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Monday, January 28, 2008

Water, water everywhere, yet not a drop to drink

Fri Jan 25, 1:11 AM ET

DAVOS, Switzerland - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world on Thursday to put the looming crisis over water shortages at the top of the global agenda this year and take action to prevent conflicts over scarce supplies.

He reminded business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum that the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan was touched off by drought — and he said shortages of water contribute to poverty and social hardship in Somalia, Chad, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Colombia and Kazakhstan.

"Too often, where we need water we find guns instead," Ban said. "Population growth will make the problem worse. So will climate change. As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie just over the horizon."

He said a recent report identified 46 countries with 2.7 billion people where climate change and water-related crises create "a high risk of violent conflict" and a further 56 countries, with 1.2 billion people "are at high risk of violent conflict." The report was by International Alert, an independent peacebuilding organization based in London.

Ban told the VIP audience that he spent 2007 "banging my drum on climate change," an issue the Forum also had as one of its main themes last year. He welcomed the focus on water this year saying the session should be named: "Water is running out."

"We need to adapt to this reality, just as we do to climate change," he said. "There is still enough water for all of us — but only so long as we can keep it clean, use it more wisely, and share it fairly."

Ban said he will invite world leaders to "a critical high-level meeting" in September to focus on meeting U.N. development goals — including cutting by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015 — particularly in Africa.

Ban's call for global action on water got strong support from several top business executives.

"Water is today's issue," said Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Co., the world's second largest chemical company. "It is the oil of this century, not a question."

E. Neville Isdell, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., said "this is an issue which ranks next to climate change. ... However, water has got lost as part of the climate change debate."

Isdell urged the world to "raise the issue of water to the level that we have managed to raise the issue of climate change."

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of Nestle SA, the world's biggest food and drink company, said "time is still on our side but time is running out, just like water is running out."

Ban urged top business executives to join a U.N. project to help poor people gain access to clean water — and he praised Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and Nestle for their programs and their efforts to be part of the water solution.

Politics Again - Is Barrack Obama the ONE??

"Exactly four years ago today, I returned home from Iraq. Nineteen of my fellow paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne weren’t as lucky. I witnessed George Bush’s failed strategy firsthand and was determined to do something about it and start bringing our troops home. Now, as the first and only Iraq war veteran in Congress, I take seriously my responsibility to call for a new foreign policy, and to making sure our nation fulfills its promise to my fellow veterans.

We need a President who has the vision, the judgment, and the courage to make this change become a reality. Barack Obama will be that President.

From the beginning, Barack had the foresight to speak out against the war and the Bush Administration's terrible mismanagement of it.

Barack Obama will put an end to Bush’s policy blunders and bring our troops home safely and responsibly. Barack and I introduced the Iraq De-escalation Act. (You can view details of our plan at my website, www.murphy08.com.)

Our bill calls for clear benchmarks, a clear timeline for redeployment and a strategic strike force to combat al Qaeda. Most importantly, this redeployment from Iraq will give our military the personnel and equipment it needs to redouble its efforts at destroying al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. We need Senator Obama's comprehensive approach to foreign policy and we need to make sure that we are fighting on the right battlefields.

Barack Obama will bring a new approach to foreign policy, one that understands the world as it really is. He will restore our reputation around the globe and end the Bush vision of foreign policy as a political weapon. And when a Republican candidate tells us that we’ll be in Iraq for 100 years, we know that a change in foreign policy can’t wait one more day.

Barack is also committed to getting our veterans proper treatment. He is the grandson of a World War II veteran and serves on the Senate’s Veteran’s Affairs Committee, which just passed the largest increase in veterans’ benefits in the 77 year history of the Veterans Administration. As President, he pledged to have a "zero tolerance" policy for homelessness among our veterans. On any given night, there are 200,000 veterans living on the streets in this country. As President, Barack will end this injustice.

But to truly change our nation's direction, we need more than just new policies. We need you. A few weeks ago, I was up in New Hampshire door-knocking and talked with a 20-year old woman named Julie. She and her brother were supporting Senator Obama. She said, "My brother is a Marine who just left for his fourth deployment in Iraq. We feel that if Obama is our next Commander-in-Chief, he won’t have to go back for a fifth deployment."

That is what this election is about. I know Senator Obama has a rare ability to lead that doesn't come along very often. We need a fundamental change both at home and abroad, and I believe Barack Obama will bring about that change if we give him a chance.

Thank you,

Patrick Murphy

U.S. Representative, (D) PA-08"

About Me

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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