What’s New November 2005

This page lists changes to this site for November 2005.

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Media coverage of natural disasters seems to vary a lot depending on the disaster. Is it selective? Why do some regions get more attention than others? Even when millions have died in a region from conflict and war, how is it (and not minimizing the loss of a single life) that a disaster that claims less in lives — sometimes in the same area, as in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo — will bring in media interest and coverage? 2005 has recently seen a number of disasters and relief efforts, from the Asian tsunami, to the severe hurricanes and storms in the Caribbean, the earthquake in South Asia (Pakistan and India), and drought in parts of Africa. How has the media covered these?

Iran has made many headlines recently regarding nuclear weapons but so too has India given its surprising siding with the US despite huge energy deals with Iran. However, given recent events such as Bush accepting India into the nuclear club, or India’s apparent subtle abandoning of global nuclear disarmament in preference to non-proliferation by others, is India’s stance really that much of a surprise? Also recently the US, for the moment, cancelled its so-called mini-nukes or deep bunker penetrating nuclear weapons program. Updates on these issues have been added to the nuclear weapons page.

A few years ago, headlines were made when a number of African countries attempted to reject genetically modified food given as aid from the US, and they faced a lot of pressure and criticism for doing so.

In the wake of hurricane Katrina, Britain has given some food aid to the US, which includes beef.

The US has long banned beef from Britain and other European countries on the grounds of safety amidst concerns about mad cow disease, and as a result, the US too has refused to use this food aid.

The US may face some criticism for this just as those African countries did. Yet, they all have a right to consider food safety in this way, even at times of emergency.

It is no doubt a difficult issue, but famines and emergencies have often been exploited for commercial opportunities in the past.

Also of concern however, is that the US State Department is considering passing this food, which it feels is unfit for its own citizens to consume, on to Guatemala after recent natural disasters there.

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