After a day in the sun and streets of Denver and a rowdy-as-hell May Day demo, some queer anarchist demons of the nights let their hair down and gave some gentrifying fucks a much-needed makeover. These comrades are sick of seeing property prices in the formerly working-class Highlands neighborhood skyrocket, all due to yuppies, their condos, and the corporations that invade to please them.
These comrades grew tired of seeing that ugly beige Starbucks on Federal, so they gave it a new paint job. Five paint bombs gave the storefront a beautiful facelift; a concrete planter was also liberated into a few pieces during the action. The queer demons of the night attacked Starbucks for the role they play in gentrification, but also for their co-opting of queer struggle. Starbucks recently endorsed a push for gay marriage, an assimilationist goal of white, cis-gendered, upper-class gays. We have no desire to become part of the system that destroys us, and we will never assimilate to the society of oppression built and maintained by heterosexism and cissexism. This action was also carried out in solidarity with the Starbucks Workers’ Union of the IWW, and their struggle for recognition.
Later that night, this merry band of queers attacked a police car parked outside a private residence with another paint bomb. Cops are also part of the gentrifying force in the Highlands, harassing the working class and defending the property of yuppies and corporations (a lot of good that did for the Starbucks). Pigs have a long history of attacking queer folk, from the Compton Cafeteria riots and continuing today. While not a direct confrontation, the message gets across: we know you’re in our hood, and we don’t like it. Either quit your job, or put a bullet in your own head.
First-half earnings for General Motors Co. reached $6.3 billion, reports Automotive News. Yet according to Automotive News, General Motors CEO was not happy. General Motors cutbacks will soon follow. Source for this article: Despite record first-half profit, GM plans major cuts
Cause of slashes at GM
As General Motors is at the lowest in the industry for earnings with the 6 percent margins, which Morgan Stanley calculated before interest and taxes, it will need to cut expenditures, as reported by GM CFO Dan Ammann. There are only a few businesses with lower operating margins. This contains Toyota, Renault SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen.
General Motors spokesman Jim Cain explained what GM’s next goal is on its way to getting to the top of global sales again. He said that the next goal is to beat Ford and Volkswagen AG’s 7 percent margin.
All of the programs are being reviewed by General Motors, as reported by ABC7 Action News Detroit. The company is making cutbacks everywhere. Cutbacks in marketing, production consolidation and jobs will occur probably. Turning down the thermostats in company offices may even happen.
“Ford’s North American margins are easily 2 percentage points better than GM’s,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas. “We think that gap can narrow.”
Low income predictions
A team of industry analysts told Bloomberg that GM’s third-quarter net income would likely drop $2.16 billion from the previous year, to $1.6 billion.
There are increases in commodity costs and engineering and marketing costs. That means earnings are being cut into, as reported by Jonas. Production slashes can be expected with higher dealer inventories, lucrative buyer incentives and production cuts.
People can be labeled all kinds of things during a single lifetime, and those labels may or may not help them depending on the person and the situation. Cumulatively labels make up one's reputation which is essentially like a resume of one's past deeds – past deeds remembered. As one goes through their life they collect labels, some that are there because they actually earned them and others certain people outside of themselves stuck on them. People can't fight off all unfair or untrue labels and many do fade as time goes on and we grow up and get older.
A young person may have been labeled chubby, for example, yet over time lost weight and just by looking at them it is obvious to anyone they are are no longer the same physically. After a while that label can fade and people see them as something else, whether that thinness is good or bad. That is what is wonderful about life, it is always changing causing potentialities to arise and fall. Whatever the present, there is always the future and possibility for reorganization, rewriting and morphing all over into something else. That's life's beauty.
Bringing about changes to one's own reputation can be easy. As life goes on one grows what was once your reputation becomes old news, and the new person you are is what people see, think about and discuss. For most folks it's just that simple, we work hard in life to do things and get things we want, and in doing so our reputation and the labels people see when they look at us, morph.
For some other people however, the process is not simple. They need to put in extra effort with regards to their reputation because of something they have done or because of something that was done to them.
Neither is necessarily more difficult, it depends on the person.
People's Advocacy Council
Representing the aspirations and goals of Homeless and formerly homeless people "Nothing about us without us."
Proposed Ban on Camping in the City and County of Denver Meeting Friday March 30 at 6 p.m. in Lincoln Park
Posted on March 29, 2012
” I indicated in my email to you my commitment to keep you as informed as possible on upcoming issues. As the volume surrounding the introduction of the Unauthorized Camping Ordinance rises, I am sending you an actual copy of the ordinance for your information.
CALL – CALL – CALL Let us rise. Let us live out the dream that all people who live in our midst are safe and sound! The ordinance will be coming to City Council’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Tuesday, April 3, 2012. 10:30 a.m. in Room 391.
You can also view it live on the Council website at that time. I am also happy to ask you to Save the Date of April 19, 2012, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. for the reconvening meeting of the Denver Commission to End Homelessness.
That meeting will be held at the City and County Bldg. – Parr Widener Library, Rm. 389 – 1437 Bannock St., Denver, CO.”
” Let the US Rise! Let us march on. Let us march until we all have a place that is safe to rest. Let us rest and lie down when all children are safe and sound. Let us rise – let us rise.
Homestead Media and Black Apple Media announce a “Green Set” during production of Dutchman’s Run
CENTENNIAL, Colo., Spring 2012 – Homestead Media in partnership with Black Apple Media proudly announces an official “green-set” for their feature length film: Dutchman’s Run.
Homestead Media and Black Apple Media have set a number of environmentally sound goals for the production of their upcoming independent film: Dutchman’s Run. Filming for Dutchman’s Run is currently scheduled to begin in late Autumn 2012 with strict “green-set” production goals:
• Cast and crew catering will be served on-site with biodegradable and/or compostable plates, cups and silverware only.
• Reusable water bottles will be required on set.
• Filming of Dutchman’s Run will be done digitally, reducing further tangible waste
• Efforts will be made to buy eco-friendly and recyclable supplies for behind the scenes and staging.
• Script updates will be distributed digitally throughout drafting, and production members will utilize iPads and tablets to reduce paper waste.
• Scripts will be printed on 100% recycled paper and then recycled after use.
James Gilligan was a psychiatrist who at one time ran
psychiatric services for the Massachusetts state prison system,
including its hospital for the criminally insane. In his book
“Violence” Gilligan makes a number of important observations about the
relationship between crime, violence, and the structure of the society
in which we live. He notes that law looks neither at the psychological
causes of crime, particularly violent crime, nor its prevention.
Instead law concerns the societal response to crime and violence, with
punishment, not prevention. Gilligan states that what is called
‘crime’ is the kind of violence the system calls illegal, what is
called ‘punishment’ is the kind of violence the state sanctions and
Gilligan goes on to note that the psychoanalytic point of
view traditionally holds that the character of the individual, rather
than outside forces, shapes their destiny. In fact, the individual is
subject to forces over which he or she has no control and which no
amount of self-knowledge can reshape. Gilligan argues that the
incidence of crime and violence within our society reflects definite
moral choices about social policy. The conditions in many of our
prisons are cruel, inhuman, and degrading to the point where Human
Rights Watch has cited the US for numerous human rights abuses and
frequent violations of the ‘ United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for
the Treatment of Prisoners’. The current system costs $60 billion
dollars annually to maintain, at the price of cuts to education and
basic services. Beyond incapacitating per capita 5 times as many
offenders an average of 8 times longer than any other society the
system does nothing to prevent recidivism.
May 18- May 25, 2012
This event will happen at the Appalachian South Folklife Center near Pipestem, West Virginia.
There is indoor bed space, heated buildings, chairs, and good food including meat. People of all ages are welcome and people of all ages do attend. You are welcome to come!
Come to Appalachia and become part of the movement to end MTR Coal Mining, protect communities and the environment, and build a sustainable new economy.
Learn about Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining and become part of the movement to stop it!
A week long program of education, entertainment, and action!
Registration will be online shortly and registration is required to attend.
Homestead Media in partnership with Black Apple Media announce that they will be auditioning for roughly 25 supporting roles in their upcoming full length feature: Dutchman’s Run. Casting will take place over the course of the next few months throughout Colorado.
Casting for Dutchman’s Run will consist of a three phase process: First, resume and headshot submissions will be accepted, followed by assigned audition scripts to be submitted as video auditions, and lastly, qualified candidates will attend live auditions in front of the director, producers and casting director.
Dutchman’s Run is an ambitious Western film that takes place in 1869 in Colorado. In the wake of the Civil War, young soldier Clyde Barrett seeks to lose himself in the lawless highlands of the Rocky Mountain West. When the opportunity arises, he doesn't mind utilizing his skills as a sharpshooter to play mercenary for the virulent mine boss, Samuel Dresser. A brutal desert robbery soon leaves two dead and a pile of Dresser’s money missing, and he is sent into a tireless, violent pursuit of the assailants with Clyde in tow. When rancher Callie Greene is thrust into the middle of the conflict, Clyde must weigh his loyalties against his instincts in order to protect an innocent girl from the small war that seems to be mustering around her.
A few nights ago a small cadre of anarchists made the decision to let our cry against capital and the state ring loud and clear. We chose a target of our day to day misery, a chain grocery store. Wearing masks we bought more than a hundred dollars worth of food, to provide cover for the great crimes to follow. On the way out to our car, parked outside the parking lot, we lifted the cart across the magnetic force field surrounding the store property, unloaded our groceries into the car, and then left the shopping cart off the stores premises. We made it safely away and the corporation is likely to close it's doors forever because of this act of economic devastation. So what have YOU done lately?
-some irresponsible illegalists
A hot air balloon ignited and crashed in New Zealand Saturday morning. Authorities say eleven people -- the pilot and five couples -- were all wiped out. Source for this article: New Zealand balloon disaster kills eleven
Where everyone goes ballooning
About 50 miles northeast of Wellington on the North Island in New Zealand, the crash occurred. Nobody survived the accident. It was a well-known location for the balloon to be seen.
Unclear how the fire started
It is unknown what really occurred to cause the fire. Superintendent Mike Rusbatch of the New Zealand Law enforcement Wellington division said that the fire probably started by a fire in the basket that went up into the balloon. He said:
“This is an absolutely tragic incident, and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased. We are in the process of notifying next of kin. However, we will not be releasing any names until all next of kin have been advised.”
Weather not a factor
The weather most likely had nothing to do with the crash since “it was a perfect morning for ballooning,” as reported by a Wairarapa District Health board spokeswoman.
What did a witness say?
One eyewitness, David McKinlay, told Television New Zealand that he saw flames increasing from the basket as it fell:
“There were flames licking up the side of the basket, right up the guy ropes. … There was a big, long, pencil-like flame maybe 20 meters long, heading towards the ground at a terrible speed.”
The event took place last Saturday (December 17, 2011) at Civic Center Park Ampitheater. It started with a panel at the ampitheater with Q&A. Then, it marched around downtown Denver, starting at the 15th Street and Cleveland Place, and ending back to Civic Center Park from Broadway Street.
The march and panel was to stand in solidarity with the immigrant community.
However, the one-percent don't want to pay their income taxes, but they can sure hire goons to take over the immigrant communities - How is the one-percent terrorizing immigrants?
But, it's time we gave the one-percent a taste of their own medicine two ways. One way is to make the one-percent (with the fattest wallets) look at their family history, and see if thier ancestors were immigrants (coming to America centuries or decades ago). Second way is to make them look back into U.S. History class back in school.
The nine-year war between the U.S. and Iraq officially came to an end on Thursday. A basic ceremony was conducted in Baghdad to mark the event. Most U.S. troops have already shipped home. In the meantime, both countries remain divided from within. The turmoil has not really come to an end. (See: http://www.newsytype.com/14000-iraq-war-ends)
Iraq will no longer have America in it soon. The plan is to be totally pulled out before the month is finished. There were discussions between Washington and Baghdad that would have allowed soldiers to stay longer. This never happened though, as the U.S. wanted special treatment. They wanted to keep all soldiers from Iraq prosecution.
Thurs, there was a little ceremony that occurred in Baghdad. The flag over the city was lowered. It no longer hangs there.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke:
“To be sure, the cost was high - in blood and treasure for the United States and also for the Iraqi people. But those lives have not been lost in vain.”
All about the war
Almost right after September 11, 2001 when the WTC was attacked by terrorists, George W. Bush started an Iraq war. But the conflict started for real in March, 2003, with the night-time “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad. The U.S. had over 170,000 soldiers in 500 bases in the country during the height of the turmoil in 2007. Almost 4,500 United States troops, also as tens of thousands of Iraqis, lost their lives in the conflict. The conflict was very expensive though. It cost over $800 billion to working class individuals.
A Reporting Piece Covering One of the Four Categories of Hard News : EDUCATION
Where Combining Those Two Together Can Not Only Help Students in Academic Performance, but It will also Get Football Fans (Young and Old) Take an Interest in a Hard Education Subject.
GETTING FANS TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN MATH
There are football fans that are so pre-occupied with the game, they do not take an interest in something useful like math. Why is that the way it is? Sheila Bieker is a PPCC Career planning advisor, whose office is across from the math lab at the Downtown Studio campus.
They are afraid of math, because it is overwhelming and hard to understand. Fans are so caught up in the action, they find it hard to figure out what is a numerator and denominator, and they find it hard to figure out equations. If fans use math, they can evaluate the length of the football field, and how far the player needs to throw the ball in order for the touchdown.
Poor academic performance from students is one contributing factor in colleges and public school failing, and each student’s lack of interest in a school subject (math included) is the cause of academic performance. Students on the football team are so interested in the game, but not interested in schoolwork.
“Fans and players are so involved in the winning score, they cannot think of anything else, not even math homework that is due whenever,” adds Bieker.
Combine math with football, and not only will fans and students get good grades, but they will learn to appreciate math. How this combination can work is figuring out the measurement of the football field, from breaking the yardage down to feet, to figuring out how there could be 120 yards wide and 53 1/3 yards long.
When football fans young and old take one math lesson (measurements and word problems), and tie that knowledge to football action, how is that gonna change the way fans think about math?
Remember how all your punk friends in high school and your early 20's brandished anarchy symbols, and anarchy meant lawlessness, chaos and destruction? I think that is still the most common perception of anarchy in America, and only within the last year or two was I educated on what the true philosophy of anarchism is. It's really the core of democracy. It's a system of self governance where people come together and make decisions about what's best for their community. No one is above anyone else. When you hear about anarchists being involved in these Occupy movements around the world, it's an attempt to make you envision chaotic, destructive people so that you will not feel sympathetic towards the movement.
The reality is that they are involved, and they are not a destructive force. They do "oppose authority" and feel that people should be able to govern themselves. They want to replace the current oppressive forms of hierarchical government with a system where everyone gets an equal say in their democracy. If you know what anarchism really is, then that takes away the power of the ruling class to scare you with the word. It also opens you up to learning a new way of doing things that doesn't rely on elected officials, who will ultimately have power over things that effect you, and puts power back in the peoples' hands.
I think it's important for us to be aware of how our government DOES use propaganda to keep us fearful and misinformed.
According to the most recent public World Bank figures, Nepal pays $594,000 a day in debt payments as cited by the religious development organization, Jubilee USA Network. World Bank figures report that Nepal owes $3.8 billion in foreign debt and in 2013 paid $217 million in debt payments, or nearly $600,000 a day. Nepal was already one of the world's poorest countries, ranking 145th out of 187 countries listed on the United Nations Human Development Index, before an April 25th earthquake hit the country killing more than 8,000 people. On Tuesday another earthquake of 7.3 magnitude killed more than 100 additional people in the country.
"It's mind-blowing that one of the poorest countries in the world, struggling with earthquake recovery, pays $600,000 a day on debt," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA. "That's $4 million a week that could be going toward recovery and rebuilding."
As Nepal scrambles to rebuild before the approaching Monsoon Season, it finds itself in debt to the tune of $1.5 billion to the World Bank and another $1.5 billion to the Asian Development Bank. The country also owes $133 million to Japan and $101 million to China.
"The World Bank and Asian Development Bank must immediately cancel these debts," stated LeCompte, who serves on United Nations finance expert groups.
IMF's Lagarde and World Leaders Will Attend Historic Ethiopia Summit
The United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and finance ministries are meeting in New York to finalize an agreement for the Financing for Development Conference (FfD) to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July. The summit seeks to tackle global poverty and features the IMF's Christine Lagarde, heads of state, business leaders and humanitarian groups such as Jubilee USA Network. Pope Francis has committed to attend the Sustainable Development Goals Conference to follow up on the commitments from the Financing for Development process.
"These negotiations are critical for billions of people living in poverty," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development organization, Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte and Jubilee USA are involved in negotiating the FfD outcome document. "This is a rare opportunity to create a binding global plan to drastically diminish poverty in our lifetime."
This summer's conference is the third Financing for Development summit. The first summit was held in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico. It produced the "Monterrey Consensus," which laid out six areas of development financing. The 2008 summit in Doha, Qatar, led to commitments from developed nations to continue aid to developing nations and to address a number of systemic global economic concerns that contribute to global poverty such as debt, trade and tax issues. As the United Nations Millennium Development Goals expire, current negotiations continue to focus on these "systemic" issues in the form of domestic resource mobilization, or supporting developing countries to raise more revenue in their countries.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank announced $1.1 billion in debt relief for Chad. The money comes through the IMF and World Bank's two major debt relief programs: the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Chad is the 36th country to receive HIPC relief and the first since 2012. Chad is the fourth-least developed country in the world. More than half its population lives in poverty.
"Debt relief for Chad means an investment in education and healthcare," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious debt relief organization Jubilee USA Network, which advocated for the IMF and World Bank debt relief programs. "This is an important way to give Chad's people help."
As of 2013, Chad owed $2.2 billion to foreign lenders and spent over $100 million annually paying off debt. Prior to receiving debt relief, Chad owed around $800 million to the World Bank and $400 million to the African Development Bank. Chad also owes approximately $500 million to other governments. Under the relief plan, Chad receives $18 million in debt relief from the IMF, nearly $600 million from the World Bank and $236 million from the African Development Bank. Thirty-nine countries are eligible for HIPC debt relief. Qualifying countries must meet certain criteria and implement poverty reduction plans. Chad was granted relief even though it didn't meet all criteria. Critics of these plans argue that to qualify for debt relief, countries should not reduce any budget areas that protect vulnerable populations. The three other qualifying countries yet to receive relief are Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.
Severe aftershocks continue to terrorize Nepal which was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday. The rising death toll climbed beyond 3,000 people. Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 145th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. According to the World Bank, Nepal owes $3.8 billion in debt to foreign lenders and spent $217 million repaying debt in 2013. Nepal owes approximately $1.5 billion each to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and $54 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It owes $133 million to Japan and $101 million to China.
“Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world and needs immediate financing to recover,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "Relieving Nepal's debts not only provides resources now, but can also help the country rebuild."
Nepal is one of 38 countries eligible for assistance from the IMF's new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR). The IMF created the CCR in February to provide debt relief to poor countries impacted by natural disasters or health crises. The new fund canceled nearly $100 million in debt for Ebola-impacted countries. In order to qualify for relief from the new fund after a natural disaster, a country must meet certain criteria. The disaster must destroy more than 25% of the country's "productive capacity," impact one third of its people or cause damage greater than the size of the country's economy. It is not yet known if Nepal will qualify. Of the $54 million Nepal owes the IMF, $10 million is due in 2015 and nearly $13 million is due in 2016.
As the Spring International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings open, the World Bank announced $650 million of new grants and concessional loans to the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. About $220 million will be aid in the form of grants and the remainder will be in the form of highly concessional loans. Currently the three countries owe a combined $518 million to the World Bank. Liberia owes $105 million, Guinea $186 million and Sierra Leone $227 million.
“We urge the World Bank Group to consider bolstering their commitments with a new debt relief package for the impacted countries,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. “We applaud the new aid for the affected countries and hope that the World Bank can come up with some rapid response plan to address this kind of crisis much faster in the future.”
The new financing is through the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA). The IDA determines its lending terms based on the borrowing country's risk of "debt distress." The new IDA financing will be distributed as approximately 50% grants to Sierra Leone and Guinea and 100% as loans to Liberia. The loans will be repaid over 25 to 38 years. In February, the IMF announced $100 million in debt relief for the three West African countries and called on governments to contribute $70 million more. The IMF also set up a new debt relief fund for poor countries struck by natural disasters or health crises.
Global Stability and Economic Outlook Reports Released
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its Global Financial Stability Report, noting "increased financial stability risks" in the global economy. The report notes that large-scale economic shocks are particularly concerning to global stability. It argues that such risks are greatest for countries with high debt levels and that emerging market countries must be prepared for external shocks. Particular concern is raised on the consequences of currency volatility, the shadow financial system and high corporate debt. The report is a follow-up to the IMF's semi-annual World Economic Outlook Report, which noted uneven global growth, particularly among developing economies.
"The IMF recognizes we need global structures to protect us when there's a major crisis," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. "Countries with high debt levels are the most vulnerable to those crises."
The Global Financial Stability Report focuses on the systemic issues that create global economic trends. It notes that debt levels are rising in emerging markets and that increased risks over the past six months are impacting those countries the most. It argues that policy measures are necessary to "contain financial excesses" in global markets and to improve growth.
"The IMF is concerned that inequality persists, especially in the developing world" said LeCompte. "The IMF notes that the key to stability is addressing debt and tax policies that underlie uneven growth."
Complaints of psychiatric abuse are nothing new. Pilgrim State Hospital in New York lost its accreditation over them in the 80’s. No doubt other psych hospitals have as well. It is my understanding that such complaints have usually centered on excessive forced drugging, often ordered by doctors at big hospitals like the one in DC that holds John Hinkley. In some cases the doctors never even saw the patient they ordered drugged. Psychiatric drugs are unpleasant and can be used as tools for chemical restraint, punishment or both. Other complaints have centered on excessive use of physical restraint, people being put in the straight jacket or full sheet for long periods of time, sometime for days, and often left in their own urine and feces for hours. When such abuse comes to light and a single doctor or staff person is responsible that person can lose their license to practice medicine in whatever capacity and in some instances may even face prosecution. If the abuses reflect a pattern of practice within the whole institution it may be closed.
Grenada agreed to a debt plan with its Caribbean island investors that will result in a 50% reduction in the value of existing Grenada investment bonds. The deal offers investors a portion of future revenues from a government program designed to attract foreign investment. Although the deal addresses about $262 million in debt, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that Grenada's total debt tops $907 million. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, nearly 40% of Grenada's population lives below the poverty line. "Grenada's debt deal is a significant step in the right direction," said Reverend Sean Doggett, a spokesperson for the local Catholic Diocese and a founding member of Grenada's Jubilee Committee. Because of the correlation of debt levels to high poverty rates, Grenada's Jubilee Committee was organized by the Conference of Churches in Grenada to influence debt negotiations between investors, the IMF and the government of Grenada. "The Conference of Churches in Grenada continues to engage in this process and work with its partners in the region."
Other Caribbean islands are also dealing with unsustainable debts or attempting to renegotiate their debt levels. These islands include Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica and Jamaica. Jubilee USA supported Grenada's Jubilee Committee and last year religious leaders across the small islands formed the Caribbean Debt Network (CDN) to join debt negotiations on all islands facing crisis.
The religious anti-poverty organization Jubilee USA Network is calling on international lenders to grant debt relief to Vanuatu. In mid-March, Cyclone Pam struck the string of small Pacific islands with winds up to 165 miles per hour. The category 5 storm destroyed or damaged nearly every building in the capital city and wiped out crops across the country. The United Nations warns that entire islands are facing imminent starvation and its President says the "monster" storm undid the nation's recent economic development. Vanuatu owes approximately $84 million to international lenders, including nearly $10 million to the World Bank.
"The World Bank and other international lenders can reduce Vanuatu's debt," said Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA Network's Executive Director. "Vanuatu's people will need every single dollar they can get to rebuild."
Greece submitted a list of economic reforms to the European Union (EU) in an effort to secure emergency financing. The reforms include proposals to raise revenue by curbing tax evasion and corruption. Eurozone leaders rejected a prior Greek reform plan over the weekend. Greek Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told Germany's Spiegel news magazine that Greece may not make its €450 million payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if it does not receive more financing by April 9. Government spokesperson Gabriel Sakellaridis denied that Greece would forgo IMF payments.
"This is a poker match between Greece, the IMF and the EU," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious debt relief organization Jubilee USA Network. "The stakes are high with millions of ordinary people's lives on the table."
Greece's Syriza party vowed to end austerity measures and renegotiate the country's debt after winning national elections in January. The Greek government submitted a list of proposed reform measures in February to unlock a four-month extension to its current loan deal with the EU, IMF and European Central Bank. The EU rejected those proposals and instructed Greece to submit new reforms. Greece is also seeking debt relief and indicated it would pay for domestic services before paying its debt if forced to choose. Greece is the most heavily indebted country in Europe and the third most indebted in the world.
"This ongoing dispute is more evidence that we need a global bankruptcy process with clear rules," said LeCompte, an expert to United Nations finance working groups. "Otherwise we're just gambling with people's lives."