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Via [personal profile] eccentricyoruba:

Africa losing billions in tax evasion by corporations.

Billions are being lost, not collected in taxes due to corporate tax evasion throughout Africa. A Study by a Swedish agency, Forum Syd suggests that Money taken illegally from the developing world is worth 10 times annual global aid budgets, according to a recent study.Tax evasions by multinational companies in Africa is so vast that tax analysts believe that if the money were paid, most of the continent would be “developed” by now. But, lacking a sophisticated tax code, or the people qualified to enforce tax laws, many African countries continue to lose money that could solve most of its financial problems.

[...]

This all goes back to weak governing, the state not having competent officials to handle the work in enforcing the tax laws. Just blaming corporations shouldn’t be enough. Some blame has to be directed toward government officials who in many cases allow this to take place. We all know that nothing talks louder than money and bribery is common towards government officials.


The article talk about weak governing, but corps are the big evaders here. So I guess we should put the blame on them. There is some talk about "modernizing tax codes for a globalized world" that kinda makes me cynical, specially when corruption has a lot to do here. But to be honest, I have no idea what he proposes because I'm not familiarized with how "tax codes" work in these different places. The proposal of a "business friendly environment" when talking about taxes evasion... is weird.
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I've started, for my teaching and research, keeping a publicly readable GoogleDoc on news articles, blog posts, tweets, etc on gender, women, feminism and the Arab revolutions of the past year. (Most of my links are only a month or two old, at this point in time.) I thought members of this community might find it useful! Nearly all the links are in English, though some have untranslated Arabic text in images, or untranslated Arabic audio for video clips. The links don't have annotations right now, because I don't have time--but parts of them are sorted into readings for my class, so those at least have themes.

The document is here. Enjoy--and if you have other links you think I should have, pass them on!
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But someone needs to explain how a NATO strike killed him when he had been discovered in a drainage hole by rebels.


Graphic footage showing him after his death in Sirte


Muammar Gaddafi killed as Sirte falls: NTC military chief says toppled leader died of wounds following capture near his hometown of Sirte.


Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after National Transitional Council fighters overran loyalist defences in Sirte, the toppled Libyan leader's hometown and final stronghold.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed," Mahmoud Jibril, the de facto Libyan prime minister, told reporters on Thursday in Tripoli, the capital.

Crowds took to the streets of Sirte, Tripoli and Benghazi, the eastern city that spearheaded the uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year rule in February, to celebrate the news, with some firing guns and waving Libya's new flag. 

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured on Thursday.

The body of the former Libyan leader was taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons, Mohamed Abdel Kafi, an NTC official in the city of Misrata, told the Reuters news agency.

Earlier, Abdel Majid, another NTC official, said the toppled leader had been wounded in both legs.

Sirte captured

The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte after weeks of fierce fighting.

 


Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reports from Sirte

 

Fighters flashing V for victory took to the streets in pick-ups blaring out patriotic music.

"Thank God they have caught this person. In one hour, Sirte was liberated," a fighter said.

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley, reporting from Sirte, said Libyans there celebrating the beginning of a "new Libya".


MORE



Who was Muammar Gaddafi? Video


What does Gaddafi's fall mean for Africa? As global powers become more interested in Africa, interventions in the continent will likely become more common.

"Kampala 'mute' as Gaddafi falls," is how the opposition paper summed up the mood of this capital the morning after. Whether they mourn or celebrate, an unmistakable sense of trauma marks the African response to the fall of Gaddafi.

Both in the longevity of his rule and in his style of governance, Gaddafi may have been extreme. But he was not exceptional. The longer they stay in power, the more African presidents seek to personalise power. Their success erodes the institutional basis of the state. The Carribean thinker C L R James once remarked on the contrast between Nyerere and Nkrumah, analysing why the former survived until he resigned but the latter did not: "Dr Julius Nyerere in theory and practice laid the basis of an African state, which Nkrumah failed to do."

The African strongmen are going the way of Nkrumah, and in extreme cases Gaddafi, not Nyerere. The societies they lead are marked by growing internal divisions. In this, too, they are reminiscent of Libya under Gaddafi more than Egypt under Mubarak or Tunisia under Ben Ali.

Whereas the fall of Mubarak and Ben Ali directed our attention to internal social forces, the fall of Gaddafi has brought a new equation to the forefront: the connection between internal opposition and external governments. Even if those who cheer focus on the former and those who mourn are preoccupied with the latter, none can deny that the change in Tripoli would have been unlikely without a confluence of external intervention and internal revolt.

More interventions to come

The conditions making for external intervention in Africa are growing, not diminishing. The continent is today the site of a growing contention between dominant global powers and new challengers. The Chinese role on the continent has grown dramatically. Whether in Sudan and Zimbawe, or in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, that role is primarily economic, focused on two main activities: building infrastructure and extracting raw materials. For its part, the Indian state is content to support Indian mega-corporations; it has yet to develop a coherent state strategy. But the Indian focus too is mainly economic.

The contrast with Western powers, particularly the US and France, could not be sharper. The cutting edge of Western intervention is military. France's search for opportunities for military intervention, at first in Tunisia, then Cote d'Ivoire, and then Libya, has been above board and the subject of much discussion. Of greater significance is the growth of Africom, the institutional arm of US military intervention on the African continent.
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The Sticky Situation Surrounding Plumpy'nut


Afro-Leo is pleased to bring you a guest post by Isaac Rutenberg, PhD, Patent Agent at Bozicevic, Field & Francis LLP in San Francisco, CA, USA. If you would like to contact Isaac directly, he can be reached at rutenberg@bozpat.com.

Is intellectual property always harmful to poor people? Plumpy’nut has been cited as an example that supports the case against allowing patent rights in matters of humanitarian aid. On the contrary, Plumpy’nut is a shining example of how proper use of intellectual property protections could have significantly enhanced international aid and development work.
A recent article in the NYTimes describes the row that has developed over Plumpy'nut. In short, Plumpy'nut is a revolutionary peanut-based product with the potential to end or significantly reduce severe acute child malnutrition. Developed by Dr. Andre Briend, a "crusading pediatrician" who became tired of traditional (frequently unsuccessful) solutions to acute malnutrition, Plumpy'nut is a simple product that is remarkably effective and practical.

So why the row? Turns out that the Plumpy'nut formulation has been patented in 38 countries, including the US, France, and much of Africa. The owner of the patent, the French company Nutriset, appears to be bent on commercializing not just the miracle product but the entire process of combating acute malnutrition. Nutriset and Nutriset's collaborators (including a US for-profit company manufacturing Plumpy'nut in New Jersey for distribution to USAID) have defended their approach and their product, taking steps to prevent others from producing similar products. Criticism of Nutriset has been unsurprisingly harsh: non-profits worldwide say that Nutriset is trying to profit on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable children. Inevitably, there is the claim that intellectual property is to blame for this disaster.

I say, not so fast. The NYTimes article says that Nutriset obtained the patent rights because Dr. Briend "signed a consulting agreement" with Nutriset after developing Plumpy'nut, since he "never knew anything about manufacturing food." This is somewhat vague, but according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office database, Dr. Briend and a co-inventor assigned (i.e., sold) the patent to Nutriset. This left Nutriset entirely in charge of the patent – Dr. Briend has no say in how it is used.

Why didn't he open source copyright the formulation?


You should read the New York Times article. Just be prepared to RAGE. The Peanut Solution
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NAMIBIA Skulls Repatriated - But No Official German Apology

BERLIN, Oct 4, 2011 (IPS) - A delegation of Namibian government representatives and leaders of the indigenous Herero and Nama people who came to Germany to repatriate 20 skulls of their ancestors were once again disappointed in their hopes for dialogue and an official apology.

The skulls were of victims of the mass murder of 80,000 Herero and Nama between 1904 and 1908, which were stolen by the former colonial 'Kaiserreich' for racial research some 100 years ago.

"When the Great Powers partitioned Africa in 1884, unfortunately we were allotted to the Germans," said Advocate Krukoro of the Ovaherero Genocide Committee, one of the 60 Namibian delegates, during the Sept. 27-Oct. 2 visit to Berlin.

In 1904, some 17,000 German colonial troops commanded by General Lothar von Trotha launched a brutal war of extermination against the Herero and Nama people, after they revolted against the continued deprivation of land and rights. Following their defeat at Waterberg on Aug. 11, 1904, they were hunted, murdered or driven deep into the Omaheke desert where they died of thirst.

Thousands of men, women and children were later interned in German concentration camps, and died of malnutrition and disease. The territories of the Herero and Nama people were seized, their community life and means of production destroyed. The discussion about the mass murder did not start until Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990.

Germany's foreign ministry has routinely avoided the use of the term "genocide" in dismissing the Herero and Nama peoples' claims for compensation, using instead vague phrases such as "Germany's historic responsibility with respect to Namibia."


Cornelia Pieper, the minister of state in the German foreign office, did the same this time around. "Germans acknowledge and accept the heavy moral and historical responsibility to Namibia," she said on Sep. 30 at the Charité University in Berlin, which hosted the ceremony in which the skulls of nine Herero and eleven Nama people were handed over to the Namibian delegation.

The remains of four females, 15 males and one child were part of the Charité anatomical collection. They were used by German scientists in research that had the aim of proving the supposed racial superiority of white Europeans over black Africans.

Now, 100 years later, the president of the executive board of the 300-year-old institution, Karl Max Einhaeupl, deplored "the crimes perpetrated in the name of a perverted concept of scientific progress" and said: "We sincerely apologise".

The treatment of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia – mass extermination on the grounds of racism, extermination through labour, expropriation of land and cattle, research to prove the alleged superiority of white people – is widely seen as a precursor to the Holocaust. MORE
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Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

(CNN) -- Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died Monday of an unspecified illness. She was 71.

"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," her organization said.
Maathai, an environmentalist, had long campaigned for human rights and the empowerment of Africa's most impoverished people.

More than 30 years ago she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to simultaneously mitigate deforestation and to give locals, especially women and girls, new purpose. They have since planted more than 40 million trees.

In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the first woman from the continent to win the prize.

"Her departure is untimely and a very great loss to all of us who knew her—as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine—or those who admired her determination to make the world a peaceful, healthy, and better place for all of us," said Karanja Njoroge, executive director of the Green Belt Movement.

Born in Nyeri, Kenya, on April 1, 1940, Maathai blazed many trails in her life.
She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. In December 2002, she was elected to Kenya's parliament with an overwhelming 98% of the vote.MORE
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Herman Chinery-Hesse, Africa’s ‘Father of Technology’

Herman Chinery-Hesse, Founder of theSOFTtribe I


David speaks to Herman Chinery-Hesse (founder of theSOFTtribe) about Ghana's Information Technology industry.


Innovator, disruptor, and West African software pioneer, Herman Chinery-Hesse wants to make Ghana the “Singapore of Africa”. Given he’s already created one of Ghana’s most successful software companies and is spawning innovations that solve barriers to trade between Africa and the rest of the world, he has a good chance.
Herman Chinery-Hesse is an anomaly for western media who can’t see beyond that stereotype that exists for those who don’t know this continent, and reduce it to clichés pulled from a pool of nouns that include dictator, corruption, conflict, hunger and Mugabe.

The western media call Chinery-Hesse the “Bill Gates of Africa”, a moniker which gives off-shore audiences who see the continent as one amorphous “country”. A successful Ghanaian technologist whose software company, the SOFTtribe, spawned systems that empower much of West Africa, it is Chinery-Hesse’s disruptive inventions that are making the world sit up and take note.

A generous man, Chinery-Hesse doesn’t mind the nickname that the likes of the BBC and Inc. Magazine have given him. “I am flattered, but I haven’t achieved what Bill Gates has achieved and I certainly don’t run around wearing this on a T-shirt,” he says. “It is positive and it motivates younger people, but I certainly don’t have the kind of wealth that Bill Gates has,” Chinery-Hesse adds before breaking into a deep belly laugh.

I am an African innovator. I am a man who’s trying to change the continent, make things better and I’m trying to help myself a little bit while I do that.” Chinery-Hesse’s dream is to turn Ghana into the next Singapore, an ambition that can only be appreciated once you know who he is, where he’s come from and the contribution he’s making to Ghana and the continent.MORE



via The Africa They Never Show You

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Ghana’s Growing Gay Pride Faces Now-Familiar Evangelical Backlash

On particular midweek nights, throngs of men and women gather at a few particular clubs to dance the night away to pulsating beats, and sometimes live music. The men dance provocatively close to each other, with reckless abandon. The few women around do the same with each other. Kisses are even exchanged.

At seaside dance parties where beer and reggae flow to all and sundry, it’s no longer uncommon for men and women in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, to test the waters and try to pick up companions of the same sex. Even in conservative Ghana, it seems that gays and lesbians are taking steps out in the public domain, at least at night.

But like elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, a backlash to that new openness has erupted as well. Since late May, it has spilled out onto the radio. Hours are spent debating whether gays should be allowed to exist here. Then Ghanaians wake up to national headlines screaming that gays and lesbians are dirty and sinful and ought to be locked up.

The pattern is becoming a familiar one throughout sub-Saharan Africa. As evangelical Christianity has seen its fastest growth on the continent, gay communities have simultaneously grown more open. The parallel developments have led to a growing list of countries in which politicians and media outlets have both incited and exploited social panic around sexuality. In the late 1990s, a beleaguered Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe drew global attention as he invited violence against gay people and blamed the country’s growing troubles on the European deprivation he said they symbolized. Since then, similar moments have struck in places stretching across the continent. Most recently, Uganda has been embroiled in controversy over a proposed law that would, among other things, allow the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality. The authors of that law are closely tied to the U.S. religious right.

Now, this West African nation is having its own gay-dialogue moment and, once again, much of it has been unsavory, with religious leaders and some politicians stoking the flames.

Gay bashing had never been a feature of the Ghanaian social landscape until, oh, I would say the last 10-15 years. And it came with the evangelical Christians,” says Nat Amartefio, 67, a historian, lifelong resident and former mayor of Accra.MORE



Questions: WHY is evangelical Christianity so popular? What needs and wants does it fulfill? Who is funding it? Who are the missionaries? How in the hell do we stop it? Why is it that progressive Christianity seems to be so fucking far behind the assholes? Because GODDAMN, I am sick and fucking TIRED of this.
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Reader? I cried.


14 cows as a “handkerchief to wipe away tears” of 9/11


As America looked inward in the days, weeks and months after September 11, 2001, others around the world made extraordinary gestures toward the United States. 
We were all so focused on ourselves – understandably so – that many probably missed the fact that Iran’s President Mohammad Khatami condemned the attacks, that Ireland and Israel held full national days of mourning, that the Afghan Taliban told “American children [that] Afghanistan feels your pain”.

You are even less likely to have heard what could be one of the most touching reactions of all. This is the story of how a destitute Kenyan boy turned Stanford student rallied his Masai tribe to offer its most precious gift to America in its time of need.
MORE
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Libyan papers show UK worked with Gaddafi in rendition operation.

A secret CIA document found among the haul shows that the British and Libyans worked together to arrange for a terrorism suspect to be removed from Hong Kong to Tripoli – along with his wife and children – despite the risk that they would be tortured. The wording of the document suggests the CIA was not involved in the planning of the rendition operation, but was eager to become engaged during its execution and offered financial support.

Other papers found in the building suggest MI6 enjoyed a far closer working relationship with Gaddafi's intelligence agencies than has been publicly known, and was involved in a number of US-led operations that also resulted in Islamists being consigned to Gaddafi's prisons.

On Sunday, one of the victims, Abdul Hakim Belhaj – now commander of the anti-Gaddafi militia in Tripoli – demanded an apology from London and Washington and said he was considering suing over his rendition to Tripoli and subsequent torture.
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TRIGGER WARNING FOR TRANSCRIPT OF A VIDEO THAT DEALS WITH POLICE BRUTALITY AND RAPE

So sorry I missed that the first time!

Here is the first video:
English Version: Egypt: How We Did It When the Media Would Not


On February 11, 2011 Egyptians toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak. Blogger and viral video producer Aalam Wassef was one of the many people who worked for years to make it happen. This is first in a series on the daily life of
Egypt's revolution. It's a manual on how a civil resistance was built to win.




Spanish Subtitled Version: Egipto: Cómo lo hicimos cuando los medios no lo harían


El 11 de febrero de 2011, el pueblo egipcio derrocó al dictador Hosni Mubarak. El bloguero y productor de video viral, Aalam Wassef, fue una de las muchas personas que trabajaron por años para que esto sucediera. Este video es el primero en una serie sobre la vida cotidiana de la revolución egipcia. Es un manual sobre cómo una resistencia civil fue construida para triunfar.
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Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Championships, after being named in South Africa’s squad.


Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Championships, after being named in South Africa’s squad.

The 24-year-old double-amputee, who competes on carbon fibre legs, will race in the 400m and 4x400m relay

The event begins in Daegu, South Korea on 27 August.

Women’s 800m world champion Caster Semenya, who was cleared to run last year after an 11-month lay-off because of gender tests, is also in the squad.

Pistorius said: "I have dreamt for such a long time of competing in a major championships and this is a very proud moment in my life.

"It will be a great day for me when I set out on the track in Daegu and I hope to do my country proud.

"This will be the highest-profile and most prestigious able-bodied event which I have ever competed in, and I will face the highest-calibre of athletes from across the planet."

An International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) ban was overturned in 2008, allowing Pistorius to compete against able-bodied athletes.

The IAAF's ruling that his "blades" gave him an unfair advantage was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pistorius clocked a personal best time of 45.07 seconds in Italy last month to qualify just inside the cut-off time.


Continue reading




Via fyeahAfrica which has pics.
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Nigerian satellites are picture perfect

Nigeria's latest Earth observation satellites have returned their first pictures.

The spacecraft, launched on 17 August, give the African nation a powerful new capability to map its own lands and other parts of the globe.

NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X will also assist the Disaster Monitoring Constellation.

This UK-managed fleet of spacecraft is used to picture regions of the Earth gripped by natural calamities.

These might be catastrophic floods or a big earthquake. Images sent down from space will often be critical to organising an effective emergency response.

The first picture released from the Nigerian pair is of New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland.

It was acquired by NigeriaSat-X, and reveals the buildings and the landscape surrounding this major urban centre.

It is just possible to see the wakes of ships passing under the harbour bridge that joins downtown Auckland with North Shore City.

The satellite is equipped with a multi-spectral imager for general mapping, agricultural monitoring and disaster relief work.

Nigerian engineer at SSTLNigerian engineers built NigeriaSat-X with the help of their British counterparts

The resolution in this picture is 22m per pixel. Vegetation is picked out in red.

Both NigeriaSat-X and NigeriaSat-2 were designed and built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) in Guildford, UK.

What is interesting about NigeriaSat-X is that the work was undertaken by Nigerian engineers themselves. The skills they have learnt will now be taken home so that they can build future spacecraft in their own country

MORE


via fyeahAfrica
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The Guardian Liveblog

The battle for Libya: Key moments so far

Al Jazeera Liveblog

EDIT: ONTD POLITICAL LIVEPOST This one is awesome because people are pulling in the Twitter messages. And apparently this happened:

@lisang
Holy crap! Libyan news announcer live, holding gun threatening anyone who might take state TV goo.gl/Zb072 #Libya (via @khaladk)

...

With this weapon I will either kill or be killed today. You will not take over Al-Libiyah. Nor will you take over Jamahiriyah, or Shababiyah, or Tripoli, or Libya. All of us here are armed, and even those who aren't are prepared to be shields to protect their colleagues at the station. We are all willing to be martyrs.



Daughter of EDIT:
@SultanAlQassemi
Breaking Al Jazeera: the Libyan NTC's Mustafa Abdul Jaleel: Confirmed reports that Saif Al Islam Gaddafi has been captured


Granddaughter of EDIT:
ShababLibya LibyanYouthMovement
Saadi is now confirmed captured. 3 sons, Mohammad surrendered, Saif and Saadi captured. held in secret location by FF #Libya


Late Great Granddaughter of Edit: The rebels got the Green Square
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Q&A
'Men Have Failed Zambia, Now Is the Time for a Woman' Ephraim Nsingo interviews Zambia’s female presidential candidate EDITH NAWAKWI



LUSAKA, Aug 10, 2011 (IPS) - In Zambia’s highly patriarchal society Edith Nawakwi, 52, has broken a few records on the political scene over the last two decades. And she broke another one on Sunday by being the only female candidate to file for nomination to run for president in Zambia’s upcoming elections.

All candidates are required to file nomination papers with the country’s Supreme Court to get legal confirmation that they are standing as a presidential candidate. Come election day on Sept. 20, about 17 candidates will battle it out to lead the country. Nawakwi is well-known in Zambian politics. In 1997 she became the first woman in southern Africa to be appointed as a minister of finance. The former member of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) left it in 2001 when she and other officials opposed then President Fredrick Chiluba’s bid for a third term.

They formed the Forum for Democratic Development (FDD) and Nawakwi was elected as the party’s first vice president. In 2005 she became the first Zambian woman to lead a political party when she was elected president of the FDD.

Excerpts from the interview follow.

Q: You have just filed for nomination as a presidential candidate. What was going through your mind?

A: As I went to file my nomination, as I walked up to the Chief Justice, I asked myself ‘Why am I doing this?’ I was (asking) myself ‘am I equal to the task?’ But when I looked at my supporters and their excitement, it helped me appreciate the trust. I believe Zambia is ready for a woman to be president. Only a woman can bring about real change in this country. MORE
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Honduras Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women’s Constitutional Assembly

Proposals to radically re-formulate the constitution of Honduras need to incorporate the experiences and perspectives of indigenous and Afro-Honduran women, declared Berta Cáceres, a longtime feminist indigenous activist and an organizer of the Constitutional Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women. The historic event, which is taking place July 10-14, 2011 in Copán Ruinas, will include indigenous and Afro women delegates from all over Honduras, said Cáceres, who is also coordinator of COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations in Honduras).

Many of these women have been front and center in the popular resistance movement against the repression following the coup d’etat in their country in June, 2009, struggling against assaults on their lands, sovereignty, natural resources and cultures. Likewise, many have been specifically targeted as leaders in these struggles with aggressive and violent assaults and detentions by police and private security forces.

Along the northern coast of Honduras, there are 48 Garifuna communities “who are suffering an accelerated expulsion from our territories that we have inhabited for 214 years,” said Miriam Miranda of OFRANEH (National Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans) in a public letter she released after being violently detained and assaulted by security forces in March, 2011 for her role as a leader in the resistance. Communal lands of the Garifuna have been subject to widespread privatization as part of massive development plans by the government and World Bank to create big tourist resorts and “model cities.” The Garifuna are matrilocal, meaning the land has been traditionally passed along matrilineal lines, so this massive assault on communal lands has hit women particularly hard (Vacanti Brondo, 2007).MORE



Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women: Autonomy and an End to Violence Against Us

Final Declaration of Constituent Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women

From the rhythmic beat of powerful drums and ancient spiritual songs that echoed through the sacred ruins of the Mayan Chortí in Copan in western Honduras, the three-day event ended with hundreds of indigenous and Afro- Honduran women demanding autonomy and an end to the colonization of their lands, their bodies, their lives, and ways of doing politics.

The
Final Declaration of Copán Galel of the Self-Organized Constituent Assembly of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran women denounced the “violence, repression and domination of women operating through capitalism, patriarchy and racism,” said Berta Caceres, coordinator the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in an interview with Escribana.

Caceres was also one of the organizers of the Assembly, which took place July 11 to 13, 2011 in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. The Assembly involved an intensive dialogue on the realities of life of the 300 participating women whose cultures, lands, natural resources and the country have been under siege that intensified since the military coup in June 2009.

Since then, the government, the powerful elites and transnational corporations have been using the “
Shock Doctrine” (Naomi Klein) to promote a rapid re-engineering of business, economic policies and all policies before people have opportunity to react. (Http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine).

For Honduras, this has meant immediate and aggressive plans for mass-tourism projects, mega-projects such as hydroelectric dams and the expansion of mining, agribusiness and forestry, all involving the confiscation of indigenous and Afro lands.
MORE





Israel Daphne Leef:How a woman in a tent became Israel's Top Story

Until recently nobody had heard of Daphni Leef. Now, everybody in Israel knows the 25-year-old's face and her cause. Just a few weeks ago, Leef was waiting tables. Now, her schedule has become such that she cannot help keeping people waiting. This interview was meant to take place at 11am but did not start until 5pm. Among things that might have distracted her was the small matter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu putting everything on hold to respond to her demands.

Even after the interview started, we were interrupted by well-wishers, delighted to see her in the flesh sitting outside a Tel Aviv café. A young man wanted a hug; a little old lady wanted to have her picture taken with Leef. And upon hearing her voice a blind woman halted her guide dog and chatted excitedly.

So what did Leef do to bring her such national attention? She got chucked out of her flat. And then wrote on Facebook. Just over a month ago she was told that she needed to leave her Tel Aviv apartment because the building was slated for redevelopment. She started looking for a new home, and was shocked to find how expensive rents had become.

"I called up a friend and said, 'I'm setting up a tent'," she recalls. "He said I should calm down." But she did not calm down - instead she opened a Facebook "event", inviting people to erect tents in central Tel Aviv to protest against high housing prices.MORE


Dude. They profiled the originator of a protest that has seen up to 300,000 people participate....in the lifestyle section. God. DAMN.


Tunisia Tunisian women fear the Algerian way

TUNIS, Aug 5, 2011 (IPS) - A women’s group begins campaigning near La Marsa beach in Tunis to convince more women to come up and register in the electoral lists, in time for the deadline now pushed back to Aug. 14. Most of the women watching the proceedings are veiled.

The veils present more a question than a suggestion at present. One survey among veiled women conduced by journalists here claims that four in five of these women will not vote for Ennahda, the Islamist party surging ahead in popularity ahead of elections for a constituent assembly due in October.

Veils in such numbers are an unusual sight in Tunisia where women visit the beach just as comfortably in a bikini as wearing a headscarf, and just as comfortable sipping wine as a soft drink, listening to rap or traditional music.

Looks may be deceptive, one way or another. "Look around," says Khadija, an activist with the Modernist Democratic Front - a coalition of local Tunisian democratic parties - on another beachfront near the fashionable La Goulette. "Can you see these people living under Islamic law? Tunisia is not Algeria. I am sure it will never happen here."

...


Women have had successes they want to hold on to: half the candidates in the electoral lists must now be women. A strong presence of women in the constituent assembly could be crucial to women’s rights.

Women also want to consolidate the position taken by the High Commission charged to verify that the goals of the revolution are respected - namely that religion and politics will be kept separate. Ennahda has opposed this move in the transitional period. It has also opposed the transitional government’s decision that parties cannot receive funds from outside.

On another front women are fighting the undemocratic influence of former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in institutions such as the media. The media gives little space to women, even though they are politically active, and many will be candidates. MORE
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Kashmir: The militant in her: Women and resistance Kashmiri women defy state oppression by being on the frontlines.



Relegating women's engagement in conflict situations to the passive space of victimhood is an anticipated outcome of the unequal distribution of power in gender relations. However, this narrative obfuscates their role as active participants, which is of equal, if not greater, significance - and which has increasingly become an accentuating facet of their participation during the recent years of the conflict.

In the early stages of the armed struggle, broad-based support for the independence movement was apparent, and resulted in the creation of both dissident men and women. However, men and women formed their opposition to Indian rule largely in different ways. Men took to combat, women to facilitating the men's fight, or by registering their support for azadi through popular protest.

Women also became facilitators of combat by acting as couriers for arms, informers for militants, provided them shelter and food, and at times helped them escape capture during the sudden and dreaded Indian military raids or "crackdowns", which continue to happen in civilian areas. Their motivation came from the general feeling for independence running deep in the masses - as a result of which, the Indian Armed Forces were always looked at as the "other", and militants and other dissidents as their "own".MORE



Libya

via : [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political

Libyan Women Challenge Mindset Created by Tyranny

BENGHAZI, Libya (WOMENSENEWS)--While rebel fighters battle for a democratic future in the west of Libya, a handful of women back in the rebel capital of Benghazi are working on showing people what democracy actually means.

The small group, going by the name Abeer or Express, will be hosting its most ambitious project to date later this summer, after Ramadan is done--the First Libya Youth conference to spread the ideals of democracy.

....

The organizing group for Express is very small. It lists only six people as its core members--five young women and one young man--but its goal is ambitious: to ensure that democracy and personal freedom flourish in Libya.

For 42 years--since Col. Moammar Gadhafi's 1969 coup--the country has known mainly autocracy and secret police acting on the colonel's behalf.

Members of Express say Libyans crave democracy but aren't quite sure what it means.

Fourth-year medical student Halima ben Jomiah, 22, is the founder of the group. Two years ago, she stumbled across the subject of human development and self improvement in books like "Do Not Grieve" by Sheikh Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni and "The Leader In You," the 1936 classic by Dale Carnegie. Ever since, she's been hooked, reading about psychology and how to realize human potential whenever she could find the time.

Ben Jomiah, her sister and her friends decided that for the revolution to succeed, people have to have correct attitudes about democracy: not being afraid to speak, but at the same time, having the respect to listen.

They called their group Express in order to focus on personal expression as a form of civic participation.

As a first step, the group has interviewed dozens of Libyans to get a sense of their hopes and dreams and what is standing in the way. Express has also solicited opinions from advanced researchers in human development, such as Egypt's Sherif Araba and Libya's Omar Gnaiber.MORE


Turkey The Muslim Women’s Media Archives: Kadınlar Dünyası

In Turkey and beyond, it is a common misconception that struggle for women’s rights is a new phenomenon. This struggle is thought of as not organic to the Muslim world, but imported from “the non-Muslim West.” This particular misconception has not only nurtured the neo-colonialist rhetoric of “liberating Muslim women,” but has also played an important role in the debate surrounding whether women’s rights or feminism can ever be “Islamic.”

Unfortunately, little has been done to research historical women’s rights movements in the Muslim world, even though there were many examples that clearly disprove this misconception and could provide a lot to the debate. For instance a simple research in the archives of periodicals that were published during the last two centuries of the Ottoman Empire expose a great availability and diversity of women’s publications, some of which are very focused on women’s rights. One such magazine is Kadınlar Dünyası [“World of Women”]. While its name suggests an early-twentieth-century Cosmopolitan, it was famous for its radical rhetoric and strong emphasis on women’s rights at the time of its publication.

MORE

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Haitians return to Africa, bringing solar energy

SEATTLE, U.S., Aug 2, 2011 (IPS) - Jean Ronel Noël, a young Haitian engineer, stood in a centuries-old fort on a small island just off Dakar and looked out at the Atlantic through a portal that once led enslaved Africans to the ships of the Middle Passage.

"Finally we come to 'the door of the voyage of no return'," he wrote in a blog. "My blood wouldn't stop boiling, wave after wave of gooseflesh. I nearly broke down. So it's through that door that my ancestors passed. The Door of Hell! There are two infinite things, Einstein said: the universe and human stupidity."

Noël, though, had come to Senegal looking forward more than backward. He brought with him some technological keys that he believes can unlock the doors of a rich storehouse of renewable energy, and ultimately a more durable and self-sufficient model of development for Haiti and other poor countries.

A Senegalese firm specialising in solar-power installations, KAYER, had invited Noël and technician Frantz Derosier to visit the westernmost nation of West Africa to teach their employees how to fabricate their own photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight into electricity.

Noël is co-founder, along with his partner Alex Georges, of ENERSA - Énergies Renouvelables, S.A. (Renewable Energies, Inc.). Derosier is one of their 20-odd employees. ENERSA manufactures solar streetlamps and other solar-energy equipment using PV panels that they build from scratch. They count around a thousand such lights installed in over 50 municipalities all over Haiti.

After the catastrophic earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, which knocked out electrical power across the Port-au-Prince area, these lamps were the only public light sources for some localities. The temblor also destroyed much of ENERSA's physical plant, but all the employees survived and the firm was able to restart production within a few months.

During the nine days Noël and Derosier were in Senegal, a former French colony like Haiti, they conducted a week of training sessions with KAYER in the headquarters of a peasant farmers' confederation in the town of Mekhe, about 100 kilometres inland from Dakar, the capital.

The sessions resulted in the first solar panels "made in Senegal". The ongoing collaboration, according to ENERSA, will cover the conception and manufacturing in Senegal of solar products, including solar streetlights. MORE


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Libyan rebel military leader killed.

The head of the Libyan rebel's armed forces and two of his aides were killed by gunmen Thursday, the head of the rebel leadership said.

The death of Abdel Fattah Younes was announced at a press conference in the de facto rebel capital, Benghazi, by the head of the rebels' National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil. He told reporters that rebel security had arrested the head of the group behind the killing.

Rebel security had arrested Younes and two of his aides early on Thursday from their operations room near the rebels' eastern front.

Security officials said at the time that Younes was to be questioned about suspicions his family still had ties to Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Younes was Gaddafi's interior minister before defecting to the rebels early in the uprising, which began in February.

Abdul Jalil said that Younes had been summoned for questioning regarding "a military matter." He said Younes and his two aides were shot before they arrived for questioning.
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Somalia: victim of war, famine and a pestilence of policy.

The news from Somalia is grim. Last week, the UN declared a famine in two southern areas, calling the food crisis Africa's worst since 1991-92 (which was also in Somalia). The UN estimates that a staggering 3.2 million people need urgent assistance.

The immediate cause of the crisis was the recurrent failure of seasonal rains across the Horn of Africa. But it will be exacerbated by the continuing instability in Somalia, where the internationally recognised (and appointed) government controls but a few blocks of the capital, Mogadishu. The rest of the country is under the sway of various other groups, including the al-Shabaab militia. For most Somalis, the famine represents a deeper trough of an already existing and perpetual misery of abject poverty and instability.

International policy to stabilise Somalia has been a total failure. Yet, the same policies persist. In 2000, the "international community" set up what it thought was a legitimate government in Somalia, in an attempt to create a political consensus where none existed. Today, the so-called Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is neither transitional nor federal, nor even really a government, in that it offers no prospect of a transition to a more durable alternative, does not represent the rest of Somalia in a meaningful way, and, as a government, provides no services to its people, who did not elect it, in any case. The TFG is, in the words of a recent International Crisis Group report, "incompetent, corrupt and hobbled by weak leadership" and should be given a deadline to shape up, or be removed. Very few observers expect it to shape up: the current system pays the cabal who control it far too well.


The famine in Somalia should not have come as a surprise

n John Vidal's report (22 July) on the famine in east Africa, he says the massive drought appeared "as if out of nowhere". It may have seemed that way, but in reality the shock of this famine underlines a more worrying problem in aid. There is a long-established famine warning system for Somalia, the Food Security and Nutrition Assessment Unit (FSNAU) – the question is, why was it not effective this time?


Somali PM accuses UN of holding back aid

On Thursday heavy fighting erupted in Mogadishu as African Union peacekeepers launched an offensive aimed at protecting famine relief efforts from attacks by al-Qaeda-linked fighters, officials said.

At least six people died.

Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the African Union peacekeeping force, said al-Shabab had sent 300 reinforcement fighters to Mogadishu in recent days.

Ankunda said the AU force believes that al-Shabab is trying to prevent aid from reaching the tens of thousands of famine refugees who have arrived in Mogadishu this month.

The drought in southern Somalia has created a triangle of hunger in the Horn of Africa, where the borders of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia meet.
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'Blood diamond' regulation system broken

The recent approval of Zimbabwean diamonds mined from the $800bn Marange fields by the Kimberley Process (KP) chair, the DRC's Mathieu Yamba Lapfa Lambang, has prompted a global "human rights" outcry with KP members such as Canada, the EU, and the US claiming there was "no consensus".

Meanwhile, other countries like China (the world's fastest growing diamond consumer market), and India (which cuts and polishes 11 of 12 stones) have all given the green light to Zimbabwe, removing any potential problems of surplus minerals from Marange, which has been described by Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti as "the biggest find of alluvial diamonds in the history of mankind".

With potential revenues pegged at $1-1.7bn annually, the support of neighbouring governments like South Africa, another major diamond producer, and "host" country to 3 million Zimbabwean political and economic "refugees", is not surprising. Nor is the potential KP rupture being shaped as a battle between politically "interfering" Western nations and cash-starved developing nations.

That Zimbabwe's diamonds are mined under the direct surveillance of the country's vicious military and controlled by brutal lifetime dictator Robert Mugabe is not in question. Since the discovery of Marange's diamonds in 2006, the military has largely supervised mining; mass looting by political, corporate and military elites has occurred, accompanied by violent displacement and human rights violations; companies based in secret jurisdictions such as Mauritius and Hong Kong have been granted "due diligence" approval; and there exists complete opacity over volumes extracted, exported and sold.

But to what extent does the vehement opposition stem from political objections to a nation controlled by the blatantly anti-Western Mugabe? More broadly, was the KP system - propagating that less than one per cent of global diamonds constitute "blood" minerals - built for the purposes of eliminating corporate and state-sanctioned exploitation, or normalising and sanitising it?MORE



At this point, personally, I really don't see any reason I should be wearing what are in reality simply pretty colored stones. The value of these things is entirely created, and the blood and exploitation that comes in the wake of that value is not worth a damn thing.
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People & Power: Freedom from Pain




For much of the Western world, physical pain ends with a simple pill. Yet more than half the world's countries have little to no access to morphine, the gold standard for treating medical pain.

Freedom from Pain shines a light on this under-reported story. "For a victim of police torture, they will usually sign a confession and the torture stops," says Diederik Lohman of Human Rights Watch in the film. "For someone who has cancer pain, that torturous experience continues for weeks, and sometimes months on end."

Unlike so many global health problems, pain treatment is not about money or a lack of drugs, since morphine costs pennies per dose and is easily made. The treatment of pain is complicated by many factors, including drug laws, bureaucratic rigidity and commercial disincentives.

In India, the first stop in the film and the world's largest grower of medicinal poppy for developed countries, there are severe restrictions to the use of morphine domestically. In 27 out of 28 states in India, narcotics laws are so strict that doctors fear prescribing it, and patients literally scream for relief. Drug companies have little incentive to manufacture morphine for the domestic market because of reporting requirements and small profit margins.

In the Ukraine, the film reveals that access to pain medication is halted by outdated, Soviet-style bureaucracy, arbitrary limits on doses, and a lack of oral morphine. As a result, many patients experience prolonged bouts of untreated pain, particularly in rural areas. In the Ukraine, we learn that Artur, a former decorated KGB colonel suffering from prostate cancer, sleeps with a gun under his pillow - his only way out, should he decide his pain is too great. MORE


Poppies for Pain Relief


Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from acute or chronic painwithout adequate access to pain medication. The problem is particularly acute in the developing world, as Time Magazinechronicled last year:

Whether you will have access to pain treatment depends largely upon where you live. Africa, which has most of the world’s AIDS victims, is a painkiller wasteland. In India, more than a million cancer and AIDS sufferers die each year in extreme pain as cumbersome regulations and paperwork make it nearly impossible to get prescription painkillers. (India produces much of the world’s legal opium, yet nearly all of it is exported to Western pharmaceutical companies.)

The geography of pain relief is so skewed that the seven richest countries consume 84% of the world’s supply of legal opiates, according to the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent agency that enforces U.N. conventions. For the estimated 10 million people who are suffering from untreated pain, relief is often found only on the black market, or in death

This gaping unmet need and global inequity is becoming the subject of various calls for change, by pain experts, by cancer treatment advocates, by international organizations, and by the human rights community. As Brent Foster explains in this podcast, the reasons behind the inequitable global distribution of pain medication are complex – like many intractable global social problems that get too little attention by policymakers.

However, a significant (and solvable) aspect of the problem is simply the relationship of supply to demand: the need for analgesics like morphine far outweighs the available supply. In part, this is due to the fact that such analgesics are produced from opium, the sap of the poppy. Since the same plant extract can also be used to produce heroin, a significant amount of political effort is now being expended worldwide to actually inhibit, rather than encourage, opoid production. This fuels shortages of analgesics.MORE



Getting Relief in Wartime: Opioids, Pain Management, and the War on Drugs

Profile from the War on Drugs: Joseph Casias

The Government's Cruel War On Pain Medication

The Pain Relief Network Archives


ETA: Depending on narcotics via [personal profile] annaham
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MALAWI Women Get Dirty to Stop Water Scarcity

MACHINGA DISTRICT, Malawi, Jul 19, 2011 (IPS) - Ethel James cannot wait for the gravity-fed water scheme in her area to be fixed so that she and the other women in her village will no longer have to wake up before dawn everyday to queue for water.

She is part of the team of local villagers repairing the existing water system, which consists of a pipeline connected to a reservoir. At various points in the village are taps connected to the pipeline, but there is no running water just yet.

The water supply system fell to disrepair in the mid-1990s after government could no longer maintain it.

With the assistance of Water Aid Malawi, an international charity that assists people in accessing safe drinking water and sanitation, the community has taken over ownership of the scheme that covers Kwilasha village in Machinga District, southern Malawi and 13 surrounding villages.

People have been organised into clubs, with women assuming leading roles. Women are also involved in the laying of pipes and the digging of trenches. Community members are replacing old pipes with new and larger ones and expanding the network to reach more people.MORE
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xposted:

TRIGGER WARNING FOR VIOLENCE COMMITTED DURING THE RAPE AND VERBAL VIOLENCE COMMITTED UPON THE VICTIM BY THE FUCKING POLICE.



Strauss-Kahn's Accuser Doubly Vicitimised, Advocates Say

"All of those things do not have anything to do with whether or not she was raped," said Human Rights Watch's Marianne Mollman in an interview with IPS.

"I would like to see one single person who has never told a lie in their life," she added.

Thompson acknowledged the significance of the new information.

"Her credibility is important, any rape victim's credibility is important," he said, "but you cannot become blind to the physical, corroborating evidence." The real question, he said, is, "What is true?"

He noted photos of the accuser's bruises, doctor's reports of a shoulder injury, and a pair of stockings, allegedly torn by Strauss- Kahn as the woman tried to escape.

Read more... )

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