What’s New May 2001

This page lists recent changes made to this site such as new pages, or updates to existing sections. 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 22, 2001

  1. New!The United States of America wishes to expand its military into space. Together with its pursuit of missile defense, which goes against the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty, (an important part of global arms control mechanisms) the USA risks starting a wasteful expenditure of an arms race in space. It also goes counter to the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, which provides the basic framework on international space law, saying that space should be reserved for peaceful uses. A new section has been created to introduce this topic. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Control / Military Expansion

  2. While more promises are made for better debt relief for poor countries, little has actually happened so far. Recent promises to help the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in "exceptional circumstances" is definitely welcome. However, other promises by countries such as Canada, US, UK, Germany and others to relieve full or partial bilateral debt has not happened (even 2 or more years since some of these announcements). And, given that the majority of the third world debt is owed to the IMF and World Bank, the impacts of these announcements seem token at best but provide momentum to pressure others to follow suit, including the World Bank and IMF. Without the enormous public pressure from the Jubilee 2000 campaign (now known as Jubilee Plus) and others, even these announcements would not even have occurred. But real, effective and substantial changes may prove to be very challenging to say the least. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Debt / Trade and Poverty Issues

  3. The concentration of ownership of media leads to less diversity. As more and more media buy-outs and mergers take place, the impact to diversity, quality and an effective democracy is also affected as bottom lines and profit margins become even more important. While ownership by unaccountable national governments also risk censorship and propaganda, democratic nations can attempt to hold some sort of accountability to their leaders, while corporations have no such accountability to the general public, other than their shareholders. Competition between media companies can be healthy when there are many outlets and many owners. However, even amongst growing number of media outlets, the number of owners is decreasing and concentration of ownership is increasing. Even the public airwaves in many countries are being sought after for full ownership by multinational companies. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Mainstream Media / Trade and Poverty Issues

May 8, 2001

  1. U.S. President, George Bush, announced a withdrawal of support for the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, what many believe is a cornerstone for international arms control efforts. He claimed it to be a Cold War relic while many nations, including European allies fear that this will lead to a new arms race. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, signed in 1972, prohibits the use of defensive systems that might give an advantage to one side in a nuclear war. As well as concerns over whether it is even technically possible to develop such a costly system, there are international concerns from friendly countries and others on the intentions of the United States. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Arms Control / Military Expansion

  2. The IMF and World Bank admit that their Heavily In-Debt Poor Countries initiative to relieve debt has not really been effective. As concerned groups have been saying for some time now, the relief has not really amounted to much. It has been criticized for being tied up with too many of the conditionalities that led to these conditions in the first place. And now, even the IMF and World Bank have admitted problems. Various links and additional information has been added. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Debt / Causes of Poverty / Trade Related Issues

  3. The United States was voted off the UN Human Rights Commission. The commission assigns investigators to probe abuses around the world. Human Rights Watch pointed out how while the U.S. were voted off, other human rights violators were voted in. However, even friendly nations to the U.S. voted them off, seemingly because of recent actions of the U.S. against the interests of the general international community. While the U.S. are proud to claim to be the leaders in human rights, many, including the likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have been very critical of their record in reality, both domestically, and internationally, for not ratifying various basic treaties, for supporting abusive regimes and so on. (The U.S. were also voted off the International Narcotics Control Board, on the same day, by the commission.) Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Human Rights Issues

  4. There have been around 2.5 million deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the outbreak of the fighting in August 1998, according to new estimates from the International Rescue Committee. The majority have died of malnutrition and disease that has resulted from the war. Geopolitical and commercial interests have made this into an international conflict, due to the rich minerals and resources to be found in the DRC. A recent United Nations report details the illegal exploitation by countries and corporations alike. Since its independence in the 1960s, it has been difficult for the DRC to rebuild from its violent colonial legacy. Find Out More »
    - Related Section(s): Conflicts in Africa / Geopolitics