The European Union is currently pressing African governments to proceed with interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPAs). However, there is resistance from African countries because they consider there are still some contentious issues to be re-addressed like reciprocity, trade in services, tariffs and agricultural subsidies. The EU is interested in maintaining the unbalanced trade relationship in which Africa supplies raw material and natural resources, and the EU exports manufactured products to African Countries.[1]

Despite all these contentious negotiations, the EU is insisting on going ahead with iEPAs whilst African countries face many challenges before iEPAs can be implemented. If iEPAs are designed to promote integral development and to reduce poverty, then we wonder why the EU does not respect this rhythm or African economic policies.[2]

Agro-ecology: for life

© Reuters


For years, Pierre Rabhi has been recognized as a pioneer in agro-ecology. Currently, he is farming agro-ecology in France and he shared his knowledge of farming practices at a conference last February.

These days, the dictatorship of money dominates the world and this is irreconcilable with the balance between man and nature. Seen through the eyes of money, the earth is like a field brimming over with riches that must at all costs be bled dry in the name of profit.  This view is in contradiction to the idea of making good use of natural resources that is at the heart of aggro-ecology whereas industrial agriculture exhausts the land for us and for future generations. The worst thing is that this production model devastates the water, the soil and the climate.  We are talking about a model, laid down by agribusiness, which makes intensive use of chemical fertilizers, destroys ecosystems and annihilates small farmers. If we do not manage to balance our farming methods Continue reading Agro-ecology: for life

Incomplete Justice in Killings of Amazon Activists

A sign put up by activists in Marabá, Brazil demands justice for the murders of Amazon activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo. Credit: Fabíola Ortiz/IPS

By Fabiola Ortiz

MARABÁ, Brazil , Apr 5 2013 (IPS) – Peasants and human rights defenders in Brazil are indignant over the acquittal of the man accused of ordering the May 2011 murders of two prominent Amazon activists, José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria do Espírito Santo.

The trial ended Thursday Apr. 4 with the sentencing of two men paid to kill the couple in the Amazon jungle state of Pará. But the third man held for the crime, the landowner accused by the prosecutors of hiring the other two, was absolved on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The trial was one of the six slated to take place this year in Brazil involving land conflicts, one of the main causes of violence in South America’s giant.
Continue reading Incomplete Justice in Killings of Amazon Activists

Editorial: UN arms treaty a small step to global sanity

National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial Staff

The international community’s decision to finally pass a treaty that will begin to regulate cross-border sales of conventional weapons is a small step in the direction of global sanity. We’re heartened that the decision included, in a major reversal of the U.S. stance in the past, an affirmative vote by the United States.

Overwhelmingly approved by the United Nations General Assembly April 2, the Arms Trade Treaty, while not banning a single gun or bullet, does set standards for all transfers of conventional weapons across national borders. It also creates binding requirements for states to review all cross-border arms contracts to ensure that arms will not be used in human rights abuses, terrorism or violations of humanitarian law.

The U.N. assembly voted 154 in favor of the treaty, three against and 23 abstentions (U.N. officials said the actual vote should have been 155-3-22; Angola was recorded as having abstained, though it had attempted to vote yes.) Iran, Syria and North Korea cast the sole votes against the treaty. Continue reading Editorial: UN arms treaty a small step to global sanity

Children Learn Lessons of Commerce on the Streets of Zimbabwe

Hard times have hit Zimbabweans and forced disadvantaged children to earn a living as vendors in downtown Harare. This 16-year-old boy sells sweets and popcorn to earn a living. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/ IPS

By Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE , Apr 5 2013 (IPS) – Susan Sithole* is 14 and should be in grade nine or Form Two, according to Zimbabwe’s education system, learning her lessons in Mathematics, English and other subjects.

But instead, you can find her at the corner of Leopold Takawira Avenue and Robert Mugabe Street in downtown Harare, selling cigarettes, sweets and cellphone recharge cards, learning the harsh lessons of commerce and survival.

Sithole, who lives in Harare’s Machipisa low-income suburb, told IPS that the 25 dollars she earns weekly is not enough to pay for her upkeep and still have enough left over to send back to her poor parents in Chipinge, a district over 500 kilometres east of Harare.
Continue reading Children Learn Lessons of Commerce on the Streets of Zimbabwe

Faces of Modern-day slavery

A worker carries a bag of charcoal on to a truck in Rondon do Para. Brazil was the last country to withdraw from the transatlantic slave trade. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty

The Guardian

Slavery was abolished by most countries 150 years ago, but bonded and forced labour, trafficking and exploitation persist

Photo Gallery – 12 photos

What is modern-day slavery?

About 150 years after most countries banned slavery – Brazil was the last to abolish its participation in the transatlantic slave trade, in 1888 – millions of men, women and children are still enslaved. Contemporary slavery takes many forms, from women forced into prostitution, to child slavery in agriculture supply chains or whole families working for nothing to pay off generational debts. Slavery thrives on every continent and in almost every country. Forced labour, people trafficking, debt bondage and child marriage are all forms of modern-day slavery that affect the world’s most vulnerable people.
Continue reading Faces of Modern-day slavery

Protests after Kenya election verdict

Al Jazeera

President-elect Kenyatta calls for unity after supporters of rival candidate protest court decision that upheld his win.

Supporters of Raila Odinga, the runner-up in the just concluded Kenya presidential elections, have protested against a decision by the country’s highest court that dismissed an opposition petition challenging Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory.

Clashes immediately erupted on Saturday between youths and the police in Kisumu, the biggest town in Odinga’s western region stronghold, leaving at least two people dead.

The protesters were initially dispersed by the police but they then reassembled later in the evening to hurl stones at cars and motorbikes, injuring several people.
Continue reading Protests after Kenya election verdict

BRICS cook the climate

Pambazuka News

The BRICS are surpassing the US and the EU in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases. The Durban summit was an opportune moment to ask and answer many questions regarding the BRICS’ economic strategies and to radically reduce their levels of emissions.

Patrick Bond
As they met in Durban on March 26-27, leaders of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – must own up: they have been emitting prolific levels of greenhouse gases, far higher than the US or the EU in absolute terms and as a ratio of GDP (though less per person). How they address this crisis could make the difference between life and death for hundreds of millions of people this century. Continue reading BRICS cook the climate

Scottish government approves windfarm opposed by Donald Trump

The US businessman’s Trump International golf course at Menie Estate also caused controversy, not least for building on an area of protected dunes. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The Guardian

Billionaire property magnate attacks decision to build experimental offshore windfarm near his golf course as ‘purely political’

Scottish ministers have given the go-ahead to an experimental offshore windfarm site near Aberdeen after ignoring Donald Trump‘s angry threats of legal action to block the project.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the European offshore wind deployment centre (EOWDC) proposal, alleging the turbines will ruin the view from his £750m golf resort, which overlooks the North Sea and sits several kilometres north of the site’s boundary.
Continue reading Scottish government approves windfarm opposed by Donald Trump

Kenyatta wins Kenya’s presidential election

Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta declared poll winner with 50.07 percent of vote, as rival Odinga says he will contest result.
Uhuru Kenyatta , Kenya’s deputy prime minister, has won the country’s presidential election with 50.07 percent of the vote, official results show, just enough to avoid a runoff.
The country’s electoral commission said voter turnout in the election was 88 percent.
Following the announcement on Saturday, Raila Odinga , outgoing prime minister, who came second in the election, said he would contest the result.
Odinga’s camp had said during tallying that the ballot count was deeply flawed and had called for it to be halted.
Speaking in the Kenyan capital on Saturday, Odinga said “rampant illegality” across the entire election process has led him to seek a Supreme Court investigation into polling procedures. Continue reading Kenyatta wins Kenya’s presidential election