“No Time to Waste” in Ending Female Genital Mutilation

By Will Higginbotham and Tharanga Yakupitiyage

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 7 2018 (IPS) – More than 200 million women around the world have experienced some kind of female genital mutilation (FGM) and more could be at risk, a UN agency said.

Though the practice has declined in prevalence globally, alarming new figures from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) predict that any progress could be off-set as a further 68 million girls face the risk of FGM by 2030.

The statistics from the UN were unveiled today as the world marks the 15th International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

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Hungary and Poland Aren’t Democratic. They’re Authoritarian

BY DALIBOR ROHAC* – Foreign Policy

Central Europe’s populist revolt against the EU isn’t about safeguarding the West. It’s about rolling back freedoms and cozying up to Russia

There are too many journalists. They should be liquidated,” Czech President Milos Zeman joked at his meeting with Vladimir Putin last May. In the summer of 2014, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban singled out Singapore, China, India, Turkey, and Russia as “stars of international analyses.” In the now-famous speech, which also touted the idea of “illiberal democracy,” he suggested that Hungary needed to part with “Western European dogmas,” especially with the liberal notion that people are “free to do anything that does not violate another person’s freedom.”

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Adapting to global human mobility after a refugee and migrant crisis

By Idriss Jazairy* – Euractiv.com

More people than ever are on the move globally. This raises the need for courageous European leadership and broad-based support from the media to depoliticise refugees and migrants and to free public opinion from irrational fear.

More people than ever are on the move under the centrifugal impulse of globalisation. Fifteen percent of the world’s population or one billion of the Earth’s seven billion people are considered as people on the move. Host developing countries or societies bear the brunt of those that flee from their homes.

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Is It Really True That Switzerland Is The #1 Most-Corrupt Nation, & U.S. #2?

by Tyler Durden – ZeroHedge

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Tax Justice Network produces a Financial Secrecy Index, ranking countries for the assistance their legal systems provide, to money-launderers, and to all people who seek to protect corruptly-obtained wealth. The higher the score, the more corrupt the government is. The last time this Index was published, in 2015, Switzerland was rated the world’s most-corrupt country, and Hong Kong was then #2. But now, in its newly released global rankings, “Financial Secrecy Index — 2018 Results”,though Switzerland still holds its #1 (most-corrupt) spot, the U.S. has become #2, and Hong Kong has now fallen to #4, which is immediately below Cayman Islands (which is #3, and which had been #5 in 2015).

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At Least 100,000 Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Could Be in ‘Grave Danger’ from Landslides and Floods

By  Human Wrongs Watch*

The United Nations refugee agency and its partners are ramping up to assist Bangladesh’s efforts to mitigate some expected impacts of the upcoming monsoon season in the country, during which, according to an initial risk analysis, at least 100,000 Rohingya refugees could be in grave danger from landslides and floods.

“The adverse weather conditions, including potential cyclones, could put tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees staying at the highly congested settlements in Cox’s Bazar district at serious risk,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told reporters at the regular press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on 2 February 2018.

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What’s Attracting Women to Myanmar’s Buddhist Nationalist Movement?

By Isabel Marler and Macarena Aguilar*  – OpenDemocracy/in Human Wrongs Watch

 Amid Myanmar’s transition towards democracy, a dangerous Buddhist nationalist movement is on the rise, and women are playing a key role.

In the hastily-built displacement camps of Rakhine state, in the western part of Myanmar, where some 129,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya people have been interned since 2012, there’s very little to look forward to.

With no freedom to work outside the camps, the survival of this long-persecuted minority hinges on international aid deliveries and special permits to leave which are granted only for medical emergencies.

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Data is the new lifeblood of capitalism – don’t hand corporate America control

Ben Tarnoff* – The Guardian

Data has become the world’s most important resource. Now Silicon Valley giants want to keep government from standing in the way of profits

One hundred and sixty years ago, the first transatlantic telegram traveled from Britain to the United States along a rickety undersea wire. It consisted of 21 words – and took seventeen hours to arrive.

Today, the same trip takes as little as 60 milliseconds. A dense mesh of fiber-optic cables girdles the world, pumping vast quantities of information across the planet. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 543 terabits of data are flowing across borders every second. That’s the equivalent of roughly 13 million copies of the complete works of Shakespeare.

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Trump’s State of the Union: platitudes, few plans and plenty of division

Editorial – The Guardian

Trump happily applauded his own address to Congress. The rest of us should not

Rituals are designed not merely to embody but preserve and perpetuate a community’s beliefs. One danger is that they are hollowed out, form superseding substance as people forget their meaning. This was the risk Thomas Jefferson identified when he abandoned the State of the Union address as disturbingly monarchical, and judged that the constitutional requirement to inform and make recommendations to Congress could be satisfied in writing. It was not until over a century later that Woodrow Wilson – pursuing a stronger, more forceful presidency, in part via publicity and press controls – would reinstate it.

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North Korea’s slams US for racism, inequality and stoners

Analysis By Adam Taylor – The Washington Post

Shortly before President Donald Trump used his State of the Union speech to criticize North Korean human rights abuses – even bringing out one remarkable defector, Ji Seong-ho, who escaped terrible conditions in that country – Pyongyang released its own criticism of the United States as a “gross violator of human rights.”

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What Trump Doesn’t Get About the State of the Union

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD – The New York Times

There’s a level at which — when you consider that the president of the United States has cozied up to a foreign power that tampered with an American election, has repeatedly assaulted the country’s courts and its law enforcement and intelligence agencies, has defended neo-Nazis, has cried “fake news” while provably lying, and has been revealed so credibly to have paid off a porn star that it made news when his own wife chose to attend his biggest speech of the year — it’s hard to believe that the state of the union is strong.

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Create “Sponge Cities” to Tackle Worsening Floods

By Martin Khor*

PENANG, Malaysia, Jan 31 2018 (IPS) – With floods now causing more damage more frequently around the world, it is time to counter their effects by turning our towns into “Sponge Cities”, a recent trend popularised by China to absorb rainwater through permeable roads and pavements, parks, rooftop gardens and other green spaces.

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The Fascist Sympathizer Who Founded Ikea

By ELISABETH ASBRINK*  –  The New Yor Times

I met Ingvar Kamprad, the Ikea founder who died on Saturday at 91, just once.

It was in August 2010 at Ikea’s head office, in the small town of Almhult, Sweden. (The address is 1 Ikea Street.) I was writing a book about his closest friend, Otto Ullman — a Jewish refugee from Austria hired as a farmhand by the Kamprad family during the war — and had asked for a meeting. Once we’d introduced ourselves Mr. Kamprad took hold of me by the waist, as if we were on the dance floor and he wanted to check out my figure. Then we sat down, my recorder went on, and an interview of two and a half hours began.

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Why Fear and Self-hatred Destroy Human Sharing and Solidarity

Robert J. Burrowes*

As our world spirals deeper into an abyss from which it is becoming increasingly difficult to extricate ourselves, some very prominent activists have lamented the lack of human solidarity in the face of the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya. See ‘The Rohingya tragedy shows human solidarity is a lie’ and ‘Wrongs of rights activism around Rohingyas’.

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Trump’s Xenophobic Vision of America Is Inciting Racist Violence

By Suman Raghunathan*  – The Nation

Attacks against Muslim, South Asian, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities in the US were up a staggering 45 percent in 2017.

There are two competing visions of patriotism in this country: one grounded in exclusion and the other in inclusion. The fight against the Muslim ban, the first iteration of which was signed into law exactly a year ago, typifies this battle over American values.

President Donald Trump and some of his supporters believe we should close off America to black and brown people and terrorize those who are already here. This is an administration dead-set on demonizing immigrants and stoking fear of Islam. While Trump is not the first racist in the Oval Office, he has invested heavily in white supremacy, both as a candidate and as commander in chief.

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At Davos, the Real Star May Have Been China, Not Trump

By Keith Bradsher* – The New York Times

DAVOS, Switzerland — President Trump used the World Economic Forum meeting to woo investors and business leaders by reassuring them that “America first does not mean America alone.” But it was clear in Davos, Switzerland, this past week that geopolitical momentum lay with Beijing, not Washington.

At one end of town, President Michel Temer of Brazil welcomed an unexpected offer from Beijing for Latin American nations to work closely with a Chinese initiative, known as the Belt and Road, intended to spread its economic and diplomatic influence abroad.

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Roberto Savio receives a prize from the Government of Chile

“Savio has a permanent residence: Indipendence and Freedom crossing”

That’s what the Ambassador of Chile Fernando Ayala said about Roberto Savio, on the 23rd of January 2018 in the Embassy of Chile in Rome, while handing him the honor by the Government of Chile, for his support to the democratic cause after Pinochet’s coup.

The room was packed of journalists, diplomats, and friends of the founder and Honorary President of IPS, and founder and President of Othernews.

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Are the Miserable of the Earth Aware of Davos?

By Baher Kamal*-

Part One. The nation of millions of jobless youth

The nation of millions of jobless youth

This is not about spoiling your day—not at all.

Some unavoidable, pressing questions, however, impose themselves while the world’s business pundits meet (23-26 January 2018) in the icy resort of Davos in Switzerland, pronouncing thousands of ‘politically correct’ words about inequality, gender and the future of the youth.

One of these questions is: are the world’s 200 million unemployed people, of which over 70 million are youth, aware of so many theoretical discourses and even where this Davos is?

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Challenges of the International Agenda 2018

By Fernando Ayala* – The Wall Stret International

Humanity needs to strengthen the multilateral system

The international order that emerged in 1989 left the United States as the sole global power, which has since then been making itself felt by asserting hard power: political, economic and military. However, the current international scenario and the complexity of the interests of the great powers, as well as the so-called ‘regional powers’, are causing a process of mutation or readjustment of an international scene influenced by new threats to security that have alarmed the inhabitants of the big cities throughout the globe. The conflict zones are where these interests intersect, and the International Organizations are where diplomatic battles are being fought.

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The new thesis eleven

Boaventura de Sousa Santos *

In 1845, shortly after he published the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx wrote his Theses on Feuerbach. The Theses were his first attempt at building a materialist philosophy that was centred on transformative praxis and radically different from dominant thinking, whose main exponent at the time was Ludwig Feuerbach. The famous thesis eleven, the best known of them all, reads: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” The word “philosophers” is used here in a broad sense, as referring to the producers of erudite knowledge, which nowadays might include the whole of humanistic and scientific knowledge deemed basic, as opposed to applied knowledge.

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The Earth’s future will not come from heaven

Leonardo Boff*

Most readers will find it difficult to accept what I am going to express here. Even though it is based on the best scientific minds that have been studying the universe, the situation of planet Earth and her eventual collapse, or qualitative leap to another level of reality, for almost a century, it has not penetrated into either the collective consciousness or the major academic centers. The old atomic, mechanistic and deterministic paradigm that arose in the XVI century with Newton, Francis Bacon and Kepler, continues in force, as if Einstein, Hubble, Planck, Heisenberg, Reeves, Hawking, Prigogine, Wilson, Swimme, Lovelock, Capra or so many others who have elaborated a new vision of the Universe and of the Earth had never existed.

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