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Global News and Analysis

The American War Machine Is Ramping Up Under the Trump Administration

Source: Alternet

Everything this administration does is geared toward intimidation and war.

Last week, on July 26, the United States House of Representatives passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which will then go on to the U.S. Senate and finally to the U.S. president. It is worthwhile to note that 139 Democrats, including the entire Democratic Party leadership, voted for this bill. This Act provides the U.S. government with $717 billion for a year’s military spending. This is $100 billion more than was spent last year (which is itself more than half of the annual Chinese military budget). No country spends money on its military like the United States. It’s not long now before the annual U.S. military budget will cross the $1 trillion mark. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Trump Has Found a Way to Make Enemies of Breastfeeding Mothers

Source: Common Dreams

In May, the government of Ecuador came to the World Health Organization (WHO) assembly with a resolution on breastfeeding. What worried the government of Ecuador, and many other governments of the Global South, is the behavior of large corporations—Nestlé in the lead. These corporations that sell infant formula have wanted to promote the use of substitutes to breast milk, especially in places such as Ecuador.

The month before—in April 2018—the WHO and UNICEF jointly put out guidelines to support breastfeeding in health facilities. These “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” assist health care workers to encourage breastfeeding rather than to encourage the use of infant formulas. Breastfeeding babies in their first two years, say these UN agencies, would save the lives of more than 820,000 children under the age of five. “Breastfeeding saves lives. Its benefits help keep babies healthy in their first days and last well into adulthood,” said UNICEF’s executive director Henrietta H. Fore. read more

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Global News and Analysis

North Korea Has the Upper Hand in Negotiations with Trump

Source: Alternet

It is significant that Kim and Trump met to “have an equal conversation.”

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un met with Donald Trump of the United States in Singapore. This was the first meeting of the heads of government of these two countries. The United States has been at war with North Korea since 1950. Three years into that war, which destroyed most of the infrastructure in North Korea, the two countries—and South Korea—agreed to a halt in the active fighting. But the war did not end. It remains intact. A massive military deployment by the United States at the edge of North Korea maintains the fear inside the Korean Peninsula of annihilation. This is what makes the summit between Kim and Trump so important. Threats of war are now at a low point. read more

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South Africa’s Shack Dwellers See Politics Very Differently Than the Average Westerner

Source: Alternet

Walking into the settlement at Kennedy Road in Durban, what one is confronted with is the familiarity of the place. I’ve been here before. Not to this settlement, but to others like it. To bastis in India and favelas in Brazil, to Mexico’s Neza-Chalco-Izta to Bangkok’s Klong Toey.

The United Nation’s agency that monitors housing – UN Habitat – has said that there are a billion people in informal settlements (slums). A demographer at the UN tells me that within a few decades, he assumes that the number might easily double. In fact, he says, given how bad the data is, two billion people might already live in these kinds of vulnerable settlements. ‘We just don’t have the numbers,’ he said. read more

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Global News and Analysis

As Mining Companies in Africa Make Billions, Children Are Left Illiterate

Source: Alternet

Zambia is a rich country with a poor population.

A Zambian trade unionist, a veteran of many years of struggle in the copper belt of the country, tells me that the situation is bleak. It is true that the poverty rate is high – unimaginably high, beyond the data available from the government and international agencies. The numbers oscillate between 60% of the population in poverty to 80% in poverty. That means that at least 10 million of the 16 million Zambians live in poverty. read more