Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Free exchange: Poor behaviour | The Economist

Free exchange: Poor behaviour | The Economist: "Conventional economic thinking assumes the poor will want to earn their way out of poverty. But as studies from countries as different as Ethiopia and France show, poverty makes people feel powerless and blunts their aspirations, so they may not even try to improve their lot. When they do, they face obstacles everywhere. They have no margin for error, making them risk averse. If they do not know where their next meal is coming from, saving and investing for the future is hard. George Orwell said, “Within certain limits, the less money you have the less you worry.” He was wrong. The poor are subject to exceptional levels of stress: childhood sickness is more likely to be life-threatening; crop failure can lead to destitution. And stress makes good decision-making harder. Above all, the poor lack the institutional framework which, in the West, improves decisions. Everywhere, people underestimate the benefits of education and save too little for their retirement. But children in the West go to school as a matter of course; pension systems make some savings automatic. Poor countries provide few such props.

All this helps explain why the poor stay poor; why (for example) subsistence farmers do not buy fertiliser or put children into secondary school, though they would benefit from doing so. More important, though, behavioural economics provides a different way of thinking about some of the problems of poverty.

Traditional development programmes stress resources and markets. People are poor, the argument goes, because they lack resources: not just money but roads, clinics, schools and irrigation canals. The job of development is to provide those things. And since resources also need to be allocated properly, prices have to be right. So a lot of development is about freeing prices and making markets more efficient.

A behavioural approach to development is different. It focuses on how decisions are made and how they can be improved. For example, in Bogotá a conditional-cash transfer programme paid mothers a monthly stipend if they took their children to school. Attendance during the school year was good but re-enrolment rates were low. A shift in the timing of the hand-out—withholding a part of the regular payment until just before the start of the school year—boosted enrolment sharply. This makes little sense in conventional economic terms: going to school is so beneficial that families should not need extra incentives and the overall sum available did not change. Yet the pay-off was substantial."

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Impact investing for ocean ecosystems and users: Capital available, but projects needed! | Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM)

Impact investing for ocean ecosystems and users: Capital available, but projects needed! | Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM): "Capital for marine impact investments appears to be available, and the limitation is the paucity of investor-ready projects. To me this is analogous to the food scarcity dilemma; the world produces enough food to feed the entire population, but nearly one billion people are underfed due to distribution and waste issues. We have growing evidence of the availability of investment capital – including a recent survey of 21 impact investors (publication forthcoming) – but we need to focus on developing and scaling projects to accept the capital."

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why You Don't Realize That You're Probably Eating Endangered Fish | MUNCHIES

Why You Don't Realize That You're Probably Eating Endangered Fish | MUNCHIES: "Nigel Preston—the Director General of WorldFish, an international aquaculture and fisheries nonprofit—said: “Most of the world’s fish comes from small-scale fisheries where access to certification schemes is an expensive luxury. Transparency in supply chains is crucial not only in terms of protecting fish stocks, but also for securing a just space for these small-scale fishers. WorldFish is working with partners including national governments to reduce the burden on these fishers by building capacities to meet international standard requirements and gain a better share of those markets. By doing so, poorer fishers will be less likely to draw on depleted resources.”"

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Dramatic photos show how Shiite Muslims mark Ashura, one of the most emotional events in Islam - The Washington Post

Dramatic photos show how Shiite Muslims mark Ashura, one of the most emotional events in Islam - The Washington Post: "The defeat and death of Hussein, at the hands of forces loyal to Yazid, a caliph from the Arab Omayyad dynasty, was the seminal event that led to the division of Islam into Sunni and Shiite sects, with the major difference relating to the line of succession after the death of the prophet and lesser differences over issues of ritual and prayer. That split has come to divide the Middle East into camps dominated by Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, and it has led to sectarian violence in countries such as Iraq and Pakistan. Sunnis also observe Ashura, but as a day of gratitude and fasting in honor of the prophet Moses, rather than a day of sorrow and public mourning for Hussein."

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Syrian terror suspect Jaber al-Bakr found dead in cell in Germany - BBC News

Syrian terror suspect Jaber al-Bakr found dead in cell in Germany - BBC News: "When police raided the flat in the eastern city of Chemnitz, they found 1.5kg of TATP, a home-made explosive used in the deadly jihadist attacks in Paris last year and in Brussels last March. The explosives were "extremely dangerous", police said.
But al-Bakr managed to slip the net, and made his way to the city of Leipzig where he asked the Syrians for help.
The three told police they had heard about the manhunt and tied him up while one of them knelt on him.
They alerted police who finally managed to arrest him.
Since then there have been calls for authorities to honour the three. Bild newspaper described them as "the Syrian heroes from Leipzig"."

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Russians, lies and WikiLeaks - POLITICO

Russians, lies and WikiLeaks - POLITICO: "Still, security experts of both parties have been warning of potential Russian fakery in the document leaks since late July, shortly after the first huge batch of hacked internal emails from the Democratic National Committee forced the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and widened the split between the party’s Clinton and Bernie Sanders factions.

“It is not unthinkable that those responsible will steal and release more files, and even salt the files they release with plausible forgeries,” a bipartisan group of national security experts from the Aspen Institute said in a statement July 28.

More broadly, the spreading of false information by intelligence services “is a technique that goes back to Tsarist times,” said James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in an interview Wednesday. Past examples include the Soviet-spread rumor that the U.S. government developed the AIDS virus, as well as a 2014 incident in which hackers modified the reported vote totals for the Ukrainian presidential election — falsely showing a right-wing victory that Russian state television reported almost immediately.

Cyberspace offers Russia both increased opportunities for using faked information to sow chaos and improved chances of doing it convincingly."

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

10 countries host half world's refugees: Amnesty

10 countries host half world's refugees: Amnesty: "Ten countries accounting for 2.5 percent of world GDP are hosting more than half the world's refugees, Amnesty International said Tuesday as it slammed what it called the selfishness of wealthy nations.

In a report on the plight faced by the world's 21 million refugees, the London-based human rights body lamented that countries immediately neighbouring crisis zones bear the brunt of the global refugee problem.

Fifty-six percent of refugees are being sheltered in 10 countries, according to the report, in which Amnesty proposed a solution whereby the world's countries find a home for 10 percent of the planet's refugees every year."

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Monday, October 3, 2016

CSIRO scientists create world's first fish-free prawn food Novaq - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

CSIRO scientists create world's first fish-free prawn food Novaq - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "A team of CSIRO scientists has cracked the holy grail of aquaculture by developing the world's first fish-free prawn food.

The royalties from worldwide licensing deals for the Novaq product will earn the CSIRO tens of millions of dollars.

"The research cost about $10 million. We are very confident that this will generate a return on investment back to Australian taxpayers of many, many times the initial investment," CSIRO's Dr Nigel Preston said.

There is intense global interest in Novaq because it solves one of the farmed prawn industry's biggest problems - its reliance on wild fisheries as a core ingredient in prawn food.

But aquaculture has reached "peak fish", where demand for wild harvested fish meal now outstrips supply.

Without a solution, soaring world demand cannot be met.

"It is absolutely a critical issue for the global aquaculture industry. There's no more room to get more wild harvest fish, so we've got to find alternatives," Dr Preston said."

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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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Thursday, August 4, 2016

All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others. - The New York Times

All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others. - The New York Times: "Falsehood Face-Off
Statements since 2007 by presidential candidates (and some current and former officeholders) ranked from most dishonest over all to least dishonest, as fact-checked by PolitiFact. “Pants on Fire” refers to the most egregious falsehoods.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Donald Trump Calls On Russia To 'Find' Hillary Clinton's Emails : NPR

Donald Trump Calls On Russia To 'Find' Hillary Clinton's Emails : NPR: ""Today, Donald Trump once again took Russia's side," Panetta said. "He asked the Russians to interfere in American politics. Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump, who wants to be president of the United States, is asking one of our adversaries to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States to affect our election."

The crowd at the DNC bood loudly, then cheered this remark from Panetta:

"As someone who was responsible for protecting our nation from cyberattacks, it's inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be this irresponsible. Donald Trump cannot become our commander in chief.""

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Friday, July 22, 2016

U.S. lawsuits link Malaysian leader to stolen money from 1MDB fund

U.S. lawsuits link Malaysian leader to stolen money from 1MDB fund: "KUALA LUMPUR/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday judgment should be withheld until all the facts are known after the U.S. government filed lawsuits seeking to seize $1 billion in assets bought with money stolen from a state fund he oversaw.

The U.S. Justice Department lawsuits filed in a federal court on Wednesday did not name Najib, instead referring to "Malaysian Official 1." Some of the allegations against this official were the same as those in a Malaysian investigation into a $681 million transfer to the premier's personal bank account.

The lawsuits said $681 million from a 2013 bond sale by sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was transferred to the account of "Malaysian Official 1".

A source familiar with the investigation confirmed that "Malaysian Official 1" was Najib.

In Malaysia, the hashtag #MalaysianOfficial1 was trending on Thursday."

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Big Fish: Indonesia's Minister Susi Pudjiastuti's crowd pleasing performance

Big Fish: Indonesia's Minister Susi Pudjiastuti's crowd pleasing performance: "When Susi Pudjiastuti was sworn in as Indonesia's Maritime and Fisheries Minister this time last year, the local tabloids didn't think she stood a chance. Of the eight women in President Jokowi's 'Working Cabinet', Susi was singled out for her failure to conform to conventional ideas of how a woman, or indeed a minister, should behave. She was labelled an eccentric for having a tattoo, being a divorcee, and for smoking a cigarette outside the State Palace. She was described by local media as a poor example of Jokowi's promised 'mental revolution'. But since then, Susi has not only survived a cabinet reshuffle and transformed into a media darling, but has become by far the best-known and most widely liked of Jokowi's ministers. So how did she do it?

The short answer is: by blowing things up. "

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In rare move, Pakistan bars family from 'forgiving' son for honor killing

In rare move, Pakistan bars family from 'forgiving' son for honor killing: "ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities have barred the family of a murdered social media celebrity from legally "forgiving" their son for strangling her, sources said, in a rare stand against the so-called practice of "honor killings".

Muhammad Waseem drugged and strangled Qandeel Baloch on Friday in a murder that has shocked Pakistan, a deeply conservative Muslim nation where the 26-year-old both titillated and outraged with her risqué social media photos and videos.

Waseem told media he had "no regrets" about killing his sister as she violated the family's honor by her social media pictures, including "selfie" photographs with prominent Muslim cleric Abdul Qavi. In a video post with Qavi, she appears to sit on his lap.

A police source said the government of Punjab, the country's largest province, has made it impossible for the family to forgive the son who murdered her - a common legal loophole that sees many honor killings go unpunished in Pakistan.

"It was done on the instructions of the government. But it happens rarely," said the Punjab police official."

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Turkey coup: Purge widens to education sector - BBC News

Turkey coup: Purge widens to education sector - BBC News: "The army, judiciary, security and civil service have all been targeted following Friday's coup attempt:
6,000 military personnel have been arrested, with more than two dozen generals awaiting trial
Nearly 9,000 police officers have been sacked
Close to 3,000 judges have been suspended
Some 1,500 employees of Turkey's finance ministry have been dismissed
492 have been fired from the Religious Affairs Directorate
More than 250 staff in Mr Yildirim's office have been removed
Turkey's media regulation body on Tuesday also revoked the licenses of 24 radio and TV channels accused of links to Mr Gulen."

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

IS and the future of Malaysia | Free Malaysia Today

IS and the future of Malaysia | Free Malaysia Today: "A couple of weeks ago, an IS attack in Puchong changed the security landscape in Malaysia. Until last week many Malaysians believed such attacks will not happen in this country because the IS threat is only outside Malaysia.
For the security and intelligence forces this attack was a surprise. The choice is not obviously in the city centre or crowded places visited by foreigners but rather one that was unimaginable. This has shown that ISIS supporters, sympathisers or terrorists have read and scaled down their targets well.
Worst of all the attack was carried out in the holy month of Ramadhan, a month of peace and supplication when people will least expect such an attack to happen.
Therefore, officially IS has declared war against Malaysia. The intelligence and security forces can expect a future wave of attacks here. The fatwa issued by IS in Syria urged its supporters and sympathisers to attack places like nightclubs because these clubs do not observe the sanctity of the month of Ramadhan. Furthermore, it is stated in the Prophetic Traditions that the last 10 days of the month of Ramadhan is most rewarding.
The Movida attack is a target of convenience and it’s the first attempt, with less risk and less effort for the terrorist rather than high-security places like KLCC, Bukit Bintang or Putrajaya."

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Pakistani model killed after offending conservatives - The Washington Post

Pakistani model killed after offending conservatives - The Washington Post: "Hundreds of Pakistani woman are murdered by family members each year in so-called honor killings, which are seen as punishment for violating conservative norms."

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Silicon Valley denizens have their own language | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

Silicon Valley denizens have their own language | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com: "You can’t talk to people in Silicon Valley anymore. They don’t even speak our language.

By that, I’m not referencing Mark Zuckerberg’s mediocre Mandarin or the software code underlying so many Valley endeavors. I’m talking, literally, about the words Valley denizens use when they speak, in sentences like: “Yeah, that startup has some cool gamification, but it’s an X for Y model, they don’t even have a minimum viable product, and that space is already in Hype Cycle. Their only hope is to pull off an acqui-hire. And even then, I don’t know if they have a total addressable market.”

In other words (rough translation of above sentence: that startup is a cool place to work but will die), our technological masters no longer speak the same language that most Californians do. And that is just one sign of a growing divide between tech and non-tech here. The Valley’s growing cadres of wealthy and powerful technocrati have turned the Bay Area into an island, cut off from the rest of struggling California. Their outlook and lives are global, while most of the rest of us exist locally. There are chasms between their technological sophistication and ours, between their venture-backed business methods and our adherence to accounting principles, and between our ethnic and gender diversity and their lack of it."

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Google, LinkedIn paid big bucks to swap land in Mountain View - Silicon Valley Business Journal

Google, LinkedIn paid big bucks to swap land in Mountain View - Silicon Valley Business Journal: "Google and LinkedIn's complicated land swap — announced Tuesday— also came with a big price tag, with each side realizing significant gains when compared to the original acquisition prices.

Public records show that Google paid $215.2 million to acquire LinkedIn's assets at Shoreline Boulevard and Highway 101. LinkedIn paid about $100 million to assemble those properties in late 2014 and 2015. They include the Lester Industrial Park, a small retail building, and a Caltrans easement. (See the chart below for more details.)"

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To seek peace in Syria, US offers to cooperate with Russia

To seek peace in Syria, US offers to cooperate with Russia: "WASHINGTON (AP) — Frustrated by months of failure in Syria, the Obama administration is taking what might be its final offer to Moscow: Enhanced intelligence and military cooperation against the Islamic State and other extremist groups if Syria's Russian-backed president Bashar Assad upholds a ceasefire with U.S.-supported rebel groups and starts a political transition.

When Secretary of State John Kerry meets Russia's top diplomat and possibly President Vladimir Putin in Moscow later this week, Syria's civil war and Assad's future will top the agenda. Kerry is trying to reverse a trend in which he has hailed a series of agreements with the Russians only for them to fall short, according to officials with knowledge of internal American deliberations."

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Palo Alto teen suicide clusters spark study of numbers - SFGate

Palo Alto teen suicide clusters spark study of numbers - SFGate: "Young people in hypercompetitive Santa Clara County don’t appear to be at greater risk of suicide than their peers in the rest of California, but parents, teachers and others who interact with potentially troubled South Bay teens could do a better job forming close connections to them and getting them help, according to a new federal report.
The paper released this week came at the request of public health authorities in Santa Clara County who were alarmed by two well-publicized clusters of teen suicides in Palo Alto. Six young people died in 2009 and 2010 and four died in 2014 and 2015, most by standing in front of Caltrains near their schools.
The report, conducted by two federal agencies, is preliminary and draws mostly on data from death records and state surveys. A final report, due to be released this year, is expected to examine the clusters that prompted the investigation and how media reports and other community actions helped or hindered efforts to reduce suicide in the region."

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California to Extend Cap-and-Trade System to 2050 - Scientific American

California to Extend Cap-and-Trade System to 2050 - Scientific American: "The plan to extend the carbon market comes as state lawmakers and Brown (D) are engaged in negotiations to set a new overarching emissions target for 2030. It’s unclear whether ARB has the authority to go beyond 2020 currently, thanks to a combination of potentially limiting language in the original climate law, A.B. 32, and a lawsuit challenging the legality of cap-and-trade auctions under a law requiring a two-thirds legislative majority to approve taxes.
The amendments released yesterday would establish decreasing emissions caps for covered entities through 2031, to reach 40 percent below 1990 levels, and would include preliminary caps through 2050 “to signal the long-term trajectory of the program to inform investment decisions.”
Other proposed amendments would provide for compliance with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants, allocate allowances to businesses in order to prevent emissions from escaping state borders, and streamline how emitters register and participate in auctions."

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Footage of police killing unarmed teen prompts claim of 'trigger-happy' officers | US news | The Guardian

Footage of police killing unarmed teen prompts claim of 'trigger-happy' officers | US news | The Guardian: "Police in California have released graphic body-camera footage of officers repeatedly shooting an unarmed teenager, including multiple shots that were fired as the adolescent was gravely wounded, lying on his back and barely moving.

The release on Wednesday of video of the killing of Dylan Noble, a 19-year-old shot at a gas station in Fresno on 25 June, occurred just hours after the police department told the Guardian he would not release the footage.

Officers privately showed the video to Noble’s family last Friday but had initially refused to release the video to the public until the investigation was complete.

“They just wanted to shoot him,” said Darren Noble, Dylan’s father, after watching the footage. “They’re just trigger-happy.”

After watching the footage, Noble’s family launched legal action against the city alleging that the shooting was “an inexcusable use of excessive force”."

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Malaysia rounds up more than 200 terror suspects, World News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Malaysia rounds up more than 200 terror suspects, World News & Top Stories - The Straits Times: "KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia continues to be gripped by security jitters following a grenade attack on a nightclub in Selangor more than two weeks ago by ISIS sympathisers.

Police said yesterday it is investigating a warning circulating on social media of a possible attack by the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on tourist areas in Malacca.

Separately, the country's top anti-terror official received a death threat from a Malaysian ISIS militant who was seen in a beheading video last year.

Police in the meantime have revealed that 186 Malaysians and 27 foreigners had been detained to facilitate investigations into suspected links with terror groups.

Malaysian suspects from Kedah and Perak states topped the list with 30 arrests each, followed by Kuala Lumpur (28), Johor (19) and Selangor (17)."

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Theresa May vows to be 'one nation' prime minister - BBC News

Theresa May vows to be 'one nation' prime minister - BBC News: ""That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you're born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others," she said.
For an "ordinary working class family", she added, "life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise".
Speaking directly to people who were "just managing", she said: "The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.
"When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.
"When we pass new laws, we'll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we'll prioritise not the wealthy, but you."

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

California's quest to legalize marijuana in the state

California's quest to legalize marijuana in the state: "California's ballot initiative for recreational cannabis use is modeled after efforts in Washington state and Colorado. The California framework would include infrastructure to legalize, sell and tax cannabis like alcohol. It places a 15 percent tax on retail sales of the drug. If passed, the rollout of the adult-use market would add an estimated $1.4 billion in revenues within the first year of a fully operational cannabis market, according to ArcView.

About 60 percent of likely voters say that, in general, marijuana use should be legal, and 37 percent say it should not be legal, according to survey and data released in May from the Public Policy Institute of California.

"If adult-use legalization passes in November, there's going to be a massive increase to the size of the California market," predicts Troy Dayton, chief executive of The ArcView Group, a research firm that specializes in cannabis. "With the prospect of legalization on the helm, we're looking at the total market for legal cannabis in California to grow from $2.7 billion to $6.6 billion by 2020." Currently, the state holds the lion's share of the $5.7 billion industry."

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Philando Castile's Driving Record Raises Questions About Racial Profiling

Philando Castile's Driving Record Raises Questions About Racial Profiling: "Philando Castile, 32, had been accused by police of more than 50 violations in the two counties that encompass the suburb of Falcon Heights, where he was killed ― a record that stretches back to when he was 19, court records show.

The dozens of citations were for minor infractions that included speeding, improperly displaying a license plate and driving without proof of insurance; nearly half of the charges were eventually dismissed outright. 

“We want people to know ‘driving while black’ has been an issue ― drivers pulled over for implicit bias,” Rashad Turner, an organizer with Black Lives Matter St. Paul, said last week.

The NAACP of St. Paul estimates that 80 percent to 90 percent people pulled over by St. Anthony police in the Falcon Heights jurisdiction are “either African-American or native African” and are cited for minor infractions, according to chapter president Jeffry Martin. 

“Things hanging from the rearview mirror, a crack in your windshield that doesn’t obscure your view, a faulty turn signal,” Martin gave as examples. “There are so many traffic laws on the books that if you cited everyone for all of them, you would write a thousand more tickets a day.” "

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Court rules against Beijing in South China Sea row - News from Al Jazeera

Court rules against Beijing in South China Sea row - News from Al Jazeera: "Court rules against Beijing in South China Sea row
Tribunal rules China has no legal basis to claim historic rights to disputed territory in the South China Sea."

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

India's Modi Launches $15. Billion Fund for Startups - Fortune

India's Modi Launches $15. Billion Fund for Startups - Fortune: "However, the push by Modi’s government is the first time Indian policymakers have announced an agenda directly aimed at promoting start-ups and entrepreneurship.

Modi unveiled plans for a new 100 billion rupee fund: a structured fund of funds that will invest in venture capital funds over a period of four years, financed by the government and the state-owned Life Insurance Corp.(LIC).

He also said start-up companies would benefit from cheaper and faster patent applications, enjoying 80% rebates on the cost of patents. A mobile app would allow companies to be set up within a day, he promised."

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Three suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia extend global wave of bombings and a bloody week - The Washington Post

Three suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia extend global wave of bombings and a bloody week - The Washington Post: "The militant group, as it has in each of the three years since it announced its existence, had urged its followers to carry out attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, abstention and prayer that will conclude Wednesday with a holiday of feasting and family visits.

This has turned into the most blood-soaked Ramadan yet in the Islamic State’s campaign. At least 290 people have been killed in attacks claimed by or linked to the Islamic State — at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, at a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and in Baghdad. The vast majority of them, 222 people, died in the Baghdad blast, which targeted a shopping street packed with people celebrating the end of the day’s fast and shopping for the approaching holiday."

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New law gives California right to temporarily confiscate gun owners’ weapons - MarketWatch

New law gives California right to temporarily confiscate gun owners’ weapons - MarketWatch: "As the nation is again plunged into a debate about gun violence after the Orlando massacre, authorities in California are using a new law designed to prevent the next mass shooting by temporarily confiscating guns from people considered a danger to themselves or others.

California, which already has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the nation, this week moved forward with a sweeping new package of gun control laws that underscores the power of the Democratically controlled state to carve its own path on the issue. On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed six gun-control bills into law, including an expansion of the 1989 law known as the assault weapons ban."

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Malaysia Links Nightclub Attack to Islamic State - The New York Times

Malaysia Links Nightclub Attack to Islamic State - The New York Times: "BANGKOK — A grenade attack at a nightclub in Malaysia last week was the work of the Islamic State, and two men who received instructions from a fighter for the group have been arrested, the Malaysian authorities said on Monday.

The attack early last Tuesday in the town of Puchong, near the capital, Kuala Lumpur, injured eight people and was thought to have been the first assault in Malaysia tied to the Islamic State.

Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia’s inspector general of police, said at a news conference that the two suspects had been ordered to carry out attacks by a known Islamic State fighter from Malaysia, whom he identified as Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi."

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ivory Coast: Gay men attacked over event for Orlando victims

Ivory Coast: Gay men attacked over event for Orlando victims: "ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Gay men in Ivory Coast say they've been assaulted and forced to flee their homes after the U.S. Embassy published a photo of them signing a condolence book for victims of this month's killings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The photo, published on the embassy's website, shows the faces of six men with the caption "LGBTI community signing the condolence book." It was taken at the embassy on June 16, the same day Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan and other officials signed the book in honor of the 49 people killed in the Orlando attack.

The photo has been widely shared on social media and two of the men said that in the days after it was published an angry mob punched and kicked them while shouting anti-gay slurs. The men spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for their safety."

'via Blog this'

Malaysia anti-graft body detains leading opposition MP

Malaysia anti-graft body detains leading opposition MP: "The younger Lim is accused of misusing his powers as the chief state executive on a purchase of a bungalow on July 28 last year.

He is expected to be charged in the George Town Sessions Court under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

The first charge relates to alleged abuse of power with regard to the re-zoning of land from agriculture to commercial, and the second concerns the bungalow, which he had acquired below market price."

'via Blog this'

A Grenade Attack on a Malaysian Bar May Have Been Islamist Terrorism | TIME

A Grenade Attack on a Malaysian Bar May Have Been Islamist Terrorism | TIME:

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Islamic State suspected after suicide bombers kill 42 at Istanbul airport | Reuters

Islamic State suspected after suicide bombers kill 42 at Istanbul airport | Reuters: "Turkey pointed the finger at Islamic State on Wednesday for a triple suicide bombing and gun attack that killed 42 people at Istanbul's main airport, and President Tayyip Erdogan called it a turning point in the global fight against terrorism.

In the deadliest of a series of suicide bombings this year in Turkey, the attackers struck the busy airport, a symbol of Istanbul's role as the Muslim world's most open and cosmopolitan city, a crossroads between Europe and Asia.

Three bombers opened fire to create panic outside the airport on Tuesday night, before two of them got inside and blew themselves up. Two hundred and thirty-nine people were wounded, officials said, giving a full account of the bloodshed."

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Out with 'family' planning, in with 'future' planning | Devex

Out with 'family' planning, in with 'future' planning | Devex: "In Kenya, the “Future Fab” teen lifestyle brand is taking off. Around the world, young people are rallying around the term “future planning.” And in West Africa, youth ambassadors are mobilizing their peers to encourage their governments to invest in contraceptive security.

They’re diverse projects in different contexts addressing unique communities’ needs, but they’re all focused on making contraceptive use more accessible for youth. And in each, the term “family planning” has been purposefully set aside.

Today, the two words that have so long acted as the umbrella term for women’s ability to choose the spacing and timing of their births are no longer serving young people who aren’t managing their reproductive health in the context of marriage. Adolescents view their need for access to contraception not just as a way to decide when to become pregnant, but as a path for them to plan their education, their relationships, their finances and their futures as a whole.

Many people have “really tried very hard to undo this conundrum of words,” Jill Sheffield, president emeritus of Women Deliver, told Devex after the 2016 Women Deliver Conference. “I think that one of the challenges we need to issue to young people is to help the world come up with a new label for the concept of avoiding unintended pregnancy.”"

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.

The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen.: ""In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person." —Henry Louis Gates The quote above comes from a fascinating article called “Hating Hillary”, written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published, it’s a fascinating and impressive piece, and if you have a few spare moments I strongly recommend it to you. (www.newyorker.com/...)

 And I’m reading pieces like this because now that Hillary has (essentially if not officially) won the Democratic Primary, I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her. In truth, I sometimes think that I find that as interesting as Hillary herself. And I can’t help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as “a cultural inventory of villainy” rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.

 To conservatives she is a radical left-wing insurgent who has on multiple occasions been compared to Mikhail Suslov, the Soviet Kremlin’s long-time Chief of Ideology. To many progressives (you know who you are), she is a Republican fox in Democratic sheep’s clothing, a shill for Wall Street who doesn’t give a damn about the working class. The fact that these views could not possibly apply to the same person does not seem to give either side pause. Hillary haters on the right and the left seem perfectly happy to maintain their mutually incompatible delusions about why she is awful. The only thing both teams seem to share is the insistence that Hillary is a Machiavellian conspirator and implacable liar, unworthy of society’s trust."

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict | World news | The Guardian

Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict | World news | The Guardian: "The Colombian government and Farc guerrillas have declared the final day of one of the world’s oldest wars with the signing of a ceasefire agreement to end more than 50 years of bloodshed. “May this be the last day of the war,” said Farc chief Timoleón “Timochenko” Jiménez, his voice choked with tears.

“We are close to a final peace accord,” he said, after shaking hands with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos at the signing ceremony in Havana, which was attended by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon."

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Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, markets plummet | Reuters

Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, markets plummet | Reuters: "Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a near 52-48 percent split for leaving a bloc it joined more than 40 years ago.

The pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to levels last seen in 1985, on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty.

World stocks headed for one of the biggest slumps on record, and billions of dollars were wiped off the value of European companies. Britain's big banks took a $130 billion battering, with Lloyds and Barclays falling as much as 30 percent.

An emotional Cameron, who led the "Remain" campaign to defeat, losing the gamble he took when he called the referendum three years ago, said he would leave office by October."

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Mob destroys mosque as religious, ethnic tension rises in Myanmar | Reuters

Mob destroys mosque as religious, ethnic tension rises in Myanmar | Reuters: "A group of men from a village in central Myanmar destroyed a mosque in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months, coinciding with a rise in tensions over how to refer to the Rohingya, the country's persecuted Muslim minority.

Villagers from Thayethamin, a remote settlement a two-hours' drive northeast of Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, destroyed the mosque on Thursday after a dispute over its construction, and beat up at least one Muslim man, media and a police spokesman said.

Religious tensions simmered in Myanmar for almost half a century of military rule, before boiling over in 2012, just a year after a semi-civilian government took power.

Hundreds died in clashes in northwestern Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, leading to the organized expulsion of Rohingya by Rakhine mobs. More violence between Muslims and Buddhists in other parts of the country followed in 2013."

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Two way street to development | Devex

Two way street to development | Devex: "Development cooperation is increasingly running on a two way street, as “developing countries” come up with novel solutions that can be borrowed by their more “developed” counterparts. At the same time, South-South cooperation is on the upswing, especially in Latin America. Triangular — or South-South-North — cooperation is also trending.

“Cooperation is becoming more horizontal,” said Rebeca Grynspan, secretary general of the Ibero-American Secretariat General, or SEGIB — an intergovernmental organization that unites 22 Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries from Latin America and Europe. “It is being done with greater humility — everyone has something to learn.”

Grynspan made her remarks during the International Economic Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean in Paris on June 3. In an exclusive interview with Grynspan — whose resume includes her role as the former vice president of Costa Rica and a stint with the United Nations Development Programme — she told Devex there are over 1,000 examples of South-South projects in Latin America."

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Democrats hold sit-in on House floor to force gun-control votes continues late into the night - The Washington Post

Democrats hold sit-in on House floor to force gun-control votes continues late into the night - The Washington Post: "Democrats took over the House floor on Wednesday in an attempt to force votes on gun-control proposals, holding their sit-in well into the evening almost 12 hours after it began.

Many House Democrats said they plan to stay in the chamber all night — even if Republicans decide to shut off the lights and the air conditioning — to call for congressional action following the recent mass shooting in Orlando.

“I don’t know how many of us or all of us are going to stay,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “But my plan is I have a blankey.”

Democrats are demanding votes on measures that would prevent suspected terrorists from buying firearms and expand background checks for firearm purchases.

The protest started early in the day when a group of House Democrats chanting “no bill, no vote” shouted down Republican leaders’ efforts to gavel the House into session around 11:30 a.m., and then prevented the GOP from conducting regular business for most of the day.

Around 10 p.m., House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) banged the gavel and called the House back into session for a vote to override President Obama’s veto of a measure that would scale back new regulations for financial advisers. Democrats voted to sustain the veto while continuing to chant and protest.

Republicans immediately called the House into recess after the vote was completed and Democrats returned to their sit-in."

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John Lewis leads Democratic sit-in on House floor to demand gun votes.

John Lewis leads Democratic sit-in on House floor to demand gun votes.: "

Update, 11:27 p.m.: We’re going to wrap up this evening’s live blog coverage of the Democrats sit-in and pick it up in the morning. It’s been a big day on the House floor and for Periscope’s brand recognition—which picked up 535 new downloads Wednesday. The biggest winner, however, was our nation’s loveable video bot C-SPAN and its subtle rebellion after years of getting treated like Skype.
Update, 11:05 p.m.: It’s been a day full of audibles, but this the best. From earlier in the day (via the Chicago Tribune):
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, sat with other lawmakers on the chamber's floor. She'd removed her leg prosthetics and secreted her smartphone inside one of them so the phone wouldn't be taken away."

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

About CBI | Connecting Business

About CBI | Connecting Business:

Connecting Business Initiative

The Connecting Business Initiative (CBI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that provides a mechanism for the private sector to engage with the United Nations system, national governments and civil society in a coordinated manner on crisis risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.  
With the scale of need fast outpacing the ability of traditional actors to respond, the necessity for coordinated and more holistic approaches to engage the private sector in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery is increasing. The potential for the business sector to collaborate with the international community to increase community resilience and local capacity is vast. While businesses are already making significant contributions, there are still many opportunities to expand the impact.
The initiative will coordinate and facilitate access to the tools, resources and mechanisms that will enable businesses to undertake effective disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery through networks that are connected via a global coordination architecture to each other and to other actors.
The initiative rests on the notion that while Governments maintain overall responsibility for responding to humanitarian emergencies, local communities and private sector networks also play a critical role in ensuring preparedness for, response to and recovery after emergencies. Strong networks play a vital role in ensuring that individuals and communities are resilient enough to return to normalcy as soon as possible and regain access to goods and services. 
The Connecting Business initiative is meeting the demand of the private sector for engagement in a more strategic and permanent way both globally and locally. The World Humanitarian Summit Synthesis Report, drawing on consultations with over 900 businesses, recommended:
  • networks be established and supported to facilitate coordinated and effective engagement by businesses;
  • a mechanism be created to coordinate private sector engagement globally; and
  • businesses be engaged holistically across resilience, response and recovery.
The Report of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing appointed by the UN Secretary-General also called for the establishment of local, regional and industry-specific business networks focused on scaling business engagement.
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Foreign aid: The good, the bad and the ugly | The Voice Online

Foreign aid: The good, the bad and the ugly | The Voice Online: "At the macro level, research shows that aid has no link to economic development. But it does seem to encourage corruption and bad practises.

The best way a donor country can help a poor country is in fact to open its markets to their products. This will encourage local production, with all of the beneficial effects, and generate a value stream that multiplies in the local economy.

This is how the Marshall Plan at the end of the Second World War helped a devastated Europe to recover. The export route is a well-trodden path (ask Japan, South Korea, Germany) to wealth and prosperity and it is the one poor countries should be helped to get on. It will help avoid corruption, increase best practices and create a culture of work and enterprise. And fight corruption."

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Local Integration Key to Refugee Resettlement

Local Integration Key to Refugee Resettlement: "Ahead of Monday’s celebration of World Refugee Day, the Center for American Progress released a new report and found that once refugees are rooted in the U.S. they see a “substantial” wage gain, help expand the local economy, and learn to speak English “well” or “very well.”

For the past five years the study looked at census data and identified four groups consisting primarily of refugees — Somali, Burmese, Hmong, and Bosnians— and found they quickly became self-sufficient.

Thirty-one out of 1,000 Bosnian refugees are business owners, while 26 of every 1,000 Burmese in the labor force are business owners.

After living in the U.S. for more than 10 years, 86 percent of Somalis speak English “well” and 61 percent speak “very well.” Among Hmong refugees, 43 percent speak only English or speak it“very well.”"

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Prison Time Surges for Federal Inmates

Prison Time Surges for Federal Inmates: "Overview
The average length of time served by federal inmates more than doubled from 1988 to 2012, rising from 17.9 to 37.5 months.1 Across all six major categories of federal crime—violent, property, drug, public order, weapon, and immigration offenses—imprisonment periods increased significantly.2  (See Figure 1.) For drug offenders, who make up roughly half of the federal prison population, time served leapt from less than two years to nearly five.

 Mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the elimination of parole, and other policy choices helped drive this growth, which cost taxpayers an estimated $2.7 billion in 2012 alone.3 Despite these expenditures, research shows that longer prison terms have had little or no effect as a crime prevention strategy—a finding supported by data showing that policymakers have safely reduced sentences for thousands of federal offenders in recent years.4"

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Islamic conversion and custody conundrum in Malaysia - AJE News

Islamic conversion and custody conundrum in Malaysia - AJE News: "Divorce is often fraught, but the breakdown of the kindergarten teacher's marriage was further complicated by her husband's decision to become a Muslim, converting their three children, including Prasana, without telling his wife.

He went to the Islamic court - Malaysia has a dual legal system - not only to seek a divorce, but also to secure custody of the children - even though Indira, as a Hindu, had no right to appear there.

Indira has challenged the unilateral conversion of her children through the civil courts. A series of decisions have gone in her favour, with judges granting her full custody of the children in 2010 and an annulment of their conversion in 2013."

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Europe announces that all scientific papers should be free by 2020 - ScienceAlert

Europe announces that all scientific papers should be free by 2020 - ScienceAlert: "This week was a revolutionary week in the sciences - not because we discovered a new fundamental particle or had a new breakthrough in quantum computing - but because some of the most prominent world leaders announced an initiative which asserts that European scientific papers should be made freely available to all by 2020.

This would legally only impact research supported by public and public-private funds, which are a vast portion of the papers produced annually; however, the goal is to make all science freely available.

Ultimately, the commitment rests on three main tenets: "Sharing knowledge freely", "open access", and "reusing research data"."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Confronting the Parasite Economy

Confronting the Parasite Economy: "Of course, some will argue that the question is moot—that the labor market efficiently determines wages, not well-meaning CEOs or self-serving policymakers (or meddling know-it-alls like me), and that if a Sam’s Club cashier is worth $15 an hour, then that is what the labor market would force Sam’s Club to pay. “Supply and demand,” and all that.

That is nonsense. Take it from someone who has created dozens of businesses—people don’t get paid what they are “worth.” They get paid what they negotiate. We can all point to examples of CEOs who negotiated far more than they are worth, but there are many, many more people in our country who are worth far more than they negotiated.

That’s because more than any other market, the labor market is distorted by a profound imbalance of power between buyers and sellers; in fact, other than the small share of workers who have a collective-bargaining agreement, the vast majority of workers enjoy little bargaining power at all. Most workers have limited resources and immediate needs—to eat, to pay rent, to provide for their children—while most employers could leave any particular position unfilled indefinitely without suffering any personal hardship at all. As Adam Smith noted in The Wealth of Nations: “In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.”"

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Don't blur the lines between development and humanitarian work | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

Don't blur the lines between development and humanitarian work | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian: "To most ears, I imagine that sounds pretty good. Inspirational, even; as thoughtful and as grand a dream as one can have. To my humanitarian ears, well, I hear alarm bells going off. And so did MSF.

The WHS misjudges the extent to which the distinctions between ‘humanitarian’ and ‘development’ form the lifeblood of the humanitarian endeavour. Making the SDGs the common overall results and accountability framework amounts to making over the ultimate goal of humanitarian action. Would you want ambulance teams to aim at strengthening the hospital system or improving nutrition? No. Should humanitarians be held accountable for ending hunger? No. They should be held accountable for feeding people who are starving."

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Brazil's Temer calls for unity, confidence for Brazil recovery | Reuters

Brazil's Temer calls for unity, confidence for Brazil recovery | Reuters: "Brazil's crisis brought a dramatic end to the 13-year rule of the Workers Party, which rode a wave of populist sentiment that swept South America starting around 2000 and enabled a generation of leftist leaders to leverage a boom in the region's commodity exports to pursue ambitious and transformative social policies.

But like other leftist leaders across the region, Rousseff discovered that the party, after four consecutive terms, overstayed its welcome, especially as commodities prices plummeted and her increasingly unpopular government failed to sustain economic growth."

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In Sierra Leone, short reconciliation ceremonies restore social ties | EurekAlert! Science News

In Sierra Leone, short reconciliation ceremonies restore social ties | EurekAlert! Science News: "Short, low-cost interventions can help communities to recover from a civil war, a new study evaluating the efficacy of a postwar reconciliation strategy in Sierra Leone shows. However, while the strategy created positive effects, it also had negative ones, suggesting policymakers need to restructure such processes. In a Perspective related to this study, Katherine Casey and Rachel Glennerster highlight the frequency of civil wars globally. "How can individuals and groups recover from such violent conflicts?" they ask. Efforts aimed at recovery are particularly daunting in developing nations, where resources are limited. While community-driven reconstruction efforts have shown some promise (namely related to improving infrastructure in such communities), they've been costly, and they've done little to promote trust among individuals. Meanwhile, truth and reconciliation process (whereby victims can air war-time grievances) continue to be promoted as methods for restoring social ties in war-torn communities, but researchers have little knowledge of whether and how such strategies - particularly those that induce person-to-person forgiveness - help societies heal"

'via Blog this'

Obama administration to instruct schools to accommodate transgender students - The Washington Post

Obama administration to instruct schools to accommodate transgender students - The Washington Post: "The directive comes from two top administration officials: Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, and Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It will put state and local officials and higher-education institutions on notice that they risk losing federal education aid if they limit students to areas or teams based on their gender assigned at birth."

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sow and you shall reap, Burkina advises jobless youth

Sow and you shall reap, Burkina advises jobless youth: "Ouagadougou (AFP) - The government of Burkina Faso, which is battling high unemployment, on Wednesday urged young people to return to the soil and take up farming, previously written off as the lot of losers.

In an appeal published in daily newspapers across the west African nation, the government said it wanted to "break with society's view of farming activities, previously seen as the last resort of men and women having tried everything else in life, in vain."

Declaring "the land doesn't lie" the government promised to supply 4,000 tonnes of seeds, 16,000 tonnes of fertiliser, 11,000 ploughs, carts and sowing machines and 6,000 draught animals to spur growth in the sector.

It also announced plans to set up a bank for farmers and boost the national network of agricultural advisors.

Agriculture is mainly a subsistence enterprise in Burkina Faso, one of Africa's poorest countries, which is prone to drought."

'via Blog this'

Uganda arrests opposition leader ahead of Museveni's swearing in | Reuters

Uganda arrests opposition leader ahead of Museveni's swearing in | Reuters: "Ugandan police arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye, just hours before the man he accuses of winning a sham election, Yoweri Museveni, is sworn in for a fifth term as president on Thursday.

A former guerrilla who seized power in 1986, Museveni, 71, was declared winner of the election in February with 60 percent of the vote, allowing him to extend his rule to 35 years.

Besigye, who got 35 percent of the vote, rejected the result, citing alleged rigging and other irregularities."

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I told myself: 'Get over yourself. Stop snivelling. Stop whining...' - Telegraph

I told myself: 'Get over yourself. Stop snivelling. Stop whining...' - Telegraph: "Here is another fragment from that lost time.
A friend telephones to ask how I am. The sun is shining. The sky is a merciless blue. It is only 11 in the morning but I have been awake since 3.20. Now I am back in bed but only because I can think of nowhere else to go. I say that I am feeling low. Low is the depressive's euphemism for despair, for the enveloping blackness at the bottom of the pit.
She says: "How can you be depressed on a day like this?" I want to say: "If I had flu, would you ask me how I could be sick on a day like this?" I say nothing. She means well. There are no words to explain my despair, the depth of my grief.
I cannot explain it myself."

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US sticking with calling Myanmar minority 'Rohingya'

US sticking with calling Myanmar minority 'Rohingya': "YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar and the United States appeared to agree to disagree Tuesday on what to call the Southeast Asian nation's beleaguered Muslim minority that Washington and most of the world know as Rohingya.

Many Buddhists inside Myanmar prefer to call them "Bengalis," arguing that the 1 million or so members of the minority are mostly illegal immigrants and not a native ethnic group. In fact, the families of many Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations.

U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel said the U.S. calls communities by the name they themselves prefer.

"The normal U.S. practice and the normal international practice is that communities anywhere have the right, or have the ability to decide what they are going to be called. And normally when that happens, we would call them what they asked to be called. It's not a political decision, it's just a normal practice."

Because Myanmar does not officially recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, it denies most of them citizenship and basic rights. Conflict over land and resources in the western state of Rakhine, where most of the estimated 1 million Rohingya live, caused deadly violence between Buddhists and Muslims which later spread to other parts of the country. More than 100,000 Rohingya were forced to flee their homes and now live in poor conditions in decrepit camps."

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Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader for rape and genocide in 1971 war

Bangladesh hangs Islamist leader for rape and genocide in 1971 war: "DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh hanged Islamist party leader Motiur Rahman Nizami on Wednesday for genocide and other crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, the law minister said, risking an angry reaction from his supporters.

Nizami, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at Dhaka Central jail just after midnight, Law Minister Anisul Haq told Reuters, after the Supreme Court rejected his final plea against a death sentence imposed by a special tribunal for genocide, rape and orchestrating the massacre of top intellectuals during the war.

Nizami, 73, a former legislator and minister during opposition leader Khaleda Zia's last term as prime minister, was sentenced to death in 2014.

Hundreds of people flooded the streets of the capital, Dhaka, to cheer the execution. "We have waited for this day for a long 45 years," said war veteran Akram Hossain. "Justice has finally been served.""

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Obama to pay historic visit to Hiroshima this month:The Asahi Shimbun

Obama to pay historic visit to Hiroshima this month:The Asahi Shimbun: "WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama will travel to Hiroshima this month in the first visit by a sitting American president to the site where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb.

The White House announced the visit in a statement Tuesday morning, saying Obama will visit along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a previously scheduled visit to Japan.

Obama's visit will "highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapon," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The U.S. bombing at Hiroshima killed 140,000 Japanese on Aug. 6, 1945.

The president's visit has been widely anticipated since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the memorial to the Hiroshima bombing in April. Kerry toured the peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations."

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Millions in US aid to Syrians suspended over graft probe | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Millions in US aid to Syrians suspended over graft probe | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR: "The U.S. Agency for International Development's independent government auditor said it had "established grounds resulting in the suspension of 14 entities and individuals involved with aid programs from Turkey."

Among the revelations, it said in a statement Friday, was "a network of commercial vendors, NGO employees, and others who have colluded to engage in bid-rigging and multiple bribery and kickback schemes related to contracts to deliver humanitarian aid in Syria."

USAID did not identify any of the charities, but among those affected are the International Medical Corps (IMC), the Irish charity Goal and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), headed by former British foreign minister David Miliband, humanitarian sources told AFP.

All the allegations relate to buying goods in Turkey, with NGOs systematically overpaying."

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Lyft settles with CA drivers for $27 million

Lyft settles with CA drivers for $27 million: "SAN FRANCISCO – Lyft will pay $27 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by drivers in California who said the ride-hailing service had misclassified them as independent contractors rather than employees.

The case revolved around whether the drivers were entitled to reimbursement for expenses including gasoline and vehicle maintenance, which employees would be paid for but which independent contractors would not.

Uber, a much larger company also based in San Francisco, settled a similar suit late last month for a payout that could reach as much as $100 million."

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Smart infrastructure is the key to sustainable development

Smart infrastructure is the key to sustainable development

"But as nations set out to reflect these commitments in planning and budget processes, they face difficult choices: coal or renewables? Highways or public transport? Suburban sprawl or compact cities?
And the window for making such choices is narrow. Existing and projected carbon emissions show the urgency of implementing the Paris commitments. But infrastructure projects are time-consuming and long-lasting. Power plants, for example, take from five to 15 years to plan and build and can then last for half a century. And 70% of the forecast increase in emissions from developing countries is expected to come from infrastructure that has yet to be built.
This means that infrastructure decisions we make in the next few years could cement our ability to meet the Paris goals – or condemn us to a future in which global temperatures rise well above 2C. In the latter scenario, environmental conditions could be so hostile that development goes into reverse, leading to rising poverty and social conflict.
Unfortunately, infrastructure planning is largely disconnected from climate change agendas for many governments and the current economic downturn threatens to widen this disconnect."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This Gorgeous, Sustainable "Leather" Is Made From Pineapple Waste | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

This Gorgeous, Sustainable "Leather" Is Made From Pineapple Waste | Co.Exist | ideas + impact: ""It's created from a byproduct of agriculture, meaning it's a total waste product," she says. "This really means that in order to have Piñatex, a textile, we don't have to use any land, water, pesticides, fertilizers ... we are actually taking a waste material and 'upscaling' it, meaning that we're giving it added value.""

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Classic rookie aid worker faux pas ... and how to avoid them | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

Classic rookie aid worker faux pas ... and how to avoid them | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian: "All aid workers have been there. Stepping off the plane, squinting into unfamiliar light, a freshly signed contract clutched in our jet-lagged hands – freshly minted aid workers arriving on our first ever mission. Just as at home – whether you’re national or international staff – you’re desperate to impress. But forget getting stuck in the lift or spilling coffee down your new shirt, aid environments provide entirely new ways to screw up on your first day. Even when knee-deep in post-typhoon mud, first impressions are everything. So here’s our toolkit for not putting your newly-sandalled foot in your mouth."

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