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A New Food Crisis? Some Aspects of the Food Question.

Massive bank and hedge fund speculation causes food prices to soar

By Tim Jones

The recent steep rise in wheat prices has raised fears of another global food crisis. As Tim Jones explains, it is the banks and hedge funds speculating on the price of food that are primarily responsible for this spike in prices.

Financial speculation and the food crisis

By Olivier De Schutter

As in the case of current food prices, it was excessive speculation on the commodities markets that played a primary role in the creation of the 2007-08 food crisis. In outlining the action necessary to address the dangers of such speculation, Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, underscores the crucial importance of reforming the global financial system to attain the goal of food security.

Food price volatility a major threat to food security - FAO

After a day-long special meeting held in Rome to consider the surge in world food prices, experts from over 75 member states of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) concluded that there was no indication of an impending food crisis as global cereal supply and demand are in balance. However, they warned that unexpected price hikes are a major threat to food security and hence there is no ground for complacency.

Food rebellions: Mozambicans know which way the wind blows

By Raj Patel

Although the September outbreak of 'food riots' in Mozambique appeared to portend a new food crisis, for the world's poor, the earlier 2008 crisis never ended, says Raj Patel.

Russia's agony a 'wake-up call' to the world

By Stephen Leahy

The heatwave in Russia that decimated the country's crops and provided the trigger for soaring food prices is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of food supplies to climate change.

Food crises and national security

By Mohamed Abdel-Maguid

The Arab region currently imports half its primary food supplies and the growing food deficit raises the risk of undernourishment in the poorer countries of the region. Only an integrated Arab union can provide food security for all, writes Mohamed Abdel-Maguid.

The 2007-08 food crisis: Have the lessons been learnt?

By Frederic Mousseau

Is the world better prepared to tackle the problem of rising food prices in the light of its experience of the 2007-08 global food crisis? Frederic Mousseau argues that while the world has certainly learnt much from this earlier crisis, it is doubtful whether policy makers will effectively use the lessons that it offers.

Looking in a gift horse's mouth

By Philip L Bereano and Travis M English

The persistence of food crises and food price volatility has spawned some false solutions. The most notable of these is the 'New Green Revolution for Africa', launched by the philanthropic foundation established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. As Philip L Bereano and Travis M English reveal, this revolution may not be so green after all.

The food crisis is not about a food shortage

By Jim Goodman

The ultimate cause of hunger is not a lack of Western agricultural technology but the failure to allow people to participate in a food system of their own choosing, says Jim Goodman.

The wrongs about the right to food

By Ananya Mukherjee

While universalising the right to food opens up possible paths to challenge the unequal social relations which govern the food economy, narrowing the right by 'targeting' social groups which are 'truly deserving' may well provide a tool to manage and legitimise those inequities, says Ananya Mukherjee.

ECOLOGY

Healing the wounds of mining

By Brad Miller

Centuries of mining on their homelands by US corporations may have devastated their lives and environment, but the Native American peoples of the Desert Southwest region of the United States still continue their resistance. Brad Miller reports on their continuing struggle.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Leaving oil in the ground to fight climate change

By Martin Khor

A new initiative to fight climate change and conserve forests by leaving oil in the ground has taken off in Ecuador, which hopes that other countries will contribute to a fund and share the costs of forgoing oil revenues.

ECONOMICS

Basel Committee sets higher global capital standards for banks

By Kanaga Raja

The group of central bankers and regulators who oversee the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has announced new capital and liquidity rules for banks to strengthen their resilience against future financial shocks. Kanaga Raja examines this new package of reforms known as Basel III.

The credit meltdown and the shadow banking system: What Basel III missed

By Ellen Brown

While local banks are held in check by the new banking czars in Basel, Wall Street's 'shadow banking system' has hardly been curbed by regulators at all, and it is here that the 2008 credit crisis was actually precipitated. The banking system's credit machine is systemically flawed and needs a radical overhaul.

Rethink export-led growth paradigm, says UNCTAD

By Kanaga Raja

United Nations development body UNCTAD has warned countries with export-led economies to reconsider their strategies in view of the end of the US consumption boom.

Focus on growth, not deficits, economists tell Obama

As US President Barack Obama comes under increasing pressure to prioritise deficit reduction, some 300 economists and civic leaders have issued the following statement urging him to stay the course of promoting growth and jobs.

Poverty rises as Wall Street billionaires whine

By Les Leopold

One in seven Americans may now be mired in poverty, but it is the super-rich who are complaining the most!

WORLD AFFAIRS

Satan of the details

By Uri Avnery

Commenting on the current US-sponsored talks between Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority which have as their aim a 'framework agreement' within a year, Uri Avnerypoints out that a framework agreement is not a peace treaty.

Yawn of a new day

By Neil Lawrence

Burma is on the threshold of its most important political event in two decades, but public indifference is palpable.

Don't celebrate Mexico's independence ... yet

By Manuel Perez-Rocha

Manuel Perez-Rocha explains why Mexicans have little cause for cheer on the occasion of the bicentennial of their country's independence.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Chile: Make good on concern for worker safety, say unions

By Daniela Estrada

While applauding government moves to rescue the 33 miners trapped underground in a mine in northern Chile, unions have called for swift action to address the long-festering issue of worker safety.

WOMEN

Maternal deaths fall around the world

By Susan Anyangu-Amu

While the latest statistics on global maternal mortality are encouraging, the situation in sub-Saharan Africa is still cause for serious concern.

MEDIA

The phone-hacking scandal and Murdoch's media empire

By Tom Fawthrop

As media mogul Rupert Murdoch intensifies his drive to dominate the global media, an old scandal involving phone-tapping has resurfaced to haunt him.

Full disclosure: Buying Venezuela's press with US tax dollars

By Jeremy Bigwood

The US has been covertly funding opposition-aligned journalists in Venezuela, says Jeremy Bigwood.

VIEWPOINT

The shrunken state

By Jeremy Seabrook

The British coalition government's economic reforms involve more than the reduction of the country's 'structural deficit'. Their real goal is to shrink the state so that the private sector might flourish once more, says Jeremy Seabrook.

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