Open Democracy: Food corporations paid shareholders $53.5bn while millions went hungry

Imagine being able to provide food, shelter, medicine and clean drinking water for the 230 million most vulnerable people on Earth, and still having a cool $2bn in spare change. That’s the equivalent of the entire economic output of Gambia rattling around in your pocket.

The reason for this unlikely thought experiment is a new analysis showing that 20 of the world’s biggest food corporations – the largest in the grain, fertiliser, meat and dairy sectors – returned a total of $53.5bn to their shareholders in the last two financial years.

To put that into perspective, the UN estimates that it needs $51.5bn to provide life-saving support to 230 million people deemed most at risk worldwide.

Monthly Review: West is out of touch with rest of world politically, EU-funded study admits


TeleSUR: The West Is Converting The G20 Agenda Into A Circus: Lavrov

People’s Daily: Moscow opens world’s longest subway line

Moscow on Wednesday opened the 70-km Big Circle Line (BCL), the longest subway line in the world.

Open Democracy: Rent decision by Supreme Court will ‘allow criminal landlords to exploit tenants’

The Supreme Court has ruled against tenants in a landmark case that could have given renters more powers when facing criminal landlords.

Campaigners have warned that the outcome of this judgment, which came from the UK’s highest court, will allow criminal landlords to exploit tenants “without fear”.

Ah yes, a “criminal landlord”, a bit like “wet water” and “hot fire”.

MEE: London hospital removed Gaza children’s artwork following legal threat

A London hospital was threatened with legal action by a British pro-Israel charity for displaying artwork depicting the daily life of Palestinian schoolchildren from Gaza, Middle East Eye can reveal.

People’s Daily: Finnish Parliament approves accession to NATO

The Finnish parliament on Wednesday approved legislation allowing the country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 184 members of parliament voted in favor, with seven against and one abstention.

Now just to wait for Turkey and Hungary to sign… eventually…

People’s Daily: Hungary demands UN investigation into Nord Stream pipeline attack: Helsinki Times

People’s Daily: Greek PM vows to act to avoid tragedy after train crash

TeleSUR: Doctors In Madrid Strike Over Wage & Working Conditions

East Asia and Oceania

People’s Daily: Vo Van Thuong elected as Vietnam’s new president

The country’s top legislature convened a special meeting and elected Thuong as the new president with an approval rate of 98.38 percent, according to Vietnam News Agency.

People’s Daily: Seventy-five pct of Myanmar’s rubber export flows to Chinese market

Jacobin: New Zealand Is Escalating Tensions Between China and the West

Central Asia and the Middle East

TeleSUR: More Than 45 000 Dead in Türkiye After Earthquakes

MEMO: Urals oil supplies to Turkiye jump in Feb as STAR refinery resumes Russian crude imports

MEMO: Low water levels force halt to north Syria hydropower

Local authorities in north-east Syria will suspend operations at a hydroelectric dam for a week because of low water levels, two officials said on Wednesday, leaving several million people at risk of power outages, Reuters reports.

MEE: Iran: Who is poisoning hundreds of schoolgirls?

BBC Persian reported that as many as 800 students in Qom had been poisoned so far, and that a number of cases had also been detected in the capital, Tehran. Younes Panahi, a deputy health minister, told media that the poisonings were likely intentional - though he later claimed he was misquoted - while Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the attorney general, has also described them as “probably intentional”.

Yet so far, no one has been able to pinpoint who might be responsible, with some suggesting an attempt by ultra-conservatives to disrupt the education of girls and others pointing to anti-government opposition groups.

MEE: Afghan diplomats return to Turkey and Iran as Taliban pushes for relations thaw

Earlier this week, Afghanistan’s Taliban government officially sent its representatives to the country’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Istanbul, despite the fact that neither Iran nor Turkey formally recognise the Islamic Emirate as the official rulers of the country.

These moves are just the latest example of diplomatic breakthroughs that have been achieved by the Taliban in the Middle East and Central Asia as they attempt to end their international isolation.

Open Democracy: The UK spent years lobbying for this Armenian goldmine. Now Russia is funding it

A Russian-backed development bank is set to finance a controversial mining project in Armenia which has been lobbied for heavily by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), in which Russia holds a 44% interest, is now committed to investing $100m in the Amulsar gold mine in Armenia – which the UK has closely supported over the past decade.

The breakthrough deal comes after the UK has spent the past 12 months attempting to cut off the Russian state’s access to the international finance system via sanctions.


MEE: Egypt raises fuel prices by 10 percent as inflation bites

MEMO: Scientists reveal hidden corridor in Great Pyramid of Giza

Finally. We shall find the Communism Button and press it.

Africa News: African cholera cases falling but floods up risk - WHO Africa director

Africa News: ‘We shall not condone any attempts to legitimise LGBTQ’ - Kenya deputy president warns

Shut the fuck up.

Homosexuality is largely illegal across most parts of the continent with people engaging in it liable to jail terms. Kenya has a strong LGBTQ+ community that has often protested to highlight their plight.

Recent events in the country show the same-sex advocacy drive in Kenya. The gruesome murder of a fashionista and known gay, Edwin Chiloba, and a Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ groups can be legally registered under Kenyan laws.

Africa News: Forest conservation summit kicks off in Gabon

Africa News: To conserve wildlife, Zimbabwe is banking on communities

North America

WSWS: Union “sets stage” for strike vote by 6,000 FedEx pilots in US

Jacobin: Iowa Republicans Want to Push Children Into the Workforce

Common Dreams: Tennessee Bans Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

Open Democracy: Idaho bill tries again to equate trans healthcare with female genital mutilation

“If you can’t pass an outright ban [on transgender medical care, you can try] to pass something else that can manipulate public opinion and people’s perceptions of gender-affirming care,” McNamara told openDemocracy.

TeleSUR: Mexican President To Promote Regional Accord To Fight Inflation

On Thursday, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) revealed that he will promote the signing of a trade agreement with Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, and Honduras to fight regional inflation.

South America

TeleSUR: Peru: Pedro Castillo Could Be Sentenced to 31 Years in Prison

TeleSUR: Argentina Passes Law That Eases Access To Retirement

On Tuesday, Argentina’s Lower House approved a law that creates a payment plan to allow the about 800,000 citizens who are of retirement age but do not have the years of retirement contributions to access this benefit.

TeleSUR: Venezuela Denounces Losses Caused by US Sanctions

During the latest session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Yvan Gil denounced that the U.S. sanctions have cost his country some US$232 billion in losses.

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

MEMO: Russia says it will only renew grain deal if its interests taken into account


Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology

Common Dreams: Shareholder Capitalism and the Cruelty of Mass Layoffs

Michael Roberts: The big con

Now in this new book, Mazzucato and Rosie Collington expose the scam that the management consultancy business is. The premise of Mazzucato and Collington is that consulting is really a confidence trick. “A consultant’s job is to convince anxious customers that they have the answers, whether or not that’s true”. With multiple evidence they show that consultancies have weakened businesses and hollowed out state capacity. “The more governments and businesses outsource,” they write, “the less they know how to do.” As the authors point out, why should “fresh-faced consultants airlifted in from one of the big firms know better than workers on the office floor or staff in the NHS, when they often seem to know very little.” Indeed as management consultant Bruce Henderson once sniggered: “Can you think of anything more improbable than taking the world’s most successful firms and hiring people just fresh out of school and telling them how to run their businesses – and [getting them] to pay millions of pounds for this advice?”

The Left and the Right

Jacobin: Even Right-Wing Think Tanks Are Finding High Support for Socialism

Poll after poll after poll keeps showing high levels of support for socialism in the United States and Canada — even when it’s conservatives doing the polling.

Inside the Imperial Core

Naked Capitalism: The Fiscal Side of Europe’s Energy Crisis: The Facts, Problems and Prospects

Climate Change News: Japan’s ‘green transformation’ would derail the energy transition in Asia

Outside the Imperial Core

Indian Punchline: A reality check for Modi Govt’s G20 ambitions

Valdai Club: Russian-Iranian Relations Amid a New Geopolitical Reality

The emerging geopolitical realities create objective prerequisites for rapprochement between Moscow and Tehran, for the activation and expansion of cooperation in the military-political, trade, economic, scientific, technical and other fields, in order to neutralize the consequences of military threats and sanctions pressure from the West, as well as its attempts to isolate Russia and Iran and prevent the formation of a new world order, writes Valdai Club expert Alexander Maryasov.

Valdai Club: Turkish-Russian Rapprochement in a Multipolar World

Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia does not seem to be circumstantial. It is true that, as its relations with the West and particularly the US are going through tough times Ankara turns to Russia for more cooperation but it is also true that Ankara would remain on this mutually beneficial track more firmly at a time of multipolarity just as it always sought good relations with the Soviet Union in the inter-war period, particularly in the 1920s and 30s, writes Hasan Ünal, Professor at Maltepe University, Istanbul. This article was prepared for the 12th Middle East conference of the Valdai Discussion Club.