Monthly Archives: April 2014

The BRICS hit a wall: Manthorpe

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Copacabana Beach

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have not lived up to the grandiose hopes expressed for them 13 years ago, when it was predicted the developing countries would soon overtake the world’s top economies, writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt of today’s column:

There is probably little hope that when Terence James “Jim” O’Neill heard the news on Tuesday he buried his head under a pillow and groaned with embarrassment.

But perhaps he should have done.

It was O’Neill, who as head of Goldman Sachs’ global economics research in 2001, coined the term BRICs, by which he envisaged that the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would soon overtake the economic power of the seven top industrialized nations.

It was a charming thought that has captivated trade and economic discussion and debate for the last 13 years. But looking at the BRICS today  — the S of South Africa was added in 2010, apparently for reasons of inclusiveness rather than economic muscle – O’Neill’s prophesy looks at best overly-optimistic and at worst, out of reach.

The news on Tuesday that ought to have made O’Neill redden with shame was that James Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said Brazils preparations for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro are “the worst I have experienced.”

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Crumbling of the BRICs

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The so-called BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, People’s Republic of China, South Africa. Image: Wikimedia Commons

JONATHAN MANTHORPE
April 30, 2014

There is probably little hope that when Terence James “Jim” O’Neill heard the news on Tuesday he buried his head under a pillow and groaned with embarrassment.

But perhaps he should have done.

It was O’Neill, who as head of Goldman Sachs’ global economics research in 2001, coined the term BRICs, by which he envisaged that the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would soon overtake the economic power of the seven top industrialized nations.

It was a charming thought that has captivated trade and economic discussion and debate for the last 13 years. But looking at the BRICS today  — the S of South Africa was added in 2010, apparently for reasons of inclusiveness rather than economic muscle – O’Neill’s prophesy looks at best overly-optimistic and at worst, out of reach.

The news on Tuesday that ought to have made O’Neill redden with shame was that James Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said Brazils preparations for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro are “the worst I have experienced.”

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Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, intended site of open water swimming, triathlon and beach volleyball in the 2016 Olympic Games. Source: Wikimedia, chensiyuan

Construction and other preparations for the games are months, and in some cases, years behind schedule. The IOC is taking the unusual step of, essentially, putting the Brazilian organizers under adult supervision by forming a special task force of international experts who will be embedded with the local planning teams.

Coates’ public condemnation of the Brazilian organizers is almost unprecedented. The IOC usually goes to great lengths to keep its dirty laundry hidden. However, it is part of a pattern and comes only weeks after Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the global governing body of soccer, said Brazil is far from ready to host the World Cup in June.
Construction of two stadiums is nowhere near complete and there will probably not be enough hotels for visitors, said Valcke. Then there’s the problem of endemic crime and violence in Brazil.

Brazil’s uncertain debut on the world stage with these major sporting events might be disregarded were they not symptomatic of deep-seated problems in the country’s economy and administration. It is a country with a young population, huge treasure houses of national resources, and enormous potential. But, so far, successive governments have failed to grasp their role as facilitators by providing the framework for development and social advancement.

Elsewhere on the BRIC map, the picture is equally uninviting. Russia, blessed with abundant resources and a population with a track record of innovation and inventiveness, has become a thug state.  It lives off the proceeds of its natural gas and oil reserves, and little else, and these money machines are controlled by President Vladimir Putin’s court of semi-housetrained oligarchs.

With his campaigns to destabilize governments in Ukraine, Moldova and other former East Bloc countries, Putin seems more concerned with a fanciful recreation of the Russian empire than with the hard graft of building a broad-based and sustainable economy.

For a decade India has languished under the palsied leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A highly qualified economist, Singh was a fine Finance Minister in the 1990s when he pursued a well-founded program of much-needed economic reform. But since Singh became Prime Minister in 2004 it has become clear his past success depended on the deft and energetic leadership of then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. By himself, Singh has not displayed the political skills, or even a basic interest in the job, to cajole India’s famously quarrelsome and chaotic political classes to follow the reform script.

Now, with a general election underway and the results due to be published on May 16, it seems Indian voters are set to abandon Singh’s Congress Party and to elect a coalition government led by the enigmatic Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Modi’s attraction is that he has an impressive economic record as the Chief Minister of Gujarat state. But much controversy surrounds his religious and racial nationalism. There has never been a full accounting of his role in the 2002 riots between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat in which over 3,000 people were killed, but suspicions persist that, at the very least, Modi failed to contain the Hindu mobs.

Modi is also a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu paramilitary group whose founders in the 1930s openly admired Adolf Hitler and the German Nazi Party. Previous BJP governments have recognized that in multi-ethnic and multi-faith India – it has the world’s third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan – administrations have to moderate sectarian loyalties to survive.

Optimists hope Modi has learned that lesson and that he can address the country’s chronic problems of bureaucratic minefields, dilapidated or non-existent infrastructure, unacceptable disparities between urban and rural life, and the criminal waste of the country’s human resources.

China has achieved levels of economic and social development in the last 30 years that have hypnotized otherwise sensible people. But it is now approaching a crisis point where it can no longer avoid confronting the essential contradiction between trying to sustain economic growth while maintaining the one-party state atop a stunted political and legal system.

Newly appointed President and Communist Party boss Xi Jinping is clearly a man of energy and authority, who seems to see clearly the next stage of economic liberalization China must address if it is to continue growing. Xi, however, remains dead set against political reform and determined to keep the Communist Party’s monopoly on power. There are already signs that the vested interests around the party are successfully diluting the reform program, and Xi has made many enemies by launching a vigorous anti-corruption campaign. Meanwhile, Xi has gathered to himself more personal power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

The implications of Xi’s grabbing of personal power and the desire for revenge among those he has stepped on in the process will be significant and, perhaps, decisive for China’s progress. Already very many wealthy Chinese and senior officials are showing their hesitant confidence in the future of Communist Party rule by getting hundreds of billions of dollars of their money, and often themselves, out of the country.

Former French President Gen. Charles de Gaulle once said of Brazil that it “is a country of enormous potential – and always will be.” The way things look at the moment, the same could be said of all the BRIC countries.

Copyright © Jonathan Manthorpe 2014

Contact: jonathan.manthorpe@gmail.com

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Moldova Teeters on Edge of Ukraine Turmoil

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Deputy Gheorghe Ghimpu replaces the Soviet flag on the Parliament with the Moldovan flag on April 27, 1990. Source: Wikipedia, Creative Commons.

The global focus on Ukraine should expand to include Moldova, warns International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe Polls suggest that only 44 per cent of Moldovans favour EU membership, while support for a customs union with Russia has grown from 30 per cent a few months ago to 40 per cent now. Moscow’s opaque intentions are adding to anxiety in Moldovia that if civil war breaks out in eastern Ukraine, it will spill over, he writes. An excerpt of today’s column:

As the West fixates on what Vladimir Putin is doing in eastern Ukraine, perhaps not enough attention is being paid to his other hand, which is hovering greedily over neighbouring Moldova.

Moldova and its three-and-a-half million people, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine behind the north-west shore of the Black Sea, has not had an easy time since it reluctantly emerged as an independent nation in 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is the poorest country in Europe.

It got off to a bad start when independence led almost immediately to a civil war when the pro-Russian people of Transdniestr – that long sliver of Moldova lying east of the Dniester River – rebelled against the possibility of the country joining Romania. Intervention by Russian forces – 1,500 of them are still there – brought a peace deal in 1992, but Transdniestr and its 500,000 people remain a breakaway region, yearning either for recognized independence, a customs union with Moscow or absorption by Russia. The takeover of the Ukrainian province of Crimea, just round the Black Sea coast from Moldova, by Putin has encouraged many of Transdniestr’s people to hope that they may be next on the Russian President’s shopping list.

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Putin’s other hand hovers over Moldova

JONATHAN MANTHORPE
April 25, 2014

As the West fixates on what Vladimir Putin is doing in eastern Ukraine, perhaps not enough attention is being paid to his other hand, which is hovering greedily over neighbouring Moldova.

Moldova and its three-and-a-half million people, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine behind the north-west shore of the Black Sea, has not had an easy time since it reluctantly emerged as an independent nation in 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is the poorest country in Europe.

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Deputy Gheorghe Ghimpu replaces the Soviet flag on the Parliament with the Moldovan flag on April 27, 1990. Source: Wikipedia, Creative Commons.

It got off to a bad start when independence led almost immediately to a civil war when the pro-Russian people of Transdniestr – that long sliver of Moldova lying east of the Dniester River – rebelled against the possibility of the country joining Romania. Intervention by Russian forces – 1,500 of them are still there – brought a peace deal in 1992, but Transdniestr and its 500,000 people remain a breakaway region, yearning either for recognized independence, a customs union with Moscow or absorption by Russia. The takeover of the Ukrainian province of Crimea, just round the Black Sea coast from Moldova, by Putin has encouraged many of Transdniestr’s people to hope that they may be next on the Russian President’s shopping list.

As well as already having troops in Transdniestr, Moscow gives about $1 billion a year in cash and natural gas subsidies to the Transdniestr government and parliament in the territory’s self-proclaimed capital Tiraspol. Moscow also tops up the pensions of retired people in Transdniestr with supplements of $15 a month.

Nostalgia for the certainties of life in the old Soviet Union runs high everywhere in Moldova, but particularly so in Transdniestr. The territory continues to use the hammer and sickle on its flag, status of Lenin abound and Transdniestr has turned its preservation of life in the hay day of the Soviet Union into a popular tourist attraction.

But for the Transdniestr politicians, uncertainty about their legal status as a nation is a constant concern. Last week, the parliament passed a resolution calling for international recognition of Transdniestr as an independent state. This was seen by some, especially in Western Europe, as a prelude to calling for absorption by Russia, and Putin responded carefully when asked about the resolution.

“Transdniestr people should be able to decide their fate,” Putin said, reminding everyone of the swift and decisive referendum he engineered in Crimea. However, he stopped short of giving official Moscow recognition to Transdniestr’s independence. It has become a classic Putin tactic to camouflage his intentions with as much uncertainty and ambiguity as possible until he is ready to act.

Moscow’s opaque intentions are adding to anxiety in Transdniestr that if civil war breaks out in eastern Ukraine, it will spill over despite the Kiev government’s efforts to keep the border secure. The population, despite its pro-Russian sentiments, is split roughly evenly between Moldovans, Ukrainians and Russians, and there is concern ethnicity may trump political aspirations if fighting starts.

Of equal immediate concern is the firmly pro-European drive of the Moldovan government in the capital Chisinau. In August the Liberal Democrat government of Acting Prime Minister Iurie Leancă, who was appointed today after his predecessor resigned in March after being caught in one too many scandals, is due to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, a key step on the road to membership.

But enthusiasm for joining the EU, even in pro-European parts of Moldova, is waning fast. This shift stems from witnessing what has happened in other former Soviet states, especially Hungary and Bulgaria, where membership appears to have brought only debt and unemployment.

A recent poll found that only 44 per cent of Moldovans favour EU membership, while support for a customs union with Russia has grown from 30 per cent a few months ago to 40 per cent now.

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Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation photo, Creative Commons

Elections for the Moldovan parliament are due in the fall, and there is some expectation that the Communist Party will return to power. So, even if Chisinau does sign the Association Agreement with the EU in August, a new Communist government could annul it later in the year.

If Putin can keep Moldova out of Europe and within Moscow’s sphere of influence, either through a customs union or a Crimea-style takeover, it will be a significant check on the eastward march of the EU, and, for that matter, NATO.

A region of Moldova where EU scepticism is strongest and where Russian agents are said to be most active, levering open social and political fissures, is Gagauzia in the country’s south-west. The Gagauz are strong supporters of either independence, like their neighbours in Transdniestr, or union with Russia.

The President of the Gagauz autonomous region, Mihail Formuzal, recently staged a referendum asking if people wanted to join the EU or establish a customs union with Russia. The result has no legal status, but was 98.5 per cent in favour a customs union with Moscow – 68,000 votes for union with Russia against 1,900 for joining the EU according to the official count.

Moscow is said to have financed the referendum with a $73,000 donation to Formuzal.

Copyright © Jonathan Manthorpe 2014

Contact: jonathan.manthorpe@gmail.com

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Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, funded entirely by readers who buy a subscription or a $1 site day pass. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from non-journalism foundations or causes. Sign up here for email notices of new work with the subscribe form on Frontlines, where we also post small stories.

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Rethinking Cancer: non-sexy, low-cost therapies

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Vikas Sukhatme, a Harvard Medical School professor, and his wife, Vidula, co-founded the nonprofit Global Cures to promote research of cost-effective cancer treatments. (Photo by Matthew Healey for ProPublica)

Increasingly, Big Pharma is betting on new blockbuster cancer drugs that cost billions to develop and can be sold for thousands of dollars a dose. In 2010, each of the top 10 cancer drugs topped more than $1 billion in sales, according to Campbell Alliance, a health-care consulting firm. A decade earlier, only two of them did. Left behind are low-cost alternatives — therapies like off-label medications, including generics — that have shown some merit but don’t have enough profit potential for drug companies to invest in researching them.

Read the free, in-depth, investigation in Think, Magazine, by ProPublica’s Jake Bernstein:

Cancer: Where Are The Low-Cost Treatments?

Excerpt:

Michael Retsky awoke from surgery to bad news. The tumor in his colon had spread to four of his lymph nodes and penetrated the bowel wall. When Retsky showed the pathology report to William Hrushesky, his treating oncologist, the doctor exclaimed, “Mamma mia.”

“Michael had a mean looking cancer,” Hrushesky remembers.

Retsky didn’t need anyone to tell him his prognosis. Although trained as a physicist, he had switched careers to cancer research in the early 1980s and spent more than a decade modeling the growth of breast cancer tumors. During his treatment, he joined the staff of one of the most prestigious cancer research labs in the country.

In the absence of chemotherapy, there was an 80 percent chance of relapse. Even with therapy, there was a 50 percent chance the cancer would return. The standard treatment was brutal. Six months of the highest dose of chemotherapy his body could withstand and, after that, nothing but hope.

 

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Scottish Independence: complex and vexatious

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World Pipe Band Championship, Scotland, 2011 Simon Fraser University Band, photo courtesy of SFU Vancouver

 Scots  will vote in a referendum on September 18 on separation from the United Kingdom. But the division of assets and liabilities in the break-up of a country is complex and vexatious – and in the case of Scotland, these matters are particularly difficult. The latest polls in Scotland, with the undecided vote discounted, shows 52 percent of respondents support staying with the United Kingdom while 48 per cent want independence.  An excerpt of International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe’s column:

Scotland’s First Minister and Nationalist Party leader Alex Salmond is generally reckoned to be the canniest politician in the British Isles.

So it was entirely in keeping that he chose today, the day when the English patron saint St. George is celebrated, to cross the border to the northern English city of Carlisle to promote Scottish separation.

Salmond’s aim, with the campaign for Scottish independence heating up ahead of the September 18 referendum, was to calm anxieties. Little will change when Scotland becomes independent, Salmond underlined as polls show pro-separation supporters significantly narrowing the gap on the “no” vote’s slim majority …

It is in Salmond’s interests to minimize the implications of Scottish independence, which might come in 2016 if there is a majority for separation in the September referendum. But the potential fall-out not only for the United Kingdom, but also for Europe and the European Union is profound.

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Scottish leader downplays difficulties of independence

JONATHAN MANTHORPE
April 23, 2014

Scotland’s First Minister and Nationalist Party leader Alex Salmond is generally reckoned to be the canniest politician in the British Isles.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh. Deborah Jones photo © 2007

So it was entirely in keeping that he chose today, the day when the English patron saint St. George is celebrated, to cross the border to the northern English city of Carlisle to promote Scottish separation.

Salmond’s aim, with the campaign for Scottish independence heating up ahead of the September 18 referendum, was to calm anxieties. Little will change when Scotland becomes independent, Salmond underlined as polls show pro-separation supporters significantly narrowing the gap on the “no” vote’s slim majority.

People will still be able to live in England and work in Scotland, or visa versa, he said. “Friends and family would continue to visit each other. We would still watch many of the same television programs.”

It is in Salmond’s interests to minimize the implications of Scottish independence, which might come in 2016 if there is a majority for separation in the September referendum. But the potential fall-out not only for the United Kingdom, but also for Europe and the European Union, is profound.

As Canadians are well aware from debates and campaigns over Quebec independence, the division of assets and liabilities in the break-up of a country is complex and vexatious. In the case of Scotland, these matters are particularly difficult because much of Britain’s North Sea oil reserves are in Scottish waters, while Scots receive much more in social support from the British treasury than they give in taxation.

Salmond and the Scottish independentists have blithely put it about that Scotland will continue using the British currency, the pound sterling. Not so fast, says Britain’s finance minister George Osborne, echoed quietly by the new Canadian Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney. While a currency union might be possible, they say, it would mean Scotland relinquishing control over its fiscal policy because such things as interest rates and money supply would be decided by England alone.

There’s always the European Union currency, the euro, of course. And again, while Salmond and his followers foresee a seamless entry into the EU by an independent Scotland, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso doesn’t share this view. Scotland, Barroso says, would not just get a transferred membership in its new status, it would have to re-apply for membership and get the unanimous support of all 28 EU members.

Then there’s the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Salmond foresees no problems with Scotland continuing as a NATO member, but British military leaders – English in this context – don’t see it that way at all.

One of Salmond’s promises is that an independent Scotland will expel the Royal Navy and its submarines armed with Trident nuclear missiles from their base at Faslane west of Glasgow. Four former British military chiefs as well as the current First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, have said publicly such a move would not only weaken the security of both countries, but also jeopardize Scotland’s membership in both NATO and the EU.

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Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland. Photo provided by The Scottish Government

The prospect of Scottish separation is a difficult question for both Britain’s main political parties. For the opposition New Labour, it is highly personal. Of the 59 members of the Westminster parliament from Scotland, 41 are from New Labour. But while the party is opposed to Scottish independence, its support for a “no” has been less than enthusiastic.

On Tuesday, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is much more popular in his native Scotland than south of the border, entered the fray, but with a boring and tedious catalogue of threats to Scottish pensions and social service funding involved in separation. Perhaps he was playing to the supposed Scottish traits of parsimony and fiscal prudence.

If New Labour shows signs of being torn in its response to the upcoming referendum, the ruling Conservatives of Prime Minister David Cameron are even more so.

If the last election had been fought without the Labour stronghold of Scotland, the Conservatives would now have a majority government, instead of having to nurse an often-troublesome alliance with the Social Democrats. Indeed, without Labour’s Scottish electoral fiefdom, England’s Tories would find it much easier to regularly form majority governments.

There are other considerations, however. Cameron and the Tory leadership support Britain’s continued membership of the EU. But in the face of growing opposition in Britain and their own party, they have been forced to try to renegotiate the sovereign powers delegated to the EU in Brussels and to promise the British people a subsequent “in or out” referendum in 2017 after the next election.

Without the Scots, who tend to be pro-EU, the remnants of the United Kingdom – England, Wales and Northern Ireland – are, polls suggest, likely to vote to leave the EU.

There are other possible knock-on effects of Scottish separation in Europe itself. The Spanish region Catalonia, which already enjoys significant autonomy, is riding on Scotland’s coattails and plans a non-binding referendum on independence in November.

The Spanish government in Madrid is moving to block the referendum in parliament and the Constitutional Court. If that happens, says Catalan leader Aturo Mas, he will bring forward regional elections and make independence the issue.

And in Belgium, the separatist New Flemish Alliance, which is likely to win regional elections in the Dutch-speaking north of the country this year, will also take its cue from what happens in Scotland.

The latest polls in Scotland, with the undecided vote discounted, shows 52 percent of respondents support staying with the United Kingdom while 48 per cent want independence. That’s almost within the margin of error.

Copyright © Jonathan Manthorpe 2014

Contact: jonathan.manthorpe@gmail.com

Further reading:

Arbroath: Scotland’s original declaration of independence: a F&O Frontlines video
Yes Scotland – official campaign for Scottish independence
Better Together – Official campaign for a NO vote
Wikipedia page on Scottish Independence

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Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, funded entirely by readers who buy a subscription or a $1 site day pass. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from non-journalism foundations or causes. Sign up here for email notices of new work with the subscribe form on Frontlines, where we also post small stories.

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Findings: Earth Day Videos from the BBC

In honour of Earth Day and all this week, the BBC is running archive clips celebrating more than 50 years of natural history film-making by Sir David Attenborough. In the video below, from the BBC’s Blue Planet series, a leopard seal hunts Emperor penguins in the Antarctic.

You can find others on the BBC Earth YouTube channel.

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New: Hurricane Carter, and U.S. Gun Violence Research

For Canadian journalist Cheryl Hawkes, Rubin (Hurricane) Carter’s death over Easter brought back memories  about the quiet, private and powerful man who was, for a while, her neighbour in Toronto. You will find her column in our Loose Leaf salon — along with a video of Bob Dylan’s song dedicated to Carter.

Also today F&O also publishes ProPublica’s investigation into Republicans opposed to funding research on gun violence in America. The report is in the Publica section of Dispatches.

Both stories are free, for public access.

Hurricane Carter, Champion of the World. By Cheryl Hawkes

carter (discard after use)Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, who spent 19 years in a United States prison for a triple murder he did not commit, died of prostate cancer on Easter Sunday at his home in Toronto. He was 76. Toronto journalist Cheryl Hawkes remembers the man who, for a few years, was her neighbour: “a man who had given a lot of thought to how we treat one another in this world and to the deadly power of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

American Republicans Oppose Gun Violence Research. By Lois Beckett, ProPublica

For nearly 20 years, the United States Congress has pushed America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to steer clear of firearms violence research. After the 2012  shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut — when Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults — Jack Kingston, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that sets CDC funding, was one of a few Republicans who expressed a willingness to reconsider the need for gun control laws and finding “common ground” on research. That was then, this is now. Now, Kingston faces stiff competition from other Republicans  touting gun rights — and there is no talk of common ground.

 

Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, FactsandOpinions serves, and is funded by, readers. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes. Our original paywalled work in Dispatches, Think and Photo-Essays is available for a $1 site day pass or at a modest subscription price. Use the SUBSCRIBE  form to the right, on our free Frontlines blog, to receive notices of all new work on site.

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Weibo, the Free Market, and Censorship

Weibo, “China’s Twitter,” has begun offering shares on one of America’s free market stock exchanges. But unlike in the United States, where freedom of expression is protected, in China social media companies rely on censorship for their business model. Weibo’s regulatory disclosures reveal a company’s balancing act between censoring too much and too little.

An excerpt of the ProPublica report, in F&O’s Dispatches/Money section:

As of last week, investors can purchase shares of Weibo, sometimes called “China’s Twitter,” on NASDAQ. The company’s regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveals details not previously known about Weibo’s censorship apparatus…

Weibo, like all Internet publishers and providers in China, is prohibited from letting their users display content that is obscene, fraudulent, defamatory or otherwise illegal under Chinese laws. The content prohibitions also forbid material that “impairs the national dignity of China,” “is reactionary,” “superstitious,” or “socially destabilizing.”

As required under SEC regulations, the company must list for investors potential risks that might affect its share price. Weibo is up front about the risk the Chinese government’s regulation of content poses to its ability so succeed. “Failure to [censor] may subject us to liabilities and penalties and may even result in the temporary blockage or complete shutdown of our online operations.”

Click here for the full story, Weibo IPO Reveals a Company Struggling With Censorship. (Free public access.)

 

 

 

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