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International News for October

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October 20, 2003

International News for October

160,000 Climate Change Deaths Annually: Study

A study conducted by the World Health Organization and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that climate change is responsible for 160,000 deaths per year, mostly as a result of side effects like malaria to malnutrition. Floods, droughts, and warmer weather are among the destructive forces that lead to increased sickness and lack of food. Researchers said that the climate change causes the most damage to children in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Central America.

The report noted that the estimate could double as soon as 2020.

Most scientists have long agreed that average global temperatures are rising, leading to more extreme weather patterns. Recently, research has increasingly determined that natural cycles of warming cannot account for increases in this century, and that humanity's contribution plays a major role.

» Reuters: 160,000 Said Dying Yearly from Global Warming

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Bolivian Farmers and Poor Stage Blockades, Protests

bolivia_soldier.jpg
A Bolivian soldier fires at a crowd in El Alto, Bolivia. Over 70 civilians have been killed during the nationwide revolt. Indymedia Bolivia
A plan eliminate cocaine production, conflicts over natural resources and widespread poverty have sparked nationwide protests and blockades in Bolivia. The Bolivian government has responded with military force to break up blockades, using tear gas and snipers. Over 70 civilians were killed, and hundreds injured.

"These bases were never debated in the Bolivian Congress or by the Bolivian people," said one human rights observer. Also at issue is a government plan to sell natural gas to the US, which protesters say would benefit foreigners instead of being used to address the country's crippling poverty.

Bolivian farmers say they grow coca because they cannot compete with subsidized agriculture from the US and richer neighbours. Previous Bolivian governments have used the military to destroy the majority of the country's coca plantations.

Over 70 per cent of Bolivia's population lives in poverty.

» The Democracy Center: US Drug War At Center Stage In Renewed Bolivian Violence (2000)

» Reuters: Bolivia Sends Troops to Quell Protests, 5 Dead

» Reuters: Tanks shield Bolivia president from growing revolt

» InterPress: Poverty in Bolivia to Stay for Generations

» Americas.org: Bolivia, the Drug War, and a Leaf

» Media Awareness Project: Bolivia: Drug War Casualties

» Common Dreams: Bolivia in Crisis over Plan to Export Natural Gas to US

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Israeli Opposition, Arafat Agree on Unofficial Peace Plan

In a conference sponsored by the Swiss government, several members of the Israeli opposition Labour party and the Palestinian authority have agreed to a peace plan known as the Geneva Accord. The plan includes the dismantling of most Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the creation of a Palestinian State roughly within pre-1967 borders. The agreement also gives Israel control over which Palestinian refugees can return to their former homes in what is now Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismissed the agreement as illegitimate. "By what right are left-wing people proposing moves that Israel can never do, nor will ever do?" The US State Department was not involved, but emphasized that its own road map as the way to achieve peace.


» Independent: After three years of carnage, does this secret plan provide a new road to peace in the Middle East?

» Ha'aretz: US Not Involved in Geneva Accords

» AP: Arafat, Peres support unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty

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Small Arms End a Life Every Minute: Amnesty Int'l

Armed with facts, a group led by Amnesty International, Oxfam, and others is making the case for an international treaty regulating international trade in small arms. In a recent press conference, the group aimed to show that widespread availability of inexpensive guns in developing countries has transformed daily life and made brutal repression and pointless civil wars possible in developing countries.

While an estimated 639 million small arms exist, two thirds of which are privately owned, an additional eight million are sold each year. In 2001, 16 billion units of ammunition were produced: more than enough to shoot the world's population twice.

Since September 11, US arms exports and military aid to other countries has rapidly increased. Foreign military financing rose from $3.56 billion in 2001 to $4.1 billion in 2003, while economic support fell by $20 million. Amnesty and other groups have expressed concern over military aid to countries like Pakistan and Uzbekistan, known for poor human rights records.

"There is a compelling legal basis for this treaty and the moral case is overwhelming," an Amnesty International representative said.

» Independent: One death a minute: toll of the booming arms trade

» Foreign Policy in Focus: Post-9/11 Economic Windfalls for Arms Manufacturers

» Federation of American Scientists: U.S. Policy on Small/Light Arms Exports

» Arms Trade Resource Center: Increases in Military Spending and Security Assistance Since 9/11

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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