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Armenia’s Trashy problems: in 21st Century International Banks Fund Landfills with No Recycling Facilities

by Sofia

In Armenia there are some private companies which recycle paper, plastic, batteries, metals. While local solutions are better than nothing, only a systematic approach can give a fast solution to waste recycling, as well as change public’s attitude towards trash. We do need fast actions in this sphere as the pollution of soil, air and water is happening fast too, thus a solution in this field stems from our need to live in healthy and clean environment. This article is therefore one such step to bring the issue of recycling to the agenda of politician, decision makers in and outside of Armenia.

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Let’s Talk About Taxation!

A Night Out Collecting Signatures Against Tax Evasion

By Theresa

On Monday, 27 March 2017, I volunteered as part of a ten-people group to collect signatures against tax evasion at a concert in Berlin. This post gives a short introduction to the human rights issues arising from tax evasion mixed with a personal account of the evening.

Starbucks_copy right EUCOM

© European Commission

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Overrated Standards of International Financial Institutions

by Sofia

At the end of 2016 the boycott of Ameriabank started in Armenia because of the contract signed between the bank and Lydian Armenia for providing the latter with a loan of 24 million USD to purchase equipment for construction of the gold mine and heap leach facility in Amulsar. This was particularly enraging since this is one of those banks in Armenia that presents itself as a green bank, while two of its boarding members are actively involved in charity and development projects in Armenia.

As the boycott was becoming more popular, the employees of the bank started a self-defense. They argued that World Bank’s (WB) private-lending arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) do not distribute loans to everyone, and if this project received the support of these institutions, then it is a trustworthy project. They insisted on this on the Facebook rating page of the bank (as the rating of the bank was going down), as well as during individual meetings with some of the dissatisfied customers. (more…)

Is Construction Business in Turkey for People or Against People?

by Sofia

IMG_1213

© Sofia Manukyan

When I started writing about the culture of construction in Turkey, my attention was caught by an article about gentrification plans in London. People expressed their opposition to the luxury brought by “development” plans in Camden which according to them was not only a threat to the local culture, but also posed a problem in terms of affordability of the neighbourhood. “The heart of Camden is being ripped out, pubs are being converted to luxury flats no-one can afford, venues are under threat, the market is flogged off to be a casino (and yet more unaffordable flats). Rents are rising … fast”, read the event statement on Facebook. This reminded me of the situation in Istanbul.  (more…)