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Colin Brannen to Cycle for World's Poor

Age is but a number for Colin Brannen, a 76-year old from London who plans to ride his bike from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to London and back to raise awareness to end global hunger. The former teacher does not own a car and will take time along his route to stop and talk to people about global hunger and the IF Campaign.  This campaign tackles the idea that the world makes enough food for everyone, and yet not everyone has enough food.

Brannen’s goal is to get to London to take part in the IF campaign’s rally in Hyde Park on June 8.  The rally and campaign is being supported by Christian Aid and over 200 different development organizations.  Brannen has been a Christian Aid organizer for over 30 years.  Throughout his ride he will discuss with people what Christian Aid is doing to support the IF campaign.

According to Brannen, campaigning is increasingly important in current times.  Poverty reduction is not all about raising money, although that is important, it is equally about raising awareness and inspiring action.  Brannan hopes to bring change and encourage the government to be more supportive of the fight against poverty.

As an avid cyclist, Brannen has cycled to raise awareness for social and justice issues throughout his life.  In 1998, he cycled to Birmingham for the G8 conference and part of the way to Cologne, Germany in 1999 for another G8 rally. In 2004, he cycled to Brighton for a trade justice event.  Christian Aid is asking people to show their support for ending global hunger by attending the rally.  In a world where we produce enough food for everyone, it is inexcusable that one in eight people still go hungry.

The IF campaign is calling for G8 leaders to take action at the meeting in Northern Ireland later in June and continue to fight hunger.  For more details go to the Christian Aid website at www.christianaid.org.uk/if.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: Christian Today

How Tax Havens Are Hurting Those In Poverty
Some people may not realize it, but avoiding taxes can hurt more than the government–it actually negatively affects those living under the poverty line the most.

Some large businesses can get away with paying fewer taxes through the use of tax havens. Tax havens allow these businesses to sneakily conduct business through other countries that have extremely low tax rates to legally avoid paying taxes. For example, Associated British Foods was suspected of using tax haven conduct to avoid paying enough tax money to Zambia that could have put 48,000 children in school. Two other major companies were also accused of denying the Democratic Republic of Congo an estimated $1.36 billion.

According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, avoiding taxes severely hurts poor people living in developing countries, and these nations lose three times more money as a result of tax havens than they receive in aid each year.

Tax havens are one of the largest invisible obstacles that affect poverty, and they are difficult to regulate because they are difficult to find. Not all companies that conduct business in multiple countries are using tax havens, and it’s tough to tell from what a company reports if it is utilizing any tax haven subsidiaries. Combined with the idea that tax havens can significantly increase a business’s profit, it will be difficult to find and stop these companies from denying tax money to the nations that need it most, but it can be done. Next month the G8 will meet to talk about some of the world’s most pressing problems, and hopefully, tax havens will be on the discussion list.

Katie Brockman

Source: The Guardian

agriculture u.s. data-sharing g8 crop

U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced a new U.S. data sharing network for food, agriculture and rural issues.  This announcement is in accordance with the agreement among G8 members, USA, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Russia, Italy, and the European Union, to share agriculture data at the G8 Summit at Camp David in 2012. Vilsack stated that “Greater access to data also can increase individuals’ access to food and provide ladders of opportunity for improved incomes.” The public will be able to easily find, download, and use data sets generated by the U.S. government free of charge.

“This new, virtual community will enable entrepreneurship, empowerment and better participation in solving our global challenges,” Vilsack said. Information such as weather conditions, nutritional content of crops, and crop growth can be shared through the network. The network is here and is formatted so that any machine can read it. However, the data sharing network is only available in the English language.

According to Vilsack, the U.S., the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank are working together to develop a model that uses open data from satellites to monitor vegetation growth which could help pinpoint where disease-carrying insects are and prevent crop damage. This data sharing will thus spread critical research and information.

President Obama noted that, “Creating a platform to effectively share key data and the tools to analyze it is a critical next step in confronting the fight against hunger and fulfilling the promise of the New Alliance.”

– Essee Oruma

Source: IIP Digital

Ending World Hunger Demanded By BritonsBritish politicians, including MP Andrew Stunell, are pushing the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron to focus more on ending world hunger. Stunell and others have begun making their voices heard by supporting causes like the Enough Food for Everyone initiative.

The U.K., like the United States, committed to giving 0.7% of its national income as international aid. Politicians and citizens in the U.K. continue to stress the importance of keeping that promise. As Britain prepares to host the Hunger Summit this June, at the same time as the G8 Summit, the nation has been paying increased attention to the issue of world hunger and the U.K.’s roll in fighting hunger as well as the many causes of hunger and malnutrition. The most obvious result of hunger and malnutrition is death, yet severe hunger has many other results such as malnutrition that may lead to developmental and growth problems and is also linked to infertility, as outlined in a Yale study on hunger and childbirth.

With enough food being produced each year to feed the world population and yet people are still going hungry, there is reason enough to be upset. As politicians and citizens alike in the U.K. push their representatives to work more towards ending world hunger, we should remember to do the same here at home and ask our elected representatives to do more in the fight against global hunger. Contact your representatives in Congress today.

– Kevin Sullivan

Sources: Mancunian Matters, Yale Scientific
Photo: The Telegraph