"Of the $1.1 billion in boxed chocolates that Americans are expected to buy on Valentine's Day, very little will be untainted by the scourge of child labor. Although some who buy those bonbons will do so without knowing the sinister history of their purchases, others, like the chocolate makers, will have known for at least two years, if not longer that cocoa beans imported from the Ivory Coast -- used to make nearly half the chocolate consumed in this country -- are harvested in large part by children, some as young as 9, and many of whom are considered slaves, trafficked from desperately poor countries like Mali and Burkina Faso."
A report on the state of social assistance in New Brunswick shows that "[a] single employable person simply cannot afford housing, as the average rent for a bachelor or one-room apartment in any New Brunswick city far exceeds the monthly assistance."
"The report also reminds that working full-time at the New Brunswick minimum wage will still not get a person above the poverty line. For those on social assistance, the situation is much more grim."
I have recently begun to realize that the stigma of poverty may actually be more damaging to poor people than the poverty itself, in some instances. Parts of poverty would be bearable if we were all in a class solidarity. But I am uncomfortable with class inequity. This thing where some are supposed to suffer in the lower class, while their political "allies" live at a higher class level, with private transportation, no hunger, adequate clothing, stable housing, job opportunities not available to the poor, etc., does not really work for me, if I am to be honest. This class chasm is often as agitating and degrading as the direct effects of the poverty itself.
ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, N.S. - Almost six months into a year-long pledge to live without spending any money, a man in Nova Scotia says he's busily crafting Christmas gifts for friends and family.
Someone just gave me a bike. It was really amazing riding a bike, after not riding one in a long time. I have been doing a lot of walking and riding buses over the last many years, not bike riding. A bike to me is more than a recreational toy, it is something that will increase my quality of life greatly, on a daily basis. The bike will cut down on my travel times considerably. Many people do not realize that not only do you spend extended journeys on buses due to stopping every few blocks for passengers en route, but if bus transfers are involved, that overlay is time consuming as well, both coming and going. Having a bike now means I can ride my bike to the bus stop, eliminating 10 minutes there, then put the bike on the bus bike rack and ride for an hour into Seattle. In the past, I would then have to transfer to one or more buses to get where I was going. Now, I can just unload my bike once in Seattle, and ride to those destinations, taking only one round trip bus ride, versus the previous three roundtrip bus rides. The bike makes going to the library and grocery store easier, as the bike can carry the weight of juice or books, rather than me. It seems many, if not most, middle class garages are filled with one bike per family member, even though the family uses the SUV more than the fleet of bikes. I think we should have *bike drives* for the poor, like we have food or clothing drives.
By Louisa Lim |
BBC correspondent in Kunming
In a poor district in the southern city of Kunming, children play beside heaps of gravel left by construction crews. The scene brings back painful memories for Li Qifang and his wife, Pu Caiju. More than two years ago their four-year-old son was playing outside their house when he was abducted. They have not seen him since.
The couple now fear their son was abducted by a baby trafficking ring. Buying and selling children is illegal in China, but child trafficking may be on the rise. A traditional preference for sons, combined with family planning restrictions limiting families to one child, have created a particularly strong market for boys.
"Today, [Nov 30] as part of their "Homes For The Holidays: Operation Bring the Money Home" Campaign, dozens of homeless families belonging to the Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) have moved their Bushville Tent City to sit in at the main Army Recruiting Office in Philadelphia."
John McDonald, Capital News
If you want to find out information about the needle exchange program in Kelowna, don't ask the man who supervises it - he doesn't know.
November 17 - Kelowna Daily Courier
A protest by homeless people on the steps of Kelowna City Hall last night drew an in-person rebuke from Mayor Walter Gray. A half-dozen men and one woman were preparing to camp at the front door when they were confronted by Gray. "So, what's the issue here," an obviously annoyed Gray asked them, after coming outside from council chambers when told there were people preparing to bed down for the night
A poem for greed at Christmas...
Three-quarters of UBCM delegates heartily endorsed Wednesday a City of Kelowna resolution supporting the creation of safe streets legislation. Mayor Walter Gray, who had the last word during the halfhour debate, used this week's closure of the Kelowna Drop-In Centre as an example of where the proposed legislation could be used as a community tool.
How much worth does a human life have? Is a human life worth $100? What if someone said to you that they could not take poverty anymore, and that the daily grind of poverty stigma and hells just to eat and sleep at night have gotten to be too much. That they were going to commit suicide if this did not stop and soon. Would it be worth pledging $100 a month to keep that human alive? Or not? Be honest. Or would it be worth maybe ten cents a month, to keep that person alive? Seriously, how much is a human life worth to you personally? How much would you be willing to give up, to keep that human being alive? What happens when a human's worth goes below rent and food costs? When a human life costs more than it is worth? What happens when people care more about buying plastic holiday decorations at K-Mart than humans freezing to death on the streets outside their locked doors? What happens when human beings have no worth? What happens is the world you see today.
A series of blasts have shaken three banks in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, killing one man and injuring another.
Food bank lineups are getting longer all over the country with an astonishing increase in the number of children, students and working families forced to ask for a handout. BC leads the way with 41.7% more children needing emergency food parcels this year. Way to go Gordo...give Ralph something to shoot for.
Why is Britain using aid money to persuade South Africa to privatise its public
George Monbiot |
Tuesday October 19, 2004 |
No one could have accused the Conservative government of breaking its promise to
bring back Victorian values. When, in 1992, it permitted private water companies to
install pre-paid meters in Birmingham, the people who couldn't afford to flush their
toilets started defecating into pots, which they then emptied out of the windows of
their tower blocks. It made one quite nostalgic.