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Announcement of new and updated content on the globalissues.org web site. GlobalIssues.org is a web site attempting to look at various global issues to show they are inter-related.



 



Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction

Mon, 02 Feb 2015 21:40:00 GMT

Many are afraid that tackling climate change is going to be too costly. But increasingly, studies are showing action will not just be cheaper than inaction, but could actually result in economic, environmental and even health benefits, while improving sustainability.

This new page includes more information on the above issues.

Read full article: Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction




2014 warmest year since records began

Sun, 01 Feb 2015 22:28:00 GMT

Recently released data showed that 2014 was the hottest year since records began in 1880.

This update includes updated charts and graphs and animations that look into this further.

Read full article: Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction




COP20 — Lima Climate Conference

Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:12:00 GMT

(image) An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 20), held in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

While it seemed like it was a successful meeting, because developing nations were committed to drawing up their own plans for emissions reductions for the first time, a number of important issues were left undecided such as how financing would work.

This page is an overview of the Lima Climate conference.

Read full article: COP20—Lima Climate Conference




Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

Sat, 27 Sep 2014 22:44:00 GMT

An overview of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa that has been described by the World Health Organization as the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak in the history of the disease.

The epidemic began at the end of 2013, in Guinea. From there it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Many of the affected countries face enormous challenges in stopping its spread and providing care for all patients.

Thousands of people have died and many are at risk as the fatality rate from this virus is very high. As the crisis worsens, as well as the enormous health challenges involved, the social and economic consequences may set these countries back, reversing some gains a number of these countries have made in recent years.

This new page includes more information on the above issues.

Read full article: Ebola Outbreak In West Africa




Foreign aid: rebounds in 2013 to highest levels ever despite budget pressures, but still way below promised amounts

Sun, 28 Sep 2014 22:38:00 GMT

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) recently published new preliminary figures for aid in 2013.

It showed official development assistance (ODA) aid from wealthy governments had increased to just under $135 billion in 2013 (at constant 2012 prices). This is roughly 0.3% of GNI (Gross National Income) of the donor nations.

(image)

Yet, over 40 years ago nations promised to reach 0.7% of their GNI by the mid-1970s. While each year the amount of aid falls quite short of that 0.7% target (less than half of that target), the quality and effectiveness of that aid is often questionable, sometimes benefiting the donor more than the recipient due to the types of conditions attached to this aid.

This update includes a number of new and updated charts and graphs.

Read full article: Foreign Aid for Development Assistance




Foreign aid: shortfall since 1970 almost $5 trillion; greater than aid given

Sun, 28 Sep 2014 22:38:00 GMT

Over 40 years ago, rich country governments agreed to give 0.7% of their GNI (Gross National Income) as official aid to poor countries for development assistance.

The average aid delivered each year has actually been between 0.2 to 0.4%. The shortfall has therefore accumulated to almost $5 trillion dollars at 2012 prices, while total aid delivered in that same time frame has reached $3.6 trillion.

(image)

This update includes updated charts and graphs that look into this further.

Read full article: Official global foreign aid shortfall: $4 trillion




75% of the world’s large carnivores are now in decline while rhino poaching continues to soar

Sun, 19 Jan 2014 20:19:00 GMT

(image) A recent study has found that three quarters of the world’s big carnivores are in decline, due to declining habitats and persecution by humans. This is also having a negative impact on the environment because top predators have a crucial role in any given ecosystem which is hard to replace.

At the same time, the number of rhinos being poached in South Africa (where most rhinos now remain) has soared exponentially in recent years.

This update includes more information on the above issues.

Read full article: Nature and Animal Conservation




Tobacco kills. Higher taxes and advertising controls work

Sun, 05 Jan 2014 14:09:00 GMT

(image) It is well known that tobacco smoking kills. But it also exacerbates poverty, contributes to world hunger by diverting prime land away from food production, damages the environment and reduces economic productivity. Second hand smoking also affects other people’s lives. Despite many attempts to prevent it, a global tobacco control treaty became international law in 2005.

However, challenges still remain as tobacco companies try to hit back, for example, by targeting developing nations, increasing advertising at children and women, attempting to undermine global treaties and influence trade talks, etc.

This update includes updated stats, as well as more information on the above issues.

Read full article: Tobacco




COP19 - Warsaw Climate Conference

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 23:51:00 GMT

An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 19), held in Warsaw, Poland in November 2013.

Predictably and sadly, the same issues have resurfaced: West stalling on doing anything, lack of funding, disagreement on priorities, etc.

This page is an overview of the Warsaw Climate conference and also includes a feed of latest news stories from Inter Press Service’s coverage of the conference.

Read full article: COP19 - Warsaw Climate Conference




Global warming has not paused, unfortunately

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 23:47:00 GMT

In recent weeks there have been more questions about whether climate change has paused, or even stopped. However, it seems that maybe these suggestions are coming from looking at long term surface temperature changes only which do seem to have shown a small decline in very recent years. But the bigger picture shows that overall, unfortunately, warming continues.

(image)

In addition to more details and images about the above issue, the climate change introduction page was updated with additional notes about rising emissions and the super-storm typhoon Hiayan.

Read full article: Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction




Surveillance State: NSA Spying and more

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 02:04:00 GMT

(image) At the start of June 2013, a large number of documents detailing surveillance by intelligence agencies such as the US’s NSA and UK’s GCHQ started to be revealed, based on information supplied by NSA whistle blower, Edward Snowden.

These leaks revealed a massive surveillance program that included interception of email and other Internet communications and phone call tapping. Some of it appears illegal, while other revelations show the US spying on friendly nations during various international summits.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of furor. While some countries are no doubt using this to win some diplomatic points, there has been an increase in tension with the US and other regions around the world.

Much of the US surveillance programs came from the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the US in 2001. Concerns about a crackdown on civil rights in the wake of the so-called war on terror have been expressed for a long time, and these revelations seem to be confirming some of those fears.

Given the widespread collection of information, apparently from central servers of major Internet companies and from other core servers that form part of the Internet backbone, activities of millions (if not billions) of citizens have been caught up in a dragnet style surveillance problem called PRISM, even when the communication has nothing to do with terrorism.

What impacts would such secretive mass surveillance have on democracy?

Read full article: Surveillance State: NSA Spying and more




World military spending in 2012 was just over $1.7 trillion. This was the first fall, albeit a small one, since 1998, despite economic conditions

Sun, 30 Jun 2013 21:26:00 GMT

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In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.7 trillion, despite the global economic conditions. It is still approximately 1% increase since 2008 when the financial crisis began, for example.

Not all nations have felt the impacts of the global financial crisis in the same way. Some have grown economically, including many Asian countries, which has allowed some of them to increase their military spending. There are geopolitical interests at stake for various powers, so economic troubles or not, military spending is seen as important to maintain, or at least to minimize possible reductions.

The highest military spender is the US accounting for 39% of the world’s spending, more than the next top 10 countries combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined. But this represents a slight decline over previous years as other nations, especially China and Russia, increase their spending. At the same time, the US has reduced military spending for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Western Europe’s austerity programs affect their military spending budgets.

This update includes new and updated figures, graphs and charts exploring this further.

Read full article: World Military Spending




Austerity and Structural Adjustment for Europe

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 23:22:00 GMT

(image) For a while now many European governments have resorted to austerity measures to deal with the recession and financial crises affecting them. This may have either been by choice, or pressured from the outside.

However, as has been warned countless times, excessive austerity rarely works. Furthermore, focusing on debts and deficits appears to miss the point that the economic problems were caused by a collapse in markets and banking sector in particular, resulting in less revenues for governments; not necessarily an excessive overspend by governments.

Some of the policies being forced through even when evidence appears to show they do not work lead many to think that austerity and structural adjustment policies are being ideologically pushed for — just as they were on most of the developing countries for almost 2 decades with devastating results.

Indeed, in the US, investigations have found billionaires pouring hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns to fix the debt making it appear as a grassroots movement. Fixing the debt of course happens to leave the elite less affected, so it works to their advantage to push for something like that.

Without more focus on appropriate economic growth, there is a real risk in going backwards, and even undermining democracy.

The global financial crisis page on this web site has been updated with new sections and videos on this issue.

Read full article: Global Financial Crisis




19% of reptiles under threat of extinction and 100 million sharks being killed each year

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 23:36:00 GMT

(image) 19% of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction according to a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zoological Society of London. Reptiles include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles and tortoises. But some species are at more risk than others. For example, freshwater turtles alone are at a 50% risk of extinction. Reasons vary, but include the usual suspects such as climate change and loss of habitat.

A recent study also estimated that some 100 million sharks are being killed each year — an unsustainable rate, given how long some species take to mature and reproduce. Much of the demand is driven by Chinese rising affluence and demand for shark fin soup in the mistaken belief it has various health benefits.

This small update to the biodiversity loss page has further details.

Read full article: Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions




Even a small increase in global temperature will have a severe impact on coral reefs

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 23:29:00 GMT

(image) A recent study found that coral reefs will face severe challenges even if average global warming temperature rise is restricted to 2 degrees Celsius. This is a rise that most countries are struggling to negotiate and meet. But reefs are very sensitive to temperature changes, experts fear the window of opportunity to prevent massive reef loss is very small.

Read full article: Nature and Animal Conservation




Rhino hunting on increase

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 23:49:00 GMT

(image) Despite conservation efforts, criminal elements are killing rhinos in record numbers due to demand from Asia, in particular Vietnam, China, Thailand and Malaysia, in the mistaken belief that rhino horn can help with things like hangovers or cure cancer. In 2009 it was feared that rhinos were being killed at 3 a month which was concerning enough given the low numbers of rhinos. In 2012, it had shot up to 2 a day in South Africa alone.

For lions, another iconic animal whose numbers are in decline, countries like Zambia and Botswana are banning hunting. Zambia for example has banned hunting on lions and leopards due to a big decline in their numbers, and because they believe tourism revenues by those who want to see these animals in the wild will bring in more revenue than blood sport tourism.

This small update to the conservation page has further details.

Read full article: Nature and Animal Conservation




The world is awash with money; trillions hidden offshore

Tue, 08 Jan 2013 03:59:00 GMT

(image) It seems the world is awash with money, even though most governments are facing economic pressures. Trillions are being hidden away by a very few global super elite in offshore bank accounts, avoiding billions in taxes such that constrained governments turn to austerity and other measures, inflicting more hardship on people who are typically already victims of the global financial crisis. Furthermore, it turns out that many of the banks we have all bailed out help with these offshore practices in various ways.

Tax avoidance by the super rich results in lost revenues in the order of hundreds of billions a year, which would (in theory at least) benefit most of society. But if you can afford an army of ingenious lawyers and accountants, it seems you can play by a different set of rules.

Recent high profile cases of companies and individuals avoiding taxes in recent years has resulted in governments claiming they will address this issue thoroughly. But that is as far as it seems to go.

This update includes additional figures and examples of recent tax avoidance issues that have come to light.

Read full article: Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy




Global arms sales sharply increased in 2011 compared to 2010

Sun, 06 Jan 2013 23:19:00 GMT

(image) The latest data covering global arms sales shows that sale of arms in 2011 increased to around $85 billion, 84% of which went to developing countries. This was almost double the arms sales compared to 2010 which was the lowest since 2004.

One major factor for the increase was the US sales of arms to Saudi Arabia. Most other major arms sellers otherwise saw a decrease in sales and the trend in recent years had been declining sales.

The global financial crisis has affected many countries, and many developing countries started to see a decrease in purchases in the last few years. However, just 10 developing countries account for some 85% of all sales to developing countries in the period 2004 to 2011, which the data covers. Saudi Arabia tops that list followed by India and the United Arab Emirates. (As well as concerns about some of the regimes in the top buyers, some of this spending is also said to be due to modernizing efforts.)

Updated graphs and charts on arms sales data are provided here.

The arms trade is big business. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy, account for approximately 85% of all arms sold between 2004 and 2011.

Some of the arms sold go to regimes where human rights violations will occur. Corruption often accompanies arms sales due to the large sums of money involved.

Read full article: The Arms Trade Is Big Business




COP18 - Doha Climate Conference

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 01:59:00 GMT

(image) An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 18), held in Doha, Qatar in December 2012.

Predictably and sadly, the same issues have resurfaced: lack of media coverage, West stalling on doing anything, lack of funding, disagreement on how to address it, etc.

This page is an overview of the Doha Climate conference. It also includes a feed of latest news stories from Inter Press Service’s coverage of the conference.

Read full article: COP18 - Doha Climate Conference




Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 00:49:00 GMT

(image) Twenty years ago at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, countries adopted Agenda 21 — a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection. Marking that anniversary, this year sees Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, with aims to get bold agreements to address things like poverty, sustainable development, decent jobs, etc.

This page provides coverage of recent events via Inter Press Service’s news feed.

Read full article: Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development




Syrian unrest

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 23:46:00 GMT

(image) Following the trend throughout the Middle East, the so-called Arab Spring appears to have spread to Syria. The government crackdown on anti-government demonstrators in Homs and other provincial cities began over a year ago and is thought to have claimed thousands of lives. Attempts at brokering ceasefires have predictably failed.

This page provides coverage of recent events via Inter Press Service’s news feed.

Read full article: Syria Unrest




World military spending exceeds $1.6 trillion, continuing high trend despite economic conditions

Sun, 06 May 2012 22:20:00 GMT

(image)

In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.6 trillion, despite the global economic conditions. It is still a 1.3% increase since 2008 when the financial crisis began, for example.

For some nations, they can increase their spending as they grow economically. For others, there are geopolitical interests at stake.

The highest military spender is the US accounting for 41% of the world’s spending, more than the next top 14 countries combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined. But this represents a slight decline over previous years as other nations, especially China, increases spending and the US begins to very slightly feel budgetary pressures on its military spending.

This update includes updated figures, graphs and charts exploring this further.

Read full article: World Military Spending




Foreign aid: first decline in years, though still close to highest levels ever, but still way below promised amounts

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 19:15:00 GMT

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) recently published new preliminary figures for aid in 2011.

It showed official development assistance (ODA) aid from wealthy governments had increased to $133.5 billion in 2011 (at constant 2010 prices). This is roughly 0.31% of GNI (Gross National Income) of the donor nations. But this was also a drop of nearly 3% from the previous year. It was to be expected that the effects of the financial crisis would eventually affect aid. In some respects, the decline is not as bad as it could have been given the conditions in many donor countries.

(image)

Yet, over 40 years ago nations promised to reach 0.7% of their GNI by the mid-1970s. While each year the amount of aid falls quite short of that 0.7% target (less than half of that target), the quality and effectiveness of that aid is often questionable, sometimes benefiting the donor more than the recipient due to the types of conditions attached to this aid.

This update includes a number of new and updated charts and graphs.

Read full article: Foreign Aid for Development Assistance




Foreign aid: shortfall since 1970 over $4 trillion; greater than aid given

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 19:14:00 GMT

40 years ago, rich country governments agreed to give 0.7% of their GNI (Gross National Income) as official aid to poor countries for development assistance.

The average aid delivered each year has actually been between 0.2 to 0.4%. The shortfall has therefore accumulated to $4.37 trillion dollars at 2010 prices, while total aid delivered in that same time frame has reached $3.19 trillion.

(image)

This update includes updated charts and graphs that look into this further.

Read full article: Official global foreign aid shortfall: $4 trillion




Climate change and carbon emissions trading

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 00:07:00 GMT

Flexibility mechanisms were defined in the Kyoto Protocol as different ways to achieve emissions reduction as part of the effort to address climate change issues. These fall into the following categories: Emissions Trading, Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism.

However, these have been highly controversial as they were mainly included on strong US insistence and to keep the US in the treaty (even though the US eventually pulled out). Some of the mechanisms face criticism for not actually leading to a reduction in emissions, for example.

The updates to this article includes a couple of videos summarizing some concerns about cap and trade.

(image)

Image ©: Centre for Science and Environment

Read full article: Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms




As climate change increases developing countries face brunt

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 01:42:00 GMT

(image) New data from NASA shows the planet continues to warm. At the same time, a Climate Risk Index shows that since 1991, developing countries have been most affected by climate related impacts. While Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol stating it did not want to burden taxpayers with an additional $14 bn (Canadian), many economists have noted that the economic costs of inaction far outweight costs associated with action.

The updates to this article include expansion of the above issues as well as new videos and graphs and charts.

Read full article: Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction




New video from NASA shows increasing global temperatures since 1880

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 02:37:00 GMT

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis. Their analysis shows temperatures around the globe in 2011 compared to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago.

Global temperatures have warmed significantly since 1880, the beginning of what scientists call the “modern record.” At this time, the coverage provided by weather stations allowed for essentially global temperature data. As greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, industry and vehicles have increased, temperatures have climbed, most notably since the late 1970s. In this animation of temperature data from 1880-2011, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.

Click on the image to see the video:

(image)

Read full article: Global Temperature Anomaly, 1880 - 2011




Media and advertising: manipulating photos of people; going too far?

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 23:09:00 GMT

(image) It has long been known that advertisers will “photoshop” (slang for editing photos to touch up or airbrush out imperfections) photos to make the subject more attractive. But many have pointed out that this subtle manipulation often goes too far. Young people, girls in particular, are bombarded with images of how they are supposed to look, contributing to many social and health problems as a result.

The American National Advertising Division (the US advertising industry’s self-regulating watchdog) for example, recently moved to ban the misleading use of photoshopping and enhanced post-production in cosmetics adverts as it could be too misleading. In the UK some adverts have been banned because the effects of airbrushing has resulted in very misleading cosmetic adverts. France has even considered legislation to explicitly identify retouched images.

Some will claim it is up to parents to teach their children how to recognize these things, but parents cannot often win against an army of professional psychologists, marketers and others all focused on pushing their own images onto children, when studies also say that children are not old enough tell the difference between commercial and other content.

This page has been updated to add a section about this issue with further links, videos and examples.

Read full article: Media and Advertising




Media in the US: lax campaign financing bad for democracy but good for media companies

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:48:00 GMT

(image) US campaign financing rules have been relaxed even further in recent years, making a worrying problem about the state of American democracy worse (because those with money have even more ability to try and buy votes or influence policy).

Media coverage of this issue, though it may pop up from time to time, seems quite limited. Perhaps because it is estimated that television stations this year could make as much as eight billion dollars from political campaigns.

The state of US mainstream media has unfortunately been lamentable for many years, and after the issues around hurricane Katrina, it was thought that the media would be rejuvenated. Unfortunately it does not seem that way.

This page has been updated with further information about campaign financing issues and how limits in the US have been lifted making the problem worse. Also added were notes on US press freedom, and an info graphic on media ownership concentration.

Read full article: Media in the United States




Climate change: historic emissions still matter

Sun, 08 Jan 2012 03:03:00 GMT

China, India and other emerging economies are often the focus points for climate change negotiations. Many rich nation politicians and their media often point to their rising emissions as proof that they urgently need to be bound to emission reduction targets in the same way rich nations are.

But what is often easily forgotten or omitted is that greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for a very long time. In other words, historic emissions matter.

Historical data show that the majority of greenhouse emissions have been by rich nations, known as "Annex I" countries in climate negotiation speak:

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Apart from China and India, the remainder of the top 10 historical greenhouse gas emitters have been from Annex I countries.

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This is why 2 decades ago the climate negotiations started by understanding there were "common but differentiated principles" and why "Annex I" countries were initially given target emissions while the rest were to be given space to grow given the urgent need for poverty alleviation and development.

Furthermore, climate negotiations frameworks have always said developing nations need to avoid a polluting path to industrialization, so they can’t just use historic emissions injustice as an excuse not to do anything. At the same time, the dirty path to development was also the cheap and easy path which developing countries need to avoid, so it was also agreed that the Annex I countries should help developing countries in various ways. Needless to say much of this has not really happened.

These and additional charts have been added based on updated data up to 2008 on historical carbon emissions plus estimated emissions for 2009 and 2010.

Read full article: Climate Justice and Equity




COP17 - Durban Climate Conference

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 03:35:00 GMT

(image) An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 17), held in Durban, South Africa in December 2011.

Predictably and sadly, the same issues have resurfaced: lack of media coverage, West stalling on doing anything trying to blame India and China instead, lack of funding, disagreement on how to address it, etc.

Geopolitical threats (real and imaginary) quickly focus a lot of political will and money is easily found to mobilize military forces when needed.

The economy also takes center stage as the current pressing issue, while climate change is easily deferred, in the hopes that the West can let China and India pick up the burden of addressing emissions even though they have not contributed to the historical build up of emissions that have started the recent changes in the climate.

This page is an overview of the Durban conference.

Read full article: COP17 - Durban Climate Conference




Iran nuclear report: Regurgitating old stories as new information to justify sanctions?

Tue, 06 Dec 2011 05:20:00 GMT

(image) A recent IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program was portrayed by most Western mainstream media and politicians as new proof Iran is close to building nuclear weapons. The US Senate passed sanctions on Iran targeting its central bank in response.

However, the report does not say what the mainstream media and politicians claim. It has been much more guarded and much of it is about the state of Iran’s program up to 2003. After that period, the report is much more uncertain. Furthermore, many experts contend that the speculations (not definitive proof) that are in the report are misguided, too, leaning on unreliable sources, for example.

This update to the page on Iran has more information about this. Although the page is long, look for the new section about half way down under the heading of Regurgitating old stories as new information to justify sanctions?

Read full article: Iran




Inequality in the US; the top 0.1% gaining even more than top 1%

Sat, 12 Nov 2011 03:06:00 GMT

(image) In the US the protest movement is symbolically against the top 1%. Income data from the US Congressional Budget Office, however, shows that it isn’t just the top 1% benefiting far more than the rest of American society, but the top 0.1% in particular.

High levels of inequality is generally believed to affect social cohesion. Some findings suggest that once nations are industrialized, more equal societies almost always do better in terms of health, well-being and social cohesion and that large income inequalities within societies destroys the social fabric and quality of life for everyone.

This update to the poverty page adds a section on inequality in the US, as well as adding some additional information about research showing globally some 147 multinational companies having core global influence and power.

Read full article: Poverty Around the World




Protests on the economic situation are global

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 03:50:00 GMT

(image) The global financial crisis has spawned a global protest movement campaigning against things like inequality, corporate greed, lack of jobs, etc. Although these protests have occurred for decades, they have typically been in the developing countries, or about the situation in developing countries. As such, many Western nations, who have strongly influenced the conditions in developing countries, have typically not paid much attention to such protests, no matter how large. However, this time, the global financial crisis has hit the ordinary citizens of Western nations quite hard, and inspired by the Arab Spring and protests in Spain, a global movement seems to have sprung up.

The global protests page had not been updated since the end of 2003, but has not included a brief overview of more recent protests such as the so-called Occupy Movement. The older content remains because it is interesting to note some of the parallels too, and it is perhaps important to note that these protests are unfortunately not new. Whether this time it can make a difference is too early to tell but a lot of people in wealthy countries this time are also participating.

Read full article: Public Protests Around the World




Global Arms Sales Decreases in 2010 compared to 2009

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 00:04:00 GMT

(image) The latest data covering global arms sales shows that sale of arms in 2010 decreased to around $40.4 billion, 76% of which went to developing countries. This was a substantial 38% decrease in arms sales compared to 2009, and the lowest since 2003.

The global financial crisis has affected many countries, and developing countries have started to see a decrease in purchases in the last couple of years. Although most arms are sold to developing countries, 10 countries account for some 60% of all sales in the period 2003 to 2010, which the data covers. Saudi Arabia tops that list followed by India and the United Arab Emirates. (As well as concerns about some of the regimes in the top buyers, some of this spending is also said to be due to modernizing efforts.)

Updated graphs and charts on arms sales data are provided here.

The arms trade is big business. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy, account for approximately 84% of the arms sold between 2003 and 2010.

Some of the arms sold go to regimes where human rights violations will occur. Corruption often accompanies arms sales due to the large sums of money involved.

Read full article: The Arms Trade Is Big Business




Today, around 21,000 Children Died Around The World

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 17:48:00 GMT

(image) (image)

Around 21,000 children die every day around the world.

That is equivalent to:

  • 1 child dying every 4 seconds
  • 14 children dying every minute
  • A 2011 Libya conflict-scale death toll every day
  • A 2010 Haiti earthquake occurring every 10 days
  • A 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring every 11 days
  • An Iraq-scale death toll every 19–46 days
  • Just under 7.6 million children dying every year
  • Some 92 million children dying between 2000 and 2010

The silent killers are poverty, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes.

Despite the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage.

This update includes updated numbers, charts and graphs. It shows that there is steady progress each year in reducing the number of children that die each year, but clearly the number is still high.

Read full article: Today, almost 21,000 children died around the world




War on Terror: 10 years on

Sat, 24 Sep 2011 14:53:00 GMT

(image) A quick look back over the decade since the 9-11 attacks finds that the neo-conservatives have achieved the opposite of what they set out to do: rather than winning a war on terror and expanding their power even further, they have over-stretched their own nation, militarily and economically. The Bush Administration preferred to concentrate on Iraq rather than Bin Laden and the trillions of dollars spent on this (directly and indirectly) has contributed to the recent economic problems the country now faces. All terribly costly given there were opportunities to get Bin Laden a lot earlier.

Media coverage and public attitudes have also shifted in the past decade, now almost reflecting partisan lines. Rights groups around the world have long voiced concerns that the war on terror is also an excuse for governments to wage a war on freedoms. Bin Laden may be dead but are the terrorists winning?

Read full article: War on Terror




Health and poverty; a vicious cycle

Thu, 22 Sep 2011 19:21:00 GMT

(image) The relationship between health and poverty is reasonably well known; one can exacerbate and contribute to the other in a vicious cycle.

This update, as well as including a few health stats updates, provides further information on noncommunicable diseases (which cause some two-thirds of all deaths each year) and more details on the relationship with poverty.

Read full article: Global Health Overview




Corruption

Sun, 04 Sep 2011 23:35:00 GMT

(image) Corruption is both a major cause and a result of poverty around the world. It occurs at all levels of society, from local and national governments, civil society, judiciary functions, large and small businesses, military and other services and so on.

Some countries are seeing increasing protests at large scale corruption. In India, a largely non-violent movement has sprung up, which has also inspired anti-corruption campaigners in Nepal. In Brazil, inspired by the way protesters in Spain have used social networks, technology has been used to increasingly campaign against corruption there.

The global financial crisis has made conditions worse in many places for many people. Increasing food prices and other policy decisions governments are pushing through is leading to many volatile conditions, and it may be that this is giving a much needed push for large-scale grassroots and civil society movements against debilitating corruption.

This update to the corruption section includes an overview of some of the protests mentioned above.

Read full article: Corruption




East Africa Food Crisis 2011

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 23:50:00 GMT

(image) Into mid-2011, the world’s worst food crisis is being felt in East Africa, in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

Despite successive failed rains, the crisis has been criticized as avoidable and man-made. This is because the situation had been predicted many months before by an international early warning system. Both the international community and governments in the region have been accused of doing very little in the lead up to this crisis. In addition, high food prices have forced food out of the reach of many people, while local conflicts exacerbate the situation.

As the international organization Oxfam describes: 12 million people are in dire need of food, clean water, and basic sanitation. Loss of life on a massive scale is a very real risk, and the crisis is set to worsen over the coming months, particularly for pastoralist communities.

This page also presents news coverage from Inter Press Service on this crisis.

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Climate change means ocean change

Sun, 12 Jun 2011 23:45:00 GMT

(image) When talking about the impacts of climate change, we mostly hear about changes to land and the planet’s surface or atmosphere. However, most of the warming is going into the oceans where a lot of ecosystem changes are also occurring.

This update includes a couple of info graphics and charts as well as a video from an ocean and climate scientist that explains this further.

Read full article: Climate Change Affects Biodiversity