35 years after Romero, El Salvador is still at war

CRUX
by John Allen Jr. (Associate Editor)

Members of the 18th street gang gather together at the Cojutepeque Jail in El Salvador.  (Photo: Getty Images)
Members of the 18th street gang gather together at the Cojutepeque Jail in El Salvador. (Photo: Getty Images)

SAN SALVADOR — When the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador is beatified on Saturday, it will mark a public celebration of a martyr shot to death at the altar in 1980 for seeking justice and peace in a country that, on the cusp of a brutal civil war, was sorely lacking in both.

Although it’s hard to know what Romero might make of the honor, it seems far more certain he would have mixed feelings about what’s happened in El Salvador in the 35 years since his death.

On one hand, following a deadly conflict from 1980 to 1992 that saw an estimated 85,000 people killed, 8,000 missing, and 1 million displaced, a peace agreement between the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and a US-backed conservative Salvadoran government produced a cease-fire that has never been broken.
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New World Information Order, Internet and the Global South – Part I

IPS/ International Press Service
By Branislav Gosovic

VILLAGE TUDOROVICI, Montenegro – More than four decades ago, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) launched the concept of a New International Information Order (NIIO).

Children surf the net in a remote island community in the Philippines where fishing is the main source of income. Credit: eKindling/Lubang Tourism.
Children surf the net in a remote island community in the Philippines where fishing is the main source of income. Credit: eKindling/Lubang Tourism.

Its initiative led to the establishment of an independent commission within the fold of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which produced a report, published in 1980, on a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO).

Incomprehensible to the general public and not suitable for consideration in multilateral policy forums, the Internet governance deliberations have largely been under control of the world superpower and its cyber mega-corporations from Silicon Valley.

The report, titled “One World, Many Voices,” is usually referred to as the MacBride Report after its chairman.

The very idea of venturing to criticise and challenge the existing global media, namely the information and communication hegemony of the West, touched a raw political nerve, apparently a much more sensitive one than that irked by the developing countries’ New International Economic Order (NIEO) proposals. More…

Mountains hold climate change surprise, scientists find

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
by Pete Spotts, Staff writer

Mountains are shaped differently than scientists thought they were, and that could be good news for mountain-dwelling species adapting to climate change

A bird flies over a blossoming poppy field against the backdrop of a city and the Tien Shan mountains at outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 14. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)
A bird flies over a blossoming poppy field against the backdrop of a city and the Tien Shan mountains at outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 14. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

Global warming is expected to leave many plants and animals living on the world’s mountains with nowhere to go but up – increasing their risk of extinction as they chase climatological comfort zones through landscapes that relentlessly shrink as they approach a summit.

At least that’s the concept that has held sway for the past 30 years. But this simple picture is wrong for many of the world’s major mountain ranges, a new study finds.

Instead, in many cases these migrants may wind up reaching altitudes where the landscape is relatively flat and extensive, giving them more room to spread out than they had at their original locations and perhaps enhancing their chances of surviving. More…

The homeless man who works in the Senate

WASHINGTON POST
by Catherine Rampell

Charles Gladden, who is homeless, works in the Dirksen Senate Office Building kitchen. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Charles Gladden, who is homeless, works in the Dirksen Senate Office Building kitchen. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

In the basement of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, 63-year-old Charles Gladden works alongside some of the nation’s most powerful people. For eight years, he has greeted senators, staffers and lobbyists in the hallways and the cafeteria, at exclusive banquets and special functions. He reflects fondly on some of the warmer colleagues who he says got the boot too soon.

But unbeknown to any of these bigwigs, or even to his employer, Gladden is homeless. He works in the Senate cafeteria, and he has not had a fixed address for the past five years. More…

Stopping the mine – Xeni Gwet’in leader wins Environmental Prize

NEW INTERNATIONALIST EASIER ENGLISH WIKI
newint.org

Marilyn Baptiste, leader of the Xeni Gwet’in. © Goldman Environmental Prize
Marilyn Baptiste, leader of the Xeni Gwet’in. © Goldman Environmental Prize

Marilyn Baptiste of British Columbia, Canada has won the Goldman Environmental Prize. She stopped the Taseko Mines gold mining project.

We are very happy that Marilyn Baptiste, leader of the Xeni Gwet’in has won the Goldman Environmental Prize. This is the biggest prize in the world for environmental activism. She stopped Taseko Mines’ Prosperity gold and copper mine.

Marilyn led the successful campaign to protect her community from the Prosperity mine. The mining project would be the worst kind of mining. It would destroy the beautiful First Nations’ lands and Fish Lake (Teztan Biny), full of fish.

If this plan had succeeded, many other similar mines would have been planned. The Canadian government has a history of giving more importance to mining than indigenous rights and environmental protection.

Industry, governments and local municipalities all supported the Prosperity plan. So it was a surprise to many people that it was not allowed. This shows the power of community protest.

Marilyn Baptiste led the fight. She had just been chosen as Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in. She led the environmental, cultural and economic studies to take to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s review group. More…

US Bishops warn ‘without nuclear disarmament, world is in great danger’

ICN

Nagasaki Bomb
Nagasaki Bomb

The US Bishops’ International Justice and Peace Committee has urged Secretary of State, John Kerry, to step up efforts to advance nuclear disarmament and ensure the success of a multilateral conference being held in New York. The comments were made in a May 12 letter issued as the Ninth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) meeting continues at the United Nations.

“For most Americans, there is an assumption that the nuclear threat receded with the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth,” said Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the Committee. “In a multi-polar world where there are risks of nuclear proliferation and even nuclear terrorism, it is imperative that the world move systematically and relentlessly toward nuclear disarmament and the securing of nuclear materials. Preserving the NPT is a cornerstone of this effort.”

The International Justice and Peace Committee also urged bold and concrete commitments to “accelerate verifiable nuclear disarmament, including taking weapons off ‘launch on warning’ status to prevent a catastrophic accident, deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals, ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and serious negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and other prudent measures.” Read full text of the letter…

Kenya hires lobbyists to push aid, travel agenda in US

DAILY NATION
By KEVIN J. KELLEY
NEW YORK

SEX TRAFFICKING

Kenya has hired two leading lobbying firms based in Washington, DC to push for the country's agenda in the United States...
Kenya has hired two leading lobbying firms based in Washington, DC to push for the country’s agenda in the United States…

The letter, signed by Squire Patton Boggs partner David Dunn and addressed to Foreign Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, notes that Kenya is facing “a cut-off of all non-humanitarian and other forms of assistance from the US government.”

The threat arises from the State Department’s designation of Kenya as a “Tier 2” country in annual reports assessing governments’ efforts to prevent human trafficking.

Countries assigned to that group are deemed to be failing to comply fully with minimal standards for eliminating trafficking and include North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria, Zimbabwe and Eritrea.

The rural Kenyan school that collects water for the community

THE GUARDIAN

(Lucy Bullivant is the editor-in-chief of the webzine Urbanista.org.)

ab335fed-7d88-4300-9894-9b2d5885eea1-2060x1236A new school in Kenya’s central highlands harvests rain for pupils, teachers and their families, but can the project be repeated in other arid regions?

Abrupt flash floods for a few weeks, then months of drought. Repeat. Water problems suffered by people living in the semi-arid regions of Kenya adversely affect whole areas of their lives, causing ill health, conflict and food insecurity.

The Endana secondary school complex includes dormitories (such as the one above), and a sports stadium which can collect and store 1.5 million litres of water. Photograph: PITCH Africa
The Endana secondary school complex includes dormitories (such as the one above), and a sports stadium which can collect and store 1.5 million litres of water. Photograph: PITCH Africa

But the opening of a school in rural Laikipia in the central highlands will hopefully break that vicious cycle for 300 children, their teachers and the wider community. More than just a simple building, the Waterbank School is a living infrastructure that harvests rainwater – 360,000 litres over the course of two rainy seasons – as well as being an education centre.

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London: Campaigners hold prayer vigil at Foreign Office over deaths of refugees in Mediterranean

ICN/INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS

miggrntMore than 40 international religious peace activists highlighted the deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean and the culpability of the UK government on Friday. The gathering consisted of a silent procession to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a public prayer vigil, and a symbolic representation of the deaths at the Home Office.

Since January 1, 2015 over 65,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe. So far this year at least 1,800 men, women and children have drowned in their bid to reach Europe; a direct result of the indefensible decision to disband Mare Nostrum, the search and rescue operation. These include refugees fleeing oppression, poverty and war, forced to submit to acts of desperation and the risks of human trafficking in their search for a better life.

In the face of this crisis, European governments, including the UK, have reduced search and rescue operations leading to the death toll increasing ten times that of the same period in 2014 (according to the International Organisation for Migration).

Last month, under humanitarian pressure… More…

The secret corporate takeover of trade agreements

THE GUARDIAN
by Joseph Stiglitz

Rural workers in a potato field in Villapinzon, Colombia. Increasingly, free-trade agreements meant to protect countries are leaving them at the mercy of rich and litigious corporations. Photograph: Fernando Vergara/AP
Rural workers in a potato field in Villapinzon, Colombia. Increasingly, free-trade agreements meant to protect countries are leaving them at the mercy of rich and litigious corporations. Photograph: Fernando Vergara/AP

The US and the world are engaged in a great debate about new trade agreements. Such pacts used to be called free-trade agreements; in fact, they were managed trade agreements, tailored to corporate interests, largely in the US and the EU. Today, such deals are more often referred to as partnerships, as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But they are not partnerships of equals: the US effectively dictates the terms. Fortunately, America’s “partners” are becoming increasingly resistant.

It is not hard to see why. These agreements go well beyond trade, governing investment and intellectual property as well, imposing fundamental changes to countries’ legal, judicial, and regulatory frameworks, without input or accountability through democratic institutions.

Perhaps the most invidious – and most dishonest – part of such agreements concerns investor protection. Of course, investors have to be protected against rogue governments seizing their property. But… More…