The WE News — Globalization
Police Violence
Militarization
Globalization
There is nothing more terrifying than being afraid of your own thoughts.
This is the internal turmoil of being betrayed by your government in a time of war.
I did not serve in Vietnam for the cause of freedom.  I served massive corporate greed in America for the cause of profit.
Betrayal is never brought to the forefront, because to do so is to admit the war was wrong in the first place.
Denial becomes the lethal suppressant of truth.
Lying is the most powerful weapon in war, militarization and globalization.
Photo and words: Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71
October 1, 2009
G-20 in Pittsburgh
WRONG WAY
G-20 in Pittsburgh September 24, 25 2009.

Police Violence, Militarization, Globalization, WRONG WAY

The Dismantling Of A Belief System

There is nothing more terrifying than being afraid of your own thoughts.

This is the internal turmoil of being betrayed by your government in a time of war.

I did not serve in Vietnam for the cause of freedom. I served massive corporate greed in America for the cause of profit.

Betrayal is never brought to the forefront, because to do so is to admit the war was wrong in the first place.

Denial becomes the lethal suppressant of truth.

Lying is the most powerful weapon in war, militarization and globalization.

Photo and words: Mike Hastie U.S.
Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71
October 1, 2009
22 August 2009
The vegetable gardeners of Havana
By Sarah Murch
BBC Two's Future of Food
Climate change, drought, population growth — they could all threaten future food supplies. But global agriculture, with its dependence on fuel and fertilisers is also highly vulnerable to an oil shortage, as Cuba found out 20 years ago.
Oxen organic farming Cuba

With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land.

With no oil-based fertilizers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements.

Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects.

Havana has almost 200 urban allotments - known as organiponicos - providing four million tons of vegetables every year - helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.

Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives employing 170 people, which was built on a former rubbish-tip that produces 240 tons of vegetables a year.
Oxen work on farms in Cuba
Around Cuba's capital Havana, it is quite remarkable how often you see a neatly tended plot of land right in the heart of the city.
Sometimes smack bang between tower block estates or next door to the crumbling colonial houses, fresh fruit and vegetables are growing in abundance.
Some of the plots are small — just a few rows of lettuces and radishes being grown in an old parking space.
Other plots are much larger — the size of several football pitches.
Usually they have a stall next to them to sell the produce at relatively low prices to local people.
Twenty years ago, Cuban agriculture looked very different.
Between 1960 and 1989, a national policy of intensive specialised agriculture radically transformed Cuban farming into high-input mono-culture in which tobacco, sugar, and other cash crops were grown on large state farms.
Cuba exchanged its abundant produce for cheap, imported subsidised oil from the old Eastern Bloc.
In fact, oil was so cheap, Cuba pursued a highly industrialised fuel-thirsty form of agriculture — not so different from the kind of farming we see in much of the West today.
But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the oil supply rapidly dried up, and, almost overnight, Cuba faced a major food crisis.
Already affected by a US trade embargo, Cuba by necessity had to go back to basics to survive — rediscovering low-input self-reliant farming.
City allotments
With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land.
vegetable plot in Havana, Cuba

Havana has almost 200 urban allotments — known as organiponicos — providing four million tons of vegetables every year — helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.

Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives employing 170 people, which was built on a former rubbish-tip that produces 240 tons of vegetables a year.

The organiponico uses raised beds filled with about 50% high-quality organic material (such as manure), 25% composted waste such as rice husks and coffee bean shells, and 25% soil.

'We produce all different kinds of vegetables,' says farmer Emilio Andres who is proud of the fact that his allotment feeds the local community.

'We sell to the people, the school, the hospital, also to the restaurant and the hotel too.

It's important because it's grown in the city, it's fresh food for the people, it's healthy food, and it provides jobs for the people here too.

We don't spray any chemicals. We only spray biological means like bastilos — a bacteria and fungus to kill the pests. And we use repellent plants like marigolds to keep away the pests.

When I see all of these healthy crops, without too many pests, grown without any chemicals, it's amazing for me — I am making a contribution for the people that get healthy crops, healthy products.
Vegetable plot in Havana
With no oil-based fertilizers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements.
Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects.
Havana has almost 200 urban allotments — known as organiponicos — providing four million tons of vegetables every year — helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.
Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives employing 170 people, which was built on a former rubbish-tip that produces 240 tons of vegetables a year.
There are a wide range of crops planted side by side and brightly coloured marigolds at the edges.
"We produce all different kinds of vegetables," says farmer Emilio Andres who is proud of the fact that his allotment feeds the local community.
"We sell to the people, the school, the hospital, also to the restaurant and the hotel too.
"It's important because it's grown in the city, it's fresh food for the people, it's healthy food, and it provides jobs for the people here too.
"We don't spray any chemicals.   We only spray biological means like bastilos — a bacteria and fungus to kill the pests.
And we use repellent plants like marigolds to keep away the pests.
When I see all of these healthy crops, without too many pests, grown without any chemicals, it's amazing for me — I am making a contribution for the people that get healthy crops, healthy products."
Healthy diet
The organiponico uses raised beds filled with about 50% high-quality organic material (such as manure), 25% composted waste such as rice husks and coffee bean shells, and 25% soil.
As well as marigolds, basil and neem trees are planted around the containers to keep the aphids and beetles at bay.   Sunflowers and corn are also planted around the beds to attract beneficial insects such as lady bugs and lace wings.
Sticky paper or plastic funnel-shaped bottles are positioned throughout the beds to trap harmful pests that do get into the garden.
And the methods work. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach herbs and many other crops are grown in huge quantities and sold cheaply.
Mangoes are 2 pence (3 US cents) a pound. Black beans 15p (25 cents) and plantain, just 12p (20 cents).
At the time of the oil shock, average calorie consumption in Cuba dropped by a third to dangerously low levels.
Since then they have bounced back and Cubans eat just a little less than people in the UK.
The biggest difference is that a Western diet includes about three times as much food energy from animal products like meat and dairy.
The Cuban diet is much less fatty and requires less fuel to produce.
A far less varied diet than in the West, it is also much healthier.
The standard lunch for the farm workers is black beans, potatoes and rice.
Cuban agricultural researcher, Fernando Funes reckons the rest of the world has something to learn from the Cuban agricultural story.
"Well, do you have oil forever?
And there also other considerations like global warming, nature conservation... the conventional way of farming generates a lot of damage to the environment and to human health.
Developed countries as well as developing countries should pay a lot of attention to this kind of agriculture which takes care of land, people, environment and is also efficient and productive.
You can combine both."
© MMIX
Raul Castro brother of Cuba's former President Fidel Castro, who was head of Cuba's armed forces and has now been chosen as President of Cuba, attends an event in Havana March 13, 2007.

Raul Castro, who turned 76 on June 3, 2007, stepped out from the shadow of his famous elder brother Fidel Castro 10 months ago to act as leader.

After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.

Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.

Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.

Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.

Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.

The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

Photo: REUTERS/Claudia Daut 

Raul Castro brother of Cuba's former President Fidel Castro, who was head of Cuba's armed forces and has now been chosen as President of Cuba, attends an event in Havana March 13, 2007.
Raul Castro, who turned 76 on June 3, 2007, stepped out from the shadow of his famous elder brother Fidel Castro 10 months ago to act as leader.
After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.
Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band.
Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture.
Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming.
Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production.
Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops.
Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency.
The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.
Photo: REUTERS/Claudia Daut
     
World Bank’s ‘Wrong Advice’ Left Silos Empty in Poor Countries
By Alison Fitzgerald and Helen Murphy
Dec. 10 2008 (Bloomberg)
Recipe for Famine
Inside and out, the rusted towers of El Salvador’s biggest grain silo show how the World Bank helped push developing countries into the global food crisis.
Inside, the silo, which once held thousands of tons of beans and cereals, is now empty.
It was abandoned in 1991, after the bank told Salvadoran leaders to privatize grain storage, import staples such as corn and rice, and export crops including cocoa, coffee and palm oil.
Outside, where Rosa Maria Chavez’s food stand is propped against a tower wall, price increases for basic grains this year whittled business down to 16 customers a day from 80.
“It’s a monument to the mess we are in now,” says Chavez, 63.
About 40 million people joined the ranks of the undernourished this year, bringing the estimate of the world’s hungry to 963 million of its 6.8 billion people, the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday.
The growth didn’t come just from natural causes.
A manmade recipe for famine included corrupt governments and companies that profited on misery.
Another ingredient: The World Bank’s free-market
policies, which over almost three decades brought poor nations like El Salvador into global grain markets, where prices surged.
“The World Bank made one basic blunder, which is to think that markets would solve problems of such severe circumstances,” said
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon.
“But history has shown you need to help people to get above the survival threshold before the markets can start functioning.”
‘The Washington Consensus’
Cereals
Abidjan
Ivory Coast
Created in 1944, the Washington-based World Bank Group spent much of its first 35 years dispensing low-interest loans, grants and development advice to poor countries with an eye toward promoting self-reliance.
In 1980, the bank’s executives began attaching conditions to loans that required “structural adjustments” in the recipients’ national economies.
The mandates were designed to have poor countries cut import tariffs, reduce government’s role in enterprises such as agriculture and promote cultivation of export crops to attract foreign currency.
The philosophy, which came to be known as “
The Washington Consensus,” was based in part on assumptions that importing basic grains would be inexpensive and that farmers in developing nations could earn more producing exports.
Food prices had fallen for years and few economists thought that would change, said Mark Cackler, manager of the bank’s
Agriculture and Rural Development Department in Washington.
Exporter to Importer
In 2007 and the first half of 2008, an index of more than 60 food commodity prices compiled by the FAO rose 82 percent.
While costs have since eased, they were 20 percent higher on Nov. 1 than at the end of 2006.
The increases hit hard in countries such as El Salvador, which had adopted the principles of the Washington Consensus in return for loans.
El Salvador’s Central Reserve Bank said the total amount of the lending was “not available.”
Manila
Philippines
The Agriculture Ministry did provide this measure of their effects: The country was a net exporter of rice 20 years ago; now it imports 75 to 80 percent of what it consumes.
The World Bank has “given consistently wrong advice,” said
Jose Ramos-Horta, the president of East Timor in Asia and the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“It is their advice — that buying externally is cheaper than producing — that has resulted in this,” he said.
‘More Than Underinvestment’
Current and former World Bank officials say small countries hurt their own agriculture industries by suppressing prices, taxing farms, inflating exchange rates and favoring urban development.
They reject the assertion that structural adjustment loans hurt developing nations’ self-sufficiency.
“The premise that this crisis was caused by these policies is something that we don’t agree with,” said World Bank spokeswoman Geetanjali Chopra.
“This
crisis was caused by much more than underinvestment in agriculture.”
Still, in nations such as Honduras and Ghana, imports of basic grains climbed after governments eliminated agricultural subsidies, sold off grain stores or decreased tariffs to get World Bank loans in the 1990s, according to data from the UN’s FAO.
In
Honduras, 23,000 rice farmers went out of business, and employment from rice fell to 11,200 people from 150,000 after the government trimmed import duties, according to the human rights group Oxfam International.
Honduran farms now supply 17 percent of the domestic demand for rice, down from 90 percent before the tariffs changed.
McNamara’s Shift
In Ghana, the World Bank required a tariff reduction on rice to 20 percent from 100 percent.
Imports tripled, said Raj Patel, a scholar at the
Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.
The free-market policies were a sharp turn from the bank’s earlier efforts — led by former bank President
Robert McNamara — to develop poor countries’ domestic agriculture and self-reliance, said Uma Lele, a World Bank economist from 1971 to 1991 and 1995 to 2005.
McNamara, who oversaw the escalation of the U.S. war in Vietnam as defense secretary under presidents
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson before joining the bank in 1968, shifted his views.
He introduced the structural adjustment concept in 1979, in a
speech in Manila urging rich nations to open their markets to imports from poor countries.
“Developing countries will need to carry out structural adjustments favoring their export sector,” he said in the speech.
McNamara, 92, declined to comment for this story.
Free Market Principles
World Bank officials were frustrated that their investment in agriculture through the 1970s wasn’t paying off, especially in Africa, said Pierre Landell-Mills, a bank economist at the time.
“There were state marketing organizations that were a complete nightmare of mismanagement and corruption,” said Landell-Mills, 69, now a principal at the Policy Practice, a public policy consulting group in Brighton, England, in a June interview.
“There were unsustainable subsidies.”
The “preferred solution,” he said, was to dismantle the marketing boards, shrink governments and remove barriers to entrepreneurship.
McNamara in 1980 approved the first three structural adjustment loans. By 1985, they made up more than 25 percent of the World Bank’s total lending, according to Kyle Peters, its country services director.
Free-market principles were on the rise in the U.S. and the U.K., the bank’s major funders.
Margaret Thatcher had become British prime minister in 1979 with promises of privatizing state-owned enterprises.
Ronald Reagan was elected U.S. president in 1980, pledging to cut taxes and government programs.
New Ideas, New Staff
Reagan appointed Alden “Tom” Clausen, a former chief executive officer of Bank America Corp., to succeed McNamara in 1981.
The new bank president was convinced “that you could fight poverty better and more efficiently and more quickly if you get the policies of a country right,” Clausen said in an interview.
“I loved structural adjustment loans, and I made a lot of them,” he said.
As the bank’s philosophy evolved, so did its staff.
Clausen hired
Anne Krueger, an economist known for her advocacy of “getting prices right” by removing government controls, as vice president for economics and research in 1982.
Wait in line
for food
She “reshuffled the central economics staff,” wrote Devesh Kapur, in the bank’s official history, “The World Bank: Its First Half Century.”
“Of course the direction of research had changed,” Krueger, 74, said in an interview on August 25, 2008.
She acknowledged that some economists left because they didn’t agree with the bank’s focus.
“Research moved away from big planning models with unreasonable incentives and swung toward things that were much more conducive to agriculture.”
‘Dysfunctional Systems’
Krueger led a five-volume study that concluded developing countries were hurting their own agriculture with tax and exchange rate policies.
She said the bank’s free-trade principles boosted output and growth.
“These were largely dysfunctional systems,” she said.
“It made sense to reduce tariffs so that countries could produce the goods that they were most efficient at.”
After leaving the bank in 1986, Krueger became first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, which makes loans to help countries correct balance of payment problems and promotes economic policies.
As structural adjustment loans grew, the portion of the World Bank’s lending devoted to agriculture fell, to about 8 percent in 2000 from 30 percent in 1980.
Last year, farm-related loans made up 12 percent of the bank’s $24.7 billion portfolio.
‘A Human Face’
“One of the reasons we have problems today is because of the cuts in agriculture,” said Montague Yudelman, 86, who was director of the World Bank’s agriculture department under McNamara.
“If they’d made a continuously high level of investment, we’d have been in much better shape.”
By the late 1980s critics began saying the bank, along with the IMF, was fostering poverty and dependence.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, in 1987 published a two-volume
study titled, “Adjustment With a Human Face.”
It concluded that some of the bank’s programs led to increases in malnutrition and disease in poor nations and urged new strategies to protect the most vulnerable people.
In 1995, just 30 days into his tenure as bank president,
James Wolfensohn promised changes.
During a meeting with representatives of 12 non-profit organizations, Wolfensohn heard their argument that 15 years of adjustment lending had wiped out small farmers in countries from Africa, Latin America and Asia, damaging their ability to feed people.
Some called for the bank to be disbanded.
‘A Different Way’
“What I’m looking for is a different way of doing business in the future,” Wolfensohn, a former Australian Olympic fencer and New York banker, told them.
Wolfensohn, 75, who left the World Bank in 2005, declined to be interviewed for this story.
The bank’s commitment to free-market principles didn’t waver.
In 2000, as a condition for a $6.8 million agriculture loan in East Timor, the bank demanded that publicly funded agricultural service centers be privatized and rejected money for a public grain silo and slaughterhouse, according to Tim Anderson, a political economy lecturer at the University of Sydney.
He has written several papers on East Timor’s development.
It also turned down proposals for the government to provide research and advice to farmers and to supply seeds and fertilizer because, “such public sector involvement has not proved successful elsewhere,” according to a World Bank mission report that year.
Gonaives
Haiti
Small Farms Ignored
At the time, there was already evidence that private entrepreneurs weren’t serving so-called smallholders, who the bank says make up 60 percent of the world’s 2.5 billion farm households.
A 1998 study by Michael L. Morris, then a senior economist and project coordinator with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batan, Mexico, found that private seed companies in Africa focused on supplying large commercial operations and “often ignored small-scale, subsistence-oriented farmers located in remote areas.”
Morris, 53, is now the World Bank’s lead agriculture economist for the Africa region.
In its
2008 World Development Report, the bank acknowledged that limiting governments’ participation in agriculture had hurt small farmers — citing Morris’s 10-year-old study as part of the evidence.
“The expectation was that removing the state would free the market for private actors to take over these functions — reducing their costs, improving their quality, and eliminating their regressive bias.
Too often, that didn’t happen,” the bank said in the report.
No ‘Evil Force’
In 2000, Wolfensohn defended the bank to critics.
During a meeting at Prague Castle that year, he told an invited crowd of 300 activists, bankers and government officials: “You should not regard us as a black and evil force.   Maybe we’ve gotten things wrong.   I’m sure we have in many cases.”
The next year, several non-profit groups that had worked with the bank to study its loan conditions released a
report saying that the policies “have undermined the viability of small farms, weakened food security and damaged the natural environment.”
San Salvador
Pedestrians and buyers walk through the central market in San Salvador, , El Salvador, on July 25, 2008.

An abandoned San Martin grain silos in San Salvador, El Salvador, once held thousands of tons of beans and cereals; it is now empty.

Biggest grain silo was abandoned in 1991, after the bank told El Salvador leaders to privatize grain storage, import staples such as corn and rice, and export crops including cocoa, coffee and palm oil. 

Outside, where Rosa Maria Chavez’s food stand is propped against a tower wall, price increases for basic grains this year whittled business down to 16 customers a day from 80. 

“It’s a monument to the mess we are in now,” says Maria Rosa Chavez, 63.

This latest food emergency has developed in an incredibly short space of time — essentially over the past 18 months.

The reason for food 'shortages' is speculation in commodity futures following the collapse of the financial derivatives markets.

Desperate for quick returns, dealers are taking trillions of dollars out of equities and mortgage bonds and ploughing them into food and raw materials. 

It's called the 'commodities super-cycle' on Wall Street, and it is likely to cause starvation on an epic scale.

The rocketing price of wheat, soybeans, sugar, coffee — you name it — is a direct result of debt defaults that have caused financial panic in the west and encouraged investors to seek 'stores of value'.

These range from gold and oil at one end to corn, cocoa and cattle at the other; speculators are even placing bets on water prices.

Photo: Alejandra Parra/Bloomberg News
slide cursor here
Pedestrians and buyers walk through the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, on July 25, 2008.
An abandoned San Martin grain silos in San Salvador, El Salvador, once held thousands of tons of beans and cereals; it is now empty.
Biggest grain silo was abandoned in 1991, after the bank told El Salvador leaders to privatize grain storage, import staples such as corn and rice, and export crops including cocoa, coffee and palm oil.
Outside, where Rosa Maria Chavez’s food stand is propped against a tower wall, price increases for basic grains this year whittled business down to 16 customers a day from 80.
“It’s a monument to the mess we are in now,” says Maria Rosa Chavez, 63.
This latest food emergency has developed in an incredibly short space of time — essentially over the past 18 months.
The reason for food 'shortages' is speculation in commodity futures following the collapse of the financial derivatives markets.
Desperate for quick returns, dealers are taking trillions of dollars out of equities and mortgage bonds and ploughing them into food and raw materials.
It's called the 'commodities super-cycle' on Wall Street, and it is likely to cause starvation on an epic scale.
The rocketing price of wheat, soybeans, sugar, coffee — you name it — is a direct result of debt defaults that have caused financial panic in the west and encouraged investors to seek 'stores of value'.
These range from gold and oil at one end to corn, cocoa and cattle at the other; speculators are even placing bets on water prices.
Alejandra Parra/Bloomberg News
Image inserted by TheWE.biz
In response to the criticism from the Structural Adjustment Participatory Review International Network, the bank issued its own analysis that listed successes as well as missteps.
It concluded that the required changes in agriculture were too much, too soon.
Lessons Learned
“The lessons for future policies are that agricultural adjustments are complex and require a sequence of modest steps,” the bank said in the report.
In August 2004, James Adams, the World Bank’s head of operations policy, declared the end of structural adjustments.
“We have abandoned the prescriptive character of the old policy,” Adams said in a
statement.
At the same time, he said, the underpinnings of the Washington Consensus “remain important themes of economic policy.”
The next year, the bank demanded that Niger privatize its irrigation systems, according to a 2007
report by Eurodad, a Brussels-based coalition of 56 non-profit groups.
The requirement “has seriously damaging effects on poor farmers’ access to a precious and scarce resource,” said the report, based on an analysis of the bank’s databases.
In all, the group found economic policy conditions were attached to 71 percent of loans and grants.
The World Bank in May pledged $1.2 billion for a Global Food Response Program that’s designed to speed money to the neediest countries without the usual red tape.
As of last month the Bank approved $364 million for 25 countries and $541 million more is designated for 10 others.
Mario
Salaverria
Trade Talks Stalled
Current Bank President Robert Zoellick, a former U.S. trade representative, has promised to double agriculture spending while touting free trade as a solution to rising food prices. Zoellick, 55, declined to be interviewed.
Poor countries remained skeptical of open markets during the latest round of World Trade talks in Geneva, in July.
They insisted that they be allowed to raise tariffs to protect domestic agriculture, stalling the negotiations.
El Salvador, meanwhile, has invested about $240 million in agriculture since 2004.
It now gives farmers a $30 bag of the seed of their choice and a $30 sack of fertilizer.
“The World Bank had a very short-term vision; it couldn’t have been more wrong,” said
Mario Salaverria, El Salvador’s agriculture minister, as he inspected corn in Sonsonate province, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of San Salvador.
His country must regain self-sufficiency, he said.
“We can stop using our cars because of price increases, but we can’t stop eating.”
(Recipe for Famine: Part 3 of 7.)
Part 1 — Dead Children Linked to Aid Policy in Africa Favoring Americans
Part 2 — How Famine Lurked Behind Vienna Toast Where Joe Cocker Crooned
Part 3 — Additional photos, video, graphics, including reporters contact
Part 4 — Government Bribes in Cameroon Divert Funds From Food Amid Riots
Part 5 — Wasting Enough Rice to Feed 184 Million Is Habit Only Rats Love
© 2008 BLOOMBERG L.P.   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Brazilian government is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway into dying Amazon for Mulitnational Corporations.
Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.
Animals tortured for eating by humans.
Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforest.
Greens hail landmark victory in fight to save Amazon rainforests
[Read more closely — TheWE.biz]
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 26 March 2007

One of the world's largest agribusiness giants was forced to close a soy export terminal in Brazil's Amazon region this weekend, marking a major victory for environmentalists who have argued for years that the plant was built illegally and became a significant cause of rainforest depletion.
Brazilian police and environmental officers swooped on the Cargill terminal in Santarem, a deep-water port in the lower Amazon about 850 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. They said they met no resistance as they set about closing operations.
On Friday, a Brazilian judge ruled that Cargill - a US multinational that posted more than $70bn (£36bn) in revenues last year - had failed to submit a legally required environmental impact assessment when it built the terminal in the first few years of this decade.
It was not the first time the courts had ruled against Cargill on the question, but the company had never previously been forced to suspend its operations.
The Santarem terminal has been the target of a Greenpeace environmental protection campaign from the day it opened in 2003.
A Greenpeace report last year, entitled "Eating Up the Amazon", accused Cargill of being directly or indirectly responsible for slave labour, illegal land grabs and deforestation at a rate of six football pitches per minute.
Greenpeace's Amazon campaign coordinator in Brazil, Paulo Adario, was understandably delighted at the court ruling and closure.
"A big step forward has been taken in enforcing the responsible use of natural resources and bringing greater governance in the Amazon," he said.
Cargill, which argues it is an important engine of economic growth in an impoverished region, said it would appeal the ruling which it said was based on a misunderstanding about who — the state of Para or the Brazilian federal government — needs to sanction environmental impact reports for big projects.
Swiss-flag ship Celerina is loaded with over 50,000 tons of soy for Holland at the port built by Cargill Inc., the Minneapolis-based grain giant and Brazil's largest soy exporter, in Santarem, on the Amazon River, Brazil, May 2, 2006

Federal police and government environmental agents, Saturday March 24, 2007 shut down the port saying the company had failed to provide an environmental impact statement required by law.

Cargill argues that soy production covers only 6 per cent of the Amazon area - a price it believes is worth paying for one of Brazil's key export crops. Brazil is the world's second largest producer after the US.

The Brazilian government appears to agree, and is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.

An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.

That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before - a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.

Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.

Animals tortured for eating by humans.

Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.

Photo: AP/Andre Penner

Swiss-flag ship Celerina is loaded with over 50,000 tons of soy for Holland at the port built by Cargill Inc., the Minneapolis-based grain giant and Brazil's largest soy exporter, in Santarem, on the Amazon River, Brazil, May 2, 2006
Federal police and government environmental agents, Saturday March 24, 2007 shut down the port saying the company had failed to provide an environmental impact statement required by law.
Cargill argues that soy production covers only 6 per cent of the Amazon area — a price it believes is worth paying for one of Brazil's key export crops. Brazil is the world's second largest producer after the US.
The Brazilian government appears to agree, and is sponsoring construction of a 1,100—mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.
An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.
That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before — a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.
Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.
Animals tortured for eating by humans.
Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.
Photo: AP/Andre Penner
Image instered by TheWE.biz
"When we built the facility, the permits were issued by the state," a Cargill spokeswoman, Lori Johnson, told the Associated Press.
"Since that time the federal prosecutor has said we should have done another kind of environmental assessment, and that is the issue before the courts."
The chief prosecutor in the Cargill case, Felicio Pontes, has sided with Greenpeace in seeing the Santarem terminal as illegal.
"Cargill believed that because they were a powerful multinational, they could disrespect both Brazilian legislation and the environment," he said.
Since the Santarem terminal opened, land prices in the region have jumped 18-fold, prompting many landowners to sell to Cargill and other soy-growing multinationals, and spurring a major leap in soy production.
Millions of acres of rainforest have been turned over to soy bean fields.
The soy is used principally to supply European livestock farms.
Cargill argues that soy production covers only 6 per cent of the Amazon area - a price it believes is worth paying for one of Brazil's key export crops.
Brazil is the world's second largest producer after the US.
The Brazilian government appears to agree, and is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.
20 per cent of Amazon rainforest destroyed
An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.
That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before — a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.
©2007 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.  All rights reserved
5000 species of fish
many not yet described
and likely to become extinct
live in rivers
and streams
in the Amazon
A labourer prepares fresh river fish for sale at Manaus fish market in the capital of the state of Amazonas March 13, 2007.

The Amazon Basin, quickly being destroyed, boasts the highest diversity of fish in the world.

Some experts believe that as many as 5000 species of fish, many not yet described and likely to become extinct, live in rivers and streams in the Amazon.

The Brazilian government is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.

An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.

That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before - a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.

Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.

Animals tortured for eating by humans.

Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.

Picture: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
Indigenous Bolivians from the Amazon region perform during a ceremony in the flood-ravaged city of Trinidad, Beni some 400 km (248 miles) northeast of the Bolivian capital La Paz, March 10, 2007.

The worst flooding in a quarter century in Bolivia's Amazon plain has taken place February and March 2007.

Some 40 percent of Beni, which was the hardest hit region in Bolivia, has been under water, and the Bolivian govenment is struggling to deliver aid to remote areas.

The Brazilian government is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.

An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.

That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before - a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.

Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.

Animals tortured for eating by humans.

Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.

Picture: REUTERS/David Mercado

(left)
A labourer prepares fresh river fish for sale at Manaus fish market in the capital of the state of Amazonas March 13, 2007.
The Amazon Basin, quickly being destroyed, boasts the highest diversity of fish in the world.
Some experts believe that as many as 5000 species of fish, many not yet described and likely to become extinct, live in rivers and streams in the Amazon.
(right)
Indigenous Bolivians from the Amazon region perform during a ceremony in the flood-ravaged city of Trinidad, Beni some 400 km (248 miles) northeast of the Bolivian capital La Paz, March 10, 2007.
The worst flooding in a quarter century in Bolivia's Amazon plain has taken place February and March 2007.
Some 40 percent of Beni, which was the hardest hit region in Bolivia, has been under water, and the Bolivian govenment is struggling to deliver aid to remote areas.
The Brazilian government is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.
An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.
That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before — a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.
Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.
Animals tortured for eating by humans.
Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.
Photos: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker, REUTERS/David Mercado
 
Brazil's tropical wetland area known as the Pantanal
Animal and plant species in Brazil
are becoming extinct due to drought, disease and rainstorms in the Pantanal wetlands and Amazon rainforest
Brazil's tropical wetland area, known as the Pantanal, is seen April 9, 1997.

Animal and plant species in Brazil are dying out as rising world temperatures cause more droughts, disease and rainstorms in areas like the Pantanal wetlands and Amazon rainforest, according to studies released on Tuesday.

The Amazon Basin, quickly being destroyed, boasts the highest diversity of fish in the world.

Some experts believe that as many as 5000 species of fish, many not yet described and likely to become extinct, live in rivers and streams in the Amazon.

The Brazilian government is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.

An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.

That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before - a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.

Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.

Animals tortured for eating by humans.

Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.

Photo: REUTERS/Gregg Newton

Brazil's tropical wetland area, known as the Pantanal, is seen April 9, 1997.
Animal and plant species in Brazil are dying out as rising world temperatures cause more droughts, disease and rainstorms in areas like the Pantanal wetlands and Amazon rainforest, according to studies released on Tuesday.
The Amazon Basin, quickly being destroyed, boasts the highest diversity of fish in the world.
Some experts believe that as many as 5000 species of fish, many not yet described and likely to become extinct, live in rivers and streams in the Amazon.
The Brazilian government is sponsoring construction of a 1,100-mile roadway leading from Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-growing state, to the Cargill export terminal.
An estimated 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed, and about 6,500 square miles more was lost between 2005 and 2006.
That represented a slight slowing in the rate of destruction from the year before - a trend experts attribute to the weakening of soy bean prices and the strengthening of Brazil's currency on world markets.
Much of the world's soya production goes to feed animals living in unspeakable horror in intensive farming compounds.
Animals tortured for eating by humans.
Soybean production for intensive farmed animal eating is also destroying the remaining large rainforest of Earth, the Sumatra Indonesia rainforests.
Photo: REUTERS/Gregg Newton
Tom Theobald, above, a Niwot beekeeper for decades, and his brother, Jeff, believe pesticide violations are causing a honeybee die-off.

A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions.

The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.

Is the mysterous decimation of bee populations in the US and Germany a result of GM crops.

Photo: www.denverpost.com/Nathan W. Armes
Tom Theobald, above, a Niwot beekeeper for decades, and his brother, Jeff, believe pesticide violations are causing a honeybee die-off.
Photo: www.denverpost.com/Nathan W. Armes
Hives holding a secret
By Claire Martin
Denver Post Staff Writer

03/04/2007
Like other Colorado beekeepers, Jeff Theobald knows that between 2 percent and 10 percent of his bees typically won't survive winter, but this year, the loss rate is 40 percent and rising as entire colonies vanish without a trace.
"It's just bizarre," said Theobald, who runs Grand Mesa Honey Farm in Delta.
"I've had hives that had dead bees in them — 4,000 to 5,000 dead bees — and hives that were completely empty.
The bees were just gone."
Regional disasters have afflicted beekeepers in the past, but baffled entomologists and agricultural experts call this the first national crisis, with potentially grave consequences.
Approximately $14.6 billion worth of U.S. nut, fruit and vegetable crops depend on bee pollination.
Throughout the U.S., honeybee colonies, including approximately 30,000 colonies in Colorado, are affected by what researchers are calling colony collapse disorder.
To date, the disorder has been identified in 24 states.
"The map changes almost daily," said Jerry Bromenshenk, president of Bee Alert Technology, a research company affiliated with the University of Montana.
"Almost every time the phone rings, we say, 'Is that another state calling in with a problem?"'
The accounts are eerily identical: A bee colony that appeared perfectly strong and healthy during a late 2006 inspection abruptly disappears when beekeepers make their first bee-yard rounds in 2007.
One commercial beekeeper with hives in Oklahoma and Texas lost 80 percent of his 13,000 colonies.
"One day, you look at the bees and they're good," Bromenshenk said.
"The next time you look in the box, you take a second look, pull the cover off, and you might have a queen and three young bees trying to keep things going.
If it was a pesticide or a virus, you'd expect to find piles of dead bees in the box, and in the bee yard.
But this looks like someone swept the bottom board clean."
"We wish we knew"
Where are the missing bees?
Nobody knows.
What's causing them to leave the hive?
Nobody knows that, either.
How many bees are missing?
"We wish we knew, and we wish we had a means of collecting statistics," Bromenshenk said.
"The problem is (that) the beekeepers we hear from are the ones who have a problem.
And another problem is that we're not hearing from the beekeepers who aren't owning up, because they don't want growers to know."
Still, there are few secrets in the relatively small, close-knit beekeeping community, one of the last agricultural domains still dominated by family dynasties.
"Dad knows so many beekeepers, and a bunch of his friends have already had big losses," said Jeff Johnston, whose Colorado Honey Company processes honey from Colorado colonies kept by relatives and friends with operations from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope.
His father, Lyle, is currently in California, where almond growers pay $125 to $165 per hive.
Lyle Johnston's business is based in Rocky Ford.
He normally stays close to home to serve the farmers and ranchers who hire his bees, but the California almond crop is too lucrative to ignore.
The Johnstons are among a handful of this state's commercial beekeepers whose colonies pollinate Eastern Plains alfalfa crops, Western Slope peaches, Rocky Ford cantaloupe and other crops that depend on honeybees.
Hundreds of other hobbyist beekeepers maintain an average of a few dozen hives each throughout Colorado.
As bees die, the price of replacement bees — which has already quadrupled in the past decade because so many bees succumb to mite infestations — is escalating.
"If we don't have bees, then all (that) those folks in California have got is fancy shade trees," Theobald said.
"I'm afraid attention won't be paid, and we'll be going to South America for fruits and vegetables."
Long-ignored regulations?
Theobald and his brother, Tom, a Niwot beekeeper for more than three decades, believe that colony collapse disorder is the result of long-ignored environmental regulations.
When growers violate pesticide restrictions, the chemical residue poisons bees.
Until the disorder was identified, pesticides and parasitic mites were the chief causes of colony die-offs.
When Colorado's apiary program lost its funding in the early 1980s, government bee inspections ceased, leaving no one but the beekeepers to monitor the mite infestation or pesticide abuse.
"Until then, I did routine disease inspections, and since the program went under, there've been all kinds of problems," said state entomologist Jerry Cochran.
Tom Theobald agrees.
He refers to the existing system as "the (Hurricane) Katrina model of management."
"We've known this problem was coming for a long time," he said, "and the people in charge have not discussed the problems openly.
"It's not colony collapse disorder.
It's industry collapse disorder, and it's very serious."
THE GOOD BUZZ ON BEES
$14.6 billion
Annual value of bee pollination to the agricultural industry.
80%
Amount of insect crop pollination estimated to be done by honeybees.
Source: National Honey Board
Copyright 2007 The Denver Post
Niwot beekeeper Tom Theobald is a busy bookkeeper as well — his shelves are stocked with bee-related volumes.

He claims the state's honeybee die-off is the result of long-ignored environmental regulations.

A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions.

The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.

Is the mysterous decimation of bee populations in the US and Germany a result of GM crops.

Photo: www.denverpost.com/Nathan W. Armes
Niwot beekeeper Tom Theobald is a busy bookkeeper as well — his shelves are stocked with bee-related volumes.
He claims the state's honeybee die-off is the result of long-ignored environmental regulations.
Photo: www.denverpost.com/Nathan W. Armes
INTERNATIONAL
Are GM Crops Killing Bees?
By Gunther Latsch
March 22, 2007
A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.
Walter Haefeker is a man who is used to painting grim scenarios. Professional Beekeepers Association.
He sits on the board of directors of the German Beekeepers Association (DBIB) and is vice president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association.
And because griping is part of a lobbyist's trade, it is practically his professional duty to warn that "the very existence of beekeeping is at stake."
The problem, says Haefeker, has a number of causes, one being the varroa mite, introduced from Asia, and another is the widespread practice in agriculture of spraying wildflowers with herbicides and practicing monoculture.
Another possible cause, according to Haefeker, is the controversial and growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.
As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote:
"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.
No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
Mysterious events in recent months have suddenly made Einstein's apocalyptic vision seem all the more topical.
For unknown reasons, bee populations throughout Germany are disappearing — something that is so far only harming beekeepers.
But the situation is different in the United States, where bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences could soon be dire.
No one knows what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor.
Felix Kriechbaum, an official with a regional beekeepers' association in Bavaria, recently reported a decline of almost 12 percent in local bee populations.
When "bee populations disappear without a trace," says Kriechbaum, it is difficult to investigate the causes, because "most bees don't die in the beehive."
There are many diseases that can cause bees to lose their sense of orientation so they can no longer find their way back to their hives.
Manfred Hederer, the president of the German Beekeepers Association, almost simultaneously reported a 25 percent drop in bee populations throughout Germany.
In isolated cases, says Hederer, declines of up to 80 percent have been reported.
He speculates that "a particular toxin, some agent with which we are not familiar," is killing the bees.
Politicians, until now, have shown little concern for such warnings or the woes of beekeepers.
Although apiarists have been given a chance to make their case — for example in the run-up to the German cabinet's approval of a genetic engineering policy document by Minister of Agriculture Horst Seehofer in February — their complaints are still largely ignored.
Even when beekeepers actually go to court, as they recently did in a joint effort with the German chapter of the organic farming organization Demeter International and other groups to oppose the use of genetically modified corn plants, they can only dream of the sort of media attention environmental organizations like Greenpeace attract with their protests at test sites.
But that could soon change. Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality.
Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.
In an article in its business section in late February, the New York Times calculated the damage US agriculture would suffer if bees died out.
Experts at Cornell University in upstate New York have estimated the value bees generate — by pollinating fruit and vegetable plants, almond trees and animal feed like clover — at more than $14 billion.
Scientists call the mysterious phenomenon "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), and it is fast turning into a national catastrophe of sorts.
A number of universities and government agencies have formed a "CCD Working Group" to search for the causes of the calamity, but have so far come up empty-handed.
But, like Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, they are already referring to the problem as a potential "AIDS for the bee industry."
One thing is certain: Millions of bees have simply vanished. In most cases, all that's left in the hives are the doomed offspring.
But dead bees are nowhere to be found — neither in nor anywhere close to the hives. Diana Cox-Foster, a member of the CCD Working Group, told The Independent that researchers were "extremely alarmed," adding that the crisis "has the potential to devastate the US beekeeping industry."
It is particularly worrisome, she said, that the bees' death is accompanied by a set of symptoms "which does not seem to match anything in the literature."
In many cases, scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared.
Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi — a sign, experts say, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed.
The scientists are also surprised that bees and other insects usually leave the abandoned hives untouched.
Nearby bee populations or parasites would normally raid the honey and pollen stores of colonies that have died for other reasons, such as excessive winter cold.
"This suggests that there is something toxic in the colony itself which is repelling them," says Cox-Foster.
Walter Haefeker, the German beekeeping official, speculates that "besides a number of other factors," the fact that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 40 percent of cornfields in the United States could be playing a role.
The figure is much lower in Germany — only 0.06 percent — and most of that occurs in the eastern states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg.
Haefeker recently sent a researcher at the CCD Working Group some data from a bee study that he has long felt shows a possible connection between genetic engineering and diseases in bees.
The study in question is a small research project conducted at the University of Jena from 2001 to 2004.
The researchers examined the effects of pollen from a genetically modified maize variant called "Bt corn" on bees.
A gene from a soil bacterium had been inserted into the corn that enabled the plant to produce an agent that is toxic to insect pests.
The study concluded that there was no evidence of a "toxic effect of Bt corn on healthy honeybee populations."
But when, by sheer chance, the bees used in the experiments were infested with a parasite, something eerie happened.
According to the Jena study, a "significantly stronger decline in the number of bees" occurred among the insects that had been fed a highly concentrated Bt poison feed.
According to Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, a professor at the University of Halle in eastern Germany and the director of the study, the bacterial toxin in the genetically modified corn may have "altered the surface of the bee's intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry — or perhaps it was the other way around. We don't know."
Of course, the concentration of the toxin was ten times higher in the experiments than in normal Bt corn pollen.
In addition, the bee feed was administered over a relatively lengthy six-week period.
Kaatz would have preferred to continue studying the phenomenon but lacked the necessary funding.
"Those who have the money are not interested in this sort of research," says the professor, "and those who are interested don't have the money."
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2007
Belgium removes the term 'weapon' from legislation due to US thermonuclear bombs stored on US Air Force base at Kleine Brogel in their country
On March the 7th, 2007, the Belgian Chamber Commission on National Defence voted unanimously in favour of banning the use of depleted uranium 'inert ammunitions and armour plates on Belgian territory.'
Although Belgium isn’t a user of DU, it is the home of NATO and regularly has US DU shipments travelling through its port of Antwerp.
Acknowledging the Precautionary Principle, the deputies agreed that the manufacture, use, storage, sale, acquisition, supply and transit of these conventional weapon systems should be prohibited.
At the last minute, the term 'weapon' was deleted to make sure that the law proposal would not cover the US thermonuclear bombs that are stored on the Air Force base of Kleine Brogel.
Free Trade Enslaving Poor Countries
Sanjay Suri
LONDON, Mar 20 (IPS)
The new free trade agreements being signed up between rich and poor countries are proving far more damaging to the poor than anything envisaged within WTO talks, Oxfam said in a report Tuesday.
"Poor countries are being forced into very deep tariff cuts," Emily Jones, author of the Oxfam report
'Signing Away the Future' told IPS.
"These are often being reduced to zero under reciprocal so-called free trade agreements they are being forced to sign with rich countries."
Jose Bove
Against globalization and huge conglomerates taking over the world
French presidential candidate
That means poor countries are having to open up their markets to subsidised agricultural products from places like the EU, she said.
There are already more than 250 regional and bilateral agreements in existence and more under negotiation, the report says.
Regional and bilateral trade deals now govern more than 30 percent of world trade, and 25 developing countries have now signed free trade agreements with developed countries.
"An average of two bilateral investment treaties are signed every week, the report says.
"Virtually no country, however poor, has been left out."
The agreements undermine moves to development, the report says.
"In an increasingly globalised world, these agreements seek to benefit rich-country exporters and firms at the expense of poor farmers and workers, with grave implications for the environment and development," it says.
The United States and the EU are pushing through rules on intellectual property that reduce poor people's access to life-saving medicines, increase the prices of seeds and other farming inputs beyond the reach of small farmers, and make it harder for developing-country firms to access new technology, the report says.
Governments are sometimes showing themselves powerless against such moves.
"Some developing countries find themselves between a rock and a hard place," said Jones.
"Many are signing up to these so-called economic partnership agreements for fear of losing preferences," Jones said.
Many of these countries have been offered export preferences in return for dropping tariffs against imports from developed countries.
Merkel follows Bush
in trying to destroy life on the planet
The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has brought 1.3 million job losses in Mexico in ten years, Jones said.
Increased exports to the United States have failed to generate growth, and some studies show that the real wages in 2004 were less than in 1994, Jones said.
The rules on liberalisation of services in such agreements threaten to drive local firms out of business, reduce competition, and extend the monopoly power of large companies, the report says.
"When Mexico liberalised financial services in 1993 in preparation for NAFTA, foreign ownership of the banking system increased to 85 percent in seven years, but lending to Mexican businesses dropped from 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 0.3 per cent, depriving poor people living in rural areas of vital sources of credit."
Governments in developing countries usually come under strong political pressure to sign up to such deals, Simon Ticehurst from Oxfam in Bolivia told IPS.
"But a lot depends also on the type of development models that governments present to their people," he said.
"Colombia and Peru have been signing up to these agreements. Others are more reluctant.
"You now have a small country like Bolivia and many new governments across Latin America beginning to challenge the logic of free trade agreements."
Oxfam has demanded the following:
Recognise the special and differential treatment that developing countries require in order to move up the development ladder.
— Enable developing countries to adopt flexible intellectual-property legislation to ensure the primacy of public health and agricultural livelihoods and protect traditional knowledge and biodiversity.
Exclude essential public services such as education, health, water and sanitation from liberalisation commitments.
— Recognise the right of governments to regulate the entry of foreign investors to promote development and the creation of decent employment, and include commitments to enforce core labour standards for all workers.
— Ensure mechanisms for extensive participation of all stakeholders in the negotiating process, with full disclosure of information to the public, including the findings of independent impact assessments.
Copyright © 2007 IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved.
 
A Chinese teenager uses chopsticks to eat his dinner.
China will impose a tax on disposable wooden chopsticks in an effort to protect the environment and raise rates on yachts and other luxury goods to help narrow the wealth gap.
A Chinese teenager uses chopsticks to eat his dinner.

China will impose a tax on disposable wooden chopsticks in an effort to protect the environment and raise rates on yachts and other luxury goods to help narrow the wealth gap.

Wednesday March, 22, 2003

Photo: AFP/Liu Jin
 
Published on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 by Inter Press Service
Peasants Say No to ‘Selling' Traditional Knowledge
by Mario Osava
CURITIBA, Brazil — Meanwhile, Greenpeace International added another urgent action for saving life on earth: protecting international waters.
These announcements were made by the two global movements on Tuesday, at the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8), taking place in this southern, "ecologically-minded" Brazilian city from Mar. 20 - 31.
Bee Keeper
Land, water and other natural resources, including genetic diversity, as well as the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities, "are priceless," and to pay for them with part of a company's profits from patents "is privatisation," which Via Campesina opposes, bee-keeper Karen Pederson told IPS.
...the central, strategic battle will be waged around seeds, pitting peasant farmers who have produced and improved seeds for 10,000 years, thus expanding their genetic diversity, against the transnational corporations that want to control the entire agricultural chain from production to marketing.
Roberto Baggio, Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), Brazil
Pederson is women's president of the National Farmers Union in Canada, one of the Via Campesina member organisations.
Via Campesina, a worldwide network of rural movements, is developing a "structural project" for agriculture in which seeds, food, forests and other natural resources cannot be treated as "merchandise, objects to be bought and sold," added Roberto Baggio, a leader of Brazil's Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST).
Beginning of exploitation and privatisation
Sharing the profits arising from appropriating something that is "a product of collective accumulation, at the service of all people," so that "knowledge becomes merchandise that can be traded," is the beginning of exploitation and privatisation, the activist argued.
This is in conflict with the "long-term vision" of the peasant movement, which is aimed at "preserving goods in common ownership," he added.
Indigenous people lost everything
An example of the harm that this can bring about happened in Canada in the past, when industry bargained with indigenous peoples, offering them benefits in return for land and knowledge, and "they lost everything," Pederson said.
Baggio and Pederson were speaking at a press conference to explain Via Campesina's position on biodiversity and COP8.
Herdsman from Togo
Their fellow activists Alberto Gómez, of the National Union of Autonomous Regional Farmers' Organisations (UNORCA) in Mexico, and Ballo Mamadu, a herdsman from Togo, defended food sovereignty and condemned the "mercantilisation" or "commodification" of products like seeds.
In Africa "we cannot afford to buy seeds every year," stressed Mamadu, a representative of a network of peasant organisations in West Africa, criticising Terminator seeds developed by multinational agribusiness firms and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which produce infertile plants, whose seeds cannot be used from one growing season to the next.
Terminator seed research continuing
Despite the world moratorium imposed on this "restricted use" technology, research is still being carried out in Canada, the United States and Europe in laboratories and in one case, even a greenhouse, said Pederson.
At COP8, "the central, strategic battle will be waged around seeds," pitting peasant farmers who have produced and improved seeds for 10,000 years, thus expanding their genetic diversity, against the transnational corporations that want to control the entire agricultural chain from production to marketing, said Baggio.
Destruction of world's marine life
But another major concern highlighted today by Greenpeace International is the destruction of the world's marine life.
According to the environmental watchdog, an immediate U.N. moratorium on high seas bottom trawling is essential to stop the destruction of deep-sea life until a global network of marine reserves has been established.
The group proposes that these reserves cover 40 percent of the world's oceans and that the network be in place by 2012.
Greenpeace stated that the Convention on Biological Diversity should call on the U.N. General Assembly to decree the moratorium.
Serious crisis in both oceans and forests
The oceans, which cover 70 percent of the earth's surface, are facing a crisis similar to the world's primary forests, where deforestation claims an estimated 13 million hectares annually.
Studies have covered only 0.0001 percent of the world's sea bed, but they make it possible to estimate that deep sea habitats are home to between 500,000 and ten million different species, said Greenpeace.
Populations of large migratory fish like swordfish, tuna, marlin and shark have been reduced to one-tenth of what they were 50 years ago, while some species have been reduced to less than one-hundredth, said the organisation.
In the past, human beings did not fish on the high seas, because of the distance and the costs involved. But that changed with the advent of industrial fishing and the demand for large fish.
Outside control of individual countries
Overfishing is becoming a more and more serious problem in the deep seas because these areas are beyond national territorial waters and thus outside of the control of individual countries, explained Callum Roberts, an oceans expert at York University in Britain.
In order to meet the goal set in 2002 by the parties to the Convention to "significantly" reduce biodiversity loss by 2010, Greenpeace put forward additional proposals:
Expanding protected areas in accordance with a fixed timeline.
Creating an international financing mechanism.
Establishing global goals for reducing the deforestation of primary forests.
Speeding up the adoption of an international regime for access to genetic resources and the sharing of their benefits; eradicating biopiracy
Demanding that governments assume the public nature of biodiversity by regulating commercial practices that threaten it.
Published on Thursday, December 21, 2006 by the Independent / UK
Climate Change vs Mother Nature
by Geneviève Roberts
Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain, scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world.
In a December in which bumblebees, butterflies and even swallows have been on the wing in Britain, European brown bears have been lumbering through the forests of Spain's Cantabrian mountains, when normally they would already be in their long, annual sleep.
European brown bears in Spain.

Bears are supposed to slumber throughout the winter, slowing their body rhythms to a minimum and drawing on stored resources, because frozen weather makes food too scarce to find.
The barely breathing creatures can lose up to 40 per cent of their body weight before warmer springtime weather rouses them back to life.
But many of the 130 bears in Spain's northern cordillera — which have a slightly different genetic identity from bear populations elsewhere in the world — have remained active throughout recent winters, naturalists from Spain's Brown Bear Foundation (La Fundación Oso Pardo — FOP) said yesterday.
The change is affecting female bears with young cubs, which now find there are enough nuts, acorns, chestnuts and berries on thebleak mountainsides to make winter food—gathering sorties "energetically worthwhile", scientists at the foundation, based in Santander, the Cantabrian capital, told El Pais newspaper.
Arctic Ground Squirrel
 
"If the winter is mild, the female bears find it is energetically worthwhile to make the effort to stay awake and hunt for food," said Guillermo Palomero, the FOP's president and the co-ordinator of a national plan for bear conservation.
This changed behaviour, he said, was probably a result of milder winters.
"The high Cantabrian peaks freeze all winter, but our teams of observers have been able to follow the perfect outlines of tracks from a group of bears," he said.
The FOP is financed by Spain's Environment Ministry and the autonomous regions of Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia and Castilla-Leon, where the bears roam in search of mates.
Indications of winter bear activity have been detected for some time, but only in the past three years have such signs been observed "with absolute certainty", according to the scientists.
"Mother bears with cubs make the effort to seek out nuts and berries if these have been plentiful, and snow is scarce," Mr Palomero said, adding that even for those bears — mostly mature males — who do close down for the winter, "their hibernation period gets shorter every year"
The behaviour change suggests that global warming is responsible for this revolution in ursine behaviour, says Juan Carlos García Cordón, a professor of geography at Santander's Cantabria University, and a climatology specialist.
"Meteorological data in the high mountains is scarce, but it seems that the warming is more noticeable in the valleys where cold air accumulates," Dr García Cordón said
"There is a decline in snowfall, and in the time snow remains on the ground, which makes access to food easier.
As autumn comes later, and spring comes earlier, bears have an extra month to forage for food.
"We cannot prove that non-hibernation is caused by global warming, but everything points in that direction."
Cormorants rest on a tree — Israel

Spanish meteorologists predict that this year is likely to be the warmest year on record in Spain, just as it is likely to be the warmest year recorded in Britain (where temperature records go back to 1659).
Globally, 2006 is likely to be the sixth warmest year in a record going back the mid-19th century.
Mark Wright, the science adviser to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the UK, said that bears giving up hibernation was "what we would expect" with climate change.
"It does not in itself prove global warming, but it is certainly consistent with predictions of it," he said.
"What is particularly interesting about this is that hitherto the warming has seemed to be happening fastest at the poles and at high latitudes, and now we're getting examples of it happening further south, and heading towards the equator.
"I think it's an indication of what's to come.   It shows climate change is not a natural phenomenon but something that is affecting not only on the weather, but impacting on the natural world in ways we're only now beginning to understand."
Arctic Loon on Nest — Alaska, US
 
The European brown bear, with its characteristic pelt that ranges from dark brown through shades of grey to pale gold, has black paws and a tawny face.
It has poor vision, although it sees in colour and at night, and if threatened rears on its hind legs to get a better view.
It can live for up to 30 years.
It has acute hearing, and an especially fine sense of smell that enables it to detect food from a long distance.
It is carnivorous, but has a multifunctional dental system with powerful canines and grinding molars perfectly adapted to an omnivorous diet.
The animals would normally begin hibernation between October and December, and resume activity between March and May.
The Cantabrian version of the brown bear, a protected species, was once as endangered as the Iberian lynx or the imperial eagle still are in Spain, but is now recovering in numbers.
Between 70 and 90 bears roamed Spain's northern mountains in the early 1990s; now 130 live there.
Other seasonal freaks
* The osprey found in the lochs and glens of the Scottish Highlands in the summer months, usually migrate to west Africa to avoid the freeze.
This winter, osprey have been spotted in Suffolk and Devon. Swallows, which also normally migrate to Africa for the winter have been also seen across England this winter.
* The red admiral butterfly, below, which hibernates in winter, has been spotted in gardens this month, as has the common darter dragonfly, usually seen between mid-June and October, which has been seen in Cheshire, Norfolk and Hampshire.
Japanese monkey bathes in a hot spring
* The smew, a diving duck, flies west to the UK for winter from Russia and Scandinavia.
This year, though, they have been mainly absent from the lakes and reservoirs between The Wash and the Severn.
* Evergreen ivy and ox-eye daisies are still blooming and some oak trees, which are usually bare by November, were still in leaf on Christmas Day last year.
* The buff-tailed bumblebee is usually first seen in spring.
Worker bees die out by the first frost, while fertilised queen bees survive underground between March and September.
This December, bees have been seen in Nottingham and York.
This Buff-tailed Bumble Bee has its photo taken in The Netherlands on the other side of the English Channel.

European continent Buff-tailed Bumble Bees have white tails, slightly different from their English cousins who have a more orange brownish tail.

Photo: www.gardensafari.net/
This Buff-tailed Bumble Bee has its photo taken in The Netherlands on the other side of the English Channel.
European continent Buff-tailed Bumble Bees have white tails, slightly different from their English cousins who have a more orange brownish tail.
Photo: www.gardensafari.net/

* Primroses and daffodils are already flowering at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, in Carmarthenshire.
'Early Sensation' daffodils usually flower from January until February.
Horticulturalists put it down to the warm weather.
* Scientists in the Netherlands reported more than 240 wild plants flowering in the first 15 days of December, along with more than 200 cultivated species.
Examples included cow parsley and sweet violets.
Just two per cent of these plants normally flower in winter, while 27 per cent end their main flowering period in autumn and 56 per cent before October.
December 21, 2006 Independent
by Geneviève Roberts
Tuesday, 26 December 2006
Lagos pipeline blast kills scores
More than 200 people have been killed in an oil pipeline explosion in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, the Red Cross says.
Lagos, Nigeria pipeline blast kills scores.

The intense heat has hampered recovery efforts
The intense heat has hampered recovery efforts
"Ice Officials say they are still counting bodies and it is feared the death toll could be much higher.
The blast in the Abule Egba area happened as hundreds of people were scooping fuel from a pipeline punctured by thieves, officials said.
Some 2,000 people have died in similar incidents in the past decade.
Bodies 'scattered'
A Red Cross official said efforts to recover the bodies were being hampered by the intense heat.
NIGERIA PIPELINE DISASTERS
 May 2006: At least 150 killed in Lagos
 Dec 2004: At least 20 killed in Lagos
 Sept 2004: At least 60 killed in Lagos
 June 2003: At least 105 killed in Abia State
 Jul 2000: At least 300 killed in Warri
 Mar 2000: At least 50 killed in Abia State
 Oct 1998: At least 1,000 killed in Jesse
"We can only recognise them through the skulls, the bodies are scattered over the ground," Ige Oladimeji was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
Akintunde Akinkleye, a Reuters news agency photographer at the scene, said he had counted about 500 bodies.
The secretary general of Nigeria's Red Cross, Abiodum Orebiyi, told the BBC that a number of houses had been destroyed, along with a mosque and a church.
He said the blaze had now been brought under control.
Some of those injured in the blast are believed to have gone into hiding to avoid arrest.
Others may not have gone to hospital because they lack money to pay for treatment
Nigeria Lagos map
Despite being Africa's largest oil producer, Nigerians often suffer fuel shortages because of corruption, poor management and infrastructure problems.
Pipelines often pass through poor communities, who break them to steal the fuel.
 
Africa — Shell — G8
and death
Gordon Brown has a new idea about how to "make poverty history" in time for the G-8 summit in Scotland.
With Washington so far refusing to double its aid to Africa by 2015, the British Chancellor is appealing to the "richer oil-producing states" of the Middle East to fill the funding gap.
"Oil wealth urged to save Africa," reads the headline in London's Observer.
Here is a better idea: Instead of Saudi Arabia's oil wealth being used to "save Africa," how about if Africa's oil wealth was used to save Africa — along with its gas, diamond, gold, platinum, chromium, ferroalloy and coal wealth?
With all this noblesse oblige focused on saving Africa from its misery, it seems like a good time to remember someone else who tried to make poverty history:  Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was killed ten years ago this November by the Nigerian government, along with eight other Ogoni activists, sentenced to death by hanging.
70 percent of Nigerians still live on less than $1 a day.  Shell is making superprofits
Their crime was daring to insist that Nigeria was not poor at all but rich, and that it was political decisions made in the interests of Western multinational corporations that kept its people in desperate poverty.
Saro-Wiwa gave his life to the idea that the vast oil wealth of the Niger Delta must leave behind more than polluted rivers, charred farmland, rancid air and crumbling schools.
He asked not for charity, pity or "relief" but for justice.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People demanded that Shell compensate the people from whose land it had pumped roughly $30 billion worth of oil since the 1950s.
The company turned to the government for help, and the Nigerian military turned its guns on demonstrators.
Before his state-ordered hanging, Saro-Wiwa told the tribunal, "I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. 
Shell is here on trial.... The company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come."
Ten years later, 70 percent of Nigerians still live on less than $1 a day and Shell is still making superprofits.
Equatorial Guinea, which has a major oil deal with ExxonMobil, "got to keep a mere 12 percent of the oil revenues in the first year of its contract," according to a 60 Minutes report — a share so low it would have been scandalous even at the height of colonial oil pillage.
This is what keeps Africa poor:  not a lack of political will but the tremendous profitability of the current arrangement.
Highest returns on foreign direct investment
Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest place on earth, is also its most profitable investment destination:  It offers, according to the World Bank's 2003 Global Development Finance report, "the highest returns on foreign direct investment of any region in the world."
Africa is poor because its investors and its creditors are so unspeakably rich.
The idea for which Saro-Wiwa died fighting — that the resources of the land should be used to benefit the people of that land — lies at the heart of every anticolonial struggle in history, from the Boston Tea Party to Iran's turfing of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan.
This idea has been declared dead by the European Union's Constitution, by the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (which describes "free trade" not only as an economic policy but a "moral principle") and by countless trade agreements.
And yet it simply refuses to die.
Nationalize the government
You can see it most clearly in the relentless protests that drove Bolivia's president, Carlos Mesa, to offer his resignation.
A decade ago Bolivia was forced by the IMF to privatize its oil and gas industries on the promise that it would increase growth and spread prosperity.
When that didn't work, the lenders demanded that Bolivia make up its budget shortfall by increasing taxes on the working poor.
Bolivians had a better idea — take back the gas and use it for the benefit of the country.
The debate now is over how much to take back.
Evo Morales's Movement Toward Socialism favors taxing foreign profits by 50 percent.
More radical indigenous groups, which have already seen their land stripped of its mineral wealth, want full nationalization and far more participation, what they call "nationalizing the government."
We cannot avoid this
You can see it too in Iraq.  On June 2 Laith Kubba, spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister, told journalists that the IMF had forced Iraq to increase the price of electricity and fuel in exchange for writing off past debts:  "Iraq has $10 billions of debts, and I think we cannot avoid this."
But days before, in Basra, a historic gathering of independent trade unionists, most of them with the General Union of Oil Employees, insisted that the government could avoid it.
At Iraq's first antiprivatization conference, the delegates demanded that the government simply refuse to pay Saddam's "odious" debts and opposed any attempts to privatize state assets, including oil.
Neoliberalism, an ideology so powerful it tries to pass itself off as "modernity" while its maniacal true believers masquerade as disinterested technocrats, can no longer claim to be a consensus.
It was decisively rejected by French voters when they said No to the EU Constitution, and you can see how hated it has become in Russia, where large majorities despise the profiteers of the disastrous 1990s privatizations and few mourned the recent sentencing of oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
All of this makes for interesting timing for the G-8 summit.
Geldof's bracelet — how about a noose?
Bob Geldof and the Make Poverty History crew have called for tens of thousands of people to go to Edinburgh and form a giant white band around the city center on July 2 — a reference to the ubiquitous Make Poverty History bracelets.
But it seems a shame for a million people to travel all that way to be a giant bauble, a collective accessory to power.
How about if, when all those people join hands, they declare themselves not a bracelet but a noose — a noose around the lethal economic policies that have already taken so many lives, for lack of medicine and clean water, for lack of justice.
A noose like the one that killed Ken.
New monopoly rights
Created by running a “select all” and “paste” function on the text of the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), OFTA (Oman Free Trade Agreement) includes the poisonous smorgasbord of new monopoly rights for Big Pharma; service sector privatization and deregulation; bans on pro-worker or pro-environment procurement policies; new rights for foreign investors to challenge domestic environmental, health, zoning, and other laws; and no enforceable labor or environmental standards.
Like CAFTA, OFTA set over-the-top monopoly patent protections.
Under OFTA, Oman is required to remake its domestic law and institute strict enforcement measures — from creating new domestic criminal penalties to trade sanctions to destruction of pirated goods to cash fines paid to patent holders.
In contrast, OFTA’s labor provisions simply require Oman to enforce its existing labor laws with a maximum $15 million per year cash penalty paid by the Sultan of Oman back to himself.
Oman’s labor laws are also abysmal.   The Omani Labor Code bans independent unions.
It is a violation of law for workers to meet in the permitted “representative committees” unless management and government representatives are present.
Plus, over 70 percent of Oman’s private sector workforce are foreign “guest workers” from Pakistan, Egypt, and other poor countries, yet, Arabic written fluency is a condition for serving as an officer in the fake unions.
The “guest workers” — who go deep in debt to labor brokers in their homes countries to “buy” the right to work in Oman, whose passports are collected by their employers upon arrival and who have no redress when they are not paid or worked outrageous hours — are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
The OFTA is likely to make this situation worse.
A New York Times exposé earlier this year revealed the terrifying labor conditions for Asian “guest workers” in factories that had been created to take advantage of the 2001 US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.
Exports of duty free clothing from Jordan have increased 2,000 percent under the deal.
The National Labor Committee, in its report "US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement Descends Into Human Trafficking," showed pervasive slave-labor conditions and human trafficking among Jordan’s 25,000 foreign “guest workers.”
The undercover investigation reveals how the US-Jordan free trade agreement — a deal with stronger labor rights provisions than the Oman deal — has caused a major expansion in horrific sweatshops.
www.commondreams.org     August 1, 2006
 


The United States won the award for "most despicable" act of biopiracy, for imposing plant intellectual property laws on occupied, war-torn Iraq in June 2004, making it illegal for Iraqi farmers to re-use seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law.
Biopiracy — the monopolization of knowledge taken from peoples that developed and nurtured those resources
...Only Australia, Canada and New Zealand tried to leave a door open, pushing for "case-by-case" evaluation of permits for field testing, which critics say would weaken the moratorium put in place in 2000 on Terminators, or GURTS (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies).
For the stance they took in this case, and with regard to transgenic crops in general, Australia, Canada and New Zealand were granted the "evil axis" award by an informal coalition of civil society groups that annually hands out the Captain Hook Awards for Biopiracy.
Swiss biotech giant Syngenta was voted the worst threat to food sovereignty, for its patent on the Terminator potato.
The global small farmer movement Vía Campesina has held near daily demonstrations since COP8 began on Monday, to demand a ban on Terminator seeds.
On Friday, it announced that it would continue holding protests in Curitiba to call for a total worldwide ban on Terminator technology.
Inter Press Service    Mario Osava    March 25, 2006
 
Get Monsanto out of the seed sector.
They are part of this genocide.
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006
Vandana Shiva on Farmer Suicides, the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal, Wal-Mart in India and More
Throughout India, more and more troubled farmers are killing themselves.
Up to three farmers a day swallow pesticides, hang themselves from trees, drown themselves in rivers, set themselves on fire or jump down wells.
Many of them are plagued by debt, poor crops and hopelessness.
— Click Here
AMY GOODMAN:    Vandana Shiva: physicist; ecologist; director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology; in ’93, awarded the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize, the Right Livelihood Award; her latest book, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace.
There is an epidemic you write about in India of farmer suicides.
Can you explain what’s happening and where this is happening?
VANDANA SHIVA:    Indian farmers have never committed suicide on a large scale.
It’s something totally new.
It’s linked to the last decade of globalization, trade liberalization under a corporate-driven economy.
The seed sector was liberalized to allow corporations like Cargill and Monsanto to sell unregulated, untested seed.
They began with hybrids, which can’t be saved, and moved on to genetically engineered Bt cotton.
The cotton belt is where the suicides are taking place on a very, very large scale.
It is the suicide belt of India.
And the high cost of seed is linked to high cost of chemicals, because these seeds need chemicals.
In addition, these costly seeds need to be bought every year, because their very design is to make seeds nonrenewable, seed that isn’t renewable by its very nature, but whether it’s through patenting systems, intellectual property rights or technologically through hybridization, nonrenewable seed is being sold to farmers so they must buy every year.
There’s a case going on in the Supreme Court of India right now on the monopoly practices of Monsanto.
An antitrust court ruled against Monsanto, because the price is so high, farmers necessarily get into a debt trap, which is why I was talking about credit, for the wrong thing, could actually be a problem and not a solution.
In addition, the price of cotton is collapsing under the huge $4 billion subsidies given to agribusiness in the United States, which then dumps cotton on a world market with 50% reduction of price artificially.
This is what led to the Cancun failure of WTO, but this is what is killing Indian farmers. Just three days ago, farmers were protesting against the low prices of cotton.
They went to the government agency, which before globalization used to buy cotton at a fair price.
Widow of suicide farmer
One farmer was shot dead.
So we're not just seeing suicides, we’re also seeing farmers’ protests treated as a new threat to the regime.
AMY GOODMAN:    These descriptions of desperation, up to three farmers a day swallow pesticides, hang themselves from trees, drown themselves in rivers, set themselves on fire, or jump down wells, many of them plagued by debt, poor crops and hopelessness?
VANDANA SHIVA:    90% of the farmer suicides — we’ve studied it.
Every year we bring out a report called “Seeds of Suicide.”
We started the first report in ’97, which was the first suicide in the district of Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh —
AMY GOODMAN:    Where is it in India?
VANDANA SHIVA:    Andhra Pradesh is kind of southern India.
But Andhra Pradesh had a government that responded, and that's the government that took Monsanto to court.
Vidarbha in Maharashtra has emerged as the epicenter.
This is where the Prime Minister visited, because the suicide issue had become so intense. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister offered exactly the same package, more of the same, as a solution.
Included in this package is a 20 billion rupee seed replacement package, which means what seed farmers has gets further destroyed, so they have no renewable seed, no affordable seed.
They must buy on the market every year.
Farmer suicides in Vidarbha are now eight per day.
A few weeks ago, I was in Punjab. 2,800 widows of farmer suicides who have lost their land, are having to bring up children as landless workers on others' land.
And yet, the system does not respond to it, because there’s only one response: get Monsanto out of the seed sector — they are part of this genocide — and ensure WTO rules are not bringing down the prices of agricultural produce in the United States, in Canada, in India, and allow trade to be honest.
I don't think we need to talk about free trade and fair trade.
We need to talk about honest trade.
Today’s trade system, especially in agriculture, is dishonest, and dishonesty has become a war against farmers.
It’s become a genocide.
... and mustard in India is very symbolic.
It’s the color of our spring.
When spring comes, we dress in the yellow of the mustard flower.
It’s our staple oil, and we love the pungency of it.
Interview continues — Click Here
Saving the World’s Seeds
— Dr. Vandana Shiva
Thank you for joining us on Catalyst Radio.
Would you start by talking about some general issues surrounding globalization.
Dr. Vandana Shiva:   Well those of use who are concerned about the globalization that has been contrived and yet made to look as if it is a natural evolutionary step, we are concerned about the injustice and undemocratic system on which it is based.
And everything we said, fifteen years ago, when these rules were being put in place, very artificially, under GAT and then became the WTO rules, or on the financial side as the instrumentalities and conditionalities of the World Bank and IMF, what we said fifteen years ago turns out
not to have been an exaggeration but an underestimation of the devastation of both nature, society and economies.
I had talked about the WTO agreement on agriculture as the death knell for Indian farmers.
Every year 16,000 farmers are being killed.
They are taking their lives, but I don't think they are taking their lives.
It is that they are being pushed to the edge of survival — through the indebtedness that is an inevitable result of turning them into a market for Monsanto seed, and, on the other hand disposable items, when Cargill and ConAgra have to dump subsidized grain through a liberalized agreement.
When I started to fight intellectual property rights in the WTO, I was concerned about patents on life. And seed patents now we can see what they are doing.
American farmers are being harassed, fined for three million dollars, and the crime is seed saving?
What could be a worse situation for humanity? To turn something as valuable as saving seeds for the future into a criminal activity.
Similar laws have just been passed in India, two weeks ago.
I think anyone who doesn't resist this kind of globalization is not being fully human, is not exercising their duties.
For years, free glutamic acid has been produced and used in food additives with names such as monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, and hydrolyzed soy protein.
In some people, the processed free glutamic acid in food additives causes adverse reactions that include migraine headache, asthma, arrhythmia, tachycardia, nausea and vomiting, depression, and disorientation.
The processed free glutamic acid in prescription and non-prescription drugs, food supplements, and cosmetics can also cause adverse reactions.
MON 863 — Rats fed Monsanto GM corn due for sale in Britain developed abnormalities in blood and kidneys
Kite flown to protest cultivation of GM maize.
A kite is flown to protest against the cultivation of GM genetically modified maize.

France is Europe's top agricultural producer.

In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.

Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom. 

The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.

Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.

The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.

Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.

The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.

Image: DDP/Michael Kappeler

A kite is flown to protest against the cultivation of GM genetically modified maize.
France is Europe's top agricultural producer.
In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.
Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom.
The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.
Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.
The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.
Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.
The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.
Photo: DDP/Michael Kappeler
Rats fed on a diet rich in genetically modified corn developed abnormalities to internal organs and changes to their blood, raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM food.
The Independent on Sunday can today reveal details of secret research carried out by Monsanto, the GM food giant, which shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood.
According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food as part of the research project.
The disclosures come as European countries, including Britain, prepare to vote on whether the GM-modified corn should go on sale to the public.
A vote last week by the European Union failed to secure agreement over whether the product should be sold here, after Britain and nine other countries voted in favor.
Forced into retirement
...That research, which was roundly denounced by ministers and the British scientific establishment, was halted and Dr Arpad Pusztai, the scientist behind the controversial findings, was forced into retirement amid a huge row over the claim.
Dr Pusztai reported a "huge list of significant differences" between rats fed GM and conventional corn, saying the results strongly indicate that eating significant amounts of it can damage health.
Freeze on commercial genetically modified crops not allowed under EU rules
French anti-globalization icon Jose Bove takes part in a demonstration against the Genetically modified crops in 2006.

A total freeze on commercial genetically modified crops is not allowed under EU rules, the European Commission said Friday, September 21, 2007.

France is Europe's top agricultural producer.

In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.

Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom. 

The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.

Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.

The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.

Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.

The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.

Image: AFP/Olivier Laban-Mattei

French anti-globalization icon Jose Bove takes part in a demonstration against the Genetically modified crops in 2006.
A total freeze on commercial genetically modified crops is not allowed under EU rules, the European Commission said Friday, September 21, 2007.
France is Europe's top agricultural producer.
In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.
Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom.
The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.
Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.
The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.
Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.
The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.
Photo: AFP/Olivier Laban-Mattei
The new study is into a corn, codenamed MON 863, which has been modified by Monsanto to protect itself against corn rootworm, which the company describes as "one of the most pernicious pests affecting maize crops around the world".
      Women who eat GM foods while pregnant risk endangering their unborn babies        
Saving the World’s Seeds
— Dr. Vandana Shiva
Catalyst Radio:   You spoke about how this is being played out around water, around water globally.   I wonder if you could say more about that with water as an example.   Specifically the impact in your country, in India.
Dr. Vandana Shiva:   Well, three major issues around water co-modification that are creating new movements in India — a new generation of ecology movements, a new generation of social justice movements, a new generation of human rights movements — the first is the mining of very, very scarce and precious ground water.
In remaining pockets — that wasn't destroyed by 'Green Revolution,' which is the name given to industrial agriculture — this mining is now being done by Coke and Pepsi.
This culture in which they are bringing more soft drinks for sale, more bottled water for sale as Kinley's and Aquafina, they are mining for every plant that they have set up in the five years since they came back to India.
One point five to two million liters per day leaving a water famine.
People are resisting because woman are having to walk ten, twenty, thirty miles to find water. The Coke, Pepsi campaign I believe is going to intensify in the future.
Woman in Carela organized to shut a plant down. Coke has just manipulated the courts to undo an earlier court judgment. We are going to have to continue to resist.
The second, very, very major issue is World Bank driven privatization of water in urban areas.
Deli being a prime case where the urban supply is being handed over to Sways.
On the one hand this means privatization the sacred Ganges.
On the other hand it means an increase in tariffs, ten times to fifteen times, excluding the poor, drawing the public access that was guaranteed to everyone.
The third very, very huge movement that's emerging is around two hundred billion dollar river linking project.
It is basically a river linking diversion project.   It is a privatization project.
Because you can't privatize rives as free flowing systems. You can only privatize them after you have locked them in dams and captured them in canals.
These three major privatization movements are also being countered by people's movements to keep water in the commons, keep it as a public good, defend it as a human right.
Catalyst Radio:   I just came back from Guatemala where we have been interviewing people about the so called trade agreement, the CAFTA trade agreement, which is almost an unknown factor here.
How much of a role does commercial media, does corporate media play in keeping people in the dark about these very important trade agreements, these economic policies that impact all of our lives.
Dr. Vandana Shiva:   I think it is the key, to push anti-people policies through.
It is the key to making slavery appear like freedom.
It is the key to not allowing the stories of resistance to reach others. Because for that people draw solidarity, people draw energy, people draw strength.
That's why it becomes absolutely necessary to create alternate means of communication between people because the dominant corporate media has become one big lie.
Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by the Inter Press Service
Peruvian Farmers Move to End Terminator Seeds
by Sanjay Suri
LONDON
A group of Peruvian indigenous farmers have prepared an extensively researched counter to a Canadian move to revive 'terminator' seeds.
Terminator seeds work only once.   For a new crop, farmers would have to go back to sellers.   These seeds that do not regenerate like normal seeds would work hugely to the advantage of corporations, to the detriment of farmers.
A United Nations moratorium at present blocks commercialisation of terminator seeds.
But a group of countries led by Canada have challenged the UN safety regulation.
This has led the Convention on Biological Diversity based in Montreal to open new discussions on relaxing the moratorium on such seeds.
One of the strongest counters to the move so far has come not from experts and officials but by Peruvian, says Michel Pimbert from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) that promotes sustainable development at local levels.
After monitoring cultivation methods, about 70 indigenous leaders representing 26 Andean and Amazon communities met in a mountain village last month over two days to collate their findings and assess the damage that could be caused by terminator seeds.


The farmers also showed that Terminator (Genetic Use Restriction Technology) would transfer sterility to and effectively kill off other crops and wider plant life, as well as increasing the reliance of farmers on big agribusiness which is already patenting seeds traditionally owned by indigenous people.
''When does it happen that marginalised, excluded citizens come out and talk in this way,'' Pimbert told IPS.
The Peruvian indigenous farmers came together under the Quechua-Aymara Association for Nature and Sustainable Development (ANDES) and the International Institute for Environment and Development, a general assembly largely composed of indigenous people from villages in the Andes.
''Indigenous people and marginalised groups barely have a voice when it comes to policies and legislation,'' Pimbert said.   ''These were the voices of the poorest of the poor living in biodiversity hotspots.''
Officials at the Montreal institute had acknowledged that the input from the Peruvian indigenous farmers was one of the strongest they have received so far, Pimbert said.
The indigenous farmers reported that Peruvian farmers and small farmers worldwide ''are dependent on seeds obtained from the harvest as a principal source of seed to be used in subsequent agricultural cycles.''
But their findings went beyond that to examine several aspects of any change.
The farmers ''evaluated the evidence and assessed the risks of terminator technology on land, spiritual systems and on women, who are their seed keepers,'' Pimbert said.
The farmers also showed that Terminator (Genetic Use Restriction Technology) would transfer sterility to and effectively kill off other crops and wider plant life, as well as increasing the reliance of farmers on big agribusiness which is already patenting seeds traditionally owned by indigenous people.
They reported that industrialised 'mono-culture' farming would benefit at the expense of tried and tested local agricultural knowledge.
They warned that in Peru alone, 2,000 varieties of potato could be put at risk by Terminator technology. Peru gave the potato to the world.
''Terminator seeds do not have life,'' Felipe Gonzalez of the indigenous Pinchimoro community said in a statement.
''Like a plague they will come infecting our crops and carrying sickness.
We want to continue using our own seeds and our own customs of seed conservation and sharing.''
The Swiss-based company Syngenta recently won the patent on Terminator potatoes, but under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, it cannot market these potatoes.
The submission by the Peruvian farmers will be reviewed at a conference on such agricultural technology in Granada in Spain later this year.
The moratorium issue will come up at a conference on biological diversity to be held in Brazil in March next year.
''These voices and their research will be formally communicated there,'' Pimbert said.
They would seek to challenge claims by academics who feel terminator technology is safe, he said.
Peruvian indigenous leaders are urging the UN to expose the dangers of Terminator technology and uphold the moratorium.
They also demand that indigenous people have a say in the process equal to the influence of the agribusiness lobby.
''The UN moratorium helps to protect millenarian indigenous agricultural knowledge and the agrobiodiversity and global food security it enables,'' Alejandro Argumedo, associate director of ANDES, said in a statement.
''The rush to exploit Terminator technology for corporate profit must not be allowed to sabotage vital international biosafety polices.''
Common Dreams © 1997-2005
Saving the World’s Seeds
— Dr. Vandana Shiva
Catalyst Radio:   You mention the danger of people getting information about what is happening because it builds solidarity.
The World Social Forum happened again recently, what are some of the things you have seen happen as you have traveled around the world with regard to these issues, in terms of people networking, coalition building and the types of resistance that are taking place all around the globe?
Dr. Vandana Shiva:   Well I will give you just three very simple examples of movements that have spread very rapidly.
A few years as Monsanto started to push genetically modified crops and food around the world using all the instruments of corruption of governments, of WTO rules, we started to talk about declaring regions GM free.
Freedom zones just as we used to have nuclear free zones.
There are more than five thousand freedom zones in Europe now.   And even in the United States counties are starting to organize and have referendums.
It is a movement that is just multiplying.   People are learning from each other and saying we can do that too.
We don't have to wait until a WTO gives us freedom.   Freedom is ours to exercise and live.
The Coke, Pepsi campaigns as they have built up.   The issues of communities in the south loosing their water have got deeply connected to concerns of northern campuses.
With the entire mafia rule around Coca-Cola plants and the killing of trade unionists who are trying to organize, two ends of the Coke campaign are starting to join together to find new ways to reclaim freedom for communities.
And the third, very, very, big issue that has multiplied as people have talked to each other, I believe is the seed issue.
You know I started to work on seed patenting, seed conservation in 1987 onwards when I first came to the GAT agreement. There used to be four or five people one could pick up the phone and talk to.
Today there is not a country where there isn't a movement for farmers rights, where there isn't a movement to save native seeds, and where there isn't a movement to challenge patents on life and patents on seed.
So I think this communication outside the dominant media — and these are issues absolutely shut out and censored in the dominant media — but outside the dominant media people are communicating with each other and the realities are getting connected to deal with the handful of greedy giants.
When we start to exchange notes, it's five corporate seed companies, five water giants, five agribusiness giants, that's what we are up against across the worlds.   In the United States as much as India and Guatemala and Germany.
Catalyst Radio:   You talked about seed patenting and the dilemmas with that.
Could you say a little more about what the dangers of that are. About the biological dangers of having homogenous seed production.
And what that means to people, particularly people in indigenous populations around the world, which are the ones that hold this rich treasure of centuries of knowledge.
Dr. Vandana Shiva:   The first problem that starts with the patenting of seed is that corporations do not sell seed according to what is adapted to local climate, or what farmers need.
They sell seed according to where they have been able to do the quickest manipulation.
So that using that manipulation they can claim novelty.
Claiming novelty they can claim patents.
I've been of the view that genetic engineering was an excuse to enforce patents on seed.
It was an unnecessary step in improving breeding.   We don't have a single improved crop through genetic engineering.
We got herbicide resistant crops and we have BT toxin crops.   Neither of which are improvements from nature's perspective, from farmer's perspective.
Now if you just look at the world.   Where is the highest rate of expansion of crop varieties?
It's in genetically engineered Soya, genetically engineered corn, genetically engineered canola, and genetically engineered cotton.
So you are getting the food base of the world, which should be something like ten thousand crops, being reduced to four genetically engineered crops.
None adapted to any ecosystem.
All of them in the hands of one company, Monsanto, controlling something like ninety-three, ninety-four percent of all GM seeds sold anywhere in the world.
So you have the problem of mono-cultures, of homogeneity, but you also have the problem of total control of the seed supply.
And that total control of the seed supply has many social and economic implications.
First implication is that farmers who used to save seed, and who used to be able to exchange seed, are now treated as thieves of intellectual property.
It also means that the cost of seed start to skyrocket because farmers must pay royalties, must pay technology fees, must buy seeds annually, and a zero cost input in farming has ended up being the highest cost input in farming.
In addition, corporations like Monsanto ensure that farmers alternative supplies are destroyed by other legal trips — seed laws, compulsory legislation like the Iraqi '81 order, like the Indian Seed Act, and through that they ensure that farmer's alternatives, genetic diversity, biodiversity, specially in the countries that are home to genetic diversity are wiped out.
Which is a threat not just to those communities.
It is a threat to humanity.
It is a threat to our food supply.
It is a threat to our security.
Thomas Friedman's Imaginary World
In the Naidu [Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh 1995 — May 2004] years at least 5,000 Indian farmers committed suicide.
Across India, they're still killing themselves.
A Kisan Sabha ­ farmers' union ­ survey of just 26 households in Wayanad, in northern Kerala, that had seen suicides shows a total debt of over Rs. 2 million.   Or about Rs. 82,000 per household (which is the equivalent of just under $2,000.   The average size of these farms is less than 1.4 acres.   And a good chunk of that debt is owed to private lenders.)
Millions more lives millimeters from ruin and starvation.
For hundreds of millions of poor Indians, Friedman's brave new world of the 90s meant globalization of prices, Indianization of incomes.
The state turned its back on the poor.
Investment in agriculture collapsed as rural credit dried up.
As employment crashed in the countryside to its lowest ever, distress migrations from the villages ­ to just about anywhere ­ increased in tens of millions.
Foodgrain available per Indian fell almost every year in the 90s and by 2002-03 was less than it had been at the time of the great Bengal famine of 1942-43.
New user fees sent health costs soaring, and such costs have become a huge component of rural family debt.
...Remember, India has a billion people in it.
Maybe 2 per cent of them get to fly in a plane or go online. Around 10 per cent are well off, another 10 per cent doing okay.
On the most optimistic count we're left with over half a billion of the poorest people on the planet.
You could build call centers every mile from Mumbai to Bangalore, stuff teenagers with basic American slang in there working Friedman's stipulated 35 hours a day servicing American corporations and you wouldn't make a dent in the problem, which is that you can't dump an agricultural economy, build a couple of Cyberabads and say with any claim to realism that a New and Better India has been born.
New, yes.
Better, no.
“Diamond Life”: Documentary Examines How Diamonds Funded the Civil War in Sierra Leone
— Click Here
Nora Ferm of the International Labor Rights Fund talks about a new report on labor conditions at US-owned flower plantations in Colombia and Ecuador. We’re also joined by Beatriz Fuentes, President of the Sintrasplendor Union at Dole’s largest flower plantation in Colombia which has become the site of a growing worker’s struggle.
Child Labor: The Hidden Ingredient to the Billion-Dollar Chocolate Industry?
— Click Here
On Valentine's Day, chocolate is the currency in which people are supposed to trade their love. Little do they know that chocolate might have been made with slave labor. We speak with Brian Campbell, an attorney with the International Labor Rights Fund.
Global Witness Founder Charmian Gooch: “The Diamond Industry is Failing to Live Up to Its Promises” — Click Here
For more on the diamond industry, we’re joined by Global Witness founder and director Charmian Gooch. Gooch says diamond companies have failed to deliver on promises to reduce the prevalence of blood diamonds.
Broadcast February 16, 2007
Bamako: Danny Glover Produces and Stars in New Film Putting the World Bank and IMF on Trial in Africa — Click Here
Actor and activist Danny Glover joins us to talk about his new film "Bamako."
Set in Mali, the plot revolves around a trial that pits the people of Bamako against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We're also joined by Bamako's co-executive producer, Joslyn Barnes.
Citing Democracy Now!/BBC Broadcast, Rep. John Conyers Confronts Bush and Demands Investigation of Vulture Funds — Click Here
House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D — Michigan) joins us from Capitol Hill to talk about the war in Iraq and African debt.
He calls for a cutoff of appropriations for the war in Iraq, saying "That may be the only way that we're going to end the war."
Conyers also reveals that on Thursday he met with President Bush and asked him to stop vulture investors from preying upon African debtor nations.
Saving the World’s Seeds
— Dr. Vandana Shiva
Catalyst Radio:   Quite often people who dismiss the concerns of people like yourself are sharing, they keep saying that all we have is a criticism.   That what we are is always against, not what we are for.
Can you say something about what this global movement is really asking for.   Asking for what we want to happen.
Dr. Vandana Shiva:   You know, before I started to fight against patents in seed, I started to first save seed.
Because you cannot afford to critic a system to which you cannot offer an alternative.
First of all, those who are destroying alternatives, will then treat the absence of alternatives as the reason for their existence.
Secondly, you really do not have the moral authority to demand a shift if you have not been able to show that there are other ways, and better ways to do things.
On seed saving, we firmly believe seed is a common resource.
Seed is a common heritage.
And so we actually do what we believe in.
We create community seed banks from which farmers can take the seeds they need according to their agriculture, according to their cropping systems.
Seeds in a free exchange of a common property.
In agriculture, when we critic globalization of trade, and we critic the control of agriculture in the hands of a few giants, and the technologies of non-sustainability, we do the farming and the trade that allows farmers to have alternatives.
Widow of suicide farmer
Navdanya organization that I founded has trained more that two hundred thousand farmers in India to go corporate free and chemical free.   And corporate seed free.
Our farmers have increased their income three-fold. They have reduced their expenditure by ninety percent.
The only place in India where farmers are not getting into debt is areas where they are practicing sustainable organic farming.
And are engaging in fair trade where they set the terms of the market, rather than the genocidal terms created by the ConAgra's and the Cargill's.
And in the case of water, we conserve water.
We conserve every drop.
We make our contribution to building up and rebuilding our common legacy and then we have the moral right and the authority to say you will not mess around with our water.
Because it is water that we share.
It is water that we conserve collectively.
And it is water to which access for all must be guaranteed.
Global suicide economy — in effect now.
Black Box Radio:   As the film 'The Corporation' makes clear, large corporations are the product of the past one hundred years.  Initially, especially in the United States, we assumed equity and capitalism would grow together.
As each person labored for his or her own profit, the benefits would flow to all and the pie would keep growing indefinitely.
But as time passed we forgot to check our assumptions, or even to require that equity and sustainability be part of the capitalist economy.
Instead, like the primitive aircraft inventor we assume we are flying, when in reality we are simply in freefall.
Dr. David C. Korten:   Much of the celebrated global corporate economy is actually a suicide economy.
It is rapidly destroying the foundations of its own existence, and threatening the survival of the human species. For the sole purpose of making money for already wealthy people.
Those whom the share markets enrich scarcely notice what's happening. Because their growing financial wealth gives them a claim to an ever increasing share of what remains of the planet's real resources.
It looks to them like the system is working splendidly.
For those whose lives are being destroyed, who have no voice, are pushed to ever greater desperation. Which of course has something to do with terrorism.
This all based on an arrogant and short-sighted belief that the rightful role of the United States is to consume the products of the labor and resources of others around the world, collect the profits from the exchange, and then expect the rest of the world to accept our IOU's in perpetuity.
Black Box Radio:   The core problem of the current economy can be summed up as inequity.
Inequity across space:  Between the rich and poor of the world leading to social crises that threatened to tear apart our civilization.
Inequity across time:  As the current generation plunders the environment and uses up the remaining resources.  In effect stealing from our grandchildren in the future.
How did this come about?
What is it about corporations, especially as they grew to global scale, that allowed this to become a reality?
Among the worst culprits are monopoly scale, which allows corporations in effect to control the market.
'Limited Liability,' whereby corporations need not take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Global Scale in which decision making is removed from local communities, and lastly Public Share Trading, which completely divorces the owners of the corporation from the stakeholders.  And makes it almost impossible for communities to hold owners accountable.
Korton points out that transnational institutions do the same thing.
Korton's experiences in Indonesia led him to the important conclusion that sustainability can only come about through equity.
Dr. David C. Korten:   I lived in Indonesia for five years.  These Nike factories of course pay workers pennies to produce shoes for sale in the United States for a hundred dollars or more a pair.
Recall, Henry Ford had this brilliant idea.  He wanted to pay his workers enough so that they could buy his cars.
The workers that produce Nike shoes cannot even buy the shoes that they produce.
It isn't rocket science.
To improve the lives of Indonesians, Indonesians should be producing food [and products] for Indonesians to wear.
To better the lives of everyone, we in the United States should be learning to live on our own means.
It means ending a long history of the United States invading other countries to intimidate anyone who might be of a mind to use their own resources to the benefit of their own people.
So this brings us to an inescapable conclusion.
On a finite world, sustainability and equity are inseparably linked.
The only way to end poverty is to redistribute how we use the available sustainable wealth of the planet.
And to do that we must redistribute ownership and financial wealth.
Black Box Radio:   He proposes it is possible, and in fact necessary to create a new model which addresses equity and sustainability.
Core features are local ownership by workers, suppliers and community investors.
Each region should be as self-sufficient as possible — trading only for what it cannot produce.
Companies would be fully liable for all consequences of their actions and would be obligated to pay a living wage.
Last, what he calls a 'generational jubilee' in which at the end of life, each person passes on his or her wealth to the next generation.
It's ironic that he spoke these words only a week before the estate tax, one of our society's only remaining forms of wealth redistribution was repealed, permanently.
Korton is a member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies — a global network of local business networks dedicated to creating local living economies.
First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor — Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice Conference — A better world is possible.
       To learn about the Ann Arbor chapter, visit      
       www.wlenetwork.org/  (download full speech)     
An Asian elephant named Abot reacts as she is cleaned at Malaysia's National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, 110 km (68 miles) east of Kuala Lumpur in this photograph taken on February 16, 2006.

Across Asia, elephants are driven from their homes as people clear forests to build houses, roads or cultivate farms, provoking often violent encounters that claim the lives of scores of humans and elephants every year.

As the numbers of Asian elephants dwindle, conservationists are pressing governments to do more to protect them and find ways of helping man and best live safely together.

ENVIRONMENT ELEPHANTS

Picture: REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/Files
A Papuan with his face painted traditionally walks in front of policemen during a protest outside a building housing the Indonesian
unit of U.S company Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. in Jakarta March 1, 2006.

The US company has been raping the land of West Papua for decades, with the assistance of both the US and Indonesian military.

Gold nickel and copper to the extent of billions of US dollars has been withdrawn from West Papua all the money going to the US and Indonesian authorities, to those in control who have access.

Hundreds of native Papuans are demonstrating to demand the closure of a huge mine in Indonesia's Papua province run by the US mining company.

West Papua is presently controlled by Indonesia through a UN edict, though the people are distinctly different/

Many lives have been lost already by the use of force by mining security and by the Indonesian military, funded by the US government.

Issues that are being protested range from the continuing killing and imprisonment to the impact on the environment. deforestation, and to the stealing of revenue that should be going to Papuans and Papua.

To the legality of payments to the terrorist Kopassus, to the Indonesian security forces who help guard the site with US security.

To people starving - the Jakarta Post noted the

(left)
An Asian elephant named Abot reacts as she is cleaned at Malaysia's National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, 110 km (68 miles) east of Kuala Lumpur in this photograph taken on February 16, 2006.
Across Asia, elephants are driven from their homes as people clear forests to build houses, roads or cultivate farms, provoking often violent encounters that claim the lives of scores of humans and elephants every year.
As the numbers of Asian elephants dwindle, conservationists are pressing governments to do more to protect them and find ways of helping man and best live safely together.
ENVIRONMENT ELEPHANTS
(right)
A Papuan with his face painted traditionally walks in front of policemen during a protest outside a building housing the Indonesian unit of U.S company Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. in Jakarta March 1, 2006.
The US company has been raping the land of West Papua for decades, with the assistance of both the US and Indonesian military.
Gold nickel and copper to the extent of billions of US dollars has been withdrawn from West Papua all the money going to the US and Indonesian authorities, to those in control who have access.
Hundreds of native Papuans are demonstrating to demand the closure of a huge mine in Indonesia's Papua province run by the US mining company.
West Papua is presently controlled by Indonesia through a UN edict, though the people are distinctly different/
Many lives have been lost already by the use of force by mining security and by the Indonesian military, funded by the US government.
Issues that are being protested range from the continuing killing and imprisonment to the impact on the environment. deforestation, and to the stealing of revenue that should be going to Papuans and Papua.
To the legality of payments to the terrorist Kopassus, to the Indonesian security forces who help guard the site with US security.
To people starving - the Jakarta Post noted the "horrible irony" of hunger in such an "immensely rich" province.
ENVIRONMENT WEST PAPUA
Photos: REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad, REUTERS/Beawiharta
      West Papua massacre —     
      Aceh —    
      East Timor massacre —     
      Indonesia —     
      Australia —     
      US mining —     
      US military aid         

-
 
Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush
Annabelle McDonald
25jul06
NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W.Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren.
Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.
"I have a very hard time with this word 'non-violence', because I don't believe that I am non-violent," said Ms Williams, 64.
"Right now, I would love to kill George Bush." Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.
"I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief. It's our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life."
Ms Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 30 years ago, when she circulated a petition to end violence in Northern Ireland after witnessing British soldiers shoot dead an IRA member who was driving a car. He veered on to the footpath, killing two children from one family instantly and fatally injuring a third.
Ms Williams's petition had tens of thousands of Protestant and Catholic women walking the streets together in protest. Now the former office receptionist heads the World Centres of Compassion for Children International, a non-profit group working to create a political voice for children.
"My job is to tell you their stories," Ms Williams said of a recent trip to Iraq.
"We went to a hospital where there were 200 children; they were beautiful, all of them, but they had cancers that the doctors couldn't even recognise. From the first Gulf War, the mothers' wombs were infected.
"As I was leaving the hospital, I said to the doctor, 'How many of these babies do you think are going to live?'
"He looked me straight in the eye and said, 'None, not one'. They needed five different kinds of medication to treat the cancers that the children had, and the embargoes laid on by the United States and the United Nations only allowed them three."
Wrapping up the three-day forum yesterday, delegates agreed to a 26-point action plan.
"There can be no sustainable peace while the majority of the world's population lives in poverty," they said.
"There can be no sustainable peace if we fail to rise to the global challenge presented by climate change.
"There can be no sustainable peace while military spending takes precedence over human development."
© The Australian
 
-
-
Tuesday, 3 October 2006
Maathai writes of prison ordeal
Wangari Maathai plants a tree in celebration

Wangari Maathai won the Nobel peace prize in 2004
Wangari Maathai won the Nobel peace prize in 2004
The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, has told the BBC she wrote her autobiography to give hope to others.  
She said she was always asked about her upbringing and what inspired her campaign for the environment, so she decided to share her experiences.
She writes of how her activism led from dark days in prison to world acclaim.
"Even young people, who come from very humble backgrounds like me, can feel they too can do something," she said.
"You have to use whatever opportunities come your way."
Mrs Maathai said her divorce from her husband was the most painful and deeply personal experience of her life, but being thrown into prison during President Daniel arap Moi's government was also very difficult.
"I had small children and I didn't know how they were reacting.   They were old enough to understand that mummy was in jail but were not old enough to understand why," she told the BBC's Network Africa programme.
Her autobiography Unbowed, published by Knopf, is being launched in Nairobi.
"There I was, dressed to kill with my beads in a cell that was cold, dank, filthy, smelly and crowded, with no room to sit down, water was all over," she writes.
"Later I was put into a concrete, maximum-security cell with four other women and given a uniform, a pan to use as a toilet, and a blanket.   the women warders also cut off my braids."
'Bogus'
Unbowed — the book
Life is a journey — sometimes it is pleasant and sometimes it is painful
Wangari Maathai
MP and Nobel Peace Laureate

"To the cheers of a packed house, one MP said that because I had supposedly repudiated my husband in public, I could not be taken seriously and that my behaviour had damaged his respect for all women."
During the debate, her Green Belt Movement, mostly of women who planted trees to combat the devastating effects of deforestation and desertification, was described as a "bogus organisation" in which she spent all her time travelling abroad, by another MP.
She said that pain and suffering is not invited but comes because of the path you have chosen to walk.
"Life is a journey — sometimes it is pleasant and sometimes it is painful — but the important thing is to make the best of it and that is what I tried to do."
The Nobel Peace Prize awarding committee described Mrs Maathai as "a source of inspiration for everyone in Africa fighting for sustainable development, democracy and peace".
She became an environmental campaigner after planting some trees in her back garden.
This inspired her to set up the Green Belt Movement in 1977.
Her campaign to mobilise poor women to plant some 30 million trees has been copied by other countries.
She was elected to parliament in 2001, and became deputy environment minister in 2003.
Wangari Maathai — Nobel Peace Lecture — Tree Planter
...I am especially mindful of women and the girl child.
I hope it will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership.
I know the honour also gives a deep sense of pride to our men, both old and young.
As a mother, I appreciate the inspiration this brings to the youth and urge them to use it to pursue their dreams.
Although this prize comes to me, it acknowledges the work of countless individuals and groups across the globe.
They work quietly and often without recognition to protect the environment, promote democracy, defend human rights and ensure equality between women and men.
By so doing, they plant seeds of peace.
I know they, too, are proud today.
To all who feel represented by this prize I say use it to advance your mission and meet the high expectations the world will place on us.
This honour is also for my family, friends, partners and supporters throughout the world.
All of them helped shape the vision and sustain our work, which was often accomplished under hostile conditions.
I am also grateful to the people of Kenya — who remained stubbornly hopeful that democracy could be realized and their environment managed sustainably.
Because of this support, I am here today to accept this great honour.
...In this year’s prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has placed the critical issue of environment and its linkage to democracy and peace before the world.
For their visionary action, I am profoundly grateful.
Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come.
Our work over the past 30 years has always appreciated and engaged these linkages.
My inspiration partly comes from my childhood experiences and observations of Nature in rural Kenya.
It has been influenced and nurtured by the formal education I was privileged to receive in Kenya, the United States and Germany.
Forests cleared
As I was growing up, I witnessed forests being cleared and replaced by commercial plantations, which destroyed local biodiversity and the capacity of the forests to conserve water.
In 1977, when we started the Green Belt Movement, I was partly responding to needs identified by rural women, namely lack of firewood, clean drinking water, balanced diets, shelter and income.
Throughout Africa, women are the primary caretakers, holding significant responsibility for tilling the land and feeding their families.
As a result, they are often the first to become aware of environmental damage as resources become scarce and incapable of sustaining their families.
The women we worked with recounted that unlike in the past, they were unable to meet their basic needs.
This was due to the degradation of their immediate environment as well as the introduction of commercial farming, which replaced the growing of household food crops.
But international trade controlled the price of the exports from these small-scale farmers and a reasonable and just income could not be guaranteed.
Undermines future generations
I came to understand that when the environment is destroyed, plundered or mismanaged, we undermine our quality of life and that of future generations.
Tree planting became a natural choice to address some of the initial basic needs identified by women.
Also, tree planting is simple, attainable and guarantees quick, successful results within a reasonable amount time.
This sustains interest and commitment.
So, together, we have planted over 30 million trees that provide fuel, food, shelter, and income to support their children’s education and household needs.
The activity also creates employment and improves soils and watersheds.
Through their involvement, women gain some degree of power over their lives, especially their social and economic position and relevance in the family.
This work continues.
Initially, the work was difficult because historically our people have been persuaded to believe that because they are poor, they lack not only capital, but also knowledge and skills to address their challenges.
Instead they are conditioned to believe that solutions to their problems must come from ‘outside’.
Further, women did not realize that meeting their needs depended on their environment being healthy and well managed.
They were also unaware that a degraded environment leads to a scramble for scarce resources and may culminate in poverty and even conflict.
Injustices of international economic arrangements
They were also unaware of the injustices of international economic arrangements.
In order to assist communities to understand these linkages, we developed a citizen education program, during which people identify their problems, the causes and possible solutions.
They then make connections between their own personal actions and the problems they witness in the environment and in society.
They learn that our world is confronted with a litany of woes: corruption, violence against women and children, disruption and breakdown of families, and disintegration of cultures and communities.
They also identify the abuse of drugs and chemical substances, especially among young people.
There are also devastating diseases that are defying cures or occurring in epidemic proportions.
Of particular concern are HIV/AIDS, malaria and diseases associated with malnutrition.
On the environment front, they are exposed to many human activities that are devastating to the environment and societies.
These include widespread destruction of ecosystems, especially through deforestation, climatic instability, and contamination in the soils and waters that all contribute to excruciating poverty.
Primary custodians and beneficiaries of the environment that sustains them
In the process, the participants discover that they must be part of the solutions.
They realize their hidden potential and are empowered to overcome inertia and take action.
They come to recognize that they are the primary custodians and beneficiaries of the environment that sustains them.
Entire communities also come to understand that while it is necessary to hold their governments accountable, it is equally important that in their own relationships with each other, they exemplify the leadership values they wish to see in their own leaders, namely justice, integrity and trust.
Although initially the Green Belt Movement’s tree planting activities did not address issues of democracy and peace, it soon became clear that responsible governance of the environment was impossible without democratic space.
Tree became symbol for democratic stuggle
Therefore, the tree became a symbol for the democratic struggle in Kenya.
Citizens were mobilised to challenge widespread abuses of power, corruption and environmental mismanagement.
In Nairobi ’s Uhuru Park, at Freedom Corner, and in many parts of the country, trees of peace were planted to demand the release of prisoners of conscience and a peaceful transition to democracy.
Through the Green Belt Movement, thousands of ordinary citizens were mobilized and empowered to take action and effect change.
They learned to overcome fear and a sense of helplessness and moved to defend democratic rights.
In time, the tree also became a symbol for peace and conflict resolution, especially during ethnic conflicts in Kenya when the Green Belt Movement used peace trees to reconcile disputing communities.
During the ongoing re-writing of the Kenyan constitution, similar trees of peace were planted in many parts of the country to promote a culture of peace.
Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition.
For example, the elders of the Kikuyu carried a staff from the thigi tree that, when placed between two disputing sides, caused them to stop fighting and seek reconciliation.
Many communities in Africa have these traditions.
Such practises are part of an extensive cultural heritage, which contributes both to the conservation of habitats and to cultures of peace.
Local biodiversity is no longer valued or protected and as a result, it is quickly degraded and disappears
With the destruction of these cultures and the introduction of new values, local biodiversity is no longer valued or protected and as a result, it is quickly degraded and disappears.
For this reason, The Green Belt Movement explores the concept of cultural biodiversity, especially with respect to indigenous seeds and medicinal plants.
As we progressively understood the causes of environmental degradation, we saw the need for good governance.
Indeed, the state of any county’s environment is a reflection of the kind of governance in place, and without good governance there can be no peace.
Many countries, which have poor governance systems, are also likely to have conflicts and poor laws protecting the environment.
In 2002, the courage, resilience, patience and commitment of members of the Green Belt Movement, other civil society organizations, and the Kenyan public culminated in the peaceful transition to a democratic government and laid the foundation for a more stable society.
Activities that devastate the environment and societies continue unabated
It is 30 years since we started this work.
Activities that devastate the environment and societies continue unabated.
Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system.
We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own — indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder.
This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process.
In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground.
A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other.
 
That time is now.
...There can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space.
This shift is an idea whose time has come.
I call on leaders, especially from Africa, to expand democratic space and build fair and just societies that allow the creativity and energy of their citizens to flourish.
Those of us who have been privileged to receive education, skills, and experiences and even power must be role models for the next generation of leadership.
In this regard, I would also like to appeal for the freedom of my fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi so that she can continue her work for peace and democracy for the people of Burma and the world at large.
Culture plays a central role in the political, economic and social life of communities.
Indeed, culture may be the missing link in the development of Africa.
Culture is dynamic and evolves over time, consciously discarding retrogressive traditions, like female genital mutilation (FGM), and embracing aspects that are good and useful.
Africans, especially, should re-discover positive aspects of their culture.
In accepting them, they would give themselves a sense of belonging, identity and self-confidence.
There is also need to galvanize civil society and grassroots movements to catalyse change.
Critical mass of responsible citizens
I call upon governments to recognize the role of these social movements in building a critical mass of responsible citizens, who help maintain checks and balances in society.
On their part, civil society should embrace not only their rights but also their responsibilities.
Further, industry and global institutions must appreciate that ensuring economic justice, equity and ecological integrity are of greater value than profits at any cost.
The extreme global inequities and prevailing consumption patterns continue at the expense of the environment and peaceful co-existence.
The choice is ours.
I would like to call on young people to commit themselves to activities that contribute toward achieving their long-term dreams.
Energy and creativity to shape a sustainable future
They have the energy and creativity to shape a sustainable future.
To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world.
You are our hope and our future.
The holistic approach to development, as exemplified by the Green Belt Movement, could be embraced and replicated in more parts of Africa and beyond.
It is for this reason that I have established the Wangari Maathai Foundation to ensure the continuation and expansion of these activities.
Although a lot has been achieved, much remains to be done.
As I conclude I reflect on my childhood experience when I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother.
Restore the home of the tadpoles
I would drink water straight from the stream.
Playing among the arrowroot leaves I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs’ eggs, believing they were beads.
But every time I put my little fingers under them they would break.
Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth.
This is the world I inherited from my parents.
Today, over 50 years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water, which is not always clean, and children will never know what they have lost.
The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.
Thank you very much.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai congratulates Russia over its ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

Photo: AFP/Tony Karumba
Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai congratulates Russia over its ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.
       Dying for clean water           
       India — Class war         
    Haiti     
    —   Aristide   Preval   Privatization   Poor   —     
    UN troops and Massacre          
       Hunger children dying         
          — locusts, drought — Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti         
       Children workers — Sweat shops — Unions           
Global trade policies: a billion children in poverty
Bananas, Chaquita, Globalizaton and the Caribbean
Fiction of free trade
       Bolivia — Resistance         
Restaurants and Fast Food are US biggest recruiter for jobs.              Hold most work and workers for future.
If policy-makers stop treating employment as an afterthought and place decent work at the heart of macroeconomic and social policies.
Children workers — Sweat shops — Unions
Bringing down the WTO barricades
The silence of lambswool cardigans
      As Jews we march with the Palestinians and raise their flag!     
     His Majesty King Abdullah — The American Magazine     November 1947     
     Norman Finkelstein, Professor Marc Saperstein and Middle East Journal     
As in every other nation under the IMF whip
The badge of democracy is not awarded by arresting terrorists but by showing deep respect for the rights of the suspects
Wildlife experts warn against GM damage
Why has free trade gone so wrong
 
Oxam America:   DR-CAFTA Bad Deal for Poor Countries
WASHINGTON — April 20, 2005 — International agency Oxfam called on U.S. Members of Congress today to reject the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central American countries and the Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA.)
Oxfam believes that the agreement, in its current form, will do more harm than good and will endanger the livelihood of thousands of small farmers who already live in poverty.
Oxfam joined numerous other non-governmental organizations and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle at a press conference today, calling for the rejection of DR-CAFTA.
The trade agreement is under consideration by both the House and the Senate and is expected to come up for a vote in the U.S. Congress before the end of May.
"Fair trade rules and practices have the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty, as trade and development are intimately linked," said Stephanie Weinberg, Trade Policy Advisor at Oxfam.   "But DR-CAFTA will only hurt these countries as it puts the needs of U.S. agribusiness, pharmaceutical companies and foreign investors above the basic needs of citizens in the region."
The U.S. trading partners in the DR-CAFTA region, with a population of 42.5 million, are the poorest countries in the hemisphere and have unequal distributions of income and wealth.
They depend heavily on agriculture for the livelihood of significant portions of their populations.
These countries are ravaged by curable diseases due to poverty and inadequate health- care coverage.
They sorely lack public infrastructure and, in several cases, are highly indebted.
Highly unequal societies,
"Those who stand to lose in the DR-CAFTA are the ones who are already disadvantaged in these highly unequal societies, where the majority of poor people live in rural areas, rely on income from agriculture and must pay for medicines out-of-pocket," continued Weinberg.
"Instead of establishing fair and equitable rules for trade, the agreement will institutionalize an uneven playing field."
Dumping of US rice
The regional trade agreement will require these developing countries to open their markets to dumping of US rice and other commodities and forbid use of adequate safeguards to ensure food and livelihood security and rural development.
Monopoly held by brand-name pharmaceuticals
DR-CAFTA imposes strict new rules that extend the monopoly held by brand-name pharmaceuticals, which will limit generic competition and reduce access to affordable medicines in the future.
Special rights and privileges to foreign investors
The trade agreement provides special rights and privileges to foreign investors that can create major new liabilities to governments and undermine efforts to protect public health, the environment, and workplace safety.
U.S. farmers receive extensive subsidies
DR-CAFTA also blatantly ignores the fact that U.S. farmers receive extensive subsidies and domestic supports, estimated to be around $18 billion this year alone.
"DR-CAFTA is a bad deal for millions of farmers, workers, and consumers in Central America and the Dominican Republic and should therefore be rejected," added Weinberg.
"Instead of pushing through bad deals like DR-CAFTA, the US should invest in the WTO and the Doha Round, as that is the best path to build a rules-based trade system that provides more opportunity and stability for both the U.S. and developing countries."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Oxfam's written testimony before the US House Committee on Ways and Means on the Implementation of the DR-CAFTA can be found on Oxfam's Web site at:
South Korean's fatal stand against WTO
What the world needs in 2004 is independence
Video proves anti-globalisation activist Simon Chapman was framed
The real Cancun
Cancun, Mexico — the island is naked, its forests long gone
Thessaloniki 7 released November 26 2003
Jabs in developing world unsafe
Children swap silk work for school
God and man in Southern Sudan
Bush cuts funds: Thousands of women and young children will die
Ford destroy environment cars
And the gap grows wider
Ozone talks fail over US demands
Camisea natural gas project
FTAA Journal — Day One Miami
Clouds of pepper spray floating over marchers
Four young men begin drumming
Pepper Spray
I could not believe the sheer number of police, judge says
USWA — Calls for congressional investigation over Miami protests
Amnesty International — Excessive force and ill-treatment of protestors in Miami
Miami reporter unclear why she was arrested
Listing of Iraq War — includes photos
Global weather, environment and climate change — includes photos
Dimona Reactor threat
Iran tests missile — Israel postures 
Oxfam Accuses Wealthy Nations of Cheating
GENEVA — The industrialized world is acting with "duplicity" in the WTO Doha Round trade negotiations, which threatens to turn the whole round of development talks into a farce, according to the international humanitarian organization Oxfam.
The non-governmental group warns that with the way the negotiations are currently proceeding, the Doha Round will end up allowing the wealthy nations to continue the practice of dumping, or exporting goods at prices below the cost of production.
"Rich countries are dodging the commitments they have made to reduce subsidies that hurt poor farmers overseas," said Celine Charveriat, spokeswoman for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign.
The Doha Round of negotiations was launched at the 4th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (World Trade Organization) held in the Qatari capital in December 2001, with the aim of promoting further opening of international markets.
Since then, the talks have come up against countless obstacles and even moments of complete stalemate, as was the case at the 5th WTO conference in September 2003 in the Mexican resort city of Cancún.
The Doha negotiating agenda encompasses various components of trade, such as industrial tariffs, services, trade facilitation and fundamentally agriculture, the subject of a new study released by Oxfam on Wednesday.
The document focuses particular emphasis on Europe and the United States, which "claim to have cut their subsidies over the years but to date, there has been no substantial reduction, merely a re-labeling of existing support," noted Charveriat, the head of Oxfam International in Geneva.
The research conducted by the humanitarian agency established that since 1986, the beginning of the previous series of trade negotiations known as the Uruguay Round, the assistance provided to farmers in the industrialized nations has consistently remained at levels of over 250 billion dollars annually.
In particular, Oxfam has calculated that the EU and the United States are massively understating the real levels of export subsidization.
The United States provides hidden aid that is 200 times greater than the amount it declares, to the tune of 6.6 billion dollars annually, says Oxfam.   For its part, the EU pays out 5.2 billion dollars in secret assistance — four times more than the sum it acknowledges in the WTO.
Export subsidies are only one of the many forms of support given to farmers in the industrialized countries, which have been classified into different "boxes", the Oxfam representative explained.
Only payments that fell into the amber box, that is, the category for subsidies that were unequivocally trade-distorting, were liable to be cut during the Uruguay Round.
Green box exemptions are support measures that were considered non trade-distorting, while blue box exemptions were the category used for payments that were trade-distorting, but included an element of production limitation.
But the Oxfam report reveals that instead of making substantial cuts to its domestic support measures, the EU and the United States have merely re-classified the subsidies they provide in a practice known as "box shifting".
Subsidies that previously fell into the amber box and were thus subject to elimination have been moved into the blue or green boxes, for measures that are minimally or non-trade-distorting.
Argentine WTO representative Alberto Dumont remarked that "one of the problems we are coming up against in the negotiations is what is known as box shifting, or the moving of subsidies into different boxes."
This operation consists of changing measures from amber to blue, and moving programs that are now in the blue box into the green box.   "In fact, we are adapting trade realities to the situation in the United States, since we are creating another box specifically for that country," said Dumont.
In other words, there is going to be a modified blue box, he explained.
Given this situation, Charveriat warned that "the rich countries could even increase their massive agricultural subsidies if world trade negotiations do not change track."
The Doha Round will face a decisive test in December, when the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong assesses the current state of negotiations.
Dumont said the alliance of countries pushing for a greater freeing up of agricultural trade, known as the Group of 20 (G-20), have issued firm proposals to prevent box shifting and press for an actual reduction of domestic support.
The G-20, formed in the days prior to the Cancún conference, deals solely with agricultural trade issues and is coordinated by Brazil and India.
The Argentine WTO negotiator noted that the G-20 is also demanding changes in the criteria for green box measures, so that they solely include income supports for farmers that are not related to (or are "decoupled" from) production levels or prices.
The Oxfam report released Wednesday calls on the 148 WTO member states to set an end date of 2010 for export subsidies. The organization is also demanding recognition of the right of poor countries to protect vulnerable sectors as long as dumping continues.
Charveriat stressed that alongside development aid and debt relief, trade reform is crucial to help end poverty in the developing world.
       by Gustavo Capdevila      June 15, 2005       © Inter Press Service      
From the video 'Holes in Heaven' — Brooks Agnew, Earth Tornographer
In 1983 I did radio tornography with 30 watts looking for oil in the ground.
I found 26 oil wells over a nine state area.
100 hundred percent of the time was accurate, which is just 30 watts of power beaming straight into solid rock.
HAARP uses a billion watts beamed straight into the ionosphere for experiments.
Picture these strings on the piano as layers of the Earth, each one has its own frequency.
What we used to do is beam radio waves into the ground and it would vibrate any 'strings' that were present in the ground.
We might get a sound back like ___ and we would say, that's natural gas.
We might get a sound back like ____ and we'd say that's crude oil.
We were able to identify each frequency.
We accomplished this with just 30 watts of radio power.
If you do this with a billion watts the vibrations are so violent that the entire piano would shake.
In fact the whole house would shake.
In fact the vibrations could be so severe under ground they could even cause an earthquake.
Download or watch movie on HAARP — Advanced US Military research weapon on behaviour modification
weather change, ionesphere manipulation — click here
Download or watch audio of Dr. Nick Begich talking on HAARP
— The 2006 update to 'Angels Don't Play This HAARP'.
'Angels Still Don't Play This HAARP: Advances In Tesla Technology'.
Planet Earth Weapon by Rosalie Bertell
ozone, HAARP, chemtrails, space war — click here
HAARP/Chemtrails/Alien aircraft/Illuminati involvement
1 hour FreemanTV.com video — click here
(has 30 second lead in with blank screen and silence)
Angels Dont Play This HAARP weather manipulation
1 hour 36 minutes video — click here
(poor quality to watch but well worth listening)
Dr. Nick Begich, his book and his articles can be found here
       http://www.earthpulse.com/      
Article on Chemtrails — unusual cloud formations in the US.
Saturday, 25 June, 2005
Rome's disappearing shops and cafes
Jeremy Bowen
By Jeremy Bowen
BBC News, Rome
Customers in cafe in Rome

Romans still take their morning coffee and pastry at their local bars
Romans still take their morning coffee and pastry at their local bars
People in Britain often lament the changes in the nation's towns and cities, as more and more national and international chain stores, banks and coffee outlets force out local businesses and city centres all seem to look the same.
It may be hard for many people who live in the teeming cities of our globalised world to understand, but my commute to work is one of the great pleasures of my day.
To get to the office, I walk for about half an hour through what must be the most beautiful city anywhere.
The centre of Rome is not remotely busy before 10 o'clock in the morning.   The day feels fresh and new.
Even the Pantheon, the great domed building that started as a Roman temple 2,000 years ago and was preserved intact because it became one of the earliest Christian churches, is serene and cool when I walk past it.
The tourists must still be sleeping.
My most senior colleagues here say that the 1950s were better, before mass tourism, before there were many cars, when eating in a restaurant was cheaper than cooking at home.
But I suspect that, when I am old enough to be able to say it was better in my day, I might reminisce about Rome at the start of the 21st century.
Life may be less charming than it was in the 1950s but I suspect it is much more attractive than it will be 50 years from now.
Adverts on TV show happy Italian families eating something that mamma bought in the supermarket and warmed up in the microwave
Shrinking world
The world is shrinking and it is squeezing everywhere and everybody.
Almost 25 years ago, I spent a year in Italy as a student.   It was fascinating and fun, but no paradise.
It was still recovering from the turbulence of the 1970s, when there had been bombs, kidnapping and ideological conflict between the right and the left.
And it was very Italian.
Everyone had Italian cars — Fiats for the masses, Alfas for the sporty, Lancias for the rich.
On every corner of the city where I lived small shops sold salami, ham, cheese and wonderful fruit and vegetables.
The Coliseum.

Romans have a strong sense of their own identity and a huge pride in their city.
Romans have a strong sense of their own identity and a huge pride in their city
Losing a way of life
In bakeries, as well as bread there were strange flat sheets of dough, dusted with flour or knotted into little parcels.   In Britain I had never seen fresh pasta.
Twenty-five years ago, not many foreigners lived in Italy and not many people spoke foreign languages nor appeared to have any desire so to do.
But now, in the globalised world, some middle-class Romans send their children to international schools so that they will grow up speaking English fluently.
The Italian father of one of my daughter's classmates speaks to his Italian children only in English.
In restaurants the waiters are usually Italian but, if you look into the kitchens, the people that are turning out local favourites like buccatini all'amatriciana or spaghetti carbonara are very often Asians.
And the way of life that seemed routine and ordinary 25 years ago is disappearing.
The businesses that paid for it — that produced things that people wanted to buy because they were well designed and well priced — are struggling to compete against cheap competition from China.
Microwave meals
The wives and mothers, who would have spent the morning shopping and cooking, often go to work now.
Many of the small food shops they do not have time to visit any more have closed.   Adverts on TV show happy Italian families eating something that mamma bought in the supermarket and warmed up in the microwave.
Sometimes on my way back from work, I stop at a poultry butcher who sells excellent free range chicken and eggs.
His brother sells the red meat at a shop just across the road.   I have never seen any other customers in the shop when I have been buying my chicken.
Long before closing time, which is about 7.30 in the evening, the shop is immaculately clean and he is pacing up and down in the street outside, packed up and reaready to go home.
All the shops like that seem to be run by men and women in their 60s, and most of them will turn into boutiques or jewellers' shops when their owners retire.
I do not want to overstate the sense of change.
Local produce
Walking through Rome every day is a delight which I will never forget.   There are still workshops in beautiful medieval streets fixing scooters or espresso machines, or making boxes or strange balls of wire.
The greengrocers — and there are still plenty of them — sell local fruit and vegetables that are in season, not tasteless cotton wool balls that have been flown in from the other side of the world.
Tourists can buy Big Macs to eat on the Spanish Steps but hundreds of thousands of Romans still take their morning coffee and cornetto — a kind of sweet croissant — standing at their local bars.
They have a strong sense of their own identity and a huge pride in their city.
But the commercial forces that are taking away too many of the differences that make the world interesting are at work here too.   And it is a process that goes in only one direction.
Sunday, 17 July, 2005
Coke tries to can Indian poster
Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has threatened an Indian photographerwith legal action for using its logo in a poster depicting watershortages.
Poster in Madras, India. Courtesy Sharad Haksar.

Coca-Cola says it wants to resolve the matter amicably
Coca-Cola says it wants to resolve the matter amicably
"Ice The poster, in Madras, shows a line of water containers and a hand pump with a Coca-Cola logo in the background.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola India said a copyright infringement notice had been sent to photographer Sharad Haksar.
Activists have accused Coca-Cola and Pepsi of depleting ground water — claims the firms both strenuously deny.
Coca-Cola India spokesman Vikas Kotchhar confirmed to the BBC that a legal notice had been sent to Mr Haksar for infringement of trademark.
He said they were in talks with Mr Haksar to resolve the issue amicably.
Nike encounter
The legal notice states Mr Haksar should remove the billboard immediately and issue an apology to the company or face further legal action and a possible fine of two million rupees($46,000).
Cola protesters in India
Indian protesters have campaigned against the cola companies
Mr Haksar — who runs his own advertising agency, 1pointsize — told the BBC he had no intention of hurting the company's sentiments or infringing its trademark.
"They are my client, I've done work for them.   I would be stupid to fight with my clients," he said, describing the poster as "quite harmless".
Mr Haksar added: "The hoardings are a personal issue I have maintained in Madras for the past three years wherein I take a social issue each month and highlight it through pictures.
"As a photographer, it is my take on the severe water shortage in the state and across India.   It is a fact and an irony that there is a shortage of drinking water while Coca-Cola is available everywhere."
Mr Haksar said he should be allowed freedom of expression.
This is not the first time his pictures have got him into trouble.
The billboard prior to the Coca-Cola one depicted a small boy urinating on a wall sporting the logo of US giant Nike with its brand line, "Just Do It".
Nike also sent a letter through its lawyers to Mr Haksar.
He said the issue was resolved peacefully though he had kept the hoarding on for an additional month as he wanted to show that he would not bow to pressure.
Mr Haksar said the Coca-Cola poster was due to come down at the end of July but he would keep it up if the legal action continued.
“Diamond Life”: Documentary Examines How Diamonds Funded the Civil War in Sierra Leone
— Click Here
Nora Ferm of the International Labor Rights Fund talks about a new report on labor conditions at US-owned flower plantations in Colombia and Ecuador. We’re also joined by Beatriz Fuentes, President of the Sintrasplendor Union at Dole’s largest flower plantation in Colombia which has become the site of a growing worker’s struggle.
Child Labor: The Hidden Ingredient to the Billion-Dollar Chocolate Industry?
— Click Here
On Valentine's Day, chocolate is the currency in which people are supposed to trade their love. Little do they know that chocolate might have been made with slave labor. We speak with Brian Campbell, an attorney with the International Labor Rights Fund.
Global Witness Founder Charmian Gooch: “The Diamond Industry is Failing to Live Up to Its Promises” — Click Here
For more on the diamond industry, we’re joined by Global Witness founder and director Charmian Gooch. Gooch says diamond companies have failed to deliver on promises to reduce the prevalence of blood diamonds.
Broadcast February 16, 2007
Bamako: Danny Glover Produces and Stars in New Film Putting the World Bank and IMF on Trial in Africa — Click Here
Actor and activist Danny Glover joins us to talk about his new film "Bamako."
Set in Mali, the plot revolves around a trial that pits the people of Bamako against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We're also joined by Bamako's co-executive producer, Joslyn Barnes.
Citing Democracy Now!/BBC Broadcast, Rep. John Conyers Confronts Bush and Demands Investigation of Vulture Funds — Click Here
House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D — Michigan) joins us from Capitol Hill to talk about the war in Iraq and African debt.
He calls for a cutoff of appropriations for the war in Iraq, saying "That may be the only way that we're going to end the war."
Conyers also reveals that on Thursday he met with President Bush and asked him to stop vulture investors from preying upon African debtor nations.
War on Democracy.

Since 1945 the United States government US U.S. has attempted to overthrow 50 governments.
Poor Barrios - Urban areas in Spanish-speaking country

War on Democracy.

Since 1945 the United States government US U.S. has attempted to overthrow 50 governments.
War on Democracy.

Since 1945 the United States government US U.S. has attempted to overthrow 50 governments.
 Kewe Archives TheWE.biz The Poles