Posts Tagged ‘Botswana’

Global: Die wunderbare Welt des CO2 (Teil 1)

Dienstag, Dezember 4th, 2012


(Tabelle aus: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012, S. 16, 17
Download des o. g. Reports hier.)


(Quelle: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012)

Botswana: Standard-Frage

Dienstag, August 28th, 2012

“Selling tofu to Botswana

23 August, 2012

In a small town on the banks of the Okavango, there is a brand new school built by a Chinese construction company. Unfortunately the Shakawe Senior Secondary School is empty because the building inspectors discovered that the materials and workmanship were not up to code.

When the Chinese contractor was informed of these deficiencies, his initial response was allegedly to do exactly what he would have done back in China, namely bribe a government official to make the problem go away.

Wang Xiaming, the then general manager of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in Botswana, and two others have been accused of offering the former infrastructure minister a 250,000 pula bribe (about US$33,000) in order to facilitate the approval process.

This may have worked in China, as tragically seems to be the case in Sichuan when so many “tofu” school buildings collapsed in the 2008 earthquake, but Botswana prides itself on honest government and Wang and his alleged accomplices were arrested.

Subsequently, the president of CCECC sacked the three accused and flew to Botswana to personally apologise for the incident and assure the government that the school project would be completed in accordance with Botswana’s building standards.

The three accused were supposed to stand trial this week but Wang skipped bail and no one has seen him since. Without the principal defendant, state prosecutors decided they had no option but to drop the case and the two remaining accused were set free. The judge said they could be re-arrested if Wang ever showed up again but the chances of that happening seem very slim.

In the meantime, several hundred Shakawe students and teachers now have to attend school in the regional capital Maun, a five hour bus ride away.

The Shakawe incident is likely to further fuel anti-Chinese sentiment in this traditionally open and tolerant country. There have been Chinese businesses in Botswana since the 1980s and many have been very successful and made a positive contribution to the country’s development but, for many in Botswana, that success has come at the expense of local businesses. And, as a recent research report by the Brenthurst Foundation noted, the government in Gaborone is now responding to public concern by taking an increasingly tough line against Chinese companies in the construction and retail sectors in particular.

Unlike many of its southern African neighbours, Botswana, thanks mainly to its massive diamond reserves, has a relatively robust economy and can afford to get tough on creeping Chinese influence if it so chooses. Batswana are rightly proud of their country’s democratic government, independent judiciary and transparent business practices. The country’s healthcare and education systems are also the envy of many in southern Africa. Any threat to those institutions is taken very seriously.

If China wants to continue to do business in Botswana, it is going to have to learn to play by that country’s rules, and not assume that what works at home will necessarily work abroad. As a gesture of good faith, if and when Wang Xiaming finally shows up, the Chinese authorities would do well to put him on a plane straight back to Gaborone to stand trial for the crimes he is accused of.

This, incidentally, is a view shared by a commentator at none other than the Global Times who noted that unless swift remedial action is taken, the Shakawe case “could become a powerful weapon for those who see Chinese investment in Africa as more corrosive than constructive.” The commentary added: “It's unfortunate that this case hasn't been covered in the Chinese media. Other firms should be aware of the dangers of getting involved in corruption overseas.””


(Quelle: China Labour Bulletin.)

Afrika: Die Strategie der Weltbank

Freitag, Juni 24th, 2011

The World Bank’s Africa Strategy

Neoliberalism, Poverty and Ecological Destruction


A renewed wave of development babble began flowing soon after the February launch of the World Bank’s ten-year Strategy document, “Africa’s Future and the World Bank’s Support to It”. Within three months, a mini-tsunami of Afro-optimism swept in: the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Economic Outlook for SubSaharan Africa, the Economic Commission on Africa’s upbeat study, the African World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Report, and the African Development Bank’s discovery of a vast new “middle class” (creatively defined to include the 20% of Africans whose expenditures are $2-4/day).

Drunk on their own neoliberal rhetoric, the multilateral establishment swoons over the continent’s allegedly excellent growth and export prospects, in the process downplaying underlying structural oppressions in which they are complicit: corrupt power relations, economic vulnerability, worsening Resource Curses, land grabs and threats of environmental chaos and disease.

These are merely mentioned in passing in the Bank’s Africa Strategy – the most comprehensive of these neoliberal-revival tracts – but a frank, honest accounting of the author’s role is inconceivable, even after an internal Independent Evaluation Group report scathing of mistakes the last time around. That effort, the 2005 Africa Action Plan (AAP), was associated with the G-8’s big-promise little-delivery Summit in Gleneagles.

The Bank admits the AAP was a “top-down exercise, prepared in a short time with little consultations with clients and stakeholders”, and that the “performance of the Bank’s portfolio in the Region” was lacking. Tellingly, the Bank confesses, “People who had to implement the plan did not have much engagement with, and in some cases were not even aware of, the AAP.”

Tyrants and democrats

Though in 2021 the same will probably be said of this Strategy, the Bank claims its antidote is “face-to-face discussions with over 1,000 people in 36 countries.” However, as quotes from attendees prove, the Bank could regurgitate only the most banal pablum.

Nor does the Strategy propose grand new alliances (e.g. with the Gates Foundation). There is just a quick nod to two civilized-society partners, the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (Harare) and African Economic Research Consortium (Nairobi) which together have educated 3000 local neoliberals, the Bank proudly remarks.

Embarrassingly, the Bank hurriedly stoops to endorse three continental institutions: the African Union (AU), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (founded by former SA president Thabo Mbeki in 2001) and African Peer Review Mechanism (2003). The latter two are usually described as outright failures.

As for the former, there were once high hopes that the AU would respond to Africa’s socio-political and economic aspirations, but not only did Muammar Gaddafi exercise a strong grip as AU president and source of no small patronage.

Horace Campbell pointed out other leadership contradictions in Pambazuka News in March: “That the current leaders of Africa could support the elevation of Teodoro Obiang Nguema to be the chairperson of this organisation pointed to the fact that most of these leaders such as Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Republic of Congo, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan , Paul Biya of Cameroon, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Ali Bongo of Gabon, King Mswati III of Swaziland, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, and Yahya Jammeh of Gambia are not serious about translating the letters of the Constitutive Act into reality.”

These sorts of rulers are the logical implementers of the Bank Strategy. No amount of bogus consultations with civilized society can disguise the piling up of Odious Debts on African societies courtesy of the Bank, IMF and their allied strongmen borrowers.

Yet these men are nowhere near as strong as the Bank assumes, when reproducing a consultancy’s map of countries considered to have “low” levels of “state fragility”, notably including Tunisia and Libya – just as the former tyranny fell and the latter experienced revolt.

In contrast, the Africa Strategy makes no mention whatsoever of those pesky, uncivil-society democrats who are opposed to Bank partner-dictators. Remarks Pambazuka editor Firoze Manji, “Their anger is being manifested in the new awakenings that we have witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Djibouti, Botswana, Uganda, Swaziland, and South Africa. These awakenings are just one phase in the long struggle of the people of Africa to reassert control over our own destinies, to reassert dignity, and to struggle for self-determination and emancipation.”

Unsound African architecture

The Bank will continue standing in their way by funding oppressors, leaving the Africa Strategy with a structurally-unsound, corny architectural metaphor: “The strategy has two pillars – competitiveness and employment, and vulnerability and resilience – and a foundation – governance and public-sector capacity.”

Setting aside hypocritical governance rhetoric, the first pillar typically collapses because greater competitiveness often requires importing machines to replace workers (hence South Africa’s unemployment rate doubled through post-apartheid economic restructuring). And Bank advice to all African countries to do the same thing – export! – exacerbates mineral or cash crop gluts, such as were experienced from 1973 until the commodity boom of 2002-08.

The Bank Strategy also faces “three main risks: the possibility that the global economy will experience greater volatility; conflict and political violence; and resources available to implement the strategy may be inadequate.”

These are not just risks but certainties, given that world economic managers left unresolved all the problems causing the 2008-09 meltdown; that resource-based conflicts will increase as shortages emerge (oil especially as the Gulf of Guinea shows); and that donors will be chopping aid budgets for years to come. Still, while the Bank retains “some confidence that these risks can be mitigated”, in each case its Strategy actually amplifies them.

It is self-interested – but not strategic for Africa – for the Bank to promote further exports from African countries already suffering extreme primary commodity dependency. Economically, the Strategy is untenable, what with European countries cracking up and defaulting, Japan stagnant, the US probably entering a double-dip recession, and China and India madly competing with Western mining houses and bio-engineering firms for African resources and land grabs. Nowhere can be found any genuine intent of assisting Africa to industrialise in a balanced way.

The Bank’s bland counterclaim: “While Africa, being a relatively small part of the world economy, can do little to avoid such a contingency, the present strategy is designed to help African economies weather these circumstances better than before.” But these are not “circumstances” and “contingencies”: they are core features of North-South political economy from which Africa should be seeking protection.

Neoliberalism, poverty and ecological destruction

A poignant example is the Bank’s warm endorsement of Kenyan cut-flower trade in spite of worsening water stress, commodity price volatility and inclement carbon-tax constraints. Nevertheless, “Between 1995 and 2002, Kenya’s cut flower exports grew by 300 percent” – while nearby peasant agriculture suffered crippling water shortages, a problem not worth mentioning in Bank propaganda.

Where will water storage and power come from? Bank promotion of megadams (such as Bujagali in Uganda or Inga in the DRC) ignores the inability of poor people to pay for hydropower, not to mention worsening climate-related evaporation, siltation or tropical methane emissions.

Other silences are revealing, such as in this Bank confession of prior multilateral silo-mentality: “Focusing on health led to a neglect of other factors such as water and sanitation that determine child survival.” The reason water was underfunded following Jeffrey Sachs’ famous 2001 World Health Organisation macroeconomic report was partly that his analysts didn’t accurately assess why $130 billion in borehole and piping investments failed during the 1980s-90s: insufficient subsidies to cover operating and maintenance deficits.

Lack of subsidies for basic infrastructure is an ongoing problem, in part because “the G-8 promise of doubling aid to Africa has fallen about $20 billion short.” So as a result, “the present strategy emphasizes partnerships – with African governments, the private sector and other development partners,” even though Public-Private Partnerships rarely work. Most African privatized water systems have fallen apart.

South Africa has had many such failed experiments, in every sector. The latest Bank loan to Pretoria, for $3.75 billion (its largest-ever project loan) is itself a screaming rebuttal to the Strategy’s claim that “the Bank’s program in Africa will emphasize sustainable infrastructure. The approach goes beyond simply complying with environmental safeguards. It seeks to help countries develop clean energy strategies that choose the appropriate product mix, technologies and location to promote both infrastructure and the environment.”

That loan also caused extreme electricity pricing inequity and legitimation of corrupt African National Congress construction tenders. This generated condemnation of the government by its own investigators and of the Bank by even Johannesburg’s Business Day newspaper, normally a reliable ally.

South African workers would also take issue with a Bank assumption: “The regulation of labor (in South Africa, for instance) often constrains businesses… In some countries, such as South Africa (where the unemployment rate is 25 percent), more flexibility in the labor market will increase employment.”

This view, expressed occasionally by the Bank’s aggressively neoliberal Africa chief economist, Shanta Devarajan, is refuted not only by 1.3 million lost jobs in 2009-10 but by the September 2010 International Monetary Fund Article IV consultation analysis, which puts SA near the top of world labour flexibility rankings, trailing only the US, Britain and Canada.

There are other neoliberal dogmas, e.g., “Microfinance, while growing, has huge, untapped potential in Africa.” The Bank apparently missed the world microfinance crisis symbolized by the firing of Muhammad Yunus as Grameen executive (just as the Strategy was released), the many controversies over usurious interest rates, or the 200,000 small farmer suicides in Andra Pradesh, India in recent years due to unbearable microdebt loads.

The Bank also endorses cellphones, allegedly “becoming the most valuable asset of the poor. The widespread adoption of this technology – largely due to the sound regulatory environment and entrepreneurship – opens the possibility that it could serve as a vehicle for transforming the lives of the poor.” The Bank forgets vast problems experienced in domestic cellphone markets, including foreign corporate ownership and control.

And as for what is indeed “the biggest threat to Africa because of its potential impact, climate change could also be an opportunity. Adaptation will have to address sustainable water management, including immediate and future needs for storage, while improving irrigation practices as well as developing better seeds.” Dangers to the peasantry and to urban managers of the likely 7 degree rise and worsened flooding/droughts are underplayed, and opportunities for wider vision for a post-carbon Africa are ignored, such as the importance of the North (including the World Bank itself) paying its vast climate debt to Africa.

“An African Consensus”?

Compared to Bank funding for insane mega-projects such as the $3.75 billion lent to South Africa to build the world’s fourth largest coal-fired power plant last April, not much is at stake in the Strategy’s portfolio: $2.5 billion/year over the decade-long plan.

Nevertheless, the Africa Strategy hubris is dangerous not only for diverging from reality so obviously, but for seeking a route from Bank Strategy to “an African consensus.” The Bank commits to “work closely with the AU, G-20 and other fora to support the formulation of Africa’s policy response to global issues, such as international financial regulations and climate change, because speaking with one voice is more likely to have impact.”

Does Africa need a sole neoliberal voice claiming “consensus”, speaking from shaky pillars atop crumbling foundations based on false premises and corrupted processes, piloting untenable projects, allied with incurable tyrants, impervious to demands for democracy and social justice? If so, the Bank has a Strategy already unfolding.

And if all goes well with the status quo, the Strategy’s predictions for 2021 include a decline in the poverty rate by 12 percent and at least five countries entering the ranks of middle-income economies (candidates are Ghana, Mauritania, Comoros, Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia).

More likely, though, is worsening uneven development and growing Bank irrelevance as Africans continue courageously protesting neoliberalism and dictatorship, in search of both free politics and socio-economic liberation.

Patrick Bond directs the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society in Durban:


(Quelle: CounterPunch.)

Botswana: ” Ohne unser Land sterben wir “

Freitag, Juni 3rd, 2011

“Dankesrede von Roy Sesanazur zur Verleihung des Right Livelihood Awards, Stockholm, 2005

Mein Name ist Roy Sesana. Ich bin ein Buschmann vom Stamm der Gana und Gwi aus der Kalahari, die heute Botswana heißt. In meiner Muttersprache heiße ich “Tobee” und unser Land heißt “T//amm”. Wir leben dort schon länger als alle anderen Völker irgendwo auf der Welt.

Als ich jung war, ging ich fort, um in den Bergwerken zu arbeiten. Ich zog meine Felle aus und trug Kleidung. Aber nach einer Weile ging ich wieder nach Hause. Bin ich deswegen weniger Buschmann? Ich glaube nicht.

Ich bin ein Anführer. Als ich noch ein Junge war, da brauchten wir keine Anführer und führten ein gutes Leben. Jetzt brauchen wir sie, da uns unser Land gestohlen wird und wir um unser Überleben kämpfen müssen.

Dass ich ein Anführer bin, bedeutet nicht, dass ich den Leuten sage, was sie zu tun haben. Im Gegenteil: Sie sagen mir, was ich tun soll, um ihnen zu helfen.

Ich kann nicht lesen. Sie wollten, dass ich diese Ansprache schreibe, deshalb haben mir meine Freunde geholfen, aber ich kann keine Worte lesen – es tut mir leid. Aber ich weiß, wie man das Land liest und die Tiere. Alle unsere Kinder konnten das. Wenn sie das nicht gekonnt hätten, wären sie schon vor langer Zeit gestorben.

Ich kenne viele, die Worte lesen können und viele, die – wie ich – nur das Land lesen können. Beides ist wichtig. Wir sind nicht rückständig oder weniger intelligent: Wir leben genau jetzt, im selben Jahr wie Sie. Fast hätte ich gesagt, wir leben unter den selben Sternen, aber nein, sie sind verschieden und es gibt mehr davon in der Kalahari. Die Sonne und der Mond sind der selbe.

Als ich aufwuchs, wurde ich ein Jäger. Alle unsere Jungen und Männer sind Jäger. Jagen bedeutet, zu den Tieren zu gehen und mit ihnen zu sprechen. Man stiehlt nicht. Man geht und fragt. Man stellt eine Falle auf oder geht mit Pfeil und Bogen oder einem Speer. Es kann Tage dauern. Man stellt der Antilope nach. Sie weiß, dass du da bist. Sie weiß, dass sie dir ihre Kraft geben muss. Aber sie rennt und du musst auch rennen. Während du rennst, wirst du wie sie. Es kann Stunden dauern und ihr verausgabt euch beide. Du redest mit ihr und du schaust ihr in die Augen. Und dann weiß sie, dass sie dir seine Kraft geben muss, damit deine Kinder leben können.

Als ich das erste Mal jagte, war es mir nicht gestattet zu essen. Teile der Steinantilope wurden zusammen mit einigen Wurzeln verbrannt und auf meinen Körper gestreut. So lernte ich. Es ist ein anderes Lernen als Ihres, aber es funktioniert gut.

Der Bauer sagt, er sei weiter entwickelt als der rückständige Jäger, aber ich glaube ihm nicht. Seine Herden geben ihm nicht mehr Essen als unsere. Die Antilopen sind nicht unsere Sklaven, sie tragen keine Glocken um ihre Hälse und können schneller rennen als die faule Kuh oder ihr Hirte. Wir rennen gemeinsam durch das Leben.

Wenn ich die Hörner der Antilope trage, dann hilft mir das, mit meinen Ahnen zu kommunizieren – und sie helfen mir. Die Ahnen sind so wichtig: Ohne sie wären wir nicht am Leben. Jeder weiß das tief in seinem Herzen, aber manche haben das vergessen. Wäre irgendwer von uns hier, ohne seine Ahnen? Ich glaube nicht.

Ich wurde zum Heiler ausgebildet. Man muss die Pflanzen und den Sand lesen. Man muss Wurzeln ausgraben und tüchtig sein. Manche der Wurzeln setzt du für morgen zurück, damit deine Kinder und Enkel sie finden und essen können. Du lernst, was das Land dir sagt. Wenn die Alten sterben, dann begraben wir sie und sie werden zu Ahnen. Wenn jemand krank ist, dann tanzen wir und sprechen zu ihnen. Sie sprechen durch mein Blut. Ich berühre die kranke Person und finde die Krankheit und heile sie.

Wir sind die Ahnen der Kinder unserer Enkel. Wir kümmern uns um sie, genau wie auch unsere Ahnen sich um uns kümmern. Wir sind nicht um unserer selbst willen hier. Wir sind hier für einander und für unsere Kinder und Enkelkinder.

Warum ich hier bin? Weil meine Leute ihr Land lieben und weil wir ohne es sterben. Vor vielen Jahren hat der Präsident von Botswana gesagt, dass wir immer auf unserem angestammten Land leben könnten. Wir brauchten eigentlich niemanden, der uns das sagt. Natürlich können wir leben, wo Gott uns erschaffen hat!

Aber der nächste Präsident sagte, wir müssen umsiedeln und begann uns zu vertreiben. Sie sagten, wir müssen wegen den Diamanten gehen. Dann behaupteten sie, wir würden zu viele Tiere töten. Aber das ist nicht wahr. Sie sagen viele Dinge, die nicht wahr sind.

Sie sagten, wir müssten gehen, damit die Regierung uns entwickeln könne. Der Präsident sagt, wenn wir uns nicht verändern, werden wir untergehen wie einst der Dodo. Ich wusste nicht, was ein Dodo war. Aber ich habe es herausgefunden: Es war ein Vogel, der von den Siedlern ausgerottet wurde.

Der Präsident hatte Recht. Sie bringen uns um, indem sie uns von unserem Land vertreiben. Wir wurden gefoltert und man hat auf uns geschossen. Sie haben mich verhaftet und verprügelt.

Danke für die Verleihung des Right Livelihood Awards. Dies ist eine weltweite Anerkennung unseres Kampfes und wird unsere Stimme durch die ganze Welt ertönen lassen. Als ich erfuhr, dass ich den Preis erhalten habe, kam ich gerade aus dem Gefängnis. Sie sagen, ich – der ich hier und heute stehe – sei ein Verbrecher.

Ich frage Sie, was das für eine Entwicklung sein soll, wenn die Menschen kürzer leben als vorher? Sie stecken sich mit HIV an und bekommen Aids. Unsere Kinder werden in der Schule geschlagen und gehen nicht mehr hin. Manche von ihnen werden Prostituierte. Sie dürfen nicht jagen. Sie prügeln sich, weil sie gelangweilt und betrunken sind. Sie beginnen sich umzubringen. So etwas haben wir vorher noch nie gesehen. Es tut weh, dies zu sagen. Ist das “Entwicklung”?

Wir sind nicht primitiv. Wir leben anders als Sie, aber wir leben auch nicht genau so wie unsere Großeltern – genau wie Sie auch nicht. Waren unsere Ahnen “primitiv”? Ich glaube nicht. Wir respektieren unsere Ahnen. Wir lieben unsere Kinder. – Das gilt für alle Menschen.

Wir müssen nun die Regierung daran hindern, unser Land zu stehlen, denn ohne es werden wir sterben.

Wenn jemand viele Bücher gelesen hat und denkt ich wäre primitiv, nur weil ich noch kein einziges gelesen habe, dann sollte er all diese Bücher wegwerfen und sich eines besorgen, das besagt, dass wir alle Brüder und Schwestern unter Gott sind und dass auch wir ein Recht haben zu leben.

Das ist alles. Danke.”


(Quelle: Organisation für Eine solidarische Welt.)

Nachrichten-Überblick 22.07.2010

Donnerstag, Juli 22nd, 2010

[22.07.2010 – 09:59]


* BRD: “I’m not a pirate – I’m a fisherman”

Zehn Jungen und Männern aus Somalia soll wegen Angriffs auf den Seeverkehr sowie versuchten erpresserischen Menschenraubs vor dem Landgericht Hamburg der erste Piratenprozess seit 400 Jahren gemacht werden.


* HAITI: Wiederaufbau in Eigenregie als einzige Chance

It appears that Haiti’s “15 minutes of fame” are up. With few exceptions, the journalists who flooded the zone following the earthquake are nowhere to be seen. And the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s harsh criticism of the rebuilding effort six months after the earthquake is a sign that patience is wearing thin. Meanwhile, the lives of Haitians on the ground are still appalling — over a million in tent cities and squatter villages, rain flooding their streets, rape on the rise, too many basic services not restored.


* MALAYSIA: Debate on Sex Education Rises with Teen Pregnancies

The prospect of motherhood filled 17-year-old Fatimah’s heart with dread.


* BOTSWANA: Wasser ist kein Menschenrecht

San bushmen in Botswana have lost a court case to allow them to re-open a vital waterhole in the centre of the Kalahari desert. Diamonds were found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, traditional home to the bushmen, in the 1980s – and the government asked them to leave.


* COSTA RICA: Die USA bringen sich in ihrem “Hinterhof” in Stellung

With votes secured from the official National Liberation Party (PLN), the Libertarian Movement, and Justo Orozco, the evangelical congressman from the Costa Rican Renovation party, on July 1st, the Costa Rican Congress authorized the entry into that country of 46 warships from the U.S. Navy, 200 helicopters and combat aircraft and 7,000 Marines.


* AFRIKA: “Marktwirtschaft” zerstört kleinbäuerliche Landwirtschaft

As evidenced by USAID administrator Rajiv Shah’s recent speech to the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), the US and the Green Revolution’s ‘solutions’ for African agriculture remain more of the same, rooted in a corporate-funded, GMO-oriented and market-based system designed entirely in the interests of Western business. While US development aid fasts becomes simply ‘an investment subsidised by US taxpayers with high returns for US corporations’, African farmers’ groups such as COPAGEN, LEISA and PELUM continue to organise in defence of self-determination and genetic biodiversity, writes Richard Jonasse.


* GROSSBRITANNIEN: Vor dem Irak-Krieg wurden Märchen erzählt

Britische Geheimdienstchefin bestätigt, dass Saddam Hussein keine Bedrohung darstellte und mit den Anschlägen vom 11.9. nichts zu tun hatte.


* GLOBAL: Tödlicher Staub – der globale Handel mit Asbest

A global network of lobby groups has spent nearly $100 million since the mid-1980s to preserve the international market for asbestos, a known carcinogen that’s taken millions of lives and is banned or restricted in 52 countries, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found in a nine-month investigation.


* ISRAEL: Neues Raketenabwehrsystem erfolgreich getestet

“Iron Dome” soll Raketen-Angriffe aus Gaza und dem Südlibanon abwehren. Kritiker bemängeln die Reichweite.


* MALAYSIA: Indigene Frauen Vergewaltigungsopfer der Holfäller-Mafia

A new report has exposed an ‘environment of violence’ against tribeswomen in Borneo. According to the report, released by a coalition of Malaysian human rights groups called the Penan Support Group, there have been repeated cases of rape and sexual assault against Penan women by the loggers who are destroying the tribe’s forests.


* MONGOLEI: Ist die Kultur der NomadInnen am Ende?

Herders leave the steppe after losing a fifth of their livestock. Now foreign firms are to exploit Mongolia’s vast resources.


* PAZIFIK: Kleine Inselstaaten drängen zur Eile bei Klimafinanzierung

Die Vereinten Nationen haben in diesem Jahr zwar eine hochkarätige Gruppe für die Finanzierung der Maßnahmen zur Bekämpfung und Anpassung des Klimawandels ins Leben gerufen. Doch die kleinen unmittelbar von der Erderwärmung bedrohten Inselstaaten im Pazifik fürchten, dass ihnen auch mit einem solchen Gremium die notwendigen Gelder nicht rechtzeitig zufließen werden.


* BRD: Tod und Verwundung treffen Bundeswehr

Auf ihrem Internet-Portal kündigt die Bundeswehr am 20. Juli 2010 ein Arbeitspapier zum “Umgang mit Verwundung, Tod und Trauer im Einsatz” an, dass “Mitte August” von Bundeswehrangehörigen im Intranet der Bundeswehr eingesehen werden kann.


* REPUBLIK SÜDAFRIKA: Militärpolizei zum Schutz der MigrantInnen

South Africa’s military joined police on Tuesday to patrol a Johannesburg township after assaults on foreign migrants injured at least 11 and increased concerns of a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks.


* EU: “Kleiner Kreis entscheidet über die Zukunft der Landwirtschaft in Europa”

Das Europäische Patentamt muss eine Grundsatzentscheidung über die Patentierbarkeit von Pflanzen treffen.


* NIGERIA: Ölquelle von ExxonMobil leck…

Fishermen in Ibeno, Southern Akwa Ibom, said they have reported the discharge of liquid suspected to be crude oil at the Qua Iboe oil fields in the Atlantic Ocean. Chief Inyang Ekong, the Secretary of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria in Akwa Ibom disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom.
Ekong said that some fishermen noticed the discharge near the offshore oil production platforms operated by Mobil Producing Nigeria, an affiliate of the U.S. oil firm, ExxonMobil.


* KANADA: Regierung verabschiedet sich leise von der Biodiversitäts-Konvention

The spirit of international negotiations in Montreal on a draft protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of natural resources were marred by Canada’s insistence on a decentralised approach to ABS, Peigi Wilson, a Métis lawyer present at the meeting in support of the Quebec Native Women.



[Update: 12:14]

* BURKINA FASO / NIGER: Grenzfrage soll friedlich entschieden werden

The West African countries of Burkina Faso and Niger have submitted a dispute over their common border to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) as part of a wider agreement by the two States to resolve the situation peacefully.


* USA: Bald nanotechnologisch veränderte Lebensmittel?

Nanotechnology involves the ability to control matter at the scale of a nanometer—one billionth of a meter. The world market for products that contain nanomaterials is expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2015.


* BOLIVIEN: Neue Verfassung

Letztes Rahmengesetz verabschiedet: Verfassungsreform kann umgesetzt werden. Blockaden der Opposition blieben ohne Wirkung.


* MEXIKO: US-Bank Wachovia hilft bei Drogengeldwäsche

The bank, now a unit of Wells Fargo, leads a list of firms that have moved dirty money for Mexico’s narcotics cartels–helping a $39 billion trade that has killed more than 22,000 people since 2006.


* SOMALIA: Der “Krieg gegen den Terror” bedroht nicht nur Uganda

The U.S. war against Somalia expands outwards and “has now blown back to Uganda,” the U.S. ally that, “along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, is America’s most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa.” Ethiopia and Kenya prepare to join Uganda in an offensive against the Somali resistance, to save America’s puppet mini-state in Mogadishu.


* BRASILIEN: Hat sich die Landlosenbewegung von Lula kaufen lassen?

Tagelang herrschte Verwirrung auf allen Seiten rund um den parlamentarischen Untersuchungsausschuss zur öffentlichen Finanzierung der Landlosenbewegung MST. Für die Regierung war die Arbeit des Ausschusses mit dem Stichtag 17. Juli beendet. Nicht so für die Opposition, die mit einem überraschenden Schachzug in letzter Minute die Verlängerung des Ausschusses um weitere sechs Monate durchsetzte. Mitten im Wahlkampf um die Nachfolge von Präsident Lula da Silva könnte die regierende Arbeiterpartei PT damit ein Problem bekommen. Der Ausschuss war Ende letzten Jahres auf Drängen der Opposition eingerichtet worden, um die öffentliche Finanzierung des MST durch die Regierung zu untersuchen.


* GAZA: Wer hat das Licht ausgemacht?

The Gaza Strip presently experiences 8-12 hours of scheduled power outages per day, which disrupt the normal functioning of humanitarian infrastructure, including health and education institutions and water and sewage systems, as well as the agricultural sector. The power outages also take a toll in human lives of people killed or injured by using generators, which are brought into Gaza through the tunnels, are of poor quality, and are not always used according to safety instructions. How was this shortage created and what can be done to resolve it?

Weiterlesen… (PDF)

* KASCHMIR: Brutale Gewalt durch indische Truppen

Indian troops and police have killed fifteen people in Kashmir since June, sparking widespread protests. The Indian government has imposed a strict military curfew in the area as well as a media gag order on local journalists. The international community has remained silent on the human rights abuses in Kashmir.


* GLOBAL: Krieg gegen die Erde

If you live on the Gulf Coast, welcome to the real world of oil — and just know that you’re not alone. In the Niger Delta and the Ecuadorian Amazon, among other places, your emerging hell has been the living hell of local populations for decades.


* USA: Krieg gegen den Terror kostet bislang 1 Billion US-Dollar

A Congressional Research Service report on the costs of America’s assorted wars has put the global war on terror since September 11, 2001 at over $1 trillion, making it the second most expensive military action in American history, adjusting for inflation.


* BRD: Gegen höhere Schutzstandards beim Asylrecht

Deutschland blockiert aus Sorge vor einer vermeintlichen «Sogwirkung» den Aufbau eines europäischen Asylsystems. Dies machte Innenstaatssekretär Ole Schröder am Donnerstag auf einem EU-Justiz- und Innenministertreffens in Brüssel klar. (…) Die von der EU-Kommission vorgeschlagenen höheren Rechtsschutzstandards würden die deutsche Praxis der Schnellabschiebungen an Flughäfen aber «aushöhlen», sagte der CDU-Politiker.


* JORDANIEN: Stimmungsmache gegen PalästinenserInnen

Robert Fisk: Why Jordan is occupied by Palestinians
A powerful group of ex-army leaders say their country is being overrun – and they blame King Abdullah.


* GLOBAL: Menschen hungern, weil zu wenig Nahrung produziert wird! – Ach, wirklich?

2008, the world witnessed an unprecedented food crisis. Food prices skyrocketed, and staple food disappeared from the market shelves. The resulting tremors were felt across the globe, with some 37 countries facing food riots.
Was the food crisis an outcome of the drought in Australia? Or was it because wheat production had fallen? Or was it because quite a sizable area under foodgrains had been diverted for biofuel production? The world had debated these options, but what emerged clearly was that much of it was triggered because of speculation in the futures trade. In fact, it was much worse than what was earlier anticipated.


* NAHER / MITTLERER OSTEN: Run auf die Atomkraft (und damit auf Atomwaffen)

“Saudi Arabia’s decision last week to sign a nuclear cooperation pact with France marks a major step forward for a pan-Arab drive toward nuclear power,” reports UPI. “All told, 13 Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, have announced plans — or dusted off old plans — to build nuclear power stations since 2006. All say they have no intention of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. But there is concern that once they’ve mastered the technology they’ll seek to counter Iran’s alleged push to acquire such weapons by doing so themselves.”


* KAMBODSCHA: SexarbeiterInnen werden illegal festgenommen und inhaftiert

Die kambodschanische Regierung soll umgehend Maßnahmen einleiten, um die Gewalt gegen SexarbeiterInnen zu beenden sowie die Regierungseinrichtungen schließen, in denen die Betroffenen illegal inhaftiert und missbraucht wurden, so Human Rights Watch.


* BRD: Schützenhilfe für die Atomindustrie

Die Ärzteorganisation IPPNW kritisiert die heute von der Universität Mainz der Presse vorgestellte Studie “Kinder und Kernkraft” (KuK-Studie) zu angeborenen Fehlbildungen in der Umgebung von Atomkraftwerken als argumentative Schützenhilfe zu Gunsten der Atomindustrie. Die Mainzer Studie hat aufgrund geringer Fallzahlen eine zu geringe statistische Nachweisstärke (power), um einen Effekt in ähnlicher Größenordnung wie in der vorangegangenen Studie zu Kinderkrebs um Atomkraftwerke (KiKK-Studie) nachzuweisen.


* LIBANON: Frauen-Hilfsschiff will Gaza-Blockade durchbrechen

The ‘Maryam’, an all-female Lebanese aid ship, currently docked in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli, is getting ready to set sail for Gaza in the next few days. The ship, which aims to break Israel’s siege on the Palestinian territory, will carry about 50 aid workers, including some U.S. nuns keen to deliver aid to the long-suffering women and children of Gaza.



[Update: 14:17]

* AFGHANISTAN: Kein Zutrauen ins Parlament

Afghans Disillusioned with Candidate Choice. Most current parliamentarians plan to stand again, despite widespread public mistrust and disappointment.


* GLOBAL: Funktioniert das Wirtschaftssystem ohne Wachstum?

Is De-Growth Compatible with Capitalism? A serious campaign in favor of “de-growth” has been going on for some time and has made important contributions. This movement has opened new avenues for debate and analysis on technology, credit, education and other important areas. It’s an effort that needs support and attention, and we must applaud their initiators and promoters for their boldness and dedication.


* ECUADOR:: Regierungskritische Positionen der Indigenen Völker

On July 5, I sat down with Marlon Santi, President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), in his office in Quito. We discussed the increasing contradictions between the demands of the indigenous movement, on the one hand, around water rights and anti-mining resistance, and the positions of the government of Rafael Correa, on the other, which has labelled indigenous resistance to large-scale mining and oil exploitation as “terrorism and sabotage.”


* DACH: Antimuslimische Ressentiments

Die westliche Zivilisation wird in deutschsprachigen Zeitungen von Leuten wie Broder und Sarazin verteidigt, als ob SIE wieder vor Wien ständen. Die barbarischen Seiten des Westens werden beim Islam-Bashing gerne und schnell unter den Teppich gekehrt. Die deutsche Integrationspolitik schrumpft über die Symbolpolitik à la Islamkonferenz auf religiöse Fragen zusammen, Aspekte von sozialer Ungleichheit werden ausgeklammert.


* USA: Kritik an Obamas Gesetz zur Finanzmarktreform

“In den USA ist die größte Finanzmarktreform seit der Weltwirtschaftskrise in den 30er Jahren beschlossen worden”, schreibt die taz. Klingt groß, heißt wenig: die US-Finanz-Gesetzgebung ist seit Ende der 1960er Jahre eine Geschichte der De-Regulierung. Selbst diesmal konnte die Finanzlobby wichtige Regeln abschwächen – wie die taz an anderer Stelle kritisch berichtet.
Die US-Reform wird häufig als Erfolg der Politik bewertet – aber selbst angesichts der dramatischen Krise konnte die Finanzbranche durch massive Lobbyarbeit das “Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill” an wichtigen Stellen verwässern. So gibt es zahlreiche kritische Einschätzungen.


* INDONESIEN: Weltbank finanziert zerstörerische Nickel-Mine

An international civil society coalition today condemned the World Bank for approving support for a destructive nickel mine that would displace Indigenous Peoples, destroy vast areas of intact tropical forest, and threaten rivers and the ocean with sediment and toxic chemicals.


* USA: Historiker warnt vor dem plötzlichen Zusammenbruch des “US-Imperiums”

Der Harvard-Professor und erfolgreiche Autor Niall Ferguson eröffnete am Montag das Festival der Ideen 2010 des Aspen-Institutes mit der ernst gemeinten Warnung, wegen seiner ständig steigenden Verschuldung werde ein plötzlicher Zusammenbruch des “US-Imperiums” immer wahrscheinlicher.
“Ich denke, dass dieses Problem sehr bald eintritt,” sagte Ferguson. “Damit meine ich innerhalb der
nächsten zwei Jahre, weil sich die Situation finanziell und in anderer Hinsicht immer mehr dem Chaos nähert. Wir haben gerade in Griechenland erlebt, was geschieht, wenn der Kapitalmarkt das Vertrauen in die Finanzpolitik eines Landes verliert.” Ferguson erinnerte daran, dass Imperien – wie die ehemalige Sowjetunion und das römische Reich – ganz schnell kollabieren können und der Wendepunkt häufig dann eintritt, wenn die Zinsen für die Schulden eines Imperiums höher werden als seine Verteidigungsausgaben.


* INDIEN: Diplomatische Verrenkungen beim Atomwaffensprerrvertrag

The recently concluded Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon) has renewed the call for the universalisation of the treaty. The NPT RevCon has asked India along with Pakistan and Israel – the three non-signatory states to the NPT- to unilaterally disarm and join the treaty as Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS). However, India possesses nuclear weapons.


* RUSSLAND: Umweltschützer verhindern Wald-Rodung

Die russischen UmweltschützerInnen, die zu Dutzenden, teilweise sogar mit 300 Personen die Rodungsarbeiten in der Nähe des Moskauer Flughafens Scheremetjewo behindert haben, haben die Rodungen – vorerst – verhindert.


* GUATEMALA: Königsgrab der Maya entdeckt

Luftdicht verschlossene Grabkammer konservierte prächtige Grabbeigaben und Knochen. Ein bisher unbekanntes Königsgrab der Maya haben ArchäologInnen in der Maya-Stadt El Zotz im Dschungel Guatemalas entdeckt. Es enthielt ungewöhnlich gut erhaltene, 1.600 Jahre alte Schnitzereien, Keramiken und Stoffe sowie die Knochen von einem Erwachsenen und sechs möglicherweise geopferten Kindern. Das prächtig ausgestattete Grab gehört wahrscheinlich einem Herrscher, möglicherweise dem Gründer einer Dynastie der präklassischen Maya.


* GROSSBRITANNIEN: Kriegsdienstverweigernder Soldat aus Haft entlassen

Joe Glenton, the soldier who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan and who spoke out against the war, was released from military prison.


* VIETNAM: Einbürgerung von Flüchtlingen aus Kambodscha

Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt – Mit einem Festakt hat die vietnamesische Regierung 287 ehemalige Flüchtlinge aus Kambodscha eingebürgert. UNHCR begrüßt diesen Schritt außerordentlich. Vietnam gibt dadurch ein wichtiges Signal, die Staatenlosigkeit für insgesamt mehr als 2.300 ehemalige Flüchtlinge aus Kambodscha endgültig ad acta zu legen. Die meisten Kambodschaner waren 1975 vor Pol Pots blutigem Regime nach Vietnam geflohen.


* KIRGISIEN: “Millionär werden, das ist Demokratie!”

In Kirgistan trägt die Marktwirtschaft ganz eigene Züge: Nach dem Ende der “Sozialistischen Sowjetrepublik” wurden Fettschwanzschafe, Wallnussbäume und Spitzmorcheln privatisiert. Seitdem greifen viele Kirgisen uralte Nomadentraditionen wieder auf: Sie pendeln auf dem Pferd zwischen Wäldern, Wiesen und Hochalmen und leben im Sommer in Jurten. Das klingt romantisch, doch die meisten Kirgisen müssen heute ums Überleben kämpfen oder erinnern sich wehmütig an die Sowjetzeit mit ihren großen Betrieben und festen Arbeitsplätzen. Andere sind weniger nostalgisch: „Jetzt kann jeder Millionär werden, das ist Demokratie“, lobt ausgerechnet die bettelarme Gulnara, deren Familie allein vom Erlös gesammelter Nüsse lebt.


* AFGHANISTAN: Unendliche Besatzung?

The international foreign ministers conference held in Kabul Tuesday formally endorsed President Hamid Karzai’s proposed 2014 target for Afghan forces to assume the lead responsibility for the country’s security, while acknowledging that the foreign occupation will continue indefinitely.


* BRD: Niebels Zaudern im Kampf gegen AIDS

Der Entwicklungshilfeminister gefährdet die internationale Aids-Hilfe. Deutschland könnte als drittgrößter Geldgeber bald ausfallen. Ein fatales Signal, meint H. Albrecht.


* ZENTRALAFRIKANISCHE REPUBLIK: Friedensprozess gerät ins Stocken

A Sudanese led rebel faction in the Central African Republic has engaged the armies of the Central African Republic (CAR) over a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process- under a peace agreement signed ahead of national elections in CAR, military and rebel sources said.


* USA: Die Wiederkehr der Sklaverei

For the first time, the U.S. government acknowledges modern-day slavery in the United States.
One-hundred-and-fifty years after the abolition of slavery, the State Department has acknowledged that people in the United States continue to be bought and sold as property. The department’s 2010 “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) report, a global review of human trafficking and civic and legal responses to it, lists the United States for the first time among the nations that harbor modern-day slavery.


Südafrika: Handelsabkommen mit EU unterschriftsreif

Mittwoch, Juni 30th, 2010

“Southern Africa-EU trade deal finally in sight

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)

© SADC/afrol News

Southern African trade ministers have pledged to sign a significantly scaled down economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) before the end of 2010. Could this be the conclusion to years of divisive negotiations?

It was a mere sentence in the draft minutes of the meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers in Gaborone on 17 June: “Ministers noted the strategy proposed by senior officials aimed at concluding an inclusive EPA by the end of 2010.”

A timeline in the document then outlines the signing of “an inclusive EPA” and its notification to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the end of the year.

After the skirmishes around the controversial trade pact – that spells out a reciprocal tariff regime on goods between SADC countries and the EU – the decision may seem sudden. As recent as May 2010, Namibian Trade Minister Hage Geingob defended the country’s opposition to the EPA in parliament, accusing the EU of “bullying” its much smaller Southern African counterparts.

While significant progress was made during a high level technical negotiating session in Brussels in early May, there are still some significant issues outstanding that could see signing pushed into next year. Independent trade policy analyst Wallie Roux, based in Windhoek, told ‘IPS’ he assumes that the December 2010 deadline will be missed.

“There are still too many outstanding issues. Signing an EPA by the end of the year would basically require the European Commission (EC) to drop these issues.” They include the contentious most favoured nation (MFN) clause that requires the countries to extend any future trade preferences with parties representing more than 1.5 percent of global trade to the EU.

Namibia and South Africa have fervently argued this reduces their policy space and hampers South-South trade just as SACU is negotiating a trade deal with India. The EC argues the MFN clause forms part of most trade agreements but there are indications that Brussels may be willing to limit the number of countries the clause applies to.

The definition of parties (DoP) that puts the SADC-EPA group, which is not a legal entity, at odds with SACU is also still not ironed out, as are the rules of origin that spell out which goods are considered to have been produced within the region.

For Namibia the issue of export taxes on minerals and infant industry protection also remains important.

Apart from these obstacles, “agreement has been reached on 53 tariff lines that were sensitive for the BLNS [Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland] countries,” says Jürgen Hoffmann of the Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF) that negotiates on behalf of the farming sector in Namibia.

“There are some 230 tariff lines under the TDCA that will still need to be aligned but I do not expect major problems with that. In truth there are only 10 or so dubious tariff lines left that need to be resolved,” he adds.

The TDCA, or trade and development cooperation agreement, is South Africa’s trade deal with the EU. On 21 June, it became public that Europe had indicated that the TDCA tariffs could be accommodated within the EPA.

Although this assumes – perhaps optimistically – that the BLNS would not have problems adopting the provisions of the TDCA it could go a long way in bringing South Africa on board and dramatically simplify alignment of tariff lines and rules of origin.

The EC also indicated countries could directly proceed to sign a full EPA, suggesting it would solve the problem of implementing the interim agreement.

Maybe the most important step forward is the EC’s offer to postpone agreement on services for another five years, or alternatively to let countries sign this provision as and when they are ready. The SADC-EPA ministers in Gaborone chose the first option and decided to start negotiations on this as a bloc in 2014.

“On services and investment, ministers noted that the alternative option proposed by the EC could be divisive and emphasised the need for the SADC-EPA group to move together and avoid division,” read the minutes of the Gaborone meeting.

A technical meeting in July and another high level meeting before August are planned to solve the last outstanding issues in the third quarter.

Relations between the Europeans and the Namibians deteriorated after Namibia refused to sign the interim EPA it had initialled at the end of 2007. A decision of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland to unilaterally sign the interim EPA, leaving other countries in the negotiation configuration behind, put pressure on the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

Fears that SACU, the world’s oldest customs union, would disintegrate because of the EPA were temporarily laid to rest by heads of state during its centenary celebrations in Windhoek recently. South Africa is expected to use the upcoming SACU heads of state summit on 15-16 July to set the tone in the EPA negotiations. To this end, it might put in play its hold over the SACU revenue pool.

While South Africa contributes most to the pool, the other members benefit more under the current revenue sharing formula, deriving as much as 60 percent of their national budgets from the pool. Pretoria has indicated it wants to see changes to this arrangement.”

(Quelle: afrol News.)

Siehe auch:

Stop Epa Wirtschaftspartnerabkommen