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THIRD WORLD RESURGENCE #200 Apr 2007

This issue’s contents:


COVER: Biofuels: An illusion and a threat

Biofuels: the illusion and the reality
By Hira Jhamtani & Elenita Dano

There are attempts to foster the false belief that biofuels - fuels derived from plants - are the panacea for the world's energy crisis and global warming. While the rich countries which refuse to reconsider their unsustainable production and consumption patterns may take comfort from such an illusion, developing countries which recklessly embark on the large-scale cultivation of biofuel crops may be pursuing a dangerous and destructive course.

Biofuels: Biodevastation, hunger and false carbon credits
By Dr Mae-Wan Ho

Europe's thirst for biofuels is fuelling deforestation and food price hikes, exacerbated by a false accounting system that awards carbon credits to the carbon-profligate nations. A mandatory certification scheme for biofuels is needed to protect the earth's most sensitive forest ecosystems, to stabilise climate and to safeguard our food security.

The real scoop on biofuels
By Brian Tokar

There is growing scepticism among researchers about the potential of a new biofuel economy to replace our present fossil-fuel-driven economy, says Brian Tokar.

Biofuels: climate-change cure?
By Newton Sibanda

The global challenges posed by climate change have generated a surge of industry solutions that include biofuels.  However, not everyone is convinced by this future 'wonder fuel'. Newton Sibanda looks at a UK-funded biofuels farming project in Zambia.

Fuelling controversy in Central America

The US President's recent visit to Latin America has precipitated a passionate debate on biofuels in Central America.

The internationalisation of genocide
By Fidel Castro

During his recent visit to the US, Brazil's President Lula became the first Latin American president to be hosted by President George W Bush at his presidential residence at Camp David. But although the two countries managed to sign a memorandum of understanding on the production and research on ethanol, the US president refused to lower the tariffs on imports of Brazilian ethanol. In this article, Cuba's President Fidel Castro warns of the risks involved in the reckless drive to convert food into fuel.

Biofuels Republic Brazil
Dr Mae-Wan Ho

Brazil's rapidly expanding biofuels industry poses serious threats to the survival of people and the planet.

Engaging in the biofuel debate
By Guillermo Castro H

If the debate over biofuels is to be meaningful and fruitful, it is important to delineate the plane of discussion as precisely as possible, says Guillermo Castro H.


ECOLOGY

Deforestation in the Amazon: Pressures and outlook
By Diego Martino

At the end of last year, the Brazilian government released the news that the deforestation rate in the Amazon was down for the second consecutive year, reaching the lowest levels in a decade. In this analysis of the state of the Amazon, Diego Martino considers whether this is a cause for optimism.


HEALTH & SAFETY

Partnerships for empowerment in occupational therapy
By David Werner

Without a focus on equity and inclusiveness, occupational therapy as it tends to be practised is often counter-productive, says a well-known health activist.


ECONOMICS

Last chance for WTO's Doha talks
By Martin Khor

On 20 April the World Trade Organisation (WTO) made a strange decision, to 'bring home the talks' to its headquarters in Geneva.  It is the last chance to save the WTO's Doha Round.

Growing clamour for more voice for South in international economic institutions
By Celine Tan

The call for developing countries to be given a greater voice in international economic decision-making received a recent boost when the UN Secretary-General expressed his support for such a reform of international financial institutions.

Unpublished text sparks controversy about John Paul II's views on economics
By Jonathan Luxmoore

Although the late Pope John Paul II made some harsh comments on the impact of neo-liberal economic policies on the poor, his ideological profile was popularly defined by his crusade against communism in his homeland and his unsympathetic response to Liberation Theology in Latin America. An early unpublished text on social ethics which has provoked controversy in Poland reveals that the late pontiff may have had very different social and economic views from those attributed to him.


WORLD AFFAIRS

The ghosts of Deir Yassin
By Sonja Karkar

April this year marks the 59th anniversary of the massacre of Deir Yassin. It was the slaughter by Jewish terrorist groups of more than 100 residents, including women and children, in this village outside Jerusalem that triggered the Palestinian refugee exodus which lies at the core of the Middle East crisis today. We publish a commemorative article by Sonja Karkar and the text of a memorandum signed by more than 50 Malaysian political and civil society leaders which was submitted to the Quartet on the Middle East - the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union - on 9 April 2007.

Ecuador: A date with history
By Atilio Boron

In a referendum in April, the Ecuadorian people expressed their overwhelming support for President Rafael Correa's plan to form a constituent assembly to rewrite the country's constitution. The triumph of the 'yes' vote opens the way for a process aimed at ending the intolerable divide between constitutional rights that exist on paper and a delegitimised, inoperable democratic order, says Atilio Boron.


WOMEN

Unheard voices: Dalit women
By Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum

Dalit women - women from India's untouchable castes - are thrice discriminated against, says the Tamil Nadu Women's Forum (TNWF) in a shadow report to an Indian government report submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  We publish an edited summary of the TNWF report.


OBITUARY

The 'Great Guest' of Burmese literature
By Khin Maung Soe

One of Burma's best-loved poets, Tin Moe died in January whilst still in exile. Until his last breath, poetry was his love and life.

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