OK, let's see...In today's news, $160 million is being spent in the U.S. on "attack ads," leading up to the November 7 midterm elections. What a marvelous use of what some would consider a good deal of money.
Meanwhile, the NYTimes reports on the growing issue of child labor in Africa and elsewhere, many of them working in agricultural or food-related businesses.
The article is built around a hungry, 6 year-old new conscript , forced to work in a fishing village in Ghana.
"...the children are indentured servants, leased by their parents to Mr. Takyi for as little as $20 a year.
"Until their servitude ends in three or four years, they are as trapped as the fish in their nets, forced to work up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, in a trade that even adult fishermen here call punishing and, at times, dangerous."
"A 2002 study supervised by the labor organization estimated that nearly 12,000 trafficked children toiled in the cocoa fields of Ivory Coast alone. The children, who had no relatives in the area, cleared fields with machetes, applied pesticides and sliced open cocoa pods for beans."
"The International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, estimates that 1.2 million ( children) are sold into servitude every year in an illicit trade that generates as much as $10 billion annually. "
Back in the US, an article by two academics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, posits that an extra one billion gallons of gasoline is used up each year because cars are transporting "fatter Americans."
And KFC, ( Kentucky Fried Chicken,) is phasing out trans fats by the end of April in most of its US outlets. According to this report in The Guardian,
"KFC previously resisted change - in June, the chain said it had been using the same type of oil for 50 years and did not want to tamper with Colonel Sanders's "finger lickin' good" recipe. But it was hit with a lawsuit from the non-profit Centre for Science in the Public Interest, which maintains that trans fats contribute to 50,000 deaths annually in the US. The class action was in the name of Arthur Hoyte, a retired doctor who said he had eaten KFC's chicken without being warned of the health risks.
The Centre yesterday dropped the case and its executive director, Michael Jacobson, praised KFC: "What are McDonald's and Burger King waiting for now? If KFC, which deep-fries almost everything, can get the artificial trans fat out of its frying oil, anyone can. Colonel Sanders deserves a bucket full of praise."
The number of hungry people in the world is increasing by 4 million per year
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
(Rome, October 30, 2006) Ten years after the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) in Rome, which promised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by 2015, there are more hungry people in the developing countries today – 820 million – than there were in 1996, according to a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report released today Noting that promises are no substitute for food, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf today called on world leaders to honor a 10-year-old pledge to halve the number of hungry in the world by 2015.
From the World Hunger Education Service.
(AP photo of KFC employee devouring newly healthified fried foods.)