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Archive for July 14th, 2012

‘Now that I have money, I let my son eat what he wants.’

The writer Ha Jin captured this modern tendency in a hilarious short story called “After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town.” It’s about a family of nouveau riche who book their wedding at a brand new fast food chain called “Cowboy Chicken” — never mind that the Chinese know 150 better ways to cook the bird — to celebrate their new wealth in capitalistic China. If the story is hilarious, it is also a sad statement as to how quickly a thousand years of culinary expertise is thrown out for the new — which in this case, is deep-fried chicken and steamed corncobs served up in a paper box.

And if common sense and taste are often the first casualties in a world where western fast food and brand name sodas proliferate at an alarming rate, the ultimate casualty is health itself. According to the World Health Organization, one billion people are malnourished in the world and another billion — many in developing countries — are overweight. At least 300 million of them are clinically obese, and the economic costs of related illnesses are staggering.

While the overall obesity rate in China is somewhere around five per cent, that number jumps dramatically to around 20 per cent in the big cities. Despite the relative small ratio of obese people when compared to that of the U.S., given the size of China’s population (1.35 billion), that five per cent accounts for about 70 million overweight Chinese.

It would seem that not only are the Chinese catching up with the American economy, but with the American size as well. According to the Chinese Health Ministry, Chinese city boys age 6 are 2.5 inches taller and 6.6 pounds heavier on average than their counterparts three decades ago. “China has entered the era of obesity,” Ji Chengye, a leading child health researcher told USA Today. “The speed of growth is shocking.” Almost 100 million Chinese now suffer from diabetes.

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Canada had committed $50 million to cleaning up and repairing the irrigation network and the dam that supplies it, but Afghan farmers and officials complain that the project wasted money, taught villagers to expect handouts and lined corrupt people’s pockets.

And after all those costly mistakes, the outdated Dahla Dam’s reservoir is so full of silt that it can’t hold enough water to get crops through the driest months.

“I just want to say to Canadians that if you pave our canals with gold, what can we do with it?” chided Meerab Zakirya, 52, a Mandisar village canal manager. He has to answer to about 1,000 angry Daman district farmers when water runs out.

“If we don’t have water, our main problem is not solved,” he added, both hands clenched to the arms of a white plastic patio chair. “Me, I don’t need money. I want real work. If you want to do something, do it the right way.”

Similar complaints echo across the thousands of desert farms that Canada has struggled to irrigate, into crumbling schools Canadian aid money built, and through the halls of a deeply corrupt justice system Canada helped support despite good intentions.

There are two cardinal rules of development aid: projects must be closely monitored to make sure money isn’t wasted or lost to theft and corruption; and they should be sustainable, so projects survive after foreign experts move on.

After a month-long investigation in Kandahar’s war zone, it’s clear that Canada failed on both counts, tarnishing a legacy that thousands of Canadian troops and civilians died or suffered debilitating wounds trying to build […]

Two years ago, Canadian security officials overseeing the Dahla Dam project fled the country following a tense dispute with armed members of Watan Security Management, operated by a cousin of President Hamid Karzai.

As reported by the Star’s Mitch Potter in June 2010, the guns hired to protect the project actually turned on each other in a hair-trigger confrontation.

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Caracas, Venezuela:  Supporters of the Communist Youth (JCV) demand repatriation for Ilich Ramirez (“Carlos the Jackal”), a pro-Palestinian guerrilla from Venezuela currently held as a  political prisoner in France.

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Presumptive US Republican candidate for this year’s presidential elections, Mitt Romney, has branded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a threat to US national security and accused the leader of Venezuelan’s Bolivarian revolution of “spreading dictatorships and tyranny throughout Latin America”.

The former Massachusetts’s governor was responding to comments made by President Obama, who had stated that Chavez did not pose a “serious threat” to the US on Tuesday. Speaking to Fox news channel the following day, Romney said that he had been “shocked and stunned” by Obama’s statements and branded them “naive”.

“This is Chavez who has invited Iran in, who has invited Hezbollah in… This is Chavez who supports FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] and other terrorist activity in nations like Colombia, who are friends,” said Romney.

The Republican candidate went on to criticise Obama for not paying enough attention to the continent South of its borders.

“Latin America is critical to America, the United States of America, and the president needs to focus on what is happening there. What Chavez is doing, what the Castros are doing. These are people who call for terrible acts against America,” he added.

Romney made the comments just a few hours after US legislator and Republican, Marco Rubio, who Fox news states is currently tipped to be Romney’s running mate, also criticised President Obama’s comments. Rubio, a Senator from Florida, accused the US head of state of “living under a rock when it comes to recognizing the national security threat posed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez” and of ignoring the possible “opportunities” for the US in the region. He also stated that the Venezuelan president was a threat to both “the Venezuelan people’s freedom and democratic aspirations” and US security.

Democratically elected President Chavez has come increasingly under fire from high ranking US politicians this month, with both Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney questioning Venezuelan democracy on the country’s national Independence Day last week.

Whilst Clinton refrained from making reference to Chavez himself, she told Venezuelans that “holding free and fair elections” was the best way for US and Venezuelan citizens to “pay tribute to their founders”. Meanwhile, Romney stated that Chavez had “failed to honour the spirit of freedom with which Venezuela was established” and accused him of “promoting ideas in Venezuela and other Latin American countries that run counter to freedom, prevent prosperity and expand tyranny”.

Although Obama said he did not classify the Chavez government as dangerous to the US, he did state that his main concern in the country was seeing “the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs” and “having fair and free elections, which we don’t always see”.

The Venezuelan government has not responded directly to any of the comments, however, Chavez criticised Hillary Clinton earlier this week for “threatening” Russia and China over their stance towards the conflict in Syria. Clinton had earlier attended a “Friends of the Syrian People” meeting in Paris on July 6th, where she urged other governments to “make Russia and China pay” for their decision to block military intervention against the Assad government at the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

“We have seen the Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton, threatening Russia and China. They are going to pay for not doing what they (the US) want. You see? That is open and declared madness, from those who believe that they are the owners of the world… They ought to concentrate on solving the many problems of their own country,” said Chavez.

Polls suggest that the Venezuelan leader is set to take the presidential elections by a wide margin this coming October, with the results of a Hinterlaces survey released at the end of June showing that 66% of Venezuelans view Chavez’s administration positively. The government’s success has been widely attributed to policies aimed at opening up the Venezuelan electorate’s role in decision making processes, implementing new forms of local participatory democracy, and a broad range of social programs.

The government has always denied accusations that it has links to terrorist organisations, maintaining that the allegations are unsubstantiated and politically motivated.

from veneuela analysis

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The runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election has filed a suit before the electoral court to invalidate the election results, saying the winner violated campaign finance laws and bought votes.

The leftist presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, filed a legal challenge on Thursday to the result of the country’s July 1 presidential vote, in which Enrique Pena Nieto was declared the winner.

Lopez Obrador, from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), received 31.59 percent of the ballots, while Pena Nieto, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), won the election with 38.21 percent.

Lopez Obrador, who also lost the 2006 presidential election by a narrow margin, insisted that Pena Nieto was guilty of vote buying, had media coverage biased in his favor and also shattered the spending limits of presidential campaign.

He said that he had evidence showing Pena Nieto asked for help from local governors in order to buy 5 million votes by distributing gift cards, cash, foodstuffs, building materials and fertilizer among poor people to vote for him in the election.

“The massive vote buying operation was carried out before and on the day of the election,” said Lopez Obrador at a news conference, adding he will next week reveal a “national plan for the defense of democracy and the dignity of Mexico.”

In 2006, Lopez Obrador also denied to accept the victory of President Felipe Calderon with only one percentage point. The country’s financial markets were largely affected after his supporters held weeks of protests and occupied the main boulevard in the capital Mexico City.

However, this time he did not call for demonstrations and said he will take legal actions before the electoral court, known as the TRIFE.

from PressTV

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SHOTS FIRED at police lines during disturbances in Ardoyne late on the night of the Twelfth of July amounted to “attempted murder”, PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott said at a press conference yesterday.

Mr Baggott and senior PSNI officers expressed their anger that shots were fired at police officers by suspected dissident republicans during the rioting that erupted at Ardoyne in north Belfast.

No officer was wounded by the gunfire although 20 officers were injured during the disorder that followed the annual Orange Order parade through the area.

There was also continuing recrimination yesterday over decisions made by the Parades Commission relating to the Orange return parade and the subsequent parade organised by the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (Garc), judged to be sympathetic to dissident republicans.

By yesterday evening just four people were arrested for alleged involvement in the Ardoyne trouble, but police made clear that in the coming days and weeks there would be many more people arrested and charged – as happened following similar disturbances in Ardoyne in recent years.

from Irish Times

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New Resistance and the Green Star are very excited to announce that “The Fourth Political Theory” book by Alexander Dugin will be released by Arktos Press on July 28th.

We firmly believe that Alexander Dugin’s ideas are both life changing and  world changing and we call on our supporters to both study and distribute this near and far!

Do your part!

Description:

All the political systems of the modern age have been the products of three distinct ideologies: the first, and oldest, is liberal democracy; the second is Marxism; and the third is fascism. The latter two have long since failed and passed out of the pages of history, and the first no longer operates as an ideology, but rather as something taken for granted. The world today finds itself on the brink of a post-political reality – one in which the values of liberalism are so deeply embedded that the average person is not aware that there is an ideology at work around him. As a result, liberalism is threatening to monopolise political discourse and drown the world in a universal sameness, destroying everything that makes the various cultures and peoples unique.

According to Alexander Dugin, what is needed to break through this morass is a fourth ideology – one that will sift through the debris of the first three to look for elements that might be useful, but that remains innovative and unique in itself. Dugin does not offer a point-by-point program for this new theory, but rather outlines the parameters within which it might develop and the issues which it must address. Dugin foresees that the Fourth Political Theory will use the tools and concepts of modernity against itself, to bring about a return of cultural diversity against commercialisation, as well as the traditional worldview of all the peoples of the world – albeit within an entirely new context. Written by a scholar who is actively influencing the direction of Russian geopolitical strategy today, The Fourth Political Theory is an introduction to an idea that may well shape the course of the world’s political future.

Alexander Dugin (b. 1962) is one of the best-known writers and political commentators in post-Soviet Russia. In addition to the many books he has authored on political, philosophical and spiritual topics, he currently serves on the staff of Moscow State University, and is the intellectual leader of the Eurasia Movement. For more than a decade, he has also been an advisor to Vladimir Putin and others in the Kremlin on geopolitical matters, being a vocal advocate of a return of Russian power to the global stage, to act as a counterweight to American domination.

order here.

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