Meet the traffickers

New Internationalist
What kind of person would sell another? You might be surprised. Victor Malarek reports.

In a dusty farm village 80 miles north of Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia – two women sit cross-legged on a floor inside a ramshackle hut. They are transacting an important business deal and haggle for about 10 minutes before settling on the amount – 2,000,000 riels, about $500. Continue reading Meet the traffickers

Zim’s home-based-care gamble

Zim On Line
by Chris Anold Msipa
HARARE – At Mavise village, 170 km south of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, Tambudzia Zinyere recalls how one day, two years ago, the three men approached her homestead.

Two of the men, she had never seen before but the third she was sure she had met before. But, for the man’s emaciated and sickly features, she could not, from the distance, immediately tell who he was. Continue reading Zim’s home-based-care gamble

General Zuma and troops face defeat

Sunday Independent
What is the status of the South African state’s War on Poverty (WoP)? We don’t really know, because it is one of the most clandestine operations in SA history, with status reports kept confidential by a floundering army in rapid retreat from the front. Initially, the WoP appeared as a major national project. Early hubris characterised the wa r, as happens in most, with victory claimed even before then-president Thabo Mbeki officially launched it in his February 2008 State of the Nation speech. Five months earlier, Trevor Manuel bragged to Parliament that South Africans in poverty “dropped steadily from 52.1 percent in 1999 to 47 percent in 2004 and to 43.2 percent by March this year”. Continue reading General Zuma and troops face defeat

Gates Foundation Invests in Monsanto

Both will profit at expense of small-scale African farmers
Seattle, WA – Farmers and civil society organizations around the world are outraged by the recent discovery of further connections between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto. Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010 (see thefiling with the Securities and Exchange Commission). This marks a substantial increase from its previous holdings, valued at just over $360,000 (see the Foundation’s 2008 990 Form). Continue reading Gates Foundation Invests in Monsanto

Nigeria to privatise power firm PHCN


Many Nigerians are angry at the lack of regular power

Nigeria is to sell off the state power monopoly, PHCN, President Goodluck Jonathan has announced.

“We need a revolution in the power sector,” he said, in what was touted as a major policy speech.

Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil exporters but lacks many basic services, such as a regular electricity supply. Continue reading Nigeria to privatise power firm PHCN

Environmental Impact Studies on Dams Count for Little in Amazon

By Mario Osava

Closed-down sawmill in Altamira, next to the virtually impassable Trans-Amazonian highway. Credit:Mario Osava/IPS

ALTAMIRA, Brazil, Aug 10, 2010 (IPS) – “It’s a fait accompli,” acknowledges André Villas-Boas, head of the independent SocioEnvironmental Institute (ISA), resigned to the fact that the legal actions and protests have failed to block the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Brazil’s Amazon jungle region.

But the battles lost against megaprojects harmful to the environment and to indigenous peoples and other local communities have not discouraged activists from mobilising.

However, they have made social organisations and experts question the government’s decision-making mechanisms when it comes to mega-projects like dams. Continue reading Environmental Impact Studies on Dams Count for Little in Amazon

Rival Catholic group launched ahead of UK papal visit

The Guardian
Reformist group offers alternative to Catholic Voices, which has recruited 20 media-friendly members to explain traditional views

Pope Benedict waves farewell to Sydney after World Youth Day Both groups will hope to make the most of the media spotlight before and during Benedict XVI’s four-day tour of the UK

A Catholic speakers’ bureau is being launched ahead of next month’s papal visit to provide alternative views on controversial church issues such as child abuse, women’s ordination, married priests and homosexuality.

Catholic Voices for Reform will go head to head with Catholic Voices, an established group which has recruited and trained 20 media-friendly “ordinary” Catholics to articulate traditional church positions before and during Benedict XVI’s four-day tour.

The new organisation, unlike its older and more conformist counterpart, will call for a wholesale transformation of the papacy and the Vatican. It will offer the media a chance to hear the views of Catholics who are “deeply concerned at the present state of the church”. Continue reading Rival Catholic group launched ahead of UK papal visit

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Time for sanity and healing

Pambazuka News
Horace Campbell
It is 65 years this August since the US dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of unarmed Japanese civilians, writes Horace Campbell. Although US history books say that thousands of servicemen were saved as a result of those two bombings, the reality, says Campbell, was different. Continue reading Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Time for sanity and healing

Africa’s market-led development: Pro-corporation, anti-farmer

Pambazuka News
USAID administrator Rajiv Shah recently gave a speech to the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) in Washington DC entitled ‘Achieving high impact development: a vision for USAID’. Shah’s idea of high-impact development was a ‘distinctly American’ contribution: the ‘culture of risk-taking and entrepreneurship’. In a speech heavy with platitudes about American diversity, dedication and empowerment, what was his revolutionary idea for changes at USAID? More of the same: Continue reading Africa’s market-led development: Pro-corporation, anti-farmer