CEOs at Big U.S. Companies Paid 331 Times Average Worker

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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Fast food workers protest for higher wages in New York City, July 2013. Credit: Annette Bernhardt/cc by 2.0

Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON, Apr 16 (IPS) – In new data certain to fuel the growing public debate over economic inequality, a survey released Tuesday by the biggest U.S. trade-union federation found that the CEOs of top U.S. corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average U.S. worker in 2013.According to the AFL-CIO’s 2014 Executive PayWatch database, U.S. CEOs of 350 companies made an average of 11.7 million dollars last year compared to the average worker who earned 35,293 dollars.

The same CEOs averaged an income 774 times greater than U.S. workers who earned the federal hourly minimum wage of 7.25 dollars in 2013, or just over 15,000 dollars a year, according to the database.

A separate survey of the top (more…)

Uzbekistan’s Dying Aral Sea Resurrected as Tourist Attraction

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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Rusting and stranded, ships that once operated on the Aral Sea now attract adventure tourists. Credit: Adriane Lochner/EurasiaNet

Adriane Lochner

BISHKEK, Apr 15 (IPS) – “I’m going for a swim,” says Pelle Bendz, a 52-year-old Swede, as he rummages in the jeep for his bathing trunks. The other tourists look at him, bewildered. What’s left of the Aral Sea is reputed to be a toxic stew, contaminated by pesticides and other chemicals.But the weather’s hot and Bendz insists his travel agency told him “swimming” was part of the package.

In Nukus, the sleepy regional capital of western Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan region, local tour operators say the number of sightseers is growing each year. Many come to this remote part of the Central Asian country to see the famous Savitsky art collection. There are excursions to ancient fortresses and historic Khiva, (more…)

Agriculture Needs a ‘New Revolution’

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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Judith Mwikali Musau has successfully introduced the use of grafted plants for crop and fruit harvesting. IFAD says it is clear that a new revolution in agriculture is needed to transform the sector. Credit:Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Silvia Giannelli

, Apr 16 () – The Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015 is fast approaching, but according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), poverty still afflicts one in seven people — and one in eight still goes to bed hungry.Together with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), IFAD unveiled the results of their joint work Apr. 3 to develop five targets to be incorporated in the post-2015 development agenda.

These targets include access to adequate food all year round for all people; end malnutrition in all its forms with special attention to (more…)

Deforestation in the Andes Triggers Amazon “Tsunami”

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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The Beni river, a tributary of the Madeira river, when it overflowed its banks in 2011 upstream of Cachuela Esperanza, where the Bolivian government is planning the construction of a hydropower dam. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

Mario Osava

RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 16 (IPS) – Deforestation, especially in the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru, was the main driver of this year’s disastrous flooding in the Madeira river watershed in Bolivia’s Amazon rainforest and the drainage basin across the border, in Brazil.That is the assessment of Marc Dourojeanni, professor emeritus at the National Agrarian University in Lima, Peru.

His analysis stands in contrast with the views of environmentalists and authorities in Bolivia, who blame the Jirau and Santo Antônio hydroelectric dams built over the border in Brazil for the unprecedented flooding that has plagued the northern Bolivian department or region (more…)

Wood houses on the hills of Valparaiso

Source: Bigstock by JansenATF,

Valparaíso Blaze Highlights the City’s Poverty

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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The bleak landscape left behind on La Cruz hill, one of the hardest-hit by the blaze that started on Saturday Apr. 12 in the Chilean city of Valparaíso. Credit: Pablo Unzueta/IPS

Stephanie Wildes

Apr 15 (IPS) – The blaze that tore through the Chilean port city of Valparaíso revealed the dark side of one of the most important tourist destinations in this South American country, which hides in its hills high levels of poverty and inequality.The fire that broke out Saturday Apr. 12 and was still smouldering two days later claimed at least 12 lives, completely destroyed 2,000 homes, and forced the evacuation of 10,000 people.

The flames covered at least six of the 42 hills that surround this city of 250,000 people, which is built in the form of a natural amphitheatre facing the Pacific ocean.

Jorge Llanos, 60, (more…)