Archive for the ‘poor’ Category

U.S. eases criticism of China and targets Russia

March 11, 2008
By Sue Pleming 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States took aim at Russia on Tuesday in its annual report on human rights, accusing the government of corruption and electoral abuses, but seemed to ease criticism of China ahead of the Olympic Games.

Paramilitary policemen stand in front of a bus with Olympic ...
Paramilitary policemen stand in front of a us with Olympic mascots in the window as they watch delegates from the National People’s Congress (NPC) walk towards the Great Hall of the People in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square March 11, 2008.(David Gray/Reuters)

In examining human rights in more than 190 countries last year, the State Department also criticized its usual targets Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, China, Nepal, Syria and Zimbabwe.

“Countries in which power was concentrated in the hands of unaccountable rulers remained the world’s most systematic human rights violators,” said the report, which is widely resented by foreign governments that come under fire.

In a gesture likely to annoy human rights groups, the State Department did not include China among the world’s worst offenders like last year but Beijing‘s record on the issue was described as “poor.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080311/ts_nm/right_
usa_dc_4

Advertisements

Pope, Vatical Modernize “Sins of Society” List

March 10, 2008
By FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press 

VATICAN CITY – In olden days, the deadly sins included lust, gluttony and greed. Now, the Catholic Church says pollution, mind-damaging drugs and genetic experiments are on its updated thou-shalt-not list. Also receiving fresh attention by the Vatican was social injustice, along the lines of the age-old maxim: “The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.”

In the Vatican’s latest update on how God’s law is being violated in today’s world, Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, was asked by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano what, in his opinion, are the “new sins.”

He cited “violations of the basic rights of human nature” through genetic manipulation, drugs that “weaken the mind and cloud intelligence,” and the imbalance between the rich and the poor.

“If yesterday sin had a rather individualistic dimension, today it has a weight, a resonance, that’s especially social, rather than individual,” said Girotti, whose office deals with matters of conscience and grants absolution.

It’s not the first time that the Vatican has sought to put a modern spin on sin. Last year, the Vatican took on the problem of highway accidents, issuing a kind of “Ten Commandments” for drivers against the sins of road rage, alcohol abuse and even rudeness behind the wheel.

Vatican officials, however, stressed that Girotti’s comments broke no new ground on what constitutes sin.

On the environment, both Pope Benedict XVI and the late Pope John Paul II frequently expressed concern about the fate of the Earth. During Benedict’s papacy, Vatican engineers have developed plans for some Holy See buildings to use solar energy, including photovoltaic cells on the roof of the auditorium for pilgrims’ audiences with the pontiff.

John Paul also dedicated much of his long papacy to condemning the gap between have and have-nots in speeches in his travels throughout the world as well as in writings.

“The poor are always becoming poorer and the rich ever more rich, feeding unsustainable social injustice,” Girotti said in the interview published Sunday.

Closer to home, Girotti was asked about the many “situations of scandal and sin within the church,” in what appeared to be a reference to allegations in the United States and other countries of sexual abuse by clergy of minors and the coverups by hierarchy.

The monsignor acknowledged the “objective gravity” of the allegations, but contended that the heavy coverage by mass media of the scandals must also be denounced because it “discredits the church.”

Benedict has been leading the Vatican’s campaign against abortion, and Girotti was asked about the “widespread perception” that the church doesn’t consider the “difficult” predicament for women.

Girotti rejected that view, saying that Catholic organizations help unwed mothers, educating “their children who come into the worth because of their lack of foresight” and facilitating adoption.

Japan’s economic boom preys on young working poor

February 7, 2008
By Harumi Ozawa

TOKYO (AFP) – When Shuichiro Sekine tried out one of the new jobs being created in Japan, the world’s second richest country, he found himself at a warehouse sifting through industrial debris by hand.
.
“I was told to get on a mountain of industrial waste, full of a foul odour and dust, and separate it piece by piece by hand,” said union activist Sekine, recalling his undercover investigation.

“I was sent to a workplace like that as a total layman, without any instructions or safety measures,” he said. “Then I was told it was my own responsibility to protect myself.”

For an eight-hour day of tough, dangerous work in suburban Tokyo, Sekine earned 6,900 yen (60.50 dollars), just more than the minimum wage, after the company that dispatched him deducted a 500-yen commission.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080206/lf_afp/
japaneconomypoverty_080206160506

China’s Population of Severely Poor Equal To Entire U.S. Population

January 13, 2008
January 13, 2008
.
YANGMIAO, China — When she gets sick, Li Enlan, 78, picks herbs from the woods that grow nearby instead of buying modern medicines. This is not the result of some philosophical choice, though. She has never seen a doctor and, like many residents of this area, lives in a meager barter economy, seldom coming into contact with cash.
.
 “We eat somehow, but it’s never enough,” Ms. Li said. “At least we’re not starving.”In this region of southern Henan Province, in village after village, people are too poor to heat their homes in the winter and many lack basic comforts like running water. Mobile phones, a near ubiquitous symbol of upward mobility throughout much of this country, are seen as an impossible luxury.
.
People here often begin conversations with a phrase that is still not uncommon in today’s China: “We are poor.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/
world/asia/13china.html