December 6, 2011 § 3 Comments
The following address was delivered by Stephen Lewis – former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and one of today’s most important global health advocates – on the eve of World AIDS Day at the Yale School of Public Health.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been the international financial armada in the battle against the three diseases. The collapse of the next round of Global Fund grants, known as Round 11, is the most serious, catastrophic setback in the Fund’s decade of existence. Hiding behind the banner of the financial crisis, the donor countries have clearly decided that if budgetary cuts are to be made, the Global Fund can be among the first to go.
It’s terribly important to recognize the moral implications. It’s not just the fact that people will die; it’s the fact that those who have made the decision know that people will die. How does that get rationalized? How does that get dealt with in the inner sanctums of development ministries and cabinet discussions? What in God’s name do they say to each other?
October 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
A 1992 documentary by the brilliant Adam Curtis about the rise of Monetarism during Britain’s economis crisis in the 1970s. As countries accross Europe bow to the seemingly inexorable logic of austerity and the European Union attempts to lock in a neoliberal model of economic governance, it has lost none of its relevance.
September 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
From Al Jazeera‘s excellent Witness series:
The small town of Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta is facing the consequences of being the first to witness the impact of the Tar Sands project, which may be the tipping point for oil development in Canada. The local community has experienced a spike in cancer cases and dire studies have revealed the true consequences of “dirty oil”.
Gripped in a Faustian pact with the American energy consumer, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to protect the dirtiest oil project ever known. In the following account, filmmaker Tom Radford describes witnessing a David and Goliath struggle.
Below the fold you can also watch Dirty Oil, the 2009 documentary on the Alberta tar sands directed by Leslie Iwerks.
May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
The lavish lifestyles enjoyed by dictators across the Middle East and North Africa have fuelled widespread anger at the way national assets have been looted for the benefit of the few. So what happens to all this wealth once it is spirited out of the country? Can it ever be recovered? And why does the international banking system make it so easy for corruption to flourish? Al Jazeera’s People & Power asked veteran financial journalist, Steve Levinson, to investigate.
See also a recent report by Global Financial Integrity, which estimates illegal capital flight from Africa at more than $1 trillion over the past four decades, “facilitated by a global shadow financial system comprising tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mispricing, and money laundering techniques.”
April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
By Patrick Bond
This panel is not only devoted to considering arguments about implementing the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, but also about broader problems of progressive political positioning and backlash in the academy. Although I do not deal with the April 2 case of Richard Goldstone’s unprincipled U-turn on the findings of the United Commissions commission into Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza invasion, the incident suggests the extent to which South African commentary on the oppression of Palestinians has become acutely politicized. For if Goldstone’s return to his Zionist past – recalling, too, his past as a minor apartheid-era judge (hence as a human rights ally, his zig-zag unreliability, reliability and now unreliability) – serves any purpose aside from empowering Israeli militarists, it will be to compel us to use South Africa as a base from which critical inquiry into the condition of Palestine must now be intensified. Fortunately, just such an opportunity arises in the case of the University of Johannesburg faculty Senate’s decision on March 23 to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) struggle by breaking ties with Israel’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
Activists fear a free trade agreement could risk lives that depend on affordable drugs.
India is one of the world’s largest producers of generic drugs, but a proposed Free Trade Agreement with the European Union could curb the supply of affordable drugs to millions of people. Many fear that multinational pharmaceutical companies will be the only ones allowed to produce and sell them. The proposed deal will affect millions of HIV positive patients in poor countries, who depend on generic drugs for their survival.
Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri reports from New Delhi.