This Week on Between The Lines

Posted June 15, 2011 for week ending June 24, 2011

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After Wall Street's collapse, private equity & hedge funds now aim sights on controlling global food supply

"After the collapse of the housing market and the dot-com bubble, private equity funds and hedge funds looking for new soft commodities are securing agricultural land in Africa that is cheap and close to water, so they can profit while the people of Africa are losing their most fertile lands and starving." -- Anuradha Mittal, executive director of Oakland Institute


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Hedge Fund-Financed Land Grab in Africa Triggers Global Food Price Spike, Rise in Hunger

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Interview with Anuradha Mittal, executive director of The Oakland Institute, conducted by Scott Harris

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A spike in staple food crop prices around the world has forced an estimated 44 million people into poverty over the past year. The international aid and development group Oxfam recently predicted that without substantial reforms to the global agricultural system, food prices could double within the next 20 years – causing millions more to sink into poverty. Oxfam and other groups say that global climate change, speculation in agricultural commodities and the diversion of corn into the production of biofuels are the primary causes of food price increases and the resulting rise in hunger.  Story continues

Unions and Environmentalists March to Protect Historic Blair Mountain from Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

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Interview with Kenny King, board member of Friends of Blair Mountain, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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The fight to save an historic mountaintop battlefield site in West Virginia's coal country inspired hundreds of local residents and out-of-state supporters to undertake a 50-mile march in early June that followed in the footsteps of thousands of coal miners who marched the same route in 1921. The miners were demanding the right to join a union -- in this case, the United Mine Workers of America -- and engage in collective bargaining -- demands that resonate today as those rights are under attack in states where conservative Republicans hold power.  Story continues

Connecticut's New Paid Sick Days Law Could Be National Model

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Interview with Jon Green, executive director of the Working Families Party of Connecticut , conducted by Scott Harris

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The 2010 congressional ballot was tagged as a “change” election across the country - with big wins for Republicans and Tea Party activists. The conservatives’ most visible victory was their take over of the House of Representatives while making gains in the U.S. Senate. But the GOP also dramatically increased their control of state legislatures from 14 to 26 – while winning total control of 21 states’ governors' seats and legislatures. In contrast, Democrats now control both the legislature and the executive branch in 11 states, down from 16.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

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