What’s New May 2004

This page lists changes to this site for May 2004.

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Updated graphs and charts for 2003 data have been provided. The U.S. once again is the highest donor in dollar terms, but the lowest in terms of its percentage of Gross National Income. Rich countries had promised to give 0.7% of GNI each year in aid, but most fail to do so. Furthermore, when aid is given it usually ends up benefitting the donor not necessarily the recipient.

The legacy of colonialism on Africa is immense. From manufactured borders, entirely restructured cultures, trade and economic arrangements, to revisionist history, some of Africa's problems today can be traced back to that era. This section has been slightly updated with more information about this aspect.

Some additional statistics have been added reflecting global priority in spending. While for 1998, the items on the list reveal a lot regarding our priorities. Military spending (just under $800 billion) and drugs ($400 billion) top the list, followed by alcohol ($105 billion) and cigarettes ($50 billion), both in Europe alone. Things like world spending on education ($6 billion) and health ($13 billion), in comparison, are far lower down the list.

Media attempts at balance on the issue of global warming has led to false balancing whereby disproportionate time is given to more fringe scientists or those with less credibility or with additional agendas, without noting so. This gives the impression that there is more debate in the scientific community about whether or not climate change is an issue to be concerned about or not when in general the scientific community agrees it is an issue.

Al Jazeera and others receive criticism for reporting in a way that is unfavorable to the occupation forces, while the U.S. government is trying to manage the information and imagery. In addition, the Pentagon ban on coverage of dead American servicemen was briefly relaxed. The Iraq media section has been briefly updated describing these issues.

Updates added on the conflicting role of the U.N. and U.S; controversy about how much power will be transitioned to Iraq; about the controversial Chalabi as the U.S.'s preferred person to be part of Iraqi leadership; and a bit about the recent violence in Falluja.

More updates on neo-conservative agenda regarding long-term U.S. bases in Iraq and why Iraq when there are other larger threats.

Human rights groups both inside of Haiti and from outside had used selective human rights reports to paint a more negative picture of the ousted president Aristide. In addition, claims about M-16s from the U.S. to Haitian rebels via the Dominican Republic appear to be false. However, a fact finding commission concluded that there sill was U.S. and Dominican Republic training and arming of Haitian rebels to overthrow the democratically elected government in Haiti.

Media ownership concentration is increasing, with fewer and fewer companies at the top. Big media raises the concern of narrower view points, increasing influence and power of fewer entities, and most fundamentally, limiting democracy as the diversity of information (crucial to a functioning democratic system) reduces further. The media ownership page has been updated slightly.

These look at the rise in violence, the impact of the war on Iraq, and the impact on our liberties

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