Japan’s wartime atrocities have long been a source of tension and anger among various east Asian nations. Failure to admit guilt and continued veneration of wartime "heroes," many of whom are convicted war-criminals, cause diplomatic stress between nations even today.
In a row over the Freedom of Information Act, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s administration has finally acknowledged expense information first requested by media outlets nearly two years ago. According to the Detroit Free Press, documents were turned over last month, “But in dozens of instances, pages were missing, or information on the city-supplied records was blacked out.”
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has found a new way to get the word out about its efforts. Food Force is a free downloadable video game (for the PC and Mac) designed by the WFP, in which the users will “Play the game, learn about food aid, and help WFP work towards a world without hunger.”
Within the context of the fictional nation of Sheylan, the player embarks on a series of missions intended to give users a feel for the way in which the WFP does business.
The overall goal of the WFP in fighting hunger is a noble one, and worthy of a great deal of public attention. While many flashier issues dominate global media coverage, hunger problems represent a true and dangerous threat to millions of people daily. And the good news is that there are real, achievable policies and actions available that could have incredibly positive effects.
The Copenhagen Consensus 2004, which brought together world-renowned experts in a variety of fields, determined that the challenge of malnutrition and hunger represented one of the key areas of potential action. The opportunity of providing micronutrients was ranked by a panel of expert economists as second only to the control of HIV/AIDS in the prioritization of responses to global threats.
According to the panel, “Reducing the prevalence of iron-deficiency anaemia by means of food supplements, in particular, has an exceptionally high BCR (benefit-cost ratio).” In this respect, the WFP Food Force does a good job of emphasizing the nutritional value of food, as one of the six tasks in the game is come up with a formula for food rations that maximizes both economic and nutritional value. Read more on Game Review: Food Force…
As I alerted you to more than three weeks ago, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has proposed a 2% tax on fast food restaurants, in a vain attempt to cover the city’s fiscal woes. Here’s a sneak preview to this week’s ANC feature, “The Flawed Fast Food Tax,” in which I conclude:
There are some problems in parts of the charity sector. The problems are with charities that HAVE enough money to scam somebody or shift an inappropriate perk to a board member. There’s not much talk about the charities that never saw that kind of resource and never will. Government officials always think that more regulation is the answer, but it’s scary when the private sector supports that link. Six of America’s major foundations have financed Electronic Data for Nonprofits (EDIN) within the Independent Sector, advocating accurate and timely charity reports. And IRS forms are appropriate financial reporting tools, even for smaller charities. But financial reporting is not the “litmus test” of program information, as the EDIN project advocates. Good charity is more than money.
It’s not the appropriate role of government to even infer legitimate charity donations. The legitimate function of IRS forms is financial transparency of organizations that operate as Exempt Organizations. To think that the IRS is “needed” for anything beyond that role demeans donors. Private financial sources such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar already give donors significant financial information beyond IRS forms. Donors are asking good questions through groups like Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and Center for Effective Philanthropy. They might be fooled by bad charities–big or small–for a time. But charity donors using market principles that made their money will fare better than the charity donors that abdicate to more government regulation.