What’s New May 2005

This page lists changes to this site for May 2005.

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In the United Kingdom, some astonishing 30-40% of all food is never eaten, while in the US, some 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten. UK alone sees some £20 billion ($38 billion US dollars) worth of food thrown away each year. Furthermore, the additional rotting food creates more of the potent greenhouse gas, methane. Small update added to reflect these statistics in the context of world hunger.

Data for 2004 shows that Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) aid slightly increased compared to the previous year. The US also moved off the bottom when comparing rich nations by their contribution in proportion to their Gross National Income (GNI). They have been in that position for years. However, they only came second to last. Paradoxically, given the massive size of the US economy, it again ranked top when looked at the whole dollar amount of its aid contribution. It has to be added though that it is not just the US that falls below its international commitments (of 0.7% GNI); year after year, almost all rich countries have failed to deliver this promised 0.7% target. However, aid numbers and rankings are one thing, but even when aid has increased, it has not always helped the recipient. Charts and graphs have been updated. An attempt has been made to make some of the charts a bit more accessible too.

Recent scandals such as revelations about fake news, fake journalists, planted government propaganda, forgeries, why and how the mainstream reported on non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and more have rocked the mainstream media in the US lately. Yet, some of these issues, as well as deeper, systemic problems have been around for a while. At the same time, the White House is attempting to by-pass or even more tightly manage the media. Added and updated a number of sections on these issues.

One of the very few policy issues debated by most of the main parties for the British election has been immigration. Yet, as in past years, it seems fear is being used to inflate concerns. For example, in 2003, 272,000 people came to the UK from across the world and were given a national insurance number. Just 8% went on to claim benefits. Despite this, a large number seem to believe that immigrants put a strain on public services. British media coverage has not usually helped. Some additional information and examples of such views have been added.

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