Banishing the poor from cities
According to UN/Habitat, by 2003 almost a billion people in the world were living in slums, with tens of millions being added annually to this figure. The Millennium Development Goal of improving the conditions of 100 million slumdwellers by 2015 will be overwhelmed by the increase in the “urban poor”, as they are known. This strangely abstract expression suggests disembodied hands that open doors, sweep and scour, provide food and clean clothes, vigilant eyes that watch and keep guard, ears alert to the sound of broken glass, the intruder, the thief in the night. Their own voices are rarely heard.
Poor people in the city are almost invariably defined by others. To many in the rising middle-class they are not workers indispensable to the life of the city, but idlers, cheats and criminals. To many non-government organisations they are victims, a hapless population trapped between rural and urban. The Left still attributes to them the heroic role described by Marx, of vengeful proletariat. Transnational corporations cautiously view them as the lucrative markets of tomorrow.
from The Statesman
TAKING STOCK : Elephant Vs an ant
This index in 2006 ranked 157 countries based on 10 broad factors of economic freedom. Nepal is considered a ‘mostly unfree’ country and ranked a dismal 125.
To be considered economically free, a country must maintain an open trade policy with minimal barriers to imports and exports. The most free countries are those where the tariffs are below four per cent and where there are no significant non-tariff barriers. Nepal ranks amongst the worst countries for its restrictive trade policies and a high average tariff rate of 15.6 per cent. Economic freedom means that a country must maintain liberal policies which welcome capital flows and investment. Restrictions must be few in number and not economically significant. There must be transparency and impartial treatment of foreigners. Nepal, unsurprisingly, brings up the rear.
Countries, economically free, maintain an open environment for business. Burdensome regulations deter trade and investment. Countries must have minimal licensing procedures, apply regulations uniformly and treat foreign-owned businesses in a non discriminatory fashion.
Investors may choose not to enter a country where cost of doing business is excessive. With its unfriendly labour legislation, uncertain judicial rulings, and a corrupt and oppressive bureaucracy, Nepal again finds its place at the bottom of the heap.
from The Himalayan Times
The end for Saddam's trusted cousin and lieutenant:
Chemical Ali sentenced to death
But despite the calmer atmosphere of the trial, there remained concerns about its fairness. Richard Dicker, international director of Human Rights Watch, said the impact of the genocide conviction would inevitably be "hobbled" by the problems - including political interference - that the tribunal "faced and failed to fix".
"If the tribunal had more credibility or had it been a joint international-Iraqi tribunal, the verdict would have had more moral authority and legitimacy, and the Kurds' wretched experience would have seen proper redress," he said.
from Guardian Unlimited