New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%

The Guardian

Oxfam warns of widening inequality gap, days ahead of Davos economic summit in Switzerland

Larry Elliott, economics editor, and Ed Pilkington

The Swiss ski resort of Davos, home to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Photograph: Christian Kober/Robert Hardi/REX
The Swiss ski resort of Davos, home to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Photograph: Christian Kober/Robert Hardi/REX

Billionaires and politicians gathering in Switzerland this week will come under pressure to tackle rising inequality after a study found that – on current trends – by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%. Continue reading New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%

That Was Easy: In Just 60 Years, Neo-liberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth

Pair of new studies show how various forms of human activity, driven by a flawed economic system and vast consumption, is laying waste to Earth’s natural systems

Jon Queally

The conclusion that the world's dominant economic model—a globalized form of neoliberal capitalism, largely based on international trade and fueled by extracting and consuming natural resources—is the driving force behind planetary destruction will not come as a shock, but the model's detailed description of how this has worked since the middle of the 20th century makes a more substantial case than many previous attempts. (Photo: NASA)
The conclusion that the world’s dominant economic model—a globalized form of neoliberal capitalism, largely based on international trade and fueled by extracting and consuming natural resources—is the driving force behind planetary destruction will not come as a shock, but the model’s detailed description of how this has worked since the middle of the 20th century makes a more substantial case than many previous attempts. (Photo: NASA)

Humanity’s rapacious growth and accelerated energy needs over the last generation—particularly fed by an economic system that demands increasing levels of consumption and inputs of natural resources—are fast driving planetary systems towards their breaking point, according to a new pair of related studies. Continue reading That Was Easy: In Just 60 Years, Neo-liberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth

 Kenya president signs tough ‘anti-terror’ law

Al Jazeera

President Kenyatta signs into law contested security bill which gives sweeping powers to crack down on suspects.

The legislation has been pushed as an attempt by the government to confront the Somali based group, al-Shabab [EPA]
The legislation has been pushed as an attempt by the government to confront the Somali based group, al-Shabab [EPA]
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a contested security bill, saying it would help fight armed groups operating in the East African country.

Kenyatta on Friday scolded Kenyan politicians who were involved in a brawl in parliament on Thursday during a vote on the controversial bill. (See video on BBC) Continue reading  Kenya president signs tough ‘anti-terror’ law

Are the people really sharing in the country’s wealth?

Mail & Guardian

Matuma Letsoalo

The Freedom Charter of 1955 is a document that was adopted to guide good governance and gave the anti-apartheid movement clear goals. (Mayibuye archive: Ronen Zvulun, Reuters)
The Freedom Charter of 1955 is a document that was adopted to guide good governance and gave the anti-apartheid movement clear goals. (Mayibuye archive: Ronen Zvulun, Reuters)

The ANC believes it is well on its way to fulfilling promises made in the Freedom Charter, but Numsa tells a different story.

Sixty years after it was drafted, the Freedom Charter has again taken centre stage with rival political parties claiming its principles ahead of next year’s local government elections. Continue reading Are the people really sharing in the country’s wealth?

High gold prices causing increased deforestation in South America, study finds

The Guardian

Rising gold prices have made it profitable to extract low grade deposits lying beneath protected Amazon and other South American forests, says study of mining impacts.

 An illegal gold mine on an area of deforested Amazon rainforest the city of Castelo dos Sonhos, Pará State, Brazil. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
An illegal gold mine on an area of deforested Amazon rainforest the city of Castelo dos Sonhos, Pará State, Brazil. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

Jonathan Watts

A surge in the price of gold has led to increased deforestation of the Amazon and other South American forests, according to a new study of mining impacts. Continue reading High gold prices causing increased deforestation in South America, study finds

Police disperse protesters ahead of Congo parliament election debate

Reuters

By Aaron Ross

(Reuters) – Police fired tear gas on Monday at demonstrators trying to protest against a parliamentary debate on a proposed census in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s which, if approved, could delay next year’s elections.

Under the constitution, President Joseph Kabila will not be able to stand in the 2016 ballot, and critics say the government plan to insist on a census ahead of any vote might enable him to prolong his hold on office. Continue reading Police disperse protesters ahead of Congo parliament election debate

In new interview, Francis strongly defends criticisms of capitalism

National Catholic Reporter
by Joshua J. McElwee
Rome —   Pope Francis strongly defends his repeated criticisms of the global market economy in a new interview released Sunday, rebutting those who accuse him of “pauperism” by saying he is only repeating Jesus’ message of caring for the poor.

“Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth,” Francis states in the interview, bluntly asking: “Is it pauperism?”

“Jesus tells us that it is the ‘protocol’ on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me,” the pontiff continues. Continue reading In new interview, Francis strongly defends criticisms of capitalism

Congo-Kinshasa: UNHCR Condemns Massacres in Beni, in DR Congo and Calls for Humanitarian Access

AllAfrica

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 19 December 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Maï-Maï miliatia man Beni (Nord-Kivu).
Maï-Maï miliatia man Beni (Nord-Kivu).

UNHCR is greatly concerned by the ongoing killings and other human rights violations against civilians in the Beni area of DR Congo’s North Kivu Province. Multiple attacks over the last three months have caused widespread fear and displacement. We are appealing for humanitarian access to help people in distress. Continue reading Congo-Kinshasa: UNHCR Condemns Massacres in Beni, in DR Congo and Calls for Humanitarian Access

Thousands suspected dead in Boko Haram massacre

Mail & Guardian

Hundreds of bodies are left in a bush in Nigeria from a Boko Haram attack, killing mostly children, women and elderly people.

Protests against Boko Haram. (Reuters)
Protests against Boko Haram. (Reuters)

Hundreds of bodies – too many to count – remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International suggested Friday is the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram. Continue reading Thousands suspected dead in Boko Haram massacre

Vatican conference remembers Haiti earthquake five years

Independent catholic News

Port-au-Prince Cathedral
Port-au-Prince Cathedral

The communion of the Church: memory and hope for Haiti five years after the earthquake was the title of the conference which took place today in the Vatican. The event was organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in collaboration with the bishops of Haiti, and was a response to the Holy Father’s wish to maintain close attention to a country that continues to suffer the consequences of the earthquake, and to reiterate the Church’s closeness to the Haitian people during the reconstruction phase. Above all it offered the opportunity to present the balance of aid destined for the country and to analyze the results of the implementation of the projects carried out from 2010 to the present day. Continue reading Vatican conference remembers Haiti earthquake five years