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WFP’s Beasley Signed a MoU with Venezuela: Addresses Soaring Hunger

WFP President Beasley Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Venezuelan Government To Address Soaring Hunger

April 20, 2021 (EIRNS) – The World Food Program will begin supplying school lunches to 185,000 impoverished pre-school and special-needs students in Venezuela this year, with the goal of providing daily meals to 1.5 million children by the end of 2023. That was the accord reached in a memorandum of understanding that the WFP signed this week with President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, during a trip to that country by WFP president David Beasley.

Hunger and starvation are not problems happening only “over there” in Africa or Syria. They are here – right on America’s doorstep, in Central and South America, including Venezuela.

Hunger in Venezuela has been skyrocketing in recent years, thanks largely to the killer sanctions imposed on that country by Washington (Republicans and Democrats alike). The WFP conducted a field study which estimated that, in 2019, 32% of the population suffered food insecurity and required assistance. Of those, 2.3 million were facing “severe food insecurity.” It is much worse today.

The hunger is due not so much to food shortages as such, but to the out-of-control inflation and forced devaluations, which are a result of financial warfare and denying Venezuela the ability to sell its plentiful oil exports in the dollar-dominated markets. The bolivar today trades at 1.069 {million} to the dollar; in December 2019 it stood at 55,00 to the dollar.

Internal food and other prices are set mainly in dollars, such that “the average wage which the majority of workers receive is less than five dollars per month, while chicken costs $2.40 dollars per kilo,” according to AP. An economic think tank linked to Venezuelan trade unions reported last December that a family of five with two adults earning the minimum wage did not have “even enough to purchase one breakfast a month.”

Beasley also traveled to Guatemala and Honduras in Central America, and reported that hunger had quadrupled in the past two years in that region, which now has 8 million people going hungry. Of those, 1.7 million are in the “emergency” category, meaning they required urgent food assistance to survive. He tweeted from Guatemala:

“15% of the people @WFP surveyed in Central America say they’re making plans to migrate in 2021—that’s 6 MILLION people! BUT, they also say if they have food security & livelihoods, they want to stay home!! Otherwise, they will do what we would all do to take care of our children.”


“Depriving the Poor of Energy Is Bad Climate Policy,” China Daily Op-Ed Warns

“Depriving the Poor of Energy Is Bad Climate Policy,” China Daily Warns in Lomborg Op-Ed

April 20, 2021 (EIRNS) – The President of the Copenhagen Consensus, Bjorn Lomborg, penned an op-ed published by China Daily yesterday, which contains a strong argument along the lines we have been hearing recently from Indian officials and others: They pay lip-service to the green paradigm, and then insist that those policies cannot possibly be imposed on the developing sector. Some quotes from Lomborg:

“To tackle climate change, rich countries are promising to end fossil fuel use in 29 years. As this becomes excruciatingly costly, the G7 is now thinking about making the world’s poor pay for it. That will go badly… Despite green protestations, rich people still get 79 percent of their energy from fossil fuels. Ending that will be hard, socially destabilizing and surprisingly ineffective. Besides, it will also destabilize rich countries… As climate policies reduce growth further, this will threaten long-term social coherence as people realize their children won’t be better off and pensions will wither. Moreover, the cuts will matter little for the environment.”

Lomborg continued: “Six billion not-rich people also want access to plentiful and cheap energy, lifting them out of hunger, sickness and poverty. They are more concerned about economic growth that will create welfare and resilience against disease and even climate change… The main effect of carbon tariffs is to shift the economic burden of developed-world climate policies to the developing world… [provoking] profound resentment with a rich world that claims to implement climate policies to help, but in reality shifts the costs onto the world’s poor… Depriving the world’s poor of the twin drivers of development, abundant energy and free trade, is unacceptable.”


UN Secretary-General: ‘So Far, We Have Failed’

UN Secretary-General Maintains, ‘So Far, We Have Failed’

April 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday delivered a grim review of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related hunger, poverty, and unemployment crises, telling a gathering of the UN Economic and Social Council’s Forum on Financing for Development that “no element of our multilateral response has gone as it should.”

 Speaking as the current head of the post-war international institution par excellence, the United Nations, Guterres’s speech almost reads like a funeral oration for the demise of the entire Old Paradigm. This is what a systemic breakdown looks like, from the inside.

 Guterres said that during the last year more than 3 million have died from the virus. Around 120 million have fallen into extreme poverty, and the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs have been lost. “The crisis is far from over,” he stated. The crisis is “putting multilateralism to the test, and so far, we have failed.” He went on to say that a “paradigm shift” was needed.

 The President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkır echoed Guterres’s grim report, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has “precipitated the single largest economic contraction in 90 years, devastating lives and livelihoods in the process.”

 Guterres ripped into the suicidal immorality of hoarding vaccines, in which a mere 10 countries globally account for around 75% of COVID-19 vaccinations given. He said that the estimated cost of this is more than $9 trillion—without explaining where that figure came from. “To end the pandemic for good, we need equitable access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere.”  Guterres then focused on the debt crisis, saying that “we need to go beyond debt relief,” and strengthen the “international debt architecture to end the deadly cycles of debt waves, global debt crises and lost decades.” But that is as close as he came to actually proposing a solution to the crisis. The best he could muster was to protest that “there has been a $5 trillion surge in the wealth of the world’s richest in the past year” of the pandemic, and that governments should therefore “consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities.”


World Bank, IMF Plot `Debt for Green’ Restructuring

World Bank, IMF Plot `Debt for Green’ Restructuring

April 12 (EIRNS)–A report issued by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on March 25 announced that, as part of the “recovery” from the pandemic, the debt of the world’s poorest countries would now be used as a lever to force furtherance of the Great Reset genocide dictate from the City of London. “This paper discusses World Bank and IMF support for addressing fiscal and debt distress in [the world’s poorest] countries, with emphasis on strong continued concessional [low-interest–ed.] flows for green, resilient, and inclusive development,” reads the introduction, the translated message being, “The only way you will get further assistance, is if you agree to kill your population `to save the planet’.”
            As part of this discussion, the report concluded that the G20 should agree to extend their DSSI (Debt Service Suspension Initiative) through to the end of the year, but with one proviso: The G20 had to “publicly commit that this is the last extension of the DSSI,” thus forcing the 49 DSSI-eligible countries to confront their continued (financial) existence head on. As of April 7– two weeks from the IMF/WB dictate– the G20 had complied, both by extending the DSSI (Debt Service Suspension Initiative), {and} by stating that it will be terminated at the end of the year.
            This action — of issuing new, non-productive debt to already over-burdened poor nations — is one which is potentially hyper-inflationary, but otherwise perfectly conforms to the terms of the Great Reset. Recognizing this, the IMF/World Bank acknowledge the need for “a holistic approach to the challenge of containing debt vulnerabilities” specifically calling for “direct private sector funding especially non-debt flows,” along with budget austerity on the part of recipient countries. “Emphasis can be given to green priorities and private sector solutions, including green stimulus packages with significant multiplier effects,” they say, as well as revenue-generating “solutions” such as carbon taxes (to kill coal and oil-fired power and heating)..
            The report indicates that in October 2020 these institutions’ “Development Community” issued a “mandate to address debt challenges in low-income countries and to do so in a way that supports green, resilient, and inclusive development and poverty reduction” (otherwise known as GRID). That “mandate” had been prompted by an open letter, they say, “[from] the Ministers of the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Spain, Germany and Sweden,” who wrote: “We ask the World Bank and IMF to deliver on a coherent approach to debt restructuring. We need to make sure we do not lose sight of green and inclusive reforms because of limited fiscal space and a looming debt crisis.” 


US-China Ag Dialogue: ‘Be Happy Together With Others, Rather Than Trying To Be Happy Alone’

Apr. 2 (EIRNS)–On April 1, the third of four high level US-China Agriculture Dialogues took place, lasting almost 3 hours, titled, “Agriculture Education Dialogue: Together, how can the U.S and China transform agriculture?” The dialogue brought together the Deans and Presidents of Peking Univ., Nanjing Agricultural Univ., China Agricultural Univ., Zhejiang Univ., with UC Davis, Ohio State, the Tuskegee Institute, Oklahoma State and Iowa State Univ. The overall sponsor was the Missouri-based US Heartland China Association (USHCA). The topic was the state and future of agricultural education — extension services for the farmers themselves in China and the US, and educating students for careers in agriculture.
            Among the standout presentations, Prof. Sun Qixin of China Agricultural Univ., discussed the recent 40 year history of Chinese and American colleges exchanging students and training students together — he called this of “strategic importance.” Quoting President Xi, he explained the identity of food security and poverty alleviation for both China and for the whole world. He said that China’s development policy was to make sure that “we have a good environment for the Chinese people — China will never be a threat to other countries.” Quoting Mencius, he said, “It is better to be happy together with others, rather than trying to be happy alone.” He said that Yuan Longping is a friend of his, and that he had met with Dr. Borlaug in 1992 and in 2002. 

Prof. Huang Jikun of Peking Univ. stressed the many hundreds of ag science scholarly papers written jointly by Chinese and American researchers — written in both English and in Chinese — the authors pursuing food science with a single universal purpose. 

Prof. Kevin Chen, of the China Academy of Rural Development at Zhejiang Univ. described how the Chinese government has 1 million farm extension workers, serving 200 million farm families with small farms, many with aging farmers. He reported that only 40% of the farms have access to the internet — a problem to be solved. They have formed NAECP — the “National Cloud Platform for Grassroots Ag Tech Extension in China.”
            Among the Americans, Dr. Walter A. Hill, the Dean of the College of Ag, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences of Tuskegee University, made the greatest contribution. He framed his talk on the notion from WEB DuBois of “double consciousness” — seeing oneself and the world from “two sets of eyes,” one’s own and those of the oppressor. He said, “We need the brilliant young minds discussing China trade.” He reported that 90% of American farms are small farms, and most are losing money…” Speaking of the high quality of American Land Grant colleges (compared to the Ivy League), he said, “Big is not better. It’s the smaller that can produce the geniuses.” He called on Chinese universities to collaborate with Black colleges: “Let’s get Chinese to come here (to Tuskegee), and to work with us in a new way — I challenge you!”
            Stressing the rich common history of US-China collaboration in education, Prof. Zhu Jing, Dean at the Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU), reminded the audience that NAU was founded in 1921 by American ag economist and agricultural missionary for the American Presbyterian Mission, John Lossing Buck.
            The American speakers uniformly stressed sustainable agriculture and CO2 emission reduction (“climate-smart agriculture’). The world food crisis in the former colonial sector and the famine was not discussed, and only Prof. Sun discussed the China miracle of eliminating all extreme poverty in China. What was documented was a very deep 100 year history — continuing into the present — of the China-US joint passion for and science of food production improvement and expansion. The Dialogue was introduced by Chris Chinn, the Missouri Director of Agriculture, and by Tom Peterson, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture.


Argentina Seeks China’s Help in Negotiations With the IMF; Talk of Joint Five-Year Infrastructure Plan

April 2 (EIRNS)–Argentine ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja, has met with high level Chinese government officials in Beijing “to ask for that country’s support in the national government’s negotiations with the IMF, seeking an extension of payment terms and reduction in interest rates,” the daily Dangdai reported April 1, citing embassy sources.  Dangdai generally reports on Sino-Argentine relations, and touches on China’s relations with other Ibero-American countries to a lesser degree.

The Telam news agency reported that Vaca Narvaja met with the Foreign Ministry’s director of the Latin American and Caribbean Department, Cai Wei, with whom he discussed President Alberto Fernandez’s desire to refinance the $45 billion standby loan contracted by former President Mauricio Macri in 2018. Further citing embassy sources, Dangdai reported that Vaca Narvaja’s meeting included a discussion of the invitation to President Fernandez to make a state visit to China, now scheduled for early May, during which he is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to join the Belt and Road Initiative. A review of the two nations’ bilateral agenda, Dangdai noted, focused on a series of infrastructure investment projects which both governments prioritize and which would be integrated into a joint Five Year Plan. Especially interesting was the discussion on the use of national currencies for trade and investment, including “an evaluation of productive and industrial projects that could be financed in renminbi, a currency which could be used subsequently to meet foreign payments to China.”

It should be noted that the IMF’s 2018 standby loan, which was originally for $57 billion, but whose last tranche Fernandez refused to accept after he became President, was granted by then IMF Managing Director Christine “Lady Gaga” Lagarde largely for political reasons to prop up the sagging Macri government and the brutal austerity program he was implementing in hopes he might be able to be reelected. Argentine authorities are in fact conducting a criminal investigation into the fraudulent way the loan was contracted and used–most of it ending up as capital flight and vastly expanding the amount of debt Argentina cannot pay. The loan violated Argentina’s constitutional norms as well as the IMF’s own internal regulations. Macri himself, his two former Central Bank presidents and two former finance ministers, are all under investigation.


Afghanistan: the Role of the Neighboring Countries in Development

Afghanistan: the Role of the Neighboring Countries in Development

Aug. 5, 2021 (EIRNS) – During a Schiller Institute conference July 31, Prof. Pino Arlacchi, the former head of the United Nations Office of Drug Control who negotiated near-elimination of Afghan opium production with the Taliban 20 years ago, noted that immediately neighboring countries should play a primary role in planning South Asian regional development to include Afghanistan, and in stopping drug traffic from that country. One country clearly taking the point for this kind of development is Uzbekistan, under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

A July 31 article in EastAsiaForum.org by Nasriddinov Salokhiddin, a researcher at the Institute for International Security of Tokyo International University, calls the February 2021 conference with Pakistan and Afghanistan organized by Mirziyoyev, “the event of the century for Central Asia”, because it will connect landlocked Central Asian countries to the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The conference attendees decided on a 600-kilometer Tashkent-Mazar e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railroad and requested $4.8 billion in World Bank funding for it, Apparently the railroad corridor project was planned from the first to include new electricity transmission lines through it.

Noting the criticism that surmounting the Hindu Kush Mountains will make the project very expensive, Salokhiddin wrote: “Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan filed an appeal for investment to international financial institutions, which [appeal] received support from the United States, China and Russia. Representatives of the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank also expressed their willingness to assist the project through technical consulting and financing. Such wide support for the project means that the source of investment is no longer a concern.” He did not give dates or details regarding these other nations’ and international institutions’ support. He did add that the route transits Afghanistan through regions and cities which are under relatively secure government control now.

The author wrote that freight traffic in Afghanistan was about 4 million tons for 2020 and had risen by 25%. “Estimates suggest that if implemented, the trans-Afghan railroad will increase annual volume of rail freight by 20 million tons.” Some economists in Uzbekistan have advocated a railroad corridor to Chabahar in Iran instead, as allegedly more secure. But, “To achieve its economic objectives, access to the ports of Karachi and Gwadar is Uzbekistan’s highest priority.” Full article is here.


Fed Looks Like Losing Control of Interbank Lending, as in September 2019

Fed Looks Like Losing Control of Interbank Lending, as in September 2019

Aug. 5, 2021 (EIRNS) – A new Standing Repo Facility has been created by the Federal Reserve with an authorization of $500 billion subject to unlimited increase by Fed chair Jerome Powell. The Fed announced the facility July 28 and activated its operation July 29, indicating some urgency to cope with a liquidity problem in the interbank lending market, according to economists Pam and Russ Martens in their “Wall Street on Parade” column of July 28.

In September 2019 the Fed suddenly confronted a serious freeze-up in the interbank lending market and was forced to make emergency liquidity loans to the primary dealer banks which burgeoned up to hundreds of billions a day. There were many calls then for a standing repo facility, which was not created. Now it is set up, and will make repo loans not only to primary dealer banks, but to hedge funds, private equity funds, money-market mutual funds…. And, there is a second Standing Repo as well, for “foreign and international monetary institutions.”

So, the situation has clearly gotten much more unstable and contagious. The Federal Reserve has crammed the big banks with $4.5 trillion more in reserves just since the restart of QE in October 2019; those banks are crammed with trillions in new deposits while they have {withdrawn} loan and lease credit, net, from the economy, doubling their speculative {securities assets} the while.

Equally ominous, although the Martenses did not report it June 28: The Fed embarks on these new facilities to pump in liquidity, after about six weeks of reverse repo operations – where the Fed makes overnight loans of Treasuries in exchange for cash loans from banks; i.e., it {soaks up liquidity from the banking system} – which have run as high as $1 trillion/day! This indicates it is dealing with, or perhaps lurching around in, real volatility stemming from the very masses of deposits and stock-price gains it has caused to appear.

Worst of all, in the Martenses’ view, is that the Fed announced the Standing Repo Facility on the afternoon of the day it had been called for, in the morning, by the G30 Working Group on Financial Markets headed by the consummate bad actor in a financial crash, Tim Geithner. Geithner, as head of the New York Federal Reserve, “sluiced out $29 trillion to bail out the Wall Street banks” in 2008, as they wrote. 

The Standing Repo Facility will be operated by the New York Federal Reserve Bank.


WFP Beasley To Bezos: ‘The Sky Is No Longer the Limit’–Let’s End Hunger!

July 24 (EIRNS)–David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, tweeted on July 20, on the day billionaire Jeff Bezos took a ride into space and back:

“To @JeffBezos, @blueorigin, tremendous congratulations today! I can only imagine how incredible it was to see OUR planet from above. We’re all ONE human race. The sky is no longer the limit!! Now, let’s go end hunger together! Earth needs you!!
…you have proven over and over that anything is possible when you set your heart and mind to it. As you saw from space, Earth is a special place. 41 million people are on the brink of famine. I need your help. We need your help. Together, I know we can! #SpaceForBoth”


Railway Service in Europe Seriously Disrupted by Floods

July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)–The Trains.com website comments that portions of the rail network in Western Europe could be out of service for months or years in the wake of flooding that has left hundreds dead across a swath of western Germany and Belgium. Rail service has been suspended after the floods, which saw rivers running three yards higher than previous records in some cases and destroyed homes and businesses. See report here.

In Belgium, most rail lines south of Brussels saw disruption, with many in the hilly Ardennes region seriously damaged. The high-speed rail line connecting Brussels with Cologne in Germany was briefly closed, but as this goes through hills and over valleys, it was not seriously damaged. Services restarted over the weekend. The older rail lines that follow river valleys, often no more than a few yards above the river, fared much less well. Several routes are so badly damaged that reconstruction is expected to take until late August; less damaged routes reopened July 19.

In neighboring Germany, where the scale of destruction and loss of life has been greater, some rail lines, again built following river valleys, have been completely washed out. In total, German national railroad Deutsche Bahn has reported that 600 kilometers (more than 370 miles) of tracks and 80 stations are impassable.

The worst affected route along the valley of the Ahr River from Remagen to Ahrbrück has seen around 12.5 miles of its 18-mile length destroyed by flood water, with all seven bridges destroyed where the line crossed from one side of the river to the other.

In the Ruhr region, the main station in the city of Hagen was flooded and closed, along with rail lines through the city, as were those in the nearby city of Wuppertal. The flood waters knocked out power and telecom services in many areas. In the city of Bonn, the electronic signalling center controlling the main rail lines along the Rhine valley was unable to function, due to flood damage. Countries neighboring Germany have also seen flooding, with the south of the Netherlands hit with large-scale disruption to rail and road travel. As the weather system moved on, flood waters have affected Switzerland and by last weekend the rain had moved east to Bavaria in Germany and the neighboring Czech Republic, with the rail line between Dresden and Prague shut down July 18 as the Elbe River burst its banks. The Elbe alley was the scene of massive flooding in August 2002, which closed the rail line for three months.


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