Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Want to change the aid industry? Here's how to do it | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

Want to change the aid industry? Here's how to do it | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian: "A note, because this step is important: Process and follow-through are bureaucracy. They’re politics. They’re not fun, and they’re supremely unsexy. You’re not going to get many likes on Facebook for pictures of process. But make no mistake: this is where aid industry change actually happens. I encounter ideas for positive aid industry change on a weekly basis, more or less. But the vast majority of these good and sometimes even brilliant ideas will never exist beyond the pub, the coffee room, or the Skype chat window. Why? Because they very often lack the capacity to follow through."



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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What the ‘Uber-isation’ of domestic work means for women | Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

What the ‘Uber-isation’ of domestic work means for women | Overseas Development Institute (ODI): "While Uber has grabbed many headlines, similar changes are afoot in other sectors – including those traditionally least regulated and most often associated with insecure and exploitative work. When it comes to jobs and work, it’s always a question of quality as well as quantity.

Which is why it matters that the gig economy apparently has both positive and negative impacts.

It offers quick access to convenient, flexible and cheap services for consumers, and some choice and flexibility over working hours for workers. But the workers also face real challenges: they have less economic security, predictability, and ability to organise to demand improved pay and conditions.

So will app-based services make things better or worse for those already on the margins?"



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Friday, September 16, 2016

EU hopes licensing system will help save Indonesian forests

EU hopes licensing system will help save Indonesian forests: "JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The European Union has admitted Indonesia to a special licensing system it hopes will prevent the illegally felled tropical timber that makes up a substantial part of the country's wood production from being shipped to the 28-nation bloc.

The EU said Thursday that Indonesia is the first country to qualify for the licenses. It will mean that traders of goods such as wooden furniture, plywood and paper that earn the certification will find it easier to do business with Europe.

But some environmental and civil society groups are already concerned the licensing system could become a conduit for illegal timber from a country where tropical forests are being cut down at an epic rate.

The EU has been trying to implement its timber system internationally for over a decade and over the same time Indonesia has developed its own legal wood verification scheme that has become a key part of its admission to the EU's program."



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Friday, August 19, 2016

Stopping the World’s Most Rapacious Invasive Species, One Fillet at a Time | Foreign Policy

Stopping the World’s Most Rapacious Invasive Species, One Fillet at a Time | Foreign Policy: "Since Pacific lionfish were first detected off the coast of Florida three decades ago, they have spread around the Caribbean, gobbling up everything that fits in their mouths and reproducing at a phenomenal rate. Scientists have shown that soon after they descend upon a reef, there is a sharp fall in the number of small fish, notably the herbivores on which coral depends for survival. “They’re eating their way through the reefs like a plague of locusts,” said Mark Hixon, a lionfish specialist at the University of Hawaii. It is by far the most destructive invasive species ever recorded at sea, and the blight is believed to have started with aquarium fish released off the Florida Atlantic coast in the mid-1980s.

However, in the last few months, a set of unrelated trends has resulted in two U.S. supermarket chains, Whole Foods and Wegmans, offering Florida lionfish, which has a white, delicate flesh, to consumers with much fanfare. Early signs suggest that the state’s fishery might just be big enough to protect the native denizens of at least some reefs from being decimated.

“If the commercial fishermen can keep their numbers down, we should see an increase in the native species that are being eaten by lionfish,” said Lad Akins, the founder of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in Key Largo, Florida, and head of its lionfish study project. “That would be the first time a commercial market controls an invasive species.”"



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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

From California, a Better Way to Retire - The New York Times

From California, a Better Way to Retire - The New York Times: "At any given moment, about half of the private-sector employees in the United States — some 60 million people — do not have any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan. The result is a growing American underclass, in which a third of current retirees live almost entirely on Social Security and fully half of future retirees will face reduced standards of living. Worse, the coverage gap has long proved intractable, with Congress and the financial industry unable or unwilling to design or support truly simple and low-cost retirement savings plans.

And yet, retirement prospects are about to improve for the 6.8 million employees without retirement coverage who work in California for businesses with five or more workers. Next week, the California Legislature is set to vote on a plan, nearly four years in the making, to automatically enroll most uncovered workers in individual retirement savings accounts. Employee advocates are confident the measure will pass, and Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign it. When that happens, Californians will gain more security — and the rest of the nation will gain a national model for promoting retirement savings.

Under the plan, uncovered employees would have up to 5 percent of pay deducted from their paychecks, unless they opted out. Those contributions would be pooled and managed by investment professionals chosen by the state through a bidding process. The plan, called the California Secure Choice Retirement Program, would be overseen by a board of public- and private-sector leaders, appointed by the governor and the Legislature in 2012, when the legislative effort first got underway."



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Friday, August 12, 2016

Mexico mothers searching for loved ones turn up hidden graves

Mexico mothers searching for loved ones turn up hidden graves:



Coatzacoalcos (Mexico) (AFP) - Mothers searching for missing loved ones said they have found seven clandestine gravesites with remains of an undetermined number of people in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, one of the most afflicted by drug gang violence.
Marcela Zurita Rosas, a participant in the search, said Tuesday the graves were found this week in a plot of land in the city of Veracruz, in an area near a major seaport.
"On Monday, we found three graves with bones and on Tuesday four more were found with remains of people who were murdered," she said.
Rosas, who has received training in forensic anthropology and search techniques, is a member of a group called El Solecito. It was formed by mothers who decided to organize their own searches for missing loved ones after growing tired of waiting for the authorities to act.
Rosas is looking for her son, Dorian Javier Rivera Zurita, who disappeared in Cordoba, Veracruz in October 2012.
The latest finds were made on the same plot of land where five decapitated bodies were found in 2015.


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The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention | Australia news | The Guardian

The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention | Australia news | The Guardian:



The devastating trauma and abuse inflicted on children held by Australia in offshore detention has been laid bare in the largest cache of leaked documents released from inside its immigration regime.
More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty.
The Guardian’s analysis of the files reveal that children are vastly over-represented in the reports. More than half of the 2,116 reports – a total of 1,086 incidents, or 51.3% – involve children, although children made up only about 18% of those in detention on Nauru during the time covered by the reports, May 2013 to October 2015. The findings come just weeks after the brutal treatment of young people in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was exposed, leading to the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announcing a wide-ranging public inquiry.


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