Tag Archives: Latin America

Caribbean Countries among those benefitting from UN SDG Financing.

Media Release Courtesy UN Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

Bridgetown, Barbados – As Eastern Caribbean countries strive to build back better from COVID-19 and accelerate progress toward attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),  support is being provided as part of a historic United Nations Joint SDG Fund US$60 million grant launched to close the SDG financing gap and foster more inclusive, sustainable and resilient countries across the world.

In response to a global call, United Nations Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in collaboration with the governments of Barbados, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, has been awarded a USD$1 million Joint SDG Fund Grant after successfully submitting a proposal for a joint programme entitled ‘Harnessing Blue Economy Finance for SIDS Recovery and Sustainable Development’. 

The initiative will support the efforts of the three participating Eastern Caribbean governments to develop financing strategies in the Blue Economy and create an enabling framework for SDG investment. The successful proposal was among 62 joint programmes selected from 258 submissions supporting interventions in over 100 countries.

The two-year USD$1,140,000 Joint Programme will be led by the United National Development Programme (UNDP), with participation from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It will also benefit from counterpart funding of USD$140,000 from the three participating UN agencies.

The joint UN SDG Fund is a critical facet of the ongoing global UN reform, which enables the UN Sub-regional team in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to access funding for SDG acceleration support to countries, working under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, by leveraging the individual strengths of specialized funds, agencies and programmes, to ‘deliver results as one’ and ensure that no one is left behind.

In welcoming the new joint initiative, that exemplifies the UN’s approach to ‘deliver as one’, UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq noted:

“This presents another opportunity for the UN development system working cohesively, to deepen its partnerships with Governments of the Eastern Caribbean and to foster blue economic growth through innovative financing mechanisms, while ensuring that the SDGs are at the forefront of national policy and no one is left behind.”

With the Blue Economy engaged as a driver for regional economic recovery and development, emphasis will be placed on creating an enabling environment for Blue Economy financing by identifying policy gaps, key opportunities and specific financing mechanisms for achieving resilient growth. This catalytic investment will address the current financial challenges of the beneficiary countries, including the additional financial burden arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and build on existing partnerships with the private sector and development financing institutions, as well as existing UN projects on Blue Economy and other SDG-related areas in-country.

Speaking on the significance of the initiative, UNDP Resident Representative Magdy Martinez-Soliman stated:

“The COVID-19 crisis has affected the Caribbean’s ambitions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It has drained away resources that were much needed to finance the SDGs. This Joint Programme will support Barbados, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in their efforts to develop financing strategies in the Blue Economy and SDG investments. The three countries are at the vanguard of the Blue Economy “wave” in the region.”  

The UN investments in 62 Joint Programmes around the world will offer pragmatic solutions, all assessed as relevant in the context of the COVID-19 crisis: from addressing reduced fiscal space to align with the SDGs amidst COVID-19 recovery and financial planning to co-creating a new generation of risk-sensitive and responsive Integrated National Financing Frameworks. The results of the investment in SDG financing interventions will begin to materialize in the first quarter of 2021, and a second component is expected to be launched by the Joint SDG Fund soon that would allow other countries to benefit.

Learn more: SDG Financing portfolio.

COVID 19’s Effect on Emerging Market and Developing Economies.

St Peters Sint Martin: By Wade A Bailey.

 

 

I cite the World Bank 2020 report listed below under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO license (CC BY 3.0 IGO) http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/3.0/ igo. Under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

 

World Bank. 2020. Global Economic Prospects, June 2020. Washington, DC: World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/978-1-4648-1553-9. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO.

ISSN: 1014-8906 ISBN (paper): 978-1-4648-1553-9 ISBN (electronic): 978-1-4648-1580-5 DOI: 10.1596/978-1-4648-1553-9

 

What follows are various citations and highlights from the report listed previously, the report is used in documenting pertinent facts, that will highlight the dire looming possible economic crisis, that could engulf the global economy. The dire economic scenario presented previously, proves the unsustainability of the ‘one pillar’ economic model used, in the past by regional governments including Sint Martin, its inability to sustain the island’s populace, in a post-Covid19 world.

Global Outlook: Pandemic, Recession: The Global Economy in Crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has, with alarming speed, delivered a global economic shock of enormous magnitude, leading to steep recessions in many countries. The baseline forecast envisions a 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020—the deepest global recession in eight decades, despite unprecedented policy support. Per capita incomes in the vast majority of EMDEs are expected to shrink this year. The global recession would be deeper if bringing the pandemic under control took longer than expected, or if financial stress triggered cascading defaults. The pandemic highlights the urgent need for health and economic policy action—including global cooperation—to cushion its consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and improve countries’ capacity to prevent and cope with similar events in the future. Since EMDEs are particularly vulnerable, it is critical to strengthen their public health care systems, to address the challenges posed by informality and limited safety nets, and, once the health crisis abates, to undertake reforms that enable strong and sustainable growth. Regional Macroeconomic Implications of COVID-19. The rapid rise of COVID-19 cases, together with the wide range of measures to slow the spread of the virus, has slowed economic activity precipitously in many EMDEs. Economic disruptions are likely to be more severe and protracted in those countries with larger domestic outbreaks, greater exposure to international spillovers (particularly through exposure to global commodity and financial markets, global value chains, and tourism), and larger pre-existing challenges such as informality. Growth forecasts for all regions have been severely downgraded; Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Europe and Central Asia (ECA) in particular have large downgrades partly because of the size of their domestic outbreaks and exposure to global spillovers, while South Asia’s substantial downgrade is primarily the result of stringent lockdown measures. Many countries have avoided more adverse outcomes through sizable fiscal and monetary policy support measures. Despite these measures, per capita incomes in all EMDE regions are expected to contract in 2020, likely causing many millions to fall back into poverty. This edition of Global Economic Prospects also includes analytical chapters on the short- and long-term growth impact of the pandemic, as well as on global implications of the recent plunge in oil prices. Lasting Scars of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has struck a devastating blow to an already-fragile global economy. Lockdowns and other restrictions needed to Executive Summary COVID-19 has triggered a global crisis like no other—a global health crisis that, in addition to an enormous human toll, is leading to the deepest global recession since the second world war. While the ultimate growth outcome is still uncertain, and an even worse scenario is possible if it takes longer to bring the health crisis under control, the pandemic will result in output contractions across the vast majority of emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs). Moreover, the pandemic is likely to exert lasting damage to fundamental determinants of long-term growth prospects, further eroding living standards for years to come. The immediate policy priorities are to alleviate the ongoing health and human costs and attenuate the near-term economic losses, while addressing challenges such as informality and weak social safety nets that have heightened the impact on vulnerable populations. Once the crisis abates, it will be necessary to reaffirm credible commitment to sustainable policies—including medium-term fiscal frameworks in energy-exporting EMDEs suffering from the large plunge in oil prices—and undertake the necessary reforms to buttress long-term growth prospects. For these actions, global coordination and cooperation will be critical. xvi address the public health crisis, together with spontaneous reductions in economic activity by many consumers and producers, constitute an unprecedented combination of adverse shocks that is causing deep recessions in many advanced economies and EMDEs. Those EMDEs that have weak health systems; those that rely heavily on global trade, tourism, or remittances from abroad; and those that depend on commodity exports will be particularly hard-hit. Beyond its short-term impact, deep recessions triggered by the pandemic are likely to leave lasting scars through multiple channels, including lower investment; erosion of the human capital of the unemployed; and a retreat from global trade and supply linkages. These effects may well lower potential growth and labor productivity in the longer term. Immediate policy measures should support health care systems and moderate the short-term impact of the pandemic on activity and employment. In addition, a comprehensive reform drive is needed to reduce the adverse impact of the pandemic on long-term growth prospects by improving governance and business environments and expanding investment in education and public health. Adding Fuel to the Fire: Cheap Oil during the Pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the wide-ranging measures needed to slow its advance have precipitated an unprecedented collapse in oil demand, a surge in oil inventories, and, in March, the steepest one-month decline in oil prices on record. In the context of the current restrictions on a broad swath of economic activity, low oil prices are unlikely to do much to buffer the effects of the pandemic, but they may provide some initial support for a recovery once these restrictions begin to be lifted. Like other countries, energy exporting EMDEs face an unprecedented public health crisis, but their fiscal positions were already strained even before the recent collapse in oil revenues. To help retain access to market-based financing for fiscal support programs, these EMDEs will need to make credible commitments to a sustainable medium-term fiscal position. For some of them, current low oil prices provide an opportunity to implement energy-pricing policies that yield efficiency and fiscal gains over the medium term.

The COVID-19 pandemic has, with alarming speed, delivered a global economic shock of enormous magnitude, leading to steep recessions in many countries. The baseline forecast envisions a 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020—the deepest global recession in eight decades, despite unprecedented policy support. Per capita incomes in the vast majority of emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to shrink this year, tipping many millions back into poverty. The global recession would be deeper if bringing the pandemic under control took longer than expected, or if financial stress triggered cascading defaults. The pandemic highlights the urgent need for health and economic policy action—including global cooperation—to cushion its consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and improve countries’ capacity to prevent and cope with similar events in the future. Since EMDEs are particularly vulnerable, it is critical to strengthen their public health care systems, to address the challenges posed by informality and limited safety nets, and, once the health crisis abates, to undertake reforms that enable strong and sustainable growth.

Summary The COVID-19 pandemic has spread with astonishing speed to every part of the world and infected millions   The health and human toll is already large and continues to grow, with hundreds of thousands of deaths and many more suffering from diminished prospects and disrupted livelihoods. The pandemic represents the largest economic shock the world economy has witnessed in decades, causing a collapse in global activity   Various mitigation measures—such as lockdowns, closure of schools and non-essential business, and travel restrictions—have been imposed by most countries to limit the spread of COVID-19 and ease the strain on health care systems. The pandemic and associated mitigation measures have sharply curbed consumption and investment, as well as restricted labor supply and production. The cross-border spill overs have disrupted financial and commodity markets, global trade, supply chains, travel, and tourism. Financial markets have been extremely volatile, reflecting exceptionally high uncertainty and the worsening outlook. Flight to safety led to a sharp tightening of global and EMDE financial conditions. Equity markets around the world plunged, spreads on riskier categories of debt widened considerably, and EMDEs experienced large capital outflows in much of March and April that bottomed out only recently. Commodity prices have declined sharply as a result of falling global demand, with oil particularly affected (Figure 1.1.D). Many countries have provided large-scale macroeconomic support to alleviate the economic blow, which has contributed to a recent stabilization in financial markets. Central banks in advanced economies have cut policy rates and taken other far-reaching steps to provide liquidity and to maintain investor confidence. In many EMDEs, central banks have also eased monetary policy. The fiscal policy support that has been announced already far exceeds that enacted during the 2008-09 global financial crisis. In all, the pandemic is expected to plunge a majority of countries into recession this year, with per capita output contracting in the largest fraction of countries since 1870. Advanced economies are projected to shrink by 7 percent in 2020, as widespread social-distancing measures, a sharp tightening of financial conditions, and a collapse in external demand depress activity. Assuming that the outbreak remains under control and activity recovers later this year, China is projected to slow to 1 percent in 2020—by far the lowest growth it has registered in more than four decades. Due to the negative spillovers from weakness in major economies, alongside the disruptions associated with their own domestic outbreaks, EMDE GDP is forecast to contract by 2.5 percent in 2020. This would be well below the previous trough in EMDE growth of 0.9 percent in 1982, and the lowest rate since at least 1960, the earliest year with available aggregate data. EMDEs with large domestic COVID-19 outbreaks and limited health care capacity; that are deeply integrated in global value chains; that are heavily dependent on foreign financing; and that rely extensively on international trade, commodity exports, and tourism will suffer disproportionately. Commodity-exporting EMDEs will be hard hit by adverse spillovers from sharply weaker growth in China, and by the collapse in global commodity demand, especially for oil. With more than 90 percent of EMDEs expected to experience contractions in per capita incomes this year, many millions are likely to fall back into poverty. With advanced economies contracting, China experiencing record-low growth, and EMDE growth savaged by external and domestic headwinds, the global economy is expected to shrink by 5.2 percent this year in a baseline forecast. This would be the deepest global recession since World War II, and almost three times as steep as the 2009 global recession.

The 2020 global recession is expected to be the deepest in eight decades, and the subsequent recovery will be insufficient to bring output to previously projected levels. Amid heightened uncertainty, worse outcomes could arise if the pandemic and economic disruptions persist or cascading defaults amid high debt lead to financial crises. A lack of space is constraining fiscal responses in many EMDEs. Building resilient health care systems is critical to prevent similar crises. With ongoing recessions exerting scarring effects on potential output, pursuing reforms that bolster long-term growth prospects will be essential.

 

The forecast assumes that the pandemic recedes in such a way that domestic mitigation measures can be lifted by mid-year, adverse global spill overs ease during the second half of the year, and dislocations in financial markets are not long-lasting. Although a moderate recovery is envisioned in 2021, with global growth reaching 4.2 percent, output is not expected to return to its previously expected levels. Since uncertainty around the outlook remains exceptionally high, alternative scenarios help illustrate the range of plausible global growth outcomes in the. In particular, the baseline forecast for 2020 could prove optimistic. If COVID-19 outbreaks persist longer than expected, restrictions on movement and interactions may have to be maintained or reintroduced, prolonging the disruptions to domestic activity and further setting back confidence. Disruptions to activity would weaken businesses’ ability to remain in operation and service their debt, while the increase in risk aversion could raise interest rates for higher-risk borrowers. With debt levels already at historic highs, this could lead to cascading defaults and financial crises across many economies .Under this downside scenario, global growth would shrink almost 8 percent in 2020. The recovery that follows would be markedly sluggish, hampered by severely impaired balance sheets, heightened financial market stress and widespread bankruptcies in EMDEs. In 2021, global growth would barely begin to recover, increasing to just over 1 percent. In contrast, in an upside scenario, a sharp economic rebound would begin promptly if pandemic-control measures could be largely lifted in the near term, and fiscal and monetary policy responses succeed in supporting consumer and investor confidence, leading to a prompt normalization of financial conditions and the unleashing of pent-up demand. However, even with these positive developments, the near-term contraction in global activity of more than 3 percent in 2020 would still be much larger than during the global recession of 2009, and EMDE growth would also be negative. Once pandemic control measures are fully lifted, global growth would rebound markedly in 2021, to above 5 percent. Policymakers face formidable challenges as they seek to contain the devastating health, macroeconomic, and social effects of the pandemic. During the last global recession, in 2009, many EMDEs were able to implement large -scale fiscal and monetary responses. Today, however, many EMDEs are less prepared to weather a global downturn and must simultaneously grapple with a severe public health crisis with heavy human costs. Particularly vulnerable EMDEs include those that have weak health systems; those that rely heavily on global trade, tourism, and remittances; those that are prone to financial market disruptions; and those that depend on oil and other commodity exports. EMDEs where poverty and informality are widespread, including many low-income countries, are also vulnerable, since their poor have limited access to proper sanitation and adequate social safety nets, and often suffer greater food insecurity . An arsenal of macroprudential support policies has been deployed in EMDEs to maintain financial sector resilience and promote lending during the crisis. These include relaxing capital and liquidity coverage requirements, allowing banks to draw down capital and liquidity buffers, and encouraging banks to offer temporary loan repayment holidays to distressed borrowers. Further, many countries have initiated debt moratoria and government guarantees on bank loans to strengthen bank balance sheets and support distressed borrowers. Policymakers would, however, need to carefully balance some of these actions against jeopardizing the future stability of the financial sector. Once economic activity begins to normalize, they will also need to prudently withdraw the large-scale policy stimulus provided during the crisis without endangering the recovery. Meanwhile, many EMDEs have introduced fiscal measures to expand social safety nets and protect those most vulnerable, including wage support to preserve jobs, increased access to unemployment benefits, and targeted cash transfers to low-income households. In EMDEs with wider fiscal space, the policy response has been markedly greater than in those more constrained by higher debt levels. For many energy exporting EMDEs, fiscal balances are deteriorating as oil prices have fallen below fiscal break-even prices. Elevated debt burdens in some low- and middle-income countries also underscore the need for temporary debt relief. In this context, global coordination and cooperation—of the measures needed to slow the spread of the pandemic, and of the economic actions needed to alleviate the economic damage, including international support—provide the greatest chance of achieving public health goals and enabling a robust global recovery. In the near term, COVID-19 has underscored the need for governments to prioritize the timely and transparent dissemination of accurate information in order to stem the spread of the disease, and to build public trust. In the long term, the pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses of national health care and social safety nets in many countries. It has also exposed the severe consequences of widespread informality and financing constraints for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in many EMDEs   There is a critical need to invest in resilient health care systems that prioritize national health security, in order to prevent and mitigate similar crises   It is also necessary to put in place social benefit systems that can provide an effective, flexible, and efficient safety net during disasters. Such systems can be augmented by measures to deliver income support and emergency financing to vulnerable groups such as the poor, urban slum dwellers, migrants, and informal firms. In particular, digital technologies can enhance the provision of cash transfers and other critical support measures, as well as facilitate the flow of remittances. In many countries, deep recessions triggered by COVID-19 will likely weigh on potential output for years to come. Governments can take steps to alleviate the adverse impact of the crisis on potential output by placing a renewed emphasis on reforms that can boost long-term growth prospects.

More to follow.

 

 

 

 

Regional Mobility actors charged to ‘Get Started.

(Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Press Release, 25 June 2020 |Bridgetown, Barbados) –  Stakeholders in the energy and transportation sectors were charged not to wait until a comprehensive plan and perfect conditions are available in order to get started on the Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy during an online discussion, which focused on innovation opportunities and the Caribbean reality.

The discussion, which was hosted by the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) and the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat, saw more than two hundred and fifty stakeholders gathered to hear from regional and global experts in the field. Stakeholders also had the opportunity to express their opinions and have their queries addressed.

The Need for Regional Coordination

During the online event, attendees in majority identified cost as the most important factor when deciding on an electric vehicle (EV) purchase versus an Internal Combustible Engine (ICE) vehicle. In response, panelist Xavier Gordon shared that the total cost of ownership of an EV was lower when compared to an ICE vehicle, as global market trends show a decline in EV costs.  He warned, however, that there was a need to produce economies of scale in the region, which could, in turn, further reduce costs for CARICOM Member States and consumers, particularly procurement costs.

Mr. Gordon added that both public-private partnerships, particularly in the installation of charging infrastructure, and regulator-utility collaboration for the development of attractive charging prices for consumers, were key innovative approaches to support the adoption of EVs. To stimulate market response in the region, project implementation and demonstration were important, panelists shared.  Antonio Sealy of the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited revealed that when the Electric Bus Project commenced in Barbados, they began to receive significant interest from global EV service providers.

Innovation Opportunities & Challenges

Head of the CARICOM Energy Unit, Dr Devon Gardner, responded to the charge to “get started” by sharing that CARICOM, with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) implemented TAPSEC Project, was in the process of having a Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy (REVS) prepared. Project implementation will continue at the same time, with a view to having relevant projects inform the strategy. This was in line with another recommendation from panelist Andrea Denzinger, who suggested that the region implement pilot projects and allow them to create data and build trust.

In their quest to support the development of the sustainable transport sector, the CARICOM Secretariat – through its Energy Unit – and the CCREEE have established a Regional Electric Vehicle Working Group to produce the Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy Framework. Having been presented with an overview of the framework, eighty-five percent (85%) of participants joining the discussion indicated that they were sufficiently convinced of the need for such a strategy. Nonetheless, there were cautions in light of the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelist Xavier Gordon shared that he completed the region’s first empirical meter reading study in 2017 and, the results show that electrification makes sense for the region. Nevertheless, he noted that access to finance may be significantly slowed as countries and donors redirect available funds.

The Caribbean Reality

Within the region, several opportunities exist to propel a transition towards wide-spread use of electric mobility, according to panelists. Sharing on the Barbados experience in implementing the Electric Bus Project where 33 electric buses are being procured, panelist Antonio Sealy told attendees that there was tremendous value to the transport sector, through electrification of public transportation. He maintained that cost benefits were to be found through fueling and maintenance, with estimated savings of BBD $2M annually for the current project. Improved comfort and commuter experiences, as well as reduced environmental impact through lessenend noise and greenhouse gas emissions were also identified as advantages.

The University of the West Indies is also supporting the electric mobility sector through their Electric Vehicle Research and Development Platform (EVRDP) and, an application developed to control charging time, to avoid congestion in the electrical network. Professor Chandrabhan Sharma explained the characteristics of EV charging, noting that uncoordinated charging could put significant stress on the power system, whereas providing power from a vehicle to the grid could contribute to stabilising the power grid and improve contribution of intermittent renewable energy supply to the electrical network.

This discussion was another step toward the development and implementation of the Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy which will lean on lessons learned from other jurisdictions and projects; and incorporate plans and approaches to produce economies of scale, within CARICOM. This is all to be accomplished with the ultimate goal of transforming the regional energy sector, for the benefit of Caribbean people.

Abrogation and the Verse of the Sword: Countering Extremists’ Justification for Violence.

The following is Quranic exegesis and theological examination by Mahfuh Halimi, within the precept of abrogation, Halimi wrongfully identifies abrogation as a concept within Islamic doctrine. Abrogation is a principle and is fundamental to Islamic teaching. I examined the precept of al-Wala wal-Baraa, in a previous post of the same name click here to read more:  https://nazaritze.blogspot.com/2017/07/al-wala-wal-baraa.html

Read Halimi’s exegesis in the following, owing to the length of the exegesis I will extend the post till the end, in several parts this is PART 1:

Mahfuh Halimi

Muslim extremist groups and ideologues have distorted the original discussion among

scholars on the concept of abrogation and the Qurānic verse of the sword to legitimize

hostile relations with people of other faiths. Their misrepresentation has to be countered

by reaffirming that the verses of the Qur’ān advocating peace, tolerance, compassion

and forgiveness are never abrogated and are in fact, the basis for relations between

Muslims and non-Muslims.

 

Muslim extremists such as Muhammad„ Abdus Salam Faraj and the terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State (IS), have distorted the concept of abrogation, and the verse of the sword (hostilities towards polytheists) into a purportedly divinely mandated call for offensive global „jihad‟(warfare).

A 2012 study on „How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur‟an‟ showed that there “is the near absence of the well-known „Verse of the Sword‟ from the extremist texts”.

However, in instances when Muslim extremists used the verse of the sword, they have argued that the verse abrogates more than one hundred other verses of the Qur‟ān that advise or advocate peace, co-existence, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness as the basis for relations between Muslims and other faiths.

This study examines how Muslim extremists have misapplied the theory of abrogation and the verse of the sword when the Qur‟ān does1 Jeffry R. Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow, and Steven R. Corman, “How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur’an,” Centre for Strategic Communication, Arizona State University, Report No. 1202, 09 July2012.

They do not not even specify the verses that have been abrogated. Their claim that the verse of the sword abrogates numerous Qur‟ānic verses cannot be taken as conclusive, especially when the abrogated verses are those that direct Muslims to seek peace, exercise tolerance, and show compassion and forgiveness.

 

This study posits that Muslim extremists have made erroneous claims on the issue of abrogation by omitting the rich discussion on the subject among Islamic scholars and falsely presenting it as something consensual among the scholars when that is not the case.

There is an extensive body of literature on the issue of abrogation. Many scholars of the Sciences of the Qur‟ān (‘Ulūm al-Qur’ān), Sciences of the Prophetic Tradition (‘Ulūm al- Ḥadith) and Sciences of Islamic Jurisprudence (‘Ulūm al-Fiqh) have written to explain and define abrogation (Naskh).

 

There have also been numerous attempts to specify the abrogating (Nāsikh) and abrogated

(Mansūkh) Qur‟ānic verses. Sometimes, abrogation has been discussed in the literature as a methodology in resolving apparent contradictions between religious texts (Al Ta‘āruḍ bayna al adillah). There are, however, several requirements that must be satisfied before abrogation can be applied.

Although the literature has explained abrogation in the Qur‟ān, the Prophetic Traditions and Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), there has been no attempt to relate these to violence and terrorism in the name of religion. Concerns about the opinions expressed by Muslim extremists on abrogation and „The Verse of the Sword‟ or„Āyat al sayf‟ came to the fore following the September 2001 attacks.

 

This is a part of my teaching series on Islamic theology specifically that which is used by jihadist’s and the clerics, who support and abet jihadist ideology within Islamic thought. Since the Caribbean specifically Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, Aruba and some South American countries are now seeing their citizens represented in Iraq and Syria, as foreign fighters this post is examining the type of Quranic hadith that is used as a means of strengthening a Muslims resolve to act by physically partaking in terrorist attacks, in the name of the god of Islam Allah, at the behest of Quranic scripture, preached by what the West calls radical Islamic preachers. This post is really minuscule in the theological context of Islamism, what it does serve is an informative tool in establishing Quranic justification for jihadism.

 

 

The White European gatekeepers of the drug lords.

ROTTERDAM–A corrupt Customs officer working at the Rotterdam harbour was sentenced on Tuesday to 14 years in prison for clearing containers which contained cocaine from South America. Gerrit G. earned millions with his side-business, money that he spent on, amongst other things, luxurious vacations in Curaçao.

The proceeds of the corrupt handlings of the 56-year-old Customs officer were estimated at 3.5 million euros, and possibly much more, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office which had demanded a maximum jail term of 16 years.

The suspect, who worked at the pre-arrival department, in 2014 and 2015 prevented the regular control of at least two containers that contained a total of 3,400 kilos cocaine by giving the green light. The Court suspected that this was just the tip of the iceberg and that in reality G. had allowed more cocaine transports to pass through the Rotterdam harbour.

According to the Court, G. was “merely led by the big money.” The Judge said G. not only damaged to the harbour’s image, but through his actions large amounts of hard drugs entered the Netherlands. “It was his task as Customs officer to protect the borders and it is ironically sad that instead he violated that security.”

The suspect received a 7.5 per cent share of the value of the coke transports. He lived in great luxury: authorities found a shopping bag in his home containing 1.1 million euros, he often flew business class to Curaçao where he also bought a US $200,000 yacht. To cover up his illegal activities, he set up a store for used consumer goods.

There were three other suspects in this case. Suspect Dennis van den B. was sentenced to ten years in prison for the import of large batches of cocaine from South-America, bribing the Customs officer G., money laundering, threatening and illegal weapon possession.

Two other suspects, René F. and André van der H. were sentenced to four and three years respectively for bribing the Customs officer. They were acquitted of the import of cocaine charges.

 

OAS adopts resolution on protecting journalists.

OAS

St Peters Sint Maarten — The Organization of American States (OAS) has adopted a resolution on increasing protection for journalists and combating impunity for crimes against them. It is the first time that the OAS has passed a resolution on this crucial issue.

 

The resolution was adopted by the OAS general assembly meeting in the Mexican city of Cancún (June 19 -21). Regarded as part of the regional organization’s duty to promote and protect human rights, it also recognizes the importance of the work of journalists in the region.

 

The resolution is the result of an initiative by the office of Edison Lanza, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and had the active support of such countries as Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru.

 

It calls on all OAS member states to:

 

– Condemn murders of journalists and take special measures to protect journalists and to prevent attacks against them.

 

– Combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists by appointing special independent prosecutors, adopting specific protocols and methods for investigating and trying cases, and providing judicial officials with training on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.

 

– Publicly reaffirm the right of every journalist to receive, seek and impart information without any form of discrimination.

 

– Encourage and reinforce member state cooperation with the IACHR and the special rapporteur’s office, especially on the issue of combatting impunity for crimes against journalists

 

“In view of the increase in violence against journalists throughout the Americas, we are very enthusiastic about this resolution’s adoption by the countries of the OAS and we share all of its recommendations,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Latin America bureau.

 

“This resolution marks a new stage in the growing awareness of the western hemisphere’s governments of their responsibility to protect journalists and promote the work of the media,” he added.

 

The resolution stresses the fundamental importance of freedom of opinion and expression in development and reinforcing effective democratic systems. It also recognizes that journalists investigating stories involving human rights violations, organized crime, corruption and other kinds of serious illicit behaviour are often exposed to aggression and violence leading to self-censorship that deprives society of information in the public interest.

 

RSF said it shares this assessment and hopes that, although the resolution is not binding, governments will respect the undertaking they have given and will quickly implement the envisaged measures.

Study shows poor school infrastructure in Latin America, Caribbean.

Cross posted from the Jamaica Observer.

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — A new study has found that only one in four students in basic education in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) attends an educational centre with sufficient school infrastructure.

 

The study undertaken by the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean involved a comparative analysis of the relation between the state of school infrastructure in the region and learning among students from 15 countries.

 

The research involved a comparison of students’ results in the assessments of the Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (TERCE) and school infrastructure characteristics and it revolved around the concepts of sufficiency, equity, and effectiveness.

 

The TERCE study was carried out by the Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of the Quality of Education (LLECE), which is coordinated by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

The study concludes that only one in four students in basic education in the region attend an educational centre with sufficient school infrastructure.

 

“Sufficiency is a concept related to access to six infrastructure categories: water and sanitation; connection to services; educational or academic spaces; offices areas; multipurpose rooms, and classroom equipment. In contrast, almost one third of the students in basic education attend schools with only two or less categories that met sufficiency levels of school infrastructure.”

 

Similarly, the analysis reveals significant inequalities in access to the different categories of school infrastructure, both in terms of students’ socioeconomic status and the geographic location of schools. In general, lower income students from countries that participated in TERCE attend schools with infrastructure in poor conditions.

 

The study also confirmed that most of the school infrastructure categories are positively and significantly associated with the students’ learning achievements.

 

“Although the situation is slightly different in each country, pedagogical and educational spaces (other than classrooms), followed by connection to services and the presence of multipurpose classrooms, are the infrastructure categories that are most often associated with higher learning achievements,” the report noted..

 

The IDB and UNESCO note that the research “highlights that the challenges for countries in the region lie not only in the provision of school infrastructure, but also in ensuring that these facilities truly become spaces and environments that promote a quality education”.