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Weekly Wire: The Global Forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Role reversal as African technology expands in Europe
Phys Org
Africans have long used technology developed abroad, but now a Kenyan cash transfer network which bypasses banks is being adopted in Europe. The M-Pesa mobile money transfer system which allows clients to send cash with their telephones has transformed how business is done in east Africa, and is now spreading to Romania. "From east Africa to eastern Europe, that's quite phenomenal when you think about it," Michael Joseph, who heads Vodafone's Mobile Money business, told AFP in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. "I think that this is something the rest of the world can look at, to say that there are ideas that can emanate out of the developing world, and take it to the developed world."

New Report for Latin America and the Caribbean Freedom of expression and media development: Where are we heading?
Over the past six years, Latin America and the Caribbean continued to comply with the basic conditions that guarantee freedom of expression and media freedom, although the situation has not been homogeneous throughout the 33 countries in the region. Even where strong legislation has existed, implementation has remained a challenge. Several Latin American countries have approved new media laws that have been perceived by some as an opportunity to make the media landscape more pluralistic and less concentrated, and by others as an opportunity for the governments to act against media outlets that have been critical of their administrations. The same debate has applied to steps to revise out-of-date media laws, including those left over from military dictatorships.

Securing Rights or Results? A False Choice in Integrating Youth Into Sustainable Development
New Security Beat
“The greatest challenge we have today is that we have a world that is pushing back on rights,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), at the Wilson Center. “I have member states that tell me, ‘We just want development, not rights.’ And that is a very dangerous trend.” Young people in developing countries are often the victims of such thinking, said a panel of experts speaking on July 10, the eve of World Population Day. There is overwhelming consensus on the importance of meeting the needs of today’s youth – the largest generation in history – but they are often considered vessels for investment rather than active participants in the development process, with unique needs and wants, said Suzanne Ehlers, president and CEO of Population Action International.

OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050, The Consequences of Inaction
OECD and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
With a population of 7 billion, the world in 2012 faces highly complex economic and social challenges. While protecting the environment and conserving natural resources remain key policy priorities, many countries are also struggling with slow economic growth, stretched public finances and high levels of unemployment.  Tackling these pressures requires a deep cultural shift towards “greener” and more innovative sources of growth, and more sustainable consumption patterns.

Tax dodging won’t be curbed until poorest countries have a fairer say
The Guardian
Last year, tax justice campaigners were celebrating a milestone in the battle to prevent international tax avoidance as world leaders agreed to take action on corporate tax dodging. These measures included introducing greater transparency to make sure that companies investing money through tax havens could be openly identified and plans to shut down major tax loopholes. At the time, the G20 made clear the beneficiaries of any measures should include developing countries, as did last year’s G8 summit. Poor nations lose an estimated three times as much to tax havens as they receive in aid. This amounts to billions of pounds that disappear into the pockets of wealthy corporations. It is missing tax money that otherwise could have a major effect on countries where many people go hungry or die of easily preventable diseases.
The travels of Western civilization’s best and brightest: 2,000 years in two amazing videos
The Washington Post
Notable people, though born everywhere, congregate and die in cultural hubs. This phenomenon is documented in “A network framework of cultural history,” new research led by Maximilian Schich of the University of Texas at Dallas. The paper will appear in this month’s issue of Science — and more than two millenia of this migration is illustrated in two striking videos below. Using crowdsourced information from databases such as, Schich looked at the birth and death locations of more than 150,000 notable individuals, including artists, sports stars, politicians and astronomers. Though Schich’s research didn’t try to explain the migration of the best and brightest, the pattern is clear: Big is better.


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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite

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