Grind for August 22nd
“The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward.”
– John Maynard Keynes
African nations beg the US to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe
A group of 16 African nations is asking the EU and the US to “immediately lift” economic sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002, during the reign of President Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe’s current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, blames the sanctions for a range of troubles including high inflation, shrinking wages, and water shortages.
Residents launched a violent protest over gas prices in Harare last week, leading to a clash with police that left 12 people dead.
According to the UN, roughly five million people living in Zimbabwe are in need of food assistance.
In March, President Trump approved a 1-year extension to sanctions that restrict government officials, members of the military, and state-owned companies.
The EU maintains an arms embargo on Zimbabwe as well as sanctions against former President Mugabe, his wife, and the firm Zimbabwe Defense Industries.
“These sanctions have not only affected the people of Zimbabwe and their government, but the entire region,” argues Tanzanian President John Magufuli. “It is like a human body, when you chop [off] one of its parts it affects the whole body.”
President Magufuli also leads the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an organization that promotes peace, economic growth, and a higher qualify of life for people living in Southern Africa.
“This brotherly country…has opened a new chapter and it is ready to engage with the rest of the world,” continues Magufuli. “It is therefore, I believe, in the interest of all parties concerned to see these sanctions removed.”
Members of SADC will “collectively voice their disapproval of sanctions against Zimbabwe” on October 25th.
Gender selective abortion blamed for millions of missing girls
Officials in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand are looking for answers after government data confirmed not a single female was born in 132 villages in the past three months.
According to the same data, there should have been 479 girls born.
Officials have labeled the area a “red zone” and will be sending a team of 25 officials to find out what’s going on. In all likelihood, what is happening here is that poor working families are aborting female fetuses because they would rather have a son that can help provide for the family than a woman who costs them money.
“It cannot be a coincidence that not a single female child is born in 132 villages,” says Prabhat Kumar, a spokesman for Save the Children. “It seems to be yet another case of discrimination and neglect towards the girl child.”
India outlawed sex-selective abortions in 1994, but the practice remains commonplace. As of 2018, there were 63 million fewer women living in India than reproductive data would suggest.
Such reports are “shocking, but not surprising,” says Alok Vajpayee, who works for a nonprofit that focuses on gender issues. “The deep social and cultural norms that exist in our country are responsible for such things.”
In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Save Daughters, Educate Daughters” program, which was designed to address gender discrimination and female foeticide through education.Unfortunately, the program spent more than 50% of its money on advertising and barely 25% funding state programs.
“There is a clear lack of implementation,” complains Ranjana Kumari, director of the Center for Social Research in New Delhi. “People like us working on these issues see no progress.”
Gender selective abortion is also common in China, where for years families were prohibited from having more than one child.
A global study published this year claims that selective abortions in India and China are responsible for the deaths of 22.5 million female fetuses and that the practice has created noticeable gender ratio distortions in 12 Asian and European countries.
In all of those countries, society tends to favor male babies.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… In 2005, a portion of T-rex bone was dissolved in acid. It revealed soft tissue with sections of possible DNA.