After years of drought, flash floods have destroyed harvests in Niger
Nineteen-month old Amina at Save the Children’s clinic for severely manlnourished children in Aguie, Niger, yesterday. Two of her siblings have already died within the past year HARRIET LOGAN/SAVE THE CHILDREN
Hundreds of thousands of children across central Africa are at risk of death from starvation and disease after flash flooding worsened an already chronic humanitarian crisis caused by drought.
Aid agencies warned yesterday that 10 million people are already facing severe food shortages, particularly in the landlocked countries of Chad and Niger, after a drought led to the failure of last year’s crops. As many as 400,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation in Niger alone, according to Save the Children.
Now unusually heavy rains have washed away this year’s crops and killed cattle in a region dependent on subsistence agriculture. Organisations including Oxfam and Save the Children say that the slow international response to the emergency means that only 40 per cent of those affected are receiving food aid. As many as four out of five children require treatment for malnutrition in clinics.
Such is the shortage of international aid that the United Nations World Food Programme has had to scale back its £57m operation to feed eight million people in Niger and instead concentrate its efforts on the most vulnerable – children under two – according to Oxfam.
Save the Children says the increased malnutrition rate could swiftly be followed by an increase in the number of children dying from disease because of floods in Niger caused by heavy rain over the past few weeks. “Stagnant pools of water have been contaminated by animal carcasses and are a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This has increased the threat of malaria, respiratory disease and diarrhoea – the biggest killers of young children,” the organisation said.
Volcano erupts in Indonesia forcing thousands from homes
Villagers watch as a plume of smoke emerges from Mount Sinabung. Photograph: Tarmizy Harva/Reyters
(Reuters) — A volcano has erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumatra for the first time in four centuries, sending smoke 1,500 metres into the air and prompting the evacation of thousands of residents.
There are no reports of casualties so far, and aviation in the area is unaffected.
Mount Sinabung, in the north of Sumatra, began erupting around midnight after rumbling for several days. Lava was overflowing from its crater, the head of Indonesia’s vulcanology centre told Reuters news agency. The agency has placed the volcano on red alert, its highest level.
“It is the industrialization tool for the entire US food supply”
“It brings all of Codex standards and guidelines into implementation”
“This bill means that no farmer can safe seed”
“If it does pass, you and I, our children, our loved ones will suffer and we will die”
Added: 22. August 2010
Dr Rima Laibow MD tells how massive public PUSH BACK has held of the forced industrialization of food bill, S.510 in the US Senate, since last November.
Now the PUSH BACK must continue or we risk the bill being rushed through in September as a “noncontroversial” unanimous consent bill. Action Item at www.healthfreedomusa.org to educate decision makers.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (S 510) Makes it Illegal To Grow, Share, Trade And Sell Homegrown Food
S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US. It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.
“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.” ~ Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower
It is similar to what India faced with imposition of the salt tax during British rule, only S 510 extends control over all food in the US, violating the fundamental human right to food.
Monsanto says it has no interest in the bill and would not benefit from it, but Monsanto’s Michael Taylor who gave us rBGH and unregulated genetically modified (GM) organisms, appears to have designed it and is waiting as an appointed Food Czar to the FDA (a position unapproved by Congress) to administer the agency it would create – without judicial review – if it passes. S 510 would give Monsanto unlimited power over all US seed, food supplements, food and farming.
In the 1990s, Bill Clinton introduced HACCP (Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points) purportedly to deal with contamination in the meat industry. Clinton’s HACCP delighted the offending corporate (World Trade Organization “WTO”) meat packers since it allowed them to inspect themselves, eliminated thousands of local food processors (with no history of contamination), and centralized meat into their control. Monsanto promoted HACCP.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton, urged a powerful centralized food safety agency as part of her campaign for president. Her advisor was Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller*, a giant PR firm representing Monsanto. Clinton lost, but Clinton friends such as Rosa DeLauro, whose husband’s firm lists Monsanto as a progressive client and globalization as an area of expertise, introduced early versions of S 510.
S 510 fails on moral, social, economic, political, constitutional, and human survival grounds.
1. It puts all US food and all US farms under Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, in the event of contamination or an ill-defined emergency. It resembles the Kissinger Plan.
2. It would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security. It would end the Uruguay Round Agreement Act of 1994, which put US sovereignty and US law under perfect protection. Instead, S 510 says:
COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS.
Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.
3. It would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce (even direct sales between individuals) as smuggling into “the United States.” Since under that law, the US is a corporate entity and not a location, “entry of food into the US” covers food produced anywhere within the land mass of this country and “entering into” it by virtue of being produced.
4. It imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food. It allows the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the WTO to take control of every food on earth and remove access to natural food supplements. Its bizarre history and its expected impact in limiting access to adequate nutrition (while mandating GM food, GM animals, pesticides, hormones, irradiation of food, etc.) threatens all safe and organic food and health itself, since the world knows now it needs vitamins to survive, not just to treat illnesses.
5. It would remove the right to clean, store and thus own seed in the US, putting control of seeds in the hands of Monsanto and other multinationals, threatening US security. See Seeds – How to criminalize them, for more details.
6. It includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals. The UN is participating through the WHO, FAO, WTO, and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in allowing mass slaughter of even heritage breeds of animals and without proof of disease. Biodiversity in farm animals is being wiped out to substitute genetically engineered animals on which corporations hold patents. Animal diseases can be falsely declared. S 510 includes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), despite its corrupt involvement in the H1N1 scandal, which is now said to have been concocted by the corporations.
7. It extends a failed and destructive HACCP to all food, thus threatening to do to all local food production and farming what HACCP did to meat production – put it in corporate hands and worsen food safety.
8. It deconstructs what is left of the American economy. It takes agriculture and food, which are the cornerstone of all economies, out of the hands of the citizenry, and puts them under the total control of multinational corporations influencing the UN, WHO, FAO and WTO, with HHS, and CDC, acting as agents, with Homeland Security as the enforcer. The chance to rebuild the economy based on farming, ranching, gardens, food production, natural health, and all the jobs, tools and connected occupations would be eliminated.
9. It would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs. This would industrialize every farm in the US, eliminate local organic farming, greatly increase global warming from increased use of oil-based products and long-distance delivery of foods, and make food even more unsafe. The five items listed – the Five Pillars of Food Safety – are precisely the items in the food supply which are the primary source of its danger.
10. It uses food crimes as the entry into police state power and control. The bill postpones defining all the regulations to be imposed; postpones defining crimes to be punished, postpones defining penalties to be applied. It removes fundamental constitutional protections from all citizens in the country, making them subject to a corporate tribunal with unlimited power and penalties, and without judicial review. It is (similar to C-6 in Canada) the end of Rule of Law in the US.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with buying stock. My parents hold lots of BP stock, and they are hardly guilty of dumping the 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. But this is one more step in a long line of actions by the Gates Foundation in which it is advocating policies and agricultural technologies that will directly benefit and profit Monsanto while screwing over the most vulnerable people on earth: hungry subsistence farmers in developing countries.
Roma people after being resettled from a camp near Lille, in northern France
France has come under increasing pressure to stop its mass expulsions of Roma when a United Nations human rights panel added its voice to the chorus of condemnation.
In recent weeks, French officials have dismantled more than 100 illegal camps and sent hundreds of Roma back to their homes in eastern Europe.
A report released yesterday by a UN anti-racism panel urged France to avoid its “collective repatriations” and expressed concern that members of the Roma community weren’t receiving full voting, education and housing rights in France.
“… the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.”
Learn to read Sonia Sotomayor! Then start reading the constitution.
US supreme court likely to have to rule on issue of balancing national security and freedom of speech, says judge
Sonia Sotomayor described the balance between national security and free speech as ‘a constant struggle in this society’. Photograph: Ed Andrieski/AP
US supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor has said the court is likely to have to rule on the issue of balancing national security and freedom of speech due to WikiLeaks posting a cache of US military records about the Afghan war.
Sotomayor said the incident, which has been condemned by the Pentagon, was likely to provoke legislation in Congress that would require judicial scrutiny.
Her comments came in response to a question about security and free speech by a student at Denver university. The judge said she could not answer because “that question is very likely to come before me”. She said the “incident, and others, are going to provoke legislation that’s already being discussed in Congress, and so some of it is going to come up before [the supreme court]“.
WikiLeaks posted more than 76,900 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the Afghan war on its website last month, providing a devastating portrait of the war. They revealed how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents and how Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.
The publication of the files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, was one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The Pentagon has said the leak put the lives of US service personnel and Afghan informants at risk – a charge WikiLeaks denies.
Sotomayor said the balance between national security and free speech is “a constant struggle in this society, between our security needs and our first amendment rights, and one that has existed throughout our history.”
(Dictators and elite criminals do struggle with the constitution. That was the intent!!!)
From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (“No End In Sight”), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.
They refuse to allow the yuan to strengthen because they know that once they do that it will mark the real end of the dollar era.So instead they are spending like crazy on infrastructure ahead of them allowing the dollar to plunge. Then the strong yuan will be employed to purchase all the commodities they need to utilize their infrastructure and the OECD gets priced out. To those that talk about yuan devaluation, you need to be specific. Devaluation versus what? Versus commodities generally along with other currencies? I can buy that argument very easily. Versus the dollar, highly doubtful. Why? The latest data says China owns $877.5 billion in U.S. treasuries.All they have to do is start dumping and the dollar is finished as the Fed will be forced to print so many dollars it will make Mugabe blush. People need to wake up.
(Mike Krieger, formerly a macro analyst at Bernstein, and currently running his own fund, KAM LP, summarizies the pretend reality we are all caught in now, knowing full well America is set on a crash course with reality at some point, yet sticking our collective heads in the sand, as the collapse will be some time in the “indefinite” future. In the meantime, banks will continue to boost US GDP by peddling “financial innovation” and restructuring advice to countries like Greece… and nothing else.)
Aug. 26 (Financial Times) — A number of the world’s biggest banks have launched international roadshows promoting the use of the renminbi to corporate customers instead of the dollar for trade deals with China.
HSBC, which recently moved its chief executive from London to Hong Kong, and Standard Chartered, are offering discounted transaction fees and other financial incentives to companies that choose to settle trade in the Chinese currency.
“We’re now capable of doing renminbi settlement in many parts of the world,” said Chris Lewis, HSBC’s head of trade for greater China. “All the other major international banks are frantically trying to do the same thing.”
HSBC and StanChart are among a slew of global banks – including Citigroup and JPMorgan – holding roadshows across Asia, Europe and the US to promote the renminbi to companies.
The move aligns the banks favourably with Beijing’s policy priorities and positions them to profit from what is expected to be a rapidly growing line of business in the future.
The phenomenon will accelerate Beijing’s drive to transform the renminbi from a domestic currency into a global medium of exchange like the dollar and euro. Continue reading »