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The “Other Colombia,” And The Blindness Of The Urban Elite


When the well-meaning environmental concerns of city folk clash with the lives of the poor and indigenous who inhabit South America’s rain forests and mining territory.

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(Moto-gundy)

BOGOTA – Uprisings have grown more frequent in the large swaths of Colombian territory inhabited by indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant communities. Discontent is spreading among this nation’s various hunters, gatherers, herders, loggers, fishermen and seasonal farmers.

Some analysts have predicted that our own “Arab Spring” could rise up from these places, which have the highest values of water and biodiversity in the world. It would be an unprecedented environmental boiling point.

These are the areas that make up that “Other Colombia” that people in the urban centers do not understand. And now it has become a security concern. We do not have sound integration policies or a development plan adapted for a diversity of backgrounds. For the most part, these are communities that lose their adaptive viability in the face of cultural and economic changes that come with modernity.

The secular “buenos vivideros,” or good living, areas become pockets of poverty, conflict and displacement. Almost all lifestyles in transition in these distant and secluded regions constitute some sort of illegality. The use of forestry, which continues to take place, is less acceptable to the increasingly educated urban centers. The exploitation of wildlife is stigmatized, but without any alternatives. For example, continental fishing is a sector the state has abandoned.

GDP is not everything

When the government starts to heed the cry against criminal mining, which occurs without economic alternatives in some places, it begins to feed discontent. While this practice is destroying jungles and rivers, we would be entering a new conflict without having emerged from others. This issue has to do with the fact that Colombia does not have a proposal for sustainable development in the occupied border territories.

In fact, Colombia does not understand its own territory. With the rainy season of 2011, an official said with satisfaction that the “damn Niña” — as Colombia President Juan Santos called it — “had not altered the GDP.” But the “Other Colombia” does not benefit from this GDP in the same way. Our officials, with some exceptions, simply cannot conceive that these parts of the country have their own identity, and often very different benchmarks.

It will not be a peaceful Colombia if we city folk value only conservation and fail to recognize that people have lived in this vast space for a long time. The protection of natural resources coupled with local benefits could be part of the solution. And yet, the current development plan prescribes agriculture for the barren lands without offering an alternative for their inhabitants. As Professor Julio Carrizosa has said, “Our institutions are excessively simple-minded in the face of the territories’ complexity.”

We declare millions of hectares as communal lands, but we leave them in a profound, institutional abandon. The Humboldt Institute, which counts on a program for the use of biodiversity, can barely become a scientific witness to the decline of those lifestyles. A “Marshall Plan” is needed to revitalize the Colombia of the forests, floodplain rivers, swamps, rain forests, natural grasslands and extensive mountain areas. It would represent a national commitment to culture, environment and security.

The national government could create a commission of academics and locals to propose a vision. We need a recipe for integration that is sustainable and worthy of Colombia’s minorities, who hold the vast majority of the territory.

via The “Other Colombia,” And The Blindness Of The Urban Elite – All News Is Global |.

Latin America rallies behind Bolivia after ‘humiliation’ by Europe


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Latin American leaders slammed European governments for diverting Bolivian President Evo Morales‘ plane on rumours it was carrying a wanted former US spy agency contractor, and announced an emergency summit in a new diplomatic twist to the Edward Snowden saga.

Heads of state from countries including Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay were planning to gather in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba in a show of solidarity. The detour was a “humiliation” for the region, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said.

Morales, who was greeted by cheering supporters throwing flowers and waving flags when he arrived at the La Paz airport, blamed his delay on the US and its “servants” in Europe whom he said are trying to “intimidate the people and social groups”.

“This is an open provocation to the continent, not just the president,” Morales said.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said she was “surprised and amazed” that European governments obstructed Morales’ travel after they condemned the US over Snowden’s allegations that it was spying on allies.

Such behaviour puts at risk dialogue between South America and Europe, she said.

Failure to allow Morales’ plane to fly through airspace of the European countries threatened the security of the people on board, Russia said. The actions of authorities in France, Spain and Portugal was “hardly friendly,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

The international wrangle linked to Snowden took a further twist yesterday when a British private surveillance company denied that it was behind the bugging of the embassy, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living for over a year.

WikiLeaks is trying to assist Snowden, who is believed to be stranded at an airport in Moscow and seeking asylum in a variety of countries including Ecuador.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on Wednesday made the allegation against the Surveillance Group.

The Surveillance Group’s chief executive Timothy Young rejected Patino’s allegation as “completely untrue”.

“The Surveillance Group does not and has never been engaged in any activities of this nature,” Young said.

Patino described the Surveillance Group as “one of the biggest private investigation and undercover surveillance companies in the United Kingdom”.

On its website, the company says its clients include British law enforcement, other government bodies and financial institutions.

Surveillance experts have described the bugging device that Ecuador says was hidden behind a plug socket in its London embassy as rudimentary and unlikely to have been the work of the British police or security services.

Yesterday, France said it was rejecting a request for political asylum from Snowden, the Interior Ministry said in a statement in Paris.

via Latin America rallies behind Bolivia after ‘humiliation’ by Europe | South China Morning Post.

The agricultural revolution – UK pushes Europe to embrace GM crops


Britain is to push the European Union to relax restrictions on the licensing of genetically modified crops for human consumption amid growing scientific evidence that they are safe, and surveys showing they are supported by farmers. The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, is expected to use a speech next week to outline the start of a new government approach to GM to ensure Britain “is not left behind” in agricultural science.

The move comes as 61 per cent of UK farmers now say they would like to grow GM crops after a disastrous 12-month cycle of poor weather that is expected significantly to reduce harvest yields. Senior government officials said that ministers are increasingly concerned that the potential moral and ethical benefits of GM are being ignored by costly and bureaucratic licensing regulations.

With one-twelfth of global arable land under GM cultivation they have privately warned that Britain faces being left behind in an important technology that has the potential to improve crop yields, help the UK’s agricultural industry and provide benefits to human health through vitamin fortification.

Government sources added that GM also had applications beyond food including the potential to combat diseases such as ash dieback and in developing new medicines.

“The point about GM is not simply about food production,” they said. “There are wider potential environmental and economic benefits to the technology both in the UK and internationally.

“What we want to do is start a dialogue within Europe on GM based upon the science.”

Ministers are hopeful of building support in Brussels for a change of heart on GM, with Germany seen as a key swing voter. However, any attempts to relax the rules could face opposition from countries such as Poland which in April became the eighth EU member state to ban the cultivation of GM crops.

Mr Paterson is said to believe that Britain should take the lead in moving the debate on from the knee-jerk reaction against GM for much of the last decade.

The move comes as a poll of over 600 British farmers found a considerable shift in their stance toward GM in the past year, with nearly a third saying they would be more likely to grow GM crops if it were legal now than they were 12 months ago – about half of them a “lot more” so.

On top of the advocated benefits of improving yields and cutting down on costs such as pesticides, the increasingly extreme weather has concentrated farmers’ minds on the need to guard against climate change.

“The weather has definitely had an impact,” said Martin Haworth, director of policy at the National Farmers Union. “Farmers are becoming more and more aware that climate change doesn’t mean a gradual rise in temperatures but rather a stream of extreme weather events. GM technology is one possible way of mitigating this.

“Last summer was disastrous for potatoes, for example. The potential for growing potatoes resistant to blight has had an impact on some farmers’ attitudes,” he said, adding that farmers were “very frustrated” at not being able to grow GM crops.

One of the survey’s respondents said they wanted to grow GM crops because “the terrible weather in the past two years has meant that yields have been down and the cost of fertiliser and pesticides have been rising ever since”.

GM crops can be engineered to grow faster, increase their resistance to weeds, pests and pesticides, produce extra nutrients or survive harsher weather conditions. They are created by taking genes with beneficial qualities from other organisms and injecting them into the plant. A gene from bacteria found in soil has proved particularly effective at warding off pests from cotton plants, for example.

But while they are widely grown in North and South America, GM crops are effectively banned in the UK and Europe where they are considered on an extremely strict case-by-case basis.

Since the first GM food was produced in 1994 – a delayed-ripening tomato, which had a longer shelf-life – the EU has granted just two licences to cultivate GM crops, neither of them grown in the UK. One was for plants engineered to resist corn borers and the other for a starchy potato used to make paper.

Apart from that, Europe’s exposure to GM products has been confined to imports of genetically modified animal feed, while much of the meat, eggs and milk comes from animals that have been reared on engineered grains.

Science Minister David Willetts said that controls on GM crops should be weakened to make it easier for Britain’s farmers to grow them.

“We believe that GM crops can help make agriculture more efficient and also just as importantly more sustainable, by, for example, reducing the use of pesticides and the use of fossil fuels,” he said.

“There are just too m any 21st-Century technologies that Europe is just being very slow to adopt… one productive way forward is to have this discussion as part of a wider need for Europe to remain innovative rather than a museum of 20th century technology,” he added.

A European Commission analysis of 130 research projects carried out by 500 groups over 25 years concluded in December 2010 that there is “no scientific evidence associating genetically modified organisms with higher risks for the environment or food and feed safety than conventional plants or organisms”.

However, the evidence is not conclusive and the technique continues to be highly controversial. Opponents to GM crops argue that it is far too early to conclude that the technique is safe – including many farmers, with a quarter saying they would not cultivate them under any circumstances.

They are concerned that adopting GM crops could foster stronger pests, diseases and weeds as their foes evolve to adapt to engineered plant and that the injected “rogue” genes could cause problems by spreading to other plants.

The report was conducted by Farmers Weekly magazine and the Reed publishing group and commissioned by Barclays.

Underlining the scale of public opposition to GM foods, a separate new survey out today by YouGov found that only 21 per cent of the population supported the technology, while 35 per cent opposed it.

via Exclusive: The agricultural revolution – UK pushes Europe to embrace GM crops – UK Politics – UK – The Independent.

New €150m Glanbia plant to create 2,000 jobs!!!


New €150m Glanbia plant to create 2,000 jobs

A new milk processing plant could give a huge boost to the south-east of the country creating over 2,000 jobs in spin-off industries.

And now the rub

the plant will only employ 76 people when it opens in two years’ time,

And now a bit of pure speculation

both the Government and the company claim it could spur about 1,000 extra farm jobs and another 600 local jobs as a knock-on effect of its construction.

There will also be 450 construction roles as the factory is built.

Glanbia said the plant will contribute around €400m a year to the local economy.

And now a bit of PR nonsense 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the plan was a “massive vote of confidence in Ireland and our agri-food sector”.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney hailed the news as “the biggest jobs announcement” of the year.

He also rejected concerns that the mooted 1,600 jobs may not end up being created.

“Anyone who questions that does not understand the agriculture sector. These numbers are based on reliable economic models and they are conservative figures. Now I just begin to wonder how much the minister really knows about agriculture. By bet is he is far more familiar with the word spin …

“These are real, Irish jobs. They cannot be moved overseas,” he claimed…. but they might well be invisible

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton claimed the announcement was of “major strategic significance”.

Glanbia is building the plant to deal with a huge increase in the amount of milk its suppliers will produce when EU caps on milk production are removed in 2015.

Almost all of the milk  will be exported to Asia, Africa and South America. Most of it will be sold as dry milk powder which can be used for infant milk formula, cheese and nutritional products.

What we are not told

No figures seem to emerge from this PR splurge as to how much Glanbia received in grants

After construction my bet is we will be lucky to see 200 jobs in total

God Struck down Hugo Chavez


Hola mi amigos!

Buenvenidos and Ding Dong, for the Dictator Hugo Chavez is dead!  God struck Hugo Chavez dead with his awesome power!  Let this be a message to all dictators!  If God’s President Obama called you out into the Axis of Evil, your days are numbered!

For years Hugo Chavez broke the greatest commands of the Bible, refusing to bow before America’s glory and freely share all the oil in his country with the nation drafted to protect the Western hemisphere from communist East Bloc tyranny.

Chavez always bad-mouthed President George W. Bush and even made friends with mean spirited dictators like Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  It is rumored that Adolph Hitler may have been hiding in Argentina as well.

Most famously, Hugo Chavez threatened to not share our oil in Venezuela and Argentina with us.  America automatically owns the Western hemisphere by virtue of the Monroe Doctrine, so his actions were criminal and unjust.

ith Chavez out of the way, South America is in chaos and it is the perfect chance for America to muscle in and coerce a governor over the people, to kindly rule them toward democracy and setup some Halliburton drilling.  Hopefully you fools invested in that company because the fields will be a-flowing with the beautiful crude oil!

How appropriate that the Wizard of Oz is coming back to theaters soon, because the wicked dictator is dead.  Bye-bye.

via God Strikes Hugo Chavez Dead At 58 Photos, Hugo Chavez Esta Muerto! • ChristWire.

via God Strikes Hugo Chavez Dead At 58 Photos, Hugo Chavez Esta Muerto! • ChristWire.

The not-so-discreet rise of the developing world’s bourgeoisie


The U.N.D.P.’s annual Human Development Report was released this morning. There’s obviously a lot to chew on in over 200 pages, but the section I found most compelling was on the growth of the Middle Class in the global South:

The middle class in the South is growing rapidly in size, income and expectations. Between 1990 and 2010, the South’s share of the global middle class population expanded from 26% to 58%. By 2030, more than 80% of the world’s middle class is projected to be residing in the South and to account for 70% of total consumption expenditure.13 The Asia- Pacific Region will host about two-thirds of the world’s middle class by 2030, Central and South America about 10% and Sub-Saharan Africa 2% (figure 4). Within Asia, China and India will account for more than 75% of the middle class as well as its share of total consumption.

Another estimate is that by 2025, annual consumption in emerging market economies will rise to $30 trillion, from $12 trillion in 2010, with the South home to three-fifths of the 1 billion households earning more than $20,000 a year.14 The continued expansion of the middle class is certain to have a profound impact on the world economy.

The “Rise of the South” is the overall theme of the report, which also calls for changes to the governance structure of global political and financial institutions to reflect the reordering of economic power:

By 2020, according to projections developed for this Report, the combined economic output of three leading developing countries alone-Brazil, China and India-will surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

During a conference call earlier this week, I asked the UNDR’s Communications Chief William Orme whether “global south” was still a useful term. Economies like Brazil, China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, etc. may not be “developed” countries yet, but surely the challenges they face are different enough from other “southern” countries that the label is of limited usefulness.

He replied:

We’d be welcome to suggestions. The key is getting them to catch on. We have OECD members – Turkey, Chile, and Mexico – which we’re counting as part of the “south” for the purposes of this study….

It’s something we’ve had a lot of internal debate. The “theology” we have in the Human Development Report is that we use these as similes or metaphors because they’re commonly used terms. We define countries by human development performance, in our index we have it divided into four categories – very high HDI, high HDI, medium, and low – but even that covers up a huge number of differences in the categories.

HDI index is the best known feature of the report, a ranking of the world’s countries from 1st place Norway to 186th place Niger according to their level of human development, an alternative measure to GDP that incorporates factors like health, education, and income. The United States ranks third, though it drops 13 places on an alternative measure of HDI which factors in income inequality.

Big chances in the rankings this year include Portugal, which fell three spots between 2011 and 2012 and Libya, which bizarrely jumped up 23 spots due to newly available GDP data. On the conference call, the HDR’s chief statistician Milorad Kovacevic warned against reading too much into year-to-year changes which often have more to do with revisions of available data than changes in development levels.

via The not-so-discreet rise of the developing world’s bourgeoisie | War of Ideas.

via The not-so-discreet rise of the developing world’s bourgeoisie | War of Ideas.

Assange Trying to Tunnel to Ecuador  


LONDON – EnglandWikileaks founder, Julian Assange could be tunnelling to South American country Ecuador, the Home Office fears.

While Julian Assange has been holed up in one single room in the Equadorian embassy in London, police who are monitoring the situation say that they have reason to believe that Assange might try to escape with a tunnel all the way to Equador.

“It is not inconceivable that the fugitive Assange, who is currently wanted for deportation to Sweden may be tunnelling underneath the embassy in Knightsbridge,” a Metropolitan police spokesman told the BBC today.

Protesters who were outside the Ecuador embassy have been supporting the Wikileaks founder with posters saying ‘Dig for Victory‘ and ‘It’s only 8,000 miles mate’.

“We heard he’s been digging for five months now. I noticed outside the embassy some scratching noises under the road, could’ve been Assange but not sure,” Desmond Pritstem, an Assange supporter revealed yesterday.

Ambassador Ana Alban, the South American country’s envoy to Britain, told reporters in Quito on Sunday that “Our countrymen are waiting for him to dig to Ecuador. We provided a bucket and spade for freedom and democracy. They will wait for him there for as long as it takes”.

via Assange Trying to Tunnel to Ecuador �.

via Assange Trying to Tunnel to Ecuador  .

Uruguay plans selling cannabis cigarettes to ‘stamp out black market drugs trade’


The Uruguayan Government has reportedly planned to start selling cannabis cigarettes to people in bid to stamp out black market drugs trade.

Smokers will be able to purchase up to 40g (1.4oz) per month, enough for 20 cannabis cigarettes.

uruguay marijuana cigarettes legalAccording to the Daily Mail, the drug will be regulated by the state and sold at the market price, currently around 21.60 pounds.

Cannabis smokers will be given cards with a bar code allowing them to buy up to the legal limit per month, the report said.

According to the paper, the move comes as the government hopes to eliminate the black market in cannabis through the radical proposal.

President Jose Mujica had earlier announced plans to grow up to 150 hectares of cannabis for sale to users.

The Uruguayan Government has reportedly planned to start selling cannabis cigarettes to people in bid to stamp out black market drugs trade.

Smokers will be able to purchase up to 40g (1.4oz) per month, enough for 20 cannabis cigarettes.

According to the Daily Mail, the drug will be regulated by the state and sold at the market price, currently around 21.60 pounds.

Cannabis smokers will be given cards with a bar code allowing them to buy up to the legal limit per month, the report said.

According to the paper, the move comes as the government hopes to eliminate the black market in cannabis through the radical proposal.

President Jose Mujica had earlier announced plans to grow up to 150 hectares of cannabis for sale to users.

“We are losing the battle against drugs and crime in South America. Somebody has to be the first,” he had said.

According to the paper, the Uruguayan government estimates there are around 18,500 people who use cannabis every day in the country. (ANI)

By By ANI

Source: news.yahoo.com

via Uruguay plans selling cannabis cigarettes to ‘stamp out black market drugs trade’ | Cannabis N.I..

via Uruguay plans selling cannabis cigarettes to ‘stamp out black market drugs trade’ | Cannabis N.I..

We told you so and now even the IMF realises we were right –


Ireland cannot continue to sacrifice everything, even people’s lives, in order to balance the books, writes Brendan O’Connor

YOUNGER readers won’t believe this but there used to be a time when the IMF was the bogeyman in this country. If we didn’t behave ourselves, the IMF would come and there would be no pussyfooting around. They would slash public sector wages in half and double taxes and get our house in order in jig time. This was before we learnt to live quite casually with the fact that we are no longer an independent country and that we are subject to something called the troika, one third of which is the IMF.

That would have been unthinkable back in the day, that we would not be governing ourselves. Back then, it was regarded as the ultimate shame if the IMF had to come to a country. It was something that happened to banana republics in South America and basket cases in Africa. The IMF had come to the UK once but that was an aberration, apparently. It really wasn’t something that could ever happen in so-called developed countries.

Little did we think that we would look back and wish that we had invited in the IMF, that they were in charge. Little did we think that the IMF would turn out to be the most reasonable foreign ruler a country could hope to have. But we didn’t manage to get just the IMF in. Instead we got saddled with EU zealots as well, and despite the IMF’s increasing best efforts, we are still being slowly ground into the dust.

While the IMF used to have the name of being all about making people balance the books fast, it has become an increasingly pragmatic and realistic institution in the last few years. It has tended to be the most sceptical of the big international institutions when it comes to austerity at all costs, and it has been the one that has cautioned most about the need for growth as well. This surprises some people because the IMF is regarded as a right-wing organisation stuffed with Yankee capitalists (the worst kind). But then again dismay about austerity has not been limited to the left. It has been, as Fr Jack would say, an ecumenical matter. Only the other day I found myself in heartfelt agreement with a press release that arrived in my email from Joan Collins TD. In terms of economists, there has been agreement from across the left-right spectrum that austerity unchecked could be as, if not more, dangerous than capitalism unchecked was.

The IMF took its distaste for austerity a step or two forward last week. Christine Lagarde has now upset a lot of people, and attracted much criticism internationally, by coming out and saying straight that Greece and Spain should be given more time to balance their budgets. Her point seems to be that when there are so many countries engaged in austerity, it doesn’t make sense for them all to do it so quickly at the same time.

via We told you so and now even the IMF realises we were right – Analysis, Opinion – Independent.ie.

via We told you so and now even the IMF realises we were right – Analysis, Opinion – Independent.ie.

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