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Index August 2008

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The Financial Times and the “Self-Confessed Mastermind Of 9/11”

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Linked with James Petras – USA.

Published on Countercurrents.org, by James Petras, Aug 29, 2008.

In recent days there is mounting evidence of the advance of totalitarianism in the political and media mainstream. The entire Western world, led by the United States, has embraced a Georgian regime, which invaded South Ossetia totally demolishing its capital city of 50,000 residents, assassinated 1500 men, women and children and dozens of Russian peace keepers. The US has mobilized a naval and air armada off the Iranian coast, prepared to annihilate a country of 70 million people. The New York Times published an essay by a prominent Israeli historian, which advocates the nuclear incineration of Iran. All the major mass media have mounted a systematic propaganda campaign against China, supporting each and every terrorist and separatist group, and whipping up public opinion in favor of launching a New Cold War. There is little doubt that this new wave of imperial aggression and bellicose rhetoric is meant to deflect domestic discontent and distract public opinion from the deepening economic crises …

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More people living in extreme poverty than previously thought

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Received by mail:

From: HREA – Human Rights Education Associates and its Newsletter
Date: 28/08/2008

By UN News Service:

27 August 2008 – The World Bank has revised upward its estimates of the number of the world’s poor from nearly 1 billion to 1.4 billion, drawing on new data that indicates that poverty is more widespread across the developing world than previously thought. But despite the new figures, a new study by the agency shows that great strides continue to be made in the fight against poverty.

“The new data confirm that the world will likely reach the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the 1990 level of poverty by 2015 and that poverty has fallen by about one percentage point a year since 1981,” said Justin Lin, the World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Development Economics.

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Pakistan: Musharraf and beyond

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The destructive political legacy of Pakistan’s former general-president is visible in its kaleidoscope of crises, says Shaun Gregory

Published on ISN Security Watch (first on openDemocracy), by Shaun Gregory, Aug 28, 2008.

It is a measure of his isolation that the resignation of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf appeared – when it came – to surprise only Musharraf himself. In his final speech to the nation on 18 August he seemed bewildered and depressed; a man facing political death, his mind unable fully to grasp the speed with which he had fallen from power. It was a man speaking to a mirror, trying to justify himself to himself one last time …

… His departure leaves a vacuum in Pakistan, but it is not of the character of that which followed the unexpected death in 1988 of Zia ul-Haq, his predecessor as military ruler of Pakistan. Too much power had already ebbed from Musharraf for that to be the case. However, Pakistan is in a far more parlous state in 2008 than it was 20 years ago and much of the blame for that rests squarely on Musharraf’s shoulders.

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The miscalculation of small nations

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Linked with Fred Halliday – Ireland.

Published on openDemocracy, by Fred Halliday, Aug 26, 2008.

(The Russia-Georgia war emphasises the need for a nuanced understanding of international politics … )

… The puff of ideology:

Where Georgia itself is concerned, the lesson can be summed up in a phrase: pity (and of course help) the Georgians, but condemn their leaders. For if most western governments and commentators have focused on the high politics and historical echoes of the conflict – from Russia’s excessive military response to the implications for Georgia’s entry into Nato, from the role of the United States to echoes of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1968 – less attention than is warranted has been paid to Tbilisi’s contribution to the disaster.

In strict terms, the chief responsibility belongs to Georgia’s reckless and demagogic president, Mikhail Saakashvili. His precipitous launch of a brutal assault on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali on the night of 7-8 August 2008 is worse than a crime: it is a terrible blunder.

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A Violent Education

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Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools

Published on Human Rights Watch HRW, August 2008, where you can download separately every chapter.

Download the whole PDF file of this report with its 132 pages (940 kb).

Links:

More on HRW’s work in the US;

More on HRW’s work on children’s rights;

HRW’s Homepage (in many languages).

Reinventing The Evil Empire

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Linked with Stephen Lendman – USA.

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Stephen Lendman, 25 August, 2008.

For the West, everything changed but stayed the same, hard-wired and in place. Things just lay dormant in the shadows during the Yeltsin years, certain to reemerge once a more resolute Russian leader took over. If not Vladimir Putin, someone else little different.

Russia is back, proud and reassertive, and not about to roll over for America. Especially in Eurasia. For Washington, it’s back to the future, the new Cold War, and reinventing the Evil Empire, but this time for greater stakes and with much larger threats to world peace. Conservatives lost their influence. Neocons are weakened but still dominant. The Israeli Lobby and Christian Right drive them. Conflict is preferred over diplomacy, and most Democrats go along to look tough on “terrorism.” Notably their standard-bearer, vying with McCain to be toughest …

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Reflections on Twenty-First Century Socialism

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Linked with James Petras – USA.

Published on AxisOfLogic, by James Petras, Aug. 17, 2008.

… 20th Century lessons for 21st Century socialists 21st century socialist can learn from the achievements and failures of 20th century socialism.

First: Policies must be directed toward improving the living as well as working conditions of the people. That means massive investment in quality housing, household appliances, public transport, environmental concerns and infrastructure. Overseas solidarity and missions should not take priority over large-scale, long-term investments in expanding and deepening material improvements for the principal internal class base of the socialist regime. Solidarity begins at home.

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Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down in India

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Linked with India Resource Center.

Published on India Resource Center, as Press Release, August 14, 2008.

The India Resource Center can confirm that the Coca-Cola company has shut down another bottling plant in India – in Sinhachawar in Ballia district in Uttar Pradesh.

A community-led campaign had demanded the closure of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sinhachawar because of indiscriminate pollution by the bottling plant as well as illegal occupation of land …

… The bottling plant in Sinhachawar was a Coca-Cola franchisee owned unit operated by the Brindavan Bottlers Limited, which is owned by India’s largest bottler of Coca-Cola, the Ladhani Group of Companies.

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Nato denies ‘friendly fire’ deaths

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Published on english Al Jazeera.net online, by staff, August 21, 2008.

Nato has denied a newspaper report that allied planes killed 10 French soldiers during a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan …

… France’s Le Monde newspaper on Wednesday quoted French soldiers who had survived the ambush earlier in the week near Kabul, saying they were hit in a “friendly fire” incident.

The soldiers told the newspaper they waited for four hours for backup after being ambushed.

When Nato aircraft finally arrived, they hit French troops after missing their target, the newspaper quoted the soldiers as saying.

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Unter »Friendly fire«?

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Aus der Tageszeitung Die junge Welt, von Raoul Wilsterer, 23.Aug. 2008.

Der Kampf um die Vorherrschaft über Afghanistan hält unvermindert an. Am Freitag beklagten die ausländischen Besatzer erneut Opfer: Insgesamt starben seit Mittwoch sieben Soldaten, darunter drei Polen und drei Kanadier, bei Angriffen oder Anschlägen von Aufständischen. Zudem wurden am Freitag drei Italiener verwundet. Bereits zu Wochenbeginn hatte die »Schutztruppe« ISAF zehn ihrer französischen Mitglieder verloren.

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China and its Human Rights Mess

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Two Beijing women in their late 70s have been sentenced to a year of administrative detention after applying to protest in the Chinese capital’s Olympic protest zones. Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, are former neighbors who are upset about being forcibly evicted from their homes in 2001. This month, they visited Beijing police five times to apply to hold a demonstration in one of the officially sanctioned protest areas established for the Olympic Games, but instead of being granted that right, on Aug. 17 they were ordered to serve one year of “reeducation-through-labor,” says Wu’s son Li Xuehui. “I’m extremely angry,” he says. “For a common person to be sentenced to this, it’s very sad” … (full text).

More articles:

Video: Forced cultural assimilation for the Tibetans, 2.40 min;

China gets its ‘rise’ – but not the world’s respect;

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Beat the dead horse or Putin’s revenge

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Published on Online Journal, by Gaither Stewart, August 21, 2008.

… Vladimir Putin must have been astounded at how Georgia and its American puppeteers fell head over heels into the Caucasian trap. Ingenuously, facilely, Saakashvili, America’s puppet leader of Georgia, sent his US armed troops into South Ossetia shooting wildly at anything moving and challenging Moscow on its home territory. What could be crazier? On that first day, European media showed the Georgian “invasion” of South Ossetia, just as the next day it showed the crushing Russian response that reduced Georgia to the virtual reality of the US proxy state it has become.

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The Orion Project – TOP Negotiating for Stan Meyer Equipment

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Linked with The Orion Project – Historic Energy Breakthrough on the Line, and with Steven M. Greer – USA.

(Download: The Orion Project Visits Stan Meyer’s Technology).

Received by mail:

From: The Orion Project
Date: 20/08/2008

Dear Friends, The response to our recent request for financial support has been very encouraging. As you know, we are now actively negotiating to acquire and re-create Stan Meyer’s revolutionary technology using water as fuel to provide abundant clean energy. Through the immediate and generous donations of many, we received more than $25,000 over night! This clearly demonstrates the public is indeed eager to support a breakthrough in clean energy technology.

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The Orion Project – Historic Energy Breakthrough on the Line

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Linked with The Orion Project – fourth video,  and with Steven M. Greer – USA.

(Download: Water Fuel Cell – Technical Brief, 234 pdf-pages).

Received by mail:

From: The Orion Project 
Date: 14/08/2008 23:21:25

Dear Friends, We have an urgent and momentous opportunity before us. The idea of using water for fuel has been around for decades. Many have imagined it; but Stan Meyer did it… in the ‘90s! In fact, he received a patent for his Water Fuel Cell in 1989. Meyer was a highly respected inventor and his research is one of the most widely known and publicized even today. He powered a car with this technology and envisioned powering homes, planes and more with this ingenious invention. Stan discovered that resonant frequency was the key to unlocking the enormous energy contained in water; produced when hydrogen and oxygen combust. With his early and untimely death in March of 1998, this information was apparently lost. To date no one has been able to reproduce his technology from his published material – though it has been out over a decade.

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Green famine in Ethiopia

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Published on the RealNewsNetwork (see also its homepage), August 17, 2008.

The video: Green famine in Ethiopia, 3.58 min.

Guardian: The rains have come, the land is lush but Ethiopians still go hungry.

Lost when they came home

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Linked with Jerry Mazza – USA.

Published on Online Journal, by Jerry Mazza, August 15, 2008.

While the Bush administration is busy once again antagonizing Superpower Russia and inciting Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia, let us turn to some of the administration’s less flashy claims to fame: the shocking suicide rates of soldiers returning from Iraq, more than twice the number of US civilian suicides. The figure in 2005 alone ran at the rate of 120 suicides a week, according to CBS News, which described this tragedy as a Suicide Epidemic Among veterans.

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The Neocons Do Georgia

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Humanity’s Greatest Enemy?

Linked with Paul Craig Roberts – USA.

Published on Counterpunch, by Paul Craig Roberts, 15 August, 2008.

The success of the Bush Regime’s propaganda, lies, and deception with gullible and inattentive Americans since 9/11 has made it difficult for intelligent, aware people to be optimistic about the future of the United States. For almost 8 years the US media has served as Ministry of Propaganda for a war criminal regime. Americans incapable of thinking for themselves, reading between the lines, or accessing foreign media on the Internet have been brainwashed.

As the Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, said, it is easy to deceive a people. You just tell them they have been attacked and wave the flag.

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The geopolitics of Georgia

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Published on RealNewsNetwork, August 15, 2008.

Russia-Asia cooperation a nightmare for US hawks, F. William Engdahl: The Geopolitics of Georgia, 3.43 min, August 15, 2008;

Nuclear war by miscalculation, F. William Engdahl: The geopolitics of Georgia, 4.03 min, August 14, 2008;

The geopolitics of Georgia, F William Engdahl: There are far bigger stakes being played out in Georgia than a territorial dispute, 3.07 min, August 13, 2008;

Who’s to blame for the Russian Georgian conflict? Pepe Escobar: Georgia is a strategic client state of the US with close ties to the Bush administration, 6.09 min, August 12, 2008.

Picked up on Maryams.net

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A Melburnian Muslim convert blogs religion, academia and life in general

Published in the right column on Mariams.net, August 14, 2008.

Polls (result of August 14th morning): Which of the following *best* describes what you believe?

  • Religion should be a private affair, and society should not be ruled by any religious ideology, including Islam. (31%, 78 Votes)
  • Islamic societies need to be reformed through re-implementing the use of ijtihad. The use of reason does not necessarily clash with revelation, and Muslim societies can be revivified and modernised. (22%, 54 Votes)
  • Islam is a complete way of life, and society should be ruled according to the laws of Allah, not the laws of man. Muslims should reject the jahiliyyah of westernization. (18%, 44 Votes)
  • Much of Islamic law needs to be reinterpreted to meet progressive modern concepts of human rights, gender equality, and pluralism. (14%, 36 Votes)
  • Muslim societies need to be purified from un-Islamic innovations including blind imitation of schools of law, and superstitions such as worshipping at tombs (5%, 13 Votes)
  • The classical schools of law should be implemented in society, with due reverence for the opinions of the imams and key figures within each school of law (5%, 12 Votes)
  • I’m a Muslim but I am not religious. I come from a Muslim culture, and I visit family and friends at Eid time, but I am not interested in religious rituals like praying and fasting (3%, 7 Votes)
  • The ummah should gather together to fight against the humiliation of Islam at the hands of the imperial West. (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 249 (August 14th morning).

Is Africa A Cold War Battleground?

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Linked with Sam Akaki – Uganda.

Published on Countercurrents.org, (first on The African Executive), by Sam Akaki, 09 August, 2008.

Thanks to the dwindling primary natural resources, oil and gas, the West is hounding Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Sudan’s al-Bashir, and heaping blame on Russia and China for protecting them; thus setting the stage for a new Cold War to be fought in Africa.

The last Cold War saw the savage murder or violent overthrow by the British, Americans, Belgians, French and Portuguese of nationalist African leaders including Patrice Lumumba, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Luis Cabral, Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Marcel, Milton Obote, Hamed Sekou Toure, Gamel Abdel Nasser and Ahmed Ben Bella who were dubbed terrorists or Russian and Chinese sympathizers.

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China – Olympics – Capitalism – Naomi Klein

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Linked with Paul Jay – Canada.

Some videos to be watched, published on RealNews.com, August 9 to 12, 2008:

China’s authoritarian capitalism a global trend, 5.13 min, August 12, 2008;

China security tech supplied by US companies, 6.04 min, August 11, 2008;

China new disaster-capitalism trough, 7.18 min, August 10, 2008;

Naomi Klein on China and the Olympics, 7.51 min, August 9, 2008.

2080 land cases treated in Mozambican city in 18 months

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Linked with Zaida Cabral – Mozambique.

Published on Afriqueenligne.fr, by Pana, Matola, August 7, 2008.

The municipal authorities in the southern Mozambican city of Matola dealt with 2,080 cases of land disputes between January 2007 and June 2008, according to the interim mayor of Matola, Maria Vicente. These were just some of the thousands of cases that have been referred to municipal officials …

… This is an old problem in Matola, worsened by the long period that it used to take to grant land titles, which led to the same plot being granted to more than one person. Another problem is that the municipal authorities sometimes granted a person a plot that had been occupied by somebody else for at least 10 years, the minimum period, under Mozambican law, for that de facto occupation to be legally recognised. (full text).

Link: Mozambican president Guebuza lauds Chinese friendship, August 10, 2008.

An unrecognizable America

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Published on Online Journal, by Gary Simon, Aug 8, 2008.

Dear America, I see who you are but don’t recognize you anymore …

… Americans were horrified when the Bush/Cheney team turned its back on the victims of Katrina. When that same callousness was repeated with their “do nothing, say nothing” antics during the recent Midwest flooding, only small doses of criticism were directed at these Machiavellian engineers. It’s as if an entire country – no, an entire world – has learned to accept a new worldview that the job of governing is in the hands of the private sector and out of the government’s …

… Why haven’t we, America, wanted more from a leader who should invest in us, and not his corporatist friends? Why haven’t we questioned and then made this entire group accountable for its selling off and its piecemealing of our governmental branches? Why have we allowed industrialists to exploit our forests and waters and remain fully dependent on old fossil fuels instead of new technologies?

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Home repossessions jump sharply

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Published on WalesOnline.co.uk, by Tomos Livingstone, Aug 9, 2008.

BANKS and the Government urged homeowners not to panic yesterday as new figures revealed a sharp jump in the number of home repossessions in the first half of the year.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said there had been 18,900 repossessions in the UK in the first half of 2008, compared with 13,400 in the previous six months.

A total of 155,600 homeowners are in arrears of more than three months on their mortgages, up from 129,600 at the end of 2007.

The CML does not release regional statistics, and Government figures giving a localised breakdown had their publication date put back a week yesterday.

Ministers are desperate to avoid the wave of repossessions seen in the early 1990s, which contributed to the downfall of the Conservative administration. Options being considered in Downing Street include buying up empty private sector properties for social housing, although with the public finances tight there may not be funds for such a drastic intervention in the market …

… “It is crucial that Government buoys up the social housing market as a priority, both in increasing the funds that support housing associations and councils in buying unsold homes at a discounted rate, and by bringing the 830,000 empty homes in the UK back into use.” (full text).

Working Poor Unready To Revolt

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Joel S. Hirschhorn, 07 August, 2008.

Once upon a time when governments no longer served most of their citizens it was the most economically disadvantaged that could be counted on to rebel against tyranny and injustice. Times have changed, for the worse, despite the spread of democracy.

Here we are with a two-party plutocracy that preferentially serves corporate and wealthy interests and lets the middle class suffer and sink. Plausibly, the middle class is unready to revolt because it still maintains a relatively good standard of living despite rising economic insecurity. But what about the lowest 40 percent of Americans that are the working poor?

A recent survey of this group by the Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University conducted this past June looked at the beliefs of adults aged 18 to 64 working 30 or more hours a week, not self-employed and who earned no more than $27,000 in 2007. The results show a fascinating dichotomy. Though there is widespread pain and discontent there is also a stubborn faith in the American dream despite little help from government.

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Central Asian Photos

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Find still on AEHRF-pictures the following links with photos of Central Asian coutries, published between March and June 2007:

See also:

Inflation and the New World Order

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Published on dissident voice, by Richard C. Cook, August 6th, 2008.

… the Bush administration announced that it was expecting the largest federal budget deficit in history to be racked up in fiscal year 2009 starting September 1—$490 billion likely to be added to the national debt. This doesn’t even count the “supplemental appropriations” during the coming year which are the preferred method for off-budget financing of the Iraq War …

… “In 2000 Congress decided that there were certain kinds of high-end investors that were big enough and smart enough that they shouldn’t be constrained to do all their business on the exchanges.”

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How the Media got “Class” Wrong in the Democratic

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Published on political affairs.net, by Mike Tolochko, June 16, 2008.

The struggle for the votes from the working class has never been more openly discussed. In the mainstream media, we’ve heard the phrase “working class” far more than the classless phrase “middle class” in recent weeks.

This is new feature for national elections.

Defining “working class” is a problem, however. Commercial pundits on CNN, MSNBC and other major corporate media are making the definition but in a way that shows their clearly anti-working class agenda. They have dissected the working class into its various parts. Why not? They have no interest in unifying workers with a peoples’ agenda. In its rawest form the parceling process, as expressed on television went something like this: …

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Food policy and Globalization

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Linked with Devinder Sharma – India;

Published on Marsh InfoZys, by Devinder Sharma, article not dated.

(Excerpt): … Sustainable farming:

Indian agriculture faces an unprecedented crisis in sustainability. Foodgrain productivity in the food bowl, comprising Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, is on the decline. The green revolution areas are encountering serious bottlenecks to growth and productivity. The dryland areas (comprising nearly 70 per cent of the cultivable lands) continue to drown in misery and apathy. Excessive mining of soil nutrients and groundwater have already brought in soil sickness. Indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides has done serious harm to environment, human health and ecology.

There is therefore a need to immediately

  • Draw a balance sheet of the collapse of Green Revolution. We need to know what went wrong with agriculture, so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. A post mortem of Green Revolution is absolutely necessary.
  • Investments and increased outlays for agricultural research that is based on external chemical inputs like fertiliser and pesticides need to be phased out. Instead, financial allocation should be made for reviving low-input agriculture, which uses cheap and locally available technology and in turn improves production, reduces cost of production and protects environment.
  • Draw a map of the soil health of India. In future, all crop introductions should be based on soil health. If a crop (including cash crops) has the possibility of destroying the soil fertility and thereby accentuating the sustainability crisis, that cropping system should not be allowed.
  • Role of technology too needs to be ascertained. Pesticides were promoted blindly on rice, for instance. The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines now says that pesticides on rice were a waste of time and effort in Asia. But meanwhile, pesticides usage has already taken a huge toll, and pushed farmers in a debt trap.
  • Agricultural research must reorient itself to learn from the existing sustainable farming models. The focus of genetically modified crops must immediately stop as it is risky and expensive for the farmer. This has been amply demonstrated in several parts of the world.
  • Water productivity and efficiency has to be the hallmark of agricultural research based on the local conditions.

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Bush speech signals stepped-up troop withdrawals from Iraq

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Published on WSWS, by James Cogan, August 02, 2008.

President George Bush made a brief four-minute statement on Thursday morning to announce that the last of the five army brigades and three marine regiments sent to Iraq as part of last year’s “surge” had returned to the US and also to foreshadow a further reduction in US troop numbers later in the year …

… The legislation was vetoed by Iraq’s presidential council, which is headed by President Jalal Talabani, a prominent Kurdish nationalist leader. It has nevertheless provoked outrage in Kurdish nationalist circles. On Thursday, the Kurdish majority of the Tamim legislature passed a resolution calling for Kirkuk to be included in the KRG regardless of the position of the Iraqi government.

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WTO Talks, A Tsunami Averted

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Published on Zmag, by Devinder Sharma, 31 July,2008.

It was a close call. Till the last minute, suspense became overbearing. Glued to our seats and teetering on the brink of fear, with abated breath we awaited the outcome of the last minute efforts to save an unjust an inequitable “Doha round” deal. And as news started to trickle in signaling the collapse of the WTO mini-Ministerial, a sigh of relief emerged.

After all, a tsunami has been averted.

The talks failed to bridge differences over adequate measures to protect poor farmers in developing countries against import surges. Technical dubbed as “Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) – the provisions that protect developing countries from the disastrous consequences of a flood of food imports – had finally driven the nail in the coffin of “Doha round.”

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