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Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,911
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In Pakistan, it's not uncommon for rape victims to be treated more harshly than their rapists, even by their own families and the justice system. This teenage girl demanded otherwise.
ORIGINAL: "Outlawed in Pakistan," a film by Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann. Frontline is airing the full-length film on PBS and it's terrific. Check your local listings for times.
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 29, 2013, 10:25 PM (2 replies)
By Paul Buchheit
Source: Common Dreams
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
In this dream world of global capitalism, young people are going from zero income on the farm to a few dollars a day on a 12-hour factory shift, and as a result, based on the World Bank's poverty threshold of $1.25 per day, they're no longer "in poverty." So the media piles on praise for free markets. The Economist proclaimed that "poverty is declining everywhere." The Washington Post gushed that "a billion people have been lifted from poverty through free-market competition."
But the reality is very different. Inequality continues to grow, both between and within countries. Poverty levels haven't changed much in 30 years, with almost half of humanity, up to three billion people, living on less than $2.50 a day. A quarter of the world's children - over 170 million kids under age five - are growing up stunted because of malnutrition.
It may be time to update the company's quote: "We don't have an obligation to solve the world's problems."
Even if there were no obligation to help solve the world's problems, there IS an obligation to pay for global energy consumption and infrastructure usage and industrial pollution. Yet a review of 25 multinational companies shows clear negligence in meeting that responsibility. The 25 companies, with almost a half-trillion dollars in 2011-12 income, paid just 8% in taxes to the U.S. and 9% to foreign countries. A 35% tax -- paid to ANY country or countries -- would have generated another $90 billion over two years, four times the amount needed to battle malnutrition.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/the-globalization-of-hypocrisy-by-paul-buchheit
Posted by polly7 | Thu May 23, 2013, 10:13 AM (0 replies)
May 16th, 2013 by David von Blohn
Around 250 protesters demonstrated against the "Barbie Dreamhouse", a life-sized theme house about the famous fashion doll which opened in Berlin City, which some protesters have called plastic and sexist to women.
Posted by polly7 | Thu May 16, 2013, 02:36 PM (4 replies)
Source: AlterNet - AFP / By Tang Chhin Sothy
KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia — A ceiling collapse at a Cambodian shoe factory killed two workers Thursday, spurring a government vow to inspect all garment plants amid heightened safety fears after last month's disaster in Bangladesh.
Local rescue teams, helped by soldiers, scrambled to search through the rubble of the fallen structure early Thursday, which appeared to have been on a mezzanine level laden with crates of trainers and canvas shoes.
Khem Pannara, district police chief for the area in the southern province of Kampong Speu, said two staff members were killed and at least 11 injured, some seriously, adding that the rescue operation had ended.
He said the concrete ceiling had likely collapsed because it could not hold the weight of equipment stored on it due to "poor construction".
Read more: http://www.alternet.org/world/cambodia-shoe-factory-collapse-kills-2
Posted by polly7 | Thu May 16, 2013, 01:17 PM (1 replies)
By Ramzy Baroud
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It is an event “of cosmic proportions”, said one Palestinian academic, a befitting description of Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott an Israeli academic conference slated for next June. It was also a decisive moral call which was communicated by the Cambridge University, where Hawking is a professor, on May 8.
Hawking is a world-renowned cosmologist and physicist. His scientific work had the kind of impact that redefined or challenged entire areas of research from the theory of relatively, to quantum mechanics, to other fields of study. This towering figure is also wheelchair-bound – suffering from complete physical paralyses caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. For Hawking, however, such a painful fact seems like a mere side note in the face of his incredible contributions to science, ones that are comparable to only few men and women throughout history.
What is considered a prestigious scientific conference in Israel is hosted by President Shimon Peres, most remembered by Lebanese and Palestinians for ordering the shelling of a United Nations compound near the village of Qana in South Lebanon in 1996. The compound was a safe heaven, where civilians often sought shelter during Israeli strikes. Not that time around, however. 106 innocent people, mostly children and women were killed and 116 wounded, including UN forces. That harrowing event alone would have sent Peres, then Israel’s prime minister to serve his remaining years in jail. But of course, Israel is above the law, or so the Israeli government believes and consistently behaved in the last 65 years at a price tag of uncountable lives, untold destruction and protracted suffering of entire nations.
Hawking’s response to the boycott call was immensely important. The man’s legendary status aside, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has proved more durable and successful than its detractors – mostly Israel’s apologists – want to believe. Hawking’s decision was also a testament that reason and morality should and must go hand in hand. Israel’s boasting of its scientific accomplishments should mean zilch if such technology is put to work to advance state violence, tighten military occupation, and make killer drones available to other countries, thus exporting violence and mayhem. That very ‘science’ was used in abundance in Israel’s latest two wars on Gaza (2008-09 and 2012) which claimed thousands of lives between dead and wounded.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/israel-hawking-and-the-pressing-question-of-boycott-by-ramzy-baroud
Posted by polly7 | Thu May 16, 2013, 01:12 PM (41 replies)
By Jérôme E. Roos
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
In recent weeks, European leaders somewhat belatedly seem to have become mightily interested in the issue. Italy’s new Prime Minister Enrico Letta called youth unemployment the most serious problem facing his country and called for an EU plan to “combat” it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, flag-bearer of the European austerity movement, similarly considers youth unemployment to be “Europe’s biggest challenge.” Meanwhile, a new campaign by Big Think somewhat naively asks “what’s causing youth unemployment and what can fix it?”
The real reason European leaders are suddenly so concerned about youth unemployment — while they remain unmoved by the plight of Greek AIDS patients, for instance, who now can’t get their anti-retroviral drugs — is simply that they are terrified by the prospect of social unrest. As the New York Times reported today, “it is clear that policy makers are seriously worried that millions of frustrated young job seekers pose as much of a threat to the euro zone as excessive government debt or weak banks.” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble literally admitted that “We will have to speed up in fighting youth unemployment, because otherwise we will lose the support, in a democratic way, in some populations of the European Union.” What they fear, in other words, is a continent-wide youth uprising. At its worst, their plans to “fix” youth unemployment serve to distract us from the obvious class dimension at play, promoting the illusion that the social crisis we face is just a series of economic problems that can be fixed without radical changes to the political status quo.
The inconvenient truth is that unemployment is an integral element of the neoliberal policy response to the crisis pursued by the European Union and the IMF. This, in itself, is nothing new. IMF austerity programs in the developing world have long involved dramatic reductions in wages and rises in unemployment. Careful quantitative analysis of the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s has shown that “the most consistent and statistically significant impact of Fund programs in Latin America … was the reduction in labor share of income.” Even official IMF studies recognize that its austerity programs “boost unemployment and lower paychecks.” Most importantly, the authors of a 2011 IMF report, Painful Medicine, conclude that austerity causes not just short-term but “particularly long-term unemployment.”
In other words, asking for austerity measures without youth unemployment is like insisting on the medieval practice of blood-letting without the blood-loss. It is not only brutal, but also practically impossible. Austerity and unemployment are like Siamese twins, conjoined at the hip, designed to strengthen and reinforce one another. As long as the EU and IMF keep imposing these highly destructive adjustment measures, unemployment will keep on rising. The only genuine “solution” to unemployment, therefore, would be to break free from the shackles of austerity and to default on the foreign debt. This is the reformist vision pursued by SYRIZA in Greece, and despite the lack of revolutionary imagination of this quasi-Keynesian approach, there is certainly something to be said for it from a humanitarian point of view.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/why-europe-can-t-just-fix-youth-unemployment-by-j-r-me-e-roos
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 15, 2013, 08:41 AM (2 replies)
In a Paraguay slum, a children's orchestra makes do with what it's got—with inspiring results.
—By Zaineb Mohammed | Mon May. 13, 2013 2:30 AM PDT
Close your eyes and listen to Juan Manuel Chavez launch into the Prelude of Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, and you would never guess that, instead of spruce and maple, his instrument is crafted from an old oil can, a beef tenderizing tool, and a discarded pasta making device—all of it scavenged from the landfill that surrounds his home in Paraguay.
Chavez is a cellist in the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra in Cateura, an Asunción slum where bottle caps, door keys, and paint cans have been given new purpose. Under the supervision of local musician Favio Chávez, these utterly impoverished kids make beautiful music on instruments constructed almost entirely out of materials reclaimed from the dump.
Filmmaker and Asunción native Alejandra Nash first heard about the phenomenon back in 2009, and decided to produce a documentary about the kids—she and her co-producers are aiming for a 2014 release. She'll have plenty of support. The teaser she posted online last November quickly went viral, with 2 million views on Vimeo, and nearly 1 million on Youtube. It's inspiring. Check it out...
Now her project's Facebook page has more than 125,000 likes. And a Kickstarter campaign Nash launched in April to help fund the film's completion has raised almost $200,000, well over the $175,000 she'd asked for. Beyond funding post-production work, the additional money will help finance a world tour for the orchestra, and an expansion of what has come to be known as the Landfill Harmonic Movement.
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 15, 2013, 08:34 AM (2 replies)
May 15 marks the commemoration of Nakba Day. The Nakba, which means "the catastrophe" in Arabic, refers to the forcible expulsion of 700,000-800,000 Palestinians from their land in the time leading up to and following the creation the state of Israel in 1948. Contrary to claims that the Palestinians decided to leave, author and journalist Ben White points out that "those who left did not do so of their own volition." The cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine was part of deliberate strategy on the part of Zionist leaders. According to University of Exeter Professor Ilan Pappe, "Zionist leaders decided that the best means of making the vision of a Jewish Palestine possible was by forcefully dispossessing the Palestinians from their homeland."
The Israeli army prevented a march to mark the 65th anniversary of Nakba, May 14, 2013.Palestinians will mark "Nakba" (Catastrophe) on May 15 to commemorate the expulsion or fleeing of hundreds of thousands of their brethren from their homes in the war that led to the founding of Israel in 1948.
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 15, 2013, 01:51 AM (0 replies)
By Ben Anderson
When he had finished, the elders raged about the bombings, saying that the Taliban were often far away by the time the bombs were dropped, that security was getting worse, and that more civilians would soon start joining the Taliban if things didn’t change. “Life has no meaning for me anymore,” said one man. “I have lost 27 members of my family. My house has been destroyed. Everything I’ve built for 70 years is gone.”
Metal containers were brought in, placed on tables in front of the group, and opened. The elders were given bricks of 500-afghani notes, signing for them by dipping their right thumbs in ink and making prints. They received roughly $2,000 for each family member killed.
“I lost 20 people, and I was given 2 million afghanis ,” said one man. “It was before 12:30 at night, when your forces came to our area. They were involved in a fight, but the Taliban retreated. Later, a jet came and dropped bombs on our house. Two rooms were destroyed. In one of the rooms, my two nephews and my son were there. My son survived. I rescued him from the debris. Six of my uncle’s family were in the other room. All became martyrs. They were buried under the soil. I moved the children away and came back to rescue those under the debris. While we were trying to do that, the children were so frightened they started running away. The plane shot them one by one.
“All we want is security, whether you bring it or the Taliban. We are not supporting war. We support peace and security. If you bring peace and security, you are my king. If they bring security, they are our kings.”
Full Article: http://www.vice.com/vice-news/this-is-what-winning-looks-like-part-1
For more misery and hopelessness from Afghanistan, watch Ben Anderson’s new film, This Is What Winning Looks Like, airing this Wednesday on VICE.com.
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 15, 2013, 01:19 AM (0 replies)
Lethality Beyond the Pale
By Nick Turse
Monday, May 13, 2013
In those first minutes, they’ll be stunned. Eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare, nerve endings numbed. They’ll just stand there. Soon, you’ll notice that they are holding their arms out at a 45-degree angle. Your eyes will be drawn to their hands and you’ll think you mind is playing tricks. But it won’t be. Their fingers will start to resemble stalactites, seeming to melt toward the ground. And it won’t be long until the screaming begins. Shrieking. Moaning. Tens of thousands of victims at once. They’ll be standing amid a sea of shattered concrete and glass, a wasteland punctuated by the shells of buildings, orphaned walls, stairways leading nowhere.
This could be Tehran, or what’s left of it, just after an Israeli nuclear strike.
Iranian cities -- owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities -- are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, “Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region.
Its scenarios are staggering. An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people -- 86% of the population -- and leave close to 800,000 wounded. A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated 5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a nuclear detonation.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/nuclear-terror-in-the-middle-east-by-nick-turse
Posted by polly7 | Mon May 13, 2013, 08:54 AM (3 replies)