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Written by steveperaza on Oct 23, 2009

 Those who know poverty rarely care to define it          

If indeed the World Bank's definition is only in part useful, then how exactly should we define poverty? For an answer to this question I have turned to social scientists who have been working on this issue now for more than a century. As you can imagine they've created a vast literature on the topic, way too much for me to consume and then re-present to you. Nonetheless several excerpts from encyclopedias have been helpful; below I cite from these articles.

            On the most general level I envision poverty as lack -- of much needed materials, of a means to maintain one's life, and of knowledge to acquire materials and/or income-producing opportunities. Social scientists have added more complexity to this meaning, stressing that poverty is either absolute or relative. Those who cannot access their own food, clothing, or shelter-basic necessities-live in absolute poverty. Those who appear to be lacking in relation to socially and politically constructed "norms of well being" live in relative poverty....

Written by Acorde on Oct 21, 2009

There exists a place where Israelis, Germans, Palestinians, Lebanese, and Arabs coexist in true harmony: the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Founded in 1999, Daniel Barenboim conducts the orchestra. Let's get this straight: Barenboim was born in Argentina to Jewish-Russian parents, and later on studied conduction with a German master (Could it get any more complicated?).This world-known conductor and pianist created this multicultural orchestra with the help of Edward Said, author of Orientalism and a pro-Palestine activist.

The first workshop of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra took place in...

Written by somdeepsen on Oct 20, 2009

  The options for graduating high school students from India are plenty. Besides the opportunities within India, thousands, if not millions, of us have embarked on academic careers in countries like the United States, Canada, UK, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Forbes Magazine estimated that in 2006 there were 123,000 Indian students studying abroad, which included 76,000 in the United States alone. As of this year there are approximately 97,000 Indian students in Australia. I remember embarking on my first trip abroad as a student. The world beyond seemed utterly enthralling, replete with opportunities and possibilities. The West seemed like a portal to a life that we had dreamed of. But this ideal vision of the world outside India seldom featured racism as an integral aspect of it.  The recent racist attacks on Indian students in Australia have brought to the forefront a disturbing aspect of the life of Indian students abroad. Racism and its oft-violent manifestations are now questioning the supposedly multicultural and tolerant character of some of the most popular destinations for Indians students. {readmore}

Written by johncollins on Oct 20, 2009

26 As the scandals of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi continue to dominate news out of Italy, I recently got some valuable perspective from Andrea Teti (left), Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland).  A native of Naples, Italy, he has a longstanding interest in both Italian and Egyptian politics.  His current research focuses on Western democracy promotion in the Middle East and on Foucault's analytics of power.  He received his MA (Hons.) and PhD from the University of St. Andrews

JC: Leaving aside the more sensational aspects of the Berlusconi situation - the ones that have received the lion's share of the media attention - what do you think the era of Berlusconi tells us...

Written by johncollins on Oct 20, 2009

55 Ehud OlmertThe cracks in the Israeli state's formidable ideological edifice are beginning to crumble in the face of growing pressure from determined and media-savvy international activists.  A case in point: the reception given to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently at a lecture in Chicago.  Olmert, the architect of Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon and its December 2008 assault on Gaza, faced a storm of protesters who repeatedly called attention to the human cost of his government's policies.  A video of the event prepared and posted by Electronic Intifada has "gone viral" in recent days. ...

Written by somdeepsen on Oct 20, 2009

 The Hooghly river is often dubbed as West Bengal’s lifeline. Flowing through the state, it adorns Kolkata’s skyline. But across the river also lies a reality that is often ignored, if not forgotten, by most of this Indian metropolitan’s urban dwellers; Howrah. Kolkata’s twin-city, it is a cesspool of all the imaginable ills of urbanization. However, working in this environment, Calcutta Kids, a Howrah-based NGO, allows for a glimmer of hope, as it strives to improve maternal and infant health in one of the city’s many slums.

Working in the Fakirbagan slum in Howrah, Noah Levinson, Co-founder and President of Calcutta Kids remembers being astonished when he first explored the issue of public health among the poorest in the city. “It is often assumed that economic growth in a country would naturally stimulate improvement in public health, especially among women and children” Levinson said. “But, no such correlation could be established here.”


Written by EPG on Oct 19, 2009

As a current senior at St. Lawrence University, I'm honored to be able to take part in the creation of the progressive dialogue that is the Weave blog.  I'm excited to ask questions and hopefully answer some as well as continue to educate myself and others about current issues and underreported stories in the media!

Recently, while traversing the web, I happened to stumble upon a post in Project Censored that prompted me to focus on the topic of human trafficking.  According to this site, a woman from North Carolina recently spoke out against trafficking in Eastern Europe, specifically Romania, and I was astounded that this issue, usually brushed over by the mainstream media was recognized and had an impact on smaller regions of the U.S.

About 800,000 are trafficked across borders annually,...

Written by awball04 on Oct 19, 2009

"This is the simple truth of time when the boundaries between people are overwhelmed by our connections. Your prosperity can expand America's prosperity. Your health and security can contribute to the world's health and security. And the strength of your democracy can help advance human rights for people everywhere...I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. After all, I have the blood of Africa within me, and my family's own story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story."                            

-Excerpt from President Barack Obama's Address to...

Written by nicoleszucs on Oct 19, 2009

There are 48 days left to the COP15 in Copenhaguen. So why is this such a big deal? Althought its going to be a lot of paperwork and more talking than anyone can stand for two weeks, this conference is hopefully going to decide on some global action to slowdown climate change.The UNFCCC process is hoping to set up policies for the post- Kyoto  (post 2012) regime.  There has been preliminatory talks in Bonn in June, Bangkok at the begining of this month, and talks in Barcelona are coming up next weeks; however, nothing is yet set in stone.

World leaders and people in many places around the world are mobilizing and calling for change. The UN Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon...

Written by brianlind on Oct 18, 2009

Barack Obama

"I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace."


On October 9, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize , in case you missed it.   The press and 24 hour news networks were immediately abuzz with questions of whether President Obama deserved the prize and whether it was premature to award it to a man who had been President of the United States for less than a year. ...