The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
The Beni river, a tributary of the Madeira river, when it overflowed its banks in 2011 upstream of Cachuela Esperanza, where the Bolivian government is planning the construction of a hydropower dam. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS
- Deforestation, especially in the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru, was the main driver of this yearâs disastrous flooding in the Madeira river watershed in Boliviaâs Amazon rainforest and the drainage basin across the border, in Brazil.
That is the assessment of Marc Dourojeanni, professor emeritus at the National Agrarian University in Lima, Peru.
His analysis stands in contrast with the views of environmentalists and authorities in Bolivia, who blame the Jirau and Santo AntÃ´nio hydroelectric dams built over the border in Brazil for the unprecedented flooding that has plagued the northern Bolivian department or region of Beni.
âThat isnât logical,â Dourojeanni told IPS. Citing the law of gravity and the topography, he pointed out that in this case Brazil would suffer the effects of what happens in Bolivia rather than the other way around â although he did not deny that the dams may have caused many other problems.
The Madeira river (known as the Madera in Bolivia and Peru, which it also runs across) is the biggest tributary of the Amazon river, receiving in its turn water from four large rivers of over 1,000 km in length.
The Madeira riverâs watershed covers more than 900,000 square km â similar to the surface area of Venezuela and nearly twice the size of Spain.
In Bolivia, which contains 80 percent of the watershed, two-thirds of the territory receives water that runs into the Madeira from more than 250 rivers, in the form of a funnel that drains into Brazil.
To that vastness is added the steep gradient. Three of the Madeiraâs biggest tributaries â the Beni, the MamorÃ© and the Madre de Dios, which rises in Peru â emerge in the Andes mountains, at 2,800 to 5,500 metres above sea level, and fall to less than 500 metres below sea level in Boliviaâs forested lowlands.
These slopes âwere covered by forest 1,000 years ago, but now theyâre bare,â largely because of the fires set to clear land for subsistence agriculture, said Dourojeanni, an agronomist and forest engineer who was head of the Inter-American Development Bankâs environment division in the 1990s.
The Bahraini Arabic language newspaper al-Wasat reported on Wednesday Apr. 9 that a Cairo court began to consider a case brought by an Egyptian lawyer against Qatar accusing it of being soft on terrorism. The âterrorismâ charge is of course a euphemism for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab […]
The post OP-ED: Egyptian-Saudi Coalition in Defence of Autocracy appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Puerto Rican society has been shaken to its foundations by the announcement in February by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s credit rating agencies that they had downgraded the island’s creditworthiness to junk status. “The problems that confront the commonwealth are many years in the making, and include years of deficit financing, pension underfunding, and budgetary […]
The post Is Puerto Rico Going the Way of Greece and Detroit? appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Early in the morning, 14-year-old Sumari Varda puts on her blue school uniform, but heads for the village pond to fetch water. âI miss school. I wish I could go back,â she whispers, scared of being heard by her employer. Sumari is from Dhurbeda village, but now lives in another, Bhainsasur, both located in central […]
On a hillside in northeastern Kazakhstan, south of the Russian border, a simple and stark slogan looms over the city of Oskemen: âKazakhstan,â reads the message in giant white letters arrayed across the green slope. When the sign was erected in 2009, ostensibly to foster Kazakhstani patriotism, it seemed to be stating the obvious. But […]
The post Russians Blend Loyalty to Nazarbayev with Pro-Kremlin Sentiments appeared first on Inter Press Service.
The blaze that tore through the Chilean port city of ValparaÃso revealed the dark side of one of the most important tourist destinations in this South American country, which hides in its hills high levels of poverty and inequality. The fire that broke out Saturday Apr. 12 and was still smouldering two days later claimed […]
Greenhouse gas emissions rose more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than anytime during the previous three decades, the worldâs top climate scientists say, despite a simultaneous strengthening of national legislation around the world aimed at reducing these emissions. The conclusions come in the third and final instalment in a series of updates by the Intergovernmental […]
The post IPCC Climate Report Calls for âMajor Institutional Changeâ appeared first on Inter Press Service.
The Department of Energy (DOE), politicians and CEOs were discussing how to warn generations 125,000 years in the future about the radioactive waste at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, considered the most polluted site in the U.S., when Native American anti-nuclear activist Russell Jim interrupted their musings: âWeâll tell them.â He tells IPS âthey looked around and […]
The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle has few sanctuaries left in the world, and this is one of them. But in 2012 only 53 nests were counted on the beaches of this national park in Costa Rica. And there is an enemy that conservation efforts canât fight: the beaches themselves are shrinking. For centuries, the […]
The post Turtles Change Migration Routes Due to Climate Change appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has relentlessly advocated drastic cuts in global military spending in favour of sustainable development, will be sorely disappointed by the latest findings in a report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The decline in arms spending in the West, says SIPRI, has been offset by a rise […]
The post Emerging Nations Opt for Arms Spending Over Development appeared first on Inter Press Service.
IPS correspondent Silvia Giannelli interviewed KANAYO F. NWANZE, president of IFAD
Judith Mwikali Musau has successfully introduced the use of grafted plants for crop and fruit harvesting. IFAD says it is clear that a new revolution in agriculture is needed to transform the sector. Credit:Isaiah Esipisu/IPS
- The Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015 is fast approaching, but according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), poverty still afflicts one in seven people â and one in eight still goes to bed hungry.
Together with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), IFAD unveiled the results of their joint work Apr. 3 to develop five targets to be incorporated in the post-2015 development agenda.
These targets include access to adequate food all year round for all people; ending malnutrition in all its forms with special attention to stunting; making all food production systems more productive, sustainable, resilient and efficient; securing access for all small food producers, especially women; and more efficient post-production food systems that reduce the global rate of food loss and waste by 50 percent.
IPS correspondent Silvia Giannelli interviewed Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of IFAD, on the role of rural poverty and food security in shaping the current debate on the definition of a new development agenda.
Q: Do you think it is time to rethink the strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals?
A: Itâs not only that I think, I know it. And that is why we have Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are being fashioned. The SDGs are an idea that was born in the Rio Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. The crafting of a new global development agenda is a unique opportunity to refocus policy, investments and partnerships on inclusive and sustainable rural transformation.
The intent is to produce a new, more inclusive and more sustainable set of global development objectives that have application to all countries. These goals â once agreed by governments â would take effect after the current MDGs expire in 2015.
And measurement will be crucial if we are to achieve what we set out. This is why we are talking about universality but in a local context. The SDGs will be for all countries, developing and developed alike. But their application will need to respond to the reality on the ground, which will vary from country to country.
An OST patient in Simferopol, Crimea. OST programmes are to finish soon following annexation of the region by Russia. Credit: HIV/AIDS Alliance Ukraine.
- As local authorities prepare to put an end to opioid substitution treatment (OST) programmes in the newly annexed Crimean peninsula, drug users there say they are being forced to choose between a return to addiction and becoming refugees.
OST â where methadone and buprenorphine are given to opioid addicts under medical supervision â has been available in Ukraine for almost a decade.
But Russian law forbids its provision, and Russian government officials have said they intend to close OST services in the region by the end of this month.
Organisations working to provide services to drug users on the peninsula say this has put the future health of more than 800 people receiving OST in the region in doubt.
Fast food workers protest for higher wages in New York City, July 2013. Credit: Annette Bernhardt/cc by 2.0
- In new data certain to fuel the growing public debate over economic inequality, a survey released Tuesday by the biggest U.S. trade-union federation found that the CEOs of top U.S. corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average U.S. worker in 2013.
According to the AFL-CIOâs 2014 Executive PayWatch database, U.S. CEOs of 350 companies made an average of 11.7 million dollars last year compared to the average worker who earned 35,293 dollars.
The same CEOs averaged an income 774 times greater than U.S. workers who earned the federal hourly minimum wage of 7.25 dollars in 2013, or just over 15,000 dollars a year, according to the database.
A separate survey of the top 100 U.S. corporations released by the New York Times Sunday found that the media compensation of CEOs of those companies last year was yet higher — 13.9 million dollars.
- The United States has rarely, if ever, denied a visa to a head of state seeking to visit the United Nations to address the 193-member General Assembly, the highest policy making body in the organisation.
But it did so last November, prompting Sudan to register a strong protest before the U.N.’s legal committee: a protest that went unsung and unnoticed.
Hassan Ali, a senior Sudanese diplomat, told delegates, “The democratically-elected president of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, had been deprived of the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly because the host country, the United States, had denied him a visa, in violation of the U.N.-U.S. Headquarters Agreement.”
National police arrive on a boat at Goma's port in DRC as U.N. peacekeepers look on. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS
- The United Statesâ second-highest court has upheld most of a landmark U.S. law requiring companies to ascertain and publicly disclose whether proceeds from minerals used to manufacture their products may be funding conflict in central Africa.
The ruling, releasedÂ Monday, means that U.S.-listed companies will need to file their first such reports with federal regulators by the end of May. The statute, known asÂ Section 1502Â and covering what are referred to as âconflict mineralsâ, became law in 2010, but the details of its actual implementation have remained up in the air ever since.
Thierry NâDoufou and his team of IT specialists developed a tablet â the Qelasy â specifically for the Ivorian market as they aim to bring local school kids into the digital era. Credit: Marc-AndrÃ© Boisvert/IPS
- When Ivorian Thierry NâDoufou saw local school kids suffering under the weight of their backpacks full of textbooks, it sparked an idea of how to close the digital gap where it is the largest â in local schoolrooms.
NâDoufou is one of 10 Ivorian IT specialists who developed the Qelasy â an 8-inch, Ivorian-engineered tablet that is set to be released next monthÂ by hisÂ technology companyÂ Siregex.