Pope Francis & Climate Change: Making Huge Bets

IGNATION SOLIDARITY NETWORK
By Christopher Kerr

Google Images/NBC Nightly News
Google Images/NBC Nightly News

There is an old adage that “any press is good press.”

Watching some of the recent media coverage on Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change made me wonder if this is really true. In just two minutes during a recent segment on Fox News, analysts used phrases like “creating controversy” and “aligning himself with enemies” as well as accusing Pope Francis of jumping on the “climate change bandwagon.”

It’s one thing to be critical, but it’s another thing when news media seek to create controversy where it doesn’t exist or misrepresent the goodwill of an individual.

Watch this special report

But remember, “any press is good press.” So let me offer my own perspective as a Catholic who is tremendously excited for the prophetic voice Pope Francis will offer the Church and the world on the issue of climate change. More…

Peru declares state of emergency over mining violence

CNN
By Brian Walker

Peru declared a state of emergency in two provinces starting Saturday after protests against a mining project turned violent.

Members of the National Federation of Metallurgical, Mining, Iron and Steel industries of Peru shout slogans as they march towards the Congress in Lima on Tuesday, May 19.
Members of the National Federation of Metallurgical, Mining, Iron and Steel industries of Peru shout slogans as they march towards the Congress in Lima on Tuesday, May 19.

“The government has announced a declaration of a state of emergency in all the districts in Islay, Mollendo for 60 days,” the presidency announced Friday night.

“The government of President (Ollanta) Humala will defend the constitution firmly and forcefully for the right of all the people of Peru to live in peace,” the announcement continued.

National police and the armed forces will be called in to maintain order, it said.

Video showed at least one protester who appeared to be dead from wounds to the head at the Tia Maria copper mine project site. Others battled with police who lobbed tear gas at them. More…

Nigeria fuel crisis paralyses operations in Lagos and Abuja

By Mohammed Momoh logo_new Africa Review

The one month fuel shortage in Nigeria has hit the peak, interrupting economic and social activities, with government blaming oil marketers as arm twisting government to earn illegal monies.

Motorists rush to buy petrol in Abuja during an earlier fuel shortage. PHOTO | AFP
Motorists rush to buy petrol in Abuja during an earlier fuel shortage. PHOTO | AFP

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the finance minister, said oil marketers were demanding a huge foreign exchange differentials from government, causing a standoff between the two.

Nigeria — Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation — has been increasingly hit by fuel shortages in recent weeks because of a long-running row over controversial subsidy payments.

Despite being Africa’s biggest oil producer, Nigeria lacks domestic refineries, forcing crude to be exported and products such as petrol and diesel to be imported.

To keep costs to consumers low, the government sets prices below the market rate and pays the difference to importers. More…

Getting away with murder

NEW INTERNATIONALIST MAGAZINE, MAY 2015

When we asked Susan George what the banks have learned from the 2008 financial meltdown, her instant reaction was: ‘That they can get away with murder.’ So we asked for a little more – from an author who has been shining a brilliant light on the subject ever since the ‘Third World’ debt crisis began four decades ago.

Robber banking baron: Ricardo Salgado, former chief executive of collapsed Banco Espirito Santo. The poster in Lisbon, Portugal, says: ‘It’s hard to be a banker these days.’ © Francisco Seco/AP/Press Association Images
Robber banking baron: Ricardo Salgado, former chief executive of collapsed Banco Espirito Santo. The poster in Lisbon, Portugal, says: ‘It’s hard to be a banker these days.’ © Francisco Seco/AP/Press Association Images

Hope springing eternal, I didn’t believe that the banks could emerge from the 2007-08 crisis far stronger than before, especially in political terms. Yes, some have paid staggering fines to governments – a total of $178 billion for the US and European banks – but they now consider such outlays as mere ‘costs of doing business’. None of the industry hotshots has spent so much as a night in prison or been fined personally.

Although we have not yet fully escaped from the aftershocks of 2007-08, a scenario for the next crisis is already being written both by politicians and the bankers themselves. Mathematicians have demonstrated the dense, interconnected web of world financial actors in which the failure of one could trigger the collapse of all. They have put us on a knife-edge and we have good reasons to be pessimistic:

•Governments and international institutions have shown no serious intention of regulating the banks, thus placing us in considerable danger of a repeat performance. Banks and bankers are not just too big to fail and too big to jail, but also too big to nail – they have become a law unto themselves.
– See more at:

35 years after Romero, El Salvador is still at war

CRUX
by John Allen Jr. (Associate Editor)

Members of the 18th street gang gather together at the Cojutepeque Jail in El Salvador.  (Photo: Getty Images)
Members of the 18th street gang gather together at the Cojutepeque Jail in El Salvador. (Photo: Getty Images)

SAN SALVADOR — When the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador is beatified on Saturday, it will mark a public celebration of a martyr shot to death at the altar in 1980 for seeking justice and peace in a country that, on the cusp of a brutal civil war, was sorely lacking in both.

Although it’s hard to know what Romero might make of the honor, it seems far more certain he would have mixed feelings about what’s happened in El Salvador in the 35 years since his death.

On one hand, following a deadly conflict from 1980 to 1992 that saw an estimated 85,000 people killed, 8,000 missing, and 1 million displaced, a peace agreement between the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and a US-backed conservative Salvadoran government produced a cease-fire that has never been broken.
More…

New World Information Order, Internet and the Global South – Part I

IPS/ International Press Service
By Branislav Gosovic

VILLAGE TUDOROVICI, Montenegro – More than four decades ago, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) launched the concept of a New International Information Order (NIIO).

Children surf the net in a remote island community in the Philippines where fishing is the main source of income. Credit: eKindling/Lubang Tourism.
Children surf the net in a remote island community in the Philippines where fishing is the main source of income. Credit: eKindling/Lubang Tourism.

Its initiative led to the establishment of an independent commission within the fold of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which produced a report, published in 1980, on a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO).

Incomprehensible to the general public and not suitable for consideration in multilateral policy forums, the Internet governance deliberations have largely been under control of the world superpower and its cyber mega-corporations from Silicon Valley.

The report, titled “One World, Many Voices,” is usually referred to as the MacBride Report after its chairman.

The very idea of venturing to criticise and challenge the existing global media, namely the information and communication hegemony of the West, touched a raw political nerve, apparently a much more sensitive one than that irked by the developing countries’ New International Economic Order (NIEO) proposals. More…

Mountains hold climate change surprise, scientists find

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
by Pete Spotts, Staff writer

Mountains are shaped differently than scientists thought they were, and that could be good news for mountain-dwelling species adapting to climate change

A bird flies over a blossoming poppy field against the backdrop of a city and the Tien Shan mountains at outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 14. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)
A bird flies over a blossoming poppy field against the backdrop of a city and the Tien Shan mountains at outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 14. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

Global warming is expected to leave many plants and animals living on the world’s mountains with nowhere to go but up – increasing their risk of extinction as they chase climatological comfort zones through landscapes that relentlessly shrink as they approach a summit.

At least that’s the concept that has held sway for the past 30 years. But this simple picture is wrong for many of the world’s major mountain ranges, a new study finds.

Instead, in many cases these migrants may wind up reaching altitudes where the landscape is relatively flat and extensive, giving them more room to spread out than they had at their original locations and perhaps enhancing their chances of surviving. More…

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