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‘Staggering’ Hunger Crisis: Democratic Republic of the Congo

‘Staggering’ Hunger Crisis Identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

April 7 (EIRNS)—The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program issued a cry of alarm yesterday, that they had found in their recently-completed review of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a “staggering” scale of acute hunger. Some 27.3 million people—one in three citizens of that nation—are “acutely hungry,” with nearly 7 million of those people classified as in emergency status, one step below famine, able to survive only by such extreme strategies as selling off their last animal which provides their livelihood, or by begging.

“This makes the central African country home to the highest number of people in urgent need of food security assistance in the world,” the statement from the two agencies reports.

These figures include 3.3 million of that nation’s children who are malnourished, children who if not quickly provided with enough nutritious food may never recover from stunting of their mental and physical growth which malnutrition brings about.

WFP’s representative in the D.R. Congo, Peter Musoko, is quoted: “For the first time ever we were able to analyze the vast majority of the population, and this has helped us to come closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the D.R.C. This country should be able to feed its population and export a surplus. We cannot have children going to bed hungry and families skipping meals for an entire day.”

The FAO Representative in the D.R. Congo Aristide Ongone Obame urged: “We need to urgently focus on growing food where it is needed most, and on keeping people’s sustenance-giving animals alive. The main agricultural season is around the corner and there is no time to waste.”

The two agencies drove home the human condition only reflected in these statistics: “Behind the numbers are the stories of parents deprived of access to their land, or forced to flee for their lives, watching their children fall sick for lack of food. WFP staff have met families who have returned to their village to find their home burnt to the ground and their crops entirely looted. Some have been surviving by eating only taro, a root that grows wild, or only cassava leaves boiled in water.”

Never forget that such intolerable conditions are not “natural,” nor unsolvable; they are the results of humanity’s failure to leave the oligarchical system behind. As American statesman Lyndon LaRouche proved scientifically, and China’s just-released White Paper “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution” asserted, “poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable…. With strong will and determination, as well as practical action, one can make steady progress towards overcoming poverty and realizing common prosperity.” China’s full report is here.


Peace Through Development: Italy’s Messina Bridge Campaign Grows

Campaign for the Messina Bridge Intensifies

March 17 (EIRNS) – In a few days, the “Technical Commission” established by the Conte2 government to evaluate alternatives to the Sicily-Italy bridge connection will present its conclusive report. According to insider sources, the Commission will issue a pilatesque report, avoiding to endorse either solution.

In view of this, the pro-Messina bridge lobby has mobilized in an unprecedented way to put pressure on the Draghi government:

1. A bi-partisan parliamentary group has been formed, composed by members of Lega, Forza Italia and Italia Viva (Renzi), to endorse the Bridge project.

2. Webuild, the largest construction firm in Italy and contractor for the Bridge project, has published a beautiful video on the Bridge as an engine of development and a technical jewel.

3. “Lettera 150”, an organization gathering hundreds of academicians, has drafted a Memo of Understanding under the direction of Schiller Institute friend prof. Enzo Siviero, which will be signed by the presidents of the two regions, which will be connected by the bridge, Sicily and Calabria, March 26.   

A statement by the newly formed bipartisan group says: “A parliamentary intergroup, composed by several components of national politics: this will be ‘Bridge on the Strait – Italian recovery and development starting from the South.’ An alliance aimed at Italian infrastructural development starting from the Mezzogiorno which, turning the paradigm upside   down, is meant as an expression of social-economic potentiality.”

The six-minute Webuild video presents the Bridge as a large payroller: it will create 118,000        jobs and “will attract towards Italy world trade gravitating in the Mediterranean.” It will “turn Southern Italy into the logistic pole of the EU and will promote the know-how of Italian companies involved.” It will be the longest single-span bridge in the world with a total length of 3,660 m and a 3,300 m long span. It will also be the highest, with towers 399 m  high, and the largest with a 65 meter driveway. It will require 1.5 million tons of concrete and 376,000 tons of steel. It will carry 60,000 trains and 6 million vehicles per year. Webuild is the largest Italian construction and engineering firm. They have built, among other things, the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia and the second Panama Canal. Last year, they built the new Genoa highway bridge in less than 12 months.


Caribbean Nations to Join China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Caribbean Nations Want to Cooperate With China on the Belt and Road

March 17 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping held separate teleconferences yesterday with the President of Guyana and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and their teams, encountering great interest from each in expanding their country’s collaboration with China on economic development, and with the Belt and Road Initiative, in particular, according to Xinhua’s report. Xi spoke with both of China’s willingness to work together with the entire Caribbean region on development.

Guyanese President Dr. Irfaan Ali had his Vice President and three cabinet ministers (Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Finance) join him in the discussion, his office reported. Xinhua reported that Dr. Ali thanked Xi in the name of the leaders of major political parties and ministers of Guyana, for China’s assistance in the fight against the pandemic, and spoke of how Guyana “regards China as the most important cooperative partner in its national development, and is committed to strengthening relations between the two parties and two countries.” He conveyed that “Guyana expects to actively promote the Belt and Road cooperation with China, and strengthen cooperation in infrastructure and other fields, and stands ready to actively promote the development of relations between the Caribbean Community and China,” Xinhua noted.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley was also joined in his teleconference call with Xi by three ministers (Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, National Security and Health), along with the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister, his office reported. From Xinhua’s report, it can be said that the geopolitical tale of a “malign” China has not made headway here. Rowley spoke of “the great achievements of the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in such fields as economy, science and technology and poverty alleviation.” Citing China’s success in defeating the COVID-19 epidemic, and leadership in the global fight against the pandemic, Rowley told Xi: “the CPC should feel proud of itself.” As had the Guyanese President, he expressed his nation’s willingness to work with China to actively promote Belt and Road cooperation.


U.S.-China Diplomacy: Needs to Aim for Unity

China to Biden Team: It Is ‘Evil’ To Try and Prevent Any
People’s Right To Pursue a Better Life.

March 3 (EIRNS)—China’s Global Times responded strongly to a report issued March 1 by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which accused China of undermining U.S. national interests through coercive and unfair trade practices and promised to use all available tools to pursue “strengthened enforcement” of China’s existing trade obligations. In other words, as the Global Times yesterday took due note, “the Biden administration has repeatedly said it is reviewing the previous administration’s China policy, but recent messages emanating from Washington suggest that the new administration is keeping the hardline stance against China. The Trump administration’s strategic goal of containing China will be inherited, and only the means of dealing with China may be adjusted.”

It is “understandable” and even “reasonable” that Washington would seek to maintain its leading position in technologies, and to protect its intellectual property rights, the editors of this official daily correctly assert. China does not protest U.S. policies towards China which aim at promoting U.S. development and increasing U.S. strength, but containment smacks of the “barbaric geopolitical games” of the 19th and early 20th century.

“We are in the 21st century…. Be they Americans, Chinese, Latin Americans or Africans, all people have the right to pursue a better life…. [P]olicies targeted at preventing China’s continuous development and even pushing China’s economy backward are evil. They pose a direct harm to the interests of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, depriving the natural right of the Chinese people to seek a better life….

“Restricting China from the perspective of intellectual property rights protection is different from jeopardizing China’s scientific and technological research and development capabilities. The former is part of the intellectual property rights protection regime, while the latter is an evil result of the geopolitical mentality.

“China has 1.4 billion people, more than the West combined, and much more than the population of the major Western countries combined. China’s development is the grandest project of the global human rights cause, and China’s development needs a relatively friendly international environment, including fair conditions for trade and technology exchanges…. It is malicious to take tough measures to suppress the ability of developing countries, and to tell large countries like China that ‘you deserve to be poor’….

“This kind of malicious policy cannot be followed up in a broad and lasting way in the 21st century. We hope the U.S. ruling team can see clearly the general trend, stop talking about human rights when it is trying to deprive the sacred rights of 1.4 billion Chinese people…. At last, we have to say that such evil is doomed to failure in the 21st century.”

{Source: “Policies Containing China’s Development Malicious: Global Times Editorial” https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202103/1217096.shtml }


World Land-bridge: Creating a Human Future

Schiller Institute author, Hussein Askary, speaks to Nigerians: Africa will become the workshop of the world.

On Feb. 4, Hussein Askary, a Schiller Institute member and co-author of its special report, Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa – a Vision of an Economic Renaissance, spoke to a webinar in Abuja, Nigeria. The event, sponsored by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), focused on critical need for railway development across Nigeria. The country’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was unable to attend but sent his remarks, declaring the Buhari administration is looks to build a “functional and industrial transportation backbone [to] aid economic growth.”

Askary broadened the event’s focus stressing the need for African wide transport network integration. This, he said, would lead to what Lyndon LaRouche called for, i.e. development corridors spiraling outward from the rail lines. He showed China’s critical role in nurturing this development and debunked so-called “debt trap” charges. Askary painted Africa’s future, with its young population, as bright, and if given the tools of progress, one in which it will become the breadbasket and workshop of the world. Here is his 15 min. presentation.

To learn more visit our World Land-Bridge page: https://schillerinstitute.com/our-campaign/build-the-world-land-bridge/


Italy and China Sign Groundbreaking MOU on Belt and Road Initiative

Italy and China have signed the famous Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road cooperation Friday, together with 10 economic agreements and 18 institutional agreements (19 with the BRI MOU). The MOU is a milestone and is said to already be being studied by other countries that want to follow Italy.

The MOU says at the outset that

“The Parties will work together within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to translate mutual complementary strengths into advantages for practical cooperation and sustainable growth, supporting synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and priorities identified in the Investment Plan for Europe and the Trans-European Networks, bearing in mind discussions in the EU China Connectivity Platform.”

With the MOU, Italy is the first large industrial economy to join the Belt and Road, as Chinese media proudly stress. The signature of the MOU occurred in spite of trans-Atlantic pressures and open hostility by Italy’s “partners” in the EU. Italian Minister for Economic Development Luigi Di Maio, who signed the MOU together with his counterpart He Lifeng, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, stated that

“today is for us a very important day, in which the Made in Italy is winning, Italian firms are winning. We made a step to help our economy to grow. Italy came first with China.”

The economic agreements include: a strategic partnership between the Italian Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Bank of China to finance Italian firms in China; a MOU between the Italian oil company ENI and the Bank of China for explorations in China; Ansaldo Energia signed two agreements, one to develop gas turbines with UGTC and another one for the supply of a turbine to Shanghai Electric and Benxi Steel; the Port Authorities of Trieste and Genoa signed an agreement with the construction giant CCCC. Cassa Depositi and the natural gas utility Snam signed a deal with the Silk Road Fund for investments along the Silk Road; the Institute for Foreign Trade signed a deal with Suning to create a platform to promote Italian lifestyle in China; and the Danieli group signed a contract with China Camc Engineering for the construction of a steel plant in Azerbaijan.

The institutional agreements, besides the MOU on the BRI cooperation, include cooperation on innovative startups and electronic trade, as well as cooperation between the two space agencies, agriculture and culture, health and media.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella told the business leaders that, once again, there is a “culture of growth.” He said, “we can have confidence in both countries” that there will be development. The Memorandum of Understanding has been worked on since last September, and the cooperation between Italy and China will not only facilitate our own development, but will “enable global growth.” He said that ‘the globalized world needs more consultations” between nations, in all areas, especially trade, space and culture.

In an interview with Chinese journalists, Italian President Mattarella spoke at length about the ancient bonds between Italy and China and the future perspective for cooperation. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, and this partnership is “built on solid foundations, inspired by natural convergences between two very ancient civilizations,” Mattarella was quoted by Xinhua.

Mattarella underscored the “growing and fruitful interaction between our peoples, who are so similar in terms of industriousness and creativity.”

Xi’s visit is an expression of the “solidity of the bond and the mutual respect” between Italy and China, he said.

After some lip service to transparency and openness, Mattarella said that on the cultural front, the heritage of both Italy and China “arouses admiration everywhere in the world,” and this heritage could be a great development driver. He referred to the mechanism of forging twinning relationships between the two countries’ World Heritage Sites.

Speaking of how the Italy-China partnership contributes to a better and more stable world, the President said that Italy is committed to safeguarding peace and rules-based multilateralism, and is pleased to see the two sides have consensus on that.

The Italian press agency ANSA reported that Mattarella expressed the wish that, with the visit of President Xi, “agreements, ideas, projects can come out, in which the Italian-Chinese partnership could develop further, including for a larger benefit of the collaboration between Europe and Asia, which needs an ever bigger volume of sustainable investments in infrastructure, to ensure a future of well-being and peace for all peoples of the two continents.”


Italian PM Conte Outflanks EU in Parliament Speech on China Policy

In the foreign policy debate in the Chamber of Deputies Tuesday morning, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte judoed all critics of the upcoming agreement between Italy and China on the Belt and Road by describing the upcoming MOU as so pro-European that it complies with EU guidelines and principles and values as “nobody has so far done in Europe.”

Conte said that the EU “will be strengthened by the Italian approach.” The MOU is not a treaty but a “programmatic agreement outlining targets in the framework of the BRI, which is a large project of international connectivity that Italy has expressed interest for, already back in 2016.” Italy’s interest “is legitimate” and responds to its “national interests.” Italy wants to increase its export in a “market of giant dimensions,” increase investments in infrastructures and “enjoy the natural economic advantages of the New Silk Road.”

The negotiations for the MOU have lasted many months and the text is “fully in line with the EU strategy.” Furthermore: “Nobody in the EU has done as much as we have” to advance EU policy vis-à-vis China. The MOU promotes European principles of mutual advantages, reciprocity, intellectual property, level playing field, etc. “Our approach to the BRI is the most far-sighted and effective ever adopted in the EU.”

In his reply, after a debate in which the opposition distinguished itself in hysteria, infantilism and incompetence, Conte reiterated the “finalities” of the MOU with China:  “First, balance trade relations. Our exports to China are far behind exports of our partners in the EU. Second, the BRI is a big project of infrastructure connectivity which offers opportunities to our companies. We have leading companies in know-how and technology which will be able to participate. Third, the BRI is of such a significance as to redefine major trade routes and we don’t want to miss any chance to be part of them. Fourth, protecting our strategic infrastructure is a primary, non-negotiable objective.”


Feasibility Study for Panama High-Speed Railway Released

President Juan Carlos Varela presided over a ceremony Friday for the release of China Railway Design Corporation’s feasibility study on the Panama City-David high-speed railway line agreed upon as part of Panama’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. The study found that building the proposed 391.3 km railway from the capital to David, a city near the Costa Rican border, is economically and, as the President emphasized, socially viable—and that it is feasible to extend it into Central America.

hsr-panama

The railroad will provide “unprecedented integration of the country, and will empower the country’s logistical platform,” Varela said at the ceremony. The study took into consideration its future extension into Costa Rica, which would “facilitate trade of products between our [Central American] countries, which face great challenges in the area of logistics,” he stressed.

“Such a railway has been the dream of Panamanian leaders for 100 years, and therefore I hope that future leaders will take it up and make it a reality, always thinking of Panama first,” Varela added.

Panama will elect a new President on May 5, and Varela had previously announced that it will be up to his successor to undertake the project. By ensuring the feasibility study was released with proper promotion now, Varela is placing Panama’s participation in the Belt and Road, with the great potential it represents for transforming the country’s poorer regions, at the center of that campaign. (He cannot run again because of term limits.)

The CRDC, assisted by Panamanian government agencies, universities and private consulting companies, estimates that it will take six years to complete the railway, at a cost of $4.1 billion, involving 6,000 employees, direct and indirect, to build it, and 2,900 to operate and maintain it once built.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Jacques Cheminade Interviewed on China’s CCTV-13

Interviews with Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Jacques Cheminade appeared on a newscast by CCTV-13 reporting on U.S. reactions to the just-concluded National People’s Congress. CCTV journalist Wang Guang reported on the reaction of U.S. think tanks to the ideas presented during the Two Sessions with regard to U.S.-China trade and the Belt and Road Initiative.

The broadcast then shifted to an interview done with Helga at the Morristown Schiller Institute conference. Zepp-LaRouche said:

“I personally think it is the most important strategic initiative, because it is a concept with which you can overcome geopolitics. Geopolitics has been the cause of two wars in the 20th Century, and the idea that you can not have blocs of countries or nations against nations, but that you have what Xi Jinping always calls the ‘community of the shared future of humanity,’ that you put the one humanity first, is a strategic concept which allows you to overcome the divisions which existed in previous centuries.”

This was followed by Cheminade, who said,

“The Chinese way is to a world integration through common development, what President Xi Jinping calls a ‘win-win’ system. So that is a future. The Chinese want a world development. They don’t want to impose their model, but they don’t want the other models to impose upon them.”

Helga’s clip was also aired on CCTV Plus, an English-language CCTV site, on a program entitled “Foreign Experts Applaud Development Concepts.”


Webcast—Neocons Move to Box Trump In, While Italy Points Toward the New Paradigm

The ongoing battle between two paradigms was center stage in Italy this week, as the conference cosponsored by Movisol and the Lombard Region, demonstrated the potential for the Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI) to break the power of the London-run geopoliticians in Europe. Helga Zepp LaRouche’s report on the conference, at which she spoke, and was joined by Michele Geracci, an Undersecretary of the Italian Finance Ministry and head of the government’s China Task Force, highlighted the significance of the upcoming trip of Xi Jinping to Italy, and the signing on an MOU for Italy to join the BRI. If Italy and fifteen other EU member nations can participate, for mutual benefit, with the BRI, what of France and Germany? Why are the EU bureaucrats and the London neo-liberals so distressed by this development?

Contrast this potential to the hysteria coming from EU bureaucrats, from NATO officials such as Gen. Scaparroti, and from U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo, which is part of a neocon contingent trying to rein Trump in. Helga presents a clear picture of how the neocons are moving, aiming at sabotaging the trade talks with China, denuclearization of North Korea, and pushing for regime change in Venezuela, to force Trump to move away from his campaign promises.

She appealed to viewers to use the mobilization to exonerate Lyndon LaRouche as a means of bringing down the war party, which is continuing its efforts to destroy the potential of the Trump presidency.


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