Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Hope and Fear at the World Bank

It was early March and Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner of International Cooperation Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, was traveling in Asia. Her plan was to attend a 7.5 magnitude earthquake simulation that would hit Indonesia and generate a tsunami. A few things, however, changed in her itinerary: The destination turned out to be Japan, the earthquake was 9.0 and it not only generated a huge tsunami, but also a nuclear catastrophe. Plus, it was real.

“Usually our fears are bigger than reality. In this case our reality was worse than our fears,” Georgieva said recently at a World Bank panel on the climate, food and financial crises the world is facing today and the way they all intertwine. Georgieva’s strong Slavic optimism brightened the gloomy panel, but the data she threw in didn’t back up her positive view:

Hold on for a second. How can these disasters have such a devastating impact on us when cutting-edge technology, extensive knowledge and interconnectedness are here to help us mitigate them?

This question left the representatives of Uganda – who followed the event via webcast — puzzled. So they raised the simplest but toughest question for the panel:

Can export bans be challenged at the WTO?

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Russian grain harvest

Russia’s ban on grain exports as a heat wave parches crops in the world’s third biggest wheat exporter has raised questions whether such export curbs break World Trade Organization rules. Russia is not a member of the WTO, and it remains to be seen how its new grain policy will affect its 17-year-old bid to join. But other grain exporters, such as Ukraine, which is also considering export curbs, are part of the global trade referee.

WTO rules are quite clear that members cannot interfere with imports and exports in a way that disrupts trade or discriminates against other members. But in practice most WTO rules aim to stop countries blocking imports – shutting out competitor’s goods to give their own domestic producers an unfair advantage.

Best reads of February

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Exotic animals trapped in net of Mexican drug trade - From the live snakes that smugglers stuff with packets of cocaine to the white tigers drug lords keep as exotic pets, rare animals are being increasingly sucked into Mexico’s deadly narcotics trade.

End of an era for the Amazon’s turbulent priests - They avoid taking buses, make sure friends know their schedules, and rarely go out when it’s dark. For the three foreign-born Roman Catholic bishops under death threat in Brazil’s northeastern state of Para, speaking out against social ills that plague this often-lawless area at the Amazon River’s mouth has come at a price.

Haiti: finding relief for hunger in children

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Juliana Rincon is video editor of Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post — the views are the author’s alone.

Reasons not to Overeat by BreezeDebris(lucidnutrition.com) used according to CC license.
Reasons not to Overeat by BreezeDebris

The international food shortage and crisis is doing its rounds on the blogosphere, and videos are no exception. From Haiti: people eating dirt to survive, and a plan to help feed hungry Haitian children. Haiti is the poorest country in the American continent, and hunger has been an important issue since before this crisis took to the headlines.

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