Basics

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‘Anti-Forbes’ list of world’s Bottom 100 highlights widening wealth gap

Every year, publications like Forbes release their lists of the world’s richest. While often dismissed as the financial equivalent of the world’s sexiest man, some say these lists can be useful for economists trying to evaluate who’s winning and losing. This week, an organization has published what might be called an anti-Forbes list, the Bottom 100, the faces and stories of 100 of world’s poorest.

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Rise in poverty rate in Paraguay shows farmers hit hardest

Paraguay had been making progress against poverty over the years, but the government has reported a recent rise in poverty that some say stems from an inadequate focus on agricultural communities. Despite the country’s overall economic growth last year, the total poverty rate rose from 26.6 to 28.8 percent.

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Ethiopia running out of food aid money, magnifying regional threat

Food aid for millions of Ethiopians will run out by the end of June, according to the United Nations. The Ethiopian government appears to be playing down the crisis, for various reasons. But the UN says if nothing is done, the country’s food crisis could expand and destabilize a region with two neighboring countries already facing famine.

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Social norms continue to undermine women’s role in workforce

The share of women in the labour market globally is not increasing even though most females want paid work, according to a major report on employment trends. Social norms of what a woman’s role should be, as well as practical obstacles such as a lack of childcare and transport to get to work are holding women back, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said.

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Tillerson’s ‘less is more’ strategy for foreign aid meets bipartisan skepticism in Senate

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent the past two days in Washington defending proposed massive cuts to the foreign affairs budget, using the ‘less is more’ approach. Critics on both sides of the aisle characterized his proposal to cut the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) by about 30 percent as “reckless” and “divorced from reality.”

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Rejecting US immigration strategy, Mexico works with Guatemala to protect refugees

In a rejection of the U.S. government’s military-based approach to illegal migration, Mexico is now working with Guatemala to make their shared border safer and more humane for refugees fleeing violence in Central America. Many refugees travel to Mexico or the U.S., where they fall victim to criminal organizations, violence or other abuses that can leave them injured and traumatized.

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60,000 teachers on strike in Colombia to demand education reform

Sixty thousand public school teachers gathered on the streets of the Colombian capital on Tuesday to demand reforms in an education system plagued by poor funding and inequitable access. Experts say reducing inequities in education will be critical to breaking Colombia’s historical cycle of violence and civil war, which was recently halted in a peace deal.

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Five farmers killed in India during protests about debt and crop prices

Five farmers were killed today in Madhya Pradesh, India, during violent protests against what they contend are unfair pricing and debt obligations. Demonstrations by Indian farmers over allegations of excessive debt and improper financing that began last Thursday in the neighboring state of Maharashtra have escalated as they also spread to other regions.

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Aid dollars directed to education short of the mark, again

Foreign aid spending has increased by about 20 percent since 2010, but spending on children’s education has declined by four percent. The increase in aid has been in response to the global refugee crisis, which disrupts educational development for children in crisis. Advocates are calling for more education funding.

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