6. The Best of Times

Aug-26-2011 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: But there are sound reasons for hope as well. And here we left out that Germany is eliminating nukes, and France has banned fracking.

* Fewest War Deaths in 100 Years Joshua S. Goldstein Foreign Policy

The early 21st century seems awash in wars: the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, street battles in Somalia, Islamist insurgencies in Pakistan, massacres in the Congo, genocidal campaigns in Sudan. All in all, regular fighting is taking place in 18 wars around the globe today. Public opinion reflects this sense of an ever more dangerous world: One survey a few years ago found that 60 percent of Americans considered a third world war likely….

In fact, the last decade has seen fewer war deaths than any decade in the past 100 years, based on data compiled by researchers Bethany Lacina and Nils Petter Gleditsch of the Peace Research Institute Oslo. Worldwide, deaths caused directly by war-related violence in the new century have averaged about 55,000 per year, just over half of what they were in the 1990s (100,000 a year), a third of what they were during the Cold War (180,000 a year from 1950 to 1989), and a hundredth of what they were in World War II. If you factor in the growing global population, which has nearly quadrupled in the last century, the decrease is even sharper. Far from being an age of killer anarchy, the 20 years since the Cold War ended have been an era of rapid progress toward peace.

* Global poverty rate falling, says UN Mark Tran The Guardian

The world is still on track to signficantly lower poverty rates despite setbacks from recent economic, food and energy crises, but progress has been uneven, the UN said on Thursday.

The overall poverty rate is expected to fall below 15% – well below the 23% target set in the millennium development goals (MDGs) – by 2015, fulfilling the target of the first MDG of halving between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people living on less than $1 day. The gains come despite the economic and financial crisis of 2008 that began in the US and Europe. That the world remains on track is due to the momentum of growth in the developing world. In absolute numbers, the number of people in developing countries in extreme poverty (living on less than $1.25 a day) is projected to fall below 900 million

* Iceland’s On-going Revolution Daily Kos

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why…

Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign….What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country.  As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF.  The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North.  But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.”…In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt.

* Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Maize Fields Planetsave

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. Unfortunately, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without them knowing it.

Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added. Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary.



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