Monday, May 29, 2006


Remembering Langston Hughes

I cannot let the month of May end without remembering the Poet Laureate of Harlem:


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Copyright © Langston Hughes.

I also have a special place in my heart for this one:


My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I'm going to die,
Being neither white nor black?

Copyright © Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes died on May 22, 1967.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


As Doha flounders, CARICOM Countries get second wind

Despite reported “modest” achievements attained during the Sixth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong, a number of important issues were left unresolved. With regard to agricultural negotiations, Ministers had agreed in Hong Kong to establish trade liberalizing formulae or modalities and tackle such issues as state trading, food aid and export competition, no later than April 30, 2006 as well as to submit comprehensive draft schedules based on these modalities no later than July 31, 2006. As it turns out, the United States and the European Union failed to reach agreement on agricultural subsidies by said deadline thereby preventing negotiations from proceeding on to new global trade rules, according to a timeline set out for 2006.

Nevertheless US officials feel a more important date than the missed April 30 deadline is the end of 2006. They maintain that negotiators could agree on the 'modalities' at some point in the summer without derailing the overall talks. However, if a Doha Round agreement is not concluded by the end of 2006, there will likely not be enough time for the U.S. Congress to consider the document before President Bush’s trade promotion authority expires in mid-2007. The real critical date for getting a new trade reform agreement, according to US officials will most likely be December 2006.

In the meantime, a group of nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have taken advantage of the impasse to petition the WTO to extend their export subsidy programs to the year 2018, on the basis that they are of great importance to their economic and financial needs. The WTO Committee reportedly decided that the request for an extension will be given consideration in October this year.

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Bolivian President emits Hydrocarbons Decree

During May 1 International Worker's Day celebrations, President Evo Morales
emitted a decree requiring foreign companies to give the government a majorioty share in Bolivia's natural gas industry. In what some sources called a symbolic move, troops were deployed to the gas-fields. Bolivia has around 50 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves and exports most of it to Brazil and Argentina. Since these resources were privatizatized in the 1990s, there have been demands to re-nationalize them. Although Evo Morales won a stunning victory in the December 2005, he has made it clear that his "nationalization" plans will not infringe on the assets of the corporations.


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