What’s New October 2010

This page lists changes to this site for October 2010.

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Pineapples are nutritious and popular. But the cheap fruit comes at a high cost. Health and environmental degradation has affected both workers and local communities. Price cuts in European supermarkets has led to wage cuts for workers already earning very little.

This new article looks at some of these issues further, including a video documentary from Consumers International the followed pineapple production in Costa Rica, a major exporter.

The latest data covering global arms sales shows that sale of arms in 2009 decreased to around $57.5 billion, over 78% of which went to developing countries. This was down from a total of just under $63 billion the year before and was the lowest since 2005.

The global financial crisis has affected many countries, and unlike the previous year, developing countries also saw a decrease in purchases as well as industrialized nations. Although most arms are sold to developing countries, 10 countries account for almost 60% of all sales in the period 2002 to 2009, which the data covers. Saudi Arabia tops that list followed by India and the United Arab Emirates. (As well as concerns about some of the regimes in the top buyers, some of this spending is also said to be due to modernizing efforts.)

Updated graphs and charts on arms sales data are provided here.

The arms trade is big business. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy, account for approximately 85% of the arms sold between 2002 and 2009.

Some of the arms sold go to regimes where human rights violations will occur. Corruption often accompanies arms sales due to the large sums of money involved.

The US government has handed some of the largest fines to pharmaceutical companies pursuing fraudulent practices such as selling drugs for unapproved uses and giving kickbacks to doctors for this.

Despite the enormous fines (some in the hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars), they seem to have had little effect on reversing such practices due to the even more enormous profits that drug companies make.

So the US government is considering various other mechanisms to try and tackle this problem. This update includes a video documentary and summary of these issues (scroll towards the end of the increasingly lengthy page to read more).

Over 22,000 children die every day around the world. That is equivalent to:

  • 1 child dying every 4 seconds
  • 15 children dying every minute
  • A 2010 Haiti earthquake occurring almost every 10 days
  • A 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring almost every 10 days
  • An Iraq-scale death toll every 18–43 days
  • Just under 8.1 million children dying every year
  • Some 88 million children dying between 2000 and 2009

The silent killers are poverty, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes.

Despite the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage. This update includes updated numbers, charts and graphs.

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