ENVIRONMENT: Lavish US Lobbying Pushes Nuclear Energy

Climate change and the resulting need for low-carbon energy sources is driving the current interest in nuclear energy despite the industry's near universal legacy of staggering cost-overruns, technical difficulties and dependence on enormous government subsidies.

Ismail Serageldin Credit:

Q&A: "It’s Wrong to Burn Food of the Poor to Drive Cars of the Rich"

The world needs to overcome "the bizarre irony that rural areas, where food is grown, is home to cruel poverty and hunger," says Ismail Serageldin, former chair of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Meetings like this one which was addressed by Mamata Bannerjee forced the Nano out of Bengal in 2008. Credit: Paranjoy Guha Thakurta/IPS

/CORRECTED REPEAT*/INDIA: Cheapest Car Rides on Govt Subsidies

India’s Tata Motors, makers of the ‘cheapest car ever made’, say they have received more than a million bookings for the first batch of cars said to roll out of its factory in a few months.

Wind farms, like this one off Copenhagen, Denmark (with sailboat in foreground), have attracted the most new funding, although solar power has made the greatest gains.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons

CLIMATE CHANGE: Twilight of the Fossil Fuel Era?

The world has turned a green corner toward a more sustainable future, with investments in clean energy outpacing fossil fuel power generation for the first time.

CLIMATE CHANGE: More Subsidies for Fossil Fuels in Recovery Plans

Despite the economic slow down, growing numbers of world leaders are calling for urgent action on climate change while many governments used their economic stimulus packages to increase subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

AGRICULTURE-AFRICA: Knowledge Is Power for Farmers

Following training by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, a hundred farmers in central Kenya, armed with an improved understanding of their local markets are commanding higher prices for their bananas.

Acacia savannah in Zanzibar, Tanzania Credit: Public domain

AGRICULTURE: Foreigners Lead Global Land Rush

More than 20 million hectares of farmland in Africa and Latin America are now in the hands of foreign governments and companies, a sign of a global "land grab" that got a boost from last year's food crisis.

Reduce the burden on women, not increase it, Hanlon suggests - 'Income-generating projects usually mean more work for women.' Credit:  Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

Q&A: 'Just Give Money to the Poor'

Cash transfers are the new darlings of proponents of welfare programmes. Mexico, Brazil, Bangladesh, lately New York City, and about two dozen developing countries presently dole out money to poor families, usually with conditions attached, such as taking their children to school and health checkups.

LESOTHO: Help At Hand for Orphans

The Lesotho government - battling against the challenges presented by an ever-growing population of orphans whose parents have succumbed to the AIDS pandemic - has embarked on an ambitious programme aimed at alleviating the suffering of these vulnerable children, in partnership with the European Union and UNICEF.

ENERGY-BRAZIL: Two-Pronged Policy

The Brazilian government announced it is overhauling the country's energy basket with more emphasis on renewable resources, while continuing to plan for future expansion of local production of traditional fossil fuels, like oil and gas.

ZAMBIA: Diminishing Returns on Agriculture Subsidy

Responding to years of complaints over the management of the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP), the Zambian government has now proposed that the private sector takes over its running to reduce cases of corruption.

Children in Otjivero settlement: campaigners say a pilot programme for a universal income grant is working here. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

ECONOMY: Namibia Gets BIG on Poverty

There was no mention of a special grant to tackle poverty in the Namibian national budget speech delivered on Mar. 19, much to the disappointment of campaigners for a Basic Income Grant (BIG) for all citizens.

There is evidence that at the household level, livestock improves the lives of the poor better than crop-related agriculture. Credit:  Glenna Gordon/IRIN

AGRICULTURE-AFRICA: Livestock Vital to Rural Livelihoods

The Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute estimates 250 million people in Africa - a quarter of the population - rely on livestock for their livelihoods, yet African governments invest almost nothing to support the sector.

A woman preparing nshima, a thick porridge made from maize meal on a brazier in one of the townships of Lusaka. Credit:  Kelvin Kachingwe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Food Vouchers Not Enough to Fight Hunger

In an attempt to mitigate rising food insecurity and malnutrition, the Zambian government and the World Food Programme (WFP) have started to hand out food vouchers to the country’s urban poor.

"Stay out – refueling" reads a barrier at a gas station in Santiago. Credit: Daniela Estrada/IPS.

CHILE: Controversial Fuel Taxes and Subsidies

In 2008, Chile’s state coffers took in just over one billion dollars from the specific tax on fuels. But at the same time, the government injected 700 million dollars into a fund that year to shore up fuel prices and made another 500 million available in case the price of oil continued to rise.

(l-r) Gansham Boodhram and Murveen Ragobur on the land where they cultivated onions in Mozambique in 2008. Credit:  Greenworld

DEVELOPMENT: Mauritians Also Competing For Land in Africa

Soaring food prices and lack of land have forced Mauritius, a net food importing country, to launch an ambitious initiative. The island state is starting to grow its food in other African states where land is lying fallow and labour is cheap.

TRADE-GHANA: Rice Farmers’ Markets So Close and Yet Out of Reach

Last year, rice farmers took to the streets of Ghana’s capital of Accra and accused the government of allowing imports to destroy their livelihoods.

Beneficiaries of Malawi's cash transfer scheme are nominated by local community leaders based on need. Credit:  Mick Yates

POVERTY: Cash Transfers Transform Lives of Malawi’s Poor

Malawi has taken major strides towards reducing poverty and hunger in the country. Government’s cash transfer scheme has managed to reach many of those usually unable to access grants due to lengthy and complicated bureaucratic processes and assessments.

Palownia tree shoot. Credit: Photo Stock

CHILE: Biofuels Head to the Forests

Chile has set its sights on producing second-generation plant-based fuels from forest biomass within the next five years. But before that it must consider the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of such an endeavour, warn experts and activists.

 Credit: Fidel Márquez/IPS

VENEZUELA: The Cost of the World’s Cheapest Gasoline

The world’s most inexpensive gasoline is sold in Venezuela, through a longstanding subsidy programme that benefits car owners while depriving the oil industry of a large source of funds for reinvesting.

FINANCE-US: AIG's Offshore Strategies Hide a Scam

The company getting the biggest U.S. bailout operated a scam to help clients cheat on U.S. taxes, regulators say. It is AIG, American International Group, the world's largest insurance conglomerate.

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