FINANCE-US: AIG's Past Could Return To Haunt

The U.S. will invest 40 billion dollars in American International Group (AIG), and will provide credit lines that could bring federal funding up to 144 billion dollars. It's the largest subsidy that a U.S. corporation has ever received.

Kerala's 'rice bowl' of Kuttanad. Credit: K.S. Harikrishnan/IPS

DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Reclaiming Land and Farmers for Rice Cultivation

After achieving human development indices that approach developed country standards, people living on this verdant strip facing the Arabian sea are attempting a ‘back-to-basics’ return to paddy cultivation.

Sarah Kagino with her prized Friesian cow. Credit:  Joshua Kyalimpa/IPS

DEVELOPMENT: Change Comes To Villages in Uganda

In her village they call her ‘councillor’. But Jenipher Namugwere is no ordinary councillor elected by the people to represent them in the local council.

Q&A: "How Are We Going to Sustain Gender Approaches?"

The negative aspects of Africa's experience with structural adjustment programmes beginning in the 1990s have been well-documented - facing high debt loads, African governments agreed to liberalise their economies, privatise public enterprises, and sharply reduce social spending with often painful effects on the most vulnerable.

The budget may fail women like these. Credit:  Joshua Kyalimpa/IPS

UGANDA: On the Global Market Track to Prosperity

Uganda's finance ministry has ambitious plans to reduce the country’s donor dependence. With foreign funds accounting for almost 50 percent of the national budget, officials believe a slew of measures announced in the 2008/09 budget could bring that down to about 30 percent.

Woman carrying gas cylinder in Buenos Aires slum. Credit: Malena Bystrowicz/IPS.

ARGENTINA: Companies Pocketing Gas Subsidy for the Poor

Companies that produce and distribute liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Argentina are benefiting from large government subsidies aimed at bringing down the price of the fuel, which 40 percent of the population depends on for cooking and heating.

Swazi farmers' experiences with agricultural subsidies offer stark contrast to those in Malawi. Credit:  Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

AGRICULTURE: Swazi Input Trade Fairs Falling Short

Mary Ntshangase sits under a big umbrella - a packet of beans in one hand and a packet of peanuts in the other - wooing customers to her stall.

ENVIRONMENT-CHINA: Coal Far Costlier Than Thought – Study

Often criticised for its massive coal-based industries that jeopardise international efforts to combat global warming, China is undoubtedly the biggest victim of its voracious coal consumption.

Egypt has recently expanded food subsidies to cover 15 million additional people.  Credit:  Aya Batrawy/IPS

EGYPT: Food For The People

Caught between low wages and rising prices, many Egyptians have had to replace meat and vegetables with cheaper food.

Small-scale farmers like Zimbabwean Ruth Chikweya will be hit hard if the Doha Round does not ensure safeguards against import surges. Credit:  Tonderai Kwidini/IPS

TRADE: Cotton Subsidies Remain Big Hurdle in WTO Doha Round

The Doha Round was launched in 2001 in Doha, Qatar, to provide a developmental dimension to global trade by enabling developing and least developed countries to secure enhanced access for their products in rich country markets. However, there is a pronounced shift in the negotiations in the last seven years - from developmental issues to the purely market-driven concerns of the dominant players.

A busy 'sasti roti' (subsidised bread) outlet in Lahore.  Credit: Qaiser Khan/IPS

WORLD FOOD-DAY-PAKISTAN: Hunger, Poverty Initiatives Suspect

As Pakistan’s food crisis deepens, with an estimated 60 million people facing food insecurity, the GCAP (Global Call to Action Against Poverty) plans to hold rallies through the weekend demanding ‘’public accountability’’ even for hunger and poverty alleviation initiatives.

 Credit: Indranil Banerjie/IPS

DEVELOPMENT: Turning South-South Rhetoric into Action

While leaders of developing countries have long talked about strengthening cooperation amongst themselves, some say little has been done to translate this into action. At a meeting of the third India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Business Summit in New Delhi, however, discussions were all about turning intent into enterprise.

DEVELOPMENT: Challenging the Bio-fuel-Hunger Paradigm

Participants at The Third India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Business Forum 2008 came together here to debunk the belief that development of bio-fuels would invariably exacerbate global hunger. Conventional wisdom has it that increased production of bio-fuel - particularly ethanol - will invariably result in decreasing acreage for food grain production, rising food prices and a surge in hunger and malnutrition. Participants at the Forum - held in New Delhi during the lead-up to the third IBSA Summit - declared that this was not necessarily true.

ENVIRONMENT-US: Florida Hopes Energy Farm Will Be First of Many

If an experiment to plant sweet sorghum in rural Florida and convert it to fuel ethanol pans out, it could herald a fundamental change in how the U.S. and other countries create and use renewable bio-energy, researchers say.

Sen. Barack Obama Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

OBAMA: "Subsidising Big Oil Makes No Sense"

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama sat down with IPS correspondent Bankole Thompson again on Thursday for a one-on-one interview in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where over 15,000 enthusiastic Obama supporters turned out to hear his message of change at downtown's Calder Plaza.

'US taxes on a gallon of gasoline are 45 cents compared to four dollars in most of Europe.' Credit: Steve Leahy/IPS

U.S.: Great Place for the Oil Business

Why do U.S. oil companies - some of the most profitable corporations on the planet - receive 20 to 40 billion dollars a year in subsidies from the U.S. government?

Jerry cans of fuel are available everywhere in Kabul.  Credit: Anand Gopal/IPS

AFGHANISTAN: Subsidised Fuel Trail Winds Back to Pakistan

In a teeming petrol market on the outskirts of Kabul, black market traders sell fuel to everyone from individual customers to large business groups. Although much of this petrol comes from Iran or the Central Asian countries, a good amount also hails from Pakistan, where government subsidies have made the fuel much cheaper than in Afghanistan.

Small-time vendors in Peshawar fill jerry cans with petrol that will be taken across the border to Afghanistan. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

PAKISTAN: Tax Payers Pay for Subsidised Fuel to Afghanistan

Petrol pumps in Pakistan’s border regions do brisk business. Jerry cans of fuel are carried both clandestinely and openly across the porous frontier for sale in neighbouring Afghanistan.

By end-2007, Sarawak Hidro, the Bakun Dam developer, had outstanding borrowings of 1 billion dollars from a state-managed workers' pension fund and pension trust fund. Credit: Raymond Abin/IPS

MALAYSIA: Murum Dam – Public Funds for Corporate Profit?

Who will foot the bill for the Murum resettlement? ''Is it Sarawak Energy or will it be passed on directly to the state government and hence the tax payer,'' asked one Sarawak-based activist, who declined to be identified.

The proposed Murum Dam is just 60 km upstream from the 2,400 Mw Bakun Dam (in the picture.) Credit: Raymond Abin/IPS

MALAYSIA: Power-Surplus Sarawak Funds Another New Dam

Preliminary work on a 3 billion ringgit (875 million dollar) dam in Murum in the north Borneo state of Sarawak has put the spotlight on a controversial scheme to build a string of public-funded dams to provide cheap electricity for energy-intensive industries to the state.

Support for smallholder farmers could be crucial for improving food security.  Credit:  IRIN

AGRICULTURE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: Investment, Information Keys To Productivity

Sustained investment in agriculture accompanied by effective and inclusive policies are key strategies for Southern Africa to address the global food crisis.

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