NAFTA: How ‘ghost’ unions exploit workers in Mexico

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01/09/2017, by John Holman

Mexico City, Mexico – US President Donald Trump is not known to be a defender of the underpaid, under-protected Mexican labour force, but his administration is making noises about the low salaries and lax regulations that workers in Mexico have to put up with.

There is a reason for that. The Trump administration believes low Mexican wages make for unfair competition for their own workforce and lure in companies that instead might have set up in the United States. With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the negotiating table again after 23 years, the Trump administration, when they are not threatening to pull out of the trade deal, is looking to even up the playing field. The focus on salaries is likely to continue into the second round of renegotiations taking place in Mexico itself from September 1st to 5th.

But while the US administration’s concerns over Mexican workers’ rights might not be altruistic, they do contain a basic truth. Mexican workers are, on average, the worst paid of the 35 countries in the OECD. Wages have stagnated. According to Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), the real value of the country’s minimum salary has dropped 60 percent in the past 30 years.

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Brasil encerra atividade militar no Haiti nesta quinta-feira (31)

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30/08/2017

Nesta semana, as tropas brasileiras se despedem oficialmente da missão da Organização das Nações Unidas no Haiti depois de 13 anos. Será realizada na próxima quinta (31), às 19h de Porto Príncipe (20h em Brasília), a cerimônia que marca o encerramento das atividades militares do Brasil na Missão das Nações Unidas para Estabilização do Haiti (MINUSTAH). Desde a decisão do Conselho de Segurança de extinguir a missão, o contingente tem se reduzido gradualmente até a retirada completa, prevista para 15 de outubro de 2017.

MINUSTAH e o comando brasileiro

MINUSTAH é a sigla em francês que se refere à Missão criada em 30 de abril de 2004 pela Resolução 1542 do Conselho de Segurança da ONU, e implementada efetivamente em 1º de junho do mesmo ano. A Missão foi criada para suceder de maneira mais estruturada a Força Multinacional Interina, estabelecida apenas dois meses antes (26/02/2004) pela Resolução 1529.

A Missão foi autorizada a mobilizar no Haiti até 6.700 militares, 1.622 policiais, 550 funcionários civis internacionais, 150 voluntários das Nações Unidas e cerca de 1 mil funcionários civis locais.
Desde sua implementação, a MINUSTAH tem seu braço militar sob o comando do Brasil no trabalho para colocar fim à violência e à instabilidade política no Haiti.

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Climate-Smart Poultry Farming Brings Prosperity to Kenya’s Smallholders

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24/10/2016

A barrage of squawks greets Mercy Wairimu every time she steps into the two story chicken coop that stands in her backyard. The poultry farmer from Nakuru County in Kenya beams. The noise from her chickens, which number in the hundreds, reminds her of how far she’s come.

“I have been in this business for ten years now. I used to have a few small indigenous chickens here and there, running around my compound,” explains Mercy. “But then the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP) came. It expanded my mind and my business. I now have 1000 birds.”

The KAPAP is a Government of Kenya initiative supported by the World Bank whose aim is to improve agricultural productivity and the incomes of smallholders. It does so through a range of activities, including supporting research and developing agriculture value chains. Farmers have benefited from KAPAP’s provision of new technologies, improved market access and climate-smart agriculture approaches especially in dairy farming, potato and pea cropping, apiculture and poultry rearing, to name just a few. Some of the beneficiaries have even expanded their operations to practice more than one type of farming.

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Only 11% of architects and engineers are women. Let’s build a new pipeline for female talent

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25/07/2017, by Naadiya Moosajee

I am a female engineer. When I introduce myself, I still get gasps or looks of surprise. This isn’t a surprise to me as women account for just 11% of employees in architecture and engineering.

There are a number of reasons for this, including what has been dubbed “the pipeline challenge”, that is points all along the engineering talent pipeline where we lose women and girls.

At the beginning of the pipeline girls are not aware of engineering careers. There is still a perception that it’s something for the boys. As a civil engineer, people are surprised by my small stature as they expect heavy lifting when it comes to building mega infrastructure. I prefer to frame it as heavy lifting with the mind.

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US imposes sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela

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25/08/2017

The US imposed sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela on Friday, which were angrily denounced by Caracas and dramatically ratcheted up tensions between the two countries.

The sanctions, which US President Donald Trump signed by executive order, prohibit American financial institutions from providing new money to the government or the state oil company, PDVSA, and could make it harder for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to raise badly needed cash to prevent a debt default.

They also restrict the Venezuelan oil giant’s US subsidiary, Citgo, from sending dividends back to Venezuela and ban trading in two bonds the government recently issued to circumvent its increasing isolation from Western financial markets.

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ONU lança estudo sobre migração haitiana para Brasil, Chile e Argentina

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25/08/2017

Organização Internacional para as Migrações (OIM) e o Instituto de Políticas Públicas em Direitos Humanos (IPPDH) do Mercosul lançaram na semana passada (15) um diagnóstico sobre a migração haitiana para os países-membros e associados do bloco, analisando especialmente o caso de Brasil (São Paulo), Chile (Santiago) e Argentina (Buenos Aires).

Os pesquisadores realizaram uma série de entrevistas em cada um dos países do Mercosul, focando nas condições e estratégias de recepção e atenção a migrantes haitianos nessas cidades.

Os fluxos migratórios haitianos entre 2014 e 2016 para Brasil e Chile, principalmente, e em menor medida para a Argentina, têm características diferentes na comparação com o fluxo ocorrido entre 2010 e 2014, de acordo com o estudo. Entre 2014 e 2016, os fluxos migratórios haitianos foram formados principalmente por familiares — diretos ou indiretos — dos migrantes já instalados nesses países, apontou.

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Scaling Up Urban Energy Efficiency in Mexico

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27/04/2016

Mexico is rapidly urbanizing. Estimates show that by 2027, the country’s urban dwellers will make up 88% of the population. Annual energy consumption has been on the rise, increasing at an annual rate of 2% over the 2000-11 period, and surpassing economic growth which stood at 1.8%. At the same time, Mexico has defined energy efficiency as a transformational priority in its National Energy Strategy, and is implementing reforms aimed at increasing productivity, competition, and overall efficiency in the sector. The country has also placed climate change mitigation and adaptation on top of its national agenda; thus energy efficiency playing a key role in its Nationally Determined Contributions.

Recognizing the importance of cities in achieving the country’s energy and climate change goals, as well as the benefits for cities themselves, the Government of Mexico partnered with the World Bank on a $156 million Municipal Energy Efficiency Project to finance the design and implementation of energy efficiency investments in several Mexican cities across the country.

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