Tag Archives: Poverty

Brazil Confed Cup Protests

More than 100,000 people took over the streets

BRAZIL – Demonstrations against rising costs of public transport and 2014 World Cup reflect anger over government policies.

Yesterday, Jun3 17th, over 100,000 young protesters have massed across Brazil to demonstrate against the rising costs of both public transport and the 2014 World Cup to be held in the country. Protesters gathered in at least seven cities on Monday in what they hoped would be their biggest demonstrations yet against the increase in transit rates.

The protest movement is mainly made up of the middle class and is critical of the government’s decision to increase transit rates by 10 cents, to $1.60. Police in Sao Paulo estimated that 30,000 people rallied in the city’s biggest demonstration yet. Up to 20,000 people marched in Rio de Janeiro and another 6,000 took part in protests in the capital Brasilia.

Brazilians have long accepted malfeasance as a cost of doing business, whether in business or receiving public services. The government loses more than $47bn each year to undeclared tax revenue, vanished public money and other widespread corruption, according to the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo business group. But in the last decade, about 40 million Brazilians have moved into the middle class and they have begun to demand more from government.

While almost one-fifth of the population lives in poverty, many Brazilians are angry that billions of dollars in public funds are being spent to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics while few improvements are made elsewhere.


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world food large

Wasting food is like stealing from the poor, says pope

ROME – Pope Francis denounces what he calls a “culture of waste” in an increasingly consumerist world: “Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry.” 

Around 1.43 billion tons of food, or one third of what is produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted every year. In the industrialized world the majority of waste is by consumers, often because they buy too much and have to throw away what they do not manage to eat. Better storage and reducing over-sized portions would sharply reduce the vast amount of food going to waste. 

Francis said the “culture of waste” is especially deplorable given the prevalence of hunger in the world. Hunger affects some 870 million people, while 2 billion suffer from at least one nutritional deficiency. 

The pontiff warned that too much focus on money and materialism meant financial market dips were viewed as tragedies while human suffering had become normal and ignored. “In this way people are discarded as if they were garbage,” he says.

Who can argue with that?


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Increase in minimum wage

WORLD – Since minimum wages are not indexed to inflation, they do not systematically increase in proportion to changes in the costs of living. 

Those in favor of increasing the minimum wage will argue that such an increase would lift people out of poverty, helps low-income families make ends meet and narrows the gap between the rich and poor. But forget about all of this. That last argument is underscored by the exorbitant salaries earned by CEOs and other corporate titans, which are also the same people generally arguing against an increase in the minimum wage.

Instead of cutting down on their salaries, which, by the way, is paid by the business and the income that you generate being paid generating revenue at minimum wage to pay their extravagant salaries that they earn sitting ion their office or at the private club, their argument is that allowing you to have a decent wage thus, a decent life, would hurt small businesses, squeeze profit margins, lead to inflation, encourages employers to downsize their staff and increases the cost of goods to the end consumer. What a bunch of baloney I say!

For some others, economically speaking, the theory of supply and demand suggests that the imposition of an artificial value on wages that is higher than the value that would be dictated in a free-market system creates an inefficient market and leads to unemployment. According to this theory, the inefficiency occurs when there are a greater number of workers that want the higher paying jobs than there are employers willing to pay the higher wages. What a bunch of baloney I say!

Keep in mind that earning more than minimum wage does not necessary mean that one is not living in poverty. According to estimates, some 37 millions people lives in poverty in the United States only. What about Canada? What about Spain? Greece? France… What about the world? Unless we all collectively take charge of our life and destiny now and decide to empower ourselves, nothing is going to happen. No matter how high is the minimum wage, too many will still be unemployed or living in poverty.

And this, my friends, is no baloney!



June 2013, the beginning of a new era

Although from a scientific point of view that most doomsday scenario are mostly unlikely for the near future, there are worldwide signs all over the planet indicating that earth and mankind is now experiencing major changes, a major shift in civilizations is about to happen.

Since the origins of man, many societies especially have been ruled by religious and spiritual belief and all over the world, for years and years, the Apocalypse has been predicted.

It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist or a spiritual leader to predict that one day, this earth is going to die. All planets die one day and, when this will happen, if there are still men on earth, they will also die. This will be the end of the world, as we know it but certainly not the end of the universe. New planets are born everyday and the universe is still in expansion.

But, what about a possible global disaster that may happen in our days that could means the near extinction of man on earth?

History, science, studies and researches teach us that in the past, entire highly developed populations and civilizations suddenly disappeared from the surface of the planet on behalf of natural disasters. Entire species disappeared from the surface of the planet in a very short time period, even in minutes and all of this, without any warning. If this happen in the past, why can it not happen today?

An easy answer would be to say that with all the scientific equipment that we have around the world and in space, if there was something to happen, something to hit us we would see it coming days, weeks, months if not year in advance.

How arrogant and presumptuous!

What is worrying me is not what we know; it is what we do not know. Three thousand years ago, Egyptians were performing knee surgery, they were building pyramids and temples with unsurpassed, almost surgical, engineering and mathematical precision; two thousand years ago, Romans were building aqueducts, roads, amphitheaters…  What about the Babylonians and the days before?

What did they know that we do not know?

For most of them, most of these lost civilizations; they disappeared because of human wicked behavior and for most of them, they predicted that this was to happen again to the future for future generations and it did happen and, it will happen again.

Over the centuries, because of natural disasters and cataclysms, because of wars or human nature, we lost a lot of information and knowledge and a lot of the remaining information has often been locked or hidden in obscure vaults of the rich and powerful or a select few and even today, we are still wondering how they could have done it. Some would even pretend that aliens assisted them.

Today, to pretend that humanity is not going to be hit by a global disaster is foolishness. Today, because of our communication networks, because of the way we communicate and interact with everyone and every nation of the world, everything that we do on a local basis has an immediate impact or consequences on the rest of the planet. Changes that were taking days, weeks, months and year to happen now happen instantly. Everything that we do anywhere on the planet take global proportions.

Even though we know that are not going to be hit by a giant meteor tomorrow morning, even though we know that we are not going to be hit by a disastrous solar kill shot in the days to come, there is absolutely no guarantee that we are not going to be hit by a major volcanic eruption somewhere, by major earthquakes, by the inevitable tsunamis to follow, by major hurricanes or tornadoes or any other major surprise that mother nature may have in store for us. What about these possible men made events and disasters that can cause an entire population or civilization to vanish or disappear? Look at the Mayas, the Holocaust, and The North American natives, Syrians …

Whatever the predictions and the situation may be, we are living in times and days indicating that major events are to happen that will directly impact the life of many if not everyone on the planet. The signs are there and the date is June 2013.


To strengthen or to overhaul the American nation’s safety net?

President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have vastly different views on how to help the 46.2 million Americans in poverty and the more than 30 million people who are near poor.

Between 2008 and 2011In the United States, the number of people in poverty jumped 16%, the Medicaid rolls jumped 23.5% while food stamp enrollment soared 46%.

Just who is elected president matters a great deal for the poor.



Don't treat the homeless as criminals

In North America, more and more municipalities are cracking down on the homeless by adopting more and more stringent bylaws and regulations prohibiting begging, loitering, and sleeping outside.

On any given night, about 636,000 Americans and 300,000 Canadians are homeless. While these numbers have declined over the past few years, they will soon rise again. Recent evidence suggests that the effects of the economic downturn on the homeless are intensifying.

For these individuals, begging, loitering and sleeping outside is not a choice, it is a necessity.

Blame the economy, not the victims.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

Things never change!

CAIRO – Egyptian activists vowed to flood Tahrir Square and cripple the country with a strike this weekend, saying that one year after forcing a dictator from power their revolution is far from complete.

Egypt’s economy has suffered since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster: Foreign investment has dried up and tourists are staying away. The once-banned Muslim Brotherhood which won almost half of the seats in parliament in recent elections promised to improve things by ending corruption, but little has changed.

“President Mubarak was very bad,” says taxi driver Redah Mohamed Abdella, 47, a father of four whose daily pay dropped from $25 before the revolution to $5 now.

While Egypt’s new political elite, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party cooperate with the country’s ruling military council, and revolutionaries plot disruption, “Ordinary Egyptians like me are suffering”.

“Everyone has an eye on power,” he says.