Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pathfinders: Chimps, Chumps and Cheetahs (2009)

The Pathfinders Column from the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

As evolved and unintelligently-designed bald chimps everywhere must surely know, this year is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. However they may be less aware that it is also claimed to be the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s sonnets, the 300th anniversary of the start of the industrial revolution and, perhaps less debatably, the 50th birthday for the Mini automobile (Link).

Crowning all these trivial achievements this month is of course the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. What can one say of this historic event? At the time it was hard to overhype. One small step for a man, one giant poke in the eye for the Russians, it supposedly gave us velcro, teflon and digital watches, but more to the point, it promised to launch the bone-throwing chimp species, Kubrick-like, into the galaxy.

And, er, that was it. Apollo the space overture was not followed by the opera. Since then the veterans who knew how to get to the moon have all died or retired, and now the tyro NASA chimps are back where they started, arguing about rockets and facing Obama funding cuts instead of Kennedy largesse.

What did it all mean? Not much, except to show that in science, as in share prices, optimism can overrun the cliff-edge of experience, a fact which often escapes young chimps who imagine that scientific progress is secure, inevitable and limitless. Perhaps this is because, in the non-scientific world, we don’t tend to hear about the null results, the blind alleys or the dead-ends, we only hear the success-stories. This may mean, argues NASA climatologist Peter Dizikes, that we foster unrealistic expectations of science in practice: “The way we teach science is that Newton said “X” and it’s correct, so learn this formula. This promotes the idea that science knows all the answers. Whereas when you look at any actual working scientist, whether it’s in climate change or medicine or building a nuclear power plant, the stock in trade of science is uncertainty; it’s not certainty” (, 19 June).

It doesn’t help that capitalism is all about hard sells not hard truths, a blizzard of con rackets, snake oil cures, kwik-fixes and pseudo-solutions that all too easily make us into chumps who forget to ask the right questions. Too often the media will breathlessly report anything scientists offer them, without any provisos or qualifications, just to grab a slice of reader attention. Grey areas require grey matter, but who’s got the time? To take a random sample of the latest news items, we learn, ‘according to new studies’, that boys who have a ‘warrior gene’ are more likely to end up in violent gangs (Yahoo News, 5 June), that squeamish people are more likely to be conservative (Yahoo News, 5 June) and that engineers are more likely to become terrorists (New Scientist, 13 June). There is not space here to detail all the ways in which these studies may be misleading, misguided or plain wrong, but sample size, experimenter expectation and the possible existence of conflicting studies would be three avenues to explore for starters.

A possible fourth is fraud. When politicians or bankers turn out to be corrupt nobody raises an eyebrow. When catholic priests turn out to be kiddy-fiddlers the world reacts with weary resignation. But when scientists fiddle data everyone throws up their hands in shocked amazement, because scientists are for some reason expected to be above that sort of thing.

Yet there are some legendary cases of scientific fraud, and it turns out that the latest and as yet unnamed addition to the periodic table, element 112, was held back from recognition by years because one member of the team was sabotaging the results by falsifying data (New Scientist, 20 June). Worse, scientific fraud may not be rare but commonplace. A recent survey involving over 11,000 academics found a third of scientists admitting to ‘massaging’ research data and one in fifty indulging in outright fakery: “When scientists were asked about colleagues’ behaviour, 14 percent said they had witnessed research fraud and almost three-quarters said they had seen questionable behaviour”. Socialists won’t be surprised to learn that “misconduct was most common in clinical, medical and pharmacological research, where large grants are often at stake” (TimesOnline, 7 June). Naughty chimps! Me Tarzan, you Cheetah.

Or should that be naughty orang-utans? A new paper that flies boldly in the face of the genetic evidence suggests that humans are biologically closer to the red apes than to chimps or bonobos, an idea which is causing widespread splutterings of derision in the scientific community. Nevertheless New Scientist (20 June) sees fit to lead with a lofty editorial on why we should welcome scientific heresy, even if it’s wrong: “Alternative hypotheses should be given an airing … science that pulls up the drawbridge on new ideas risks becoming sterile.” How true, even if it does sound a little defensive from a journal which is drawing fire for being too sensational and populist.

But heresy is risky, and scientists can be as conservative and risk-averse as anyone else. Privately many scientists could put together the same ‘heresy’ socialists propose, which is that capitalism, once the friend and sponsor of good science, now is more its enemy than its ally. It controls the funds and the fundamentals, it calls the tunes, it forms the corrupting context in which science does its work. In a capitalist world where politicians are vile, bankers are venal and priests are paedophiles, it can hardly be a revelation to find that science is as bent as everything else. But will they speak out against the system which holds them in check? Not while they have a vested interest in not doing so. That’s why we have to do it for them.
Paddy Shannon

Letter: Hypocrisy over immigration (2009)

Letter to the Editors from the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors

The perpetual media discussion about immigration, conveniently forgets the countless numbers of people who have migrated from the British Isles (including Ireland when it was part of the British Isles) over the  past 400 years. When one considers for example that the current population of the Republic of Ireland is some seven million approximately, while the current Irish descendant population in the USA alone is estimated to be around seventy million (to say nothing of the Irish descendants in the other former  “black” countries of Canada/New Zealand/Australia/South Africa, etc, etc), the hypocrisy of the anti-immigrant debate becomes evident. The same applies to the so called “white British” historical emigration to “black” countries around the world. The white British descendant population in East and South Africa, Oceania, North and South America etc runs into countless dozens of millions.

Further this debate ignores the fact that Britain was built exclusively on the profits generated by slavery and the pillaging of its colonies. Prior to the 16th century England was an impoverished backwater – even Christopher Columbus when he was trawling the Royal Courts of Europe to fund his New World adventure, never considered asking the English Court for assistance, as England was the Haiti of Europe at the time.
Anti-immigrant types need to acquaint themselves with their own history. Many of them fail to even appreciate that they themselves are recent arrivals in the British Isles – their Anglo-Saxon invader ancestors were not here when the Romans with their British based African regiments, were building Hadrian’s Wall.

The immigration debate needs to have these facts discussed.
Lalu Hanuman, 

We get your point, even if there is some exaggeration. For instance, the population of the Republic of Ireland is about 4 million not 7 million. And the wealth of British capitalism was not built “exclusively” on the profits of slavery and the pillaging of its colonies. This was certainly a key factor in the original accumulation of capital to start capitalism going, but after that the main source of profits was – and still is – the unpaid labour of the working class in Britain.

Land grabs – the new colonialism? (2009)

From the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard
Capitalist states have started to acquire land outside their borders again.
At the start of capitalism land was grabbed on a large scale by Europeans in the Americas, Africa and Asia – wherever there were useful, desirable, valuable resources. Never mind the indigenous populations, they could be bought off cheaply or cowed into submission militarily. Accumulation was the name of the game, on behalf of powerful states and royal families.

Colonies sprang up worldwide explaining, among other things, the curious spread of different languages from relatively tiny nations to huge continents across oceans – English, Spanish, Portuguese and French – and ultimately to the use of English/American as the global business language.

It is now widely recognised that colonialism was responsible for subjugating local populations, imposing governmental and legal systems and generally exploiting and expropriating whatever natural abundance or rare animal, vegetable or mineral matter happened to be discovered. As time went on the exploitation was taken over by corporations and continues not only unabated but increasingly rapacious, bringing commodities to customers worldwide, degrading environments worldwide and impoverishing populations worldwide whilst enriching a tiny minority.

Now local populations are starting to fight back, to protest against their treatment as second-class or non-citizens, demanding land and water rights. Populations from China to South America and many places in between are in struggles against domestic or transnational mining corporations, against governments over population dispersal for big dams and Special Economic Zones, against food corporations and agribusiness trying to enforce small farmers’ removal from their land in order to grow mono-crops for food and bio-fuels specifically for export.

Against this back-drop of “peasant/worker awakening” is the very latest emergence of a new form of colonialism – of land-grab – by “food insecure” governments fearing for the future of their own populations’ food needs and also by food corporations and private investors looking for new ways to make profits in this current economic crisis. Since March 2008 “high-level officials” from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Libya and Egypt have been visiting countries with fertile farmland including Uganda, Brazil, Cambodia, Sudan and Pakistan to strike deals which guarantee them sole use of farmland to grow crops for export back to their own lands. The reciprocity is foreign investment or oil or technology deals.

Another angle to this new colonialism – financial returns – is seeing all manner of players getting involved, seeking a new avenue for profit; investment houses, hedge funds, grain traders and others from the finance and food industries, all looking to take control of fertile soil with access to water supply in foreign lands. Whilst governments are largely the ones making the deals for food security it has been made plain that it is the private sector that will control the enterprises. Likewise, the hunt for financial returns is the business of private investors. In both cases foreign private corporations will be taking control of farmland to produce food not for the local communities but for export back to the investor countries. Another form of accumulation by driving more local farmers from their land and stealing their livelihoods.

Here are three examples of deals struck so far (a full report is available from plus an annex in table form of over 100 cases of land-grab for offshore food production; online there is also a notebook of full-text news clippings being added to continuously to which people can contribute by emailing

First, China has sealed 30 agricultural cooperation deals which gives them access to “friendly country” farmland in exchange for Chinese technology, training and infrastructure development funds, in Kazakhstan, Queensland, Mozambique and the Philippines (to mention a few) and to which China flies in its own farmers, scientists and extension workers to grow rice, soya beans and maize as well as sugar cane, cassava and sorghum as bio-fuel crops.

Second, the Gulf States, short of water and productive soil but rich in oil and money, have been hard hit by the simultaneous rise in world food prices and fall in the US dollar to which (most) of their currencies are pegged. Their collective strategy has been to make deals particularly with other Islamic countries to which they will supply oil and capital in exchange for guarantees to farmland from which they can export the crops back home. Deals have been and continue to be made with Sudan, Pakistan and others in SE Asia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uganda, Ukraine, Brazil and others. From the millions of hectares of farmland already leased under contract harvests are expected to begin this year, particularly of rice and wheat.

Third, India’s corporate agribusinesses and the government-owned State Trading Corporation are looking to produce oilseed crops, pulses and cotton abroad. One deal with Burma to enable India to have total control of the agricultural process entails providing Burma with funds to upgrade its port infrastructure. They are also doing deals with Indonesia for palm oil plantations, talking to Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil about land for growing pulses and soya beans for export back home.

How will the indigenous populations react to this latest threat? This aggressive new policy of colonisation of land specifically for export crops and speculation is bound to increase pressure on local populations, more of whom will be struggling to feed their families working for wages, if so lucky, at a pittance level. Populations who don’t need to be bought off cheaply this time because their own governments will willingly sell them out and who can easily be subdued militarily should the need arise, this time by the self-same government’s police and armed forces.
Janet Surman

Then and Now – how we live and how we used to live (2009)

From the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard
Part 1 – Then: A look back at the present day from a future time when socialism has been established.
It is strange to visualise now that the world up to and including the early years of this century was caught in a stranglehold of economic competition, national political boundaries and the overriding requirement to make a monetary profit out of the production and sale of property. Hardly anyone took seriously, or even much considered, the possibility of living as complete equals with collective ownership of the world’s resources.

Visions of a future society portrayed in the science fiction novels and films of the time were almost invariably dystopian: civilisation might move out to the stars, but the prognostications were of ever increasing extremes of rich and poor, harsher governments and soaring crime rates. Fictional colonisations of new planets – giving humanity a fresh start free from the shackles of Earth – were almost invariably based on money, employment and profits.

The vast majority of people were limited in terms of what they could do by the amount of money they possessed, since the only way to obtain food, goods and services that they could not produce themselves was to exchange money for them. Those who had little or no money lived very poorly in a way we can scarcely imagine now, indeed many of them died through lack of life’s necessities. A minority, on the other hand, those in control of the world’s major resources, had more personal wealth than even the most imaginative of them knew what to do with.

Many people were reasonably well off by the standards of the time. They would “work for a living” for around 40 hours each week, and as long as they were seen to be contributing to their employer’s wealth, they were paid a monthly salary with which to pay for the necessities of life – food, heating and shelter – for themselves and their immediate families. Many months they might have a small surplus to save for future use or spend during holidays from employment or on ‘luxury’ items.

Employers, the owners of capital, were ever seeking new ways of increasing their profits and attempting to draw their workers into their world, to get them to see things from their side, to be inventive in creating ways of packaging new products, or re-packaging old products, to make them appear ever more attractive. Workers were divided into a hierarchy, with the better paid ones, generally more imbued with the “company ethos” instilled into them by the owners, assuming authority over those lower down in the pecking order.

The vast majority of workers complied with their employer’s wishes through a need to carry on earning money. Employees at all levels were constantly encouraged to “think outside the box” in their efforts to please their employers; in reality worker and employer alike were unable to see the walls of the huge box that contained them all.

Money permeated the whole of life and almost nothing was exempt from the need to generate it, earn it or spend it. And because the owners of the world’s resources as a group controlled the channels of communication, the message expressed or implied to the population at large was that this state of affairs was necessary and unchangeable and that their leaders knew what was best for them.

Largely because of such propaganda, not all workers saw themselves as exploited or even hard done by. People were, for the most part, simply grateful to be among those whose skills and abilities were seen as necessary and hence saleable. And many, such as doctors, teachers and care workers, performed useful roles despite the often longer than average, stressful hours they had to work and, in some cases, the paltry amounts of money they received in return.

But others were not so fortunate. Millions worldwide were unable to secure or maintain the employment necessary to provide them with the money to buy life’s necessities. Many people were left entirely to their own meagre resources. Some were forced to work almost the whole day long to secure the price of a meal and a bed, while still others had no recourse but to beg. Many people understandably resorted to the peddlers of alcohol, drugs and religion, to the relative comfort of an anaesthetised life on Earth or the vacuous promise of a second life free of care after death.

As is no doubt evident, money was a form of rationing – the less you had, the less access you had to the best quality food and goods. This resulted in manufacturers producing a whole range of goods at varying qualities and hence varying prices, to ensure they catered for, and therefore profited from, the needy as well as the better off. And because personal possessions were hard-gained, people tended to be inordinately proud of them and jealous of others who had more.

People generally lived in a family unit typically comprising a married couple and up to three or four children. This restricted economic unit generally served its purpose in ensuring that children were adequately looked after until they in turn were ready to do service to an employer; if it broke down, however, say by the married couple splitting up or one of them dying, this could place an intolerable burden on the one parent left supporting the children, usually with very little outside help. There was very little left of the extended supportive family or community such as had existed even in earlier capitalist times. And if both parents died or were incapacitated, alternative care provisions for the children were rudimentary at best.

Dependence on money, and the stress caused through lack of it, meant that arguments and outbreaks of violence were frequent – “we can’t afford it” or “where is the money going to come from?” were often heard among the members of the cocooned family units, even among the more comfortably off. Buyer and seller, employer and employee, even husband and wife, inevitably regarded one another as sources of financial or material gain, and hence, in part, as one another’s possessions.

Sections of the working population were constantly played off and made to compete against one another, either deliberately or passively, on the basis of such irrelevant considerations as skin colour, nationality or even gender, in an attempt to keep them weak and divided. And the need for capitalist enterprises to compete against one another in their quest for profits inevitably led to wider conflicts, resulting time and again in failed businesses with the resultant loss of livelihoods and, in extreme cases, in bloody and ruthless wars.

Factories and commercial centres tended to be concentrated in large urban areas, to and from which workers would have to travel on a daily basis in crowded trains or on congested roads. Despite the limited adoption of variable working hours, peak travel times were unpleasant if not nightmarish.

It was also evident that capitalist society was incapable of addressing the problems besetting the environment which came to the fore in this period. As global warming increased, caused at least in part by man-made pollutants from wasteful, inefficient technology, with increasingly erratic climate systems resulting in the disappearance of much wildlife and an increase in the number of floods and fires, however well-intentioned the proponents of corrective action, remedies were always subject to the constraints of what could be done profitably and were therefore never adequately effected, to the extent that some of the damage to the environment nearly became irreversible.

To think of the world as it was only so few decades ago has been at best sobering and at worst traumatic; the conclusion I reach is that this period of man’s history is best left where it is…consigned to the history books or, better still, to the memory.

Next month Part 2: a look back from a future at the changeover to socialism.
Rod Shaw

Who are the outsiders? (2009)

From the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard
Xenophobia flourishes in Africa too, encouraged by state-building.
It is not only in the West that black people are subjected to racism and abusive languages by the host nation’s population as “bloody foreigners”, “parasites”, “aliens”,”refugees”, etc, but also Africans living in other African countries are grimly accustomed to the same abusive language. Matters have sometimes been getting out of hand in recent years. There is an irony that this is happening when many countries in Africa are busy trying to organise a Union of African states to replace the useless, that the OAU has been.

A few years ago, tens of thousands of Eritreans and Ethiopians have been expelled against their will when the two countries started war (May 1998 till June 2000). The Eritreans and Ethiopians who happened to be respectively living in each other’s country had lived there for most of their lives, in some cases many of them didn’t know their country of origin. The rulers of both sides accused each other, accurately, of human rights violation.

The reasons for these mass expulsions and violence are almost always the same in each country. “Patriotic” citizens are quick to assert, nationalistically, that the “outsiders” have come to take over their resources, their jobs and what have you. However, though the grievances of the masses may be related to economic factors, it is unreasonable to blame it on their fellow poor workers.

In order to ward off unrest various tactics are employed by governments. One of them is creating divisions among the poor workers by, for instance blaming foreigners and whipping up nationalistic feelings. In response to the official propaganda, the masses who are hungry and illiterate are taken in by the government policy.

Since anger is emotional and overpowers reason, the least provocations can result in misdirected violence, usually manifested in riots. The violence is usually turned loose on the “aliens”. This is the real cause of xenophobia: the rich pitting the poor against the poor.

In the past when Africa didn’t have artificial boundaries such as there are today, wars and hatred were not as rife. Making up nations have taken a great deal of building. There is almost no nation-state that has not had its boundaries drawn in blood. America was built on the bodies of the native population. It is a process that continues today in Africa. The effort, though, has to be ongoing. States have required the use of an education system, to standardise learning, spread a national history and a sense of shared culture.

Language became a factor in establishing state power, and thus it became a factor in determining a “nation”. It is no coincidence that nationalism is accompanied by a mania for classifying, delineating and defining people into categories. These practical considerations were made explicit by the Polish Nationalist Pilsudski, who observed that “it is the state that makes the nation, not the nation the state”.

In order to enforce the new system of property over the whole range of its influence, the ruling class needed the state, and its legitimising ideas of nationalism and the nation. Culture resides in sets of ideas, values and practices that set out a sense of precedent, self and future possibility. Nationalism imposes the idea of the nation, complete with its inherent notions of territorial ownership and property, upon a culture, on the very self-image of the people within that culture.

The idea of “the nation” functions as supreme good, beyond the physical and mechanical functionings of the state, to which any cause may appeal. It is a fantasy which can be used to cover up for problems and contradictions in the practice of the state’s daily life. Its function is to legitimise both the state and class rule, and sustain a large quantity of support, through workers who identify with the ideas of nationhood and believe themselves to be the same as, and have the same interests as, their masters.

Workers of course, do not share a common interest with their masters. It does not follow that if the “national wealth” increases, or if trade increases, or even if profit increases, that higher wages will be gained by workers. It might appear that workers and employers share a common interest. In fact the interest of workers is conditioned by the interest of the employer, in exactly the same manner as hostages held by a kidnapper: unless the kidnapper/employer, demands are met, they will not allow the hostage/workers to have what they need to live.

In the powerful nations, history becomes a means of winning popular emotions to the cause of stability. An influential and well funded nostalgia industry has long been used in these nations to persuade workers that there is something great about being the nation’s subject.

The valid definition of a modern nation is a geographical and political area in which goods and services are produced for the sale on the market with a view to profit and with the general class division of ruling and ruled. And the fact that the majority of population owns little but its ability to work is evidence the working class has no common interest with the minority ruling class.
Michael Ghebre

Who are the real litter louts? (2009)

From the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

Official statistics from the Home Office’s Office of National Statistics show that there is a high level of concern about the problem of litter. Indeed, of all crime and anti-social behaviour litter has the second highest source of concern (33 percent of those surveyed felt “a high level of worry”). Vandalism comes top of the list (34 percent), both much higher than racial harassment (8 percent) and fear of burglary (14 percent). Hardly a week goes by without a letter sent to local papers on the subject. Now common or garden street litter is hardly one of the world’s major problems, but most people are primarily concerned with things that affect them – it is simply a human response to something right before the eyes. People clearly want and indeed should expect a decent local environment. What can be done about this problem? We examine a few solutions . . .

Solution no. 1: More bins. It might be suggested that more rubbish bins would solve the problem. Certainly this could have some effect. However my local area has plenty of bins (empty ones) and plenty of litter. Putting the rubbish in the bins is clearly something different from putting the bins up in the first place.

Solution no. 2: The strong arm of the law. A crackdown on ‘litter louts’– fines or imprisonment – can be a short term solution particularly in areas with a traditional respect of authority. Such a policy has been carried out very successfully, for example in Singapore. However, whether large and disparate societies have the resources to deal with what is basically a minor infraction of the law in such a heavy-handed manner is doubtful.

Solution no. 3: Education. A rather cheaper method than a policeman on every corner would be a concerted campaign in the schools: “Naughty children: don’t throw things on the street.” However education (or what passes for it in these sad times) seems to be part of the problem. It is almost certainly the case that the majority of street litter is thrown by children or adolescents.

Solution no. 4: ‘Alternative’ education. If it really is the case that littering is a product of alienation in the schools it might be advisable to change the system of schooling to one more child-friendly. At the risk of us being deluged with letters from irate ‘alt-ed’ enthusiasts, the idea of ‘nice’ schooling is ridiculous in a world that is most definitely not nice. The modern system of education generally fits the bill required – that of producing (and reproducing) the ideal modern worker. Also again we hit the problem of resources – who will pay for this intensive, alternative approach?

Solution no. 5: A ‘green’ idea. Very popular in Germany, the Green ‘Law of Return’ means that councils are entitled to ship product wrappings back to the factory of origin. A ton of crisp packets dumped on the doorstep is a powerful argument for making biodegradable or recyclable packaging. This comes close to the problem and all credit here for identifying the real litter louts. But recycling uses resources – surely better, as far as is possible, not to produce potential litter in the first place; however, this cannot be expected from those whose business is to produce.

Solution no. 6: Socialism. Litter, like most other problems of the world, is a product of the current phase of capitalism. Consumption to the nth power (including snack foods, the main cause of street litter), within a background of built-in obsolescence determined chiefly by the great corporations, is the order of the day, all driven by the relentless quest for profit.  Compounding the issue within capitalism is the sense of alienation, especially among young people, the result of the class ownership of society and the commodifying of everyday life – all of which helps produce the carelessness of littering. Powerless and voiceless – why should the ‘litter lout’ care? The streets really are not our own, nor can they be under capitalism.

Tiny Tips (2009)

The Tiny Tips column from the July 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

A collection of more than 3,000 inverted stamps has sold at auction in New York for more than $5 million:
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One billion people throughout the world suffer from hunger, a figure which has increased by 100 million because of the global financial crisis, says the UN:

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Cancer is a silent disease in Africa and in the developing world. World Health Organization (WHO) statistics shows that cancer kills more people in Africa than HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined. This is not a well-known fact, and a very disturbing one, especially since cancer diagnostics and treatment are of very poor standard in most African countries. Take for example Ghana – a country with more than 23 million people. They only have four oncologists to diagnose and treat cancer patients. WHO estimates that if we don’t take act now, more than 11 million Africans may die of cancer in 2020:
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One in four men in South Africa have admitted to rape and many confess to attacking more than one victim, according to a study that exposes the country’s endemic culture of sexual violence

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The Dalai Lama has encouraged Tibetans in exile to embrace the democratic system of electing a leader, saying it was essential to keep step with the larger world and to ensure the continuity of their government:
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Uganda has lost nearly a third of its forest cover since 1990 due to expanding farmlands, a rapidly growing human population and increased urbanisation, a government report said
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The Senate unanimously passed a resolution yesterday apologizing for slavery, making way for a joint congressional resolution and the latest attempt by the federal government to take responsibility for 2½ centuries of slavery

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Nearly twice as many US army soldiers today are either alcoholic or engage in damaging behaviour such as binge drinking than six years ago, and experts blame the rise on repeated tours in war zones:
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President Hugo Chavez is standing by his man in the Middle East, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even as hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iranians took to the streets Wednesday for the fifth straight day to protest his claim to a landslide reelection
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Zimbabwe is suffering “persistent and serious” human rights violations despite the formation of a unity government four months ago, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khansaid
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