Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

How is changing your relation to the world? Are you becoming optimistic or pessimistic? Why?

Injustice exists and I can’t pretend to have an answer for that. I’m not a guru and I can’t explain why bad things happen to honest people. It’s also true that evil is much more visible than good. See how easy it is to destroy and how laborious it is to build. Nevertheless I think that we are all responsible if the world is the way it is. That’s why instead of looking for the guilty, we should look at our attitudes and ourselves. We cannot set out to change the world but we can try to change ourselves. If we are capable of that: of mending our ways, of being generous to life, then we will be able to see that good is everywhere. There’s a wide range of heroes that work in silence and that try to enhance the state of the world.

US quits Human Rights Council?

Today in Digg, I came upon this article by Carole Vann and Juan Gasparini for the Human Rights Tribune :

There was widespread consternation on Friday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva when the US mission gave up his observer status – a step backwards for human rights around the world, says Human Rights Watch.

The news that the US has completely withdrawn from the Human Rights Council spread like wildfire Friday afternoon (June 6) through the corridors of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. There was general consternation amongst diplomats and NGOS. Reached by phone, the American mission in Geneva neither confirmed nor denied the report. Although unofficial, the news comes at a time of long opposition by the Bush administration to the reforms which created the Human Rights Council in June 2006. Washington announced from the beginning that the US would not be an active member but its observer status would mean that it could intervene during the sessions. To date even this has rarely happened.

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To read the rest of the article please go here.

Post-War New World Map, 1942

Today in Digg, I found an interesting world map based in Roosevelt’s message to the 77th Congress on the state of the Union made on the 31st of march 1942. As you will see this map quarantines Germany, Japan and Italy – known as the countries of the Axis – and we see future enemies – US and URSS – together in this battle. I thought this was an interesting piece to share here with you : a look from the past towards the future.

World at 1942

Here’s an excerpt from the caption of this map:
“Outline of Post-War New World map as the USA, with the cooperation of the Democracies of Latin America, the British Commonwealth of Nations and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, assumes World Leadership for the establishment of a New World Moral Order for permanent Peace, Freedom, Justice, Security and World Reconstruction.”

To see the bigger map, click here.

Pirate attacks around the world rise by 20%

Today in Digg I found this article about real life piracy by Gethin Chamberlain for the Telegraph.co.uk

They may no longer dress like characters from the Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean, but the buccaneers of the 21st century have lost none of their taste for a bloodthirsty boarding.

Mariners are being warned of a growing threat from pirates around the world after attacks on shipping rose by 20 per cent over the last year.

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The International Maritime Bureau’s latest report reveals the first rise in pirate attacks since their previous peak in the mid 1990s. In one particularly savage incident in the Philippines in March, pirates shot dead the captain of a passenger boat and two of his crew before tying them to their anchor and tossing it overboard. They then shot the two remaining crew members and escaped in a motor boat.

The sharp rise in pirate attacks is blamed in large part on the collapse of law and order in Somalia and political unrest in Nigeria. The seas around the two African countries are now regarded as some of the most dangerous in the world.

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To read the rest of the artcile, please go here.

Worldometers – World Statistics Updated in Real-Time

Just found this very interesting list of statistics in Digg today.
This list up-dates in real time.
Enjoy – http://www.worldometers.info/

Which biofuel?

Today, I read this interesting article of opinion in the International Herald Tribune:

Bring on the right biofuels
by Roger Cohen International Herald Tribune
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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Where fuel distilled from plant matter was once hailed as an answer to everything from global warming to the geostrategic power shift favoring repressive one-pipeline oil states, it’s now a “scam” and “part of the problem,” according to Time Magazine. Ethanol has turned awful. The supposed crimes of biofuels are manifold. They’re behind soaring global commodity prices, the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, increased rather than diminished greenhouse gases, food riots in Haiti, Indonesian deforestation and, no doubt, your mother-in-law’s toothache. Most of this, to borrow a farm image, is hogwash and bilge.

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Much larger trends are at work that dwarf the still tiny biofuel industry (roughly a $40 billion annual business, or the equivalent of Exxon Mobil’s $40.6 billion profits in 2007). I refer to the rise of more than one third of humanity in China and India, the disintegrating dollar and soaring oil prices.

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The danger in all this anti-biofuel hysteria is that we’re going to throw out the baby with the bath water. (…) Right now, the biofuel market is being grossly distorted by subsidies and trade barriers in the United States and the European Union. These make it rewarding to produce ethanol from corn or grains that are far less productive than sugarcane ethanol, divert land from food production (unlike sugarcane), and have environmental credentials that are dubious.

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The real scam lies in developed world protectionism and skewed subsidies, not the biofuel idea.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/23/opinion/edcohen.php