That's capitalism


According to the latest UN Human development report more than 30,000 children die every day from preventable diseases, 113 million children are not receiving schooling, and there are 854 million illiterate adults. Meanwhile the richest 5% in the world have incomes 114 times greater than the poorest.

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The same UN Human Development shows the 26 counties having the highest level of poverty and the most unequal society in the industrialised world after the USA. This doesn't seem to bother the Dublin government who are cutting over ¤100 million from their budgets as the ESB, VHI, third level fees and accident & emergency charges are all increasing, and new road tolls are on the way. 800 new jobs in the health service will not be filled as the start of McCreevy's spending freeze. At the same time the richest 10% of Irish society is 11 times wealthier than the poorest 10%.

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23 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are poorer than they were in 1975, with 47% of the sub-Saharan population is living on $1 a day &endash; a figure unchanged since 1990

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One in two children in Northern Ireland are living in poverty or at risk of poverty, according to a report by the Save the Children charity. Nearly a third of children live in households whose only income comes from benefits and a further 18% of children live in households that claim Working Family Tax Credit. One in six children do not have a properly fitting pair of shoes, a warm coat and three meals a day. Some of the worst poverty is faced by Traveller families where children remain 10 times more likely to die before the age of 10 than a child from the settled community.

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Last year saw the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ordered to pay a total of $27 million compensation to 300,000 (not a misprint!) former prisoners. They had been detained beyond their release dates or wrongly jailed because of "erroneous" warrants. So far, over 30,000 people have filed claims.

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The new Southern Education Minister, Noel Dempsey, has increased the standard maintenance grant for students by a pathetic 5% -which does nothing about addressing the huge difference between the real cost of attending college and the amount received by students on the grant. Meanwhile he also raised the student registration fees by 70% from ¤396 to ¤670. This can be seen as the re-introduction of fees through the backdoor.


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This edition is No72 published in September 2002