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Archive for January 18th, 2016

14 Million Face Hunger in Southern Africa

Posted by feww on January 18, 2016

Southern Africa’s planting window closes with little or no prospect of rain

About 14 million people in southern Africa are facing hunger after a poor harvest last year caused by prolonged periods of drought.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says it is increasingly concerned about food security for an estimated 14 million people in southern Africa after prolonged periods of drought led to a poor harvest in 2015.

The window for the planting of cereals is closing rapidly, or already closed in some countries, with little or no rain falling in many areas, and the outlook is alarming, said WFP.

“Driving through southern Zambia, I saw fields of crops severely stressed from lack of water and met farmers who are struggling to cope with a second season of erratic rains,” said WFP Executive Director who recently visited to drought-prone southern Zambia. “Zambia is one of the biggest breadbaskets in the region and what’s happening there gives serious cause for concern not only for Zambia itself but all countries in the region.”

Worst affected in the region by last year’s poor rains are Malawi (2.8 million people facing hunger), Madagascar (nearly 1.9 million people) and Zimbabwe (1.5 million) where last year’s harvest was reduced by half compared to the previous year because of massive crop failure.

In Lesotho, the government last month declared a drought emergency and some 650,000 people – one third of the population – do not have enough food. In Lesotho as elsewhere, water is in extremely short supply for both crops and livestock. Also causing concern are Angola, Mozambique and Swaziland.

Food prices across southern Africa have been rising due to reduced production and availability. The price of maize – the staple for most of the region – is 73 percent higher in Malawi than the three-year average for this time of year.

“One particularly worrying symptom of southern Africa’s vulnerability to food and nutrition security is the alarming rate of chronic malnutrition. Levels of stunting among children in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia are among the worst in the world. This affects children’s physical growth, cognitive development, as well as their future health and productivity,” said the report.

 

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Economic Emergency for France

Posted by feww on January 18, 2016

French President declares “a state of economic and social emergency”

French President Francois Hollande has declared what he called “a state of economic and social emergency,” for the country pledging a 2-billion-euro ($2.2 billion) plan to revive hiring and catch up with a fast-moving world economy, AP reported.

France has been under a state of emergency since the terrorist attacks in November.

“Due to the threat of terrorism in the past, we had to introduce a state of emergency. But amid global chaos and an uncertain economic environment, it’s appropriate to talk about a state of economic and social emergency. Employment is the most important question after the security of French citizens,” TASS news agency quoted Hollande as saying.

“Hollande stressed the urgency of updating France’s labor-friendly business model in an increasingly border-free, online economy. The measures included a loosening of France’s rigid working time rules, and a bonus of 2,000 euros to small businesses that hire young people,” AP reported.

“He stressed the need to integrate youth from France’s troubled suburbs, including minorities who face job discrimination, into the global economy. High unemployment in France’s North African and African communities is seen as one of the factors driving some youths to violent extremism or the drug trade.”

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What If the ‘Martians’ Had Invaded The World?

Posted by feww on January 18, 2016

Sent by a reader

How Human Civilization Got So Screwed Up?

Why Humans Let their World Be Ruled by Evil?

The richest 1% now own more wealth than the rest of the world combined.

62 Individuals have as much wealth as the bottom half: Oxfam

In its latest report, Oxfam outlines how the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population —more than 3.6 billion people—has fallen by a trillion dollars (41 percent) since 2010, while the wealth of the richest 62 people has inflated by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion.

By what right, reason or rhyme?

The global inequality crisis is reaching new extremes. The richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined. Power and privilege is being used to skew the economic system to increase the gap between the richest and the rest. A global network of tax havens further enables the richest individuals to hide $7.6 trillion. The fight against poverty will not be won until the inequality crisis is tackled.

The gap between rich and poor is reaching new extremes. Credit Suisse recently revealed that the richest 1% have now accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together. This occurred a year earlier than Oxfam’s much publicized prediction ahead of last year’s World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity has fallen by a trillion dollars in the past five years. This is just the latest evidence that today we live in a world with levels of inequality we may not have seen for over a century.

AN ECONOMY FOR THE 1%

The gap between rich and poor is reaching new extremes. Credit Suisse recently revealed that the richest 1% have now accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together.

Meanwhile, the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity has fallen by a trillion dollars in the past five years.

This is just the latest evidence that today we live in a world with levels of inequality we may not have seen for over a century. ‘An Economy for the 1%’ looks at how this has happened, and why, as well as setting out shocking new evidence of an inequality crisis that is out of control.

Oxfam has calculated that:

  • In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people—the bottom half of humanity. This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.
  • The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44% in the five years since 2010 – that’s an increase of more than half a trillion dollars ($542 billion), to $1.76 trillion.
  • Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half fell by just over a trillion dollars in the same period —a drop of 41% .
  • Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top 1%.
  • The average annual income of the poorest 10% of people in the world has risen by less than $3 each year in almost a quarter of a century. Their daily income has risen by less than a single cent every year.

The report is posted at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/bp210-economy-one-percent-tax-havens-180116-en_0.pdf

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