Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.


Israel Admits to Coercing Ethiopian Immigrants Into Taking Depo-Provera

Israel Admits to Coercing Ethiopian Immigrants Into Taking Depo-Provera | Care2 Causes
Shocking news has emerged from Israel, where journalists have been exploring why the birth rate among Ethiopian Jews living in Israel appears to be on the decline. Thousands of Jews of Ethiopian origin live and work in Israel, and evidence shows the immigrant women among them were coerced into taking Depo-Provera, a long-acting birth control medication designed to prevent pregnancy for up to three months. Women were told that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the country without the injection, and once in Israel, many of them continued to use it.
Depo-Provera is extremely effective, but it comes at a cost. The medication is associated with loss of bone density, which can be difficult to treat, and may increase the risk of developing fractures and osteoporosis later in life. Women on the medication can also experience side effects like increased bleeding or a complete cessation of menstruation, bloating, mood swings and anxiety. Since it’s an injectable drug, they’re stuck with these symptoms until the three month dosage of hormones wears off. Most Israeli gynecologists don’t recommend it unless there’s a compelling medical reason to do, mirroring prescribing practices elsewhere in the world.
When Depo-Provera is used in Israel, it’s notable to look at who’s most likely to take the medication. Organization Isha L’Isha looked into this issue with concerns about who was being medicated and why, worried particularly about the potentially serious side effects of Depo-Provera and whether women were receiving adequate information about the drug so they could make informed choices about its use. The feminist group noted in 2009 that Depo-Provera wasn’t the first choice of birth control for most Israeli women, but that it was commonly used on women in custody and Ethiopian women.
In other words, the drug was used on vulnerable, low-income populations with fewer resources for education, and lower social standing. In addition to being pressured or coerced into using the medication, many may not have understood its risks and benefits, and by continuing to use it without taking precautions like adding calcium supplements to their diets to offset bone loss, they could have experienced permanent damage. Notably, the history of the development of this drug is itself rife with racism and abuses; it was tested on populations of low-income women of color around the world in dubious conditions.
Women taking Depo-Provera weren’t given information about side effects when the drug was administered, and were told simply to return for regular injections every three months. They received little to no gynecological support, including followups to check on symptoms, counseling if they had specific problems while on the medication, and assistance with going off the drug and recovering their fertility. Since it can take some time to reestablish fertility after stopping Depo-Provera, this third issue is of particular concern, and the apparent blanket policy of administering Depo-Provera to Ethiopian immigrants in Israel suggests that officials wanted to create a barrier to childbearing.
The Isha L’Isha study concluded that: “Birth policy in Israel over the years reflects a class-based and separatist agenda towards the various social groups in Israel.”  Ethiopian immigrants have a much lower socioeconomic status, and the policy of strongly recommending Depo-Provera in preference to other birth control options, and providing it without education and support, is indicative of underlying racism.
The government has responded, issuing new guidelines for the dispensation of birth control prescriptions, but will this be enough? Significant social and class divides are an ongoing issue in Israel, and racism in the medical system (as well as elsewhere) cannot be neatly erased with a new set of guidelines. This case should be sparking concerns about other areas in policy and society where racism is allowed to pass unchecked.

IPS – Morsi Slams New Lid on Labour Rights |

IPS – Morsi Slams New Lid on Labour Rights | Inter Press Service
CAIRO, Jan 24 2013 (IPS) - Workers played a pivotal role in the mass uprising that led to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. Now, two years on, the same labour movement that helped topple the Arab dictator is locked in a stalemate with the government and employers over long-denied labour rights and untenable working conditions.
In recent months, thousands of disenfranchised workers across Egypt have taken collective action to secure better wages and working conditions, paralysing sectors of an economy still recovering from the 2011 uprising. The country’s new Islamist-led government has promised to resolve labour disputes quickly and equitably, but faces formidable challenges as it grapples with restive workers, unyielding employers, and depleted state coffers.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the conservative Islamic movement that dominated last year’s parliamentary and presidential polls, ran on a platform that emphasised social justice. Yet the once-outlawed group has a poor track record on worker rights, and a history of anti-union activities.
“We had a revolution but the only change is from (Mubarak’s) National Democratic Party to the Muslim Brotherhood,” says labour activist Kareem El-Beheiry. “The Brotherhood has never done anything for the labour movement, and never supported workers or independent unions.”
President Mohamed Morsi, a former Brotherhood leader, has faced a number of tests since taking office last June. There were over 2,000 labour protests in 2012, with the rate of protests more than doubling during the second half of the year, according to a new study by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).
“We cannot but notice the clear failure of Morsi’s administration to resolve these protests or even set a clear plan for dealing with their demands. Rather, the administration has continued to adopt the same old policies, which only aggravates the matter,” the ECESR report said.
Labour Minister Khaled El-Azhary, a prominent Brotherhood member, has repeatedly urged striking workers to return to work while the government considers their demands. He says Egypt’s fragile economy cannot afford any more loss of production and must be given a chance to recover from the 2011 revolution.
Egypt is struggling to plug deficits in the state budget and balance of payments as it burns through its last remaining foreign reserves. Tourism, a key foreign revenue earner, plummeted after the uprising and is still off by 20 percent. Foreign investment has retreated, and many projects remain on hold due to ongoing political and economic uncertainty.
While the government has generally tried to avoid confrontations with striking workers, it has taken a tough stand on those who “obstruct the wheels of production.” In the months following Morsi’s appointment, riot police broke up labour protests and arrested local strike organisers, while public sector employees found engaging in collective actions were fired, transferred or referred to disciplinary hearings.

IPS – Japan Values Women Less – As It Needs Them More | I

IPS – Japan Values Women Less – As It Needs Them More | Inter Press Service
TOKYO, Jan 31 2013 (IPS) - Despite anti-discrimination laws and a steadily growing number of employed women, Japan is falling behind the rest of the world on gender equality. Widespread discrimination persists, and has only grown more subtle over the past years.
Japan is one of the world’s most industrialised countries but has always kept true to its old traditions. In the same way, traditional gender roles have always been a source of inequality in the world’s third largest economy. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Japan has consistently ranked as the most unequal of the world’s richest countries.
And the gap seems to be widening: last October the World Economic Forum’s annual report on gender gaps downgraded Japan’s rank from 99 to 101, alongside Tajikistan and Gambia in terms of political and social equality.

IPS – Shell Case Shows Failure of Nigerian Judiciary |

IPS – Shell Case Shows Failure of Nigerian Judiciary | Inter Press Service
LAGOS, Nigeria, Jan 31 2013 (IPS) - The decision by The Hague over Shell’s liability for polluting in the Niger Delta shows that justice is possible – but it is extremely hard to achieve if you are taking on a massive multinational, says Amnesty International’s Africa programme director Audrey Gaughran.
While The Hague dismissed most of the landmark case brought by the four Nigerian farmers and environmental pressure group, Friends of the Earth, against a subsidiary of international oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, the judges ordered Shell Nigeria to compensate one farmer for breach of duty of care.
Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, is the largest oil and gas company in Nigeria, Africa’s top energy producer, which produces more than one million barrels of oil per day.
The Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth filed the suit in 2008 in The Hague, where Shell has its joint global headquarters, seeking unspecified reparations for lost income from contaminated land and waterways in the petroleum-rich Niger Delta.
One of the farmers, Friday Alfred Akpan, from Ikot Ada Udo village, had complained that the oil leakage in his community had destroyed his 47 fishponds. He said the destruction of the ponds had resulted in his inability to fend for his family.
The pollution was a result of oil spills in 2004, 2005 and 2007, the complainants said.
The Niger Delta, which accounts for 50 percent of this West African nation’s oil exports, has about 31 million inhabitants. Farming and fishing is the main source of livelihood for the impoverished, rural population here.
According to AFP, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth welcomed the one compensation order but was stunned to have lost the other cases.Clearly it’s good news that one of the plaintiffs in this case managed to clamber over all the obstacles to something approaching justice,” Gaughran told IPS from Lagos on Wednesday, “Given the really serious difficulties of bringing these cases at all, the significance of today’s ruling is that one plaintiff prevailed and will get damages.
“However, the fact that the other plaintiffs’ claims were dismissed underscores the very serious obstacles people from the Niger Delta face in accessing justice when their lives have been destroyed by oil pollution.
“It is clear that governments need to look at the formidable obstacles claimants face, especially when taking massive oil companies to court,” he said.
Wale Fapohunda, a commissioner with the National Human Rights Commission in Lagos, told IPS that the fact that the case was filed in The Hague showed a lack of faith in the Nigerian judicial system which is plagued by corruption.


Avaaz- to EU, save the bees, eliminate pesticides

Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But in 24 hours the European Union could move to ban the most poisonous pesticides, and pave the way to a global ban that would save bees from extinction.

Four EU countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. Days ago the official European food safety watchdog stated for the first time that certain pesticides are fatally harming bees. Now legal experts and European politicians are calling for an immediate ban. But Bayer and other giant pesticide producers are lobbying hard to keep them on the market. If we build a huge swarm of public outrage now, we can push the European Commission to put our health and our environment before the profit of a few.

We know our voices count! Last year, our 1.2 million strong petition forced US authorities to open a formal consultation on pesticides -- now if we reach 2 million, we can persuade the EU to get rid of these crazy poisons and pave the way for a ban worldwide. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone -- Avaaz and leading MEPs will deliver our message ahead of this week's key meeting in Brussels:

Bees don't just make honey, they are vital to life on earth, every year pollinating 90% of plants and crops -- with an estimated $40bn value and over one-third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.

Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations -- some bee species are already extinct and some US species are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers and now the European Food Safety Authority is saying that toxic chemicals called neonicotinoid pesticides could be responsible for the bee deaths. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee-killing pesticides. But Bayer continues to export its poison across the world.

Now the issue is coming to a boil. EU parliamentarians are stepping up their pressure on the European Commission and key governments to push new legislation to ban the deadly pesticides, and we can offer them the public support they need to counter the powerful pesticide lobby. Sign the urgent petition to Europe’s leaders, then forward this email widely:


Avaaz - Oil showdown in the Amazon

Avaaz - Oil showdown in the Amazon
Ecuador’s Sani Isla Kichwa people have asked for our help to stop the government turning their forest home into an oil field. A massive scandal in the global media challenging President Correa to act on his environmental principles could persuade him to pull back and stop the Amazon oil rush. Sign the petition now:

There is one area of the Ecuadorian Amazon that is so pristine that the whole ecosystem has been preserved and even jaguars roam free! But the government is now threatening to go in and drill for oil.

The local indigenous people have been resisting, but they are afraid that oil companies will break up the community with bribes. When they heard that people across the world might stand with them and make a stink to save their land, they were thrilled. The president of Ecuador claims to stand for indigenous rights and the environment, but he has just come up with a new plan to bring oil speculators in to 4 million hectares of jungle. If we can say 'wait a minute, you're supposed to be the green president who says no one can buy Ecuador', we could expose him for turning his back on his commitments just as he is fighting for re-election.

He doesn't want a PR nightmare right now. If we get a million of us to help this one community defend their ancestral land and challenge the president openly to keep to his word, we could start a media storm that would make him reconsider the whole plan. Sign the petition now and tell everyone -- let's help save this beautiful forest:

Report: 'Big Food' Infiltrates Nutrition Association | (US)

Report: 'Big Food' Infiltrates Nutrition Association | Common Dreams
  • Processed food giants ConAgra and General Mills have been AND sponsors for 10 of the last 12 years.
  • Among the messages taught in Coca-Cola-sponsored continuing education courses are: sugar is not harmful to children; "Aspartame is completely safe, including for children over one year"; and "A majority of studies have not found a link between sugar and behavior in children."
New term:  "HealthWashing"  (lobbyists kidnapping health watchdogs)

Big Food" companies such as Coca-Cola and Hershey have hijacked the largest association of nutrition professionals, according to a damning new report by pubic health attorney and author Michele Simon.
  "Healthwashing" Lays potato chips at the Frito-Lay booth at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Photograph: Michele Simon) But the "deep infiltration" of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is largely unacceptable to the vast majority of its 74,000 members.
"The food industry's deep infiltration of the nation's top nutrition organization raises serious questions not only about that profession's credibility, but also about its policy positions," Simon writes in the executive summary of "And Now a Word Fr0m Our Sponsors: Are America's Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?"
"Some of the food companies’ products are full of questionable and/or harmful ingredients," registered dietitian Carla S. Caccia told Simon. "Are GMOs safe in moderation? I don’t know. Caramel coloring? High fructose corn syrup? Is lean meat still the healthy choice even though the animal was given general antibiotics? Is grilled chicken still the healthy choice even though it ate feed contaminated with arsenic? I don’t know and I’m supposed to be the expert! I would like to turn to AND for these answers but I can’t trust them because they are in partnership with food companies whose products are full of these things."
“The food companies are being very strategic,” Simon told nutrition educator and journalist Kristin Wartman in an interview. “They know that RDs are the vehicles through which information is carried to the consumers, so they want to make sure that their message gets out loud and clear to these professionals.”


Report: Chemicals Most Countries Ban Still Permitted in US Foods |

Report: Chemicals Most Countries Ban Still Permitted in US Foods | Common Dreams
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Spawned by a petition calling on Gatorade to remove a flame retardant from their sports drink, the Chicago Tribune released an investigation into the chemical ingredients that the United States and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are permitting despite frequent bans elsewhere.
  New reports raise questions about the validity of the back-of-the-package information. (Photo: Dan Domme via Flickr) Mississippi 15-year-old, Sarah Kavanagh, launched the petition after learning that Gatorade contains an emulsifier, brominated vegetable oil (or BVO), which is illegal to use as a food additive in the European Union, India, Nepal, Canada, Brazil and Japan because of its connection to reproductive and behavior problems.
"In the U.S. money rules and industry wields a lot of influence and that's how it has been for a while," said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at the Consumers Union, "but in Europe they take into serious consideration what their population wants, too. And why shouldn't the population be concerned about new things being put into food?"
Whereas other international authorities tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to evaluating food additives, in the US new food products "simply need an OK from experts hired by the manufacturers" giving the FDA the option to investigate later "if health issues emerge."
Though the FDA's mission is purportedly "to protect public health by ensuring that foods are safe and properly labeled," a second examination released Wednesday by the non-profit food watchdog, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), revealed that the amount of food fraud and mislabeled ingredients is up by 60 percent this year.
In comparison to their initial Food Fraud Database published in April 2012, the group found a surge in adulterated ingredients in common household products.
ABC News reports:
Among the most popular targets for unscrupulous food suppliers? Pomegranate juice, which is often diluted with grape or pear juice…additional sugar, or just water and sugar.
[Markus Lipp, senior director for Food Standards at an independent lab] added that there have also been reports of completely "synthetic pomegranate juice" that didn't contain any traces of the real juice.
USP tells ABC News that liquids and ground foods in general are the easiest to tamper with:
  • Olive oil: often diluted with cheaper oils
  • Lemon juice: cheapened with water and sugar
  • Tea: diluted with fillers like lawn grass or fern leaves
  • Spices: like paprika or saffron adulterated with dangerous food colorings that mimic the colors
Milk, honey, coffee and syrup are also listed by the USP as being highly adulterated products.
Also high on the list: seafood. The number one fake being escolar, an oily fish that can cause stomach problems, being mislabeled as white tuna or albacore, frequently found on sushi menus.
Kavanagh, whose personal dismay launched the Gatorade petition and subsequent investigation, said it "shows greed" when companies use chemical additives and cheaper ingredients that could cause health problems.  "It shows that they care less about consumers than about how much money they spend and make," she added.
Gatorade has stated that no changes are planned to its US drink formulation despite the over 200,000 signatures gathered calling for the ban.

'Enough Food For Everyone' Campaign To Raise Awareness Of Tax Avoidance And 'Rigged' Markets


'Enough Food For Everyone' Campaign To Raise Awareness Of Tax Avoidance And 'Rigged' Markets
ill Gates, Desmond Tutu and One Direction, alongside a coalition of hundreds of charities and faith groups are to launch a huge drive against food poverty - aimed at raising awareness about both tax avoidance, "rigged" food markets and starvation.
The "Enough Food For Everyone If.." campaign will deliberately address financial irresponsibility from the world's richest, and the coalition say they want to shift focus from aid "to address the structural causes of hunger."
It will call on the G8, chaired this year by the UK, to launch a conference on tax transparency and "reinvigorate the global challenge to tax havens"

Charities supporting the campaign, dubbed "the next Make Poverty History", include Unicef, Oxfam, ActionAid and Save the Children. It hopes to emulate the success of that movement, and its ubiquitous white bracelets.
But Oxfam's Max Lawson, head of advocacy and public policy, told The Guardian this time around the campaign is "more radical" because Make Poverty History's goal of debt cancellation was "broadly accepted by governments."There are clear unilateral steps the UK government could take, for example closing down tax loopholes, where the UK has a lot of influence." Cameron has already agreed to some of the campaigners demands, confirming 0.7% GDP will be ring-fenced for overseas aid.

In a report published to co-incide with the launch, campaigners estimate that 28% of children in developing countries are underweight or stunted. In a joint statement, the charities have called on politicians to take action on food prices, the "rigged food system" and small farmers. "There is enough food in the world to feed everyone. Yet one billion people go to bed hungry every night and over two million children die from malnutrition.  "Food prices are higher than ever before. Even in the UK, many hardworking people struggle to find the money to feed their families."
Tutu, one of the campaign's most high-profile backers, said in a statement: "“Hunger is not an incurable disease or an unavoidable tragedy. We can make sure no child goes to bed hungry. We can stop mothers from starving themselves to feed their families. We can save lives. We can do all of this, IF we are prepared to do something about it.
"If we challenge our leaders to take action. If they listen to us. It’s time the world’s decision-makers came to the right decision on hunger. It’s time to end the unnecessary suffering caused by the failure of the current food system. We can make hunger a thing of the past if we act now."


SCOTUS upholds EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases

Daily Kos: Huge: SCOTUS upholds EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases
This just in from Reuters:  In an important victory for the Obama Administration the SCOTUS is refusing to even consider reversing EPA on tough new ruling for sulfur dioxide emissions.
This is important and timely with just yesterday the President making Climate Change a top priority in his next term.
Without comment, the court decided not to hear an appeal by Grupo Mexico SAB's Asarco LLC unit of a lower court ruling that upholds a 2010 EPA rule limiting sulfur dioxide in the air to 75 parts per billion over one hour. [...]
"The EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases during Obama's first term have been upheld in court, which is a favorable sign for proponents of climate change regulation," said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section, in a telephone interview.
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is authorized to adopt standards that are necessary to protect the public health, while allowing an "adequate margin of safety."
Has the conservative court come to the realization that Democrats are not the only ones who will suffer the effects of Climate Change?    

Assed Baig: The Conflict in Mali Has Nothing to Do With Fighting Terrorists

Assed Baig: The Conflict in Mali Has Nothing to Do With Fighting Terrorists
".....Furthermore, the ideology and literalist approach of the Malian rebels has its foundations in and is propagated via the Saudi state and the Wahabi/Salafi movement. The West enjoys a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. Western leaders can often be seen hugging and kissing Saudi leaders, and enjoying the hospitality of the Saudi state, never mentioning the destruction of heritage, the treatment of foreign workers, the executions, the amputations and not to forget, the favourite subject of the West when they wish to engage in wars - the treatment of women. Our leaders are too busy flogging weapons to Saudi Arabia rather than moralising with them.
If this battle is not for ideological reasons then what is it for? The answer, however cynical, is simple. Resources. Mali is rich in resources, from uranium to gold. It is an African kingdom that has historically been known for its mass of gold reserves and more recently the possibility of further oil and uranium exploration. Had the rebels expressed their love of the West and outlined their intentions to open up Mali's market to foreign companies (allowing the leaching of resources), we would not have heard a word of objection from France, the United Kingdom or any other power. Instead, we are greeted with the scramble to take a big slice out of this African cake. Everyone is rushing to fight 'terrorists' in Mali. France is ensuring energy security. There should be no disruption in the flow of uranium through France's nuclear reactors. The so-called rebels are bad for business.
America had no problem flying over members of the Taliban to the United Sates when they thought they could win them over with gas pipeline deals. Their ideology was not a problem back then, it only becomes a problem if someone challenges or stands up to Western hegemony.
The arrogance and ignorance that the people of the world are confronted with is astounding. Had these Malian rebels found themselves in Syria or Libya (at the time of Gaddafi) they would have been called revolutionaries, received funding, training and been armed by the West. These rebels however, are fighting a regime that is a friend of the West and not an enemy, and these rebels just happen to be in the wrong country. Maybe they should request to be taken to Syria?
As with all foreign intervention there is always blowback and destabilisation of neighbouring countries. Afghanistan and the troubles in Pakistan are a prime example. The attack on a gas plant in Algeria was seemingly as a direct consequence of the Western intervention in Mali.
Had the West not attacked Mali, there would likely have been no hostage situation in Algeria and most of all, no deaths. Reports emerging tell us that the rebels in Algeria were only looking for Westerners. The foreign secretary denied that Algeria had anything to do with the intervention in neighbouring Mali. The public are not so easily fooled this time, especially in the aftermath of Afghanistan and Iraq. We are reminded that the West is engaged in Mali to fight these 'terrorists', but the West has been happy to support groups and leaders whose human rights records have been far from exemplary. From General Suharto of Indonesia to the Afghan resistance during the Soviet occupation, the West has no moral high ground when it comes to human rights.
The situation in Mali would not have occurred if the Tuareg were not pushed out from Libya to return to their region, armed and trained, looking for their rights and recognition as a people. Something the colonial carving up of Africa and the drawing up of artificial borders denied the Tuareg people. There has been an alliance of different groups in Mali all with different interests, but their enemy is the same - the Western sympathising regime in Bamako.
Not for a second am I defending the Salafi/Wahabi rebels or their literalist and brutal approach. I am simply pointing out the blatant contradictions of the Western powers. France and the West, in my opinion, are much more brutal than any rebel group. Dropping bombs on villages and murdering children is not something that should be applauded, but the government spin-doctors are always at hand to make us hate the people that should have our sympathy and love those that should have our indignation.
One day people will look back at these so-called wars of liberation and see them for what they are - politicians putting business interests before the lives of people and painting a veneer of moral superiority when there is none.

Maryam Adrangi: What Enbridge Doesn't Want Ontarians to Know

Maryam Adrangi: What Enbridge Doesn't Want Ontarians to Know
Sarnia, Hamilton, London, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, Dunham, and others.
Tar sands oil may soon be pumping through an Ontario pipeline near you. If you didn't know, it is likely because Enbridge doesn't want you to know that they are bringing the Kalamazoo disaster to your home province. It is called Line 9, and is part of the same Enbridge pipeline network as the pipe that spilled well over a million barrels of oil in 2010 into the Kalamazoo River. The U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board investigated Enbridge's handling of the spill, citing two dozen safety violations.
The investigation showed that Enbridge knew that the 40 year old pipeline could use some work on numerous cracks and corroded areas to make it safer and less likely to fracture, yet there were no attempts to fix the pipeline. They also underestimated their "worst case scenario" by claiming that a spill would be noticed and shut down after eight minutes. When a spill actually happened, we saw that it took the large, wealthy pipeline company over 15 hours to react.
The pipeline that fractured in Kalamazoo connects to Line 9 when it passes through the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, the most densely populated area in Canada. But communities along this pipeline are not being informed or asked if they are okay with it. In fact, the National Energy Board will be making a decision on phase one of the project, which is to bring a corrosive tar sands-chemical mixture known as dilbit from Sarnia to a refinery outside of Hamilton, no later than August 20th.
Dilbit is more corrosive than conventional crude given the temperatures needed for transport and its acidic nature, and a joint fact sheet put out by several environmental groups describes the flow through a pipeline as "fast, hot, and toxic liquid sandpaper." But again, most people do not know about it, and grassroots and environmental groups have taken on the responsibility of informing neighbours and those at risk.
And whether or not you are directly on the route of the pipeline, a fracture could still impact you since it crosses major rivers and water systems. A spill could devastate the Grand River Basin, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River -- just to name a few. If you are served by one of these large water sources, you may expect cancer-causing toxins to enter with a spill, potentially evacuation of your home, and several years of cleanup without full restoration to pre-spill conditions.
It is going largely unnoticed that Enbridge's failure in Kalamazoo may very well be repeated just across the border. Water, land, air, and ecosystems know no borders. Unfortunately, neither do human error, corporate irresponsibility, lack of government environmental regulation and proper consultation with communities opposing these projects. People are piping up and opposition is growing in many communities near Line 9's right-of-way including Six Nations, Aamjiwnaang, Sarnia, Hamilton, London, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, Dunham, and others.
And why wouldn't these communities be piping up? They will be facing all the risks, with little (if any) consultation, while Enbridge profits. When there is a spill, these communities will have to face the consequences and Enbridge may (or may not) get a slap on the wrist. For the Kalamazoo spill, the company was fined a measly $3.22 per gallon of oil spilled. We pay the true costs to our health and our communities.
We may even be forced to pay for it out of our wallets. Enbridge carries only enough insurance to cover $575 million in damages, well below the costs of clean-up for the Kalamazoo spill. Who pays for the rest? In the age of austerity when there are rallies across the country against rising tuition fees and Harper's cuts to health care, we are similarly seeing $1.4 billion dollars in subsidies going to the oil and gas sector and industry executives getting large pay raises -- including Enbridge's CEO and 12 directors.

Alternatively, some of us may like to see this money, particularly the subsidies, going to cutting our addiction to fossil fuels through investing in public transit and building retrofits. With more affordable public transit, there could be more transit routes and the capacity to operate for longer hours. This means not only less cars, but also that those employed in shift work and out of the regular nine-to-five would be able to get to work more easily. This is a clear shift towards healthier cities and respecting all types of work that allow our cities and communities to function -- not just focussing on the jobs in northern Alberta and temporary jobs for pipeline construction.
Governments can continue to talk about deficits and budget cuts, but while they wonder where their money is going, our communities face the risk of corporate mismanagement. So where is the contingency budget for taking the cancer out of our water, the asthma out of our air? It doesn't cost that much to respect people's right to say "no" does it?


The Ridiculously Low Cost Of Fighting Climate Change -

The Ridiculously Low Cost Of Fighting Climate Change - The Agonist
A new report by the World Economic Forum highlights the ridiculously low cost of curbing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and beginning the path to greening the economy, thus keeping global warming beneath a 2 degree mean rise. Reuters reports:
OSLO, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The world must spend an extra $700 billion a year to curb its addiction to fossil fuels blamed for worsening floods and heat waves and rising sea levels, a study issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed on Monday.
…The $700 billion, part of which would promote cleaner energies such as wind, solar or hydro-power, would be on top of about $5 trillion projected to be spent each year on infrastructure under a scenario of business as usual until 2020.
…The study said a $36 billion annual rise in global public spending to slow climate change – less than the estimated $50 billion cost of damage by Superstorm Sandy in the United States in October – could unlock far greater private investment.
It suggested a $36 billion jump in state spending to $126 billion a year, from a current $90 billion, might trigger $570 billion from private investors if properly managed.
The study itself is online and notes that the cost of not taking this action will far outweigh finding a paltry $700 billion out of the entire world’s budget to do something concrete.
Despite Obama’s fine words on climate change today, the actual lags hopelessly behind the possible. Reuters notes:
U.N. climate negotiations in Qatar in December ended with little progress on a global framework for emissions cuts.
Instead, governments agreed to devise a new United Nations pact to limit climate change that would enter into force from 2020.
One can only conclude that the only part of the math of climate change which really counts is the  $27 trillion worth of global fossil fuel reserves,  80% of which value must stay below ground if we want to survive but of course none of which big energy companies or governments want to pass up and write off.
In entirely unrelated news, Exxon sponsored the Obama inauguration to the tune of $260,000.

A Surprisingly Liberal Inaugural Address | FDL Action

A Surprisingly Liberal Inaugural Address | FDL Action
President Obama is at least rhetorically starting his second term on more liberal note. His inaugural address touched on a litany of progressive goals including climate change, LGBT rights, voting access, equal pay, gun control and immigration reform.
Obama did continue to call for “hard choices” about reducing our deficit, but that received only a single mention. By comparison an entire paragraph was dedicated to climate change.
Most newsworthy was probably Obama’s strong advocacy of LGBT rights as a true civil rights struggle. Even Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage was framed in personal terms. This was different. Obama declared Selma and Stonewall as part of the same universal struggle for equality. He called for a full national embrace of marriage equality saying, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
The President is at least starting his second term on a more inspirational and less conciliatory tone. There was almost no reference in his speech to compromise and bipartisanship. It was more about principles than possible bipartisan legislation.
That said, words are by their nature cheap, especially when faced with an oppositional Congress that will provide a plausible excuse for inaction on almost every issue. Ultimately Obama’s second term will be judged by his actions not his speeches.

Leadnow | Coalition petition

Leadnow | Cooperate for Canada

In the last federal election, 61% of voters cast ballots for change, but the vote split and our broken electoral system gave Stephen Harper a majority of seats in Parliament.

Now, if we work together, we can make sure our next government represents a majority of Canadians and fixes our broken electoral system. Here’s how we can do it:
During the next election, the NDP, Liberals and Greens can cooperate in key ridings to defeat Stephen Harper’s government, and then pass electoral reform to make Canada’s democracy work better for everyone.

We can do it, but only if we start now.

The Liberals are preparing to choose their next leader, and cooperation is a major issue in these debates. We need to show the leadership candidates that thousands of Canadians are willing to take action to support cooperation for electoral reform.

Last Thursday, we sent a message to the whole Leadnow community. We asked if you would support political cooperation between the NDP, Liberals and Greens to defeat the current government in the next election, and then pass electoral reform. Almost 10,000 responded. 95% said yes, with an astounding 72% “strongly agreeing”. Now, as the NDP and Liberals choose their new leaders, we urgently need to turn that incredible support into real action.

Marriage Equality for Minnesota |

Marriage Equality for Minnesota | MyFDL
[Minnesota! My home state! Make it so!]
When the amendments for voter restriction and marriage restriction went on the 2012 ballot in Minnesota, it was widely assumed that both would win, and likely by big margins. Yet both went down in defeat last November, marking the first time that either type of state constitutional amendment had lost at the polls.
Now, for Minnesotans favoring marriage equality, comes the next step: Repealing the anti-equality laws currently on the state books, the ones the proposed ballot amendment had sought to embed into the state’s constitution.
Minnesotans United for All Families, the leaders in the fight to stop the Marriage Restriction Amendment and keep bigotry from being enshrined in the Minnesota constitution, are now leading the fight to remove bigotry from Minnesota statutes with a new petition. It’s not been out very long from what I gather, yet it’s already got over 10,000 signatures as of this writing.
You know what to do, Minnesota firepups.

Fake Medicine from China Threatening Lives in Africa |

Fake Medicine from China Threatening Lives in Africa | Care2 Causes
...According to The Guardian, the influx of these fake drugs from Asia, and especially China, is leading to a health crisis in some African countries, with the treatment of malaria being particularly at risk.

It’s hard to estimate exactly how widespread it is, but a recent study by the Fogarty Institute found that around a third of malaria drugs available in Uganda and Tanzania were falsified, susbstandard or degraded. Most of these were believed to originate in China, with a smaller number coming from India.
Specifically, here’s what the Fogarty researchers found:
Multicountry surveys from seven Southeast Asian countries included data on 1,437 samples of malaria drugs. About one third failed chemical analysis, nearly half were not correctly packaged and 36 percent were fakes. Similar surveys from 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa provided data on 2,634 malaria drug samples. Of these, more than one third failed on the basis of chemical analysis and about 20 percent were found to be fakes. Only Burkina Faso provided data on packaging analysis, with about a 35 percent failure rate.


$240 billion amassed by 100 richest people enough to end extreme poverty four times over: Oxfam | The Raw Story

$240 billion amassed by 100 richest people enough to end extreme poverty four times over: Oxfam | The Raw Story
The vast fortunes made by the world’s richest 100 billionaires is driving up inequality and hindering the world’s ability to tackle poverty, according to Oxfam.
The charity said the accumulation of wealth and income on an unprecedented scale, often at the expense of secure jobs and decent wages for the poorest, undermined the ability of people who survive on aid or low wages to improve their situation and escape poverty. Oxfam said the world’s poorest could be lifted out of poverty several times over should the richest 100 billionaires give away the money they made last year.
Without pointing a finger at individuals, the charity argued that the $240bn (£150bn) net income amassed in 2012 by the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to make extreme poverty history four times over.
It is rare for charities to attack the wealthy, who are usually regarded as a source of funding. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are among a group of 40 US billionaires who have pledged much of their wealth to aid projects, but there is little detail about the level of their annual donations. Their actions have also not been matched by Russian, Middle Eastern or Chinese billionaires.
In the report, The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All, published before the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, the charity calls on world leaders to curb income extremes and commit to reducing inequality to at least 1990 levels. The report found that the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60% in the past 20 years, with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process.
Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive, said extreme wealth was “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive”. She pointed to studies that show countries have suffered low levels of investment and growth as workers are forced to survive on a smaller share of total incomes. She said: “We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.”
The report said the issue affected all parts of the world. “In the UK inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10% now take home nearly 60% of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa, which is now the most unequal country on Earth and significantly more unequal than at the end of apartheid.”
In the US, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled since 1980 from 10 to 20%, the report says. For the top 0.01% the share of national income is above levels last seen in the 1920s. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have argued that extreme income inequality undermines growth and both organisations have attempted to tie their loans to programmes that limit the growth of inequality.
Members of the richest 1% are estimated to use as much as 10,000 times more carbon than the average US citizen. Oxfam said world leaders should learn from countries such as Brazil that had grown rapidly while reducing inequality.
Stocking said: “We need a global new deal to reverse decades of increasing inequality. As a first step world leaders should formally commit themselves to reducing inequality to the levels seen in 1990.” She said closing tax havens, which the Tax Justice Network says hold as much as $31 trillion, or as much as a third of all global wealth, could yield an additional $189bn (£118bn) in additional tax revenues.


GMO Salmon: US/Canada, action

On Friday December 21, the US Food and Drug Administration released their final environmental assessment of the genetically modified Atlantic salmon for 60 day public comment period. The US government is getting ready to approve the GM fish within months - and yet the entire future of this GM fish actually rests on a Canadian decision. The small US company AquaBounty wants to produce all the GM salmon eggs in PEI (to ship them to Panama to grow out and process for the US consumer market). Will Environment Canada approve the commercial production of GM salmon eggs in Canada? Will the PEI Premier step up and stop the Island from becoming the home of the GM salmon?

You can write to the Minister of the Environment today from


The US is about to treat the world to the first genetically modified meat: a mutant salmon that could wipe out wild salmon populations and threaten human health -- but we can stop it now before our plates are filled with suspicious Frankenfish.

The new fake salmon grows twice as fast as the real one, and not even scientists know its long-term health effects. Yet it’s about to be declared safe for us to eat, based on studies paid for by the company that created the GMO creature! Luckily, the US is legally required to consider public opinion before deciding. A growing coalition of consumers, environmentalists, and fishermen is calling on the government to trash this fishy deal. Let's urgently build an avalanche of global support to help them win.

The consultation is happening right now and we have a real chance to keep mutant fish off the menu. Sign to stop Frankenfish and share widely -- when we reach 1 million, our call will be officially submitted to the public consultation:

The company that developed the Frankenfish altered the DNA of the salmon to create a fish that would grow at lightning speed, year-round. Not only do we not understand its long term health effects, if a few of them or their eggs reached the wild, these super-salmon could decimate entire wild salmon populations. Worse, once they hit supermarkets, we won’t be able to tell apart Frankenfish and real salmon, so there won’t be a way to avoid it!


Obama EPA Shut Down Texas Shale Gas Water Contamination Study |

Obama EPA Shut Down Texas Shale Gas Water Contamination Study | MyFDL
The Associated Press has a breaking investigative story out today revealing that the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) censored a smoking gun scientific report in March 2012 that it had contracted out to a scientist who conducted field data on 32 water samples in Weatherford, TX.
That report, according to the AP, would have explicitly linked methane migration to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Weatherford, a city with 25,000+ citizens located in the heart of the Barnett Shale geologic formation 30 minutes from Dallas.
It was authored by Geoffrey Thyne, a geologist formerly on the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines and University of Wyoming before departing from the latter for a job in the private sector working for Interralogic Inc. in Ft Collins, CO.
This isn’t the first time Thyne’s scientific research has been shoved aside, either. Thyne wrote two landmark studies on groundwater contamination in Garfield County, CO, the first showing that it existed, the second confirming that the contamination was directly linked to fracking in the area.
It’s the second study that got him in trouble.
“Thyne says he was told to cease his research by higher-ups. He didn’t,” The Checks and Balances Project explained. ”And when it came to renew his contract, Thyne was cut loose.”

From Smoking Gun to Censorship: Range Resources Link

The Obama EPA’s Weatherford, TX study was long-in-the-making, with its orgins actually dating back to a case of water contamination in 2010. The victim: Steve Lipsky.
“At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane,” the AP wrote.
AP proceeded to explain that Lipsky had “reported his family’s drinking water had begun ‘bubbling’ like champagne” and that his “well…contains so much methane that the…water [is] pouring out of a garden hose [that] can be ignited.”
The driller in this case was a corporation notorious for intimidating local communities and governmental officials at all levels of governance: Range Resources. Range, in this case, set up shop for shale gas production in a “wooded area about a mile from Lipsky’s home,” according to the AP.
As DeSmogBlog revealed in November 2011, Range Resources utilizes psychological warfare techniques as part of its overarching public relations strategy.
Due to the grave health concerns associated with the presence of methane and benzene in drinking water, the Obama EPA “ordered Range…to take steps to clean their water wells and provide affected homeowners with safe water,” wrote the AP.
Range’s response? It “threatened not to cooperate” with the Obama EPA’s study on fracking’s link to water contamination. The non-cooperation lead to the Obama EPA suing Range Resources.
It was during this phase of the struggle where things got interesting. As the AP explained,
Believing the case was headed for a lengthy legal battle, the Obama EPA asked an independent scientist named Geoffrey Thyne to analyze water samples taken from 32 water wells. In the report obtained by the AP, Thyne concluded from chemical testing that the gas in the drinking water could have originated from Range Resources’ nearby drilling operation.
Despite this smoking gun, everything was soon shut down, with the Obama EPA reversing its emergency order, terminating the court battle and censoring Thyne’s report. The AP explained that the Obama EPA has “refused to answer questions about the decision.”

Cry for new environment laws unites Idle No More and chiefs, but not Ottawa

Cry for new environment laws unites Idle No More and chiefs, but not Ottawa
OTTAWA - If there's one issue that unites Idle No More protesters, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and militant and moderate First Nations alike, it is the federal government's recent changes to environmental oversight.
But the united stand among First Nations, grassroots and environmentalists has been met with an equally adamant federal government that appears unwilling to budge, forming the battle lines for an extended conflict.
"Our fights may be different, but our dreams and hopes for our people are common," Spence said in a statement posted Wednesday, thanking Idle No More for bringing awareness to the new environmental laws and urging unity among First Nations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, is not blinking.
"The government has no plans to reconsider its legislation," the prime minister's spokesman, Andrew MacDougall, said bluntly in an email Wednesday.
While there may be room to negotiate with Ottawa on other issues that have driven First Nations people into the streets in protest, the division over how to handle resource development and the environment is deep and entrenched.
Wednesday's day of action included traffic disruptions and public demonstrations across the country, but remained peaceful. Some chiefs, warn of blockades if material changes aren't made soon. And Spence's liquids-only hunger protest persists.
At issue are two huge and complicated pieces of legislation stemming from last year's budget, of which more efficient natural resource extraction was the centrepiece.
Bill C-38, which passed in June, completely overhauls Canada's environmental assessment law, redefines protections for fish and gives the federal cabinet new decision-making powers on resource development.
Environmentalists and First Nations alike say the changes allow mining and energy companies to steamroll over their concerns, and rush into resource extraction without properly accounting for harm to animal habitats.
But an analysis by lawyers at Fraser Milner Casgrain says the changes also impose new responsibilities on corporations when it comes to dealing with First Nations. Plans for resource extraction will need to take into consideration any effect on aboriginal health, socio-economic conditions, physical and cultural heritage, and historical sites.
C-45, the second omnibus budget bill, received royal assent in December. It overhauls protections of waterways by dramatically changing the Navigable Waters Act, as well as changing the Fisheries Act and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act.
"Is this the appropriate thing to do for the economy at the expense of future generations?" said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy, protesting Wednesday along with hundreds of others alongside a northern Ontario highway, shouting to be heard over a line of transport trucks slowed by the demonstration.
"We want to have a source of clean drinking water."
Behind the scenes, there may be some wiggle room as the federal government goes about crafting regulations on how to implement C-45. Harper and his officials indicated as much to chiefs who met with him and several cabinet ministers last week, insiders say.
"The PM did say that the law is now passed, but the regulations in many cases still need to be worked out, and that will involve consultation," said one government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
That's unlikely to do much to assuage the deep concerns shared by environmentalists and First Nations, said Megan Leslie, the NDP environment critic.
"The Conservatives could certainly say we'll add that lake or river to the (protected waters) list," she said. "But that's tinkering around the edges. They (chiefs and protesters) are concerned with the overall omnibus bill."
Still, she said the Conservatives have shown that they will move on legislation if they think it's not right. Included in C-45, for example, were two major changes to the just-passed C-38.

Bill C-304: Hate Speech Clause's Repeal Gives White Supremacists Rare Moment Of Glee

will embolden racists and lead to more racial violence

A Conservative private members’ bill that repeals part of Canada’s hate speech laws has passed the House of Commons with scant media attention, and even less commentary. But it's being cheered by many Canadian conservatives as a victory for freedom of speech. And it's being cheered most vocally by another group: White supremacists.
Bill C-304, introduced by Conservative backbencher Brian Storseth, repeals Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which bans hate speech transmitted over the Internet or by telephone. It passed third reading in the House of Commons on Thursday and is now headed to the Senate.
This is a huge victory for freedom in Canada,” a poster calling him or herself “CanadaFirst” posted on the website of StormFront, a notorious white supremacist group. “However, we still have other unjust Zionist ‘hate’ laws that need to go.”
“Way to go, Harper. I know we can’t get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck,” wrote “OneMan.”
The new law doesn’t make hate speech legal on the web or by phone -- hate speech remains illegal under the Criminal Code. But by removing it from the Canadian Human Rights Act, it takes away the authority of the country’s human rights commissions to investigate online hate speech and request that violating websites be taken down.
That has alarmed the Canadian Bar Association, which said in a recent report it’s concerned that the law may be the start of a campaign by the Conservatives to weaken Canada’s human rights laws.
“The debate surrounding the expediency of section 13 has become the proxy for an open assault on the very existence of an administrative framework to protect human rights in this country,” the CBA stated.

"Over the years, human rights commissions have remained at the vanguard of eliminating discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other grounds, and advancing equality," the CBA added.
Other supporters of the commissions say taking away their authority over hate speech will embolden racists and lead to more racial violence.
But human rights commissions have become bogeymen to many Canadian conservatives, and some others, who have campaigned for years to eliminate them altogether, painting them as bureaucratic tools of censorship.
In one famous case, conservative media icon Ezra Levant was hauled in front of an Alberta tribunal to explain his decision to run controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in the magazine he ran at the time, the Western Standard.
Levant became a cause celebre for opponents of the commissions, and his decision to republish the cartoons online on the day of his human rights hearing was hailed as heroic by many conservatives.
But all the opposition parties voted against the private members’ bill in Parliament Thursday, with NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison arguing that it would now be much harder to prevent hate speech online.
We do have a serious problem,” Garrison told the National Post. “If you take away the power to take (websites) down, it’s not clear they have any mandate to even to talk to people about it and educate them about it.”
Garrison argued that the Tories are being dishonest by having these laws be introduced as private members’ bills, rather than government bills, noting that the Conservative Party of Canada made repealing human rights commissions’ ability to regulate hate speech a part of their platform.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews defended the bill, tweeting on Thursday that the new law will “end arbitrary censorship powers of human rights commissions.”
Public opinion on human rights commissions is split. An unscientific poll on the CBC website shows a bare majority of people supporting the Tories’ move.

Common Causes day of actino, Jan 28

A new group called Common Causes, describing itself as an assembly of social movements dedicated to defending democracy, the environment and human rights will launch itself across Canada on January the 28th. 
 Groups who are concerned about the direction the Conservative government is taking the country are being asked to “Draw a Line in the Snow” because “Democracy is at Risk “.  Suggestions for action include:  a rally or gathering with banners, songs, video or flash mob.  Groups are asked to take a look at their communities and respond to the issues/needs affected.
January 28th was chosen as the day of action as Parliament reconvenes on the 28th and our MPs will be back in Ottawa. 
The Council of Canadians is providing office backup and their website as a means of communication between groups.  Please check . 
Scroll down to Common Causes.                           

India's Man Problem - gender imbalance may be causality

India's Man Problem -
As India grapples with what seems like a constant barrage of shocking acts of violence against women, one question is asked again and again: Why is this happening?
One answer, some experts say, is India’s gender ratio, distorted by the practice of sex selection in favor of baby boys.
A much-cited 2002 study,“A Surplus of Men, a Deficit of Peace,” by Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea den Boer, contends that a gender imbalance in Asian countries, caused by a shortage of marriageable women, results in higher rates of crime, including rape, committed by young unmarried men.
“Internal instability is heightened in nations displaying exaggerated gender inequality, leading to an altered security calculus for the state,” the authors wrote in 2002, and reiterated in a book on the subject. Their conclusions are even more true today, Ms. Hudson said in an e-mail interview.
“Certainly the situation is, if anything, worse in both India and China than it was 10 years ago,” she wrote. “Certainly violent crime against women increases as the deficit of women increases. This will constrain the life chances of females far into the future.”
Right now, the statistics are worrying. India has 37 million more men than women, as of 2011 census data, and about 17 million excess men in the age group that commits most crimes, up from 7 million in 1991.
Violent crime in India rose nearly 19 percent from 2007 to 2011, while the kidnapping of women (much of which is related to forced marriage) increased 74 percent in that time. That’s a marked increase from the five years before 2007, when violent crime actually fell by 2.8 percent, and the kidnapping of women rose by 41 percent.
If the study’s conclusions are correct, India’s problems with rape and other forms of violence against women – recently seen in the gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi, the gang rape of a high school student in Bihar state and the rape of a young woman in Punjab, who committed suicide afterward – may only get worse, given the trend in India’s demographics...
The authors adopted a Chinese term, guang gun-er (“bare branches”), for unmarried men from age 15 to their mid-30s who have limited prospects for employment. This group, which is larger in countries where sex selection is prevalent, usually “commits the preponderance of violence within a society,” according to the report.
In a marriage market where women are scarce and thus able to “marry up,” certain characteristics of young surplus males are easily and accurately predicted. They are liable to come from the lowest socioeconomic class, be un- or underemployed, live a fairly nomadic or transient lifestyle with few ties to the communities in which they are working, and generally live and socialize with other bachelors. In sum, these young surplus males may be considered, relatively speaking, losers in societal competition.
...“I think it is true that unless the government is willing to enforce its own laws against dowry and sex-selective abortion, not much will change,”  Professor Hudson said.