Mugabe celebrates birthday amid distress

Mail and Guardian


Country in crisis Thousands of Zimbabwean civil servants march through Harare last week to demand wage increases. President Robert Mugabe celebrates his birthday -- which will cost about $500 000 -- on Saturday, as the economy struggles to recover. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe celebrates his 86th birthday on Saturday with a lavish party as the economy struggles to recover from crisis, showing no sign of planning to retire after 30 years in power.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party will fete the veteran ruler, whose birthday was actually on February 21, with an all-night concert among festivities which some critics estimate will cost $500 000.

A power-sharing government set up by Mugabe and his bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, has stabilised the economy after the crisis which many Zimbabweans blame on Mugabe’s policies. But aid agencies say over two million Zimbabweans will still need food aid this year. Continue reading Mugabe celebrates birthday amid distress

The True Cost of Cheap Food

Resurgence Magazine
The globalisation of the food market has made food cheap, but who is benefiting? Cheap food causes hunger.

A Rarámuri woman in Cochérare, Chihuahua shells corn from her harvest to make tortillas. Photograph: David Lauer

On its face, the statement makes no sense. If food is cheaper it’s more affordable and more people should be able to get an adequate diet. That is true for people who buy food, such as those living in cities. But it is quite obviously not true if you’re the one growing the food. You’re getting less for your crops, less for your work, less for your family to live on. That is as true for Vermont dairy farmers as it is for rice farmers in the Philippines. Dairy farmers today are getting prices for their milk that are well below their costs of production. They are putting less food on their own tables. And they are going out of business at an alarming rate. When the economic dust settles, this will leave us with fewer family farmers producing the dairy products most of us depend on. Continue reading The True Cost of Cheap Food

DR CONGO: Will Poultry Project Live up to Expectations?

By Emmanuel Chaco

A new government- funded poultry project means that Congolese living in Kinshasa can buy fresh chicken for the first time in decades. Credit:Victoria Hazou/IRIN

KINSHASA, Mar 3, 2010 (IPS) – For some seven million Congolese living in Kinshasa the only meat and poultry they could buy to eat since the 1980s was frozen imports from Western countries, distributed locally by a few local businessmen.

That was, until a few months ago, when government stepped in to develop the country’s livestock farming industry. “The government cannot accept that (the) Congolese live on a meager diet composed mainly of frozen chicken and frozen fish imported under questionable conditions while the country has a tremendous food production potential,” says Norbert Bashengezi Katintima, minister of agriculture, fisheries and livestock. Continue reading DR CONGO: Will Poultry Project Live up to Expectations?

Heeding founders’ call, women religious combat racism

National Catholic Reporter
By Kate Childs Graham Women religious

Mercy Sr. Cora Marie Billings

In 1945, when Mary Paul heard God’s call to religious life, she could not enter any community of women religious in her hometown of Philadelphia, including the Sisters of Mercy. Not because her vocation was untrue, but because she was a person of color. At the time, women of color in the city were referred to three orders: the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary in Harlem, N.Y., or the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans — communities comprised mostly of women of color. Paul entered the Baltimore order. Her story is the story of many other women of color who were refused entrance to so-called “white” communities. Continue reading Heeding founders’ call, women religious combat racism

Vermont Senate Wants Entergy Reactor Shut in 2012

by Scott DiSavino
The Vermont Senate dealt a blow to the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant Wednesday, voting solidly against allowing the plant another 20 years of life after 2012. Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press Staff Writer
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NEW YORK – The Vermont Senate said on Wednesday it has voted to shut Entergy Corp’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant when its license expires in 2012, after a leak releasing radioactive tritium into the groundwater was discovered last month. Continue reading Vermont Senate Wants Entergy Reactor Shut in 2012