Latest Developments, July 26

In the latest news and analysis…

Change of tune
The Washington Post reports that a particularly significant group of scientists has joined the chorus of those who say UN peacekeepers likely caused the cholera epidemic that has killed thousands in Haiti since 2010:

“The findings marked a major retreat by the experts, who were part of an independent panel appointed by the United Nations and who had concluded just two years ago that incomplete evidence and the myriad factors in the epidemic’s spread — including inadequate water and sanitation infrastructure — made it impossible to assign responsibility for the introduction of the strain. Since then, the experts said, they have obtained new evidence, including microbiological samples.

The latest findings will increase pressure on the United Nations to acknowledge responsibility for introducing cholera into the country. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his top advisers had invoked the panel’s ambivalent 2010 findings in arguing that the United Nations bore no legal responsibility for the epidemic, although they said the organization was committed to lead international efforts to respond to the health crisis and improve the Haiti’s sanitation infrastructure.”

Pocket change
The Huffington Post reports on the bottom-line impact of the fine Halliburton Energy Services must pay after pleading guilty to destroying evidence related to America’s largest-ever offshore oil spill:

“The fine, as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, is $200,000. That’s about how much Halliburton earns every 23 seconds, based on 2012 revenue numbers.
The fine amount is the maximum allowable under the federal statute used to calculate the penalty, which also includes a three-year probation.

Legal experts say Halliburton’s admission of guilt is more important than the fine, since it will likely bolster the government’s case in an ongoing civil trial in New Orleans to determine how to allocate blame and damages for the 2010 explosion.
Even so, the fine seems hardly sufficient given the seriousness of the crime, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
‘It seems paltry for an act that undermines the justice system,’ he said.”

Homeward bound
Politico reports on US plans to send two Guantanamo Bay detainees home to Algeria, the first “repatriation outside the Western Hemisphere” since 2010:

“ ‘As the president has said, the United States remains determined to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,’ [White House press secretary Jay] Carney said, and the repatriation of the two detainees — the first releases this year — are ‘in support of those efforts.’

Two Uyghurs — Chinese Muslims — were released to El Salvador in 2012, and Omar Khadr, a Canadian national, was sent home in September 2012 to finish out the remainder of his sentence.”

Unpopular war
The Washington Post’s Max Fisher speculates on the reasons why, according to a new poll, only 28% of Americans think the war in Afghanistan has been “worth fighting”:

“Support began falling in late 2011 and early 2012, when a string of high-profile incidents gave the appearance of a war spinning badly out of control. In January 2012, a video surfaced showing Marines urinating on dead Afghan insurgents. The next month, NATO troops mistakenly burned several Korans, setting off nationwide riots and more ‘green on blue’ killings. The month after that, a U.S. soldier named Robert Bales wandered off base and into a nearby village, where he killed 16 civilians, nine of them children.”

Prison numbers
The US government has released national statistics indicating that nearly one percent of American males are behind bars:

“The national imprisonment rate for males (910 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 male U.S. residents) was over 14 times the imprisonment rate for females (63 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 female U.S. residents). The female imprisonment rate decreased 2.9 percent in 2012 from 65 per 100,000 female U.S. residents in 2011.
In 2012, states with the highest imprisonment rates included Louisiana (893 per 100,000 state residents), Mississippi (717 per 100,000 state residents), Alabama (650 per 100,000 state residents), Oklahoma (648 per 100,000 state residents), and Texas (601 per 100,000 state residents).”

Funding abuses
Human Rights Watch argues in a new report that the World Bank “has closed its eyes” to the human rights risks attached to its lending policies:

“Funding decisions relating to rights concerns lack transparency and appear arbitrary and inconsistent, Human Rights Watch found.
The absence of a clear commitment not to support activities that will contribute to or exacerbate human rights violations leaves staff without guidance on how they should approach human rights concerns, or what their responsibilities are. Staff members have unfettered discretion to determine the extent to which they will consider human rights risks, take measures to mitigate or avoid harm, and even to bring problems to the attention of senior management or the board. The lack of clear procedures and policies on human rights means that people whose rights are adversely affected have no way to hold the bank to account.”

Dictating terms
The Guardian reports that despite the rhetoric about “country ownership”, donors are increasingly unwilling to let recipient governments decide how to spend aid money:

“One sign of whether donors are putting their money where their mouths are is their willingness to provide budget support – aid that goes directly to developing countries to finance their programmes.

Budget support figures are published annually by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with a breakdown by provider, and can be used as a proxy for commitment to country ownership. But, according to Ukan and Bond, global budget support fell steeply, to only $1.3bn last year from $4.4bn in 2010.”

Calling Robin Hood
Oxfam’s Jon Slater welcomes a call by British MPs for the UK to embrace a financial transaction tax:

“Their argument does not rest on the moral imperative that the financial sector should repay the damage it has done – something even the Prime Minister and Chancellor are wary of disputing. Instead the [Business, Innovations and Skills] Committee makes hard-headed economic arguments for an FTT – that it would curb damaging high frequency trading, the computer-driven casino capitalism that causes flash crashes.”

Latest Developments, July 11

In the latest news and analysis…

Absolute immunity
The University of Birmingham’s Rosa Freedman argues that 5,000 Haitians are “being denied their fundamental rights” by the UN’s insistence that it is immune from having to compensate victims of a cholera epidemic triggered by its peacekeepers:

“By invoking absolute immunity, the UN has either ignored or missed the point that all individuals have rights to access a court and a remedy. Those rights are being denied by the UN’s absolute immunity coupled together with its refusal to hear those claims within its own tribunals. The Organisation that created the modern system of international human rights law, and that is tasked with protecting and promoting those rights, is denying fundamental rights to these 5,000 individuals from Haiti. By failing to provide compensation to the victims of cholera in Haiti, the door has been opened for a successful human rights-based challenge to the UN’s absolute immunity – one that may have far-reaching implications and one that is long overdue.”

Made in the USA
Inter Press Service looks into the flow of arms from the US to Egypt in recent years:

“As the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, Egypt receives about 1.5 billion dollars in both military and economic aid annually, of which 1.3 billion dollars is earmarked for the armed forces.

According to figures released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Egypt received about 11.8 billion dollars worth of weapons from the United States during 2004-2011, followed by 900 million dollars each in arms from China and Russia, and 700 million dollars in arms from Europe.”

Bitter sugar
The Guardian reports on the links between a UK-based company and alleged child labour, land grabbing and violence in Cambodia:

“Sugar is big business in Cambodia, thanks to a preferential EU trade scheme called Everything But Arms (EBA), which allows Cambodian sugar to be sold duty-free on the European market at a minimum price per tonne. Official figures show that 97% of Cambodia’s €10m (£8.5m) sugar exports went to the EU last year, and Tate & Lyle bought 99% of them.
Although the initiative is intended to bolster the world’s least-developed countries, the villagers say they have not profited from the deal at all.

Backed by British law firm Jones Day, the villagers have filed a lawsuit against Tate & Lyle, claiming that KSL were complicit in government moves to evict them to make way for the plantations. They also say they were insufficiently compensated for the land they lost, and faced ‘multiple instances of battery and criminal violence’ during which villagers were shot at and wounded, with one activist murdered.”

Another spill
Sahara Reporters reports Italy’s Agip has experienced two oil spills in three weeks in Nigeria:

“Alagoa Morris, the head of field operations for Environmental Rights Action in Bayelsa, said the community had witnessed numerous spills in the recent past, adding that the environment was badly affected and needed urgent remediation. Mr. Morris called on Agip to lessen the pressure on the pipelines in order to reduce the discharge into the atmosphere.
According to him, residents of the affected communities had expressed their readiness to cooperate with Agip to end the frequent spills and address the issue of oil theft, but he regretted that the oil firm had yet to agree to any sustainable and workable plan.”

Forest malpractice
The Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that a pair of Cameroonian NGOs are calling on the US government to investigate an American-owned palm oil company for alleged land grabbing:

“ ‘Our petition to the U.S. government against the corrupt land grab and illegal forest exploitation activities by Herakles Farms is within the framework of the principle of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) relating to the functioning of international enterprises,’ [Centre for Environment and Development] coordinator Samuel Nguiffo told Thomson Reuters Foundation. ‘The principle requires that international investors carry out better policies to improve the livelihood of the population, and not destroy it.’

CED investigations and a mission sent to the region by the ministry also discovered that locals were paid as low as 350 francs ($0.50) in annual leasing fees for the land, Nguiffo said.”

Geography of sustainability
The Conference Board has released a report that suggests North American companies “lag their peers” in other parts of the world in terms of corporate responsibility:

“Across the environmental and social practices covered, European companies had the highest average disclosure rate (27 percent), followed by companies in Latin America (24 percent), Asia-Pacific (23 percent), and North America (19 percent). [Global Reporting Initiative] reporting, in particular, continues to be at an early stage in North America, with only 29 percent of North American companies releasing reports following GRI guidelines, compared to 61 percent of companies in Europe.

While 84 percent of S&P Global 1200 companies reported having a business ethics policy, only 44 percent of companies disclosed having a human rights policy. The geographic differences are even more pronounced, as only 23 percent of North American companies reported having a human rights policy, compared to 63 percent of European companies, 57 percent of companies in Latin America, and 51 percent of companies in Asia-Pacific.”

Sweatshop nation
Freelance journalist Isabeau Doucet questions the international push to promote Haiti’s textile industry “by branding ‘Made in Haiti’ garments as somehow humanitarian, socially responsible, and good for Haiti’s ‘development’ ”:

“A new minimum-wage law was passed in the fall of 2012 to ensure workers in the Haitian garment-outsourcing sector would earn 300 gourdes for an eight-hour day (around CAD$7). But according to an audit released in mid-April 2013 by Better Work, a labour and business development partnership between the International Labour Organization and the International Financial Corporation (ILO-IFC), 100 per cent of apparel manufacturers evaluated in Haiti failed to comply, continuing to pay the previous wage of 200 gourdes (around CAD$4.70).

In a market driven by the profit-making of multinationals, the garment sector isn’t about creating jobs for Haitians so much as displacing jobs from one poor country to another, poorer one, making Haiti’s poverty its ‘comparative advantage.’ The Korean clothing giant Sae-A, which produces for Walmart, Target, and Gap, has been accused of anti-union repression, including ‘acts of violence and intimidation’ in Guatemala and, more recently, in Nicaragua. It closed its operations in Guatemala due to union disputes, before setting up shop in Caracol, Haiti.”

Latest Developments, June 24

In the latest news and analysis…

Rebel arms
Reuters reports that Western and Arab opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have decided to give “urgent military support” to rebels trying to overthrow him:

“The U.S. administration has responded by saying, for the first time, it would arm rebels, while Gulf sources say Saudi Arabia has accelerated the delivery of advanced weapons to the rebels over the last week.
Ministers from the 11 core members of the Friends of Syria group, agreed ‘to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground,’ according to a statement released at the end of their meeting in Qatar.

French military advisers are already training the rebels to use some of the new equipment in Turkey and Jordan, sources familiar with the training programs said. U.S. forces have been carrying out similar training, rebels say.”

UK spying
The Guardian reports that leaked documents reveal the British government “collects and stores vast quantities” of telephone and internet communications from around the world:

“The sheer scale of the agency’s ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.

The Americans were given guidelines for its use, but were told in legal briefings by [UK Government Communications Headquarters] lawyers: ‘We have a light oversight regime compared with the US’.
When it came to judging the necessity and proportionality of what they were allowed to look for, would-be American users were told it was ‘your call’.”

Banking impasse
Reuters reports that EU finance ministers are struggling to resolve their differences over “who pays for failing banks”:

“The law on rescuing and closing banks in the EU is central to the 27-nation bloc’s banking union, which aims to prevent future financial crises and get the economy out of recession.
It is also a highly controversial element as it will dictate who decides what happens to a failing bank and who is to pay for it, bringing national sensitivities to the fore.

The broader the possibilities of imposing losses on a bank’s shareholders, creditors or even big depositors in the directive that will be discussed by EU finance ministers, the less money the resolution fund would have to contribute to close a bank.”

Global wealth trends
The Globe and Mail reports that a pair of new studies show that the world’s rich are getting richer while workers are left with a smaller piece of the pie:

“The [Global Wealth Report] found that the number of people in the world with more than $1-million to invest soared to a record of 12 million in 2012, a 9.2 per cent increase from 2011. The aggregate wealth of this group hit a new high, too – $46.2-trillion (U.S.) – a 10-per-cent increase from the previous year.
What is particularly striking is that even within this rich group, the very, very rich are doing best of all.

The 2012-13 Global Wage Report by the International Labour Organization, a UN agency, found a world trend of a decreasing workers’ share in the national income.”

Nuclear weakness
The New York Times editorial board argues that the nuclear disarmament proposal made by US President Barack Obama last week “falls short of what is needed in a post-cold-war world”:

“Mr. Obama said nothing about reducing the 11,000 total nuclear weapons that [the US and Russia] keep as backups. He missed an opportunity to remove quickly from ‘hair trigger’ alert at least some of the 1,000 weapons that are ready to fire at a moment’s notice. He reaffirmed support for Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the start of international negotiations on a treaty that would ban the production of fissile material that fuels warheads, but there is no indication either will happen soon, or ever.”

Shell explosion
The Independent Online reports that, although the investigation has yet to begin, Shell is using its standard explanation for an explosion that led the oil giant to shut a major Nigerian pipeline:

“Environmental campaigners and rights groups accuse Shell of using sabotage by oil thieves as an excuse for oil accidents.
‘Sabotage is a problem in Nigeria, but Shell exaggerates this issue to avoid criticism for its failure to prevent oil spills,’ Amnesty International’s Audrey Gaughran said in a statement on Wednesday.”

Growing force
Voice of America reports that US Africa Command head David Rodriguez wants the US to have a “small footprint” in Africa even as its military presence is being stepped up on the continent:

“The U.S. also has stepped up its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities, setting up unarmed drone bases in places like Niger.

‘The history of the African nations, the colonialism, all those things are what point to the reasons why we should not go in there in force and everything else, and just use a small footprint with creative and innovative solutions to get high payoff from a small number of people, as well as come in for short periods of time to do exercises, to do operations, to help build that capacity,’ said [U.S. Army General David Rodriguez].”

Corporate consciences
Deutsche Welle reports on concerns that some rules are more equal than others when it comes to regulating international trade:

“For example: the International Labor Organization (ILO), part of the United Nations, has been developing standards for the protection of workers since 1919. But to this day, they are not internationally binding, according to Jakob von Uexküll, founder of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.
‘If somebody tells you: “We are a socially responsible company,” then there is a very simple question: “Would you agree that the rules of the ILO get the same legal status as the rules of the World Trade Organization?”’ said von Uexküll. ‘The answer to that question will tell you everything you need to know about the social responsibility of the company.’ ”

Latest Developments, May 17


In the latest news and analysis…

Forever war
The New York Times reports on the current debate over the “authorization to use military force,” a 2001 statute that provides the legal basis for America’s so-called War on Terror:

“Human rights groups that want to see the 12-year-old military conflict wind down fear that a new authorization would create an open-ended ‘forever war.’
Some supporters of continuing the wartime approach to terrorism indefinitely fear that the war’s legal basis is eroding and needs to be bolstered, while others worry that a new statute might contain limits that would reduce the power that the Obama administration claims it already wields under the 2001 version.
And still others say that whatever the right policy may be, Congress should protect its constitutional role by explicitly authorizing the parameters of the war, rather than ceding that decision to the executive branch.”

Oil fraud
Sweetcrude reports that Shell has been accused of falsifying the results of an investigation into an oil spill in Nigeria’s Niger Delta:

“About 80 oil producing communities in Warri North and Warri South-West Local Government Areas of Delta State made the allegation, Wednesday, in Warri at a meeting with officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Nigerian Naval Service, NNS Delta.
The communities are alleging that SNEPCo fabricated the result of samples of oil, soil and surface water collected for test from a few communities impacted by the Bonga oil spill.”

Credits galore
European Voice reports that big polluters are profiting from the EU emissions trading scheme:

“According to the analysis, carried out by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the steel, cement, refining, lime, glass, ceramics and pulp sectors all generated a profit within the system by being over-allocated emission allowances in the scheme.

‘The ETS as a whole has been a financial support to the energy intensive industries…who usually complain that the ETS is killing them,’ asserted a [European Commission] official.”

No more tax avoidance
The Guardian reports that the CEO of UK banking giant Lloyds has promised to (more or less) stop using tax havens:

“Chief executive António Horta-Osório said the 39%-taxpayer owned bank had embarked on a systematic review of ‘so-called tax havens’ after a shareholder demanded to know why the bank was the seventh biggest user of such facilities.

‘In 2012 alone we have closed 60 of those companies and that is more than 20% of the total. We are going to close all of them unless there are strong business reasons for our customers to keep them there,’ he said at the meeting in Edinburgh. He later clarified that ‘business reasons’ did not mean ‘tax reasons’.”

Continued colonialism
Al Jazeera reports that a new study argues that living conditions for Canada’s aboriginal population provides “motives for an insurgency”:

“ ‘The Canadian right-wing establishment is seizing on this to justify its own agenda of stricter controls and the continued criminalisation of native people who defend their rights,’ Taiaiake Alfred, chair of the centre for indigenous governance at the University of Victoria, and one of Canada’s most influential aboriginal intellectuals, told Al Jazeera. ‘The positive elements of Canadian society – progressive values and social justice – are founded on the ongoing injustice of land theft and murder of indigenous people.’
In November, Paul Martin, Canada’s former prime minister and a business tycoon, echoed Alfred’s comments, albeit in a softer tone. ‘We have never admitted to ourselves that we were, and still are, a colonial power,’ he said.”

Shadowy corners
Oxfam’s Ben Phillips calls for a modern resurgence of the kind of “free-thinking insubordination” that helped bring about the renaissance and reformation:

“To exhalt the humble, we’re going to have to humble the exhalted.
That’s why charities are so focused on getting the G8 to deliver on transparency in land investments and in taxation – because knowledge is power, because stealing is harder in broad daylight. The G8 would, no doubt, prefer if we only asked them to beneficent. But we’re insisting, most of all, that they are transparent, and end their role in providing shadowy corners for shady characters to hide their dodgy deals.”

Bad food
Sylvia Szabo argues in Global Policy for a new understanding of food security:

“Even, if hunger was to be completely eradicated, it would not mean that the planet would become food secure. Already today, developing countries, including those in Africa, are experiencing an increased consumption of processed foods. Obesity and chronic diseases are gradually becoming a new challenge in African societies, although many do not yet realise the gravity of the problem.

The stigma of food insecurity seems to be focused only on the developing world, but it has become a global problem and should be conceptualised as such.”

Self-appointed helpers
Former development worker Nora Schenkel discusses her disillusionment at the gulf between the rhetoric and reality of aid work in Haiti:

“Most Haitians only ever meet Westerners in our capacity as self-appointed helpers. We are never just here because we want to be in Haiti; we claim we are here to better Haitians’ lives. But they have seen us come and go for decades, and they are poorer than ever before.
Meanwhile, they see us leaving the grocery store with bags of food that cost more than what they make in a month. They watch us get into large air-conditioned cars and drive by them, always by them. They see us going home to nice, big houses, shielded by high walls.”

Growing gap
Bloomberg reports that US manufacturing giant Caterpillar has become a “symbol of the growing divergence in corporate America between profits and wages”

“In January 2012, Caterpillar locked out union workers at a locomotive factory in Ontario after they rejected a pay cut of about 50 percent; the company shuttered the plant and moved production to Muncie, Ind., where workers accepted lower wages.

As Caterpillar squeezed hourly workers for concessions, [CEO Doug] Oberhelman’s own pay rose 60 percent in 2011, to more than $16 million. Although the company’s profits have declined in recent quarters (largely because of a decline in commodities prices, which has hurt all mining equipment makers), Caterpillar announced on April 22 that Oberhelman’s compensation had jumped again, to $22 million.

As a percentage of gross domestic product, corporate earnings recently hit their highest level in more than 60 years, and wages fell to new lows, according to Moody’s Analytics.”

Latest Developments, December 20

In the latest news and analysis…

New court
The BBC reports that Senegal’s MPs have voted to create a “special African Union tribunal” to try former Chadian president Hissène Habré on the continent, rather than in Europe:

“In July the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice, passed a binding ruling that Senegal should begin proceedings to try Mr Habre without delay if it did not extradite him to Belgium.
MP Cheikh Seck said he voted for the law because it would show that Africa could hold its own leaders accountable.
‘It’s not up to the West to try Hissene Habre. It’s why I voted in favour of this law,’ he told the Associated Press news agency.

A 1992 Truth Commission in Chad accused Mr Habre of being responsible for widespread torture and the deaths of 40,000 people during his eight-year rule.”

The hardest word
Reuters reports that on his first state visit to Algeria, French President François Hollande said he was “not here to repent or apologize” for his country’s colonial past:

“The trauma of the 1954-1962 Algerian war, in which hundreds of thousands were killed before France’s departure, left deep scars in both countries which still hold back a partnership France believes could help revive the Mediterranean basin.

A formal apology for its colonial past is a sensitive issue. Many French citizens who lived there before independence and who fought in the French army against Algerian insurgents oppose the idea, as do former loyalist Muslim volunteers known as ‘harkis’.”

Idle No More
The Globe and Mail reports that, while First Nations protests are nothing new in Canada, “never in recent years have the protests been so widespread or sustained”:

“They point to the legislation that directly affects their communities, which native leaders, including [National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn] Atleo, say was written without their input. They point to development of natural resources on their traditional lands that offers little sharing of wealth but promises lasting environmental consequences. They point to a federal government that they say has been long on gestures but short on a willingness to listen and negotiate.”

Rio suit
Dow Jones reports that Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state intends to sue Chevron for damages on top of the $149 million the US oil giant has already offered to settle federal lawsuits resulting from a 2011 offshore spill:

“ ‘There will be a series of demands made by Rio de Janeiro besides the fine’ paid to settle the federal lawsuits, [Rio Environment Secretary Carlos] Minc said. Mr. Minc said he was not authorized to disclose the value of the damages the state was seeking.
Mr. Minc said that the spill, which released an estimated 3,700 barrels of oil into the sea after a drilling accident, ‘obviously’ caused damage to the environment, dismissing claims to the contrary made by Chevron.”

Big fine
Al Jazeera reports that Swiss bank UBS has been ordered to pay $1.5 billion to regulators in the US, UK and Switzerland for its role in the Libor rate-rigging scandal:

“UBS, which is based in Zurich, is the second major bank to be fined over the interbank lending rate scandal after Britain’s Barclays bank was ordered to pay $450m to British and US authorities in the summer for attempted manipulation of interbank rates between 2005 and 2009.
The fine is the second-biggest ever levied on a bank with banking giant HSBC fined $1.9bn recently for money laundering.

Other banks are also reportedly in advanced talks with regulators about settling allegations that they too manipulated their Libor information, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank.”

Land limits
Inter Press Service reports on Tanzania’s decision to limit the amount of land that investors can “lease” for agricultural purposes:

“According to official documents, seen by IPS, from the Tanzania Investment Centre, a government agency set up to promote and facilitate investment: ‘Even within a seven-year period, an investor would not be able to use more than 10,000 hectares…’
The move will come as a relief to land rights organisations that have continually called for the government to curb the land grabs here.

In Tanzania’s northern Loliondo district, which is known for its wildlife, much of the land has been leased out to international hunting concessions, which has resulted in the large-scale eviction of the local population – although the government refutes this.  A major U.S. energy company, AgriSol Energy, has also been accused of engaging in land grabs in Tanzania that would displace more than 160,000 Burundian refugees, according to a report by the Oakland Institute. The report states that AgriSol is benefiting from the forcible eviction of the refugees, many of whom are subsistence farmers, and leasing the land — as much as 800,000 acres — from the Tanzanian government for 25 cents per acre.
[Land Rights Research and Resources Institute’s Yefred] Myenzi said that of the 1,825 general land disputes reported in 2011, 1,095 involved powerful investors.”

Not on the agenda
Britain’s international development secretary, Justine Greening, has explained to the House of Commons why next year’s UK-chaired G8 summit will not play a role in establishing successors to the Millennium Development Goals:

“The Prime Minister is co-chair of the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, which will submit independent recommendations to the UN Secretary-General in May 2013. Thereafter, we anticipate that a wide UN-led process will culminate in the agreement of post-2015 development goals in 2015. It is right for this process to be led by the UN and developing countries. The Prime Minister has announced that the G8 summit in 2013 will focus on tax, trade and transparency.”

Friends in high places
The University of Cambridge’s Ha-Joon Chang gives his take on why tax havens, which drain public revenues from governments around the world, continue to prosper:

“Why do tax havens exist? Because rich countries allow them to. If the US came down on tax havens in the same way they come down on countries that trade with Iran and Cuba, we’d have no tax havens in the world.”