Today, around 21,000 children died around the world. This daily tragedy, from poverty and other preventable causes, rarely makes headline news.

Latest World News

World

  1. The Peasant Farmer Who Has Stood Up to the President of Nicaragua

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    MANAGUA, Feb 24 (IPS) - The unequal battle that small farmer Francisca Ramírez is waging against the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega has become so well-known that people are calling for her security and her rights from the political heart of Europe.

  2. Aid Arrives for Rohingya After Violence

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 24 (IPS) - A Malaysian aid convoy has arrived in Myanmar with supplies for ethnic Rakhine civilians and Rohingya Muslims.

    The Malaysian government sent hundreds of tons of food and other necessities including clothing and hygiene kits to Myanmar's Yangon region which were then delivered to Rakhine State's capital of Sittwe. Military ships also offloaded supplies in neighboring Bangladesh which has seen an influx of Rohingya refugees since violence was reignited in 2016.

  3. Huge Health Needs for World’s One Billion Migrants

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    ROME/COLOMBO, Feb 24 (IPS) - With an estimated 1 billion migrants today --or one in every seven people-- their health needs are huge. Nevertheless, health systems are struggling to adapt and consequently access to health services among migrant populations varies widely and is often inadequate.

  4. Antarctic Ice Lowest Ever - Asia at High Risk – Africa Drying Up

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    ROME, Feb 24 (IPS) - For those who still deny the tangible impact of climate change, please note that the extended spell of high global temperatures is continuing; the Arctic is witnessing exceptional warmth with record low ice volumes--the lowest on record; global heat is putting Asia on higher risk than ever, and Africa is drying up.

  5. Unresolved Brinks North-East Nigeria to Starvation

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 24 (IPS) - Years of violence and unrest in North-East Nigeria have left millions of people at risk of starving to death. Both the violent up surging of Boko Haram and the government's harsh military crackdown have left already historically marginalised communities with next to nothing.

  6. Merkel Under Pressure for Refugee Policy in Germany

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    MUNICH, Feb 23 (IPS) - Internationally, German chancellor Angela Merkel was praised for her humanitarian decision to open the countries' border to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq. But the decision has considerably reduced her support among Germans. Chances are real that Merkel could lose the chancellorship in the upcoming national elections.

  7. Five Key G20 Powers Break Promise to Help Tackle Corruption

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ROME/BERLIN, Feb 23 (IPS) - Five key G20 countries are failing to meet commitments to publish data that helps tackle corruption, warns a new report by international anti-corruption watchdogs.

  8. Netherlands to Host Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ROME, Feb 23 (IPS) - The Netherlands announced that it will work with Japan and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to establish a Global Centre of Excellence to help countries, institutions and businesses to adapt to a warming climate, which is increasing the frequency of natural disasters and causing economic disruptions.

  9. UN Declares War on Ocean Plastic

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ROME, Feb 23 (IPS) - The available data is enough for the United Nations to literally declare war on oceans plastic: more than 8 million tonnes of leaks into their waters each year – equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least 8 billion dollars in damage to marine ecosystems.

  10. Humankind’s Ability to Feed Itself, Now in Jeopardy

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    ROME, Feb 22 (IPS) - Mankind's future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate, warns a new United Nations' report.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Humankind’s Ability to Feed Itself, Now in Jeopardy

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    ROME, Feb 22 (IPS) - Mankind's future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate, warns a new United Nations' report.

  2. Tax Evasion Lessons From Panama

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    KUALA LAMPUR, Feb 21 (IPS) - Unlike Wikileaks and other exposes, the Panama revelations were carefully managed, if not edited, quite selective, and hence targeted, at least initially. Most observers attribute this to the political agendas of its main sponsors. Nevertheless, the revelations have highlighted some problems associated with illicit financial flows, as well as tax evasion and avoidance, including the role of enabling governments, legislation, legal and accounting firms as well as shell companies.

  3. Alternative Mining Indaba Makes Its Voice Heard

    Saturday, February 18, 2017

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Feb 18 (IPS) - "Comrades, we have arrived. This cherry is eight years awaited. We have made it to this place," Bishop Jo Seoka told the crowd, pausing to allow for the whistles and cheers.

  4. Expansion of Renewable Energies in Mexico Has Victims

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    KIMBILÁ, Mexico, Feb 17 (IPS) - The growing number of wind and solar power projects in the southern Mexican state of Yucatán are part of a positive change in Mexico's energy mix. But affected communities do not see it in the same way, due to the fact that they are not informed or consulted, and because of how the phenomenon changes their lives.

  5. The Planned US Border Tax Would Most Likely Violate WTO Rules - Part 2

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    PENANG, Feb 17 (IPS) - As American lawmakers and the Trump administration prepare the ground for introducing a border adjustment tax, many controversial issues have emerged, including whether they go against the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

  6. Still in Limbo, Somaliland Banking on Berbera

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    HARGEISA, Somaliland, Feb 17 (IPS) - Crossing African borders by land can be an intimidating process (it's proving an increasingly intimidating process nowadays in Europe and the US also, even in airports). But crossing from Ethiopia to Somaliland at the ramshackle border town of Togo-Wuchale is a surreally pleasant experience.

  7. Beware of the New US Protectionist Plan, the Border Adjustment Tax

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    PENANG, Feb 17 (IPS) - A new and deadly form of protectionism is being considered by Congress leaders and the President of the United States that could have devastating effect on the exports and investments of American trading partners, especially the developing countries.

  8. Washington Rules Change, Again

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    KUALA LAMPUR, Feb 16 (IPS) - Over the last four decades, the Washington Consensus, promoting economic liberalization, globalization and privatization, reversed four decades of an earlier period of active state intervention to accelerate and stabilize more inclusive economic growth, associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Maynard Keynes.

  9. Energy Access Builds Inclusive Economies and Resilient Communities

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    NEW DELHI, Feb 16 (IPS) - Jaipal Hembrum runs three one-man home enterprises - a bicycle repair shop, a tiny food stall and a tailoring unit in Kautuka, a remote village in eastern India. Sewing recycled clothes into mattresses late into the evening, the 38-year-old father of three girls says two light bulbs fed by a solar power system have changed his life.

  10. Corruption Brings Down an Empire: Odebrecht in Brazil

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 16 (IPS) - People in Brazil have been overwhelmed by the flood of news stories about the huge web of corruption woven by the country's biggest construction company, Odebrecht, which is active in dozens of fields and countries.

    The business empire built by three generations of the Odebrecht family is falling apart after three years of investigation by the Lava Jato (car wash) operation launched by the Federal Public Prosecutor's office in Brazil, which is investigating the corruption that diverted millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for major public works contracts from the state-run oil giant Petrobras.

    Marcelo Odebrecht, who headed the company from 2008 to 2015, was arrested in June 2015 and was initially sentenced to 19 years in prison.

    In October he and the company reached plea bargain deals to cooperate with the investigation. A total of 77 former and present Odebrecht executives provided over 900 sworn statements to Lava Jato prosecutors, causing a political earthquake in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

    In December, the U.S. Justice Department revealed that Odebrecht allegedly spent 1.04 billion dollars in bribes to politicians and government officials in ten Latin American and two African countries, including Brazil, which accounted for 57.7 per cent of the total.

    The United States is carrying out its own investigation, which could end in criminal convictions, since several Odebrecht subsidiaries, such as the petrochemical company Braskem, operate there, and their shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

    That is also happening in the case of Petrobras, implicated in the corruption scandal and under investigation at the initiative of shareholders in the U.S.

    The U.S. and Switzerland, where banks were allegedly used to funnel bribes or launder money, signed cooperation agreements with legal authorities in Brazil, as part of the ongoing offensive against corruption in Latin America's giant.

    The impacts are overwhelming. In Brazil, the revelations about Odebrecht are expected to provoke a tsunami in the political system. Two hundred parliamentarians and government officials may have received bribes, including senior members of the current administration and legislature.

    The business group had created a specialised bribe department. According to U.S. justice authorities, every dollar "invested" in bribes produced 12 dollars in contracts.

    That estimate is based on more than 100 projects carried out or in progress in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, plus Angola and Mozambique in Africa.

    Part of the Caracas valley seen from the San Agustín Metrocable, one of the many works assigned to Odebrecht in Venezuela during the government of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), when the Brazilian company became the biggest construction firm in the country. Credit: Raúl Límaco/IPS Part of the Caracas valley seen from the San Agustín Metrocable, one of the many works assigned to Odebrecht in Venezuela during the government of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), when the Brazilian company became the biggest construction firm in the country. Credit: Raúl Límaco/IPS

    The arrest warrant issued by a court in Peru against former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), who has been living in the United States, and allegations implicating current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, are just the tip of the iceberg.

    What was revealed by Odebrecht executives and former executives, as well as former directors of different departments, such as external affairs, infrastructure, industrial engineering or logistics, has not yet been made public.

    New figures involving alleged bribes are expected to come out over the next few months, added to those already disclosed in the United States, including 599 million dollars distributed in Brazil, 98 million in Venezuela, 92 million in the Dominican Republic, 59 million in Panama and 50 million in Angola.

    In Peru the total revealed so far is "only" 29 million dollars since 2005. The sum is small, considering that for the Southern Peru pipeline - still under construction – alone, the projected investments amount to seven billion dollars. The Peruvian government has decided to terminate the contract with Odebrecht for the project.

    Besides Odebrecht, the Inter-Oceanic Highway, which runs across southern Peru from the Brazilian border to Pacific Ocean ports, is being built by three other Brazilian construction firms - Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez and Queiroz Galvão – which are also under investigation for suspicion of corruption.

    During the presidency of Alan Garcia (2006-2011), Peru and Brazil signed an agreement for the construction of five large hydropower plants in Peru, which was cancelled by his successor, Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), who, however, is suspected of receiving three million dollars from Brazil for his election campaign.

    Odebrecht, which has a concession to manage Chaglla, the third biggest hydroelectric plant in Peru, with a capacity of 462 MW, was to be the main construction company in charge of building the new plants.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. The Peasant Farmer Who Has Stood Up to the President of Nicaragua

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    MANAGUA, Feb 24 (IPS) - The unequal battle that small farmer Francisca Ramírez is waging against the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega has become so well-known that people are calling for her security and her rights from the political heart of Europe.

  2. Antarctic Ice Lowest Ever - Asia at High Risk – Africa Drying Up

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    ROME, Feb 24 (IPS) - For those who still deny the tangible impact of climate change, please note that the extended spell of high global temperatures is continuing; the Arctic is witnessing exceptional warmth with record low ice volumes--the lowest on record; global heat is putting Asia on higher risk than ever, and Africa is drying up.

  3. Netherlands to Host Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ROME, Feb 23 (IPS) - The Netherlands announced that it will work with Japan and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to establish a Global Centre of Excellence to help countries, institutions and businesses to adapt to a warming climate, which is increasing the frequency of natural disasters and causing economic disruptions.

  4. UN Declares War on Ocean Plastic

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ROME, Feb 23 (IPS) - The available data is enough for the United Nations to literally declare war on oceans plastic: more than 8 million tonnes of leaks into their waters each year – equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least 8 billion dollars in damage to marine ecosystems.

  5. Humankind’s Ability to Feed Itself, Now in Jeopardy

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    ROME, Feb 22 (IPS) - Mankind's future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate, warns a new United Nations' report.

  6. Shrinking and Darkening, the Plight of Kashmir's Dying Lakes

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    SRINAGAR, Feb 22 (IPS) - Mudasir Ahmad says that two decades ago, his father made a prophecy that the lake would vanish after the fish in its waters started dying. Three years ago, he found dead fish floating on the surface, making him worried about its fate.

  7. Making the Deep Blue Sea Green Again

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 20 (IPS) - Kids growing up in the Seychelles think of the ocean as their backyard, says Ronald Jean Jumeau, the Seychelles ambassador to the UN.

  8. Alternative Mining Indaba Makes Its Voice Heard

    Saturday, February 18, 2017

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Feb 18 (IPS) - "Comrades, we have arrived. This cherry is eight years awaited. We have made it to this place," Bishop Jo Seoka told the crowd, pausing to allow for the whistles and cheers.

  9. Expansion of Renewable Energies in Mexico Has Victims

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    KIMBILÁ, Mexico, Feb 17 (IPS) - The growing number of wind and solar power projects in the southern Mexican state of Yucatán are part of a positive change in Mexico's energy mix. But affected communities do not see it in the same way, due to the fact that they are not informed or consulted, and because of how the phenomenon changes their lives.

  10. Improved Cookstoves Boost Health and Forest Cover in the Himalayas

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    DARJEELING, India, Feb 17 (IPS) - Mountain communities in the Himalayan region are almost entirely dependent on forests for firewood even though this practice has been identified as one of the most significant causes of forest decline and a major source of indoor air pollution.

  11. More stories…

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Issues In depth

Latest

Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction

Posted Monday, February 02, 2015.

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.

Read “Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction

Last updated Sunday, February 01, 2015.

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing.

Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section looks at what causes climate change, what the impacts are and where scientific consensus currently is.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction” to learn more.

COP20—Lima Climate Conference

Posted Saturday, January 24, 2015.

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 “COP20—Lima Climate Conference” to learn more.

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Posted Saturday, September 27, 2014.

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.

Read “Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Nature and Animal Conservation

Last updated Sunday, January 19, 2014.

Preserving species and their habitats is important for ecosystems to self-sustain themselves.

Yet, the pressures to destroy habitat for logging, illegal hunting, and other challenges are making conservation a struggle.

Read “Nature and Animal Conservation” to learn more.

More updates

Most Popular

Poverty Facts and Stats

Last updated Monday, January 07, 2013.

Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.

The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.

By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering.

Some facts and figures on poverty presented in this page are eye-openers, to say the least.

Read “Poverty Facts and Stats” to learn more.

Global Financial Crisis

Last updated Sunday, March 24, 2013.

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Causes of Poverty

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Read “Causes of Poverty” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Last updated Monday, February 02, 2015.

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Environmental Issues

Last updated Monday, February 02, 2015.

Environmental issues are also a major global issue. Humans depend on a sustainable and healthy environment, and yet we have damaged the environment in numerous ways. This section introduces other issues including biodiversity, climate change, animal and nature conservation, population, genetically modified food, sustainable development, and more.

Read “Environmental Issues” to learn more.

Racism

Last updated Sunday, August 08, 2010.

Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others. Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. This article explores racism from around the world.

Read “Racism” to learn more.

More articles

Topical

Global Financial Crisis

Last updated Sunday, March 24, 2013.

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Last updated Monday, February 02, 2015.

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Food and Agriculture Issues

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Food and agriculture goes to the heart of our civilizations. Religions, cultures and even modern civilization have food and agriculture at their core. For an issue that goes to the heart of humanity it also has its ugly side.

This issue explores topics ranging from the global food crisis of 2008, to issues of food aid, world hunger, food dumping and wasteful agriculture such as growing tobacco, sugar, beef, and more.

Read “Food and Agriculture Issues” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy

Last updated Monday, January 07, 2013.

Through tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies — both legal and illegal — billions of dollars of tax are avoided. The much-needed money would helped developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations.

Some tax avoidance, regardless of how morally objectionable it may be to some people, is perfectly legal, and the global super elite are able to hide away trillions of dollars, resulting in massive losses of tax revenues for cash-strapped governments who then burden ordinary citizens further with austerity measures during economic crisis, for example. Yet these super elite are often very influential in politics and business. In effect, they are able to undermine democracy and capitalism at the same time.

As the global financial crisis has affected many countries, tackling tax avoidance would help target those more likely to have contributed to the problem while avoid many unnecessary austerity measures that hit the poorest so hard. But despite rhetoric stating otherwise, it does not seem to high on the agenda of many governments as you might think.

Read “Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy” to learn more.

World Military Spending

Last updated Sunday, June 30, 2013.

World military spending had reduced since the Cold War ended, but a few nations such as the US retain high level spending.

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. 2012 saw the first dip in spending — only slightly —since 1998, in an otherwise rising trend.

After a decline following the end of the Cold War, recent years have seen military spending increase

The highest military spender is the US accounting for almost two-fifths of the world’s spending, more than the rest of the G7 (most economically advanced countries) combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined.

Read “World Military Spending” to learn more.

More issues

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” — Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom