Today, around 21,000 children died around the world. This daily tragedy, from poverty and other preventable causes, rarely makes headline news.

Latest World News

World

  1. Not all 74 million Trump Voters Can be Racists

    BERLIN, Nov 25 (IPS) - Nikolaos Gavalakis heads the editorial office of the Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft IPG-Journal. Previously, he was head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's regional office 'Dialogue Eastern Europe' in Kiev.   Trumpism isn’t just going away after the US elections. And we finally need to understand whyDonald Trump will have to leave the White House in January. Although there will be a few skirmishes in the US courts in the coming weeks to sort out whether some votes were legitimate or not, the outcome won’t change.

  2. Online Attacks On Female Journalists Are Increasingly Spilling Into the 'Real World' New Research

    Nov 25 (IPS) - The insidious problem of online violence against women journalists is increasingly spilling offline with potentially deadly consequences, a new global survey suggests.

  3. Food as Prevention Rising to Nutritional Challenges

    NAPLES, Italy, Nov 25 (IPS) - The risks factors contributing to the dramatic rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in recent decades have been known for a long time but the Covid-19 pandemic has brutally exposed our collective failure to deal with them.

  4. Does WFP Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Nov 24 (IPS) - If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when? That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow go and learn. - Hillel the Elder, active during the first century BCE.

    On 10 December, representatives for the World Food Programme (WFP) will in Norway receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the Oslo City Hall. This is taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing lock-downs and suffering all over world, limiting agricultural production and disrupting supply chains.

  5. How UN Helped Benin Become Worlds Fastest Place to Start a Business via a Mobile Phone

    GENEVA, Nov 24 (IPS) - Until recently, Benin was best known for its cotton exports and its vibrant clothing designs. Since this year it is also the fastest place in the world to start a company. By providing a full online service, the government helped entrepreneurs create businesses and jobs during the pandemic. A third of Benin's new entrepreneurs are women.

  6. World Bank Urges Governments to Guarantee Private Profits

    KUALA LUMPUR and SYDNEY, Nov 24 (IPS) - The World Bank has been leading other multilateral development banks (MDBs) and international financial institutions to press developing country governments to de-risk infrastructure and other private, especially foreign investments.

  7. Green Recovery in Mexico A Citizens Plea

    NEW YORK, Nov 23 (IPS) - The alarms warning against climate inaction have sounded for years. Almost a year into the hardest pandemic and maybe the worst economic recession my generation has seen, expert voices everywhere are claiming this to be the golden opportunity to do something to right our course and even find a silver lining in this unfortunate situation, by funding the economic recovery of COVID-19 with a green stimulus package.

  8. US Presidential Election Part II: A Campaign of Insults and Lies

    OXFORD, Nov 23 (IPS) - The 2020 election has revealed a deeply divided nation, perhaps at its most divided since the Civil War. Many Americans are still uncertain about how the transition to the new administration will be achieved with a minimum of disruption and perhaps even violence. However, the split between pro and anti-Trump voters is not based on two sets of facts, but on facts and alternative facts or falsehoods. 

  9. From Political Prisoner to Champion of Human Rights - The Wai Wai Nu Story

    NEW DELHI, India, Nov 23 (IPS) - Instead of being cowed by her seven-year imprisonment, Wai Wai Nu, emerged stronger and more determined to fight for the rights of all people, including the Rohingya in her native Myanmar.

  10. Could the Finance Sector Hold the Key to Ending Deforestation?

    OXFORD, UK, Nov 23 (IPS) - At the beginning of 2020, there were hopes that this would be a 'super year for nature'. It has not turned out that way. Tropical forests, so crucial for biodiversity, the climate and the indigenous communities who live in them, have continued to be destroyed at alarming rates. In fact, despite the shutdown of large parts of the global economy, rates of deforestation globally have increased since last year.

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. Food as Prevention Rising to Nutritional Challenges

    NAPLES, Italy, Nov 25 (IPS) - The risks factors contributing to the dramatic rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in recent decades have been known for a long time but the Covid-19 pandemic has brutally exposed our collective failure to deal with them.

  2. Does WFP Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Nov 24 (IPS) - If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when? That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow go and learn. - Hillel the Elder, active during the first century BCE.

    On 10 December, representatives for the World Food Programme (WFP) will in Norway receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the Oslo City Hall. This is taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing lock-downs and suffering all over world, limiting agricultural production and disrupting supply chains.

  3. Japan Should Lead Charge for Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov 20 (IPS) - Japan should step up and play a role as a global facilitator for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Daisaku Higashi said at a recent Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) study meeting.

  4. Racial Discrimination Ages Black Americans Faster, According to a 25-Year-Long Study of Families

    Nov 20 (IPS) - I'm part of a research team that has been following more than 800 Black American families for almost 25 years. We found that people who had reported experiencing high levels of racial discrimination when they were young teenagers had significantly higher levels of depression in their 20s than those who hadn't. This elevated depression, in turn, showed up in their blood samples, which revealed accelerated aging on a cellular level.

  5. Vietnam and Cambodia: Leveraging Support to Enhance Climate Ambition

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 19 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of our lives and delayed what was slated to be a landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26). This pivotal year marks the first due date for countries to submit revised national climate plans per the five-year cycle required by the Paris Agreement.

    Remarkably, countries are still moving forward with renewed urgency. And many countries are integrating green recovery into their COVID-19 responses, further contributing to climate action. While many countries have positive stories to tell, both of our nations, Vietnam and Cambodia, are sterling examples of nations taking strong, decisive action, particularly with support through the NDC Partnership. Just last month, the people of Vietnam submitted their updated national climate plan and, in short order, the people of Cambodia will do likewise.

  6. Mexicans Labor Rights Closely Watched by the US

    MEXICO CITY, Nov 18 (IPS) - As many have observed worldwide, the outcome of the US presidential elections has been, as expected - full of hope and fear. Many people had the bad feeling that if Trump were to be re-elected, the uncertainty, already enormous due to the pandemic and its effects, would jeopardize the economic recovery worldwide. The triumph of Democrat Biden does not guarantee great solutions, but at the least offers a little more of transparency, certainty, and stability.

  7. Bringing Clean Water On Tap To Rural Villages In Polynesian Island Nation Of Tuvalu

    CANBERRA, Nov 18 (IPS) - Rural communities on one of the nine islands that make up the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu are anticipating how life will change when they are connected to piped clean water for the first time.

  8. COVID-19 Compounding Inequalities

    KUALA LUMPUR and SYDNEY, Nov 17 (IPS) - The United Nations’ renamed World Social Report 2020 (WSR 2020) argued that income inequality is rising in most developed countries, and some middle-income countries, including China, the world’s fastest growing economy in recent decades.

  9. Working Class Bears Disproportionate Burden of COVID-19 Economic Fallout

    DELHI, India, Nov 13 (IPS) - Back in May 2019, we were visiting a large garment factory in Arsikere, Karnataka, when we asked some of the workers, "What would you do if you got Saturdays off?" Their responses to this simple question summed up their priorities. A majority said they would spend time with family or friends and take care of their children. Many said they would use this time to relax or do household chores. Only a few said they'd look for additional pay.

  10. Secretive Mega-Trade Deal Rules Could Harm Asia’s Covid-19 Recovery

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Nov 13 (IPS) - Fifteen countries will sign a mega-trade deal at the ASEAN conference this weekend imposing secretive restrictions on how governments help workers through the pandemic, trade union leaders and parliamentarians have warned.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Food as Prevention Rising to Nutritional Challenges

    NAPLES, Italy, Nov 25 (IPS) - The risks factors contributing to the dramatic rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in recent decades have been known for a long time but the Covid-19 pandemic has brutally exposed our collective failure to deal with them.

  2. World Bank Urges Governments to Guarantee Private Profits

    KUALA LUMPUR and SYDNEY, Nov 24 (IPS) - The World Bank has been leading other multilateral development banks (MDBs) and international financial institutions to press developing country governments to de-risk infrastructure and other private, especially foreign investments.

  3. Green Recovery in Mexico A Citizens Plea

    NEW YORK, Nov 23 (IPS) - The alarms warning against climate inaction have sounded for years. Almost a year into the hardest pandemic and maybe the worst economic recession my generation has seen, expert voices everywhere are claiming this to be the golden opportunity to do something to right our course and even find a silver lining in this unfortunate situation, by funding the economic recovery of COVID-19 with a green stimulus package.

  4. Could the Finance Sector Hold the Key to Ending Deforestation?

    OXFORD, UK, Nov 23 (IPS) - At the beginning of 2020, there were hopes that this would be a 'super year for nature'. It has not turned out that way. Tropical forests, so crucial for biodiversity, the climate and the indigenous communities who live in them, have continued to be destroyed at alarming rates. In fact, despite the shutdown of large parts of the global economy, rates of deforestation globally have increased since last year.

  5. Farmers Will (Again) Feed the World

    NEW YORK, Nov 23 (IPS) - Wealthier countries struggling to contain the widening COVID-19 pandemic amid protests over lockdowns and restrictions risk ignoring an even greater danger out there – a looming global food emergency.

  6. Japan Should Lead Charge for Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov 20 (IPS) - Japan should step up and play a role as a global facilitator for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Daisaku Higashi said at a recent Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) study meeting.

  7. My Voice, Our Equal Future! Joining the Chorus of Girls Who Are Speaking up for Change

    NEW YORK, Nov 20 (IPS) - Girls are change makers and world shapers! When girls speak up, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

  8. Vietnam and Cambodia: Leveraging Support to Enhance Climate Ambition

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 19 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of our lives and delayed what was slated to be a landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26). This pivotal year marks the first due date for countries to submit revised national climate plans per the five-year cycle required by the Paris Agreement.

    Remarkably, countries are still moving forward with renewed urgency. And many countries are integrating green recovery into their COVID-19 responses, further contributing to climate action. While many countries have positive stories to tell, both of our nations, Vietnam and Cambodia, are sterling examples of nations taking strong, decisive action, particularly with support through the NDC Partnership. Just last month, the people of Vietnam submitted their updated national climate plan and, in short order, the people of Cambodia will do likewise.

  9. Mexicans Labor Rights Closely Watched by the US

    MEXICO CITY, Nov 18 (IPS) - As many have observed worldwide, the outcome of the US presidential elections has been, as expected - full of hope and fear. Many people had the bad feeling that if Trump were to be re-elected, the uncertainty, already enormous due to the pandemic and its effects, would jeopardize the economic recovery worldwide. The triumph of Democrat Biden does not guarantee great solutions, but at the least offers a little more of transparency, certainty, and stability.

  10. Eswatini makes Progress on NDCs thanks to Crucial Partnership Support

    MBABANE, Nov 17 (IPS) - Barry de Maine, the director of Green Cross Pharmacy, lost about $ 7,675 worth of stock when The Mall, the largest shopping centre in Mbabane, was flooded back in 2003. But when the flash floods hit again this year, he had already installed a flange to stop water from coming in.

    “This is the best I could do under the circumstances,” De Maine told IPS, adding: “Otherwise since we started experiencing floods at The Mall (17 years ago) nothing has been done.”

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. Does WFP Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Nov 24 (IPS) - If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when? That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow go and learn. - Hillel the Elder, active during the first century BCE.

    On 10 December, representatives for the World Food Programme (WFP) will in Norway receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the Oslo City Hall. This is taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing lock-downs and suffering all over world, limiting agricultural production and disrupting supply chains.

  2. Green Recovery in Mexico A Citizens Plea

    NEW YORK, Nov 23 (IPS) - The alarms warning against climate inaction have sounded for years. Almost a year into the hardest pandemic and maybe the worst economic recession my generation has seen, expert voices everywhere are claiming this to be the golden opportunity to do something to right our course and even find a silver lining in this unfortunate situation, by funding the economic recovery of COVID-19 with a green stimulus package.

  3. Could the Finance Sector Hold the Key to Ending Deforestation?

    OXFORD, UK, Nov 23 (IPS) - At the beginning of 2020, there were hopes that this would be a 'super year for nature'. It has not turned out that way. Tropical forests, so crucial for biodiversity, the climate and the indigenous communities who live in them, have continued to be destroyed at alarming rates. In fact, despite the shutdown of large parts of the global economy, rates of deforestation globally have increased since last year.

  4. Farmers Will (Again) Feed the World

    NEW YORK, Nov 23 (IPS) - Wealthier countries struggling to contain the widening COVID-19 pandemic amid protests over lockdowns and restrictions risk ignoring an even greater danger out there – a looming global food emergency.

  5. Vietnam and Cambodia: Leveraging Support to Enhance Climate Ambition

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 19 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of our lives and delayed what was slated to be a landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26). This pivotal year marks the first due date for countries to submit revised national climate plans per the five-year cycle required by the Paris Agreement.

    Remarkably, countries are still moving forward with renewed urgency. And many countries are integrating green recovery into their COVID-19 responses, further contributing to climate action. While many countries have positive stories to tell, both of our nations, Vietnam and Cambodia, are sterling examples of nations taking strong, decisive action, particularly with support through the NDC Partnership. Just last month, the people of Vietnam submitted their updated national climate plan and, in short order, the people of Cambodia will do likewise.

  6. Bringing Clean Water On Tap To Rural Villages In Polynesian Island Nation Of Tuvalu

    CANBERRA, Nov 18 (IPS) - Rural communities on one of the nine islands that make up the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu are anticipating how life will change when they are connected to piped clean water for the first time.

  7. Eswatini makes Progress on NDCs thanks to Crucial Partnership Support

    MBABANE, Nov 17 (IPS) - Barry de Maine, the director of Green Cross Pharmacy, lost about $ 7,675 worth of stock when The Mall, the largest shopping centre in Mbabane, was flooded back in 2003. But when the flash floods hit again this year, he had already installed a flange to stop water from coming in.

    “This is the best I could do under the circumstances,” De Maine told IPS, adding: “Otherwise since we started experiencing floods at The Mall (17 years ago) nothing has been done.”

  8. Secretive Mega-Trade Deal Rules Could Harm Asia’s Covid-19 Recovery

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Nov 13 (IPS) - Fifteen countries will sign a mega-trade deal at the ASEAN conference this weekend imposing secretive restrictions on how governments help workers through the pandemic, trade union leaders and parliamentarians have warned.

  9. Global Summit of Development Banks Fails to Learn from Destructive Past

    MANILA, Nov 13 (IPS) - Development banks have repeatedly looked the other way and been complicit in the human rights violations of corporations and governments they work with. They support activities where armed forces push forward large infrastructure and extractives projects on traditional lands without the participation and consent of Indigenous Peoples.

    This week, 450 public development banks from around the world met for the Finance in Common Summit at the Paris Peace Forum. They gathered to discuss how they can direct their combined investments of over USD 2 trillion - 10% of total investments in the world - "to support the transformation or the global economy" and "build new forms of prosperity that take care of people and the planet."

  10. Vietnam Takes the Lead on Indo-Pacific Economic Integration

    PERTH, Australia, Nov 12 (IPS) - This was the year that Vietnam was poised to make progress on its rise as a regional leader. Under the auspices of Vietnam's ASEAN chairmanship, a breakthrough in global trade has been achieved despite rising protectionism and a global pandemic.

  11. More stories…

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Issues In depth

Latest

Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction

Many are afraid that tackling climate change is going to be too costly. But increasingly, studies are showing action will not just be cheaper than inaction, but could actually result in economic, environmental and even health benefits, while improving sustainability.

Read “Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing.

Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section looks at what causes climate change, what the impacts are and where scientific consensus currently is.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction” to learn more.

COP20—Lima Climate Conference

An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 20), held in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

While it seemed like it was a successful meeting, because developing nations were committed to drawing up their own plans for emissions reductions for the first time, a number of important issues were left undecided such as how financing would work.

This page is an overview of the Lima Climate conference.

Read “COP20—Lima Climate Conference” to learn more.

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

An overview of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa that has been described by the World Health Organization as the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak in the history of the disease.

The epidemic began at the end of 2013, in Guinea. From there it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Many of the affected countries face enormous challenges in stopping its spread and providing care for all patients.

Thousands of people have died and many are at risk as the fatality rate from this virus is very high. As the crisis worsens, as well as the enormous health challenges involved, the social and economic consequences may set these countries back, reversing some gains a number of these countries have made in recent years.

Read “Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Nature and Animal Conservation

Preserving species and their habitats is important for ecosystems to self-sustain themselves.

Yet, the pressures to destroy habitat for logging, illegal hunting, and other challenges are making conservation a struggle.

Read “Nature and Animal Conservation” to learn more.

More updates

Most Popular

Poverty Facts and Stats

Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.

80% of the world population lived on less than $10 a day in 2005

The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.

By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering.

Some facts and figures on poverty presented in this page are eye-openers, to say the least.

Read “Poverty Facts and Stats” to learn more.

Global Financial Crisis

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Causes of Poverty

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Read “Causes of Poverty” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Environmental Issues

Environmental issues are also a major global issue. Humans depend on a sustainable and healthy environment, and yet we have damaged the environment in numerous ways. This section introduces other issues including biodiversity, climate change, animal and nature conservation, population, genetically modified food, sustainable development, and more.

Read “Environmental Issues” to learn more.

Racism

Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others. Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. This article explores racism from around the world.

Read “Racism” to learn more.

More articles

Topical

Global Financial Crisis

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Food and Agriculture Issues

Food and agriculture goes to the heart of our civilizations. Religions, cultures and even modern civilization have food and agriculture at their core. For an issue that goes to the heart of humanity it also has its ugly side.

This issue explores topics ranging from the global food crisis of 2008, to issues of food aid, world hunger, food dumping and wasteful agriculture such as growing tobacco, sugar, beef, and more.

Read “Food and Agriculture Issues” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy

Through tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies — both legal and illegal — billions of dollars of tax are avoided. The much-needed money would helped developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations.

Some tax avoidance, regardless of how morally objectionable it may be to some people, is perfectly legal, and the global super elite are able to hide away trillions of dollars, resulting in massive losses of tax revenues for cash-strapped governments who then burden ordinary citizens further with austerity measures during economic crisis, for example. Yet these super elite are often very influential in politics and business. In effect, they are able to undermine democracy and capitalism at the same time.

As the global financial crisis has affected many countries, tackling tax avoidance would help target those more likely to have contributed to the problem while avoid many unnecessary austerity measures that hit the poorest so hard. But despite rhetoric stating otherwise, it does not seem to high on the agenda of many governments as you might think.

Read “Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy” to learn more.

World Military Spending

World military spending had reduced since the Cold War ended, but a few nations such as the US retain high level spending.

In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.7 trillion. 2012 saw the first dip in spending — only slightly —since 1998, in an otherwise rising trend.

After a decline following the end of the Cold War, recent years have seen military spending increase

The highest military spender is the US accounting for almost two-fifths of the world’s spending, more than the rest of the G7 (most economically advanced countries) combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined.

Read “World Military Spending” to learn more.

More issues

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” — Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom