Common Dreams

by Bill Quigley

On December 11, 2009, a federal judge ruled that Congress had unconstitutionally cut off all federal funds to ACORN. The judge issued an injunction stopping federal authorities from continuing to cut off past, present and future federal funds to the community organization.

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and its allies in 75 cities will again have access to millions of federal dollars to counsel people facing foreclosure, seeking IRS tax refunds, and looking for affordable low cost housing. ACORN, which has received about $54 million in government grants since 1994, will be able to apply for new federal programs just like any other organization. Continue reading Why ACORN Won

Fears of more violence as Robert Mugabe announces another election

ZW News

Jan Raath in Harare

“Let’s go out and drive the engine at top gear”

President Mugabe has warned Zimbabwe that he expects elections soon, raising fears among the Opposition that he will again mount a campaign of terror and violence to stay in power.

He was speaking at his Zanu PF party’s five-yearly congress that predictably endorsed him and the gerontocracy around him to continue in power. There was no suggestion at the congress that he should retire. If he is re-elected next year, he would be 92 at the end of his new term in office. Continue reading Fears of more violence as Robert Mugabe announces another election

ZIMBABWE: Women Call for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation

By Ntandoyenkosi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG, May 15 (IPS) – Women’s rights groups have urged the establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Zimbabwe as part of bringing to justice people who committed human rights violations – including sexual abuse against women – during the run-up to a second-round presidential vote in June 2008. Continue reading ZIMBABWE: Women Call for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation

Rising prices spark a new gold rush in Peruvian Amazon

By Lauren Keane

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In Amazonian gold rush, enforcement is elusive

The price of gold has drawn miners to Madre de Dios, a department of southeastern Peru. But deforestation and use of mercury in the mining have created and environmental hazard for the surrounding rainforest. The Peruvian government is trying to crack down, but enforcement is difficult in the vast jungle of the Amazon.


PUERTO MALDONADO, PERU — Boriam Valera has seen his future. It shimmers — and sells for more than $1,100 an ounce.

The tousled 30-year-old works a homemade gold-mining dredge along the banks of the Tambopata River, a tributary of the Amazon, keeping watch over a sluice box that catches gold flecks in the slurry sucked up from the river bottom.

The price of gold has increased 50 percent in the past two years and tripled over the past five, as global investors look to hedge against a falling dollar. Gold hit historic highs this month. That surge has spurred a new Amazon gold rush, with illegal miners pouring into the region and setting up camp along riverbanks, highways and footpaths reaching deep into the rain forest of the Peruvian Amazon.

The influx threatens to overwhelm the region, which is home to some of the Amazon’s most valuable nature reserves, several indigenous groups thought to have had no outside contact, and more bird and butterfly species than anywhere else on the planet. Giant swaths of forest are gone, rivers have been diverted, and mercury used to separate gold from sediment has begun to poison downstream communities. Mining has turned an area the size of Washington into muddy wasteland and threatens an area at least 10 times that large. Continue reading Rising prices spark a new gold rush in Peruvian Amazon

Brazil nun case witness is shot and wounded


Dorothy Stang was shot six times and left lying in the mud.

A witness in the case of an American nun who was murdered in the Brazilian Amazon has been shot several times and is in a critical condition.

He was reportedly attacked just hours after being summoned to testify in a fraud case against one of the ranchers accused of ordering the nun’s murder.

Dorothy Stang, 73, campaigned to preserve the rainforest and protect the rights of rural workers. Continue reading Brazil nun case witness is shot and wounded

Stop Gambling on Hunger

Remember when gas was over $4 a gallon? Remember the global food crisis that resulted in dozens of food riots around the world and plunged over 100 million people around the world into hunger?

These crises where not caused by shortages of oil or food. Instead they were caused by massive bets made on Wall Street. A large portion of the higher prices were brought on by the same thing that caused the global economic crisis – market deregulation. While we had to pay more for our gas and food, fat cat investors made a bundle. Luckily, we already know how we can avoid future gas and food bubbles. The answer is proven and cheap – all we need to do is say yes to it. Continue reading Stop Gambling on Hunger

Introduction of Immigration Reform Bill Jump Starts Reform Talks Going into 2010

Immigration Policy Center

December 15, 2009

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP), in the House of Representatives. The 87 original co-sponsors of the bill include members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Black Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Progressive Caucus. Continue reading Introduction of Immigration Reform Bill Jump Starts Reform Talks Going into 2010

Obama moves ahead with AFRICOM

Pambazuka News

US Army

Concerned over the supply of oil to the US and a supposed need to continue the global ‘War on Terror’, President Barack Obama has essentially maintained the militarised approach to Africa that was the hallmark of his immediate predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, writes Daniel Volman. The escalation of AFRICOM (United States African Command) activities, argues Volman, underlines a troubling commitment to an approach based on might and dominance, one entirely at the expense of promoting sustainable economic development and democracy. Continue reading Obama moves ahead with AFRICOM

President Obama’s Afghanistan Election Speech

Foreign Policy in Focus

by Phyllis Bennis

There was one way in which President Obama’s escalation speech brought significant relief to the 59% of people in this country, as well as the overwhelming majorities of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and elsewhere who oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan: It was a pretty lousy speech. That is, it had none of the power, the lyricism, the passion for history, the capacity to engage and to persuade virtually every listener, even those who may ultimately disagree, that have characterized the president’s earlier addresses. Continue reading President Obama’s Afghanistan Election Speech