New Internationalist

Radio New Internationalist

PODCAST: Corporate tax breaks and the Cayman Islands

Naomi Fowler turns investigator in this scandalous edition of Taxcast…

The Bolivian Climate Revolution

A Climate Radio broadcast on Bolivian President Evo Morales’ alternative to the Copenhagen Summit

The new superpowers

As US power falls, people-power is rising…

Never before has a United States’ Presidential election been given so much coverage in the Western World as it’s being given now. Indeed, sometimes it feels like it’s taken over our political horizon. But look, up in the sky. The world’s media-spotlights are shining in the wrong direction!

Commentators concede that as a superpower, the US is in decline. No longer strong, but grounded and gasping for breath, it must have been exposed to kryptonite. Meanwhile Europe, China, and India are dusting off their capes, positioning themselves in anticipation of the crash. Superpowers bring vastly different dialogues to world politics - war and peace.

They have the power to re-shape capitalism and the world economy, and fundamentally affect the most pressing issues of the decade. So who will fill the power vacuum that the US is leaving behind?

Russian political economist Boris Kagarlitsky - Director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements joins Chris Richards to help unmask the superhero-contenders of the future, and finds social movements rather than countries may soon be the ones that are flying high:

  • Modern China has merged capitalism and communism. Shi Yinhong - Professor of International Relations at the Renmin University in China’s capital, Beijing - reveals how the country and its people now see both themselves and their place in the world.
  • Kamil Mahdi - a fellow of the Transnational Institute and specialist in the political economy of Arab and oil exporting countries - examines the effects that the declining influence of the United States and the rising global influence of India and China are having in the Middle East.
  • Patrick Bond - the Director of the Centre for Civil Society in South Africa - celebrates the growing strength of social movements… and the multi-billion dollar legal action being taken by South Africans against the long line of foreign corporations that propped up apartheid.

The music in this program and throughout all our programs comes from the World Music Network’s wonderful collection of inspiring music from all corners of the globe. This week features the CD Rhythm of the River, which showcases a range of artists from the World Music Network’s Riverboat Records series.

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——

With this program, the Radio New Internationalist project comes to an end.

We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have because we’ve had a ball. But life’s commercial realities have pressed in on us and forced us to close our microphones. The good news is that there are now over 80 Radio New Internationalist programs in our audio archives just waiting for you to download at the push of a button. So if you’re looking for more radio programs, check out our website: http://www.newint.org/radio/ In addition, over the coming weeks some of our very best programs will be repeated.

Enter stage left

A radical take on improving peoples’ physical and environmental security…

Many of the perspectives put forward by the powerful and passionate voices gracing Radio New Internationalist this year have the capacity to move the world. The move may be to a better place, fundamentally shifting our attitudes towards a more sustainable life. Or the move may be a step down life’s ladder leading us to a more dangerous destiny. Whether to the left or the right all of these views reveal other ways of thinking about the overall direction the world is turning, offering a veritable smorgasbord of ideas and developments to feed into our own lives. Today the Radio New Internationalist team serves up some of this year’s best:   

  • We start with security - the ability of people to feel free from fear of attack. The war on terror has moved the world into greater fear of personal danger. British slam poet Danny Chivers moves us out of that space with a humorous assessment of the risk of being killed in today’s Western World.
  • Turning to some true terrorists, government-backed military forces across the world are at best, arresting and torturing and at worst, killing and raping their own citizens - people who challenge the boundaries of government power. Labour rights advocate Dr Yang Jianli describes the treatment that he received as one of thousands of political prisoners in China’s jail.
  • Talking of terror, 50 of the world’s 27,000 nuclear weapons have the capacity to kill an amazing 200 million people. Yet despite active campaigns involving millions of people, five decades after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan, an international convention to ban the bomb has still not been successfully negotiated. But things are about to change, as New Internationalist co-editor Jess Worth and Felicity Hill from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom report.  
  • With environmental security endangered by climate change, what should the world’s response be? Professor Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons takes us through some options.
  • Other international campaigns are attempting to combat climate change by stopping carbon emissions at their source. New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird and Carlos Larrea - one of Ecuador’s leading economists - explain the Yasuní proposal to keep Ecuador’s oil in the ground.  
  • High on the health security list is HIV, which kills more people than all world wars and conflict - 1.2 million in 2007. While the United Nations estimate that over 33 million people were living with HIV/AIDS last year, most of these can’t afford the drug treatments to contain it. Humanitarian and diplomat, Stephen Lewis - co-director of AIDS-Free World - and Dr André de Mello e Souza from the Pontifíca Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro outline which countries have by necessity by-passed pharmaceutical patents to offer their people the medication that they need.

Today’s CD selection is Dig Dig performed by Bob Brozman and René Lacaille, which showcases the African, Asian and Indian influence on the island of La Réunion. It’s a passionate, joyous, sexy and rhythmic romp - one of this program’s favourites CD.

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Wonder Women

Women who are doing it for themselves…

Right now the Radio New Internationalist team are revisiting some of the powerful and passionate people we’ve been hearing from this year.  And we’ve found that it’s the women who’ve really starred. They are an inspirational bunch - vivacious, outspoken, interesting, warm and funny - stepping out bravely to create more inclusive communities and build a better world. We chat with some of them today:

  • India’s environmentalist extraordinaire Vandana Shiva, talks about her remarkable legacy to humanity - a seed bank to protect biodiversity and stop corporate control of the food chain, and the 300,000 farmers it has helped.
  • Jenni Williams from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) introduces us to her remarkable organization which - in spite of arrests and assaults - stands up to challenge corruption and incompetence riddling her country’s Government. 
  • Charm Tong from the Shan Women’s Action Network reports on how military madness is burning ethnic villages off Burma’s map - killing the villagers and using rape as a weapon of war and what she is doing to combat it.
  • Water is essential to good health, and the African nation, Tanzania, has just been awarded compensation after privatized water services in the capital delivered worse water. Tamsyn East - Water Campaigns Officer with the World Development Movement - reports.
  • Despite widespread and vocal global disgruntlement about privatisation, governments keep on keeping it on. Laila Harré - a former New Zealand Cabinet Minister - explores what goes on in the minds of our governments when they’re making huge and irreversible decisions to privatize.

Today’s CD is a collection of ambient funk from Asia - Ryukyu Underground.

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In support of feminism: Why women aren’t equal

In the last century, women’s rights ran a marathon. Across the globe, women fought and won the right to slam their stove doors shut and put down their mops to participate more equally in government, in education, in paid work, and all the other wonderful things that a good life offers. So much so that the feminism of fifty years ago sounds outdated and unnecessary to the young women in the Western World today. Yet if the goal is to secure an environment in which women can reach their potential, today’s guests set-out why many women actually get something far short of the ideal, and how women are fighting back.

  • The militias in many countries are now using the genitals of women as a weapon of war. Marie Claire Faray regularly returns to the Congo - her homeland - where the militia’s have raped 200,000 women to humiliate their communities and cripple their families. She explains why.
  • From African villages to the suburbs of America, historically women with children clean and cook while men go out to put food on the table. For women, that can mean slave-like drudgery. That’s why feminists started an international campaign for a wage for housework. Selma James - co-author of The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community - tallies some of its impressive victories.
  • In totalitarian countries like China, when men are imprisoned for their politics, their wives end up being punished with them. Lee Tan, from the Australian Conservation Council, reads extracts from an essay by Ouyang Xiaorong called: ‘The life of a political prisoner’s wife’.
  • How can women get their issues onto a political agenda dominated by men? Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls - coordinator of femLINKPACIFIC - takes a suitcase radio out into the rural areas of Fiji to record the voices of the people and play them back to policy makers and politicians. She tells us the results.
  • The mothers and grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo - the wonder women of Argentina - were pivotal to punishing the murdering military which rampaged through Argentina during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rita Arditti - the author of Searching for life: The grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina - recounts how they’ve fought and won.
As this program showcases women, so does its music, sampling sampled the sounds of some fantastic female vocalists born in Africa: Sally Nyolo on the CD Studio Cameroon; Saba performing her CD Jidka; and the golden voice of Mozambique Zena Bacar singing on the Yellela CD.

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Life without the car: A crash through our addiction to cars

They are machines that kill more people than wars. Pouring out 1,000 known pollutants into the environment, they contribute as much as a fifth of the globe’s carbon emissions. For those they transport, contact with other peoples and environments closes with their doors. As they eat asphalt to maintain motion, they leave behind roads and parking lots that shroud our public spaces in black. Who on earth would want one? Amazingly enough, nearly everyone. Every two seconds, three more cars will come into the world - more than one car for every two babies born. Katie Alvord - author of Divorce your car! Ending the love affair with the automobile - hits the highways with today’s guests to find out why the world is addicted to cars and how that addiction can be broken.

  • Road crashes now claim 1.2 million lives a year and injure 50 million more. Yet more and more Asians are driving them. Greig Craft - the founder & President of Asia Injury Prevention Foundation based in Vietnam - reveals why.
  • Transport costs for food will rise with the price of oil to put in the trucks and planes. Henry Saragih - the general co-ordinator of the international peasant movement, La Via Campesina, and chairman of the Indonesia Peasant Union - explains the effect on the incomes of farmers growing produce in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Randall Ghent from the World Carfree Network unlocks the door to the many practical ways of leaving your car behind.
As for the music to accompany the journey … the pulse of the Pacific melts into the arms of Blue Grass and Latin as René Lacaille and Bob Brozman perform from their fabulous CD DigDig.

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The earth or the pits: The global campaign to pay Ecuador to keep its oil in the soil

This program celebrates a remarkable environmental strategy proposed by civil society that is now the preferred option of the Ecuador’s President. Ecuador will keep nearly a billion barrels of oil in the ground if the international community pay it $350 million in compensation each and every year for the next 10 years. The proposal has clear environmental and social benefits for Ecuador. The Yasuní National Park - a part of the Amazon rainforest with an extraordinary but fragile ecological significance - will be saved from the often devastating consequences of mining. The international community also gains from the proposal, with the atmosphere avoiding a potential 500 million tonnes of carbon emissions. The German and Spanish Governments are supporting the proposal. So too is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird joins the Radio New Internationalist team to explore the Yasuní proposal and its relevance to mining everywhere.

  • As share prices shoot up during mining booms, uncritical media give glowing guarantees that whole countries will be able to ride on the resources being prized from the earth. Patricia Feeney - Executive Director of the NGO Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) - explains why mining’s the pits by pointing out the African people and places buried under the mineral wealth.

  • Carlos Larrea - one of Ecuador’s leading economists - reports on the yet-to-be settled technical details of the Yasuní proposal and the emergence of a world first: legally enforceable rights for flora and fauna.

Today’s stories move from Africa to Latin America. So does the music. The Afro-beats from a slave-bound past struts its stuff on Colombia’s Caribbean coast as Colombi-africa: the Mystic Orchestra perform their Voodoo Love Inna Champeta-Land CD.

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Speak my language - The rise and fall of linguistic empires

One language dies every two weeks. Of the estimated seven thousands languages spoken in the world today, only a fraction is expected to survive into the next century. For those who loose their language, the cultural cost is so profound that it’s likened to loosing one’s family. A shared language is not only a useful tool for communication. It also defines communities. Its words draw boundaries for the values we embrace and the way we see the world. Not surprisingly, a key cause for the decline of the world’s linguistic heritage is the phenomenal global dominance of the language you are reading now: English. But language empires rise and fall. Mandarin Chinese has been tipped to topple English as the future super-language even though English is still gaining popularity inside China. This program’s co-host - Nicholas Ostler - author of Empires of the Word and the chair of the Foundation for Endangered languages - joins today’s guests as they map linguistic imperialism and its cultural costs:

  • Nick Young, founder of China Development Brief, tells lost-in-translation stories from the streets of China - where the international popularity of Mandarin is a source of pride, but communicating in English is still seen as the key to empowerment.
  • What is being done to combat the loss of language? Jeanie Bell manages the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics in the Northern Territory, where linguists are working with elders in communities to document endangered languages and teach the next generation traditional tongues.
  • Colonisation leaves a language legacy but independence brings a choice: what should be the official language when there are many contenders? Human rights lawyer and former member of the East Timorese Constituent Assembley, Aderito Soares reveals how the world’s newest nation made that decision and what it means for its emerging national identity.

The music on today’s program celebrates a new generation of Hungarian Gypsy music. Introducing Bela Lakatos & the Gypsy Youth Project features songs in the Romani language, which was forbidden to the Hungarian Roma for generations but is now experiencing a revival through projects like this one.

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Small arms, big bangs

A thousand people die every day from gunshot wounds, and 3,000 more are severely injured. Surprisingly, those targeted are not troops. Nearly three quarters of guns are in the hands of civilians not armies; and three quarters of people who die are citizens, not soldiers. If a 1,000 people were dying each day from bird flu, it’d be treated as a global emergency. So why don’t Governments just pass laws to outlaw them? It’s just one of many conundrums targeted by the International Action Network on Small Arms - a global movement of 800 civil society organizations working in 120 countries to get rid of small arms and light weapons. It’s Director, Rebecca Peters, joins today’s guests to take aim at gun traders, and shoot down the old idea that the more guns we have, the safer we’ll be.

  • Yukiko Murasaki arrived in Cambodia to find that guns were part of the household furniture. But by the end of last year, she and her colleagues from Japan’s Assistance Team for Small Arms Management in Cambodia had collected around 28,000 guns. She tells us how.
  • John Rodsted - part of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines that won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize - was firing on all cylinders again in Dublin this year when over 100 countries committed to a ban on cluster munitions. He swaps strategies on negotiating international conventions.
  • Author Alasdair Soussi is researching the first US invasion of Lebanon, which took place 50 years ago this month. Ally takes us to the beaches of Beirut on 15 July 1958 to introduce us to the unusual ‘enemies’ confronting US troops as they landed.
As disarming communities and countries is today’s target, the CD for this week is Ceasefire, inspired by peace-talks in Sudan between the Moslem North and the predominantly Christian South. Reflecting the hope by both sides for a peaceful future, Christian rapper Emmanuel Jal gets together with Moslem musician Abdel Gadir Salim to show what colourful, dynamic sounds are produced when two different cultures work side-by-side.

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Those 27,000 Nukes

How to ban nuclear bombs and save the planet  

With just 50 of the world’s 27,000 nuclear weapons having the capacity to kill an amazing 200 million people, you’d reckon that nations would thump their parliamentary tables and ban those bombs completely. After all, only nine countries have nuclear bombs. Yet despite active campaigns involving millions of people, five decades after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan, an international convention to ban the bomb has still not been successfully negotiated. But things are about to change. Now that Henry Kissinger and some of the other most aggressive advocates for US world military domination are arguing that the US should get rid of its nuclear weapons, the doors of Governments across the world are opening-up to disarmament. New Internationalist magazine co-editor, Jess Worth, is fresh from producing a magazine called ‘Dropping the Bomb: how to ban nukes and save the planet’. She joins today’s guests for a tour of nuclear weapons; whose got them, where they’re pointing, and how the people of the world are mobilizing to get rid of them.

  • The theory is that no country would dare damage a country with nuclear arms. Yet Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy - the Chairman of the Department of Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad - argues that in practice nuclear weapons make Pakistan less secure.
  • The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons is mushrooming. Felicity Hill - from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom - spotlights some inspirational developments, and the politics behind them.
  • Where there’s bucks to be made, there’s marketing managers to spin the issues. Two media watchdog groups have just launched a new online resource to profile who’s spinning nuclear power and weapons issues. Bob Burton - the managing editor of SourceWatch - spotlights some of the star performers.
As the dangers of nuclear weapons reach from one end of the planet to the other, today’s CD is an international showcase of musical styles and performers from Spain to the Pacific; from Latin America to a range of African countries - Rhythm of the River.

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