What’s New May 2000

This page lists recent changes made to this site. The "Find Out More" links will take you to the changes. If this jumps to the middle of a page, you can easily scroll up to understand the context of the new information a bit further.

Date of Update


May 21, 2000

  1. Human rights conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo is deteriorating and affecting more and more civilians. As Human Rights Watch points out, more than half a million people have had to flee their homes. There have been a number of complex reasons for the civil war, including conflicts over basic resources such as water, access and control over rich minerals and other resources and various political agendas. This has been fueled and supported by various national and international corporations and other regimes which have an interest in the outcome of the conflict. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Conflicts in Africa / Geopolitics / Trade Related Issues

  2. There has been some passionate China-bashing from both the right and left wings in the US for its attempt to enter the WTO and also get permanent Normal Trade Relations status with the US. There has been an equally involved campaign by the business community to allow entry and NTR status. Are even the reasons all these sides tout the appropriate level of discourse? After all, if most nations were held to the criteria that the anti-China campaign puts forth, even the USA itself would have a hard time passing. Yet, if China does get approval, the effects for most Chinese citizens could turn out to be negative. Besides, the larger issue about the problems of the current form of globalization is not addressed by these groups. It seems like they all miss much more important considerations and the issue is broader than just the China debate. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Trade Related Issues

  3. The major nuclear powers have agreed to eliminate nuclear weapons at a UN treaty review. However, how much of that is rhetoric and how much could become reality? After all, all of the nuclear weapons related treaties are already under pressure of non-compliance, mainly by the US. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Control / Geopolitics

  4. While it is generally agreed that media censorship can be quite physical and violent in regimes that are not democratic or free, even developed countries are seeing some violent forms of censorship. The recent political protests such as the Seattle protests against the WTO, the Washington, D.C protests against the IMF and World Bank, the anti-Debt protests in London and so on, are showing an increase in violent forms of censorship against independent media journalists. This is on top of the already market and commercial censorship already recognized to be in place in most western nations. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights

  5. Americans can expect to pay up to 80 percent more on prescription drugs that their Canadian neighbors. Some European countries provide prescription drugs even cheaper. What is the response from pharmaceutical companies in the United States? That this is government interference. Yes, interference in corporate profits but support for public health. In the developing countries the situation can be even worse, because these companies prefer to produce drugs that will provide a return on investment, which are not always the drugs that are most needed. There is a large market in the developing countries of people that need medicines, but because many are poor, they would not be able to afford many drugs without government "interference" and hence there would be diminished profits for drugs companies. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Corporations / Trade Related Issues

  6. Serbian society is facing more turmoil as opposition continues to grow against Milosevic and pro-democracy and anti-Milosevic rallies increase. However, the Milosevic response has seen a harsh crackdown, attempting to crush opponents and silence the independent media, which is leading to real fears of civil war. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Geopolitics

  7. While NATO have admitted that they used depleted Uranium, they are still not forthcoming with critical information about how it was used. The head of the Balkan Task Force arm of the United Nations Environment Program has pointed out that there are increasing health fears due the use of depleted Uranium and more needs to be known about how and where it was used. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Crisis in Kosovo / Geopolitics

  8. NATO claims of striking many, many Serb military targets is revealed to be much less than claimed. As revealed by the US Air Force, the number of targets hit was very small; 14 tanks, not 120; 18 armored personnel carriers, not 220; 20 artillery pieces, not 450. Of the 744 confirmed strikes by NATO pilots during the war, Air Force investigators, who spent weeks combing Kosovo by helicopter and by foot, found evidence of just 58. It turns out then, that the large number of bombs dropped were as feared, civilian targets. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Crisis in Kosovo / Geopolitics

  9. The Suva Agreement looks set to succeed the Lomé Convention. The Banana Wars, as it has alternatively been known, has been a result of a dispute involving the WTO and USA claiming that the largest aid and trade pact of the European Union and African-Caribbean-Pacific former colonial nations is against the principles of the WTO rules. As a result, the Lomé convention had to be abolished, fearing enormous repercussions in the banana trade, which forms the back-bone livelihood of many, many people in the Caribbean in other nations. The Suva agreement is set to replace this agreement. However, there has also been corporate influence in getting the old agreement abolished. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Trade Related Issues

  10. Biodiversity offers a lot of services for free. To destroy that and waste it would be extremely costly. Biodiversity provides numerous benefits such as genetic and species diversity, food, medicines, tourism, natural protection and recovery of the ecosystems, resource protection and generation such as water and fertile soil, and so on. As ecosystems face increasing threats and biodiversity reduces due to over consumption and unsustainable development, these services are lost and may be too costly to replace. Hence, it makes sense, in economic terms as well, to pursue development processes that are sustainable. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Biodiversity / Environment Issues / Trade Related Issues

May 14, 2000

  1. Concern is rising at the priorities of medical research and pharmaceutical companies. There is concern that the profit motive has led to emphasis on research that is aimed more at things like baldness and impotence, rather than various tropical diseases that affect millions upon millions of people in developing countries. Unfortunately, while a large market therefore exists, because most of these people are poor and unable to afford treatments, the pharmaceutical companies develop products that can sell and hence target wealthier consumers. AIDS in Africa has hit the news because it is also threatening first world countries and the economies of affected countries. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Corporations / Trade Related Issues

  2. How are multinational corporations reacting to the criticisms of human rights violations? Such corporations point out that their involvement in some developing countries can be positive and enhance human rights, democracy and so on. However, this is seen as a comforting perspective that allows exploitative practices to continue, as in reality, human rights and democracy have not improved due to activities of such corporations. In fact, in some places, large, multinational companies have even hired the local military to clamp down, even kill, protestors. Not exactly promoting human rights. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Corporations / Trade Related Issues

  3. It doesn't seem to matter who arms are sold to. Often, when arms are sold, they are sold to dictatorships and other human rights violators. Often, knowingly. There are often geopolitical interests that allow the sale to go on and to turn a blind eye from the violations that occur with those weapons. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Trade / Geopolitics

  4. Since the Kosovo bombing has ended, additional political motives for intervention are becoming more transparent. In many Balkan states, the US and NATO have set up many bases. The US is constructing its largest foreign base since the Vietnam war. The largest resource in Kosovo, the Trepca Mines are already controlled by NATO. Caspian Oil routes through the Balkans and the enormous rich mineral resources are all additional reasons for US/NATO involvement in the Kosovo crisis. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Crisis in Kosovo / Geopolitics

  5. The Sierra Leone rebels have renewed their attacks. During the disarmament process of the previous peace accord, as the UN started to disarm the various factions, they also tried to get the rebels in various diamond-rich areas to disarm. However, the rebels did not want to give up their source of profits and arms-purchasing capabilities. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Conflicts in Africa / Geopolitics

  6. Patents and intellectual property rights are designed to prevent piracy. But the reality is very different. Critics point out that they help facilitate the transfer of legal ownership of common indigenous and traditional knowledge away from the poor of the Third World and to the hands of western corporations and scientists. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Genetically Engineered Food / Biodiversity / Trade Related Issues / Environmental Issues

May 8, 2000

  1. The Clinton Administration applies possible regulations on genetically engineered food. However, critics point out that really, the agribusiness pressure and lobbying has led to weak regulations, and, if anything, these are not really aimed at ensuring protection of the health of people, but more to appease to consumers worries. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Genetically Engineered Food / Environmental Issues

  2. As technology advances are made and communications improve, you would assume that conflict reporting would improve. However, critics will point out that almost the opposite has happened. The military institutions, having learned from previous conflicts, often manipulates the mainstream media, by restricting what information is presented and hence what the public are told. This has happened throughout this century (and all the have come before this one). Over time then, the way that the media covers conflicts degrades in quality, critique and objectiveness. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Mainstream Media / Human Rights / Geopolitics

  3. As with the IMF and World Bank protests, the earlier media coverage of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle attempted to simplify the issues or miss-portray why the protestors were out in such large numbers. As well as protesting the way the WTO processes worked, some also started suggesting that the UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade And Development could provide a more inclusive, democratic and transparent body to cover trade related issues. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Fair Trade / Causes of Poverty

  4. New SectionA new section of news headlines has been added. If you want some up to the minute international news, you can also get them from the global issues web site now! Right now there are only a couple of sections; on world news and the environment. Over time, I hope to find additional sources and provide them here. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Mainstream Media

  5. Additional sources of information on Arms Control have been added. These include link to various United Nations sections on Disarmament, to the Federation of American Scientists who have a section on weapons and a link to the Union of Concerned Scientists who also have detailed information about nuclear weapons and arms control. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Control / Geopolitics

May 1, 2000

  1. The cost of a limited US national missile defense system is estimated at almost 60 billion dollars. Yet, many studies that look in to the legitimacy of the perceived threats, the technical capability of actually creating such a system, the cost and the effects it will have on international relations, all suggest that this is not the way to go. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Geopolitics

  2. The Arms Trade is big business. The largest business in the world also ties in geopolitical interests with arms sales. As a result, arms are knowingly sold to human rights abusers and sometimes even can affect the stability of a region as an arms race can develop. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Trade / Geopolitics

  3. Recent talks about IMF reform may not be as positive as they sound. As Oxfam have pointed out, while some of the reform suggestions make sense, many further reduce the chance for multilateralism and a democratic reform of the IMF. In fact, in some cases, they would be reversed. IMF Structural Adjustment policies for most countries has meant cutting back. The poor people in those countries are unable to afford health or education as governments are told to cut back on these provisions even more than they already are. Many die as a result. Others go hungry. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Causes of Poverty / Fair Trade

  4. Are current forms of trade fair? Fair trade would benefit all those involved in the exchange of the products, including those who work to make the products. However, the current model of globalization does not seem to match that much. In fact, it seems to favor large scale producers and corporations who can exploit cheap labor world wide. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Trade Related Issues / Causes of Poverty

  5. An additional link on military and arms related issues has been added. This one is from a US-based Watchdog, Council for a Livable World, an arms control group committed to ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction and eliminating wasteful military spending. They provide many useful reports, statistics and analysis on a variety of issues. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Trade / Geopolitics

  6. Will genetically engineered food solve world hunger? This is a promising claim for the technology. The biotech firms pushing such food strongly back this claim. However, it has been pointed out that these genetic engineering techniques are mostly being applied to crops that are important to the industrialized world, not necessarily crops on which the hungry people of the world depend upon. Safety concerns also abound. It may be that such biotechnology will be beneficial for food, but it seems a more cautious approach is currently needed. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Genetically Engineered Food / Environmental Issues

  7. An additional source of information on global warming has been added. This one is from the Union of Concerned Scientists. There are many good resources to be found at their site. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Global Warming / Environmental Issues