For several decades, microcredit presented itself as a magical and benign financial tool for the poorest people in the world, who were otherwise completely excluded from conventional commercial banking services, to secure easy access to loans in order to set up their own businesses and live a dignified life.
European media, political leaders, and the citizenry are bashing bankers again, overtly calling them at best accomplices of numerous illegal activities, at worst downright criminals.
Improving family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies in developing countries, as well as assuring girls’ access to education, and women’s participation in the economy, are essential components of a sound development policy, according to Western experts and African activists.
The changing international political order and a dramatic budgetary situation at home are forcing France to consider giving up the extremely expensive nuclear arsenal the country has maintained since the late 1950s.
In July 2007, many Parisians laughed at their mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, when he announced the creation of a public bicycle sharing system aimed at reducing traffic in the French capital.
While there is no doubt that global warming is primarily a consequence of human activities, it is also true that there are natural phenomena contributing to climate change as well.
Despite the grave financial and sovereign debt crisis sweeping the region, the European Union has once again failed to reach unanimous approval of a proposition made by its executive body, the European Commission (EC), to tax financial transactions in order to reduce speculation and increase state revenues.
Terrible images are filtering in from the German Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, where one woman and six men have sewn their mouths shut, threading fishing wire through their lips to symbolise a point of no return in their hunger strike.
When the German government decided last year to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, following the catastrophe at the Fukushima power plant in Japan, it was clear that the process would require extraordinary effort, not only in further developing alternative energy sources, especially renewables, but also in upgrading the country-wide electricity grid.
The reproductive rights agenda, from improving women’s access to education to systematic family planning to reducing birth rates and combating poverty, has become a cornerstone of most industrialised nations’ development policies toward the least developed countries (LDCs), comprised primarily of sub-Saharan African states.
The latest session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place May 15-25 in the former German capital Bonn, is the perfect opportunity to reaffirm the enormous and growing body of scientific expertise on policies to tackle global warming.
The decision by the European Parliament (EP) to renounce its participation in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next month on the grounds that hotel costs are exorbitant has provoked sharp criticism from civil society organisations.
The voting out of conservative governments in France and Greece this weekend heralds the end of harsh European austerity programmes and ushers in an era of new economic, investment, and social policies aimed at restoring growth and employment across the continent.
The mass acquisition or lease of arable land in developing countries, especially in Africa, by foreign investors – a practice aggravated by the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007 – has reached record highs, according to several new studies.
Swiss banks are facing prosecution in several European countries, accused of complicity in tax evasion and money laundering schemes, especially with French, German, and wealthy Greek citizens.