What We’re Reading 6/26/09


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L.A. Times—U.S. giving weapons aid to Somalia government
The Obama administration has begun sending arms aid to the beleaguered government of Somalia, officials said Thursday, in an escalation of its commitment to one of the world’s most troubled states. State Department officials said the support was intended to help sustain a transitional government that is steadily losing ground to Islamic militants in fighting that has been catastrophic for civilians. The administration also is stepping up humanitarian aid to the country, said officials, who declined to disclose how much would be spent.

The Economist—A new (under) class of travellers
The Economist writes about the effect of climate change in places like Kenya, where the drought cycle in the northern part of the country has gone from once every eight years to every three years, and may contract further. This has resulted in migration and re-location of local populations, which scientists think is one example of an emerging global phenomenon: people across the world on the move as a result of environmental degradation. At least initially, the situation in Kenya and other parts of east Africa is likely to be as follows: an already poor population whose perpetual search for adequate pasture and shelter grows harder and harder. In such conditions, local disputes—even relatively petty ones between clans and extended families—can easily worsen, and become embroiled in broader religious or political fights, the paper writes.

BBC News—Firms target nutrition for the poor
BBC News looks at the growing amount of companies that are developing food products to address malnutrition among the world’s poor, which affects around two billion people worldwide. Firms, several now based in Africa, are trying to fortify everyday foods that can be sold to consumers. The idea is to target people suffering from a less acute, but more widespread form of malnutrition. Many people eat enough calories to live, by consuming staples such as rice or bread. But far fewer can afford foods containing crucial nutrients provided by meat, pulses or vegetables, a situation that has been exacerbated by last year’s food crisis.

New Times (Rwanda)—Religious Groups Call for Funding
Religious groups engaged in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Rwanda and in other sub-Saharan African countries have called for more funding from government and donors in their effort to curb the pandemics.”Faith based organisations have a very significant role in fighting any pandemic, when malaria comes, it does not choose any specific denomination, it can kill each one of us,” said Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, head of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. A Global Fund report released last year recommended that faith-based organisations play a bigger role in fighting the diseases.

Reuters—Capitalism, IMF and World Bank under fire at U.N.
Criticism of the IMF and other so-called “Bretton Woods institutions” established during World War II has become a running theme at a three-day meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on the global economic crisis. Ecuador’s left-wing President Rafael Correa blamed capitalism on Thursday for the crisis, suggesting at a U.N. conference that the International Monetary Fund and World Bank be abolished. Most delegates have spoken of the need to reform the IMF and World Bank, but representatives of Western developed economies rejected the idea of abolishing the institutions. “The Bretton Woods institutions have rarely been popular but they have never been so necessary,” a British official said.

-Steve Wilson

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