Thursday, July 26, 2007

Birth and Death

From the Socialist Banner blog:

In the 35 countries covered by the report of the World Bank, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the estimated 210 million women who become pregnant every year worldwide, more than 500,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth. One in five women resorts to abortion because of poor access to contraception. 68,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe abortion, while 5.3 million suffer temporary or permanent disability, and many end up being ostracised within their own communities.

"Poor women endure a dis-proportionate burden of poor sexual and reproductive health because they run into financial or social barriers getting access to these basic but vital programs," said Mrs. Joy Phumaphi, the World Bank's Vice President for Human Development, a former WHO Assistant Director General, and a former Health Minister in Botswana, 1999-2003. "The low status of women often poses a barrier because in many societies, women lack the power to make their own decisions about using contraceptives or using other reproductive health-care," said Phumaphi.

The Chocolate Wars

From the Socialist Courier blog:

We all know that capitalism is a crazy system based on competition and profit, so it comes as no surprise when we have wars over oil in the Middle East, over diamonds in Sierra Leone and timber in Liberia but now we have war over chocolate!
"Government and rebel leaders of the world's leading cocoa exporter, Ivory Coast, both siphoned off millions of dollars from the cocoa industry to finance the 2002-03 civil war that divided the once-stable and prosperous country in two, according to a recent report from Global Witness, a London-based group that focuses on resource-fuelled corruption. The government received more than $58 million from institutions and cocoa revenues, while the rebel New Forces pocketed about $30 million since 2004 in taxes and revenues, claims the report titled "Hot Chocolate: How Cocoa fuelled the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire" . . . Fighting here ended with the government of President Laurent Gbagbo in control of the south, where 90 percent of cocoa production takes place, and the rebel New Forces in charge of the north." (Christian Science Monitor, 17 July)

Truly capitalism is a crazy system!
Richard Donnelly