CAPITALISM 

Vaccine Patents = Mass Murder

Paul Demarty

Climate and Capitalism | May 07, 2021

As a new wave of Covid-19 rips through many countries, notably India, Argentina and Brazil, it is disconcerting to look on from the vantage point of a country where things are — for now — well under control, with over half the population at least partly vaccinated.

With scientific opinion — and plain common sense — united in the certainty that Britain and the few other rich countries which have had a successful vaccination program still cannot protect themselves so long as some of the most populous countries on earth are effectively giant Petri dishes for the emergence of new variants of the virus, scrutiny must rightly fall on Britain’s failure to aid the global effort adequately. And, while much of the discussion focuses on how many spare vaccine shots are ‘donated,’ there is a far more serious moral failure on display in the present situation.Read More »

COVID-19 PANDEMIC 

How the world failed to curb COVID

Amy Maxmen

Nature | May 12, 2021

A woman at a grave in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil
More than 400,000 people in Brazil have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.Credit: Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty

The World Health Organization (WHO) was too cautious in communicating the risks of COVID-19 early last year, according to the first major investigation of the global pandemic response. Had it been bolder, and had nations heeded its guidance, the pandemic might have been curtailed, say the authors of the report.

Last year, during the annual World Health Assembly, countries demanded that the WHO initiate an independent review of how the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, in order to draw lessons for the future. The resulting report, released on 12 May, was assembled by a panel of 13 global-health experts partly appointed by, but independent from, the WHO.Read More »

MAINSTREAM MEDIA 

The Mass Media Will Never Regain The Public’s Trust

Caitlin Johnstone

This year has marked the first time ever that trust in news media dropped below fifty percent in the United States, continuing a trend of decline that’s been ongoing for years.

Mass media punditry is divided on where to assign the blame for the plummet in public opinion of their work, with some blaming it on Russia and others blaming it on Donald Trump. Others, like a recent Forbes article titled “Restoring Public Trust In Technology And Media Is Infrastructure Investment” blame it on the internet. Still others, like a Washington Post article earlier this month titled “Bad news for journalists: The public doesn’t share our values” blame it on the people themselves.

The one thing they all seem to agree on is that it’s definitely not because the billionaire-controlled media are propaganda outlets which manipulate us constantly in conjunction with sociopathic government agencies to protect the oligarchic, imperialist status quo upon which the members of the billionaire class have built their respective kingdoms. It cannot possibly be because people sense that they are being lied to and are fed up with it.Read More »

SUFFERING OF THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE 

A third of Nigerians are unemployed: Here’s why

Ndubisi Nwokoma

Down To Earth | April 29, 2021

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics recently published the country’s unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting a continued deterioration during the COVID-19 year. The unemployment rate for this period stood at 33.3 per cent. Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, from The Conversation Africa, asked Ndubisi Nwokoma, an economics professor, to provide the context. 

How is unemployment measured?

Unemployment is when people are ready, able and willing to work, but do not find work. By the International Labour Organisation definition, a person is employed when they work at least 40 hours a week. The working age is regarded as between 15 and 60. Currently, 33.3 per cent or 23.2 million of the about 70 million people who should be working in Nigeria are out of work. An acceptable level of unemployment would be 4 per cent-6 per cent.Read More »

WORKERS’ SOLIDARITY 

Make solidarity permanent to create a fairer Europe

Luca Visentini

Morning Star | May 01, 2021

It has been clear simply in the way we have worn masks to protect others, it has been clear in the way workers put themselves at risk to keep essential services running and it’s been clear in the way trade unions won unprecedented support to save jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic.Read More »

VENEZUELAN ECONOMY 

How Venezuela is rebuilding its industrial base, one volunteer at a time

Leonardo Flores

People’s Dispatch | April 23, 2021

Member of the Productive Workers Army (EPO) in the midst of a work day. Photo: EPO

“We don’t just repair machines; we repair consciences,” says Sergio Requena of the Productive Workers Army (EPO by its Spanish-language initials) in Venezuela. The EPO is a group of 2,270 volunteers with a broad range of technical expertise. They go from factory to factory repairing broken machinery. Their mission is to recover Venezuela’s industrial production by empowering workers to take matters into their own hands.

Venezuela’s productive capacity has declined precipitously due to US sanctions. The country is impeded from accessing the international financial system, leading to a fall in investment. Even importing spare parts or industrial equipment is next to impossible. As a result of this, factories have trouble completing regular maintenance and repairs.Read More »

IMPERIALISM DESTROYING LIVES

UN DATA: Sanctions affect the entire population

Angel D. González

Ultimas Noticias | April 24, 2021

Everyone knows that the United States maintains a policy of “sanctions” and economic blockade against Venezuela, which since the time of Donald Trump they themselves called a “maximum pressure strategy.” The government of Washington, be it Democrat or Republican, does not hide that its intention with this is to achieve a “regime change”, that is, to force President Nicolás Maduro to leave power by force. All of this is crystal clear.Read More »

BAY OF PIGS 

April brings another victory

Madeleine Sautié

Granma | April 22, 2021

Photo: Granma Archives

Just when some might think that, exhausted by brutal U.S. attacks, Cuba would lose strength, here is our vanguard fighting with bare fists to make this extraordinary island a more prosperous, contented country.

Following a year of the pandemic’s pain and death, the world continues to seek solutions to control the virus that has ravaged even the most solid economies, while Cuba, “punished” by the most powerful empire on the planet, resists, having committed no other “crime” than giving back to Cubans what for centuries was denied, and rather than despairing, has mobilized to produce five candidate vaccines, the work of scientists trained by the Revolution.Read More »

COVID VACCINE 

Ahead of crucial WTO meet, rights groups urge patent waiver on COVID-19 vaccines

Peoples Dispatch | April 22, 2021

Demand for patent waiver WTO meet
(Photo: NICEF/Jake Verzosa)

Several human rights groups, including Doctors Without Border (Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF), ­­­­­­­­made an urgent appeal to the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the eve of its scheduled virtual meeting on Thursday, April 22, to waive off the patent rights on COVID-19 vaccine production.

More than 100 countries, led by India and South Africa, have demanded the temporary waiver of some clauses of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on the production of vaccines and other related medical equipment in order to increase their production and facilitate their wider and more equitable reach.Read More »