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Posted on on January 30th, 2016
by Pincas Jawetz (

Above the entrance to 21 Zerubabel Street in the Yemenite Quarter in Tel Aviv – next door to the Rabbi Shabzi Synagogue and the warning – a dog in the courtyard – it says – in Hebrew:Sun light is very bleak to someone who does not find sense in his life. Next tomit in English is written: “There is no Fear in Love.”

The Israeli papers that are still not owned by an Israeli government related American individual – The HAARETZ and the Yedioth Aharonot – are now full with hints at internal culture wars started by an uneducated Culture Minister – Ms. Miri Regev who contended that even uneducated people can be educated. That is not my topic here – for those interested please read The New York Times article of today – “Israel, Mired in Ideological Battles, Fights on Cultural Fronts” – By STEVEN ERLANGER January 29, 2016. We are here rather interested in what the rather officialpro-government papers say – The MAARIV and The ISRAEL HAYOM say.

A main report comes from the meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus between Israel’s Prime Minister Mr. Netanyahu and His counterparts from Greece and Cyprus titled as the “Mediterranean Alliance.” As I just arrived here from Vienna I am quite familiar with the Merkel & Faymann problems with Greece and Turkey and the simple facts that the EU in ordr to survive tends now to shed Greece and trade it for higher reliance on Turkey. What I sense thus is the contemplation of the Israeli government to look as well for new allies in its troubled corner of thev World.

Then, no misunderstanding here – President Obama just declared for all to hear that Putin is corrupt and Mr. Putin reacted by asking for evidence. No problem on this front – the UK obliged and declared Putin involved in the execution of a financial competitor – mafia style. This sort of language was not heard even in the days of President Regan’s attacks on the Soviet “Evil Empire.”

Obama looks at the mess in Western Asia he inherited from G.W. Bush who really turned all local devils there lose by taking off the lids that kept a modicum of order as left by the British and French colonial powers. G.W. continued the reliance on the Saudis that came down from Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and thus became partial to an evolving Sunni Shia rift with an ever increasing Iranian threat to the US oil supplies from the Middle East. Obviously, US interests did not match in all of this the European effort to build their own power bloc and the difficulties the EU put before Turkey’s attemp to join in the Union. Russia had its own problems with the EU and when life for the US and the EU became difficultbin the Arab region – they jumped in and used the occasion to move on the Ukraine as well.

So what now?

My suggestion based on an acknowledged very superficial reading of the real news – is: By necessity there are now two new potential NEUTRAL Centers in a renewed COLD WAR scenario.

Oman is the Neutral space between the Saudis and Iran – to be cherished by the US.

The small group of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel – a new buffer zone between the EU & Turkey alliance and the Sunni Arab Golf and the US – with Syria and Iraq the actual battle-field that will churn the Arab World until it reorganizes the remaining waste-lands. Russia has gained a footing via the Shiia Muslims and the US will see to limit this by making it more profitable to Iran to play the US in exchange for diminished role to the Saudis. It is all in the new world cards.

And what about the Arab North African States? Will they fall into the hands of extreme Sunnis as preached by Saudi Wahhabism – the source of what has moved to the creation of the new Islamic powder keg? I do not think this is possible in North Africa – simply because there are no Shiia elements there that justify to the Sunnis such an effort. Will there be another neutral zone in the North African region in the Cold War arena? This makes sense eventually.


Posted on on December 15th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Mauritania elected to un rights council

Dec. 11, 2012
National Post of Canada

Monday was Human Rights Day. It was also the day the United Nations chose to elect Mauritania, a country where 800,000 people live as slaves, as vice-president of the Human Rights Council.

Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, said, “It is obscene for the UN to use the occasion of Human Rights Day, when we commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to elect the world’s worst enabler of slavery to this prestigious post. The UN is making an arsonist head of the fire department.”

According to a recent report by The Guardian, “up to 800,000 people in a nation of 3.5 million remain chattels,”
with power and wealth concentrated among lighter-skinned Moors, “leaving slave-descended darker-skinned Moors
and black Africans on the edges of society.”


Posted on on October 5th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

As Jeremic (Former Foreign Minister of Serbia) Talks Sovereignty, What of Egypt and Kosovo, Budget from Serbia?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 3 — The UN seems to make even articulate people bland, and to turn everything into buzzwords and cliches. So it seemed at Vuk Jeremic’s first press conference as President of the UN General Assembly.

His deputy spokesman chose only five question — by the end of which, the obvious word “Kosovo” had not once been said.

Only on the seventh and last pre-drinks questions was the word broached. Jeremic answered indirectly, saying that just as he fought “for five and a half years” as Serbian foreign minister for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, now he would fight for those things for the whole world. Is that a message to the proponents of Azawad in Northern Mali? Inner City Press has covered Mali’s on-again, then off-again recognition of Kosovo.

More pertinently, is it true as buzzed at the UN that the “new” Egypt may move to recognize Kosovo? What if anything could a PGA (President of the UN General Asembly) try to do?

Inner City Press covered — and called — Jeremic’s election as General Assembly President, and when the media in Serbia contacted it for stories about Jeremic’s budget, Inner City Press also asked Jeremic’s predecessor how much Qatar had spent (this was never answered).

But now one wants to know if it is true that the request to and contribution of Serbia is down to $1.5 million, and what will be the actual budgets of the office.

Wednesday these questions were not taken, nor more generic ones about mediation and the G-20. Team Jeremic offered drinks and cheese cubes to the correspondents, but that time might have been better spent on answering these questions. Perhaps in the future they will be answered.


UN Statement Calls for Restraint From Turkey and Syria, SC Prez Tells ICP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 4 — On the UN Security Council’s press statement on Akcakale in Turkey, what changed in the 22 hours between the silence procedure being broken by Russia and the statement’s read-out by Council President Gert Rosenthal on Thursday evening?

Mostly the inserting of nine final words: “The members of the Security Council called for restraint.”

Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rosenthal, once he had read out the statement, whether it would be fair to read this as a call for restraint by Turkey as well, or just Syria.

“Both,” Rosenthal said. He confirmed that a separate draft press statement on bombings in Aleppo is under the Council’s “silence procedure” until 10 am on Friday. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the press that one Council member had extended silence until then. But would it be further extended?

There were a few other minor changes from the initial Azerbaijani (or “Ottoman”) draft and the one agreed to: the first draft expressed condolences first to the Government of Turkey then to the families of the victims; this was reversed in the final statement. Also a reference to “international peace and security” was removed.

Some drew a link from the negotiations to an upcoming visit to Turkey by Russian president Putin on October 14. Others speculated about some other deal being reached.

In the run-up to the passing, a well placed diplomat told Inner City Press of passing the press statement, “If they can do it to keep Turkey quiet, good.” But will it?


As France Spins 2-Step on Mali, ECOWAS Frustration, What of Algeria and Chad?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 4 — When Thursday’s Mali consultations of the UN Security Council broken up near 5 pm, French Ambassador Gerard Araud emerged and confirmed that France would circulate a draft resolution shortly (in a day or two) but NOT yet to deploy ECOWAS forces.

Why the delay? Araud twice said, we’ve been waiting for some time for details from ECOWAS. He said the resolution might specify, deliver the delays in 30 days or as soon as possible.

Inner City Press asked Araud, what about Mali neighbors which are not members of ECOWAS, like Mauritania and Algeria?

Araud replied that any and all countries are invited to be involved. He mentioned the European Union, then circled back to Chad.

But again, what about Algeria? The country has long opposed interventions, especially involving former colonialism France. While pretending not to take the lead or play any special role on Mali, it was Araud who came to the stakeout; it is France which is drafting.

Then again, MUJAO in Northern Mali last month executed an Algerian diplomat. Araud said that there is unanimity in the Council on Mali, and afterward Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador Bamba, who was not allowed in the meeting, emphasized to the press that at the Sahel meeting at the UN during General Debate week, there was a strong political demand a resolution authorizing force.

But what about the neighbors, which are not members of ECOWAS?


At UN, Syria Praises Jeremic as Heavyweight, Critiqus Qatari Ex-PGA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 4 — Syria UN Ambassador Bashir Ja’afari had many duels with Qatar’s Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser while the latter was President of the General Assembly, culminating in UN Television being turned off when Ja’afari spoke.

On October 4, on UNTV, Inner City Press asked Ja’afari about new PGA Vuk Jeremic and about Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. Video here, from Minute 14:09.

Ja’afari lashed out at Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and praised Jeremic as a “heavyweight.” Later it was noted that Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser repeatedly offered UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a private jet to travel for free.

Ban has since named Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser as High Representative on the Alliance of Civilizations.

By contrast, Ja’afari told Inner City Press:

“I think the former PGA harmed his personal reputation, the credibility of his country’s policy and the United Nations by misusing his mandate and the very important podium of the General Assembly. I think that he tried to use the national agenda of his country and to dictate this national agenda on the Member States as a whole…

“You may remember the procedural and political mistakes he made towards the point of view of my country as well as toward myself. In these wrongdoing, procedural and political, he crossed the line. He wasn’t diplomat. He didn’t act responsibly.

“In one of these meetings, the former PGA stopped the translation one time, and stopped recording the session, for the first time since 1945. He on many occasion manipulated the rules and procedure of the session and meetings of the General Assembly.

“The new PGA will be by all means different in his approach, his analysis, from former PGA. He is a real heavyweight, a trouble shooter, a professional diplomat… I guess that he will not fall in the same trap in which the former PGA had fallen.

My minister met with the new PGA and they discussed the best ways to help Syria, Government and people, to achieve national dialogue and to implement the Kofi Annan Six Point Plan as well as other instruments adopted by consensus with regard the Syrian crisis. We look forward to working with him very closely.”


Posted on on April 8th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Let us start first with a Thomas Friedman article-conclusion first!

If you ask “what are the real threats to our security today,” said Lester Brown of The Earth Policy Institute, “at the top of the list would be climate change, population growth, water shortages, rising food prices and the number of failing states in the world.

As that list grows, how many failed states before we have a failing global civilization, and everything begins to unravel?”

Hopefully, we won’t go there. But, then –

we should all remember that quote attributed to Leon Trotsky: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”   —- Well, you may not be interested in climate change, but climate change is interested in you.

Folks, this is not a hoax. We and the Arabs need to figure out — and fast — more ways to partner to mitigate the environmental threats where we can and to build greater resiliency against those where we can’t. Twenty years from now, this could be all that we’re talking about.

Please go to the link for a very interesting article that tells us that the Arab Spring did happen in part because of the lack of attention to climate change on the part of government officials that were racking it all in to themselves – those official rapists of their countries.

Thomas Friedman is not the only one asking why Arab Spring now, and why the Arab World has not produced any democracies like other Islamic Countries – non-Arabs – actually did. Why is there no Arab State like Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Bangladesh? This last version of the Question was posed by Fareed Zakaria on today’s CNN/GPS show.

Seemingly – all Arab States that are within the huge North-Africa Middle-East area of the Arab conquests in the 12th and 13th Centuries have no real Civil Society. In all these States the economy is run by the people of the ruling Monarchy or by those close to the Government.
The people as such were kept low by an alliance of the rulers with the heads of the religion and the goal of this alliance was to fight another religious group – and here comes in the military that is completely loyal to the ruling power that is also the economy’s leader. This kind of socio-economic system did neither allow for the development of a meaningful Civil Society, nor a really forward looking Middle Class.

To above obervation by Fareed Zakaria we see the add-on by Thomas Friedman:  “The Arab awakening was driven not only by political and economic stresses, but, less visibly, by environmental, population and climate stresses as well. If we focus only on the former and not the latter, we will never be able to help stabilize these societies.”

Thomas Friedman tells us of draught in Syria and North Africa and how this draught pushed the societal lid and was part of the reason for this present day upheaval.

And a Warning – 12 of the world’s 15 most water-scarce countries — Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Israel and Palestine — are in the Middle East, and after three decades of explosive population growth these countries are “set to dramatically worsen their predicament.

Then think also about the observatio – “Alot more mouths to feed with less water than ever. As Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of “World on the Edge,” notes, 20 years ago, using oil-drilling technology, the Saudis tapped into an aquifer far below the desert to produce irrigated wheat, making themselves self-sufficient. But now almost all that water is gone, and Saudi wheat production is, too. So the Saudis are investing in farm land in Ethiopia and Sudan, but that means they will draw more Nile water for irrigation away from Egypt, whose agriculture-rich Nile Delta is already vulnerable to any sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.

The Link to Thomas Friedman:

by Thomas Fuchs

The Other Arab Spring.

By , Published in The New York Times  April 7, 2012 as an OP-ED Column.

ISN’T it interesting that the Arab awakening began in Tunisia with a fruit vendor who was harassed by police for not having a permit to sell food — just at the moment when world food prices hit record highs? And that it began in Syria with farmers in the southern village of Dara’a, who were demanding the right to buy and sell land near the border, without having to get permission from corrupt security officials? And that it was spurred on in Yemen — the first country in the world expected to run out of water — by a list of grievances against an incompetent government, among the biggest of which was that top officials were digging water wells in their own backyards at a time when the government was supposed to be preventing such water wildcatting? As Abdelsalam Razzaz, the minister of water in Yemen’s new government, told Reuters last week: “The officials themselves have traditionally been the most aggressive well diggers. Nearly every minister had a well dug in his house.”


Posted on on December 18th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Clouds over Egypt mean – Clouds over the whole Middle East and a danger to the world.
The obvious need to allow for redress of the effects of colonial rule in Africa and Asia cannot be allowed to roll-over into blindness towards Islamic extremism.
Christian and Jewish extremism are not to be accepted either.
Where do we take the wisdom to navigate these troubled waters?


The Specter of Jizya Returns to Egypt.

by Raymond Ibrahim
Jihad Watch
December 15, 2011

In Egypt, calls for jizya—the tribute doctrinally demanded and historically collected from conquered infidels—are increasing day by day, by those who wish to be true to the words of Koran 9:29:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the religion of truth [Islam], from the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued.

Accordingly, days ago, Ahmed Imran—a candidate of Egypt’s Salafi party, the “Party of Light,” which won some 20% of votes in recent elections—called for the return of jizya (which was abolished under colonial pressure in the mid 19th century). Sounding like a Western apologist of Islamic supremacism, he distorted history and spoke of jizya in glowing terms: “I say to those who fear that we might govern, that it was the Muslims who liberated the Copts from Roman slaughter and that Copts are obligated to pay the jizya, and it will only be half a dinar, taken from the rich and given to their poor.”

Earlier, Abu Shadi, another Salafi leader—though not one running for office, and so extra candid—announced that Egypt’s Christians must either convert to Islam, pay jizya and assume inferior status, or die.

Nor is the return of jizya limited to Salafi discourse. Running for Egypt’s presidency, Hazem Abu Ismael, a former Muslim Brotherhood member still affiliated with the group, said he would impose jizya on the Copts.

And Dr. Mohamed Saad Katatni—the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party which won 40% of the votes—reportedly said that Copts would not pay jizya now, implying that the idea of collecting tribute from subdued “dhimmi” Copts is very much alive among the Brotherhood, only dormant till a more opportune moment (naturally, the Brotherhood later denied he said such a thing).

Moreover, increasing numbers of attacks on Christians in Egypt revolve around extorting jizya. For instance, last summer a priest was almost “killed at the hands of the Salafis because of his refusal to pay them jizya money…. [T]he church’s priest had declared that the Copts would not pay jizya, in any way, shape, or form. This is what caused the Salafis to want to banish him from the region, so they could collect jizya from the Copts.”

Here, then, is another truism: Wherever and whenever there are calls to return to “true Islam”—whether by 9th century Ibn Hanbal, 14th century Ibn Taymiyya, 18th century Abdul Wahhab, or 21st century Salafis, and the countless no-names in between—it is the surrounding non-Muslims who will always be first to suffer; first, in the words of Koran 9:29, to “pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued.”


Posted on on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


Aug 13, 2010

Fasting this Ramadan? Follow these few key guidelines to eating well and staying healthy during the holy month.

(Photo by ulterior epicure/Flickr)

(Photo by ulterior epicure/Flickr)

By Rafaya Sufi

Fasting this Ramadan? Or have friends who are? Follow these few key guidelines to eating well and staying healthy during Ramadan.

Since its foundation, Ramadan is celebrated with vigor amongst Muslim communities. A typical day of fasting consists of consuming an overnight breakfast at dawn, restricting any food and drink till sunset. Muslims may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set till the next morning’s fajr prayer at dawn.

The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the month depends on a few practical points.

1. Water: For starters, proper hydration is essential. Fasting does not mean that all bodily functions stop requiring water. Headaches, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, irritability, and illness are often caused by inadequate hydration. We need half our body weight each day to just maintain normal bodily functions. To determine your water needs, use this simple formula:

Your body weight in pounds/2 = The amount of water you need to drink in ounces a day

So, If you weigh 180 lbs/2 = 90 oz/day, minimum

2. Replace Sugar With Fruit (when possible): What’s better than eating a delicious slice of cake (or baklava, or brownie, or some chocolate mousse, or….) once you break your fast? Fruit! Yes, this is a hard one, so quit complaining and follow these instructions for healthier you. You may think you deserve a piece of your favorite dessert after all those hours of restraining, but sugar robs our bodies of minerals and vitamins. During a period of fasting, our bodies need to hold on to as many minerals and vitamins as possible, so don’t let them escape just by giving in to your craving (after all, this is a month of self-restraint). Try baking this nutritious Fried Banana recipe at home as an alternative to sugar-loaded desserts.

3. Soup: A quick, easy, and nutritious food to consume during Ramadan is soup. Soup provides deep nourishment and is easily absorbed by the body. It is also a great way to meet your water needs, and if you blend all the good stuff together, picky eaters will never question what they are eating! After you break your fast, have some soup, and make it a staple diet for the month. Try making some delicious, vitamin-packed Mulligatawny soup at home.

4. Eat Slowly/Don’t Overdo It: What’s the rush? You have all evening! There is a tendency to eat really fast amongst people breaking their fasts. Trying to pack in 101 activities within the first few minutes of breaking your fast, which includes eating 101 foods, can cause some serious indigestion. Avoid that awful feeling by slowing down. Take small bites so you can chew well. The longer you chew your food, the less work your digestive track needs to do and you absorb more nurturance. So overall, it’s a win-win situation.

5. Vitamins and Minerals: Load up on them! Unfortunately, food today is not as nutritious as it was once. Unless you’re consuming 100 percent organic foods, you’ll probably need to replenish your body with lost electrolytes and vitamins. The top nutrients to look at are vitamins C, B-complex, zinc, E, and A. Vitamins C, A, and E along with zinc are known as antioxidants, and unless you’re living under a rock, antioxidants are in–they’re the latest health trend these days because they do wonders for your body. Eat fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables in abundance! B-complex vitamins are great at relieving stress, so be generous with those. Most Americans are already deficient in the B-complex vitamins due to eating high amounts of refined and processed foods, so skip the white bread, and opt for a whole-wheat option instead. Enjoy this healthy Ginger Tea to combat that tired feeling after fasting all day.

That’s all for now, folks. Have a healthy Ramadan!

Watch and learn how to make Harira soup

Traditional Moroccan Soup (Ramadan Special)



Posted on on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Fareed Zakaria discusses CC with Jeff Sachs (Columbia), Pat Michaels (Cato, ex-UVA) & NASA’s Gavin Schmidt.

Pat Michaels says he is 40% funded by Petroleum Industry. There is no need to fight global warming.

Gavin Schmidt says he thinks we’re too sane not to do something about global warming.

Jeffrey Sachs says – if we do not act we will end up with a catastrophic planet.

Is it clear?


Fareed Zakaria talks to Hirsi Ali who rejected Islam and Irshad Manji who wants to reform Islam.

Hirsi Ali, African Black, born in Mogadisho, Somalia and immigrated to Holland where she went to university and after 9/11 left Islam to become an atheist that says if you need a God take Christ. Her family says she risks hell for leaving Islam.

She says don’t lock 1.57 billion Muslims in a book written in the 7th century. She wrote “Nomad” about her leaving Islam.

She worked with Teo Van Gogh on a movie “Submission” about women in Islam, when he was killed. She was a member of the Netherlands Parliament, and now lives with security in the US and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

She says that most Americans are unaware of Saudi Funded proselytizing in America.

Irshad Manji
, with Pakistani African complexion, born in Uganda, with her family escaped to safety the US in Idi Amin’s days. She heads project Ifthihad at the Moral Courage Institute at NYU. She wants to reform Islam. Good popular cause backed by a good university, but who listens? She tells about a group of young boys in Detroit listening to her mother.


Posted on on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

RECEIVED FROM: Editeur : RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables

from RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
date Mon, Jul 19, 2010
subject: La lettre d’information du RIAED, n°41


Voici la lettre d’information du site RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables.

A la Une

Un inventaire des opportunités de réduction d’émissions de GES en Afrique subsaharienne

Un rapport de la Banque mondiale détaille, sur 44 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, les opportunités de réduction d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans 22 domaines. Au travers de l’approche MDP, cette étude a pour objectif d’explorer le potentiel offert par les projets énergétiques à faible contenu en carbone qui peuvent contribuer au développement de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce but, l’équipe de réalisation de l’étude a identifié les technologies pour lesquelles il existe déjà des méthodologies MDP et qui ont déjà donné lieu à projets MDP dans d’autres régions en voie de développement.


Liberia : deux firmes américaines financent la construction d’une centrale hydroélectrique Les firmes Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) et Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) basées aux États-Unis, ont déboursé 150 millions de dollars pour la construction d’une centrale hydro-électrique à Kakata, dans la région de Margibi (environ 45 kilomètres de la capitale Monrovia).

Maroc : lancement du plus grand parc éolien en Afrique Le Maroc a lancé le 28 juin 2010, au nord du pays, le plus grand parc éolien en Afrique, pour une enveloppe de 2,75 milliards de dirhams (400 millions de dollars) soit une des étapes – clés du Programme marocain intégré de l’énergie éolienne, qui table sur un investissement d’environ 31,5 milliards de dirhams (4 milliards de dollars).

Cap Vert : la CEDEAO ouvre un centre des énergies renouvelables La Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique d l’Ouest (CEDEAO) a ouvert un nouveau centre pour les énergies renouvelable (ECREEE) aux Iles du Cap Vert pour développer le potentiel de la région en énergies renouvelables.

Côte d’Ivoire : l’état relance le barrage de Soubré Dans le cadre des mesures annoncées pour palier aux difficultés dans le secteur de l’énergie électrique, l’état ivoirien va relancer le projet de construction du barrage hydroélectrique de Soubré.

Malawi : un projet de biogaz mène à d’autres services Une unité de production de biogaz de petite échelle au Malawi, récemment créée dans le but d’atténuer le changement climatique, peut également, si elle est bien exploitée, améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance dans les régions rurales du Malawi.

Afrique sub-saharienne : les meilleurs produits d’éclairage hors réseau gagnent le soutien de Lighting AfricaCinq produits innovants ont été sélectionnés lors de la conférence de Lighting Africa et du commerce équitable à Nairobi en mai dernier.

Bénin : projet d’amélioration de l’acccès à l’énergie moderne Le Gouvernement de la République du Bénin a obtenu un crédit auprès de l’Association Internationale de Développement (IDA) d’un montant équivalant à quarante sept millions cinq cent mille Droits de Tirages Spéciaux (47 500 000 DTS) soit soixante dix millions de dollars US (70 000 000 USD) pour financer le Projet de Développement de l’Accès à l’énergie Moderne (DAEM).

Afrique de l’Est : Les micro-entrepreneurs font leurs entrées dans le marché de l’énergie, à temps pour la coupe du monde Un groupe de 20 micro-entrepreneurs originaires de Ranen, un marché local de l’ouest de Kenya, sont les premiers entrepreneurs DEEP formés et mis en relation avec les institutions financières pour obtenir des facilités de crédits et développer leurs affaires dans le secteur énergétique.

L’Égypte compte ouvrir sa première centrale à énergie solaire fin 2010 L’Égypte compte mettre en service sa première centrale électrique à énergie solaire d’ici la fin de l’année 2010, a indiqué lundi 14 juin 2010 le ministère égyptien de l’Énergie.

Accord entre le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain et la BEI Le président de la BEI (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) se félicite de la seconde révision de l’Accord de Cotonou et signe avec le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain un accord d’assistance technique en faveur d’un projet dans le secteur libérien de l’énergie.

Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…

France : Forum EURAFRIC 2010 La 10ème édition du Forum EURAFRIC « Eau et Énergie en Afrique » se tiendra du 18 au 21 octobre 2010 au Centre des Congrès de Lyon (France).(29/06/2010)

Sénégal : salon ENERBATIM 2011 La deuxième édition du Salon International des Energies Renouvelables et du Bâtiment ENERBATIM en Afrique se tiendra du 6 au 9 avril 2011 au CICES (Dakar).

Tunisie : Congrès international sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Environnement Ce congrès aura lieu du 4 au 6 novembre 2010 à Sousse (Tunisie).

Algérie : salon international des énergies renouvelables ERA 2010 Le Salon international des énergies renouvelables, des énergies propres et du développement durable, se tiendra les 19, 20 et 21 octobre 2010 à Tamanrasset (Algérie).

Afrique du Sud : forum Hydropower Africa 2010 Ce forum sur l’hydroélectricité en Afrique aura lieu du 16 au 20 août 2010 à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud)


Derniers documents (études, applications…) proposés en libre téléchargement :

La revue de Proparco – n°6 – mai 2010 Cette revue bimestrielle n°6 de Proparco (groupe AFD) a pour thème : « Capital-investissement et énergies propres : catalyser les financements dans les pays émergents »

Les petits systèmes PV font la différence dans les pays en développement La coopération technique allemande (GTZ), a publié une étude qui fait le point sur l’impact des petites installations photovoltaïques sur le processus d’électrification rurale hors réseau, dans les pays en développement.

L’électricité au cœur des défis africains Manuel sur l’électrification en Afrique – Auteur Christine Heuraux

Interactions bioénergie et sécurité alimentaire Ce document de la FAO fournit un cadre quantitatif et qualitatif pour analyser l’interaction entre la bioénergie et la sécurité alimentaire.

Blogues du Riaed

Petit site dédié à un projet, une rencontre, une institution… Vous pouvez présenter vos connaissances et proposer des ressources en libre téléchargement.

Accès aux blogues hébergés par le Riaed :

Annuaire du Riaed

Inscrivez vous en qualité d’expert, ou inscrivez votre entreprise / institution / projet, etc. dans l’annuaire du Riaed pour être facilement identifiable et joignable. Vous le ferez en ligne, en quelques minutes, à la page Vous pouvez aussi le faire en adhérant au réseau du Riaed, en qualité de membre, à la page et en précisant à la fin votre souhait d’être aussi présenté publiquement dans l’annuaire (cocher la case ad hoc).

ASAPE ASAPE ou Association de solidarité et d’appui pour l’environnement

Burkina énergies et technologies appropriées (BETA) BETA est une entreprise solidaire qui a fait le choix de s’investir dans la promotion de l’accès à l’énergie en milieu rural.

Opportunités de financement de projets

EuropeAid – Facilité Énergie n°39 – Newsletter de juin 2010 Ce numéro de la lettre de la Facilité Énergie de la Commission Européenne nous fournit les statistiques sur l’évaluation des notes succinctes.

Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges

Maroc : formation continue « La pérennisation des systèmes énergétiques décentralisés » L’objectif de cette session est la formation d’un groupe de techniciens impliqués dans les aspects techniques et socio-économiques de l’introduction de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque dans l’électrification des zones rurales et isolées.

Burkina Faso : formation continue « Développer son expertise pour économiser l’énergie dans les bâtiments climatisés » L’IEPF et 2iE ont développé une formule qui comprend non seulement la formation proprement dite, mais également le suivi des bénéficiaires de cette formation (en particulier les entreprises industrielles), avec un engagement de leur part à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations des audits, en finançant tout ou partie des coûts.

Sites francophones sur l’énergie

Une liste de sites francophones et de réseaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page


(Autres liens et réseaux)


Une liste de sites anglophones et de réseaux internationaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page




Posted on on July 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Greece Seeks Regional Deal To Aid UN Climate Talks.

July 7, 2010, Alister Doyle, for Reuters from Greece.

Greece is pushing for a Mediterranean initiative on climate change that could show a way to breathe life into stalled global climate talks, its environment minister said.

“The most important thing is to create regional alliances,” minister Tina Birbili told Reuters in an interview.

Greece is working on an initiative by Mediterranean nations to forge a common stance, a shift from working only in the European Union. The Mediterranean area is set to get drier this century, bringing problems of heatwaves and water shortages.

She said such a regional approach could be imitated by other groups in negotiations on a new United Nations climate treaty, for instance African nations likely to be affected by drought or Asian nations affected by shifting monsoons. Existing negotiating blocs were often too broad to be effective.

“The U.N. blocs seem to be very weak at this point… Why not have all these regional initiatives that could create a regional dynamic in U.N. negotiations?” she said.

Environment ministers from around the world are set to meet for the next U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10 after the Copenhagen summit in December 2009 fell short of a binding deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“I believe that before Cancun, we will have a political declaration on the Mediterranean,” Birbili said.

Mediterranean countries, also vulnerable to rising sea levels, could consider merging national plans for adapting to the impacts of climate change into one regional one, she said.

Developing nations, which usually work in the Group of 77, could adopt a similar regional approach in addition to their efforts in the G77, she said.

The G77 represents a wide range of nations with differing interests — from oil exporters worried that a shift to renewable energy will cut their earnings to Pacific island states fearful that they will be submerged by rising seas.

Birbili said there should be more focus on regional alliances.

Birbili said that a full U.N. treaty was unlikely in Cancun.

“It’s very difficult to achieve binding agreements in Cancun,” said Birbili, a 40-year old environmental expert.

“We have to make things mature in Cancun, and then agree on a document in South Africa or wherever, in 2011 or 2012,” she said.


Posted on on April 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


Upcoming events are also regularly published at

“Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution – Evolving to Meet New Opportunities” in Tucson, USA (25-27 May)

This conference, organized by the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, seeks to provide a forum of exchange between the different stakeholders within the field of environmental conflict resolution (ECR) and is directed at professionals from governments, businesses and NGOs alike. The event includes workshops, panel sessions, and roundtable and plenary discussions on three main topics: policy challenges of the next decade and the role of ECR; engaging governments; and new tools and technology and their application to ECR.

For further information, please see

— —

“Climate Induced Migration in the Middle East and North Africa” in Marseille (15-16 June)

Organized jointly by the World Bank and the Agence Française de Développement, this workshop aims at enhancing knowledge sharing and network creation among researchers in the field of climate induced migration and displacement. It is directed at researchers, academics and practitioners who work with a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa region. Topics will include methodological issues, the quantification of climate change impacts, rural-urban migration and its impact on rural and urban development, as well as gender-related issues.

For further information, please go to

— —

“Regional Environmental Governance: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Theoretical Issues, Comparative Designs” in Geneva (16-18 June)

This workshop on regional environmental governance, which will take place at the University of Geneva, seeks to foster exchange and discussion between scientists and practitioners. It comprises six different thematic plenary sessions, one of which will examine the connections between regional security and the environment. The workshop will commence with an inaugural public lecture and conclude with a roundtable discussion.

For further information, please go to

— —

“Climate Change and Security” in Trondheim (21-24 June)

This research conference, organized by the International Peace Research Institute and a number of other renowned academic institutions, aims to examine the broad security implications of climate change. The conference will first review physical and economic effects of climate change in order to subsequently shed light on implications not only for different kinds of violent armed conflicts, but also for human livelihoods and overall human security.

For further information on the conference, including a detailed program, please visit




The newsletter “Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation” is published every two months.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, please follow this link:

Adelphi Research recommends visiting the websites linked to this newsletter. Following a judgment by the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht), we must, however, dissociate ourselves from the design and content of all linked pages in order to prevent any compensation claims.


Alexander Carius
Adelphi Research gGmbH
Caspar-Theyss-Strasse 14a
D – 14193 Berlin

Phone +49-30-89 000 68 0
Fax +49-30-89 000 68 10

Editorial team:
Alexander Carius, Irina Comardicea, Moira Feil, Annabelle Houdret, Kerstin Fritzsche, Annika Kramer, Achim Maas, Christiane Roettger, Dennis Taenzler, Stephan Wolters
Translation support by Anya Malhotra

This newsletter is financed in part by the German Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety.


Posted on on February 16th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

This website participates in Inter-religious dialogue as a way to mutual understanding by religions that agree beforehand to live in peace with one-another. This includes Imams in the US and wherever else – that are ready to enter this larger tent.

The following new leaders in Islam are welcome to the above tent – but as a new breed – not as apologists for the “is” – the problem is not the “Misperception” but the hurt from the effect of on-going actions.

The a-priory perception is that Muslims that come to live in the west have done so in order to avoid oppression in their lands of origin – this like all those that moved to the West before them and came from other religious backgrounds. Some came because they were oppressed, others because they did not agree with the oppression – both groups created new harmonies here – that is the melting pot that has to be understood and cherished.

We wish all the best to those interviewed in the following article, and those that go to meetings like the one in Doha, Qatar, mentioned in the article. We hope they change the leadership of Islam, the relationship to their women, the material learned in the madrassas, the perception of the infidel, etc. That does not mean a castration of their culture, but the bringing out to the forefront of the postive in their culture that we can easily admire also. The venom is what has to be removed internally before an attempt to claim misperception. Westerners are ready to accept the idea that the venom is not the juice of the pure religion it claims to be the guardian thereoff.


Young Western Muslims Fight Misperceptions.
writes Liza Jansen of the IPS, February 16, 2010.

NEW YORK, Feb 15 (IPS) – Islamophobia is rising in the West, and sectarian clashes have undermined unity in the Muslim world, but there is hope from “within”, says a group of young Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLTs) working to address these problems. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about our face, and there are many obstacles to getting the right information out,” Asim Rehman, a member of MLT in the United States, told IPS.

Rehman is also president of the Muslim Bar Association of New York, a professional grouping of Muslim lawyers, law students, and legal professionals. “When you see a 10-second clip of an angry young Muslim but there is no context to it, it disheartens and saddens me that this particular part of the faith has been given priority,” added member Rusha Majeed.

Majeed, also based in New York City, is dedicated to bridging the gap between the wider public and the Muslim community through dialogue, culture, arts, academia and current affairs.

Muslims are currently living in a pivotal period of enormous challenge and transformation, they said, and Muslims seeking positive Islamic solutions must directly tackle this situation.

The MLT programme brings together diverse young Muslims from around the world who are committed to fostering healthy Muslim identities, and working as agents of change in their communities.

In only six years, the network has expanded from 25 countries in Western Europe to about 75 countries all over the world, ranging from Somalia to Iraq to Kosovo, and coming from diverse schools of thought and myriad ethnic, cultural, socio-economic and professional backgrounds.

Rehman says the group’s biggest challenge in the U.S. is undoing the negative perception of Islam. The diverse Muslim community here is an asset in this effort, he said, since “Americans see greater potential for intra- and inter-religious harmony in the U.S. than we do in other countries, because of the melting pot model.”

MLT’s focus for the Muslim community in the U.S. is on interfaith work, building coalitions with different religious communities, and a balanced portrayal of Islam in the media, which is “crucial and critical and a big challenge to keep the conversation going”, according to Majeed.

At the MLT convention in Doha, Qatar, last January, the MLT global network was launched to tackle thorny issues such as violent extremism, competing values, and strained relations with the West.

One of the outcomes was that 86 percent of participants said Muslims face a crisis in religious authority.

“There are competing voices for that space and traditionally there is the Ulema – the educated class of Muslim legal scholars – where people go to,” Majeed explained.

However, many young Muslims don’t know who to turn to if they have questions about Islam, she said, and there is confusion about who is the “right” authority to consult – ranging from the local imam to the popular search engine Google.

“I truly feel that if non-Muslims just knew a little bit more about their Muslim neighbours, and if Muslims themselves were to be a little more open to embrace both non-Muslims and the diversity within Islam, we’d all be in a much better place,” Rehman said.

There are a lot of unqualified Muslim imams in the world, and others blindly follow them, he added.

The MLT programme is the largest of its kind, with 300 young civic-minded Muslim leaders from diverse backgrounds stepping up around the globe as spokespersons, journalists, religious leaders, activists for peace and tolerance, leaders of NGOs, writers and academics.

One Dutch MLT works to affect change by playing music. An Italian MLT and a local imam are working to promote interfaith harmony. And an MLT from Pakistan is involved in reform of the madrasah, the schools of Islamic theology and religious law.

Although the MLT programme does not have an explicit focus on women, the number of female MLTs is remarkable, since many interpretations of Islam oppose women taking leadership roles.

“We aim to keep the group diverse and representative, which includes encouraging women to participate,” said Majeed.

Majeed joined the network two years ago, and says it has provided her with the opportunity to meet a fascinating group of people.

“The MLT programme has done an amazing job in connecting young Muslim leaders around the world,” agreed Rehman. “These are people I can reach out to in participation. It is very inspiring to see people doing the work that they are doing.”

“The MLT network helps building a tremendous confidence for people in their own work. You need a level of pride in order to really make a change for communities,” he concluded.


Posted on on February 15th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: NYU Abu Dhabi Institute <>
Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 3:25 AM
Subject: “Leadership for a New Era” and other Upcoming Events

NYU Abu Dhabi Institute - Upcoming Events
All events are free and open to the public. Events are held at the Al Mamoura Auditorium, Abu Dhabi.

For a map and directions, go here.

For more information on these events go here.

Seating is Limited
RSVP for all events at

Leadership for a New Era: Fostering Leadership for Public Well-Being

Tuesday, February 16
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Fadi Ghandour
CEO and Founder, Aramex International
Barbara Ibrahim
Founding Director, John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, AUC
Asya Al-Lamki
Omani Cultural Attaché, Embassy of Oman, Washington D.C.

Moderated by
Mariët Westermann
Provost, NYU Abu Dhabi

Click to Read More. RSVP

Texts and Textiles

Thursday, February 18
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Paula Sanders
Dean of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, Professor of History, Rice University

Click to Read More. RSVP

Visual Re?ections on Arabic Poetry

Sunday, Feb 21
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Salwa Mikdadi
Head of the Arts & Culture Programme, The Emirates Foundation

Click to Read More. RSVP


Posted on on February 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Robert Borosage urges facing up to reality with China as a rogue nation when it comes to trade:“…the US will have to have an aggressive trade policy to challenge Chinese mercantilism and a smart industrial policy to revive advanced US manufacturing. We know how to do it – to target a key industry with public supported R and D, smart procurement, planning to build supply chains, subsidies for investment here.”‘s Natasa Chart says the US should treat job creation the way China does: “…even though I’m glad the US government isn’t being called out as a global hacker menace, I wish they gave as much of a damn about making sure there was an abundance of good jobs for Americans. The Chinese government is at least trying to keep food on the table. I can respect that.”‘s Dave Johnson begins exploring how we can double exports: “Paul Krugman recently calculated the job loss just from the currency imbalance to be 1.4 million American jobs, but [C. Fred Bergsten’s] statement that 1 percent [increase in the US dollar’s value] = 150K jobs [lost] indicates the job loss could be much higher than that.”


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Campaign for America’s Future
Date: Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 9:33 AM
Subject: Your Progressive Breakfast: Jobs Forecast Calls For Snow

Campaign For America's Future
Progressive Breakfast
What You Need To Start Your Day
FEBRUARY 10, 2010

On the menu this morning:

Chance For Small But Bipartisan Jobs Bill … After the Snow

Health Care Summit To Establish “Common Facts”

Calls For Filibuster Reform After NLRB Nom Blocked

WH Steps Up Pressure To Pass Student Loan Reform

Dodd May Back Version of Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Dealing With China

Tea Party Exposed

Chance For Small But Bipartisan Jobs Bill … After the Snow

Senate jobs package based on GOP tax cut ideas, though GOP still hasn’t endorsed. LAT:“In a rare move toward bipartisanship, Senate Democrats prepared Tuesday to unveil an $85-billion jobs bill that would include payroll tax breaks for employers who create new jobs, aid to small businesses and other GOP-backed ideas to attack unemployment … Few Republicans had seen the proposals Tuesday and bridled when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hoped the Senate would pass the bill by the end of the week … Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not endorse the emerging bill, but neither did he shoot it down.”

GOP negotiators suggest they won’t vote for the bill by themselves. W. Post: “Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) — senior Republicans who walked away from health-care talks last year — have been heavily involved in drafting the legislation but are reluctant to sign on to the bill unless it attracts broad GOP support.”

CNN reports key components of House jobs bill are missing in Senate bill: “What’s not included in the draft legislation is additional funds for states or stimulus money for infrastructure, which Republicans have said they will not support.”

No vote this week. NYT:“With snow quickly accumulating around the Capitol again Tuesday night, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, gave up on his hope of advancing a jobs-creating bill by the end of this week … no real action appeared likely until Congress returns the week of Feb. 22 following a President’s Day recess.”

Reid still working on building support for jobs bill. The Hill: “Fifteen senators missed votes on Tuesday and Democrats would likely not have enough support to pass a jobs bill by Friday, as Reid had hoped. Reid said Democrats would hold a special meeting on jobs legislation Thursday at 12:30 pm and urged all members of his conference to attend … Reid said he is making progress negotiating the jobs legislation with GOP leaders.”

GOP leader downplays scope of package. Bloomberg: “[Sen. Jon] Kyl … said Democrats shouldn’t advertise the package as jobs legislation because it’s just ‘extending a bunch of tax policy and related items that we need to do.’ … Lawmakers tentatively agreed to three-month extensions of unemployment insurance and aid to help jobless workers buy health insurance from their former employer…”

Speaker Pelosi cool to Senate emphasis on business tax cuts in WH meeting. Politico:“White House economic advisers Christina Romer and Larry Summers defended the administration’s proposal to give employers a $5,000 credit for each new worker they hire as well as help with Social Security taxes. Pelosi countered that no one she’s consulted believes that the plan will actually lead to the creation of new jobs, sources said … [But] she didn’t say she’d refuse to move the bill…”

The Atlantic’s Don Peck explores “How A New Jobless Will Transform America”: “…this era of high joblessness will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults-and quite possibly those of the children behind them as well. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar white men-and on white culture. It could change the nature of modern marriage, and also cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a kind of despair and dysfunction not seen for decades … Concerns over deficits are understandable, but in these times, our bias should be toward doing too much rather than doing too little.”

Health Care Summit To Establish “Common Facts”

President Obama explains bipartisanship to Republicans at presser.“Bipartisanship can’t be that I agree to all the things that they believe in or want, and they agree to none of the things I believe in and want.”

Referee will be in the room for bipartisan health care summit, President Obama announces: “I do want to make sure that there’s some people like the Congressional Budget Office, for example, that are considered non-partisan, who can answer questions … [As] Senator Moynihan said, ‘Well, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.'”

WH won’t rule out use of Senate budget rules to pass health care with simple majority. HuffPost: “White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday that Republicans coming to the West Wing for the much-anticipated February 25 meeting would be better off arriving ‘without preconditions.’ Asked whether Obama would commit to not using reconciliation … Gibbs replied: ‘The president is not going to eliminate things based on preconditions.'”

“Top Pelosi Aide Says Reconciliation Process Is ‘The Only Way’ To Save Health Reform” reports Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky.

New ABC/W. Post poll finds public still wants health care reform, more bipartisanship from GOP: “Nearly six in 10 in the new poll say the Republicans aren’t doing enough to forge compromise with President Obama on important issues; more than four in 10 see Obama as doing too little … nearly two-thirds of Americans say they want Congress to keep working to pass comprehensive health-care reform [including] 56 percent of independents.”

The best W. Post’s Ruth Marcus can say about the summit, “It can’t hurt.”: “To take this at face value is to assume that (a) these conversations have not been occurring over the past year, which flies in the face of Democratic assertions that they have accepted numerous Republican ideas, or that (b) Republicans are correct that they’ve been shut out of the sausage-making, which ignores the endless weeks of negotiations among the Senate Finance Committee ‘Gang of Six.'”

Digby concludes the health care stall means the “Obama Bubble” has popped: “…people are now dealing with political realities. Believing that he was some kind of wizard whose very person was imbued with the power to change reality with a few well-chosen words wasted a lot of time. But if its over, I’m very glad of it. Now maybe they can start looking at problems realistically and understand just how hard they have to fight to solve them.”

HHS Sec. takes to WH blog to attack massive Anthem Blue Cross rate hike:“What’s happening in California can happen in any state. It’s clear that we need health insurance reform that will give American families the secure, affordable coverage they need and put a stop to insurance company abuses and control out-of-pocket costs.” House to hold hearing on rate hike on Feb. 24 reports AP.

The Treatment’s Jonathan Cohn on the political significance of Anthem’s rate hike: “…many Americans are still asking: What’s in it for me? They should put that question to Californians who have individual insurance coverage from Anthem Blue Cross–and just learned their premiums will be going up by almost 40 percent this year.”

The Nation continues its Voices of the Uninsured” series:“Many stories expressed great, unshakeable fear that one medical emergency would ruin them. ‘I would say my wife and I are one medical emergency away from losing everything, but actually I’ve pretty much resigned myself in my head to the reality that if I have a medical emergency I am going to die,’ says a used-book seller in California.”

Reviving Liberalism criticizes renewed focus on tort reform: “…California, the home of Anthem Blue Cross, has capped medical malpractice claims since 1975. And research shows that that capping medical malpractice claims in other states has had no effect on insurance rates.”

Calls For Filibuster Reform After NLRB Nom Blocked

Craig Becker’s nomination to the NLRB was filibustered. The Hill: “The confirmation of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was considered a key priority for the labor movement. But the nominee failed to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate to beat back a Republican-led filibuster … Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined GOP senators in blocking the nominee…”

McClatchy explores the consequences for the labor movement: “‘”It’s a statement that anything friendly to organized labor won’t get through the Senate as long as Republicans stand together,’ said Gary Jacobson, an expert on Congress at the University of California at San Diego. ‘The labor wing of the Democratic Party is not going to get what they were hoping for.'”

W. Post’s Harold Meyerson suggests labor should have made more advances under Obama: “For American labor, year one of Barack Obama’s presidency has been close to an unmitigated disaster. Labor’s primary priority – the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – died when the Democrats lost their 60-vote majority in the Senate. Labor’s normal priority – a functioning National Labor Relations Board – also seems out of reach … In their failure to advance labor’s prospects, the Democrats condemn themselves to a future of fewer Democratic voters and their nation to a future of mass downward mobility.”

Exasperated Senators explore rule changes to end obstruction. HuffPost: “‘I’m in my thirty-sixth year. I’ve never seen anything like it,’ said Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), noting that no previous Republican Senate leader would have allowed his party to filibuster such a routine nomination. Leahy said that the overuse of filibusters by the GOP was leading Democrats to consider ways to modify it. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) … said that abuse of the filibuster is unsustainable. ‘I think it will either fall of its own weight … or it will fall after some massive conflict on the floor…’ adding that the filibuster should be restricted to major issues.”

WH Steps Up Pressure To Pass Student Loan Reform

HuffPost reports Education Sec. Arne Duncan attacking bank lobbyists opposing end of student loan subsidies: “Taking aim at Sallie Mae … Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday accused the company of using taxpayer funds to lobby and advertise, and cast its executives as white-collar millionaires uninterested in serious education reform … Duncan called the administration’s plans to overhaul the student loan program by ending government subsidies for private lenders ‘a once-in a generation, maybe once-in-a lifetime’ opportunity that Congress would be foolish to let slip away.”‘s Richard Eskow warns Senate of consequences for siding with banks over students: “any politician who fails to fight for this program will be hurting themselves politically and punishing college students financially, leaving those students in the hands of rapacious and corrupt lenders.”

Campaign for America’s Future launches online campaign demanding Senate choose students over banks.

Dodd May Back Version of Consumer Financial Protection Agency

HuffPost’s Shahien Nasiripour reports Sen. Dodd will likely include housing an independent consumer agency within Treasury: “[The bill] will likely call for an agency dedicated to protecting consumers from abusive financial practices — while not a stand-alone entity, it will nevertheless be free from outside interference … Key details, however, are scarce. Committee aides are still writing the legislative text.”

GOP Sen. Shelby withholds support of independent agency. HuffPost’s Ryan Grim: “Shelby said: ‘I’m sure at this juncture that he’s gonna go with his bill and go it alone. We don’t believe he can pass a bill without us …’ HuffPost asked Shelby if Dodd had confirmed to him on the floor that he was moving ahead with an independent Consumer Finance Protection Agency. ‘Well, that’s been our biggest split, okay, and it’s still at impasse there,’ Shelby said. ‘But we’re talking.’ … Asked if he specifically told Shelby he was moving ahead with an independent CFPA, Dodd said: ‘No, I didn’t say that. I said the door was open.'”

Dealing With China

Robert Borosage urges facing up to reality with China as a rogue nation when it comes to trade:“…the US will have to have an aggressive trade policy to challenge Chinese mercantilism and a smart industrial policy to revive advanced US manufacturing. We know how to do it – to target a key industry with public supported R and D, smart procurement, planning to build supply chains, subsidies for investment here.”‘s Natasa Chart says the US should treat job creation the way China does: “…even though I’m glad the US government isn’t being called out as a global hacker menace, I wish they gave as much of a damn about making sure there was an abundance of good jobs for Americans. The Chinese government is at least trying to keep food on the table. I can respect that.”‘s Dave Johnson begins exploring how we can double exports: “Paul Krugman recently calculated the job loss just from the currency imbalance to be 1.4 million American jobs, but [C. Fred Bergsten’s] statement that 1 percent [increase in the US dollar’s value] = 150K jobs [lost] indicates the job loss could be much higher than that.”

Tea Party Exposed

Newsweek’s Jonathan Kay – a self-identified conservative – delves into the far-out conspiracy theorists that populated the convention: “Within a few hours in Nashville, I could tell that what I was hearing wasn’t just random rhetorical mortar fire being launched at Obama and his political allies: the salvos followed the established script of New World Order conspiracy theories, which have suffused the dubious right-wing fringes of American politics since the days of the John Birch Society.”

Recalling the radical leanings of original Tea Party leader Samuel Adams, 1973 Tea Party attendant Jim Sleeper wonders where today’s Tea Party radicals are hiding: “Do they have a Sam Adams in Sarah Palin? Is there a John Adams among their cheerleaders at Rupert Murdoch’s global News Corporation? Tea Partiers protest that government is coddling incompetent and dishonest corporations with taxpayers’ money. But have they taken action against incompetent and dishonest corporations’ control of government?” |   Donate |   Contact Us
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Posted on on May 6th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

Water Wars

By Jeffrey Sachs

May 1, 2009

Many conflicts are caused or inflamed by water scarcity. The conflicts from Chad to Darfur, Sudan, to the Ogaden Desert in Ethiopia, to Somalia and its pirates, and across to Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, lie in a great arc of arid lands where water scarcity is leading to failed crops, dying livestock, extreme poverty, and desperation.

Extremist groups like the Taliban find ample recruitment possibilities in such impoverished communities. Governments lose their legitimacy when they cannot guarantee their populations’ most basic needs: safe drinking water, staple food crops, and fodder and water for the animal herds on which communities depend for their meager livelihoods.

Politicians, diplomats, and generals in conflict-ridden countries typically treat these crises as they would any other political or military challenge. They mobilize armies, organize political factions, combat warlords, or try to grapple with religious extremism.

But these responses overlook the underlying challenge of helping communities meet their urgent needs for water, food, and livelihoods. As a result, the United States and Europe often spend tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars to send troops or bombers to quell uprisings or target “failed states,” but do not send one-tenth or even one-hundredth of that amount to address the underlying crises of water scarcity and under-development.

Water problems will not go away by themselves. On the contrary, they will worsen unless we, as a global community, respond. A series of recent studies shows how fragile the water balance is for many impoverished and unstable parts of the world. The United Nations agency UNESCO recently issued the UN World Water Development Report 2009; the World Bank issued powerful studies on India and Pakistan; and the Asia Society issued an overview of Asia’s water crises.

These reports tell a similar story. Water supplies are increasingly under stress in large parts of the world, especially in the world’s arid regions. Rapidly intensifying water scarcity reflects bulging populations, depletion of groundwater, waste and pollution, and the enormous and increasingly dire effects of manmade climate change.

The consequences are harrowing: drought and famine, loss of livelihood, the spread of water-borne diseases, forced migrations, and even open conflict. Practical solutions will include many components, including better water management, improved technologies to increase the efficiency of water use, and new investments undertaken jointly by governments, the business sector, and civic organizations.

I have seen such solutions in the Millennium Villages in rural Africa, a project in which my colleagues and I are working with poor communities, governments, and businesses to find practical solutions to the challenges of extreme rural poverty. In Senegal, for example, a world-leading pipe manufacturer, JM Eagle, donated more than 100 kilometers of piping to enable an impoverished community to join forces with the government water agency PEPAM to bring safe water to tens of thousands of people. The overall project is so cost effective, replicable, and sustainable that JM Eagle and other corporate partners will now undertake similar efforts elsewhere in Africa.

But future water stresses will be widespread, including both rich and poor countries. The United States, for example, encouraged a population boom in its arid southwestern states in recent decades, despite water scarcity that climate change is likely to intensify. Australia, too, is grappling with serious droughts in the agricultural heartland of the Murray-Darling River basin. The Mediterranean Basin, including Southern Europe and North Africa is also likely to experience serious drying as a result of climate change.

However, the precise nature of the water crisis will vary, with different pressure points in different regions. For example, Pakistan, an already arid country, will suffer under the pressures of a rapidly rising population, which has grown from 42 million in 1950 to 184 million in 2010, and may increase further to 335 million in 2050, according to the UN’s “medium” scenario. Even worse, farmers are now relying on groundwater that is being depleted by over-pumping. Moreover, the Himalayan glaciers that feed Pakistan’s rivers may melt by 2050, owing to global warming.

Solutions will have to be found at all “scales,” meaning that we will need water solutions within individual communities (as in the piped-water project in Senegal), along the length of a river (even as it crosses national boundaries), and globally, for example, to head off the worst effects of global climate change. Lasting solutions will require partnerships between government, business, and civil society, which can be hard to negotiate and manage, since these different sectors of society often have little or no experience in dealing with each other and may mistrust each other considerably.

Most governments are poorly equipped to deal with serious water challenges. Water ministries are typically staffed with engineers and generalist civil servants. Yet lasting solutions to water challenges require a broad range of expert knowledge about climate, ecology, farming, population, engineering, economics, community politics, and local cultures. Government officials also need the skill and flexibility to work with local communities, private businesses, international organizations, and potential donors.

A crucial next step is to bring together scientific, political, and business leaders from societies that share the problems of water scarcity—for example, Sudan, Pakistan, the United States, Australia, Spain, and Mexico—to brainstorm about creative approaches to overcoming them. Such a gathering would enable information-sharing, which could save lives and economies. It would also underscore a basic truth: The common challenge of sustainable development should unify a world divided by income, religion, and geography.

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