UN committee imposes sanctions on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

Recommended by Eucharia Madueke, SNDdeN

The important thing is to attack the problem, and that is terrorism” – U Joy Ogwu Nigerian permanent representative to the UN

Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram commander
Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram commander

Under the command of Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks
The UN Security Council has approved sanctions against the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, five weeks after it kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls.

It will now be added to a list of al-Qaeda-linked organisations subject to an arms embargo and asset freeze.

US envoy Samantha Power said it was an “important step” in support of efforts to “defeat Boko Haram and hold its murderous leadership accountable”.

Analysts say it is hard to say what practical effect the move will have.

Boko Haram was earlier blamed for the deaths of 27 people in a north-eastern village.

Residents said gunmen had shot dead farm workers in Chikongudo, set fire to nearly all the homes there and stolen food in an attack on Wednesday night. The assailants stormed the village in cars and motorbikes, a trademark of Boko Haram, the residents added.

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Pope Francis: If we destroy Creation, it will destroy us

Independent Catholic News

General Audience
General Audience

Temperatures in Rome exceeded 28C during Pope Francis’ General Audience today. The focus of his homily was knowledge. “the gift of knowledge helps us to avoid falling prey to excessive or incorrect attitudes. The first lies in the risk of considering ourselves masters of Creation. Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude”.

He urged people to nurture and safeguard Creation as God’s greatest gift to us, because while God always forgives, Creation never forgives and – he warned – if we destroy Creation, in the end it will destroy us!

Pope Francis’ warning was particularly welcomed by representatives of the Indigenous Peoples of the World Association ‘The spirit of the planet’, who attended the audience.

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The Practical Choice: Not American Capitalism or “Welfare State Socialism” but an Economy That’s Working for a Few or Many

Common Dreams

Robert Reich

econ4Credit: cc 2.0
For years Americans have assumed that our hard-charging capitalism  is better than the soft-hearted version found in Canada and Europe. American capitalism might be a bit crueler but it generates faster growth and higher living standards overall. Canada’s and Europe’s “welfare-state socialism” is doomed.

It was a questionable assumption to begin with, relying to some extent on our collective amnesia about the first three decades after World War II, when tax rates on top incomes in the U.S. never fell below 70 percent, a larger portion of our economy was invested in education than before or since, over a third of our private-sector workers were unionized, we came up with Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor, and built the biggest infrastructure project in history, known as the interstate highway system.

Continue reading The Practical Choice: Not American Capitalism or “Welfare State Socialism” but an Economy That’s Working for a Few or Many

The People’s Cup

Common Dreams

Recommended by Sr. Maura Browne

by Abby Zimet

With Brazil’s World Cup three weeks away, up to 250,000 unsightly poor people have been driven out of their favelas, or slums, to make way for slick stadiums; thousands of subsequently homeless people have been evicted, often violently, from squatters’ encampments set up when skyrocketing rents left them unable to find anywhere else to go; and thousands more remain in other camps to protest a country that has spent $12 billion “to have a lovely World Cup and for the city to look nice, yet we still see children sleeping in the street.” Because many believe there’s something wrong there, street artist Paulo Ito’s image, put up about a week ago on the doors of a schoolhouse in São Paulo, has now gone viral.

Peru’s Conga Mine Conflict: Cajamarca Won’t Capitulate

Upside Down World

The fight over the Conga mining project is one of Peru’s largest current social conflicts.

By Lynda Sullivan

Local people protesting  the abuse of local environment
Local people protesting the abuse of local environment

Today, the local population continues resisting the imposition of one of Latin America`s largest gold mining projects – Minas Conga. The situation remains tense, and the resistance continues, but with an intensified sense of urgency because as the battles are won and lost, many feel that the conflict is nearing its conclusion.

The struggle against the Conga project has been a long and arduous one already (1). To summarize, Conga is a 4.8 billion dollar project of Yanacocha – a company which combines the interests of Newmont mining corporation (US-based), Buenaventura (Peru) and the IFC of the World Bank. It aims to destroy the head of the water basin for the province of Celendin, and in part that of neighboring Cajamarca and Hualgayoc, leaving severe water shortage and contamination. This would prove disastrous for the mainly rural provinces of the region of Cajamarca, in the northern highlands of Peru, where the majority of dwellers live by agriculture and cattle rearing.  It would be an aggressive open pit mining project, an Earth-destroying technique that Newmont itself initiated in the early 1960s (2), and similar but more expansive than Yanacocha`s previous work in Cajamarca. For this the population rejecting the project have a fair idea of what is in store – all they need to do is look next door to the devastation that 20 years of open pit mining has left in its wake (to see more about the particulars of this devastation please see the aforementioned article).

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The “Billion Dollar Map” Under the Appearance of Good



The Billion Dollar Map
econ3The World Bank has presented a new project called “Billion Dollar Map” aimed at helping African governments find out about natural resources in their countries. The project tries to identify those natural resources which are not yet exploited in African countries, estimate the reserves of these resources as well as their value on the market. The World Bank believes that the information will help African governments in negotiations and that civil society will be able to assess the value of any deal.

It is estimated that 30 sub-Saharan African countries are significantly rich in natural resources and that they hold 30% of the world’s reserves of uranium, platinum, diamonds and gold. Moreover, the continent has great reserves of oil, coal and gas. In spite of this wealth, 50% of its population is living below the poverty line.

According to a 2013 report by Global Financial Integrity, African countries have lost between $600 Billion and $1.4 trillion over the past 30 years in net resources transfer. However, it is not only the lack of information that causes the loss of millions of dollars every year; there is also a set of problems caused by a lack of transparency in negotiations, an unfair tax system, the abuse of transnational companies operating in developing countries and corruption or inadequate infrastructure.

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The Time is Now: Veterans’ service should be matched with economic opportunity

Center for American Progress
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

To commemorate Memorial Day, Half in Ten and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans are honoring the veterans who have made sacrifices for our country. They have protected and served the United States, yet many return home and struggle with poverty and economic insecurity, as illustrated in our [ http://app.mx3.americanprogressaction.org/e/er?s=785&lid=156841&elq=2e171fadfc094bfe9d2eba2ac9051999 ]Veterans Poverty and Opportunity Profile (PDF).

There are roughly 22.5 million veterans in the United States—many above the retirement age—and more than 1.4 million of them are living in poverty.

The United States must ensure that veterans’ service is matched with [ http://app.mx3.americanprogressaction.org/e/er?s=785&lid=156841&elq=2e171fadfc094bfe9d2eba2ac9051999 ]economic opportunity (PDF) and support. Aside from the moral imperative to assist those who have served our country, veterans’ ability to find employment, provide for their families, and locate affordable housing is a crucial component of America’s current and future workforce and economic success.

We must strengthen crucial services and supports and implement smart public policies—such as raising the minimum wage—that provide the opportunities necessary to lift veterans out of poverty and ensure long-term growth and shared prosperity.

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Religious leaders create a Guarantee Commission to monitor the next election in Congo


An Integrity Commission and Electoral Mediation (CIME) to ensure peaceful, free and transparent elections, was announced by the religious leaders in Kinshasa at the end of a four-day seminar organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on leadership training and conflict prevention.

“We need to ensure the integrity of the electoral process right from the beginning, during and after the vote in order to avoid elections which are not prepared well to develop into conflict and for them to escalate into violence”, said Rev. Elebe Kapalay Delphin of the Kimbanguiste Church, coordinator of the newly formed commission made up of 16 members.

Don Apollinaire Malumalu, Catholic priest and President of INEC, praised the initiative and said he was certain that the electoral commission will accompany the long electoral process. Elections are scheduled between 2015 and 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to renew the provincial bodies, the two Houses of Parliament and to elect a new Head of State. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/05/2014)

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OP-ED: Violence Leaves Women, Girls, and Young People on the Edge in South Sudan

By Julitta Onabanjo

Emily Deng hopes she will deliver her baby safely at Juba 3 POC camp, South Sudan.
Emily Deng hopes she will deliver her baby safely at Juba 3 POC camp, South Sudan.

Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, regional director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) East and Southern Africa Region, says humanitarian crises are reproductive health disasters, especially because pregnancy-related deaths tend to soar during this period. Courtesy: United Nations Population Fund
JUBA, May 19 2014 ([ http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/05/op-ed-violence-leaves-women-girls-young-people-edge-south-sudan/ ]IPS) – As with many conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies around the world, those who suffer the most are women, young girls and children. The current terrible crisis in South Sudan is no exception.

When I visited the country recently, I met women and girls, some with babies strapped on their backs, living in very poor conditions in protection camps within United Nations bases in the capital city of Juba. Walking through the camps, I also met young people, many of whom are now seeing their dreams of a better life being shattered by the violent conflict.

Continue reading OP-ED: Violence Leaves Women, Girls, and Young People on the Edge in South Sudan