Jordan stalls on official poverty statistics amid tax law controversy

A tent in Tal Al Rumman, Jordan, where an elderly woman and her children used to live. Living conditions in Jordan have become dire for many. Photo by Farrah Matalka, June 2018, used with permission.

Until 2010, reports assessing poverty in Jordan were done regularly every two to three years by the Department of Statistics (DoS). A 2010 report on poverty issued by the Jordanian government, showed that 14 percent of the population lived under the poverty line at an annual 813 Jordanian dinars ($1,144 USD) per individual, showing a rise of 1 percent since 2008.

Since then, however, poverty statistics in Jordan have been completely absent due to what critics are calling “a stalling technique”.

In the latest House discussions regarding the controversial Income Tax law, the Lower House’s Economy and Investment Committee called for the need to provide all statistics, data and studies on the issue. No figures, neither rough nor accurate, were provided, and the law passed without determining a scientifically-studied poverty line.

The law, which was already a sensitive topic before the Lower House brought up poverty statistics, is part of a series of measures instituted since Amman secured a three-year credit line of 723 million US dollars from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

That loan, intended to support economic and financial reform, has the long-term objective of reducing Jordan's public debt from about 94 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 77 percent by 2021.

The Income Tax Law was not favorably received and resulted in the overthrowing of the Hani Mulki government in May. Later on, under a new government and with a new draft, the law passed both houses of parliament but is still regarded as a “harmful” decision by experts.

In an attempt to calm the waters, Director of the DoS, Qasem Zu'bi, recently said in a press conference that a comprehensive report will be launched during the first quarter of 2019.

Although no official figures have been presented, the 2019 report is looking at a state of deterioration that has caught up with Jordan, according to various reports launched toward the end of 2018.

Jordan stepped down on the Legatum Prosperity Index in 2018 to stand at 91 out of 149. The World Bank classified its economy as a low-growth scenario”, UNICEF studies showed that 20 percent of children in Jordan suffer from multidimensional poverty, and only 38 percent of aid required to finance the Jordan Response Plan (JRP) for the 1.4 million Syrian refugees was met.

Moreover, the United States reduced its funding to UNRWA by 350 million USD, putting 711 schools and 526,000 Palestinian students in Jordan at risk.

Activist and community activist Sarhan Taamari, who lives in the impoverished Mamouneyeh neighborhood in Maan, 218 kilometers southwest of the capital Amman, said:

The government will try and pin this on the Syrian crisis, but the truth is that billions of dollars have been donated by the international community, donations that could have covered refugees’ living costs for more than ten years.

Privatizing Jordan

Taamari stated that “the real reason behind a collapsing GDP” is the 2006 IMF deal. In the deal, Jordan agreed to sell key state companies to foreign investors.

Now, almost all critical services and natural resource productions are foreign-owned. The water company, the Total gas station, and one of the three telecommunications companies are French, while the Potash and Phosphate mines are almost all privatized and foreign-owned.

Moreover, the World Bank plays a critical role in Jordan's energy sector, and over 1 billion US dollars on investments in power and energy come from the private sector.

Additionally, Jordanian businessmen have been selling their shares in state companies, something that the government has been “trying to conceal”, according to Taamari. In a country whose public debt has risen to 96 percent of its GDP, frustrated individuals have been trying to help as many people as their limited-resources allow.

In July 2018, when an offensive by the Syrian government displaced 40,000 Syrians at Jordan's border, Jordanians lent a hand despite the government's insistence on closing the borders.

Bringing back joy amid rising frustration

In 2018, Farrah Matalka, a graduate in social economics, launched Bringing Joy By Giving Joy, an independent campaign to help distribute 600 food parcels monthly and renovate houses. Unaffiliated with the government or privately-run organizations, Matalka relies solely on donations from individuals via her Instagram account. She posts images and videos of dilapidated houses and areas and asks followers for donations.

Other than monthly parcels, the campaign takes on short-term projects. She has raised funds for the operation and recovery fees of child victims of fires, as well as the distribution of school essentials and winter clothing.

Farrah Matalka launched Bring Joy By Giving Joy, a charity initiative that fills the gap where the Jordanian government has been unresponsive. Seen here with a new trailer for a family in need.

These simple acts of kindness can not overshadow the clear and growing frustration with living conditions in Jordan. Two waves of protests, one that resulted in overthrowing former MP Hani Mulki's government and another that was filled with anti-monarchy chants are obvious expressions of citizens’ anger.

The governates’ series of refusals to listen to ministers’ explanations for why the Income Tax law is critical is yet another sign of the government's disconnect

With people paying 70 percent of their incomes to cover personal debts, the rise of public debt and unemployment standing at 19 percent by the end of the year, and a 30 percent rise in drug addiction cases, tackling poverty in Jordan needs a multiple-faceted strategy.

As DoS Director Qasem Su'bi said in a recent press conference, “people are anxious for the report on poverty, but what is more important is how the government plans on reducing it.”

DoS Spokesperson Saeda Momani said the report may not be published in early 2019, as the committee working on it has decided to widen the sample and include more Syrian refugee representation as well.

“I suggest we delay talking about the report for at least six months,” Momani concluded.

Written by Maram Alkayed · comments (0)
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[GUIDA] Ecco come vedere la storia dei pacchetti installati, aggiornati o rimossi su Ubuntu, Debian o Mint

In questo articolo vediamo come scoprire tutti i pacchetti installati, aggiornati o rimossi dal vostro sistema. La guida, che si basa sull’uso della command line, è valida per Ubuntu, Linux Mint e Debian (e probabilmente per la maggior parte delle derivate).

L’obiettivo è accedere alla storia del vostro sistema, ovvero alla lista dei pacchetti DEB che avete installato / aggiornato / rimosso, compresa la data in cui l’avete fatto. Per farlo su Debian, Ubuntu e Linux Mint potete andare a leggere il file dpkg.log (dpkg è l’architettura di basso livello per la gestione, l’installazione e la rimozione dei pacchetti). Lo trovate nel percorso /var/log/dpkg.log. Potete usare il comando grep per il parse del file e quindi andare a visualizzare solo i pacchetti rimossi o quelli installati o quelli aggiornati, sulla base delle voste esigenze.

Questo metodo funziona per i pacchetti DEB qualsiasi sia il modo in cui li avete installati: graphical tool come Synaptic, Gnome Software, Update Manager, o un command line tool come apt, apt-get, aptitude o dpkg. Non funziona però per altri pacchetti come Flatpak o Snap, o per software installato dai sorgenti.

Aprite il terminale e date:

grep "install " /var/log/dpkg.log

Questo il risultato:

$ grep "install " /var/log/dpkg.log
2019-01-08 13:22:15 install automathemely:all <none> 1.3
2019-01-08 13:22:29 install python3-astral:all <none> 1.6.1-1
2019-01-08 13:22:29 install python3-tzlocal:all <none> 1.5.1-1
2019-01-08 13:22:29 install python3-schedule:all <none> 0.3.2-1


2019-01-09 17:19:49 install libwebkit2-sharp-4.0-cil:amd64 <none> 2.10.9+git20160917-1.1
2019-01-09 17:19:49 install sparkleshare:all <none> 3.28-1
2019-01-15 15:58:20 install ffsend:amd64 <none> 0.1.2

Analogamente potete dare

grep "upgrade " /var/log/dpkg.lo

per una lista dei pacchetti aggiornati.


grep "remove " /var/log/dpkg.log

per la lista dei pacchetti rimossi.

/var/log/dpkg.log contiene i pacchetti installati, aggiornati e rimossi per il mese corrente. Per il mese precedente andate a leggere il file /var/log/dpkg.log.1

Ad esempio, date:

grep "install " /var/log/dpkg.log.1

Volete andare ancora più indietro? Usate zgrep al posto di grep e leggete /var/log/dpkg.log.2.gz, /var/log/dpkg.log.3.gz, /var/log/dpkg.log.4.gz e così via.


zgrep "upgrade " /var/log/dpkg.log.2.gz

Strade alternative

Ci sono metodi alternativi per raggiungere lo stesso obiettivo ma, come si dice dalle mie parti, “funzionicchiano”. Ad esempio Synaptic Package Manager (File -> History) può mostrarvi solo una storia dei pacchetti installati, aggiornati o rimossi mediante Synaptic stesso (e quindi non quelli aggiornati/installati/rimossi mediante apt, apt-get, dpkg, Software Updater,  etc). Analogamente il file di log /var/log/apt/history.log mostra solo le azioni svolte usando apt/apt-get.

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Mayor of Odessa could face criminal charges after his security attacked a local reporter

Odessa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov seconds before his security showed off Radio Svoboda reporter Mikhail Shtekel out of courthouse where he gave a press briefing. Screengrab from Shtekel's video posted on Twitter.

Odessa's police will investigate the city's mayor Gennady Trukhanov for “impeding the lawful professional activity of journalists”, a punishable offence by Ukraine's criminal code, following an incident in which his security detail physically assaulted a local reporter.

On December 27, Radio Svoboda journalist Mikhail Shtekel posed a question to Trukhanov at a press briefing, to which the mayor responded by pushing him away while his security proceeded to expel the journalist out of the building.

Shtekel, whose employer Radio Svoboda is the Ukrainian version of Radio Free Europe, recorded the whole incident on camera and posted the video on Twitter soon afterward:

Замість відповіді на запитання @radiosvoboda міський голова Одеси Генадій Труханов разом зі своєю охороною відпихнув мене і залишив приміщення Малиновського суду. Допомогала їм в цьому поліція. @NPU_GOV_UA @MVS_UA це 171-ша чи ні?

— Michael Shtekel (@mishajedi) December 27, 2018

Instead of answering the question by @radiosvoboda [Radio Liberty in Ukrainain] mayor of Odessa Gennadiy Trukhanov and his guards pushed me away and left Malinovskyi court building. They were helped to do it by the police. @NPU_GOV_UA [National Police] @MVS_UA [Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine] does this fall under the Article 171 or not?

Article 171 of Ukraine's criminal code typifies the crime of “impeding lawful professional activity of journalists,” which covers illegal seizure of reporting materials, denial to provide access to information, among other actions. It imposes fines and a maximum prison time of three years.

On December 29, Shtekel stated, on his Facebook profile page, that with the help of his lawyers he had filed a criminal complaint related to Article 171 against Trukhanov, his guards, and the police officers who participated in the aggression. On January 2, the police of Odessa confirmed for Detector Media that they had initiated a criminal investigation of the incident.

The mayor's contempt for journalists

This is only the most recent episode in which Trukhanov or his subordinates have attacked journalists. In July 2018, when reporter Bogdan Osinskyi asked him why he had referred to a group of environmentalists as “green worms,” the mayor grabbed the journalist's phone and tried to hit him with it.

In April 2018, British journalist Andy Verity, who had come to Odessa with the BBC to report on a corruption probe that involves the mayor, was pushed, knocked down, and kicked in the groin by Trukhanov's security guards after he approached him with a question. The BBC has captured the whole incident on camera.

Finally, just before the end of 2018, Trukhanov said that Member of Parliament Mustafa Nayem, a former journalist, asks “stupid questions.”

Separately, Trukhanov is a defendant at an emblezzlement case related to the sale of Odessa's city hall building known as the Krayan plant. A trial began in October — the press briefing where Shtekel was attacked on December 27 followed a court hearing of this trial.

The mayor has also received harsh criticism, including in international fora, for the behavior of his “municipal guards”. Those are private security officers hired by the city of Odessa under suspicious circumstances who have been accused of multiple human rights violations, including against journalists.

Trukhanov is expected to run for re-election in 2020. However, if any of the criminal cases he's facing ends in conviction, he might find himself fighting for his own freedom rather than for his seat as mayor of Odessa.

On November 30, Trukhanov presented his own work in a positive light at an annual ceremony at Odessa's city hall. Such enthusiasm probably isn't shared by the city's journalists, for whom press freedom feels ever more elusive.

Written by Kanykei Tursunbaeva · comments (0)
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