Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Around the world - updating issues

Time for a world round-up, care of The Guardian Weekly. (24 June - 14 July )

There is a new political party in Iceland that is shaking things up by holding some power yet not playing the political game. Jon Gnarr, a comedian, leads a party of ex-punks, poets and pop stars who formed The Best Party, and he has been voted in as Mayor of Reykjavik.The anarcho-surrealist party is shaking up a corrupt system, reeling from financial meltdown.

Women in Saudi Arabia are protesting against a ban on women driving in public by driving in public. Five women have been arrested.

Women in Afghanistan are the most at risk women in the world. The most dangerous countries in which to be born female are, in order, Afghanistan, the DRC, Pakistan, India and Somalia, according to a global survey.

A story on the sex selection crisis in developing countries. In India there are 112 boys born to every 100 girls. In China there are 121 boys to every 100 girls. The Chinese city of Lianyungang records 163 boys per 100 girls in 2007. The pattern spills into Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Albania. A book, Unnatural Selection, by Mara Hvistendahl, explores the trend, and looks to the consequences. "Historically, societies in which men substantially outnumber women are not nice places to live", she writes. It creates new markets in trading women.

The number of people forcibly displaced (in their own country or out of their own country) has reached a 15 year high, according to the UNHCR. Their report estimates 43.7 million refugees and people displaced by events such as war and natural disasters at the end of last year. More than half are children.

Julia Kristeva writes a piece on the history, and current state, of women's rights in China.

A review of the book Millions Like Us: Women's Lives in War and Peace 1939-1945, by Virginia Nicholson. The books uses memoirs of women during wartime. Eg, ' For a housewife who's been a cabbage for 15 years, you feel you've got out of a cage." Very interesting.

Diabetes is now a global epidemic. More than 350 million people in the world now have diabetes. It is one of the biggest causes of mortality worldwide, and set to become the single biggest burden on the world healthcare system.

Gay marriage has been legalised in new York.

Women in the US have been charged over losing their unborn babies. Bei Bei Shuai, 34, was charged with murdering her unborn child when, after her partner abandoned her, she took rat poison in order to kill herself. She was revived, but her child died. Rennie Gibbs became pregnant at age 15, but lost the baby at 36 weeks. Prosecutors in Mississippi found she had a cocaine habit, and charged her with 'depraved-heart murder'. She faces life in prison. In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the 'chemical endangerment' law which has been applied in a way which was not intended when the law was introduced in 2006.

The richest people in the world have not only recouped their losses from the GFC, but are richer than ever.

A story on the huge female hip-hop scene in Detroit.

A review of the book A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence from the Middle East to America, by Leila Ahmed.

A review of the book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing out the World? by Lucy Siegle

Christine Lagarde, the French Finance minister, is the new head of the International Monetary Fund, and the first women to run a global financial fund.

A story on water - essential for life and running out. The 16 most water stressed states are in the Middle East and North Africa. Population growth, greater use of water, especially in agriculture, acquifers drying up.

Collaborative consumption is a solution to living unsustainably, presented by Australian, Rachel Botsman, in her book What's Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live. The idea is to share what we have - cars, space, skills - using the internet or social networking, and based on trust. Botsman argues that soon our reputation rating, based on online feedback to services and online comments to assess our trustworthiness, will be as important as our credit rating. It does, however, need critical mass in order to work.

The Guardian has a page each issue on International Development, looking these weeks at Brazilian mothers working in trades,and microfinance in Cambodia.

The Guardian has been the go-to for journalists reporting on The News Of the World phone hacking scandal, and the subsequent folding of the publication. Cheers, Guardian. Well done.

I'm looking forward to their reporting of the Carbon Tax.

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