Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

1st World Trash, 3rd World Victims

In Development, Environment, Global Issues on December 29, 2010 at 3:44 am

How does American waste end up in a toxic dump in Nairobi, Kenya?

With another decade coming to an end, I decided to finally sell my first laptop by the end of this month. While trying to figure out how best to get rid of it, I came across this somewhat-horrifying picture of this toxic garbage dump in Nairobi, Kenya. This led me to wonder, “Exactly HOW would my laptop, of all things, end up thousands of miles away in a dump like this one?” A little bit of research yielded the true story behind how far our trash actually travels. Read the rest of this entry »

What Wikileaks reveals about Abuse of Power and Bacha Bazi

In Development, Human Rights on December 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

While browsing around Tumblr, I came across a story that caught me by surprise: a headline that said “Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops”. My first reaction was “Surley not!”, but with further research, I came across more and more details that had surfaced through Wikileaks cables about a shocking issue with DynCorp’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Mr. Atmar, Wikileaks reveals, encouraged hushing of DynCorp's atrocities in Afghanistan.

A little background on the situation first. DynCorp, a defense company based in DC, is currently contracted by the US government to train soldiers in Afghanistan. In June 24, 2009’s cable between Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and US assistant ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, a party, PARTIALLY thrown by DynCorp, is discussed. Some extracts from the cable:

On the Kunduz Regional Training Center (RTC) DynCorp event of April 11 (reftel), Atmar reiterated his insistence that the U.S. try to quash any news article on the incident or circulation of a video connected with it. He continued to predict that publicity would “endanger lives.” He disclosed that he has arrested two Afghan police and nine other Afghans as part of an MoI investigation into Afghans who facilitated this crime of “purchasing a service from a child.”

Atmar said he insisted the journalist be told that publication would endanger lives. His request was that the U.S. quash the article and release of the video. Amb Mussomeli responded that going to the journalist would give her the sense that there is a more terrible story to report. Atmar then disclosed the arrest of two Afghan National Police (ANP) and nine other Afghans (including RTC language assistants) as part of an MoI investigation into Afghan “facilitators” of the event. The crime he was pursuing was “purchasing a service from a child,” which in Afghanistan is illegal under both Sharia law and the civil code, and against the ANP Code of Conduct for police officers who might be involved. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the cost of natural disaster?

In Development, Environment on December 16, 2010 at 5:33 am

Over 260,000 people died in 2010 due to natural disasters, and according to recent analyses, this has cost us all about $222 billion dollars. Most of the devastation occurred in Pakistan and Haiti, and were caused by climate-change related factors.

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Living Without Lights

In Development, Global Issues on December 15, 2010 at 12:05 am

73% of Northern Ghana lives without electricity, and without light. Can you imagine an evening without light?

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The Story of Bottled Water

In Environment on December 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm

It tastes the same, looks the same, but costs MUCH more than your ordinary tapwater.

Upcoming blog on a related issue! 🙂

What motivates us?

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2010 at 2:18 am

Money actually reduces performance when we’re faced with decisions requiring cognitive abilities.

Take that, Wall Street.

Rage Against the Wage

In Global Issues, Labor on December 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Bangladeshi garment workers, some of the least-paid in the world, protested lacking wage increases.

The Bangladeshi government recently passed a measure to increase the minimum wage of garment workers from $25 per month to $43. This measure has not been implemented by many factories across the country, triggering protests from thousands of garment workers. In their encounter with the police yesterday, many of them were confronted with tear gas, rubber pellets and three workers died in the attacks.

While this situation is rather unfortunate in itself, it is rather indicative of a trend in global production outsourcing that is increasing the development gap between the 1st and 3rd world by keeping majority of the people in poverty for the advancement of the rich. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost bought a shirt or a jacket, only to find that it’s “Made in India” or “Made in Bangladesh”. Looking at that label every time makes me wonder if the purchase I’m about to make will truly benefit someone in those countries trying to make a living. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make Global Labor Fair

In Global Issues on December 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

A TED talk by labor activist Auret van Heerden

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Cancun for compromise?

In Climate Change, Global Issues on December 11, 2010 at 2:55 am

Hopefully, Cancun doesn't disappoint.

Since Copenhagen didn’t result in much change, how about another C-city: Cancun, Mexico?

After last year’s not-so-impressive gathering to address the ever-pressing issue of climate change, the UN is trying it’s hand at a second round of sanctions that will hopefully fare better. This summit is currently underway, with COP 16 countries talking about everything from carbon taxes to 2020 emissions goals. On the surface, at least, it seems to be a positive step forward.

Copenhagen was, in retrospect, a wonderful step towards cooperation on climate action. But there’s still a lot more to be worked on. Here is what I think is required now for an actual compromise on climate change: Read the rest of this entry »

Work in Progress

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I miss writing.

I miss keeping up.

I miss Yes I Care.

So, I’m deciding to change up the format of this blog a little bit. Not always super-long, well-researched articles. I can’t do that about every issue I come across. Rather, it’s simply more feasible to have smaller, more regular updates and longer articles once in a while.

I’ll get on this, WordPress. Thanks for reading, more to come soon. Seriously.