Food and its relationship with Hunger

Hunger is still a cause for concern in South Asia, despite numerous countries in the region already meeting its MDG target of halving, by 2015, the number of people, who suffer from hunger

It was the most unfortunate of circumstances when sub-Saharan Africa could not overwhelmingly meet its MDG goals by 2015. It had appeared during the time frame of the launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that sub-Saharan Africa would perhaps meet its targets because a lot of the focus was on the impoverished conditions of the region. Furthermore, G8 leaders, from developed countries, such as the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom had also committed to increasing aid to Africa by 2010 but what followed was that sub-Saharan Africa has largely fallen behind to address the causes for concern, as outlined by the MDGs, instead.

It’s hard to draw comparisons even though both the regions are very poor, indeed, because South Asia is performing a lot better than sub-Saharan Africa, these years. In 2014, sub-Saharan Africa was found to have high hunger rates, much like South Asia; for South Asia, particularly, India has the highest percentage of the global extreme poor (32.9percent) followed by Bangladesh (5.3percent). However, according to latest figures, prevalence of undernourishment chalks at 15.7percent for South Asia and 23.2 for sub-Saharan Africa.

One of the primary causes for concern in South Asia is hunger, which can really give rise to an undernourishment problem, which is a significantly greater problem in South Asia, than elsewhere. Asian nations, such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia have already met one of the components of the first MDG target:

Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

This is alongside sub-Saharan African states, like Mauritius, Nigeria and Ethiopia, but not Rwanda and Sierra Leone – the two states are expected to reach the target (before 2020) but what is so disconcerting is that the hunger problem still prevails in South Asia. In 2014-2016, hunger percentages from the level in 1990-1992 were slashed by a staggering 69percent for Nepal, a 52percent for Bangladesh and a 37percent for India. In comparison, many states performed very poorly with reduction of hunger, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, food insecurity in South Asia is still a major problem and this is simultaneously also reaping my concerns over consumer affordability because affordability for food is directly proportional to food security. But global prices for foods, such as wheat, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar also recently saw an increase – a rise in prices can mean good profits-wise for agriculture and farming because harvest is managing to rake in such great prices for farmers, which can help them to increase their income bracket and provide the means to afford food more.

The Hunger Problem

Malnourishment (or malnutrition) is a major cause for concern in numerous countries around the world, from Bangladesh to Madagascar. Prices of food and a person’s diet determines whether or not he or she would rank in the malnourishment scale. It’s not just about less food consumption – if a person’s diet is folded to include an overt amount of rice or corn, it may lead to malnutrition because the diet lacks other necessary nutrition, which a well-thought-of diet would provide, with a lot of simplicity; it’s more close to the scenario of overeating leading to malnutrition, as well.

The time periods 1990-1992 and 2012-2014 saw a 42percent reduction in undernourishment in developing countries. It’s only been lowered by a margin in India and Bangladesh, but the rest of Asia is doing a lot better with the reduction of undernourishment.

The greatest risk associated with malnutrition is how it can affect poor people because of an unequal access to education or them having an uneven income. Previously, in Bangladesh, a poor socioeconomic condition was connected to persistent malnutrition. In developing countries food prices for milk, fruits and meats, should be targeted and lowered, instead of raising it, as is happening. A global food price crisis might not be in the cards, as of now, but it’s definitely not helping poverty groups with their need for basic, daily nutrition.

The targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were met by East Asia, South East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015, as the regions were previously supposed to, within that time frame, in an effort for developing nations to slice in half the percentages of hungry people. It’s important to note that the world does produce sufficient food for every individual to eat. But because the price problem still persists, followed by a low agricultural efficiency and loss subsequent to harvest, issues of hunger still prevails.

Turkey’s New Vote

New powers and a new reality, following a coup d’etat

Turkey’s new vote on Tuesday on amending constitutional rights and taking the country from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential democracy, resulted in a lead for the ‘Yes’ vote. It’s still pretty early stages but soon, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could find himself granted with more powers and control over the state than before. Erdogan has been in power in Turkey since 2003 and he has grown into a leader who views opposition as enemies to the state.

Turkey is still fragile and healing from the aftermath of a failed coup – tourism in the country already took a bad dent for it. Rooting out corruption, extremism, ensuring greater security is a very bad need in Turkey, and the message from the referendum is loud and clear: the state is placing a great deal of faith in Erdogan’s power despite his checkered equation with democracy itself.

The campaigns put up by Erdogan’s party in power, the AK Parti, dominated both banners placed in town and the media, preceding the vote. The President likes to make the media bend and obey his every command, rather than offering them absolute freedom, and if his latest victory with constitutional amendment is installed, Erdogan will have full control over the budget, as well as cherry-picking parliament members, who do his bidding entirely. That is too much control for one politician to have and it’s not hard to pluck out authoritarian sentiments lining Erdogan’s latest desire.

It is true that no matter the nature of political ideology that the Turkish President likes to portray, with Erdogan in power, Turkey is taking turtle-steps towards bettering national democratic values. Erdogan and his party had once turned a shanty town inhabited by peasants from rural areas (who came to the locality to look for work) into a town filled with apartments, roads and shops. Erdogan had also promised to provide Kurds with rights and help them find peace, previously, although it’s important to note that since 2015 progress has stalled.

The latest military coup has brought back horrible pasts to Turkey, that it had thought it had said goodbye to. The coup d’etat has left Turkish people feeling trapped in their own country. Turkey is no longer the same republic it had been, when it was founded five years after the first world war. The state is a lot more against the West and more religious, nowadays – Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation. The national atmosphere has been one of defiance following the coup d’etat but there is no denying that the state needs to focus on nation building efforts, again, or nation rebuilding efforts, where the prime focus should be upholding democratic values and it can begin with a vote of confidence in Erdogan once more.

South Korea’s General Elections

Snap elections were announced following Park Geun-hye’s forced removal from office, and the result of that installed Moon Jae-in as the next President of South Korea

Moon Jae-in was recently declared the winner in the South Korean presidential elections, and his win came as a bit of a surprise, given Moon’s past track record of having constantly protested against dynastical rule by Park Chung-hee and Park Geun-hye. The win for Moon can be regarded as a landslide and it comes as a breath of fresh air amidst the negativity that has been circulating around South Korean politics for quite some time now. Ever since, the last president, Park Geun-hye, was sent to prison following a parliament impeachment because of having taken bribes from large corporations with a friend, as well as both permitting her friend to interfere in policy-making and sharing state secrets with her, the next wise political step for South Korea has been shrouded in confusion.

Moon’s recent electoral victory has largely been about making the Korean state fairer. The gap between the rich and the poor, corruption in South Korean society because of the government’s close connections to big corporations, and the grievous difficulty in securing jobs for the young are major issues, which Moon should use his singular five-year term in power to address. Moon has promised to make his government more kind to the public’s concerns – more than half of his votes came from young people in their twenties and thirties, so over the big question of providing more employment opportunities to young South Koreans, which at the time is tough to get without good connections, Moon has promised job creation, primarily in the public sector, a portion of which will be targeted towards young people in South Korea.

Major challenges also exist for Moon over bettering relations with neighbour states: Japan, China and North Korea. South Korea and North Korea still do not see eye-to-eye on matters very much because of the latter’s constant insistence of ramming up nuclear developments. It’s so tough to imagine a different orientation of matters but Moon has offered to reach out if things improve – at the moment, President Trump is pressing for payment of a US-born missile-defence system (THAAD), which brews concern over South Korea’s relations with China because the communist state is already unhappy about THAAD’s use, leading it to boycott South Korean goods. Meanwhile, Japan’s trouble with South Korea is an entirely different one though – the state is not pleased with a revival of anti-Japan protests in South Korea, over what happened during the second world war.

Snap Elections in the UK

A deeply unpopular election is to be held on 8 June, which will be contested by all major parties in the country, from the Labour Party to the Lib Dems

Snap elections in the United Kingdom were recently announced by Theresa May but there is no clue whatsoever as to why. Theresa is practically unopposed in both the House of Lords and the Commons, so there is no crisis to her leadership in sight there that would demand a general election so soon but the new Prime Minister took it upon herself to press forward with the decision to hold one anyways. It’s not just that: Britons are not in want of a general election, and earlier on when Theresa took over Westminster following David Cameron’s departure from Downing Street, she had made it clear that no general elections are going to happen until 2020.

A whole host of people are once again running for elections, from Kenneth Clarke MP, who’s a major antagonist to Theresa’s plans in Westminster – he had opposed Brexit, to Jeremy Corbyn, who unsurprisingly (and shamelessly) insists he will still be the Labour leader if he loses this set of elections. It all boils down to how hard it is really to justify the reasons for snap elections however, because there is no war going on and also no news media has been widely (and vigorously) campaigning for one to happen this early, which desperately needs to be addressed. Because of all of that, judgements towards the latest midterm Prime Minster of the United Kingdom simply increases tenfold.

In my honest opinion, it doesn’t really matter whether Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May comes to power because they are both unsatisfactory leaders in their own right. Corbyn is not a popular Labour leader amongst his party contemporaries – in fact, several polls since his election as the leader of the party also suggest that Labour voters want to see him replaced. Meanwhile, the damage that Theresa did to British politics for this decision alone, is hard to recover from because she comes across as a hypocrite and an idiot.

Theresa called an election because she is unable to band together and differences exist in Westminster but that is just what Westminster is. Maybe Theresa should have been more well-versed on that aspect of politics, as well. The tense climate that the country is teetering on at the moment, following a Brexit did not need a further injection of a new general election but that is just what it got because the Labour Party feels like it should respond to this by contesting in the elections too.

If Theresa is looking for support, she must promise that she has the whole parliament’s support for key decisions in the coming months on issues such as Brexit. Under no circumstances can the new election undermine the conditions that Brexit is happening over, if Theresa was to still remain in power, which seems likely. A major poll puts forward the idea of Theresa May as a better political alternative to her contemporaries, particularly Jeremy Corbyn, and the Tory party has not enjoyed this much support since 2008, when Gordon Brown was the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom and national recession was still widespread.

Soul-searching Over A Trump Win

Trump’s win should be looked upon as a moment to reflect on for the Democrats, about what Americans really want from a presidency, once the disappointment of losing washes away

Having rooted for Hillary Clinton to win and a Democrat victory at the elections, in the aftermath of a GOP win helmed by Donald Trump instead, I feel that it is a time for soul-searching. Although, Trump’s win has been characterized in the media as a disappointment, global reception amongst numerous heads of state was positive. It charted the dawn of a new era, where the white working classes, often feeling neglected by Clinton’s campaign, pre-elections, chose to vote for a more non-liberal candidate than before.

Naturally, the reception amongst Clinton supporters have been nothing less than a mix of fury and a preaching of the necessity of forgiveness, when things don’t turn out the way they had hoped. But amidst all of the understandable grief and catchy euphoria, questions are inescapable – it all boils down to why Trump over Clinton? These Americans, men and women, with their backgrounds of having never graduated from college, preferred Trump because at the end of the day, the campaign on the other side also needed to be sharper: for a start, Trump’s thoughts on the Iraq war must have been comforting to voters because what the war did was grossly undermine the values of lives of soldiers from the working class bracket.

It’s also tough to emotionally connect with an image of Hillary Clinton constantly portraying Democratic values because it doesn’t really address any real issues out there affecting Americans. And this is on top of Clinton pronouncing a push for very little change in the Rust Belt, which as a region is already known as a bit of a decaying pothole. Furthermore, there is the Democrats’ record in office for eight years – what has it meant for foreign policy and it’s relation with war? I think it was more of a missed opportunity because what these wars have done instead is devastate states, such as Afghanistan and Ukraine.

One interesting face of this loss was that white women who abstained from voting for Hillary did so because national culture and class topics were of a greater importance to them than just going out there like fools and voting for a woman to be the first female President of the United States of America. The sexism associated with Trump did not deter female voters – instead, Trump was given a fair enough ground to compete in, and it’s safe to say Hillary’s breeding ground for votes last season amongst American women, were overwhelmingly in the young women bracket, aged 18 to 29.

What was truly shocking though was how forecasts by the media got proven incorrect because before the 2016 elections, Donald Trump was largely projected to lose. It was personally a moment of joy when Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because that means that more Americans voted for Hillary, instead of Trump. However, the victory still surged towards the GOP’s direction because the party had claimed most states – a 304 to 227. So, what’s a Trump win been like ever since last November?

So far, Trump has been signing orders to overhaul rules governing national carbon emissions, promising work for coal miners and also rewarding big corporations if they choose to remain in the United States, which are the good sides of the leadership. But the ugly (and controversial) side isn’t far off: Trump also cut off the possibility of non-government support to NGOs in foreign shores, for all kinds of abortion services and he is still pressing for the building of a Mexican border wall to deter local immigration into the country, and it’s concerning how Mexico’s image is coming across at the moment globally, due to uncontrolled levels of illegal activities, from migration to smuggling.

Homelessness in New York

Homelessness (or prospective homelessness) is a problem, which I would equate with the national government spending a lot of time just watching from the sidelines, and unable to do anything to improve matters. The irony of that statement is that it looks a lot like they have homeless people’s problems themselves when they do that (which they obviously don’t) but the misery associated with homelessness is not a joke. In New York, homelessness is a major problem – the tabloids might make it look like homelessness happens only to drug addicts or mentally ill people, but the truth is that it affects New Yorkers of all shapes and sizes, from teachers to postal workers.

The previous New York mayoral administration of Michael Bloomberg (CEO and founder of Bloomberg) deliberately moved away from specially allocating homeless families public housing, and also giving it to them at an affordable price. This is in addition to cutting off special privileges to ‘Section 8’ – a voucher program funded by federal cash, which aims to aid with problems associated with looking for a place to rent.

The Bloomberg administration explained this problem by saying that too many people were homeless and new spaces needed to be made for people who were recently homeless, by moving people who have been homeless for longer and from before, out of public housing, rather than doing something about increasing the capacity in shelters. It’s not just that: Bloomberg also took away the 2007-introduced Advantage program in 2011, which was supplying homeless people with monthly vouchers, leaving many people stranded with no help whatsoever.

Homelessness means coming to grips with the horrible reality of now having to sleep on subways or in parks.

Bill de Blasio, who succeeded Bloomberg in 2014, wanted to make everything better for people, who were always left out of New York’s success. And despite doing just that by increasing assistance for people who may get evicted any day now and other such means to help homeless people, the problems with homelessness in New York have only increased.

Other towns, such as Los Angeles and Chicago are far worse off than New York on the homelessness scale but the numbers in New York, like homeless people’s problems, are still mammoth: 60,000 people in shelters alone and the incredibly long waiting lists for public housing – one, in particular, has a 270,000-long waiting list. Another problem happening with Bill de Blasio as the mayor is that he is refusing to shut down a type of shelter program, known as ‘cluster sites’ and for the type of people reliant on soup kitchens, living in shelters is anything but ideal because the spaces are replete with violence and robbery.

SNP’s Second Try

SNP wants to launch another independence referendum after losing the last one in 2014

One of the the most horrifying political gaffes ever made has to be Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister demanding another independence referendum for Scotland, where it is to ask for independence from the United Kingdom, just two-and-half years after the previous one. It is far too close to the last independence referendum for Scotland. It does not matter if Scotland hasn’t been allowed enough room to be a part of the EU single market, following Brexit because there is no need to cry for independence over that – unity over political decisions is a good thing.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, post David Cameron, is horsing around with the statement, it seems. At one point in time, May is against it, and at another point in time, her office, Number 10, sends out mixed messages that another independence referendum could happen but not before Brexit is officially wrapped up. When the SNP wrote in their manifesto pre-elections that another independence referendum could be called in the future if the situation dictated it, did they think it would be this close to the past one? It’s unclear but the party had stated that 2014’s referendum was a rare event.

There is no doubt that what the Tory government did was very wrong because Britain’s place is really with the EU, not independent from it, and it is truly asking Scotland an awful lot of getting along to do, when the nation overwhelmingly voted against a Brexit. However, when differences of opinion arises, compromises are necessary because the two countries did choose to remain united only recently and having unity isn’t always easy in the face of political decisions of whoever, or whichever party is in power. Politicians in both Westminster and the Scottish parliament should really be doing their jobs in government instead of running after independence referendums for the billionth time.

Meanwhile, Scotland is to learn of the conditions of Brexit later than when done because of how EU negotiations are carried out. So far, the idea of another Scottish independence referendum doesn’t seem to have picked up momentum anywhere else but in Number 10 somewhat, but if it were to happen, it is a little bit vague as to why because SNP is contemplating thoughts of Scotland, if the EU gives approval, joining the European Economic Area (EEA), in a manner similar to Norway’s, which would permit the country to be a part of the single market – this is despite the fact that the UK is Scotland’s biggest trade partner, so if this new independence referendum is supposed to be about the economy then it’s not supposed to be in favour of the Scottish economy doing very well.

Donald Trump’s Immigration Policies

The ‘immigration’ subject had always ranked highly on the President’s agenda during his campaign trail, and now Trump introduces an immigration ban on seven Muslim countries, as well as stops asylum applications to the United States coming from all refugees temporarily and those from Syrian refugees entirely

Donald Trump taking oath as the President of the United States of America has not been looked at favorably in the United States. Constant protests and low poll ratings are enough to bog any politician down but no matter how hard this might bother him privately, Trump is still approaching his presidential term just the way he wants to. He is interested in making plenty of changes, and the whole atmosphere smells of the White House taking the wraps of a fresh new term, where the Republican Party can call the shots to policymaking again, after an eight year long absence.

Naturally, those wishes are not always going to come easy but a new party in power means working with another set of political thoughts entirely for four years. The Republicans control the Congress, the House and the Senate, so opposition from the Democrats to Donald Trump’s executive actions isn’t really going to happen properly but nevertheless there is obviously always the expectation that there will still be voices here and there who like to blindly pretend otherwise.

One of the first executive actions that Trump took in office was the imposition of a temporary visa ban on people coming from seven Muslim countries: Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Iran. The reasons for this is that citizens of all those countries mentioned may pose a terror threat to the United States, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. What is interesting is that the countries plucked out sit at the bottom of the H&P Visa Restrictions Index, along with countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Palestinian Territory, Ethiopia and Nepal.

Those seven countries mentioned in Donald Trump’s executive order come in various ranks right after the set of countries ranked on #96 – Lebanon, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, so a similar range of actions may follow through in alliance with Trump’s order in other countries, as well. Plenty of protests followed in the wake of the executive order, with celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid and Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard taking part in this so-called protest against Trump’s Muslim ban.

Trump, for his part, has stated that his action is not a ban targeting Muslim people around the world. Trump added that somewhere around forty other Muslim countries are entirely unaffected by the ban, and I do want to believe Trump when he states that his latest policy push is all part of making America great again like he promised pre-elections but he definitely needs to do more there in building positive global ties with selected countries around the world; many Muslim countries are actually moderate (and democratic) Muslim nations, and I find it very hard to believe that Donald Trump wants to uproot positive democratic ties with those moderate (and democratic) Muslim countries by brewing in another alternate reality entirely.

The fact is that the visa ban (in effect for thirty days and possibly from January 27 – the date when Trump made his announcement) also comes with a complete termination of refugees coming to the United States from most countries in the world, and that is inclusive of Syria – this could either be for four long months, or for forever. Last year, more Muslim refugees ran away to the United States than ever before because of the continual violence taking stronghold in their native countries: the civil war in Syria has seen many casualties, Libya’s government collapsed, whilst the political situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to deteriorate and become unstable.

The Syrian civil war, in particular, is giving rise to fears for President Donald Trump that refugees fleeing their nation could cause Islamic attacks in the United States. Trump is expected to order the US State Department to prevent issuance of visas to citizens of those seven countries, and people who hold dual nationalities of those countries and many allied countries as well, such as the United Kingdom, in a move to keep the United States safe, as a result and the latest policy push seems to suggest that Trump’s presidential term is off to a good start.

Barack Obama Departs, Donald Trump Becomes President Of USA

Yesterday afternoon was the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Huge crowds had gathered all over Washington, for the event and big questions are hanging in the air, now that a businessman-turned-politician is the President of the country. Trump highlighted nation rebuilding efforts to be a focal point of attention during the next four years that he is spending in office. Trump also wants to prioritize an increment for numbers of jobs, he wants to make his government an American-people-backed-venture and he highlighted the sordid affairs of the national economy in his inaugural speech as such:

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

I thought it was very noble of Trump to pronounce investing in the country’s infrastructure, for a change because with the advent of factories closing like mushrooms, the United States needs it. It is a little more unclear about why Trump insists on increasing spending for defense, but protecting the United States’ borders could most definitely act as a game-changer during Trump’s administration if he wanted it to. Trump wants to deport (or forcibly remove) criminals, people who came to the United States illegally, and this is adjoined with many other removals, including removing people in visa-overstay situations, as well.

The immigration system in the United States for visa-overstay issues is different from other countries, such as Malaysia, and it is in fact a lot tougher for the former. For students studying in Malaysia on a student visa, for example, an overstay-issue can even happen a second time, assuming the first time it had happened was pardoned, but clearly there is a very wrongful lack of clarity in these immigration policies promised by Trump. At the moment, a person isn’t allowed to come back to the United States for a certain number of years, depending on how long they have overstayed, which showcases that a greater amount of transparency should be brought to the immigration promises being made by Trump.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Trump has also promised to build better airports, bridges, railways, etc. and transferring people from welfare to employment, as well as combat the constant global threat posed by radicalized Islamic terrorism. Meanwhile, Barack Obama departed the Oval Office reminding of a hopeful era, where change happened even when American institutions were too difficult to change.

It was very a nice note to end Obama’s eight-years-long premiership on, which began in 2008 and if nothing else, it bewilders me even more, why the Democrats didn’t win another term and that Trump and the Republicans did instead. This is despite the fact that the Republicans had lost the popular vote to the Democrats in the 2016 general elections, which means that more Americans had voted for Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump. Post-inauguration, the promises made by Donald Trump so far, to be honest, seems to suggest that if acted upon, the United States of America just might be great again but whether or not the President will deliver on his promises is a point that can really be summed up as a thing that can only be left to be seen.