What’s New September 2005

This page lists changes to this site for September 2005.

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

The UN World Summit for September 2005 is supposed to review progress since the Millennium Declaration, adopted by all Member States in 2000. However, the US has proposed enormous changes to an outcome document that is to be signed by all members. There are changes on almost all accounts, including striking any mention of the Millennium Development Goals, that aim for example, to halve poverty and world hunger by 2015. This has led to concerns that the outcome document will be weakened. Developing countries are also worried about stronger text on human rights and about giving the UN Security Council more powers. A new page has been created to begin to look at the issues and outcome of the Summit

It is some 35 years since developed countries promised and were obligated to deliver 0.7% of their gross national income as foreign assistance. It was agreed to deliver on this by the mid 1970s. There been a large annual shortfall each year since. The European Union, for example are aiming to reach 0.7% as a whole by 2015, some 40 years after it was meant to be delivered! Furthermore, the definition of what constitutes foreign aid has changed to include items not related to the original goal of long term development, thus diluting aid effectiveness even further. More information on the on the history and the diluted definition of aid was added to this page

A controversial figure, televangelist Pat Robertson from the US recently called for the assassination of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez. While he later apologized for suggesting the murder of someone else, his underlying reasons remained. He fears Chavez will make Venezuela a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism on the Latin American continent. Some of his statements were clearly baseless propaganda and criticized by the mainstream media. However, many media outlets have also repeated other questionable claims about Hugo Chavez in recent years.

Details about this have been added to the Venezuela page

It is thought that there are some 20,000 lions in Africa now, compared to around 200,000 in the early 1980s. Factors thought to contribute to this decline include sport and trophy hunting, and encroaching populations that do not gain the benefits of tourism.

Just 20 or so years ago, the Indian vultures were the most abundant large birds of prey in the world. In the last 12 years, their population has crashed 97%. It seems that careless and casual use of a certain medicine by cattle farmers was poisonous to vultures when they fed on dead carcasses of animals that had been given this medicine. One possible reason for such careless use is thought to be the big push by pharmaceutical companies to encourage such widespread medicinal use.

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