Monday, February 28, 2011 Friday, February 11, 2011
The project will benefit millions of Kenyans, who will be directed to anonymously contact government officials via text messaging when they find any kind of service that is lacking or missing from their communities. The exact nature and deriving location of all complaints, as well as the local government officials and offices responsible for responding to them, will be posted live on Huduma.info, a name derived from the Swahili word for “service.”

“The campaign has been thinking very hard about how do you get a real conversation going between citizens and governments about realizations on the MDGs, for the past two years, how do you get into the specifics of what is and what is not working?” explained Corinne Woods, director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign, an inter-agency initiative hosted by the U.N. Development Program.

The answer, it seems, is to enable and empower citizens to voice their concerns quickly, efficiently and cheaply, while providing them with a public platform to ensure that their queries are not getting buried in a suggestion box. It is a solution that ultimately requires participation from all sectors of society, including government and civil society organizations at local, national and international levels, which will serve different roles in the outreach, follow-up and tracking process.
5 Months After MDG Summit, Citizen Tracking Mechanism is Launched in Kenya
Sunday, January 30, 2011 Sunday, January 16, 2011
Lifestyles of the Rich and Tyrannical (Updated) 

BEN ALI FAMILY
Country: Tunisia
Lifestyle: There are a number of factors that led to the week of street protests and riots that overwhelmed President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in January 2011, including widespread unemployment, rising food prices, and restrictions on civil liberties. But one major source of Tunisians’ widespread rage was the conspicuous consumption of Ben Ali’s extended family, particularly the relatives of his second wife, Leila Trabelsi. “No, no to the Trabelsis who looted the budget” was a popular chant among the hundreds of mostly young men who took to the streets of the coastal resort of Hammamet — where the Trabelsis have built a number of opulent beachfront estates — as they ransacked mansions, burned all-terrain vehicles, and even liberated a horse from its stable.
The opulent lifestyles of Ben Ali’s relatives were laid bare in a series of U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, particularly one describing a dinner at the home of his son-in-law, Mohamed Sakhr el-Materi. Materi’s Hammamet mansion featured, among other luxuries, “an infinity pool and a terrace of perhaps 50 meters.” Roman artifacts, which the host insisted were real, abounded, including a “lion’s head from which water pours into the pool.” The ambassador and his wife were fed a massive dinner, including more than a dozen dishes and frozen yogurt flown in by plane from Saint-Tropez.
Materi also owned a pet tiger, which he kept in a cage on his compound and consumed four chickens a day. All in all, the situation reminded U.S. Amb. Robert Codec, who had served as an advisor to the transitional government in Iraq and signed the cable, of Uday Hussein’s opulentlifestyle.
Not content with buying their own luxuries, Ben Ali’s relatives had also taken to appropriating them from others. Another leaked State Department cable describes a 2006 incident in which Imed and Moaz Trabelsi, Ben Ali’s nephews through his wife, reportedly stole a $3 million yacht belonging to a prominent French businessman from a dock in Corsica. The yacht reappeared a short time later in a Tunisian port having been repainted to cover its distinguishing characteristics. The French weren’t fooled, however, and the yacht was returned to defuse a potential diplomatic uproar. Despite an Interpol warrant being issued for their arrest, the two were never punished.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Tyrannical (Updated)

BEN ALI FAMILY

Country: Tunisia

Lifestyle: There are a number of factors that led to the week of street protests and riots that overwhelmed President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in January 2011, including widespread unemployment, rising food prices, and restrictions on civil liberties. But one major source of Tunisians’ widespread rage was the conspicuous consumption of Ben Ali’s extended family, particularly the relatives of his second wife, Leila Trabelsi. “No, no to the Trabelsis who looted the budget” was a popular chant among the hundreds of mostly young men who took to the streets of the coastal resort of Hammamet — where the Trabelsis have built a number of opulent beachfront estates — as they ransacked mansions, burned all-terrain vehicles, and even liberated a horse from its stable.

The opulent lifestyles of Ben Ali’s relatives were laid bare in a series of U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, particularly one describing a dinner at the home of his son-in-law, Mohamed Sakhr el-Materi. Materi’s Hammamet mansion featured, among other luxuries, “an infinity pool and a terrace of perhaps 50 meters.” Roman artifacts, which the host insisted were real, abounded, including a “lion’s head from which water pours into the pool.” The ambassador and his wife were fed a massive dinner, including more than a dozen dishes and frozen yogurt flown in by plane from Saint-Tropez.

Materi also owned a pet tiger, which he kept in a cage on his compound and consumed four chickens a day. All in all, the situation reminded U.S. Amb. Robert Codec, who had served as an advisor to the transitional government in Iraq and signed the cable, of Uday Hussein’s opulentlifestyle.

Not content with buying their own luxuries, Ben Ali’s relatives had also taken to appropriating them from others. Another leaked State Department cable describes a 2006 incident in which Imed and Moaz Trabelsi, Ben Ali’s nephews through his wife, reportedly stole a $3 million yacht belonging to a prominent French businessman from a dock in Corsica. The yacht reappeared a short time later in a Tunisian port having been repainted to cover its distinguishing characteristics. The French weren’t fooled, however, and the yacht was returned to defuse a potential diplomatic uproar. Despite an Interpol warrant being issued for their arrest, the two were never punished.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Wednesday, October 27, 2010 Monday, May 10, 2010
crookedindifference:


International headlines have recently been full of the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico – with some reporting that the oil slick could become worse than the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.
What’s less well known is that this amount of oil is spilt every year in the Niger Delta – one of the ten most important wetland and coastal marine ecosystems in the world.What’s worse is that this spill is happening by people’s homes and water and food sources, without anywhere near adequate clean up. Amazingly, the main company responsible promotes its strong ethical business principles* – Royal Dutch Shell.
(jesuisperdu:constantflux:paulmalouf)

crookedindifference:

International headlines have recently been full of the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico – with some reporting that the oil slick could become worse than the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.

What’s less well known is that this amount of oil is spilt every year in the Niger Delta – one of the ten most important wetland and coastal marine ecosystems in the world.

What’s worse is that this spill is happening by people’s homes and water and food sources, without anywhere near adequate clean up. Amazingly, the main company responsible promotes its strong ethical business principles* – Royal Dutch Shell.

(jesuisperdu:constantflux:paulmalouf)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
crookedindifference:

Social Responsibility for Gas Corporations: Violations
Shell - Nigerian human rights abuses, Sierra Club boycott, major polluter in Nigeria, MM’s 10 Worst List (x3), S. American human rights abuses, Pesticide Lawsuits, MTBE Lawsuits, SEC Fraud settlement, Top GW contributing facility, Top 10 Greenwasher, Brazillian pollution fines, creator of superfund site, California air pollution fines & lawsuits, ocean pollution fines, Top 25 Superfund Polluters Exxon Mobil - ANWR driller, Nigerian Environmental Damage, 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, refuses to pay EV spill damages, no responsibility taken for spill, 1990 Staten Island oil spill, Clean Air Act violations, toxic dumping suit, human rights violations, Chad pipeline, MM’s 10 Worst List (x4), MM’s Top 100 Corp Criminals (#5), HRC Equality Laggard, Greenpeace Boycott, Corporate Responsibility Intl Boycott, Sierra Club Boycott, Top 25 Superfund Polluters, Only Top 50 company to discriminate based on sexuality, evidence of political manipulation, responsible for 5% of all global greenhouse gases, Indonesian human rights abuses, New York toxic dumping, Louisiana radioactive waste suit, MTBE lawsusit, Kazakhstan toxic sulphur suit, Louisiana air pollution suit, Califronia oil spill, silenced shareholder resolutions, price-gouging suit, deceptive practices suit, Alabama fraud suit, Angola “Arms For Oil” scandal, Foreign bribery charges, highest emissions in the industry, Australian safety suit, Canadian sour gas death suits, Top 10 GreenwashersConocoPhillips (76 stations) - ANWR driller, massive oil spills, multiple fatality explosions, OSHA fines, 1998 one of the worst polluters, Groundwater suit, drilled in Natl Monument, seeks to drill in other protected sites, S. Am. Human rights/environmental violations, member of NWC (seeks to drill in wetlands and reduce clean water standards), Many safety violations, toxic dumping suit, still in Burma, was rated one of the worst companies by CEP, MM’s 10 Worst List (x5), MM’s Top 100 Corp Criminals (#77)BP/ARCO - Clean Air Act violations, (ANWR Drilling Group [withdrew]), illegal waste dumping, Beaufort pipeline, 1990 oil spill, S. Am. human rights violations, was in Burma, explosion fatalities, MM’s 10 Worst List (x2), destructive pipeline construction in Tibet, Top 10 Greenwasher, Alaskan worker safety suit, creator of superfund site, Washington pipeline spill suit, Alaskan pipeline spill, foreign bribery charges, California storage tank suitChevron - ANWR driller, Nigerian human rights violations, numerous fines/settlements, Clean Water Act violations, Toxic dumping in Amazon, Cook Inlet oil spill, responsible for superfund sites, S. Am. Pollution suits, was rated one of the worst companies by CEP, MM’s 10 Worst List (x4), gender discrimination suit, racism suit, MM’s Top 100 Corp Criminals (#41), Survival Intl Boycott, Corporate Responsibility Intl Boycott,  SEC Ethics Investigation, California Toxic Dumping, Questionable campaign contribution practices, Involvement in Burma, worker rights violations, Top 25 Superfund Polluters, MTBE Lawsuit, Toxic dumping in Louisiana, California air pollution suits

crookedindifference:

Social Responsibility for Gas Corporations: Violations

Shell - Nigerian human rights abuses, Sierra Club boycott, major polluter in Nigeria, MM’s 10 Worst List (x3), S. American human rights abuses, Pesticide Lawsuits, MTBE Lawsuits, SEC Fraud settlement, Top GW contributing facility, Top 10 Greenwasher, Brazillian pollution fines, creator of superfund site, California air pollution fines & lawsuits, ocean pollution fines, Top 25 Superfund Polluters

Exxon Mobil - ANWR driller, Nigerian Environmental Damage, 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, refuses to pay EV spill damages, no responsibility taken for spill, 1990 Staten Island oil spill, Clean Air Act violations, toxic dumping suit, human rights violations, Chad pipeline, MM’s 10 Worst List (x4), MM’s Top 100 Corp Criminals (#5), HRC Equality Laggard, Greenpeace Boycott, Corporate Responsibility Intl Boycott, Sierra Club Boycott, Top 25 Superfund Polluters, Only Top 50 company to discriminate based on sexuality, evidence of political manipulation, responsible for 5% of all global greenhouse gases, Indonesian human rights abuses, New York toxic dumping, Louisiana radioactive waste suit, MTBE lawsusit, Kazakhstan toxic sulphur suit, Louisiana air pollution suit, Califronia oil spill, silenced shareholder resolutions, price-gouging suit, deceptive practices suit, Alabama fraud suit, Angola “Arms For Oil” scandal, Foreign bribery charges, highest emissions in the industry, Australian safety suit, Canadian sour gas death suits, Top 10 Greenwashers

ConocoPhillips (76 stations) - ANWR driller, massive oil spills, multiple fatality explosions, OSHA fines, 1998 one of the worst polluters, Groundwater suit, drilled in Natl Monument, seeks to drill in other protected sites, S. Am. Human rights/environmental violations, member of NWC (seeks to drill in wetlands and reduce clean water standards), Many safety violations, toxic dumping suit, still in Burma, was rated one of the worst companies by CEP, MM’s 10 Worst List (x5), MM’s Top 100 Corp Criminals (#77)

BP/ARCO - Clean Air Act violations, (ANWR Drilling Group [withdrew]), illegal waste dumping, Beaufort pipeline, 1990 oil spill, S. Am. human rights violations, was in Burma, explosion fatalities, MM’s 10 Worst List (x2), destructive pipeline construction in Tibet, Top 10 Greenwasher, Alaskan worker safety suit, creator of superfund site, Washington pipeline spill suit, Alaskan pipeline spill, foreign bribery charges, California storage tank suit

Chevron - ANWR driller, Nigerian human rights violations, numerous fines/settlements, Clean Water Act violations, Toxic dumping in Amazon, Cook Inlet oil spill, responsible for superfund sites, S. Am. Pollution suits, was rated one of the worst companies by CEP, MM’s 10 Worst List (x4), gender discrimination suit, racism suit, MM’s Top 100 Corp Criminals (#41), Survival Intl Boycott, Corporate Responsibility Intl Boycott,  SEC Ethics Investigation, California Toxic Dumping, Questionable campaign contribution practices, Involvement in Burma, worker rights violations, Top 25 Superfund Polluters, MTBE Lawsuit, Toxic dumping in Louisiana, California air pollution suits

Mr. Yunus says interest rates should be 10 to 15 percent above the cost of raising the money, with anything beyond a “red zone” of loan sharking. “We need to draw a line between genuine and abuse,” he said. “You will never see the situation of poor people if you look at it through the glasses of profit-making.”

Yet by that measure, 75 percent of microfinance institutions would fall into Mr. Yunus’s “red zone,” according to a March analysis of 1,008 microlenders by Adrian Gonzalez, lead researcher at the Mix. His study found that much of the money from interest rates was used to cover operating expenses, and argued that tackling costs, as opposed to profits, could prove the most efficient way to lower interest rates.

Banks Making Big Profits From Tiny Loans via the New York Times

Check out the MIX Market for more information about the microfinance business sector.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Thursday, March 25, 2010
Yet another NYT article about corruption in South Africa, this time surrounding the misuse of funding by local officials in preparation for the World Cup. Excerpts:
The people who live nearby, proud as they are to host soccer’s greatest event, also wonder: How could there be money for a 46,000-seat stadium while many of them still fetch water from dirty puddles and live without electricity or toilets?
 
…And indeed, with the stadium project came an infusion of money, catnip to the corrupt who congregate at the junction of money and power.
“No point in trying to hide it, there was a total collapse of good governance, primarily around the World Cup,” said Lassy Chiwayo, Nelspruit’s mayor, who was installed as an emergency caretaker in late 2008 after his predecessor was removed.
Independent investigators into the matter found that millions of dollars had been misspent on big contracts. Their final report calls for criminal charges against the former municipal manager and the directors of three companies managing the stadium project.
Click through to read the rest of the article.

Yet another NYT article about corruption in South Africa, this time surrounding the misuse of funding by local officials in preparation for the World Cup. Excerpts:

The people who live nearby, proud as they are to host soccer’s greatest event, also wonder: How could there be money for a 46,000-seat stadium while many of them still fetch water from dirty puddles and live without electricity or toilets?

…And indeed, with the stadium project came an infusion of money, catnip to the corrupt who congregate at the junction of money and power.

“No point in trying to hide it, there was a total collapse of good governance, primarily around the World Cup,” said Lassy Chiwayo, Nelspruit’s mayor, who was installed as an emergency caretaker in late 2008 after his predecessor was removed.

Independent investigators into the matter found that millions of dollars had been misspent on big contracts. Their final report calls for criminal charges against the former municipal manager and the directors of three companies managing the stadium project.

Click through to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
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