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Index May 2013

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2013-05-01: A lethal cocktail for Africa;
2013-05-02: May Day 2013, workers of the world unite;
2013-05-03: The Life and Death of Words, People, and Even Nature;
2013-05-04: Back to basics;
2013-05-05: Divers In Paradise;
2013-05-06: Missed Opportunity? Hopes Pinned on NSU Trial May Be Dashed, Part 1;
2013-05-07: The Climate of Capitalism;
2013-05-08: UNRISD Conference: The true potential of the social and solidarity economy;
2013-05-09: Ai Weiwei Interview: I Want To Put Up a Fight, Part 1;
2013-05-10: Cuba: Letter to Fidel from FAO Director General;
2013-05-11: Mexican Worker-Run Tire Factory a Success;
2013-05-12: New Study Claims: Over 250,000 Died From 2011 Somalia Famine, U.S.-Al Shabaab Savagery To Blame;
2013-05-13: Good-bye Dubai? Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Facilities …;
2013-05-14: Who are the real criminals?
2013-05-15: Austerity Has Lost All Credibility & Threatens Social Upheaval;
2013-05-16: As Europe is provincialized: a reply to Etienne Balibar;
2013-05-17: Mother Brings Baby Back to Life With Two Hours Of Loving Cuddles;
2013-05-18: Portugal’s Left Bloc Confronts Austerity;
2013-05-19: It’s time for Spain’s indignados to grow up;
2013-05-20: free or imposed Aid: help or meddling;
2013-05-21: Female Genital Mutilation FGM is not cultural, it’s violence;
2013-05-22: Challenging the Claim that Microfinance Loans Result in Poverty Reduction;
2013-05-23: Miracle in the Sahara: Oasis Sediments Archive Dramatic History, Part 1;
2013-05-24: Reinventing Guatemalan History;
2013-05-25: Tales in a Kabul restaurant;
2013-05-26: Declaration of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America ALBA;
2013-05-28: UK must hold separate inquiries into Iraqi civilian deaths, High Court rules;
2013-05-29: Cereal Banks Protect Against Famine and Empower Women Across the Sahel;
2013-05-29: The NHS clinics helping victims of genital mutilation;
2013-05-30: Signs of the Coming Revolution in America’s Education System;
2013-05-30: Ethiopia’s Bogaletch Gebre wins King Baudouin Prize;
2013-05-31: Upcoming human rights e-learning courses, June-July 2013.

Upcoming human rights e-learning courses, June-July 2013

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Received by e-mail, From: Frank Elbers, Date: 22/05/2013

Dear Colleagues, HREA is pleased to issue a call for registrations for our human rights e-learning courses offered in June and July 2013. These e-learning courses are generally six weeks in duration and involve approximately 30 hours of reading, interaction with participants and instructor(s) on discussion boards, webinars, quizzes and other assignments. The following courses will be offered in the third term (June-July) of 2013:   Continue Reading…

Ethiopia’s Bogaletch Gebre wins King Baudouin Prize

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Published on BBCnews, May 21, 2013 (see also Bogaletch Gebre, Ethiopia on World People’s Blog).

Ethiopian activist Bogaletch Gebre has won an international prize for her campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation FGM. She was awarded the King Baudouin Prize in Belgium for confronting “culturally entrenched taboo subjects”, the selection committee said. Ms Bogaletch helped reduce cases of FGM from 100% of newborn girls to less than 3% in parts of Ethiopia, it said. FGM is practised mainly in communities in Africa and the Middle East. Continue Reading…

Signs of the Coming Revolution in America’s Education System

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The recent revolt against standardized tests as well as legislative concern over testing corruption are just some of the of the signs of an approaching education revolution – Published on AlterNet/EDUCATION, by Jeff Bryant, May 21, 2013.

It’s always hard to tell for sure exactly when a revolution starts,” wrote John Tierny in The Atlantic recently. I’m not an expert on revolutions, he continued, but even I can see that a new one is taking shape in American K-12 public education.

Tierney pointed to a number of signs of the coming revolution:   Continue Reading…

The NHS clinics helping victims of genital mutilation

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Female genital mutilation, the cutting of sexual organs, is thought to affect 66,000 women in the UK – Published on BBCnews, by Jane Dreaper, May 21, 2013.

Sometimes it happens when young girls are sent back to relatives in north or east Africa, but it is also thought that cutting occurs here in the UK too. There have been no prosecutions so far – though the government says it is determined to end female genital mutilation (FGM). Several hospital and community-based clinics in London help women who have suffered FGM, as well as one in Birmingham and another about to open in Bristol.  Continue Reading…

Cereal Banks Protect Against Famine and Empower Women Across the Sahel

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… innovation of the Month – Published on nourishing the planet, by Caitlin Aylward, May 22, 2013.

… In 2009, WFP and Care established exclusively women-operated cereal banks to help ensure the availability of grain supplies year round. These community cereal banks loan grain below market price, helping protect against market speculation, and enabling even the poorest women to purchase food for their families during times of scarcity. The women are expected to repay the loans, but at very low interest rates and only after they have harvested their own crops.   Continue Reading…

UK must hold separate inquiries into Iraqi civilian deaths, High Court rules

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Published on Russia Today RT, May 26, 2013.

The British high court (of Justice) has ruled that 161 killings by the British military should be subject to hearings modeled on a coroner’s inquest. The ground breaking judgment may decide how the British military is able to carry out operations in the future.

In practice a series of hearings, possibly amounting to more than 100, are likely to be held as a result of the judgment; the consequence of a three year legal battle by the families of dead Iraqis.  Continue Reading…


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The New York Times on Venezuela and Honduras: A Case of Journalistic Misconduct – Published on NACLA, by Keane Bhatt, May 8, 2013 (also on NYTimes eXaminer).

The day after Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died, New York Times reporter Lizette Alvarez provided a sympathetic portrayal of “outpourings of raucous celebration and, to many, cautious optimism for the future” in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Her article, “Venezuelan Expatriates See a Reason to Celebrate,” noted that many had come to Miami to escape Chávez’s “iron grip on the nation,” and quoted a Venezuelan computer software consultant who said, bluntly: “We had a dictator. There were no laws, no justice.”1   Continue Reading…

Declaration of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America ALBA

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Students, Youth Movements, Women’s Organizations, Labor Unions, Farmers – Published on Global, by staff, May 24, 2013 (Translation: Jordan Bishop, Canada).

First Continental Assembly of Social Movements towards ALBA “Hugo Chávez Frías” – Students, Youth Movements, Women’s Organizations, Labor Unions, Farmers: Declaration of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America ALBA.   Continue Reading…

Tales in a Kabul restaurant

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Published on Intrepid Report, by Kathy Kelly, May 24, 2013.

KABUL, May 21, 2013—Since 2009, Voices for Creative Nonviolence has maintained a grim record we call the “The Afghan Atrocities Update” which gives the dates, locations, numbers and names of Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces. Even with details culled from news reports, these data can’t help but merge into one large statistic, something about terrible pain that’s worth caring about but that is happening very far away.  Continue Reading…

Reinventing Guatemalan History

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Wall Street Journal Upholds Rios Montt, Denies Crimes against Humanity (see Guatemala annuls Rios Montt’s genocide conviction, on BBCnews, May 21, 2013) – Published on Global, by Stephen Lendman, May 21, 2013.

History reinventors support despots. Social democrats are vilified. Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide are sanitized. They’re whitewashed. They disappear in plain sight. Washington tolerates no independent governments. Left of center democratic ones are most vulnerable.

In 1953, the CIA’s first coup deposed Iran’s Mohammad Mosaddegh. At the time, The New York Times called him “the most popular politician in the country.” Reza Shah Pahlavi replaced him. A generation-long reign of terror followed.    Continue Reading…

Miracle in the Sahara: Oasis Sediments Archive Dramatic History, Part 1

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Published on Spiegel Online International, by Johann Grolle, May 21, 2013 (Photo-Gallery).

A marvel of nature, the lakes of Ounianga in the Sahara Desert have lasted thousands of years and withstood dramatic climate change. Now, a German geologist has analyzed lakebed sediments to shed light on a spectacular chapter in human history.

“Water,” says Stefan Kröpelin, “water as far as the eye can see.” He is pointing to the south, where there is only one thing stretching to the horizon: sand, sand and more sand … //

… The Earth’s Archive: Continue Reading…

Challenging the Claim that Microfinance Loans Result in Poverty Reduction

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Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic bravely challenges the hype of microfinance loans as a solution to poverty – Published on UTNE, by Hugh Sinclair, May 2013.

“I’m a dodgy moneylender, exploiting the poor with useless, overpriced loans, ideally obliging their children into forced labor in the process.” This did not go down well. I had been introduced to yet another gathering of bright-eyed microfinance experts at yet another microfinance conference, and I had incorrectly assumed that irony and sarcasm were within their grasp. They were not. I attempted to redeem myself. “Guys, I’m joking … it was a joke. I’m a microfinance consultant, we’re all cool … sorry.”   Continue Reading…

Female Genital Mutilation FGM is not cultural, it’s violence

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FMG is not cultural, it’s violence: 66,000 women in the UK endure the agony of brutal circumcision. Now one victim hits back at the PC society that ignored her pain – Published on Mail Online, by Ruth Styles, May 7, 2013.

Nimko Ali was seven when she underwent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Her teacher, instead of helping, likened it to a Bar Mitzvah
66,0000 British women are believed to have undergone FGM
20,000 girls are at risk of being taken abroad for circumcision
FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 … // Continue Reading…

free or imposed Aid: help or meddling

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The Question of Aid: Help or Hindrance in African Economic Development, 91.30 min, uploaded by icdchannel, Feb 1, 2011;

Spotlight on Philanthropy: European Zeitgeist 2011, 23.36 min, uploaded by zeitgeistminds, May 17, 2011: Increasingly, leaders are looking beyond day-to-day business and seeking to make a wider positive contribution to the world. What can we learn from those who are making a difference already, and what is the best way to help – is aid a help or a hindrance to development? This panel discussion explores the practicalities of philanthropy, learning from the experiences of committed individuals who have already made remarkable achievements for their cause.

It’s time for Spain’s indignados to grow up

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Published on Left Foot Forward, by TOM GILL, MAY 16, 2013.

One of the great weaknesses of Spain’s indignados movement, which yesterday celebrated its second birthday, has been its failure to pursue a strategy that turns power in the streets into the real power needed to change the world.

In the November 2011 general elections, six months after Spaniards occupied town squares across the country, including famously Madrid’s Plaza del Sol, the forces of reaction were projected into government.  Continue Reading…

Portugal’s Left Bloc Confronts Austerity

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Published on The   Bullet, The Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin, No. 823, Interview with Francisco Louçã, by Mark Bergfeld, May 17, 2013.

Mark Bergfeld (MB): Last year Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble labeled Portugal “the good pupil of the Eurozone.” Now Portugal faces a difficult economic outlook. Unemployment, for example, has hit 18 per cent. The PSD-CDS coalition government is demanding more time to implement its austerity measures. What are the underlying reasons for Portugal’s downward trend?    Continue Reading…

Mother Brings Baby Back to Life With Two Hours Of Loving Cuddles

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… after doctors pronounce him dead – Published on Unbelievable Facts, May 2013.

Kate Ogg, an Australian mother who gave birth to twins at 27 weeks after 3 hours of labor couldn’t believe her ears when the doctors broke the news that her son, Jamie weighing 2lbs couldn’t make it. At a Sydney hospital, Jamie’s twin sister Emily was fine and healthy at the time of delivery while her brother was resuscitated for twenty minutes to help him spring to life. When he didn’t respond to the treatment, the parents had to be told the dreadful news.   Continue Reading…

As Europe is provincialized: a reply to Etienne Balibar

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Europe can make sense only insofar as it becomes a space which makes it easier to get rid of the fear that the crisis is disseminating within the social fabric, a space where it is more viable to struggle against poverty, exploitation, and discrimination – Published on openDemocracy, by SANDRO MEZZADRA, May 13, 2013.

Yes, Étienne Balibar is right: we need “immediately, to contemplate a restructuring of the Union for the purpose of building another Europe”. We should be grateful to him both for the emphasis on “immediate” and for the emphasis on “restructuring”. There is a need to act now in Europe, and this action cannot take for granted the existence of the political forces that need to be mobilized, the social coalitions capable of supporting such a mobilization, intellectual energies to be activated, the institutional channels and frameworks to be addressed.   Continue Reading…

Austerity Has Lost All Credibility & Threatens Social Upheaval

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Published on ZNet, by Carl Bloice, May 13, 2013.

When Michael Higgins, the president of Ireland, finished speaking he received a standing ovation from members of the European Parliament. In a stirring April 17 address to the delegates meeting in Strasbourg, he said the continent’s policy makers must not “ignore the fact that European citizens are suffering the consequences of actions and opinions of bodies such as rating agencies, which, unlike parliaments, are unaccountable.”   Continue Reading…

Who are the real criminals?

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Published on Intrepid Report, by Nick Egnatz, May 13, 2013.

An 83-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, and two other peace activists, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, received 20 year sentences for breaking into a Tennessee storage facility for depleted uranium weapons and splashing them with blood.

They are members of the group Transform Now Plowshares that lives the words of the Bible “They shall beat their swords into plowshares. They shall learn war no more.”

With skyrocketing cancer rates and birth defects, the city of Fallujah, Iraq, has never recovered from the 2004 U.S. assault on it using depleted uranium munitions. A study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health states that the after effects of the Fallujah assault are “worse” than those after the U.S. nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki … // Continue Reading…

Good-bye Dubai? Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Facilities …

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… would leave the Entire Gulf States Region virtually Uninhabitable – Published on Global, by Wade Stone, May 11, 2013.

… The wind speeds range from 30 to 300 kilometers per hour, and they generally take a semi-circular route, heading back out to the southern gulf and the remaining Gulf States. Indeed, on an annual basis all of the Gulf States combined – UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, suffer through literally hundreds of such sand and dust storms. And most often the winds driving those sandstorms originate from the north and north east (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and sometimes even Turkey) … //

… Think “Fukushima x 10”: Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would leave the entire Gulf State region virtually uninhabitable.   Continue Reading…

New Study Claims Over 250,000 Died From 2011 Somalia Famine, U.S.-Al Shabaab Savagery To Blame

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Published on ZNet, by Stephen Roblin, May 11, 2013.

“Powerful people have that privilege of denying reality,” the Somali scholar, Abdi Samatar, stated when explaining the causes of Somalia’s 2011 famine as it was laying waste to the population.

The famine was one of history’s rare socio-natural calamities in that it was predicted almost a year in advance, providing sufficient time to avert it and at a minimal costs for the rich nations. Thus, it will likely go down as one of the most easily preventable calamities in modern history.

It will also go down as one of the most devastating.   Continue Reading…

Mexican Worker-Run Tire Factory a Success

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Watch this video, 11.12 min, on The Real News Network, by Paul Jay, May 8, 2013. Transcript: Union wins years long struggle against vulture capitalists and now helms one of Mexico’s most successful tire factories.


Specially on en.wikipedia:   Continue Reading…

Cuba: Letter to Fidel from FAO Director General

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Published on Axis of Logic (Source:, by José Graziano da Silva, FAO, May 8, 2013.

Rome, April 29, 2013, DEAR Comandante:
I have the honor of addressing you from my position as Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to sincerely congratulate you and the entire Cuban people for having fulfilled in advance the goal proposed by the World Food Summit, which took place in Rome 1996, and which proposed to reduce by half the number of malnourished persons in each country by 2015.   Continue Reading…

Ai Weiwei Interview: I Want To Put Up a Fight, Part 1

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Published on Spiegel Online International, by , May 07, 2013 (Photo Gallery).

Ai Weiwei of China is one of four artists who will represent Germany at the Venice Biennale in June. In a SPIEGEL interview, the artist discusses how he will participate in the event despite a travel ban imposed on him by the Chinese government … //

… SPIEGEL: Ai Weiwei, an Italian art gallery has just announced an exhibition of your work saying it will show you at “the height” of your “artistic and polemic powers.” How do you feel being at the pinnacle of your career?

UNRISD Conference: The true potential of the social and solidarity economy

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Published on International Labour Organization ILO, by Guy Ryder, May 6, 2013.

GENEVA – ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, has called for a better understanding of how the social and solidarity economy SSE – which includes cooperatives, social enterprises and mutual benefit organizations – can have a positive impact on the economy.

Speaking at the opening of a conference organized by the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the ILO, Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy, Ryder said decent work was at risk from austerity, which had been pursued by many governments in response to the economic crisis.    Continue Reading…

The Climate of Capitalism

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Published on Dissident Voice, by Robert Hunziker, May 4, 2013.

… The question is: Has the capitalistic system, which has supplanted communism wherever it exists, matured into something different than what Adam Smith envisioned as the solution for harmony and good will amongst the economic impulses of humankind?   Continue Reading…

Missed Opportunity? Hopes Pinned on NSU Trial May Be Dashed, Part 1

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Published on Spiegel Online International, by David Crossland, May , 2013.

The NSU neo-Nazi trial opening on Monday offers a chance for Germany to face up to the presence of violent right-wing extremists and to tackle racism in its institutions. Anti-Nazi groups warn that the lack of real change since the case came to light in 2011 means the country risks missing that opportunity.

Germany’s biggest neo-Nazi trial ever will start on Monday in the glare of the domestic and international media when right-wing extremist Beate Zschäpe, 38, believed to be the sole surviving member of the National Socialist Underground terrorist group, will face charges of involvement in the murders of 10 people, most of them immigrants … // Continue Reading…

Divers In Paradise

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Diving in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Liveaboard, Official Movie by PJ Widestrand, 40.32 min, uploaded by jameslai, April 21, 2012;

Uploaded by Johannes Weber:


Back to basics

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Islamists debate the impact of politicisation on their commitment to social and religious reform – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by , April 30, 2013.

When Mohamed Ibrahim, secretary-general of the Salafist Al-Hayaa Al-Shareya lel-Houkouk wal-Islah (the legal body for rights and reform), was asked on TV whether or not Islamists have directed their energies to the political realm at the expense of the religious his response was to reverse the question: The question should rather be if Islamists decided tomorrow to abandon politics, would this serve the religion better? … // Continue Reading…

The Life and Death of Words, People, and Even Nature

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Published on ZNet (first on Tom Dispatch), by Eduardo Galeano, May 01, 2013: (The following passages are excerpted from Eduardo Galeano’s new book, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History, Nation Books).

Memory on Legs (January 3):

  • On the third day of the year 47 BC, the most renowned library of antiquity burned to the ground.
  • After Roman legions invaded Egypt, during one of the battles waged by Julius Caesar against the brother of Cleopatra, fire devoured most of the thousands upon thousands of papyrus scrolls in the Library of Alexandria.   Continue Reading…

May Day 2013, workers of the world unite

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Published on Intrepid Report, by Joseph M. Cachia, May 1, 2013.

The history of May 1 as a workers’ holiday is intimately tied to the generations-long movement for the eight-hour day, to immigrant workers, to police brutality and repression of the labour movement, and to the long tradition of American anarchism.

This year, International Workers Day arrives with more than 250 million of the world’s workers unemployed. The UN predicts that up to more than 70 million more could be thrown into the streets by year’s end … // Continue Reading…

A lethal cocktail for Africa

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Published on Pambazuka News, by Abdul Ghelleh, April 29, 2013.

The overwhelming majority of non-governmental organisations do more harm than good to livelihoods and sustainable developments in Africa. The World Bank’s working definition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is ‘Private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development.’ But many people now ask whether the NGOs that work in Africa are progressively engaged in activities that are developmentally sustainable. And, by the way, how democratic and accountable are the NGOs?   Continue Reading…