What’s New October 2005

This page lists changes to this site for October 2005.

See below for other updates and to get notified of changes to the site.

Many criticized the final outcome document from the UN World Summit as being watered down and weak. A lot of blame, both in the mainstream media, and from development organizations, has been placed at the United States for having proposed such an aggressive set changes in the first place (such as initially wanting to strike out all mention of the Millennium Development Goals, which was supposed to be the primary focus of the meeting itself!). But other countries also expressed reservations on various issues too, leading to a weaker text than hoped for. The UN World Summit page has been updated reflecting the outcome, with links to more detailed analysis.

This is what the Pentagon would like to have the option of if they suspect an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. Given the experience with Iraq and how US leaders said they were convinced of weapons of mass destruction there, this move is controversial to say the least. Also, North Korea recently said it will not give up its nuclear program until the US provides it with a civilian nuclear reactor. The media treated this as a set-back, seemingly ignoring that this was part of the original deal in the first place in 1994 to get North Korea to forego any nuclear ambitions.

Offshore tax havens allow multinational companies, rich individuals, corrupt leaders, criminals and terrorists to move or hide money. To put this in perspective, the losses each year are more than the UN Millennium Project goal of reaching $195 billion in aid levels by 2015 to help halve world poverty within a decade and prevent millions of unnecessary deaths in poor countries.

Most arms sales continue to go to the developing world, but is heavily skewed towards around 10 or so main recipients in the Middle East and Asia. Arms sales also seem to continue to known human rights abusers, as the arms trade is big business. Graphs and related data were updated

The United Nations Oil for Food program in Iraq during half the period of crippling sanctions has often made mainstream news in recent months, as reports of corruption and oil smuggling by Saddam Hussein have surfaced. Common themes in the reporting have been to blame the entire UN for policies of the UN Security Council, to blame the Oil for Food program for most of the billions stolen by Saddam Hussein, to blame Kofi Annan for the whole mess, or even point to the program’s supposed lack of transparency. Yet, it turns out that the US actually accounted for more than the rest of the world combined in illegal oil sales by Iraq, though that has hardly received much media coverage in comparison. The section on Iraq sanctions has been updated

A number of articles on the war on terrorism have been reposted to this site. One looks at another September 11, almost a century ago, as being the beginnings of the world’s largest peace movement, started by Gandhi. Another article looks at media and political manipulation in the United States since the terrorist attacks, and another two look at religious extremism in the US and police actions in the UK.

The devastation caused by hurricane Katrina in southern parts of the United States has been immense. Amidst personally moving stories of loss and suffering, of heroic individuals and communities, this tragedy revealed a number of other issues and there has been a lot of criticism at the Bush Administration for not doing enough quickly. The mainstream media itself seems to have become more bold in its criticisms as well, which has been unexpected. However, shortly after Katrina, hurricane Rita also caused immense damage. A new page has been created to highlight some of these issues

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