Filipino Activist Walden Bello: Global Vaccine Disparity Shows "Irrationality of Global Capitalism"

The international disparity in vaccine access between rich and low-income countries highlights “the irrationality of global capitalism,” says acclaimed Filipino scholar and activist Walden Bello, who urges the Biden administration to sign on to an effort at the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive intellectual property rules on vaccine technology. He also discusses the COVID crisis in the Philippines. Source link

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As Global Pandemic Worsens, U.S. Keeps Blocking Vaccine Patent Waivers Amid Big Pharma Lobbying

Big Pharma has hired an army of lobbyists to pressure U.S. lawmakers to block an effort at the World Trade Organization to loosen intellectual property rules on COVID-19 vaccines, which would allow countries around the world to ramp up production, vaccinate more people and bring the pandemic to an end sooner. Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are demanding a temporary waiver on vaccine patents, but rich countries, including the U.S. under both the Trump and Biden administrations, have opposed the move. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, says there is a “glut” of vaccines going to wealthy countries while…

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Skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across the Suez Canal is blocking global shipping

A skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal continues to block global shipping. At least 150 other vessels are sitting idle waiting for the obstruction to be cleared, authorities said. The Ever Given is a Panama-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe. It ran aground on Tuesday 23 March in the narrow, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. Evergreen Marine Corp, a Taiwan-based company that operates the ship, said in a statement that the Ever Given had been overcome by strong winds as it entered the canal from the Red Sea. None of its containers had sunk. Resolution Efforts to free the…

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“Immoral & Illegal”: U.S. & U.K. Move to Expand Nuclear Arsenals, Defying Global Disarmament Treaties

The United States and the United Kingdom are facing international criticism for moving to expand their nuclear arsenals, defying a growing global movement in support of nuclear disarmament. The U.S. is planning to spend $100 billion to develop a new nuclear missile which could travel 6,000 miles carrying a warhead 20 times stronger than the one dropped on Hiroshima, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just announced plans to lift the cap on its nuclear stockpile, ending three decades of gradual nuclear disarmament in the U.K. “We’re seeing this united, uniform response of nuclear-armed states to what the rest of the world is calling for, which is…

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Leaked documents reveal the government’s plan for more nukes and global conflict

Leaked documents from the government’s review of foreign and defence policy show it will increase the number of nuclear missiles the UK can possess, amid anger over cuts to foreign aid. The integrated review of defence and foreign policy intends to remove the cap on the number of Trident warheads that can be stockpiled by more than 40%. This is the first time the UK could increase its nuclear arsenal since the Cold War. The decision comes after previous leaked documents showed the extent of foreign aid cuts to countries like Yemen and Syria. The leak received considerable opposition from charities such as Save the Children and Care…

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Why the global wildlife trading system is an absolute sham

The essential and gorgeously diverse array of life on Earth is disappearing fast. That’s a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions*, as a future planet without teeming lifeforms would be both desperately dull* and unlivable for humans. One global body has immense power in whether we turn this travesty around. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, aka CITES, is the UN body that decides whether trade in wildlife species at risk of disappearing is allowed or not.  In a nutshell, CITES is a global agreement between most of the world’s governments that holds the fate of around 38,000 of the most threatened species on the planet in its…

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U.S. & Other Wealthy Nations Block Effort to Waive Vaccine Patent Rights in Blow to Global South

The United States and other wealthy members of the World Trade Organization have blocked a push by dozens of developing countries to waive patent rights in an effort to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines for poor nations. The proposal by South Africa and India was supported by hundreds of civil society organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and Amnesty International. Without the waiver, vaccine production will remain in the hands of only a few pharmaceutical companies. “Millions of us are basically going to have to wait for a vaccine, putting global immunity, as well as regional immunity, particularly in Africa, at severe risk,” says South African activist Fatima…

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#TheCanaryLive – The global struggle for press freedom

The struggle for press freedom is a global one. From Belfast to Belarus, the security of journalists and the ability of media outlets to investigate the powerful are very often under threat. Four journalists from across the world come together to share experiences and speak about the challenges of being a journalist in 2021. Panelists Pablo Pérez – Mexican independent journalist focusing on human rights, politics and social movements. Ayşe Güney – Editor at Jin News is an all-women’s media outlet based in Amed (Diyarbakır) Barry McCaffrey – Irish investigative journalist and co-producer of award-winning documentary No Stone Unturned about the unsolved 1994 Loughinisland massacre in Northern Ireland.…

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Campaigners accuse the G7 of ‘presiding over global vaccine apartheid’

Campaigners are demanding Boris Johnson and other leaders get rid of patents on the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine so that poorer countries won’t have to wait years to achieve full immunisation levels. The call comes as the rich G7 nations met on 19 February. Many human rights organisations and trade unions have called for the patents on vaccine to be waived, and warned “the UK and other G7 countries are blocking” the process. In a press release, Global Justice Now’s director Nick Dearden said: G7 leaders are presiding over global vaccine apartheid. First they handed over control of publicly-funded vaccines to big business. Then they hoarded most of this…

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Two legal challenges expose grave flaws at the heart of global wildlife trading system

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is one of the most important international bodies in the world right now. Its actions and choices have immense bearing on what the future holds. CITES determines what trade in at-risk wildlife species is permissible or not. As such, whether the world properly tackles the biodiversity crisis, aka the disappearance of essential diverse life on earth, and limits the risk of future zoonotic pandemics, like coronavirus (Covid-19), partly lies in its hands. Currently, CITES is subject to two legal challenges. They both relate to China and its trading in Asian elephants and chimpanzees with…

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