Friday, April 22, 2011

Around the world news

What’s going on in the world?

You wouldn’t know by reading the Sydney newspapers, but get a better idea by reading the Guardian Weekly. So, a little round-up from the last few issues.

Norway pays Guyana (on the northern coast of Sth America) to keep forests intact. That’s right. Norway is making annual payments to Guyana to keep its tropical rainforests. The money, based on holding back deforestation, factoring in avoided carbon dioxide emissions, is used for environmentally sound development.

Ghost towns in Spain. New housing estates have been abandoned due to the GFC. Youth unemployment is very high in Spain: 43%. For those aged 16 - 19 the rate is 64%. Young people are leaving Spain to seek employment elsewhere.

Spain had a very generous subsidy for solar power. That has just been cut. The energy companies were helping the government with the subsidies and the government now cannot pay them back.

In Japan, after the earthquake, radioactive water is being released into the sea as they are still trying to cool down the nuclear reactor.

17% of the worlds’ population is now Indian.

In the US, the majority of Republicans who are likely to vote in the primaries believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Refugees from Nth Africa are fleeing to Lampedusa, an Italian island closer to Africa than Italy, and the Italians aren’t happy. Berlusconi vowed to rid the island of immigrants. They are mostly men from Libya. So far this year 18,000 Nth African migrants have landed on the island of 5000 native inhabitants.

A story about a study in the lack of empathy (previously known as evil). Empathy can be tracked on a spectrum. We're all somewhere on the spectrum - hopefully not on the sociopath end.

A picture of a penis wins an Russian art prize. The winning group, which is endorsed by Banksy, painted a 65 meter penis on a drawbridge. When the bridge was raised the penis faced the local headquarters of the FSB (successor to the KGB). It’s like Jonah of Summer Heights High won an art prize!

A story about women leading the way in peace negotiations. Women have been involved in peace talks in Libya, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Rwanda, and now on the Ivory Coast. How? Women form grassroots groups, and work up to the leader’s wives and the leaders themselves. Local groups are best placed to bring about peace, so why do they need to apply to AU and UN to be permitted to participate in the peace talks, usually led by male bureaucrats, when it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in these modern conflicts? This ties into my last post about the fierce face of women.

Nature has rights. Bolivia is set to pass into law the rights of Mother Nature. They are establishing 11 new laws, under The Law of Mother Earth, which includes: the right to life and to exist, the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration, the right to pure water and clean air, the right to balance, the right not to be polluted and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

Wow. Go Bolivia!

If these were the kinds of news stories show on commercial tv, do you think we would be more fearful or less? More tolerant or less? More hopeful or less?

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