Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Americas: Meet the (likely) next president of Brazil

I highly recommend this fascinating feature on Dilma Rousseff, the woman who will likely be elected the next president of Brazil, succeeding popular outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

"Not every president has a police mugshot, but it's not so surprising in Latin America.
"A special report out of Brazil today sheds new light on Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla leader who is likely to be elected the booming country's next president. She spent nearly three years in jail in the early 1970s and was tortured by her military captors. She's come a long way since then. 
"The product of more than a dozen interviews with Rousseff and her top advisers, the story gives a glimpse of how Rousseff could govern at the helm of a country that, with India, Russia and China, is among the worlds few economic bright spots."

Despite an ethics scandal involving a member of her party, Rousseff maintains a commanding lead ahead of the October 3 election.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Global: Russian wheat shortage fuels fear of potential food crisis

The effects of wildfires and drought that devastated wheat fields throughout much of rural Russia earlier this year threaten to spiral into a global food crisis as the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation today announced an emergency meeting in Rome on Friday.

Russia, a major world producer, reacted by temporarily banning all wheat exports in an attempt to instill market stability and ensure adequate food stuffs for the nation's 142 million people.

Despite high wheat yield in the U.S. this year, there is no sign that prices will fall anytime soon, an effect which could further exacerbate food shortages in much of the developing world.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UNGA: Ahmadinejad addresses the UN General Assembly, blames capitalism for global economic disparities

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly this morning and took the opportunity to lay the failures of the global economic system at the feet of capitalism and "big business." 

The Assembly is being attended by more than 140 heads-of-state and has been convened to focus on the global community's progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve global poverty by 2015 as well as meeting several quality of life reflective international development goals.

More from the Associated Press:

"[Ahmadinejad] took aim at capitalism and called for the overhaul of 'undemocratic and unjust' global decision-making bodies, which are dominated by the United States and other Western powers. While Ahmadinejad didn't single out any country, he said world leaders, thinkers and global reformers should 'spare no effort' to make practical plans for a new world order - reform of international economic and political institutions.
'It is my firm belief that in the new millennium, we need to revert to the divine mindset...based on the justice-seeking nature of mankind, and on the monotheistic world view...,' the Iranian leader said in a brief speech intertwining philosophy and religion with the current state of the world. 'Now that the discriminatory order of capitalism and the hegemonic approaches are facing defeat.'"
The Assembly today also featured addresses from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the foreign ministers of Russia and Pakistan, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who espoused a neoliberal argument for more open markets in the developing world. 

Merkel's speech was strongly challenged by Oxfam, a leading aid organization, which slammed the Germans for not living up to expectations and "sidestepping their responsibility to make aid work by laying this at the door of the poorest countries."