University of Swaziland students. The university failed to open this term because of a lack of funds from government. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

SWAZILAND: Disagreement on How South African Loan Should be Spent

Despite the 2.4 billion emalangeni (342 million dollar) loan from the South African government to its cash-strapped neighbour, Swaziland is sinking deeper into debt.

Washington Urged to Recognise Brazil as Global Power

The United States should recognise Brazil as a global power and treat it accordingly, concluded a major new report issued by the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) here this week.

Prices for DR-TB drugs remain too high worldwide.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

HEALTH: High Drug Prices Hamper Drug-Resistant TB Treatment

Access to treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) remains compromised, especially in developing countries, because too few pharmaceutical companies manufacture quality-assured drugs. Lack of competition has led to skyrocketing prices and this means that public health budgets are quickly spent.

OP-ED: G20 Ministers of Agriculture Must Focus on Smallholder Farmers

The first-ever official meeting of Ministers of Agriculture from G20 countries, to be held in Paris Jun. 22-23, presents an extraordinary opportunity. Tasked with developing an action plan to address price volatility in food and agricultural markets and its impact on the poor, the ministers are uniquely positioned to not only tackle the immediate price volatility problems, but also to take on a more fundamental and long-term challenge - extreme poverty and hunger.

ENVIRONMENT: Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse’ Emissions – Part 2

For years, European governments and corporations have made use of a loophole in the Kyoto protocol on climate change to make exorbitant profits. According to some sources, this lucrative scheme has caused more pollution than ever before while lobbyists in Brussels have methodically undermined the European Commission's decision to put a stop to it.

ENVIRONMENT: Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse’ Emissions – Part 1

For years, European governments and corporations have made use of a loophole in the Kyoto protocol on climate change to make exorbitant profits. According to some sources, this lucrative scheme has caused more pollution than ever before.

Bakeries struggle to produce bread in the face of wheat shortage. Credit: Emad Mekay/IPS.

Egypt Seeks End to Foreign Wheat Dependence

Egypt is stepping up its wheat production in a bid to stem the country’s rising dependence on foreign imports that escalated during the 30-year rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February.

Drying cassava: improved seed varieties and agricultural extension are boosting farmers

DR CONGO: Sowing the Seeds of Food Security in Bandundu

Subsistence farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo's southwestern Bandundu Province are seeing their harvests double, thanks to an ambitious programme of support by the government.

BRAZIL: Science and Sugar Cane Produce Versatile Harvest

For nearly five hundred years, sugar cane was used almost exclusively for making sugar, with a handful of by-products like rum, alcohol and molasses. Now, in Brazil, it has become a source of multiple derivatives, and the focus of much scientific and technological research.

An income grant enabled Bertha Hamases to find a job. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

NAMIBIA: Basic Income Grant: ‘Let Others Taste What We Have Tasted’

A universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) would create laziness and dependence among Namibia’s poor, say politicians. A daring pilot project set out to prove that this untrue. IPS spoke to one of the beneficiaries of the BIG.

Supporters say an income grant lays a strong foundation for economic empowerment, responsibility and ownership. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

NAMIBIA: ‘You Know I’m Hungry, Feed Me Today’

A universal income grant in Namibia would alleviate poverty in one of the most unequal societies on earth, say campaigners. Free handouts only lead to laziness, responds an unwilling government.

Police clash with protestors in Cairo. Credit: Mohammed Omer

EGYPT: Public Noose Tightens Around Mubarak

Demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt continued for the second day in several Egyptian cities with police cracking down violently, a development that many analysts here say reflects the nervousness of the regime.

More Arabs Protest Rulers With Self-Immolations

Mohammed Bouazizi, the 26-year old Tunisian whose act of self-immolation led to an unprecedented popular revolution in Tunisia, is quickly turning into a symbol for disgruntled Arab youths angry at their autocratic rulers and poor economic conditions - a development that Arab leaders in the region are clearly taking note of.

Sanctions Forced Iran to Slash Bloated Energy Subsidies

Touring Iran's Arab rivals this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sounded almost triumphant as she asserted that economic sanctions have helped slow Tehran's nuclear progress.

African oil palm plantations in the state of Pará. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BRAZIL: Oil Palm Plantations Expand on Degraded Land in Amazon

Brazil hopes to eventually become a major producer of palm oil, thanks to the expansion of this new exotic monoculture crop in the eastern Amazon jungle, where eucalyptus plantations are also mushrooming on broad swaths of already deforested land.

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