What’s New October 1999

This page lists recent changes made to this site. The "Go There" links will take you to the changes. If this jumps to the middle of a page, you can easily scroll up to understand the context of the new information a bit further.

Date of Update

Description


October 31, 1999


  1. An additional source of information about the situation in Kosovo and Serbia has been added. This one is from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting that has continuous updates. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Geopolitics / Kosovo


  2. An additional source of information about the complex situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been added. This one is an article called Carve-up in the Congo which provides a detailed account of the various groups and their political interests that have fueled the terrible conflicts there. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Trade Related Issues


  3. Some more sources of information about landmines have been added. These are additional resources from the Center for Defense Information. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade


  4. In modern conflicts over 80 percent of all casualties have been civilian and 90 percent of these are caused by small arms. In some regions, a significant step towards peace and stability can be taken if the flow of small arms is stopped. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade


  5. An additional source of information regarding the coming WTO Ministerial meeting in Seattle has been added. This millennium round is expected to be accompanied by a lot of public protest at the way global trading practices are going to be negotiated. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty


  6. "Ninety-five percent of people with HIV in the world live in developing countries, which also see almost all of deaths from AIDS. But they have the poorest access to drugs that are developed in the industrialised world." This is feared to cause trade disputes because industrialized nations are pushing patent rights which would prevent developing nations from legally making HIV and AIDS medicine more affordable. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty


  7. While there has been a lot of recent public debate concerning genetically engineered or modified foods, there is still a lot to do. One of the important issues is at least labeling such foods so that people can decide if they want to consume it or not. However, it turns out that many leaders and corporations are against such a precaution. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Genetically Engineered Food / Trade Issues / Environment Issues



October 25, 1999


  1. The Indonesian legislature has ratified the East Timorese independence vote. This in essence means that East Timor is officially an independent state. However, that is not the end and much needs to be done regarding the safety of refugees, the prosecution of rights violators and the end to military support of the anti-independence militia. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade / Kosovo


  2. More has emerged about the US training the Indonesian military. The Indonesian forces planned and supported the violent anti-independence militia in East Timor. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade / Kosovo


  3. In time we hope to see a better standard in human rights. However, in many nations that seems not to be the case and often the abuses have grown... Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights Issues / Geopolitics


  4. Partial or biased media coverage leads to reduced public participation in decision-making and less informed citizens. Most people get their view of the world from mainstream media. It is, therefore, important that mainstream media be objective and present accurate representations of what goes on around the world. Citizens need that to make informed decisions. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights Issues / Geopolitics


  5. The Banana Trade War seems to be a dispute between the US and the EU. However, it affects the livelihood of many people in over 70 ACP nations. These African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union are being told by the World Trade Organization to abandon their preferential trade agreement and instead adhere to the free trade principles of the WTO. However, the ACP nations do not feel economically stable to enter free trade at a global level and hence many people believe that doing so will have a very negative impact on the people of these countries who rely a lot on the preferential trade agreement they currently have with the EU. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Trade Issues / Causes of Poverty


  6. Public reaction to genetically engineered food has been very vocal. However, it has not been easy for the general public to be involved in the debate from the beginning. A review based on years of research also suggests that the public are generally more aware of the issue and should be more involved in the decision-making processes regarding food and biotechnology. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Genetically Engineered Food / Trade Issues / Environment Issues



October 17, 1999


  1. The destruction in Dili and other parts of East Timor is devastating. A look into the role of the UN suggests that the Security Council could have been more decisive in East Timor. The fact that the Indonesian crackdown was planned in advance has escaped the mainstream reports too. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade / Kosovo


  2. Declassified documents reveal the extent of US involvement in the 1973 coup that helped Augusto Pinochet come to power. While censored, they do mention what has been known for a while, that the US helped in destabilizing the previous government and were also involved in some of the human rights violations, directly, or indirectly. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights Issues / Geopolitics


  3. It has turned out that the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was deliberate.. During the Kosovo crisis, there was consistent denial by NATO officials that this was on purpose and instead was due to out-dated maps and just a genuine, unfortunate mistake. This also raises questions about Chinese involvement as it turns out that the reason NATO did bomb the embassy was because the Chinese embassy was rebroadcasting Serb signals. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Kosovo Crisis / Geopolitics


  4. The EU may be considering a separate military body to rival NATO. During the Kosovo crisis, they were overwhelmingly dominated by the US. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Kosovo Crisis / Geopolitics


  5. By not ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, is the US effectively stepping down from the leading role of nuclear disarmament? The argument from the US senate to not ratify this treaty was because of security concerns. That is ironic given that many other nations will feel their national security threatened by this decision and hence may feel the need to procure larger weapons for their security. a nasty Catch 22? Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Geopolitics / Human Rights


  6. The EU Code of Conduct has been a good step forward for providing accountability in the Arms Trade. However, there are some concerns too. For example, some groups are concerned that enough information will not be in the annual reports to actually determine how well the Code has actually worked in practice. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Geopolitics / Human Rigths


  7. An additional source of information regarding the coming WTO Ministerial meeting in Seattle has been added.. This millennium round is expected to be accompanied by a lot of public protest. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty


  8. A link to more information about animal and nature conservation has been added. This one is called Endangered Species for the next Millennium. It is very informative and elegant looking too. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Biodiversity / Environment Issues


October 10, 1999


  1. Since landing in East Timor just over two weeks ago, Australian forces had only secured Dili, the capital. This slow reaction, according to John Pilger was probably due to business interests in Indonesia. Additional updates have been added, including an article about the unaccounted 300,000 refugees and additional information regarding Indonesian involvement. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade / Kosovo


  2. Kosovo autonomy vs independence is still an on-going issue. Rebuilding is proving to be a huge problem. In some ways, the huge influx of aid is helping. However, the question of the future of the KLA, the functioning of the region and the continual human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Kosovo are still large problems. and winter draws closer. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Crisis in Kosovo


  3. There is an epidemic of small arms around the world -- about half a billion such weapons are believed to be in circulation around the world. The United Nations Security Council finally discussed this, which is a positive step forward. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Geopolitics / Arms Trade


  4. A British judge has authorized the extradition of Augusto Pinochet, former Chilean dictator, to Spain to stand trial on charges of human rights abuses such as torture. There has been a number of rulings swaying each way, but this seems to be the final one, pending the appeal. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights Issues / Geopolitics


  5. Numerous shocking figures and statistics on the effects of poverty are provided. Not exactly the progress we hear about all the time. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Causes of Poverty / Fair Trade


  6. According to a Christian Aid report, industialized nations should be owing over 600 billion dollars to the developing nations -- three times as much as the conventional debt that developing countries owe the developed ones.. Remember the Kyoto Conference On Climate Change? Washington complained about the unfairness because developing nations did not have to reduce emissions like the developing nations were to do. Well, the report makes the point that many developing countries have also been trying to make, that the environmental consequences of the policies of industrialized nations have had a large, detrimental and costly effect on developing countries -- especially the poor in those countries, that are already burdened with debt. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Effects of Debt / Causes of Poverty


  7. Monsanto says they will not market terminator seed -- for now. This is another great victory for farmers, developing nations and activists. However, Monsanto have not said that they would not pursue this technology in the future and some even go so far as saying that this is just a public relations stunt just to wait until the attention dies down. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Genetically Engineered Food / Monsanto / Public Reaction to GE Food


  8. Nature conservation has a lot of obstacles. Political influence and also ignoring various aspects of conservation in large international trade treaties can have an effect. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty / Biodiversity


October 3, 1999


  1. A lot of updates regarding East Timor have been added. Noam Chomsky makes an interesting point about the notion of sovereignty as it applied to Kosovo and to East Timor action and how hypocritical it has been -- in the space of a few months (see the comparison with Kosovo section for more on that.) The World Bank and IMF offer help, but that is met cautiously. Another piece from Noam Chomsky criticized US policies and the lack of food drops from the mightiest air force on the planet. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights / Geopolitics / Arms Trade / Kosovo

  2. Oxfam points out that the structural adjustment policies of the IMF effectively deny children basic education in many countries. IMF and World Bank policies come with a lot of conditions including the cut back and privatization of national resources and services. Some countries end up paying more in debt servicing than in providing health and education services. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty

  3. The IMF have attempted to provide "deeper, broader and faster debt relief" with their enhanced HIPC debt initiative. Unfortunately though the same old problems of forcing poor countries' economic policies to be dictated by the IMF remains unchanged. However, the US has offered to cancel all debt owed to it, which is a great step forward. Congress will need to make the funds available for this to happen, but it puts additional pressure on other governments. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty

  4. The derailing of the MAI by hundreds of thousands of activists world-wide was a major achievement. However that is not the end of it.. There are numerous other trade treaties that are similar in nature to the MAI, and the coming WTO summit in Seattle, November 1999 will bring these issues to the fore once again. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty

  5. According to Jubilee 2000, it is no coincidence that the AIDS crisis has exploded most dramatically in highly indebted countries.. Debt and corporate interests are making it more difficult than it needs to be to help fight against HIV and AIDS. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty / Structural Adjustment / Effects of Debt

  6. Given Australian reversal of policy towards Indonesia, activists are urging similar things towards the Burmese regime.. For decades, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has been under military rule, supported by nations such as USA, UK and Australia with the excuse of the Soviet threat. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): East Timor Crisis / Trade Related Issues

  7. Food scarcity is not the result of so-called over-population. It is affected by population growth but the root problem is political. While there are causes for concern due to growing populations, it should be noted that food production has consistently surpassed the population growth (although future projections to show it is decreasing). Food is unavailable for many people because they cannot afford to buy food not because it cannot be grown. This is largely due to international economic policies and the interests of various nations in such trading practices. Population density is highest in Europe, which suggests that population in itself is not a problem. However, to say therefore population growth is not a problem at all may be incorrect too, because economic policies that have caused huge poverty are not going to vanish overnight. That means areas which cannot sustain large populations relative to the surrounding ecosystem capacity to support it can and is causing other problems. Go There!
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty / Environmental Issues

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