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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Running amok with power in Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago: Given where it ranks on the scale of international concerns, we have never before found it necessary to devote consecutive columns to political goings-on in Trinidad and Tobago. Alas, a deplorable and deteriorating state of affairs there has beckoned us to step onto this untraveled terrain. Comment.

Working together to end campus sexual violence

Viewpoints: Campus sexual violence has been the subject of an intense national conversation recently, but that dialogue often lacks critical input from schools that are already taking steps to improve their campus climates. Colleges and universities, it’s time for you to lead on this issue. Comment.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Healthy diets for healthy lives

Viewpoints: ROME, May 5, 2015 (IPS) - In the last half-century, people’s lifestyles have changed dramatically. Life expectancy has risen almost everywhere, but this has been accompanied by an increase of so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, and diabetes – causing more and more deaths in all corners of the world. Comments (1).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Election without trickery, the hope in T&T

Trinidad and Tobago: They’re seriously into election-watch mode in Trinidad and Tobago. Actually, some may think “Kamla-watch” to be the more apt characterization, as it is whatever stealth move(s) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar may be fixing to unleash that have curiosity levels high throughout the society. A while back, waxing colloquial, the prime minister had said no one was going to “jumbie” her into announcing an election date before she was good and ready to do so. But wiggle room to play that timing game with the all-important date has gotten narrower, now that we’ve entered the month of May. And Bissessar, to her chagrin, could find herself getting too cute about her announcement of when the country will go to the polls. Comment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lack of trade finance a barrier for developing countries

Viewpoints: GENEVA, May 2 2015 (IPS) - Up to 80 percent of global trade is supported by some form of financing or credit insurance. Yet in many countries there is a lack of capacity in the financial sector to support trade, and also a lack of access to the international financial system. Therefore the ability of these countries to use simple instruments such as letters of credit is limited. Comment.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Opinon: Why workers celebrate May Day 2015

Viewpoints: Recently, thousands of workers all over the country took to the streets demanding a hike in the minimum wage to $15/hour. Our Fight for $15 campaign highlighted the income inequality that has made the gap between the haves and have-nots as wide as the Grand Canyon. It also underscored its moral and practical pitfalls and spurred some in Congress to act. Comment.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A plan to extend the life of critical NYCHA properties

Viewpoints: A $100 million plan announced this month by New York City and HUD to retrofit nearly 300 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings will be important for the environment, our city’s affordable housing inventory and tenants. Comments (1).

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming economies, realising rights

Viewpoints: UNITED NATIONS, April 27, 2015 (IPS) - Our world is out of balance. It is both wealthier and more unequal today than at any time since the Second World War. Comment.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hydrogen fuel cell an attractive option

Viewpoints: In the run-up to a solar eclipse on March 20 of this year, European tabloids had a Y2K-style field day. In the middle of a bright, sunny day, European solar panels together produce about as much electricity as 90 large nuclear power plants. Germany, with the largest solar commitment, obtains as much as 50 percent of its electricity from the sun during the sunniest hours. The eclipse was scheduled to arrive in the middle of the day and panic was setting in. Comment.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Predatory practices against developing countries

Viewpoints: GENEVA, April 6, 2015 (IPS) - The world’s attention turned to the practices of vulture funds after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court opinion in the NML Capital vs Argentina case, which forbids the country from making payments on its restructured debt. Comment.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Equal Pay Day

Viewpoints: When Doris and Don Fisher opened their small retail store in 1969, they each put up $21,000 in savings and, without even discussing it, paid each other the same salary. That’s how equal partnerships work. Comment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Copycat rogue behavior among the protectors?

Viewpoints: Is it that we’re in the throes of a contagion of copycat “bad apple” conduct involving some of the players pledged to do the “protect and serve” bit in our communities? Copycat practice so frequently makes it into the conversation on the law enforcement side as a probability in seemingly related instances of anti-social behavior. But the rash of episodes, for some time now, in which guys designated as guardians of the citizenry have acted more like outlaws, gives us pause as to whether the copycat phenomenon is also alive and well on the “good” side of the law-and-order divide. Comment.

Two winners, one loser at Summit of the Americas

Cuba: MIAMI, April 14, 2015 (IPS) - U.S. President Barack Obama has earned a place in history for taking the first steps towards rectifying a policy that has lasted over half a century without ever achieving its primary goal of ending the Castro regime in Cuba. Comment.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reminiscent of the ‘states’ rights’ spectre

Viewpoints: The “states’ rights” rally cry recalls names like George Wallace and Lester Maddox, governors respectively of Alabama and Georgia who, along with like-minded souls looking to buck the civil rights push in the ‘60s, invariably invoked states’ rights as their go-to bulwark against racial equality. Thanks to LBJ’s determination and his consummate skills in getting legislation passed by Congress, Wallace, Maddox and their ilk didn’t get their way in those attempts to keep segregation in place. Comment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Challenging the power of the one percent

Viewpoints: SAO PAULO, April 2, 2015 (IPS) - When you are faced with the task of moving an object but find it is too heavy to lift, what is your immediate and most natural response? You ask someone to help you lift it. And it makes all the difference. Comment.

Stark Choices: People’s Budget vs. Republican Plan

Viewpoints: The annual federal budget debate typically doesn’t excite many folks outside the Washington beltway. And with good reason – the Republican budget process is intended to lull the public to sleep by staying short on details and long on damaging provisions that will hurt low-income and middle-class families. Comment.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

World leaders lack ambition to tackle climate crisis

Environment: BRUSSELS/MAPUTO, Apr. 1, 2015 (IPS) - World governments expect to agree to a new global treaty to combat climate change in Paris in December. As the catastrophic impacts of climate change become more evident, so too escalates the urgency to act. Comment.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Some sick politicking in T&T Parliament

Trinidad and Tobago: Not only Trinidad and Tobago nationals across the diaspora, but subscribers to basic moral standards in the Caribbean and indeed throughout the world, should be keen observers whenever scheduled 2015 general elections take place, to see if the Trinidad and Tobago electorate, in some inexplicable collective stupor, hands any further mandate to the government of Kamla Persad-Bissessar. The prime minister and her partners in crime have become that much of an embarrassment to the country they have ruled with unapologetically reckless abandon since 2010. Comments (1).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why should the government deliver mail?

Viewpoints: In a country where people extol the virtues of free enterprise, why is the U.S. government involved in the delivery of mail? After all, it would be difficult to find a better example of a violation of the principles of free enterprise than the U.S. Postal Service. Comment.

Education as a cornerstone for women’s empowerment

Viewpoints: WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 (IPS) - Earlier this month, the Barack Obama administration announced a new initiative designed to improve girls’ education around the world. Dubbed “Let Girls Learn,” the programme builds on current progress made, such as ensuring girls are enrolled in primary school at the same rates as boys, and is looking to expand opportunities for girls to complete their education. Comment.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Public sentiment ignored in ‘the law’

Viewpoints: Every so often we have reason to recall the classic Dickens line uttered by his Mr. Bumble character in Oliver Twist: “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass.” We think Mr. Bumble’s cogent, albeit ungrammatical observation was borne out once more by the judge who recently issued his denial ruling in response to several petitioners who requested release of the grand jury minutes in the case of senselessly killed Eric Garner in Staten Island last July. Comment.

Do a better job on gender equality

Viewpoints: LONDON, March 21, 2015 (IPS) - Undoubtedly, we are at a crucial time in the advancement of gender equality. As we move towards consensus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must ensure the rights of women and girls are firmly embedded in the post-2015 development framework. Comment.

Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole

Viewpoints: When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has “suffered enough.” Comment.

Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole

Viewpoints: When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has “suffered enough.” Comment.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why this Catholic doctor supports medical aid in dying

Viewpoints: Inspired by the public advocacy of terminal brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard, lawmaker in Washington, DC, and at least 16 other states – from California to New York – have introduced bills that would authorize the medical option of aid in dying. Comment.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cheerleaders for undermining the presidency

Viewpoints: Given where he lines up on the political spectrum, hardly would James Baker, the onetime secretary of state, be among my favorite people. Baker served under President Reagan and the first President Bush and seems to be as loyal to the Bush clan as they could desire. He was in the forefront of that hijacking of the democratic process in the disputed 2000 election, leading the charge to have the Florida vote re-count stopped by a right-tilted high court to hand the presidency to George W. Bush. And these days he’s extolling Jeb Bush as the Republicans’ top gun for 2016. All of that notwithstanding, Baker does seem capable of a level of stand-up behavior that puts him poles apart from most of the classless bunch, in Congress and elsewhere, with whom he shares fealty to the GOP brand. Comment.

Gender equality, the last big poverty challenge

Viewpoints: NEW YORK, March 16, 2015 (IPS) - It is estimated that women account for two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty. They also make up 60 per cent of the world’s 572 million working poor. Comment.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In home stretch, the president shifts gears

Viewpoints: Come to think of it, it may not be as far-fetched as it sounds, to suggest for public conjecture whether President Obama entertained a secret desire to be tending the nation’s affairs while Capitol Hill was totally under Republican control. The ready reaction would be that the president’s going there is just too masochistic to warrant serious consideration. And maybe it is. But into the last two years of his presidency, facing both a House and Senate with Republican majorities, the zip and/or panache in Obama’s speech and actions might give some of us pause as to his possibly having a preference for gladiator duty where he’s definitely facing odds not in his favor. Comment.

Let’s grant women land rights and power our future

Viewpoints: BONN, March 4, 2015 (IPS) - Women are not only the world’s primary food producers. They are hardworking and innovative and, they invest far more of their earnings in their families than men. But most lack the single most important asset for accessing investment resources – land rights. Comment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A legally-binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

Viewpoints: NEW YORK, March 6, 2015 (IPS) - Five years after the adoption of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Action Plan in 2010, compliance with commitments related to nuclear disarmament lags far behind those related to non-proliferation or the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Comment.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Going global with the presidential ‘dis’

Viewpoints: In how many different ways will Republicans on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the country be prepared to show their wanton disrespect for the President of the United States? We are but a mere two months into the life of the new Congress, and the bashing and attempted blocking of the president that has seemingly been the be-all and end-all of the GOP’s raison d’etre, has continued right on in inveterate fashion, perhaps with even more gusto now that the party controls both houses of Congress. Comment.

Community Reinvestment Act can boost energy-efficiency, funding for low-income schools

Viewpoints: One in five Americans spends his or her days in our nation’s 140,000 K-12 schools. Those schools spend close to $8 billion a year on energy costs, the second-largest line item in a school budget after personnel costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 25 percent of the energy used in schools is wasted. In a world of shrinking budgets and resources, energy-efficiency savings in utility costs could be used for desperately needed funding for additional teachers and school resources. Comment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Water and the world we want

Viewpoints: HAMILTON, Canada, Feb 25 2015 (IPS) - We have entered a watershed year, a moment critical for humanity. As we reflect on the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals, we look toward the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals to redress imbalances perpetuated through unsustainable economic growth and to help achieve key universally-shared ambitions, including stable political systems, greater wealth and better health for all. Comment.

Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Patrick Manning’s long road to redemption

Trinidad and Tobago: Up to quite recently, it looked like former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning was intent on being a central player again in the country’s politics, after having been reduced by illness to an incidental, sideline role for the better part of the current government’s soon-to-expire term. Comment.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

Towards true Caribbean independence

Grenada: Every generation in every nation, has a few exceptionally talented individuals who go on to exhibit the caring acts and intuitive vision of stalwarts. And as the hand of time would have it, in the generational cohort which gave Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique and the Caribbean, Anthony C. George, there is certainly at least one such person. Comment.