Violence Against Children: UN Gets it Wrong

Robert J. Burrowes*

The United Nations has just issued a report, ‘Why Children’s Protection from Violence should be at the Heart of the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ This is a worthy ideal.

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Budapest autumn: hollowing out democracy on the edge of Europe

Ian Traynor – The Guardian

Rightwing prime minister Viktor Orbán is using his huge electoral majority to rewrite the rules, and not just for Hungary

On the Hungarian plain south-west of Budapest, the rich, dark soil of Kishantos presents the saddest of sights. As far as the eye can see, a cornucopia of organic wheat, cereals, sunflowers, pulses and legumes has been turned into a vista of emptiness.

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Edward Snowden: A ‘Nation’ Interview

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen – The Nation
In a wide-ranging conversation, he discusses the surveillance state, the American political system and the price he’s paid for his understanding of patriotism.

On October 6, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel and contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen (professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton) sat down in Moscow for a wide-ranging discussion with Edward Snowden. Throughout their nearly four-hour conversation, which lasted considerably longer than planned (see below for audio excerpts), the youthful-appearing Snowden was affable, forthcoming, thoughtful and occasionally humorous.

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Hungary: “This is just the beginning”

Eva S. Balogh* – Hungarian Spectrum

An even larger demonstration against the regime today

Today an enormous crowd gathered on József nádor tér. It eventually swelled to the point that the beginning of the demonstration was already at the Clark Ádám tér on the Buda side at the Lánchíd while the last demonstrators were still at the Astoria Hotel, a good mile away from the Pest side of the Erzsébet híd.

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Kenya. Invented the stove that broods eggs

By Mwangi Mumero

A simple innovation is reducing chick mortality and increasing farmers’ incomes in parts of Kenya.

The technique was introduced by the Tree Is Life Trust, a local NGO started in 2002 by a former director of OneWorld Italy Fabio Pipinato (actual Public Relation Officer of Tree is Life Trust). It uses a ceramic, energy-saving woodstove perched on top of a chick brooder. Tree is Life produces as many as is required by farmers’ demand. The project is supported by Ipsia del Trentino and Autonome Province of Trento.

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How Serious is NY Fed Dudley’s Tough Talk About Fixing Banking Culture?

Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism
Last week, New York Fed President William Dudley gave a speech on remedying cultural problems in financial services firms, meaning the tendency of employees to loot them and leave the mess in taxpayers’ laps. It caught pretty much everyone by surprise because it contained two sensible and effective reform ideas, namely, that of putting compensation measures in place that would have the effect of rolling them a long way back towards the partnership model, as well as making it harder for bad apples to find happy homes in other firms.

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Why the Left Continues to Win in Latin America

Greg Grandin – The Nation

Red flags are flying in Rio and Montevideo. Not only did Dilma Rousseff win in Brazil on Sunday, but next door in Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, the presidential candidate for Frente Amplio – or Broad Front, the political heir to the insurgent Montoneros of the 1970s – did better than expected in a first-round vote and is predicted to win a November runoff. Vázquez, a former president (Uruguay prohibits consecutive reelection) would follow the beat-up beetle-driving, pot-, same-sex marriage, and abortion-legalizing, flower-growing, three-legged dog owner, former political prisoner and renunciant incumbent, José Mujica.

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The Crisis That Changed Pope Francis

By Paul Vallely – Newsweek

He was not what she was expecting, in several ways. The man who would one day be Pope Francis had come to hold a service far from the grandeur of the great cathedral of Buenos Aires. He had travelled – taking the subway train and then the bus – to arrive in one of the shanty-towns, which Argentines call villas miserias – misery villages. He had picked his way down crooked and chaotic alleyways, criss-crossed with water pipes and dangling electricity cables, along which open sewers ran as malodorous streams when the rain came. There, amid ramshackle houses of crudely- cemented terracotta breezeblock, he fell into conversation with the middle-aged mother.

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Arming Ukraine Is a Very Bad Idea

James Carden – The Nation

Senators Carl Levin and James Inhofe’s call to send weapons into a war zone is a transparent ploy to provoke Russia.

As if to prove that the one thing the Washington establishment fears more than war is peace, Senate Armed Services chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK) published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday calling for the United States government to arm Ukraine. The first indication that the primary aim of their article is to further destabilize US-Russian relations is its timing, coming as it does only a week after Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held what was generally seen to be a relatively constructive meeting in Paris.

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Despite Media, Rightwing Ebola Hype, U.S. Public Resists Total Panic

By Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 2014 (IPS) – Despite media hype, missteps by federal health agencies, and apparent efforts by right-wing and some neo-conservatives to foment fear about the possible spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S., most of the public remain at least “fairly” confident in the authorities’ ability to deal with the virus.

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In the Syria We Don’t Know

Charles Glass – The New York Review of Books

November 6, 2014 Issue

Supporters of Bashar al-Assad at a demonstration in Homs, May 2012
A young woman in Damascus produced a smart phone from her handbag and asked, “May I show you something?” The phone’s screen displayed a sequence of images. The first was a family photograph of a sparsely bearded young man in his twenties. Beside him were two boys, who appeared to be five and six, in T-shirts. The young man and his sons were smiling. Pointing at the father, the woman said, “This is my cousin.” The next picture, unlike the first, came from the Internet. It was the same young man, but his head was severed. Beside him lay five other men in their twenties whose bloody heads were similarly stacked on their chests. I looked away.

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Tom Englehardt* Interviews Laura Poitras** on Snowden

Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism

Yves here. This interview with Laura Poitras is a reminder of how the world has, and more important, hasn’t changed since the explosive revelations made by Edward Snowden less than a year and a half ago. Even though his disclosures produced a great uproar, with demands in the US, UK, and Europe for explanations and more information about the nature and range of spying programs, actual changes have been few indeed.

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Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola


Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.

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Cash-Strapped Human Rights Office at Breaking Point

By Thalif Deen*

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 2014 (IPS) – After six weeks in office, the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan launched a blistering attack on member states for insufficient funding, thereby forcing operations in his office to the breaking point “in a world that seems to be lurching from crisis to ever-more dangerous crisis.”

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