Tag Archives | world

Gates Foundation’s Seed Agenda in Africa ‘Another Form of Colonialism,’ Warns Protesters

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa's seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa’s seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Originally Published on Common Dreams.

‘This neoliberal agenda of deregulation and privatization poses a serious threat to food sovereignty and the ability of food producers and consumers to define their own food systems and policies,’ says campaigners

Food sovereignty activists are shining a light on a closed-door meeting between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which are meeting in London on Monday with representatives of the biotechnology industry to discuss how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa.

Early Monday, protesters picketed outside the Gates Foundation’s London offices holding signs that called on the foundation to “free the seeds.” Some demonstrators handed out packets of open-pollinated seeds, which served as symbol of the “alternative to the corporate model promoted by USAID and BMGF.” Others smashed a piñata, which they said represented the “commercial control of seed systems;” thousands of the seeds which filled the pinata spilled across the office steps.

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Life Under ISIS

Patrick Cockburn writes at CounterPunch:

The Islamic State was declared in the weeks after the capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, by Isis on 10 June 2014. It was only then that countries around the world began to wake up to the fact that Isis posed a serious threat to them all. Reorganised under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2010 after the death of the previous leader, Isis took advantage of the Syrian uprising of 2011 to expand its forces and resume widespread guerrilla warfare. Sunni protests against mounting repression by the Baghdad government transmuted into armed resistance. In the first half of 2014 Isis defeated five Iraqi divisions, a third of the Iraqi army, to take over most of the giant Anbar province. A crucial success came when Isis-led forces seized the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, on 3 January 2014 and the Iraqi army failed to win it back.

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On Eve of Election, Netanyahu Promises No Palestinian State If Re-Elected

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

On the eve of national elections in Israel, politically-embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that if he and his Likud Party were returned to power for another term he would make sure that an independent Palestinian state would not come into being.

The comments come as a reversal of official Israeli government policy which, like the U.S. government, states that a two-state solution is the preferred outcome for the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

As the New York Times reports:

Mr. Netanyahu made the assertion on the eve of an election in which he is trailing in the polls. He has been campaigning aggressively, appealing to conservatives for support.

“I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands, is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel,” he said in a video interview published on the NRG website.

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War on Wildlife Crime – Time to Enlist the Ordinary Citizen

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Bradnee Chambers writes at Common Dreams:

It is no exaggeration to say that we are facing a “wildlife crisis”, and it is a crisis exacerbated by human activities, not least criminal ones.

Whatever our definition of wildlife crime, it is big business. In terms of annual turn-over it is up there narcotics, arms and human trafficking – and the proceeds run into billions of dollars each year, helping to finance criminal gangs and rebel organizations waging civil wars.

With seven billion people on the planet, it is tempting to shrug one’s shoulders and ask “What difference can any one individual make?”  Such an attitude means that we are in danger of repeating the “tragedy of the commons” – everyone making seemingly rational decisions in their own immediate interests – but this is a short-sighted approach that undermines the common good and ultimately sows the seeds of its own downfall.

With seven billion people on the planet, it is also tempting to say that people’s need for food, shelter and well-being should take precedence over nature conservation, but the two are not necessarily irreconcilable.  In fact far from it – the two often go hand in hand and are totally compatible – non-consumptive use of wildlife, such as whale-watching and safaris, provide sustainable livelihoods for thousands of people.

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Norwegian Muslims to Jews: If Someone Wants To Attack You, They’ll Have To Step Over Us First

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

In the wake of last week’s attack on a Copenhagen synagogue – along with the Paris terrorist attacks, the murders of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, and growing anti-Semitism across Europe – a group of young Muslims in Norway have organized a Shabbat “Ring of Peace” around an Oslo synagogue to, in the words of its 17-year-old organizer, “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims.” Concerned the event could prove “counter-productive” in an increasingly volatile climate, the leader of Oslo’s Jewish community agreed to it only if at least 30 people signed up. To date, over 1,500 have, agreeing with organizers’ argument that, “Islam is about protecting our brothers and sisters, regardless of which religion they belong to.” The event has also sparked a wave of online campaigns expressing similar solidarity, including #IGoToSynagogue #WeMustStickTogether #MuslimsAndJewsRefuseToBeEnemies #ChildrenOfAbraham #AbrahamIbrahim. Explained one attendee for the Ring of Peace, “We all have to live under the same sky.”

And in Toronto, this Blind Trust Project:

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Consumer Self-Defense: 12 Ways to Drive GMOs and Roundup off the Market

'Although Monsanto, industry scientists and corporate agribusiness claim that GMO crops and foods, and the chemicals that accompany them, are perfectly safe and therefore need no labeling or independent safety-testing, hundreds of independent scientists, that is, those not on the payroll of Monsanto or its minions, cite literally hundreds of studies showing that GMOs and their companion chemicals, such as Roundup, are extremely toxic. ' (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

‘Although Monsanto, industry scientists and corporate agribusiness claim that GMO crops and foods, and the chemicals that accompany them, are perfectly safe and therefore need no labeling or independent safety-testing, hundreds of independent scientists, that is, those not on the payroll of Monsanto or its minions, cite literally hundreds of studies showing that GMOs and their companion chemicals, such as Roundup, are extremely toxic.’ (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Ronnie Cummins writes at Common Dreams:

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food,” said Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications. “Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” – New York Times, Oct. 25, 1998

“[GMO] Labeling advocates say the issue is about transparency, not safety. Scott Faber, head of the national Just Label It campaign, testified that consumers want to know what they are buying and how the food was produced.

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How the People Can Outwit the Global Domination Plans of Agribusiness

In Texas, large fields are prepared for the next year's corn crop. (Photo: Daniel James/flickr/cc)

In Texas, large fields are prepared for the next year’s corn crop. (Photo: Daniel James/flickr/cc)

Jonathan Latham writes at Common Dreams:

The strategic centerpiece of Monsanto PR is to focus on the promotion of one single compelling idea. The idea that they want you to believe in is that only they can produce enough for the future population. They wish you to therefore believe that non-industrial systems of farming, such as all those which use agroecological methods, or SRI, or are localised and family-oriented, or which use organic methods, or non-GMO seeds, cannot feed the world. This same PR strategy is followed by every major commercial participant in the industrial food system.

To be sure, agribusiness has a few other PR strategies. Agribusiness is “pro-science”, its opponents are “anti-science”, and so on. But the main plank has for decades been to create a cast-iron moral framing around the need to produce more.

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Gaza’s Kids Seek A Voice Amidst the Chaos


Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

A severe winter storm dubbed Huda this week brought ever more suffering to the long-suffering residents of Gaza, especially the over 100,000 people left homeless by last summer’s Israeli assault – an assault whose aftermath former UN special rapporteur Richard Falk has just declared “catastrophic…a form of massive state terror directed at the entire population of Gaza.” The storm, added to existing hardships in Gaza, has prompted Palestinian authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Huda unleashed heavy cold rains that caused widespread flooding, brutal winds and hail in Gaza, along with snow and even colder temperatures for Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon. With a still-blockaded Gaza having received less than 2 percent of an estimated 5 million tons of materials needed to rebuild, between 100,000 and 170,000 Gazans still lack adequate shelter and live huddled in tents, rubble or half-demolished homes. They also lack power – because Gaza’s sole power station was bombed by Israel last summer – and fuel, because the Israeli-Egyptian blockade continues.

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Western Powers Go Full Retard on Africa, Part 1: China vs. AFRICOM, a Resource War

via chycho

In Africa, China has been securing access to resources through lucrative trade agreements while Western powers have decided to take the military option to secure their share of the pie.

“Across Africa, the red flag of China is flying. Lucrative deals are being struck to buy its commodities – oil, platinum, gold and minerals… From Nigeria in the north, to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola in the west, across Chad and Sudan in the east, and south through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, China has seized a vice-like grip on a continent which officials have decided is crucial to the superpower’s long-term survival.”

China in Africa: New Imperialism?

Chinese world trade has increase over 20-fold in under 20 years and even though Africa represents a minor portion of that growth at present, it is vital for China’s long term security and prosperity. Africa not only contains a vast quantity of the world’s natural resources (more info), it is also the second largest continent with some of the most fertile farmlands (pdf) in the world.

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An Apology from Canada to Palestine and the Rest of the World: The 10 Most Shameful Minutes in Canadian History

via chycho

On 29 November 2012, John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the Question of Palestine. Below you will find the video in which he accuses UN of abandoning its principles by recognizing Palestine.

Canada, Question of Palestine, General Assembly, 44th plenary meeting

Most Canadians are embarrassed and utterly disgusted with what our Conservative government has done. Unfortunately, because of our ’First Past the Post’ electoral system and the bitter reality that a majority government can do anything they want, we can’t do much about it, at least not until the next elections. When that time comes, we promise to do our best to remove from power these fanatics who have shamed Canada and put us on the wrong side of history.

Palestine, of course, was welcomed as a Non-Member Observer State. “Voting by an overwhelming majority – 138 in favour to 9 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States), with 41 abstentions — the General Assembly today accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations.“

Voting, Question of Palestine, General Assembly, 44th plenary meeting

For those Canadians who have not been in the loop and would like to put into context what the Harper Government has just done, ask yourself this; was it to the best interest of Canada to vote and lobby against this resolution?… Read the rest

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