Friday, October 16, 2009


Child labour

We still have the feudal system.

Bangladeshis making cheap clothes for supermarkets are paid as little as 3p an hour.


The book World Hunger: Twelve Myths (12 Myths About Hunger.) tells us the following:

1. The world produces enough food.

But low incomes prevent many people from getting enough to eat.

The elite (A) prevent the poor from owning land (B) pay starvation wages.

2. Climate is a factor.

In America many homeless people die from the cold every winter.

3. Birth rates are falling rapidly worldwide.

In countries like Nigeria, Brazil and Bolivia, lots of food is grown but many people are too poor to buy a decent meal.

The Netherlands has little land per person but manages to feed its people and export food.

Countries like Cuba and Sri lanka have managed to greatly reduce population growth rates.

They have done this by improving the lives of the poor, especially poor women.

4. Efforts to feed the hungry are not causing the environmental crisis.

Large corporations are mainly responsible for deforestation.

Most pesticides are applied to export crops.

Cuba overcame a food crisis through self-reliance and sustainable, virtually pesticide-free agriculture.

5. We must fight the prospect of a β€˜New Green Revolution' based on biotechnology, which threatens to further accentuate inequality.

6. Large landowners often leave much land idle.

A World Bank study of northeast Brazil estimates that redistributing farmland into smaller holdings would raise output an astonishing 80 percent.

7. The market only works efficiently when everyone has a decent income.

8. As a result of 'Free Trade', Brazil exports soybean ­to feed Japanese and European livestock.

Export crop production squeezes out basic food production.

Since NAFTA there has been a net loss of jobs in the USDA and Mexico.

9. Poor people, such as the Zapatistas in Chiapas, seek change.

We should remove the obstacles often created by large corporations, U.S. government, World Bank and IMF policies.

10. Most U.S. aid works directly against the hungry.

US aid is used to keep repressive governments in power.

11. Low wages ­in the Third World may mean cheaper bananas, shirts, computers and fast food for Americans and Europeans.

But the system leads to greater poverty for the majority.

Corporations seek cheaper and cheaper labour.

12. ­The 'right to unlimited accumulation of wealth' ­is in conflict with 'ending hunger'.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Devastating Indonesian earthquake 'still to come'


According to an article at New Scientist, the earthquake which hit Padang in Sumatra, Indonesia, in September 2009, killing more than 1100 people, "may have been only a hint of worse to come."

(Devastating Indonesian earthquake 'still to come')

Since 2004, geologists have been predicting a far nastier earthquake in the region – "a shallow tremor that will rip the sea floor apart, trigger a devastating tsunami and kill far more people."

John McCloskey, a seismologist at the Environmental Sciences Research Institute at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, predicts a bigger quake will hit Padang.

Over 100,000 people – a seventh of the city's population – are blocked from escaping to higher ground by the barbed wire-laced, 10-metre-high walls of a huge military airport.

"Padang needs to build a tunnel under that airport, because if they don't these poor people will have to run parallel to the coast for several hundred metres while the tsunami is coming at them," says McCloskey.

So far, no steps have been taken to build such an exit route. "Sometimes you despair," he says. (Devastating Indonesian earthquake 'still to come')