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Issue #1682      April 29, 2015


Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has been compiling data on world military expenditure since 1988 and at present covers 171 countries. World military expenditure in 2014 was an estimated $1,776 billion. SIPRI includes all types of expenditure on the military, not just arms but administrative costs etc. The total for 2014 was equivalent to 2.3 percent of world GDP. The list of top 15 countries makes an interesting reading. The top military spender is the USA with $610 billion; No 2 is China with $216b*; No 3 Russia – $84.5b*; No 4 Saudi Arabia – $80.8b; No 5 France – $62,3b; No 6 UK – $60.5b; No 7 India – $50b; No 8 Germany – $46.5b*; No 9 Japan – $45.8b; No 10 South Korea – $36.7b; No 11 Brazil – $31.7b; No 12 Italy – $30.9b; No 13 Australia – $25.4b; No 14 United Arab Emirates – $22.8b; No 15 Turkey – $22.6b. (the figures with a * indicate SIPRI’s estimate). With the world expenditure of $1,776 billion, the top 15 countries spent $1,427 billion last year. The combined expenditure of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, India and Germany equals that of the United States.

According to Vetaffairs newspaper (Winter 2015) the word ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) ‘was an acronym devised by Major General William Birdwood’s staff in Cairo in early 1915. It was used for registering correspondence for the new corps. After the landing in Gallipoli, General Birdwood requested that the position held by the Australians and New Zealanders on the peninsular be called “Anzac “to distinguish it from the British position at Helles. Not surprisingly, the word was soon applied to the men of the corps who became “Anzacs”. A hundred years later the word has been used and abused by politicians of all sorts trying to whip up jingoistic sentiments that have nothing to do with paying dignified respect to those who had lost their lives in an imperialist war. Wars bring profits as well – not to those in the trenches but those who get rich on selling arms, ammunition, etc. As we all know the capitalist will sell his/her grandmother and his/her soul if the price is right. So, we have the Woolworths advertising campaign using the ANZAC images and the “fresh in our memories” wording. If you think of their “fresh food people” constant motto it really is not surprising that the public reacted swiftly with complaints about it. As Woolworths says in its other commercial: “it is cheap, cheap, cheap”. There are penalties for the misuse of the word “Anzac” – up to $10,200 for an individual and $51,000 for a body corporate.

The industry body for commercial free-to-air television, Free TV Australia, is changing advertising rules to allow more alcohol ads in prime time and sports events. It also wants to make it harder for people to complain about ads. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) condemned the proposals saying hundreds of thousands of children would be put at risk by further exposure to alcohol advertising.

Next article – Region Briefs

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