lawyers, 8.51 min.;

and: Epilogue. 9.13 min. !

The link can be found also on this yahoo group: Freedom Of Speech Now, or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreedomOfSpeechNow/message/357

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” (George Orwell).

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Walker’s World: Fixing global finance

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Published on United Press International UPI, by MARTIN WALKER, UPI Editor Emeritus, Oct. 10, 2007.

2 excerpts: … Nor do the big central bankers qualify as global financial managers. They may have consulted somewhat during the latest flurries in the debt markets, but they did not coordinate, and the policies of the U.S. Fed, the European Central Bank, and the banks of England and Japan were palpably not aligned …

… The World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington on the weekend of Oct. 20-21, which will be joined by a meeting of G7 finance ministers to be hosted by the U.S. Treasury, offers a rare opportunity for a kind of global financial summit that could hardly be better timed.

The roof is starting to collapse on the global housing bubble, as housing markets begin to freeze up not only in the United States, but also in many other countries, such as high-flying Spain, notes the IMFs former chief economist, now Harvard professor, Ken Rogoff.

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The Nansen passport

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(Published on this page of wikipedia):

A longer excerpt: Nansen passports were internationally recognized identity cards first issued by the League of Nations to stateless refugees.

Designed in 1922 by Fridtjof Nansen, in 1942 they were honored by governments in 52 countries and were the first refugee travel documents.

Approximately 450,000 Nansen passports were issued, helping hundreds of thousands of stateless people to immigrate to a country that would have them. The Nansen International Office for Refugees was awarded the 1938 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to establish the Nansen passports.

The Nansen passport was developed after the Russian Revolution, when 1.4 million Russians moved out of Russia due to ideological conflicts with the communist government.[citation needed] Hundreds of thousands of them stayed permanently abroad. It proved to be a great success, one of the few that could be attributed to the League of Nations.

While Nansen passports are no longer issued, present national authorities, including the United Nations, issue documents for stateless people and refugees. These include: Certificate of Identity (or Alien’s Passport), Travel Document (also known as a “Refugee Travel Document”) and Laissez-Passer

… (read the rest of this article on wikipedia).

My question: which reason stopped the issue of this passport? A work meriting a Nobel Peace Prize?

Links:

Homepage of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;

Ten things you may not know about Wikipedia;

Wikimedia Foundation.org.

IMF – developing nations drive the globe

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Published on Asia Times online, by Abid Aslam, Oct. 19, 2007.

2 excerpts: … China, India, Russia and other developing countries will propel the world economy in the year ahead, the IMF says in its latest World Economic Outlook report.

In contrast, advanced economies – hobbled by financial turmoil that originated in poorly regulated niches of their capital markets – will continue to lose steam.

China and India have emerged as the top two contributors to world production and, along with Russia, “accounted for one half of global growth over the past year”, the IMF said. “Other emerging markets and developing countries have also maintained robust expansions,” it added, thanks to buoyant commodity prices, strong domestic demand, stout currency reserves, and reduced debt.

Governments in developing countries have said their importance to the world economy merits a fundamental shift in the balance of power between rich and poor at the IMF and in other organs of global economic governance …

… “At this stage, we still do not know precisely how the losses from the US subprime mortgage market will be distributed nor whether credit conditions will tighten further as expectations of losses affect bank behavior,” Johnson said.

“Like a forest that has not seen a fire in many years, a benign financial environment, including low volatility and unusually narrow risk spreads, had built up a sizeable underbrush of risky loans, relaxed lending standards, and high leverage in certain areas,” he added. “When problems ignited in the US subprime mortgage market, the fire ‘jumped’ in somewhat surprising ways to other areas.”

Chances of a US recession have risen, the IMF said in its report, but the world’s largest economy likely would see a prolonged period of listlessness rather than contraction … (full text).

Link: IMF publications.

The forgotten refugees of the U.S. war on Iraq

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Published on Socialist Worker online, October 19, 2007.

… WHATEVER CRITICISMS can be made of the Jordanian and Syrian governments treatment of refugees, it is exceedingly generous in comparison to the locked-door policy of the U.S.

Between April 2003 and January 2007, the U.S. had resettled just 753 Iraqi refugees. The government promised to increase that number by 7,000 in the 2007 fiscal year, but recently admitted that only 1,608 had been resettled so far.

The Bush administration tried to change the subject by playing up financial support for UNHCR and other relief agencies. But Kristele Younes of the organization Refugees International says that the U.S. contribution – a new $100 million announced earlier this year – is tiny in view of the needs of Iraqi refugees.

Since October 2006, the U.S. government has gone from denying that large numbers of vulnerable Iraqi refugees even existed to speaking openly of an Iraqi refugee crisis, she wrote in May. But its actual financial commitments are commensurate neither with the need nor with the U.S. role in creating the displacement crisis in the first place. The president and his war cabinet have yet to recognize the human toll the violence has been taking on Iraqi civilians and neighboring countries.

Nir Rosen made a similar point. This is not any other crisis, he wrote. It is an American-made humanitarian catastrophe. Rosen noted that the International Organization of Migration issued an appeal for $85 million over two years, but has received less than half that amount.

For its part, the UNHCR has increased its budget for Iraqi refugees from $23 million to $123 million, and joined with UNICEF to try to raise $129 million for the education of Iraqi refugee children. But all this is a pittance compared to U.S. spending on war and occupation … (full text).

Link: Millions in flight, the Iraqi refugee crisis.

American Tears

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Linked with Naomi Wolf – USA.

Published on the Huffington Post, by Naomi Wolf, 15 October, 2007.

… The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness — but I am finding crowds of people who don’t need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country …

… Is it treason yet?

This is an open invitation to honorable patriots on the Right and in the center to join this movement to restore the rule of law and confront this horror: this is not conservatism, it is a series of crimes against the nation and against the very essence of America. Join us, we need you.

This movement must transcend partisan lines. The power of individual conscience is profound when people start to wake up.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said No: he told colleague that they would be ashamed when the world learned about the Administration’s warrantless wiretapping. A judge today ruled that the U.S. can’t just ship prisoners out of Guantanamo to be tortured at will — she said No. The Center for Constitutional Rights is about to file a civil lawsuit — against Blackwater: they are saying No.

In Germany, according to historian Richard Evans, in 1931-1932, if enough Germans of conscience had begun to say No — history would have had an entirely diferent outcome.

If we go any further down this road the tears will be those of conservatives as well as progressives. They will be American tears.

The time for weeping has to stop; the time for confronting must begin. (full text).

Link: La rpression politique stend aux tats-Unis, par Naomi Wolf, 18 octobre 2007.

Agriculture key to meeting UN anti-poverty goals

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Published on ABS-CBN news, by AFP, Oct. 19, 2007.

The World Bank warned Friday that the UN goal of halving the incidence of poverty and hunger in the poorest countries would go unmet unless agriculture took center stage in development aid.

“Poverty is overwhelmingly rural and will be for decades to come,” World Bank chief economist Francois Bourguignon said at the presentation of the Bank’s annual World Development Report.

He said the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving the percentage of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015 “will only be met in poor countries if much greater attention is paid to agriculture as an instrument for development” …

… “We are in front of political economy problems in some countries,” he said. “It is true that agricultural producers are able to exert pressure on the rest of society.”

The Bank report in particular called on the United States to reduce cotton subsidies that it said depress prices for African smallholders.

The World Trade Organization recently ruled that US subsidies to cotton farmers breached global trade rules.

The finding confirmed a preliminary ruling in July in favor of Brazil, which initially brought the complaint in 2005, and paved the way for sanctions. (full text).

Guru of greed, the cult of selfishness

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Published on the Independent, by Leonard Doyle, 12 October 2007.

3 excerpts: … Why is it that millions of ordinary Americans vote for conservative policies that seem inimical to their lives? Why are the politicians who support healthcare reforms to give access to a doctor for the 47 million Americans without insurance branded as closet socialists or worse?

Why, in this upside-down world do so many blue-collar Americans vote Republican, and family farmers support a President whose Wall Street friends would gladly push them off the land?

Why do people shrug and say “tough”, when they read that hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their homes, after falling victims to crooked mortgage salesmen? The most common response is that millions of people who otherwise could never have afforded a home are now enjoying the American Dream.

Perhaps the greatest political riddle of the US is why so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? …

… The answer may be contained in the writings of the Russian emigre and radical libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand. Two decades after her death, she remains the darling of right-thinking Americans and sales of her novels, paens of praise to unbridled capitalism, are even outselling The Da Vinci Code …

… One of the characters in Atlas Shrugged, summarises her philosophy of Objectivism with the following oath: “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another human being, or ask another human being to live for mine.”

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The Role of Myanmar’s Export Markets in Regime Survival

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Published on PINR, by Gideon Lundholm, 18 October 2007.

U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari has begun a tour of Myanmar’s neighbors to gain their support in putting political pressure on the government …

… Conclusion: China is often cited as the only vector of leverage for placing pressure on the isolated government in Myanmar. Trade data shows that there are other potential avenues to follow which may not be as politically palatable. While there are other important considerations beyond the economic, including strategic, political and the wider context of trade within A.S.E.A.N., China’s bilateral trade partnership is not the largest revenue earner for the government. When considering the relative size of the trade numbers in relation to China’s overall trade statistics, it is possible that China’s influence and interest within the country has been overstated, especially recently in the context of the protests.

What is certain is that the combination of resource royalties, the recent windfall of oil and gas discoveries and regional trading partners that are capitalizing on the vacuum created by European and U.S. trade restrictions has allowed the Myanmar government to survive and maintain the political status quo within the country. For actors trying to find ways to influence the government, the importance of trading partners within A.S.E.A.N., especially Thailand, should not be overlooked.
(full long text).

FOR EVERY ONES IMMIDIATE CONCERN

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Received by mail:

From: WorldCitizen
Date: 17/10/2007

(WorldCitizen is an actively discussing Yahoo Group)

Excerpt of the mail: … 1) There is no proof that “Osama Bin Ladin, Al Queada, New People’s Army, etc” did 911.

Osama Bin Ladin is wanted for several things, but he is not wanted for doing 911. Even the FBI do not have solid proof of his involvement with 911.

There isn’t a mention of 911 on the FBI webpage in regard to Osama Bin Ladin, take a look for yourself. Don’t we find this a little odd? And the CIA are not looking for him.

People should look at history and look up the words, False Flag. Examples of documented False Flag Terrorism (see also their Homepage) and read this one carefully and follow the links.

2) In regard to Poverty I don’t agree that this the root cause of war but Greed is, especially the Greed of those who already have plenty.

Another cause of war is that people follow leaders right or wrong, whether big ones or small ones – the big leaders (with lots of money) being the worse for orchestrating wars, which kill countless numbers of innocent people including children.

Time to wake up. Power does indeed corrupt.

John.

Visit the WorldCitizen group on the web.

Women a rare sight in China’s corridors of power

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Published on WebIndia, by (Reuters) 10FN37.xml, Oct 10 2007.

There are women to be found in China’s halls of power, but most of them are serving tea

BEIJING – Nearly 60 years after Mao Zedong’s Communists came to power championing women as an economic force, giving them rights to hold land and seek divorce, few have risen through the political ranks to reach the top.

Now, as a five-yearly Party Congress prepares to meet next week and speculation heats up as to who will be promoted to the Party’s highest levels, the lack of women among those in contention is more obvious than ever.

‘You can’t simply say it’s about traditional ideas and culture, or simply about China’s political system,’ said Feng Yuan, the gender and women’s rights coordinator at ActionAid, a non-governmental organisation.

‘Because in reality, those traditional concepts and the political system influence and reinforce each other.’ No woman has ever served on the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and there is currently only one on the 24-member Politburo – Vice Premier Wu Yi, known as China’s ‘Iron Lady’ for her toughness in trade talks and crisis management …

… Despite the hurdles, analysts say there are some signs of optimism, and a growing awareness among leaders of the need to include more women in positions of power.

‘I think there is a much stronger core group if the higher leaders allow them to continue to come forward and assume more and more responsible jobs,’ said Gilmartin.

‘It would be seen very negatively if China doesn’t make some more progress at this next Party Congress in terms of the number of women who are in the higher bodies of the Communist Party.’

(full text).

Sant & Dveloppement la porte de tous

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L’avenir des traditions et l’conomie de demain, samedi 3 et dimanche 4 novembre 2007

Universit UniMail Genve, Salle MR070. (Programme sous rserve de modifications).

Rservation: par e-mail, Participation aux frais: CHF 50., payables lentre, Organisation: Conservatoire des Savoirs Mdicaux Traditionnels et Populaires.

Programme

Samedi, 3 novembre 2007:

  • 08 h 30 Accueil;
  • 09 h 00 Introduction du Prsident de la Fondation CSMTP Prof. Michel Veuthey
    Modrateur Raymond Zoller, journaliste;
  • 09 h 15 Dr Erick Gbodossou, PRO.ME.TRA. Int. Dakar: Lavenir des traditions, perspective africaine;
  • 10 h 00 M. Alexandre Douline, ingnieur en gnie civil, CRATerre-Ensag, de lEcole Nationale Suprieure dArchitecture de Grenoble: La terre a-t-elle un avenir?
  • 10 h 45 Pause;
  • 11 h 15 Dr Guy Loutan, homopathe: Lquilibre cologique et la sant;
  • 12 h 00 Pause de midi;
  • Continue Reading…

The Missing

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Linked with Robin M. Coupland – England, with Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and with Weekly Ethical Reflection.

Published on CICR, International Conference of Governmental and Non-Governmental Experts, 87 pdf-pages, Geneva, 19-21 February 2003.

Action to resolve the problem of people unaccounted for as a result of armed conflict or internal violence and to assist their families

Mission statement: The aim is to heighten awareness among governments, the military, international and national organizations including the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent network and the general public about the tragedy of people unaccounted for as a result of armed conflict or internal violence and about the anguish of their families by creating and making available tools for action and communication in order to ensure accountability on the part of the authorities responsible for resolving the problem of missing people, to better assist the families and to prevent further disappearances … (full 87 pages text).

Links:

30th International Conference, official working documents, 12-10-2007;

Weapon contamination manual: Reducing the impact of explosive remnants of war and landmines through field activities, ICRC Publication 2007 ref. 0921;

Reviewing the legality of new weapons, means and methods of warfare, by Kathleen Lawand, International Review of the Red Cross No 864, p. 925-930, 31-12-2006, 6 pdf-pages;

Catalogue: a selection of the ICRC’s publications and films, ICRC Publication 2006, ref. 0822, 64 pdf-pages;

Books and articles, International Review of the Red Cross No 861, p. 207-215, 31-03-2006, 9 pdf-pages;

Neurobiology: A case study of the imminent militarization of biology, by Mark Wheelis and Malcolm Dando, International Review of the Red Cross, No 859, p. 553-572, 30-09-2005, 19 pdf-pages;

Report on Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity, 30-06-2003.

Top of the Agenda: Russia-U.S. Talks

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Published on CFR Council on Foreign Relations, October 12, 2007.

Meetings focused on arms control open today in Moscow between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Russian leaders. The New York Times says lingering disagreements over U.S. missile defense plans could derail negotiations at a time of political touchiness between the countries.

Russias President Vladimir Putin signaled he would continue to press against U.S. plans (BBC) to install radar and missile interceptors in the Czech Republic and Poland. Russia says the system poses a threat to Russian security and recommended an alternative radar system based in Azerbaijan. Putin also threatened to withdraw Russia (AFP) from the Soviet-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that limits Russian and U.S. medium- and short-range missiles. A Backgrounder outlines Russias concerns over regional arms control measures.

Todays talks also broached the subject of Irans push to develop its nuclear capabilities, and Rice insisted that Tehran has a history of obfuscation and lying (AP) about its nuclear intentions …

(full text).

The role of trade unions in workers education

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Published on ILO, the Internationl Labour Organization, Bureau for Workers Activities.

The key to trade union capacity building, a 54 pdf-pages background paper for International Workers Symposium, held in Geneva, 812 October 2007.

Excerpt of Preface: … Unions are faced with the effects of unfair globalization, attacks on their existence by supporters of neo-liberalism, rapidly changing technology in the workplace, undemocratic global governing bodies and expanding informal economies in which people try to make a living as best they can, as well as other challenges such as the worst forms of child labour and HIV/AIDS. Learning how to address these and other issues effectively is the key to the continuing health and growth of the labour movement. And the key to learning in the labour movement is effective union education. Improving the funding of union education, linking it to labour research and workplace issues, making it relevant to a broader spectrum of working people, updating its methodologies and training its practitioners will help the movement learn how to create the new knowledge it needs to face the challenges ahead.

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SECTES – L’interview de Raphal Liogier par le CICNS

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With an english translation of FAQs: Another way to look at cults?

Professeur des universits l’IEP d’Aix en Provence, Raphal Liogier enseigne la sociologie et l’anthropologie.

Raphal Liogier dirige l’Observatoire du Religieux et le Master Religion et Socit. Il est, notamment, l’auteur de ‘Le Bouddhisme mondialis’ aux ditions Ellipses, et ‘Une lacit lgitime, La France et ses religions d’Etat’ aux ditions Entrelacs.

Dans ce dernier ouvrage, il dcrypte les mcanismes de la lacit en France. Il nous livre dans cette interview limpide son regard, sans concession pour les ides reues, sur cette spcificit franaise.

Ecoutez sur Video son discours de 25.35 minutes.

Vous pouvez vous procurer cette interview sur DVD en crivant par mail.

Visitez le site pour voir toutes les interviews de sociologues, juristes, historiens, ethnologues et de personnes discrimines sur ‘Sectes, un autre regard‘.

Secrets of money, interest and inflation

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(Disponiblee aussi en franais: lis ici tout de ce long texte)

Linked with Rudo de Ruijter – Netherlands.

Published on GlobalEurope Anticipation Bulletin, by Rudo de Ruijter, 08 octobre 2007.

Money plays a big role in our life. In society too, nearly everything is determined by money. It is strange, that only few people know the juggling tricks, by which money originates and disappears again. Most people see, that money becomes worth less all the time, but they dont know, that this is caused, in the first place, by the money system itself. Also the eternal chase for economic growth and the always increasing working pressure in industrialized countries, are caused by the money system. Money can also serve for oppression, for instance of the Third World countries, or be the motive for wars, like the one against Iraq. Would you like to take a small tour behind the scene? Welcome to the circus of the money-jugglers!

1. Making money

2. Permanent inflation

3. Central banks need inflation

4. Caprices of the money stock

5. The war against Iraq

6. Oppression of the Third World

7. Chinas weapon

8. Inflation and economic growth

9. Further growth or a sustainable society?

Go on through the (full long text).

Read also: Pipelines to 9/11, August 18th, 2006, and same in french version: Pipelines Vers Le 11 Septembre, Novembre, 2006.

Africas missing billions

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Published on Oxfam International, 38 pdf-pages, October 11, 2007.

… Africa suffers enormously from conflict and armed violence. As well as the human tragedy, armed conflict costs Africa around $18bn per year, seriously derailing development.

The most commonly used weapons in Africas conflicts are Kalashnikov assault rifles. The vast majority of these weapons and their ammunition perhaps 95 per cent – come from outside Africa.

To protect lives and livelihoods, the 2008 UN Group of Governmental Experts working on the Arms Trade Treaty must ensure swift progress towards a strong and effective Treaty. All governments have a role to play in ensuring its success …

A FOREWORD BY ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF: As an economist, I am acutely aware of the devastation to African economies due to armed violence. In my own country, conflict has led to the squandering of rich mineral, agricultural, and human resources that should have benefited Liberia and its people. Although economic recovery has begun, it will take many years to recover from the destruction of infrastructure, the damage to businesses, and the loss of life and livelihood.

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How to Fight (Human) Trafficking

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Linked with Maria Ins Gomes Rodrigues Fontinha – Portugal, with O Ninho, and with human trafficking.org.

Published on HumanTrafficking.org, October 08, 2007.

Lao Immigration and Border Officials Receive Training on How to Fight Trafficking

More than 50 police and human trafficking officials gathered in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 11 September 2007 for training on combating human trafficking.

Immigration and border police will receive three days of training by advisors from the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project. “Detailed understanding of human trafficking is low among the police and public, so the course will teach them more about what human trafficking is and how to prevent the problem happening in the future,” said the project’s Country Coordinator, Mr Sythala Pathammavong.

He explained that the course is aimed at clearly discussing the problems and solutions with officials to increase understanding among those who are at the frontline. The Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons project began in August 2006 and will run for five years with funding from the Australian government through AusAID.

“The project focuses on the criminal justice response to trafficking with special emphasis on ending impunity for traffickers and securing justice for victims,” said Mr Sythala. The project is initially working in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Activities may expand to other ASEAN countries during the life of the project, particularly Indonesia. A special mechanism has been developed to assist in the identification of countries for expansion as well as their successful integration into the project.

Mr Sythala confirmed that after the three days of the training course, trainees will be well aware of the specifics of the problem, as well as prevention methods.

Adapted from: Souknilundon Southivongnorath. “Official receives instruction on human trafficking.” Vientiane Times. 12 September 2007.

Invisible Genocide Of The Poor

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Linked with Parshuram Rai – Nepal, with the Centre for Environment and Food Security CEF, with Hot Spot of NREGA corruption in Orissa (India),
with Rural Job Scam – Survey Report on Implementation of NREGA in Orissa.

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Parshuram Rai, 08 October, 2007.

… More than 340 million of Indians still go to bed without food every night .Over 10,000 Indians die of hunger every day and about 40 lakh every year. In other words, every 18 months we are inflicting an invisible genocide of Nazi scale on our poor and hungry compatriots. Every third hungry person in the world is an Indian and every third Indian goes to bed without food. The number of hungry people in India is always more than the number of people below official poverty line. While around 37% of rural households were below the poverty line in 1993-94, 80% of households suffered undernutrition. Evidence on the consumption of food, on calorie-intake and on nutritional outcomes clearly prove that chronic hunger persists on a mass scale in India.

Shall we still call it hunger deaths or invisible genocide of poor Indians ? This scale of hunger and abject poverty is unconscionable in a fast growing economy with rising number of dollor millionaires. What are the main reasons behind this dehumanizing level of poverty? After 15 years of my research and activism on the issue of hunger and poverty , I find the traditional explanation of poverty in terms of income poverty and poor economy becoming increasingly irrelevant . I find it difficult to disagree with Lord Meghnath Desai when he says that economic poverty in India in inextricably linked to the poverty of politics( read bad governance and corruption).

I have done some back of the envelope calculations about the amount of money required to prevent any Indian going to bed without food .The required amount is not huge. In fact, no Indian should go to bed without food even at the current level of budgetary allocations made under heads of various anti-poverty programmes , if we could just ensure the leakage-proof delivery of the allocated funds to their targeted population.

There are currently four major schemes in operation that essentially aim at fighting hunger and food insecurity; namely,PDS(public distribution system),ICDS (integrated child development scheme), MDM ( mid-day meal scheme) and most importantly NREGS(national rural employment guarantee scheme).There would be very few Indians who would have to skip meals if we could just make these four schemes corruption- free. Therefore, now it is not the poor state of economy or lack of funds that is killing about 40 lakh Indians every year , it is the cancer of corruption that is killing and crippling millions of our compatriots every year. The colonial character of Indian bureaucracy is the single biggest factor behind the epidemic of poverty. The Indian bureaucracy is virtually accountable to none , especially when it comes to the implementation of anti-poverty programmes … (full text).

Derailing a deal

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Published on Khaleej Times, by NOAM CHOMSKY, 7 October 2007.

2 excerpts: NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it.

The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn’t subject to Article 6 …

… It is noteworthy that the great majority of Americans and Iranians favour converting the entire region to a nuclear-weapons free zone, including Iran and Israel. One may also recall that UN Security Council Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, to which Washington regularly appealed when seeking justification for its invasion of Iraq, calls for “establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery.”

Clearly, ways to mitigate current crises aren’t lacking.

This Indo-US agreement richly deserves to be derailed. The threat of nuclear war is extremely serious, and growing, and part of the reason is that the nuclear states led by the United States simply refuse to live up to their obligations or are significantly violating them, this latest effort being another step toward disaster.

The US Congress gets a chance to weigh in on this deal after the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group vet it. Perhaps Congress, reflecting a citizenry fed up with nuclear gamesmanship, can reject the agreement. A better way to go forward is to pursue the need for global nuclear disarmament, recognising that the very survival of the species is at stake. (full text).

(Noam Chomsky’s most recent book is Interventions, a collection of his commentary pieces distributed by The New York Times Syndicate. Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.).

Rural Job Scam – Survey Report on Implementation of NREGA in Orissa

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Linked with Parshuram Rai – Nepal, with the Centre for Environment and Food Security CEF, with Hot Spot of NREGA corruption in Orissa (India), and with Invisible Genocide Of The Poor.

Published on Centre for Environment and Food Security New Delhi 2007, by Parshuram Ra.

Survey Report …

Executive Summary:

You may have heard about the loopholes and irregularities in implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the biggest anti-poverty scheme in the history of India. The State of Orissa, however, does not have any loopholes or irregularities in the implementation of this high-profile rural job scheme.In a random survey conducted in 100 villages of Orissas 6 districts, we found only blackholes and serious irregularities as the only regular thing in all these villages. Our calculations suggest that about 75 per cent of the NREGA funds spent in Orissa have been siphoned and pocketed by the government officials and this loot has been very participatory and organised.

This survey was conducted during May-June 2007 by Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) to assess and evaluate the performance of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the state of Orissa. The survey was carried out in 100 villages spread over six districts of KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region, namely; Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada.

The findings of CEFS survey are shocking, scandalous and outrageous. The Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Orissa has been virtually hijacked by officials responsible for the implementation of this scheme. Our survey findings have revealed that there is participatory loot, plunder and pillage in Orissas rural job scheme. There is open loot of taxpayers money, there is plunder of poors right to guaranteed wage employment for 100 days and there is pillage of every single norm of democratic governance and administrative accountability …
(full long 76 pages text).

Hot Spot of NREGA corruption in Orissa (India)

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HOT-SPOTS OF NREGA CORRUPTION IN ORISSA

The following List of villages has been prepared by using Corruption Detection Tool (CDT) devised by CEFS. CEFS is absolutely certain that there has been open loot and massive financial bungling of NREGA funds in more than 95 per cent of the villages selected in this list. However, it does not mean that CDT has detected every village where financial bungling has been committed. Financial bungling has been committed in almost every village of Orissa where NREGA has been implemented. CEFS is preparing a list of villages with open loot and massive financial bungling from all the 19 districts of Orissa where NREGA was implemented during 2006-7. The full list is coming shortly. Following is the list of 2461 such villages from 5 districts- Koraput, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Mayurbhanj and Gajapati: … (full long 31 pdf-pages).

Le gouvernement (franais) s’engage sur l’accueil des SDF

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Publi sur LCI.fr, le 9 octobre 2007.

Le gouvernement s’est engag lundi maintenir les conditions actuelles d’accueil des personnes sans papiers dans les centres d’hbergement d’urgence, mme si les parlementaires refusaient de supprimer un amendement controvers au projet de loi sur l’immigration. Un engagement confirm mardi matin sur LCI par Martin Hirsch, le haut commissaire contre la pauvret (voir la vido).

Lundi, une runion s’est droule entre les reprsentants de plusieurs organisations caritatives qui militent contre l’article 21 de ce texte d’une part et Martin Hirsch, Haut commissaire aux solidarits actives, et des reprsentants des cabinets du ministre de l’Immigration, du Logement et des Relations avec le Parlement d’autre part.

A cours de cette rencontre, ils “se sont engags relayer auprs du Parlement (la) demande de suppression (de l’amendement) et garantir dans tous les cas les conditions actuelles d’accueil, d’hbergement et d’accompagnement de toute personne avec ou sans papiers”, prcise un communiqu rdig en commun par Emmas, la Fondation Abb Pierre, l’Arme du Salut, le Secours catholique et les Restos du Coeur.

Un travail de lobby: … (full text).

Latest News about Burma

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Linked with Aung Myo Min – Burma (in Thailand), with ILGA International Lesbiasn and Gay Association, and with UNHRC resolves Burma to allow Paulo Sergio Special Rapporteur.

Oslo – Posters commemorating victims of the recent military crackdown were sighted at a few locations in the former capital of Myanmar, according to accounts compiled Monday by the Oslo-based opposition radio station Democratic Voice of Burma. Military and security forces otherwise have full control over Yangon where a nightly curfew was still in force, the radio station’s news editor Moe Aye said. During the curfew, internet connections with the country seemed to be working better, suggesting that the military were using the internet overnight, he said. (full text).

Thai PM urges Myanmar to stop violence against monks;

Burmese Monks Reluctantly Accept Donations from Military;

India gives clean chit to military Junta in Myanmar;

Funeral held for Japanese journalist shot dead in Myanmar;

Untold story: how Burma brutalised its monks;

.

SOCIALIST POLITICS AND THE CRISIS OF MARXISM

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Linked with Elmar Altvater – Germany, and with Attac weist Versuch zurck, jede Kritik unter Gewaltverdacht zu stellen.

Published on Socialist Register, by Elmar Altvater and Otto Kallscheuer, Translated by David Fernbach, 1979.

Download the 38 pdf-pages text.

THE CRISIS OF MARXISMHAS ERUPTED AT LAST

Excerpt of pages 31-32: … We cannot deal in any comprehensive way here with the key points in the conception of an alternative economic policy in the Federal Republic (cf. on this subject Altvater, Hoffman and Semmler, 1979a, 1979b). Two brief remarks, however, must still be made, which apply also to the conception of an alternative ‘austerity’, even if the consequences for wages of husteritri’ and the Memorandum are opposed to one another.

Firstly, it is important that the policy proposed and carried through by the government should confront an alternative. But such alternatives alone are not enough, if they remain mere models without a political subject able to implement them. The political subject is not simply the party (PCI) as an organization, or the trade union apparatus, but rather the broad base of the social movement.

The point is, therefore, to take up and articulate the demands developed by the mass movements in the phase after 1968, integrating these into a concept of social synthesis without thereby displacing the movements themselves. The Keynesian compromise was agreed between capital (and its political associations) and the organizations of the workers’ movement.

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