At Home: Canada Responds to World Food Crisis
Canada pledged an additional $50 million this week to help fight the world food crisis. That brings the country’s total monetary promises up to $230 million.
In January the United Nations announced that there was a major need for emergency food in Afghanistan and several other countries around the world.
Canada was the first country to respond with both food and a monetary commitment. Tonnes of wheat were made available immediately and $10 million was pledged at that time, in addition to a $25 million commitment made in late 2007.
According to CNews, Tony Banbury, who is the regional director for the World Food Program’s Asia division, stated that ?Canada is an extremely important and generous partner and donor to us, and we would not be able to do our work here in Kandahar and in the southern region without the support of the Canadian taxpayer.?
Bev Oda, Canada’s Minister of International Co-operation, said in a CBC News interview ?this is a significant contribution which will have a real impact in helping starving people around the world.?
Oda also announced that restrictions on where the food could be purchased for the aid would make help more forthcoming.
In the past, food aid was required to be purchased within Canada but now it can be purchased outside the country, making for a more efficient program. Oda explained that purchasing food from sources closer to the people in need could mean more food for the money as well as less money spent in transporting it to the crisis areas.
In Foreign News: Italians Victims of Their Own Government’s Tactics
Anyone who ever felt even the slightest worry over privacy issues was aghast this week over what happened in Italy. Italians discovered that their personal income and their personal income tax paid had been listed online for anyone and everyone to see. The Italian tax collection agency posted the personal information online without letting the Italian public know what they planned to do.
Italy has had a reputation for laid-back taxpayers and according to Bloomberg News the country’s outgoing Deputy Finance Minister, Vincenzo Visco, stated the move was ?a matter of transparency, of democracy.?
Some in Italy believe this kind of transparent approach to the matter will improve the negligent tax-payment situation there. Italy has been grappling with ways to collect billions of euros in unpaid taxes.
The personal tax information was from the 2005 tax year. Once Italians found out about the website, it became so bombarded with web traffic that it was virtually unusable. People were very interested in the information provided as they could plainly see how much money their sports stars, neighbours, and favourite celebrities made in 2005.
Italy’s governmental privacy agency took exception to this publication and had access to the information shut down within 24 hours of its debut.
Privacy advocates are very concerned that Italians have been allowed to learn the birthdate, income, and even home address of other Italians. The likelihood of criminals taking advantage of the private information has been raised as one of the possible effects of this unprecedented disclosure of personal information.